Sunday, December 22, 2013

Omit mention of nothing

I always feel a bit strange posting when I'm at my parents' house in Ithaca because I write this blog primarily for them so...who am I updating, really?  You're right. Probably no one.

But I think I will write a little something because I am just petty enough to crave the blogosphere (not a word--but who cares) limelight and to get a sad, secret thrill from each like I receive on facebook.  If you've read but haven't "liked" my posts, don't worry.  My self esteem only entirely depends on it.

It feels nice to be back on the East Coast, even though I've been on East Coast three times more than usual this year and even though I've seen more rain then snow so far and I really really enjoy my two weeks of winter before I jet back to 60 degrees and sunny blahness.  But the weatherman is predicting a white Christmas eve at least, so I am cautiously optimistic. 

And I am probably dooming myself to the most harrowing of journeys back by saying this, but my trip out here was shockingly uneventful.  This was probably the first time in the history of flying...ever to the East Coast during the holidays, when I didn't encounter a single delay or lost bag or emergency landing on any of my flights (yes, plural and involving more than one layover).  I even got to enjoy a glass of decent red wine at the Philly airport with Moses.  It was almost like something out of a movie, but with considerably much more waiting in lines, searching for power outlets, and concealing my annoyance of other people when they complain about the "taste" of their airport caramel macchiato.

Similarly to how I amuse myself by thinking of famous authors ordering sandwiches at Subway, I will also amuse myself by thinking of movie characters bogged down in some of the more unspectacular moments of air travel.  Which is all of it, really.  Like Nick Cage in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets on his way to Paris to find the next thrilling clue taking his shoes off and dully waiting in line at security behind a man taking handfuls change out of his pocket.

In her short story "Snow," Anne Beattie wrote "any life would seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it."  I always really liked that line.  Obviously, I don't follow that model on my blog, but that's because I don't pity you as a reader.  Anyways, when I taught this story in my intro to fiction class, I explained what this line meant to a student by using that example of Nick Cage's character from National Treasure 2.  The student seemed to get it after that.

But moving on.  I've been listening to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You a Swinging Christmas this year.  It's just the best.  I especially like that she ends her rendition of "Jingle Bells" with the line: "I'm just crazy about horses."  I sing that line more than I would like to admit/ I probably realize.  So much so that every once and a while Moses will ask me: "Wait, so how do you feel about horses again?"

When I got to Ithaca my ten year old brother Isaiah said "I think you might be addicted to that song."  When I asked him why, he replied matter-of-factly: "Because you've been whistling it all morning."

Let's see...what else?  Well, I really haven't done much yet in Ithaca except for Christmas shopping and watching episode after episode of Chopped but here is a spattering of randomness because clearly everything is worth documenting:

This is the festive centerpiece of our dining room table back home is LA.  I just think it's lovely.  The poinsettia will probably be dead when we get back, but, you know, always the optimist...

Isaiah took a long, pensive look at my parents' nativity set and said "I really don't think there are enough animals."

So remedied.

One of our most treasured Christmas traditions is making Christmas cookies, using my grandmother's recipe.

Sure we ran out of regular food coloring but what says Merry Christmas more than 1980's neon?

Now I am off to eat my millionth NY bagel, drink my fiftieth cup of coffee, and play Settlers of Catan with my siblings.

Who's ready to argue about brick?  Because in our family, it's always brick.

A very Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Tis the season to be stressful

Are you there, Alcohol?  It's me Wendy.

That should be the title of my autobiography.  Or lifetime original movie.  Or one woman show.  Or regular old Tuesday night.

Ugh.  That opening took me three days to write and at best it registers as a Chelsea Handler on the comedy meter. Which for those of you unfamiliar or unaware falls somewhere in between Dane Cook and nondescript sock puppet.

Traditionally, this has always been a dicey time of year for me.  As a student, it was full of finals and term papers.  As an instructor, it was full of grading finals and term papers.  Much worse, trust me.  But, this year, being neither a student nor an instructor for the first time in a looooong time, I thought I would be able to put up my feet, drink some peppermint hot cocoa, get my Christmas shopping done early, and skate into the holiday season with ease. Right?





I'm going to tell it to you straight, reader:  I'm ragged.  Like really really ragged.  Like almost grad school level ragged.  Like cry in your boss' office and then vaguely entertain the idea of inventing a pregnancy just so you could have something other than stress to blame it on ragged.

Yeah.  Based on a true story, my friends.

And all I can say is: W. T. F.

I am a working professional with remotely regular working hours; I shouldn't have to deal with this crap anymore.  But you know, something about me being gone from my desk for essentially an entire month and our office closing down for two weeks at the end of December, has made things a wee bit on the harry side at work.  Go figure.

Plus, I started doing these ballet fitness videos and man, are they tough.  The next day, my movement is reduced to a strained shuffle and in a Walking Dead happy office like mine, I'm left moderately concerned that someone will plunge an xacto knife in my frontal cortex.  Clearly the weapon of choice at an art school in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, I saw a woman get off a bus in downtown LA and walk towards us. Her shoulders were hunched over a bit and she was dragging her feet, one staggered step at a time.  Just like a walker.  And, as an avid Walking Dead watcher, my first reaction was not: Why is she walking like that?  Or I sure do hope she's okay.  No. My eyes were too busy darting around, trying to find the closest, sharpest object.

You know, it's as if I ask myself: is this interesting to other people?  And then, when the answer is no, I blog about it.

Anyways, since my little meltdownage on Tuesday, things have gotten better and I'm no longer panicking about getting everything done before I leave--slight shudder--next week.  But it will be fine. It will be fine, she said decidedly, though mostly to convince herself.

And today readers, today is my birfday.  I would feel awkward announcing it so brazenly like that--as such an obvious ploy for attention--but A.  I'm a blogger, so...duh.  And B. I really have no shame when it comes to my birthday.  It's the one day a year that I allow myself to Kanye West-it and boldly and selfishly relish in the spotlight.  So wish me well, goddamn it because I am birthdayzilla.  Recognize.

Typically, my birthday is meticulously planned by me and is usually relatively elaborate (Disneyland, Ice skating--this makes me sound like a twelve year old girl, but I swear I'm not). But this year, when Moses asked me what I wanted to do, I first thought party, but then I really didn't feel much like hosting. Next I thought fancy dinner, but then I really didn't feel much like going out.  And finally, it dawned on.  I wanted to do absolutely nothing.

So we did.

And it was just what I always wanted.

Here's to the last year of my twenties.  They've been pretty fab so far.