Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas Cold

While my younger brother was at our parents' house on Christmas Eve, he croaked out something to me along the lines of "What?! You're not sick at Christmas?!" It really has been tradition for my younger brother and I to catch what we call The Christmas Cold. (And that tradition seems to have caught on with Mike, as well. He's been under the weather for a few weeks now, as he has been every Christmas and/or New Year's Day the past few years.) My younger brother was sick over Christmas last week, my dad was horribly ill, my niece had spent Christmas Eve morning at the doctor's office being diagnosed with an ear infection, and everyone else but me and my mom was either sick or recovering from having been sick. I left my parents' house Sunday morning amazed at my new!-and!-improved! immune system, took a nap back here at the apartment late that afternoon, and woke up that evening with a sore throat and a stuffed-up head. By the time I got home from work Tuesday morning, I had almost no voice with which to wish Mike a good day as he left for work. The tradition lives!

Intentionally napping, unintentionally falling asleep while watching Christmas movies, discussing which cold or flu medicines are working or not working for ourselves and for each other, stocking up on oranges and boxes of Kleenex, making tea, calling and emailing one another to check in and ask "Still sick?": These things, I've realized this week, have all become just as much a part of Christmas to me as the cookie-baking or gift-wrapping. And I'm not complaining when I say that. Although I'd rather be feeling better, there is something oddly comforting in knowing we are all in this together at the end of every year.

Some of my favorite memories from this Christmas are of we Christmas Cold-ers celebrating in our own low-key ways. While I ate a bowl of chicken Ramen noodle soup Saturday night, Dad and I played cards. He'd looked wiped-out all day, and as soon as he played his last card to win the game, he said he was going to bed.  Mike and I shared a belated Christmas together here Tuesday evening, and since neither of us felt up to eating at the table "like adults," we ended up eating our lasagna dinner on wooden trays in bed, with the box of Kleenex nearby and the "nighttime medicine" as dessert.  Supper was eaten side-by-side in bed again tonight, as I am feeling worse today and not better. But cherry pie and vanilla ice cream tasted good for dessert, and I beat Mike at Scrabble, so things really aren't so bad.  Tomorrow will likely be much of the same. And--let's just say it now, Younger Brother!--next Christmas will be, as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whatever it is that lives. . .should be touched gently. . . . ~ Elizabeth Goudge

"Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt.  Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be treated gently. . .Civilization is another word for respect for life."  ~  E. Goudge

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Ceramic Stuffed

I found a blue and white cat-shaped salt shaker at the thrift shop last month and decided to paint it to resemble Stuffed.  For fifty cents and about five minutes' worth of painting, 
it has become one of my favorite things in our tiny home. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

The December 3rd Story :)

A few years ago, pre-"dating days" with Mike, he and I emailed back and forth for a couple days on the subject of the worst things we'd done as kids. This is an excerpt from that email exchange. For me and my mom, it is just "The December 3rd Story." 

. . .Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, here's the best one--and I almost forgot. My mom still gets so upset about this, I can't even joke with her about it. I was a New Kids on the Block fan when I was 12, and they were coming to the city for concerts December 3rd and 4th, 1989. This friend I had at the time said we had tickets for the December 3rd show, then said she had seats held but needed them paid that night, and my dad--who is truly too trusting and good--paid for the tickets with his credit card. The girl then said we had somehow not gotten the tickets after all. (And of course, stupid 12-year-old Val was sobbing into her pillow throughout the whole saga. "Jordan!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!!" I was so upset at one point, I was just sitting in my bedroom all forlorn, and Dad came in and said, "Better days will come." So dear. But it didn't make me feel any better. "What does Dad know about anything?!" I was 12, you know.)

Anyway, this girl called me before I left for school the morning of December 4th and told me to fake being sick during 3rd period and to go home "sick"--because she'd gotten the tickets and her parents were driving us to that night's concert. I knew my mom wouldn't go along with any of this if I just told her about it, so I went along with this girl's plan. And when the school nurse put me on the phone with my mom, my mom said, "Valley, you know I hate driving when the roads are this bad, and they are
REALLY bad out today, so if you're just upset about missing the concert today, I don't want to come get you just for that. Are you really sick?" And I lied--!!!--and said yes, and she came to get me, and while we were still sitting in the (ice-covered!) school parking lot, I told her the truth. It was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. I've never disappointed her as much, I'm sure. It was just a horrible moment.

And for whatever reason, she actually let me go to the concert when this girl's parents arrived to drive us to the city for it. (Gahhhh, my parents!
They're so dear.) So, I went to the concert, and to 12-year-old Val, it was totally worth it and awesome, and I got to scream "I love you!" to Jordan during the show--and I was so loud when I screamed it, he actually said into the microphone, "I love you too!" ('One of the best moments of my adolescence, I tell you!) My friend and I could have fainted, we were in hysterics over that.

But my mom still can't speak about this, she's still upset that I lied to her like that. I try to joke every now and then--
"Hey, Mom, it's December 3rd again! Do you remember..."--and she gets upset all over again. But I was never punished. (And the next morning while I was eating breakfast before school, Dad, although I'm sure he'd heard about nothing else from my infuriated mom the night before, simply said, "Well, how was it?") That was the worst thing I ever did, though. If that makes it better.  


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It Begins with a Wreath

We began decorating the apartment for Christmas yesterday, starting, as we always seem to do, by hanging a wreath in the window.