Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hap, Happiest Season of All

So, I don't typically blog twice in a week.  But, this morning I'm fighting the holiday grumps due to loads of stress and little sleep.  I'm in the business of making holiday magic and sometimes it all gets overwhelming.  In order to fight the Scrooge in me and put on a happy face I started thinking of some of my favorite holiday memories.  All of them from the first of December to New Years Eve.  And I found myself laughing so hard on the way in to work that I thought I'd just share.

I'll start with a family memory.  Christmas at my house .  My dad always worked on Christmas  however, on and around the holidays, no matter how tired he was, the Christmas tree came up and family photos were taken as we squished on to a sofa, smiled, and waiting for 5-7 days for the prints to be ready at Sak-N-Save grocery store. Recently my mom emailed some of the photos.  I laid in bed on a Saturday night and looked through each file, laughing the entire time.  Hindsight is 20/0, but still you'd think we'd have enough sense to realize we looked stupid.  But alas, we did not and now these photos offer hours of entertainment as we lament on Christmas Past.

Exhibit A:  I refer to this as "Hurry Up the Timer is About to Go Off"
Mom's gonna kill me for this!
While Dawn (my sister) and I were looking over this picture, she says "Geez, did you and I just get out of the shower of what???"  Apparently we were fans of Lionel Richie because we were sporting his Jerry Curl (as seen below.  This is NOT, however, Lionel Richie.  Just his hair)  

Hey, girl, hey!

My dad's face kills me every time I look at at this picture.  He was so concerned about capturing the right moment that he ended up looking stressed.  And my mom! The word smile wasn't in her vocabulary that day.  Perhaps it was the over-sized glasses that put her in a bad mood, but I'm guessing it was two unruly preteens making her feel like she was in the 9th circle of hell.  This photo is timeless and priceless to me.

Another favorite memory is one particular Christmas when Dawn and I were both teenagers.  We grew up in Baytown, TX on the bayou in  a proper Southern Baptist Church.  Of course each year there was the Christmas Eve candle light service that typically kicked off the night for most of the church families.  You'd go to the service, light your candles, trade cards and cookies, then go home to begin the family portion of the night.  It was the same for us - service then to Grandma's house, then to our own home, then to bed.  Well, this year Dawn and I were left on our own to get there on time as Mom and Dad were singing in the choir for the evening's events.  Dawn was driving at this point so we had wheels but, suddenly we became every distracted.  Already dressed in our nearly matching outfits and gazing at the clock to be sure we were keeping a responsible schedule, Dawn turns on the television to prepare the VCR to record the In Living Color: Christmas Special.  Oops.  It was already running and while she frantically tried to get the tape ready, we both managed to sit down right in front of the t.v. and start watching, not realizing it was already past 7:00 pm.  Shit.  We are late.  Oh well!  We sat, legs crossed Indian style, on the floor and watched the program missing the entire Christmas Even candle light service.  The phone started ringing off the hook.  We both knew it was Mom and Dad and we were in hell-a trouble.  But it didn't deter us from finishing the one hour comedy.  Nope!  We watched the whole program and then, when that was over, something else came on as we were supposed to be making our way to Grandma's!  We eventually made it to her house and the parents...well, they were upset.  To understand the weight of their frustration, refer back to the photo above. See Mom's face?  Ya.  That's pretty much what we got all night.  However, all night long Dawn and I kept reenacting the comedy from In Living Color with one another while dodging Mom's disapproving looks.   SNAP!

I also have a ton of favorite memories that include my friends - of course!  One in particular wasn't very fun at the time, but days and years later it makes me just die from laughing.  One Christmas Eve Tuller, Nathan, and myself decided to have a  tiny Martini party - just the three of us at her home (where I happen to live now.)  We bought too much vodka for three people, made dinner, and poured drinks down our throat as if we were competing in a Holiday drinking contest with Charlie Sheen.  Oh what fun it was....until it wasn't.  I'm not sure how many drinks we finished off, but a couple of hours into it, faces were turning green and the fun had just ceased.  One by one we made our way to soft places, i,e, beds, sofas, a pile of blankets on the floor, and passed out wearing all of our clothes.  The next morning was just awful.  I woke to the smell of meat.  What?  Why do I smell MEAT?  Nathan was nowhere to be found and as I made my way into the kitchen, I could hear what sounded to be that tell tale grunt of someone swallowing down the urge to vomit.   I walked into the kitchen to find Tuller's hands were covered in raw meat as she was pulling it off bones to prepare it for a roast.  Her face looked utterly victimized and she continued to fight through the dry heaving.  See, she had volunteered to make a roast for her family's Christmas dinner and in the heat of a vodka induced mayhem, she kinda forgot that a hangover and a pile of meat don't mix well the next day. I wish I had a photo of her because the way I remember it, she's standing in the kitchen, mascara smeared down her face, hair all over the place, and her hands in a big pile of raw meat,trying not to blow chunk  Ewww.   Mer....Merry....blugh.  Merry Christmuuuuuuus.

Another fond memory was made quite recently- only last year.  I took my dear friend Claudio home to Texas.  It wasn't on Christmas, but it was in the height of the Christmas season.  He decided one night he had HAD to see  Houston.  Well, at the time we both worked for Tulsa Ballet and couldn't take time off to go down for any reasonable amount of time.  So, instead we left immediately after work one night and drove 8 hours straight until we reached the pearly gates of Summerwood - the neighborhood just off Beltway 8 where my parents reside.  We got in around 3 a.m. and quickly took rest in, what we called" Lilac Haven", a guest bedroom in my parent's house so named due to the purple sheets, curtains, and bedspread. My parents were asleep when we arrived and left the code so we could get in and get to bed as we were exhausted from the drive.  The next morning I walked into the living room to find my mom smiling and welcoming me.  She showed me the pantry where my dad had stocked up on Nutella so the Italian would feel at home.  It was really too cute of Dad.  Since we only had a day and a half to spend in Houston, the weekend was pretty full and quick.  Kind of like watching an entire movie in fast forward mode.  Nevertheless we had a lot of fun, did loads of sight seeing, and ended up having a real bayou dinner under the bridge in Kemah.  Most of the time was spent in car with Dawn acting as our guide.  She drove us around showing Claudio landmarks and historical sights peppered with facts and statistics. On the second and final night we stayed with my sister and Diane at their apartment.  The four of us spent a few hours laughing and just being stupid but the kind that makes your abs hurt the next morning from too much joy.  Finally, it was Sunday afternoon and time for us to get back on the road.  Some may dread a long car ride, but with Claudio it's pretty much always a good time.  About an hour outside of Houston, I was on the passenger side as he drove my car, when I looked up and saw a sign for an exit to Italy, Texas.  What the...?  How the hell have I grown up in Texas, taken this highway back and forth from Houston to Tulsa this many years and never, ever have I noticed there was a place called Italy, Texas?! It all became a little too surreal as I looked over at my friend.  See, I've been half way around the world to his family's home, now we're just leaving my family's home in Houston and it is quite literally...a sign.  A sign that this friendship was absolutely meant to be.  Before we made it back to Tulsa we stopped at the famous Buc-ee's so he could try their famous roadside BBQ and baked beans....and try on a cowboy hat.  We laughed and drove back to Tulsa and somehow continued to laugh at my apartment that night.  And now this little trip is one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Wait!  What?

Finally, one of my favorite-est holidays memories in New Years Eve, circa 1993.  Two girls - Elaine and Carrie - planning a killer NYE party at my house.  We made a cheese cake, ordered enough pizzas to feed a small army (paid for in coins no less), and a play list MIX TAPE for the night that was supposed to go down in infamy.  We even went to the mall and purchased special outfits.  Plaid.  All plaid - head to toe.  OK, neither of us were those high school party types.  We didn't drink, do drugs, or anything. The worst thing we did when we were teenagers was sass mouth just about everyone we knew.  Parents, Sunday school teachers, strangers, whoever.  We had attitude for days and didn't mind sharing it with the world.  Anyway this year was going to be epic.  The guest list was tight!  I mean, we had called, like, everyone you know?!  And what else was a pack of teenagers going to be doing on NYE 1993?  Ya!  That's right!  They're' coming over here, baby!  An hour later, music blaring, cheesecake sitting in the fridge, pizzas laid out across the table's only me and Elaine still.  Not a single soul came to our most awesomely, awesome party.  Even my parents left!  Regardless of the fact that our totally kick ass party had only two guests, who happened to be the hosts, Elaine and I danced, laughed, screamed HAPPY NEW YEAR, and had the time of our lives that night.  It didn't really even seem to phase us that nobody bothered to show up or even call to tell us why they weren't coming.  We simply didn't need them anyway. And this was just one moment and in many similar situations that found the two of us in a corner, not paying and mind to anyone else but each other.  We talked on the phone not long ago and this "party" was mentioned and met with roaring laughter on the other end of the line.  It is still one of the best NYE moments of my life and one that I will never forget.  Because I was safe, at home with one of my most favorite people and literally nothing else mattered.  I only wish I had a photo of this particular epic fail.

Well, there you have it.  Some of my favorite holiday memories.  I'll be flying to Houston on the 24th and this year I am cooking my family's Christmas dinner.  I'm looking forward to making more memories.  And while Claudio is in Rome, Tuller will be here in Tulsa, Elaine is pregnant (so we can't laugh too hard otherwise she'll go in to labor), and other friends and family a sprinkled about around the globe, I will be with my family and I'm sure there will be plenty to laugh about!!!!

And here are some links to my favorite SNL Christmas moments.  Ahhhh!


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