My favorite number

I have a few different numbers I am partial to, but my absolute favorite is the number seven. It has a beautiful shape (especially when drawn with a slash through it like they do in European countries), and I like its significance in biblical texts.

I also like to add numbers in my head, and it gives me a dab of mental pleasure when they add up to seven. For example, if I’m driving on our local highway, I like to set the cruise so that my digital speedometer reads 61. It’s a little OCD, but who cares, right?

Anyway, you can imagine why I am excited about 2014. ;)

2014

Black & Blue Thursday

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I accompanied my partner’s family to Walmart yesterday evening for the 8 pm sale. Even though I felt like a terrible person for allowing consumerism to intrude on Thanksgiving, my partner’s sister convinced me to go. I was completely unprepared for the mayhem and insanity.

I decided to try for the 700 thread count sheets for $20, so after parking in the grass (the parking lot was completely full), we entered the store and arrived in the bedding area to see a mob of people standing around a covered pallet of sheets. A woman warned us that the people who go for sheets are some of the worst Black Friday shoppers of all, and she was correct.

When the clock struck 8, a Walmart employee blew a whistle and people lost it. It was a mob scene in every sense of the word. People were shoving, screaming, and grabbing. The manager began yelling at several people who were climbing over a woman in a wheelchair. Two police offers arrived just as the stock began to run out.

Being a yielder, I had simply backed up and tried to get out of the way. Honey’s sister got in there and managed to get 5 sets of sheets, which she shared with the rest of the family. She thought it was fun; I thought it was both disgusting and intriguing.

As we walked out of the store, I told Honey that I would never do that again on Thanksgiving. I do think it’s important to spend at least one day of the year with family being thankful for what we have instead of trying to accumulate more.

thanksgiving_comic

The ultimate Halloween music playlist

trick-or-treat

Whether entertaining ghosts and goblins at a Halloween party or simply listening to spooky tunes to pass the time at work, this music playlist should fit the bill! While some of these may not be familiar to the masses, they each play on the fun-filled aspects of the holiday.

  1. Bobbie Boris Pickett – Monster Mash
  2. Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters
  3. The Cranberries – Zombie
  4. Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me
  5. Michael Jackson – Thriller
  6. Sheb Wooley – Flying Purple People Eater
  7. Blondie – One Way or Another
  8. Nina Simone – I Put A Spell On You
  9. Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
  10. Eagles – Witchy Woman
  11. Michael Jackson – Ghosts
  12. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
  13. Victor Mizzy – The Addams Family
  14. Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
  15. Joan Osbourne – Spooky
  16. Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
  17. ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ – The Time Warp
  18. ‘The Exorcist’ Tubular Bells
  19. ‘Halloween’  Movie Theme
  20. Cher & Rod Stewart – Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered
  21. Tori Amos – Happy Phantom
  22. Michael Jackson – Is It Scary
  23. Fleetwood Mac – My Little Demon
  24. Stevie Nicks – Sorcerer
  25. Dolly Parton – These Old Bones

Have a spook-tacular Halloween!!!

Holiday stress

I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but I have been feeling very anxious and nervous over the past few days. If I had to venture a guess, I would say it is because of the upcoming holidays and all of the time and money that must be spent in order to satisfy the Christmas gods.

Each year after Christmas, I tell myself that I am going to scale things way back next time around. Unfortunately, the next year comes and I fall back into the same routine of running around from store to store trying to find the best price on whatever it is I am looking for.

What I really despise about exchanging Christmas presents is that it is basically just trading money. If you spend $50 on me, then I feel obligated to spend $50 on you. And don’t even consider the fact that I might get you something you have absolutely no desire for, or vice versa. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just set aside $50 to spend on myself? Or better yet, what if instead of exchanging presents with everyone, we just went out for a nice meal and conversation?

I have always said Christmas is for kids. I still believe that. And it would certainly be a lot less stressful.

2009 in review

This year has been both terrible and wonderful at the same time. That’s probably typical of every year, but this one had some exceptionally low lows; the kind where you know you’ll be a changed person when you finally recover. On the other hand, I’m blessed beyond measure. I have a wonderful partner, a great job, a comfortable home, friends who love me, and three fluffy kitties to cuddle up with on cold winter nights.

Here are some of the highlights from my life over the last year:

  • We finally had central heating and air conditioning installed in our home.
  • Michael Jackson died, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I cried practically every day for a month and still tear up occasionally when I listen to him or watch videos. I wish so badly that he was still with us, but I’m also thankful to have been alive during the time that he made history and for having the chance to see him perform live.
  • We gave the inside of our home quite a makeover, which included ripping out the old doors and trim, painting, and a completely new color scheme in the living room and bathroom.
  • We upgraded to HDTV and bought a 46″ Samsung that is beyond amazing.
  • We joined our church – over three years after we started attending.
  • We met Barb.
  • I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal.
  • I moved my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted.
  • I stopped keeping up with the news.
  • I bought a new car.
  • We went to Florida on vacation.
  • Honey graduated from college and I met his parents for the first time.
  • An ice storm disrupted our lives for eight days.
  • We got a Wii.
  • We went to see Kathy Griffin in concert.
  • Finally made it to Holiday World and thoroughly enjoyed the Voyage roller coaster.

All in all, a pretty good year. Here’s hoping our next trip around the sun is filled with joy, prosperity, and love. Happy New Year, kiddos.

It’s complicated

Several years ago, my mother’s brother married a black lady. His parents (my grandparents) were racist, so whenever the family would get together for Christmas or birthdays, she was never welcomed. My uncle attended these family functions for awhile, but eventually got fed up with the way his wife was being treated and stopped coming altogether.

I was just a young’un when this was happening, but I was already old enough to recognize that it was wrong to treat another person that way – especially when that person was so nice and loving themselves. Although my mother worshiped the ground my grandfather walked on, my memories of him are somewhat muddied by recollections of his bigotry and intolerance for anything different than himself.

As the years passed, my grandparents eventually seemed to figure out that if they wanted to spend quality time with their son, they would have to also invite their daughter-in-law, but years of painful rejection had already hardened her heart to the point that she had no interest in a relationship. It was only after the health of both of my grandparents had failed that she was able to truly become part of our family.

Although my grandfather passed away and the years have marched on, things can still get very uncomfortable in my family. While my uncle may have been the proverbial “black sheep” a few decades ago, the position has apparently fallen on my shoulders. Now, I’m the one who can’t bring his significant other to most family functions.

Since becoming an adult and having romantic relationships, Christmas has always been difficult, complicated, and painful. My immediate family runs the gamut from an accepting father to a non-accepting sister. Mom seems firmly lodged somewhere in between.

Every year, my dad has to wrestle with how to handle Christmas get-togethers. He knows if he invites me and my partner that my sister and her family won’t attend, yet he also realizes that asking me to come alone isn’t the right thing to do. This year, he decided to have two gatherings; one for us and one for them. This would mean that my sister and I would have to get with Dad and his wife an additional time to give him the presents that are coming from both of us. After talking it over with my partner, he told me that I should just go alone and be with my family.

For the past several years, I’ve also went alone to my sister’s on Christmas Eve, spent the night, and gotten up the next morning to watch the kids open their presents. While no one has ever specifically stated that my partner isn’t welcome, it’s more than obvious. Once again, my partner insists that I spend this time with my family, explaining that he wouldn’t feel comfortable there even if invited.

I am terribly torn in both of these situations; torn between wanting to spend the holiday with my lover, remaining true to my beliefs, and spending time with family members. I know without a doubt that discriminating against others is wrong, regardless of the reason, and I feel like I’m letting my partner and myself down when I cave to peer pressure from relatives. I also realize that spending time with family is important, and that depriving them of my company in an attempt to pressure them into doing the right thing would be futile. There just doesn’t seem to be an easy solution.

It’s tempting for me to blame Christianity, or at least my family’s interpretation of Christianity, as the root of their intolerance. I could have titled this post something like “Christianity: Destroying Families for 2,000 Years” and ranted about all the hypocrisy in the pro-family rhetoric that fills Christian radio, but I know it isn’t so simple. Christians might be tempted to blame my sexuality for tearing my family apart, but, again, too simple.

The truth is, this type of thing is happening to families all across the world. Being religious isn’t synonymous with bigotry, and fear of what is different can arise anywhere and at any time. What separates the bigots from the rest of the crowd is how they react to that fear. Do they recognize it, study themselves for a sign of what caused it, and try to get beyond it, or do they let fear paralyze themselves to the point that they shut out the very people that they should be having meaningful relationships with?

I hope against hope that my family will eventually see the light and open their arms and homes to the man with whom I’m privileged to share my life. Only then will I have a truly merry Christmas.

The origins of ‘Xmas’

It’s gotten to the point where Bill O’Reilly has actually convinced most Americans that there is a legitimate war on Christmas – as if one of the world’s most popular holidays is going to go the way of the dodo bird. I saw more proof of this phenomenon recently when one of my Facebook friends joined a group called “It’s CHRISTmas, not Xmas.”

What is so hilarious is that most of the people in that group have no idea about the origins of the abbreviated word. It turns out that the “X” in Xmas comes from the Greek letter Chi – the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ.”

From Wikipedia:

labarumThe word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “XP” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters, is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.

From Snopes:

The abbreviation of “Xmas” for “Christmas” is neither modern or disrespectful. The notion that it is a new and vulgar representation of the word “Christmas” seems to stem from the erroneous belief that the letter “X” is used to stand for the word “Christ” because of its resemblance to a cross, or that the abbreviation was deliberately concocted “to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas.”

Actually, this usage is nearly as old as Christianity itself, and its origins lie in the fact that the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ” is “chi,” and the Greek letter “chi” is represented by a symbol similar to the letter “X” in the modern Roman alphabet. Hence “Xmas” is indeed a perfectly legitimate abbreviation for the word “Christmas.”

So there you have it. There is no sinister plot to remove Christ from Christmas. Now turn off Fox News and get back to shopping.