rebecca_in_blue: (dishevelled hair)
Adam got Sara and me a flowering cactus plant for Christmas. We'd wanted a new plant to put on our bay window, so we appreciated it. But instead of saying "you're welcome" when we thanked him for it, he had to say, "I was going to get you a plant in a hanging basket, but they were too expensive. Like, as soon as they put a plant in a hanging basket, they mark up the price ten bucks." And so he proves again that he has no gift-giving manners. Some things never change.

In other news, today is Peter Pan's birthday! Although Pan debuted by name in Barrie's 1902 novel The Little White Bird, most Barriologists recognize December 27, the anniversary of the play's 1904 premiere, as Peter Pan's birthday. On This Day in History: Peter Pan opens in London.

I am SO glad that Christmas is finally over! Sara and I went to the earliest showing of Les Miserables on Christmas morning, and it was amazing! I'm glad I ordered advance tickets for us, because the theater was pretty packed (ugh, I hate crowded movie theaters - I guess that's why I hardly ever go). I think I might have to go back soon and see it again. I need to find a near-empty showing so I can sing along with all the songs!

P.S. On the art calendar, I'm looking at The Right Hand of God Protecting the Faithful Against the Demons, a circa 1460 parchment piece by Jean Fouquet. Attempts to find out its original French title have been unsuccessful.
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
I'm grateful to have been off work for the last weekend before Christmas. I know all the stores were madhouses this weekend. It was still a pretty busy weekend for me, though. On Saturday, I went to the bookstore and browsed through Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. As much as I love the musical (ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT!), I'd never read the novel before, and it's so massive that I'm amazed anyone anywhere ever actually read the whole thing. I was glad to see that the musical made some much-needed changes and improvements. The book is packed with confusing subplots, pointless extra characters, even more unrealistic coincidences than the musical, and worst of all, a showdown between Valjean and Marius (who despise each other in the book!) fighting for "ownership" of Cosette. Ugh!

This afternoon, "Briana" and I went ice-skating at a very swanky local hotel who turned their swimming pool into an ice-skating rink for the winter (Big Brothers Big Sisters had given us a coupon to the place). I had fun, but once again, I'm not sure Briana did. She was excited on the way there, but once on the ice, she got very hesitant and nervous. She probably spent more time sitting and watching everyone else than she did skating. She's not very eager to try new things or go new places, and I don't know what to do about that. She literally only ever wants to do the same thing (walk the mall). We've now been matched for six months, half of the year that BBBS asks of you. I feel bad saying this, but I'm glad we're halfway done. God help me get through the next six months.

In other news, a few years ago, as part of a French project, I recorded an interview with Grandma talking about her early life and speaking Cajun French. Over the past week, I converted the cassette tape into a digital music file, spliced it into tracks in iTunes, and burned them onto CDs to give out as Christmas gifts. After ice-skating, I drove out to my cousin's place to give one to him, then to CJ & Company's, then to Aunt Carla's. I had wrapped Aunt Carla's in paper and ribbon and asked her to wait until Christmas to open it, but Adam opened his big mouth and told her what it was, and she started bawling. I just about socked him. It was exhausting to run all those errands, but I'm glad I could give my relatives a preservation of Grandma talking, laughing, and describing her life in her own words. It's a lot more meaningful than most Christmas gifts. And I got junk food and fresh, home-grown lemons out of it -- yum!

P.S. Just pre-ordered our tickets to Les Miserables on December 25th!
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)
I made my once-a-year trek into Target yesterday (okay, I'm exaggerating - but not much) and hallelujah, I'm finally done with my Christmas shopping! My only reservation is that my gift for Mom seems kinda... cheap, but she's never been an easy person to buy for. Adam and Sara at least don't ask for the same stuff for nearly every birthday and Christmas. I was so tired when I got home that I conked out and slept right through yesterday's new NCIS episode. The weird thing is, I dremt that I got up and went into the living room to watch it (I have a lot of very literal dreams - they get annoying) and what was happening on the show happened to be the fanfic I'm currently writing.

Today Sara and I went out to lunch with Mom and got a little cup of the trail mix Athena went crazy for. Her family is going up to Little Rock this weekend to visit her, and I was planning to send it with them as her Christmas present. Then, lo and behold, I discovered that they're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning! So I will be getting out of bed very early to drop it off with them before they leave. Ugh! Athena so owes me for this.

Tonight I spent the evening at Mom's house, making bacon & eggs, wrapping my Christmas gifts, and watching Star Trek. We saw the episode The Most Toys, and it was darn good. I kept shouting things at the TV: "You messed with the wrong sentient android, buster!" "Data is not an it!" "Go, Data! Kick his ass!" I've tried watching episodes online, but I can't really watch it by myself because 1) I don't have anyone to explain it to me, and 2) I don't have anyone to make comments like, "Is Data the sweet invention of a scientist's dream? Or is he really as sentient as he seems?" And now, onto my NCIS notes.


Notes on 10x10 "You Better Watch Out" )

SIX DAYS MORE TILL LES MISERABLES!
Six days more
Another day, another destiny
This never-ending road to the movie
This film will surely be sublime, I'll go and see it fifty times
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Our non-Christmas tree has been a bit sparsely-decorated since I upgraded from a 4' to a 6'. Last year, I bought a glittery red key from the antique store as a new ornament. This year, I made an ornament out my mom's old skate key. Grandma held onto it for all these years, and I found it at my aunt's house when I went over there to do my laundry this morning. God only knows why Grandma kept it, but then, she could never throw anything away.


Skate keys were used to put on old metal roller skates. (If you've ever read The Catcher in the Rye, there's a scene where Phoebe uses a skate key to put on her roller skates.) This one is at least 45 years old. My Grandma and Aunt Carla told me Mom used to spend hours skating up and down the sidewalk. It's almost impossible for me to imagine her that young.

Happy second night of Hanukkah! PBS is broadcasting the (several hours long) 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables tonight, and I'm watching it right now. SQUEE! I love this version of Les Mis. It stars my very favorite Valjean and Fantine, Alfie Boe and Lea Salonga -- and, unfortunately, one of the Jonas Brothers as Marius. :\


Ni Hao Yall
rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)
A scene from Grandma's house, on Christmas Eve...
Adam: (about Grandma's new armchair) Wow, how much did that cost?
(As an aside, he has the worst gift-giving manners ever. He is constantly telling you how much how little he spent on your gift, and asking how much everything cost. Ugh! Our dad is spinning in his grave.)
Me: Adam, stop asking how much stuff cost!
Athena: Rebecca, stop being such a Jew.
At which EVERYONE in the room bursts out laughing.

I can't stop thinking about this, and the more I think about it, the madder I get. Next time Athena is in town (which will probably be for Grandma's funeral), I should tell some good Mormon jokes and see how she likes it. Hmph.
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)
Even when I was a kid, Christmas Day always felt kinda like a let-down. (When I was really young, it was the one day a year that Mom dragged us kids to church, before she gave up on trying to make Catholics out of us and just let us be heathens.) I always preferred Christmas Eve, where the focus going to Grandma's house and seeing all the relatives, not getting presents. This year was no exception.

On Christmas Eve, I spent the afternoon and evening first at Grandma's house, then with JC & Co. There were the usual Christmas Eve dishes: gumbo with hard-boiled eggs and potato salad, and pizza for Rebecca folks who don't like gumbo. (I know, I know, I'm a bad Cajun!) I did give and get a few small gifts to/from the extended family. I gave Athena one of my cute little dreidels -- because she's one of my few relatives who shows any interest in Jew stuff -- and ended up teaching her whole family how to play it! I had to explain to Athena which Hebrew letters meant almost every time we spun the dreidel! Christmas Eve doesn't get better than playing dreidel with Mormons.

Their family opened their presents while I was there, and Eva is still young enough that Christmas presents are a huge deal for her. Her whole face LIT UP when she unwrapped her swanky new electric keyboard, and she immediately played "Don't Stop Believin'" for all of us. She is really an awesome piano player. I got her a pack of glittery ink pens that she also seemed excited about.

I broke my three-year tradition of attending Midnight Mass at the Catholic cathedral, but I was so tired from the long day that I completely forgot and went to bed early. Around 11:30, I sat up in bed and thought, "Hey, I could still make the Midnight Mass," but I was already in bed, and the whether outside was very cold, wet, and windy! Besides, is there really a comfortable place for a now-officially Jewish girl at a Midnight Mass?

Today, Sara and I slept in and slept in and slept in. We have really hardly seen each other all week because our work and sleep schedules were so crazy. I got a few random presents that I don't know why my family thought I wanted -- am I really that hard to buy for? -- and some I really liked. Sara got me Flight of the Reindeer, a children's book I'd wanted about how reindeer really fly (by contrast, I got her Stephen King's The Stand: Complete and Uncut); a nice new Torah with commentary; and...


PURPLE AB SHOES!!!
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Over the weekend, Rebecca finally managed to find that elusive thing people call "holiday spirit." It wasn't easy. Yes, I was one of those fools who waited until the weekend before Christmas to go shopping. Traffic on the roads was horrible, and so was the scene inside Target! I did manage to find nice gifts that didn't put me in the red (including a ball-in-a-cup for myself and a little something for Toys for Tots) but by the time I left the store, I was ready to strangle the life out of every crying child and every arguing couple. UGH!

So to recover from that, I spent Saturday and Sunday evenings at my mom's house -- making my bacon & eggs candy, wrapping presents, and shaking the ones that were already wrapped under the tree and labelled with my name. Adam and I couldn't agree on a movie (he refuses to watch The Goonies, and I refuse to watch It's a Wonderful Life) so instead we watched old Christmas episodes of Roseanne, King of the Hill, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.

I don't know if I've ever explained what my bacon & eggs are. I use this recipe, only I prefer yellow Reese's Pieces over yellow M&M's. There's no cooking involved, and they're the only thing I'm really good at making. I made a ton this year -- enough for all my relatives, and I also hope to bring some to temple on Friday to eat with the latke dinner. I think I'll call them "kosher bacon & eggs." Haha.

Me: Pretends to cough while making bacon & eggs: "Don't worry, I'm being very careful to cough all over these." Adam: "Well, be sure to give the ones you coughed on to Grandma." Haha. I taught him all the sarcasm he knows.

It's such a good feeling to be done with my Christmas shopping! (Last year, I was still frantically shopping and wrapping presents on Christmas Eve! Ugh!) Maybe now I can finally enjoy the season. This afternoon, I went for a nice bike ride, which I haven't done in forever, and I loved seeing all the Christmas decorations while riding around in a t-shirt and jeans.

Tomorrow begins my first Hanukkah as an official Jew!
rebecca_in_blue: (dropped jaw)
On the last Thursday before Hanukkah, in the final days of 2011, three things I am thankful for:
  1. Warmer weather has returned, at least for now. This week has been very warm and wet. I'm not crazy about the wet part, but I prefer it to being cold.
  2. A lovely virtual Hanukkah card from [livejournal.com profile] kew121 (thanks, Kew!) and an old-fashioned paper card from Grandma and Aunt Carla. Theirs was actually a Christmas card, but Aunt Carla wrote on the side, "Happy Hannukah! I hope I spelt that right." She didn't, not that I'm going to point that out to her. I can remember how to spell it by comparing it to my name. Hanukkah: one N, two Ks; Rebecca: one B, two Cs.
  3. The Christmas lights in my neighborhood. I love seeing all of them when I ride my bike to and from temple.

Three things I'm looking forward to:

  1. Making my trademark holiday treats, bacon & eggs candy, this weekend.
  2. Forcing convincing Adam to see the "A Charlie Brown Christmas" display downtown with me. Now if I could just find someone to see the gingerbread houses with me.
  3. Cooking latkes with Sassy Jewish Grandmother #2 (at our temple, next Friday) and Sassy Jewish Grandmother #1 (at her house, date to be determined). I had my first latkes at our temple's Hanukkah dinner last year, and they were so delicious that I could've eaten my weight in them! But they were in such high demand that I only got a few.

Three things I can't believe:

  1. In just a few short weeks, 2012 will be here!
  2. Season 9 of NCIS is already halfway over!
  3. As recently as October, Grandma was just fine.

I'm determined to get my Christmas shopping finished before Hanukkah, and the fanfic I'm currently writing finished before Christmas.

rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)

What a weekend! I was off work, but I feel like I hardly slowed down at all. I spent Saturday evening with some friends from temple, Cheryl and her little girl, Maggie. We went out and all ate breakfast foods for dinner, then browsed in a lovely store that was all decked out for the holidays. Seriously, I should've taken a picture of all the decorations and lights and toys. It was like Christmas exploded in there! I didn't buy anything, even though I saw some cute ornaments. (Our tree has been a little bare since I got rid of our religious ornaments. I might buy some Hanukkah ones online - if I can find any.)

After that, we went for a drive along the lake to look at Christmas lights. A lot of the swanky houses on the lakeshore had very impressive displays, including one of Santa Claus in a pirogue pulled by alligators. My favorite were the Live Oak trees draped with Spanish moss and encrusted with little white lights - so pretty. One house even had a real live Santa on the curb giving out free candy canes. There was a Christmas parade downtown that we didn't go to, but after the parade, there were fireworks. We watched them from the opposite, infinitely less crowded side of the lake. Maggie said something like, "Fireworks are like somebody threw a lot of glitter in the air!"

I didn't get home late, but I was up very late that night. Some weeks ago, a lady at the temple asked me to teach a Hebrew school on Sunday morning, and like the fool that I am, I said yes. Do not ask how Rebecca, one of the least qualified people at the temple, got this job; I have no idea. And of course, I left everything to the last minute the night before (my bad habits never change!) so on Saturday night, I gave myself a crash course in Hebrew and tried to develop a lesson plan from scratch. Did I mention that the Hebrew students are 6- to 10-year-olds?! I have even less experience with both that language and that age group than I did with teaching French high school students to speak English, and you all remember how mightily I sucked at that.

Anyway, come Sunday morning, I arrived at the temple looking awful and blearly-eyed, and I'm sure everyone thought I hadn't slept at all (which was practically the case). Fortunately, the lesson wasn't so bad. We - me and another, infinitely better teacher - taught the Hebrew months to the older kids and the Hebrew alphabet to the younger ones. Our class wasn't an easy one to teach; we had some students who could read Hebrew better than me (which isn't saying much) and some who didn't know alef from bet. Debbie Friedman's alef-bet song was a big help with them. It was stuck in my head all day! It occured to me later it all counted as talmud torah: the mitzvah of Jewish learning/teaching, the most important mitzvot.

I had meant to run some errands after Hebrew school, but instead I conked out as soon as I got home. So the errands had to wait until this morning, and they were much more frenzied than I would've liked. They involved several failed attempts to make a Christmas tree ornament (for my grandma) out of a dreidel. Hooked screws from the hardware store didn't work because I would've had to use a hammer, and the dreidel was so small that I was sure a hammer would smash it. Super glue from the dollar store didn't work, because even though the glue was strong enough to take paint off the dreidel (and my skin off my fingers, it felt like) it didn't affix the string to the dreidel. Finally I used silver dress trim from the fabric store. It's not very nice-looking, but it was the only thing that worked!

Then I drove by Grandma's house to give it to her. It went much better than my last visit with her. She sat up, came to the table with help from my aunts, ate a meal, had a conversation with me, and (best of all) understood what I said in French and answered me back in French. She is still my bad-ass Cajun grandma. Hooray!

And just to prove that all my Hebrew cramming didn't go to waste, I'll sign off this entry with my Hebrew name:

שָׁלוֹם  -  רִבְקָה   בר   יַעֲקֹב   (Shalom - Rivka bat Yakov)

rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
Rebecca has taken some good-natured teasing from folks at her temple for putting up a Chris -- uh, I mean, a holiday tree. It probably didn't help that I accidentally called it a Christmas tree in front of Sassy Jewish Grandfather #2. (It just slips out!) I figure since Sara is a heathen, we live in an interfaith apartment, and therefore we can have a tree. Besides, it's not like anyone can throw me out of the religion for having a tree; the beit din told me when I converted that no one can throw me out. So, the Jews are stuck with me!

I have, however, tried to play down Christmas and put the focus more on Hanukkah. I put up a tree, but I got rid of our few religious ornaments (and I'll admit, I did with a heavy heart - I have fond memories of those). I got rid of my old Christmas-themed stocking and bought a more generic one that just has doves and the word peace. After services today, I bought several dreidels from our temple gift shop. The temple secretary bought a big bulk pack of dreidels from here and re-sold them for very reasonable prices. They are the most adorable little painted wooden dreidels!

Best of all, I found my dad's old Hanukkah mug in a drawer! I had forgotten he even had it. I gave it for him for Christmas 2001, ten years ago. My dad wasn't Jewish, but back in high school, I used to buy all my friends (all two of them!) cookies for Christmas. One year, the cookie shop was giving away free mugs to people who spent a certain amount, and I got a choice between a red-and-green or blue-and-white one. This was just before I started wearing glasses, so the blue-and-white mug was just a blur I assumed to be a generic winter scene. Later I saw the dreidels and menorahs. Looking back now, I can't believe the cookie shop was giving these away for free. It is such a big, beautiful, painted ceramic mug. It means so much to me to have it. Update: You can see my dreidels and my dad's Hanukkah mug here!

P.S. I had to watch a video on YouTube to learn how to play the dreidel game. The guy in the video said, "There's really no skill involved." I hope I can find some folks to play it with me.
rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
Hanukkah is later than usual this year, so it actually will fall during Christmas. I think this will make celebrating it a bit easier. I'm not sure what I'm going to do in future years when it falls at a totally different time of December. But I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

On a related note, I've finally come up with a list of things I want this year. (Although I'm not even sure why I bothered, since two people have already bought me gifts, and I don't remember either of them ever asking me what I wanted. Yeah, I have a great feeling about that.)

Rebecca's Christmas Hanukkah List
  • Plain Beautiful: The Life of Peggy Ann Garner
  • A Tanakh (also called a Torah or a Jewish Bible) with some sort of commentary. There are many different kinds of Tanakhs out there. I'd like one that's a reasonable physical size. I've seen some at temple that are huge, heavy books that you have to hold with both hands!
  • A Calvin & Hobbes book that neither Sara nor I has yet. I would really like Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons or Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat.
  • Converse shoes (also called Chuck Taylors) in non-black colors. If tha description doesn't ring a bell, they're the shoes that look like this. If you know me, you know that these are my default shoes. I call them "AB shoes" and wear them everywhere. I dream of someday having lots of pairs in all different colors. Please note that I would prefer low-cuts, not high-tops, and I wear a size 8. I think the local Dollar Store carries a few different colored pairs for reasonable prices. That brings us to...
  • A shoe holder. I'd prefer the kind that hangs from a clothes bar. Just don't get me the kind that hangs over a door, please - I have no free door to hang it from!
  • Dog stickers for a car window. We sell these at my store, both dog and paw print stickers, for very reasonable prices.
Sara insists that I'm a hard person to shop for. I'll add onto this list if more things come to me. A tip for holiday shopping in general: If you buy anything in a store, for heaven's sakes, save your receipts! You'd think most people would already know this, but I'm still pissed at my mom for not only not keeping the receipt for what she gave me last year, but also refusing to tell me where she bought it! Ugh.
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)

I spent Christmas Eve at Grandma's house, as always, unwrapping gifts, stuffing my face with pizza, and having a leaf-fight with my younger cousins. I left around five to go home and walk Sable, then rode my bike to Shabbat services at the temple. The evening was very warm and pleasant, and I didn't wheeze at all.

Then Aunt Connie, Adam, Eva, and I drove down the park on the lakefront to look at all the gorgeous Christmas lights. It was still warm, so we got out of the car, walked out on the docks, and ran around on the playground. Eva dared me that I couldn't climb up one of the slides, and I foolishly took her up on it. I did it, but I got bruises all over in the process. Rebecca is getting too old for this stuff.

That night, I went to Midnight Mass at the cathedral. This is the third consecutive year that I've gone, and I find it funny that I've driven there every time, while I have yet to drive to temple (always ride my bike). It was the first time I've been to Mass since I started attending temple, and it felt very strange and a little uncomfortable. As much as I enjoyed the music - heard Noe, Noe again! - and smell of the incense, I'm not sure if I'll go back next year.

One of the men conducting the Mass was a guy I graduated from high school with; I got to talk to him a little afterwards, and apparently he's already a deacon and about to be ordained a priest. That's so strange to me because when we graduated, which feels like yesterday, I remember he said he was considering the priesthood. I'm a little in awe of people who know what they want to do when they graduate high school, then go out and do it. (And a little jealous. I need direction like that in my life!) When I told him I was converting to Judaism, he said, "There's a Jewish temple here?" I have gotten this response a lot, but really, the temple's almost literally within a stone's throw of the cathedral...

On Christmas Day, we went to Mom's house to unwrap gifts and play video games. Going back to work on December 26 was no fun! Today a coworker told me that a customer referred to me as "the girl with the Star of David necklace, the silver one." For some reason, I found this hilarious and almost died laughing!

And because today is December 27:

Proud and insolent youth, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Anyone can see the road that you walk on is paved in gold.
It's always summer. You'll never get cold.
You'll never get hungry. You'll never get old and gray.

rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)

For Christmas, ironically, Sara gave me a beautiful silver Star of David necklace that I attached to my dogtag chain.
Sara: What're you gonna do with all this Jew stuff after you convert to Mormonism?
Me: Well, no offense to the Mormons, but that's not something I ever see myself doing.

I was up until four in the morning on Christmas Day, in part because I went to the Midnight Mass at the cathedral (a few hours after attending Shabbat services at the temple).
Sara: You better not let the Jews find out you went to Midnight Mass.
Me: Oh please, what do you think they're gonna do?
Sara: They won't let you join in all their reindeer games!
Me: [dies laughing

On the twelfth day of Christmas, rebecca_in_blue sent to me...
Twelve obituaries drumming
Eleven seasons piping
Ten hurricanes a-leaping
Nine pecans dancing
Eight scattergories a-milking
Seven dreams a-doodling
Six cemeteries a-grieving
Five fre-e-e-ench films
Four boston terriers
Three church bells
Two young actresses
...and a depression in a birkin family.
Get your own Twelve Days:

I know these things are stupid, but I loved the "hurricanes a-leaping" and five French films, and the "depression in a Birkin family" made me burst out laughing. Those Birkins don't need any more depression.

rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)

I kinda broke a shelfing unit at work today. I turned into a blithering idiot for a few seconds, tried to stand on it, and it collapsed from under me. (I caught myself on my arm, and now it's sore as hell.) So far no one has noticed, but I've been walking on eggshells waiting for someone to. Don't ask me what I was thinking, because I don't know. I'm so glad I only have one day left to work before Christmas.

I foolishly told some of my co-workers I would bring my bacon & eggs candy, so now I can't back out (and I should be making them right now!). I'm making them with Reese's Pieces instead of M&M's this year. Not sure how they'll taste, but M&M's were a problem because I only used one of five colors and always ended up with a mountain of leftover M&M's that I didn't really want. With Reese's Pieces, I use one out of only three colors, and there are none leftover because Sara and I could eat those things by the bucketful.

One year when I was a kid, I got a beautiful, watercolor-illustrated double edition of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner for Christmas. I loved Pooh as a kid. Okay, and I still do. I still have that book, and the illustrations are vintage, non-Disney Pooh. Anyway, I reading through it right after I opened it, when Mom flipped to the inside jacket and pointed to the price. I know Sara says I never let go of anything, but seriously, this irks me now. What kind of immature behavior was that? (Maybe this is where Adam gets his bad gift-giving habits? He already told me this year that my gift was "real cheap.") I still have books Dad gave me where he cut off the corner of the inside jacket, so I couldn't even see the price. He was big on never letting you know how much he'd spent on your gift, much less pointing it out to you. The moral of this story, children, is that there's an art to giving and receiving gifts. Let's all try to remember that and be gracious this year, mmkay?

rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)

The baggers at my grocery store are terrible! I always bring two reuseable tote bags when I go grocery-shopping; I fill them up as I shop, and can almost always fit all but a few items in them. But when I check out, the cashier takes all the items out of the bags to scan them, and the bagger never fails to repackage them badly. The last two times I went, he refilled my tote bags to quarter-capacity, then packed everything else in plastic bags at the rate of one item per bag. Such wastefulness really aggrevates me. If it happens again, I'm going to say something, although I doubt it will have much effect since most of the baggers at that store are literally retarded.

By some Christmas miracle, a little of the ice must have melted off Boss Man's icy heart, because I'm off for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! I haven't been off for both these days since 2007, and that hardly counted because that year, I spent Christmas wandering around London in the rain and sleeping alone in a hostel (although my cousin Laura and her family very kindly let me stay with them for the first part of my visit to London; I worry now that I wasn't as good a guest as I should've been).

Athena came over last night and watched The Kids Are All Right with Sara and me. We ended up making her watch "The Bed Intruder Song" on YouTube, and I think she was more than a little weirded out when we both started singing along in unison.

P.S. The title of this entry comes from a letter my Uncle Johnny wrote to my dad back in the late '90s. He was talking about Frank Sinatra (who I think had just passed away) and said, "In later years, Francis got sloppy, but I remember he used to hit the first D in Night anD Day. It is usually sung as Night Anday, a trifling matter that drives people to mass murder." Haha. I think his humor was a lot like Dad's.

rebecca_in_blue: (trembling hand)
Rebecca's Christmas List for this year is very grown-up and boring. I do want some fun, entertaining things, but I hope to buy those myself with any money I get for Christmas.
  • Black socks to wear to work.
  • A black belt, also for work.
  • Books: Plain Beautiful – The Life of Peggy Ann Garner, by Sandra Grabman; a Calvin & Hobbes book that neither Sara nor I has yet, especially Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons or Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat.
  • A new shower curtain. Our old one is falling to pieces. Just nothing with cats, flowers, etc. on it.
  • A shirt with something funny (but inoffensive) about Jews or French people. CafePress is the place to go for these.
  • Flash/Jump/USB drives. It's all the same thing, just with different names. I would prefer a few small ones (no higher than 4G) to one big one, and something colorful or patterned that I won't lose. My store has a big selection, and they start pretty cheap.
  • Bumper stickers reading God Loves a Duck and/or Klaxonnez si vous parlez français (Honk if you speak French). There are a few local places that make custom bumper stickers and some more online. I would prefer ones that are colorful and easy-to-read. These will go on our second car, when we get it.
I just got done putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. It's another artificial one, and a little too big for how many ornaments we have, but it still looks nice. I'm not a Christmas freak by any means, but I've always enjoyed trimming the tree. This year, however, my feelings were mixed.

At this time last year, I had hardly been exposed to Judaism at all. I thought I knew a lot about it, because it's something I've always been interested in, but I've learned so much over the course of this year, I realize now that I knew nothing back then. The more I learn about Judaism, the more out-of-touch, even uncomfortable, I feel with some of the concepts of Christianity. Even though I'm fresh back from Hanukkah services and thinking seriously about converting (although I refuse to make any rash decisions, and people at the temple have not pressured me at all), I still thought I could take Christmas in stride. After all, my family has never really celebrated it religiously, and we're a pretty mixed mixed bunch – Mormons, Catholics, heathens, etc.

But my Christmas has hit a few bumps. Trimming the tree felt... weird, especially hanging our few religious ornaments. We've had these ornaments forever (there's one of Mary holding Jesus that I made myself in kindergarten, and vividly remember making; there's another of the Holy Family that I got at Midnight Mass 2008) so it made me sad to feel that they didn't belong. I keep telling myself that it's no big deal and I can celebrate Christmas secularly, but that feels a little weird, too.

The appropriation of Jewish holidays seems offensive to me. I've never actually encountered it, but I've read about it at
[info]weirdjews
, and I sort of consider the entire "Jews for Jesus" movement to be one big, massively wrong appropriation. (Especially since I've heard these people target real Jews for conversion. Scary.) So it occurred to me that secularizing Christmas is, in a way, an appropriation of a Christian holiday. I used to be annoyed by the "Keep Christ in Christmas" message – especially back in high school, when I heard it all the time – but now I think I understand where they're coming from. And this is an unpleasant sensation, because I'm used to making fun of people who have a different opinion, not seeing their side of things. I must be losing it.

On the other hand, Christmas has become very secularized in American culture. It's not something I personally chose to happen, so why can't I celebrate it however I want?

rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

Almost every time I turn on the radio now, I hear "Good," by Carrie Underwood. I'm ashamed to say I actually like it, but geez, there's a limit to how much I can take. (Edit: I just googled the lyrics, and it's actually called "Mama's Song." Ugh.) But it is better than the Christmas music that some stations are playing. Today I heard that awful Christmas song by Alvin & the Chipmunks, and even more disturbing, a tweaked version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" called "Hanukkah and Christmas Hand in Hand." Listening to it was easily the biggest what-the-fuck moment of my day.

Speaking of which, the Hanukkah service at the temple last Friday was really lovely. There was a dinner afterwards, and I ate my first latke and, miraculously, several bites of salad. I never eat healthy foods, especially salads, so it was a big deal. It helped that there was goat cheese in it. Finding goat cheese in salad was like running into an old friend in strange place. I also met an older lady who recognized my last name because she went to school with my Aunt Alison and Uncle George. They live in California and I haven't seen them since 2006, so hearing their names dropped was really random and surprising. When I tell people at the temple my last name, I usually get, "What? Cohen?" — my last name is unusual, Scottish, and not Jewish in the least, but it sounds a lot like Cohen — not, "Oh, I know your Uncle George." What were the odds that we would be seated next to each other? I guess it is a small world.

I have still haven't put up Christmas decorations or a tree. I've done a tiny bit of shopping, but not much. Some years I just can't get into the Christmas spirit, and I think 2010 might be one of those years. I've always hated wintertime, and I still do.

rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my Christmas, but I just thought it would never end.

On Christmas Eve, I woke up at seven to go to work. The most awful thunderstorm ever was raging when I woke up, but by the time I left for work it had cleared and later the sun came out. After work, I went home to walk Sable, then to Grandma's to visit everyone and eat, then back home to walk Sable again and take about a twenty-minute nap, then to my aunt and uncle's to eat some more and play games, then for a quick drive around to look at the Christmas lights, then back home for about a thirty-minute nap, then to the Cathedral for the Midnight Mass.

One of the biggest reasons that I went was to hear "Noe, Noe," this old Christmas carol that I absolutely love and can never hear anywhere else. And the incense smelt so good, but it was so strong from where I was sitting in the back that I don't know how the people at the front didn't choke on it. Shockingly enough, the usher asked me to carry the Eucharist to the altar. (I'm surprised the dish didn't burst into flames when I touched it.) I didn't go to sleep for good until around three in the morning, and I had planned to sleep in until it was dark, if that's what it took to feel rested again, but my family very literally pried me out of bed at too early an hour to open presents with them.

The best present of all was that on Christmas Eve, the bitch I work with finally got fired! About fucking time!
rebecca_in_blue: (subtle sigh)

For Sara's birthday, I got her this old '90s movie she'd wanted, Outbreak. It was so weird watching it with her, because she had almost the entire thing memorized, and I'd never even heard her mention the movie until recently. Maybe I don't know that sly freak as well as I thought. But we are closer than his wife would like.

So seriously, where did 2009 go? I feel both frustrated and satisfied when I look back at the year. But I did have a nice Easter, a fun 4th of July, and a good birthday, with lots of good food at each. Sara and I got a better couch (November) and a really nice new computer chair (February) and desk (September). I had an awesome bell and basket added onto my bike (September). I finally went to the cemetery in Houston and found Roger's grave (a very hot day in August), even though I never went to the cemetery in Abbeville to find my great-grandparents' graves. (Update: Finally did it!) I participated in NaNoWriMo (November), which I guess is the important thing, even though I didn't do nearly as well as I'd hoped. I read Catching Fire (August), saw a lot of movies with child actresses, and started my own blog about child actresses (September), originally just so I'd have a place to post my reviews of said movies. And, to my own surprise, my Sable is still with me. I guess I can't complain.

I sometimes wish that my bike had a mileage counter, like my truck does, just so I could see how far I've gone on it. Although some distances that I've traveled on that bike are ones I don't like to remember. This morning was really bad, but I took a short bike ride this evening that was nice. It was only about seven but already as dark as midnight, and I rode around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights. The wind was blowing, and the leaves were rustling all around me -- very peaceful and lovely.

The best Christmas lights are farther than I can go on my bike, and I've done every other thing I wanted to do for Christmas except go for a drive one night and look at them. (That, and watch the version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart.) It will probably have to wait until the 25th, unless I can squeeze it in on Christmas Eve. I'm planning to bake my muffins and finish my bacon and eggs tomorrow before work.

rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)

We got a 15% employee discount at work this weekend (rather than our normal 10%) so today I bought presents for Mom, Ben, Eva, and myself. That's right, myself! It was the Emily Dickinson calendar that I wanted so much last year, but we quit carrying it before I got around to buying it. I resisted taking the shrink-wrap off it because I plan to wrap it, put it under our tree, and label it To Rebecca, from Rebecca. Heh heh.

We had a store meeting this morning, so I had to be there bright and early at 8 a.m. It sucked because I closed last night and we didn't get out until almost 10 (which is really late for our store). Not surprisingly, I was closing with the one manager who has no idea how to budget time and who let a customer in after we'd closed. No other manager would have ever done that. Ever. But tomorrow is Sara's birthday and we're both off to celebrate it! And no human force is dragging me out of my bed tomorrow before I'm good and ready. Tonight we ate spaghetti and brownies and Grandma's and watched Up. "I was hiding under your porch because I love you."

Grandma had a lemon tree planted in her yard some years ago (she insists that it was only two years ago, but I think her memory's going, because it really seems longer that) and for a long time its lemons were so hard and shriveled that I didn't think it would produce edible fruit in Grandma's lifetime. So you can imagine how surprised I was when Grandma gave me and Sara four big, juicy, delicious lemons a few weeks ago. They were so good, as good as store-bought lemons, and usually homegrown ones taste distinctly different. I wish we had asked her for more when we were over there today.

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