Dear Jerrod

WritingThis is a total cheater post in which I write a letter to a friend and pretend it’s a blog post.

My super cool friend Jerrod checks in with me from time to time and I was juuuust about to write him back, and I was going to say something like, “I hate that I never have time to blog and…” blah blah, something else, and then my brain said, “Whoa there, little filly,”—apparently my brain is part cowgirl, and thinks I’m a horse. No problems there— “whoa. Why don’t you take all that energy you’d put into writing Jerrod and smack it into a blog post? Two birds, one stone, something about a bush perhaps…point is: It’s a good idea. *tongue click* *tongue click*.” At which point I trotted to my computer and fired up the ol’ WordPress.

BUT (don’t leave sweet reader! I promise you’ll like it too!) I basically sound the same if I’m writing to one person or a hundred (is that a good thing? Be sure to weigh in in the comments. Lord knows I lost track of normal a while ago), so you can pretend I wrote this to you, too. Ahem.

Dear Jerrod,

Greetings from the blow up couch that is currently taking up my entire living room! Yes, it’s true. The baby is still not sleeping. We’re trying to train her to sleep through the night again, but it necessitates a wee bit of crying on her part and, due to the opera-singer-quality pipes she has, we can’t keep her in the room she shares with her sister. So, she goes in our room, we go on the blow up couch in the living room, and everyone is equally miserable. Problem solved.

I’m really hating that I don’t have time to write much anymore. I write half a blog post in my head while I’m making coffee or driving the girls around, but I just can’t seem to make it back to the computer and take the time to actually write the whole thing out. I don’t know what’s worse—not writing, or having all those words rattle around in my head all the time. There’s enough stuff loose up there already.

We’re heading into a new season here. No, not Fall, because that’s not really a thing in San Diego. Instead, we transition from Summer with a season called Lunacy, in which we celebrate a thousand birthdays and our anniversary, craft Halloween costumes for four, chase the brilliant idea of making all of our Christmas presents (hello boiling beeswax, fabric scraps, sewing machine and insanity), and drink a questionable number of Hot Toddies. Every year I enter it with the highest hopes of being magical and lovely and sensible, and I end it with burns from the hot glue gun. It’s quite the spectacle.

So, that’s me. Mostly. I dunno I probably forgot a ton of stuff. Lunacy descends. How are you & the fam? Cough it up, friend. Cough it up.

photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by jeffery james pacres at flickr. 

Christmas Killed the Spirit of Christmas

Broken Angel Nativity

People. I am SO. tired. Pooped, if you will. It’s six days before Christmas and we have been elfing our freaking socks off around here (whoa…kinda sounds super dirty. Hmm.) and now I’m sleepy.

Christmas, since the beginning of my life, has been a bitch. To start things off, I was born on Christmas. Now this is the single dumbest day of the year to be born. Trying to hold a celebration for little ol’ you in the midst of those two rabid attention-getters, Jesus and Santa, is like trying to have reasonable discourse on Facebook. No one cares. It just isn’t going to happen. So I ended up getting those Christmas/birthday combo presents for a few years, then my parents decided to celebrate on a different day and somehow chose Valentine’s day (?)…I know. I don’t know what was going on there, either.

But that major scheduling conflict was just the beginning. By the time I was actually old enough to engage in the Christmas season, my family had cultivated habits that resulted in all-out, full-tilt calamity every year. It was as if Christmas staged a surprise coup on our household and, every year, we were caught unawares. “Whhhaaaa? Christmas again?!” we’d shout as we took cover behind the recliner. “What will we do?!!”

Takin' it back…

We’d end up wandering stores on December 23rd, just putting things in the cart in a sort of red-eyed desperation. We’d all go to the store together, then break into groups and go shopping in different combinations so we could buy presents for each other. It was a big, complicated, last-minute, stress-filled exercise in consumerism, which typically ended with us back at home, decorating the tree and arguing, while a Sandi Patty Christmas (anyone?) cassette played in the background.

But that was when I was a kid. Now I’m an adult, and I decided a few years ago that I was going to do Christmas awesome. I was going to plan, and be thoughtful and considerate and contemplate the “reason for the season” and all kinds of rad crap. There would be no panic, no frenzy, no meaningless, obligatory purchases…no, my house would be filled to the brim with good feelings and cinnamon smell. We’d sit around laughing through our eggnog mustaches while classic Christmas songs caressed our ears. We would all smile at how ol’ Duke the dog loved to join when Jingle Bells came on. “Ha ha ha!” we’d say. Just like in the movies.

I would start by making all of my presents by hand. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Okay, just stop right there. Yes, that is a cute idea. But another way to say it is, “I will start a sweatshop and employ only myself.” It was madness. Madness, I tell you! I was doing so much knitting that my fingers were cramping like I was an 85-year-old arthritic woman. The tips of my fingers throbbed when I finally went to sleep at night. So the next year, I decided to just sew all the presents because, you know, that would be easier. Nope, just as hard. Just as miserable.

So this year, we’re just buying presents. And somehow, it’s still crazy. I started my Christmas list in September, you all. SEPTEMBER! But it doesn’t matter! There is literally no planning day early enough to avoid the insanity that is Christmas. I don’t think it’s just me, either. I mean, that one lady pepper sprayed other shoppers. That’s gotta be a bad omen for our whole society.

I did buy a cinnamon candle, though, so I’ve got that going for me. But I actually really hate eggnog. And we don’t even have a dog. And if we DID have a dog, I’d name him Bilford O’Reily-ahan, not Duke. I don’t know why I thought I could build an idyllic Christmas full of nog-drinking and dog-admiring.

But I AM trying. I’m trying, people, okay? Next year I’ll start my shopping (not just planning) in March. I’ll buy presents and wrap them and stick them in the closet so they’ll be a surprise even to me when Christmas rolls around. By the time my daughter is cognizant of Christmas I’ll have this crap down.

No Means No, Dean Martin!

It’s Christmas time! And the only kind of Christmas music that I like is the kind that swings—you know, the old, classic, Big Band kind. I even have a Pandora station that plays THE BEST music. It’s awesome. (You can listen to it here if you like. You’re welcome.)

There’s only one teensy weensy problem—you can’t listen to any Christmas station without hearing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and that song has been ruined for me for all time. Why? Because my dear friend Cookie told me once that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sounds a whole lot like date rape. Perfect. Ruined.

Dean Martin - Baby It's Cold Outside

No means no! Even for you, Dean-o.

At first, I thought, “That’s crazy!” but then I started listening to the lyrics. Even the description on Wikipedia sounds totally suspect:

The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, marked as “mouse” and “wolf” on the printed score. Every line in the song features a statement from the “mouse” followed by a response from the “wolf”. Usually the “wolf” part is sung by a male and the “mouse” by a female.

via Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So, a lady mouse is being stalked by a dude wolf. No big deal. And the song starts off kinda friendly. She’s saying she has to go, and he’s just giving her some sensible weather information, and pointing out that he’s built a lovely fire to warm her hands by. What a gentleman. So then she says, “Oh, okay, I’ll stay for half a drink.”

Lady Mouse: I really can’t stay    Dude Wolf: But baby it’s cold outside
LM: I’ve got to go away                 DW: But baby it’s cold outside
LM: This evening has been          DW: Been hoping that you’d drop in
LM: So very nice                            DW: I’ll hold your hands they’re just like ice
LM: My mother will start to worry   DW: Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
LM: And father will be pacing the floor   DW: Listen to the fireplace roar
LM: So really I’d better scurry    DW: Beautiful please don’t hurry
LM: Well maybe just a half a drink more    DW: Put some records on while I pour

“Yessssss…” he says to himself whilst rubbing his wolfy paws together. And a couple of lines later…

LM: Say what’s in this drink?

“Oh, it’s nothing,” says the wolf, “Just a little eggnog, with some nutmeg. And rufies. Your hair sure looks nice.”

Later on she says, “The answer is no,” and lists off all of her relatives and associates that will be calling her a floozy in the morning (including her “maiden’s aunt”, whose “mind is vicious”…kooky) to which he responds by incessantly complimenting her lips.  It doesn’t sound like she ever leaves. They just end the song with both of them singing “It’s cold outside!” and that’s it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you ruin a perfectly good, campy, Christmas-time song.

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