Friday, December 23, 2011

We, incidentally, have one, solitary penguin.

We went for a drive this evening to look at Christmas lights in our neighborhood.  Well, not only our neighborhood.  We tried the higher-rent areas immediately adjacent to us first.  They had some funny stuff in Sterling Heights, and some brightly-lit weirdness in Fairway Estates.  Then we drove to where the real money lives, down by the water front on Santa Barbara Drive.  What a disappointment.  These are huge, multi-million dollar homes, and there were about 6  houses in as many blocks with any kind of holiday display.

We went down there in search of the mother-load of light-up Frosty the Snowman figures.  Hannah had started counting them, and was up to 40 by the time we drove down by the water.  Most disheartening.  We found only two Snowmen, and one of those was a ply-wood cut out that didn't light up at all.

Me: Forget these lazy rich people.  Let's go back to our neighborhood.  Poor people have something to prove with their Christmas light displays.

That plan was a success.  We were able to make it to 50 snowmen before we got to our street.  There were easily ten houses in those last 6 or 8 blocks going home with light displays that must double their typical electricity usage. Nothing says "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" like a $300 bill from Progress Energy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's post, in which a nasty idea takes on a life of its own.

I had lunch with a friend today, and was sharing with her my aunt's plan for buying chickens and llamas in all our names for Christmas this year instead of killing herself with shopping and shipping.  My friend thought this sounded interesting and asked:
     Can you get other kinds of animals?  ...I'd like to send my sister-in-law a badger.
Me: It's not that kind of thing.  We don't actually get the animals. It's a non-profit that gives livestock to people in developing nations to supplement their diet and provide saleable goods for income.
Friend: (visibly disappointed) Oh.
Me: You're thinking of our new internet business, Hell in a Box, where, for a considerable fee, we will ship ugly and hateful animals to your unloved ones.  We'll start with badgers, skunks and worms.  We may add other items in the future.
Friend: Ooh!  And for an additional fee, we can infect your shipment with rabies!
Me: You may be on to something.
Friend: For $3, we'll shake the box, so it's angry.  For $10, we'll include rabies.
Me: This is going to be completely separate from our bakery, Tasty Business, right?
Friend: Oh, of course.

I'm not really sure how we'll get the CDC to stay off our backs with the rabies accessory.  There must be some way around those guys, right?

If I was really cool, like JRose, there'd be a kick-ass picture here of a badger popping out of a festively-wrapped box.  Let's all close our eyes and pretend it's here, okay?  Because I have no actual artistic talent, and I don't even know how to draw a stick-figure on my computer.  I'm a cretin when it comes to that stuff.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

pfffft to that.

So. Upon reflection, lasting about 12.5 seconds, I find that the whole November is NaBloPoMo thing to have been a real flop.  I don't think it did anything to improve my writing style, which remains scattered and pedantic, if grammatically precise.  I don't think it made me funnier; I'm only consistently funny to myself, anyway.  And my sister. She digs me.  I was so relieved when the month was over, that I've written relatively few posts this month, although I continue to check my blog-stalking victims pretty regularly for their humor-y goodness.

I think next November I'll actually opt for some of that adoption stuff.  Or even the diabetes.

See, now I'm going to get hate mail or lose followers or something because I'm having a tantrum about doing stuff that no one remotely required me to do, and being flippant about things that are important to other people.

This leads me to my next personal issue: the need for no one important to me to ever be angry at me.  It's a hard life, and I compensate for that by usually having a job wherein I piss of relative strangers on a daily basis.  I'm sublimating my personal needs in that way.  I think.  Maybe I just enjoy tormenting recent acquaintances to see if they keep coming back for more.

There must be a certification board for that somewhere.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sing along if you know the words.

Here's Hannah's Christmas carol:

Deck the halls with bells of holly
Bla-ah bla-ah bla, bla bla bla bla.
'Tis the season to be jolly.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Now I give the gift of apples.
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Deck the halls with bells of holly.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

After a few repetitions, the gift turned into "tadpoles," which I thought would just be a mess to wrap, but it's not my party, after all.

I told her the real words to the song, but she prefers her own version. And why wouldn't she?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's hear it for the geniuses at Mattel and Universal Home Video.

We went to the library yesterday.  Whenever we go, I let Hannah choose one video as well as all the books she wants.  Yesterday she selected a Barbie sing-along video. This one is worse than the other Barbie videos I've had to endure, because it's recycled clips of the musical numbers from a bunch of other videos. No, you read that right. Barbie has musical numbers. The one I watched included her singing with a miniature elephant, a small simian of some sort, and a peacock.  I pointed out the implausibility of the whole story line to Hannah, but she was too distracted by Barbie's duet with the handsome sailor, who was probably a prince, and was single-handedly sailing a tall ship that looked to be at least 125 feet in length.  I don't know a thing about sailing, so this might be possible, but I'm pretty sure that schooner-thingy wouldn't comfortably accommodate the miniature elephant. But Hannah's just not that into realism.

As we were driving home from the library, Hannah asked me for the one-millionth time why I don't like Barbie.
Me: (sigh) Because Barbie's primary skill is looking pretty, and she doesn't seem to have any other lasting interests.  I don't think that's a good thing to teach little girls.
Hannah: But I like Barbie.
Me: That's fine.  I'm not going to tell you what to like.  Incidentally, why do you like Barbie?
Hannah: I don't know. I just do.  She always wears sparkly clothes.
Me: (sigh again) Yep.  That seems to be what's most important to Barbie.  And that's why I don't care for her.
Hannah: Looking pretty is nice. But it's not the most important thing, right?
Me: I don't know. What do you think is the most important thing?
Hannah: (thinking) Following rules.  And being nice.
Me: (sigh of relief)

So. The score stands as follows:
Barbie: 1
Mom: 1

I don't know what they put in the water that makes little girls gravitate to Barbie and lip gloss and sparkly crap, but I'm only one person, and if I've managed, in defiance of this covert and pernicious marketing culture, to teach my daughter that being considerate of others is more important than looking cute, I feel pretty good about that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is how I do it.

It's December now.  I can tell because, although it's 80 degrees outside, I just drank an Eggnog Milkshake from Steak 'n' Shake.  And because clients I haven't seen for months have started dropping in again.  We all know the platitudes about the holiday season being fraught with anxiety, stress, and depression.  For me, it's also fraught with full schedules.  I don't mind.  I get to say nice things to people who are being entirely too hard on themselves about whether their holidays look and feel enough like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I've had pretty bad Decembers, myself, for the past couple years.  Who am I kidding?  They've been bad years.  I wallowed in acute grief symptoms for most of 2010, then dragged around my personal baggage like Jacob Marley for the next year.  I only recently have started really feeling like a human being again.  By comparison, I feel like some kind of super hero!

So here are my coping strategies for this month.  I'll give you a hint: they're the same ones I've used for the past year, and they bake at 375ยบ.

You guessed it!  Gingerbread boys, Linzer torte cookies, and Cranberry-Ginger Shortbread.

Try it! Everyone loves cookies; you can share them if you want, but it's not required, and they make your house smell happy, even if you're not feeling particularly so, yourself.

Then: Sing.  Really.  Just try it; singing makes you feel better.  Have you ever tried to be grumpy while you're singing?  You can't do it.  It's physiologically impossible, I think.  I mean, it is for me.  Try singing in the car, or in your basement with the door shut if you want.  But I really recommend the backyard.  So does Hannah.  It's her favorite venue.

Also, read fairy tales, write on your patio with sidewalk chalk, or blow bubbles. Talk gently to yourself.  Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say out loud to a friend who is close to tears.  Try to remember that no one else notices when you aren't perfect; they still think you're pretty great.