Christmas: The Altered Reality

We try so hard every year, and every year we become exhausted, stressed, and depressed in a futile effort to make this the Best Christmas Ever.  Why?!  Why do we insist on working music to death from October to Christmas Eve?  Why do we spend hours, days even, in the kitchen making favorite dishes for family we see exactly once a year?  Why do we struggle and curse in the traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) at the malls and department stores to find yet another something that will most likely land in a pile in a closet somewhere?  Our Christmas is not a holiday to be celebrated, but rather a labor akin to something Achilles was rumored to have endured.  Or, at least, mine isn’t.  And, I know I’m not the only one.

My choir director, while displaying some cheerful notion about the glory of music, wishes desperately that it would all go away.  Same with Easter for that matter.  My mother rearranges her entire home in a desperate attempt to fit 24 people into a space designed for about 10 or 12 in the hopes that we can all eat together, all so that her own mother is not disappointed, and she certainly would love nothing more than to have it all go away.  For two solid weeks, my mother-in-law details all the things she works on to get ready for a Christmas Eve event that disappears in the blink of an eye once the clock strikes midnight.

All of this is done because we believe in some vain notion of Christmas spirit, in holiday tradition, in the eternal glory of the ideal Christmas.  And yet, behind the scenes, we find that the anxiety, the exhaustion, the desire to have it all dissipate into the ether is the real Christmas.  It’s not candlelight and carols; it’s not brotherhood of mankind.  It’s all a sham, regardless of how many times you’ve seen A Christmas Carol.  Call me Ebenezer if you like, but I’m done with Christmas.  I’ve sung all I’m going to sing.  If I want to eat with family, I’ll do it on my own terms in my own home.

Still, I’m sure that we’ll do it all again next season, forgetting all the pain and ridiculous hoops we went through to get this point.  We’ll chop down another tree, set the kitchen in motion, welcome basic strangers into our home, all in the hopes of the ideal Christmas…all the while knowing that it doesn’t exist.

See you in the funny papers!

Gimme a C, Gimme an O, Gimme an L, Gimme a D…Gimme a break!

Because I’m an idiot that’s why!  Because it’s 5 degrees outside.  No, I didn’t forget to type a number, it’s just five! FIVE!  Plus, there’s a windchill advisory that currently shows a -10 degree windchill outside.  That’s 42 degrees below the freezing temperature of water…and, apparently, just a few above the freezing point of my face!  Way too cold to be riding my bike in this morning.  It really was cold and my face really hurt this morning.  I don’t know if it’s possible to get frostbite through denim, but I made a go of it for sure.  Still, I managed to layer properly on top and my torso and arms were warm when I got to work.  But, my face…well, it might thaw out today, hopefully.

And for some reason, it’s cold in my office as well.  They’re not supposed to turn the heat off until Wednesday night, but I believe they might have gotten an early start on it.  It’s hard to type when your fingers crack from the cold, but hey, all in the name of higher education, right?  Oh, wait…classes ended last week and there are no professors or students around…so why are we here?!  Riiight…no good reason at all.

But, it’s the end of the year, or very near to it, so I thought I’d look back at my new year’s resolutions from last year and see how I did.  But, after a brief perusal, it seems that I failed to make any resolutions for this year.  That will certainly have to be rectified for the coming year.  

Okay, seriously, it’s too cold to type more.  I’m going to have a serious discussion with my boss when she gets in about the need to be here in this ridiculous cold.  It’s insane.  So, hopefully, more tomorrow, and maybe even some posts over the holidays.  

See you in the funny papers!

It’s…

A GIRL!

It's A Girl!

No doubt, to many of you this will come as a surprise.  To some of you, it will simply be old news, but still exciting.  And to a very few of you, hopefully, I’ll need to ask you to pick your jaw up off the keyboard at this point to keep from drooling on the spacebar.  Yes, C. and I are going to have a baby girl in May.  Already I can tell you that she’s beautiful, talented, intelligent, athletic, and has the singing voice of heaven’s own angels.  For your next question, yes, we do have a name chosen already, but that name is top secret AND classified.  Unless you guess the exact name, first and middle, Aside: and feel free to guess all you like we will not be sharing the name until she is born.  However, if you do guess the exact name, we will tell you if you are correct.  Then, naturally, you will be sworn to secrecy…so, hazard a guess at your own peril.

She’s healthy and right on target for size at this point in the pregnancy.  Her heart beat was strong and it feels good to call her “she” rather than “it” for a change.  I’m also pretty sure she waved at me during the ultrasound.  She’s already a daddy’s girl.

On an unrelated note, thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday!  It was a wonderful day.

See you in the funny papers!

The story of life

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

A man and a woman stepped forth from their cave with a new son.  Beneath the silvery gleam of the half moon and the sparkle of a billion stars, this new life was consecrated with the earth and the heavens in mutual understanding.  As the days grew longer in their land, they watched as their son grew strong and intelligent; learning his way in the world through their teaching as well as through his own inquisitiveness.  As a family, they connected with other members of the clan who in turn enabled their son to reach his full potential.  Soon the son stood tall among this gathering and set out in the world to find his own desires; his own value.  The son traveled the farthest reaches of the lands which were known unto his people and he gathered all of this knowledge to himself creating his own world.  Soon he desired companionship and sought out another to share this world with him.  And they stood at the mouth of their own dwelling staring deep into the stars as the moon rose high in the sky.  And he saw that life was good.

Today is my birthday.  When I stepped out of the shower this morning, I looked into the eyes of an older adult in the mirror.  I hardly recognized the person I saw before me.  It wasn’t the grey hairs (though there were a few), it wasn’t the bags beneath his eyes (though they were present also).  It was simply an understanding that the man looking back at me was no longer the young child that he used to be.  He had grown into an adult and would forever be that adult.  Certainly, he still has the occasional childlike desires in him, not the least of which appears in his humor…but for the most part, he is an adult.  And, that man was me.  I’m not old (at least not by the latest actuarial tables) but I have reached a certain maturity that one could misconstrue as adulthood.  I’ve taken it in stride and I look forward to the experiences that are to come.

See you in the funny papers!

Missing the heat

It’s winter here in Kentucky, no doubt about that.  It’s cold outside, it’s cold in the office, and my Christmas Spirit gauge shows that I’m about 3 quarts low.  Check that, it’s flat dry.  I don’t have the desire or the energy to put up with Christmas in any form: holiday luncheons, choir practices, etc.  I’m tapped out.  I attribute some of that to the cold…but a lot of it is due to the overkill.  Christmas is such a drain on my system and to not have it be at least in the 70s during this time wears on a person.

And, the sun…where is the sun?  It has been overcast for the past 3 days here, not to mention that with daylight savings, I’m already heading to/leaving from work in the darkness.  It’s so depressing.  I even put on some Dropkick Murphys to shake out some of the blues today, and it worked for a minute or two.  But it’s as if Old Man Winter is trying to suck the life out of me one gloomy day at a time.

In other news, I’ve been adding old posts, slowly, to the back end of my blog.  Basically, I’m back dating old stuff so that it shows up in the right order…so if you want to check out some of the old me, I highly recommend scrolling all the way to the bottom and checking out the past.  Sort of a “Back to the Future” kind of event.  One particular favorite is August 1, 2006.  It’s about the heat!

See you in the funny papers!

Happy Days…no, not the sitcom.

Some days are just happier than others.  Believe what you like about cosmic influence, higher powers, luck of the draw…there are some days that are simply better than others.  Today, oddly enough, seems to be one of those days.  It certainly didn’t start out that way.

I was exhausted when I woke up this morning.  I don’t know if it was C. kicking my butt in Scrabble last night, or if it was the 3-mile run earlier in the day…or just the overall strain of the weekend, but I was tired this morning.  Still, I strapped myself on to the bike in the dark and cold and came to work.  Where’s the happy?! I’m getting to it.

So, I had no phone messages from the weekend and very few emails to check.  One of my office nemeses has a scheduled day off today.  My office mate got a 100% on her research paper.  AND, I took a survey wherein I got to check the box labeled “College Graduate.”  Granted, these are all minor things…but with the economy tanking and Christmas looming ever closer, today is a happy day!

Other RANDOM THOUGHTS:

  • I made it through the first 200 pages of Proust, unscathed.
  • We got our Christmas trees yes, plural up and decorated.
  • Christmas gifts are 94% purchased and 37% wrapped.
  • The Louisville Cardinals basketball team seems to be on track for a great season.
  • There are only 43 days ’til Inauguration Day

See you in the funny papers!

P.S. Check out the Spoiler-Free Movie Reviews page for updated films.

Frosty the Cyclist…everybody sing!

I do not like winter.  I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it.  There are some aspects of winter that I enjoy.  Hot cocoa, gently falling snow, warm crackling fires…but on the whole I could leave winter behind any given day.  Today was the day I started disliking winter this year.

I ride my bike to work.  It saves on gas, parking, good for the environment, good exercise…myriad reasons why I ride my bike to work.  However, today…today the temperature was a whole 19°F when I set out on my bike.  Plus, here in the Ohio Valley, we have humidity issues.  That very humidity Aside: that we also love to curse in the summer created a wind chill of 10°F.   TEN DEGREES!  Think that’s not bad?!  First of all, you’re probably driving to work in a car that you warmed up for 20 minutes while you decided whether to hit Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to work.  OR, you live in a climatic zone that tends not to even have anything below thirty on the thermometer.  What I’m saying is that it was nightmarishly cold.  It was so cold that during one point of my ride Aside: the downhill part I covered my eyes with a gloved hand to keep my glasses from freezing to my face.  It was like having an ice cream headache for six minutes.  And yet…I do it for you, and your children, and your children’s children, that they might be spared the agony of wandering a post-apocalyptic world where the thought of oil is an ancient memory, where water is more expensive than gold, and where alternative energy sources are mocked as they bow to their overlords, the CEOs of energy companies.  Wow…that was dramatic!  My brain must not be as frozen as I thought it was.

In other news…congratulations to Steve Kragthorpe and company on yet another fruitless season.  I realize that there are so many other things in the world to concern myself with besides the scramblings of boys in a game, but to hear they lost 63-14 to Rutgers last night to cap a 5-7 season is priceless.  I don’t blame the kids, they’re just innocent bystanders in this economic tug-of-war that is university athletics.  But, to have a program that went to bowl games for several years in a row, only to have it slip back into obscurity, is sort of pathetic.  And then, to have the gall to add seats to a stadium for more such events in the future is an offense to hardworking people everywhere.

See you in the funny papers!