Sunday, December 01, 2013

advent

Typically, I get a little sad as a year closes out. It's a bit like when I see an empty space that, just last month, was a thriving store. It's the writer in me, the projecting drama queen, that invents scenarios of failure. Scandal. Disease. Divorce. December with its dark cloak and thin air. Its whistle-blast of chill. The Matchstick Girl. The Grim Reaper. How can you hoist a glass all rosy-cheeked in the face of all this overness?

Do you ever see some random person on the street you think you know, then, horrified, edit the false recognition because the person you thought it was, you suddenly realize, is dead? I hate when that happens. That's what December feels like. A sort of deja vu yet-to-come. Like the A Christmas Carol and that foreboding ghost of the future. Or It's a Wonderful Life and the scary propositions of what could have been. Chains and whatnot. Evil Mr. Potter types casting glances of spite and rancor: spiritual concussion. Residue of dread.

My daughter the social worker was over tonight and poring over her laptop writing notes on intakes in preparation for several court dates where she'll be advocating in behalf of her caseload of abused children. Abuse is way up in December. As is suicide and pneumonia and fatal accidents and heart attacks.

And yet, here in my tiny writing nook with my puppy snoring beside me, on this very first day of December, I feel oddly bolstered by hope and gratitude. I spent the long weekend with various members of my loving family and long-time friends. I ate (and mostly didn't over eat) delicious, satisfying food. I read the entire Sunday paper (two of them!) and supported local merchants while eschewing big box deals. All my children were here tonight for dinner (except for the stepdaughter in California, but we had a stand-in young adult from Columbia in her stead, so it felt like a full house) and we had miso soup and sushi and salmon and potstickers (because, we're all a little sick of turkey at this point). For dessert, we nibbled on Alma ginger-almond toffee. Bliss, bliss, so much bliss.

So. My goal for the month is to smite that December downer matchstick girl ennui. I want to be energized and loving and kind to strangers and family alike. Toss the drunk dude at the highway a ramp a fiver. Offer my premium parking space to the shithead in the Escalade. Laugh at the folly of life when I accidentally track in a sodden clump of dog crap and don't notice it until I've tattooed it on every carpeted stair tread.

Tomorrow is Monday. My favorite day of the week, (it's the opposite of the end, you see). I feel a crazy joie de vivre creeping into my Grinchly tiny December heart. All those curmudgeons of fable who go from bastard-to-benevolent with Christmas spirit? That. That! Why not that?! Sing with me, won't you! Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores...

So, friends, what's your favorite Christmas Carol? 


19 comments:

  1. My favorite by far. My grandmother had an old 45 she'd put on the turntable and we'd sing this while dancing and sliding around the kitchen. In the summer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip25X8wu_dQ

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    1. Brenda Lee! Oh lord, that woman is a performer.

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  2. I'm sorry, did you say toffee? Ginger-almond toffee? Swoon.

    This is the time of year when I start watching the Celtic Women. I'm mostly a rock-and-roll girl because I love music with tons of imperfections, but there is something wonderful about truly polished music, without all the grace notes and vocal gymnastics so many singers indulge in.

    I play this one in my car, all year long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwsotJdrzEA

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    1. Yes, Averil, I did say ginger-almond toffee - which, after offering samples all around, I horded the majority of and OD'd on yesterday. Sorry, not sorry? Actually I am sorry. I went into post-sugar-high funk, thus already negating my resolve to be nice-instead-of-naughty.

      Carol of the Bells, OMG! Ear-candy-central!

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  3. David Bowie and Bing Crosby Drummer Boy is my fave; although, I always get an urge to cry when I hear John Lennon start singing, "And so this is Christmas..." and not because of the nuance of the song, but b/c my mom's depression always heightened at Christmas and I remember the year John Lennon died and she cried and cried the whole month through. I do love that song. (Wait..did I just admit I like being sad??)

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    1. True confession. When I was 20 or so, I had this unrequited crush on this boy from my home town, and when I came home from school for break, I sat in my car and listened to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIWeow6W14 repeatedly, sogging up an entire box of Kleenex.

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    2. Jesus, it's the other me... I never know which version of me will pop up on my own comments. Just call me hopelessly narcissistic.

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    3. And... holy shit! That song still brings tears to my eyes. I am such a tool.

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    4. awww, shit, I LOVE that song & you sitting in your car crying at 20 over a boy...you're every woman in that scene. that song reminds me of this song, which always makes me cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5UgimK3vrI

      here's a great dan fogelberg/writer/blogger story. way back when i was the other josey, i wrote a post where i referenced, in a joking (but not mean) way, some dan fogelberg song. i don't even remember what i said, but i got multiple emails from dan fogelberg fans, all checking me for my slight toward their guy. it was like when you mention car or insurance in a blog post and you get slammed w/ spam comments for car insurance. only it wasn't spam. fogelberg just has a VERY loyal following (as he should, in case any of them are reading).

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    5. Josey, I think I sorta remember that Fogelberg-faux pas. Actually, it was not a faux pas at all. Anyone who has spent time with tissues and lovelorn misty watercolor memories whilst singing along with the Dan (not to be confused with Steely Dan, of course), can't possibly not make fun of herself down the road, right? Right?

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    6. And Miracles... holy fuck. Get me on the time-warp Starship for Christmas and send me off with a mullet and a walkman, and hopefully it won't be too cold to snap my fingers along with the beat.

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    7. Oh, Josey, and since we're doing the retro thing, we do need to place my favorite seasonal anthem in this thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCwlEnuXYsE

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  4. Hey Suzy, I love the yin and yang of this piece. We all know "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" which is NOT my favorite Christmas carol. This is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8
    At least for today.
    XO
    Laura

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    1. Laura! Leave it to you to bring on the Pogues. I feckin' lerve the Pogues. And this merriment and Irishness could lift the dead. Which is the point, me thinks...

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    2. ...and I'm back to my other self. It's a google account thing. One day, I'll figure out how to smerge them. But today is not the day. The pup must piddle!

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  5. now I can't stop Googling youtube Christmas songs. here's one to lighten this party up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_qck_zNUNk (for some reason this one makes me think of our favorite Stranger Danger blogger)

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    1. The Waitresses!! And oh, yeah. Stranjah Danjah!

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  6. I need a little Christmas, right this very minute. Perhaps as a counterpoint to this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paL7kNC-xfI that seems to be my teenage son's favorite song du jour (I actually like it a lot, but it's not very, you know, ho ho ho and shit).

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  7. And don't forget this one... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFMyF9fDKzE

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Thanks for commenting. If you have trouble posting a comment, let me know! suzyvitello@gmail.com