Anne Notations

Monday, December 22, 2008

Web log, Yule log


Our family at Caroline's birthday party on Nov. 29: Melinda, Kevin, Andrés, Anne, Jon, Caroline, Michael, and Leslie.

Hello! What a hectic month. I started a few blog entries, but didn't have any stamina to proceed with them. But now, four days into a blessed two weeks off from work, I am beginning to unwind a little.

I just saw this quote from the late novelist Taylor Caldwell on a Myspace board, and it made me happy at a time, historically and personally, when there is much reason to despair and fear; much darkness; bitter-cold winds.

I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.


The economy is falling in shards around the beleaguered people of our state and nation. My husband has no job, and we need to make a decision about selling (or defaulting on) our house sometime this winter, and then become renters for the rest of our lives – nothing wrong with that, but this little house was our dream. We are desperate to keep our children in their good university and high school somehow. This will be our most parsimonious Christmas ever – only stocking-stuffers and a little money for the kids, no gifts between adults.

We have cut back and cut back. Our magazine subscriptions have all expired, even my beloved New Yorker. I haven't had my hair cut or colored in way too long (behold the mousy brown-gray roots). I plan our meals around whatever the cheapest protein sources are in a given week (hooray for eggs), buy the store brand of almost everything, clip coupons like a fiend, and make sure to fill up at the gas station on Warwick Avenue that has regular unleaded for $1.54 a gallon, about 10-15 cents cheaper than anywhere else. I never, ever go shopping recreationally anymore, only with a list of specific needs.

A lot of this is good news, I think, for us and others. While consumerism fuels the U.S. economy, we have all become habituated to buying on a whim, shopping just to sate our endless craving for something new. That kind of shopping is learned craziness. I feel better leaving it behind. I enjoy using our crockpot to tenderize tough meats and make big, hearty stews and chilis. There is pleasure and virtue in paring down to the essentials.

This week we'll go to the Christmas Eve midnight Mass at St. Sebastian's; I'm one of the lectors that night. On Christmas Day, we'll host a small family gathering – my brother and his wife and kids, and my stepdaughter and her husband and daughter, the latter being our darling Caroline, now three years old.


Caroline "reads" her birthday card from Uncle Andrés at her third-birthday party as her cousins look on.

There is some 10" of new snow outside (glazed now with ice), and it definitely looks like Christmas with our front porch a-sparkle with little blue and white lights after dark. The Christmas tree is decorated, half of the annual cookie baking done, the cards all sent. My dear ones are nearby, and outside, stars as sharp as ice wink in the velvet sky.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all who celebrate. May 2009 realize the hopes of our 2008 elections and restore the American Dream.

4 Comments:

  • (I'm not even going to get into my uphill both ways in the snow tale but I agree, eggs are fabulous.) Anne, if I ever hit the lottery.... ;)

    Seriously, I know those pictures show your gifts right there, but I hope you can hold on to that dream house.

    I love that quote, it's something how messages are just put in our path sometimes.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, hun, and a happy, safe, (and prosperous!) 2009. *hugs*

    By Blogger BrideOfPorkins, at Tue Dec 23, 12:55:00 AM EST  

  • You have such a beautiful family. I hope 2009 brings better days. Very sorry to hear you may lose your home. That's a terrible thing to go through.

    By Blogger Miriam L, at Wed Dec 24, 11:14:00 AM EST  

  • My heart goes out to you. I wish all that's good for you and your family - wish had had better words, less cliched...

    You are blessed in many ways. We all are. And yet.

    Your writing in this piece - both in content and form - is so strong, like it was waiting to burst out.

    Below are two of my favorite parts. It seems to me you included a beautiful little poem:

    My dear ones are nearby,
    and outside, stars
    as sharp as ice
    wink in the velvet sky
    "A lot of this is good news, I think, for us and others. While consumerism fuels the U.S. economy, we have all become habituated to buying on a whim, shopping just to sate our endless craving for something new. That kind of shopping is learned craziness. I feel better leaving it behind."

    "There is some 10" of new snow outside (glazed now with ice), and it definitely looks like Christmas with our front porch a-sparkle with little blue and white lights after dark. The Christmas tree is decorated, half of the annual cookie baking done, the cards all sent. My dear ones are nearby, and outside, stars as sharp as ice wink in the velvet sky."

    G-d Bless,
    Neil

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Wed Dec 24, 09:24:00 PM EST  

  • Merry Christmas, Anne.

    By Blogger uknowwhoiyam, at Thu Dec 25, 12:20:00 AM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home