Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Letter that Started it All

So basically I wrote my first Christmas letter this year, and I found that I really liked writing it. REALLY. Also I found myself hilarious, and thought I could write a blog. I wanted to share that letter with you, so that you too will know just how funny I can be. Oh and I totally changed people's names, you know, to fit my "theme."

Last year after The Duke and I sent out our Christmas cards, I told him that Someday when I am a grown-up, I’d like to try my hand at a Christmas Letter. He had spent most of the evening trying to convince me how important it is to personalize each and every card. And I get that, I really do, but I just didn’t care that much. So that’s his job. Now mind you, in my family the Christmas Letter isn’t simply a chance for people to brag about their kids and how great they are and blah, blah, blah, gag me. (No offense, I mean, I’m sure your kids are great.) No, in my family the Christmas letter is a snarky, humorous and poignant review of the most memorable moments of the previous year. We anxiously await it, and don’t read it alone to yourself in a corner while you eat a snack or glance at it and toss it aside as you hurry to the bathroom. After all, you did just get home and you probably really need to go. No! It must be read aloud, with everyone present, and with appropriate voices whenever possible. Suffice it to say, we look forward to it. So you can understand my trepidation as I embark on this quest. No? Whatever. I digress. When I mentioned this Someday-grown-up-ness, The Duke sort of looked at me like I had something on my face and asked me what, exactly, I meant by being grown-up. I probably said something like, “You know, when I have kids and stuff” and he very matter-of-factly suggested that if I really wanted to write a Christmas Letter then I should go ahead and write one. Always the voice of reason.

SO… Here I sit. I guess I should sum up the year, or something. I quit my job at Applebee’s in September which is GREAT. It’s amazing how I hate people less because I don’t have to wait on them and serve them food! It sounds awful, but it’s the truth. Not having a job that kills my soul is so nice. Instead, I work at the [local campus ministry] and focus on being a superbly average graduate student. Mostly this refers to the fact that I care less about grades and actually give a damn if I retain the information! Is that what growing up means? After all, that’s what matters for when I have my Big Kid Job, right? Pretty sure.

The Duke tells me all the time that what I do at [campus ministry] isn’t actually Work. “I’ve seen what you do. That’s not Work.” He was almost certainly referring to a lively game of Velociraptor Tag, of which I was not a participant but merely a spectator, hysterical with laughter. I may participate someday. Maybe. Probably not. Because in spite of myself, Conventionality has rubbed off on me. Damn. I think he’s just jealous because he’s still stuck in his own personal soul-killing Apple-hell. But, when I am done with school and have my Big Kid Job it will be his turn to go back and finish his degree.

I have definitely been busy, and so as the season of Advent draws near, I find myself longing for the darkness and the quiet. I am anticipating the Anticipation, and the deep joy that comes from refocusing my energy from school to spending time with family and finally getting my apartment clean. This year I have found myself especially offended by the commercialism of it all, horrified that at a time when I and many others are seeking to downsize and simplify, stores are opening even earlier for Black Friday and it offends me on a very basic level. I get it, it’s Capitalism, our economy is based on people spending money, and the more we spend the better off we are, but is that really true? I’m skeptical. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a broke-ass grad student, but it just seems ridiculous.

And so this coming Christmas will be quieter, more subdued, thoughtful, and reflective. My gifts will be of a more sentimental nature, so I am trying my hand at scrapbooking. I KNOW, right? Crazy. We’ll see how that pans out. Or there’s always the gift of Quality Time, like my mom’s gift. I bought her ticket so we could go see [touring Broadway show]. Maybe I should ask for a pair of sunglasses, seeing as how we lost three pairs in the month Lady Texts-A-Lot (The Duke’s sister) spent with us. She lost a set in the monkey pit at [The] Zoo (“At least it wasn’t an umbrella,” she said, pointing.), I sat on a pair, and then The Duke lost the sporty wrap-arounds that I had let him have. He left them on top of the Jeep as we were leaving [a local amusement park] (The Duke: I remember where I left my sunglasses. Me: Where? The Duke: On the edge of the hood. They’re about a quarter-mile back.). We are so full of the Awesome.

Or I could ask for a new phone? I’ll be starting my school counseling internships in January, and I am terrified that I won’t be able to keep everything straight, and I have been eyeing that Blackberry Curve… After all, I am usually the one with the cool phone but ever since The Duke found out he was eligible for an upgrade, he’s been kind of full of himself, with his fancy touch-screen and sleek design. I am totally jealous. See what consumerism does to people? (Note: the ONLY reason I can afford this is because of a mail-in rebate. Don’t think for one second I have a secret pile of cash and if you whack me you’ll get some kind of inheritance.)

Know who’s not really worried about consumerism? My cats. They’re all, “Let’s learn to open the screen door onto the balcony: she’ll totally flip out,” and “Won’t it be great when I puke on her shoes? That’ll teach her to put acne medicine on my chin” because that’s right, one has blackheads on her chin. Did you know CatAcne or Cacne as I will call it is actually quite common? Me either. And if your cat develops Cacne just slap some Stridex on that shit and call it good. Oh, and get rid of plastic food or water dishes that can become scratched and harbor icky Cacne causing bacteria. Welcome to my life.

At least I’m not making you take all the nifty self-assessments I torture The Duke with! (Me: Answer “Yes” or “No.” Him: rolls his eyes Okay. Me: ‘You spend your leisure time actively socializing with a group of people, attending parties, shopping, etc.’ The Duke: What leisure time? Me: It’s a hypothetical question. The Duke: Well then how can it be accurate? Me: Okay, fine. If you had leisure time, how would you spend it? The Duke: You rephrasing the question doesn’t change anything. Me: Just answer the damn question. The Duke: Well sometimes I like to go out but sometimes I like to stay home. Me: What do you mostly like to do? The : I don’t know, it depends. Me: JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION.) You can see how the conversation quickly deteriorates. It takes us an hour to get him through a twenty-minute assessment.

So, it’s been an eventful year. As I look back on the gales of laughter and the tears of sadness I know that I will never be the same. And I believe that’s a good thing. May God bless and keep you always.


michelle said...

Hi. Found you through The Bloggess. I love your blog so far, and will check back to see what else is rolling around in your head ;)
Peace to you!

The Duchess said...

Michelle! That is so great. The only thing rolling around in my head right now is snot. (I have a cold.) But I hope something fun will happen in my cold-medicine induced loopy-ness.