Sunday, December 19, 2010

If you ever want to see me poke my eyes out...

take me to a Ward Christmas Party.

Seriously, I don't understand what comes over people, but when most walk into the cultural hall for any Ward Party, but particularly the Ward Christmas Party, they immediately forget they have children.  And because these children are now forgotten, they run and scream like wild animals.

All the while, the parents are stuffing themselves with mediocre (at best) food.  Don't get me wrong, the food was likely delicious when it was prepared, but since it is now room temperature and picked over by the 629 people in the line in front of me, it's not as appetizing as it once was.

There are never enough tables set up, so inevitably, the late-comers are hovering in the wings, with plates of food balanced all up their arms (they seriously look like a waitress at the fancy diner that can balance 8 plates per arm--except these plates are paper and precariously tipping).  If by chance you vacate your chair, you've lost it for the night.  Never mind that you got up to reunite the kid screaming at the top of his lungs (because his Oreo(R) fell on the floor) and the rest of his family on the other side of the cultural hall, working on helpings three and four.

After almost everyone has served themselves (in one gargantuan line, since no one thought to set up two separate buffet tables), the evening's MC, who is the self-appointed Ward Comedian, invites the Primary children to come to the front of the Cultural Hall, stand in a single file line in front of the stage, and sing some Christmas songs that no one can hear since the kids just started learning the songs two weeks ago.  Well, ok, there is that one kid that is the super achiever and sings extra loud to compensate for the rest of the kids.  But she is the one that couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow.

About this time, the "real" entertainment begins: the pseudo-amateur performers singing hits, such as, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Do You Hear What I Hear," and "The Twelve Days of Christmas"--all verses, acted out, with non-singers "singing."  But, the bad/good news is that no one can hear the entertainment, since people won't stop talking to the person sharing the table with them (even though the rest of the year they ignore each other).

And then, there is the serious song, like "O Holy Night" or "Mary, Did You Know," that is thrown in to help everyone remember the true meaning of Christmas, but really just makes everyone feel awkward.  Mostly because the singer had just remembered she had kids three minutes before she took the stage.  And yelled at them to sit down and listen to the people singing.

The great news, though, is Santa makes an appearance.  All the kids line up to tell Santa their wish list.  And then feel cheated since Santa gives out a "prize" like an orange.

As you can tell, I'm not much of a fan of the Ward Christmas Party.

And just so you know, this doesn't necessarily describe any ONE Ward Christmas Party I've been to.  It's more of an observation of how they tend to go, based on several years of attending.  I made an appearance at this year's party, after several years of boycotts.  I think there are several more boycotts in my future.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's not good to be hungry at 1:17 am

I really shouldn't eat anything.

But I REALLY am hungry.

I guess the good thing is that I want to eat grapefruit.

It could be worse.

Like a gooey chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge.

And just like that, I saved 5,726 calories.

I'm amazing!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Items in mirror may be larger than they appear

The year Darrell and I got married, I decided it was time to purchase a beautiful and fully lighted artificial Christmas tree.  And since I was buying one, it needed to be fabulous.  One that would last for years.

So, I went to the Costco (one of my favorite stores) and found a beautiful 9-foot tree.  Our living room has vaulted ceilings, so it would fit perfectly. 

I picked out the perfect spot for it and was so excited to get it home and start decorating.

If I played it right, the whole house would look like a Christmas catalog before Darrell got home.

I paid for the tree and pushed the flat-bed cart to the parking lot.

The tree was in a box about 6-feet long, which was just going to have to stick out the back of the trunk the five mile trip home.

The only problem was this:

I owned a car that was too small to accommodate the box.

I tried every possible configuration to get that dumb box in the car.

I tried loading the box through the trunk, but it wouldn't fit--the box was too tall to fit in the trunk.

I tried loading the box through the front door, but I could only get it to go perpendicular--from the passenger side to the driver's side.  I wasn't going to be able to drive the car that way.

I turned that box every direction possible, but it was all to no avail.

I spent about 30 minutes trying to get that dang tree in the dang car.

It wasn't happening.

(I sincerely hope there weren't security cameras filming my attempts.  I guess if there were, I'd have seen the film on the youtube by now.)

(I like calling things "the" whatever....the youtube, the Costco, the email.  It goes back to my days in Missouri, I think.)

So, I took the stupid tree to the returns area.  The man working the desk asked what was wrong.

"The tree won't fit in my car.  I just bought it half an hour ago and can't get it in my car."

I told him that I'd be back with a larger vehicle and he could just give me a store credit.

I came back a couple of days later with one of Darrell's friend's SUV.

The Costco was completely out of Christmas trees.

We ended up with a bookcase.

It's a good thing we didn't get that 9-foot Christmas tree after all.  When I got home, I realized we would have had to climb over the couch everytime we needed to go into the kitchen.  My space perception is sometimes off. 

That's why, when we move, we will have to take the bookcase out the window. 

There's no way in hades we will be able to get it out of the room it's in.  You see...we assembled it in our home office and it can only go from the home office to the bathroom.  It's too big to take the corner to get out of either of those rooms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I really love Annie Lennox

Her voice is fab and this song is one of her best....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jury Duty

or...There's got to be a better way to spend eight hours.

About six weeks ago, I got a summons in the mail for jury duty.

This was about the fourth summons I have received in about as many years.

It seems that everytime I get jury duty, I call the day before I'm scheduled to appear and my group doesn't have to go downtown.

Except this last time.

I had to appear at 9:15 (am--like, in the morning!), in downtown Phoenix.  I used to work in downtown Phoenix, so it's not like I don't know what to expect in driving down there.  What I don't remember, is what time I have to leave to be there in time to be on time.  All I knew was that it had to be early.  And I don't do early.

I managed to make it in time, with time to spare, in fact.  I was not happy, however.  It was dark, and early, and cold, and early.

I took a book to read since I knew I'd have some time to kill.  I ended up reading about half of my book, which was good for me.  I'm not a reader.  Ask anyone in my bookclub.  And yes, it's pretty silly to be a non-reader in a bookclub of readers.

I was called in the third group of people to go to a courtroom.  I was juror number 38.  I kept thinking that it would be easy to remember my number, since it was my age.  Except it isn't my age.  I sort of forget my age, which is sorta crazy.  (Not that I forget my age, but that I am the age that I am....I don't know where the last 20-ish years went).

There were sixty of us.  It is rather interesting to people watch the jury duty process.  There are some real weirdos that show up:

There was the unemployed guy who had to be "not-quite-right."  He was too excited to be there.  I guess the $0.44 per mile for the trip was the most money he was going to make in a long time.  He was overly chatty to whoever was near him.  He waved at the attorneys and police officer when we had to look at them to determine whether we knew them.

There was the older lady who related her life experiences in the 1970s when we were asked questions about whether we knew people in law enforcement.

There were ALL the people who answered they had been victims of crimes because their cars were vandalized a dozen years ago.

We got to the courtroom about 11:00 and broke for a two hour lunch from 12 to 2.  The judge had asked us a bunch of questions and there were so many people who wanted to speak about their experiences in private, we got an extra hour for lunch.  When we met back at 2, the people who had met in private informed the rest of us that private meant the judge, the clerk, the bailiff, the court reporter, the two prosecutors, the police officer, the defense attorney, the defendant, the two sheriff's office deputies guarding the defendant, and the person requesting to speak in "private."

From 2 to 3, the judge asked some more questions and then excused us for about 45 minutes.  Upon our return, the jury was selected.  I, fortunately, was not selected to serve on the jury.  The trial was expected to last 2 weeks and the defendant was charged with kidnapping, rape, and felonious possession of a weapon.  I don't think I could stand to listen to the testimony for two weeks.

But here are the good things I learned:

When the attorneys "approach" the bench, the judge turns on a white noise machine that is piped into the courtroom via speakers directly above the jury.  I always wondered how they could talk without everyone hearing it.  It's just something they don't explain well on Law & Order.

The carnitas at the courthouse's cafeteria are really good.  I would take another trip down there for the carnitas alone.

The security measures made me laugh.  I walked through a metal detector and then was "wanded," front and back.  I then had to lift my pant legs high enough for the security officer to see my ankles.  Because I wouldn't think to put a weapon around my calves.

It gets DANG cold in the courthouse.  Either that or I get cold easily.  Ok.  I get cold easily.  But that is nothing new.

I'm going to do my best to stay on THIS side of the law.  The other side doesn't look as fun.