Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Passed

Christmas Day passed with relatively minor injury – nothing that warranted triage, protective custody or military intervention.  We were bloodied, but now bowed.  And best of all – no one was arrested on assault charges or booked for packin’ heat that had not been officially registered with Toys R Us. Now THAT was a miracle!

That morning, before anyone could approach their mound of decadence, I prepared a breakfast of solid protein, as is my custom.  This is a tradition that can be traced back, no doubt, to Mary herself, when she insisted on food of dense nutritional value to counter the hallucinatory effects of inhaling too much second-hand myrrh from well-intentioned Magi, - the ancient equivalent of today’s sugar high.

We partied to the brink of dementia.  To survive the holidays, dementia is mandatory. The children all received in greater abundance than their annual behavior justified – such are the consequences of justice tempered by mercy…and a plethora of grandparently tolerance and adoration.  Asher is a prodigy of perpetual motion.  In his case, it is easier to repair than rebuke.  The rest of the miniature mafia are like live-action cartoons.  It would be easier to harness a tidal wave than to diminish their energy.  There is nothing measured, graceful, genteel or, at times, civil about the multitude when Santa has visited. They are throbbing and rumbling and pulsing even at rest.  It is a little unnerving to think they carry ancestral DNA.

I personally received a cherished gift.  It is a necklace engraved with each grandchild’s name, date of birth, and appropriate birth stone.  I wear it over my heart, which is just adjacent to my charge card.  This is so that I can recite each kid’s name as I begin the ritualistic over-indulgence purchasing the week after Christmas.  I am certain all grandmas have an element of depravity where their particular posse is concerned.  We are first-responders.  Self-restraint is not our specialty.  I am renown for my entertainment inflation.

But one crime I am absolutely NOT guilty of is declaring that MY child (or grandchild, etc.- fill in the blank) would never do (whatever felony/misdemeanor, etc. – fill in the blank) the (teacher, sheriff, bishop, etc. – fill in the blank) accused them of doing.  I’ve always known they were not only capable of (Name That Mischief), but were quite likely the ringleaders.  Ergo, while there is frequently omelet on my plate, there is never egg on my face!

Ah, but I digress.  We took particular care to review the sacred events that first generated this annual frenzy on Christmas Eve.  It all seems so simple when one is instructing small children.  I’m not really sure why, as adults, we complicate it in the name of “The Holidays.”  Distorted reasoning, due undoubtedly to sleep deprivation brought on by nostalgia and tradition…and too much wassail.

But this year, the children all appeared to get it.  This was most gratifying.  And they, in turn, seemed to teach the adults…as two exhausted generations lay in traction from preparing festivities of such elaborateness it can sometimes divert and obscure that simple story of old.

Every year I claim redemption, a personal epiphany of reclamation – that I will change my ways and not lose sight of what matters most.  But it is so easy to lose my way.

Dennis helps me a lot with my vows of financial celibacy.  He channels his inner Jacob Marley, drapes himself in heavy chains and conjures hard core bank statements in 8X10 glossies from my personal history, as he groans in quivering agony, pale and slack-jawed.  These pictures rise up to haunt my dreams at all hours of the night like a hybrid of all the Fiscal Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past.  Unfortunately, all his oratorical pyrotechnics fall on depleted reserves of energy.  I’m too tired to be persuaded.

So, I remain resolutely unimpressed.  I am not easily frightened…I’m a mother!  Like most Mothers and Grandmas, I’m one part guts and three parts Teflon, and where my little multitude is concerned, rationale and restraint simply don’t stick.  Terrorism is rather impotent when we’re talkin’ grandchildren.

If it’s the thought that counts, my brain is worth its weight in gold!  (Dennis just groaned.)

And speaking of thoughts, the first decade of the new millennium is approaching its conclusion.  I welcome 2011 with open arms.  I am not sure what this year has in store for us.  There are no oracles we can consult.  I am OK with that.  But I do know what will  NOT be littering my calendar.  There will be no colonoscopy, no jury duty, no parathyroidectomy and no appendectomy.  Been there.  Done that.  From now on, all my surgery will be recreational!

I am, however, amenable to body recontouring.  Apparently, according to all the infomercials, (so you know it’s true), this is done by simple “muscle confusion.” Hmmmm.  Muscle confusion.  OooooooKaaaaaay.  I’m a little unclear on the concept.  I wonder if that’s the same as flab disorientation. Or perhaps cellulite deception.  Maybe corpulent fraud?  I confess I’m no molecular biologist, but I do know that what happens in the thighs, stays on the thighs.  It is a brutal consequence of life.  Ratify the Reality!  Own Your Fat!

We welcome the coming year.  Dennis’ blood draw to determine his tumor markers will occur Thursday morning.  We are preoccupied at the moment, not thinking about it.  We will continue to not think about it until we get the results.  Not thinking about things is exhausting. 

And then we will sing “Auld Lang Sein,” and retire to our recliners for the annual collapse.  This is good.

Happy New Year!  And “God bless us, Every One.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Solstice

‘Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the house
There is chaos and exhaustion, and I just “offed” a mouse.

Christmas will be here in a few days.  I guess I’m ready, although my house is in utter disarray.  But then, so am I.  I have spent the past six weeks in mindless consumption.  My irrational rationale seems to think that holiday calories should not count with the same malignant, body-expanding impact as the other months of the year.  My irrational metabolism thinks otherwise.
It occurs to me that in this month of mirth, there are melodies to celebrate the birth, but not the girth.  No anthems for the slothful and waddlesome.  No carols for the corpulent.  Pity, really.  I notice this dearth because in the past six weeks, my heart has grown, but so have my other component parts.  I am still anatomically correct…just more so.  Of course, I could display some self-restraint as I put on the feedbag and debase myself at the fleshpot.  But that would require some modicum of behavior modification, and that is in direct opposition to my standards of decorum.

However, I suppose it is up to me to remedy this musical oversight for those of us moderately to morbidly obese.

So here goes.  I only hope the MoTab Choir includes these sentiments in their portfolio.
(Sung very roughly to the tune of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”)

I’ll be fat for Christmas.
I won’t count calories.

Please have mo
Sour cream and potato
For poundage round my knees.

I’ll be fat for Christmas.
I’ll be a bigger size.

Please bake pies
To swell my thighs
And ignore me if I cry.

I’ll be fat for Christmas,
Pass the cookies and cream.
I’ll be fat for Christmas,
And bursting at the seams.

It’s not exactly Irving Berlin, but my lyrics don’t bring a tear to the eye…just dimples to the thigh.  I admit I suffer from over-eating remorse.  I regret all the peristalsis required to digest meals of great quantity.  Unfortunately, I become contrite AFTER consuming, and then begin the ritual of shouting impotent threats to impale myself on the nearest candy cane as I make my appointment for bi-directional lipo-suction. I need a crowbar and an oil slick just to get into my clothes. I’m not so sure having a multi-chambered stomach is a good thing. Still, I continue to believe there is always a need to sing an ode to wanton indulgence.  I embrace excess!

I’m not totally convinced that this is the most wonderful time of the year. 
Exhaustion is inherent in every Christmas season.  Merchants and salesmen assault shoppers with unremitting advertisements for the latest sales.  Crime rates seem to increase in direct proportion to extended mall shopping hours.  I actually tried shopping at 5:00 a.m. recently.  Within the space of three minutes I became unaware of my surroundings and began reciting the Pythagorian theorum in hopes of transmitting energy to my frayed nerves.  Dennis gently led me to the car, whispering reassurances to prevent me from tearing off my clothes and running buck nekkid down the aisles.  It was a supreme act of humanitarianism on behalf of the other shoppers. 

However, Tuesday was the winter solstice.  Starting Wednesday, the days will cease dropping precious minutes of daylight.

So despite discordant declarations of morphing into THE UN-SANTA at clashing intervals, I am quite content to allow Christmas to occur.

All six of our little Yetis will gather at our hearth on Christmas Eve.  Their collective decibel level is louder than a carnival barker.  Carter is our perpetual punch-line. The high octane level, (part excitement and part astronomical amounts of blood sugar,) causes the tribe to accelerate in a primitive, angular rhythm requiring high speed stop-motion photography to see each of them clearly. They rumble and tumble through the front door like miniature sumo wrestlers, body-slamming each other in an exuberant smack-down to see who can get to the gifts under the tree first.

   I personally know that Santa has a high threshold for mischief, because we own a debt greater than the national deficit.  I obliterated our budget while single-handedly jump-starting the economy.  If Santa strictly adhered to his “Naughty and Nice” code of conduct, it would be much less expensive.  Santa is benevolent, if a little mentally defective.

And I am ready.  I’ve decorated, baked (that’s a total lie!) wrapped, cleaned, sung Christmas carols, and I’ve called each reindeer by name…(some aliases are best left unrecorded.)  And I’ve listened to Asher sing “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” more times than Sarah Palin’s appeared on TV…I never get tired of Asher. The house is a scene of domestic bliss straight out of Dickens.

The only thing left to do now is shout “HOOAH!” at the appropriate times and feign shock at Santa’s generosity…and tolerance.  It takes a tremendous amount of time and resources to perpetuate the myth of a paranormal jolly, fat, hairy stranger whose mode of travel defies gravity and contradicts the logic of astrophysicists.  But Grandmas are hard wired for saturation gifting.

I won’t be making too many psychological projections for the coming year.  Nor resolutions, for that matter.  I’ll probably spend the greater portion of the next few months just imposing order from the impending Christmas morning upheaval.  But I will watch for new stars in the heavens, no doubt the result of geo-magnetic phenomenon, and 
be amazed at the light, not the dark.  Black holes are not my thing.

And Dennis will be with me.  Merry Christmas.