Ho Is For...

Ho is for... hot chocolate, hoochie mama's in short sparkly skirts, home cookin', holy shit is that really my Visa bill! Ho is for holding someone close, howling at the moon, hootin' and hollerin', happy hookers, home bound flights, honey you shouldn't have, hot spiced cider and hoards of seasonal cards. Ho is for kids hopped up on candy, hopping on Santa's lap, hope for dreams come true and how could they have dropped Ed Decker's column to only twice a month. Ho is for horrendous lights draped on everything in sight; it's for Ho Ho Ho and of course, ho is for holiday.

Itís that time of the year again. It's Time for nostalgia, childhood memories, warm fuzzy feelings and all of the other holiday sentimentalities that come with the season; At least for most people that's the deal. I'm always one of those people. Even though I moved thousands of miles away from even the most remote relative about a decade ago, I have never lost that little girl fascination with Christmas and New Year. I have created new traditions of my own and made friends who are more like family to me than most of my real family.

I usually put out of lots of silly decorations, buy the funniest cards I can find. I get them in lots of varieties, some for clients, the simple ones for friends & family, raunchy ones for my homies and the individual cards I pick out for those "special people". I buy tons of gifts, paper and bows in every color and I bake cookies to pass out at the office and for parties.

This year I got a 6 inch neon tree, I did all my shopping at one store, except for a few things on-line; I was finished in about 3 hours. I only bought two kinds of boxed cards and I actually used second hand paper from a present I got, to wrap one of the gifts I'm giving out. For me this year, it's kinda like ho is for ho-hum.

Iím not really depressed, or even bummed out. I'm definitely not one of those Christmas haters; Iím not even really bah humbug. I even got pretty jazzed out of a few of the gifts Iím giving and I've got admit, I think one of my boxed card sets was pretty funny. It was about putting hash in the fruitcake. That's funny, right?

I guess I'm just still feeling the deflation of '04. Man, that was a stellar year, epic even! I quit my job and went on all these great adventures and took a lifetime worth of road trips. I befriended a personal hero of mine and his brilliant wife. I learned about all kinds of new musicians and bands. I took some of the best photos of my career and generally lived a life of decadence, doing anything and everything that I wanted.

Now you know that when you're riding a wave like that, you are going to crash. There's no way out of it. You can't be that on top without hitting bottom and for me, the bottom came fast and hard and I slammed into it like a freight train into a concrete wall. WHAM!

In just sixteen weeks, 8 people and my cat died. On top of that, I had blown through every penny to my name and I was so in the red, it was more like a deep burgundy. Yeah, I know youíve heard me whine about it before and I'm sure that some of you have lost loved ones and for that I have the deepest empathy, but you cannot comprehend what that much death is like unless you are in the military or have personally lived it. It takes this weird toll on you, it's like you age ten years in just a few weeks time.

Sure, you suck it up, you get through it and you put on your game face. You get into that "stop and smell the flowers" thing and you talk about how to relish every fleeting moment and you make vows to be a better person. That's all good, but the reality is. You are fuckin' sad and only time can get you out of your funk.

I got out of mine this year and honestly, '05 has been pretty good to the ol' girl. My bestest friend ever moved out here, I hit some great highs career wise, I picked up a lot of photography business, I started writing this column, I got a new website, I got some new stuff for the ghetto shack, made new friends, reacquainted with old ones, snagged myself an original Henry Diltz photograph, my mom came out to visit and I even squeezed in a few road trips to boot.

Maybe I'm just in a different Christmas spirit this year, maybe I'm having the most honest holiday season I've ever had. If the holidays are a time for reflection, and remembrance, then I understand all too well the sentiment behind the season; because that is more where my head is at right now. I am remembering those I have loved and lost and reflecting on times of great joy and great grief. Through it, I am trying to learn the lessons in it all so that I can really be a better person, instead of just talking about it.

The best part for a girl who lives her life like a walking, talking oxymoron is that with deflation comes elation and I have high hopes for 2006. I'm already making plans and am anticipating lots of laughter, wild rides, deep love and profound experiences in the coming year. They're coming too, I can feel it. I may not be sporting a Santa hat or have 15 types of wrapping paper, but I have the spirit, it's just a littler quieter this year. And there ain't nothing wrong with that! After all, the most important ho is for hope.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

me jones, me likey

Jones is currently working in San Diego as a photographer & promotions director.
You can visit her website at imagesbystacie.com

Also, click here to check out her exclusive interview with us.