FOR ALL THE HOLIDAY MISFITS

krampus

For the past 5 years I have fallen into a holiday funk. Being single, coupled with not having any family to spend the holidays with during a season where ads for love and family and togetherness and diamond rings to “show her you care” are pounded into one’s psyche ad nauseam are enough to make anyone want to go off the deep end.

Then there’s my beloved Facebook, my social media of choice and social life all rolled up in one. Only this time of year, my preferred memes containing cats or offensive snarkiness fall along the wayside to ho hum pics of newly engaged couples in front of their tree and family gatherings with everyone dressed in their holiday finest—including my own, mind you, without me.

Here’s how it’s gone down for the last 5 years. Every Christmas eve, my entire family goes to an annual Xmas play. I drop my son off in front of my father’s house (because he and I are still not speaking to one another), wish my brother and sister a Merry Christmas, and off I go on my solitary way to feel sorry for myself at home while I view their happy group photos on Facebook that I’ve been tagged in so I can, you know, feel included as part of the family.

This year, I burst into tears as I was driving away, but only because my brother had just returned from Thailand and it would have been nice to be able to spend some time drinking with him that day and getting him to admit he solicited a she-male hooker by mistake. It would have been lovely to hang with my sister, who had finally fallen into a serious relationship with her best friend, even though he had fought their love for a year. I would have loved to tell her “I told you so,” because I did. Exactly a year ago.

They’re the family I miss. Not my asshat of a father who we all have to walk on eggshells around so as not to upset him. The asshat of a father who drinks too much and picks a fight with someone, anyone just to hear himself yell. No, I don’t miss that dysfunction at all.

With the world stressing how important family is, where does that leave you when you don’t have any to spend the holidays with? It sucks, but I vowed this year I wouldn’t fall into a deep, dark depression, and so far I haven’t. Maybe it was due to the power of intention. Perhaps my hormones are balanced this week. Or maybe for the first time, another single mother was at my friend’s Xmas dinner and for once, I didn’t feel so fucking alone in the sea of coupledom.

This woman’s husband committed suicide 2 years ago. Blew his brains out on a wilderness trail, leaving behind a wife and 11-year-old son. She’s very open about the whole ordeal, which is why I have enormous respect for her. Her family is spread out all over the world, and her mother is exactly like my father, so she’s essentially alone like I am. She has no interest in going out and trying to land another husband because she can’t hack being alone, and for that, along with her honesty and bluntness, she and I get along great.

We made plans to get together next week. She’s going to teach me how to make Spanish rice, authentic beans, and chicken Verde. Any other year I’d have shied away from making plans and doing anything that required me to smile, but this year is different. This year I consciously acknowledge there are other women out there who have just as craptastic a life as me. I simply have to find them. This woman whose husband blindsided her with death. Another woman I met on Thanksgiving has 2 kids, and is separated from her cross-dressing husband (although she’s OCD and a bit of a hoarder, so who the hell knows what the story is there). She’s asked me to get together with her as well.

These are the women I need to seek out in the years to come. Not the ones with their picture-perfect Norman Rockwell lives. I don’t have anything in common with them. I’ll seek out the misfits and the wounded and the shunned. The divorced and the widowed and the transgendered. Really anyone who doesn’t live a cookie-cutter life.

For all those who are going through a tough time this holiday season, take heart. It’s almost over. Try to seek out others in the same sinking boat. You may find they help keep you afloat.

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WHEN DID UGLY XMAS SWEATERS GET SO RAUNCHY?

 

tis the season

Why yes, it’s that time again–the season of ugly sweaters. Christmas sweaters have always been ugly (that’s part of their charm), but when did they get so, um, sexually explicit?

US 1

Is this Madonna’s Christmas sweater from the 80s made by Jean-Paul Gaultier? It needs to go back to the 80s and stay there, along with neon colors, leg warmers, and shoulder pads.

US 2

I can’t help but think these reindeer got punched in their noses outside the bar while Santa was inside having a few shots, or are experiencing a severe allergic reaction after eating a cheese ball covered in nuts.  I’m the one who needs a bottleful of Benadryl (or Pepto-Bismol) in order to deal with this one.  

US 4

Deck the balls with boughs of–oh, never mind. If I were face to face with this man I’d have to fight the urge to hang my coat from his erect carrot, or a dish towel, but I’m guessing he’s thinking more along the lines of hanging mistletoe from that bad boy. Ick.

US 7

Is that a frozen carrot or are you just happy to see me? Mrs. Snowwoman (who looks strikingly like a man) doesn’t look too happy. And neither would I if I had to wear this monstrosity, although it does bring to mind a joke: Why did Frosty the Snowman pull down his pants? He heard the snow blower coming. Heh.

US 8

Does anyone else just want to tweak that nose…or lance it because it looks like a boil? This is the perfect “sweater” for a stripper in North Dakota. Ho Ho Ho! Merry XXXmas!

US 6

Proof that Santa is lactose intolerant, because after a glass of milk this is what happens to me. Can you imagine poor Santa after 52 billion glasses of milk? For the record, we leave vanilla almond milk for Santa, which is why he visits our home first.

US 5

This gem isn’t necessarily raunchy. Instead, it looks as if someone ate a decorated Christmas tree and then vomited it up onto a piece of wool (or I’m guessing polyester in this case). It hurts my eyes and gives me a searing pain in my head–which is what ugly Christmas sweaters are supposed to do, so I choose this one for the WIN this year.

 

Here’s hoping your holiday season is filled with non-dysfunctional family time and gifts you don’t have to feign joy over receiving.

 

THE HOLIDAYS—MAY THEY REST IN PEACE

Bah humbug

I can’t lie—I’m glad the holidays are over. Yes, I’m one of those people. But when you have no family to spend Christmas with and no significant other to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the holidays blow. I survived by drinking more than I should and religiously following the posts on a site called Emerging from Broken. It was on this site I learned I was not alone. There’s many, many more like me who either have no contact or minimal contact with their terribly dysfunctional families.

Every day I’d peruse Facebook even though I was continuously assaulted by happy people getting together with their families. Even worse was seeing photos and postings of my own happy family. It stung. A lot. It wasn’t so much the lack of them I was missing. It was the lack of a family to call my own. Most people who are estranged from their family have chosen to create their own—usually through marriage. In my case, it’s only my son and I.

At some point in December, my son threw out those dreaded words no single mom ever wants to hear: “Why can’t you marry Daddy so he can come live with us?”

“Because Daddy is engaged to be married to another woman,” I told him. The boy is 11. Sorry, but I’m just not sugarcoating it anymore. At least my response succeeded in halting the conversation in its tracks.

We spent Christmas day with my friend’s in-laws who have graciously “adopted” us. There are advantages to celebrating with other people’s families. In between the ham and the pumpkin pie, the conversation turned to religion (a big social no-no) and ended with my friend’s husband banging his fists on the table and accusing his father of refusing to acknowledge his nephew’s homosexuality. “Why can’t you admit your nephew is gay, Dad? Say it!” he screamed.

This drama didn’t faze me in the least because hey—it ain’t my family. So I got up and went into the other room with the kids. It was very freeing. But New Year’s Eve was a completely different story. Who wants to go to a party where everyone is coupled up, or worse, there are 3 token single men all vying for my drunken attention? No thanks. Plus, everyone’s an alcoholic in my neighborhood, or a meth head (or usually both), so if driving is especially dicey under normal circumstances, can you imagine on New Year’s Eve?

But after a meh Christmas and an utterly craptastic New Year’s Eve, the Gods of Fair Play decided to reward me with a book contract for my hot mess that took me over a year to write and edit. It’s called THE MEATBALL MISTRESS and it’s about a sassy Italian girl from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who flees to the Jersey shore after finding her fiancé in a compromising position. She’s, of course, bitter and cynical about men (I really had to stretch to write about that!) and meets her match in a guy who’s probably the biggest commitment-phobe in Jersey. So how do they wind up falling in love, you ask? Hmmm…

Since I literally thought I was going to end up burying this one in my backyard underneath a mound of compost, I’ll admit I’m pleased. Hopefully this recent euphoria will work to balance out the emotional upheaval I’ll be experiencing next month when I turn 46.

So how were your holidays?

WORST GIFTS EVER.

worst_christmas_gift_ever_mugChristmas is my favorite time of year, along with Halloween. I love giving, more than receiving (which is why I’d make a better Mistress than Sub) and because of that trait, I’m going to give you all a Gift-Giving Guide for every person on your list. Stress no more, because I have all the answers for you…

Are you scratching your coconut, wondering what to get the cat lover in your life? How about this magnet set, so every time they open the fridge they get the ole stink eye, aka the furry eyeball? It’ll remind them constantly of their fur baby, and if they’re dieting, may even help reduce their appetite a bit.

Cat butts

No cat lovers? How about a lover of dogs? Bet they’ve never seen anything like this: Yes, it’s a humping USB dog! I’d even bet his little rump moves back and forth, too, for authenticity.

humping dog usbPerhaps you have a friend who finds cats and dogs distasteful, yet is stuck with the family pet since the son left for college. The major problem with those pesky creatures (besides needing to eat and relieve themselves) is they like to be pet. But now you never have to touch your pets again! And what I find particularly versatile about this product is it says it’s “Rechargeable for hotel use”–you know, for all those hotels you stay in while on vacation with your distasteful pet.

Pet petterIn keeping with the whole animal theme, someone must have a baby they need to buy for. Babies are easy, because it usually doesn’t take much to amuse them. Every baby has a gazillion teddy bears, but how many have a FARTING teddy bear? Am I right? Guaranteed laughs for everyone! And hopefully the surprising noise won’t scare the hell out of the baby and make them howl with fear.

Farting teddy bear

Moving up a little in ages and being a mother myself, I’m here to tell you what will bring joy to every young boy’s face on Christmas morning:

UnderwearCan you see the joy?

And little girls? There are so many gift choices out there for them. Who doesn’t love Barbie? I know I did. She’s such an inspiring role model. Dog Poop Barbie teaches girls Responsibility, while Pole Dancer Barbie teaches Entrepreneurship.

Barbie and dog poop

Pole dancer Barbie

Do you need to rinse your eyes with bleach yet? No? Okay, good. Moving right along…

What about those hard-to-please teenagers? For the budding man concerned about smelling good:

Bacon soapOne would have to be olfactory-challenged not to love the smell of bacon–especially in the morning.

And for the ripe girl on the brink of womanhood? This book should be given to girls as soon as they’re able to read imo, but I suppose the sooner you can get it into their inevitable poor-choice little hands, the better. Look, over one million in print! How surprising.

smart women-foolish choices

Men, are you racking your brains trying to come up with something to wow your SO? I have 2 gems for you to choose from, or why not splurge and buy both? We all know how crucial it is for a woman to be well-groomed, especially down there.

kitty carpet

Placenta shampoo

(Note: I wouldn’t advise using placenta to wash the toupee. Just sayin’.)

Aren’t men so hard to shop for? Seems like they have everything they need, don’t they? I can almost guarantee they won’t have either of these babies already. I mean really, if the woman is going to go through all the trouble of wearing a carpet down there and shampooing with placenta, the least he can do is keep his wiener clean.

weiner cleaner

And warm. Because nobody likes a frozen wiener.

Cock sock

If you happen to be the single male friend of an attached man you’d like to see single–you know, so you can do fun single male stuff together like go to bars and cruise chicks, get him these and you’ll be sure to see his relationship quickly implode. Hurray! Shots for everyone!

Control a Woman

Is there a Climax button on this thing?

The Equality Illusion

Everyone knows at least one pathetic, sad female without a special someone to call her own, right? They deserve gifts, too. The boyfriend pillow lets them know they’re not painfully alone; Unfortunately, the cookbook states otherwise, but it’s a practical gift–especially for the gal who has to watch her finances because of a meager one-income household.

boyfriend-pillow

Microwave Cooking for one

Do you have a friend who always gets depressed around this season? Telling them to “Snap out of it!” may seem a little harsh so why not give them one of these gifts instead, to subtly convey your sensitivity over their “delicate condition”?

Depression for dummiesWorst of times

Coffee lover? Mmmm, I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to enjoy my coffee more than drinking it from a toilet bowl.

Toliet bowl mug

And what about the nauseating cutesy couple in Apt. 4G? You know the one–they appear to be conjoined twins and share a joint Facebook page. Awww, doesn’t it look like 2 elephants holding trunks?

pb-and-j-beard

What about your Jewish boss? Move over ugly Christmas sweaters! There’s a new kid in town.

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

Don’t forget Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma needs to look hip before she can go to the casino and gamble away her Social Security check.

GOLDEN GIRLS NECKLACE

Beads and feathers

And Grandpa? Have him use his aimless puttering around the house for good, instead of constantly-sticking-his-nose-in-your-business evil.

Kleen Stride

        Or, if he really does have EVERYTHING under the sun already, give him a big, fat…

Nothing

There, that should have covered just about everyone on your list. A word of advice–Always have an extra present on hand, just in case. If someone surprises you by unexpectedly giving you a gift, surprise them right back with this one:

shavebaby

Some gifts can’t be bought. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Disappointment

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I’M DREAMING OF AN XBOX CHRISTMAS

Cadeaux

It’s Christmas Eve, and I cannot wait for Christmas Day—if only to shut my son up about wanting an Xbox 360. For the entire month of December, I’ve heard nothing else from his mouth except how much he wants an Xbox so he can play the game, Minecraft. When he first heard about this game, he thought he could only play it on a computer.

“Absolutely not!” I told him. “You cannot download it onto my computer.” I kept imagining it eating up all my laptop’s memory like little Pac-men, or infecting it with a porn-like virus. I was however, excited he was interested in a game that didn’t involve blood and machine guns and swearing. So I brought my old laptop in to get fixed—the one that fell off the couch while my son was chasing the dog; yes, the one that stopped working the instant it hit the floor; and yes, the one I cried over when it happened.

This will be his Christmas gift, I told myself in November, since he’ll eventually need a laptop for school as well. But then we went to a friend’s house a few nights later, and their son was playing Minecraft on an Xbox. When we left their house that night, my son was like an over-excited boy who had already reached puberty and had just touched his first set of naked breasts.

“Wow! I can’t believe he has Minecraft on an Xbox,” he exclaimed. “Did you see that, Mom? Did you?” “Yup,” I mumbled. “It’s so much easier to play it on an Xbox than it is a laptop. I want an Xbox, Mom.”

“I don’t think so,” I said, and expected to never hear about it again. Ahaha, silly girl that I am! Little did I know every day from there on out, I would indeed, hear about it. I heard about my son wanting an Xbox at all hours of the day and night. “Guess what I dreamed about, Mom?” he’d ask first thing in the morning. “A laptop?” I’d say hopefully. “No, playing Minecraft on an Xbox.” “Guess what I’m going to dream about tonight, Mom?” “Puppies?” “No, playing Minecraft on an Xbox.”

And on and on it went.

His obsessive-compulsiveness kicked into high gear. “I sooo want an Xbox. Are you going to get me an Xbox, Mom? Mom?” He’d follow me into the bathroom, and I’d push him out and slam the door. “Mom?” he’d whisper at the door. “Can you at least think about getting me an Xbox 360 while you’re going to the bathroom?”

I tried to talk him out of wanting one; tried to convince him a laptop was way better, but it didn’t work. His steel-trap mind was set. Less than one week to go until Christmas, and I had a dilemma: Should I stick my son with a laptop he doesn’t really want, and risk seeing the disappointment on his face on Christmas Day—even though it may teach him a valuable lesson about life being full of disappointment? Or should I get him exactly what he wants even though I really can’t afford it, just to witness the sheer pleasure of seeing joy on my boy’s face, thus reinforcing the fact that he’s spoiled, always gets everything he wants, and has Mommy twisted around his little finger?

Do I need to tell you which way I went?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

UNTIL NEXT YEAR

Funny Merry Christmas Card Disfunctional Family Humor Greeting Nick Downes

I hope everyone’s holiday went smashingly well, and no one wound up with a DUI or an Elephant gag gift. Since I celebrated Christmas with friends, I experienced a dysfunctional-free day. Except for getting the finger from another driver, the day was completely void of animosity.

My son and I went to bed way too late the night before. I had to drink a cup of coffee at 8 p.m. to ensure I didn’t fall asleep before he did. He still believes in Santa, despite his two friends telling him Santa’s a fake.

“Do your friends receive a lot of presents for Christmas?” I asked my son. He shook his head no.

“That’s why,” I told him. “Because they don’t believe.” He accepted this explanation as gospel.

It’ll be the last year he buys into it, I’m sure. Which will work out better for me financially, since I have to buy him double the gifts. Boring gifts such as clothes = Mommy; Fun gifts such as DSI games = Santa. Santa comes off every year looking like the good guy, while Mom’s the dud.

Son popped out of bed like a piece of toast early Christmas morning. I tried to remember what it was like to be a kid, excited to open presents, but the old lady in me desperately wanted more sleep. It didn’t happen, and what followed next was like a starving pigeon feeding frenzy. All the presents were spread out like birdseed, and there was my son: the lone starving pigeon that descended on the gifts like he hadn’t eaten in a year. Torn wrapping paper (feathers) flying everywhere; screams of delight (coos) filled the air, and finally, much-needed silence (when I shooed him away to go and try out his new games).

I stared at the leftover mess (pigeon poop everywhere) and sighed. It could wait. We had places to be, and I needed to find the one sweater and pair of pants my son owned and convince him that even though Santa’s job is over for the year, he still doesn’t approve of wearing sweats and a tee on Christmas.

The three of us piled in the car – me, son, dog – and set off to the boondocks about an hour away. My friend’s husband’s family has adopted my son and I. They know we have nowhere to spend the holidays, and so they graciously open their home to us.

As soon as we arrived, the most well-mannered, mellow dog came ambling over to meet us. My friend, who is NOT a dog person, finally agreed to adopt a dog, much to her sons’ joy. After all, every boy should have a dog growing up, right? I leaned down and pet this most precious of dogs, who hadn’t yet uttered one bark and thought, THIS is the dog that should have been mine! Where was THIS dog when I went to the shelter twelve times before adopting a Chihuahua who didn’t bark once in the shelter and yet, barks ALL the time at home?

This most quintessential dog, who has forty pounds on mine went to sniff Evil Diva Chihuahua, and what did she do? Growled and snapped at him. All through dinner the uber-dog stayed on his pillow, while mine begged like some poor gypsy kid in Rome. And when the man of the house put his jacket on to go outside, Demon Chihuahua Dog started barking at him like a rabid beast. Apparently, she doesn’t like men with jackets.

For them, it’s probably similar to being friends with someone who has an unruly toddler. You like your friend; her kid, not so much, and you always breathe a sigh of relief when they’re gone.

On the way home, I went left when I should have gone right, and since it was a dark, two-lane highway, it took me forty minutes to realize we were lost.

My son started bawling. “We’re never gonna make it home! We’ll have to sleep in a ditch on the side of the road!”

“No,” I told him, “We’ll sleep in the car.”

“But what will we eat?” he cried. “I’ll be hungry by tomorrow.”

“We’ll eat the dog. She’s fat enough.”

He considered this. “How will we cook her?”

I smiled at him. “We won’t. We’ll eat her raw. Trust me, when you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat your own arm if you have to.”

“What do you think she’ll taste like?”

“Chicken. Definitely chicken,” I assured him.

He laughed, wiped at his tears, and we resumed singing Christmas carols for the extra hour it took us to drive home.

IT’S MY MOM’S FAULT I’M SPOILED

My mother tells me my blog posts are too dark.  She thinks they negate all the years of her attempting to give me a happy childhood. I assure her I was in fact, born dark and no amount of sunshiny rah-rah sleep-away camps while growing up was ever going to change that fact.

So in light of current criticism I decided to give Mom her due. She certainly deserves it for giving me the best memories I have of all: Christmas.

Since my mom and dad divorced when I was eight, Mom had the daunting task of putting up the Christmas tree all by herself. No easy task as I discovered this year when, for the first time I had to screw a monster of a seven-foot tree into a plastic stand, with no one around to tell me whether it was straight or not. After an hour of trial and error, it wasn’t. Straight, that is. It still isn’t. I figured it adds to the whole charm of single motherhood.

For whatever reason, as a child I wasn’t too excited about decorating the tree. If my mom did it all, that was fine with me. But she’d force me. She wasn’t anal-retentive like I am now. I let my nine-year-old place ornaments on our tree, but I usually move them around more to my liking when he’s not looking.

Once our tree was fully decorated, I’d sit alone in the dark gazing at the twinkling lights, intoxicated by the smell of pine, embracing the silence. In those moments, all things were possible.

What my mother truly excelled at was gift wrapping. Every Christmas eve, she’d hole herself up in her bedroom for hours, creating masterpieces. One year all my packages were decorated with seashells; another year it was a smorgasbord of patterned ribbons cut and glued to make elaborate designs. Some years the gifts were covered with words drenched in sparkly glitter, other years it was miniature pine cones and buttons. I’m telling you, it was like MOMA in our house every December.

She always got me everything on my list too, sort of as a way of making up for the fact that she couldn’t buy me much throughout the year. An Overcompensation Holiday of sorts, and it resulted in me becoming extremely spoiled. The first year I was with my ex I handed him my Christmas list and told him, “Here’s my list. I’m used to having a BIG Christmas!” Poor guy. But at least the next woman he’s with will thank me.

In carrying on the spoiled tradition, I find myself doing the same with my son. Not the elaborate wrapping. My son wouldn’t care if his presents were wrapped in toilet paper. I get him everything he wants, though, within reason. He’s not getting an i-Phone or i-Pad this year like he wants, but he’ll get everything else. Am I overcompensating for the lack of a father in his life? Yeah, probably. Will he become spoiled? He already is. Am I setting up all of his future wives for failure because they’ll never measure up to me? Absolutely!

Don’t get me wrong. I do recognize the true meaning of the season and it’s certainly not gifts. At least not the monetary kind. My son will too, eventually, when I force him to volunteer at a soup kitchen one of these years. But for now while he’s young, all I care about is the look of joy on his face when he first walks in to the living room and sees all the gifts Santa has left. A child never forgets those moments.

So thank you Mom, for decorating the entire apartment  every year by yourself, while I sat on the couch pretending to help; for staying up until the wee hours wrapping till your fingers bled; for going into debt because you charged things you couldn’t afford; and for making Christmas the most magical time of year for me.

(This post is probably as warm and fuzzy as I’ll ever get.)