Chanukah, Hazel’s big owie, holidays

Chanukah candles
Tonight is the 4th night of Chanukah. This festival of lights is, for me, a reminder to be grateful for the lights in my life, both physical and metaphorical. I have always loved watching the candles burn down. When I was a kid, my brother and sister and I used to sternly remind each other not to breathe too hard when the flames had diminished to small blue wavers. Lighting candles each year brings back this and other memories of my childhood to me, and the sense of continuing a tradition I have whenever I manage to get the menorah out and the candles lit. Most years I don’t manage every night, but last year we did, and I hope to this year as well. I have more and more in my life, more for which I am grateful, more complication, more joy, more pain, more dimension, more engagement. For me, in my personal interpretation of Chanukah, it becomes ever more relevant.

I love candles, flame, fire. I love the beauty and ephemeral nature of them, the reminder that life is finite, there is beauty to be found all along, from start to glowing finish. My favorite part of the flame is that transparent vivid blue at its base. But of course, that heart is beautiful in relationship with the bright yellows and deep reds in the heart of a fire. We need all of it, all colors, all parts. Fire is holistic by nature and in its expression.


A few weeks ago Hazel got a rubber burn at a kids’ play area. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but it got infected, and since she was keeping it covered up under a band-aid, and since she uses band-aids for tiny little owies, it was a few days before we realized what was going on. I took her to the doctor, who gave us anti-bacterial ointment, and told us to have her soak it in Epsom salt water twice a day, keep it bandaged up, and let her know how it was going. We did. It got much better, appeared almost totally back to normal. Then she got another pustule. And today there was a saga that started with some major unpleasantness in the morning as Ted squeezed and Hazel cried, on through to the doctor’s appointment I made for this afternoon, during which the doctor attempted to get a sample to culture, and Hazel protested mightily and cried more as I held her arms still.


So now she’s got an antibiotic and probiotic (which will continue for some time after her arm has healed), and we’ll be going back in on Monday, by which time, hopefully, the results of the culture will be back. And in the meantime, it’s vitamin C, alternating between hot and cold plunges for her elbow, daily baths, bandages, and immune support. We want to knock this thing out. Poor Hazel. Poor us.

While we were at the pharmacy waiting for her prescription, we found a cool little teapot with a snowflake design and matching cups. We bought the teapot and 4 cups for the kids; they like to have tea too, so we make them peppermint or some other non-caffeinated variety. I wanted them to have a special kids’ set. Tonight after dinner we pulled them out of the bags to show the twins and Ted. The small fry were all very excited.

I have one more day of teaching on Monday, but since Ted’s going to be off all next week and the week after, I am feeling like we’ve entered the winter break. I am looking forward to time with family, time with friends, and then time with grandparents.

Happy holidays, all!


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