The Twelve Questions of Christmas

11 12 2008

It’s that time of year when good cheer is spread everywhere except in packed store aisles where shoppers’ carts recklessly crash into each other while racing around in search of those hard-to-find Christmas gifts.  It follows then, that it must be time for my wife (see hers here) and me to bust out or annual Christmas meme.  Feel free to use it; we’d love to see your answers.

1. What’s the best Christmas gift you have ever received?  What’s the worst?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best. I probably answered differently last year, but I’ll go with the electric train set I received as a child.  It was circling the Christmas tree when I woke up.

The worst I received was while working at Goodwill.  I “won” a freaking canned ham in a raffle there.  It was disgusting to look at.  I didn’t venture a taste.

2. What is your favorite Christmas movie moment?

This one:

3. What is your favorite version of a Christmas song?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Frank Sinatra.  My late father, who was a prisoner of war during WWII, once told me this was his favorite Christmas song (not necessarily the Sinatra version) because of his time during the war. That always stuck with me.

4. Describe an ornament that has special significance to you.

My ravishing wife gave this one to me.  The sign says, “I burn 4 U.”

5. Have you had any traumatic Christmas-related experiences?

Just the one with the aforementioned canned ham.  I swear that thing was alive.

6. What is your happiest Christmas memory?

This year, just a few days ago, when my 3-year-old daughter sat in Santa’s lap for the first time and had the biggest smile on her face.  She asked for a “Pink girl tractor” to drive. I also remember, as a small child, lying under our Christmas tree and watching the cool patterns the blinking lights made on our ceiling.

7. Favorite Christmas picture:

This one from many years ago because it shows a bunch of my family.  Most importantly, though, it shows my nephew being a HUGE baby when everyone else is having a blast.  What a tool.  See his blog here.

8. What’s on your grown up wish list (other than world peace, of course)?

Just to keep getting to be around this beauty:

9. What Christmas TV special do you look forward to all year?

The Year Without a Santa Claus because of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.  I’m looking forward to their new special, called A Miser Brothers Christmas on ABC Family.

10. What famous person would you most like to encounter under the mistletoe?

I’ll go with Brooke Burke.

11. What’s the best thing to do in the snow?

I always thought it was cool to build a sort of igloo out of it, dig a couple of tunnels and then make my poor cat go in it with me.  I don’t have a pic of him in an igloo, but here he is in a happier place, resting on top of one of my other nephews.


12. Favorite Christmas Quote:

I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. – Charles Dickens.







The Birthday Hijack

7 12 2008

I’m hijacking my husband Matt’s blog to announce that today is his birthday.  It’s also the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but I think we all know which event has more historical significance.

Please wish him a happy birthday.  You can send other messages too if you would like.  Consider this an open forum post.  I’m going to do so right now:  Matt, please don’t keep your writing talent and keen sense of wit all to yourself.  Post more often.  There, I said it (with love, of course).

Love,

Allison and the Imp





I’ve Always Suspected the Sporks

2 12 2008

Cheap tacos are wonderful things.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of gorging on these very entities at a Taco Bell-like place with some family members.  Due to my attempts to live past the age of 50, I have to keep this sort of eating establishment in the “not as frequent as I would like” category of my life.  (Other things that fall into this category are:  Deep dish pizza, doughnuts, Apple Jacks, bacon and egg sandwiches and ogling beautiful women…all of these are equally dangerous if not kept in moderation).  However, there are times when I need my fix of the aforementioned cheesy, spicy, beefy edibles.

It was great lunching with family, and the food was similar to that of Taco Bell’s.  However, one important ingredient was missing:  The Taco Bell sauce packets with their witty little sayings.   If you’ve ever had a Taco Bell bag in your greasy little hands, and you’re not afraid to add a little extra kick to your tacos, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you have not had this pleasure, see the picture below for an example of the sauce packets that “say something” to you.

It’s admirable that Taco Bell has added some humor into the fast food landscape.  However, I often wish they had even more sayings on their packets.  I also think they should get a little saucier, so to speak.  It is time to get this off my chest.  Here are 20 phrases that I would love to see printed on a Taco Bell sauce packet, even though I know it will never happen.

  1. Not suitable for bra-stuffing, but I’m willing if you are.
  2. (This would go on the “Fire” level packets only.)  You know I’m going to rip you a new one, right?
  3. Hey lard-ass, stop eating here 4 times per week!
  4. Warning:  Do not attach to a packet of firecrackers (unless you want to see something awesome!)
  5. The guy next to you touched me in an inappropriate manner.
  6. For the love of all that is sacred, don’t open me with your teeth!
  7. I have to cover my piercings to work here.  Guess where they are!
  8. You’re adding hot sauce to a Volcano Taco…seriously?
  9. You may not want to know specifics about our secret sauce.
  10. I’m thinking outside the box right now, and it’s naughty.
  11. What was with that movie, WaterWorld? You have to be kidding me.
  12. Glove compartment in July?  Bad idea.
  13. I’m just not that into you.
  14. Your parents are cousins, aren’t they?
  15. How much sauce could a sloth slurp if a sloth could slurp sauce?
  16. You brought her HERE for a date?  Nice going, big spender.
  17. Whoa back up, buddy.  Ever heard of Listerine?
  18. Haha!  5 chili cheese burritos and a DIET Pepsi.  Yeah, that makes sense!
  19. Stand back – I’m packing heat, and I WILL use it.
  20. Hey wussy, you look like more of a ketchup person.

I’m going to have to end this blog now, as I suddenly have a Nacho Chicken Gordita craving.

What would you like to see on a packet of sauce?





I’m Off to See the Wizard(s) at Mayo

30 11 2008

I’ll be heading to the sunshine of Florida in a couple of weeks, but it won’t be for a beach-filled vacation.  In my attempts to stay sane and return to my previously “normal” (at least by my standards) life, I am heading to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to let the wizards doctors there take a shot at figuring out why I have a life-altering amount of swelling that has left me feeling like “I’m not in Kansas anymore.”

Picking which Mayo Clinic to visit was a no-brainer.  My sister, the kidney donor, lives near the one in Florida.  Also, when it comes down to it, who would pick Minnesota over Florida in December?  (The Phoenix option was just too far away.)

My favorite thing about the potential of this visit is the confidence of the place.  After fully informing them of the thus-far-undiagnosable condition of which I have become the unwilling recipient (despite being poked, prodded and photographed by a plethora of physicians in various parts of the Midwest), their response was, “Come here, and we’ll figure it out.” I really liked hearing that, with no mention of words like, try, maybe or might.”

I am scheduled to be seen by several doctors from many different walks of doctoring over a four day period.  I like the odds that they will figure something out.

I hope, upon arrival, it doesn’t turn out to be some has-been behind a big curtain.  Although I’d take that if I could wake up and find out this has all just been a bad dream…a la Dorothy.  There may be no place like home, but it’s time to give these out-of-town medicinal wizards a try.

After all, I still plan to be the one to teach my little girl to play tennis.  I don’t want to just be the chauffeur who gets her to the courts.





111 Things for Which I Am Grateful

24 11 2008

(See my wife’s list here.)

1.   Good brain functioning

2.   My kidney-donating sister, and the other siblings who were also willing

3.   My daughter’s hugs

4.   My wife’s intelligence and wit

5.   Old Chicago pizza

6.   The actions of Jesus

7.   Scary movies

8.   Logan’s Roadhouse chili

9.   Pastors who are able to move me

10. My daughter’s joy while trick-or-treating

11. Jolly Rancher Pink Lemonade suckers from my daughter’s trick-or-treating

12. Mistletoe

13. My nephew’s sense of humor

14. Passing hidden radar guns while going the speed limit

15. Breaking Benjamin’s music

16. Great daycare centers

17. Good doctors

18. Gentle dentists

19. People who adopt

20. Movie popcorn

21. Exciting books

22. My wife in skirts

23. Comfortable shoes

24. Good in-laws

25. Antibiotics

26. ESPN radio

27. College basketball buzzer beaters

28. MP3 players

29. Christmas lights

30. Summer

31. The way my daughter likes to shut every door in the house

32. The men and women who fought WWII

33. 30 Rock

34. Peaceful, sleeping pug dog at home on a chair

35. Less news about Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan

36. Chuck and Shandi on Lingo, but especially Shandi

37. Good friends playing fun games

38. Free tennis courts

39. Hilton Head Island

40. Nice strangers

41. Living in a place that’s kind of like a small town and city all in one

42. Sinatra Christmas songs

43. Great writing pens

44. Wrinkle-resistant clothing

45. My wife’s smile

46. Naps

47. People who give good haircuts

48. Libraries

49. My daughter’s cherry-scented shampoo

50. The Opryland Hotel

51. Chicken and dumplings

52. My wife’s photographic eye

53. Open highways

54. Good, kind-hearted family

55. Guitar solos

56. Well-acted plays

57. Emails

58. Cool late night radio talk shows

59. Drive-in theaters

60. When you wake up feeling great after the flu bug has passed

61. Microwaves

62. Dishwashers

63. Packages in the mail

64. Health insurance

65. Soft, fat pillows

66. Warm blankets

67. Snow days

68. Kissing my wife on New Year’s Eve

69. Memories of childhood pets

70. Believing in heaven

71. People who stand up to bullies

72. Tears of joy

73. Eyesight

74. Starburst fruit chews

75. Grilled cheeseburgers

76. Tall trees

77. Orange juice

78. Granny Smith apples

79. July tomatoes

80. Bikinis

81. Hardwood floors

82. Good neighbors

83. Safe roads

84. Police officers

85. Being out of school

86. Volunteers

87. Going on dates with my wife

88. Windows

89. Cures

90. Being unique

91. My wife’s determination

92. My daughter’s assertiveness

93. Remote controls

94. Air conditioning

95. Heat

96. Educational t.v.

97. Mysteries of the world

98. Freedom

99. Starry skies

100. Forgiveness

101. Creativity

102. Penguins

103. Programmable thermostats

104. Hand-written love notes

105. Purring cats

106. Fireworks

107. Surprises

108. The sound of crickets

109. My daughter’s breathing when she sleeps

110. Smoke detectors

111. Being touched





Halloween Meme: Axe Me these 13 Questions

25 10 2008

Halloween is obviously the best day ever!  I can’t wait to see my three-year-old daughter running willy-nilly through our neighborhood in her cowgirl costume.  (If I’m lucky, maybe her mom will don a French Maid outfit.)  In honor of the festivities, I felt a burning desire to create a 13 question survey.  Here it is…feel free to answer it yourself if you like.  My fetching wife is doing it as well.

1.  What is the worst Halloween treat you’ve ever received while trick-or-treating?

A religious brochure addressing the evils of Halloween.  Also, homemade popcorn balls are not a good treat on this occasion.  Popcorn balls?  Seriously?  Sounds like a painful condition.

2.  What character from any horror film would you most like to play?

I’ll say Freddy Krueger because he has the best lines.  Who can forget, “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy.”

3.  Would you rather be a zombie, alien or psycho? (Why?)

I have to choose psycho because zombies and aliens usually don’t get to carry around axes or chainsaws.

4.  How many Halloween, Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street movies do you own on dvd combined?

Seven of them combined.  Looking forward to the Friday the 13th remake re-imaging due out Friday the 13th of February, 2009.

5.  What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?

I’m going with the original version of The Exorcist. Pretty disturbing…

Hmm, that cant be good.

"Hmm, that can't be good."

6.  Lamest Halloween costume you have seen?

I’m not going to count the t-shirt that says, “This is my costume.”  I think it has to be the kid in a weird green bug head thing.  (See my wife’s blog for the picture.)

7.  Favorite Halloween treat?

Full size Reese’s Cups.

8.  Friendly faced Jack-O-Lantern or scary one?

Scary one, please.

9.  Have you ever had nightmares about a scary movie character?

Yes, I have several times.  It has involved being chased through the woods by Jason Voorhees.  I think I usually get stuck in mud, too.

You didnt think you could get away, did you?

"You didn't think you could get away, did you?"

10.  Best thing about Halloween?

Hey, the trick-or-treaters running around is cute and great.  However, my answer here has to be the women dressed in risque costumes.  For the sake of clarity, I’ll include a picture example (not of the trick-or-treaters…we all know what that looks like.)

Would you walk the plank for me, matey?

"Would you walk the plank for me, matey?"

11.  Strangest Halloween custom you’ve heard about?

People stealing/hurting people’s black cats.  That’s just wrong.

12.  Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)?

I’m working on my daughter and trying to instill the same excitement about Halloween, but for now I’ll go with a nephew of mine.

13.  Are you superstitious?  If so, name at least one superstition of yours.

Not especially, but I guess I am somewhat.  I really prefer odd numbers to even ones.





Adult Film Rentals and the Perv-O-Meter

23 10 2008

Behold the Perv-O-Meter.  Every male in the world falls somewhere on this spectrum ranging from 1 (Sweet, innocent guy) to 10 (Total Perv).

As a guide to make the ratings clearer, let’s use the following celebrity examples:

Tom Hanks would be a 1.

Hugh Grant earns a 7.

Colin Farrell is an 8.

Michael Jackson is an 11.

Don’t get me wrong, number 1′s probably are not COMPLETE angels (what guy is?), but in the overall spectrum of the male species, they rate as sweet and innocent.  I’d like to think that I would be about a 3 or 4 on this meter, but I’ll leave that for others to decide.

There comes a time in a young man’s life when he takes a major step in forming his spot on this spectrum.  I’m speaking, of course, when he first goes to a video store to rent a porno an adult film.  This is probably an easy and non-embarrassing event for a guy who is an 8, 9 or 10.  It is a different matter for those of us who fall somewhere below the 5 marker.

I recall the day it happened for me.  I was 18.  A few buddies of mine were going to come over to play poker that evening, and several of us decided we should rent an adult movie from a local video store nearby.  We all wholeheartedly agreed this was a fantastic idea.  The part that was not so easy to decide was this:  Who was going to do it?

At this particular video store in the 80s, they did not have a little separate adult room for pervs men to go into and make their choices.  No, they instead had a big thick black binder with all the titles of the adult films they had to offer.  This binder was behind the counter.  So, not only did you have to get up the courage to ask for the dirty book, but you then had to peruse such titles as “Rambone” and “Star Whores” and verbally ask the clerk for the one that you wanted.  This was a double whammy of embarrassment for a 3 such as myself.

After a bit of arguing, arm-punching and wet willies, it was decided that I would be the lead guy (the asker of the dirty book) but that two of my friends would go with me to the counter and be my pervy sidekicks.  (Looking back, it seems like it should have seemed weirder to ask for a porno while flanked by two male friends than to do it by myself, but at the time I felt I needed back-up).

The evening came, and it was time to do the deed.  The three of us made our way to the store while giving high fives and doing chants to pump ourselves up.  Upon our arrival, it was time for step one.  Step one was to ensure that my female relative who worked in the store was not present that night.  A quick peek at the counter confirmed that she was not.  It was a go.  However, we did not go straight for the jugular but instead worked our way through the “normal” video sections such as Drama, Comedy and Horror.  I think we stayed away from the kids’ Disney section because it just would have seemed too sick to peruse that area and then ultimately ask for the dirty book.  As we feigned interest in VHS tapes of “Romancing the Stone” and “Footloose” while trying to work our courage into a fever pitch, I could feel a cold sweat forming on my forehead.

Finally, after we had looked at every single “normal” video in the store (except the kids’ section), the time had come.  We could not put it off any longer.  I gave the thumbs up signal and headed to the counter.  My two friends followed nervously behind.

I could feel my confidence slipping away with each slow step I took toward the guy and girl working the counter.  After what seemed like a 20-minute walk, I was finally there and the guy said, “Can I help you?”  This was good.  It would have been worse to ask the girl for the dirty book.  My confidence was regained as I asked for the book in a sort of grunt/point maneuver.  This is where it all went to hell.

First, I turned my head to find that my two friends had retreated and were heading out the door, laughing nervously.  I was on my own in this unknown land of porn.  The guy handed the book to me, and I knew I had to go through with it.  I slowly opened the book the way a treasure-hunter might unfold an ancient map.  The next step was to pick a title that wasn’t TOO embarrassing to request.  If you’ve ever seen adult film titles, then you are aware they vary greatly in the gratuitousness of their titles.  After much deliberation, I settled on “Fleshdance” which sort of just rolls off the tongue.  I requested it, and the guy looked at some magical area below the counter where the films were apparently kept.  He said things like, “Let’s see” as he looked for my request.  I started to realize after about 10 seconds that this was not working.  The guy looked perplexed and then did something horrific.  He called out loudly to the girl working at the other end of the counter.  “Hey, do you see ‘Fleshdance’ down there anywhere?”  Not only did the girl hear him, but so did anyone else shopping in the store, including those in the kid section.

At this point, I just wanted to leave, but I literally felt as though my feet were glued to the counter.  Sweat was pouring from me now.  After an eternity of looking for the tape, the girl finally located it and handed it to the guy.  I paid, and he gave the tape to me.

Things felt a little uncomfortable at the end of the transaction, to say the least.  What was the guy going to say?  Most of the things that a video clerk might normally verbalize at this point seem inappropriate to this particular situation.  For example, phrases like, “Have a good evening” or “Enjoy it” or “Thanks for coming” take on a different connotation when you’ve just rented some porn.  Luckily, I think the guy just nodded and simply said, “Thanks.”

I made my quick exit and got back to the car where I promptly chewed out my friends.  The anger did not last long as the feeling of euphoria hit me.  I was holding an adult video tape in my sweaty little hands.  I had made it out of the store with the treasure.

Whether that movie was any “good” or not, I don’t recall.  However, I knew I had moved from a 1 to about a 3 with that walk to the counter.








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