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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Dedicated to Elaine, one of my muses, who threatened never to check my blog again if I didn't add something soon....

It may seem a weird excuse for not blogging, but for some reason, the "Add Image" button on this very web page onto which I am typing this is no longer working. I cannot help but feel: what is the use of blogging without a picture to illustrate my current state of mind? I have finally sent a plea for help to blogger.com tech support. Here's to hopin' they can suggest a way to fix it.

Anyway, here is something just to get the juices flowing again.

Thanksgiving was good. (How could I say otherwise, when Elaine, the person to which this post is dedicated, was my guest of honor?) We had 19 people and WAAAAAAY too much food, and I think we spent more time divving up the leftovers between the four families than we did actually eating.

That particular day we had a magnificent snowstorm that was not quite bad enough to prohibit driving, but we all felt warm and cozy and very holiday-ish.
The adults ate on paper plates using plastic cutlery in our living room. High class, huh? All the food was wonderful and it tasted like Thanksgiving. One of our local radio stations started exclusively playing Christmas music that day, so it was all very festive.

Yesterday morning (Friday) the six of us romped together in the snow. If you looked closely at it, you could see individual flakes stacked on top of each other. If you blew on it, it exploded into the air like fluffy, crystalline dust. It was still snowing very lightly, and I was mezmerized watching individual flakes fall on my coat - each tiny and perfect. Magic magic magic.

Later I turned my thoughts towards gift-purchasing....

(I suddenly hesitate to go into too much detail about this process as some of the recipients of those gifts will be reading this.... Don't want to give too much away.)

Let me just say, it was a very pleasant experience, and now I'm almost done. I had plenty of time, and a general idea of what I was doing, and I didn't get too fried.

I headed straight for work following shopping, actually trying to get there early to get a parking space. I start work at 5:30, but last night, literally across the street from the gallery, was the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Town Square, which includes a visit from Santa Claus. Yes, the Santa Claus. (Yet, another advantage to winter in Alaska - we are driving distance from North Pole.) Despite the temperature being only 8 degrees (brrrr), I knew the turnout would be good and close parking would be slim.

That done, I shared with Sam and Becky, the gallery owners, the dream I'd had the night before. I told them I dreamed the gallery was going to be filled with people and that sales would be good. They laughed at me. Becky explained that, actually, with so many other stores having post-Thanksgiving door-busters and what not, the day after Christmas is usually pretty slow.

Even so, I felt optimistic. I leaned against the front door and watched and listened to the ceremony across the street, and after a bit people started to trickle in. Soon, the gallery was full. I was kept quite busy flitting from person to person, gauging their interest level and checking out body language.

In the end, I had a better night than I've had in a long time. Still won't make commission this pay period (unless next Monday is a slam dunk) but still did more in real life than I had in my dream. (This fact made Sam laugh again.)

My biggest sale was to a lesbian couple, and upon returning home I commented to Bruce, "Why is it my best sales are to lesbians?" It really is true. He thinks that when I finally publish a book (dreamer, nothing but a dreamer...) I should title it "How to Sell Art to Lesbians".

I replied, "Oh that's a great idea, considering our last name." (For those who don't know my last name, it contains overt and obvious sexual references.)

Okay. Time to change gears.

On my way up to bed last night, I had a profound thought. I realized that my four kids are like a four-course meal.

Jack is the appetizer. Appetizers are almost always delicious and it's easy to consume way too much of an appetizer at the expense of the rest of the meal. They are just too yummy and go down way too easy when you're hungry. It's hard to imagine a fancy night out on the town without an appetizer - preferably something deep-fried or with cream cheese or garlic.

Sabrina is like a salad. You really can't do without a salad. It's roughage! Salads come in a mind-numbing variety of combinations, and depending on what's in season can differ from each other entirely. I love salad, especially those that are a bit fruity and nutty, with a bit of tart cheese thrown in.

Ellie is a main course. You've been drooling over the thought of surf-and-turf all night, but by the time it gets to the table, you're feeling pretty stuffed. It is chock full of protein, fiber, and starch, which all-in-all, is the perfect combination, but there just isn't that much room left to fully enjoy it. So, you pack the leftovers and take them home, knowing there is plenty to enjoy tomorrow, when you're finally hungry again.

Evan is dessert. Dinner has ended, you are sure you could never eat another bite. But, darn it, you're celebrating, so even if you think you can only manage one bite, you still order the caramel apple crisp, or the burnt cream, or the tiramisu. And when it comes, it is so sweet, and so just right after everything else, that you find you've eaten it all in teeny tiny, oh-just-one-more bites.

Those are my kids.

Today was Saturday, and weather has finally cleared after a great many days of snowy skies (I am NOT complaining, by the way.) This morning it was 5 degrees in south Anchorage, so we decided to go to a warmer locale. In Girdwood the temperature was 15 or so. So we drove down Turnagain Arm, marveling at pearlescent skies, ice encrusted sheer rock cliffs, and rapidly drifting ice-floes as the tide poured in.

Girdwood was pristine and beautiful. The spruce trees were like a picture out of my childhood snow fantasies: ten inches of snow weighing down each branch and twig, so that they appeared like masses of white and green cones.

At The Bake Shop, where we always eat in Girdwood, surrounded by snowboarders and skiers, between the six of us we ate: two bowls of soup, three huge meat and cheese sandwiches, one sourdough bun with butter, and an 11 inch pizza.

When all the bowls and plates were licked clean, Jack said, "Can we get ice cream now?" HAH!

On our way home, we did, in fact stop at the grocery for ice cream - neopolitan for the kids, moose tracks for Bruce, and coffee with crushed heath bar for me. Then we watched "The Polar Express" together, and afterward feasted on Thanksgiving leftovers.

Perhaps tomorrow we'll get around to Christmas decorating.

The final part of "family time" was spent with Bruce and I, in true tyranical form, standing over the kids making them clean their rooms before bed, while at least one child cried hysterically and carried on.

I guess it is part of parent, part of life, that even the best days have "bad parts." I have spent most of my life being crushed by the teeny tiny bits of bad there has been. I don't have much of a backbone. As I try to explain to the kids, when we are responsible, when we keep up with our chores and obligations, there is more time for fun and less reason to feel stress or guilt.

I realized tonight that at least Jack is finally starting to get this message. For Sabrina and Ellie it is still a work in progress (a losing one, from all appearances - though it looked that way even with Jack for a long time). Evan is just now starting to exhibit "terrible two" behavior, becoming increasingly less dessert-like.

Bruce and Jack are finishing up watching "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" for Jack's first time. I'm glad they're watching it together.

Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O'Hara once said. It will have good parts and bad parts. But I am so thankful for all of it.

I hope this is a sufficient enough update, Elaine. I certainly feel as though I've been writing a long time. God bless everyone.


At 5:54 PM, Blogger Gateway School and Learning Center said...

And God bless you as well. Thank you for the update. It's been wayyyyy too long. Chats on the cell from Costco don't count. Love the children as dinner analogy.


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