NaBloPoMo’12: A Scandal in Suburbia

Tonight was “make up Halloween” on my in-laws side of town, so while Charlie and I watched A Scandal in Belgravia, my mother-in-law sat in the wasp room (apparently, they’re having a problem with wasps (not the Protestant kind) in the house, and as such, have quarantined the living room), waiting for trick-or-treaters.

By the way, A Scandal in Belgravia was awesome, but I totally did an, “Oh, come on!!” at the end.

There were only 5 trick-or-treaters this year, a record-setting low for them.

Since moving out to Chestertucky, I think there have been a total of five trick-or-treaters in my whole tenure. Even Charlie, down in Ashland, only had one this year.

What happened to trick-or-treating? Have we replaced it with “trunk-or-treating” so that our kids are safer? Do kids just not trick-or-treat in lieu of having Halloween parties at school?

I look back on my time trick-or-treating with great fondness, having two huge blocks I could cover in an evening. And it was about showing of your costume to the neighbors (and for me, being the weirdo innocent voyeur I was, seeing how people lived by what I could see in through their front doors), and hoping you ran into friends so you could see their costumes.

And there’s part of me that thinks that if kids don’t have that now, that’s a bummer. I feel like they’re missing something vital to the fabric of their childhood. But I suppose that is the lament of those getting older. Experiences become different for each new generation, but maybe no less steeped with meaning.

Christmas, 2011

It’s been a nice Christmas, I must say. The only complaint I have about the weekend is that there was way too much charcoal into the censer at midnight mass. Through the whole service my eyes, nose, and sinuses burned. I spent most of Christmas day sneezing the rest of the soot out of my face.

As is tradition, I spend Christmas Eve with Charlie and his family, doing midnight mass at his high school alma mater and opening presents after, and Christmas Day with my family. Instead of dinner, though, my mother planned a big brunch with strata, bacon and sausage, orange and ginger scones, frothed orange juice mimosas (make them in the blender), and  yeast-risen pancakes with apple cider syrup. I thought that Christmas brunch was nice, but I ended up having to scavenge for dinner.

I’m very pleased and grateful for all of my gifts. It was a very foodie Christmas this year: Charlie’s mom and dad got me a chef’s coat with my name embroidered on it, my brother remembered that I mentioned that I thought having a Japanese-style cleaver so he got me one (it’s really, really sharp!), and my parents got me the Jeni’s Ice Cream cookbook. Charlie got me these Kraken Attackinprints, matted and framed, along with a watch case and and Om Nom plush. I also got some clothing, and gift cards, all of which will be totally useful.

I finished out the holiday season with my annual after-Christmas clearance grab, wherein I buy up all of the gift wrap and accouterments I can get my hot little hands on. I’m pretty well-stocked on wrapping paper and bows, but I did need boxes, ribbon and tissue paper. I was very efficient this year: I managed to get everything I needed for under $50. I’m in the neighborhood of 150 sheets of tissue paper, and 16 rolls of ribbon, and I also got some extra mini storage boxes to boot.

I’m so excited to start using my gifts, and so glad that I got to spend these holidays with my family and friends.

NaBloPoMo’09: Christmas Decorating

Starting right after Thanksgiving, my mother has gone full-boar into Christmas decorating.  This is probably to make up for the fact that she was so depressed that Prodigal Son was in Japan last year, she did no decorating, not even a tree.

I suppose I can’t complain: I do love Christmas decorating and some traditions.  I’m a “secular humanist”, and therefore, celebrate “Secular Christmas.”  Religious groups will try to get people back to the “true meaning” of Christmas: celebrating family, togetherness, and helping fellow men – all of which I fully support, but I will not adhere to the “religious overtones” of the season.  I’m just not that into religion.

I digress.

So, I have what my brother lovingly refers to as PS3 thumbs (aching, gnarled joints) from bending hundreds of wire loops to adhere ornaments to.  I have two fatty cats who really enjoy sitting in the base of the tree; and if I can’t save the boughs of the tree from the cats, I will save the glass ornaments from getting destroyed when they launch in or out of the tree.

I also have to decorate the main banister at the stairwell.  I think half the reason my parents bought the house they live in now is because of the Christmas-decorating-possibilities this banister has.  I’m planning on festooning it with pine boughs, lights, and stylized poinsettias.  It’s going to be epic.

In addition to home-decorating, I have a new berry-wreath for my office door, and lit pine-garland for around my door.  I’m very excited, even if my next-door-neighbor co-worker is a huge Grinch (I feel that I can say this safely, as my girlfriend, K, is his wife, so I know him outside of work, too.)

NaBloPoMo’09: Thanksgiving Meme

  1. Do you cook all or part of the meal?
    I make the apple pie, and I help with everything else.
  2. How much do you spend buying groceries for the meal?
    My portion cost me $8 this year: it was the apples that really cost me, what with off-season produce and whatnot.
  3. Do you eat at home or go to someone else’s?
    It depends.  I don’t feel very particularly, one was or the other.
  4. Describe your perfect bite?
    Turkey, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, and cranberry goo.
  5. White meat or dark?
    They both have their appeal; I’m not picky.
  6. Stuffing with giblets or without?
    Ew, no giblets, that’s just…ech.
  7. Anything you won’t eat at the Thanksgiving meal?
    Hmmm…ham.  My MIL has ham and turkey sometimes, and I just don’t like ham.
  8. Carve Mr. Gobble at the table or serve on a platter?
    On a platter.
  9. Favorite pie?
    My own apple; but if Gram was still alive, hers would beat mine, hands down.
  10. Formal table or Chinet?
    Formal.  If there is any holiday for formal tableware, it’s Thanksgiving.
  11. Your menu:
    Turkey w/Gravy
    Mashed Potatoes
    Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/ Honey Butter
    Good Old Country Stuffing
    Green Bean Casserole
    Cranberry Jelly
    Rolls w/ Irish Butter
  12. Favorite leftover?
    An entire reheated plate of everything from the night before.
  13. Extended family, friends, both or just the immediate family for dinner?
    One year, I’m going to have just friends over: it seems like the least stressful way to do it.
  14. After dinner, do you go to the latest movie or watch football on TV or just a turkey induced snooze?
    I usually get stuck cleaning the kitchen; but this year I get to clean and decorate the tree by myself.
  15. Do you watch the Macy’s Parade?
    Nah, I’ll pass.
  16. Christmas decorations up before or after?
    After Thanksgiving.  I’m really, really particular about Christmas decorating, and timing is everything.
  17. Black Friday shopping or sleep in?
    Mostly shopping, but not at big boxes stores – that’s insanity.
  18. Any special Thanksgiving tradition?
    Nope.  I’m not terribly sentimental.
  19. Favorite thing about Thanksgiving?
    Using the formal dinnerware.
  20. Favorite Thanksgiving memory?
    Dinner at my in-laws house for Thanksgiving, with The Boy, The Brothers (and dates), and the Uncle and Aunt.  It was so much fun: it was casual, no stress, everyone pitched in to clean, and everyone enjoyed everyone else’s company.  It was awesome.

‘Cause He’s Returning on a Jet Plane…

Tomorrow, my brother will be home from a year-long trip in Japan.  He spent his time there studying (hopefully), getting absorbed in the culture, and having the experience of a lifetime.

He will be home for about four days before he has to go back to school for the fall semester.  He and I have never been super close, but he is my baby brother, and I am sad that I won’t see him for very long before he’s gone again for school across the state.  I have this hinky feeling that I’m not going to see him very much anymore, period.  I don’t think he’ll be in the States very long after he graduates, and I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to visit him as much as I would like in Japan.  I’m just going to have to make a point of visiting him more often this year in BG.

I can’t imagine that the adjustment to life back in the States is going to be very easy for him.  He’s coming home from his favorite place on earth back to an obligation he doesn’t want to fill.  I can’t say as I envy his predicament too much.