(I should credit my old Vanderbilt pal and fellow comic book fan Jimmy for that subject line).
Some seasonal observations:
1. It's always striking to me about how huge, elaborate yard decorations have become more the rule than the exception. When I was a kid, there'd be maybe one house in every neighborhood would go all out, putting lights on the shrubs out front and plastic Santas on the roof and whatnot. Now it seems like its 50-50, and the scale of some of these displays is amazing -- it's like every couple of blocks you see a Toys R Us display window in next to someone's mailbox. There's a house down the street with "life" sized cardboard cut-outs of the Grinch, Max and Cindy Lou Who (along with a bunch of other stuff in the yard).
I can't explain it as a phenomenon, but I think it has something to do with my generation, i.e. the post baby boomers. Because we seem to have a greater, deeper, unembarassed appreciation for kids stuff -- like, say, classic Bugs Bunny cartoons -- than the boomers did. We'd rather do a genuinely fun childish thing than stifle it in the name of acting like "grown-ups." Or maybe I'm way off base.
Apparently the big yard decoration THIS year are artificial snow globes, big enough to contain a nuclear family of human-sized snow men. I don't know what you call those things -- they're like lawn balloons, but have some kind of motorized blower-uppers, so they deflate when you unplug them. (Is there a proper term for them? If you know, tell me.) Do people rent these or buy them to own? They seem to have different ones for EVERY holiday now. Anyway, the "life-sized" snow globes I've been noticing a lot, and I don't remember them last year.
2. We went to an afternoon Christmas party with the in-laws on goudabonbon
's side yesterday. Good food (the boyfriend of a cousin runs some kind of BBQ restaurant or catering business -- I never got the details) but Sweetness's sleep patterns worked against us. She woke up at some godawful hour like 6 a.m. Sunday, but we didn't try to get her back to sleep, figuring it would help her doze off on the 90 minute drive down to Thomaston. But she DIDN'T fall asleep, and so was kinda wired the whole time (not cranky, just hyper). And goudabonbon
's cousin's house had lots of little tchochkes on seemingly every surface, so both Sweetness and her equally active, 22-month old cousin (the brother of the one who had the meningitis scare a few weeks ago) needed constant deflecting. For a brief moment I sat down with a couple of the guys my age, and one remarked, when Sweetness was in another room "I think there was a crash." I replied "There's ALWAYS a crash."
But they had two puppies and a Big Dog down there, and it was sunny and not too cold out, so Sweetness and her younger cousin spent a lot of time running around outside, and I kind of took the role of designated Child Chaser for most of the time. Exhausting after a while, but if you're spending more than three hours in the car (round-trip) on a given day, there are worst things you can do than chase puppies and giggling children around.
3. If you're on the look out for a campy, kitschy, bizarro variety show that harks back to the TV specials of yore, I highly recommend "The Wiggles: Santa's Rockin'!" The Wiggles are Australian children's musicians with TV shows and videos, and "Santa's Rockin'" is even more weird than the norm because of the seasonal theme and Special Guests, like the guy who played Greg Brady and (separately) John Fogerty, who sings a couple of Christmas-themed rock songs and, in between, looks deeply confused as he chats with a Wiggle: he's like a hostage trying to look natural. There's a worldless nativity scene tableau to "Silent Night," a mariachi band, a song about Henry the Octopus* using his eight legs to wrap presents at Christmas, "pop stars" I've never heard of with names like "King Mondo" (wearing Liberace-worthy outfits), a singing Santa and dancing nutcases in elf and reindeer costumes. It's freaky.
* Henry the Octopus is one of The Wiggles' regular sidekicks. He's got this quavery voice that inspires goudabonbon
to call him "Pervy the Octopus."
One more thing: Before we set off yesterday goudabonbon
had Sweetness in her lap and, in referring to the weather, said something like "Be sure to wear your mukluks. Although I'm not sure what mukluks are." Then Sweetness -- very much to our surprise -- piped up and said "*I* tell you! Mukluks is... a g'een coat!" We were highly amused. (Then, genuinely wondering what mukluks were, I looked it up. I refrained from telling my daughter: "WRO-ONG! They're boots or slippers made of seal skin! A lot YOU know!" That probably wouldn't be good fathering.)