Out with the Old…

December 31, 2009 at 11:49 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

…and in with the New Year!

And what a year it’s been.  Recessions, pay cuts, unemployment, break-ups, hook-ups and more.  I don’t know about everyone else but I am personally glad to see the end of 2009.  It started off on a rough note, what with the idiocy I dealt with at the Wyndham Hotel and bitched about in my last post.  Like so many things in life, this year had its highs and lows.  Shall I do a summary?  I believe I shall.

The ups:  My family remained relatively healthy and happy (so far as I know).  I remained steadily employed and I moved out of my ex’s parents place into my very own apartment.  This was huge – words cannot describe what it was like to live with the parents of my boyfriend, especially when said boyfriend and I weren’t always getting along.  Moving back in with parents of any kind after seven years of living on my own was a shock in itself, as was living in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  Getting my own place in the city is one of the very best things that happened to me this year, hands down.  New Zealand was pretty awesome too.  I’ve been extremely lucky in the travel department and I can only hope that 2010 allows for more roaming opportunities as well.  Let’s see, what else…starting my own column for an entertainment magazine was pretty cool, so that goes on this list.  My almost year-long pay cut was lifted last week.  I met some awesome new friends this year too and that’s always a plus.  I also apparently lost a bit of weight without even trying and there’s no way I can complain about that (lacking a vehicle does have its health benefits).

The downs:  I watched helplessly as my best friend and her longtime boyfriend lost their jobs, home and old selves to a drug addiction.  I don’t really speak to her anymore (even though I try) and losing that friendship has been a massive low for me.  I was also dumped.  That was a bad bit of time for sure but I seem to have come out on the other side much stronger and wiser.  Good for me!  On a smaller scale, I had a ten percent pay cut for the majority of the year and that was not so fun.  Thank goddess that’s over.  A couple of elderly family members passed away but in all honesty it’s hard to get depressed when they each lived long and healthy lives.

Looking at it objectively, I suppose it’s been an okay year.  I would gladly give up my trip or writing accomplishments to have my friends clean and sober though.  I’m not sure I would give up anything to be back with my ex because the further I get from the relationship the more I realize that I deserve (and can find) so much better than what he was able to give me.  Zing!

For next year…well, my biggest hope is that my friend does finally clean up her act.  It took me a while to realize that no one else can save her and I hope more than anything that she can find the strength to do it herself.  I also hope that I continue to stay employed at a job I at least somewhat enjoy.  I hope for health and happiness for my friends and family and I also hope the same for yours.  It would also be cool if I found more ways to earn money through my writing (anyone want to pay me to blog?).  Other than that, if I can continue to live my awesome life in the way I want then I’ll be content.

I’ll drink to that!

Also, it wouldn’t be a holiday if I didn’t remind my fantastic readers to watch it on the roads tonight.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – only idiots drink and drive.  If you’re in Chicago then you should take advantage of the penny rides the buses and el are offering all night long.  If you’re elsewhere, just use your brain and lay off the hooch if you need to get behind the wheel.  I hope everyone has a fabulously fun and safe evening and I’ll be back to entertain you all next year!

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DO NOT STAY AT A WYNDHAM HOTEL

December 30, 2009 at 1:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

One of my favorite things about blogging is that it gives the average person the ability to rant and rave over injustices and potentially have the world take notice. I’m not so egotistical to think that thousands of people will be riveted to their seat over this next blog post but I will be satisfied if I think I can keep a few of you out there from ever stepping foot in a Wyndham Hotel. Here is a picture of the entrance to the hotel I will be writing about, just in case you ever happen to walk by and feel like spitting in its general direction.

Many of you are familiar with this story and if you’ve heard it before, I apologize.  However, it was my personal pledge to the management of this hotel that I would do everything in my power to deter people from staying at any establishment in their chain, and I am a woman of my word.  My grudge with the Wyndham goes back to this time last year and it’s something I will likely never get over.  Therapy might be able to help but in the meantime I’ll blog.

For New Years Eve last year, I paid for a suite at the Wyndham in downtown Chicago (633 N. St. Clair St, to be exact).  It was a bit of a splurge for me but I wanted to have a memorable evening with the person I was dating and our friends so I decided to go for it.  We had a good time but it was nothing crazy…I seem to remember watching Kathy Lee Griffin make some remarks about a penis to Anderson Cooper live on CNN so you know we were living on the wild side.  Interestingly, there were crazy parties in the hotel that night and as we checked out the next day the guy behind the front desk told us of a woman who wound up naked in some strangers bed because she had lost her way back to her own room.  My group was tame in comparison to much of what was going on in that hotel.

Getting back to the story…we had a pretty fun evening and departed the next morning.  That day, which was January 1st and the very first day to a new year, I checked my bank account.  I had paid the charge from the room when I booked it in early December so I was surprised to see a hold of hundreds of dollars on my account from the hotel.  I called to inquire and I was told that they typically place a hold on cards for the amount of the room, in case it doesn’t clear for some reason.  This in itself did not make much sense to me because the funds had clearly left my account right after the room was booked.  I was slightly pissy because their hold policy caused me to bounce a check, something I never do.  Anyway they assured me the hold would be released in a couple of days.

Two days later  the hold from the room charge was gone but there was another mysterious $300 charge in its place.  Again, I called the hotel.  I was informed that this additional charge was for the large mirror that we broke before we left.  Now. I am an honest person, and had I or one of my guests broken ANYTHING I would have been fully prepared to pay for it. Hell, we took everything out of our mini fridge and hid it so we wouldn’t be tempted to binge and accrue any additional charges – I’m that cautious about what I spend. No one broke a mirror. Of this I am 100% certain.  However, the cleaning lady who came in after we left claimed that the huge mirror in the bedroom was shattered and all over the floor when she arrived.  Honestly, I can only imagine that either they mixed up our room with that of someone else or maybe someone in the adjacent room hit the wall hard enough to cause the mirror to fall and break after we left.  Or (my favorite theory) the cleaning lady herself broke it and didn’t want to get into trouble so she lied to her boss.  The only thing I know for sure is that every mirror was still firmly attached to the wall when we left.

I asked the manager for pictures or any sort of proof that it was more than my word against theirs and he took a day and a half to email me one photo of a broken mirror in the basement of the hotel.  It could have been any mirror, from any hotel.  It could have been from some guy’s basement for all I could tell.  I’m not sure what sort of proof I was hoping to receive but I figured they had to have some way to verify I did what they said I did.  Nope.  I spent almost the entire month of January last year talking to security guards, heads of housekeeping, general managers and CEO’s of the Wyndham.  Not one of them helped me at all.  They each basically said that it’s what the housekeeper said and since they had my card on account there wasn’t much I could do about it.

In the end, they kept the extra $300.  I paid more for the mirror I didn’t break than I did for the entire hotel suite on New Year’s Eve.  I ended up filing my first ever report with the Better Business Bureau, which helped a tiny bit but didn’t give me any of my money back.  During my last conversation with the worthless management of the place I made a solemn vow to tell every person I could about the injustices I faced at their hotel.  I told them I would do everything in my power to make sure the people I know don’t frequent a place such as theirs.  So be warned!  I may even repeat this story every year on my blog, just because I can.  Take THAT, money-grubbing Wyndham Hotel!

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Shameless Self Promotion

December 29, 2009 at 2:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I meant to include this in the last post but forgot.  As I sat on the megabus Sunday evening, I looked out the window somewhere around Gary and saw a big, fat billboard advertising the sister magazine of the one I currently write for.  I’ve been writing a column for The Michiana Entertainer since the end of summer and they have another mag, The Northwest Entertainer, that circulates in, you guessed it, NW Indiana (the one I write for is aimed at the Michiana area).  Anyway, their respective websites have finally gone up and so my columns are officially on the web.  They’re also issued in print but since it’s a limited publication (15,000 issues a month with somewhere around 30,000 readers) I only get one in the mail with my check.  It’s pretty cool to see them online too so I thought I would share.  If you like them feel free to heap the glowing praise upon me.  If you don’t like them, well you can keep that to yourself, because I’m just a tad proud of myself and would rather not have my bubble burst.

http://www.michianaentertainer.com/

Sorry for making you copy and paste but apparently I’m not smart enough to figure out how to insert a link into these posts.

Go to the above website and under the Featured News look for A Woman’s Point of View.  I use a pen name so don’t get confused!  I think there are columns up from November and December, currently.  Happy reading!

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Holiday Recap

December 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm (Uncategorized)

Aaaaaand I’m back.  I hope you haven’t been too despondent out there without my frequent postings and if you have…well, the internet is a big place and you should have been able to occupy your time elsewhere.  Today’s post will probably be a lengthy one, as it involves a recap of my Christmas vacation, so hopefully it can make up for some of the withdrawal I’m sure you’ve been dealing with.  Or maybe it’ll help you kill ten minutes.  Either way, let’s get started!

The adventure home started with (and ended with) the megabus.

The megabus is a bus that runs between many Midwestern cities and it frequently travels between downtown Chicago and downtown Indianapolis.  It’s convenient when I go to see my mom (although it would be more convenient if it still went to Louisville – take note, megabus people) and it usually runs on time.  Usually.  Wednesday night though, it was about a half hour late picking up from Union Station.  Not a big deal, unless you’re waiting on a street corner with tons of luggage in a lovely wintery mix of rain and snow.  So that was awesome, though I eventually made it home sweet home.  As an interesting sidenote, I no longer have a bed in the house I grew up in.  My sister does, because why shouldn’t she?  My sister also actually has my old bed, which is currently used as a spare in her apartment.  So when I go home I sleep in my sister’s room, and on Christmas Eve when we’re both there I sleep on the couch.  My room has exercise equipment in it, because I am replaceable with an ab machine.

My first real full day at home was Christmas Eve, and I woke up early to get my hair cut at the salon my cousin owns.  When I arrived, my cousin was looking frantic and she had the front door wide open.  Somehow a bird had gotten itself inside the building and in the ceiling, above the insulation and lights.  It was running around, chirping and pooping all over the light fixtures.  My cousin was not a happy camper but there wasn’t much we could do to deal with that, so we let it be.  After my haircut, I went to the sink to wash my hands and when I turned on the faucet I realized that the spray nozzle was activated, not the actual faucet.  So I was sprayed directly in my face.  It was something I couldn’t have planned better if I had tried and I wish I had a video of it because I’m sure it looked like something from a sitcom.

My cousin was on her cell phone and she had to hang up she was laughing so hard.  After we cleaned up the mess I made, she went to straighten my hair and picked up the straightener hot end first.  In my opinion, this was karma biting her in the ass for laughing at my water disaster.  I felt pretty bad though because it’s hard for a hairdresser to do her job when she has a huge burn on her hand, so I gave her an extra tip.  In my mind that makes up for her stupidity and discomfort.

After the hijinks at the salon, my day was spent eating and shopping with a dear old friend of mine.  Then I went on home to anxiously count down the hours until the annual Midnight Mass.  Right.  If you know me, you know that I don’t frequent churches that often anymore (although I was the very first altar girl in my church) and over this trip home I used up probably 75% of my churchgoing time for the year.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, two masses in four days is a lot for ANYONE.  Anyway, as I was killing time at home before midnight I decided to go visit my elderly neighbor, who has always been like a third grandmother to me.  Her husband (who was like a third grandpa) passed away while I was in college but this tough old broad still maintains her home on the hill in the country.  She’s a lovely old woman who enjoys buying my sister and I fabulously tacky jewelry from TV as holiday and birthday presents.  This year was no exception and I received a matching faux gold earring and necklace set complete with huge fake diamonds.  As I was sitting there chatting with her, her junior-high aged great-grandson came out and sat with us.  Now, this old lady has pretty much raised her grandchildren and great-grandchildren because, unfortunately, the people who should be raising them are lacking on the common sense spectrum.  The grandson in question spends weekends with her and the weeks with his mother, who is addicted to WOW and rarely leaves her computer.  She’s a great role model.  Anyway this kid had a knife he was playing with while talking to us, and then he began inspecting a bb gun.  He lamented about the lack of things to do everywhere and then started talking about how awesome those shows about military weapons are.  His great grandma had to tell him twice to quit swinging around the knife before he hurt someone.  I was beyond uncomfortable, but how do you try to talk about healthy pastimes for young boys to some kid you barely know?  I asked him about sports but he grunted and rolled his eyes so I don’t think he’ll be playing varsity anytime soon.

After being thoroughly creeped out by the young kid next door, I returned home to help mom save her sanity by finishing up the wrapping and cleaning up our mess of a living room.  Before I knew it, it was time for the annual tradition of drinking wine with my aunt and uncle before going to mass.  I find the whole church spectacle easier to tolerate after a glass or two, and this year was no exception.  Let me tell you about a little something called The Losey Show.

The Losey’s are a family at my church.  I usually refrain from using specific names on this here blog, but I’m not going to be so careful with this story.  Dr. Losey (who has a doctorate in who knows what) is the patriarch, lead singer and guitarist of a little band that he put together.  They sing at mass once a week and also during the Midnight Christmas mass.  Lucky us.  Dr. Losey and his wife, along with three or four other souls, literally perform during these masses.  You would think they were singing at Madison Square Garden instead of a small parish in southern Indiana.  Dr. Losey has put together an entire book full of songs he’s written (and it’s called, appropriately enough, the Losey Songbook).  He likes to say things like, “Turn to page 54 of the Losey Songbook” and “Verse one – women only!  Verse two – just the guys!”  He pumps his fist and swings his hips, closing his eyes to the adoring crowd that only he can see.  The songs aren’t even original, as a friend of mine’s mom noticed that many of them are just oldies tunes rewritten with Jesus-centric lyrics.  The whole thing wouldn’t be so entertaining if it wasn’t so painfully obvious that everyone in the church thinks these guys are jokes.  My grandfather and I have shared many an eye roll over the band, but this year my sister and I nearly lost our shit.  It wasn’t even anything specific, just the fact that the intro song took 10 minutes for them to wrap up, that set us off.  I literally counted 20 ‘amens’ in a row before they finally shut up, and that was just one verse of the first song of the night.  I accidentally caught eyes with my sister and I could tell she was having a hard time not laughing.  That made me laugh.  Before I knew it, I was furiously avoiding eye contact with her because we were both shaking with silent chuckles.  I literally had to think about the starving children in Africa to calm myself down.  Mom was not pleased, but even she knows how ridiculous The Losey Show can be.  Somehow, we got through the mass without being thrown out for having a case of the giggles.  It was a Christmas miracle.

The rest of my time home flew by in a random mixture of family, decorations, trying to see my sister’s new apartment only to realize we were locked out, cookies, grandparents bickering, friends, gifts, small children asking me if my boyfriend just broke up with me and wine.  Glorious wine.  There was a really bad cover band from a dive bar in there someplace, but I’ve spent enough time today making fun of people in the musical profession so I’ll kindly omit that story.  All in all,  I really do consider myself lucky to have the amazing people in my life that I do and I’m thankful I was able to spend so much time with so many of them.  As far as gifts, I’m now the proud owner of new grown up work clothes and the entire series of Frasier on DVD (thanks Sissy!).  You may think Frasier is lame and if you subscribe to that opinion I feel quite sorry for you, because it’s one of the few shows I can watch anytime, anywhere.  I just love those kooky psychiatrists.  In an ironic twist, I was given Season 2 by the guy I’m dating right before I left for home (he noticed I had Seasons 1 and 3 so he thought he’d fill in the gap).  I was very excited, until I opened the entire series Christmas night.  Then I almost wet myself.  So if anyone needs or wants Seasons 1-3 let me know, otherwise I’ll have to try to navigate that thing called eBay.  In all honesty, I think I made out like a bandit this year.  Shh, don’t tell Santa I wasn’t all that good…

Oh, and the megabus, which nicely bookends any trip home?  It was an hour late picking up in Indy on Sunday night.  The fantastic customer service people weren’t able to tell me why it was late, when it was coming, why I hadn’t received the promised text message about delays or when and if I would receive such a text if the entire thing decided to never show up.  They received a few kind words from me before I calmly disconnected the call.  I guess that’s what I get for relying on public transportation.  No matter, I made it down and back safely and that’s all that really matters.  There are also over 360 days before I have to endure the Losey Show once again, so it’s like Christmas all year long.

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Home for the Holidays

December 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm (Uncategorized)

I will be taking a bus home this evening and staying at my mom’s place until Sunday.  Since there is a significant lack of internet at her house,  I will most likely be taking a short hiatus from my oh-so-entertaining blog.  Please try to forgive me.  In the meantime, I hope that you and yours have a fantastic holiday, whatever it is that you might be celebrating.  Stay safe, have fun and remember that drunk driving is for losers.  Until next time!

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Free Comedy Hour

December 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s this little place not too far from my apartment that puts on free improv comedy shows a few nights a week.  I went a few times months ago because a girl I work with was in some shows, and someone I’ve been kind of dating performs there now.  Last night I met up with a bunch of his friends and we hunkered down with some $2 Miller Lites in anticipation of a good show.  Oh, in reference to the picture we were sitting at the table right up front and in the middle.

The way the show is set up allows two different teams (red and blue) to “battle” one another for about thirty minutes.  They each do a variety of improv sketches, while getting ideas from audience members.  The group I was with sat for three shows, so we were there for about an hour and a half.  I’m not going to lie, not everything was funny.  However, most of it was pretty entertaining and I laughed out loud numerous times.  Considering I paid exactly nothing to get in and watch, I feel like it was quite a deal.  All of the groups are in actual improv classes, and the order in which they performed indicated at what level they were in the course.  The last group to come out had been performing the longest, and they did just about everything in rap.  Imagine a bunch of gangly white dudes wrapping about bunnies and the merry little elves.  Yup, pretty funny stuff all around.

We hung around for a bit after and imbibed some adult beverages, but before I knew it, it was time for me to go home.  Sometimes having a regular job when everyone else around you is either a teacher or a student really blows.  Anyway, my air mattress and I parted ways from the group and headed on home.  Why did I have an air mattress, you may ask?  Well, I never know where I’m going to end up on any given night.  Actually, I loaned it to someone and just had it returned; hauling it on the L and bus was just a perk for me.

After I departed the L, I stood waiting for the bus (which the lady working behind the glass in the station assured me was on its way).  I have this uncanny ability to walk up to a bus stop or train station right as the bus or train I was meaning to catch pulls away, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that I was in time to nab the last bus of the night that goes directly by my apartment.  As I stood there, trying to extract warmth from an air mattress in a box, a woman standing outside of the bar next door began talking to me while she had herself a cigarette.  She was probably my mom’s age and quite chatty, either by nature or by alcohol.  We started making small talk and I learned that she (Sandy) has lived in Chicago all her life, although she wishes she grew up in a smaller town.  She works for a tight wad boss in a stock brokerage firm and he just sent his twin boys to their first year of college at my alma mater (obviously he’s not too cheap).  She called me out on being a Chicago neophyte and asked me point-blank how old I was.  Since I was obviously much younger than her, I didn’t mind answering honestly.  She was quite surprised and told me I look much younger (that’s a good thing, right?).  Then she said I look just like a young Sandra Bullock.  I’ve had complete strangers confuse me with the waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and many people have told me I look like Melissa Joan Hart (I am not so fond with either of these comparisons, by the way) but Sandra Bullock was a first.  Although if it means I look like this, I’ll take it:

Honestly, I don’t really see the resemblance.

After a few more moments standing there chatting, Sandy invited me into the bar to meet her nephew, who is apparently in the Navy and is in town for the holiday.  Could this be the set up that the New Orleans psychic was telling me about?  I’ll never know, because I simply wasn’t in the mood to be introduced to some drunk lady’s nephew.  Instead I decided to catch that last bus home, since I loathe wasting hard-earned money on a cab.  Before she went back into the bar, Sandy told me that if I needed anything at all or changed my mind on the beer, to simply tap the glass and she would come get me.

I like to think of her as my drunken fairy godmother, there to lead me out of harm’s way near a brightly lit bus stop.  Oh, the good people of Chicago, how I adore you!

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R.I.P Brittany Murphy

December 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm (Uncategorized)

I think it’s appropriate that when I heard the news yesterday that Brittany Murphy had died, I was watching the episode of Frasier from Season One where she has a very brief cameo.  Brittany had been in many movies over the years (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Girl Interrupted and Happy Feet being personal faves) but she also made television appearances in some of the finest programming the ’90’s had to offer: Murphy Brown, Kids Incorporated, Blossom, Party of Five, Sister Sister, Boy Meets World, Futurama and King of the Hill.

Being a girl that grew up in the last dozen years, I will always have a special place in my heart for Clueless:

I hope she’s rollin’ with her homies right now.

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The Darkest Day of the Year

December 21, 2009 at 11:03 am (Uncategorized)

Happy Winter.  Today officially marks the first day of this season and it also happens to be the shortest, darkest day of the year.  There will be minimal sunlight today and more darkness than you can imagine.  However, if you live in a cold midwest state like me, chances are you haven’t really seen sunlight lately anyway and you might not notice its lack of shine today.  Here’s a picture to help all of us cope:

Ah, I feel better already.  Of course, the palm trees that let me pretend I’m on vacation help.

Did you know “solstice” is derived from the Latin phrase, “sun stands still”?  It’s appropriately named because, after months of growing shorter and lower since the summer solstice, the sun’s arc through the sky appears to stabilize, with the sun seeming to rise and set in the same two places for several days.  After today, the days will lengthen until the summer solstice, on June 21.  So the plus side of this whole darkest, shortest day of the year thing is that the days will finally start to get longer here soon.  Of course, it’s right in time for the coldest, crappiest months of the winter.  This allows us to realize that there is more daylight but lament the fact that we cannot really go out and enjoy it because temperatures will hover around zero degrees until May.  It’s Mother Nature’s way of kicking us while we’re down.

Would you like to hear an interesting anecdote?  You’re reading my blog, so of course you would.  A few years ago I went to a pagan solstice celebration, which took place in the summer and in the woods.  Yes, this was while I lived in Bloomington.  I was sort of seeing this woman who was in an open relationship (that’s another topic for another day) and she invited me along with her and some of her friends.  Everyone brought a dish and we had a potluck style feast, complete with many bottles of wine and mead.  We also stood around in a circle, holding hands and making sure nature knew we were offering said food and drink to the earth.  There were a few people wearing capes and one guy had a dagger.  I’m not making this up.  There were handouts with prayers and songs that we as a group sang and prayed.  The spiritual aspect of everything lasted for probably two hours…it might not have been quite that long, but I was ravenous and hadn’t been expecting a huge prayer session before I got to eat.  It sure felt like two hours.  Anyway, the whole experience was very interesting, as I had never been a part of any pagan rituals before.  From an anthropological standpoint, I was fascinated.  From every other standpoint, I was hungry and sick of standing around.  Also, the boyfriend of the girl I was sort of dating showed up, so then I just felt awkward.  Good thing it was the longest day of the year.  Not so coincidentally, that was the last time I hung around that particular female.

So today will be over before you know it, and then science tells us the days will start getting longer.  I won’t be satisfied until they’re so long that it’s daylight until bedtime but I guess at this point I’ll take what I can get.  And while I might not be participating in any pagan events in the woods this year, you can rest assured that I’ll have a glass of wine tonight in honor of the promise of more sunlight in the days to come.

**If you want to read more about Solstice, here’s this link.  It gave me valuable information which I copied and pasted into the second paragraph of this blog!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091221-winter-solstice-2009-first-day-winter-shortest-day-year.html

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The Old Man and the Bus

December 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm (Uncategorized)

One of the perks of riding public transportation in a big city is the opportunity for random human interaction (you may not think of this as a perk, but as an avid observer of human behavior I sure as hell do).  Most people riding the L or the bus have their iPods in their ears or their nose in a book, but I’ve found it’s nearly as entertaining to just sit and watch what goes on around you.  Last night, as I was riding the bus to volunteer at the pantry, I had one such encounter that made it worth the $2.25 bus fare.

His name was William.  This is not William, but I think it’s a fairly accurate representation.

William sat down next to me because I made eye contact as he walked down the aisle.  He immediately commented on the weather, which is typical enough, especially when it’s so cold outside.  Chicagoans like to comment on their obvious shared misery.  Within the next ten minutes, we also talked about deforestation, globalization, the dying American auto industry, his 19-year-old cat, his two failed marriages, health care, unemployment, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam and how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I suppose I should clarify – William did a lot of talking and I did a lot of nodding and mmmhmm-ing.  He commented on my lack of headphones and told me how refreshing it was to see a young person not completely immersed in their own little world.  He lamented the fact that people don’t acknowledge each other in public nowadays, and to be honest I was glad I could help remedy that a bit for him.  He also told me some jokes.  Ready for this?

Q:  What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A:  Frostbite.

Want another?

Q:  Why did the cemetary have to start locking its gates?

A:  Because people were dying to get in.

Ha.  Hahahahaha.

I departed the bus before William, and he told me how much he enjoyed talking to me.  In an ironic twist, he also told me that a pretty young thing like myself shouldn’t be talking to strangers on the bus.  How do you like them apples?

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Attack of the Holiday

December 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm (Uncategorized)

It just hit me this morning – Christmas is almost here.  I’ve been in a sort of haze since right around Halloween and upon my emergence I’ve noticed that there are exactly 9 days left until the holiday.  What the crap?  How did this happen?  I know the break up distracted me for a while and these last few weeks I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely had time to stop.  As I sat on the train to work this morning, I started doing the actual math in my head.  Then the tiny little woman living inside of me did this:

I know that, realistically, I don’t have too much to freak out over.  I miraculously managed to set up my tree and decorations a week ago and my holiday cards are all in the mail.  Most of my shopping is finished but to be honest, that’s because my sister is buying almost all of Mom’s things and I’m just going to cut her a check.  Don’t judge, I have to take a bus home and there’s only so much I can carry.  Also, a perk of being single is that I’m saving big bucks and lots of time in the gift department this year.  I still need to pick out some Twilight-infested propaganda for my little cousin but I think I can manage that when I get home.  I’ll be arriving at my Mom’s late next Wednesday night so I’ll have all of Christmas Eve day to get out and finish the shopping.  Nothing like battling the hordes of other procrastinating idiots trying to find that last-minute deal.

I also need to wrap the presents I do have.  Wrapping is a chore that I always managed to pass off to my sister or dad growing up, so I’m lacking some serious skills in that department.  It’s actually almost laughable.  Last week I was at this food pantry that I volunteer at a few times a month and it happened to be a day we were also passing out presents to the kids.  I was the gift giver and since it was slow I also tackled a bunch of stuff that was waiting to be wrapped.  I’ll be honest, I’m glad I was in the room alone because I’m sure watching me attempt to measure and fold while simultaneously handling tape and scissors would have been entertaining for anyone nearby.

I was also planning on doing some baking this holiday season (I love a good pecan pie).  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  Yeah, it’s not going to happen anytime before the 25th, I can tell you that right now.  I’m not lazy, I’m just disillusioned.  I thought I would have all kinds of weeks to prepare myself for the holiday spirit – weeks full of caroling, cooking and just plain merriment.  Ok I didn’t actually expect any of those things but I also didn’t expect to wake up one day and be staring the blasted holiday right in the face.  You would think that what with my job of constantly maintaining schedules and calendars I would have realized what was happening, but you would be wrong.  Maybe next year I’ll catch on to the whole Christmas thing a little earlier than a week beforehand.  Maybe not.

On a completely other note, I would like to take a moment to talk about my favorite holiday movies from my childhood.  I meant to talk about this in a post yesterday but I was incredibly busy all day long and it just didn’t happen.  You know how when you start a new job you have to fill out mounds of tedious, boring and yet neccessary paperwork?  I’m the lucky person who gets to process and verify all of that.  It’s about as fascinating as watching paint dry but it’s part of the job, and that’s what I was doing for the majority of my day yesterday.

Digression aside and moving on to classic childhood Christmas movies.

Where to begin?  I guess animated flicks will be a good starting point.  Mickey’s Christmas Carol is a personal favorite.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Nightmare Before Christmas (this counts, trust me) How the Grinch Stole Christmas and a Charlie Brown Christmas are also up there on my list.  Does anyone remember Garfield’s Christmas Special?  If I’m lucky, I still have a VHS tape of that sitting around someplace.

Not into the cartoons this holiday season?  There are plenty of live action classics just waiting to be watched.  I’m not really into the whole It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas thing, but those actual classics are out there if you want to go for it.  I prefer things like Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Babes in Toyland, Christmas Vacation and yes, even Bad Santa (probably due to my slight crush on Lauren Graham.  But whatever).  And how could I forget the Muppet Christmas Carol, possibly my favorite Muppet movie of all time.  If you have a problem with that you can take it up with Jacob Marley.

All in all, Christmas movies are pretty great.  They’re funny, heartwarming and teach important life lessons.  For instance, it’s a bad idea to steal every present from all of your fellow townspeople because your sled will break and your dog-turned-reindeer could have an unhealthy coronary event.  But if you sing and hold hands everyone will forget about it and live happily ever after.  Christmas movies also taught me to never do this:

Talk about a lesson learned.

If you’re stocking up on the flicks to get you through the holidays, I hope you remember some of the greats (you can’t watch Jingle All the Way every day, after all).  And if you remember nothing else, remember this picture.  The laughter it induces should get you through these cold days and long nights and if it doesn’t, well you must have the humor capacity of Mr. Scrooge.

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