This Moment: Christmas Casualty

A Friday ritual. 

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment (or in this case a thing) I want to pause, savor and remember.

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Who Invited the Dinosaur?

Christmas was shaping up to be a peaceful and joyous celebration, pretty much.

Kids were well behaved, mostly.

The collective pack of dogs was well behaved, mostly.

It was basically just right.

And then someone let the dinosaur in…

It was surprising for some of us.

It was death defying for others of us.

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There were tears, of laughter.

And Christmas was never the same again, but in a good way.

Happy Holidays!

May all your celebrations be dinosaur infested and full of laughter!

Anxiety Bees Do The Holidays

 

Tooks and I recently wrote a post on Stigma Fighters about how we all have little anxiety bees that live in our heads. You can read it all about them here: http://stigmafighters.com/madhawi-karaya-jessie-stevens/ and, of course, those little bee’s don’t ever leave just because it’s the holidays.

We all make grand plans for the holidays. Plans for our celebrations to bring back the magic of childhood. Or plans to just keep it simple – actually, for real, simple- this year. We plan to be kind and to donate and go caroling at the nursing homes, drink hot chocolate, relax and enjoy this time of year and, of course, it’ll all be Instagram worthy. It’s the holidays and we are going to get it right! But those bees of ours, they are ready to celebrate the holidays too and though they have the best of intentions, they don’t always feel so helpful.

Tipitty didn’t mean to eat all the cookies he baked.

This year he was going to bake all his favorite cookies and save them for Christmas to share with his friends. He would snack in moderation and not gain those holiday pounds. But they were all his favorite cookies and he only makes them once a year. So he ate them anyway. Tipitty felt terribly guilty for eating a few cookies.  So he snuck a few more, just to make himself feel better you see… This downward spiral continued until the cookies ran out and Tippity was quite sure his excessive cookie eating had not only ruined Christmas but that he would burst the buttons on his bee suit.

Sam got all dressed and ready for the party but in the end he stayed home with his Christmas tree.

He likes to be invited to parties and he was going to go this year, he really was.  But then Sam remembered the small talk he will inevitably have to make with the people he doesn’t know, and the effort it will take to travel to the party, and what time exactly would it be best to arrive? By the time the party rolled around Sam had exhausted himself just thinking about it and he decided that his Christmas tree would certainly be much too lonely without him and, besides, his gingerbread cookies needed rearranging anyway.

Ernie was going to start early and pick out just the perfect present for everyone.

They were going to be homemade, handmade, eco-friendly, fair trade, local and perfect in every way. But it took so long to choose and decide. Was this really the right choice? What if it wasn’t quite right after all? Was it better to be fair trade or homemade? Then after all his deliberation Ernie ran out of time so he darted into a store full of fluorescent lights with Christmas music blaring and grabbed the first big gift he saw off the shelf. Now he just hopes the big shiny bow will distract from the awkward gift inside.

When the big day arrives remember we all have a few bees causing trouble in our heads and when those crazy bees get involved, despite their best intentions, we just may end up with a hot mess of a celebration.

It might seem bad now but looking back you’ll fondly remember the Charlie Brown tree, laugh about the dinner burned beyond repair and reminisce about the Aunt Mabel’s incredibly inappropriate gifts. So this year when the big day comes, if your gifts catch fire, don’t worry.  You haven’t wrecked the day, just pull out some s’mores and know you are in the midst of a Christmas to remember.

 

All I Want For Christmas…

Is it too late?

Can I still ask Santa for something special?

All I want for Christmas is an oven mitt, or even a nice pot holder.

Picture the scene.

It’s late evening, the kids are packing their bags and getting ready for the last day of school before Christmas break. We have been blessed with an early Christmas miracle and they are all getting along. John is in the back of the house wrapping presents and I am in the kitchen baking cookies. Christmas carols are cheerfully playing, the tree is lit, the animals are peacefully snoozing on their respective couches. The timer beeps and I reach into the oven to remove another pan of cheerful looking holiday cookies for Jane’s birthday snack and then…

“@!%$*# CATS!!!”

Pans crash, cats scatter under my gaze of fury, dogs jump up, kids and John come running as a stream of language that probably landed me on the naughty list for good runs out of me as I cool my burned thumb under running water.

The problem you see is that the cats – specifically this cute monster –

… have eaten holes in the thumbs of all our oven mitts.

Holes that make it seem like you should still be able to use the oven mitt – but you shouldn’t, you really, really shouldn’t.

Unfortunately after I burned my thumb and our kids’ ears, I doubt Santa is going to deliver.

But I wonder… do you think he’d trade for a cat?

How To Eat a Prick-Headed Monkey

My brother Tyler is going to demonstrate how to properly eat a prick-headed monkey. But first a few prick-headed monkey facts.

-First off, nobody knows why they are called that. They are three cornered pies filled with currents and citron, there are absolutely no monkeys involved.

-Second, nobody in our family that isn’t a direct blood decedent of Gramps actually likes these. There are those that will eat them, but nobody else loves them.

-Third, those of us who love them really love them.

-Fourth, we only make them at Christmas time.

The first thing to do when eating a prick-headed moneky is to find other prick-headed monkey lovers to eat one with you. Three people is the optimal number though two works as well. This is important because the first key to proper prick-headed monkey consumption is to con someone else into cutting it. I divide and you decide has never been more important than in prick-headed monkey division. The pies are nominally triangular in shape and must always be divided into three pieces (I don’t know, it’s tradition, just go with it okay?).

In this instance my mom divided, now she’s pretty good at prick-headed monkey division ( This is a skill, you try dividing a lumpy triangle into three equal parts, it’s not as easy as it seems.) but there was still a large piece. Tyler and I thumb wrestled for it. My brother has thumbs like a gorilla- he won. You can see him here with his rightfully gained largest piece.

This is of course exactly why you want three people to eat it with. Tyler would have had no fun gloating over the largest piece without the other two of us there. This is also the time to take pictures to send to those family members who aren’t able to join in the feast so that you can hold it over their head that you are eating fresh out of the oven prick-headed monkeys and they are not.

Sorry Uncle Jim, we know you are recovering from heart surgery and that’s why you couldn’t be around but there is actually no one else in the world who would want to eat these so these pictures were for you. Notice how Tyler is gazing fondly at his biggest piece before he takes a bite.

In the following picture you can see how Tyler is clearly enjoying his own piece while at the same time mocking ours. Because dough balls.

If the person who made the prick-headed monkey did a good job the filling will be all the way to the corner. If not, the corner will be nothing but a dough ball. To finish off the proper way to consume a prick-headed monkey you must stay on alert for dough balls in the corners. Then, if you made them, you should deny their existence and attempt to prove that you had a current in the very furthest corner of your piece. If someone else made them however it’s best to claim that your corner was nothing but a dough ball and completely terrible.

Even with a dough ball there are those of us who know that prick-headed monkeys are never terrible and, like Tyler in the picture above, we are already plotting our next piece.

Holiday Lights

There’s so much to love about this time of year, the food, the gift giving, the decorations, the cookies, the parties, the vacation time, the holiday spirit…

But I think the thing I love the most is the lights. All the little, twinkling lights shining everywhere on these long dark nights, even inside.

Especially inside.

Because when you have a tree all lit up in the dark…Christmas Tree

… the rest of the house fades away and you can pretend the mess– What mess?

I don’t see a mess!

‘Tis the season of twinkle lights and dark corners, make the most of it!!!

Long ago I used to write posts with more than a hundred words. (I know!? Who knew?!) But I felt the same way about Christmas time. Here is a six year old post about ignoring The Rest of Life to enjoy the season.