Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pickled Herring and Bad Dreams

I’m actually glad to be going to work today. You see I’m 2 days into this P90X and I’m a little sore…a little too sore to want to join the rest of my gang for sledding and snowboarding. I wasn’t really grooving on my first workout which was all core. I’m hard wired to think I have to be huffing and puffing at the top of my zone to be getting a good workout. I actually got on the treadmill for a quick run at the end of the series. Don’t get me wrong…it was challenging. In fact, there was a move called the Drea Roll that left me flat on my back. I flat out could not do 1 Drea roll without feeling like I was risking paralysis. I don’t think it helps matters that my surface is cement covered with a Berber carpet…no pad folks. Yesterday’s regimen was more my speed. It was cardio and basically combined vigorous yoga with various plyometric moves like lunges, squats, planks. Today is strength training, but I think I’m taking my day off due to New Year’s Eve plans. I know…I know…it’s not a good sign that I am already straying from the course, but I’m rationalizing my decision by admitting that we are perhaps a few days early in implementing healthy programs. So…I think I’m going to give it a religious try... just the day after tomorrow!

Tonight we have quiet plans to ring in the new decade with a fad of one past. We are going to have fondue. First cheese and then chocolate. Thanks 70's! Noshing is my favorite way to eat. We’ll probably play some games and drink some bubbly at the stroke of midnight. We’ll need it to wash down that nasty herring that my Mom (and Dad) always insisted we eat for good luck. Another way McGurk lives on! Every New Year’s Eve, I’d get a call from both of them reminding me to eat my pickled fish and have money in my hand at midnight. My Dad already reminded me to pick up a jar last night, and he didn’t like it when I told him we were just going to substitute a fish stick. Guilt…I mean tradition, is a strong force. I won’t…I can’t mess with it.

The boys loved Avatar maybe as much as the girls loved Princess and the Frog. What I’m not loving is the fact that I cannot get the diddy, I'm Almost There
out of my cotton pickn’ brain. I swear I was singing it in my sleep last night!

And on the subject of sleep…I had the most LSD-esque night visions ever last night. This rather Ursulaesque woman who almost ran me over in her electric scooter countless times in the grocery store yesterday, suddenly was front and center on a huge stage in my church in my dream. (She's the reason I forgot the herring!) She was a hootn’ and a hollern’ like it was a Baptist revival. I reached for my missalette only to find that it was written in Spanish. The church was packed and all sorts of crazy was going on. Like I was seated next to my college roomie and her test tube baby. Yep, she corked the tube and it was lodged between us in the pew. We approached the altar to receive communion which was a gigantic, terribly tasting piece of mushy pound cake that we had to finish before we could leave, and I just wanted to get out of there pronto. Suddenly, I felt like I was playing the food challenge in Survivor, and I never aspire to ever play that game. All of these people were looking at me like zombies with dark, disapproving eyes including my very own friend. Every door I opened was blocked by a cold, grey wall of cement. I don’t think I even want to know what this one means. Now if only I had this dream tonight instead of last night I could blame it on the herring and resign myself to a life lacking luck vowing never to again to take a fishy bite!

I haven’t conducted my P.I. (personal inventory) yet for 2009. I didn’t even do one last year. I think that it makes more sense to spend the month of January reflecting and purging since December is consumed with rejoicing and binging. I skipped resolutions last year too, but I may just hold myself to a few this year for good measure.

Merry Merry

T. Bone and Miss Bit came barreling into our room shortly after 7:00, which isn't bad save for the fact that I didn't turn in until only 4 hours earlier. There was no way that she could miss the Barbie took up half the living room. Santa definitely made her day and I think the fact that it was already assembled made our's. T. Bone's DS was harder to detect, but he honed in on it and was equally as pleased with Santa as his sister. Whew! We made our way through all of the gifts in little time, but we truly kept it real this year. None of us need anything or want for much so it was the right thing to do. Suffice it to say, it was a Ninetendo Barbie Christmas! Mom and Dad were on the same page as Santa!

Hubby made a hearty breakfast and I whipped up some dishes to take to my Dad's and we were off for round 2, but we left the boxing gloves at home much to Uncle B.'s dismay. It was the quintessential Christmas day...a light snow was falling and we were gathered with lots of family for all sorts of festivities and merriment. We exchanged stories, toasts, recipes and gifts. We spent time together laughing and loving, and made memories all day long. It was a delicious day in every way.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


T. Bone and Cousin T.'s to do list made before bed last night for the long day ahead of them today:

1. Play PS2

2. Play ping pong

3. Build Legos (night time)

4. Snowboard down ramp

5. Target to buy Nerf bullets

6. Wii

7. Spi on Miss Bit

8. Avatar

9. Outside

10. TV

Christmas Eve

T. Bone serious to get the show on the road...I mean aisle.

Waiting for all the kids to get their costumes on.

Miss Bit angeled up...just a normal day.

After the blessing of the crib.

After a beautiful mass that my in laws joined us for, we headed home to celebrate with Uncle B. and Aunt A.

Uncle B. is a huge kid at heart. This year he was most excited to give a matching set of boxing gloves to both T. Bone and hubby. Thankfully he didn't wrap up a punching bag too. They had the gloves on and were sparring straight away.


The big kids like Christmas too!

T. Bone appreciates cold, hard cash.

Uncle B. and Aunt A. even brought gifts for the cats. Here is Tigger the Reindeer.

Ho! Ho! Ho! From Santa Peanut.

Tuckered out after the fun.

It was a memorable Christmas Eve. T. Bone and Miss Bit were astonishingly patient while the presents multiplied under the tree as the day progressed. I remember raiding closets when I was my son's age so believe me when I say that I am incredibly impressed by his self-control. Somehow Miss Bit managed to poke a hole in one of her packages, and remarkably the hole grew larger as the day went on.
I think the whole family was looking forward to church. I was so grateful to catch most of the Christmas Concert after getting my shepherd and my angel prepared for their long trek to Bethlehem. The choir was beautiful and the carol choices were introspective and joyous. It was just what I needed. Mass didn't disappoint either even though I was a tad bit disappointed that Father T. was not presiding. I literally feel lifted up when we sing Joy to the World
during the exit hymn every year. It put a much needed spring in my step for the rest of the eve.
We came home to see that Santa came to deliver the first gifts of Christmas while we were at church. We missed him. He left a note apologizing for the obvious miscommunication as to our whereabouts with his eyes and ears, our very own elf...Fred. The kids were almost as much in awe as when he comes to the door himself. We served up some hot toddies in honor of Nanny for the adults and kiddie cocktails for the kids, and indulged their burgeoning desires to open some presents. Of course, Miss Bit poo pooed the present with the hole because at this point it was so gaping that she knew it was a Barbie spa.
Dinner was our traditional Christmas Eve fare also in honor of Nanny and if I dare toot our own horns...we are carrying on the tradition most honorably! Hubby's tenderloin was like butta (that's butter)...we didn't really even need the steak knives on the table. The wine that B. and A. brought was true nectar of the Gods...I enjoyed every sip. The sides also didn't disappoint. We were all satisfied if not satiated. Well...except for T. Bone and Miss Bit who were still hungry for more presents.
So we unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped. We played with the new loot for a bit and then the kids (and big boys) were anxious to get to bed so Santa could come. We put out the cookies made specially for Mr. C. on our special plate, filled a mug with milk and tucked them in. We girls filled our wine glasses and visited into the wee hours.
After B. and A. left and hubby went to bed, I stayed up for a little longer. I sat in front of my tree and I had a little talk with my is after all tradition. She used to have a Christmas conversation with her Dad after the rest of the house was asleep when we were kids every Christmas Eve. I'd been anticipating those precious moments all day long...they didn't disappoint.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Girls Night Out

(Me and My Girl by My Girl)

The movie was dreamy. The classic animation stirred something sentimental in me. The music made we want to sing along as if the songs were old, familiar favorites. The message was refreshing. I'm so glad that I resisted the urge to cancel my date with my girl.

Miss Bit was both sweet and silly. She held the popcorn with a death grip and every time I would try and get a handful, she would beat me to it. She pretty much munched her way through the movie. I came home hungry, on the other hand. When she polished off the popcorn in the bucket, she resorted to cleaning wayward kernals off her chair. That's my girl! She was reduced to tears only once in the movie, and I cried right along with her. That was my second time reaching for my Kleenex during the movie, but I didn't let her see me. I guess I know where she gets it.

I wish I would have gone to New Orleans when I had the chance.


I have a serious backlog of entries in my queue, but life hasn't taken a breath to allow me to catch mine this past week. Christmas celebrations started Thursday and won't culminate until after New Year's for this family. I'm not complaining, but I already can feel I'm going to turn into Oblomov once January sets in. I can catch up on all my blogging quite comfortably from my bed though. (I'll have to get up only for my daily P90X workout which I started today.)

I haven't left the house today and yet this is the first time I am sitting down. Lil Bit and her friend M. are shaking their booties in the family room. HSM2 is blaring and they are strutting around creating their very own unique blend of ballroom dance and calisthenics. I used to do the same thing to Grease when I was little. T. Bone is at Skateland rolling around the rink...another favorite pastime of mine in the "olden days," as my kids like to call my childhood.

I think Miss Bit and I are going to see The Princess and the Frog this evening while the boys take a road trip to pick up cousin T. I would actually be beyond content to cozy in for the night and watch one of her new flicks, but I've planted the seed and am not surprised that it's sown. Princess Bride or Princess Tiana? It's really not a fair competition. Last night we watched The Half Blood Prince. It was a little scary for Miss Bit, but the rest of us wanted to watch it so we took a chance. Luckily she didn't have night visions of death eaters. When I tucked her in and told her to think happy thoughts, she had no problem coming up with a long list. That's reassuring.

I always feel like I'm in limbo this week between Christmas and New Years...caught between the birth of Jesus and the birth of a new year, a new decade...wedged between the old and the new. Nostalgic for the past and also anxious for the future, yet trying to stay firmly rooted in the here and now.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy 9th birthday to my 1st Born...

This morning T. Bone came into our tranquil, peaceful room and declared, "I woke up E-X-A-C-T-L-Y on my 9th birthday at 8:12 in the morning. Yeah...I know it's 8:13 now, but I had to get up out of bed and walk all the way down the hall!"

Have I told you that I L-O-V-E this kid who had me find the precise page in his baby book lastnight that told of the exact hour of his birth 9 years ago?

It was a night I will never...ever forget. The year I became a Mom and was given the best gift I've ever received...E-V-E-R! There are so many days and nights of T. Bone that I cannot forget now. What a beautiful person my son is. He truly is an incredible individual and I love him with all my heart.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Spirit

Miss Bit and Mr. Claus - Christmas 2008

Mother and Son - Christmas 2008

I woke up a little while ago to the sound of dueling snow blowers. Apparently, we won't just be dreaming of a white Christmas anymore in this neck of the woods. The trees all look like they've been flocked and the bright red cardinals appear to be jewel-toned ornaments as they rest on the pine boughs. It's a scene from a Christmas card...I kid you not.

And speaking of Christmas cards...I started working on mine yesterday. Yes...that would be December 23rd. So most people on my list will be getting a New Year's card this year.

Yesterday was also wrapping day. Hubby did most of the wrapping while I packaged things up, wrote out the gift tags and kept him moving along. It is my least favorite job of the season. As I sized up the pile of presents, I determined that I still need to buy a few things so I will be heading out today to make a couple last minute purchases. That reminds me of my Dad. On Christmas morning we would always have to stop at Walgreens so he could buy a present for his Dad usually soap on a rope and/or a bottle of Brandy. Gramps enjoyed them both. I prefer to be more prepared, but what can I say?

My table is prepared. My Mom would be proud. I set it lastnight. Sometimes her Christmas table was set the day after Thanksgiving! I thought of her as I tied festive ribbons on the napkins and the crytsal. They were her ribbons and it was her signature touch. I haven't really even allowed myself to dwell on how very profoundly I miss her because it simply hurts too much. I'm afraid if I go there...I may not come back. I choked back tears as I wrote "From Nanny" on the kid's Li Bien ornaments yesterday. I want them to know who started the tradition that I am simply carrying on.

So after all the running around shopping, cooking and cleaning today, we will be treated to a Christmas concert at church. I'm bringing my Kleenex. T. Bone and Miss Bit will take part in the Children's Mass. He as a shepherd and she as an angel. I am very much looking forward to Christmas Eve Mass today. I'm hoping that celebrating the birth of Jesus shores me up for the rest of the festivities that carry on well into the weekend culminating in the celebration of T. Bone's birth 9 years ago Sunday.

Santa usually stops by on Christmas Eve to bring an early gift, but not this year. Hubby and I decided to end that tradition fearing that all these Santa sightings might raise too many questions in our alomost 9 year old's mind. Someone else will be missing tonight too, but I am focusing on the fact that both Santa and Nanny will be ever present in spirit!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hi...It's Mr. Claus, or Santa to You

Secrets Shared With Santa - December 2008

Laughs Shared With Mr. C. - December 2008
My kids just got off the phone with Santa himself. He actually called right before dinner tonight. He usually calls this time each year though so it was really no huge deal. T. Bone was all "Dude this...dude that." I heard only snippets of the conversation as he took the phone to "his office" in the basement (coincidentally, it's where the new TV and PS2 are!) I did overhear him confirm that he wants a new DS and Madden 10 for the PS2 nonetheless.

When it was Miss Bit's turn, she let him know straight away that she wants a Barbie Townhouse PLEASE. There was little to no time for small talk. When Santa tried to pry from her useless information, she quickly declared her love for him and said..."goodbye." Her friend A. was over and they were in the middle of a long, make believe school day you know. When she hung up, A.'s eyes looked like she'd just seen Santa in the flesh (perhaps kissing her Mommy). She was speechless that Santa was on the phone and out of words for the fact that Miss Bit was so quick to hang up with him. She sighed, "I can't believe that you guys know Santa."

I must say that I was relieved that her Mom called later in the night only to thank me for the plate of Christmas cookies I sent home with A. I was a little afraid she was going to give me the business about our direct hot line to the North Pole, but apparently...A. was unphased. I guess she hangs out in this house enough to know that things are...that we are... a little out of the ordinary here. In fact they...we are...extraordinary.

Last Weekend Before Christmas

We drove North early Saturday morning for about an hour to a quaint "little" resort for a few eggs and some hashbrowns with Mr. Claus. It is well worth the drive...just look at this Santa - he has to be real! He is THE quintessential Santa Claus, and what I love best is that he always listens intently to the little boys and the wee girls and then says, "Now remember - Santa only brings what Santa thinks you should have!" It is absolutely brilliant that he gives parents an out. The delusion I had that this was indeed Santa, lasted only until my hubby spotted him leaving the premises in his black, leather Harley jacket. Wow - all I can say is that I am so glad I didn't see that with my own two eyes, and I'm even more grateful none of the kids saw it!

The absolute best Santa moment was when our 4 year old friend C. hoisted himself on Santa's lap and stayed put while he pointed out almost everything in the SUPER Toys R' Us ad that he had circled. He never said a word...he simply pointed! I don't think Santa said much either...he merely nodded.

Miss Bit was rather shy and quiet and T. Bone sort of leaned on Mr. Claus as opposed to actually taking a seat on his lap. I'm happy that their lists haven't changed since they wrote their letters to Santa.

Then Sunday we undertook the serious task of making cookies for Mr. Claus. It's always so much sugary fun for us all (yes, cats included)! We use the same cookie cutters that I used when I was a kid, and of course, I love that nostalgic fact. T. Bone and Miss Bit could very well be me and my brother a couple decades ago. Suffice it to say that not one single cookie escaped being iced or sprinkled, frosted or candied, and a few even had to be sacrificed during the messy, merry mission.
I'm finally done baking. I've made close to 20 batches of cookies. They will all be packed in tins or placed on plates to take to teachers, mailmen, and bus drivers, friends and family too. They are made with love and must be shared.