Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Xmas, Schmexmas

I'm not like this every December. I'm usually the one who demands a tree be put up and each of us contributes to the library of Kickass Christmas Music every year. I've kept my grandmother's handmade ornaments through many moves, even the ones that are so freaking huge that the tree required to hang them is too big for any house I'll ever own.

This year is my exception. Things are a challenge right now. You know how it is: you let something traumatic happen in the End-of-the-year Holiday Run, and the season becomes a great pit of winter despair for years afterwards. The hell with that. I need to take this one off, let all these changes happen, then save up the spirit for next year. For me, it's less of a War on Christmas and more of a Refusing to Return Christmas' Phone Calls.

This means minimal exposure to grocery and retail stores, no tree, and sticking my fingers in my ears to reduce potentially damaging exposure to Jose Feliciano. I've done all my shopping online, and refuse to sweat the fact that amazon still has not shipped my stuff. If it doesn't show up for the 25th, then they're freaking New Years Day gifts. Deal.

I went to North Fort Worth with Jer to see his family last weekend. I insisted he tell them about our impending divorce. He didn't want to lay the news down so close to Christmas. I didn't want to go up there and play Nothing's Wrong. After an exchange that was more about venting than our options, he called his sisters and told them. Each, in their own special way, let me know that I would still be considered part of the family.

His oldest sister called me immediately and told me not to worry, divorce was a regular pasttime with the family, and there were hangers on to the clan from marriages long, long gone. Another assured me that her influence with the family would be sufficient to bind me. Uh, thanks, I think.

The oldest sister's daughter is Sara, who I've watched go from household to household trying to take root. She's a smart, curious young woman now, just 21 with no taste yet for dry wine. I'll have to fix that, especially since she's into cooking. I wanted to give her something with meaning. So I got her a knife.

It wasn't the Wustoff; I wanted Wustoff but as Jer and I had only just finalized the trip hours before, my best hope was to hit the Ace Mart Restaurant Supply. They had Forschners, a step down but still really good knives. I got the 7" Santoku with the Granton edge. It's the perfect all-purpose chef tool with some weight. Some gravitas. That onion knows it's being chopped with a bad-ass knife. This feeling is important for the young chef.

I wanted to get her a cookbook, too, and here began my dilema: she's a devotee of Rachel Ray, and I'd love nothing better than to jump her up a few notches from 365 Fifteen Minute Meals. I thought about giving her my copy of The Way to Cook. It'd be a special gift because it was mine, and she could say it was from her Auntie Taj when she totes it to culinary school. But then I realized that was quite a jump, and wasn't the most important thing to encourage her from where she was? So I opted for the Food Network Something-Or-Other Cookbook with her hero, Rachael Ray right on the cover. Besides--wtf am I thinking?--that little shit's not getting my Julia Child.

Fred and Austin, my two little monkey boys, got a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia, which I bought despite the clerk's rolling eyes. Never mind the whole movie hooptie-doo, these were my favorite stories when I was their age, and I vowed to hand them down to my children when I finished the whole set (I really did, isn't that cute? I was so serious as a child). Kids are out for me, so I gave the set to my nephews instead. It was fun to watch them fuss over them; I wasn't sure how they'd react to getting books. But they couldn't wait to read them. I was deeply gratified. Later, I pulled myself up into the tree where Fred had wedged himself and was sounding out the first sentence of The Magician's Nephew. He's a charmer, that one. I asked him if he wanted me to read to him, and he said yes. About halfway into the third page, remembered what a dull storyteller Lewis can be. God, I thought, I hope these books won't bore them, then end up in a box of mismatched robot parts. But hey, anyway, I fulfilled a childhood vow.

Baby Sammy got Where the Wild Things Are, of course, and his mother reminded me to sign it. I'm not sure what I wrote now. I'd drunk a bottle of Cava by then.

My moments:

Introducing Sara and her boyfriend to a lovely Italian Dolce Rose. Now, that, my dear, is proper sweet wine.

Redheaded Austin, marching up to me with an enormous grin and his neck adorned with wrestling medals.

Watching Grandpa's face while he told me about the kind of woman his wife had been.

Fred giggling and pulling me head over heels into the neighbor's grass.

Colleen sitting in my lap. Sydney telling me she loves to write.

Teaching the kids how to play Exquisite Corpse.

Breakfast the next day with Ryan, at the 290 East Cafe.

All that happened last weekend. So who gives a rat's ass what goes on the 25th?


Blogger jens at cincinnati wine said...

As they say in retail, Merry Fuckin' Christmas! I can't wait to slide that airplane seat back on the 25th when we hit 10,000 feet on the way to Salt Lake City and five days of skiing. I heard Delta is now BYOB, so a half bottle of Bogle Phantom is OK if I can get the cork out somehow. I'm thinking pull the cork before I get onboard so I don't have to sneak the corkscrew past security. Is it good form to order a wine off the menu also and then tip the waitress for both bottles for her time and trouble?

Just some thoughts as we count down three more fuckin' shopping days to Christmas.


8:42 PM  
Blogger Samz mom said...

It was "Sammy, Stay wild. Love, Auntie Tif". And, dearest Tif, I do have that influence. It's not my imagination...

Love ya!
Sammy's Mom

8:14 PM  
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10:20 AM  

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