The 12 Weeks of Christmas for Underachievers

The 12 Weeks of Christmas for Underachievers

You read it right, there are actually 12 weeks of jingle, plinky, sparkly, ring-a-ding holidays. Don’t believe me? Okay, I get it, but we need to stop denying Christmas creep. It starts early in Fall and builds its nefarious and stealthy steam for 12 whole weeks. Week 1 through 3: Sneaks up on us every darned time. These start in October, when Christmas people are digging out strings of lights waiting for the Halloween people to be done with it. This is also the period when large retailers start the subterfuge of small sections of shimmery crap that harks of herald angels. They think they are being subtle. except Costco, they sold out of shiny balls in August. Weeks 4 through 6: While veterans are being remembered and the weather is starting to turn, Christmas creep is happening full on. The stores unapologetically roll out row after row of chocolates in shiny packages, fully decorated fake trees and spinning snowmen dancers on little wind up stands. Neighbors hang endless sparkling strings of those hideous icicle lights and compete to see who can have the most inflatable happy Santas on their front lawns. Weeks 7 and 8: Are deadly. You think you still have time, but you don’t. Every store is playing an endless loop of “Come All Ye Faithful” by Gloria Gaynor (I don’t care if she didn’t do that song, you get the point). Parking spots at the mall are getting scarce and nice little old ladies are clobbering each other over the last wonk-wheeled cart. All the chocolate you bought in week five for “presents” is gone, and now you have to shop for replacement gifts and new pants. Then weeks 9 and 10 come crashing in like a tsunami of underachiever eggnog. Friends have their trees up, and you can’t even find the damned wrapping paper. It doesn’t really matter, because you don’t have much to wrap anyway. Your shopping list is on scraps of paper mixed in with candy wrappers scattered around bins of holiday decorations still dusty from the attic. The bins are just sitting there… judging you. Christmas party invitations long ago accepted now require clothing that fits. Your choices are: go to the party looking like you crammed yourself into a sausage casing, or stay home swearing a blue streak while putting up your Christmas tree. Both options end in alcohol and bad food choices. In comes week 11 in a blur of grumpy store clerks, flyers in the mailbox insisting that the after Christmas deals will be AMAZING and trips to stores that have nothing. This is the week when you take the basic decorations out of those damned bins, and...
Let’s Play a Game of “Would you Rather?”

Let’s Play a Game of “Would you Rather?”

The kids are all playing “Would You Rather”. If you haven’t heard what this game is about, maybe it is for the best. It is a fact that Tweens have always relished being cruel to their friends, and seemingly endless of ways come up with some pretty sick-ass games. Nowadays they are playing a new version of an old favourite. Do you remember “Truth or Dare” games behind the school bleachers? Memories of playing it still makes my blood run cold from all the viscous dares and gut wrenching truths. The new game is, in my view, is a bit gentler than its predecessor. Also it is somewhat less likely to end with your kid upside down in a trash can with a squealing rat trying to escape her tank top. So maybe that is something at least, but it can still be nasty. The “would you rather” game is about making impossible choices. My tween boy was playing it with his friends, and I made the colossal misjudgment of listening as I passed his room. The options these kids come up with are almost always gross, and by gross I mean the single most disgusting thing they can imagine. Which is, after all that is the point of the game. Gag worthy shit and who can win it with the worst imagery. In this particular round of the game, one buck toothed runty kid was asking the question. His options were: “Would you rather suck out the pus from your sister’s ass boil or rub hot peppers on your balls?” Um… seriously Marvin, this is what you think about? I didn’t stick around for the answer. I got to thinking about what I would come up with in a game of “Would you Rather” with my Mom Squad friends. First we would need to set the stage for our game by having a few glasses of liquid honesty, and then flip for who gets the first question. In my mind, the questions would go something like this: The first out of the gate would be the slightly frazzled mom with way too many children: “Would you rather just give him a blow job and sleep or listen to stories about his bad day at work?” Hmm. Good question Gwen. The next Mom has been thinking about it and shouts “OH OH, I have one!!. This girl is cute because she likes to hang out with her slightly cooler and more bad ass friends, but really, she is just the sweet dopey chick named Tippy that always shows up with baked goods. Every group has one, the Mascot Mom. Her question is: ” Would you rather use soy milk...
Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

A little while ago, I wrote a piece about the meaning of modern teen-speak expressions like “on fleek” and “goals”. I might have crinkled my eyes a little at how ridiculous and nonsensical these expressions seemed to me. I may have to take the judgy crinkle face I made back now that I am thinking about some of the expressions we used back in the day. All I can say is that it is a bit of a lottery win that I can even come up with a list, because if you remember the 80’s – you didn’t have as much fun as I did. However, the point of this informative and somewhat frivolous piece is to help teens understand us geriatrics by teaching them the ways of their parents. Teens: here is a short guide to understanding what your parents mean when they say: Totally Tubular – this is what you said when something was great or interesting. It was not used to describe toilet paper rolls or sewage pipes. Gag me with a spoon – girls said this when they didn’t like something. It was most effective when accompanied by open mouth gum chewing and a tornado eye roll. The boys however tried to gag themselves with spoons just to see if they could. This activity spawned the expression Barf Me Out. Gnarly – boys used this term to describe everything from their sheared off skin from a bike accident to a perfectly executed wheelie on their banana bikes. Grody to the max – everybody under the age of 20 used this expression. It was used to describe something mildly gross or unpleasant with some additional emphasis. It really wasn’t to the max of anything, it was just fun to say. Let’s blow this Popsicle stand – when we were just to cool for one place, and we pretended we had somewhere cooler to be. We didn’t. Sometimes it failed and the person who said it walked out alone. Righteous – I can still picture Sean Penn saying this in a state of pot induced wonderment. If you don’t know who Sean Penn is, use the Google. Valley girls– This is more of a cultural phenomenon than an expression, and it is really hard to explain. The way Valley Girls spoke swept north america like a wave, with teen girls imitating it. The closest I can come to describing it is imagine if beach Barbie could speak, and then give her an attitude. Catch You On The Flip~side – The flip side refers to the B side of a record. For a modern explanation, picture saying goodbye to your friend and then flipping over your iphone. Now you are catching...
How Fiercely do You Hate Your Nickname?

How Fiercely do You Hate Your Nickname?

Why, Why, Why do people feel the need to assign nicknames to each other? It might surprise you to know that people you call by some bizarre version of their actual name grind their teeth every time you say it? Granted, our parents chose our birth moniker and most of us hated our given names as kids. We either complained that our handles made us different and got us teased, or the flip side, our names were boring. Nobody ever loved being called Griselda I am sure. But even worse some jackass kid starting to call her Grizzly in grade two and it stuck. For all eternity. There are a few varieties of nicknames. There is the bastardization of your name, which is most common, like Barbie for Barbara, Mike for Michael, or Dick for Richard (or Richard might just be a dick… there is always that possibility). The other type is more often assigned by your family or friends early in your life. Thus there are full grown adults still called “Pooper”, “Snotball” or “Shorty” at family reunions. Has anybody ever asked Pooper if she appreciates being reminded of the unfortunate corn incident of 1983? The most common one however is people changing your name to shorten or make it cute. I wonder if my friend Elizabeth chooses to go by Becky or if it was foisted on her by her friends? Last I checked, she signs her name Elizabeth and doesn’t wear a headband that says “Sure, call me Becky”. You can understand a nickname more when your name is Friedlplatz and you are from lower Bavaria so nobody in North America can pronounce it. Freddy it is. I have been called Maggie, Mags, your Magesty, whatever. Hate them all. I don’t mind endearments though. Sweetie, Honey, Love, they are all fine. I also kind of like it when store clerks call me M’am. I earned every wrinkle and fat roll befitting my age so I feel that calling me “Miss” is kind of disingenuous. I clearly passed “Miss” 30 years ago and am now full on “M’am”. The first 20 year old that calls me “Dearie” though is going to get a punch in the throat. I think that most people might not be as enamored with what ever nickname you use for them. Maybe “Big Cheese” isn’t what your fat friend appreciates being called. If you address your best friend by a loving nickname that they approve, then do it. Call them Binky or Poopsie and they will still love you. I have also heard that Doctors really don’t like being addressed as “Doc”. They spent 7 to 10 years in post graduate school, they...
Crap, I Think I Might Be Sexist

Crap, I Think I Might Be Sexist

I consider myself a bit of an armchair feminist. I tut-tut news stories about Hijabs, the glass ceiling and systemic limitations of women’s ambitions. I am not the protesting and bra burning sort, however I stand strong when faced with overt sexism wherever I see it. I do something about it with ferocity, even if I wouldn’t march in a topless gathering of angry women. Having one of each gender as children, I am raising them in an equitable manner. I tell them both that they can be whatever they want, but they can count on dealing with assholes of both sexes their whole lives. I explain that they are best not to participate in the monkey games, don’t put up with any crap and just treat everybody decently, full stop. As for my own private thoughts, I do like men, truly. They are fun and differently smart and mostly reliable, the good ones anyway. Through my career I have encountered great mentors and colleagues who encouraged me. I have also dealt with malicious schemers who would undermine me at every opportunity. Both types have come in both genders so it isn’t that. Really, I would like to think that I view the sexes equally. Or at least I thought I did until I peeked in to my mental box of biases and had an honest look at them. It dawned on me that I might be a hypocrite. I hate when I figure out some aspect of myself is an asshole…. dammit. I started to have a clue during recent vacations and business travel. When flying, I would board the plane, and as you do (or at least I do) I check the cockpit to see if the pilots look like they know what they are doing. I started to notice that I would have a subconscious calming of my nerves if there was a female pilot. Seriously, a palpable sense of relief would wash over me to see a woman at the helm. Then I noticed, when driving through border crossings between countries, if I had an option to, I would try to pick the line by the gender of the border guard. My thundering bias that the women were tougher and might call for a search of my car suddenly struck me and I would try for the more potentially amenable dude. I feel the same way about police officers, and I have no idea why. When lining up for a customer service agent, I pick the women if I can. Are they going to try harder to help me than a dude would? Probably not, but apparently my secret sexist has the illusion that she will...
My Hair Dresser Thinks I Am Cantankerous Old Doll

My Hair Dresser Thinks I Am Cantankerous Old Doll

Everybody under the age of 30 looks 12 to me. Honestly, are there even any actual adults working in banks or stores anymore? Even the dude selling me a car doesn’t look old enough to vote. Being on the cusp of the jaunty decade that will be my fifties, I understand, at least theoretically, that I look my age. It’s not like I have any horse anesthetic injected in my forehead crinkles, nor is there any bit of me worth tattooing. (I understand you need at least a few square inches of taught skin for the artist not to produce a Salvador Dali creation that jiggles when you walk.) So really, I get it that the under 30 set views me as practically a geriatric. I don’t have any real issue with being viewed as old and harmless. There are advantages to being a stealth 30 year old in a 50 year old costume. For instance, when I ask for help carrying a heavy purchase from some young buck at the hardware store just so I can look at his ass, he has no idea of my ploy. Dirty old ladies are real, just ask my friends. Where the friction point between generations is for me, a late Gen Ex, and my Millennial hairdresser (or is it stylist, I am never sure) is my haircuts. When my usual hair artist went on maternity leave, I kind of bounced around trying to find a new home for my locks. Apparently, there is nobody over 40 doing hair, so I went with a series of young people to see what new style I could rock the world with. I mean these youngsters set the standard for music, social media, fashion and coffee shops… can they not help one grouchy old girl with her hair? I started with an appointment at a local trendy salon. I was assigned to this diminutive hottie from the Philippines.  He had funky hair and was not afraid of multi coloured spikes. He had promise. As he stepped on his stool and put the cape over my head, it felt like Edward Scissorhands was grooving through my hair. This was going to be the one… I knew it. Alas, it was a mediocre haircut and I waddled out of the salon with no spikes of my own. Apparently I am not spike worthy. The next three young women disregarded my requests for interesting colour combinations and a modern cut. Nope, I left all of their salons looking like Mama from the Carol Burnett Show. I used some decidedly unladylike language each time I grumbled my way into the car. Have I gotten to the point where I...