Archives for the month of: December, 2008

We walked in the park today after an ice storm. Everything was perfectly glazed with a coating of ice.  This bud caught my eye… it seems a good metaphor for the darkest, shortest, coldest day of the year.  There’s a promise, there, somewhere.  If you can be patient.

Just a minute for an update before spaghetti and meatballs, and headin goff to teach at the guild.

Holiday time at the Savinos is amazingly not too hectic, with two of us here to work out the homeschooling, cooking, budgeting and job hunting.

Jeff will be teaching a field ecology class at Lourdes college one evening a week next semester, and I have a ceramics class at Owens College two days a week — and the two classes I teach at the guild. So that’s all good news.

The bad news is that the total paycheck for each of those classes will about pay for one month of COBRA health insurance coverage. Needless to say, we’re looking into all the option, but the system is seriously in need of some revision.  The 533,000 Americans who lost jobs in November alone will soon be coming ot the same conclusions.

Jeff is taking advantage of his last shot at UT tuition waivers (severance extends his benefits until February) and signing up for some classes that will help him toward teaching certification in the future.  He’s a natural, in the classroom. Now if there’s just a job out there…

I had a pottery sale at the guild last weekend, and will participate in the Toledo Craftsman’s Guild sale this Sunday, but people are pretty much keeping their money in their pockets these days.  I can’t say as I blame them.  If my option is to mass produce cheap holiday doodads to make a buck, I think I would rather work a 9-to-5 for the money and make what appeals to me, whether it will sell or not.  I can’t compete with China/Walmart for cheap decorative stuff.

The general wisdom used to be that when gas was expensive or money was tight,  rich people would still buy art.  This time, though, with 401Ks and market investments looking dicey, I think everybody is being careful. 

The kids are in a holiday mood, making gifts,  knitting hats on ring-looms, makingnsnowflakes to tape on the windows (and paper shreds for the carpet, lol.) Tyler is at school late most days for rehearsals for “Much Ado About Nothing” — he leaves in the dark when the bus picks him up at 7, and comes home after dark when Jeff picks him up at school. He has a world of his own, now, and we’re just a part of it. 

He’s still our Tyler, though… offering up stories and hugs, tormenting his siblings, and running his own show, for the most part.  He does homework, packs his lunch, and gets his clothes ready for the next day without so much as a reminder. It’s amazing, for a mom who once has three little ones who couldn’t feed or wipe themselves, to see the day when kids come into their own.

We’re still busy… the kids enjoying classes, still, as they’re paid for in advance. Tae Kwon Do, Swim lessons, Clarinet and Guitar, Boy scouts and Girl scouts mean there are places to be every day.

At night, Jeff and I have started having little tournaments of “Dr. Mario” on the old Nintendo.   In bed at night, I am reading some McCalls and Woman’s Day magazines from the 1930s that I found in a box in the attic.  It’s kind of a history lesson with some sociology thrown in.  At the same time as financial worries (last night I read the Christmas issue from 1931) there was a fascination with what the “high society” folks were wearing, eating, or dabbing on themselves… lots of “scientific” ads about products like Listerine (for breath, shampoo and even douche), canned milk for newborns, Battle Creek’s new cereal products, “modern” 1930s automobiles, and laxatives like “calomel”. There was a lot of interest in fattening up “thin, nervous” children.  My, how times have changed.

A lot sounds familiar, though.  Articles about cooking on a budget, stories about economic hardships, and reminders that the Red Cross and the Unemployment division are helping people and need our support.

It’s not going to be a very “material” Christmas at the Savinos, but it never really has been. We like to make creative things, cook, take walks at the metroparks and just spend time together.  We realize this year that we are luckier than most… we have a roof over our heads, a healthy, loving family, job skills, and a support system of extended family that would help us if we ended up in trouble.

Happy Holidays, all. I’ll try to post pix of the kids after their Christmas concert this weekend.