Archive for December, 2004

Gone Crackers

HAPPY BOXING DAY! I am up in Maine for Christmas with my fabulous family, stuffing my face and playing with my new niece, the Cutest Baby in the Universe. Normally, you see, I wouldn’t make such statements but in this case it is entirely true. And for evidence I am posting pictures below. And for further evidence I would (if I were more technologically savvy) post scans of the Christmas cards my brother and his wife have received from their friends of their babies so you would have Something To Compare Her To. Although that might be kind of mean, making fun of other people’s babies.

Img_0158Exhibit A: Here is LS and me with Sack of Sugar. Note Her Cuteness of the Fat Cheeks curling her little chubby fingers around LS’s finger. I know these are kind of fuzzy but they are the ones I want to post.

Img_0160Exhibit B: Here is Sack of Sugar with me and my father. She is obviously displeased with her adoring public; check out the look of utter disdain. Despite this, Jane is the best behaved baby I think I’ve ever spent time with. She has not cried the whole time we’ve been here, and we are with her nearly 24/7. Perhaps it is because her older sister, Miss Anna-Bean, loves to SCREECH like a banshee at the top of her lungs, so Jane is like, whatever, I can handle a poopy diaper.

Img_0169Me kissing Anna kissing Jane. Anna LOVES Jane. Anna loves Jane SO MUCH that she wants to hug her unto death. And then take all the toys.

Img_0175Anna-Bean and Sack of Sugar. Oh my Lord. I cannot stand the cuteness one minute longer. Wait yes I can.

Img_0163Here is a view of the table set for Christmas dinner. Note the Christmas crackers, brought all the way from eeeng-lahnd for this special occasion. In fact there is a story behind these crackers, which almost didn’t make it over here. But before I tell it I will say that these crackers had COOL gifts inside, like shoe polishers and silver bookmarks and compact purse mirrors and such. Also, the funny paper hats (which you have to wear all through dinner) were made of lovely silver gilt foil.

The Story of the Christmas Crackers

Scene: INT: Heathrow. Airport security check. Chanelbaby pads through security in her stocking feet and begins to assemble her crap and put her smart brown boots back on.

Security Lady: Ma’am, can you step over here for me?

Me: Of course.  I am a compliant and law abiding citizen in a smart green velvet jacket.

Security Lady: Ma’am, do you have a corkscrew in this bag?

Me: No. I absolutely do not have a corkscrew in this bag. I’ve been on the gin for the last ten days.

The Professor:  I’m going to wait in the pub.

Security Lady: Well, they are telling me you do.

Me: How can that be?  I definitely do not have a corkscrew in this bag.

Security Lady: Do you mind if I search your bag?

Me: Of course not.  Please go right ahead.  I am a compliant and law abiding citizen in a smart green velvet jacket.

Security Lady: [pulling out two boxes of Boots Luxury Christmas Crackers]  Ah HA.  I’ll bet there are corkscrews in these Christmas crackers. [flips box over to look at pictures of prizes, not forgetting the HAT and the MOTTO]  Yes.  I see clearly that one of the prizes is a corkscrew.  You cannot take these with you on the plane.

Me: WHAT? WHAT?  These are for my family!  I have to take them!

Security Lady: I am sorry ma’am, we cannot allow you to take these crackers on the plane.

Me: [no longer a compliant citizen] But I paid 18 pounds for these crackers!  I must take these crackers.  DO YOU KNOW THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE?  That is like…….THIRTY SIX DOLLARS.

Security Lady: [huge sigh] Okay crazy lady.  We will RUN THEM THROUGH SECURITY AGAIN and pick out the crackers with corkscrews in them.

Security Dude: [pointing at monitor]  There it is.  The second from the left.

Security Lady: [ripping open the box and ruining the Luxury Silver Foil] Here is the corkscrew.  Oh wait no this is a pen.

Me: Please be careful with the Luxury Silver Foil.

Security Lady: [glaring] We have to run these through again.

Security Dude: Oh how silly of me.  The corkscrew is in the third cracker from the left.


Security Lady: Thank you ma’am.  Have a nice flight!

The Professor: [waiting in pub, drinking cider]  Where have you been woman?

Me: I need a gin and tonic.


I’ll post more pictures later. I only have dial-up here and it is taking about 10 minutes for each picture to upload. And I am typing this in the front upstairs bedroom so it is VERY COLD. My nose is freezing.

But I can see the sea, and the waves, and the rocks I played on as a child. I am surrounded by where I came from.


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Listen up people. I love Christmas. I’m serious. I love it all — the food, the decorations, the lights, the Christmas music, the shopping, the lobbies of posh hotels decked out with garlands where I go to have drinks and fantasize that someone will propose to me in just such a setting one day, the whole notion of ADVENT, the smell of evergreen, and let us not forget the PRESENTS. Probably my favourite part of the whole Christmas season is buying and putting up a real tree. I love the way real Christmas trees smell, and I spend hours gazing at the little white lights and tiny hot pink ornaments from my bed instead of going to sleep. I will never understand people (THE PROFESSOR) who purchase fake trees and reuse them year after year. How can you get into the Christmas spirit when you are removing chunks of your fake tree and clicking them together? And fake trees that look like real trees are the WORST. If you are going to get a fake tree folks, get one made of hot pink fur. Be obvious with the fake-ness. I mean for heaven’s sake. Push the envelope.

Okay so back to my current drunk tree situation. Ever since I purchased and moved into my hinged matchbox of a studio apartment two years ago, I have bought small table top trees due to lack of space. Table top trees fit nicely into big vases, which can be steadied by the addition of a smart red lacquer tray and placed on a chair. Voila. Beautiful fragrant little tree at eye height swathed in lights and hot pink ornaments. But this year I bought a slightly larger small tree. This small tree is actually about 4 1/2 feet tall. It is really too big to rest in a stable fashion in the tall silver vase I usually use for such purposes.

After spending two days with this larger small tree precariously balanced in the tall silver vase, propped against the wall, still in its plastic honeycomb condom, and miserably unlit and unadorned, I had a brainwave. Which is to say a wave of an idea crashed upon my cranium, not that I actually came up with a solution.

I put the tree in a heavy square glass vase filled with those coloured glass pebbles you get from Pottery Barn. This vase is shallower, so the tree isn’t balanced on the uneven plane of its bottom branches. However, I only had enough coloured glass pebbles to fill an inch of the bottom of this vase, which meant the tree trunk was still entirely unstable. Faced with this new problem, I began hunting around for waterproof objects to shove into the vase to steady the tree trunk. And hunting around in my kitchen of course produced a number of empty bottles of booze in all shapes and sizes. I found a small empty bottle of Absolut Mandarin that seemed the perfect size. Well, it was, but this clever idea only worked to steady one corner. I tried a bottle of soy sauce, all other booze bottles being waaaay too large. Didn’t fit. I tried some glass votives. Didn’t fit. I thought briefly of frozen rolls and abandoned that idea.

Finally I found some bubble wrap. I began squishing it into the open spaces in the vase. Water and needles went everywhere. The tree listed to starboard. I crammed more bubble wrap against the starboard side. The tree listed to port and slopped more water onto the floor. I cut out more bubble wrap and added it to the port side. The tree, clearly drunk on vodka fumes, refused to stand up straight. At one point, I did manage to get some semblance of plum, but then when I’d turn my back to put away the scissors or get out the hot pink ornaments, the damn tree would have snuck another swig of whisky and happily returned to its tilted position at the bar.

For THREE HOURS now I’ve tried to steady this tree with the right configuration of bubble-wrap-coloured-pebbles-and-vodka-bottle. I’ve finally given up. I even dressed the little fucker with white lights, strings of glittery gold stars, and long thin hot pink candles. Those keep falling off the drunker my tree gets.

I know I know some of you are thinking, why doesn’t she just drive to Target and buy a damn tree stand like the rest of the civilised world? Well, dahlings, there are two reasons that I don’t do that: one, I don’t have a car, and two, where the hell would I store the damn thing in this tiny postage stamp of an apartment the rest of the year? I only have one closet.

For those of you reading this and choking, I repeat: I ONLY HAVE ONE CLOSET.

But before this post morphs from a rant about my drunken Christmas tree to a rant about how small my apartment is — I love it really, because it is MINE, and did I mention I painted the kitchen pink? — I must go to bed. I don’t know why I always post at 2 in the morning when I have a full time job to hold down, but somehow I always do.

Wait, I need another gin.

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