Monday, December 14, 2009

Gathering Family Together at the Holidays....

So how does one entice older teens to the table and to spend an evening hanging out with Mom and Dad?  Chinese take out and The Muppet's Christmas Carol, of course.  It also helps if you invite their friends, especially the ones who have never seen the Muppet's version of the Christmas classic.

The entire evening was my husband's idea.  I went to bed early Saturday night, exhausted from a day spent traveling to Massachusetts with my daughter to make tons of pierogi with the in-laws and her cousins, and awoke Sunday morning to a forwarded text alerting me of the evening's festivities.

It was a gift not to be planning the holiday get together.  So after begging off from that night's monthly gathering of my playwriting group, I scoured the house for the holiday videos, which I so cleverly hid last year.  While I never did find them (thank goodness for the local video store), I did find two snowboarding coats that went missing about three years ago and the pearl ring that my hubby gave me on our first Christmas together, which has been missing for at least three years too.  I also located the papermache Santa my husband made when he was in grade school and the clay sleigh and Santa figurine I made as a freshman, plus tons of photos and cards from over the years.

And now that I've replaced our three must-have holiday classics* with a last-minute desperate order via Amazon dot com, I'm sure to find the treasure trove of holiday videos that have been watched multiple times over the years.  (If I do, I'll simply have DVDs to hand out as if you're on my list, hope I find my holiday video box.)

Ah, the holidays. Such a crazy, magical, hectic time of year.  Now where did I put the stockings?  Oy. Who cares? As long as family's around to pass the rice....

* Our three must-have holiday classics include: Dr. Seuss's Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the original cartoon version), It's A Wonderful Life, and, of course, The Muppet's Christmas Carol.  What videos do you watch every year?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ode to Four-Footed Friends

We lost a family member last week.  Our greyhound, Ellory.  Ellory McQueen “LL McBean” Myskowski, also known as “Elle,” to be precise.

She was our daughter’s pet; it was Abby who arranged the adoption.  That was nine-plus years ago.

When Elle first moved in with us at the ripe old track retirement age of three, our daughter couldn’t walk her.  Though Elle was the smallest greyhound at the kennel, she was still too large and too strong for our then first grader to handle alone.  But eventually first graders grow into college students.  And unfortunately dogs can only accompany us so far on our life’s journey.

While Elle’s loss is a keen blow to my husband and me, for we have lost a true and loyal friend, her death has left a profound hole in our daughter’s life.  With time the pain may ease a bit, but no one can completely erase the loss of a pet with which you grew up, walked many miles, went on vacations, and too soon out lived.

Elle, you’re missed.  Especially this holiday season.  And this morning when you weren’t waiting for us to walk you. And tonight when you won’t be begging for your dinner.  And all the days and evenings to come when—for just the teensiest, tiniest instant—we'll forget you’re no longer here.