In my heart there's a Christmas tree farm
- by Alyson Shane
It's Saturday night and I'm home for once.
Our holiday party plans got cancelled so I'm at our dining room table with the lights low, sitting in silence broken by BJ's chatty MEOWS ringing up and down the stairs.
(I'm pretty sure he likes how they echo.)
I'm drinking tea but there's a bottle of wine in front of me that we were planning to take the party that I'm sure we'll crack sometime later tonight
probably when we dig into the dip I made
(also for the party)
and hopefully over a game or two of cribbage while records play in the background.
Earlier today John sat in the kitchen with me and helped "map out" all the cooking we're doing for Christmas Eve. My parents and brother are coming over next Saturday
which means I'm hosting my very first Christmas
and I'm cooking enough to feed an army.
Ham and cheese pinwheels
Potato wedge "nachos"
Baked ricotta dip
Plates of cheese, meat and pickles
and grebbles (from my Grandma's recipe).
I'll have bacon and rye bread for bacon sandwiches in Christmas Morning
(my dad's tradition for as long as I can remember)
and he's bringing a kielbasa from his favourite North End butcher to fry up late at night when we're full of wine and scotch and beer.
Everyone is sleeping over and we'll be spending Christmas morning here, at our house.
Opening gifts and drinking cup after cup of coffee
(or tea in my mom's case)
and I'll be sitting in the living room in my pyjamas
soaking it up.
There was a long time where I didn't think I'd celebrate Christmas with my family again.
The hurt felt too deep
the pain felt too raw
and I'd cry at least once over Christmas because I missed the feeling of "home" that had always felt so palpable during this time of year.
And sure, this Christmas hasn't been without its drama
and there have been times when I've felt like
throwing in the towel
calling it all off
and going on without my family this Christmas
but I'm glad I didn't.
I'm grateful to have this time with them
making memories in our home
filling them to the brim with food
and figuring things out
I've always been a sucker for traditions
- by Alyson Shane
There's something comforting about the familiarity of doing the same things from time to time, and Christmas seems to bring that out in people.
The best Christmas I can remember was when I was really small. I don't really know how old.
Maybe we were in the old house on Murray. Maybe not.
Doesn't matter, really.
My dad was working a half-day, so my mom, brothers, and I bussed to his office in the park across town. I don't know if I remember taking the bus before then. The city felt new from this angle, and bigger than I'd realized. The ride felt like it lasted forever.
My dad's office was down a bunch of winding roads in a lonely-looking building surrounded by trees, and he worked in a long room that smelled like cigarettes, with a window at the end.
The places my dad worked; offices, clubhouses, tended to smell old and it always made me feel safe to be in them.
We piled into the car and my parents took us for lunch at the nearby Pizza Hut. We continued that tradition for years, even after my dad's office moved downtown, and after we all stopped bussing there together.
(I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for those greasy, gooey slices.)
So tonight we're making pizza from scratch.
Because 1. Pizza Hut is expensive and not really worth it quality-wise and 2. there isn't one nearby and half of the tradition is sitting in that tacky lounge with the stained-glass lamps overhead drinking Diet Cokes out of plastic cups with straws.
So instead we went a little crazy at the Italian special food's store up the street.
Fresh pizza dough. Salami. Capicollo. Prosciutto. Mozzarella and omg mini mini bocconcini. Maybe toss some artichoke hearts or anchovies or crimini mushrooms on there - who knows.
The possibilities are endless.
And even though it won't be exactly the same as I remember, that's okay.
Because that's how new traditions start.
Here's how stupidly anxious I get sometimes:
- by Alyson Shane
I picked up some Christmas cards this morning and spent a bunch of time perfecting messages to write inside them.
I used a fancy pen.
I did my best cursive (I always print).
I wanted these to be perfect.
Then I made a million dumb mistakes because I'm so not-used to writing cursive letters that the shapes felt unnatural.
My writing looked sloppy and worse than usual.
I got frustrated.
Then I realized that one of the envelopes needed extra postage
and I only have regular stamps.
So I thought "fuck this, I'm using this as an opportunity to do this right this time"
I went out and bought the lovely cards you see above.
I wrote the same heartfelt messages.
But this time I did it in my usual, messy, unladylike printing.
Because Christmas isn't about being perfect
(or trying to be)
it's about being yrself.
Thanks Christmas cards for reminding me.
Here's some holiday video for you
- by admin
I actually recorded this yesterday evening but thanks to the slow, slow magic of YouTube you don't get to experience it until today at 5am when I am randomly awake? Christmas miracle, yea/nay?
Happy holidays folks!
it's almost Christmas vacation time
- by adminas of 5pm I'm off work until next Tuesday (see you next Tuesday har har) which means I'll be attempting to make my time at the gym match up with the amount of eating, lazing around and holiday boozing I'll be doing. T'isn't the season for self-restraint, it's not often anyone makes me dinner any more.
basically I want this to be me right down to the silly hat and gingerbread
going last-minute shopping with Ty tonight which is going to be scary. we're going to Toys R Us to get stuff for his nieces & nephew and I'm getting a headache just thinking of the screeching pre-Christmas kids losing their minds in that store. you'll probably find me hiding out in the infants section caressing a toy that makes some sort of soothing sound.
okay that's not true. I don't really mind going at all except that I'd rather be sitting in my warm living room under the glow of our (real!!!) Christmas tree sipping a strong beverage watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, or, preferably, Drunk History Christmas with Ryan Gosling, Jim Carrey and Eva Mendes
if I could just have this forever I'd be such a happy lady
happy (almost) holidays!
- by adminis where I've been all night
if you didn't know #secrethandshake is a monthly meeting of Winnipeg creative-types that I occasionally attend, though this time was mandatory because Leanne who hosts the bash and Stef needed me to be there to partake in the awesome.
honestly, it was great. besides the free build your own poutine station (with delicious vegan 'cheese') and lovely company I was told by a plethora of people that I'm "kind of a big deal" and I'm "big on The Internet", which is always nice.
in particular meeting Jay who was delighted to meet me IRL since apparently everyone on his twitter feed RT's me was a positive moment.
but enough about how good I am at The Internet, let's see some (tipsy) bathroom photos of The Ladies:
lovely ladies Leanne and Stef themselves
do the creep
wow. time for bed.