Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Of Gifts and Giving

It’s truly better to give than receive. I’ve been convinced of this for years. I know it sounds very beneficent of me – but I’m not so sure it is.... The simple truth of the matter is that I’m very hard to buy for. One, I have very eclectic (and specific) taste. Two, my efforts to amuse myself always come back to haunt me at gift giving times (read on…). Three? It's taken a real concerted effort to remember not to dwell on the gifts I either don't understand or outright hate…

Let me explain. I do have eclectic tastes. One look around my living room and you’ll find a little of everything – A South American mask, Mexican painted armadillos, suede throw rugs and an antique microphone that hangs out in the fireplace… It’s not “Antiquey,” “Southwestern,” or even “Contemporary…” It’s just a bunch of stuff that I happen to like. It does not mean that I want similar items, like a Lego pyramid, Beanie Baby armadillos, suede fringed jackets, 50’s inspired diner neon, or even a life-sized Elvis Cut-out… Honest. Save your money.

On to the curse of self-amusement... In an effort to entertain myself, sometimes I’ll wear a REALLY bright shirt. I have a few of them. I sometimes just want to see what people will say if I show up wearing one. Once, I walked into work wearing this African-inspired vest and pants… It's not like I was wearing a costume, but it was not something I'd normally picture myself wearing, so I thought it was incongruous… I got nothing but compliments all day. Go fig.

The other day, while buying my niece an Old Navy Gift Card, I pondered buying zebra-striped wrapping paper - because I thought it was really nutty and kind of fun – but not something I’d paper my living room with. I picked up the roll and then thought, “You know, Kell? This is why people buy you stuff you don’t understand – it’s because they think you LIKE this stuff. This is why people buy you taxidermy blowfish… Walk away…” So I walked. (NOTE: All my presents were wrapped in a very conservative red and silver foil this year…)

Third – my pastor, not too long ago, gave a sermon on gratitude. He seriously changed the way I perceived situations in my life… We have choices, and we've been given incredible blessings in life. We have to remember to dwell on those, even if we don't understand our Christmas presents.

For example, this year, I got one or two questionable presents… One was a t-shirt with a giraffe insignia that sort of circumnavigates my chest. My chest is fairly obvious... so I don’t need any help pointing this area of my body out to anyone. I also don’t need the giraffes appearing to “roam across my great divide,” or appear to arrive on-location a few minutes before I do. I will never wear this t-shirt in public… It was a crazy gift… BUT. I can tell you, I got some nice gifts too. I got a cool guitar tuner and a unique necklace from Dave – and my mother gave me these very groovy glass globes that I can put things into and hang in a window… In addition, Fran gave me this nightlight that I absolutely love...

So I’m grateful… because I was reminded months ago to focus on the cool things (PLUS - I can either sleep in the giraffe t-shirt, or give it to someone who might need the marketing assistance). AND I'm grateful for the people who really want to give me gifts in the first place. That's maybe the best present of all...

What makes me even happier about Christmas is seeing my little nephew, Jason say something like “This is what I wanted…” or find another nephew anxious to play with the spy kit I bought him last year (even though it meant waiting to unwrap the remainder of his gifts). Those are the great Christmas memories.

What I want to avoid is any feeling of entitlement... Although I can't say I didn't identify with my oldest nephew, Ian, who, years ago, upon opening a wooden dowel-doll from my sister, said "What? This is no present!" Aw, give him a break. He was maybe six years old at the time...

All this to say, of course, that the greatest gift is the giver of the greatest gift… So. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas despite crowds, receipts, returns, and those blessed “I-saw-this-and-thought-of-you” gifts.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Viva La Fifty Feet

Today is December 24 - Christmas Eve Day. I'm at my office... Which has been very quiet. Not much going on, to be honest. Everyone is at home. I took two phone calls -and read a few chapters of Terry Gross' new book, "All I Did Was Ask."

I needed a couple of last minute items, so I decided to run to the mall... I thought it'd only take a minute. I only needed two things. I wanted to get Dave's dad a copy of "Delovely" - as he is a Cole Porter fan...(The movie was released to DVD earlier this week... Tried to pick it up at Blockbuster, but they didn't have it for purchase...)

I also realized I was going to Dave's brother's house tonight, and didn't have a THING to add to the party. Dave said I don't need to bring anything, but I'm pretty sure they'll like me better if I bring wine. So off to the mall I went...

Ok. I'm spoiled. I live two miles from my office, and minutes from the mall. Normally, this trip is not a pilgrimage...

I forgot about crazy procrastinators... It took a long time to get there - about fifteen minutes longer than the normal five minute drive.... Second, the mall was buzzing with people... Swarms of them. I parked in section "L," a decent distance from the Macy's entrance... A car pulled in close to mine. We get out of our cars together. Me, and the five people who got out of the other car... We walk fifty feet. A car closer to the mall pulls out of the lot. Four people walking beside me jumped into the spot, and began yelling for the fifth to go get the car - and park in the closer spot...

That was crazy. (but if a slightly better parking spot makes the holidays a little brighter, than Viva La Fifty Feet...)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Merry F***ing Christmas

I just finished my company's Christmas Lunch (where the restaurant catering the blessed event failed to bring 1/4 of our order...). In true holiday spirit, my boss actually said "Merry F***ing Christmas to you all..."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Christmas Letters

For those who know me, you know how much I love receiving Christmas letters. For some reason, people feel warm and fuzzy enough to uncork - and cortical inhibition rules. I've read drastic confessions ("I'd marry my new fiance, but I'm still in love with my dead husband"), venomous critique ("My husband is laying on the ground in pain. The ambulance pulls up, with the exhaust pipe chugging right in his face..."), and sarcastic releases to parenting issues ("So we're off on vacation. Me, Tom, the two kids, and one hot pink arm cast...") Very funny stuff.

One year, I fabricated a Christmas letter. It was so far fetched, in my opinion, that I figured everyone would get the joke. In it, I ran off with a sherpa, translated Kurt Cobain's diaries into Elvish, and began making huge profits selling jewelry made from anti-depressants... The scary thing is? Some people actually believed it. The scarier thing? I personally inspired some straight-and-narrow friends of mine to fabricate their OWN Christmas letter. The only thing is - was theirs was MUCH easier to believe. They wrote about how their life had changed upon winning the lottery... (I'm pretty sure they don't normally buy lottery tickets... and either do I - I'd never remember to check my numbers...) They wrote about taking a Hawaiian vacation - and how their children had never flown on an airplane before... They mused about purchasing a new house...

They read it to me before sending it. I thought it was funny... Until the day I sat in my pastor's office... "Kelly. Did you hear Steve and Judy won the lottery?" I started laughing... I figured that once this got on the church circult, this would be disastrous... so I told him about the Elvish edition of Cobain's diaries, my torrid affair with the sherpa, Prozac Tiarras, and inspiring Steve and Judy's "no harm intended" Christmas letter... We laughed.

A week later, I got my pastor's annual Christmas letter. The return address said the name of my church, but the signature? Kurt Cobain.

Friday, December 10, 2004

What the?!!!

Someone stole my recycling bin last night.... How freaking weird is that?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

That's Not Cooking

Dave and I got into the following, erm.... discussion the other day... I think it has been thematic of the kinds of relationship issues I've been dealing with - not only my own, but other people's as well...

Dave and I had plans to go to the movies the other night. I called him around noon:

K: Hi, honey! How are you?
D: I'm a little tired...
K: Oh. It's okay if you wanna skip the movie tonight
D: Really? Ok.
K: Yeah. I'll come over and you can help me make chocolate covered pretzels...
D: Well, um, I really don't like cooking....

What followed was a conversation about what cooking is... "No, This isn't cooking," I explained. "It's dipping pretzels into melted chocolate and putting them on a pan." Dave further went into detail about how much he HATES cooking... "But, it's not cooking. It's dipping a pretzel into melted chocolate and putting in on a pan..." Dave asked, "I mean, I'll do it if that's what you want me to do, but Kelly, if I hate cooking, I'm going to have to tell you... I mean it's better than lying about it and doing it, and hating it..." I queried, "So, if I'm making you dinner, and you come over early, and I'm behind, and ask you to cut up carrots, is that bad?" "No," he answered... "I'm pretty good with knives... And I don't mind cleaning up. That's what I like to do..." "Fair enough, but can you dip pretzels into melted chocolate for me?" "I mean, I guess I can, but I really hate cooking..."

BUT IT'S NOT COOKING! "Dave. It's dipping pretzels into melted chocolate and putting them on three pans."

Dave asked, "Three? I thought it'd be twenty."

"No. It's three. I only have three..."

"Can I at least eat the chocolate?"

"Forget it, Dave. I'll make them some other time...."

And so, friends, we went to the movie... Which contained no cooking.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Third's A Crowd

Before I get too deep into this - I must say that my furnace died two days ago - it's really cold in my house - so I'm going to make this quick, then get out of here! (Landlord said he's working on the problem... Let's take a vote - Do I pay the entire month's rent for a place it's been too cold to sleep in? Talk to me!) At any rate, this has to be quick - because my fingers are too cold to type!

Anyway, the post today is about THIRDS... because I have allegedly won Third Prize in Something called the "International Library Of Poetry's Amateur poet contest..." or some such thing. Today, I received a box with a plastic-encased brass coin that says "Winner" on it... The letter reads, "Congratulations! Out of literally thousands of entrants, you have been awarded Third Prize in the International Who's Who in Poetry Competition! Enclosed, you will find your prize, a beautifully engraved (it's actually embossed... but what's the difference between an "innie" and an "outie" anyway?) bronze Award Medallion and display case, as well as a list of all the award winners..." blah, blah blah, signed Christopher Vorce, Editor...

I look at the next sheet - and it's true. In black and white, my name is listed as a third prize winner... Along with 79 other thirdie-somethings.... (FYI, I'm joined on the podium by 24 Second-place winners and Iris Gilly Warren of New York City, who captured the single Gold...)

Ok. I have to tell you that at least I DID enter the contest... but regretted it immediately - If I recall properly, I answered an unsolicited e-mail... After I was sent countless letters and e-mails, telling me I was going to be put into the "Who's Who in Poetry book (complete with Poet Biography), Invited to the Poetry Convention (a mere 500$ for the priviledge... I was told I could only win the contest-and receive the handsome plaque - if I attended...), and sent more than one order forms for the book ($49.95) and extra plaques in the event I could not attend the Convention...

I also have to tell you that my poem was a haiku - written via e-mail - the same day the poetry contest announcement arrived... I'm better than I thought I was!

See what happens when you read your junk e-mails? Let this be a lesson to you! Although, on the off chance you're somehow proud of me and the 79 other thirds, I'd be happy to post the poem... If I can only remember what I wrote.