Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy days

New Year’s is a time packed with meaning, so it often disappoints. Much of my life I wished I could spend that night at a party, with adults I loved. Instead, I always seemed to be the designated babysitter, left home alone with my kids and, often enough, the children of others, while the grown-ups went out to party. As my personal consolation prize, and to amuse the children, I started making a chocolate fondue each New Year’s Eve for the kids and for me. I turned the clocks back (so the kids would think it was midnight shortly after their regular bedtime), melted a good chocolate bar with a little cream, and set out an assortment of fruit, pretzels, and animal cookies. My children and nephews still have sweet memories of that, and now I am continuing the tradition with my grandchildren. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like a second-best choice anymore, it is my New Year’s celebration of choice. So on Monday, while others are dressing up, heading out to their fancy dinners and drinks, I will be smudged in chocolate and grinning from ear to ear.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy holidays?

I feel like so many people in my life are struggling with sadness this holiday. A friend lost her husband this year, another lost her mother this week, still another lost her stepson, all of them aching with grief. My young Namesake is displaced and homeless, my old friend is being treated badly by his only child. So much sadness at such a joyous time of celebration. My answer to it all? Grab the simple pleasures while you can, enjoy every minute. And hold one another tightly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Christmas Junonia

Back in the saddle again

After a two-week respite on Sanibel Island, it is a shock to be back in Detroit. Here, in the frigid cold, I must again use my car for trips that would be within walking distance on Sanibel, and will need to turn my heat up again now that I am occupying my house. It was depressing to come back to the dirty airport and dirtier air, but my grandchildren are the bright lights that hold me here like a moth to a candle.

While on Sanibel, where my favorite activity is shelling (the ideal in low tech hobbies), I found one of the coveted Junonia shells, apparently named after a Roman goddess, and, according to my sister, an omen of changes to come.

As thrilled as I was to find the shell, it does not appear that the goddess is smiling on me. It turns out that there will, indeed, be changes in my life, but not all of them all entirely welcome. My daughter, the Namesake, has decided to fly back from New York and move back in with me “to save money.” Even overlooking all the money it will cost me to have her here, I think it unlikely she will be able to save a cent given the job climate in Michigan. In New York she was able to find work when she felt able to deal with the stresses of actually going to a job, here she is unlikely to find it at all. So she will be in my house much of the time, and, because she demands a much warmer house than I can justify, I am sure there will be a struggle over the thermostat. Oh well, it will be nice to have the family together for Christmas. But I sure will enjoy my clean house and simple life for the next couple of days, because it’s going to be a different world after that!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Is this the other shoe?

With my mother’s Namesake back in New York, and no excuse any longer to pamper a houseguest, I turned the thermostat down and was freezing this morning when my clock went off at 4:45 a.m. I handled it in my usual way, by falling back asleep. What the heck, this is my birthday weekend and lately the best celebration of all is a little rest.

Heard from the younger Namesake, she is in a New York emergency room with an abscess on her foot. She said she knew a few days earlier that it hurt but she thought she had bruised it by kicking my table . . accidentally, I hope, although it is a moot point, since there is clearly something more going on.