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Archive for the ‘Holiday Hades’ Category

Yes, sports fans. It is moi – – The Blog Slackinator. I will refrain from excuses of why I have not been writing in the blog of late and just say this instead: I haven’t felt like it. I don’t really know WHY I haven’t felt like it but felt like it, I have not. For me, writing involves ideas that I always have cooking on the stove that is my brain – – and there are times when these ideas are at full boil and I have to get them out of my head before they begin to screech of their own volition similar to a lobster that has been chosen for dinner out of that big murky tank found at a Red Lobster near you, and put into a big pot of scalding hot water. Then there are times when the ideas are simmering just below the surface of me – – not in any hurry what-so-ever to be put out there into the world for people to see, judge, and once again conclude that I need to be committed to a cute little mental institution down the street, to lead the pack of patients in pill popping games similar to drinking games but without as much puking (When watching “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, every time Nurse Ratched gives a scary, icey glare, EVERYONE POP A VALIUIM!!!)

But I digress.

Given that I PROMISED to give you the Halloween story back….you know…during HALLOWEEN…and I didn’t pay up, then I figured I should make good on the promise, despite the fact that I should really be making dirty elf jokes right now instead. And who doesn’t like a good dirty elf joke? But you’ll have to wait until Valentine’s Day for those, folks.

The Halloween story of festive embarrassment that I have to relay took place about 7 or 8 years ago. I’d just started dating my now ex-boyfriend, Luis, at the time – – and he’d been tasked with finding a Halloween party for us and other mutual friends to attend since none of us had heard of any going on that year. He called me up a few days before Halloween and – SCORE – one of his clients had invited him (and any other guests he might want to bring along) to what was advertised to Luis as a “Killer Halloween Party”. It was rather short notice but we called up our friends and everyone was game for the party.

I hadn’t really considered a costume until that moment because it had looked like we weren’t going to be able to find a party to attend – – so the day before Halloween, I went out scouting for a costume at various Party Outlet stores. The result of this trip was realizing that all of the good costumes had been snatched up already, and I was left with things like a “Shaggy” costume from Scooby Doo or a tattered, gold pimp costume with a rip in the leg. I finally found a little Alpine Girl get-up that was called….get this….”Heidi the Ho” on the outside of the bag in which it came. I estimated that the “Ho Factor” was pretty minimal when I looked at all the pieces that came with it – – skirt, bodice, white stockings – – so I don’t know where the manufacturers came up with the idea that Heidi was luring in wayward mountaineers with Come-Hither looks in THIS outfit.

The night of the party, I happened to ask Luis exactly who it was throwing the “Killer Halloween Party” and he said it was a “Software Geek” client of his who gives this party every year and apparently goes all out with the decoration and spook effect. We were even going to have to park in a different location from the house because there were too many cars and there wouldn’t be enough room. The guy had hired a limo service and a limo would pick us up at this satellite location and drive us to the party. This all sounded good to me and I excitedly relayed this information to my friends who were going with us, hoping to get everyone pumped up.

We all met up for dinner before-hand and I quietly surveyed the costumes around the table as we ate: Zorro, Cleopatra, Mark Antony, A Dominatrix, Naughty Nurse and Heidi the Ho. Not a bad little crew there, all told. A proud addition to any Halloween party.

Later, as we made our way to the party in the limo provided, as planned, Zorro popped out a bottle of champagne and we all shared it en route, laughing, and carrying on as people are want to do when wearing costumes and heading to a “Killer Halloween Party” in a limo. We exited the limo in front of a spookily decked out house complete with fog machines, scary sound effects and eerie lighting. The Dominatrix was whipping us all playfully as we made our way up the walk toward the house and we were generally being quite raucous as we entered the house and headed down the hallway into where it appeared that the “life of the party” was supposed to be as we could see movement in there.

What happened next is difficult to fully articulate through written word and completely express the scene. It was like we were characters in a movie, and as we walked into the room, the needle on the record scratched and everything came to a screeching halt.

No one was dressed up. Well…I take that back. A couple of people were wearing jeans and appeared to have painted their faces like characters from some sort of Dungeons and Dragons computer-type games. And there were two kids there who were dressed as vampires. But what we mainly saw were people against the wall, nervously holding paper cups, not wearing a stitch of anything resembling a costume – – gawking at us.

We gazed into the kitchen and the first thing we saw were about 30 bottles of soda, standing side-by-side on the counter like a Battalion of the Un-Fun. Oh God. There wasn’t even any alcohol to take the edge off of the pain of this moment. The only music was that of silent befuddlement at what spaceship had dropped off this rowdy group of historic figures and sexual deviants into what could only be described as a “First Middle School Dance”…..for adults.

The Dominatrix and the Naughty Nurse grabbed my arm and not-so-subtly herded me toward the bathroom and shut the door on the horror. “What are we going to DO??”, the Dominatrix hissed out of mahogany lips as she widened her silver eye-lashed eyes. “We have to get OUT OF HERE”, she continued with a glare that fully expressed the urgency of the situation. A glare that indicated there was nothing…NOTHING…as dyer as a lame Halloween Party where no one else was dressed up, but where she was currently wearing a black vinyl dress, fishnet stockings, purple wig, and wielding a riding crop.

I said “Look…we can’t just leave…this is one of Luis’s customers and it’s really bad business if we turn around and leave, basically indicating quite plainly that the party is LAME”. They both looked defeated at that point because they knew I was right. I asked that we just make the best of it for about an hour or so and then make a quiet, polite exit. They begrudgingly agreed but not before the Dominatrix hissed again, “Ok…but you owe me BIG TIME”.

When we exited the bathroom, Cleopatra, Zorro and Mark Antony were hanging out in the kitchen drinking some Orange Shasta. They had good news. It was rumored that somewhere in the basement, there was a keg of beer. Zorro and I ventured out on an exploratory mission to locate said keg. We headed down a labrynth of dark stairs and hallways into the bowels of the garage where a small, frightened, shivering keg of beer stood uncertainly in the corner, like someone was holding it there at gunpoint. We filled up six small cups – – rationing carefully since it would appear that there wasn’t much to go around and we wanted to make sure that all of us had the same amount of medicinal assistance to deal with the situation.

When we returned, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, the Dominatrix and The Naughty Nurse had all formed a desperate Conga Line in the kitchen. Like they had suddenly gotten sauced on the Shasta and were overcome with the party spirit. Unfortunately, the party spirit still had not overtaken the other half of the room as they stared at our group quietly, sipping from their cups like it was an afternoon cup of tea and they were on the lawn playing a rousing game of checkers while watching a group of Vagrant “Artists” roll around in the grass doing some sort of vulgar performance art. They were frightened….but fascinated by us.

Zorro and I joined in the Conga line – – trying to willfully manufacture the fun amongst the bottles of soda, boxes of pizza, and plastic platters of grocery store cookies. We eventually stopped, though, when one of the vampire children ventured into the kitchen with an injury. I have no idea where she would have sustained an injury since I had yet to find any activity going on anywhere in the house that didn’t involve just feet shuffling and sipping soda from a cup, but the vampire flung her arm up on the counter in front of the Naughty Nurse with an angry gash staring up from the skin.

It would appear the the vampire child thought that the Naughty Nurse actually had some sort of real, medical know-how because she clearly was seeking HER assistance – – not the rest of ours. One of the more bizarre scenes I remember from that night was looking over at the vampire child being bandaged up by the Naughty Nurse – – whose black, lacy bra was peeking out vulgarly from the inside of her white coat – – as the vampire child gazed down in earnest watching the cut be tended to.

We were finally able to gracefully exit the “Killer Halloween Party” after about an hour, 16 minutes and 22 seconds from when we entered the party. A few of the guys dressed as Dungeons and Dragons characters took a shine to the Dominatrix and the Naughty Nurse and asked to have their pictures taken with them at varying times during the night – -like they were characters at an adult theme park or something. Later on that week, Luis received a montage of photographs taken that night from his customer who’d thrown the party and, sure enough, the Dominatrix and Naughty Nurse were in many of them – – standing beside several different geeky looking guys who were all wearing varying renditions of the same, goofy grin. I’m sure that it had made their night.

All of us never forgot that party – – after all, you never forget the really great parties – – and apparently, you never forget the really lame ones either.

And everytime I see a 2 liter bottle of Shasta, a little shiver is involuntarily released up and down my spine.

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I just have TOO much to blog about from the Christmas holidays – – so bear with me as I flood my site with it.

Ok…so on Decemeber 24th, after my family Christmas festivities were over, I turned on the TV at 10:30pm CST thinking that I could catch a repeat of Leno or something of the sort on Christmas Eve.  But what I found instead was this:

 

tvfireplace

 

Yes.  That would be a crackling fire on TV.  A crackling fire on NBC, specifically.  A crackling fire with Christmas music being played in the background.

Has this always been done and I just haven’t been aware of it?   Does anyone withOUT a fireplace think that a TV fireplace really hits the “Christmas Ambiance” mark?  Did you feel the need to break out a bag of marshmallows and fake-roast them over an electrical screen? 

Because I DIDN’T!

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When I walked into my mother’s house the evening of December the 23rd, what I immediately saw on the kitchen counter was what looked like a hunk of meat.  Meat of what variety, I couldn’t be sure.  I think my next words (after laughing) were “I gotta get my camera…”  (…and I think mom replied with “You’re not going to blog about THAT are you???” )  I would like to qualify that my mother is an outstanding cook….I’m talking Martha Stewart incarnate….but this meat looked a little suspect .

Here it is:

mysterymeat

(candle added for ambiance by my mother in a desperate attempt to make the mystery meat more “festive”)

So I ask you readers…..is this meat:

A.  A turkey

B.  A ham

C.  A chicken

D.  Stolen remains from a human autopsy

 

(Yes Mom, I blogged about it…)

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christmasnapbed1

As I’ve gotten older, it seems that every year, I find myself trading holiday war stories with my friends like we just returned from the shores of Normandy.  No one, it would seem, remains mentally and emotionally unscathed during the holiday season.  Whether you’re a parent, a singleton, old, young, rich, poor, male or female…everyone has his or her own scars to bear once the holiday season draws to a close.   Everyone struggles to bake the cakes and souffles, they try valiantly to meet unrealistic familial expectations, they shuffle schedules to attempt to arrive at three Christmas gatherings in one day.   Presents are breathlessly wrapped just in the nick of time,  stores are gamefully conquered, and arguments over politics quelled at the dinner table.  We gobble up the last bite of figgy pudding and…….then what?  All that drama and fuss and worry and frustration all comes to a close with a bit of a whimper as we amble home, re-injecting ourselves back into the normal rhythms of life.

This year was no different for me in many respects.  I still had my Annual Christmas Meltdown that results from me trying to please too many people at once.  I had my Seasonal Freak Out where I declared, not so graciously or gracefully that “EVERYONE IS GETTING A GIFT CARD FROM ME AND THEY’RE GOING TO LIKE IT!!!!”  I argued with every person in my family at LEAST once, but more often, multiple times, with the exception of  my neice and nephew because, you know, they’re 2 and 4 respectively, and I want to spare them the wrath of “Crazy Aunt Amy” for as long as possible (though they will, likely, eventually be told stories about me around a campfire some day very soon – – the story teller speaking in a spooky, somber tone with a flashlight held under his or her chin:  “And then…Crazy Aunt Amy pulled out the gift card slowly…slowly from her pocket…and held it above her head as she cackled loudly…”)

But what made this year a little different is that on Christmas Day….the actual DATE of December 25th, I had nothing to do.  Oh, I was still at my mom’s house and surrounded by Christmas fare….but there were no plans.  There was absolutely NADA to do and it was…for me…nothing short of Heaven.  I worked on a puzzle with my mom, briefly….but mostly, I read a book…..and more blissfully important:  I took a nap.

When I stay at my mom’s house, I sleep in one of the guest bedrooms and I’ve grown to really enjoy this room.  It’s slightly drafty, but it has two small lamps on either side of a soft, comfortable bed with cool white linens,  an irory bedspread – – and various colorful, thick quilts to add on top for extra warmth.  I sleep like a rock when I’m there – – and it’s absolutely perfect for naps.  It BEGS for your head to hit its pillow about any old time of day…but I’ve found it beckons the loudest at about 3:00pm in the afternoon.

And that’s exactly when it began to call to me on December 25th, as I lay down to read my book.  I looked out the window at the rain falling, and the sound of it began lulling my eyes closed.  No internet…no TV…no conversation.  Just me, that bed…..and sleep.

 

It was the best Christmas present EVER.  😉

christmasnapbed21christmasnappillow

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I went to my friend Cathi’s last night to help her decorate her Christmas tree. Her boyfriend was out of town, and she had a bare tree in desperate need of some sparkle and pizazz and we were just the ones to do it. Considering my “Christmas Tree” was actually a pint sized rosemary tree clad in a band of gold stars….and that’s about it…I was looking forward to decorating a tree this year, even if it’s not mine!

Anyone who knows Cathi knows that she has a child cat named Rad whom she rains adoration and attention on like he is the Anointed Prince of all Felines. He used to be small enough to fit inside of her two cupped hands, and we all got photos of him e-mailed to us as a kitten curled up in sinks and other nooks, displaying his cuteness in full glory. You would get photos of Rad and an involuntary “Awwww” would escape from your mouth before you could stop yourself.

Rad is now 2 years old, a beautiful kitty…..and he is also similar in size to a moose and similar in coat to a woolly mammoth. The exclamation one has upon seeing him now is something akin to “Sweet MOTHER of Bobby-Jo – – that cat is HUGE.” In short, he looks like an area rug with paws.

Exhibit A:

cathibigcat

I told you, didn’t I?

Well last night, Cathi was pulling down all the boxes of decorations from the attic and handing the boxes to me below her in the hallway, when I heard her exclaim “Ooooo! It’s Rad’s Santa suit!!!!”. I bit my lip, looked up and said “That cat has a Santa suit?” She said “Yes, it’s the same suit he wore last year for the picture I put on his stocking…”

***crickets chirping***

Despite not understanding the rituals of “cat people”, I still had to admit that I was dying to see how that gi-gant-a-thon cat could be put into a santa suit – – and…you know. I had my camera. Therefore this was simply a photo op that NEEDED to happen…..so I encouraged the event, against my better judgement. If the Christmas Humor Elves were raining blessings upon me….who was I to argue with them?

So after we decorated the tree to the nines – – and decked it out in sparkling lights and be-jeweled ornaments, Cathi pulled out the Santa suit and beckoned Rad over for his fitting. The amazing thing about this cat is how docile he is – – he lay there like a slug – – completely resigned to his fate, somewhere in his distant memory he remembered last year’s humiliation and understood it was best to cooperate fully, and then just pretend it never happened. It was over much quicker this way. (and for the record, he was only left in the santa suit for about 5 minutes…before anyone yells at us for being mean to the cat! 😉 )

Once Cathi had him fully dressed, and hat planted firmly in place….she gathered up all his tufts of gray fur into a bundle and held him up for the photo-op.

The result was this:

cathikittysanta

Now…..take a real, close look at that cat’s face. Because he’s plotting our deaths right there. There is a very clear, meticulous plan being hatched underneath that jaunty red cap….“First, I’m going to take down the blond human holding the metal box that flashes, and she’s not even going to know what hit her – she’s going down….then the brown hair human, her death will be slower…I’m going to take my time with her…because she made me do this TWICE”

Let’s take a closer look at that face again…for good measure…

cathikittysantacrop

Seriously….it’s all fun and games until that cat learns how to use a gun.

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Will power currently at very unacceptable levels.

cashews2

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tuba

“O Holy Night”.  The Christmas song of all Christmas songs.    The creme de la creme of caroling.  I began pondering this fact tonight when I realized that, on B98.5 (the radio station that plays “All Christmas music, all the time!!!!”…until you want to stab yourself in the eye with Rudolph’s antler by the end of Christmas!!!!  Which is why I listen to it only in doses….because I like both my eyes. ) ,  I’d listened to a different rendition of “O Holy Night”  every…single…time…I’d flipped it to that station.  Evvvveryone wants to sing their version of “O Holy Night”.  And they want to sing it earnestly….with feeling!  They want you to get chills on top of your chills….goosebumps on top of your goosebumps.  I get the feeling that all the artists are in some sort of silent battle with one another to hit the highest, most earth-shattering high-note at the end – – that type of perfect note that only dogs can hear and you only know it’s been hit because all the windows shatter in your car.

So tonight, I got on YouTube and typed in “O Holy Night” to see what came up, and as suspected, what came up were pages and pages of artists giving their forehead-vein-popping best to knock your socks off with THEIR version of it.  We have your standard variety of angelic cheesiness with Josh Grobin, Celine Dion, and The Celtic Women (taking a break from their PBS phone-athon, and singing expressively into their handsfree I-Can-Land-Planes-Too microphones), Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson…the works.  Then you have a couple of bizarre eye-brow raisers like Weezer……and much worse….N’Sync….giving their rendition. 

 

But I was looking for something a bit different – – something more…dare I say? ….spectacular   – and I found it.  I must admit that with the first few back-beat rhythms from the Casio keyboard, and then when the tuba starts, I found myself laughing quite hard.  This, my friends….IS…my favorite version of O Holy Night ever.  May it be yours too. 

Enjoy.  🙂

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