I went to Flickr, was disappointed that no one’s posted many xmas photos, then reminded myself that I haven’t posted any, either.

Our Christmas went really well. Hope yours did, too. We baked. A while back, my youngest son Rory, now 10, had found some retro recipe for cookies shaped like mice. He became obsessed with the idea of baking them for Christmas, no matter how many times we told him that a) they’d be a pain in the butt to make, and b) mice have nothing to do with Christmas. But he wouldn’t relent, so we did. We took him on a special last-minute drugstore trip to purchase strawberry flavored licorice for mouse tails. We puzzled out how to get the tails into the cookies — Tad thought of putting toothpicks into the mouse bodies to keep a hole in place while they baked. But we had no toothpicks, so I thought of rolling up tiny bits of foil. The mice had chocolate-chip eyes and peanut ears. While baking, they each doubled or tripled in weight. We decided they were mice preparing for hibernation. Or else, simply very fat mice. The aluminum tails popped out and the licorice tails popped in (with minimal inappropriate innuendo, heh), and the end result was awesome. Rory’s cookies got their own display plate, and he enjoyed showing them to everyone who showed up at our party. And I hope I haven’t created a baking monster now. Just kidding. We also made other cookies, and mini rum cakes, and white chocolate popcorn as gifts. And if I had known before how easy it was to work with white chocolate bark coating, everything in my house would have been dipped in it by now…

We didn’t do a lot of gifts this year because, like a lot of people who drive cars in America, I’m pretty freaking broke right now, and there aren’t any Black Friday sales worth the credit card interest, as far as I’m concerned. So we traded very small, inexpensive things, or else things that we’d made for each other. And, honestly, I think it came out just as well. The kids said it did. Maybe they were just being gracious, though. They’re so gracious. My dad came over and gave them all Best Buy gift certificates. Rory asked him the amount they contained. My dad said, in the dry tone I know as his joking voice, “I’m pretty broke this year, so they’re $8 each.” All three kids thanked him. Then, my dad said, “Either 8 or [way bigger amount], I forget.” And I understood that they were of course for the bigger amount. The kids thanked him again.

Then, the next day, Rory told me, “Grandpa gave us $8 each for Best Buy, so that’s $24. Maybe we can get a game with that.” And he seemed so excited. His brother Dallas somberly agreed that they should pool their $8 cards. I said, “No, babies. He gave y’all [much bigger amount] each. Not $8.” And they go, “Oh-h-h-h…” Fifteen-year-old Josh rolled his eyes and laughed. He’d gotten the joke.

Okay, enough bragging about my kids. They’re going to their dad’s today, for his part of the holiday. It’s kind of unfair, because our school district rearranged their calendar again, so I’m getting the kids for almost no time at all. But at least I got them for Christmas. Next year I won’t, and that’ll be sad. We’ll have to bake for Thanksgiving, instead. Because I think we finally started the tradition of it.

I was glad that my boyfriend Tad liked both the inexpensive gifts I got him. Y’all know how mens can be hard to shop for. So it was a relief, to see him look sincerely pleased. He got me three very inexpensive gifts, one of which was the wrong size. (“Oh. I didn’t see the sizes on them. I just picked the color.”) But that’s okay, because I already know what I’m getting for my birthday, which is tomorrow. I found out by accident. I’m excited. (But I hope it’s the right size.) More on that later, after I come back a year older and hopefully wiser, too.

sad media agenda

This morning, on our local news, the newscasters were at the malls telling us that all the stores had extra, special, super, duper, slashed-prices after-xmas sales today. Because — surprise! — no one sold very much before xmas.

And I’m thinking, if people couldn’t afford to buy gifts before xmas, why do the malls think they’ll suddenly have money afterwards? And why is the news pushing the idea? Is media conglomeration that bad now? Does Time Warner own Wal-Mart now? I mean, I know you can no longer read magazines without fully expecting them to push the books/movies/music umbrella’ed by their parent companies, but dude. What’s up with the newspeople encouraging me to shop today? Give me a freaking break.

It reminded me of the days after 9/11, when George W. Bush told us the best thing we could do for our country would be to shop our brains out for xmas.

Honestly? I like shopping as much as anyone. I’m a straight-up consumerist and it gives me the DTs not to shop on any given weekend, and the signs that say 70% Off call to me like sirens with long, well conditioned hair. But still. Even I have my limits. Don’t ask me to shop when every not-rich person in America is broke. Tell Halliburton to shop. Tell Texaco to shop. Tell George W. Bush to shop. I’m not listening.



I do have a couple of gift certificates to spend, so I will do that. First stop: Barnes and Noble. Also, I would like to have my nails done in the trendy style — short ovals with nearly-black polish. We’ll see. I have to count my pennies first.

Last night we caught the tail end of Bad Santa, and I watched Billy Bob ask his fellow criminals why they needed all the crap they were stealing from the department store. Why, indeed? They were stealing tacky trash. I would’ve stolen way better.

The other day, as I told y’all, my boyfriend Tad and I went to Neiman Marcus, which is an expensive department store, as some of y’all might know. I don’t go there often, because their target market seems a little older than me. When I do go, it’s to purchase the occasional Bobbi Brown product, and their cosmetics sales peeps are always very cordial.

But we went there the other day to look at the clothing, as I told y’all, and ever since then I keep dreaming about it. I dreamed we were suddenly rich and my boyfriend went to the office of the CEO to speak to him about merchandise. Meanwhile, I waited in the wood-panelled waiting room, and South American women struck up conversations with me in rapid Spanish. I thought, “They think I speak Spanish, and they think I’m rich.” Then, I thought, “Oh, but I do, and I am.” And then we talked about how much we liked shopping at Neiman Marcus. It was funny.

Tad’s brother and s-i-l are rich, and they shop there often. So Neiman Marcus sends them beautiful Vogue-mag-sized catalogs, which they flip through and discard. Tad asks if he can have the catalogs. Then he takes them to my house, where he and my youngest son and I peruse each page and laugh or sigh at the insanely expensive stuff. Tad wants a mink dinner jacket. Rory wants a diamond skull-faced watch. I want a python bag, but I feel sorry for the pythons, that they spend their lives growing so thick, only to end up a bag for some lady. So I’ll take a diamond Hello Kitty watch, instead. The one with the white ceramic band. Even though it has Kimora Lee Simmons’ name on it, and she’s not my type.

Wanna hear a dirty secret? Even though I’m not a teenager anymore, I do still cherish a fantasy that I was meant to be rich. That I’m destined for it, sheerly by virtue of my impeccable taste.

The longer I live, though, the more I suspect that I’m not meant to be rich, because it wouldn’t be as much fun. If I were rich, I wouldn’t have a reason to shop the most run-down thrift stores anymore. I’d have to do “vintage boutiques,” instead. If I were rich, I’d miss the obscene joy of rescuing someone else’s Neiman Marcus catalogs from the dumpster.

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Posted in Christmas, dreams, fantasies, materialism on 12/26/2007 06:00 pm

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