Christmas Revelations!

I hate Christmas because there is too much love involved.

Christmas is next week, so last night at work I pretended to stab myself through the neck with one of the stabber things you put your drink tickets on after the bartender finishes making your drink. (Baby loves an audience).

Because I am a Virgo, and therefore a perfectionist, Christmas / THE HOLIDAYS makes me really anxious. Despite the meandering blog posts in which I describe myself as bumbling and aloof, I truly want things to be done correctly. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I’d be watching Netflix and eating pepperoni and shredded cheese. Anyway, we’re doing a Secret Santa thing at work, and I don’t want to mess it up. (I just Googled “Christmas ideas for your Australian friend,” and nothing good came up).

Last week I was watching “SNL: The 1990’s” on Netflix, and Cheri O’Teri and Will Ferrell were doing something obnoxious, and I caught a heavy wave of nostalgia.

“You know how I told you I have no memories of my parents interacting with each other before college?” I asked Cole. (Of course he remembers, my neuroses are a big part of our relationship, and I suppose being a child of divorce contributes to my neuroses).

“I think I just remembered watching SNL with my parents.”

We had a tiny living room, in a house on Mitchell Avenue. We had a huge blue vinyl couch and an armchair. The TV was just on the other side of my bedroom, and on Saturday nights when I didn’t want to go to sleep, I would shuffle into the living room and wait to be invited in, or sent back to bed. Whether or not both parents were there, I don’t know. But in this hazy reflection, I say they are.

That’s my ideal holiday situation. Stillness. Being subtly drawn towards the lights and the music. I want Christmas to be the TV in the next room- muffled and comforting.

Currently, I view Christmas as an anxiety-riddled scheduling problem. And I don’t have any money, and I don’t want to make the effort, or create the time. Looking at it like that makes me seem pretty selfish. I’m like Nicholas Cage in that Christmas Dad movie he made!! OMG Christmas is SOCIETY’S fault!

The truth is, going home for the holidays is hard is because everyone wants to spend time with me. (And I feel the same way of course). If the reason I’m stressed out is because my family loves me very much, then maybe I should slow down and review my stance on Christmas.

Besides. Now that I’m all grown up, why would I want to sit in a room with four sleepy people and put wrapping paper in a garbage bag the second the gift is opened- when I could scuttle all over the Cedar Valley getting crazy with all the beautiful people that I otherwise wouldn’t have in my life?

Alice in Officeland.

My friend Shira needed the day off because last night was her birthday, so I am temping for her today. That means I am working in an office right now. A real, live office! There is a window, and when you look out the window, you see that it is daytime, which means that it is somewhere between 9am and 5pm.

Shira labeled 19 things with post-it notes and printed out a full page document with instructions. Then she wrote a note on the bottom of the document explaining that she labeled things. My advice for Shira is that next time she leaves a note that says she labeled things, she writes that note on another post-it, and leaves the post-it on the note. The point is, Shira labeled everything but the note.

If you’re confused, it’s because I’ve never “worked” in an “office.” One time, I had a job where I sat at a computer, but it was for a business that did birthday parties for kids, so I had the option to leave the desk and go jump in an inflatable basketball court. Which I never did on account of germs and a mild case of depression. I also did an internship at the Science Center of Iowa, and when I felt that I needed to get out of the office, I would simply grab a turtle and walk around with it and show it to kids. That was a benefit that I did take advantage of.

I actually think I would really like to work in a office, if I could mold the job around the following guidelines:

  • I can hold a reptile or an amphibian whenever I want (that’s a given).
  • There is an endless amount of office supplies that I can organize and also take home.
  • There is a kitchen fully stocked with all my favorite foods and the foods are free.
  • There is ALWAYS someone named Carol in the office at all times.
  • Live music, of course.
  • There is a tiny cushion for my forehead underneath the space bar on my keyboard.
  • The view from the window is: legendary, of course. Not only do I have a window, I have a sliding door that leads to a balcony. On the balcony there is a tree that grows money. When I pick the money off the tree, the money tells me a pretty decent joke. (Naturally, I remember this joke, and I use it at the Vitamin Water cooler). When I am finished laughing at the joke, the floor of the balcony drops out from below me, and I fall down a very long tunnel, and the tunnel has a bunch of hands reaching out from the walls like in the movie “Labyrinth,” only the hands high-five me all the way down. I land on my feet of course, right next to a gin and tonic that says “DRINK ME.” And I drink it. And then lunch is over and I go back to work.

So that’s my ideal office job, I guess!

NOTE: If you are a potential employer, and you somehow stumble upon this silly, silly post- I beg you to know that I am actually a very competent woman. I cannot, however, figure out how to leave this note on a post-it, on top of another note.

Thin Blood

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For Christmas last year, instead of gifts, my mother asked us to pick a WORD for 2013. We had the option of creating a piece of art with the word and I used over three sheets of construction paper. The word is now hanging in her dining room, clashing horribly with the paint.

My stepsister, Jess, chose the word “Believe,” and her fiancee chose “Family.” (So pertinent, amiright)?! Everyone else sat on the couch and shrugged and made excuses and pretended to be looking in their stockings.

But for the rest of us, it was a great exercise. And a resolution, as well. My word for 2013 is FOCUS. And when I’m feeling stuck, or overwhelmed, I meditate on that word for a few moments until I can get back on track. It’s been super helpful, and I’ve found that defining and specifying my focus has improved my discipline.

So why am I writing this in a post about my friend’s play?

When I lived in Chicago, I didn’t have any specific career goals. I got involved with a couple of theatres, and ultimately ended up doing A LOT of EVERYTHING between the two of them. Which was great for building my skills as a theatre artist, and therefore my confidence. Ultimately, this made my experiences in Chicago invaluable, but dividing my time between so many paths mostly created a “head just above the water” feeling. Nobody likes that. So when I moved to New York, I decided to follow acting. That is number one. However, I realize that thinking in black in white is limiting, so when other opportunities come my way, I will definitely check them out!

Therefore, I told my good friend Shira I would direct her play at Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Acting in it wasn’t much of an option since my schedule is starting to get hot, but it’s a fantastic play and I really want to be a part of it.

Come check it out!

And as far as a word for 2014, I’m still brainstorming.

It should probably be “money.”