About me · Family · Holidays · Home

Christmas trees, musicals, and making a community

I’m taking a break from dinner preparations to get this post up.  I’m having a “Transplant to Seattle” Thanksgiving dinner today at my house, and I’m hosting a few of my co-workers and their spouses who also uprooted their lives this year and moved out here to join our team.  Being two thousand miles from home means that, if we let ourselves, we can become very insulated out here.  With no family and no “community” to speak of, it would be very easy to say that we live here, but do we live here?   Continue reading “Christmas trees, musicals, and making a community”

About me · Holidays

A somewhat disjointed ramble…

Although it’s technically now Christmas Eve, it’s not officially Christmas Eve to me until I go to bed and wake up again.  In my world, it’s still Sunday.  Anyway, my mind is a disjointed jumble of thoughts and I feel like sharing them.

The “War on Christmas” that Fox “News” keeps rambling about (and I only know about it because MSNBC said that Fox was talking about it) is total crap.  I know that the Fox “anchors” want to pretend the whole world is against their righteous crusade (led by their prophet, Karl Rove), but I call bullcrap.  Well, I actually call bullcrap about that network’s entire existence but as for the whole war on Christmas thing – HORSE PUCKEY!  I’ve been told “Merry Christmas” the past three days by no less than 12 people in the service and retail industries.  Not once have I been told “Happy Holidays.”  Suck it, Bill O’Reilly (well, as soon as you remove your lips from Father Karl’s prostate.)

Tattoos don’t hurt as much as I remember.  The one I got on my ankle 14 years ago, which is approximately an inch big, hurt so much that I remember hyperventilating and almost blacking out.  So it was with trepidation that I entered the tattoo shop today.  The problem was that I had been obsessing about getting a tattoo and, because I know me, I knew I wouldn’t rest until I got it over with.  So I entered with my design in hand, didn’t hyperventilate and really only winced a bit while the needle hummed as it chewed through my skin, and left with this:

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The world of Harry Potter now with me forever?  CHECK.  (Now I’m thinking about getting “Nox” on my other wrist.)

After getting things done around the place, I settled in at my dining room table with my old time radio app and listened to Christmas episodes of “Our Miss Brooks” and “The Jack Benny Show” while I finished my yo-yo table cover.  I needed it done for Tuesday because we’re hosting my immediate family here.  So check it out!  Sitting on the trivet, which is sitting on the yo-yos, is a cool candle holder that I got at my favorite museum, Conner Prairie, yesterday.  It’s a replica of an 1858 Mason jar with a wrought iron candle holder hanging inside.  And in it is a beeswax candle that was made at the museum.  I love the way the whole thing turned out!

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Also, I desperately wish I were writing again.  Inspiration just isn’t there.  I’m heading to Seattle for training in mid-January and now it looks like I have another trip scheduled the week following that trip (meaning I fly home on Saturday and back out on Monday) so I’m hoping to get some writing done while I’m away from home.  Truthfully, I’m hoping my second week of training ends up being in Seattle, too, because then I’ll get to spend a weekend in the city we’re hoping to relocate to in about two years.  Hopefully the training invite will show up in my inbox right after Christmas so I can find out where I’m headed for that second week and get my trip booked.  Can’t believe how much travelling I’m getting to do since starting to work for this huge company.

We’re under a Winter Storm Watch for Christmas night and into Wednesday. They’re calling for between 5-9 inches.  While I know that the projections will change between now and then, I also know that, regardless of how much we get, I’m screwed as I head into work on Wednesday.  White-knuckled drive for sixteen miles at 20mph.  Awesome, Mother Nature.  Thanks.

Okay, I’m off to read, I do believe.  I shall leave you with this lovely view of our flickering fake wood stove.

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And Merry Christmas to everyone (except Fox News!)



About me · Holidays · Home · Reflection

What happened to the magic?

A few weeks ago, I was excited about the upcoming holiday season.  With a new job in a company that is heavily focused on the holidays, I thought this year would be different.  The last few years, I have preferred for December to just skip by and leave me be.  Due to family issues, Christmas wasn’t joyous or even fun; it was simply uncomfortable.  This year, though, I decried my negativity of Christmas pasts and decided to jump in feet first.  I remembered the magic of the holiday season and I wanted it back.  I burned a CD of Bing Crosby Christmas music (because hello?  He OWNS Christmas) and happily tossed it into the player of my car.  I was greatly looking forward to the grand displays of lights that I would easily see since I drive home from work in the dark now.

About five days after my exuberant start to the Christmas season, it started to wane.  I realized that my heart wasn’t in it like I thought it would be.  I wasn’t listening to the Christmas music and paying attention to anything on my drive home besides watching out for drunk drivers.  Tonight, we watched A Christmas Story  (favorite holiday movie ever) and took Roxie for a walk at 2am and I noticed that there weren’t any Christmas lights twinkling in windows or lit trees glowing against the backdrop of gossamer curtains.  And then it made me wonder – where is Christmas this year?

I remember Christmases as a child. From the time I was 8 until age 13, the majority of my holiday seasons were spent inside my parents’ jewelry store.  I remember the Santa’s village that my dad built out of wood and decorated to put in the window.  I remember Mom playing Bing Crosby on the stereo and going to stand out in the street so that I could hear “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” blaring through the outside speakers as I watched the residents of the town bustle by on the sidewalk.  Mom’s big, gorgeous Christmas tree that stood in one corner of the store, beautifully decorated.  The scent of cinnamon candles.  The sound of the polisher as Dad finished sizing a ring that would end up on some lucky woman’s finger on Christmas morning. The sound of crisp wrapping paper being torn from the roll.  My brother and I watching the little mouse that peeked out of the pockets of the advent calendar that hung in our mom’s office, our eyes heavily focused on the number “24” because we knew that was when the magic really happened.

During that same time, we lived in the country outside a tiny town with nothing but a Revco and a grocery store for shopping.  Anytime we needed anything, we had to head to New Albany or Jeffersonville or even Louisville.  I distinctly remember bundling up in my winter coat and climbing into the backseat our Chevy Celebrity for a trip to Service Merchandise or Target or, if we were really lucky, a trip to the mall to go Christmas shopping.  Afterwards, we would wind our way up Floyds Knobs to look at all the Christmas lights and stare out over the twinkling lights of the Louisville metro area. My teeth would chatter with excitement.

And then, Christmas Eve would come and the jewelry store would close in time for us to pile into the car and head to Corydon, where we would gather with my Dad’s family.  “Santa” would always visit, wearing the same threadbare suit my father had originally purchased in the 1960s.  Every year, it was toted out by an uncle or a cousin and we all got a present from his bag.  Every year, the suit looked a little worse.  The material was starting to unravel, the beard nothing but a few spindly threads of white fuzz.  Then, once we’d had our fill of holiday cheer in the form of my dad’s odd family, we’d climb back into the car and make the hour drive home.  By then, it was late.  My brother and I usually slept on the way and went to bed as soon as we got home, but we rarely slept on Christmas Eve.  We always camped out in my bedroom and would force ourselves to get two or three hours of sleep at most, then wake up at 5am and stare at the clock until 6, which was the designated time that we were allowed to wake up Mom and Dad and then dive into the living room to see what Santa brought us.  There was always evidence of Santa, too.  Half-eaten cookies.  A sooty boot print left in front of the fireplace.

So many memories.  So much magic.  

I started this post wanting to know what happened to all that magic but I think, over the course of writing this, that I found it.  It’s not gone.  I haven’t lost it at all.  It’s simply not the same as it used to be, but it’s there.  And in my memories, I find that the magic is still as strong as ever.