I can't keep track of my hospital time. It all sort of blurs together. Evel Knievel
Last month I got another new belly button. I was in the hospital. For 17 consecutive days, I was tortured, strangled, bled, beaten, starved, hobbled, weighed like cattle, sleep deprived, and connected to more machinery than the Large Hadron Collider. My bowels were monitored like the CIA monitors Putin. Yes, and I was given yet another new belly-button. I don't know why.
What the heck? Although the exact date of my injury is not certain, officially, I suffered from a hernia and bowel obstruction. So how on earth did this happen? I don't know. I am blaming a gardening accident. Why not? I was gardening in the world's tiniest garden.
Here's what I remember. At the beginning of June I'm not feeling well and I (a) call my daughter, and (b go to the hospital and I say "I have horrible heartburn symptoms similar to a heart attack I once had," and the hospital says, "take some antacids and pay this bill for $3,545 and go pay your primary physician another $350. " Okay. I take the antacids, and that doesn't work, so I (a) call my daughter, and (b go back to the hospital and say "I think I'm having a heart attack." And the hospital says, "doesn't look like it, but pay this bill for $7,322, and go pay your cardiologist some more money." And then the third time I (a) call my daughter, and (b I go to the hospital and I say "I think I have a hernia?" and they say "Well you DO have a hernia and we are performing EMERGENCY SURGERY TONIGHT and then we will keep you in the hospital for a month in the cardiac unit and the bill will be about as much as the national debt." Ready, set, go.
Dear Santas. I can tell by reading your blogs and entries on Facebook that an awful lot of you have health problems - - a lot of them major. Of course, many of you suffer from diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and other day to day ailments of the aging populace who may not be taking as good of care of themselves as possible.
Personally, I've had breast cancer (twice) mastectomies, reconstruction surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, bone disease, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and just general after effects of being a human medical test subject, or as we like to say in super med-code, participating in free "clinical trials." Don't you want to try the latest drug unapproved by anyone? Don't you want to help humanity? Uhm, no.
I tell you my friends, beware of sepia toned illustrative booklets called "Reconstruction and your Femininity" or "This is your Heart." Please run if your surgeon pulls out a black Sharpie and starts drawing on your skin! Your belly button is in danger.
Going to the hospital is not for pansies. Common sense goes out the window at the hospital parking lot. The things we know absolutely without argument that are good for us - - a good night's sleep (or other rest), fresh air (the windows are sealed), good food (Oh, let me go on!), a warm shower, privacy in the bathroom . . . these are things that will be denied to you the entire time you are in residence at the hospital. Even standard nursing care is not what it once was. My nurses spent so much time trying to keep my major i.v. pole ( which I named T-Rex because of it's large and unruly size) from making loud alarm noises and trying to unwrap medication while wearing plastic gloves, they didn't have time to give me enough cord to get out of my chair to pee.
I'm worried what the bill will be - - because the price of wrapping a Pepcid A-C in 17 layers of plastic wrap is expensive - - and then there's the labeling, tracking, scanning, unwrapping, and serving it in an individual paper/plastic mini cup …
Yes, there is one good thing - - I have a morphine pump. When it runs out, (and after a loud alarm sounds for fifteen minutes) it takes three RNs and a special key to change it out to make sure that no nurse has access to any of it. It even has a "suck proof" plastic tube that runs the entire 19" from the machine to my arm. Apparently, tube-sucking hospital workers are a giant threat in the medical world.
I also have a heart monitor with a plastic thingy that goes on my finger. There are certain things I cannot do with a plastic thingy on my finger, and so I occasionally take it off. This causes the heart monitor commandos to storm my room and demand that I reattach the plastic finger thingy immediately. I cannot lock them out of the bathroom because the door doesn't close. I can still hit, though.
The hospital has provided me with an adjustable bed, and an adjustable chair. After a couple of days of being forced into a fetal position in the middle of the jack-knifed bed, I move to the semi comfortable adjustable chair. If I pile the pillows in a certain way, I can make a sort of nest/pallet on which to try to doze from time to time in between being tortured. This is usually between 2-4 in the afternoon when the floor lights are dimmed and everyone watches General Hospital on T.V. It is much more interesting than the real hospital.
If I complain loudly enough, I am allowed to get halfway into the shower while holding T-Rex outside the stall. Do not allow the CNA to "come back in a few minutes" to do this. They will never come back. It is like them saying "manana." For those of you who do not speak Spanish, manana does not mean "tomorrow" - - it means "not today." My shower requires several layers of saran wrap and water proof tape. Make sure to put a sign on the door, or the cleaning staff will think it is a superb time to disinfect the clock on your wall. (They will not empty the bucket of bile by your bed, because they do not have the right color uniform.) If you insist, someone may bring you "towels" - - a 4x4 loofa cloth to dab yourself dry.
On day 15 I was allowed to eat broth. Nurses say: If you want to EAT anything, we will give you another shot after you eat, so be sure to buzz us if you see any FOOD so we can do this HURT shot some more, okay?"
If you stay in the hospital day after day and night after sleepless night, you begin to learn certain things. The food people are not allowed to remove your food tray from your teeny-tiny room. The food people can only BRING you the tray. You should know that, you idiot.
The CNAs are allowed to take out the food trays IF they have time (this could be manana). They wear a different colored uniform from the RNs. Be sure to find out what the different colored uniforms mean, they are: White lab coat with optional stethoscope - probable doctor; dark blue - Registered Nurse; burgundy - Certified Nurse Assistant; Black pants and vest - food bringer; white uniform - visiting nurse (unable to help); khaki pants and white shirt - cleaning staff; Cleric's collar - holy person. You do not, generally, want to see the holy person - - it could mean "the end is near." Also, while colors may vary from hospital to hospital, the cleric collar is pretty standard.
I begged the nurses to dispose of the dialog they wished to accompany each and every shot that was administered day or night, whether or not I was awake or asleep "WAKE UP! Now, I'm going to be giving you a very stingy SHOT in your STOMACH (because there is not enough room in the 25 I.V.s you have running in both your arms). This will only HURT a little, and I am going to rub your stomach with alcohol and squeeze and bruise it so it doesn't HURT so much, and let me know - - where do you want me to give you this HURTY stingy shot?"
Silently, the nurse will muse "I will be sure to unwrap and display this shot right in front of your eyes, even if you do not want me to tell you about it. Look at the drippy medicine coming off the sharp needle. It HURTS."
I am a lady. I do not like to talk about poop. Not how it comes about. Not how we dispose of it. Not what it looks like, or smells like, or it's color, texture or size and shape. When I have to examine another's poop I gag. Whether the poop belongs to a small person in a diaper or a large dog, I gag. This is the only reason I do not own a dog. I love dogs. Dog Poop makes me gag - wretch - vomit. Also, my mom did a really good job. I can't poop unless it is in a safe, secure bathroom. Preferably, my own. Preferably with aroma therapy candles. The door must be locked and the acoustics silent to the outside. I do not camp, because I cannot poop in the woods. Therefore, after three days at a scenic lake side, I am uncomfortable, irritable, and likely to harm you with camping equipment. Does a Nana Bear poop in the woods? No.
Unfortunately, the entire dependence of my GOING HOME from the hospital, became linked to my poop. If I did not poop a certain amount, during a certain time period, under certain specifications, I would not be allowed to go home, and the torturing would continue. This was difficult for me to do, as stated above.
Finally, day 17 - - I poop. A bat signal goes out to the universe. Heraldry announces: The Queen has Pooped - - Long Live the Queen! Staples and i.v.s are removed. Bluebirds alight on my shoulders.
The emergency surgeon had promised me a tiny 1" incision on my abdomen. It turned into a 4" incision and a new belly button. That's okay. My old belly button (post 2nd mastectomy) was about two inches beneath my previous left breast. Now, it's lower and to the right. I still have no idea why anyone thinks I need one. I have never been consulted on this. This could make for a good sepia-toned illustration - - or perhaps a graphic novel. Travels of the Mystic Belly Button
I am not going to post a picture of my new belly button. I was tempted to post a picture of my stapled scar, and the tubes running in and out of me, and the giant equipment pole I called "T-Rex" - - but I have stopped myself. It is a rule I have about posting pictures from the hospital - - although I did finally break down on day 11 and announce on Facebook I was in the hospital. I needed sympathy and support.
Thanks to all that gave it! That's the other thing everyone needs to recover. Sympathy and support. Oh, and sushi - - but that's another story.
Be good, for goodness sake!
I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.
I had a date with myself last Friday night. I made something special for dinner, and popped some corn, and bought an actual Coca-Cola and some Red Vines. I get movies at home via Amazon dot com, so I cued up "Saving Mr. Banks." I love Tom Hanks. I love Walt Disney. I loved Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. And then there's Emma Thompson (P.J. Travers), another favorite, all in a "true" story about the making of a classic movie - - Mary Poppins. It was a movie about the story behind the story, and how it affected how things got done. Mrs. Travers did not want animated penguins in Mary Poppins. I don't blame her.
When the movie was over, I was soaked in tears and nearly shaking from the sobs that come when I watch a sad movie. I knew the movie was going to be a tear-jerker, and I had a box of tissues handy. But what happened with the massive waves of tears that went on for an hour after the movie ended, was more complicated than just the superb performances - - and it took me awhile to realize what it was.
The year that Mary Poppins was released, I went to New York City to visit my grandparents. They had a list of wonderful activities planned - - The World's Fair (it's a small world after all), a trip to Rockaway, deep sea fishing (major puking), a trip to Bloomingdales (my first bra), and the world premier of Mary Poppins at Radio City Music Hall. All meant to delight a young girl, and rightfully so - - until something went horribly wrong.
Grandma and Grandpa lived on the sixth floor of an eight story walk up on 52nd and Riverside. They had a tiny two bedroom apartment, and two not so tiny Dalmatians - - an old one, and a puppy named Ali. The morning after I arrived, Grandpa woke me up and we climbed up to the roof where he kept a cage with pigeons. (Later I would learn that pigeons are called "squab" when you eat them for dinner.) Grandpa opened the pigeon cage and a couple of birds flew out - - and Ali flew playfully after them - - over the edge of the roof - - into the blue, blue sky.
I heard my grandfather scream. I heard people on the streets of New York - - eight stories below - - scream. Grandfather was screaming for grandmother. I was on my hands and knees peering over the edge of the roof, looking down to see Ali squished like a cartoon dog hit by an anvil. I heard my grandmother screaming.
I don't really know a lot about what happened then. My grandfather had to run several blocks to get a car. My grandmother was on the street covering the dog with her good quilts. Everyone looked like ants. No one remembered that I was on the roof. I was frozen with fear and stayed there until it was dark and cold, and finally my grandmother came back to get me. The dog was alive, but all his bones had been crushed, and it would take days and days for him to die in a cage at the vet's.
The next afternoon we went to see Mary Poppins. My grandfather, a big, macho, Croatian man, wept quietly during the entire movie. I thought the animated penguins were stupid. I hated the fox and the hand drawn carousel horses. People laughed, and clapped and sang around us. "Let's Go Fly a Kite" was the last song of the movie, and I just kept picturing that beautiful spotted dog flying - - flying - - flying off after the pigeon on a beautiful summer day.
Now it's 50 years later, and I'm bawling my eyes out - - remembering that day - - that trip - - that dog - - half a century ago.
So what's the motto of this story? Only that I was glad I was alone, because it would have been nearly impossible to make somebody understand why I was crying hysterically after seeing a movie about Mary Poppins. I guess the point is, and what "Saving Mr. Banks" was about, is sometimes people are carrying around stories that we don't really understand - - and sometimes they don't understand them either.
The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'
Sorry, but Freud was an idiot. Thirty years of research? Did he ever ask a woman what she wanted?
What do women want? I will tell you. They want HELP! That's right, gentlemen. If you think that women are incredibly complex creatures who cannot ever be pleased, think again. Women will tell you specifically what they need help with. But, you have to LISTEN, and do what they tell you.
Here is an example. When you get home, find your wife and observe what she is doing. Then, kiss her gently on the check and say these words: "what can I do to help you?" If she is cooking dinner, she may say any of the following "can you please empty the trash?" "can you take the dog for a walk" "can you get the kids out of the kitchen until I'm done?" Do at least one of these tasks before you grab a beer from the fridge. Do not under any circumstances say these words to your beloved: "in a minute." Once I was falling off a ladder, holding onto a light fixture and calling frantically for my husband to help me. He kept saying - - "okay, in a minute . . . " until I finally fell off the ladder and fractured my arm.
If you have returned home and your woman is in the garden, ask her "what can I do to help you?" Then grab that shovel and dig a hole for her. Go to the hardware store if you don't have the right shovel. Pick up some geraniums and a bag of dirt. Ask her first, though - - what color geraniums do you prefer? She has a plan for the garden. It includes colors and textures and fragrances.
Is your lady in the garage? "What can I do to help you?" Then clean off that work shelf and find the screwdriver she needs. Not "in a minute." Now. Do at least one thing before you go and flop into that easy chair.
Are people coming to visit? "What can I do to help you, my darling?" Change the sheets on the guest bed (by the way, this includes the pillowcases, guys)? Sweep? Clean the bathroom? She'll tell you. She has a plan. She sees the big picture.
Put gas in her car. Wash the darn thing. Scrape the snow off her windshield on a frosty morning. Fix those closet doors. Take the vacuum in to be serviced. Give the kids a bath and read them a bedtime story. Mend the screen door. Bring her a clean set of towels. Pick up your socks. Just help the lady out, will ya?
And, finally, if you ask her "what can I do to help you" and your wife or loved one says to you "nothing." You're in BIG trouble. Better go get some flowers, or jewelry, or chocolate, or something she has TOLD you she likes. (Maybe she likes Nascar, for all I know - - but she better have told you that, mister!)
The little lady does so much for you and everyone else - - and she can use a little love - - and a lot of help!
Nana's hint for the week: When you speak highly of the girls and women in your life to others, you set an example for all those around you, most especially your children. By showing respect to others, the world becomes a kinder, gentler place for all of us to live together in peace and harmony. And bluebirds will alight on the shoulder of your princess and woodland creatures will sing.
I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.
When I was young, I got to be involved in a lot of “causes.” I was part of the women’s movement, part of the fight for racial equality, and an anti-war protester during the Viet Nam War. We, as the former youth of America, had a lot to say about what was fair, and how we wanted the people in our communities to treat each other. My mother was able to break the bonds of boredom and wifedom to get an education and become a professor at a full-blown University. My black friend and neighbor was the first negro to attend the Air Force Academy. Girlfriends who were banned from sports programs became soccer coaches - - and as the years passed, many of us forgot that these were all privileges we had to fight for - - many with their lives.
I have been fortunate enough to have had a challenging career, gotten an education, travelled, and raised a family alone. While I never broke any ceilings, I made a comfortable living and my girl children never really thought there were things that they wouldn’t be allowed to do “just because” they were girls. They could join the military, go into space, play professional sports, program computers, find the cure to cancer - - be the President of the United States!
Of course, we are cognizant of the fact that other countries are not as progressive. We have seen a young girl shot in the head because she wanted to go to school. We have seen women tortured, beaten, demeaned and used as sex slaves in other countries - - and we don’t like it one bit. We won’t tolerate it, will we?
Yet, here in America there are still pockets of our society where women are not welcome. I was puzzled, appalled, and downright angered to find that PARTS of the Santa community are like that. While at first, this was merely annoying, lately it’s become a little more personal.
There have been a series of posts on “Facebook for Santas” indicating that there are scholarships and prizes available for Santas through an organization called The Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. Since I am interested in continuing my education as a Santa (i.e. Santa’s SISTER) and meeting as many people in the Santa community as I can, I wanted to “enter to win.” Unfortunately, I have been informed that I cannot become a member because I am a female “unattached” to a Santa member. Well throw me on the funeral pyre and light the torch!
Listen gentlemen (and ladies, too). I know that you can have any darn fraternal brotherhood tree house club festival that you want, but you are leaving out some mighty wonderful women folk, while you’re at it. There was a time when men thought the universe would collapse into a dark hole if women were allowed on the golf course, and guess what - - it ain’t happened yet. Of course, there are a million other examples, but you get the point.
For those of you who think you should support the independent women in your community, you should know about this.
And for those of you who think I’m crazy, it’s a club for BEARDED Santas, I assure you - - I spend a fortune at the waxing salon to get rid of mine.
In conclusion, I want you to know that I did not join the Santa community to be disruptive, or anything other than kind, generous, and the magical sister of the magical Claus. But sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe. I have been treated wonderfully by many other Santa organizations, including ClausNet. I have also received a lot of support from my local and not so local brothers and sisters. I’m hoping that we can help bring the others around to the 21st Century, soon.
Every season, new Christmas characters are introduced to the public. Mrs. Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Elf on the Shelf, and now SANTA'S SISTER! What a great way to spread the Christmas joy. Did you know there are currently almost TWO BILLION children in the world? Santa can use all the help he can get! Besides, FAMILY is the best way to share the work and happiness when it comes to the holidays. Don't worry, my brothers. No one can ever replace you!
Interview with Santa Nana
Grand Junction, Colorado
The 2013 Christmas Season was quite overwhelming for Santa Nana. After moving to the “other side of the mountain,” I got involved in the Christmas activities for three communities: Palisade, Grand Junction and Fruita. I was on the steering committee for the Palisade Olde Fashioned Christmas, and worked on an open house event, as well as pictures with Santa, a ride on my own float in the parade, appearances at the holiday market, the gingerbread contest, and other Palisade holiday events. I got to ride in my very own fancy limousine in the Grand Junction parade, and finally, I rode on an antique fire truck in the Fruita parade. I was on TV! I was interviewed for newspapers! I’m exhausted.
Sometimes it is better to go into things without any expectations. This year, a lot of people made a lot of promises about a lot of things they had no actual knowledge of - - and that is as nicely as I can put it. We have a dozen ways to communicate with people - - phones, cell phones, text, e-mail, Facebook, twitter, snail mail, pigeons . . .and yet time after time I showed up to meetings that had been cancelled, events that had been rescheduled or relocated, and I scrambled to handle last minute changes with unexpected requests. I worked with agencies that did not know how to use e-mail, didn’t answer the phones, closed early and often (including if it snowed!) and were generally negligent in keeping everyone advised on what the heck was going on. I’m still trying to understand how I got put on the back of a flatbed truck with a small elf and nothing to hold on to for a bumpy, bumpy ride! That was certainly the scariest night of the season, as I struggled to hold onto the kid, and keep from falling off into the frozen, icy street in a velvet costume. My fingers got frostbitten.
But ladies and gentlemen - - I showed up. Even when my appearance was suspect. I covered for those who couldn’t make it, filled in for the sick, stepped up for the feeble, donated time, resources and talent, and kept my attitude happy, happy, happy. I meet some fantastic Santa brothers, (most especially Santa Greg Lough of Glenwood Springs, Colorado), some lovely citizens of my community, and, when I recover from the trauma, I will probably have some funny stories about my year in Mesa County.
Finally, I would also like to report that the people in my current community have been completely accepting of “Santa’s sister.” Unfortunately, this year brought continued criticism from some in the online Santa world who feel that women have no place here. Thanks to all of you who continue to support me, and your wives and daughters, in our creative endeavors.
Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2014.
Santa Nana's Tip: I tried making a video this year and posted it on YouTube. It was fun and easy. If you have Skype, it is a snap.
In the upoming weeks, the calendar shows holidays for many different faiths and cultures. Some of them are: Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Advent, Saint Nicholas, Bodhi Day, Saint Lucy's Day, Winter Solstice, Soyal, Yalda, Mōdranih, Saturnalia, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas Eve, and of course our beloved Christmas, which encompasses both Christian and pre-christian celebrations and traditions from all over the world. GO ODIN!
We are thankful, that America is a land of considerable religious and cultural diversity. Many different faiths celebrate holidays around the same time of the year as Christmas. “Happy Holidays” is simply an inclusive way of wishing someone peace and joy, regardless of their heritage.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! Say it loud and clear. But, please do not condemn those who say HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Even among Christians there is much diversity and conflict as to the appropriate way to embrace Christmas. Did you know, some religions preach that Santa is an anagram of Satan?
The bottom line is we are here to love one another. PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN. That means opening our hearts to everyone.
If you catch me saying 'I am a serious actor,' I beg you to slap me.
Santa Nana's tip. Santas - - Don't take yourself too seriously. You are an actor. No, you are beloved actor, adored and cherished by children and their parents. You play the part of the benevolent, all-seeing, magical uncle who rewards children for their good behaviour. Some of you are there only for a brief moment before the camera flashes, and some of you are more interactive - - you sing, you tell stories, and do magic. Each one of you is so special in your own way. You touch lives and make us want to believe in you. Keep up the good work. We need all the magic we can get.
Western funerals: black hearses, and black horses, and fast-fading flowers. Why should black be the colour of death? Why not the colours of a sunset?”
― Daniele Varè, The Maker of Heavenly Trousers
My daughter has four mothers.
Like most human children, my daughter, Katey, started out with just one mother. After her father’s remarriage, she graduated to two. Me, and the “other mother.” When my daughter married Bill, she got two additional bonus mothers - - her husband’s birth mother and his participating practical mother. The first Christmases she was married, Katey was frantic with guilt about which mother to visit and which holiday traditions to bestow upon her kids. By the time the third kid came along, she told all the mothers, “hey, you’re welcome to come by and visit us.” Go Katey! Mothers are a tough bunch - - and four of them doesn’t always make it any easier. She confesses she still sometimes feels guilty. She sends a lot of flowers on Mother’s Day.
This morning, Bill’s birth mother, Kay, died. She birthed six of his brothers and sisters, and lived for her final years with his closest sister, Lori. Kay was a problem mom. Yes, I know what you are thinking - - I’m the problem mom - - but Kay was Bill’s problem mom. She was a hoarder, and then a giver. She had a bunch of kids - - and abandoned them. Then she collected a bunch of stuff - - and gave it away to the kids who she gave away - for their kids to use - and then throw away. In the end, she got cancer and took a long time to die. Life is a tricky business.
If this seems harsh, well, then it is. Most of us do not have ideal families, and even the ones with just one mother and one father may have the problem mom, or the problem dad from whom they cannot escape. While having bigger families, allows us to have more people to go to for love and support, it also increases the opportunity for sadness and disappointment.
Psychologically, we know that people become overwhelmed with life and use certain strategies to comfort and console themselves: Drugs, alcohol, hoarding, extreme activities, are all ways of shutting our feelings down when we think that we just can’t take the emotional pain. But death is an emotional pain we cannot escape. Try as we may, eventually it catches up to us. That is why we have funerals.
Funerals are meant to be a ritual to console the living on the death of a loved one. People of strong faith in various religions get comfort from the ceremony of the community in which they worship. If you believe in the pearly gates and angels to greet your loved one; if you believe mom will return as a butterfly (or a cat or a cow); if you feel that your loved one will be with others who died before them (even if they might not really want to!); or will rise to a higher state of consciousness - - then these are vital ceremonies for you to attend. Rituals help us recognize the passage of time and heal the emotional sadness we feel.
Personally, I don’t care too much for most of the funerals I’ve attended. And no, I don’t want to kiss a dead body. When I went to my dad’s funeral last year, I couldn’t help but think he would have been bored as hell with it. I was not asked to participate in it, and my side of the family wound up going alone to a lunch afterward. It was a nice lunch. I was Dad’s favorite.
No, what I want is a Life Celebration. The ones I’ve liked have been gatherings with music and story telling and good food and wine. They are bawdy and there is alcohol fueled sobbing and crying - - maybe ranting and arguing, accusations about who mom loved more - - she loved me more, no she loved ME more. It’s human (or at least Irish). It’s necessary. Have you seen a funeral in New Orleans? They have parades and horns and dancing! Talk about stress relief!
My daughter and son took the children to Denver this weekend to see their Grandma Kay before she passed. All but the littlest one will remember something about her. I don’t know if they will go to a funeral with a preacher from a church she never attended, who will say things about a heaven she never cared for, or a Jesus she never believed in. However it turns out, I hope her children will go to lunch afterward and tell stories about which one of them mom loved best.
My daughter has four mothers. One of them just died.
Santa Nana's Tip. A handwritten note to the family of the deceased is the absolute best thing that you can offer when someone dies. It does not cost anything but a postage stamp, if you can't deliver it by hand. When the grieving have a chance to take a breath, sit down and read your letter, they can be comforted by a story you share about their loved one. Something sweet. Something funny. Even, something sad. There ARE words to say you care. Take the time to share them.
I love costumes. I love getting dressed up because it really helps my imagination make the leap to believe that I am who I say I am.
Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth - -it really does establish who they are.
Gentle Holiday Readers,
It is time once again to start dusting off our holiday attire and seasonal decorations and gadgets. I'm always inspired at the beginning of autumn to decorate the house and gardens with harvest themed adornment. Of course, I am always presented with the question of "how much is too much?" when it comes to doing all this. I have a Santa friend who describes a woman of some years as not so much "decorating" for Christmas as "slathering everything" with Christmas. I hope I'm not quite that bad, but is a haunted house with several mechanical ghouls really out of line for the communal laundry room? I guess I'll find out soon.
My history of costuming goes back a lot of years with my kids challenging me to make them bigger, better, brighter costumes every year. When they were little, we had an annual Halloween event in downtown Boulder called the "Mall Crawl." Since Boulder is a college town, with lots of creative, new-agey types, the costumes were so exceptional and wonderful, we were all inspired to do great things. One year, my little Katey wanted to be a California Raisin - - you know the cartoon one that sang "Heard it through the Grapevine?" It was absolutely the hardest costume I had ever made - - until then. The California raisin costume consisted of about ten yards of heavy brown suede cloth sewn to quilting batting and gathered with heavy duty thread. My simple sewing machine was unable to accommodate the quilting that was required, or the heavy material. It took me hours and hours of late nights after work, and home work, and dinner, crying into the wee hours, pricking my fingers until they bled, to get that darn thing done. And I'll never let that kid forget it, either! For those of you with stories of how you labored in birth, my tale of woe is the labor and toil over the grape of wrath. I topped the costume off with oversized sunglasses and white gloves from the Ritz, and looped Marvin Gaye's version of Grapevine on a cassette tape that played in a big boom box the kid carried. All in all, with materials and time, I think the raisin costume was worth about $1,500.
As usual, it snowed on Halloween, and the costume was toasty warm, worn with winter tights and snow boots. Later that night, I wore it over a sexy devil costume for the Mall Crawl. While dancing to a Jamaican band in the crisp fall night, I was given the nickname "Reggae Raisin from Hell," because my devil tail peaked out from under the costume.
A few years ago (and many Halloween costumes later) this same child, now grown and with three children, challenged me to make a "Steam punk" costume and attend a convention where people dressed up in their fancy gear and met with others. It included Sci-fi buffs, and Trekkies, and Steam punkers and others of a similar ilk sometimes called "Cos-Players."
This Halloween, I'll be going to my second annual kids festivities in Fruita, Colorado, as a Steam punk Fairy Godmother. They bring out the big trucks and tractors and the cop cars and a limousine and a school bus dressed up scary and lots of candy hand outs. Parents still make costumes for their kids, but mostly I see the store bought ones - - the Disney princesses and the Star Wars warriors lots of merchandising and little imagination.
Of course its hard to make a costume. It takes time and energy and patience beyond belief and I understand why people don’t want to do it. Then, I go to a comic-con and see that I am ever so wrong, and there are still lots and lots of people out there being imaginative and making incredible costumes and parading around. Creativity makes me happy.
Well, I've come a long way from being the Reggae Raisin to being Santa Nana, but the costuming remains fun and challenging. This year, I'm working on a fur muff, and fur hat and lots of brooches and jewelry to shiny things up. I love hearing and seeing all the wonderful things the rest of you are doing, too. The woodworking, the toys, badges, belt buckles, staffs and so much more. Keep up the magical work.
Be good, for goodness sake!
Nana's tip of the day: My friends and I have a little something called "first right of refusal" when it comes to posting of personal pictures. If I tell someone I'm not pleased with a photo that includes me, they will immediately unpost/delete it. I think all Santas should abide by this rule. I would especially like to request that if a person in a photo is UNABLE to make or communicate their opinion of a photo that includes them, for instances if they are IN A COMA, please do not post it! Be especially cognizant of pictures taken of people who are sick in the hospital. I do not want my picture taken and distributed while I am sick in the hospital, but I may be too weak to tell you so. I also do not want to see pictures of my loved ones (or yours) doing the following things: drooling, exposing their buttocks from underneath a hospital garment, sporting unkempt hair and makeup (if they usually wore it), attached to life-support machinery, or . . . dead. Please be sensitive to your subjects. You may look great, but if someone in the pictures is in distress, please, please, please - - just don't post it.
I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!
And while we're on the subject:
You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still do just what they want to do!
Why can't they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids today?
From the Musical “Bye-Bye Birdie”
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I am babysitting for my horrible, spoiled, disrespectful, ungrateful, lying, lazy grandchildren. Yup, I just said that. I have no patience, and my sense of humor is on “off.” I am sick of the mess and doing all the chores. I am sick of getting up at 6 a.m. to get the boys to school. I am sick of the dishes and the laundry and the crap they have left on the toilet. Don’t ask me what’s on their blankets. I am pissed as hell that my daughter keeps throwing away the toilet brushes I buy. Where is my large water mug I brought over? Why can’t I find a channel with Jeopardy?
I love the dog (a Great Dane puppy) but don’t appreciate having to try to walk her with a three year old - - neither of whom have the procedure down yet. One pulls one way, the other pulls the opposite way. Both of them sit down and refuse to move whenever they feel like. Not at the same time. My back feels like I’ve been on the rack. One of the boys told me that there’s no need for him to pick up the dog poop in the back yard, because eventually “it will decompose.” I’d like to decompose his butt.
Yesterday, I listened for ten minutes to the dialogue on a game the 10 and 12 year old had downloaded on their Playstation called “Grand Theft Auto 5.” I have never heard such horrible language, and I worked all my adult life with lawyers and criminals (or is that redundant?) . Despite the fact that I turned it off, they snuck it back on after I went to bed (admittedly at 8:30 - - sigh). There was a midnight feeding frenzy in the kitchen, and enough food was spilled on the floor to attract an ant hill of mythic proportions. I wandered out in the kitchen before dawn without shoes and discovered the crumbs and feasting insects with my cold, bare toes. Oh, and there are lots of crickets here, just to make it extra crunchy.
This morning the gaming controls are (oops!) missing. I have shut every door in the house to keep the dog from chewing books, shoes, toys, Barbie clothes, Legos, and Star Wars paraphernalia. When I put her outside, she HURLS herself at the glass door when she wants back in. Did I say she weighs 90 pounds already.
Today is trash and recycle day. I rolled two trash cans, and carted six recycle bins, to the curb (and back). I have swept and vacuumed. There are enough dishes to run the dishwasher twice a day and the washing machine never stops. I’m supposed to harvest the remaining pears and apples from the backyard orchard, and bake up something tasty for later tonight. How long does it take pears to ferment into something drinkable?
Currently, the three year old is coloring - - in the vintage Dr. Suess books I so lovingly saved all these years. She is wearing a fifty dollar party dress, that has grape jelly on the skirt. There is Nutella in her hair. I don’t care. She is quiet and out of trouble for the moment. Earlier, she put seventeen colors of eye shadow on while I was taking a shower. A crayon got in this morning’s wash, and quite a few of my shirts (yes, I was doing my own laundry) have large red and orange spots on them. Thank gawd it wasn’t my son-in-law’s Hawaiian shirt. It's silk.
Early today my daughter called to see how I was doing? “When are you coming home?" I implored.
Amazon just sent me an e-mail saying my copy of “Final Exit” had just shipped. Unfortunately, they sent it to the wrong address. Bummer.
I guess my grandchildren didn’t turn out to be the darling blessings yours did. So, go ahead and brag.
Be good, for goodness sake.
OMG! What’s the dog chewing on? It’s the ant trap I put down on the kitchen floor. Now I’ve poisoned the family pet!
Santa Nana’s helpful hint for the week. Just say no. To everything.
Sittin' in the morning sun
I'll be sittin' when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch them roll away again, yeah
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
On August 1st, a sign outside the Palisade High School read "Summer's Almost Over." Boy, did that make me sad. Technically, summer was only HALF over, and the thought that someone would proclaim otherwise was freaking me out - - especially coming from a school. Unfortunately, here on the Western Slope, school starts in mid-August, not the first of September (after Labor Day) as it did when I was growing up. For the kids in this community, summer WAS almost over, and it got me to thinking about the days of yore. While my grand kids spent a lot of time playing video games this summer, when I was a kid, I found a spot to hide a pile of books and read. I had a particular spot under a shady tree in an orchard in our back yard, where a kid could lie on her back and alternate a story with watching fluffy cloud-characters puffing across the sky. I read all the Nancy Drews and Robert Louis Stevenson, and started into Ayn Rand when I was 11. As long as I was out of the way, I could lie there all day without much of a care. But that was long ago. Right after dinosaurs.
Eventually summer ends, and we all grow up, and finding a day to lie in the grass and read a book becomes a relic of by-gone days. Even when I do manage to find that shady tree, and pull out my Kindle, the evil Taskmaster-in-my-Brain rears her ugly head over and over with things I should be doing. Sometimes I'm forced to lock the doors and turn off the computer and stab her with my steely knife to keep her at bay. I did that yesterday. I locked myself in the sewing room - - the one room in my house devoid of electronics, and sat in the daybed by the window where I could see the clouds over Mt. Garfield. I found a true story about a young British kid who decides to volunteer for a year at an animal rescue camp in Ecuador ("A Bear Ate My Pants"). Funny, witty, insightful. I felt like I was transported for the day on an adventure to a foreign land. As should be, I was sorry when the story ended and the sun was setting on another summer day.
Today there were lots of posts on Facebook about getting ready for fall - - people who are tired of the heat and looking forward to the changing leaves, the harvest and Halloween. I want to stomp my foot and say "hold on there Bobalooey, it ain't even September yet!" It's curious how we humans have a hard time appreciating what is at our feet today in glorious splendor. If it is summer, we want the harvest moon, amongst the red and gold leaves, we dream of twinkling Christmas lights. In the darkness we plan for fresh spring flowers, and then again for summer's sunny tune.
It is 124 days until Christmas 2013 - - but that is one hundred and twenty four days away. Be sure to stop and feel the sun on your face, smell the roses, read a book under the clouds, and enjoy a summer day. No waiting. It's here now.
Be good, for goodness sake!
P.S. I know my son-in-law likes to play video games on his days off from being a super nurse, daddy and husband. I'm not sure that he has to fight the "taskmaster in his brain" as much as he does my daughter, though.
SANTA NANA'S TIP. If you have a Kindle or other reading device you can get FREE books (and sale books) every single day on BookBub.com. Sign up for their daily e-mail. Also, you can download/borrow books from your library for free. Libraries vary on how long you can keep your books, but it is pretty much like borrowing a hard copy, with options to renew. Also, there's never an overdue charge.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Santa Bill and Bestemor Claus when they came through Grand Junction yesterday. Our time was too short, but my granddaughter, Abby, enjoyed a magical visit with Santa Bill!
Santa Bill knew all about Abby and her brothers, what they got for Christmas last year, how old she was, and so much more.
I guess they just happened to be wearing red
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
To see what she could see
The other side of the mountain
The other side of the mountain
The other side of the mountain
Was all that she could see
Greetings, my holiday friends. I have finally completed my move from Boulder, Colorado to "the western slope," or Palisade, Colorado, to be exact. For those of you who have asked "why Palisade," my first answer is that my children (and three of my grandchildren) are right up the road in Fruita. I'm also smack in the heart of Colorado wine country! A wonderful park five minutes from my door hosts a plethora of festivals (wine, peach, lavender, music) and the Colorado river runs through it. Beauty, fresh fruit from the farms, and family all abound.
Moving to a smaller place created its own challenges and questions, specifically, how did I get so much STUFF? I've been downsizing ever since selling my home two years ago, and yet, I was doing the two step hoarders shuffle through boxes for the first three weeks I was here. I have a little ditty going through my mind to the tune of "Gangster's Paradise" but with the words "keep spending all my life, living in a hoarder's paradise . . . " The fact that I have an abundance of Santa Nana costumes, hats, jewelry, and other accoutrement doesn't help the situation, either. It takes up an entire room, shared by the cat, and she's still a little freaked out by it all.
It seems strange to be starting a new life at age 62, but everyone I've met so far has been really lovely. I hope to start promoting myself (Santa's sister) over the coming weeks, starting with a visit to the local Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. I've already connected with some folks I met at the lavender festival, and a backyard concert at a local bed and breakfast on Sunday. There are only 2,500 people in Palisade, so I should know all their names by Christmas.
If you know anyone in my area, please let me know. I'm very close to Grand Junction, where my son is a nurse at St. Mary's hospital.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walt Disney
Santa Nana's tip: Freecycle is a Yahoo group that has participants in every major city in the U.S. Basically, you can post your still usable items to be given away, and the recipient makes an appointment with you to pick it up. This way, stuff doesn't go to the landfills, people get stuff they can use, and you don't have to haul stuff away (especially nice for an old woman without a truck It is completely free. Of course, there are the occasional "no shows" and odd ducks, but I have used it in Longmont, Boulder, and now Grand Junction with great results. Let me know if you would like more information on this terrific community service. Someone just came and collected a heavy table I could no longer use. Oh, and you can ask for things you need, too.
I auditioned for the role of an angel in the Nativity play at school. I didn't get it. I auditioned for Mary; didn't get it. So I made up the character of the sheep who sat next to Baby Jesus. Nicole Kidman
Although he started out as pagan as the next demi-god, Nick was eventually converted to Christendom, while I was still firmly embedded in a more magical culture - - the fairies, the gnomes, the elves that Nick wound up using at the workshop. Frankly, we came from elf and fairy stock, and that was never going to change. However, Nick was happy to underplay his lineage to reach the greatest number of children, and he looked to Nicholas of Myra for inspiration and an occasional fashion idea. L.M. Royse, Santa Nana - - the Chronicles of Santa’s Sister
Greetings. My name is Santa Nana, and I am Santa’s SISTER.
As far back as Aristotle, in Poetics, story tellers have created “back stories” to help them understand their characters in an intimate way. When you know where your character grew up, who his parents were, where he went to school, what sports he played, his favorite color - - then your presentation can be more creatively defined.
In written form, back stories are usually revealed, partially or in full, chronologically or otherwise, as the main narrative unfolds. However, a story creator may also invent parts of a back story or even an entire back story, solely for their own use in writing (or performing) the main story and never reveal it to the audience.
Creating your particular interpretation of your Santa character is as individual as you are, but also requires that some common “fact” parameters be applied. Take the opportunity to sit down and outline a narrative of your own. Use your unique special talents, but also research how other Santa’s answer the basic questions:
What is your wife’s name? I just call her “the missus.”
Who’s your favorite reindeer? Rudolph.
How old are you? So old I can’t even remember!
Incorporate modern books and movies into your interpretation. Have you read the Polar Express? The Life and Times of Santa Claus? Do you know about the Elf on a Shelf? When I encounter children in a mall at Christmas time I always ask, “are you going to see Santa? I KNOW HIM!” This is a line from the movie “Elf” and kids adore it.
Santa myths are constantly in flux. While at one time “naughty” children could be stuffed in a sack, whipped and carried off to Spain (or simply given switches and coal), today we accept all children as “good” and no real punishment is ever really imposed. We have done away with the dark and frightening figures that accompanied Santa in times past (Krampus, Zwarte Piet). For health reasons, Santa no longer smokes a pipe (or cigarettes!), but he and the missus vacation in Hawaii in the off season - - a great addition to our new 21st century mythology.
Santa’s sister? Why not? We have had recent movies where Santa has had a brother “Fred.” Mrs. Santa was “created” over a hundred years ago. Characters such as Befana, a flying witch who delivers presents in Italy, have existed even longer:
In popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with
and presents if they are good or a lump of
or dark candy if they are bad. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of
and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana. She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a
through the air wearing a black
and is covered in
because she enters the children's houses through the
. She is often smiling and carries a bag or
filled with candy, gifts, or both.
My name “Nana” comes from a distant relative, the goddess Nanna, who it was believed was resurrected by the god Odin after dying from grief at the loss of her husband, the demi-god Baldr. There are many recorded stories about how she was incredibly beautiful. Odin is often considered the first of mythological characters to embody the spirit of Santa.
Among early Germanic tribes, one of the major deities was
Odin, the ruler of Asgard
. A number of similarities exist between some of Odin's escapades and those of the figure who would become Santa Claus. Odin was often depicted as leading a hunting party through the skies, during which he rode his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. In the 13th-century Poetic Edda, Sleipnir is described as being able to leap great distances, which some scholars have compared to the legends of Santa's reindeer. Odin was typically portrayed as an old man with a long, white beard -- much like St. Nicholas himself.
Since ancient times, the hearth was held sacred in primitive belief as a source of beneficence, and popular belief had elves and fairies bringing gifts to the house through a magic portal.
What an adventure it has become to create Ms. Santa Nana!
I appreciate all the love and support from every one of you.
Be good, for goodness sake!
Santa Nana, BSC
Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Please care about spelling. It is an indicator of your respect for the English language, and the people who read and speak it. If you think English should be the official language in the USA, I am especially pointing a finger at you. Comprendo? Wie oft am Tag schaust du dich im Spiegel an? Your computer and your phone have spell check features. I promise - - they do. Take a moment to use them before you post your texts, blogs and comments. An old trick I learned in school: read your text out loud before finalizing it to hear how it “flows.” As Santa characters, you should subscribe to a higher level of behavior than mere mortals. Yes, I keep saying that we have to live up to a higher standard because we are role models. That is part of the responsibility of being adored by children all over he world. Also, sign up for a “word of the day” e-mail. You’ll learn lots of really cool stuff. Try www.dictionary.com
Now I lay me down to sleep
Beside my bed a Glock I keep
If I awake and you’re inside
The coroner’s van
Will be your last ride
Posted on Santas on Facebook
Greetings. I am Santa’s Sister, and I am a pacifist. This year, as you may know, I joined the "Society of Santa's" to spread joy and enlightenment throughout the universe. When I signed on to Santas on Facebook, I immediately "friended" several hundred Santas, thinking how grand it was to have such a vast number of benevolent citizenry to be friends with.
Well, the truth has come as a crushing blow. The majority of the Santas who first "friended" me are gun fanatics with notions about the 2nd Amendment that defy logic. In addition, they all proclaim to be Christians. Apparently, many of you do not believe these concepts to be incompatible. Over the first few weeks, I quickly whittled my list down to about 75.
When the Sandy Creek massacre occurred, I determined that anyone who posted anything in the nature of "guns don't kill people," would immediately come off my friend list. I'm down to about two Santa friends. One is in Australia and one is in Denmark! The bottom line for me is, the NRA are a bunch of bullies, and we continue to allow them push us around. When somebody finally gets the balls to do something about them, I will be right on the bandwagon.
It is my sincere belief that mentally ill people are the cause for these horrible deeds. (Columbine, Aurora Theater, Sandy Creek, and on and on). Murder has been going on all over the world from the beginning of recorded history, and movies, or video games, or TV news, or not going to church, or any other number of things cannot be blamed for this awful human condition. However, as long as we are manufacturing blow-em up toys for fun and recreation, the mentally distressed will use them to wreck havoc.
In my perfect world, nobody would have guns. Short of that, no one would have bullets.
Americans are particularly hard headed and resistant to change. Once upon a time, everyone smoked in the U.S. and it took a lot of years to convince people that smoking will kill you, and it's smelly and disgusting (not sexy and mysterious). We need a similar focus now on gun control. Despite what you see in the movies, guns are not sexy and mysterious - - and they WILL kill you, your neighbors and your neighbors children - - and make the gun manufacturers wealthy in the process.
I believe in pursuing the dream of peace on earth, and I encourage all Santas and Mrs. Santas, and elves, and fairies, and other woodland creatures to embody this dream for all they come in contact with, whatever time of year.
Be good, for goodness sake!
Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Please crop your pictures. If you have a website, or post on Facebook, or contribute to ClausNet, take a few extra minutes to crop your pictures. The brick wall behind you should not be the biggest feature in your photo, or the line of folks to your right, or any other thing that does not have you, or you and your guest (human or pet) as the main centerpiece. Every single program you use to take pictures from your camera to your cell phone has an easy to use crop feature. Take it all the way down to the faces of the subjects. (Yes, your boots are grand, but we don’t always need to see them.) You can even make everyone look slimmer, by cropping in on the arm and up on the tummy. You have tools. Experiment with this until you get a good feel for it - - then use it!
P.S. I anticipate that many of you do not agree with my anti-gun sentiments, and it is not my intention to get into a fight with any of you about the issue. If you support my opinion, however, by all means, let me know! Peace and love. Santa Nana
“Often, a school is your best bet - - perhaps not for education, but certainly for protection from an undead attack.”
― Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide
Greetings. My name is Ms. Santa Nana and I am Santa’s SISTER. Did you know the average Santa is 60 years old, between 180-220 pounds, and between 5’8” and 6’? I’m all that - - and more! Now I have a degree in Santa Clausology.
This last weekend, I attended School 4 Santas, presented by world-renowned Santa Timothy Connaghan, at a clubhouse in Lakewood Colorado. I got off to a rocky start early Saturday morning. Here, I must confide to you that my technology is fickle. The minute I start depending on it, it dumps me like a bad boyfriend. For example, over the past few years I have come to rely heavily on the navigation system on my cell phone. GPS services have been an incredible blessing for me, allowing me to go places and see things I never would have ventured to go and see. Unfortunately, my Google maps service has gone bonkers lately. Instead of the kind lady telling me what street or highway to take, some bossy broad just screams “turn right! Turn right! Turn right! Go forward! Turn right!” This is not helpful to me. In fact, it caused me to call the direction’s lady a very bad word - - in front of my grandson. He thought this was hilariously funny. I guess this is what Santa says three times to his GPS, too - - HO HO HO!
So, getting to Santa school was a series of pulling over to the side of the road every fifteen minutes to read the real map and then getting back into traffic to turn right, turn right, and go forward. The address given for the school was wrong, so I sat in front of somebody’s condo for a few minutes looking about for Santa cars. You know the ones. They have bumper stickers that say, “My other vehicle is a reindeer sled,” and license plates that read “Big Red.” Some have magnetic side panels proclaiming “Santa Bob, call 1-800-JINGLES” or the PT Cruiser shrink wrapped in candy cane colors. I finally called my buddy, Santa Jerry, and he gave me the right address and I rushed into class, apologetic about my tardiness.
Santa Tim Connaghan is a right jolly old elf. He worked the front of the room with great ease and confidence and had a practiced lecture, accompanied by videos and text projected onto a screen, and lots of bells and whistles. Ha, ha - - yes really, bells and whistles. Tim is a highly sought after Santa and has wonderful stories about his jobs all over the world. He also shared his dos and don’ts and lots of funny clips of Santas through history. I loved a short film called “Boot Camp for Santas.”
There was a donut break, and a lunch break, and then a nap break. Professor Tim did not schedule the nap break, but it happened organically. Santa Paul fell asleep on my shoulder and snored loudly. Santa Jerry nodded and twitched in and out of his snowy white beard. Other Santas closed their eyes prayer-like or snuck out to their trucks for a snooze. This is not to say that Santa Tim’s lecture was boring, it is just to say that Santas need a siesta mid-afternoon, and unless you want unruly, grouchy Santas, you’d better let them sleep!
So, what's the newest thing in the Santa World? LADIES! Women are coming out to help their husbands in Santa performances, and to create their own independent Christmas characters. This opens up new markets and target groups for everyone in the industry - - which we should all celebrate. Technology is also revolutionary. On Sunday, Santa Steve was scheduled to teach us about the use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites to promote our businesses. Unfortunately, he was sabotaged by pixies in his PowerPoint presentation. While the search went out for a fifteen year old to assist Santa Steve with his computer, other Santas worked in a short naptime and I downloaded a new navigation app. Luckily, Santa Steve had some handouts to give us with his program information.
I would like to take a moment to report that there are Santas, just like other human men, who do not think that women have a place in the Santa community - - or a man’s world. They often will demonstrate their disapproval in condescending or passive aggressive behaviors. Unfortunately, there were a couple of these at Santa school. One Santa went around the room handing out his business cards, but when he got to me, turned and walked away without giving me one. One Santa let loose a door in my face. I was ignored when I spoke in a group. Another Santa thought I should be his personal assistant, scratch his back and give him a wake-up call when he went to his car for forty winks. Another simply treated me as if I was invisible, and refused to look at me when I introduced myself and held out my hand to shake. Oops, he forgot to give me Santa Steve’s handout, too. I realize that these men exist, but I hope those of you who have evolved into citizens of the 21st century will help encourage them to recognize that women have a lot to offer. Misogyny is not a Santa value.
On the positive side, a woman, Ms. Christmas Carol, was voted to be the top officer for the Colorado Society of Santas on Saturday night. In addition, an extremely talented seamstress exhibited her beautiful reversible vests, while a local Santa wore the incredible fur trimmed suit and hat she custom made for him. I also had the privilege of hanging out with other great people who came to school: My sponsor, Santa Jerry, who encouraged me to attend the school. Our host Kim, who modeled an exquisite heirloom costume from Norway on the second day. A wannabe Santa let Professor Tim pin curl his moustache, and another mountain man Santa modeled good-naturedly while Professor Tim gave a demonstration on beard curling with a hot iron. It was a hoot. One Santa’s diminutive wife earnestly explained to me that she was an elf, not a Mrs. Santa. Yet another Misses shared tips from her professional makeup experience and helped me get into my costume.
At the end of the school, everyone donned their gay apparel to receive their diplomas. We all posed with Santa Tim (see my post on Santas on Facebook) and said “yeah!” Here’s something we learned in class: Always have your hands showing in every photo.
I am now a graduate of School 4 Santas, and have my BSC (Bachelor of Santa Claus) diploma to prove it.
I highly recommend Professor Santa Tim Connaghan's book BEHIND THE RED SUIT. It is very comprehensive and has some really useful information in it. It is a bit pricy ($60) but covers just about everything in his lectures. You can get it (and other stuff and things) at www.realsantas.com I would tell any new Santa that Behind the Red Suit is the most useful source of information I have found in my first year.
Be good, for goodness sake!
Santa Nana, B.S.C.
Santa Nana’s tip of the week: If you use Facebook to interact with friends and family, it is wise to have a separate account for IRL (in real life) you, and Santa you. Your IRL Facebook can show you in your Bruins sweatshirt and NRA cap, hunting bears and telling risqué jokes about Victoria’s Secret models, BUT NOT YOUR SANTA FACEBOOK! If you have a picture posted of you in a Santa suit, and your name is “Santa Somebody” you should never, ever, ever, post anything that might offend women, children, the elderly, gays, people of different religions, people with different political ideas, people who are poor, or any people who have a different lifestyle than you . . .or have cats. Why? Because Santa is suppose to be a kind and benevolent character and you represent ALL Santas when you appear in the Red Suit. Also, being Santa is a business. It’s simply not good to alienate people who might hire you for a great job. Especially if they have cats.
“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”
― Mae West
Greetings, gentle Christmas creatures. My name is Ms. Santa Nana and I am Santa’s SISTER. Don't worry, I do not usurp any Mrs. Santas, and I represent the holidays from a modern, independent, woman's perspective. I am a CEO at Santa Nana Enterprises, where we create home décor, jewelry, hats, and other apparel. While my brother, Nick, is in charge of toy manufacturing and distribution, my focus is more on fashion, decorating and entertaining during the holidays.
I am descended from a long line of fairy queens (who married an occasional god, mortal, or saint). While my brother was secreted off to the North Pole at an early age to protect him from those who would do him harm, I managed to survive in Queen Victoria’s court until marriage to my dear departed husband. The Colonel took me to India, and then to the United States, where I reside today. I have homes in London, Barcelona and Tuscany. I am privileged to have known some of the great artists, writers, and thinkers of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I have a guest cottage at the North Pole and greatly enjoy my time there with the elves, fairies, magic reindeer, and of course my fabulous sister-in-law, Merry. Rum balls, anyone?
I have been doing photo shoots in private homes, and personal appearances at events, including parades and mall festivities in the Colorado Front Range area. Last season I volunteered for the Emergency Family Assistance “Adopt a Family” program. On delivery days, I helped distribute presents to the families and clients at the food bank, while in full regalia. I also handed out candy and treats to the kids who came by. Last year I was accompanied on many of my appearances by Lady Wynter, a good snow flake fairy who loves the season and bringing joy to those around her.
Santa Nana is a world traveler who embraces all religions and cultures. She is a pacifist, and promotes Peace on Earth and goodwill to all.
As a new member of the Society of Santas, I look forward to sharing some of my experiences and insights from the feminine point of view.
This weekend, I’ll be attending my first Santa School in Lakewood, Colorado. I can’t wait to meet some of you!
Feel free to let me know your questions and ideas.
Be good, for goodness sake!
Santa Nana’s tip of the week: Keeping your Facebook Page free of profanity is always a good idea for preserving our child-friendly images. If you want to share a fun picture that has a text comment with a vulgarity attached to it, try this: Save the fun picture by right clicking on it, choose “save picture as,” then give it a “file name” and “save” as a JPEG file. You can let it go to your default Picture folder, or create a special folder for this purpose. Then when you go to post it on your Facebook, simply retrieve it from your picture file folder. Feel free to add your own appropriately nice comment. Yes, I know it’s a few extra steps, but it’s good to eliminate those shocking tags.
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