Monday, December 21, 2009

Longing for a Traditional Christmas

It's true: I only devote the very last smidgen of brain cells to writing the posts in this blog. That is all you get. That and sometimes cute pictures. Now...
When I was a kid we spent 95% of our Christmas Days at my maternal grandmother's mobile home in Chatsworth, CA. It wasn't a tacky mobile home park like the stereotype would have you think; it was pretty, well-organized and well-preserved, kinda like Grandma, herself, when she was alive, at least. Gosh, she's been dead for almost 12 years! She passed away at the young age of 70, right before my 20th birthday. She didn't deserve to die like that, from Cancer, I mean. Isn't it strange, for lack of a better word, when someone who has lived a healthy, low-salt, low-cholesterol, low-fat life, dies a horrible death like that? I don't understand.
I am thinking of those old Christmasses. I miss them very much. Back then I took it for granted that it would always be that way. The adults had their table and the kids (me, my siblings and cousins) had their table. The adults drank boxed wine and maybe some had whiskey with 7-up. After dinner the kids would retreat to the guest bedroom where grandma kept a few toys for us to play with and we'd laugh up a storm the rest of the day/night. Of course after we opened presents we'd have a lot more to play with and when that was out of the way the adults would gather around the table again for all kinds of card games and more drinking, which made for lots of funny noises us kids would laugh at from the other room. "Shh--Listen! Our parents are so dumb when they're drunk! HAhahaha....!" When it came time to leave, I'm sure we cried and tried to sneak into each others' cars to go home with our cousins instead of plain-home. And it was always a kind of slap in the face how ready our parents were to get the Hell out of there when the night came to an end--they'd had enough, which I now understand as I have wild children of my own and I, too, am older and less spirited, just like those adults seemed to me back then.
We were Catholic and Scotch-Irish-English. That's how it went down. And we loved it.
Another slap in the face was going home to our dachsunds having gotten their revenge for being left home alone--our new Christmas gifts were sometimes chewed to shreds or at least slightly mangled. Thinking back on this is comedy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Potluck Last Night

That picture is my new favorite snapshot of the girls. Those dresses were given to them by my dad's wife, aka, Grandma Debbie :)
Our friends a few blocks away threw a fantastic Christmas party last night, complete with games for the children, a table full of potluck goodies, craft activities, cookie and cupcake decorating station and even Santa himself paid a visit. Raquel was thrilled to see Santa. Maxine was frightened of him. He gave presents to all the children and eventually made an exit through the sliding glass door at the back of the house.
I made two trays of different open face sandwiches inspired by Smørrebrød or smörgås of Scandinavia and one tray of shortbread topped with cream cheese and sweet things. It took several hours of work and my neck is killing me today because of it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Rudolph was on tv last night! We pigged out on doughnuts and milk and enjoyed the show together. I have always loved this tv special.
Before the show, I took Raquel to Payless to get a new pair of shoes for school. She had received a special gift card from her school--many more fortunate people donate food baskets and gift cards for the less fortunate students at her school--Raquel has been designated as one such student. We have also received tons of groceries in the past week. All of these donations were a HUGE surprise to us. I didn't know they knew we needed it! Jose and I can't believe how much food we received. It filled our pantry! Writing this and thinking about how much people care really makes my eyes wet. It has given Jose and I one less thing to worry about but not only that--the feeling of joyfulness just makes everything better.
Then I woke up this morning with a somewhat mysterious burst of positivity. It carried through all day and into my evening class. I had to give a short presentation. Just yesterday I was worried about it but this sudden confidence made it a snap. I felt like a different Me because I just wasn't nervous. And guess who got to be the first one to present? :)
Two weeks from today this semester will be history. And a week after that is Christmas. It's gonna be a good one. I am feeling joyful.
Thanks for checking in.