Prelude to 2012: Christmas week at Grannie Annie's

Daughter-in-law Sue was knitting her very first sock during the five days they were here between Christmas and New Years. Granddaughter Kiera started knitting, too. A “Mommy and Me” moment.

I took that photo on the first day. And in the pell-mell days and evenings to follow, completely forgot to take pictures until this morning, right before they left. In between, we had three dinner parties, one with friends, another with my niece Megan and her partner Brian, the third just us, a beautiful roast stuffed with blue cheese and bacon, an invention of Sean’s brother Colin as both offering and demonstration of his new culinary skills.

And every day we observed our little nuclear family tradition since way back when, a long daily walk.

And, in a new tradition (since last year), in lieu of Christmas presents I took Drew and Kiera to a very professional local production of “Annie” as well as each one out to his/her own special lunch with Grannie Annie (Drew Japanese, Kiera Afghani).

And yesterday, we all piled into the van for an an educational afternoon, first to visit Rhonda’s rabbitry (fourteen at present, raised for both food and yarn), and next to Renaissance Permaculture Farm, home of Permaculture Activist team of Keith and Peter.

Confession: Every time I go out there, it’s so inspirational that I feel progressively more “inferior” year by year. On their 2/3 of an acre they have now established so very very much that makes them, after six years, almost entirely self-sufficient, for power (solar), water (ferrocement tanks), and food (gardens, greenhouses). Plus bees and fish. Only animals haven’t yet been introduced, and that’s soon, probably ducks and rabbits.

Meanwhile, I’m still focused here on the GANG garden (Green Acres Neighborhood Garden, and the GANE ecovillage (, and plugging along, though not nearly with such dramatic results.

I asked Sue to update my two computers, iPad and iPhone. Sean took it upon himself to make sure I can get Netflix streaming, and showed me how. He wondered why I hardly have any apps on my iPhone (Sue works part-time for a start-up company that invents new apps), and pronounced, joking, “You’re not worthy of your technology.”

Meanwhile, in between everything else, Sue actually did finish that first sock, and it took only 12 hours! Hmmm, we wondered. What if she made it a home business? Let’s see, $12 times minimum wage/hour, that’s over a hundred dollars worth per single sock? This is where the conversion to a non-monetary trading system makes more and more sense . . .

In between the pell-mell dinnertime activity (what I call “prison food” the first night, one of my noodle concoctions that only I would eat as leftovers), Sue’s yellow curry the second night, Sue’s chicken/lemongrass soup with persimmon pudding and whipped cream for dessert the third night, Colin’s roast the fourth night, finally a fabulous Turkish meal out last night, followed by a short slip-in to the pews of an evangelical church and its tradition of New Years Eve gospel songs afterwards — everybody was on screens, little screens, big screens, middle-sized screens. In fact, so many screens, that I asked this morning to collect them all on one table and take pictures. Keep in mind that I was using my iPhone to take the pictures, so it’s missing from the table. Also, the kindle that Sean gave to Colin for Christmas was also missing, as was the big desktop computer that lives in another room. Oops, yes, also, the giant screen for Netflix that lives on a wall.

Way too many screens, I lamented, as I took the photos.

“No,” son Sean corrected me, “Just different. People get lots more information now.” We’ve had the left brain/right brain discussion before, so I didn’t pursue it further then. There are, of course, differences among us in terms of lifestyle and values, at least surface values. But core values remain. How easy it is to track together, like a flock of starlings, a roving band, me and my two sons, Sean and Colin, plus Sean’s little family. We always enjoy our time together. Always. Easy, and a huge surfeit of food and drink for those few days. The food and drink leave a bin full of bottles and cans for recycling,

and way too much still crowds my now lonely refrigerator.

C’est la vie. In this time of global hunger, global want, still a bit of too-muchness in America, or at least my America, our little family’s America. “No, just different,” I can hear Sean, who works as a programmer for IBM, remind me. Well, yes, and yes. It’s all good. and I’m so very grateful for our constant, deep-welling communion.

They left around 1 p.m., heading into predicted snow back to Boston in their Honda van. Taking the southern route to bypass the “lake effect.” Hoping not to get the strange flu bug that felled both Colin and his girlfriend Greta during their visit here, or at the very least, that it waits until their safe return home before descending into their now probiotically fortified guts.

Blessings! Happy New Year! With this post, I begin again.

Here we are, January 1, 2012, the year we’ve all been waiting for, both fabled and feared.

As I and others continue to bridge above and below on, may we help carve an expansive multi- and inter dimensional path that makes sense for all of us through the scattered chatter of the internet.

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