Asian Chanakuh :: Sixth Night

Something my middle brother and I have in common is our love of history. Years ago, Jack discovered a lot about our heritage, and in the process, discovered that only two generations ago, we had practicing Jews in our lineage. Because of that discovery, Jack decided to practice as a Messianic Jew, himself. It has been an adjustment for the entire family, but I wholeheartedly support it. I love the history, the richness of the reasons behind each Jewish holiday and tradition. It has been a joy to listen to the Hebrew prayers, to enjoy Shabbot Shalom, and this year, a few nights of Chanukah. 

This past Thursday night, my brother and his wife came to our house with a box filled with ingredients for an Asian Chanukah meal: sobo noodles, soup, pot stickers and some sort of gooey dumpling thing. It was a little strange, but if you knew my brother well, you would understand that 'strange' is normal.

Being the typical sister, I sat at the kitchen table while my sister-in-law bustled in the kitchen, heating soup and pot stickers, while I slipped through one of the best magazines ever. Did you know that 2oo years after the Salem Witch Trials there was a vampire panic in New England? Really? I'm serious, there was. People started digging up all the dead people's graves, cutting their hearts out, burning them and eating the ashes. Pretty nasty, right? Also, Tom Sawyer was a real person--a firefighter that Mark Twain met while nursing a hangover. Figures. 


While Kari was cooking, Jack set up the menorah and blue and white candles. Roger and I are currently planning on purchasing our own menorah so that we can celebrate the full eight days of Chanukah next year. EIGHT DAYS OF PRESENTS!!! ;P

It is Jewish tradition that the women and little girls light the menorah candles. Lucy is in favor of this, while Teddy is a little sad he does not get to play with fire. However, he was an awesome little man and wore his kippah and watched with glowing eyes.

Like how I got all poetic right there? Yeah, I rock.

Teddy was impressed with Uncle Jack's Hebrew as he led in the prayers, first in Hebrew and second in English. Me? I tried not to snicker at all the hacking and spitting in the pronunciation. 

Teddy vouched to skip the Asian meal (but who can blame there was no ketchup). Instead, he filled up on all the chocolate coins he won in the game of Driedel (which, by the way, is Hebrew poker!). 

So, that's how our little family rocked the sixth day of Chanukah. It was a good time. On the eighth day, the family all packed into my little house again and we closed it out with presents, a turkey dinner, amazing latkes with spicy dipping sauce, and 3D TV. Once again, Teddy rocked his kippah while wearing superman pamjamas. The adults got a kick out of this--a throw back to Friends.


The Monster Tree

It has become painfully evident that the magic of Christmas almost all but disappears when you are an adult. For instance, when you are a child, you only notice the excitement and adventure, but never really know about the stress and extensive planning your parents suffered through to bring you that moment. Now that I am grown up and a mommy, I know that the magic comes from the parents. Pfft. Santa? He's got nothin' on me, dude!

Every year, my family waits with anticipation to go to the Christmas Tree Farm. In truth, it's a new tradition--starting the year Lucy was born. Now that my kids are a bit older and actually understand how to look forward to Christmas Tree Day, the excitement is contagious. This year, Teddy asked every day if it was time to go yet. Perhaps that most excited is my dad who got the tradition rolling. Little by little, we convince more of the family to go with us each year. And THIS entire collection of siblings and their little families were going. It was going to be PERFECT!!!!!!


Not really. But almost.

My kids rode with grandpa and grandma. They made it a little ways down the road before my dad pulled to the side, jumped out, and started throwing up. In all my years, I've never seen my dad throw up. My kids, however, got a front row seat. Teddy, all wide-eyed, declared, "Well...papaw can barf!" It was kind of like Teddy was proud. Hey, he could barf too! Go figure!

So, sadly, my dad was delivered back home and the rest of us sojourned on. I tried to reconcile myself to the loss of my dad by saying that he was too sick to be sad that he wouldn't be coming with us. After all, I'd rather someone be puking their guts out than have them be sad. I mean, sadness is WAY worse! Right??? Or am I nuts?

I'm not nuts.

In years past, the weather has been magical on Christmas Tree Day. One year, it snowed like a blizzard. We could hardly see as we traipsed through the rows of trees. There was lots of laughter; everyone was a kid that day. This year, after a long, hot summer with no rain, the farm was a bit sad to see. There were no trees! Even still, it was our special day. "Okay, Gia," you tell yourself. "Put on a smile and pretend this is the most amazing of all Christmas Tree Days. Do it! Just. Do. It."

There weren't a whole lot of trees to pick from. If you wanted to cut one yourself (which we did) then you had to cut a white pine. Roger was thrilled. He loves those the best. He wasn't, however, thrilled with how tough the trunk was to cut through. Big baby.

Everyone picked out the perfect tree. Teddy even pick out, and cut, his own. He was disappointed he couldn't find one that was EXACTLY the same size as him, but he made do. My brother cut an awesome tree, and then the entire top fell off. Bummer. But he found another...

On Christmas Tree Day, it doesn't matter that your anemia is making you feel like an 80 year-old woman. You smile, take pictures and have fun anyway. On Christmas Tree Day, it doesn't matter that your 6 year-old daughter is having a diva moment and crying over positively anything. You hold her close, whisper that she better straighten up or she's going to answer to Santa, and then kiss her cheek and tell her you love her (even if it's through gritted teeth). On Christmas Tree Day, you let the 4 year-old boy go nuts on sugar and caramel stuffed waffles (which, btw, are wicked!).  On Christmas Tree Day, you go into the wreath barn and pick out the prettiest wreath to buy for you mom because she just bought mine and my siblings trees (which she does every year). On Christmas Tree Day, the nice woman in the wreath barn will make you smile when she tells you she loves and admires the guts it takes for a woman to rock a faux hawk....which I do. ;P

On Christmas Tree Day, you will smile in front of the tree you are about to fell (which is also tradition) and pose for the family picture. When you go back through the pictures and notice there isn't a single good, perfect will smile...because, well, that's your family.

All in all, the slightly tainted magic is worth the monster tree claiming most of my dining room. There isn't a single thing perfect in life....

Unless, perhaps, you try to look at it all through the eyes of children. That's when you see the magic once more.


It's A Wonderful, Imperfect Life

I often dream that my teeth are falling out. Ever have that nightmare? Sometimes, in my dreams, I reach in and actually pull my teeth out, feeling a sense of relief when they are removed. I read somewhere that dreaming of your teeth falling out reveals that you are afraid of people seeing your imperfections. It baffles me that I should experience such a nightmare. After all, I do a pretty fantastic job at revealing my imperfections all on my own...on accident.

I am one of the top most imperfect people I know. I am not a perfect daughter, friend, wife or mother. I sometimes let my voice get much too loud when the children slam the door for the zillionth time, sending ornaments tumbling from the Christmas tree and books falling from the shelves. I shrink all of my husband's clothes and do not iron anything at all (but why bother when I already shrunk the shirts???). I don't always pick up the kitchen rugs when I sweep and mop--but just go around them. I don't shower everyday (though that's not always by choice).

So why not just be more open with our imperfections? Why not flaunt them like we would flaunt perfect, sculpted bodies if we had them (oh, don't be a know you would)?

Dude...I'm going to flaunt it like a peacock (yeah, that's the best I could come up with). Flaunt it like it's hot? Flaunt it like I've got it to flaunt??? Not any  better? Oh well. I will be more open with my crazy, chaotic life in all of it's glory, laughter, messes and beautiful imperfections. How much freer would we all be if we all simply raise our hand when people asked:

1. You poop
2. You've picked your nose
3. Passed gas
4. Belched like a linebacker

Those are just the top 4 for females. If you're a guy, I don't think this blog post applies to you. Men don't seem to cringe at imperfection--but more so embrace it (lucky butts).

For now, this is the introduction to a long line of imperfect confessions from a very imperfect, but bossome, woman. You've been warned.