Short rundown: Christmas Eve involved an experimental food adventure! We got together with some friends that we normally only see at 'Con and had dinner at Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian restaurant that's so new that it hasn't had its official grand opening yet. The food was yummy and quite exotic. I'd never had Ethiopian cuisine before, but I'll happily do so again! Good times. We went home and, being the selfish materialist that I am, I opened birthday presents a day early. :-) Yay, stuff!
Yesterday started with Christmas sex, followed by opening gifts (why can't every day start like that??). Kim and I then spent the afternoon/evening at Busch Gardens (where we ran into the ever-so-effervescent indigofae). We ended up getting annual passes, since going once more in the next year is the break-even point and we're planning on going on New Year's Eve anyway.
After the park closed we had dinner at Java, a Mediterranean place that just opened (another place that hasn't had their grand opening yet) down the street from Busch Gardens. Any ability I had to objectively critique the meal was swept away by the presence of hummus. I would do wrongness for hummus. The rest of the meal, excellent though it was, faded into the background before the Paste of Love. :-) Then we went home and chilled out.
One neat thing that I noticed that makes me particularly happy: everyone with whom I've been romantically involved (short list, but still...) since Kim and I got married contacted me to wish me happy birthday. What a wonderful feeling! I was positively oozing with warmfuzzies (or is that hummus?)! I take it as a sign that I'm doing at least one thing right. Life's too short to make enemies, especially of such awesome folk. I'm a lucky dude. :-)
Okay, I wasn't originally going to post this second part, but an e-mail message I got from zensidhe convinced me to go ahead and do so against my better judgment. However, it's likely to offend some, so if you'd rather not read a religious rant, go ahead and skip the cut.
As everyone knows, there are a lot of e-mail forwards going around with religious themes, and that's fine. Around Christmastime the number goes up, and that's fine too. I usually don't give them much thought, but one in particular irked me because regardless of the religious (and pagan, let's not forget) origins of Christmas, the simple fact is that in the United States Christmas is at least as much a secular holiday as it is a religious one. Most of the iconography of Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity, and that's not a bad thing!
It's called "A Letter From Jesus":
a letter from Jesus :
As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated.
During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer. It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.
Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.
But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited.
I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation.
The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face .. and I wanted to be with them and share their table. In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.
They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying:
'Santa Claus, Santa Claus'
as if the party were in his honor!
At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me.
Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?
I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left. Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.
I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life.
I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.
Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart. I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements..
Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book.
Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party.
Those who don't answer the invite, will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.
See you soon. I Love you!
Here's my reply:
As someone whose birthday is also on December 25th, I'd like to cordially invite you to chill out. If you actually showed up to the celebrations held in your honor people would still be inviting you! I make a point of actually attending parties held for me in a real and tangible way, and would never consider being so pompous as to send a thinly-veiled threat to anyone who happens to be having fun without me on my birthday. Lose the passive-aggressive angst. It's unbecoming of an omnibenevolent deity who is held up as the standard for good.
Personally, the fact that two billion people are celebrating on my birthday has always been a source of great joy to me. Why isn't it for you? I hold no illusions that they're actually celebrating my birthday, yet it pleases me nevertheless just to know that other people are getting together with friends and loved ones and creating happy memories at the same time that I am, regardless of what their reason is. It's a little special happiness that less than 1/3 of 1% of the population will ever know. Besides, I've never once had to go to work or school on my birthday. How freaking cool is that?
So consider yourself to have an open invitation to any and all birthday parties held for me. If you don't show up, I promise I won't be offended in the least. If you do put in an appearance, I'll buy you a Guinness and post all about what a swell guy you are in my LiveJournal. Deal?