Friday, December 31, 2010

I say it's not about me, but it's really about me. - UPDATED

This is me and my friend Nicole at a New Year’s Eve dance in 1987.  

  
A “photographer” (a.k.a. neighbor of the party planner who happened to own a Polaroid) was taking pictures of couples as they came in.  Having arrived without dates we thought it would be amusing to assume the position and poke fun at “The Prom Pose”, but we also watched Strange Brew about 78 times during high school and considered it hilarious so we obviously didn’t know anything.  Nevertheless, we continued inside where Nicole proceeded to snag the cutest guy there and dance with him all night while I stood patiently on the outskirts waiting for my satin blue skirt to say all the right things.  I attracted boys the way Ozzy Osbourne attracts full sentences, but I win because at least I never bit the head off a bat.

The point is, it’s not about me anymore because tonight my 14-year-old daughter is headed to her very first New Year’s Eve dance.  To my Samantha, I offer you this:  There will be fun songs, slow songs, a countdown to midnight, and adults posing as Fun People waltzing the perimeter.  “Love Shack” is not a slow song, “White Lines” is not supposed to be a fun song, the band Mr. Mister is actually made up of FOUR misters, and I don’t care how cool you think you are if the “Electric Slide” comes on, do it for your mother.  

Finally, if you see your Sunday School teacher poised with a camera taking pictures as you come in, SAVE IT.  What was(n’t) funny in 1987 raises all sorts of questions in 2010, beginning with, “Is that really you or did ‘The Facts of Life’ lose a roommate?”

UPDATE:  I made her take a picture before she left and I don't care what you think, I'm convinced she was the prettiest girl at the party.  Oh, and the smartest.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Current Events

Last night I dreamt I got an email from Sarah Palin.  I also dreamt that I called her on the phone and she answered, “Oh, hi honey!”  I’m not anti-Sarah Palin but I wouldn’t say I’m “PRO” either, yet I have to admit I softened when she called me “honey”.  Minutes later my dreams swept me to Hawaii where I learned how to properly roast a pig, except I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take 6 years like my dream said it did.  But all in all, considering I went to Alaska and Hawaii in about 8 hours I’m thinking it’s not a shabby night’s work.  I woke up feeling well traveled but craving pork.

In other news, did you hear the Unabomber has his house up for sale?  Well, technically it’s just the 1.4 acres of land he used to own, which he doesn’t anymore because, you know, HE’S SERVING TIME FOR MURDER.  The current owners are asking $69K for it, which, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s a very good deal.  Apparently the realtor is trying to market it as an opportunity to own a piece of history, which I would be all for if it was, say, Elvis’s house, Michael Buble’s bathroom, or Jon Voight’s car (5 points for the reference).  But, an oversized outhouse with no running water or electricity on an acre in the middle of Montana?  You see the realtor’s dilemma.  The posting also says the property is “very secluded” as if that’s a good thing.  My friend Jill already lives in Montana WITH running water and electricity and I still have to talk her down from the ledge every day.  “Secluded” alludes to having a place to relax, but if a Harvard mathematician can’t even find a way to wind down out there I think I’m better off here in the Denver suburbs.  For the record, so is Jill.

Finally, did you see the article on this chick?  Beauty queen turned criminal – crowned Miss Desert Sun in Arizona in 2006.  I’m envisioning a cactus on her tiara and that was during the good times.  Things went downhill after that, hence leading to this mugshot: 

I’m taking this picture to mean one of two things:  1) She’s either REALLY sorry or, 2) she’s auditioning for the part of Nick Nolte’s cellmate.  One thing is for certain, the Miss Desert Sun pageant did NOT need this right now.

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Got A Wii. I Made A Mii.

Sometimes my favorite part about Christmas is when it's over.  Not like it isn't awesome for your kids to open a Wii on Christmas morning and exclaim, "Now we're like a normal family!" but there's only so much cheer I'm capable of spreading and it stops short of doing cartwheels over the alarm clock I got for Cory (it reflects the time on the CEILING!).  The bad news is I couldn't take one more day of all The Stuff.  The good news is I think this reduces my chances of ever being featured on "Hoarders".

So today the kids and I spent ALL DAY taking down lights, throwing trees, garland, nativity scenes and whyistheresomuchcrap into boxes, and sweeping and vacuuming in order to get our life back.  I can breathe - all is well. 


But before that there was the Wii, Britney Spears, and Drew:


The kids showed me how to make a Mii, so I tried to make Hugh Jackman:
Drew had two things on his list this year:  jeans, and fake facial hair.  We splurged and got both - we already had the sombrero:


Ooh!  And remember when we went to the Bahamas?



That reminds me, did I ever tell you that Cory was a redneck for Halloween and Drew was a Chipotle burrito?


I could keep going, but if I'm not careful, before you know it we'll be talking about the time I sang "Happy Birthday" to some Jehovah's Witnesses in an elevator several years ago.  Now, time to go set some goals for 2011 that I have no intention of keeping.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For The Guy Who Doesn't Have Everything, Because We Can't Afford It

Cory wants new golf clubs for Christmas. 

I'd also like to learn how to say, "Excuse me, would you please pass the creme fraiche and massage my shoulders?" in French, but we can't have everything.

Actually, Cory has a plan for getting his golf clubs that technically won't cost us anything and also won't get us arrested.  I have to say I am in favor of this plan.  However, the extent of my personal involvement in this scheme is that someday Cory will open the garage and say, "Look!  My new clubs!" and I'll refrain from saying, "To think we could have bought a new couch!" and instead go, "Other than Extreme Makeover Home Edition, that is the most awesome thing I have ever seen!"  Whoo - that was a lot of exclamation points.

Basically what I'm getting at is that I have no idea what to give the one person in this world who agrees with me about which way the toilet paper should fall, for Christmas.  I've looked at the Gap, Kohl's, JCrew, and Best Buy to name a few.  Today I ended up at Costco where I was bound and determined to get something for Cory so that I can officially declare my shopping to be O-V-E-R.  He's not much into sweets so I figured the fudge counter was a good place to start. 

The fudge booth is an excellent location to apply the following strategy:  saunter up to the counter but look to the side as if you are completely engrossed in the mid-rise boxer briefs on display in holiday plaid.  Wait until the lady dishing out samples is distracted, sneak one quickly, then return to the boxer briefs as if you never left.  This time pick up a box and inspect the price as if you are really interested.  Keep an eye on those samples though, because they go fast and people are greedy.  Then go get another one as if you were never there - this time nod your head up and down like you're interested but not fully committed.  A more engaging customer is sure to arrive soon, at which point you may reach for your third sample and no one is the wiser.  Also, if your kid grabs for two be sure to say aloud, "Honey, just take one.  They're not here to feed you dinner," so that others around you will mistake you for a responsible parent.

I approached the booth to execute my strategy.  I successfully kept my eyes on the briefs before inching toward sample #1 when my unofficial "decoy" turned and in an unprecedented move, attempted to gain my attention as he talked to the employee.  "Hey, do you know what God said to Adam the day before Christmas?"  I looked at the employee who stared back at me and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, How about YOU take this one?  "What?" I played along.  "It's Christmas Eve!" he answered.  I nodded and did my best to convince him that I was amused. 
"Wow, you should take that on the road," I lied.
"Oh, well, I've turned Improv down three times," he said. 
"Oh yeah?"  Dude.  I'm supposed to be 3 samples down and onto the cheese section by now.
"Yeah, I've got THOUSANDS of jokes."  Abort!  Abort!
"Last night I had this terrible nightmare all night long - I dreamt I was a muffler."  Wait, was that the punchline?
"Yeah, I woke up exhausted!!"  Aaaand, there it is.

Several bad jokes and fudge samples later I was no closer to having a gift for Cory.  Moments after that I sat in a leather recliner and weighed my options - space heater or ceramic garden gnome?

Sucks to be Cory this year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

You've Got (To) Mail

Did you know that I am super organized and awesome?  I know this because I have been to the post office three times in the last four days, and that takes a serious amount of planning and skill.  You start with an idea in October, good intentions in November, the right addresses in December and before you know it you’re standing in line behind Michael Jackson’s funeral procession.  Three times. 

The other thing I’m super awesome at is knowing JUST the right time to beat the crowds.  Unfortunately I didn’t pick any of those times which means whoever said “Knowledge Is Power” is smoking crack.  I say power is showing up at 11am when no one is in line and they are handing out free hot chocolate.  Do you know of any places like that?  Me neither.  What I do know is that the guy working register 2 at my mall should stick with his day job and forego singing along to “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” while readying his cargo with more packing tape.

I also know that I don’t miss having to take small children to the post office.  The lady behind me walked in with two small boys.  “Come here honey, which envelope should we use to mail your binkys to the new babies in the hospital?”  I turned around and inquired in a low voice, “Is this some new strategy I haven’t read about?”  She answered back in hushed tones, “He’s 3 years old.  It’s time.  We’re actually mailing them to my parents but I told him they’re going to some new babies in a hospital to make him feel better.  Let’s just say tonight is probably going to be a bad night.”  I acted supportive and wished her good luck but what I was really thinking was, This couldn’t wait until AFTER Santa comes and the lines at the post office don't exceed the city block?  Whatever, I’m sure she had her reasons.  And I’m sure her kid had his reasons for overturning the sale rack of greeting cards that sent envelopes and well wishes across the floor.

What I’m saying is there are advantages to making multiple trips to the post office.  If not for my three visits I wouldn’t have met the lady behind me who held a stack of cards and berated procrastinators for waiting until the last minute to mail their packages as I stood there like the Cat In The Hat holding a teetering stack of
“a cup
and a cake
these two books
and a rake
a toy ship 
a toy man
and look!  A red fan!”

I never would have had the opportunity to watch a lady in front of me who was wearing enough make up to paint a Renoir, a faux leopard coat and heels that could hold up the Golden Gate Bridge pack and address all of her boxes AT THE COUNTER while we all waited patiently in line and sang Silent Night.  (not)  I wouldn’t have had the chance to watch the scores of individuals rush up to open the store door only to witness their obstacle, roll their eyes and turn around to leave.  I wouldn't have learned that it costs $25 to mail ten homemade caramels to a 19-year-old boy spreading the gospel in Brazil (but he's so worth it).  And last but not least, I never would have heard the aforementioned cashier sing along to the Footloose soundtrack that played overhead which was critical, because Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lowered Expectations

"Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year." 
~ Victor Borge

Writing Christmas cards once a year shouldn't be that big of a deal, right?  This is something I normally look forward to but this year, it's proving to be a major chore.  The problem is, I sent the Best. Card. Ever. last year and there's no way to top it.  I'm not trying to be boastful, it's just that I had SO MUCH FUN sending out last year's cards that no matter what I do now, I know it won't measure up. 
 
So I lowered the bar.  I chose an average picture, uploaded it to Costco's website and called it good.  Yesterday I picked them up.

When Cory got home from work he saw the stack sprayed all over the counter and with a spring in his step said, "Oh!  Are these our Christmas cards?"  He opened them up and the enthusiasm escaped like a deflated balloon.  "Hm.  Not a very good picture of me."  Samantha headed over to see what the fuss was all about, picked up a card and said, "This?  THIS is the picture you're sending?"  Drew's turn.  He grabbed one from the stack, disregarded the picture and looked on the back for more and then asked, "Where's the comedy?!"

Now I know how Dean Cain feels.  Once you've played Superman, it's kind of all downhill from there.  One minute you're flying through the air with a hot chick tucked under your arm, and next thing you know you're guest starring on Smallville.  
 
Maybe next year my Christmas card will be awesome again - then Dean can talk about me on his next episode of Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little slow on the blog front lately.  One of the goals I have made about this blog is to never apologize for not writing, so take that.  I am NOT sorry.  The reason for that is because if I say “I’m sorry” it suggests that I think I’m a big deal, as if you're all waiting by your computers wringing your hands and waiting anxiously for my next post.  I know better.  Besides, if I was a “Big Deal” I don’t think I would look at my snot after I blow my nose, take big bites out of a block of pepper jack cheese straight from the wrapper, or Google “Celebrities named Holly” from my home computer just so I could make this stupid joke:

Also, did you know that there aren't very many celebrities named Holly?  Google taught me that.

Anyway, I think I’m just tired.  There’s an auto shop here in Denver that runs really dorky commercials all year long but during Christmas they run ads that just show a picture of a winter scene and play soft music with their logo in the corner.  It’s their special way of giving permission to take a breather, but I like to think of it as their gift to me that I don’t have to exert the gargantuan effort to hit the “mute” button as soon as I see his red and yellow hat appear onscreen.  I think I’m feeling the same way – I’m dorky all year long, and I guess I feel the need to take a breather.  Not that it’s hard work to be a dork because it does come incredibly naturally.  But…well, here. Just stare at this, hum along to Yanni and let me know how it goes.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Surprise!

I've been surprised a few times in my life.  When I was 16 my parents had a surprise birthday party for me and I was surprised that Steve, the basketball hot shot who I hoped would become the father of my children, was there.  I was surprised when my audition tape for Regis & Kelly didn't get a call back.  (Although in hindsight, NOT surprised.)  I was surprised when I shared a sidewalk with Pierce Brosnan, stole a kiss with a fellow intern at a party in Washington D.C., and didn't get mugged by the creepy German businessman who followed me and my sister out of the subway in Munich.  I was surprised when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke up, when Donald Trump got his own show, when John Travolta became a Scientologist and when Cher's daughter became a man. 

Most recently, however, I was surprised Friday night when I thought I was going to dinner at a friend's house and walked into a room full of people.  There were black balloons claiming "Over The Hill" messages and shouts of "Surprise!" that emanated from the family room as I rounded the corner. 

A surprise birthday party.  This time there was (thankfully) no Steve, and I already stood by my favorite person and father of my real children.  I stared in amazement at the small crowd gathered in the room, but ultimately fell on the real shocker:  my friends who had FLOWN IN from Idaho and Montana to be there.



I'm not sure what Jill was so surprised about, but I'm not surprised that her mouth is this big:



I wasn't surprised to get an "Old Fart" pen as a gift from a friend who affectionately greets me as "Butthead" or "Dork" when she sees me, or to witness Jill forcing Ganelle and Lorie to sing a song about my favorite things.  However, I was a little surprised with my new, pink Snuggie from Ali.  (With a bonus night light!)  I have longed for the Snuggie for years, never imagining that my dreams would ultimately be realized.  But look!  I decided to pose next to the official Snuggie girl just to show that the infomercials are SO. TRUE.

YOU CAN WEAR IT WHILE WATCHING TV!


YOU CAN TALK ON THE PHONE AND STAY WARM AT THE SAME TIME!


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN COLD WHILE SITTING ON THE COUCH AND READING A BOOK?  NOT ANYMORE!  THE SNUGGIE KEEPS YOU SO WARM YOU'LL SMILE LIKE PAULA DEEN AT A BUTTER CONVENTION.


SPEAKING OF BOOKS, VERN HERE IS READING ONE THAT HER S.I.L. GAVE HER FAMILY LAST YEAR FOR CHRISTMAS.



FA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAA...LA-LAAAA...LAAAAA...LAAAAA