Saturday, December 24, 2005

HO HO HO, A**hole!

I actually heard this phrase today in the Old Navy parking lot. I didn't see what preceded it, but I'd imagine it had to do with a parking space dispute.

Right now I'm putting together this dipshit presentation thingie for my sister's upcoming nuptials. Her inlaws-to-be are like Harry described as "the worst kind" of people in When Harry Met Sally, High Maintenance people who think they're Low Maintenance. Uptight people who think they're laid back. I love 'em, but this wedding thing has worn me out with their petty demands veiled as itty bitty requests.

They asked me to whip up a little slide show of photos of the bride and groom as kids and whatever (like I have TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME...) so I did, and now I'm adding music to it, and I'm looking for the absolute most obnoxious, sappy, icky song I can find. I'm open to suggestions. Right now I'm perusing the Celine Dion Arsenal of Heinousness and I'm ready to saw my own ears off with a rusty butterknife.

Meanwhile, Beebie and Pie are watching Fantastic 4, and Mr. T. is takin a nap. Hubbypoo is on his way home with a buttload of batteries and a newspaper. He was up till 1am wrapping gifts last night since I was really stressed about having to do it all tonight. He got more than half of it done while I collapsed in bed after an afternoon of baking Cheddar Cheese Straws for the Annual Family Christmas Soiree. He is the absolute best guy ever. I'm more and more convinced of it every day.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say...

...That the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!

Yeah, I'm kinda Grinchy around this time of year. I used to enjoy giving gifts and imagining how much fun the recipient would have with them. But then, that one Christmas it was made clear that Mrs. NP believed that she was actually the intended recipient of any gift that was given to her kids, since the gift would have to reside in HER house. And for some reason she took offense to the fact that I'd chosen a cool gift that her kid would have liked, and promptly began complaining about said cool gift and the small pieces therein (nothing that a normal parent couldn't handle, or at least make their kids clean it up themselves, sheesh) well, then I decided, fine. I can certainly choose gifts with YOU in mind instead of your kids. Only I'll choose them with the goal of making you suffer instead of making your kids happy.

And I enjoy Christmas much differently now. I can honestly say that Mrs. NP took away the joy I used to find in giving fun, thoughtful gifts and replaced it with the joy I find in seeking out tacky, annoying, impractical and thoughtless gifts. I've given a Lisa Frank tattoo studio as a gift, for example. See how much fun I'm having with it?

So I was all set to give her the Furry Pink Puke scarf, knowing full well that it would be worn often and cherished in all its tackiness. For some reason, the NP's sense of what's tacky is like, nonexistent. But then, when I was gathering gifts to give to a single mom and her kids, I thought ya know, a 10-year-old girl would probably really dig this. So I gave it away, thusly denying myself the fun I would have had watching my heinous handiwork on display. Oh well. And I threw in another scarf for the mom, one I'd planned to keep for myself, since it was pretty cool. I went and splurged a bit on some Noro Silk Garden to replace it.

So is my Grinchiness melting away? Nah. It's just the calm before the storm. I've been so busy working on my sister's wedding that I haven't even given any thought to Christmas yet, really. I haven't wrapped anything or baked anything or sent even one Christmas card (meanwhile I've gotten one from the NP's with about 80 pictures of their kids in it). Tomorrow night is the family Christmas fiesta at hubby's aunt's house. I'm supposed to take an appetizer. Now, I'm someone who bakes and doesn't buy food to take to a family event. I even look for fun, interesting recipes to try. The NP's buy. That bugs me.

I think I'm entitled to a wee bit o' Grinchiness. When most people get to breathe a huge sigh of relief after Christmas is over, my stress is just beginning. Monday, my parents arrive. Tuesday is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and I'm supposed to have a Very Clever slide presentation put together. That, my friends, was a labor of LOVE. Then of course Wednesday evening is the Wedding Extravaganza, and Thursday is Tommy's birthday party. I got WAY too much goin'. I need to finish typing up the place cards. Mom asked me if I had finished my Wedding Toast. I said, um, NO. I really had to draw the line. I've done enough. And trust me, they probably won't want me talking that day. I'm anticipating Drama-a-plenty.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My blog needs another picture.

Here's the Flower Girl dress that Nat will be wearing in my sister's wedding. Ryan is the "Ring Bear".


My sister's getting married in a few weeks. The wedding is here in St Louis, but my sister and parents are in Texas, so they're mailing me a lot of the wedding-related items, like the dress and the veil, and the fancy-printed napkins with the bride and groom's names (Emily and Bobby) on them.

My mom is a walking ball of stress. Think Woody Allen playing the role of Lucy Ricardo. Too much Fookery temptation.

So when the napkins came, I emailed my mom to let her know:

"Napkins arrived today. They say Emily and Booby."

I let her sweat it for a second or two, then I told her I was kidding.

Da Man be keepin me down.

Man, I got in trouble for offering my specially-mixed Christmas CD's to Knitty friends. Copyright Infringement. Bad. I know ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I thought if I had paid for the CD's used in the Mix and wasn't profitting off of it, then it was ok. Well, that kinda made my day suck just cuz I felt like such an ass. But just for fun, here is the track list that wasn't.

Marshmallow World – Vic Damone
Must Be Santa – Brave Combo
Merry Christmas, I Love You – James Brown
Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney
Jingle Bells? - Barbra Streisand
I Hate Christmas – Oscar the Grouch
Sleigh Ride – Squirrel Nut Zippers
Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel – A South Park Christmas
Frosty the Snowman – Leon Redbone and Dr. John
Cha-Cha All The Way – Capital Studio Orchestra
Hark, The Herald Angels Sing – A Charlie Brown Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
The Delicious Dish – Margaret Jo Mc Cullen, Terry Rialto, and Pete Schweddy
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
Jingle Bells – The Singing Dogs
Christmas is Going to the Dogs – The Eels
Christmas Trumpets – Ray Anthony
The Merry Christmas Polka – Jim Reeves
The Man With the Bag – Kay Starr
We’re a Couple of Misfits – Rudolph and Herbie
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
I Farted on Santa’s Lap – The Little Stinkers
Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Feels Like Christmas – Cyndi Lauper
White Christmas – Goldfinger
Dysfunctional Family Christmas Album Highlights
Deck the Halls / We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Neil Diamond

A G-rated version also included :

Oh Holy Night – Eric Cartman
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – Jessica Simpson (shudder)
Christmas Wrapping – The Spice Girls
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevy
Children’s Christmas Song – Diana Ross and the Supremes

Not all the songs truly suck, some are just uniquely different, or ubercheesy (my made-up adjective of the day), which makes me smile. I offered to call people up and sing the song of their choice to them on the holiday of their choice, vainly trying to recreate the full-on, undiluted heinousness of RuPaul's "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus". So far, no takers. Sigh.

In other news, everyone is recovering from their respective afflictions of the last week. Randy's back at work after his Strep that he so generously shared with me. I'm fine (moms don't get sick days), Nat's eye is fine after getting a microscopic piece of dust in it. Ryan's infected cut is better, and Tommy's not complaining about his earache anymore. In a 24-hour period, each of us had a prescription filled.

One of the ladies I was collecting Christmas stuff for came by to pick stuff up today, and she was really cool. I also gathered more toys for the little kids, which was fun. Then I updated our bank balance, which was NOT fun but quite satisfying when done. I'm actually within $4 of what the bank says we have. And that's good enough for me.

I gotta get crackin on the scarves for my gifts. I wish I could knit faster or knit with my toes so I could get more of them done. I figure I'll start the Scarf Project after the holidays, when random acts of giving would be more unexpected.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Freecycle Frenzy / The Scarf Project

GaucheKnitter, from the Knitty board, posted that she had a perplexing dilemma. She had made so many scarves that she didn't know what to do with all of them - couch covers, window dressings, sew them all together into an afghan, something. So in response, April suggested wearing each of the scarves and giving it away to the first person who complimented her on it. I absolutely love this idea. I have so many single balls of fun fur and eyelash and boa yarn, I have decided to crank out as many scarves as I can and just randomly hand them out to strangers. That's the scarf project. I think it's such fun to give stuff away right there on the spot, it blows their minds! Weird how people are so suspicious of niceness.

I am SO into the spirit of giving for some reason! I'm Freecycling to three different families and my kids are having fun helping me find stuff we can give to other kids. I'm unbelievably proud of my daughter Natalie in particular. One of the families has a daughter who's 10 (Natalie is 8) so Nat and I have been looking for some things to give her so her family can have a Christmas. Natalie wants to spend her own money to buy the little girl a doll. Her idea! Someday when she's older I'll tell her about the two Christmases that we were "adopted" by our church. I'll knit the little girl a doll blanket and pillow, I think. This family also has a son who's 5, and my boys are giving him some of their Rescue Heroes toys. And I can knit the Mom a scarf and maybe a purse.

Another of the families has a little boy who's about to turn 2. Ryan really got into this one, since he's soooooooo much bigger than 2. We've been looking through our closets of forgotten toys and we found some great stuff. And timing was perfect because I had just started gathering the 3T clothes together to give away, even some Thomas the Tank Engine overalls! I found a coat, shoes, books, Barney videos, and a sandbox. My kids and I are very excited about meeting this little boy on Sunday when they come to pick up the stuff. This little guy is gonna hit the friggin jackpot.

Then I'm helping a 3rd family who I don't know as much about, but they're getting some of my now too big plus-size clothes, diapers and videos too. I think I might be able to find more for them too, I'm going to keep looking today.

Anyway, all of the Freecyclers who are collecting for these families are so grateful that I can't even verbalize the joy it's given me. I'm a pack rat, anyone who knows me will attest. And I think that the reason why I save things, even if I'm unable to use it, is for something like this, when I could give it to someone who needs it and bless us both. I am insanely proud of myself!

I think that kids (as I launch into my old lady "Kids These Days" speech) are so into themselves that they miss out on the true joy that comes when you do something nice for someone. How sad that is! I was raised by parents who got it right, and taught my sister and me about compassion and caring and giving selflessly. I'm working really hard on passing this on to my kids.

I remember reading a book called Claude the Dog one Christmas when I was little. Claude is a dog who gets a bunch of nice dog stuff from his family for Christmas, and his friend Bummer comes by and this line I remember verbatim because it used to make me cry every single time - "Along came Bummer. He had no home." Anyway, Claude gives Bummer all his nice things, and then Claude goes home to his family who loves him. I'm so glad I found the book and I'm going to read it to my kids for Christmas.

On the other end of the Christmas Spirit spectrum, I have to share some Holiday Fookery. My friend Patti chose not to participate in her office's Secret Santa exchange, but is still managing some pretty darn good Fookery. She's been taking random items from around the office (such as a used coffee mug, sugar packets, pens, candy, and books found in abandoned desks) and placing them on people's desks with a note saying that they were from the unwitting recipient's Secret Santa. Way to Fook with people and undermine the whole concept. Bravo. The person that she gave the book to was happy with it, and I can't remember the title of the book, but the section on Self-Esteem was dog-eared and the recipient read into it, even though Patti didn't mean anything by it, she didn't even look at the inside of the book. Office merriment! How I miss going to work every day. Actually, what I really miss is going to work with friends like Renee and Patti every day.

*** Update! I just got done emailing a nice lady who was looking for a Christmas dress size 2T for her little girl. I told her I have the PERFECT one and I've been holding onto it in case I or one of my friends ever had a little girl who could wear it, and of course we all had boys. I just found it stashed away yesterday when I was cleaning, and now it's going to have a home. The lady was so happy, she said she was in tears. She'd bought a dress but had to return it to buy groceries. I've totally been there. I think I'm going to find the little girl some toys that Santa could bring her. Oh, I am just En Fuego and it feels fantastic!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I don't know why I even bother trying...

... to fall asleep. Like, EVER. Somehow my children are able to sense the moment that I find myself standing at the threshhold of Dreamland, about to be ushered in by Johnny Depp who's graciously inviting me to dream about him. Yeah, my kids have Spidey senses and THAT's the moment when one of them needs something immediately, in the middle of the night.

Or else it's the moment when I think hubby finally stopped snoring, then I hear the sudden GHHHHHHSSSSHHHOOOOOONNNNNNKKKKK jerking me, like a dog on a short leash, back into the reality of Insomnia.

I swear my brain is like the headlines ticker at the bottom of CNN, a constant thread of unrelated thoughts cycling through, repeating ad infinitum. Ooooh, look! Two years of Latin is coming in handy at 3am! WOO HOO!!!

Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I am happy to report -

Ryan was an adorable camel and he was true to his word. He did NOT pick his nose. He was the only camel wearing green Converse high-tops, however.

Meanwhile, I have been knitting like a fiend. Everyone's getting a knitted gift from me, whether they like it or not. I've got several items made, including the frothy Pepto scarf (the hat turned out horribly, darn that gauge!), a Santa hat in silver and black for my dad the Spurs fan, a pretty mohair scarf, a rolled-brim hat, a purse and another scarf which I can't decide if I want it felted or not. I have a couple other projects going, of course, and several more in my head. I need to get my act together so I can ship it all in time.

I'm also putting together a compliation of Christmas songs to give to friends, including my SP, who probably knows it's me. I'm putting together one final giftiepoo to send her. Should be good. Say, that reminds me - here's what I got from the SP who has me.

Took the kids to see Santa today too. That went surprisingly well, considering I didn't take the double stroller this time. They were even patient waiting in the line. Ryan said he was going to fart on Santa's lap. His face in the pic looks like he might have been photographed in the act.