Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy King's Day

Yesterday was Spanish Christmas. Or Dia de los reyes. This is the day traditionally celebrated in Spain with gifts. The kids leave their shoes out for the wise men, and they fill them with treats. We made a king cake, (which we forgot to photograph) and put a coin and a bean in it. The one who gets the coin is king for the day, and the one with the bean is the slave. We did it late in the evening, so Austin owes Megan a day of slavery. I love that while everyone else is already packing away the ornaments and putting the tree out for recycling, we are still celebrating with the 12 days of christmas.

The first day of christmas is christmas day, the 2nd day is the 26th and so on. The 12th day is January 6th, or 12th night... or Epiphany some call it. We just call it kings day or spanish christmas. We get an extra 12 days of christmas.... gotta love those Spaniards... They love to drag a party out till the wee hours, it's no wonder they celebrate christmas for 12 days. Ever wondered why the gifts in the 12 days of christmas were so wierd? Well, if you were living in the 15th century, those would have been lavish gifts sent by a man to woo a lady. Very fine indeed!

I think it is great to include traditions from other cultures in your holidays. We always celebrate christmas eve with my mothers family. Her siblings, and all my cousins. It is a tradition my kids all love and look forward to every year. Spaghetti dinner, and one present per kid. Lots of visiting with the cousins we hardly see anymore. A time to reconnect and reflect and see how everyone has grown. My grandma would be happy to know we still carry on this tradition her family started as immigrants from Germany. Christmas was celebrated on Christmas Eve with Gramma Ree. I am missing her a lot these days and have included some memories of her as I work on my list.

601. I love to go boating
602. One of my best vacations ever was a camping trip to Lake Shasta with my aunt and uncle when I was 19
603. I love a good sense of humor
604. when I was dating, I always looked to see if the guy smiled with his eyes
605. I met my current husband on a dating website
606. I met my previous husband in a personal add in the local newspaper
607. Met my live in boyfriend/father of my son at a bar in Lake Tahoe
608. met my first husband on a blind date
609. I hiked around Lilly Lake In Lake Tahoe
610. stayed at a rustic cabin my son’s grandparents owned at Fallen Leaf Lake
611. my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon
612. my husband has the same last name
613. my husband has two last names like all Spanish people, but no middle name.
614. I was embarrassed when my MIL washed my thong underwear and hung them on the clothesline which is directly above the front entrance to the apartment for all the world to see
615. not embarrassed of the underwear, but that she washed them for me… I haven’t had someone do my laundry for me since I was a kid
616. I used to smoke Benson and Hedges lights
617. then I smoked Virginia Slims
618. then I smoked Virginia slims light menthol 100’s
619. then I smoked Marlboro Red hardpacks
620. then Marlboro Red 100’s hardpacks
621. the Marlboro lights hardpack
622. then Marlboro light 100’s hardpack
623. then I quit smoking
624. 5 different times, once with each pregnancy and after dating the singin’ cowboy…
625. I quit because I couldn’t breathe I was so sick with asthma
626. it was a nervous habit, I started because I felt insecure
627. what a dumb reason to smoke
628. sometimes when I drink I want to smoke
629. when I drink too much, I sometimes get mean to people I love
630. so now I don’t drink so much anymore
631. I think I am allergic to champagne, I get violently sick off a couple glasses
632. 2 glasses of wine makes me feel warm and tingly and fuzzy all over… sometimes I go over the two drink limit to 3 and am usually OK… but much more than that and I am sorry the next day.
633. I love a good bourbon whiskey… Makers Mark or Knobb Creek are my favorites
634. I am always cold in the winter
635. I wear socks to bed at night or my feet never get warm
636. and old granny flannel pj’s with a sweatshirt on top (sexy) cause my neck and shoulders are always cold
637. I am addicted to chocolate
638. I could give up any other food… but I don’t think I could give up chocolate
639. I miss having girlfriends I can be silly with, I’m not silly with many people anymore
640. sometimes I feel like all the joy is gone from my life
641. even surrounded by friends and family, I feel lonely
642. I worry too much
643. I try to second guess everyone
644. I try too hard most times to be what people want instead of just trying to be me
645. I want another baby so badly I ache with it
646. I can’t sleep at night because of stress and worrying
647. sometimes I feel like I will never be good enough
648. I learned last year that I am pretty unforgiving
649. I also learned how to forgive, and it was a strange feeling to really forgive someone, with no judgment or strings attached, because not forgiving would have meant the person leaving my life. I chose to be happy instead of choosing to be right.
650. Mean people hurt my heart
651. helping people fills my heart up all the way to the top
652. it also makes me feel less lonely to know other people feel or have felt the same way
653. my kids fill my heart up with their beautiful spirits
654. I am blessed in being their mother
655. they are my greatest teachers
656. I feel like I don’t have enough “good or interesting” things on this list
657. when I write about my feelings and thoughts, I feel like it is inadequate content… like the naked truth is not good enough
658. I miss my grandma so much and think of her every day
659. I remember her smell
660. and the coushy feel of her big body when she gave me a hug
661. the way she used to call me dolly
662. she taught me to sing
663. and how to sew
664. and how to give great tea parties
665. she instilled her love of children in me
666. she always had something nice to say about everyone
667. she showed me how to Charleston
668. she cooked up cockamamie schemes worthy of a Lucy episode
669. she could converse with you on any subject
670. she had a great and sometimes bawdy sense of humor
671. as I read over this list, I am crying as I realize, a lot of who I am is because of her and her influence
672. I have a cookie cookbook that she gave me when I was 13
673. there is an inscription in it that reads, “May this book bring you much pleasure and happiness, as you have given to me” It is one of my most prized possessions
674. she had a mental breakdown after her last child was born
675. she was in a catatonic state and had what they termed back then a “nervous breakdown” and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression
676. she had over 30 electric shock treatments at the Napa State Mental Hospital back in the day when psychology was in the experimental phase
677. one day, she sat up and said “To hell with this” and walked out. She walked to a phone booth and called my grandpa and he came and picked her up
678. I don’t know of a more sane and grounded person than my grandma was
679. she had her problems, she was obese long before it was the trend in this country
680. I grew up living with obesity, and what an obese person goes through, seeing the world through her eyes… and seeing others eyes on her when we went somewhere
681. I remember the first time I became aware that she was fat… I was 13. One of my friends asked, “how much does your grandma weigh?” I didn’t even realize she was fat… she was just grandma. The woman who loved me so unconditionally, that all I saw was the love…
682. I remember funny things she would say about herself
683. like the time mom and I were helping her get her girdle on, and she had lost a lot of weight, she was complaining that her bras didn’t fit anymore and said, “I’ve lost so damn much weight, I have to roll my tits up like window shades and stuff them in my bra.”
684. or when I would use the blush brush on her face, she’d crack “Just like paintin’ a barn door.”
685. She came to see me in the hospital when my daughter Megan was born. My mom says she never visited anyone else when they had a baby. She was terrified of hospitals after the mental hospital and refused to go in one. I felt really special that she braved her fears for me.
686. She did her own dental extractions with a few shots of whiskey and a bobby pin
687. she believed ”a good physic” was the cure for everything, and you could pick one of 3 poisons, Milk of Magnesia, Epson Salts or an enema, but there was no getting past it. I still believe colon health is important today because of all the “doses” I got as a kid
688. Ictheol ointment, black as tar, was a standard in her medicine bag
689. lavoptic eyewash and vic’s menthol rub were a constant
690. I snuck in her room when I was little and played with all her pills, and had to get my stomach pumped… I had tasted one and they were bitter, so I didn’t eat more, but they saw me with all the pills and one in my mouth and away to the hospital I went. I was too little to say that I didn’t eat more than one, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Mom says I was 18 months old.
691. I remember the poems she taught me, and have taught them to my kids
692. and all the little kid songs she sang to me as well
693. I remember if she was in a bad mood about something, or feeling sorry for herself, I would tell her a problem I was having and all of a sudden she was better and off on a mission to help me solve my problem
694. I spent a lot of nights with her when I was growing up
695. I moved in with her with my first husband for the first few months of our marriage
696. she told me my grandpa proposed to her on Valentine’s day… I wouldn’t have thought “the old white haired son of a bitch” as she called him, was that romantic… but I guess the young happy couple they were, was worn down to a couple that tolerated one another in the end. But in their way, they loved each other
697. grandpa used to go to the store and tell the clerk there “Today is my anniversary, and we still hold hands.” After hearing compliments about how sweet and romantic it was he would say “Yeah, well, if we turned loose, we’d kill each other.”
698. Their gravestone says “they’re still holding hands.” And only our family knows the true meaning.
699. when grandpa died, the 5 kids all picked out a double plot for them, and told grandma in a kind and sensitive tone that grandpa would be buried extra deep, and when her time came, she would go in above him.
700. she looked at us all standing around so somber and said “You mean that poor bastard is gonna have me on his back for all eternity?” like I said… I miss her. She was one in a million.

1 comment:

Stampamelbie said...

OMG, woman! Don't you ever think that there aren't enough good or interesting things on your list. Are you kidding?? OMG, I love your list, and love the courage you have to put it all out there for us to read.

You are helping me so much to reminisce about things in my life, and you make me feel like I'm not alone in the way that I feel.

Thank you so much for being you, and for writing all of this.

Love ya!