Argh Tradition Because We Need Stability In Our Lives

We’ve been doing this day-after-Thanksgiving post for ten years. At this point, it’s the only stability in my life. Plus it’s the Drifters. With reindeer. Happy holidays, Argh People, whatever it is that you celebrate. I’m celebrating the election and the glorious possibilities of a new year in America. With leftover pie.

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48 thoughts on “Argh Tradition Because We Need Stability In Our Lives

  1. Yay! It’s tree-putting-up day in our house tomorrow. I have almost finished Christmas shopping AND wrapping AND I have a Christmas cake maturing as we speak (oh my god, I’m so smug, it’s embarrassing. I’m normally the panic-on-Christmas-Eve type.

    However, I’m looking for advice for my last things (postage delays means I can’t get what I had planned, and this should have been a Thursday post, but…).

    My lovely nearly-18 year old nephew is about to leave home for the first time (to go study medicine). Any recommendations for books you think are pivotal reading for someone that age but still break-from-study escapist? I’m thinking fiction, but maybe open to biography or travel or adventure. I do love Fangirl (too girly?). The Book Thief? Song of Solomon?

    Has anyone read Charlotte House? I haven’t, and I’m wondering what age it might be appropriate for (thinking my 15yo niece?) 1984? I know why the caged birds sing (I’ve never read this, it’s now on my TBR).

    Someone else suggested Ray Bradbury short stories? I’m tempted by Murderbot, but too $$$ in print to get all 5. Or Rivers of London or the Goblin Emperor, just because fun is underrated?

    1. What would they normally read? I’d probably lean more towards comforting presents that don’t require effort – he’ll probably have enough to read if he’s doing medicine! Something like a bed blanket or easy and homely food.

      1. Seconding the Pratchett rec, they tend to age well alongside you and you pick up different things from them as you get older.

        Rivers of London would be fantastic too.

    2. I looked to see if NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) had any neat swag, and I couldn’t find any for sale. They give away cool stuff at conferences (little stuffed zebras and the like), which might have been interesting presents for someone interested in medicine, to show your support for his interest. You can check to see if I missed any: https://rarediseases.org/

      I could send you NORD pens and pins (enamel pins), but they’re probably not of much interest . But getting him interested in zebras (rare disorder’s mascot, because doctors are trained to think horses, not zebras, but sometimes the patient really is a zebra) would be good for everyone. NORD has chapters at some schools (usually universities, so it depends where he’s going) with some great resources and social opportunities, and some med schools require a capstone project (sort of like a senior thesis, but some kind of research instead), and rare disorders are a great source of that kind of project, since there’s so much still to learn about them. I bet they’d make good independent study projects too for undergrad work.

    3. I like to give copies of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Since it is a children’s book, it will be as far from his required reading as possible and is a pleasure to revisit at any age. It is also a wonderful reminder of the importance of balance in one’s life, which is not something that medical school is known to foster. And the illustrations by Jules Feiffer are a delight, too. My sister says that her favorite part is where Chroma the Great conducts the sunset, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that she went on to become a choral conductor.

      Juster also wrote another fabulous stocking stuffer, although I don’t know if it is still in print. It is called The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics. This one was made into an oscar winning short subject that is equally delightful. My sister says that her copy has long since been read to death so I think I need to go online and find myself a copy of my own.

      1. THE DOT AND THE LINE is my all-time favorite romance! After an endless series of heroines with long legs and perfect bosoms and striking coloring, it’s a pleasure to see that the Dot has a perfect figure — 36 by 36 by 36, of course! And how she rather fancies the Squiggle, while the rather nerdly Line finally shows her how spectacular Lines really are. The Line definitely reminded me of the engineers in my office, nerds to a man (or woman).

        A quick check shows that used copies are available for $10 or less, so go for it!

    4. Is he going flatting or will he be in a hostel? If he’s flatting, how about a tool kit? Bunnings has this: https://www.bunnings.co.nz/craftright-78-piece-tool-kit_p0019162 and mitre 10 has this: https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/number-8-tool-set-26-piece/p/361599

      Or Cards Against Humanity, if you’ve got the kind of relationship that’d get away with that.

      Or a warm fleece blanket – Dunedin gets cold!!

      In terms of books, The Goblin Emperor sounds good. Very re-readable.

      1. Thanks for the tip. My grandson is sharing an apartment in Auckland and this sounds like something useful I can order for him.

    5. It sounds to me like the first Murderbot (All Systems Red) would be a good bet. It’s thin, its cover is restrained and adult-looking, and once he finishes it, he’ll immediately want to do research to find the next volume or try to make friends with someone who has it to lend. Either way, he’ll end up better off than before. Plus, Murderbot.

    6. I really love a well matured Christmas cake 🙂

      I’m just turning the last of last years homemade christmas fruit mince into experimental chocolate truffles, I think I need to start some Christmas cakes and some more fruit mince as well.

      I’m also packaging up some chocolates (baron hasselhoff’s salted caramel and rosemary ) to send to my brother and sister in law in Oz before the parcel cutoff date on Monday.

      It feels like a good year to embrace as many rituals as possible.

  2. The start of the season! Thanks.

    I’m planning to do my Christmas shopping locally, once the shops reopen after the national lockdown next week. Got the florist’s number to order a tree, but don’t want to put it up much before the solstice, since it really doesn’t last for more than three weeks (from then until Twelfth Night).

  3. YouTube actually recommended the song White Christmas to me the other day. It wasn’t this exact video, but it was “in the style of” the Drifters version. And my first thought, was, “no, no. I can’t listen to that song until after Thanksgiving on Argh Ink.”
    Last year I set up a Christmas music advent calendar for myself. I had a list of Christmas albums (available on my streaming services) and starting December 1st, I would listen to one album a day. That way I got a Christmas music fix without burning out on anything. I would usually put it on in the early evening when I”m puttering around with dinner and cleaning, but I’m not sure if it will work this year. Oldest son has gotten verrry opinionated on what music we listen to and they’re much more underfoot than last year. . . Maybe I will switch to listening on my phone with earbuds.

    1. Music. I made the mistake of visiting the Humor conference at Baen’s Bar, a post that asked “What happens when you cross Led Zepplin with the Gilligan’s Island theme? Well, hearing Gilligan’s Island to the tune of Stairway to Heaven was a treat. And then another poster replied with this: Amazing Grace. I’d hear GI to Amazing Grace before, so that’s what I expected. What I actually found initiated a terminal case of the giggles. 70 yo men should not giggle. And yet, I live to tell the tale.

  4. I’m thankful for our health, our relative comfort, and that the sky is blue. I have a card with a quote (Howard Norman) “Everything I love most happens most every day.” And, the election, the transition, and grownups in charge.

    We put up the tree late, and leave it up through Epiphany. This year I want to keep any lights out until Ash Wednesday, we just need the lights through this winter, I think.

    I’m adding this Drifters video to my Song of the Day list, thanks!

  5. Listened to Alice’s Restaurant yesterday so ready for the drifters today.

    Confirmed yesterday that if you are truly committed to tradition you can make as much mess cooking for 2 as for 15. I now have a list of turkey leftover menues planned.

  6. My traditional response to the Drifters on Arch Ink is A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas. If I still belonged to Facebook, I’d post it there, too.

    The dotter has pretty much completed her Christmas decorations outside the house – but not inside, yet. The outside lights are on a timer so that they’re still lit when I get home at mid thirty. My gothy dotter decorates all in blacks and whites. Black wreathes, black snow flakes… if she could afford all black lights, I shudder to visualize the decorations.

  7. My youngest granddaughter decided she wanted to contribute to Thanksgiving by making a dessert. Like we didn’t have enough pies, cupcakes, cookies and ice cream. Whatever, I’m proud of her because she’s trying. She chose a trifle. My son took her to the only grocery store open in town and they bought all the ingredients for a strawberry trifle. I found my crystal bowl that has been tucked away and only used for that. (I have used a new square glass vase.) We set about making it. I had her separate the more ripened berries from the less, putting them in a strainer for a rinse and setting them aside. I then somehow got distracted and when I got back instructed her on how to hull and slice the fruit. She made the pudding, crumbled the Angel food cake so she and older sister put it together. It was only when they were done I looked over to see the washed berries on the counter. We’re all going to die from botulism from unwashed fruit.

      1. I don’t think I had a glass of wine on Thanksgiving day, or did you mean the dessert? The grandkids were awesome that day but the granddog was hysterical because she kept running to the slider trying to get to the invading squirrels. If she couldn’t get them that way she would hop the back of the sofa peering out the window giving them the evil eye.

  8. Thank you Jenny, I had forgotten all about this song and how much I enjoy hearing AND seeing this song, brings back happy memories thanks again.

  9. Small mercies, I’m glad it’s summer here.

    At least we’ll be mostly outside while celebrating.

      1. White wine in the sun feels like it encompasses something very fundamental to Australia and NZ.

        It’s not Christmassy but I’ve just discovered the Chuffed Dad song by the comedy troupe Aunty Donna and it feels like the most wholesome, antipodean dad- energy song in the world:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fHlldbRHo

      2. Every year when White Christmas goes up on Argh I listen to it then go listen to White Wine In The Sun, because it really is how Christmas feels down here.

  10. I do not have any leftover pie because in the interest of non-infection I did not go to my sister’s house yesterday. But they didn’t get any pie yesterday either because my eldest niece had a manic attack and they had to call the police to get her to leave. So today they had pie for breakfast and I get the Drifters. All in all, a much better day.

    I must admit that I keep this post from previous years in a fairly easy to find place so I can enjoy it out of season, but the annual posting brings with it a special joy.

    Thank you, Jenny and fellow Arghonauts!

  11. I have a blessed self day. I vacuumed the dust out of my computer, dusted the windows, repaired a 3-legged table and finally ate leftovers. I will now work on a Disney Christmas puzzle. And decide what to put on in the background. So many choices. I wish for all of us joy in the moment and pleasure in the wonder all around us. Really cute bird on one of my bushes. Reason enough to rejoice. Last night I finished rereading Time and Forever and it made me happy. On to Fannie Flagg and the Whistlestop Cafe.

  12. My play has wrapped up and we had the cast party today, so yay.
    I did a screenplay reading on Thanksgiving, so I had something to do, so yay. Loner Thanksgiving ended up not being too bad, thank goodness.

    I also have another crush update, it’s been awhile. I last saw him in person on the 1st and only got to talk to him for about five minutes and he didn’t say much, and I just kinda got the feeling of “maybe I should just leave him alone, maybe I won’t bother him for like a month.” Was debating whether or not to try texting him on Thanksgiving, but he actually texted me! Says he’s doing alright, doesn’t have to move again. I actually got up the nerve to say that I’d felt like I shouldn’t bother him and he said not to worry about it, everything’s weird these days, and he’s not good at reaching out to people. (God, ain’t that the truth.)

    So…there’s that.

  13. Speaking (or writing) of traditions, I have finished the leftovers, being 3 Stouffers turkey entrees. I still have some sugar-free Jell-O, but there is no whipped cream (or Cool Whip) to top it with. Jell-O is a cream delivery platform – I don’t eat it bare.

    Weirdly enough, the fridge is empty but for bottled water and carbonated diet beverages. The freezer has a package of three hamburger patties and there are three English muffins. Sunday shopping will be interesting and heavy. Another tradition.

  14. I worked last weekend and came home late. Miracles happen, the outdoor Christmas decor is up. My husband has discovered inflatable decoration.we have a poor narwhal surrounded by shark, a Christmas llama. There was a large white object in the side ya. rd-working six foot tall swan.I pulled into the drive and took a while to get my giggles under control. A timer at sunset starts the electricity and the flat animals slowling arise while undulating.really looks like a zombie coming to life.

  15. I love this tradition.

    Yesterday was youngest cat vomiting breakfast prolifically all over the house. Then work. Then youngest cat eating dinner, seeming fine for over and hour, and THEN vomiting dinner prolifically all over the house. I had gotten different wet food and yesterday was beef for the first time, and a Google search showed that is the #1 food allergen in cats, so I’m praying that’s it. I have to work today too (Small Business Saturday) and the vet is only open in the morning for emergency hours. Luckily, the new Housemate used to work there as a receptionist, so they know her. If necessary, she can take Diana in. But it would be so much better if not.

    Said kitten also got me up at midnight pulling my sock drawer open and running manically around with stolen socks (she has a weird sock fetish), so she’s clearly not all that sick. But I was awake for two hours in the middle of the night when I was already exhausted, and when I come home today I have to move the socks to a drawer in a place she can’t get open. (This is a wood drawer. I don’t know how she does it.)

    I’m sorry, were we supposed to be talking about Christmas?

    1. “…were we supposed to be talking about Christmas?” Weren’t you? Your kitten was attempting to hang stockings (socks), wasn’t she?

      1. HA! Good point, Gary. On the bright side, breakfast stayed down this morning and she is bouncing off the wall as usual, so apparently we can just avoid beef-flavored food and all will be will. Hopefully.

    2. Diana is special. Being able to open a wooden drawer simply shows off her superhero side. And, wow.

  16. So this is where I first encountered that video! I hadn’t remembered, but it has been a holiday favorite since I first encountered it, so thank you. I watch this video several times over the holiday season.

    There was no Thanksgiving in this house. Lin was at her daughter’s and the rest of us were too late to find a Thanksgiving dinner for take-out. I don’t mind — at least half of my Thanksgivings as an adult I spent alone because I couldn’t get to my mom’s. It’s not an important holiday for me. And now that Mom is gone, it is even less important.

    I’m still worried about the election. One of my roommates, who I like quite a lot, actually believes Trump, pretty much every word he says. Especially about all the fraud in the election. (She apparently thinks that even the Republican officials are either lying or corrupted.) She seems intelligent otherwise. But if she believes this, then so many others do. I’m just worried.

    On a non-holiday topic:
    I hope there will be another round of extra money and time into unemployment. I’m still there. The regular amount that I get isn’t enough to pay all of my expenses and I’m burning thru my small savings. I keep applying and I get some conversation with recruiters, but then nothing more happens. Sigh. An extra $100 a week would just about do it for me. Stoopid Congress that’s completely out of touch with regular people.

  17. 10 years? Wow. Where did that time go?

    I do love this clip. And only discovered it via Jenny, so thank you 🙂

    I am easing into Christmas this year. Turns out present-buying (usually by far my most stressful Christmas endeavour, and boy is it stressful) is much reduced this year in deference to Covid (and as a result largely done already), so I am feeling the opportunity to actually enjoy December rather than run around freaking out. I’ve started putting up some decorations, and suspect the tree will be bought this Friday. Woo-hoo!

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