Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ways to Make Me Hate You: Holiday Edition

Last week, I volunteered to do a reading for Advent at my church. This week, I got a copy of the reading--a script, if you will--and skimmed it. What I found was clearly meant to be read by a mother or father, remembering the joy and overwhelming sense of God's love they felt when they held their newborn child. I could tell by the way the page had been shellacked with white-out to replace "baby girl" or "baby boy" with "baby brother."

I looked over at my baby brother, who is about two years younger than I am, and told him, "All I felt when I held you for the first time was a sense of bizarre fascination."

"I tend to inspire that feeling," Paul replied.

Really--I remember thinking, "This kid is HUGE!" Infant-Paul was as big as I was at the time. I remember wondering, "When will he do something? He's just lying there, staring!" And I recall concluding, "This is boring. Time for Care Bears!" Then I got out my Care-a-Lot Playset and all my Care Bears and played.

In short, Tiny Laura wondered what the big deal was about having a baby brother. Thankfully, by the time Tiny Paul was mobile, Tiny Laura had realized what having a sibling was all about: Having someone to bring you things when you're too lazy to do it yourself. Younger siblings will also kill bugs for you and make you soup when you're sick, if you're nice to them from time to time*.

Since I would have been lying and talking about God in the same sentence, I had to opt out of doing the Advent reading. After that, I was depressed. Then I wondered how it could be that it isn't even December yet and ALREADY I have no holiday spirit. Suddenly I realized why.

It's YOUR fault.

Well, maybe not you specifically, but it certainly isn't MY fault. I woke up with holiday spirit, people. It was there. Holiday spirit doesn't just vanish for no reason. Other people are the reason. But some of you are innocent, and to ensure that you only accept blame if you deserve it, I have compiled a list of all the things that make me angry, vengeful, or bitter.**

If you are shopping and you spy a relative or friend and choose to stop right there in the store and have a nice chat, then I hate you. Why? It's not because you've decided to discuss the hideous tumors recently removed from your mutual friend Gladys, it's because you're standing there, forcing everyone who walks through the bookstore to walk around you while simultaneously preventing me from grabbing the book I came to buy. Also, I hate you MORE because you've chosen to ignore my polite "excuse me" six or seven times already, because you and your conversation are clearly so much more important than I am.

Another quick way to earn my eternal loathing is by ignoring basic rules of personal space. Say we are standing in line. I expect you to have to reach out your arm slightly in order to push me. If you're using your body to move the line forward like a linebacker, clad in a hand-made holiday sweatshirt and too much Love's Baby Soft, you're too close. Personal space is important. In fact, I can promise you that pressing against me will not make the line go faster. It will make me go slower. I only look for exact change when people like you are breathing on me.

Debit and credit card machines not working? That's too bad. But if you know you can't accept card-based transactions and still choose not to put up a sign, then force me and my fellow customers to wait for over 40 minutes in line before we find out we can't pay you for our Mod Podge and adhesive-backed crystals, I hate you. Yes, that happened to me, on Black Friday at JoAnn's in Kokomo. I outed you, JoAnn's. See? I went in to get basic holiday crafting supplies, was greeted by a volunteer at the door, did my shopping, waited in line for over 40 minutes, and then found out I'd waited for nothing, because JoAnn's wasn't able to process any credit or debit card transactions. Luckily, my mother had cash. Otherwise, I would have squewerd Bitter JoAnn's Lady, who wasn't just without a computer that worked, she had no sense of decency, either.***

If you are my father, and you make a Christmas list filled with items that are Very Expensive or Irish whistles or both, I want to murder you. Yep. That one pretty much explains itself. Dad has more whistles than he needs, and at this point, after all these years, I'm sick of listening to them. As for the Expensive ideas...I just had my gallbladder sucked out of my body via four tiny holes in my stomach. I'm betting that will be pricey, and I'm betting my insurance won't cover it all. So...let's try and keep Christmas ideas affordable, unless you want me to go out into the yard, find pebbles, scrub them, paint them, affix googly eyes to them, and name the rocks things like Gabby Gallstone and her spinster sister, Gerty Gallstone, and their friend, Gabriel Gallstone IV, MP. Then I will make you a paper mache habitat**** for your new friends, wrap them up, and let you open them on Christmas morning.

Refusing to make Christmas plans until the last minute will make me want to slaughter you and roast you on a spit in place of the Christmas ham or turkey. I want to hang out over Christmas! I do! But when you refuse to nail down a day for the plans to take place, I get into trouble. See, I have work and family and friends who also want to see me. As much as I'd like to cancel all my holiday celebrations when you call me at the last minute, it isn't going to happen. I will also want to kill you if you tell me you want to do something on a particular day, then never call me back and/or call me when you're at home.*****

See? Those aren't too hard to avoid, are they? If you do, your holiday season will be filled with a Happy Laura who sings carols as she walks around the department store and knits you a hat when she notices you're getting cold! If you don't, though, you will force my friends to endure Scrooge Laura, who will sit on their respective couches while they wrap presents, scowling at Bing Crosby as he sings about snow.

*I cannot guarantee that all siblings will behave as mine does. Your sibling may hit you repeatedly and steal your clothes, wreck your car, and leave wet towels on the bathroom floor. If this happens, lock your door and practice your right cross.

**Naturally, these are only holiday-related. If I wrote an all-encompassing list of things that make me angry, vengeful, or bitter, I would be writing it for years. I would die working on the list, at the ripe age of 116. Someone would come to check on me and find my fingers curled over the keyboard, the scowl still etched into my face.

***I'm not overreacting, I promise. She was NASTY. She treated me like it was my fault her computer wasn't working. But I don't control crashing computers, even though I wish I could!

****I'm envisioning a flesh-toned rendering of an English country village, except the river would be a lurid green color.

*****This hasn't happened yet, but, before the holiday season is over, it WILL.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What I Do When I Can't Sleep at Night

1. Lie awake and stare at the same spot on my wall I've stared at since I last rearranged my room, ten (or more) years ago.

2. Read!

3. Watch TV shows on my laptop--usually funny ones or stupid ones or addictive ones (tonight it was America's Next Top Model).

4. Think about how sucky my upcoming morning/day will be when I've not had enough sleep to have the energy, or the...consciousness, I need for living it.

5. I do a lot of #4.

6. I think about how I could solve all the problems in my life, if only I just followed certain steps (see step #4).

7. I wonder what I will do over the weekend (see step #4).

8. I consider getting up and making a snack, because it must be time for another meal, right? It's halfway through the night! So...it's like the lunch of nighttime that I should be having now. (And, for the record, the incredibly flawed last sentence, the one before THIS sentence, sounds really funny in my head. Try saying it out loud in various ways, maybe it will to you as well.)

9. I start singing songs from The Sound of Music in my head. Rather, I sing one song, "My Favorite Things," because the rhythm (to me) reminds me of the rocking of a cradle, and is soothing. Usually, it has a lullaby effect and I am able to doze off. This worked all through Europe, when I discovered the travel alarm clock my friend Stacy brought with her worked like a metronome for that particular song. It was magical, like a mini white-noise machine, only less annoying, because in my head it was music.

10. I read blogs I usually overlook, because I have too many blogs on my reading list to keep up with them all, no matter what I do.

My new FAVORITE thing to do on sleepless nights (other than stalking Twitter), is a very fun thing that some of you, those with e-readers, might want to try out.

I go to Amazon, I head into the Kindle store. Once there, I look up an author's name, a book title, or just skim new releases. I request a sample of every book I see, especially YA titles. When I wake up in the morning, I turn on my Kindle's wireless connection and let the samples download. Tonight, I'm trying out work by Margo Lanagan and Diana Peterfreund, as well as How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan--Oh and just now I requested one for The Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford. (Doesn't this new option really beat #4-7?)

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dad, meet the Yard. Yard, this is Dad. Forgive him for slamming into you like that.

Here is the situation as it was explained to me.

Dad went with the rest of the Men's Prayer Breakfast crowd to go put a roof on someone's house. Things proceeded normally until our friend Jeff started wobbling as if he was about to fall.

Dad, ever the hero, tried to "save" Jeff (who I'm sure didn't need saving, as he is a professional Home Builder Guy and owns his own power tools).

In his heroic attempt, Dad stood on some loose sheeting and proceeded to--it was described to me as "surf" BACKWARDS down the slope of the roof and off the edge.

He landed, certainly breaking his wrist. He may or may not need surgery to repair his wrist--he used it to "catch" himself, but good luck catching yourself when you shoot off a roof like The Silver Surfer. They are doing x-rays of his lower back to make sure he didn't throw his back out too.

When asked about what exactly was going through his head, Dad said, "I thought Laura was getting too much attention, so..."

(I think he meant it as a joke.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hopefully the LAST UPDATE!

My surgery was a huge success! They went in laparoscopically, took out my evil gallbladder, stitched and glued me back together, and sent me to recovery. The surgery started at 2:00 p.m., and Mom was able to call everyone up and tell them I was doing great by around 4:00, while I was waking up from the anesthesia.

My first question upon waking up? "Do we have exit polling yet?" Yes, I love politics. No, there were no good numbers. Yet.

They sent me home at about 11:00 p.m. I slept. I spent the whole of Wednesday sleeping, for the most part and keeping up with the WGCC via Twitter. Today I woke up on my own at five, ate cereal, went back to sleep, woke up again at ten-ish, and have been up ever since.

My coworker, April, came by with lovely flowers from the library. I feel totally spoiled to work with such amazing people! Thanks, everyone!

Paul picked up the last bit of yarn I need to finish my shawl and today I am binding off while watching Castle, season 2 and eating.

See, I can eat now. Without feeling sick. Already! This is wonderful.

And that is your update: I am feeling loads better and can't wait to get some Biaggi's! Until then, I will be knitting and wearing my French Press Slippers, which are warm as toast and don't fall off when I walk. That is important when you are stitched together on the inside. THANK YOU, MELYNDA for such awesome slippers! I thought I loved them before--now I love them even more.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. I go to the hospital and then they take out my gallbladder. They can have it. I don't want it.

Before I go, though, I am going to VOTE. This is very important. Plus, I think I get extra America Points for going in to vote right before surgery.

I may go silent for a bit, but that does not mean you should freak out. Quite the opposite. It just means I am DRUGGED and SLEEPING IT OFF.

If you are Twitter, my mother or brother will tell you how I am alive. If you are Jennifer, my mother will call you.

Until then, I will be enjoying my new yarn from Madelinetosh's Magnolia Society Yarn Club, which is very pretty, and typing an alarming amount for NaNoWriMo in a mad attempt to still win despite the hurdles I must overcome.


Today I have a doctor's appointment with...A SURGEON!

I still have not been told whether or not I will actually be having surgery, but I think the fact that I'm being sent to a surgeon and not some other sort of doctor means yes, I will be having surgery. But don't quote me on that until I know FOR SURE.

Dad came home yesterday, and I broke the news to him. I also informed him we would not be telling my grandparents until AFTER the potential surgery is done, because it will be too much for my grandmother to cope with and she will freak out, finally ending with her coming to my hospital room and saying, "Are you going to DIE?" and "This is really traumatic for us, Laura. How could you do this to us?" "This" was endometriosis, resulting in surgery to remove it (Yes, Grandma, I did plan to have rogue cells leave my uterus and chart new territory through my abdominal region. I just woke up one day and planned it.).*

I made Dad promise not to have the entire church rush over to visit me, because that makes me a complete nervous wreck. Imagine a room full of people staring at you for an hour. That happened during the last surgery. It was kind of scary. But after the maybe-surgery, I will throw the doors open and everyone can come visit! I just don't want to go into the operating room (maybe) in a blind panic. Social situations do that to me. That is why I am not making a huge deal about this in person. I'm not calling people and saying, "Woe is me!" I'm just going on with life and if people want to know, they can come here. That is why blogs are WONDERFUL.

My health could not have been at all helped by my discovery that I did not have enough yarn to cast off my Orchid Thief Shawlette. I only had ONE ROW to go! Honestly, I was more nervous about finishing that last row without running out of yarn than I am about surgery. What does that say about me? Clearly, I am a Knitter.

That is your Laura Health Update for the day.

*Those are exact quotes and no, she wasn't joking.