Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And the Holidays Just Keep on Comin'

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday! In case you don't follow me on twitter, let me tell you about a "fail" I pulled on the Santa present. We got The Offspring an acoustic/electric guitar set with everything she needed to rock the house. For a week, we've had it hidden in the closet of our bonus room (that infamous 8x28 closet). Now that the bonus room is our studio, we use it as a place to chill and relax...

On Christmas Eve, my baby girl didn't feel too well. She was laying on the couch with me and woke up around 1AM. Since our living room is tile, sound tends to carry to every room on the bottom floor. She wanted to talk, so I suggested we go up to the studio so as not to wake her father in the master bedroom.

Not a good idea. Because unbeknownst to me, the father had moved the humungous box with the guitar and amp inside into the MIDDLE OF THE BONUS ROOM/STUDIO so that he could attach a big bow to it. She and I trudge upstairs, open the door, and after I'm a few feet into the room, WHAM.

"Get out of here!!" I holler.
"Okay," she says, running back down the stairs.
"Did you see it?" I query.
"Uh...no..." she replies, totally unconvincingly.
Then the father appears at the bottom of the stairs. Not exactly happy. Technically, it WAS Christmas morning. And yeah, she did have to wait until we got up to actually play the thing.

I think she enjoyed it:We went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra for her birthday the next day - and let me tell you, it was incredible. If you get a chance to see them, GO.

Our next adventure? New Year's Eve. We usually have an adult party, with 20 or so revelers. This year, the kid wanted to invite more than just a few friends. She passed out fliers at school before the break. Fifty fliers.

This ordinarily wouldn't worry me - after all, you usually can expect half of the invitees to show. However, a few weeks ago, she asked me (with a sweet innocent face, let me add) if she could have FOUR or FIVE friends over. Got that? A few text messages later, and kids start showing up to my house. From out of nowhere. When it was all said and done? This is how many ended up there:In case you're not good at counting, there are 23 kids in that photo. At one point, as one kid is hauling in the whole set of Rock Band to play in the living room, I asked her, "When exactly is this party over?" In return, I got a shrug.

A bottle rocket/roman candle war broke out in the yard shortly after the bonfire was lit. And when I left the house in the care of the male influences, I returned to find a kid being duct-taped to a tree:She DOES appear quite happy about it.

Hopefully, I will survive New Year's Eve. We are cleaning out the garage (not that we've had much time to get it messy) and hope to contain some of the teen melee in there.

Pray for me, will ya?

And here's wishing you all a happy and SAFE New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Holiday Favorite

I hope you and yours are preparing yourself for a fantastic holiday, recession/depression be damned! This is one of my favorite holiday stories, which appeared in a book by Jeff Foxworthy many years ago. No idea if it is true or not, but this is the kind of family stuff that makes the holiday season special!

As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them.
What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown.

If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. you'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, 'What does this do?' 'You're kidding me!' 'Who would buy that?' Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section.

I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour.
Finding what I wanted was difficult. 'Love Dolls' come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for 'Lovable Louise.' She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a 'doll' took a huge leap of imagination.

On Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy, but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her pantyhose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door.
'What the hell is that?' she asked.
My brother quickly explained, 'It's a doll.'
'Who would play with something like that?' Granny snapped.
I kept my mouth shut.
'Where are her clothes?' Granny continued.
'Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran,' Jay said, to steer her into the dining room.
But Granny was relentless. 'Why doesn't she have any teeth?'
Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, 'Hang on Granny, hang on!'
My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up t o me and said, ' Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?' I told him she was Jay's friend.
A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the mantel, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants.
Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car.
It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.
Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh.
Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.
I can't wait until next Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fun Monday Kindness

The lovely Mommy Wizdom is our hostess for this latest Fun Monday, and BOY...was it a doozie! She wanted us to perform a random act of kindness, and then blog about the experience. OR...blog about being the recipient of a random act of kindness.

One suggestion she had was to "smile at everyone you meet for a day, no matter what." Well, I decided that I would do just that during my weekly shopping excursion. The store, of course, was unbelievably crowded...and as much as I wanted to just get in and get out, I felt obligated to complete the assignment! What happened was inevitable - in a small town, everyone knows everyone else...and with just a smile, I found myself engaged in conversations with folks. But I didn't smile just at people I knew.

I smiled at an elderly lady who looked lonely - she did a double-take, looked at me suspiciously for a moment, then returned a feeble smile. It was almost as if she was surprised that someone would notice and smile at her.

I smiled at a little girl, who was checking out my daughter's funky attire for the day. She looked puzzled, but seemed comforted by the gesture.

I smiled at someone who was hard at work, in appreciation for what these employees must have to endure on busy shopping days. Once again, a slight double-take, then a return smile.

It was too easy. I smiled at so many people - most of whom were unknown to me. It was interesting to see how many people were a bit taken aback by my smile (promise, I didn't have anything in my teeth). Has our world become so troubled and cynical that a simple gesture seems entirely out of place? I don't live in the big city, mind you - but a small, Southern town. Yet, I felt a bit out of place, smiling at people all over the store.

I perform acts of kindness each day - from picking up a friend's child at a party, to taking an extra kid home from school, as a mother I'm usually pressed into service. I also volunteer with my local Rotary Club and serve on board of two local organizations. Service to others is something I try to accomplish EVERY day. However, a free smile to a stranger may be a more welcome gift. The gift of random kindness that is free, and makes us feel better in the process.

Now, perform your act of kindness today - AND check out the other participants!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Name Us - Make Us Famous

Remember these guys?
Yeah, well, they need your help.


We need a band name. Soon. Like, NOW.

ATTENTION: If you are a LURKER...and NEVER COMMENT on this blog, I need you to comment NOW. If you don't have a blogger account, comment anonymously. Whatever it takes. But I need your suggestions for band names.

Five of us were up until almost 1:00AM trying to think of a name (and practicing a little, too).

What kind of music do we play, you ask? So far we have been working on rock music, like Fleetwood Mac stuff (no Pantera just yet - sorry Greg). The Pretenders...Sheryl Crow...Tom Petty...with plans to do many more songs...

If you need to know more about us to start throwing out names, then just ask in the comments. I will respond!

This is like BRAINSTORMING, folks....anything goes! We are taking any and all suggestions!

Why the rush? We may have a gig! Oh, and there will be a prize if we pick your suggestion...so GO FOR BROKE!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Fun Monday Holiday Music

Ooh, I'm LATE today...maybe because I stayed up until wee hours...but then, none of you care about my excuses. Blah - get with the program.

MamaLang is the hostess for this Fun Monday, and she wanted to know our favorite Christmas songs and our favorite Christmas item.

Only THREE songs? Wow...okay...that's a tough assignment!

1. I LOVE (adore) George Winston's version of "Holly and the Ivy." If you have never heard this piano version, take a listen here.

2. Mannheim Steamroller and Christmas - This version of "Silent Night" has a very special meaning to me, b/c of a very special Christmas, many years ago. I wonder if Mr. Big still remembers?

Kinda weird to see a house in lights to this tune, but here ya go:

I get tears in my eyes every time I hear this.

3. I don't actually think this last song is a Christmas song, but I can't spend a holiday without listening to it. And for the record, this song will prove that I am a total dork. And nerd. And should be wearing glasses and braces and carrying a stack of books under my arm. I had a Christmas album by Dean Martin as a kid, and I LOVED it. Yes, Dean. Poor, dead Dean. He just always sounded like he was SMILING when he sang, you know? Now, I realize his smiling might have been due to large quantities of alcohol consumption. Still, I love this tune, called The Things We Did Last Summer. Listen if you dare. Total cheese.

As for my favorite Christmas thing? Well, I could pick all sorts of ornaments...pretty little glass things...but when you go into labor on a Christmas Day, it's hard to pick much else but my almost-a-Christmas-Baby as a reminder of what this season really means to me:
Now go check out all the Fun Monday participants!

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Doghouse

I know this is really ad advertisement, but it's not "in your face."

I found this funny, b/c my husband told me early on that he believes in "practical" gifts. For example, last year - I received a new blender and a food processor. Other gifts have been similarly useful, but at least he does have the sense to throw jewelry into the mix at least every other year.


Beware of the Doghouse- Hilarious! - A funny movie is a click away
Have you ever received a gift that made you want to send your significant other to the doghouse? If so, I wanna hear about it!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Commute

I have watched this several times, and think it is SO CUTE!
If it took me more than two minutes to drive to work, I would seriously have one of these built. Especially if I got to go thru the library.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fun Monday Neighbors from Hades

Whew...now that NaBloPoMo is over, I'm actually glad to merely focus on Fun Monday for a while! Ari_1965 is this week's hostess, and she wants to know about our worst neighbors EVER.

Living in a small town, I figured this could get me in some trouble. I started thinking of all the bad neighbors I had in the past, and then realized they were bad neighbors only b/c they had such little tolerance for the late-night partying ways of a college student. Other neighbors that city ordinances define as 'bad' were the quietest, most non-obtrusive on the block.

I've only had one REALLY bad set of neighbors...though they didn't live quite next door. When I lived in the "old part" of town, my house was very close to the houses on both sides. Likewise, the houses across the street were close. One of these houses was obscured by overgrown bushes...it used to be a cute house, belonging to a local artist. When The Offspring was a toddler, the house became a rental. The occupants had NO restraint when it came to the use of expletives - LOUD expletives, shouted for the entire block to hear. Sometimes, their voices could be heard even with all the doors and windows shut.

As years wore on, activity at the house increased. A lot. Random folks would seem to appear on the sidewalk, and stumble away with hazy eyes. Young men would sidle up the alley behind our house, and magically find themselves across the street, at "that" house. Only to stay for a moment, before exiting, bleary-eyed. The traffic became so obvious, that it was only a matter of time before police vehicles frequented the domicile. We observed one occupant (female) submit to officers as she was led away in handcuffs, crying, pleading...to no avail. Most disturbing were the little children in and out of the house. I wondered what their existence must be like. I was sad for them.

In our old home, our master bedroom windows faced the street. One morning, in the wee hours, I awoke to flashing lights. Reds and blues, blinding almost...as I went to the window to see what was going on, I couldn't see anything. There was a haze in the air, with only red and blue flashes within the fog. Slowly, I came to realize that this time the flashes were NOT only from the police, but also from the large fire truck in the street. That 'haze' I was struggling to see thru was the smoke from a fire that had broken out upstairs at 'that house.' The smell that filled the air was horrific...I'm not sure what was going on at 'that house,' but I was assured that the fire was caused by something left on the stove unattended. I was glad the children escaped the home unharmed.

I don't miss living so close to my neighbors. Granted, I do miss some of the porch visits and talks with my "good" neighbors, but I like the serenity of the pastures I see, and my new neighbors - a pair of docile horses!

Now, go check out the other participants!