Holiday Things Driving Me Crazy

The holiday season is a blur of contradictions. On one hand, we’re celebrating the birth of a man who preached simple, humble living. On the other hand, we spend tons of money buying “As Seen On TV” crap for everyone we’ve ever met in our lives.

On Monday we’re dreaming of a White Christmas. And on Thursday we’re cursing in several languages as we shovel snow.

We’re just never happy. To continue that trend, here is my list of Holiday Things Driving Me Crazy:

  • Getting “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” stuck in my head for 12 consecutive days.
  • Pinterest shame for not making everything homemade.
  • The “Naughty List” blackmail scheme.
  • Egg nog.
  • Christmas specials featuring Lady Gaga, Michael Buble, One Direction or Nicki Minaj.

nicki

(Looks like someone skinned a Christmas elf.)

  • Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol? Really??
  • Peppermint-flavored Egg Nog.
  • Children screaming at the mall.
  • Eating “one more piece of toffee,” for eight straight hours.
  • Perfect family Christmas newsletters.

perfect(This is how serial killers are formed.)

  • Christmas sweaters for dogs.
  • Singing Christmas trees, guitar-playing Santas, tap-dancing penguins and caroling elves. Stop it.
  • Being judge by a fat man in a red fur suit.
  • Hearing “Jingle bells, Batman smells” over and over and over and over and over and over and over. . .
  • Pumpkin spice-flavored Egg Nog.

egg nog(Let’s just say, Egg Not.)

Only 9 more days!! Enjoy what’s left of the season.

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Confusing Christmas Lyrics

Nothing makes sense when you’re a kid. And then Christmas comes along, and any remaining sense flies out the window. Exactly what is figgy pudding? And I’d never seen a chestnut, let alone roasted one on an open fire. I always imagined it was similar to Jiffy Pop Popcorn.

On top of the regular Christmas confusion, there were holiday songs that never quite penetrated my childish brain. The lyrics seemed wrong, and sometimes downright inappropriate.  Here are the lyrics that never made sense to me when I learned these songs at Viewmont Elementary.

  • In Silent Night, why are the “Olives calm. Olives bright.”? And calling Mary the “Round, young virgin” may have been accurate, but seemed a little callous to my child’s mind.

silent night

  • The first line of Up on the House Top completely messed with my brain. “Up on the housetop, reindeer paws.” Reindeer don’t have paws! Good grief.
  • Stalker Santa appeared in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. In one of the first NSA tracking systems on record, Santa Claus “Knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good.” I was surprised every year that I didn’t wake up to an entire truckload of coal on Christmas morning.
  • Deck the Halls  was created in a language of complete gibberish. What the hell does “Troll the ancient yuletide carol” mean?! The whole song sounds like it was written by drunk leprechauns.
  • In Do You Hear What I Hear, there’s the line that says, “A Child, a Child shivers in the cold, Let us bring Him silver and gold.”
    Are you stupid? Bring the kid a blanket! He’s shivering!
  • The Little Drummer Boy stretched my childlike credibility to the limit. Even I knew a young mother Mary wouldn’t want a little kid banging his drum while the baby Jesus was sleeping. A drum solo is not a gift.

drummer

(Am I the only one who watched this?)

  • And explain to me, oh writers of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, how do you dance in a “new old-fashioned way?” Is there a twerking waltz or a hip-hop minuet?
  • The 12 Days of Christmas was a mystery to me. Why was some poor woman getting presents for 12 days that included geese, swans, hens, turtle doves and calling birds? Did she have room for that many feathered friends? I always thought her “true love” was a douche.
  • In We Three Kings, I never quite understood where their land Orient Are could be found.
  • Add to this list any song that carried on about the magical, fantasy-land appearance of snow, like Winter Wonderland, White Christmas and Let it Snow. Snow is cold, and usually miserable. If you’ve ever dropped your mittens in ice water, and had to walk to school with your fingers frozen together, you might understand.

cold

(He’s fine. Just enjoying the Winter Wonderland.)

As you go through the holiday, keep in mind the children around you are confused, over-stimulated and greedy as s***. Don’t make it harder for them by singing songs that make no Christmas sense.

Feliz Navidad!

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Life and Laughter book–Coming Soon!

Hey All,

I know I’ve been slacking for the last few weeks, but I’ve been compiling my favorite “Life and Laughter” columns that I’ve written during the last 10 years, and have produced a BOOK! Yes, a BOOK! It has everything you’d hope for in a book: page numbers, chapters, a back cover–and other surprises!

My “L and L” column has appeared in the Valley Journals newspapers for more than a decade, and has won several awards from REALLY prestigious organizations that you’ve never heard of.

It should be available in a couple weeks on Amazon, and other sites that will be revealed shortly.

Thanks to my uber-supportive, wonderful husband, Tom.

And thanks to my daughter, Kelsee Tia, for the cover design!

Life and Laughter Cover

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Business Conferences: A Survival Guide for the Socially Stunted

Being alone at a business conference is the worst. Actually, just being at a business conference is the worst. There are strangers everywhere–and they’re trying to communicate with me!! (Activate invisibility cloak.)

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(Please, don’t make me socialize.)

I’ve devised some strategies to survive these business/bonding fests where everyone wants to “get to know you,” and “can’t wait to hear about your experiences.” I’d rather be boiled in mayonnaise. Anyway, if you’re socially stunted, as I am, you might appreciate these business conference survival tips.

No eye contact: There are no other words that strike fear into the heart of an introvert than the phrase, “Team Building Exercise.” I’d rather hear, “Mandatory rabies vaccinations,” or “Now let’s go around the room and read the zoning ordinances!” Team building should be banned, and as long as you pretend you can’t see what’s going on, no one will pick you for their team. Just like dodgeball at elementary school. Thanks for that bad memory, business conference.

Act busy: During the meetings, friends and coworkers sit together, leaving the lonely losers (like myself) sitting at the end of a table, trying to not look stupid. That’s when I open my laptop and look extremely focused. But instead of actually doing anything important, I’ll be writing a blog, a humor column, or write down funny observations about the people around me. For instance, did you know mullet/poodle hair is a thing again? I did not know that.

Forget your toothbrush: This was unintentional, but I was in a place where the general store closed at 8 p.m., and didn’t open until after my morning meetings started, so I made a really rank first impression on several unsuspecting people. By the end of the first day, no one wanted to talk to me. Mission accomplished.

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(Someone even offered me a tooth-cleaning dog biscuit.)

Wear headphones: Especially if you’re attending a meeting by yourself, finding a group of people to sit with is a daunting task. Yeah, breakfast is free, but you have to sit with a bunch of strangers getting all up in your business. By wearing headphones attached to your iPhone, you can gesture that you’re on an important conference call, and there’s really nothing you can do. Sorry.

Practice conversation starters: If the conference organizer confiscates your headphones, you’ll have to talk to the people around you. I’ve learned the art of conversation is dead. Mumbling through small talk is excruciating. I asked a fellow attendee, “What’s the biggest issue facing your city?” and it must have translated to “Have you kicked any kittens lately?” Because she grabbed her plate of lukewarm pancakes and sausage–and moved to another table.

Go With Confidence: No one knows you’re a bubbling hive of insecurity. Maybe make an effort to act like a social being. Pretend you’re trying out for the role of the confident business woman. Try not to laugh when people believe you.

Print this up, place it in your daily planner, and when you’re at your next week-long conference, you’ll have a few suggestions to help you survive.

 

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Things Driving Me Crazy Today

If Tuesday was a superhero, it would be StupidMan. Here’s what’s got my socks in a bunch this Tuesday:

  • When you get out the toaster and the crumb tray opens and spills all over the floor.
  • The man who drove down our street, driving with his left hand, and holding a baby in his right hand. Dumbass.
  • Stepping in bread crumbs you haven’t swept up yet.
  • Resealable packages with the “easy tear” opening that is not “easy” and does not “tear.” Or if it does tear, it rips too high to open the seal, or so low the seal won’t ever close again. Yeah, that.
  • Peeps for any holiday except Easter.

gingerbread

(Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.)

  •  Being weighed at my doctor appointment.
  • Being told I need a mammogram and a tetanus shot. Yep, I’ll get right on that.
  • 40 degrees outside.
  • Reams and reams of full-size, heavy paper stock, political ads in my mailbox. You have too much money. No vote for you.
  • The Neanderthal who almost changed lanes into the side of my car–and then flipped me off. Yeah, sorry about driving in my lane.
  • Burning my forehead with a curling iron three days before a big event.

wart

(Yeah, I guess it could have been worse.)

  • The never-ending holiday sales emails from every merchant I’ve ever purchased anything from ever in my entire life.
  • Already hearing “Silver Bells” too many times this year.
  • Trying to figure out cheap, thrilling, most-wanted gifts for my grandkids. Lesson Learned: socks do not fall under “thrilling” or “most-wanted.”
  • Not winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Again.

Happy Tuesday, all. Don’t forget to vote!

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Are You Too Old To Trick or Treat?

I don’t ask for ID when someone shows up on my doorstep begging for candy–as long as it’s Halloween. I don’t care if you’re a gangsta teen, a middle-aged mom, a 2-day-old baby or even that creepy 30-something guy who’s always hanging around the park. I’ll give anyone candy–because it’s CANDY! Everyone loves candy!

But in the interest of safety, there comes a time when you should probably hang up the trick-or-treat bag and stay planted on the couch watching Dark Shadows reruns. Here are some hints you should stay home on Halloween:

  • You leave your house to go trick or treating, and don’t remember how to find your way back.
  • You remember meeting the original Dracula.
  • Someone says, “What are you supposed to be?” You reply, “Dead.”
  • People keep saying, “Great old lady costume!”

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(But I’m not wearing a costume.)

  • Your walker keeps getting stuck in the sidewalk cracks.
  • Every time someone gives you taffy, you whine, “Well, how the hell am I supposed to eat that?”
  • Your idea of “giving someone a scare” means grabbing your chest and screaming.
  • You creak, groan and moan like a Halloween soundtrack.
  • You feel the need to shake your cane at hoodlum children.

cane(“Just wait ’til I get my hands on you, you little whipper-snappers!”

  • You keep asking to use your neighbors’ bathroom.
  • On every porch, you stop to tell the trick-or-treaters that you “remember buying a sackful of candy for only 5 cents at old Mr. McGowan’s grocery store that was right next to Mr. Polanski’s barber shop. They’re both dead now.”
  • When given hard candy, you ask if they have something “a little softer.”
  • You hand your bag to your grandkids and tell them to “not come back until it’s full–or you’re out of the will.”

Whatever your age, trick-or-treat safely, don’t eat your candy in one night–and save me all the Snickers! Happy Halloween!

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Halloween Candy Personality Quiz

Leave it to Facebook to help you determine which U.S. President you are, what horror monster you’d be, your favorite color and if you’ve ever attended college. Online quizzes are the new GED; and you know you’ve taken at least one (dozen).

I thought I’d create a quiz to determine what your Halloween candy behavior says about you. It is entirely accurate, so be aware, you might learn something disturbing about your personality.

1. Do you hand out: a) king-size Kit Kat bars, b) fun-size Kit Kat bars, c) what’s a Kit Kat bar?, or d) apples.

kit kat

(This is the WRONG WAY to eat a Kit Kat!)

2. Do you search your kid’s Halloween bag for: a) full-size chocolate bars, b) unwrapped candy, c) isn’t everything mine already? or d) apples stuffed with razor blades.

3. How long did your Halloween candy last when you were a child: a) a few weeks, b) a few days, c) a few hours or d) I gave it to my little brother.

4. Which Halloween candy will get your car egged: a) Tootsie rolls, b) Hubba Bubba, c) pencils/erasers, or d) apples.

5. How much do you spend on Halloween candy: a) more than $100, b) between $50 and $100, c) less than $10, or d) I don’t buy candy.

6. What do you do with leftover Halloween candy: a) give it to a children’s shelter, b) give it to neighbor kids, c) you’ve already eaten it, or d) I don’t keep candy in my home.

candy

7. Which of these is NOT appropriate to give out on Halloween: a) toothbrushes, b) fruit, c) sample-size dish soap, or d) candy.

8. What is your Halloween candy of choice: a) candy bars, b) suckers, c) chewy taffy or d) apples.

RESULTS:

If you answered mostly A, you are trying to hard. Kids don’t appreciate your efforts. They’ll probably kick your pumpkins before they leave.

If you answered mostly B, you’ve put the holiday in perspective, but kids will still kick your pumpkins, and probably steal your Halloween lawn ornaments.

If you answered mostly C, you are most likely male and didn’t even realize it was Halloween until strange children in costumes knocked on your door, begging for food. Your car will definitely get egged.

If you answered mostly D, you are obviously a health nut, and need to be slapped. Not only will children avoid your home, they will place warning sides on your fence letting the neighborhood know it’s not worth coming to your home. And they’ll kidnap your cat.

fun size

When it comes to Halloween candy, there really are no wrong answers. If you drop in it my bag, I’ll most likely eat it. And I won’t kick your pumpkins, either.

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