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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The Who’s album Tommy was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll experiences of my young life.

Growing up in Detroit, we all listened to CKLW, sure, but that was Motown and all the pop hits of the day. I doubt there was much hardcore British Invasion. I specifically remember the song Winchester Cathedral and thinking it was cool, very cool. I would stand on my bed and play my tiny suitcase like a guitar and sing that song. At least I think that really happened.

I remember being a young girl when I first saw the album Tommy and paging through its mind-blowing, well, pages. When I was about 4 years old, an English woman, named Linda, who must have been in her 20s, came to live with our family. We sort of sponsored her, as she was a nursing student at the same school in Detroit where my mother was also studying to become an LPN. Linda had a cache of albums, 2 of which I can still picture in my mind. The album I am sure about is Tommy, but I couldn’t tell you without some research what the other one was. It must have been 1969 or 1970.

Say what you will, but no one writes rock lyrics like this any more (as if anyone ever really did; by which I mean, very few bands were able. The Beatles come to mind for pure poetry though….)

waking up on Christmas morning, hours before the winter sun’s ignited

it’s sort of beautiful, you know?

Fast Forward: 2011. Daltry is 67 years old in this video, which is amazing in and of itself. He’s accompanied by Pete Townshends’s [much younger] brother Simon who does a DAMN FINE job on this song. He looks and sounds so much like Pete.

What a bod on that Simon. Where has he been all my life? Oh, right, I’m almost as old as he.

I get a little weak in my knees (and I’m sitting down) when I watch him, which I seem compelled to do over and over and over…..

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You know what the Advent Calender window had behind it on Christmas Eve? Annie insisted that Paul be the one to open it, so I speculated that it would be a picture of Tweedy. But not really. Perhaps a picture of a bottle of Polar Seltzer, black cherry flavor. No. Maybe a fully-decorated Christmas tree. So wrong. It was an ICE DRAGON in the tiny double window. I love my kids!

Got my first iPod nano from Hubby for Xmas. It is tiny, so tiny. I feel dangerous when I have it on. Am I the only one and will this feeling pass? Are there any iPod virgins left? I look forward to loading hundreds of songs onto it. I am figuring it out, but as intuitive as Apple products are reputed to be, I find it klunky and somewhat unfriendly. I also couldn’t figure out how the little fucker clips on to my clothes. Hubby had to show me. Why, Santy Apple Claus, why, do you insist on making me feel dumber than I really am?

Christmas was good. This is the first year since we moved to Western Mass in which I didn’t feel financially stressed more often than not. Eleven years of living in the bliss/hell of self-employment in a New England state, so different than when we lived in Ohio. I am so grateful that our income was more predictable this year. It’s amazing what that does to my ease my mind.

Best present given this year? Behold the perfect gag gift for the consummate lover of Polar Seltzer in our house:

Be afraid, be very afraid!

I am grateful for this blog, for the technology which allows it, for my readers, for the kindness of those who leave comments.

I am grateful that I started writing poetry again and not only that, grateful to be reading it again

Grateful that I was able to take an improv class this year.

Glad that I celebrated 20 years of marriage. Glad that we get to go away to amazing places within a few hours’ drive, stay overnight, eat, shop, walk, swim, hike, visit friends, hear cool musicians, see amazing art.

Grateful that I found out about and saw Gogol Bordello.

Grateful that I got to go to my 30-year HS reunion, see lots of old pals (including my biggest high school crush, which was a hoot), stroll about Kent, Ohio, home of myself, land of the birth of my adulthood*, have that nude photo shoot in a garden in the heat and flower of summer.

Grateful for all the cool music I’ve discovered this year, in part because of the technology and youtube, but more because I do stick to my Music Monday posts. Especially my new-found love for all things Wilco and Tweedy.

Grateful that Willow was in our life.

Annie’s shrine to Willow (detail, not the whole thing), which includes a nail-polish painted (I kid you not, my kids are goofy) white bathroom tile

That is an origami Willow with a little paper bird (crane) in its mouth. Annie must have made a thousand paper cranes on her own this year and went on a bit of an origami adventure. SO GREAT!

My latest fad of photographing bathrooms from our travels. This is from the newly opened Atlantic Pizza Company in Rockport, MA. One of the prettier public restrooms in New England (this photo does not do the bathroom justice)

And this, the environmentally-friendly Euro-loo at The Wired Puppy, Provincetown, Mass

Grateful for any way that a reader might find my blog. Truly, the most abundant search term seems to be some manifestation of “ass tattoo.” That’s not even the most ass of the ass tattoo searches. Ready? I’ve had to live with this and I think if you’ve made it a year here, you will be able to live with it, too: asshole tattoo. You can imagine that I don’t want to know more about asshole tattoos. I do not think someone was thinking, hmm, how many assholes (meaning people who are jerks, idiots, morons) have tattoos? No, I take it as a literal search for tattoos on people’s assholes. First of all, OUCH and second, DUMB and third, if you want a tattoo on your asshole, you’ve come to the wrong place–begone with ye!

Thanks for coming along for the ride this year. Who knows, I may post again before we see the dawn of 2012, but ciao for now and thank you.

With tres mucho love, twinkly

this one is from the uber-tacky, red-and-white tiled bathroom at Five Guys Burger and Fries on Cape Ann

*for some reason, this seems like I’m talking about my maidenhead: why, Santy Claus, why?

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I have been to Prague once, in December of 2008. Paul had a conference, not a mandatory thing, but we decided, due to decades of stories of Prague’s beauty, to seize the opportunity and go. The kids seemed old enough to leave for a week with my mother; it wasn’t Winter Break yet, the kids would be occupied, my mother would still have the middle of the day to herself.

Indeed, as much as me and jet lag don’t get along, the city proved to be worth dragging my ass a ways ’round the globe for.

Although Christmas Markets in Europe tend to be in Germanic countries, Prague, with its proximity and on-going trade with Germany, also has a one in its huge town square. I have mixed feelings about angels and for the most part find the concept to be overly saccharine and alternately creepy. But this one was truly enchanting. I use it as my Facebook photo sometimes around the holidays:

I went to a Christmas Market in Germany once, a small one, near where my cousins and aunt live in the Rhine Valley. It gave me the creeps. When I think of the Glühwein and the pretty decorations, the lights, singing, and trees, I think of my drunken grandfather, of rape, and of the Nazis. Friends sing the praises of the German advent season, but I want to scream. I am not trying for this, but growing up with a German mother who herself grew up in Nazi Germany, and having had an aunt who was a survivor of Auschwitz, I come by it honestly.

Prague, however, was different. Because I was not in the country or culture of my mother’s birth, I was able to “take what I liked and leave the rest.”

Certainly, our favorite thing was trdlo or trdelnik (from the treadle onto which they were traditionally rolled). We spent every next 3 or 4 bucks on one every time we got more money. They are ridiculously delicious, piping hot and smoky, rolled in ground nuts, cinnamon, and sugar:

Not all of the booths had live coals; some of the trdlo (we affectionately referred to them as “turd-lo,” because who puts t-r-d in a row without a vowel? Damn Slavic languages!) were cooked over electric coils. They were all the same damn delectable though.

Here are some more photos from our visit to Prague in 2008. If you have a chance to go, do. Everywhere you look is beauty.

There are 4 quarters in Prague, if memory serves. The following photos are from the Castle Quarter and the Old Quarter:

details, baby, details:

who doesn’t succumb to the temptation of a little golden serpent once in a while?

wealth:

wealth, in detail:

Crazy Euro-Christmas shit, in case you think Americans are the only ones with a tacky sense of the season. This was outside the huge castle on the big hill overlooking the whole of Prague, an entire straw nativity scene. Dig Mary’s crazy straw boobs:

No no no, my pets, the beauty doesn’t end there:

The penitent are all over Prague. I never saw a woman doing this, but plenty of men, real ones, not the cast-in-bronze kind:

A blind accordion player on the Charles Bridge

Crazy medieval Death, right on the wall of a church, where Death should be:

Prague is not averse to modern cool. Dig Frank Gehry’s Ginger and Fred:

And the last beauty of Prague? Yours truly, complete with ugly green down coat, on one of the bridges spanning the Vltava (again with the Slavic consonants!):

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One of my favorite Tim Minchin songs (you can read my earlier Tim Minchin Music Monday post, too):

I don’t have much to add. The Advent calender is coming along beautifully, I haven’t figured out much about Christmas presents, and we don’t have our tree yet.

Oh, and Tim Minchin’s daughter’s name is Violet–he gets bonus points for that, as if I didn’t like him enough already.

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Howdy, loyal friend. I’ve had a rather busy day and a bit of a sad day; this is in part why this post comes quite late. Not my favorite thing, such a late Thankful Thursday.

But, you know, I’ve come up with quite a lengthy post. Can I get a witness?

My youngest daughter made an advent calender for the family this week. It is amazing. She is amazing. I am amazed at her mind and hands. Her abilities to think through projects and to create things of sense and beauty. Both of my girls have amazing abilities. I think part of this comes from their Waldorf education. Maybe some of it can be attributed to them having inherited good brains. Maybe some of it has to do with good parenting. I’m not really sure, but I’ll take it. I think most children are exceptional, so it’s not that mine are necessarily more exceptional, but they are mine, so I notice and I rejoice.

I didn’t grow up with Christmas in a traditional way, mostly because my father was Jewish and my mother, who converted to Judaism but not really (that’s another matter altogether) would not have Christmas in our house out of respect for my father. She had grown up with Christmas as a young girl in Germany, but it was during the war and she had a childhood-from-hell (I kid you not and am not exaggerating in any way, but that’s another story and perhaps not mine to tell). To further boost the eschewing of Christmas, both of my parents were atheists. We did have Hannukah for a few years when I was young, but because my father didn’t give a flying !@#$% about it, it didn’t stick either. My father, in spite of growing up in an Orthodox household in Hungary (maybe it was Reform and I’ve got this wrong), was basically a hands-off religion guy. He just didn’t care about it. I now am so thankful for this, but it wasn’t always easy growing up as the only kid who didn’t have a religion per se. Now where I live, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting* someone who’s at least a quarter Jewish, let alone half-Jewish, let alone a goddamn atheist. So FINALLY, for the last 11 years of my life, I fit in!

We never had a Christmas tree at our house when I was growing up. We did, however, go to Germany when I was 4 and there we had a real German Christmas. I even remember live candles on the tree. And a fish in aspic which I thought was gross and scary.

We also celebrated Christmas at some friends’ in Canada after I was about 7. These became our life-long family friends who are more like cousins and aunts and uncles to me, especially since I came from a very small family and half of my relatives live in Germany. So, our family friends in Canada became family, period, and we did Christmas there for many years. Now isn’t that a kick in the nuts considering all I just said about Christmas?

Anyway, I have a long history of feelings about Christmas, but my children took to it with gusto. My youngest is still very enamored of it.

A few years ago, maybe 5 or 6, I guess we started to get the girls advent calenders. This was foreign territory to me and somewhat distasteful–too Christian or something, unlike certain parts of Christmas which I had been able to enjoy more easily and to separate from anything religious. There are certain things that are clearly pagan and so I could justify allowing and including and enjoying them even as a non-Christian, half-Jew. I think advent calenders aren’t really religious or pagan anyway, but something about them smacks of religion for me. Maybe the sparkly white kids and angels who are usually depicted all over them.

So, my Annie is away for the week at a class field trip to study geometry. She left the advent calender that she made for us so we could open a little tab and see a new picture each day. In spite of a troubled mind and a troubled world, in spite of death and sadness, I am especially happy that I have such amazing and beautiful daughters. And I LOVE the advent calender. SO MUCH.

Here it is. It is simply lovely (not too fancy) and organized, quietly beautiful and elegant, sort of like Annie herself:

I am most impressed by the way she had to measure it all out, line things up and use 2 pieces of paper in the planning and the way she drew a different secret tiny picture for each little window.

This is it, people, this is the satisfaction of being a parent. I feel blessed and filled.

See you soon I hope….g’night!

*An announcement from the management: Don’t tell anyone, but it’s Friday morning–so wrong since this is a Thankful Thursday post. But the management was up thinking about the phrase you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a (insert noun) for a good part of the time she should have been sleeping.

You know what I love? I LOVE folk expressions, not just idiomatic, but old-timey idiomatic phrases rarely heard any more. Heck, they are so rare that I only know about 3 of them. In any case, because I love cats and because I loathe the mistreatment of animals, that phrase is actually quite offensive. But it’s also rich and bewildering AND gets its point across like no other phrase I can think of. Can you help me? Is there another idiomatic turn of the language that accomplishes that meaning? And can you forgive me for using a string of words that is offensive? What if I do it again? Like this: you can’t swing a dead cat in the Pioneer Valley without hitting a massage therapist.  Not only am I half-Jewish, but I’m a massage therapist to boot! I now think I can retire that phrase. God is it offensive! What would the Dakin people think?

 

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