Tag Archives: Christmas

S#@t’s Gettin’ Real, Here

It started with my roots.

They’re getting a little…sparkly…(refusing to use the word grey)…

I texted my hairdresser to get this shit taken care of.

She gave me her available times.

 

Which made me think about my available times.

 

Of which there are VIRTUALLY NONE.

 

I went through each day.  And every one of them, between now and the 25th, has something going on.  Kids, practices, work, concerts, gatherings.  Somehow, within that mess, I need to get my kids presentable, clean the house in a more serious fashion than just moving piles of crap from A to B,  and buy the man friend the perfect gift that shows him exactly how much he means to me and that he’ll never forget and that has flashing lights and firepower and is on sale.

 

I knew I had all of that to do.  I really did.  But today was the day when it took on a framework, and became quantifiable, and hit me in the solar plexus.

 

Shit’s gettin’ real, here.

“I Don’t Share Your Greed, the Only Card I Need…”

Every family has their holiday traditions.

And nearly every family has some offbeat family traditions, ones unique to them, that elicit odd looks when shared with others.

I have a lovely friend, whose (Jewish) family used a cow puppet as a Christmas tree topper.  Every year.

Another friend had to be told that Slap Shot wasn’t a Christmas movie, because his family watched it every single year at Christmas.

My family always liked to cap off Christmas day with an especially off-color round of Balderdash.

balderdash

(Nothing will ever, ever make me laugh as hard as my sister’s definition for ampersand: a sex act performed with egg beaters whilst wearing roller skates on the steps of city hall.)

My boy, just last year, provided my family with our wacko tradition.

We were putting together a Christmas playlist.  He was around the corner in the living room.

Us:  Hey, do you guys have any favorite Christmas songs you want on this list?

Boy Child:  Ace of Spades!

Us: CHRISTMAS songs!

Boy Child:  (pauses for a super long time)  Ace of Spades!

And so began a Christmas tradition in our house.

Toys “Were” Us (Tonight)

Tonight we bit the bullet.

We started to Christmas shop.

For REALS.

Not the browse-the-mall-but-we’ll-make-decisions-later stuff we’d been doing.

We dove into the fun part: toys.

Some of it was the perfect storm of sale price and declared desire.

Some of it was driven by lack of choice (a pertinent question: where has all the Go Diego, Go shit gone?).

Some of it was magic. The look on the man-friend’s face when he found the crayon maker for the Girl Child? Probably will go down as one of my favorite memories of Christmas 2012.

We did it, and it’s mostly done, and no one got hurt.

(That’s a lie. They opened up another checkout line, and in my rush to be in it, I TOTALLY CLOCKED A KID IN THE HEAD. I still maintain he walked into my fist, either way, I apologized profusely, and his mother only gave me partial side-eye.)

I left feeling a little melancholy. I miss toys. I miss coveting them, dreaming about them. I miss being able to get into a mindset where play and possibility were so much more automatic.

And then the man-friend sent me ahead to the car.

And bought my present at Toys R Us.

I’m fairly super-psyched by that.

This is Happening. Again.

mommy kissing santa

So remember when I did Holidailies a couple of times, a million years ago?  Yeah, that’s happening this year.  Because what better way to resurrect a dying dead blog habit than to commit to writing daily, and extra publicly, in the busiest damn time of the year?  I think I’m wired a little weird.  Like, if I was athletic, I would be all about extreme sports: cramming as much adrenalin into as little time as possible.  But I’m not athletic. So you get the nerd-girl version of that.  Think of Holidailies as my writer chick X-Games.

Where to start?  Perhaps we go with the way I like to begin all my dealings with people, and show off the weak underside right away, so you know what you’re dealing with.  I’m not much of a crier.  That’s probably for two reasons: 1.  I am fucking terrible at it.  I try to hold back, pretend it’s not happening, and then comes the inevitable ugly cry – face contorted, snot flying, eyes immediately red and puffy.  And 2:  There’s just not a whole lot that brings me to tears.

But as a get-to-know-you gesture, I present:

THE COMPLETELY INCOMPLETE LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE ME CRY:

1.  Watching my children play sports.

I know that sounds lame.  But if you had any idea of the massive genetic deficit I passed on to them in this department, the sheer mass of what they’ve had to overcome not only to participate but to be good at a sport?  Yeah, you’d cry too.

2.  That god damned scene in Beaches

Where fucking Barbara Hershey is about to die, and stupid Bette Midler looks back at her (2:05) and then I am like “aw SHIT! I hate myself for this and I am going to cry and oh my god they were such good friends and Wind Beneath My Wings is a terrible god damn song and this whole thing leaves me conflicted and in the worst of ugly tears GAAAAAAH!”

3.  Gatherings of small children

Christmas concerts.  School assemblies.  Team pictures.  They all make me lose it.  I don’t even know why.  But small children en masse make me cry.  (I am eternally grateful to have found a friend who has a similar affliction.  You’ll always find us at the back of a gym, scrounging for slightly used kleenex in our pockets.  We’ve made peace with it.)

4.  Linus

Big ‘ol Atheist.  Crying at an animated character’s speech about God.  Yup.

 

So those are my little pieces of Kryptonite.  You’re welcome.  Use that information responsibly, won’t you?

“The Wilderness Years – Xmas With My Father”, A Guest Post

So there’s this guy named Kono (well, not really, but that’s what he’s going by, and I can dig it).  And he writes at a blog called the asshat lounge.


As of late, his writing has been knocking my proverbial socks off.  When I read his story about Christmas with his dad, it made me hold my breath, from sheer overload.  I just flat out love it.  The post originally appears here, and it is with Kono’s express permission that I repost it here.  Go visit his blog, poke around, get aquainted.  (Unless you’re a hipster douchebag who’s going to call him a carpet-bagger.  Then, you can hit the bricks.)  If you’re a commenting type person, leave a comment on the post at his site, let him know he is much beloved.

Without further ado, I present, for your reading pleasure, “The Wilderness Years – Xmas With My Father”, by Kono.


Click here for more: The Wilderness Years. You can refer to the Late Night Maudlin St. post for the back story or you can just pick it up here but the years following the demise of my nuclear family is what i refer to as the Wilderness years, for both Dad and me it was a strange and rough time, Dad found himself in an apartment on the west side of C-town and i found myself bouncing from place to place, apt. to apt., from migrant beach work to rust belt grunt to self employed purveyor of fine contraband, the big D had hit the old man right in the gut and it was as if i was right there with him, a younger version of Mickey, Rocky Balboa’s trainer, encouraging him to get up off the mat and live, he would, my old man is nothing if not resilient…

But this is not a Sad Panda kind of post so we’ll get on with it… when i was about 11 or so, back in 81 or 82 ye olde family had a garage sale and one of the items up for sale was the old man’s stack of classic Hustler and Penthouse which his young son had already discovered and took a liking to though he was not sure why, of course looking back i can bask in the glow of the pre-Brazilian days of porn when every woman was au naturel , i’m pretty sure mom wanted this out of the house before said boy hit puberty and locked himself in the can to flog himself mercilessly, she put the stack out and charged a dime for each one. They all sold in the first 20 minutes of the garage sale. At one point that fateful morn Mom had to go and hang some signs for the junk show so she cast an icy glare my way and stated that she had counted the stack of magazines and would count them when she returned and that they better all be there, i of course applied best poker face and said, What magazines?

Mom left and i waited for 30 seconds and Carl Lewis’ed it to the garage to get one last peek at the glorious golden age of nudie mags before some lucky bastard trotted off with the lot, of course as soon as the garage door buzzed i dropped the treasure and high tailed it back inside to sit at the kitchen table, sweat dripping down my temples and innocently studying the box of Trix as if i had just discovered the meaning of life and the rabbit himself was espousing on it.

We now fast forward 10 plus years to my Dad’s barren apartment, what i loved about this time was though it could have been another maudlin affair of woe is me and why did it come to this it was some of the best X-mas mornings of my life. No tree, no lights, just me and the old man, boiling water in an old metal pan and drinking shit instant coffee and eating toast cuz all the restaurants were closed and the old man now being a bachelor barely kept any food in the house, we’d sit and have a cigarette, talk about the state of the world, philosophy, books, my mother and his ex-wife, ( of which he never said a disparaging word and encouraged me to re-kindle some kind of relationship with) we’d watch Sportcenter’s Year in Review and Top Plays and when we’d had enough he’d retire to his room to sleep (he worked nights) and i would read on his couch between cat naps, glorious fucking days. The best present we had was each other’s company.

Of course my job as a salesman, off the books of course, gave me just enough extra cash to buy the old man something, it wasn’t the first year more likely the next that i showed up stoned out of my gourd, talking about my fucked up tooth which was on my right side while i stood rubbing the left side of the face, Dad just kind of chucked and said “wrong side son, musta been a helluva drive” and smiled at this gigantic wasted boy of his, i stopped, shook my head, laughed and said by the way i got you a present…

The old man looked at me quizzically, a present? he said, uh-huh i said and proceeded to pull a brown paper bag out of my travel bag and hand it to him, he pulled out the December issue of Penthouse, chuckled and said Alright. That’s not all i added, i got you a subscription and the video should arrive in the mail shortly. The normally unflappable old man looked at me and said no shit. I stood beaming at him like a 5 year old who had just handed his dad an awful tie but this time i was old enough to know that the Old Man was thrilled with his present. I figured it was the least i could do since Mom made you sell all the old ones you used to have. He laughed again and i told him, third drawer down hidden under a couple of t-shirts, i mean shit dad at least i hid mine in a shoe box and covered ’em with baseball cards when i was at home. He laughed again and gave me a hug and while outside the world was awaiting the impending birth of their savior this x-mas eve and the snow fell on Cleveland, the Old Man and i cracked a couple of beers, heated up some pizza and turned on the tube.