It is officially the New Year and I don't really want to go to bed, yet. All the kids are sleeping and it is quiet and peaceful. I want to just sit here and soak up the post-holiday happy vibes and enjoy the near-solitude for awhile.
I didn't party hard this year. In fact, I hardly ever do. Since the regrettable Halloween of '96 where I learned my lesson about over-indulging and mixing my drinks (I have the pictures to remind me, since I can't remember it on my own) I just haven't really been inclined to really boogie down and go crazy for holidays. I don't really have a problem with music and dancing and yummy drinks and all that. It's just that it feels like such a waste when you work that hard to look that good and have a good time only to get numb and forget most of it. I think I would rather keep my wits about me and get to tell everyone else how goofy they looked after their 9th whiskey and coke. Plus, I can't warrant spending money on fancy clothes, restaurant bills, and taxi cabs just so I can spend the evening in a room full of too many people, loud music, and cheap champagne. Maybe when I grow up a little, I will come to appreciate it all. For now, I'd rather be safe and warm at home with my many hearts than risk losing myself or someone else to one of the reckless party-goers or (even worse) drunk drivers blazing down the highway full to the brim with artificial confidence and hard earned stupidity.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind being social and I love a good drink. But, if I'm going to make a party of it, it has to be good friends and it has to be a GOOD drink. Since I am now too far from almost everyone I would want to party with, I'll just spend it at home, thank you. Plus, everyday beer just won't do, and cheap, generic, knock-off liquor is just a hangover waiting to happen. Since I only indulge in one or two drinks every now and then, I want to enjoy every drop of it. If it IS malt liquor, it's got to be a boch or a dark ale. If it's wine, it needs to be rich, flavorful, and either red or white (forget that blush, white zinfandel, rose stuff.) When it comes to hard liquor, I would really prefer something smooth and sweet on the rocks, or even something strong and hard mixed with something smooth and sweet. (I wouldn't really consider myself a connoisseur, more like an alcohol snob.) Sure, call me a wuss and a pansy for sipping a fruity cocktail instead of shooting whiskey. I'm cool with that. I'm also cool with calling you a cab when you pass out in the bathroom. And taking pictures of you drooling on yourself. And sending the pictures to your mom. (Just a warning, don't get overly intoxicated around me. I'll remember lots more than you will and I enjoy it that way.)
Anyway, tonight while trying to find something tasty without too much kick, I found my new favorite mixed drink. Normally, I like rum mixed with anything, so things like daiquiris and mojitos top my go-to list of tasty drinks. Without fruit of any sort in my kitchen, all those were not possible. Most of the shot-type drinks were off the list, too, since we got rid of most of our really good stuff before we moved (Celtic Crossing and Irish Cream, I miss you my friends.) Instead of driving for 45 minutes and spending money at the liquor store tonight, I decided to make something using only what I had on hand, and (surprisingly) it worked. I mixed amaretto and cola and I liked it even better than the time I accidentally found out how much I like Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. To make it feel fancier, I sipped it out of a wine glass so I got to be all grown-up and stuff in front of the kids. (Ok, I don't really own wine glasses. They are long stemmed water glasses that I drink wine out of. I suppose it's a bit trailer trashy, but I haven't been able to break one yet, so I'll stick with them.) but to keep it light I drank it over crushed ice all night. I have two words for you Yummy and Delicious. Why did I never figure this out before? The discovery of this wonderful union came as much out of a pitifully spare liquor cabinet as from a real desire to mix the two, but as I happened to have both on hand, (and I already mentioned my desire to not purchase anything further) I gave the mix a shot and I am so glad I did. I think I have a new tool in my "It's five o'clock and I want the world to disappear" arsenal.
Tonight, while drinking a total of two and a half glasses of this concoction (I told you, I'm a real light weight these days,) I got to hang out with all of my kids and I had a bonus, too. I picked up my oldest niece this afternoon and invited her to stay with us for the weekend. Little Monster is a little less than a year older than Little Heart and I love her to bits. She has three younger brothers, so she is the only girl-child in her house and I love getting the chance to bring her around my girls and let her relax without being in charge of anyone else. I know (from experience) that being a big sister in a big family can be a LOT of work. Whether asked or expected, big sisters pick up a lot of the slack for moms. That's just the way it is. Giving them a break every now and then can be very healthy. Besides that, I think LM is just a cool little chick. When she was very little, even before LH was born, I got to spend a lot of time with her. I fell in love with her creamy brown skin and curly dark hair as much as her incredible imagination and goofy wit. Even as a toddler she was blast to have around, and that hasn't changed after 13 years. She much more "plugged in" than she was before (she has her ipod in one hand, cell phone sending texts in the other, and the computer on FB and IM's at the same time) but she is still my Little Monster, and she always will be.
My motivations, aren't 100% altruistic, though. LH just came back from a few days' stay at her grandparents but she doesn't go back to school until Monday. That means she was wandering around the house getting into trouble, or messing with her little sisters, just to have something to do. If I didn't provide some sort of distraction for her, I think EG and TD were going to launch and full-scale assault and rebellion. Having a girl-cousin stay with us was just the added "fun" LH needed to convince her to leave her poor sisters alone.
After a taco and nacho dinner, ginger ale toasts at midnight, and a full hour of Apples to Apples (Junior Edition to accommodate EG and TD) we finally got all four girls in bed and quiet by 1:00. DH and I have been up since then spending quiet time together, doing our own separate things, but close together. By now, I am actually getting a little bit tired and I should be able to go to sleep soon. One of the disadvantages of taking sleeping meds - mixing them with any alcohol is very, very bad, so I can't drink and then take them too soon after. I either have to try to get to sleep on my own (not very easy) or I have to wait several hours after a drink before I can go to bed (to make sure the alcohol is out of my system.) Tonight I'm opting for the "wait several hours" option. If I have to wrangle all four girls again tomorrow, I'm going to need all the rest I can get.
The past year has been filled with so much of everything, that I have a feeling getting my rest will be more important than ever. Over the last 12 months, I have come to many new realizations about myself. Things like, I love to write, I suck at working for other people, I love to cook, I suck at being a housekeeper, I love being a mother and wife, I am NOT crazy, and there IS a valid reason for my pain, fatigue, and regular bouts ickiness. I picked up and relocated my family 75 miles away from everything I was comfortable with in search of a simpler and more comfortable life. I bought a new car, sold 50% of my belongings, and took more risks than I have made in many, many years. I didn't manage to lose the weight I gained, but I didn't gain any more, so that is a big positive for me. I have learned more about what makes me tick and I have taken my health into my own hands more effectively than I was able to before. Financially, I am not exactly better off, but I am not worse off and I am slowy learning to face and control the making and spending of resources much more efficiently than I did before.
As I mentioned before, I won't make New Years Resolutions, but I do hope that certain things will come to pass before this year passes on. I hope I can become more stable health wise and even start to go further down the path to healing. I hope that I can figure out a way to balance time, money, and energy so I can stop feeling like I'm being pulled in too many ways at once. I hope that I can bring new and interesting dishes to the table and introduce my family to new foods. I hope I can write more than I ever have before so that I can feel more comfortable submitting my work for publishing. I hope I can get BBD back, because I really, really miss my dog. And I hope I can bless all of you with good thoughts and plenty of smiles in whatever way I can.
So with that, dear friends, I say good night to you, good bye to the old year, and hello to the new.