Saturday, December 24, 2011


This is from my "other" blog.

It's from last year, but I came across it again today and discovered that I rather like it. I have a theory that I was a better writer back when I didn't write as often and I must say that this post proves the point.

Begin post:

Maybe it’s just my corner of the world. We say things like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” But no one will wish you a “Merry Christmas.” We just don’t talk like that in these parts. But I mean, we all know what those greetings of the season are, right? They are “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” So why can’t I just say that instead of alluding to it? It’s like calling your Uncle Benny “you know, fastidious.” The man has a life-size cut out of Barbara Streisand in his sewing room. It’s ok to call him gay. He knows.

I get that not every one celebrates Christmas but so what? I don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo but you don’t see me yelling at drunk white people on May 5th telling them “Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th, huero!” I let them have their fun. I let it go.

I get that there are other important religious holidays in December. Certainly, Hanukkah, which gets billed to non-Jewish kids as “but they get presents, too,” (Because it’s very troublesome to think that there are some kids who are neither on Santa’s nice list nor his naughty list.)

Ramadan is around here, too, although I know they have a different calendar system that doesn’t always match up with the rest of the December religious holidays (much in the same way that the World Series doesn’t always match up with Halloween). Ramadan used to get a lot of press back in the 20th century, back when it was a priority to be culturally sensitive to Islam. Not so much these days when the Koran is talked about as if it’s synonymous with “al Qaeda Instruction Manual.”

Then there’s Kwanza. I have no idea what Kwanza is, or who celebrates it. Judging from the Kwanza stamps at the post office, it seems to be a holiday for black people, who, as far as I know, celebrate Christmas.

Listen folks, I live in a place where election ballots are printed in six languages. (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Korean). We’re no strangers to different cultures celebrating different ideas. And yet, I have never met anyone who has celebrated Kwanza. Maybe it’s like the “Santa” of the holidays—we pretend it exists, but it really doesn’t. Yes, Virginia, there is a Kwanza.

But if someone wished me a Happy Kwanza, I’d be tickled. (Especially if it were celebrated with the doling out of candies—you know, like the rest of the American holidays: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, and And hopefully, if I wished that person a Merry Christmas (and offered ‘em some candy), they’d smile and be tickled, too.

Because all of it—“Happy Hanukkah,” “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Kwanza Day,” “Have a Cheerful Winter,” etc—are all euphemisms for what we called in my day, Christmas spirit. A way to connect, human to human about wonderful human things like love, cheerfulness, gratitude, generosity, selflessness, bliss, and gratitude again, independent of the origin stories of virgins or lamp oil or the Kwanzanese. A way to say, “hey, the joy in me salutes the joy in you.”

Which, ironically, is how we end every yoga class.

So if I can’t say “Merry Christmas” without causing offense, I’ll just play it safe.

Namaste, everybody!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Que Sera, Sera

Last night Chiara was playing in her room. She had arranged four chairs and a stool to make a little living room. Her favorite baby doll was asleep in a little makeshift bed made out of two of the chairs. The lawn chair was arranged like a Lazy-Boy.

When I peeked in, she informed me: “I’m taking care of my baby. I’m a grownup. I’m eating ice cream for dinner and watching T.V. and enjoying a glass of wine.”

I’m not sure what to make of that.

She’s four.

I wonder what she will be: this little person who thinks of grownups as people who allow themselves ice cream for dinner. 
I wonder if she will ever learn how to count properly. 
I wonder how her face will change and which parts of her chubby body are just chubby and which parts are baby fat. 
I wonder when she will switch from being a light little fairy so full of life and curiosity to a sullen teenager or jaded adult. 
I wonder when life will weather her face. 
I don’t wonder if I’ll still be around to see it. I assume that I will be.

And the boys. It just occurred to me that soon they’ll be talking. Really talking. And then they’ll be five people in this house expressing ideas, invading the space in my brain that is closing in on itself like the walls of my living room. They’ll bargain and negotiate and complain and whine. 

Just today Michael was asking where his pajamas bottoms were, but since he was asking by looking instead of saying, “Hey! I know I have matching pajama bottoms with rockets on them and I’d really like to wear them. And I know you hid them around here someplace,” he just wandered around the living room with his palms up, saying “eeeehhhhh-ehh?” and I could pretend that I had no idea what he was asking as I held up the pants I wanted him to wear.