Tidings of comfort and joy

Santa pisses off to the North Pole.

Whoosh! Solstice in the rear view, New Year’s dead ahead.

So far it’s been a quiet holiday season around the rancheroo. Kinfolk were chatted up and a medium-light feast prepared (green chile stew with flour tortillas and an avocado-and-tomato appetizer, plus pecan pie for dessert).

No white Christmas here. The bomb cyclone gave us a miss and we were able to get out for a daily run without Jack Frost nipping at our noses or any other critical bits.

Today we’re looking at a high of  … no, I won’t say it. It would be cruel to any of yis who have to crawl out of a second-story window to take a leak in the snow because the terlets are all frozen solid.

In other tidings of comfort and joy, we failed to move the economic needle very much in a gift-giving sense.

Herself acquired a new vacuum cleaner to replace a battered unit that would be old enough to run for president if it were human (and is still smarter than many of the humans currently surveying the campaign trail).

Me, I ordered up a pair of Merrell Hut Mocs because wearing socks with Tevas, even in winter, is apparently a fashion no-no. I also scored some Darn Tough micro crew cushion socks because my DT light hikers are starting to feel a tad beat down after a couple years of stumbling around on the local trails like some homeless old soak who hit the exercise-wear jackpot at a Sally Ann clothing giveaway.

I doubt we’ll be crushing the after-Christmas sales, either. Herself and a co-worker have some pagan ceremony planned (a dark rite involving fire and French 75s). And while Capitalism is carpet-bombing my in-box with any number of fabulous deals, I get a jolt from my shock collar every time I — Yowtch! — reach for the credit card.

I don’t really need anything anyway. Except maybe some insulated bolt-cutters for this goddamned — Ow! — shock collar.


22 Responses to “Tidings of comfort and joy”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    The way my head felt this morning, I think there was some Bloom Biomass in that last beer I had yesterday. But, no worries mi amigo! When I was a young pre-school boy and prone to wandering off, my Mom tied me to a clothes line in the back yard. I could move back and forth about 40 feet and 5 feet or so on either side of that path just like our dog. My next door buddy, Tony, liberated his mom’s sewing scissors and cut me loose. Our folks found us down the street at the school yard playground. Since I have never payed that forward, I will come and cut your collar off. You probably wouldn’t have it if you would stop that damnable howling at the moon every night. We will then go to the music store where you will dust off that credit card and buy that GS Mini Mahogany. On the way, we will get some NA stout for our righteous jam session at Rancho Perro Loco.

  2. SAO’ Says:

    Might need a pair of those mocs. I had a pair of their “jungle” version that lasted 25 years before the seams finally split. Given they were hauling my 1/8 ton bod around, that’s a pretty impressive lifespan. (I’m lucky if my running shoes make it six months)

    Trying not to conspicuously consume, but I *need* something to skip on the take Herr Bruno out for quick pit stops. The bugger is relentless when he sees a rabbit, and the hawks seem to be on vacation right now, so the rabbits are breeding like … hotcakes? a three dollar steak? a bad transmission? a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs?
    Can’t remember which metaphor I was looking for. Oh, yeah, rabbits!

    • SAO’ Says:

      Edit: … but I *need* something to slip on to take Herr Bruno …

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Mocs are pretty comfy. A little lighter-duty than I expected, but I’ve been outdoors with ’em and haven’t suffered a puncture or even a slow leak yet.

      I like their hikers (Moab 2 Vent) and running shoes (Moab Flight). Nice grippy Vibram soles on those puppies.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    I didn’t want anything this Christmas. Plenty I could lust after, especially if I set foot in a bike shop or gun shop, but I need more toys like America needs more of Donald Trump’s lies. So I sent a Christmas gift to Jacquie and Charlie and otherwise considered good health, good company, and another lap around the solstice marker to be good gift enough.

    And yep, my kinfolks in Buffalo are pretty much confined to quarters, but at least they still have power and something to eat.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s quite the pounding Buffalo has taken, with more on the way, apparently. I’m slightly over that sort of winter. It was fun when I was a kid, but when you’re 5 you’re not thinking in terms of shoveling the driveway, broken pipes, the heating bill, or double pneumonia.

      As regards toys, I need to unload some of the ones I already have before I acquire any more. I have enough bikes to start a racing league and enough computers and related electronica to launch a ’zine/website/podcast to cover them.

  4. Michael Porter Says:

    Merry Christmas to both of you.

    Yup we had a brief “freeze” here in the Rose City, but now its all thawed and the liquid sunshine has returned.

    What size shoes do you and the Mrs wear these days?

    Bring on the New Year

    The Porters of Orygun

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Porters … back to the “liquid sunshine,” hey? I remember that stuff from Corvallis. Got rust all over my steel plate it did. I could hardly pick up the NPR.

      As regards footwear, The Boss wears a 7 1/2 whilst I generally wear a 9 (42 in Euro-speak). You in the shoe/sock/sandal bidness these days? Might that explain the visit to Vietnam? I know the Paddyguccis have been getting some of their garb from there.

      • Michael Porter Says:

        Yes, I’m in the shewz bidness at Columbia Sportswear and it is why I was traveling recently. I retired from the place down the street after 15 years and am back where I began the trade.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Oho … back to The Source, hey? I remember Columbia fondly; still have some of the stuff Herself got for us when she worked at Trailbound Sports in Los Alamos and/or Grand West Outfitters in B-burg.

        It’s amazing how well some of this stuff has held up. I have a few Paddygucci items so old their labels read, “Made in USA.”

  5. Chuck Carver Says:

    Have an awesome New Year Pat!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Chuck. Same back atcha! This has been a long year and I’ll be glad to see the back of it. But then I pretty much say that every year, don’t I?

      • khal spencer Says:

        One has to temper one’s enthusiasm for being glad to see the last of yet another year. Its getting to the point where some of us have said goodbye to a good number of “”yet another year”…some day we might run out.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Well, some of us are getting a little short of runway. Still, you gotta keep flapping those wings, hope for a soft landing. Or a really hard one that puts out the lights before you hear the switch flip.

        A friend has the habit of pinging me with the latest dispatches from the boneyard. I sez to him I sez: “Dude. Quit reading the obits. One day you will see your name in there and it will startle you.”

        • khal spencer Says:

          Yep. I still get the U of Rochester alumnae magazine. First thing I look at is the in memoriam page.

        • SAO’ Says:

          Fun fact: the only reason we have the Nobel Prizes is because Alfred read his obituary in a real-world Ghost of Christmas Future mode, and didn’t like what he saw.

          His brother had just died, and the paper printed the wrong obit, calling him “the Merchant of Death.” Scared the pants off him, rewrote his will creating the foundation.

          I remember my brother, maybe 7-8 years old, listening to the chaplain talk about confessing ones sins and seeking forgiveness. He cocked his head and smirked, so the pastor asked him what he was thinking. “I guess I’m going to just keep having fun, and ask for forgiveness when I’m 90.” Best I can tell, that’s still his plan.

        • SAO' Says:

          This time of the year, I wonder how anyone makes it if they’ve never dropped acid, gone on a year-long silent retreat, or otherwise modified the contents of their cranial housing unit.

          Everything changes. Nothing is permanent. Life is a struggle, until it isn’t.

          I’ve lived a top 1% life in terms of cushiness. A dumb decision I made when I was 17 provided a lifetime of safety nets, protecting me from a series of equally dumb decisions along the way. Now, my biggest worry is that my puppy keeps eating the bookmarks in my library books.

          But I look left and right, and my peer group buddies are dropping like Mario Cipollini when the grade goes above 3%. We’ve been hit by a rash of Desert Storm vets with ALS and cancer everywhere from Enduring/Iraqi Freedom folks. The last half dozen obits I read in our alumni newsletters were guys and gals exactly my age, dying from stuff they picked up doing the exact same stuff I did.

          It’s been 40 years since I stepped into an Episcopal church. Been an on-again, off-again Buddhist since then, but never much for a collective or organized practice. Math has always been my real religion, though. As a white dude in the US, I should have a one in 500 chance of being afflicted with ALS over my lifetime. Thanks to Uncle Sugar, it’s probably more like one in 300. Still pretty favorable odds, overall. But I’m not sure “comforting” is the word I’d use to describe the feeling. More like acceptance. More like, until it happens, chop wood and carry water.

          This year, though, it’s not quite working. The thing I thought was “acceptable” for most of my life, what if it turns out it was all denial? What’s the difference between equanimity and selective ignorance, in the grand scheme of things?

          All I know for sure is, there are bunch of families just like mine who are now one parent short, and my biggest problem today is, where’s my damn bookmark?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I like the Zen adage “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” It’s a good motto. Also, “buy the ticket, take the ride,” a Hunter S. Thompson standard, though you may recall he jumped off the train before it made the station.

          Another good one is attributed to a kindergarten teacher in Sam Lipsyte’s “No One Left to Come Looking for You.” The teach said, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

          I too have led a charmed life. Always had a roof over my head and food on the plate, unless I had fucked up again somehow, and when times got tight I did not lack for friends and family, though I certainly asked more of them than I deserved.

          I hope that when the deal goes down — now “if,” but “when,” because the deal always goes down — I can remember that fictitious kindergarten teacher and smile. In the meantime, there’s wood to chop and water to carry.

  6. TJ Mora Says:

    Nailed it as always. Greetings from Vermont, where it’s Vermont. Keep the dog running. Thanks and happy new year.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, TJ. I keep swinging at ’em, and every now and then the pitcher lets a slow floater get away from him. Give my regards to Winooski and the Greater Burlington Metropolitan Area.

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