November 27, 2008

Losing Count of My Blessings

November has been full to the brim with wonderful events that are now amazing memories.  We kicked it off with an election we both cared deeply about, and for the most part the results are exactly what we hoped for, giving us great hope for the future.  Then we partied like rock stars at an Indian wedding, celebrated my birthday in a low key way, spent time alone and ate incredible food on our 2nd anniversary, attended a rally to support the civil rights of our friends, kicked off a landscaping project we've been discussing for a year, and camped in the cold with my family and the friends of my childhood to celebrate my birthday in a less low key way.  And now, we're going to wrap it all up in a bright and shiny bow with the traditional Thanksgiving feast.  My family is large and primarily still local, so for us that means 20 people all bringing dishes of food and then sprawling about my aunt's house.  Its beautiful.  

This year, like most years, I don't have to reach very far before I lose count of all the reasons I'm thankful.  And that in itself, is the greatest blessing.  But, in 2008, I am particularly grateful that my grandmother will be with us today, in the midst of the chaos and very likely turning off her hearing aid to deal with the din of the wonderful family she created.

I hope the blessings are as abundant for you and yours.  Gobble till you wobble.

November 15, 2008

Saturday Plans

Alex has to work today, so the alarm went off at the normal time and despite my protests my internal clock insisted it was time to get up.  And then the cat (who is supposed to live outside but understands the concept of the doggie door just fine) appeared at the top of the stairs and announced it was time to get up and put her breakfast out.  What's a girl to do but get up when met with such determination?  So now it is 8:30, I've had my coffee and Alex has left and won't be home for another 12 hours.  The entire day stretches before me, and I'm enjoying plotting how I'll spend it.   

First on my list is apparently a walk with the dog.  She doesn't usually get a morning walk, but she's already informed me that she will be getting one this morning.  (How is it that this creature always knows when I have a free day?)  And then, I plan to brave Ikea to look for curtains.  I find Ikea overwhelming and usually try to avoid it, but they have great curtains on-line and I haven't found curtains I like anywhere else.

But, before I can hang the curtains (should I find them), I'll be making my voice heard with a friend and hopefully several hundred of his friends.

November 08, 2008

Sometimes, More is More

This weekend we attended the wedding of two wonderful people who make an amazing couple. It was also a Hindu Indian wedding and I can't settle on just one or two adjectives to describe it.  Beautiful, Breathtaking, Glittering, Awesome, Musical, Huge are all vying with one another.  Lesson One: if you want to throw an elegant affair, you simply need to invite Indian women and ensure they wear their sari's.  They were beautiful and looked comfortable; I was very jealous and expressed more than once my conviction that I would wear a sari to every dressy event if only I wouldn't look ridiculous.  And there were hundreds of them, wearing saris in every color of the rainbow, embroidered, beaded or floating.  There was food (lots and lots of food), music and dancing.  For the family, this literally started on Tuesday and continued through Saturday night.  We only attended Friday and Saturday, and I was still awed.  When we came in to Friday's celebration, I was told I needed to take bangles.  So, I took one set only to have every Indian woman I knew express concern over the next half hour that I didn't have more.  I finally took another set and no sooner did I put the bangles on my wrist than the groom's mother walked past me and said "good, good" as she patted my wrist.  Lesson Two: less is not more at an Indian wedding.  And, just in case I didn't learn that lesson the first time, the Saturday ceremony was three hours long.  Yes, three hours.  Followed by a cocktail hour and reception with more speeches, food and dancing than I've ever seen in one place.  And I can not begin to describe to you how it is they manage to have half a dozen speeches - speeches, not toasts - and stuff us full of plates of spicy food and still have hundreds of people on the dance floor.  It was amazing.My only regret is that I missed the henna. But, one of the other guests was kind enough to let me take a photo of hers. How cool is this?

November 06, 2008

Ready for Ebony

Little Miss Ebony's Christmas stocking is done, in plenty of time for Mama's baby shower. I'm really pleased with it.

I just hope they don't decide she's not an Ebony when they meet her. Do people do that? Announce a name, but then decide to change it when the baby is born? That thought struck me just as I drew the last line for the 'E' and became irrevocably committed. Oh well, I suppose they can always hang it the other direction, and it will add to the family folklore.

November 04, 2008

A Fresh Start

I started a new sweater last night - a real one with stockinette stitch and long sleeves and everything.  I have hopes this will be a sweater I can finish in under two years and will actually wear.  My knitting speed has improved, and I hope my skills have, too.  I love the pattern.  I love the yarn.  The three rows I've knit so far are making me happy, and the color is perfect.  The yarn is a little stiffer than I'd like, but I think it will all come together just right.

And then today I started a new scarf.  The yarn is an absolutely gorgeous impulse purchase of red silk and seed beads.  It will be a skinny scarf, because what else?  I needed a portable project today, so less than 12 hours after casting on for a sweater, I cast on for a scarf.

I have big hopes for the future.

November 03, 2008

November 02, 2008

Halloween Recap

I'm catching my breath today. This week was a busy one anyway, but then you add two Halloween parties in to the mix and wow. You would think Halloween would be a take it or leave it holiday for a childless couple in their 30s. We, however, have a standing invitation to spend Halloween with one of our favorite kids, and Alex's role as a trick or treating chaperon is very important. (If we're being entirely honest, my presence is purely optional. He's too well-mannered a child to ever, ever admit that, though.) There is absolutely nothing like spending Halloween with children at that perfect age where it is all great fun and none of it is scary. His teen years will be here before we know it, and I'm sure the Halloween parties will be different. And I rather doubt we'll be invited. So, unless we happen to be in Europe for Halloween (like last year), we'll be spending it with our friend while we can.

And then Saturday night was the grown up Halloween party. Its been years since I attended a party of adults in costume with the wine flowing. We had a great time and I'm still chuckling over some of the costumes. My favorite was the "one night stand." She had a fabric night stand front (drawers, etc.) and then a lamp shade on her head. We never got a picture of mine, but up above you can see Alex in his jailbird costume. Apparently, he thinks two years is long enough to be married before you start telling the world you're doing time for the bonds of marriage. Oh, who am I kidding? He's been saying thinks like that since our wedding day. And, if I'm being honest, I'm the one who responded "right here" when someone asked him where his ball and chain were.

All in all, it was great fun, but I was particularly grateful for daylight savings this morning. Today I declared a "day off" and I've used it to do laundry, cook ahead for the week and generally start the week off on the right foot. I told my grandmother about my plan on the phone this morning, and she asked why I would declare today my day off and promptly begin discussing the mountain of laundry I plan to do. When you're used to cramming housework in between a dozen other commitments, the luxury of hours to leisurely get tasks done in is great. (And every parent who reads this blog, just threw tomatoes at the screen. I know, I know.)

November 01, 2008

Counting Down

I was startled to realize I had 32 new messages in my in box today.  It turns out 18 were about the election.  (One was a reminder from my husband - who knows that I have already voted - that early voting ends today.  We won't speculate on what the message behind that one was.)  I can only hope this flurry of activity in my in box is a reflection of the activity at the polls.  That it means America is truly mobilized and energized.  And that we will have a voter turn out that doesn't cause Europeans to shake their heads in bafflement.  

I've read several articles this week about voters who chose not to vote early, because they were so concerned that it was a scam and their votes wouldn't be counted.  Other articles concerned about roadblocks or rumors that legal immigrants would somehow be targeted.  None of the theories fit at all with what I experienced at the polls or anything I've ever seen.  They seemed to speak more of a distrust of our electoral system, and I find that incredibly sad.

I haven't exactly been discreet in my political views here or in 'real life.'  But, whoever you plan to vote for, I hope you will go vote.  Lets prove this is our vote.  As I saw written on a car window last week (in Spanish, actually), "If you don't vote, you don't count."