Scenes from the Holiday Gauntlet

Well, Well, Well, Darling Ones, we meet again…

After sleeping until 10 a.m. this morning and taking two naps, I’m happy to announce I have survived the holiday social gauntlet thus far. I have not spoken to a human in the last sixteen hours. While I’m not quite back to my usual fortysomething in late-stage capitalism during an unceasing pandemic levels of tried, I have stopped praying for the sweet relief of eternal sleep. In fact, my throat kinda hurts a little today and I’m actively hoping to not die.

Darling Ones, how are your holidays thus far?

Mine have been surprisingly delightful. Despite the post-Thanksgiving sister fuckery, things went really well. There was no petty bickering or awkwardness or passive-aggressive snark. We had a really good time up until we realized we forgot to get our mom the new smart TV we promised her for Christmas. Oops.

We are awful children. Thankfully our mom has a good sense of humor and found pure joy in our horrified reactions once Sister #4 said at 9 p.m. on Christmas night, hours and hours and hours after gift opening brunch, “Fuck. We were supposed to get you a TV.”

Speaking of wayward Christmas gifts. . . I got my 23-year-old nephew a whittling kit for Christmas. Maxwell loved it and spent a lot of Christmas afternoon playing with it. He loved it so much that he was in the hospital getting stitches on the 26th. There’s a reason they called me Aunt Bad Lady when they were younger.

The best part of the holiday has been hanging out with my niece, Jaycie. I haven’t seen her since August 2020, which is the longest period of time I’ve gone without seeing her since she was born. She really is one of the Top 10 all-time greatest people I have the pleasure of knowing. For Christmas I got her a Joan Didion print by my friend and fabulous artist, Amy Abts. We both cried when she opened it, with Didion’s December 23rd death weighing heavy on our hearts.

Later that night she explained how much Didion’s Play It as It Lays means to her and how she found the book in a really dark time of her life. I bawled like a baby while continually whispering, “that’s beautiful.”

Last night before Rock & Roll Bookclub, we were listening to the Family Mix playlist on Spotify. It’s the playlist where they shuffle up a bunch of songs you all listening to individually. My brother-in-law Ben had a ton of influence over our list because it was filled with the mope rock her loves — The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths — barf!

We were all discussing the music we like and have been listening to.

“I listen to a lot of Big Star,” Jaycie said.
“What?” I said.
“The band Big Star,” she repeated. “I listen to them a lot.”
“Alex Chilton?” I asked. “Like, I never travel far without a little Big Star?” I sang and Sister #2 joined in.
She nodded her head at me. “Yeah. I really like them.”

My heart grew three sizes that night, and that’s even before Rock & Roll Bookclub started.

Having all of my people in my house for Bookclub is the second best part of the holiday. It was shouty and slightly drunken and very loud. The Dirty Santa game was extra competitive this year thanks to some help from my cousin Cathy (who once again complimented me on how cool by house is) and her daughter, my first cousin once removed, Lindsay (this is the one cousin who is part of our Wedding Party group chat).

Also, thanks to some post-game negotiating I traded some electronic gadget to my friend Atom for eleven wheat pennies.

Winning at being social,

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  1. Amy Abts 28.Dec.21 at 7:05 pm

    So glad the print got there!

    1. Jodi Chromey 28.Dec.21 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you so much! It was a huge hit & she can’t wait to get back to Oakland and hang it up.


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