Ξ December 31st, 2008 | → 8 Comments | ∇ scoop |
Cousin Sarah was due to have a baby on Christmas Day. And now she is FINALLY having contractions. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Little baby Donnie is finally on the way…
Cousin Sarah was due to have a baby on Christmas Day. And now she is FINALLY having contractions. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Little baby Donnie is finally on the way…
One of my aunts is about 66 years old or so and way, way fucking cool. She is physically beautiful and wicked funny. Smarter than she would ever give herself credit for. Great cook, fun travel companion. Terrific secret keeper. Lover of all that is right. Supporter of the underdog. Excellent swearer. You know, an awesome lady, regardless of her age. The kind of woman who gets herself arrested when she protests with her friends for issues that are important to her.
ANYhow, a few months ago, Auntie M was in the passenger seat of my SUV. We were gabbing away, laughing and telling stories, when we pulled up in front of Aunt Tinkle Tom Tom’s house. I whipped out the cell phone to tell Tom Tom that we were outside, so when she answered I was kind of excited. “We’re here!” I practically screamed.
Without missing a beat, Auntie M loudly chanted “We’re queer! Get used to it!”
I eased the vehicle into park, right there in the center of the street, took a deep breath and while looking into her eyes, asked Auntie M if there was something that she wanted to tell me after all these years. We laughed and she told me that she loves joining in so many marches and rallies that it is natural to chant along, regardless of the chant.
Now every time I pull up to pick her up I call or show up at the door hollering, “Get used to it!”
Auntie M saw me in one of my new “Straight Not Narrow” t-shirts. Now she wants one. And I love it.
Which reminds me, I know the gorgeous woman who created the shirts and she is fucking phenomenal. Her and her “holy hell is she fantastic” wife both rocked my socks off quite some time ago, way back before I had this little site. It was either Jester or Kristy who somehow accidentally introduced me to Beth…maybe by a blogroll? Doesn’t matter, both M and B are such tremendous people that I can’t even put it into words. LOVE!
So, go buy a shirt. I need to buy three or four more because so many who see the shirt want one. Next time I need to tell em the website where they can buy their own, eh?
You were all kind enough to share your favorite Christmas presents, so I thought I should share mine. It was not the most expensive, nor was it expected, yet I am in love with this:
Shalom (שָׁלוֹם) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye. My Mom held a soft place in her heart for words and Shalom was one of her favorites. In the past I have posted a photo of a rock etched with the word that now holds a special place in my home. Now this gorgeous glass piece also has a special place here.
I received this generous gift from my great aunt who is 89 years old. Aunt Lil lives alone and hurt her knee so she decided not to do her traditional travel for Christmas. Unfortunately she also decided that she didn’t want to join either of our Christmas gatherings (brunch at one uncle’s house, then dinner at another aunt’s house). It hurt my heart to think of Aunt Lil at home alone. She lost her husband, my grandmother’s brother, about a dozen years ago and yet normally she is in fantastic health (both body and mind). I asked if i could take a plate of brunch over to Aunt Lil and everyone enthusiastically joined in and packed up one hell of a to go bag filled with food and presents.
Aunt Lil (pictured above about five years ago) was thrilled for the company, even though I couldn’t stay too terribly long. Her knee held up enough for her to fuss over me. It was a true pleasure to spend time with her, listening to stories and telling a few of my own. Some of the photos she had around the apartment were absolutely stunning, especially the photos of her parents getting married in 1919 and the photos of her as a young girl. I ate up all of the stories and was so thankful that I had this time alone with Aunt Lil, without the entire family. We continues looking at so many of her precious treasures and keepsakes so eventually I saw the blue glass with Shalom written in gold. Peace.
Once again, I didn’t feel peace at Christmas. I desperately missed my Mom. It was nice to be reminded that I truly need to be at peace with the things I cannot control. Running my fingers across the glass, I turned the plaque over to see that it was made in Israel. For some reason, there on Christmas I felt a certain thankfulness for the Shalom sign in my hands.
Aunt Lil was watching me as she always does. She seemed a little off and whispered, “One day that will be yours. In fact, you can have it now.”
Great, now a pang of guilt hit me, like I somehow unconsciously forced her to offer one of her treasures to me. “No. I couldn’t. It is gorgeous and perfect and exactly the message I needed today, but I did not come here to shop in your home. Thank you for the generous offer, but no, I can’t take it.”
She started to insist and I held firm that I wasn’t there to take her stuff. Aunt Lil leaned in close and softly said, “Patty gave me that. Your Mom was very good to me and I want you to have it. Please.” Tears welled up in both of our eyes and I finally nodded that yes, I would take her special gift that had been a precious gift from my Mom. The glass was lovingly wrapped to survive the trip home and I left soon after, promising a special place of honor in my home.
I am sure Aunt Lil has no idea how much I appreciate the few hours she shared with me on Christmas. Somehow the woman who desperately missed her husband helped to ease my heart more than just a little bit. I miss Mom, but I am not alone.
Perhaps one day I will find the peace I desire…
So, what was your favorite thing that you received as a present for Christmas?
What about your least favorite?
I had never been hit from across the room with the feeling of Love At First Sight. C’mon, across a room! Hell, I didn’t even think I really believed in such things. Until Saturday, when all that changed and my life will never be the same.
Friday night Cinderella and little Tito went with me to a customer’s annual Christmas party. We had a blast and the girls had a damn fine buzz on by the time we all left. I went home, they went out to drink some more with K and K’s husband (Pooper). Late night for that crew led to Saturday morning us meeting for a waaaay late breakfast. We went to an adorable little diner out in Moon Township that I had been craving for a while. We feasted like the queens and king that we are, then broke for our various errands. They all were doing Christmas shopping, but all I needed was to pick up some dog food at Petsmart. Seems like I am always picking up dog food at Petsmart, but my boys are worth it.
There I am, standing in the aisle talking to the lady who reps the Blue Buffalo food that I feed Reilly and Ludo when I glance to my left. At the end of the aisle I see him. Our eyes meet. The connection is held. We stare at each other without moving. I remind myself to breathe and break the eye contact, struggling to intelligently speak to the dog food sales lady. She asks me if I know the guy at the end of the aisle.
Guy? What guy? All I see is the most beautiful little puppy, calmly laying in a tiny jail cell. He has jumped into my heart and taken over to the point that I can’t take my eyes off of him.
But I already have two incredible dogs and I only have two hands. In an effort to not become some crazy dog lady, I have promised myself that I will never have more dogs than there are hands in the house. I am at my dog limit.
Yet he calmly gnaws his bone, holding my gaze. No barking, no bullshit. After mindlessly placing two 30 pound bags of food into my cart I am asked by the sales rep if I am going down to meet the dogs the shelter has brought. “No, I can’t. If I go down there I won’t leave without that little red and white dog. I can’t handle meeting those dogs. I don’t want to cry.”
Those words were spoken as I was slowly walking towards the well behaved little guy. I never looked at any of the volunteers from the shelter, just focused on the puppy who refused to take his gorgeous brown eyes from mine. I squatted down without saying a word and our eye contact was maintained. He didn’t move, just continued to chew his rawhide and look at me quizzically.
“Are you interested in a puppy?”
“No. Not at all. I don’t want another dog. Cannot have another dog.”
Somehow, even as I was saying those words, I couldn’t stop my hand from reaching out for the cage door. Both hands now, flat against the jail door. The little Australian cattle dog left the bone and while maintaining our stare, sniffed my hands. When he licked my hand I couldn’t keep my eyes from leaking, the tears overflowed their border in a flash flood that I should have been better prepared for.
“Would you like to take him for a walk?”
I replied, “No” as I reached for the leash. Instead of bolting, the little boy let me reach in and hook the leash to his collar, then he excitedly bounded out for me. A paw on each of my shoulders and his nose to my nose. Then he licked my nose. Just like my Reilly sneaks in, this little boy managed to lick my nose.
“About eight or nine months. We found him abandoned and the vet thinks he might have been born in late April. He has been at the shelter for several months.”
Several months? Dammit, the tears flooded my face again. How could such a sweet and gentle little boy still be at the shelter after such a long time? Why hadn’t someone opened their home and heart by now? I thought everyone wanted a puppy and not an older dog. How is it that he is still living in a box? Who did I know who could handle a dog with high energy?
I left all of my stuff and walked the little guy around the store, talking to him and God. Then I called Aunt Mary. Her last dog passed about a year ago and she vowed no more dogs. She was happily single and enjoying no ties to keep her from going where she wanted, when she wanted. But this sweet little boy has the energy to keep up with her. And judging from the way that he snuggled into my lap when I sat on the floor, he would be a terrific television watching companion as well. Thankfully she answered the phone and I blurted out how I understood she would need help and I would take him when she went on her mission trip in February, but that I would love for her to meet him and if things went well, I would love to buy him as a Christmas present for her. “And me,” I whispered.
After what I could swear was eternity passed, Mare said she would be right out to meet him. I prayed a little more, telling God that I can’t possibly send this little dog back to the shelter and that if Mare didn’t think it was a good fit then I was going to need help in finding him a home. I walked him around Petsmart and he played so well with the other dogs we encountered on “Photos with Santa” day. The only dog with an issue was an older shelter dog that preferred to lay on the ground and not move around too much. Can’t blame him, I wouldn’t want a puppy trying to get my relaxed self up either.
Mare arrived when I was sitting on the floor of Petsmart with the little red/brown and white boy in my lap. It was insanely obvious that we had bonded and he wasn’t exactly warming up to Aunt Mary because I was there. And Mare was starting to bond with the older white dog, the one who didn’t like my puppy. No, please God, help me…help this little puppy.
She would have taken them both, but with the older dog’s blatant dislike of the puppy, I knew it could only be one. Sadly I walked away and found a spot that I could sit alone with the pup. This time I didn’t bother to attempt to stop the tears as I told my new love that it did not seem as though he was going to be able to live with Mare. I explained that I tried, but couldn’t make it work. I apologized for failing and promised to think of something so that he didn’t have to go back to the shelter. As I vowed that he wouldn’t go back to the shelter, his little tongue tried to lick my tears away.
Somehow I gathered my composure and came back to shelter volunteers, the five other dogs up for adoption and my aunt. We talked a bit and she told me that she was going to take the puppy home. She would allow me to purchase him as a Christmas present. My heart soared.
Immediately I whipped out the ole checkbook and wrote out the payment (fee included the cost for the neuter, all shots and a small donation to the shelter). In the notes section I wrote “True Love” and was surprised that the woman caught it. While paperwork was filled out I took the puppy to tell him the good news. We walked a little away from the group. As I was telling him the good news I picked him up and was cradling him in my arms. One of the shelter volunteers came over, the guy with the best bond with the puppy, and told me the pup had never allowed anyone to pick him up like that…he always wiggled free before anyone could get him in the air. I was glad the puppy could tell that he could trust me.
Mare bought dog food, a doggie coat, training treats and a collar with a matching leash for her new dog. While still in the store she decided she liked Ace as a name for him. I bought Ace a pack of rawhides to keep his puppy chewing habit in check. When we parted I couldn’t help but cry more tears, but these were ones of happiness.
Most of my drive home was thanking God for Aunt Mary though huge crocodile tears. Since Mare lives so close to me I shouldn’t have been surprised to find my vehicle pulling up in front of her house instead of my own. We got Ace accustomed to his new home and showed him all around. The little guy is quick and when he runs up onto the couch he hits two feet onto the first cushion, then actually manages to run sideways along the back of the couch before settling on the last cushion. Unreal!
Somehow I drug myself away, home to my two boys who were eager to spend a long time sniffing their soon to be new friend. It made me so happy when Mare called me today to tell me that Ace slept curled up in bed with her, snuggled up in the crook of her arm, under the covers. He has a comfy new home and I am thrilled.
Sunday after the sad Steelers loss I took Reilly over to meet Ace. They got along fine and Reilly only had to put him in his place twice. Other than that, everything went great. Ace is still so young and small (25 pounds or so), which means he is learning. The fact that he wants to learn and to please is glorious.
Twice Sunday Aunt Mare hugged me and thanked me for bringing Ace into her life. She already loves him. I couldn’t be happier.
I mentioned that The Burgh Baby is promoting a “Christmas crazy” day and that day is today. Photos of whatever the Christmas crazy might be. I haven’t yet had a chance to take a photo of the house belonging to the lunatic down the hill, but I will. Tomorrow I will post their crazy. Today, however, I wanted to share a story from my Christmas crazy past. A different kind of crazy, but still, it counts coz it is about Christmas. Even if there aren’t photos.
Now, on to the story…
My dad was a Pittsburgh k-9 cop who grew up on the rough city streets seeing all kinds of “interesting” things, then went into the military where he saw unspeakable things and eventually settled into the life of a police officer where he daily saw things I can’t even begin to image. The man had one hell of a hard outer shell. Some people considered him a miserable son of a bitch, a guy who wasn’t prejudiced because he hated everyone equally, but you could watch him with the dogs and see that he had a kind and gentle side buried in there. Dad was not a real touchy feely kind of man, but he was a great protector and provider. We never doubted that he loved us kids. He was very hardworking and generous, just not overly outgoing and funny.
Ok, enough background. I think you get the tough guy picture. So imagine a guy around six feet tall who was kind of built like a barrel. Strong, yet not overly muscular. Throw a robe on him and he was close to passing for Uncle Fester, but see him in a uniform or in his jeans and sweater and you instantly knew not to fuck with him.
Since Dad worked nights and wasn’t exactly all about quality whole family gathered together time, we usually decorated the house for Christmas when he wasn’t home. Lights everywhere, fake tree about six feet tall covered in more ornaments than should ever be on a tree, Christmas carols constantly playing, garland over everything that wasn’t moving, icicles where there weren’t ornaments and Mom even giving us fake snow stuff to stencil onto every damn window in the house. Tacky, but wildly wonderful for kids. Some years she would give us some sort of shoe polish and let us draw on the windows like little budding Michelangelos or something. We loved it. And we counted down the days until we were allowed to decorate. Pure joy.
Except one day I came home from school early only to hear blaring Christmas music. Seemed strange so I picked up the pace, racing up the stairs. There I found Dad alone, standing on the arms of the living room chair, gold garland wrapped around his neck as though it were a feather boa, sort of wiggling to the music while he was hammering nails into the wall so that he could hang lights and garland. While drinking Ouzo. I made a beeline to my room to drop off all of my stuff and get changed, then came flying back into the living room. And stopped dead in my tracks.
Dad was trimming the tree. Not trimming with decorations, but cutting the branches in an effort to secure the perfect triangle tree shape. I mentioned the tree was fake, right? Yeah, apparently he didn’t pay attention to the fact that the tips of the branches were color coded to match the holes they got inserted into. White tip? White hole on the “trunk” of the fake tree. Blue paint on the tip of the branch? Blue hole on the post/pole/trunk thingy. Not rocket science for an extremely intelligent man. Put the branches in the correct holes and the tree will look…surprise…like a tree.
Instead, Ouzo clouded his judgment and since there were no directions (not that he ever looked at directions regardless of a project’s scope and size!) he just shoved branches in any way they would fit. Then he went to the basement and grabbed the huge wire cutters. By the time I realized what he had done it was too late. Our full and perfect fake tree was now more than slightly skinnier than it should have been. At least it was tree shaped!
We all had a great laugh over the insanity and the next year we insisted on putting the tree together ourselves to insure that it was done properly. Problem with that brilliant logic was that the damn tree no longer fit the red tip in the red hole, blue tip in the blue hole pattern. When we put it together correctly it didn’t have the shape of a real tree due to Dad’s metal lumberjack skills. Long branches sticking out where short branches should have been. So you know we didn’t run out and buy another tree, right? Of course not! Instead out came the wire cutters. Two years in a row we trimmed a fake fucking tree.
Eventually we got rid of the by then Charlie Brown scraggly tree. But for us kids parting with it was almost, in some warped way, a sad event. To us, that crack skinny tree was a bizarre symbol of Dad’s soft side. The side that wanted to spend time with his family and desired to be a part of our quality family fun. To this day, fake trees make me happy. Even if I don’t break out the wire cutters.
Anyone else have any Christmas crazy they wanna share?
Os has requested that HNT participants do a “Christmas tree” theme this week. Instead of wrapping me in lights or garland, I put various images of me in bulbs which have been nestled on a tree. The Ghosts of HNT Past. Or some such shit. Totally counts.
I had a blast playing with the photos. Anyone have a favorite from the above?
Oh! They also had a Santa and elf image that I thought might be fun. Imagine my surprise when they gave me a little feminine addition to the photo:
I liked it so much even though my face doesn’t quite fit so I tried it with another photo. Still doesn’t look right…I have a big fucking head. Dammit!
I shared what I intended to do for HNT with 13 Messages and he is also going to use the “Christmas bulbs on a tree” photos, I think. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with considering that he is a great photographer to start. If you are also curious, you can find his site HERE.
Don’t forget that Friday you are encouraged to post your Christmas Crazy photos, stories, etc. Just as we leave a note in the comments over at Osbasso’s place, leave a comment over at Burgh Baby’s.
I saw that Burgh Baby is leading the charge to get folks to post photos on their blogs this Friday about their Christmas Crazy. In her own words…
Take photos of your crazy, whether it be excess, a bathroom tree, a tree that perfectly reflects your anal-retentive tendencies, your kid dressed up in the craziest Christmas outfit that you totally admit you love, or even your neighbor’s crazy inflatable collection. It totally doesn’t have to be the crazy you put on display, just the Christmas Crazy in your life. On December 20th, post those photos. Magneto Bold Too and I will put up a Mr. Linky and you can add a link to your post highlighting your special brand of crazy. It’ll be one giant Christmas Crazy party!
I know the exact photo that I need to take between now and Friday’s post. BUT, you know me and the fact that I find it difficult to follow directions is pretty well known. What that means is that I will also be sharing one of my favorite crazy Christmas stories. While I know that I won’t do the story justice, I’ll do my best to get it into the computer. Even all these years later I can still see the insanity as though I were experiencing it all over. Still makes me giggle.
If you plan to participate, steal the picture I have at the beginning of this post and advertise yourself. Also? Please let Burgh Baby know: burghbaby (at) gmail.com
Can’t wait to see what you lunatics come up with!
I’m sure most of you have seen this, but it still brings me happiness to know that others might actually cook and bake like I would (if I even bothered):
Don Julio Christmas Cookies
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Don Julio Tequila
Sample the tequila to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Don Julio again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the tequila is still ok, try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the Don Julio to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves a sheet. Check the damn tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the takeela and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.
Cherry Mistmas !
No time for blogging. I’m towards the end of Eclipse and can’t bring myself to do anything except read. A book. With paper pages!