Top ten things I miss about Christmas in New Mexico

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1) Annual shopping trip to Old Town. A mom and me tradition. Every year I’d get to pick out an ornament that was mine. I now have all those ornaments in a Thom McAnn shoebox that, yes, Sunday night I opened and hung them all on my tree. They are like a history of my life. I remember buying most of them and it gives me a good sense of continuity to have them on my tree.

2) Luminarias. I always made them at my house. My mom would drive me to an empty lot to dig up two buckets worth of dirt and I’d fold bags, place candles and light them. It was my job and I loved every second of it, every folded bag, every candle that caught the bag on fire. I miss them.

3) The Bugg House, which, sadly, is no more. My sister lived over on Prospect and we’d go for a Christmas Eve walk in the evening to take a look at the outstanding display of holiday spirit. When I would go to Winrock Mall to shop, I’d always swing by the Bugg house to take a look. I miss it.

4) Neighbors bringing a plate of fresh made tamales as your Christmas gift. When you get three generations of Hispanic women in a kitchen with some masa and some shredded pork, magic happens. Yum! I also miss that people would come to work with tamales in a cooler and sell them to coworkers. I was always good for a half dozen or more.

5) A ristra makes a good Christmas gift. I’ve given. I’ve received. I love ’em. They’d become a moldy mess here…and that makes me sad.

6) Biscochitos. My love for these is well documented.

7) Sixty-five degrees and warm on Christmas Day. I think one year there was actually snow on the ground for the 25th. But it was melted by the end of the day. Oh Fair New Mexico, how I love your weather.

8) Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Spanish with the overpowering scent of frankincense filling up the overly warm church. Pure torture for a small child, but oh how I’d belt out the carols… And when we came home we could pick one present and open it. Gah! The torture of picking just one!

9) New Mexico piñon, gappy, scrawny Christmas trees that cost $15 at the Flea Market and were cut from the top of a larger tree just that morning. Look, to my mind, it ain’t a tree unless you are using low hanging ornaments to fill the obvious gaps. These fluffy overly full trees just ain’t my bag. If you ain’t turning the ‘bad spot’ to the wall, you paid too much for your tree.

10) Green chile stew for Christmas Eve dinner and posole for New Year’s. My mouth waters. It’s weep worthy. I can taste the nice soft potatoes in the stew, the chicken broth flavored just right…ouch! And posole to bring you luck with red chile and hunks of pork. Yeah……

Which is not to say I don’t have happy holidays where I live now…but sometimes I feel melancholy. And that’s what the holidays are for, right?

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Ask and you shall receive…

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Heard it. Twice. Today.

It’s official. The Hellidays are here.

So far I’ve attended two holiday lunches. I’ve received one two-pound box of See’s Nuts and Chews and given away two bottles of booze. (I’ve probably also “received” a few holiday pounds. Bah!) The celebrations continue…I’ll fiddle with the Christmas Tree while my desk is burning…however…

I finally convinced a certain cranky Director that “plan B” should be put in place…meaning “if we don’t get it done, we have a bridge to get through the holidays”. He fought me at first. Now he’s using the case I pled case as “his idea”. Whatever. It means I can exhale a minute and be ok. And that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, all this holiday stuff and management meetings and such means I’ve been dressing up a bit lately. The dress code at work is mainly jeans and whatever top I can throw on. It’s a definite benefit of where I work. Comfy is juuuust fine.

So since my dogs have been barkin’ from wearing high heels and stuff, for the past few days I’ve been sporting my all time favorite pair of boots. Ariat Fat Babies are da *bomb*. My best friend turned me on to them and I haven’t looked back since. I love ’em so, they are comfy as anything.

Ooooooh the comments I’m getting from the locals over heah! Ranges from “hey, those are cute” (what with the rhinestones and all) to “OH MY GOD ARE YOU WEARING COWBOY BOOTS!?!?!?!?” Why yes. : coff, bite me, coff :

Days like this make me long for Oh Fair New Mexico where Rockies and a pair of boots are “dress up clothes”…

Happy Friday ya’ll…

It’s the most pain in the ass time of the year

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The Hellidays. Yup. They are here. I got ’em all over me.

This is notoriously the hardest time for me to get through. I actually love the holidays but never get to enjoy them because it’s a race to the finish line at work. At the last three places I’ve worked, this has always been the heaviest work time of the year.

It’s why I began the tradition of listening to Merle Haggard sing “If We Make It Through December” every year, because, by god, if I can just make it through December, everything’s gonna be all right, I know….

When I used to work for Lockheed, every December was the time of year I had to decide which of my employees would get laid off, if layoffs got as far as our department. Thankfully, I never actually had to lay someone off, but the stress of making that kind of decision always put a pall on my holidays.

So I’m thankful I don’t have to go down that road anymore. My company is doing well, stock price is high, and we’re working hard. I had a minor breakdown on Friday listing all the projects that have to get done before December 21 (after which my company shuts down for the holidays). I started crying because I can’t get them all done. Being a perfectionist, this kind of stuff gets me…hard.

I had another mini-breakdown today and one of my trusted friends and coworkers talked me down. She is in the same boat and we agreed…what will get done will get done. What doesn’t, won’t. I won’t get fired, but it won’t look good. And that just has to be ok.

So in happier news, (keeping my promise to myself to have a happier outlook, please) I haven’t yet heard what I consider to be my “hallmark” of the holidays; the first time I hear “Feliz Navidad”. I mean, good ol’ Jose Feliciano is my own personal Rudolph, yanno? Haven’t heard it yet. It’s not the hellidays until I sing along!

Soon, tho, I know soon. I’ve already watched “White Christmas”, my other tradition, so I’m on the way.

How about you? What’s your “sign that the holidays have begun” and have you seen/heard/said it yet?

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