Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Last night I watched A Christmas Carol, the good one, from the eighties when everything was real quality like Munchichis and My Little Ponies.

Anyway, as is the case for most of you I'm sure, Christmas has a special nostalgic quality for me. As a kid, there is no better time than Christmas time. There's like a month-long build-up where you get a piece of chocolate everyday from the advent calendar, school tapers off to making contruction paper chains and practicing songs for the Annual Christmas "show," and you get to scour the Sears catalog picking out everything you could possibly want (and know there's a good chance you're going to get at least some of it.) Throw in Christmas cookies and no school for two weeks and boom, the most wonderful time of the year.

In honor of A Christmas Carol, I took a little tour through my own Christmases of yore.

Baby smirk. At the tender age of two, I am already skeptical of this whole Santa Claus business with a look that says, "Whatever lady, let's wrap this up so I can crap my pants and hit the KayBee toys to let "Santa" know what I will expect under the tree come Christmas morning.

Ahhh, lederhosen and black knee socks, Christmas sure ain't what it used to be, I tell you what.

I have several Santa pictures with me in this pose. I have no idea what that's about, possibly my attempt at being girly. Also, I'm pretty sure my shell-shocked little brother is attempting to flip off the camera. We're very pious, my family.

Christmas: The Teen Years. Decked out in prison stripes and my attempt at a New Wave haircut, I announce to everyone that Christmas is so, like, totally lame. (Please note: Steph and Steve's matching gray stonewash jeans.)

Okay I'm not in this shot, but felt I must include what we lovingly referred to for years as our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. As you can see, my mom (who probably caps off at 5'2'' wearing a top hat) is kneeling, and yet still manages to clear half the tree's height.

This one has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, yet still, it begs to be included. This is me paying a visit to McGruff the Crime dog. I have no idea why he was taking visitors or why they chose a large wicker chair (seriously, try being a serious crimefighter in wicker), but I'm forced to wonder what costume designer interpreted McGruff as a shady canine druglord wearing too-short pants and orthopedic shoes. (Special thanks to mom and grandma for the constant vigilance in keeping my knee socks pulled all the way up.)

I can't wait to look back on Christmas pictures years from now and laugh, What the hell? When did I have pink hair? Is that a hoodie? And slouchy boots? My god, what were we thinking?

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Team Apocalypse

The other day my friends Tracy and Pam were showing me their garden. It's a blossoming wonderland of edible fruits, veggies and herbs from which they actually eat things. It's like a little backyard farmer's market. I even went home with a plastic bag full of herbs (not the college kind.)

Pam also had a firewood corral she'd made out of scrap wood. I was impressed. I looked at Tracy and said, "You guys are totally drafted on our apocalypse team."

"Your apocolypse team?"

"Yeah. You know, if there were some sort of global catastrophe, there's a very specific set of skills you'd need in your band of survivors. You'd need your food growers, your carpenters, your weapons people. Everybody adds something."

Tracy was flattered. Then she said, "Wait a minute. What do you add?"

Obviously, I'm the one putting the team together. I don't need to add anything but my charm and natural leadership. (Also the team will occasionally need funny end of the world blogs to keep our spirits up while civilization crumbles around us and we eat our pets for dinner.)

Since, as I've mentioned here before, my husband has quite a fascination, we actually do have a team in mind for when everything hits the fan. Every once in awhile we will actually utter the sentence, "You know, so and so would be really good in an apocalyptic situation."

I thought I'd post this handy guide so that, when the worst happens, you can assemble your own team. (The alternative to the team option is to get a bunch of dogs and guns, find a shack in the middle of the woods, and hope for the best.)

Team Apocalypse

Member #1: The weapons folks. These are the people you know (or suspect) have a cache of light to heavy artillery. You will need weapons when the zombies/infected/bands of rebels show up at the compound.

Member #2: The gardeners. The people who don't need to go to the grocery store to make a salad. Because the team can only survive on cans of navy beans for so long.

Member #3: The person who doesn't throw anything away. This is where the people from the show Hoarders really shine. They can say a big fat I told you so to the rest of the world when their McDonalds Happy Meal Toy collection and old rotary phone comes in handy.

Member #4: McGyver. This is the person who can patch a hole in the roof using spit and an old shirt. It's likely this person also has loads of tools that can also be used as weapons (in case you can't find team member #1).

Member #5: The medic. This person's role is pretty obvious. They'd also be the ones to keep the supply of the suicide pills for when we all decide it's just too much.

Member #6: The philosopher. This person's job is to think deeply about things and assure us there's still a point to it all. If the conclusion is that there is not, in fact, a point to it all, the philosopher alerts the medic to hand out the suicide pills.

Member #7: The psychic lady. Basically to let the team know when things are going to get worse. I say lady because psychic men tend to only deal in communicating with those who have passed on. In a post-apocalyptic world, your team would be inundated with "calls" from beyond the grave and you're not going to have time for that.

Member #8: The drug dealer. There's not a whole lot to do after an apocalypse, so choose a person who deals in a wide variety of recreational substances.

Members #9-13: Children. Not for the continuation of the human race so much as for sneaking into small spaces to forage for food. Also to keep an eye on the compound when all the grown-ups are hanging out with member #8.

Best of luck, and I hope you all are enjoying this festive holiday season!