Monday, December 31, 2012

Shower of Babes

My very beautiful and very smart cousin Karen is a steel trap. A STEEL TRAP. There I was about two weeks ago, unsuspectingly opening my mail, excitedly flipping through my Christmas cards when, lo and behold. Karen is expecting. Well that's wonderful! and not incredibly surprising; she got married in June and was basically what God had in mind when He designed mothers, so this was bound to happen soon. But when I found out she was expecting in three months, I squinted real hard, did some mental math, double-checked my work, and concluded that she held in her big news for SIX MONTHS. Color me stunned. The news of Jordan was burning a hole in my cranium by the time I was six weeks along, and I had only known I was pregnant for a whopping three.

The point is: Karen lives in a land far far away and was only going to be in town for Christmas for about two seconds so my friend Meg and I schemed to throw the most impromptu shower known to women. On a weeknight at 7 pm no less.

Feast your eyes on the fruits of our labors:

My friend Kimmy made that coconut cake and a) isn't it g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s? and b) it was more tasty than it was pretty so be very very jealous.
Meg did all the little signs because she has the best handwriting in America.

Desserts and hot apple cider: that's all I could've asked for when I was ginormously pregnant so kudos to Meg on that suggestion. Not that Karen looked ginormously pregnant, she was enviably tiny. I think by the time I was six months along I could've feasibly absorbed New York City and nobody would have known where to look for it.

So we declared Success! on lightning fast baby shower execution and additionally, it is very hysterical to have 15 women in a 250 square foot space of living room. We really know how to talk don't we? And not that quietly, and surely not unenthusiastically?

PS!! Do you love my new header? because I DO. It sounds like I'm tooting my own horn, but I assure you I had nothing to do with it. It was designed and executed by the lovely and talented  Parul Sharma. And if you like her work as much as I do you should check out my About page for her contact info, so that all of this can be yours. You know, except for a bit different as it pertains to your blog. THANK YOU Parul. I'm in love with it.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recap, or, Death by Photos

This Christmas was pretty much Jordan-centered. Although, upon reflection, the last 17 months have been fairly Jordancentric. I think the Bug had a ball between stuffing her rosacea'd face... getting loads of attention from other-than-everyday-persons... visiting a local neighborhood famous for their brilliant light displays...

(See, she's loving it.
I am that mom. The one who makes her child dress like Randy in a Christmas Story while all the other kids are wearing pullover sweaters.)

...getting all kinds of rad presents and looking all kinds of badass...
...reacquainting herself with her cousin, who has hopefully forgotten the last time they hung out and Jordan pushed her to the ground and laid on top of her...
"I remember you.."
Jordan grovels.

...commandeering her cousin's Christmas haul... (actually, they shared rather beautifully

until Jordan saw fit to stop her cousin mid-stroll with her baby doll, lift the toy stroller into the air and yell "MINE." Always a proud parenting moment.)

...rolling her eyes as her mother overshares with the internet and slathers way too many photos on unsuspecting readers...

I do believe I should cut myself off now. The point is we had a Very Very Merry, and hope you did too. I bet you all did, you just have more discretion than I do.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Short Version, if you can believe it

Well it has been a long hard few days of eating copious amounts of flavorful food, drinking copious amounts of scrumptious Bailey's, gaining copious amounts of delicious weight, and testing out several different sized boxes to discover which is most to our sitting pleasure

We had a fantastic visit with Sean's family and Jordan was spoiled like a veritable Veruca Salt of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. (true story: Jordan learned the word "mine" and said it 112,000 times over the course of five days. It even applies to my physical person; if I put her down when she wants to be held, I'm "mined" until I reverse my poor decision. So we have that to deal with.)

So that's where I've been. There will be more to come of our trippety trip in another post (more, really Jess?) but I wanted to tardily cast my pittance into the bunch over at Camp Patton. Please make no mistake, none whatever, what I actually wore on Christmas was my Target plaid pj bottoms shopped from the large men's section, a fantastically cozy sweater shopped from my father's closet (I'm bringing it back Dad....never), and I naturally topped (or I should say footed) my look with these

because no Christmas morning feels right without them. You are spared a photo of the above described and you are most welcome. Only as the clock struck 3 in the p.m. did I deem it fit to change into my civilian clothes, as photog'ed below. Now, a meticulous study of the Instagram popular page was an apt enough tutorial on how to take a gratuitous selfie: pucker your lips as much as you can muster. It's hot that way. Get a little bit of the mirror frame, it's artsy and indie. Pop a hip out in a futile attempt to skinnify your legs and furrow your brow unintentionally (I ad-libbed that last step). Mix it all together:


The quick rundown is a F-XXI top and Hudson jeans which - are you crazy? no I didn't buy them - my younger sister bequeathed and I shamelessly accepted after an unfortunate bleach spot incident. You can easily glimpse it the mirror but I easily ignore it every time I wear them.

However, the congregation gathered for the Traditional Latin Midnight Mass would not have smiled upon either of the aforementioned Christmas Day outfits thus, the ensemble I whipped up to offer them and Grace is as follows

Cardi: Foreva XXI
Dress: ancient Target
Belt: F to the 21 again
Leggings: BDG via Urban Outfitters
Ultra Necessary Snow Socks because Jessie's not in Kansas So Cal anymore: ummmmm, unabashedly lifted from my mother so I can't really say.
Boots: Chick's Sporting Goods shortly before it was acquired by Dick's Sporting Goods (not lying) which, I don't mean to be inapprop, seems a little sexist.
Smile: Sean/photographer making me feel ridiculous for attempting a natural pose.

Thanks for the link-up Grace! I've enjoyed the clicking around thus far.

If you'll excuse me, I have a freshly procured yet somehow deeply rooted new self image to eradicate as soon as is toddlerly possible.

One Dingus to Rule Them All.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmusts

I hope this isn't too dumb and unrelatable. We'll be traveling and visiting with family the next few days, so I wanted to leave on a festive note that may or may not be helpful.

Sean and I, as I may have mentioned before, are lovers of Christmas and of Christmas music. I know that there are scads of folks who hate it (Christmas music that is...not generally Christmas the Day or Season). My own brother adopts a truly spot-on impression of Albert Finney's Scrooge whenever a merry tune comes on and growls - and I quote verbatim - "I HATE CHRISTMAS CHEER." I love it. But you have to sift through it, because some of it is crap. (Blech Christina Aguilera Christmas - sorry to any fans.)

So here goes, my top ten - complete with handy links if you want to give them a whirl:

My Favorite

Humorous: Baby It's Cold Outside - I rather like the She & Him version because they switched the male and female parts so that it sounds like the girl is being the pushy one and the guy is being coy. It's even funnier that way. And actually the music video is super creative too.

Beautiful: O Holy Night - almost any version, but I just heard the Pavarotti rendition for the first time the other day. I'm really not an opera person, but this was really gorgeous.

Carol: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - I don't have a particular version for this, although I do love it when the Baileys bust it out at the end of It's a Wonderful Life (dang, I love that movie). My family carols my parents' neighborhood every year to hand out gifts to their neighbors, and I always want to sing this one, and my family always feigns ignorance of the verses. Sad face.

Classic: Silver Bells - Christmas cheer wouldn't be as cheery without a bit'a Bing but, ding dang it, She & Him do it total justice. Zooey's voice has that kind of clean crispness that makes me want to associate her with my girls Billie and Ella.

Traditional: Carol of the Bells - This song gets me PUMPED. I first remember loving it after hearing it in Home Alone, but Sean digs the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version, featuring Metallica. He would.

Whimsical: Christmastime is Here - I couldn't exactly find what choir sang it but it's A Charlie Brown Christmas song. It's realllly funny to hear my youngest sister sing it because that first note is a leetle bit high and she can't quite make it...

Personally Nostalgic: Christmas Day - The Beach Boys. I really hope you have early Christmas memories of the caliber I have. This song is like a time warp; whether I hear it on vinyl or CD or  iTunes today, I immediately hear the crackle of my dad's record player cranking out The Beach Boys' Christmas while my siblings and I adorned pretty much solely the lower branches of our Christmas tree, sipping on Mom's hot chocolate and dressed only in long pj tees that came to the knee.
It's worth the wait the whole year through
Just to make happy someone like you.
And I'll never outgrow the thrill of Christmas Day.
Well said, Brian.

Generally Nostalgic: Auld Lang Syne - I like this song because it sounds like what it's supposed to mean. Kinda like forgive, forget and live on right? I don't have a specific version I like (except from It's a Wonderful Life which is in the same clip above) but when I was looking for a good version on YouTube I found this amusing rendition sung by - I believe - a Chinese girl, but set to scenes from Waterloo Bridge (Vivien Leigh = total fox).

Please feel free to combox any suggestions - I would love to add to my Christmas repertoire. And I'll leave you with a grainy iPhone shot of our card this year:

 Of note: 
  • the bottom shot was at least our 8th attempt at self-portrait without writhing, back-arch toddler tantrum.
  • I did not dye my hair a violent shade of red but the lighting makes it look like I did.
  • Man's got talent: through his smile/gritted teeth, Sean is saying something like: "Jordan, Mom's going to ruin probably our best chance at a shot if she doesn't stop trying to make you smile, and look up at the camera soon..."
Have a very lovely and safe Christmas, all. I hope safe travels, cozy gatherings and making merry are in your cards. God Bless.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Saw Jordan Kissing Santa Claus

J-Liz has been running amok in her last minute attempts to ensure a bountiful Christmas for herself. She's starting to get creative in her means to draw (positive?) attention from the Man in the Red Suit. So far we've seen:

1. Correspondence with the Subject

2.Ballroom Dancing with the Subject
Santa fears for his mannequined-life as Jordan goes in for the dip.

3. Physical Affection toward the Subject
This kiss was slightly more PG-13 than I can approve.

4. Emulation of the Subject

It's the Little St. Nick.

Oddly enough, Jordan did not take advantage of her face-to-face encounter to impress upon Santa her winning personality. Upon being plopped in his lap, she did a record-breaking wind-up. You know the tantrum that starts with a short initial howl, but then the child holds her breath for a solid fifteen seconds while debating whether she wants to pass out or unleash the fury, as the parents determine whether to administer CPR? Yes, we had one of those, which sent the Man Himself fleeing from his own cottage. So we're left with
Mom and Jo occupying the throne, with Santa banned from the premises.

Sean is clearly a newb at this and didn't capture the epic meltdown which always make the best Santa shots. Myself, I was always a Viking of a child and never would have done something so embarrassing as to cry in front of Santa. Santa. My sister Mary though, she was a delicate flower of the pansiest variety, and bawled year after year. Let's just say her Christmas haul was never as abundant as mine.
l to r: Chicken Sausage, Biggest Faker of "Nice" Ever (he's probably pinching my ankle skin here), and Warrior

Jordan's gift horizon isn't looking so promising at the moment. Santa has only acquired for her a sweetass pair of pumped-up kicks
 but Santa has no concept of delayed gratification and couldn't wait a week to see Jordan prancing around in the sparkly. Between this fact and Sean's and my pact to not purchase gifts for each other in favor of acquiring a new computer after Christmas, there are exactly zero presents under our Christmas bush. Ebenezer Scrooge resides here.

But Jordan's tactics may work yet....Old Navy has been having killer sales (did you know?) and Santa's got a GapCard that swipes just fine there. We'll see what we can rustle up. If nothing, do you think my one-year-old will remember the slight?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Of Mice and Old Men

Actually I don't have anything to say about mice. I just wanted to do a title spin on the John Steinbeck short (depressing) novel. Unless you wanna hear about the time a mouse got us out of a matchbox one-bedroom apartment and into a shoebox two-bedroom for a mere $100 extra? No?
(When I was 1200 pounds pregnant we had a mouse in our apartment and I spotted it crawling out of a drawer in the kitchen and I threw an umbrella at it and kinda killed it but was too pregnantly squeamish to do anything about the corpse and Sean was at work so I called our landlady and she generously retrieved it all the while taking stock of my protruding belly button and then she asked what we were going to do with the baby when it arrived and I fumbled "ummmm, put it in the closet...." and she charitably offered us a two-bedroom for a small upcharge. And I said "Sold! to the nice lady holding a dead mouse.")

Annnnyway. Old guys. Old Guys Rule. Have you ever seen that brand? My dad has a bunch of their t-shirts. They tout the truth. I've just started realizing how much elderly gents crack me up.

It all started a couple months ago when I was in the store pushing Jordan around in her bumper-car-shopping-cart. This kid will never be satisfied by a carnival with the kind of swerving, sound effects, and sudden stops that I provide for her shopping pleasure. The point is, an oldie but goodie came on over the store speakers. Hey now I don't know about you, but I was a DIEhard

Team Backstreet.

Yeah, yeah, I get it. This was all very appealing:

but excuse me if I think The Shape of My Heart is more evocative than This I Promise You.
(BTW...I had never seen either of those videos I just linked until now....ohhhh give them a watch. So deliciously 2000.) And besides, I feel like there was dissension within N*SYNC. Who was the real king? Was it Justin or JC?

It wasn't even one of Backstreet's ubiquitous upbeats that had come on in the store, it was More Than That (watch that one too. Nick's real into it. And Howie never does anything, he's just there.) So it was a slightly more obscure ballad, but someone was whistling every lilt and intricacy to the melody just behind me. I turned, expecting to see a comrade in arms: a woman my age with probably a couple kids by now, this simple tune transporting us both to a less complicated time of pimples and crushes and home phones and Backstreet solidarity. Nope. My fellow fan was an elderly black gentleman, white and gray around his temples, selecting his brand of bran right alongside me. Epic.

And now let's talk about these guys

and not about how I way too creepily nabbed this shot.

These guys are at my local coffee shop EVERY TIME I GO. It's kind of just awesome. They're playing backgammon, and if it weren't for that slight deviance I would think I was witnessing that Pixar short where the old guy plays both sides of the chess board

you know...except for there are really two guys at my coffee shop and not one slightly schizophrenic senior.

But how great is that? I love women's friendships too: you gals in pairs at coffee shops, restaurants, bars, malls, front porches, what have you. We're usually chatting it up though, sipping on our Pinot Grig or chai. Getting current on our gossip or the latest Revenge episode. Guys though... they're wired so differently. The competition! The love of the game! Who's the real King of the Hill! Who's the real Sheriff in Town! And apparently that never wears off, as evidenced by my oldmenfriends. From the time they're pushing each other off the monkey bars while in kindergarten to the time they're aiming a small ball at a smaller hole 3000 yards away while in retirement, it's all about the battle. It doesn't seem malicious either, it's just their form of bonding.

and I'll never understand it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm sure you all have been and will continue to join me in praying for the victims of the Connecticut shooting and their families.

Perhaps it's because I'm getting older and am beginning to realize my own mortality, and the mortality of those that I love. Or perhaps, and more likely, it's because I've become a mother and have assigned a whole new value and meaning to the concept of life. News reports like I heard and read of yesterday...they used to make me sad in the removed sort of way that physical and emotional distance from the subject provides. But as a mother, and, my God, as a human being, I found myself utterly horrified, horrified, at the sickening capabilities of certain people. At the kind of person who can end so, so many lives that had barely even begun.

And maybe it's because I can imagine what those parents must be feeling that I was affected so deeply when I heard what had happened. Before, I could not conceive of such a tragedy as the loss of child, when I had none to lose. I hope and I pray that those parents can find some semblance of solace in their families and friends.

Truly, if there's any good to be drawn from the most devastating of situations, it is in the way loved ones - and sometimes even strangers - ban together to help each other through crises. Let's do our part by sending up our prayers on behalf of those who passed yesterday, and those left behind to deal with the terrible loss.

Friday, December 14, 2012

You Have a Caterpillar on Your Face


What do
have in common?
hint: it's not the word "Grouch" incorporated into their monikers.

Ding! Double jeopardy for you: out.of.control.eyebrows.
And probably a thing for getting loopy off their respective poisons (cigars; garbage; cheap wine (garbage))

My lineage has blessed-cursed me with the bushy brow. Brow singular? Yes. For 'twould be but one brow were it not for man's greatest tool: the lawnmower. Of seven whole girls in my family, I am the only one who has taken time to learn the valuable trade of brow-sculpting/maintaining/managing/fending out of my hairline. Guess what that means for me? When I innocently pop by to pick up my daughter from my parents' house, sisters and mom alike descend upon me like grasshoppers to sensei.

This very situation found me last night sitting in the middle of my parents' kitchen floor. My lap has become much like an operating table, where these fools

come to get reconstructive surgery.
(note to self and whomever is listening: this is what you get when you ask your younger sisters to smile.)

That bottom one there, Sue, she's a chicken. Fine, she's only ten so she doesn't need to worry about things like shaving her legs and putting on deodorant and plucking her eyebrows, but she's got some prime ones inching down on to her eyelids at which I'm dying to wield my pointy pincers.

After watching two and a half ladies (Sue got as far as laying down and tilting her head at me) go through the revolution of eyebrow eradication, Jordan was starting to feel a little left out...

so we humored her with clicking the tweezers around her forehead but dared not take from her precious supply; she has her Dad's ghostbrows. Oh yeah, and she's 1.

She seemed sufficiently appeased by this exercise but I hate giving her the wrong impression. When it comes time for her browmaintenance tutorial (which, if she grows to be anything like me, will occur when she's 4) she is going to have a rude awakening.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's About that Time

You know the one. It's the holidays, so I'm thinking I'm not the only one double-fisting peppermint bark and ginger cookies right? *cricket* Midway into the season I have to take a long, hard, painful look in the mirror and reassess, regroup, and consequently redouble my efforts to live a sat-fat-free lifestyle.

Here I go again on my own...

I would finish that isolationist lyric were dieting and/or healthy eating the only road I've ever known. But in my belly of bellies I must admit to having known -quite recently in fact - roads constructed of eggrolls; roads paved in German Chocolate cake; roads embellished with toasty dip touting spinach and artichokes as the main ingredients, when one forbidden, irresistible taste will confirm beyond any doubt shadow that they are actually sour cream and mayonnaise. I guess Sour Cream-Mayonnaise-HeartAttack Dip doesn't have the same appealing ring. But clogged arteries never tasted so good.

My place of business this time of year is fraught with the aromas of my coworkers' baking endeavors; our brokers' efforts to buy our affection with chocolate (I can't decide if it's working yet....maybe one more 4 pound box of See's please?); Christmas cookie exchanges; attempts on my life via overeating.

Basically, this has been me:

I'm the duck.

But let's consider:
a) Healthy Roasted Zucchini  

  • zucchini: 36 calories for a whole cup. throw in cancer prevention and cholesterol lowering agent. 
  • olive oil to your taste: bolsters immune system
  • kosher salt to your taste: in proper doses, good for blood cell and vessel preservation
  • ground black pepper to your taste: improves digestion
4 measly ingredients popped in oven at 450° for ten minutes, turning once to cook evenly = scrumptious, healthful, low-cal, Jordan-approved snack (as evidenced by her signed "PLEASE" belly-rub for seconds and thirds).

but look at this and tell me truthfully that you're not dabbing drool out of your lap:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour: starch, starch, starchity 
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger: ok alright, a natural remedy for colds 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda: um, when mixed with vinegar it's a good cleaning agent?
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon: oh look, more health boosters in this recipe - antioxidants!
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves: hey now, this recipe is lookin' up - antioxidant and anti-inflammatory!
  • 1/4 tsp. salt: not so much that it'd hurt anybody
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened: (wa, wa, waaaa)
  • 1 cup white sugar: plummeting downhill at breakneck speed...
  • 1 egg: trying to redeem the recipe...
  • 1 Tbsp water: no harm, no foul
  • 1/4 cup molasses: better than sugar or corn syrup, worse than chia seeds or green beans
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar for later: kick this recipe while it's down
If you beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg, water and molasses, followed gradually by all the dry ingredients sifted together, you'll get delicious cookie dough which you must roll into balls and douse repeatedly with the 2 tablespoons of sugar (which in my case, turned into like 1/2 cup of sugar). Then you should bake them in an oven at 350° for ten minutes. 
Then, you should do what Sean does and pretend not to be interested and wait until I leave to put the laundry in the dryer then STUFF YOUR FACE. When questioned about it, just look at me and whimper "They taste like Christmas..."

So truthfully, if you were me, what would you choose? Wouldn't you concede that there's merit to both? For right now, I must choose the path of most resistance in recipe A. But at least it's still tasty, it's just not a ginger cookie damn it.

If you need me, I'll be the one in the middle, except Mickey-Sean will be splitting a zucchini into thirds, not a piece of carb-loaded bread, thank you. And if you've seen Mickey and the Beanstalk, then you know I'll eventually go mad with hunger and try to spear a live cow with my fork.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Grimy

Bath time. A rapturous time. A time in which mother and daughter share a slew of emotions together, including but not limited to: frustration, defiance, tearfulness, disdain, animosity, chagrin, despair, distress, agitation, fear and loathing (not in Las Vegas, in Las Bathtub). Alright so some of these are physical rather than emotional states but you say potato. and I say potato too.

Here's the rub a dub dub: Jordan loves the water. Loves it.

Ocean Water? Check.
She's mostly naked too, so it's like a humongous, salty, freezing cold bath.

Lake Water? Check check.
It comes with a huge floating couch - what is not to love, pray tell.

Sink water circa age 1 month?
Soothing, comfortable, paradisiacal - check, check, check.

But bath time these days is a veritable battle of wills. We start off ok if Jordan's left to her devices. Her devices are named Rubber Ducky, Rubber Seahorse, Rubber Blowfish, and Rubbermaid Tupperware. They all get along swimmingly if you'll excuse the pun, but I don't blame you if you won't. It used to be that I would let Jordan play leisurely for twenty, twenty-five minutes at a time while I sat cross-legged on the bath mat making my blog rounds. Only after she and her bathmates had tired of Marco Polo would I pull out the dreaded shampoo and get down to the business of making clean.

Then, It Happened One Night.

If you're a mom I'm pretty sure you can handle this story, but if you're included in the clan of easily nauseated I'll let you see yourself out. I was minding my own business. I was poring over my stories. Jordan was filling her Rubbermaid with bath water then dumping it out repeatedly and without losing enthusiasm. She sweetly started sing-songing her favorite phrase "uh-oh." But Jordan doesn't know too many phrases and this one is applied to most situations, including the one where she chucks her binky the length of the room (she hasn't figured out the connotation of "unintentional" that is usually attached to the expression). So I kept on with my affairs with nary a glance up, while mindlessly repeating back "uh-oh" to her. Until. One of the uh-oh's was accompanied by a something landing on my lamb-appliqued pj bottoms. My daughter had flung poop on my lambjamas.

There was an emergency evacuation from the tub. The rubber bathmates were subjected to a bio radiation decontamination soak in a sinkful of hydrogen peroxide. We lost Rubber Hammerhead in the Event, as his tail was used to corral toxic waste down the drain. After a vinegar-baking soda scrubdown of the tub-potty - all carefully supervised by a very naked Jordan - the Offender was plopped in a fresh vat of the bubbly and aggressively and effectively washed by the Offendee.

I'm sure you can understand why bath time is no longer fun and games around here. We're in there to degermify, and fast. These days Dirty Harry greets both bath and bather as such

Don't come at me with that Aveeno, bro.

And I sneer

You've gotta ask yourself one question: Do you feel clean?
Well do ya...punk?

For a good fifteen minutes after each disinfection, Jordan and I aren't on speaking terms. She flirts with Sean, tries to make me jealous, shoots glances in my direction to make sure I'm paying attention, and it's all very convincing until I pull the milk carton out. The "baba" makes all things new again; we kiss (Jordan kiss = foreheads bonk) and make up, I give her a little extra toothpaste on her brush by way of an apology, and we turn in for the night amicably.

In true toddler fashion: one millisecond you're in, and the're out. I'll just keep the milk handy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Party Rockers

'Tis the season friends. To be jolly, to see the blazing yule, to attend ye olde office Christmas party. Fa la la la la.

I've heard that for some peeps office Christmas parties are dreaded, but not so for me. I think they're good Christian fun and an excellent opportunity to see the people I encounter professionally every workday in their natural habitat - you know, if their natural habitat were a fancy Italian restaurant in which the staff repeatedly fills your wine glass without you even having to ask or pay. Admittedly I've never considered myself a social titan, but I'm fairly at ease with all the people I work alongside, and the waiters kept giving me hits of Chardonnay so I was essentially the picture of conviviality by the end of the night.

Sean and I attended my office Christmas party last Friday. I and my good friend Kimmy, who has made my last six and half years of insurance toil oh so entertaining, had concocted what I think might be the most genius plan of 2012 entitled Zero Hour: A Christmas Party in Two Parts. Kimmy was to accompany me to my apartment - post-work, pre-party - that we might consort with one another while applying makeup, curling hair, donning absurd heels. Our Christmas Party, Part I was to begin here. Attendees: Jessie, Kimmy, Peppermint Schnapps. I've known for some time, and have informed her accordingly, that Kimmy has missed.her.calling as a professional mixologist and is wasting her vast talent by supplying insurance quotes when she could be getting all of America shmammered. She contrived a drink that not only falls into the category labelled The Best Holiday Drink I've Ever Had, but also that of The Best Drink I've Ever Had. We got our Christmas cheer on alright.

Here's the good news for you: Kimmy just started a blog! And I commanded her - commanded her I tell you - to pen a post including her recipe for The Best Drink I've Ever Had so that it could be The Best Drink You've Ever Had Too. Check it, make it, drink it.

So the only thing about this palatable peppermint potion is, if you down two of them rather quickly, you kinda forget that you and your husband very rarely dress up and should therefore take pics together in commemoration. Rather, you insist that your husband take pics of you and your lovely friend in front of the Christmas tree, because "it's a romantic setting."

l to r: Bombed, Slizzard

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Hap-Happiest Season of All

Sean and I are like giddy 10 year olds this time of year. The Christmas bug infects us both very deeply, to the point where neither of us is the rational one in the relationship.

Sean: "Look...I bought eggnog." (both salivate incessantly)

Jessie: "I punctured our wall 7 different times trying to hang the stockings evenly." (both snicker brainlessly)

Sean: "I brought you a Gingerbread Latte-scented candle from Rite-Aid." (prepubescent squeals of glee)

Jessie: "Can't we just buy one of those extravagant 12 foot trees just once and ignore the price tag and our 8 foot ceiling like in Christmas Vacation?"

 (Sean makes this face)

Sean: "I downloaded Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby." (both pairs of eyes aglow)

Jessie: "I found a Swarovski crystal Christmas tree topper on eBay." (voice laden with hope that Christmas spirit has hijacked husband's fiscal sensibility)

Sean: "Check what I found for you at the grocery store..."

(one of Jessie's heartstrings twangs)

Jessie: "Well Jordan would love playing with that styrofoam peppermint thingy."

(hopes glitter is easily digestible in the aftermath of that decision)

Right now, Jordan is the only logical being in this apartment - and she hits herself in the face repeatedly that she might demonstrate one of the six words in her current artillery ("owwwww"). Sean's iPod is churning out Mannheim Steamroller and Nat King Cole; I'm purchasing festive vests for Jordan; we're trolling Netflix for free Christmas classics, or non-classics (Noel with Paul Walker?? he makes movies that aren't fast and aren't furious?); we've been indulging in hot chocolate with a candy cane stirrer all too frequently. We're goin off the rail on a Crazy Polar Express. It happens every year.

I try not to play into the consumerised Christmas, really I do. I'm genuinely annoyed that Starbucks pulls out their red cups the day after Halloween. And that their "seasonal" Caramel Brulee lattes are like $4 for a tall. It irks me that Christmas tree lots charge a ridiculous $30 for barely-over-bush-status-sized trees. That Peter Jackson is splitting The Hobbit into three unnecessary parts that he might procure every penny from the prelude that was shorter than any of the books in the trilogy. (Unrelated? Yes. But consumerism-driven marketing at it's most disgusting? But yes.) 

Anyway, I hate that everyone is trying to sell me something in the spirit of Christmas. Here are a couple things we've enacted this year to avoid the brink of bankruptcy:

  • Grocery store Christmas tree. We love the "cut your own" experience but it's literally double the price and it comes with manual labor. We got a grocery store tree for $15. Practical and unromantical.
 but not half bad - just half-priced.
  • eBay Christmas shopping. (If you are one of my siblings reading this, rest assured I got your present from J. Crew. or Anthro. or Ferragamo. Certainly not in the Bay of e's.)
  • Traditions that are heavy on fun and heavy on cheap. Christmas cookie baking; enjoying hot chocolate while watching a Christmas fave (Christmas Vacation for Sean, Christmas Story for me - the clear win); hosting a dance party of one, in which Sean busts out the Christmas music on his speakers while Jordan provides entertainment for the night (girl's got moves).
  • Sean pleaded with Jordan and I for a slumber party under the lit Christmas tree, but I spoke politely - sans sarcasm or incredulity - for both of us and enumerated the tactical flaws in that idea, including Jordan's inability to lie still in the presence of company and my inability to go to bed anywhere but bed. I have every faith this slumber party will take place next year...I'll be snuggled in my flannel sheets on my pillow-top mattress, and my husband and baby will be in sleeping bags under the twinkle lights.
  • We're taking Jordan to see Santa tonight with my family, followed by a Christmas movie and hot chocolate drinking night in which we will try to fit all nine of my family members in our apartment. What's a Christmas without close encounters and tight fits on the sofa anyway?
  • Remembering the true reason for the season.
That's all I got. How about you? Let me know if I'm missing out on a cheap yet irresistible Christmas entertainment. We're suckers for that type of fun over here.