Tag Archives: Christmas

A Christmas miracle flannel style

‘Twas perhaps the merriest Christmas of all for Flannel Santa had run out on Christmas Eve to buy a few extra gifts for the kiddos.

You see, Flannel Santa had been struck by the Christmas Spirit and had extra cash to burn.

Of course, Flannel Santa bought new flannel shirts for the lads.

A belt and hat for one, a leather wallet for another.

And 12 packs of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew for all.

On Christmas Day, the youth wore their shiny new flannel shirts.

So, soft and warm! they exclaimed.

And Flannel Santa beamed with pride.

The day couldn’t get any better.

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I’ve got one hand in my pocket … because my flannel shirt has pockets!!

But then Flannel Santa reached into the sack-o-Santa stuff and pulled out one last gift. One last flannel shirt.

The shirt was red and black checked. Perfect for Christmas Day.

Thick and warm and as soft as Sofia Vergara’s hair.

The shirt fit Flannel Santa like a glove (except it was a shirt).

And Flannel Santa smiled.

But ho, ho, ho, what was this?

Pockets? In a flannel shirt?

Pockets!

Pockets!

Pockets!

It was a Christmas miracle—a flannel shirt with pockets. Which made this the merriest Christmas of all!

* * *

Here’s hoping your Christmas was filled with surprises. And perhaps a new flannel shirt with or without pockets, if that’s your jam.

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How I decided to not be a Grinch this year

“Let’s not get a Christmas tree this year,” I say to W. “We’re too busy to get one and set it up. The kids won’t enjoy it, because they never come out of their rooms. Plus, we can save the $100.”

“Oh,” she says in a quiet voice. “This might be the last Christmas we have in our house with the kids.”

But her voice is soft so I know I’ve won. No traveling to the Christmas tree farm, overpaying for a tree, lugging it home and into the house. No making sure it’s perfectly straight, stringing the lights, placing the ornaments just so and yelling at the cats to get the hell out of the goddamn tree. No boxing up the decorations and dragging the tree to the curb some weekend in January when the branches have started to droop and vacuuming pine needles for weeks and weeks and weeks, even though the tree has been long gone and is now barely a memory of Christmas past.

downloadI rub my hands together and smile a big smile.

I feel a little bit bad. But I’m busy. So busy. With work. And other things. My manuscript is due in January and I’m freaking out. I haven’t written a blog post in for-ev-er.

Three days before Christmas, I start feeling a tad more bad.

Because W deserves better. She deserves a Christmas tree.

So when she is out for the evening, my son and I drive to a nursery and get a tree like we used to do in the old days, pre-W.

All of the trees are $45. My son wants a Charlie Brown tree, but I’m paying so I pick out a not too big, not too small tree with a straight spine.

imagesShe’s tall and slim with excellent posture like Hela in Thor: Ragnarok.

“It’s not going to fit in our car,” my son says.

“It’ll fit in the trunk,” I say. “Don’t you remember how we used to carry our trees in the trunk of our car.”

He says he doesn’t. He always says he doesn’t remember.

The kid at the nursery binds the tree and starts jamming it in the trunk of my Nissan Altima. He looks a little like the Grinch shoving Cindy Lou Who’s tree up the chimney for repair.

Hela barely fits in the trunk of my car. My son and I smile big goofy smiles at each other as the kid struggles with the tree. His smile saying see I told you. My smile saying see I told you, too.

On the way home, my son says we should have saved the $45.

“It’s a waste of time and money,” he says. “It’s going to take you two or three hours to get it set up.”

“One or one and a half,” I correct him. “But that’s not the point. It will make W happy,” I say.

I don’t tell him my secret wish for him. That I hope someday he has someone in his life who is worth such expense and bother.

He shrugs his shoulders.

“Plus, I got to pick out a tree with you,” I add.

At home, he helps me put the tree in the stand.

He doesn’t want to cut the plastic netting and watch the tree spread its arms or help string the lights or put on the star like he used to. He’s 18 not 8, and I ache for those 10 years.

IMG_2164I take my time and wind three strands of lights around Hela. When I’m done, I pull the lights to the front of the branches, the way W likes them.

Next, I put on the string of purple beads that W always had on her tiny tree in her Philadelphia apartment. Back then, I thought it was a strange—purple beads on a Christmas tree. Now, our tree doesn’t seem complete without them.

I place the silver star on the highest branch. A gold star below it.

The silver star was the one W always placed on her tree. The gold star was the one my son and used to decorate our tree.

When the kids were young, they would fight over which star we should use. We always used both to keep the peace. Now, it’s tradition.

I wait up for W, admiring my handiwork: a skinny tree with lights and purple beads and a silver star and a gold star.

“Oh,” she says when she comes home.

“I was going to ask you if we could get a tree,” she says.

“I’m sorry I’m such a Grinch,” I say. “I don’t mean to be.”

I kiss her.

“I know,” she says. “But you usually come around.”

She cries a tiny bit.

download (1).jpgAnd I feel good. Like my heart has grown three sizes today.

* * *

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

(Especially you Grinches out there! You know who you are!)

Fun with gender roles and stereotypes

So, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting much these days.

I’ve been busy with work and kids and wife (she’s a handful). And writing my new book.

That’s right, folks. Sometime in 2018, you’ll be cracking the spine of my new book and breathing in that new book smell. Can’t wait, can ya?

You can read all about it over on my publisher’s website. As per usual, I’ll be writing about gender, butchness and how I never knew I was a lesbian. I swear, it’s true.

Which brings up this photo of Middle Age Butch back in the day.

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I’m three years old. It’s Christmas Day. Apparently, I’ve gotten a gold wristwatch as a present. See how it sparkles. That baby with the big bowling ball head is my brother. He got a sleek silver train and a Fisher-Price pop-up toy for Christmas.

That other baby is not real and is sitting inside a baby stroller that I’m posing behind. I’m wearing a shiny dress and shiny black Mary Janes. Do you see my shiny smile?

The only thing missing is a husband. A boy in a three-piece suit, his tiny hand clutching a leather briefcase. And off we’d go into the sunset. Me, Husband and Baby.

I wonder if there was ever a chance for my story to turn out differently than it did. This photo makes me think that the answer to that question is no.

But still, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had been dressed in bright red pajamas that Christmas morning and had a silver train to scoot along the floor.

* * *

Who is this little girl? Where is she going? Why does she need a watch?

Feel free to offer a caption.

 

 

What to buy a butch

W is easy peasy to buy for. She likes things that sparkle (silver jewelry), things that smell good (handmade soaps) and things that taste good (salted caramel chocolates and Cheerwine cherry soda). Plus, purple things and pretty things and spiritual things and soft things. Also, scarves and bags and really good socks. See what I mean?

She thinks I’m hard to buy for. I tell her that I’m not. Butches are easy. Hey, not like that. But you know what I mean. If you’re struggling to find something to buy your masculine-of-center girl for the holidays, read this handy-dandy list:

Handy-dandy list

imagesCheck out the wristbands and cuffs at Lucky Dog Leather. W bought me wide black and brown leather cuffs on one of our first Christmases together. I loved them. I still do. They are cool and stylish and need I say very, very butch.

Is your girl a sporty butch? Get her tickets to a game. Or a jersey or other team gear. We can never have too much. I tend to like the old-timey vintage stuff. Make sure you know her favorite teams and players.

downloadIf she’s a reader, get her a copy of Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide. If you want to see a butch cry, watch her read this book. Really, any of Coyote’s books are great, but this is their latest. And do I dare say best?

I have to give a shout out to My Booket List, which was created by a friend of mine. Your book loving butch can record all of those books she wants to read in this cool little journal.

If she’s a writer, try a Moleskine notebook and a silver astronaut pen (you can pick up both at Staples). I’ve always got these hiding out in my pockets. Just in case.

If she’s into comics, there’s tons of cool Wonder Woman stuff out this year. Pick her up a copy of Jill Lepore’s Wonder Woman, which details the history of the Amazonian Princess. Wonder Woman’s story follows the rise of feminism in this country. It’s a fascinating read.

Beer her. If she’s a beer fan or fanatic, pick out some new craft brews for her to try. The staff at most beer shops are knowledgeable and can steer you in the right direction. Create a custom six-pack just for her. Nothing says I love you like beer.

download-1Buy her a new necktie or bowtie. One that matches her eyes or your new dress. One in her favorite color. One that you think she’d look particularly handsome in. We love it when our ladies buy us ties. It makes us feel special and sexy.

Make it personal. There are tons of sites that let you create personal merchandise. Think mugs and tees and hats. How about a T-shirt that says “World’s Best Butch” or a mug that just says HANDSOME? I’ve had good luck with Zazzle and Shutterfly.

Make her something. We like it when you use your hands. Get crafty and make her a Sharpie mug (look for instructions on the Internet) or knit her a scarf. Bake her favorite cake or pie or whip up a batch of your famous tomato sauce.

download-2Socks. A good pair makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, too. You can buy those butch socks here.

How about a fun pair of fleece PJ pants? Find a design that matches her passion. Star Wars, Harry Potter, beer, football … You name it, they make it. Or a fleece blanket.

Flannel. Need I say more?

Oh, and you. You know that’s all she really wants, right?

* * *

What do you like to gift your butch? If you’re a butch, what do you like to get?

 

Middle-age butch’s all-time best Christmas gift

Christmas is only a few days away, and I’ve been a busy flannel-clad elf buying presents for the kids.

Which got me thinking about my best Christmas gift ever.

GiftWhen my brother and I got older, like in our 20s, my dad developed a holiday tradition of going out shopping solo on Christmas Eve to buy us each a bonus gift or two.  The gifts had a definite masculine feel to them.  I can remember getting a pair of jumper cables one year and a portable CD player another.  My brother ended up with a variety of tools and a giant Mag Lite one time.

I always looked forward to these Dad gifts as they were a stark contrast to the carefully selected presents that had been purchased weeks and even months before by my mother.

I liked the fact that my dad spontaneously ran out hours before Christmas officially began and picked up random gifts.  Whatever was left or on final clearance.  Items that he thought we needed or would like.  “I thought you could use this,” he would say.

One year, Dad handed me a large square box.  It was really heavy.  He couldn’t wait for me to open it up.

Bowling BallInside was a black handled bag with blue, white and purple stripes.  And inside that bag was a 14-pound shiny blue undrilled bowling ball.

I squealed with delight.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, that last line might have given you pause.

Really?  Middle-age butch squealed?  With delight?

Yes, the bowling ball broke this baby butch’s trademark stoic demeanor.  Even on Christmas morning amidst the frenzied gifting and unwrapping and a sugar- and alcohol-laden breakfast consisting mostly of Toll House cookies, rum balls and mimosas, I typically remained calm, cool and reserved.

But a freakin’ bowling ball?  That was cause for some uncharacteristic whoops and fist pumps.

Dad explained that he had gotten me a 14-pound ball because that’s what professional lady bowlers use.   (It sounds like a term Tina Fey or Amy Poehler would use.  “Lady bowlers.”)

imagesCADKXJGDNow, Middle-age butch is no bowling pro, that’s for sure.  But being a butch lesbian, I know my way around a bowling alley.

The bowling ball wasn’t my ticket to a career as a professional bowler.  I didn’t up and quit my job and sign on with the Professional Bowlers Association.  There was no pro bowling tour in my future.  (Although I once bowled a 256 game in college.)

It wasn’t even that the gift was extravagant.  The ball is a basic Brunswick that probably cost about $40 tops, bag included, back in the day.

I loved the gift because it represented my dad recognizing a part of me that I had taken to hiding in those days.  The tomboy.  The jock.  The bruiser.  The woman who preferred bowling balls and flannel shirts and power tools to candles and cookware and cashmere sweaters.

It was the butch in me that was being acknowledged, even though that part of me had yet to be named or defined or fleshed out.  That wouldn’t happen for a decade or so.

Funny thing is I never did get the bowling ball drilled.  I never got around to it.  Besides, a 14-pound ball is a tad too heavy, even for this strapping butch.  I usually bowl with a 12-pound ball.

Sometimes I think that I never got the ball drilled because I didn’t want to change or alter my dad’s gift in any way.  It was perfect just the way that it was.

Flip forward 20 years, and the bowling ball now sits in its bag in our third-floor storage room.  I move it around from house to house.  A heavy sphere that has no practical purpose.

But profound meaning that exceeds its 14 pounds of perfect roundness.

How about you?  What’s the best gift — Christmas or otherwise — that you ever got?

Christmas gifts and poems by cats

W and I received a Christmas gift in the mail yesterday.

I Could Pee on ThisThe small box was filled with a few hand-crafted soaps, which  are one of W’s most favorite things in the whole world, and a small book entitled “I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats.”

I was tickled by the gift.  It was nice to know that someone had gone out of their way to send us a Christmas care package.

The gifts weren’t extravagant, but I could tell that they were selected with care, and that’s what made them so special.  That, and they were totally unexpected.

The book is hilarious.  It would make a great gift for the cat lover in your family or the crazy cat lady down the street.  On second thought, she might not get the humor.

Here are two poems that struck my funny bone:

Who Is That on Your Lap?

There’s another cat in the house

A cat I’ve never seen

A much younger cat

You seem to know her name

You accidentally called me by her name

Right in front of the lamp

And my friend the throw pillow

I’ve never been so humiliated

I may never love again

* * *

Sushi

Did you really think

That you could hide fish in rice?

Oh, the green paste burns!

Murray Christmas!

I have decided to fill all of my emptiness and holes with cats.

At first, I thought about bringing home a brand new kitten on Christmas Eve.  I figured that I would scour all of the local adoption places and pick out the perfect kitty.  I would make plans to pick up the kitten the day before Christmas and then surprise the whole family with a kitten in a box.

Surprise!

A box of kitten.  A box of wine.

It just goes to show that boxes of stuff make awesome gifts.

Christmas kitten in hatMaybe I’d dress her up in a little Santa hat or place her in a fur-trimmed stocking.

I can hear the “awwws” as I type.

A few nights ago, I told W that I wanted a new cat and wanted to name her Merry.

“Why would you want to name a cat Mary?” she asked.

“Not, Mary,” I said.  “Merry.”

“Murray?!”

“No, not Murray.  Merry, as in Merry Christmas.  M-e-r-r-y.  But, now that you mention it, Murray Christmas would be an awesome name.”

W thinks that I pronounce certain words like banana and ruin and now, obviously, merry incorrectly.

Anyway, I’m quite smitten with the idea of a female cat or kitten named Murray Christmas, or just Murray for short.

But then I had an even better idea that would ensure a constant, never-ending stream of furry, adorable felines.

“We should foster kittens,” I casually informed W last night.

No!” she replied immediately without even giving the idea any thought.  “I would get too attached, and they would make a giant mess in the house.”

I told her that I was just researching the subject and assured her that I hadn’t signed us up for anything.  Yet.

Then I mentioned that if she wasn’t into fostering cuddly kittens that need to be bottle fed and socialized we could always volunteer to trap feral cats or feed feral cat colonies.

“I’m not sure what those jobs entail, but they were listed on the website,” I said.

Now, fostering a few sweet, soft kittens is looking pretty good to her.

So is Murray Christmas, for that matter.