Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Ah, the shopping season…what torture

Friday, December 4th, 2009

I hate shopping for Christmas. It’s so much pressure to come up with the perfect gift. Or not even the perfect gift, how about just any gift that the recipient will actually and genuinely enjoy. I usually want to give up year after year. I know I’m like years behind, but last month I started an Amazon wish list because sometimes I do things I wish other people would do. I wish everyone I had to shop for at Christmas had a freaking wish list!!

I was reviewing my list last night so I could email my loved ones and was thinking to myself what a random mix of stuff it was. I mean, it’s all stuff I want and I purposely picked items in a range of prices, but I wonder if it takes the fun out of getting Christmas gifts because it takes away the element of surprise.

In recent years, I’ve begged family members to send me Christmas wish lists and sometimes I look at the things on there and think…I can’t get them this as a Christmas present — it’s too practical, or not special enough. My father is the worst to shop for. He has everything he needs, doesn’t send a list, and never intimates he has an especial desire for anything. And this year I missed his birthday because I was out of the country and now I have to make sure his gifts are doubly wonderful. My sister is the best at giving gifts; she always pleasantly surprises me with something. Special too is when you get an unexpected gift from a family member — that’s always sweet.

I’d like to put cash on my Christmas list. I think we Americans are too ambivalent about cash gifts. Other cultures seem to think nothing of it, but we seem to think it’s a cop out or impersonal, and only gift it when specifically asked for it. I say cash is the universal gift. Give it freely people. I’ll distribute it equally into in my writing fund, my whisky fund (almost the same as my writing fund), my new car fund, and my bathroom remodel fund. But before I do that, I’ll buy a drink and toast you for your special gift.

And in case you thought I had no holiday cheer, I leave you with one of my very, very favorite holiday songs. I listen to this song every year and I love both the original Vandals version and the No Doubt one below:


Friday, November 24th, 2006

Our first Thanksgiving without our mom. It was ok. I usually do the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, plus occasional other holiday food stuffs. Normally I cook a pretty good turkey — not too dry and never undercooked. Well, never until this year anyway. And the gravy was off and I cooked the leftover stuffing with too much water so it was mushy. Oh well. We made it and Doug still said it was a lovely dinner :)

I magically lost 6 pounds this last month (and probably put back on a couple today). I don’t know from where cause I certainly don’t feel thinner, but aparently smoking and stress’ll help you do that.

So changes…I’m moving back to the city. Broke up with the fiance and gave back the ring that was worth more than everything I owned put together at the time that I got it (before I inherited half my mother’s estate — which isn’t that much, but worth more than an engagement ring :)

I got a letter from Wells Fargo saying I was the beneficiary of my mother’s retirement account and it made me bawl. Just thinking about her doing something while she was alive for me made me incredibly sad. And I’ve been thinking a lot about her. I suppose for many reasons — the changes in my life, the holidays, the stress and sadness of breaking up. I adored him, but in the end we just made each other miserable. He brought out the worst qualities in me. And over the last two years that I’ve been with him, I haven’t grown one bit in my life. If anything, I’ve degenerated into a more useless person than I’d normally be. But I think that demoralization can do that to you.

I always try to set a positive spin on things. And I’m excited about having my own space again — where no one will tell me to clean my crap up if I leave it laying over the floor. I’ll miss the pets, but not the responsibility. I can’t wait to move back into the city; I’ve missed it ever since I left. I won’t miss living in the remote woods where I couldn’t spend a night by myself without anxiety and where the roof rats sounded like they were as big as my cats. I’ll miss Frank, but I’m looking forward to a fresh start and a new life.

I’ll spend the New Year’s in Rhode Island again. Which seems appropriate because I spent it there last year while Frank and I were broken up for those couple of months. I’m looking forward to snow :)

Family at Christmas

Sunday, January 2nd, 2005

Spending time with family this holiday I was wondering what it was like to grow up in one culture, one country with certain expectations of your family, and then to be transplanted as an adult to another country. You’ve been here for multiple decades, but do those expectations of your family still exist?

Christmas was nice, but busy. I met my sister’s boyfriend’s mother and brother. I saw my son and spent Christmas morning with his family (and realized again as I always do when I get to spend time with them that I miss seeing them terribly). The mothers are devout non-Catholic Christian. At dinner with Doug’s mom and my mom sitting across from each other I hear Doug’s mom ask, So Sharon, when did you come to Christ? and I almost snorted water out of my nose. I’ve been telling all my friends because it’s such an incredulous question — to me anyway. And to most people I know. It’s a completely meaningless and non-sensical question if you yourself are not a devout Christian. But the two of them were dead serious about it.

It was nice to see my mother socializing with someone. Patty kept saying what a wonderful job she did raising us girls and all I could think was how superficial most relationships are. How when you first meet people all you really see is someone’s ability to be social and polite. Meeting the three of us — my mother, my sister and me, you’d have no idea the ways we hurt each other, the ways we’re cruel and disappoint. But I suppose that’s why familial relationships are so complex and painful — you don’t get to know most people that intimately, you don’t have to spend that much time with most people. But when you do, it’s equal parts heartache and unconditional love that make it worthwhile.


Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

I love the holidays. Even though it’s stressful to get away from work, and there’s never enough time to bake all the goodies and get all the gifts and pack all the clothes in a timely manner, I still love the holidays.

Highlights from the trip:

  • Jess in her 4 inch heels and frilly skirt with an apron tied around her 20 inch waist looking like she stepped right out of Stepford wives.
  • Mention of Boise on the television. Josh: Boise’s the capital of Idaho. Yes, it is. Jess: Idaho? Josh: Yes you are! Much laughter ensues at Jess’s expense :)
  • Hot cranberry guts pop out of the pan my mom’s stirring and land on my finger. I say fuck. My mother looks at me in horror, the cranberries don’t understand what you’re saying. All the better reason to swear at them!