Chinese Buffet and a Movie

I’m not sure it’s a tradition, yet… but we zipped off to that same glorious, do-as-you-please type holiday that I’ve been enjoying, lately. Well… do as you please, provided it’s open on Christmas Day, and reasonably affordable… and that works out to a second-run movie and a Chinese Buffet.

Went to see Arrival. Not bad, actually, plus or minus a couple of places where I was choking on my jumbo-sized Coke. I especially liked the place where the linguistics prof looks around a massive–but mostly empty–lecture hall, sees seven whole students, and then says… Where is everybody? Because, of course… most linguistics classes are standing room only, sold-out crowds in professional sports arenas.

At which point, I went all nostalgic, and tried to remember all of the names of all of the other kids in one of my (not stadium-worthy) classes, and realized I’m one short. Five out of six. I can still see #6–skinny brunette, used to work at the martini bar–but it drove me nuts. Just this minute, it occurs to me that she had the same name as one of the other girls in the class, and that’s where the name was hiding.

Chinese Buffet was crowded, and… I regret to say, Americanizing more and more every time I go there. Last time I was there, the rice-noodles had been neatly cut into bite-sized pieces. Today… my tentacles had been separated from my squid-heads, which were nowhere in sight. And… there was pot roast.

It’s a sad, short hop from there to peanut butter and jelly.


Horrifying Gifts for the Holidays

If your family is like mine, it’s big, and ungainly and the truth is, you just don’t know each other well enough to buy each other anything but an Amazon gift card. This will, of course, in no way stop you from wanting to play Happy Families, so you will spend a massive amount of money to say “Look, I bought you a Gift.”

In general, the rules for these Gifts are simple:

  1. The Gift must be something durable enough to result in the on-going ownership of something the recipient does not want, or  the awkward disposal thereof.
  2. Recipient will, of course, feign gratitude and acceptance of said Gift, even if Giver has had a lifetime to notice that she/he does not use __________.
  3. Anaphylaxis in no way excuses you from rule #2. Eat another nut bar.
  4. Gift will most likely be identical to Gifts given to every other family member of your Rank and Gender. (ie: Female Cousins, Uncles, etc.)
  5. In the event that Pansexual Nymphette is the Giver, you MUST maintain the pretense that Gift is as G-Rated and Family Friendly as Possible. Do NOT say “figging oil” when you could say **ahem** “massage oil” or better yet, “gourmet cooking oil.”

There is, of course, an unspoken 6th rule: Gifts given to people other than yourself will be even more inconvenient to you.

Your Grandmother will be given a photo-calendar made from a picture of you taken at a Ballroom Dance exhibit. She’s not going to throw it out. That would be hurtful, both to you, and to the relative who gave it to her.


She’s going to drive a new nail so it can hang prominently in the living room all year long.

You will spend the entire year fielding questions from random acquaintances about a dance partner you don’t even perform with regularly.

No. We’re not getting married.

No. He’s not special… well, I guess his wife and kids might think so.

Yes, his wife knows we dance together. That’s her on the left.

Yes, I’m sure he’s not special!

No, he’s not Gay. Pretty sure his wife would have told me. And no, I will not introduce you, Steven.


No, you do not get to meet him. No, he’s not with his family for Christmas this year. He’s with them for Hanukkah.

What? You got all six of my great-aunts the very same calendar? In smaller sizes? Oh, well, then…

Fuck it. What’s his name and I are getting married. It’s just more convenient.

I’m sure his wife will understand.

Homes For Retired Books

So, now’s the time of year when it’s (reasonably) socially acceptable to clear your throat and nod sideways at the charitable causes you feel other people should be giving money, goods, and/or time to.

And while I’m not much of a spare-change collector, I am going to point out a few good uses you can put your extra books to. Because, let’s be honest… we all believe the right book at the right time can change someone’s life forever.

  • Prison Libraries I’m starting with this one because it’s something that doesn’t automatically jump to mind, and because one of my first jobs after college was teaching in a prison. I spent a lot of hours in what might be the sparse-est library I’ve ever seen in my life. I know there are more deserving recipients, but it’s hard to imagine a charity with a more immediate effect.
  • Domestic Violence Shelters Books for both adults and children who are going through tough times. I’m not going to call what I saw here a “library,” even. There was a shelf. It had a few books on it.
  • Homeless Shelters I think we’ve all read about how much difference owning even one book can have on a child’s life.
  • School Libraries
  • Public Libraries
  • And Little Free Libraries You know… like the boxes you build in your own front yard. Might lead to getting to know the neighbors, but just the ones who like to read

I’m sure there are others. You can find charities to ship them to developing countries, or charities that will support x, y, or z cause using the money from their sale.

I’m not mentioning any specific charities by name, because I don’t have the time to do due-diligence, and because I think local is the way to go. Build the book community you’re in.

Today Is My Day!!!

For the last couple of years, I’ve participated in the Independent Bookworm Advent Calendar. It’s a literary countdown to Christmas, and every day, there’s a different short-story. I think it leans toward the Sci-Fi Fantasy end of the spectrum, but I’ve never really done the math.

Today is my day.

The door opened, and there I am. Me and my short story about a nose hair trimmer. If you subscribed to the newsletter at the beginning of the month, you also got my fabulous recipe for puppy poop cookies with flies. Yes, I know that’s disgusting. But it keeps the children busy, and it also has butterscotch and chocolate.

I got a real kick out of doing it, and it sounds like people are actually enjoying the story.

If you haven’t already, head over there and check out the calendar, and if nose hair trimmers aren’t to your taste, there are plenty of stories that don’t have them.

Let me know what you think.