Monday, November 19, 2007

Of charity, gratitude, and attitude

My grandmother had to call right before the race yesterday. We commisserated because her driver (JUUUUUUU-NIOR!) hadn't won all year and mine wasn't even close to being champion. Then it got bad. She informed me that "we need to work together to make a big donation to the Salvation Army and help out a family in need." She wanted to make a big production out of helping the one poor needy family she knew. I asked her if we could just leave the groceries and toys in front of their house and ring the door and run, for a pleasant surprise, and she told me I was thinking like my mom. (Yay, Mom!) And of course I object to the Salvation Army because they object to my queer Pagan self. Before I could say that, she said, "You kids need to learn about charity. Nobody ever taught you."

Well, I hit...the...ROOF!!!!! I am SO glad I'm staying here and not going there for Thanksgiving!!!! (We're having a "chosen family" gathering up here instead. My only relative will be my girl cousin, who is married to L'Ailee's boy cousin, who is also coming.) "Animals and gay things don't count," my grandmother said. I figured that proved they do. But I don't only contribute to "animals and gay things," not that those are bad, not that this is really her business. Besides those, I contribute to the Alzheimer's Association (lost my other grandma to that), The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (for my brother), The Fresh Air Fund (gives poor NYC kids new perspective), America's Second Harvest (all the food, none of the preaching!), Doctors Without Borders (wonderful work all over the world), and, every time I hear about a disaster, The Red Cross. L'Ailee and I also love doing small spontaneous things, like, if we see some adorable little outfit at Target and have a pang of regret about not having a kid around to dress in it, buying it anyway and donating it to a charity clothing drive with the tags still on so a kid who would love something new of their own can get joy out of that.

I feel so stupid listing all those, like I'm being as much of a show-off about it as she is. But I do know charity, damn it! My brother does, my mother does, most of us do! We don't need *her* to "teach" us. We learned in *spite of* her. Last year, she punished me, my brother, and our wives through gifts--most of the Cousins got a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, but I got cheap slipper socks in colors I don't wear, my brother and his wife got chintzy personal organizers and a lecture on staying organized, and my wife got nothing because we're "not married." I told her to take the money she was going to spend on me and L'Ailee and donate all three bucks of it to whatever the hell charity she wanted. Christmas is going to be *fun*, I can tell already. We Cousins love our pranks for the holidays; we have one planned for her, and we will enjoy it.

We will be continuing my family's Thanksgiving tradition of betting each other to drink something vile for money. I'm going with Jones Soda's Christmas Ham and Christmas Tree soda up here, from their notorious holiday tradition of making vile holiday things to drink. My youngest cousin is going to be allowed to participate this year. (His mother wouldn't let him before. He'd have drunk the chilled chicken broth, turkey soda, etc. for ten bucks otherwise!) He thought he was so smart, and prepared by drinking every one of the sodas in Jones' Christmas and Chanukkah packs. Dorkfish was going to bring him those, but figured the boy needs to be initiated with something he can't possibly be prepared for. So I sent him the link to James Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food, and told Dorkfish to pay special attention to the 10 PM Cookbook.

So there's that. And Jimmie Johnson won the freakin' championship. And Tony Stewart crashed. But at least I surfed and went dancing this weekend. It could be lots worse.

I had this idea for a really thoughtful and reflective post, but I'm going to have to think and reflect on it some more. Happy Thanksgiving, or Happy Long Weekend, or Happy Thursday and Friday!

Feast on these delicious links while you're waiting:

Tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Too many people taken too early because they didn't "fit" according to some louse or other's definition. I have two MTF friends, both of whom are relatively unscathed. Which actually ties in with Thanksgiving--I'm so grateful for that.

Danny Donkey celebrates Thanksgiving.

My mother sent Dorkfish and I this to show us that we're not the only ones with weird traditions.

The world's most endangered bears. Beautiful yet depressing. Of course, contributing to help preserve their habitats doesn't *count*.

Because I'm not charitable, I'm donating to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust, launched by atheist author Sam Harris, which will help pay for the 24/7 protection that a very vocal and well-known ex-fundamentalist Muslim needs.

Speaking of cute 'n' cuddly atheists (and perhaps us Pagans, too), maybe what we really need in order to be recognized the last few weeks of the year is lots more commercialism!

New Sinead song--"Back Where You Belong" Performed live to a very appreciative crowd.

And when you've got downtime to burn, give Jeff Foxworthy and them's awesome new video site,, a try! Hilarious stuff, including Larry the Cable Guy's "wide stance." If you think you know what they're about and you won't like it, let me direct you to this blog entry, "If It Feels Good, It Ain't Torture".


alan said...

You have given me more than you could ever know, and we have yet to meet...

I would like to tell you that this probably has more to do with her age than her true feelings about things; I would like to believe it was true, and would have to hope so fervently!

I would much rather be a part of a chosen family than my own much of the time...once you get beyond the immediate relations I don't have a lot of use for or much to do with most of them!

One of the many things I love about being here is I may adopt and love anyone I chose!

Like you and L'Ailee...

May your Thanksgiving be as fantastic and wonderful as you are!


BostonPobble said...

Chosen family is family. Period. I would pay money to see someone tell the Princess Kitty I'm not "really" her aunt. Have an AMAZING Thanksgiving and remember you are on many people's lists of "reasons I'm thankful..."

Daisy said...

For some reason, Jeff Foxworthy makes me think of Thanksgiving too! :P

Relatives, I reckon!

Have a great holiday! :)

cats said...

enjoy your "drinks" and chosen family for the holiday.

and i am thankful for you!

Scribble said...

Happy Thanksgiving Lilo!
Hope it is a lovely one.