Sunday, November 29, 2009

Suck it, Christmas

Now that we've finished up with giving our thanks, Christmas is but a few strands of lights and a department store sale away. As one can imagine, I'm just as excited about Christmas this year as I was Thanksgiving. I wanted to skip the holidays all together, but seeing as how the munchkins didn't fall for the whole "Santa is taking a year off" spiel, I have to suck it up and deal. So with what does that leave us?

MY CURRENT AND PARTIAL MENTAL LIST OF WAYS I INTEND TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS, AT LEAST CHRISTMAS, AS I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO THINK FAR ENOUGH AHEAD TO ENCOMPASS NEW YEAR'S YET, WHICH IS GOING TO SUCK A BIG ONE AS WELL, BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE JUST FOCUSING ON CHRISTMAS AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET ME THROUGH DECEMBER 26TH INTACT, AND WITHOUT COMMITTING ANY FELONIES, OR AT LEAST NONE FOR WHICH I KNOW FOR SURE I WILL GET CAUGHT

1. Channel the Master~ Remember how The Grinch slipped down to Whoville and stole all the weird little Who's Christmas decorations? Sure, that didn't stop Christmas from coming, but I bet it made him feel pretty damn good before he stopped being all evil and stuff. So I'm thinking maybe if I target a neighborhood house once every few days or so between now and the holidays, snatching their plastic nativity scenes (yes, we already know I'm going to hell, so shut it), light-up reindeer, and inflatable Snoopy-dressed-as-Santa light up lawn ornaments, I'll feel at least a little better. I'd be like the Festive Police. (Setting them on fire in their owner's yards would be more satisfying, but much harder to get away with. I'll have to ponder that one some more.)

2. Nachos make everything OK~ It has become a Christmas Eve tradition for me to cook Christmas dinner--basically a fresh repeat of Thanksgiving dinner--and serve it on my Christmas china, using my crystal. We eat by candlelight, there is Christmas music in the background, everyone looks nice (or, at least Darth Vader wears pants, which is currently about the most I can hope for). My Dad always enjoyed the food, the company. But this year? This year his spot will be empty, so I'm thinking I need to rethink the tradition. The new version goes something like this: nachos and beer on paper plates, eaten from our laps in the living room while we watch something non-festive (Dateline: To Catch a Predator, perhaps, as what is less festive than watching a bunch of creepy dudes try to hook up with fourteen year olds? Not much, I say). No crystal. No music. No candles.

3. Here Comes Santa Claus~ Here's a little holiday algebra for you: Santa equals Christmas, Christmas equals sad. So what if we take Santa-Christmas+sex, does Christmas equal sex? Maybe not, but close enough. What does all this mean? It means Mommy puts on her schoolgirl skirt and goes to the mall to have her photo made with Santa. What would Santa's reaction be to have Mommy in his lap, tricked out in her uniform, wriggling around in his lap as she tells him what she wants for Christmas? Something that would be awesome in a photo, is what. And forever more, rather than Santa equaling Christmas in my mind, Santa would most likely equal something much more......tangible. Problem solved.

4. Buyer's Remorse~ Holiday shopping is hard this year, because I tend to pick things up that I think would make great gifts for Dad, forgetting that there is no Dad for whom to buy gifts. My new theory is that since I do that already subconsciously, what would happen if I went out shopping for Dad on purpose, so that in my head he has already been shopped for? Dad and I had some of the same interests (alcohol and, um......well, alcohol), so I'm thinking I could shop for my Dad at the ABC store, then when I realized I had gifts for him but couldn't give them to him, they would not go to waste. The added bonus is that I would be really sad when I put that all together in my head, which would make having lots of alcohol even more beneficial at that moment. Bam. I'm a genius.

5. July in Christmas~ You hear of "Christmas in July" sales, movie marathons, whatever. This year, I intend to have just the opposite--July in Christmas. I've already taken to listening to my summer cd mixes in lieu of fucking Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas (my children's holiday cd of choice). I can currently hear somebody in the neighborhood mowing their lawn (weird, but true), so that's helpful. Sipping margaritas instead of Bailey's is a start. And hell, who knows, maybe I'll go back and pay Santa a second visit, this time in my bikini.

6. Dress the Part~ Some people have Christmas sweaters, holiday t-shirts, Santa hats. I have my Wicked shirt (from the Broadway musical, not just a reflection of my soul in case you're wondering), my pancreas shirt (Gimme Some Sugar!), and my Loch Ness Monster Is A Puppet shirt. This is my holiday attire. You want to wear a jingle bell necklace? Fuck off, and go jingle somewhere else.

7. Starbucks Should Really Serve Vodka~ Most people like to pick up a strong, piping hot cup of coffee while they are out doing their holiday shopping. Personally, I'd much rather have a couple of shots of Jose Cuervo, with a little salt and lime. It makes the crowds easier to manage, takes the edge off the traffic, and hey, you can always return that karaoke machine you accidentally bought while under the influence (as long as you keep the receipt and get it back within 30 days). Since the world at large (or at least the coffee shop owners) don't seem to see eye to eye with me, I think my best option is to keep a flask of Absolut in my handbag. As long as I don't try to take it through airport security, I should be golden. Other people would likely back me up as well, as I am much more pleasant while tipsy.

And that, folks, is my current blueprint for getting through the holidays. Because Christmas can suck it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reaching for Happy

November seems to have blown by in the bat of an eye. September and October were the same. On the one hand, this is fabulous, as this year fucking blows. On the other hand, I feel like I spend most of my time wandering around having no idea what day, week, or month it is, just trying to keep up with it all. I am terrified of time dragging. I am terrified of time passing. All in all, I guess there is no way to make me happy.

Somebody asked me recently if I'm happy. My answer was the happiness was something I have not yet reached, to which the rebuttal was that happiness was something you had to work for along the way. And what would make me happy?

Excellent damn question.

What WOULD make me happy? Most of the things seem out of reach. Having my Dad back. Knowing my purpose in life. Not feeling so guarded, like there is no one out there I can trust with my heart. Assurance that my children will always be safe and healthy. Feeling like I'm making a difference, somehow, some way. Those things would make me happy, but they are completely unreachable. They will never be within my grasp.

So what are the things that make me happy that I CAN have? Well, let's see. I like to drink coffee in my favorite chair and read my library book. I like to be able to put fresh blueberries in oatmeal occasionally in the summer when they are in season. I like to wear the pearls my parents gave me, and the earrings my Grandpa gave me. I like to feel pretty, and smart, and loved. I like the total silence when I'm home alone, and the laughter of my family when I'm not. I like seeing my Mom when she's thriving despite all the adversity, and talking to my brother when he's happy. I like the smell of gardenias, and watching it snow. I like it when I can remember my Dad without my eyes tearing, and when those memories makes me feel safe rather than scared and confused.

There are a lot of things that make me happy. Often, the smaller they are, the happier they can make me feel. But this year they are easy to overlook. So when next year rolls around, I will be looking out for a better year. I hope we are all granted a better year. 2009 has had too much heartbreak, here's hoping for a bright and shiny 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amalgamation

A list of random thoughts today on which I've unfortunately wasted valuable time and thought processes:

1. Why isn't there a better set-up for pediatric offices? I appreciate the separate sick/well waiting rooms, but what happens when you have a sick kid and are also forced to bring a well kid along too? Why does the well kid have to be exposed to the sick kid germs all because they are both too young to be left in a waiting room alone while you wait with the other? Am I a bad Mommy if my son gets H1N1 because my daughter potentially has strep throat? Why the fuck didn't I just become a pediatrician in the first place? Oh, yeah. I don't like kids. But still. It might have been worth it.

2. I should have made these jeans into cut-offs back in the summer. I mean, dude, they are totally ripped along the hem and it's not like I don't have more jeans. But what if I cut them off and then hate them? What if they are better as jeans than cut-offs? Does it really matter anyway since I paid $12 for them about 4 years ago?

3. Why is the FedEx dude delivering out of a Hertz-Penske truck?

4. Is it bad that I've finished off the Viognier by 4:30 and just cracked open a bottle of Merlot? After all, I HAVE had a hard day, and I AM lucky enough to be alone tonight. Will I feel guilty tomorrow for drinking most of my calories for the day? Does string cheese actually count as a meal? Because if not, I haven't actually eaten today. Maybe I should have eaten today.

5. Damnit, why can't the neighbor kid JUST PUT ON SHOES? It's 55 degrees outside, and she's not wearing shoes. She's going to get pneumonia, or worse yet, frostbite, and then I'm going to feel guilty because I didn't wrestle her down and put shoes on her.

6. Wow. Two glasses of wine on an empty stomach is really effective.

**pause for a long thought process and consideration regarding #6**

7. If I had to be ranked on a scale of 1-10, taking into consideration just my looks, then just my personality, then a combination of both, what would I rank? Which one would rank the highest? Should my brain factor in? I wonder how many brain cells have died since I became a parent?

And THIS, my friends, is a taste of why I'm difficult to love (well, at least ONE of the reasons). Despite keeping it to myself most of the time, I'm neurotic. Obviously.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Digging Deep (The Thanksgiving Blog)

Every year, I grace my readers with the Thanksgiving Blog, where I list all the things, both big and small, for which I've been thankful during the past year. Tonight I sat down to write my annual Blog of Gratefulness, thinking of all the things peppering my small life with joy, and one thing repeatedly came to mind:

Suck it, Thanksgiving.

Yes, there's pie (a plus), and the Macy's Parade (of which I'm a fan), but what do those things remind me of? My Dad (he loved pumpkin pie--he and I were the only two who would eat it) and my childhood (suck it, childhood). So this year, I've decided to make my Thankful List in reverse, as in the following:

THINGS FOR WHICH I WOULD BE ETERNALLY THANKFUL, IF ONLY THEY WERE TRUE AND ACTUALLY HAPPENED, BUT THEY'RE NOT AND THEY WON'T, SO I SHALL NEVER BE THANKFUL FOR SAID ITEMS, UNLESS HELL FREEZES OVER AND THE WORLD CEASES TO SPIN UPON ITS AXIS, AND ONE OF THEM TAKE PLACE, DURING WHICH TIME I WILL MOST LIKELY ALREADY BE DEAD

1. A President who doesn't suck~ Okay, go ahead. Get all political on me, send me emails with heated remarks. I don't care. I voted for Obama, because McCain lost me when he took on Palin. I have no problem with Obama, except I said from the beginning that the boy has no experience, is going to get in office and lock the hell up, and nothing is going to change. And I was right.

2. The school bus actually shows up on time, twice a day~ Every morning, Belly heads out the door at 8:15. Sometimes the bus shows up at 8:20. Sometimes it shows up at 9:20. Any point in between seems to be free game. In the afternoon, I start watching for the bus at 3:20. Sometimes it shows up at 3:22. Sometimes it shows up at 4:15. How fucking hard could it possibly be to show up within 5 or 10 minutes of the same time every day? We live nearly across the street from the school, and the bus only goes through our neighborhood, nowhere else. It seriously makes me question the abilities of our school system.

3. Johnny Depp is crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive~ Oh, wait. That's the one I actually got this year.

4. My friends don't leave~ Living in military central is hard. I develop rapport with people, I stop being such a heinous bitch and allow people to actually learn to adore me, and then they leave. It hurts when you lose people you care about. Trust me.

4. The library actually orders books that were released less than a decade ago~ Our library is gorgeous. It is new and clean and has a super fancy electronic check-out system. And very few books on the shelves. I swear, I've literally read every piece of fiction in the joint. I have more books in boxes in my garage (damn you, playroom, for taking precedence over my library) than the library has on the shelves. It makes me sad.

5. My family isn't crazy~ This is never going to happen. I would be totally fine with endearing, eccentric crazy. However, this is an assortment of fucked-the-hell-up. There are no words. Once again, trust me.

6. Tuesdays are awesome~ Why is it that Tuesdays always blow? I NEVER have good Tuesdays. I have no problem with them, they start with "T" and I'm okay with T. I think they are a little boring, being the second day at the beginning of the week, but I hold no grudge against them, except for the fact that SHIT ALWAYS GOES WRONG ON TUESDAYS. It does. Always.

7. Maryland is kicked out of the USA~ "Oh, Haley. Why do you hate Maryland so?" BECAUSE IT FUCKING BLOWS. Fuck off, Maryland. Go join some other country.

I like seven, so I shall stop with seven. Happy Thanksgiving, One and All.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Truth Hurts

Today, I woke up thinking about how many people in the world actually matter to me, and to how many people in the world I actually matter. It was not a long list.

This line of thought all began last night when my best Virginia friend, Erin, went missing. Erin lives down the street, has a brood of children, and is expecting another, which means that she usually isn't difficult to locate. As a matter of fact, I've been known to track her to the grocery store up the street, and pinpoint her exact location within said store without even knowing she was there, because that's just the way it is. But last night, she was nowhere to be found. Her car was missing, she wasn't answering the home phone, her mobile phone was off, and her house was dark. Post-multiple child bedtime, she was still nowhere to be found. I panicked.

One might wonder why I panicked because a grown woman and her family happened to not be home at 7pm on a Saturday night. Maybe they had gone to dinner, or to a movie. But I knew that wasn't true, I KNOW her, and I was terrified something bad had happened. Irrational? Perhaps. But people don't make a habit of walking around referring to me as "rational." E. doesn't have anyone here, I have established myself as her local family.

An hour later when she got home and found the messages I had left on her phones, she called me. She and the family were fine, they had found out last minute that they had to attend some Navy function out of town and had gotten back late as a result. I was relieved, because during that little window of time that she was missing, I realized that E. was one of the few people whose loss I would mourn deeply. And then I realized that those "few" people, were really limited to approximately four, outside of my very close family.

I am not a particularly lovable girl, and I don't readily love people in return. I have an abundance of friends, whom within me most stir lukewarm feelings of random affection, much like the way I feel about my favorite t-shirt. (Except, now that I think about it more carefully, I worry much more about losing or ruining my favorite t-shirt. It, after all, is dependent on me, while the people are not.) Likewise, I am a plaything to a lot of my friends, someone who is quirky and uninhibited with her words, someone who can fill some time for them while they wait on something else. I'm used to it, and occasionally revel in it. It's the role in which I've been typecast, a role in which I've become comfortable.

If I started loving others more deeply, would they feel that way in return? I don't know. It doesn't really matter. I can't change who I am, and honestly, I don't want to do so. I don't mind being tight-fisted with my true emotions. It makes them all the more real to those whom I choose to share them, whether they know it or not. I know who they are, and it matters to me.