A Christmas Pictorial
I drove down to Chillicothe, IL last Sunday night after the "Rudolph" matinee and said hi to Mom, then went over and checked into my room at the Super 8 motel. (By the way, not a bad place, the Super 8.) I went to the Kroger and did some shopping, then got a good night's sleep.
On Christmas Eve, I spent a few hours with Mom (her roommate Peggy was in the hospital with a cardiac complaint and hadn't returned yet), then went into Peoria to buy a few gifts for her to give Aunt Fay. I found a cute bracelet and a turquoise pendant. (I had gotten her and Uncle Jim each a $100 gift card for Target, so I only needed to get those few things from Mom and me.) Then I went to meet a few friends at Chili's for a quick drink and off to my Dad's house at 3:00 for Christmas with them, my Aunt Mary, my cousin Tonya, and Mary's foster daughter Lana and her two kids. Both under six years old. And WIRED.
Dad and Karen. Dad's on the left, with the mustache. He liked the Deep Purple CDs I got him, and Karen liked her 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. (She's always putting one together, so that's what I always get her--she loves them. It makes her easier to shop for too!)
My step-brother J.D. with Lana's daughters Angel and Gabrielle. Angel will be six in January and Gabrielle will be five. They have lots of energy. I don't. But J.D. does! Of course, he's only 19. Not that I'm bitter or anything...
Lana and Angel. After watching Lana as a teenager, it's somewhat amusing to watch the girls sass her. (Although Lana was never much of a sasser--she whined sometimes, but no more than most teenagers.) Her girls are adorable--but a handful!
We had a really nice dinner and then I went back to the home to spend more time with Mom. Mary and Tonya and Lana and the girls came with to spend a few minutes with Mom, and we had to stop Gabrielle from running and yelling in the halls (I had to tell them to be extra quiet since Peggy was back from the hospital and was sleeping in her bed). Aunt Fay and Uncle Jim came in right about this time, and so they got to see them too.
After the visitors were gone, Mom and I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV, and ate some of the Christmas candy that Fay had left (Mom demolished two of those suckers apparently--Fay said she'd brought three during the month!) Halfway through the movie, Mom dozed off, so I went back to the hotel to drink whiskey and coke and watch the "Futurama" marathon on Cartoon Network.
On Christmas morning, I went over to Mom's room and we exchanged gifts. I already knew what she'd gotten me, because she'd told me once. Then forgot several times and told me again each time. It was a cute blue sweater. I got her a Tony Bennett "Duets" CD and DVD set.
She loved the Tony Bennett CD/DVD. She was always a big Tony Bennett fan.
Don'tcha love the hat? As it turned out, she was wearing a matching jacket, so it worked perfectly.
I had a hat, too.
Then I went to Fay and Jim's for their Christmas gathering with their kids and the grandkids. Fay loved her bracelet and necklace and she and Jim both loved their gift cards. They asked me again about taking Mom's car back with me, since Mom won't drive it anymore. I finally said yes. So the next day Fay and I went to the storage place where Mom's apartment is packed up and I rented a stall to put my car for the next two months (until I can recover the title, which I lost several years back, so I have to write to Springfield to get a new one). I cleaned most everything out of mine and locked it away. Once I get the title, I'll sell it down there. Life comes full circle for that car--I bought it 14 years ago when I lived down there. Now it will live there once more...
So it really was a bittersweet holiday...it wasn't as stressful as I'd imagined it would be, but it's easy to see that Mom's really pulling away now. Ironically, even though her memory is very compromised from the cancer and the drugs, she's doing really well in physical therapy. Thursday she stood up by herself, and she can walk short distances with the walker and limited assistance. So at least she's got something to work towards--she's always happiest then. And we got to watch Christmas movies together, so we got to observe our Christmas traditions.
This is Mom's car. It's strange to be driving it when it's not really "mine" yet, but it was sitting undriven for a few months, and needs an oil change and new tires, and I can give it those things now. It's hard to get used to having a car with automatic transmission--I drove a stick for 20 years, and keep looking for the clutch. I'll have to adjust my way of driving. I called the City Clerk's office about getting a city sticker for it, and after going to the first office the clerk mentioned (2550 W. Addison), I was told to go to another one (5430 W. Gale) for residential stickers. There, I was told I don't need a city sticker, since the car is not registered in Chicago (and won't be until I officially own it). So--that was an hour I shan't regain. But I got to see the quaint neighborhood of Portage Park. Very old-world. Kind of like Lincoln Square, without the yuppification.
"Rudolph" closes today, and as much fun as it's been, I can't say I'll be sorry to see it end this time! I'm quite weary of Santa now--he's odious. Our Joans gig last night at Jackhammer went well. I had a few friends and neighbors in attendance and they throroughly enjoyed it. We have a rehearsal in an hour, then "Rudolph," then set strike, then a Joans show tomorrow night in Michigan.
Hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year!