Wednesday, December 29, 2004

So, it's Been a While

I haven't written anything anywhere since before my birthday-- which, by the way, thank you all very much for your incredibly non-Christmasy well wishes.

Here's the general update: Christmas with the fam was good; cold, but good. Actually, my mom and grandma thought I looked sad on Christmas morning. I said I wasn't, but perhaps I was (and I know they'll read this, so here's the explanation). I wasn't sad about what I did or did not receive, I was sad about what I was unable to give. I had a lot of grand ideas for gifts (that I will not give away here since it's bound to be read by those parties to whom I wished to give and perhaps someday might still be able to give) that never actually materialized. They weren't fancy gifts, just things I wanted to be able to do. That's all. I wasn't sad with them, but with me because to me the present thing is more about giving than receiving. (yes, yes, I know, thank you Tiny Tim) And presents are more about the thought put into them than the dollar value. So, I guess I was just sad that my thoughts never materialized and I wasn't able to show my family how much I truly love them. I mean, it really is the little things that mean everything.

Right now I have a lot of those little things swimming around in my heart and mind.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Preamble to a Birthday

Today is not my birthday. Tomorrow is. However, tonight I am having a small group of friends over to mark this lovely occasion. Last night I slaved over my family's traditional birthday rum cake-- which came perfectly out of the bundt pan this morning without any finagling or cutting it away from the sides of the pan, exciting me beyond words. Tomorrow night, on my actual birthday, a friend is having a Christmas party and promises to have a cake for me, as well-- a very sweet notion, but I almost wish she wouldn't.

It's not that I'm completely bitter or anything. I mean, I like Christmas and all, but when it comes to my birthday, Christmas celebrations tend to steal what little flame my birthday might have had. Over the years I've shared my birthday with Christmas/Holiday celebrations, winter dances, final exams and graduations. For once, I just wish I could be selfish and say my birthday is mine. Last year I sort of did this by devoting the whole day to the Lord of the Rings "Trilogy Tuesday" marathon. And what a glorious, butt-numbing day it was!

So, tonight I'm having people over. We'll sit around, chit chat, eat cake and other tid bits and just relax, because that is what I want to do with my birthday. I want to slow down. I want to break the cycle of going out for birthdays and simply stay in. I want a low-key night with good food and good people. That's my idea of a wonderful birthday. In fact, the very thought of the stillness of it all sends joyful shivers of excitement down my spine.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

One dreams of being blessed with great friends, but in awaking to the reality of them finds the dreams wholly unsatisfactory. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I remember my grandfather as a brilliant engineer who used to watch debates on CNN and C-SPAN while we kids roamed around the house. Though generally slow to speak, he surprised us time and again with quick, witty barbs. As years racked up and passed him by, however, my grandfather slowly fell to the dimming effects of Parkinson's disease. His quick wit came off the shelf less and less until his hibernating lucidity pinned it forever to the far back corner of the shelf. In the end the disease sapped him of all energy, mental or otherwise until he could hardly recognize us, much less summon quick anecdotes.

I can hardly measure which left a greater pang, seeing the gears in his head grinding away only to stop stubbornly on the tip of his tongue or the altogether vacuous expression of an ever-ebbing memory. So often I looked into his eyes to be met with an impish glint of mischief. Over the years that sparkle morphed into something else. Instead of dimming, like one might automatically assume, the light in his eyes seemed to diffuse from a glint to a gleam to an overall glaze, as though they simply reflected another light, not unlike the moon reflects the sun. Yes, in the end his eyes shone not the story of his years, but a mere echo of the soul that once extended to the tips of his every limb.

Though technically my grandfather by marriage and therefore not linked by genetic makeup, I nearly understand how it must have felt, for I too sense a form of sanity slipping through my fingers. Too often I feel my eyes glazing over like a deer caught in the headlights of life. Whether it be the ubiquitous act of walking into a room only to completely forget the purpose of doing so, the easily understandable act of typing the wrong password into one of my many email accounts or the more heinous crime of missing a loved one’s birthday, I find myself stepping on the virtual toes of this dance partner called memory day in and out.

And yet, others often accuse me of grandiose acts of nostalgia and sentiment. My mother went through yet another box of my left behind, but not forgotten, wares and relics hibernating in her cellar. In it she found old pompons, a diary from my cheerleading trip to Ireland, books I had written and illustrated in grade school and notes and birthday cards hailing from the beginning of time. Some objects she finally wrenched through my imaginary protective shield, enabling her to throw them away. Others, however, still emanated the spell of my sentimental value, charming her into keeping them for yet another day or year.

Perhaps this is why I find little room to remember menial things today such as my locker combination or home zip code. My memory banks simply cannot contain it all. Years of treasures, pages of stories and reels of homemade movies hold them captive. You see, the fact of it is this: I do not so much cherish sentiment as much as sentiment has long since besieged my heart and mind, stubbornly refusing to let them go and making room for the new only when they have finally become old.

For what you label sentiment, captivates my every step.
Binding history round my soul. Ne'er to let this prisoner go.
To live the moment, yore's lessons borrowed
For every today turns yesterday tomorrow.