Christmas, Holiday Season, Life, Simplify

Christmas is Canceled

images-34Captain Clam and I have cancelled Christmas. It’s just too much this year. After being bombarded by it since well before Halloween, I cannot hold on to any Christmas cheer. We tried to get into the holiday spirit. We even built a Christmas tree out of lights and decorated it with all the cards we received this year as well as some of my ornaments from childhood. The tree is on our kitchen wall. It looks stupid, but some how makes us happy, especially at night with all the lights off.

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It looks better in person.

Le Clam and I have been sick. I caught a cold from my nephew over the Thanksgiving break and it is just NOW starting to recede… I got half of my office sick and was called Typhoid Stephanie, which was one of my bosses funnier jokes to date (he’s really not that funny). I missed three days of work and suffered through all the rest either cold and gross or hot and sweaty. Then I got not just one cold sore, but two! I only get those when I am ridiculously sick, and even then, they are small and not noticeable. These are small, but super irritating, and I can’t kiss my Clam for a whole week. Fuck. Plus the medicine cost $26. I don’t have $26 to throw around on cold sores…. plus all the expenses for the Puffs Plus, Cough Syrup, Vitamin C and Vitamin C powdered drinks, Epson Salts, Carmex Lip Balm, and minus 3 days of work. I still don’t get sick days, so this is mounting to be a really expensive cold… the most expensive in history.

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Christmas was always my favorite holiday, Christmas Eve being the most magical night of all time… now I look forward to the 4th of July. Somewhere along the way, I became old and bitter, and started to hate the cold and snow and magic of December. February is even worse. It’s is THE worst, and perhaps that’s why it’s the shortest month. It’s the coldest and most depressing place in the world. I’ll finish this rant when February slugs it’s ugly little face around in a month and a half. I am already angry.

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It’s official. I’m still so angry already…

I canceled Christmas once before. It was 2005. My former boyfriend and I were broken up but still occupying the same space. He went away to see his family (because god fucking forbid we ever went to see mine) and I stayed up half the night drinking wine, dismantling a closet, and painting my bedroom orange. I almost regret canceling that Christmas, but reveled in the alone time and reflection (and complete productivity) of the night.

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Clams cancel Christmas, too. My Captain canceled a few holidays after being stuck in China/Italy on business for the worst employer in the history of human beings. The Clam is resourceful though, and entertained himself with wine and bad movies… much like this evening festivities.

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Pretend this has a red line through it.

So. This is Christmas. We have eaten a small dinner for just the two of us. We cooked chicken that the meat market guy cut up into way too many pieces… I added BBQ Sauce… basically the most un-Christmas-like dinner you could ever imagine. We’ll have leftovers tomorrow and they are going to amazing. I have insisted on watching Rudolph, since it has always been my favorite Christmas movie (my Clam is taking a Clam rest, since he has never seen this amazing movie and has no interest in ever seeing it… ever). I am hoping that it picks me up and compels me to change my mind and warm my heart with some good tidings. I am doubtful that it’s gonna happen.

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I thought Rudolph could save Christmas… not this time, with that big wonderful nose. We are living in the land of misfit toys today. This will not be an ordinary Christmas. This will not be Christmas at all. No gifts, no friends, no family, no cheeky Christmas carols…. just each other, a chicken, the tail end of a bad cold, and a longing for the Christmas magic of our childhoods.

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Merry Christmas, everyone, if you decide to celebrate it this year. And to my amazing family who knows how complicated and overly-dramatic I am… I’ll see you very soon, and the cards loaded with Lotto tickets are in the mail… tomorrow. Heart.

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Adventure, Christmas, FUN!, Holiday Season, Long Island, Stereotypes

Your Long Island is Showing

Happy Holidays!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally give into the Christmas season that has been calling since long before my Jack-o-Lanterns were even carved. Captain Clam and I spent a relaxing couple of days at my parent’s house out on eastern Long Island. My sister lives right across the street from them, so I got to get my “nephew on” while I was there. I have a 6 year old mad man and a 7 month old adorable (but very rude) baby who keep me busy whenever I visit. I was a very happy Auntie and the Clam was overjoyed to discover his baby whispering talents.

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Whisper. Whisper. Rude Baby is now asleep!

As soon as plans are made with my parents, there are weeks of confirming that we are, indeed, going to pay a visit.  Every week my mom will ask me “Are you coming for Thanksgiving?” And I answer, “Yes Mom” in that sarcastic little kid voice that we all have when we say yes to our moms when she asks a question that has been asked one million times.

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CAT PICTURE!

Once it’s down to the wire, we check the weather and train/bus schedules. I am always on the train an hour AFTER the train I intended to be on. I don’t even lie about trying to be on time anymore. I even tell my parents the time of the train I WANT to be on and then the time of that train that I will most likely be on. There is just something in my brain and body that prohibit me from leaving the house on time. And no matter how much I prepare I am always late, I always over pack, and I always forget something. This year it was pajamas.

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It’s always this time of year when I talk to me family the most. Between my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and all the holidays, we all call each other a million times to say hi or solidify a loose plan. It’s this time of year that my Long Island really starts to show. Whether it’s from the phone calls to an over serving of eggnog, that ear throbbing accents falls out of my mouth and I just can’t do anything about it. It would also seem that the closer I get to the homestead, the more lazy my language skills and manners become. It’s a Long Island thing.

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Greetings, Douche Bag!

It seems that as soon as I step foot on that train to Ronkonkoma, a switch flips in my soul. I am homeward bound and hurtling towards my roots at 75 MPH. Out comes the beer and that harsh accent that makes us all feel a little bad ass and sound a little trashy and undereducated.

If there is one thing that my family is, it’s Long Island. Captain Clam has invisible ear muffs because we are just SO DAMN LOUD when we all get together. It’s true. All Long Islanders are. I don’t know why, but it’s inherent throughout the native population of Nassau and Suffolk, and being around anyone from Long Island somehow makes me very comfortable. We could live on opposite ends of  Island, and somehow still have a connection.

“Oh, you’re from Long Island? So am I. Where abouts?”

“Levittown”

“Oh cool. I’m from Riverhead.”

“Oh wow, that’s way out there.”

“Yeah, it’s not too bad.”

BOOM. Immediate Facebook friends for life.

Riding on the train towards home, I always feel like I never left and the people have never changed. You can find many of the same characters who are named Theresa, Joey, Bobby, or Jamie (or something like that). We all talk with our hands and say ridiculous things way too loudly. Most of us are crude and censor-less. We say things like “Douche bag” and “asshole fuck face” in front of babies and grandmas. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.

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There are a few (but not many) stereotypes about Long Islanders that are not true. We are not all rich. There are very few places where the rich reside, and most of us are middle class hard working schmucks who want to live near the ocean and the farms on our 1/8th acre of semi-suburban paradise. Of course, Long Island is a very expensive place to live and property values are sky high due to the lack of space available, but it somehow seems worth the expense.

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Another falsity… All Long Island girls have tramp Stamps… NO! Well, I have one, but it was pretty cool in 2002 (but mine is terrible and I hate it and can’t wait to get  it removed). In case you DO want a Tramp Stamp, the are only two suitable tattoo parlors that you can go to… Lou’s and Cliff’s. That’s it, argument over.

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I wish my Tramp Stamp was this awesome…

Now, there is a mystery surrounding the Uncle that everyone has who works in Sanitation. NOPE. Not buying it. Unless sanitation is code for some illegal activities (which it very well could be), then this is another Long Islandism that is simply not true.

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That is NOT my uncle!

I have been reading up on “You know you’re from Long Island if…” blog posts, and some of them are just plain stupid. I DO NOT have a Billy Joel “sighting” story (although it would be nice to have one), and have never had a problem “Changing trains at Jamaica.” No, I don’t know Lindsay Lohan, but do find the Hamptons  to be a snooze-fest high school reunion (I’m more of a North Shore kinda gal anyway). And saying “Strong Island” is super douchey. We are douchey enough, so we avoid that phrase altogether.

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The full extent of our douchiness.

Long Island is a great place to be, and even though I live in Brooklyn currently, I am STILL technically ON LONG ISLAND!! No Brooklynite or Queens dweller wants to admit this fact… Why? I asked Captain Clam. He told me that Long Island is like being in New Jersey, but Seven times worse. But how can that be? I simply don’t believe it and refuse to hanker around with any such thoughts.

Long Island is Long Island. It’s super special and super douchey, just like any hometown in America. What I do love about Long Island is the dark, starry night skies and the fresh air that smells like bonfire and fresh seawater wind. There are expansive Ocean Beaches, Rocky Sound Beaches, Lakes, Rivers, The Bay, Farm Stands, Buffalo Farms, Duck Farms, Adventure Land, Splish Splash, Aquariums, the Long Island Medium, Pine Barrens, Roadside F-14’s, National Cemeteries, JONES BEACH, Petting Zoos, Vineyards, State Parks, Whale Watching (should I keep going??)  … Plus, WE HAVE THE BIG DUCK!!!

And you really just can’t beat the accent.

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Happy Holidays, Long Island Style.

Tell me, what do you love and hate about Long Island?

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Adventure, Autumn, Christmas, Holiday Season, Overload

Merry Effin’ Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves are turning and the smell of burning wood is in the air. Mornings are darker than ever as we wait for daylight savings time and snooze just 9 more minutes, hoping to be cozy enough to drift back to sleep for what feels like an eternity. Halloween has sulked past us at a blistering 65 degrees, and we are barely into the eleventh month when Christmas throws up in our faces.

Merry Effin’ Christmas.

I Love Christmas. My favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve. There is magic and mystery. Love is in the air and everything smells like pumpkin spice and spearmint. The only problem is that it’s too early to smell Christmas. I am still reeling over the fireplace/dead leaf combo. Snowmen are not quite in my forecast just yet.

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WooHoo! Autumn!

Two weeks ago, my neighborhood put up the street decorations. While I love the sense of community and festivity, I hate that one holiday is celebrated for two months. I understand the big to-do about Christmas… it’s a time of reflection and fellowship with family and friends. You get fattened up for the winter on chocolates and cake (and that badass stuffing that your mom makes). You gather with loved ones and exchange good tidings and cheer. You drink too much wine and reminisce of Christmases long long ago. There is always that one fight (or “debate,” as my Dad likes to call it) that happens, but all ends up fine and well in the end.

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I mean, Seriously? The Leaves haven’t even changed color!

In reality, that is no longer the case (well, maybe the wine part is accurate because now you drink out of blind rage from the awful experience that Christmas has become). The joy of Christmas has been stripped down and bastardized into a commercial frenzy for the mindless consumer. We wait in lines on Black Friday, a day given to most of us to enjoy and relax with our families. Instead, we fight with other shoppers over the last Tickle Me Elmo gadget (wow, am I dating myself there?), stress ourselves out over not finding the closest parking spot and having to settle for the third closest parking spot (seriously, I thought they saw my blinker), and get all hot and sweaty (not to mention bitter and resentful) walking around crowded stores with bad music and complete chaos.

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There are two scarcely known bank holidays between Halloween and Christmas. One is Veteran’s Day (11/11) and the other is Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November). While that last statement is purely sarcastic, it is metaphorically true.

Unfortunately, Veteran’s Day is not anticipated for two months, nor is it commercialized… you hear very little about it. Why is that? I usually make it a point to call my dad and wish him a Happy Veteran’s Day. He thinks this phone call is a little weird, but it is a great excuse to get to chat with him. Sometimes I get a Naval Fleet story, but I usually get a sports story. So what. Moral of the story: Call your dad. Thank a Veteran.

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Thank you, Veterans!

Thanksgiving is a different beast. We spend a whole day celebrating the things we are thankful to have, getting drunk on wine and turkey, watching football and the Macy’s Parade. The next day we go out and buy all the things that we will be thankful to have NEXT Thanksgiving in a midnight rush of complete madness, as if these items will never be on sale again or will no longer exist in a few hours.

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11:59pm or 4:03am

Spending time with family turns into spending time with strangers and spending a week or two’s worth of hard earned income. And even when you have exhausted yourself in the first day of the official holiday season, you are never finished shopping. There is always something that you have forgotten that simply cannot wait until after Christmas when it will be half price or completely irrelevant to the recipient. Even when you begin your Christmas shopping in October, you are never done. You also forget to calculate just how much you have spent and everyone gets way too many gifts (as if that is such a thing). And you always wonder why you show up to your family/friend’s house with 3 bags of gifts and leave with a bottle of wine and leftovers (hey, that is good enough for me!).

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This guy looks a little douchey, right?

Christmas has gotten out of control. I can’t imagine what the holiday would be like if (SPOILER ALERT) Santa actually did exist and managed to make and deliver all those gifts to good boys and girls. Life would be easier, if not better. The holidays would surround you in warmth and joy, not complete turmoil. Being good would reap its rewards, and karma would take a more tangible role in life. If you are good, then you get a gift. If you are bad, you get a lump of coal. Plus, Santa is doing all the preparation and all you need to spend money on is milk and cookies (and maybe some oats for those reindeer).

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Santa is on it.

I would love to know the exact moment when that Advertising Executive said “Here’s a thought. What if we commercialized Christmas?” That must have come right after “Let’s make a fake holiday based on Love. We can put it in February since that is the suckiest month of them all.”  I can’t imagine the other religious/cultural celebrations (like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) allowing their traditions to become so ridiculously overdone. Christmas has it’s own scent! And I am sure it is patented. It would seem that the economy almost relies on Christmas so all of these big businesses can meet their bottom line at the end of the Fourth Quarter. We literally need Christmas to keep the economy afloat? Really? Maybe. I don’t know. I may have just made that up, but it sounds like it could be true.

People, we are suckers…. Huge, gross, stupid, wasteful, stupid suckers. Why do we still have candy hangovers from Halloween and there are Christmas Songs stuck in my head? It’s November 1st, for baby Jesus’ sake! Ah yes. baby Jesus… the reason for the season. The Catholic/Christian meaning behind this specific holiday. I wonder if Jesus just has to have the new iPhone so badly that his entire existence relies on it.  Can you imagine that prayer?

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The Reason for the Season.

Dear Father in Heaven (AKA: Dad),

Please please please. I really need the new iPhone. It’s already been 2 months and Johnny has one and so does his sister. I promise to be good and make as much wine out of water as you’d like. I can throw a healing or two in there, if it pleases You.

Love your son,

Jesus

Yeah. I highly doubt it. As a fictional character, Jesus would be pissed with how his fictional birthday is currently being celebrated. Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about giving. You can give your time and love and groceries to the needy. You can volunteer to feed people you don’t know, or help out a neighbor who is down on their luck. You can be there for a family member to console them or just crack open a beer and share a good story and a laugh. You don’t need useless things. The latest gadget is not going to love you the way that a person can.

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Jesus’ first Selfie on his new iPhone.

Holy Christmas Rant. Christmas is still about 2 months away, folks. Let’s not lose our heads this year. I want to savor Christmas and get back the magic that was slowly lost in all of the hype. I am going to regain the Christmas Spirit by avoiding the crowds, surrounding myself with friends, family, and a little bit of solitude. The next month I will refuse to give into the early “Christmas cheer”, which resembles the fake smile on a mannequin. I will not sing carols until after Thanksgiving, and I will spend at least 10 minutes a day reflecting on the things I am thankful for, the people I am joyful to have in my life, and the places that I have been this year. I am looking forward to Christmas, but just not yet. I am waiting for the magic and mystery to come around. In the meantime, I plan on drinking wine, watching the leaves continue their ritual, and ignoring the Christmas Propaganda.

I love you.

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