Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holiday wishes to you all!

Here's hoping that you all find someone to meet you under the Mistletoe this year!

Happy Holidays - hope they're filled with love, joy and laughter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No obvious jokes, please...

But, for any last-minute gift-givers out there, I happen to love fruitcake.

Just thought you should know.

Carry on.

Have a happy global warming holiday! (but watch out for the squirrels)

Well - it's looking like we're going to have a green Christmas here in New York's Hudson Valley.

It's weird - like we were suddenly transported back to our neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area where December weather meant 50-60 degrees, some rain - and many occasions to still be outside in shirt sleeves.

Honestly - it's a little depressing.

The funny part is, however, that it's no longer the whole tinkly, Bing Crosby, White Christmas, Currier and Ives holiday squooshiness that is getting me down.

Oh - there's a little. I don't think I'll ever outgrow the desire to look out the window on Christmas Eve and see snowflakes quietly cascading down, mixing with the neighbors' holiday lights to create a picture postcard setting for the following morning.

Now it's mostly the practical that gets me.

I'd like to go skiing this winter. However, I have no desire to share half a dozen manufactured-snow covered slopes with the general public while I fall, tumble and careen into things. I prefer to have lots of green trails open where I can experience my winter sports shame in relative obscurity.

I've also been observed standing on my front porch a lot this winter, staring intently at the mostly grass-covered lawn (I say mostly, because unlike some of my neighbors, I really don't care if what covers my lawn is technically "grass" - if it is fairly attractive, non-poisonous and can be mowed regularly - I'm a happy camper.) and quietly cursing.

I know that without the freeze of winter - and months of snow covering the ground - the grubs will not die. This means two things;

  1. Round about April, my lawn will once again be adopted as the Country Kitchen All-You-Can-Eat white trash buffet by every skunk in the neighborhood. They will dig up my lawn and void their glands every evening when they feel threatened. In fact, we have a Don Knotts-variety, Mr. Chicken Skunk in the 'hood who appears to feel threatened by such major events as changes in wind speed and the rotation of the planet. Or he's just a punk and sprays every night just to hear B bitch. (altho - it helps mask the odor of the Dollar Store white trash camel-dung cigarettes our neighbors smoke by the carton on their front porch)

  2. Japanese Beetles. I will once again spend the Spring and Summer defending our roses with a jar of kerosene and two small blocks of wood. The former is for knocking them off the roses into a toxic jacuzzi of certain death. The latter is in case they a) miss the jar and must therefore be stopped, or b) act aggressively to prevent their death, running up my arm and making me scream like a little girl.
And I'm worried about the squirrels. I am very frightened, in fact.

Thanks to the wealth of stately, older trees in the neighborhood - especially our neighbor's two HUGE Oak trees - we have LOTS of squirrels in the neighborhood.

And they aren't looking so good right now...they've gone through their Autumnal harvest of destruction, digging thousands of divots in my yard to plant acorns that they will never remember (apparently this is common among squirrels) , sprouting baby Oak trees all over my lawn and adding yet another element to the rich tapestry that is my "grass."

But they look...I don't know...ratty. And spooky. Like they're sleep-deprived and jacked up on some kind of Squirrel coffee or something. I'm seeing fewer and fewer bushy tails - like their hair is falling out due to stress, making them even more rat-like in appearance

And they aren't "scampering and cavorting" as much as they are attacking each other and running under cars with a dazed, confused look like a seagull who has gotten into the anti-freeze again.

I think they need to hibernate, like we need to sleep. But you just know that some of these poor squirrels are going home to their knot in the tree, only to be met by some p.o'd squirrel significant other who will immediately start harping on them.

"Why are you inside, lazing about when you could be out providing for this family?!? Why don't you get your fuzzy arse out there and try to find some of those acorns you buried when you and your buddies were out on a drunk? HUH? No wonder you can't remember where you buried them, you loser! Probably too busy drinking anti-freeze and joking with your buddies about going skunk-tipping in the Spring!! ANSWER ME!!!"

No wonder they run under cars. Poor bastards.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The holiday card to beat this year......

Oh, dude. This is a good one.

Props to our good friend, Angela (pictured) for the most intentionally and purposely cheesy holiday card of the season.

She is just so GOOD at this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Have a relatively non-threatening, stress-free holiday of your choosing

Oh, the flap over the holidays.

The Seattle Airport refused to add a Menorah to their holiday decorations, took down their Christmas trees, and then put the trees right back up again.

And my evangelical Christian cousin sent me a spam-mail encouraging rabid "Put Christ back in Christmas" followers to clog the e-mail boxes of the ACLU with Merry Christmas greetings. (That'll teach them dang liberal pantywaists to f*ck with our Lord!)

This is just so tiring.

Why can't everyone just celebrate and decorate and greet you however the hell they want, without people taking offense.

Personally, I love the holiday season. I'm not a practicing member of any religion, but I also don't have an issue with anyone else's religious or secular celebration or choice of decor during the supposed "Season of Joy."

The appeal in it for me is that, once a year, I get to:

  • Put outlandish amounts of lights and decorations on my house without fear of reprisal by my neighbors
  • The singular thrill of putting a lighted, revolving shiny aluminum facsimile of a pine tree in my front window, which would otherwise be considered a very strange thing to do
  • Make people happy by giving them lovely things
  • Receive lovely things that I don't expect
  • Feel a warm kinship with my fellow man (and woman)
  • Get paid for not working
I love Christmas. And all the sparkly, tinkly, sappy emotions it creates.

But - I also look forward to seeing the Hannukah lights being lit at the temple down the street from my home. I even drive home a different way to make sure they remembered to light another light each day of the celebration.

I'm sure if there was some kind of Kwaanza decoration in town or a Bodhi Day celebration at my local Buddhist temple, I'd be eager to thrill at those holiday sights as well.

I've learned that the reasons for these types of holidays is to honor, remember and to grow closer with our families, friends and communities - as well as celebrate some significant events in certain religious histories.

But I'm also certain that the Jews are not out to say that honoring Christ's birth is silly and pointless; nor are the Buddhists crying for the removal of twinkly lights as an affront to the sacred memory of Siddhartha Gautama.

So - everyone. Sit back, shut up, mind your own business, do something good for a friend or stranger in need.

And just get over yourselves.

And enjoy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The holidays are coming....look busy!

The warning signs of Christmas are upon us.

  1. Uncle Jim's Christmas card arrives on December 1st, exactly. His is always the very first card to arrive and signals the onslaught of the holiday season - like the bell at the heavyweight world championship.

  2. An aluminum tree suddenly sprouts in our living room picture window, complete with rotating tree stand and lighted color wheel.

  3. Holiday music CDs - untouched in the back of the CD cabinet for the last 11 months suddenly appear all over the house.

  4. Ominous and stressful planning conversations about cookies begin to take place.

  5. Familiar guilt patterns about family in other parts of the country begin to emerge, often leading to...

  6. Experimentation to find that next, great holiday-themed cocktail. (This year's discovery: Do NOT mix Stoli Raspberri and Frangelico in the hopes of creating a berry/nutty concoction called a Yuletini. It sounds good, but trust me...ack!)

  7. My wallet begins to whimper from over-use.

  8. The countdown to January 2 begins........

Friday, December 01, 2006

The winds of uncertainty

So -I am sitting here today, reading weather alerts and high wind warnings about the imminent approach of a storm front that may well finish off my poor, raggedy roof.

But then again - they may not come. Or they may not be as bad as predicted.

I won't know until it happens.

I need to apply the same point of view to my work situation.

I am currently neither happy or unhappy about the work I am doing. Certain projects are less frustrating than others and there will always be stupid, petty people defending their little fruitcake empires to cover up their own inadequacy or lack of talent.

So, I plod along. Thanking those who help me out, engaging knowledgeable and talented people wherever I can, and smiting the little fruitcake emperors and empresses when I encounter them.

As my friend Peter would say, it's "just beige" right now.

I know that I have one project that may not survive the budget rigors of the change of year. It's sad, really - I've put 8 months into trying to get this little birdie to fly.

I've also heard that I may be moved into another organization after the first of the year. And that's fine, because I'd actually be working with a group I've been trying to get into for the last two years.

So...will my pet project survive? What will I do if I end up working for someone else? What happens to all the plates I have spinning right now?

I can't worry about it.

I just have to keep going and wait until the winds come.