Life in General

I know how Clark felt

I am sure that during the holiday season, you all – like us here in Beverly Hills – probably watched the Christmas classic “Christmas Vacation”.  I mean the season just isn’t complete without at least a dozen viewings.  For us, the first time the DVD gets dusted off is Thanksgiving weekend.  This year was no different.

Before I get into this years debacle, I should give a little history of the Beverly Hills Family Christmas Tree.  When we relocated back to Michigan after the stint in Texas, we got our tree out the day after Thanksgiving.  What we didn’t take into account was that our ceilings in Texas were a tad bit higher than our little 1940’s rental.  By about 14 feet.  As we set up the tree, there wasn’t room for the star, or the top 3 feet of the tree for that matter.  So off we go to English Gardens to see what they had.

There has been a marriage long debate about real vs artificial.  Our first tree was real back in 1999 and it was a beauty.  Until the needles starting falling off.  I was picking up needles until about June, so I thought NEVER AGAIN.  Of course is was a $25 tree from lot next to the local YMCA that had been up for a month and a half. Fast forward a couple years to our first Christmas in Dallas.  We got swept up by the beauty of the holiday season (read: 75 degrees and sunny) and decided to pick up another real tree.  Over to the lot we go…and to our amazement people were loading up their trees in the backs of convertibles.  Joy and peace and love was in the air.  We wandered the lot…selected our tree and went to pay.   With a little laugh I pointed out the sign that read “Live Trees Imported from Michigan”.  HA.  Our beautifully wondrous genuine Michigan tree set us back – are you sitting down? – $200.  Yup.  I didn’t add an extra zero.  You are reading that right.  You can bet your bottom dollar that this imported tree was probably cut down some time mid-August.  And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it barely made it through the entire holiday season.  Lesson learned.  Fake trees from here on out.

At English Gardens we selected a lovely prelit tree.  I was all about making it easier on myself.  Brought that little gem home and in three easy steps – PRESTO – instant lit tree.  And the tree served us well for about 5 years.  Two years ago, I pulled it out and plugged it in.  And a strand was out.  Off I rushed to English Gardens and got one of those clicker things to test the lights.  Fixed the strand and all was well.  Last year, half the tree was out.  Back to English Gardens I go.  (Do you see a pattern here?)  Their current trees had a new bulb structure so I spent quite a bit of time digging through bins to find enough spares to fix my tree.  And that I did – sorta.  I tested and replaced EVERY single bulb on this tree.  I think it’s something like a 450 light tree.  Did it work?  Well, most of it did.  So I took matters into my own hands, after two days of fussing, and strung extra lights in.  No one was the wiser.

Early on this year, I thought to myself…”Self, maybe I should look into getting a new tree this year.”  So I took myself back to (you guessed it) English Gardens.  If you have priced “realistic looking prelit trees” in recent years, you will understand why I am now on a low-dose aspirin regimen from the heart attack I suffered following extreme sticker shock.  It turns out that our little old tree was going to make it ONE more year.

(On a side note after mentioning to Hubby that I thought maybe we needed a new tree, he told me that Avery said “Dad, we should get Mom a new tree this year because she really swore alot at the tree last year!”  Leave it to my  7 year old to remember one of my NOT finer moments.)

This year, I drag the tree down from the attic in the garage.  Rearrange all my living room furniture to accommodate my tree.  Set up the stand.  Assemble the tree.  Connect all of the plugs.  Hit the switch.  NOTHING.  Not a single fucking light worked on my tree.  My patience, wearing thin but not yet gone, allowed me to disconnect and reconnect all of the plugs inside the tree.  Flip the switch.  NOTHING.  So I did what any normal, sane, level-headed person would do.  I shook that stupid tree.  And shook and shook.   Flipped the switch.  Half a strand at bottom of the tree on one branch came to life.  By this point, it is 10:00 at night.  I am tired, frustrated, over wrought that I do not have a working, easy to assemble prelit tree.

I know how Clark felt.  I really do.  Hours and hours dedicated to lighting and perfecting the best damn holiday decorations of the year.  And what happens?  You are standing on your front lawn, with your family watching, with a drum roll and you get….nothing.

I threw on my coat, grabbed my purse and keys, and went directly to Target.  Spent about as much on lights as it would have cost me to get a new tree.  Came home, strung the lights, trying my best to cover those burned out ones permanently attached to the tree.  Strung the beads, hung the ornaments, and lit the star.  Perfect.

Then Avery walks up to the tree, points to one of the non-working lights and casually shouts out “Hey Mom, do you know you have a bulb out?”

“Why, yes, yes I do, Avery.”

All About Me

A New Year, A New Day

Here it is, January 2nd and the word RESOLUTION has been lurking in the back of my brain….poke poke poking.  The little angel on one shoulder says “This is the year of Dana, the year of change, forward progress” and all of that sentimental BS.  The little devil on the other shoulder is saying “Why bother?  You will just be a failure.  Forget about it.”

And in the end, Good Prevails Over Evil and I have made a list:

1.  I will TRY to keep my car cleaner.  My traveling radius is generally no more than 5 miles from my house, and there is a fast food joint and gas station on every other corner.  Keeping enough crap in my car to sustain a family of four trapped by an avalanche just isn’t necessary.  I have Avery – now a very mature 7 1/2 – to assist.  Carson – a 3 1/2 year old mini Taz – is a lost cause when it comes to picking up after himself.

2. I am going to keep a list of the books I read in 2013.  I have seen goals on other blogs and I think I could do 24 books (2/month) in the upcoming year.  I am ALWAYS open to suggestions for reading.  Particularly mindless trash with extraordinary entertainment value that really doesn’t burn too many brain cells. (I did just go to the library today and load up my bookshelf with all manner of books.  I usually pick them based on their cover art.)

3. In 2013 I am going to be more open to change.  Let’s face it, I pretty much live within my comfort zone 24/7.  I am challenging myself not to fear the unknown (too much anyways)…you never know what might lay right around the corner of that new opportunity.

4.  Gym, diet, weight loss…you know how this one goes so I don’t think I need to expound any further.  Just putting it out there…I actually got to the point this holiday season where I was (shhhhh…wait for it) SICK AND TIRED OF STUFFING MY FACE.  Shocking, I know, right?

5.  I am NOT going to give up drinking coffee.  I love it way too much.  Love the flavor, the aroma as it brews and fills my kitchen.  However maybe it might be a good idea to CUT BACK from my usual pot that I drink each day.  It is, I admit, a bit excessive.  M.O.D.E.R.A.T.I.O.N.

6.  I will do a little more thinking before speaking.

7.  I will practice patience and tolerance.

8.  Last but not least, I am going to attempt to revive Life in Beverly Hills…Michigan.  It might take some work, some stretching of the old funny muscles which have lain dormant for years months, and maybe trying to rally some readers into giving me a chance to entertain them.  (Hey, according to my dash board 11 whole people visited my blog today.  Or maybe it was just my mom coming back 11 times – not really sure.  Although I don’t think she reads this…)

This is a year NOT about fear of failure but the chance to possibly do something AMAZING!

Life in General

The Author Within?

I have been reading memoirs lately…and I can’t help but feel a little inspired to write one myself.  Do I have it in me – to tell my story?  The whole honest brutal truth.  The good, the bad, the ugly and the even uglier?  I think I just might.  I have some tales to share…more than just what happens in Beverly Hills…Michigan.

As I was cleaning out the basement, I came across a binder of stories that I wrote for my Vampires and Werewolves class in college.  Yes, that was an actual class – before the mega-hit Twlight was even a glimmer in Stephanie Meyer’s mind. Before Edward and Bella, Jacob and his werewolf band of brothers, there was little ole me, listening to the teachings of my German professor about the legends  and drafting short stories.  And ya know what?  Even though they were penned by an amatuer author (myself, of course) they weren’t half bad.  Granted they aren’t anything that would make the New York Times Bestseller List…but still I managed to earn some decent grades on them.  Maybe what I am trying to say is that I do have the ability to write entertaining stories.  And that it might be time to actually put some stuff down on paper.

What do y’all think?  Crazy?

Maybe so, but then again maybe not…




Depictions of Self

Avery got a new camera for her birthday.  Well truth be told, she got 3 new cameras….the first was a $45 aqua job from Target.  Broken right out of the package.  Took it back.  Second was a $70 purple number from Target.  And that was proof that spending more money doesn’t always equal better quality – and that it doesn’t matter how pretty it is…it can still be a piece of junk.  Finally Hubby took her to the store and she came home with a pretty red (color is of course still important) 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix camera.  This bad boy is better than my camera….but I’m not jealous.  Too much anyways.

So yesterday I finally hooked her camera up to the computer to download it’s contents.   The result was a whole lot of self portraits that I deemed worthy of sharing with you – my reading audience.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure through the eyes of a 7 year old – a 1st grade field trip to the zoo.  Good times. Good times.

Life in General

Ain’t No Party Like a Barbie Party

Let’s have a brief history lesson, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the tales of Barbie’s life in the village of Beverly Hills.

It began one Christmas years ago with the Barbie Whorehouse….

And the downward spiral continued here….with our very first Ken doll.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  Love Em and Leave Em Ken is back in town, fresh from a tour around the globe, trying to solidify his title of Man-Whore before returning to the ever faithful Barbie.  Yup, Ken is back in town but this time he brought a friend or two.   And boy did the man-slut stir up some trouble in our newly minted Barbie Backyard pool.  Just take a look for yourself…

Maybe I should have been clearer in my description.  Ken didn’t bring along a friend or two – Ken brought a whole orgy with him.  Imagine Barbie’s face when he showed up at the Whorehouse Townhouse, years after his swift departure, with a keg and his posse…Barbie expects him to grovel but what does he do instead?  Strips down and goes for a swim.

The aftermath?  Check it out…

The upright Barbie does look mighty pleased with herself.  Wonder why?  Could it be that she has been banging Ken’s best friend all along?  Or could it be that she burned the lying, cheating man-whore’s clothes in the front lawn and he has to do the walk of shame in the buff?  I guess we will never really know what’s behind that shy smile.  But I bet she’s plotting her revenge for the lot of them who came, swam, trashed her pool.

Life in General

Jurassic Park, Michigan

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment and arrived a bit early…thinking I would take advantage of a few free moments sans little peeps I popped a squat at a picnic table.  Enjoying the bright, albeit chilly June sunshine…quietly sitting there reading my book,  I got the strange feeling I was being watched.   Since I hadn’t seen anyone in the area when I arrived 42 seconds earlier, I brushed it off.  But that nagging feeling wouldn’t go away.

Slowly I turned and looked over my right shoulder and JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN.


Standing there, looking at me was this creature…

Slowly, without any sudden movements I stood and turned.  And what did I find?

He brought along a friend…

They stood there.  Watching me.   Eyeing my lunch.  (Do predators such as these like Bologna and Swiss sandwiches?) Surveying the contents of my bag.  Picture a scene from Jurassic Park, where the little kids are being sized up as a midnight snack by the Veliciraptors.  Heads cocked, beady little eyes, feathers all in a ruffle, fangs dripping in anticipation of their next kill.   I feared for my life…but not so much so that I didn’t take time out to snap a few photos with my trusty iPhone though.   Fight or flight? No fighting for me here.  But I bided my time..waited them out.  The secret to any good battle – patience and fortitude.

I must not have looked to appetizing as they eventually made they way past me.  Slowly.  Contemplating their next prey.