Thursday, December 21, 2006

As For Me and Grandpa, We Believe

So, here's my Christmas tree. I know, she's a leaner. I cut her down myself and I held her with one hand and screwed the little things in from the stand with the other. I'm not sure which of those facts is responsible for her wall dependency, but I love her anyway.

Neil of Citizen of the Month just held his Christmahanukwanzaakah concert and those bloggers who didn't wish to participate musically, were encouraged to send in photos of their holiday images. Almost all the other Christmas trees represented were so beautiful and coordinated and none of the other trees appeared to be propped up against anything. These other trees did not make me feel unworthy or lame, however. I think my messy, mismatched, leaning tree is just about a perfect representation of me and the girls.

Have you noticed? I seem to be on a holiday upswing. I've been trying to figure out why I've been so cranky lately and I think most of it is sleep deprivation. I get off work at 4:30, by the time I walk home it's 5. Tonight I drove my children and others around for almost two hours and then I still had to come home and make dinner. (notice how I didn't get a run in there anywhere) I guess what I'm trying to say, is that adding holiday preparation in that mix means that I need to get less than five hours of sleep a night if I want to get everything done.

Basically, I've decided not to worry about getting it all done. I never wanted to be like my Aunt who ruined every holiday by stressing out about them. So, I'm calming down about all the shit that may or may not get done. Because I'm sure when they're adults, my girls won't have any recollection of what a sty my living room was. Though, they may just remember that year they pooled their babysitting money together to buy their mom a prescription for Prozac for Christmas.

It will all be over in a couple of days anyway. We celebrate Christmas on the Eve and since their dad's birthday is on Christmas Day, the girls go there. On Tuesday, they will travel to Madison to hang with my brother's family until Saturday the 30th, and I will actually have a few days to myself. What that means for all of you, is that I want book suggestions. Yes, I will actually have time to read something other than blogs and I want you to tell me something you've read that you think I'll love. 'Kay? 'Kay. Thanks in advance.


Bice said...

Well first, I think your tree has character. Of course they said the same thing of my grandfather and he was as crazy as a pet coon.

Second, sleep is way over-rated. I prefer the tremors and hallucinations that sleep deprivation affords me.

Third, trust me when they get older they NEVER remember the stuff that stresses us out. I know this first hand. Just love 'em, that's all they'll remember anyway.

Fourth, Good books: 'I know why the caged bird sings' by Maya Angelou. That's my pick.

Killer said...

I don't have any stress involved with the holidays. When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for my family to not even put up a tree. On Christmas day we would just hand out gifts that had been stacked in the corner.
So, now I have no need to decorate.

Book: "A Heartbreaking Tale of Staggering Genius" By Dave Eggers
He makes tragic life events seem hilarious.

booda baby said...

Your tree is perfect for you. I love my tree, too 1. because I love ornaments and I need a tree for them and 2. it's a mess and nothing matches and that's a theme, isn't it? I like it that way

It's an old book I'm recommending, but it's a gooooood one. A Mouthful of Air by the happy chappy who wrote A Clockwork Orange. Oh. Anthony Burgess. It's his tale and discussion and everything he knows about linguistics and it's a lot more interesting than I'm making it sound. It's one of those books that ends up giving you enough material to get a good shift in perception. Without all the addiction and sallow skin color.

loveyouintheface said...

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - if you feel saddish and literary

If you feel like reading something a little sassy, magical and Tom Robbinsesque (but without the annoying diatribes) try "A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore

If you want to get into modern mythology try "Anansi Boys" or "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman

If you want quirky, smart southern tales with astonishing character development try "Quite A Year For Plums" by Bailey White. I heartily recommend this actually.

Happy Christmas!!

kathleen said...

my neighbor with the wolfhounds brought over "apathy" by paul neilan because it is so freaking hilarious. it's a very quick read, too. i still have her copy, of course. i'll see if she minds if i send it yr way.

Churlita said...


I have been getting that weird thing where my body kind of vibrates from sleep deprivation. If I didn't have to function or if I didn't get so cranky, it might be a fun free high.

I loved that book, Thanks for reminding me of it.


I know. The girls and I are all pretty low maintenance so it doesn't bother them whether anything's wrapped. It's more the extended family and also feeling like I should recipricate with the neighbors and just not having time.

Dave Eggers is also an excellent choice. When I first picked that up, I had a hard time getting through it and put it down. A year later I started it again and ended up really enjoying it. He read here a few years ago was pretty entertaining if not a little cocky - probably what you'd expect.

Booda Baby,

I like my tree. I'm glad you understand it.

I've read Clockwork Orange, but not that one. I'm putting it on my list.


Awesome suggestions. I loved The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but I've never read the Ballad of the Sad Cafe. I have never read any Neil Gamain and I know people will think me dumb for not having done so yet. He is definitely on my list, as well as the others.


Yeah, see if that will happen. Although, your neighbor might be ticked that I never chopped wood for her. I have a good excuse, though - my maul disappeared.

Egan said...

Stressing during the holidays is no fun. It's way too much trouble for what it's worth. A leaning tree is the sign of a great person. I've done extensive research on this topic.

Churlita said...

Thanks. Oh, that's right. I've heard you were the leading leaning tree researcher.

michelle said...

That's one beautiful tree.

Churlita said...

Thanks. You must appreciate leaners too.

Remiman said...

A tree without character isn't worth putting up. If the leaning tower of Pisa is any indication....You'll have a gazillion visitors in the next few days. Also there will be a gov't grant forth coming to see if the tree can be straightened or at least maintained at it's present incline!
Btw. I think your tree is beautious!

Book: James Michner's "The Drifters"

Churlita said...


Thanks for the props on my tree. I could really use a government grant. And thanks for the book recommendation, too. Believe it or not, I've never read him before.

Mr Atrocity said...

Here's a couple of book recommendations for you, off the top of my head and in no sort of order:

"The Unequaled Self" by Claire Tomalin is a superb biography of legendary diarist Samuel Pepys.

"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" - The life and times of Richard P Feynman.

"Ubik" by Philip K. Dick.

"Lost Girls" Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie.

"The Man Who was Thursday" G. K. Chesterton.

Plus the one I always mention as it's a perennial favourite of mine, "Three Men in a Boat" by Jerome K. Jerome.

Actually have a rummage through my Library Thing list That's where I put books I have liked. They aren't all novels though.

It's good to hear that your finding your stride with the madness of the holiday season.

Postmodern Sass said...

I think your tree rocks. Book suggestion: Vernon God Little. It's my top pick for our university campus-wide reading program for next year, because it's a book I think every American should read, and because the 20-somethings will love it because of all the swearing, even if they don't get the satire. Kinda like Borat. You're American, so I'd love to know what you think.

Churlita said...

Mr Atrocity,

Thanks for all the suggestions. I put them all on my list. I remember when you posted about Lost Girls and it made me really want to read it then. Now, hopefully I'll have time.

Postmodern Sass,

Vernon God Little? Got it. I'll report back once I read it. Thank you so much for your suggestion. I'm getting so excited about hooking up with all these books.

Andi said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your tree... It reminds me of the year that my mom sister and I had to tie ours to the banister because it kept falling over! That also was one of my favorite semi-adult christmases. And who on earth ever declared that xmas trees should have theme and be all matchy, where is the fun in that? 90% of the fun in decorating the tree is the memories each ornament envokes... if theya all matched it would be NO fun at all!

as for book suggestions... The Keeper of the Bees is a personal favorite, The Wicked series were also all very good reads. The Red Tent was phenomenal... there you have my suggestions and accolades for your tree!

Churlita said...


Thanks for the tree accolades and book suggestions. Consider your suggestions placed on my list.