Is it just my imagination or do the sands in the hourglass slide more quickly at the end of the year??? No? 24 hours is 24 hours. It just seems like it at this time of year.
Thanksgiving was, well, too much damn work. I host every year, which I normally enjoy. I set a full formal table, again – which I normally enjoy. I plan the menu and get everything rolling and just do my thing. This year? It seemed like too much damn work. Seventeen people – so not an enormous crowd (plenty of table settings to go around!), one tag along friend of the nephew that didn’t have anywhere to go – glad to have him with us. But seriously? The help I get from the rest of the attendees is little to none. I want to complain and grouse about it, but I know that it’s my own fault. I’ve been super hostess for so many years that I’ve trained them all to just come and enjoy. I’m not sure what was different this year, but I was crabby about it.
So much so that I decided to skip our big holiday dinner party. That’s not the entire reason, but a good part of it. Thing One is bringing his (cute little darling) girlfriend for dinner on Christmas eve . I just decided to go all out for that meal instead of doing a big bash on the 21st and the 24th. Money isn’t the only reason, but surely part of it. That dinner is expensive to throw – hundreds of dollars. So…I’m going to go all out for dinner for the family (which includes my bachelor brother in law – so a nice round number of 6). Christmas morning at our house with the kids and cute little girlfriend (I’m trying so hard not to get attached to her…but got her a great present….), then to other BIL’s for Mark’s side, then to my sister’s later in the afternoon for my side. A full couple of days, but hopefully will be less stressful than TG.
Part of the stress is from the new role I’m in at work. Boring details, but I’ve been allocated to an ENORMOUS project 75% , theoretically until June 2014, but it’s looking more and more like it will go past that. I’m way out of my element but bringing some value – at least they haven’t asked that I be removed. And I know it’s good for my career, what’s left of it anyway, but it’s all the stuff I hate – details, meetings ad nauseum, more details. My leader called it a ‘growth opportunity’ when she offered it to me. I did, however, get the distinct impression that I didn’t really have the option of declining. Anyway, stress to the 10th power. The 25% that’s left over for my real job is really another 75%. I’ve seriously thought about looking for other employment. Then again, I hope to be able to arrange finances such that I can retire before I’m 60, even if it’s one day, so can surely hang in another 6 years. I hate when my work life affects my real life. Hate.
I went on a candy making binge the last two weekends by accident. I got a call a couple of weeks ago from C, the daughter of a former friend, asking if I was going to make candy. I could tell from her voice that something was up so I hedged a bit and said yes, but I hadn’t decided when. Keep in mind that I NEVER make candy. The making of candy requires precision of timing and measurement, both things that aren’t my cooking strong suits. She started crying and said that this was the 6th years since her mom left (her dad for another man and moved 5 states away – right before the start of C’s senior year. Her mother is dead to me – and we were really good friends. I haven’t spoken to her since.) and she really wanted to make candy. What could I say? So I asked her if she had to work the coming Saturday. She hung up in a minute to check and called me back immediately. She had that day off! And was my friend – and hers – D coming, too? I told her I’d check. She hung up with a happy voice. I called D and asked her if she wanted to make candy on Saturday. No, she had no interest in making candy. Then I told her about C and D said ‘what time do you want me there?’ Yes, that’s the kind of woman that she is.
We had a great afternoon and made all kinds of unhealthy stuff. C talked and talked and talked to us, cried a couple of times and we hugged more than once. It was a good day for all of us. And lots of candy to boot. The next day, I had to make more to use up the ingredients that I bought. I’ve got 12 plates made up to take to friends and neighbors, and will still have plenty for our gatherings. I still don’t really dig making candy, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.
Then I talk to my sister this past week. I can hear in her voice that she’s in that place. Emotionally, fragile, feeling at odds. Two of her children have moved out of state to the west coast and won’t be back. Youngest will be home, but is leaving in January for a semester abroad (Istanbul, of all places). She saw some FB postings about the candy making and felt a little bit left out, I think. So what do I do? Invite her to come make candy on Saturday. I could tell by the look on her face when I saw her that I didn’t imagine that she was there. Her bipolar meds keep her in check most of the time, but sometimes, not quite. We had a great afternoon and she told me that spending time with me was better than any pill she could take. That made me feel good and guilty at the same time. Oh well. I do what I can do, you know?
Goodies overcame the baddies. It’s a holiday miracle.