Christmas in our house growing up was a huge deal.
My mom went all out though she never appeared to enjoy it.
She always just looked stressed and aggravated.
At least that's how I remember it.
She loved to cook. I remember one December Saturday when I was maybe 9 our daddy took all 5 of us off somewhere. I think maybe to see the Rockettes at Radio City. She spent the whole day alone baking. It might have been the best day of her entire year. When we got home that evening, there were racks of cookies covering every surface of the kitchen and dining room.
She made Christmas ornaments. Collected and spray painted pine cones. 12 drummers drumming out of clothespins. Lacy white crocheted snowflakes. I remember watching her stick them to the side of the box freezer in the basement, smeared with starch so they would dry stiff and hang flat on the tree. I remember us making felt Christmas Bells when I was 6 or 7 or 8. She had already taught me how to use a sewing machine. We cut the felt. We sewed them together. We glued the ric-rak. We punched holes and fixed colored grommets with some cool tool contraption she had.
We made the bells together. That kinda shit didn't happen very often.
She made us Christmas dresses every year. All 4 of us. We would go to the fabric store and pick out patterns and fabric and inevitably she'd be up till 3 am Christmas Eve eve finishing the last dress. Because on Christmas Eve dayshe started cooking. She'd pull together a menu from the December issues of Food and Wine and Bon Appetit and Gourmet. This was back in the day when it was almost impossible to find something like cardamom or fresh juniper berries. A crown roast or fresh oysters needed to be special ordered.
And the Midnight Christmas Eve service in our fancy Christmas Dresses.
Daddy and I sang in the choir we sucked
Candles. Incense. Heavily spiked eggnog.
What??? we were Episcopal
So. Not much Christmas Spirit around here. It's not my usual Grinchy-tude. I'm just not that into it this year. The kids put up the tree. I bought boxes ofprobably gross frozen finger foods at BJs to take to Sister Halona's for our Christmas Feast. Screw cooking. I voted we order in Chinese. Sister Halona almost excommunicated me after that.
The pict on my header? From last year. I got the lights up but they're not plugged in. A few blue balls are hanging. Maybe I'll get the rest up tomorrow yes tomorrow as in christmas
Jack looked out the window at the half decorated porch and said not to be criticistic mom, but you're like the last one to get your lights up.
Criticistic? Did you say criticistic? Is that a word?
It is now. I'm George Bush.
Fukin funny kid
I snuck out this evening to fill my new xanax prescription pharmacy closed get some feminine hygiene products damn peri-menopause and buy last minute candy for stocking stuffers.
I drove down Main St, looking at the lights and thinking about how un-christmasy I feel.
Filled up the van with gas and picked up my Friday night 6 of hard cranberry lemonade.
Mr Gas Station Man asked for my ID.
I loved that
ID? Of course!hee hee hee Handed over my license.
Puzzled look on Mr Gas Station Man's face. I chuckled
Is this you? Which is funny cause I look even younger on my ID
Yup. I pulled off my glasses and laughed. 47. Good genes
This was last Sunday's post before the shit hit the fan.
I'm terrible at thank-you notes but I want to thank each and every one of you awesome bloggers for your comments and emails and most of all your love.
You have given me strength and perspective.
You got me through.
I understand about a fingernail's worth of the Hindu religion and culture. It's insanely complicated and convoluted and there are like 47 Sanskrit words that seem to all mean the same thing. Or one word can mean 112 different things.
I love the mythology. I love the symbolism. I love the color and the intensity and the ornamentation. It's malleable. It's multilayered. It sits well with me. From the million gazillion symbols and specifics, I could conjure my perfect Ganesh.
Guardian of the Indian Home
Remover of Obstacles
Lord of Beginnings
Lord of Farming
Lord of Learning
Anyone can invoke Ganesha
He requires no priest as intermediary
He transcends religious, class, and caste
I first knew Ganesha as
the Remover of Obstacles to Happiness
since I don't believe in happiness
my dark and twisty
tweaked it to
the Remover of Obstacles to Understanding
I don't need to be happy
I just need to understand
And I began to understand
all apparent contradictions
in the Universe and in my Brain
can be contained in Ganesha's big belly
Ganesha's trunk curves to the left
forming the shape of the sacred syllable OM
the vibration at the origin of the cosmos
Ganesha appeared with the sound
and danced the Universe into existence
the great sage Vyasa agreed to recite
the epic narrative of India
only if Ganesh agreed to
write it down
the recitation went on for weeks
when all his pens were worn down,
Ganesha broke off his tusk and dipped it in ink
thus saving the story of India
as the Bhagavad Gita
i've tried to read it 3 times but it continues to be ice picks in my eyes
the Lord of Storytellers
the lotus flower symbolizes all of creation
as well as spiritual purity
the bowl of sweets represents the
pleasures of knowledge and spiritual wisdom
In one hand, my Ganesha holds an axe
to break the bonds of ignorance
the axe also severs
the ties that bind us to material things
One hand is raised with the symbol of enlightenment
see! it means a bunch of different things
which comes with liberation from all want and desire
the Serpent coiled around Ganesha's belly
symbolizes Kundalini Shakti
the coiled and latent psychic energy
deep within each of us that seeks union
with the undifferentiated consciousness
of the Universe
we are all one
though Ganesha's many arms are raised to attain the spiritual
All week month I've been trying to cultivate conjure gratitude
It has not been easy.
Not only has is it not been easy to not feel grateful see all that negativity but it's even more uncomfortable knowing that I'm not feelin the love.
Before prozac I was painfully aware of all things wonderful in my life.
I was even more painfully aware of my inability to FEEL the wonderfulness.
Then the cloud was lifted the veil pulled away the scales fell from my eyes
and I saw the light
Can I hear an amen sistah?
Well. Once a body truly experiences gratitude and thankfulness and contentment and maybe possibly just a wee bit of joy it really sucks to go back.
Recently I've been Discontent. Edgy. Wanting. Lacking.
Feeling these things in the heart and the body when the mind knows everything is
SO FUCKING GOOD really sucks donkey balls.
A few weeks ago, I was all in a confused tizzy.
I went to yoga to stop my head from popping off. I hung out after class with Yogini Shannon.
I was am in a
what the fuck am I doing? what the fuck am I thinking? what is my problem?
I don't know what I'm doing I don't know what I'm thinking what is my fucking problem?
kind of space
Yogini Shannon looked at me and said yourMOMdied And BANG A flash of light woke me up. I looked at her and kind of laughed as I burst into tears
my MOM died
Shannon saw me and hugged me and felt me dissolve as I sobbed on her shoulder
Oh my GOD Shannon, my MOM died
She said it was like watching a blister pop. She said it was radical.
Michelle, you still have to GRIEVE.
Since then I've been having weird dreams about my folks.
A dream that we're arranging for them to move to a new place and I'm worried my dad will decompensate and
IN THE DREAM I realize he's already dead and I don't have to worry about him.
In the dream I feel relief and gratitude he's already dead he won't suffer anymore thank god he already died
And dreams of my mom. One of her being very present but not being able to speak to me.
And last night an oddly reassuring dream. We were all lined up in a bed head to foot like sardines she loved sardines on saltines or enslaved africans crossing the ocean. I could feel her lying cool and dead on my right and it was ok.
Then energy infused her body and I felt it warm up next to mine and she was alive. Her hand reached for mine and squeezed it it's ok but I could feel her fingertips were still cold despite the warmth coming from her body.
And the coolness of her hand told me it was temporary and then she was gone.
So today is Thanksgiving. I think it was Her favorite holiday. We'll stand in a circle at Sister Halona's and I will remember that last Thanksgiving I stood next to Her, her cool left hand in my right. I will remember that Ted announced there would be a new family member at the next Thanksgiving and I will remember that my mom kept looking at me in disbelief and I was aggravated by her and I will remember saying don't look at me I'm not the one who's pregnant.
But that was before I understood.
And today there is one less and one more.
A new baby is in our circle. A baby she tried to wait for.
I don't know. I'm feeling so off balance and I'm having to re-examine so much.
"it occurred to me that the only real sin you can commit as a mother is to deny your children's right to be who they are and what they want to be and that the only real sin you can commit against yourself is to deny who you truly are and prevent yourself from being who that is"