1. Watching the three brothers prep the food. I was chatting with a lady friend about t-giving dinner and mentioned how we did the turkey. I later had to clarify that "oh, I didn't make the turkey. But it was made in my house..." Didn't want to give her the wrong idea. But realizing my womanly badge of honor was at stake here I said, "I did make some pies?" To be quite honest, I could take or leave the traditional thanksgiving food and if the meal consisted of nothing but pies, i wouldn't be more satisfied. I've gotten off track here. But let me include a Reader's Digest blip I sent to my friend on the matter:
Moving on, we've had these brothers visit us for thanksgiving for several years in Bklyn, so it felt right--nay, traditional-- to have them here this year. The one thing missing was our day-after traditional meal of pizza and Italian charcuterie (my preferred thanksgiving dinner). Alas.
2. Game-playing. I can't get enough of games these days. I'm in the midst of a serious game drought. Does anyone want to come over and play games with us? This reminds me of a time when I used to miss games so much that I'd invite myself over to friends' houses when their kids were in bed and play with them like a big ol' game-lovin' third wheel. It was great.
3. Navigating what it's like to have a family come together that's normally spread out all over the land. How do you give all the little life updates to everyone? How do you have meaningful conversation? Make the time count? It's a challenge, but one I heartily accept.
|"Gotta look like I'm doing something important. How's this bucket doing?"|
|My fingers wigged out and instead of "t-giving dinner" I somehow titled this "Ticino sinner" as the email subject. I feel like it should mean something. I'm a sinner, you're a sinner, but are you a TICINO sinner?? Ticino, ticino... Must be Italian.|
Oh did you want to see that table up close? Hallelujah for Charlotte who has a clue about table settings and decor. We thrust some tea lights and flowers at her and begged her to do something. Pretty, pretty.
|I never thought I'd ever care much about plates in my life but I am here to attest that plate love is real. I call them rose plates. Alternate names are snails, spiral, nautilus, etc.|
|I challenged instagram to guess what was happening here. Can you?|
4. Another highlight was shopping with all the ladies in the family. The highlight within that highlight, for me, was making friends with the teen college boy sitting on a bench near the dressing room. While we were both waiting I looked over and said, "good times" and he laughed knowingly. He told me he was there with his girlfriend and that was why he had all those bags. I told him, "Just wait, today it's bags. Tomorrow it's tampons." He laughed and I explained if you want to seal the deal with a girl, offer to get her tampons. Then parade them through the store and then he'll know he's made it into real manhood. (that word is gross) That's his manly badge of honor--tampons. Ha.
|His name is Logan. Hey Logan, is it ok if I use your pic on my blog? Thanks, I knew you wouldn't mind.|
I successfully waited until after Thanksgiving to start up the jollity of Christmas even though there are scratch marks on all the Christmas boxes and books, thanks to Julian. (because he was dying to get them out, see. Not sure if that was clear) But I now find myself in this worrisome state, that my life now consists of glitter and glitz and parties but not enough substance. Parties I can condone because they mean the gathering of friends which is highly substantive, at least for me. To show people you care about them. But life here is much more isolated. It's tricky for me without the random interactions with strangers to rely on. It's harder to come by and I gained so much from those little interchanges. I mean, remember this guy? C'mon, that is solid gold.
Julian and I walk to school at an awkward time of day. Walking + awkward time = we rarely see anyone when we're out. The one time I did, on my way home, I talked to her so long she probably felt she had no other choice but to invite me in and she did and I did and we had the best time. I wonder if she feels the same way? I should probably ask. "Hey, did you like that? that one time?"
So, in an effort to combat or at least balance out all the frivolity, on our freezing walk this morning at the quiet mountain base on which I live, I spoke out:
"Hey Julian. Tell me about when Jesus was born."
He listed off details about a stable and a manger, some people came and brought gifts. And there was a star. We talked about why on earth would anyone have a baby in a barn and he suggested because there were no hospitals. Actually, now that I think about it, I'd probably rather give birth in a barn than a hospital. But anyway, we had a lovely chat and it felt good. We talked about the shepherds in the nearby fields and what they must have thought about it all.
I asked him, "Do you think they understood who Jesus was? I mean, an angel did visit them after all. Or do you think they shrugged at each other and were just like, 'well, let's go check out this baby then, i guess.'"
Julian wasn't sure, and neither was I. And then after a moment I said something like, "I think probably the important thing in life is to be keep your heart open to things. Things you can't see can still be real but you won't know that unless you have a believing heart. Lots of people don't believe in a silly thing like a baby in a manger. They don't believe in miracles." I asked Julian if he did and he said,
"Yes, I do. Because I hope for things and they come true." This made me laugh and I grabbed him and said, "that's right! Your hope magic!" because often times lately he will be wanting something, most likely a show, but I've successfully trained him not to ask for it ("the more you ask the less likely you'll get it." Trust me, it makes sense. Some parents like to have order and reason in their homes and offer TV rewards for chores or homework. Me, i like to give them out at random so he has no idea when they'll happen and therefore lacks any motivation to earn them. Ha.) So, one time in particular I offered a show out of the blue and he exclaimed,
"I was HOPING for that, and it came true! Wow! I have hope magic!"
And then I told him that was a wonderful thing, to have hope. Sometimes it's really hard to have hope. And then I told him about the time I decided to hope for a baby even though it was stupid and hurt my heart and then it happened and lo and behold, there was my miracle, whereupon I cried at the threshold of his classroom and we kissed goodbye.