Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Shopping Is NOT For The Faint Of Heart (or people who don’t parallel park very well.)

Yeah, I kinda suck at parallel parking.

I used to be GREAT at it back when I was driving the girls to elementary school every morning and had to park and walk them in. It was a daily occurrence then, but now? I avoid it like the plague. However, some of my Christmas shopping lately has included the stores in the quaint little downtown square of Franklin, TN and in that neck of the woods you don’t have any choice but to try to wedge your car in between two other ones with little or no room for error. If Madi is sitting next to me in the front seat I do much better because she coaches me– actually, it’s not so much ‘coaching,’ it’s more like repeating in a bored voice (and with a barely perceptible eye roll) a line from the driver’s ed manual that is particularly fitting: “Begin by pulling up parallel with the car in front of the parking space.” Somehow I manage to forget that pertinent piece of information every time until she says it, and if I am alone in the car I have this momentary panic attack (much like Prissy in ‘Gone With The Wind’) until I remember– and it still usually takes me a couple of runs at it.

I actually ventured out to do most of my shopping last Saturday night, which is in itself, by definition INSANE. Seriously, the weekend before Christmas? Apparently everybody who had a heartbeat and could fog a mirror was out there shopping. I was not stupid enough to attempt to storm the malls around here, but I did run over to Murfreesboro hoping a smaller town might have less shoppers per square mile. Not altogether a sound plan, but I decided to go all Zen and self-helpy on my own self and try to just chillax and enjoy the experience without stressing out.

That was a wise decision on my part, because frankly there were a whole lot of folks out there running around like crazed weasels teetering on the brink of having a DefCon 11 Level Meltdown over things like parking spaces and people in front of them in line not moving fast enough. It was a teensy bit tense at times, but if you know me at all you know that I’m a firm believer in when the going gets tough, the tough get sarcastic, so I was able to amuse myself to no end by mentally framing all kinds of really smart-ass witty retorts to some of the decidedly UN-amused people around me. I say ‘mentally framing’ because I am not an idiot– some of those shoppers looked fully capable of shanking me right in the middle of T.J. Maxx– but trust me, there was some comic gold happening up there in my head. Sometimes I just crack me up, I swear.

At any rate, I think I am just about through with my shopping, with the exception of a few straggling gifts I may delegate to the girls. Charlotte knocked out most of her shopping yesterday on our way home from church, and Madi Rose proudly informed me that she has completely finished hers and that I made out very well– of course, she does 90% of her shopping at Goodwill these days (which I wholeheartedly endorse), so if any of you ever see me wearing something that looks vaguely familiar to you, chances are you might have owned it at one time. FYI, the polite thing to do in that case would be to refrain from mentioning it, although it really wouldn’t matter, because A) I love a good bargain B) I have no shame and C) Madi Rose aka The Idealistic College Activist feels very strongly about recycling/saving the Earth/not wasting things/etc. Which suits me just fine. Frankly I’m rather proud of giving birth to the world’s cutest Hall Monitor.

Also yesterday I was able to bribe the girls into enduring a brief photo shoot, so I can give the grandparents some shots of them for Christmas. They hate this, by the way– apparently I can get rather bossy when I’m trying to get the perfect shot and they take exception to constructive criticism such as, “You kinda look like you’re about to get hit by an oncoming vehicle” or “That smile makes you seem just a wee bit drunk.” At any rate I ended up with some really beautiful pictures, and I’ll show you an outtake (They hated this one, but I thought it was sweet):


So… how is your Christmas shopping going? Any gunplay involved?

Holiday Parties!

As you have all probably surmised by now, I am a big fan of parties. Especially if the party happens to includes dressing up, good food and lots of friends– I AM SO THERE.

Russ, on the other hand, is not a big party animal. He prefers quiet gatherings or dinner out with a few friends. (Which I also like. In fact, it is hard to think of any kind of gathering I’m not a fan of. Possibly a public hanging– but I’d even consider that if there was a live band. And maybe a signature cocktail.) So anyway, when I got an invitation for a festive Girls Only /Pajama Party/Cookie Exchange at the lovely home of  Homecoming Magazine editor Roberta Croteau, it was totally right up my alley. Not only did I get to dress up, it also gave me the chance to show up with 3 dozen of my Soon To Be World Famous Way Too Labor-Intensive Christmas Cookies and modestly dig my toe in the dirt and blushingly brush away all compliments as I protested that “Those little ol’ cookies were no big deal at all, I’m just so pleased that you think they’re pretty…”

(I purposely neglected to mention that producing those little ol’ cookies kept me up until 4:30 a.m. Monday morning and involved burning the first batch– there may or may not have been some serious cussing going on in my kitchen that night. It was appalling. The dogs still aren’t making eye contact with me.)

The only tiny hitch in my party plans involved the fact that I don’t own a pair of pajamas, which can be a problem if you’re going to a pajama party. HOWEVER– I happened to remember that Sue Buchanan was going to be there and I just KNEW she’d wear something totally inappropriate, so I figured I had a little wiggle room. I dug around in the archives (aka my closet) and came up with a lovely peignoir that I LITERALLY had only worn maybe once– IN 1976! Yes kids, it was actually a part of my bridal trousseau (and if you think I am thoroughly enjoying throwing around “Mad Men”-era phrases like peignoir and trousseau, you are so right.)  Anyway, it is totally foo–foo and ridiculous so of course I further upped the ante by adding strings of pearls, waved hair, red lipstick, big-ass fake diamond earrings and stilettos. Altogether not a bad look for me, I decided.

I was also fervently hoping I didn’t get stopped by the police, because they would have immediately started checking to see if there were any warrants out for an aging retro hooker driving a dented Jaguar.

So anyway, here’s a couple of pictures– Russ took the first one before I left, and the afore-mentioned Sue Buchanan just posted the second one on Facebook. And yes, she IS sporting silky pajamas, curlers and too much cleavage, thanks for asking. I knew I could count on her.

So, tell me– gone to any holiday parties recently you want to share with the class…?

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