Monday, December 21, 2009

The First Noel

A long, long time ago there was a little girl who loved to sing. What she lacked in talent, she made up for in volume. Typically, her song choice revolved around what was sung by Little Orphan Annie. But as Christmastime grew nearer, she's start singing all the Christmas songs she knew - which basically meant hours and hours of "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Her parents had long since tuned her out, oblivious to the talent that she undoubtedly possessed. However, when her grandparents visited, she found that she had a fresh audience that would give her the attention she so clearly deserved. And so she sang for them - over and over again. Sometimes they would try to sing along, but she was always quick to point out that it was their job to listen and her job to sing thankyouverymuch.

One time, she was overcome by the Christmas spirit and allowed her grampa to sing WITH her ON CASSETTE TAPE! This, surely, was a sign that she was a *good* girl and that Santa should reward her with lots of gifts. For some reason, he insisted on singing "The First Noel" and since she had just learned the first verse in school recently, they compromised to sing the first verse over and over again.

Years later, the girl found the tape and listened to her childish voice and her grampa's deep baritone sing the Christmas song. She smiled, laughed at her own gusto, and the put the tape away to be listened to another day.

Throughout the years that followed, the girl would smile when that song came on the radio or was sung in church.

At first, she smiled because she remembered her own loud and boisterous singing.

A decade later, she smiled because she remembered how happy they were - singing in unison.

A few years after that, she smiled because she missed him - the man that loved Christmas like no one else. She remembered how he'd giddily exclaim that Santa told him that we were going to get great gifts that year. She remembered slinking down the stairs early in the morning to climb into the hideaway bed that her grandparents slept on when they visited from so far away. He never yelled at her for cuddling up to him - even when her cold feet touched him. She'd lay there as still as she could (which wasn't very still at all), thinking of all of the magic that was Christmas and relishing the feeling of being safe and loved. When her grandparents couldn't stand the wiggling any longer, they'd go upstairs to open up the gifts.

Did he love the holiday so much because he was born on Christmas? Or was it because he loved experiencing it with three little grandkids and finally got to see the holiday for the true gift that it is?

Whatever the case, the not-so little girl recently heard this version the other day...and just so you know, she still has a hard time not tearing up when she sings along.

I miss you, Grampa.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Believe it or not, this post actually is about pants

You know that tagline below my headline? The one that reads, "Note: This blog is not about pants."

Well, today it is wrong because this post actually *is* about pants.

Last week, I went to my doorstep and saw that I had a box waiting for me. I was pretty excited because I thought that the 3 pound ball of cheese that I had ordered from Mississippi State had arrived.
I looked at the label and saw that it was addressed to someone by the name of "Austen" and it had a last name that is CLOSE to mine, but not actually mine.

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that my address was actually printed out (via UPS) on the label and then slapped on top of the original label. The original label was sent to Austen in the city of Elizabeth, Colorado.

Apparently, someone at UPS thought that our names were similar enough and changed the shipping address.

What I found when I opened the box (what? At this point, I had no idea if it was to me or not) was this:

That's right. What you're looking at are two pairs of pants. One looks worn and one looks new. Both are size 34 pants - men's pants.
No note. No explanation. Just pants.
Even the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" had a note, right?
I've since contacted the sender who doesn't want to call UPS to straighten it out. I've called UPS who insists that they would never change addresses.
And in the end, I STILL have two pairs of pants and NO CHEESE.
I just think it's so strange, don't you? Like, I really want to take pictures of the pants in various situations - so that when the rightful owners get the pants, they're able to feel good about where their pants have been.
Should I name the pants?
Should I write a short story about the pants and all the things that they've seen?
Should I put all sorts of weird things in the box when I send the pants on? Like pictures from Awkward Family Photos and indicate that those pictured are my family members? If so, just so you know, my favorite is this one.
What do you think?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa?

Santa stops at three hos.


Welcome to the Christmas edition of HFP.

First, because I'm a giver, I'd like to turn your attention to all of the Christmas tunes available FOR FREE on iTunes. There are some great artists in this compilation and I'm not sure if you know this or not, but it's FREE.

The best news? It's not like it's some cheesy musak version or by people that suck. Well, I take that back, Toby Keith *does* sing "We Three Kings." Although to his credit, he doesn't scream, "How do you like me now?!?!?" to Jesus.

Click here to launch iTunes and download these songs as mp3s. Or if you already have it open, you can go to your store and search for "iTunes Holiday Sampler" - it's on the first page.

Secondly, because I hope you're a good gift giver, I'm going to give you a great idea.

When I was at home for Thanksgiving I ate a lot. And I drank a lot of red wine. The eating a lot isn't exactly a new thing for me. But the drinking a lot sort of was. See, I've only recently discovered my love for red wine.

A friend of the family brought over a wine aerator one night for us to use. I always thought that wine aerators were these huge goblet type things that would allow air to get into the wine and make it taste better. I always thought that they were accompanied by snotty nosed people who wore furs.

I found out that I was wrong.

Basically the wine aerator that this guy brought over was a little thingie about 7 inches long. And you pour wine in the top while holding it over your wine glass. It makes funny sounds and then puts the magic air into the wine and makes it taste SOOO good. It doesn't make it bubbly or anything like I'm kind of making it sound.

Don't believe me? Yeah. I didn't believe it either. So I took a sip of non-aerated wine and one of the same wine having gone through this magical contraption. I could definitely taste the difference. Aerated wine is a lot smoother and doesn't have the bite that some red wines have.

It was, in a word, the bestmotherlovingthingever.

The cheapest place that I've seen it featured is on

Here is where you can get it for $37.95 with a free stopper and pourer (what I wish I would've gotten).

Here is where you can get two of them for only $61.95 - which means one for you and one for your pal.

Or if you're really cool, here is where you can get one for red wine and one for white wines for $65.99.

Let me just tell you that I ordered one for myself, for my mom, for my sisters, and for my best friend. I have been enjoying a glass of red wine each night (or almost each night) and it is HEAVENLY.

You're welcome.

P.S. No. No one contacted me about promoting Tiger Woods, Santa, the iTunes Christmas collection, or the Venturi Aerator. I discovered all their fantasticness by myself.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A week in review

FIRST of all, I'd like to say that I have several funny posts brewing. In fact, this morning when I was getting ready for work, I thought of several funny things to write about and that's how I know that I'm getting out of the un-funny writers funk that I've been in.

But before I can get out of it completely, it might be good to have you know why I was in a bad mood in the first place.

Reason #1) Last Monday, my entire workplace was told that our VP of Sales (nationally) was coming into our office Tuesday morning because he was stuck in Denver on a long layover. While it's true that Denver had cold weather last week, it was not so bad that he would miss his connecting flight. However, being gullible and naive, I believed the person. All was fine UNTIL I saw the VP walk in with our HR rep. And then I polished off my resume'.

Because yes: the branch that I work for is being closed down. They'll close it down officially in April and we're all supposed to have jobs until then. I might get laid off, I might be allowed to work from home, or I might be asked to relocate. We're supposed to find out by January 11th which category we fall into.

The guy that's supposed to be trying hard to keep our jobs is the same one that told us that our VP just had a cancelled connecting flight. And yes, he DID know a week beforehand that our office was going to be closed down. It's hard for me to believe that this guy is going to look out for my best interest AND it's hard for me to want to work for a company that shuts down offices just because their lease on the building is up.

Reason #2) We were told that we were not going to get raises for the third year in a row. BUT hey - that new bonus structure that they promised us? Yeah. That's totally going to come through. Only so far, our year to date bonuses have equalled about $500...a far cry from what they were promised to be.

But that's okay. They told us that the company was holding out for a big payout for our 4th quarter.

And we finally got it today! :) My bonus check for today for the 4th quarter was $33.80. UGH. And if any of you even SUGGEST that I should just be happy because $33.80 can save some of Sally Strothers' kids, I'm going to kick you in the shins.

Reason #3) Dude. Seriously? I need a third reason? Alright. I think it's unfair that I'm lactose intolerant.

What? It's true. I can't eat as much cheese as I'd like...and that can't be fair.

SO basically, I'm on to better and brighter things - however that can happen. The good news is that I've shaken off the bad juju of blog stuff and I'm going to post about far more upbeat things.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm an engineer, not a meteorologist

So today I received an email from a previous co-worker of mine. He lives in Oklahoma. Despite that, he's actually a smart guy.

But the email says:

Can you tell me what the weather is going to be on Tuesday? My wife and our kid are going to be flying from Seattle to Oklahoma City and I was wondering if they're going to get stuck there on their layover.


Now, normally, I'd leave my rants at people who seem to have left all common sense at home to Sally, but I just can't let this go away.

So what I WANT to write is:

Hi Paul,

No. I can't.

I can't because:
1) I left my tinfoil hat at home today. That hat allows me to see the future weather patterns. It's accurate most of the time so it's really a shame that I don't have it.
2) I'm not allowed to. See, the people in Denver get a super secret forcast that we don't share with the rest of the world. So I really can't tell you what the weather is going to be next Tuesday. Not because I don't want to, but because then they'll kick me out of Denver.
3) I'm not a meteorologist.

I just think it's so strange that rather than checking out, he asked me - as if I have some sort of insider information.


Friday, December 04, 2009

REALLY Casual Friday

We've been celebrating Casual Friday at my workplace since I've worked here.

But as the weeks go on, it's getting a bit ridiculous.

First it was a nicer shirt with jeans. Then it went to t-shirt type things with jeans. Then it went to people getting to wear sweatshirts with paint/bleach spots on them.

Today, a lady at work showed up in Adidas exercise pants and a stained t-shirt.

Classy, no?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Cranky McCrabberson

I'm changing my name to Cranky McCrabberson. Or maybe Unhappy Cranky Pants.

Seriously, I can't believe what a cranky mood I'm in! I went to bed cranky and woke up cranky...and that just sucks!

I know that most of it is because I feel like I have SO MUCH STUFF to do at home - stuff that is waiting for me in huge piles. Mostly laundry. But some other things that need to be gone through and then dontated to charity. My mail is piling up and getting to the point where it's a bit out of control (I need to shred the junk mail, recycle the rest and file the stuff that's important). And that's only the mail that is actually AT my house. The mail from the past week is still at the post office because I've had stuff to do each night after work - stuff that had me occupied way past closing hours of the post office. Today will be no exception.

I just hate feeling this far behind...on everything.

Normally, I'd go home at lunch or go pick up my mail at lunch - so that at least it can be something else scratched off my seemingly endless to-do list. OR I would normally go for a run. But since it is STILL snowing out (and I almost wrecked my car twice on the way to work), I think that's a no go too.

To top it off, I'm bloated and PMSing.

Fun times, I tell, fun times.

Any tips on what you do when you're in this kind of mood?