Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yule Blog

Well, another Christmas, here tomorrow and gone the next day. Always a somewhat intense, heightened time(too bad it doesn't apply vertically- oh well.)The holidays seem to intensify whatever's going on with you, good or bad. A time of great joy and/or a time of great sorrow.

My favorite Christmases, as is probably the case for most of us, were those spent as a little kid. When it was all magic. The later ones had their entertainment value, but that was more just the family's various eccentricities than the "magic" of the season. Much like the State Fair(and for that matter, Trix cereal), Christmas is for the youngsters. After awhile, you catch on that Santa Claus is actually just your folks adding more to their credit card--and the games at the Fair are rigged, or just plain jive...

As far as it being a "heightened" time of year, I must say, if life is pretty good, it's even better at Christmastime. In that regard, I do remember a couple such Christmases: one in which I'd just started seeing one particular girl, another--actually a couple-- when I'd just gotten married, and a couple where I came home from school and "got lucky"(at least once this followed a fairly long 'dry spell', making it all the more meaningful). Great when that stuff happens on or around Christmastime, as it makes the whole thing even better: romance, or just 'getting lucky'..

On the other side of the coin, if life throws you a belly-smacker, it's all the worse at Christmastime. Lots of people get laid off from their jobs around this time, whether temporarily or indefinitely. Right at what's often the most expensive time of year for one.

And for another-actually the main thing here-it's supposed to be a time of great joy(at least according to the media). So when your life ain't exactly joyous, due to losing your job or whatever, it makes it all the more difficult to "rejoice". What the hell are you rejoicing, anyway?!It exacerbates your already bad situation, just seems to pour salt on the wound, since "everyone else" is out there having a great time.

Christmas music, I've found, is especially irritating if you're having a bad day. (Especially those fucking Chipmunks , but anything similarly "packaged".)I remember the day after our nastyass Winter Storm of November 30th, no power in the house and no idea when it would be restored plus a vehicle with a failing front tire, hearing Simon, Theodore and AL-VIN! on the radio and being particularly sickened. "Why don't you pull the plug on them", I thought. Little hairy fucking vermin...

Now Christmas songs are another matter. But, again the less packaged and more in their "pristine" form the better. Hark the Herald Angels Sing? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen? Forget about it! Great stuff! One of these years I wanna do a Christmas CD, with such traditional material as the two mentioned, but that's another blog.

I do like Christmas as a season though. My Dad used to say, "well hell you do nice things for people all year long, so why make a big deal here?" This was partly just his unwillingness to bother with it(when it came time to exchange gifts, he usually just handed you the bag with your present in it), but partly that it's really how people should behave--all year long. In a spirit of giving.

Peace on Earth. Good will towards men. Sure would be nice...


Well I guess I have a post-script here, since I was talking about my Christmases and how their entertainment value changed as I got older, favoring more the family's eccentricities. Every family has, in its network of relationships, some degree of ambivalence in there: love and contempt, or at least love and resentment. My Dad had this with his Mom, and thus dreaded the holiday get-togethers--so much so that he'd come down with a nasty head cold every year at the same time. While we wouldn't wish him to be in any kind of pain, we still had to chuckle at the annual psychosomatic cold and all his sneezing and coughing.
Strangely enough, when he passed away in 1992, I was the one with the nasty cold. For what that's worth.
Anyway. Merry Christmas..

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Toasty Relief

Ahh. It always feels good to come in the house after being outside on a cold day freezing your ass off. The toasty warmth envelopes you and thaws the icicles from your poor shivering carcass as you bask in the --relief. As a matter of fact, I'm remembering a December, around the 7th(my personal Pearl Harbor day)suffering the cold house/failing furnace blues, and upon the rectification of that particular situation(hm, a bit stilted aren't we here?) wrote a song called "Toasty Relief".

I was just so damn happy to finally get heat back in the house, to be relieved of my pain and suffering in the cold.

Whatever we didn't have, or had taken away from us, it feels great to recover, to get it the hell back. I'm just remembering, and from several decades past, the pronouncement of a friend of mine(older than myself and considered himself more spiritually advanced, for whatever the hell that's worth now..). "Life IS", he said. "We have sadness when joy is taken away, and joy when sadness is taken away".

Having just emerged from a nasty Winter Storm which rendered tens of thousands of folks without power, some for over a week, you feel like your life was taken away and restored. I myself was luckier than some, less fortunate than others, but remember the intense sense of RELIEF I felt upon finding my house once again a toasty place.

One thing these adversities do for you though, is make you that much more prepared. I am set with candles, a flashlight and a pretty good space heater for a power outage in more temperate weather or a failing-furnace situation(having experienced these situations), but probably would do well to have some stuff like a generator or at least a kerosene heater, in case Mother Nature gets all pissed off again this Winter.

This was not my first Winter Storm by any means, but the first one to do this kind of damage. For me it was like getting hit with one big punch and then a couple grazing ones. The big shot was losing power in the house and the little shots were car trouble and no cable or Internet for awhile.

So with the blows taken, I've been experiencing a series of "toasty reliefs" as the problems are solved: heat & light in the house(day 2), new rubber on the van(day 4), TV & Internet back in action(day 11). It just feels so good having the sadness taken away.

With that, the Winter Storm of Dec 1 fades, becoming only a bad memory. So I guess it's onto other problems and challenges and their- toasty relief.