Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Nighty-Nite

Mom's on one couch reading. Dana's on the other napping. I'm on the Lazyboy blogging. Just the end of another Christmas Day and a fine one at that. The full stage production of a family Christmas took place on Christmas Eve with an ensemble cast of 31 siblings, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and an assortment of spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, significant others and a puppy named Reed. It was a wonderful, joyful, wild, noisy, and slightly chaotic clan gathering making the peace and quiet of this present moment a welcomed end to the holiday fanfare.

Christmas Day as a whole has been on the mellow side beginning this morning. I'm happy to report that Santa was able to locate Dana and I at the Embassy Suites where we're staying because this morning the Diet Coke and Rice Cake we left out for the white-bearded fellow (yes, we did) were gone and lo and behold, there was a stack of presents under the artificial Christmas tree I'd hauled over from Mom's house to our hotel room. As a side note, if you and/or the entire citizenship of Denmark ever runs short on Christmas decorations, just dial 1-800-mymomschristmasstuffisoutofcontrol. She has more than enough for you, every Dane living or dead, and then some.

After opening presents following a thoroughly scrupulous breakfast of scrambled rubber eggs and water tinted with coffee grounds ala hotel and watching the last half hour of "The Christmas Story," (the "You're-Gonna-Shoot-Your-Eye-Out" movie), we headed off with MapQuest directions in hand for Christmas Day worship at a small Lutheran church. There were about 20 people there and they couldn't have been a more hospitable crowd right down to giving Dana and I a gift bag as we departed that included a loaf of homemade banana bread. Now that's a welcome I can get behind! Then it was back to my mom's house for a lunch of turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and a re-heated plate of everything-else-that-was-leftover-from-Christmas-Eve-dinner, so that we could waddle into the den where we pick up where this blog began.

In the world of training, I managed during the holidaze to get to the gym at dawn on December 23 but haven't done anything since that would even remotely fall under the category of an active lifestyle, let alone exercise. And yes, I miss it and am eager to get my head and hiney and all parts inbetween back to the gym tomorrow upon my return home. The food has been marginally okay. Not great, but okay. The overall quantity of food was fine but the percentage of fat and carbs were at the high end and I feel it. Isn't it weird how your eating can be off for one day and you wake up the next morning fairly convinced you gained 23 pounds overnight, that none of your clothes will fit, and small children will run in fear at your appearance? Maybe it's just me.

Whatever the case may be, that's all I've got to tell you here on Christmas Day evening. Except Merry Christmas, of course. And a very sincere one at that.


Linda Stipe said...

Sounds good, and that was what I was hoping for you, over Christmas. For the last year, I have been using and renovating a F-350, 1973 dump truck. I am quite experienced in inter-species love, (dogs), but never experienced the passionate intensity of loving an old truck. I have a short list of awesome men who did the re-welding of the cab to the frame, the attachment of the snow plow, and the securing of antique wheel rims, (contact every junk yard in America), and every other minor mechanical detail that needed attention. One of the men from the junk yard came to my house and installed a new radio in it. Over and above the call of duty I would say. This raft of men all knew that I was giving this truck to my brother Bruce, for Christmas. Bruce is a Vietnam Vet who has struggled most of his life with what happened to him in Vietnam. He recently purchased a beautiful piece of property in northern Minnesota to continue his quest for the healing presence of God. I took the long drive to Minnesota, in the absolute estasy of being bonded to my love-truck interest. No problems, as every person who worked on the truck said the same thing: "You will have no problems driving it home."
When I handed the keys to my brother, he started crying. I could not have wished for a better Christmas for myself.

jeanne said...

I'm sorry, I'm looking for Anita. I believe I stumbled into the Walton's family Christmas instead!

Linda Stipe said...

Actually, I was 'hard-bitten' two years ago. (This is a reference to being bitten by a poisonous snake in out-back country.) It was very questionable by all who knew me, whether or not I would re-enter a life marked by love and courage. Telling this story is my way of thanking Anita and saying that her entries have had quite a (resurrecting) effect on me.

Anita said...

Linda, wow. I can't even imagine how incredible it would have been to see the look on your brother's face when you handed him the keys. What a labor of love....yours and all those dear men who contributed their time and talents. And that my dear, is Christmas at its best.

Linda Stipe said...

I met Stewart in the 'yard.' (The junkyard) He looks like a cross between an English chimney sweep and a man who possibly had been locked up in a garbage dumpster for three or four months. When he arrived at my house to install the radio, my neighbor Patrick was outside, in his 'yard.' He waved me over. "Who or What is that?" Referring to Stewart. I said nothing, and strolled back home, twenty feet. It took Stewart six hours to 'install' the new radio. This is what happens when a new radio goes into a 33 year old dump truck. When he was finished, I asked him what I owed him. He said: "nothin." When I asked if I could at least pay for the radio, he said: "No. I took it out of my good truck. I am giving it to your brother." He got into his old pick-up and drove away.
I am crying now as I write this. I am not crying because of Stewart, and I am not crying because of my brother. I am crying because I am back. You helped me manage this Anita, for many reasons, and through many activities, which you engaged in quite selflessly, pertinent to me. You along with a score of others, all willing to put their shoulder next to mine and hold. It is a peculiar feeling, being back. I knew exactly when it happened, and I consider it happening due to grace. I was determined to never come back. I will not digress on where I think this grace came from.
At any rate, thank you.

Anita said...

Grace. My favorite word. Any grace, in my understanding of things flows from God. Other vessels hold it, pour it out, shine with it, but the source is always the same. And of course...the beauty of grace is that it comes when least expected, comes in ways unexpected and comes to those who have no expectations for it's appearance. Bethlehem's story being a perfect example of the great mystery we call "grace."

Keep your stories Linda. They're important not only in telling your story but in bearing witness to a much bigger story.