Monday, December 31, 2007
But a funny thing happened on my way to this blog. Yesterday, I went up to the attic, where Marvin Gardens can be found -- not because he is a bat, but because his recording and musical equipment is up there, so where else would he be? -- and I asked him, "What are we gonna do with the money we saved?"
All year we have asked ourselves that. For a while we thought we'd take a trip to Italy. Then we moved 3,000 miles and ate into a lot of our savings, so Italy was kind of out.
Then we talked about splitting it and each buying a bunch of stuff, which would probably mean grooming items for me and music things for Marvin.
Anyway, for the 47th time this year, I asked Marvin that question and together we came up with the same answer: how about nothing?
How about we keep our savings as savings? We don't touch it, and we keep saving?
Now there's a thought.
So when the new year comes and we can go out there and shop, Marvin is going to get a new pair of tennis shoes and I might get another pair of sweatpants. Maybe. I have decided to use up the makeup I have, I already fixed my hair, I got some new clothes for Christmas, so you know what? I'm good.
I cannot tell you what a profound change this is for me, and for SpendyPants Marvin.
So I guess we did learn something. We learned to live with less.
I learned that there are many occasions when a phone call -- and actually LISTENING to the person you call -- is nicer than sending flowers. I learned that oftentimes, food made at home actually tastes better. I learned quiche is really easy to make.
I learned that if you are going to make Christmas gifts, give yourself many, many months, not two, or you will break out in a hideous rash, which is decidedly not Christmasy. Well, it's red...
My favorite part of this year, far and away, has been this blog. Yesterday I asked people to make comments if they haven't done so yet and as of right now, I have more than 70 comments! And please, if you haven't commented yet, do so! It was so rewarding to hear from all of you.
As they say in It's a Wonderful Life, no man is a failure who has friends, so I guess I am not a failure. I am also not a man, but whatever.
So thank you all for reading this, for commenting, for sending me gift certificates and cooking utensils and recipes and Teen Beat magazines and for trying to buy less, too. You made my year so much more fun.
Now, won't you join Marvin Gardensalad and me, June GonnaEatThat, over at Bye Bye, Pie for a year of good eating and supposed exercise?
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I guess Christmas is over. And we have no plans for new year's eve.
Why is it so much harder to make friends when you get older? Remember college? You made friends the first day. By the time I'd lived in Seattle five months, I not only had friends that I still have today, but a serious boyfriend, too.
I have been HERE five months and yes, I know people, but were we invited anywhere for Christmas? Or New Year's? That'd be a no. Is it because we're older or because we're repugnant?
However, we can celebrate the fact that our year of not spending is officially coming to a close. We have about $6,700 to our names, which is $6,200 more than we had at the beginning of the year. Plus we hauled our arses across the country, and got established somewhere else. So I think that isn't so bad, all things considered.
Tomorrow I'll do my big goodbye to you all. But in the meantime, if you have been reading this and have never commented, could you give me a shout out? All you have to say is "Dayton Ohio delurking" or wherever you are. If you don't know how to comment, you click on "Post a comment" at the end of my post. Then just log in as anonymous.
I would love to hear from you all, if I haven't yet!
Friday, December 28, 2007
I made the appointment months ago, because I wanted to get my health stats as close to 1/1/08 as I could. But I'm glad I had the appointment, because I am covered, covered I tell you, in some sort of rash.
Goodness, I do hope my friend Donna is not reading this particular entry. Rashes freak her out. So does the word "succulent." Now I have really made this a nightmare post for her.
The bad news is the doctor has no idea what is wrong with me and I have to go to a specialist. My theory is it's Lassa Fever or something.
Lassa Fever is what everybody got on General Hospital in like 1982. I think it was a way to fire the boring people (like that poor nurse Audrey, who was 702) and get a new, young cast.
I do hope you're all planning to join me over on my new blog. Then if that one gets really popular you can be cool and say, "I was reading her back when she was doing Bye Bye Buy." Kind of like how everyone tried to act like they were huge Nirvana fans before they got really big.
How much of a chance is there my health blog will become as popular as Nirvana? Is SOMEbody getting a bit big for her britches? Indeed I am. Hence the need for healthy eating.
Me and my hives will talk at you soon. I want you to know I'd really like to buy a fat caliper before January 1, but I am abstaining so far. I know. I am steely with self-discipline, aren't I?
Hey, I have a big idea. Since you all know what my New Year's resolution is, why don't you tell me yours?!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Seriously. I could not go another day with this hideous look. I had been trying to wait and not dye it out of a box, because I was getting so close to the end of the year. What is WITH me and the quick root growth? So, I called the hairdresser in Charlotte, where I got my hair cut last month, and they could see me TODAY. Perhaps someone here had already alerted them to the dire situation. So into my car I went.
And it only took two and a half hours and three processes! First, she had to put dye all over my ridiculous grays. Then she added highlights. Then she put toner on the ends. Oh, and then when that was all done she added toner overall.
Basically, it cost today what it would have if I'd have just gone ahead and had my hair professionally done three times this year.
Which as you can see, really annoys Winston.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Welcome to Christmas 2007, or as I like to call it, Sniffmas.
Who got sick right on Christmas Eve? I was feeling fine one minute -- my stepfather and mother got here, we took them on a drive through the town, which took seven minutes, and all of a sudden I started feeling a tad ...sniffy.
By midnight mass, you talk about away in a manger. That's where the congregation wished I'd go. You can imagine how happy everyone was to shake my hand and say, "Peace be with you." I got a lot of waves across the room. A whole bunch of those "Hey!" with the pointing of the thumb and forefinger.
Today was less Boxing Day and more Box of Tissues Day. It has been one of those colds where you must have Kleenex six inches from you at all times or it will not be pretty. Thank goodness I got some nice new sock monkey pajamas, and a new robe, because I got out of my old pajamas and wore those all day yesterday. I even wore them in the car, when we took a drive to look at Christmas lights. I figured there was little chance we'd run into Jude Law and I was right.
The good news is that Marvin Gardens found the DVD Arthur in the attic, which is one of my favorite movies, and wrapped it and gave it to me and I had NO IDEA it wasn't new, or that we already owned it. I was too ill to notice the whole lack of cellophane. I never would have known had my mother not spilled the beans, which Marvin was thrilled with her about.
As for me, I had decided that for Marvin, I would take a really cute picture of his grandfather playing with the family dog and frame that for his gift. I couldn't tell you about it before now, because I force Marvin to read this blog whenever I post.
At any rate, I had discovered the photo when we were at Marvin's parents' house at Thanksgiving, and had sneaked it into a book to take back. So, when it came time to UNsneak said photo out of the book, who suddenly had no photo?
Oh, did I turn this house upside down. I was panicked, I tell you. Not only would I have no good, relatively inexpensive gift for Marvin, but I would also have LOST a nice picture of his GRANDFATHER.
Finally I located it, in Marvin's desk. I have no idea why it was there. I had hidden the picture in a 1970s modeling book. Why had Marvin been perusing THAT, I ask you? Is he secretly Halston?
Well, anyway, I don't know what I was thinking. Where around here did I think I'd find a cool little frame? John Deere does not carry cool little frames. And the ones at Wal-Mart were inexplicably bad.
So Marvin did not get a framed photo, but rather the very story I told you above, except with my cold voice. "Marben, I tried to frabe you a photo ob your grandfaber..."
That was my holiday. Please now tell me about yours. My Puffs and I are eager to hear all.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Okay. The food shopping is done. Hors d'oeuvres are either out on Christmas plates or ready to be put together in the fridge*. Gifts are wrapped. Stockings stuffed, even the cats' (they get Baked Lay's. Not a cheat, because it's food. They love Baked Lay's. I do not know why).
The house is clean. The guest bedroom has been as de-catted as possible. I have yelled at Marvin Gardens for being a slob 750 times.
We are set for guests. My mother and stepfather are driving here as we speak. Which we aren't.
I put my makeup on today and the sun was screaming through the window. Since all the leaves fell off our eight million oak trees, the sun really shines in here all day, which is nice. However, me? Looking in the mirror at noon, which I don't normally do? WOW! What clogged pores? Holy mackinerny.
I haven't gone an entire year without a facial since about 1976, when I was 11. And back then, obviously I didn't have money to run out to Elizabeth Arden -- not that there was an Elizabeth Arden in Saginaw, Michigan -- so what I did was boil water, put a bunch of herbs in there, throw a towel over my head and steam for 20 minutes. I wish I would have thought of that before now. The moon called. Wants it surface back (that was for you, stie).
Do you think facial places will be open January 1?
*Renee gave me easy hors d'oeuvres ideas. Want to know them? One is take a cracker, blue cheese, a walnut and drizzle maple syrup, just a touch, over it. I know. Sounds sophisticated. She used to work for Wolfgang Puck. The other is a cracker, Gouda cheese and a sliver of pear.
I am also serving Christmas cookies, of course, candy, various breads and candied nuts. Plus two dinners. Somebody kill me.
I hope you all have a merry little Christmas, if you celebrate it. Otherwise, I hope your Chinese food is good.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Seriously, I am LIVING at that place lately. I get there at 8 a.m. and I leave at 8 p.m.
However, the 750,000,000 bulletins are DONE, all of the poinsettias for the altar and the tree have been delivered, and today someone came and picked up the gifts that the parishioners chipped in and bought for someone who needed it.
And guess who had to go to the church at noon to open it up?
And girl, I slept till 10:30, then lay there in the bed talking on the phone with my mother until 11:30. So I slapped some coffee in a cup, put on my sweats and Patagonia pullover and Converse shoes, and drove on up the hill.
Representin'! Woo! I'm sure the rector would be proud.
I got there only to hear a voice mail that the woman picking up the gifts was gonna be late. But you know what? It was noon, and all the church bells were going off.
Several churches here play their bells when it strikes the hour, and noon is the best one, because they play more stuff. So do you know I took my coffee and sat out on the back steps and listened to all the bells? Oh, it was pretty. And suddenly? I felt Christmas-y. FINALLY.
Then when I got home? Guess what? That man called me! He was ready to pick up all the gifts for his kids!
Guess where he wanted to meet? Okay, you all understand that I am not actually all that religious, right? I mean, I never WENT to church in Los Angeles. Am I supposed to be POPE or something? I am like a boomerang trying to leave that place.
So Marvin and I loaded up four or five giant bags with all those gifts and drove the car back to church. At this point my car just drives there automatically. You don't have to steer or anything.
Anyway, I am thrilled to tell you his wife and kids were in the car! Marvin made up some story about how Santa accidentally delivered all these gifts to us, and do you know those kids were squealing and trying to rip everything open already? Not to mention I didn't wrap the teddy bears, and they could see those sticking out.
The little boy asked me if he got to sit next to me during church, and we all had to explain to him that there wasn't church right now, that I am apparently a belfry bat and just spend all my time there.
Anyway, those kids were adorable, and it was way better to meet them and see their reactions rather than just imagine it.
I hope they like everything they got.
I hope they fell for the Santa making a mistake thing.
Thank you all again for your donations. You all did a wonderful thing, I promise you. Those kids were beside themselves.
See ya in church!
Friday, December 21, 2007
In case anyone is keeping track, I only have 10 days to go before I can purchase new white T shirts, a new pair of jeans, five new pairs of work pants and get a professional dye job and eyebrow wax and pedicure.
Not that I have it all planned out or anything.
I have a friend who used to be unhappily married, and to fall asleep at night, she would mentally pack her half of their stuff. When she finally did leave this guy, she said it took her about 30 minutes to clear out of there, as she had rehearsed it in her mind so much.
I haven't obsessed about shopping THAT much, but I am getting mighty sick of how shabby everything looks. I do not know if I really replace my clothes more than I think, or maybe I needed a wardrobe update before this year began, but The Little Matchstick Girl called and wants her look back.
How many times in this blog have I said someone called and wanted their something back? I'm gonna guess 20. I only say that line because it used to irk my Beleaguered Officemate so much, and now we live 3,000 miles apart, so I can only bug him cyberly, and only when he reads my blog.
At any rate, I have to go back to WORK, to finish printing out NEXT Sunday's bulletin, but before I go, let me tell you a little something about the difference between Marvin Gardens and me.
This portion of my blog is dedicated to my friend Saundra, who can't get ENOUGH of people telling her about their dreams.
The other night I had the best dream ever. I was in Manhattan, meeting Marvin, my mother and my stepfather at some Broadway show. This is ridiculous, as we would never do that and I don't even LIKE the theater. However, there I was, in line, and behind me was Woody Allen, who I adore. Somehow we got to talking and we ended up taking a long walk, and we talk talk talked before he took me back to the theater and met my family.
I woke up so happy that I got to visit with Woody Allen!
Then the other night? Marvin Gardens dreamed he was waiting in line at the insurance office.
And there, folks, is how Marvin and I differ. I have dramatic highs and lows. My moods change 47 times a day. I laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh.
Marvin? Pretty much always the same. I can think of three times he got mad in the 22 years I have known him. His favorite ice cream is vanilla, and his favorite doughnut is plain. I think this is good. One person needs to be the flibbertygibbet and one needs to be a pillar.
Okay, gonna go change moods now.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I am stressin'. Yesterday at work I did the bulletin for this Sunday's service, printed all 65 copies, which takes two hours because it is HUGE, added the weekly insert, mailed the thing off to those who are home bound, printed out large copies for people who can't see close up such as myself, and distributed said bulletins at various places in the church.
Then I dashed home and got Ruby in her cat carrier and screamed on over to the vet, because she's really quite ill and two different antibiotics haven't seemed to help. They decided to do blood work and X-rays on her, so they told me to come back in an hour. I went to the post office then back to the church, thinking I could start on the MONDAY Christmas Eve bulletin.
When I got there, the church organist showed me that one of the hymns in the Sunday bulletin was CUT OFF ON THE BOTTOM and the entire last line of the song wasn't there.
Folks, I actually sat on the floor and cried. CRIED. Then I had to print out new copies of the song, cut each page in half to fit in the bulletin, and PASTE those pages into every single bulletin.
But do you know the choir was there and they all rallied and helped me? They were cutting, bringing me more bulletins, cheering me up. It made a nightmarish task that much less horrid.
I stayed at the church till after 8:00, and Marvin got Ruby from the vet. She has asthma! Who knew?
So I have to go back now and do that Christmas Eve bulletin AND the one for next Sunday. I am exhausted, my throat is scratchy, and my right hand is absolutely killing me. Remember a few months back when I had sparklefraffle in my wrist? I think it's back.
Must Christmas be so stressy?
Oh, but I do have one bright note. At the post office, naturally there was a line, and the woman behind me started jumping up and down and screaming. She had just opened her mail, and found out she passed her boards and is officially a nurse! We all hugged her and clapped, and when she started crying we all got misty with her. It was so cute. And do you know I was mailing yet another package to my cousin Katie, the one in nursing school? Maybe this is a sign that she will be a good nurse. Maybe she can fix my wrist.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
You guys, I bought -- yes, BOUGHT -- presents for my stepsister, my stepgrandmother and for Marvin Gardens. I suck. There just is no TIME. And Una? Your husband said he'd email me some suggestions and he didn't and it's SIX DAYS till Christmas so I did my best. They are from Amazon; you can return them. I TOLD him time was a-wastin'. It is somehow all his fault.
Oh, and I panicked and got something for my mother, too. All told, I spent about 225 bucks, maybe 250. Which, yes, is better than the $1200 from last year. But the point was to spend NOTHING.
So here is my tip for anyone thinking of not spending. Start making Christmas presents in October! I am not even exaggerating. It takes longer than you think.
Darn. Have to be at work in six minutes. That means I only have five minutes and 15 seconds to brush my teeth. (Love my commute!)
Monday, December 17, 2007
I had a stupid statistics textbook to proofread, due today. Not ONLY was it that fascinating topic, statistics, but it was about a computer software program to help you ANALYZE statistics. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo! With the stimulating topic. So you can imagine how easy it was to read and actually pay attention to.
So I finally got that done, at 11 o'clock last night, shivering outside a FedEx drop box filling out the address label, when what do you think came today? MORE statistics to proofread! I am standing here beside myself.
I am grateful for the work, as I'm sure you can tell, but must it be 10 seconds before Christmastime? Because you can imagine how there is no work to be done at all at the church. Christmas? Not a big deal or anything over there.
Plus also beyond that incidentally, there is the whole MAKING OF THE GIFTS thing that I am STILL doing. Now, Marvin was a big help this weekend, when he wasn't disturbing my proofreading.
Let's pause from our broadcast to discuss pretty Marvin. For four years, I worked from home as a busy freelancer. And proofreading? Kind of a job that needs the concentration. I know I've said it before, but if they wrote it "Variables dialog box" on page 72, you had better ding-dang notice that it's suddenly "variable dialogue box" on page 97. There were four differences between those two phrases. Using your number 2 pencil, write 750 words on what they are.
So, every single day for four years -- because I assure you I never had a day off -- I used to say to Marvin, "I'm proofreading now. Do not disturb me." Who would get ants in his pantaloons the MINUTE I told him that? Suddenly he would begin his clogging practice, or he would open the door and stare at me, his mouth half open to show he was JUST ABOUT to say something, but didn't want to disturb me. Sometimes I would let him hang like that for 40 or 50 seconds before I would growl, "WHAT." And it was always, "I'm going to 7-Eleven. Do you want anything?"
Now I am back with the freelancing, and I can assure you Marvin's inability to leave me alone has not abated. Now when I'm done proofreading? He is always in the middle of a Who documentary and does not want to be disturbed.
However, he made a lovely stupid homemade gift for my mother, which took hours and I am glad he helped out. But folks? My Uncle Omar? I caved. I sent him golf balls. Hi, Uncle Omar! Merry Christmas! Surprise!
Uncle Omar golfs 750 hours a day. He went to Scotland to golf. Many times. What is it with men and the golfing? It grabs them like horses do women. Do you know any women who have horses? I know three. All of them are completely horse-addicted. And yet I know no women addicted to golf, and no men addicted to horses. Discuss. Number two pencils only.
So due to my Uncle Omar's love of the golf, I actually know his brand of golf ball. So I spent 4 minutes on line and $40 and got him said balls. Did you even know their WERE brands of golf balls? Why? Why don't they just have the "Round Small Hard White Ball Co." and be done with it? What possible difference could there be?
So, sorry, Uncle Omar, that I did not make your gift, even though you spent hours of your own time trying to teach me algebra in 10th grade. Girlfriend is pressed for time. Girlfriend has 20 million Christmas Eve bulletins to make, and 900,000 chocolate cookies for other relatives. Girlfriend knew you'd like you the golf balls. Girlfriend does not know why she must continue to refer to herself as "girlfriend," or even in the third person, for that matter.
I had better return to my proofreading, and then to a vestry meeting at the church in an hour. Oh! But I wanted to mention, in closing, that the one-year anniversary of me as a blogger came and went, on December 15. It is very exciting. Almost as exciting as a statistics textbook.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
We purchased our tree from a man who looked exactly like Ronald Reagan. It was uncanny. It was without cans. He had a cowboy hat on and everything.
Ronnie charged us $36 for a seven-foot tree, which if you ask me isn't bad. We went into his store, and apparently it is the kind of place where men sit around together and play checkers or whatever. I have always thought that was a cool idea, but haven't seen a place like that till now. He also had dead animals mounted on the wall and paneling. I could have stayed all afternoon and gossiped and spit tobacco, but no one invited me to stay.
This whole story is neither here nor there. It is mostly to tell you we spent $36.
(If you read yesterday's post, you will see I am living up to "Butter-Butt.")
Then we bought a tree stand for $10 and when we got home, there was a tree stand with our Christmas stuff. I TOLD Marvin we had one. And it turned out? We had to use that one anyway; the one we bought was too small.
And then once I put lights and tinsel on the tree, it didn't look like enough. I searched and searched for more, and finally went to CVS and bought both. Then, when I moved something, who found a giant ton of tinsel? All this illegal purchasing for nought.
So here are the photos that actually managed to evade the stupid battery attack:
Before (Ruby and Francis are begging me not to change things around.)
My mother sent this pretty flower arrangement. My ex-coworkers will note it was sent by a competitor. Oops.
There was a whole "Nod to Hanukkah" picture, and a picture of how obsessed I am with silver, and maybe after the stupid battery charges, I will have the wherewithal to put those photos up, as well.
What on earth does "wherewithal" mean?
SEVERAL CRANKY HOURS LATER:
There is something wrong with that ding-dang camera. Trust me. The room is pretty. At least I was able to retrieve Nod to Hanukkah:
Here is our tree. Hope there's a new digital camera underneath it!
What I am trying to say to you is that with me? It can't be too silvery. Honestly, I am the Elton John of decorating at the holidays.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I really couldn't have put it any better my own self. Driving to Monroe always SEEMS, in theory, that it won't be that bad of a drive. Then when you're in it? You're like, "This is like being in a nightmare. Will this drive ever END?"
Anyway, today I went to Target in Monroe and got those kids their Christmas gifts. If you are just tuning in and have no idea who "those kids" are, go back the last few posts. I never shut up about them lately.
Before I begin showing you my pictures of the OBSCENE amount of stuff I got, may I just give you one aside? I mailed my cousin Katie's gift today. Now, I am gonna let you in on a little secret, just between you and me. My grandmother? When I was little? She called me Butter-Butt. I have no idea why. One could certainly say that my buttocks are still in the dairy family, but I don't think one would use the term "butter" to describe them today. Other than, say, "Wow. She must love her some butter."
At any rate, on Katie's package, I wrote "Butter-Butt" on my return address. And do you know someone I know got behind me in line at that post office? Who was MORTIFIED, thinking that he'd read it? Wouldn't the town be talking then?
So, here we go. First I will show you a picture of what I got the boy (click on the photo to enlarge):
Here is what I got the two girls:
Here's what I got for them to share:
I also got two pairs of slipper socks and some bath stuff for the mom.
Now here's my question. Technically, I got more things for the girls. It SEEMED like I was getting more for the boy, but when I counted, he only got eight things (pajamas, a truck, some sort of gun that shoots Nerf balls or something, a big tank, inflatable bugs, stuff like that) and the girls got like 11 things, even though some are small (like wands and clothes for their Barbies I got).
I actually bought a bunch of stuff and had SO MUCH money left over that I went back. Twice! And I STILL have about $150 left over. Should I go get three more gifts for the boy, or just do the grocery store card? Do five-year-olds count how many gifts they get? I was an only child; I have no clue.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
So today Winston and I had a talk. We have come to an understanding. I will let his stripy ass outside if there are NO SNAKES IN HIS LIPS when he returns home.
Tomorrow I am going to the store to buy toys for those children. Y'all are sending me nice comments saying what a good thing I am doing, but in reality, you have sent over FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! So the funny part? Is I will not even have to spend my own money. So, it's a nice thing YOU are all doing. I am just the shopper.
I mean, $500+ is enough for this family to have a Christmas, right? And I talked to them, and they do not WANT any food. They are going to dinner at her mother's. So maybe I will do a gift card or a grocery store card or whatever with the leftover cash.
Anyway, tomorrow I will take pictures of what I bought so you can see what your hard-earned cash got these kids. I'm so excited! It cracks me up that I STILL don't get to spend money!
Well, I get to spend your money.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
There I was, printing out 65 copies of the 28-page church bulletin on one printer, printing out and mailing minutes from the vestry meeting on the other, all while preparing for a special service at 1:30 today AND helping to make floral arrangements for people in hospice.
Let's talk about my floral arrangements.
Everyone had a little pot and wet floral foam (that's that green stuff inside the pot that you get when you get flowers. See how educational it is to read me?) and every kind of green you could imagine. There was Douglas fir, magnolia leaves, holly, fluffy fern-looking things, and all of it was making my throat close up something fierce.
Nevertheless, I stuck a bunch of greens in that floral foam, and it looked like this:
Everyone else sat around, genteel and lovely and wearing pearls and drinking cider, and softly and gently they all made this:
How long do you give me before I'm kicked out of Garden Club?
At any rate, I was running from one room to another when something caught my eye. I turned, and there in the hall was the man who needs help at Christmas! He smiled at me, I smiled at him, it was ridiculous. I ran over, cause he's on crutches, and said, "I didn't understand your last message! I didn't know whether to call you or not!" He said, "Well, ma'am, we've been waiting on your call." See? You guys were right. Shows you what I know.
So, he gave me a list. Now, this list is too modest. He wants a Barbie for each girl (one is 5, one is 6) and a pair of shoes for each. For the boy (also 5)? A truck. So far you guys have sent $390. I think I can safely get all that, wouldn't you think? Also, I do think I will get them food.
I am taking everything to his house (he lives in a trailer, actually) on the 23rd, so I have time to get good things. I'm so excited about shopping for them that I could spit floral foam. If anyone else wants to donate, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
You know that we have always been close, and that you are like a sister to me. Now that the Christmas season is drawing near, the season where we let our loved ones know our deepest, most meaningful feelings, I would like to take this opportunity to say I want to KICK your LILY-WHITE arse and the arse of everyone who had anything to do with you being put on the earth. (You're going down, Aunt Kathy.)
I have just completed the DING-DANG nursing book I made you for Christmas. Since I told you you could not check my blog for the rest of the year, this will come as a complete surprise to you.
Given that all my Christmas gifts have to be free this year -- due to me and my stupid, stupid plans -- when I drew your name at Thanksgiving, I was delighted that of all the people in my family, I drew yours, because even if my gift SUCKED ROCKS, you would still appreciate it. Not as much as you seemed to appreciate that Pixie Stik in the photo above (nice sugar trance), but quite a lot.
Well, let me tell you something, missy. No one has ever had more glue on them than I have currently. Even Elmer. (Shouldn't a horse, and not a cow, have been the mascot for a glue company? Or would that have been tasteless? Do they really make glue from horses, or is that a myth, like tennis rackets and cat guts?)
And do you have any idea how hard it is to cut using those stupid scrapbooking scissors? Oh, I know, you are over there learning how to do sutures and IVs and such, and scrapbooking scissors probably sound like a breeze. Well, trust me. They are not. They are yet another thing invented by The Man to keep women home and oppress them. I never want to see another scalloped corner in my life.
And why did I decide each page had to be a different color? And I do not mean yellow and blue. No, I decided each page should be TAN and DARK TAN. Seven hours into this little project, do you think those colors looked any different? What is wrong with me? Why can't I accept that I am 109, with bad eyes and a worse temper, and that this blush and bashful color scheme was going to turn on me in the wee hours?
Anyway, Merry dingity dangity Christmas. Next year, you're gettin' a gift card.
Your Cousin June
Monday, December 10, 2007
A large box of frozen taquitos
A large box of Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks. Why do her fish stick?
A six-pack of Suzy-Qs
Grape juice (are we SEVEN?)
Rainbow-colored Twizzlers, because we support gay licorice
An avocado. Everyone needs a vegetable
A giant tub of already-shelled pistachios; we are busy executives. We don't have time for that pesky shelling
And finally? Trail mix. We are often hittin' the trails.
Seriously, we are the least-healthy eaters on the face of planet earth. And frozen taquitos are a cheat, because technically I could get my Hispanic on and cook them myself. I haven't the first clue how, but I COULD, which is our rule about what groceries we buy.
In LA, my neighbor was from Spain, and every new year's day we would make tamales. Apparently it is tradition or good luck or something. I just think it was a way to amuse Alicia, my neighbor. She would take that wet, floppy corn husk and put wet thick tamale stuff in it and roll it up in a flash. I'd be over there with husk all draping on myself, the tamale innards falling everywhere. She would literally double over with laughter. She would actually point at me and laugh.
I cannot tell you how much I miss being humiliated by her.
I also bought a blank book yesterday, for making my cousin's nursing book for Christmas. Have I thanked all of you for participating in said book? I got so much good advice; I think she will love this gift. Way better than the earrings she wanted me to make her, mainly because my earring-making skills are equalled only by my tamale-making abilities.
My mother is trying to help me by coming up with the lamest things possible for us to make her for Christmas. This is like the year she knew I was poor, so she asked for a slotted spoon. So far, she has asked that we send her our home movies and that I print out this blog. Do those sound like the most depressing Christmas gifts ever, or what? This is the woman who has saved the ornament I made in 1971 from cardboard and tin foil, so I guess she is easy to please.
Have I mentioned there are only three weeks left of this experiment?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
When I was little, I used to play house with my toy kitchen and kitchen accouterments. I put film in my toy refrigerator because my father was a photographer, so we had film in our real-life fridge. I didn't know it was weird till some kid came over and told me.
Anyway, I had these tinted brandy snifters someone gave me to play with, which is always a nice idea. Let's give fragile, breakable containers for holding liquor to this three-year-old! I loved those dang things, and I would pretend to be some lush named Helen, who drank gin out of a brandy snifter all day. No one in my family drank, and I wasn't allowed to watch the soaps, but I must've been sneaking in viewings of The Secret Storm somewhere, because where else did I get this ridiculous idea?
Then when Tic-Tacs came out? Old Helen became a gin drinker AND pill-popper. I used to pretend my hands were shaking as I dumped out Tic-Tacs and crammed them greedily into my mouth. Why didn't someone get me professional help?
So, I sent out holiday cards yesterday. Seventy-two of them. I bought them last year at half off, so calm down. Also, I had a bunch of 39-cent Christmas-themed stamps left over, so all we had to do was buy the two-cent stamps. Then beyond that, I used normal stamps.
Do you have any idea how much it bothered me to send out cards with that stupid Liberty Bell stamp instead of a Christmas stamp? I do not know when I became Anal Anus Girl of Analtown, but somehow having Christmas return address labels and Christmas stamps has become a big part of the sending of the card. Now, seriously, WHO LOOKS at that part? Me and some other detailed person with too much time on their hands, that's who. And who wants to impress whoever that odd duck is?
So, if you know me (Bert! Ya know me?) (That's TWO It's a Wonderful Life lines in one post! Woo!), please forgive me my dull, not-at-all-red-or-green depressing Liberty Bell stamp. I promise I will Christmas you to a pulp next year.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Do you think I have watched It's a Wonderful Life a few too many times? You are just lucky we didn't do When Harry Met Sally lines this month.
Once again, I have many odds and ends (emphasis on "odd") to tell you. Because my leading gets screwed up every time I use a bullet list, I will instead bullet my paragraphs with the scales. Seriously, how annoying am I?
Do. I told Marvin about how one of you referred to me as a saint. He said, "June. The Patron Saint of Lost Marbles." Who loves himself? Remember how Mr. Roper would say something mean about Mrs. Roper, then grin at the camera? Marvin TOTALLY did that. Hearts himself.
Re. You know the family we all talked about adopting for Christmas? I think they don't want our help. I called the guy, reminded him who I was, told him I'd love to get a few things for his kids. He called back and just left this message: "Mrs. Cutoff Cash? Thank you. Very much." Then he hung up. This means thanks but no thanks, right? Cause you know I want to call him back and say, "Does that mean no?" This should give you some clue as to what kind of cool cucumber I was in the dating world.
Me. Speaking of me, I am so excited about next year's health blog that I wish I could just start it now. I have already got the web address, the design, the concept, the whole shebang. Don't you hate people who say "the whole shebang"? Another overused phrase? "Voracious reader." Can't you be some other sort of reader? How about just "I like to read"?
Fa. A long, long way to go.
So. Screw it. We are getting a Christmas tree. I am getting really sloppy about not spending, aren't I? I don't care. The only reason I care is because I have this blog and you're all watching me. (I sound like that idiot who sang that song. I always feel like somebody's watching me! Get a prescription, bub. No one gives a crap.)
Last year, I spent Christmas day 100% alone, Marvin was at work. It was awful. Then I had to work the next day, which really should be illegal.
Two years ago, Marvin had to work (he is Rudolph. I have not wanted to mention it. His nose really comes in handy when we drive in fog.), so I went to midnight mass myself, which was at like 7:00 so why do they continue to call it midnight, and then I came home and cooked Christmas lasagna. I had just cut a piece of lasagna, put in (shocker!) It's a Wonderful Life, and JUST when I hit "play," my cat Mr. Horkheimer sprayed blood all over the VCR. So I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day at the vet. There was another guy there putting his cat to sleep, and he was weeping like a child. It was heartbreaking.
The POINT is, I refuse to have another depressing Christmas. So I'm gettin' a tree. The end.
La. Speaking of sick cats, I had to take my cat Ruby DeLuna to the vet today, and she either has a cold or cancer. Okay, thanks. There's an undramatic scale. When I wrote the check ($87), I said to the receptionist, "It's Pearl Harbor Day" and she looked at me like, "Who's Pearl Harbor?" I hope I am wrong about this.
Te. Tonight we watched Swingers. I should really, REALLY stop watching shows that in any way celebrate Los Angeles. Maybe I should rent Earthquake, or is there a Manson murder movie I could see? Is there a movie of someone just sitting in traffic trying to get home from work to their $2,000 a month studio apartment? That would help.
Do. you feel sorry for me that I don't have kids? It just occurred to me today, for the first time ever, that when I tell people that, they may actually think, "Oh, that poor thing." When people ask me why we don't have kids, sometimes I love to say, "Oh, we try and try!" so they are forced to picture Marvin and me fornicating just all the time. But in reality, neither one of us wanted kids. And that is that dramatic yarn.
So, again, working on it this weekend. Any advice you'd give a new nurse. Or? Also? I guess if you aren't a nurse but have had good or bad experiences with one? You can tell me about that and I can add some what not to do/please do this advice.
I have only 37 pieces of advice but was really hoping for 100. Thanks!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Truthfully, that was his shining moment, right there. Other than that he kind of sucked.
Anyway, I am just saying. This is the LEAST straightforward job in the history of time. JUST when I think I have learned everything, somebody calls me all in a lather because I should have done something I NEVER KNEW I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.
I feel like a useless idiot.
So I came home mad. MAD, I say. Mad and pouty. That kind of pouty where you just want to get in your car and drive until you see the ocean and, God willing, an oceanside bar. Instead, I opened my mail. And do you know I got the nursing home newsletter?
As some of you may know, I volunteer at the nursing home here because (a) it is free and (b) I really can't help it. I love that ding-dang nursing home. Sometimes when I am walking in, I see the lights on in the window of the activities room, and I can't wait to get in there and see what eveybody's working on. Am I the only person who actually loves nursing homes? I mean, the people at this one are in pretty good shape, so I find it the opposite of depressing.
And the nursing home newsletter. Oh, I want to edit it so bad. But I offered once and the person who wrote it said it was her thing and to keep my mitts off it, so Miss Have to Get All Up in Everything over here is leaving it alone. But the good news is, I noticed it was Miss T's birthday.
Miss T is one of my favoritest women there. We met because she was wearing a leopard-print nylon suit, and I do love me some leopard print. Turns out, she and I could talk for about 720 years and never get bored with each other. You know how that goes with some people.
So, you guys? I bought her a plant. And a little pot to put it in. The whole thing was $10. I only have three and a half more weeks of not spending and I screwed up now. But whatever. I wanted to get her a little something.
I got to her door, and was it decked out for Christmas at all? Holy mother of pearl, the whole DOOR was red and shiny and festive! When she saw me she squealed and clapped her hands. You would have thought that $10 plant was the Hope diamond. We sat and talked for the longest time, and she apologized for her door. Her whole room was like I was in Santa's workshop or something. Sister gets into the spirit. I told her not to apologize at all, that as soon as I saw her door, I felt all holiday-y.
And you know I did? I forgot about how angry and weepy I had just been 20 minutes before. All it took was a $10 plant. (It was a varigated philodendron, if you must know.)
Then I had to go, cause Miss Lilly was waiting for me. Miss T walked me to the door, and said, "Thank you for the plant, but thank you more for your friendship. It means so much to me." Then she hugged me for a really long time.
So basically I am glad I cheated today. Maybe I should be secretary at the nursing home.
Due to unforeseen business circumstances, I will be unable to meet my Friday deadline for editing your book.
First of all, do you have any idea how boring science books are? Can't you write a nice sex book or something? What about fashion tips? College students need to look snappy, too. Has anyone thought of teaching a course on celebrity gossip? Cause we'd all snap that book up, and meeting my deadline would be so much easier.
Secondly, due to forces beyond my control, there was a Hallmark made-for-TV movie on on Sunday night. Now, you know no person can go without watching one of those! Do you even know about those most excellent movies? Because they are accompanied by most excellent commercials for Hallmark cards. Did you see the Christmas one where the dad is walking alone in the snow, and he goes to the stop of the hill to read the card from his daughter? Oh! Weeping already!
Or are you too busy thinking about Googols and Pearson rs?
Furthermore, did you KNOW I am going a year without spending and it's Christmastime? This does not mean you can go without paying me, but it does mean I have to MAKE all my GIFTS. Do you really think I have time for your pesky book?
Finally, Textbook Company, it has come to my attention that there are three episodes from Six Feet Under in my mailbox, and I thank you in advance for your understanding about this matter. I can't decide if I think Rachel Griffiths is hot or really unattractive.
I look forward to working with you again soon. Would it be possible if you could pay me and I don't actually have to copy edit for you?
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is when I swear.
So you can imagine my pretty language when the door buzzer went off today. I am trying to get the newsletter out, which is already late, as before a parishioner did it and now it's my job and HAVE I MENTIONED HOW OVERWHELMED I AM?!
"Yes?" I pressed the intercom, trying to sound nice.
"Ma'am, I'm here because I need help."
There was a man at the door of the church; he was injured. He has been unable to work due to his injury and cannot pay his bills this month. I went to the door and talked with him; the church has a plan in place to help people in need, which I told him about.
Then he mentioned he had three little kids, all under the age of seven. "What about Christmas?" I couldn't help but ask. "I don't know," he told me, looking down.
You guys, I want to help him. I'm certain his bills will be paid, but what about those three kids on Christmas morning? What about a tree? Decorations?
There are all sorts of reasons not to help: I do not know his whole story, some government agency could be assisting him, what if he's a drug dealer... But you know what? I hate it when people assume the worst about somebody because they're in need. I think the RIGHT thing to do is help somehow.
We do not have lots of money. We have a little savings from this year of not spending, but I am keeping that cash locked away, no ifs ands or buts. But what if we save a little cash between now and Christmas? I have a textbook I'm proofing for 25 bucks an hour. What if I took half my earnings from that?
I have the guy's phone number, do you think I could call him and ask what his wife and kids would like for Christmas? What would you do if you were me?
Monday, December 3, 2007
Yesterday I spent 96 hours raking the yard. We have at least nine oak trees in the front yard alone. I say "at least" because there is this whole Woodsy Owl part behind us, where we have seen actual deer that were alive and not someone's lawn ornament, and it is hard to count those trees over there.
So, it's safe to say we have nine in the front and seven million in the back. It is the mullet of trees: Business in the front, party in the back. I do not know why that phrase cracks me up so much, but it always does.
What I am trying to say is it's tree-y at our house. And we are responsible for yard maintenance. This is the first time in my life I have had to care for a lawn. In LA, lawn care was always part of the rent. Before that, I lived in apartments with no lawns. I did live with two women who owned their home in Seattle. What did we do? Did I just not help with the yard? That sounds like something I would have done in the '90s, yes.
So yesterday I slapped on my iPod and got to raking. And can I ask you, what in the name of God did we do before iPods? How did we go on the treadmill or fly or do unpleasant things like rake? Did we just have to face LIFE and have no SOUNDS as we did these tasks? How awful. Imagine how Ma Ingalls would have loved her an iPod during butter churning or sugaring off or hog butchering or whatever. Of course, she would have had to listen to Camptown Races or something, but still. Do-dah.
Turns out, the raking? Kind of an arduous task. The rector I work for told me I could come to his house and borrow his leaf blower instead, but I am morally opposed to them. At least I was until I raked for a solid hour and still had 98 pounds of leaves to go. At one point, this young kid walked by, and it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, "I'll give you 20 bucks to rake the rest of this dingity-dangity yard!"
But I did not. I persevered. And when I got up, sore and stiff today? The wind was blowing really hard, and our yard is completely covered in new leaves.
Oh, the do-dah day.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
So, this company sent me some of their hand lotion and asked if I'd do a product review. I was so excited to be asked that I said okay right away. No one ever wants my opinion on anything.
Perhaps it's that I'm so willing to give my opinion that there is never time to ask me.
When it came in the mail, it occurred to me that (a) I am allergic to most lotions, gels, perfumes and other scenty products and (q) what if I hate it? Should I be honest? Also, (2.114c) am I allowed to review products? I have advertisers on this blog. So I did the adult thing and made Marvin Gardens read my bylaws and it looks like it's okay. Please nobody sue me.
The product is called Skin MD Natural, which made me think of a naked dermatologist. Am I alone in that? I opened it up to smell it, because if I'm gonna be allergic to something, it'll make my throat go "gaaaac" right away.
(I do not know when I became such a delicate flower. My grandmother had to use scent-free detergent and stuff, and now I am the same way. Soon I will become quite drawn to lilac-colored elastic-waist pants and low-heeled espadrilles.)
Well, the product has no scent, which was a relief. In fact, it's labeled as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and free of many other things that people get up in arms about.
Also, it isn't called a hand lotion, it's called a shielding lotion. Their claim to fame is that is provides some kind of layer between your skin and the world.
I'm all, "Okay, whatever." Then I put it on. Now, you guys, I never used to be a dry person. I was never one of those women slathering on lotion after they washed dishes, since I rarely wash dishes, and I never put lotion on after a shower, either. But since I'm suddenly waking up seven times a night, growing a Father Time beard and getting a large patoot, I am also noticing that my skin seems drier.
(Not my face! No. There I am still lucky enough to break out all the time. I had this fantasy that breakouts would stop at, say, 30. But no. So I get to have wrinkles AND breakouts.
I'm starting to get depressed.)
Anyway, I am not lying when I say to you this stuff feels different from any other lotion-y product I have ever tried. It's very light. They tell you a little goes a long way, and they were right. I ended up putting some on my legs, too.
My skin feels soft, but not AT ALL like I just put lotion on. I am not slippery in the slightest. And there is no smell to make me weep and heave and wheeze.
So, Skin MD Natural? Liking you and your naked self. And I would have told you if I didn't.
Oh. And also not to mention by the way too? (How irritating am I?) Marvin Gardens read their brochure just now and he said, "You know this woman in here is my dermatologist back in LA, right?" Well, no, I didn't know. I didn't accompany him to the skin doctor. But one of the people in their brochure is the doctor who finally got Marvin's skin condition under control. He had the leprosy, and BOY was that awkward. No, no...
Saturday, December 1, 2007
And by the way, in order to irritate Marvin Gardens, I have decided to say a line from It's a Wonderful Life every day in December. So to equally annoy all of you, I will make my titles It's a Wonderful Life-y as well. If you have never seen the movie, just ignore me.
In case you were on pins and needles all night, my new hair is cute. And it was only $40! She was all, "That'll be 40." And I was like, "Dollars?"
I tried to take pictures last night, but a mass of red curls at night just doesn't show up so well. Did I mention I want us to get a better camera on January 1st? So, since I cannot show you a photo of my hair, I'll put one in of me and my cousin Maria, coffee-in' out on Thanksgiving. Look at the snow outside! eeek!
After my haircut, I met up with my friend Marianne. Her town was having their Christmas parade, so she told me to meet her at a Target and she'd guide me through back roads to her house. She accused me of speeding, because I got there sooner than she predicted, which left me plenty of time to peruse the shopping at the strip mall, there.
I picked up some all-protein holistic cat food I have been wanting to try. Not for myself, for my cats. My friend Hometown Horse Lady, who might be from my hometown and who might own a horse, has recommended this stuff. She says her cats' coats have never looked better.
So, I don't consider cat food cheating, even fancy, holistic, Godless hippie cat food. But folks? I also bought a diffuser at the Target, there.
For those of you who are straight men, a diffuser is a thing you put on your hair dryer to keep your curls from becoming a frickin' mess. I actually did need it, if one considers one's hair looking decent a "need." It cost $15. Marianne helped me find a cheap one.
After that scandalous cheat, I retired to Marianne's house, where I finally met her parents, her kid, her yellow Lab and her two orange cats. Marianne clearly prefers animals in the yellow/orange category, whereas all of mine are in the black/gray family.
Anyway, you know how sometimes you meet people and you know RIGHT AWAY you are just going to love them? I have been hearing about Marianne's parents since before Clinton was inaugurated, and I love love love them! And her kid is one of those children who actually speaks in complete sentences, such as, "It's nice to meet you" and not "hey..."
I have to go back to the church today, as yesterday I printed out all 72 church bulletins, mailed them to the infirm, set aside 20 for the choir, printed and inserted the prayer list, and gathered up my stuff to leave. As I gathered, what did I find? An ANNOUNCEMENT that needed to go IN the bulletin for tomorrow! So now I have to go back and make aNOTHer insert for that dang bulletin. Crap.
At least my hair will look good and also diffused.