Friday, December 30, 2016

A good cup of coffee

I am a woman with mostly simple wishes.  I am not big on having the fanciest thing, the gadget with the most bells and whistles, the newest and greatest of pretty much anything. But simple things are harder to find these days.

I love rolling the windows up and down in a car and not pressing a button.  Until my present car I could still find cars like that.  I"ll admit that it helps that I also drive small low budget  vehicles and drive standard to boot.  But those little buttons have motors. Motors that will need attention and replacement.  That never happened with my little crank windows.

About 15 years ago my wife and I got a small 5 cup coffee maker.  On Christmas Eve Rob accidently broke the carafe.  I discovered I could not find a replacement carafe and we began to look on line for a replacement.  Although I typed in 5 cup coffee maker I got all these fancy things through the feed first. Keurigs, french presses, latte thingies.  And 12 cup programmable coffee makers. It was like someone was saying "5 cups?  You think you only need 5 cups?  Wait!  Look at this!!"  Finally after scrolling, for $11.99 we found a small 5 cup replacement coffee maker.  It looks like the picture above.  It works perfectly and meets our needs.

But it made me think about how each day we are subliminally bombarded this way all.the.time.  Menu items are "super sized."  Phones have to be so fancy that you need a doctorate to use one.  Televisions are "smart."  For the record my "dumb" TV works fine and I am totally happy with it.  But I think a large segment of society try to buy their happiness. I would hypothesize that this leads to a state of chronic dissatisfaction because there will always be something bigger and better out there.

I see this in my kids.  I am often saying to them that there will always be someone who has more than you and someone who has less than you. The secret is to be happy with what you have, and to give what you can to help someone else.  Off my soap box now and off to enjoy a good cup of coffee!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Kwanzaa Night!

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In an odd way the goddess apparently felt the need to smack me up side the head and slow me down.  I came down with a stomach bug on Christmas Eve and was sick all that day and all Christmas Day.  I woke today, restored to my normal energetic self.  While I did get up to do the gift opening on Christmas morning, I spent the majority of the day cloistered in my bedroom to try and contain my germs and recover most quickly.  I hate being sick. I have no time or patience for it!  I am especially annoyed that this happened during Christmas!!! I adore the entire celebratory month of December.  While I know I am fully at fault for squishing in every bit of excited fun that I can, I just can't do it any other way.  Some day from the confines of my rocker I will scroll back through a legion of memories of concerts and ballets, parties and gift making, and so so much more.  

Fiona was supposed to be home for Christmas and on Christmas Eve day I got a call from the group home. There had been a very serious incident with Fi; one which may have some longer lasting repercussions due to the level of property damage she engaged in.  Her plan does not permit her to come home within 48 hours of that level of disregulation.  I am not adverse to this.  Fiona has such trouble self regulating and if an incident of this magnitude happened, I feel woefully ill equipped to prevent it or something worse in a simple family dynamic. Yet in an odd cosmic way, things were aligning. You see, I don't have a bedroom for Fi.  I always give her my bedroom and sleep on the floor in one of the kids rooms when she stays over.  This would have been less than enjoyable given how I felt physically.  (usually it does not bother me in the least)  

The family decided to wait the big holiday dinner a day so that I could enjoy it with everyone so tonight we feasted instead of yesterday.  We had a lovely Kwanzaa dinner instead of a Christmas one.  Kwanzaa is a holiday that Rob never really has embraced despite all my efforts to make it part of our family culture.  However the younger kids are really into it.  The picture above is our kwanzaa candle blazing.  The first night of Kwanzaa is Umoji which means unity.  It was a beautiful night to celebrate family unity.  We have fewer family meals these days.  Between my wife's work schedule and my son's work schedule it is rare for us to all sit at table together.  Tonight we were all together, laughing, eating and enjoying the gift that is the greatest of all-family.

Friday, December 16, 2016

December is celebration time

It is the holiday season.  Lights and decorations festoon the house.  A tree is a glow in the living room, overburdened as usual with a plethora of ornaments.  Many made by the kids over the years, treasured by us sentimental parents.  I remember my first "grown up" trees when I moved out on my own.  They were artfully decorated. Every bulb matched or coordinated.  The garland was placed just so.  Nowadays?  I look for the home made "elf" ornaments we did of each kid one year.  I look for the ornaments that our kids have made for us. The ones with a photo of us at a favorite place on summer vacation.  The first ornament my wife and I bought together. etc etc.  It is, as my KC wisely says, about the memories.  I can save the color coordinated tree for a fond memory in the past, or perhaps a hopefully long distant future when the last of my kids have set sail fully on their own life paths.

We are at that cross roads where schedules and interests are changing up what the holidays have been for us.  There are traditions that are still fairly sacrosanct.  The great house decorating day.  Cookie baking. Music. Travelling around looking at lights.  But some things, are changing.  There is less reading aloud of holiday stories. There was no mural this year.  The kids have more get togethers with friends these days. There were several nights of making some really cool gifts.

I try not to over program but admit to failing pretty epically at that this year. With Chet, when he was our only, it was pretty easy to avoid that trap. And honestly in his case it was imperative that I do so.  He can not handle too much hype.  As an adult, he knows he doesn't WANT the hype and just opts out.  But the youngers?  Well, it is fun and they are young for a second, or so it seems.

So we have had a lot of extra activities and there will be more this weekend.   More gifts made for friends. A free movie showing at a local juice bar with friends. Last night Lissa went to a gingerbread man decorating event while I was at the dance school with KC. (Thank goodness for a wide and caring group of friends who helped with transporting Lissa to the event as I have yet to master cloning myself)

Today I worked only a 1/2 day because most of the family will see the new Star Wars movie at 12:30 and I was on call to pick up Rob from the train.  And today, Lissa is 10.  Double digits for my youngest!  She woke up early this morning at 6:10, sooooo excited to finally be 10.  No more babies in my house!  She is such a sweet, yet sassy little minx.  With a wit beyond her years, she can hold her own with the older kids.  Yet the tender side of her is evident when she is working with the animals, most especially with her puppy Luna. She is smart and analytical in her thinking and an excellent problem solver.  She is a good friend and I am lucky to be her Ooma.

I still remember the December she came home--it was a December we were not sure we would be able to get back to MA in time for Christmas because of the interstate compact taking forever. Paperwork around the holiday time can get a little wonky!  But we did get home and I remember vividly her in her baby carrier by the tree on Christmas morning.  KC was barely 3 and lisped "Merry Christmas sissy".    I remember wondering what her personality would be like.  I remember feeling I was woefully underqualified to parent a girl, having had 3 boys--Fiona though my daughter has not lived in our home full time.  I worried that I wouldn't figure out the girly stuff.

Little did I know that I would not have to figure it out.  Lissa has a style sense that is all her own and she is independent in her thinking. Honestly it wouldn't matter if I WAS a stylish person because she wants to figure things out on her own.  Sometimes the strength of her will exhausts me, but at the end of the day, I am abudantly grateful for it.  The world can be a hard place and she will need that strength in the years to come. She will need to know that she is good, and smart and capable.  That she has the right to dream and the power to make dreams into realities.  Happy Birthday Lissa!  I love you so much.