Sunday, Dec. 26, 2004
And A Dysfunctional New year
Happy Boxing Day, for friends in Canada. I personally think that it's a good idea to have a holiday the day after Christmas, in order to allow for full recuperation. Too bad that the US government has decided the fewer the holidays, the better. We've settled on an even dozen bank holidays here in the USA; the UK has eight, France eleven. But those are only bank holidays.
Americans get the least vacation and fewest actual holidays of any developed nation. Even the Japanese, known for their extreme work ethic, get more time off than us. At least, that's according to one site. I just know that I personally took one day off this year for Thanksgiving and one day off for Independence Day. The only other days I've missed work for any reason was one day of taking a course at the community college - a course my boss paid for me to take - and a couple of sick days. Gee... wonder why I needed those?
Okay, reverting from the beginnings of a rant, as I don't want to go there right now.
I had a nice, if somewhat bizarre, Christmas Day. Youngest Son (left) was my chaffeur for the day, picking us up Christmas morning, taking us to Phoenix for the day with family, and bringing us and all of our holiday gifts home last night. The latter was a challenge, as my family decided this year, of all years, to give HUGE gifts. Not so much in cost, but in physical size. Youngest Son's car was overflowing and then some!
I was blessed in a lot of ways. I have a new stepmother after a very unique wedding. Imagine, if you will, a largish woman in her 60's, whose wedding dress was a gray felt skirt, a dusty rose suede blouse, a white cowboy hat with dusty rose flowers, and white cowboy boots. Her entourage carried rose-festooned white cowboy hats in lieu of bouquets. Yes, she's a bit on the weird side. In other words, she fit right in. I didn't feel an instant kinship with her, but figured she's a reasonably good match for my dad. And if Daddy Dearest pushes her around, she can take him!
There were some rough spots. My nieces were extremely upset over the fact that my dad treats his new wife (then fianceé) so much better than he ever treated my mother. My sister took them aside and told them quietly that it was best to let things go and to just look at the wedding as a bit of entertainment, or they'd go crazy.
I wasn't an official part of the wedding party, since I didn't know until the last possible minute that I'd get to go. As it turned out, though, I ended up hairdresser and confidante, calmer of frazzled nerves, gofer, and head jester. (More about that in a bit.) I was also about the only member of the family who didn't have a cold (though from the way I'm feeling today I suspect that's about to change.)
Now, about my sister and my designation as jester... in reality she and I vie for the title. She gave me two Christmas gifts this year - one "serious" one (which I love - my sister knows my tastes well) and one "gag" one that I just might love more. The gag gift was a refrigerator magnet that said, "I'm smiling because you're my sister. I'm laughing because you can't do anything about it."
That little snippet tells you a little about my relationship with my baby sister (at right), whose warped sense of humor echoes my own. We both function best on a large dose of deadpan laced with caffeine, recognize chocolate as its own food group, and love poking holes in the status quo. I'm more domestic in some respects: I love cooking and sewing and would kill for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home wife. She loves hiring someone to do those things, as she swears that housework is the instrument of Beelzebub. If we're talking dirty dishes, I'm inclined to agree, but otherwise I don't mind too much.
Little sis and I have been trading barbs from the time she was little, and she's eight years younger than I am. She was the first to become computer literate, having attained a degree in the fine art of swearing at the things. Well, okay, so technically the degree was in performing work on them. The swearing was a fringe benefit, but you understand.
She worshipped me as a child, because I rescued her from my mother's tastes in clothing (or more accurately, the lack thereof.) I also was there when my sister's first husband left her, tossing her aside after several years of marriage and leaving her to scrounge for a place to live and more. Ironically, she ended up buying him out and purchasing the townhouse they'd bought together. She's pulled together in a big way and I'm very proud of her.
Just don't tell her I said so - it'll make her think she's ahead in the insult race, and we can't have that!
My granddaughter is in heaven. For the past few months, we've scraping together the things she needed while here. I'd bought her a few toys and a handful of clothing, as I could. Her aunt (my baby sister as aforementioned) hit an upscale kids' used clothing place and broke the bank. She also bought her several new items for Christmas. Granddaughter won't be running out of clothes again until she outgrows 'em. And needless to say, she came away with a Pandora's Box of toys, from various aunts, uncles, and more.
Thank goodness one of the toys was a talking phone - she's now playing with it rather than picking up my REAL cordless phone at every opportunity!
I suppose I should sign off for the night and catch up on reading other folks' diaries. I'm also going to veg out for a while, maybe watch television. The kids got a copy of "I Robot" and I still haven't seen it.
I should probably also see if I can scrounge up something for the news in the morning, which won't be easy since it's pretty much dead around this part of the world over Christmas and New Years.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )