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Posts tagged ‘Muppets’

Wonka’s Rules for Trick-or-Treating

I am a big fan of Halloween. In fact, it is my favorite holiday. Why my favorite, you ask? Because it’s all about playing dress up and eating candy, and you don’t have to go to church/synagogue/etc., and there are no family obligations. (No offense, family.) And its accent color is purple, which coincidentally is my accent color as well. I decorate my house with sparkly-creepy things. I have a costume closet. Some years I throw parties. I am completely envious of my friends with Halloween birthdays – I would rock that shit. And I am always home for trick-or-treaters.

As part of the trick-or-treating social contract let me assure you that I more than hold up my end of the deal. I dress up. Some years it’s just my glow-in-the-dark “COSTUME” t-shirt and my sparkly horns, but that totally counts. My porch light is always on. I never run out of treats. I never give out shitty candy. (True, I don’t always give out candy, but when I do it’s the good stuff. Fun size, but brand-name. None of those foul orange & black wrapped peanut butter things in Wonkaland!) Some years (like this one) I do give out pencils instead of candy, but that is not lame. They are FUN pencils, and as we will discuss later, they are legit treats.

In exchange I have a few rules that I propose we implement. I think most people are abiding by these already, but every year there are some blatant offenders, so clearly we need to spell things out. I do give treats to everyone, even the lame-os, but I would like to have the option to banish someone from my porch, treatless, for not living up to the agreed upon expectations.

Let’s start with a fundamental reminder: I do not owe you anything. I choose to participate, but this should be fun for both of us. If you abuse the situation too much, it might take the fun out of it for me. I noticed there weren’t very many porch lights on along my street; maybe too many people have lost the fun already. Here’s your chance to save Halloween!

Rule one: You. Must. Say “trick-or-treat”. You may not just stand there and stare at me until I put treats in your bag. It’s ok if someone needs to prompt you, or if your big brother says it for the both of you. If you do not, I will stand there and stare back at you.

Rule two: Say thank you. Tons and tons and tons of kids do, which is awesome. Even if you think my pencils are stupid (which they are not), say thank you. It could be worse, I could be giving out those little two-packs of Sweetarts. Also, chaperoning parents, I think it’s awesome when you say thanks too. It’s not mandatory, but it’s a lovely touch to acknowledge that we’ve shelled out some bucks and set aside some time to do something nice for your kid.

Rule three: You have to wear something that could be considered a costume. Or even just elements of a costume. Put on a funny hat and a weird jacket – I don’t have to be able to identify what you’re dressed up as, just that you tried. Hint: I’ll probably give you extra treats if you have an awesome costume. If your costume is covered up with a coat and other weather-appropriate garb, I am totally understanding of that – no worries. But if you have made zero effort and you’re just wearing a hoodie and jeans, you aren’t trick-or-treating, you’re going door to door begging. If you can’t be bothered to put on SOMETHING resembling a costume, you shouldn’t be out there. Have some pride, some creativity, don’t be lame. I don’t care if teenagers who are kind of too old to trick-or-treat come around as long as they put in good faith effort. Also, side note, because this rule really is for the older kids, make eye contact. I don’t care if you’re an awkward teen. Look me in the eye when you say thank you. It won’t kill you, I promise!

Rule four: Parents, we are moving on to you now. This is something I’ve noticed more and more of the last few years, and it bothers me more than anything else in this list. Quit taking your baby trick-or-treating. I’m not a parent, but I’m guessing that if the kid can’t walk and the kid can’t talk, the kid shouldn’t be eating candy either. You’re not fooling anyone, you’re using your baby to get free candy for yourself. I’m sure you’re excited for Baby’s First Halloween. Go ahead, buy an overpriced costume. Take a billion pictures. Go “trick-or-treating” at the grandparents’ houses. Get some candy to have at home. But don’t drag your baby all over the neighborhood under the guise that this experience is somehow for her.

Rule five: Don’t carry a bag for a baby in a stroller (see rule four), or the sick kid at home, or anyone not present. Trick-or-treating is definitely a “you must be present to win” situation. Being sick on Halloween is the worst. Parents should definitely do something to make up for it. But that’s your job, not mine. Share the candy collected. Buy candy. But the second bag smacks of fake.

Rule six: And parents, you again. Don’t carry your own bag. I give you props for being honest about your intentions, and if someone offers you something, awesome, take it. But trick-or-treating alongside your kids? Seriously?

Geez…reviewing this, it kind of seems like parents are the ones fucking it up the most, doesn’t it? The kids actually do pretty awesome for the most part. Don’t freak out and get all defensive now, I’m not talking about all parents.

The pencil treats were actually a pretty good gauge of who should and shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. The really little kids totally didn’t get it, and mostly seemed to be eyeballing me to see where the actual candy was. The big kids gave mumbled thank yous. But the kids in the middle, six to twelvish, were full of “cool, pencils!” True story. Glad they liked them, too, because I have enough for probably three more Halloweens. 😀

So what do you think about the rules? Can we all get on board with this? Did I miss anything? I’m happy to add to the list before the implementation phase.

And because it IS my favorite holiday and I don’t want to sound like a big grump, let’s end on a high note, with one of my Halloween traditions: the sharing of the Muppets!

The Muppets: Cårven Der Pümpkîn

The Handwritten Mission

Last week my friend H stopped by to surprise me with a “just because” present.

I’m a big fan of “just because” presents, both giving and receiving. (Duh, who doesn’t like presents?) Just a little something to brighten the day. And what did she have for me? Muppet note cards. (I. Love. That the world knows I love Muppets. Because I do. Because they are awesome.)

She said, “I don’t know if you would use these, but I saw them, and they were cute, and I know you like the Muppets.”

Cool.

And then I thought about putting them in my antique secretary with the many other note cards and lovely stationeries I have accumulated there, and what a waste that was.

And then I thought about how much I love getting a handwritten note in the mail. Don’t you? Mail these days is boring. Bills and junk mail, with the occasional charitable solicitation. Birthdays and the holiday season are so much fun because the mail might come with colorful envelopes and sparkly cards with messages from friends and family. It’s lovely. Maybe you get lucky every once in a while and receive a thank you note or some other off-season communication from a friend.

It’s definitely a sign of the times. In college my best friend and I sent long, chatty letters back and forth between Bloomington and Ann Arbor. I kept a supply of funny cards on hand to mail to out of town friends for when I wanted to catch up. Now we are super connected with Facebook, and texting and email are faster and cheaper and more efficient than mail. So doesn’t it make you feel a little special when someone goes to the trouble to write a note, to rustle up a stamp, to actually be able to produce your address?

And the thing is, it doesn’t actually take that much time and effort. I know this because after H left, I took my new Muppets cards to my desk, sat down, and used one to write her a thank you note. It took all of five minutes to write, address, stamp, seal, and pop into the mailbox. I thought to myself, “I should do this more often.”

This would require overcoming my graphophobia. Holy shit. That is a real thing. Did you know that? I did not. (As previously mentioned many times, the internet is effing amazing.) Once again I’m feeling a wee bit of remorse for what sounds like I’m making light of something that might actually be a serious affliction for someone. Although as I’m perusing some of these sites, I do probably fall somewhere into this. My handwriting is atrocious. And I am extremely self-conscious about this. Unreasonably so. If I were to write you a note, I would freak the fuck out about my sloppy penmanship. I would be mortified by my inability to write in anything resembling a straight line, and how I can’t actually write in cursive, and instead do this weird hybrid that is mostly printing, and also, as a southpaw, am afflicted by smears and blots. It would look like a first-grader wrote the note. A first-grader with bad penmanship and really good spelling.

However. I recognize that everything I just said, while true, is also ridiculous. And that you might be willing to overlook my first-gradeness and simply appreciate the wonder that is the unexpected piece of mail that merely wants to say hi and make you smile. Which is a very wordy way of saying that I am embarking on a mission.

I am going to write more handwritten notes.

I am going to do it on a regular basis. Like, say, once a week. That will be my goal. It’s not going to be hard & fast – I don’t want to miss a week and beat myself up about it and let it derail me and declare it a failure resulting in abandoning the mission. I want it to be an enjoyable project, not a task. Writing to your friends should be fun.

This will allow me to use all the fun note cards and stationeries I already own, and then get more. A fringe benefit is shopping? Suh-weet. I am a sucker for pretty papers and fun cards.

Tangent: While we’re talking about stationery, can we please take a moment to discuss the correct spelling? For the last 10 or 15 years I’ve been on a quest to get the entire world to learn this. “Stationary” means immobile or having a fixed position, like a stationary bike at the gym. “Stationery” is writing paper. And here is a silly mnemonic trick: stationery with an “e” goes in an envelope.

Ok, let’s sum up:

  • I have horrendous handwriting, and this causes me anxiety.
  • However, my desire to make you smile supercedes that.
  • Hence, I am going to send you surprise notes.

And if you want a note, make sure I have your address – if you leave it here, or send it to me because of this post, I promise I will write to you. I don’t know when, I don’t know why, but that note will come. And I’ll give y’all updates from time to time by way of a loose sort of accountability, so that I stick with it.

I love the internet.

I totally didn’t get it at first, back in the day. Like, not at all. Ok, so you could look stuff up. Big whoop. I remember the very first time I got onilne. That awful screeching sound of the modem – ah, kids, remember dial-up? AOL telling me I’ve got mail. And the WORLD WIDE WEB. Oooooooh. What should I search for? How about…..Muppets! Yep, my very first internet search ever was “Muppets”. (This is probably a huge surprise for exactly none of you, if you are friends with me on Facebook. I probably average at least one Muppet-related post/week.)

Ok, so it’s 1994, I’m checking out this new internet thing, I look up “Muppets” and I find some random pictures of Kermit et al. Um. Not seeing the point of this. Why do I need to be able to find Muppet pictures at the drop of hat? (Duh, to post them on Facebook, which hadn’t been invented yet.) I was not getting it at all.

Slowly, over time, I caught on – like the rest of the world. Big time. I remember getting DSL and being able to quickly and easily look up movie times. Which again, wasn’t research to cure brain cancer, or, you know, something important, but at least I was starting to find practical applications.

Now I have FIOS and WIFI and a smartphone and an iPad and I am plugged the fuck in. Unplugging causes severe anxiety. And I’m still not using the internet to bring about world peace, but it has completely changed the landscape of my professional world, so it’s gone well beyond just fun and games and Muppets into the practical and everyday. Plus, you can look up song lyrics and movie quotes in the blink of an eye. Totally rad.

The other day, though I found myself in a momentary panic and the accessibility of reliable information in that same blink of the eye was just what I needed. It wasn’t an end of the world kind of panic, but I discovered that I had missed a birth control pill (FUCK), and I needed to know what to do. I have been on the pill for most of the last 20 years, and I can count on one finger the number of times this has happened before this week. I can be absent-minded and forgetful. I can forget to pick up dry cleaning for weeks. I forget where I’ve set my phone down in my own house on a daily basis. Hell, I can’t even get into a daily routine to take vitamins, even when taking other daily pills, like, say, the one we’re discussing. But I never, never miss my pill. Perhaps because I realize just how important is. And because I’ve been taking it for so long, and I’m so good about taking it, I routinely throw away the information that comes with it when I pick up the prescription. So even though I was pretty sure I knew what to do about the missed pill, I didn’t actually have official documentation.

God bless the internet.

“Sprintec missed pill”  <enter>

(Yes, now you know which pill I’m on, don’t you feel closer to me?)

Poof!

Page after page of specific info, from the manufacturer, doctors, everyday users. All giving me the information I needed, in the blink of an eye.

Thank you, Internet, I needed that. 🙂

Take the pill as soon as you notice, by the way. Even if it means taking two at a time. If you only miss one, you should be ok. Please don’t ever, ever, ever make any decisions based on what I just said – it is totally not my fault if you get knocked up, ok? Google it for yourself, go to some official website to seek your family planning advice. The internet is there for you, too.

This should again come as no surprise, but I just found approximately eight million Muppet pictures I want to include in this post. I was so stupid in 1994; how could I not see the value in this?

I’m done now.  Peace out.

Postscript? Update? One more thought, after the fact…..kind of cracking me up to have used the internet to bring birth control pills and the Muppets together into one semi-cohesive blog post. Hee hee.

How you know you’ve found a good one

  • He brings you your favorite (and not locally available) cheese when he comes to visit. And he only got a glimpse of it once, for maybe 5 seconds, but he got the right one. And then he starts calling it Magic Cheese.
  • He tells one of your girlfriends that you’re the funniest person he knows.
  • He never complains about your dog being on the bed.
  • He drops in on one of your friends at work so they can meet. Wait. That sounds creepy. But it totally wasn’t, at all. She was the perfect person to do that to, and they both wanted to meet the other.
  • He makes your bed when you’re not looking, even though you never bother to make it yourself.
  • He loves your dog. And perhaps even more important, your dog loves him, and goes belly-up at his feet for a tummy rub.
  • He acknowledges that men are idiots. But doesn’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior.
  • He is interested in spending time with your friends and family.
  • His actions back up his words and vice versa.
  • He rubs your feet without being asked. A lot.
  • He thinks it’s funny when you crack jokes at inappropriate times…..like during sex.
  • He is a thoughtful gift giver. I don’t mean this in a materialistic sense. I mean he pays attention to what is meaningful and of interest to you and finds things that are special, will be appreciated, etc. Like Muppets DVDs.
  • He doesn’t hesitate to drop a well timed “Fuck you!” when you’ve been relentlessly flinging insults at his (poorly chosen) alma mater.
  • He lets you know easily and often that you are awesome.

525,600 minutes

I don’t generally make a huge deal about the flip of the year, but it is an easy time for a little reflection. Shall we?

2011 was rough for several of my friends, and I know they are happy to see it exit. I’ve had a year like that myself. 2008 was not so affectionately known in my world as The Year of Suck. And when 2009 hit the books, the best thing I could say about it was that it wasn’t 2008. 2010 brought some amazing milestones, like buying my house and finding Ruby and parting ways with my cursed BMW in exchange for the superiffic Optimus Prime, but it had some really, really awful times, too, including the devastating end of a friendship. So it was with mixed feelings that I showed 2010 the door.

Where are we now….I still think it’ll be 2014 before we get to the Year of Wendy, but 2011 was a step in the right direction for me personally: nothing really bad happened. J And I will take that. Sometimes status quo is a wonderful thing. I feel kind of boring, and I like it.

I did take the best vacation ever this year, a week in Ireland. I didn’t know you could be homesick for a vacation destination until now. My philosophy has always been to keep going to new places until I’ve seen everything (ha!), but I desperately want to go back to Ireland. The trip also brought the epiphany that I need to reorganize my priorities so I can travel like that more often.

Also this year, someone from one of those bad times mentioned above reached out to….apologize. Or something. But it helped alleviate a lot of anger I’d been carrying around, so we’ll take that, too.

I do set a few resolutions every year, and I’m trying to keep them less grandiose and more specific and realistic this time. That way I’ll feel like less of a grandiose failure when I forget about them. But something I enjoy even more than that is a new tradition my twin sister and I started last year. (For the record, she is neither my twin nor my sister.) Last January 1, we sat on my living room floor and wrote down the things that we wanted to let go of, then set them free in my fireplace. It felt really good, so we’re doing it again this year. Plus, you know, it’s fun to burn things.

My New Year’s wish for you (and for me): that 2012 brings nothing but happiness and laughter and health and good times. And a financial windfall. Yeah, that’d be good.

Two more years. Year of Wendy. Prepare yourself. J

(Random blogging observation…I have a really hard time writing without emoticons….)

Just because

Too much ickiness. This is the opposite of that.

I am a diehard Facebooker, but I love this commercial ridiculously a lot. Because I’m a diehard Muppet lover, too.