The Rub

H*A*P*P*Y T*H*A*N*K*S*G*V*I*N*G!!

So every year at Thanksgiving (and at all meals with the family) we all join hands & bow our heads for grace. Most of the time Hale (Mom’s man) says grace and it is the funniest thing ever. Now, saying a blessing over food and giving thanks to the Lord should really not be cause for hilarity, but it *so* is. Because whoever sits next to Hale will get the rub. When Hale holds your hand while he says grace, he just gets so into the whole thing that he will rub your hand with enough vigor to start a fire. Which made it a whole lot of fun the first holiday dinner J and Marc, my brother in law attended. They happened to sit down on either side of Hale thinking they had the best seats to watch the game during dinner. Little did they know. We kept it a secret and exchanged knowing glances across the table. Then it was time for grace. Hale reached out his hands and they reluctantly took them in that I’m-only-holding-your-hand-to-make-my-woman-happy kind of way. Hale’s got one eye on the game, one eye on the food and is inadvertently stretching grace into a monologue because he keeps getting distracted by the game. But he’s sure rubbing those boys’ hands like crazy, and they’re being good with their heads bowed turning 3 shades of red because they don’t know why this man is rubbing their hands like this. And the whole time all of us girls are trying so hard not to laugh while we try to peek and keep our heads bowed at the same time. It’s just so funny- Hale is completely oblivious to it all- he doesn’t really realize he’s even giving the rub. And he doesn’t discriminate- Brian and Rachel got the rub the first time they met! If you come to dinner, you just might get it too!


For some reason I’ve always been an attractor of personal space invaders. Strangers are forever patting my arm or back or doing that lean in on you thing when something’s funny. So, last night J & I were out Christmas shopping when we had an odd encounter. The cashier at Best Buy was apparently in training and had a helper lady standing there with her. Let’s call the helper lady “Cher” because of the striking resemblance. Cher’s bagging up our purchases when she leans in really close and sniffs me. Then she leans in and sniffs J then swivels back and sniffs me again. Cher looks at me with this puzzled look on her face, but doesn’t say anything. So I say “It’s me.”, because J doesn’t wear cologne all that much (the man’s been working on the same bottle for the last 3 years) but I did happen to spritz some body spray on that morning and it really does last all day. So Cher leans in again and sniffs, again, and says “Hmmmm. Nice.” Then she turns and helps with the jammed receipt tape like she didn’t just completely lean all in on us and give us a big, long, slow sniff.

Get in and get out

Yesterday I did some Christmas shopping with my sister, Sara, although I ended up with more stuff for J & I than for other people. I did get a few gifts though so I think I did ok. The mall & Target were already packed! See, my goal is to have all of my shopping done by the end of this week if possible. Hopefully, I won’t have to venture out at all after Thanksgiving to shop. I like to get in and get out when I’m shopping. Now, sometimes I like a leisurely shopping trip where you can browse, but mostly I try to be as efficient as possible. That’s why I don’t like shopping during Christmas season on the weekends. Am I the only one who notices that people seem to shop in much larger, slower moving groups?

Anyway, I took advantage of a $10 coupon Bath & Body Works sent me to buy some things for my little sister Morgan. We also stopped in Kohl’s, Metropolitan Deluxe (a kitschy home store that apparently doesn’t have a web site yet), and Pottery Barn. And we noticed they’re opening a Cheesecake Factory at the mall soon. It looks like a cute place. It’s the 1st one in Charlotte so that will be neat to check out. We also have for the first time a See’s Candies booth. I hope the trend continues with cool stores moving into Charlotte. Now, if we can just get an IKEA…. Saturday night after work I found a couple of other presents at The Bag Lady including some cute Anne Taintor things. Since quite a few gift receivers read this blog I can’t go into detail.

Last night J and I went to dinner at Outback then watched the first Harry Potter to prep J for when we see the 2nd Harry Potter this weekend. He hadn’t seen the first one and didn’t want to be lost. Since this weekend was so busy it flew by. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! It’s weird, last Thanksgiving seems like it was just a little while ago, but at the same time years ago. I can’t believe I’m saying things like that. I’m so old.

Planned Culture

I’m online right now trying to secure tickets to The Lion King. I’m so excited about this show! I’ve been waiting for years to see it. I first saw a snippet of it when the performers were on Rosie O’Donnell’s show. It looks beautiful and fun. We try to go to at least one event like this a year. J’s not as keen on things like the theater as I am. I love a good show. I managed to drag him to a couple of shows on our honeymoon, and we saw a Cirque du Soleil show last spring, but that’s been about it for him. So he gave in and agreed to go to this show. What kills me is that we have to buy the tickets now, and the show is at the end of May. Why do they do that?? It forces you to plan your life so far ahead. Plus, I have 3 chances a year to ask for vacation, and they do it in 4 month blocks. My life is so planned these days. I miss being a kid when you didn’t know what was happening 3 days from now, much less 3 months. I can tell you right now exactly what I’m doing with my vacation time next year. So sad. I guess it does feed into the side of me that loves lists & planning though!

Pet Killer

Mrs. Roboto’s commentary on her husband’s family’s unbelievably bad luck with pets made me feel a little comforted in the fact that I’m not the only one who’s had such bad pet karma. It all started when I was a wee little girl. I had this brand new kitten named Snowball who I carried everywhere. I carried her in the crook of my arm and apparently didn’t realize that I had strangled her. I told my Mom that she’d been sleeping all day and wondered why she wouldn’t play with me. Mom realized what had happened and took Snowball away. I think she told me later that Snowball had gone to live on some magical kitty farm or something.

It just snowballed from there. Heh. There are so many pets that I have no idea where they’ve ended up. Casey (black lab), Zero (mutt), Jean-Luc (psycho kitty)- they all ended up with old boyfriends, but I don’t know if they still live with them. I had a pet crayfish named Sam that lived in a mayonnaise jar in the bathroom when I was in middle school. He didn’t last long. And a few years ago I tried my luck with hermit crabs. They died out on the porch after just a week. When my sister and I were young we had hamsters (or gerbils- aren’t they all the same anyway?). One somehow ended up in the dryer, and one met it’s end when it slipped down a hole on the second floor in the hot water heater closet. We couldn’t get to him. That was just terrible- we could hear him scratching in the walls for a few days. Then it just got quiet.

And we all know how bad I am with fish. All this and one day I’ll be responsible for children?? Say a prayer for me. And them!

Whew- what a trip. We had a lot of fun. We drove …

Whew- what a trip. We had a lot of fun. We drove all through the night Thursday night. Friday we got to Ikea at about 1pm. We didn’t leave there until 10 pm. We each filled up a buggy and Mom also filled up a flat bed cart. The cashier said to her “Congratulations! You officially have the longest receipt of the day.” It was Mom’s first time at Ikea so it’s understandable that she would go a little nuts. It took us over half an hour to pack the car. We drove my Rav4, and even with the seats folded down we still had to tie Mom’s suitcase to the roof with a bungee cord! I was on the receiving end of many a vulgar hand gesture from Woodbridge, VA to Baltimore. Who knew my careful driving (as to not dislodge Mom’s luggage from the roof) would offend so many?

Saturday we met up with Rachel & Brian who provided us with a most fabulous tour of what is apparently the Greatest City in the World (according to the park benches). We went to Lexington Market where we had lunch from Polock Johnny’s, chips from Utz, candy from Rhebs, and saw all kinds of interesting people. Then we went all kinds of shopping in the coolest stores: Hometown Girl for Baltimore souvenirs, Benefit for sparkly lip gloss, Jake’s Dog House for fabulous gifties for the pooch, Eurostyle Imports for some cool Koziol stuff, then a really delicious dinner at That’s Amore. It was cold and rainy all day- so no outside stuff, but no matter- a good time was had by all! Lisa didn’t come, so that was really disappointing. I crossed 2 state lines! But, I got to see Rachel, Brian, and even Violet.

Mom and I had a big time during the drives. It’s not such a bad drive you know. And we already have things on our list for our next trip!

Just a little off the sides, please.

I went to my Mom’s last night for a little hair trim. It’s always an adventure. My Mom has been working in the banking industry for as long as I remember. She did stray from finance just long enough to graduate from Simon’s school of Hair Design in the early 80’s. I think she actually went there part time while still working at the bank, but I was a kid so my memory won’t necessarily be spot on. Anyway, Mom had an edge the other students didn’t: my sister and me. We were live-in guinea pigs. Remember that girl in your 7th grade class with a rat tail? That was me. How about the 4th grader with a Bette Midler/The Rose era perm? Yep, me again. That chick with the edgy skater hair cut at the tender age of 12? My sister. You never knew what you’d end up with when you sat down in her chair!

Now, I’m not complaining in the least- nothing beats a free hair cut and she’s really good at it. Plus, my Mom’s so great to hang with. Our family and friends have been taking advantage of Mom’s talent for years. Invites to come to dinner are often accompanied by “…and can you bring your scissors?”. The most fun part is watching her stand in front of you trying to determine if your ends are even while drinking her 3rd glass of wine. This has led to a disaster or two though. I’ll never forget when Mom highlighted my friend Leslie’s hair. Leslie had long dark chestnut hair that reached half way down her back. She wanted some blond highlights so Mom was going to work her magic. She pulled Leslie’s hair through the cap and applied the solution, wrapped her hair up in the plastic cap and we waited. We chatted & had some wine while we were waiting. In fact we lost track of time. That is, until Leslie put her hand to her head and said “Is my hair supposed to be this hot?“. Mom had me help her pull the cap off Leslie’s head and let me tell you, it was practically smoking. And it was white. Bone white- flour, snow, Elmer’s glue, stark white. It was horrible- yet it was so hard to keep from laughing just a little. She looked like the bride of Frankenstein. And by this time it was late in the evening and I’m pretty sure she had to work the next day. Mom was on the phone with Miss Clairol’s hotline so fast. She eventually toned it down after many a trip to the all night Eckerd’s, but things were never quite the same between Leslie and I.

Fun Package Surprise!

I came home last night from work to find an awesome package from Rachel, Brian & Violet! Full of all sorts of goodies. I couldn’t get them all in the picture even! Lots of soaps, a lip balm, bath salts & gel, fun glitter pens, stickers, coctail animals, lotions & potions galore!, a cool suction vase, a sweet card, and these awesome tote bags for the dogs- one for Sam (Mom’s dog) & one for Nelson that Rachel personalized and decorated herself! I tell ya, we’re so lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives. And I’ll get to thank her in person this weekend when we visit. I can’t wait for this trip- shopping and visiting with friends in a cool city- you can’t beat that!