Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, My Little Elves!

It's double-shot of holiday fun today, y'all! Since I couldn't decide between Queen City Christmas and Must Be Santa for the final TGIF Video Holiday Spectacular (or whatever I called it), I'm giving you both.

Merry Christmas!

How awesome is this Jake Speed and the Freddies' song with all the little Cincinnati-isms in it? VERY. 'All I want this season is Graeter's ice-cream and a three-way with friends, if you know what I mean.' Yeah, I gotcha, Jake. And I'm totally down.

But wait, there's more... Bob Dylan released a Christmas CD and put out perhaps one of the most fun, rollicking videos I've seen lately. I can't believe I wasn't asked to be in it. Grrr! And don't even try to not fall in love with this crazy catchy song because you won't be able to do it.

Hope everyone gets lots of crap you don't need and maybe a few things you do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Are Here

I am waiting for something large... and possibly antlered.

Totally Unrelated Stories (Kinda) Held Together By Fate... or God or Luck or Science or Whatever

I've been making a lot of jokes lately about Christmas Miracles. The things we want for Christmas, the things we wish for. What it means and all that's wrapped up in beliefs and faith and fate.

You know, light thinking. How wonderful it would be to think that God had a part in things, right? Or that maybe not everything, but that some things happen for a reason.

Seems like some things happen and you're like, 'Damn, that just sucks,' no two ways about it. And other times you run into someone around a corner at a certain spot and next thing you know you're best friends or married or whatever and you're like, 'Wow. That was... something.'

There are and have been people in my life who I can't help but think they came along at exactly the right time. And there are things I've wished for that later I think, 'Whew, thank God you don't always get what you wish for.'

But then, sometimes you do. And it's exactly and truly what you need and what is most important.

So a friend of mine has finished her last bout of chemo and has a welcome, holiday respite before she hits radiation. She was most excited about being able to taste food again for Christmas. What's more, there are no signs of the tumors. But she wonders when they'll call and say, "oops, wrong results."

A Christmas miracle. A miracle of medicine. Blind luck. Who cares. I'll take it.

When someone asks me if I believe in fate or God or if things happen for a reason I always say something vague like, 'I'm not against the idea.' But in my head I totally don't believe it. You hope for the best, pray, wish on falling stars, whatever... but it's a roll of the dice.

Then you think about people just wanting to taste food for Christmas... or the love story I heard from my friend Natalie recently.

She and her now-husband dated for five years, broke-up, lived in separate states and had no contact. Two years later they reconnected at a Coldplay concert during the song Fix You, when he walked up to her, picked her up, spun her around and told her he was miserable without her. On the lawn. At Riverbend.

I know, awesome. So they were back together, 'let's do this,' happily ever after, right? Umm, no.

They didn't get back together (but he picked you up and spun you around at the Coldplay concert!) because she was dating a guy in Chicago (a doctor, no less) and she just wasn't "sure." So she went back to Chicago, months of silence followed and then she came home for Christmas and saw him again. Then finally - finally! - after all that, they started dating again.

It took ten years but last month they got married on a beach in Cabo. She walked down the aisle to Fix You.

Snif, snif. Is it is dusty in here?!

So I've been thinking about these little things that add up to big things as I make jokes about 'Christmas miracles.' For the last three nights I've been lying awake until 2 a.m. unable to fall asleep, and inevitably I start thinking about myself and the leaps of faith I've taken - jobs, relationships, school, life, all of it - and how I've managed to land on my feet all the better off for it, the whole time thinking, 'Nah, it wasn't fated. I made this happen.' And I think that's true.

But then sometimes, right when I'm about to fall asleep I think of all the things that snapped into place, all the small things that led to this and that and all the circumstances and moments that came together to form the patchwork of this sublime life and I think, "Holy crap, Daugherty, you better thank your lucky stars or God or something cause you sure as hell had no control over it and who'd have have thought you'd have it so good... certainly not you!"

Then I fall asleep and wake up totally skeptical again.

So, you know, the unbearable lightness of being and all that. Here's hoping for Christmas miracles for all of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And That's Why We Are BFFs

A few weeks ago my darling Missy showed me her fabulous new convertible dress. I was dying, y'all. You can wear it like, 900 different ways, and we tried about 9 of them in her bedroom. It's like transformers for girls. It was then and there I knew I had to have one. In blue.

The following Monday I went to Kismet to make this fantastic dream dress mine... all mine! I tried it on, it looked fab (of course) and I tossed it onto the counter while telling the cute sales girl who works there, 'My friend has this dress and I had to have it.'

The sales clerk looked at me, paused and said, 'Oh my god, I think your friend just bought you this dress.'

Say what? Silence while I process what she's just said.

'Uhm, what? No, I don't think so.'

'I'm serious. I think your friend was just in here like, 30 minutes ago with her boyfriend. He's tall. She's got short blonde hair and is really cute.'

'Uhm, well yeah, she is... but...'

'She said you were adoring the dress at her house, and she said she didn't get you a birthday present so she was getting you this dress as a birthday/Christmas gift.'

'Hmm, this is true... But I think you're crazy, Cute Salesgirl. There is no way. Ring me up.'

'I don't want to ruin the surprise, but she got you the blue one because that's the color you said you wanted.'


So I stood there at the Kismet counter for about, ohhh 15 minutes, while I played out the possibility of all this in my head, all the while the sales girl was telling me she was absolutely certain it was my friend because, "She's really cute and fun." (Why yes, I am the kind of girl who rolls with really cute and fun girls... but still, how would she know that?!)

She was so positive in fact, that she convinced me to not buy the dress. Instead I put it on-hold figuring if she was wrong I could just get it after Christmas, hopefully. The one I had on the counter was the last blue one. The last one, people! This was serious. But, I rolled the dice.

Then I launched into full-on panic mode wondering what to get Missy for Christmas if she did, in fact, buy me this fabulous blue dream dress. I mean, what could even come close, right?

So guess what happened, you guys?

Last night Missy and I went to dinner and sitting at the bar next to her was a big giant box wrapped all pretty with a big ribbon around it. Please God, do me this one solid and let it be the blue dress.

And then, there it was. The most fabulous blue convertible dress in the world.

Indeed there is a Santa Claus, y'all, and she has short blonde hair, is hella funny and adorable, and has impeccable taste. When I opened the box she said, "You won't have to wear that same dress to weddings anymore!"

I adore her. Best. Christmas. Ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Emmet Otter, You Decorated My Life

We had HBO when I was growing up, which meant we were rich. Or that my dad liked boxing. Either way. This meant I got to watch a lot of shows I definitely shouldn't have been watching (About Last Night, anyone?), but also really great kids shows like Fraggle Rock and Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.

It was a tradition for my mom and I to watch Emmet Otter together. Every year I'd hope that Emmet's mom, by some feat of Christmas magic, er, Hollywood editing, would win the talent contest to replace her washboard Emmet drilled a hole through and be able to unhock her dead otter husband's tools she had to sell for dress fabric.

(Christmas was sad for poor Otters who's dads died. Except... surviving Otter's win in the end when they're mash-up style song lands them a regular paying gig at the Bullfrog's restaurant. Woo hoo!)

A few years ago I got together with Ronson and some other folks to watch this magical Christmas story and spread its joy. Ronson shared a similar childhood watching it and being the true friends we are, we demanded other people love it as much as we did.

Except, we could hardly stop laughing when we watched it because everything looked so ridiculously... fake. In my hazy childhood memories it was perfection. As an adult I was stunned to so clearly see the strings attached to Emmet's arms. Emmet's not a real otter?! Say it ain't so!

Needless the say, the friends we were watching it with were not impressed. Phssht. Their HBO-less childhoods probably sucked anyway.

The highlight of watching the movie two decades later on DVD was the out-takes, so please enjoy the above video while I attempt to repair my childhood and rethink the meaning of Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

TGIF Grinches!

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens... Word.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Sum: Movies I've Recently Watched and Mostly Liked

Aside from the four times I've watched Goodfellas on cable, I hadn't watched a movie in three months until last weekend.

Investing time in movies, not my strong suit. This is a harsh reality for My Dude, who loves movies. I love movies too... one's I've seen 20 times already.

But Friday night I agreed to hunker down and watch Away We Go.

Basically, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph (I forget their characters' names) are early 30-somethings who are about to have their first baby. Realizing they have no family or friendships tying them to where they live, they go in search of connections... a "family" of friends and siblings who might give them a sense of belonging as they raise their baby. A feeling of "home."

I like this idea. How do you decide where home is? Is it where your house is? Where your friends are? The city where you work? The town where you grew up? What feels like home?

So they wander around to various cities and friends' and relative's homes in search of kinship. On the way hilarity ensues, along with some poignant moments as well.

It's not the mostly deeply felt movie I've ever seen, but it made me laugh out loud a few times and I thought the ending was sweet if a bit sad. It was worth the 98 minutes of my time.

Husband and wife writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida wrote the screenplay, so, if you're into them it's worth a look-see. (And come on, who doesn't love Dave Eggers.)

I'm embarrassed (but not really, whatever) to admit I also made Adam watch The Notebook on tv recently. Whenever it was on I'd joke I was going to make him watch it, but never did, until a few weeks ago. Mwauhahahaha!

First off, I could watch Ryan Gosling all day long. Ditto for Rachel McAdams, though for less prurient reasons. So what if the movie is sappy and silly and based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. (God help me, what have I become.)

But come on, who doesn't want to think that love is meant to be and that "the one" is out there, writing you love letters and being all manly and refinishing hardwood floors for you while he waits.

It's sentimental tacky crap, as Barry, one of my all time favorite movies characters would say. And I was totally into it. Suck it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Spirit

Yesterday at Target I texted Adam, "Holy shizz I hate Christmas." And I meant it too. I hate trying to think of gifts for people for a certain day. It's inorganic and processed and unfun. Like New Years. (I'm bad with forced-upon holidays.)

But still, earlier this month I put up my three foot Christmas tree, hung some indoor-outdoor lights around my living room picture window and set out some red and white candles. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in my living room.

I might hate Christmas, but I love lights. Twinkly!

Then I went home and bought a bunch of crap on Amazon. Because Christmas shopping at stores might be utterly joyless, but Christmas shopping online while listening to music and eating gooey brownies is supremely fun. Ho Ho Ho!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's TGIF Video Time!

Oh man this song is awesome. I will seriously sit in the car and wait for it end before I get out.

The funniest thing about this video is that George Michael is pretending to like women. Good one, George! Then he appears to give her not only his heart, but also a broach for Christmas. Umm, a broach? No wonder you got dumped dude.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gina Vs. The (Boss) Man

Last week my desk was full of drama and arguments between the Boss Man (the scientist one) and me over which version of Sunday Morning Coming Down is better, the Johnny Cash cover or the Kris Kristofferson version.

Clearly Johnny Cash runs away with it, but you can't tell people nothin'.

He'd storm into my aisle loudly criticizing my taste in music (which is ludicrous, I have phenomenal taste in music) and chiding that I was wrong and deaf. Then he had the nerve - the nerve, people! - to tell me I was "old" while he and the VP of finance celebrated this supposed burn by double-fist bumping. Have you ever seen two old white guys fist-bump? Talk about awkward.

I told the Boss Man that the Kris Kristopherson version sounds like something you'd hear on an adult contemporary radio station. Hey guess what you guys? Nothing excites anger quite like having a song you like identified with Warm 98.

Heads. Will. Roll. (And that head would be mine.)

We even dragged in passers-by to the dispute. Seeing us argue a colleague lamented, "Look at you guys fighting in front of us! What about us, the children?! Think of the Heart Institute!"

Friday as he was leaving the Boss Man said, "What's it like being smart but so dumb when it comes to music?"

Funny how our minds think alike.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

TGIF Countdown to Christmas

No matter how many Christmas songs play on hot rotation throughout this festive month, all but four of them are crap. Welcome to the first ever (and probably last) TGIF Video Countdown to Christmas Song Spectacular! Four Fridays = Four awesome Christmas videos. It's going to be epic. Let's get started!

Do They Know It's Christmas. Wow, now this catchy little ditty fed some people in Africa and produced the most hilariously depressing upbeat song EVER. Let's examine the lyrics, shall we?

There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear (pop the champagne, y'all, it's about to get real... real depressing.)

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
(crap, tears are falling into my champagne.)

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom (doom? I guess the clanging chimes of Judgment Day didn't rhyme as well.)

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you (thank you God for making other people's lives suck, but not mine. Whew!)

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime (seems like the least of their problems with the clanging chimes of doom and all.)

The greatest gift they'll get this year is life (woo hoo, cheers to a sucky life!)

Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow
(except for, you know, that really big river, The Nile.)

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
(the real question here folks is, Do they know it's TGIF Video Countdown to Christmas Song Spectacular?!)

TGIF my little elves! Come back next week to learn the what other '80s Christmas song rocks my mittens off.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

JC in the Hizzy

Sunday morning my dude and I were heading out for brunch. Now I can't help it, but pretty much every Sunday, especially when it's sunny, for some reason, I start to sing Sunday Morning Coming Down in my head. As we were backing the car out, I started saying the words.

Well I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head, that didn't hurt.

My dude looked at me, kinda expectantly. Yeah, he knows where I'm going with this!

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more... (pause while I watched a car coming toward us)... for dessert.

He kinda laughed. I looked at him and said, Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and my cleanest dirty shirt.

Woo hoo, sing it with me!!

Again, smiles but no singing. It was devastatingly clear he had no clue what I was saying.

Had I not been dying for an egg and spinach croissant with roasted tomato sauce and bacon from my favorite brunch spot, Annabel's, I'd have totally gotten out of the car without another word, slammed the door and never spoke to him again. But as it was, I was hungry. And I needed coffee.

So I played the I'm-an-understanding-girlfriend, plus-you're-driving-me-to-brunch-so-maybe-we-can-just-let-this-one-over-sight slip-past, even-though-it's-HUGE-that-you-don't-know-this-song... who-are-you-anyway?!

You know, Johnny Cash, I said encouragingly, thinking it'd ring a bell... Sunday Morning Coming Down.

"I don't know Johnny Cash like you do," he said.

Pssht. You can say that again Jack.

Then we started talking about fried chicken, because, well... I was still singing the song.