Tag Archives: christmas cards

A pOptimistic Christmas Note

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul’s Christmas note announces the end of the ABCityblog sitcom as we know it, but the launch of a new pOptimistic network.

2010 Christmas Card Wreath

Receiving Christmas cards is one of my great holiday joys.  I’m not one of those curmudgeons who complain about the cutesy pictures of kids posed in their holiday finest, or roll my eyes at the “year in the life” letters that could have used a deft editing touch.  In the age of Facebook, when you’re only one passive peek away from knowing the latest thought of your 389th best friend, I find Christmas cards wonderfully anachronistic.

Maybe it’s the sense of anticipation that has me addicted to holiday snail mail.  Will I make it back onto the Jewish Billionaire’s Christmas card list having run into him on book tour a couple times this year?  No, but his company sent me an e-greeting with a recipe for a trifle.  Bah-humbug. Will Tyra see her way clear to forgive a little out-of-context PageSix book publicity?  Unfortunately, no.

But then there are the true friends and family on whose cards I can always count.  Frida’s veterinary pet insurance kicks in the season early with a note that arrives right after Thanksgiving.  My 83 year-old Uncle Cleigh typically sends a picture montage card—usually posed with his dogs and sky diving on his last birthday.  My best gay Gareth chooses a homosexually charged fold-over.  Keith mails an artistic and intricate pop-up cut out.  Cathy manages to unearth yet another jokey Mexican theme featuring yet another Chihuahua, this year posed in a sweater with message, “Fleece Navidad.”  Which, by the way, has Chef in stitches—never underestimate the power of homonym humor to a non-native speaker.

Given my love of the card tradition, you’d think I’d get in on the action.  But no, I’m just a greeting voyeur.  And I don’t even feel guilty about it.  I suppose if you get right down to it, that’s what this blog is really: each post one big Christmas card note, a snapshot of my thinking at a certain point in time.

Here then is my (electronic) Christmas card missive:

With Chef in Mexico

Dear friends, family, fans and casual readers—

2010 has been a life-changing year for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the love of Chef, my partner of a decade (yikes!), not to mention all the encouragement and support you’ve given me along the way.  A year ago, the success of this blog in connecting with readers convinced me to muster the courage and independently publish my humorous memoir Alphabet City.  And what a joyous journey—both literal and emotional—with consequences I never anticipated.

On book tour, I had the opportunity to connect personally with so many of you who graciously opened your homes for book parties with friends.  Christine E., Cathy, Mandy and the ladies of Chi Omega in Dallas/Ft. Worth made my hometown welcoming again—and the reconnection with my stepmother Christine C. was an early Christmas gift.

Alphabet City themed cupcakes at sister-in-law Laura's party

My Mexican family—Isabel in S. Florida, and in-laws Laura and Miguel in Boston—thanks for trying to translate Mary Tyler Moore to a Latino audience.  Of course, the coastal gays jumped into action: Bryan K. for the first Manhattan gathering, Larry for LA’s Gay Pride, Chris and Tom for a weekend on Fire Island.  I had the opportunity to see dear friends blossoming in their new homes: Kara in DC, Dana in LA, and Jimmy in Madison.  Old friends like Shannon took me to new places like Lubbock where her sister Colleen charmed the boots off of me!  Even older friends (and family) introduced me to their new friends and family: sister Paige to the Whole Foods gang, Valerie to Austin’s Media Mavens, including Tammy and her gorgeously renovated historic abode.  Not to mention the reconnections along the way: Kathryn, Mila, Julia, and Diana.

The love I felt from you, your friends, and the fans I met along the way, made me truly believe that I have a unique, fun and optimistic voice that is connecting with readers.  And that is what has given me the courage to announce my next journey: following my passion and dream of being a writer, and doing so full-time.

An optimistic attitude, like Mary Tyler Moore

That means I bid a fond farewell to life as a marketing/public relations consultant, and say hello to the life of a writer.  While I anticipate many ups and downs, I’ve learned that my passion, creativity, hard work and optimistic attitude can take me far.  Already, my focus and energy landed me an important story for Condé Nast Traveler (watch for it in March 2011).  And I have many more exciting changes in store, including a complete redesign and relaunch of this blog.  The topics I write about are more than can be captured in a sitcom called Alphabet City.  With favorite shows like Tex and the City (culture), Green Globe Trekker (travel), and 40, Love (life), and soon-to-be-released shows like Service Entrance (food) and Biz Savvy Blogger (technology), I may just need my own network—like Oprah.  As the wise and wealthy media mogul says herself in promos for her OWN channel:

“What if I could take every story that ever moved me?  Every lesson that motivated me?  Every opportunity that was given to me?  All of my most special celebrations?  And shared them with you?”

Some might call that nauseating, others might call that Facebook and Twitter, but I’m calling the new JP network:

Watch for this fresh, frank, fun website-network to launch in the New Year.  I can’t wait to share this next part of the journey with you.  As Oprah says, “Oooh, this is gonna be good!”

Until then, wishing you a

Viewer programming note: To prepare for the Poptimistic programming change and to celebrate the season, ABCityblog will be going on hiatus—except for instances of breaking thoughts/news.

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Postal Guilt

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul laments the guilt brought on by the Christmas (card) season

‘Tis the season for guilt—and I’m blaming the US Post Office.  Every day, tucked between the mounds of catalogs and discount Broadway ticket offers are the neatly addressed offenders—Christmas Cards.  Or Holiday Greetings if you prefer the PC term.  I’m not really sure when the feelings of guilt first set in, because I used to be Christmas card person.  I took great pride in picking ornate Crane’s stationery every year and personalizing notes to everyone on my list.  I even saved  the project for my regular late-November cross-country flight to Los Angeles and set up an assembly line in my trusted seat 38A.  My seat companions always looked on in awe of my organizational skills.

But then one season something in me snapped, and I just stopped.  I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a pen or even pick out printed cards.  And that’s when the guilt set in.  Every card that arrives causes a flood of questions to run through my head.  Here’s a sampling brought on by yesterday’s mail:

Who’s this from?  The signature is intelligible.  On Lexington Ave?  Chef and I don’t know anyone who lives on Lex, do we?  Think.  Think.  Think.  Oh, right.  It’s John.  My tennis buddy.  Wait, isn’t he Jewish?  What’s he doing sending me a card with a Christmas Tree?  And that cute dog.  Did he pick this out special for me?  Great.  He’s not even the right religion and he got up the energy to send a card.  What’s he going to think of me?  Am I supposed to send him a clever Hannukah note?  Isn’t it over by now?  Maybe he’ll just think it got lost in the mail.  When do I see him next?  Hope he’s not one of those people who asks, “Did you get my card?”  I hate that.  How am I supposed to respond?  That I was too lame and thoughtless to return the gesture?

You can see how I drive myself crazy.

Sometimes NOT getting a holiday greeting from someone is even worse.  There are people who I know have their assistants prep the cards—like Tyra or the Billionaire I worked for years ago.  I’ve been on their lists forever.  Then one lonely December, nothing.  What did I do to get taken off a list?  Not send a card?  Maybe their staff is cross-referencing received cards in a database and assigning a point system—and I lost.  Great.  Hope I don’t need them for a job reference at some point.

Lots of people complain about those “update” letters that people.  I kind of like them—I’m fascinated by the kind of minutiae that people include in those.  But I am noticing a steep drop off in the number of those special missives.  Maybe there’s no need in the age of Facebook and Twitter since we’re kept in a constant state of personal update.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s a good rationalization for me not sending cards.  Consider this blog post my holiday greeting to you.  I can feel the guilt lessening already—until I open tomorrow’s mailbox.

Oy vey.

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