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December 2010

Repeat the sounding joy

I've decided not to post this week. 


And I'm sort of breaking the rules by posting tonight, but whenever I don't post for a day or two I tend to get an "OMG ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?!?" email from a Concerned Reader (okay, just my mother) and I don't want to, you know, FRIGHTEN anyone. Because, in case you are not aware, I think the longest I have never Not Posted to this website, in the six and a half years I've had it, has been three days. EEP!

But I have been looking at this picture a lot. 


Phillip is off work, the kids are sick, and I just want to be Around. I want to be here. Sometimes, when you are blogging and tweeting and maintaining your Official Online Presence, you are not so much here.

And sometimes I wonder if I could (should?) be writing something else. What am I doing HERE, on this web page? I intend to think about that this week.

I hope you all had wonderful Christmases (I did) and a wonderful first week of Christmas (I plan to) and a truly fabulous kickstart to the new year (I hope to). If nothing else, I will probably be back next week confessing exactly how many pounds of Christmas cookies I need to shed in order to fit back into my pants.  


In which you will roll your eyes at least fifty times

I am grouchy. I'm just going to say it. Three days before Christmas and I am GROUCHY. Believe it or not, I was grouchy BEFORE I stepped on the scale this morning and subsequently threw out all the Christmas candy. Oh yes I did. And if that doesn't work I may have to man up and join Jennie's competition. GAH.

Anyway, I am feeling completely defective in the Christmas Cheer department and I keep trying to put my finger on the cause. Did I throw our Christmas party too early? Did I finish my shopping too early? Is it because it seems like everyone else is on vacation already and Phillip isn't off this week? Is it because today is the shortest day of the year, aka Worst Day Ever?

The kids are being awesome, so I can't blame them. And Molly just came in here playing Jack's toy guitar and singing some gibberish song. My heart grew the tiniest of sizes. 

A few nights ago I was sitting on the couch staring at the ornaments while Phillip put the kids to bed. I was actually doing that barfy sentimental thing where you remember where each ornament came from and it turns out that all of my favorite ornaments are from Italy or Germany, aka the two places I spent my Christmases before Having Children. And then I started to cry. 

And seriously. FTLOG! First world problems much? Perspective anyone? Oh no, I am tearing up AGAIN. GET IT TOGETHER, SELF!

When I lived overseas, home was Washington State, where we were from. But I was 10 when we moved overseas and 18 when I moved back and by that time I didn't really feel like anywhere was home. My parents stayed in Italy ten more years after I went back to the states for college. Because I left earlier than anyone else in my family, for a while it seemed like THEY all thought of it as home, while I was floundering around in Seattle trying to find my place. 

But I went "home" for Christmas every year until the first year I got married (and for a handful of years afterwards). Sometimes it was two weeks, sometimes it was five. A few years after I moved to Seattle, the base built a new school, relocated all the stores and restaurants, my parents even moved into a new house. That house, especially, was so unfamiliar to me. My parents lived there so long that all their favorite restaurants changed, the people who visited changed, I couldn't even remember how to get anywhere. 

But it was home, it was where I spent the holidays, and that time of year, at least, is so achingly familiar that I DO get weepy, all right? The cold, the naked trees, the snow on the mountains, the garish Italian Christmas decorations, walking in the dark to a pizzeria, the smell of bonfires and gluhwein. A few times we went to Germany where my aunt used to live, or meet her in Austria, and my mom and I would make a beeline for the Christmas markets. Oh I miss Christmas markets. The Italians tried to pull them off, but they were so much cuter and Christmassy in Germany, all the little wooden stands filled with carved wooden ornaments and toys and treats. 

My clearest memories of Italy take place in the winter, the season I always returned. I close my eyes and see how everything looked in the dark: restaurants, churches, my old town, the lights of the tiny town halfway up the mountain. The ride to and from the airport, the Prosecco on Christmas Eve, my parents' front yard that I never saw in bloom. 

It feels worse when I think about my kids. How in the world am I going to show them all of these things? My parents met in Europe and decided they wanted us to experience it too. That is, uh, not an option for us. One day, when we've decided the kids are Old Enough To Remember And/Or Appreciate, we will probably blow our savings on some two week whirlwind tour of Europe, which will be grand, but obviously not the same, not enough, not as real. And I know I can't MAKE it real. I know it's not even a big DEAL for them to know these things, but it still makes me incredibly sad. 

I'm sure everyone has their own "Italy at Christmastime" that their kids aren't going to experience. Most of the time I think my kids are going to be so lucky because we have no intention of moving anywhere and their grandparents are so close and they live in this great city and they are totally going to be from somewhere. But this time of year I think about how much I want to take them for cappuccino and cookies at Stradella's, to ride the train to Venice, to buy lunch at the market, to pick out an ornament at a Christmas market, and then it feels like their stable little stateside life is a great tragedy. 

In which Jack moves from the Nice to Naughty List in the span of one post

I do not have strong feelings about Santa. My family didn't really do Santa, not because they had strong feelings about Santa (that I know of), but probably because we are one of those families who opens all the presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning, honestly, is a bit of a letdown after a big, boozy, deep-fried night of laughing and eating and tearing into the mountain of presents around Grandma and Grandpa's tree. (You Christmas morning people are doing it wrong.) (Am now ducking.) ANYWAY! We had bulging stockings on Christmas morning, which was always fun, but I don't ever remember thinking that Santa brought me my Lip Smackers and socks. Of course I also distinctly remember the moment when I realized it was my MOTHER filling the stockings, so who knows where I thought those gifts came from. Oh, and sometimes my uncle disappeared on Christmas Eve and always missed Santa walking up the front steps and bringing my grandmother a giant chocolate bar. But I always knew it was my uncle. (Until that one time it WASN'T my uncle and I FREAKED. OUT.) (It was my uncle's friend.) (Not Real Santa.)

So anyway. My lack of strong feelings plus Phillip's lack of strong Christmas traditions (dudes, if you want to always have your way about how holidays should go, marry into a Chinese family!) mean we've hardly thought about Santa. Until discussions of Santa start popping up around the blogosphere, which means I then have to examine my whole Santa Stance and reaffirm/justify whatever I was doing in the first place. BLAH BLAH BLAH WHO CARES this is all to tell you that I had no real interest or big inclination to take my kids to sit on Santa's lap until today, at the mall, when the line to see Santa was nonexistent AND, when I asked them if they wanted to see Santa, both kids said YES. And then I fell over from shock. 

Actually, Jack said yes (!) and Molly said no (!). Until I said, "Molly, JACK is going to sit on Santa's lap" and she promptly changed her mind. Then I watched both of my kids waltz up to Santa, allowed themselves to be hauled onto his lap, and deigned to have their picture taken. A terrible picture, mind you, with a trademark Jack Grimace and Molly looking off into the distance and a very nice looking Santa sitting on this awful hideous throne thing. BUT THEY DID IT! AND I WAS AMAZED! 

When Santa asked them what they wanted for Christmas, Jack said, "A blue box." And Molly said, "A pink box."

It was actually this really nice day of Jack being amenable to everything I asked him to do, and Molly going along because she does whatever Jack does. He he didn't fight me about the potty or getting dressed, he cheerfully tried on all the shoes (which is why we were at the mall at the first place), he asked to build a house with the couch cushions and if he could have the measuring tape and if I might like to have a picnic - all preferable to nine thousand requests to watch Dora. And when Molly entered Nap Hour Three, Jack and I squished into the big blue chair and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on Hulu, which he found inexplicably hilarious.


Oh, and at dinnertime, when the resident three foot tall dictator was barking things like, "WANSUMMORE ORANGE!" and, pointing at the one empty spot on her plate, "WAN ORANGE RIGHT DERR!" and "NEED MORE MILK!", Jack happily ate his scrambled eggs. He has not voluntarily eaten scrambled eggs since age twelve months. WHO STOLE MY KID? All this after being a total pill all weekend and waking up this morning with a terrible cough. 

OH WAIT. So I just went upstairs to check on him ("I scared in my bed Mommy") and we talked for a bit and then he said his throat hurt and he needed some medicine. So of course I just assumed Phillip forgot to give him medicine (as we'd discussed) and I poured it out, and as I watched him drink it I noticed there was another little medicine cup sitting on the counter. That hadn't been there before. My kid just conned me into another dose of that apparently delicious elixir so there goes this entire post! Rotten little delinquent! But you know, joke's on him because I'm betting we won't have to worry about getting up in the middle of the night tonight.


Your typical Sunday night nervous breakdown

Things With Which I Am Having A Difficult Time:

1. My house is still sort of a shambles from the party. The mess was cleaned up immediately, but the clutter is still everywhere. I was given crystal candy dish upon glass tiered server when my grandmother moved into assisted living this summer, and I used pretty much all of it (two boxes' worth) for the party. All of it is still out. All I have to do is pack it up and put it back in the garage, except that I used one of the boxes to mail Christmas gifts to my Midwest nephews and now I have to find a NEW box, plus find the motivation to start at ALL. Then I have all the table runner type things and dishes that I know I won't use till next year's party, but since all the other Christmas decorations are still out and I box everything up together, I've just left them out. In the old house I had plenty of kitchen and counter space to stash things - not so much in this house. What about all the extra beer and wine we haven't put away? And then just Christmas decoration in general - I moved a chair into my bedroom to make room for the Christmas tree, the unwrapped gifts hiding in my closet, kid Christmas projects littering the table... I AM OVERWHELMED. 

2. My son. Right now he is either heart-meltingly darling or demon spawn. There is no in between. If I'd had my car keys, if it hadn't been the middle of the Eucharistic prayer and people were kneeling, if we hadn't been surrounded by octogenarians on either side, I would have marched that kid out of church and into the car until Mass was over. This is the plan now, you know. Kid acts up, willfully ignores his mother = Immediate Removal. We managed to pull this off later on today, twice in fact, at both parties we attended this evening. He hated it, but will he remember that brat = bye bye tomorrow? 

3. I have not stopped eating cookies. It's been a while since I wore real pants. I am grateful for this whole stretchy pants/long loose top trend we're in right now. Totally works for me. We will discuss this further come January 1.

4. This week. I feel like Phillip needs to be done with work. I feel like we need vacation. It does not matter that we went on an actual date last night, it does not matter that he's done with school, it does not matter that he's on vacation NEXT week. I keep feeling like, "SERIOUSLY? Another WEEK of this?" This does not bode well for the rest of the YEAR, does it. 

Things With Which I Am Rather Pleased

1. Liz recommended Soulless to me last week and because I am too lazy and impatient to use the library like smart people who stick to their budgets, I downloaded the sample on the Kindle and promptly bought it. TIS HILARIOUS. Charlotte, I'm looking at you. It's the Luxe books plus vampires and werewolves (I KNOW) but with this sort of excellent self-aware humor that's kept me glued to my Kindle most of the weekend. Maureen (and a million others) have highly recommended Room, which I DO plan to read, once I take some sort of insensitivity-to-women-and-children-in-danger potion.  

2. I dressed my kids in their Christmas outfits today (to wear to church, which was fine because we won't be at our church for actual Christmas, you know they can't wear the same thing two Sundays in a row, quelle horreur!) and they are ADORABLE. With Jack's new haircut there is a surplus of cute around here, I must say. 

3. My fingernails. Is this an odd thing to be pleased about? Perhaps you don't know that I am a Lifelong Nail Biter, and any time all my nails are decent-looking at the same time is cause for celebration. A friend gave me a gift certificate to a fancy nail salon for my birthday (which was in JULY) and I'm thinking I should go use it. For kicks. 

4. I am officially done shopping now that I've picked up all the stocking stuffers. I sent all my boxes on time. I even sent (most) of my Christmas cards. And even though my desk is a nightmare of receipts and mail and flyers, I've paid all the bills and kept track of gifts and party expenses. I feel like I've done a good job of REMEMBERING everything, which is a huge chore this time of year. 

5. Our holiday plans. Even though we're doing a lot of driving back and forth, I'm excited about all our Christmas celebrations this year, and I'm particularly excited to spend Christmas morning with just our little family. We're planning on a small but special breakfast (cinnamon rolls) and gifts and stockings and just hanging out in our pajamas. We're really blessed to have easy families full of easy people we love to see. 

6. There's no preschool this week, but also nothing to DO. This is actually a GOOD thing right now, since I feel totally maxed out on DOING. I have no party or present or churchy or family deadlines. We'll see friends, Daddy will come home in time for dinner every night and perhaps I have a night out with friends in the works.


It won't do to feel like I'm ready for the Christmas season to be over a week before it even really STARTS. I'm hoping to remove my brain from the Clean Up/Organize/Get My Life In Order fixation and spend a little more time gazing at the nativity set, singing Christmas carols with Jack (all of which he seems to have learned from Barney Christmas specials), and reading Molly's My First Christmas book as many times as she asks.

Seven Quick This Week Is Killing Me Takes

1. After our morning cookie, Molly and I did a bit of Christmas shopping. I happened to be friendly to a grandmother hovering over the Barnes & Noble train table, a poor decision indeed. Her daughter had just given birth, she was from another state, there were many Issues and what I would have given for a nice little laminated sheet describing how to start your own blog and/or activate a Twitter account. "Here!" I would have said, bright eyed and desperate. "This is an EXCELLENT place to vent!" Instead I was briefed on all manner of intimate things I didn't want to know and she topped it off with a "your husband must be Oriental?" 

2. I wish I'd taken pictures of our preschool teacher gifts - THAT'S how "pretty" they were. I ended up letting Jack color all over two brown paper lunch bags and all over the "card" (just a folded up piece of white paper on which I wrote everything he had to say about his teachers, ie: "She is happy to me!"). We filled the bags with treats, folded the tops over, punched holes in the bag and the card and tied it together with red ribbon and a cinnamon applesauce ornament. Because I had a few leftover. And the presents didn't look very Christmassy. Then I put them in his backpack this morning and told him over and over to remember to give them to his teachers and he kept saying, "NO! They have to open them on CHRISTMAS! It's a SECRET!" and I kept saying, "But you have to give them the gifts to OPEN on Christmas YOU NITWIT!"

3. The Sugar Addict situation is not going well, but I wanted to tell you I'm changing tack. Instead of just not eating it, I'm going to eat it faster so that it disappears faster. Brilliant, no? Besides, there's nothing else to do when one's husband hasn't been seen all week. Something about papers? School projects? Meetings? WHO KNOWS.

4. Speaking of sugar, dessert at the [large, Chinese] dinner last night was pretty hilarious. We went out with Phillip's parents and good friends of theirs (the whole family- kids, grandkids, everyone) who happen to be Caucasian. They were troopers, excited about the food and willing to try whatever FIL recommended (and liking it! You should have seen the garbage disposal walking around in the guise of a tiny blond first grader.) but we (meaning Phillip and I) warned them about dessert. "Don't get excited," I said. "It looks better than it tastes," Phillip said. So when the mango pudding came out and the coconut-and-chocolate-flavored gelatinous squares were handed around, everyone dutifully (and, in the case of the kids, excitedly) tried a bite. "DISGUSTING!" shouted one of the little girls, and then I died laughing. It was okay, because we were at the kid table and therefore REQUIRED to be obnoxious, but it was just so TRUE. Chinese desserts are such a disappointment. Perhaps that's the solution: move to China.

5. Tonight Molly referred to herself as "Mahwymoo" instead of "Mahmoo" and a tiny little part of me died. The rest of me will die when she starts saying "strawberry" instead of "stah-ba-weddy". 

6. I cannot wait for my kids to open their Christmas presents. CANNOT. WAIT. They actually DO things now, you know? I think I even halfway know what they LIKE. But today they were playing "doctor" and Molly had a "boo boo" (we don't say that, I have no idea where they picked that up, preschool?) on her hand and Jack fashioned a cast out of box and I just about flung his doctor kit present at him right then and there. I break up a lot of fights, but I also witness a lot of awesome.

7. It's my mom's birthday on Friday! Happy birthday, My Mom! 

Besides, we can't live TOO far away from the acceptable Chinese restaurants

This morning we met some friends at Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is, for you out-of-towners, also the EMP and the Science Center and the Children's Museum and a whole bunch of theaters and a really not so impressive amusement park). I left around 9:45 in the morning and it took me about fifteen minutes - from the time I left my house to when I beautifully parallel parked the car - to get there. And we were late anyway, because we had to walk from the parking spot to the museum and Molly's average speed is something like Tortoise, but hey, fifteen minutes. Not bad. 

TONIGHT. Tonight we had to pick up Phillip at his office and then meet his parents and some of their friends for dinner downtown. To get to Phillip's office I ideally take the exact same route as I did this morning, with an earlier turn off and a few more city blocks. It should take fifteen minutes-ish. But I did, of course, leave at 5pm, the height of rush hour, but that's WHY I left at 5. Because dinner was at 6. 

I did not drive up to Phillip's office until 5:55. FIVE FIFTY FIVE. With kids who hadn't eaten dinner to boot. What was I thinking?! It was gory out, all rainy and dark and I knew I was in for it thirty seconds after leaving the house, which was when I encountered my first stretch of traffic. I usually get at LEAST a few more red lights out of the way before I hit a backup. Not tonight. 

Usually it's the kiss of pleasant children death if Jack happens to fall asleep in the car in the late afternoon, which of course he promptly did. But at least I didn't have to listen to his whining, so that was a win. And Molly kept listing all things she wanted to eat - yogurt, grapes, toast - until I realized she was getting all these ideas from the Wiggles song we were listening to ("Fruit salad! Mashed potatoes!") so I turned that off and handed her my phone. Insta-happy. 

But still. Nearly an hour. While I waited in a left hand turn lane to take The Back Way, I thought about all the possible ways a North Seattleite can drive downtown. You must take a bridge. Montlake, University, Ship Canal, Fremont, Ballard... am I missing any? I thought about how I knew exactly how to get to all of those bridges, how I figured out which would be the best one for me to take. I thought about how large and intimidating and confusing this city was when I moved here, and how NOT intimidating it is now. Even this morning, when I missed the freeway ramp to go home because I was stuck in the wrong lane, I just powered up a few hills and found The REALLY Back Way. I am totally from here. 

I sat in the merge lane to get on the bridge and I thought about how everyone complains about the traffic, but because I'm a stay at home mom and most of the time the places I want to go are against commuter traffic, it hardly affects me. I couldn't remember the last time I was really stuck in something like this. So I also had time to think about how often I sit with the laptop examining floor plans of giant houses in Bothell and Woodinville and Kirkland. Ginormous brand new houses that I'd LOVE to live in, that are cheaper than the ancient tiny house for sale on my busy street. I look at those floor plans and imagine where the furniture would go, and what we could do with the money we might save.

But tonight I felt sort of sad. Because, and I don't know if this will really make sense - I KNEW WHERE TO GO. I knew exactly what I was going to do to bypass the traffic. It was a route I'd used a million times, but not really since we moved out of our first apartment in Lake City. It was so familiar, the whole AREA was just so familiar. And I just felt like... but I'm from here. I know this place. I should stay here

Honestly, I make it sound like Bothell is the far side of the moon or something. OBVS IT IS NOT. I am just feeling stubborn tonight. Like yes we ARE going to find a house we love near-ish our church and the school and at a price that won't make us faint. RIGHT?

Also, you have to give me a break, I sat in traffic FOR AN HOUR all the while freaking out about being late for FIL's Milestone Birthday Dinner. GAH. (Except - Cheung Family Trivia - the birthday milestone was actually three years ago. Technically tonight we celebrated his AMERICAN age. Oh made up dates on official immigration documents! You make for lovely parties!)

P.S. Molly is in her bedroom singing at the top of her lungs (at 9:22 pm): "LO MAI GAI! LO MAI GAI! LO MAI GAI!" Somewhere, a certain Chinese man is driving home from his milestone birthday dinner and wondering why his heart is growing all warm and fuzzy. 

Now it's time for ME to watch something

My kids watched multiple hours of television today. Like four or five. I lost track of how many Barneys and Doras and you know what, I just stopped caring. When the wind is so forceful you think your fence is going to come down, when the rain makes everything dark, when you still have nine thousand dishes to put away from your Christmas party, when you have a headache that slowly infects your entire body and makes you wonder how in the world you're going to survive another no-husband night... you realize: hey! You are going to survive via television

I forget how we've survived the previous winters. I know that this year most of my friends' kids are in preschool the opposite days from Jack, so we don't do as many morning visits as we used to, and visiting friends (and inviting them over) is pretty much the only thing to do in the bad weather that doesn't cost money. Oh I know people say to go to the library, but I always have a hard time with them in libraries and if it's not fun for me, it's not fun for anyone. THAT IS THE RULE. We also run around the boring end of the mall, we go for walks if the weather isn't too terrible, we run errands. But a lot of times it is dark and gloomy and we're tired and TV can make that hour before bedtime a lot less painful. 

This morning the preschool teacher was cooing at Molly and asking her if she'll come to school next year, which set me off on this whole frantic thought process for a good hour or so. I totally want Molly to go to that school next year. But will we live in this neighborhood? Can we afford two kids in preschool at the same time? Would Jack go three days and Molly two, so that I'm effectively driving a small person to school every morning? Would they both go three days a week, effectively providing me three mornings a week of SOLITUDE? What would I do with myself? OMG what will I do when they're in REAL school? All day real school! The gig will be up! I'll have no purpose! I'LL HAVE TO GET A REAL JOB AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

I'm not sure if I can go there tonight. I'm still rather freaked out by the whole thing. 

People were talking about jobs at the Christmas party, as people DO. I don't think I have a lot of real life angst over my stay at home-ness (I save it all for the blog!), mainly because when people start talking about bosses and hours and frustrating work stuff I think: MY job is AWESOME. But then I start to go down the path of But I Have Nothing To Go Back To/No Career/No Prospects/Only The PTA In My Narrow Future and then I get a little mopey. 

Oh I guess I went there a little bit. Bah. 

La la la shall we start the pool on what time Phillip will get home? How about what time he'll get home on THURSDAY night, when he's scheduled to work late? HMMM? 


Because I know you were dying for an update on the Krazy

I thought I would tell you that I am feeling better. Much much better. Not 100% better, but enough better so that I am back to feeling like December is just another month (albeit one filled with sugar everywhere I look) and not The Month That Drives Me To Therapy And/Or Hard Liquor. Which is nice!

I credit the pills. I certainly can't credit my excellent diet or commitment to exercise or getting to talk to my husband more than once every three or four days. It has to be the pills. 

But I still have very mixed feelings about the pills. I still don't understand them, although understanding the pills is only part of a much larger thing I don't understand, which is how it's possible that brain chemicals affect how you FEEL. I can understand broken arms, stomach flu, headaches, even things like cancer to a certain extent. But I still do not really understand how I can be so very incredibly horribly nervous, more nervous than my most nervous moment ever - the hour before my first debate in high school - and not have a good reason. Oh, SOMETIMES I can fish a reason out of my murky clot of non-linear memories, sometimes I can find one in a particularly stressful moment in the last week or two, but other times? THERE IS NO REASON. I swear it. I feel like people can't possibly believe that, but I'm not exaggerating, I'm not making it up. Cold sweats out of nowhere. Panic, dread, instant shoulder tension, and all the while I'm thinking, "WHYYYY???"

I understand medicine for sickness. You can't do anything about sickness and medicine is what you need. But why do I need medicine for feelings? Shouldn't I be able to do something about FEELINGS?

I had a lot of reasons for resisting meds, but a big one was: there HAS to be a reason. I must be doing SOMETHING wrong. I can't just be anxious out of NOWHERE. I felt like taking meds would be just masking my Real Problem, whatever that was. So I delved into all the possibilities, I really did, and you know what? Still anxious. 

So I got my prescription, I stared at it for a long time, I filled it, then I stared at the pills for a long time. I wondered how they would make me FEEL. How did they WORK. Would I feel better, but only artificially better? Would they affect my other feelings? Would they mask anxiety I NEED to feel? Would they make me happier? Cheerier? More talkative? Less inhibited? Would I still be me? Could I still be me if I was taking medication to make me FEEL differently? 

I started taking the pills. I had a very rocky start. Probably not as rocky as some, but for a while I was pretty sure they were making everything worse. But I also thought that I was really good at making everything worse on my own, and I gave them more time. 

I am so glad I did. 

I feel like myself, only not as anxious. I still feel a little anxious every so often, but not at a level where I'm particularly annoyed about it. And there are more and more days when I feel absolutely fine. I don't THINK I feel happier or cheerier or anything that might smack of fake. I feel like ME. But I do survey myself pretty frequently - am I doing better with the kids because I'm on meds? Am I yelling less because I'm on meds? Would I be even more bummed out about my Grad School Widow status if I wasn't on meds? 

Mostly I think I'm the same. I feel like my feelings are the real ones. I honestly can't tell a difference between pre-meds and post-meds except a distinct lack of anxiety. Which is exactly what I hoped for, even though I do not understand it at all. 

If you've been reading here a while or if you ever drop by the Catholic blog, you know that I am not super big on understanding everything, that I'm pretty comfortable with the limbo of Not Sure. And hey, this stuff is working for me so far, why question it, right? 

Except I do. I really do. I'm happy I've found something that works, at least so far and for now. Well I'm more than happy, I'm relieved. But I'm someone who trusts her gut, has instincts, senses more than knows, intuits things... and the mystery of nervousness out of nowhere, and the existence of medication to make it go away makes me think... I don't know. Like I can't trust myself. 

Oh HELLO existential crisis! Well, if there's any place for it, it's the blog, right? I AM JUST THINKING OUT LOUD, people. All is well. (Which is the whole point of this post anyway!) Things are better. I just don't understand why, I guess. Not complaining, just thinking and it appears I've reached my making-sense threshold. All those dirty dishes in the kitchen should take care of that! 

Deck the halls with plastic cups and cocktail napkins

We've thrown a Christmas party every year we've been married (except for last year when the FPC got married in December and we threw a replacement St. Valentine's Day Massacre party in February, which was kick ass, if only because I got to dress up like a flapper) and I love everything about planning it except the RSVP situation. Every year I spend the weeks leading up to our party in various states of despair about no one showing up because for some reason People In General have this really annoying aversion to the words RSVP. This year, however, the Gods of Party Throwing took pity on my frustrated cries because DUDE. Practically everyone RSVPed and practically everyone was in. Which meant I spent the weeks leading up to THIS party in various states of despair over not enough space/not enough food. 

I couldn't really do anything about the space, but I definitely went overboard on the food. I bought heaps and heaps of things for forty-seven different kinds of appetizers. I even ordered cupcakes and savory puff pastries from the FPC. I spreadsheeted and listed and strategized and timed and drew up an Order Of Oven Events which I had to hide from everyone lest they LAUGH. 

I managed to get it all the food out ("I" in this case meaning "with the help of two sisters and at least two friends") in a timely-ish manner. And I thought it looked nice. It even looked edible, though I have no idea how anything tasted since I didn't eat a single bite. By that point none of it appealed to me. I was so tired of thinking about food and worrying about food and MAKING FOOD that I was all about my plastic cup of wine and being out of the kitchen. The thing was, I fully intended to refill the plates. I had more than enough (WAY more than enough) ingredients for several more rounds of bruschetta and flank steak and dips and all that, but... yeah. So the kitchen was constantly full of people, meaning not a lot of room to make more food, and (this is the real reason) I WAS HAVING FUN. Inconsiderate hostess! Bad party thrower!

Way back when I would have said that I liked hosting parties because I could be social while also having an escape. Like running into the kitchen to grill more bruschetta bread when I got overwhelmed by my ineptitude with small talk. But now I would say I like hosting parties because everyone who comes is my FRIEND and I get to talk to ALL OF THEM. What's happened to me?! Didn't I just write a cranky post about being introverted?! Did I really get frustrated at my own party because I didn't get to spend quality time with EVERYONE?!

ANYWAY. All that to say: I have tons, no really, TONS of food left over. I have enough booze to host five more years of Christmas parties. I have more wine than I started with. I still have boxes and boxes of cookies in my freezer and I have open bags of candy and I have nothing else to eat except party food because no one considered buying REAL groceries... I will be FORCED to eat cookies for breakfast! I bet the kids are going to be SO unhappy when I feed them M&Ms for lunch!

But next year? I think next year I am going to have the FPC cater the whole thing. I mean, I had to respond to ninety-five percent of the food compliments with, "Well, my SISTER made those, not ME" so why not? Also I live amongst a surplus of college students and I think some of them might like to make an extra couple of bucks passing trays of canapes and small bites between thirty-somethings who have to get home by eleven to relieve the babysitter. The more I think about this the more I think it is the best idea ever. 

Also, I had a two-year-old sleeping on my bed the entire time. I made sure to make plenty of obnoxious comments about Appreciating What You Have to her parents. 

Also, we picked up the kids from my parents' tonight and at 10:03 PM they are both still awake. Wah.

Also, my husband is a last minute grocery shopping, furniture moving, picture taking, whole house vacuuming, knows how to read a room SAINT.