Tuesday 27 December 2001.


Why so silent, you ask? I'm moving in three days. That and I've been working full time, and trying to attend to family, friends and boyfriend. The truth is, I have a million words spilling out of my head right now, but no time to get them down properly.


So I had a nice Christmas, in between working like mad. My second holiday season in the retail industry. I am properly disillusioned, of course, but I don't think that's the fault of large corporate bookstore chains. The truth is Christmas pisses me off.

Every year I learn something new. This year it was about family. I finally figured out what exactly family is. On Christmas Eve, we had Kate, Greg and JW over my parents' house, along with Kate's brother, sister, and their various significant others, most of whom I hadn't met until that night. It was really a lot of fun, especially with the baby, exchanging gifts and eating. I got some absolutely fabulous things from Kate, including a book of Dorothy Parker and a Nina Simone CD. I know, it's about giving, not receiving, but there's something so satisfying about getting a gift that fits you perfectly. You know the person who gave it to you really knows and loves you, and is not just getting you something because the calendar happens to read December 25th.

The feeling of love and warmth and happiness was so palpable in this group of people, this family. And most of them weren't even related to me.

On Christmas Day, breaking from the usual Rusen family tradition of going to the Quality Inn for dinner, we packed in the car and headed north to a small, hot, noisy crowded house packed full of my Aunt Maureen's enormous Irish Catholic family. All my aunts and uncles were there as well, though conspicuously missing were my grandparents, the glue that seems to hold us all together. And we all sat and talked, and it was fine. I listened to the long, tangential conversations about the merits of high speed internet access and cars they've owned. My occasional interjections of opinion are ignored, but that was usual. Copious beer and wine, so I drank up.

The older I get, the more I realize that I have absolutely nothing in common with any of them. They're not bad people, we just can't relate. And the strangest realization was that, if I weren't related to them, I wouldn't care if I saw them or not. The odd coincidence of blood has brought us together. Nothing more.

I have a family here at school, my studiomates and friends who I talk with into the wee hours, who I drink beer with, who I fire kilns with, who I love. I have a family in New York City who I talk to about everything, go to see bands with and go to museums with, who I love. I have a family at home in Lebanon, my parents and my friends, who have a history and have known me longest, who I love. Family is not blood. Family is love.


(I'm still working on redesigning this sucker. If you can't read this, if the font is too small or too dark, for the love of God and all that is good, LET ME KNOW. As far as I know, it looks peachy on PC, but I don't have access to a Mac)