Sometimes You’re The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, Sometimes You’re Linus’ Blanket; Forty Weeks In

I’ll Take Le Tits Now For $200, Alex

I love this time of year, for many reasons, but also because it’s Decorative Tin Season, Motherfuckers. I have a lovely assortment of festively decorative tins, and I love to fill them with once-a-year treats. Why don’t I have decorative tins for other times of year, when they clearly bring me joy? I don’t know.

Every time I open the fridge, I’m faced with this tin that is filled with peanut butter truffles:

And every time I open the fridge and see this tin, I get Sean Connery’s voice in my head. I’ll take Le Tits Now for $200, Alex. I get that voice in my head whenever I receive a Let It Snow-themed Christmas card, see a festive pajama set or decoration, or, god forbid, hear the song. Le Tits Now, Le Tits Now, Le Tits Now.

Hilariously, I have had several people tell me lately that when they try to access this blog from certain locations – work, mostly – that they get firewalled, and in some cases, the site is flagged as pornography. Let’s give them something to talk about.

Side note: imagine how disappointed a porn-seeker would be on being directed to this blog. Oooh, a GIRL in a BOY house. Let’s see…huh. There’s a lot about grocery shopping – ooh! Maybe it’s a produce stockboy storyline…no. No. She’s just literally buying groceries. And getting upset about people who don’t return their carts. Maybe on this next page…no. More groceries. Oooh, double up the D! No. No. She means Vitamin D.

I’m Not A Regular Mom, I’m A Cool Mom

At least a few times a week, I sassily tell the boys that, despite all appearances to the contrary, I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom. I also text them gifs to that effect, which they accept with weary resignation.

My older son was assigned the movie Mean Girls to watch for his Career and Life Management class – side note, why? When I was in grade 11 CALM I certainly was never assigned to watch movies. – and he burst out of his room with a startled look on his face.

“I didn’t know that was actually from something!” he said to me. “I thought you were just saying you were a cool mom.”


Is It Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away, Asking For A Friend

Mean Girls notwithstanding, school-wise the last two weeks have been very intense for the boys. I found myself longing for the pre-high school days when December was an absolute shit-show and no academic work was attempted. Sure, they were hyped-up messes by the time they got home, but at least they weren’t completely burned out shells of their former selves. My younger son had a math test during the last period of the Friday before the break. My older son had a major Social Studies unit test the day before; both of them were basically the walking dead last week. I never was a fan of Pajama Day at school but now I’m remembering those days fondly.

I woke them up Friday morning by blasting One Day More; I can’t tell if they were happy about that or not.

We celebrated the end of school – after my younger son spent TWO HOURS after classes finished working on a project due THAT DAY THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL – as we usually do, with a viewing of Christmas vacation, snacks, and, in my case, boozy coffee.

Pandemic Feelings, Summarized

I did not click on any of these stories; I’d rather live with them in my imagination.

All It Needed Was A Little Love

One of my favourite Christmas TV moments is when Charlie Brown places a single ornament on his frail little tree, and, after he freaks out because he thinks he’s killed it, Linus wraps his blanket around the trunk. “It just needed a little love.” Then, magically, it grows branches and becomes a visually-perfect little tree.

I was talking about this to one of my yoga classes the other day, because it occurred to me that sometimes we are all Charlie Brown’s tree; just hanging in there, dropping needles like crazy, but still standing until someone hangs a metaphorical ornament on us, when we droop alarmingly. Do you feel like this too? Like, we’re fine, we’re fine, but then something happens that SHOULD feel festive but really feels like an anvil dropped on us, and that is IT. We are DONE.

In years past, I would have said that the ornament was a metaphor for all the obligations of the season; this year I think it is the feeling that we have to make the best of everything, making this the Best Home Christmas Ever in the face of much loss and sadness, in the season where we usually are frantically Seeing Everyone but this year we are Seeing No One.

And when we feel that droop, when we feel weighted down, we need a metaphorical Linus’ blanket to prop us up. What I want to tell you is that we are all each other’s Linus’ blanket. You, friends, have propped me up, and I hope to return the favour. Sometimes we are the tree, and sometimes we are the blanket. We are all in this together.

If you feel you can be a blanket this week, and you are heading out into a grocery store or pharmacy, consider gifting something to your cashier. I’ve been packaging up Lindt truffles and leaving them at the very end of my groceries, so when the bag comes through and the cashier looks askance, I thank her for all her hard work.

Pandemic Reading

This was just so excellent and so important for someone like me – white, privileged, Canadian. It is narrative nonfiction and explores the Great Migration of Black people from the American South to the North. From Jim Crow laws in the South to discriminatory housing, education, and employment practices in the North, this book really was insightful and a good resource for understanding the incredible obstacles faced by the migrants and the people who stayed in the South. It is a book of resilience, strength, tragedy, and hope.

The title says it all! By turns hilariously entertaining and heart-wrenchingly sad, this was enlightening and educational about mental illness and its effects.

Do you like reading about financial markets? Do you like reading about Monte Carlo simulations, random walks, and other nerdy econometric applications and theories? I do too!

Oh, I laughed so much through this book. It is VERY wittily written and really brought me back to my quantitative analyst days. The author’s general attitude reminded me so much of a former colleague, Warren. Oh, Warren. Warren worked in our Houston office but was originally from Chicago; once we were all at a conference in Chicago and, over dinner and every single opportunity he had, Warren regaled me with every detail you can ever imagine about the city’s history. And then, the first mayor Daley… I don’t remember the details because for some reason, I got really drunk on sangria. This page made me think so much of him:

I have to confess that my optimal strategy…was to speak as much as I could, while totally avoiding listening to other people’s replies by trying to solve equations in my head.

Fun fact, Warren also had married a woman, and I believe this marriage was one that used to be referred to as “mail order” and that is all you need to know. Ah, I have fond memories of him. Good times.

Oh! Remember when I spoke about the guy who broke his phone on the trade floor? I wasn’t alone!

Ah, good times.

I’m keeping that in mind this week, that the holidays are often a difficult time for many people, and this year even more so. Practicing compassion and empathy, coming into this very dark time of year. As we approach the darkest day of the year, we need to shine our lights to light the way for others, and to reflect others’ light.

So shine your light, wrap your blankets, and if you’re losing needles and drooping under the ornament, know that I’m holding you in my heart. Merry Christmas to you all, I hope you can find some joy and peace this holiday season. xoxo


  1. My blog was blocked for a while years back because of scantily clad people– my prepubescent kids in swimsuits at the beach. And then it just stopped happening without any action on my part.

    Noah took his last exam Friday. Before that he had what I’d consider an appropriate amount of work for a college student at the end of the semester. North has school today and tomorrow, but not a lot of work from what I can tell.

  2. What a great idea to leave tips for cashiers. I have heard (perhaps here?) of buying two gift cards, leaving them to the end, and then handing them to the cashier and bagger.

    I don’t get your site blocked as porn (I loved that whole paragraph), but pretty often the photos show up with a big “STOP: THIS IMAGE WAS HOTLINKED.” I have no idea what that means but it sounds pretty racy, NICOLE.

  3. Awww, Nicole. You are such a warm blanket, for this Internet friend and I am sure for SO MANY people. Merry Christmas.

  4. Le Tits Now! Thanks, Nicole, for being a bright light in this dark crappy time. See you in 2021 🙂

  5. Le Tits Now! The Penis Mightier!

  6. I love this post. You always make me think about something that I hadn’t previously. I love the Christmas tree/Linus’ blanket analogy. Beautiful.
    I LOVE that you think to give gifts to the cashiers—your heart is as big as it can be.
    Funny about Mean Girls. Why? Why that movie? Anyhoo, I honestly believe that you are NOT a regular mom, but you actually are a cool mom.
    LE TITS! I’m dying.
    Merry Christmas Nicole-thank you for being a light this year. XO

  7. I echo every one else – I loved the Charlie Brown analogy! And yes, you are a blanket every time I’m feeling done – you always come bouncing onto my screen beaming love and positivity. Merry Christmas, Nicole!

  8. Mini had to write a paper for English and she compared Mean Girls to some famous story or play. Shakespeare? It follows the same formula, but I can’t remember which one. Well, that was helpful. I do love that GIF and that movie.

    Your blog being flagged as porn is so funny.

    I am not at all surprised that you are crazy about colorful tins.

    That is a sweet thought about Linus’ blanket. So true. Many of our issues this year have little or nothing to do with the pandemic, but I’ve truly felt surrounded by the blanket that is my blog friends when my needles were dropping.

    Warren sounds interesting. Fun fact, my uncle was the 1st Mayor Daley’s bodyguard. 😉

  9. I FREAKING LOVE DECORATIVE TINS. I have them, I buy more, then I fill them up to give away and then I don’t want to give them away, but I do, and then I buy even more.
    The only thing funnier than your blog being flagged as porn was that I kept not being able to read it at work on break and NOT REALIZING it was because it was flagged as porn. I thought maybe my work computer had something against yoga.
    I love Mark’s reaction to Mean Girls – reminds me of when we watched Say Anything with Eve and at the ghetto blaster scene she said “omg, is this the first one with this scene? The O.G.?”
    I appreciate any post or article that reminds me to stop rushing around trying to make everything perfect at this time of year (and I am fully aware that I’m the one telling everyone else to ‘do what you can and let the rest go’. I am so tired right now and still wondering if I can fit in one last batch of shortbread before bed).

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