Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Things I Stressed Over for Christmas this Year (seriously)

10. Will G-dog try to eat the glass ball ornaments?
9. Will G-dog drink all the water from the tree?
8. Does that ribbon match that paper?
7. Does that tag match the ribbon and the paper?
6. Will person1 notice that their gift has no ribbon but person2 has elaborate ribbon?
5. Do I need to get a gift for that person?
4. How do I wrap a gift card?
3. How will I remain awake at work after not getting home till 1am from Lottery Yarn?
2. Is there enough cheese for the cheese plate?
1. Is there enough wine, period?

Turns out there was enough wine and cheese and I have the pants to prove it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frightened for My Life

Target 2 days before Christmas will do that to you. Today I walked out of Target and SPECIFICALLY used the crosswalk to get to the parking lot because I didn't want to step in front of any car without imaginary protection. I was walking out, some people were walking in but when I got past the middle of the crosswalk, a lady on her cell phone HONKED AT ME. I stopped, because you know that probably just pissed her off more and just looked at her (ok, I probably had a nasty look on my face too). She had the audacity to stop her car in the middle of the crosswalk, roll down her window and give me what for.


I told her that it was a crosswalk and that in PA you STOP for pedestrians in the crosswalks AND there was a sign in the middle of said crosswalk telling you just that. She told me, "I know that!" Then I said, 'Then why did you honk at me?!" She told me, "Shut the f*ck up and watch your mouth."

I gave her a little airy, fairy wave and told her to just go away.

I was afraid she was going to follow me to my car though and to be honest, while I could have kicked her patootie, I am so tired with holiday stuff I probably would have let her pummel me into soup so I could make P wrap all the presents and I could get some rest.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Writers Workshop Thursday: Winter Memories

It's interesting to me that I have seasonal affective disorder considering that all my childhood winter memories are good ones. We always had good snows and at least 4 or 5 snow days. There were tunnels to build, angels to make and hills to sled. I do remember one particular day where the full on wonder and beauty of a perfect snow enveloped a certain child.

I could not have been more than 9 or 10. When I was that age there was still room for childlike wonder. I remember my snow suit was navy blue. My jacket may have been as well but I do remember it had a hood. I was alone, no L or T for some reason and I went out in to a new fallen snow. I always loved the quiet of the snow. I still am not exactly sure what it is about snow that creates that quiet stillness. I walked out the back door into the yard. The tire swing had snow on the top and on the inside of the bottom. I walked past it, noticing it but not touching it. It was so still and seemed frozen and not at the same time. I walked into the 'big' woods through the arching branches of the long gone lilacs. I walked to the stream. We always liked stepping in the stream in the winter when we had boots on. There was something magical about it being so cold out but still able to step in the freezing cold water without fear of frostbite and let it run past you. I still don't know what it is. I stood in the stream for a bit and then followed the deer path a ways deeper into the woods.

In the other seasons this area is teaming with life be it two or four footed or insect variety but when it snowed, even the birds and squirrels put away their chatter for awhile. I walked to a clearing that you would not have noticed in the other seasons but now in winter, with all the leaves gone, there was a circle of twig bushes and small trees creating an almost walled enclosure. I went in and laid in the snow. I was warm in my snowgear and I stared at the sky. As I lay there, I began to see everything in a clear and sharp light; the color of the twigs against the silvery grayness of the sky, the shadow of the snow drifts against the sparkling white of the light exposed areas. I could hear the stream along the stones and the branches rub against each other. Slowly, it started to snow again. I watched the flakes curl down and settle with the rest of the whiteness. There was no wind, no breeze and they just floated where they pleased. I felt like I was a part of it all, not just a spectator.

I am not sure how long I stayed but eventually the magic was broken by the thought that it was snowing again and maybe I should go inside. I have always remembered this time as one of the best moments in my life. It was what I think it would have been like to be inside a snow globe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dear Retail Customer in My Store (Update)

Dear Retail Customer in My Store:

I realize that you have a lot to get done for the holidays. That basket o' stuff in your hand will surely help our store's bottom line. What will not help our bottom line is the damaged merchandise that met it's death at the hands of your child. I am thinking glass ornaments and 3 year old children do not mix. What do you think?


PS. BTW, no honey, you can't carry off those Juicy sweatpants.

Dear "Daddy"
If you call me 'condescending' and then don't have the stones to post anyway but anonymously, I seriously suggest you don't come back. If you think I cared about a stupid glass ornament, you missed the point entirely and are not smart enough to read my blog. If you actually ever worked in retail you would see the parents that come in on their cell phone, not paying any attention to what their child is doing while making merchandise unsellable. It isn't about the $ it's about the respect for things that do not belong to them. If I had seen your child I would have told her it was ok and not to worry about it, as I have done before. If she was tearing around the store and you allowed the behaviour, all you would have gotten from me was a disgusted look. This is my blog and I am allowed to vent here, just like parents do about their kids and idiots like me that 'just don't get it' because we don't have kids. My advice, lighten the eff up or your kids will be as uptight as you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Run, Don't Walk: Three Cups of Tea

I am starting a new series called "Run, Don't Walk." It will contain info about things that your should do or read or just experience as soon as possible.

I have a category on my Goodreads list called, "Life Changing" for books that truly impact my life. Now those of you that read "My Island" posts know that I don't take labeling lightly. I have around 100 books on my list at Goodreads (that's just the ones I remember to add) but there are only a few that make it into my Life Changing category. The book "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin just became one of them.

"Three Cups of Tea" talks about the journey of Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber who made it his mission to build schools for the children of remote Pakistan and Afghanistan. He started out by building one for a village that welcomed him with open arms after he almost died coming down from a failed attempt at climbing K2. He pledged to come back and build them a school. Greg was not a wealthy man. He basically lived in his car while trying to raise the money to keep his promise. He did fulfill it though and what happened after that goes into an amazing journey that will change your mind about how important education is in every part of the world.

What was most interesting to me about this story was the fact that in the very beginning it was about fulfilling one promise. What it turned into was a new way of promoting peace in a very difficult place and a very difficult time. The basic premise is that education is the key to peace. The people Greg met in his time in Pakistan and Afghanistan taught him that the Muslims that live there are not the Muslims of our nightmares. These people do not hate us and want to see us all dead. They are a people fiercely loyal to their family, friends, their way of life and... in the education of their children, boys AND girls. They believe that education will change their lives and give them an alternative to the violence that has become a part of many lives in those two countries...

and it has.

This book made me believe in humanity again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Were YOU Doing at 2am This Morning?

G-Dog: *making smacking sounds with dry mouth*

Me: Go drink your water if you are thirsty.

G-Dog: I'm not thirsty. Oh, hey you're up. I think I need to go outside.

Me: No. It's 2am and you don't have to go out. You just want to see if the skunk is still outside.

G-Dog: No I don't. *pout, pout...licking face of human* I really have to go.

Me: That makes no sense. You went at 11pm and you always sleep till 7am and when we do go on our morning walk you wait FOREVER to pee and then do it at intervals. Makes me think you aren't exactly crossing your legs.

G-Dog: No, I really gotta go. You know if you had gotten up when I first asked you we would be done by now and you could have been asleep. *more licking and wagging of tail*

Me: FINE! But you are drinking a little water when you come back in. That lip smacking is keeping me up.

G-Dog: Ok, no problem.

Me: *Get up, put on robe. Walk to the kitchen.*

G-Dog: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are the best! *much excitement and smiling*

Me: *Get leash and put on. Walk outside.*

G-Dog: *ZING! as she darts for the neighbors lawn obviously after something*

Me: HEY! What are you doing. You said you had to pee and that you weren't going to go after the skunk. What the hell! I am in my bathrobe and a tee shirt. I don't have time for this crap.

G-Dog: It wasn't a skunk. It was Orange Kitty.

Me: You are not allowed to chase Orange Kitty. You know that! What about peeing!?

G-Dog: Ok, ok. Let me find a good spot *sniffing and walking in circles*

Me: I don't care about a 'good' spot just effing PEE!

G-Dog: jeez, ok, ok. *relieving herself* See I TOLD you I had to go!

Me: You did not, you just CHOSE to go now to save face.

G-Dog: I had to save face? Who is the one in a tee shirt, robe and no shoes outside at 2am?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Economizing via the Liquor Cabinet

So the economy is bad. Yeah, we get it. Right now we are debating whether or not we will need to get rid of one of the cars due to the lovely economy. We have been cutting back for so long, my knives are dum bum...

Tonight, I felt the need for a drink while we approached the subject yet again. P agreed seeing as how I fly into fits of rage when we have the $ talks. It was then I saw there were only 3 beers in the fridge and they weren't particularly good ones and then I realized, we might have to cut back on beer too (my wine budget had been cut about two months ago). I looked at P and then looked at our liquor cabinet. Ok, it's a shelf not a cabinet, whatever. We have a TON of liquor; Jack Daniels, rum, gin, bad vodka, a decent scotch. "Saved!" I thought. Then I really thought. "I really don't know what to do with this stuff."

Don't get me wrong, I like me a good gin and tonic but that is not a difficult mix. I also like my vodka martinis but it HAS to be Grey Goose ($$) with gooooood olives. I don't know how to do anything with rum other than a frozen drink. I have had Jack but only with Coke. If I mixed scotch with anything my uncle would sense it, show up at my house and smack me in the head. So internet, in the spirit of true economizing, give me some suggestions on easy stuff I can mix at the end of a day of watching the markets fight it out all day so that I can briefly forget that I may be forced to share a car with P, ride to work with him and quit Lottery Yarn.

BTW, I am drinking a Jack and Ginger Ale at the moment. Seems to be doing the job.

Edit: Please understand...I am not doing the drinking now...I was doing it last night when I wrote the post. I scheduled it for 7:00am this morning. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ah Memories...All Girl Passion not like that

Now I realize this is an odd time to be discussing "The Passion of Christ" but a few people I went to grade school with brought back a memory I thought I had successfully burned.

Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile know that I am a recovering Catholic. What I am not sure you know is that for 8 yeas I attended an all girls, private Catholic school...wait for it...located in the 'Motherhouse' of a certain type of nun. I am not kidding about the Motherhouse part. That is what it was called. It definitely contributed to my spiritual status as a 'recovering' Catholic. Anyway, we had one very crazy nun (most of them were a little off but this one was a piece of work). She decided that we should start doing a Passion Play every spring around Easter. This woman was really nuts, she was an 'artist' and OCD at the same time. She had such a problem with clutter that when the kids made her birthday and feastday cards she literally looked at them and then tore them in half to throw them away, many times in front of said kids. If a child gave her a gift she would have that child give it to another person.

So, think about it, all girls ages 10-12 in a play that called for 90% adult male parts. It was like the opposite of a drag show. All the male parts had to wear fake beards. They stuck the life-like beards on with this nasty glue that smelled like bad fish. So you have about 80 girls, all struggling with preteen-ness and bad skin and you make them dress up like men and wear BEARDS! Nice. I think that this might be the one case where my parents don't have pics because I would not have been caught dead with proof later in life that I had to dress up like an apostle...with a flippin beard.

The only part that made is somewhat bearable was that since many us were wearing bathrobes with pockets, we could slip our walkmans into them, cover the headphones with the head coverings and listen to music when we wanted. My friend Rachel and I did just that and listened to WHAM! while we were waiting to start the play. For some reason, the nuns never picked up on what we were doing.

The play was just insane. The crazy nun took the script directly from one of the gospels (it was like 2-3 hours long) and we actually had the whole Crucifixion played out. The actual nailing took place behind the curtains but we actually had 3 girls on crosses. Seriously. Think on that for a sec.

I try not to.

And people wonder why when I was in 8th grade I told people I would never send my child to that school.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Writers Workshop Thursday: G-Dog and the Brownies

This is a blatent re-post but a good one. ;)

This is how my weekend without internet started. I walk in the door to let G-dog out at around noon Friday and notice a bottle of vegetable oil on the rug in the living room oil spots on the sisel rug and the cap next to the bottle AND a bitten but not eaten box of brownie mix on the floor under the dining table.

Me: (calling out) G-dog!, (waiting) G-dog!

G-dog: (Comes out of bedroom, sleepily blinking eyes and wagging tail) Dude, I was sleeping. What's up.

Me: What did you do?!

G-dog: Well I ate the treats you left for me. The one you hid under the pillow was hard to find. Relaxed a bit, got bored with moose, rabbit, squirrel, et al and went into the kitchen to find something to do. I went in to the room I'm not supposed to and decided to make brownies.

Me: Brownies.

G-dog: Yeah. So I got the brownie mix out and then realized I needed vegetable oil so I went and got that. Then I realized the oil was in a plastic bottle and you know how much I like plastic bottles.

Me: Uh-huh

G-dog: So it started innocently enough, I was working on getting the cap off then I bit the bottle and it felt so good I continued. Then I tasted the oil and decided, ick! So I dropped it on the floor and nosed it around a few times, trying to get the oil out and eventually I went back to the brownie box and realized that I needed eggs AND water too. Well I had water in my bowl but the eggs are in the fridge and I couldn't reach them so I abandoned the whole brownie idea and went back to the bedroom and took a nap.

Me: So you do realize that you can't have brownies. They are chocolate and not good for you.

G-dog: Really!? Huh. Well I guess it's a good thing I didn't make them then.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wishing for a Happy Post

Whew! I took a few days off. I hope you don't mind but between work and work and Thanksgiving, I took a bit of time to lounge about in bed with my addiction...books.

I needed to get lost in someone else's life for awhile because the stuff that has been happening here is really making it hard to make it through the day with out meds (remember I stopped those 6 months ago...rethinking that whole decision). Between the Kmart, WalMart and Mumbai violence I am really losing my faith in humanity. Then, I read an article today on CNN about a dog that was beaten with a hammer in an Atlanta park and left to die. It about pushed me over the edge.

Trying to focus on the positive is like when you are cooking spaghetti and you use a spoon to try to lift a couple noodles out to test it. They all fall off and you keep trying to get one and then when you finally do, you end up dropping it on the floor because it burned your mouth or your finger. It's so frustrating and then add the anger and sadness on top of that and you have a meltdown.

So far I have been able to avoid meltdowns only by fate. I will be close to the edge and then I'll see the story about the nanny that saved the toddler from the soldiers in Mumbai or I'll hear "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas. What I find remarkable is how something so small as a song or even a few notes from a song can bring me back from the edge. Even this blog helps. As write, I see the pattern I fall into and even though I haven't figured out a way to fix it, I can at least see it. I guess that means I should be writing more instead of taking days off. ;)