Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RRT - Word Pop Ups

Fish - I'm always thinking the word fish.  Why?  Why?  Why?

Bedding - You know.

Tree - Garbage day tomorrow or keep it up another week.

Adult Child - home

New Year - Decisions must be made!

Laziness - Guilty, my biggest flaw. Consequently,  feeling the perpetual guilt, but still won't do anything about it.

Cold - Cold, shiver, need another layer.

Coffee - Need some now!  Up an hour already, how could I have gone this long without a cup?

Mom - Wants a visit today.

Dad - Never spend enough time with this guy. Clock is ticking.

Time - Never enough.

Random Tuesday Thoughts - over here. randomtuesday

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Road Kill

Every time we go out during the day, we see the carnage left from the night before.

Demise of Three Penguins and a Snowman

Queen Maker. "It's so weird. Every time I look at a lawn with deflated inflatables.  It doesn't seem right somehow. Why would folks want these things strewed across their lawn like Christmas road kill?"

Santa and the Grinch

Looks more like a drive-by to me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Humbug Routine

Hey, hey, time for sweet Christmas memories.  I've had tons and tons of them.  I remember the joy of running down the stairs and seeing bikes in the living room! I remember the smell of a new doll, nothing better.  When I was sixteen, I received my first gift of jewelry from a suitor, a pair of opal earrings from Queen Maker,  followed by an opal ring three days later for my birthday.  Okay, getting jewelry is way better.

So I am now going to tell a tale from the Belen family files, describing one of those rare but cathartic Christmases. The one dramatically silly.

My father sometimes played games that would backfire on him.   Everyone knew that every Christmas Papi would start the humbug routine. He’d start with saying that Christmas was too commercialized. Even hinting that, maybe, there would be no tree this year.  We of course would protest and beg for our tree and he seemed pleased with the rise he would get out of us as kids, pretending to relent or keep us in suspense for a few days.

His main complaint was that everyone was knocking themselves out buying presents they couldn’t afford and he hated watching it.  The true spirit of Christmas was lost.  He’d be joking at first and then get angry, and soon he convinced himself and us that no Christmas was coming. But of course, it always would.

The way my dad showed affection was by picking on you.  He baited you, bantered back and forth, sometimes poked or pinched you when you walked by. We all knew he loved us and that was his way.  Although my little sister did once ask Mami why Papi didn’t like her since he would pinch her every time she walked by.  But Mami would always explain and remind us, that Papi was a product of his own upbringing.  That he did love us but didn’t know how to express it. That Papi was trapped and didn’t know how to change.  He couldn’t make himself pass out the hugs and kisses so he would show his attention and affection the only way he knew how, by bugging us.

As we grew older, Papi continued to repeat the annual Christmas rhetoric.   As preteens we would tease him and counter, “Yes we are going to have Christmas." Although it always started out as playful banter, he would work himself into a corner of stubbornness where there was no retreat and then get angry.  We learned to modify our responses to his Christmas diatribe.  But this became a never ending pattern for him for many years.  At Christmas parties, he wouldn’t open his gifts, his stubbornness, childlike and unyielding. But he always took them home with him.  He’d try to say hurtful things though by this time we just let the comments go by.  We knew it was his way of venting and that in reality he didn’t mean a word of it.

One year in my 20’s I went to my mother’s home to find that the Christmas tree was in a horizontal position. Apparently someone had thrown the tree to the floor, the tree lights still twinkling.  The carnage of broken bulbs and ornaments were everywhere.  Papi was sitting in his chair, as always watching television.  Where was everyone?  Papi pointed his finger upwards and told me to check the upstairs flat.  Upstairs my mom, my brother, and three sisters were huddled together. Sister in the Middle is crying her eyes out.  What happened?  Well apparently Papi was doing his usual Christmas rhetoric, when Sister in the Middle said as a joke, “Oh Papi, quit being such as scrooge.” It was the trigger Papi needed and he jumped up and hit her on the back of the head, a patented dope slap.   Now mind you, we are all in our 20’s, adults, not children anymore.  Our relationship with our parents had evolved to that of mutual understanding and respect. So to be attacked like this, just for making a joke, unprovoked and by your own out of control father, was too much for any of them to bear.

I asked is this when Papi threw the tree down?  To my surprise, Mami had done it.  She stood up to him at last.  Always the peacemaker and the soother of every potentially volatile situation, Mami finally exploded herself and threw down the tree he so hated.  I was shocked. Mami did it?  Way to go Mom. My father’s game finally backfired.  My anger grew, because I am just like my father. Here we are gathered to celebrate being together and he has to pull his usual crap.  This time, regrettably he took it too far and successfully ruined everyone’s Christmas. 

I went downstairs and was about to give him… what? My anger, to scold him, to tell him off, to tell him what a bad person he was?

No, that would give him exactly what he expected or perhaps in his own self-destructive way what he wanted. Poor guy, I thought, he’s a little messed up.  And really when you think about it, the whole situation was ridiculous.  His stubbornness, the passion play, my mom tossing the tree down with a stomp, (wished I had witnessed that myself).  finding my family huddled together in despair all to be forgotten tomorrow as “one of those things.” I just had to smile. As I walked down the stairs to confront him, I stifled a laugh. The last few Christmases have been a tad boring.

Instead I said, “You know what Papi?  No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make us stop loving you.  You can be as stubborn, mean or as hurtful as you want, but it still won’t matter a bit.  We will always love you, no matter what you do to us.  So you can keep on trying to drive us away, but I’m telling you right now, it isn’t going to work. We will still be here and loving you. So there!” And I left.

Ah those cathartic moments. Christmases were damn good after that one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She Brought Me the Christmas Spirit

I've been having either a menopausal moment, lasting for the last seven days, or depression is back like gang busters. It hit me like a snow shovel and I've been down ever since.

It seemed that the fates lined up perfectly to put me in this mood.  It started when Middle Sister's father-in-law died and the whole funeral thing, not eating well or drinking much water because we were at services and wakes for two days and I was working my arse off, in heels! My feet, knees, and back will be talking to me for days after that. After the second wake, I drove a four hour round trip to take my nephew back to college, finals week you know.

This culminated with the whole, it's that time of the month thing, with several people asking me to do favors I DON'T want to do, the yelling at my Mom and husband thing, causing the very guilty syndrome thing.  Add to that the whole, I'm not ready for Christmas thing but I have a kids party to host, and I have yet to buy Beloved anything thing, and nothing I planned is working out, and time and money is running out thing.

Other than that I'm okay.

As I was sewing Beloved's steam punk vest, (it only needs button holes and buttons, yahoo!) Little Sister and her three children home from college came through the door. This brightened my spirits because my niece and nephews were always considered mine too.  Beloved was always with his cousins and our homes were practically interchangeable, acting as one household when it came to the kids.   I missed them. I realized that not only was I missing being a mom to Beloved, but here were my other kids. They were so much part of my life and I missed them more than I knew.

They brought me a Christmas tree. The smallest the lot would let them cut down.  It was a crooked four foot tall, "a Charlie Brown tree" she called it, exactly what I wanted.  After they left, I went back to sewing.  When I finished, I opened the door and the sweet smell of pine greeted me.  QueenMaker had brought the tree in and had it in its stand.

The nostalgia, the smell, my big smile, the knowledge that I finally got my tree lifted the doldrums from my heart and head.  I called my sister immediately to thank her again.  I wanted her to know how her loving gesture was just the cure I needed.

I decorated the tree last night, wrapped some gifts.  I feel much better now.

If you want to feel better, go over to Keely at UnMom for some blessed RTT. randomtuesday

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This week's Spin Cycle assignment is about our Christmas wish list.  Go to Sprite's Keeper to read more spins about All I Want for Christmas...

I could pretend I was a finalist in a beauty contest and say all the right platitudes and cliches that inspires others to nod their heads in agreement and condone my "goodness."  Because I do, like so many others, wish for world peace, end world hunger, and so many other worthy causes and endeavors.

But what I want and what I need is moolah, wampum. greenbacks, dough, bread, legal tender baby!

I'm going to admit that my wish is for M.O.N.E.Y.

Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where the lottery was played everyday.  My dad always wanted to hit it big.  He plays every single day of his life and starts to get jittery if he can't get to the store to play his numbers. He just turned eighty. I figured that if he put away that five bucks everyday, he'd have over a hundred thousand in the bank right now. Yeah Dad, that's right, put away the fiver.

Maybe it's because I watched my mom stretch a dollar better than anyone I have ever met, her sole purpose to keep a roof over our seven heads.

Maybe it's because I thought as the next generation that we had moved up the poverty ladder a couple of rungs. Our kids are going to college for goodness sake! But the last few years has brought everyone in my family back down the ladder and we are no better off than my mom and dad were forty years ago.

I might sound a little whiny, but only because I'm tired.  I feel like a toddler that hasn't taken her nap.  Don't get me wrong, I do believe that I have a little piece of heaven on earth and I am very grateful for all I do have.  When it comes to relationships, family, friends, love and support, its a virtual cornucopia.

I'm not asking to be a billionaire or even a millionaire, yes I am just enough for some real breathing room.  That's another thing, I haven't taken a full breath in a long time.  Can I say that money will help me in my quest for peace, sleep, and expanded lung capacity? Yes, yes I think I can.

So Santa Baby...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Season's Clock is Ticking Away

Here is another installment of Random Tuesday Thoughts hosted by the lovely Keely.

Christmas Tree - Grown Up Christmas – just not the same.  We didn’t get a tree last year.  The thought of stomping around in the cold to cut down our annual tree didn’t seem worth it, plus we just couldn’t find the time.  I’ve lost the Christmas spirit.  My house is a the size of a shoe box, removal of furniture is required, the hauling of boxes and boxes of ornaments, lights, wreaths, and garlands just seemed like too much work, for what, three weeks of watching needles fall.

The thrill is gone.  See already it’s happening again.  It’s a mere two and a half weeks out, and I can’t see when we will have the time to put up a tree.  What happened to the festive home I used to know?  Gone since my kid left?  I spend Christmas Eve at my in-laws. I spend Christmas Day at the sister’s.  So why do we need a tree anyways?

I need to find a tree soon otherwise it won’t happen.  I mean seriously, Queen Maker and I were together for seven years before we even had Beloved.  So why am I so down on working this hard for Christmas. I think I'm using Beloved's absence as an excuse. I need an intervention.  But please don’t send three ghosts to do it.

I am not being a good Christmas Role-Model.

Baking – Now here is another story.  I’m always up for baking. Because economic times have been hard, I’ve baked a lot of gifts last year.  Cinnamon Rolls that were to die for, Spinach Pie triangles, cookies upon cookies, to give to friends and clients.  

But unfortunately I sample each and every one.  Sprite’s Keeper reminded me about the battle of restraint that I am going to embark on soon.

Baking – Fun.  Baking – Creative.  Baking – Keeps house warm.
Baking – Good.  Sampling everything – BAD.

I am not being a good Health and Nutrition Role Model.

Shopping – nearly done.  The thought of going out in the next two weeks makes me cringe.  I need to get it done soon because I need to do a lot of baking and decorating.  I need to have time to enjoy these things, not feel like I’m adding to the burden pile. I scour the store circulars and comparison shop like no other.  I am a champion of finding a great gift at a ridiculously low price.  I buy quality at bargain basement prices.

I am not a good Stimulate Our Economy Role-Model.

Sewing – Make a steam punk vest for Beloved for Christmas.  Need to start that project, soooon.  Also bought brocade material in an Asian motif to make a jacket for Queen Maker. Like that’s ever going to happen before Christmas. If I ever get them done, I will post pictures.

Wrapping Gifts – Thank God for gift bags.

Christmas Projects with my niece, Amber, 11 years old, and my friend, Hailey, 5 years old. Hailey, this Friday.  Amber, next week.  I’m looking forward to creating and crafting with the girls. It can be so relaxing and it’s a great way to keep the bonds of friendship strong.

Christmas Get-Togethers – How many invitations will we turn down this year?  It means I need to bring something, preferable food. My hair will never, ever cooperate and will never look fabulous no matter how much time I spend on it. I hate the whole dressing up thing and that is bad.  It means that looking sweet in a new dress and heels doesn’t get seen often. What, Queen Maker? I’m sorry, the sweatshirts and ponytail not getting it for you anymore?  Call What Not to Wear!  Use it or lose it.  And I’ve lost it. 

I am not a Good Friend or a Social Role Model.

I feel time ticking away.  The flight or fight mechanism is kicking in people.  I chose to run away from Christmas last year, but I’m planning to stick it out and stay and fight. Wish me luck.

First Step:
Put some Bailey’s in my coffee and play “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi over and over.  If that doesn’t put me in the mood, I don’t know what will.

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