Friday, December 18, 2009

Singin' the Holiday Blues

I'm troubled today. So many things are bothering me and I can't shake them.

The tree at Whole Foods is decorated with little hearts from the kids at the village children's home. Some kids live at the home 24/7, waiting for appropriate foster homes or for their parents to get it together enough to take them back. Others are there because their parents are taking advantage of the sliding scale daycare. Anyway, each heart has a kids' name, age, and Wish List items. Since the children's home is, literally, next door, I always participate by taking an ornament and fulfilling a Christmas wish. Many of the kids ask for gift cards, just as many want expensive items, like video games. But some of them really tug at the heartstrings.

Like Zoe. She's 4, and her only Wish List item was a winter coat. How sad is that! So I went to Old Navy and picked up a little pink coat for her, plus a pair of Dora the Explorer sunglasses, so that she'll feel styling this Christmas. I dropped the gift off at Whole Foods and checked out the tree.

Most of the hearts are gone, which is a good thing. But what about the kids whose hearts are left? Do they simply not get anything at the party next week when the gifts are distributed? I couldn't bear it. So I took another one. Jeremy. He wants is gym shoes. Unfortunately he wears 11 1/2 and I couldn't find shoes in that size. So I got him sweats (his other sizes were listed on the ornament, too) and a minature picture book -- smaller than a playing card, it features Rudolph, Clarice, Hermie, et al.

I dropped Jeremy's gift off at Whole Foods and on the way out I picked up Neil's heart. He's 8 and only asked for one thing -- pajamas. Oh, break my heart! So I got him the sale pajamas from Old Navy and a long-sleeved Spiderman t-shirt. And a Disney tie-in book based on their 3-D Christmas Carol, which has a very scary Marley Ghost on the cover. I know little boys like gory creepy things, as long as they're not too gory or creepy. I will drop Neil's gift off Saturday or Sunday.

I have to stop doing this. It doesn't make me happy, it makes me ever-more sad because I realize how bottomless the need is, and how limited my resources are -- or should be. I mean, I really can't afford to keep doing this.

But what about the kids whose hearts aren't chosen? Will they be mad or sad or confused at the children's home Christmas party when the gifts are distributed? I'm sure the staff is prepared for this, but still, this situation forcefully reminds me that many people won't have a Merry Christmas.

And I almost wish my best friend hadn't come in last week, because now I miss him so much. Plus, I learned something disturbing. Regular readers know he often just slides under the radar and goes incommunicado. The other night we had a heart-to-heart talk about this, and the reason really saddened me. His wife feels we are "inappropriate," and, in his words, she "wonders why I tell you things and not her." So he takes care not to call me when she can hear and not to touch base with me every day, because she asked him not to. He loves her, she is his wife, and I agree that we have to respect her feelings. Here I am, fat and 50. (OK, 52.) It never occurred to me that I would really be making a beautiful 42 year old uncomfortable. But I am. I realize this is serious and important. It's his marriage -- and I have no place in it. But this all makes me so sad.

So right now I'm not feeling so holly-jolly about this Christmas. And damn, I wish Cubs baseball was year-round.

I wonder why ...

Ashton Kutcher is more attractive and more interesting in a 30 or 60 second Nikon commrcial than he's been in any movie so far.

Me, according to Blogthings

You Like the Holidays

You definitely have a good time during the holidays, but you aren't obsessed with them or anything.

You shop for a few presents and participate in a few traditions... but that's it!

You may be accused of being a grinch, but you're simply not a fanatic about holiday traditions - especially commercial ones.

You get into the spirit of the season by being kind, compassionate, and not clogging up the stores!

Thank you, Santa!



The Chicago Cubs acquired right-hander Carlos Silva and cash from the Mariners on Friday in exchange for outfielder Milton Bradley. Silva, who has two years and $25 million left on his four-year deal, was 4-15 in 28 starts in 2008 and 1-3 with a 8.60 ERA in eight games (six starts) last season.

Bradley, who has two years and $21 million remaining on his deal, batted .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs for the Cubs this season.