sorry been away a while, busy with work and well, the other thing. Oh right, the kid. But thought I should put this here in case you hadn't seen it.
That is all for now.
December 5th is Sinterklaas for the Dutch. They still celebrate Christmas on the 25th, but the 5th is when they get the goods. So for the kids, that is the day. A local Dutch social organization was putting together a party for kids where Sinterklaas was going to show up and a good good friend of ours, Saskia's godfather, was going to be playing a very important role if you catch my drift (spoiler alert for small kids but look above for a hint).
Now, as anyone who's read David Sedaris knows, they have a little bit... different way of celebrating it. They still have the big man in a red suit and big white beard but instead of elves he is joined by his black helpers. Now of course there isn't anything inherently racist about a man having black employees. They may have a very good benefits package and their racial profile is simply an end product of an over eager HR person trying hard to conform to Affirmative Action. Oh did I mention that their job is to help Sinterklaas by not only keeping track of the information in his naughty and nice book, but also to punish the kids if they are bad. Lump of coal you say? No, one could burn coal for heat making that possibly a good gift in chilly Holland. Sorry kids, the Black Peters as they are called, will track you down and beat you with a bunch of sticks if you're naughty. So I'd stay on their good side.
Now, child abuse aside, the real problem arises when it is time to portray the Black Peters for festivities. In America if we need an elf we can throw Zoey Deschanel in a pointy green hat, with some funny ears, and call it a day. If we are really feeling authentic we can politely ask a little person if they would be so kind as to play the role. That is because we have little people to ask. In Holland they are short a few black people because about 200 years ago they were nice enough to sell us any that they had (or could find laying around Africa) and they charged very little for shipping because who knew if they'd still be alive when they got here. So, due to their rather alabaster personal landscape, when they want to dress up as Sinterklaas's helpers... that's right BLACKFACE!
I want to avoid entering into a very in-depth discussion about race but witnessing what I saw really made me quite uncomfortable. I had known about the tradition and seen photos before but seeing it in person truly brought it home. They don't just tint their skin like Snookie on the Jersey Shore they go full Jazz Singer and they do it having very little concept of what it means. I honestly don't think that they do it with any malice at all towards black people, it is just a longstanding inappropriate tradition that they carry on because in their country there is no one to say otherwise. Seeing the kind of thoughtless institutional racism that we in the states haven't seen in 40 years or so (unless you count truckstops in Tennessee) was a real shock to the system. Made me, who is no stranger to inappropriate jokes and behavior, take a couple of deep breaths and step back. The kids seemed to like it because shoe polish and lipstick aside it was a really fun day and tradition, so call me crazy but I'm pretty sure it's a terrific tradition that could carry on without the makeup. In any case Saskia didn't seem to care one way or the other.
I love Thanksgiving and I love Christmas, late fall is really a terrific time for me. I love Christmas so much that one of my very few pet peeves is hearing Christmas music when it isn't Christmas. There is such a sense memory attached to those songs that I get super jazzed whenever I hear them thinking it's that most wonderful time of the year. The danger is when some jerk off radio station is doing "Christmas in August" and I get crazy bummed. One time I accidentally wandered into one of those year round Christmas shops in late spring. The realization of the actual season threw me into such a depression that I locked myself in my bedroom for a day eating spoonfuls of nutmeg until it had the hallucinatory reaction I was looking for. So yeah... I dig Christmas.
So over the next few days I'm going to to keep you posted on the excitement that has been my first Christmas as a Pop.
Looks good doesn't it? Well...
Another joy of being married to a Dutch person is to experience the joy that is their love of Licorice and the wide rainbow of flavors that comes with it. They have sweet licorice, salty licorice, licorice powder that is sort of like "Lick-M-aid" (only licorice), and then they have a whole separate category for Anise related things. Likewise I'm sure that civil engineers who develop cities also have a wide catalog of street tars, concrete, and asphalt that they pull from when laying roads. I'm also sure that their road tars taste better than any licorice that I've ever eaten.
You see I don't like cauliflower (mean broccoli as I call it) or steamed carrots, but when I eat them, I can choke them down. When I try licorice, of any sort, my body rejects it like what. There have been countless times in my relationship with the wifey where I've been a good sport trying whatever new favorite flavor of hers she wants me to sample. It always ends in tears and a soggy half chewed black hunk of gross getting flicked into the kitchen garbage can.
But, as a good son-in-law and husband I have was a very good sport when it came to one of their Birth traditions. We have cigars, they have "Beschuit met Muisjes" (biscuits with mice), dry biscuits with sugar covered anise seeds on top with the appropriate blue or pink hue. And let me say... it is just as tasty as you may think it is. I did it though. I actually ate the whole thing with very minimal face making. Only did it once however.
Fun with iPhone and good old animated gifs. Yeah... This'll get annoying after a while, hahah
And for the record, find me on the PSN as SergePainsbourg.
EDIT: Awe dangit. that is supposed to be animated. I'll work on that tomorrow. for now it's just a niceish photo.
So, yeah, one of my biggest concerns about having the little lady was how my other little lady (dog) Lily was gonna react. She's clearly jealous at times and she does occasionally get a little too into licking her face but as you can see they are definitely getting along well.
one more ;)
Big thanks to my "Blog Buddy" (the wife's term) Plague for sending me this. Again good sir, you rule. (it's for a 6 mo so she's gotta grow into it, but man I couldn't resist a pic).
It's from Think Geek which really has so much cool stuff. But Plague pointed out to me that they make this in red... REALLY? You might as well just hand her to Phillip Garrido on the next Away Team mission to WalMart .
And if any of you readers out there are feeling generous... ahem... she also loves Deeeeaaathhhh Metal.