Holiday Cheer to the Max

I’m finally able to breathe through my nose! It’s amazing the things we take for granted- like breathing through unobstructed airways. I’m grateful to be feeling 90% better because there is much holiday-ing I need to participate in and when I am sick, I don’t feel like doing much but laying on the couch streaming Netflix and being crabby. Besides, think of all the holiday booze I am missing out on! I have a lot of catching up to do.

My family volunteers at the Wonderland Carousel every holiday season. It’s fun to do something good with the people you love. Besides, they don’t stand a chance in getting out of it as I am a tried and true Volunteer Coordinator even if that is no longer my title. I think volunteering is a tremendous thing to do with your time all year round.

The Carousel was again, awesome. Though this year there were no marriage proposals. There were 2 drunk Seahawks fans who when I asked for their ticket rifled though some papers in their hand all the while the ticket was sticking out of his mouth. And a lady who when I said she and her daughter might have to wait for the next go round said she would just have to go get her money back because she couldn’t wait. IT WAS A DONATION TO A NON-PROFIT THAT HELPS FOSTER KIDS YOU SCROOGEY BITCH. I mean, Merry Christmas and I hope you are saving up for your daughter’s eventual therapy needs.

I’m pretty sure my nephew rode the Carousel, oh, ten times in the span of 2 hours. At one point while riding it with him he exclaimed, “THE CAROUSEL IS THE BEST!” with delight on his face. That boy loves the Carousel more than his Barbie – a newly acquired toy (thanks thrift store) that he insisted on disrobing while hanging out with us on our volunteer shift. I helped him undress it saying, “Well, I guess Barbie is a nudist.” He looked at me quizzically and asked in all seriousness, “What’s a nudist?” So I told him, “It’s a person who doesn’t like to wear clothes. Now go tell your mother that Barbie is a nudist.” And off he ran, first running into his dad where he held up naked Barbie and proclaimed, “BARBIE IS A NUDIST!” then off to his mom where he giggled the term again.

Hey, what are aunts for if not to teach their nephew terms like “nudist”. It was a teaching moment that I couldn’t pass up.

Finn & Dokey on the Carousel

Man, I love that kid. I can’t wait for Christmas morning and sharing in his insane delight in presents.

Mr. Darcy and I have agreed on a holiday tradition. Since we don’t have that many ornaments and want to start a collection of special ones, we decided we would make each other an ornament each year. I haven’t finished started his yet but the idea is ripe in my head. He made mine yesterday while I was out at yoga. This is what you get when you are living/loving/making a life with an artist.

Mr. Darcy to Ms. Sizzle: 2010 Ornament

How I will match that masterpiece, I have no idea. I do so love it though. And him.

Bonus gratuitous shot of my two favorite boys. I was booted from the seat next to Finn because he always wants Mr. D to sit with him. Awww.

Mr. Darcy & Finn have a man-talk on the Carousel.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

Supple, Mr. Darcy and I contributed to Neilochka’s 5th Annual Blogger Chrismalhijrahankwanzakah Concert (try typing that!) and it’s up today! Pop on over and see which song we sang, get yourself a big dose of holiday cheer and support all the other bloggers who risked on line embarrassment by performing.

Hint: The song title includes the name of something you might put in hot cocoa.

Every time I watch our video I crack up at Mr. Darcy’s part. He’s such a good sport. And once Supple got over a raging case of herpes the giggles, we managed to capture the song in under 6 takes.

A bonus video from Supple and I is slated to make its appearance here next week. Stay tuned!

Sing A Song

So it’s about that time for Neilochka’s annual Christmashanukwanzaakah holiday concert. In the years past I have teamed up with Greeblemonkey to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (a duet from Colorado and Washington was no small feat). I’ve sang “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” solo. I’ve paired up with my ex, The Fella, singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and with Neil himself doing his re-written version of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”. It’s all in fun and holiday merriment.

This year Supple and Mr. Darcy are getting in on the act but we can’t decide on a song so we’re putting it out to the internet for a vote. Please keep in mind that we’re more funny, campy and tongue in cheek than serious.

Holidays Up In Here

I managed to pack in some holiday cheer this weekend despite feeling like I am fighting off a cold.

I attended the Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest and got to see/kiss on the cheek the lovely Pantsless in Seattle (she was wearing pants though, actually cute stripped tights). Their group, The Carol Brunettes, were my favorite and that’s not just because I love her blog.

Our 1st Christmas Tree

Mr. Darcy and I got our first tree together. We managed to pick it out, cart it home and set it up with nary a disagreement. Poor Mr. Darcy did have to screw, unscrew, then rescrew to right our crooked tree but besides that, it was a breeze. Of course, true to the Jones Family Way, I had to rearrange the furniture to accommodate the tree. The new set up will do until we host Christmas Eve festivities at our home. We like to just sit and look at the tree all lit up. Fills me with Christmas warm & fuzzies.

We went to the South Park Art Under $100 sale in support of my sister and friends. Those of you who have been around a year might recall that I participated in this event last year selling my handmade felt pins. I opted out this year knowing that I did not have the time to make enough goods to sell. My sister slaved away and managed to sell most of her handmade books. Hurrah! While waiting in a very long line to get in, Mr. Darcy and Supple drank contraband beers and we sang along to the busker as he busted out “Sweet Caroline”. I ran into an old co-worker who happened to be with someone I had never met who a) almost had my sister as her wedding photographer and b) reads my blog (Hi!). It’s a small world.

I heard “It’s a marshmallow world that we’re living in…” song for the first time. How have I lived 37 years with no knowledge of this song? I mean the Rat Pack sings it! And how does my own mother know it and I don’t?

I went to book club where in we spent more time talking about our lives than the book (typical, not complaining). We read These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901 Arizona Territories by Nancy E. Turner. Despite that lengthy title it was a quick, engaging read. I also read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers and highly recommend it. The book is the story of the Zeitoun family’s experience of Hurricane Katrina.There was a lot I didn’t know went on during that time and it is appalling how people were treated. The parts about the dogs left behind broke my heart.

We helped my Mom decorate her tree with the family. They went out to a tree farm along with our adopted family member, Supple. Mr. Darcy and I opted to support a local non-profit with our tree purchase. I remember one time my family went to cut down our tree. My dad left the saw somewhere and we wasted a lot of time wandering around searching for it because we couldn’t leave without returning it. Finally my mom found one lying on the ground and regardless of if it was ours, took it so we could get the heck out of there. (Good thinking, Mom!)

I took yesterday off because all weekend I felt run down. On Sunday I slept from 10pm til 7:30am then fell asleep on the couch til 9:30am then got back in bed and slept until 10:30am. I briefly woke up to eat an egg sandwich then fell back to sleep til noon. I NEVER SLEEP THAT MUCH. I’ve been pushing extra vitamins, drinking lots of tea and juice, Zicam-ing and taking my “placebos” as Kaply calls them. If it helps me to believe I am getting better and that is merely the power of positive thinking “healing” me then so be it. I don’t want to be sick. Who has the time? I certainly don’t. Besides, I got a flu shot. I thought that meant that after the injection I was in an invisible fortress of health. WTF?

Next weekend is crafting and holiday baking and a nephew date.

Is it the weekend yet?

 

So That Happened

My sister, Dokey, and I were walking (somewhat illegally) down the street on our way to see Sufjan Stevens at The Paramount Saturday night. Part of the road was blocked off for construction so there was no sidewalk. We were headed in the same direction as the traffic and when the light changed a bus starts headed towards us so we picked up the pace. We were walk/running and I started to panic and Dokey was all “well hurry up!” and I laughed saying, “I feel like we’re in Stand By Me and I’m the fat kid and you’re Gordie.” I was SO Vern in that moment.

You kinda had to be there.

The show was good- definitely more a performance art piece and at points, a sensory overload but still, it was Sufjan which is a good thing in my book.

*****

We carved our first pumpkin together. And by we I mean Mr. Darcy carved it. I pulled out the guts and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Our First Pumpkin

*****

On the fly I decided to dress as Velma for the office Halloween party. I had the skirt and the shoes and glasses. Luckily I found the turtleneck and socks (which fell down all day long) at Goodwill on my way home from work the night before. I also scored a small ceramic dog which Mr. Darcy painted up with black spots and a collar to look more like a miniature Scooby.

Velma Dinkley of Scooby Doo

I am on the F.U.N. Team at work which means we plan parties and happy hours. We created a “haunted hallway” in the office with fake ghosts and spider webs and even a fog machine. Unfortunately with the door closed and curtains hung we were trapping the smoke in that area which set off the fire alarm FOR THE ENTIRE BUILDING. Everyone was forced to evacuate and wait for the firemen to come certify the building was safe for re-entry. Luckily it wasn’t raining but I’m pretty sure the rest of the agencies in the building weren’t too happy with us.

Oops.

****

Two months ago I balked at the idea of holding half-handstand for 60 seconds and yesterday I managed to hold it, entirely unassisted, for 30 seconds before caving. I have, please note, held plank and forearm plank for an entire minute during these past 60 days. When I stop and think about it, I am rather proud of myself. I hope someday to be able to hold half-handstand for a full minute. Maybe even someday do a full handstand.

I went ahead and invested in my very own high quality yoga mat and meditation bolster. I’m serious about my practice and now with my daily mediation, I want to create a welcoming space to devote myself to. I’ve taken to getting up earlier to do some yoga before settling down for my meditation every morning and am already starting to feel the benefits. It’s a peaceful way to start my day and I am grateful for it.

Weekending

My weekend looked like this:

I took my Mom to the airport (she went to CA to visit family) and her dog, Oliver, to the office with me for a few hours. I picked up Finn from school for an afternoon of hanging out. When arrived at 12:31 he said to me, “Tee Tee, what took you so long?” Kid, I am ONE MINUTE LATE. Sheesh. He also informed me that he had our day “all planned out” which included taking Oliver to the dog park so they could run around and I could watch. It was raining and we didn’t know where the dog park was but that idea was forgotten when we drove by a toy store. He got me to stop but he did not convince me to buy him a $17 plastic horse. I’ll give the kid credit, he’s got fierce negotiation skills but I am not that easy. We compromised on a $5 horse and some french fries. Then returned to my Mom’s house for PBS tv, games and pillow fights.

I was stuck in traffic driving home that night (Seattleites don’t know how to drive and it’s even worse when it rains which means IT SUCKS ALL THE TIME) so I called Mr. Darcy and had him order Indian food. Side note: whenever we order Indian food the delivery guy catches us in the middle of (cough) something (cough). I don’t know if it’s Indian food that makes us randy or a repeated fluke but it’s happened at least 3 times. Since I arrived home 5 minutes before the food did, this time he didn’t coitus interruptus us. And that’s all the details I will tell you about that. (HI MOM!)

Mr. Darcy went off on a nerd adventure with some of his guy friends to Portland Saturday which left me a free agent. I did what any free agent girl might do- met a friend for breakfast, got a pedicure, shopped at Target, took a two hour yoga workshop, and cleaned the apartment while watching chick flicks. I enjoyed it and our apartment is now super clean and organized. If you ever want inspiration for cleaning your home, watch Hoarders.

Sunday mornings are my time. Mr. Darcy sleeps in, I read, catch up on dvr’d shows, drink tea, maybe make myself muffins or pancakes or something yummy. I head to yoga at 10:30am and don’t return home until after 12:30 while Mr. Darcy sleeps and sleeps or drags himself to Noah’s Bagels (a personal weakness of his). I returned home from yoga yesterday to a very sweaty boyfriend who was vacuuming the building with our crappy vacuum (our good one needs repair). He not only vacuumed but he did the entire list of building chores while I was gone! AND he bought me a bouquet of dahlias at the farmer’s market. Um, I’m pretty sure I hit the boyfriend jackpot with this one.

How was your weekend?

Show Time

Thanks to One N Jen’s awesome ticket buying skills we had sixth row seats for the Ray LaMontagne & David Gray show on Sunday.

It looked a little something like this:

He always stands on the right side. Note to concert-goers: don't sit on the far right side if you want to actually see him.

David Gray: A Real Life Bobblehead

I’ve seen Ray LaMontagne before and while he’s quiet – he says “thank you” or “thank you very much” but that’s it, no musician banter or chit-chat with the audience- he pours his soul out through the songs. It was a boot stompin’, chair dancing, rockin’ set. Then David Gray came on with colored lights and a bassist with facial expressions that made me think that was what his “sexy time” face looked like and, well, that was all I could think about whenever I saw him fondling his bass. I was surprised how many David Gray songs I knew. I used to listen to his album White Ladder years ago. It took me back to a time when I was still in my 20’s and depressed. (Man, I’m glad I’m not in that place anymore.) David puts on a really great show- he’s got a ton of energy and really takes over the stage. And yes, he bops his head around like a real life bobblehead or a mix of Joe Cocker and Stevie Wonder.

There were two middle-aged ladies sitting in front of us who were clearly very into David Gray. One lady had her cell phone out the ENTIRE concert. She essentially experienced the show THROUGH the phone. She was calling some people and holding the phone up during a couple of songs. The real kicker though, the part I found fascinating, was that she took video of practically every song. BUT! She would still be swaying her side-to-side chair dance (only one rhythm for this lady) while holding the camera so her video was all wonky. Hell, half the time it wasn’t even aimed at the stage. She moved it around so much I’m pretty sure watching those videos back could be used as a torture device on her enemies. I get taking photos or videos during a show but there’s also a part of me that missing the time before such devices were common and readily available. Like when we went to a show and actually had lighters to hold up instead of the lighter app on our iPhone. Like when we didn’t have a distraction from the show itself- live tweeting it, photo documenting it, recording a garbled version of your favorite song. Are our memories totally digitalized now?

{End old lady rant.}

There’s always that one (or 10) person who has to yell out to the musician, isn’t there? Someone inevitably will cry out, “PLAY FREE BIRD!” Some will chuckle, others will roll their eyes. I don’t really get the yelling out because most of the time the musician can’t hear you or you are annoying other concert-goers. But I suppose people like to be involved. . . and some are just regular old loudmouths. It’s just that people usually yell out stupid stuff. I did that once. I was 13 and at a Richard Marx concert (oh yes, yes I was) at Great America. I mustered up courage and yelled out, “I LOVE YOU RICHARD!” And then he played “Hold Onto the Nights” and I probably got a little teary and swoony.

Look, I wasn’t always cool, okay?

Never a Dull Moment When He’s Around

Oops! I kind of got sidetracked by this guy visiting:

The One. The Only. The Infamous Tomato.

Please excuse my absence. It was a whirlwind of good times which included family dinners, a quick jaunt to Vancouver to see some of his friends, one of the best dinners I have had in a long time (The Boathouse in Vancouver is SO GOOD), a sudden thunder & lightning rainstorm, a ridiculous hotel pool, long chats on long drives, drinks and more drinks, an epic massage and Crowded House at Chateau Ste Michelle.

So yeah, I was kinda busy.

The Crowded House concert was awesome. Except for the people who decided to stand up and block our view. Especially the lady who was wearing cat ears like a headband on her head. That's just not a look that works for anyone.

Oh and most importantly (to me), my Mr. Darcy and my Tomato finally got to meet. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Darcy is officially approved by all my nearest and dearest. Like there ever was a moment of believing otherwise?¬† As if.

This could alternately be titled: Where to men meet and bond over bacon.

I’ll be back to regular posting tomorrow. We have voting for my business name on the horizon! (Did you think I forgot?)

Sister of My Heart

I first met her at the awkward age of 14 at Westmont High School. We had English class together. I would transfer to an all girls prep school while she stayed on to make friends with the boy who would eventually be my first boyfriend (the one and only Tomato). She has been an ever-present influence and presence in my life for over 23 years, if you can believe it.

Jenny Two Times, sister of my heart.

Yes, I am sticking out my tongue. And wearing a shirt I stole from her closet.

The last time she visited me we stood like we had countless nights in our past- waiting between acts, sipping a cocktail and people watching- at one of our favorite past times. Seeing live music. Martin Sexton to be exact. When Jenny got up and spoke at my good-bye party before I took my leap into a new life in Washington, she spoke out our connection, our sisterly bond, and how the thread that bound us through all those years was our mutual love and appreciation of music. And that night, on her last visit here, we made a list of all the shows we had seen together. Here’s a smattering:

  • Tori Amos (4 times)
  • Edie Brickell
  • Live
  • Pearl Jam
  • Liz Phair
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Blind Pilot
  • Martin Sexton (3 times)
  • Sara Bareilles (2 times)
  • Sweet Virginia
  • Vic Chestnut
  • Asylum Street Spankers
  • The Weepies
  • Stone Temple Pilots
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Arrested Development
  • Blind Melon
  • Neil Young
  • Counting Crows
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Peter Stuart
  • The Black Crowes
  • Howie Day
  • The Steve Miller Band
  • Morrissey
  • Garbage
  • Black Flag
  • Van Morrison
  • Social Distortion
  • Beastie Boys
  • Janes Addiction
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Poi Dog Pondering (3 times)

Can you tell we went to a lot of shows in the early 90s? We spent countless hours driving around, the windows rolled down, letting our worries be carried out by the wind, singing at the top of our lungs. No matter what we were going through- family dysfunction, heartbreak, teen angst or twenty-something growth spurts, we always had music and each other.

Sometimes a song will come blaring out my speakers and my first thought  is of Jenny Two Times. And I love that about her, about our friendship. She is that song that comforts me, lifts me up, makes me smile and dance and feel the most like myself.

Today is her birthday and we are not together so I am sending this one out to her.

Love you sisterfriend. So much. Happy Birthday!