Sage Advice

The Unborn (2009 film)
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When you live in the woods at the end of a dead end street and both your roommates head out of state for the weekend while your parents (who usually live 10 minutes away) are now miles away at the ocean, clearly the smartest thing for you to do is watch a scary movie on HBO.  If your car wouldn’t start that day and your cell phone is out of battery, it’s an even better idea. Also, it’s a must for anyone who lives in a house that makes inexplicable noises, noises that normally make you think, “What is the cat getting into now?”  Except then you realize that the warm purring coming from right next to you is actually the cat, so what’s making that rustling sound upstairs, anyway?  And that clinking sound on the back porch window?

It’ll be fine, really.  Just walk through your house closing all your blinds, checking all the deadbolts, and turning on the outdoor floodlights.  Say to your cat, “We are in for the night, sister, get comfy.”  And then skulk back to the couch.

What’s that, you say? What if you get so freaked out you start convincing yourself it might be ok to “hold it” until morning because you can’t face walking past your own front door?  That’s fine, it’s character-building. If worse comes to worse, you’ve got a Christmas tree that needs watering.  Oh, yeah, your tree is artificial and only 3/4 of the way put together.  Well, life is full of struggle and like I said, this is character-building.

Not sure which scary movie to pick for your isolated evening alone?  I suggest something where the creepiness builds slowly, something you can start watching and think, “I see that bugs and murky water are pouring out of the toilet and that tentacles are coming through the wall to grab that pretty girl while her crazy, dead mother in a hospital gown peeks out from another stall in the public restroom…but that doesn’t scare me one bit.”  That way when the paralyzed nursing home resident crawls out of his wheelchair and his head turns totally upside down as he heads up the staircase on all fours after the old lady who seems to hold all the answers to the lead character’s haunting issues…you’ll be fine. You won’t be paralyzed with fear, ready to drop your contents all over your couch, writing a blog post just to stay sane.  You won’t be honestly considering watching The Tooth Fairy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a way to scrub it all from your mind. 

No way! You’ll watch that movie and you’ll say, “Put on another! I am absolutely full of enough rational thought, inner strength, and intestinal fortitude to go through it all again! Small children taking on characteristics of the devil and stabbing innocent college girls don’t scare me one bit!”

Then you’ll search the comedy section of the free movies on demand, pick one where Paul Newman gets to play a cowboy, ponder why you didn’t pick this movie the first time around and how you might make it possible to go back in time and take Joanne Woodward’s place (except as a redhead and not a blonde), and make a nest on the couch because you’re still not ready to face walking by that front door.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Which is sad because today is the 29th of December. 

In truth, it started to look a lot like Christmas a few weeks ago, but then it got stuck and just stayed there. I’ll probably remember this year as the “3/4 Christmas.” It just never really got off the ground at my house this year. 

I really want to be more like Martha Stewart and her crafty staff.  I really do. I dream big, but it ain’t happenin’.  If you want to keep reading, you can see how much growth I have ahead of me.

I started with high hopes, though.  This decoration was really exciting for me:

It’s a Slatkin & Co. Fresh Balsam scented candle from Bath and Body Works in the center of an evergreen candle ring that I bought through a fundraiser.

The idea was that since our tree is artificial and our house would lack the amazing smell that comes with a real tree, this little number would serve as a replacement.  It totally works, too. The candle smells exactly like I want it to, fresh and seasonal. Then it also heats up the candle ring and makes it smell exactly like a Christmas tree because, well, it’s literally chunks of tree twisted into a ring.

That’s it, though.  That’s the height of the Christmas decor around here.  The best we’ve got.  No foolin’.

Oh, well, there was also this:

Kirstin won this gem in a white elephant exchange.  I loved it immediately.  You’d think it was solid bronze, right? And way too heavy to hang on a single nail, clearly.  You’re probably thinking, “How did those girls get that to hang on the wall?” Well, it’s plastic! Molded, thin, gold-colored plastic.  Shocked? Yeah, me either.

The heart-breaking news is that it only lived on the wall for a couple of days until Kirstin re-white-elephanted it at another exchange.  Peacock Clock went to live with a new family.

This is Glitter Mary.  Glitter Mary will live with me forever.

Here’s something shocking: Glitter Mary was also a white elephant gift!  I did not re-gift her, though. I hid her under my chair during the rest of the exchange so no one would steal her.  Also, Glitter Mary is a bank.

The thing that I don’t really understand about Glitter Mary is that she’s from Borders. She’s sold as actual Christmas decor next to a purple Glitter Jesus.   When I was in high school I went to Ensenada, Mexico, with a group from church to help do some building.  On the way back up to California we were stuck in traffic in Tijuana.  Folks were wandering between the vehicles selling all kinds of things: roses, chiclets, and molded plaster in the shape of The Last Supper, totally covered in glitter.  A Glitter Last Supper on the streets of Tijuana? Ok.  A purple and pink Glitter Holy Family at Borders? That’s weird.

So, Glitter Mary is weird, but I love her. I can’t really explain why, I just do.  She’s a part of the Christmas decorations around here and that’s a pretty small group.  In fact, I think you’ve seen it all.  Let’s think…candle ring, peacock clock, Glitter Mary…oh, and our 3/4 Christmas tree. 

It’s only 3/4 of it’s full height, for real.

Here’s what happened: A couple of weeks before Christmas my friend Marissa came over on a Friday night and we ate cookies, drank Jubelale, listened to Christmas music, and fully intended to put up the tree.  It’s an artificial tree and you have to attach each branch individually.  Also, it is not pre-lit.  Last year we put the tree up and then I strung all the lights.  It scratched my arms up and I ended up being short about one string.  I solved that problem by leaving most of the branches on the back bare. 

This year I thought I’d be smart by stringing the lights as we went along.  The issue was that I was still short a string of lights, even though I’d barely lit the back branches.  By the time we got to the end of the lights, we’d been plunking in branches, stringing lights, and eating cookies for at least two hours. We decided that it’d be a great time for a break and a chat, thinking that I could run and get another string of lights and finish it up sometime in the coming week.  Well, clearly that never happened.  We’ve had 3/4 of a Christmas tree up in our living room ever since. 

Oh, and one night I added this ornament:

But that is all.  Martha and her crafty staff would be completely mortified to be me, I’m sure.  That’s ok, though.  If the purpose of my work day was to dream up ways to use jello molds to construct outdoor luminaries (I’ve seen it), then I’d expect more of me, too.  But it isn’t.  The purpose of my work day is to get kids to stop licking the table long enough to learn how to read. 

So, anyway,  Merry Belated 3/4 Christmas, everyone!