Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nostalgic musing

It's Christmas Eve, and inevitably, as family gathers and conversation flows, memories float to the surface and bubble out in stories. They are the same stories we tell every year. Some details change from year to year, or depending on the person telling the story, but the spirit of the stories is the same. It's all about reliving those years gone by, which seem even better the further past them we get.

I know I have shared my favorite childhood Christmas tradition before, but this year it seems especially dear to me as I hear from friend after friend that they are considering doing away with Santa for their children. It's deceitful, they say, and I don't want some strange fat man to get the credit for the presents I bought for my kids. And to that I say...seriously? I don't remember really ever believing in Santa, so maybe I don't have a fair perspective. My sister told me when I was very young that Santa was not real, but I don't remember being all that upset.

Not believing didn't stop my siblings and I from having what we term "Santa drills." We all remember things slightly differently, but this is what I remember. Starting probably in early December, my brother, Ben, would begin calling "meetings." My sister, Emily, was to take notes on the meetings, so we wouldn't forget what we discussed, of course. After these meetings, we progressed to the actual drills. Now, the rule at my house was that we were not allowed to check our stockings until after 1am. So the main purpose of our drills was to make sure that we could find the quietest route downstairs so we didn't wake our parents with our mid-night wanderings. Emily and I would go to our room and feign sleep, and my brother would creep in and "wake" us. We would find the least creaky floorboards and only place our feet on the outside of the stairs, where they made little noise. We would do this time and again until it was perfect, at least according to Ben's standards. When the big event came, we were a well-oiled machine, and we would sneak stealthily (in my eyes) down and silently exclaim over the treasures left in our stockings. Our excitement temporarily satisfied, we would go back to bed and sleep until we were allowed to wake our parents at 6am. It wasn't until years later that Ben confessed to Emily and me and he used to sneak down before waking us and go through all our stockings to see what we got. Big brothers...

Tonight, as we were were talking over a delicious feast of lasagna, I made some confessions of my own. You see, my own personal Christmas tradition was to always find the stash of Christmas presents. Even back then I was employing my ninja skills, as I would usually need to sneak into my parents' bedroom to do my searching. The presents were usually in the closet, and I would climb back as far as I could go and search through the pile in the dark. One year my sister got a "teacher stool," and I would go sit on it in the dark regularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Tonight I recalled one time when I was in the midst of searching when my parents came into their room. I was so deep in the closet, they had no idea I was there, and I froze like a frightened bunny. My dad reached into the closet to change clothes, and still I remained invisible to them. I stayed that way for several minutes after they vacated the room, just in case. Tonight they learned for the first time that I was there, when I stopped giggling long enough to tell them. Of course, there was always the old-fashioned ways of finding out the gifts too...shaking the presents, or peeking through the keyhole when my mom shut herself in her room to wrap the presents.

It has been fun watching my nieces and nephew create their own Christmas memories, their own stories that, twenty years from now, they will be laughing about with their families over Christmas Eve dinner. As much as things change, they still seem to stay the same.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and may your holidays be blessed and full of love.

Laugh on, friends :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Texting with Daddykins

Today I was texting with my friend Nik, and she was having some difficulties with pain in her back and hips. I, being the generous soul I am, offered many suggestions, such as acupuncture or a faith healing by the Pope. Nik told me that the Pope was creepy, and I realized he is probably pretty busy around this time of year, so I offered my dad's services instead. After all, he is an ordained minister, which is almost like being the Pope. Plus, I decided a few months ago that any water taken from a pastor's house is holy water, so it would be readily available to Dad/Pope. That's how the following conversation started. Now, my family knows me pretty well, so it only fazes them a little when they get texts like this from me. But seeing my dad's responses, you can understand where I get my sense of humor...

ME: On your way out of town, could you stop and sprinkle Nik with some holy water from your house? And wear your beekeeper suit so you look kinda like the Pope?

DAD: What??????????

ME: Well, her back and hips really hurt, and she needs healing, but she thinks the real Pope is creepy, and he's probably pretty busy around this time of year anyway, so we thought you could stand in.

DAD: Can I drive the Pope mobile? BTW can I wear jeans to worship at your church? (he is easily distracted just like me!)

ME: No jeans. We are a kilt church. Or you can wear your Pope suit. But I'm not sure I can get the Pope mobile for you.

DAD: Black pulpit robe?

ME: Yes, I think that would be lovely. And your beekeeper hat.

DAD: And my knee high rubber beekeeper's boots?

ME: That would be awesome. But be don't want to steal ALL the attention with your snazzy outfit.

And that's where I get my sense of humor. And my fashion sense.

Laugh on!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thank you, autocorrect.

Even though today is Friday, I was having an absolutely awful morning. Usually I love my job, but lately there has been one thing after another. I try to have a tough shell, not let things get to me, because I wouldn't be effective if I did. However, this morning I hit my max point, and felt like curling up under my desk in the fetal position and rocking gently for a few hours.

ANYWAY. This is not about my bad day. This is about how it was saved. Well, at least made a little brighter. I had been texting Nik, asking her stupid questions about sympathy pains, when I disappeared from the conversation for a while. When I came back, I did what all good friends do and unloaded all the crap that I was dealing with. Her made me reevaluate my own troubles in view of her son Spencer's plight:

Photo by Nik, since my picture quality sucked.

Now, I had to read this once or twice. Bloodthirsty poo? Like a vampire? Or was this a hip new term for explosive diarrhea? When I figured out what happened, I couldn't stop giggling. Which was surprising, given the quality of my day. I seriously went back and read it about five times during the rest of the day. Oh autocorrect, you slay me.

Laugh on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Like cheap origami

I saw this picture on Facebook tonight, and it immediately sent me back in time, specifically to my freshman year of high school. Do kids even do this anymore? I would spend my study halls, not working on homework, but writing detailed notes, sharing what happened in each class, with my closest friends in the form of a note. Of course, it wasn't enough just to write the note, you had to fold them fancy. There was always some new way to try to fold them, and that was half the fun.

Of course, my friends and I couldn't just do notes. Of course not. We actually evolved to a NOTEbook, in which we could write and pass to the next person to read. The notebook caused less drama, because you didn't dare put anything negative about a friend who was involved in the exchange, which was pretty much everybody in our little clique.

One of my favorite and most cringe-worthy memories of high school involves the notebook. I was ready to die of embarrassment at the time, but now I still giggle when I think about it. You see, our lockers were very close together, in rows, so there wasn't much room to maneuver as people jostled to get their things and make it into class before the bell. The notebook was in my possession, and it was one of the cheapo types, with the wire hanging off the end, not neatly bent over like those fancy Five-star notebooks. I stacked my books on top of my locker, shut the door, retrieved my books, and turned to leave. As I turned, the wire on the notebook, which was on top of the stack, got snagged on the jersey of the football player whose locker was next to mine. Mind you, this was a guy on whom my group and I had all had on and off crushes, and whose name appeared numerous times in the notebook that was now dangling from his sleeve. I tugged, and nothing. He just looked at me, but I couldn't meet his eyes, as I was busy turning red from the roots of my hair to my toes. "'s st-stuck," I stammered, in case he hadn't noticed, still tugging. I'm not sure how I managed to extricate the wire from those tiny jersey holes, all while balancing the rest of my books in one arm, but eventually I succeeded, turned, and dove into the suffocating crowd of people jammed into the locker area. I think he may have tried to say something, but the ringing in my ears would not allow for hearing, and my fight or flight response was fully in action. My friends awaited me outside the crowd, and I immediately collapsed into a fit of nervous giggles. It took me several minutes into study hall to tell them what happened.

I wish I could say that the next time I saw the football player, I had something cool and sophisticated to say, some snarky comment or joke, and that we became good friends who could laugh about the incident, but in reality, I just avoided eye contact for a week or a month or so. I was a wee bit shy.*

Isn't it funny how a picture of notes can bring back all sorts of memories, both good and bad? And some in between. That was the first of many incidents that occurred in that locker area...most of us had no padlocks on our lockers (they cost $5 to rent), so it wasn't unusual to find a random note or a nude picture taped to the inside or stuffed in a book. Or to find a padlock on your locker that you didn't pay for and which blocked your way into your locker.

Did you ever pass notes in high school or middle school? Were they fancy folded? What was the strangest thing you ever found in your locker? (Mine was either a gummy octopus or a picture of a naked man.) Oh youth...

Laugh on :)

*Understatement of the year

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

She handed me what?

Today I got the opportunity to spend some time with a dear friend from grad school, Kelly. I've known Kelly for...a little over four years, as she started her program a year after I started mine. We suffered through the anguish of papers and endless pages of reading, and I had the honor of standing as a bridesmaid in her wedding wearing a pretty dress. We don't get to see each other nearly enough, so when she was going to be in the area, I jumped at the chance to see her.

We are too cute!

Can you spot me?

Initially, our plan was to hang out at my place. However, the cleaning fairies are on strike, and wanting to feed Kelly's illusions of my perfection, I suggested that we meet at Panera instead. Good food, nice ambiance...seemed like the perfect plan!

I was running late as usual, but found Kelly and greeted her as I peeled off layers outer clothing meant to protect me from the harsh elements (but which really just make me bulkier than I already am). I hadn't even sat down when a lady toddled up to us and handed us each two business cards and a foil pouch containing something juicy. "Here you go, ladies," she said, as if we had been expecting her. "Errrm, thanks!" was our reply. I saw pink and flowers and was like, "Oh cute!" I figured it was Mary Kay and she had given us moisturizer or something.

Pure Romance? Was she hitting on us? And...oh my...that foil packet definitely DID NOT contain moisturizer. "Arousal cream." I read aloud. "Is that for waking up in the morning?"

....Not quite...

I immediately took to Facebook to brag about my latest acquisition. I mean, really, how many people can say they have been gifted arousal cream in Panera? Only two that I know of.

It was clearly my lucky day, as an hour or so into our visit, the fire alarm and lights started going off, a piercing sound that tried to incapacitate my ear drums. The staff simply turned up the music and kept taking orders. Ten minutes later, the fire department showed up.

*Insert inappropriate joke regarding the firemen and my earlier gift*

The alarm ceased...for about 10 seconds. It went for another five minutes or so, and then quit again. This time for maybe a minute. Once again, the alarm screamed for five minutes, before finally being silenced for good.

Or so we thought.

Kelly and I had some good old fashioned PTSD, and kept looking at the alarms to make sure they weren't going to start blaring again. Just as we finally relaxed...ahhhh, there they were again! At this point I couldn't stop laughing. I told Kelly that the normal thing to do would be to leave...but that at this point I really just wanted to stay and see how it all turned out.

Thankfully, it was a happy ending, except the part where the firefighters left. I didn't even get to show them my arousal cream. My ears were ringing like they only can after a really good concert. All in all, a very good visit. Except...have you ever had to try and have a conversation with someone who is doing this?

Love you, Kelsers!

Laugh on!