Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
What are some of your family's traditions (perhaps concerning holidays, birthdays, vacations, or other activities)? Do you do things differently than the rest?

I'm missing my family's Christmas this year because we are traveling to Massachusetts to be with Jesse's family. It's the first Christmas I will spend away from home since I was born.

Every year, my parents make homemade ravioli and we have that as Christmas Day dinner. I told my mom to save me some (sniff, sniff).

Another thing that's a little different - my family's Christmas tree doesn't have an angel or a star on top....we have a mouse. Christmas Mouse.

When my parents had their first apartment as a married couple, they could only afford a very small tree, and barely any ornaments. They bought this red mouse ornament at a dollar store and he's been on the top of the tree ever since. He's missing an arm now and he's a little worn, but it wouldn't be a Christmas tree without him!

John E Gunter | December 16, 2004
To me, family is very important. So as you can guess, I consider family traditions to be extremely important.

Don't have time to write a long post about some of my family's Holiday traditions, but I'll post something about that later. But what I wanted to say is it's a shame you'll miss your family's traditional Christmas together, but I think it's important to spend time with Jesse's family as well, because when you're involved with someone, you become part of their family also.

You seem to view that as important as well due to the fact that you'll be spending this Christmas with his family. Very good thing to do in my opinion.

Nice piece of information about what your parents did with the Christmas mouse! Great tradition that they started, hope it gets passed down to you, because I think that's important as well, passing on family traditions as well as starting your own!

John

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
It IS important - and while we will eventually move to Massachusetts, Jesse made the sacrifice to be away from family and friends to move out here to be with me. Trips back home, especially for holidays, are the least I can do for him for making that move for me.

Our birthplaces are a thousand miles apart, so we'll always have this issue, no matter where we live. Might as well get used to it.

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
My family's Christmas Tradition: Have Chinese Food and go to the movies!

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
Well, here's a changed tradition I just saw

(link)

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Is Regis REALLY any different than Dick Clark? Seems like a clone to me.

Amy Austin | December 16, 2004
The mouse story was sweet, Anna. And I tell ya' -- Regis and Dick must have made a deal with the same Devil, since they are two of the most amazing septagenarians I've ever seen!!! And they can sing, too! Crazy.

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
Regis looks older, when he is only 2 years younger.

Amy Austin | December 16, 2004
Dick's deal was more expensive. ;> And Regis can *really* sing.

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Eh, I hate them both. So much shmaltz you'll choke on it.

Amy Austin | December 16, 2004
Isn't "shmaltz" what this time of year is all about???

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
No, I would hope that it's what this time of year is exactly NOT about, at heart.

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
do you guys know what schmaltz is?

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
Rendered fat?

Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
actually, wow... Technically it is a Yiddish word that means "Chicken Fat" translated directly

Anna Gregoline | December 16, 2004
I think it's one of those great words that has a literal and other meaning, while being very appropriate for the other meaning. =)

Erik Bates | December 16, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | December 16, 2004
I thought they were going to put his head in a glass jar and have him do it from there, like on Futurama

Scott Hardie | December 19, 2004
Me too, Erik. The gig doesn't exactly demand the most comprehensive set of skills, but Dick Clark gave some gravity to what could easily seem pointless, and Regis is a great choice to replace him. I'd hate to tune in to Carson Daly's Rockin' New Years Eve.

For me, a small family means having few traditions, and I think I like it that way; it lends flexibility. After my father died in 1997, it seemed like too much trouble for my mother to cook a feast just for the two of us, so we've eaten out for most Thanksgivings and Christmases, and they've been unexpectedly satisfying: Just as fun and comforting as a holiday dinner at home but free of all the preparation and cleanup. This year, we're dining at home and having John Edwards (he of Wo Jin and Sam Landsy) over for dinner, since his own plans have left the evening open for him. The only New Years tradition I have is publishing my Ten Best Films feature, but Matt Preston's weekend visit will delay that for a short time (plus I promised to watch "Garden State" first, and that comes out on DVD the day before Matt arrives).

Do we dwell on Christmas-day traditions because it's that time of year, or because we don't have any others? I'm trying to recall any family traditions from other times of the year, and none really come to mind, save perhaps for dinner and a movie every birthday and Mother's Day. Since I moved to Sarasota we've been able to watch "Survivor" together every Thursday night and have dinner at home, and I hope that continues; if nothing else, it gives me a pre-ordained excuse for leaving the office before too late at night.

Denise Sawicki | December 21, 2004
I guess there aren't any family holiday traditions anymore. There never was anything too elaborate because there's only three of us. Being atheists probably didn't help either. My parents haven't had a Christmas tree for years. Anyway this year my parents are in Costa Rica for Christmas, leaving me all alone. Well - not really! I have to invent my own new traditions. I have my bf and his twin brother coming over. I have a pretty nice fake tree. There will be homemade toffee, Chex mix, roast chicken, roast potatoes, probably some cooked carrots, and dutch apple pie. Oh, and wine. The bf's brother is the only one of us who doesn't actually dislike the taste of alcohol but I guess it is fun on occasion. Blasphemy, I know. There will be movies, video games, board games, and music... I've been looking forward to it for months, actually. I'm only hoping I'm not too excited to get to sleep the night before, so that I have the energy to cook all that!

Scott Hardie | December 24, 2004
Damn, that sounds like fun. Have a good time.

Jackie Mason | December 29, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | December 29, 2004
I plan on climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty and pissing out of her crown!

Amy Austin | December 29, 2004
Nice, Scott. You are a piece.

Scott Horowitz | December 29, 2004
I try. I'm actually heading to PA for the weekend and getting together with my college friends.

Jackie Mason | December 29, 2004
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Jackie Mason | January 3, 2005
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Kris Weberg | January 3, 2005
If he had a soul patch, he could be Scott's Mirror Universe double. He's like Scott, but evil and with a beard...or a wannabeard.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
Me, having to wear an earring and a soul-patch? I'd kill myself if that happened, plain and simple. :-)

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
Better or worse than being gay? TC, you decide.

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
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Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
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Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
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Kris Weberg | January 14, 2005
I still think we should call soul patches, cheesy high school goatees, and so on "wannabeards."

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
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Kris Weberg | January 14, 2005
I dunno. Beards seem pretty high-maintenance to me. It'd be a lot of carefuly trimming, and then there's the constant fear that you've got lint or mayonnaise or something in there without knowing it.

John E Gunter | January 14, 2005
I like "wannabeards!"

As far as trimming beards, you get used to it pretty quickly. I probably spend less time shaving than most even with being careful to not screw up the line. Course, I put the shaving cream on below my beard and shave that area, then do above the beard.

So that probably makes it a little slower. But if you try not to be a slob when you eat, that keeps most stuff out of the beard.

John

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
My comment just a minute ago in the Gay Marriage discussion explains the brunt of my resistance to earrings and soul patches. It's not that they're "gay" or for gay men only, it's that they're a violation of our masculinity, which we should take more pride in. (In other words, I don't like seeing gay men with earrings or soul patches either.)

I have tried to grow a beard before, and it looked really terrible. (link) The first problem is that it grew to half a centimeter and stopped (this photo was taken after six months of not shaving), the second problem was that it grew unevenly so that there were large patches of skin showing, and the third problem is that the hair was light blond above the jawline, making the top half of the beard very hard to see. I wouldn't grow a soul patch anyway, but one that was light enough as to be almost invisible? That would just be pointless.

Amy Austin | January 15, 2005
Heeheehee... I can see not wanting to look like a mutant peach with outta' control fuzz, Scott. ;>D

Jackie Mason | January 19, 2005
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Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
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Dave Stoppenhagen | January 19, 2005
beards always drove me nuts after the first week and half. and people already think I look like I'm in my 30's.

Lori Lancaster | January 19, 2005
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Dave Stoppenhagen | January 19, 2005
Your probably right but then again I will most likely never change.

Never tried a goatee never really had any desire.

Kris Weberg | January 20, 2005
It's wannabeard, dammit, wannabeard!

Steve Dunn | January 20, 2005
Don't be hatin' on the goatee, now! My wife has threatened to divorce me if I shave mine, and I'm not completely convinced she's kidding. I'm happy, though, because it's that much less shaving. It also makes me look older, and in the legal profession, youth is NOT an advantage.

Regarding Christmas traditions, my family has a strange one. Fifteen years ago my brother worked at a frozen yogurt place that handed out cardboard reindeer horns that fit on your head, sort of like a hat. On the front it says, "I'm A Deer Friend Of Santa's."

Well, we've kept the cardboard reindeer horns all these years. Every Christmas Eve, when we gather around the advent candles for what is supposed to be prayerful reflection, we all - the entire family - wear the horns.

I'm not sure what this says about my family, but it's become quite important to us.

Also, my parents have been giving each other the same can of sardines, back and forth, for over 30 years. Every year, whoever has the sardines crosses out the last year and writes the new year on the can. Into the stocking it goes. Every year, the recipient says, "Oh, what a nice can of sardines!"

I acknowledge this is bizarre behavior.

Lori Lancaster | January 20, 2005
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Lori Lancaster | January 20, 2005
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John E Gunter | January 20, 2005
The one that I don't care for is the patch under the chin. Looks to me like the person is getting ready to mop the floor with their face. Just thinking about it kind of gives me chills. Too many goolies on the floor that I'd rather not get that close to. :-D

John

Scott Hardie | January 21, 2005
I have seen a lot of the chin patch thanks to two close friends having had one since high school, but I never really understood the appeal either. For me, the appeal of a beard is in not needing to shave any more, and if you're going to do a goatee, that's at least stylish. But a chin patch? To each his own.

Kris Weberg | January 21, 2005
I guess the consensus is against my (IMHO) delightful new term.

Scott Hardie | January 21, 2005
I like the term. It's general, though. I need to be specific when I'm complaining about something that has no importance in my life.

Kris Weberg | January 21, 2005
I hear ya. The perils of participatory neolexicography, I guess.


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