Another Holiday Checked Off

Every holiday deserves its own tribute, so I’ve taken liberties with the classic 12 Days of Christmas to describe my first Thanksgiving dinner party here in Champaign.
On my first official holiday, my family gave to me:
12 food-stained napkins,
11 temperature complaints,
10 types of side dishes,
9 complimentary food reviews,
8 hungry diners,
7 days of meal prep and shopping,
6 vows to hit stores on black Friday,
5 types of desserts,
4 hours of actual dining,
3 hours of sleep after too much wine,
2 stressed-out, puking kitties
And a fur ball as big as a tree.

Ballet for Fender and Grill

The dumpster wheeled itself out of the Post Office parking lot across the street as dramatic winds raced across the city, turned left, smashed into the front end of a new car and went on its way. That driver must have been pissed after having to plug the meter only to be subjected to Dents by Dumpster. Returning to my window a little while later, both the dumpster and the car were gone. You don’t get this sort of reality show via Netflix streaming or discs, I concluded post-crash. Easy for me to call this entertainment. It’s not my car.

Even the Couch Doesn’t Like this Weather

My new couch—the one that may or may not fit in the building elevator that works only on occasion—has been delayed. I think it wanted to stay warm because we’re experiencing temperatures that would require a heat wave to feel comfy. Initially, the couch was due here on December 1st. Then, the website folks teased me by saying it would land between November 24th and 28th. No worries. I spent two years on hold with Chase Home Loans and have managed to acquire some degree of patience. If it’s not here by January, that’s a whole different story.

Negotiating Tuna’s Bag Stash

tunas bags
I was surprised to discover that Tuna amassed an impressive collection of plastic bags under the bed after a sleepless night. He loves them–the sounds they make when he shakes them give him pleasure, but another attraction appears to be making as many holes as possible with his formidable Dracula fangs. I count on plastic bags for numerous tasks, not the least of which is scooping litter. If only he could learn to fill bags with poopsicles, rather than seeing how many punctures he can make, I’d be happy to let him keep half the bags I bring home.

Deck the Halls with OLLI

writing class
Every year I give myself one birthday gift that’s destined to last a little longer than December 12th. This year, I’m giving me a 6-month membership in OLLI, a University of Illinois-sponsored institute for adult learning that consists of more classes, workshops, groups and seminars than any one person could manage to attend without setting up a cot somewhere within university walls. On the menu of 2015 offerings is a writer’s group. I hope it works for me since the one I signed up for is filled with 20-something wannabes with dubious writing skills. Youth is great. Age is better!

The Czar Would Not Approve

A great classic movie like Anna Karenina, courtesy of PBS, is an ideal way to spend time on a cold, wintry day because Moscow will always be colder than Champaign. But I’m a little chilled after reading this latest Xfinity film description in which the wife of a governmanet is described as prominant. If she was “prominent in goverment,” I suspect she’d fire whomever misspelled this copy—maybe call in the Cossacks and flog them soundly in Red Square. Finding Xfinity copy mistakes is beginning to obsess me. I’m notorious for my misspellings; these are making me feel downright superior.

Gay Today, Same Tomorrow!

So many people are starting to come out of the closet these days, I’m beginning to feel left out. From country singers and sports hunks to industry titans and celebs, the world feels like one big celebration of sexual diversity, and all I can say is “It’s about time.” If enough LGBT folks take deep breaths and show their true and beautiful colors to the world, haters are bound to reconsider their irrational opinions or just give it a rest. Of course, I also thought that once we had health care, the world would be healed in that arena, too.

Games People Play

If you crave FX’s The Americans and miss Adam and Roz on MI-5 reruns, check out BBC America’s The Game. This cold war spy thriller shows an earlier iteration of MI-5 and they’re an odd bunch indeed: A closeted gay guy whose mum beats him up, a Romeo happy to bed everything that walks and a wannabe spyette elevated from clerical ranks who’s savvier than she looks. There’s a mole in the team! With four of six episodes down, I’ve no clue who it could be, but I’m hooked. Do you get BBC America? Do have a look, Old Chap!

Hang ‘em High

I’ve been forced to hide flowers since Tuna joined the family. He’s so fascinated with live plants and posies, I once caged a tree in chicken wire and I’ve given away arrangements to avoid death by tulips. This week, I learned that fake blossoms and greens are equally appealing to Tuna when I tried decorating. Ask me how many strings of chewed blossoms I trashed! That’s when I looked up. My 12-foot ceilings are out of Tuna range so I made a floral chandelier. Tuna spends many hours looking up at it and plotting. I think I outsmarted him, however!

Dining For Dollars

I had a date with a guy with promise—until he asked me out to lunch and accepted my courteous offer to pick up half of the $20 tab. This is no way to lure women into a relationship in my book. If one does the asking, one grabs the bill and protests. Or at least that’s how it usually works in my age bracket. I know that young people have different dating rules, but as long as I continue to hang with codgers, my expectations won’t change: Ante up, Dude, unless I’m the one who invited you to dine.