As I stood at the cranky old copier, trying to feed holly-bordered paper so that the print was centered properly, I started to notice something about the letters.
Most of them didn't focus on the Bright Side of Life. They were so uniformly depressing that they started to be kind of funny in their commitment to the grim and terrible.
I began saving them until I had a whole tray full of awful, horrifying family news that was long on post-surgical infections and short on holiday cheer.
20-something years later, I can only remember the one that began:
Dear Friends,Can you IMAGINE? That was the FIRST line. Believe me, it did not get much better after that cheery start. They made it seem like they were a little disappointed by Mother's refusal to get on with dying in a timely manner.
Mother is still with us, though quite frail.
At this late in the game, December 21, I have realized that I am unlikely to actually address and mail a holiday letter, much less the cute polar bear cards I bought off of the 50% discount table at Barnes & Noble the other day, so I will post my letter about all the wonderful things I did that should make you terribly, terribly jealous because of my fabulosity here for all to see.
Dear family and friends,
Todd, the children and I have had a marvelous year. You didn't know about Todd and the kids?
Oh, right, it's kind of a blog thing. You didn't know I had a blog? Uhmmmm er, well forget I mentioned it. Really. It's better for everyone that way.
The year started off with about 5 pounds of cheese and almost as much chocolate consumed in a little over 5 hours at the Fancy Food Show in San Diego. THAT is my idea of a good time. Please do not tell my dietitian.
While I was down south, I also had a spiritual experience with a statue at the San Diego Museum of Art.
I'm sure that happens to you all the time, right? No? Ok, let's move along, then.
In a much more normal vein, I joined the rest of the world and got a Blackberry, from which I call my friend Steve about once a week without meaning to. For some reason, my phone calls Steve and only Steve when it is in the bottom of my purse or Farmer's Market bag. Or maybe I call everyone else too, but they are so busy laughing at me that they just don't tell me about it.
Let's face it, I should not be allowed to own anything more technologically advanced than a toaster oven.
I am pretty good at keeping friends, but this year I lost one when I called him on his constant sales pitches. This time, he was trying to sell me a water purification system by claiming it was helping his breast cancer survivor wife stay cancer-free. Suzanne called him "Cunty McCunterson" and I can't find a reason to argue with that assessment. Feh on him. That is something up with which I shall not put.
In April, not much happened, except, oh, hai, the freaking president-elect-to-be answered a question I asked him. No big. SQUEEEEE! I kind of wish I was going to have grandkids so I could tell them about my brush with history.
May was fun because I got to travel for the first time to Washington DC and THE WEATHER WAS ACTUALLY NICE. I hear this is a rare occurrence in that fine city. While I was there, I sobbed my eyes out at the Bill of Rights and...the moon rock. Never let it be said that I am mentally stable.
People touching the moon rock.
In June, my friends and I spent a couple weekends driving around and learning about labyrinths. My friends? Are as normal as I am.
You can find a labyrinth near you with the Labyrinth Locator. I am not making this up.
July? I went to this little thing called BlogHer. Have you ever heard of it? It was okay, I guess, if you like that sort of thing.
Nothing happened in August. Does it ever?
In September, my dad got an eye infection that had us going to the doctor every single day for hours. It's not true that I am a good daughter. I just wanted to watch that video about lazy eye that shows in the waiting room over and over and over.
His eye still looks like the "before" picture. Ew.
In October, I took to the streets for gay rights. This was actually one of the things I did this year that I can say I am utterly, completely proud of.
Yay, me. And yay for the hundreds of other sign-waving lunatics out there. We did not prevail yet, but we will. Oh, yes, we will.
What happened in November...hm, I seem to remember something. Oh, yeah, BARACK HUSSEIN O-FREAKING-BAMA WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! Not that I was excited or anything. (Lying. I still get chills every time I hear "President Elect Obama." I am just so thrilled to have a president who can put a whole sentence together and who knows what the three branches of government do.)
In December, I suddenly found myself with a husband and kids. How weird is that? The weirdest part is that even I don't know how many kids I have or what their names are (I am thinking Pandora, Xochitl and Ron). All I know is that THEY ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY and the only thing that may help is a free trip to DisneyWorld. Maybe sometime in the new year?
Which brings us to now, Yule, the end of the year. I wish you all holidays that are happy, healthy and bright and a new year that is largely free of mythical hobbits and such.
Yours with love and laughter,
Holly graphic courtesy of Graphics by Lisa