Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ho ho OH NO!

Hello all of you!

Thanks for your patience while I took a minor blogging sabbatical. I did miss it, but have been too tired to sit down and bang something out. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Festivus/Saturnalia. I traveled to New York, as usual, to stay with my aunt M and uncle M. My uncle starts cooking Christmas dinner a full week in advance, and it is maddening to live in that house and smell the food and be constantly hungry. Compound that with my uncle's compunction to feed me constantly, and it's a recipe for intestinal failure. Constant sweets, meat, and booze wreak havoc with my GI now that I live in Cali and eat so much salad. Fiber, it is my friend. Ham, not so much! My aunt and I baked for five hours on the 23rd: magic cookie bars, chocolate raspberry bars, russian tea balls and English toffee cheesecake bars. Awesome waist enhancers! Tasty, too. I think I've mentioned before how much I love to bake. For my department Thanksgiving party, I made a devil's food cake with cream cheese frosting, which went over very well. For our Christmas party I made Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie muffins. I want my next little project to be a Kentucky butter cake; I just need an excuse to make one.

After I bugged him all week, my cousin P, a former Marine, took me to the Long Island Shooting Range in Brookhaven at the tail end of my trip and taught me to fire an M-1 carbine .30 assault rifle. It was...well, awesome, and I'm proud to say that I hit the target (100 yards away) more often than not. P (who used to train FBI agents) told me I was much better than most first timers. He was impressed by my lack of nerves. I guess I have my cop blood to thank for that. It was a rush, and if there were a perfume that smelled like gunpowder, I would probably buy it. If you've ever even been even slightly curious about going to the shooting range, find someone experienced and go with them. You will love it. Watch out freaks! Now I'm packing.

I hope you all have something enjoyable on tap for tonight. I'm going to take it easy and accompany one of my former roommates to a low-key house party. Tomorrow I'm going to the spa for a much needed massage.

Before I take off and say "see you next year," I thought I'd leave you with an amusing Christmas story from a few years back, when I was just a little puppette living in Boston.

In the late '90s, my girl Tabitha and I used to volunteer for the Snow Ball, a black tie charity event that benefits Santa Claus Anonymous (SCA), a formal non-profit fundraising organization. Santa Claus Anonymous donates over 80% of all proceeds raised from the Snow Ball to approximately 12 beneficiary organizations. As volunteers, we got in free by working the casino; we were "Money Wheel" girls and roulette girls. I don't understand blackjack well enough to deal, so I avoided that game for fear of getting it wrong and pissing off the players. It was a hoot to get prettied up, host for a few hours, drink for free, sample the hors d'oeuvres and dance it all off at the end of the night. We had the occasional wealthy financier who offered to take us on weekend trips to the Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun casinos (which we politely declined), but nothing ever happened that was vulgar or even creepy. The event was always a good time.

The last time I worked the Snow Ball, which was probably 1999 or 2000, the event was held (as it will be this year) at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in the tony Back Bay area. In previous years, the event had been held at the World Trade Center; wherever it was, there was always a Santa volunteer on a throne in the main foyer. For a few bucks, you could get a Polaroid of yourself in Santa's lap. Tab and I had neglected to do this the year before, opting for more formal pictures in event's makeshift portrait studio, so we figured we'd pose with Santa this time.

The Santa job wasn't taken too seriously; it was usually a younger guy in a fake beard and a stuffed tissue belly. Tab, another volunteer and I crowded around Santa, with Tab in his lap, for the first picture. No problem. Then the other volunteer perched on Santa. No problem. Then it was my turn, and readers, you know there was a problem.

I gently settled myself on the inside of Santa's right thigh, closer to the knee, figuring that one must get a bit sore from having inebriated guests hopping on and off one's lap all evening. It did not occur to me at first that Santa hadn't spread his legs when he took Tabitha or the other girl onto his lap. I remember purposely planting my feet on the floor to take any extra weight off him, although I weighed maybe a buck ten at the time.

As the photographer got into position, Santa, who was maybe 30 and around 6', wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me right into his lap, lifting my feet off the floor. It was pretty quick and felt claustrophobic, so I reacted by trying to wiggle forward. It was around that time that I noticed Santa's quickly expanding yule log.


Good lord. The flash went off and I jumped up like my ass was on fire. Nobody had warned me that I was going to get a Secret Santa gift!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

The Story of Stuff

Something to think about as you shop for holiday gifts.
Hat tip: Sage.



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