books and more

November 22, 2006|Posted in: Uncategorized

The house is still, except for the click and tumble in the dryer, a load of towels and one sweatshirt whose zipper is clanking lightly against the drum. It’s a comforting sound.

My hands are cold — of course, it is November. And December, in another week. Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow, and the house is empty. My girls have gone to their dad’s and P’s kids have gone to visit their mother, and Mia is not home for the holiday, since we just saw her off a month ago and she’ll be home Dec. 16 for Christmas. She is planning to sit on the curb tomorrow and watch the Macy’s Parade in Manhattan, and then catch the Chinatown Express (a bus from NY to Philly’s Chinatown) to dine with my brother’s in-laws in Cherry Hill, NJ. P and I are not planning on a turkey dinner — we are still debating what to do — jump in the car and drive north to visit a friend, hit the road to Tahoe for a few days, stay here under the radar, catch a plane to Vegas…it’s all up in the air. I think we’ll roll dice to see where we’re going.

In any case, no turkey.

Which is fine — no need to cook a whole bird for just the two of us. I might buy one to cook later, though, in a week or so. I do miss the scent of the browning skin, the gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. I bought a cracked crab and fresh bread, and ingredients to make the pie if we do choose to stay. A light supper for two, with pumpkin pie, might be nice.

But whatever — as long as we’re together, we don’t feel the pinch of missing the kids quite as much. Being with someone who shares custody of his children is a blessing in many ways. At least you’re in the same boat, and you understand the weird ways of it.

My office is a mess, but I promised Ana she could clean it for some holiday spending money. Christmas will be homemade this year, as the budget is still tight. So, all of you expecting gifts, um, hope you like cookies…and knitting…and the like. I’m cranking up the Christmas craft (not crap) factory, and expect the kids to be joining in the crew.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, just one day of the year where we are meant to be thankful, but I’m trying to be thankful every day, even when I really don’t feel like it…

I forgot to write about books. My mother gave me a box of books that were my grandmother’s, and I have just barely touched them, opened a few and read the inscriptions — and they are lovely, awe-inspiring. There is so much to discover in this little trove: poetry inscribed by my grandfather for Valentine’s Day before they were married. A book of speeches and letters and essays by such stalwarts as Longfellow, George Washington and Ben Franklin, and stories by Poe and Irving. True American classics. I want to savor the reading of these and try to read them with the eyes of a girl in 1917. Not possible, but maybe. We’ll see.

Be grateful. Praise Jah. Enjoy your days. Amen.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

1 Comment


    November 24, 2006

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    sounds lovely.

    the first year i didn’t have my kids for thanksgiving, i was a total wreck. now, i have three of the four, and it’s OK. i know how to deal with that kind of emotional cavity now, but three years ago… ow.

    oh, to be a fly on the wall as you savor those books! what an adventure to embark upon. enjoy your treasure!

    xoxo, katje (who is thankful for friends like you!)

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