Thursday, January 31, 2013
I stood chopping onions on Christmas Eve for John's and my annual holiday open house. A glass of red wine was close by to make sure the party preparations went faster. True to form, I soon starting tearing up from the onions. Wiping the 'onion' tears away, I smiled as I remembered as a child watching my mother chop onions while laughing and crying from them. She was getting ready for her annual holiday party as well. My family was in our small kitchen preparing for the open house that she and Dad hosted each year. We were all laughing and there was this festive energy in the air. Dad was getting the bar ready, making sure we had Piels beer, a couple jugs of Gallo wine, and just the basics: vodka, gin, and Dewar's Scotch. (A far cry from my bar with 30 plus bottles of various booze. LOL) We kids were just watching our parents get ready, trying to stay out of the way. Soon enough, Adam and I would be ushered downstairs to the family room to be chaperoned by our big sister Sheryl.
Mom hung blue and white lights up as they were holiday-ish and also reflective of the color blue associated with Hanukkah. We were a dual religious household with Mom being Jewish and Dad, Christian, so our decorations reflected both Christmas and Hanukkah. Our small fake tree, about 4 feet tall, was made larger by Dad putting it on a small wood table. Carefully hung were the family ornaments we had all made through the years and then Mom's precious Scandinavian ornaments. Simple and wooden, clean and classical. With just white lights to set them off. She finished off the tree with little red bows strategically placed at the end of each branch. My smile could not be any wider as I presently think about this.
She had her holiday party for several years and it was a well remembered, anticipated event in our circle of friends. I found myself thinking of her as I got ready for my own holiday event this year. Placing pieces of paper on each serving dish to show what would go in where. Wrapping the metal railing with evergreen garland as we had done down the oak banister of our stairs in my childhood home. A simple fresh green wreath hung on the door. These days though, is looks as if Christmas exploded across my home but that's alright. This is John's holiday too and I was just along enjoying the fun festive ride!
Mom's appreciation of Christmas was not overdone but in its own way, very festive. It was simpler, classic, and understated. John and I bring out the Christmas antiques every holiday season and decorate, decorate, decorate. This year I hung a large blue paper snowflake from the entrance hall chandelier which a good friend's young daughter had made me. It looked just like the Jewish Star of David. Just as the guests started to arrive, I looked up at it and thought that Mom would have approved and loved it.
**This blog is dedicated to my friend Patty who was injured coming to my house for the party. May she have a speedy recovery!
Sunday, January 27, 2013
No resolutions. Just introspection. I do this on the Jewish New Year as well. You try and figure out where you've come from, how you got there, what the heck you are doing in life, and where you will be going. I don't believe in writing that resolution list anymore.
I came across a list of resolutions from 10 years ago and could have wrote the same list today. Same projects I want to work on but haven't gotten around to. Same things I want to change about myself and am continuously striving for. So for me, it's a waste of paper. Therefore, I do the introspection.
The year 2012 was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed being bar manager for the Lodge immensely. I even looked at restaurant/bar managing as an alternative career but rediscovered that as management (even as a volunteer), it comes down on you to cover stuff when the chips are down. I found myself spending more and more time obsessing over the most minutiae of details of the bar. Giving it up was a relief but also difficult. You work so hard on a "project" in your life that once it is over or it is given up, you go through withdrawal. I am feeling that now but eagerly looking forward to reclaimed time in my schedule to focus on blogging.
I also reasserted myself and rediscovered some self-confidence over several situations at the end of the year. I found that my choices may not make people like me but at least I can say I stand by decisions I have made and sleep well at night. And besides, how boring would your world be if everyone got along? Nothing like a couple shakeups to put things in perspective. I know I am writing about this vaguely. What is important at this point is not so much what happened, but what I learned from the experiences.
I am have learned over these last couple years that successful writing is more about satisfying myself with the essays I write. It is not about impressing people or wishing, hoping, and praying that people REALLY LIKE ME. It is about how I FEEL about my writing. This may seem obvious but for me, a work in progress, it was not so obvious. I don't apologize for the length of my journey in this life. Wisdom gained does not come over night. And if you feel it does, you are fooling yourself. I thought I would know more by age 42 but I seem to question more instead! There is nothing wrong with that either. I am developing the wisdom to realize I sometimes don't know Jack (not you Jack Ross)! LOL. I also am developing the wisdom to take time before I speak, to think things out, and not act as irrational as that 20-something Philly party kid used to.
My blogging was definitely a personal accomplishment for myself. I have come close to 20,000 separate views on my blog since its inception 2 ½ years ago. And to those certain friends messing with me, I think I am only responsible for 5000 of those views (wink wink). I still enjoy writing and this year, will be able to spend to more time on it to see where I can take it. This includes sending out essays and articles to newspapers, magazines, and online websites for publication. Wish me luck. I am still excited to see where this takes me.