We Interupt Our Normal Programming to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILLIE!

Hey, I don’t care – it’s my blog and really if I can’t use the worldwide web to wish a good friend happy birthday then what good is it?

Billie I love ya and want you to have a great birthday. You are and always will be my first real Taylor Hicks buddy. We shared a very special obsession and truly without you it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun as it was.

I wish to hell that someday we will go see TayTay together in concert and complete the making of total fools of ourselves in utter splendor and abandon – cuz honey if I’m a gonna do that – then you’re the one who I want to do that with.

I thank  you for your cheer, your caring, your humor and even  your bitching. Love  ya doll. Happy Birthday!!

Hugs & Kisses,

Annie

PS: We all pitched in and got you a stripper.

You like? 😉

I Love Me Some Thin Mints! Don’t You?

I don’t know about you but every year right about this time I start to get a little excited. Not because Spring is right around the corner or because a cute guy has moved in to the house across the street but because the cookies of all cookies are about to go on sale.

Yep – I am a girl scout cookie junkie. I just can’t help myself. If there is even one thin mint within a 20 mile radius I can smell it, hunt it down and take it for my own. Since I don’t even smoke any more I figure I am entitled to just this one little obsession.

Also too there is just something sweet and nostailgic about them. They have been around since I can remember and I can remember pretty far back. Always somewhere around spring break you would start to see little cardboard table and folding chair sales stands cropping up – in front of super markets, laundramats, banks and even street corners in some suburban neighborhoods. Naturally when I was a kid I knew many of the salesgirls 😉 now, not so much.

However, I do have one little friend who is probably one of my favorite cookie sellers:  

Let’s call her Cookie-Girl – she does a bang up job, according to her mom and troop mama. But I mean who has to be told, check out that stand, nice display, clean, neat with lots of variety but no clutter. Poifect.

What many of you may not know is that there is a whole lot more to selling girl scout cookies than meets the eye. In the words of my favorite Girl Scout Mama:

Cookie sales gets so much negative crap that people don’t see the good it does. On the money side, it funds the whole Girl Scout program and it helps troops earn money for their activities. (camping, horseback riding, community service projects [one troop paid their way to Build A Bear to stuff and dress bears then donated them to the Fire Department to give to kids that needed them])

On the “Where Girls Grow Strong” side of it (a Girl Scout saying) cookie sales gives girls a chance to learn so much in a safe environment. Sales, money handling, responsibility, people skills, persistence, goal setting, etc. When it’s all over, they have such a sense of achievement! You can see the change in them. They’ve grown!

Also, especially in recent years, there are many troops who are selling cookies in order to send them to the troops. The way it works is this: you buy a box of cookies and instead of taking them home and eating them and making your thighs and butt even bigger, you tell the troop to go ahead and send them to the troops overseas. In addition to this, the kids take a lot of the money they make and send additional cookies to the troops. For example there is a relatively well known program called Operation Cookie Drop, which is a program started by Girls Scouts who managed to send bagillions of cookies to our young men and women in Iraq and gave them a  taste of home.

If you see a local troop selling in your area, ask them what their ’cause’ or program is that they are selling for – I’m sure you’ll discover that they are not in it for a beach chair or so they can all go to Chuck E. Cheeese for a weekend. They are going to do something special with the money for someone who needs it, senior citizen homes, the troops overseas, underprivilidged children and so forth.

So the next time you see that little cardboard table and chairs set up, don’t hide your face and mumble something about being on a diet. Chat with the girls and find out what they intend to do with their proceeds. And don’t be so darn stingy, give them a five-spot and tell them to give a box of cookies to their favorite shut in, kid stuck in a hospital, or a kid in a uniform overseas and far far away from home.

If you want to know when the cookies are going on sale in your area you can go here – type in your zip code and councils in your area should come up, with their schedules of sales.

Heck there is even a myspace girlscout page here.

So for pete’s sake, get some Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Trefoils or even som DoSiDos and know that you are likely contributing to something worthy and worthwhile. Heck if you are really worried about your diet they even sell some fudgy sugar free numbers AND all the cookies have Zero trans fats. So let’s not sweat the small stuff, otay.

For pictures, descriptions and nutritional information about the cookies go here

Also, if you just want to help and contribute to a troop who is sending cookies to the troops, I personally know of such a troop and I’d be happy to hook you up with them. If so, feel free to email me.

Okay, let’s get our fat asses down there and be loading up on the damn finest cookies ever made in America. Sound good? 😉

WC

Don’t Ya Love Your Girlfrienz?

It’s official, I received an email informing me that it is National Sisterhood Week. So all we sistahs and girlfrenz are supposed to celebrate our girliness and comraderie and revel in being women.

Hell, I do that every day, don’t you?

And seriously, if it’s National Sisterhood Week, who the heck is acting in behalf of the nation to proclaim it so? Well g**gle provided this which is probably closer to the truth. And of course, sexism is alive and well so what is really supposed to be National Brotherhood and Sisterhood Week – becomes National Sisterhood week. Jeez Louise noboby will leave well enough alone will they?

But you have to laugh at the cute, cute picture. In fact, the one on the left really does look like me when I was that age and I had to do a quick memory search to see if I’d ever been in a place like that as a kid. It is possible….really cuz the other kid looks like my first best friend Sandy Evanouch. Wow, this really could be the most incredible of coincidences, couldn’t it? At any rate, it’s obvious I was adorable as a child and quite the inquisitive mind since clearly I have been experimenting with how to blow smoke up my own skirt for some time.

So that being said – I say celebrate people. Celebrate your brotherhood and your sisterhood, celebrate your friends and all those without whom life would be one dull parade. Call them on the phone, go shopping, see a movie,  have lunch or at least send them an email. Saying I care can never ever hurt.

Love ya! My sistahs and brothas! (doing my best n’orleans accents)

WC

Valentine’s Day

May you have the most unique of Valentine’s Days, ever. And if not that, may you at least get some kickass chocolates!

Happy Valentine’s! WC

Lover You Don’t Treat Me No Good No More

Sonia Dada is a weird name for a band – still, I have loved them for years. Their harmonies are incredible – and you can really hear them since they only use instruments to accompany themselves as opposed to blaring over them. I hope you love them too. Enjoy!

WC

Renaissance Man

(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)

He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.

It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.

He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.

We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?

We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.

Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.

But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.

I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.

Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.

Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.

So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.

Writer Chick

New Friends for Christmas – 12 days of xmas #11

The year I lost my mind and decided to move from California to Florida was pretty weird to say the least. If you have any doubts, go back and read my post called Road Trip. To say it was manic was really putting it mildly and giving me way too much credit.I don’t know if some ancient LSD crystal popped loose or just the usual screws, nuts and bolts that live between my ears – but by God I was moving to Florida. So I did.By the time I unpacked the car and locked the front door I knew I had made a terrible mistake. But see I have this problem – I am really fricking stubborn. I kept telling myself I had moved to Florida for a reason. That it was the right thing to do. That there was something there for me.Well maybe there was. A new friend. Someone I’d never have known if not for the momentary flash of insanity – that crazy drive and much of the misery I experienced while there.Lana was an instant friend. I met her first when I showed up at my first day of work for a firm that – come to think of it I’m really not sure what they did or even why they hired me – but I digress. I walked into the office and there was this lovely, lithe woman with hair down to her waist and kind green eyes. “Oh, are you Annie?” she asked.“No, I’m Myrna,” I answered. I have no idea why I said that, but I really did.

She did one of those exagerated double takes and I started laughing and told her I was indeed Annie. Then she started laughing. And pretty much from there on we were best buds.

Now the job…oy my aching head. Let’s put it this way – the woman who hired me wanted me to take over her job so she could move on to a better position within the company. However, I was not allowed to ask any questions nor ask for supplies or pretty talk to her unless she wanted me to talk to her. She wanted me to devine whatever it was she wanted me to do. And she had this insane obsession with a tasking program. So every morning I was to write tasks and send them to her and that way she’d know what I was doing. And then of course she got to send me tasks and I would get these prompts and weird things that were almost as annoying as that dancing paperclip that Billy Gates invented. Long story short within a couple of weeks I felt like I was going insane.

I would constantly check with Lana to see if I really was insane or if this boss lady really was working hard to make me miserable and to feel absolutely and utterly incompetent. Sadly, Lana confirmed my suspicions. Not too surprisingly, I was gainfully unemployed shortly thereafter. Oh boy was I screwed. The job had paid well and when I hit the job market in general it really sucked. The wages being offered were frighteningly low. I took a job with a real nutjob of an orthodontist (he actually believed his work was greatly helping mankind by providing prettier smiles – I shit you not). But at least I had Lana.

We did everything together. It was fun to have a great fun girlfriend again and it made me even sort of like Florida. She invited me for Thanksgiving dinner and there I met her wonderful husband and adorable little boys. We had a great time – but it was more than that – it was like being home for the holidays. Like being among family. I marveled at this because I had really barely met them, yet it seemed I knew them for a million years. I love it when that happens, don’t you?

Since Thanksgiving was such a hit and Lana and I became closer and closer friends, Christmas was a natural. We had all eaten tons of turkey on Thanksgiving so we decided on a different menu. Lana’s brother was in town and he volunteered to make a roast. I made a vat of homemade applesauce, brought a bag of presents and whipped up some mashed potatoes once I got there.

We exchanged gifts and it was fun. It really didn’t matter what they were – we were just happy to be hanging out. It was one of those Christmasses where nothing in particular happened – no special activities or hilarious accidents – just a bunch of people who really enjoyed one another’s company and yakked their heads off. Lana even bought a present for my doggie – a santa suit. Which I put on her as soon as I got home and took pictures.

So the evening was just that. An evening. A great one. And one that brings back warm memories of friendship and love. As I drove home that night, I knew at least a small handful of people in Florida were actually glad I came. And I guess because of them, I was glad too.

Boycotting Christmas – 12 days of xmas #9

 

Yep, even I have had my Christmas spirit dashed, beaten and abused. I don’t really even remember the reason but I decided I was sick of Christmas and was therefore boycotting it. I merely decided I could cancel it. I’m sure it had something to do with being broke. Boy there is nothing like being broke at Christmas to send a person into a snit.

So I did nothing. I didn’t get a tree. I didn’t dig out my silly collection of ornaments. I didn’t bake cookies or pumpkin loaf or buy a turkey. I didn’t wear red. I avoided Santa Hats and jingle bells and refused to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies. (I know! Scary, huh?)

I just happened to talk to a dear friend (and ex room mate, Buffy – more on her later) and told her I was boycotting Christmas that year. As far as I was concerned it didn’t exist and I was really looking forward to December 26th a lot!

A couple of days later, I recieved a package at work from Buffy. The card said ‘you don’t get to cancel Christmas!’ In the box was a miniature tree, ornaments, candy, confetti and a bunch of other sweet and silly Christmas stuff. I was so pissed at her (not really) cuz she made me cry at work.

So, a little glimmer began to warm around my icy resolve toward Christmas. I couldn’t very well insult my friend’s truly sweet and caring jesture. I would just take it home and put the tree and little things on my coffee table and I’d have a tiny little Christmas, just like the tree.

Of course, then there were a couple of movies that came on television which I sort of watched. I believe I nibbled some candy canes. And then I just faced facts. I was so broke I couldn’t pay attention. I just simply couldn’t buy gifts for anyone and I’d have to be all right with that (you see this was the really crushing thing to me) – so I just made myself be okay with it.

After aforementioned movies I started thinking. What gift could I send to my loved ones that could maybe mean something? Maybe something that I could make? I am a disaster at crafts and really cookies don’t like to behave when I make them so the choices were limited. So, I did what any broke writer would do – I wrote a Christmas story. Even though I knew it probably wasnt’ going to please some people on my list – even though I thought it was kind of hokey, I wrote it anyway.

I printed out about 20 copies and sent them off. Explaining that this Christmas it was my best offering and written and sent with love. Afterwards, I really didn’t even care if anyone acknowledged it or said they liked it – something about having done it made it okay in and of itself.

The really funny thing is that it turns out it is one of my favorite stories. And one I have shared with people many times over the years. And I suppose if I truly have a tradition of my own making it is that story. Because in that story I was able to express my true heart about family, love, my fellow man and most especially about Christmas. So maybe in a way…it was my gift to myself more than anything else. And a good one it was.

WC

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I’ve always loved the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas and I thought it would be fun to use it as a theme for the 2nd half of my month of Christmas posts. We all have fond and not so fond Christmas memories and sometimes they make good stories (even the miserable ones), especially if you’re drinking really good and heavily spiked eggnog.

But my twelve days of Christmas aren’t about pear trees, milking maids or golden rings – mine are my twelve most memorable Christmases. Some are sweet, some a little sad and some are pretty funny.

Many of my memories are snatches of this or that. Like my sister’s habit of opening my presents after she got bored with hers and then running into my room to tell me what I got. Of course I made her go back and rewrap them but for sure, the surprise was gone once I saw the packages.

Or my mother’s habit of getting into a snit with my dad just as we were sitting down to Christmas dinner.

Or the fact that for years Mom hid the presents in the cubby hole in her room and we would check it out daily for weeks before Christmas. The only mystery was who was getting what. You’d think she would have chosen a different hiding place once in a while.

Or the forced photos standing before the tree showing off your presents.

The smell of turkey and the taste of perfect gravy oozing on home made mashed potatoes, my aunt’s Christmas aspic made of lime jello, walnuts, carrots and raisens oh and her pumpkin bread.

Falling asleep at the window trying to stay awake to see if there really was a Santa Claus. And the joy I felt when it snowed on Christmas Eve because I knew that meant that it was really going to be a perfect White Christmas.

Christmas trees and Christmas lights. School Christmas concerts – countless favorite Christmas songs and movies. These are all the things that I think of when I think of Christmas.

So prepare yourselves folks, I’m walking down memory lane for the next few days and I hope you don’t mind strolling along with me.

WC