Monday, December 23, 2013

Being A Girl: The Holiday Edition

Sometimes I feel like I failed big time at being a girl. This is magnified at the holidays when I receive the perfect gift from a friend, or read a well-written 2013 year in review. Am I not creative? Am I not thoughtful? Why don't I enjoy decorating? Did I somehow not receive some kind of domestic/baking gene that seemingly 90% of women have? Am I a failure to all woman-kind?


(Sorry too much sugar from a work colleague, who gave me homemade caramels, carefully twisted into lovely brown non-stick wrappers.)

Every holiday season I go to Trader Joe's and buy the biggest poinsettia I can find. It is much prettier and takes up much less room than a Christmas tree. Plus, buying a tree means you have to buy ornaments, and you have to store those somewhere, and Lordy who has time for all of that decorating? (I would totally be one of those people who leaves up their Christmas lights all year if I had a house to decorate.)

Most of the decoration around my place is my Christmas mural, which is the fireplace mantel covered in holiday cards from friends and family. I really love the cards, so keep them coming!

I thought about sending a holiday card this year - especially when my boyfriend grew out his mustache for Movember. Most women with significant others in the Movember or No-shave November movement hate it. I thought it was epic. For one month, I got to live with a handsome hipster man and my boyfriend didn't mind.

I digress. What do I put on a holiday card anyway? As much as I think finishing a half Ironman is a momentous occasion, it seemed wrong to put a picture of a sweaty Suzanne on a card and send it out to all of my friends and family. The proper message for a holiday card seems to be only family related: new baby, what the kids are doing, family vacations, weddings. That's it: no triathlons, no marathons, no new jobs, no we-are-doing-great-living-together-in-sin.

Stop asking us when we are getting married. Happy Holidays!
The thing I like most about the holidays is music. It's the only time when it's okay for American society to admit that they like choral and orchestral music, and further admit that they like Julie Andrew's version of "Favorite Things" better than Carrie Underwood's version. I think it's sad that I have to set my DVR to record St. Olaf Choir's Christmas concert, which is on at 2 AM here. But, at least the good quality, Virgin Mary, baby Jesus in Jerusalem songs are still out there. I'm not religious either. Traditional holiday music is a good, quality reminder that insane commercialism and Black Friday specials are NOT the reason for the season. Whether you are into WWJD or not, find some peace and love in your souls, people.

I went to a fabulous holiday concert sung by my fabulous friends in Resounding Achord. They do a good mix of highly classical selections and they also do some standard Christmas tunes.

Shopping is a chore, and shopping for other people is near impossible. Unless I know you really need something, I don't know what to get you. Furthermore, there is nothing more lifeless and soul sucking than walking 2 miles from the closest parking spot into a mall where, people are become mad, pre-holiday trolls. I've worked retail over the holidays, and let me tell you - the sales people hate the holidays. Contrary to what the holidays should be, customers are rude, pushy, the lie to get deals, and are generally a bunch of a-holes. I tend to go to boutiques and buy fewer things and spend 30% more. Also, thank God for the Internet.

Guess whose credit card information was safe this season? Mine! :)
Once in awhile, I do get the itch to bake. Oh, and when I say itch, I mean it - I am allergic to flour. Not eating flour, but having flour around in the air. It makes my nose and ears itch something awful, and then I start to sneeze all over the kitchen. If you want my sneezed-on cookies, I make exactly two kinds: pumpkin/walnut/raisin, (which no one seems to like except a former neighbor - sad he moved), and chocolate chip.

I can't possibly eat all of the sugary stuff offered to me on a daily basis every day since October. So, why create more?

I made some banana bread. Go me.
Amidst all of this winter/holiday self-loathing, I did do something rather crafty this winter. . .

I was recently convinced that even I can sew a quilt made out of my old race t-shirts. It took two full afternoons, lots of mentoring, and fear of getting my finger poked with a racing needle, but I survived and even made something useful. Will I do it again? Eh, not sure. Aside from the fact that races don't give out cotton t-shirts anymore, I don't know how much patience I have to make sewing a regular thing. Oh, and there also takes so much thought about the process, what fabric to use, patterns... it's mind blowing. I feel the same about knitting. It would be nice to make holiday gifts for friends, but have a hard time sitting for a long time, or working on something so intricate.

I will be a terrible old lady.