Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dec 25th

Weird how the anticipation builds. 

We make plans for weeks, discuss the menu, purchase gifts, fight traffic, wrap gifts, make fudge, eat and then it's over and we fix our anticipation towards New Year's. 

12/25 is here. The anticipation has caught up to the realization.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Friends??

This month I have taken illogical to a new level. I don't know what happened. While I should be saving money in case, God forbid, I lose my job in this unstable economic time, in the past month, I have done some serious spending. This is not like me. I mean, I don't mind partaking in some extra spending when I have extra to play with but right now, I really don't.

Throwing caution off my 3rd floor balcony on black Friday, I made the first of my anti-budget purchases. Here it is:

My 17" Dell laptop has no battery because it died a few months ago. Often, the power cord comes out of the back of it, shutting down the computer, while I'm in the middle of working on something. So annoying. I have always been a PC but I am morphing my identity and now I am a Mac. At least I'm headed in that direction. It's taking a little getting used to. Drafting documents like this one, for blogging, have caused me a little grief with formatting and what-not but I'm stickin' with it. Mac and I are becoming BFFs.
As long as my world of technology is turning upside down, it was time for a cell phone upgrade. My phone, fully charged, only had a 6 1/2 minute talk time before it went dead. So on Sunday I purchased this:

This little beast looks all sleek and friendly but I am not yet convinced that we will be friends. We are still getting acquainted and so far, we disagree on some major things. This kind of relationship is new to me. I'm used to a straight-up cell phone no touch screen or email or MS Word in my purse. I'm giving it a week before I decide if I will stay the course on becoming all hi-tech.
Will these new friends be worth the bad attitude my budget gives me for not giving her my full attention?? I'll let you know when the bills come in.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dear Crazy Neighbor,

I'm writing because I have a few questions concerning stuff that I don't get.  

  • Why do you insist on screaming to me when you hear my footsteps coming up the stairs, assuming I am your daughter?? I can hear everything that goes on over there. You and your daughter are not the only people who live in the building. Have you heard of an "inside voice"?? Please get one. 

  • Why do you flick the ashes from your cigarettes onto the floor in the hallway?? Often, you do it the same day that the cleaners come by. You are not a dog, there's no need to mark your territory. 

  • About the hallway, here's a newsflash - it's a shared space, not your dining room or your garage. What's up with the mac and cheese that you ground into the carpeting?? It now smells like baby throw up. The bike, shoes and other household items will soon disappear. They are a fire hazard. 

  • Why is it, that when I open my sliding glass door in search of a peaceful moment on my balcony, you appear and pretend to have something to do on your balcony?? When I go inside, you do as well. Weird. 

  • I know you don't work and don't have a car. I see you bossing the lady that lives below you and then she lets you use her car. Have you thought about getting a job?? The sketchy men that visit... is that your method of financial survival?? When you locked one of them on your balcony, I thought it was funny but again, screaming late at night is not ok. 

To sum it up, why are you so crazy?? Maybe crazy is all you've ever known. Maybe the substances you indulge have overtaken your life. I am frustrated because your crazy behavior is affecting me. Please get help. 

Your Bitchy Neighbor

Friday, December 12, 2008

Facing Feces

Lately, I keep remembering things. 

I'm not talking about the proverbial stroll down memory lane filled with cozy and fluffy nostalgia. It's more like I'm minding my own business and out of the blue, from somewhere overhead, I get pooped on by a pigeon (which really happened but I will save that story for another time). It has been happening frequently these past few weeks. The poopy memories dropping in on me, I mean. Not the literal pigeon poop. 

Are you still with me? 

I found a playlist on my ipod. Good songs. Great songs, in fact, but when I listened to them, I was immediately transported to the time in my life when I first came to love those songs. I cringed. Something in me wanted to turn the music off and find a tune that didn't remind me of loss. 

I got the invitation to attend the company Christmas party. This will be the 3rd year in a row. The 1st year included a posh, all expense paid trip to So. Cal for the event and last year, an in-state, top notch dinner party complete with limo service. Both experiences were fantastic. Both experiences were shared with the same person. The experiences and the person are now gone. I felt sick. I wanted to r.s.v.p that I will not be able to make it this year. 

The ways in which we are able to hold conversations, images and feelings in our minds like a living scrap book is a treasure most of the time but there are some things that I don't want to reminded of; similar to how I wish the pictures of my hill-billy fashion sense and mullet-ish hair from 1989 would disappear. 

Strangely, as these things and others have tried to defecate on me, I have found that when I stand there and look them straight in the eye, it's not so bad. 

I listened to every song on the playlist. I listened, and rather than dwell in another time, I found new meanings in the words of those songs.  

I sent back the r.s.v.p and next weekend, I will go to the company Christmas party. I will have a new experience and I will share it with someone different.  

I asked, without flinching, for God to navigate me through these things and to heal me. It would be easy to cut off these kind of memories when they appear. It wouldn't sting so much to simply avoid whatever triggers them but then there would be no deep healing. Something else that I didn't foresee would arise and prompt more hiding and more avoidance within myself. 

Yes, it's stinky and messy but it's just a little poop. It will wash off with soap and water.  

Besides, running and hiding from a pigeon seems ridiculous, don't you think?    

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Staying Warm In Winter

Winter has once again, made its way to the northeast. Although it won't be official for another week and a half, the days are more cloudy than not and it's been raining for the past few days. Freezing rain and snow are supposed to stop by tomorrow. Ugh!

Winter is not my favorite season. 

I always seem to put on an extra layer of fat as if I were a Kodiak bear living in the frozen tundra. If I could hibernate until spring I certainly would. To keep from freezing up in winter, I eat. This "most wonderful time of the year" is synonymous with sugar-laden cavity-forming goodies. In this festive month, it becomes nearly impossible not to feed at the trough of seasonal comfort foods. New Year's resolutions are intended for tackling weight loss anyway so why not?

Here are a few of my favs:

Candied Strawberries- Essentially, these scrumptious confections are made up of sweetened flake coconut mixed with sweetened condensed milk and strawberry jello powder. You can form them in the shape of a strawberry or you can just roll them into balls, (which is what I do) and then roll them in sugar. If you've never had them, you are missing out. 

Eggnog- This beverage is liquid poundage. For some reason, when I pour a glass of this stuff, I tend to guzzle it in one gulp. Something about the rich flavor coupled with the thick and creamy texture grips me from the moment it touches my lips. Weird fact: I always drink eggnog from a stemmed wine glass. Why? I have no idea. As a child, the only time my parents' wine glasses got any use was when we got (non-alcoholic) eggnog at Christmas. I guess I still associate eggnog with a wine glass. Weird. This year, I discovered a delicious variation of the holiday nog. Pour a shot of Buttershots liquor in and you will be heading towards a caloric coma in approximately 10 minutes. 

Peppermint Ice Cream- It arrives around Thanksgiving and disappears before New Year's. The window for enjoying this flavor is not long enough. This year, my sister Kari sent out an email alert the day she saw it in the freezer section at her local Stop'n'Shop so we could all get the maximum delight. Blue Bell is best brand but Connecticut doesn't seem to carry it. After consuming a couple gallons during the month of December, the hips are happy to see peppermint ice cream go into hiding for another 11 months. 
Since cranky old man winter isn't spreading much cheer, 'tis the season to indulge in merry-making treats. The fat content and calories are sure to keep you toasty till spring. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have A Laugh... It's On Me

Have you ever seen trick ankles?? 

I had to make a stop at Target the other night. I needed to exchange an item I had purchased over the weekend. I trotted up to the customer service desk and made a smooth and uneventful transaction (even though I had thrown away the receipt). After that, smooth and uneventful decided to stay there at the counter and let me go on ahead.  

I turned around to walk away and right there in the main aisle... in full view of everyone walking into the store as well as those standing in line to check out... the trick ankle got all sassy with me. The boots slipped on the waxed linoleum floor... and I went down in a blaze of glory. The knees hit first, then the hands; like a toddler learning to walk but not as cute. I jumped up in one swift move, trying to keep moving so no one would ask if I needed an ambulance. I did not look around to see how many eyes were staring. 

My trick ankles don't really embarrass me anymore. I have grown accustomed to their tantrums. I have "biffed-it" in the mall, at a restaurant and while crossing a street. I have fallen going down stairs on a ferry boat, going up stairs, on a sidewalk (wearing only my swimsuit), in a parking lot and even, chasing a boy down a hill when I was a tween. Wiping out is one thing that I am good at.  

My right knee cap got the worst of if. It's reddish-purple now but I'm confident it will make a full recovery and will live to have another meeting with the ground. 

If you are ever so fortunate to witness the wonders of my trick ankles, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You May Now Enter

After Thanksgiving I give Christmas permission to officially be on its way in song, in deed, and in spirit. AFTER Thanksgiving, NOT BEFORE. My friend Melissa, who tries to sneak the Christmas music in at all times of the year, received a sneer from me when she made the bold move of rockin' the xmas tunes while dressing in costume on halloween. Not OK with me.

This past weekend, I started easing into the yuletide by mixing up a merry new playlist for the ipod. It's a small thing, I know, but I wasn't ready to run out on black Friday and make a $50 Douglas Fir purchase.

Like it or not, it is December which means eggnog lattes, "Elf" on a different tv channel almost everyday and the full throttle countdown to Christmas.