The Card Players (Zwei Kartenspieler) by Paul Cézanne. 1892-1893.
(Interesting Trivia: purchased by Qatar royal family in 2011 for most sum of money ever paid for a work of art.)
The ping pong table was a success. Stunned raised eyebrows that mother dearest was of her own accord introducing things that bounced into the house. Mother dearest has been emotionally challenged with the enthusiastic table shoving involved in preferred methods of set up, but overall, no regrets, and a little training in gift usage is ok.
Girl two had asked repeatedly for Christmas to bring a Barbie horse. I found two possibilities, both for ridiculous amounts of money that I simply couldn’t justify. Unbeknownst to me, her siblings had found a Barbie horse at a second hand store earlier that day for less than a tenth of the price. By Christmas morning it was one of the biggest packages under the tree. (For some reason the kids don’t think they’ve done it right unless there are multiple boxes involved in a packaging exercise.)
We made the best of the mild weather. We took our usual walks and scouted new ones in nearby forests. On boxing day, the kids and I decided that weather that warm the day after Christmas was not to be scoffed at. In snow pants, gloves, hats, and sweatshirts, we hit the bike trails for a rare mid-winter cycle.
Uno games are high on my list, since everyone can play them, but watching Girl one begin her entry into the regular world of cards after Girl two had gone to bed, was a great joy. Some parents sit with baited breath as their child takes their first step, gets on the school bus, or goes for a first overnight. For us, the crossing of the threshold into competitive card games is a joy hard to contain. Girl one was thrilled to be included and appointed me her royal adviser. Not sure where she gets all the drama, but she was happy and we were happy, and with a little reminding about how much help she was getting, Boy two (now taking his own first steps in the world of the now un-coached card player) survived her first few winning hands.
I have dispensed of New Year’s resolutions and have instead arranged some modest goals from now until the end of February, at which time I will re-evaluate. As part of modest goals, Boy one is working on his cooking. Since session one, I’ve adjusted the idea that he’ll magically cook by himself without first cooking together. This was fine for baking, but with cooking it helps to chop side by side, learn to peel the skin off garlic by seeing someone do it, and smell spices together before throwing them in. There’s a heart and soul to cooking that I want to share. And now that I mention it, I want to write about it sometime too, so no more of that for now.
For now, it’s time for the lovely quiet of kids gone back to school.
Me Contemplating possible post Christmas regrets from the gift I chose . . . also technically known as, “Aged Angel,” by Odilon Redon
I’m sitting around feeling grateful for odd tidbits. We’ve found styles I can manage for the girls’ hair, my husband gets up in the night to add wood to the fire, my son is learning to say I’m sorry properly, my daughter’s whole self lights up with joy when she sings, my other daughter dances glory hallelujah because life pleases her, my son worked after school for days and days to have all his own money to spend for Christmas this year . . . and I had a mother who trained me to write grateful lists year round.
In a first this year, I have a present from me to everybody. Although my husband reads the blog, the fact that he is easily distracted will work in my favor. From now until Christmas, every time he gets a free minute on his computer, I’ll point to the mistletoe in the kitchen. That or ask him a question about football.
They all know I’m picking up a 4′ x 8′ board today to complete my present, but nobody can guess what it is. I got a ping pong set (net, paddles, balls) that hooks to any size table. My plan is to put felt on the bottom of the board and then paint the top. Wala enlarged ping pong table to sit on top of the kitchen table when we feel like it.
My secret is protected largely by my fanaticism about balls in the house. They are not allowed to be tossed, juggled, banged, bopped, thrown, kicked or dribbled. Boy one has probably put in a 1000 hours of work or so in his fourteen years paying for his ball infractions. He has lost balls to the heel of my foot or to a sleight of hand whereby they end up deep sixed in the garbage can. Possibly a few tennis balls have been cut in half. None of the family would dream something as outlandish as me voluntarily introducing balls into my kingdom.
Wish me well. If I can wrap strips of sheet around my mouth and duct tape my rear end to a chair, I think they’ll have a lot of fun. I imagine it will feel like something akin to finding out the drinking age is lower half an hour away, only they’ll be in their own kitchen living the wild life.
I offer prayers for each of you as Advent draws to a close. Barring a sudden need to post, I’m taking time off from the blog until January 2nd (or 5th, I can’t decide). A merry and blessed Christmas and New Year’s to everyone. May you be richly blessed in the days ahead. Heading into Christmas, you are all most definitely on my grateful list.
Shocking weather forecast predicts droplets of water will be bringing Christmas cheer in lieu of snow. Gulp.