Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sorry Mom

Mother reading blog = bad news

Blogging about ugly sweater given as gift from mother = "You are getting nothing next year!"

And so...

Dear Enraged Mother,
The sweater is lovely, it really is. That is, until I flip it over. I'm touched that you would go out of your way to obtain such an exquisite article of clothing. The more I think about it the more I realize just how useful this sweater will be. I mean reinforced elbows? That's genius! You know how active I am, and I always find myself burning holes right through those darn sleeves. Now I can take up army crawling again, and never have to worry about my sweater wearing away and leaving my elbows unprotected and subject to nasty rug burns. Thanks mom! And yesterday when I tried to locate a picture of this sweater, I realized just how impossible it is to find. Old Navy doesn't even have it on their website and it's their sweater! You must have traveled far for this Christmas Gem! I had no idea it was such a hot commodity. And finally, compared to the Christmas Gem you gave Aimee last year (bathrobe made for clown), I am very grateful that mine is still wearable in public.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Confused? Read Previous Post.

And now for a sneak preview of my next post...

"Let's play a game called guess what I want and then buy it for me."~Megan

Christmas Meme

I HATE memes. Hate them. However, I LOVE Poppy. Love her. The fact that she was gracious enough to even utter my name in her blog today made me skip around like a kid hopped up on sugar. So I shall appease her and take part in this Christmas meme. And away we go...

Three things I got for Christmas:
1) iPod! The fact that the soundtrack of my life, which is constantly playing in my head, actually comes from an external source is absolutely thrilling. If nothing else, it makes me slightly less insane.
2) Books. I am a literary nerd and received quite a few. If I had to pick one as my favorite, it would probably be Laurie Notaro's An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List. Hilarious.
3) Ugly Christmas Sweater (my mom is going to kill me for this one). It never fails that every year my mother finds some horrid sweater to bestow upon me. It's as though she believes that I am indeed the Ugly Sweater Advocate, born into this world to bring back into fashion that which the rest of the world has forsaken. Last year was what I like to call The Orange Monstrosity, which I put on Christmas morning to humor her, and then never ever wore again. I like to call these Christmas Gems. This year's Christmas Gem was preempted with my mother saying, "Now don't get upset," before I had even attempted to remove any wrapping paper. I held up the sweater and said, "This isn't so bad mom." Then I flipped it around to show the rest of the room and was confronted with a dreadful sight of unwelcome suede patches on each elbow. Seriously mom? *Sweater to be posted separately...won't work in this one :(

Three things I did not want to get:
1) Ugg boots. I detest their presence. Why would a girl wear something deemed "Ugg"?? Are we cavewomen now? Has evolution receded? What's going on? Knock it off.
2) Stephanie Klein's memoir Straight Up & Dirty. No thanks. I got your back Jen Lancaster.
3) A tiny tamarin monkey named Jalapeno to follow me around as a constant source of entertainment. This is a wonderful thought in theory, but I suspect would be much more trouble than it's worth.

I hereby tag:
1) Kenny of Kenny's Online Abode
2) Ogre of Flab to Fab
3) Megan of Timeless Torture
4) Slskenyon of Spark of Madness
5) Cat and Rob (I'm only supposed to pick 5, but I'm tagging you both)

Here are the rules, if you're interested:
1. Players start by listing three things he/she got for Christmas.
2. Then they list three things he/she definitely did not want to get for Christmas.
3. Then he/she tags five friends and lists their names.
4. The ones who get tagged write on their blogs about their Christmas wishes, and state the rules clearly.
5. Then tag five more victims. The tagger needs to leave the taggees a comment that says you have been Christmas tagged! and tell them to read the tagger's blog.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas so I'm going to be nice.

This is rare. Pay attention.

I went to midnight mass tonight. The mass was being offered for my late grandparents, Glen and Dorothy Haskin. As I sat there I couldn't help but think about the many Christmas's in which we all gathered at their house for our annual Christmas brunch. Yesterday I went for a walk and found myself standing in their old front yard. Their house has been knocked down and is in the process of being replaced with a monstrosity of a residence that sticks out like a sore thumb on the block. Something inside me dies every time I see it.

But I can close my eyes and go back.

I can see the blue paint, the concrete porch, the little extra step by dad put in for my grandpa after the cancer robbed him of his vigor, the light post, the narrow driveway I used to shovel, the flower beds that I used to sit and weed for hours and hours lost in my own thoughts, the black chain link fence, the hose I ran over and sliced open with the lawn mower, the stump of the tree my dad and I cut down in the front yard, and then the pit that replaced that stump some years later which I used to twist my ankle in at least once a summer.

I can close my eyes and still hear Bob Seger blare over the radio as I repainted the deck in my last few weeks leading up to my first semester away from home, and I can see the wooden yellow bird atop the post, wings spinning in the wind. I can travel in the house and see the kitchen I spent an entire winter's break remodeling, and the "secret" door which connected my mother's old room to the backroom.

I can close my eyes and it's Christmas time there again. The village is set up. The little tree is lit and in the front window, adorned with the gulf ball shaped Santa that I got my grandpa when he just started his cancer treatment. The card tables, where I used to help my grandma wrap presents just days before, have been cleaned up and set for breakfast. The kitchen table is pressed up against the wall and filled with coffee cakes, bacon, sausage, ham, banana bread, and most importantly my grandma's scrambled eggs. The last memory I have of my grandma is when my mom made me go over there one night and fix her some eggs, sunny side up, because that was the only thing she really had an appetite for anymore. I remember being so terrified I was going to screw them up. I probably did too, but she would have never let on because that's exactly what my grandparents were about. Unconditional love. That's exactly what my Grandma and Grandpa Deutsch are about too. Never were there any two homes I have ever felt more welcome into than my grandparents'. And even though one of those homes is gone now, the memory of those who lived there is still just as alive and inviting. All I have to do is close my eyes.

So why am I telling you all this? Because Christmas is about love and families. Christmas is about God's love for us shown by sending his only son here to Earth to be born in a manger. It's about the Holy Family and how they had to stick together and get through trial after trial to make sure Jesus was brought into this world according to God's plan, and that he was able to survive and thrive in a loving family environment. Christmas is about our families too, striving to be like that of Jesus'.

Not every Christmas is going to be like the one before. In the course of life we must grow up and grow old. Our heroes will pass on, but new ones will be born to take their place. Our families will grow and take on new meanings. There will come a time where we must bend and accept changes and additions, or in some case loses. But Christmas...Christmas itself, will always be about the same thing. A little baby lying in a manger, oblivious of the impact he would have on the world. A husband and wife, cold and weary from an incredible journey huddling over this life they must nuture. A family. A family in the hands of God.

Keep that in mind this Christmas. Thank God for your families. And thank God for his willingness to share his with us.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Graduation Fun

My sister Meghan graduated from Elgin Community College tonight with an Associates in Art.

Graduation ceremonies are such dreaded events. Generally speaking, they are long, stuffy, boring, and far too serious for my liking. Obviously with these preconceived notions I was not looking forward to Meghan's graduation tonight. I am fully aware that my sister has done a great deal of putting up with me over the last twenty one years so I decided the least I could do was put up with some inadequate speakers and a parading of strangers to see her walk for graduation.

The fun began about two hours before the ceremony when my mother insisted we leave an hour and a half before the ceremony began to ensure we obtained good seats. I calmly explained to her she was a raving lunatic, but in the end I could only convince her to wait and leave an hour before the ceremony. When we arrived into the nearly empty auditorium with 40 minutes to go till the ceremony started all I could do was shake my head, and be grateful I had brought along a book to read.

The first indication I had that this was going to be no normal graduation ceremony came from the large older woman sitting two rows ahead of me. I heard her squeeky voice exclaim excitedly at the arrival of a friend of hers. She got up out of her seat, shook the person's hand, and then plopped back the floor. If you haven't guessed yet, these seats where of the likeness of that which you would find in a movie theater. The ones that flip up when no one is sitting in them. That is a hard concept for some. Upon getting up, her seat returned to its upright position and so when she went to sit down she went straight to the floor. The man behind her (clearly one of her family members) reached over and hoisted her up off the floor.
"I don't know how it happened!" she exclaimed.
"The chairs are spring loaded!" he replied horrified.
"What?! I've never heard of such a thing."
Who needs a book with that kind of entertainment.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was just the beginning. The graduates filed in and the speakers took their seats on the stage. A woman sat in the front lefthand corner of the stage facing the audience. It took me a moment to realize she was there to translate the speeches into sign langauge. Oh that's nice. Sign language is so fascinating, I should really learn. The president of ECC stepped forward to begin the ceremony with an introduction and the sign language lady stood up and began.
I know absolutely no sign lanuage, but I have seen many a sign language translator before, and this display was like nothing I have ever seen. This woman was dancing. Break dancing. The full body heaves her body was going through went along perfectly to the soundtrack I was playing in my head for her. Track 1 was Workin' at the Carwash. And she was working. Her facial expressions were probably the greatest things I've ever seen. They in no way matched the words that were coming out of the actual speakers mouth. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd say she was mocking him. I just kept thinking WHY DIDN'T WE BRING THE VIDEO CAMERA?! It reminded me of a mime who had downed two bottles of NightQuil before attempting a performance. I just cannot believe that the motions she was making matched in anyway to the actual words that were spoken. You know how in the YMCA dance people extend their arms and point while bouncing their arm up and down, moving from one side to the other? She did that. More than once. She also did what I can only describe as picking up an invisible rope and, tying it into a lasso, and tossing it around the large woman two seats in front of me who could not operate her chair. I have no idea what any of the speakers said, but I clearly remember the sign langauge lady cocking an imaginary rifle and firing off two rounds.

My brother and I put forth our best efforts not to laugh outloud, but we had the entire row of chairs shaking from our stiffled laughter. My mother shot us dirty looks for the first few minutes, but she too could not resist outright laughing at the gestures coming from this woman. Eventually I realized that the only way to keep myself from laughing outloud or wetting my pants was to stare down at the ground. I tried. I really did. I just could not stand not knowing what crazy thing she'd do next. I had to watch her. Her whole body swayed back and forth with every movement. The one instance when her gestures actually matched up with the speaker was when I nearly lost it. The commencement speaker was talking about her days as a freshman and how she used to walk through the halls not talking to anyone and staring at her feet. The sign langauge woman stood in place and sped walked looking down at the ground. That's right, speed walking in place, head down. I bet you didn't think that was possible. Oh but it is.

When the sign lanaguage lady began to flash gang signs the soundtrack in my mind switched over to P. Diddy's Shake Ya' Tailfeather. I feel like if someone had taken the time to clear her some space she would have been on the floor doing the worm. No such luck. She did continue to entertain us, however, by leaning back, criss crossing her arms back and forth, and contorting her face as though she were on 8 mile trying to spew out some wicked rhymes. Can you believe this was a free show?

The speeches ended with an awesome send off consisting of the sign language lady putting her hands together and out in front of her like the diver from Mousetrap. Shen then swerved them back and forth as if parting through an invisible crowd. This was quickly followed up with her casting an invisible line and reeling us all in one by one. Fantastic! Bravo!

Did I mention the ceremony ended with large tables full of cookies being wheeled out into the auditorium? That was just icing on the cake. What an awesome night. Way to go ECC, you guys know how to entertain.

Oh yeah, and congratulations Meghan!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

SPAM Tribute

Oh you clever spammers! You know just what to say in a subject line to make me yearn to open your junk email...or not.

I find your new tactic of poor grammar especially appealing, but I fear most people won't. Here's a thought, when you're trying to sell something you may not want to come off as a raging idiot before your email is even opened. Subject lines such as "It ready" say to me "I didn't finish middle school." At least hold off on revealing your complete incompetence until the email is opened, and then maybe you can wow me with some product "photos" you sketched in Windows Paint.

I especially love those who SPAM in hoards. I have always found that an overall lack of syntax that comes by the dozen has a much better effect than just receiving one email. It removes any speculation I may have had regarding simple typos, and confirms my fear that some people just have never been introduced to the apostrophe. Last week I had the opportunity to reunite with several old friends I never knew I had. My Inbox was full of emails bearing titles such as, "It Carol," "It Mike," "It Josh," "It Stephanie." Oh Carol! It really you?

So thank you spam "artists" for reminding me daily why it is important for me to stay in school. Good luck with your future endeavors. And no, I'm not at all annoyed with the amount of space you take up in my inbox.

Monday, December 11, 2006


For all those trying to relax during finals week, let me recount the events of a certain relaxation session I was forced through last week...

As I crossed the threshold into my International Health Issues class I spied a funny looking older woman conversing with my professor. What do I mean by funny? Let me paint a picture for you. Her name was Maria. She towered at a height of 5'3 and her thin body was cloaked under a giant grey sweater which draped down to her knees. A lavender turtleneck emerged from the top of the sweater, which matched perfectly with the lavender boa she wore wrapped around....her head. Yes her head, like a ninja fairy. She had long brown/grey hair braided down as long as her sweater, and to combat the adverse weather conditions she wore tapered jeans tucked into hiking boots. One quick glance at her face suggested she might have rosacea, but a closer inspection revealed an unnecessary amount of blush plastered on in several layers.

Basically, I was thoroughly amused before she even opened her mouth. And when she did, everything just got so much better.

"I imagine some of you are a little stressed out at this point," she began. "Do you know what happens when you get stressed out? You stop taking care of yourself. You stop sleeping right, you stop eating right, and then you get sick!"
Check. Check. Check.
"So today I am going to show you how to relax--oh my look at these lights! These lights are stealing your Vitamin B!"
Excellent! She's a nutcase!
My professor scurried over to flick off the lights, and away we went.
"Close your eyes everyone."
"Feel free to fall asleep."
For real?!
"Now I want you to find your inner smile."
"HA!" Oops, that was outloud.
"You will find your inner smile behind your third eye."
Come again?
*Points to the center of her forehead* "Your third eye."
Hmmm...if we are all supposed to have our eyes closed, how were we supposed to see that? Good thing I don't follow directions well.
"Your inner smile is a glowing ball of light."
Interesting, tell me more.
"Your inner smile will travel with it's healing light throughout your body, smiling at your organs."
Smiling at my organs? Oh no, this is too much.
"Smile into your alveolar sacs....Smile into your gallbladder...."
(This was the beginning of a long drawn out process in which we followed our inner light throughout our entire body stopping at each organ to smile into it. Yes that's right, smile into it. She would stop and have us smile into every single organ and meditate on the usefulness of each one).
Midway through this ordeal she informed us that she forget to mention that our third eye was a beaming light, much like a flashlight shining into us, following our inner smile throughout our body. That information would have been so much more helpful from the start.

"I suspect some of you have some negative energy," she continued.
That might be an understatement.
"Smile into your negative energy. Transform it into healing light of smiling energy."
Why didn't I think of that before?! Mmmm...lalala...light..wala! All better! Genius!

Needless to say I spent the majority of the time focusing really hard on not laughing aloud, that is, up until the point I fell asleep. After which, I became very relaxed. So yeah, mission accomplished crazy lady.

In conclusion, good luck with finals this week everyone! If you get stressed out take Maria's advice and find your inner smile. Or just try to imagine what she looked like, that works too.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I don't feel well, I am incapable of learning and applying organic chemistry, and I've run out of things to throw across my room.

I have this increasing notion that there is currently a stress induced ulcer forming in my stomach. That would explain the nausea and stomach pains.

I'd really like a large blunt object right about reason.

So yeah. Happy day.