Friday, December 16, 2011

The One In Which I Bestow Upon You Awesome Gifting Ideas. (You are welcome.)

Christmas preparations are in full swing in my neck of the woods! And by that I mean just about everyone I know is finished shopping and wrapping their gifts and they're all sitting around cozy fires drinking eggnog and reveling in holiday cheer. Except for me. Because I pretty much need to get my butt in gear ASAP or Santa will be issuing a statement to my children stating Christmas has been postponed until March. (Don't think I won't.)

Since the spirit of the season is all about helping others (and not complaining about my own situation) I figured I'd help you brainstorm some last minute gift ideas for those Hard to Buy For people you've got sitting on your list. Sure you could always fall back on your standard gift card to the local big box store but everyone knows that's basically another way of saying I didn't care to expend actual effort figuring out what to get you so instead I met my friends for a glass or three of wine and stopped half sloshed to grab you this gift card. You should be thankful I physically got out of the car to purchase it. Which reminds me, when is Walmart getting a drive through? 

Yes, gift cards say all that. So, allow me to move you back up to Best Gift Giver EVER status with the following suggestions:

Perfect for your four year old nephew who can't
stop body ramming you around every corner
and who still hasn't learned to shut the hell up.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Mary.
Here's a little something for your Catholic grandmother...
it's perfect because old people eat a lot of toast.

For the person who needs everything to be just so....
the perfect solution to avoid crazed murderous
holiday meltdowns in the kitchen
(although, admittedly, they are fun to capture on video
and upload to your YouTube account).

Every parent likes to know how they can improve
on what they're already doing:

For that really weird cousin whose name you drew
that you're pretty sure has never succeeded in any 
normal social interaction:

Finally! A bedtime classic kids can actually relate to:

For the man who has everything; 
including an odd obsession with bacon...
(I'm thinking of you, Joe Falcone.)

Ladies! A little book to help get you in the mood.... 
or to just leave around the house 
in the hopes that your man will open it and TAKE THE HINT.

and for my Jewish friends - 
you know I would never forget about you 
during this snowy season:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Girls Night Out: Thirty(ish) Style!

Sometimes I do something and I think why the heck am I not doing this more often? Because it's awesome. And awesome needs to happen way more often.

Case in point:

The Ladies Who Lunch.
Or in this case: 
The Ladies Who Eat Double Their Body Mass And Then Go To The Theater And Then Eat Some More.

Which is totally what we did!

As you may or may not have realized by now, one of my most favorite places on the planet is the Young Auditorium at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater because:

1) I love theatre.
2) It's close by.
3) The eclectic array of performance choices each year never fails to impress me.
3) Their prices are very reasonable.
4) This is the closest I'll ever get to Broadway. Again. (Because I've actually been to Broadway but I don't see the probability of revisiting in the near future.)

So my friends and I planned a night to go out to the thee-ah-taahhh. And every cultured woman in America knows that to begin a Girls Night Out you need to start with food. And drinks.

My dear friend, Kim, suggested the restaurant - which ended up being a Mexican joint in a strip mall called Cozumel. And Holy Mary Mother of Jesus was this food awesome! And the drinks were ginormous! And we asked the waiter to take the obligatory we're all here at the same time picture except he was kind of weird about it so we all look like we're slightly afraid of him. Which I admit I totally was.

Ummm... does he know he has to push the button?

The food was delicioso (delicious) y barato (cheap) and I'll totally go back with Big V because that guy could eat a horse and still be hungry.

Then we made our way to the theater to watch a musical comedy called Church Basement Ladies: Away in the Basement - and I can sum it up like this:

 do-whopping bible verses = AWE.SOME.

Although we did have to Google egg coffee (which I would recommend you doing the same because there is no way I can do it justice here) since the show kept making reference to Lutheran/Norwegian foods, of which none of us had any experience.

We also learned about a smelly fish they served at a church supper which had been soaked in lye called Lutefisk. It sounded funny and cute when they were singing and cracking jokes about it but I have a hard time understanding why a church would want to serve poisoned fish to its congregation. Apparently Lutherans have tough stomachs.

They also have teenagers that acted just like my teenager! Seriously - the actress that portrayed the 15-year old was freaking amazing. I bet even she hates herself after a show.

There were a lot of laugh out loud moments in the first act (the pastor walking in on a crotch shot comes to mind) which was just what I needed. Then I decided I also needed a drink. Which me and gal pal G decided to track down at intermission.

Being that the coffee was at one end of the lobby and the alcoholic beverages (a.k.a. Bar) were at the other end, and also that the cardinal rule of girlie friendship is Always Do Everything In Pairs, my dear friend G waited patiently for me to get my booze. Then she came to my rescue and paid when I was told they only accepted cash, which to me is kind of one of those things you might want to point out before they pour the drink because it's the 21st Century and I don't carry cash. Neither do millions of other people. Except G, obviously, because she actually had cash on her person but that is so not the point.

Then we wandered across the lobby to the coffee side and I pretended not to feel like the sole lush of the group. G asked the pretty girls behind the pots if they had regular coffee, which they did not at that particular moment but would shortly should she like to wait. Which G gladly agreed to because she needed her caffeine whereas I was content sipping my booze through my theater friendly plastic cup and didn't even realize we were waiting for anything at all.

Then the lights flickered which meant we had two minutes left. But that was okay because the regular coffee was finally ready and the pretty girls behind the pots were team working to make it happen: one pouring a cup, the other collecting G's cash. And then we power walked back to the auditorium doors to find our seats before curtain only to be told excuse me, but you can't have that drink in there.

Huh? Me?

The coffee. It doesn't have a cover. 

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see the covers - I'll go back to get one.

There are no covers.

Excuse me?

Nope. There are no covers for the coffee. No cover; no coffee. That's the rule. You'll have to drink it in the lobby. By yourself. While your friends are watching the show.

(Okay, so only half that sentence was actually spoken. You get the point.) 

And so it was that G had to throw her coffee away if she wanted to see the rest of the show. She did say the one sip she had was pretty good.

But here's what I'm thinking:

They had theater friendly cups for the hard stuff but not for coffee. Regular or the decaf. And who can slam a cup of coffee at intermission? Coffee is sipped, not slammed.

Hey, pretty girls behind the pots... it might be a swell idea if you told people something along the lines of "there's just two minutes left of intermission so you can certainly choose to stand here and wait for this pot of coffee to finish brewing but the fact is you won't be able to take it with you into the show and I highly doubt your taste buds or esophagus will appreciate the scorching if you attempt to guzzle it. I suggest saving your cash and then getting a cup of coffee after the show."

Is it just me or does this whole thing come across as they'll encourage the drinking of alcoholic beverages but the coffee drinkers are shit out of luck?

To get past the coffee letdown (and maybe also to prove we weren't old fogies who were home by 10pm on a Saturday night) we headed over to Perkin's for a late night cup of coffee and piece of pie. Except I couldn't eat the pie now that I know I have celiac (gluten is my lye) so I ordered sausage links and bacon. Best late night snack ever.

And then we went home because it was midnight and sooner or later we had to accept the fact that we weren't in college anymore and there were little human beings waiting for us at our homes that depended on us for their emotional and physical well being and, let's face it. we're not getting any younger.

There's just something special about gathering your friends together for a night out. As we get older there seems to be a lack of places to go. The bar makes me feel old. And hard of hearing. But the theater was the perfect place. I do believe we'll have to go again.

We asked some guy in the lobby to take our photo. 
He totally looked like he was zooming in on our girlie bits.
Not a bad photo for a perv.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Necessities: an imperative requirement.

Dear Teenager:

Please take up a hobby. Because right now you have way too much time on your hands attempting to badger me into purchasing a brand new phone for you. Again.

Here's a few thoughts - things I would tell you if you quit whining long enough to listen:

(1.) No where in the Parenting Manual does it say I owe you a phone.

(2.) Your current phone seems to be working just fine since you've called me no less than three times in the last two days to complain about it. Not to mention the various text messages you've sent to remind me of what a piece of crap it it.

(3.) I don't care that so-and-so's mom just got her the brand new iphone 4s super-soaker deluxe model with real 3-karat diamonds for buttons.

(4.) Actually, "just a hundred dollars" is a lot of money. If it wasn't, you'd have it.

(5.) It's one hundred dollars. Not a hundred.

(6.) Get a job. That way you could buy a new phone every week if you so desired.

(7.) In case there's an awful emergency and I need to get a hold of you I will more than likely call the land line. It's an ancient procedure but one I'm proficient at.

(8.) Yes, I realize it's so unfair that I won't get you a new phone.

(9.) It's also so unfair that 1/3 of the world is starving and that more than 15 million children die from hunger each year.

(10.) Maybe you ought to take a few minutes to rethink your priorities.

Merry Christmas,

Love Mom