Champagne salami

Happy New Year, ya’ll.  It’s really 2009 and we’re all still here – those of us reading, anyway.

This afternoon, after we’d watched “Akeelah and the Bee” with Ruby, Anna asked if it was too early to open champagne.  None of us had any reservations about her request, and she returned to the living room with a glass of bubbly and a small plate of salami.  The coffee table was full of snacks from earlier when Nat had filled bowls and plates with things like chips and salsa, wasabi peas, rice crackers, and mixed nuts.  We laughed when Anna said, “This is the life, champagne and salami.  This so perfectly describes my life and the things I love.”  Or something like that.  We got it.  Champagne doesn’t mean we have to also have foie gras or truffles, when salami works.  It means we’re enjoying a moment of celebration in whatever form feels comfortable.  We were quite comfortable, and thankful for that privilege.

We watched parts of the Rose Parade twice on the television.  I grew up in Pasadena, so spent many of my New Year’s Eves on the parade route – sometimes camping, sometimes partying, and sometimes working.  I have fond memories of those years.  I was young and surrounded by people who only wanted to acknowledge that a new page on the calendar had been turned, granted it was a page that differentiated one year from the next, but really, just a single day, 24 hours.  We had a great time in those years – feeling like we were on top of the world, and afforded a luxury known only to those of us living in Southern California.  In retrospect, this was a small world, but one that helped shape much of my youth.

The rest of our afternoon was spent with phone calls about marital engagements, a friend’s family member’s recent death (a stroke on Christmas day), that same friend’s cousin’s diagnosis of leukemia, football games, the Food Channel, and Ruby’s first realization of New Years as a special day.  I had a hard time committing to this new year, so stayed in my pajamas and took as many short naps as I thought might go unnoticed by my family.  Ruby joined Dave and me in the early evening to watch football, and during commercials we switched to Iron Chef America.  We cuddled up in our bed, petting the cats, talking about chefs and football uniforms.  Ruby always cheers for the teams that wear her favorite colors.  She’s quite a kid.

Christmas turned out good, all of us doing our best to enjoy a day that no longer resembles much of our collective histories – but good, all the same -acutely aware that Owen was not here with us – and again, yesterday and today.  We’re collecting all of those things about ourselves that seem resilient, that seem resistant, that seem impervious to pain, and moving forward with hope, always hope.  After our Christmas morning here at the house opening presents and having breakfast together, we spent the rest of the day with Michael (Nat’s and Owen’s father) and his friend, Gary, whom we’ve known for over 20 years.  He’s here visiting again this year, and he and Michael go all out with the Christmas dinner.  We spent the day with the extended family and a couple of neighbors, and left feeling like we would, indeed, make it until next year.

I have a few more days off work, and have something scheduled every day.  That’s a good thing.  I do better with plans.  So, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out my plans for 2009.  So far, I’m uncertain.  Last year, I had a mission of searching for beauty.  That search was time well spent, and just about the only thing on which I could focus when my day-to-day life left me distracted, and the grief of losing Owen was overwhelming.  When all else failed, I could walk outside and find something, anything – a flower, a tree, a cloud, an animal, a ray of light, and feel that my search had been fulfilled – for that moment anyway.

For 2009, I’m still searching for the mission.  I’ll let you know when I figure it out.  Maybe it’s as simple as the perfect combination of champagne and salami.  I love them both, but never really thought about them as a duo until today, thanks to Anna.  Why not?  There’s a lot of work that goes into both food products, and I’ve been a foodie since I was 20.  We’ll see.

I’m thinking more about something like finding that missing puzzle piece, though.  How long can we go on not knowing what happened to Owen?  This not-knowing really is enough to make a person crazy.  So, maybe this is my mission for 2009, and if not fulfilled, my mission for the rest of my life.  It’s a worthy cause.  I’m his mom.  I owe it to him.  I’m sure to spend a few days drinking champagne and eating salami, though, because the answers haven’t been revealed in a year and seven months, so I have to be prepared to wait even longer than this new year.  Okay, maybe I’ll find some delightful chocolates to replace the salami on occasion.

Not a completely universal theme for how I might choose to spend the new year, but one that I may not be able to put on hold any longer.  All that searching for the answers since Owen died, has gone unanswered.  I need new tactics, obviously.  I don’t know what they are, but I’ll find something creative to help me through the dry spells.  I have to.  It’s 2009, I need a purpose, and besides giving as much as is humanly possible to my family, I can’t think of a better one.  I’m sure I’ll be allowed an extension next year, if my plans fall short.  No matter how bad the economy gets, I can guess there’ll still be food available at my local grocery to sustain me.  I’m praying I’ll still have a paycheck.  If not, I’ll have to get even more creative – who needs heat or lights, when champagne and salami are willing to help me with my jigsaw puzzle?

Song for the night:  Jigsaw Falling Into Place, Radiohead

 

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~ by Linda on January 2, 2009.

2 Responses to “Champagne salami”

  1. I love this post, Linda. Champagne is so hoity-toity and salami is so salt of the earth. Why not both together, though? Yes.

    You sound so much better these days. It cheers me to think of you as finding a little more joy. Ruby sounds like a darling.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Linda; you don’t need to post this but I immediately understood your mention of your new ‘mission’ for 2009. And it brought to mind what I did in a similar ‘passing’ of my cousin. The Yahoo police force in the tiny town near here in Texas where ‘it’ occurred; refused to give out any details to anyone for several weeks. It was tearing up the family – so I took it upon myself to convince them to produce an official sealed report and I would come pay for the report & its overnight express shipment to the victim’s older brother in California; then the borhter could choose what details to tell (and what to leave out) for the elderly Mother and Father. That must have sounded reasonable enough to the seargent – because they agreed to did it immediately the next day. I think they were relieved to have a way out of the mess they had created for themselves and they knew it would eventually be a matter of public record anyway. Perhaps if you had someone who could act as a liason (especially if they have an official looking title)– you just might have a chance to get an accurate (if not final) report. Just make sure it is someone who will actually show you the information; and not withold it – thinking they want to shield you. I agree with you that it is necessary to know ‘ALL’ in order to process the loss. Love and Light to you as you both enjoy the moments of beauty as you find them; and walk the path of re-claiming the knowledge of every moment of Owen’s life. Talula

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