Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Making Spirits Bright

Slowly but surely, I seem to be coming back to myself.

It's not like I had much of a choice. There's just been too much to do. Work's been a bear for months now, and I'm beginning to realize it's been a hibernating bear all along that's only just now waking. This winter's work-load looks terrifying, but in a good way. I guess.

Of course, my recent injury has taken a huge toll. I have not been to the gym in over six weeks, and what muscles I have are melting away, only to be replaced by the fat caused by seasonal overeating. I am feeling much better, enjoying dope-free days, and am happy to report that I can actually move my hips independently of the rest of my torso again with a minimum of painful gasping. Tim's glad too. It was definitely touch and go for a while.

The past couple of weeks have been a whirl to teeters close to insanity. I returned to work the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it's been a wild ride ever since. I'm glad to be the purveyor of ergonomic seating, because the lumbar support of my Knoll Life Chair has really been the only thing keeping me upright some days.

Forget about Christmas shopping. There hasn't been time. I've managed to walk into at least a dozen stores just as they were closing. Nothing suggests seasonal good cheer like a young sales clerk snarling at you when he's ready to go home. It's nice to see that so many of the angertwinks have found gainful employment for the holidays. Thank Christ for Internet shopping. And Fed Ex men! Now if someone would only come by and wrap Tim's gifts, I'd be in heaven. I'll supply the single malt scotch, along with the Scotch Tape. Really!

Two weeks ago, we had Tim's sister and husband, along with their children, aged 5 and 8 visit for the first time from snowy upstate. You haven't seen Manhattan until you tour the sites a 5 year old wants to see during the first weekend of December. There were lines everywhere. Thank Christ for the Central Park Zoo. Too many children were busy being dragged from toy store to Santa's lap to pay much attention to the monkeys and otters, who pretty saved the day for us. Not to mention the Zootique. Never was a drink so welcome as the one I had during our 5:00 PM dinner at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. By the way, come the Revolution, I will assume the dark mantle of executioner, beheading the very small, smug and self satisfied patrons of the cafe located within F.A.O. Schwartz. I will gleefully toss their ice-cream stained carcasses to the screaming, teeming rabble below. Watch this space.

On a more peaceful note, I spent last weekend at Tim's putting up the tree and doing all sorts of Christmas-y things. This year our tree arrived in a box. Normally, we buy a tree in Manhattan and haul it out to Jersey City on the PATH train. You can only imagine the looks we get. You try finding a live tree in Journal Square! This year we ordered a 7' Fraser Fir from Vermont, not really knowing what to expect. It arrived in a love narrow box. It is possibly the freshest, most beautiful tree we've had in years. And yes, Martha Stewart, it does smell like tangerines. Thank Christ for Internet shopping. We relaxed on Friday night and then dedicated Saturday to decorating. We've amassed quite a few ornaments in our travels, adding to Tim's burgeoning collection of hand-me-downs from grandparents, aunts, and ancient monastery cast-offs. All the while, we listened to an eclectic array of seasonal music, including offerings from Sufjan Stevens, Jo Stafford, Michael Martin Murphey, Fred Waring and Herb Alpert. In fact, we listened to all five jingling, whispering CDs of Sufjan's Christmas sing-a-long...or at least until Tim complained that I was consulting the notes, the chord progressions, the commentary and the stickers that came in the box way too much, not paying enough attention to the tasks at hand. We had several drinks and a lovely supper, and as is our wont to do, wound up on the floor under the tree. Some people get to wear special Christmas outfits on the big day...I typically sport rug burn.

Tomorrow, we are heading for M.'s house in the wilds of northern New Jersey. We'll help to decorate his trees, and bring him several more of the bear ornaments he collects. Just for me, we'll light Hanukkah candles and I'll even attempt to make latkes, because I'm just not fat enough. We're aiming to achieve food coma tomorrow night. If you see me waddling at the Dugout on Sunday, you'll understand why.

Come the Christmas day itself, we're having a group of people, yet to be finalized, over to dinner.
I've been planning the feast for weeks. I don't know how or when I'll have a chance to get all this done without a major breakdown, but I've got to get a move on.

I hope your December has been equally frustrating.


rangergeek said...

It's touching to see how a man born with the Mark of Kane (sic)can "thank Christ" so many times in one blog. Of course, "thank Zoroaster" or "thank the Maccabeans" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Happy Yule to you, Tim and your pagan tree that seems to inspire unclean acts and rug burn.

Aaron said...

Merry Christmas!

Paul said...

I might just have to put up MY tree now... and find someone special to get some o' my own rug burn with...

p.alan said...

That was great Mark.

David said...

My holiday season has been a comedy of errors. Last minute panicked Hanukah candle buying, instead of baking over one weekend, it has been spread out over two weeks, stamp mishaps, etc.

Pam said...

Have a good Xmas.

Maddog said...

Merry Christmas, Mark. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Maddog said...


Just dropped by to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope your back is feeling better.

Pam said...

Happy new year !

Todd in H.K. (formerly Mr. H.K.) said...

Hope you're feeling better!

Happy New Year!