Nov 26, 2010

that holiday feeling

Posted by Mary |

The cool kids hang out on the front porch at night, drinking wine.
And by cool kids, I mean my Aunt Mary and cousin Jess.
MySpace-style portrait art will never die!

After the supercomputing conference ended, I bid adieu to New Orleans and flew to Connecticut to visit with family for a bit. As my sister had given birth in April, I risked incurring great Catholic guilt trips if I didn't make it out to meet her daughter soon.

I am once again struck by how big and how identical everything is here in the Lower 48. It's become a world of chain restaurants and box stores. Moreover, a popular timepass seems to be making a day of shopping. I guess I'm spoiled in Fairbanks - we have barely any places to shop, making that errand more utilitarian. At the same time, I do have the ability to buy nearly anything my heart desires, thanks to the Internet. Thus, my shopping list for this trip has been quite brief: a new sweater, a piece of luggage for my roommate, a box of Devil Dogs. I impulse-purchased a new purse, reminding myself of how easy it can be to get distracted by the quantity of goods available.

The rumors of my niece being a quiet and perfect baby have been greatly exaggerated. Ashley goes to grandma daycare, so I've been spending most days with her. And don't get me wrong - she's cute! She mostly stuffs her two middle fingers in her mouth and stares at you. She may be plotting my death to increase her inheritance. It's hard to tell. Mostly she just stares. But when she gets fussy, she is not afraid to cry long and loud to share her dismay.

My friend Meg also has a new baby. She adopted last year, so I had met Leah once before. But now the kid is walking and is a bit of a handful. She is built like a tank and seems to be bulletproof, thus earning herself the nickname Bam-Bam. Mean nicknames aren't just for the dance troupe!

Yesterday was, of course, the big event, with my Manhattan relatives trekking inland to eat turkey and ply me with questions about Alaska politics. The Massachusetts relatives had arrived the night before, possibly to suss out the liquor situation. There's always enough wine around when I am here, but otherwise it's usually pretty dry, belying our WASP-y roots.

If yesterday was Thanksgiving, that means today is the day after Thanksgiving. And instead of waking up early for Black Friday shopping, we are following a different family tradition - staying out of my mother's way as she becomes a whirling Tasmanian devil of Christmas decorations. I could try to explain just how much she decorates, but not even pictures would do it justice. Let's just say that there are normally three fully decorated Christmas trees. And the bathroom goes beyond theme towels to theme shower curtains. People wonder why I don't celebrate the holidays, but it's clearly just a natural rebellion against the environment in which I was raised. Like a holiday Rumspringa.

I have a few days left to try to fit in all the visits with old friends and relatives, not to mention spending quality time with my actual nuclear family. There's been a subtle shift in language. People keep asking me how much longer I'm home, but I speak of how much longer I'll be visiting before I go home. I miss my house and my cat and MNB. I'm glad I skipped the Icepocalypse of 2010 in Fairbanks, but I need to go home. And then turn right around and go on vacation with MNB.


Tom said...

This entry had altogether too many explanation points. If you start using "LOL" I'm going to suspect a spam robot has commandeered your blog.

Also, your shopping list failed to mention the Luchador wine you are of course bringing back to Fbx for me.