December 28th, 2002

abstract butterfly

I hope Christmas has enough days in it to finish my holiday card process, plus a poll on what to buy

Last night we went to the holiday party for my wife's extended family. For the first time during this holiday season, we dined on smoked turkey, which was divine. The party was held in one of my wife's aunt's homes, which had all sorts of neat curios and decorations to review when one was out of conversational skills to share.

I never appreciated the possibility that our modern fragmented families offer for juvenile loot acquisition until one cousin pointed out that this was her daughter's seventh Christmas present opening celebration. One had been with her father, one with her father's wife's family, one with her mother and mother's new husband, one with father's parents, one with mother's new husband's parents, one with wife's extended family and one "wild card" I cannot recall as I sit here now. Each gathering had ample gifts--Santa Claus has seven faces.

Fortunately, the family's extended gathering follows the "gift exchange" method, in which one gives one "nice" gift within the extended family rather than numerous gifts to numerous more distant family members. I was pleased that the little quilt I had found in downtown McKinney went over quite well. I love quilts, so it was nice to see that others feel the same way, too.

I've mailed out a good few holiday cards and kazoos this week, and will mail out more when I return to Texas. Today, though, we drive down to see my uncle, aunt, and cousins in Tulsa. The heavy snow we encountered on the drive up is entirely gone. I hope we get a moment to take a nice walk in a park or botanical garden today.

But now for the important part. I ask for suggestions on how to use a holiday gift certificate.

Poll #87119 Twenty Five Dollars in Hand, a World to Conquer

Imagine that you received a gift certificate for twenty five dollars to a Barnes & Noble bookstore as part of a holiday gift exchange. Assume also that you are in dire need of a novel, or based on recent feedback, a good book on art history. What would you buy?

  • Current Music
    Somebody is playing Billy Joel in the background
abstract butterfly

patchwork quilt

A world of family stories have been told to me this week, of which few details will be told in this journal. Doesn't it seem odd that in these journals we reveal so much about so many things, but would never reveal a relative's inmost secrets? It's common courtesy, of course, but it's an intriguing contrast. I've lived the past five days in a sea of family sagas, some joyful, some triumphant, some sad, some positively soap-opera-ish.

I asked my father-in-law if, when he was boy growing up some sixty odd years ago in Kansas City, he often attended the movies. "Every Saturday", he replied, "we could not miss a week as that would mean missing an episode of a serial". I feel a similar need to "stay tuned" from week to week, to pay my nickel at the ticket counter, as family stories unfold and transform. It's like one of those rural quilts being put together by hand, from familiar scraps in disparate shapes and colors. Each holiday weekend weaves a few more squares. One thinks one sees a myriad of patterns emerging, but ultimately, at the end, there is only the quilt, and the quilt is not any one thing, the quilt is everything, and I am knit into the quilt, and I cannot define its pattern. But I know that the pattern exists, and I breathe it every day, stitch by stitch. It's not some pat "How to Make An American Quilt" quilt, but a crazy patchwork. It bears no county fair ribbbons. But it keeps me warm, somehow, and I would not trade it for anything.