J a n u a r y   2 0 0 6

Guest Writer

Wishing you all the very best
Late for Christmas
by Brooke Kavanagh

Hey Everyone,

I know, I know, late again. Sorry. To be honest, I'm always praying this letter will just sort of write itself. But it does not.

Well, I've seen your cards and it looks like congratulations should be offered.

First, to Jen, Sarah H., Jennifer, Suz and Doug, Karin and Sarah B., Jonathan, Dave, and Jeff on your new homes.

And to Ron and Maria – who could buy themselves the nicest house of all – for expanding sales of the handmade mouse warmer to a kiosk by Petz-Fur-Life. We who love to be in style and comfort as we click our way through the days are an ever-increasing mass. (P.S. I'm constantly having to towel my hand off when I've got a lot of data entry – do you carry a model in a breathable cotton or maybe Gortex?)

And then there's baby Tucker, or Mr. T, as he is known to those who adore him. He was a long-awaited miracle and, thanks to Lisa and Matt's diligence at his Web site, we can virtually grow up alongside this blessed creature of the Lord. Indeed, I'm sure if he were to just appear on my doorstep one day, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment. "Hello, Tucker," I'd say.

On a heavier note, I wanted to comment on Jeff's camping trip last summer that it looks like many of you were a part of. I hope enough time has passed for me to say this and that you'll accept these humble words of comfort from a person who was not there and didn't witness the "extremely difficult moment." But I really think it's important to respect the fact that animals are animals (in this case, dogs are dogs and mountain lions are mountain lions) and what happened to Ginger and Zeus was fairly normal in nature. Like when you hit a squirrel, or even a cat, with your giant automobile. It just happens that way. All the same, I think Jen's idea of Salishan Lodge next year is a good one.

As for me, several of you have asked how it is to be living back at home. And, my answer is that it is nice. There was a lot to catch up on, a lot Mom and Dad and I hadn't mentioned. You know, all those things you keep inside and think, Oh, they don't really need to know that. But, maybe by revealing everything and seeing everything, those constricting façades are no longer necessary. And once we stop hiding from who we are, that is when we come to know who we really are.

For example, if it weren't for this new living arrangement I wouldn't have known that every morning my father takes his and my mother's blood pressure to set the tone for the day. And that he checks it again in the evening to confirm his suspicions.

Somewhat relatedly, I discovered that my mother snacks on cheese frequently. Any kind of cheese, really, but there is a special fondness for Gouda, which she hides in the back of the fridge in a crumpled piece of foil. (If you have never tried it, it is smoky and creamy and good just by itself.) I ended up accompanying Mom on a few trips to the Hickory Farms during the shopping season and it was really kind of beautiful to watch her scurry from station to station filling her mouth with samples, free of any suffocating adult inhibitions. It was like she'd been let into Willy Wonka's little wonderland, but in cheese.

I've also appreciated how accepting my parents have been of what I considered to be my fatal flaws. Over the months, all the little troubles that had kept me behind closed doors dissipated and I began to feel whole again.

Well, the holiday season here was nice and got kicked off, somewhat surprisingly, in the bathroom at work. Someone on our floor had purchased a couple cans of Glade Evergreen air freshener and so, periodically throughout the day, you'd walk in and wonder if maybe you'd encounter Rudolph or one of the elves while taking care of your business. The festive facilities were really quite pleasant and got a lot of people talking to people they usually only smiled politely at in the mirror – though Mary from Accounts Receivable complained, but that was on account of her allergies. Nobody hated her for it.

As usual, my little sister Deanna made her famous Christmas cookie platters for everyone. Normally I would have eaten myself into a glucose coma but, as fortune would have it, a woman from down the street saw a homeless man shivering one night and decided to rally the neighborhood into making a difference. She came to all our doors, asking us to donate an item that would keep someone on the streets warm this winter. I was low on blankets and sweaters, but barely thought twice before handing over those 12 dozen chocolate drops and 23 Mexican wedding cakes that would have made me so sick. And if you know Deanna's baking skills, you know that whoever got those cookies had a good couple of days. Maybe made a few friends.

But perhaps the most notable moment for me during the holidays was a dream I had in the hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. As I understood it, I was a housewife in the '60s or '70s and found myself standing in a rather unattractive kitchenette with carpeted floors and fake wood cabinets. Behind each cupboard door was a stacked wall of Cup-o-Soup, Pringles, Hamburger Helper and the like. I think I felt reassured to be so well stocked.

But I am digressing from the main attraction because there, in my little brown kitchen with his back to me, was a man I came to realize was my husband. Despite never staring directly into his face and feeling more like he was a suggestion rather than a reality, I knew that this was the man that would exist if God had given birth to John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart in a single push: the perfect amount of man and woman.

Heavy emotions took over and I was flooded with joy and sexual desire – is that okay for me to say here? Maybe cover the young ones' ears? Oh, it felt so right. He felt so right ... the way our bodies aligned. God, I was in love. Now logically, of course, I know my husband's image was created by watching five minutes of "The Green Berets" and one minute of "It's A Wonderful Life" that night, yet I can't help but believe it was a sign, a message. You know? Like that that's the kind of guy I need.

Well, I think that brings us up to date. The New Year will be ushered in quietly here with a couple of friends I've come to love and trust. My folks are off on a romantic getaway.

As always, I wish you all the very best. Judging from your holiday pictures, though, I can tell you already are.


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