The house looks festive. Lights are lit. The sun is shining on the sleeping dogs and there are Christmas cards spread across the coffee table. It definitely looks like Christmas.
After wrangling the lamb roast from another dimension and the rest of dinner for five yesterday — including two contiguous days of grocery shopping — by the end of the evening, I was beyond dead on my feet. I had moved into that Neverland of “everything … absolutely everything … hurts.” No drugs I have would touch it. There are entire classes of drugs (say NSAID twice, quickly) I can’t take.
They are the ones that help, but they turn my stomach to rubbish and are on my “never allowed to take” list. I cheat occasionally, when I feel bad enough. One prescription-size ibuprofen makes a difference. It’s ironic that narcotics help a lot less than aspirin, but I can’t take aspirin. In this I am far from alone since many people can’t handle aspirin or any of the NSAIDs, but it makes dealing with pain incredibly complicated. And annoying. Because this particular issue always pops up at exactly the time when I most want to be functional and active.
It’s the morning after the night before. The night before was tame by anyone’s standards, even mine. If I was previously unaware how my life has changed, mornings like this remind me. We had plans for today, but I woke up coughing, too.
That did it. I threw in the towel. I had been wondering how I was going to get through the day before the coughing started, but that was the straw that did me in. I call, apologized, and cancelled. I don’t even think I’d make it to the car today. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to cook later. Are you surprised we have leftover lamb? No? Bet you’re not! I wish I had kept some of the gravy, but that horse has left the barn.
It was a great Christmas Eve, but this day is recovery, recuperation, and trying to breathe. In a seasonally festive way, of course.
From Kim Harrison, a happy Hollows Solstice!
‘Twas the Night of the Solstice
by Kim Harrison
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.
The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.
So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.
When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.
Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”
I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold. We were in it thigh deep.
‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.
His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed
The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.
“Morgan, you witch. You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church. There’s no place to hide!”
Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.
But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.
“You loser,” I shouted. “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.
Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”
With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.
I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’
“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.
My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.
The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.
So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.
But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”
– – – – –
Kim Harrison, December 14th, 2005
(Last-minute gift givers, I’ve got your The Turn is coming card for under the tree right here: http://www.kimharrison.net/BookPages/TT/TurnSignedCopy.html )
My Top Ten Christmas Songs, Young Artists Edition, By Rich Paschall
From the time your Halloween pumpkin turned to mush on your front porch until now, you have been hearing Christmas music in the stores, on the radio and television and perhaps on your computer and mobile devices as well. As we have noted on past Top Ten lists, the airwaves have been filled with familiar voices singing the same holiday hits to us that they have been singing for decades. Of course, it is not Christmastime if we do not hear Bing, Perry, Andy and Nat crooning to us, but perhaps there are some newer artists who will earn a spot on the radio station playlist some day soon.
It is in this spirit that I come to you with another holiday playlist in hand. I can see by the tired look on your faces, that you are ready for something fresh. For this edition we have an eclectic assortment of original songs and holiday covers. Before we get too carried away with Aunt Maude’s apple cider or Uncle Harvey’s Gluhwein, I have an honorable mention from talented producer, video editor, musician and performer Kurt Hugo Schneider (age 28). Performing this “mash-up” of holidays tunes with him is actor, dancer, singer Max Schneider (24, and no relation) and Victoria Justice (23). I will leave it to you to figure out how KHS pulls this off. He really does not explain it at the end.
Now the weather outside might be frightful, but the following is so delightful, and since you’ve no place to go enjoy these tunes from the 30 and under crowd.
10. Christmas Must Be Something More, Taylor Swift (26) Released in 2007, this tune has not gotten the airplay of her rather uninspiring covers of “Last Christmas” and “Santa Baby.”
9. A Wonderful Christmas Time, Demi Lovato (24) The former Disney princess covers the Paul McCartney hit in a Disney Parade. I guess that means Ryan Seacrest needs to make the introduction.
8. Santa Tell Me, Ariana Grande (23) The former Nickelodeon star has made it big in television and film, as well as recording pop songs. The Christmas video comes with a series of “outtakes” at the end.
7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Sam Smith (24) The typical presentation of this Grammy winning artist is perfect for this melancholy version of the bittersweet tune.
6. Let It Snow – Baby It’s Cold Outside, Robby Word (19) and Alex G. (24). It’s another holiday mash-up from Kurt Hugo Schneider, a master at the one-take video. You can also wonder how they pulled off this one.
5. Winter Wonderland, Alexander Rybak (30) The 2009 winner of the Eurovision song contest released an album of holiday tunes in English in 2012, Christmas Tales. Not only did Rybak arrange and sing the songs, he is the entire string section on the recording. The multi-talented artist was born in Belarus and lives in Norway.
4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Sam Tsui (27) Sam writes, arranges and sings on a large number of You Tube videos. On this selection, he goes a cappella with a crew of Sams singing along. Tsui has a Christmas EP so you can hear other familiar Christmas tunes as well.
3. All I Want For Christmas Is You, Steve Grand (26) This will be our non-traditional entry on the list. Grand plays the piano as well as sings the familiar tune. He is the featured character in the story being told, but how does it end? You can find a link to another video on how they made this one on You Tube. We have previously featured Steve as the “All-American Boy“.
2. Mistletoe, Justin Bieber (22) The Biebs scored a big hit with all the Beliebers in 2011 with this snappy tune. The video has picked up over a quarter billion views and still going strong. The radio airplay may have died down, but this song really deserves a place on the list.
1. Pat-A-Pan, David Archuleta (25) There were a lot of Christmas songs to choose from by the popular recording artist. He has a full length album of Christmas songs. He has performed on multiple Christmas television programs. In fact, he was the featured performer on a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program on PBS. That show received more ticket requests than any of their previous annual shows. Find a half hour of highlights here. I chose Pat-A-Pan from a different show not just because he sings to us in French and English, but also because it shows off the strength and clarity of his voice.
Entire You Tube Playlist:
Christmas Yet To Come