Would you look who the cat dragged in???

That’s right. I’m back. Back from my longest bloggy break ever. 

So let’s catch up for a minute.  Our holidays were lovely. Quiet.  Peaceful.  And even SNOWY…woot!!

Christmas came and went with only a few hitches.  The biggest of which was that Uber’s desktop went “kaput” about a week before Christmas. Which meant that it was necessary to give Uber his Christmas gift – – a new netbook – – a week early.  Which was all fine and good until said netbook fell.  And broke. A few days before Christmas.  This accident, was, of course, not covered by warranty, so we had to order yet ANOTHER netbook. 

And yes, Uber will be working off his Christmas misfortune until Halloween or so.

We volunteered at the Rescue Mission where my hubby is the director on Christmas Eve, as usual.  No surprise to anyone, thanks to the current economy, it was the biggest turnout I think they’ve ever had.  But the meal was delicious and it was lovely to get to be Santa’s helpers for one night handing out presents to those who might go present-less otherwise.

One of my personal holiday highlights was getting to visit the Biltmore House (the largest private residence in the US) with one of my dear friends.  It was decked from hall to hall in lights and trees, and even more beautiful outside.  Scrumptious!!

Like I said, it was an overall wonderful holiday.  Even the dogs thought so!

Now it is onto my New Years resolution….stay tuned….

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Peace…Love…Joy

I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve ever gone without posting on my blog…but that just means I’ll have THAT much more to say when I finally get around to catching up, right???? And hopefully all this “catching up” will take place right after the holidays…so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is our family’s wish for you in the new year…

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It’s a Major Award!

Cover of "A Christmas Story (Full Screen ...

The movie A Christmas Story is a major part of our holiday traditions.  Ralphie, Flick, Schwartz, Farkus, and yes…even the Bumpuses’ dogs are more familiar to our boys than Dasher, Prancer, or Comet could ever hope to be.

We have watched the movie as we’ve decorated our tree every year since the boys were knee high to an elf.  (Ok, there was that one year when we had too much eggnog and decided that we’d give Polar Express a try instead, but we kindly refer to that as the “Christmas Debacle of 2005”)

Of course we know every line by heart now, and we use dialogue from the film in every possible holiday situation.  Every time a package arrives in December, we always shake and declare it to be “fru-gee-lay.”  We can’t even listen to Deck the Halls without chiming in with the correct pronunciation of the chorus: Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-rah.  And no dinner that includes mashed potatoes can be finished without someone doing the piggy noise.

It’s just OUR movie.  I can’t explain why.  We just GET IT.

So with our new Blu-Ray barely a month out of the box, we knew what our family Christmas present to each other was going to be.  The ULTIMATE COLLECTORS EDITION of…A Christmas Story!!  Not only did it include the beautiful, crystal clear Blu-Ray quality film, but an incredible bonus…

A STRING OF LEG LAMP LIGHTS FOR THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

You have no idea how much fun it was to add “the soft glow of electric sex” to our beautiful tree this year!! 

I dare you to figure out a more fun way to celebrate the big day…in fact, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU…

(Note: If you have recently returned as a POW from Vietnam, then you have a valid excuse for not understanding anything about this post.  Otherwise, there is no credible reason I will accept for not having seen this movie multiple times.)

But…it’s tradition

A post on my cousin’s blog today got me to thinking.  She was – – rightfully – – lamenting the materialism of the holiday season.  You know…that sickness that starts going around a month or two before Christmas…”the gimmes.”

Thankfully, I was blessed with two boys who have never had severe cases of the illness.  Occasionally I’ve even had to BEG my eldest to tell me something he might want for Christmas because he would just say “Mom, I really don’t need anything.  I’ve got everything I want already.” 

This year was a case in point.  I would give him suggestions, and he would shoot them down.  I’d lay out catalogs, hoping to inspire him, and he would never even pick them up.  I even tried to get clues from conversation, but he never let on to much of anything that he was wishing for.  Finally, after enough pestering, he just told me to surprise him. 

I went through the holiday prep a little more down in the dumps than usual, because it had occurred to me that maybe his lack of interest in gifts meant that he had “aged out” of the Christmas spirit.  I dutifully picked out things I thought he might enjoy, but it wasn’t quite the same.  It felt like my baby boy was altogether too big for his britches (and it was only last week that he was wearing Christmas onesies for cryin’ out loud!).

So imagine my surprise when he woke up one morning a few days before Christmas and practically bounded out of bed.  “I am SO excited!” he declared.

“About what?” I asked, confused.

“Christmas, of course!”

“But you don’t even know what you are getting?”

“I know! I’m going to be surprised!!  And it is going to be so awesome to get to do our Christmas breakfast, and open presents, and spend the day together as a family.”

Wow.  Here I had been bemoaning his lack of Christmas spirit, and he might have been the one with the truest spirit of all.  It wasn’t what he got that mattered to him – – it was how he got it.  The traditions that surround the getting. 

boy at christmas Sometimes, it’s the seeing the pretty wrapped presents under the tree, and handing them out, and tearing into the crisp paper, and squealing with glee and sharing that moment with our loved ones that brings us more joy than what is actually inside the package. 

We humans crave tradition, and the holiday season provides a boatload of opportunities to fulfill those urges.  For our family, that includes watching “The Christmas Story” as we trim the tree, volunteering on Christmas Eve at the homeless shelter where my hubby works, having gingerbread waffles for Christmas breakfast, and buying an ornament for each of the boys the day after Christmas that celebrates what they have been interested in during the previous year.  These are our touchstones.  And they are way more important to us than any new gadget, gizmo, or bejeweled trinket could ever be. (And if you know me, that is saying a LOT)

Hope your traditions brought you as much joy this holiday season as they did us.  Feel like sharing one of your favorites in the comment section??

Start Stocking Up on Fruitcake Now!

Have you ever noticed that once you get out of the habit of blogging regularly, it is really hard to get back in the habit??  Combine that with a monumentally large lack of anything worthwhile to say, and you have a big whoppin’ case of blogger’s block. 

Normally, I would fall back on a meme.  But I haven’t even found a meme that inspired me.  So, what’s a bloggin’ gal to do?

Be ridiculous, of course……so here goes:

I’m worried.  I don’t know how much thought in an average day that I give to global warming, but it is probably an average of around six times a day.  On a really hot day, it might eke up to around ten times.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about it a LOT.  That’s because last week I heard this factoid that scares the be-jeezus out of me.  Scientists are theorizing that the North Pole could be ice-free in just ten years. 

Did you catch that??  In ten years, Santa is actually going to have to find new digs!!!  I’m sorry, but the magnitude of that  has really been causing me to lose sleep.  I don’t deal with change well.

I mean the relocation costs alone will have to put a serious dent in Santa’s gift budget.  And with the economy the way it is, any elves that get laid off may be out of work for months before finding a toy shop that is hiring.  It also scares me to think what else Santa might have to scrimp on…

Dry cleaning can’t be high on his priority list.  So I’m figuring that he’s gonna wear that red suit several Decembers in a row before sending it in for a wash.  No matter how quiet Santa is coming down the chimney, there isn’t much chance of him staying stealthy if he reeks of reindeer droppings and two-hour-old milk moustache.

The quality of the toys is bound to suffer as well.  The first place toy manufacturers cut corners is always in their materials, so I’m picturing a lot of unhappy kids on Christmas morning as they discover their new iPod is held together with scotch tape and elfin earwax. 

And heaven help us if the big guy picks up a GPS on clearance at Big Lots.  I don’t care if they do have “brand names at closeout prices”, I haven’t found an item in that store yet that I would trust to get Saint Nick around the world and back again without missing a house or two (and damn it, you know it’s going to be my house that gets missed because we could never even get a good DirecTV signal around here!)

Sadly, it’s always the wife who feels the economic pinch worst of all.  Poor Mrs. Claus is supposed to keep her hubby fat and jolly.  But with Santa’s moving expenses, the rising cost of reindeer kibble, and the unemployment benefits Santa’s going to have to pay to those laid-off elves, I’m imagining the cupboards are going to be pretty bare around the Claus house come 2018.  Let’s hope and pray that food stamps will be enough to cover all those milk and cookies.

Al Gore can talk all he wants about the sea levels rising and more hurricanes, but the inconvenient truth really is that Christmas, as we know it, is going to hell in a handbasket.  I mean who in their right mind cares that tropical diseases are going to skyrocket if there is no holly-jolliness on December 25??!!  If there is no Christmas caroling, no popcorn-string making, or no secretly shaking the presents under the tree, then I say let the mosquitoes go ahead and take me now.

What can I say?  These kinds of things keep me awake at night. 

santa