Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas is finally at our throats.

Tis the season to be blogging, one supposes. However, I must say I am appalled in the piddly font choices available to me. There are several, among those who know me, who will take an oath to the effect I would probably prefer to blog--what a sad, unfortunate word, yes?--via fountain pen. They may be right. Those who have been subjected to what passes for my penmanship might just sigh relievedly.

Anyway.

Ah, Christmas.

We always kick off the Advent season with what we call "making room for Santa." This means that the boys have to get whichever toys they do not play with regularly, and bundle them up, and we donate them. Most of these toys are brand new, having received a child's play on December 25th of the previous year, and not seen any action from a child thereafter. After the first 20 minutes the old ""Oooooh...but I LOVE this!" "But you haven't played with it for 11 months!" dialogue abates, and progress goes by pretty quickly.

We started a new tradition--yes, I know--of baking the cookies for Santa from scratch, and having enough left over to disseminate among those whom we visit on Christmas Day. Numbah One Son chose something called "Maple Crackles" which sounded like an Agatha Christie character, but turned out to be quite yummy and healthy...since we pulled the recipe from EatingWell magazine. (The magazine has amazing recipes, but most of their editorial content is wasted whining about "sustainable farming" and the lack of organic produce available in the inner cities. This is stilll preferable to Cooking Light, which features too many recipes with stuff out of cans, and wastes most of its editorial space with articles that could only appeal to the post-menopausal members of Lifetime TV's audience. Do what I do and just buy the cookbooks, that way you don't have to read IQ-evaporating drivel.)

We put out an even dozen cookies for Santa Claus, and Numbah One Son wrote him a nice little note. Santa wrote back to the effect that, if his grade for conduct, pensmanship and effort were better, then, maybe, the haul -- which was pretty nice as it was -- might have been a bit richer. The cookies were a hit, suiting the foodies, the fat/carb-phobes, the fussy and the people who eat stuff out of boxes and drive-through windows.

As usual, we gathered at the ancestral bosom for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Among these traditions is pretending dinner will be at 7pm (in fact, it's almost always 9pm by the time all are seated), wondering who will make the salad (a very retro Iceberg/Tomato/Cucumber thing with dressing out of a bottle), and my parents stressing out at each other and otherwise being unbearable. Also we have to witness the David Lynch-casting-call parade of relatives, all of whom would lead an observer to wonder what Darwin was smoking.

Seeing as how people are in so foul a mood on This Most Joyous Season, I just make myself a sandwich; quite frowned upon, but it's not like I am obliterating anyone's sunny outlook.

But all brightens up as we head to Midnight Mass. I kinda like Midnight Mass, and I like it a Hell of a lot more at my church (Well, I didn't build it, nor do I own it, but you get the idea.) which is the kind of Catholic Church you used to see littering the landscape before macramé rolled around.

Midnight Mass--and we'll leave all the religious aspects aside for the moment--at this Church is precisely the hidebound, reactionary, grand sort of thing I love. There are songs and carols, and responses, and prayers in Latin to leaven the whole vulgate thing. There is more incense than you can comfortably inhale in 90 minutes. The Church itself is filled with marble, and Baroque flourishes at every turn. The Church actually has a tabernacle and a nave. There is a cross to which Christ is nailed...instead of the "floatin' Jesus" in so many churches. It's something you rarely see in American Catholicism. It is High Church and I love it.

Anyway, we go and drag as many people as we can (not many, alas) and we sing and pray and just revel in the Christmasness of it all. Personally, I resolve to be less of the obnoxious, judgmental snob I generally am and I am filled with the milk of human kindness. We'll see if it takes.

As a tangent...WTF is this going on with calling Christmas "the holiday" this year?

Giftwise, in a clockwork-like-an-eclipse way, I made out OK. My parents didn't give me a beard trimmer or quesadilla maker. My wife didn't give me something she plucked at random from the Herrington catalog. Even my sister did OK by me. The star gift, however, was a vintage 1964 (pre-TAG) Heuer Carrera chronograph. The strap is a kind of Steve McQueen-y sort of retro thing for which I do not care, but why pick nits.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Posted by Joke at 5:12 PM

Friday, December 10, 2004

Cliffs Notes: The Joke

Hi. My name is Joke Googlia, although fans of obscure films might best know my body of work under the name Bert The Human Tripod. For those of you who are warm weather stalkers, I live in the Fringe O' Paradise (a lovely suburb just outside of Miami), in the world's slowest fixer-upper fixing-upping. Since I require a support mechanism, I live with That Fabulous Babe I Married, our oldest son, Numbah One Son, and our our youngest son, Numbah Two Son. Given that our work schedules remind most sentient beings of a certain age of the film Ladyhawke, the odds for a Numbah Three Son are very damned slim indeed.

Given the aforesaid schedule, which has each of us (the parents, at any rate) working Very Opposite busy seasons, I get to play Stay At Home Dad for about half of the school year. The other half of the school year I am a financial wizard on par with Peter Lynch, JP Morgan and Meyer Lansky. The work part, other than producing some medically interesting side-effects any moment now, isn't so much fun to blog about or, I'm guessing, read. The SAHD part is, because I am allowed entry into the world of moms. Moms are interesting, fascinating creatures, especially if they forget you don't have fallopian tubes.

Although the work stuff is dull as a cue ball, in order to achieve this lofty status which requires near-constant worry, I had to do the MBA thing. Which isn't so damned interesting in and of itself, but! it sure makes you look at life very differently. Also that's where I met and wooed (in that order) TFBIM who is both a nurse (RN) and accountant (CPA). I had to lay on the charm kind of thick to get a hottie such as her to marry me, or more correctly, be charming enough to keep her narcolepsy from kicking in, that I may engage in proper courtship.

So we got married and had the two boys, and moved to the lovely house and made lovely friends, and put the lovely NOS in a lovely Catholic school (because we're hardcore Papist-types) and then had to deal with the lovely NTS's mild autism (or, as NOS called it when he was little, "oddtism" and I think the lad is on to something) which he seems to enjoy most of the time, but vexes the rest of us. But he is making progress and we are fully confident of the Pinocchio Scenario coming to pass soon with perseverance, prayer, generous applications of cash and no thanks to the gummint or the insurance companies.

The purpose of this blog is, frankly, to charm the world.

When I am not obsessing over work or children, I enjoy vexing my wife by making friends I have not met in real life, I also enjoy vintage Italian sports cars, wine, food, working out (see how it all ties together?), home theater stuff, having long protracted discussions over design and decor with TFBIM, blogging, wine, emailing, MST3K, Real Beer, vintage film, ardent spirits, bespoke apparel for gentlemen, anachronistic Catholicism, driving quite fast and often on race tracks, Gilbert & Sullivan, British humor, books on etiquette, the beach, New Wave/surfabilly/rockabilly/blues, the Marx Brothers, fountain pens, P. G. Wodehouse, really nice stationery, Alfa Romeo cars, Harry Potter, wearing one of my several black tie combinations, watches, cocktail shakers, operetta, Buster Keaton, opera, and cocktails. That's just off the top of my head.

Oh, I cannot type.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:01 AM 1 comments