30 December, 2008

How To:

Avoid Awkward Situations with Friends and Loved Ones at the Holidays:

Here are are few little tips I've found helpful this holiday season, when forced into awkward conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and other well-meaning but inept well-wishers:

1.) "Thanks for your opinion, I'll think about it." My god, how simple! Short, polite, to the point, and GETS YOU OUT OF THE CONVERSATION when Aunt Frannie's telling you that you should really drink something more lady-like than a vodka tonic, or when Uncle Sampson says that you'd be an idiot not to consider buying in today's real estate market, nevermind that you're only going to be in FL another 2 years MAX... This little conversational gambit leaves you free to escape to the other room to help Mom with the appetizers or to answer the phone that's vibrating in your purse.

2.) "Well let's Google it!" The wonders of the Internet...what did we do without it? This bad boy is the quickest way to minimize the fight looming on the horizon between Granddad and Uncle Pete over what year Ford started making the Thunderbird. Thank you Wikipedia, you're a life-saver!

3.) "Thank God you're here, I really need your help! Can you please..." Apply lessons learned from your first-aid classes (If you're in a crowd, looking to help someone who's been injured, point to individuals and give them specific tasks.) to the holidays. When you're annoyed with your layabout relatives who never offer to help, assign them a task. Have Cousin Steve make a pot of coffee, ask Aunt Pearl to help her sister clear the table. Get Grandmother to find out how many people want dessert. If you give them specific tasks, they know you expect them to help you, and won't just assume that you've got it all handled (as you always so capably do!).

4.) "Let me get back to you on that one." Oh. My. God. A lifesaver! Those of you who know me, know how hard it is for me to say no when someone asks for my help. Whether it's baking something for the 75 person Christmas Eve party, or organizing a last-minute holiday party, I have the hardest time saying no to anything. But the beauty of "Let me get back to you" is that it isn't saying no! It lets the asker know that you're busy, but that you'll consider how you can help them!

So there it is, CW5H2O's Quick Guide to Getting Through the Holidays with Your Sanity Intact! Hope 2008 has treated everyone well, and that 2009 is even better! :)

29 December, 2008

Family

I love my family, I truly and honestly do. Despite their flaws, or in some cases because of them, I love them more than anything else in this world. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my family.

But sometimes...

Sometimes one of them does something that makes me not like them very much.

I didn't get to spend Christmas with Dad's side of the family this year, so I called over the weekend to get an update on how the festivities had gone, and I had one of those moments that made me really not like my Aunt very much at all. I found out that Christmas morning, she'd had everyone over to her house to open presents. My 10 year old godson got SO excited when he saw the present she'd given him. It was a HUGE box, and he was so excited to find out what was inside. That was the present he picked to open first, and he tore into it with gusto. When he finally got it open, it was full of trash. Yes, that's right, trash. The ENTIRE HUGE BOX was full of nothing but garbage: candy wrappers, empty potato chip bags, torn crayon drawings, TRASH. And my Aunt, his Grandmother, was laughing hysterically. She told him that this was all the trash he'd left at her house over the course of the last year. That's right, she'd collected it and SAVED IT (who does that???) and gave it to him as his Christmas present. Seriously?? His little face just crumbled, and he turned around and said "Nana, I don't get it." She could barely answer him because she was laughing too hard, and taking pictures as his eyes filled up with tears.

This is what I just don't understand. He's 10 years old. He believes in Santa Claus. He's your Grandson, and he loves you, worships you. He comes over to your house, of his own volition, and helps you clean, organizes your attic and your garage, and this is what you do to him at Christmas? HE'S 10 YEARS OLD!! Okay, yes, he should be better about picking up after himself, and you should tell him that (FYI, she never has, not once), but again, he's 10! He doesn't get irony, or sarcasm, he's not going to stop being messy because his Nana gives him a box full of garbage for Christmas! He's just going to think that his Nana doesn't really love him, or that she's mad at him! It's just plain mean, and that's all there is to it. So yes, I love my Aunt, but right now, today, I really don't like her very much.

25 December, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad Everyone!

We just got back from the festivities with the extended family and are getting ready for a nice, chill rest of the evening. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got to spend time with loved ones. From CW5H2O's family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Only 364 days to go!

21 December, 2008

Freaking out...

There always comes a point in my preparations for my mother's visits, when I realize that it's too much. I'm causing myself an insane amount of stress over something that SHOULD be making me happy and excited. That point arrived earlier this evening when I found myself outside on my balcony, with only the lights of the tennis court as illumination, on my hands and knees, scrubbing the concrete balcony. I finished, then looked down at myself and cringed. If my mother actually cares whether or not my balcony has been appropriately scrubbed, then there's no pleasing her, and I should just give up. So there it is...I'm going to finish dusting, make my bed, lay out towels for my parents, and finish wrapping the presents. That's it, I'm done. No more of this staying up until 4am frantically checking my apartment for an errant speck of dust, damp mopping the baseboards and dusting the tops of doors. My parents are coming to visit their only daughter for Christmas. Dad's just going to be happy to see me, and if Mom's not...well, I guess that's just something I'll have to live with, 'cause I can't let it control me anymore, I won't. And I REFUSE to ever do this to my kids.

20 December, 2008

How do I let this happen??

Every time my mother comes to visit, I realize what a complete and utter disaster my house is. It doesn't matter how much advance notice I have of her arrival, I inevitably leave everything to the last possible moment, so here it is, t-minus 48 hours until my mother's arrival, and my apartment is a wreck. I'm ashamed to have friends see it, much less my hyper-judgmental MOTHER...Oh dear god, I'm really not going to sleep for 48 hours, am I?

HELP!!!

18 December, 2008

One of those days....

It's like trying to explain to someone "This is an apple, it's for eating." And they respond with: "Oh, an apple! This must be used for the thermodynamic energy transfer of heat to a diathermic system!"

People, you're attributing way too much importance to the damn apple!!

Have you ever had one of those days that makes you want to beat your head against the wall until you pass out, just so that people will stop talking to you?



**Note: I know nothing about science in general, or thermodynamics in particular.**

16 December, 2008

Big Bang Theory

Okay, I just watched Monday's episode of The Big Bang Theory, and I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING!! My neighbors came by, and knocked on the door to make sure everything was okay.

Giant nerd, party of one? Right here!

Happy Birthday B & T!!

What're the odds that two of my best friends in the whole world would have birthdays on the same day? Well, pretty high actually! So Happy Birthday to both of you...I love you guys and miss you tons...have a great birthday!

15 December, 2008

Our President...

I'm sure by the time most people read this post they'll have seen the news footage of President Bush having two shoes hurled at his head by an Iraqi reporter at a news conference in Iraq. If you haven't, go to YouTube, or turn on one of the thousands of 24hr. news networks, which I'm sure will be showing the clip ad nauseam throughout the day. I have only three things to say on the topic:

1.) Say what you will about the man, our president has some KICK ASS REFLEXES! Did you see that dodge? I'm guessing if we look back in his parents basement in Texas we're sure to find some dusty old dodgeball trophies!

2.) Prime Minister Maliki is an unflappable man. I guess you'd have to be, being Prime Minister of Iraq for 2+ years, but wow! The man didn't even flinch when the first shoe was thrown, and just calmly reached out to bat the second away from Bush's face. There wasn't even a change in facial expression!

3.) The Iraqi Press Corps took the guy down before the Secret Service could even get near him...so good on the other Iraqi reporters, you guys are kind of bad ass! (They also apologized to the President later, saying that they hoped he didn't think that this one crazy-shoe-throwing-man was representative of the entire Iraqi Press.)

11 December, 2008

Can you say Grinch?

I was talking to one of my friends today, who mentioned that his kids are all gung-ho to go to DisneyWorld this year. I said: "Aw! That's great, you'll have so much fun!"

This, ladies and gentlemen, was CLEARLY the wrong reaction.

His response:

"C, I hate rodents. Hate them. I want to kill them dead. I have one small mouse in my house, and I've been setting traps all over the place trying to snap the little bastard's neck for months now. And that's only one tiny little rodent. Why on EARTH would I drive three hours to see their kingdom?"

Ooooookay then Ebenezer! I couldn't stop laughing at such an extreme reaction (and yes kids, he was totally serious. He has no desire to EVER go to DisneyWorld). I just got this mental image of my friend in the happiest place on Earth, setting GIANT mouse traps and going after Mickey with a baseball bat. His poor children would be traumatized for life! So yes, Ebz, please stay away from DisneyWorld. Those of us who enjoy the magic will be better off without you.

And a Bah Humbug to you too!

08 December, 2008

Being Neighborly!

Well, after my holiday bake-a-thon (tip: read the yield before making the recipe. If the recipe yields 12 dozen, it's probably safe to cut the recipe in half!), I decided to take baked treats to the neighbors I'm friendly with. Well, turns out...great move! A couple of them decided to get together for an impromptu dinner, and they invited me. Since I had a batch of lemon snowbars in the oven at that very moment, I was perfectly positioned to provide desert for our little fiesta!

The dinner was great, and the company was wonderful. We all got along very well, and there was never a lull in the conversation (the dreaded lull!!). After dinner, we helped our hostess put up her Christmas tree, which turned into a bit of a debacle, as we realized that the slackers at the Christmas Tree Lot hadn't drilled the hole in the stump all the way, so I got to break out my seldom-used Black&Decker drill, and after BREAKING one of the drill bits, we finally got the tree both A) straight and B) leak free! All in all, it was a highly entertaining evening, with good neighbors. I could get used to this! :)

07 December, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Well it's official...I'm in the Christmas spirit!

Yes, it's true, I'm probably overcompensating for the fact that it was in the high 70s this weekend, and I went out for walks and sat by the pool, but I'm in full on, crazy Christmas mode.

Facts in evidence:

I'm giddy about the fact that the apartment building across the street has a Christmas tree made of lights on its side.


I stayed up until well after 1am finishing my first tranche of holiday baking: Sugar cookies, Christmas Confetti cookies, Eggnog Snickerdoodle cookies, lemon snowbars, banana bread, peppermint bark and peppermint chocolate scones. (Yes, all from scratch, I don't do Christmas any other way!)


I finished decorating my apartment:

The Kitchen:


The China Cabinet:


The Dining Room:


The Entryway:


The Front Door:


The Tree (Obviously):


The Living Room:


Yes, that's right, my apartment looks like Santa's Elves threw up in it. I've also got candles in the windows in both bedrooms, along with Snowman night-lights, and Christmas towels in the bathrooms, but the bedrooms are too messy to photograph, and it's just weird to show pictures of a bathroom on a blog.

I've written half my Christmas cards, and wrapped all the presents I've bought so far, all while watching White Christmas....several times. If you haven't seen White Christmas, SHAME ON YOU! GO OUT AND RENT IT RIGHT NOW! It's only the best holiday movie ever! Ah, Bing and Danny....two of my favorite guys!

So now I'm just about ready...I'm going to try to get the holiday cards finished by the end of next weekend, but I've gotta say...I'm in the Christmas spirit! 24 hour Christmas music? Check. Copious amounts of baking? Check. Insane quantity of Christmas decorations? Check. Changing Blog Colors to Red and Green? Check. Christmas Cheer? Absolutely! Insanity Check? Positive.

Now, it's sleeping time. What'dya think the odds are that I'll dream of sugarplums? G'night Everybody! :)

05 December, 2008

Have you ever had a dream?

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid, so normal, so completely logical that when you woke up, it took you more than just a few seconds to realize that it wasn't real?

I woke up this morning from the most vivid dream I've ever had in my life, and for more than five minutes, I was confused. I felt it. Felt all of it. In this dream I'd relived the last eight years of my life, but made different choices. Not better choices, not worse, just different. And I saw my life, the way it could have been. It was better in some ways, worse in others. Mainly just different. The people in my life were the same, by and large. My friends were my friends, my family was my family. But this other life felt so real, that when I woke up, I didn't know that it wasn't. And I have no idea what it means, if it means anything, and it's probably nothing, but I think it's significant, that the people I choose to have in my life were the same, in the dream world and the real world.

So I know that if nothing else, at least I've gotten that part right.

03 December, 2008

A minor quibble....

I have a minor quibble with the Wii Fit. For the Strength Training and Yoga sections, it assigns you a trainer. Fine. You get to choose if you want a male trainer or a female trainer. I don't really care, as it's a computer generated image, so I picked the male trainer. Then today, I start my workout, and it gives me the female trainer, who says "I hope you don't mind, but I'm filling in for your usual trainer today."

Um......okay.....is he out sick? Computer virus or something? Then, when he does return, a few workouts later, his formerly crew-cut hair is now a few inches longer, and sort of shaggy. If my trainer turns into a hippie guy with a pony-tail, I'm going to be a little weirded-out.

A note to the people of South Florida:

71 degrees is not cold. 65 degrees is not cold. Even 60 degrees is not cold. Do not come stomping into a building, faux shivering, and announce to the world "UGH! I HATE WINTER!" This? Is not winter. This is fall...ish. Even that's sort of pushing it.

That is all.

01 December, 2008

SNOW!!

The trip home to see the family for Thanksgiving was amazing, and I'll post more later, but for now, I leave you with the sight that a homesick Midwest girl longs for....SNOW!!

Snow//It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow//Snow//I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow//Snow//I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow//Snow//Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow...



Where it's snowing//All winter through//That's where I want to be//Snowball throwing//That's what I'll do//How I'm longing to ski//Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh...



Those glist'ning houses that seem to be built of snow//Snow//Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow//What is Christmas with no snow?//No white Christmas with no snow//Snow...



I'll soon be there with snow//I'll wash my hair with snow//And with a spade of snow//I'll build a man that's made of snow//I'd love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye//Go to sleep//And dream//Of snow!

G'night Everybody! :)