Happy Wednesday…

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The Annual Family Christmas in New York Trip…

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I’m in New York right now. It’s really, really cold. There’s no place in the world I love more than New York City, but Manhattan on a cold day isn’t really much fun. What makes it worse is that I like the outside New York things, not the museums or Broadway shows. I’m not a big interested in the Christmas Tree or any of that either. We’ll see how this trip goes.

We were locked into this trip when my parents made reservations at Becco’s in Manhattan for tonight, over a week ago. The food there is very good (as is true at maybe thousands of places in Manhattan), and will make the trip worth it, but yeah, I wish we had a little more freedom on the date. We do this trip as a family every year, i’m not totally sure why, but it usually turns out to be fun.

New York City is the greatest city in the world. It’s the cultural and financial capitol of the United States, if not the world. It has the greatest skyline in the United States, if not the world. It’s my favorite place to take pictures. It has iconic parks, ballparks, arenas, observatories on skyscrapers, food, and other landmarks. I love the subway. Terminal 5 is probably my favorite concert venue, but my Dad used to play CBGB’s. I’m not a huge fan of “touristing” New York, but i’m a huge, huge fan of just going and hanging out in coffee shops and bars there. Even so, any day in New York City becomes a good day just  by being there, and a great day by eating there. If I get down to Washington Square, call it a win. If I get to St. Patrick’s, consider it a religious experience. If I get to Strawberry Fields, call me content.

So yeah, I’m cold right now. Really, really stupid cold. Don’t cry for me though- unless I’m in a museum or a show right now. Then realize right now that I’d rather be sitting in a bar or coffee shop.

From 8 AM Mass to MNF: Christmas Takes Years Off My Life

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Six AM on Christmas Morning. I’m 34, so I’m not jumping out of bed for gifts. I don’t have kids, so they aren’t jumping out of bed for gifts. I’m waking up though. I have to be over at the church at 8 am for mass, or I’ll “really disappoint” my 89 year old grandmother. So there I go, getting ready to face the day.

Christmas was really a frustrating affair yesterday. Up at the crack of dawn, to bed after the Philadelphia Eagles finished off an incredibly frustrating win over the Raiders. In between I listened to the insane rantings of 80 and 90 somethings, drank just enough beer to numb that noise, and didn’t get to watch my Sixers win on TV (So I streamed it on my phone as best I could, which wasn’t good enough, but what else could I do when grandma didn’t have ESPN?). I figured out my new phone well enough to work it, even if I still have a lot to learn. By the time the dust settled on the latest round of insanity with the elders, it was back to home, and as I said, the Eagles didn’t provide the kind of low-stress entertainment I had expected. They instead let the Raiders hang around all the way until the end of the 19-10 win. To say the day was long, and probably took about three years off of my life, is an understatement.

Even so, I’m grateful for the day. These elder relatives won’t be around forever, but they’ve already been around with me for over three decades. I’ve seen too many other friends lose people this holiday season to be ungrateful for what I have, even if it did drive me within an inch of death yesterday. While I might prefer Thanksgiving and New Year’s to Christmas, I still can’t say I’d trade this for anything else in the world.

So You Got a New Dog…

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So you got a new dog for Christmas- good. A few years ago, a new dog named Nugget arrived at my house for Christmas. We had two already, so it was a surprise, but I’m glad he did. He’s still here, this is his home now, and it will be his home for the rest of his life.

This Christmas, I saw an increased amount of attention on other dogs who have not been as lucky. There are people who bring their older dogs to the pound when they are getting a new dog. There are still others who take their new dog to the pound before the next Christmas, for varying reasons.

To me, there’s a special place in hell for these people. Dogs are our best companions, frankly better companions than other people are. To me, once you bring a dog into the house, you added a member of the family. If you don’t want to commit to the animal, don’t get the animal in the first place. It’s a pretty simple thing. They’re capable of feeling abandonment, and nothing should ever feel abandoned.

So I hope you really like your new pet. Merry Christmas.

…And So Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Morning to All! With all of the issues in the world today, I know it can be a stressful time for many. I hope that today can be an opportunity for you to spend time with your family, reflect on whatever beliefs you have, and just enjoy good food and gifts. Today should be a day of being happy, finding yourself content with life, and looking ahead to another year together on this Earth.

For me, I happen to be a believer, so today is a religious holiday. It’s more than that though, it’s a day to look forward to 2018 and all that life has ahead of me. I’m probably more content this Christmas than I have been in a very long time. I’ve long had a chip on my shoulder, and that chip feels off of it. This is a happy Christmas.

Even so, I think it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on those having a more difficult Christmas than I- the poor, people in Syria and other war zones, our troops abroad, the sick, those suffering through a tough time in life, those with work and money issues, the addicted, and my seemingly many friends who are dealing with the very recent loss of loved ones this holiday. My thoughts are with you this morning, i’m here for you if you need. From me to you, veselé Vianoce.

2018 could be another long year, so please take today to be happy and enjoy the moment.