Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's the confectioner's version of "brick"

Ladies and gentlemen, you will have to excuse me.  I'm a little tipsy.  In my cups, so to speak.   And not the ones labeled a, b, or c.   C, for the record.  Yeah, baby.


I didn't intend to be tipsy, but I was Christmas shopping this evening with my Dad; then got home late.  Mr W is out catching drunks, so I figured that since I've had a bottle of wine in my fridge since Thanksgiving, why not?  The kids are asleep.  I'm feeling a little...spirited.  Maybe some wine will chill me out.

Um, no. 

Not the chill factor I was looking for.  If anything, I feel even more spirited, and just stopped myself short of sending a persuasive text message.   Thank goodness for the internet.  I'd really get into trouble without it.  


Anyway, I cracked out some brie with my wine.  Oh, my god.  What happened to street tacos and tequila?  Brie?

I succumbed to the siren call of the brie at Costco.  Oh, yes, surprise, surprise, the sample ladies are on a mission.  A mission from God, apparently, to let you have a taste, just a little taste...they are like the drug pushers of the culinary world.  There you are, amidst gallons of olive oil, when a little old lady who looks like your Nana suggests you try some of her wares....and before you know it, you are justifying the purchase of a wedge of brie so buttery, so rich, that it's artery-clogging goodness could put down a brigade of Marines.   Mmm.  Marines...

Whoops.  Distracted!  Where was I?

I learned I have a new skill.   Apparently, using a corkscrew is not as hard as it looks.  Not only did I manage to open the bottle without incident, I saved the cork so I could at least pretend I wasn't intending on drinking it all and could re-cork like a pro.  Sweet!

I took my chances with a knife, and there I  stood, in the kitchen in my pj's; thin slices of a lovely apple, some round Melba snacks, brie, and a few glasses of wine.  Throw in a hundred cats, and I'd be the perfect cliche.

I decided to put the bottle away, to maintain some semblance of dignity.  (cue laugh track)

I took a gander at the Saturday Six, and here we go:

Saturday Six - Episode 191

Boy, that's big.  Is that a title in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? 

1. If you could receive only the gift of food this Christmas, which single item would you choose?  

No brainer.  An obscenely large container of  Jane's fabulous almond toffee.  Oh, she gave me the recipe, but it makes me cry because I can't do it as good as she can.  I can't.  Yes, this is a shameless, shameless attempt to get her to give me some.  If I'm an expert at anything, it's shameless begging.  Just ask my hus--- Ooops.  <blush>

2. Dessert. What’s the first food that just came to mind when you read that word? 

Pizzookie.  I am new to the Pizzookie;  a local Italian restaurant makes it; it's a gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie served warm in a 6 inch deep dish pizza pan with quality vanilla ice cream on top.   Mmm, mmm, good.  Next time, I will skip dinner for that, and not share.  It's that yummy.

3. What do you eat more of when you’re trying to lose weight?  After my previous response, I'm supposed to think of losing weight????  Veggies,  like, DUU-UUuuh.

4. Take the quiz: What holiday food are you?   

I know, I know--"Stupid quiz alert."  Yet, I couldn't resist. 

You Are a Gingerbread House
A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

That's what I'm talking about---would this be the confectioner's version of "brick"??   Schhh--wing!  :p

5. When you were a kid, did you ever really leave food for Santa Claus? If so, what was the typical fare you placed near the tree for Jolly Ol’ St. Nick? 

Nah.  But I may have left cookies and milk once.  Now, as an adult, I am forced to leave out not only cookies and milk, but reindeer chow as well.   Really.  Maybe I'll leave out a little wine and brie this year.   (Although I hear Santa is partial to margaritas.)

6. Do you tend to eat more, less, or about the same at Christmas dinner than you do at Thanksgiving dinner? 

Bwahahahahaha.  Really, who keeps track?  I watch it, not to over indulge, but just try to get between me and my Christmas tamales.  Try.

Hmm.  Guess that's it.

Wow.  It's 3 am.  It appears I have a glass of wine to pour.

Eh, I'll probably just move Audrey over, and pour myself into bed. 


Party's over.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The best presents come when you least expect them

One of my favorite holiday shows was on tonight, and we were watching it with the kids.  It's "The Year Without a Santa Claus" and I just cannot resist the Heat Miser, I have to sing along.

During the presentation, there were a lot of commercials for an upcoming showing of "The Polar Express." 

"The Polar Express" is adapted from a book, like many of the movies directed at kids have been lately.  I remember I'd never heard of it, but received it quite a while back when I was a member of a kids' book club.  I was enchanted by it the first time I read it, and I read it to the kids each Christmas holiday season.  I really love this book, and am glad that stumbled upon it when I did.

But it makes me cry, when I read it, every single time.  The kids are all aware of this, and for some reason, Ben said to me tonight, "I don't understand why it makes you cry, Mom."

I tried to explain it to him, about how the part that gets me is near the end, when the main character mentions how he could hear the bell, even into adulthood, but as his friends and sister grew up, they could no longer hear it.  I told him that it touches me that they don't believe anymore, and that's why they don't hear it.  They grow up, they know the world, they no longer believe--like they lose that innocence within themselves that would allow such a belief to exist--that that is what makes me feel sad, but I left out the part that it particularly hurts because I know there will come a day when he and his siblings no longer believe either. 

I have decided it is just me mourning the passage of time.  While this passage is necessary, constant, and I accept it, nonetheless, it chokes me up.

"You don't get it,"  I told him, "but someday, you will."

Nolan piped up behind me, "I get it."

I know he does.  Last week, when he was feeling so poorly, I was going out and I told him I'd bring him anything he wanted.  I was desperate to make him feel better, and I had a shake or something like that in mind.  He got up from the couch and walked over to me, to whisper it in my ear.  Mr W teased him at the time, about being so secretive, but Nolan said he was a little embarrassed to say it out loud.

What did he want?

A game.  Pokemon Diamond.  I kinda knew why he was embarrassed, but I made nothing of it and I picked it up on my way home.

When I got back, and showed it to him, he smiled at me, his face tinged with sadness, and said, "So I can be a kid now, too?"  "What?"  I asked, a little perplexed.

He wrapped his arms around me and said that he thought we'd make fun of him for asking for such a "kid" thing.  And then he started crying, like he hasn't done in a long time, and I found myself patting his back, rocking back and forth a bit, just like I used to hold him--when he wasn't taller than me.

"Honey,"  I said, "You're just tired of being sick,"  I told him, as I felt him calm down some.  

As he walked away, I mentally kicked myself, because the light bulb in my head went off, and my initial assumption, while not far off, wasn't the only thing bothering him.  I followed him into my room few minutes later.  "Son,"  I said as I flopped down next to him on my bed, "are you under the impression that just because you are growing up, you aren't supposed to still like "kid" things?  That you need to give them up or something?" 

He nodded.  And he started to cry again.

"No, no, no,"  I told him.  "Growing up doesn't mean you have to give up the "kid" stuff, the things you like that make you you.  You're allowed an obsession or two to follow you well into adulthood, be they Pokemon or books or rocks.  Dude, there's a reason your sister likes Hello Kitty, and it's me.   Did you think your Nana keeps the Star Wars toys that are your Tio Ernie's in her closet because she has the space?  Do you think your Dad rides the roller coasters at Disneyland with you guys purely for safety reasons?  I have friends who still buy Barbies...for themselves.  Part of the fun of being a grown up is that you don't have to give up the stuff that is really dearto you, even if it comes in a package that says "ages 3 and up."  I promise you that you are not alone, and you are not to ever feel you can't indulge in the "kid" stuff because you think we will make fun of you."

The smile of relief on his face was worth any shame I may have felt showing him the Raggedy Ann doll my Mom recently sent home with me.  And she is raggedy, my very own Velveteen Rabbit.  (Yes, that story gets to me too.)

He has since played his game out in the open, without explanation or excuses.

As for our viewing of the YWASC, during another commercial, Ryan turned to me and started talking about Santa Claus.  During his in depth conversation, something became apparent to me, and I was surprised and delighted. 

He still believes in Santa, with the ferocity and innocence that only a nine-year-old can muster.

For me, that is the first gift of Christmas.

And it didn't cost a thing.