Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Christmas Caroling Troop.

Tonight I attended an oyster roast at my pal June's house. June and I have known each other for almost ten years, and her daughter has been one of my favorite kids since I was in graduate school and I took care of Baby Julia at a Montessori preschool - my day job at the time.

Anyhoo, Julia had a few girls over during the party. Like most preteen girls, they were sitting around, looking terribly bored and complaining there was nothing to do except fiddle with their iPods and gossip.

I tried to steer the conversation into a different direction. First, I asked what they all wanted for Christmas. They all said they wanted tablets, preferably iPads. Sigh. I knew I had to get them out of the house. Eventually, I did.

First we played hide and seek, the trusted standby. I found very few places that would accept my five-foot-nine body quite as easily as the old days, but it was fun nevertheless. My adult friends who were also at the party were highly amused at my willingness to hang out with the kids, but hey. Eleven-year-old girls are fun.

TV tag came next (I think they may have made up a few television shows) and then, on a whim, I blurted out the winning idea of the night.

"Let's go caroling!" I said, without really thinking it through.

"YEAH!" They shouted in unison. I was officially committed.

Of course, there were many occasions when i was a kid that I caroled around the neighborhood I grew up in - mostly with my little sister and my friend Gayden, plus her brother - but it had been absolutely years since I'd attempted knocking on doors and singing songs. But I couldn't let the girls down. We were doing it, even in the 75 degree weather and no real plan of a setlist.

And in the end, it all worked out. We sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Deck the Halls and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, plus a round of Frosty the Snowman on the way home. We managed to pick up a couple of extra singers at one point and got a few photos of the group in full force. I'd say it was a success. The girls had a blast. Frankly, so did I.

Sure, it could have been a chillier night. And we could have been more organized and more in tune. But none of it mattered. The neighbors loved it. 

"This is SO fun!" the girls told me, as they skipped down the street to the next house with white lights. "Thank you for suggesting this!"

I have to admit, I felt triumphant. I mean, if I can convince preteen girls that there are more adventures to be had in this life besides sitting around the living room and griping because your mother won't buy you a smart phone, then that's pretty dang cool.

Now I can't get Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer out of my head.

Fa la la! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Tree-Shopping Tale.

Here's a funny story about my tree purchasing experience a couple weeks ago.

It all started when I went to our usual tree farm, beside our house, with the mission of finding materials for the tabletop tree. The last few Christmases, I've simply obtained scraps of green from the workers (who give it to me for free, weirdly enough) then stuffed it into the metal, tree-shaped decorative thing that my friend Kim made for us years ago.

But this year, when I ran by the tree farm at 8:30 pm, i noticed something unusual: no workers were there to give me my green. The place was deserted and dead silent. I yelled "hello" and wandered around the tent, searching for signs of (human) life. The trees all sat there alone, emitting their heady holiday fragrance. I even knocked on the door of the camper, which I figured might be their home-away-from-home while running the tree farm. No answer.

Then, I saw the most perfect little tree ever - it was even in its own stand. It was exactly the right height and plumpness for our living room and it was nestled in a corner, flanked by its towering cousins. I knew right away it was the tree for me.

So I took it. That's right; I just picked that sucker up, shoved it into the backseat of my Saturn and left the tree farm. Then, I called Brian and confessed I'd just stolen a tree - but that I of course had the intentions to go back and pay for it the next day, once the tree farm opened.

"Am I a bad person?" I asked.

"No, of course not," he replied. "You're paying for it tomorrow."

Which I did. The next day, I rolled up into the tree farm tent and approached the register, armed with my wallet.

"Hi. I took that small tree that was sitting over there in the corner," - I gestured with my hands - "but I still need to pay for it because no one was here when I took it last night."

I expected the guy to question me - or, worse, to call the police - but instead he just rang me up. Maybe it's normal for people to steal trees temporarily and pay for them later?

I went home and shared the story with my friends, who were all rightfully amused. The tree is aglow with lights and ornaments, and I can't look at it without remembering my silly adventure.

A merry holiday to all of you, and remember, it pays to be honest.

Even Buttercup the Cat Recognizes its Magic 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Being the Cool Aunt.

This year, I've spent more time getting to know my friends' children than I have ever before - and I love it! A lot of them call me "Aunt Denise;" most of them think of me as being cool. I'm probably not anywhere close to having a kid of my own in the mix, so it's good news that aunthood seems to be my calling. I mean, think of all the television shows and movies that had interesting aunts over the years.

One of the things that devotes me to aunthood is the fact that I'm willing to accompany my friends on kid-friendly activities. Need an adult companion to go with you to birthday party for toddlers? I'm there. But I think what mostly enables me to get along with youngsters is the simple truth I told my pal Kristi the other day - I act like a kid right along with them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Life, Like an Episode of Sex and the City.

I'm 33 years old and I'm single. If you're a Sex & the City fan, perhaps that's all you need to hear to understand a correlation. However, as of late, I've encountered a few scenarios that have really reminded me of my old favorite television show. When the show was actually on the air, I was in my early to mid twenties, and I had NO idea that I would be single after the age of 30 (after all, I had boyfriends galore at the time).

Perhaps this seems like a silly topic for a blog that I mostly restrict to poetry and philosophical pondering. And I'll admit that it is. But it's also a hearty shout-out to other single women in their 30s who might be reading this blog. I really hear you. And don't worry; all names are omitted. Also, don't blame me if you think this whole thing is ridiculous. It's just for fun.

Example One:

 I meet this dude who is my age and seems like a interesting cat. He claims to have a roommate and a pet - thus, single. I invite him to hang out sometime and we schedule a coffee date. Then, we get to the coffee date and he tells me he has a wife who lives in another city - they decided to live apart for work. Go fig.

Example Two:

Guy from college and/or friend zone: I've always thought you were hot, Denise.
Me: That's sweet. Thanks.

(Realization that we are no longer in college or he's no longer eligible and he lives several states away with children and a sometimes-girlfriend. Awkward silence.)

Example Three:

I'm at a networking event and run into this woman I know who just got married a week ago. I congratulate her and her new groom - then, the woman starts trying to set me up with some dude who works with her husband at Whole Foods.

Woman I Know: He's JUST your age! And SUCH a nice guy!
Groom: He's actually overweight and sort of unattractive. But are you interested?
Me: Check, please.

Example Four:

A friend of mine, who is married with kids, hosts amazing parties and I always attend - as the only single woman in her thirties. Plus, I always bring booze.

Example Five:

My roommate: Maybe you really like women.
Me: ?????