Sleepovers

My daughter is having her second sleepover of her winter break. A couple of days ago, she hosted. Tonight she’s staying at a friend’s. I don’t know how it is for other parents, but I find hosting a sleepover to be a lot of work. I feel a lot of pressure to make sure they have plenty of fun and still get fed and watered, etc. That being said, I much prefer hosting a sleepover to letting her sleep at someone else’s house.

As a divorced parent, I only get to be with my daughter half the week. I want to spend every last minute of that half-week with her. I know it would be impossible to spend that much time with her. I have work, she has school and after school activities, and we both have to sleep. I truly savor the remaining time that we have together.

I also know that it’s not about me or what I want. So, I willingly give up some of my time with her to let her do things like sleepovers. Outside of illness and injury, I find it to be about the hardest part of being a parent. When she’s out with a friend during my half-week, I feel a special kind of loneliness. It’s hard to explain, but I’m just hyperaware of her absence.

Of course, it’s all OK again when I see her the next morning and she tells me all about how much fun she had. I remember sleepovers as a kid. They were awesome. I’ll accept the rough few hours of loneliness to give her that experience. It’s no fun for me, but it’s definitely worth it.

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Listening To Music

This afternoon, my daughter and her cousin were listening to music on YouTube. They were singing along and dancing and having a great time. It got me thinking about when I was her age and how I listened to music. It’s amazing how much things have changed.

There are two blatant changes. One is the formats she listens to. When I was her age, my choices were vinyl records or the radio. Everything my daughter listens to now is digital. We used to have physical copies of the music. I used to look at all the artwork and read all the liner notes and credits. Now she just has the music and video in the moment she’s listening.

The second big change is in the choices she has. There are millions of songs available to her for free online at any time. We were stuck with whatever the radio stations happened to be playing. For me, there were two pop stations, four classic rock stations, and an oldies station. In other words, we didn’t have a lot of choices or a lot of variety.

There are a bunch of other changes. For example, currently music is all about singles. When I was young, albums were more important. Things like that. All of these changes are kind of a mixed bag. Some are really good, some are really bad, and some can go either way depending on the situation.

One of the things I’ve struggled with as a parent is how to teach my daughter about music. It’s been such an important part of my life, so it’s something I really want to share with her. But, I don’t want to force it on her. It should be fun, not homework. And I don’t want her to just mirror my tastes. I want her to discover her own things and have her tastes develop organically.

I’m trying a best of both worlds approach with her. I’m encouraging her to use all of the modern tools available to her like YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, etc. But I’ve also been getting her physical albums (usually on vinyl). It’s kind of a weird mix. The trouble is I can’t tell if it’s working. And I won’t know until she’s older. I’m trying to hit the golden mean and I just have to keep hoping.

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Mary Poppins Returns

I saw Mary Poppins Returns this afternoon with my daughter. She loved it with all the singing and dancing and colors. I thought it was somewhere around good. Emily Blunt was good in the role. Dick Van Dyke is an absolute marvel. It certainly entertained us for a couple of hours which is really all you can ask out of a movie.

The whole time I was watching it, though, I just kept thinking about how hard it must have been to make the movie. It’s a sequel to Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins is a perfect movie. How do you make a sequel to a perfect movie? I guess Mary Poppins Returns is the answer. You make a movie that respects the original with a talented cast. You try to capture the look and feel of the original. You do your best, and just accept the fact that it can never measure up to the original.

This is just a round about way of saying I feel a little bad for Mary Poppins Returns. There is no way for it to avoid comparisons with Mary Poppins. And nothing can look good in comparison to Mary Poppins. I hope people can recognize the movie’s high degree of difficulty and enjoy it. It really is worth seeing.

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Summertime Fine, Part III: Double Duty (1 of 2)

Photo by Matt Antonioli on Unsplash

My father has described Ragland men as “late bloomers.” There’s probably no better way to describe my dating history. Sure, I was married by 21, but getting married is kind of easy- all you have to do is ask. My ex-wife and I had barely dated when I proposed to her, and I had almost zero understanding of what dating meant anyway. I was aware that it meant going on “dates,” but I didn’t really get the process of learning about another person. We started to get to know each other better in our marriage, and it turned out we weren’t that compatible. The same thing happened with me and my next girlfriend. We didn’t get married, but we did end up living together almost immediately, and that also fell apart as we realized it wasn’t the best fit. After seven years and two relationships, my idea of dating was fuzzy, and I’d never dated two women at the same time. A couple of messages on Tinder and PoF does not dating make, but it was a new experience for me as I blossomed at the age of 32.

And what women they were. Both Adaku and Rose were smart, beautiful, hardworking and looking for something serious. Beyond that, they couldn’t be more different. Adaku had gone to one of the best colleges in the country, with a degree that spoke directly to my writer nerd heart. She was a 32 year old manager at her job. In our first conversation on the phone, we were making jokes about Chaucer and the unbearable seriousness of English survey classes. She told me that French was the language she’d studied as part of her major, and that while she’d been studying abroad she was hit by a motorbike. She laughed at the minor drama of me trying to get submissions for my writing group. I would open up Tinder to look at her pictures while we talked. She was a great woman, with one not-so-minor drawback: she lived over sixty miles away.

Rose was 25, working as a CAN and looking to move into occupational therapy. She loved to travel, having gone to Jamaica over the summer and planning to visit New Orleans in the fall. She described herself to me by saying, “I’m half-Jamaican and half-Puerto Rican, I’m an Aquarius, and I’m impulsive.” Our first phone conversation went like this:

Her: Okay, I want to make sure I’m pronouncing your name right.  It’s Jamil, right?

Me: Yes. You’d be surprised how many people get that wrong.

Her: Let’s just say that I have a lot of experience pronouncing ethnic names.

Me: You mean nigga names?

Her: (laughs) Well I wasn’t going to say it, but yeah!

Rose was a partier, but she was also serious about her work. We talked when we could, exchanging messages on her breaks and brief phone calls when she was driving to or from work. I really liked her too, despite the fact that we could only squeeze in time to talk here and there. Eventually, texting and phone conversations had to give way to meeting. The stage was set for the first date, times two.

This was a new challenge for me as well. In the past, I had no problem spending time with the woman I was seeing. Now I was dating as an adult, trying to find time across two busy work schedules, family commitments and social engagements. After arranging the Rubik’s Cube of our calendars, Rose told me that she was free on Monday morning. Who could go on a date on a Monday morning? I could, because I’d already taken the day off! We were on for a late August, Monday morning date at Wickham Park.

Meeting Rose when I did felt dangerously close to one of those universal timing things people keep telling me about. I’d just gotten the life-changing haircut, so I was looking fresh to death on that front. The next step was to upgrade my wardrobe to match. Dating can be expensive on its own, but I hadn’t considered how much the periphery elements around dating, like clothes, cost. But that’s why the Non-Denominational Deity created the clearance rack. Abercrombie and Fitch had me covered, and I had my first date outfit ready: a black polo with stars dotted across it, and close-fitting khaki-colored pants. The only thing dragging the outfit down were my busted ass kicks, but we were going to the park to walk around. I figured I could get away with them.

Monday morning, 9:00 AM arrived. I reached the front gate of Wickham Park, and stood next to a small stone building that housed the park attendant. At 9:10 AM, I got a message from Rose. She was running late and would be there as soon as she could. I didn’t mind at all; I was talking to the attendant, a friendly woman who knew all the best places in the park to take someone on a date. We were discussing the lotus park when Rose arrived. The attendant let us go into the park without paying the $5 car charge. Things were already off to a good start.

Rose was wearing a white T-shirt with red shoulders, blue jeans that were ripped up and down her legs, and flip flops. We walked through the aviary and talked about our high school experiences, and in the arboretum we learned more about each other’s families. By the time we found the lotus park, the topic had turned to politics. We talked for hours about Democrats and Republicans, Trump and how regular people could act in a system that seemed to proscribe our choices at each turn. Before I knew it, it was almost 1:00 and Rose was telling me that she had to leave to get ready for work. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by her energy and curiosity. She knew a lot, but she was ready to learn more, and so was I. Talking to Rose was already addicting.

My first morning date was a success, but it would continue to be a challenge for us to see each other. She was usually free on the weekends, but that was the time that my son came to visit. We’d have to find a way to see each other that didn’t interfere too much with my time with him. The only time we could find for the next weekend was Sunday evening, after 6:00 PM. Gabe would have to go home a couple of hours early. But what could Rose and I do on a Sunday night?

She had mentioned to me that she’d never seen a play before, and that seemed like the perfect idea for a second date. As luck would have it, the play “Hand to God” at Theaterworks had extended its run one extra day, with a Sunday show at 7:00 PM. Our tickets were bought and the evening was set.

The play was wonderful. It was a comedy about a church puppet show gone wrong, with everything from accusations of demonic possession to simulated sex between hand muppets. There couldn’t be a better play for Rose’s first theater experience. She loved every minute of it. As we sat in the audience eating ice cream and laughing at cute puppets swearing profusely, she wrapped her arm around mine. My heart started beating a little faster as she leaned her head on my shoulder. On the ride back to my place, we talked about how great the play was, and how different live theater was than a movie. Her face was lit up with excitement, and the glow made her even more beautiful.

We arrived at my place, and we stood in the driveway and talked for a few more minutes. I didn’t want the night to end, but she had to go to get rest before her Monday double shift. Before she left, I asked her if I could kiss her, and she said yes.

Kissing is probably my favorite sexual act short of intercourse itself. I could make out for hours like a horny teenager if allowed to. A great kiss is almost always a prelude to great sex, but even before that, kissing lets you explore another person’s body intimately without the pressure of performance. How do your lips fit together? How do your tongues dance around each other? How does your partner feel in your hands? Squeezed against your body? How do they taste? A great kiss can tell you all of that.

As you might have guessed, Rose and I had a great first kiss.

There’s no feeling like kissing someone you really like for the first time in the afterglow of an amazing evening, right at the beginning of a warm summer night as the sun falls behind you. We kissed, parted just enough to look into each other’s eyes, and kissed again. Eventually she pulled away, saying that she had to go. We were going to see each other again that Friday.

But wait. You may be thinking, “Isn’t this section called ‘Double Duty’? Wasn’t there another girl in all of this?” Yes, the lovely Adaku. I would finally be seeing her on Saturday.

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Muppet Genetics

My dad asked a question the other day, “If Kermit and Piggy had kids, what would they look like?” That’s a fair question. What would they look like? My first thought was that the girls would be pigs and the boys would be frogs. That’s what happens in The Muppet Christmas Carol when Kermit plays Bob Cratchit and Piggy plays his wife. Their girl children are pigs and their boy children are frogs. That doesn’t work, though. Those aren’t Kermit and Piggy’s actual kids. They’re just Muppet actors playing the role of the Cratchit children.

So, I started trying to think of Muppets that are blood relatives. Kermit is Robin’s uncle, and they’re both frogs. Mrs. Bear is Fozzie Bear’s mother, and they’re both bears. That’s as far as I got. Even if I missed some, it’s not a very long list. And it’s not a very helpful list. We don’t know what Kermit’s sister or brother looked like, nor do we know what Fozzie’s father looked like. Were they frogs and bears respectively? That would explain why the relatives look so much like each other.

It is tempting to think that Kermit and Piggy could not produce offspring. After all, they are different species and not compatible. That doesn’t feel right, though. In order for Kermit and Piggy or Gonzo and Camilla to have a romance, there must be some mutual attraction. And normally, in Nature, incompatible animals are not attracted to each other. That’s how evolution works. If different Muppets do in fact feel attracted to each other, it seems likely that they are genetically compatible.

My mom suggested that all Muppets are in fact part of the same species, Muppet. This makes sense. It would explain why Muppets are attracted to each other. It would also explain a lot of other Muppet behavior. Why doesn’t Kermit need to be wet like most frogs? Because he’s a Muppet. Why doesn’t Fozzie hibernate in the winter like most bears? Because he’s a Muppet. Muppets do their own things. And if this theory is true, Kermit and Piggy can reproduce.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us what those offspring would look like. Is green skin dominant or recessive? There’s no way to tell. We would have to assume that the children would be some combination of Kermit and Piggy. But we can never really predict what babies will look like from looking at the parents. Otherwise all siblings would look the same. I guess Kermit and Piggy’s children will remain a mystery until the two of them decide to have children. The only thing I am confident about is that the children would be adorable.

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Summertime Fine, Part II: Wakeup Reversal

Maybe five people will get this joke

I wrote in the last post that I don’t believe in the metaphysical, although a lot of what I’ve experienced since the summer may feel like there’s some hand guiding things. In reality, if you spend enough time on dating apps, send enough “Hey, how are you?” messages, hit on enough of your friends and otherwise swing at whatever is over the plate, something will work out. The timing will make it look like a coincidence, but if you have enough pokers in the fire, then everything looks like a coincidence.

Plenty of Fish illustrates this perfectly. By the time I got that blowjob, I’d sent out dozens of messages to eligible bachelorettes. I’m admittedly shallow when it comes to my process for selecting who to message. First, I look to see if the woman is pretty or not. Second, I read their profile to see if there’s anything which disqualifies me from their perspective. For example, if a woman writes that she doesn’t want children, or wants a man with a car, then I don’t message her. There’s no point in wasting either of our time. For me, almost nothing is disqualifying, because I believe that with a very few exceptions, everything is negotiable. Shoot the shot, and we’ll worry about the rest later. Needless to say, my lax policy leads me to swipe right a lot. I rarely get responses, but that’s the name of the game.

It’s important to cast other nets too, and that’s where hitting on friends comes in. I’m not one of those reductionists who believes that men and women can’t be strictly platonic friends, but when you need a little bit of action, who better to turn to than a person you already know and trust in other contexts? I had a friend that I’d fooled around with in the past, and I convinced her to let me go down on her over the weekend. I honestly should have known better, because the last time we fooled around, it hadn’t ended well.

But! Before we get to that, back to PoF. One of the dozens of women I’d messaged actually messaged me back. I’d reached out to her three weeks ago, so I was surprised when she responded. She was very pretty, with short hair, high cheekbones and a smile that made her look even more girlish than her 25 years. She messaged me that Friday, a simple response to my simple question. I messaged her back, but kept my plans to go down on my friend on Sunday.

We’d planned to meet up around 9:00 PM. Before long, it was 11:00. She called me to tell me that, even though it was late, she was still willing to stop by. I was in my feelings at that point, and blew up on her because I thought she was calling to cancel. As you might expect, she didn’t appreciate being yelled at, and the evening collapsed from there. While we’ve patched things up several times over since that night, I’ve replayed it in my head now and again. Yes, I enjoy eating pussy, but not so much that I should have been angry about a pussy-eating appointment being canceled. I was lonely and sad that night, despite the excitement of the last week. I wanted to go down on my friend, sure, but more importantly, I didn’t want to be alone. The only way I knew how to communicate that was through a transactional sex act: if you come keep me company, then I’ll make sure you have an orgasm. When I thought she was canceling, my hurt turned to anger, and in my anger, I got the one outcome I’d been trying to avoid.

There I was, sad and bored, so I did what anyone with a smart phone would do: I opened up Tinder. I swiped through a bunch of profiles in a depressed haze, and tried to distract myself with other social media. Not only had my plans with my friend blown up, but the pretty girl I’d messaged on Friday hadn’t responded. Staying awake was just making me sadder, and I closed my eyes to force myself to sleep.

My phone buzzed. A match on Tinder! I snapped awake, feeling the negative emotions dissipate as pleasure chemicals coursed through my brain. I opened the app and checked the match. Her name was Adaku*, a Nigerian name I was sure. She was gorgeous. She had a high forehead, full lips and cat-like eyes behind her thin-framed glasses. Now came the important question of how long to wait before I sent her a message, and what to say.

I know it sounds silly, but one of the things I worry about is showing interest, but not being too interested. Does it come across as desperate (or “thirsty,” as the cool kids say) if I immediately respond to a message? Considering that my phone is always either in my hand, in my pocket or within earshot, I realistically almost never miss a message the instant it comes through. It’s a matter of finding the spot between, “Yes I want to talk to you!” and “HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!” I don’t care about embarrassing myself with my level of interest, but I know that women have to deal with a lot of bullshit online, as they do everywhere else as well.

I waited about ten minutes before I hit her with the classic: “Hey, how are you? How was your weekend?” By this time it was a little after midnight. Was that too late? Did it make me seem like a weird creeper to send a first message during traditional booty call hours? But a few minutes later, she responded: “Hey, I’m well, and my weekend was good. How about you?” We exchanged niceties and a little bit of banter before my eyes grew heavy from the emotional exhaustion of the day. I said goodnight, excited to see where my first Tinder match would go.

I was greeted with another message the next morning, but not from Adaku. It was from the young woman on PoF, who had written me back and told me her first name, Rose*. She apologized for the delay in responding to me, and said that she often worked double shifts which kept her occupied from 7:00 AM-11:00 PM, so she was responding when she could find the time. She only had a few minutes again before she had to go to work, but she would have a break around 7:00 PM for fifteen minutes when we could talk. We exchanged phone numbers, and I felt excited again. I’d gotten a phone number from a dating site for the first time! Before I floated away too far from the earth, I remembered that I owed Adaku a good morning message as well. A quick reversal had turned a bad night had turned into a good morning. Funny how that works, right? Things would only get better from there.

*Names have been changed

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Christmas Was a Success

It is a pleasure giving my daughter gifts. She gets visibly excited, really, genuinely excited. It doesn’t even matter that much what the gift is. She’s as happy with clothes as she is with toys or crafts or books. It makes Christmas morning a real treat.

This was a somewhat challenging year for me and Santa. There was nothing that my daughter really wanted, or at least nothing she would tell me about. Just last week, her cousin asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she replied with, “Whatever Santa wants to bring me.” It was a little nerve wracking.

But it all worked out. She was thrilled with what Santa brought her. She kept wanting to stop and play with whatever she had just opened instead of continuing to open more presents. She liked what I gave her and she really liked what her grandparents and aunts and uncles gave too. Now I mostly judge Christmases by how magical they are for my daughter. This one was a success.

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Summertime Fine, Part I: That’s Gay

Photo by Sean O. on Unsplash

I’ll admit this right off the bat: I stole the title for this essay from a dating profile on Plenty of Fish. I don’t remember what the young woman looked like, but I’ll take her at her word that she was in fact fine in the summertime, and possibly in the fall and winter as well. She was one of the dozens of women I’ve messaged over the last three months, and one of the dozens which never responded to me. Oh well. But I did get responses from a couple of other women, and I would definitely describe them as summertime fine, both due to their appearance and the brevity of our relationships. Hence the title. We’ll get to that though.

I suppose this is the final part of an unofficial trilogy I’ve been writing since the summer, without even realizing it. Life is of course an interconnected braid of events, not individual threads, so it makes sense that these stories are continuations of each other. It all began with a haircut, and essentially ended with a question, so if you want to check those out first, go for it. A lot happened between those two points. Let me tell you all about it.

*

It was a Wednesday, the day after my friends convinced me to get a haircut. I was typically bored at work. That meant cruising Facebook, as usual, trying to sort between the bad news, the worse news, and the memes. I saw a post from a guy I’d recently added. I didn’t pay any attention to what the post said, instead thinking, “He’s cute,” immediately followed by, “Huh, that’s a thought I just had.” I’ve never been the type to slide into someone’s DMs, mostly because I have the irrational fear that I’m going to get screenshotted and exposed as if we’re all still in high school. But maybe because it was a guy, maybe because I was surprised by my own interest, maybe I was that fucking bored, I messaged him:

“I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just say it- I think you’re really cute. Full disclosure, I’ve never asked a guy out before, and I’m not really looking for anything serious with anyone, but I’d like to spend some time with you.”

I sent that message at 12:12 PM. There’s no terror like sending a risky message, and having it sit out there for hours. Especially when you can see that it’s been read. Especially when you can see that person is active online.

Seven hours and fifteen minutes later came the response:

“Hey, thanks I appreciate the sentiment but I’m honestly not really looking for dates right now.”

I apologized for bothering him, and that was that, or so I thought. A concept that I’ve been learning more about is, “putting things out into the universe.” It’s a cheesy, metaphysical way to say, “Ask and ye shall receive.” Because the next day, I got what I’d asked for, although in a different fashion.

Again, I was bored at work (this seems to be theme for me). Again, I was on social media, but this time I was tromping around my various dating apps. I’d created profiles on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid and Bumble on a particularly lonely 4th of July, and had little success with any of them. So there I was, on company time, checking out my PoF profile. I’d had a view, and when I looked at who had checked out my profile, the user’s name was “HeadGamePopping4U.” No profile picture.

This has to 100% be a bot, I thought to myself. Scam bots are a common feature on dating apps, and PoF is notorious for being overrun by them. But I respond to obvious scam bots anyway. There’s a nonzero chance that the beautiful woman fronting a bot profile is actually a real person who’s into you. And if there’s a nonzero chance that a woman whose head game is popping is into me, then yeah, I’ll suffer the temporary, private embarrassment of talking to a script for a few minutes.

As it turned out, the obvious bot actually was a person. The conversation has since been deleted, but it went something like this:

Me: Hey, how are you?

Them: Want to get your dick sucked?

Me: Sure

Them: There’s one catch though. I’m not a woman, I’m actually a bisexual guy.

Me: Okay, cool

That was literally it. We exchanged a few more messages to determine a time and a place. We would meet up at his job that afternoon.

As a writer, I’m not often at a loss for words, but I was honestly surprised. When I sent out the DM the day before, I wasn’t sure what I actually wanted. I was riding the wave of energy from the haircut the day before, and just acted on impulse. If the guy had said yes, I don’t know what I would have done. Dinner? A movie? Ask, “What’s your favorite color?”

But now I had a better situation. Just a blowjob, no questions asked. I could find out what the experience was like without any of the time or energy of getting to know someone. That’s exactly what happened. I showed up, said hello, and he got down to business. When he finished, I said bye, and left. We didn’t even ask for each other’s names.

So I’m sure you’re wondering, did I like it? Hell yes I did. No disrespect to the women I’ve dealt with, but it was the best blowjob I’ve ever received. It helped that the guy was cute too, but he was also good at what he did. There was an aura of excitement and naughtiness about it too- an anonymous sex act between strangers at, at his job. There was the danger of being caught. It really was a great experience, and it happened in the perfect way.

I’m not a metaphysical person. I don’t really believe that DMing a guy on Wednesday shifted something in the universal ether to lead me to meet another guy on Thursday. What I believe is that I opened myself up to a potential experience on Wednesday, so that when the guy on Thursday exercised his free will and checked my profile, I was ready to receive it.

It didn’t lead to some sort of crisis of sexuality or deep introspection either. Afterwards, I thought to myself, “Wow, that was a great blowjob.” And I appreciated it for that. Men and women feel different though, and without being graphic, I like the way women feel better. But if anyone offers to suck my dick for literally nothing but the cost of the Uber to get there, you’d better believe that’s an offer I’m considering.

I never met up with that guy again. There was no problem or anything, but shortly thereafter, my options grew again. That weekend, I met the two women who would dominate my time for the next two months.

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Christmas Stories

One of my favorite holiday traditions is the tradition of Christmas stories. I read “A Christmas Carol” every year. I love Frosty and Rudolph. I have The Grinch on CD and listen to it regularly. I also write stories. So one thing I really wanted to write this December is a Christmas story. I wrote one last year, but this year it didn’t work out.

I started two Christmas stories this year, but I couldn’t get either one to come together in any satisfactory way. One was about a guitarist who is about to get fired from a gig because he’s so bored playing Christmas carols. A spirit intervenes and teaches him how to embrace the holiday spirit and play better because of it. It’s a riff on “A Christmas Carol” because nothing is more traditional than riffing on “A Christmas Carol”. To do it right, though, it has to be a rather long story, and I just haven’t had the time to work on it.

I generally hate shopping. The one day a year that I actually like shopping is Christmas Eve. The other story was supposed to be about a Christmas Eve shopping trip. I was hoping to spread the feeling that I get when I’m out on Christmas Eve. I was never able to come up with an ending for the story, though. I can’t write a story without knowing how it’s going to end.

Those were the only two ideas I had. Every night when I sat down to write, I started by trying to come up with a story, but the ideas wouldn’t come. I don’t know why, but it’s frustrating. I guess I’ll keep tinkering with these two. Maybe I can get them ready for next year. Of course part of the difficulty in writing them might be because I’m not completely thrilled with either idea. Hopefully, a better idea will come to me during the year.

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Too Much Christmas Music?

I realized today that there’s only one more day before Christmas, but I haven’t listened to all of my Christmas music yet. I don’t think I’m going to get through it all this year. Does that mean I have too much? I only added one new album this year, Eric Clapton’s Happy Xmas. It’s solid enough. It’s kind of what you’d expect when you hear that Eric Clapton has a Christmas album. Was that my tipping point?

I don’t think so. Sure, as the newest record, I’ve listened to it more than once, but that shouldn’t have crowded out anything. There are certain holiday albums that are just too good to listen to only once. Things like Ella Fitzgerald and the Muppets. So I usually have repeat listens mixed into my binge.

I have been working steadily through my collection. I think I just didn’t have as much time to listen to music this year. I don’t know if it was the new job or the sick kid or what. It’s kind of a bummer, though. I took the lesson from Elf to heart, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I always sing along with my records. I haven’t spread as much cheer this year.

So, I don’t think I have too much Christmas music. I just have too little time. I’ll have to be more organized next year. I don’t want to let Santa down again.

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