Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Peeps!

I've got a sleeping child, coffee with Bailey's, and the start of the Christmas Story 24-hour marathon. Hope you all have a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Flashback!

Ok, I'll freely admit to owning the NKOTB Christmas CD way back in the day. It was a staple among me and the sibs, and my parents grudgingly allowed it into the holiday rotation, along with Harry Connick, Jr. and the old classic Very Special Christmas albums. Our favorite track was "Funky Funky Christmas," and our very favorite line was when Joey Mac talked about his Santa mishap:

Sneaking downstairs on Christmas Eve
I saw a sight that you just wouldn't believe
St. Nick by the fireplace dusting off his head with a frown on his face
He said hay - said what - he said you - I said what
He said you left the fire burning and I burnt my butt
so now I've learned you've got to turn the fireplace down
so Santa won't get burned

NKOTB was a big freaking deal, as evidenced by their holiday appearance on the Arsenio Hall show. Talk about a blast from the past!

This also happened to be the year that I furiously demanded my dad stop making fun of the NKOTB, because they were going to be BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES!! What do 10-year-olds know, anyway? I believe it was in response to this song, that my dad heard on the radio one morning and then insisted on playing over and over and over for us. I was beside myself with "OMFG! How could they DO that?! That is SO not funny!"

Not that I was ever a big fan of that song, to begin with, what with the OCD and the image of poor grandma getting run over by the sled, but that was just taking it too far.

May your christmases be very funky funky :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Letter, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope this letter finds you well. What a year this has been! Early this summer, we took a trip to Colorado for a weekend of adventure. Charlie showed off his super survival skills by filtering mountain water for us to drink. Jené learned that she has no future as a triathlete after a disastrous attempt at downhill mountain biking. Thankfully, the blood loss was minimal and the bruises healed after a few months. This past July, we joined the world in celebration as Lord Voldemort was finally defeated after a seven-year long battle. In other exciting news, we learned that the maximum number of Lego blocks that can be stacked in a single vertical tower is 380. Perhaps most importantly, they recently re-paved the road to the local Dunkin Donuts. We’re enjoying the new smooth surface.

Charlie has been traveling the country to sell his great inventions. So far he’s seen hand-fishing in Mississippi, ate a mean open-faced roast beef sandwich out of the back of some lady’s trailer in Tennessee, gave a presentation in a smoker’s shack in South Carolina, and managed to make it out of Alabama with the F5 hot on his heels. Work is going well for him, though – one of his seals is actually being used to help with the Fukushima Plant clean-up. God help us all. In an effort to prepare for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, he has taken up shooting as a hobby.

Jené turned the big 3-0 this year and decided it was finally time to toss the fake ID. No danger of being mistaken for an underage drinker at this point. During a well-intentioned effort to look more like an adult, she learned the hard way that getting highlights at a discount salon probably isn’t the best idea. She continues to travel to DC on a regular basis. She says that it’s “for work,” but we all know that it’s because there’s a Ben & Jerry’s on the ground floor of the office building. She’s been cleaning up in competitions, winning the office NCAA pool, a euchre tournament, and the age-group award in a local 5K. Sadly, she’s in no danger of ever actually winning a race, and missed her sub-four-hour marathon by ten (bleeping) seconds. It’s been three months, and we still haven’t heard the end of it.

Charlie recently graduated from booger-eating to peeing standing up (as long as the toilet isn’t self-flushing). That’s Charlie, Jr., not the older one. He has also taken up running as a hobby. He has participated in three races thus far, but his favorite place to run is away from the bathtub. He is a singing and dancing fool, and attended his first live concert in September when Yo Gabba Gabba! came to town. He brought down the house in the preschool holiday concert with his improvised dance routing during “Frosty the Snowman.” He is an absolute geek in training, and we’re cultivating his love for all things Star Wars. We had our proudest parenting moment yet when he mentioned that he was thankful for “numbers” during our thanksgiving dinner. We just hope they aren’t prime.

All the best from our family to yours,
Charlie, Jené, and Charlie

Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Wine in the Sun

It's christmastime, which means it's once again time for me to share one of my most favorite christmas songs, ever. This year's holiday season is shaping up well, so far. I've wined and dined with a collection of lovely ladies, made merry with my co-workers at our holiday party, decided to forgo the weeks of christmas cookie baking in favor of a few batches of good fudge, and I've got a lunch celebration with the BFF coming up next week. Even more importantly, I got a new nephew on Tuesday! Baby Angelo was born early Tuesday morning. My brother and his girlfriend had the baby at home, which really freaks me out, but apparently worked quite well for them. Talk about a great christmas present!

Charlie's holiday concert is tonight. This is the first year that he really "gets" the whole idea of christmas. They're teaching them about all of the winter celebrations at school, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, so there have been some interesting questions about why we don't have candles (a menorah) and why doesn't everyone have a christmas tree. In working through all of those questions, I've been trying to really hit on the message that everyone believes different things, and that's ok. In our house, we're focusing on christmas as a time to spend celebrating family and giving to others. It's hard to get that message across with all of the commercialization (same issue, I'm assuming, with the christian parents who want a religious focus on their own celebration), but we're making the effort. I can't wait to spend christmas back in Jersey with most of Charlie's whole huge extended Italian family.

This song represents the perfect answer when people ask why non-christians even bother to celebrate the season.

I'm looking forward to Christmas
It's sentimental I know
But I just really like it

I am hardly religious
I’d rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu
To be honest

And yes I have all of the usual objections to consumerism
The commercialisation of ancient religions
And the westernisation of a dead Palestinian
Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
But I still really like it

I really like Christmas
Though I'm not expecting
A visit from Jesus

I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I don't go for ancient wisdom
I dont believe just cos ideas are tenacious
It means they are worthy

I'm ambivalent to churches
Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords
Though the lyrics are dodgy

And yes I have all of the usual objections to miseducation
Of children forced into a cult institution and taught to externalise blame
And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right or wrong
But I quite like the songs

I really like London
Though Christmas is not quite as white as I’d hoped
It’s kind of European

I'm not expecting great presents
Ye olde combination of socks, jocks and chocolate
Is just fine by me

Cos I’ll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You'll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a petting zoo

And you’re too young to know
But you will learn one day
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people
Who'll make you feel safe in the world
My sweet blue-eyed girl

And if my baby girl
When you're twenty one or thirty one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself 9000 miles from home

You’ll know whatever comes
Your brothers and sisters and me and your mum.
Will be waiting for you in the sun

Girl when Christmas comes
Your brothers and sisters
Your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins
And me and your mum.
Will be drinking white wine in the sun
Waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Waiting for you

I really like Christmas
It’s sentimental I know

Monday, December 12, 2011

On the Twelfth Day of BlogFestivus...

Happy Twelfth Day of BlogFestivus!

On the Twelfth day, we get Twelve Drummers Drumming.

(Is it just me, or does "twelfth" look like a made up word?)

So when I was little, you were allowed to pick an instrument to play in the band when you were in 5th grade.

I decided that I was going to play the drums. My parents asked me over and over again if I was SURE that I wanted to play the drums, hell, if I was SURE that I wanted to play any instrument, at all. After all, my brother was a super talented musical genius, surely there couldn't be TWO child wonders in the same household. Surely.

Hells yeah, I wanted to play the drums. And I was going to play the hell out of those drums. I had visions of being the next Dana Carvey (we had recently seen him play the drums on an SNL christmas special in character as the Church Lady). I was going to practice every day, I was going to work really super hard, and I was going to totally rock that shit. ROCK it.

As with many 10-year-olds who have high aspirations, I failed. I failed miserably. I never got past Hot Cross Buns. I never made it to the spring concert. Hell, I never made it through the first ten lessons. Part of it was the lack of practice, more of it was the lack of rhythm. Still more of it was the lack of give-a-damn. I tried a few more instruments after that, with no more success. In fact, toward the end of my 6th grade year, Mr. Richards kicked me out of the program, altogether, because I still hadn't learned how to read music.

That's when I quit being sad, and started being awesome, instead.

Also, I hate the Little Drummer Boy song. Actually, I hate all songs that require you to sing weird syllables, like pa rum pa pum pum. We had to sing it in choir one year and I felt like a tool.

And so we've come to the sad end of BlogFestivus. Thanks to Blogdramedy for putting the fun together!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the Eleventh Day of BlogFestivus...

Happy Eleventh Day of BlogFestivus!

On the Eleventh day, we get Eleven Pipers Piping.

Honestly, I'm struggling where to go with this one without incriminating myself, so I'm going to plead the fifth.

A recorder is kind of like a pipe, right? Or maybe it is a pipe? A part of the same pipe family? Does it matter? In the end it's a piece of plastic that makes ears bleed.


One christmas, when I was very small and my siblings were even smaller, my grandma bought us each a recorder. Mine was ivory colored, my brother's was green, and I don't remember my sister's. They came with a little book that was supposed to teach us how to play 10ish songs. It had little diagrams for where your fingers were supposed to go, and which holes needed to be covered when. But we were kids, and we quickly discovered that it didn't really matter if you were playing it correctly, as long as there was noise coming out. And boy, was there noise coming out. We ran around with those things for days, blowing as hard and loud as we could (that's what she said) with no rhyme, rhythm, or reason. One morning we woke up and they were gone.

Now that I'm a parent, myself, I understand a few things. For the love of all things holy, DO NOT BUY MY KID A RECORDER. I swear, if one of those things ever shows up under our christmas tree, I will cut a bitch. It's like a Parenting Code. Why any parent would inflict that kind of pain on any other parent is beyond me.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Saturday, December 10, 2011

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

... a departure from the norm. Happy Tenth Day of BlogFestivus!

The Tenth Day brings us Ten Lords A Leapin'. I've been dreading this day since I read the challenge, and I just can't come up with a song that isn't either stupid or sacrilegious. Not that I care about such things, but for the sake of all of you....

I pulled my college transcripts last week (finally finishing my PhD, I hope) and noticed that there was an F in my records. An F. It was a creative writing class, for poetry. I had completely forgotten about that whole fiasco. Anyway. Totally irrelevant to Leapin' Lords.

I'm actually going to tell you a true story about leaping. We'll leave out the lords for now. This can also serve as a warning to women who have not yet experienced the joy of pregnancy and don't know that the Kegel muscles get wrecked and wrecked again and are never quite the same (moms, you know I'm right. don't try to tell me you've never snissed). For the backstory, husband and I are crazy. We exercise together, and one of our favorite programs is P90X. P90X includes an exercise video called Plyometrics, which means "jump training." Jump training? Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Here's a screenshot I found online.

Here's a video, even better.

Knee Jump Tuck - exactly the exercise that cause my... issue.

So imagine that particular muscle group being not-quite-as-strong-as-they-apparently-should-be, drinking lots of water all day so that I'm properly hydrated, and then jumping around wildly for 45 minutes like they're doing in that picture up there.

Thank goodness we're doing the program in the comfort of our own basement. That would have been quite the walk of shame.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers! I bet they don't wet their pants.

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Friday, December 9, 2011

On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

Happy Ninth Day of BlogFestivus!

So the Ninth Day brings us Nine Ladies Dancing. Dancing is most definitely not part of my skillset. To make up for dropping the ball yesterday, I've got a real treat for you guys today. If you enjoy watching people make asses out of themselves on the interwebs, then you're going to love this.

First, a little backstory. When I was in 3rd grade, I was invited to my first dance party for my friend Denesha's birthday. It was the days of Pump Up the Jam, and boy, were we jamming. I thought we were all laughing and dancing and having a good time, until I realized that most of the other kids were laughing AT me, not with me. They were all mimicking my Bunny Hop move. You know the one, where you don't really know what to do with your arms and legs, so you just kind of bounce around in one spot? I never lived that down. Three years later, at the Big Sixth Grade Dance, Denesha's cousin Gary sought me out to show me that he still remembered the Bunny Hop. 22 years later, nothing has changed.

Nothing, that is, except the introduction of the Xbox Kinect and Dance Central. Oh, how I love Dance Central. It almost makes me feel like I have rhythm. So today, you get me singing AND dancing. Or doing something that kind of looks like dancing. Sort of. Ok, really you get to watch me flail around trying to follow what the lady on the screen is doing. I do a very bad job. I'm blaming it on the cat trying to eat my feet.

Each time I try to shake my butt
People just think that I’m a nut
I’m just super unfly
Rhythm gene passed me by
Do I step left? Do I step right?
What’s go in on with my arms?
Don’t get to close to me, or you might come to some harm
Keep it cool, what’s the name of this song?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, alright

I can’t dance. And it’s ok.
Da doo doo doo
I can’t dance. Not a chance, babe
Da doo doo doo
I can’t dance. And it’s ok.
Dance. Dance. Dance. I can’t dance

This is what it's SUPPOSED to look like.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

Bean drops the ball.

Really, I didn't bother to consult the master lyrics to the song, and thought it was 8 Drummers Drumming, and had a great post all lined up. Then I found out that I was wrong (of course, that's the first time something like that has ever happened), so I said to myself - Ok, you still have time. Write a song about milk at lunch. Then lunch turned into a meeting, and no songs about milk. No milk, even - I had a nice salad sitting in front of me and didn't even get to eat it until 2:00, when I was back in my office. Even then, it took me an hour because there were all these little crises happening. Whatever. So then I said - Ok, you still have the evening, after bedtime. Then I left work 30 minutes later than usual, sat in traffic that I generally avoid, and then right as I went to turn onto the highway, they closed it. An hour later I pulled into my driveway, did a mental scan of the fridge and cabinet contents, and pulled right back out to go to the grilled cheese place. Now the kid is in bed, and I'm wiped. No song for you!

Here's the milk, though.

What, you thought I'd leave it out?

Go check out the Festivusers who didn't blow it.

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

Happy Sixth Day of BlogFestivus!

After a few rounds of "California Swans" in the style of Katy Perry, I decided to go with the sounds of LMFAO after I heard Sexy and I Know It on the way home from work. It was a lightning bolt of inspiration. You'll see.

Actually, originally I wanted to share a cheer that I learned when I was 8 and had delusions of being a super cute cheerleader, but then I forgot. That's why I never made the squad. That, and so many other reasons. But that's a story for another day. How funky is your chicken? How loose is your goose? Our goose is totally loose.

When I walk on by, ganders be looking like damn, she fly
I strut to the beat, walking through the park like I own the streets, yeah
This is how I roll, feathery body, taking my stroll
I'm a goose, already told ya so
And like Michael Phelps I got the webbed feet, yo

Girl look at that body
Girl look at that body
Girl look at that body
I-I-I-I wear down!

When I walk through the park, this is what I see
All the ducks stop and they staring at me
My beak is sharper than a tack and I ain't afraid to show it

I'm sexy and I know it

When the snow falls down, I'm already out in a warmer town
I like Miami beach, I hike up my feathers to tan my cheeks
That's just how I roll, come on fellas it's time to go
We headed to the park, baby don't be nervous
No shoes, no shirt, and I still get service

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Monday, December 5, 2011

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

Happy Fifth Day of BlogFestivus!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation has to be one of my top two all-time favorite christmas movies. I love everything about it. One of the best lines in that movie has to be "Merry Christmas! Shitter's full." I laugh just thinking about it. Classic.

There is, however, a part that I'm not a big fan of. It's the part where the cat chews through the christmas tree lights. I suffer from ostrich syndrome, so I spent most of my childhood pretending that the cat was absolutely fine, just a little static-y.

How is this relevant? Well, the fifth gift of the BlogFestivus song is Five Golden Rings, and Christmas Vacation provided me with the inspiration. You'll see.

We worked on it for days,
Strung the lights in just the right way
Hung the ornaments evenly spaced
Decorating that was truly aced

How were we to know that it wouldn’t last the season
We were proud, proud, proud, didn’t think of any reason
That by Christmas eve
The tree would leave, the tree would leave

It all happened so suddenly
As we sat back to admire the tree
A snap a pop a yelp, and then a hiss,
Rising smoke a sign something’s amiss

The tree turned into a burning ring of fire
The cat wasn’t the same once he chewed right through that wire
The tinsel burned, burned, burned,
The tree’s on fire, the tree’s on fire

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

Happy Fourth Day of BlogFestivus!

Day Four brings us a gift of calling birds. I guess they're kind of like having teenagers around? That's sure how it was for my parents, anyway. For my 13th birthday, they gifted me with my own phone number. At least, they said it was a gift, anyway - as I've gotten older I've realized that it was probably more for them, so I didn't tie up their line with "Do you think he likes me?!?!?!" conversations every hour of the day.

Funny how things work, though, because in my old age I've decided that talking on the phone is something that I can do without. I hate phone conversations. You never know if you're calling someone at a good time, or if you're socially awkward, like me, then you never know if they really want to be talking to you or when they want to hang up or how to fill those inevitable awkward pauses. That's not to say that I never talk on the phone - I still talk to aunts and grandma regularly. I love texting. My BFF and I have actually spoken on the phone two whole times. TWICE. Once was before I had a phone that had text capabilities, and the other time was by accident, when one of us butt-dialed. So, in honor of my dislike of the phone, I have yet another song for you. This one's short. I hope you enjoy it.

Phone calls are old-fashioned, baby,
From an old-school time
Just because you’ve got my number
Don’t mean that I’m online
Take me off your speed dial,
I don’t want to hear that ring

(Don’t) call me! On my line,
Please don’t call me any, any time.
(Don’t) call me! On my line,
But you can text me any, any time.

Shower me with emails, baby,
Find me on g-chat,
Hit me up on Facebook please,
That's where the party's at.
Phone calls make my heart beat fast,
It’s a generation gap

(Don’t) call me! On my line,
Please don’t call me any, any time.
(Don’t) call me! On my line,
But you can text me any, any time.
Text me.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

*just a note to the other participants - weekends are mostly offline for me, so if I don't get to your entry, I'll be by early monday morning :)

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Saturday, December 3, 2011

On the Third Day of Christmas...

Happy Third Day of BlogFestivus!

I'm finally stepping outside of the Beatles box, and moving onto what should be a very familiar song to all of you. In fact, I recently learned that it's my Running Buddy's favorite karaoke song. I think she does a much better job than me.

I'm just a small-town hen
Living in this farmhouse pen
I may be small, but my eggs are eaten everywhere

Diners, drive-throughs
Up and down the grocers' aisles
With waffles and bacon on the side

Ketchup, Hollandaise
Scrambled, poached, or sunny-side
Eggs are the building blocks of life

Some like them boiled, some like them fried
My eggs are eaten far and wide
I just wish someone would take me for a ride

Night-life, city lights
Suburban sprawl and urban blight
I'd like to see the world with my own two eyes

Farm life smothers me
I just long to be set free
People love my eggs, I'm sure that they'll love me

Don't stop egg-eating
It's my ticket to freedom
I'm a little hen with big dreams.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

*just a note to the other participants - weekends are mostly offline for me, so if I don't get to your entry, I'll be by early monday morning :)

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Friday, December 2, 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas...

Happy Second Day of BlogFestivus!

Hope you all enjoyed the little song I put together for you yesterday. Today, I'm treating you to still more fabulous vocal styling. Better yet, this time you get to actually see my smiling face. It's a second Beatles song, with great apologies to Lisleman for playing the part of Yoko Ono this holiday season. I can't help it, the subjects in question have just fit so nicely so far. What subject do we have today? Well, the Two Turtle Doves, of course!

ETA: I'm sad about how this one turned out, because I did a really great recording in my basement, complete with props, only to discover that there was no audio recording. I'll have to work on that. For now, you're stuck with me singing in my (parked) car. You do get a bonus shot of my lap as I struggle to turn the camera off at the end, too.

Two turtle do-oves,
Two turtle do-oves,
Two turtle do-oh-oves

I don’t need another thing, my friend
My space is getting tight
Don't get me any gifts my friend
Make Santa's load real light
I don't need another sweater
I’ve got two turtle doves

Don’t give me fancy soaps, my dear
Or a scarf to wear outside
I don’t need the latest game system,
though the new Droid would be nice
I don’t need another tchotchke,
I’ve got two turtle doves

Two turtle do-oves,
Singing up in my tree
Two turtle do-oves
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Say you won’t buy me anything
And I'll be satisfied
Just share some Christmas cheer with me,
Hey, that would be alright
Cause I don't need no christmas presents
I’ve got two turtle doves

Two turtle do-oves,
Singing up in my tree
Two turtle do-oves
Two turtle do-oh-oves


Don't forget to check out the rest of the Festivusers!

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the First Day of Christmas...

Hey look, something new! Lisleman told us about a new blog challenge going on at blogdramedy this month. The basic idea is that you write a piece every day for 12 days using the gifts sung about in the 12 Days of Christmas. 12 pieces of 144 words. Plus, the title of the challenge is BlogFestivus, and how could I possibly pass that up?

As you all know, the first gift in the song is a Partridge in a Pear Tree. I decided to start things off with a bang, and I wrote you a little song instead of a story. To make it even more... interesting... I decided to go ahead and sing it for you, complete with powerpoint illustrations.

So here I present to you my first ever internet karaoke attempt. It's bad, but that's ok. Where else, other than the interwebs, is it ok to humiliate yourself?

And the lyrics, if you'd like to sing along, to the tune of "Blackbird," by The Beatles.

Partridge in a pear tree doing alright
Hanging up some Christmas lights
All the lights
Tried and tried again but they just weren’t getting bright

Partridge in a pear tree staying up all night
Still trying to hang up those Christmas lights
Spent half the night
Only to discover there’s a single burned out light

Burned out light
Burned out light
There is no light in the dark black night

Burned out light
Burned out light
There is no light in the dark black night

Partridge in a pear tree in the middle of the night
Packed it in and threw away the lights
Good-bye lights

Who the hell decided to make those Series circuit lights?
Who the hell decided to make those Series circuit lights?
Who the hell decided to make those Series circuit lights?

And this makes one hundred forty four words!

If you thought that was bad, I'm sure the other participants have great entries to make you forget all about my warbling.

Would you ever guess that I was in competition choir in high school?

Fix it or Deal Shouts from the Abyss Stevil All My Answers Tori Nelson A Few Clowns Short Grouchy Mom Rewind Revise My life: a constant work in progress Becoming Bitter PamBamBam Clan of the Cave Hair Words that Rhyme with Purple

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Go the F*ck to Sleep

I posted about this a while ago, but the original video was taken down. It's back now, and just in time to provide the soundtrack to my own personal hell.

Bedtime in our house hasn't been shorter than 90 minutes in well over a week. Even after he's finally asleep, he gets up every few hours for potty trips, tissues, needing to be tucked back in, whatever he can think of. These are all things that he can easily do himself between the hours of 7AM to 8PM, but as soon as it's "bedtime" a switch flips and he's no longer so self-sufficient.

Go The F*k to Sleep reading by Samuel L. Jackson from Nick McCoy on Vimeo.

I'm losing my mind. The night wakings are killing me slowly and the 4AM up-for-the-day deal just isn't right. Every time I'm awakened to the sound of his bedroom door opening, all I can think is "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" Mom fail, indeed. I don't like feeling snappy toward my kid. I don't want to be "that mom," who turns into an evil monster and yells at her kid to get back in bed. I just want a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Is that too much to ask, 3.25 years in?


30 Days of Thanks

Just in time to wrap up the 30 Days of Thanks meme, I received this sobering statistic in my inbox this morning.

Americans' Ability to Afford Food Nears Three-Year Low (Gallup)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The percentage of Americans reporting that they had enough money to buy the food they or their families needed continued to decline in October, nearing the record low seen in November 2008. The percentage who did not lack money for food in 2011 fell to 79.8% from 80.1% in September, continuing a decline that began in April.

Today, I am thankful that I have enough.

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Catching Up

Clearly, I've missed quite a few days during last week's absence from Blogland. We'll just dispense with the numbered days, altogether. I'll just be glad I ended on 18 instead of the odd (and prime!) 17.

I'm actually thankful for that absence, itself. It was somewhat pleasant to disconnect from the Facebook and the Blogs and the Interwebs, as a whole. I went an entire week without sitting in front of a computer. Sure, the smartphones allow us to do all of the same stuff, but there was so much going on that I didn't even think to pull it out.

I don't always rarely see eye-to-eye with my mother-in-law on issues big and small. We have very different viewpoints on things like politics and religion and women working outside of the home. We've had more than our fair share of spats and "incidents." All that being said, I'm still so thankful that we were able to go out and visit them for thanksgiving. As I said last week, it's been 5 years since Charlie and his two siblings were all in the same room. I'm so glad that we were finally all able to be together for a holiday - in-laws and brothers and sisters and spouses and kids. I'm thankful that we have jobs that allow us to travel often to visit that family, that we can afford to make those trips, and that we have a family to visit, at all, even if we don't always get along.

I'm thankful that the kids all played so well together, and that we got at least one picture of all five of them. It made me so happy to see Charlie playing happily alongside his cousin, who is only 2 months younger. They had a great time dancing and singing and building lego houses.

I'm thankful that the in-laws offered begged to stay at the hotel, because it allowed the six adult children to enjoy some much-needed bonding time after the kids went to bed. We shared wine and crispin and brownies and stayed up late into the night laughing and reminiscing and watching bad youtube clips.

I'm so glad that we had that time together - we're literally on opposite sides of the country and I hate it. I wish that our kids could all grow up together and see each other regularly, but since we can't, we'll just have to make the most out of every opportunity we get. We've gotten pretty good at that over the years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 18

Today I'm thankful for having awesome sibling-in-laws and super cute nephews. I'm so glad Charlie has cousins his age to play with. The last time all three siblings were in the same room was Christmas of 2006. Back then, there was one baby. Today, there are five, including three 3-year-olds, who are providing me with endless entertainment. I'm so thankful that Charlie has had the opportunity to spend the holiday with his cousins.

I'm also thankful that it's not my house being destroyed this week :p

Nana got way more than she bargained for.

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 17

Today I'm thankful for Mondays that are also Fridays! Even better when they're jeans days and half days, too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 16

Today I'm thankful for Peppermint Mocha coffee dates, nights out with the BFF sans kids and husbands, Stella Artois and French Fries, cheesy vampire movies, and whoever decided to build the De Lorean and park it down at the Levee tonight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 15

Today I'm thankful for the elusive double-strawberry-starburst pack, a fun day out of the office at a geeky GIS conference, good company on the 112 minute drive down, and a multi-disc CD changer to get me through rural Kentucky when all the radio stations are playing country music.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 14

Today I'm thankful for Tosh.0 reruns. I wish I had discovered the show sooner, so thank you Comedy Central for the veritable Tosh.0 marathon set to record on my DVR. I'm also thankful for DVR.

My favorite Tosh.0 clip is posted on my running blog. Check it out if you need a good laugh.

Husband was surprised that Tosh made my List. Not like he, himself isn't proof that I have a thing for geeky men.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 13

Today I'm thankful for mechanics who don't treat women like idiots who know nothing about the cars they drive, the Lithium station on Sirius in the sweet rental car they gave me, $7.99 pizza night at Noce's Pizza, and my husband-as-workout-partner who keeps me motivated when I'd prefer to sit on the couch.

I'm also thankful that I don't have to drive an SUV/minivan every day! Once was enough :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 12

Today I am thankful for the little moments and family memories that we're creating every day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 11

Today I am thankful for lazy Sundays that preclude blogging but leave lots of room for pancake breakfasts in pajamas, King Arthur's Perfect Pancakes, and the Reality Bites radio channel on DirecTV, because Toadies, Better Than Ezra, and Rage Against the Machine make for a very eclectic breakfast soundtrack.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 10

Today I'm thankful that Ohio FINALLY got Yuengling! I don't understand why it took them so long, Pennsylvania is right next door.

Yum! I see a lot of carb-loading in my future :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 9

Today I am thankful for the five pints of Ben & Jerry's I have stashed in my freezer. It's nice to know that the hardest decision I'll have to make tonight is which one I want to eat.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 8

I'm thankful that in addition to my super Little Sister, I have an equally amazing Little Brother, the middle of the trio.

TJ is a talented musician who lives in Brooklyn with his fiancee Patti.

He has a freakish ability to pick up any instrument and teach himself how to play it within a matter of hours. It used to drive me crazy when I was little - I would slave away at the piano for weeks to master a single piece, and his fingers just flew over the keys like it was nothing.

You can check out some of his music on his website.

I think he sounds like a cross between Sublime, Coldplay, and Radiohead. My most favorite song is embedded below - his version of I'll Fly Away. He did all of the vocal harmonies separately and then mixed them all together. Super talent, for real.

Best of all, he's about to be a proud dad to a baby boy. I can't wait to meet my new nephew in December!

I definitely lost out on the artistic genes, I forgot to mention that Katie is also a talented artist - she draws and paints and designs sets for plays. I'm lucky to have had such an amazing set of siblings to grow up with.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 7

Today I'm thankful that I get to call a very special and inspiring person "Little Sister." Of course, she's not so little anymore, all grown up with a life of her own in the Big Apple (yes, I'm the only one of my siblings who didn't make it back east).

Not only is she smart, caring, and hilarious, but she's very unselfish and is trying to save the world.

Case in point - right now she's in the middle of a three-week trip to Africa where she's volunteering at an orphanage. She's been sending us little pictures and texts (and, every once in a while, a longer email) telling us about her adventures. Since some of our family members aren't so tech-savvy, I started a blog for her that they can visit to see what she's up to. So now I'm sharing it with you, too.

Smiling Kate Goes to Africa

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 6

Happy Election Day! Have you voted yet? I'm usually at the polls first thing in the morning, but Charlie decided to throw a temper tantrum (catalyst still undetermined) so I figured I'd just go after work, instead. Polling Locations are no place for a screaming 3-year-old. (but truthfully, where is?)

So today I'm thankful that I live in a country where I have the freedom to voice my desires through voting. Sure, our system isn't perfect, but whose is? I do my fair share of bitching and moaning about things, and then on election day I make my voice heard.

Did you exercise yours today?

On a separate but related note, I did learn an interesting random fact this week - did you know that voting isn't actually a Constitutional right? True story.

"The Constitution contains many phrases, clauses, and amendments detailing ways people cannot be denied the right to vote. You cannot deny the right to vote because of race or gender. Citizens of Washington DC can vote for President; 18-year-olds can vote; you can vote even if you fail to pay a poll tax. The Constitution also requires that anyone who can vote for the "most numerous branch" of their state legislature can vote for House members and Senate members.

Note that in all of this, though, the Constitution never explicitly ensures the right to vote, as it does the right to speech, for example. It does require that Representatives be chosen and Senators be elected by "the People," and who comprises "the People" has been expanded by the aforementioned amendments several times. Aside from these requirements, though, the qualifications for voters are left to the states. And as long as the qualifications do not conflict with anything in the Constitution, that right can be withheld. For example, in Texas, persons declared mentally incompetent and felons currently in prison or on probation are denied the right to vote. It is interesting to note that though the 26th Amendment requires that 18-year-olds must be able to vote, states can allow persons younger than 18 to vote, if they chose to." (source)

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 5

Today I am thankful that Husband Charlie has agreed to give running a shot! We're both signed up for the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 30, 2012. I'm thankful that we're going to have the experience of training for and running a marathon together. Thankful that he's willing to indulge my crazy streak, and thankful that we're both healthy enough and active enough that we just might succeed at our crazy endeavor.

What's so crazy about a marathon? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, right? Well, this isn't just any marathon - you can read the dirty details of what we're about to embark on at See Bean Run. Certifiable, for sure.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 4

Today I am thankful that I have strong and healthy legs that let me run far. Not super fast, but definitely far. 10 months ago I was completely intimidated by the box on the Flying Pig Training Group plan that called for 10 miles on a cold Saturday in January. 2 full and 3 half marathons later, my weeks just don't feel complete without a weekend 10.

Nothing wakes up the soul like an early solo run on a crisp fall morning. Add a post-run breakfast at Green Dog Cafe with bacon, biscuits, and coffee, and you've got a very happy Bean.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 3

I'm thankful for Daylight Savings Time! I'm glad that I'll be able to get an extra hour of sleep tonight - I still haven't really caught up from the DC trip. Between staying up super late on Halloween, booking a 6AM flight the next morning at an airport an hour away, and being unable to turn away from late-night Friends reruns at the hotel, I didn't get much rest this week. I love my job and I love DC, but those trips are exhausting.

The extra hour means I can get a full night of sleep and still be able to squeeze in an early-morning long run. Hooray for DST!

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day Two

Today I am thankful for a job that doesn't suck the life out of me. Once upon a time, I was a super idealistic graduate student in sociology who had a part-time job that I loved working with people that I enjoyed. Then real life (the reality of University budgets, anyway) caught up with me and I went out and got a "real job" in the world of business. Market research, to be exact. The statistics and research methods skills that I had picked up in grad school were in high demand outside of the ivory tower, because all companies have a burning desire to figure out how to sell more products to more people. Even though the work itself was tedious and soul-sucking, I was ok with it because the people I worked with were amazing. My cube-mate, in particular, became one of my very close friends.

But even though I worked for a family-friendly company with family-friendly people, I still missed having a job that was completely fulfilling. I missed doing research that would actually help PEOPLE, rather than helping a company's bottom line. One day, my old mentor from the University called asking if I knew anyone who would be interested in a job working for him on a big project. Did I know anyone?!?! Hell yes, I did! I revised my CV and emailed it over that very afternoon.

And the rest is history. Well, a very short 17-month history, anyway. Sure, there's a little bit more risk involved working for a start-up non-profit, but I'm back doing what I love and working with very lovely people. I don't spend Sunday evenings moping around because I have to go to work the next morning. I can honestly say that I love what I do, and that makes me a very lucky person, indeed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day One

I'm sure you've all seen this in some incarnation floating around on Facebook and the blogosphere, so I'm jumping in the game, too. The idea is to get people (me) away from dwelling on the negatives in life and to focus attention on all of the positives - the good and happy things that make life worth living. There are no rules, which means I can be thankful for my health one day and thankful for Dunkin Peppermint Mochas the next. Take the serious with the superficial.

After my generally negative post from yesterday, it can only help. Right?

I should have started on November 1 with everyone else (30 days has November, blah blah blah), but I'm a unique snowflake I was at a conference in DC with internet access that was frustratingly slow.

Contrary to what it may have sounded like in my earlier pity party post, I really am so very, very thankful for my Charlies. We make a fantastic little family. I had an easy pregnancy and we had a healthy baby, and I know that we are very, very lucky to be able to say that. They truly are the center of my world, and I couldn't imagine life without them.

(photo by the incredibly talented Steph Carson)

They are the best a girl could ask for, and I'm so thankful that our paths crossed at that keg party 11 years ago, this week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where it Gets Painfully Real In Here

So. This is something that's been weighing on me for months about two years, now. I've been reluctant to talk about it, firstly because it's nobody's business, and secondly because I'm afraid that if I actually write it down, it makes it too real, and I prefer to live in a somewhat ambiguous mental world when it comes to serious issues. Yes, in a previous life I was an ostrich.

I want another baby. Reeeeeeeeeeeeally, really, really, heart-breakingly really want another. Like to the point where hearing about people I know getting pregnant or planning for an addition makes my eyes prick with tears.

I feel like a horrible person for feeling like this, especially when there are so many close friends of mine struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. I have a beautiful family, already, and I should be happy with what I've got. And I AM happy with what I've got. Very, really, truly happy.

I look at C and think about how fast these last three years have gone by and I just can't imagine never doing it again. It's not even like I want to be Michelle Duggar! I just want ONE more. Just one. That's it.

I don't think it's even so much about me here, but more about Toddler Charlie. My sister is one of my best friends. I'm so lucky to have both a brother AND a sister, and I just want one or the other for him. Some of my favorite times are those spent with my gigantic extended family reminiscing about the past, telling stories about growing up, finding long-forgotten anecdotes about how we used to play magic show and shove my sister into a wooden box, or how we tried to sell rocks on the corner for $5 each, or how we carried around my brother's tape recorder creating a cassette tape of our own radio broadcasts. I love how we had each other to lean on through thick and thin - even though things were really rough for a few years and family drama drove a wedge between us - we were still family and we always will be. We will always have each other, and we will always be connected.

Maybe I wouldn't feel so strongly on the issue if we lived closer to my family and he had access to his cousins and aunts and uncles. But we don't, and the reality is that we probably never will, so it is what it is.

And this is where I get all dark and morbid, but obviously no one lives forever, and once Husband C and I are gone, I want Toddler C to have SOMEONE. Sure, I hope he gets married and has a family of his own, too, but a sibling relationship is different. They are people who knew you when - who can verify or challenge your memories, who can vouch for your character at all phases of your life, who share that common past. And that is why I hate that we just can't come to a decision on this issue. We've been unable to commit to a decision either way - there are valid reasons on each side. I'm more on the pro side, C is more on the con side - and that's ok. That's just how it is right now. Things could change. And that's what I really hate - the lack of certainty. I know that nothing is ever certain (save death and taxes, blah blah blah), but the not knowing is pretty much killing me. It's obviously not a decision that you can put on a definite timeline, either, although at some point human biology will step in and make it, for us. Sometimes, making the decision by NOT making the decision actually sounds preferable.

I don't expect any profound comments on this subject, I just needed to put it somewhere. I also don't need any more pros/cons to the argument - we've gone in enough circles on our own and we've covered pretty much all of them. I think this is somewhat of a contributor to my recent case of the anxiety blahs. Maybe writing it down will help.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Obligatory Halloween Picture

I hope to be back into the blogging swing of things, soon. It's been a little blah here lately, just lots of work and lots of play and no time to compose my thoughts. Such is life :)

I think the Star Wars costumes came out pretty darn well, for the first (and second!) attempt.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hell has Frozen Over

This is what I wore to work yesterday:

(please disregard the messy bathroom)

It's the first time I've worn a skirt to work. Ever. I finished grad school in 2006.

Today? I'm wearing another skirt.

Invasion of the body snatchers, peeps!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh, Wondrous, Joyous Day

Dunkin Donuts has finally gotten their act together and opened up a store near my office. Right across the street from my office, in fact!

No longer will I have to settle for the burnt beans at Starbucks. No longer will I have to endure the crowds of apple fan-boys and hipsters engaged in heated discussions about the latest Tori Amos CD. No longer will I fork over more than $1.50 for a simple cup of coffee.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Pure Awesome

What's better than a new 13.1 PR?

Crossing the finish line (a second time!) with little sister Katie in tow.

We leave no one behind!!

SO proud of her. Miss her already.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's like Shark Week...

...but without the sharks. Otherwise known as, "Dad is a bad sharer."

Visit Unknown in Miami's Sunday in my City post for more photographic goodness!

Unknown Mami


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