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Ugh, I do NOT like the cold, with my vascular problems cold weather makes my hands and feet hurt so bad, sigh. Woke up this morn to a chill wind and gray skies, and I just feel slow and sluggish and vaguely depressed today. Gotta drag myself back to work tomorrow after a whole week off, a week in which I did nothing more productive than a bit of laundry and cooking and finished 4 of the gazillion books I have lying around the house. My son did most of the cooking for Thanksgiving; he made delicious yeast rolls and rosemary potatoes and we already had a fully cooked smoked turkey that my dear friend Ed sent to us for the holiday, so we had a nice meal with the veggies we also fixed and pecan pie. I missed having my youngest daughter home for the day, but she is a six hour drive away and had college classes right up through Wednesday and couldn't make it for Thanksgiving; at least she will be home for Christmas break in a bit over two weeks from now, so I am looking forward to that. She's adopted a dog, a yellow Lab mix with one blue eye and one brown that she's named Tristan, and she will be bringing Tristan with her for her month long Christmas break, so I hope he will get along with our dog, Zero, and our four cats and our rabbit!

Anyway...I also missed my sis and her family and my mom and little brother and seeing them on Thanksgiving, as they all got together at Mom's house; but I just couldn't get it together to drive the three hours there and another three back that day, sigh. My sis was depressed cause our older brother and his family didn't come; used to, we would have these HUGE gatherings for both Thanksgiving and Christmas because I have a lot of nieces and nephews and they are mostly grown now and having families of their own (my nephew Quinn already had 5 kids by the time he was in his late 20's!), and we would ALL come together for these two holidays and there would be at least 40 relatives in the house, a ton of them children. But sadly our extended family unit has gone through some internal strife and struggle and factions dividing and religious views clashing with others' moral and political views, and so now we have family who refuse to be around other family and fractured bits of the whole huddling stubbornly alone or in their small camps at holidays rather than everyone coming together as we used to in a big, noisy, rambunctious but utterly lovely chaos of family and love. It's very sad and depressing and part of the reason I myself just couldn't work up the energy to go to Mom's for the holiday; I know I am not exactly helping the problem by keeping myself and my family away, too, but perhaps at Christmas things might go a bit better. I just feel like I'm too old now, too displaced in the midst of a family of younger people who don't hold to the same idea of family that we older ones always clung to. It makes me feel very sad and lonely and cut off from some core aspect of myself and my soul, but I don't know that there's any going back now; you can't recapture some things again just because you want it that way, sigh. So, I need to let it go and wish the best for all my nieces and nephews and their kids and their lives and love them with the bittersweet recognition that to them I'm just their outdated, clueless old auntie heading for the half-century mark. Sigh.

Well, enough of my maudlin whining today. I got up with a sick tummy and am just not up to par either physically or emotionally today, I guess. So I will leave off with two book recs, one which deals with disturbing subject matter but which turned out to be a grimly compelling read and the second which made me laugh and cry and fall in love with Henry and his insane family and be drawn into their world till their woes and travails became as my own and I found myself weeping openly at certain parts of the novel. Here is the title and author of book #1--The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison, which is a memoir of her screwed-up, incestuous relationship with her father and her dysfunctional emotional bond with her mother. Yeah, not exactly fun reading, eh, but for me, coming from a childhood in which I was molested by a stepfather for most of that childhood, I found the book fascinating because it addressed some of my own emotional issues and devastation concerning the whole subject; and this was her biological father, so I can't even imagine the repercussions for her soul as I had enough trouble just dealing with my abuse by a stepparent who was not biologically related to me.

And the second novel is called Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb; I LOVE this book. It is told from the point of view of Isabelle, one of Henry's three adult sisters (Henry being the sole brother in the family and a young man with mental disabilities but a heart bigger than the world). Together they are the Bommarito clan, three half-crazy sisters with all sorts of dysfunctional quirks and habits, their equally screwed up and interesting mom, a grandmother with senile dementia who thinks she's Amelia Earhart, and an absent father who returns unexpectedly after many years. The book is full of quirky, outrageous humor and pathos and angst and oh, the terrible things that family has gone through both individually and collectively! But Henry, wonderful Henry with a wise soul to offset his mental retardation, is the glue holding this family together and the only one able to patch together the broken pieces. I couldn't get this book out of my head and Henry is a character I will long remember and cherish. Maybe partly because my own daughter is autistic and I have a soft spot for special people in the world; but I think Henry will capture the hearts of almost anyone out there. Cathy Lamb's story of this crazy family with its OCD daughter and one sexually promiscuous daughter and one fat one hung up on her weight and self image and the mother who was once a stripper and Grandma zooming around the house with her old-fashioned pilot's helmet and goggles plotting her next Atlantic crossing and the abashed, hopeful dad returning to the mostly unwelcoming bosom of his family held my rapt attention throughout the novel.

And now I am off to put some socks on my frozen feet and check my daughter's blood sugar and fix something for lunch; pay day isn't till tomorrow so we're down to the absolute dregs of food in the kitchen till then, sigh. Hope everyone has a good, peaceful Sunday.



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