Archive for December, 2010

The Best Christmas Gifts I Never Got

Over the years, my parents, in other words my Mom has gotten weirder and more random in her Christmas gift giving in order to give me things that I will actually like. Last year it was workout clothes, I think this was more a subtle hint than a gift, but I love that she really does try! My brother on the other hand gave me a card filled with tips on living and gift cards to various restaurants, some of which still haven’t been used. Work gave me money, boyfriends gave me nothing…since I don’t have any, and I gave myself shoes. I don’t remember what shoes exactly, but I am sure I gave myself shoes, I always give myself shoes! So this year, a year when I bought the Barbie Dream Townhouse and sold it off for some extra moolah, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and catalog “The Best Gifts I Never Got”. These are the gifts I wanted to find under the Christmas tree every year, and never found, and now, they will forever be known as the Christmas gifts that got away!

– Numero Uno: Umbrella Set from the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Okay, no, I am not old enough to remember when people called Sears “Sears & Roebuck” but I do remember when Sears had a catalog, and in this catalog they had this dark pink umbrella set with white polka dots matching gloves and some sort of hairbrush I believe, but it was the umbrella I remember. Complete with frills on the edges, I think it was more of a parasol, but whatever it was I wanted it. Year after year, I would flip through the Sears catalog and there it would be, unchanged, and I would wish that umbrella set would be waiting for me when I opened my gifts.

– Numero Dos: Dooney & Bourke purse. Eventually, when I was about to enter my very important sixth grade year I got a Dooney & Bourke bag, it was my first really special, non-plastic handbag and I loved it. But for years before that what I wanted more than any other purse in the world was this Dooney & Bourke “all weather leather” purse where the Dooney & Bourke logo of a duck was literally used as the front flap of the purse! The front flap, and so the duck, were SOOO big, they probably could have put a little notice on the tag “duck shown in actual size”.

– Numero tres: Corning Ware mini tea set. Growing up, I was a child whose light bulb was permanently “off”. I believed I lived in or around Washington State because Jamie said so and the news always talked about “Washington (D.C.)”; I also didn’t realize dishes came in sets where everything had the same design until I spotted the tea set one day in a Corning Ware outlet store. Spending what felt like my entire life at the time in Corning Ware outlets, when I spotted this tea set it was like the heavens opened, angels from on high sang, and everything became clear. This was it. This was the toy to make all other toys obsolete. This tea set with matching plates and saucers and cups was everything I needed to give Barbie, that multi-talented doctor/rocker/princess Bitch a run for her money!

– Numero quatro: Shoes like Mary. It was the day of my cousin’s wedding and my cousin Mary and I were flower girls. My Dad totted me over to Mary’s house and when Mary’s mom saw my shoes and I think she realized they were just not wedding appropriate, so she offered to let me wear some of Mary’s shoes, and oh how I wanted to. Just one glance at Mary’s shoes told me everything I needed to know, that they were better than mine. Mine looked like some midgetized version of old men’s shoes. They were the Dexter’s of the post-toddler/pre-first grade set. They were from Stride Rite and they were the only shoes Stride Rite had to accommodate my stupid wide feet. They were black or dark blue, they had laces, they were sturdy, they were well made, and they were ugly. Mary’s on the other hand were shiny and black, they were in my little mind the kid version of Manolos. Unfortunately, heartbreakingly, my Dad wouldn’t allow me to change out of my shoes and into Mary’s. I was forced to wear those atrocities on my feet to a wedding where everyone would comment on my brother looking “soooo handsome and soooo cute” in his Bible boy tuxedo and Mary and I in our peach dresses with green sashes didn’t get one compliment. We were cute dammit! I blamed the shoes. I really wanted shoes like Mary’s for Christmas, I spent nights thinking about those shoes, I wanted those shoes, and they are the shoes that got away!

– Numero cinco: Socks like Margaret’s. If you’ve gone to a smallish church school then you know that getting new classmates isn’t a regular occurrence, but one year when I was in elementary school there was a new student and her name was Margaret. I don’t remember how Margaret and I became friends, all I remember was that Margaret’s Dad drove a VW Beetle, and my Dad drove a beat up old truck and we were both old enough to be sufficiently embarrassed by our parent’s “ride”! LOL! I also remember Margaret had these awesome socks. These weren’t any old regular socks, nope; they were knee socks with ties at the top part of the socks with these poof balls hanging at the end of each side of the tie. I wanted those socks, I COVETED THOSE SOCKS. I don’t think I ever even told my parents about these magical and wonderful socks, but gosh did I hope they would somehow see some just like that and think they were as perfect as I did and buy me a pair. A couple of years ago I got some socks from GAP with poofs on the back of the socks, they just weren’t the same, after all they weren’t exactly like Margaret’s!

So this year, when I open my gifts, I will open them knowing there is no Sears Umbrella Set, no Dooney & Bourke purse complete with logo that could be seen from space, no Corning Ware mini tea set, no black shiny shoes like Mary’s, or no socks like Margaret’s…but a girl can always hope!

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Hell is a Place on Earth

If Belinda Carlisle is right and heaven is a place on earth, well then so is hell, and I found its location on Sunday. In Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series Mt. Olympus, the home of the Greek Pantheon of Gods, is this ever moving cloud dwelling paradise. Mt. Olympus moves around resting over the earthly city that is the home of the most modern thinking, in this case New York City. Likewise, hell, in my opinion, moves around coming to rest on the place where humiliation meets romantic comedy like missteps.

On Sunday I went to the wedding of a couple of friends. My brother was a groomsmen, my parents were being obsequious hangers on, you know sitting up close near the family going to all the pre-wedding family events, and I was sitting with a couple of friends safely surrounded by people that didn’t know me or knew me well enough not to ask “so, when is it going to be your turn” like this whole marriage thing was as non-committal as waiting in line for 2 hours for the newest rollercoaster at Six Flags and then backing out at the end. So a ton of sports analogies by the Pastor, candle lightings, and endless sand pourings later the wedding ceremony was done and hell, aka the Wedding Reception, was about to commence.

Arriving at the wedding reception I collected my name card from the table and made my way into the ballroom looking for my table, table 17. Before this day, I liked the number 17, actually, in reality I had no real opinions about the number 17, it was an okay number, nothing special, but not bad either…and then it happened…I spotted my friends at the table! Yay! Good deal, even though it was a wedding with assigned seating, I was seated with friends…awesome! Making my way over I found a seat and then I looked around; one, two, three, four single women at one table…hold the phone what was happening here, I love my friends but, what was this table all about? Sitting down my friend leaned over and said “we are the SINGLE table”. Then it all became glaringly obvious. All us single gals were seated together. As if the bouquet throwing, and “when is your turn” questions weren’t humiliation enough, we were now the girls at the single table. I HATE THE NUMBER 17!

Let me just tell you, the perpetually dating, the long married, the guy who will never get asked “when’s it your turn”, you the person that has never had the misfortune of sitting at the single table, it is just like you see in those romantic comedy movies where the protagonist is just sitting there at a wedding reception thinking “just fucking shoot me”. There is no charming stranger that sweeps you off your feet or makes the seating arrangement seem providential. Instead, there is niggling thought in your brain about “what were they thinking when they put us all together?! Were they trying to be nice, am I being overly sensitive or is this just a little bit fucked up?!” Of course, all of this would have been bearable if our singleness wasn’t pointed out, and highlighted as the reason behind the migrant wonderings of single male friends.

Singleness in your 30’s is not very often observed in the wild human population, especially the wedding going human population, because usually singletons as Bridget Jones would call them, just know better, or at least you would THINK they know better. Sitting at our table was another girl who was holding on tightly to the arm of her boyfriend while simultaneously trying to eat samosas and drink water, it was actually a pretty impressive feat. Then, in a moment of WTF she started the inquisition. Looking to my far left she started her inquest, like so:

– “Mai, are you single?” – Mai said “Yes”. Like the CIA’s star pupil she moved to the next table occupant…

– “Rebecca, are you single?” – Rebecca said “Yes”…two down…two to go!

– “Rhiann, are you single?” – Rhiann said “Yes”. Then, this admittance wasn’t enough she went onto probe Rhiann by asking “How long have you been single?! Why are you single?!!!!” After Rhiann didn’t answer the rapid fire questions, and I don’t think she could due to the glassy eyed look about her eyes the mirrored Mai’s and Rebecc’s over this line of questioning, she moved onto me.

– Looking at me she says, “I don’t know your name, are you single?” I answered, “My name is K, and to answer your question, yes I am single, I think everyone at this table with the exception of you…is single”.

– She responds with “My name is Jen and I was telling so and so (I forgot her boyfriend’s name) that all the guys are coming over to this table because they know you this is the table with the single girls, they know you girls are single”

OMG! Did she actually say this?! This girl who knew Rebecca, Mai, and Rhiann? Did she just put the wondering bys of our male friends on the fact that we are single, and not the fact that we were the table closest to the freaking buffet line?! I soon found out from Rebecca and Rhiann that this bitch had been dating her boyfriend for 1.5 months. That is seriously like the equivalent of a the blink of an eye IN HUMAN YEARS, and here she is talking like the wedding bells are about to toll for her and about the rest of us “SINGLE GALS” GAG ME WITH A SPOON!!!! I was sooo pissed! Shouldn’t she, being our age, and not married know better than to ask be this stupid about her question asking and observation making?!

Assigned wedding seating is like pre-assigned teams in gym class. No one is the last kid picked for the team, but then again you have to wonder if the teacher was just being sadistic putting the “team” together they way they did. All of us girls at the table were just bowled over that we were at the “single” table! It was awful…I am serious…and for that girl to point it out like she was sitting pretty with an engagement ring on her finger was just salt in the wound, I tell you! SALT IN THE WOUND!

The one good thing about our table was that we were three feet from the exit, so we literally put down our dinner forks, put on our coats and were out the door! LOL! No lollygagging for people to call “all the single ladies up to catch the bouquet”. Nope. I have had enough of that nonsense to last me a lifetime! Anyway, I was pretty much uncool with that whole situation and how it played out! I mean really, there was no point to me doing my makeup and hair and wearing 4.5 inch heels and tromping around in the rain! To make everything worse, I was wearing this dress that poked me!! It was this cute dress made by some French company that I picked up from Anthropologie and it had what can only be described as “boning” in the bodice area in the way of thick plastic that poked its way out of the fabric and poked me the whole evening while the top of the dress slipped down making a cute, “could be worn to church” dress into something salacious! Seriously, it was not my evening! Hell really is a place on earth!

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‘Tis the Season for Bad Movies and Unexpected Lessons

…So in case you missed it…it’s the Holiday Season! Yay, fanfare, fanfare…okay, yeah I am really not that excited about it. I am, at least in my mind, a professional shopper. So this means that I don’t look at the long lines, overcrowded stores, and picked over shelves and think “wow, this vibrant commerce is merry and fun to be a part of!” Instead, I groan at the thought of having to park the length of three football fields away from the mall entrance, only to have to walk the length of three more football fields just to get to the store I am trying to shop at. Of course in my race to make it in and out of the overcrowded stores and malls as fast as possible I inevitably get stuck behind some chick tarted up like they are going to the club teetering around on 4.5 inch heels in a mall the size of LAX blocking people trying to get by as she perilously sways from one unbalanced heel to the next. This is my holiday experience. Ooh, and of course I forgot to mention the ESL (English as a Second Language) shopper that OF COURSE decides to sign up for a store credit card for that extra 10% off who needs to call their friend, who is of course in the fitting room, up to the register to translate the credit application questions while a queue of line dwellers gets frustrated behind them.

In an attempt to escape the crowds I have turned to movies and Netflix. I recently saw the Tourist…and hello Golden Globe nominating people…the fact that you actually nominated that movie for anything proves to me that you are totally full of the stuff Baby Jesus left in his dirty diapers. I saw that mess this weekend and it was really a suspenseful movie for me…I KEPT WAITING FOR SOMETHING…ANYTHING…to happen. Then the movie was over and nothing had happened. It was amazing it was a whole movie of Angelina Jolie swanning around looking like she was sucking on a lemon, weirdness. This latest movie picking fiasco lead me to review my movie watching choices for the year, and I have to say it’s been a year of stinkers, but nothing so far, even The Tourist, sucked quite as much as Legion.

Aside from being craptacular Legion and The Tourist shared another bond, they both had Paul Bettany in them, but that has nothing to do with anything so let’s move along. The whole story of Legion (spoiler alert) is that God has lost faith in humanity and charges his Angels’ Gabriel and Michael to go out on this cleansing of the earth that made Noah’s flood look like whiny people crying over a large puddle. I mean it was just craziness, humans turning into zombies at God and Gabriel’s direction killing people and most importantly trying to kill an unborn baby carried by a smoking unwed mother who waits tables up in the high desert. Apparently the baby she carried would help save humanity so the Hounds of Heaven (not Hell) were unleashed to kill the baby. All of those Surgeon General and rabies warnings aside, please note the lynchpin of this plot, God lost faith in humanity thus bringing about some sort of apocalypse…he was just going to end humanity.

So let’s back up here for a moment. The movie never said anything about Jesus not being born, so I have to assume that humanity has been celebrating Christmas like usual. Which makes this movie even more ludicrous. I mean the craziness of the movie plot and the rationality I looked at it with just made the “horror” of it all even more horrible. It was a stupid movie! There was no “what if that actually happened” or “that could happen” etc, and once you take away the fear out of a horror you just have nonsense, and really I have shopping to thank for debunking this stupid horror movie. Yes, that’s right…I said SHOPPING.

When I go shopping, there is nothing more secure than a liberal return policy. I have said it before and I will say it again, shopping at stores without a return policy is ludicrous! This being the case when I shop at a store where I am stuck with crappy merchandise credit if I return something or once I hand over the money for the item it’s mine until death or donation to Goodwill parts us…I am pretty darn sure about that item. I mean come on; there is no return policy! There are no take backs! I paid the money, swiped the card, it’s a done deal! So if I am this crazy about a $12.99 shirt from Forever 21, would God really go all “GOD BC (Before Christ)” on humanity and just wipeout humanity?! No way! Not if he is rational about killing billions of people like I am about shopping at store with bad return policies.

God has one kiddo, just one, and he let that kid DIE in order to save humanity, this being the case…I don’t think there is much that humanity could do that would piss God off enough to wipe us out. It just doesn’t make sense. If you have one kid and you let your kid go off and be killed for something, you have pretty much made your choice about the whole deal. You are staying the preset course no matter how tempting mass annihilation is. There are no returns and or “I changed my mind, I am switching horses mid-river” excuses once you allow your kid to be killed for something, there is no way you, if you were God, would wipe out all the good your kid did by dying because you were tired of humanity’s crap. God had to be pretty sure about humanity before he “purchased” it without much in the way of a receipt or a return policy! I took one hour to decide if I wanted to commit to a Coach handbag with a small stain that made it unreturnable…how much more sure would God have had to be about humanity?! I mean the whole Jesus being born/crucifixion story isn’t exactly the stuff romantic comedies are made of!

So there are the lessons to be learned here. One, I should stick to the malls, I have to think less when I am there than when I watch movies with weird Legion like plots, two shopping teaches life lessons, and three never, ever pick another movie with less than a two star rating!

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An Ode To My Purse: A Tale of COACH Leatherware, Crazy Craigslisters, & Depreciating Purse Values

Back in the not so roaring year of 2008 when President Bush part deux was still in office and house prices were falling like a skydiver with no parachute, I went out and bought a brand spanking new COACH Purse. I don’t know what it was about this particular purse that called to me, it wasn’t necessity that lured me into the store, I have a closet full of purses…it was just one of those things I will never be able to explain. Maybe I was seduced by the spotlights in the store shining down on the antiqued bronze hardware and the sales lady’s exotic overuse of the word “amethyst” in reference to the soon-to-be-mine purple handbag. Over maybe it was that the fact that the sales people went on to tell me about the removable adjustable shoulder strap, the special COACH Legacy Stripe lining, the zippered interior pocket, multifunction open pockets, and the signature turnlock closure on the front pocket. I don’t know what it was, but I was DROOLING! Then the sales people followed this hard sell up with a quick mention of Garcia leather, limited edition, and use of the word satchel. I mean I wasn’t just buying a purse I was buying a satchel, and a lifestyle! I mean really…how can you say no to a satchel?! In my mind I really was one step away from having a horse, jodhpurs, and riding around on the English countryside before returning to my manor house.

Well, fast-forward two years to 2010, and the dream is dead. The satchel is now just a purse and I currently have dental floss, a beat up wallet, and four different kinds of lip balm/gloss/lipstick rolling around on the Legacy Stripe lining. The reality of the purse is that it’s a chore and a half! Why didn’t I notice this when I was so busy convincing myself an amethyst purse was a must in my closet?! The purse weighs as much as a newborn when it’s empty! That doesn’t even include my usual assortment of sunglasses, store loyalty cards, and folded up pieces of printer paper with notes on them. Worse than it’s overfed Cabbage Patch weight, due to its gargantuan size I am constantly knocking stuff off displays in stores! Finally the worst of the worse the purse looks very fuddy duddy when used with the removable shoulder strap. The purse doesn’t quite fit on my shoulder with the smaller straps so it’s constantly falling down my upper arm to my elbow, or further, before I have to heft it back up onto my shoulder to try again. So what I ended up with was this awkward thing hanging on my arm at my elbow joint like purple blob. My purse, aka albatross, from hell was made to go out and see other purses and be seen by other people and purses, but I seriously think it’s giving me back issues! I was totally disillusioned! This purple purse problem was getting out of hand!

The easiest solution to the problem is to stop using the purse, but it is practically brand new. You don’t stop using a practically new, season appropriate, purse mid-season. That is practically sacrilegious, so that forced me to think of another practical solution to this purse problem…SELL IT ON CRAIGSLIST!!! Putting anything out there to be sold on Craigslist is kind of a nerve wracking experience for me. There is something about my Craigslist ads that attract the crazies and delusional people in the Craigslist world, and when I posted my purse, karma sure didn’t disappoint me! I got an e-mail from a “very interested buyer” who wanted to trade me a couple dollars in cash and a “like new condition” COACH signature handbag for my gorgeous, plush, beautiful amethyst COACH Legacy handbag (see how quickly my opinion of the albatross changed when faced with a potential trade?!) At first glance, this deal wasn’t horrible, I mean I really didn’t want another handbag, least of all a used handbag, but I was willing to take a peek and consider it! And five seconds after opening the follow up e-mail with the pictures of the purse up for trade I was ready to decline the offer. I don’t know why she thought I would be tempted by a very ho hum purse that is missing the shoulder strap!!! This is like the used car equivalent of telling someone the car is in “showroom quality”…if show room quality means a car missing all four tires! This whole thing was getting to be more effort than it was worth! It was time to but the purple problem in its dust bag and bury it in the bottom of my closet and forget about it, but how does a person ignore a $750+ purse?!

See, this is the true reason I was holding onto the purse like a dog with a bone, the $750 price tag. I read this article about how Sex & The City totally skewed women’s perception of “what’s affordable”. Basically the article talked about how these beautiful amazing designer pieces were shown to us week after week on these beautiful people living in gorgeous apartments and somewhere along the way we forgot it was all make believe…and maybe that is what happened with me and this purse. Granted I didn’t pay $750, I have my sneaky sales people ass kissing, coupon wielding ways, but still it wasn’t a “designer” original purchased from Ross for $19.99. Sure it’s just COACH, it’s not a Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton but the common sense part of me was balking at the fact that a purse used for a solid 7 months wasn’t even worth $160 on the open Craigslist market. I have been reading a lot recently about financial fitness and making wise consumer decisions, why the hell isn’t there a huge “DON’T BUY OVERRPICED PURPLE PURSES” on any of these lists?! Okay, maybe that one was self-explanatory, but still! Considering the cost of these handbags why isn’t there are public outcry on the depreciation of handbags?! Why is no one complaining that purses like mine, which trust me is on the cheap end of the purse market, is worth less than 20% of what I paid for it?! Someone should probably come up with one of those financial calculators that estimate “how much house can you afford or how much car can you afford” for purses. You could put in your income, your shoe buying habits, and where you buy most of your clothes, and how you pay for it and it will spit out “how much purse” you can afford!

So here I am, with my purple purse, hoping someone makes a semi-decent offer on it, but I am not hopeful. Mostly I am just getting people who are asking me questions like “Is this an authentic COACH purse?” and “Is this a made for outlet purse” or “What kind of condition is the purse in?” even though the title for my ad says “Authentic COACH Legacy Amethyst Purse! Not an Outlet Purse! Great Condition!”

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