Sunday, December 16, 2007

Moi? Très Vilain?

Maybe its the nog talking, but I am not sure I can listen to the holiday Muzak that seems to be everywhere for another second. My idea of hell is Barbra Streisand singing that "Jingle-bell -jingle-bell-jing-jangle" song on a continuous loop for all eternity. But, alas, I won't be a Scrooge and I shall focus on all the joy the season brings. The time of year that we turn our thoughts to glad tidings and brotherhood, when visions of "something or another" dance in our heads. Was it kettledrums? - Who knows ?

I grew up in a world where Christmas time meant Christmas cards with photos of dandyish house pets in holiday costume and the overly decked halls of unfortunately scaled period rooms in houses of architecturally unpleasant proportions. Ours was no exception. My very mod mother always prided herself on the way the old homestead - we called it "Pickled Pines"- was decorated, inside and out, with lights outlining the house and the works, with a new theme and color scheme each year. One year it was all red, then another- orange... "It's tres jolie, it's now! It's new!" she insisted. There was usually a real tree, yet one year we had a silver tinsel one with blue ornaments as the theme was "Ho-ho-Hanukkah" (I think it was because my Mom idolized my Jewish piano teacher Janie Beal, Mom even bought a pair of menorahs for the Christmas dinner table and put blue spotlights in the swimming pool.)
The best part of the year of the tinsel tree was the color-wheel that came with the tree. It had too many color choices for mom so I got to use it- I put on many shows that year let me tell you! (You know, I have no idea where to find ostrich feather fans these days.)
The worst part of the that year was when my kitty Gladys ate a long string of silver tinsel from the tree and decided to poop it out during a Christmas Eve get together. Oh, dear. There she was, running around the house madly, yowling at the top of her tiny lungs with a four foot strand of poop and kitty litter covered tinsel coming out of her butt. Pure enchantment.

My Mom has always been a crafty gal, one year my dear friend Mark who is a very talented chef for the Ritz Carlton, decided as a display in the lobby he would create a life size manger scene completely made of chocolate. Being the grand fromage, he was very busy in the kitchen, so I offered to help set up. As Mom was between husbands that year, she simply leapt at the invitation to help. After Mark left it in our capable hands things were going pretty well with the installation until I dropped the baby Jesus, breaking our lord and savior into about fifteen pieces. Mom, ever resourceful, raced to housekeeping and procured a blow drier to melt the pieces back together so no one would ever know. About an hour into it, baby Jesus resembled "E.T." more than a small chocolate messiah, so we opted to tuck him deep into the manger and after the generous application of hay he was ready for display. My relief turned into horror when I turned to see extra pieces of chocolate baby J that we hadn't melted on to the old boy- why had I not looked for the other foot?- As Mark was due any moment to check on our progress, we opted to eat the extra pieces therefore destroying any evidence of our blasphemy. Besides the mild queasiness, we both agreed although the baby Jesus pieces really hit the spot, we should probably skip communion until after our next confession. (The priest actually giggled so hard during my confession he slipped and banged his head on the tasteful prie-dieu style kneeler inside the confession booth. He and I stopped seeing each other socially soon afterwards.)

Ah, but back to my charming childhood. Because of the Italian families living there- ours and others- we lovingly referred to our neighbourhood as Wopwood, (It was right next to Hanukkah Heights and between Dago Downs and Menorah Meadows) but even as a wee nipper I was aware -and rather concerned- that fiscal health and happiness as a child depended on Santa, a rather portly older man that promises gifts and goodies if we behave properly. Say what you will, but it is a cold fact that every girl, boy, or girly-boy learns early on. Ah, praise to Buddha... (I have it on good authority that the real deal on Santa is that he's established a polyamorous Dad/boy relationship with all those horny little elves. The toy-making story is just that, a cover up for a much more meaningful but socio-politically sensitive situation.) Further more, not being above offering a bribe, all we had to do was offer Santa a bit of milk and cookies- or in our household, shrimp cocktails and a very dry martini, to gain the goodies we so dearly desired. - You know Santa needs to be told to have his cholesterol checked. And not to spill gin onto Christmas stockings. Ruins the marzipan fruit.
While I am on a rant, the Christmas season should not be used to incorporate other festivities better suited for other times of the year. Having a birthday during the month of December simply reeks of grandstanding and attention seeking behavior and can only lead to disappointment and Lutheranism. Funerals are to be avoided at all costs and weddings during the season are the social equivalent to "cheese-food in an aerosol can".

I hate to admit this, but my own dear sister chose to enter into holy matrimony in December, granted it was her first wedding, but she should have known better. The social column stated that "the Christmas season and her trousseau were in perfect concert", but I have to add that concert was being played by first graders with tissue paper and comb. Let me elaborate.

Being the 1960's and she being a fashion forward modern kinda gal, My sister dressed the bridal party in sleek dresses of alternating red and green velvet trimmed with large silk poinsettias in their hair with matching bouquets and groomsmen, and her wedding costume consisted of a high necked sheath top over a pair of slacks all in a winter white nubby silk. A jaunty pillbox hat with a thick veil that just covered her face and a bouquet of all white flowers in a kind of shield shape gave the appearance of a very dressy fencing match.

Now when people see the photographs and ask if she was once in the circus, she simply tells them it was just some play she was in.

Now a simple and fun drinking game for your circus friends to enjoy

How The Grinch Stole Christmas!________________________________________________________________

A large tray of the following shots:

The Cindy-Lou Who!

Layer in shot glasses:

1/3 oz melon liqueur

1/3 oz banana liqueur

1/3 oz Bailey's Irish cream

Copy of the movie " How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

Divide into two teams, one team playing The Whos from Whoville, the other playing The Grinch.

Begin the movie. Every time the narrator says "The Whos From Whoville", that team takes a shot.

Every time the narrator says "The Grinch", that team takes a shot.

Everyone drinks when Cindy-Lou Who is on the screen.

The winning team is the team with the most players still functional after the movie is over.

Have a kicky Kwanzaa!

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