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Black Friday

November 27, 2009

…and I look more ready for a photo shoot than endless hours of retail hell.

ah well.  there’s gotta be a bright side, right?


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November 27, 2009

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a letter

November 26, 2009

dear [you],

thank you for today.  i couldn’t have asked for a better thanksgiving.

well, unless, somehow, i could have spent all afternoon with you AND managed to see all the new cousin-babies.

but i’ll take what i got.

really.  really really.  thank you.


A Christmas Story

November 25, 2009

I’ve got a story to tell you.

In fact, I told this story to the boy the other night, and he nearly got angry with me that I’d kept it from him for “so long.”  Apparently, this is such a good story, it should have been told the moment I laid eyes on him.  And should be told the moment I meet anyone new.  Whether or not it’s December or July.  So what if it’s a Christmas story?  It’s THAT GOOD.

I’ve probably just set you up for disappointment.


I don’t remember how old I was.  I estimate 8-10, probably.  I was getting a weekly allowance of a dollar a week, and I very badly wanted a new bike– a TEN SPEED– and so every week when I found that new dollar bill laying on my bed, I’d store it away in a little tin Coca-Cola box in the back of my desk drawer, tally the post-it note inside to keep track of how much money I was accruing, and wait until the next week, when I could add the next dollar and tally the next mark on the post-it.

And then I’d probably hop on my little sea foam green Huffy with Harriet the Spy in a backpack and ride down to the park by the school to sit in an old truck tire and read while the fall leaves were blown from the trees.

I lived a very exciting childhood.

Now, as Christmas approached, I wasn’t shy about telling my parents what I hoped Santa would bring me.  The bike was the furthest thing from my mind when it came to Christmas–I was saving up to buy it.  I didn’t need Santa to bring one, obviously.  I don’t even remember what I thought I should get that Christmas but I do remember what my dad was very adamant about telling me I would get: A Box Of Rocks.

“Ha ha, Daddy, very funny,”  I would say.  “A box of rocks!  You are a LAUGH.

There were a few Christmases where I had some pretty good ideas about what I might be getting.  This particular Christmas was really exciting, because I had no idea.  It would be a real surprise.

So you can imagine that I might be really surprised when I tore the paper from a box that opened to reveal…


My parents had given me A Box Of Rocks for Christmas.  Not just any rocks.  Used rocks.  Aquarium rocks right out of the fish tank downstairs.  They didn’t even love me enough to find shiny, polished rocks.

I tried really, really hard not to cry.  Was this supposed to be some lesson about the true meaning of Christmas?  Was I FAILING?  I could help it.  I was just a kid, y’all!

I had no idea what to say or what to do, so I just cried.

And my dad laughed at me.

I continued crying.

And then somebody, probably my mom, who felt bad about making me cry on Christmas morning, told me to just look at the bottom of the box, already.

So I dug through the box and I found a note at the bottom, which said to go look downstairs.

It probably should have instructed me to put the rocks away in the fish tank on the way, for as well as this Christmas was going.  You want your present?  CHORES FIRST, SLAVE DAUGHTER!

So I put down the box and I did my best to suck up my tears as we all headed downstairs.  I stood there, in the middle of the huge, divided room, looking for something… anything… having no idea what it was I was looking for.

Someone finally had to point it out, leaning, gleaming against the back wall.

A big, beautiful, purple Ten Speed.

And I laughed and wiped the last of the tears from my cheeks as I ran toward it and did my best to hop on, though it was really too big for me, and I rode it as far as the basement walls would allow.

I fell in love immediately.

And very soon after, started thinking about all that money I had now that I didn’t have to buy a bike.

The bubble was soon burst, though.

“We figured that since you’ve been saving up to buy a bike, we’d just buy the second half for you.  So you can put about $35 toward this, and we’ll take care of the rest.  Does that seem fair?”

Why yes, as a 9 year old, this seems terribly fair to me.

Now that we’ve put you through the biggest emotional trauma of your life, Pay Up. Merry Christmas, Courtney.

(for the record, I loved that bike, I quickly over came The Box Of Rocks Incident, and in the end, was glad to pay $35 for a bike rather than $70. Also, I love my family, even if they are kind of crazy sometimes. No disrespect is meant in the retelling of this story.  It’s just… it’s just too funny not to.)

Past Life

November 24, 2009

Considering my current diet, which consists of all kinds of black bean burger variations, veggie chili, quesadillas, and fajitas, and my always and forever guilty pleasure, mom’s homemade chicken enchiladas, my longstanding love of guacamole (I am to guac like a Montanan to ranch– I’ll find an excuse to put it on ANYTHING),  not to mention the fact that nearly every time I’ve eaten out in the past year I’ve picked a place where the wait staff barely speaks English…

I’d say I was Mexican in a past life.

What do your eating habits say about you?

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November 23, 2009

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Jazz Fusion

November 22, 2009

We’ve recently started playing Christmas music at our store.  Don’t even get me started on that.

A few days ago a lady was in buying costume pieces for a dance studio or a dance team… some group of dancers.  She commented on the song playing, an instrumental Christmas tune of some kind, said she liked it, and asked me if I knew who it was.  First of all, I wanted to visibly recoil in horror– most of our Christmas music is terrible and this was no exception.  But I simply said, no, this is instrumental, and the only the only instrumental music I’d know how to name is Mannheim Steamroller.  This obviously isn’t Mannheim Steamroller.  (Translation:  Whoever this is, they are NO Mannheim Steamroller.) First, this lady, at least in her 40s, gave me this blank look, like Man-who? And then she proceeded on, “I just really like this.  It’s different.  Sort of… jazz fusion, I’d say.”

I had to choke back my laughter.

Jazz?  Fusion?  What exactly about this song is screaming JAZZ FUSION to you?  Is it the simple I-IV-V chord structure, the complete lack of non-chord tones, or is it perhaps the acoustic guitar, the drum part a seventh grader could play, and the HAND BELLS?

What did I do?

I nodded.

“Yeah.  Sounds kinda like jazz fusion to me, too.”

People who think they know.