Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®

Watching the Nutcracker Ballet 22 Times

I Am Not Joking

Part 2

–By Jan McInnis, Comedian and Keynote Speaker

Every January we celebrate our “Cousins’ Ski Trip,” which we’ve been doing now for over 30 years. My siblings, spouses, cousins and I started this ski trip as a tradition back when we were younger (and more excited about skiing!). Over the years, our meals have gotten more gourmet while our skiing has gotten less risky; it’s more of a “Cousins’ Veg Weekend,” but we haven’t changed the name. . . probably because of tradition. And we also get together at the Outer Banks in North Carolina every year where we admit it’s just a veg week, and that’s about all we do.

A friend once told me that the thought of doing the same thing every year, like skiing or beaching at the same place, would be awful! Too much repetition! But to me, it’s comforting to have these traditions as sort of benchmarks during the year. I don’t go to the Nutcracker because I want to see skinny women

dance on their toes, I do it because it queues my brain to take a breath and reflect on the year: “Oh, yeah, it’s December and what a year it’s been.” Traditions give you a mental break from the go-go-go lifestyle. They also give us a real chance to catch up with each other and really connect, rather than a quick text hello or an email update, and they are a way of telling each other “You’re important to me, I’ve worked my schedule around us and this event.” They also keep me connected to my mom. When it comes to traditions, I think it’s not about what you do, it’s just that you do it.

This summer I’ll be carrying on one other tradition that Mom started, in which she took each grandchild when they turned 16 to Los Angeles to visit me. It’s a unique tradition because the teen gets to pick out whatever we do, which means I get to see things in LA that I normally wouldn’t. . . like the time we went to the Hollywood Bowl for a band I’ve never heard of. I’m pretty sure my sisters and I were the oldest people there, which had some perks: I scolded some young girl for cutting into the beer line and I got the entire line to shame her into going to the back! Only someone my age could do that! And if it weren’t for these trips, I’d never have seen the guy at Venice Beach who wears nothing but a python snake, and I may never have eaten at the GI-NORMOUS champagne brunch on the Queen Mary where my nephew once finished his dessert and then went back for a “bacon chaser.”

Click here for Part 3 of Watching the Nutcracker Ballet 22 Times – I Am Not Joking