katallison: (Default)
Today's reflection: after a lengthy holiday run of cookies, chocolate, eggnog, beef tenderloin, potato gratin, more cookies, chips & dip, red wine, pate, fondue, coconut-chocolate bars -- after all this, I tell you what, a nice plain little bowl of cottage cheese is the food of the freakin' gods.

Apart from Christmas day itself, I've spent a quiet and solitary long weekend. Christmas day featured a deeply depressing visit to my dad in the nursing home [approx. 500 words of depressingness edited out], and then a very nice dinner with Mr. P., who made with the cool presents. These included an armload of old hardback editions of Nero Wolfe mysteries [approx. 500 words of how this former interest of mine has re-emerged a a fandom-of-sorts for me, in part due to [livejournal.com profile] _aerye_, pulled for further consideration and expansion], and a particularly excellent find, a DVD of the New York Dolls reunion concert at the Royal Festival Hall earlier this year [more blithering on this excised as unlikely to be of interest to anyone else except maybe [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza].

I've been dipping randomly into the [livejournal.com profile] ds_seekritsanta stories, and a few Yuletide pieces, but really I haven't been on the computer much, and am pretty much behind on LJ and everything else. Tomorrow I'm back to work, but I have another long weekend coming up, and a whole bunch of writing on which to get moving. We'll see if that actually comes to pass, however.
katallison: (please don't be an idiot)
Today I bring you two important life lessons, courtesy of Kat's School of Painfully Acquired Life Wisdom. (Our motto: "Oh My God I Am Such a Dumbfuck")

Lesson One: Do not lock yourself out of your house on a five-below-zero Christmas Eve. Our story continues... )
katallison: (Default)
Things I have done in past Decembers while under the influence of the Christmassy Spirit, and which I will almost certainly not be doing this year:

--participated in the Sing-Along Messiah;
--baked and decorated many dozen cookies;
--made *fruitcakes*;
--strung lights up all over the outside of the house;
--used black electrician tape to make "panes" on the big front window, and then sprayed the white foam snow-looking stuff into the corner of each pane;
--made Spiced Beef, which requires ten days of prep time;
--made hand-decorated, calligraphied cards, and mailed them out to people *on time*;
--gone to The Mall and bought presents for the entire family;
--sat up all Solstice night, sundown to sunrise, around a bonfire in the woods outside Mendocino with a bunch of people, drumming and singing and drinking wine mulled over the fire;
--sung carols door to door with a gang of friends;
--sat naked in a sauna with a bunch of people, and then gone out and rolled in the snow, with Bach playing over the outdoor speakers;
--roasted chestnuts;
--made and bottled glogg;
--allowed a beloved friend to cook lutefisk *in my house* (ack! ptooooieee!).

Things I will yet do this December:
--buy, put up, and decorate a balsam;
--finish my goddamned hideous [livejournal.com profile] ds_seekritsanta story;
--finish buying presents for Mr. P.;
--stress mightily about not having bought enough/the right presents for Mr. P.;
--make a nice Christmas night dinner for the two of us;
--sit up alone on Christmas Eve, listening to Perotin and Anonymous 4, getting tipsy and maudlin and thinking about Time Passing, and the death of the year, and those I loved who are no longer among us.

When I was a child, Christmas was a delirious saturnalia of presents, stuff, wheeee!!!. When I was a young woman, I was diligent about establishing and maintaining the rituals that marked some kind of specialness in this commercialized harried overloaded turning-point of the year; I even used at times to imagine I was creating traditions that I'd have and observe for the rest of my life.

But now that I'm getting old ... well, the days dwindle down to a precious few, and so do the observances that I take the trouble to continue. With time, it's much more about the inward-and-spiritual stuff, rather than the outward-and-visible. I still cherish this darkest time of year, the bleak midwinter (though, granted, the coldest and bleakest days are yet to come). Though I've never been a Christian, it remains a special time, for reasons both cultural and cosmological. And I love to hear about how all my younger and springier friends out there choose to celebrate in their own ways--traditional, quirky, joyous, hassled, solitary, in the bosom of family, religious, pagan, or whatever.
katallison: (Default)
One of the recurring holiday delights of the internet returns today -- Leslie Harpold's on-line Advent Calendar, each day bringing a holiday memory, a link, and a special treat.
katallison: (Default)
That crazy kid [livejournal.com profile] kormantic has a great thread going on "Christmas songs you love to hate," and I read through it, nodding at the usual obvious culprits (Holly Jolly Christmas, blargh! Jingle Bell Rock, kill me now!)

But in a subtler and more sinister vein, there are Christmas carols that seem perfectly innocuous and likeable--as long as you stay with the first and best-known verse. Which is all that people usually do stay with, bless them (unless you're in one of those dismal carol-singing groups where there's always *one* person who's grimly determined to sing through *every freaking verse*, at top volume, veins standing out on his or her forehead, while everyone else hums along uneasily, throwing in a tentative random word here or there).

All of which is just a lead-in to the sad tale of Why We Three Kings Will Give Me The Wiggins For The Rest of My Life.

We Three Kings, you say? But that's a nice inoffensive carol -- low-key, stays within a manageable range, soon over, and hey, Star of Light, and all that nice stuff! Ah, but you say that because you were never a hapless ten-year-old in the clutches of the St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Christmas Pageant, given the role of the Third King, and hence required to stand up in front of the entire congregation and, in a wavery breathy child's soprano, sing the following ineffably Christmassy lyrics:
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

I mean -- sealed in the stone-cold tomb??? *There's* the holly-jolly Christmas spirit for you, and granted I was a nervous child, but that thing freaked me *right* the hell out. Only a stern talking-to by Father Pitts, and a vigorous shove from my mother, got me out in front of the crowd to regale them with that little ditty, and for years afterward, if anyone in my family circle would launch into We Three Kings during the annual carol-singing, I would bodily leave the room.

Hell, that was probably one of those seminal experiences that set my feet on the dark and twisted path I still tread, muttering and wearing black leather jackets and causing innocent television characters lots of completely uncalled-for heartbreak.

(And for the record, as noted last year, my favorite carol is In the Bleak Midwinter. But only the first verse.)


katallison: (Default)

November 2009



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