Ok, ok you got me. It’s not Friday. Or is it? Vacations always screw up my sense of time. But I couldn’t help myself; I had two timely topics for Love/Hate this week so, BAM! Bonus Love/Hate. I hope that you love it. Or hate it.
(Note: You’ll find that a lot of my Loves have to do with food. Let’s face it, food is an important part of celebrating the holidays. It’s especially important to me because I love food, I mean, have you read this blog? If you’re into food or celebrities, 141characters is the place for you. This Christmas was extra special because I felt entitled to eating all the goodies that I could, you know, for Baby.)
1) Jioio’s Pizza. By far one of the most awesome traditions that I married into was the Christmas Eve Pizza Buffet with my father-in-law’s family. Here’s how it works: each family brings pizza from a different local establishment (we have many local pizza joints in our hometown, it’s pretty unbelievable but you’ll have to trust me) and/or an appetizer of choice. We meet on the evening of Christmas Eve and feast on pizza and hairy pickles (actually I don’t eat hairy pickles, they are gross). This year, I couldn’t help myself when it came to the Jioio’s Pizza (do yourself a favor and check out the link, there’s a little video on the homepage about Jioio’s and apparently you can mail order the pizza, too. Something to think about for dinner next week). I ate so much that I made myself sick but it was so worth it. During vacation, I was given a recipe for Jioio’s pizza but I’m not gonna share it here for fear that I will be haunted by Mrs. Jioio. Eeek.
2) No Birthday Song for Jesus. I love Jesus, I really do—especially Baby Jesus all adorable in his swaddling clothes—but a few years back, my Jesus-loving Grandma got the brilliant idea that we should sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus before we ate Christmas dinner. It really makes no sense since he’s not at dinner and there’s no birthday cake. I’m not sure if she saw this on TV and wanted to try it out with the family or what. To my knowledge, she doesn’t have dementia. Well, this year, she forgot! So there was no uncomfortable, awkward singing of the birfday song for Jesus. Hallelujah!
3) Hickory Farms Turkey Summer Sausage. Hickory Farms is perhaps the most cherished mall kiosk that pops up at the holidays. And thank the Baby Jesus that my mother-in-law is an annual shopper. My sausage of choice is the Turkey Summer Sausage (it’s no wonder that they are currently sold out) because it’s cured with honey and brown sugar; combine that with the smoky goodness of the turkey and you have the ultimate combination of salty and sweet. The MIL sent me home with a stick and the only thing keeping me from devouring it before 10am is the fact that we couldn’t find any Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard at the Giant Eagle before we left. Somehow, I think that I’ll be able to force it down regardless, although the mustard would’ve been nice.
4) Seeing Family and Friends. When I lived with my family and saw them every day, they annoyed the crap out of me. Then I moved away, talked to them every couple days on the phone, and saw them on average eight times a year. And magically, we get along very well now. Therefore, when the holidays roll around, I’m genuinely excited to get home and see all of my family and hometown friends. Even their crazy behavior doesn’t bother me as much. For example, my father-in-law wouldn’t let the Schwan’s man come to the house anymore because the big truck “ruins the grass” when it backs up. Instead, poor Ganky has to walk to the next street over and lug her goodies back to the house. But only two days later, Pop parked his truck in the grass! We Mondoos tried to keep track of all the crazy stuff our parents did during the holiday weekend, but it was a Sisyphean endeavor.
5) Apricot and Nut Rolls. Each holiday, my dad, the resident family chef, makes these deliciously ethnic pastries filled with apricot, nuts, apricot and nuts, and poppyseed filling (even though no one really likes poppyseed filling). Each year he makes more and more because he receives more and more compliments on them and there’s nothing my dad loves more than compliments on his cooking. I am confident that this is the real reason that he cooks in the first place. Regardless, they are delicious and as long as he keeps making them, I will keep eating them.
1) Early Christmas Morning Texts. I stayed up way too late on Christmas Eve eating pizza and wanted nothing more than to sleep off my food hangover on Christmas morning but NO! A few people (who I will soon block from my phone if this persists) sent me “Merry Christmas!” texts during the wee hours of Christmas morning thus waking me from my slumber. No, these people aren’t friends with children who were up early opening gifts, they are teachers. Ugh, teachers! They have no concept of the rest of the world so it’s my job to educate them, so here it goes: Dear Teachers: Just because you have to get up at 4am in the morning doesn’t mean that the rest of the world does. DO NOT text people before 10am, it’s just plain rude. And while we’re at it, the rest of us (well not me, still unemployed) work in the summer. I’m glad that you get the summers off, how nice for you, but we don’t. So, stop assuming that we do and/or rubbing it in. K? Thanks! Love, Mondoo.
2) So Crowded. Mr. Mondoo and I have large families to begin with but now cousins and what not are getting married, having kids, bringing boyfriends and girlfriends around and I have to be honest, things are getting a little too crowded for me. I barely had any elbow room during any of the four Christmas dinners that I ate and we showed up a half hour late to one family event (thankfully not the Christmas Eve pizza buffet!) and the pizza was gone. No one saved any pizza for the pregnant lady. Heck, there are so many people now, they probably even forgot that we weren’t there yet. Or even forgot that I’m pregnant. We’re gonna need to start voting some of these family members off the island or our parents are going to have to buy bigger houses or I’m staying in WV for the holidays.
3) Christmas Eve Church. I realize now that you must think that I’m a heathen. I’m truly not. I used to love Christmas Eve Church; it was a candlelight service, we read the Christmas story, sang carols, and the church was decked out in poinsettias. Then our beloved pastor left for another church and we got some pastor-reject who insists on reading scary passages from Revelations and talking about the rapture on Christmas Eve. I don’t know about you but talking about the world ending doesn’t put me in the Christmas spirit. To make matters worse, she’s completely confused about the candlelight part of our service. Here’s how it’s supposed to go: we spend the entire church services listening to the Christmas stories and singing carols, then we turn off the lights for the last hymn, “Silent Night,” as we pass the flame from one person to another. By the end of the song, the entire church is lit with candles. Ah Christmas! Well this new Dollar Store pastor turns the lights off from the beginning and passes out battery operated candles and forces us to read our hymnals via flashlight throughout the entire service. Christmas Eve Church FAIL.
4) Seeing Family and Friends. Yeah, it’s tough having so many friends… and family (see Hate #2). It’s even tougher making sure that you see and spend equal amounts of time with all of them. Actually, scratch that, it’s not tough, it’s exhausting. Since I’m unemployed, most days, I don’t even leave the house and it’s boring so I love having things to do and places to go. Christmas vacation was overload though. Good thing we had to leave early…
5) Adult Christmas Vacation. I used to work in higher education and my husband was in law school so in years past, we’ve had pretty sweet Christmas vacations. Now my husband is a real adult and only got off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, forcing us to return to reality four days earlier than usual. I hate that he’s an adult. I love that he brings home paychecks though, like today.