Friday, December 21, 2007

Sun, Silliness, Chowder and Whiskey

So this will be my last entry before Boxing Day, which is the next day the library is open. I suppose if my internet withdrawal symptoms get too bad before then Dad or Mary might wheel me over and hook me up to their computers, but for now I'm assuming all recording will be done in mind or on paper for the next four days. Christmas Eve we change tradition ever so slightly be moving the meal to Mary's and Tony's place (Hazelthorne); Mare was agin it until she decided it was all right as long as Fang got to come too. See, I'm not the only who's ga-ga about dogs in general and Fang in particular, but you probably had already figured that out. The menu remains clam chowder followed by Irish coffee. The meal had been oyster stew until about two years ago, which was a continuation of my mom's family tradition (seafood in Iowa was hard enough to get back then, especially in December), but just a couple of years ago we all looked at one another and realized we didn't want to be having it any more. Funny little moment of group-think, and I couldn't tell you how it happened, but I'm sure it was made easier by the fact that Mom brought it up first.

One of the benefits of being the guy who doesn't actually live here is, I don't find myself getting irritated by my family members all that easily, and I am hoping they feel the same way about me. Of course since they see each other every day (most of the time), they do get irritated with one another. I can see feeling the same ways as each of them at some point, but am glad I can side-step it most of the time.

It's especially nice to have Tony, my brother-in-law, fully woven into the festivities. He and Mare are off to see his extended family today through Saturday night. We're lucky they live in Indiana, and are willing to share him and Mare each year; we take turns having the celebration on the 26th. Tony also has me watching my family, and myself, with a slight outsider's view. He is a good sport about what he witnesses when we're all together. He calls it 'visiting Laceyland" and rolls his eyes a lot. When Mary in particular is riffing, he'll point at Mom and mouthe the words "I blame you." We try clarify when it's Dad he should be blaming, or someone else, but the fact is Mary is responsible for forming Laceyland as much as anyone. It's also becoming pretty evident that even if he hasn't completely gone native, Tony is nonetheless now fluent in Lacey, though he'll deny it.

I hope Tony forgives me for sharing this story; yesterday he came home with a new GPS device for work, since he's on the road a lot, finding new places. As he unpacked it he casually tossed aside the manual, prompting Mary to say "yeah, you've got a penis, so you won't be needing THAT." Tony gave her the stink-eye and began tinkering with the machine. The GPS had him in China, Taipai specifically, and nothing he did could change it. He tinkered more, Mary made a few more jokes about the manual, and Tony took a break (still in Taipai) to wash the dishes. After yet another crack about the manual, Tony said conversationally "I'm gonna come over there and kick your ass, Mary Lacey." Mary responded "are you going to be able to find my ass with the GPS?"

For the record, he did read the first instruction, telling him it was necessary to be outside when he first booted up the machine. When they took off today, it was showing Indiana like a charm, and he had done all the other necessary processes without resorting to the literature.

I've said it at least twice already, but I hope everyone has just the holiday he or she is hoping, for, be it festive, raucous, serene, healing, solo, surrounded by loved ones, or all of the above. And happy Solstice tomorrow. With the return of the sun, may peace, love, beauty and abundance grow for us all.


Java said...

Ah, the solstice. I find comfort in the regular ebb and flow of the seasons, and the way our sky marks it all out for us.
Laceyland sounds like a really fun place!

tornwordo said...

That sounds like a sitcom around there. Sounds like you're going to have a lively holiday. Enjoy!

somewhere joe said...

Lordy, my family wasn't that witty til they'd had a few "highballs". Of course on holidays, they would start clinking soon after morning mass. I'm with Tony on the manual, and the questionable usefulness thereof. Manuals are a last resort only. I seem to have a penis. If Tony's is anything like mine, it'll guide him home in due course.

Our traditional Christmas eve snack was cream of mushroom soup, richly laced with butter and dotted with oyster crackers. That's what set it apart - oyster crackers.

Patrick Laceyland, and its delightful and familiar inhabitants, is just around the corner in my memories and heart. I have a feeling I'm not alone. Happy Christmas to you and yours.

Melissa said...

Love to you PAL -
Can't wait to move in with the fam.

Jess said...

Wait a sec. Mary Lacey? Not "Mary Beth Lacey," by any chance, is she? Now that would be good!

And I love the little familial interactions. It sounds like a fun group!

Patrick said...

Java, yes, I find comfort in the cycles as well, and no matter what I am thinking spiritually, the steadiness of that is good for me.

Torn, I hope your holiday was also wonderful.

Joe, well, when we've had a few drinks we mostly just get louder. I am of two minds when it comes to manuals; I ignore them as long as I'm not frustrated. The minute that kicks in, I figure it will only get worse (and take up more time) if I don't read the instructions. Not sure what that says about my penis.

I hope your holiday was joyous as well; was our elf dance as big a hit with your family as it was with mine?

Melissa Love, see you in a few days; after we throw our bash we can begin planning the move to IN.

Jess, no, her name is just Mary. Is there a famous (and rich) Lacey out there I should be hitting up for money? I'm not familiar with Mary Beth Lacey, and the name would obviously have caught my attention if I'd heard it. My sister is one of the funniest people I know.

Jess said...

Sorry it took me so long to return to this post.

Mary Beth Lacey was the "Lacey" in the TV show Cagney & Lacey. Okay, so the reference is a little dated, but you're in my age group, so I thought you'd get it. Sorry about that! :)