My work has kept me busy the last two days, with hardly a moment to catch my breath, and so I haven't blogged. For one thing, it seems that every time I get the stone path cleared so that clients can walk safely to my waiting room, within the hour more snow and ice comes calving off the tin roof, and I have to go back out, and shovel it clear, and put out more salt. 30" of snow lasts a long time. Here is a picture taken today from my little mountain top, looking out at the Alleghanies toward West Virginia. Elliot's Knob is the highest point.
It is notable how the holidays stir up so much for people. Almost every client is bringing the struggles of their time spent, with or without family, and what that means for them, into the consulting room. And my holidays are there, too. I am sad that mine and my daughters' head colds and the horrendous weather kept us from going to visit with my mother (who is recovering from serious pneumonia) and brothers this year. My sister, RWH was away, too, with her boyfriend's family in Texas. So Christmas night was rather lonesome. A friend and I took the kids to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel" and then had Chinese food.
(Here I am in my therapist's chair, yesterday with my canine co-therapists supporting me on either side. Hey, if my feet had to keep getting cold and wet going out to shovel snow, at least I had these wonderful socks to bring warmth and good cheer!)
In my 12/25 post, I wrote about my fourth grade gift-giving. That same year, before the Christmas break, students had been asked to sell raffle tickets for a school fundraiser. There was to be a P.T.A. spaghetti dinner and raffling of prizes one night just before the holiday. My sister, RWH, and I called on all of the neighbors in our trailer park and sold as many tickets as we could, doing our duty to support our school.
But RWH refused to go with me to the landlord’s big house. He was old and mean, in my memory, always threatening to kick us out because the rent was late. I went alone and sold him a ticket. The day of the spaghetti dinner arrived and early that morning I counted out all the one dollar bills and the red raffle ticket stubs I was supposed to submit at the event. I was somehow short a stub. The last number was missing. Horrified I confessed to Mom, knowing that she would spank me. But she did not spank me because of the lost ticket. What she did was much worse. She gave me one of her own dollars that she had “sweated for” and had me return it to the landlord, explaining that I had lost his ticket stub and had no more with which to replace it. Then, she made me clean the entire trailer. Alone. Top to bottom. And at some point during the day, I found the ticket stub. I don’t believe that was what she intended. At the spaghetti dinner, I turned in all of the stubs and all of the money. The food was good and they drew for several prizes. Then at the end of the evening, they drew for the grand prize, a 12 inch color television set. When they called out the numbers, I sat in shock then rose and carried the little red stub forward, claiming my miraculous prize. We had not had a TV for at least three years. That night my mom and my sisters and I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Special.
Now days, I have two very nice, flatscreen TVs on which the girls and I watch movies, but I choose to not have cable television - which for my kids amounts to no TV. Don't worry, I'm not stunting them in the socio-cultural realm - they watch more than their fair share at their father's. I like how the lack of television inspires their imaginations and their love of reading, and playing outdoors (when it is not 23 degrees farenheit, that is. I just checked, right at this very moment it is 9 degrees outside.) The lack of TV is good for me, too. I blog. I read. I occasionally practice the bassoon which I play in a big band, I crochet quite poorly, I make photo albums with 4301 pictures, per month, of my kids. OH MY GOD, I'm a NERD - this is what lack of TV has done to me ---
Here is a recent crochet project - a scarf made for MG based on her favorite bedtime story, CRICTOR, by Tomi Ungerer.
In the story, Crictor's owner knits him sweaters, so I crocheted MG's scarf a scarf.
EG has a scarf in the works. It is almost finished. I will post a picture of it when it is complete. Scarves and blankets are the ONLY thing I can crochet. My mother, however, can make anything out of yarn. Here is a photograph of MG in the Christening gown my mom crocheted. And here, a very recent project, two orangutans, hand crocheted for two very loved granddaughters. IF this is not FOLK ART at its best, I do not know what is. My Mother is a wonderfully loving and talented woman who became pregnant at the age of 14 with my older sister and has raised 5 kids alone (and she didn't see my daddy once after the first one was born, jk.) I might write some stories of my childhood, that make her seem harsh or neglectful, and sometimes that was how I experienced life, but I don't think for a minute anyone could do much better in the same circumstances. She is truly amazing.
Hey Mom, when my younger brothers don't get to come home from college for the holidays, you send them a care package, right? Well, I know I'm post-post-doc and all, but I still have to do continuing ed. . .shouldn't that count? I'd like some of your chicken pecan quiche, a deluxe apple pie, I need a fuzzy hat that matches my black coat and keeps my ears warm . . . looking forward to seeing you soon, Mom & to bringing the cool gifts the girls and I made YOU. I LOVE YOU!
Pictures with family from holidays past: me with mom & three of her granddaughters, EG and mom, EG, EG blowing bubblegum with cousin HH, EG & MG with HH, EG and my brother MO, another of mom's crochet creations, EG dancing x4, the REAL Santa x2, MG sleeping in Grandma's bed, and me.
Good night, blog world. I'm off to DC for work in the morning. . .