Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.



This morning we woke up in my little brother's bed. Laying against each other while we watched the orange sunlight begin its rise over the frozen lake, I thought about how these small moments together seem to last forever. Drawn out, stretched and filled with happiness for their presence instead of the sad longing for more. 

Last night we drank eggnog with my family and watched the dogs romp around together while we waited for Daniel to come home. The night before we had our own little Christmas: We made a roast chicken and opened a bottle of red wine and exchanged gifts and laughed through all the Christmas episodes of The Office. And it feels like every new day or night we spend together becomes the new Best Ever. Which it is, for the simple reason that we're spending it together.  

While the rest of the house was still slumbering, we rose and dressed and I made coffee while you took Ella out. The acolyte lanterns at the end of the driveway were still lit, two small fires in the blue of the dawn, and I kissed you in the cold after I brought Dutch out. Coffee and rolls and then a drive through the forest, Ella's sweet, soft head buried into the crook of my shoulder as we got ready to say goodbye. 

It's late morning now. My family is watching a heartwarming, inspirational movie about a dog - and you know how I feel about animal movies - so instead I'm drinking coffee and catching up with friends online. Erica is in the airport, about to make her way from her new home in L.A. with her own Chris to her family's home in the woods of Minnesota. On her blog she posted a photo of a Starbucks drink atop a book, and I smiled a little as I thought about you, traveling the blacktop of 53 to your own families (plural) Christmas celebrations. On Thursday night we talked about making our own new traditions next year, ones of seasonal beverages and weekend getaways and commemorative mugs for hot chocolate crawls. And I already can't wait.

This is the merriest Christmas, I told myself this morning, as I felt your warm arms wrap around me as we stared out the window at the cold lake and frosted wood. And you are my favorite present, the Best Ever.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas starts now. Sorry if you're jealous.

A Very Magical Christmas Evening starts ANY MINUTE NOW with the arrival of Chris. The presents are wrapped, the eggnog has been made (and nicely packaged into a carton that I could conveniently buy at the store), the fire is going, Roger Whittaker is playing (Yes. I have subjected Chris to Roger Whittaker. He's coming to the Carter Clan Christmastime tomorrow night, and so I needed him to be prepared), and the cookies I burned earlier this afternoon are ready for eating.

MAGIC!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This is what awesome looks like.

A few weeks ago I was explaining to Chris why, even though I sometimes need it to walk properly, I don't like using my cane in public (the main reason being that I'm 32 and not, in fact, 80). Which usually means that if I have to go out, I'll just leave my cane in the car and grit my teeth and bear it (which of course my doctor totally loves and thinks is super great).

The next day, Chris went online and found this:

It's a Kraken cane! (aka, one that I would be totally okay stomping around with in public)



Yep. Feeling pretty lucky that I imprinted on someone so awesome, instead of a stupid baby like Jacob in Breaking Dawn...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stop it with the social media skeezebombs, biz kids.



Last week, I posted a Malcom Jamal Warning to businesses that were using the holiday's charitable spirit as a way to promote and market their business or product. This was originally set off by HealthPartners, which wanted their customers to "share" their image ad on their Facebook page. For 500 "shares", HealthParters would donate a $2,000 to Second Harvest.

Then, this morning, I woke up to an email from TCF, which can now be added to the list of skeezy holiday giving -

"This winter, TCF Bank has partnered with Toys for Tots to help ensure there will be gifts for needy children during the holiday season. We're pleased to share this opportunity with you—our customer—through our Facebook page. For every "like" we receive on Facebook, we will donate $1 towards Toys for Tots, up to a total of $5,000."

Really? You're gaining valuable metrics and data - and possibly new customers - through this social media scheme, but this and the spirit of giving is only worth "up to" $5,000? And you're not "sharing" this opportunity with your customers. You're using them to promote and market you.

I thought we all got wise to this thinly-veiled marketing ploy after companies tried to exploit people's sense of charity and goodwill after natural disasters (aka, the "RT this and we'll donate $1 to the Red Cross" Twitter bullshit after Haiti and Japan), but apparently some social media marketing teams are not hip to that game*. Here's a thought - maybe just give because it's the right thing to do? Maybe just post a Tweet or an FB update stating that you're donating the sum of ____ to ____, and you hope that others are inspired to do the same. Because the thing that you don't seem to realize is that viral messages often become viral because the call to spread them is unsolicited. Us thinking people...we tend to like doing things out of our own volition. And we tend to really like promoting things that were not solely created just for the intent of promotion.

Also, businesses of America, if you're going to be sleezy with social media, at least provide some rationale by going big with it. HealthPartners and TCF, you're both national companies and you're making your customers do all of your work for you in return for donating only $2,000-$5,000 to a charitable cause? Really? Go fuck yourselves. I know that some will say that "every bit counts" but in this case, nope. How about you go above and beyond what your legal team makes in a day and really inspire some action and attention? For a donation goal of 2 million, even I'll share your shitty image on my Facebook wall with my 700 Facebook friends.

So, c'mon, guys. 'Tis the season to stop being a skeezebomb. Stop exploiting the people who help build your profit margins and start acting right. Because unlike half the people who commented on your FB page that this was "such a great idea", I actually know how to find the "share" button on Facebook. And if there's anything I love using that "share" button for, it's to spread awareness on how not to be an asshole online.

Happy Holidays!

*Please consider firing them and hiring me in their stead.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Still looking for that perfect, personalized Christmas gift for someone special/not-so-special?

 Look no further, slacker.

This gift says everything you want it to say. It makes that person feel like, "Hey. This person really went all out for me." And, to save you both time and money, you could probably just order 20 of these and give one to everyone on your list, because each shirt will do the same job at making your giftee feel like you did something special for them by typing up some text and uploading it on a t-shirt.

Even though I did it.  Me. I made it.

But, if you feel guilty for copping out on your gifts, you can always change the type of shirt (make it American Apparel for those hipster friends of yours who do not trust a global economy. Make it red for your cousin who likes to stand out. I don't know your friends and family! I can't tell you what they would like. You were supposed to be thinking about this two months ago, remember?) to better fit the person you're giving it to. That's the beauty of Zazzle...you don't have to settle for what I think looks good. You don't have to settle for anything! That's why you're still shopping for Christmas gifts, right?

Right.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

While we're on the subject of words...

You know how sometimes certain words start to become layered with connotations and associations, to the point where you wish you could make up a new, fresh word for the act or thing? That's how I feel about "meditation." I feel like, when I use the word "meditation" around people who don't do it, it seems to immediately conjure up this image of a naked, long-haired, extremely-flexible yogi chanting to himself while the sun rises in the background. Or I feel like the word is overused so much that it's taken on this construct of something silly that flaky people do. Or, even on a good day, it just doesn't seem to adequately describe what an awesome, mind-blowing experience the practice can be. 

So I'm trying to come up with a different word for it, to use just for myself, that describes more of what it feels like to me. Soul-mining was one that I started using a little while ago... Because it feels like wonder, or sailing on an arctic sea, or doing soaring dives off a mountain cliff, or digging deep to find out who you really are...when no one's looking, when you're just quiet and alone and allowed to think. Just think. And then not think. It doesn't feel like sunrises or chanting or bells to me. And there's something really awesome about that, you know? That it's not the same for everyone, and that kind of the whole point of it is that you don't get it until you get it
 
Words. Because we can make them up and they can still be real, no matter what this guy says. 

Ice Lace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's go ahead and add "Yummy" to the list of words that I hate.

The already-cemented List of Words That I Hate  - 

1) Panties
Ah, the word choice of pedophiles and middle-aged women with bob haircuts. 

2) Nom nom nom
You may be awesome and you may even say this in a totally awesome, hilarious way, but it's already been ruined for you by one of the most annoying, bitchest people I've ever had the misfortune of following on Twitter. All she did was post updates on what she was eating followed by "Nom nom nom!". Correction: All she did was post updates like that, interspersed with ridiculous bitch-fests about stuff that everyone else would have just considered part of a normal day. "So pissed that I had to get up at 7 today. WHAT THE FUCK!" would be an example.

3) Poop
Examples: "Do you mind if I poop out tonight?" or "Just got home from work. Totally pooped from a long day." After working with little kids for ten years, I've become immune to this word as a descriptor for a bodily function (though, it must be said, I don't use it, because I happened to have graduated from elementary school and thus added other words to my vocabulary), but using this to describe an action or a feeling drives me crazy. I feel like only people who consider themselves "cutesy" use this word in this context. Which is ironic, because people who consider themselves cutesy very rarely ever are. Unless "cutesy" is another word for "super fucking annoying."

New addition to the list -

4) Yummy
It's just like...we're not three anymore, okay? And maybe I have a thing about people over-rhapsodizing about eating - okay, so I know I do, and I have for a long time, but I kind of feel like eating is something that's a private, primal experience and so it weirds me out when people make an overly big deal about doing it, or maybe it's just that the same type of people seem to do this and it tends to be super pretentious, annoying people who just can't be cool about stuff and let a meal happen without trying to make poetry out of it because they think it will make them look cultured and sophisticated. Anyway. People who use the word "yummy" also remind me of that girl in high school who used to carry around coloring books and crayons and who wore a lot of glitter and put her hair up in high, long ponytails because she thought it was adorable to be a 16 yr old girl who acts like she's 6. And so now, in order to break other people of this habit, whenever someone says "Yummy" in my presence, I mimic them in a super creepy, high-pitched voice and say it like, "Yyyyyummaaay! YYyyyyyyyyummaaaaayyyy!" so that they will then have that association and will want to stop using that word around me. This type of survival tactic has been successful in the past with words such as "delicious", which I once hated for much the same reason as "yummy" but then started to use it in a mocking context using my "I find debates about chaos theory to be endlessly fascinating" pretentious That's-Top-Drawer preppy voice, and now using that word is fun to me.

So that's my list. What words skeeve you out? You guys, I'm asking you about stuff! Opinions and thoughts and stuff! It's like a whole new world has opened up at Amber-Colored Life today...a world where you matter.

It will most likely change back to old times tomorrow, but today....

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Day 2! (Only about, oh, 12 days late, No big deal)

Yeah, I'm catching up. 

For Day 2, my Christmas song of the day is one of the cheesiest, most amazing Christmas songs ever produced by a pop band. And since there's no point in trying to rewrite gold, I'll just direct you to my original thoughts on the subject, as first seen here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Dudes.

"A long time ago in living rooms not too far away, the SWHS aired on CBS once…and never again. For those of you lucky enough to have missed that broadcast, a brief history lesson: SWHS depicts the saga of Han Solo trying to get his Wookiee companion, Chewbacca, back to his wife, father and son on their home planet Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day. This involves robed Wookiees gathering around a tree listening to Princess Leia sing, Bea Arthur slinging drinks in the cantina and Diahann Carroll seducing an aging Wookiee through a virtual reality headset.

Please join us for the craziest holiday celebration Minneapolis has to offer. Have your photo taken with costumed characters from the Star Wars universe and hear the letter of apology from credited SWHS writer Pat Proft! Enjoy dinner and drinks from Bryant Lake Bowl and watch Jefferson Starship sing into a glowing, hot pink…thing! Pick up the limited edition, Princess Leia themed “Rebel Wreath” poster by Clinton Lugert of THEY design! Bring an unwrapped toy donation and help us create a happy holiday season for the tots.
 
On Thursday, December 8th:
Bryant Lake Bowl
810 W Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
5:00P - Tickets available at Bryant Lake Bowl with unwrapped toy donation
7:00P (6:30P doors) - Screening 1
10:00P (9:30P doors) - Screening 2
PS - Don't bring your children thinking they will enjoy this...

And if that's not enough to convince you (BEA ARTHUR. SLINGING DRINKS), here's a little musical melody to get you in the mood:



So I guess what I'm saying is...I'm going to be there. And I want you to be there, too. If not for Toys For Tots, just come and be a big Star Wars nerd for one night. We can take pictures together...talk about our favorite Star Wars memories...debate whether people who are into having sex with other people in Chewbaca costumes are pervy or just really secure in their nerdery...and then debate whether or not the Princess Leia fantasy is tired or timeless...and just laugh and laugh and laugh...

So go. But go ahead and keep your "light saber" jokes at home, because I'm really, really, really tired of hearing them.

Yesssss.

"Brought you to the new Twilight movie...took you to your work for dinner...bought you a couple of scratch-offs and a US Weekly, then treated you to breakfast at Perkins... Ladies, welcome to Mr. Right."
 - Chris, expounding upon his date-planning charms. 

(They worked, in case you're wondering.)


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