Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Dregs Of Figgy Pudding

Most of us don’t really look forward to Christmas. I blame expectations.

When we’re young, we expect a surfeit of good things. Fortunately, when we’re young, it’s easy to be surfeited. For me, all it took was a new Oz book (as in Wizard Of, not the acclaimed HBO show) or whatever toy the (black and white) TV told me I wanted.

Fast-forward to adulthood. TVs are big, flat, and high def (but still bossy.) Surfeit isn’t an option anymore.

Maybe that’s because now we’re more preoccupied with giving than receiving. This is both logical and good. First, it’s nice to think of others before ourselves. You know, golden rule and whatnot.

Second, it’s not easy to come up with stuff we can wrap in festive paper and give to our friends and loved ones to make them happy.

Truth be told, Auntie isn’t a particularly good gift giver. Sure, if I know you collect something, I’ll try to find you a weird one. But nobody collects stuff anymore. It’s all digital now.

I didn’t even bake cookies this year. That said, I’m running Cookie Clicker in the background as I type this.

Ahem. Sorry, tangent. I was trying to talk about the spirit of Christmas.

See, I had an unexpectedly transcendent Christmas.

Unexpected because as I said, grown-ups don’t really expect much. Transcendent because I got the most wonderful gift from people I didn’t think would bother.

I got validation. In fact, I was happily surfeited with validation.

It started last week, when Morgan (@RudeMorgue, follow him on Twitter for his acerbic wit) gave me something that showed not only thought, but care. If you come over, you can see it. He wasn’t supposed to give me anything. I didn’t give him anything.

(He will have many cookies soon-ish.)

For those of us without a large family base, it’s easy to feel overlooked or alienated at this time of year. This gets worse when the ties to old friends have stretched or broken.

So special thanks to my new and new-ish friends, Alex and Fracture and Fraser and Gill and Janiam and Mia and Schwartzie (in alphabetical order) for taking the time to make this cranky old Auntie Grinch have a holly jolly holiday.

Now all I want is to get enough anti-matter condensers to dunk my cookie. Don’t ask, and whatever you do, do NOT start clicking.

P.S. In between when I wrote that and when I posted this, I saw my friend Max Maven and got the ultimate validation (especially considering the source.) He said, “There’s nothing generic about you, kiddo.” Ok, it was in conext, but dammit, I'm keeping it.

And when I got back from seeing him, I had enough cookies for another anti-matter condenser! Wheee!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Glass Hat

Last night, while Robert was sitting on the bed getting ready to do an Improv show, there was a sudden CRASH and a football sailed through the window right over his head. Shattered glass missed his face by less than a foot.

It’s okay now. Robert covered the hole with cardboard and our neighbor is trying to get it repaired as quickly as possible, given that it’s the weekend before Christmas.

But damn, a crisis can put a damper on the old holiday spirit.

I was out with the little dog, so the worst was over by the time I arrived on the scene. My part was damage control. Auntie has a merit badge in damage control.

Hell, Auntie has a whole whatever-merit-badges-add-up-to in damage control.

And that’s what we associate with Christmas, damage control.

That wasn’t a joke and I’m not being sarcastic.

You’re young enough that just surviving the time with your extended family can cause damage. I remember that well. We should swap stories.

I got through it. You can too.

Hopefully you’ll do it with greater grace and sobriety than I did, but hey, whatever gets you through the tinsel.

Auntie has one piece of advice for you: If you do freak out and hit or throw something, try not to break anything made of glass. It’s a bitch to clean up.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

L'eggs Oh

Is this title too obscure? Sorry, children.

Auntie was trying to be funny by conflating the slogan “Leggo my Eggo™!“ with the idea of L’eggs™ and kick in some foreshadowing in the process.

It’s all because of my little dog Jonah, who doesn’t wear socks, let alone pantyhose, but would happily steal your frozen waffle if he could reach it.

Robert was busy, so I walked the dog yesterday morning. For context, it was just before noon on a sunny Saturday. This matters because there were tons of people out and about so the walk took forever because the little beast is not only adorable and knows how to work it, but old and crotchety to boot.

No, he doesn’t wear boots either. Focus, people!

We passed a group of women, probably realtors, who were happily and busily going door to door. I say realtors because the church people had already been by and most of them were men, but it doesn’t matter. The women could have been anything. The important thing is their legs.

They were all wearing pantyhose.

I haven’t even owned pantyhose since I was in my 20s. I didn’t wear them much even then, but I had them. Maybe in case a pantyhose emergency cropped up. I dunno.

Our paths kept crossing, mostly because Jonah planted himself like a teeny tiny sumo wrestler and refused to budge whenever they were nearby. So I had a lot of time to think.

Do they even make those little plastic eggs with pantyhose in them anymore and if not, when did they stop? Did I notice at the time? Did the world change when they went away?

If that’s not loopy enough, I started getting loopier, as one does when one is – and has been for a while -- standing around waiting for a little dog.

In all the infinite futures, was there one in which I would now be wearing pantyhose? Which decision turned me away from that?

Considering that I saw Xanadu in the theaters at least 3 or 4 times, you’d think my legs would be laminated with an uncomfortable and shiny off-beige polymer. They’re not.

I don’t eat frozen waffles, either.

(In case you’re curious, they stopped marketing pantyhose in plastic eggs back in the 90s. There’s a dinosaur joke in there somewhere.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Corduroy Pillows

“Police Push Into Kiev Square as Crisis Grows”

“Effort to Help Filipino Women Falters, U.N. Says”

“Thai Premier Rejects Demands That She Quit”

Oh, there’s more. French paratroopers died in Africa. A Chinese professor who advocated for free speech was fired. Most chilling of all, a child welfare agency in Arizona was found to have 6,554 cases of documented physical abuse that were filed away without any investigation at all.

That’s six THOUSAND.

Do these headlines sound familiar? Then I’m not the only one who read yesterday’s New York Times. High five! No, it’s the NYT. Sedate but firm handshake instead.

Now let’s talk about how there’s only twelve days until Christmas.

What? Was that transition too abrupt for you?

That’s kind of how I feel when I see luxurious ads juxtaposed with stories about human suffering, but there’s more than that.

I know I just complained about the surfeit of (and subsequent desensitization to) information in our techie global world, and I wouldn’t want to repeat myself.

Har har. True enough, Auntie doesn’t mind repeating herself, endlessly or otherwise.

But instead of trying to work through to a way of handling massive amounts of conflicting input, I’ll focus on the one thing that, no matter how hard I try I just can’t get a handle on. On which I can’t get a handle. You know. Never mind.

The thing that I need to come to grips with is how they decide which words to capitalize in the headlines. It’s really bugging me.

Ding dong, ding dong, merry merry merry Christmas.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shake'N Fake

Once upon a time, things were supposed to be “real” and “honest”. “Organic” was shiny and new, and “authenticity” a gold ring for the distant yuppified artisanal future.

Calling something (or someone) fake was an insult. Being fake was bad.

People were still supposed to be physically attractive, but nobody (of either gender) wanted to look like they were wearing makeup, or even like they bathed. Think Woodstock.

And it wasn’t enough to have opinions, people were supposed to care about absolutely everything. Think Earth Day, which started in New York 1970 (and generated hundreds of thousands of metric tons of trash but let’s not go there.)

Oh, and all of our ideas were supposed to be original and well-founded.

There was more to us than just ecology and politics and music and art and clothes. We were supposed to care about everything.

Well, everything except food. That came later.

Let’s recap: Unassisted beauty and informed passion, all based on unique, well-researched experience – this in the days when information only came on printed sheets of paper, either bound, stapled or folded. Unless Cronkite was on, of course.

It was an impossible standard, yet fakery was still supposed to be bad.

Did you catch that transition? Now I’m saying fake was just “supposed to be” bad.

See previous, re impossible.

The aesthetic was to have a face that looked like laminated fabric, in a way that human skin just doesn’t. Well, the makeup was real, and for all our ecological zeal, it sure as hell wasn’t “organic” or “cruelty free” back then either.

We all decorated our clothes ourselves, but in a precisely similar way. So much for originality.

And as for our opinions, well, go Netflix “The Breakfast Club”. Same as previous.

I’m conflating my eras here, but it works.

Historically, we faked being informed and passionate. Now we are surfeited with information, and fake being too cool to care.

Ironically, irony wasn’t in fashion back then either.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jingle Bell Time

You can’t tell from looking at our leftover Hanukah decorations, but I generally like Christmas.

This in spite of the “All Christmas! All the time!” music our Loud Neighbors have been playing (loudly) since the day before Thanksgiving…

And, okay, yeah, our house is the dark splotch on an ersatz Candy Cane Lane.

(Not to mention my Growing Grinchiness with the excessive capitalization the Holiday Season inspires.)

Still, for the most part, Auntie likes Christmas.

Let’s be honest here, what I really like is the excuse to make cookies for people and the justification for all the Santa Clauses I keep around all year long.

Don’t snark. The spirit of joy and generosity that is symbolized by a smiling fat guy who doesn’t happen to be Robert is a beautiful thing. Robert is also a beautiful thing, but that’s beside the point.

Giddy-up Jingle Bell Rock.