Two New Years Resolutions I Will Be Making This Year (Even Though I Don’t Believe In New Years Resolutions)

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. Never have.

The crux of my argument is simple: if I want to be a better person in X area, I should just do it.

The new year is no more a new start than the morning is. It’s just time and my philosophy degree tells me that time is nothing more than an illusion. That may be too philosophical and pithy for most of you, though; and the truth is that I just don’t give a fuck about resolutions. Either I accept who I am or make better things when I realize I want to – not have to have some special day or social convention to con me into doing it.

I find New Years Resolutions to be so vain and self-aggrandizing sometimes too. They’re always about looks (I resolve to lose weight, take better care of my skin, wear skirts more often…); or narcissistic goals. I don’t mean that all goals are narcissistic or bad, I just mean that so many people I hear making goals for New Years Resolutions seem so self-centered and exalted about it. I read one on Facebook the other day that was the absolute worst: I resolve to have the most gorgeous children on the planet. Really? Because you and your husband aren’t exactly lookers – if you know what I mean – so maybe you should tone it down and just resolve to be good people.

I don’t know. That’s just me.

Off my soap box, I’m making not only ONE but TWO New Years Resolutions this year. Because I like hypocrisy and sounding like an idiot when I just lectured for paragraphs about why I don’t make resolutions.

I promise none of these will make me a better person, though. Or hot and sexy. They also won’t make me the best at anything, except for possibly make me even more of a misanthropic asshole than I already am.

Okay, here goes:

Hang Out With Fewer Assholes

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I posted about this on my Facebook page the other day and I will be damned if I’m going to fail at this one.

I am just so sick and tired of hanging around assholes. Toxic waste of human beings that just drag me and my family down with drama and unpaid bills and bullshit absolutely no one on this planet has time for.

This resolution came about after my husband and I got stiffed for a whopping $200 at my kid’s birthday dinner with ice skating the week before her birthday. We made it very clear to everyone we invited: everyone pays their fair share of the bill, the tax, the tip. If you don’t want to do that, then you can come over to our house for a little BBQ on us on her actual birthday – the idea was to have a kid’s activity with pomp and circumstance with out having to shell out all the dough for the activities and the entertainment and the treat bags and such.

And yet somehow, we got stiffed by a few of the people that were there. Stiffed big – so big we had to cancel some of our out of town plans in January.

So after that, just one incident in a long line of incidences that we have absolutely had enough of, I am resolving to hang out with fewer assholes. Life is too short to spend it with a bag of dicks.

Eat More Cupcakes

I joke a lot about emotionally eating, but in reality I rarely eat anything. I pick all day and then only sometimes get enough calories to sustain the busy life of being a mom with a husband who works ALL. THE. TIME.

The problem is simple: I live in California and feel an enormous amount of guilt every time I put fork to mouth.

I hear people say something seemingly nice like “you look like you’ve lost weight!!” and hear “finally chucked some fat off that huge ass of yours, eh Heather?!”

I know what you are thinking: I’m clearly suffering from major body issues. Get over it, who isn’t?

I’m so tired of being hungry, though.

I’m even more tired of making food that I don’t eat. Constantly, I am cooking and baking for family parties or friend things; or just making food at home for my husband – who on some days consumes upwards of five, large meal servings. And I never eat the desserts I make. Ever. Like ever-ever.

Well that shit’s about to come to an end. Either I’m going to stop cooking for others, and since that won’t happen because I’m bored and also have a major guilt complex – I’ll be eating more.

Dressbarn, here I come. I’m eating more cupcakes.

Are you making New Years Resolutions this year? Like really bullshit and vague ones, like you do every year; or something really serious like “get a job and move out of my parents’ basement?” Chances are if you are, I think you’re a tool; but then you have permission to thing I’m a tool for making my two resolutions too.

lJOtm3antidepressants-2014-optimism-new-years-ecards-someecardsIn any event: Happy New Years Bitchees… after the clock strikes 12, I’ll have a really big surprise for you. I mean, not really 12… you know, I’ll probably be out by then, my New Years kiss will be my husband groping me in his sleep; I’ll roll out of bed like I usually do somewhere around 9 or 10. The surprise will be then. Can’t wait!

I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

We’ve Been Watching A Lot Of Documentaries Lately…

… and I’m not sure why.

Maybe Netflix is starting to get more lame than usual. I mean they just took Planes, Trains, and Automobiles off the Instant Streaming – just how in the shit am I supposed to watch it at least once a week now?

Really I think it’s that we go in cycles as to what kinds of movies we watch. Sometimes we go for marathon cartoon shows, like the Simpsons. Twenty episodes in one day and all that. Other times we go for scary movies or funny movies. Or new ones.

I should mention that we don’t watch regular television at all, with the exception of sports, so it’s either movies, On Demand, or Netflix…

Or nothing. Often it’s nothing.

ANYWHO, so we’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately. And I’m not sure why. And all of them have a little bit of weirdness to them.

Here are the three we’ve watched this weekend:

Mansome

My husband and I watched Mansome Saturday night. Of course anything Morgan Spurlock and/or Jason Bateman is going to be a necessary win, though it was a little horrifying in and of itself in content.

I mean it was all about men and their grooming practices. And their balls.

It also prompted me to look up Jason Bateman on Wikipedia. You know, while I was sitting there next to my husband. I wanted to know if Bateman was in fact “happily” married. You know, while I was sitting there next to my husband…

So he is. And I didn’t realize that his older sister was the one that played Malory on Family Ties. No shit, right? Well I clicked on her Wikipedia page and BOY… does she look awful now. The 80s and Family Ties and show business really did a number on her…

Back to Mansome. So the best parts of this film were when they interviewed this total weirdo with a really long, red beard. Which was totally different in color than the hair on his head, I might add. He won some European beard contest – a little weird to travel across the world to participate in, but whatever gets you going.

And I should mention that – sure – he was all up on taking care of his beard, but in the scene that showed him getting in his car we learned that he wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about taking care of his car.

I’m saying his car was a total piece of shit. Maybe not relevant, but maybe it is. I mean if a guy is worried so much about his beard but not his mode of transportation…

The other completely off-the-hook part was when they showed the product creator and the focus group for this product called Fresh Balls. Basically it’s a gel that men rub on their junk to stop chafing and “batwings” (which I had no idea existed until watching this highly educational film).

And I suppose close seconds in terms of “greatest parts” of the film were when this totally closeted gay guy has his eyebrows threaded to remove five rogue hairs (he called himself metrosexual … I mean, who does that?); and, when the professional wrestler has his friend shave his ass with an electric razor.

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

This afternoon, my husband decided he was going to force all of us to sit down in front of the television and watch this.

He said it would be an experience. That it would be a musical experience we all should appreciate.

Now I can appreciate the nostalgia of remembering a few of the songs. And I can appreciate the aesthetics of the post-punk, avant garde era that made up the Talking Heads of the 80s.

But after a while it just got old. Very, very old. And could that bass player be any more doped out, in her 80s pantsuit that had its own wings? Obviously not batwings, because she didn’t (I don’t think) have testicles; but wings flapping out the side of her pants that just made me think of the whole batwings thing. Then I laughed out loud and my husband got mad.

Thanks a lot. Bitch.

At a certain point in the whole charade going on in this concert film, the tall, skinny, lanky, wiggly guy that is the lead singer just randomly started running around the stage like a complete moron. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life – he just started jogging. Then sprinting. Then jogging a little bit more. Then at a point he got on the ground and sang while dry-humping the air. Then he went back on another jog around the stage.

It was just too bizarre for words.

Microcosmos

Finally, this evening, I was bored and we had nothing else to do but vegetate like broccoli. So I decided we would turn on another documentary.

Because you know. The others weren’t enough for the weekend, or anything.

I decided on Microcosmos for no reason other than I was seriously fucking tired of scrolling through the Netflix que. For those of you that do not know of it, this is a French documentary that utilized miniature cameras and specialized microphones to film bugs.

Insects. You get it? Fucking tiny little bugs. Spiders and flies and shit.

Here were my responses:

“Those caterpillars are complete morons.”

“Bees can seriously kiss my ass.”

“Jesus, could those snails suck face any harder? Need to get some Barry White up in there.”

“I think I have eaten one of those beetles on accident.”

“Hey look it’s like the 405 [freeway] only with bugs.”

“What’s so scary about those things is they’re fucking ugly.”

“That’s not a salamander, that’s an underwater dinosaur.”

“Wow look at that bird eat those ants… it’s like a trip to Hometown Buffet!”

“Is it weird this movie is making me hungry?”

So I highly recommend that you guys check out these movies. I’m not sure why. Probably because after all this poking fun and making random commentary I’m afraid of the legal ramifications by the filmmakers. Just kidding, I actually think you should watch them. If anything, for a good laugh.

Now here’s Snail Beauty, or as I like to call it Two Snails Get Busy.

6 Things No One Told You About Becoming a Stay At Home Mom

When I became a Stay At Home Mom, I quickly learned that most people have absolutely no idea what it really means to be a Stay At Home Mom. I don’t mean that they are missing something about how hard it is.

Well, some are. A lot are…

Some don’t have much respect for it either, which is another topic of conversation altogether.

What I really mean, though, is that the essence of a Stay At Home Mom – what it is really and truly like day in and day out, what it is reduced to – is just never truly clarified for you before you become one. I’m talking about the feelings of it, I’m talking about the actions that become commonplace – that soon define you. Sine qua non SAHM.

Above all, there are six things no one ever told me about becoming a Stay At Home Mom. Things that – above all the hiding in the closet to get a break, and having people assume you are a complete moron because you don’t have a high-powered career – I just wish I had known in advance. So I could have mentally prepared myself for them, you know?

Lucky for all of you, I’m going to do what no one did for me and give you that head’s up.

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1. Fucking. Laundry. Never. Ends.

In the last two weeks, I have actually kept a count of how much dirty laundry our household produces. Right now – Friday of the second week – I have done twenty-four loads of laundry.

Twenty-four fucking loads of laundry.

Twenty-four. Fucking. Loads. OF LAUNDRY.

And I have six more of miscellaneous things sitting there by the washer, waiting for their turn.

The thing about being a Stay At Home Mom is that you notice when things are a little dirtier than you’d like them to be. You look for things to keep you busy sometimes, too; and you spend more time reading articles in the news while you eat breakfast and pick oatmeal out of your hair. What I’m saying is you have more time to be a little bit more paranoid and neurotic about germs and stuff. So you wash the blankets more frequently. The stuffed animals all get cleaned after a cold.

When I was working, I didn’t even know that people washed stuffed animals. Now someone sneezes more than twice and everything is in the washer. Maybe I’m a hypochondriac, or have terrible OCD. Is the hand-washing disorder next for me?

But in all seriousness, when you are a Stay At Home Mom, you usually don’t do one big bout of laundry, you know like once a week. Laundry day and so forth. You just keep doing it as it comes up, so eventually it feels like it never ends. Ever.

Because it doesn’t.

2. The only way to keep things together is to run a tight ship.

I have recently realized that when people say you should let go and let others help; allow more sleepovers with the grandparents or let the babysitter take the reigns on homework once in a while … well, those people are full of shit.

A total recipe for disaster in your household is to let go of your status as Stay At Home Mom – slash – Prison Warden.

Recently, I let go of the reigns to try and get some more “me time” and all hell broke loose. It was like the state of nature in my home. The laundry wasn’t getting done every day. Meals were consistent of crap thrown together or through a drive thru. No one was following the rules – like brushing their teeth, washing their hands, doing their homework before TV.

And what happened? My kid fell while camping with the in-laws and got a mild concussion, then she got food poisoning, then she went to the dentist and came in with an unexpected cavity. And did I mention she admitted that all the times the babysitter had her doing her homework she was allowed to skip reading time? For years I have kept everything in our house in tip-top condition. Let go a little bit to have six hours a week to myself and everything goes to hell.

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Now I don’t know how Working Moms keep everything together, having to rely on daycare, spouses, and family to help. I sometimes think that maybe they don’t have to because they aren’t in it all the time. But because Stay At Home Moms never get that 8 hour with society-time, running a tight ship and keeping shit under control is absolutely essential.

3. Absolutely nothing will ever be just yours.

At least once a week I wake to find that my daughter has helped herself to my expensive lipstick. Usually it’s smeared all over her face ala the makeup stylings of 1990s Courtney Love.

Almost always the lipstick is destroyed.

When you are a Stay At Home Mom, you don’t have a work place that you can hide your nice NARS lip gloss, or keep your adorable pink Martha Stewart calendar book from little hands drawing all over the inside of it.

And for this reason…

4. You will envy your Working Mom friends.

While I will probably never go back to work in an office, at a desk, again (hear that one, honey?), I envy my Working Mom friends. Big time.

They have that desk or that work locker, where they can keep their most prized and cherished possessions – to never be touched by anyone but themselves. Like lip gloss and hair barrettes. And Twix bars.

They have 10 minute breaks to sit in a break room and read. They have lunch hours. Sure, some of them use lunch hours to run errands or volunteer at their kids’ school. But some use it to sit down and be quiet.

They have quiet.

I’m not saying they have it better, or I have it better. I’m not saying anyone’s plight is worse, either. I’m just saying the grass is always greener, and in some instances my yard is dead as shit and my Working Moms, well their yards are lush and beautiful and glorious. And full of non-destroyed lipstick.

5. That whole thing about yoga pants and being unkempt is not just a joke.

I live in California, so often I see Stay At Home Moms out and about town looking very cute. I’m talking adorable tops. I’m talking expensive CK jeans. I’m talking sparkly TOMS.

Yesterday I wore regular pants for an hour and forty-five minutes. That was a bit much for me.

People joke about yoga pants or not wearing makeup, and you think it’s silly and – oh my friends are Stay At Home Moms but surely they don’t really look that unkempt all the time! They are just joshing me!

When you’re schlepping groceries in the house, juggling everybody’s shit because they are too lazy to carry it themselves, vacuuming, cooking a bagillion meals, scrubbing oatmeal out of your hair and fingerpaint off the kitchen floor … there just ain’t no time to be fancy.

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6. The world outside your home will start to seem very odd, very soon.

It didn’t take long before I started to look at life before becoming a Stay At Home Mom as entirely bizarre. Some of the way my life was before didn’t even make sense.

I always hear my father and his retired friends talk about how they don’t know how they got anything done when they worked. The same goes for a Stay At Home Mom. How did all this laundry get done before? How were meals on the table every night? How did I have the time to actually do my hair, when I’m home all the time now and sloppy pony tail complete with dried oatmeal is my normal 30-second go-to? And why are all these people so dressed up anyway, it’s just the grocery store!

Moreover, you start to love it, and that is perhaps the weirdest feeling anyone could ever experience.

If I were to make a word cloud of all the words that best describe being a Stay At Home Mom, it would be the most confusing, fucked up word cloud ever – including phrases like ‘completely isolating’ and ‘euphoric chocolate hidden in the bathroom.’ But it would also include phrases like ‘greatest job in the world’ and ‘wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.’ I guess it’s like the old you have to experience it to understand what I mean.

At least now you’ve all been warned.

An Open Letter To Martha Stewart, From A Blogger (Not An Expert)

Last Sunday, I – like many – spent the majority of my day relaxing and perusing around the Internet. For the most part, I was just minding my own business. I giggled at memes of Grumpy Cat. I issued the obligatory Facebook ‘happy birthday’s and ‘congratulations on your umpteenth pregnancy’s. I pinned a bagillion-and-one Halloween projects to Pinterest. Like I said: pretty much minding my own goddamned business.

Eventually, I did as I always do: gave in to the temptation of the Google News Aggregate. I have a love-hate relationship with the news. For the most part, I believe it to be biased, uninformed, lacking facts, and discouraging. All over the world people are dying of famine, terrorism, disease; and the top stories are generally about Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. It (sort of) leaves a sour taste in my mouth; but then I say “sort of” because I also like to be informed about what is going on in the world. So I checked, before turning off my computer and moving on to some other form of weekend laziness.

That is where it hit me: an opinion article responding to an interview with Martha Stewart on Bloomberg television; which only took a few more clicks to view first-hand. In it, Martha said unfathomable words. I mean, they are fathomable; but at the same time so gauche for her to say. “Who are these bloggers? They’re not editors at Vogue magazine.”  She said. “I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts.”

Puke.

I forgot about this major Martha faux pas for a few days until I headed today to Michael’s to buy some craft paint for pumpkins. As I walked down the aisle, I was then confronted with the Martha Stewart line of overpriced satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors. Satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors that none of the other brands offered, and which made me feel shame for wanting them, in spite of Martha’s crude and unfair comments on Bloomberg. Standing there, in the aisle, I felt light-headed and vomit-y over this clear conflict of my interests, and so I knew what I had to do.

I had to write Martha a letter.

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Dear Martha –

Every recipe I have ever made from your website tastes like total shit. And to top it off, they’re always way less healthy, and way more expensive, than the comparable version that I – a blogger (not an expert) – end up putting together on my own.

Sometimes I wonder if you know of any recipes that do not include heavy cream or $100 worth of supplies.

Occasionally I think you are more concerned about the presentation of your dishes than the actual taste and healthfulness of them. By “occasionally,” I mean all the time, because it is a case-in-point fact that all the sprigs of rosemary and garnishes of parsley will not make something overcooked, heavily creamed, and under-seasoned edible.

I’m talking about your dishes, Martha. Your dishes are overcooked. Your dishes are heavily creamed. Your dishes are under-seasoned. Your dishes, Martha – your dishes are inedible.

If I had a dollar for every slideshow I got sucked into when looking for a D.I.Y. homemade gift project that turned out to be something available for purchase on your website, I may actually have enough money to buy your overpriced non-D.I.Y. homemade gifts.

And if I had another dollar for every actual D.I.Y. homemade gift tutorial I was able to find that was just a cheap piece of garbage, I would be able to fund my own popular, lifestyle website. Where I’d actually share quality tutorials. Quality tutorials that people can do and that don’t end up being total crap.

I mean, come on: felted slippers? I know a ton of people that would love to get those one-time wearers.

A few weeks ago I was at Staples looking for a calendar book. You know: one of those little booklets you can keep in your purse or in the kitchen drawer. You write all of your appointments in it for a few months, then lose it or forget that it exists, or remember that your phone has iCal. I saw one in your new “Home Office” line of products, which had no dates printed. No dates. A calendar book. With no fucking dates. Right. It was twice as expensive as the Staples brand calendar book, which had the dates.

Now I’m just a blogger (not an expert), but it seems to me that if a calendar book has no calendar dates printed in it, then it should probably be less expensive that the one that actually took the time and effort to print the fucking numbers in the book. That’s just me. I’m no expert.

I’d like to thank you for getting this whole decoupage thing going. Not really, I’m not really thanking you. I’m being sarcastic. Bloggers (not experts) do that a lot. In any event, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Vases, furniture, cabinets, plates, linens – not a one of them was nice or acceptable until it was decorated with tiny paper cut outs. Tiny paper cut outs of leaves, trees, birds, and victorian designs, to be precise. Now I spend my days looking around my house for places in which I can add a hint of gold leaf so that my home is as nice as everyone else’s. Fucking thanks a whole lot for that.

And let’s not even go into how many of your supposedly-unique home decor projects are really just putting flowers in a vase. No, Martha. Let’s just not go into that.

That’s the thing about us bloggers. We are not experts. We are not editors at Vogue magazine. We are not the inventors of this whole lifestyle thing. We are just people. People that have opinions and ideas and lives and experiences.

I think that those experiences – of trying recipes and finding them to be too much on the heavy cream; of making our own decorations for the season; of gifting on a budget – I think that it’s those experiences that make us sort of like experts. Experts of our own tastes and interests and likes and dislikes. My recipes and my crafts and my homemade gifts and my lifestyle ideas may not be tested by anyone but my family and friends, but I think they are good, healthy, affordable, and fun. What’s great about being an inelegant blogger, rather than an editor at Vogue or an ex-felon with a manly voice and a daytime TV show is that I have a place where other non-experts feel comfortable enough to come and share with me in our untested, unedited mediocrity.

In the end, that’s really all that matters. And anyway, does it really take expertise to put flowers in a vase, or to know that curry needs curry powder? I don’t think so, Martha. No, I just really don’t think so…

My Christmas Wish List This Year

I wonder if I just became as obnoxious as Home Depot putting out their fucking Christmas decorations in July; or Target playing Christmas music in October. You know that Black Friday actually begins for many stores at 7 pm on Thanksgiving DAY, now, too. Retailers are literally ramming Christmas up our asses.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should go ahead and admit that I do all of my Christmas shopping in the months of August and September. That means that as of this day – October 10th – I have actually been done with Christmas shopping. For 10 days. That’s everyone in our families, for the Pookies, my husband… everyone. It’s just so much more tolerable than standing in long lines, and fighting with people over bargains.

This means that while I was shopping, I officially scoped out all of the things I really really want for Christmas.

Before going into my wish list, though, let me tell you a little story about the Sodastream. A few years ago, my husband got me that for Christmas. It was well-intentioned, sure. I drink Diet Coke by the bucket-load, which means obviously getting me a machine that would let me make my own bucket-loads of my aspartame and caffeine-filled beverage of sheer delight would be a win, right?

Wrong. I can totally taste the difference. What I like about Diet Coke is actually the exact ingredients and exact composition and exact carbonation of the Coca-Cola brand Diet Coke. Maybe it’s all mental (it’s probably all mental); nonetheless, I never use the Sodastream.

Quickly after I opened the gift that year, though, it became vaguely reminiscent of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer buys Marge a bowling ball (with his name engraved on it), in spite of the fact that Marge had no idea how to get the ball down the lane. Within a day, my husband was experimenting with flavors on the Sodastream. He even drank directly out of the bottles. He still does.

Since that year, I have made it a point to make an explicit wish list for Christmas. Last year I really wanted a deer head for our bedroom. I made it explicitly clear; I got a deer head. This year, though, I’m going for quantity… I want to feel the excitement of opening lots of gifts on Christmas morning, like I did when I was a kid again.

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1. A Day of the Dead wine bottle opener/corkscrew from Paper Source. We were shopping a few weeks ago and saw them, and I fell in love. (Note to my husband: Day of the Dead is like two days into November. So…time is of the essence….)

2. Removable plastic sheets for my iPad!!!!! This is an infuriating request for me, because it’s super cheap and available online as well as at Sur La Table as well as at Bed Bath Beyond, and fuck it’s even around $10 for 100 at Target…and I asked for these for Mother’s Day – it’s all I wanted, I didn’t even mind cooking on Mother’s Day, as long as I could have those stupid plastic sheets so that I stop getting food all over my iPad when I cook. It was a REQUEST DENIED, though, so I’d really like some for Christmas.

3. Lots of good smelling stuff from Bath and Body Works, especially the winter scents (like Winter Candy Apple). I have an addiction to purchasing Bath and Body Works products, but lately haven’t gotten that many to try and pare down my stockpile. Around Christmas I will be totally out, though, so it would be totally awesome if someone in my family would replenish my stock – especially since I love the winter line all year long. I really love all their scents, though. Except that Japanese Blossom one, because that stuff smells like a cow’s ass.

4. A “People Mom Would Have An Affair With” personalized 2014 calendar. I would like the months to be as follows:

January: Wolf Blitzer. Duh, I have a huge s(he)hard-on for him.

February: Jay Cutler from the Chicago Bears, but he needs to be in the middle of one of those weird neck/shoulder twitch things he does before a play or during an interview.

March: Jim Cantore doing push ups while reporting from a hurricane.

April: Vladimir Putin. It would be totally rad if he were wearing some kind of a fur headpiece too…

May: Albert Camus. Yes, he is dead. Yes, I would totally cheat on my husband and jump his dead, old bones. Gross, but not sorry.

June: Hulk Hogan. Preferably in tight spandex, in the middle of administering a pile drive (the wrestling kind).

July: Bill Clinton. I would be in a binder of women delivered to his desk any day.

August: Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox (hopefully at this time in the year he will still be with and playing regularly for the White Sox… and hopefully the White Sox won’t have blown it at this point like they had in 2013… and every other year…………)

September: Any random guy with long hair pulled back in a pony tale, a nerdy “I play MAGIC the Gathering every Sunday” kind of look to him; but with no acne and definitely well-presented enough for it to be clear he doesn’t live in his mother’s basement… in the middle of a LARP. Don’t ask me why, but sometimes that Lord of the Rings shit gets me going.

October: As many members of the NBA that will fit onto one page. (Don’t ask.)

November: No photo, just my mantra in large lettering: “No car, no job, no service.”

December: Fuck it: Gandolf.

The way I see it, this is sort of like the people that do those sexy photos for their spouses, only instead of looking at photographs of my husband on a pillowy bed with feather boas all around him and shit, I’ll be looking at the meaty men that I salivate over regularly, in a totally creepy and mental-infidelity kind of way.

5.A gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. You guys may be thinking that I just threw this one in there because I had nothing else for a #5, but I’m totally serious. I never eat there unless I have a gift card. It isn’t the cost, it’s just the place never comes to mind when thinking of where to go. And if there is one thing I need more of in my life, it’s motherfuckin’ cheesecake.

I still think it’s awful that Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year; mainly because it gets old after a predetermined period of time, and it would be really awesome if that time weren’t before… oh, I don’t know… Christmas. Nonetheless, it was important to share my Christmas wish list early. You know, to give my husband enough time to make up some excuses why he got me another Sodastream instead.

How This Halloween Has Taught Me to Be Less Of An Overachiever

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For the last couple of weeks, I have been totally not feeling it with Halloween. This isn’t normal for me. I’m not like one of those weirdos that obsesses over it all year long, and spends more time and money on decorations and shit than the month’s rent. But I’m still usually pretty gung-ho about it. I start costumes early. I do a lot of Halloween decorating and baking; and we visit pretty much every pumpkin patch with in a 50 mile radius. Twice.

It was around the time that I started suggesting we do something other than a trick or treat marathon this year, and then immediately started trying to come up with excuses for us to just do nothing but dress up, that I realized there was something wrong. More so than my usual “there’s something wrong” as in there’s something wrong in my head. There was something not right about me and Halloween. Something lurking in the inner caverns of my subconscious, just waiting to come out – likely at the worst time possible.

Such is the life of an overachiever. Shoving any reservations or actual desires down as deep as you can, until they come out at the worst time possible. Or in a total meltdown. It happens all the time. I say I’m going to do something, but really don’t want to. I know I don’t want to, but convince myself I do. Then I complain, then I procrastinate and procrastinate, and procrastinate some more. Then I finally do whatever it is I said I would do, crying the whole way through it. And hating myself, more and more each time.

But what is it about Halloween this year that has been making me procrastinate to such a degree that I started trying to come up with reasons why we shouldn’t even go trick or treating at all? What the hell kind of a shithole mother does that?

An overachieving mother that made a commitment to costumes she knew she couldn’t make, that’s what the hell kind of a shithole mother.

Around June, my nine year old got this crazy idea to be peanut butter and jelly this year. I thought it was weird because she doesn’t like peanut butter. And when I asked what kind of jelly, she said “orange marmalade.” Fucking orange marmalade? Bitch, you’ve never even had orange marmalade. (Yes, I did just refer to my nine year old daughter as “bitch.” In a blog, remember. I don’t do it in person. At least where she can hear.)

Regardless of all these logical fallacies, everyone in the family jumped on the peanut butter and jelly bandwagon and suddenly I was making multiple costumes, and being asked to make candy bags that look like bread too. As the life of the overachiever goes, I simply went along with it and started knitting.

524512_695212985993_197672610_nKnitting you ask? Well, when I looked up peanut butter and jelly costumes, all I found were these completely dorky, huge slices of bread that had fake-PB&J crap slathered all over them. That would have been embarrassing. Super duper embarrassing. So I decided I would make jar costumes. Coming out of the top of the jars would be scarves (to keep everyone warm) – which would be made to look like peanut butter or jelly coming out of the jars. It was going to be super cute, except for one problem: I had not a clue in my stupid fucking head how I would do anything beyond the scarves of overflowing condiments.

After I finished the scarves, I didn’t do shit for the costumes until three days ago. I finished them somewhere around July. So July, August, and September, I did nothing. Halloween in my mind didn’t even fucking exist.

1233963_700005776203_2026613288_nThen the questions started. “How are the Halloween costumes going?” “When are you going to work on the Halloween costumes again?” My husband, my dad, my mom … it grew relentless. So I made a bread bucket (because I finally had to admit that I am way too lazy to sew, and don’t have a sewing machine; so bread bags or whatever-the-fuck had been suggested were just totally out of the question). Then I started panicking.

Finally yesterday, I figured that the only way I could do this was to print off large versions of the labels, glue them to cardboard, and then hang them with ribbon. Then the other problem came in, though: the cost of printing was going to be more than buying super expensive, cliched costumes over at the Party Rip Off City. Plus I was going to have to piece together some kind of bottoms, because the jars couldn’t cover the crotch area – obviously – since that would make it tough to walk.

So I gave up. This Halloween taught me to be less of an overachiever. I apologized. I made promises to put together other, easier, costumes. I tried to compensate by decorating the house today with Halloween decorations, even though I said this year would only see a little bit of Fall stuff.

In the end, the only one that gave a shit was my mother. She threw herself around. She complained. She obsessed over how it could work – “you could just…” and “why don’t you…” She even cried a little. What she didn’t realize was that I had already started working on the costumes that will actually be worn, that are within my limited D.I.Y-crafting genius. And I started working on them with much more ambition and fervor than the last four months of avoiding the peanut butter and jelly costumes I am just not that accomplished enough to make.

Are you faithful blog followers overachievers at holiday times? Typically, Halloween is only the tip of the iceberg for me; but this newfound sense of “fuck it, I ain’t doing this shit” has me thinking that maybe the holidays will fair more low-key and within reason. I suppose only time will tell…