Merry Christmas!

As of noon today, I settled into the second half of my annual end-of-year vacation. Hard to believe that eight days have elapsed already — I haven’t gotten a ton done off my to-do list, but in fairness, I’ve been fairly heavily preoccupied with fire drills from several different sources (lookin’ at you, Priority Health and NAHQ conference calls) and party planning, so I haven’t had much chance to just sit, plan and execute. The little time I’ve had, has been significantly interrupted by the cats. Seriously. I literally cannot work from home anymore — the feline overlords want to lay on me or on my keyboard and no amount of gentle redirection proves effective, and locking them out of my office merely engenders scratching and loud meowing that persists for hours.

Christmas this year has been a mixed bag. I know I’ve been harping on it these last few years — and earlier this month — but I look at Christmas a bit differently than I used to. It feels more like an obligation game: Show up places, give people things, receive things, fight crowds, etc. Having snow on the ground helps, but not a lot. Religiously, the Advent/Christmas season has grown so trite that it seems hollow, a point I attribute mostly to the astonishingly and consistently poor homiletics among the Catholic clergy.

But it hasn’t been bad, all things considered. Did the maternal-family thing on the 17th. My soon-to-be-former boss took his direct reports for dinner at Gravity last Tuesday evening. Roni took me to dinner as part of newly joining the GLCL board of directors. My mom did her usual Christmas Eve thing last night (my extra “drunk Santa” gifts with messaged labels went over well). Today has been fairly quiet — I edited episode 299 of Vice Lounge Online and now have been plotting next week’s intended achievements with one hand (literally) while the other hand attends to one of the cats.

And sitting here, in my home office, writing this post, it occurs to me that I have a lot of “Christmas cheer” to share. I’m grateful for a lot of things — having a decent career, relatively little family drama, a solid circle of friends, lack of serious material want — that I often take for granted.

Because I just edited a podcast episode, VLO makes for a great top-of-mind case in point. Over the years that Tony and I have been podcasting, we’ve had the privilege of meeting some wonderful folks from all across the Anglosphere. The cast of characters waxes and wanes, but the fact that I could make a solo trek to VIMFP in Las Vegas in October and run into probably 20 or more people I knew, or that we could get a dozen people to our five-year podcast event in Louisville in April, speaks volumes. I have “people” — friends of the show — that I know well enough that I could reach out if I ever visited their home communities. Southeast England? Manitoba? North-central Texas? Atlanta? Las Vegas? Northern California? Pennsylvania? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check. And then some. #Amazing

I’m immensely grateful for my friends, my health, my stability. I know that others don’t have what I have, but I’m keeping those folks in my thoughts. I know some friends and acquaintances are working through challenges as different as raising an infant, navigating a divorce, changing gender identities and recovering from cancer. These people need our holiday well-wishes!

So to all of you out there, I wish you a very merry Christmas.

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