Friday, December 19, 2008

A Week in Review

Hello everybody. It’s time for another edition of the highly anticipated "A Week in Review". If you have not yet donned your gay apparel, now is the time. Fa la la la la la, la la la la.

Finishing up
It’s been a week for finishing things. Monday I went over to the BYU Salt Lake testing center to take the final exam for the online English class I’ve been taking. It went well enough, and I am so, so glad to be done. After the test, I went to the Gateway and bought Marla the last piece of her Christmas present, and that finished my shopping! I have two pre-Christmas shifts left at the bookstore, and then will be finished with retail during the holidays, and that is the best feeling in the world. I’ve even finished a biography that I’ve been reading for the last two months, which is way too long to spend on a book.

I don’t want to imply that December is something that I just endure and can’t wait to be done with, but it is nice to be done, isn’t it? The Christmas season feels kind of upside-down and backwards to me. There’s so much to do before hand, shopping and parties and concerts and socials and work, work, work. It’s exhausting. By December 25th, heck by December 10th, I’m burnt out. I look forward to Christmas Day because it means that I made through, like breaking the ribbon at the finish line. I don’t really think that Christmas should feel like this, but I really don’t know what to do about it. Quit the bookstore – that’s what I should do about it, but that’s really not an option right now.

Of course, it hasn’t been all bad. Melissa and I went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert last Friday and really like it. Their guest singer was a Broadway man named Brian Stokes Mitchell, and they also had Edward Herrmann. If you, like me, do not know who that is, his latest claim to fame is in the role of Grandpa Gilmore on the “Gilmore Girls”. On Sunday, Mariah, Savannah and I drove around the neighborhoods close to their home to see Christmas lights. It was really nice. We listened to carols on cd, and saw some pretty great decorations. I love doing simple little things like that to take in the holidays.

There are treats EVERYWHERE
I'm pretty sure that I've eaten about 15 pounds of sugar just this week.

Melissa and I exchanged gifts last night. She’s leaving on Saturday for Connecticut, so we opened presents early. She bought me the first season of 30 Rock! Yeah! Being a newly converted fan of the show, this is very exciting. Now I can see all that I missed. Seriously, if you’re not watching 30 Rock, you need to start right now. So funny.

A Christmas Carol
I read on “The Writer’s Almanac” that it was on this day in 1843 that “A Christmas Carol” was published. I wonder how many plays, musicals, movies and one-man shows have been produced since then? The Almanac said:

At the time of the book's publication, the celebration of Christmas was somewhat controversial. Puritans in England and America argued that Christmas was a holiday left over from the days when pagans celebrated the winter solstice. Many Christians felt that the extravagance of Christmas was an insult to Christ. But A Christmas Carol was a huge best-seller in both England and the United States, and it set the tone for Christmas as we know it today: a season of generosity, feasting, and merriment.

The very best version of the story is still the original writing. If you haven’t read “A Christmas Carol”, you really have to. It’s genius. There’s so much in the book that simply can’t be translated into a play or a movie. Some of the very best scenes are those that I didn’t know were in the story until I read it. I think I’ll end with one of my favorites. This is Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Present:

"The Spirit did not tarry here, but bade Scrooge hold his robe, and passing on above the moor, sped whither? Not to sea? To sea. To Scrooge's horror, looking back, he saw the last of the land, a frightful range of rocks, behind them; and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water, as it rolled, and roared, and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn, and fiercely tried to undermine the earth.

"Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks, some league or so from shore, on which the waters chafed and dashed, the wild year through, there stood a solitary lighthouse...But even here, two men who watched the light had made a fire, that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat, they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and one of them: the elder, too, with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather, as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself.

"Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea -- on, on -- until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him."

Merry Christmas!
You are loved.


Tiffany said...

1. Brian Stokes Mitchell?? I was just introduced to his voice singing South Pacific. I downloaded the entire album immediately.

2. I absolutely treasure the copy of A Christmas Carol that you gave to me! I agree, it must be read by everyone! It sits on my coffee table right this very minute. Thank you!!!

Kelli said...

The concert was amazing. I have been looking into his CD. I saw his rendition of "The Impossible Dream" on YouTube. It made me weep!
I feel your retail pain my friend and it did help with the positive feelings of Christmas but there are parts that I miss! Like you for instance.