Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Are you one of those people who can’t stand seeing a wrapped present?  Who has the need, almost the compulsion, to unwrap something addressed to you?

I’m not. 

I enjoy the pleasant anticipation of the holidays, almost as much as the events themselves.  I love having something to look forward to, and I get so much satisfaction from giving gifts – much moreso than receiving them.  However, those that I do receive, I prefer to open on the day.  It’s part of the magic of the holiday.

However, my mother can’t handle not knowing what a present is.  And she assumes everyone else in the world is wired this way.  This has led to some interesting experiences over the years.

Such as when I was given new bed linens for Christmas, and my mom thought she could hide them in my closet without me noticing.  I mean, I am messy, but I do get dressed with clothes from my closet.  I don’t know why she thought I wouldn’t notice.  And then when I asked “um, what is up with the stuff in my closet?” she sent me off on an errand and POOF it disappeared.  What the heck? 

Then there is the stuff that she hides so well she can’t find it.  Every year as a teenager I would have at least one present that was purchased for the previous year’s Christmas.  Sometimes it didn’t make it until the next year – “Oh hey, I found this.  It’s your Christmas present.”   “Mom, it’s August.”   “Well, it’s just like Christmas in July!”   “Whatever, Mom.  Thanks, I guess.”

My cousin inherited this trait too.  The couple of years I lived with his family, he always knew what he was getting for Christmas.  I make sure that I wrap his presents with paper, rather than in a bag, just to frustrate his attempts to figure out what he’s getting. 

Both of them have birthdays within a month of Christmas.  I think that drives the need to know what they are getting.  As children, they had to wait all year for presents!  I can imagine not being able to take that at some point.

Anyway, I took my parents’ presents to their house at Thanksgiving.  I’d bet money that my mother has opened hers already.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Other people’s secrets

I recently learned that a friend of mine – who shall remain anonymous and does not read this blog – attempted suicide in the past 5 years.

I knew her at that time, and I had no idea.

It was a difficult thing to hear, although she told me in an “I’d like to share this with you” way. 

I feel honored that she trusts me enough to share this with me.  But I can’t help feeling guilty because I didn’t do anything at the time.

It was also hard to react to this information.  What do you say?  “I’m so sorry” doesn’t seem to cover it.

Fortunately, things are better now, and she is in a good place.  But as she told me, “once attempted, suicide always remains a viable option.”

So I’m putting it out there in the universe.  If you think no one cares about you, you’re wrong.  I do.  I don’t want anyone to feel like there’s nothing left to live for.  You’ll always have tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"It’s different"

I had white-blond hair as a child.  My sister and parents are all brunettes, but some random combination of genes led me to blond.  Or else I’m not my father’s child – which is unlikely due to many, many other similarities.

As I grew older, my hair got darker.  It’s settled in a light brown hue.  I highlight it on occasion, but for the most part I don’t stray too far from my natural color.

On occasion though, I get a wild hair (see what I did there?).  I was auburn for a while in grad school.  I had a purple streak for a couple of months (hidden under the rest of my hair – just there for me to know about). 

And this fall, I decided to go with dark brown. 

My mother hadn’t seen my hair until the recent Thanksgiving holiday.  She hates it.  Absolutely.  Hates.  It.

How do I know that, you ask?  This conversation.

My mom:  “Oh.   You changed your hair.  It’s … different.”

Me:  “Yes, mom, change usually does make things different.”

My mom:  “It’s so dark!”

Me:  “Yes, it is.”

My mom:  “I’m just not used to it.”

  … the next morning

My mom:  “Your hair is so dark.  It’s different.  And you cut it.”

Me:  “Yep.”

My mom:  “When did you do this?”

Me:  “Around Labor Day.”

My mom:  “Oh.  Well, it’s different.”

Me:  “Yes, it is.”

“It’s different” is female-code for “I hate it” – except when it’s not.  Sometimes it means “I’m not used to it yet.”  But not when it’s used repetitively.  Then it definitely means “I hate it,” seasoned lightly with “Why did you change it?  It was so pretty before.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Laffy Taffy

In and of itself, Laffy Taffy is not my favorite candy.  I mean, it’s okay and all, but there are other things I prefer.

However, I absolutely adore Laffy Taffy jokes.  They are utterly ridiculous, and I love them anyway.

Today’s joke is brought to you by Connie from Washington:  “In what month do people talk the least?”

Already I know that this was not written by a child because the preposition in at the beginning of the sentence.  What kid talks that way?  None I know. 

Are you ready for the answer yet?  Is the suspense killing you?

“February – because it’s the shortest month in the year!”   Really? 

I love that this crazy, messy world of ours has a medium – candy – in which something not remotely funny qualifies as a “good” candidate for publishing. 

It’s absurd, and that’s why I laugh.  Oh laffy taffy, never change your ways.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I’m feeling introspective.  In the last few weeks, life has taught me a lesson about acceptance. 

Newton’s third law applies to physics (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction).  But it does not have to apply to all areas of your life. 

Before reacting, it’s a good idea to consider whether or not the issue deserves your limited time and energy.  Sometimes accepting and letting go is the right thing to do.  Sometimes it’s not.  But only you get to decide what you are willing to spend your time and energy on.

If you are swimming in the ocean, it is easier to float with the waves than to fight against them.