Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Yule!

My Blonde Girlsfriends
My Blonde Girlsfriends
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
This year, DrC and I have slipped gently, easily and comfortably into skeptism. Fortunately, skeptics can also be pagans as long as we don't actually have to believe in the Good Fairy, Mother Nature, or Any Other Capitalized Deity -- except, of course, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We got to this point through a gentle but relentless campaign on the part of DrC's father in the realm of physics combined with beer... specifically Skeptics in the Pub. Through a friend (Steve) of a friend (alien), we met like-minded folk and starting thinking. Thinking is dangerous. Not thinking is also dangerous.

I love to mis-quote Einstein.

So in addition to the other wacky notions such as preparing for the pending zombie apocalypse, getting rid of all our stuff, and letting children play unsupervised on the deck of a boat, you can now add "ignoring the entire holiday season" to the list of Conger family transgressions on normal. We signalled our new conviction that Christmas is a waste of time, money, and emotional energy by getting in the van and driving off for three weeks. Turns out that in New Zealand, this is not a particularly radical notion. When Christmas and New Year fall gobsmack in the middle of summer, spending the two week holiday on the beach is pretty standard. I think DrC has us hiking up a mountain or repelling into a cave or something on Christmas Day. I had to remind him that the tour operators might be taking the day off.. you know... just for the heck of it? But turns out, not so much. Kiwis are pretty practical. Or they also agree that the reason for the season is to make money, a universal commercial consensus that appears to know no borders.

Before you go all "bah humbug" and presume to equate cynism with skepticism, I assure you that the Conger family plans to enjoy ourselves. Once again, we all made each other gifts to exchange on Yule as well as gathered little items for our Santa stocking stuffer extravaganza. DrC made soap this year, I made candy and rollagon organizers, Mera made pou (Maori dance balls), Aeron customized journals, and Jaime made designer t-shirts. I can't say we enjoy this process... inevitably Grandma Sue finishes in August, Mera in October, Aeron in November, DrC two weeks before Solstice, Toast the day before, and Jaime three weeks later. It's pretty stressful, to be honest. The competition. The pressure. The distilled sense of Obligation. On the other hand, it's only once a year. If this is what it takes to get the good doctor to make more soap, I think we're all willing to sacrifice.

Making Soap
Making Soap
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
This year's soap offering is oatmeal honey. Stuff smells fantastic and foams up nicely. Unfortunately, there is a bit too much oatmeal so it sort of falls apart when you use it. You have to gather it up and squish it back together again then set it on a dry spot in the shower until the next time. Soap -- With Instructions. For the first time, the soap is vegetarian made of canola oil rather than the usual lard. And as always, the only animals tested in the development process were our girls; They survived.

The stockings are hung
In the trailer with care
Stuffed with good candy
The children won't share
And wouldn't you know
The Congers are happy
Without all those trappings
Absent the sappy
We eat and we play
We hike and we swim
We drink large pint glasses
Filled up to the brim
And together each day
We thank fortune and fate
For the keys they have given us
To the happiness gate.

Enjoy the Holidays!

~ Toast


judith said...

I agree with you. As the kids get older and prefer cash over gifts and go off to far points of the continent to live. The whole Christmas thing looses it's appeal. Enjoy what you have of it, it's all good. Until the frickin' cat knocks the tree over twice in 24 hours breaking ALL the sentimental ornaments. Bah Humbug!

Anonymous said...


For one who boast "ignoring the entire holoday season" there sure is alot of Christmas Speak in the blog. Actually, after the part about ignoring Christmas, its all about Christmas.

inklenaomi said...

my favorite family christmas was the one we all met in Hawaii for a week. It followed the only Christmas that we all cried. we needed a year off. If Christmas makes you cry, go sit on a beach the next year, you may never come back.
Have you tried encasing each bar of soap in a nylon stocking and tying it shut? that would help the falling-apart-each-time thing, and still be perfectly usable.
A very merry christmas to you, however you choose to celebrate.
sit on the beach 5 extra minutes for me. We have apocalyptic snow this year. Makes the beach very attractive.

Deb said...

It seems the last 4 Christmases everyone in our extended family has gotten sick so we've been talking about changing our family Christmas to July. Too much spending, too much sugar, to much stress...

Enjoy the beach a little for us.

S/V Nomad

Steve and Lulu said...

This is our first Christmas ever away from the commercial blitz and heavy consumerism guilt trips and we are LOVING it. Here in La Paz, BCS, there is only the occasional reminder that it even IS Christmas. Nice. We'll attend the Club Cruceros Christmas potluck this afternoon and then tomorrow we're off to Todos Santos for surfing lessons.


Jennifer Shaw said...

just a heads up - your last paragraph pre-poem is partially hiding under the Making Soap pic

as always, love reading your posts :)