Tag Archives: postaday2011

The Newsletter for Superhumans

4 Jan

This could be you.

I’ve written a draft post every day and haven’t let myself hit the ‘publish’ button.  That’s how hard a habit dies, folks.

Welcome to The Jackie Blog 2012, where I won’t be posting every day like I did in 2011.  Instead, I’ll post once a week on Wednesday in a considerate attempt to help distract you from the ghoulish terror that probably is your work week and to encourage you to log questionable web addresses in your browser, thereby causing suspicion in your corporate entities and getting you all fired. Then, when we’re all jobless and happy, we can form an elite group of superhumans and I can use this blog as our newsletter.

Too much?

Well anyway, I’m going to be posting every week this year. That leaves me with 6 more days to sleep and play video games and leaves you with 6 less emails in your inbox.  If you subscribe.  Do you subscribe? You totally should.  Every time someone clicks the “yeah sure” on the top right side of this page, a baby angel learns to fly.  Granted, I got quite a few followers in 2011 and I’m so thankful for each and every one of you.  You’ve raised a fleet of baby angels that shall someday do our bidding when we form our elite group of superhumans.  But I also know there are gremlins in the woodwork who didn’t want to be spammed with my brain splatters every day and instead chose to stop in on occasion.  If you’re a gremlin, you should subscribe.  Out with you!

Also, I made a Facebook page in 2011.  And I got a Twitter account.  And I had this header image designed.   Listen, a lot happened last year that I’m still sleeping off.  So take your time, browse my brain goop, and reap the beautiful, chaotic bounty I sowed for you in 2011.  Oh, and for those of you who keep asking: yes, I’ll be doing Lollipop Tuesdays in 2012.  But they’ll be more like a surprise Tuesday post than an every Tuesday post. Less pressure, less emails, less running all over the country, putting on costumes, doing questionable things, and sprinting to a computer to write about it.

So there we are: look forward to 2012, revel in the treasures of 2011. Facebook, Twitter, Email Subscription, and 365 posts.  There’s fun for everyone.

See ya next Wednesday. 

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The Final Post: A Postaday 2011 Conclusion

31 Dec

I don't get to cross an actual finish line, but I can stare at this and pretend.

This is my 365th post in a row and the final in my postaday2011 challenge.

When I started a 365 project, I started writing this blog  because I didn’t know what else to do.  I had a blog back in 2004 that I infrequently updated for a few years and thought I could take it out and dust it off to see what came of it.  I wanted to know how it would feel to dedicate myself to a journaled, daily experience every day for an entire year.

The answer is that it’s pretty mind-blowing.  At the risk of sounding life a Lifetime television special, I’d certainly say I learned a lot about myself and my process for achieving something that doesn’t have room for small failures.  You either post every day, or you don’t. There’s no room for anything in between: no ideas to write about, people to see, things to do, sleep to catch up on, a project due… the list of obstacles go on but they’re simply that – obstacles.  In the end, it’s as easy as answering the question of whether you did what you set out to do or not.

This is a powerful concept for me.  I suppose that’s silly since our lives are littered with tiny advertising mantras (e.g. No Excuses, Just Do It).  But repeating a few small words to yourself and actually carrying them out are drastically different things.  I learn by doing, and so now I have truly learned.

I know this is powerful because for the past 5 weeks, I have been carrying out the Couch to 5K running program.  Five weeks ago I decided that I would apply the same concept to running as I applied to my blog.  As a natural-born couch potato, I couldn’t imagine me following through on my most hated activity: running. But this morning I ran for 20 minutes straight and graduated to the 6th week of the 9-week program.   It’s incredibly close to being a success story.

The idea that I can look back on 2011 and know that I have documented every day, accomplished the goal of breaking out of my shell and trying new things with my Lollipop Tuesday series, and have become a better writer by forcing myself to write and post it on a public forum every single day of the year is awesome.  I have never completed a New Year’s Resolution before and it feels incredible to have documented proof of achieving my goal this year.

I would encourage everyone to attempt a 365 Project for 2012.  You can do anything, but make it daily and document it somehow.  Take a picture, draw something, cook something, write something, go somewhere, create  something, exercise, try a new food – no goal is too big or too small.  No matter what you choose, you’ll be better at it and be so much more knowledgeable after 365 days of practice and next year at this time you can look back and know that you bettered yourself as a person and grew in whichever area you chose.  You can assure that you don’t sleep through another year with the same old drudgery.  You can point to something very concrete and say you did it.  You learned, you grew, you conquered.

So what will you make 2012 about?  I made 2011 about being a better writer and being more openminded.  It was difficult.  There were days I didn’t want to post, days I had a thousand things to do, days I was embarrassed of what I had to offer but had no other choice to offer it, and days that I hated myself for doing something so public and grandiose.  This isn’t about a New Year’s Resolution.  This is about a 365 Project. It’s about discipline and dedication.  It’s about putting your year to good use and remembering to take time for a passion.

Thank you all so very much for joining me on my journey.  I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support I had along the way from people I’ve never even met.  I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read, especially on the days that were less than inspired.

Who knows? I might miss posting tomorrow and not be able to resist the urge.  Or I might stick to my guns and reduce my posts to once a week. At any rate, it’s been one heck of a ride and I’m so grateful that you took it with me.

Thank you all and Happy New Year.  May we all put it to most excellent use. 

The Best Macaroni and Cheese in the World

30 Dec

“The time has come”, the walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes-and ships-and sealing wax–of cabbages–and kings–“

and the best macaroni and cheese in the world.

It took me a few months, several pounds of macaroni, and a lot of money in cheese, but I have finally found a macaroni so wonderfully delicious that I shall deem it the best macaroni and cheese in the entire world.  

Technically, it’s the best macaroni and cheese recipe that was submitted to my Great Macaroni and Cheese Adventure post and it’s completely subjective to Dave’s and my taste.  But since we can only make conclusions from the evidence presented to us thus far in life and because I have not found a better recipe in my entire life, I can confidently conclude that there is no better dish to be served in the realm of the patriotic and cheesy than what I’m about to share with you:

Congratulations to thesinglecell, who submitted a recipe for a yummylicious pasta and cheese combination and is soon to be the proud owner of a $25 Visa Gift Card for the tip.  

There’s something Raclette does when it makes sweet, hot, oven love to heavy cream, Parmesan and sharp Cheddar that makes a gooey cheesiness so delicious you’ll swear it’s made of kitten sparkles and rainbow dust.  

This is not a picture of the macaroni I made. This is just random food porn. I'm not a food blogger; I'm just a girl in search of a dream of delicious cheesy pasta. Also, Wylio.com didn't have much to offer in the way of kitten sparkles and rainbow dust pics.

So if you’ve got an hour to kill, some money to donate toward the good cause of cheese production, and a good whisking hand, make an attempt at thesinglecell’s submission below.  I dare you to tell me rainbow dust isn’t delicious.

1/2 lb pasta of your choice, cooked and drained
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
5 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
3 oz. Raclette, cubed (a white, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese… a good grocery store with a cheese bar may be your best bet)
1/4c. Parmesan, grated
1 3/4c. heavy cream
3/4c. milk
Paprika for sprinkling
 
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×9″ pan with cooking spray. Pour cooked, drained pasta into 9×9″ pan.
 
Blend flour, mustard and salt together in a small bowl.
 
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add flour, salt and mustard and stir until blended.
Add milk and cream, stirring or whisking until dry ingredients are dissolved and liquid is hot, but not boiling (after you pour in the milk/cream, you can increase your heat to medium if you need to).
 
Add Raclette, stirring/whisking occasionally until cheese melts. Repeat for cheddar and parmesan, stirring/whisking often so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
 
Pour cheese sauce over pasta; sprinkle with paprika and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Then broil until top is golden.
 
And, um, for extra incredibleness? Fry 3-4 slices of bacon first, drain them, and then crumble them into the pasta before you put the cheese sauce in.
 
Bon appetit!

So congratulations again to thesinglecell and congratulations to all of you as well.  Because even if you didn’t win a $25 Visa Gift Card like she did, you still won a darn good recipe.  

One more post to go, ya’ll.  See you tomorrow for my 365 Project/postaday2011 sign-off. 

Door Is Open; Bellydancer Is Free

29 Dec

As I write this, my 363rd post, I am sitting in the living room of an old high school friend.

She’s  not old; the relationship is.

One of the reasons I still keep her around is that when I visit her family, it’s a lot like stepping into the middle of a sitcom.  I don’t mean that in the sense that it’s an amusing family, though it is.  I mean that in the sense that a half hour ago, the three children had three separate conversations with their mother and came to three separate conclusions about when dinner would be and the logistics for how it would be accomplished.  In the midst of this confusion, I decided to order a pizza out of fear that none of the three conclusions were correct and that I would die of an empty, shriveled stomach.

Five minutes after the arguments concluded, the mother came to the door to begin dinner.  None of the conclusions (dinner would be more than a half hour away) were correct and as a result, the pizza delivery guy came just two minutes before her mother shouted that dinner was ready.

I promptly hid the pizza in the living room out of fear.

Before dinner fired up, I was entertained by Betty (my friend’s sister), who decided she needed to get her exercise in for the day and resorted to On Demand guided exercise on the television.  Her choice: some sort of Karma Sutra Sensual Healing, which she gave us all the pleasure of enduring for the first fifteen minutes that she took it seriously.   The rest was done in fast-forward, which was significantly less awkward and probably a far more effective workout.

What I love about this sitcom house is that it’s always been absurd.  I can’t remember a single time I’ve visited that everyone wasn’t yelling at each other at some point about something completely ridiculous.  I can’t remember a time I didn’t end up on a chair in the living room, shaking my head.  And I also can’t remember a time that I ever had to knock before I entered or that anyone looked shocked that I was there.  

It’s wonderful to have a place in the world like that outside of your family: where you never know what to expect but you know that you can be absent for a long time only to return and find that nothing has really changed. 

So hey: it’s been a while since we’ve talked.  Midnight is also fast-approaching and I’m on a postaday deadline without a well-constructed ending in sight.  

So where is your place in the world where you know the door is always open? ◊

The Holidays Make Me Want to Elope

28 Dec

 

Holiday vacation has convinced me of the need to elope.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past several days I have been asked the date, time, and specific logistics surrounding a marriage that has, in fact, not yet been discussed by Dave and I.  There were a slew of examples, but suffice it to say that the straw that broke the Jackie’s back was when my 12-year-old cousin was visiting us today and said “You’re the outsider.  Everyone is married and has a baby.  You aren’t even married yet.

Emphasis hers.

As you may imagine, this came as the caboose on a very long train of marriage questions I endured throughout the holiday vacation.  In a rather comedic turn of events, I realized for the first time this past weekend that Dave has a slew of grandmothers.  His family believes that you divorce a person, not a family, and thus has continued to welcome all once-members with open arms in a rather unique display of love.  As a result, he has no less than six grandmothers.  In fact, when I asked him to confirm my count, he replied, “yeah, that sounds about right”, indicating that perhaps he has even lost track.

And those are just his.

Think about that.  Really think about what it would be like to repeat the conversation you have with your grandmother each holiday several different times with several different grandmothers of varying moods, characters, and sizes.  How two people can be dating for four years and still not tied the knot eludes most anyone over the age of 60 and it’s bound to come up eventually.  At one point following a substantial intake of wine, I recall having my entire wedding planned before my very eyes.  Something like two locations, two states, and a neighbor’s backyard.  I also recall the words “pig roast”.

I don’t even have a ring on my finger.

Not that I mind that my hand is sans shiny bauble – I rather enjoy living like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.  Dave and I tend to think of it as if we have our entire lives to be married and our entire lives to have a kid, but only right now to be dating.  And we rather like it at the moment.  Anything further isn’t really anyone’s business in my opinion.  But nonetheless, opinions come in the form of pig roasts.

And so I’ve decided that when the time comes, David and I might be better off eloping.  Brides have a hard enough time settling in to their wants for the day without catering to others in medium-sized families.  Can you imagine the tug-of-war to be had with a family large enough to have an indefinite number of grandmothers roaming the earth?  Besides, I’d say the cost of even a modest wedding would easily hit a price point over that of say, a trip to Barcelona. We could hop a plane, do the deed, hang around for the honeymoon, and come back to whatever backyard barbecues anyone pleases, so long as they’re the ones handling the stress and cost.

I think it sounds like a solid plan.  Of course, now I’ve gone and planned everything out without the shiny bauble to provoke it. 

It appears the grandmothers have won after all. 

2011: The Year I Sucked at Lots of Things

27 Dec

You know that moment when you’re watching a television show and you realize that the entire episode is going to be a flashback/homage to past episodes?

Then you know what today’s Lollipop Tuesday will feel like.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, folks.  It’s the last of the year.  The last – the final – the end of the road!  In my ideal world, I would have written this post from a hot air balloon ride – the perfect cherry on my Lollipop Tuesday sundae a year in the making.  But I didn’t go on a hot air balloon ride.  It turns out they don’t do amateur blogger discounts.

So it’s all over. Man, what will I do with all the time I used to scour the local paper for listings or drive hours outside the city to explore some strange activity?  Maybe I’ll miss it so much that I’ll continue in 2012.  Maybe I’ll give up on it entirely and look back at 2011 fondly as the year I tried a bunch of things that made me want to vomit from anxiety.  I’m betting on the latter.

At any rate, it’s been a heckuva ride.  When I started Lollipop Tuesdays this year, I had two goals in mind.  One was to break up the monotony of postaday by having a weekly series that folks could tune into if they didn’t care for the ranting and raving of my borderline psychotic mind on other days of the week.  The other was to challenge myself in a way that would force me to grow, whether I liked the journey or not.  The concept was simple: seek out something new that I would inevitably suck at (hence the lollipop/sucker reference in the term). 

I remember after a few Lollipop Tuesday adventures, I began to hate the fact that I ever started them.  I think it was right around the time that I said yes to taking a pole-dancing class and then realized I had no way to get out of it.  Sometimes I really despised conquering the unknown, seeking out locations posted on flyers and wandering into places having no idea what to expect or what would be asked of me. 

But that was the entire point.

I’ve convinced myself I hate movies that I never actually sat down to watch.  I’ve waited so long to try new things that they build up in my head as insurmountable.  For a long time, I was content to note that I’m awkward and inwardly and have no interest in anything that makes me uncomfortable.   So 2010 Jackie saw to it that 2011 Jackie would be forced to change.  

I’d like to think that I have.  I’d like to think that these experiences have helped my anxiety and attitude toward new experiences and that I’m a more open-minded and daring person than I was before.  I don’t know if any of that is necessarily true – I suppose it comes down to what I do and how I react when I’m not held accountable to post about it later on.

One thing I have definitely begun to stew on is the idea of a Bucket List (a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket).  I think Bucket Lists are fantastic in theory, but in action I don’t really know too many folks who are actively seeking to accomplish the things on them.   There isn’t much point in keeping track of a bunch of good intentions that you hope to cash in on when you’re too old and penniless to make it happen.  I think Bucket Lists should be more like To Do lists – we should set out to accomplish them as soon as we are able.  

If everyone just committed to a Lollipop Tuesday every so often, they might look back when they’re old and penniless and realize that they don’t have a whole lot left that they haven’t already tried.  Maybe in time, Lollipop Tuesdays can push out the idea of the Bucket List and we can be people who are constantly trying new things, not people who hope to someday accomplish them.

Here’s to 2012 and whatever new adventures it brings.  May we be open to the daring and unknown. ◊

Have you seen all fifty Lollipop Tuesday posts?  If not (or if you’d like to brush up for old time’s sake), check out the “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?” header at the top of this page.  Or just click here

4 Notes on Better Gift Card Giving

26 Dec

I’m going to go ahead and venture into uncharted waters here.  I’m going to explore the unexplored – to encroach upon indecency.  I want to talk about gift card etiquette.

Let me start by saying that gift cards are a lovely thing.  They’re the perfect gift, if well-employed.  Being given a well-considered and well-delivered gift card for a special celebration can provoke a grown man to pee himself with glee (also known as Glee Pee or #gleepee).  In return for their generosity, the buyer typically receives discounts or a free gift card of a smaller amount at their favorite stores.  Thus, when properly employed, the gift card is the gift that keeps on giving.  When not properly employed, it’s a last-minute, lazy gift.  While still appreciated, it struggles to leave an impact.

So here are some of what I believe are useful gift card etiquette tips.  Somewhere out there, I’m sure there’s an incredibly official and highly lauded version of this already that the world has agreed on. If such a thing exists, I hereby declare my willful ignorance.  I am the original and only source for final consultation on these matters.

Be Sure to Notate the Amount on the Card. There are several ways to do this. You can simply write in a card what the amount is,

This is the look of grateful confusion.

along with a personal message.  You can write it in Sharpie on the back of the gift card itself.  Most stores have made this easy on you by setting up the world’s easiest Ad Lib so you can stop scratching your head on how to approach the issue.  “Happy Shopping from __________.  The amount on your card is _______________ and can be used in store or online.”  Or if you’re being totally awesome and shopping small business, you’re dealing in paper gift certificates and this is already handled for you (one more reason to shop small).  No matter which way you prefer, please don’t overlook this detail.  Though we’re thankful for any gift of any size, the difference between the way you thank someone for a $5 gift card and a $500 gift card are significantly different.   It’s like a piece of candy and a car, folks.  Give us a little guidance.

Do Your Homework. Now, I may be a little old school in this thinking, but I’m a firm believer that any gift that is given should be given with great thought.  There are some occasions which call for gifts of light and casual measure; hostess gifts, for example, are the kind that show appreciation for someone without making a personal commentary.  But when you’re buying birthday, anniversary, or holiday gifts, the occasion calls for some forethought.  You can say just as much with a gift card as with a hand-selected gift if you just put the same amount of thought into it.  Consider the stores your recipient likes to shop at.  Extra points if you pick a place the person would like to shop at, but doesn’t do so frequently because of the price points of that store.  If you give me a $50 gift card to a shop I usually can’t justify spending money in, you’ve just given me the best guilt-free shopping trip ever.  More bonus points if you check out the store’s price levels beforehand to gauge an appropriate amount.  a $10 gift card to a store that carries $250 shirts probably isn’t the best choice for a personal and impactful gift.

Get Creative. Consider grouping cards together or selecting a gift certificate for a  particularly great location.  For example, by purchasing a gift certificate for the movie theater and a gift certificate for a restaurant nearby, you’re giving someone the gift of an evening out.  Or if you give someone a voucher to a location near where they vacation or have always wanted to, you’ve just reminded them that you know what they love and given them a reason to go visit it.  Or even just coming up with clever labels for the way you give the gift (e.g. give them a gift card to a liquor store and a bake shop and label them “naughty” and “nice”).  Anything you can do to show that you didn’t just pick a gift card lazily off the kiosk is one step closer to a meaningful gift.

Be a Better Recipient. This is by no means required, but it sure does go a long way to show appreciation by sending the giver a text, call, or casual note mentioning a second thank you for the gift and what it was you just purchased with it.  I bought my brother and sister-in-law a gift certificate to an upscale restaurant for Christmas.  Ten months later, I got a text from him thanking me for a great anniversary dinner.  It’s a fantastic feeling to be thought of and to see how the person chose to use it.

So there you have it: four things I think everyone should bear in mind with gift cards.  I’d even go so far as to say that if you don’t want to consider the above when you’re giving a gift card or certificate, you might as well just stuff money in the card and scribble your name.

It will leave the same impact, but require less of you. 

Oatmeal and a Dream

25 Dec

My Christmas present this year came in the form of a dream.

Bear with me: I’ll be relatively brief.

I had been hired as an intern for an incredibly rude and demanding woman.  It was supposed to be an elite position – one that people fight to get.  So all the new hires were in her apartment, all dressed exactly the same, and all hanging on her every word.  After she dished out the first task, I was feeling pretty angsty and decided to go for a run in the hallway.

Please note: running has invaded my dreams.

But even running made me feel nervous inside, so instead I decided to prop myself up against a wall in the hallway and play with some sticky finger frogs.  Not sure where those came from – I think the kids toy fish pond at my family reunion when I was 8 years old.   I say outside the door and watched intern after intern rush out her apartment door all haggard and hurried, hoping for their lives that they wouldn’t make a mistake.

After I’d had enough of my finger frog fun, I ventured back into her apartment and slipped in unnoticed.  She whipped her head around, thinking of her next task and demanded that I carry it out.  I took a nice big breath, grabbed my stuff, and told her I’d rather not. She was confused and asked what exactly I thought I was doing.  I told her I decided this wasn’t for me and I was going to split.

And so I did.

It was epic.  It was like the end of The Devil Wears Prada, when Anne Hathaway decides that she wants to get back on track with her life and away from the pressure and stress from Meryl Streep.  Glorious indeed. 

I woke up feeling fantastic.  Today begins the first true day of vacation.  I have quit my job in my dreams and I have been liberated by my imagination.  Here’s to one full week of no stress, no angst, no pressure.

Merry Christmas, all.  May you find a way to escape your everyday stress and simply enjoy the day. 

Today’s chuckle shall be brought to you by The Oatmeal.  If you don’t follow The Oatmeal, or you think I’m talking about a food and not a web comic, you should consider changing your ways and forever brightening your life by paying it a visit.   So here’s a little Christmas cheer for one and all: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/christmas
 

Please Stop the Holiday Commercials. Please.

24 Dec

It's not Christmas until you get your kid a toy that makes them wet their pants

I’ve been away from television for quite some time.  But as it’s the holidays and most folks just sit around in front of the television until it’s time to carry out an obligatory tradition or two, I have no choice but be subjected to the doom tube.

Today I was introduced to the Wuggle Pets commercial.  Then some stupid dance Skechers that used ballerinas to sell what looks like a running shoe.  Then I saw a woman purposefully knock all her spices out of her cabinet so that the narrator could show me the solution to her intentional hand spasms. And then I gouged out my eyeballs with a dinner fork.

After you’ve been disconnected from the world of flashing lights and blaring voices, it’s a little shocking to be around it again.  There are all sorts of pop culture whosits and whatsists that I don’t understand and advertisements that are so incredibly stupid it makes me want to write a letter to corporate headquarters all over the nation.  Of course, this is really what I always wanted and the very reason I got rid of cable. For a while there, seeing a commercial for Wuggle Pets would have been ordinary to me.

Now it looks like certain death.

So I’m glad I’ve made that transition successfully.  The only unfortunate consequence is that now when I have to sit in other people’s living rooms for a significant amount of time, I get incredibly annoyed and upset by the yelling and screaming to buy products, the stupid reality shows that have people hooked (they’re scripted, people.  scripted.), and I mourn for the fact that I’m not doing anything constructive with my time. We could be playing board games or talking about life or going on an adventure together or volunteering in a soup kitchen or wrapping presents for kids in need or anything, really, except staring at a group of overexcited child actors freak out about a machine that lets them stuff their own stuffed animals. 

I know this is not a typical reaction.  I know.  I need to accept that Wuggle Pets are part of my reality and that turning a blind eye to them doesn’t mean they stop existing.  If I can just hold out for two more days, Christmas-oriented advertising will be off the playlist until next fall.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Try not to gouge out eyes with silverware. 

‘Tis the Season for Bad Decorations

23 Dec

‘Tis the season for white trash decorating!

One thing I love about Dave’s hometown is that  it’s almost exactly like my hometown except his is in New York and mine is in Pennsylvania.  It’s quite a bit more prosperous than mine was as well.  It’s kind of like his hometown is what mine would be if mine hadn’t shriveled up and died of weary old age years ago. It at least feels like home in a way, even when it’s not really home.  So on the way to his parents’ house for Christmas, I got a real dose of my own hometown loveliness: white trash decorating.

You know what I’m talking about.  Little random crap figures in the yard, Christmas lights that look like someone had a seizure in the middle of throwing them on the bush, and (Lord help us all), those huge, plastic, inflatable snow globe things.  Half of them have been there all year.   The other half are thrown in for good measure at Christmastime. 

Every time i see them, they’re only half-inflated and drowning in a sea of 10 others scattered about the sad, sad lawn.  

This is best case scenario here. Take half those bush lights and toss them to the wind, suck half the air out of the inflatables, and knock a few things over. Then we're in business.

Christmas spirit, indeed.

I’m not really sure why they bother.  Who looks out on a lawn of half blown up life-size snow globes, a few crooked cardboard stands, and a weathered sign that says “North Pole” and thinks they’re doing their part to spread Christmas spirit?   Of course, maybe it’s self-serving.  Maybe it’s a matter of tradition and they don’t think it looks  nice either but it’s what they grew up with so they keep doing it.  

Can you help me understand this?  Are you perhaps one of these people? Why do you do it?  Why do you lug all of that stuff out of your attic, basement, of what-else-have-you only to blow them up halfway with no semblance of order or preconceived strategy?  

I’ve thought about knocking on the door of one of these homes/shacks/trailers and asking why.  I’d be all sly about it and compliment them on the lovely job they’ve done. I’m sure they’re super happy with it and will be glad to tell me all about it.  Or maybe it will just be some guy in his underwear who complains about how his wife told him to do it so he just threw them all out there willy nilly like.  Maybe half-inflated snow globes are just a sign of struggling matrimony in small towns.

I think I probably cracked the code right there. 

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