Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It don't matter what I'm getting, 'cause this is what I got.

"Expectation leads to disappointment". This is a common idea in Zen Buddhism, there is something about it that never sat right with me. Hoping big and dreaming big and working big is the only way to get anything of value done. Maybe I am wrong though. Maybe when I have a disappointing Christmas it's because I wish so big, and my list of what I want is so much bigger than what I get. So to combat that, here is my new list, not of what I am getting, but what I've already got. (In no particular order)

A (pretty good) robot dance
hands (glad)
Turkey Dinner
Nog (Egg)
Long talks in the car that don't end when the drive does
A chicken costume
friends who trust me with their problems
A book of poems about love and life that I is half full
Little Owen who asks if he can hold me.
House M.D.
Kineto Pictures Inc.
A Bunch of empty sketchpads
A bunch of full sketchpads
Hot Wings (and blue Cheese)
Olivia yelling "Uncle Damian" with all the parts of her lungs
General Health
Working plumbing (in the house)
Working plumbing (in my body)
Morgan asking me to tickle her toes
Grape Juice
A love of Art
a taste for Chocolate
a pretty decent Kurosawa collection (on DVD)
some couches
Ben's art (including frame)
conference calls with friends (and bullet points)
inside jokes
Fast Internet!
chocolate roll
Van Gogh
SO many ties
running and running and running (but not for exercise)
3-2-1 blastoff
Pushing Daises (mostly just the first season)
Lee (and how he does)
a heart
a head
everything in between (and some things in the periphery)
hammock in the backyard
A business partner who is loyal and dreams big.
little people who call me "Uncle Damian"
little people who make Hot Cocoa
a couple of years in Spain
The opportunity to travel
the Joy of cooking (the book, thanks Jean)
the Joy of Cooking (the joy)
bad jokes
socks and wood floors
Hot N' Ready Pizzas
sharp suits
Musical Friends
empty canvases
unfinished scripts
gaps in knowledge
The Doofer (GDX)
days when I don't have a thing to do
days when I have enough to keep me busy and my mind off the emptiness
Freedom (more or less)
a church calling where people have to listen to me
Brandon Brand New Dayton
things that make me "step up"
things that make me "step up" and "Take it to the streets"
the career of one Mr. Vin Diesel
Annie Dayton and rides from the airport
the Junior Bacon Cheese Cheeseburger
Tyra's ego
the Ranch years
Grandma and Grandpa Dayton
Gramps and Grandma
Adrian's schemes (also his Hijinks)
talented friends
The Brothers
The Brothers Karamazov
Franny and Zoey
Enders Game
Trace n' Brian
Smythers n' Lindsay
Cookies n' Cream
Friends in other cities
The Book of Mormon
The Bible
and other good books

I could keep writing, but I got stuff to do. So Merry Christmas, and remember that it don't matter what you're getting if you remember what you've got.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All I want for Christmas

no hats
ties, skinny ties or regular ties
a new suit
a new blazer or two (40R)
I'd like to lose 15 pounds
a pound of chocolate
an ounce of good sense
Antique stuff
an Eames chair
Anything Atomic age
except a nuclear warhead
vintage film cameras (super 8 is the best)
the new iphone earbuds
"to Live" the movie by Zhang Yimou (I have now lost/given away 3 copies of this)
"man on wire" the movie
Minerva Teichert's Christ in the Red Robes
some cool throw pillows for my couch downstairs, something modern
blank vans
sketch books
Joy of cooking (my old copy is getting worn out)
"A storyteller in ZIon" I lost my older copy
The new Ender's Game book (it's on the best seller list)
Extras: the complete series
the Sanjuro/Yojimbo criterion collection boxed set (I already own the movies but the set is SO gorgeous)
a punch in the face
a real live muppet
the gift of not-vomitting in the morning (the gift that keeps on giving)
a roll of quarters (for punching, then for video games)
6 piece chicken McNuggets
throwing star magnets
I want Cameron to know that Krull is NOT a good movie anymore
pretty much anything from the criterion collection
a new heart (similar to the old one, but less breaky)
a hot tub
a warm tub
pie (the treat, not the never-ending number)
a dolphin
a cyborg
a cyborg dolphin
a submarine that looks like a dolphin (so we can be friends)
a boat car
a car boat
a concept I can use to finish my story
pie cake
a reprieve from angst
a hover car
a bucket of gold
something mid-century modern
more Kung Fu pajamas
a gorilla suit (to go with the chicken suit)
a new digital camera (mine got stoled- again)
an octagon (for ultimate fighting)
Zombie Movies
Zombie Moves
"Zombie" by the Cranberries
some time to think
a clown cart
a calculator watch
the GI Joe aircraft carrier
The movie "Blood Simple" I haven't seen it. by the Coen Brothers
a chocolate orange ('cause I am getting one anyway)
a clockwork orange
some "Aspen" cologne (see above)
Music by any of the following bands: "Tunng" "Thao and the get down and stay downs" "the Books" "Feist""the Bird and the Bee", but who buys CD's anymore?
the Seagate portable pocket drive 250 gigabyte with firewire 800.
a massage
Atlantic Monthly magazine subscription
a headband
time alone
"Home Alone"
something the relieve the boredom

I think that about covers it, but maybe I am just setting myself up for disappointment.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Disappointing Christmas

I apologize for what I am about to write.

Christmas is

Or at least it can be. I remember one of my good friends (Nate) asking for rollerblades for Christmas. He was 14 and his parents certainly had the means. As he rushed downstairs to see what was waiting beneath the glowing Christmas Tree he found...

a filing cabinet.

I don't think there is a man nor woman alive, who at one point didn't look up to a loving mother and say, "Oh ...socks. Thanks mom, yeah I really needed ...socks. yeah, I see there are different colors" And I have to wonder if that first Christmas was a little disappointing to Joseph. He was marrying a woman who was giving birth to a child that was not his. He couldn't even arrange for a clean room to spend the night and had to settle for a barn. On top of all that he had to deal with strange sheep hearders and foreigners visiting through the night. I have to wonder if he looked up and said "Oh...myrrh. Thanks, yeah I really needed ...mrryh. yeah, I see it comes with frankinsense too."

But somehow I don't think he was disappointed. He saw the birth of Christ, the foretold Messiah. His wife and child, the child that he would get to raise, were healthy. Angels rejoiced and people gathered from every economic strata to honor him. I think Joseph was open to play it by ear and take what came. He didn't know what Christmas would be and he took it as it came and was open to the new experience.

For me Christmas is a great time, but it is often disappointing. I don't think it was by accident that the glorious nativity is often surrounded by tales of disappointment. One of my favorite lyrics is this, "If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments." Thus is life.

I'll be honest, life has had it's share of disappointments lately (many of which are of my own making). I think of a lot of people who aren't where they thought they would be are looking forward to a disappointing Christmas. I think that can be temperred by being open, like Joseph must have been, to whatever Christmas we will be given.

But I think of Simeon and Anna in the Old Testament, who each waited faithfully year after disappointing year, visiting the temple regularly until they got a chance to see the child Messiah. They are not surrounded by fellow faithful or even family in their tales. Just lone people that had some hope.

As I go into this winter solstice, this time of year with the worlds longest night, I know that the sun will come again, as will the Son of God. And disappointments are for the moment, and fleeting. My friend Nate still uses his filing cabinet, and probably chuckles and thinks of his Dad. I have probably worn through the socks but I know that my Mom cares about how warm my feet are.

As I go into this Christmas, I am deciding not to be disappointed. I am not going to be attatched to what Christmas has been and look forward to what it will be, and to enjoy every minute.