Friday, December 28, 2012

Post-Holiday Reflections

Christmas has come and gone...and here I sit...still wearing my "lovely" black boot on my broken right foot...sigh.

The accident was on Wednesday, December 19th...NOT good timing when it comes to the holiday season. Fortunately, I had finished 100% of my gift-shopping; however, I still had some holiday baking/cooking to do, and trips to the grocery store were in order. Apparently, everyone else had the same about 9,252 other people were buying last minute groceries over the weekend. Fun, I'm tellin' ya. Not.

Our annual Reindeer Games Party was held on Saturday, December 22nd...I think it was a huge success, considering we had almost 50 people over for five hours. We had food, drink, games, and merriment - and my foot didn't protest too much until the evening was over. I tried to behave myself for most of the evening, but a challenge to play ping-pong with my brother was too good to pass up...although my foot was NOT happy about jumping around a ping-pong table. It was all worth it, though, when I managed to beat my brother not once, but TWICE.... Yes. I am competitive. How can you tell?

Games of Kerplunk (I won), Connect-Four (yup, I won again), Operation (lost that game - I DON'T have a steady hand), Battleship (never got a chance to play), among others...offered lots of opportunities for our friends and family to sit back, relax, and have some much-needed fun so close to the holiday. The evening was topped with a massive gift-exchange with our grandchildren, nephews, and nieces - and it was a true joy to see the delight after the ribbons, paper and bows were torn, tossed and discarded. All the past weeks, slaving over the internet in search of perfect gifts for everyone, came together in these moments - and I was truly tickled.

Sunday was spent in massive clean-up...our house looked pretty much like a war zone, and if there's one thing I can't stand, is a dirty house. Especially before Santa is due to arrive. Yikes. So...the day was spent watching the Chiefs lose yet another football game (sigh), while dusting and mopping and vacuuming. I'd have delegated a lot of this to Hubby, if I could...but he conveniently decided to make a trip to Columbia, Missouri to visit the one daughter who was unable to make it to the party the night before. What good timing on his part...amazing.

As Hubby was unavailable, I looked to my 13-year old daughter to help...but she conveniently was at her grandparents' house for the Annual Cookie Baking/Decorating Party...sigh. And the older sons were either at work or visiting friends....So that Actually, I rather enjoyed the peace and quiet that pervaded the it was a nice respite from the chaos and craziness from the night before.

Monday was Christmas Eve...and I woke up to find not one, but TWO sickies in the house. Hubby had come down with a bad case of the stomach flu, complete with fever...while Daughter was suffering from a bad head cold. That evening, Daughter and I headed down for our annual "A Christmas Carol" theater night at our local Repertory Theater...while Hubby stayed in bed. The show was usual...but it wasn't the same without Hubby. And speaking of Hubby...he's normally an angel, but when he's sick...ack. I got to be Mom, Nurse, AND Santa that night...I was running pretty ragged, while hobbling everywhere on my lovely black boot.

Christmas Day...what a true joy. This year, Santa brought lots of small things...but not necessarily any "big" Kindles, iPads, or Wii's - as we already have those from previous Christmases. The kids all seemed happy...Hubby seemed that made me happy. After a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls, we headed over to my parents' house for our annual get-together with my family...and another fun day ensued. My parents are both in their 70's...and I treasure the time I have with them.

For the past several months, I have been working on putting our family history together...doing a lot of research on the internet, as well as interviews, with various family members. I traced both my father's AND my mother's side back to pre-Revolutionary War...and I found funny stories and quirky trivia along the way. My project ended up being almost 70-pages long, and a quick trip to the printer was in order last Friday. On Christmas Day, I presented bound copies to my own kids, as well as copies to my brother, my sister, and my parents. Was it a fancy gift? No. Was it expensive? No. But I think...when it was all said and was the best present that I gave this year....

As for me? What was the best present I received? My best present was the presence...of my pets...of the love that we felt this holiday season. Even with a bum foot...hobbling in pain...I was never so happy...!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas...however you chose to celebrate it.



Monday, December 24, 2012

These Boots Weren't Made for Walking

In my 50 years of life on this earth, there are two things that have been pretty consistent:

1. I'm pretty good at being a total klutz...

2. I'm pretty good at blaming anyone and everyone else for my misfortunes.

Take last week, for instance...

...when I broke my foot.

I'm pretty sure that I can blame this one on my daughter.

It was SHE who decided to wait until the very last possible second to wait for the school bus - which drives me absolutely, crazily, INSANE, by the way...If the bus comes at 7:36, she decides that 7:35:30 is the time to amble over to the door. Gah.

And because she wasn't at the door, waiting for that bus, it was I who, because I thought I heard it coming, decided to run, barefoot, in a pitch-dark living room, to see if it was, indeed, the bus....

The results of my frantic barefoot flight across a darkened room were twofold:

1. I didn't see the, I'm not sure exactly what it was that I had heard....

2. I didn't see the chair with the wooden legs...which decided to JUMP out and trip me on my dash to the front door.

When a bare foot with teeny-tiny vulnerable toes meets up with a wooden chair leg...and the foot has momentum behind it, by the way...the results can only be described as...not good.


I could literally hear the sound of a crack as I made contact with the chair...upon which, I immediately dropped to the floor, clutching my affected toes, and saying a few words that can not be printed here.

I crawled to the refrigerator, grabbed a bag of frozen peas, and hobbled to the sofa, where I sat...for the next two hours...nursing my poor appendage with ice. Alternating between cursing my own klutziness and my daughter's tardiness, with pleas and prayers for my foot to make a miraculous recovery, it was soon evident that my ministrations were to no avail.

I am now sporting a lovely black and blue foot, which is behaving somewhat like a temperamental two-year old. For something that I never really paid much attention to over the years - other than to decorate it with either lovely pink nail polish or fabulous shoes - it's really taken on a personality that can only be described as...horrible.

My foot has decided that it somewhat doesn't like the simple, mundane task of walking...and God forbid if I attempt to go down a flight of stairs. That brings on a full-blown temper tantrum by said foot.

It's even more frustrating when you see the fabulous shoes I had purchased recently to wear for Christmas....

Aren't these divine??

But instead of wearing THAT shoe, I'm wearing this lovely contraption:

Attractive, yes? Bleh.

And with that, now I'M going to go off and behave like a temperamental two-year old... wah wah wah.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

She-Devil...Shoe-Devil...It's All the Same

It's all Danielle's fault.

Yes. It's all Danielle's fault if Hubby decides to drag my butt into Divorce Court.

Who is Danielle, you ask?

She's the manager at our local DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) store...and it's all her fault, the little homewrecker. Mark my words - you heard it here, first.

Oh, it began innocently enough, I'm sure.

It began with Hubby wandering into DSW the other night, on his way home for work, looking for some new loafers.

As he was checking out, Danielle, the store manager, asked, "Do you have a rewards card with us?"

Hubby wouldn't know a DSW Rewards Card if it bit him in the butt, but he willingly offered up our telephone number to Danielle, little realizing she was laying her trap. Because, that's when the trouble started.

Hubby came home and began what can only be called "The Inquisition" with yours truly.

He: "I had an interesting conversation today with the girl up at DSW."

Me: Innocently...."Oh?"

He: "Yes...she wanted our phone number to pull up our Rewards Card, and when I gave it to her, she said, 'Congratulations.'"

Me: Knowing where this is probably headed, but refusing to say anything on the grounds that it may incriminate me...I decided that silence was my best option at this point.

He: "Yes, she said, "Congratulations! You're one of our Top 25 Best Customers!" He then looks at me at this point for an explanation.

Me: Cringing a little...but still staying very silent. Hubby could have tortured me with a waterboard at this point, and I wasn't going to say a word.

He: "Now...why do you suppose she said that??? And considering that we live in a community of several hundred thousand people, why should she consider US in the top 25???!!"

Me: Blinking a bit, but thinking really fast..."Um....I'm sure she says that to EVERY customer. You're putting too much into it....geesh, Honey. It's a sales technique, and I'm surprised you fell for it. It's DESIGNED to make you feel special. Duh."

Did I tell him that I get handwritten letters from Danielle on a monthly basis, thanking me for the shoe business I bring her? No. I did not tell him that. And I'm pretty sure Danielle doesn't send handwritten thank-you notes to the hundreds of thousands of customers that visit her store. Probably just the Top 25. Which Yikes.

Hubby somewhat skeptically bought my little story, but I marched into DSW the next day....Grabbing Danielle by the shoulders, I gave her a shake, and said, "WHAT were you THINKING???!!!"

She looks at me, innocently...."What are you talking about?" she asked.

"Don't ever...ever...EVER...tell the Hubby that I'm in your Top 25!!! Are you trying to break up my marriage??!!" I asked, somewhat hysterically.

She blinks, and then realizes what disaster she had almost brought down on my head.

With profuse apologies, she promised it would never happen again...and after showing me the new shipment of boots that had just come in, Danielle and I were, once again, BFF's forever in The Wonderful World of Shoes.

Divorce Court averted.




Monday, December 3, 2012

My Two-Ton Kindle


Last night, Hubby and I were having an enjoyable dinner conversation with our 13-year old daughter...discussing literature and theater, of all things.

The topics arose because Hubby & I have theater tickets this weekend to see a performance of the classic, "Les Miserables" - which I've only seen, like, a mere 132 million times in my lifetime, give or take a few, but regrettably, daughter has NEVER seen. Yes. We've been neglectful parents on educating our daughter in all things culture-like, it seems.

This negligence on our part became even more glaringly evident when Daughter expressed ignorance of what the story of "Les Miserables" is all about...and so I was trying, in layman's terms, to explain to a 13-year old the themes that are flowing through Victor Hugo's masterpiece.

"Have you ever read the book?" Daughter asked me, curious.

"'s on my Kindle," I answered...a bit evasive...because, I'll be the first to admit it, SEEING "Les Miserables" is much easier than trying to READ it. The book's over 1,400 pages, for heaven's sake, and is considered one of the longest novels of all time. I said...I've only seen the play a gazillion times, so who needs to read it, anyway?...and not to mention, there's a MOVIE coming out any day now, with Hugh Jackman, no less, and yes, I'll be the first to admit, that I am SO totally a shallow person to be counting the days to see this particular rendering...with Mr. Jackman. Bite me.

Anyway...enough of Hugh Jackman (which, really, is an oxymoron, because, can you ever REALLY have enough of Hugh Jackman? I don't think so.)

Ahem. Back to the conversation last night...

"So...did you READ it? On your Kindle?" Daughter persisted.

"Not exactly....The book's a bit...heavy...if you know what I mean." I looked over at Hubby for confirmation on this, as I don't believe he's ever waded through Hugo's book, either.

The themes of politics, revolution, famine, love - set against the backdrop of the French Revolution - don't exactly make for "light" reading, so to speak.

Daughter pondered this for a minute...and then said, in all seriousness, "Oh. It must be a really thick book - to make your Kindle heavy."






It's a wonder I can barely lift my Kindle at all...who knew that all of these "heavy" books were weighing it down??!!


*Image from here


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dance of Disaster

Last night was one of those moments in time, when I was forced to accept the saddening realization that my little girl is growing up.

The Winter Dance was held last night at her middle school, and my little 7th-grader got all gussied up, dressed up, and fancied up - and then took herself up to school with a gaggle of girlfriends....


As I watched her head out the door to meet up with her friends, I couldn't help but reminisce of when I attended my first middle-school dance...when I was all of 12 years old, and feeling oh-so-grown-up and decidedly adult.

Daughter and friends...

I remember donning my new dress, my new shoes, and my new pantyhose...while working on my hair and make-up for hours, wanting everything to be decidedly perfect. After all - I had an impression to make. I had developed a major crush on a fellow 7th-grade boy...Jimmy...and I was determined to capture his attention at the dance, to the point where he'd drop to his knees, staggering at my beauty and charisma, and declare his undying love in front of me and my fellow classmates.

That was the plan, anyway.

In reality, I hung out on one side of the gym, with 99% of the girls, including my best girlfriend, Angie...while the boys hung out on the other side of the gym...and nary did the two sides meet. For hours, we stared at them, while trying to nonchalantly NOT appear that we were staring...and vice versa for the guys. Fun times, really. Not.

At one point, out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly see that Jimmy was making his way over to our side of the gym...and my heart started beating so fast, I thought I would have a heart attack and die on the spot. Was he FINALLY coming to his senses, and noticing me? Was he going to ask me to dance? Was he going to drop to his knees and declare his undying love? The tension was palpable, as I wondered at his motives....

And then...right when he was practically beside me...disaster struck.

In the form of my BFF, Angie. Who KNEW of my Jimmy-crush, and who decided to take things into her own hands and speed things up, as it were.

When Jimmy was less than a foot away from me, Angie suddenly gave me a huge push - a shove, actually - which knocked me into Jimmy, and then knocked me onto my butt. Yup. I'm on my butt, as the guy of my dreams, startled for a second, looks at me, and then keeps on walking and never looks back.

Mortification set in.

Hissing at Angie, I said, "I CAN'T believe you just did that!!! WHY would you shove me like that??!!"

Looking a bit chagrined, she meekly said, "I just wanted to make sure you got his attention....I was only trying to help."

Oh, I'm sure I got his attention, all right. I was the girl that plowed into him at the dance and then hit the floor, which, unfortunately, did NOT swallow me up and hide me forever.

I never did get Jimmy's attention...not that day, nor any day after. Eventually, my interests went elsewhere, and life went on...the horrifying events of my 7th-grade dance to be forgotten, only to be remembered when I see my own little princess heading off for her special night.

I sent up a special prayer for her last night, and I guess it worked, as she came home last night with a huge smile on her face, saying she'd had a wonderful time, and all was well with her world.


My princess is growing up.