Sparkle on!

AGMA’s out of control…

So much to do; so little time.  Getting back from our trip on 12/7 has given me a massive holiday headache.  Ouch!

The 2nd New Zealand travel post needs to simmer until after the holidays.

Until then, ya’ll can be mildly amused by my holiday post from 2014.  Was true then; is true now.

Glitter.  Everywhere.

Merry, merry!!

The AGMA Christmas Card Conspiracy Theory

Sparkle2

I think I’ve figured it out…  I know how the Chinese are going to take over the world.  Or at least the parts of the world that send glittery greeting cards

I wonder if anybody will believe me?

Last year, I bought some 75% off holiday cards after Christmas to send this year.  Yeah – I’m cheap.  I liked them because they have pretty sparkles.  They were made in China.

I bought some extra Christmas cards a few weeks ago because I needed more.  They also have pretty sparkles on them.  They were made in China.

Most of the Christmas cards I’ve received this year so far have pretty sparkles on them.  I checked the backs of each card.  They were made in China.

My sister has a late December birthday.  I bought a birthday card for her that has pretty sparkle balloons over the birthday cake on the front.  You guessed it –  made in China.

Hmmm – now I’m not the sharpest needle in the haystack, but I think I’m seeing a common thread…

Think about it.  As soon as you take those cards out of the box, those damn sparkles go everywhere.  I opened a sparkly card last week on the kitchen counter near the phone.  Later in the day, I found sparkles on our cooktop which is across the room.  Huh?

Accident?  I don’t think so…

We have cats.  The sparkles get on the floor.  Our cats daintily prance through the errant sparkles on the floor getting them on their paws.  They’re now carriers.

The sparkles get on the kitchen counters.  All over the kitchen counters.  The cats aren’t allowed on the counters.  Yeah – right. Telling a cat “No!” works so well…

So their paws end up covered in sparkles.  At this point, because cats will not be denied access anywhere, you start finding sparkles all over the house.   Literally, everywhere.  Really, in places that would shock and surprise you.

And I realized – it’s all an ingenious, insidious plot.  They’re using our pets against us to spread the sparkles.  It’s like something you’d find on The Sci-Fi channel.

“What’s there to fear from a few ill placed sparkles?” you ask.  Other than you don’t feel like sparkles in your morning coffee.  Or your scrambled eggs.  Or stuck to your boob.

It’s “just” sparkles now my friends, but what about next year?  Or the year after?

Scientists are already working on making graphene practical for use in computers and everyday electronics.  In case you don’t know, graphene is a carbon sheet only one atom thick.  It’s the new miracle substance that is supposed to revolutionize the electronics industry because it conducts electricity 100 faster than the silcone.  Stronger than steel but flexible, it’s a nano-sized superconductor.  Seriously, this stuff if pretty darned amazing.

But one atom thick?  Gosh, that’s teeny, tiny, itty-bitty.  Small enough to fit on something really tiny.  Really tiny like – oh, I don’t know – a sparkle maybe?

And so it begins…

Again, I’m not the fastest pony in the stable, but sometimes I can connect the dots.

Today it’s a sparkle.  Tomorrow it’s a digital communications tool the size of a piece of glitter stuck to your ass beaming all of your junk over to the Chinese version YouTube.

Merry Christmas Beijing.

 

Nog, lots of nog

12.09.11_FA_Eggnog

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

And AGMA’s ‘bout ready to hit the egg nog. Hard.

Extra bourbon? Yes please.

I mean, it’s only 4 days after Thanksgiving and my left eyelid is already twitching. And every now and then my head does this jerk to the side thing.

The holiday season of stress is upon AGMA.

It doesn’t help that, in addition to seasonal pressures, our country is well on its way to deconstructing.

The orange Satan and his evil minions have done unspeakable damage to the United States both at home and abroad in so many arenas. Even if they all get arrested tomorrow – the PERFECT one size fits all holiday gift – at this point, it would take years to try to undo the damage they have wrought.

And if their “reverse Robin Hood” tax plan becomes law, the crippling debt it will cause both individually and governmentally will take decades to reverse.

(And by the way, you can call, email, fax, Tweet, Facebook, carrier pigeon or pony express [but make sure they have a fast horse] your Congressional Senators and Representative in the next day or two in opposition of the GOP tax scam. And if you aren’t a US citizen, go ahead and contact a GOP Congress person anyway!)

“What about net neutrality?” did I hear you say?

AGMA’s so glad you asked.

If that gets reversed on 12/4 or 12/5 (the FCC is due to vote on it around then), we can all have a big ol’ goodbye party to say farewell WordPress and the Internet as we know it…

(So as long as your are in the call, email, fax, tweet mood, you can also email the members of the FCC and let them know what you think of their plan to destroy net neutrality. Try to keep your *&%$^#$@*s to a minimum. Or not.)

My left eyelid’s twitching.

Another reason for the amped up stress is that in a week and a half, my son, DIL and MAGITW will be coming to Atlanta for a visit.

Wonderful! Exciting! Fantastic!

But…

This is both a blessing and not.

On one hand, my precious grandchildren will get to see AGMA in her natural habitat. Hubs will make sure they don’t feed me any of their popcorn or use a flash.

We’ll get to show them off to friends and neighbors who have heard about them ad nauseam. AGMA will be parading around them neighborhood in the little red wagon we spent $100 on two years ago and have used exactly twice. I’m thinking of doing an Evite for that…

And we can do all those cool things that grandkids can only do at Nana’s house. AGMA’s at a loss as to what those things might be though. I’ll figure something out…

But, on the other hand, this means that our house has to be totally decorated inside and out. And junk picked up and stuffed somewhere. And babyproofing attempted. And cookies baked and meals planned and shopping done. And activities planned. In 9 days.

Now my head is doing that jerking to the side thing.

One additional bit of stress AGMA wants add before they get here is to find the time to go though my son’s ‘boxes’.

You know, the boxes that you store for your kids that has junk from their formative years. Baseball cards, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, school & sports honors, etc. The boxes that never seem to leave your house no matter how old your kids are.

THOSE boxes.

We’re going to be driving up to Chicago for Christmas, and it’s AGMA’s fervent hope that we can take most of those boxes with us. He has house now. It’s only fair that the boxes clog up one of HIS closets for the next 20 years.

But oh my…  The memories are intense.

I was trying to ‘pre-sort‘ thought a box this weekend. ‘Pre-sorting’ is the process of pulling out the stuff that is full of meaning and memories for AGMA, but that have a good chance of getting thrown out by said son.

“What do you mean you don’t want to keep the outfit we brought you home from the hospital in??”

Stuff that would just about kill me to throw out. So AGMA will just put that stuff in ANOTHER box and label it Son#1 Memories. And put it back into the closet. And dig through it every couple of years.

And sigh as the sweet, pungent memories of his childhood and a much younger AGMA flood my heart and my eyes.

He can throw it all out after AGMA saunters over the rainbow. I’m pretty sure I won’t care one way or another then.

Only 6 more boxes to go.

But oh my…

AGMA’d better do a Costco run for one of those jumbo tissue packages.

Holiday cray cray

kiss

So I got back from my trip nearly two weeks ago. The good news is that I didn’t get sick from the “sky contagion”. Very good news that the juicy cough beast was beaten into submission by healthy doses of vitamin C.

The bad news is that AGMA really didn’t think this “take a two week vacation at Thanksgiving” thing through very well.

I celebrate Christmas and love the holiday season. But I struggle with getting everything done for the holidays even when I don’t go away.

So take two weeks away from that prep time and you have total AGMA insanity. And no AGMA posts for two weeks.

What??

Between two sets of out of town visitors, work, catching up from vacation, and starting to run again, I’ve been frazzled. And pooped. I never really got a chance to get over my jet lag.

Yeah – I want some cheese with that whine…

It’s all wonderful stuff. But to somebody who likes to go full-on for the holidays, it’s been a bit frustrating.

But I’ve decided that I’m not going to make myself any more crazy than I already am. I’m going to enjoy Christmas this year. I’m not going to try to make up for the lost two weeks.

I decided not to send Christmas cards out this year.

This is major. I think I’ve only skipped sending Christmas cards once in my entire adult life. I’m getting the DT’s just thinking about it. I bought the stamps in October.

But in this day and age of social media, it’s fairly easy to skip the old school, snail mail holiday greetings. All of my Facebook friends already know how incredibly fabulous the AGMA life is from my many informative and entertaining posts and pictures.

Not.

And of course, there’s the Chinese Christmas card glitter conspiracy that I wrote about last year… So now I can personally delay Chinese world domination by at least a year. You can read that sick and twisted post here.

Oh, I’ll probably eventually send out cards to my non-social media friends. Yes Virginia, there are people who are not on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. And the hundreds of other sites/apps that I know nothing about…

But I’ll sent it out in AGMA time and not based on how close it is to December 25th. New Years cards maybe. Or January greetings. With no glitter.

This is all to say that I’m sorry for the missing AGMA’s post last week. And for responding so very late to some of your comments. Writing AGMA is one of my personal joys and something I truly look forward to every week. And I am pretty sure I have, hands down, the most amazing followers of any blog out there!

So thank you so much for your friendship, caring and laughter this last year!  It means more than you will ever know.

And no matter what holiday tradition you follow, I wish for each one of you the thing that we, as part of the human family, want and need the most… To love and be loved in return.  All year long. All life long.

Oh, and to laugh too!

A big holiday smakaroo to all of you!  I hope it doesn’t leave a mark on your collar…

My very bad, terrible, wonderful, magical Christmas

Depressinghotel

Well…I didn’t expect that.

I didn’t expect that two weeks would go by without me posting a thing.  But it was a long week last week.  Crazy.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  If you’re a glass half-empty person like me, you want the bad news first.  Half-empties always want the bad news first.  The bad news is always going to be much worse on bad news scale from 1 to 10 than the good news is going to be good on the good news scale from 1 to 10. So it just makes sense to get the bad news first, wallow in the misery and get it over with.  Got it?  It’s just how we roll…

But this time I’ll give you the good news first.

I’m a Grandma!

My son’s wife delivered a truly beautiful, albeit alien-looking, little boy a few days before Christmas in Chicago.  All newborns have that ET look about them don’t they?  Mother and son are doing fine.  My son is positively euphoric.  That’s nice to see.

The little guy was late.  Hmmm – I hope he doesn’t make this a habit.  But this was more good news for us because we were able to be there for the birth.  Well, not actually in the room.  Yuck.  But close by.  We had flown up a few days earlier and our younger son got there that morning, just in the nick of time.

Funny story that; I was actually a bit “under the influence” when he was born.  Although I was convinced that he was going to make his appearance the same day my DIL went into labor, everybody else poo poo-ed me.  “Poo poo,” they said, “she won’t have him until tomorrow morning.”  So they sent us all home.  Or in our case, back to our hotel.

More about the hotel later…

Knowing that a baby was coming sooner or later, the three of us celebrated with a few glasses of Champagne.  Okay – not REAL Champagne, but close enough.  It had bubbles.

Wouldn’t you know it, after I downed my third glass, I got a text that she was pushing.  The next text told us to high-tail it over to the hospital.  I don’t like to say I told you so, but…  I hate it that I’m most always right.

Thirty minutes later, I officially became a grandma.  A somewhat tipsy grandma.  It pains me to think that every time the little guy catches a whiff of the scent of alcohol he may have flashbacks to me breathing in his face saying “Hi little guy!” in slightly slurred speech. True story.  I’m kind of a cheap drunk.

Now for the bad news.  Our trip to Chicago was six days of non-stop family.  Her family and our family.  Nonstop.  I like family and all but, seriously?

Since my blog is anonymous, and my family and extended family doesn’t know about it (thank God!), I couldn’t write anything.  It seemed like people were always around me.  Or I was sleeping.  Too much togetherness; I like and need my alone time.  Honestly, the only time I was truly by myself was in the bathroom.  I’m not inspired to write while I’m in the bathroom.  At least not about stuff you’d want to read.

So I couldn’t write any posts last week.  Frowny face.

The other bad news.  We weren’t allowed to stay with my son and DIL, so we stayed in a hotel the entire time.  And even though they came into town the same day we did, her parents were allowed stayed at my son’s place.  What the hell?  They did have to move on Christmas day.  They went to stay with their other daughter who lives about mile away who has two extra bedrooms.  She lived a mile away all along and had extra bedrooms all along.  But we were in a hotel.  We just love being the guy’s parents….

I’ve decided that spending Christmas in a hotel sucks.  My son and DIL brought the baby home on Christmas day, so everybody else was “on hold” until the new family felt somewhat settled.  This didn’t happen until 7 PM Christmas evening.

So on Christmas day, we wasted time.  We went to Starbucks for brunch and coffee.  We went to a movie.  We hung around the hotel room.  We went to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  It was definitely an unconventional Christmas.

For six days, it was non-stop family togetherness, and hurry up and wait.  I don’t do either of those very well.  Clearly.

But I have a picture of the little guy as the wallpaper on my phone and I say hi to him every time I turn the screen on.  Honestly, I hate to sound like a cliche, but it kind of melts my heart every time I see his sweet, alien-like face.  I never thought I’d be excited to travel to Chicago in the middle of winter, but I can’t wait to go back to see him at the end of January.

Okay, so this time the good news outweighed the bad news for this glass half-empty Grinch.  I give it a 10 on the good news scale. Screw the bad news.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays a little late!

The AGMA Christmas Card Conspiracy Theory

 

Sparkle2

I think I’ve figured it out…  I know how the Chinese are going to take over the world.  Or at least the parts of the world that send glittery greeting cards

I wonder if anybody will believe me?

Last year, I bought some 75% off holiday cards after Christmas to send this year.  Yeah – I’m cheap.  I liked them because they have pretty sparkles.  They were made in China.

I bought some extra Christmas cards a few weeks ago because I needed more.  They also have pretty sparkles on them.  They were made in China.

Most of the Christmas cards I’ve received this year so far have pretty sparkles on them.  I checked the backs of each card.  They were made in China.

My sister has a late December birthday.  I bought a birthday card for her that has pretty sparkle balloons over the birthday cake on the front.  You guessed it –  made in China.

Hmmm – now I’m not the sharpest needle in the haystack, but I think I’m seeing a common thread…

Think about it.  As soon as you take those cards out of the box, those damn sparkles go everywhere.  I opened a sparkly card last week on the kitchen counter near the phone.  Later in the day, I found sparkles on our cooktop which is across the room.  Huh?

Accident?  I don’t think so…

We have cats.  The sparkles get on the floor.  Our cats daintily prance through the errant sparkles on the floor getting them on their paws.  They’re now carriers.

The sparkles get on the kitchen counters.  All over the kitchen counters.  The cats aren’t allowed on the counters.  Yeah – right. Telling a cat “No!” works so well…

So their paws end up covered in sparkles.  At this point, because cats will not be denied access anywhere, you start finding sparkles all over the house.   Literally, everywhere.  Really, in places that would shock and surprise you.

And I realized – it’s all an ingenious, insidious plot.  They’re using our pets against us to spread the sparkles.  It’s like something you’d find on The Sci-Fi channel.

“What’s there to fear from a few ill placed sparkles?” you ask.  Other than you don’t feel like sparkles in your morning coffee.  Or your scrambled eggs.  Or stuck to your boob.

It’s “just” sparkles now my friends, but what about next year?  Or the year after?

Scientists are already working on making graphene practical for use in computers and everyday electronics.  In case you don’t know, graphene is a carbon sheet only one atom thick.  It’s the new miracle substance that is supposed to revolutionize the electronics industry because it conducts electricity 100 faster than the silcone.  Stronger than steel but flexible, it’s a nano-sized superconductor.  Seriously, this stuff if pretty darned amazing.

But one atom thick?  Gosh, that’s teeny, tiny, itty-bitty.  Small enough to fit on something really tiny.  Really tiny like – oh, I don’t know – a sparkle maybe?

And so it begins…

Again, I’m not the fastest pony in the stable, but sometimes I can connect the dots.

Today it’s a sparkle.  Tomorrow it’s a digital communications tool the size of a piece of glitter stuck to your ass beaming all of your junk over to the Chinese version YouTube.

Merry Christmas Beijing.

My Life Is Perfect

BoastingXmas

Yesterday, I finished “the” Christmas letter.

You know – it’s the letter that gets stuffed in selected Christmas cards to let your far away friends and family know how amazingly wonderful your life was the past year.  And how brilliant and successful your children continue to be as fully grown adults.

These letters are like the TV show Survivor.  They involve playing the game.  You wait to write your letter until you’ve received several others to see how much you have to “one-up” them.  But if you wait too long, your card and letter arrives after Christmas and you just look like a pathetic loser.  Timing is everything.  It’s eat or be eaten.

I don’t send a Christmas letter in every card.  Because of social media, most of my friends already know that my life is spectacular and my children are wildly, hopelessly successful.  The letters are so that everybody else who ISN’T digitally plugged-in can know that as well.  And just how drab and sad their lives are in comparison.

I’m just spreading the cheer…

Some people are on the cusp.  It’s the  “should I or shouldn’t I” dilemma with some folks who intentionally keep a low profile on social media.  They’re stalkers.  They don’t have the gonads to actually post anything, but they want to read all about you. Chicken sh*t stalkers.

My new motto is, “When in doubt, send it out!”  If I’m not absolutely sure they know about how much more fantabulous my life and kids are than theirs, the letter get’s stuffed.  Something to bring a little ray of sunshine into their dreary, mundane existence

Okay – the above is a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Maybe a lot.  But not the chicken sh*t stalker part…    I was actually channeling some of the people who send us Christmas letters.  You know – the eye-rolling kind of letters that make you wonder why neither they nor their kid(s) have been selected as Time’s Person of the Year yet because they’ve done everything but discover the cure for cancer.  No question that will happen in 2015 – or so they tell us.

Perfect family, perfect job, perfect life.  Yeah, right.  And I have some prime land in Florida to sell that you would love.  Cheap.

Are there Chanukah letters in Chanukah cards?  What about Ramadan?  Do Muslims send out Ramadan cards and if they do, do they include stuff like “my kid got a work promotion and is now a Vice President” news tidbits in a note?

I hope not.

It’s actually kind of sad.  It was one thing to write about your kid making the varsity soccer team when he was in high school.  It’s entirely a different thing to be doing the same type of thing when your “kid” is 35.  I always think that something important is missing from their lives to make them continue to live vicariously through their children and have to annually announce their perceived accomplishments.

But figuring out what that is, is out of my scope of practice.  All I can do is write my letter.  It usually includes tiny blurbs about my adult kids.  They’re doing great for which I am very thankful, but I have no desire to toot that horn ad nauseam at this point in my life.  It’s mostly about my husband and I, and how we are navigating this early winter season of our life.  More introspective than in the past. Less ego.

Tell the truth, shame the devil AGMA…  Yeah – okay, I did put in that I took three great trips this year and that I’m going to be a grandma in the next week.

THE NEXT WEEK!

Oops- again, did I say that out loud?

So I can’t wait to write my Christmas letter next year to tell everybody how little babyAGMA is so advanced for his age, and is talking and walking and potty trained and is already being recruited to play football by a major D1 college team.

And how everybody else’s grandkid is just a big loser.

I just love the holidays!

Table for one please!

samplelady

I have a friend who insists on posting a Christmas count down on Facebook every day.   Well – maybe it’s not every day, but it’s frequent.  Too frequent.

Five more Saturdays until Christmas.  34 more days until Christmas. 816 hours until Christmas.  And they all have a picture of some Disney character dressed up as lame Santa, passing out gifts and smiling.  Ugh.

Terror grips me when I see these posts.

My pulse gets faster, my stomach starts to get that “roller coaster” feeling and little droplets of sweat ever so gently start meandering down my forehead.  I told her these posts make me anxious. Evidently she doesn’t care.  The relentless countdown continues.

48,960 minutes until Christmas.

Of course, my response is Pavlovian of sorts, based on conditioning from holiday’s long past.  Novembers and Decembers that were nothing but a blur of non-stop activity and motion.  Back in the days when I worked outside the home, entertained friends and neighbors, volunteered at church and school, took care of aging parents and tried to give my kids the perfect Thanksgiving/Christmas every year. Yeah – good luck with that.

Basically I acted like the Tasmanian Devil in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Complete with the unintelligible grunting.  And I kinda looked like him too.  Still do.

But now, the holidays are a breeze.  The kids are grown and on their own, I live in a new city so there’s no entertaining old friends, neighbors and co-workers, my job is very part-time and my parents passed away.  Plus, gift buying on the Internet gives a whole new meaning to the term “easy peasy”.

But some days are still busy though.  Like yesterday.  Places to go; things to do; people to see.  Days like yesterday during the holidays make getting proper nutrition a challenge.  My morning banana and mocha only last so long…

My stomach started rumbling about 1 PM, but I still had a few stops to make.  I needed to get my glasses adjusted, buy toilet paper and get our Thanksgiving turkey.  What to do, what to do?

It came to me in a flash with a clarity of mind and reason I rarely experience.  I did what any hungry person of a certain age would do in the middle of a Friday who needed a spectacle adjustment, a turkey and mass quantities of toilet paper…

My name is AGMA and I ate “lunch” yesterday courtesy of the sample ladies at Costco.

I think of it as a power lunch.  It allows you to power through shopping while enjoying the wide variety of outstanding food products offered by this membership-only warehouse club.  They graciously provide the fuel for your engine so you can shop until you drop.

Fridays in November and December is THE best time to dine.  The sample brigade is out in full force in preparation for the weekend of unbridled holiday food buying.  The Costco food departments are loaded with holiday favorites – ham, meatballs, cheese, chocolate, cheesecake, candied pecans – and they want to share it all with you. For free.  That’s the best part.

During the day on Fridays in November and December, the hoards of shoppers there on the weekends are delightfully absent.   This give you full accessibility to the “buffet”.  No wild children snatching the samples out from under your nose.  No elbows being thrown at you trying to get the last sample.  No lines to wait in to get that schmeer of spinach artichoke dip on the pita chip.  Lunchtime nirvana.

You’ve got to know the “unwritten” rules though.  Only take one. Dispose of the toothpick and napkin in an approved receptacles. And thank the sample lady.  Every now and then, buy what you are sampling.  If you can do that, sometimes you can get away with taking a second sample. “This is SO good, I think I’ll just grab another one!”

If I had some good Tempranillo with it, I’d swear it was just like eating tapas in Spain.  Kind of.  In a sick and twisted way.

Bon appetite!