Thursday, December 29, 2011

make a little birdhouse in your soul

The week between Christmas and New Year's is so weird. Wow, BOLD STATEMENT, I know. But seriously, what is the point of this week? I'm at work for two days. It was supposed to be three but I got sick on one of them and I'm still a TEENSY bit sick but managed to drag myself into work because no one is here to see how disgusting I am. My old company used to completely close during this week, which I think is the right idea. Nothing of consequence gets done, even if you're at work, because no one else is there so you end up organizing the files on your computer for like an hour NOT THAT I'M SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE OR ANYTHING.

Plus, I just had five days off so it's like my brain has forgotten what it's like to sit in front of a computer for eight hours instead of, um, sitting in front of a TV for eight hours. I KID. My Christmas break was actually pretty busy. My only TV-heavy days were on Christmas Eve night when I wrapped presents and on the day after Christmas because my Community DVDs were seriously begging to be watched. For real. Have you ever seen a DVD beg? It's weird. They talk out of the little hole right in their middle but they don't have teeth or a tongue or lips so it sounds like, "ooooooooooh ooooh oooooh," basically, which I assume means, "WAAAAAAATCH ME, JENNIE, THEN WATCH ALL OF THE DELETED SCENES AND ALSO YOU SHOULD PROBABLY WATCH THE GAG REAL FIVE TIMES BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE LAAAAAUGHTER."

So, yeah. Hey, do you want to know what I watched on Christmas Eve, while drinking wine and wrapping presents and making the basement look like this:

Not actually that messy.

Well, it's your lucky day because I will tell you! I watched a Doctor Who Christmas special, an episode of The X-Files (How the Ghosts Stole Christmas), The Family Stone, and half of Love, Actually. I only saw half because I started it toward the end of my present-wrapping and wine-drinking and I fell asleep halfway through. Wow, good story! Aren't you glad you stuck around for that?

But wait, let's rewind to Friday night! Because why not? I met some friends for dinner and drinks IN THAT ORDER and somehow we ended up here:

SPLORT. That was my brain exploding.

In case you can't tell, that is a magical Christmas wonderland of holiday light magic. Some crazy, lovely people in Springfield decorate their front and back yards with all manner of Christmas decoration and then encourage people to walk through. There's a path through the display, lined with sugarplums and gumdrops. Or just a rope. But whatever, my point is, do you feel it? Do you feel the magic?

Not many people know that elephants and giraffes are actually dinosaurs.

How about now? THAT IS A CHRISTMAS DINOSAUR. That I didn't steal. Because that would have been wrong. And because there wasn't room in the car.

Honestly, the rest of Christmas felt a bit dull after that experience. HAHA JUST KIDDING CHRISTMAS IS AWESOME. We celebrated with my family on Christmas morning and Joe's family in the afternoon and it was a magical, exhausting day, notable mainly because Joe and I got each other the same gift. And not only did we get each other the same gift but it was the same awesome gift, seen HERE on the internet and here in our bathroom:


Not to put too fine a point on it, Internet, but you're totally the bee in my bonnet. Happy almost New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

(trying to) let it be

I can't remember if I've mentioned this here (probably not because I tend to forget to announce important things in favor of, like, talking about Community non-stop), but my sister-in-law is pregnant WITH TWINS, who Joe and I have nicknamed Troy and Abed (see?).

Well. Earlier this week, Julie's water broke, which is a problem because she's only 25 weeks along. She's in the hospital right now, not in labor (I guess they stop it with magic or something?), but she has to stay there until the wee babies are born. Which will hopefully not be for a good, long while. Still, that means that Julie has to spend the holidays in a hospital room, which is just all around stinky. So, if you're the praying kind, please do that, if you're more comfortable with thinking good thoughts, then think all of them! And if you'd like to send Julie a note or a funny link or something to while away the hours, email me and I'll make sure she gets your kind words. Thanks, Internets!

I'm trying this new thing where I don't let myself freak out about stuff. Which is...different and only mildly successful when I get news like the above. When I woke up this morning, though, my radio alarm was playing Let It Be and so I've decided to adopt it as my DON'T FREAK OUT mantra.

Also, I'm trying to stop yelling DON'T FREAK OUT at myself when I'm freaking out. So there's that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

me and my brain are like peas and carrots

One of the best parts about our new house is that it's way closer to work for me, which means I don't have to get up as early. I used to get up way before Joe and I'd be dressed and ready to go most days before he was out of bed. Now, he gets in the shower around the time I'm drying my hair. This is great, mostly because neither of us really minds sharing the bathroom (unless I leave the cord to my flatiron lying all over the floor, which used to happen all the time and I'd hear a mighty yell whenever Joe would step on it...oops), but also because we can do ridiculous things like sing Backstreet Boys songs together or, like this morning, the Annie Edison Holiday Tradition Extravaganza, which I have not been able to get out of my head since last week.

One morning, I was, for whatever reason, quoting Forrest Gump, as ALL normal people do from time to time. I was quoting this line in particular: "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far...far far away from here."

Then I started singing the Doctor Who theme song and explaining to Joe that a lot of people don't think that song has lyrics but it does and they are: Doctor Pooooooo doctor pooooo doctor poooo doctor poooooooooooooo. Or something. I don't know. I don't remember.

Anyway, Joe was all, "your brain is a strange place," and I was like, "what?" because what? And he was all, "how do you go from quoting little Jenny from Forrest Gump, praying in a field, to singing INSANE lyrics to Doctor Who?" and I was like, "I don't know, it's easy."

My brain is a place where The Doctor runs rampant with his new companion, Annie Edison, where Coach Taylor gives me daily pep talks, where Kelly Kapoor gives me fashion advice in the mean-girlest way possible. Movie and TV references zip around, smacking all up into each other until they spill out of my mouth FOR NO RAISIN. It's sort of like Community, if Community was terrible and made no sense. At any given moment, my brain sounds like this:

Why do people put those giant inflatable decorations in their yards? I hate them. Especially Frosty the Snowman. I really hate Frosty the Snowman. His stupid face and his stupid nose and his stupid stupid hat. If I were one of those kids, I'd set that hat on fire so he'd melt and never, ever come back. He is THE WORST. But I guess his hat IS pretty cool so maybe I wouldn't set it on fire, I'd just steal it and set one that LOOKS like it on fire so Frosty is dead and melts in the spring but I'll still have his magic hat. I don't know what I'd use it for but maybe it would bring other things to life, too? Like, I don't know, a stuffed elephant? But a little one because a big elephant wouldn't fit in our house. Except little elephants are mean, I think, because I read about it in The Lost World and it makes sense because little dogs are way meaner than big dogs because there is less room for evil in their bodies so the evil is more concentrated. It's science or something. Max is sort of little but he's not evil at all so maybe he's an outlier? Probably. Phoebe is little and she's pretty evil but that might just be a cat thing. I hope evil isn't transmitted by poop because Max keeps eating Phoebe's poops and I don't want him to be evil. I think evil is probably transmitted by, like, dark thoughts or blood or something. Not poop. Poop is supposed to be funny, not evil.

So yeeeeeah. Obviously, my brain is loud and confusing and doesn't make sense a lot of the time and almost always leads to poop talk, but, hey...whatever. It's home.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I'm probably not going to edit or reread this before I publish, if that tells you anything

Oh, hi, internet, I MISS YOU. I keep blathering on and on about my high school exploits and I'm sure (sure!) that you want to know what's going on with present-day-me, right? Come! Listen to me babble! It shall be just like the days of yore!

It being December (WHAT), things are pretty busy but I still spend most evenings reading in my pajamas or watching TV in my pajamas or chasing the animals around so we can give them Frontline in my pajamas, so I'm not sure exactly why things seem so busy, THEY JUST DO.

I did get my hair cut. I was trying for the millionth time in my life to let it get longer than my shoulders but I got sick of it and one day, after a long, difficult day at work, I decided to just chop it all off. Well. I mean, I PAID someone to chop it all off because if I chopped it off myself I'd end up looking like this. Anyway. After my hair was short again, I felt much better about life in general which is what normally happens when I cut all my hair off, because whenever I'm feeling like my life is out of control, I like to exert control over things I actually CAN control over so BOOM short hair!

That was a really long paragraph about my hair, which was really just so I could tell you what a little girl said to me at volunteering last night.

Little Girl: Did you get your hair cut?
Me: Yep.
Little Girl: Oh. It...looks different.

BOOM. Awesome. Thank you, little girl, for that self-esteem boost. Seriously, though, I wanted to hug her because how awesome is that? Don't tell people you like their haircuts just because it's polite! Say how you feel! Only, no offense, you're probably not as cute as this little girl so you might get punched.

Other funny things that happened at volunteering last night (some context...during opening circle, the kids are supposed to only talk if they have the Talking Stick): 

Little Boy: Talk talk talk talk talk.
Me: Little Boy, do you want the Talking Stick?
Little Boy: Sure.
Me: OK, here you go.

*that's supposed to be a fart noise

You guys, I almost died. This little boy is my spirit animal. He is THE BEST.

Lately I've become obsessed with listening to records. Luckily, Joe has a record player and already had a bunch of records, but I'm only obsessed with listening to records that I may have listened to as a child. Records that may or may not include: Billy Joel, The Sound of Music, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Oklahoma!, The Beach Boys, etc. I was born into a cassette tape generation but my parents had a record player and I was enthralled with it. Like, how the hell is music coming from A NEEDLE. MAGIC.

My goal is to find some old school Whitney Houston, the Grease Soundtrack, and Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Christmas Album or whatever it's called. And, I think this would go without saying, I would straight up cut a bitch for a copy of The Muppets Christmas album.

SPEAKING of The Muppets, I organized a family outing to see the new movie over Thanksgiving weekend and it was pretty much my greatest idea ever. Not JUST for inviting my awesome family but because THE MOVIE WAS AMAZING. It felt like a 90 minute hug. I have about a million fond memories of sitting on my Grandma's living room floor, inches from the TV (until I got yelled at to scoot back), watching all manner of Muppet movie. I'm almost positive that had something to do with why I was practically sobbing during Rainbow Connection but it also could be because I have emotional problems. Who knows, it's a mystery.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'd have to get off the freeway. I HATE that.

When I got my drivers license, my parents were surprised. I was, as you can imagine, a bit offended.

"Tim told us he didn't think you'd pass on the first try," my mom explained.

Tim was my driving instructor. And, apparently, a total asshole.

Maybe that’s not fair. I've never performed well under pressure, especially in front of an authority figure. I don’t rise to the occasion, no, instead I get very anxious and worry about not doing everything perfectly. Which. OK. That's ridiculous, right? I can’t remember the last time I did anything perfectly. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying. OBVIOUSLY. I worry so much about not doing something perfectly that instead I do it horribly, which is what I was worrying about in the first place.

Note: this does not apply to tests. I kick ass at taking tests. But things like giving speeches or performing at a piano recital? These things make me want to poop my pants. Also, I don't play piano so that might be part of the problem. Obviously, I can do things like taking tests without anyone watching, whereas if I'm giving a speech, um, duh, everyone is watching.

So, yeah, back to Tim, my asshole driving instructor who wasn’t really an asshole. He was actually very patient, as all driving instructors should be, and I can't say that I made the greatest impression during my first driving lesson.

I'd already started taking the official driving classes (the ones where you sit in a classroom and watch terribly sad videos about what happens when you drink and drive...I imagine now they also include terribly sad videos about what happens when you drive and text) and my dad had taken me out driving a few times in parking lots and such, so I was familiar with things like, oh, turning the key in the ignition and putting on my seatbelt. And, aside from the time I mixed up drive and reverse and drove onto a sidewalk instead of backing out of a parking spot, I'd done fairly well. Still, I’d never driven on an actual road with, like, other cars and stuff.

With Tim, though, we were going to be driving on real roads RIGHT AWAY. I was so nervous. Why couldn’t we just drive in circles around a parking lot for a couple hours? You know? Just to warm up! Alas, no, Tim wanted to turn me into a responsible driver, not someone who could execute beautiful figure eights in front of a deserted Best Buy.

Everything went well at first. I successfully pulled the car out of the driveway and out onto a main road. Things started going downhill when I realized there were all these other cars on the road with us! What if I hit one?! I started to feel a little vomity. Then we approached a red light and, in my terror, I asked, " I have to stop?"

Now. Tim's reaction (a patient YES) was pretty good. He didn't make any snide remarks, he didn't DUH me, and he didn't do what I would have done, which was yell, "YES YOU HAVE TO FUCKING STOP, PULL OVER RIGHT THE HELL NOW."

[sidenote: this is why I'm not a driving instructor DUH]

Not my finest moment NOT EVEN A LITTLE. I didn't fare much better with maneuverability, annihilating cone after cone, because it just seemed like nonsense to me. I’d nod and smile as Tim explained what I needed to do, but in my head, I was all, “Stop talking crazy, you crazy car sorcerer! Take your dark magic out of my face!”

I feel like we don’t even need to talk about driving on the highway for the first time, right? I mean, it was basically this:

I wish I performed better under pressure. I’m not sure how to fix it or if it’s something that’s even fixable. Some people thrive under pressure and some don’t, yeah? Some like conflict (oh, I’m sure of it) and some, like me, avoid conflict at all costs because WHY WOULD ANYONE LIKE CONFLICT?

I do wish I could make myself stop worrying so much about fucking up in these situations, because it feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m afraid I’ll fuck up, so I do. It’s not even that I’m not confident I can do these things, it’s that once I’m in the moment, I start doubting everything I’ve ever learned.

For instance, on the last day of middle school, I forgot the combination to my locker. The combination I’d been using all year. It was just gone. I told the janitor that my locker was stuck so he would open it for me. Now I feel like maybe the pressure of high school was starting to loom over me, causing me to fuck up before I’d even started.

Or, you know, I had brain damage.

Now, 13 years later, I can totally see why Tim didn't think I would pass my driving test on the first try. I could barely control a locker, let alone a car. Still. It hurt. And I'm glad I didn't know about it before I took my test, otherwise I probably would have psyched myself out and not passed. But pass I did, and with (almost) flying colors. Conveniently, I didn't have to drive on a road with any stoplights, so that probably helped.