Traditions & Reflections.


At work, some friends and I were discussing the inevitable stress they would be encountering on Christmas day. The frenzied rush from house to house. The obligatory visits to extended family. I don't remember ever having to do that. In my family, growing up, Christmas Eve was spent with my mother's family. A pig was cooked, and everyone gathered in the back room (aka the "Rumpus Room") where music blasted barely covering the decibels of laughter and chatter of the Cuban folks. After a long evening, we returned home, set out the cookies for Santa and hit the sack. This whole running around business was nonexistent for us. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that Mom always made Christmas dinner and people came to our house.

When the discussion about Christmas visits came up, I said I wanted to set a president and establish what Big Red and I would be doing each Christmas.

This Christmas went down as a special one. It was our first in our first house. And my parents were here to share it with us. We woke up Christmas morning, opening gifts, grazed on a yummy snack buffet, Mom & I cooked dinner, and Big Red's family swung by for a visit. It was great. We didn't leave the house for one minute. Although we didn't, we could have remained in our PJs the whole day.

In addition to not leaving the house on Christmas day, we tried something new for Christmas Eve: movie and dinner. Loved it! There was no mess to clean up and it occupied the evening perfectly. Big Red and I decided it was a fantastic, uncomplicated way to spend Christmas Eve. There was no wait at the restaurant and the theater was virtually empty...just the way we like it.

While babies have made their way onto my radar, we have not hopped onto that train just yet. I like the idea of establishing our own traditions, and I like even more what we did this year. I liked the simplicity of dinner and a movie on Christmas Eve, and staying home on Christmas day. I know that when we do have a family, life will only get a little more complicated. And it will be even more important to remain stolid in our decision to not leave the house on the 25th. If there is family who want to see us, then they'll have to make their way to our little house. I'll be happy to host all who wander in from the cold.

Let it be known. On the 25th, Big Red and I aren't going to budge. Period.


With just under 48 hours left of 2010, I would be remiss not to look back on such a banner year. The most notable milestone for us was buying our first home. What an unparalleled sense of accomplishment. We did it. We bought, on our own, with our own money, under our own circumstances, OUR OWN HOUSE.

And what a great little house it is. Big Red and I have worked tremendously hard to make it a home. Big Red, most recently, finished the family room. A beautiful 400 sq ft "addition" to our house. We've been enjoying the room nightly, cozied up on the big chocolate brown sectional, lost in television on our new Sony Bravia. Lovely.

I finished my first full year of teaching as a Pennsylvanian, in June, and begun a tumultuous second year in September. I won't go into the specifics of work issues, but I will say that despite the frustrations, ongoing miscommunication from the top down, I still love my students. Inside the small bubble that is my classroom, I am happiest. I've never worked harder, but I've never been happier. I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible students this year, and I count myself as damn lucky to be their English teacher.

This was the year of Olive. Our sweet beloved puppy. The love and happiness she's brought to our home has been immeasurable. She makes us laugh on a daily basis. And I mean, laugh hysterically. Olive has shown Big Red and I that we can work together to care for another life. A furry one that occasionally indulges in rolling in shit, but a bright light nonetheless. I have seen what happiness she's brought to Big Red and that has made her presence all the more wonderful.

Big Red. 2010 has been the toughest one for him since our move back the East Coast. He was at a job he couldn't stand, went out on a limb to look for another. This time instead of working for a dealer, he sought out an independent shop, hoping to replicate his experience in California. He found a new job, and happily quit the crappy one only to find himself in a more terrible position. The new job was worse than the crappy one. He is hanging in there keeping his eyes on the beacon of light in the distance. There is a new job on the horizon. One that should come to fruition by the end of the January. It appears that this one could be IT. The job that actually brings him some satisfaction. All I'll say is keep your fingers crossed and send some good energy into the universe for Big Red. His misfortune on the career-front is the last piece of the pie that needs remedied before the puzzle is complete.

I have a good feeling about 2011. It's different somehow. I feel a sense of peace coming our way - perhaps in the form of enjoying our home, and Big Red landing the job he so deserves.

Thanks for the lessons 2010, but I think we're ready for something fabulous in 2011.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Hi Ilene! Happy New Year! It's been so long since we've talked. I hope all is well and I'm so glad you are blogging again. I hope you have a great New Year. We should talk soon. I miss our days talking in the lunch room. Have a great one! Love, Amy