Date Archives December 2011

Go Spinja, Go Spinja, Go!

To my shame and great dismay, I kept losing this game. This stupid game. This stupid, jerky, jerkfacey stupid game.

I don’t have a problem with competitiveness. I have a problem with losing.

A Neurotic’s Christmas Diary

December 20th I’m about to embark on an eight day visit with my boyfriend’s family. I’ve assembled clothing that makes me look like I have some sense of how to dress like an adult. I’ve bitten my nails to the quick. My face is breaking out. My period is starting. So far, things are not off to a good start.

December 21st Arrival! It has been a long day of traveling, and we’re dirty in that special “airline travel” sort of way. Heedless at our discomfort at being photographed in such a state of filthiness, my boyfriend’s brother snaps about a thousand photos at the airport and another thousand or so at dinner. I’m sure there were gobs of cilantro hanging out of my teeth, because that vile weed is equally adept at ruining photographs as well as meals. This is an especially dire situation as boyfriend’s family does not believe in the concept of throwing away bad photos, instead displaying them proudly in their home for all to see, forever. Cilantromouth pimpleface greasyhair bloaty mcgee, for all time.

December 22nd It didn’t take long for them to realize that I am stupid, functioning with only the barest of life skills and interested only in superficial, petty things. His father figured it out first, telling me that his son had painted replicas of two famous paintings hanging on their walls, and asking me who the original artist was. They appeared Impressionistic but beyond that I couldn’t say. “Someone needs to learn their Monet ” he responded, handing me a book about the painter. “It’s study time, you need to read up before we can go out.”

He also studies and collects fossilized bivalves and various insects; he has had a few named after him and has written academic papers on others. He showed me some of his collection but didn’t really explain what made something an oyster versus a clam versus a scallop, so when he gave me a pop quiz on some of the specimens he had in his car, I did not exactly pass with flying colors. Later, he told us he was working on a paper about craneflies but didn’t know whether it was grammatically correct to write it as one word or split it into two. It was yet another instance where I was put to the test and was found wanting.

When he asked me what sort of things I was interested in, I could not give a single answer that didn’t seem frivolous. I might as well have said “Hurr, I like it when people make a funny fall down time thing, look, there is a cat, durrr.”

His mother notices that I am not eating the appetizer at dinner. I am called out on it, and now things are extra awkward. I have trouble eating around people I don’t know well. I have spent years carefully avoiding meals in public, and now everyone is looking at me expectantly. I flush and shut down, not willing or able to go into the mechanics of this eating disorder. I’m pretty sure they hate me now.

December 23rd I have come to understand that there will be no time for solitary activities on this trip. As a person with a need for a significant amount of alone time, this is proving problematic. The boys can be absorbed in their electronic devices, but I am called upstairs to help in the kitchen, where I am grilled on my family history. The only time I get to myself is the time I spend in the bathroom. I’m beginning to spend more time in the bathroom, but even this has backfired as it’s difficult to explain what you’re doing in the bathroom to someone who comes looking for you and finds you in there for the third time in an hour.

December 24th Today we spent three hours crammed in the car together driving to Pittsburgh. His father believes in learning while driving, instructing his sons to read to him from a book on plant life during the ice age. When they refuse, he turns on a Spanish language instructional CD, blaring it for maximum educational potential. “It’s not possible.” “No es possible.” His mother attempts to engage us all in conversation–her husband, who is listening to the CD, her younger son, who is in a meditative trance, and her elder son and myself, both of us attempting to block everything out with our headphones. No es possible.

Our first stop in Pittsburgh is the nursing home his grandmother lives in. She is tired and confused, and grabs onto my hand for what feels like hours. Everyone in the room photographs us holding hands as though it were a tender moment between us, and it makes me feel awkward and want to flee. They should be making the most out of what could be one of their last visits with her, not forcing a stranger on her instead of her own grandchildren. I resent being made the center of attention when I rightfully should be the least important person in the room.

Outside, a senile woman roams the halls, mumbling and shouting gibberish. “She’s as useless as tits on a bull!” we hear through the curtain. His grandmother shares a room with a woman who is paralyzed from the neck down; she has been so for forty years, trapped in this room. Her whole family is dead. The curtain stays drawn between the two women, and we gathered on the side with his grandmother, blocking her out from our gift giving and photo-taking. Desperate to be included, she continues shouting obscenities through the curtain. “SHIT!” “What’s wrong?” my boyfriend’s mother would ask. “My life. My life is shit. It’s one great big turd that won’t flush. I’m going to live forever.”

I know how she feels.

December 25th This morning started with breakfast at his grandfather’s house, and then back to the nursing home. I couldn’t deal with a repeat of the day before, so I stayed in the hallway and called my family. Grandpa noticed that I wasn’t present, and when I went into the room to say goodbye to them both, he said nothing. I’m pretty sure he hates me now.

We spent two more hours crammed into the car to Akron to meet his mother’s side of the family. It is enormous, and I have photos of myself with every possible combination of all of them. I have had more photographs and video taken of me this trip than I have over the course of the rest of my life, combined. One of the children immediately grifted money from me. Nearly every single one of these relatives told me that my boyfriend used to defend one of his cousins from everyone else because she used to be so “roly-poly”, with a raised eyebrow and a pointed glance in my direction. I guess I am the one who needs defending now. One of his aunts gave his mother a spy camera shaped like a pen. Nowhere is safe anymore.

On the trip in the car back to Columbus, his father’s CD blares about the world ending in fire. I can’t wait.

December 26th I discovered my first gray hair today. I’m sure it popped in the moment my boyfriend’s mother suggested that someday she and his father could build a wing onto our home and move in with us. I broke out in hives at the same moment, sweating and itching profusely but not able to move, fearful that any movement would attract attention to me, like a t-rex to a flare, and I’d have to come up with some manner of positive response to her suggestion. Frozen in place, my brain began to furiously sift through potential responses. “Yes, and someday hell might freeze over.” “I’d burn the house down first.” “As it turns out, we’re planning a life of being adventurous boxcar hobos.” …Nothing seemed appropriate.

We managed to break away for an hour before dinner, which we used to get drunk. Alcohol made me more gregarious but still not open to the idea of co-habitation. I stuffed food into my mouth to avoid anything negative coming out. There’s another flattering photo for the holiday mantlepiece.

December 27th I spent a lot of the day carefully packing and repacking my suitcase in between trips to the bathroom before going out to spend dinner with some of my boyfriend’s high school friends. I am pretty sure the family knows I am avoiding them and thinks I am a jerk. However, I am physically and emotionally exhausted, without anything left to give anyone, so I don’t really care.

December 28th The stress of not having any time truly to myself for days has manifested into a neck and shoulder so stiff I can hardly move. We are dropped off at the airport bright and early to discover that we will be seated in separate rows, both in middle seats, so there’s no potential to trade with anyone. No one wants to give up a window or an aisle seat for a middle seat. No one.

I suppose I should be thankful I’m on a plane at all instead of in a holding cell after the way I mouthed off to the TSA agent, but I’m not. I was standing in front of the metal detector, coatless, shoeless, beltless, and walletless, with absolutely everything taken out of my pockets. Before I could pass through, I was instructed by the agent to take off my thin, loosely wrapped scarf as well. I ripped it off my neck, flung it in the bin and asked if there was anything else I could take off for him. He immediately became defensive and said I could have been keeping anything under there, as if my chest was some sort of massive repository with unlimited storage potential for illicit substances. I shot back that if it was a matter of national security, he should know that I also had undergarments hiding underneath my shirt and pants, and under those, I had a tampon crammed up into my vagina, and did he need to know the brand? I then went further and muttered that he didn’t have to take off his pants for me to know what was hiding underneath–a great big asshole. I was heading toward a middle seat; what did I have to lose? I figure an economy class middle seat on an airplane and the facilities in Guantanamo are roughly equivalent.

Someone in front of me on the plane had gas. Rancid, eggy, foul gas. I was afraid that my seatmates thought it was me befouling the air, which would mean that not only was I the fat person spilling over into their seats and touching their armrests, I was smelly besides. I spent four hours clutching myself in an attempt to make myself as small and unobjectionable as possible, actually apologizing to the beautiful, slender girl next to me when she spilled a soda into my purse. “I shouldn’t have had it under the seat,” I said. “I should have known better. I’m sorry.” Someone in a row behind me vomited, the sharp tang of bile and alcohol mixing with the secretions of the most gaseous person alive.

When we got home, we discovered our entire house was covered with craneflies. I still don’t know if it should be one word or two.

Music to Induce Merry Madness

For some foolish reason, I started a battle of bad Christmas music with a friend. Little did I realize this is a well that will never run dry. So to get you in the holiday mood (note, I didn’t say GOOD mood), here is our lovingly compiled list, perfect for inspiring an evening of heavy drinking or used as a not-so-subtle way to encourage relatives to leave your home.

Dr Elmo: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer Rap

Ali Lohan: Christmas Magic

John Denver: Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)

Yogi Yorgesson: I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas

Lou Monte: Dominick the Donkey

Cyndi Lauper: Christmas Conga

Little Cindy: Happy Birthday Jesus

DJC: I Want A Blowjob For Christmas

Chewbacca: Silent Night

Bongleburt Doppelganger: O Come All Ye Faithful

Tiny Tim: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The Goodies: Father Christmas (Do Not Touch Me)

Eazy E: Merry Mothafuckin’ Christmas

Kevin Bloody Wilson: Hey Santa Claus You Cunt

Fist Me This Christmas

New Kids on the Block: Funky Funky Xmas

Dunlap: I Don’t Feel Like Fuckin’ This Christmas

Busta Rhymes: Grinch featuring Jim Carrey

We could keep going for quite some time–there’s enough legitimately terrible Christmas music out there to horrify and enthrall us for days, but I have got packing to do and movies to pan (Jim Carrey, I’m not done with you), so this list will have to suffice.

Aren’t we forgeting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.

Recently, we visited Kent for their annual Santa parade, a block-long extravaganza that coincides precisely with the length of my attention span for parades. First came the girl scouts, flinging candy canes at paradegoers as hard as they could throw overhand. I, for one, have never been more appreciative of our patriarchal society that discourages girls from participating in sports and thus developing their muscles and aim. Next came Darth Vader, some stormtroopers and a few Jedi warriors, then came a few festive alpacas, and last but not least came Santa riding in on a fire truck. Santa hobbled out of the truck aided by a cane, was presented with the key to the city, and proceeded to light the Christmas tree. We celebrated Santa’s arrival with gyros and festive liquor, and then we were off to our second holiday spirit event of the day: the Christmas tree house.

The owners of the Christmas tree house traditionally decorate 10-14 Christmas trees every year, and open their home to visitors one day during the holiday season as part of a food drive. I was lucky enough to be invited this year, and it truly was a spectacle. Beautiful trees covered with thousands of ornaments in a gorgeous home–and the ornaments on display only comprise a fraction of their total collection. My photos can’t even begin to do it justice.

Of course, it makes my little charlie brown tree at home seem extra sad, but other than that single downside, it was a beautiful way to kick off the holiday season. I hope I am invited again next year!

The Bigfoot Diet: Pork Chops Aplenty!

Anacortes: a town with the world’s second best fish and chips, smoked salmon phone cards, and more Sasquatch paintings than you can shake a stick at. The first Sasquatch came as a surprise. “Stop the car and look at that house!” A Sasquatch bid welcome, while an attack cat warned us to keep our distance and a mermaid floated further off indifferently. We parked the car and found more on our way to a restaurant–a Sasquatch couple, the lady of the pair holding a strategically placed flower. A Sasquatch peddling juice. A Sasquatch clutching a painter’s palette. When we found ourselves in a ceramics-painting coffee shop, what else could have served as our subject?

I began thinking about the lady Sasquatch and her carefully placed flower, and inspiration struck. While my painting skills fall somewhat short of Botticelli’s, my “Birth of Sasquatch” spoon rest will bring a touch of class to my kitchen. After we were finished, we left the pieces with the shop owner to be fired and asked if we needed to leave our names in order to pick them up–he took one look at our subject matter and figured he’d be able to keep them together without any difficulty.

I can’t wait to see them after they’ve been fired.

While our masterpieces are not for sale, you can see more Anacortes sasquatch art and buy your own giant sasquatch at the artist Christine Olsen’s website.

It’s not like I ask for much. Just one thing for Christmas. Only one thing!

While Jason and I were at Costco last night, we peeped into the jewelry case (as one does, because it’s part of the browsing experience, not because one is specifically in the market), and I noticed this sign and brought it to his attention. “Oh gee, honey, only four hundred fifty nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents–it’s a steal! And free shipping!” A couple browsing nearby burst out laughing. What? I think that sounds better than saying “Oh honey, it’s only half a million dollars!” or “Oh honey, it costs slightly less than a house!” or “Oh honey! You could get this for me instead of that horse I wanted and with this gift you’ll never have to shovel horse puckey off your shoes!”

But really, if someone was going to drop half a mil on a ring, don’t you think they might like to see it in person first? Is Costco really going to be the first place you look when you’re planning on dropping that kind of cash? Isn’t that like going to Wal Mart to see if they have any discount Rolls Royces? And if you’re going to spend that much, is ten bucks worth of shipping charges going to sway you that much one way or another? Really? You see the free shipping and think “SOLD!”? Maybe if they threw in the loaded Lexus’ worth of Washington State sales tax, that would make a difference. Maybe.

Apropos of nothing since this won’t be in my Christmas stocking: Sure, the diamond is the size of a boulder but the only thing I can see is how tacky the setting looks.

Nom or Vom: Yoo-hoo that burns

I’ve heard that red wine and chocolate compliment one another. I’ve heard of wines that have a chocolate note, and dessert wines. Chocovine has taken these things and applied the “if some is good, more is better” logic that has worked so well for purveyors of bacon and developed a chocolatey milky thick semi-wine-like substance. It’s chocolate milk, but for adults! It’s BoKu without Richard Lewis! It’s Yoo-hoo that burns! It’s the bacon of chocolate!

Pros: The color is the same as the chocolate river that Augustus Gloop nearly drowns in, and anything that brings to mind the idea of a naughty child in mortal peril brings a sparkle to my eye. Their website indicates that it is the “#1 selling chocolate wine in America” (incidentally, I have the number one comedy blog written by a Mellzah). If you were in the middle of a desert dying of thirst, this would probably stave that off for a little while, though the booze would dehydrate you a little further and might give you a wicked case of drymouth so, you know, weigh your options. The videos on the website are funny, in a “We’re trying much too hard to be hip” kind of way, especially with that jazzy sex and the city style music in the background.

Cons: Probably not classy to bring the equivalent of an adult milk box as a hostess gift. They really emphasize using this product in cocktails, which defeats the purpose of calling it wine: wine exists so you don’t have to think about stocking a billion different mixers before a party. Sweet booze is already a road to Headache City, and they want you to blend this already sweet booze into boozy sweet milkshakes? Better set up an appointment with the toilet, you’ll be getting to know it intimately after a few of those. Who has ever had a glass of chocolate milk and thought “You know what would make this better? Heartburn!”

Would you drink this?

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