Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well ginger my bread Charlie Brown...Merry Christmas!

I watched the Crazy Tomato's Christmas program at church last night, and not a single kid sang the songs looking straight up at the ceiling...

Does that fact take anything away from my annual yuletide enjoyment of that sappy Brown kid and his array of smart-alacky friends? Absolutely not.

Charlie Brown Christmas is, and always will be, a holiday tradition for me. Along with watching the antics of the Griswold family (including Cousin Eddie) each year, Chuck and the gang have a knack for putting me straight into the fa-la-la spirit. What's not to love?

While it's true some media pundits have chosen to call out the Schulz classic for the 'dark, depressing undertones', my spin is the show hits all the true highs and lows of what we have, in fact, made Christmas.

Trying to ween the four-year old off the sterile and emotionally dead line up on Nickelodeon over to watching a cartoon that first aired when yours truly was a rambunctious, tree-destroying toddler was no easy task either. The hand-drawn frames of 1965 hardly pale in comparison to the computer-generated wash of shows today that produce new cartoons like daytime soap episodes.

But... I'm a bit stubborn (that didn't require confirmation by amen, but the way). So... I tried to keep her interested in the show hoping the deeper moral and spiritual ambiances would take hold.

Crazy Tomato: Why is that big headed kid...

Tony C: That's Charlie Brown.

Crazy Tomato: ...why is Charlie Brown mad at his dog for decorating his dog house?

Tony C: Christmas isn't about decorating the house or getting presents sweetheart. It's about Jesus being born, and that's a very big deal.

Crazy Tomato: Oh. Why does that dog sound like a cat when he talks? How do they understand him?

Tony C: The dog's name is Snoopy and this is a cartoon. Dogs don't really talk in real life, but in cartoons everyone can understand them.

Crazy Tomato: Oh. This cartoon is really old daddy.

Tony C: Just watch it with me. You'll like it I promise.

That's when my Christmas moment happened for 2011. As her interest (and tolerance) was seriously waning, the scene cuts to Schroeder kicking out that classic jazzy tune Linus and Lucy...and the gang starts to dance...

The Crazy Tomato lit up with a smile, then she started dancing to the music and pointing out the funny ways some were getting their groove words....not hers.

Yes! Acceptance can be a golden gift for an old, outdated and out of touch parent. While it's not necessary to properly carry out the can sure be a sweet treat at times.

As the moment I had patiently waited for approached, she was captivated.

Tony C: Watch this part and listen sweety. Very important stuff...

Crazy Tomato: Okay daddy.

Crazy Tomato: It's about baby Jesus daddy. He's talking about baby Jesus.

Tony C: That's right sweetheart. Baby Jesus...

Crazy Tomato: Can we watch it again?

I'd be safe in saying you will never, and I mean ever, hear a monologue coming from Dora,  Phineas, Wubbzy, Spongebob or even the Wiggles like the beautiful prose recited by Linus from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke.

And that's why Charlie Brown Christmas will continue to be a tradition in the Tony C home for many years to come...but my little Crazy Tomato is going to have to wait a few years before she can watch Christmas Vacation with dad. I'm sure Clark will still be just as funny then too.

May God bless your Christmas celebration in a mighty way this year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I draw the line at donning any gay apparel...

We've added a new holiday tradition to the Tony C household, and I must admit I've gotten into it...just a little bit.

Some of you may be familiar with Elf on the Shelf. Until this year, I was not. Here's how the racket works according to the company's propaganda:

Every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, each family's scout elf watches over the children and then at night, once everyone goes to bed, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report back to Santa about what activities, good and bad, took place throughout the day. Before the family wakes up each morning, the scout elf flies back from the North Pole and hides. By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the scout elf and the family play an on-going game of hide and seek. The Elf on the Shelf explains that elves get their magic by being named. In the back of each book, families have an opportunity to write their elf's name and the date that they adopted it. Once the elf is named, the scout elf receives its special Christmas magic which allows it to fly to and from the North Pole. However, the magic might go if touched, so the rule for The Elf on the Shelf states: "There's only one rule that you have to follow so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won't hear all I've seen or I know." Although families aren't supposed to touch their scout elf, they can talk to it and tell it all their Christmas wishes so it can report back to Santa accurately.

So Mrs. Tony C plopped down the cash for the book and elf, read the story to the 4-year old, and then gracefully bowed out of the picture leaving yours truly to do 'the fun stuff.'  First order of business, giving the mischievous little snitch a name...

Now, I've previously documented my apparent ineptness at naming inanimate objects (remember Joe Pony?), so when pressed by my beloved Crazy Tomato to help her think of a name, the best I could beget was...Blue.

Crazy Tomato: Blue?

Tony C: Blue the Elf. He has blue eyes...

Mrs. Tony C: (mocking eye roll) Geeezzz

Crazy T: I like it daddy! His name is Blue the Elf!

Mrs. Tony C: Blue?! Seriously? Blue the Elf?

Crazy T: I want it to be Blue mommy. Put it in the book!

There's a tremendous amount of responsibility that accompanies the power of influence I wield at my home. The burden at times is absolutely crushing...ahem...but I love my girls and take it very seriously.

So then began the routine of placing Blue in a new spot and situation each night after my own little fruit-nicknamed elf went to sleep. Why did this ultimately fall to you Tony C? That is a wonderful question my astute readers.

Another household custom not tied to the seasons in general is bedtime at the Tony C estate. The ritual goes like this...the Crazy Tomato will not go to sleep in her bed without the accompaniment of one Mrs. Tony C...every single, stinking night! Also falling asleep in these accommodating circumstances would be one Mrs. Tony C...every single, stinking night!

I might be harnessing a few ill feelings about this situation, and in the spirit of the season, I sincerely apologize for my pithiness.

I said pith-i-ness! Come on guys! You know I don't use such language! This is a family show!

Back to the elf. So each night, I look for creative places and circumstances to place Blue and bring joy and a chuckle to my Crazy Tomato the next morning. I already know what you're can come up with creative circumstances to build a continuing story around a toy doll, but you can't come up with a better name than Blue the Elf?

Google my friends. I ain't blazing a new trail here you know.

Can't wait to paint her nose red tonight and pin it on the fairy. I might even try to get away with a two-for-one...I'm still feeling a little bitter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The next best thing to being Adam...

First off, I'm not trying to score pre-holiday brownie points here...

The fact simply is- I genuinely love my in-laws. From the very get-go, there were a number of potential obstacles in the way of a smooth transition going into my relationship with Mrs. Tony C.  The biggest being the fact that I had practically gone to school with her parents.

Let me state for the record, they are both OLDER than me by a few years.

So for those of you not keeping up, I am indeed significantly somewhat older than my lovely wife. A fact that has never been a new revelation nor point of contention with either of us...ahem...especially me. The age issue never seemed to bother anyone around us though, at least as an issue important enough to vocalized to me.

Anyway, back to my original point and off this self-justification for cradle robbing.

So, I love my in-laws. What's not to love? My mother-in-law is a quite remarkable lady. She beat breast cancer back in the year 2000. Not only did she beat cancer, she early retired from her lifelong career, went back to school, and is now an oncology nurse helping other cancer patience. She takes her job to heart and works with a passion that is recognized by those needing the service. I don't tell her enough how proud I am of her and that she is truly a hero to me.

My father-in-law is somewhat of a kindred soul. We share a lot of the same passions, with a primary passion for God. He is a tremendous role model not just for his children and grandchildren...but also for me. Unbeknownst to him (to this point), I often gauge my own moral stature on a particular issue based on his personal insight to the issue. That's not to say we agree on all matters, but clearly grown men in an informed society can disagree and both stand on solid moral footing. I would be very uncomfortable being on a different moral footing than my father-in-law.

I'm going to use a term that is often overused where I live but beyond all doubt applies to my in-laws...they're just good people. My oldest daughter is not their maternal granddaughter, but you would never know a difference between her and the younger two girls with them. They come to her soccer games and show genuine affection for her and have since she and I joined their family. I can't emphasize enough what that and that alone has meant to me.

My in-laws drop by our home quite frequently, and I'm really glad they do. Now we all know the visits are geared to interact with the grand kids, and I'm perfectly at ease with that fact. I enjoy their company. I enjoy it so much we vacation together in the summers...something I look forward to each and every year. In my heart I know, the more my in-laws are around my three girls, the more the love of God is being demonstrated to them. Plus, I have the luxury of seeing the product of their joint parenting efforts daily...and I must admit I'm quite impressed.

Did I mention my brother-in-law? He's a pretty cool dude too...I just don't want to give him the big head, so keep that between us. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy days are finally here again...

My plans are to share in my good fortunes with all my loyal readers...

Seems like the right thing to do. Naturally, I'll start by paying my tithes to thank the Lord Almighty for I'm sure His divine intervention on my lowly behalf. Now I'm not completely sure what has happened to yours truly is absolutely a  gift from above, but I'm not taking chances either.

I'll be sure to take care of my family. Having three weddings and three college tuitions to pay at some future point was beginning to weigh heavy on this old bloak.  Lots of sleepless nights.

Well okay... I've had a few nights it's been hard to go to sleep. That may have been Coke Zero related now that I think about it.

I'm so sorry! I'm getting way ahead of myself here! The excitement has just been building around my house and I'm just a mess. Let me explain...

I've been getting these legal notifications that I'm part of several separate class action law suits currently in litigation. Honestly, I've not paid much mind to them until last week. Let's see... there's one with iTunes, Amazon and Ameritrade ongoing...and I just received a settlement check from the Yingling v. Ebay, Inc case. I didn't have to do a thing! They're just sending me money for free!

Pinch can't be so.

After talking distribution over with Mrs. Tony C (whom I must admit seemed quite apathetic), she agreed I could follow our standing family values guide of God, family and education...wait...that doesn't work...God, family and all others. You are the all others!! I just knew in my heart this day would come, and I would be able to give back to my loyal readers as an undying thank you in the form of every one's favorite

Well, the eBay settlement check is in people!

Once I get the other three suits settled, just send me a self-addressed stamped enveloped, and I'll send your part right away!

Hope this helps makes your Christmas (or Festivus) just a little bit brighter...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl...

Been pretty hectic and I apologize for no new stuff lately. Hopefully next week will see a lighter load...

Today is my youngest first birthday. Let's look back a year.

The 'Third day at hospital' look- Mrs. Tony C wears it so much better...and she just delivered a human being!

So, our little bundle of joy arrived last Thursday morning at 8:08 am coming in an ounce shy of six pounds and half and inch short of 20. She's a little tiny dancer. Dad couldn't be prouder if he'd push her through his own...well...let's not get carried away crazy here.

Almost a week later, I still stand in complete awe of a Divine design that produces such a glorious moment called child birth. As I stated in my last post, my role was minuscule. I managed the wet wash cloth, camera and thick skin. Ice chips weren't necessary...but I had it covered none the less. The delivery staff were nothing short of amazing. A well-oiled machine that made this former Marine officer beam with glee at the management of organized chaos that occurs when another number is added to the roll of the human population.

Oh yes...and it's a most beautiful concert.

Maestro, aka, Dr. B was unflappable. While the subject of recent post have involved the OB/GYN experience for yours truly as a bull in a china shop, the calming effect of Dr. B sharing a fly fishing story involving his own son while I chewed scissors through a cord both a part of my new daughter's body as well as her mother's should go down in bedside manner lore. The situation was potential for the medical school instructional film series. Had my mind focused for even a brief moment on the task I was actually two of the most important people in my life...or my eyes wondered to where the cord went on either end...someone would have been using the cold wash cloth on me.

I'm not sure my HMO would have covered that either.
Look. I'm no stranger to bloody situations, or weak-kneed, or even fainthearted. I pulled a guy's molar once with a pair of pliers and gauze pads (no, he didn't owe me money...he actually wanted it pulled). I've lanced boils and blisters with a flame-sterilized K-bar (now we're talking pus). I've recovered a severed finger to hopefully be reattached! Hey...I'm no girly-man people!

Sorry. I guess Marines and former Marines just get a little defensive if we come across a bit squeamish or weak. It's a natural reaction. Some brainwashing...I mean, training...last a lifetime. Besides, 'cutting the cord' has a completely different meaning/context in our field manual. But we won't discuss that here because some of you might be a little squeamish...

Thanks Dr. B for helping me save face by not ending up on my face...oh, and kudos for helping bring my little tiny dancer into the world. To use a fishing phrase...she's a keeper.