Have a Very Secular Christmas?

So, I’ve been giving this some thought really probably ever since I had my child, but more so now that she is growing up and coming to an age where she’ll be able to anticipate the holidays and internalize some of the associated traditions and ideas.  As my regular readers know, I have what some might call a “crisis of faith.”  My heart wants to believe in a loving God, but my intellect and reason just don’t accept it.  And contrary to what some may say, wishing doesn’t make it so.

I am acutely aware of how my adult perception of Christmas and its origin has changed in relation to the hopeful magic of childhood Christmases past.   I was never what I would call “strong” in faith, but now that I have pretty much decided where I come down on the organized religion issue, I am unsure how exactly I want to represent Christmas to my child.  It’s certain that I do want to celebrate with my family in some way.  To me, right now, Christmas is mostly about family, togetherness, and love…  But why should we celebrate that in December instead of all year round.  I am fine with objectively explaining to my daughter, when she is old enough to understand (she is turning three next month) the reasons why the majority of people who celebrate Christmas do so (“Jesus is the reason for the Season” and all that jazz) but I do not feel inclined to raise her in a religion or even in a belief in a supreme being.  A large part of me feels that indoctrination of young children is wrong because it sets them at a disadvantage for later autonomous decisions regarding religion.   For example, had I not been taught as a child that I was supposed to believe in God, would I be so uncomfortable with the fact that I don’t believe?  

Then there is the “Santa question.”   We believed in Santa as a kid, and it was fun and relatively harmless, even when we found out he wasn’t “real.”  And yet,  I find I am loath to lie to my kid, even if it is a fun and harmless lie like Santa.  And yet regardless of what I tell her, I wonder how many of my friends and relatives and even random but well-meaning strangers  will thoughtlessly ask her if she’s “excited for Santa” this holiday season…

So I am left with the question of how I want to present the winter holidays to my child.  The only reason Christmas is even celebrated in December is because of Christianity’s attempts to combat or counterbalance the pagan holidays and rituals of excess practiced during that same season. (source 1, 2)  Basically, Jesus was not born on December 25th, and there is no date given in the bible for his birth, although certain astrological references lead some scientists to believe he was actually born in the Summertime.

Do I take a more naturalistic or pagan approach, celebrating the time of year and nature’s cycles, and then maybe meld into it my feelings of family and tradition?  Would it make some people feel better if we celebrated the holiday but didn’t call it “Christmas?”  Guess it’s a good thing it’s only the end of July… then again, wasn’t Jesus born in the Summer? 😉

This is the optimal idea...

This is the optimal idea…

...and yet clearly that somehow pisses some people off.

…and yet clearly that somehow pisses some people off.

(Click here for more on why Christmas may be celebrated on the 25th of December.)

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On Birthday and Mother’s Day Wishes…

First, let me take a minute to wish all my fellow okaasan a happy Mother’s Day.  I feel like this is acceptable.  Aside from the fact that mother’s day is essentially a Hallmark Holiday, some of you are overseas, many of you are still very new acquaintances, and none of you are my mother, thus an actual phone call may be impractical, and possibly even weird.  This may sound like a “Captain Obvious” kind of observation, but it segues nicely into my point.

Thursday was my birthday.  I got a lot of birthday love via Facebook.  My bestie took me and my family out to lunch.  My neighbor brought me fresh strawberries and a mojito.  I was frankly touched.  Even though we’ve become quite good pals lately, the fact that she thought of me even a little was pretty cool.  One of my other friends brought me a whole DQ ice cream cake on Friday (my waistline thanks you!)  I had a very lovely birthday, despite spending at least part of it in the pediatrician’s office with my daughter for a weirdly vacillating rash.

And I got a few birthday texts.  Which is cool…  Except that not a single one of my four sets of parents or three sisters actually picked up the phone to call me on my birthday.  Ironically, my Dad just called to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”  Maybe it’s easier to call on a Sunday than a Thursday?  My mom, for her part (and weirdly) wished me an early “happy birthday” when I spoke to her earlier in the week.  But why?  Was she planning on being in absentia on my actual b-day?  (Hubby seems to think she just wanted to be the very first to wish me a “happy birthday”.)

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Anyway, it’s not a huge deal, but I have to admit it’s given me pause, and once again made me consider how our ever increasing technology is changing our culture…and our manners.  Is it okay for close family to text or Facebook a birthday greeting in lieu of an actual call?  I have mixed feelings.

I wonder if everyone will mind that I have not, as of yet, made any of my Mother’s Day cards, let alone sent them.  Maybe I can just shoot my three mothers (mom, stepmom, and MIL) a text.

So, readers, just wondering your opinions on the changing times and tides of socially acceptable behavior and cultural traditions and holidays.  What are your experiences and feelings on the topics?

Valentine’s Day: Happy or “Humbug?”

I’ve been seeing about a fifty/fifty split on Facebook posts between

“Happy Valentines Day, [so-and-so]! I love you, (blah blah blah…)”  and

“Screw Valentine’s Day! It’s just a Hallmark holiday anyway!”

Personally, I can’t think of a reason to complain about a day where there is an abundance of chocolate and flowers around, and an increased chance of sex!  Saying those things are bad is like saying you like to kick puppies.  Also, the nay-sayers are fooling themselves if they don’t think every other holiday has become a “Hallmark holiday” as well.

Like I told my friends, via my own status, even Christmas is commercial now.  I highly doubt the twelves disciples gave one another expensive electronics or fancy jewelry to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Anytime a holiday results in almost as much stress (or more) as it does joy, the holiday has likely become too commercial, or strayed too far from its original meaning.

I was thinking to myself today, the point of Valentine’s Day, or any holiday, is that its significance is what you make it.  What you put into it is what you get out of it.  So, if you want to celebrate V-day, great! If not, more power to ya!  But then this day took an interesting sort of turn which left me feeling a little confused, disappointed, silly, and finally, pissy…

In the spirit of this post, I was originally going to do a Valentine’s Day photo shoot (incognito, of course!)

By the time I got done exercising, I was feeling confident and inspired.  I knew hubby was coming home for lunch (he usually does,) and I wanted to wash the funk off before he got home, but I was going to wait until after he left to go back to work to get all fixed up, and I’d also have a nice deer steak ready for dinner.  But I had some extra time when  got out of the shower, so I got dressed up in a cute little vintage strapless number that’s been gathering dust in my closet, shaved my legs, put on some make-up… I even crammed myself into those pain in the ass spanx so I’d look extra svelte in my dress.

Granted, hubby says I always look beautiful…bleh.  But when I dress up, dammit, I feel pretty…only, when hubby walked through the door, his face hanging cuz he had a headache (again,) and… nothing.  Not only was there not a “you look great,” or “Happy Valentine’s Day,” there was no change in facial expression whatsoever.  

Already feeling embarrassed, I mumbled something about wanting to look cute for Valentine’s.  And then I said, in my daughter’s direction, “But now Mommy’s going to go change cuz she just feels silly.”

~sigh~  So for about 20 minutes I kind of wanted to cry, and then hubby left to go back to work and he kissed me twice and told me he loved me…

Hubby is a bit short on romance, but he’s a good guy and he does love me.  Last night when we got back from a couple of errands, he whipped out a bag of Andes Candies he had managed to sneak by me  (I heart Andes Candies) and he said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Well, it’s the little things that count, right?  So I made myself some “Valentine’s Day comfort coffee” with Hershey’s syrupand dropped a couple of Andes in it to make it extra minty-chocolatey.  And now I’m going to go smoke a “Valentine’s Day cigarette.”

Yay, me.

I guess I’m still a little bummed, so… dammit, I better get some extra Valentine’s Day sex tonight, or someone’s gonna be in trouble!

My Christmas “Wish In One Hand” List

I’m still kind of like a little kid at Christmastime.  Now that I’m older, I can get excited about giving presents as well as getting.  I’m not gonna lie; I like getting presents. For the past couple of years, hubby and I haven’t been in a financial position to exchange gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries.  But that doesn’t stop me from “window shopping.”  So here’s my “Wish in one hand” list.  

BADSanta

First, I’ve been wanting a new pair of boots for a while now.  Although my knee-high hooker boots have seen better days, they’re still wearable.  But I still want a new pair, with a lower heel.

Doc Martens, my old favorite.  I still have three or four pairs around here...but, they don't have buckles.

Doc Martens, my old-school favorite. I still have three or four pairs around here…but, they don’t have buckles.

Cobb Hill Bridget Dress boots; functional and fashionable

Cobb Hill Bridget Dress boots; functional and fashionable

Martino "Logan" Boots...a nice cross between the above two...and still with the buckles.

Martino “Logan” Boots…a nice cross between the above two…and still with the buckles.

Next on the list, money for some more ink.  I can’t be wearing these bad-ass boots without some new bad-ass ink to go with it.  I wanna work on a half sleeve, adding to what I already have on this tattoo:

tatme

And I also want to get a new tattoo:

A Perfect Circle...cuz Maynard's the man.

A Perfect Circle…cuz Maynard‘s the man…  I think I’ll have his love child.

Well, there are a crap-ton of things I would love to have, and a crap-ton more me and my family could use, but at present, these are the top things I want, that I am unlikely to be able to afford on my own anytime soon…hence the name of the list.  Oh well…

Guess I’ll have to settle for family and fellowship and all that shit… I mean, all that great stuff!

 But seriously…I am looking forward to Christmas this year because I get to go back to my home state and see my family… with my husband this time.   Last year I flew back, just me and the baby because hubby couldn’t get off work.   Managing airport security with a one year old and all of her accouterments is pure hell!  This year, hubby is coming and my baby gets to see her extended family, which is all I can really ask for.

Bah! Humbug! Homesick for the Holidays

Ah, the smell of BBQ, like a campfire in the fall.  My Peppermint Patty coffee creamer.  The joys of experiencing the holiday through my toddler’s eyes…

The ridiculous crowds at Walmart, the rude drivers, the stress of not having enough money to buy groceries, let alone presents…

Oh, and it’s currently 69 degrees outside.  Bah! Humbug!

But all of this I could handle if I didn’t feel so down and out.  The holidays are drawing inexorably nigh and it’s looking less and less like I’m going to make it home to see my family.  I was going to hitch a ride with my uncle in his motor home (he generously offered last year,) but he told me they had planned on taking the car this year.  This was a few weeks ago, and he said if they changed their minds, of course we could ride with them…  But it’s hard enough for my husband to get time off for the holidays ahead of time, so the closer the holidays approach before we ask, the less likely he is to be allowed off of work.  Last year, as we were the only one’s whose family is almost exclusively (with the exception of my uncle) out of state, he was the only one of his coworkers who did not get to spend Christmas with his family…any of them, because the baby and I flew home by ourselves (oh, holy night…mare that I will never repeat!)  He had off Christmas of course, but as we live 800 miles away from family, one day just isn’t sufficient travel time.

If my uncle were able to take the motor home to MD this year, I’d tell Hubby to tell his boss that he was takin’ off, and tough titty said the kitty if they didn’t like it.  It’s not right.  Seems to me they could spare him for a few days, as everyone else at his job generally stays instate.

“Tough Titty…” (Tough Kitty)

It’s bad enough I only see my parents like 3 times a year now (and consequently, they only see their granddaughter 3 times a year.)  It’s killing me, and I know it’s killing my mom.

I miss my family and I want to move back home… but I also don’t want to.  Simply put, I’d only move back to MD because most of the family is there.  Frankly, I don’t like what the place has become.  I feel safer out here with the good ol’ redneck, racist, ignorant, fat hillbillies than I would back home where I’d fear getting mugged going to the freakin’ Wawa.  I realize part of this is perception, and that there is crime everywhere…  but according to my perception, it seems like the people out here are more ignorant than actually malicious.  Prime example; last year, in my home state, a guy I went to school with was stabbed to death in his own apartment when a seventeen year old hood broke in to steal the gun my classmate had for home protection.  Did I mention he knew the kid from around the neighborhood?  Did I also mention this guy was legally blind?  Who the fuck stabs a blind guy?

But back to the point, suffice it to say this conflict of feeling is causing me some distress…

Were we to magically discover hubby had the time off of work, thus allowing us the opportunity to drive ourselves home, then there’s the question of the $300 dollars in gas we’d likely need to get there– one way.  Would our POS Explorer even make it that far?

Assuming we’re grounded and we just have to accept it, how now am I going to afford to get everyone I want to gifts?  Our parents usually understand if we can’t afford to get them anything, but I like to buy for my sisters, and then their are my nieces and nephews, and my best friend’s kids, and my cousin’s kid…

Obviously I am not the first person to observe with no small trace of irony that this holiday is not supposed to be this stressful.

Yet I feel blue, and despite what I intellectually know and what I would tell others in my position, I feel like I deserve a big lump of coal in my stocking for not being able to give my family, and most importantly, my child, the things I want to be able to give them this holiday season.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  That’s not what the holiday is about, if they really care about us, they’ll understand, and all the baby needs is love…

So why do I still feel like a giant, disappointing piece of crap?

Bah! Humbug!

Have a Sucky Halloween…(and I don’t mean like a Vampire)

Well, it’s Halloween, which happens to be my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, my little one has been sick since last Sunday, and while the doc (np) seems to think it’s nothing serious, she recommended Darling Daughter stay out of the cold and damp. We had to cancel our plans this weekend to go to my friend’s bonfire, and then our second set of plans fell through as well, as their kids were down with a stomach virus (and I definitely don’t need that shit in my house!)

And D.D. Is still coughing today, so probably no Trick-or-Treating. I’m thinking of dressing myself and D.D. Up just for fun around the apartment, and I tried to convince some of my friends that they should come “reverse” Trick-or-Treating, and knock on my door and hand me candy (I don’t think they went for it.) 

 

 

So, since I won’t be able to celebrate on my favorite holiday…

 

“Pttth! Hiss! Hisssss!”

 

I figure I might as well ruin it for the rest of you.

So, here’s a brief list of all the empty calories on which you’re happily binging while I sit home with my sick kid…jerks.

Nutritional infor is pretty easy to find on the mini chocolate bars that are generally at the top of a kid’s Halloween candy hierarchy  but what about the loose candy. You think, “a skittle here, an M&M there…no prob.” It adds up, suckers!

 

One single M&M has 3.4 calories, One Peanut M&M has about 10 calories (gobble ’em up, bitches!)

 ONE single Milk Dud has 13 calories (Ha! I hope your ass gets fat!)

One single piece of candy corn has 6.6-7.5 calories

calories per skittle 4.3

Calories per single Junior Mint 9

Well, you get the point. Now I hope your candy sucks! (Just Kidding…sort of.)

Everyone have a safe and happy Halloween, and do think of me when you’re all in your cool-ass costumes and make-up!

Now, for your Halloween viewing pleasure…

RELATED LINKS:  http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/carbcounts/a/candycalories.htm