Christmas Insanity: A COSI Post

image via sleepshirt.com

Ah, the holidays in December, the wonderful time of year when you accidentally jam your mother-in-law’s head in a hair dryer, that lovely month where your mom gives you a framed family picture that she’s photoshopped your dead brother into. Oh, December, oozing with spiced wine, hot toddies and cheer. And the house is filled with threatening music as your Italian husband dances around singing “you better watch out,” over and over again because he only knows that one line from Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. And guys, you had seriously better watch out. 

I don’t know about all of you but the holidays are always pretty damn crazy for me. Let’s take this year, for example. Tonight kicked off my holiday week with Yalda, or the Persian Winter Solstice. We ate about 9 billion things that my aunt cooked. Then, my dad blasted Persian music and commanded us to all dance in the center of the living room while my aunt filmed it, then I had to chase my frosting covered dog around to clean his face after my brother realized that the little shit had been sneaking sugar cookies out of a bowl. All the while a woman in a white suit with enormous shoulder pads shaked, and shimmied on the t.v., singing some Persian song about love. My 11 year old little sister asked, 

“Will you give me a baby for Christmas?” Because she wants to be an aunt again. 

“No, because it’s illegal to gift babies. And it would be kind of suspicious if I gave you a box with air holes punched in it.” 

She’s been asking me to have a baby for months. A few weeks ago she offered to help me look into “buying a cute one from someone.” Because she’s my sister so she creepy like that. 

Then my dad chimed in that we will never have a baby so Francesco shouldn’t get his hopes up. My aunt, looking very cute and modest with her head scarf on (she’s visiting from Iran), laughed and said, “oh, but tonight is the longest night of the year, you both can have a lot of opportunities tonight.” 

My other sister added, “just eat a bunch of pomegranate sis.” 

And then we all laughed, because in our family it’s apparently way normal to coax each other into a night of heavy mating with the help of aphrodisiacs. 

This is just getting started. This week will be interesting. 

On Christmas Eve, Francesco will make a traditional Italian fish feast of Baccala, clams with spaghetti, and possibly sardines or something, even though this Christmas we’ll be in Utah. I’ll feel anxious about over-fishing and empty oceans while F labors intensely over the meal. Holiday meals are a big deal in Italian culture but especially near the south. Food is huge. His mom has called every day for two weeks to ask, “but what are you making for Christmas Eve dinner?” Then F explains, again, and she’ll quickly jump in with ideas and directions (the same ideas and directions she’s already given 9 times). Then, right before they hang up she says, “and lasagne for Christmas?” And when F says “no ” again for the many-ith time, she switches to a sad tone and with crestfallen eyes goes, “oh,” loud sigh, “okay.” Then F will sometimes tell her to come here to make it for him and she’ll remind him that last year when she came to the US for Christmas, she’d hated it. Like all of it. 

On Christmas this year we will go to my dad’s house followed by my mom’s house. At my moms house my parents will be hungover from their cookie-making tradition, where my stepdad straps on an apron over his bare chest and sings Christmas carols while sipping whiskey and baking 14 dozen amazing cookies. My mom watches him mix batter, pounds Bud Light, and giggles. A jolly night, followed by a “oh what the fuck,” day. Glorious. My little brother and his girlfriend will bring over one of my nephews at some point, and I’ll spend the remainder of my day trying to stop Oliver and the baby from maiming each other, because small dogs and fiesty toddlers don’t mix. Meanwhile, my mom and stepdad will look drained and nauseous in their recliners. My mom will briefly come to life when we open our gifts to declare herself an elf and laugh with Joy about the magic of Christmas. 

After this, Francesco and I will go to the home of my stepdad’s parents, and I’ll gorge myself on delicious food and way too much wine. Then, more likely than not, I’ll say random, weird things, often useless facts about animals, or spout off sex research I recently read in Mary Roache’s book, Bonk. Or, worst case I just drink too much wine and stare off into space or uncomfortably at someone. Francesco and I will arrive home around five and I’ll wonder just how weird I acted and hope that nobody noticed (they notice). 

Francesco and I will crawl into bed and I’ll mumble, “next year we are going to Hawaii because this is exhausting.” 

But next year will come around and we’ll choose family, insanity, and exhaustion again. Because it’s too weird and too important to miss. 

Check out these awesome Holiday COSI Posts From My Badass Friends. 

Rochelle, Unwilling Expat – A Panettone Story

Georgette, Girl In Florence — 10 Holiday Fails From Around The World

Rick Zullo, Rick’ Rome-Christmas In Italy

Italy This Week

Mount Etna Explodes In Sicily.  : Am I the only person who thinks of a really mad old woman throwing a tantrum here? Anyway, Etna is pissed, she exploded into awesome badassery and caused an epic dust-thunder storm. Etna is the most active volcano in Europe and she is terrifying and totally beautiful. The pics are incredible.

7 Things American Can Learn From Italians via Huffington Post: I’m on board with all of them except number seven because who has time to live your life based on what your village thinks of you? How boring.

The Vatican Like You’ve Never Seen It Before: An impressive light show recently transformed the Vatican into a breathtaking light show and you have to see it. It’s truly amazing. “The light show has the blessing of Pope Francis, who released an encyclical on climate change earlier this year, said Louie Psihoyos, another curator and director of the film “Racing Extinction.”‘

Lombardy Bans Burkas: Lombardy, the Nazi right-wing region of Italy makes the decision to ban burkas in public, because religious freedom can suck a di%k.

I’ll be the first (as the daughter of a middle eastern man) to say that I’ve never understood the concept of women covering their head or face. It’s a bit weird in my opinion. I have relatives that do it. My aunt is currently sitting on my dad’s couch with her hair covered. It’s adorable and I love her, I respect her religion and her choices. BUT the whole idea of modesty, blah, blah, blah, is just kind of stupid to me. Vaginas OUT everyone. But really, hiding yourself from everyone but your husband is a little bit like Oliver peeing on stuff he likes, it’s a little bit “MINE, DON’T LOOK AT IT.” I know that a lot of women choose to do it for their faith, to follow their religion, a lot of women love the whole modesty thing, and in some countries women do it to protect themselves from a man’s creepy gaze (and also a scarf looks badass with a giant ponytail and eyeliner if you’re Persian). But maybe we could just raise our men to have self control, take their entitlement away, and tell them that being rapey is bad. I want to punch people in the face all the time, but I don’t because that would be frowned upon by some people.  So dudes, don’t be shitty, and then some women won’t feel like they should wear tents in public.

Also, I get that old books from a long time ago had a big thing with women covering their heads, all those dudes that wrote those holy books had some weird “veil fetish,” I get it. It’s hot. Super religious Jewish women are supposed to cover their heads, Muslims, even christian women covered their hair for a long time. In my opinion it’s a little sexist because men don’t have to cover their faces or heads (except Jewish men a little but I don’t think it’s for the same reason) and I suspect that it might have something to do with mens bias since they wrote the books. HOWEVER, HOWEVER, I’m a firm believer in religious freedom. I believe that everyone should be able to live their lives according to whatever archaic book they believe in (or a new one if you’re Mormon). Personally, I think that “going fourth and populating” (ahem) is a little more dangerous than walking around the street dressed like a ninja everyday (because we have limited planet resources so fucking stop with the ten kids because my kids will want air and water too, damnit). I can’t imagine believing that God told me I have to do something, like wear a burka, then Lombardy telling me I can’t. That would be rough and stressful and alienating. Basically, just let people practice their shit even if you think it’s weird. Unless it’s like the crusades, or an eye for an eye, or throwing babies on rocks, or any of the other sort of murdery weird shit in ALL of those old books. Just be nice. Everyone be nice. Live and let live, ya’ll. And let people wear whatever they want if it’s important to them and their faith.