Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

As a society, we are constantly facing this fast-paced, day-to-day, ever-evolving need to be politically correct and follow this unspoken (and unsigned) social contract.

Especially during the Holidays.

There’s: Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Secret Santa, White Elephant Gift Exchanges, Office Parties, Neighborhood Block Parties/Friends’ Holiday Parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.  (I know I’ve left a bunch out.  But…you get the idea.)

And you have to participate in one, or all of these Holiday Rituals… Otherwise, you’re a Heathen.

You have to:

Bring a Pinterest-Inspired Dish That’s Under/Overcooked to Friendsgiving – You’ve been involved in a group text for 3 weeks that you just can’t get out of. And you can’t believe that you’re friends with these people who can’t figure out who should bring plates.

Bring a Dish (and spend time with family) for Thanksgiving – You’ve been praying for a natural disaster, or a plague to befall you…No such luck. Sorry, Champ. Get in there…tell your Aunt who lives in rural Illinois that you still don’t know when you’ll be getting married, and you’ve never heard of… how do you say it? Politics?

Wake Up Earlier Than Sin to go Get a Bunch of Crap For Yourself That You’ll Forget About Until the Next Time You Move – You’re running on 45 minutes of sleep, Starbucks, and the thirst for really great Black Friday deals that really only get you a couple of nostalgic movies that you didn’t really like for $5. No matter. You’re a champion, and you know it.

Spending Company Time Online Shopping – Unfortunately, Cyber Monday isn’t a corporate-sanctioned Holiday. So, in between vigilance of deleting Reply-All emails at work, you keep up with your relentless refreshing for the <insert electronic item here> to be back in stock.

Hurry and Find a Present for Secret Santa/White Elephant Gift Exchange – No pressure. But it has to be good… and somehow within the $10 spending limit that was agreed upon and wrap it in fancier-than-usual wrapping paper because it’s for someone you don’t know very well…and you don’t want to seem completely cheap. Your reputation is on the line.

Argue With Each Other About Not Being Able to Cancel on Holiday Parties You’ve Been Invited To — It’s too late to cancel, and the invitation has been sitting on the fridge for months. (Let’s face it. You have to go to the Work Party… because human beings are all nosey…and Karen can’t hold her alcohol very well. Hilarity, blackmail, and a boost to your self-esteem. Hole-in-One.) So you go, anyway, and begrudgingly attend said parties by arriving at the absolute last minute, holding your breath and holding your tongue, and then leaving at the pre-calculated acceptable time to leave. (Hint: Make sure to say hello to at least 50% of the people there. Grab a snack or drink to hold in your hand to make it seem like you’re committed to staying. After a little while, find the host of the party, and tell them you have to go. You have other places to be. Total Time Lapsed – 45 Minutes. TOPS.)

Spend the Morning of Christmas Eve Going to the Grocery Store 27+ Times in Your Pajamas – No matter how many lists you write, and how many times you hit the aisles… you always seem to forget something. But you don’t notice until you get home and you’ve unloaded all the groceries…and now you have to drive all the way back to the store saying every curse word you have ever heard and find a good parking spot. Make sure you have everything! The safety of others depends on it.

Spend the Evening of Christmas Eve Making Sure Everything is Done – Presents must be wrapped, pies must be baked…It’s 3 AM and somebody has some enthusiasm they have to fake in the morning! You will be opening presents that embody your loved ones’ best attempts at guessing what you like. (Hint: Smile, make your eyes big, hide your visible disappointment, express gratitude, and hug. Repeat, as needed.)

Spending Christmas Day Absolutely Exhausted and in Fine Form – You got a lot of gift cards, and a few gifts you’ll definitely be taking back to the store. Your brother-in-law insisted on making Christmas Day dinner and it turned out to be a huge flop. The realization that you can’t get fast food on the way home has JUST sunk in.

Spend the Day After Christmas Eating Leftover Food and Resenting Leftover Guests – You did it. You survived Christmas — Almost. Now, you have to continue to entertain…even though you just used your last bit of Holiday Cheer.

Researching Places to go and Spend $20$100 on a Table Reservations for New Year’s Eve – Yet another beloved group text message trying to decide where you all want to spend NYE. You still can’t believe that you’re friends with these people – because you have set up the reservation on your credit card…and you know no one is going to pay you back. You know Doug will sing Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ along with the band at the top of his lungs at the beginning of the night, get way too drunk way too fast, make out with a stranger at midnight, and then he’ll be crying at the end of the night while puking in your front yard.

Filling Yourself with Greasy Food to Fight Off Your Hangover – All the while researching which gym you’re going to be joining, this year, as part of your New Year’s Resolutions… (Memorize those cancellation policies!)

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In my opinion…the Holidays are a time for us to share and celebrate what we are thankful for, to spend time with loved ones, to reflect on our lives and try to better ourselves.

We adhere to these ‘rules’ that we have created for ourselves.

We endure people, places, things, ideas…For what?

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This New Year, I resolve to speak my mind more.
and you should, too!

Let me tell you how I got to this resolution.

I was thinking back to when I was about 6-years-old, in Wood Dale, Illinois; and my best friend lived down the block from me.

One particular day, we were having a petty disagreement.  I don’t remember how it started — or why – but I would write an insult reserved for her on my driveway in sidewalk chalk.  And then, I would run in the house and keep checking the window for her to ride by on her bike to read it.  She did.  Then she would go back to her house and write an insult reserved for me, and then hide in her house and wait for me.  And so on, and so forth.

I was growing tired of the back and forth.  I was highly offended by the insults that she issued to me.  (Side Note: I had no problems with the insults I was dishing out to her.)

The passive-aggressive chalk-off had gone on long enough.

I went outside to the driveway…one last time.  I grabbed the biggest piece of chalk that I could find.

And in big, pink, bold, chalky letters…I wrote the worst word I knew –

JERK!

I stood out in front of it… Proud.  And I waited.

After a few minutes, as expected, she rode by on her bike.  She was surprised when she saw me – and then she saw what I had wrote.  Her jaw dropped, and she screamed.  I stayed put, and watched her ride back to her house.

In the end, I definitely don’t think I won the argument.  (I think I probably got yelled at)

But I spoke my mind.  She was being a jerk…and I called her out on it.

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So, for the upcoming New Year…

Be the proud 6-year-old standing in the driveway in front of what she had on her mind.

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Ho Ho Hold On…

It’s the Holiday Season.

As you’ve probably noticed – everybody and their mother has been complaining about everything. Whether or not they can say ‘Merry Christmas’…or if they have to say ‘Happy Holidays’…or listening to headphones, polite smile, complete silence, no eye-contact, and minding my own business (like I do) to strange passersby, and co-workers.

I’m not going to bore you with my opinions on that. I am, however, going to bore you with my opinions on something else that holds a little bit more weight this time of year.

Public Bathrooms.

Now, I don’t know about you… but one of the Pillars of Adulthood, for me, has been:

Knowing where every bathroom is (and its accessibility) everywhere you go.

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 It is a basic human right to know, and understand, the location of any and every indoor plumbing facility. (Repeat this, as necessary.)

Unfortunately, as well as knowing the location of said bathroom…we also have to know the policies on using the bathroom.

And everywhere is different.

To name a few:

  • The Statue of Liberty Bathroom Policy – This means their bathroom is open to anyone and everyone.Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your paying customers, your random people walking by who had no intention of entering your establishment, your moms or dads with their potty training 2 year-old who always waits until it’s an emergency, your elderly, etc”
    We love these people, and their cart blanche bathroom policies. They are angels among us.
  • Fascist Party Bathroom Policy – This means that the bathrooms are EMPLOYEES ONLY. This could be a Gas Station, a Convenience Store, a Combination of the two…whatever. These people are advocates of the movement of intolerance of others using their bathroom (or maybe they just don’t want to keep it up to code on the cleaning). Either way – it isn’t right.
  • Bathroom Gestapo Bathroom Policy – This means that the bathrooms are for CUSTOMERS ONLY. Which is fine. Except, I don’t appreciate the attitude that goes with this policy. “Can I use your bathroom?” followed by a snotty “Our bathroom is for Customers Only” is not a very welcoming sentiment. I’m already in a panic. I have to go to the bathroom. There’s a room at your Inn. What if I have never been to your establishment? I clearly did not know the policy. I just stopped in. I could be a potential return customer. Put a smile on your face. It won’t kill you.
  • Password Protected Bathroom Policy – This means that the bathroom is open to anyone… but it requires a passcode or a key in order to gain entry to the facilities. Usually, the store does not have a sign saying: “If you need to use our restroom, please find an apathetic 18 year-old employee who is pretending to look busy to avoid actual interaction or work to provide you with access to the bathroom.” I would be fine with a sign like that. But instead – you find the bathroom, and then see that you need a password or a key…and now there isn’t an employee in sight. Deplorable.

 

I will forever boycott Church’s Chicken because of a time some years ago, around the Holidays, where I tried to use their bathroom in an urgent need for bladder relief. I was told that the bathroom was for Customers Only – I told them I would happily purchase anything.  To which they replied, “We’re closing, soon.”  And I was cast out.  My willingness to comply and purchase and consume frozen fried chicken, their lazy attempt at a poor excuse for mashed potatoes and their sad gelatinous gravy was not sufficient enough for these Bathroom Gestapos.

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If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of some of these heinous policies…

Stand up for yourself. Say something.

Because you shouldn’t have to fight…for your right… to potty.

 

 

 

Gospel of Standards (A How-To Guide for Dealing With my Social Anxiety and Food Expectations)

Here’s how to tell if we are good friends:

You’re having a get-together at your house for <insert reason here>. You’ve made a whole bunch of food, and you invited some people over.

Am I in attendance?

Absolutely not.

I’ve texted you at the absolute last minute to cancel or say ‘Oh, no!  Something came up…’… or I’ve stayed completely radio silent to you all day hoping and praying to any deity who will listen that you won’t text or call me first making sure I will be there.

If we’re not that good of friends… I am at this get-together. I’ve spent days dreading this event; and in the same breath, I’ve been preparing for this get-together. (Keep your eyes peeled for the riveting performance starring Me in ‘Social Anxiety… ON PARADE!’)

But I am at this shindig…harboring a lot of feelings. One of these feelings is the complete awkwardness of combining your social groups. How selfish and dictator-esque of you to coordinate this event and corral us over to your house like cattle because of the promise of food with no cleanup. (Because that’s the only reason we are all coming over. No one cares how you decorated your foyer. Where’s the food?)

While we’re on the subject of food – Be courteous, and mindful of your guests. (Remember: You invited us.) Follow the golden rule. Stick with what you know. If you cannot figure out how to make something edible based on the ingredients that you have, combined with your current culinary skills…then you have no business making it. If it’s not from a family recipe book; if you can’t pronounce it; if you saw it on Rachael Ray; if it requires ingredients that you can’t imagine what they would taste like when they are combined…thus, making it an ‘edible crapshoot’

Then Shut It Down. Get off of Pinterest. Live your life.

Here’s the Gospel of Party Foods (According to Me)

APPETIZERS/HORS D’OEUVRES –

Ants on a Log: This is not food. First things first, raisins and celery do not belong together. Peanut Butter is good – but only on bread with marshmallow fluff, or jelly. It should also be noted that Ants on a Log the most humbling snack to eat…so, yeah, let’s eat it in a room full of people I don’t know. Celery never cuts off clean when you eat it…you always get the strings. Peanut Butter always sticks to the roof of your mouth…only to be flossed back through your teeth by the celery strings. And the raisins stick to and in your molars. This is a three-tiered disaster. Overall snack rating: F –

Deviled Eggs: Let’s get something straight. If you made the communal deviled eggs for the party…We’re friends. Ok? I know a lot of the questionable decisions that you’ve made in your life. So-much-so that I have to question your abilities to be able to make an agreeable ratio of equal parts mayonnaise and mustard. (And it IS mayonnaise. If you use Miracle Whip for your deviled eggs, you’re a monster and I don’t want to know you.) Also, if you sully the deviled egg by using any other spice other than a dash of paprika…I will fight you in a dark alley with no shoes on.

Deviled Eggs are better than most people on this planet; and they deserve to be treated as such.

Coleslaw: If you are that guy that makes a sloppy, nasty, wet coleslaw…We can’t be friends, anymore. I like a good coleslaw. Nice. Light. Refreshing. It can cleanse a palate. I wouldn’t wish a sloppy coleslaw that gets dressing on your face on my worst enemy. Neither should you. (Please: No raisins, craisins, or anything else of the -aisin variety.)

Potato Salad: For all of you heathens out there that don’t understand the function of mayonnaise in a potato salad…Mayonnaise is just there to LIGHTLY coat the ingredients of the potato salad. If you drown the potatoes in mayonnaise…Then you deserve to go straight to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.

How dare you blatantly disrespect the most beautiful food in all of the land.

Meat and Cheese Platter: Always a good choice! But – for the love of all that is Holy… Please, please, PLEASE put it over ice. Nothing about sweaty meats and cheeses is appetizing. Also…Wheat crackers can absolutely NOT be the only option for carb consumption as part of this platter. You may as well serve NO snacks, if this is the case. A cracker variety, or bread, are perfectly sufficient. (Bread is ALWAYS the answer.)

Veggie/Fruit Platter: Again, always a good choice. However, put a spoon in the dip and provide plates. I’m a known double-dipper…and so is everyone else in this world. Do yourself, and all of your guests a favor. Use a spoon.

ENTRÉES –

As long as the entrée is something recognizable and seemingly edible…Everyone should be fine. If someone asks, “What is this?” That’s not a good sign.

Also — there is no shame in just ordering sandwiches from your local grocery store deli.  Helpful Hint: get the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc on the side so that I can dress up my own sandwich.  (And tell those corporate grocery store meat pimps to leave their ham in the case.)

DESSERTS –

Put desserts out that people recognize. For example: Fudge, cheesecake slices, cake slices, pie slices, chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, brownies…Etc. No need to get fancy. If it looks complicated to eat, or looks questionable…

All work, and no sweets makes Sarah a Dull Girl.


Overall – Have some standards.

If it worked out that I was not at this get-together… Call me and I will come over another day, and I will happily eat leftovers.


Instagram: @mehhhh4


Selfies With A Standalone Surf Thing.

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Selfies With A Standalone Surf Thing.

It’s Summer Time in Phoenix…It’s 110+ degrees fehrenheit most days…Let’s put a big rubber and plastic thing filled with water in the middle of Downtown Phoenix.  That won’t add any element of humidity.  At all.

I know what you’re thinking, “Ok, but you’re wearing a scarf…”

Yeah.  I know.  I’m an idiot, too.


Instagram: @mehhhh4

Selfies With A Sticker Of A Stack Of Books.

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Selfies With  A Sticker Of A Stack Of Books.

There’s a lady that sits in this office and she always has a basket filled with granola bars that I like to visit.  (Yes, I visit granola bars.  Occasionally consume…)

Much to my dismay, the door was locked.  And she was out of the office ALL WEEK.  She never cleared this with me.  She could have, at least, left some granola bars on my desk.

How dare she.


Instagram: @mehhhh4

Selfies While Silently Willing The Cleaning Ladies to Finish Cleaning The Bathroom.

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Selfies While Silently Willing The Cleaning
Ladies to Finish Cleaning The Bathroom. 

(And other tragedies.)

These cleaning ladies at work…I tell ya.  I think, somehow, they are keeping track of my bathroom tendencies.  Because they ALWAYS know when I have to go.  Always.  It’s astonishing.

And they pick the WORST times, too.  It’s usually in the morning, like right when everyone gets in.  And around lunch time.

Those are the primetime bathroom time slots.

What I’m saying is we need Nielsen Monitors for Bathrooms so that the Cleaning People can work around my bathroom requirements.
Or not.


Instagram: @mehhhh4