Monday, December 26, 2005

The Day after Christmas

Today is a quiet day and I'm glad that it is. The Christmas festivities were definitely joyful and noise-filled too. I generated some of the noise on Christmas eve when I played what's left of the piano on the second floor of the long-term care home where my daughter's mother-in-law lives. The poor piano was so far out of tune that it made me wince and I played only staccato notes and tried not to use too many of the keys at once It was a good thing the singers in the family are tolerant and reasonably loud. I'm Getting' Nuthin for Christmas and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Rudolph didn't need a lot of piano accompaniment, and I tried to be a silent as possible during the rendition of Silent Night.

We went to an 8:00 p.m. Christmas eve mass and there was a good deal of music before and during the mass. I was quite taken aback to hear the lord's prayer sung to a tune by Gordon Lightfoot, (the lamp is burning low upon my table top etc.) and wondered if he gets any money for that. I rather suspect he doesn't.

Christmas day there were two bouts of present opening, one after brunch and one later in the afternoon, when the out-of-town family contingent arrived, and then of course we had "The Dinner" which deserves both it's capitals and it's quotation marks. It was an excellent family time and no one got cranky, that is a record of sorts and a good one too.

I have a new DVD player and have only to face the challenge of figuring out how to work the two remotes, since I think I've hooked it up correctly. I may require the services of someone under 14 to help me figure it out, but I'm sure Frankie can be persuaded to help me.

2006 will be here in a few days and I should reorganize my work area, and try to find places for all the paper I've accumulated in the last few months. But today, I'm going to enjoy doing a fair bit of nothing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When Christmas is the "Real Thing"

It's less than a week before Christmas day and I'm as ready for the season as I can be.

The longest night is almost upon us, and it makes me think of what it must have been like in ancient times, before electricity, before candles, before almost everything except fire, and most of all, before people could be sure that the light would return. I wonder if northern people lit fires on every hill top to encourage the sun.

We will not be huddling around a fire and waiting for the return of the light, but we will enjoy that ancient symbol of life, the evergreen tree, and we will feast and talk and laugh and probably one of my grandsons will get over-excited and be banished, but only for a short while. And the day-of-days will be too long and it will be too short, and it will be too suddenly over.

While we celebrate the season of the return of the light and of the birth of Christ, we'll remember what the "real thing" is all about. We always give thanks for surviving the year and we remember those who have precious little to be thankful for, but are thankful nonetheless.

Our family struggles often, in fact almost constantly, but we are more fortunate than many, and yes, we are blessed. And because we are blessed, the end of the year is when we can, and do, give something to others. This year, I think my contributions will go to Doctors Without Borders and to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

May the season of light and joy bring happiness and peace to you all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Former Party-Girl Indulges in Nostalgia

It's the week before Christmas week, and I'm remembering my not-at-all sordid party-girl past. Every year, for six years, I was extremely involved in putting on major parties for the seniors who came to the Community Centre where I worked. We would prepare and serve Christmas dinners to three different large groups of seniors and their families in four days. Two of the parties were for the frail seniors and seniors with memory loss who came to the day program I coordinated, and the other party was for well seniors. After the feasts came the singing of carols and other seasonal songs. Their favourite song was not a Christmas carol- it was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, although Silent Night was a close second. Since I was the piano player and the song leader as well as the chief organizer, I didn't dare eat too much dinner or I'd never be able to sing.

Five years have passed since the last time I was a party-girl, but I do have pictures of many of the people who took part in the celebrations, and sometimes I spend a little time looking at those pictures and remembering.

Christmas time isn't such a hectic time for me now. I don't come home too tired to bother with anything but a quick sandwich and a warm bed. There are definitely more opportunities to enjoy the season and yet, I miss seeing all those faces light up. But maybe I'll be doing a little playing on Christmas eve. I'll be going with Nancy and Gary and the boys to visit Gary's mother who is in a long-term care home and Nancy tells me there is a piano there so I should bring some music.

Perhaps I'll spend some time this evening practicing my Christmas music.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On The Promise Road

Or - Call me when we get to Oz.

There seem to be enough big political promise balloons floating down the yellow brick road to take us for a ride all the way to Oz, if only they were real enough to lasso.

Some of them look like real balloons but, probably they were created by the political wizard's union. They will vanish on January 24th, right after we choose the new P.M. who will promptly install himself behind the curtain and amaze us with his power to forget all about the balloons.

Seems like every morning the Conservatives promise something - lower the GST a tiny bit and take six years to do it, give a measly amount of money to parents for daycare of choice, a free vote on gay marriage. They're like the high school jock who tries to seduce the girl by swearing he'll pull out in time, I won't (let the hard right) come, baby, really, I promise. Probably there was another announcement today, but I missed it. I don't want to go all the way, and besides, I don't fancy any of their promises.

The Liberals are telling us to remember the good times we've had, much like the spouse who's been unfaithful but begs forgiveness. And they tell us where they will spend more money on us, might even buy us flowers and candy (raising the personal deduction amount) and just generally, well, do - um, more, if that's what it takes to get back in our good graces.

Meanwhile the NDP candidates are grinding away trying to raise their profile across the country and get their platform heard. They're like the guy girls wouldn't date because he was nice, but too nice and too serious. Me, I like the nice serious guys. There aren't enough of them to go around and while they don't have shiny balloons, they've got some good ideas.

I guess it's time to stop thinking about politics and start thinking about Christmas.