Limbo

It’s the week between Christmas and the New Year. It seems as if nothing can happen. And yet, in the world, things are happening. An Asian Airlines plane has gone down in the Java Sea. A ferry is burning off the island of Corfu. I traveled on a similar ferry 40 years ago, from Brindisi to Corfu, and from Corfu to Patria. But now things are not happening to me, and I think of this last week of the year as the time when nothing will happen.

Christmas 2014 is over. The tree is still up. I look at it and think I should take it down soon, but not yet. Too soon to take the tree down. I didn’t want a tree this year; I didn’t look forward to Christmas with much enthusiasm. Lawyer daughter was with us, with her husband and youngest child, a shy, silent child of 17, old enough to be a problem about presents because it is so hard to know what teenage girls are wanting. I got her pajamas and gave her some of my old stud earrings because I was told she never wears danglies, and I almost never wear the tiny studs these days. The old ones were pretty — pearls, jade, turquoise and some that were actually new, recently bought in New Zealand, made of paua shell. I love my daughter and her family but just now there are tensions in that family that are difficult to watch. Jerry’s son came for a week. He was quiet and companionable. The dogs love him. He walks with us and is willing to watch our evening lectures.

Although I didn’t think I wanted to bother with a tree, I found that I enjoyed decorating it. The tree and the ornaments stirred memories. When I was a child my uncle had theories about tree decorating. A tree was always sent down to our house in Andover, Massachusetts from my other aunt’s tree farm in Maine. It was tall and stately and stood in front of the huge bay window in the living room. There were boxes of my uncle’s grandparent’s ornaments. they glowed with the soft patina of age. He told my cousins and me to decorate the tree from the center out, so it would shine from within. Tinsel (the old heavy foil kind) was allowed sparingly. There were candles, real candles, that were only lit a couple of times with my uncle watching, fire extinguisher at the ready. Nowadays Christmas trees have LED lights. They don’t heat up and they make small points of light, better than the clunky incandescent lights of my early adulthood.

After the tree was finished some young friends stopped by with a present: Lummi Island blackberry “brandy” that they made themselves. I showed them the tree; Mary-Beth said it was a lovely “traditional” tree, I guess meaning that it wasn’t a theme tree or all one color or covered with bows.

The finished tree, Christmas 2014

There were ornaments accumulated over the years, tiny toys, birds,

Birds and bells on the tree

ceramic Santas, horns, violins, wooden nursery rhyme figures like Tom the piper’s son running off with the pig, glass bells and icicles. And one old styrofoam ball stuck with sequins and beads assembled by one of my children (can’t remember which one) some 50 years ago.

Out of the past

There was a colorful fish with little dangling hearts made of painted bamboo strips that reminded me of a big mobile I had brought back from Burma. The mobile fell to bits long ago.

Bamboo fish

Christmas is about presents and even more about food. I got most of the presents on line, with a small burst of last minute shopping on the 23rd when I got a red teapot for my daughter and an assortment of exotic teas for her and her husband. Our Christmas eve table was laden with chicken soup and fancy cold cuts. Desert was a baklava assortment.

Christmas eve dinner

The only thing I made was the soup, but even so in these days of my old age I find that dealing with food, especially for more people than Jerry and me, makes me tense. I don’t know why this is so, but the next day, Christmas, I worried foolishly over the relatively simple rib roast of beef and Yorkshire pudding.

By the weekend Jerry and I were by ourselves again and we spent the next few days in relieved stupor. We did nothing. I began coping with leftovers. We ate leftover roast beef for 3 days, and I cooked all the beef scraps, with some bedraggled carrots still left in my garden, for the poodles.

We wait for a ruling from the judge in Jerry’s will dispute — it’s rivaling Jarndice vs Jarndice in length and expense. This will not be a final ruling, only one on a minor point, but one in which an adverse ruling will probably prolong the case for an additional year.

And we wait for Jerry to recover from a procedure to remedy the old man’s affliction of an enlarged prostate. The recovery is not going as it should, and we wait for shipments of catheters which don’t come as scheduled because we live on an island and everything takes an extra day to come from the mainland. Poor Jerry. Getting old is fighting a losing battle. Every day there’s a little slippage.

Tomorrow is new year’s eve. I will go to my last painting class of the year. In the evening there’s my favorite party of the year at Pat and Rich’s wine shop. We will drink some wine, share some nibbles and welcome in the new year as celebrated in Times Square (that’s 9 o’clock our time). After we sing Auld Land Syne the young people go on to the next party and us old folk will go home to bed. The next day, Jan 1, 2015, there’s another party at Diane and Mike’s for the Mah Jongg ladies and their mates. Our group is collected from our little neighborhood. I rejoice in my neighbors and neighborhood.

I am looking forward to 2015. I have hopes rather than resolutions, but where there’s life there’s hope. Jerry and I are alive. Perhaps the law suit will be settled.  Jerry’s water-works will be restored. Sometime in 2015 we will go to New Zealand. Spring will come.

I wish all of my dear blog friends a happy and prosperous 2015. I’ll try to keep up with your blogs and comment early and often.

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14 Responses to Limbo

  1. Loving your tree – and recognising some of the ornaments from my stash here.
    I hope the new year brings you all of your wishes – and love and laughter.

  2. Tabor says:

    I put up a tiny tree this year. No one came to the house and we went out to others houses to celebrate. I did not regret the little bit of decorations I packed up today. Maybe next year I will get more festive. It is not unusual to be nervous about food when you are so used to cooking for just two. Just go with the flow and do not be afraid to ask for help. That 17-year-old should learn some cooking before she heads out on her own.

  3. marja-leena says:

    Wishing you and Jerry good health and many more joys than worries in 2015!

  4. Suzanne says:

    I love your tree! Happy 2015!

  5. Hattie says:

    I like your meditation on the holidays. I also had many worries about the food situation, involving seven guests: three adults and four children ranging in age from two to almost twelve and with other random visitors as well. As I often do, I turned to Martha for help. Martha Stewart, that is. Her simple recipes are foolproof and appeal to a wide range of tastes.
    Your tree is perfect. I recognize the kind of ornaments you have. You must have kept the tinsel, which I guess is no longer sold. And the tip about decorating from the outside in is one I’ll follow next year.
    Sorry about the family tension, though. This is a calm period for us, but other relatives here are experiencing problems that are taking some joy out of the holidays. Still, there is much for us all to be grateful for. Just being able to continue to work and accomplish things seems to be our #1 pleasure these days.
    Best wishes to you and Jerry in the coming year. Good health, an end to all litigation, peace and comfort!

  6. pauline says:

    Your tree is lovely. There are years, too, when I am reluctant to put up a tree but then I do and surprise myself again when I am then reluctant to dismantle it. Wishing you and Jerry a wonderful new year full of good surprises. Thank you for another year of delicious reading.

  7. Betty Bishop says:

    Thanks for your gift of words Anne. I had a strange thing and good thing happen in 2014. I moved [that was hard!] and one morning strictly by accident I happened to park in front of a Pet Groomers shop which had opened that morning. Josie & I were Lin and Jonathan’s first customers a day or so later. This mid 40ies couple have immigrated from China to my city a year+ ago. They owned a clothing factory in China but decided to leave because they are both dog lovers and China doesn’t respect dogs – to say the least! Their 20 year old son is in University in California. From the beginning Lin said I remindered her of her late grandmother – she was a writer and Lin lived with her for years of her life. A few months later we had become friends and they were in love with my Josie. One day when Lin delivered Josie to my house we had a glass of wine and she asked me to “adopt” her because “I am lonely here”. I’m a rather skeptical Canadian but agreed to “give it a try”. I felt the bloom would probably come off the rose before too long.
    Well – guess what?! This has worked out so well I can hardly believe it! It has been close to a year and we have become family – we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together [not necessarily on the actual date] – their son is home for the holidays – he and I love each other and I am tempted to “protect” him from his parents! haha. They refuse to charge me for grooming or keeping Josie for a weekend [she returns their love and is at home in their house as in mine – better behaved in theirs though!] and I make beef stew etc for them. We don’t see a lot of each other but message daily. This is very good for me because I am almost 81 and I used to wonder and worry how long Josie would be alone if I should die in my sleep. They have a key to my apartment.
    Lin says she believes we must have been family in a previous life and we are meeting for the second time?!
    I hope you don’t mind me posting this little story here Anne. It is such a happy story I thought you would enjoy it!
    Don’t sweat the small stuff – happy, healthy 2015 to you and Jerry!
    love,
    Betty

  8. annie says:

    Happy New Year! Your tree is lovely. I wish Christmas was just about family, friendship and food. I get so stressed out about presents. I so look forward to your posts, may 2015 be full of joy for you both.

  9. wisewebwoman says:

    I look at your photos and regret my decision to abandon the Christmas bits years ago and focus on Solstice with its candles and simple one-gifting.
    It all seems wonderful but underlying it the feelings I have too which I can’t quite vocalize yet.

    Happy 2015.

    XO
    WWW

  10. Deborah says:

    Hello Anne,
    It’s been such a long time, and I was almost afraid I wouldn’t find you here again. You know how it is – people stop writing and you never know what happened. I swung by Duchess Omnium just now and was sorry to see that she hasn’t said anything in a year – I miss her stories. In any case, it’s good to catch up with you and I hope you write again soon.
    PS Temptation of Words doesn’t exist any more – I removed it entirely about a year ago, with a bit of regret. But I’m back on WordPress, as you see.

  11. Julie Carter says:

    Hi, Anne,

    Like Deborah, I was afraid I’d find you missing. It’s so nice to read your words again. I took such a long hiatus from blogging and am only just trying to pick it up again.

    Julie

  12. Katherine says:

    Dear Anne. Whenever I read your blogs I am touched by your love of life. I pray for you to find the hope that I have in the living Word, the light of the world, the Son of God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Pray for vision to see and willingness to accept and the willingness to acknowledge your fallen state and desire to be made a new creation in Him, to be grafted into Him eternally whole. Love you. K

  13. Rain Trueax says:

    It’s been awhile since you posted. I hope all is well for you two.

  14. marja-leena says:

    Dear Anne, I am often thinking of you, missing your lovely words and images, and hoping everything is well with you and Jerry and all your family.

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