I chide myself - especially given this time of year, when there are so many who have nothing, while I am warm and comfortable and fed; that I should feel the way I do seems deplorable. However, it sits, like an sea-bird pendant, a sophisticated crow digging his nails into my metaphorical marble skull.
I want, dear readers, my advent calendar.
I know this to be an impossibility, it was thrown away with so many of my other things in the frenzied exodus from my humble place of birth. So went too our sad but sentimental faux pine, still sparkling feebly with pre-politically-incorrect silver tinsel. I saw it put to refuse years ago, buried deep among my awkwardly childish ornaments, made of little more than glue, popsicle sticks, and hope. The mice got it all, you see - dug their teeth and claws like hellish little demons into the foam ribbon-wrapped spheres that carried rusted metal hooks and so many of my memories. What little security or comfort I found in tradition went to line their nests, to serve as cover for their droppings.
My advent calendar had little fold-aside doors on a much-loved piece of cardboard, one that was never intended to be tasked with the responsibility due an heirloom. It was bent, and weak in places, but each year I delighted in the tiny pictures of candy canes and elves that hid behind this lamb or that manger roof tile. Each year, I had somehow made myself forget the pictures and found new joy with each door bent aside.
This year I found myself drawn back to the online auction sites, clicking through page after page of vague searches, in the hope some small picture would jar my memory and let me buy back that little piece of cardboard happiness again. After all, I had my bee lamp, my carefully reconstructed army of my little ponies, even my beanbag-footed fast food reindeer from two decades ago, all thanks to people halfway across the country at one time or another. Oh, these are not -mine-, of course...but to look at them, to squint a little, I could for a moment imagine, and feel at peace again. I could pretend all the bad things that have come these years past, never came at all, and that by some brave adventure, not force, I find myself where I am today.
Christmas carols were playing, I had half a mind in something else, mindlessly clicking through the auctions, when I felt my face twist and my eyes prick at the corners. A minute later, I was taken aback as silent sobs unleashed themselves into my startled boyfriend's shirt. My advent calendar suddenly became something so much larger, so much more important; filled with impotent rage and unmeasurable sadness, I crumpled inside and felt my breath fly out past my reach.
I cried, I called my father and cried some more, and I spent a good half a day sniffling. I'm still watery-eyed at the writing of this, but it has calmed now. I don't feel breathlessly cut to the quick, as if I was caught without clothes in a snowstorm. It swept through me and left me in wreckage, but I'm slowly starting to come around again. It doesn't take a genius to know this didn't happen because of a simple piece of cardboard.
Maybe one day I'll be able to face the idea of making "new" traditions...I can only admit now, truthfully, that I'm not ready just yet. I'm not done grieving, for my Christmases lost, nor the family that broke apart with it. Oh, I'll still sing the carols, I'll still blend in with his boisterous, welcoming family this year. I'll enjoy it, I'll be happy to be there. I always am.
But Santa...maybe this year, instead of presents, we can share a cup of milk, and you can tell me the stories of what was. I have plenty of toys already; what I really want for Christmas is the ghosts of my past.
We went out tonight with our neighbor Danny and got some steaks at the Court Jester...I got chicken fajitas, which I ate most of (delicious!) and promptly left my wrapped-up leftovers on the table as we left. I always forget to take them...
It's like, past midnight. I should be asleep. I'm still a bit ping-pongy inside my head, though....trying to think of what I want to do tomorrow. I definately want to go on the Coryell's Ferry and feed the duckies, to Heart of the Home to get a nifty plaque I've wanted fo'eva...to the italian store in peddler's village for some more yummy packaged gnocchi, maybe have lunch at that full moon cafe I've wanted to try....I'm so excited! New Hope is such a fun place. I'm kind of bouncing around sitting still right now, just thinking of it.
Momma gave me two birthday cards and a hundred bucks - woohoo! She also gave me 2 banana nut muffins that the cats had an eerily unwavering interest in...I ate one, but the other fell victim to a vicious cat licking attack while we were at dinner and lay in ruins by the time I discovered the untimely demise.
Dad is going to send my card probably next Tuesday, if I know him. He'll probably give me money or a gift certificate. I wish he'd come visit instead, but he's busy trying to get moved into the new house in S.C. and find a new job. Boo.
All of my favorite co-workers gave me ICQ e-cards today, so that was nice. I love my coworkers :)
Alsoooo...I miss all of my friends out there (I'm lookin at you Jowwy) and I love you guys...sorry I've been scarce lately.
Autumn's comin, and I'm waking up! :-D
Went with Joey on some pool jobs yesterday...one of his customers had a whole bunch of wild grapes taking over her backyard. A filter basket lined with grape leaves, a pair of wire cutters, and some fearless treking through overgrown (though thankfully unpoisionous) ivy later, I had a full bag of grapes.
I made JAM this morning yay! Pics? Why sure!
I also harvested the remains of the herb garden and set them out to dry. Clockwise, from left - Tarragon, Basil, Stevia, Mint, Oregano, and a very happy me :)
The gist of the last two months, abridged version:
I got c. diff colitis. it sucked. I had to go to the hospital and I had hallucinatory fevers. I'm better now.
I love my job, got a raise and now I'm doing all sorts of stuff like writing descriptions on top of doing the buying. Love it :)
We got a new kitten: who has freakpaws :
His name is darjeeling.
More later :)
May the goddess smile on us all.
The drive is fairly nice, decent scenery, I roll my windows down and crank up the music, and it's very zen. I look forward to it, actually. Traffic is almost nonexistent, both coming and going.
I also got an email from a marketing group that's responsible for those, like, promo tables in costcos. I'm working for them this Saturday on a Dove Energy Glow promotion...15 an hour!!! It's six hours, doesn't start til ten, I can SO deal with that. The marketing lady says if it goes well, they have tons of things like this I could do. The only downside is they don't pay you for 4-6 weeks, but hey...money's just as good in June or July as it is in May, right? :)
HAPPY BELTANE AND BLESSED BE!
The goddess certainly is smiling down on this lucky, lucky gal.
- Current Mood: ecstatic
Apparently, they aren't even hiring anyone to replace me. No temp, no permanent....nothin. So...in the four months I've been there, the company has:
*Called two meetings to explain we were a different branch/company/affiliate; aka we were bought/renamed twice.
*Canned someone I considered to be a second-in-command for the accounting dept, with no warning whatsoever
*Canned the guy in the IT dept that I feel was helping out the most, with no warning to the rest of us who needed him
This lead to:
*My already over-loaded friend assuming the canned accounting gals' work on top of her own
*Said friend needing to take a one month leave of absence to take care of family
This lead to:
*My already overloaded male friend co-worker taking on the responsibilities of my absent friend
Which lead to:
*Myself and my cubemate (both, as I'm sure you've guessed, overloaded) taking over HIS work on top of our own.
Which lead to:
*Me leaving, and my work going to.......?
If I didn't love some of my coworkers so much, I'd hire someone to stand outside the office with their middle fingers raised for a few hours, after I left permanently. Hey, guess what, Suck-o Inc? You can only be in a 'hiring freeze' and 'unable to issue raises at this time' for so long before your employees start hitting back with 'freezes' of their own....most notably, certain vital things not getting done on time.
Your workforce is livid, your customers are marching to the BBB to report you, and everything is pretty much run with the efficency of a wheel-less tractor.
Also, as a side note to my temp agency - I love that you've been 'out to lunch' or 'unavailable' every SINGLE time my fellow agency-mate and I have stopped by to discuss our dissatisfaction with the job, and pay rate for said job. Thank you for never, EVER returning a phone call, and only calling me to bitch my timesheet was late. That was awesome. I love that you get money that should be mine for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I love that I do all the work, keep track of my own hours, and struggle to learn things entirely unfamiliar to me, all so that you can get a cut for your hard work of dodging anything that even appears to be a concern on my end.
So, when you tell me to recommend your agency to my new job, and to tell all my friends about you, while simultaneously listening to you bash the earlier hours and commute needed for my new job, in a desperate attempt to keep your greedy hands latched onto this cash cow you've made of me......that snufflling sound is me trying not to laugh hysterically into the mouthpiece of the phone. Just so you're aware.
If you need me, I'll be here, earning more money, more respect, and having a LOT more fun.
....we borrow it from our children.
Happy Earth Day, everyone. :)
(That's "happy new year" to those of you who are unaware - it is not a sexual position. Today is Chinese Lunar New Year, and the beginning of year of the boar, the last of the 12 yearly symbols in the cycle - it is a year of renewal and rebirth.)
Today was a crazy trip that began with World of Warcraft holidays. WoW is having a "lunar festival", in which characters get to shoot off fireworks and honor ancestors, replete with oodles of digitally rendered semi-asian nods at cultural traditions. So, I was definately in the spirit, dorky as the motivation sounds. And it sounds pretty dorky to me, and I'm the one writing it.
So my friend Stan IMs me yesterday - Stan is Chinese and from NY and keeps some traditions - and asked if we were coming in for the festival. Of course, not connecting to the fact that the WoW lunar fest corresponded to an actual event (cause I'm stupid) I ask what festival. Chinese New Year, sez he. Complete with dancing dragons, fireworks, cultural stuff, and general mayhem that is NYC. Am I coming? Oh hellz ya. WoW got me holiday-ey, and Stan's invite came at a perfect time.
About 80% into my usual waffling-and-not-going phase this morning, I stomped my proverbial foot and said NO GOD DAMNIT - I'M GOING. So I grab Joey, some red clothing (supposed to wear it for luck, sez Stan) and hopped the 11:30 train to Penn Station, $36 poorer for the tix.
Halfway there, after Joey says he's positive something will go wrong, something does. Stan can't come, family emergency. Okay, so now we're two uninitiated Jersey souls throwing ourselves into an area of NYC even *I* haven't been in before, in the middle of a massa-freakin-huge festival of crazy asian people armed with fireworks. What could possibly go wrong?
Surprisingly, nothing did. We had a uncommonly wonderful time, and, despite sore feet/backs from the walking, and lungs that are greatfully gulping our HEPA filtered home air to chase out the shattered dreams and car exhaust that New York has lined them with, we are remarkably happy.
ARRIVING, aka OVERPRICED LUNCH WITH NEAT OLD PEOPLE
Pizza Hut in Penn Station should be ashamed at what they call pizza. It was more a microbe of a pizza-like substance, fused with another microbe of cheese-like substance, and somehow, defying physics, spliced into four sections, presumably via the aid of expensive and cutting edge (har!) microscopic lasers. It was 10 bucks.
Nathan's was only 9 and I got what could, in the right light, pass for a cheesesteak sandwich.
We sat next to two old ladies and ended up talking books with them. Harry Potter, even. They were easily the coolest old ladies ever. One wore a purple beret. I mean, really. That fucking rules, old people - take notes. It was like having lunch with half the golden girls, only with more literature and less sexual commentary.
THE SUBWAY, aka WHAT'S THAT SMELL?
I am torn between wanting to know that that smell is, and not. Whatever is responsible for it does a very thorough job of placement, as every square inch of the subway we encountered made me wish it were possible I could travel in a hepa-filtered hampster ball to refrain from so much as the soles of my shoes touching anything in it's nearly-physical presence.
The subway, was, as usual, a delightful conglomeration of concerning mechanical noises and equilibrium-trumping break application. Almost like a roller coaster, but without any of the good parts.
We managed to muddle our way through obtaining metrocards and consulting a surly directional personage in a Final-Fantasy like quest sequence. Cure light wounds to my SOUL.
On the plus side, there was a guy playing a saw. That also went in the minus column - cause I mean, that transition from street performer to bladed-object weilding manic in a crowd was held apart by a tenative and failing boombox playing poor backup, and a chair - both of which, as anyone can tell you, are not to be depended upon to keep sanity in check.
CHINATOWN, aka THE APTLY NAMED
There was a great deal of China in that town, to be certain. Here is a picture of us, just prior to breaking in past the gauntlet:
You know that scene from the Little Mermaid, where she's going to see the sea witch, and all those green creatures are clutching at her arms? Imagine that, replace the green things with asian people muttering mantra-like chants of heavily-accented designer names, and you have an idea of what the entrace to Chinatown was like. They were like - knockoff zombies...blank stares, clutching at my sleeves, "Joo wanna mahk jahkobz? Gooci? Duci kator? Rahlex?" - I clutched my ancient Old Navy sack, purchased specifically for it's utter lack of form and close appearance to a saddlebag - and rushed through the gauntlet, head down and a terrified Joey skittering along with me.
In a dirty snowbank, a hawker who had moved on too quickly left a few tiny plastic bags in their wake - they looked like perhaps enamel pins, but closer inspection revealed them to be counterfeit burberry and Juicy Couture purse seals, with strong double-sided tape on the back - the imitator's holy grail.
We saw turtles - tiny ones, in half-frozen water in terrariums, displayed by a Chinese man with few teeth and fewer ounces of concern for the poor creatures. On our return trip, all had been bought, save a lone, and seemingly dead, unfortunate- beached beside an ironic plastic palm-tree island in an icy miniature sea. Joey offered them $2, just in case it was alive and we could still revive it...the lady running the booth looked at him like he was something stuck to her shoe. She tried to haggle with Joey, but once you start haggling over a reasonably dead turtle, your heart's not in it. We left, mildly disturbed.
CONFETTI CANNONS, aka HEY, IT'S NOT LIKE WE'RE CLEANING IT UP!
Evidently, Chinatown is wild over these confetti cannons, which you could buy on any street corner, x# for $10. It was always ten. It was like they had all gotten together beforehand and price-fixed a festival necessity.
Note the phallic object in Joey's hands. This is one of the aforementioned cannons.
They are rendered in such a way as the poorly-translated directions inform you, amid myriad engrish, to turn clockwise, counterclockwise, and occasionally both - and none of these work. The objects are essentially wrapping-paper tubes filled with confetti and explosive bottoms of questionable safety to propel the contents skyward. Joey and I labored for about five minutes with frozen hands, trying desperately to appear festive, wringing the tubes like fowl destined for the dinner table. Six year olds were effortlessly raining colored paper down on us - I believe I even saw an infant merely gesture at one that exploded, but they were all asian and held the secrets diligently. We gathered a good-sized crowd of good-natured mockers before I finally coaxed mine to work - Joey finally gave up his struggles and handed me his, which I managed after another minute or two.
The larger, more expensive ($15 a pop!) ones also fired off, amid sparkling confetti, several small red "good luck" banners that floated down on pink parachutes, and prompted a bloodlust frenzy of people trampling like bouquet-targeting bridesmaids. Joey almost got one for me until a wandering horde of 13 year olds armed with spent cannons (Take THAT, Sigmund Freud!) knocked it out of his reach and almost gave him a face full of elbow for his troubles. I've come to the conclusion that the symbols on the banners likely translate to "power up", and catching one affords a person the ability to throw fireballs, or perhaps grow a snazzy flying raccoon tail.
Confetti lined the streets like drunken revelers at Mardi Gras. The intriguing mixture of five inches of confetti comingled with snow so filthy it actually sullied the good nature of anyone standing in it, and the caterwauling racket sent up by the drummers that followed the dragons made for an interesting picture. In fact, here's one of them:
There were, of course, Dragons, and one was particularly impressive, as it had apparently consumed two young Chinese boys, who valiantly fought back with acrobatics from the esophageal area of the Dragon's digestive system, like so:
And then Joey and I went and nibbled on things in a particularly amazing little side restaurant. They weren't kidding about Chinatown having some outstanding restaurants!!! I had kimchi fried rice and REAL green tea ice cream and my life is better for it...here is a gratuitous pic of Joey drinking soymilk:
And another gratuitous 'after' shot, in the middle of confetti madness:
Also, this guy looks to be a councilman or someone important....everyone was taking his picture, so I did too. He doffed his coat a few minutes later and got in the middle of the dragon-circle to show off some 1337 old-dude martial arts tai chi skills. Serious props, official looking dude. You kicked ass. However, it is far too easy to imagine you as the villan in the next X men movie.
Soo...yeah. We're both tired and sore, but man what a cool freakin experience. I am really REALLY glad I didn't punk out on this one.
THANKS STAN!! Without you, I never would have experienced this, even if you weren't there, you put the idea in my head :)
Opal Butterfly ring (Joey)
Chia Herb Garden (mom)
$100 (Gramma Judy & Mum Mum)
White Sweater & Brown Skirt Set (Joey's Mom)
2 My Little Pony Tree Ornaments (Joey's Neices)
Receipt Scanner (to Joey)
Pirates 2 DVD (to Joey)
Fat bird squishy stress ball thing (to Mom)
Tarot Deck (to Nicky)
Bettie Page pics (to Stevie)
Number of boys, age 15 or under, present: Approx 15
Dollar amount of fireworks, laid buffet-style on a table, that were present when the evening began at 8pm: $500+
Dollar amount of fireworks left by 11pm: $0
Number of times I saw the same slovakian immigrant boy launch a bottle rocket from his pants: 5
Number of times aforementioned boy set his crotch on fire: 2
Number of times I had to run outside with a solo cup of water to douse a large fire: 3
Number of gaping 6 inch holes burned into an unfortunately nearby trampoline: 1
Alchoholic drinks consumed: 0
Food eaten: Far too much
Kissed Joey: When the ball dropped!
More to come.