Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checking in....

Just an update to say things are okay… I know when I don’t see someone post for a while, my radar goes off and I’m thinking “hmmmm, hope they’re not hitting a rough patch….”

No rough patches here, right now. We’re up to our ears in alligators cookies. DH continues the Great Cookie Adventure (for our clients and to take to friends and neighbors) and as much as we like to say that it’s His Project, it ends up being a family affair. Some days I make dough before he gets home from his part-time job, and then while I continue to work in the afternoons, he cranks up the Christmas music and mass produces dozens of Spritz and gingerbread boys. They are his specialties.

I make a lot of other types of cookies to add to it, and in the end, we have a pretty awesome selection that we package up on plates and he makes his rounds, delivering them.

Sounds idyllic. Should be idyllic. But I’m one of those who inexplicably gets very depressed at this time of year, so for me, it’s a very stressful time. But I guess there is no point in whining about it. He feels it is important to do for the clients.

I’m of the opinion that stellar customer service all year long, always turning in accurate, quality transcription with lightening-fast turnaround time, should be enough….and I’ve not had one complaint this year from any of our clients (and about ten written compliments). But that’s just me.

I know he enjoys the process and he enjoys giving the cookies out to friends, etc. Why rain on his parade? He mentioned to one of our daughters recently that “this is how I keep Grandma alive.” (He uses his late mother’s recipes. I miss her. She was a huge part of our more recent holiday celebrations.)

The indoor decorations are up. The outside stuff I’ll put up on Thanksgiving day. Our Thanksgiving will be quiet. It’s really a meal just for DH. The girls are vegetarian; I’m nearly vegetarian. The girls also have other homes to visit (best friends/significant others, etc), so I am cooking somewhat in advance, and DH will have a quiet day reading his newspapers and magazines and watching the news. I will hang a few last Christmas things outside, and I hope to get some time in my sewing room. If anyone drops by, there will be food available… but we probably will not be doing a big “sit-down at a groaning table” type thing.

DD2 mentioned she will be a part of a 40-family-member gathering at the Boyfriend’s grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, for a late lunch. I’m making a vegan silk chocolate pie she likes, so she can nibble on dessert later when they are at our house.

I have memories that I cherish of “groaning tables” at my grandparents’. One of my greatest sadnesses is that my daughters never knew anything like that while growing up. I grew up within a few miles of all my family, on both sides. My daughters have grown up at least half a continent away from their extended family. I tried to make things as traditional and fun as I could, with just the four of us, and the occasional visiting grandparents, but my memories of holidays and my daughters’ memories are so different. We immersed ourselves in church seasonal functions in the past, to get as close to the “family” atmosphere as we could within our church family, but it’s just not the same.

I think that is another huge portion of my sadness at this time of year. I miss my beloved Nana.

Then too, in the last ten years, there have been several holiday seasons like last year’s. A loaded daughter living on the streets just dampens things a bit. This year I am so very grateful that DD2 is sober. We’re in what I call the honeymoon period, where she is sober, she is on probation, she doesn’t want to go back to jail, and she’s willing. Willingness. It’s a big part of any success.

I am just rolling with it this year. We’ve scaled things down a bit, and I’m doing a lot in advance. I will do everything in my power to make a peaceful and happy celebration possible. The rest is up to others. Either way, I’m going to have as nice a time as possible.

Moving on! DD2 will be staying with us a few nights a week during the month of December. Her P.O. has given her until December 1 to find a new living situation, since her roommate’s husband is still actively using, and that puts DD2 in a bad environment. She is going to just move all her stuff to the Boyfriend’s place this week, and Probation asked me if she could stay with us several nights a week, while he is on the road with his job. She has a ride to work in the morning and will take the bus over an hour home. Weeknights that he is home, and all weekends, she will stay with him. This saves her one interim move, because Probation has decreed that as soon as Boyfriend is formally off probation (first week in January), they can just live together full time. They are really excited about simplifying things, combining expenses, and being able to spend more time together.

Whether I think that is premature, or whether I think that it may drive him bonkers (having DD2 and his teenaged daughter living with him)…..is not really my business to be thinking about!

1. We have so much. We have our home, our health, a full freezer (mostly turkeys! Just kidding!).

2. DD2 is sober and working at the moment. She’ll have a year clean on January 9, 2010.

3. DD1 is about halfway through her paralegal studies and doing an awesome job. She has a degree in History which proved pretty useless in the workforce, so she is reinventing herself. She should be done next fall. She will be moving out late summer or fall, into a place of her own.

4. This sad time of year will pass! The trick for me is to remind myself that the weepy mood is something I can recognize and deal with. The holidays are not holidays – they are a lot of work. But I can remove myself from exposure to the commercialism (incessant ads on TV, craziness at the mall, etc) and to focus more on my precious family, my gratitudes, and the “reason for the season” which so often gets lost in the glitter and noise of the season!

I may be scarce at posting over the next couple of weeks, but will try to check in with my dear blogging friends often! You’ll recognize me when I drop by; I’m the one who’ll be leaving dustings of flour and colored sugar sprinkles all over your comments sections!

May the true joy of this season warm our hearts in quiet, peaceful moments!


  1. I love that you and your husband are keeping his Mom's spirit alive with the cookies. I have been doing the same but with cupcakes and pies. It works for me, I feel her presence, especially in the kitchen. I love your gratitude list and that your daughter has almost 1 year clean, that is so awesome! It sounds like she has been doing well and that you are also. Thank you for this lovely update as it has been a gift of hope to me today. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Renee

  2. Try and enjoy the day. And I still can't believe you have your Christmas decorations up. ;0)

  3. Can I have a cookie? Or maybe a slice of silk pie? Mmmm. The only thing I like about the holidays is the food. I am another one of those that gets depressed this time of year, not sure why but December has always been a month of loss and tragedy for me. This year my son will be in rehab for the holidays, which is WAY BETTER than where he was last year :) I am grateful.

    Cograts to DD2 for almost being at a year! That's great. And congrats to DD1 for all her hard work at school.

    Your hubby sounds like a very sweet man, and he's got a very sweet wife. Take care of you.

  4. You've got a great perspective on the months ahead. Lots of pretty good news in all of this. Like your daughter's history degree, one of my daughters earned a degree in criminal justice - which she finds useless. She will be going to work on the paralegal certificate in January. I hope that works out for both girls. Be blessed this holiday season.

  5. The cookies sound like a great way to give thanks and appreciate the time of year. Whenever I'm down, I think of all the things that I'm grateful for, the good and the bad, because both have made me who I am today. Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I too am looking forward to January!

  7. I read your last post about the news, and the yelling at the TV. Same at my house! And I hate it too. I put on headphones at the computer to block my husband and Bill O'Reilly out:(

    But then your husband turns around and makes cookies for everyone. There is a lot of good there too, just like my husband.

    Your daughter is doing awesome. All the rules, the moving, the buses..you have to really want it to put up with that stuff. God Bless her, she's trying.

    Thinking of you today, and hoping you are happy.