Did I mention before that I hate shopping? Especially when it involves a Cherokee, some steroid rage, and organic baby oatmeal (not necessarily in that order).

Anyway, we ventured out today.
The day after Christmas.

Mainly because the baby needed organic oatmeal that *apparently* can't be carried at any store near my house.
(Ok, really? My car is in the shop and I hadn't been out for like 5 days, maybe THAT'S the REAL reason, but whatever...).

Anyway, it was as you imagine the day after Christmas at a popular local shopping establishment. Crazy - people everywhere (Hellllooooo people who MUST return items the day after Christmas? WHAT.ARE.YOU.THINKING?!?!).

So we pull up to a *closer* parking spot to wait for someone leaving (because it's cold out and with a baby and all the baby accouterments you have a NEED to get as close as possible). While waiting in the over-packed parking lot, the little Jeep Cherokee that we're "blocking" decides he can't wait the 60 seconds it takes the other person to pull out so we can park. He starts backing up. As someone sitting in the back with a baby and directly in the line of back-up lights, I calmly say to Todd, "Honk your horn, this guy's backing up." (OK, it was more like HOOOOOONK YOUR HOOOOOOORN THIS @%#&!#@*^$ FEELS THE NEED TO BACK UP RIGHT THIS SECOND. HONK! I SAID HONK YOUR HORN!!!!).

The Cherokee idiot (the Jeep, not the Indian) pushes it as close as he can and then throws up his hand and starts gesturing. By this time, the car in the spot we were waiting for had pulled out and was now blocked by the Cherokee idiot sitting perpendicular to our car. At that moment? Mr.-Bald-head-steroid-dude-who-has-no-interest-in-the-situation walks up beside our car and also starts to gesture to us while pointing to the Cherokee idiot like, "DUDE! THIS NICE GUY'S TRYING TO BACK HIS CHEROKEE OUT AND YOU'RE BLOCKING HIM."

The time frame of all of this?
About 2 minutes.
That's right, Cherokee idiot couldn't wait 120 seconds.
Was his wife giving birth?
Had someone severed a limb?
Did he only have 2 minutes to get to the bank to deposit his Mega Millions winnings?
Was there a blue light special at some Kmart?
No - not to my knowledge - on all fronts.

The best part was that baldie - steroid boy who had nothing to do with the situation - felt the need to get involved and yell at us.

My response to steroid boy? I CACKLED with laughter.
It was better than the alternative (which was a brief fleeting thought of jumping out of the car to go toe-to-toe with baldie to mind his own business).

That's the holiday spirit everyone!

(And, really, bald steroid dude? It was just a busy post-holiday parking lot. No need to go all steroid rage on my family...and it wasn't even you we were blocking...Woo-sah and find your happy spot in the new year!)

(It's just a suggestion...)


Something is drastically missing from my holiday season this year.
Those How-great-is-my-family?-Oh?-You-didn't-know?-Let-me-tell-you! letters.

You know them. You have a least one friend or family member in your circle that feels the need to send you a letter recapping the accomplishments of each and every one of their family members for an entire year.

What's that all about anyway? At what point (as a parent) do you think, "EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to know how great we are. And if they don't know? Well, for goodness sake, we're going to tell them!"

I like hearing about friends or family members just as much as the next person. But really? How annoying is it that little Johnny hasn't done anything bad for an entire year? I mean, SERIOUSLY? For AN ENTIRE YEAR the only thing that little Johnny has done is win awards?

And join 27 organizations.
Where he's the president and/or MVP of ALL but one.
Not to mention that he teaches Sunday school.
To the other preschoolers in his class.
And has advanced to the 7th grade.
At the ripe age of 4.

Come on, people. I don't know about you, but I live in the real world. You remember that one? The one where there's too much stress because there's no money. Anxiety over the state of the world. The one where little Johnny gets sent to the principal's office for making a sexual advances at little Sally in first grade. The one where you get too much food and too little exercise. The one where your parents get sick too soon and your friends lose their job.

You now - REAL LIFE. THAT's the holiday letter I'm sending next year.

I get that maybe it's just me. (BAH HUMBUG...whatever). I mean, I had sixteen pictures of Ella sitting on Santa's lap printed into a Christmas card to send to our closest friends and family and I felt WEIRD about sending those. (And I even had some leftover!).

Hell, I don't even *gasp* carry a picture of my kid in my wallet (look, there's a lot going on in there with 3,722 pieces of change, some fuzzy gum and all those membership cards to now-defunct organizations, what do you want me to do?).

These are all things I plan to explore further about myself in the new year.
With Dr. Phil.
On one of his forums.

But for now? I'm starting next year's holiday letter. It opens with, "Dear Big Fat Fakers and Liars..."


Is it too much to ask to have one evening of fun with my family?
I didn't think so.

Until last Thursday.

There's a lot going on here.
With our business.
With our business transition.
With my husband's job.

So me - itinerary girl - thinks, "Hey, wouldn't it be nice to get out for an evening of family holiday fun for a change instead of eating fast food yet again while we snap at each other out of stress-overload-induced bitchiness?"

Let the planning begin.

I like light shows. Not the Pink Floyd psychedelic set-to-music kind. I mean the festival of holiday Christmas lights kind.

When we used to live on the East Coast (AKA Civilization), we would drive through this park every year that would set up a holiday light show - Christmas tree lights in different shapes and forms (like carolers, Rudolph, Santa, etc.). Some would move. Some were just really pretty. Anyway, I always really enjoyed it (shut up - it was simple and nice. Plus shiny things amuse me).

So this year I thought the 10 month old might really appreciate it (yeah, the baby, not me). So after much research (AND THEN MORE RESEARCH), I find a drive-through light show park about an hour from our house.

And not just any light show.

I know. You can only imagine my squeal of glee.
(It was something like this: WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)

So I think (which may have been where the problems started): We'll go see Santa, have a nice family dinner (at a REAL, SIT-DOWN RESTAURANT!), and then drive on to the park with the lights.

It was a nice plan. Here's how the night really played out:

1. On the way to see Santa our friend calls to say the light show has been cancelled. (SURELY NOT!) I call the park? Yeah, "The only night we've ever been closed! We had flooding." Uh. OK. It's freezing out, there's no snow and hasn't been rain for weeks. BUT OK.


2. We get to the mall with *supposedly* 40 minutes to spare before Santa takes his break (I mean, he's SANTA. He works for ONE SEASON. He seriously deserves BREAKS?!?). We get there just as they are pulling the tether across the end of the line 40 MINUTES EARLY. We debate (as all the other parents watch) whether to go under the tether anyway (my conniving husband said YES, his honest wife said NO). So we have 2 hours to kill. At the mall. With a baby. In a mini-Mrs. Claus dress. And a headband.

(Did I mention I LOATHE malls?!?)
(Did I mention my daughter hates headbands over her swoopy hair?!?)

As you probably guessed, baby meltdown. Parent meltdown. Standing in line for another hour (we had *that kid* in line - the one where all the other parents watch in horror/amusement that it's not their kid? Yeah. That one.) STILL WAITING FOR SANTA WHO HAD THE NERVE TO BE 25 MINUTES LATE.


3. Defeated, exhausted, hungry, we drive to our *nice* family dinner. Where the baby promptly passes out in emotional and physical exhaustion (minus the headband) and we eat in an exhausted silence (so NOT the family time I envisioned).


After all that, there was one redeeming moment where the elves parted the clouds, the fairy dust sprinkled down, the candy canes danced and there was no Noggin Moose A. Moose singing anything for the thousandth time and we got this picture:

I know.
Who can believe.



One of the nice things about living on the water is the wildlife you get to see. I find the sound of seagulls soothing. I love to see the swans swimming in the morning and the little duckies feeding just out from our dock.

It's all very calming.

Until you hear the BLAM of the hunters gun, that is, as was the case this very morning.

Where our dock sits happens to be in this little alcove where the water is lower. Apparently this makes my dock and the neighbor's dock ideal cover for hunters to prey upon little Donald until they can blow his head off.

We go through this every duck season.

The first season?

I ambled out to my dock and lit off fire crackers to scare the ducks away until the hunters were annoyed enough to leave.

The second season?

The neighbor got to them before us.

This season?

Well, I'm just done.

Look, I don't mind people hunting. I don't like it. I don't agree with it (I BARELY eat meat), but I have no problem with you doing it. Just not in a place where I have to experience it (BLAM-BLAM-BLAM) and my 10 month old can sit at the window and watch the duckie carnage.

So today, I was fed up and took things into my own hands. And by taking things into my own hands I, of course, mean that I had my husband call the sheriff and ask the guys to move (there is some LAW about how close you can shoot to a house and a highly traveled road, RIGHT)?!? It should've ended there, but no. The next thing I know? Hunter man is knocking on my door. After a quick conversation on the porch, my husband comes back in and says, "He was very nice."


I shoot him a knowing glare.

(He's WAY WAY nicer than me).