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christmas 4

Der checkerbooker ist balanced now. To my vast irritation, apparently the new company that owns CHI has not got direct deposit set up, or I haven’t done the paperwork, or something; I’m not *aware* of needing to do any more paperwork, but … Sigh.

It was an excellent Christmas for poetry! I bought myself The Essential Rilke, and the parental units gave Deirdre and me both copies of The Best American Poems, or something very close to that, and to my bemusement, I opened it up to about the fourth page of Song of Myself, which Dad and I had been discussing the day before. God, what a grand poem that is. It must be read aloud; it’s nothing, read silently, but aloud, it — well, it sings. And Ted got a book of swords that’s really quite cool, with all kinds of information about blades and hilts and just *stuff* about swords.

Deirdre and Gavin gave Ted and me a game called Cranium, and after we got done with presents and with visiting (Kathy and Ken and Grandma came over) and dinner, we played Cranium, which the girls (me, Deirdre and Mom) won, and it’s really a pretty fun game. You have to do a variety of things to advance: mimic actors, hum songs, guess phrases, spell words (both forwards and backwards), and lots of other things. So that was lots of fun, and afterwards we played Spoons, which is the most violent card game I know of, short of an actual gunfight at a poker game.

For those who don’t know it: put 1 spoon fewer than you have players on the table in a circle with the bowls facing out. Shuffle two (or more) decks of cards together. Deal out 5 cards to each player. The dealer takes the cards that aren’t dealt out, looks at the first one, and either keeps it and passes on one of his own cards, or passes it on. The next person does the same; the idea is to do it as quickly as possible. The goal is to get 4 of a kind while holding no more than 5 cards in your hand, and then to snatch a spoon. Everyone else must leap for a spoon after the first one has been taken. The person who doesn’t get one gets an ‘S’, and so on until someone has ‘SPOONS’, and then the game is over.

In my family, playing Spoons is a survival of the fittest game. We have been known to fling ourselves bodily across the table, wrestling each other to the ground for a spoon. In fact, a few Christmases ago (apparently Spoons is another Tradition) Deirdre and I did exactly that. One of us knocked a spoon across the table and to the floor. I literally bellyflopped myself across the table, reaching for the spoon, while Deirdre flung herself across Dad’s lap and we both desperately snatched for the spoon. Deirdre got it; I, with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard, proclaimed, “I was *WEAK*!”, which has now become a family by-line when a spoon is missed.

During one round on Tuesday, I accidentally grabbed two spoons, and while trying to let go of one of them, Ted knocked another spoon into Dad’s lap, and lunged for it, causing Dad to all but shriek and flinch backwards; Deirdre stood up and tried to sit back in her chair, but it had fallen over backwards and the poor honey whacked her funny bone on the chair leg, causing her to cry, but even through the tears, she snuffled, “I was *weak*!”

We played two games, at the end of which we were hoarse from shouting and laughing, and everybody was bruised or gouged, and we’d left all sorts of scars in the soft pine table, and finally, exhausted, we wound down and read and talked a bit and then everybody staggered off to bed.

Oh, at dinner, we were talking about the weird things that my family did, and I’d almost snarfed once, and just as I was taking a sip of milk, Mom said, “Once your father said to me, “Good night, light,” and it made me laugh, which made me spit milk across the table, which made everyone laugh very, very hard. *helpless laughter* I like my family so much. :)

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