December 26th, 2008

summer reading

Let him bring us a glass of beer/and the better we shall sing

I was just realizing today how one of the things I miss from my childhood is all of the singing I did. I belonged to a couple of choirs, one of them competitive, and used to be able to read music. Alas, that's one of those skills you lose when you don't use it. Some things stick with me, like how certain songs had harmonies that I was assigned, and to this day I sing the harmony part of certain songs before I realize what I'm doing.

Anyway.

Our family had a great Christmas and I hope yours did, too. In counter of thinking of childhood losses, now I'll comment about adulthood gains: it's so very nice to belong to a family that gets along, has very little drama or people who use drama to get attention, has a sense of humor and uses it frequently, and where it's comfortable to express positive feelings for one another. This is such a contrast to the family I grew up with it's as if the word 'family' means two opposite things at the same time.

We took it pretty low key with gifts this year - actually, we've been gradually ratcheting down over the course of the last few years - and I can't say I noticed the loss too much. Well, except with the stockings. Everyone was snowed in for at least part of the week leading up to Christmas and some people had lost power for a few days, so the stockings were stuffed a little less than usual. I adore our little tradition where everyone gets everyone else a few things for the stocking because one ends up with the most amazing variety of things. Even more amazing, most of the items are useful, so it's not one of those situations where it's all meaningless junk you'd rather do without. Since people couldn't get out and shop for those little things like mini flashlights that attach to the keychain or socks or the latest kind of dental floss, so that little piece of the day that involves reaching into the stocking and pulling out many things to marvel over was a bit dimmed. But really, it doesn't matter. We had a great, relaxing day, enjoying one another's company and eating good food - holidays don't get much better than that.

I had put on my wish list that I wanted a decent kitchen scale and ended up with two of them. Now I have the difficult task of deciding which to keep. One of them is digital with a flat plate surface for measuring and the other is not electronic, but has a bowl to put things in for measuring. To my mind, they both have a positive and a negative aspect: the digital one has the weakness of being electronic, so will need some funky battery replacement at some point in the future, plus I think has more of a chance of breaking or not working. But the flat surface for measuring is preferable. Then the old fashioned one doesn't need batteries and seems more likely to last a lifetime, but has the non-preferred bowl. What to do? What to do? Of course, if this is one's big dilemma, life is very good, indeed, and I do know it.

As we had snow days earlier in the week, I figured I needed to be at work for at least part of the day. I started early and will need to stay late due to my transportation situation, so feel ok taking a little longer lunch than usual. Our winter wonderland is slowly melting, but we had so much snow that it's about as bad getting around many places now as it ever was. For example, downtown many sidewalks were scraped and most streets were plowed, however, this resulted in these knee-to-waist high berms between the sidewalks and the street since apparently no one thought about crossing any streets. To cross over thus requires an expedition up and over a mound of dirty snow with a layer of ice on top, plus a layer of rain on top of that. It's slippery, wet, and dirty and I regretted not wearing my more heavy duty shoes as I made my way from the bus to my office door. Where people have walked a little path and wore down the snow, it's even more slippery - or in spots, just ankle deep in standing water. What a mess. Where I live these berms are everywhere and my car rides too low to traverse them, so I'm hitching a ride with my husband. Even with traction devices, it's hard to get around in places like my neighborhood where nothing has been plowed or scraped.

At the moment, I'm remembering that it is Friday - and a Friday afternoon at that - and thinking longingly about sitting in a warm pub with a cold beer. But, since that's not happening any time soon, I may as well get back to it.

Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays, whichever ones are being celebrated.