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post-holiday magic

2014 December 30
by Rachel Turiel


Incidentally, she’s singing, not screaming (but that could change quick).

Col (Flipping through an airplane book on the couch): I really want to fly on a 747.

Rose (Also on the couch, holding a Christmas song book): Ok class, now we’re going to sing…Little Town of Betterham!

Col: Little Town of BETHLEHEM.

Me: Isn’t that what we usually fly on?

Col: That’s a seven thirty seven, Mom.

Rose (indignantly): Col, this one says BETTERHAM. Ready, class? (starts singing off tune, happily and obliviously mangling the words).

Dan (whipping up egg nog in the kitchen at 7:42 am and then serving frothy glasses to all of us, the lucky amongst us including rum): I’m egg moNOGamous!


Dan, softening a deer hide in our unheated sunroom. Soon to show up in Dan’s ETSY shop amongst other treasures of the wild. Outside: 36F and breezy. That southwestern sun works! 

If you saw a time lapse video of our lives right now, it would look like we were living our entire lives on the couch in various permutations of people, animals and flotsam. This is where we read Harry Potter, the kids rioting like fans at a rock concert at the end of each chapter. More! Just! One! More! Chapter! This is where Col does his airplane drawings, pouring the entirety of his essence into each drawing and then starting anew each morning. Rose colors in her Frozen coloring book, which Dan surprised her with for Hanukkah (after opening it she held it to her chest and said, “I feel so spoiled,” which just goes to show that depriving your children of all material happiness can work in your favor). This is also where the rat runs free, chewing small holes in the couch and sneakily peeing on people while they’re distractedly engrossed in stories of Hogwarts. (I am totally sending my kids “Howlers” when they’re in college. ROSE!! PUT DOWN THE CORN-SYRUPED GLUTEN BOMB!! COL!!! LOOK INTO HER EYES WHEN YOU TALK TO HER!!!)

For Christmas we got SNOW and a roadkill doe. Like Rose, I feel so spoiled.

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The kids get off the couch solely to run and jump back on the couch, executing various “jump kicks” that Rose swears originated in her gymnastics class. “Do you want to see me do swizzles, levers, scissors or plain kicks?” Rose asks 100 times a day, including right as I’ve committed to the five minutes of focused whisking required to make mayonnaise. Dan has created categories in which he and Col judge Rose. She now, in hopes of scoring big on “crowd interaction,” flashes a smile and a wink before launching onto the couch.

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We also slink off the couch to play Ticket to Ride, which is super fun and doesn’t require any capitalistic aggression to win like Monopoly or Risk, which we also like, as long as we’re the ones winning. You actually can’t know who is winning Ticket to Ride until the very end, which keeps morale strong throughout the game.

Is it OK to say that I’m glad Christmas is over? That I felt such relief when my favorite radio station returned to cheesy Styx ballads after a month of Christmas songs that made me feel pestered into a neurotic serial cheeriness. It turns out the post-holiday season is where the magic lies. The egg nog is still flowing but strangers are no longer baring their full complement of teeth asking my children if they’ve been good for Santa. It has been snowing and extremely cold here, which makes me feel cocooned in something special, even if it’s just the same fleece pants I’ve been wearing for four days straight and the fantasy that we’ll get snowed in and have to eat our way through the root cellar, pantry and freezer, kids showing up merrily for another meal of elk sausage and root vegetables…oh wait, that’s how it is now, minus the merry.

Our post-holiday days are unrolling slowly and by the minute. There’s another 3-6 inches of snow forecasted for New Years Day, a bit more egg nog and fleece pants on the schedule, and surely many more hours on the couch. Thank you, winter.

New Years Blessings to you ALL,



* In my efforts to have more frivolous fun, I did not wait for the movie Wild to come out on Netflix, but WENT TO THE THEATRE (AFTER DARK!) to see it with my friend, Sue. The fact that the last movie I saw in the theatre was Brokeback Mountain may or may not qualify me to judge, well…anything, but I loved the movie, Wild, extremely very much.

* Sledding: when the hair flies or you capsize, it’s extra good.

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* After finding a small passel of knuckle bones at the bottom of our soup pot (thanks, bone broth), we’ve been engrossed in creating a game to play with them. Suggestions welcome.

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This is some circular toss game Rose is developing.

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Dan’s current challenge: stack all nine bones…he’s up to seven.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Beings.


My phone, by the way, is so retro, it’s actually cool. At least in your grandma’s circles.

P.S. Thank you for all your book suggestions; my library hold list is full with anticipatory excitement!

12 Responses leave one →
  1. melissa permalink
    December 30, 2014

    I feel exactly the same way about the end of Christmas. Whew. And we don’t even celebrate it, which Avi matter-of-factly told the airport security guy who asked the kids if they were having a good Christmas when we were flying home from the desert on the 25th. Of course I felt kind of bad for the guy, who was just being nice, but I also felt proud of my first born, who wasn’t more worried about a stranger’s feelings than about his own need for honesty.

    (I know, I gave up Christmas!! Other peoples’ reactions are far more interesting than mine. One day I will gather my thoughts about it, maybe)

    Rose should come over the next time you are in town because Lilit remains in Frozen heaven. And she was spoiled over Hanukah as well (; though she may not think so because there was a certain Elsa dress at the Vons in Yucca Valley that she had a pretty big melt down over not getting. She tells me almost daily, “Mama, I need that Elsa dress.” And I express a lot of empathy and understanding. But still haven’t produced a dress.

    I need to make eggnog! With rum! Except I’m actually at work today, so that would be inappropriate. Drink an extra glass for me, please! xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      December 30, 2014

      We’re moving in with you next Christmas. I’ll bring the Frozen coloring book and egg nog. xo

  2. Elena Tsentas permalink
    December 30, 2014

    Long live the dumb phone! I have the same, minus the snazzy red case.

  3. Dan permalink
    December 30, 2014

    Super loved this post! Especially picture of that awesome stack of knuckles with Rosie’s toothless grin! Great writing! Great Fleece Pants!

  4. sarah permalink
    December 30, 2014

    I have the exact same phone! Red case and all :)
    I love how you revel in the post-holidays…I need to do more of that.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Brenda permalink
    December 30, 2014

    Love this post….although all the kids and grands still here, so we haven’t reached the “post” Christmas yet…. BUT that is my favorite too! :)

  6. December 31, 2014

    After the third Christmas celebration at our house (complicated modern dysfunctional family dynamics), I said “I hope we don’t have another Christmas for 365 days.” So, yeah, the feeling’s universal, although we’re dragging out the merry with singing carols and lighting candles and building puzzles and legos and skidding around on ice (no snow here now). The kids are reveling in school vacation and sleeping in really late, so that some days I only see them sprawled in the early morning dark among their blankets and the books they went to bed with last night, mouths ajar, noses snoring, before I leave for work.

  7. Susan S permalink
    January 1, 2015

    My mind is still back on the book recommendations, so I’ll just let you know about them here and then I’ll be able to move on. :-)

    Reinventing the Enemy’s Language. Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird collected contemporary writing by Native American women. Poetry, short stories, essays, very lean on feathers and beads, and nary an Indian Princess to be found. The story, Buffalo Wallow Woman, by Anne Lee Walters, will break your heart. These are the women’s voices who have been howlingly absent in literature for so long.

    Also, Claiming Ground, by Laura Bell, and Breaking Clean, by Judy Blunt. Both women had to make some hard choices in order to have lives apart from harsh, often abusive relationships. Laura Bell became a sheep rancher in Wyoming and Judy Blunt is a child of ranch life in Montana who broke free to become a writer. Spectacular writing in both of these memoirs. I hope you enjoy!

  8. nan permalink
    January 5, 2015

    I so want to play the knuckle bone game. If you take a look at my cupboards you will know I am a pro at stacking things. Wishing all of you the very, very best, this year and always.

  9. Natalie permalink
    January 11, 2015

    Those howlers!! My favorite part.

  10. Jamie permalink
    January 21, 2015

    I, of course, think your phone is awesome. I’m glad it is getting used again. I feel rather sentimental about it, it was used to take random baby pictures of my first born.

  11. August 24, 2016

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