Christmas Eve Eve

As a kid, I always remember going to my grandma’s house or my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve for a big Italian dinner and opening presents form the family (we still waited til Christmas morning to open presents from Santa, of course!)  Then we’d go to “midnight mass” (which I put in quotes because it actually started at 11!)  and sing Christmas hymns by candlelight.  These were always the things that made Christmas Christmasy for me.  The things that defined that day from any other day.  Then Christmas day we’d have 40-60 of our closest friends and family come to our house to eat and drink all day and night.  I loved these Christmas Eves and Christmases.  As I got older, and my family moved away, our Christmases began to feel less Christmasy.  We’d go out to dinner on Christmas Eve, and we could never even stay up for mass.  My siblings and I had to set an alarm to wake up at five for “santa” as we were no longer excited enough to get up on our own.  We’d open presents and eat breakfast and by 10 or 11 am, Christmas was over.  Sometimes we’d go see a movie.  But it felt like it wasn’t even worth it anymore.

As I was on my way to work today, Christmas Eve Eve, it occurred to me that this is the day that has become the most festive and eventful for me in the past few years.  Five years ago, it was a bunch of coworkers and myself driving an hour north to help another restaurant that was so busy and whose employees were so over worked they hadn’t even had time to finish Christmas shopping yet!  Three or four years ago, it was making the most epic Christmas cookies with one of my best friends who I only get to see on holidays when we both go “back home”.  Last year, I was at Candy Cane Karaoke, singing and dancing and dressing goofy with all my friends (and doing delicious candy cane shots!)

While today was mostly uneventful (although I did brave the grocery store to get the ingredients to do some last-minute holiday baking) it still marks the first real touch of Christmas spirit in my otherwise downtrodden heart.   This will be the first Christmas ever that my family has been separated.  My mom will be here soon to spend the holiday with my brother and I, while my dad and sister and brother-in-law will all be back home and working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I guess this is what growing up does, but I still always hoped that Christmas would be the one day we’d all get to enjoy together.  Hopefully, I manage to find the spirit soon.  If not though, I will be sure to find my birthday spirit in a few days!  And, this will be the first New Year’s I’ve had off in 6 or 7 years!

A Nerd by Any Other Name…

Like all good observations this one comes from a random background story.  I was trying to write a thank-you email for a job interview and I wanted to reiterate how my “nerdy” tendencies would make me a great librarian.  I knew “nerdy” would not be an appropriate professional word, so I used the thesaurus to find a better term.  Turns out there is no better term because “nerdy” does not mean what I always thought it had.

I always thought it meant someone very intelligent and knowledgeable and simply lacking social skills.  The negative connotation always came from the fact that people were jealous of a nerd’s intellect.  According to the thesaurus, however, “nerdy” means almost the exact opposite.  It means someone/thing tasteless, foolish or imbecile, a buffoon.  The negative connotation should actually be placed in the fact that “nerdy” is something not to be taken to seriously.  I suspect the only person who may have known this was Shakespeare, for he always made The Fool his wisest character.

I only share this with you because I have always considered myself a bit of a grammar nazi and I hate when people misuse the word “ironic”.  Now I will hate when people misuse the word “nerd”.

See for yourself: NERDY in a thesaurus

One Word

Everyone has been asked at some point by a college application letter or silly myspace suvey that one question: What ONE word would you choose to describe yourself?

I’ve always answered with eclectic, or eccentric (which is like eclectic with a little crazy genius thrown in).  I want to be everywhere and do everything all at once, and I want to learn and retain all of the knowledge and experiences in the process (you can see where the crazy might come in).   I have always had a wide taste in everything- music, movies, books, foods, drinks, cultures, interests.  It occured to me that some people might call this “flaky”.  It could be said that my interests change based on what’s hip or which people I hang out with.  But anyone who has known me long enough knows I have definitely never been hip or trendy.  And why yes, I do do different things based on who I am with because I like doing all these things and they might not.  So we can both be happy by doing what they want then why make anyone unhappy?

Which brings me to another word– Genuine.  I have never though of it before, but “Genuine” would be a good word to describe me.  I have a weird selection of tastes because I choose things I genuinely like, without regard to what other people think.  I do the same with people.  I choose to associate with people I genuinely like, and not with people because they might make me popular or “have connections” or whatnot.  When I interact with people, it is in a genuine manner.  Anyone who knows me well enough knows me as too nice.  I am too nice to everybody, and get taken advantage of a lot.  But I do it because I genuinely care.  Even if I know people aren’t going to tip me, I’m still nice, because I know what it’s like to barely have the money for the food let alone a tip.  But you best not be rude to me.

I don’t care if I’ve known you for five years or five seconds, I take everything personally and to heart.  If you are rude to me, I wonder what I said to make you so.  If you don’t tip me, I wonder what I forgot to do.  If you ignore me or blow me off, I wonder what I did to upset you.  If you dump me, I ask what I did wrong.  My inquisitive nature gives me the need to understand everything all the time.  I need explanations. If you are crying, I want to know why and what I can do to fix it.  If you are having a bad day or week, I want to make it better.  If you are sick I want you to get better.  And silly naive little me expects the same things from other people.

But lets face it, there are very few genuine people left in this world.  Most people are out for themselves.  Some people pretend to care about others, but only to further some agenda they have.  Meanwhile, the people who are genuine are constantly struggling.  Struggling to help everyone else, to make everything work, to care for their loved ones, to understand the cruel and ungiving world we live in.  In all my studies, I will never understand the most basic of human social concepts.  I will never understand lying and cheating and manipulating.  I will never understand the need to “fit in”, which is not the same as the human need to “belong”.  I will never understand war and violence and cruelty.  No matter how cynical and jaded and bitter I have become (which I really have, sadly), the naive little girl in me will always wish everyone could just live happily ever after.

So I challenge you, among all the other words you may be, may one day everyone be called “genuine”.

Santa Gets Gypped

Most of the people old enough to read this blog know  that Santa Claus does not exist, even though my parents still wait for us to go to Wbed to put out “santa presents” (we’re alll over 21, btw.)  I was listening to “The Night Santa Went Crazy” by weird Al in the car, and something occured to me.  There’s a line that says “break his back for some milk and cookies, sounds to me like he was tired of getting gypped”.  How true is this nowadays though? Our parents (“Santa”) do so much for us and most of the time we are so ungrateful.  Sometimes I think our population as a whole has come to expect so much from other people that we forget to show appreciation for the people that are actually out doimg things for us!

The Glass is Half Full… of Poison

So I was having a discussion with my mom (at least it wasn’t with myself this time!) about life and work and getting ahead and why I need to get away from Tampa, and I forget what she said leading into this line (which sucks because it would have made writing an entire blog post about it more necessary) but I replied with: “Everybody lies, cheats, and steals…. God I sound like House….”.  Perhaps I watch too much TV.  But it does seem like the people that are usually successful are the ones that lie, cheat, steal and manipulate to the top and into others’ hearts … just sayin’.  I will never get it.  #PeopleSuck

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