Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Holidays Ahoy!

Holiday Cookies by DC Central Kitchen, CC License

Holiday Cookies by DC Central Kitchen, CC License

I know, I’ve been sporadic of late. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been dealing with some fun physical ailments and it’s Christmas ’round here, so there’s lots to do, lots of duties to perform, and lots of egos to stroke… As much as I get down on holidays in general and fake ones specifically, I do enjoy Christmas. The food, the reaching out, the coming together of communities, the temporary lifting of the apathy we wear for most of the year – it’s warming. It’s hopeful. As tough an image as I put out there, I do look forward to it every year.

Anyway, I’m going to sign off until the New Year, give myself some time to heal, and reflect on the past year, and come back at y’all fresh and full of argument and ways to keep and create communities… Sound good? Good.

In the meantime, I thought I would leave you with a link to some of my archives – posts I love that I’d love you to read or re-read and posts that have top-performed according to my stats page.

So from my personal wish-list of posts:

For a little Laughter and Love try Ego Boost and Sunshine

For a little insight to my life, and to offer me some sage advice, try And My Super Power Is…

To get the glean on one of my fabulous half-baked theories try Smart Woman Syndrome

For tough stuff check out The Unspoken…

And to see where it all began, It takes a…

Now for Go-Getter posts by computer calculation:

How to Keep Friends: A Social Experiment III

Sympathy for the Skinny Girl

Sometimes You Gotta Unplug to Recharge

Warning! Woman at Work

There’s more out there, so click around if you get really bored. Better yet, leave me some comments, send me an email with a request or a question, and most of all have a happy holiday wherever you are! I’ll see you in the new year!

Give and Take

Give and Take

A gift courtesy david.orban, Creative Commons License

Alright, I took a week. I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you and didn’t tell you why or give you a heads up. We good?

If only it were that simple, right?

It comes back to this today. At work I am a Giver, with my friends, currently, I am a Giver, and with Dashing, I am equal parts Giver and Cleaner.

Even with family, especially this time of year, I am Giver/Cleaner.

I suppose we could say I use this blog to Take for myself, and it’s true, I do get something out of it (even more than this, although this was nice!). Or I wouldn’t keep doing it, right?

So when is it my turn in real life?

Well, if past experience serves, December? Not gonna be it.

See Christmas is in December, and my nearly Christian family thinks that means something…

Mini-rant: Why do we all have to celebrate holidays at the same time? I get that it makes things easier for employers and the government, but really? It’s so annoying when the shops all close down and when I was a shift-worker who didn’t get holidays with the rest of the country (hotels never close, yo. Service industry For The Win!) it was d*mn hard to keep track. Is this a holiday where I have to remember to buy groceries before the shops close, or is this a “holiday” where consumerism reigns and just the lucky government and school children stop working? I never knew until I was sitting in my car in an empty supermarket parking lot thinking “Wait… I know this… Crap, it’s that day!” And the reasoning behind specifically Christmas (which is my family’s argument every year) and that it’s not about taking the holiday with the rest of the country, it’s about that’s when it is, Baby Jesus couldn’t help being born on December 25th — EXCEPT THAT HE DID! Religious appropriation – puts Christmas right up there with Thanksgiving in my fake holiday book… End Rant. Continue: Mostly Thought Out Argument…

Add to that my birthday is in December, this past week actually. And from where I sit, birthdays rarely seem to be about the person growing older. Maybe it’s my div0rced-child roots showing but if the point is that it’s my daaaay and time for me to do whatever I want then couldn’t I forgo the party? Or by that logic, shouldn’t that be a mandated holiday every year (I had my first uni exam on my birthday, so holiday mandation could have been useful)? At the very least – could I go on a crime spree and have no repercussions? “Sorry officer, it’s my birthday and all I wanted to do today is race down the highway at 150 km/hr and invite myself inside some nice person’s home (side note: now that’s how to make friends!)… ”

It just feels like this period is all about me but not actually for me.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I get that birthdays are on the surface about surviving another year, and presumably acknowledging one’s accomplishments, and celebrating one’s mistakes, self-reflection, finding enlightenment – but they seem to end up being about how your mother was very uncomfortable once upon a time or how your ex would really like to get drunk and lock himself in your bathroom (true story) or how your community really just wants an excuse to eat, drink and be merry – which means you smiling – a lot… I get that ultimately holidays are about celebrating family and togetherness and gratitude for our communities. I understand that is an easier feat to accomplish when it’s scheduled in the communities’ collective consciousness. I get that the date is not actually important so long as the intention is preserved.

Maybe I’m a Grinch. Maybe I just resent being told what to do and when to do it.

After all, if the point is to celebrate your community and show your gratitude for how they lift you up and preserve you from harm – isn’t making it easier kinda lazy? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if you took time out and made a holiday happen instead of allowing a religious or governmental institution tell you when to do it?

Wouldn’t you appreciate one of your friends celebrating you on a day that isn’t your birthday more than having to say “It’s my birthday, let’s party, and you can buy me gifts/shots/lap dances?” If it’s not about the gift, if it’s about the thought behind the gift… then isn’t a gift “just because” better than a gift “because it’s [insert holiday]”?

One Last Mini-Rant On This Subject: And for the record, while I would really rather not get anything, if you must buy gifts, on behalf of anyone born in December or early January – Christmas themed gifts are not birthday presents! Buy some new wrapping paper – or use comic books, or newsprint, or fabric, or a dropcloth – stay away from red and green combos (unless the person you’re buying for actually likes that combination – which is cool if they do) and go for red OR green instead, and for goodness sake anything with snowflakes, Frosty, Santa, or reindeer are not welcome unless, you know, the recipient collects that stuff. I would rather you write me a poem, or make a card, or give a gift certificate, or put some thought into what I might like, versus, OK check, gift done. If you can’t find a mug/sweater/tchotchke that doesn’t have Christmas all over it for a winter birthday, you’re not really trying, and it’s kinda insulting. I’d rather not get anything at all. Seriously.

I’m Back

Brick Wall by m_bartosch/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “Brick Wall” courtesy m_bartosch/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Back to reality. Honestly, you’d think I’d gone to the moon.

I decided to stop off at my grandmother’s house first. It’s between where I was and my hometown, almost exactly midway. Grannie was excellent, she always is. She was proud and not worried at all. Empathetic and kind, with a twinkle in her eye when she heard where I’d gone, because she was very close to being right in the betting pool.

She also told me Mom was very, very worried. Seriously.

So off I went to Ma’s place next. Making the rounds. Saying, “Look, see, I’m fine. I’m all in one piece, and this smile – totally genuine, though quickly becoming less genuine the more relieved you get.”

You would think I’d said I was going to start using intravenous drugs, instead of simply seeking out solitude for a weekend. Mom was reacting as if I’d been gone a year, and we don’t see each other that often when we’re both in town to begin with.

Next, I went over to Dad’s. Which is home, really. Plus my sister and her current boyfriend were there. My stepmom was still proud, my sister was glad I was back, but couldn’t figure out why I’d gone, and her friend, well, whatever, I think he’s still figuring out our family dynamics. Dad was tired. Hadn’t been sleeping well. Is it egotistical to think it’s because I worried him, too?

Which is to say that all that family nonsense I was so blithely escaping – was just waiting for me in concentrated form.

Help me, I need a nap.

Thanksgiving

Domestic Turkey by Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “Domestic Turkey” courtesy of Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, I am sitting in a Days Inn at 9:30 on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend… because I can. It’s lovely.

I know that we are “supposed to” celebrate this “holiday” by sitting with our families and counting our blessings… But here’s the thing.

My parents divorced when I was four years old. I’m not blaming them or their divorce for anything, at least not in this post. However, the life of a divorced kid can be complicated.

My experience was such that we had two of every holiday. Two Easters, two Christmases, two birthdays, summer holidays split between two cities… and Thanksgiving. It’s the worst.

I know two of every holiday sounds like every kid’s dream, but really, think about the logistics. You have to travel to two households to have at least two family dinners (usually three or four once you factor in grandparents), and you have to do it all in the same amount of time designed to accommodate one (or at most two) central familial celebration.

Easter is usually pretty easy; after all it’s mostly about the candy, right? Christmas, well, it’s spread over three “real holidays” and buffered by two weeks of school holidays, so you have ample recovery time.

Thanksgiving though, you have a weekend, and one statutory holiday, more turkey than you ever wanted to eat, and a driving time comparable to the cooking time of all of the giant birds combined.

Add to that the fact that your teachers pile on the homework “because you’ll have time – it’s a long weekend after all” and that your mother wakes you at 6:30 to start cooking the stuffing and turkey with her “because you’re the oldest, and it’ll be a fun mother-daughter bonding experience – besides, one day you’ll need to know this” and that you have to be nice to the cousin who takes over the conversation and claims to have experienced everything going on in your life before you and that your sister forgot to pack her underwear, again, and so she steals yours and you have to wear a pair of your mother’s and that your stepfather continues to be, well, himself so that when it’s your turn at the table to declare that thing for which you are thankful all you can think of is “My new adventure book, and my own room, into neither of which are any of you invited.” But you can’t say that, so you murmur “Family” and have done with it.

So I grew up to work in hospitality, which I loved. Because one of the best things about shift work, is that you can work all the holidays. Thereby, avoiding the hazards of family celebrations and not having to lie to anybody. Exaggerate, maybe, but outright lie, nope. “I do have to work Mom… my shift is supposed to end at four but you never know…”

But one of the worst things about hospitality is the pay. So if I wanted to be financially independent and own a home within the next ten years… well, I had to go corporate. And the worst thing about corporate life is you don’t work holidays.

So this year, I could have gone to my fella’s parents on Saturday, and my mother’s sister’s on Sunday, and my father’s on Monday, and been exhausted and frazzled come Tuesday but instead, I told them all I was leaving them. I was Going Away. To where I knew not, nor would I tell them if I could. I was going to sleep late. Or wake up early and make all the noise I wanted. I was going to eat what, and where, and when I wanted to, and explore a city for all it’s untold splendour.

My stepmom applauded me, and my father told me to be safe, and my mother was convinced that I was depressed and isolating myself (and she may now be convinced that I am in denial about those conditions), and the boyfriend (I have to give him a name here… let’s call him Dashing) said he was happy I was happy and was behind me one hundred percent. And my coworkers looked at me with pity and asked all sorts of bewildered questions, and my vocal coach seemed startled but mellowed, and the desk clerk checked me in with a “You ran away from home… on this weekend?”

So a mixed bag. Seems everyone has a strong opinion on this. Anyone out there want to weigh in? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Student living and me.

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