Friday, September 11, 2009

Wait….What Are We Celebrating Again?

Ahhhhh, kids are back in school, it’s in the upper 90’s outside and I’m wearing flip-flops for the foreseeable future. Must mean that it’s September in Texas! Uhmmmm, wait, did I miss a month somewhere? Well, according to every retail store I’ve been in lately I must have.

See, I don’t “do” stores often. They are crowded, loud and I can actually hear the alarms in some places (it’s a dog-level, ear piercing hummm that just makes my skin tingle). And let’s just be honest here, shall we? I’m a retailers dream, for shiny things often distract me and I rarely leave a store with just the item or items that were on my list. For these reasons, and the fact that I have children, I tend to do the majority of my shopping online. I can be in and out of a store with just the items I want without distractions; I can shop at Midnight if that’s when I finally am able to find the time, and I can compare prices at multiple stores and find coupons before making any purchase commitment. See, the Internet is, in fact, a mother’s friend.

Stores are now even more of a threat to me as they recently have proven to throw off my sense of stability and sanity. Really!

So let me set the stage for here...I was in the grocery store, not my normal local “health” grocery store (that’d be Sprouts for you playing along at home, I truly heart me some Sprouts), but a true massive, chain, marketing driven grocery store. I was scooting down the aisle with my cart with Sarah and Ryan was right on my heals with her “tiny person” shopping cart. We were heading to the pet aisle, as I needed cat litter (and let me please emphasize the word “needed” cat littler here – cat litter is never something good to run out of when you live with a dog person who barely tolerates your “unnatural love of cats” I was really on a focused mission here). As we breezed by I caught a seven foot Frankenstein out of the corner of my eye. What the hell?

There was a slow pause in my pace as my brain began to process this information. It went something like this…..”Sarah was born in May, which was four months ago, right? Great Googgily Mooggily, did I miss her 4 month old shot appointment in September? Wait, didn’t Ryan just start school two weeks ago. Wasn’t that September?” Then I realized it really IS still September! For the love of carved pumpkins Charlie Brown, Halloween has come early this year!

Now I should explain something, Halloween is in fact, without a doubt or single hesitation, my favorite holiday, hands down. I have seven, yes seven, that isn’t a type-o, orange and black tubs filled to the rims with Halloween paraphernalia for my house. Heck, four of the said tubs house my Halloween Village collection alone! I love, love, love me some Halloween!

I have certain traditions that occur on the final Saturday of September each year. First, I purchase two Russell Stover marshmallow pumpkins, one for me and one for Ryan. This tradition started when I was but a babe and my Mother would purchase one for me each year. Yummy goodness as it’s sticky best my friends! Second, I put on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and my daughter and I decorate the house and fill the evening windows of my house with visions of our light-up Halloween Village.

Since I am such a Halloween junkie, you might think that seeing Halloween appear in my local store 60-plus days prior to Halloween would some how warm my heart. Alas, it has had the opposite affect. Halloween is an October holiday, not a September holiday. How do you think it must make Labor Day feel to suddenly see Halloween appearing on its doorstep? What, Halloween got tired of Christmas taking over its spot so it decided to encroach on Labor Day? What’s next, Valentine’s Day beginning in November? Just think of the repercussions that could have on the psyches of turkeys everywhere!

Look, I’m all for being prepared and planning ahead, I’m completely OCD and am a Project Manager by profession; but in the name of all that is “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, enough with the over zealous holiday marketing! Halloween belongs in October; Christmas belongs in December and please just leave the little Leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day in March!

If not for my sanity, then do it for the kids. I mean it’s bad enough we teach them oddities like the word quick is spelled “quick”, but then they have to see signs for a company called “Kwick Kar” all over town. At least reassure them that what we teach them about holidays holds true.

I mean really, how can my children believe anything I tell them if I can’t even keep which holiday happens in which month straight?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook Killed High School Reunions

I’m sure this is going to sound very Andy Rooney of me and all, but I can’t help but wondering if high school reunions are becoming a thing of the past. I don’t think it has anything to do with people being busier or classes being less close than they used to; I put 100% of the blame of this phenomenon on “The Facebook”. (Note: I don’t typically call it “The Facebook”, but I sure hear it referred to that it’s a living creature.)

Now let me first explain that I love me some Facebook. I have a profile full of tests like “Which Friend Are You” or “80’s Movie Trivia” and other important information of that nature; pictures of my family, random gifts, like a Michael Myers facemask (just what every girl needs, right) and a wall full of quippy comments from my 200-plus friends. It’s that last little “200-plus friends” part that I feel proves today’s blog title.

Of those 200-plus friends, a vast majority of them are friends from high school. These are people that I ran the halls with, marched in band with, ate with at lunch and joked with at pep rallies. They are people who I formed life-long bonds with and others who helped me build some of my most precious memories. See, I’m one of those people who absolutely dug high school! In fact, there is an urban legend out there that claims that at the conclusion of my first day of my freshman year, I marched into my Mother’s office (she was a principal on my campus), flung my backpack on her desk and said joyfully, “High school was made for me!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here urgently wishing to return to those days. The memories of those days are a very precious and cherished treasure of mine. I learned so much and grew as a person through four years of trials and coming of age tribulations. I wouldn’t change one single thing that occurred during those blessed days, as I love my memories just as they are.

But it dawned on me the other day as I watched the umpteenth email from my reunion committee come in...with Facebook in the mix of life these days, what’s the purpose of a reunion? I mean look, here is this group of people, working tirelessly to get the Stratford High School Class of 1989 together in October, and alas, the turn out is well...bleak! Why? We all got along. It was a GREAT class made of up 546 of Houston’s most awesome and eclectic group of kids. Why wouldn’t we all want to hang out again to see what everyone’s been up to for the past 20 years? Oh wait, I know...because we already know!

Yes, Facebook has taken away the opportunity to wonder “What ever happened to the class stud?”...”Did our class artist ever make it big?”...”Is the guy/girl voted most beautiful still most beautiful?” See with Facebook, we’ve all stumbled upon one another already. We’ve swapped baby pictures and shared stories of our lives. We’ve connected for play-dates and lunches; some have had family weekends together. We’ve even started business networking with each other. Heck, our class has even pulled together to create a foundation for one of our favorite teachers who has fallen on very hard times, due to heath issues. Our class was able to coordinate a couple of charity fundraising events, such as the recent golf tournament, for his foundation.

High school reunions used to hold such possibilities...such wonder. I guess as change goes, we grow as individuals, life continues to move forward and evolve, and so must our expectations.

So what will the new high school “reunion” look like? When the Millennial kids get together in 2038, what will it be like? Odds are it won’t be a true “reunion” as they will have grown-up with Facebook and Twitter, so they probably won’t ever have a chance to loose those childhood connections. Will their changing of the guards as one class leaves to head to college and another class positions themselves to take-over the school as the new senior class mean as much? Will they return to football games to “remember how it was” 10, 15 or 20 years later?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know one thing – I loved my high school experience and memories the class of 1989 gave me. And even though I feel it has tampered with the age-old tradition and mystic of a high school reunion, I still embrace Facebook and am thankful for the return it has brought me of those connections which were many years lost due to college, families and life in general. Just being able to see some of those smiling faces on a daily basis again has truly filled my heart.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today's Post is Brought to You By The Number Nine.....and the Letter N

On this auspicious day, 09.09.09, I give you some fun facts and thoughts to ponder about the beautiful number nine:

* Revolution 9 - played backwards, it is thought to say.....anyone? anyone? That's right, it's the Paul is dead theory as you supposedly can hear "Turn me on, dead man."

* 09.09.09 tis truly a rare event! We won't see a consecutive, single diget number set of this nature again until January 1, 2101. (Oct. 10, 2010, will be a double-digit set) I'll so totally still be here....anyone else care to join me? LOL

* The number nine in numerology means forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative.

* If you're the last of nine children, chances are you eat the least because the other eight, being bigger, are much faster than you.

* Does everyone remember how bloody easy your nine tables were in multiplication? You know the drill: 9 x 4 = 36 because 3 + 6 = 9. Did you also know that you can multiply nine by any two, three or four-digit number and the sums of those will also break down to nine. Like this for example: 9 x 62 = 558, break down that sum 5 + 5 + 8 = 18, and wha-lah 1 + 8 = 9. How bloody wicked cool is that?!!?!?!?!?! Speaking of math, September 9th (that's today kids) also happens to be the 252nd day of the year. I can hear you all going "Uhm, so"...but wait, it gets better. If you take 252 and break it down.....2 + 5 + 2.....what does that equal? NINE! Shazam!

* Nine is the atomic number of Fluorine.

* A human pregnancy normally lasts nine months.

* A little nine religion for ya: Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Important Buddhist rituals usually involve nine monks. Also, in the Christian angelic hierarchy there are 9 choirs of angels.

* Nine is strongly associated with the Chinese dragon, a symbol of magic and power. There are nine forms of the dragon. The dragon often symbolizes the Emperor, and the number nine can be found in many ornaments in the Forbidden City.

.....I'd give you more facts, but then, that would be ten. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random, Party of One

The girls and I hit Lowe's yesterday for a quick, in-and-out, dash for a couple of project necessities. We appeared to have made it out unscathed when WHAM, in the check-out lane, Captain Random appeared.

In case you don't know me well enough, let me explain quickly that I am a talker...yep, quite the chatter box by nature. I don't have what one might call "an issue" with striking up a conversation with anyone. Most of the time this is a great characteristic of mine; however, once in a blue moon it leaves me open for an unseen act of randomness.

To set the stage, I was having what one might call "an icky day" yesterday, so I decided to cure it the best way I know how.....playing with my girls. We loaded up the car and headed off to hit a couple of quick errands, grab an Amy's cheese pizza for lunch (total yumminess if you've never had one) and then head home for some snuggles and projects in the craft room. Lowe's was our last stop before the grocery store.

We had our three plants from the clearance section (which is really the only place someone like me should ever buy plants as I don't exactly have what you might say is a "green thumb"....that apparently skipped me in the gene allocation pool exercise), some Liquid Plumber and a few screws and we headed for the check-out. Looky there, see how all the checkers wait at the entrances of their lanes to show you how eager they are to help you with your purchases? Ahhhhh, there's a strapping young lad who looks excited to help us. And into the trap, I mean, lane we turn.

We begin the check-out process. As usual, I'm talking to one daughter, playing with the feet of the other (she's in a car seat, no judgment please), watching to ensure that all items ring up appropriately (still not sure why I don't think checkers can do it without my assistance) and carrying on a conversation with the Michael, the checker. "Did that ring up correctly?" he asked me. Foiled!!! He knows what I'm doing....perhaps I should be more casual in the future, eh?

The conversation continues. I'm swiping my card through the impersonal, modern card machine when he tells me that the scanner didn't read my card. I handed it to him, innocently unaware of what that gesture would cause. "Thanks," he says as he takes my card and swipes it in his NASA designed control panel (seriously, who needs THAT many buttons?), "remember checks?" I smiled, "Yeah, it was a lot easier then wasn't it?" "And more personal too. I used to talk to people a lot more when we didn't have these machines." Wow, a man after my own heart! I laughed, "I bet!" "Guess we should think about that before 2012, right?" Silence......uhmmmmmm.........what?

Quick.....recover your obvious facial expression Rebecca.....say something.....anything! "I know. Guess all you can do is plan, right?" My brain goes back to processing.....what the hell did he just say? Please rewind that conversation and play it back for me if you don't mind auditory, latches on to everything you say brain. Yep, yep, conversation makes sense, yep, yep....WHAM! Nope, never saw that little moment of random drive-by!

"I know, that Nostradamus has been right about everything else. We only have 2 years and 4 months really. Guess we should have some kind of a global summit to get everything together and figure out how to fix it; I mean, he told us what was going to happen, but we still have time to fix things." "I know, guess all we can do is plan and hope we get it right, ya know?" I replied in a state of confusion.

All the while, as the conversation continues, I can hear myself clearly thinking "just drop the damn card in your purse, don't bother with the wallet.....get the, forget the receipt, we don't need it.....start moving the cart forward, but not to fast, stay casual here.....Ryan, stop talking, focus on the exit with you damn automatic doors, open I command you!"

Color me perplexed when I got to the sweet sanctuary of my Gypsie, the sticker covered activist mobile. I quickly loaded the girls in the car, tossed the "last chance at life" clearance plants in the back and started the engine. What was THAT all about? Since I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there really isn't such thing as chance or happenstance, I wondered as I drove away, what was I supposed to learn or glean from that particular situation? What was the Universe trying to teach me at that moment? And then it hit me.....whenever you're having a bad day or you're just not fully on your interpersonal game, embrace the bloody self-checkout lanes for your own protection!