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You see George, you really did have a wonderful life.

I think often, we forget how really wonderful life is, I know I do from time to time. I get caught up in the minutiae of the daily grind and forget what is truly important, truly wonderful: the magic of being alive. It really is a gift. To throw out another appropriate movie quote, Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

Drink in life. Eat up every last morsel. Savour every last moment. Life is too glorious not to.

So catching up. Thanksgiving was odd, but lovely. Jamie, as I mentioned in the last post was sick. He got up long enough to enjoy our dinner, or enjoy it as much as someone without a sense of smell due to clogged sinuses is able.

That weekend, our friends John and Karen came in from London for a week’s visit. We kicked it off by going to Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, a fav of ours. Luckily, Jamie’s ick had subsided enough for him to enjoy the evening and taste the food.

Then later that week, on Thursday, J & I went to the 75th Anniversary Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. And it was. Spectacular.

We go every year. We love it. We love the over-the-top wackiness of it. We love the live camels on stage and the hokey holiday–ness of it all. But this year, being the 75th Anniversary, it was even better than usual. It was all about the Rockettes, who are indeed, always “featured”, but this year they were truly the stars of the show. They even got their own holiday souvenir martini glass


filled with, of course, the Rockettini, which was basically a slushie with really high proof rum poured over it.

All during that week after Thanksgiving, along with show-going and friend-greeting, we were getting ready for our first (annual) holiday party. Lots of food, liquor and mixers bought. Some food prepped here. And that Saturday, 12/1, from 5 ’til, well, I’m told that it went on until about 1:30AM, a grand time was had by all.

We spread it out over such a long period as:

  1. We have friends with many different work schedules or kids or other engagements, so this allowed them to drop in/drop out.
  2. Our apartment, though lovely, wouldn’t fit all the invitees comfortably at one time.

It all worked out beautifully. Except, of course, for my being done in by a nasty drink introduced to the party by our friend Suzanne. She had recently edited a drink book and this, unfortunately stuck in her mind; I certainly will never forget it. It is a wicked little concoction called a Duck Fart. And it does smell, not that I’ve actually ever had the pleasure, but I imagine it would be similar, like a duck fart.

It, however, is really tasty. It is layered in equal parts of Kahlua, Bailey’s and Jack Daniel’s. It goes down smooth and hits hard. And so, I ended about an hour or so before the party did. Ah well, a good time was had by all.

In the following two weeks, I had the joy of going through a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. A little holiday treat, that. My last physical turned up a bit of anemia and we’re trying to figure out what’s up with that. Nothing showed up in either of those tests, so we’re on to more. I get the next round of results after the holidays – easy tests, just blood-work. Somewhat ironic that they needed to take four vials of blood to see what’s up with my anemia…

As my reward for going through rather unpleasantly invasive tests, I gave myself the gift of theatre. Jamie & I went to PA to the theatre I grew up in, Genesius, to see “The Belsnickel Scrooge”, a PA Dutch take on “A Christmas Carol.” We loved it. It is so amazing to be reconnected with that theatre.

While in PA, we celebrated Christmas with my folks and our dear extended family members, Sue and Liz. We don’t get to see either my parents or S&L often enough.

Oops, forgot, on the weekend between my c’scopy and my e’scopy, we went to visit Jamie’s Mom in FL for her birthday. We had a great time visiting with her and Jamie’s sister, nephew and his new girlfriend. It was nice to get away from NYC for a bit, although I couldn’t wait to get back to the more seasonal weather. FL is nice, but give me seasons. I don’t care how many decorations you see, if it’s 80 degrees, it just doesn’t feel like Christmastime. This is, of course, coming from a confirmed Northerner, however, Jamie feels the same way and he spent most of his life in FL.

Anyway, that brings us up to the week past, which was filled with Christmas hubbub and such, including a wonderful holiday concert on Saturday featuring Karen Mason, an amazing singer and a lovely person. I worked with her years ago on “And the World Goes ‘Round: The Songs of Kander and Ebb”, back in the day when I was doing backstage stuff. She has such amazing control of her voice and such an amazing energy. She’s just, well, amazing.

She was briefly joined by Greg Edelman, Liz Calloway, and The Accidentals (a tight jazz acapella group) – all were great.

Oh and before the concert, we went to see Sweeney Todd, the film, not the theatre piece. It was magically delicious, go see it.

And that brings us to tonight, Christmas Eve.

We went to NJ to our Godson’s for the evening. Met the little fella and his mom at the train station – he loves trains – then headed to the 4 o’clock Children’s service at their church. Very nice service; Jamie & I both forgot how much we like the practice of going. We’ve decided to check out our local church soon. We both miss the brilliant eucharist at our old church, unfortunately, the emotional/spiritual toll of that place was too high so, the search continues.

After church, we went to their house and met up with the G’son’s dad and sister, Aunt and friends and we all shared a delicious dinner.

Then back to the city in time for me to light my bayberry candle. All these superstitions… I don’t know if it’s a PA Dutch thing or where it came from, but it is tradition in my family to light a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve and let it burn through the night into Christmas day – it must burn completely away. It’s said to be good luck, and like Jamie with his “the tree must come down on New Year’s Eve”, I ain’t messin’ with the mojo.

So here I sit writing, now officially Christmas day, while Jamie sleeps, dreaming of the early morning present opening to come.

So many opportunities we’re given. So many wonderful things to do and see and experience; just look back over just my last four weeks.

It really is a wonderful life.

And now, now that the candle has reached a point of safety, meaning, as it burns merrily in the sink, if it falls, it’s short enough to pose no danger of toppling out onto the floor, but rather just rolling around in the sink, I can guiltlessly go to bed. Jamie is very, very, nervous about the candle. Very. But it’s safe now, and I’m tired, and he’s going to get me up at first light for Christmas morning present-opening, so in the Christmas spirit I say,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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6 Responses to “Thankful”

  1. Probably the longest blog post I ever read in english (and I understood it almost completly).
    Nice to read about you again, christmas didn’t turned into something good for me this year. I think it isn’t since some years ago. It’s just… I’ve missed the “spirit”. I didn’t had any gift (in a box/envelope way). My parents gave me some money to buy trousers (jogging ones, probably). I’m saving to buy a digital camera, but I couldn’t buy it yet because I didn’t had the money some days ago. If everything goes right, tomorrow (wed) I’ll confirm if I can buy it, and it may ship within 2 or 3 weekdays.
    However, that does not make me feel in ‘christmas mood’. I miss the joy of being with my family, and that big illusion about santa.
    Also, I think about those who aren’t celebrating. Those who aren’t eating tasty food like me, those who won’t drink even a cola at twelve o’clock. Those who are really alone, living in the street, some probably drunk -because they get drunk as much as they can-. Those poor kids without their parents, begging for some coins in the doors of big restaurants.
    We aren’t in that situation. Is the world, ok, there is people who live miserably, and other people who don’t. But I can’t be really happy about this celebration without a deep meaning. The real meaning of christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, or whatever you think Christmas means. But not gifts, sweets, and champagne. That is not really necesary.
    It’s a bit contradictory to say and think this, and being near the purchase of a camera. But… I don’t know. Something is missing in my mechanism, some piece isn’t fitting.
    Beside this personal apreciation (my comment turned into a really long comment), I’m happy to read about you.
    And nice theme, I didn’t saw it before!
    Sorry for my english writing, I know some words/phrases aren’t well written.
    Feliz navidad, for you and for Jamie.
    Good night/morning (it’s 5:45 here). I must go to bed now…

  2. […] kirk has a long holiday themed/catchup post that says it all much better than i can. […]

  3. Candle lit all night long?yeah I’m with Jammie on that one.
    Merry Christmas kids.

  4. […] very valid points in his comment to my last post and I think they warrant a response post. First, go read his comments if you haven’t done so […]

  5. Hey Zim, thanks for the extended comment, had to write about it as you’ve probably already seen.

    As to the theme, it’s called Darkwater, I just changed the background pic out for one of my own and tweaked the comments script a bit. Still not totally happy, but it’s all a work in progress with me. LOL

    Don’t feel at all hypocritical about the camera, your photos are wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with giving the world something beautiful to look at.

    And Nath, have no fear, the candle was fine and I must repeat, I will not muck around with the mojo. Superstitions, like stereotypes, have their basis in some reality, no matter how lost and buried.

    Wait ’til I write about the New Year’s mojo bag; you’ll love that one! LOL

  6. […] I’ve previously mentioned the Christmas Eve bayberry mojo. […]

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