the usual tidal wave of mucus.


i feel as if, every year, i’m in a race against time to get my voice back before the xmas eve mass. this year was no different as, once again, i was struck down with sinus problems, post-nasal drip, coughing, and wheezing. well, i managed okay for all five masses i sang, and now i just feel raw and exhausted. plus, i sound like a man.

it’s a helluva lot of dedication to the church for someone who’s not so sure about the whole god thing.

i also hosted xmas this year. yes, in the one-bedroom condo. it was a tight squeeze, but things looked good.

my mom and i made a mushroom side dish together. then she handled the filet mignon and the artichokes. her and chris did the butter cookies, and then chris also made the veggie casserole and peanut butter pie. i made mashed potatoes and mimosa punch, and baked the tassies, crescents, cookie bars, and magic cookie bars. michael and i put together a gingerbread house using a kit from target. and, of course, it was really exciting to use a lot of my casual china for the first time, and the punch bowl, xmas dishes, etc.

here’s a video that (sort of) shows our condo all done up. this is what michael was doing as i was sleepwalking my way through the three xmas day masses. his narration is, um…okay, anyway, here it is.

when all was said and done, we ended up with quite the crowd. my parents, my brother chris, and papa came over first to exchange gifts. i love buying people gifts (though it seems to get harder to think of the perfect gift with each successive year), so this is always fun.  i got my dad and brother matching t-shirts with a bowling graphic that said, “this is how i roll,” because they bowl on a league together. for my mom’s combo xmas/bday gift, i’m taking her into the city for a makeover and makeup-shopping at bloomingdales in soho, and then for dinner at saigon grill. for papa, i went through my 25-odd photo albums and scanned a bunch of photos — especially ones that included him and grandma together when she was still around — and got them printed out and put them in an album. he’s already looked through it a few times, so i’m really happy. he didn’t have any photos of her in the nursing home. i got michael a bunch of things, but i think his favorites (which came a day late, dammit) were the dvds from the history channel for the universe and the planet. the sci-fi baby names book was also a huge hit with the company for the bulk of the night.

shortly after that, my cousin mike and his wife christine showed up for dinner, which was yummy. afterwards, my brother’s new girlfriend alex came over for dessert, and michael’s family also came over, loaded down with an endless amount of gifts. colin and lisa even stopped by at one point! i’m still not sure how they all fit.

the only stressful bit was when karen (michael’s sister) started handing us gift after gift. michael had been in charge of purchasing the gifts for his family and, in the end, he only got them gift cards. which he didn’t even pick up himself. which lacks any personal touch whatsoever. it’s not even about the money. everyone knows things are tight for us. it’s the lack of thought  and effort for the love of god! i was humiliated, and i told michael that i’m in charge of all gifts from now on.

okay, so. back at nerve now. my last day is the 11th, which is sad and good at the same time. good because i will now have all my fridays free, and more time to concentrate on my writing. sad because i love this office. and the staff. and the neighborhood. and i want to stay here forever and ever.

my boss doesn’t appear to be in today. nor are any of the editors (except for one of the babble editors). god knows what i’m going to do with myself.


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