I've been watching Saturday Night Live since the fifth grade. (The cool kids were watching it, therefore I had to watch it. I also liked watching L.A. Law. I guess you can say my tv tastes haven't changed that much in 20 years.) Back then, the biggest challenge was staying up late enough to see all of SNL. I considered it a win if I made it to the first musical number.
Collectively, our class liked SNL so much that, inspired by the political humor of the show, we put on a sketch at Christmas based on the trial of Sadaam Hussein. (It was 1990. We were very topical.) Each class performed a skit at the holidays. I don't know why, but it was fun. I played Nancy Reagan in the trial. It wasn't long after the Reagan years, and we had to have a role for every student, so it seemed appropriate. I wore a red jacket and had one line when I took my place in front of the entire upper school, "Just say no to drugs."
I have a Kindle Fire. (It’s hardly big news, but all stories have
to start somewhere.) I think the SO expected me to use my Kindle Fire to read
all the time, get into RSS feeds, keep up with news from all over the web,
etc., etc. Instead, I quickly developed an addiction for Bejeweled.
(“Addiction” isn’t an exaggeration here. When I find
something new, it’s all I want to do. So far, the only thing this particular
personality trait has done for me is allow me to get through lots of episodes
of television in a short period of time. I might need to work on my concept of
When I was done with Bejeweled, I moved on to various hidden
objects/puzzle games. (I am a complete nerd.) However, it was hard to find
anything that gave me the same satisfaction as Bejeweled – until I discovered
The Oregon Trail.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you might have picked up that I have some proficiency with alcoholic beverages. At one time, my shot vocabulary was more impressive that what I knew about geometry. (The ingredients for a surfer on acid? Yes. Which is one is the isosceles triangle? No.)
And while this might come as quite a surprise, it wasn’t always this way. I didn’t drink in high school – as in ever, at all.
I was terrified of getting in trouble and convinced that drinking would destroy my chances at going to a good college, but I decided that my senior trip to Europe would be a great time to have that long-awaited first drink. (College applications were done, and it was Europe. The legal trouble aspect was gone.)
Since I was in Italy, you’d think my logical choice would be wine. Even without wine, you’d think I’d go for a beer, but after having a sip of beer at 13, I decided that it was one of the most foul-tasting liquids I had ever put in my body and wanted nothing to do with it. (Nothing to do with it until I was a sophomore in college that is, but bygones.)
The summer I was 17, I took a job at a greeting card store. (I know, I know. As one co-worked once said, “How many jobs have you had?” I’ve never counted, but let’s just go with “a lot.”) I won’t name the store, but I will add that if you turned over one of our cards, you would not be greeted with the special gold crown that lets you know someone cares.
For a place that was supposed to specialize in spreading joy and sentiment, it was an unusually tense environment. Our manager cried a lot. I think it had to do with a boyfriend, but after a week, I wanted to spend most of my days crying, too.
I blame this weepiness on two unfortunate aspects of the job:
I actually had to spend two days inventorying Precious Moments figurines. Even if I liked Precious Moment figurines, going down a three page list and counting statuettes like “Bobby Fishes,” “Bobby and Ellen Down by the Lake” and “Susie’s Goodnight Prayer,” would nearly bore anyone to death.
When I was 9, I sang “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” on a near-daily basis. I even performed her song in front of six grades during our school’s annual dance contest. (Long story short: We didn’t even get an honorable mention, and I was pissed. My hand motions were so descriptive.)
When I first opened the cassette tape holding “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and found the mass-produced, signed photo of Whitney at the back of the lyrics booklet, I thought I had Whitney’s actual autograph and carried it around with me for weeks.
(On another note, what do you call that thing that you unfold with all the song lyrics and info about the producers? Does it have a name? I considered it a study guide for learning my favorite songs for mirror performances, but I imagine any musician reading this is hanging his or her head in shame with such a description.)
When The Bodyguard came out, I was still carrying a torch for Kevin Costner. (I know, I know, but I thought Dances With Wolves was a really sensitive film.) I could not wait to see Whitney and Kevin together, and “I Will Always Love You” became my new ideal for romantic love.
Thanks to some time in grad school, and the lucrative career choice of “writer,” there are plenty of years when I haven’t had that much money to spend at the holidays.
I am a crafty person, but even crafts cost money, and sometimes more than money, they take time. During graduate school, I had very little money, and thanks to finals, very little time. I wanted to do something for my friends, but I didn’t have an answer to the question of how.
Eventually, I drove to a store called Happy Price Zee Outlet. Since you probably don’t have one in your neighborhood, let’s just say that it’s kind of like the Dollar Tree and Dollar General had a crack baby. The prices are very low, and the merchandise can be a) defective b) ridiculous c) cheesy d) borderline dangerous or e) all of the above.
If you want a rainbow-themed umbrella to wear on your head, it’s the place for you. It also carries an unnatural number of bobble-head cats. I cannot imagine the patron that shops here for non-gag gifts, but I sense that his or her home/van might resemble that of a hoarder’s.
To say that I like the musical Les Miserables would be kind of like saying I own a few pairs of Spanx and drink the occasional glass of red wine. In other words – it would be a gross, gross understatement
I saw Les Miserables twice as a kid – once in Birmingham and once at the Fox in Atlanta. My mother listened to the soundtrack non-stop for about four years. (Yes, I am often prone to exaggeration. When I talk about my mother’s listening habits, it is not one of those times.)
I can’t even tell you how often I wore the classic gray t-shirt with the Les Mis orphan on it.
(I also had a Cats shirt that I liked to wear with white Bermuda shorts, but it was old news the moment my Les Mis tee came on the scene.)
I liked to perform most of the score of Les Miserables for my nanny – my favorites being "On My Own" and "A Little Drop Of Rain." Dream role? Clearly Eponine. Oddly enough, my nanny often encouraged me to sing from the porch while she watched her TV shows inside.
“I can still hear you,” she would call from the sofa, even though I often had to remind her when to clap at the end of my numbers.
I grew up with “do-it-yourself” kind of parents. My school projects were never taken over by an eager Mom or Dad who wanted it to be just perfect or an anxious parent fearing for my grade. My dioramas looked like they were made by a nine-year-old, and my science fair projects were usually far less than stunning.
One year I did take home a third place ribbon for “Will your plant grow faster if you talk to it?” (Even as a child, I talked to plants and myself. A sign of genius or madness? Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.) However, I think most of that win had to do with the fact that fourth grade is around the time kids figure out that it isn’t cool to be smart, so the level of competition was way down. Also, I used the tri-fold white board as instructed by my science teacher, and we all know how science teachers like rule-followers.
However, the worst do-it-yourself incident of all probably occurred in the fourth grade, the year that our class participated in the annual historic building parade.
“What’s a historical building parade?” you say. Well, let me enlighten you.
When we went to the beach week before last, we stayed at El Matador, a family favorite for the Mills from 1979-1986 or so. I hadn't been back since I was six years old. Luckily, nothing about El Matador had changed. But, looking at this picture my mom sent me this morning, you can see that a few other things have. (I'm on the right in the cool sunglasses.)
I'm guest posting today, so if you'd like to read about some of the wacky stuff that popped into my head over the weekend, please head over to highly-entertaining Jamie's Rabbits written by the very talented Jamie Golden.