Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Meme, Continued

[Update: All I've done is change the time on this post to better reflect when it truly hit the air. Seems if I start a post at some point, and eventually go back and finish it, the "post" time is from when it was originally created, unless I manually update it. I'm still learning.]

For the first nine questions and their answers, as well as general background and instructions on this quiz, go here first. If you've already been there, here are my answers to the rest.

9. Do you have a Nativity Scene? No. My ex does. I don't have diddly this year. Even the tree ornaments and lights that I did keep are in storage in Colorado. But . . . thanks to my youngest daughter, I have this great set of holiday Penguin kitchen towels and a little penguin doll and a penguin cup and they're all sort of Christmasy. And when we went to the dollar store tonight, I bought a bow to go on the front of the Jeep. The question was really about decorations, right? So, baby penguins . . . I have baby penguins. And they make me happy, because they remind me of my own child.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I can't remember the last time I sent out Christmas cards in digits or with digits. Life's been on hold for longer than I care to think about really.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Think I'll pass on this one. I've never received a gift that didn't make me happy to have been thought of.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Whichever one I get to watch while listening to the laughter of my daughters.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Generally, the day after grades are in for the fall semester. Up till then, I'm usually just trying to survive.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas Present? Not exactly. The closest I've ever come has been getting a bottle of some really good adult beverage taken from me more than once at those holiday parties where you draw numbers and when your turn comes you can choose to take a gift from under the tree and open it or you can shark someone else's that's already been unwrapped. Then I learned that if you open the bottle the minute you unwrap it and take a big swig while everyone is still watching, you can really cut down on the number of people willing to shark your bottle of Gentleman Jack.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Barbeque has to rank up there. Used to be, my dad would have all my aunts and uncles over one night just before Christmas. He'd buy a whole barbequed pork shoulder from Gary's, in China Grove, and chop it all himself. Dinner was barbeque sandwiches with cole slaw, chips and dip, and coconut layer cake or chocolate pound cake he would make from scratch and lock in tupperware on the cold back porch. The pound cake would go "sad," i.e., the bottom half inch or so would become this rich, moist, almost fudge-like layer. My oldest daughter remembers it as one of her favorite things about Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's. I guess, really, I do too.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes? As opposed to no lights? Candles? Yes, lights. White preferably.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "Carol of the Bells" ranks up there, because I remember loving singing it so much in Men's Chorus, under the direction of Frances Cowan, the greatest gift many of us ever received during our three years at South. Lately though, I think singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside," with my youngest daughter has to take first place.

18. Do you stay home for Christmas? Where's home? I know I may be wearing this particular tune out, but I'm going to resort to Edwin McCain again:
So I raise a toast to family
Put thanks in my glass
In the arms of your loved ones
It's the only home that lasts
So, yeah, I stay as close to home as I can, wherever that is.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Well, no. But I did remember there were eight of them, and I could remember six without any trouble.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Definitely tree top; I can't reach a star, and if I could, no one would be able to see it there anyway.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Yes. My family's tradition was always Christmas morning. But one tradition we adopted from my ex-wife's was that of opening one present on Christmas night, and that present was always a new set of PJ's, usually worn for the first time on Christmas morning. Of course, there was that one time when my mother-in-law gave us all bright red cotton PJs. By the end of the next morning, her beautiful white couches were a sad shade of pink from everyone sitting around on them during the festivities. I'm pretty sure she got a new set of couches out of that. The couches weren't much older than the PJ's, and that really shouldn't have happened.

Funny thing, remembering that, and remembering Christmas in my in-laws house brings back a flood of memories, mostly good. For a moment there, I could smell Christmas. Funny how that works. I hope their holidays are joyful.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Being too busy to enjoy it. The rhythm of an academic life is such that the busiest time of every semester comes near the end. For the fall, that means that when I'd love to be shopping and sending out Christmas cards, I'm usually writing finals and grading essays. That annoys me. One of these days, I'm going to find a way to beat it.

23. What theme or color are you using? Well, red and green, of course. Duh.

24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? I'd have to say my mother-in-law's prime rib, and black, pitted olives, and sweet midget pickles. I'm easy.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I want to spend it with people that I love. That's all. Really. And I intend to.

I'll be away from my daughters for only the second Christmas since their births, but this one will be far better than one spent in a tent in Afghanistan. I'll miss them, but I'll expect them to have a joyous day with their mother, and I plan to find great joy in my day as well.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? I would have said maybe Buck, or possibly Jay or Phil. Their blogs are personal enough for something like this to feel at home. But the fact is, the answer is already in: Buzzard sent me a response in e-mail yesterday. You are the man, Buzzard.

27. Who is least likely to respond to this? Of people subscribed to this blog, I'm going to say Mom and Dad. They'll read and enjoy. That'll be enough.
And that wraps it up. Have a great holiday y'all. I hope nothing above was too shocking. Now you know me a little better.