Sunday, November 25, 2012

Justin, Justin, Reginald, And Frosty

It is one month to Christmas, folks. Let that sink in.
Sunk in? Good.

No doubt the pleasant aromas of your Thanksgiving leftovers still linger in the air with Auntie Sally's perfume, and, perhaps, Auntie Sally herself (don't we all have "those" relatives that never bloody leave?). Is there any rest for the wicked? Apparently not, because the Christmas rush has already begun without me. I mean, I've had my shopping done for ages now, but it's time for the Christmas tree fluffing, the gift wrapping, the holiday television specials, and, of course, the music. I'm listening to a duet by two people I've never heard of, all because they're singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

Before we get too far into the Christmas Grinch-ery, let's talk about Thanksgiving.
Every year, my family has two Thanksgivings: one for my mother's family; one for my dad's family. Traditionally, Bufords (mother's) are on Wednesday, Vogels (dad's) are on Thursday. Wednesday is a pleasant day, filled with absurd company (I can say this because I love them), and fabulous food (because my mum and I cook it); Thursday is filled with tension as the introverts and extraverts mingle clumsily with each other in an attempt at forced merriment. This year was no different.
Would you like to see the extreme opposites that make up my family?
Well, pretend; it'll get you away from Auntie Sally.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

Wednesday marked our very first all-vegetarian Thanksgiving, and it went down a treat!
Mashed potato; crock-pot tofurky and cranberry sauce; roasted tofurky; cashew bake; and sweet potato dumplings.

And, Buford Thanksgiving staple, Rum Pecan Pie.
See that pretty crust? I made it from scratch. Praise my baking prowess.

After the feast was devoured, my Grandy and I played Buford Gin (so called because it isn't traditional gin, and nobody but the Bufords know how to play it [apparently, it's harder than actual gin]), my mother cut his hair, and -- like the introvert he is -- he went home. It was a pleasant day, and he was thoroughly impressed with the vegetarian edibles.

And then, Thursday happens.
I made my deviled eggs, and my now-famous Spiced Eggnog Rum Cake with Eggnog Icing...
This cake is awesome. And, yes, I love to cook with rum.

...we packed up the car with tofurky leftovers (since I'm the only strict vegetarian in my family), and headed for certain doom.
There was an awkward buffet full of carnivorous treats, making me thankful for my ingenuity in bringing veggie-friendly goodies -- particularly after a tasteless story about slipping pork to kosher friends. Afterward, I was forced to play Hearts, which I don't actually know how to play, yet still ended up winning. Near the end of the game, I somehow resorted to drawing aliens, and my gruesome Stick Man character (he takes meaningless or overly-dramatic scenarios, and manages to either mutilate himself -- including several deaths -- or his property) on the score pad before looking through old recipes. Of all of these, um, events, the one thing that was unanimously voted as the evening's smash? My cake. Go me.
It was probably the only edible thing the carnivores ate all day.

As I enjoyed my latest sweet experiment, I saw Entertainment Tonight playing on the television; I watched with mild interest as they played an interview with Hugh Jackman (I somehow didn't care that there was no volume), and switched to the host, who was introducing something with the banner "Mariah and Justin!"
I expected this...
...and was greeted with this...

I had a 90's kid moment, and silently felt very old.
Maybe I should have put this on my cake.

That night, as we drove home, we officially began the Christmas Music Season with a rousing rendition of "Frosty the Snowman". Here's something I had never thought of until then: there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that, though Frosty is a magical snowman, his two little coal eyes still make him blind. Firstly, all that "thumpaty-thump-thump-thump" business up and down hills? Self-explanatory. "Down to the village with a broomstick in his hand, running here and there, all around the square, singing "catch me if you can": he must be using the broom as an improvised walking stick, and is clearly asking the children for assistance. The children then chase Frosty through town until he "paused a moment when he heard [the traffic cop] holler 'stop'". You notice he never saw the traffic cop? Coal eyes, folks.
It's all clear now, isn't it?

So, as I sit here, happily digging into my perfectly flaky pie crust (seriously, this pie crust is awesome), I contemplate what Thanksgiving 2012 has taught me.

*When introverts get together, it's short and sweet. When introverts and extraverts get together, it's like trying to wallpaper a mole's house with double-sided tape and paper towels.

*I should probably stop analyzing Christmas music. We all know from past experience I'll go slightly nuts about it, anyway.

*I am too young to feel this old. I mean, really. All thanks to an overly-popular name.
Fun fact: I was at this concert. Take that, Bieber! In my ancient files and documents, I found our ticket stubs from the show; we paid about $49 a head, which is more expensive than either All Time Low or Plain White T's tickets were over a decade later (not to mention that I met Plain White T's and All Time Low, and talked to them while they signed their respective albums for me). They really know how to hit teeny boppers hard, don't they? (Or, more accurately, their parents.)

*Contrary to my numerous fears, Operation Veggie Thanksgiving went splendidly!
This is what happens when I'm left with pen and paper.

*This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for this photograph.

*And I really don't like that Photobucket now makes your most recent upload your welcome screen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dr. Child Of The Corn

Warning! The story you are about to read is entirely true, and was not exaggerated. If anything, I made it a touch lighter than it was as the events unfolded.

My niece's third birthday party was on Saturday. Since it is generally my job to put up streamers and balloons (I say this because it has been proven true for three out of three birthday parties), we arrived early to help out. Just as I was finishing up, and before some of the guests had arrived, my niece asked me to play with her. I told her, after much bartering, we needed to play with something we could put away quickly, because people would be coming over soon. She settled on "Doctor" -- and, by settle, I mean that she told me to lie down on the floor while she pulled out her doctor kit. Her kit is quite sophisticated, with little pliers, tweezers, a scalpel, scissors, and the little light thingy they shove in your ear.
All mine had was a box to store your plastic bandages in.
It always annoyed me that the cast didn't fit in the bandage box; not that it mattered, because I used the bandage box as storage for my Polly Pockets. I also used the pill bottle to keep a stash of M&Ms, and the bag when I pretended to play Titanic.

So, at this point, I've been forced by a small child to lie in the middle of my sister's living room floor between a shelf full of puzzles and a pretty-pony-clippity-clop-clippity-clop rocking horse, she's got folks coming over who could arrive at any moment, my niece has pulled out a seven thousand piece medical kit, and I'm thinking that this game needs to end abruptly.
I peeked over my knees to see her personalized hair bow bobbing up and down as she decided how best to start our game. I twiddled my fingers, which were laced over my chest, and waited for her to do something. She turned back to me with a deceitfully innocent grin on her little face, holding a blue and red plastic scalpel in much the same way as a character from "Tales From the Crypt" might.
Yeah, actually, no, Aunt B does not want to play "Doctor" anymore.

That's when I started to fear for my person.
As I was wondering how I'd gotten myself into this, she gingerly tip-toed -- yes, tip-toed -- wee-tiny-baby-steps up to me before hesitating slightly, lifting the scalpel over her head, and actually cackling.

She gleefully uncrossed my hands, and proceeded to make a long "incision" down my front. Then another. And one more, just for good measure.

She skipped back to her other supplies with joy, and I was eerily reminded of a game her mother and I used to play (in the same way I was roped into playing "Doctor") where she would have me stand in front of the kitchen window when we were unloading the dishwasher; she would take a knife out of the silverware caddy, and "stab" me until I withered, making a ghastly silhouette play as I put away our cutlery. This kind of crazy simply has to be inherited.
Before I could get to thinking of other peculiar entertainments we sisters used to get up to, the child comes back with a blue pair of pliers, and tells me to open my mouth.
"What exactly are those for?" I asked her.
"To pull out your teeth," she said, too excitedly to make me comfortable.
"What else is in your bag?"
My answer, apparently, was not enough for her, because she settled on a suitable place on my arm to pinch. When she was satisfied, she gamboled back to the pile of instruments. I took my opportunity to appeal to her practical side.
"People are gunna be here in a minute for your party!"
She was having none of it.
Instead, she grinned widely as she dramatically opened and closed a pair of red scissors, aiming for the same place on my arm as before. She traded tools in a flash, pinching my arm hair with a pair of red tweezers.
"Your party is gunna start soon, we should put our toys away," I said, making another appeal to her sensibilities. I sat up, and offered to help her put her kit back together; she, of course, was having too much fun for her own good, and pushed me back on the floor with a "no, you stay there".
"But --" In one ear and out the other as she brought out a thermometer, and we had a prolonged fight about why it wouldn't go in my mouth, either. Speaking of ears, the special light was unceremoniously stuffed into one of mine as I was offered party punch to sample. Just as I was being assaulted with a stethoscope, her mother found us, and forced the toys back into their box on the shelf of puzzles. Disheveled, I picked myself up off the floor, and was glad to have made it out with nothing more than a busted lip, and a few scratches. I probably looked like I was beaten up by a cat. Or, more accurately, I felt like I was beaten up by a cat.
Guess which of us is which.

I learned several things from this experience.

*Regardless that I love my niece, and she is generally an exception to my shenanigans, children continue to freak me the hell out.
All children are Children of the Corn, so far as I'm concerned.

*Some things are inherited. Creepy factor is one of those things, and she and her mother will have oodles of fun with this in the future. I sense several dramatic reenactments of the shower scene in "Psycho".

Fun fact: I bought my sister a "Psycho" shower curtain for Christmas one year, and she used it until it fell apart. It matched the "Bates Motel" door sign I got her at Universal Studios.

*Even though I hold "Awesomest Auntie" status, Aunt B is never playing "Doctor" again. Ever.
Yeah, no. Ever.

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