REMINDER: Not Having To Work On Thanksgiving Is A Privilege

Every year, I see all of these posts on Facebook and other social media sites going around about companies choosing to not be open on Thanksgiving, so that employees can be with their families. There’s also the loud, ALL CAPS proclamations that only hideous and awful people would work or shop on the holiday.

I wrote about this several years ago, in fact it was the only time I was Freshly Pressed on WordPress’s coveted homepage. I guess I didn’t get my point across to you guys, though, because still many of you are continuing, I see along your own blogs, Facebooks, and Twitter feeds, to look down upon people that work on holidays, and shame those that shop on Thanksgiving.

To be clear: if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving, I don’t care. And if you are fortunate enough to not have to work on Thanksgiving…well cheers! Good for you!

But this is one of those times that the famous quote comes into play: privilege is thinking something is not a problem, because it does not affect you personally.

So let’s try this one again.

Not having to work on Thanksgiving is a privilege. I’m sure if your house catches on fire because you don’t know how the fuck to use your oven properly, you’ll appreciate the fire fighters and ambulance workers that – wait for it – work on Thanksgiving, instead of spend time with their families.

Let’s say you suffer some burns and have to go to the hospital. Certainly the employees there are terrible people for choosing to work on the holiday, instead of being with family as well.

There are a host of professions in which holidays are like any other day: non-negotiable. And before you all get back on your high horse and start in about how retail employees, specifically, should receive the day off to spend that time with their families, consider a few things:

  1. Many retail employees don’t make shit for pay any other day of the year, so need the overtime pay. When I was in college, paying my way through, I volunteered to work every holiday so that I could have some extra cash for books. I still got off in time for my family to plan their dinner around my schedule. It can be done.
  2. Many retail employees work in jobs where they don’t make shit for pay AND they don’t get holiday pay or PTO for that day off. That one day to “spend with their families” is literally the difference between making the rent, and being evicted.
  3. Many people have other family members who work in the positions I mentioned or are in the military, or have recently had a falling out with family or recently had a tragic death …there are a ton of reasons why someone would choose to go work to take their mind off an otherwise depressing situation. It’s the holiday season, and that isn’t always a positive thing for people (check post-holiday suicide rates if you don’t believe me). We should all be comfortable doing what we have to do to get through it.

And for the people that shop on Thanksgiving…that go out and wait for the deals. Sure, some of them are just materialistic pieces of trash who want cheap, new TVs.

But there are some in there, too, that have to get those deals, or Christmas for their kids doesn’t happen. Like at all.

Not having to working or shop on Thanksgiving is a privilege. Those of you in either, or both, of those positions should be grateful (hey…you could post about it on your Facebook grateful status).

I May Shop On Thanksgiving

not-shop-on-thanksgiving-300x300How many friends will I lose over this one? What kind of a backlash will I receive by people that have followed my blog for years?

Don’t know. Don’t care. Seriously – don’t wear underwear.

You see the thing is, I may shop on Thanksgiving.

And I’m getting sick and goddamned tired of hearing about how you won’t.

I used to work in retail. When I was in high school, I worked at Burger King and then Wendy’s. Then when I moved to California, I got a job at the mall in a department store that no longer exists (talk about making me feel ancient). Then I landed a position in a local pharmacy, where I worked for a whopping seven years.

The company that was that chain of drugstores no longer exists either, having been bought out by CVS a few years ago. I’m going to go dig my grave now.

I always wanted to work on holidays. I requested to work on holidays. A lot of people that work in retail do.

Holidays – for me – were a time to make extra money. We always got off or closed in time to do family stuff. And if – by some odd chance, we didn’t – family stuff was scheduled around my work schedule.

Because what the more privileged people of this nation don’t realize, or are so far removed from their own experiences, is that people that work in retail don’t make shit for salary. Holidays may be family time, but your family ain’t eatin’ shit because you make minimum wage, which is not – in any city or state in this, our United States – a livable wage.

So when I hear people talk about how Thanksgiving is a day for family, and people shouldn’t have to work… And how they will be boycotting shopping on Thanksgiving because of the sanctity of the holiday, I often think to myself wow, these people must have no idea what it’s like to be hungry. And surely they don’t know what it’s like to be unable to buy Motrin for their baby, or pay for their son or daughter to participate in a school field trip.

And I also think that they’re hypocrites. Because for every Kmart that is open on Thanksgiving day, and every Walmart that opens at 6 pm on the blessed holiday of shoving as much turkey down your gullet as you can, there is a restaurant open that no one gives a fuck about being open. Oh Thanksgiving is a time for family? But you want to go to Burger King for breakfast, or Marie Callendar’s for a light lunch before your big family feast. So it’s OK for those people to work, because you need to stuff your face even more that day than you already planned to.

But if someone wants to go to Kmart to get Christmas gifts because they can’t afford to shop at Neiman Marcus, or they don’t have the luxury of free time to stand in lines at Best Buy to get good deals because they have to work two full-time jobs just to pay the rent…HOW DARE THEY TARNISH THE SANCTITY OF MY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Now I don’t shop on Thanksgiving normally. And I never go to Black Friday sales. The truth is, I’m already done with my Christmas shopping. But allow me to just say a few things about all this ignorance going around about shit being open, and people having to work on Thanksgiving day:

1. Some people can’t afford to not work on holidays. If you don’t understand that, you have some serious learning to do, and it will be done off your pedestal this time.

2. Other people have had hardships, or they don’t have families, or the holidays are really tough for them – for whatever reason. So they like to work to keep their minds off things, and they do it by going to work. Only a total dickweed thinks they have the right to tell others how to cope with their life’s problems.

3. A lot of people that work on holidays want to. I might go as far as to say that everyone I know of that works on holidays, or have ever talked to working on a holiday, has said that they enjoy it and the extra money, and that they wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I would go as far as to say that.

4. Thanksgiving is celebrating the genocide of an entire nation of people anyway. And gluttony. It’s not like we’re talking about the baby Jesus here or anything, which incidentally I also don’t see people railing against stores being open on Christmas Eve or for a short time Christmas morning.

Because you’ve gotta’ get those last minute gifts, right?

In a nutshell, I think the majority of you people are privileged hypocrites.

Now we can still be friends. I promise. You don’t have to be really mad at me for saying all of this, because really I just have a much different opinion. I happen to know that my opinion is the right one, but we won’t get into that.

All we really need to do is accept that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are. That’s it! Then we can still be friends, and wield our shared misanthropy around the Internet together. Because in accepting that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are, we maybe stop making ignorant comments about people that work on holidays, or even that shop and eat out on your blessed Stuff Your Face With Turkey Day. So you hate Kmart for being open all day on Thanksgiving. Fine! You do that! And it’s true that a lot of people there that day will just be shopping to screw the pooch and get a good deal.

But instead of hating on the company for being open, why not turn your hatred into compassion for the employees that probably are thanking their lucky stars that Kmart is open that day. It’s an extra day they get to work and put food on the table. Instead of being such a jerk, why not drop $5 Starbucks cards off to all the employees, or embrace the needs of fast food workers to work on the holiday by stopping by on your way to your Thanksgiving feast to get a soda and just wish the workers a happy holiday.

Maybe – just maybe – then this country would be a better place. If instead of screaming from our Facebooks and Twitter pages how much we want to boycott companies and how morally wrong this or that is, we just love each other and act with everlasting compassion.

Thanksgiving

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.

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 3: Will Everyone Shut Up About Black Friday Already?

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 6: Cooking for Ungrateful People (STFU Fridays) was postponed because it contained a snarky, and yet scintillating, roast of a few of my favorite bloggers, one of whom’s father had to unexpectedly undergo an emergency heart procedure to unblock some arteries. B(itch)log is happy to report he is on the mend, and our roast will be featured this week on Black Friday. 

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This morning I woke up and did my usual. I read my emails. I checked my Facebook. I scrolled through my Twitter.

Then I got angry.

That’s pretty usual too, so not entirely out of the ordinary. But I was extra angry this morning. You might say extraordinarily angry; and it was for one reason: Black Friday is this week.

Everywhere I looked, I was being assaulted visually with Black Friday bullshit. I get it. The Christmas season is breathing down our necks. What will I get for Aunt B – the person that has everything? How am I going to manage my meager funds if I don’t take advantage of the Buy 1 Get 5 Free holiday turtleneck bin at Target? When will I have another opportunity to murder someone in line at Walmart to get a good deal on a flat screen TV?

All excellent questions we all ask ourselves year in and year out.

But I still got angry, and for a few reasons.

#1

Christmas Is About Jesus, Not a New XBox360

I’m pretty sure every year on his birthday, Jesus wasn’t screaming at Mary and Joseph for not getting him a new XBox360, or Tweeting about how his life was over because he wasn’t given a new iPad.

Whether you are religious or not, it is absolutely wrong to ignore the actual meaning of Christmas. It ‘aint about what you got, who gave it to you, and who’s off your list next year because they gifted something homemade. It ‘aint family gatherings where Uncle Floyd gets shit faced and moons the Christmas carolers at the front door. It ‘aint a Christmas ham bone getting stuck in the dog’s throat. It’s about Christ.

I’m not about to wax all Catholic on you faithful blog followers; and quite frankly as a Catholic I am well aware that Jesus wasn’t even really born in December. But that’s all beside the point: religious or not, the least we as consumers could do is exert a little humility and appreciation for the actual meaning. And then we can subsequently calm the fuck down on the gift giving nonsense.

This is just like Thanksgiving, though. Do you think Thanksgiving was all about shoving as much turkey into your body as was physically possible? Is the meaning of Thanksgiving to engorge yourself on pumpkin pie until you go running for the bathroom in a sheer fit of fiber-induced gas? I think the answer is obvious.

#2

Thanksgiving Isn’t Even Over With Yet

Seriously. Did Thanksgiving cease to exist? Are people not even doing anything this year? At least that’s what it seems like because the stores are decked out, people’s houses are already covered in lights, and Black Friday is being shoved down our throats.

I read a great post a few days ago about how these retailers are showing their true greed and opportunism by opening at 6 or 8 in the evening on Thanksgiving night. And while I did think it was a great point, I also believe it is the role of the consumer to stand up and say “no” to that kind of bullshit.

But they don’t, obviously because we don’t give a fuck about Thanksgiving or traditions. We give a fuck about our new Bluray players and our Old Navy sweaters.

Now I have been done with my Christmas shopping since September, so perhaps I have absolutely no room to talk. But that wasn’t about getting into the Christmas season, prancing around in my santa hat and sipping egg nog and shit when Labor Day was just passing by. It was about avoiding these assfucks on Black Friday and thereafter altogether.

And while I am generally anti-holiday, being far away from my family and stuck in a pretty awkward and dysfunctional location, I also would like to just enjoy Thanksgiving without the retailers cramming their shit down my throat before my turkey’s even fully digested yet. It’s relaxing to have a lot of people gone and out of town. It’s nice to have my husband around to clean up some of the shit around here.

OK, so if you are a retailer, please kindly consider shutting the fuck up until it’s actually Black Friday. If you are into this early Black Friday stuff, fine; just don’t ask me to get in line outside the Beanie Baby Outlet at fucking 8 o’clock on Thursday. And if you are smart, you’ll do what I did, as well as some of my friends: Amazon, bitch. I have no idea why anyone would go anywhere else. Those Buy 1 Get 5 Free turtlenecks just aren’t worth it.

Next up on the countdown? Day 2: explaining the correlation between the genocide of innocent Native Americans, and shoving turkey down our throats in celebration, to your kids.

Random Things That Pissed Me Off This Week

I know … such a bitchy way to title a blog post. Such a bitchy way to start anything, really; but I think we all have these lists. Lists of random shit that pissed us off this week.

Here’s mine. Is it anything like yours?

People That Act Like Life Doesn’t Suck a Big, Fat Dick

Yesterday I posted about these people that do the “I am thankful for…” Facebook posts. I don’t have anything wrong with people being thankful, but for God’s sakes could we please stop pretending like life is always a happy field of flowers and roses and unicorns puking rainbows, on which we slide down going “weeeeee” the entire way until we land in a pot of gold, that incidentally couldn’t have come at a better time?

Life is a pile of shit. Period, end of sentence. Sure, there are a lot of great moments within it. There are a lot of good things you get out of it – experiences and relationships that make it all worth it. But one of my favorite philosophers (Bertrand Russell) said that life is nothing but a morbid and miserable march toward death.

Can we please stop sugar-coating the challenges life presents for the sake of “remaining positive?” It’s OK to be honest and still have a good time amidst it all.

Premature Holiday Ejaculation

Every time I walk into a store and see that Christmas stuff is already all over the place, I think of a teenager with a premature ejaculation problem.

It’s disgusting. It’s a result of a lack of control. It’s a disorder.

I mentioned to the guy yesterday at Target that they had gone a little overboard. I mean the day after Halloween, the Christmas stuff literally took over the entire store. Do you know what that premature ejaculating teenage fuck said to me? “Oh … you just don’t want to have to do your shopping….”

Listen here you little precuming waste of a sperm, with your ear gauges and your flippantly ironic attitude: It has nothing to do with holiday shopping and everything to do with not wanting disgusting and opportunistic consumerism shoved down my fucking throat. By the way, I’ve already done all my holiday shopping, motherfucker. I might just bring it all back and shove it up your ass.

People That Won’t Shut Up About Politics

Seriously, people. The majority of people out there knew who they were voting for before the primaries even began. The rest of them have made their decision. The election is Tuesday.

Therefore, I kindly ask you all to SHUT THE FUCK UP. That doesn’t seem to work, though, so maybe if I say it a little louder:

SHUT THE FUCK UP!

The Post Office

You faithful blog followers remember how a few weeks ago the post office refused to send out my pumpkin bread, claiming it was a “threat to the security of the nation?”

Well they took it a step further by really fucking things up for me.

We’re having a Thanksgiving Open House in a few weeks and I wrote out these really nice invitations. I made those invitations by hand too – so we’re talking about maybe eight hours or more of work on my part.

I went to the post office to get the stamps and had them weighed. That snaggletoothed bitch of a postal worker said “oh, one stamp is more than enough” and then she sold me these stamps with oranges on them, that were Forever Stamps in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

They said fucking “Forever Stamp” on them.

Every single one of those goddamned envelopes got returned, with notices all over them. Half of them said that the Chinese New Year Forever Stamp was not a real stamp. The other half said they needed more postage. I should also mention, they were all mangled; in effect ruining every single one of the invitations I worked so hard to make.

Not to mention wasting all that money.

So what pissed you off this week, faithful blog followers? Any prematurely ejaculating, smart ass teenagers, or incompetent postal workers, in your neck of the woods?

Christmas in September

So a few years ago I had the worst Christmas shopping season of my life. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to get. I ended up spending thousands of dollars because I felt desperate and panicked to just get anything. And the day before Christmas Eve, I found out we would be expected to buy gifts for everyone at a 30-person family party the next night, so I spent the Christmas Eve-Eve scrambling around to put something together for every single one of the people that would be there. It was hellish.

That year I vowed to not allow myself to be put in such a situation again. The next year I went to the extreme and decided I would be doing everything for Christmas shopping in September. This required a little planning, a nicely crafted story about Santa Claus needing wish lists early due to high demand of some toys, and a committed plan from my husband on just what family parties we will be going to and what family parties we’d be avoiding. Since then, I’ve done this year-in and year-out – it was just that successful.

Although there are a few rules I follow, or it doesn’t work:

Rule #1

I don’t give a fuck what family outside of my house wants

For the majority of our family that could be considered “not immediate,” I just stopped giving a fuck what any of them wants. My mom always gives me a laundry list of stuff she wants, and stuff I’ve given her in the past that she didn’t like too. As a result, I get her the same gift I get everyone else, and a little diddy from Bath and Body Works (pay back for the bitching she did to me about the B&BW stuff I got her a few years ago). I just don’t give a fuck. Everyone outside of my own home has just about everything they could need anyway, and there are some things I just think are too personal to buy for others anyway (shirts, books, etc.), so I make a gift basket for all of them.

This year I did homemade goods inside a nice gift basket. I canned pickles, sun-dried tomatoes, and bark candy. I put together a do-it-yourself “grow herbs for your tea” kit. Then I wrapped them all in nice gift baskets decorated inside with rafia straw and artificial moss.

Anyone this gift basket stuff won’t work for (ahem, my father) gets a gift card. Those people all prefer to pick out their own stuff anyway.

Rule #2

At home I don’t tolerate that minds changing bull shit

We don’t usually have a problem with minds changing, probably because we don’t watch that much television so have limited exposure to the pre-Christmas commercials. And my husband gets what I give him irrespective of anything he wants. Regardless, there are some times when wishes are added to the list after the list has been “sent” (and September has passed), but I do not tolerate that bull shit.

I don’t mean to be a grinchy, heartless bastard. I just don’t believe in falling prey to the typical commercial ploy to get parents/spouses to spend-spend-spend around the holidays.

My strategy for dealing with last-minute mind changes or additions (they are really just additions) is actually a little convenient for me on account of all of our family birthdays falling between the end of December and the beginning of April. Typically the Christmas unwrap crazy-fest doesn’t bring up questions about requests not received, but when it does I usually mention that Santa may not have gotten it because it was a birthday present coming down the pipeline.

Rule #3

I plan like a boss

On September 1st I plan like a boss. I take out my hot pink, glitter notebook and gel pen of choice, and plan that shit out to the “t.” I first make a list of what the holidays will bring this year (family parties, plans, etc.). Then I make a list of who we have to buy gifts for, accordingly. Then I mark out who is getting a gift basket and figure out everything I need (and need to do) for it. Finally I make a list of where I need to go (online and in person) for everything and I get to it.

I don’t over-think a goddamned thing. When I start feeling bad for how unpersonalized my gifts are to extended family and friends, I remember that year my grandparents didn’t get the Pookies anything, and the heartbreak that followed; or the bitchfest my mom went on that time she didn’t like the scent of the fucking B&BW shower gel I got her. And when all else fails, I scan through the preparations involved in the gift baskets and remind myself that the work for those is probably way more than digging through the clearance bins for an ugly sweater that will probably get returned anyway.

So I am now done with Christmas shopping. It isn’t even the end of September yet, but I finished shopping today and got all the canning done as well this weekend. Now all that’s left is just a little bit of wrapping and packing it all into the closet until December. I even got the stocking stuffers done this year (thanks to the dollar sections at Target and Michaels), and I have to say they are pretty bad ass. I promise you faithful blog followers that if you follow my three rules, Christmas in September is a total win.

Did Somebody Say Aebleskiver Asylum?

Okay, I didn’t really have any aebleskivers; yet, of course. And I’m not in an asylum. But yesterday I started off my three day tour of this strange Danish town by sharing with everyone the story of how my husband sent me to Solvang, CA, on a little bit of a “mental health retreat” since I’m Pookie-less and in a bit of a funk these days.

Yesterday we established that if you have a case of the funks, Solvang can provide a fix through: (1) the eating and drinking; (2) weird, bizarro-shit; and (3) shopping.

Today the trip continued into this faux Danish town and all it’s glories.

#4 If the fix for a case of the funks is shopping (which we all know it is, and already established Solvang is good for), Solvang is the place for it.

I won’t go into the entire list of things that I purchased; although, I will say this: the majority of it was not for me. It was for my family. I got food, I got souvenirs, I got rosemary olive oil that may as well be gold for what it cost. And while just about everything in Solvang is overpriced, I am happy to say I found some pretty good deals regardless.

The one thing I got for myself that I must discuss at length, though, is something that I never thought I would find up here: a zebra-printed apron. I almost screamed in the middle of the shop when I saw it.

#5 If the fix for a case of the funks is bizarro tourism crap, Solvang is the place for it.

I originally planned on hitting up the miniature pony farm to see the cute 34 inch ponies, but that got scratched after 15 minutes of driving around looking for it to no avail. Instead, I returned to the downtown area of Solvang and went to the Hans Christian Andersen museum.

The museum, itself, was a little drab. It’s a little larger than a room and has a bunch of old copies of the guy’s books, plus a doll house and a head bust of Andersen, himself. Below the museum, though, is the Book Loft – which had tons of amazing books I spent about an hour looking through. I could have spent more, but I was getting hungry.

Later in the day, I went to the Old Mission Santa Inez. The mission nearby where we live sits on a busy street, and is always noisy. There is a garden in the center of it, but “peaceful” is never something I envision it to be. Old Mission Santa Inez on the other hand, is a quiet gem nestled above rolling hills and vineyards. There is an awesome outdoors Stations of the Cross installation; and there are benches that you can sit on to just relax.

Clearly this mental health thing is working, because while I was sitting in the quiet outside the mission, I realized that this is the first time of true quiet I’ve had since my vacation almost six months ago, to Chicago. What is wrong with that picture? Everyone’s lives are busy. When you have kids, there is always noise (except when the kids are in bed). But I think in our house, we go beyond that. Something is always on – be it a radio, a cd player, a computer, or a TV. We never just sit and enjoy the quiet together.

This has got to change or I will for sure be admitted to Aebleskiver Asylum, and for longer than just a few days.

#6 If the fix for a case of the funks is gambling away all your life’s savings, then Solvang is the place for it.

I didn’t actually gamble away all our life’s savings. I only gambled thirty bucks. And I lost it all.

There is an Indian Casino just a few miles North of Solvang, and I’m familiar with it because my mother used to come up here all the time to gamble in the middle of the night with her boyfriend; and also because on my birthday this year I came up and won about 300 dollars on Keno.

No such luck this time. At 30 I gave up. During the day, the place is also filled with tons of old people smoking cigarettes, so 30 minutes and 30 bucks was about it for me.

So now I’m heading out again – for some more of #1 (the eating and the drinking). The credit cards are going to have to rest now, and my liver will pick up the slack. On the third Wednesday of the month, Solvang has a Wine Walk – $20 for a glass and 5 tasting room tickets. After the Wine Walk I’m going to venture up to Santa Ynez (the town) to eat dinner. Much like Solvang, Santa Ynez has it’s own theme – only rather than Danish, it’s the Old West. Who knew in the middle of wine country you could find so much weirdness?