The Dish Rag – 12.24.09

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Troy: Merry Christmas Eve. It’s here and will be gone in the blink of an eye. Presents torn open, food scarfed down and what remains are memories. These memories are what make the holidays special. Great recipes shared with friends, disasters that over time become tales told each year with laughter, memories of that beautiful tree you worked on together, memories of family and friends that have passed, shared with tears and love and traditions that bring your group together.

Adam: Oh, for crying out loud! We’ve raced around, lost sleep, ate until I would have paid someone to put an ice pick in my gut to relieve the pressure, spent too much money even after vowing not too and narrowly avoided confrontations with several family members. Good times. OK, Christmas was fun this year. I got into it from the first moment that the Cascade Christmas crew stepped on the stage and will be totally engrossed until I slice into the bouche de noel tonight. In between, I played Christmas music non-stop in the car and I saw some of my favorite holiday movies. Thanks, by the way, for once again tolerating National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (I secretly want to be a Griswold).

Troy: Speaking of ice picks, someone please stab me if I have to ever have watch that movie again! You, Sean and Tanya laughed through another Griswold Christmas. The worst part is to enduring two or three more weeks of movie snippet recitals and mind numbing lines like, “Get yourself something nice Clark. I mean real nice.” or “That there’s an RV Clark,” all done with a white trash twang. The one good thing about that movie is the reminder that there are more dysfunctional families out there than both of ours. Adam, if you want to get me something nice, I mean real nice, do not make me watch that movie again.

Adam: Don’t count on it. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the Griswolds or Muppet Christmas Carol. The mini-Kermit Tiny Tim gets me every time. Speaking of gifts, though, I must admit that gift-buying was fun this year. I always gripe about it until about December 15 and then I get into it. But I like our idea for next year: At least ten presents for one family member whose name we have drawn. All ten presents must fit in a stocking and cost less than $100. The creative, funny, re-gifting and thrift store possibilities are endless. It’s even more fun since we’ll have to be on the lookout for stuff all year. But I really like what you did this year.

Troy: I made quilted scarves for each member of my family. I used some old plaid shirts of my dad’s, who passed away in February 2007. As I was making them, he was so on my mind that I found myself lost in thoughts of him while I was sewing. At one point I stopped, and thought to myself, “If there are too many blue pieces, Dad will never wear this scarf.” It was so wonderful to be lost in his memory, even for just a few minutes.

Adam: Those moments that you forget someone is gone are really strange. It happens all the time for me with my grandma, and she’s been gone for 12 years. I’ll think, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell her what happened today,” or ” I’d love to have her opinion about this or that.” When that happens, I just tell her or ask her in my head and wait for some kind of answer. She and I saw eye to eye on a lot, so I often hear her voice in my head. And it’s particularly hard this time of year. She really liked Christmas.

Troy: Yeah isn’t it comforting to have them with you always? My dad visits me often. A voice, a touch, even conversations in my dreams. My dad loved Christmas. He would always help us decorate the house and put the lights on the tree. Dad loved exterior illumination. He would cover our house in lights. Mom would always turn them on so Dad could enjoy them when he got home from work. We always had Christmas at our cabin in Shingletown. I have great memories of white Christmases, a roaring fire and my grandmother’s table.

Adam: I have great childhood memories of Christmas, too. My parents were divorced, so I always had multiple celebrations. At my mom’s, we had a fancy Christmas Eve dinner, even if it was just a few of us: china, silver, crystal. It was fun. I was a weird kid (no comments) so I liked getting the table ready, folding the linen napkins, lighting the candles. I still like all of that. My step mom always had tons of homemade treats. She baked for days: cookies, her famous peanut butter balls, apple butter.

Troy: As a kid I loved my grandmothers sugared walnuts. Crunchy, sweet cinnamon goodness tucked into a handmade Santa’s boot. I ate so many one year that I developed an allergy to walnuts. My grandmother always set a beautiful table. Nothing fancy, just vintage linens, old gold-rimmed platters, water pitchers and glass star candle holders.

Adam: But now it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s: parties, hangovers and resolutions. I’ve always thought resolutions were such a cliché. I mean, the new year is a totally made-up, human construct. But I am so programmed to use January 1 as a time to reflect and make changes that I always find myself worrying about the weight I need to lose, the friendships I need to repair (or discard) and what it will take to be a better person. Mainly it’s about doing the Hollywood diet for a week before I head to the YMCA pool.

Troy: You’ve said that out loud. People are going expect you to look like Kate Moss by Valentine’s Day. Me, on the other hand, I only have one resolution: paint, paint, paint. I’d like to continue journaling and creating paintings from those journal entries.

Adam: But until then, PARTY! We’re joining forces this year with our friends at Vintage Wine Bar, some amazing artists and our good friend Jim Dyar and his band to co-host “V-10,” a New Year’s bash at Vintage Wine Bar. I’ve never hosted a public party before. It’s very intimidating. There will be a “New Year” themed exhibit of photographs, wine and food pairing, fantastic music and three guest artists creating works of art on site. But tell everyone about that.

Troy: V-10, is going to be exciting. Sean Randall (www.seanjrandall.com), Raette Meredith (www.artbyraette.com) and I (www.hawkmanstudios.com) will be at Vintage painting. We will each be working on pieces that will be raffled off at the end of the evening to anyone who does the evening’s food and wine pairing. I am super-excited at the prospects of working along side of Sean and Raette. Watching and sharing ideas and thoughts. I love to paint in public. The artists disappears to some of the viewers and I like to hear people talk honestly about that they see and feel. I’m also ready for great food and wine.

Adam: So, have a great Christmas and before your resolutions kick-in, join us for New Year’s Eve. Until then, share with us what your favorite gift was this year.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Charlie Burns says:

    This year my husband's hours were cut at work and in the month of November I really did not work because I stayed home to take care of my mother in law who we almost lost the month prior. So needless to say funds were tight, but that was okay by us because we were doing all that we could and we had a small savings.

    When I did go to work I kept finding envelopes of cash under my keyboard. My name was on the envelope but there was not a note and I could not tell who it was from. I asked around and everyone was hush hush. Finally one co worker told me that in the bible it states that a true gift is given when you do it without receiving recognition so I should just accept it graciously and know that people care. Well the envelopes kept coming all the way up untl this week. In total I received over $150 which enabled us to do some of the Christmas traditions that we would have ignored this year.

    I now know where the money came from……..a true friend. One who knew that while we were making it work it would be nice to have a little peace of mind. This definately taught me about giving, receiving, and friendship.

    Merry Christmas everyone

  2. Avatar Susan Daugherty says:

    I've been very nostalgic knowing that this would be my last Christmas in Redding. My 100+ year old home, which I've been in for almost 30 years, was made for Christmas decorating and it will be a pleasure to be able to stay home and have my family join me there. My last tree in the house needed to be perfect and it is.

    This morning, as I was reading greetings from FB friends, I got to thinking how fortunate I am to know so many talented, giving, wonderful people. So, even after the presents under the tree are unwrapped this year, I think that will remain my favorite gift. The awareness that I am truly blessed.

    Thank you Troy and Adam for sharing your stories of times still spent with people no longer here with us. It brought tears to my eyes as, just a month ago, I lost a close friend who usually joined us for the holidays. I plan on opening a special bottle of wine to toast his memory and remember just how much he always enjoyed being a part of the family.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Adam and Troy….Have a very Merry Christmas ! I enjoy your work.

  4. Avatar Beth says:

    Like you, I miss my dad who died 10 years ago, and my mother, now gone four years. I see Daddy every time I look at the corny Santa baseball cap that sits on an antique chair from my mother; I miss Mother every time I bite into a cookie made from one of her many recipes. I can hear Daddy's tenor voice singing carols, always singing carols at Christmas. I miss playing cards with my mother while the ham or turkey baked. I miss my friend Julie with whom I sang many Christmas Eve choir concerts and shared many meals — she has cancer this year. But I'm grateful for the new friends, the new and still-developing traditions we're making, and especially that we are not traveling this year. Merry Christmas, Troy and Adam.

  5. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    The holidays can be an emotional time for so many of us. I will always support the energy and spirit and love that create magic for others at this time of year. Thank you for the great article. I think the Vintage Bar will be too packed to even get in. Can I drink a brown bag beverage on the street?

  6. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    I was on my way to bed, and decided to pop in and see what was new at the newscafe. Now, I'm weeping like a fool and will have a headache in the morning due to the crying..

    I like to think that what I do (and have done) is creating happy memories for my kids and grandkids, and reading your treasured memories affirms that fact. Few people remember the gifts, but our memories stem from the togetherness and love that we share.

    Merry Christmas to you Adam, Troy, and Corina…and thank you for the memories we have made in the short time we have shared together.

    Blessings to all, and to all a good night.

  7. Avatar Mark says:

    I am dying. I wish I could die right now and be with my beloved dad who died. and be with my brother who died.

    life is sad. wish I was never born to my horribly abusive mom. I'm anerixictoo

    • Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

      Dear Mark,

      I just had to respond this very moment that I read your posting. It sounds to me that you must be in a lot of pain and feeling very alone right now… and I have been to those very depths. It also sounds to me that you have been profoundly loved, and find yourself at a crossroad here. You are facing a really important set of choices…

      I am just an ordinary dad who loves my children more than words could ever describe. As a father – and a damn good one at that – I could only wish that were you my child, I would ask that you continue, get re-oriented and commit to leaving this a better world than you found it. Whatever is left of your life-experience. I believe you can do that by getting strong again and reaching out to others who have suffered where you have been and help them get through, leaving better memories in their wake.

      We are each of us Angels with only one wing, and we can only truly fly, embracing each other. I can sense that you have very much left to give to this sometimes terribly hurtful world. I can imagine that when you rejoin your beloved, real father, he will be so proud of what you have left to this world. In the meantime I feel that you are now my son. I love you – and you were born to this village called A News Cafe. If you choose we will gladly take you away from those who have abused you – you are not born to them any more.

      Now, my son, think strongly about calling this number: 225-5252. It's called Help, Inc. I know – personally – the good and safe people there. They will be a great, confidential resource for you as you regain your strength and perhaps to better help others. To close, Mark, whatever your situation right now, if you think you are going through Hell right now… keep going! I love you,

      "Dad"

  8. Avatar clitav says:

    Thank you for the Holiday sentiments and the invite! I also have a Holiday Story that I love to share about my DAD! He died at Thanksgiving but the story primarily leans Christmas, so if you would like to read mine I will post

    a link >Here!

    Again, I am truly grateful for all you two have done locally for the artists and interests of!

  1. December 24, 2009

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