Monday, 27 December 2010

Stuff you could have learned more succinctly on Twitter

Hello, hello. Are you going crazy yet, my lieblings, in close confinement with your families, overheated and surrounded by discarded wrapping paper and resentment? I have promised M, who is cloistered in a house full of mosquitoes, scrabbly clawed geckoes and hysterical members of her family, a post today. She needs it, and quite frankly, so do I. I have been doing book revisions and they depress me and fill me with self-loathing and despair, which are, admittedly, traditional festive emotions. The choice between: cleaning out the disgusting, post-flood basement which is breeding foul pestilence, unravelling the knots of my denial based accounting system and doing this editing job was exceptionally tough, and I don't know if I chose well.

Other things I have been doing over the holiday weekend:

1. Thinking of things they should tell you before you get a dog, viz:

- you will never eat in your own home unobserved again.

- if you are prone to guilt, this will be another rich source of it. Is his life boring (A: yes, but his brain cavity is vanishingly small, so he isn't going to be reading Rilke any time soon)? Would he like a more varied diet (A: His tireless pursuit and consumption of cheap chocolate might indicate so). Why is he limping (A: Eh. Munchausens, probably)?

- That lie in? Forget it, not worth it. While you doze, someone is downstairs eating your expensive pannetone and peeing on your fridge.

- You might end up with one who finds peeing on carpets profoundly satisfying.

2. Writing a diary of our first Christmas without our kids (yes, mine finally got away after the 5am webcam review came back positive) with my friend Irretrievably Broken, who has been oxygenating my inbox with regular unguarded outbursts of ennui and joy and fury. It will be a bestseller. Yes it will, don't argue.

3. Eating and drinking exactly what I damn well like (mainly variants on tea, toasted goods, pannetone, lychees and kir royale made with €3 cava). I've enjoyed this bit, though occasionally I get the urge to cook something, just because it feels like I should. When that happens I watch more hospital drama until it passes.

4. Watching videos of S/S2011 catwalk shows for a work thing. Christ, they were depressing. How many alarmingly thin, grumpy, pinched looking girls in ugly clothes can you watch without wanting to put on some nice tracksuit bottoms and eat more pannetone? (A: Half of one, and only that much if you put the sound down so the horrible techno doesn't make your ears bleed). Are there any nice ones I am missing, fashion types? Chanel was quite pleasant, I suppose, at least it had a proper orchestra and some entertainingly spangly things to look at, and I liked one Louis Vuitton dress with irises on. Everything else (yes, Céline, I am looking at you) made me want to end my life, preferably face down in a vat of beef dripping and sequins. This is clearly to be added to the endless list of things I am not good at: writing about fashion. See also: law, dishwashing, interviewing, childcare, dogcare, driving, accounting and erm, almost everything else, actually.

5. Having lots of baths. Reading. Not watching tv. Going to the cinema (Mike Leigh: not festive; Les Emotifs Anonymes: very festive indeed). Sleeping in my clothes. Giving myself terrible manicures. Pottering. That sounds quite nice, doesn't it? It has been, actually. I miss the boys, but I know they are having a wonderful time, they have told me so very tersely before dumping the telephone, so impatient are they to get back to having a wonderful time. I don't think there's any value in me being extravagantly, hysterically sad about not seeing them if I can help it, and most of the time I can help it (by watching mawkish hospital drama, for instance, or eating more pannetone). It's been ok, really. Odd, a bit empty, rather luxurious, with occasional patches of intense sadness, but certainly no more emotionally draining than a traditional family Christmas.

6. Watching this gentleman sledging in the park:

He was about 75, all by himself, going up and down the hill on his tiny wooden sledge, using that enormously long stick to steer. It was quite my favourite sight of the whole holidays.

Anything to report, lovelies? Best present? Worst fight? How are you coping?


Mary said...

I am just escaping the whining of one old-enough-to-know-better child : I didn't get enough presents... I've played with everything... I want more.... (and we're likely to be snowed in for a day or two.
Shall we trade: whippet for whiner?

Thank you for being such a wonderful oasis!

Catherine said...

Several tantrums from 36 and 68 years old who really should know better. Merry christmas, and thank you for posting - so good to read you.

Margaret said...

I am fat from my holiday diet of cookies and booze, and don't fit into anything and I have to go to woooorrrrk tomorrow, even though there's a blizzzzzaaaard. Goddamn you, mass transit, always fucking up a good snow day opportunity. Christmas was a little hysterical, everyone is bummed by one relative's pending divorce and another's continuing estrangement so it was extra chipper and exhausting and then stuck in traffic for two hours with my mother-in-law making bizarre comments from the back seat instead of sitting in glum post-fete silence like a normal person.

But today was spent venturing out in the snow to lunch just to say we did and then hot buttered rum and a napping cat and dozing husband and five loads of laundry. So, industry, coziness, slight tipsiness. It could be worse.

Merry Christmas, dear Waffle. Thank you for your wonderful blog full of humor and seriousness without treacle. May 2011 be a year of more joy than sorrow.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, my Mother invited her new eHarmony lover to Christmas Eve, along with his daughter and her fiance, then made the entire family gathering wear nametags, so let's just say I'm glad it's over.

M. said...

AUUUUUUUUGH HELP ME! HELP! This morning I had to listen to my mother recount how she told her employees she would put a bullet in their head if JUST ONE MORE DUCK EGG DISAPPEARED. Now I have durian ice cream smeared on my left hand, and the ants can smell it.

I repeat: HELP.

frau antje said...

Did pick that up on twitter, and very glad to see the words dickhead assassin, as opposed to say, step assassin (see? you are kicking ass already).

No complaints (other than lowgrade nausea), food was plied for several days, as stipulated in the contract. It only took three attempts to connect with 85 year old mother, and four for the teenager, damn these pesky continents.

Thinking of going to work, ideally for M's mother.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully a relatively quiet and relaxed day - only one small family gathering with cordial chatter, lots of lovely food and gorgeous sun! (Yes Christmas is different on the other side of the world!)
My mother suggested we stop giving each other presents, and just indulge the children, as we all have more than enough of everything anyway - then she can't resist sending a little something in defiance of her own idea!
This time she sent me a pale pink silicon pot holder that looks so surprisingly rude that we were all in hysterics! If you stick a couple of those Ferrero Rocher balls on top, it then looks like a demented muppet! Fun and games!
H in NZ

Mrs Jones said...

I got all stressed and terse before Xmas this year because (as bloody always) I have to spend it with The Lovely Husband's family who (although they give good presents) are dull as ditchwater. But seeing as how his 96 year old Edwardian-valued father (who had never knowingly smiled in his entire lifetime) died earlier in the year, it actually turned out to be a lot less tense than usual. So still dull but less tense. I yearn for an Xmas full of noisy children, too much alcohol and surreptitious spliffs in the garden shed but that's never going to happen, sadly. However, I can hear the sound of empty wine bottles being rattled around in a sink full of water as The Lovely Husband is soaking off labels so that he can spend the afternoon filtering off our homemade Blackberry wine which has been sitting around since summer doing its fermenty thing, so today is perking up. Although I can't move my neck for some reason. Oh well, as ever, swings and roundabouts....

Nimble said...

High point was probably pre-Christmas pageant at church watching the kids get their costumes on. Low point: spending six hours fixing a turkey for three people (well five total, but two of those don't like turkey).

Nimble said...

Oh and thanks for the old sledder picture, that's great. I hope to be an old sledder some day.

GingerB said...

High point: my little girls' joy at even the smallest of things. Low point: my post stroke mom in the rehab facility trying to shush my children because she was embarassed to have her visitors making noise even though the other patients were obviously envious of sticky little girl kisses and laughter, but mom did brighten up when we sang off key carols and left her with chocolate and books to enjoy. My first world problems coming to light - my husband gave me a Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader. I don't want an e-reader of any type. My love affair with books will never end and I don't want it to, ever. If I keep it and buy books from B & N it is one more stab in the heart of my local independent bookstore, where intelligent book lovers help me get what I need (and I get the former employee discount) but when that store goes down, as it will if we all keep shopping at Big 'n' Large, then all we'll have left is Big 'n' Large, staffed by not so bookish employees and with a selection that caters to $ instead of the written word. So, if the damn thing can surf the internet anywhere and do iPad-ish sorts of things I may keep it and feel like a 'ho, or I'll return it and have to pick my own present, and frankly I don't have space in the house for all those real books so I should go electronic but I don't want to do it. My first world problems are giving me a headache. I must go send some money to buy housing for Haitians to get myself some peace of mind.

If you'd like to see a funny gift, one that everyone can use, pop over to my blog to see something that might make you laugh coffee right out your nose.

And Waffle, I am glad your angst level was not overly high. Well done.

Anonymous said...

I love that bloke on a sledge. That has possibly made my christmas. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Missed my mum a lot this year. When she was alive she used to drive me crazy at Christmas, which she would start planning in micro detail from mid August. She loved it so much she would get over excited and send my sister and I crazy with her enthusiasm, which we would moan about for weeks afterwards.But now she's gone, this was the second year without her and it just isn't the same. We miss her madly and we now look back on the old, chaotic, over organised Christmases she gave us with a fondness missing at the time. Ax

Anonymous said...


Badly, dear. Badly. My family all timed their depressive, logistical and health crises perfectly for Christmas, damnit. It was not what I ordered.

The 3 yr old alone had a marvellous day, but is now asking plaintively - at hourly intervals - for 'Zanter' and 'Moar ezzents teeze', and reacting to the verbal let-down with loud roars of grief.

Am about to go and take down the tree, as it's not only fried to a drooping eucalyptussy crisp by our heating, but I no longer want to look at the twinkly fucker. I feel about as festive as a well-trodden-into-the-carpet mince pie. So there.

I hope 2011 is... well, a big improvement for you, lovey. And Thank you for Old Sledder. A rare unforced grin from me!

Sarah said...

My husband gave me falafel mix for Christmas. The end.

Anonymous said...

Hello Emma and Sarah the Commenter: I received a tiramisu box mix and an adjustable belt for a 1954 band saw. We fought about who would pick up our 17-yr-old's acne cream. 2011, bring it on.

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