Friday, December 14, 2001

Church Ladies Yankee Swap

I got to listen more closely to that Various Artists Nettwerks' Christmas CD yesterday. Aside from the song I bought it for, there are a couple really nice ones. Dido has a good song on there, but they do this retarded over dubbing echoey vocal thing on the bridge that made me cringe. But her voice is nice. I'm not a big fan of feminine vocalists of the world, and there is a lot of that on here... but overall, it's good.

There is an amazingly sad little song on the CD by a musician named Meryn Cadell called "The Cat Carol." It is about a small cat that wants in the house, on Christmas eve in a blizzard, but no one can hear her on the doorstep. A mouse comes by and is afraid the cat will kill it, but seeing as it is Christmas eve, the cat tells the mouse to not worry protects the mouse from the cold by digging a hole in the snow and surrounding the mouse with her body.

The cat ends up dying from the cold, and Santa and the reindeers find the cat in the snow, and the living mouse, who she saved... They lift the cat up to the stars where every Christmas she is visible to remind the mouse of her love.

It is PAINFUL. So sad. So heartwrenching. I thought I was going to crash the car I was weeping so hard on. I AM VERKLEMPT JUST THINKING ABOUT IT!!! I'm all misty and schmoopy over here at my desk. Crying. Thinking about a kitty freezing on the doorstep, giving her life to protect and save a sworn life-in-the-foodchain enemy!


If you have liquid audio you can listen to the song in full on the nettwerks website. And, if you don't have liquid audio you can listen to the Sarah McLachlan and BNL "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" thing.

The church ladies' yankee swap yesterday evening was a rousing success. The pastor's wife started off with a selection from a CD included in a book by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham. It was very uplifting and very beautiful.

[Sidebar note, you can skip this if you want...] Ms. Lotz appeared on the Early Show on CBS on September 13th to talk about the September 11th incidents. Her interview was then misquoted and sent around the internet like wildfire... In the fake email story, she was interviewed by Bryan Gumble or someone like that, and he (mind you, he didn't do the interview) snottily asked her "So, where was God on September 11th?" To whit she allegedly replied something along the lines of "We exclude God from our lives daily. We don't pray, we don't turn to him... where do you think he'd be? You only expect to hear from God or get his help when you want it... rather than daily when you need it" or something of that nature. It was a retarded email that many instantly saw right through, and if you want to read the actual discussion, here she is, as interviewed by Jane Clayson. [Sidebar closed]

But I digress. We are here to talk trash about church lady Yankee swap!

So after that moment of seriousness and reflection, the kid gloves came off and the cut throat Yankee swappin' began.

This group has a history of uproariously funny, outlandishly ridiculous juvenile behavior at these Yankee swaps. And it is a lot of fun. People hide the gifts they like, pretend they got something you don't want when you're there scoping out the possibilities for swappage.

I brought the gag gift, a talking toilet soap dispenser, and one of the boxes of chocolate I scored yesterday. Seeing as it was Hershey's "pot" of gold, and another kind of "pot," the joke was clear to everyone there.

And, it was the first present chosen. I had hoped it would make it later into the round, but no. First gift.

The woman who got it opened the chocolate first and everyone oohed and aaahed, and then she took the toilet out of the bag and screamed laughing. The woman behind her reached around and pressed the button to make it talk, and you should have seen her face as she sat there holding a toilet yelling "HEY! DON'T FORGET TO WASH YER HANDS!"

So the tone, she was set. Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa. It was downhill from there.

The thing I like about our church group is they are NOTHING like the church lady of Dana Carvey fame. These women are certainly mindful of Christ, and supportive and Christian, sure. But, they are also great friends. They all have senses of humor that can make me blush. There was an abundance of bawdiness that you wouldn't get at say a Baptist or an Assembly of God church lady group. My sides hurt so much by the time I left.

The gift I got sucked, so I conveniently left it behind. I'm sure the hostess will realize it is mine and bring it to me. Damn.

It was lots of fun, I enjoy these women a lot. This is the fifth Christmas party I've been to with them. Some of them have been coming to this for 20 or 30 years. I hope we can keep it together after the pastor and his wife retire and move away. They are slated to go back to Australia in September 2002. She is instrumental in making sure we do this and everyone gets invited. This year there were 25 women in attendance, the most there has been in a long time according to the hostess. So I hope to be doing this with them for as long as we are with this church.

Something I forgot to mention is that on Tuesday (the day I was listening to the Star Spangled Banner) I had taken Geoff that day to a follow up appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist. Never gave a report.

His vision check came back as 20/25 in his right eye and 20/50 in his left. The last test was 20/75 in his left, so the doctor said that his vision is improved with the glasses. He wants to see him again in February to test again and see if there is continued improvement. The lens of his glasses is correcting his esotropia (turning) so when he has the glasses on his eyes point straight ahead the way they are supposed to. Without them there is still turning. But again the doctor states there is improvement, so we'll keep up the corrective lenses to see how things go. He stated that if Geoff's eyes continue to improve we may not need to do surgery.

Well isn't that just a relief.

So things are improving there I guess. I'd like to see it keep going. He's been amazing since that first day when he lost the glasses. He's kept them safe ever since. I'm happy to see this improvement with this rather naughty child.

This weekend I'm going to Maine to the outlets at Kittery, along with 20 million other residents of the north east corridor, to do some Christmas shopping.

I'm meeting Marcia and we're going to hit the stores we need to hit for the kids. Our plan is to meet at 8:30 at the McDonalds, have a cup of coffee, and then shop.

Marcia wants to be home relatively early because they are going out to get their tree that afternoon.So Marcia and I both plan on our being completely done in Kittery by noon. If not noon thirty. We're going to leave our cars parked in one lot and walk up and down.

If you've ever been to Kittery Outlets, they are on both sides of US Rte 1, a rather busy street, made even more crowded and crazy by pedestrians hoofing between outlets. But it is much easier than getting in and out of the car and navigating to another parkinglot, and taking your life into your hands.

Hopefully it won't be all pouring out and nasty. I don't care if I get wet though. It ain't fashion shopping on Fifth Avenue for me, it is outlet bargain shopping, kind of down and dirty like church lady Yankee swap. It is supposed to rain and I'll be pissed if it actually does. First of all because I'm hoping to score just what I need for everyone on my list, and I don't want to have to carry all the crap around in the fucking, stinking pouring down rain. Second because people drive like complete jackasses in the rain.

They have no idea where they are going, which parking lot leads to which outlet, what stores are in which clump, so they are on the brakes, fail to ever use their signal, whip around like they own the universe and just generally act like fucking mental defectives.

I hate shopping in the first place, I really hate it when I feel personally endangered by snotty women from Manchester Massachusetts in their Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Limited Edition death machines who are out to get where they wanna get as fast as they can.

There's a great store up there that predates all the outlets. It is the Kittery Trading Post. Has a lot of outdoorsy/camping stuff, lots of clothing, kitchy woolen stuff, and just general gobs of good quality merchandise for my sedentary lifestyle. Where I pretend to be more outdoorsy than I am by dressing the role.

I have also been given the task of picking a gift up for our boss for Christmas. Last year, LLP and I got her a bottle of wine. This year we're going for something a little bit more permanent and perhaps memorable. She likes silver, so we could get her a nice silver bangle for her wrist... she wears several of them and plays with them when she's thinking, and adjusts them, and I know she loves them. So to add to that from the group would be kind of cute. She also just got a nice new dining table set, 6 seater, so napkins/placemat/centerpiece would be nice... hard to decide.

Doug just called me so I have to run. Aaron & Michelle are swinging by tonight because they have a family function in Connecticut tomorrow afternoon. Initially the plan was that they were going to come to us sometime tomorrow morning, drop off their dog so we can dog sit while they go to a said Connecticut based shindig... And, seeing as we are only 90 minutes ride north of the shindig, and his parents' house is an hour SOUTH of the shindig... they'd be adding an hour to their trip back Sunday if they stayed at the parents' house. Their house is another 4 hours or more from ours, so that would suck to add another hour. Plus, we wouldn't get to hang with them. So we host them tonight and Saturday night.

I want to have the guest bed cleaned up (it has been a crash pad for a few weeks, since they were last with us) and just do some general cleaning (bathtub needs a strong wiping down) and dishes need done, so I need to hop on it. They're at least 4 hours away, so it isn't a great big deal, I've got time, but Doug will be no help because he's been sick. And then tomorrow morning I won't get to see much of them because I'll be Kittery bound before they leave for Connecticut. At least I'll see them a little tonight and tomorrow.

I'm incredibly glad to have friends. Incredibly glad to host them.

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