A Brand, Shiny, New Year

Well, My Darlings,

On this eve of the eve of the new year, I send you my greatest wishes that you all have a spectacular year to come.  Or at least passing.  Mediocre at worst.  Know what?  Let's call it even that I wish you the best and if it doesn't work out that way for you, well, it wasn't me.  I wanted all the best for all of you.  But if you can't get it together to have a terrific year, well, maybe that requires some introspection, eh?  I'm not pointing fingers or anything, but, well, we all know that sometimes some of you don't really try.

Just know that I'm wishing good things for you.  Or at least most of you.  Not that I wish anyone ill, I just might concentrate more on those of you I like the best.  Like, "Oh, I really hope the best for Cecil."  as opposed to "I wonder what Mavis is doing?"  You see the difference, right?  One contains a hope/wish for the best, the other is a mere passing thought.

To ensure you get a wish for the best, you can send cash or the standard precious metal to me no later than the 7th of January and I'll get you on the list.  Otherwise, well, you see where I'm going...  And this only applies to those of you I like the least (if you have to ask, this means you).  The rest of you are in the clear, no remuneration necessary.

I love you all (well...ish),  but I at least like most of you and don't dislike any of you.  Much.  But I like to hedge my bets, make you all feel secure so if I need something from you, you always believe that I like you and would do anything for you.  But I guess I shouldn't have told you that.  Now you'll all be suspicious.

So, I take that back, I love you all and hope you have a fanfuckingfarouttastic coming year.  And remember what good ol' Ben Franklin said:  Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better (hu)man.

And if you need suggestions for resolutions, here are a few reliable ones:  1) Get (back) in shape.  2) Solve the problem of world hunger.  3) Get that tattoo (removed).  4) Clean the house more than bi-anually.  5) Quit smoking (again).  6) Bring peace to earth.  7) Learn Japanese.  8) Paddle-boat to Australia.  9) Reverse global warming.  10) Believe the improbable.

Happy New Year y'all.  



My house is a mess.  Trashed is more like it.  I have about 700 pounds of laundry to do.  The trash pile is so big, I'm pretty sure it's become sentient and is reproducing.

On the upside, my house is my own again (well - and Matt's).  I'll be in a better mood soon.


I Cannot Wait...*

...to buy my Christmas dinner ingredients

...to open my favorite wine to go with dinner

...for egg-nog and gingerbread cookies

...to wrap presents with Matt

...to start reading Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

...to play backgammon and Scene It

...to show everyone my totally flippin' awesome yoga Christmas tree ornament:

...to use the good china

...to pop popcorn and watch The Ref, The Life of Brian, and It's a Wonderful Life

...to see the relatives off

...to usher in the new year with Dick Clark, Matt, and some fairly decent champagne and be done with the holidays for another year

*idea purloined from Hannah


Written in My Own Hand

Handwriting is something I love.  I probably should hve been  graphologist.

When I was in college, I took notes by hand.  I think this is still done, but it's more and more common to see computers in the classroom.  My nephew takes a laptop to class and classrooms are now equipped with SMART Boards that allow teachers to both write on the board or bring in typed text and manipulate them in real time.  No more chalk dust.  There's even a system where kids have electronic buttons at their desks that they use to answer multiple choice test questions and shows a graph at the end of each test of how the class did (not individuals, but the class overall) on the test.

Kids still have paper and pens and pencils for a lot of classwork, but most homework ends up getting typed.  I'm guessing that someday soon, there'll even be a way to have most classwork typed, too.

Even correspondence ends up being largely digital.  I used to write letters by hand.  Then, slowly, people stopped writing back.  Instead, I'd get an email.  Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of email, the ease and immediacy of it, but I feel a loss that nothing is hand written anymore.  Even inviatations - mostly e-vites.

I'm not making a huge case for the formality of a hand written letter or invitation, but there is a touch of care there that I miss in the digital form.  It's just a small effort that makes me feel nice.  But that's not what I miss most.

I think the thing I miss the most about handwriting is what it says about the writer.  Not the words, but the script itself.  I feel the personality of the writer just by seeing the writing.  Even my own writing as it evolves over time tells me where I was when I wrote something.

I was going through some old notes from college yesterday - notes written strictly in green ink dispensed from  a Pilot pen - and even less than ten years ago, my handwriting was different.  Not hugely so, but somewhat.

I have letters from a friend of mine from our early 20s.  She's an artist and it shows in her letters.  She paid all attention to color and line.  She would occasionally make shapes with the words or colors on the page.  She chose her paper carefully and made sure that it was always compatible with her writing medium.  Sure, she did it because she knew it was cool looking, but it was more because she like to do it.  She liked to make it look a certain way.

I can identify all of her letters by sight.  Not only because they're beautiful, but because I recognize her writing - even as it evolved over the years.  It's a cool, fun connection to a person I love.

I also like that I can go back to my own notes and read things that I undeniably wrote, but that I can't identify with and would never have believed I ever thought if I hadn't seen the proof written in my own hand.

These little revelations about my thought processes at times in the past is the most fun.  The marginalia in novels I haven't read for years is particularly fun.  Perspectives on character and plot that seemed so definitive when I was 18 is much less obvious 18(ish) years later.

I type most of what I write these days because to write it out longhand and then transcribe it to a word processor is a waste of time.  But I still write letters - even though no one writes back - and I have a lot of notebooks where I keep ideas and outlines.  I do it because I like the feeling of the pen in my hand and the sensation of putting ink on paper.  I also do it because someday I'll look at the notes I write today and laugh or think WTF, man?  And it will be fun.



I feel slack.  Not like a slacker, mind you, just slack.  Like the tension just broke and I'm all loose and, well, slack.  I like the sensation, but I know that what's coming in the realm of tension is going to exceed my normal limits.

See, my in-laws are coming for Christmas.  Under the best circumstances, I only like about half of them, but circumstances are not usually the best.  Usually, as will occur starting on the 24th of this month, they will descend en masse (not that the masse is so large, but they don't trickle is all I'm saying) having already spent too much time in the car together.

Matt's aunt and mother fight a lot.  A lot.  And then they stop speaking to each other for months and/or years at a time.  You might not realize how awesome this makes family gatherings, so let me just say, it's just fantastic.

Matt's dad is pretty quiet most of the time - to the point that conversation is somewhat difficult.  This, too, makes gatherings a blast.  I hear that conversations that begin and end in 30 seconds or less are de rigueur this holiday season.  I'm only sorry I can't put a 30-second conversation in all of your Christmas stockings as a little bonus.

Matt's brother and brother's girlfriend are cool people, but even they will be cranky and unpleasant by the time they arrive.  This will be justified as having spent 5 hours in a car with people who are fighting and/or silent is bound to get to even the most fun-loving person.

I don't have to put all of them up (so sad) because we don't have the room, but they're all going to be at our house most of the time.  This is my real Christmas present from Santa.  Apparently I've been naughty.

I wish I liked them better.  I really do.  I also deal with them much better in smaller groupings.  Somehow togetherness is not their strong suit.  It exacerbates lifetimes-old rivalries and brings decades-old arguments back to the present.

They don't arrive for 21 days and the bickering has already commenced.  There's the question of who will be staying with us and which of the party will be staying at a hotel and what so-and-so has on his/her Christmas list. 

Then there's the matter of food.  One person doesn't like fish, another doesn't eat beef, three really "don't care for" lamb.  One would really prefer to have turkey and one is a pescetarian.  Sweet Jesus and ice cream.  So after much email negotiation, I've settled on  a bone-in pork loin for the bulk of the party and a largeish piece of salmon for the pain in my ass pescetarian.

I can feel the pull on the end of the line already.