a Lynne's


Friday, December 17, 2004

Holiday Letters
The Wall Street Journal published an article last week entitled,
Dear Friends: Our 2004 Was a Nightmare --- Tired of the Bragging, Try Some Reality Holiday Letters; `I Probably Over-Disclosed'.
A couple of my talented writer friends decided to do just that. They found writing these letters a cathartic experience. My friends also have given me permission to share excerpts from their letters with you. ENJOY!

Dear Friends,
Our 2004 is coming to a close, and my annual holiday depression is in full swing, but a stiff drink often helps.

My older son, xxx, is nearly 18, has hair twice as long as mine, and has just finished applying to Portland State University, although he shows no signs of having a clue of what he wants to do with his life. We're hoping he can at least get in to PSU, since his high school grade point average is nothing to brag about. Earlier, he had decided he was a socialist, and had planned to attend college in Canada, but apparently has decided to grace our household with his surly, sullen presence for a few more years.

xxx, who is now a gangly 15, is our neo-conservative, sports a military-style high-and-tight haircut, and wants to attend West Point, where he hopes to begin his career as an armchair general. He spends much of his life writing bizarre short stories, playing the trumpet, and instant-messaging friends whose identities his father and I are not vouchsafed to know.
Neither one gives us the time of day, so I can't tell you much more about them....

xx and I are still married. Can it be 27 years already? How time has flown, along with our youthful looks, hopes and dreams.

My father, who is nearly 86, married this past September to a younger woman, a Filipino immigrant. He was hoping for a nursemaid, and she wanted U.S. citizenship, Social Security and medical benefits. I hope they'll be very happy together...

My younger sister who lives in Orange, Calif., with four daughters under 13, an optometric practice, a husband (a "hands-off father") who travels for his contractor business frequently and a house undergoing remodeling, is somehow coping, although I suspect she does so through pharmaceutical means.

Then there's my younger sister in Seattle, who is certainly alcoholic, probably certifiable and reportedly growing worse. She has a teen daughter who is the adult in the family, and a husband she treats like a child who for God knows what reasons puts up with her. I keep my distance from her to maintain my own tenuous grip on sanity.

A very bright spot of good news in 2004 is my only brother, who some of you may know had been homeless for years and in prison several times; he has recovered from both alcoholism and drug abuse, with help from the Salvation Army...I just wish my mother were here to see it, although, frankly, my mother, who died in 2002, was a big part of his problem to begin with. (God rest her co-dependent, enabling soul.)

I will hit the big 5-0 next year, and am well past my midlife crisis, but along with the hot flashes, sleep remains fitful, anxiety oozes from my pores, and a dark cloud of doubt follows me everywhere I go.

Have a great 2005!


Dear friends,

It's time once again to spread some holiday cheer. Myself, I haven't touched a drop in three days, and that's cause for celebration.

This year is the first we're hosting the annual xxxx Christmas Eve at our house.
My uncle will probably accuse me of drinking too much, my cousin likely won't show up (he was stoned at Dad's funeral two years ago, last time I saw him). My sister may show up, flipping her hair obsessively, rolling her eyes, tugging at mom's sleeve to take her home, telling people how exhausted she is because she hasn't slept in a week. She's thirty-one, bipolar, lives at home, rarely ventures from her bedroom (four poster bed, candles amok, two geckos and heaps of throw pillows) where she reads up on ancient civilizations and true crime and watches "Stargate-1" and "Farscape" DVDs on her laptop. I'm afraid she'll throw in a seizure soon, as they seem to coincide with busy times or a lull in mom's attentions. How you can self-induce a seizure is beyond me, but she was able to make herself look pretty bad that time some years ago...I won't even get into that time she charged 20,000 dollars to a credit card she opened fraudulently in mom's name--a far cry from when she stole all the kids' hot dog money in her class in kindergarten!
That's not all I get ticked off about. My wife is trapped in a hostile relationship with her business partner and on hearing every new development I fly into a rage and go straight for the wine bottle. (Maybe I do drink too much.) My brother Xx in Seattle, who's 45, whom I just met 4 years ago, also hits the sauce because he's still pissed off at...

All in all, life is pretty good. No whining kids, no meddlesome in-laws, no spiralling debts. So I'll have plenty to celebrate when I snap the cap on my first seasonal ale this Christmas Eve, and my uncle tells me my old man would kick my butt if he saw me and people ask me if I'm still...

...and I think how much better this is than the next morning will be when, on a dirty couch, I suck down coffee and open presents with my in-laws, including my web porn model sister-in-law and another who can only stay until her control freak boyfriend honks his horn and another who smokes pot and sleeps all day, and possibly my brother-in-law, a meth user, whom I've told my wife if I catch him raiding our house I'll kill him.

Happy 2005 everyone!

Hope we inspired you to write your own holiday letter! If you do write a letter and feel like sharing your holiday cheer with Lynne's send me an email (lynnesblog[at]yahoo[dot]com) and I will be happy to post it.

Ho, Ho!