Miles arrived in Wisconsin Wednesday evening, and we spent cherished time together before he left for North Carolina this morning.
In retrospect, 2004 has been a tough year, and I wouldn't have made it through so wholly intact if it hadn't been for Miles. In a period of six months, two of my uncles and a grandfather passed away. The losses of old acquaintances, former classmates, and a beloved pet came on their heels. You learn humility from years like these. You learn the value of time.
Developments in my mother's illness took on negative overtones, and my optimism seemed to cower away, tail tucked between its legs. You helped coax it back, Miles.
I am certain that I have tried to pick my share of fights, that my fuse has been short, and that I have been a bear to live with. Miles, I want to say today, here at the end of this unhappy year, thank you for holding my hand.
Mom gave Charlie a drum set of sorts for Christmas. I have never found ecstasy with the insufferable throb of a drum. Miles is somewhat of a percussionist, and that's something that he's learned to stifle, fortunately.
Charlie was producing a cacophony yesterday afternoon while I was trying to find my creative genius to perform some graphics work. The two activities did not mesh.
Charlie's racket music remained unaffected while my design suffered. I guess the ol' creative genius is a bit of a drama queen. I imagine an airy voice, dainty limbs, and deceptively limpid eyes. She sways unsteadily and throws the back of her hand to her forehead as she whimpers prettily, "I just CAN'T work in these conditions!"
I soothe her, trying to fill my head with Moonlight Sonata, Für Elise or...Tiny Dancer. Her lips roll inward, one small fist pressing against them. She tries to hold back the desperate emotion. She fails her task as she creates offering after offering of absolute graphical crap.
Dad arrived home, caught sight of my vexed visage, and exclaimed sarcastically, "Isn't it a shame that your mother can't be home to hear how much her son likes his present?"
Today was Mom's first day back at work after a week of vacation. She felt frenzied and off-schedule, and so did not consume her half of the morning brew. I, being the thoughtful daughter that I am, picked up the slack and finished the pot.
Likewise, I might return to bed to make up for the sleep that she missed. Perhaps I'll have to expand my meals as well, shop twice as much, and behave doubly kind-natured.
Boy, this sounds tiring. I better get a start on that sleep thing...
Yesterday we had Christmas with my mother's family.
Sadly, I didn't get my camera out soon enough to capture excessive pictures of Thad and Rina's (cousins) cute little boys. I caught 'em as they were leaving though!
That's Alex on the left, Thad, and then older brother Logan on the right. They are such well-behaved little boys and so affectionate! Below is one of my favorite pictures from yesterday. It looks like it was taken by someone bungee jumping at the time, but I assure you I was not. My camera isn't so remarkable with the shutter speed.
Alex is just over a year old, and for a fellow with undersized legs, he's surprisingly swift. I like to call this shot The Drive-By Alex-ing.
Then there were cousin Kim's children.
Lyall and Beth were easy subjects as soon as they realized that they were being photographed...I will add some of their pictures to the photographs section later today.
In no time at all, they were directing me as to whom I should photograph...which was actually a relief because my requesting those shots would have been denied...and meanly. Ever notice that adults don't enjoy people who wield cameras? Try it sometime and see...and remember to coat your sensibilities in Teflon first.
That's where I'm going to have to stop for the moment, as mother dearest says I need to get ready so that we can go shopping. What I don't do for that woman!
Wednesday night, my parents and I were watching a movie together. It was just past 7 when my dad stretched out on the couch and started snoring. My mother pestered him to wake up. She said, "If you fall asleep now, you'll be up at 4 tomorrow Morning. If you're up, nobody will be able to sleep in."
Dad replied in sleepy tones, "Huh? I'm quiet in the morning!"
Mom and I laughed with gusto. Maybe he's unaware because he has been operating power tools without earplugs for too many years, but the man has never been quiet in the morning. Never. We're talking like...not ever.
Mom and I volleyed the predicted scenario between fits of laughter:
"You'll stretch audibly as you rise out of bed!" "You'll stomp caveman-like down the hall!" "You'll bang every pot in sight as you pour your coffee!" "You'll SLAM the microwave door as you prepare to heat the coffee!""You'll turn the TV on so loud that we'll look to see if the televisions in our rooms are on!"
Dad, still flirting with the blissful ignorance of sleep, replied, "Oh, you're full of it. It's not like that. I'm going to bed. G'night!"
4:30 the next morning, I was awakened by a blaring newscast and a slammed microwave door—Mom, equally so. Somehow, "I told you so" just didn't seem to cut it.
Last night, as mom and I fluffed the couch pillows and straightened the living room (before retiring to our bedrooms for the evening), I turned the TV volume aaaaaaaall the way down. We exchanged an exaggerated wink and Mom crooned, "There's more than one way to skin a cat!"
3 feet away, Friskey stopped cleaning her face to glare at us.
Yeah, sure...you just go on believing that cats don't understand English.
My Aunts Debbie and Brenda, my mom, and I went to Olbrich Gardens yesterday. It was so pretty! Mom kept intoning, "It's like a little summer in the middle of winter!" She and I can be optimistic to a fault.
Following one such statement, Brenda taunted offered from the backseat of the car,
*snort* Middle of Winter. Buck up, Ladies—today's the first day of winter!
That Brenda...she's always so helpful!
I took my digital camera along and snapped 110 pictures in about an hour...oh my. Last night I weeded through them, and found about 40 that turned out just charming. The rest were more of a, "I'm not paying for film so I can take pictures of strangers' feet!" statement.