Thursday Memories – Christmas

 

 

This photo was taken some 20-odd years ago at a Christmas Pajama-Jammie-Jam Party. Mister and I threw the bash and darned near every single guest showed up in their jammers. (A few wore next to nothing, so be careful what you wish for when throwing a themed party. I’m just sayin’.)

 

As you can see, I am asleep. And not fake asleep, either. I am full-on, smile-on-my-face, dead-to-the-world asleep. Here’s what I remember: I did a walk-through to pick up stray cups and trash. By the time I went into our room, I thought how appealing and comfy the bed looked. I thought I’d just have a lie down, to confirm how appealing and comfy the bed was. My intention was to simply enjoy the moment, then return to the party. There was a party, remember? And it was going full-swing. There was music and drinking and other stuff, noise and revelry and laughter. It was a good time and I was enjoying the heck out of myself. But then that danged bed caught my eye. Within seconds of lying down, I was out and that was it. Later, I was told that Mister and a whole bunch of people had come in, found me asleep, taken various photos, laughed and made fun of me. Then they all went back out and resumed the party. I didn’t wake until the next morning.

 

Here’s hoping the parties of this Christmas will leave us all filled with joy and good spirits. And, when the time is right, may we all find appealing and comfy beds for our winter slumber.

Christmas Wrapping Idea

 

 

 

A couple of years ago I wrapped a box of shirts in a cute style (shown above). I can’t claim to have come up with the idea, but I also don’t remember where I first saw it. I think it was something to do with wrapping Father’s Day gifts, but don’t quote me on that.

 

Anyhoo – the idea itself got lodged in my brain hole and when Christmas rolled around, I unstuck it and used it! I’m not gonna lie. It turned out pretty good and gave Mister a big chuckle. That, friends, is a double win in my book.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Christmas in Hollywood

 

I have never understood why “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is considered a holiday song. The mere mention of snowflakes hardly seems reason enough to qualify, but the song is about to be all over the danged place, now that it’s December, so I am obviously wrong in my thinking.

 

Anyhoo – I thought I’d share a few of my own favorite things to kick off the last month of the year. Bear in mind that if you ask me next week, my list will probably change. But this is today. And these are some of the things I’m digging on…

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Squares

 

Squares. I’ve been crocheting all kinds of 9-inch squares to be made into blankets for women undergoing serious treatments at a local hospital. I don’t know how to knit, so I crochet. I don’t really know how to properly crochet either, so the squares turn out a little janky sometimes. That’s okay. It’s all done with good intentions and love, and I like to think those sentiments outweigh my lack of skill. I will likely never meet any of the recipients of the assembled blankets, and that’s okay, too. Doing something for others without accolades is ridiculously fulfilling. I highly recommend it.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Pearls

 

Pearls. I don’t own real pearls, but I do have a few strands of fake beauties. I wear them all the time and someone always comments about how they wish they’d thought to wear their own pearls. The large plastic baubles seen here are especially dear to me. I got them when I was 15 years old. I was at a thrift store in Griffin, GA, and when I spotted these, I knew they were destined to be mine. I can’t remember the price, but they were either fifteen or thirty-five cents. Either way, it was a bargain and I’m still smitten.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Sunsets

 

Sunsets. We’ve been having some real doozies lately and I’m loving them. I take as many photos as I can, for painting references. The thing about sunsets is they’re so spectacular, if I were to paint them, no one would believe it. They’re beyond anything I could come up with on a canvas, and yet I desperately wish I could capture some of what I see in the sky. I try, anyway. And I fail. And then I try again.

 

Mister! Mister!

 

Mister. He pretty much makes the list, no matter when. But it’s still nice to actually like the guy. And for some strange reason, he continues to come home every day. To me. I’m no picnic, y’all, and I know that he could change his mind about this whole till-death-do-us-part business and decide to mosey elsewhere in life. (It could happen.) So I appreciate whatever time I get with the fella. It counts. A lot.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - First Christmas Card of the Season

 

The first Christmas Card of the Year. I always marvel that we continue to receive cards each December! Some of that awe comes from the fact that we occasionally don’t send squat, and reciprocity would dictate not receiving anything in return. But come December, that first card arrives and I start grinning. This year’s first-of-the-season greeting was from our mail carrier. She wanted to let us know that she was retiring.  I’ve liked that gal and she’ll be missed. But life keeps going (if we’re lucky and a cheet-o in a slumpy suit doesn’t get us all killed). So I wish our now former mail carrier the best as she embarks on the next part of her journey.

 

Happy Birthday, Gwendlyn!

 

Friends. The Social Season is in full-swing and I’m already tired. Grateful, but tired. Maybe it’s age, but I am in the throes of deep appreciation for my friends. I, like a lot of folks, know scads of people. But friends, well, that’s another matter. Having friends in one’s life – people we can call on in emergencies or times of need – is a blessing. I don’t get to see these friends nearly enough. But when I do, I catch myself smiling more than usual. I’d say that’s a pretty good sign of how much I care for them there folk. What a gift.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Christmas CDs

 

Christmas Music. Even though I don’t get the song referenced in this post’s title being a Christmas song, I still really like when all that great music rolls around. Mister and I have drawers full of Christmas CDs, and will likely add another to the mix this year. It takes a near Herculean effort just to get through them during the month of December. And that is why, Mister, we’ll start listening to them today. I really can’t believe I have to explain my reasons for this year after year, but since you seem to forget from one December to the next, Mister, consider this a written explanation. But I digress… Some songs are loved more than others, naturally, and I’m pretty excited to hear them. Yeah, sure – I may still be wearing flip-flops throughout the month, but a gal can dream. And my dreams are currently taking place in a winter wonderland. Where the soundtrack rules.

 

We’ve got 31 days left in this year, friends. Let’s make it count. I intend to live those days with some of my favorite things keeping me company. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on my fake pearls, load the car with a few good Christmas CDs, drop off some crocheting to be donated, visit with friends and pick up a Christmas tree with Mister and get home before sunset to start decorating the tree and stringing up the holiday card display. I may throw some Barb’s Boozy Eggnog into the mix. Why not? I’ve got to shake a tail feather though, as those flip-flops don’t do much in the way of keeping my feet warm after the sun goes down.

 

And So It Ends…

 

 

The 2015 Christmas tree is no more. This weekend found us taking the bugger down and tossing it to the curb. That’s how we do in the city.

 

 

After not having a tree for a few years, I really loved living with this one for a few weeks. It wasn’t perfect or anything, because it was real. And all real things – like people – have flaws. Beautiful, natural flaws.

 

 

Now all things Christmas are packed away and the business of a New Year has begun. I can honestly say I’m ready and happy to embrace 2016. Woo-hoo!

 

‘Twas The Day After Christmas…

 

 

It’s Boxing Day. A few gifts have been opened and I’ve now seen the new Star Wars movie (fab-o). I’ve eaten Christmas steak, participated in Christmas debauchery and am ready for a post-Christmas rest. But only briefly, as life marches on and I love a good parade! Wouldn’t want to miss anything.

 

Actually, as the year’s end approaches, I am experiencing my usual feelings. There’s a bit of processing going on and the occasional tear falls. I am an emotional cuss, I know. But I happen to like me, so I think I’ll keep me around for a while.

 

When you think about it, coming out of such a charged holiday with one’s self-worth intact is fairly remarkable. I know it doesn’t always turn out this way – not for me, nor for many others. So this year feels danged good. So far…

 

Let’s all try to love ourselves for the next week, shall we? Honestly – doesn’t that sound more appealing than using our own souls for punching bags? I’ve been on the receiving end of my psychological left hook and it ain’t pretty. For the short remainder of the year, I think I’ll hang up my boxing gloves and give me a break. I really mean this when I say it: I deserve it.

 

And so do you.

4 Parties, 3 Days, 2 People, 1 Crazy Weekend

 

 

Well I don’t know how we did it, but somehow Mister and I survived the weekend.

 

The partying began on Friday evening. We found ourselves at a gorgeous soiree in the Hollywood Hills. Yes – the hosts were gracious. Yes – there was plenty of food, drink and entertainment (an a capella group performed). Yes – the guests were fun. But the house. The house! As I understand it, the home once belonged to Howard Hughes. It has been redone, of course, and it is probably the most opulent abode I’ve ever had the privilege to visit. That party was a sophisticated start to the weekend and I had a swell time.

 

 

 

On Saturday, Mister and I attended our neighborhood block party. We happen to live in a friendly, social area of L.A. And our neighbors love a good get-together, as do we. So a good get-together was had. The party was only slated to last a couple of hours, but when the appointed end time arrived, the joint was packed and folks were still arriving. After the previous late night, I was running on fumes. So Mister walked me home and we went to bed at such an early hour, I’m embarrassed to even tell you. So I won’t. But I will say this – I must’ve needed all that sleep and I’m mighty grateful to have gotten it.

 

On Sunday, there was a cookie party that started in the afternoon. I had handled my baking duties the day before, so I was able to simply show up and hang out. The majority of the guests were comics, so my time there was spent laughing and having fun. And I could have kept the good times rolling, but Mister and I were due at one more party that night. So I said my good-byes at the cookie party, then headed to the home of friends for a full-on holiday shindig. And shindig we did. Food, drink, laughs, more food, more drinks, more laughs… That party was the perfect bow tied around the weekend. And Mister and I were sufficiently exhausted when we hugged our friends goodbye at the end of the night.

 

 

I’m not gonna lie. This weekend wore me out. And I had so much fun! But I can’t keep that pace up throughout the rest of the holidays. I’m too old for this kind of celebrating. Partying is hard work, y’all.

Lights

 

 

One of my favoritest things during the holiday season is the lights. And while I’ll take the clear bulbs that are oh-so-popular, the colored bulbs are what stir my soul.

 

I’ve never lived in a house adorned with holiday lights. Didn’t happen when I was a child and Mister and I don’t string lights outside now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love seeing them around the neighborhood. There’s just something about the glow that makes me smile. I’m not a religious gal, but I do love those lights. And the way they stir my soul.

 

About an eon ago, when Mister and I had only been married a few years, we spent Christmas with his family in Colorado. After seeing a new holiday movie (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”), the whole fam damily climbed into Mister’s daddy’s old Chevy Blazer and we set off into the cold Colorado night in search of “10,000 imported Italian twinkle lights.” As we climbed hills and descended into valleys, we listened to UB40′s version of “Red, Red Wine” on repeat. Rolling down the road, that Blazer was rocking! We all mis-sang the lyrics, again and again. Mister’s daddy, not knowing the line “whole heap of zing”, sang “Willy Pasini” and he sang it with gusto. That particular fun will never be duplicated, but that’s okay. It lives in my memory and I’ll never forget it. Especially since it comes to mind each year, as I drive around looking for lights. I can hardly wait for this year’s quest…

No S#!+, Sherlock

 

 

I saw this banner at a church in Holly-weird and thought, “Duh.” And that’s about all I have to say about that.

Naughty or Nice?

 

 

I’ve been mostly nice this year, though a fair amount of naughty was sprinkled about. If I’m honest, that’s probably how most years go. I’d like to do better, but I am what I am.

 

Because I believe and – in my heart – know, I won’t wait up for Santa tonight. I’ll just snuggle under the covers, grateful to have a warm bed and a roof over my head. I’ll probably count my blessings before drifting off. Knowing me, my belly will be full and I’ll wear a smile there in the darkness. I like to think those little parts of my personality put me on the Nice List. And that Santa sees it.

 

Let me be clear about something here: I believe in Santa Claus. Maybe not in the way a child believes, but I believe just the same. It took me many adult years to get here. As a kid, I was a Santa junkie, like all the other children I knew. Then, when I was only 6 or 7, my uncle Scottie told me the most horrible story imaginable: Santa was fake. He told me how our parents get all the presents, then hide them before putting them beneath the Christmas tree each year. He even took me up into the attic of his house, to show me where all his gifts were stashed. As uncle Scottie was a couple of years older than I, he was an authority. And I believed him. Kid Christmas would never be the same.

 

I was devastated, but I kept it to myself. I had 2 younger sisters and I didn’t want them to find out about Santa. I didn’t want them to feel the heartbreak I was enduring. By the time they no longer believed in Santa, years had passed.

 

I never told on Scottie for enlightening me about Santa Claus. And to this day, I don’t blame him. He was a kid himself. Like me, he didn’t know any better. We just wanted to grow up. We thought we had to put aside childish things in order to make that happen. We thought a concrete understanding of life would bring maturity. We had no idea what we’d lose in letting go of our magical beliefs.

 

I am mostly grown now. I watch the children of friends as they marvel at December’s promise. I hear strangers admonishing their children out in the world, “You’d better be good or Santa won’t come to our house!” And I smile at all of it. For I believe in Santa Claus, too. And I believe in Magic. I believe – period. As an adult, I have regained the beauty and possibility of a child’s faith. And if that’s not Magic, I don’t know what is.

 

Uncommon and Fabulous

 

 

 

Because I’m in the arms of my favorite Holiday music loves, I want to share some of the least known but still fantastic songs on my playlist…

 

Five Pound Box of Money“ by Pearl Bailey – If I don’t play this one at home myself, I’m not gonna hear it anywhere else. For me, Pearl Bailey doesn’t pop up enough in life and this song makes me laugh like crazy.

 

That Spirit of Christmas“ by Ray Charles – I don’t know why this one isn’t more popular. I first heard it in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” It still evokes a tender moment from the film, and I love the song more each year. Of all Ray Charles’ Christmas songs, this one is my favorite.

 

Send Me Some Snow“ by Chris Standring & Kathrin Shorr – Okay. I know these folks. They’re friends. But that has no bearing on my love of this song. And I do love it. Dearly.

 

Swiss Colony Beef Log“ by Eric Cartman – This tune from the fellas of “South Park” is another giggle-worthy holiday treasure. But it also sparks of the truth. I do want a Swiss Colony Beef Log at Christmas each year. (And I never seem to get one. Dag.)

 

The Little Drummer Boy by Karl Lundeberg & Full Circle – (sorry – no link) – This jazzy rendition may be a little out there for some, but I adore it. It’s really hard to find, too, y’all! It isn’t Christmas for me until I play it. And play it I do.

 

25th December” by Everything But The Girl – This is another of those songs that I won’t hear unless I play it. And that’s a shame, because it’s lovely. Really, really lovely.

 

Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – I’m adding this one at Mister’s insistence. I guess I’ve always thought this song to be quite known and quite popular. He tells me no – not so well-known or popular. And after I thought about it, I decided he may be right. I mean, this season I’ve only heard the song at home. That seems odd to me, but there you go. Anyhoo – I do love this song. And as much as it makes me smile, it also makes me sad. I feel that way whenever I hear Kirsty sing. I can’t believe she’s gone. She was a brilliant songwriter and a beautiful vocalist. At least we get to have her here, in this wonderful song.

 

That’s it! For now. I do love these songs and though I hear them only at Christmas, I’ll take what I can get.

 

If you have an uncommon and fabulous Christmas song on your fave list, please share!