Saturday, December 22
by Sue on Sat 22 Dec 2007 08:46 AM EST
For the past six weeks, I have been coordinating our agency's holiday projects -- Toys for Tots, adopt a family, the holiday party, etc. It has been exhausting and has consumed nearly every moment of my attention. I've stood in ankle deep snow for nearly an hour waiting while Marines load a giant box truck I had to navigate back through said snow. I've stood in line at Target more times than I can count to purchase tape, wrapping paper and other accessories. I've stood taking people's information to provide them with a few toys to help stretch their holidays. I've stood amidst 57 volunteers packed into a tiny donated space sorting toys and folding socks for children. And I've sat bent over a computer checking our toy donations against the recall list.
In many ways, this has been a great project. Hundreds of people volunteered to help us sort and wrap and distribute. Many others donated and adopted and shopped for families they've never met. Someone showed up with a $700 donation out of the blue. Most people were appreciative and those who weren't I'm sure had their reasons to be disappointed -- Toys for Tots ain't what it used to be as donations are down. It is okay with me when people express disappointment. I refuse to slip into that "be grateful little poor person" mentality of giving. (That being said, I sure had my moments ...)
In fact, that is what has struck me the most this holiday season -- how many of us have the moral of "A Christmas Carol" backwards. People call asking to help the Tiny Tims of the world, but Tiny Tim wasn't transformed in this story -- except for the whole he probably wouldn't die thing. It was Scrooge's heart that changed as his awareness grew of how he could make a difference in the lives of so many people. The satisfaction of his generosity wasn't mere charity, it was connecting with Tiny Tim and reconnecting with his nephew and his loved ones.
That's what I wanted to experience this holiday -- helping our donors understand the lives of the people they help and allowing their generosity to build a connection. I think it worked in a few cases.
Don't get me wrong -- the generosity was tremendous. But I'm already having post-holiday letdown. And that sucks. It just feels rote at this point.
Wednesday, December 12
by Sue on Wed 12 Dec 2007 09:19 PM EST
Last night, Ledcat and I tottered off to the Brillo Box to see our friend and gal-pal Gabrielle Bonesso's Christmas Comedy Special. On a school night. In a room filled with smoke. And, in spite of Ms. Gab's promises, not a single cookie in sight.
That's how much we love her.
Almost the entire lineup of local comics were twentysomething, underemployed, pudgy, poorly dressed young men with the age-typical obsession with bathroom behavior, getting high and saying "fuck" as many times as possible in one breath. It was the weirdest experience ... as if I was trapped in a room filled with the love children of Jim Belushi (yes, Jim and not John) and Seth Rogan. It was a scene right out of "Knocked Up."
My favorite moment was when this guy wearing one of those creepy Steeler man-dresses tried to explain why Christmas is a gay holiday and based his argument on Christmas lights being gay. Don't ask. I guess the homoerotic thrill of being wrapped in the man-sweaty embrace of Ben Roethlisberger's shirt cut off the supply of funny to his mouth. Or elsewhere. He gave up and didn't seem to appreciate my disapproving middle-age lesbian frown. Whatever. I have a job AND health insurance. He does look better than me in a dress, I have to say.
Actually, some of the comedians were funny. Gab shined even though she had to go home and go to bed early. The cello playing hottie was pretty amusing except for the fact that we could not quite discern the lyrics. I'd like to see her again only with a better sound system. Seth Rogan's younger brother was there and apparently he is quite the ad libber. I think there's another word for that, but it was pretty much like Mad-Libs with a lot of marijuana references and sad sack jokes about not getting laid. Ho hum.
The award for best-dressed and actually funniest comedian goes to ... Johnny Mac who pushed the envelope so far it came out looking like one of those fold up little swans, John significantly butched up the show to a full out metrosexual love fest. Even if he is a pervert. Ick, ick, ick. The social worker in me is APPALLED.
I did laugh, but on the drive home it occured to me that the reason I have never heard of any of these guys is that they just aren't that original. The jokes were pretty interchangeable and it seemed like they were really performing for each other. Which is fine, but not very creative. How hard is to make the long-haired stoner with the three day in a row hoodie and a really cool MySpace page laugh? Seriously. Toss one of these shlubs into a room filled with lesbians and let's see what they can do.
Just lose the man-dress, dude.
Sunday, December 2
by Sue on Sun 02 Dec 2007 05:30 PM EST
i have hurt my back. it started throbbing last week. the two hour drive in the giant box truck to pick up toys didn't help, I'm sure. especially the part where i was scrunched up from stress trying to find the marine distribution center. then when i had to get all slidey with the boxes so we could unload.
now i'm on the couch with a rolled up pillow prop, a bag of ice and a restless mind. simply-cannot-afford to be laid up this week. i have ten days of toy wrapping projects ahead of me and i-am-stressed-out.
it hurts. a-lot. yikes!
so i'm in the in-between of my body doesn't work right and my head is filled with all the tons of crap i have to do.
i think i want to break up with my therapist. but that is just a phase. probably, right?
i need to buy 500 "holiday" cards by tuesday. and wrapping paper.
i'm reading god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens. it is great. he's persuading me that i think like an atheist. except that i am unwilling to let go of my personal experiences with the divine. i guess.
i'm depressed about recycling and my environmental footprint. i seduced myself into thinking i was this awesome person b/c i tried to recycle everything. stupid crap. then i found out that a lot of it is just self-soothing activity that doesn't make a damn bit of good. of course not. the real emphasis should be on reducing my usage of environmentally damaging items, not patting myself on the back for rinsing and reusing. here's what i learned from the PA Resources Council
i feel a bit foolish at my presumption that it would be so easy. all those pizza boxes crammed into the bins at Construction Junction prove that i am not alone in my self-delusion. and to think i made fun of the earnest men and women driving their SUV's especially out to Point Breeze every weekend. ha. the joke is on me, I guess. because it is hard to reduce.
now that's a double entendre, she thoughtfully notes as she sips her gingerbread flavored coffee and nibbles a cookie from the Priory Bakery.
i'm not really depressed so much as feeling crabby and skeptical. i'm trying hard to use my current work assignment (toy drive) as a educational tool and not merely another facet of sopping off our consumer guilt with one giant tax deduction. i want to get excited when people care, but it can be a bit of a challenge when i doubt their motives. it just makes me want to shop.
this would be a great time for an unexpected wallop from the ghost of christmas present.