It’s Wednesday once again… and I’m ready to pour the wine. Here’s a glass for each of us. In spite of the red wine shown in the photo, I’m going to tempt you with a pinot grigio I like very much – the Santa Margherita. I hope it meets with your approval. It has a nice, dry taste, crisp and clean, and very light.
So, how was your Thanksgiving holiday? I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a nice time with family and friends. In spite of several hours of heavy snowfall last Wednesday, the roads where I live remained clear and we were able to visit our friends and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the crazy rush is on for the Christmas season. It’s time for buying gifts and wrapping them. It’s also time for decorating the house, making Christmas cookies, planning the Christmas dinner and trying to fit in as many holiday get-togethers as possible.
Fortunately, my husband and I managed to decorate the house just prior to Thanksgiving, and almost all of my Christmas shopping is finished. I’ve even wrapped a bunch of gifts… now I just need to get some of them to the U.S. Post Office for their journey across the Atlantic to friends on the other side of ‘the Pond.’
I’m always amazed that things somehow fall into place each year. One minute I am contemplating how on earth I will get everything done… and the next minute, somehow I’ve managed to accomplish everything. It’s a mystery!
Under the heading of ‘Stupid Things I’ve Done’ comes this little gem. This past Saturday while wrapping Christmas gifts, I had a cup of my favorite blend of Christmas coffee. Could there be anything better than having a sip of your favorite holiday brew while standing in the midst of a bunch of Christmas clutter? Surrounded by empty gift boxes, brightly colored tissue paper, ribbons, bows, tape and rolls of giftwrap, I surveyed the scene with some despair. I clung to my coffee mug in much the same manner as a drowning man clinging to a life raft. Only one thought ran through my head: where do I begin? Just getting started seemed an insurmountable task.
What could be better? Christmas coffee and biscotti! Yum!
Not so yum, I’m afraid. As I bit down on the biscotti, I felt a slight pop on the right side of my jaw. Didn’t hurt my tooth, but, boy, did that biscotti do a number on my jaw, which has since protested with regularity. I am still waiting for the slight discomfort to end and hopeful that a visit to Dr. Jawbone Expert won’t be in order.
When sharing my tale of woe with my friend, Heather B. Costa, she sympathetically offered, “Didn’t you dunk? Don’t you know you’re supposed to dunk those things in coffee, not bite down on ‘em?”
Uh… well… yeah…
I don’t know what possessed me to bite down on one. It was rather like one of those moments in life where you stand at a crossroads: to dunk or not to dunk? I was feeling wild, reckless, even! For whatever reason, I chose not to dunk.
Instead, I bit down.
I should have dunked.
Next time (once they unwire my jaw, that is), I will dunk.
Or maybe next time I’ll just stay the hell away from cookies that have the feel and texture of a rock.
W.K. Tucker, another pal of mine, mentioned last week that I failed to whine in my previous edition of the Wednesday Whine. I am making up for it with this post. I’m whining big time.
Self-pity, surely thy name is Kate Loveton (the woman with the dislocated jaw!).
Anyway, a word to the wise: when handling biscotti, remember to dunk.
On to other things…
I am currently reading a Wally Lamb novel, We Are Water. I am generally a fan of Wally Lamb’s novels. She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True are among my favorite books. Lamb is a keen and compassionate observer of human nature, and his stories about people dealing with tough emotional problems always hold me hostage. His novels make me laugh and cry, and I generally walk away from them feeling I’ve learned something about how human beings relate to one another.
I am having a tough time with We Are Water, though, and I’m having trouble figuring out where the book is headed. I’m thirty percent of the way through, and I keep waiting for the story lines to coalesce in a way that is meaningful to me.
I am not overly fond of the character the story appears to center around and that might be the problem. Annie Oh is an artist who leaves behind her husband of twenty-seven years to pursue her art in New York. The book opens with Annie having ditched her husband for an art dealer (a woman) she plans to marry. Annie seems as ambivalent about marrying the art dealer as she is about most things in her life, save art. One begins to wonder what Annie really does want. I keep wishing I cared more.
Since I still have seventy percent of the book remaining, I’m hopeful that the story’s main thrust will soon become clear, and that I’ll find the characters more engaging.
Has anyone read this book? If so, feel free to share your thoughts. Also, if you’ve read any other books by Lamb, do you have a favorite?
Speaking of things I’m reading, today I was wading through a National Geographic issue from June of this year which featured a German Shepherd on its cover. The lead story celebrated ‘hero’ dogs – dogs trained by the military to sniff out IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The article detailed all the ways in which these dogs assist human soldiers, often saving their lives by rooting out these dangerous weapons. The soldiers bond closely with these animals. It was a touching story in many ways.
But I found it sad, too. I make no bones (sorry – no pun intended!) about being an impassioned dog lover. There was something disturbing to me in the photographic images of wounded dogs, of a dog in a body bag, of dogs carried up steep walls to sniff out weapons. I think it may have something to do with the fact that dogs really have no choice in the matter. Man has waged wars throughout history – and he makes the decision to go to battle.
But animals? Why should animals have to play a role in man’s never-ending wars?
Have you read about the use of dogs in war? Have you ever thought much about it? I never had until I read the article – and saw the photos. Like the use of animals in laboratory experiments, I might understand the benefit for humans, but it still bothers me.
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On a humorous note, thoughts of humans using animals for beneficial purposes brings me to my favorite ‘beast of burden’ – Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer.
Yes, it’s that time of the year when that perennial favorite will be shown on TV and kids (young and old) will celebrate the season in the glow of Rudy’s red nose. I always liked old Rudy. I liked that he showed those other uppity reindeer that sometimes being different is okay; in fact, sometimes, it’s better.
That may be the reason I also like the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Like Rudolph, Charlie dared to be different from his friends and he questioned the real reason for the season – and, with the help of gentle Linus, came to the conclusion it was not just the presents, parties or managing to find the biggest Christmas tree in town that’s important.
Charlie’s pretty saavy for a cartoon character. I’m guessing he wouldn’t have had to retreat to the cookie cupboard in order to comfort himself through the ordeal of wrapping Christmas gifts like someone else we know…
On that note, I shall end by expressing a wish that the rest of the week treats each of you gently. Whatever holiday you celebrate, whatever preparations you may be in the midst of, I wish you joy and humor.
Just remember one thing: if anyone offers you a biscotti, don’t forget to dunk.
Note: credit for the images of National Geographic Magazine and of the dog in a soldier’s arms belong to National Geographic.