Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

I'm happy to report that no one got sick this Christmas.  There were no visits to the emergency room either.
The Harar Christmas was not completely uneventful, however.  The most interesting (embarrassing) event happened at Christmas Eve mass. 

Mike wanted to watch the rest of the Skins game, and I wanted to sit down during mass, so my mom, dad, aunt and I left at 4:20 to go to church and save seats for Mike and the kids.  Mike assured me that he would arrive at church by 4:50 so saving the seats wouldn't get uncomfortable. 

At about 4:45, my cell phone rang.  Mike informed me that I have the keys to the van in my purse.  My purse was, of course, sitting right next to me.  My aunt's car was blocking my mom's car, so he couldn't take hers either.  He was, quite simply, stuck at my parent's house.

So, with 11 minutes before mass is to begin, my dad offered to go get him.  He hurried out to the parking lot. 
A minute later, I realized that I'd also forgotten to give my dad the car keys. 

With lightening speed, in my heeled knee-high black boots, I fell over the people in the pew and raced towards his car.  I saw my dad pulling out of the parking space, and actually rationalized that if I could run fast enough, I might be able to cut him off before he leaves the lot.  As fast as I could, waving the keys wildly in the air, I raced across the parking lot, yelling my dad's name as if he could hear me.

He couldn't.  And I missed him.  He just kept on driving.

Finally aware of all the people staring at me, I slunk back into church to send a text message to my husband letting him know that while he had a ride here, we didn't have a ride home. 

At this point, it was getting ugly in church.  People were asking for the open spaces in our pew.  We had the entire pew, and there were only three of us in it.  Whenever I told people that they were saved, I refused to make eye contact, for fear of their un-Christmas-like looks. 

Finally, Mike walked in, dropped off the kids, and went back to my parent's house with my dad to get the car.  This time I remembered to give him the keys.  And with the kids there, the pew looked fuller, and the nasty looks subsided.

I should take this opportunity to tell you that some of my students were sitting right in front of me, just to the right, and a bit to the left as well.  A girl I knew in high school was sitting behind me.

Also, my ex-boyfriend was  three rows back. 

Hell, if I'm going to embarrass myself, I might as well do it in front of people who will not hesitate to gossip about me.

Beth - 0
Mike - 0
Parents - 0
Car Keys - 1

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have a deep dislike of clapping. 

Not all clapping, by the way.  Just the dreaded "clap along".

See how their hands aren't in sync?  That's
what bugs the crap out of me.  Why?  Why
can't they all clap at the same time???

You know what I mean.  I'm talking about the type of "clap along" where people find a beat during a concert and clap their hands along to the song.  Its bad enough when the musicians initiate the clapping, but when the audience decides to clap of their own accord, I'm REALLY cringing.

Everything starts OK, if you like unnecessary noise that detracts from the music you've come to hear.  People seem to pick up on the beat fairly quickly, and for a while everything sounds fine (again, if you like the sound of clapping over music).  But inevitably, things go downhill very quickly.

This is what I should hear:


This is what I hear instead:


Just as some people have no business singing in public, there are people who have no business clapping along with music.  With each mis-clap, my body cringes and my mind silently screams at them to stop.  I can't explain why this bothers me so much, and I recognize that my dislike of clapping is highly unnatural. 

Everyone has their quirks, right?  Aren't I allowed to have mine?  

I can't help that I want to tackle the adorable old man next to me who is clapping his hands in a non-sensical rhythm.  Nor is it my fault that every time his hands come together, the sound is like a giant clap (pardon the pun) of thunder against my heart and my patience becomes the width of rice paper.   

In the spirit of Christmas, I'll go ahead and say that I'm glad the clap-along I so hate brings most people pleasure.  From what I've observed, those who participate truly enjoy themselves, for their smiles say it all.  It's nice to know that something that drives me crazy makes others sublimely happy. 

Beth - 0
Clapping-Along - 1

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daddy's Birthday

I think I should start with a little bit of background information before I begin today.  If you know my family, you know that giving my dad any kind of gift is a big gamble.  You'll either get the nod of approval, or the toss on the table with an: "I don't like it."  There really is no in-between.  If he rejects your gifts, you are expected to keep a smile on your face and hand him the gift receipt while your heart breaks into a million pieces and your sense of self worth as a gift giver crumbles into dust.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday.  Unbelievably, he liked all the gifts he received.  However, my husband and I gave him a golf towel, and my sister gave him Sirius XM Radio.  What followed was a series of comments based upon the "value" of the two gifts.
To help me recap that conversation, I have a guest blogger with me today.  Mike, my husband, is here to help me give the top ten reasons why the gift of a golf towel is better than the gift of Sirius XM Radio.

Me:  Welcome Mike!
Mike:  You're about to be blogger-fied!
Me:  OK then.  Let's get started.

Drum Roll Please . . .


10. A golf towel can be used to clean your golf balls
9,   A golf towel is colorful.  Sirius XM Radio is a boring black.
8.   No one breaks into your car to steal a golf towel. 
7.   You don't have to sit through a boring episode of Howard Stern with a golf towel.
6.   A golf towel works in all kinds of weather.  Rain, shine, sleet or snow, a golf towel is the way to go.
5.   You still have only five reliable pre-set radio stations when you own a golf towel.
4.   Can Sirius XM radio wipe the sweat of a hard golf day from your brow?  No, it cannot.
3.   You can't playfully smack your buddy in the ass in the locker room showers with a Sirius XM Radio.  2.   Good luck drying yourself off in a pinch after an unexpected rain-storm with Sirius XM radio. 
1.   A golf towel is the gift that keeps on giving, not the gift that keeps on asking an extra $75 a month for its services.

To be fair, however, I think his favorite gift of all was . . . .

The Republican Crocs!!!

Beth - 1
Mike - 1  (Thanks for the input!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Middleburg Christmas Parade

I love the town of Middleburg. So much, in fact, that I occasionally have mini-fantasies of what life would be like if I lived there.

As our new tradition, we got together with the Shea family (love you guys!) and took our kids to the Middleburg Christmas Parade.  Also in keeping with tradition, we were late to the restaurant because we left late and crawled down the one lane road in ridiculous traffic. 

After lunch, my son had to hurt himself, because we really can't go anywhere without him doing so.  Observe the red mark on his forehead as evidence that he fell and whacked his head on a brick.  The hot cocoa stand guy made sure we weren't going to sue him, and never even offered us a free hot chocolate.  Not very "Middleburg" of him, was it?

The parade, however, was fun!

Awwwww.  We're happy.

The two in the blue coats are mine.  A Shea child is in the light purple.  I don't know that other girl trying to bogart my kids candy.
Of particular interest this year was the horse dung left in the road after the horses pranced by.  Every time a car ran over the rather smelly mass, a loud "Ooh!" could be heard throughout the crowd.  The kids screamed in delight whenever someone hit the dung.  Exciting stuff, horse dung.

Yup.  That brown stuff came from the horse.

We made friends with the lady next to us who had an extraordinary sense of humor.  Together we made sarcastic comments about the various floats and our fellow parade-goers.  I kind of wish I had asked for her number, as odd as that may sound.

This is our nameless friend.  I took her picture covertly so she wouldn't think I was weird.

Two incidents reminded me, however, that we were not in Northern Virginia.

1.  People in Middleburg REALLY love their dogs.
Yes.  She gave the dog her expensive faux-fur coat.
2.  And, on the opposite spectrum, is the complete and utter disrespect for animals:
You are not mistaken.  That is a dead deer in the tray-thingy.

Overall, however, the fun sights and exciting activities got to the kids on the way back to the Shea's house.  It only took five minutes before they looked like this:

It was a good day.

Beth - 1
Middleburg - 1
Warm Dog - 1
Dead Deer - 0