It's like that song that keeps running through my head, "Me and Bobby McGee", what does Janis Joplin say?
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose...
That's how I'm feeling this morning here in my new grown up life. Happy for the children and grandchildren around me but sadly longing for those not here. This is just not normal for our family. Like Satchel wrote to me, "Don't be sad Busha. When this is all over we'll be together for Christmas." Sweet little boy. And this is the second year Alex hasn't been with us.
I love you guys, and carry you in my heart through this holiday season.
Here's heartfelt wishes to all of you blogland friends, hoping that your loved ones are all near. xoxoxo
I have a favorite thrift store close to my house here. It's quite large and it is the place where I get all of my sweaters for my recycled sewing projects. Last week I found a beautiful pale blue cashmere sweater for Swapna for $4.00, which she wore today, in which she looked very beautiful; and brand new Hanna Andersson Christmas pajamas for Jahan in organic cotton, for $1.80.
But my freezing solstice find was this camel colored 100% wool blanket, made in the USA by the Faribault Woolen Mill. It is large, in perfect condition, washable, and soft and warm. I'm using it over my down comforter which creates so much more warmth. It was only $5.00! I LOVE IT when this happens!
We're expecting snow again tonight which means tomorrow it will warm up to 30 degrees. That means we can go out in the daytime. Truly, the last two days have been physically painful to be outside. And that's not just this surfer girl talking, all the locals are saying the same thing that I am saying. Frigid cold. I've also been wearing the warm wool socks that Zak's girlfriend, Heather, knitted for me. Here they are amidst yesterday's cookie baking mess:
Zak is here! Ike is beside himself that Uncle Shotgun is here. Yesterday was a great first day together. We all bundled up and walked to the red line and took it downtown to Daly Plaza where the German Christmas festival is taking place. It was cold, but, my heart's desire came true. Out amongst the revelers, lights everywhere, musicians on corners and snow falling. We started with a grilled cheese sandwich at Shannon's house. Ike went wild. Potty talk abounded. Why is it that when men (even 5 year olds) get in the company of buddies (even old uncles) their mind gets possessed with unsavory things (like "stinky diapers", "weiners", and ok, even football?) and they body slam and rough and tumble everywhere? So the weekend was spent trying not to laugh at Ike's unbridled joy at seeing Zak while we constantly reminded him of what was innappropriate. But his face basically stayed like this for 2 days:
Shannon was post-call on Saturday, exhausted, and pretty sad about one of her patients. She tried hard to be a trooper, but my mama's eyes could see her struggle. Before we left for downtown her AMA membership certificate arrived in the mail. We were all congratulating her and she said, "Yeah. This is why I'm soooooo happy." It was fun to see Ike wearing the Christmas vest and hat I made for him last year (out of recycled sweaters.) And Fiona was just a little rosey, pink marshmellow in the hat and scarf I made for Ike a few years ago: Oh my lord, it was cold. As well, it began snowing when we left the house and snowed, basically all night. The first thing Zak and Ike did was check on Ike's snowman from the other day. Zak: "Where's his head?" Ike: (looking puzzled) "Under his hat, Uncle Shotgun." Downtown was spectacular. We had dinner at the Christkindlmarket...potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce, bratwurst sandwiches, and hot cocoa and cider. I don't know if it was the freezing weather or not, but it was hot, flavorful, and a new rendition of comfort food. The crafts were quite sweet, very Waldorf, which I anticipated. Santa was there and I believe he was the sweetest, most soft spoken pretend Santa I've ever seen. Even Fiona took a moment to cry. Ikey told him he wanted a pirhanna for Christmas ("No, not a REAL one silly"). The carriages were working, and it was my first time to see Christmas vignettes with real snow. It made all the difference. So beautiful, and with the German mountain scenes I was so taken by the beauty. Ike loved them too. There was a fire in a little firepit where the pigeons warmed themselves: On Sunday, it was 3 degrees, BUT -29 with the windchill factor! We stayed in at Shannies, made a big pot of chili, guys watched football and we baked cookies. When we had to outdoors for anything it was painful. Actually painful. Oh but to be inside was So. Very. Cozy. Another realization for me...the true meaning of "slower than molasses in January": Is this a dream come true, while vacationing in Chicago on the coldest day of the year to date? Zak was in heaven. Then we began decorating the cookies:
We served the chili with shredded cheddar, diced red onion, sour cream and avacado for garnish, along with corn muffins and butter. Dee-Lish.
Right after dinner as we visited and as we prepared ourselves for the frigid task of "leaving" Ike and I noticed the beautiful ice crystals that had formed on the windows: