Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
And it all feels like an afterthought this year. I'm just not all that into it.
My husband is probably grateful for this. Most years, I dive into the season with enthusiasm right around Thanksgiving, and play the Christmas-music station on the radio until it drives him mad (I do mute the Christmas Shoes song, though). I drag him and the rest of the family off to events like TUBAChristmas and the Messiah sing-along, and try to organize an all-girls outing to the Nutcracker. I bake cookies that have butter as their primary ingredient. About mid-December, I start resenting the fact that we're all out spending money like idiots, buying the extra-deluxe George Foreman grill for people that received the deluxe model from us a year ago, and my attitude becomes so "bah-humbug" that Ebenezer Scrooge would weep with envy.
I usually recover right around Christmas Eve, and the Christmas Spirit stays with me until, during the Christmas Eve candlelight service, the idiot minister tries to make the Christmas story more relevant to today's audience by making one or more of the Magi a woman. I haven't got up and walked out yet, but one of these years...
So what's different? I hope it's not our upcoming cruise, because I don't want to be stuck taking a traditional winter cruise every year either. I know I should not be whining about this. I know that there are women everywhere who would gladly trade places with me and embark for the Mexican Riviera a week from Saturday. And when I can divorce it from the season, I do find myself looking forward to it - we have a mini-suite with a balcony and a bathtub and welcome-aboard champagne and maybe even bathrobes. But Christmas season is for being cold and going skiing, and finding out if I can still ice-skate backwards even a little! It's not for "learn to scuba" shore excursions and sunbathing and practicing one's Spanish ("No, gracias." "No, gracias." although I'm sure there's more to it than that.), and having "seaweed wrap rebalancing chakra treatments" at the spa.
Although, when I think about doing New Year's Eve on a ship, wearing a strapless black dress (Isaac Mizrahi - gotta love Target!!!) and bright red spike heels, that seems just about perfectly matched to the season.
Maybe that will be my big holiday for this year. Should auld acquaintance be..."
Maybe next year.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I really like most of my in-laws, and generally look forward to spending time with them. All but one of them, that is. I refer to her as the Sister-In-Law from Hell. Although we are cordial to one another, she is generally able to put me completely off balance within 5 minutes of any encounter. I wish I could put my finger on why - it's actually a subject I end up spending way too much time thinking about (it's a long trip back from my mother-in-law's house, and we don't fly, and one has to do something to make Kansas go by quickly).
Here's an example of our interaction. A few years ago, we missed a train connection in Chicago and had to spend Christmas Eve there. Since it was a holiday, we decided to skip the Amtrak vouchers for the Quality Inn and stay at the Palmer House hotel instead, to make the stop more of an occasion than an annoyance. (It worked, too - we had such a good time that we're planning an on-purpose trip to Chicago one of these days. What a cool city!) When we arrived at our final destination, a day late, we were raving to all present about the Palmer House and how wonderful it was and how much we'd liked staying there overnight.
"Oh yes," she said dismissively. "It's really cheap; that's why they hold a lot of conferences there."
Now, I don't know if you've ever set foot in the lobby of the Palmer House, but if you have, you may understand why my first reaction to it was not "Wow! This is really cheap!" Try "omigod-will-you-look-at-that-ceiling!". But I digress. The net effect of her response was to shut us up completely on the subject. Maybe she intended to do that, or maybe she just has the social instincts of one of those glow-in-the-dark sea creatures that live in the Marianas Trench.
We spend family occasions where she is present in a sort of weird competition - one in which we never agreed to participate, and to which we don't know the rules. Anything we have done, anything we are doing, anything we are tentatively planning to do, she or her family has done better-faster-smarter-first. She once arrived before we did at an out of town event where both families had reservations at the same hotel. Not content with checking herself in, she checked us in, inspected our room, adjusted the air conditioning, pronounced everything satisfactory, and when we arrived told us step by step what she had done.
I also get the impression that she makes assumptions about my opinions on various things, and then caters to those assumed opinions. Her assumptions are invariably wrong, but they leave me feeling kind of inadequate because I'm not maintaining the high standard to which she is catering. Again, an example is germane: Quite a while back, she offered to take our daughter on a camping trip. Which was fine with me, although, as I recall, the trip never materialized. But while making the offer, she was incredibly anxious to assure me that the adults on the trip would not be drinking while any children present were awake.
I'm fairly sure that, up to that point, we had never discussed whether I cared if my daughter saw adults imbibing adult beverages - in fact, the two of us had probably had a glass of wine in my daughter's presence before that conversation. And to the best of my knowledge, she and her husband are responsible adults, so I wasn't exactly anticipating some sort of drunken orgy on the trip at all. So where did that come from? Did she normally drink to excess on camping trips? Did she think that I normally did? The whole conversation left me feeling like maybe I was a bad mother for NOT worrying about drunken orgies in my daughter's presence. Once again, I was rendered speechless - I couldn't figure out how to tell her that I wasn't concerned about such a thing without making myself sound uncaring or making her sound overly anal.
My husband thinks that I intimidate her. God knows why - I'm just an average working stiff with a husband and a kid. It's probably fairly obvious that I'm a bit stressed in her presence, so maybe she picks up on that. And I guess all those fullstops in the conversation come off as a bit peculiar (is "buh-buh-buh" an intimidating thing to say? That's as much as I can manage sometimes).
This Thanksgiving, we really didn't see much of her, but she was in her usual form. I made the incautious statement at dinner that I intended to be buried in my Mini Cooper. Oops. Now the whole family knows that she and her husband just finished looking at a used Mini Cooper, that was in just simply pristine conditon - it was obvious that the owner had taken very good care of it and it was only two years old, after all - but that they just couldn't quite bring themselves to spend $20K on a vehicle without ridding themselves of one of the two they already had.
What do you say in response to that? In my case, I think it was something like, "pass the pie".
It's good to be home.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Bloody frustrating week so far, and it’s not even halfway done. Work has been nothing but firefighting (although I think we’re about 85% contained at last), home has been a lot of choppy, unplanned last-minute errands punctuated by sleepless nights for various reasons (in which the family pets figure large), and no matter what my intellect and reason tell me I should be eating, I’ve been heading for the Twix bars. Just not good all around.
My office of the moment is a well-lit cube up against the windows, and I have a sort of mixed-bag view. I can watch construction on some new condo buildings with all-glass exterior walls (during daylight, at least, you can’t see in from where I sit, but at night? Do they cater to exhibitionists, do you think?). I can see some of the
Every morning, if I’m anywhere near my desk for all of this, I stop and watch. And every morning, the temptation is strong to grab my stuff and jump on board. It wouldn’t be for very long – overnight to
So far, I’ve resisted the temptation, but this week, I don’t know.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
So, in the last year and a half, we acquired a second dog, and the daughter turned 16 and began driving herself to her extra-curricular activities. Oh, Lord, is that all that happened in that time? I don't think it can be true, but nothing else comes to mind.
I painted the master bedroom blue a while back - well, most of it. Ever try to move a king-sized bed? And the roller handle just wasn't quite long enough to reach all the way behind the headboard. Which would be fine, except that the headboard is a sort of arch connected to the bedframe by spindles. In other words, the lack of blue is sadly visible on that wall. One of these days, we'll get a crew of volunteers, and move the bed long enough to finish the job. Although by then, we'll probably be trying out a different wall color. I'm not exactly overfond of the blue.
Dull post, I know, but I'll try to make it a little more interesting next time - and it won't be another 17 months before that happens.