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Posts from the Holidays Category

-Erika Ray

2012 was a pretty darn good year because it was the birth year of O+U.  I really love this place because I love these women.  I love their ability to reach deep down, even when it’s difficult, to rock out a post.  Our voices can be very different at times, but are always connected by respect and love.  And that respect, love, mixed with wacky sense of humor, balls-out attitudes are the very things that make us so similar.  Our loyal readers who check in share those same qualities.  I’m guessing you haven’t agreed with each post 100%, but you cheer and celebrate life balls out!  Thanks for a fabulous 2012!

2013 is going to be a good one.  Can’t you feel it?  Doesn’t it feel like something is simmering below the surface?  Get your ear to the ground.  See?  2013 is ready to explode all over us.  And I’m more than ready to shower in its goodness.

2012 is almost wrapped up.  Maybe yours was shitty or maybe it was just Blah.  I don’t really care because it’s almost outta here.  It’s time to say “See ya, bitch!”  Get ready for it.  Pull on your sparkly skirt.  Throw some glitter in the air and walk through it.  Or reach for your special PJ pants.  Take off your bra and get real comfy.  Pop the cork and pour some bubbly.  Get next to someone pretty cute.  Save your voice to scream, “Happy New Year!”  Because when that clock strikes 12 a.m., the O+U gals will be all over that shit!

 

I hope you find the holiday spirit wherever you are today….._MG_1234

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However you choose to celebrate, I hope you are surrounded in love and merriment and wonder…
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I hope that even if you kind of feel like this…._MG_1289

….you’ll find joyful smiles like this to light your way….
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I hope you find a few of your own traditions to keep.  Ours is reading this before bed….
_MG_1313And above all, I hope you have the happiest of holidays!!

by Carmen Farrell

ho ho ho

 

…usually has me acting like a flake.  I always (ALWAYS!) plan to do more than I can handle.  This here photo was meant to be the holiday card that we sent out.  I haven’t sent out a card in years (since before kids, probably).  Every year, as cards from friends and family roll in, I feel guilty.  It’s something I probably SHOULD do, but not something I care deeply about doing.  But this year, I had an idea.  A cute idea.  I put the kids on my bed and wrote on their feet.  They were adorable.  Tickle fights… which turned into wrestling which turned into crying.  The usual drill.  After that craziness, I uploaded the photo and did a bit of editing (the big boy’s feet were pretty dirty and I cloned out the worst of it) and then that’s it.  The image sat on my hard drive while I tried to rally my lazy ass to send them in for printing.  Yah.  Didn’t happen.

So instead of having it all to be for naught, I’m sharing the joy here with our lovely O+U readers…a picture of my kids’ dirty feet to brighten your day.

Have a wonderful holiday season – whatever it is that you celebrate – and I hope with all my heart that if you didn’t manage to get a card out this year that you feel no guilt about it at all.

xo,
Carmen

 

by: Erika “who uses a black & white photo for an Xmas post” RayA very B&W Xmas

This isn’t a surprise, right?  If you’re a loyal reader of O+U, I’m guessing you figured Christmas wasn’t my holiday.  You probably already thought, “That Erika has got to be the Scrooge of the group.”  You’d be right.  I will say that I do enjoy it more now that I have children.  Only a smidge more, but that smidge makes me more human.  So here’s what I really hate about the holiday.  I’m sure some of you do these things and that’s totally fine with me.  I won’t hold it against you.  I’ve been surrounded by Holiday Fanatics from they day I was yanked out of my mother.  My mother breathes so much Christmas Cheer  that I think her body refused to pass it along.  Every year, while wearing one of her fifty Christmas sweaters, she berates me “HOW can you hate Christmas?!”  Easy.  Here it is: the things that irritate me about Christmas.  And so I don’t sound completely bitchy or Scroogey, I’ll put some Holiday Cheer in each category.

I hate how every single year, people bitch about it being commercial  It’s like all of a sudden, Corporations used their fangs to suck all the tradition out of the holiday.  The first Christmas I really remember was almost thirty years ago.  And it seemed pretty commercial then too.  People bitch about decorations prior to Halloween.  People bitch about spending too much.  People talk about how Christmas is filling landfills.  We get it!  At Christmas people spend a ton of money.  90% of it is probably not necessary.  I hate when people refuse to buy gift cards because they’re so impersonal.  You know what’s impersonal?  A fuzzy Elmo-style sweater for a woman in her mid-thirties.  Stop bitching, folks.  It is what it is.  Don’t celebrate that way.  Take back your gifts if you want.  Get off your holly decorated soap box and celebrate exactly the way you’d like.  Pros: I love a good gift.  I don’t need a thousand.  Even at 36, it’s fun to rip open packages.  I love an excellent gift certificate.  Nothing says, “I love you” more than “Here.  Get what you really need!”

Christmas music.  Oh fucking christmas music…  One or two songs, I’m good.  Makes me feel like a kid.  But listening to an entire station of Christmas music makes me want to punch a baby in the face.  Hey Singers, let me save you some time…  Don’t aim to write a new classic Christmas song.  That sleigh has flown.  Just because you say, “snow” and slaps a few bells in the chorus, won’t make it worth your time in the studio.   I can almost guarantee that I won’t be listening to Justin Beiber’s “auto-tuned” Christmas song when the Old-Folks’ Home is decorating my tree.  When I drool, it will be to Elvis.  If you’re going to play Christmas music, stick to the classics and keep it to a minimum.  Please.  Or keep your babies away from me.  Pros:  If you play these, I’ll sip my drink and dance around your tree!
White Christmas:  The Drifters
Blue Christmas: Elvis
12 Pains of Christmas: Bob Rivers
Mele Kalikimaka: Bing Crosby

I hate the Elf on the Shelf crap.  I’m sorry.  I know this just stung a few of you.  Yes, there are some really creative people out there rocking the Elf thing.  But part of me thinks it’s way more fun and work for the parents to create these little scenes.  And that’s why I can’t do it.  I just can’t.  Because by day Five, I’d be fresh out of ideas.  And then it’d get inappropriate.  Day six would find him pinned down by a slew of green army men.  And on day seven, my little Elf would be face down with a bottle of Jack while a Ke$ha-looking Barbie is draped over his lap.  That’s not kid appropriate and that’s how we’d want to roll with the Elf on the Shelf.  So why stifle our creativity?  Pros: I got nothing…

Hallmark Christmas movies are awful.  Can we all agree?  Every year, some D-list actress plays the role of a recently dumped woman.  She can’t deal with the fact that she’s single during the holidays.  Her spunky BFF, who’s probably married and has three kids, tells her to buck up.  Our sad lady, goes to the store in her pj’s and zit cream for the last-minute wrapping paper and runs smack into a man named Chris.  Chris is buying gifts for the entire orphanage  down the street.  Only in Hallmark movies there’s orphanages on every corner.  He sees how sad our heroine is and convince her to be his Mrs. Claus just for one night.  You know the rest.  Pros:  Here are the only Christmas movies that should be aired.
Charlie Brown’s Chrismas
Rudolph
Christmas Vacation
Christmas Story
And yes, Love Actually (I’m a sucker for this one)

Holiday decorations belong on the tree not your car.  Or your head.  Or your clothing.  Those car reindeer antlers make me want to side-swipe your car while I’m doing 70 mph.  If you’re wearing a Santa hat or headband antlers, you’d better be taking pictures for the mall Santa.  Or work in a pediatrician’s office/daycare/school.  That beautiful Christmas sweater shouldn’t make noise or flash.  It’s not right, people.  Once my Mom got us Christmas socks.  She thought it was so cool that they also played music.  I forgot.  Lovely when you cross your legs during the Biology test and the whole class is listening to Jingle Bells.  And she wonders why I’m not in love with Christmas.  Pros: I do love when a person ironically wears a gaudy Christmas sweater.  Their confidence rocks the holiday.

Eggnog.  Come on people…  It’s gross.  Don’t make me say this.  Please.  Fine. I will.  In my head, eggnog reminds me of Man-goo.  There.  I said it.  I don’t care how much alcohol you mix in, I can’t drink it.  It’s thick, creamy and has a weird smell.  Last year, I made an entire batch by hand because everything is better when it’s homemade.  Guess what?  Not eggnog.  It reminded of a very very special man-goo load.  Pros:  The more other people drink, the more fun they are.

You love Christmas?  Fly your holiday flag!  Play Mariah’s Christmas song and dance around your non-commercial Holiday tree!  Let your Elf on the Shelf surprise your babies every single day.  Photograph it and I’ll follow along.  Make some popcorn and watch Holly fall in love with Chris and his 12 adopted kids.  Pour some eggnog and slurp it right in my face.  I might gag all over you or giggle like a teenager.  I won’t reindeer poo-poo on your holiday cheer, but don’t expect my levels to be just as high.  I’m a subtle holiday celebrator.

by Tiffani Michele

**This is not your normal holiday tradition post, either. Going into it, I already know what’s in store for you oh gentle reader. And it may be TMI, even for my blogging standards of overshare. If you know me, think you might meet me one day, or have just eaten a meal, it may be wise to skip out on this one. I’m not sure in what order I will craft my masterpiece of a post but I know it will include nipple hair, menstrual blood, and shaved heads. You have been warned.**

Last year, I started a new holiday tradition. I have a bunch of oldie but goodies that I like…advent calendar, fancy hot chocolate and scones, decorating the inside of my minivan, dipping everything I can think of in chocolate, mason jar dessert mixes for presents…but last year I came up with a little tradition I like to call, “Shaving My Fucking Head, Bitches!” Until recently I didn’t know it was a tradition, except as the anniversary approaches I realized that I missed my shaved head and really really want to do it again.

I’m not done with the experience. I’m not done with the delicious way it feels when I shower, or a wind blows, or someone rubs my head. I’m not done with how badass it feels to say “fuck you” to societal norms on women’s appearance. I’m not done with how completely vulnerable it is to shave away something so feminine and present myself to the world with only my face. I’m not done with spending no money and no time on my haircare routine. I’m not done with wearing cute knitted hats to keep me warm and then immediately regulating my temperature by taking the hat off when too hot.

Last year I did it on my own, and month by month a few more friends of mine shaved their heads (and loved it!) until now I figure at least 25 of my facebook connections have done it. This year, I’m giving you, oh awesome reader, a chance to join in if you’d like to. You have a month to think it over, and then on Jan. 1st…BAM, MOTHERFUCKERS! It’s time to take it all off. I’m not suggesting everyone should do it, but if you feel a tingle of anticipation and a rush of excitement just thinking about it then you totally should. Just do it.

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Gearing up for this big shave, (and here’s where you should stop reading if you’re prone to queasy) I’m not only letting my hair grow on my head but I’m growing my hair *everywhere*. *All over.* *No razor allowed!* *Anywhere!* At the same time I’m exploring what it means to be feminine without hair, I’m exploring what it’s like to be feminine with hair.

This all came to me a couple weeks ago while washing menstrual blood from off my legs in a rushing river. I was driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to meet 7 friends in Santa Cruz, and I guess the anticipation of so much female power unlocked my inner goddess and she decided to respond by giving me the gushiest start to a period EVER. While I was camping by myself in a clearing, next to a river. I wasn’t due to start my period, but it didn’t stop it from happening when I woke in the morning and stood up to eat some trail mix. With blood running all down my leg I did the only thing I could do…stepped into the running water, crouched down, and rinsed myself. I felt like a freaking pioneer woman or something. Just taking care of shit in a river.

I hesitated a bit, though, even covered in blood with no other option. “Would I be polluting the water? Is it OK, to just rinse myself like that? Is it right? Is it proper? Is it gross?”

And then I thought, “There are countless corporations defiling billions of gallons of riverwater a second, which you’re actually not aware of but probably should be more vigilant about, and you’re wondering if your natural body fluids are shameful? What is wrong with you?!”

For the rest of the drive; after purchasing Motrin, a chocolate bar, and tampons from the nice gas station dude, I wondered about what other things made me feel shameful about my femininity.

Let me tell you, that opened a big can of whoop ass worms.

I realized that from the time I started shaving, around 12, until that moment, that I’d never stopped shaving. That, in fact, I added more and more things TO shave until a significant part of my shower routine was spent with razor in hand.

At 12, it started with my lower legs.
At 14, it was my lower legs, upper thighs, underarms, and general bikini area.
At 16, a friend pointed out that I should start shaving my nipple area because some chicks got hair there. I didn’t, but started just in case.
At 17, a boyfriend commented I had “monkey arms” and instead of breaking up with him I started shaving them.
At 18, it was my lower legs, upper thighs, underarms, half my arms, nipple area, more focused bikini area with landing strip pubes.
At 21 it was my lower legs, upper thighs, underarms, half my arms, nipple area, bikini area, and asshole area. To be a more proper lady, of course.
By 30 it was all that and also my upper arm area and also tweezing my eyebrows and waxing my upper lip/chin.

That continued until recently. In fact, not only did I do that…I did it religiously every other day. I wouldn’t even have sex unless I’d shaved within the day or two. I never thought about it, it was just an effort to be “attractive”, “womanly”, “feminine”. It was driven by shame. Not that the act of shaving is shameful, but how I felt if I didn’t shave was. Why? I don’t know. It’s just hair! But I have no idea what I’m like au naturale. Do I have nipple hair? Don’t know! Do I agree that I have monkey arms? Don’t know! But probably not, since that dude was an asshole and why the fuck did I keep shaving my arms long after he was gone?

A few friends have pointed out that being a single woman is not the best time to experiment with a shaved head and hairy legs.

Fuck that, why not? Beyond the obvious, of course.

Who could ever fall in love with a bald, hairy woman? Who can even like a bald hairy woman who may or may not have nipple hair? Is that even dateable?

And that’s when it hit me. I’m done doing things from a place of shame because I think it will please other people and therefore make me more pleasing. I got shit to work out before I worry about who will or won’t love or even like me. Date me or don’t. Kiss me and my unwaxed upper lip or don’t. If hair or no hair is really a dealbreaker to someone, then it’s best I know that up front because that shit would never work out. None of that even matters until I can answer one simple question:

Can I ever fall in love with a bald, hairy woman?

Not that I’m a lesbian, I meant, you know, me.

Can I like myself even if I’m bald and hairy?

This is the month I’m starting to figure it out. I’ll have a merry christmas and then BAM! Time to shave.

You, of course, are welcome to join me for any or all of this experience.

Happy (Hairy!) Holidays!

By Jill Greenwood

There’s a house on our street that our family has dubbed “Christmas Village.” I’m pretty sure that y’all have a Christmas Village, too . . . lights galore, several “tactful” animatronics, some planning. The kind of house that would make you shudder if you lived nearby. I’m not talking anything like this, but you get the general idea. Usually, our Christmas Village coincides with the general Holiday time, but for the past several years, it’s gotten earlier and earlier. Usually, the Christmas Spirit has been determined by the Village (not a bottle as some might suspect); sadly, with its early appearance, I’ve had to rely on something else: music.

It's blurry. It's grainy. It's my favorite Christmas photo of the girls.

It’s blurry. It’s grainy. It’s my favorite Christmas photo of the girls.

A couple of caveats: I won’t play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving and I’m not a purist. Not by a long shot. Here’s what really gets me happy and ready to groove when Christmas is a mere 23 days away:

  • “Santa Baby” by Kylie Minogue: really, anyone singing this song is generally OK with me (except Madonna . . . I don’t like her version, which is odd because I love the Material Girl, but I think she was in that weird Who’s That Girl? period when she recorded her version – too much “baby talk” bullshit)
  • The Fairytale of New York” by The Pouges and Kirsty MacColl: hands up, people . . . who among us hasn’t had a Christmas a little bit like this one? That’s what I thought! Plus, it’s breathtaking if you just listen to the music.
  • “Peace On Earth/The Little Drummer Boy” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie: any other version is crap. Shit. Not worthy of being heard. The Binger will be on here a few times.
  • “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey: when I hear this song, it means that it’s officially Christmas. I’ve been known to turn off the radio if I think it’s occurring too early (and her boobs looked spectacular this year during the Tree Lighting telecast this year).
  • “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by anyone: I really like this song . . . even if it makes me cry. Sorry, sentimental sap.
  • “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses: it’s silly; it’s goofy; it’s fucking Christmas, people. Enough said.
  • “Christmas In Killarney” by Bing Crosby: it was a toss up between this and “Mele Kalikimaka” for my favorite song by Bing Crosby, but this is the one that I associate with Christmas. Because the Christmas of my childhood was spent at my mom’s parents’ house. And this is the song from their house.
  • “Wonderful Christmastime” by Wings: child of the ’70s. That’s me.
  • “Get Behind Me, Santa” by Sufjan Stevens: I associate this with my children who introduced Mr. Stevens to me. Thank you, Girls!
  • “Carol of the Bells” by anyone: I’m not picky with this holiday classic. It’s pretty. It’s innocuous. It’s a just plain pretty.
  • “Father Christmas” by The Kinks: one of the very, very few songs that I can listen to when it’s not Christmas. Probably because the Davies’ brothers are my kind of siblings.
  • “The Coventry Carol” by Alison Moyet: ’tis an oldie (like 500 years old) but it’s an amazing piece of music, albeit kind of sad and depressing. Go have a listen!
  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews: my husband will vote for Buster Poindexter and Sigourney Weaver. But he would be wrong.
  • “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” by Hall & Oates: because I love my husband (and I might be a little tipsy . . . fine, a lot tipsy)
  • “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley: it is only acceptable by the King. We can’t be friends if you like another version. You think I’m kidding. See the above comment for the ruling.
  • “Christmas In Hollis” by Run-DMC: I don’t need a reason for this one. It’s Run-DMC.
  • “Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)” by Lou Monte: I. Fucking. Love. This. Song. Questions?
  • “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives: it doesn’t get any better than this.
  • “Zat You, Santa Claus?” by Buster Poindexter: throwing my husband a bone . . . because it’s Christmas :)

I’m sure that there are some that I’ve missed. Any that you’re willing to go to bat for? Fair warning . . . if you suggest “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” all bets are off.

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