Department Of I Am Going To Wear A Mask!
Dateline: Monday, circa 5 pm. After seeing a movie I stopped in at a grocery store near home. It was raining; I had on my ever-present rain hat (OR’s “Seattle sombrero“), and, of course, a mask .
I unloaded my items onto the checkout belt. When the clerk rang up the bottle of Pinot I intended to purchase she paused, then said, “I’m going to have to ask to see your ID.”
I thought she must be joking, and said so. But she leaned across her checkout counter for a closer look.
“Seriously?” Moiself leaned toward her, pulled down the corners of my mask and pointed at the corners of my eyes, then pulled up on the mask and pointed at my neck. “Is that ID enough for you?”
She seemed momentarily flustered, then laughed when she realized I was neither upset nor insulted. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but with the mask and your hat… .”
“Please, don’t apologize,” I reassured her. “You have just made my day.”
* * *
Department Of The Partridge Of The Week
It’s that time of the year again. As has become a tradition much maligned anticipated in our neighborhood, moiself will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard. 
Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
* * *
Department Of Let’s Get The Complaining Out Of The Way
Dateline: Sunday 6 am. In the meditation app I was using, moiself picked a “waves of breathing” guided meditation to listen to. After the session, I checked the app and saw that the teacher for that session was listed as, “The Venerable (Billybocephus, or whatever his name).”
Venerable – adjective
Definition of venerable
1a: calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments
broadly : conveying an impression of aged goodness and benevolence
b: impressive by reason of age
2: deserving to be venerated — used as a title for an Anglican archdeacon or for a Roman Catholic
who has been accorded the lowest of three degrees of recognition for sanctity
3: made sacred especially by religious or historical association
(definitions from Merriam-Webster)
The Right Reverend… (who is, uh, I presume, more correct than a mere Reverend?)
The Most Reverend… (self explanatory?)
I’ve always wanted to ask someone who uses one of the above titles: What is the purpose of being addressed as such? Is it for you – to remind you of your own status – or is it for we peons mere mortals, the non-venerable masses?
Moiself assumes, what with being venerable and all, the meditation teacher – or any of y’all – is fully capable of saying, “Yeah, that’s my title, but you can just attribute this to (Billybocephus).”
If a person is truly venerable – as in, worthy of respect via their character and attainments – moiself thinks that their ego would be secure (and humble) enough that they would *not* want to be addressed with adjectives and/or titles touting their supposed superior qualities.
* * *
Remember my post, a mere two weeks ago, re Hallmark Movie Syndrome? (“The Swedes I’m Not Chasing“). In my first ever foray into the wonders of The Hallmark Channel, I marveled at the ads for the seemingly interchangeable movies the channel produces and broadcasts, without end, during the holiday season:
Meet The Plucky Protagonist,® an attractive white woman estranged from/bored with her family and/or disillusioned with/burnt out by her High Stress Job In The Big City ®, who returns to flyover country her home town where she meets the simple-minded mild-mannered incredibly handsome dude who shows her the holiday sausage fest she’s been missing all her life real meaning of Christmas.
THC’s moldy cheese Christmas romcoms are likely the same basic plot, recycled with variations in ages of the participants and locales. I don’t know why THC’s programming executives even bother to give them different names. Why not just run night after night of,
“A (Heterosexual) Hunk for Christmas.”
Thanks to my astute and alert friend, EK, moiself discovered that greater minds than mine have come up with a Scientifically Validated ® chart, to help us navigate the world of Hallmark Holiday romcoms. Should you, for whatever reason, decide to give your neurons a rest, or just want to dissolve into an intellectual and emotional puddle in front of the TV, here’s your guide:
* * *
Department Of Yoga Holiday Fun
Dateline: Wednesday, 9 am. Moiself was already somewhat sore from doing 108 Sun salutations on Tuesday to celebrate the Winter Solstice, then my yoga teacher had a surprise for her class. She led us yogis, those in the studio and those streaming the class at home, in “The Twelve Days of Yoga Christmas,” a series of poses, each chosen for a verse of the classic song.
* * *
Department of Holiday Reruns
(as in, this one, from three years ago)
The Department of Feasting
My family – the one MH and I created – has several holiday season traditions, some of our own making and some adopted/adapted from our respective families of origin. The elves that hide in every downstairs room to watch you from atop the curtain rod, hanging from the bathroom lights or peeking out from a potted plant – that’s from my family. The every-piece-of-art-with-a-face-wears-a-Santa-hat mandate, that’s from the weirdo festive mind of moiself.
Many of our traditions involve (surprise!) dining. There is a menu which, according to the *other* family members, magically (hah!) is posted, sometime in mid-December, on the refrigerator door. Depending on when the Solstice falls, there are several days in a row of special meals. Solstice Soup & Salad Supper; Little Christmas Eve (to be mentioned later); and of course, Christmas Eve. 
On Christmas Day we go out for lunch to a fancy-schmancy restaurant, then for dinner it’s homemade pizza…or a leftovers coma. Come Boxing Day, I swear I’m never going to cook/eat again…a vow that I am most happy to break in the New Year.
* * *
Department Of About Those Elves….
“Oh, yeah, so you all liked that Elf on a Shelf thing?”
(Misinformed persons who feel compelled to ask about all the elves
in our house during this time of year)
Much of moiself’s holiday décor, in all its tacky seasonal glory, is in homage to my mother, who died five years ago today, on Christmas Eve.
Marion Parnell loved Christmas and especially her Christmas decorations, which included the tradition (which her family started and mine continues) of placing certain kind of elves – the kind with small plastic, doll-like faces and bendable, felt costume-clothed bodies,  all around the house.
The idea was that from any vantage point, whether you are sitting in the living room or getting a drink from the kitchen sink, an elf is casting a friendly eye upon you. Some of our elves indeed are on a shelf, but most perch atop curtains, peek out from bookcases, lurk behind candlesticks, nestle behind dishes and clocks and art and….
But, this “Elf on a Shelf” thing? Never heard of it, until recently. EOAS is, apparently, a picture book about…honestly, I don’t know or care what it’s about. I looked it up: the book has a 2005 publication date. Neither I nor MH knew about it, nor had our two children (DOBs 1993 and 1996) grown up with EOAS as part of their kiddie lit repertoire. My extended family on my mother’s side has been putting up elves since the early 1920s, so none of these EOAS shit fruitcake feces references applies to elves on MY shelves, okay?
Y’all must excuse moiself if (read: when) I respond with a yuletide-inappropriate profanity should you mention that book to me. Actually, moiself finds it funny how much it irritates me when someone, after seeing or hearing about our houses elves, makes a reference to the book – such as the antique store owner two years ago who, when I asked if her store had any elves and began to describe what I was looking for, said, “Oh, you mean, like that book?” My customary cheerful/holiday visage darkened, and I answered her with utmost solemnity.
Like. That. Book.
Which might not be entirely accurate, seeing as how I’ve never read nor even seen the book…which may indeed be about something akin to *our* family tradition. I just want…oh, I don’t know…attribution, I suppose. WE THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, OKAY? So, stick that Elf-on-a-shelf in your Santa Hat and….
* * *
Department Of It’s Now Later
(re: …”to be mentioned later”)
Little Christmas Eve: LCE is the Eve before Christmas Eve, an obscure – to everyone but my family – holiday supposedly celebrated by my paternal grandfather’s ancestral, tiny Norwegian village. The LCE dinner was a special meal, but, unlike Christmas Eve dinner, which always featured lefse, the LCE menu varied year to year, and after dinner, each child got to open one of their Christmas presents. The most memorable aspect about LCE, to moiself as a child, was the “rule” that our house was lit only by candlelight, during the dinner meal and thereafter, until bedtime.
I was fascinated by candles; thus, it was a magical night for moiself. Candles everywhere no electric lights allowed! If you went to the bathroom, you carried a candle.
How we never managed to burn the house down, I don’t know. Guess those elves were watching over us.
* * *
Punz For The Day
Santa’s Helpers Edition
Q. Why can’t you borrow money from an elf?
A. Because they’re always a little short.
An elf tried to organize a strike at the North pole, then quit Santa’s workshop.
He was a rebel without a Claus.
Q. What’s the difference between a dwarf and an elf?
A. Very little.
I just drew a totally cool picture of a creature that’s half-mouse, half-elf.
I know I shouldn’t brag, but I’m really proud of mouse-elf.
Q. What’s an animal that never forgets Christmas?
A. An elfant.
* * *
May you never merit being addressed as, “Your Holiness;”
May you be braver than moiself, and watch a Hallmark holiday movie;
May someone ID you in a way that makes your day;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Specifically, in our pear tree.
 Partridge Pose (Kapinjalasana) is also called “the Side Plank Variation Hand To Toe Knee Bend…a challenging arm balance pose….” Yeah. Let’s stick to tree pose, with maybe a pigeon roosting in one of its branches.
 CE menu never varies: Norwegian lefse and meatcakes (of some kind) are front and center.
 Many of the oldest ones have a tiny Made in Japan sticker on them and date from the 1950s, or so I was told by one antique shop dealer.