Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Get-Together Games NOT brought to you by Parker Brothers

I've been a bit remiss in posting the last week. Not because I haven't written - - I have all kinds of stories for you kids. But my family lives in a part of Hell known as "Dial-Up Country" and I refuse to deal with that. So, you've been blogless lately. I'll do what I can to make up for that . . . but don't hold your breath. I'm only in town tonight. Then I'm gone again until after New Year's. I MAY post from my vacation destination. The following was penned about Saturday, December 16th.

It is my personal belief that anyone who yells “CHARADES!!!” when asked “What sounds like fun?” should be sentenced to death by firing squad. Sans blindfold.

And anyone who seconds that motion should be strapped to a board and forced to endure water torture or 12 continuous hours of Barney! LIVE. A few repeats of “and the green grass grows all around, all around, and the green grass grows all around” and they will learn that Charades is never an acceptable past time.

Saturday night a rather impromptu Christmas party, of sorts, popped up. Clark and Mandy, Ally and Chad and then the two singles: Ally’s sister Diane and, of course, me. After all conversation was exhausted, Clark surprised us by suggesting we play games. That was Mandy’s cue to drag out every board and card game imaginable. I was perusing Pictionary (a game I hadn’t seen in someone’s possession since I was in Junior High) when Ally practically screamed, “I know! Let’s play CHARADES!!!”

I thought she was joking. SURELY, she was joking. But the look on her face, and her husband’s enthusiastic nod, were enough to tell me that she wasn’t. I looked to her sister, Diane, for help but she too was smiling and nodding. I had to stop myself from digging the short stubby Pictionary pencils from the box in front of me and stabbing them in the eyes. Charades?

Look, I only voluntarily perform any semblance of Charades once to twice a year. And, even then, only when it’s part of another game entirely: Like Cranium. I’m all about some Cranium. But Charades? Standing alone? I would rather organize a CD collection alphabetically, thank you. Clark had the same pained look on his face that I had, so I thought I might be saved. “Ummm . . . Ally, we’re not really Charades people. In fact, the lazier we can be during a game, the better. How about Monopoly? Monopoly doesn’t require a lot of movement.”

Just as I began to nod MY head enthusiastically, Mandy – that Judas – betrayed us both. “Come on, guys, Charades sounds like fun! We can do teams! Meghan can be with us and Diane can play with Ally and Chad!” Charades does not sound like fun. Charades sounds like the worst game ever created. I know that some of you would argue “Dodgeball.” However, Dodgeball is just cruel – not unusual. At least in Dodgeball you get to throw something at the person annoying you.

I didn’t even try to whisper as I looked at Clark and said “You married her.” He leaned over to me and quietly said “Think if we start being louder, we can wake Emma up and get out of playing, at all?” I elbowed him for even thinking about waking my sweet girl up and then suggested we light the Christmas tree on fire. He countered with, “I think we’ve got some tequila in the kitchen. Maybe if we started doing shots, Charades could be bearable.” I shook my head forlornly and said, “There’s not enough Patron in the world to make Charades bearable.” Clark nodded solemnly in agreement.

This is when Mandy interrupted with, “Well! If you two are going to be so negative about this, maybe you just shouldn’t play.” YES! I was going to be saved after all! Though I realized she was completely trying to guilt/reverse psychology us into playing, I wasn’t falling for it. Yay! No Charades! But before I could launch myself to my feet to perform my Happy dance, Clark RUINED it by saying “We’ll play.” Agh! I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to look at him and say, “We? You got a mouse in your pocket?” But I was already getting labeled Negative Nelly and decided to swallow that caustic remark.

And so Charades began. Now, I could bore you with the details of how 6 adults managed to miss EVERY.SINGLE.CLUE. that was acted out. Or how Ally fancies herself the Meryl Streep of silent film. Or how Diane got sick of Ally overacting constantly and threw a pencil at her chest - - only her aim was off and she nailed Ally in the eye, thus ending her promising acting career. But I don’t want to bore you with any of those details.

I’ll simply tell you how the game ended.

Mandy was getting increasingly hostile as Clark and I decided “Screw it, let’s have some fun” and didn’t even try acting out the clues anymore. During his turns he was just acting like a mime and I was yelling answers that made no sense at all. An example would be when he was acting out a “movie” and pretended to be trapped in a glass box. Instead of yelling “Trapped!” that Kevin Bacon cinematic classic (sarcasm evident) I yelled “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!” which made Clark collapse in laughter and Mandy turn purple in anger. She then commenced telling Clark what an asshole he was and couldn’t they just have fun for once and why did he have to be so negative about these things . . blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Thus ticking Clark off. So Clark jumps up and says, “Alright, Damnit! We’ll play for real! This one’s a common phrase, see if you can guess it!” He then stands very still, shakes himself once like he’s clearing the mechanism for Charades greatness and then slowly raises both middle fingers and waves them at his wife.

Oh! Oh! I know that one!

The End

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Phone Etiquette for the Mentally Disabled

Let me lay it out for you:

You call ONCE.
I don’t answer.
This is, more than likely, because I am busy.
I saw that you called. When I get free, and have the inclination, I will call you back.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it should work.

But, for some reason it works like this:

The phone rings.
I don’t answer.
More than likely, because I am busy.
I saw that there was a call. I will return it at MY earliest convenience.

The phone IMMEDIATELY rings again.
I’m STILL busy, so I don’t answer.
I see that it’s still you. I’m aggravated that you immediately called back when I failed to answer the first time, but I let it slide because maybe it’s important.

The phone IMMEDIATELY rings again.
I’m, surprise-surprise, STILL busy.
But this isn’t why I don’t answer. I’m now NOT answering out of principle.
Because it’s obvious you have brain damage.
My anger levels jumps from a 1 to a 4.
Leaps and bounds, people, leaps and bounds.

The phone IMMEDIATELY rings again.
I’m not busy, but there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that I’m picking up this phone because YOU are an imbecile who needs to be locked up in the looney bin!
Freak!
I check the caller ID just to make certain that it’s not someone without brain damage.
We’re in luck. It’s not. It’s still you.
My anger level immediately hops from a 4 to RED-ALERT-she’s-going-to-throw-her phone-into-a-wall-any-second.
I’m fighting myself not to answer the phone and use every single cussword imagineable, and a few new ones thrown in for good measure. It pays to be inventive.

There are a few moments of silence.
I find myself wondering if you’ve suddenly gained an ounce of intelligence and then decide that it’s far more likely that you were struck by lightning and burned to a crisp.
That thought makes me smile.
My anger level drops from RED ALERT to a 9.

The *&(*&^$%#$^# phone rings AGAIN.
The caller ID is flashing PRIVATE CALL.
Oh ho!
So now you think I’M an imbecile.
News flash, moron, if I didn’t answer when your number was flashing, what are the chances I’m answering a blocked call?
Oh jebus.
Anger level back to RED ALERT.
Only now I’m not going to damage my phone.
I’m going to locate your unattended vehicle and dig my key into it so deeply that it cuts THROUGH the metal.
Yes, I will ruin a key . . . but it’s for a good cause.
Does your mother KNOW that you’re more clingy than a barnacle on the Titanic?

Silence.
Blessed silence.
Because I set my phone to only accept known callers.
Ah ha! You’re foiled. Yes, you go straight to voicemail and yes, you will fill my mailbox, BUT I could care less because I don’t check voicemail because I hate it. Have fun!

Dear sweet Mary mother of Jebus.
You’re smarter than I gave you credit for.
You textmail me.
Why aren’t you answering your phone?”
I can’t even begin to muster the physical strength it would take to type in a response.
Mainly because no matter what I would type, you wouldn’t understand, and the response would simply encourage you to send more textmails.

Oh, I can’t deal.

I contemplate committing suicide by digging my heart out with a rusty spoon, knowing it would be less time consuming and painful than dealing with your sheer stupidity.
But this plan is eliminated because it would mean my parents would go through my goody drawer.

So I turn the phone off completely.

If my doorbell rings in a few moments, please know that you will die a horribly painful, untimely death by my hands.
Prison has to be quieter than this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tomato Sauce is SO Much Sexier than Whip Cream


Lately, I am klutz extraordinaire.
Though, I don’t really think that this one was my fault.

R., one of my therapy kids, was eating his lunch in the therapy room.
He had ravioli, corn and a small bowl of salad.
Now, 3 year olds aren’t really known for their dexterity, particularly with a spoon, so it was no surprise that he kept dropping corn from his spoon onto the floor.
He was nearing the end of the meal so I decided to get down under the table and retrieve the scattered pieces of yellow vegetableness.

So there I was on my hands and knees, gathering corn niblets from the linoleum floor, when R. decides he’s finished with his lunch and starts to get up from the table to take his plate and bowl to the trashcan. . .
Just as I decide to pop up from the floor and carry the napkin full of corn to the trash.
As you can imagine, there was a collision of epic proportions.

My head makes contact with the plate(full of tomato sauce and abandoned corn), R.’s hand drops the plate and suddenly I am covered in meaty red sauce with corn adornments: Hair, head and chest.
I was SEXY.

Thankfully, I prepare for such occurrences (isn't that sad???).

I keep a bag full of toiletries in my vehicle at all times, along with a set of extra scrubs.
But it doesn’t change the fact that for a good 5 minutes, I resembled one of my mother’s favorite pictures of me: An almost 2-yr old covered in spaghetti from head-to-toe and loving every second of it – even if I do look slightly scared. I’m pretty sure even then I knew my parents were godless commies who were going to blackmail me with these pictures for the rest of my life. kidding, my parents are wonderful

Anywho – so here ya go: A picture of me MUCH like I looked today . . only about 24 years ago.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not "My"Space Drama

I readily admit that I’m not a “Myspacer”.
Though it may offend a whole lot of people here, and I’m slightly sorry for that, I always thought MySpace was a glorified online dating and bragging service. “Oh, look at me, I’m so hot and my life is so wonderful. Add me as your friend and you’re life can be like this, too.” Again, I’m sorry if this offends anyone.

I’m sure some people would think the same things could be said for the “blogosphere”, but I just can’t see it that way. MySpace is anything BUT anonymous. There are pictures and links to family members and friends and people leave you visible messages related to your personal and private lives. People KNOW you.

That’s not, necessarily, true in the blogging world. You can be completely anonymous if you wish. You don’t have to have contact information, your real name, pictures, heck - - I read blogs that I think are completely fiction. Yeah, I could be wrong . . . but somehow, I doubt it. And as for pictures . . unless it's a picture of me as an 8 yr old or a baby, it's not being posted. I don't want someone I know surfing blogs of Arkansans and finding out I blogged about that time they threw their engagement ring into the middle of a crowded dancefloor.

I started blogging just to vent. I didn’t care if I got comments or not. That started to change somewhere along the lines. I would obsess over how many comments I was getting, who was leaving them and who wasn’t.

“Kelly* commented on my last three posts, but not this one. Gosh, did I offend her? Did she not like it? Has she stopped reading me? Oh crap, what did I do?”

And, I admit that I started making blogging friends. E-mails, IMs, I even exchanged phone numbers with a handful of bloggers. Last New Year’s Eve was spent with a blogger. We met for the first time two days before New Year’s. She drove down to AR and we spent a few days together partying and having a good time.

I could never say I regret involving the blog in my real life. I’ve met some amazing people who, at times, are even closer to me than the people in my real life - - because the anonymity is comforting. I don’t have to worry that they’re going to go running to the people I vent about and cause some huge 8th grade dilemma of he said, she said. It’s (for the most part) drama free.

From what I’ve heard about MySpace, it’s nothing but drama. I can’t count the number of grown-adult-people I’ve heard start a conversation with “And this crazy ho that I don’t even know left a comment on my profile talking crap about me!” Lord save me.

But now we’re getting to the point of this whole post.

I DO have a MySpace account. Until today, I’d never even visited my own profile (which, by the way, is completely devoid of any information).
I signed up for it to view pictures and blog entries that friends had emailed me about and said “Please check this out!”
And since stupid MySpace is completely unlike Blogspot and you HAVE to have an account to view ANYTHING, I very reluctantly typed in my email address and a password.

And after a few brief stints checking out Tara’s new baby pictures, Grant’s blog entry and about his jack-butt boss and photos of James's new husband (I admit that this one was “spying”, he had constantly denied he was gay – but suddenly got married to a boy when he was safely out of AR), I forgot all about it.

I knew I had signed up for it, it was always there in the back of my mind, but I never visited, never put any information on my profile, never nothing.

Well, I woke this morning to an e-mail from a friend saying “Get on MySpace and go to my profile, then click on my pictures. I had Michael upload all the pictures of the new house and you’ve GOT to see it!”

Alright, alright, fine. I’ll go look at the pictures.
I type in her MySpace url. I click on pictures. It kicks me to the “You must be logged in to do that!” page. I type in my email address, type in my password and am greeted with “Invalid password”. Do what, huh?

I try it two more times before having the MySpace gods e-mail me a new password. When that finally occurred, I signed in to look at the house pictures. But before it let me view the pictures, it kicked me to “My profile”. Something I’d never even looked at. There’s a little icon on there that says “New Messages.” Call me curious, I clicked on it.

Oh my goodness.
I had like 98 messages.
Messages from people I didn’t know.
Messages from people I’d known in college, but hadn’t spoken to in years.
Messages from people in the blog world.
Messages, messages, messages.

Most of which made NO sense to me.
Some of which were HOSTILE.
Messages like:

“Oh! You can’t return people’s calls anymore but you can spy on me on MySpace. I’m going to set my profile to private so you can’t see anything anymore!” (from James and his new husband)

Or

“Glad you’re finally on MySpace! Add me so you can see the new pictures up of me and Charles!” (this from some girl in New York that I have NO knowledge of)

Or

“I didn’t even know you’d signed up! Why haven’t you commented on my page, snob??” (a blogger I adore much!)

Why DO so many MySpacers use exclamation points at the end of every sentence?

But what freaked me out were the hostile messages. Or messages from people I didn’t’ know, but seemed to know me somehow, someway.

And now I’m all completely paranoid.
It’s not like it’s hard to figure out my password.
Easy, breezy. And, I do that thing that NO ONE is supposed to do because I have NO memory: I use the same two passwords for everything on the planet.
It’s more than obvious to me that someone has been using my password and account to play Super Stalker.

But what I can’t get is who these people they were stalking were and WHY they were stalking them.
It has to be someone I know: Who else would care about James and his new husband?
But it must be someone that blogs, too, because there were bloggers on there with messages like: “You’ve finally converted! And you said it would never happen! Leave me a comment!

So now, I’m going through the process of visiting the profiles of all these messages and trying to figure out how they link up. Maybe, just maybe, if I can put the pieces together just right I can figure out what psycho has been using my good name to spy on other people.

Drama. The one thing I was avoiding by NOT being a MySpacer, still somehow manages to jump up and bite me on the butt.