Promises to a Super Bowl fan from his non-fan wife.

Football

[I posted this two years ago, but tis the season, so here’s an update. BTW – I still still had to ask my husband who was playing this year!]

OK, right off the bat, er, pigskin, let me admit that I’m not a huge sports fan.

This is how out-of-touch I am with the Super Bowl scene: as I sat down to write this blog, I had to Google which teams were playing on Sunday. I know, I know, some of you are incredulous. I can’t explain how this has happened. And, yes, I am alive and breathing.

As a native of Pittsburgh, I would know if the Steelers were playing, but if not, I usually don’t pay attention. Anyway, in case you don’t already know, it’s the New England Patriots (again) and the Philadelphia Eagles. And it’s being played in Minneapolis. Don’t ask me why,  but they couldn’t have found a warmer place to toss around a ball?

There will be no big parties for us this year, so Michael won’t have a room full of guys to high-five at every touchdown, or discuss kneeling during the National Anthem, or analyze what happened to the Steelers this year (again.)

Michael will be watching the game with me. He’ll make a big fire in the fireplace, we’ll gather some snacks, leave any dishes left in the sink, and forget about returning phone calls. It will be a nice evening together, but I know I’m not the most thrilling Super Bowl companion.

So here are five promises I making to my husband to help maximize his viewing experience:

1. I promise to figure out which team is wearing what colors, right at the beginning of the game, so when the first big play happens, I don’t blurt out, “Now, which team is that?”

2. I promise that when Michael goes to the kitchen for another beer, I’ll pay attention to the game so when he comes back and asks what happened, I won’t have to answer, “I don’t know – I was looking at the screen but not watching the game.”

3.  I promise that when I fall asleep in the middle of the second half, I won’t be leaning against him on the couch, so he can get up easily when he needs another beer.

4. I promise that when a player doesn’t get right up from a tackle, I won’t gasp loudly and bring my hands up to my face and say things like, “I can’t look” and “I could never be a football wife.”

5. I promise to get in touch with my inner-sports fan for the evening. Even though I don’t get caught up in the Super Bowl hype, there really is a certain beauty when the receiver tears down the field, looks over his shoulder, reaches up and plucks the football from the air. I hate to make the comparison, but it’s as elegant as ballet.

And when the quarterback throws a perfect spiral right down the center of the field and nails the receiver in the gut – BAM – I get a little thrill even if I don’t know what the score is or who the team is.

The coolest to watch, though, is the way the players drag their toes across the turf when they complete a pass near the sidelines. I’m mesmerized–through every single instant replay.

I’ll do my best to make it a fun evening. I might just enjoy the action.

Hmmm. Maybe I am a fan after all?

On the twelfth day of Christmas…

A twelfth day's work- filled with joy and peace.
A twelfth day’s work.

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. Unless yesterday was. I guess it depends on how you count.

After a party at our house last night, when the guests had left and the clean-up was done, Michael and I poured ourselves a drink and crashed on the living room couch.

As the fire in the fireplace ebbed, I admired the lit Christmas tree, the garland on the mantle, the manger on the end table, the little stuffed Santa’s helper with his bag of toys nestled in the chair.

“This year,” I told Michael, “I’m really going to miss these Christmas decorations.”

In previous years, by the time New Year’s Day rolled around, I was tired of all the holiday clutter, and couldn’t wait to pack it all up and drag the bins up to the attic. I couldn’t wait to restore order to my home.

In previous years, we’ve had a real tree, and by January 1, it practically begged us to put it out of its dry-needled misery. Once the tree was gone, all the other decorations made their exit, too.

This year we bought an artificial Christmas tree. As we discussed and planned the upcoming party—my husband’s annual post-holiday celebration for his staff—we decided to leave the tree in place, knowing the fake needles wouldn’t protest. We left all the other Christmas bling in place, too.

Last night, as I looked around, I was sad to think of the house without its festive dressing, but I didn’t know why.

Then it clicked.

I have a small box of ornaments labeled “Karen’s favorites,” and each year, I make sure they find a spot on the tree. This year, I decided to purge all seven Christmas bins of any item that I didn’t like or had no sentimental value. Then I bought some inexpensive gold bows and white ceramic snowflakes to hang in the dining room, since its peach wallpaper (a holdover from the previous owners) goes with red and green about as well as Santa goes with an Easter basket.

Everything was a favorite.

Today, when I got out the empty “Karen’s favorites” box, and looked at what needed to fit in there, I realized everything was a favorite:

The red velvet drum with gold brocade trim. Tiny drumsticks sit crossed on the top, the handles wrapped in gold thread. I made it when I was about eight, from a toilet paper tube and q-tips. It reminds me how much I enjoyed my artistic creativity, and how much my mother nurtured that in me.

The little girl and little boy on separate swings that my sister gave us on our first Christmas. Michael and I have a tradition of “hanging” each other.

The hand blown glass ball I bought years ago at a Dansk going-out-of business sale with my mom when she was visiting.

A plastic victorian house, a copper watering can, a cut glass snowflake. And these favorites, too.

Everything I kept and everything I added filled me with joy. That’s why I was sad to see it go.

By mid afternoon, when Mike and I finished packing the bins, parts of the house looked bare, but we moved our familiar furniture back into place, rehung pictures, and filled the voids. I was at peace.

Filling my life with joy, filling the voids with peace–not a bad way to end one year and start another.

I wish the same for you this year!

A universal message.

Season's wish
My words, my friend’s image, our universal message.

My wish for you in this season of celebrations is simple and universal. It’s a message you can embrace guilt-free, year-round, regardless of your faith or lack thereof.

Isn’t it refreshing to find a universal message that everyone can embrace?

Stuff yourself with joy,

Gorge on goodwill,

And drink in all the love you can find.

I wish this for you today, and with every celebration in the years to come!

(Thanks to my friend Sam Ciraulo at sciraulophotography.com for his beautiful image!)