Saturday, December 29, 2012

Home again, home again

Not sure why my family feels compelled to make weird faces at a camera
Oblivious of the camera--at a restaurant, drawing on the kids' menus
I'm back from almost a week-long visit with my oldest son and his family in Kingwood, north of Houston. A good time--my Houston grandkids have now been around me more and are more open about hugging and loving. They really seemed excited to see me, which delighted me. Watched them jump on the Christmas trampoline, demonstrate karate sidekicks (wicked), draw, and be silly. Had some good visits with my son--like any mother I'm so very proud of him but not above suggesting a thing or two. Colin is an accountant, so once again we discussed my finances and figured out where I am which he says is better than I think it is. I will remain penurious. Lisa, my daughter-in-law, really didn't feel good all week--recovering from the gift of flu from one of her seventh-grade students. I did a lot of computer work, got a book read (couldn't put it down) and reviewed, wrote a proposal for a novel. Somehow being away from home frees me from all those small chores and allows me to focus on some bigger things.
We shared Christmas Day with Lisa's parents, who are good friends of mine. Torhild brought Norwegian hamburgers for Christmas Eve--a family tradition--and John helped with the dinner. Colin flattered me by specifying I was to make the gravy--and it did turn out well if I do say so. The rest of the week I had a fondness for dressing covered with gravy, and I nearly cried this morning when they threw it all out. I had salvaged turkey so I could have a sandwich on the way home.
Christmas Day was a bit marred by tornado warnings in the morning--the sirens went off--and power outages in the evening due to high winds. Power would go off, then come back on, then go off.  We didn't get any of Fort Worth's lovely snow--it was just wet and cold.
Jordan and Jacob came down Thursday, and the cousins were wild--I should know, because I got to babysit them Friday morning. Colin thought he was taking time off, but it just meant he came home at three instead of seven--still was up at five, cleaning the kitchen (he allows no one to touch is the night before, no matter how I itch to at least rinse the plates), going to work by 8:00.
Each time you visit one of your children, you get to know that family a little better--and I am aware of that after this trip. It's a good thing. I am also aware lately that my sons seem more solicitous of me--hope it's not that they sense my mortality or something. I think they're just good guys.
So Christmas is over for another year. I hear the talking about Santa Fe next year (it will be an all-Alter Christmas) which would delight me, though they love to tease and say, "You know, we'd all really like to take a cruise." They know I have a list of twenty reasons, some rational and some not, why I don't want to go on a cruise.
Tonight I'm grateful for a good week but glad to be home with Sophie and untangling my life and getting it in order again--no small task. I said something to Lisa this morning about fish and guests, and she was puzzled so I had to explain that both grow old in three days.

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