Only 10 days until Christmas…Seven until Yule! You ready? 😉

Here’s a bit of Holiday Sparkle, from the TheSlaveBox Lobby, Seattle…

20111215-185700.jpg

We in the Seattle area are experiencing a serious cold snap right now and people are wanting warm clothes. Nothing unusual about that, right? Everywhere in the northern hemisphere it’s winter and most of the U.S. is experiencing various degrees of cool/cold weather. Cold weather usually makes people just want some nice toasty sweaters and scarves and hats to get them though the frigid weather. So, you run yourself to the closest Target or Old Navy and…lo’ and behold, the sales floor is clogged with…no, you’ve got to be kidding…BATHING SUITS?!? What the…?!? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yeah, well, that’s what a friend of mine thought today as she went to buy some cozy clothes for herself and her two daughters. Out-of-place as this seems, there really is a method to this madness. Having a substantial background in retail, I can attest to the prevalence of “summer” clothes for sale in January. The minute the trees and lights are down, the second Eartha Kitt’s voice stops singing “Santa Baby”, the flimsy fabrics start flying. Shorts, bathing suits, sleeve-less tops and light cotton sweaters…they are all geared for a purpose: The Cruise Season.

I know, I know… who the heck goes on cruises right after the Holidays? Well, uh…actually…lots and lots of people. Not only did I do my time on the sales floor at Macy’s for years, but I later worked in the corporate headquarters for a major cruise line for five years. January and February are RED HOT for cruising. Think about it. It’s winter. It’s cold. You’re sick to death of the snow/ice/rain. And you have the After-Holidays Blues…big time. So what do you do? You go somewhere warm, of course! Where better than Mexico or the Caribbean or Hawaii to get that blood pumping, to soak and sun and pretend that you didn’t rack up a bunch of debt over the holidays? Just spend that Christmas money you got from your In-laws toward a cruise and/or cruise accessories, rack up a couple thousand more dollars on the plastic, just f’get about it and sail away! And don’t wait too long. There’ll be nothing left by March/April. Then, once the hurricane season starts, even though the cruises will be cheaper then, so are your chances for fun and sun slimmer. Nobody wants to be on a cruise to Aruba and have to detour or, worse yet stay adrift at sea, to avoid the storm.

Therefore, this initially seemingly out-of-whack clothing in your local department store makes sense if you think about it. So, it’s minus ten degrees Fahrenheit outside and your car is so frozen it won’t start. Don’t buy an $80.00 sweater to stay warm…buy a cruise and GO somewhere warm! Buy shorts and tops and brightly colored crap you wouldn’t be caught dead in at home. Buy BATHING SUITS! Who cares that you just gained over ten pounds eating Gra’ma’s sugar-encrusted Christmas Ham and Aunt Bettye’s sticky divinity fudge and half the cookies you “helped” your 6-year-old daughter make as she insisted they must be made “for Santa”. Cram yourself into that teensy bit of stretchy fabric and parade around the beaches of Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta and the Sun Deck of the Prince Machiavellian of the Seas around people you’ll never see again in your life! Whee! It’ll be FUN. You’ll buy trinkets for everyone that nobody really wants with money you don’t really have and get sunburned and advance your chances on getting skin cancer, to boot!

Well, we can’t all afford to do that, can we? Most of Americans have regular break-your-back-and-mind jobs that we are lucky to get two or three extra days off during the holidays. We can’t take that seven-to-ten-day cruise even with an inside (ie windowless) stateroom on the MS P.O.S. to Anywhere. Why the stores have to rub the promise of sun & fun in our faces in a time of doom and gloom is just downright cruel. It’s mean. It’s Eddie Murphy singing “I gots some iiiiice creeeeeeam and you can’t haaaaave it…”. It’s not playing fair. At least wait until March or April, huh? I mean, really. Let us imagine we’ve shed the weight gained during the holidays, let us pretend that we’ve put a dent in the debt we racked up, let us revel in the soft yarn of that cashmere cardigan we got from our Mother-In-Law…for just a little while.

Let us wait until March or April…we’ll ALL be thoroughly fed up with winter then, right?

But…Oh yeah…when does the hurricane season start? You’ll be sold out by March? *sigh*

Okay, sign me up. Put me on that Ship of Fools in a Chartreuse Spanx swimsuit. What the heck. I’ll never pay off my credit cards anyway, right?

© 2011 D. Kessler

For some reason, I had it in my head that I could not fail.  That I, by sheer will and fortitude, would succeed.  That despite a new job, the resulting reduced time to myself at home with my own ‘puter, and the exposure to a plethora of new and untold germs/bacteria/viruses that my new workplace allowed me to access…I would be unwavering in my task.  That, despite the impending Holidays and the flurry of baking, cooking, planning, wrapping (and drinking!) that normally precedes and accompanies such events…I would be impervious to distraction and would soldier on!  In the words of Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart:  “Never give up! Never surrender!”

But alas, and alack!  I have failed.  I am apparently NOT full of paranormally abundant levels fortitude, stick-to-itive-ness, or of whatever else it takes to get through 31 days of December without missing more than a day of writing.   All it took was a few little germs I wasn’t used to, a whole LOT of snow (for Seattle), and a sidetracked step or two in the direction of Hearty Good Cheer (aka holiday drinks in a warm bar!) and we just plumb up and put our writing cap on a top shelf somewhere in the back of a closet along with the hidden gifts and didn’t apparently want to be bothered to look for it or to climb up to get it later.

Yes…I got a cold.  Then, when I got better, I got cabin fever.  And with what little time I had at home to myself after that, it seemed like a preposterous idea to ask myself to sit and type at a computer…as that’s what I’d been doing all day every day at work, but for someone else!  Then, there were cookies to bake for Christmas (Oh boy, these are melt-in-your-mouth-wonderful!), little-somethings to find and wrap for unexpected-but-very-loved guests, a Mimosas & Waffles Brunch to plan/prepare, a  Mexican feast to get lost in (both the prep and the consumption of!)…my gosh, I don’t know what happened!

So, now it’s been many days since the little bug-like figures that are the English alphabet have been freed upon the page…and sadly, all that I have today is this meandering apology slash holiday play-by-play. 

But, aside from getting a cold, I’ve been having fun…mostly…and I am starting to get used to having a normal work schedule, little by little.  So, I’m pretty optimistic that after the Hubbub of the Holidays winds down a bit, we’ll get our stride back.

Well, either that, or I’ve absolutely GOT to find out where I can enroll in some Discover Your Super-Human Self!-type classes!

© 2008 D. Kessler

This is a test of the Emergency Blogging System (aka WordPress for iPhone)…this is only a test. We’re about to see if this app is worth it’s beans (which was actually nothing…the app was free).

I am sitting in a closet-sized room at the hubby’s practice co-op…a 15′ x 8′ box with egg-crate foam on the walls and more musical equipment than I think they actually use on a regular basis (I could be wrong on that one, but I’m stickin’ to my guns). Three guys currently in attendance (the fourth is unable to make it in becuz of the snow), six stringed instruments (of the guitar family, of course) traded out every now & then (depending on the song), a full drum kit sits forlorn in the corner wishing it’s daddy had come out to play (yes, pun intended), and I’m keeping the drum stool company cuz there’s nowhere else for me to sit. Pass the Courvoisier, even tho’ it’s not my ideal fare, cuz Bay-bee…It’s COLD outside!!
I would be cozy and holed up on the couch with my ‘puter, but there’s some drama of the domestic kind happening with our neighbors and I really can’t deal with them right now. So, I guess you could say I’m hiding. I know…bad, huh?

Whaddaya gonna do…

Earlier, I got this little-kid bug up my butt to go walking in the snow. So I dragged my spouse out into the frigid exterior world to the Seattle Center to stomp around and look at the lights in the trees around the currently hybrrnating International Fountain. We came across some interesting sights like this life-size  ice sculpture (the sign says it was done over the weekend…gives you an idea how frakin’ freezing it’s been cuz it’s still whole:

 

Also, this light display made me feel like I should have a cocktail and be shouting at my friends in close range in order to be heard over the 180 bpm…but all was silent as the snow usually seems to make things…

In any case, I’m just thankful…and amused…that I can “hide out” here with the guys and they don’t seem to mind. In fact, they actually seem to enjoy the opportunity to show off new songs and pretend to be rock stars. No, really…they don’t sound half bad…

[editor’s note:  After posting the above from my iPhone app, I went back and reviewed the actual post from the web via my ‘puter and, as I expected, there where things that needed immediate attention.  Things such as formatting and spelling corrections and additions of tags and such…which I promptly have modified to as I originally intended them to be. Although the app for WordPress is nice in a pinch, a few things I have issue with are these:

  1. Photos, as far as I can tell, are only able to be added to the end of a post, and even then they may not be shown on the website in the order intended, nor can they be sized to fit.  Maybe this is because I am new to the app, but I searched and searched for a way to fix this via my iPhone, but could come up with no solution.
  2. There is no spell check, so you better know exactly what you are typing (hard to do on the touch screen sometimes) and exactly how Ms Whatever-Her-Name-Is that taught you spelling in name-your-grade-here instructed you.
  3. I entered the tags and categories in the appropriate places on the app, but when I checked in on Dy’s Mind’s Eye, they were nowhere.  Again…is this cuz I’m new to using the app??

But like I said…it’s good in a pinch.  For when you absolutely have to blog something but are on the go and can’t sit down with your face turned to the Incredible Glowing Screen.]

Oh-tay…Lights out..”

© 2008 D. Kessler

I think the cold does something weird to my brain.  That and too much sleep, maybe.  I dunno, but when one wakes up with “The Politics of Dancing” in one’s head…and so one of the first things I have a craving for is to watch/see is this video on YouTube so that I can get the other out of my head:

…one’s gotta wonder what the hell is wrong with one.  I mean…”The Politics of Dancing”???  …the HORROR!

Outside it’s a balmy 29°F right now in the now-brittle Emerald City…21°F if you consider the wind-chill factor.  Let’s all go frolic in the now-frozen and no-longer-fluffy snow!  Whoo-hoo!

NOT.  This is the part of snow I do not like.  No sirree-bob.  The part where you *swoosh-CRACK!* fall on your ass when all you want is a little tid-bit from the corner store only half a block away.   My spouse has just pointed out that at least we’re not in Wisconsin where it is probably colder, but I just shot him down with the fact that, according to The Weather Channel, Sheboygan, WI, is currently twice as warm as we are right now…with a lovely not-frozen temp of 42°F!!  I mean, really…that’s just not right!

Okay, I’m sorry this is not some philosophical or scientific expose regarding the effects of exposure on brain activity.  Nor is it even a witty tirade about anything at all related to the aforementioned abundance of sleep.  It’s just a rant…a lame-ass rant about how I don’t care how pretty the snow is anymore and I want it to go away and I want to be able to turn my heat down ’cause I can’t afford my electric bill as it is and I’m tired of being holed up on my couch ’cause I don’t want to bundle up to walk the few blocks to a coffee-house for a change of scenery and I’m tired of it being dark at 4:30 pm.  I really hate winter and none of the many holidays…Christian, Pagan, Jewish or otherwise…or various other forcibly induced distractions like Christmas Shopping or Winterfest can change it.  I…hate…winter.  Never mind that it’s not even actually winter yet…that it doesn’t actually start for one week (yes, folks…Yule/Solstice is next Sunday).  It feels  like winter now.  It smells like winter now.  It’s dark  like winter now.  For all intents and purposes, it IS  winter now!  And I’m sick of it, I’ve had it, I want my Springtime and I want it NOW!

“But, Dy”, you say.  “Where’s the silver lining?  Where’s the up-turn ‘I’m thankful for…’ part of your post?”

Don’t got one today, sorry.  I’m NOT thankful for the cold. I’m NOT thankful for the ice and snow outside.  I’m NOT thankful that I think I may have contracted a sinus infection from somewhere…either that or I’m due for a root canal on my #15 molar (upper left), and I REEALLLY hope that’s not the case!…and it’s really making it hard to concentrate and keep from screaming and making me worry about Tuesday as my first day at work and…*sigh*

I think you get the picture.  

© 2008 D. Kessler

Yesterday I belly-ached about the cold, the snow, the ice…and tonight it snows and we all go, “Oooohhh!  Look at the sno-o-ww!! It’s so pre-e-tty-y-y!!”  Big fluffy flakes of God’s Dandruff floating fancily to the ground, sticking to telephone poles, balcony railings, windshields, window screens….heck, well…everything.  And with temps going down, down, down tonight we’re likely to have a slippery side-road situation or two…especially as Seattle has so many hilly neighborhoods:  Capitol Hill, First Hill, Beacon Hill, Queen Anne Hill (mine)…actually, Downtown is pretty hilly, too!  Oh, but it’s so pre-e-tty-y-y!! 

Yeah, tell that to the guy who’s bumper you smash when you slide out of control into him *wham!*  Thank Zeus that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about!  If Joe Metro slides into someone, it’s not my fault!

Fickle frakin’ beings, humans are…me included.  I only like this beautiful spectacle, mind you, because I don’t have to be out in it to go anywhere.  I’ve got my cozy little apartment with plenty of heat and blankets and Christmas Music.  Yep.  I’m a sucka…a few congealed frozen droplets of moisture start falling from heaven, coating every tiny branch of the now leafless tree out in front and creating an urban Ansel Adams-esque photo op, and I’m all about turning up the tunes.  Pandora radio is WONDERFUL for this type of thing.  Who wants to buy CD after CD of Xmas music, only to play it intermittently for three or four weeks a year?   Or dig out the old beautiful vinyl only to find out that your turntable hidden in the back of the closet is hidden there for the same reason it’s been there for the past few years…that you need a belt for it and it turns no more (for now, I keep telling myself)?  Nope.  Pandora rocks, it rolls, it swings, it just is awesome. Just type in any song or artist you are in the mood for and it will play music like that “seed” song/artist until the Apocolypse…or your internet fails, whichever (aren’t they the same thing?).

So, I’m just sitting here on the couch, my Chia-Butt thriving, thankful that I’m toasty and warm, with hot tea, an interactive “hot water bottle”…aka my cat…and Dean, Frank, Bing, Perry, Eartha, The Andrews Sisters and all those old-fashioned pop crooners.  And I’m as happy as a clam in Pismo Beach during the off-season…

It just better melt and be completely gone before Tuesday…or I’m gonna be one unhappy employee on their way to their first day at work…

© 2008 D. Kessler

I often wonder why it is that people settle in such cold climates.  I mean really…if it gets cold enough to make it a mortal mistake to be without shelter, you would think that there is something basically wrong with humans living there year round.  Oh, sure, it’s a wonderful place to live for two thirds or three quarters of the year…but if from the calends of December through to March we’re talking about sub-freezing temperatures, or worse, then I just don’t see the pay-off.  There is a reason human beings were nomadic in places like the Plains/Steppes etc.  Snow? Ice?  Blizzard Winds?? Frak that!  We’re outta here!  See ya in the Spring! 

Oh, sure…I’m just a big pussy.  I have thin skin.  I don’t have enough meat on my bones (or used to).  I’m just not used to the cold.  Blah-blah-blah.  I’ve heard it all.  I’ve also lived in quite a few different climates, thanks to a Sagittarius mom that seems to think that moving every few years was a good thing…call it a “fresh start” or “running from your demons” or “giving your kids a different perspective” or whatever else thing you want.  The down-side is we kids got to make new friends every few years…making my brother slightly more introverted, but me more social.  The “up”-side is we got to experience all sorts of different weather climes. 

Already familiar with the So Cal Coastal-Mediterranean climate, we packed up the VW and a friend’s car and trailer…off to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, we were.   To experience drenching rains for five or six months a year and to learn what frost was first hand (I’d never seen it before!).  After a few years, it was down to Cali again, but this time a northern inland hell misleadingly called The Sacramento Valley.  “Valley” sounds nice, right, pretty valley?  Nope…brown and dry and hot, hot, hot all summer and not a beach in sight (that’s just not right!).  I thought it could get no worse, but oh, no…I was wrong.   Let’s load up the kids and the dog and…It’s a Road Trip!!  To the South…Alabama, to be exact…complete with 90% humidity (whether it’s 98°F in summer or 35°F in winter), cockroaches the size of small mice in even the nicest homes, incessant buzzing outside from some scary-looking bug called a cicada, and let’s not forget the tornadoes (and the Klan marches…for real!).  That didn’t last long, only a year and a half.  Even my mother new that was a mistake…and so we were soon on our way back out west…California here we come!  So happy!  Wait…for some reason my mother got it in her head as we passed through Northern Arizona that the pines were so pretty and wouldn’t it be nice to live here and it’s only a day’s drive to the coast so we could visit Gram in California all the time…*sigh*  Bye-bye California, hello a different kind of hell. 

Now, Flagstaff, Arizona, is at an elevation of 7000 feet above sea level.  That’s higher than Denver.  That’s just ridiculous.  What that means is Flagstaff gets SNOW.  Yep.  Snow…in Arizona.  It gets mutha-fraking FREEZING cold.  I remember it being 12°F!  That’s just way wrong…almost as wrong as being below zero at night!  And we still have to go to school, we still have to learn to drive, we still have to function. 

So you see…I have some experience with different kinds of weather and have been in and out of cold for a long time.  But how people live in places like Fargo or Sheboygan or Fairbanks or [insert your town/city here]…I just don’t get it.  I would die.

Back to the here-and-now, my self-chosen hometown of Seattle is set this week to get the coldest weather we’ve had since 1990.  Yep, and I remember that winter…it was hella cold, and we got snow by the foot in the downtown core even.  It screwed with Joe Metro bad.  This week, Monday looks to be the coldest with a daytime high of 25°F.  Yeah, go ahead and laugh…we’re wussies here…but it’s still frakin’ COLD.  And Tuesday, the first day at my new job, is not going to be much better at 29°F.

Whoa…wait a minute, you say.  Job?  Did you say new job?? 

That’s RIGHT, Suckas!  I am unemployed no more!  I get to get up everyday while it’s barely light, just like a normal person, stumble through making coffee and making sure my clothes are on right-side out, ride Joe Metro downtown while putting on my makeup and not come home until it’s dark again (that can be anytime after 4:00 pm this time of year around here).  Whoo-hoo!  After six months, I’m ready for this again.

So, that’s it today, Kids.  I am thankful for my new job.  Thankful that my spouse doesn’t have to pull out his slightly thinning mop worrying that he isn’t writing enough music to cover the bills.  Thankful that I will once again have my own money and not have to ask him for funds for everything from drugstore staples to a beer and a burger.

And it’s about time.

© 2008 D. Kessler