Category Archives: holidays
Be Mine ~ Or at Least Be Someone to Somebody
I have a plan this year for Valentine’s Day. You might like it. But first, the conventional stuff.
Again, it’s marital engagement season. One of them, anyway. I’m in the in-between years where my peers are married or done with all that, and my YPs aren’t old enough to get hitched, so other than working the weddings of strangers for pay (often hilarious), I have gone to no weddings in decades except for those on Gilmore Girls. Which I did feel that I attended, with my niece. We cried and cried.
As things progress somewhat towards post-pandemic on Earth, and the “wow factor” heads once again to new heights at parties, I’m super looking forward to over-the-top wedding Port-o-sans®, which reside now inside a sort of mobile home. (“Rosalyn, aren’t you coming back to the reception?” “Oh no, it’s much nicer in here, what with the little fireplace and sconces and chutneys and all…I’m just going to knit a few rows…”).
Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby, since the 1969 Woodstock Concert in terms of portable toilets. Though its famous Port-O-San cleaning man’s noble attitude towards his job, which probably cannot be found in modern tymes, made up for lack of fancy amenities in the concert’s potties. See him excerpted here from that classic documentary, Woodstock (1970).
When figuring out what year something happened, I find that because I didn’t bear children to do the reverse math by (“Hmm, Trevor was utero then and now is 23, so it was the year 2000…”), I sometimes use disasters as time delineators. “It was right before the Oklahoma City bombing; 9/11; Haitian earthquake; Indian Ocean Tsunami; BP Crisis; S&L scandal; Hurricanes Katrina (2005) or Sandy (2012) or the slew of 2017—Harvey, Irma and Maria (paper towels, anyone?); Cali mudslides and wildfires (which ones?!). This is a horrible way to track time, which I highly unrecommend. I recall a few Valentine’s Days that were disasters in and of themselves—for friends or myself. Surely we are not alone in this.
So here’s my Valentine’s plan this year: on that day, I’m just going to spread love and affection. Why does it have to be about romantic love? My mother sent us “balentines” up until she died. A friend and I call each other “Val” because we decided to be each other’s, the year after our mens disappeared. Someone recently dropped off a great number of fleece hats at our church, with a note that said simply, “Use them.” Now that’s a valentine, a symbol of love, given freely. Thank you, kindly hat maker.
If I had a lot of time or coin I’d do something major on that day, but I’ll have to satisfy myself with small gestures. A door held open. Groceries carried. A wheelchair pushed. A phone call long overdue. It doesn’t have to be about Hallmark but if that’s what you want, no shame! Cute cards are all over, try Royal Towne Gifts—get one for your lonely neighbor or favorite librarian. An underpaid worker you see weekly. The mail carrier. Road crew.
I think our true Valentine this year will be the comet named C/2022 E3. Which I haven’t seen due to our seeming perpetual cloud cover. Hopefully, someone spotted the small asteroid 2023 BU as it whizzed by within 2,000 miles of South America last week, in one of the closest approaches ever recorded. Crazily, it was discovered by an amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennadiy Borisov, who has discovered other comets plus asteroids from his very own observatory. I like this guy!
Your last, best chance to see Comet C/2022 E3 should be during the Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 5 when it will be close to star Capella, so bundle up and look up – instructions here. Binos required. That’s what bird watchers call binoculars. Show yourself, C/2022 E3! Be mine. Be ours.
Promise to Dear Reader: if I ever get married, I’m going to have the most exquisite Port-o-sans you’ve ever visited. There will be Baroque décor, stationary bicycles, palm readers, hovercraft, origami – and a petting zoo for the children. When someone at the reception says, “I’m going to see a man about a horse,” s/he won’t be kidding. You’re all invited. Good Valentine’s Day.
The Little Engine That Could, Part Deux
In December, 1,500 toys were collected one by one for the children of our Vermont town’s “sister city” in Ukraine. Once again, our town thought it would be a miracle if our shipment made it. Once again, we gave it a go anyway.
Thought it might be nice to remind people of the good in this crazy world. Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen. Here’s a great little video from the woman behind the sleigh. Break out the Kleenex®.
The New Year: Just Grab That Ball and Keep Running
New Year’s Resolutions have a bad rep, perhaps deservedly so. That said, I made some and have been sticking to them. More or less. Has Dear Reader made any? Are you complying?
I read odd ones that people had submitted to the New York Times. One person vowed to stop using the words “very” and “really” so much (seems innocent… I mean if that’s all you have to change about yourself, you’re doing really very well). So I guess we can resolve to do (or stop doing) whatever the heck we want! I’ll come up with something embarrassing for you by the end of this piece.
Important: If you had a resolution but dropped the ball, no need to chuck it into the stands and limp off to the locker room in disgrace. Just pick up that blasted ball and keep on going. There’s no ref, baby. No rules. It’s all you. I paraphrase the Alec Baldwin character in “Glengarry Glen Ross”: Always Be Resolving.
For now, I’ve resolved to: join a gym (or something); make more time for spirituality (of a cosmic stripe); learn a bunch of tech (e.g., how to operate 10 things on my phone that I don’t even know exist). Maybe how to insert a Box and Whisker into a Word document (what?). Hell, I might need that. To learn the lingo of the young people, such as “quiet quitting” and “flava,” along with “le dollar bean” so I know what the heck people are talking about.
Timing is everything. Who wants to jump out of bed on a winter’s morn? Perfect time to read. The local paper (ahem) or an actual book. Not screens. It feels a luxurious indulgence in the morning, not like a checklist item, and deliciously old school. When stuck somewhere traveling, delete photos, video, apps, and emails that eat up phone space. I deleted ALL on my junk email account with one motion… freeing! Timing.
Yes, timing. Who wants to drink booze in January after all that bloaty holiday merrymaking? Meditate, not medicate! It’s more calming, more slimming, and way less wear on your organs. Meditation and rest make your organs happy.
Further: I resolve to drink as much hot cocoa as want and cry as much as I please. Who cares? There is much to be sad about. Let it rip. Cocoa beats scotch, which is pricey, makes you loopy, and glosses over your sorrows. Why not experience your sorrows and wail away for a bit? Then you’re able to move onto Mood B, which just may involve Hope.
True Goal: Rather than focus on the problems I can’t solve, I aim to focus on those that I can, like helping with literacy (okay, “such as” helping with literacy). Give someone else hope. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the despair.
Mainly in 2023, I aim to laugh and make others laugh more because I’ve noticed that, for sure, people used to laugh a LOT more. Life has gotten harder which means we have to laugh harder. When you’re laughing, you can feel hope. Have I dropped this ball yet? Yes! But I can pick it right back up or pass it to the experts.
There are plenty of hilarious books. Countless funny movies and shows, e.g., Avenue 5, Silicon Valley, the John Mulaney standup shows (try New in Town and The Comeback Kid), and apparently mind-blowing Rothaniel comedy special by Jerrod Carmichael, or that clean old movie gem, Mother, with Albert Brooks. I allow myself two TV shows per week. My TV is mostly cheery background noise. Including football where grown men slam into each other for big paychecks. I can’t watch, but I can listen to the fans. It’s like an expensive radio.
Ah, radio! Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me at 11 am on Vermont Public Radio on Saturdays (or podcast) has you hooting no matter what mood you’re in. Get in a car or go to vermontpublic.org and play it there as you putter about if you own no radio. Who does?
Word to unload in 2023: this “huddle” word used in business, for “small group meeting.” It comes from sports, but it sounds way too much like “cuddle.” Cuddling with coworkers…the visual…snort.
In closing, I acknowledge that Dear Reader is tired. We all are. Sleep more while the nights are still long. Sleep well. Dream of dropped balls retrieved with ease, and laughter, and problems solved, and hope. Good rest, good year, and good day.