Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ho Ho Ho

Did you get what you wanted? I didn't, but then I really can't. So I settled for some gift cards, a 20-pack of races at G-Force, and time with family. Oh, and I won my white-elephant gift (Chinese auction / Yankee Swap), so I have yet another RC car.

Alastair racked up! Poor little guy's so worn out from Christmas that he's still napping after 2.5 hours. Win!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas @ 9 Months

Today is Christmas. Today is the 25th. Which means it's another month-iversary of Amanda's death. We're at 9 now, and my emotions have been all over the place recently.

Amanda was really big on Christmas. This and Halloween were here ab-fave holidays. Decorating, listening to silly music, the electricity in the air, and watching the mirth of a child shredding wrapping paper were things I know she looked forward to every year. And while I've felt lost in preparing for this day, there have been times when I could swear she was standing right behind me this week.

Alastair really started talking about her a lot a couple days ago, and hit me with a big discussion of death last night. He asked me if she would be here today, and we both started crying. Then we got into what death means (again), and I told him (again) that everything dies, that all animals and even the kitties will die. "Even Vivienne?!" "Yes, even Vivienne." Flood-gates: open.

He sobbed openly at the prospect of Vivienne dying, and we laid on the floor for about 10 minutes just talking about life and getting old and trying to stanch the flood of tears. I tell ya: losing a parent may be pretty bad, but losing that cat? End. Of. The. World.

But we opened gifts today, and all was well. He got a Leapster, a bunch of cars, some Lego's, a Geo-Trax train, and other oddments, and is in absolute heaven. I'm sure Amanda was watching him today, and I'm sure she couldn't be prouder of her little man. I just hope she's proud of me, too. I'm tryin'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Into the Breach!

Last night I went, for the first time ever, to William & Mary's Yule Log ceremony. They've been doing it for almost 80 years, with a brief pause for WWII, and it's become firmly rooted in the annual student life.

The president of the college reads a Christmas book (this year it was "The Grinch") while dressed as Santa, there's singing, and the yule log is marched into the Wren Building where it is placed into the big fireplace. The students are each given a piece of a holly branch, into which they place all their cares of the year. They then process into the building and cast the branch into the fire.

I had a lot to cast off this year, so it sounded like a great idea.

Vivian and I got there a few minutes late, so the story was almost over, but we discovered to our grateful surprise that we had wandered into the right side of the Wren Courtyard to have easy access to the front of the line. And that's when it got ugly.

As soon as the great doors were opened, a crushing force of probably 2000 people began heaving from the right, and as we were on the left, we nearly got toppled. And trampled.

A voice cried out from behind us, "Into the breach!" And a force from behind pushed us forward just as hard as the previous push to the left.

And then it stopped. We'd moved all of 5 feet. There was confusion all around, though somehow visible was a clear line of force coming at a diagonal from the center of the courtyard. Tall bodies were at incorrect angles.

Then it came again. And again. Time and again a force from the right would be followed by a force from behind, and each time we could have lifted our feet without falling, it was so crushing. And then the tide would ebb.

After about 6 or 7 surges, we finally got to the steps. By this time, the group around us had become a cohesive unit, working to secure our position while turning strong backs to the advancing crowd. We struggled to keep the pressure off the women, continue to advance, and even swapped places to provide the best cover for each other.

Two or three more strong surges were necessary to get up the 5 steps and through the door, and even then Vivian had to pull me bodily through the throng and into...a big empty room.

Ok, seriously? We just did battle with 2000 people, left men behind, and all for an empty room? It took a minute to absorb the new surroundings, but we soon realized that the small throng in front of us were waiting patiently to reach the great fireplace.

When we did get there, probably less than a minute later, we realized why it was so hard to get in: each person or group of people was posing for up to 20 seconds for their friends to take pictures of them standing in front of the fireplace.

Really, people? In 20 years, you're telling me you're going to look back at that picture and say, "Wow, that really brings back memories."? Because you're standing in a big empty room with a twig, smiling like an idiot. Move the fuck over.

But I really did enjoy the experience. I missed out on it during college, being way too self-absorbed and above such stuff. And I feel like I really was able to throw some of my craptastic year away.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rosenham Experiment, anew

Just in time for the holidays, my first bout of soul-crushing depression in a while. Thanks, brain, and fuck you, too!

To celebrate, I've written a short story (don't you worry: I may hate myself sometimes, but I'm not dumb enough to turn this story into fact. Seriously. No, I mean it.):

Load, rack, bite, pray, squeeze, end.

Did you like it? It's not as epic as Hemingway's "Baby Shoes", but it clocks in at one word fewer.

Anyway, I've not been very nice to Alastair these last few days. He's been sick, so I've been home with him, but that notwithstanding, he's continued to poop his pants, each time justifying it by telling me that either he was too busy to go to the bathroom, or he didn't want to bother me.

My responses have not made me proud, and it's weighing on my soul. We go through hours on end of perfect angel child, then he craps himself--but "just a little bit", which in his mind is perfectly acceptable because some of the adults in his life have been inconsistent in their responses.

But he's sick, too, so maybe he's not in such great control of his faculties. And that makes me inconsistent, which he uses to his advantage because he's really fucking smart.

I honestly don't know how other single parents do it. I keep thinking we're through with this, then that we're just around the corner from being through, then just being angry all the time. I love my boy, but sometimes he drives me nuts.

In other boy news, we put his tree up in his room yesterday. Fancy battery-op LED lights, and a bunch of Alastair-specific ornaments. He loves it.

And I've pretty much made up my mind that he's getting a LeapPad/Leapster/WhateverTheHeckIt'sCalled this year. I'll get him the system, one game, and the recharger for Christmas, then a couple more games for his birthday.