Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year (sheesh this is long)

Yes, I realize it's not even January 1 anymore, but I liked this little graphic so much I decided to use it anyway.

Happy New Year! Another year gone. The older I get, the more bittersweet the passage of each year becomes. Another year of my children's precious childhood has slipped away, never to be recaptured. Another year of missed opportunities, of chances not taken, of friendships taken for granted, dreams not pursued. Crikey, that's gloomy! What is my problem?

Of course, it's also the dawn of a new day. If, as Anne Shirley said, tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it, think of the lush possibilities in the new year! A new year in which to make a fresh start, to right past wrongs, to avoid new ones, to strengthen friendships and make memories, to enjoy and savor and live purposely. There's something rejuvenating about the prospects of brand-new beginnings.

The Viking and I, after cracking open a bottle of Lobelia's deadly good and strong homemade cranberry vodka for a New Year's Toast, had an impromptu assessment talk on New Year's Day. We discussed the children, where their lives are going, where we'd like to see them go, what we'd like to see them do. Redheaded Snippet is doing remarkably well for a neophyte teenager and is everything we had ever hoped she'd be when she was born. I keep waiting for that morning to dawn when I will have to resist the urge to chloroform her and lock her in her room for the next 5 years or so, but as of yet, she is truly a delight each and every day (with moments of stroppiness sprinkled in here and there, of course). Man-Cub, however, is still in his formative stages and is in need of some judicious sanding and chiseling. We fear we've rather spoiled him, despite our best efforts to the contrary, and are having now to make up for our failures in order to keep him from becoming the World's Biggest Brat and Future Prat. Don't get me wrong, we love him desperately, but we've been doing him a definite disservice letting him behave the way we have. The new year is a good time for a change.

We also talked about our hopes and dreams for ourselves, for us as a couple, as a family. We talked about habits, finances, diets, you name it. It was good to reconnect on that kind of level, to do the kind of talking we used to do all the time when we were dating. And, of course, we discussed resolutions, or as Man-Cub calls them, revolutions, which I think is actually a better term.

My New Year's Revolutions involve mostly housework. I resolve (sadly, Man-Cub's terminology does not work in verb form) to make sure the kitchen is clean every night before I go to bed and to have my chores done each day before I sit down at the computer. Whew, those are toughies! I tell you, the only thing I feel like doing when the truck pulls out of the driveway at 8:00 every weekday morning with its precious cargo is plop down at the computer with a steaming cup of tea and just eeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase into my day. But no more! I have to remind myself how much better it will be to sit with that nice hot cuppa knowing the beds are made, clothes are washing and the house is tidied! I sure hope it works!

I also resolve to call those friends I've been neglecting for various, but stupid, reasons. There is one woman I was supposed to call months ago-months! I don't see her very often, but when I do, she always eagerly asks for a time when we can get together and I, being the neurotic mess that I am and finding reasons to be suspicious of her eagerness (like, what, a perfectly nice and funny person can't simply be interested in getting to know me better because maybe she likes my company?), I have put off calling her. And then, I literally lost her number. Twice. I swear I did not do it accidentally on purpose. So now she thinks I hate her guts. But I'm getting her number somehow and telling her flat-out what a dork I am and seeing if she still wants to get together for coffee then.

Another friend has been going through a rough time and I've been giving her space, only now I'm worried maybe I've given her too much and she thinks I simply don't care anymore. That cannot be. It's not true and I cannot abide even the possibility of her thinking that. So I'm calling her too.

Then there's the one from whom I was slightly estranged over matters completely out of either of our control. She made motions of reconciliation a while back and I have just been too paralyzed by fear to respond. I am such a doofus, it's amazing I have any friends at all. She's next on my list.

Then there's the doctor visits I have to schedule, the bookkeeping and financial matters I have to resolve, and the piano lessons I planned to start after the Holidays. All of those things need attention and now is the perfect time to tackle them head-on, don't you think?

Sigh. So, my new year looks somewhat full already. Not to mention Dharma is ready to have her baby momentarily and we're looking at a trip to Chicago somewhere in the near future, Redheaded Snippet starts her indoor field hockey league, basketball season winds back up in earnest now that Christmas is over, and Man-Cub's birthday is a mere two months away, as he was so kind to remind me just recently.

So, now here I am at the end of another long post and I've shared nothing about Christmas! Let's see if I can do this succinctly; it'll be a challenge, but I think I can do it...

Christmas dinner was sublime, in spite of being Thanksgiving Dinner Redux. Of course, the fact that our appetites were whetted by dinner being delayed an entire hour due to a gross miscalculation on my part of the number of eggs necessary for producing said meal resulting in The Viking having to forage into the far reaches of the kingdom for another dozen may have helped the food taste better. I know, how could I be off by a dozen, right? Martha Stewart would have had me flayed alive with a microplane zester for such an infraction, but I only had to suffer a few moments' panic until The Viking shook me back to my senses and everything proceeded as normal (only an hour late).

The children got a few of their hearts' desires this year, or at least close facsimiles thereof.

Redheaded Snippet got Emu boots from Santa and has, I think, found a way to permanently attach them to her feet. She scuffs around the house in them from morning to night. She wanted Uggs, but as we cannot afford to spend upwards of $200 for a pair of boots for a child (and wouldn't even if we could), we opted for the much more affordable and nearly identical Emus.

She also got an iPod (used, from her Gram and Grampa), a beautiful silver cross pendant from Man-Cub (he picked it out himself, the darling), a Juicy Couture pendant from one of The Viking's spinster aunts (she said got it on Canal Street in Manhattan so it's either counterfeit or hot--totally hilarious if you know his aunt), a lovely, warm, and soft scarf, mittens and hat set from Abercrombie from Lobelia and Lenny, a new Nancy Drew PC game from Daria, three new novels (Murder at the Vicarage, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Suspense) from Dharma and Vance,

and Boogie for Wii from The Viking's parents.

Man-Cub's booty included a GI Joe tank and action figure from Dharma and Vance, a Spy Kit, Robinson Crusoe, and The Prince and The Pauper from Gram and Grampa, a lightsaber (green of course) and small "talking" R2D2 from Redheaded Snippet, some kind of Legoesque robot that turns into a ball thing that I can't even begin to understand from Daria (he gets it and loves it),

Batman wings and a mask (the wings actually unfurl at the touch of a button with a 4-foot wingspan, pretty darn cool) from Santa,

some kind of Nerf Batman gun also from Santa (I'm wondering if Santa hates me),

a menacing-looking Nerf assault rifle complete with rapid-fire action and laser sight from Lobelia and Lenny (Lenny bought himself one as well for proper shoot-outs), and the Nerf N-Strike bundle for Wii from The Viking's parents. It was a very Nerfy Christmas.

But, in my opinion, the second best thing the kids got for Christmas was this:

Do you not already know about our Clue obsession? We love the movie, love the game, we play it all the time with an old board that was mine and my sisters when we were growing up. It's covered with at least 20-years'-worth of graffiti that we just keep adding to and Dharma, Daria and Lobelia had to make new cards and pieces as the originals were lost long ago, but that just adds to the fun. And I think our love for Harry Potter has been well-documented so when I saw this game sitting innocently enough on a shelf at Walmart last month, well, really I was powerless against forces beyond my understanding.

But the best gift for the children by far was the surprise arrival of Daria just before we all sat down to dinner! Mom had flown out to Chicago to spend Christmas morning with Dharma, Vance, and Baby Bee (who I'm going to start calling Bitsy from now on as she is a baby no longer and has a baby sister on the way) and was able to fly back Christmas Day in time for dinner at our house. However, unbeknownst to the children, she brought Daria with her. We managed to sneak her into the house right under their noses so they didn't see her until she was standing in the middle of the living room with her hands over Man-Cub's eyes. Redheaded Snippet saw her first (obviously, as Man-Cub's eyes were covered, duh) and though she didn't make a sound lest she give it away, her face was priceless. Man-Cub guessed right off it was Daria and literally threw himself into her arms as he burst into tears. It was such a Hallmark Moment. Or a Folgers Moment, remember those sappy Christmas morning surprise commercials in the '80's?

We had a blissful six days with Daria before she had to go back to Chicago. We sat around in our pajamas, ate scones, ate pie, ate leftovers, played games, behaved silly, talked, laughed, cried and went without sleep in order to squeeze in every moment together we could. It was the best gift the kids could possibly have gotten, one I don't think they will forget.

The Viking and I didn't make out too badly either. The children were able to buy The Viking a new watch, completely surprising him, Man-Cub bought him a keychain with a little flask on it, and Lobelia gave him a hamper of bottles of homemade ginger beer, the cranberry vodka mentioned above, and limoncello. We do Secret Santas in my family, as few of us has much money and there are getting to be a lot of us, and Lobelia had The Viking this year. He was thrilled and we are already enjoying having such treats to keep in our pantry!

Man-Cub got me a very cute jewelry set including heart-shaped earrings, necklace and brooch and Redheaded Snippet got me this hat from Victorian Trading Co that I've been wanting for years, the Jane Austen:

Sadly, the hat is a much different color in real life than it is in either this photo or that in the catalog and I'm afraid it won't go with my charcoal grey wool coat at all. Besides, it's too small and I'm sure it will give me headaches. So it's going back. And I think I may get this one instead:

Or perhaps this one, though it vexes me greatly that there is no photo of the front of it:

Now, though The Viking and I were not supposed to exchange gifts this year, he got me this:

And this:

Two of my all-time favorite tv shows. I had mentioned once that I would love these on dvd and he heard me and remembered! I was so surprised and cannot wait for a nice long dvd marathon!

Finally, my Secret Santa, my dad, got me a remote starter for my car! Can you believe it? Whether it's 29 or 92 degrees outside, I can start my car from the perfectly climate-controlled interior of my home, grocery store or church and have the car warmed up/cooled down by the time I'm ready to venture into it with just the touch of a button! No more shivering while waiting for the heat to warm up or blistering my hands on the red-hot steering wheel! It's the coolest thing! Quite literally, come Summer, Ha! The Viking is installing it tomorrow and I just can't wait.

Well, I suppose that about covers Christmas. We have spent the remainder of our Holiday lying around, fulfilling as few obligations as possible, spending time together, enjoying the company of loved ones, playing with new toys and gadgets, and eating completely unhealthy food! It has been quite the vacation.

I hope you and yours have enjoyed your time off from the world as much as we have. Our Twelve Days of Rest are coming to an end and all too soon we'll be back to the demands of work and school and alarm clocks and papers to be signed, but for now, I'm still reveling in the relaxation. May you find a few more stolen moments as well!


Todd @ Home Construction Improvement said...

Your blog is wonderful! Love the vintage look.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

It all sounds so wonderful - what a great story teller you are.

Happy New Year.

Lorri said...

Sounds like a wonderful holiday. WIshing a merry new year and blessings overflowing.