home for the holidays

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going back home usually leads to lots of memories, both good and bad. i grew up in the small town my parents still live in, so riding or driving somewhere takes me through and by numerous locations of my past: friends' houses, breaking band equipment, the houses i grew up in, my junior prom, cynthia, elementary school, burning things, etc. in better times it's fun and wistful, in bad times it feels like that's all i've got. so toss another yuletide log onto the memory fire.

seasonal random thought: you know, it's amazing how depressing it's a wonderful life can be when you're down. not that i'm that down right now, i'm just saying from experience. i used to watch it and cry. not like most others watching it: crying from happiness because he represented all of us, not realizing what an impact we have on others and what a wonderful life we have. no, i cried because it was depressing that he had a great life and a wonderful wife and children and he didn't even appreciate it, while i had nothing to realize i was not appreciating. and as depression is wont to work, then you realize there are those who have it worse than you so you feel guilty and worthless for feeling down when you don't deserve to...like you can't even make it when it's not that bad. depression is a self-feeding downward spiral. it sucks.

i remember my grandfather (my dad's dad) used to sit out on the porch of his house and sing church hymns. to himself, to the squirrels, to the land, to G-d...i don't know. his wife had died in '76 and he lived all by himself out on the land. he'd been a ranch hand almost all his life, even cowboying huge ranches for some years. he was a quiet, opinionated, tough old man of german-american stock. but sometimes he'd just start crying. and he'd usually say "you know, i never used to cry. but you get old and sometimes you just can't help it."

even though people who don't know me very well might not think it, i don't have that demeanor at all. while i may present a stand-offish, aloof, stoic personality, it's mostly just an act to protect myself. i can (and do) cry. sometimes a lot. but very rarely in front of others. a feeble attempt to not show what society considers to be weakness in a man, i suppose. while i certainly spent plenty of time being angry and/or bitter beyond words at what happened with tamara, most of my personal time was spent either feeling completely numb from life events or curled up in a fetal position crying. not exactly the epitome of the stoic, tough, american male who handles adversity with grit and determination.

but i did get myself a christmas present today: a stainless steel walther ppk/s. it's chock full of 7+1 rounds of .380acp goodness. i'm planning on taking it, my other .380 (a kel-tec), and my charles daly 1911 .45 out for a holiday visit to the range. nothing like blowing holes in things to excite that festive holiday spirit and get that masculine spring back in your step.

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Regarding the stoic facade, I think that is a Germanic characteristic -- not to imply that Germans have a monopoly on stoicism, but I've seen it to be prevalent among my German and German-American friends and family. I've also seen how thin the veneer of stoicism can be at times.

On a lighter note, your Christmas present to yourself reminds me of one of my favorite bumper stickers: "Peace through superior firepower" http://www.cafepress.com/rightwingstuff/280738 There's nothing like being well-armed to ensure peace on earth where you live! :)

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