Monday, December 11, 2006

Making Merriment

City sidewalks
Busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city…

Ah yes, ‘tis the season! This weekend past, ChezLinoleum was in full-holiday-swing-mode, which meant lots of decorating, driving to and fro, and of course much eating, drinking and making merriment also occurred.

First and foremost, Operation Tree Acquisition was in order. Sure, I, like many good American consumers, own an artificial tree. Hell, I own three! For me, childhood Christmas memories always include visions of my dad pulling down dusty tree and ornament boxes from the garage eaves, mom erecting said ornamental plastic wonder in one corner of the family room, bending the wire branches to and fro in an effort to achieve maximum straightness, dad, then having played his annual pivotal role in Operation Tree Acquisition, deciding to retire for the evening to read, write or work on his plans for world domination, my sister Stephanie and I jumping around in a sugar-addled haze, attempting to open the ornament boxes only to be told to sit down, remain calm and ornaments would be handed to us in an orderly fashion by the Queen of Clean and Organization, otherwise known as Mom.

Ahhh, those were the days!

I, being my mother’s daughter, happily continued with the anal-retentive plastic brush tradition each and every Christmas until I hooked up with the man in my life. Yep, the hubby did not abide my tradition of an oh so neat and natty plastic Christmas. Nope, HIS childhood memories of annual Operation Tree Acquisition consisted of actually buying a tree, a previously live, but just recently mowed down arbor from some lot near his parents’ home. Anyway, when we hooked up, my x-mas shrubbery de plastique was resigned to its cardboard tomb in favor of the hacked from its roots, mass needle dropping, grown in a tree farm variety. I still, however, manage to erect my little silver Christmas shrub next to the television each and every year. Hey, you can’t find metallic silver trees in nature! I have no choice…

At any rate, this year's Operation Tree Acquisition took place at the tree auction off Alameda Street, a hop, skip and a jump from Olvera Street and Union Station in good ole Downtown Los Angeles. However, before heavy duty auction participation could ensue, the Linoleums were in need of sustenance. This we found at one of my all time favorite LA eateries, Philipe’s! Home of the French dipped sandwich and 50 cent iced teas!

Landmarks can be hard to come by in this town...

Seriously, if you live in the Los Angeles area and have yet to eat at Philipe’s, well you are missing out big time! I always, always order the lamb dip, potato salad or coleslaw, depending upon my mood, and of course and an iced tea. Yum!

With bellies full, the hubs, offspring and I were ready to wheel and deal at the tree auction. Turns out all the cheapskates were present last Saturday evening. Bids were unbelievably low and we drove out of there with a 7 ½ footer for an amazing $36. Not bad.

Let the games begin...

Sold (to someone else)!

Here's our tree getting its water bowl and wooden stand...

The offspring and I decorated our acquired bush (after vacuuming up a bazillion stray needles) and surrounding abode Sunday morn. The hubs had to go into work so it was just mom/daughter decorating duo thang. We managed to transform our domicile into a holiday wonderland within a few hours. When finished it was time for us to get spiffed up in anticipation of one of our favorite annual holiday music traditions…Tuba Christmas!

Yes, I used the words tuba and Christmas together in one phrase.

Seriously, this is the best “get into the holiday spirit” type of event around! 200 tubas playing Christmas carols (and a couple of Tuba Chanukah tunes as well) accompanied by the audience in a sing-a-long!

It’s amazing! Really. I’ll bet, you can catch a version of Tuba Christmas in a city near you too…I highly recommend it. Not to be missed! Oh by the way, cosmopolitans are a good Tuba Christmas aperitif just in case you were wondering. I believe one sings a bit louder when windpipes are warmed with a bit of vodka.

I will tell you all that prior to last weekend’s festivities, I was feeling a little Scrooge-esque. It’s stunning what a little greenery, some holiday finery, a few seasonal tunes and camaraderie with family and friends can do to change my outlook. Oh, and the vodka didn’t hurt either....


Micky said...

Fun fun!!
My family (at home) never had a real tree. Never got to go find one and get to pick it out. We just had the old artificial one.
Oh well. At least I got to visit family with real trees! lol

gracia said...

Silver bells! It's Christmas and I'm nowhere near ready.
Happy festive lead up to you... grache.

Jessica said...

Fun! Glad to hear that the holiday spirit is descending upon you!

SheCrochets said...

The tree auction sounds like fun! We currently go the plastic-monster-in-a-box route, but one day when we have a big house, we fully intend to fill it with a HUGE LIVE tree!

And vodka makes everybody merrier. It is required drinking in our family. :-)

Anonymous said...

Your weekend sounds like a blast! I have opted for the artifical ones due to like putting them up as early as I can get by with...LOL Christmas music played by tubas?? Interesting. I am sure there is no place around here that does that. I would ahve to drive into Chicago for something like that. Maybe one year I will get to! Have a great week!

miss kendra said...

i'm not having a tree this year, as i will be away, but i miss it already.

will you be at snb by any chance? i will bring your gift if you are.

Carol said...

Sounds great! Keep enjoying the season!

Andy's Crafts said...

We had an Aluminum Tree and there was this four color wheel that will make the tree go in colors. Have a Merry Christmas!

There's more to the story, but I will leave that for my blog LOL!

Anonymous said...

Three trees?! Husband would die. I put a wreath on the door (not even a particularly Christmassy one)and he nearly conniped. Either way - glad to hear the holidays are merrying your house.

If you get overwhelmed with Christmas cheer, come by and take a look at the Fugly Holiday Decoration contest going on over here. I promise to make fun of everyone but you ;)

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

wodka never hurts. unless you drink too much of it, but then it only hurts the day after, but you can deal with that then. Yay wwodka!!

Anonymous said...

Yummmm...the lamb sand at Philippe's is MY fave too!!!

LOVE that Xmas tree lot on Alameda. Were they selling tamales next to the railroad tracks?

Olvera St. during the holidays is amazing too. Yes, WE LOVE L.A.!!!

Shout out to you on my blog today re: Bacon flavored gelato!

Anonymous said...

What great holiday traditions! Especially Philipe's. I love a good diner.

myste said...

hooray for philipes and hooray for 9 cent coffee!

this year i went with a plastic tree and i am very pleased with my $12.99 ikea purchase. no drying out, no fire hazard, no water spilling on my floor. its divine