Touristy/non-touristy day in NYC

For the first year since he was five, the Boy opted out of riding the train to the North Pole with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the sleepy elves and Elizabeth. So no cookies, hot cocoa or spiked eggnog for us! Sad as we were at the passing of this annual tradition, we decided it was time to make a new tradition.

Tiffany's holiday decorations. Love me a little bling!

Tiffany’s holiday decorations – adding sparkle to the Avenue

Living in New York for seven years while pursuing an acting career, there are things of the season in the city that one can almost take for granted. But then you move away and they become part of your personal mythology, but are no longer part of your annual holiday season.

Trumpeting angels and a very large tree

Trumpeting angels and a very large tree

Well, fuck that! This year we reclaimed the season. In spite of the unseasonably warm temperature, and the omnipresent rain and fog (even Rudolph would have had a tough time in the fog that blanketed the city this morning), we set forth to view a large tree, window displays, ginormous candy canes, and an over-large snowflake perched precariously over the avenue.

Big-ass candy canes

Big-ass candy canes

The only snow you’ll see for Christmas this year is hanging over Fifth Avenue.

The fog made it hard to see, but there it is - snow in New York

The fog made it hard to see, but there it is – snow in New York

Then, because we really can’t stand crowds, we headed south to Katz’s to get the only good bowl of matzoh ball soup left in Manhattan now that Cafe Edison has closed. Actors, musicians, stage hands, and all of the other theatre folk in New York, are mourning the loss of the best place to eat lunch in mid-town.

Curse the greedy bastards who would not renew the Café Edison’s lease.

Bastard is too nice a word for them. But it’s Christmas so for now, I’ll fuggedabout them.

I thoroughly enjoyed my soup. Afterward, I thoroughly enjoyed coffee and dessert at Ferrara in what’s left of Little Italy.

Already sampled each item on the sampler plate. That was a much-needed cup of cappuccino.

Already sampled each item on the sampler plate. That was a much-needed cup of cappuccino.

My feet, however, were done. There was a long (looooong) train ride home, and here I am, my feet happily recovering from all of the walking.

Lights. I love me some lights at Christmastime.

Lights. I love me some lights at Christmastime.

Now it’s just a matter of counting down. Christmas is nearly upon and will be gone before my feet truly stop aching.

May the joys of the holiday (and soft comfy slippers) be yours.

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Looking for that holiday feeling

It’s been absent so far this year. Can’t find it in anything. I do have an awful lot going on. But the season is just not speaking to me.

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This spoke to me. But they weren’t offering this service to humans.

There’s an undecorated Christmas tree in my living room. It’s been there for a week, drinking water, giving off that lovely live tree scent with not a light or a bauble upon it. I remember to water it, but I’ve stopped noticing it. As you know, for me, heading into the winter solstice it’s all about the lights. And not those little tasteful twinkly bullshit white lights either.

Train on mantel. What a novel idea.

Train on mantel. What a novel idea.

I did decorate the mantel. I gave in to the Boy this year and instead of the usual fake greenery and lights, there is an HO train with tiny little bottle brush trees in its gondola car and on its flat car. I attempted to hang lights on the stone above the mantel.

Even Gorilla tape has a hard time sticking to stone.

I have been sewing like a mad woman. Making a quilt for an elderly friend who lives halfway across the country. Sewing up other gifts. Sewing up my fingers. I have the bloody holes in my finger tips to prove it. It’s amazing I can even type.

It’s not Christmas without a little melodrama.

In addition to the sewing I have been making some other gifts. Today I made cookies.

Not for gifts. Just to eat.

First cookies of the season.

First cookies of the season.

The plan is to decorate the tree tonight. You need cookies to eat while you decorate your tree. I’m pretty sure it’s a law.

And there’s eggnog which will be fortified with the spirit of Christmas Forgotten. I call this Christmas spirit the Spirit of Christmas Rum from the northern ice cap known as Mt. Gay.

I also made bread today, but that’s for the Boy’s lunch this week. I make my own bread now. We are trying to eliminate as much non-organic, GMO and chemically laden food from our diets as possible. Have you ever read the ingredients label on a loaf of bread? Holy What-the-fuck-is-this-crap-I’m-eating, Batman!

Didn't believe me, didja? I'm still working on getting the rolls a little more uniform.

Didn’t believe me, didja? I’m still working on getting the rolls a little more uniform.

The sun is setting. The outdoor Christmas lights are on. Time to finally start decorating the tree. Almost. Still waiting for the Boy to finish his homework – late on a Sunday afternoon.

I’ve washed dishes at least three times today and my shoulders are aching from hunching over the counter/ironing board/sink/computer.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?

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In case anyone is interested, for Christmas I would like a personal masseuse.

I can pay in fresh baked cookies and bread.

And rum.

Merry Christmas. *hic*

Merry Christmas. *hic*

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What the fuck is up with all this fucking “Jingle Bell Rock?”

One of my favorite Christmas albums is Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics. Many of the songs are from an early South Park Christmas Episode, so you know it’s good in a funny, irreverent (blasphemous) way. It is not for the listener of little humor.

One of the songs on the album is “It’s hard to be a Jew at Christmas.” In the song Kyle asks “And what the fuck is up with lighting all these fucking candles? Tell me please.”

It’s inspiring. It inspired the title of this post. Also inspiring are Cartman’s version of “O Holy Night” and “Swiss Colony Beef Log.”

Sometimes though Mr. Hanky gets old and I need to infuse some fresh holiday sounds into my drive time. There’s a station that plays all Christmas songs all day long this time of year.

It never fails that no matter how little time I spend in the car – even if I’m only going the four miles to the grocery store – I will invariably hear some iteration of “Jingle Bell Rock.”

I fucking hate that song. Lazy DJ’s probably play it at least once an hour and likely more. Coming in tied at a close second is “Santa Baby” and anything Manheim Steamroller.

Blech.

With decades of Christmas albums out there, can’t they use their imaginations? Is it really that hard to pull a cd and play something other than the first track? (I don’t know what I’m talking about here, but c’mon you lazy bastards – I’ve never heard a single track off of Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics on the radio. Nor have I ever heard a single track from the Roche’s Christmas album which is really, really good.)

Just call me Ebenezer. I’m having that kind of day.

Merry Fucking Christmas

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The buffet didn’t do me in, but the leftovers might

For once, I did not overeat. Even though there were tables aplenty of yummy things and seconds beckoned. I had lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, a little antipasti, and the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli to counter all of the other carbs, gravy and cranberry. And dessert.

I said yes to dessert.

All with a view of the river.

After dinner we strolled around the Seaport for about an hour. It was very quiet. This post-prandial stroll was in addition to my regular early morning walk which was 40 minutes of peace and contemplation.

During my walk it was not exactly flurrying, but it wasn’t snowing either. This morning’s snow was tiny, tiny snowflakes; some perfectly proportioned with six or eight points standing out in relief on my black jacket. I’m not sure how many points they actually had. I couldn’t count. They were that small. Too small for my limited eyesight to quantify. I tend to think of flurries as big, fluffy snow flakes.

It started to flurry on the way home and continues to do so hours later. Flurries with no accumulation. They would have to stick to accumulate.

It’s been a relaxing day of eating, digesting, listening to Arlo and catching up on reading.

Yesterday I cooked a turkey at home so there would be leftovers. I should be able to face it in a day or two.

I’m grateful for a full belly, a warm place to rest, a healthy child. And I’m always grateful when I clean my glasses and can actually see through them.

Unlike now.

I can’t tell if that spot is on my lens, on the monitor, or is a period.

Happy Thanksgiving.

May your leftovers be plentiful, your pie warm, and your glasses clean.

Replica of the Brandt Point Lighthouse at Mystic Seaport

Replica of the Brandt Point Lighthouse at Mystic Seaport

p.s.  As this lighthouse reminds us: it’s time to put up the Christmas lights and decorations. Unlike this lighthouse, my decorations are not tasteful. I’m okay with that.

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No 12-step program for this

This is probably going to come as a surprise to most of you, but in case you don’t already know it, the Boy likes trains.

There. I said it.

The Boy is a train fan.

I do not think there is a 12-step program for this kind of thing. What there is, is something called the train show.

You go, and there are clubs with their layouts set-up and running. There are people selling stuff that will either become your train, lengthen your train, help you run your train, or announce that you like trains.

And, this is the crazy part, people pay for the privilege of just going to these events – as in they pay admission. And then they buy stuff. And then they buy food, because walking into one of these shows is like walking into a black hole. Some never emerge unscathed. For bigger events, some of these people get hotel rooms and stay for a night or more. And all throughout the event there are people wearing t-shirts and caps that say something about trains, or have train logos on them. There are people – often the same ones – carrying the booty they found and purchased among the tables of train stuff. A lot of money changes hands and it’s all legal.

Afterward, if you’re a member of a train club or with a group of people, you pack it all up and go someplace to eat and … talk about trains. Or go to somebody’s house and stand around looking at their layout in progress. Talking about trains.

The worst part is, some of the long-time club members have stuff they want to get rid of, but instead of donating it or throwing it away, they offer it to the Boy, who is inclined to take it.

Someday I’ll show you a picture of his fire-trap of a bedroom and you’ll understand why, when a club member offers old magazines to the Boy, I’m bellowing “NO!” before they finish the sentence. Tragically, I’m not always there to refuse their “kind” offer which is primarily done to assuage their pack-rat tendencies by passing on their unwanted stuff to another unwitting party. Namely me.

Just because they give it to the Boy, doesn’t mean that I don’t have to live with it too. Dammit.

Have some compassion, you crazy collectors!

I did agree to take some stacks of magazines on the contingency that the giver build a library onto our house to store them.

He declined.

But I did let the Boy keep a catalogue.

Because that’s the kind of mom I am.

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