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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A little Christmas Cheer

Laurie thanks everyone for congratulating her on her Elks 40-28 Super Bowl win over the Greenwoods (which is another of her teams).  Her other Super Bowl victory with her flagship Elks was over the Fiery Beagles- which she is also responsible for.  In fact, when playing a team not her own since we went to that format in 2002, she's 2-4 in Super Bowls.  Am I bitter?  Naw. just because my teams are 4-1 and NEVER played each other in the Super Bowl.  Uhm, that lone loss?  Well it was the State Ducks losing Laurie's Angels team 27-24 in 2008.  Okay, I'll shut up.

Anyhow, I'm on day #5 of 30 consecutive days off- between the holidays and little work, I volunteered for the "layoff deal-  Laid off this week; next week is two paid holidays and three vacation days (which the company pulls from your bank and sticks here right off the top), the next week is New Year's Day paid and the rest lay-off; and the first full week of January off while (our big customer) gears back up.

This is okay with me- especially missing the worst weather of the year so far- but not good for staying in shape.  During the work week, lunch is a pair of cold pop-tarts (since much else makes me drowsy and not very productive), and I make up on the weekend. (Not that it needs made up!)  But now, I have opportunity for TWO meals, neither of which are getting worked off because
A- it's been too cold to get out for an extended walk;
B- Mr. Dog somehow ended up limpy-gimpy again.  Not sure how, and not as bad as the last time, but noticeable, enough to trigger my PTSD over Fred (our last dog), and leaving someone just a bit mopey.  I'm hoping the warmup we're slated to get arrives without the rain that's supposed to come with it, or someone's not going to have a very happy Christmas.

However, there is big fat Daddy to take care of, and I have two ways that I use there:
A- replace one meal with a healthy snack.  Tonight was a double chocolate milk, two Baby Bel cheeses from Laughing Cow (and I know why she's laughing), and part of a dark chocolate Hershey Bar.   Well, half of a large dark chocolate Hershey bar.

B- Have Laurie find me the swipe card for the workout room across the street (which I did) and go exercise (which I did- 50 minutes on the treadmill.)

Obviously, this isn't exactly the Richard Simmons plan.  In my defense, the chocolate milk was Carnation instant breakfast, though.  And besides, that coronary isn't going to come here on its own, now is it?

I've been reading about other people's Christmas trees a lot lately (some decorated, some not), and got a comment from my lovely niece about our "tree" de jour and the ones my mom used to put up.  So I thought I'd give you a little background.

l-r and swinging up: niece Robin, nephew Shawn, niece Linette, niece Lori, nephew Troy, aforementioned lovely niece Raine, yours truly, and sister Pete, from whom all snark began.  As you can see on the side, this was Christmas '71 and mom didn't get down to Dan Purvis to get film developed very often.

When I was little, it was always a real tree, with tinsel and garland and lights the size of a walnut (and hot!) and bulbs and ornaments and the coolest little manger scene- and of course, the six weeks of sweeping up needles and tinsel that came with it.  I never was a firm believer in Santa Claus (the chimney led downstairs to the furnace), but that was okay, because it was fun no matter where the gifts came from, and everybody got together for a big meal, lotsa presents, an afternoon of Euchre, and what have you. 

Sometime before Mom passed in '76, we switched to an artificial tree. (That may be it pictured- it looks awful small for a realie).  Mom's death changed a lot of things.  The family didn't get together as much any more... the kids were getting older and had other things to do...Brother Tom moved to Lima (Ohio, not Peru), Pete went to Auburn, then Florida, then Angola (Indiana, not Africa).  The artificial tree was abandoned for a tall potted cactus who seemed a bit put off by the attention, and then by an Elephant Ear which hated being decorated (which was jake with me, because I hated it).  After Dad passed, the EE somehow was assassinated, and decorating devolved to lights in the windows and the nativity scene, which I always complimented with a handwritten plaque of John 3:16.

The Christmas Elephant Ear.
Christmas then spent a lot of years sucking, due to my stupidity and my crappy job.  In fact, one year my church raided the Dollar store (among other places), to give my kids a Christmas with their Dad.  To say it's hard to forgive myself that is an understatement.

Once Laurie and I teamed up, it's been better.  There have been some family meals, a few presents more, a lot more of the meaning of Christmas.  And no more real plants being abused.

Now I'm old, the kids are older, and it will be future grandchildren who will get presents one day.  Hopefully not real soon, either.  It'll never be what it was- not on the good side, with all the kids, all the presents, all the family.  It won't be the bad side either- no more of "Dad's drunk and ready to piss mom off", no more "Gee, a snow globe.  Will this one leak like last year's?"  And sadly, no more Midnight Mass on TV because our current Bishop doesn't want to spend the money on something meaningful like the late great John D'arcy did.  But it will be together- me, Laurie, Scrappy, with a cameo or two by KC.  Who knows?  Maybe a get together at Laurie's family's, maybe an appearance by Shenan.

That will be a nice enough Christmas.  But Santa still won't touch my socks...


  1. We have an artificial here simply because of my sanity. I have always tried to make Christmas good for the kids regardless of funds... it's how I grew up I guess. Now that we have some means, it's funny that the kids never felt like they went without anything. Which makes me feel good... like I did something right.

    And YEAH you on the 50 minutes!!! I am ALMOST walking normal... hoping to start running again by March. Fingers crossed, because having to get a cast on my leg is just not going to be pleasant for anyone. :)

    1. I feel so bad for you, that this tool that you have used to do such good has been temporarily denied you. Not to mention all the pain and work problems it's putting you through. Hope it gets better soon. After all, it'll soon be a new year...

  2. Chris:
    A very thought-provoking post, and brings back memories of distant Christmases past.

    We did the "realies" when I was a young'un...went with Dad, no matter what the weather and "we" picked one out.
    And individual tinsel strands...the kind the dog pooped out when she found them on the floor...several days later...LOL.

    Some would always remind us that Christmas is what "we" make it...but somehow, things don't quite turn out like we recall.
    I know many of us would LOVE to have THOSE Christmases back, but we rarely come that close, and I think we can thank SO many people for that.
    It's secular over-marketing, high costs of everything, lack of family (they died or moved away) and friends (ditto)...

    But yet, through ALL of this, there is always a glimmer of the REAL meaning of why we celebrate Christmas, and it's got little if anything to do with bargains or returning gifts...when you stop to think about it.
    THAT is one aspect of ALL our Christmases that never goes away.

    Excellent post.

    Stay safe and warm up there.

    1. I knew you if anybody would know where I was coming from. Unfortunately, you don't have to switch states to have the old get-togethers fade away...

  3. As I mentioned earlier on another blog, this is my first year with a fake tree in quite a few years. It's strange really and makes me sad when Pokey asks me why we have such a small tree this year. kids are funny. Thanks for your comments earlier on my blog, I hope you and your lil family has a very Merry Christmas. :)

    1. Same for yours. Hugs to Pokey and little Monkey.

  4. I remember the ginormous, hot bulbs and tinsel. My grandma always had a huge artificial tree with tinsel (loaded with lead, Im sure) all over it and the house.

    1. We had "icicles" made from the twisted strips from opened tin cans. Maybe not as bad as lead tinsel, but surely not OSHA approved.

  5. I hope you get a break from the cold so you can get out some while on your work break. Hope Scrappy loosens up too. Poor baby. Sounds like you had your share of rough holidays past. Glad you and Laurie are happy and will enjoy your holiday no matter what you do.

    1. Barb, I know you've had some worse holidays. We always had enough to be fed and warm. I didn't want to sound like Christmas was ever terrible... just should have been better.