We Made It! Christmas Is Behind Us For Another Year!

Happy HolidaysHow was yours? Ours was shockingly good. I’d been worried about it, feeling guilty and convinced everyone would be unsatisfied. It’s a well-established holiday tradition for me. Even if everyone got a new car for Christmas, I’d feel like it wasn’t quite enough. But it went well. In fact, it was all very low-key and (dare I say it?) pleasant.

Below are a few random notes about our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And after I’m finished blathering on, please feel free to share your holiday 2014 experience in the comments. Sound good? Let’s get to it.

I worked until 6 pm on Christmas Eve. It was an abbreviated shift, and mildly frustrating. It felt like everyone was just going through the motions, and not fully-engaged. Understandable, of course, but we gots shit to do. Don’t they understand we can’t let down our guard, for even one day?? It just keeps coming and coming and coming! Oh well.

While I was driving home, I talked to Toney and she gave me advance warning on something. She said the older boy asked if it would be OK if he had a few beers. What?! I shouted. Turns out, she’d already given him the go-ahead on this deal. He’s 18, and a college student, she said. Do you really think he doesn’t drink beer? We don’t need to sanction it, I told her.

But it wasn’t a big deal, I think he had three, maybe four. He wasn’t funneling it, or anything. And he didn’t get drunk, run out on the lawn, and rip all the buttons off his shirt. like my friend Vincent did once. But I still didn’t like it. It feels like a precedent was set.

One thing that needed to be addressed, though… When I came home, he was drinking a Sierra Nevada Celebration. He’s freaking 18, and he’s drinking our craft beers?! I don’t think so. When I was his age I was drinking Mickey’s Big Mouth, and happy to get it. I told him I don’t like this situation, whatsoever, but if it’s already been approved, he needs to stick to the Yuengling. I mean, somebody has to be the voice of reason, right? Sheesh.

All four of us watched Elf, I dozed off and missed half of it, and we all turned in at a reasonable hour. Toney told everyone we should sleep in, as late as possible, and it actually happened. I believe this was the first Christmas Day I wasn’t poked and prodded from a deep sleep at some bizarre and impossible hour. In fact, I didn’t even crawl off the platform until 10 am. Amazing.

The boys opened their gifts, and seemed happy. Toney and I got each other a small gift each, and everything went well. In fact, the older boy actually seemed excited about it all. Great relief… Christmas is for kids, even when they’re 6 foot 2, and swigging our good shit.

There was no shortage of great food, and I believe I ate my body weight (a substantial number) in ham, pulled-pork, and pie. Coconut cream pie, to be exact. Yum. It’s one of my favorites. What’s your favorite kind of pie? If it were completely up to you, what kind of pie would be on your kitchen counter right this moment?

On Christmas Day I worked on the outline of my novel a bit, then watched TV with Toney. We saw two new novelty variations of House Hunters, which were a lot of fun.

The first was Island Hunters, and featured couples wanting to buy an island. A full-blown island! One couple had a budget of $25 million. It was done exactly like House Hunters: they visited three islands, and chose one at the end. Crazy.

The other one was called Tiny House Hunters. Those people were looking for… you know, tiny houses. Something under 500 square feet, in most instances. I feared it would be a bunch of earnest and humor-free environmentalists. But it was mostly folks who wanted to pay cash for a (tiny) house, and never again be saddled by rent or a mortgage. It was really interesting, and good. One place was something like 92 total square feet. Can you imagine? I’d probably turn around and knock a window out with my ass.

And I need to go back to work now. How was your Christmas? Please tell us about it in the comments.

Have a great day, my friends!

Support us by doing your post-holiday shopping at Amazon! If you’re in Canada, here’s your link. Thank you guys!


  1. It was quiet.

  2. johnthebasket says

    The young lady’s gesture reflects my view on holidays; I favor cherry pie.


    • johnthebasket says

      Damn, the bastards who run the Internet are fucking with my iconography. If they’d taken my advice and put Woz in charge of everything, this shit wouldn’t happen. I’m just saying.


      • Maybe you forget to send in your payment to Groucho’s estate!

        • johnthebasket says

          I think Erin Fleming snorted most of Groucho’s estate in the 80s. She killed herself in 2003, so she has little need of my five bucks, although Miriam and Melinda are still alive, and could probably use the help. I’ll send a check.


  3. The Qweezy Mark says

    Super relaxing, fun and drunk with brother in the evening. Peach pie.

  4. johnthebasket says

    Also, this is Boxing Day in Canada. I hope our Canadian correspondents will post between rounds. The cut man cometh.


    • It’s Boxing Day in lots of places. Considering how important Jesus is to so many Americans, it is a disgrace that his birthday isn’t a two day celebration. Commerce before Jesus I guess.

      Steak and kidney pie.

  5. Holy crap those “whatever-hunter” shows are annoying. And where da-fug do they get those damn budgets from?? “He’s the night-shift manager at a circle-K, and she works part time as a holiday gift wrapper. They have a modest budget of 1.97 million dollars.” WTF??

    • I like the shows, but the budget thing is ridiculous. “This young couple is shopping for their first home, which HAS to have 4 bedrooms, a bonus room, a man cave (finished), a 3-car garage, granite countertops, pristine hardwood floors throughout, just exactly the paint colors and finishes they want, and a gardener. Their budget is 2.6 million dollars, most of which they’ve made from reselling rare books and the contents of auctioned storage units they’ve purchased.”

      • Those shows are pretty damn fakey (there are some exposés of how they are set up), yet entertaining for couples for some reason. I’d like to see the tiny house version.

  6. Quiet, mostly. Except for when friends came over and the puppy went ape-shizz in his crate trying to get out and meet them. Uh, no, Wernstrom. Not the 3-year-old girl. You stay boxed up until they’re gone.


  7. Pie is superior to both cakes and cookies. Blueberry and coconut creme!

  8. Here is the narrator for the House Hunter shows, Andromeda Dunker, self proclaimed “drunken slut”. I becames curious about the weird name and looked her up.

  9. Cindy from Oregon says

    A nice quiet Christmas at the daughter’s, with her fiance and my grandaughter. A respectable pile of gifts for everyone, well received, and a perfectly-cooked turkey. There was a little snow (enough to count as a white Christmas) and a small herd of deer stopped by the back yard.
    Blackberry, with vanilla ice cream.

  10. Westersteve says

    favorite pie is strawberry-rhubarb, Dutch Apple comes in second

  11. Blueberry or pizza pie. Went to the Berkshires and stayed at a bed and breakfast and had dinner at some other inn. First time doing something like this but we had to get out of town. We are exchanging gifts tomorrow. Beloved should enjoy the concert tickets I managed to secure. Jeff beck and a week later, Steve windwood.

  12. johnthebasket says

    Kim Jong-un either attacked Gravitar or decided he no longer wished to associate with the Marxists.

    Does anyone know of an alternative method of generating an avatar that would work on this site? I do not wish to be shut down by the numbskulls who run North Korea, and I know those bastards have kidnapped Groucho.

    If you also know of a site that will disable the toilets of the Party bosses in NK, I’d be thankful for that URL as well.



  13. First Christmas with my family was fine. We hauled everyone to a cousins house. The older relatives all wanted to play with the kids so we got a few precious moments of quiet. Christmas morning went well except I broke my toy helicopter when it bounced off the fridge after a total of 5 minutes of use. It was $5 total, so no huge loss and the kids got one each, so I still got to play with one.

    Today I’m 8 hours into a rather busy 12 hour shift. Looks like lunch is not going to happen. No big deal.

    Tomorrow is Christmas for my wifes’ family. I’ve got a 10lb leg of lamb in the fridge and I’ll head over to Home Despot early tomorrow for a new can of fuel for my Burns-O-Matic. Then I’ll roast it with garlic, olive oil, and herbs, serve with garlic paste and make my house smell great for the next three days. My wife is doing the house cleaning and sided prep today.

    I tolerate them for the most part and they generally don’t give me much grief. I’ve got them pretty well cowed by now, so I don’t anticipate any trouble.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Oh, and Apple is the One True Pie and ice cream is its topping.

  14. Stuart in Oz says

    A great couple of days catching up with family we care about and taking the piss out of the feral ones we don’t! All in all a good time. Thanks for sharing Jeff. Keep up the good work.

  15. We took a day trip to Dover, Pa. Those people are strange.

    My mom’s “black pie.” Even though she is perilously close to 80, she refuses to divulge the recipe. When I ask for it, she says it’s “none of your beeswax.”

  16. A good cherry pie is hard to beat.

  17. Skippy in WV says

    I almost throat punched multiple people on Christmas.
    Apple or strawberry.

  18. yeah, my Mom is winding down, she’s 84 with 24-7 in home care, and announced this was her last Christmas. I’m bummed because I like my very small family and Mom has always been the anchor. 2014 really sucked Donkey Kongs and I don’t know if ’15 will be better. Oh well I guess thats the sweet mystery of life, never knowing what shoe will drop next.
    I’m a Southern girl……Pecan Pie all the way!!!!!

    • johnthebasket says

      It’s the cosmic joke: Snowden’s secret. As the folks get older, then leave, Christmas takes on a sadness that accompanies whatever joy comes with the season. There’s nothing for it but to hold dear the people we love who are still breathing. Sweet Jane.


  19. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day involved good food and pleasant company. I had to work until 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but I chose easy to prepare dinner items so it wasn’t a big deal. On Friday and Saturday, I took my niece and nephew, respectively, out to eat and to spend some of their gift cards. That was nice.

    Now I need to make a lemon meringue pie.

  20. December 18th at 4AM, my 14 year old pug threw a seizure and I ended up taking him to the ER Vet. Long story short….I had to put him down. My heart is absolutely broken. I know he was old. But you can never prepare yourself enough.

    THEN…..two days later, on the 20th, I got married! A bittersweet week, to say the least. A very simple “at home” ceremony then out to dinner with the reverend and his wife, and another couple who was our witnesses.

    We has our annual Christmas Eve open house. Probably the last one for a while. Too much work and money for people not to eat or not show up. Funk dat. Christmas day was spent doing nothing exceot eating and not feeling guilty about it!

    My mom’s apple pie.

    • BG, I’m so sorry about the dog. They do get into your heart, and it’s hard. On Dec. 10 I had to put down an old friend of 18 years. Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier. And I don’t know about you, but I felt like the worst kind of betraying murderer; the poor little guy TRUSTED me.

      My best to you and yours, and congrats on the wedding.

    • So sorry about your pup, bikerchick. But…married? Yahoooo and congratulations. wonderful happy news in the wake if your loss.

  21. Christmas was good. Got some tools. Got some tool storage.
    on Christmas eve I had a meeting with a guy about starting a sign business so that may be happening.
    played triivial pursuit with my family. Always a good time as we watch my sister in law slowly forget everything she knows.

  22. Jazzbone Swirly says

    Better late than never for my Christmas story. I only wish I were a better story-teller, because it’s a good one. On Christmas day, my wife, son, and I hosted the in-laws (my wife’s sister and her fambly) for a little midday brunch. It all seemed to go well. I made some eggs and fried taters and put out some really good cheese that I had received as gifts. Everyone seemed to get along well enough during their somewhat brief visit. A day later my wife gets a call from her sister. She leaves a message indicating that she has some important question to ask her. It sounds terribly important. What could it be? Is there something the matter? When they do actually get in touch, the question turns out to be “Why is your house filled with images of Chairman Mao?” The fuck?!? This took a little thinking on our part, because there are actually no images of this historical figure in our house. None. Then we realized that we had left out the little gift cards that I had attached to all of the gifts that I had given to my wife and son. I had collected images from the internet of Korean propaganda art, and appropriated these to serve as gift cards. Among these images were various likenesses of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il (the one who liked to look at things), and Kim Jong-un. Apparently there was some confusion (with Chairman Mao?), and concern (about god knows what) related to these images. The phone calls, emails, text messages, and what-not among family members are continuing to this day; and will undoubtedly continue well into 2015 and beyond. This is nothing short of an international incident among my wife’s family. If I had just a tiny sliver of the talent of (say) a Jean Shepherd to spin this tale into a short story, I would. The material is definitely there.

  23. johnthebasket says

    Sometimes this blog has a New Years message. I don’t have one myself, but sometime in the mid-eighties, the vastly underrated band Romeo Void recorded but didn’t release “One Thousand Shadows”, which is a fine New Years song. Several years later, when a collection of RV songs was published, the song appeared at last.

    The great Debora Iyall on vocal, the remarkable Benjamin Bossi on rhythm sax !!! and lead sax, the charming Frank Zincavage on bass. handsome Peter Woods on guitar, and I have no idea who’s playing drums, but he’s doing it well.

    As I understand it, this was an informal two or four track recording done in someone’s house on pretty primitive equipment. It was to be on Romeo Void’s next album, but the band imploded before there WAS a next album.

    “One thousand shadows wait to cover me
    One thousand miles away
    One thousand times I think of why
    I had to go away.”

    Listen with headphones. Loud. Happy New Year all. . .


    • johnthebasket says

      Damn, I forgot how much I enjoyed post-punk rock. I think some of it was even recorded in my part of the world. Romeo Void, however, was pure San Francisco. Ms. Iyall was among the best of the lyricists of her era, on par with Patti Smith and well ahead of Debbie Harry and her boyfriend.

      Maybe this week’s post will be about music.