Total Clarity. Then You Fall on Your Ass: Cheese Bikkies

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

-The remedy for both bruised butt and ego.-

I am not Michele Kwan. Let’s just be clear about that. Hell, I’m not even one of the Peanuts Gang, who all seem to be able to glide across the ice with ever fluid, though somewhat repetitive motions. (I am, however, a far better dancer than any of their lot.)

No, rather my ice skating is as awkward and clumsy as a first date. My knees shake and swivel like a teetering toy top at the end of its run while my arms flail about in unstable gyres. There will be stops made only by the fact that there is a dependable wall - one of Gods of the ice rink that all beginners prostrate themselves on time and again - in front of me.

Yet, I never fall.

Or, well, rarely. I rarely ever fall.

-I'm not clumsy. I just have an endearing lack of self preservation.-

Thing is for all that tottering around the ice and almost taking out a few small children who have no concept of one-way rink traffic I actually have good enough balance to keep my rubber-boned ankles vertical. I blame it on years of gymnastics in college carefully running balancing beams and flying through the air where having a firm understanding of my center of gravity meant the difference between a solid landing and dreadful tumble like a quail shot out of the sky. I can stay up and, given a few minutes to recall my younger years in the 90’s on roller blades, can eventually move with enough grace (for lack of a better word) to look like I know what I’m doing.

Frontwards and backwards, none of it becomes a problem after a good twenty minutes of finding the steels on my feet. You won’t see a lutz or spin, but you won’t see me falling face first.

So, like every year, I had arranged some time to go ice skating. Fiance’ stayed behind on account of, “I don’t want to spend an hour falling on my ass,” which meant I would go alone with my friend Mike who was better on the ice than me and eager to bundle up for a bit of weekend winter sport.

We walked many blocks from Mike's place to the rink allowing the stroll to warm us up. The air was crisper than a wafer cookie and each puff of hot breath hung long in the air like small persistent ghosts following us down the street.

Too Much PC: Curried Popcorn

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

-Happy *Insert Proper Holiday Here*-

"Do we need to put stuff up for Ramadan?" asked Pamela. We were putting up the various holiday decorations at work and while she began to string garland through the big Spruce tree I tried my darndest to remember which symbol was which on a dreidel. It was my first job out of college and after four years of spinning the darned thing I still could barely remember which was which.

"No, it was in July and August this year. Lunar calendar, I think," I replied.

"Still, don't we have to represent it?" she asked.

"What? Why?" I tossed the toy onto the table and listened to it playfully whir against the tabletop before teetering over with the symbol for Nun face up.

"To be all PC and all that," she replied.

"It was months ago. That would be like hanging your stockings and breaking out the nog in May. There's no point. Plus, anyone who came in who was knowledgeable about the holiday would realize that it was misguided PC. Or, well, just think us idiots. If we wanted to honestly represent it we should have done so at the right time. I didn't know when it was and we don't celebrate all the holidays anyways. It's not like we lit candles for Diwali or anything this year."

-Totally dropped the Diwali ball. My bad.-

"Well, at least we have a Christmas tree so people know what we celebrate," she said in most self-assured way, as if setting herself stalwart against imagined throngs of people bashing down our door to declare a War on Christmas. "I'm so tired of hearing Happy Holidays, when people mean Merry Christmas."

Pamela is the heavily religious type. Rather liberal on many social issues (you generally are if you work in social work as we do), but still strictly religious. She was the type who wore tacky holiday sweaters with fashionable abandon, pulsed with the thrum of her beliefs, and would lecture you about cursing if you said, "Oh Jesus," in her presence. Still her plump face, blond hair that fell to her waist in wheat-colored wave, violin chord voice, and amber disposition made her endearing to almost everyone.

"But not everyone here does celebrate Christmas. I think that, well, Christmas has evolved into a family holiday for a lot of people. It doesn't have quite the religious connotation I think it had," I replied as I tried to get pencil thin candle to stand straight in the menorah.

"What do you mean?" asked Pamela.

Just. Stop.: Eggnog Upside-Down Fruit Cake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

-Because sometime venting helps me...-

"So how did the parsnip recipe work this time?" asked my friend and cookbook partner, Stephanie.

"Not so good. The first was too rich. The second was tasted like nothing at all. The third actually set off the smoke alarm." I sighed. "Honestly, if this recipe goes any farther south I'll be cooking in Mexico. I am beyond stressed right now."

"Mexican Mac and Cheese? Hmm..."

"Oooh. Yes. Jot that down. But, anyways, Mutual Friend X keeps bugging me. He can't cook at all. At. All. He wants to help test and to be honest I don't think he can handle it."

"Mutual Friend X couldn't handle a shot of raspberry schnapps."

"HA! Awesome. But yeah, when you come up I want your help working on this one because I am about to seriously go apeshit with these parsnips and club a bitch in the throat with one. I highly doubt the publisher wants that sort of PR."

"All press is good press, right?"

"Unless you're a despot or being profiled in People magazine for stretch marks or something."

"Indeed," she concurred.

-In this issue of People: celebrities who need your undying attention.-

Favors: Cranberry Jam

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

-A bit of thanks for everyone.-

"So what kind of ceremony were you planning to have?" asked Kate, my and Fiance's friend and wedding planner. A tall brunette with librarian's glasses and a designer's wardrobe poignantly market with Kate Spade (natch) I watched her mentally tick off various aspects of the big day as she took stock of what then, depending on our answers, needed to be done.

"Um, just a short one I think?" Kate gave me a rather concerned glare. I looked to Fiance who had conveniently turned away and proceeded to examine the rather impressive and near-to-scale and intimidating recreation of Stonehenge that our host, John, had built a few years back on a gardening whim so as to appear unaware of the question. I turned back to Kate, "Like, ten minutes long. Or so?"

"Yes, but what kind? Like a sand ceremony or what?" she queried harder, hoping her example would spark some kind of flame in my nuptial noggin. Sadly, her flint was weak. Or, more likely, I lack the tinder.

-Or a bit of both...-

"Kate, I have no idea what the words you are saying mean."

"Okay, how about a chocolate and wine ceremony?" The C-Word got Fiance's attention but he didn't know the question. We met her, this time together, with blank stares. She sighed and rubbed her temples. "Okay, it's a ceremony that uses chocolate to symbolize the bitter times and wine to celebrate the sweet times. Very fun, very unique, very foodie. I'd think you guys would like it."

Fiance and I exchanged looks, nodded, and gave our assent to the planner that yes, that sounded lovely. She then began to talk about processions (we'll have a short one), corsages (just for me as Fiance will be in military dress), wedding party (none, it's a guest list of 50 for Christ's sake), and so on. The bulk of the exchange was poor Kate lobbing darts at the board of our collective likes and dislikes and seeing what stuck.

I began to suspect that my lack of answers to apparently the most basic questions about various wedding considerations was beginning to exasperate her. The entire concept of planning a wedding to us is probably more confusing to us than reading sanskrit, contemplation of the universe and our place within it, and Michele Bachman. Still, she just mostly smiled through the whole thing and like a mother leading a toddler through a crowded place delicately made sure I knew what I was doing and that Fiance and I made sound decisions that would be right for us.

Who knew so much went into one of these hooplahs?

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