Friday, September 16, 2011


My dad carving our Thanksgiving turkey.
Nothing says masculine like an apron with multicolored pots and pans on it.

Guess what?!  The holidays are upon us!  Guess what else?!  I'm fucking freaking out about it!  Not that I don't like the holidays or anything, but there's just so darn much to do.  (You like how I use the expletive, "fucking," in the first line of this post, and then the prudish peep, "darn," in the second?  I'm kind of erratic like that.  That's why, when driving, I like to flip rude drivers the bird, and simultaneously scream out the window, "Meanypants!")  So, in just a few short weeks, there will be costumes and parties and cooking and shopping and presents and parties and holiday cards and screaming at the kids at Picture People, oh, and let's not forget hundreds of thousands of dollars oozing out of our pockets at a ridiculous pace.  So really, what's not to like?

The bottom line is, we all have our very individual and unique relationships with the holiday season.  Mine started when, at age two, I was a princess every Halloween for EIGHT years in a row.  I just couldn't get enough of the sparkles!  (That's the cross-dresser in me speaking.)  After age 10, I went the other end of the spectrum and dressed up as a devil, a jailbird (complete with face stubble!), a Rubik's cube and Elvis -- all at once.  Not really, but, to be honest, getting the Vaseline out of my hair with that Elvis costume was a total bitch -- for a week it looked like someone had poured a container of Hershey's chocolate syrup over my scalp.  Mmmm...pretty and yummy.  I was positively precious.

Speaking of precious, last year I attended a Halloween party for the first time in aeons, and I dressed up as -- what else? -- a "Slutty Mummy," which is completely and totally normal when you are a mother of three.  Unfortunately, I didn't get nearly the amount of attention I was hoping for.  Turns out, ALL the adult Halloween costumes are actually just slutty versions of regular costumes.  That night, my girlfriends and I saw Slutty Schoolgirl, Slutty Marie Antoinette, Slutty Barbie, Slutty Nurse (yawn), Slutty Nun, and Slutty Snow White (total sacrilege!).  Needless to say, this year I'm planning on going as Slutty Factory Worker, or, perhaps, the tried-and-true, Slutty Telemarketer.

Then, of course, there's Thanksgiving.  This has always been my favorite holiday, probably because it is the only time of year it is really ever okay to eat stuffing  (who are those Stove Top people kidding, anyway?).  Our preparations for Thankgiving went something like this:

"Damn it, Frank, get out of the kitchen!"
"Mommmmm!  When is dinner?  I'm borrrrred."
"Goddamn it, Andy, put on a nicer shirt, and fuck you, Lynn!"
"Mom, I don't have ANYTHING to wear and I hate you!"
"Daaad, wipe my tushy!"

Once finally seated at the dinner table, things were usually pretty pleasant.  Of COURSE, we all had to go around the table and say what we were thankful for, and more often than not, when it was my turn I broke down in sobs -- and I wonder where my daughter gets it from.  We usually got a lecture from my Uncle David about the importance of Squanto, friend of the Pilgrims, and after this pleasant little catnap, we would then dig into my mother's home-cooked meal.  Now my mother is actually not a bad cook, especially when it came to her Thanksgiving dinner.  However, there was one year in particular when she decided to follow a stuffing recipe that called for lemon juice -- but, oops! she realized at the last minute she didn't have any lemon juice.  So my mother, ever resourceful, substituted the only alternative she could find in the fridge: some delicious and always useful Minute Maid lemonade.  Problem solved!  Talk about a memorable stuffing -- I don't think I'll ever quite get over it.

As far as memorable is concerned, our family's Christmases were just that.  We had a very sacrosanct and traditional Noel that involved what I like to think of as a spiritual clusterfuck of presents, presents, and more presents.  My dad is a huge gift-giver, so not only would my brother and I have giant and bountiful crocheted stockings (plus they expanded!), but we would also have a mountain of presents under the tree.   After the two hours it took for the stockings to be opened, the Kirk family's Christmas spirit really came alive as we all began maniacally shrieking over whose turn it was to be Santa this year.  Simultaneously, my dad would begin fastidiously hovering over everyone with a Hefty bag in his heroic mission to retrieve every piece of ripped wrapping paper before it hit the ground.  All this, combined with Manheim Steamroller's Christmas album playing at full blast, a living room of four very excited and barking dogs, and my brother's incessant demands for, "more eggnog, MOM!!!" and you can imagine just how incredibly relaxing, if not downright holy, this all was.

My favorite part of this holiday was, and still is, Christmas night.  All the presents have been opened and put away, and all that's left is the beautiful solitary tree standing alone in my parents' darkened living room.  (My dad, ever the artist, usually decorated ours to perfection.  Andy and I were to follow his strict orders as to where the ornaments should go -- "little ones on top, big on the bottom!").  Staring at this peaceful, pristine, twinkling creation is, to me, one of the prettiest sights in the world, captivating.

I'm not going to write about New Year's, because I really don't count that as a true "holiday," and, plus, almost every New Year's Eve I've ever had (before we decided to make our home a kid-friendly fun-zone) has been incredibly disappointing.  Oh, whoops, except for that ONE time when I got totally plastered on a family cruise and finagled my way into the crew party and almost got kicked off the ship, but, really, that was nothing!

The truth is, I do love the holidays, and as crazy as I know it's going to get around here, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I feel thankful to celebrate the chaos, the togetherness, and, of course, the weight gain and hangovers, with my family and friends in a world that values traditions, if nothing else.

So here's to the holidays, and here's to frontal lobotomies!  Cheers!