Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Rehab

Thanksgiving here is mingled with Birthdays so it is a busy time. It is a wonderful time. Since we have moved away from extended family it is just the three of us now. The sound and the fury of a large family gathering is often missed. Through the years we have developed our own traditions, celebrated with friends, and celebrated alone but mostly we just celebrate each other. Lives are always shifting in some way or other making time the enemy of familiarity. We are immersed in social networking, hectic schedules, cell phones and computers. We Blog, we Twitter and Facebook. We email, Instant Message and text. We are connected by satellite and cable, tracking devices, wireless remote and streaming live feed with up to the minute coverage. In this day and age of unbelievable technology, communication is at an absolute zenith. And yet we rarely just talk.
On our family holidays, our Nacho Night or Middle of the week day off holiday, we talk. We unplug, wire down and disconnect. We sit at the kitchen table or on the living room floor and we talk until the morning sun shames us into sleeping. We talk of the world, philosophy, religion, politics and history. We talk of physics and God. We talk about acting, writing and art. Rarely does the conversation have anything to do with what any of us are doing in our lives. We already know all that, we stay connected. Instead we talk about what we think about and what we question. Sometimes it gets heated along the fault lines of opinion, sometimes we just glide into deeper BS about why we think our opinion trumps all. Mostly we just share what makes us who we are, our thoughts.
Then just as any respectable family would do, we badger one another until someone fesses up about just what they plan to do with all those lofty thoughts and high-faluting opinions. No sense doing all that thinking and jawboning if there isn’t an action plan forthcoming. This is the part we all love—like eating a slice of Aunt Ethel’s five year old fruitcake. Basically we use these planned excuses to get together as a time to touch base with who we are and who we want to be; to find out what our loved ones want most how we can help them achieve it.

Sure we do all the traditional American Thanksgiving fare. Clean the house like the Queen is dropping by, slave in the kitchen pretending to be Julia Child and then eat like total swine all day long. When dinner is served we ooh and ah over the same dishes we have prepared for every Thanksgiving dinner and then by candlelight we toast our good fortune and give thanks for it all. Not so different from most other families around the world who come together for a special event to share in each other’s lives. It’s how we continue the bonding tradition of being truly connected.
Part of our tradition at this time is also birthdays so Thanksgiving around here ends up looking a little more like a pre-Christmas warm up. Over the years I have even taken to setting up the Christmas village in time for the big turkey roast. The village like most good intentioned impulses has grown completely out of control. It threatens all who come near. A new piece or two is bought ever year culminating in something that looks a little more like an alien invasion by a race of miniature Victorians. The whole production is a tad time consuming and soon we will need to knock out a wall or move to a coliseum to accommodate the whole affair. I’ll post a picture the little aliens a bit closer to Christmas...or at least decently in the month of December.

Since today was the first day that it wasn’t raining nor was I stuck inside prepping food, building alien villages, shampooing carpets or fluffing fake snow I decided I was finally going to clean out the annual pond plants. Those babies have been clinging to denial like a teenage girl watching the phone on prom night. I just had to break it to them. It’s November-- Everybody out of the pool!
In June we bought three water hyacinth and two water lettuce. When I pulled them out today I had four wheel barrels full of them. Holy cow. Washington state has mild summers and these plants are warm weather lovers. They are well behaved up here but in more Southern areas they are banned as aggressive…much like those little Christmas villages should be. I going to need rehab.
The water plants seasonal delusion infiltrating my brain convinced me that I would have time to do some cutting back in the garden. Maybe get some of that compost and mulch out of the hay bale pile and onto some flower beds where it belongs. Four wheel barrel loads and a blister later the light was beginning to fade as quickly as my will. I decided instead to take a quick cruise of the garden before heading in. I found that there was still a nice bit of color left out there. It was soggy as all daylights but it was color doggone it and at the end of November! This garden and I are still newlyweds so I don’t really know what to expect yet and like most innocent newlyweds I am surprised and delighted at everything it does. I suppose next year I may find some of those endearing habits like reseeding and spreading far too annoying to bear but for now I am just happy to see something—anything growing. I took photos of what I suspect will be the last of my garden’s colors for a few months, at least until spring. Last year in December we had a lot of snow, of course this is exactly when I plan to plant the seven hundred plus bulbs I bought. I'm sure it should work out just perfectly.
Will you take a look at this last picture? No, a good close look. Those are bulbs starting to come up! This garden is in serious denial.
Great. My garden is in denial and I need Christmas village rehab. Talk about dysfunctional.


  1. Wonderful post and pictures, as always.


  2. LeSan, As always I sail through your writing... Imagining you and your loved ones sitting together truly communicating from the heart and mind is a lovely warm image and true honor to a day of Thanksgiving. That you have each other and that you want to know each other in a deeper way . . . to share thoughts and then questioning what to do with them, seems as sweet and nourishing as your Aunts aged fruitcake. I do hope your daffodils will wake up . . . before it is too late and go back to sleep! Lovely photos strewn like seeds of beauty amidst your thoughtful woven words. Carol

  3. Hello,
    I love that tradition that your family shares of just "talking". Not many people do that anymore. I feel horribly guilty because my daughter from college came back for turkey day and I hardly talked to her at all we were so busy. I am going to have to talk her ear off at Christmas. Neither of us has the gift of gab so it is difficult. My husband on the other hand, put in a dime, get out a dollar!

    Love this post, and way to go for cleaning out the ponds. Looks messy, but kind of fun.

  4. Another delightful post. Talking is what many families don't do. We talk in our family. Although, sometimes, WE compete with Wii.
    As for the bulbs planting, it might be not bad idea to do it in December. I planted some in November, and they are showing green tops too!

  5. Sounds like you had a nice Thanksgiving. It was food and football here.
    Can't wait to see your 'alien' village. I bet it's pretty. That's about the only Christmas thing we don't have at this house.

  6. LeSan, glad to hear you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is wonderful to hear about your family chats. People are so in a rush anymore that it is hard to as you say, talk. I had heard that water hyacinth can be a invasive spreader. Glad your are in an area where they can be kept in check. They must have really enjoyed your pond though ;-)

  7. Love the image of you guys sitting on the floor talking till dawn. We have a similar thing where we have game night and it gets quite rowdy but fun. And I blew tea out my nose at your village rehab. I may have to join.

  8. It does sound like you had a great family weekend. Those types really are my favorite when we have no plans and just hang out at home spending time together.
    Sounds like you got lots done in your pond and garden. It's amazing how mild it really still is, although it looks like it's going to start getting much cooler soon. Hope you get the bulbs in soon.

  9. Your holiday weekend sound like it was wonderful. You are making great progress in your garden. Hurrah for all your hard work. You are already bonded with your garden!!

  10. Better get those bulbs in the ground. I do the same thing, One year, spring sprang, and I still had bulbs to put in the ground. I enjoyed your post. Sounds wonderfully tranquil and fun.

    Not at all like what is going on here now. We are laying floors in my whole house- DH and I are doing it, like the nuts that we are! Next time, I am going to hire it done. I always say that, DH always says "NO, YOU ARE NOT!", and so I don't. I must be easily bullied.

    On to Christmas! I am for that! We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I can't wait to see my house clean again. You show me your village, I will show you mine. LOL

  11. Well, I love Christmas villages, but do not have any pieces. I buy a piece for my daughter's collection each year, so I have to go to her house to enjoy them.

    I love that gardens aren't predictable. I hope your bulbs slow down and wait patiently until spring ;0)

  12. HOCKING HILLS~ I agree that we are often in too much of a rush to really listen to one another. I am fortunate that my family is willing to take the time and make the effort to actually talk—in full sentences even. The water hyacinth are in a huge pile next to the compost pile waiting to be mowed to bits. They are still plenty green and if it continues the wet weather they may just make themselves at home in their new digs. This spring I actually had a daffodil sprout and flower in a pile of brush. The bulb had been tossed out into the burn pile and just made it work anyway. Amazing.

    TATYANA~ You are always so generous in your comments. I appreciate that so much. It is an odd ailment of modern living that we are so connected and so often disconnected. I can understand that there would be competition between WI and WE in your house. Your kids are still young. For us it was Nintendo. Hehe.
    As for the bulbs? Well here it is December and I am just now able to whack down the garden. There is a lot to do out there still. I joked earlier about planting bulbs and hanging Christmas lights at the same time. Apparently it was no joke!

    PATCHWORK~ I not surprised by the football holiday at your house. I still clearly recall your orange post a little while ago. It is clear you are a fan. My husband would be so lucky to live with someone like you. I am a lousy sports person and he and the boy really enjoy them. I always feel like I am shorting them somehow. Oh well. At least they have the alien village to console themselves with. I am evil. LOL

    ROSEY POLLEN~ I found that my conversation with my son took longer to get warmed up when he was away at college. I think that age and the experience of college for both sides does that. Our relationship really matured into a rich friendship during those years though. He stopped being the kid and I stopped being the parent. Then we were free to be friends first and parent, child second. Boy, that all sounds so much smoother than reality. LOL
    Your husband sounds like fun. I love to hear what people are thinking…well most of the time. Heheh.

  13. FLOWERLADY~ Rainey thank you. ((&)) I know that you and DH had a wonderful holiday. I like to think of you in the scullery fixing dinner and gazing across the table at one another. Sigh. Ok, so I like to imagine stuff. Heheh. Just a sort of virtual stop by your place on the holiday. I hope you don’t mind. I brought a bottle of wine. :-D

    CAROL~ Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. You are such a graceful soul. I always feel a little sheepish that we don’t often do the big rowdy family gathering anymore. We do have a wonderful time though just the same. Really understanding why you think what you do and how you act on those thoughts is a cornerstone of our family. I think it helps us truly be one another’s friend.
    I have been surprised by the garden a few times this year so I suppose the bulbs coming up in December shouldn’t be too shocking. The Northwest weather is full of surprises and sudden turns. I like it like that though. It keeps me on my toes and definitely not bored.

    TERRY LYNN~ You made me laugh so hard at the image of you spewing tea out your nose. LOL Thank you for that! I imagine you and yours sitting all warm and cozy inside enjoying each other’s company, laughing and having a good time with the cold snow beautiful and safely outside. Should I make a reservation for you at rehab? Maybe we can share a room.

    CATHERINE~ We did have a nice time and I bet you did too. I miss having a young family. Oh heck, I miss being young, who am I kidding. It has been mild lately but we both know better. The ten day forecast had snow for next week. I am using the sunny days now to whack down the garden whether it likes it or not. I just pulled several wheel barrels full of daisies today. I fear the bulbs though. I bought over seven hundred. Why? No one was brave enough to stop me. I’ll admit I did have a wild look in my eye at the 50% off signs.

    MARY DELL~ Thank you Mary. It was a nice weekend. We have not spent nearly as much time together as we might like so it was nice to connect again.
    You are so right about already being bonded to the garden. I honestly didn’t know that sort of thing happened. Heheh.

    JANIE~ We finally got some decent sun days so I am out there cutting things back where I can and if I am lucky I will be able to stuff some of those little beasties into some dirt. I’ll put them right next to the ones already coming up. Sigh.
    I will take you up on your dare. It’s a Village Off!
    I can’t believe you are doing the floors yourself. I applaud you…and question your sanity. It is good to know that you are easily bullied. I will keep that little tidbit of info in mind for a later date. Bwaahhaaaa

    AZ PLANTLADY~ I think that is wonderful that you buy a piece for your daughter every year. I did not grow up with them but I am overwhelmed with childlike wonder at their perfect little holiday world. They remind me of somewhere that doesn’t exist. I like that.
    I don’t know enough about gardens to predict anything but I am pretty sure this year is a bit odd. Heheh.

  14. When I read, "rehab", I thought it was going to be about you taking care of yourself after your health issues. Are you healing well? I hope you are taking care of yourself.

    That was a huge amount of water plants!

    Our mild fall is about to be over tomorrow.

  15. Lesan
    Enjoyed this posting and can relate to what you are saying. Cleaning for the queens visit seems appropriate. We cleaned up like crazy this year and one of the relatives that has never had anyone over to their house had to say this "you need to wash that window". Meaningful conversation at family gatherings is reduced to common chitchat.

  16. I love your analogies. The fruit cake cracked me up. My husband and I like to talk philosophically with friends. Especially when everyone respects everyone else's opinion. It's not a debate but a discussion. It's nice.

  17. Such a lovely post - and the music was an added surprise. Absolutely delightful!

  18. SUE~ Thank you so much for your concern. I am actually quite well and the health issues all cleared up. It was all jammed into one summer amazingly and thank God nothing was a permanent issue. I bounce back extremely quickly…so far. That was a huge amount of water plants and I only bought five total. Three of one kind and two of the other!

    RANDY EMMITT~ Glad you enjoyed the post and even more glad that you took the time to write a comment. I am happy to know that the Queen will never step foot in my home because I could never pass that white glove test. I would have that same experience you did with the ungrateful relative and I know exactly the window it would be. We have double paned windows and one of them at the roof peak has a leak between the panes. It has condensation streaks on the inside and will never look clean-- no matter what I do to it. I totally feel for you having to endure comments like that when you worked so hard on preparing to entertain your family. It is amazing what people will chose to say sometimes.

    TARA~ You sound so much more civilized than us. Oh sure we respect each other’s opinions but I am not above smacking my husband if he insists on holding a stupid one. LOL For instance he loves fruit cake. I happen to know for a fact that it is an evil construct of the devil sent to destroy all that is holy.
    But hey, that’s just my philosophical opinion on a pastry. LOL

    REBECCA SWEET~ Thank you so much for the sweet comment. I am so glad/relieved that you enjoyed the music. I know some people have wildly different views on blog music but I try to keep it unobtrusive. Ok well there were a few instances of Rod Stewart and Dueling Banjos but it was necessary, I swear. Rebecca, thank you so much for stopping by to visit and taking the time to write a comment. I was very happy to see it!