Archive for December, 2004



Feliz Navidad, Gente Loca

4:26 pm · category: Uncategorized

On Wednesday we had tons of snow, which naturally turned into a nasty sheet of ice underneath. (We don’t get snow very often in this part of Arkansas, but when we do it’s pretty much a given that it will turn into scary, scary ice.) I had just stopped by J. and K.’s house to have K. help me with a little craft project (because I suck at craft projects and she doesn’t), and within an hour I was snowed/iced in. That night we hauled out the ham and some of the other fixings for Christmas and had a nice little dinner, which I like to think of as a going-away party for me and me alone.

I finally braved the treacherous roads the next afternoon, expecting I’d need to be home the next day for all the Christmas Eve festivities. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home and learned we weren’t doing any sort of celebrating until Sunday. So I was stuck at home, staring at all the things I need to pack up but can’t quite get the motivation to do so. And then yesterday I got myself all prettied up and fought the ice again for the Candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, but nobody showed up. (You’d really think someone would have called me, since I was partly in charge of the service. But nooooooooo.) So I stayed up super late last night, reading and messing around on the computer.

This morning my mother woke me up at 8:00 a.m. to say she and my father were going to my youngest sister’s house to see my niece and nephew open presents and enjoy the megaload from Santa. I mumbled and rolled over. Then she woke me up at 1:30 to say they were going to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner, which of course I was welcomed to join them at. Bah, humbug! I was sleepy and greasy and my eyes were almost matted shut. Plus, the friends live way out in the country in the foothills of the Ozarks, and I wasn’t about to drive myself there. So I put in a load of laundry, took out the trash, and got online.

But it looks as though tomorrow we’ll actually be doing the traditional Christmas thing as a family. As traditional as my family gets, anyway. For years we had Italian food for Thanksgiving, despite the fact that not a one of us has a drop of Italian blood. I, of course, bitched and moaned every year because lasagna and spaghetti and manicotti just don’t count as Thanksgiving for me. My mother’s reasoning is that it’s stupid to have the exact same meal twice in a one-month span (Thanksgiving and Christmas). There’s some insane troll logic for you, because it sure doesn’t seem to bother her that we have Spam sandwiches every single night. Is it really too much to expect to have turkey and dressing and sweet potatoes and every single casserole on the planet a measley two times a year? Geez.

This year we actually had those traditional American foods for Thanksgiving, and I was elated. Bingo! I’m finally getting my way. But alas, that’s because Mama is switching up her ethnic holiday meal plan. This year for Christmas we’re having Mexican. So think of me when you’re having asparagus casserole and delicious ham and pumpkin pie.

Because I’ll be eating tacos.



She Put the “Grand” in “Grandma”

12:31 am · category: Uncategorized
Today my grandmother stopped by to tell my daddy — her son — something. We eventually got around to talking about last night’s choral performance, and she turned to me and said, “And you — why, you looked absolutely beautiful last night, standing under those lights with your make up so pretty and your hair fixed nice. You were just beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look prettier.” This was a marked change from most of her recent “compliments,” which tend to be more along the lines of, “So, you look like you’ve lost weight. Are you losing weight?” (I haven’t; in fact, I’ve gained — but thanks for reminding me.)
Sometimes a girl just needs to hear something like that.
And then, to top it off, Rie (That’s my grandmother, whose name is actually Marie; hence, “Rie” is pronounced “ree” rather than “rye.”) asked if I wanted to take my grandfather’s keyboard when I move in a couple of weeks.
Now see, Rie bought the piano I mentioned in my last post many, many years ago when I first started lessons. The piano stayed at her house, which was caddy-corner to my own home at the time. When my parents purchased a larger home a few blocks away, we took the piano with us because we finally had room for it. Years later, when I — the sole trained pianist in the family — asked my mother if I could take it with me, she responded with an emphatic and slightly malicious “no.” I appealed to my grandmother for help, but she (rightfully, I suppose) refused to get involved, saying the piano was for the “family” and that my parents could decide what to do with it.
In other (slightly related news), I got my hair cut yesterday. The cut is okay, although I’m not too pleased with the color. But if my grandma said I was stunning, it must be okay.
Edit — For whatever reason, my posts aren’t coming out right again. Yesterday’s post came out exactly as intended, but now I’m back to the no-space-between-paragraphs thing.


Panic and Pianos

3:04 am · category: Uncategorized

Tonight I performed in the Christmas cantata presented annually by the community choir in my hometown. It was lovely, especially since we had all kinds of musicians accompanying us this year. Usually there are only a couple of percussionists and horns to help out the pianist, but tonight we had a miniature symphonic band, complete with a harp. You can’t beat a top-notch harpist when it comes to Christmas music.

The evening would have been perfect had it not been for the fact that I had a solo. Mind you, this was a solo I didn’t get until 24 hours before the performance, at which point the original soloist called to say he wasn’t going to fulfill his obligation because he had finals. Because the solo was in my range and I happened to be there when the big ole quitter called the director, I somehow got the gig. Now, understand that the original soloist is working on his masters in vocal performance, so there was no way I could possibly live up to the expectations of the rest of the choir. But theoretically, I should have been able to do it decently.

Unfortunately, I have this thing where I freak out when I have to sing alone in public. It confounds me that I can teach a class of 30-some-odd teenagers and be completely comfortable, or that I can preach in front of a congregation of 100 or more and feel like I have a captive audience, or moderate a quiz bowl tournament attended by 3,000 students and educators without ever realizing that anyone other than the players are present. But stick me in front of ten people and ask me to sing by myself, and I lose it. My knees knock and my hands shake and my voice warbles and I damn near pee my pants. Singing alone scares the willies out of me, and it didn’t help that there were so many people in attendance (400 or more) that they had to put chairs in the aisles. (Side note: the fire chief was also in attendance and didn’t say a word about this, despite the fact that we were clearly filled beyond capacity and that there were nine candles and five oil lanterns flaming away. That’s a small town for you.)

I suppose I’m not alone in this weird fear. I once worked for a woman who didn’t really mind heights or water, but she was terrified of falling from a great height into water. Swimming pools were okay, and mountain overlooks were okay, but high diving boards freaked her out. Waterfalls were completely off limits. I’m sure there’s some sort of psychological term for this, but I’m far too lazy to worry too much about it right now.

On a related music note (tee-hee), I’m pissed off at my mother because — yet again — she will not let me take the piano with me when I move in a couple of weeks. Her reasoning is that the piano belongs to the family and that everyone plays it. What she means is that she had lessons for six months when she was a pre-teen and that one of my sisters can pick out a tune thanks to being a first-rate clarinetist. What my mother ignores is the fact that I took lessons for seven years (including a horrific year in college because I erroneously thought a piano class would mean an easy “A”) and have played for almost twenty. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really play very well, but I can read music and can turn out a pretty nice piece with practice. (Sight reading has never really been my thing, though.) I mean, when the regular organist and the back-up are unavailable, I have to play at church, so I must not suck too bad.

My theory is that I’m moving to a new area where I know absolutely no one and will have neither a phone, nor internet service, nor cable television. And honestly, a girl can read only so much. I’ve always found that playing piano was a wonderful way to wile away the hours, but now I won’t even have that. [/end rant]



It Ain’t Samsonite

5:23 pm · category: The Whole Fam Damnly
My father is an intelligent, well-educated man working in a professional field. He plays golf and has a certain fashion flair. He’s an excellent cook and a tremendously gifted writer. He’s as funny as they come. He’s a cool guy. But there’s the bag thing.
Recently, I’ve noticed that Daddy has been carrying a bag. In that bag he carries his wallet, keys and pocket knife. The bag also holds pencils, a packet of tissues, a checkbook, paperclips, chapstick, and other odds and ends.
It might sound as though Daddy is a progressive man. You might be thinking to yourself, “How wonderfully metrosexual of him.” You might be recalling the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry begins carrying a “man purse” (Or, as he called it, a “European carry-all.”).
But you would be wrong.
You see, my father carries these things in a one-gallon Ziplock bag. You know, the kind with the zipper lock. He clutches it under his arm, and he carries it everywhere. He calls it a “disposable attache case.”
That, in and of itself, was bad enough. But a couple of weeks ago he went on a weekend trip. Despite the fact that we have at least four nice pieces of luggage in our home (and several more put away in a storage building), Daddy “packed” his things in a large trash bag. “Disposable luggage,” he called it.
I am mortified.
(Also, I am really confused right now because I cannot get spaces/empty lines between my paragraphs. Blogger Help has been, umm, unhelpful. Ideas?)