Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au Revoir Country Girl

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." ~ R. Bach

My Darling Readers:

It is with bittersweet sadness that I inform you that today's post will be the final post for If That Ain't Country.

Three and a half years ago I arrived in North Carolina toting a psychotic cat, an assload of luggage and all of the neuroses and quirks that you would expect from a Jewish girl raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I didn't know a Bojangles biscuit from Mr. Bojangles and OMFG haven't you people ever heard of iced coffee?

Life was one giant fish out of water experience for me and I began this blog as a way to communicate those experiences to family and friends en masse. Ooh look - Country Girl is driving a pick up truck. Ooh look - Country Girl is at a biker bar. Ooh look - Country Girl just downloaded Toby Keith onto her iPod (shut up). Ooh look - Country Girl is watching NASCAR (while wearing Dolce & Gabanna heels thank you very much). I was way. Out. Of. My. Element.

But after three and a half years, none of this comes as a big surprise any more. I am no longer a fish out of water and frighteningly, I actually fit in just fine when Lilsaej and I ventured to Bristol over the summer. What does come as a surprise is that my wee little blog has readers who aren't related to me by blood. Seriously y'all? That shit tickles me to no end.

My life has changed dramatically over the last three and a half years and as my friend His Girl Friday pointed out: my life these days? Well - it just ain't that country and frankly, I just don't feel like Country Girl any more. A chapter in the story of my life has come to a close, and so I am bringing this blog to a close as well.

But before you start tearing your hair out and wailing and begin a campaign on Facebook to revive my wee little blog, know that I am not disappearing entirely. Another blog is in the works and I hope that with the help of my amazingly awseometastic and incomparable blogging consigliere, one Miss Beth Fish, I will be live on Monday, Jan 4th. New year. New decade. New blog. Same twisted, neurotic rantings from your favorite sassypants blogger.

Look for me to announce my new blog on Twitter as soon as I go live. If you don't do Twitter, leave your email in the comments section of this post or send me an email at and I will send you the new site details as soon as I am up and running.

So thanks to all of you who have been loyal fans and readers and supporters over the last 3 years. It means so much to me that anyone out there would actually take me and my writing seriously. And I hope you stick around for the next chapter. Because my life is just now starting to get interesting.


xoxo Country Girl

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Low and Slow

I've never been big on crockpots. I don't know why but sticking meat, veggies and seasoning in a pot and leaving it alone for 8 hours has never been my thing. I like to make souffles. I like to make lasagna. I bake my cookies from scratch (although I do use pre made pie crust because really - what's the point?). I like things that are difficult and complex and challenging...I like things that are, well, kinda like me. And so I'm just not a crockpot kinds of girl.

But if there's one person who can make crockpots (and one day probably Jazzys) sexy, it's my dear friend Modern Matriarch. Seriously - she's got TWO of them and they are frequently featured in her Tweets and her blog and she's always got some amazing sounding recipes or glorious food porn shots or both and well how much of that can one girl take before she finally caves?

It's not like I woke up one day and rushed to the store and said: I'm gonna buy me a crockpot. It was more like I found myself in Wal-Mart (2 days before Christmas) shopping for a Dirty Santa present and I was over in the kitchen section and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a 5-quart portable crockpot for $17. $17 people. I spend more than that on wine. So I was all - what the hell I'll get it and I did and then I immediately Tweeted to Modern Matriarch that I had aged 10 years purchased a crockpot and could she send recipes STAT.

My crockpot lost its virginity on Christmas Eve. I had purchased a whole chicken with the intention of roasting it but instead I threw it in the crockpot with some onion, lemon, carrots, chives, seasoning and a bottle of Stella Artois and voila - Crockpot Beer Chicken.

One slight problem. Ok - two.

The first was that Modern Matriarch had originally told me it would be done in 4 hours so I didn't get it started til mid-afternoon. 3:30 to be exact. But then she said something about 8 hours and I was all like WTF? I'll be having tuna fish and pretzels for Christmas Eve dinner because I can't wait til 11:30pm to eat. And she said No just set it for 8 hours but stop it after 4. And I'm all - why wouldn't I just cook it for 4 hours. And oh yeah by the way: Who's on first?

So as it turns out there's the universe of $17 crockpots (which have 3 options: Keep Warm, Low and High) and then there are the non-$17 crockpots which actually have time settings like 4, 6 and 8. Once this confusion was settled, I felt relieved that I wouldn't be eating canned fish for dinner. But then the second problem set in. Well - the second and a half.

You see - I'm an Instant Gratification kind of girl. I'm also an I Like To Be Involved kind of girl. The notion of just leaving the chicken and the beer to it's own devices for 4 hours was basically anathema to me and I pretty much checked the crockpot every 15 minutes. I don't know why. I don't know what I thought I would accomplish but I just could not. Let. It. Go.

The chicken ultimately came out the delicious as did the OMG so decadent creamed spinach I made to go with it (which involved a microwave, a saute pan, a Cuisinart and an oven - my kind of side dish).

I began Round 2 of my crockpot adventures on Christmas morning when I made a batch of Modern Matriarch's It's-All-Fun-And-Games-Til-You-Lose-An-Eye Chili for an impromptu gathering Chez Rougie on Saturday.

I have never made chili before but it seemed like an easy enough way to start. And I was home all day which meant I could stare at the crockpot all day and will it to cook faster at the assigned times I could stir or add seasoning or stir or add roux. Eight and half hours I let that chili cook. And at the end of that interminable time period, I looked at the picture of the chili in Andrea Anna's recipe and I looked at my crockpot and...WTF? My chili looked like soupy Alpo...not like chili.

I panicked. Mildly. Because OMG - aren't crockpots idiot proof and what kind of girl can whip up a cheese and broccoli souffle with one hand tied behind her back (oh yes I totally can) but can't fucking cook meat in a pot?

Thank God for Twitter (and iPhones) because suggestions on how to remedy my chili came flying at me. Nice to know you people didn't sacrifice technology for Christmas.

Very long blog post short...the chili thickened overnight but thinned out again once I heated it up the next day - despite the addition of some extra roux. I was pretty much ready to dump the chili, stick my head in the crockpot, set it on low and wait for a slow and agonizing death when my first guest arrived.

"Smells great," the Angel said.

"Yeah," I said dejectedly. "Smells great but take a look."

The Angel went into the kitchen and lifted the lid and gave the chili a twirl with the spoon laying on the counter. "What's wrong with it?" she asked entirely too chirpily for my darkening mood (because Oh Yeah - the pie I had made for dessert has not worked out either and while I was sure it wasn't a total loss it was not what I was shooting for. Sigh.).

"Look at it," I moaned. "Just look at how thin it is. It's like water. Isn't chili supposed to be thicker? Heartier?"

The Angel looked at me like I was high an idiot: "No. This is what chili is supposed to look like."

Despite her reassurances I didn't actually believe her (Because you know - I'm such the chili expert.) and so I made her cover the pot and continue its quest to thicken while I plied her with some of Lilsaej's holiday cheeseball.

It took 2 more guests arriving and 2 more reassurances that my chili was *normal* (as much as anything is ever normal in my life) before I would let someone sample it.

The conclusion: BEST CHILI EVER. WOO-HOO.

And no don't ask me how I made it because despite following Modern Matriarch's recipe I made some changes and some adjustments and OMG the seasoning. Who knows how much of what I used to season it. But it was DELICIOUS. And so was the pie. In fact by the end of the day both the crockpot and the pie plate were totally empty (10 hours and no leftovers? WTF?) and my guests were happily stuffed.

As for me, I've got issues. Clearly. Also? I love my crockpot. Really.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Did Charles Bronson Ever Wear Heels?

There are certain, fundamental things every woman should know how to do. A woman should know how to change a tire. Or at least have AAA. A woman should have 1 recipe that she can cook in case people come over for dinner. A woman should know how to fake it. She should also know what needs to be done so that she doesn't have to fake it. And a woman should be able to defend herself.

Maybe she learns how to step on a man's insole and kick him in the short and curlies. Maybe she learns how to aim that pepper spray. Perhaps she buys a taser and learns how many volts of electricity it takes to render an assailant unconscious - or at least immobile. Or in my case, she learns how to shoot a gun.

Up until last week, I have had what I consider to be a healthy fear of firearms. I have been around them before. I have held them. I have even on 2 separate occasions actually fired one. But I didn't really understand how they work and I was the type of girl who thought that a revolver in the bedside table might spontaneously go off. For the record, I also think that most appliances and electrically-powered items can spontaneously combust. Clearly I have issues.

Anyways, I decided it was high time to get over my fear and so last week I set up a private lesson at a shooting range to learn how to fire a gun.

Here was the first issue: I arrived at the shooting range from lunch at Capital Grille in the Big City. I was attired in a a Lily Pulitzer shift, Kate Spade Mary Janes with 3-inch heels, and toting a "Merry Christmas to Me" kick ass gold bag from Coach. Most of the folks at the range were in jeans, camouflage or flannel. I stuck out like a sore Princess.

Sartorial misconceptions aside, I explained to my instructor Paul that I was dead serious about learning how guns work and how to fire one and once we got down to brass tacks the fact that I was in a dress in heels was promptly forgotten.

We started out in the classroom. Paul brought in a .22 revolver and a .22 semi-automatic and first he explained the difference in the two to me: you have to pull back on the hammer to chamber each round of ammo in a revolver whereas in a semi-automatic the bullets automatically load after each shot. He felt like we ought to focus on just the revolver for Lesson #1 and so we put the semi aside. I learned what the different parts of the gun were called, how to hold it when loading ammo, how to load ammo, how to pull the trigger, how to hold the gun when shooting, and how to line up my front and rear sights. After about 15 minutes in the classroom, we headed out to range to actually shoot.

I don't want to say that I was a natural...but OMG...I'm kind of a natural. The first 2 shots I missed the target completely but after that, I rarely missed and in fact, I made some pretty damn good shots. Paul was impressed with my accuracy and my groupings.

We went through 2 boxes of ammo - which for the record - is hard. I mean holding your arms out continuously for the better part of 30 minutes is tough and I swear if I didn't do so much upper body strength training with my trainer, I'd have not been able to make it through the second box.

At one point, I was kicking so much ass with the revolver that Paul brought back out the automatic, gave me a crash course in how to load it, and I moved up in the world of firearms.


Seriously. While I went for the sheer purposes of education, I actually enjoyed the experience. So much so, that I am going back today for another lesson (where I hope Paul will kick it up a notch or 7 from the .22 - Lilsaej swears I need to fire a .45) and I am contemplating joining the range and working shooting into my already overcrammed life (although now that I am not training for a half marathon any more I do have some extra time on my hands).

I'll close by saying this: Charles Bronson ain't got nothing on me because he didn't ever have to do this shit in heels.

PS I met The Kaiser and Sumo out for a few pints afterwards. Since there was no one to photograph the epicness of my outfit at the shooting range, The Kaiser made me pose for a photo at the bar to give y'all some idea of just how fucking awesome the whole thing was:

(And I'm grinning so stupidly because I felt like a complete and utter asshat posing like one of Charlie's Angels in the middle of a low key Irish pub not to mention the Kaiser had to adjust the aperture and lens and speed settings on his effing Blackberry took for fucking ever to take the damn picture.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Week In Tweets: December 20 - December 26

Reading local paper. Thought I saw an ad "To Live Naughty." Looked closer - it actually says "Live Nativity." WHOOPS.
8:28 AM Dec 20th from web

If this doesn't make you grin, you have a cold heart & no soul (thanks to @MarshallKarp for making me grin!)
10:06 AM Dec 20th from web

So far the biggest section (by far) in my 100 Things: "I'm Not Weird. I'm Just a Little Eccentric."
10:40 AM Dec 20th from web

At some point this weekend I am going to have to get out of my pajamas. I'm not looking forward to it.
12:20 PM Dec 20th from web

I'm at 89. This shit is way harder than I ever imagined. Especially given that I pretty much spill my soul to complete strangers.
12:50 PM Dec 20th from web

Off to @felinefrenzy's Christmas tea and cookie swap. Just realized it's the first time I've left my house in over 48 hours. #imarecluse
1:49 PM Dec 20th from web

Romantic comedies make me stabby because let's face it: that shit doesn't happen in the real world.
6:38 PM Dec 20th from web

The day a man sends me 100 roses b/c he thought of me 100 times the night before, is the day I sprout wings & fly. Or drop dead from shock.
6:39 PM Dec 20th from web

Also: no one looks like Patrick Dempsey in real life. Except Patrick Dempsey.
6:40 PM Dec 20th from web

I'd kill for Chinese food. Sadly - I am not driving on iced over roads and no one in this town delivers. FML.
7:17 PM Dec 20th from web

Dear Universe: Just 1 Sunday night that didn't suck complete and utter ass would be lovely. Thanks. xoxo rougie
7:49 PM Dec 20th from web

Dear Sunday: Thanks for sucker-punching me in the kidneys. AND my lower back. I love you too. xoxo rougie
9:00 PM Dec 20th from web

Dear Sunday: The gloves are off. It's about to get ugly. Really fucking ugly. xoxo rougie
9:06 PM Dec 20th from web

Dear Monday: Please try not to suck so bad because I don't think I can handle 2 really crappy days in a row. xoxo Rougie
9:22 AM Dec 21st from web

Dear Monday: please start cooperating before I have to kick your ass. Xoxo rougie
11:11 AM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Dear Monday: Thanks for lunch at Capital Grille. That sirloin rocked. It was much needed and much appreciated. Xoxo Rougie
2:35 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Off to the shooting range shortly so I can learn how guns work & how to fire one. Am over-the-moon w/excitement. Like a kid on Xmas morning.
2:37 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Thinking my Lily Pulitzer shift dress and Kate Spade Mary Janes might be a *bit much* for the shooting range.
4:11 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

I don't think Charles Bronson ever wore Kate Spade. Or Lily for that matter. Or a dress. Or heels.
4:21 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

At the range. I am obscenely excited. Might be an overabundance of testosterone.
4:29 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

This is so. Fucking. Cool.
4:40 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Had way too much fun at the shooting range. OMG y'all - I'm on a high right now. Is that wrong?
6:27 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Anyone have a picture of Winston Wolfe's tattoo in Pulp Fiction? Trying to talk The Kaiser into getting inked - this is what he wants.
7:56 PM Dec 21st from UberTwitter

Dear Wednesday: One semi-decent day this week is all I ask. Pretty please? With sugar on top? xoxo rougie
7:45 AM Dec 22nd from web

I am heading to the post office early because I refuse to stand in line behind 18 gajillion people. It's busier there than tax time.
7:59 AM Dec 22nd from web

So I won't spend 10 minutes in line waiting behind someone but I'll get to the post off 10 minutes early and stand around. #irony
8:28 AM Dec 22nd from UberTwitter

Also? There's already someone in front of me. #seriousirony
8:28 AM Dec 22nd from UberTwitter

What? It's only Tuesday. FML.
8:59 AM Dec 22nd from web

Just stepped in a pile of fresh cat puke. Welcome home and oh yeah eff you too Tuesday. xoxo rougie
8:34 PM Dec 22nd from web

I suppose it could have been worse. He could have puked in my bed and not on the wood floor. Still - i was wearing my $9 socks...
8:39 PM Dec 22nd from web

Has anybody had a blog post just DYING to come out but then it doesn't fucking co-operate???
8:55 PM Dec 22nd from web

Move over Charles Bronson - I do this shit in heels and pearls.
9:06 PM Dec 22nd from TwitPic

Thomas Crown Affair is one sexy effing flik. HOLY HELL.
9:26 PM Dec 22nd from web

Dear Wednesday: I'd officially like to marry you and have your babies. MWAH! Xoxo rougie
8:31 AM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Dear Wednesday: Stop it already. You're giving me chills. Xoxo Rougie
9:37 AM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Raise your hand if you're also sick of Russian Roulette by Rhianna. Cuz I. So. Am.
9:41 AM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Would you people leave me and my banana (tree) alone. Thanks a million. xoxo Rougie
2:13 PM Dec 23rd from web

Hey you. Yeah - you: moron driving the Dodge. Rougie's #1 driving tip is LOOK BEFORE YOU PULL OUT you giant asshat. Thanks.
4:06 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Dear Wednesday You've been awesome. Please don't fuck it up & stab me in the back. I don't like being stabbed or being stabby. xo rougie
6:34 PM Dec 23rd from web

Snow+Open toed heels = totally dumbass move.
7:28 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Sitting at a sports bar watching Sonny With a Chance on Disney. WTF??
8:35 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

And Funky Cold Medina is playing on the radio. I don't even know what to say.....
8:37 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

So @lilsaej has discovered how to totally mask the taste and smell of Everclear. Get this girl a Nobel Prize STAT!!!
9:37 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Airing of grievances. #festivus #catharsis
10:21 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

I downloaded UberTwitter for @GrissWarhound. As soon as gets over his Twitterphobia, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
11:06 PM Dec 23rd from UberTwitter

Ok. I'm getting out of my PJs and putting on *real clothes* But I'm not putting on a bra dammit.
1:12 PM Dec 24th from web

Holy Hell! The entirety of my wee little town is at the grocery store. FML and don't you people plan better???
1:50 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

And for the record, I'm here because I'm having an impromptu party on Saturday. It's not like I don't already have my turkey and shit....
1:51 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

Holy Hell. I might. Just. Lose. MY EVER LOVING SHIT.
2:12 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

Saw signs for party trays from Ann's House of Nuts. More like Rougie's Padded Room of Totally Insane. #FML
2:19 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

Trip to the grocery store the day before Christmas has sucked every last ounce of holiday spirit from my body.
2:29 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

I'm about to pop my crockpot's cherry with @ModernMatriarch's beer chicken.
3:05 PM Dec 24th from web

As an instant gratification girl, discovering that maybe a crockpot/slow cooker wasn't such a wise idea #atleast2morehourstogo
5:30 PM Dec 24th from web

I'm the only person I know who can't appreciate a slow cooker for what it is. I mean I shouldn't be checking it every 15 minutes should I?
7:08 PM Dec 24th from web

Can I RT myself from November? B/c Holy Hell homemade caramel: Bitch Homemade pudding: Bitch Homemade caramel pudding: bitchbitchbitchbitch
10:04 PM Dec 24th from web

And once again the 1st batch of caramel is a fail. Dear Thanksgiving: I don't need a rerun. xoxo rougie
10:10 PM Dec 24th from web

So what happens to caramel cream pie if you can't get the !*#?!*# sugar to ?*#$?! Caramelize????
10:39 PM Dec 24th from UberTwitter

All right. I've got some kind of cream pie. Santa? Now it's up to you. Merry Christmas...
10:55 PM Dec 24th from web

Something just fell off the roof. Either the snow is still melting or Santa's in traction.
4:29 AM Dec 25th from UberTwitter

My crockpot enjoyed her maiden voyage so much we're already on round 2 w/ @ModernMatriarch's It's-All-Fun-&-Games-Til-You-Lose-An-Eye Chili
7:53 AM Dec 25th from web

Just discovered SBUX Via. Life changing. And yet - at this price per cup, at what point does it just make sense to buy a damn coffee pot?
8:09 AM Dec 25th from web

My basement is flooded. Merry effing Christmas.
11:18 AM Dec 25th from web

Watching inches of stagnant, dirty water pump out of my basement while my cat HOWLS at the top of his lungs for my attention. Seriously?
11:37 AM Dec 25th from web

On the plus side, my house smells heavenly thanks to @ModernMatriarch's chili simmering in my crockpot.
11:41 AM Dec 25th from web

Well - I suppose if I was going to drop and break a bottle of something, at least peppermint extract is holiday appropriate.
1:26 PM Dec 25th from web

In other news, my sinuses are totally clear.
1:26 PM Dec 25th from web

Let's just add a 3rd degree burn on my finger to the list of things I've gotten today. Merry effing Christmas to me.
1:53 PM Dec 25th from web

Dear Insomnia: you're like the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks a million. Xoxo Rougie
5:14 AM Dec 26th from UberTwitter

The nice thing about heading off to the spa is that you really don't have to pull your shit together.
8:12 AM Dec 26th from web

Dear Self Righteous Day After Christmas Exercisers: Bite me. Xoxo Rougie
11:58 AM Dec 26th from UberTwitter

41 days until #twitHER. FTW!
2:13 PM Dec 26th from web

Anyone have any suggestions for a homegrown version of kitty lithium b/c OMFG my cat is in-fucking-sane.
3:55 PM Dec 26th from web

@lilsaej: "But you've got to take care of me." Sumo: "That's a cry for help." Me: Sigh. (Reaches for my beer....)
7:29 PM Dec 26th from UberTwitter

@Lilsaej: "Because it's us. Because I know people and you're hot." OMG I want to marry this girl. (Or just drink a crapload of beer w/ her)
8:21 PM Dec 26th from UberTwitter

OMFG - had no idea red spandex jumpsuits were *still* in style.
9:58 PM Dec 26th from UberTwitter

I want longer pants.
10:40 PM Dec 26th from UberTwitter was quite a week, wasn't it kids?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How a Jew Celebrates Christmas

It's hard to be a Jew on Christmas
My friends won't let me join in any games..
And I can't sing Christmas songs
Or decorate a Christmas tree..
Or leave water out for Rudolph
'cause there's something wrong with me..
My people don't believe in Jesus Christ's divinity..
I'm a Jew, a lonely Jew.. on Christmas.

I'd like to begin by thanking Trey Parker and Matt Stone for their genius. Seriously - that song from South Park is one of the funniest things ever and in many ways sums up my situation.

Except that I am a Jew who does celebrate Christmas.

We'll start with my childhood when my 100% Jewish family celebrated Christmas. I don't know how or why this tradition started. We've been able to trace it back to my mom who also celebrated Christmas when she was a child (with her 100% Jewish family). When I asked her why, she gave me this insight-filled answer: I have no idea.

Anywho, when I was a kid Christmas was a BIG DEAL that involved a tree and ornaments and a wreath and jingle bells on the door and Christmas cookies (Snickerdoodles, spice cookies and meringues - oh and also these apricot jam things that were a bitch to make because you'd have to refrigerate the dough overnight) and rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon and Christmas music (hello John Denver and the Muppets! Nice to see you too Nat King Cole) and that most traditional of all Christmas Eve dinners - Tacos! and Christmas morning agita while all the adults stumbled out of bed and fumbled for their coffee while I practically peed myself to open gifts and stockings and Teuscher champagne truffles which we ALWAYS got in our stocking for Christmas and that most traditional of all Christmas morning breakfasts - Bagels and lox and herring and sable and whitefish! and a long afternoon spent exploring and playing with all of my haul and then a big Christmas dinner with turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and cranberries and green beans and then the inevitable let down and disappointment when I'd wake up the next morning and realize it was all over until next year. That was Christmas for most of my childhood. As you can see, we celebrated the secular version of Christmas.

Then one day my brother and I outgrew Christmas and the other relatives weren't as into it and so we bailed. And while my heart was momentarily ripped out of my chest, my parents decided that a Caribbean vacation was the perfect replacement for trees and tacos and smoked fish. Somehow 2 weeks in St. Bart's every year lessened the blow that we had temporarily stopped celebrating Christmas.

And then one day I outgrew my parents sending me on a 2 week Caribbean vacation (FML) and I went back to celebrating Christmas. Sort of. You see - I always had a legitimate reason to celebrate i.e. there was someone non-Jewish in my life who celebrated the holiday and therefore I was given a free pass.

Well - this year that wasn't the case and I struggled with what to do. Could I justify Christmas as a Jew? And the answer I ultimately came up with was: Yes. When stores start rolling out Christmas with their Back To School Displays in September and Halloween and Thanksgiving basically get steam-rolled in the holiday department and radio stations play holiday music 24-7 for like, an entire month and essentially the entire concept of Christmas is rammed down your throat like a 16-ton submarine: well then yeah, I'm in too - my religion notwithstanding.

And so it was that I braved Wal-Mart one Saturday and bought my very own 7.5 foot pre-lit Donner fir and that I put it up the Saturday after Thanksgiving and that I hung 500 lights in my house and that I hung some mistletoe and baked almost 20 dozen Christmas cookies and that I've been listening to holiday music (ok - so Run DMC should clearly sing more Christmas carols because It's Christmas Time in Hollis Queens is probably like the best. Song. Evah. Yo.) and that I'm celebrating the secular Christmas of my childhood this year. It's just how I roll yo.

So Merry Christmas to you and yours. Happy Holidays. Seasons Greetings. Whatever floats your boat. Just enjoy the magical spirit this time of year brings - there's no avoiding it no matter what or who you believe in.

PS For the record - I totally also celebrate Hanukkah and light the candles and say the prayers and make latkes although I don't do dreidels. The thing most people don't realize is that Hanukkah is a pretty insignificant holiday in the Jewish religion - but given that it falls within relatively close proximity to Christmas and it involves gift giving it's been pumped full of religious steroids in some weird twisted attempt to compete with Christmas which is ridiculous because if Halloween can't even compete with Christmas, there's no way Hanukkah is even gonna come close.