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Archive for December, 2009

Bookends.

So, Christmas is over.  Yay for post-holiday letdown. 

After careful study, I’ve decided that of all the holiday days, I like Christmas Eve the best.  I’m one of those people who like the buildup to an event better than the actual event, because once the event is over, it’s over.  On Christmas Eve, everyone is all keyed-up and dressed up, and the kids are still on their good behavior, and there is much anticipation.  Services at church tend to be celebratory in tone, and candlelit to boot. 

On Christmas Eve, we all gather at one of my cousins’ house for food and gifts, just like when I was a kid and we all gathered at my grandparents’ house.  My grandparents had one of those silver trees with the big light that shone on it, rotating colors from red to blue to green to yellow and around again.  I remember being quite fascinated with it. 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized the need to keep my family in touch.  I think for an only child the extended family is especially dear, since an only doesn’t have siblings for family connections.  I’m fortunate to have a large extended family, one that my husband (who is one of five children) is especially fond of and happy to spend time with.  I sometimes think he enjoys my family more than he does his own.  I know I do. 

Christmas Day, aka Is That All There Is, is something of a deep sigh to me.  All the weeks of preparation and wrapping and cooking are pretty much shot to hell within a short period of time, particularly when you have a kid opening gifts.  (Confession:  I am one of those annoying sorts who opens gifts at the seams.  I like to drag it out.) 

This is the point at which the holiday starts to go awry for a lot of people.  Take a few mismatched relatives, a cold day that forces people to stay inside, and add some booze, and the next thing you know you have a free-for-all taking place in the living room.  I suppose it’s a good thing that turkey tends to make people sleepy.  Sleeping people rarely get into fights.  I’m just saying. 

I am of the opinion that there are two rules the world should abide by.  One is that no one gets sick on their birthday.  And the other is that no one dies on Christmas Day. 

This year Christmas Day was a bittersweet one.  My father’s youngest brother passed away after a long and arduous illness.  He and my dad were very close.  Now my uncle joins their oldest sister in… heaven?  Limbo?  Paradiso?  Wherever it is that you go when it’s all over here on earth.  So now we have the oldest and the youngest, the two bookends, waiting for the rest of the books. 

It’s been a hard weekend. 

— Mox

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I’m dreaming of a…..

…wet Christmas. 

Of course!  The one day of the year that it wouldn’t bother me too terribly to have snow on the ground, and instead we’re going to get springlike weather. 

The weather gods are messing with me.  It’s the only answer I can come up with. 

However.  If I am to look on the glass-half-full side of things, which ordinarily I am loathe to do because it runs counter to my nature, I am (I think) rather extraordinarily prepared for the big wooha the next couple of days.  I’ve got gifts bought and wrapped, groceries stockpiled, cards sent out, and (this is important) bills caught up for the moment.  My plans for Christmas Eve consist of lots of cookie-making, church, and an evening spent with relatives.  It’s entirely possible that my inner curmudgeon will be able to take a rest. 

I might possibly maybe could have enjoyed a couple of inches of snow over the next few days. 

But it’s woefully obvious to me that I’ve no truck with Mother Nature, so I’m going to have to prop up my kid once the realization hits that a White Christmas is not in the cards this year. 

Ah, well. 

Perhaps this would be the best place to pause and wish all reading a lovely holiday.  And a Merry Christmas. 

— Mox

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In limbo.

This is possibly the worst part of the holiday season, those days you are obligated to be in the office for whatever reason, and yet not able to get much done because no one else is in the office.  And because you really need to get billing done before the close of the year, you are trying to work miracles. 

Next week ain’t lookin’ much better, folks. 

Meantime, here’s a bit of frivolity to enjoy: 

— Mox

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Solstice!

I realize that we are just now at the start of winter, that we still have the months of January and February to deal with, and that March is no guarantee… BUT. 

Today is the Winter Solstice.  And that means that the days will start to get longer after this point. 

When you are the kind of person who craves the sunshine like I do, this is significant. 

Of course today we have been socked in with fog the entire day, in advance of a cold front that may or may not bring snow for Christmas.  As much as I dislike the cold and would be perfectly content to never see another flake of snow, I have to admit that Bing Crosby has worked his magic on me over the years and that a White Christmas would be fine.  Just so long as it was gone the next day. 

Oh to be queen for a day. 

The knowledge that we have reached the shortest daylight day of the year, coupled with the office Christmas luncheon, complete with the beer purchased on the boss’ dime, has put me in something of a fine mood today. 

— Mox

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Last year when I renewed my subscription to a magazine, I had the opportunity to send two gift subscriptions for free.  I sent one of the two to my best friend and never said anything to her about it, most likely because it completely slipped my mind.  I’m sure that when she started receiving a magazine that she didn’t order, she puzzled over it for a bit and then shrugged it off. 

I’ve sent her subscriptions before, mostly for ladies’ magazines because they have recipes and my best friend is something of a foodie.  Never has she said anything to me about it, most likely because it completely slipped her mind.  Oh, how wonderful it is for us to be able to grow old together. 

A couple of months ago I got a magazine in my mailbox that I didn’t order, a magazine geared for parents of the baby/toddler set.  Now, I’m way past those days — thank heavens — so I’ve got to wonder, who sent this to me and why? 

Was it my mother-in-law, suggesting to me that it’s not too late

Was it my neighbor, who is operating under the influence of Schedule II narcotics most of the time? 

Was it a friend who is a new mother, who might be just a bit sleep deprived and confused? 

Was it someone who thinks I need to go back and have a do-over? 

The mind boggles. 

I’ve gotten three issues of this magazine now, and I read through it and then pass it on to a young father in my office, since he will need it much more than I will. 

Because I work in advertising, I get comp subscriptions at the office all the time.  I’m accustomed to the concept.  Your name gets on a list for a certain genre of publication and the next thing you know you’re getting copies of everything in that genre.  Which is interesting in a way, seeing all the angles a subject can engender.  And trust me, for every industry there is a cadre of magazines serving that industry.  It’s how I found out about french-door refrigerators before they were offered to the public. 

But this is a magazine that is coming to my home.  I don’t subscribe to parenting magazines, so I don’t know how they got my name… unless someone gave it to them.  And I’d like to know who.  And why.  And what I’m supposed to take from it. 

Because babies and toddlers?  That ship has sailed, y’all.  Sailed

— Mox

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I don’t have to tell you that times are tough all over.  Times are so tough all over that not only have my daily work hours been reduced by management, I’ve gotten a complete and whole day off in addition.  Which, at this time of year, is not unwelcome, really. 

The challenge, of course, is to not let that day off get eaten up with honeydos.  This is harder than one might expect. 

First of all, when people find out you have a day off, they have no problem asking you to do things for them.  Ordinarily I don’t mind, particularly if I’m going to be out and about anyway, but the challenge is to not let those additional things take up a greater portion of your time than your own stuff.   Because there’s a real risk of losing yourself in the process. 

Fortunately, I’m pretty good at being selfish. 

My day off yesterday coincided with a hair appointment, and I decided that would be my theme for the day:  All About Me. 

And it looked like this:

  1. gym
  2. massage
  3. hair appointment
  4. the mall
  5. movie

 Plus the fact that my husband was out of town last night, so I finished my lovely All About Me Day off with a long hot soak in the tub, for which I drained the hot water tank. 

I didn’t do one diddly-damn thing for anyone else yesterday and it felt wonderful

Hey, my theory is this:  sometimes you just gotta take the bull by the horns and do things for yourself.  Lord knows no one else is going to do it for you. 

— Mox

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In no particular order: 

  • cash
  • denarii
  • euros
  • yen
  • rupees
  • shekels
  • rubles
  • pesos
  • yuan
  • greenbacks

Ordinarily I am a gift card kind of girl, the lazy man-shopper’s dream.  Buy me a gift card and give me a day off and I am a happy camper.  But here lately gift cards seem to be an iffy proposition at best.  You just never know if the company you got a gift certificate/card from is going to close up shop and deny you.  All those reports you hear about large percentages of gift cards never being redeemed?  Yeah, not likely from where I sit.  But better safe than sorry, I guess.  At any rate, cash works just as well. 

I realize that there is a certain contingent of people in this world — and in my life — who can’t wrap their minds around giving gift cards.  They seem to think of it as giving up or giving in, a lack of imagination or a fit of laziness.  Hey, I know I’m not easy to buy for.  I don’t really want a whole lot, and the stuff I do want tends to be high-dollar stuff.  I’m particularly fond of gadgets.  Gadgets that tend to be pricey. 

Few people know me well enough to really know what to buy for me.  Even my mother gets it wrong every so often.  And my husband?  Bah.  No clue.  But they can give me cash and I’m fine with that.  Really.  Very fine with that. 

I just wish my inlaws would make it easy on themselves and go that route.  My mother-in-law loves to buy for people but our tastes could not be more divergent.  She really knows nothing about me, and never has really made the effort to find out.  So I get a lot of stuff that doesn’t fit, either size-wise or taste-wise, and I spend a day or two going around returning stuff after the holidays.  Thank goodness she gives gift receipts with the gifts.  Except where she buys stuff, when they take a return, they generally want to keep that money and in order to do that they will give me store credit.  As much as I would like to walk away with cash in hand, it rarely happens.  And I can pretty well tell you that it would take a long time for me to ever spend any money at Sears. 

Cash is always the right size and the right color. 

— Mox

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