Shouts out: A late happy birthday to Charlotte, who has the unenviable birthday of 12/25. You rock, keep it up. And also to dolphingirl
, who sent me a solstice card, but didn't include a return address. And to everyone
who'll be hangin' in KC this week without me. Down some Lambic in my name.
Despite the lack of slyviolet
's presence, our Solstice selebration was quite quol. Anna brought her brother and a friend, both pagan, who managed to show their colors as tried and true geeks. Roleplaying, discordia, Linux, all the standards. But also music, crafts, and other good pagan endeavors. Bo&Bbackward;, who frequently runs into me when he's delivering for the Papa was there, and even gave me some of his original artwork as a present. Heather's mmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm goddess dandelion wine was "the first time [he'd] ever dranken." My mom was also present, and had a grand ol' time singing pagan carols with the aforementioned geeks. Heather managed to spill soup all over herself before coming over, which put her in something of a funk, so there were some energy issues to work out before we started. That was okay, though, because the rest of us were excellently fed and entertained by my parents and the host of celtic books my mom had out, plus her finger labyrinths. The ceremony included lighting candles to foster growth of projects. After the candles burned through ritual and song, our cauldron was an impressive vat of molten wax. And a little planning and a bunch of sand kept the studio's carpet hole-free, partly thanks to the lesson of the Welty's carpet. Between people driving to Arizona in the morning (3), people feeling sick (2), people who'd been up for 42 hours (1), and people not up for staying awake all night (several), the party didn't go past 2am. No drumming up the sun for us. I'll have to make that a goal next year, when I don't feel sick and we can plan a little better. Fortunately, the other pagans around the planet were loud enough, convincing the sun to rise once again.
Saturday... I got more sick. I had intended to get some action in Dragonfire
's Season of the Shadowlands, but by the time came for me to leave, I just felt like curling up in the chair reading Gödel, Escher, Bach, in which I was convieniently already engaged. I drank a lot of tea. I think I did something else, but I was too sick to notice. Bleach. Oh, right. I watched Monday Night Football on Saturday night. First time I'd watched it since Dennis Miller joined. Mad props for making an Ingmar Bergman reference in a football game.
Sunday was a complete wash. I felt better, but I had absolutely no motivation to get out of the chair. I watched two football games. I'd forgotten how utterly obnoxious TV commercials are. Especially around Christmas time. Even more so when you see them 17 times in 6 hour period. I managed to fit in more TV with 60 Minutes, local news (I'd forgotten how terrible that is, too), and two (edited) episodes of Ed Sullivan (Rolling Stones and Bill Haley). The latter was oddly refreshing. You just don't see bears riding motorcycles and guys doing superhuman hula hoop tricks on TV now days. And yet today's TV is rarely any better. Vaudville I never knew ye.
Christmas Eve television is even worse. I think I prefer the stories of murder and mayhem to the announcement that Santa Claus is in our timezone. (At 10pm? What kid goes to bed at 10pm on Christmas Eve?) And how much money does the government spend tracking Santa Claus
? The local news doesn't do big stories about the Easter Bunny. They don't make a fuss when Green Man comes back every year. Nightline did have a couple cool stories about people who answer Santa's mail, though. The television watching was redeemed, however, with Allegro non troppo
. If you like Fantasia, you should see that movie. If you hated Fantasia, you should see that movie. It's like Fantasia, but with a European sense of humor and much better live action. And lest you think I've become addicted to the opiate of the new generation, I read several Scientific American
articles, defending my suggestion that we renew our subscription. If my family read the entirety of every magazine in our bathroom, our legs would be permanently asleep. I was denied permission to go shopping, feeling rather cold.
Christmas at our house is a national anomaly. We arose at our usual waking time, roughly noon, and had Fergus's Famous French Toast. We couldn't find our Christmas stockings, so various sundry was placed in mucklucks and fleece socks. I read more Scientific American. My mom decided that 3:30pm was a good time to start "wrapping" presents. We sat down to dinner at 10pm. Our usual fare is surprisingly standard, lefse added, though our recent addition of pumpkin soup rules. However, not to fall back to normalcy, my brother went to bed, forgetting that it was Christmas and we hadn't opened presents yet. We didn't even start opening presents until it was technically Boxing Day. As usual, I got some clothes (will I wear the turtlenecks? time will tell) including a k-sparkly hand-wash-only cat shirt for special occasions, several books I don't have time to read, a little music, and a spiffy gizmo from Into the Wind
. I didn't give my family any presents because I hadn't left the house in four days, and finals week was far from a good time to go shopping. So this way I'll be able to find the funky spiff for me and others on sale and at my leisure. And my brother will work on finding me a smurf penis.
For those who read my journal for my nougats of wisdom, I now present The Theory of Trevor's Cristmas. I'm self-consciously anti-Christian, but I don't mind going to midnight mass as a cultural experience. I celebrate Christmas, not out of any devotion to Christ or deep reverence for tradition, but as a swell vessel for Gluttony and Sloth. There is a tradition there, but our family flexes it, which is how real tradition should be. In the spirit of polytheism, why celebrate just one holiday? There's enough fun to go around for a whole week of party (word up KC!). But I could celebrate Christmas in the middle of February and not worry. I refuse the obligation to buy gifts for people. A good gift should be spontaneous and freely given, and ought to have approximately equal probability of coming at the end of december as in late July. Furthermore, two decades of life in my house have taught me that material acquisition is not all it's cracked up to be. I'm glad that my friends don't feel the need to give me Christmas presents. In return, I don't give them cliches to fill up valuable space. Christmas gifts have the potential of wealth distribution, rich relatives bestowing their poorer brethren with expensive gadgets and the less economically fortunate providing gifts of more ephemeral value. However, most people shop for themselves far better than they do for others (since I know what I want), so material acquisition is best left to individuals, who then gather together for jolly fun and share the fruits of their own creativity. The White Elephant solves several gift problems, and should be more widely practiced. Everyone gets a gift -- no one is left out, and everyone has something fun to play with. It's something unnecessary but neat, the sort of thing you wouldn't buy for yourself. Ideally, it's something that fell into disuse by another person, so the joy is shared. Each participant only brings one gift -- no need to buy 20 presents for your whole office. It's just as much fun to watch other people open White Elephants as it is to open presents.
And as for parent/child giving? My brother and I went to Bart's
and the Boulder Bookstore
with my dad today. You get what you want (would someone else have picked out The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus
?), your parents pay for it, and you get to show each other cool stuff that catches your eye, but doesn't get purchased. Plus, you get to have conversations with my dad, which is always a plus.