Tag Archives: holiday

Red, white and blood?

8 Jul
"Do you think I need to go to the Emergency Room?"

“Do you think I need to go to the Emergency Room?”

I mentioned in my last post that our Fourth of July became a bit of an adventure when Alan came for me at the community pool, squeezing his finger as blood flowed down his hand.

(You’re WELCOME, fellow residents, who previously only wondered if children had peed in the pool.) 

He opened with, “I don’t think it’s anything major…” but the fact that he’d walked down to find me meant that he actually did think it could be major and wanted a second opinion – or a driver to take him to the ER.

I quickly gathered my items and followed him back to his place. We examined his finger under running water, and every time he stopped cutting off circulation to his finger, blood gushed out in time with his heartbeat.

Some people might be squeamish, but we’re both pragmatic. I hated to even ask the question. “Do you think you should go to the emergency room?”

Alan took a deep breath. I knew what he was thinking. We hate the emergency room and will go to great lengths to avoid it because it’s inefficient and generally requires a minimum of a six-hour time commitment. And on a heavy drinking holiday like the Fourth? It’d probably be overflowing with dumb drunk injuries and mean an overnight.

“I’m actually not sure,” Alan concluded.

So we talked it out. We should go to the ER if we couldn’t stop the bleeding. Or if it seemed infected. Otherwise, there was nothing to be gained, we reasoned. After all, he’d shaved his entire fingertip off, so it’s not like there were “edges” that could be stitched together. Short of grafting skin to the area, the doctors wouldn’t be able to do anything we couldn’t do at home.

Plus, we had two fat rib-eyes ready to throw on the grill. If there had been any doubt about our ER avoidance plan, this factor effectively killed it.

Later in the evening, as I tidied up the kitchen, I spotted a number of paper towels in the trashcan from the earlier drama. At the top of the pile was a cocktail napkin with Amtrak’s logo on it in blue, surrounded by red blood drops. “You should carry that on your next trip to New York and stumble off the train with it in your hand, commenting, ‘Hell of a ride…’ to anyone you see.”

Alan shook his head. “Actually,” I reconsidered, “It looks rather patriotic, what with the red, white and blue motif. You certainly know how to honor Independence Day!”

“Well,” Alan said, “As Jefferson said, ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots.'”

Good point.

Just not sure Jefferson envisioned combat taking place with potato peelers.

List: Acceptable Christmas Creep

11 Jan
Holidays: Creating more AwkwardFamilyPhotos than school picture day.

This is NOT the kind of Christmas Creep I’m talking about. 

I’m squarely in the camp that thinks the Christmas season should begin after Thanksgiving and end on New Year’s Day. Even one day in either direction and I’ll judge you if you have holiday lights up. And every year, I get a bit more judgmental.

However, now that Christmas is behind us, there are a few things I kind of miss. I might be willing to make a few exceptions to the “acceptable holiday window” if it meant I could find these seven things outside of December:

  1. Envelopes in my mailbox that don’t contain bills. It’s like a month of freakin’ summer camp, coming home to find real mail in there every day. Now? Back to my crappy pen pals: AmEx, Pepco and Wells Fargo. Bleh. 
  2. Pretzel Chips in holiday flavors. If you haven’t tried them, you really need to hunt down a bag of dark chocolate + peppermint bits. Two words: Holy. Shit. Actually, on second thought – HORRIBLE idea. I would need a forklift to get me off the couch if these were available year-round. (Note: Being a hoarder, I currently have four bags of these in my cupboard. Which should last me until approximately Friday.) 
  3. People helping each other out. Sure, it’s great that people tend to hop in and help out the less fortunate in December, donating Christmas meals or gifts for families or volunteering at soup kitchens. But think how powerful it would be if we acted that way all year round?
  4. Trees in our living rooms. I often think, “If aliens ever landed on Earth in December, how would we explain that a fair chunk of the population has randomly chopped down trees and dragged them into their homes?”  Anything you couldn’t explain to an alien is, well, kind of awesome. 
  5. Random airings of classic holiday movies. Basically, I’m talking about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Christmas Story. A random scene here and there is like comfort food. Although – what am I talking about? I don’t even own a television.
  6. Party lights! I don’t even put up a Christmas tree, but I do love my little string of white lights. In fact, I love their little glow more than that of the table lamp on the other end of my couch. Perhaps I should just adopt party lights as a year-round means of lighting my place. Oh wait. I did that in college. To accentuate my beer can pyramid. Nevermind. 
  7. Cinnamon Brooms at the door of Whole Foods. Definitely beats the smell of urine that usually greets me. Frankly, I think hanging even ONE cinnamon broom near the entrance would help.

That is all. Now pardon me as I go string my MLK Day lights. And decorate my Valentine’s Day tree.

The Nutcracker: Bah Humbug!

7 Dec
Image Source: http://b5media_b4.s3.amazonaws.com/28/files/2006/11/nutcracker-girl.jpg

Boring. Sigh. Zzzz….

I’m just going to put it out there, even though I realize this isn’t going to be a popular statement: I’m not a fan of the Nutcracker.

I’ll add this to the list of things I don’t like – such as pumpkin pie and babies – that make people regard me with some combination of horror and disgust. Get over it. More for you. (Note: My friends’ babies are exceptions. Their pies are not.)

Anyway… I had a vague recollection of being bored stiff when seeing the Nutcracker as a kid, so I was curious to see if I’d enjoy it as an adult. Alan’s daughter is dancing in it for the first time, so we went to watch her performance last week.

Five Reasons I’m Not a Fan:

  1. I have no tolerance for mimes. I know, the thing is a ballet, so they’re primarily dancing, but a lot of the first act relies on people acting without talking. Also known as miming. I find it physically painful to watch a family of characters cross the stage pretending to have an animated conversation, moving their mouths like they’re chewing on the largest hunk of bubble gum known to man in an attempt to show us they’re talking.
  2. The story is lacking.  In case you’re not familiar: a rich family throws a Christmas party, their daughter receives a Nutcracker that she loves, her brother breaks it, a magician mends it, the Christmas tree grows like it’s on steroids, and then she dreams that a bunch of people are dancing for her. Someone needs a lesson on plot development. And less LSD.
  3. The Sugar Plum Fairy is full of herself. The one thing the Nutcracker does pretty well is provide an opportunity to showcase a LOT of dancers. The scenes can accommodate a seemingly limitless number of dancers, so it’s the perfect show for making sure everyone has a role. Until the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage. Once she arrives, it turns into her show and you realize that all the other parts were just humoring the parents in an attempt to sell more seats. She single-handedly undermines the adage that, “There are no small roles, only small actors.”
  4. Really, a NUTCRACKER? When is the last time you saw a child get excited by a nutcracker? Probably NEVER, because they are inherently boring and hardly qualify as a toy. I know this story was developed long before American Girl Dolls were on the scene, so I’m not proposing they replace the title character with a modern toy. But SURELY there’s something more compelling from those days. I mean, even a corn husk doll (circa Little House of the Prairie) would be more exciting. Which says a lot.
  5. The Magician is creepy. I find it interesting that a holiday/children’s classic includes a character who is clearly a pedophile. His arrival with a trunk full of tricks would’ve been only marginally creepier if he’d pulled up in an ice cream truck. And has no one ever asked why he’s hiding behind a clock watching little Clara sleep?

So I might revise my opinion of The Nutcracker if someone would stage a version where Chris Hansen (from Dateline’s ” To Catch a Predator” series) made a cameo and busted the magician, and Kristen Wiig repeatedly photo-bombed the Sugar Plum Fairy’s scenes. Until that production is available, I’ll stay home.

Unless, of course, Alan’s daughter remains a ballerina. In which case, I’ll dutifully attend and clap during her scenes… and secretly try to enlist her in my battle against the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Now *this* I would pay to see.

Now *this* I would pay to see. (Image: courtesy of my sister, Alicia.)

I seriously need a balcony.

27 May

Although we’re committed to each other for the long haul, Alan and I maintain separate homes. My place is smack in the heart of DC and surrounded by parks and restaurants and yoga studios and nightlife. His place is in a quiet, professional community in Arlington with a pool and balcony.

We tend to spend more time at my place in the winter (easy to walk to everything, cozy fireplace) and then log our hours at his place from Memorial Day to Labor Day so we can maximize the pool.

I LOVE being outside, so this morning I took a mug of tea and my laptop out on his balcony. And I realized: holy shit, I really need a balcony. It was more entertaining than a seal juggling screaming babies television.

First, at 9:30, I noticed a woman – wearing only a bathing suit – stomping determinedly down the foot path. Without the context of the pool nearby, that would seem totally bizarre. Even so, it still was a bit odd – because the pool doesn’t open until 11am. “Oh honey,” I thought to myself, “You are about to be soooo disappointed. Early bird gets the worm shaft.”

Sure enough. Her pace slowed as she approached the locked gate. She shook it, testing it. Then she shifted her focus to the rule board, where it’s clearly written that the pool opens at 11. Without turning to actually engage another human, I heard her yell, “What time is it??”

I’m not sure whom she expected to answer her, so I wasn’t surprised when she received Radio Silence as a response. I debated yelling back down to her, but I was half concealed by a tree and thought (for her sake) she might want to believe no one had actually noticed her strutting around in a bikini as if she were crazy.

About this time, a young couple appeared on the tennis court directly below me, toting racquets rackets rickets Rockettes? tennis gear. The guy clearly thought he was Hot Shit, as evidenced by his flowing mane of curls (pulled back in a girly-looking headband) and Ray Bans.

Within two minutes of hitting the court, he devised some sort of calisthenics routine for them, which involved running in forward/backward zigzags the entire length of the court.

He demonstrated it for his girlfriend. “Like this,” he called to her, as he ran in a way that looked like he was avoiding sniper fire.

She mirrored his motions and together they covered the length of the court.

“No,” he called again. “Like this.”

And started another demo for her benefit. She gamely joined in, following after him.

After two more rounds – during which he continued to correct her and shout out tips about her form – she finally cried Uncle. “Dude! Are we here to run around or play tennis?”

Good question. He looked startled but nodded and ran to the tube of balls he’d left at one end of the court.

And then I realized why he’d been stalling: Dude could not play tennis. He’d been trying to wear her down with ridiculous drills beforehand. So of course I pulled my chair closer to the railing and began clapping as if I were at Wimbledon any time she scored on him.

Interestingly, they both pretended I wasn’t there. I assume he did it from a sense of shame and she did it to help save her relationship, so I decided not to press it overtly. But I did kept cheering and shouting the score. It gave me a sweet sense of pride to loudly declare, “Love – Love!”

But then I realized I didn’t actually know how to score tennis, so I found myself yelling, “One – Love!” as if I were a stoner worshipping Bob Marley. And at that point I decided just to take a stance on their relationship, so I stopped even trying.

“Douche – Love.”

“Love – Nothing.”

“Loser – Love.”

About this time, Alan (who was inside making coffee) cracked his window and started listening to me.

WHAT, exactly, are you doing?” he asked, seconds later, as he came charging out on the balcony.

I shrugged. “Nothing. Just keeping score.”

And that’s why I might have a career at Wimbledon. Or need my own balcony. Because apparently Alan won’t let me use his any more. Where I come from, we call that Selfish.

Crust be with you. And also with you.

24 Dec

I’m mildly obsessed with efficiency, so it’s not surprising that the madness surrounding the holidays – all the people and all the lines – brings out the worst in me. Fortunately, it brings out the best in others, or I would’ve found myself in a real pickle this morning.

My parents sent me to the grocery store to pick-up a last minute item, and I located it quickly. But then, when it came time to pay, the checkout lanes were overflowing with people. I looked down at the single item in my hand and then – miraculously – spotted an opening in the self-checkout area.

I bolted for it, just beating out a slowly moving couple headed in the same direction. Triumphant, I scanned my pie crust, thinking I’d model efficiency for everyone standing behind me. Except, just after the scanner registered my item, I realized there was already a PILE of groceries sitting in the bagging area.

About that time, a guy came over and said, “Hey there! I’m almost done,” not realizing that I’d already scanned my item.

I fell over myself apologizing, as I pointed to the screen. “I’m so sorry, but I think it already scanned it…”

He looked, and – sure enough – my pie crust was among the forty other items he’d rung up. “I’ll get a cashier to come void it,” I suggested. He glanced at the line forming behind him.

“Nah,” he said. “Forget it. It’s Christmas. Your crust is on me. Merry Christmas!”

And Merry Christmas to you, sir. Or – as I’m going to start calling December 24: Crustmas.