Filed under: Life

Random Thoughts

Monday, December 29th, 2003 • 2 Comments on Random Thoughts

Another busy week, but as I wander into 2004, things will slow down to a crawl and I’ll have time to write and reflect.  Until then, I give you the week’s highlights:

—Santa was good to me, but the best thing about this Christmas was having Jay home and sharing Christmas with friends who feel like family.  You can’t wrap that kind of happiness.

—I finished Middlesex.  I am proud of this accomplishment because I read it during the busiest December I can remember and it’s over 500 pages of literary joy and madness.  Book club meeting coming soon…

Mona Lisa Smile made me (almost) wish I’d been born a few decades ago.  The limitations and rules that applied to women are ridiculous by today’s standards, but the clothes and music were to die for.  Who says I can’t wear an apron while I cook and get a law degree?  Huh?

—At the other end of the movie spectrum, Jack Black proves anyone—yes, anyone—can be in a band.  Rock on.

—Taking my own advice, recent music purchases include: greatest hits from The Eagles, some all-girl blues, going crazy with Patsy Cline, some old standards sung by jazz great Chet Baker, and classic Cheap Trick just for fun.  Jack would approve.

—Due to this end-of-the-year deployment, the big, broad, fat, drunken tree had to come down.  It did not come down without a fight, however.  I have the scratches and abrasions to prove that dry, brittle trees are bad, dangerous things.

—Christmas cards!  Christmas cards!  To date, cards have arrived from seventeen states, the District of Columbia and Canada.  Which only means that a) I’m a geek for counting and b) people move around too much.

—I apparently make kick ass gravy—and not enough of it.

—Sharing Christmas morning with people I am not related to is an experience.  A nice one.  And I’m really, really glad we didn’t go camping.

—I have a shiny new datebook in which to record, well, dates.  Woooo.

—My thank you cards are not written.  My bills are not paid.  Ask me if I care.  Go on, I dare you.

—Jay left, which casts a long shadow over everything else.  Pardon me while I feel sorry for myself.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Musings

When I Least Expect It

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003 • No Comments on When I Least Expect It

Last week was one of those weeks.  You know, one of those weeks.  Craziness, a million things to do, staying up until 3 a.m. night after night, getting up before 10 a.m. (ack!).  That sort of week.  Last night I played hostess for a party (aka “Navy function”) which involved cooking, baking, table setting, flower arranging and, because I run a small zoo out of my house, corralling the pets upstairs.  Henry the WonderDog (aka “No Knees”) went into the office, the cats went into my bedroom, Lola the crazy bird went into her cage.  The fish, thankfully, do not harass guests as a rule, so they got to stay downstairs. 

I left Jay in charge of gathering the pets and didn’t get a chance to check on the cats until I went to get dressed. 

Begin Small Digression
When the invitation says 6:30, it MEANS 6:30, not 5:53.  If you leave your house two hours early so you won’t get lost, PLEASE don’t come ringing my doorbell forty freakin’ minutes early.  Go buy yourself a Slurpee or check out the neighbor’s giant inflatable snowman from Hell, but DO NOT show up at my house and expect me to greet you with a smile when I’ve been forced to get ready at the speed of light so as not to make YOU feel uncomfortable as you sit on my couch sipping your beer and looking at my half-finished party preparations.
End Small Digression

So, I go into my bedroom and the cats are doing their pitiful “we are so abused to be confined like this” meows and I’m taking a head count.  One: Wilbur, the purr monster Siamese-looking old man cat; two: Annabelle, the gracefully aging princess calico with dainty paws and hunter instincts; three: Savannah, the baby brute tortoiseshell who terrorizes the other cats and is in love with the dog.  They all stare expectantly at me from the bed and floor as I scan the room again and do another head count.  One, two, three.  Where’s four?  Where’s Orville?

Then I remember.  Orville died in July.

It’s funny how that happens, how I sometimes forget he’s not here any more, even after all these months.  He was Wilbur’s brother and my baby cat, a cuddly tabby who would let you hold him and pet him for hours.  Thirteen years old, blind and suffering from a thyroid condition that left him painfully thin, he’d find his way through the house to where ever I was, meowing loudly so that I’d respond and he could locate me.  He died in my arms which I hope made it easier for him to go.

Having so many pets, you’d think I wouldn’t miss Orville so much five months after he died.  The little guy is still in my heart and there are times when I feel his presence and I can almost convince myself he’s still here, sleeping on my pillow and begging for cheese.  Which is why at the end of a hectic week, in the midst of doing the hostess thing, I found myself standing in my bedroom and crying because three wasn’t the right number of cats.

Posted by Kristina in Essays, Life

Having Myself a Merry Little Christmas, Dammit

Friday, December 12th, 2003 • No Comments on Having Myself a Merry Little Christmas, Dammit

I have thirty Christmas/Hanukkah cards left to write.  That’s not so bad, considering I started with over a hundred.  What is

bad is that three days ago I thought I only had thirty cards left to write and I’ve since written over twenty.  First, I misplaced ten cards that need addresses (if I know you and you haven’t gotten a holiday card from me by December 20th, I probably don’t have your address), then I added a handful of editors to the card-giving list.  What better time to get in a few suck up points than the joyous holiday season?  So, I’m having nightmares that the thirty cards will never go away, that every time I make a dent in the pile they will be replaced by more cards and there will always thirty of them.  Scary.

I am running on chocolate and caffeine and sheer willpower these days, otherwise I would collapse into a weeping, quivering puddle just like Frosty.  It’s been a stressful week.  Actually, stressful isn’t a good word for it.  Stressful implies something serious and weighty, when I’m mostly talking about the hectic, chaotic, insane holiday stuff.  It’s self-imposed martyrdom and I do it to myself every year.  I guess I’m afraid if I slow down for a second I might miss what everyone else seems to have this time of year—family, roots, a sense of place.  It sucks to feel like little orphan Annie when everyone else is starring in the Brady Bunch.  I don’t feel sorry for myself (nor do I expect anyone else to feel sorry for me) because I’m grateful and lucky to have people in my life who care about me and look out for me.  The truth is, I’ve worked my ass off to make this happy little life for myself and I’m proud of it.  Still, I’m reminded at this time of year of what I don’t have that most people take for granted.  It must be nice to be loved no matter what and not have to work at it so damned hard all the time.

Posted by Kristina in Life

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.