Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just 17, you know what I mean

This Christmas Eve my youngest son, Thomas turned 17 which means, after a year of driving with a permit, he can now go for the driving test. His test was for 8 AM, we were there at 7. The fourth car in a line of anxious teenagers waiting for their turn to strike the first cord of emancipation from their parents. I knew what was going through his head. "Always use blinkers, don't go too fast, why does parallel parking have to be part of this anyway. How will I bear the humiliation if I fail". I failed my first time taking the test. Fortunately, I was out of high school so my friends didn't know. Truthfully, I didn't care much for driving. I did know I had to do this because my father was getting too old to drive and my mother never did get a license. The car my father owned, and that I was to drive, was his 1949 Buick Dynaflow. It looked like a tank, had no power steering and I needed a large pillow to see over the steering wheel. See why I didn't want to drive. When the two older kids needed a car, they would complain if they had to drive my mini-van. Ask me how much sympathy I had for them. But isn't driving what you had boyfriends for. Back then, boys drove and girls were passengers. Oh wait, things haven't changed in 30 years have they. My husband always drives. In the last 25 years, I can count on one hand how many times my husband has been a passenger with me driving and never for longer than a couple of miles. He can have this driving thing anyway, put me on the bus. Back to my son. It is 8 AM. His turn came. This nice gray-haired woman officer approached the car and got in. I went to wait in the building with all the other parents. We talked about how we felt. Some saw it with mixed emotion. I didn't. I saw it as another stage. Joy to the World - he passed. We went home, he called his friend. It is no longer, "Mom, can you drive me.... It is replaced by Mom, can I have the car." It starts today, and goes on from here - another rite of passage.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Traditions

In my house, Christmas was the holiday. On Christmas Eve,we just prepared for Christmas. Then I met this guy who eventually became my husband. He is 100% Italian and is quite proud of it. He has good values and very old fashion traditions some of which I had to get use to. For instance, he insisted on having macaroni (never called it pasta) every Sunday with homemade sauce. When we first started dating, he had me sit with his mother so I would learn how to make "the Sunday sauce". I should have guessed from that that that I was a keeper. My husband is Mr. Christmas. He loves all of this stuff. The food, the gifts, Frank Sinatra. The day after Christmas, he is always depressed that it is all over. After we married, he expected it to be my responsibility to make Christmas Eve dinner. I resisted. We went to his mother's. Then, my son Thomas was born, 8 weeks early - on Christmas Eve. All of a sudden, I am making Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner. I did this for about 12 years and finally decided, it is too much. I stopped doing Christmas Eve about 3 years ago, much to the chagrin of my family (see posts from Christmas comes but once a year). Christmas Eve dinner, the Italian way, should be delegated to a grandmother or grandmother-in-law. A mother with 3 kids, a full time job and a blog should be exempt. The holiday requires making a marinara sauce, frying a lot of fish, soaking this fish that looks like cardboard (baccala) into a edible delicacy, all resulting in a huge mess. Number 1, who invented this and number 2, why would anyone want to do this? I protest. This year, however, we will have some tradition on Christmas Eve. Tony's mother has moved up and we will visit early on Christmas Eve . I am taking her food shopping Saturday so she can get her fish, her pasta and cook for her children and grandchildren. It is nice. Merry Christmas to me and to all a Good Night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas in the City

It's coming, it's practically here. No not Christmas, or New Year's, it's my weekend in NY city. Tony and I are leaving early Friday morning. We're staying at this hotel. We are taking the train layout tour of New York starting here, going there, and here. Oh, some non-train stuff of course like this place. I hear it is going to snow - good! I may never come home. If anyone has recommendations on dinner or drink places, please send me a comment. Will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas comes but once a year

Christmas traditions I have given up:
  1. Cutting down the Christmas Tree. We no longer pack the family into the van the day after Thanksgiving and head north to cut down the tree. The kids have great memories of my arguing with my husband about which tree to cut (he was always right - it was too big). We have a fake tree now - it fits.
  2. Decorations that were more kid oriented.  The Santa and the Snowman on the lawn are replaced by lots of lights on the trees and garland on the deck that may stay up until a warm thaw.
  3. No more cooking dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Love cooking Christmas Day, hate cooking Christmas Eve.  Too much frying of fish that makes a mess.  Invite me and I will come bearing gifts.
Here is the agenda for the rest of the December:
Saturday, 12/1 Christmas Dance
Saturday, 12/8 Progressive dinner
Tuesday, 12/11 Foodfest at work
Wednesday, 12/12 Department Christmas party
Friday, Dec 14 company party 
Friday and Saturday, 12/14 and 15 - Weekend in NY with Tony (can't wait)
Wednesday, 12/19 - another department Christmas luncheon Friday, 12/21 - the start of cooking for Christmas. Monday, 12/24 - Christmas Eve (I refuse to cook - see above) Tuesday, 12/25 - Christmas - bring appetite and stay all day.  Food starts being served from 2 PM with spinach pies and grapeleaves, goes to pasta and antipasti and then to the roast beef and turkey (can't wait) with lots of sides.  The day ends with everyone tired, and a little drunk, watching "Stalag 17" (I'm told it is a Christmas movie and at this point, anything is believable). Wednesday, 12/26 - no after sales for me.  I am so done.