Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ending 2009 'n Stuff

Another year is ending. The fireworks will be over, the ball will drop. Time to put away the sweets, leftovers, white elephants, party hats, stretch pants (holiday wear) and get back to a more healthy and balanced way of living. I've been promising myself that since New Year's eve, 1993.

It seems I have been doing New Year's all wrong. After a bit of research, I found a few tidbits about tradition and warding off evil spirits or attracting luck. I've been told that what we do on New Year's day guarantees our fate for the rest of the year. When I reviewed the traditional, must-do list, it's a wonder I'm still alive.

It seems if you fail to kiss your significant other at the stroke of twelve, this insures a year of coldness. Ah, yes, I've experienced that. But when you're stinking drunk, how do you recognize your significant other? You may think you kissed your one and only, but did you? This creates what is known as auld langxiety. That is the horrible feeling you wake up with when you can't remember what you did on New Year's eve.

I guess you're supposed to stock the cupboards too. This guarantees prosperity, but I don't see how having shelves full of Top Ramen and Jiffy Pop has much to do with the rest of the year.
All bills should be paid off by New Year's day. The year should not begin with the household in debt. Which year? I've been in debt since I was seven.

Letting the old year out. At midnight, open all the doors in the house to let the old year escape without obstruction. Really? Since I have never done this, I must have decades rotting in corners, in the furniture cushions, and under the bed. It must be 1982 that has been smelling up the laundry room.

This year, I'm going to do something I have never done before. I'm going to make a time capsule and bury it in the back yard. This will help me and anyone else who forgets, to remember what all the fuss was about. The first thing that will go in will be a letter to myself.

V. (a name I call myself)...

It's now, (barring any nuclear holocaust, personal disaster, death, or discovery made by some goofball with a metal detector) January 1, 2035. You are most likely holding this letter in your fat, sausage-like fingers, realizing that you never did lose the weight you so earnestly promised to lose. Damn your eyes.

I've enclosed the following items:

A pencil rendition of, Francine, Sylvia Brown's spirit guide.

A receipt that proves gasoline sold in Blythe, CA on 12/23/09 was $4.93 a gallon.

A photo of Bernie Madoff as he was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

A photo of me running a red light (expensive photo shoot)

An unused portion of, Happy Camper, an attitude food and herbal supplement I found online that claimed to brighten your spirits.

Droppings from Barack Obama's campaign trail.

Eight years of toenail clippings from Aunt Lolly's jar.

Video of my flexible sigmoidoscopy.

An unused gift card from Victoria's Secret.

A copy of each of Stephen Hawking's books, A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell.

A wedge of fruitcake, just to confirm that time has no effect on its form, function or taste.

A hot-pink, low-rise thong from Victoria's Secret. Yes, it's clean.

A take out menu from Wok's Cookin'.

A Viagra tablet in a test tube.

The $300. cell phone that mysteriously slipped into my ice chest on the way back from Phoenix.

A sealed, white chocolate, mocha frappuccino blended decaf coffee from Starbucks, with whipped cream topping.

My December, 2009 Visa statement. Sigh.
A recording of my first yodeling lesson.
The first season of Family Guy on DVD.
I will close and hermetically seal the capsule with Preparation H. This event surely will override any New Year mistakes I've made in the past. I hope.
Of course, I'll be sure to serve black-eyed peas just in case.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Holiday Depression

All the trash bins are overflowing with wrapping paper and boxes, Christmas trees are drooping and all the chocolate eating has mysteriously prevented me from fitting into anything other than my holiday stretchy pants. Nothing has changed from previous years.

As in classical mechanics, p=mv, or the product of the mass (me) and velocity of an object (me), i.e. meeting year-end goals at work, shopping, cooking, wrapping, driving, mailing cards and gifts, and don’t forget to call everyone who will be offended if you don’t.

The natural side effect of all of this momentum is what I refer to as post holiday depression. Strangely, it feels as if time has stopped. Newton’s Law can’t touch the emotion that one experiences by flipping from momentum to inertia. Inertia meaning, that an object (me) will always continue moving at its current speed and in its current direction until some force causes its speed or direction to change (the party’s over).

But, enough of that, this blog isn’t about physics and it’s not really about depression. I just needed to get that off my chest.

I’d like to talk about the endless hours of computer use that go on around the world. I’m afraid in time, there will be an announcement that long term exposure to electromagnetic fields definitely causes, brain tumors, leukemia, chronic fatigue, headaches, cataracts, heart problems, cancer, stress, nausea, chest pain and forgetfulness. Oh, and before I forget, there is a public service announcement I heard. Saliva causes stomach cancer but only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. Will I ever get to the point?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced a conflict of interest, especially where computers are concerned. One of the presents my boyfriend (BJ) received this year is the computer game put out by Blizzard, called StarCraft. I know, it was actually released in 1998, but I haven’t been into video games since Ms. Pac-Man and I think I became obsessed with that because it involved eating dots and chasing after bouncing fruit. Nevertheless, my boyfriend loves his StarCraft game and asked me to try playing because if I can get up to speed, we can play online with others. Heh.

He sat with me, offering helpful tips as I completed the first two missions, which took me three hours!
It went something like this:

BJ: Okay, click on your SCV.
Me: What’s that?
BJ: That’s your energy collecting vehicle.
Me: Where?
BJ: Down at the bottom of the screen.
Me: That little thing?
BJ: Yeah, left click on it and then right click on the minerals.
Me: Oh! He responded to me.
BJ: Yeah. Now build another worker.
Me: I wish I could have done that a week ago. How do I do that?
BJ: Go to your menu, then click on build and select a worker.
Me: That’s easy, now what?
BJ: EXPAND, always expand! Don’t be afraid to.
Me: Do I look like I’m afraid of expanding? I pulled at the waist band of my sweat pants.
BJ: Okay, now you want to collect gas for energy.
Me: That isn’t hard after aunt Birdie’s green bean casserole.
BJ: You’re gonna need all your resources to defend yourself while you’re being attacked on your next mission.
Me: I’m gonna be attacked?
BJ: Big time.
Me: You know, before we get into the attacking mission, I need to switch over to FarmVille and harvest my Pattypan Squash.
BJ: Squash!
Me: Yeah, I have to plant rice too. I’m just forty points away from level one of Rice mastery.
BJ: Okay, baby, but look, you’re being attacked by the Zergs.
Me: Oh my God, this is worse than being attacked by the Goldman’s at my office holiday party. Where’s my SUV?
BJ: No, you have to build Marines and bunkers.
Me: I’ll bet my squash is starting to wither.
BJ: Defense, defense! Where are your firebots?
Me: What are those?! I was madly clicking on the enemy, not realizing that it was a useless exercise.
BJ: Those guys throw flames. Build some!
Me: Does it have to be so violent? My marines are being splattered all over the ground.
BJ: What is your SCV doing just sitting there? Mine more minerals. Go, go, go!
Me: They’re demolishing my power depot!
BJ: You need minerals to build more. You should have been doing that all along.
Me: Now you tell me.
I kept clicking on the Zergs knowing it was futile.
BJ: That’s okay baby, you’ll get ‘em next time.
He patted me on the head and went to our hobby room to work on some music.

I just sat there panting, and reliving the stress I had just experienced from my total annihilation. With a shaky hand, I opened my browser and went to Facebook. I clicked on the FarmVille icon and there it was, my peaceful little farm. All the cows, chickens, goats and horses were in their places, right where I left them. All my ducks were in one straight row, and my Pattypan squash was ripe for harvesting. There’s no place like home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Christmas Works

So…here we are again. The time of year that happens like clockwork but always manages to take me by surprise. The season spirit drives us to the malls, to the kitchen and festive gatherings. The only place it ever drove me is crazy. Though we are reminded, it is time to renew our faith; we mustn’t forget to renew our Visa and Master cards too. As if my credit cards aren’t still wheezing from last year.
Time to get out the nutcrackers…the cards, the bubble lights, flicker flame lights, LED Christmas lights, angels, nativity scenes, ornaments, cinnamon-scented pine cones, kneeling Santa collections, the holiday-decorated spin shades for the lamps, garlands, fairies and stockings.
By the way, I found out how this silly, hang a stocking on the fireplace mantle idea came about. It turns out that St. Nicholas passing by the homes of maidens too poor to afford a dowry, money that a bride gives to her groom for her wedding. (I always wondered what that big, huge, humongous, honkin’ wad of money I gave my ex was called). Anyway, he would throw gold coins down the chimneys where they would fall into stockings which were hung over the fire to dry. Heh. Yeah, right.
Actually, I don’t have to decorate at all. A couple of my neighbors have been involved in a decorating competition for some time now. By December 15 th , it’ll look like Christmas threw up right here in my little cul-de-sac.
Stocking stuffers used to be candy, fruit, small toys, those Chinese finger traps, and if you were a complete bad ass, a lump of coal. The other day I read an article that had a list of suggestions for stocking stuffers. They included, a digital picture frame ($199.), comfort slippers ($50.), portable GPS system ($399.), wireless stock market tracker ($85.), motorized grill cleaning brush ($30.), electronic recipe guide ($25.). GEESH! DOESN’T ANYONE LIKE FRUIT ANYMORE???
I even found a website that is selling an adopt a vine for one year. A perfect gift for any wine lover. You get a welcome letter, a booklet about wine, a personalized pen and a vine adoption certificate. The vine is located at a famous British vineyard. Upon registration, you get a map and directions to the vineyard and a certificate that entitles you to a free tour and wine tasting.
I have a better idea. What about an adopt a flat-screen tv for a year? The perfect gift for any television lover. You would receive a copy of the owner's manuel, a personalized remote, a bunch of information about the history of television, and one full day of movies and two special events...booked in advance, of course. Just send a check for $300. payable to me, and I'll see that you receive your gift package before Christmas.
GAG! It’s gone beyond commercial at this point and I wouldn’t be surprised if people will start registering for their Christmas gifts and try to get you to believe it will relieve you of the stress of making a decision. If that’s the case, I’ll tell you where I’m registered right now: Longo Lexus, Tiffany & Company, Countrywide Mortgage, Princess Cruises and Ramsgate Yacht Sales.
Yeah, and lets don't forget to cram our faces with candy, pie, turkey, stuffing and those green beans soaked in mushroom soup. I considered taking a class from a well-known chocolate and patisserie school to make Petit Fours, but then I realized I hadn’t taken the prerequisites…Petit Ones, Twos and Threes. Incidentally, if you’re wondering what to do with that fruitcake that no one wants, they make a great floatation device.
Better yet, I think this year I’m just going to enjoy the gifts of the spirit. A bottle of Jack and a cheese ball.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reservation For One

“What are you in for?”

It has been a long time since I was asked that question and I hope I never hear it again. Yes, I have done jail time. It’s difficult to imagine by looking at me, but I have a record. A real record…no, not the vinyl kind, read by a needle to amplify music on a phonograph, the criminal kind.

It’s been five years since that awful day. Spring serves to remind me. Understand though, I’m not blaming spring at all; it’s one of the most pleasant seasons. Almost too pleasant.

It was in the spring of 2003, when I visited the California Poppy reserve. I was walking past the visitor’s center when a park ranger smiled, waved and told me the Goldfields were opening up. I was surprised because they were one of the most private families in our cul-de-sac…and how did he know them anyway?

I was amazed at the high density of poppy plants. It was as if God stroked the hillside with a brush dipped in vibrant orange paint. I followed the Coyote droppings along the trail and let my eyes drink in the majesty of the blooming Filaree and Blue Dick. I really must research the history of the latter. It caught me by surprise, as I watched a Monarch butterfly swooping and hovering. I felt an intense urge to pick one of poppies… and so I did, automatically and without thought. One led to another and I must have slipped into some kind of addictive compulsion that had been lying dormant. Before I knew it, I was clutching a bouquet that I don’t even remember picking. Of course, the park ranger didn’t accept this explanation and the next thing I knew; I was being finger printed, booked and looking at a possible jail sentence of two to five years.

How could this be? It wasn’t as if I had received an illegal stock market tip or anything as horrendous as that. I picked some flowers for God’s sake. They were there, they were pretty. Still, I was forced to register as a PPO, protected poppy offender. I’m not allowed to come within a hundred yards of a protected flower…ever.

I shared a jail cell for about twenty minutes with Kiersten, a young woman who was looking at three years for illegally duplicating a DVD of Sing Yourself Silly, by the Muppets. She may have had a hefty fine to pay as well. I will have to register with to look her up. I’m curious to know what happened to her and I don’t want to wait until the ten-year reunion to find out.

I’ve since joined a twelve-step program for my flower picking addiction. I have a sponsor and attend meetings regularly. She makes me stay away from the floral section of the supermarket and return arrangements sent to me by admirers. I still get a giddy feeling when I pass the Goldfield’s garden but I found if I begin to skip and whistle zippity doo dah, it takes my mind off my PU’s (picking urges).

Thank God, there are places that we deviants can go to recover from hopeless states of mind and body. In fact, I think California is one of many states that protect these brilliant orange, cup-shaped wild flowers. Just watching these nearly indestructible perennials with their electrifying and vibrant colored petals fluttering in the soft spring breeze causes me to quiver. My pulse has quickened, so it might be a good time to give my sponser a call.
I'm back, she didn't appreciate my idea of growing my own poppies in the rich soil of my deserted garden in the back yard. She reminded me that I am a poppyholic and that even thinking of growing flowers of any kind is a slippery slope and could trigger a craving that no human power could rescue me from. She's right.

Unless you grow your own, and consider yourself lucky if you have control over your urges, please enjoy California poppies where they are most well-suited....gracing the beautiful California countryside.