Black Thursday

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I did not.

‘T was the night before Thanksgiving and I woke up at 5:00 a.m. feeling terrible.  I was so nauseated that I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I turned on some Nick at Nite,* just as an episode of Family Matters was starting.  For some reason I watched the whole show, rolling my eyes from beginning to end. 

Anyway, I finally fell back to sleep and woke up a few hours later feeling like death.  I refused to believe I could be sick on Thanksgiving, so decided I just needed to sleep a little more and then I would magically be cured.  My family had arranged for us to eat at my parents’ house at 2:00, so I felt I had plenty of time to recover, get ready and cook green bean casserole.  Instead, I did the following:

  • Thought about eating breakfast, but nearly threw up at the very sight of food.  This shouldn’t be taken lightly.  I’m coming up on my 7-year “no throw-up” anniversary, which I’m very proud of. 
  • Slept until 1:00, contemplated whether or not I should even go, but then concluded that I would feel like a huge loser being at home by myself on Thanksgiving
  • Started getting ready, resting every 10 minutes or so to keep from passing out
  • Reconsidered ever wanting my own pet(s) or child(ren) after chasing Coco around the car about 5 times (sweating profusely in the process).**  Although Coco enjoys a good car ride, she hates actually getting in the car. 

Needless to say, I arrived late, but assured everyone they could start without me.  When I walked in, I decided that we lived in a cruel, unfair world and that I was being punished for something.  My family was enjoying a grand, traditional Thanksgiving feast that only happens once every 365 days and I couldn’t partake.  Instead, I (barely) choked down six saltine crackers. 

My Thanksgiving Dinner. Yum.

Don’t get me wrong, I love saltine crackers, but come on…that’s the last thing anyone wants to eat on Thanksgiving.
After chatting for a bit and receiving several “whoa…you are so pale” comments, I made my way up to my old bedroom for a rest.
My sister-in-law Lauren is a firm believer in taking pictures at every family gathering, so I had initially tried to wear a decent picture-friendly outfit.  By the time she and my brother got there, I had already changed into my pajamas and was trying to nap peacefully.  But don’t you worry…Lauren and my sister just brought the photo shoot to me.  How kind of them.  Here’s one of the pictures the three of us were featured in:

Whitney, my sickly self and Lauren. I’m surprised I was willing to throw on a smile for that one.

When judging our appearances, please keep in mind the lack of blood flowing to my face.  Also, I invested almost no time at all into the hair and make-up process, knowing there was no hope of looking normal.

After realizing I would never be able to sleep with all the commotion in the house, I went downstairs to play with the other kids.  This “playing” consisted of my whole family trying to talk over each other, figure out what someone else just said, watching the Dallas Cowboys/Miami Dolphins game and hearing my mom yelp happily when the Cowboys scored and yelp angrily when they didn’t.***  

I eventually agreed to eat a piece of cherry pie.  It was awesome.

And then the game-playing saga began, or should I say…the saga in which my family played games with my mind began?

All I’ve ever wanted from my family is for us to play a nice, quiet, civilized board game, in which each person takes their turn, plays by the rules and pays attention.  Don’t get me wrong, there should be plenty of fun, laughter and the making of fond memories involved, but if everyone isn’t on the same page, you might as well not play at all.  The game-playing incident from that night is a prime example of this.  Here’s how it went down:

  • Myself and several others are lured into playing Balderdash (great game).
  • We’re told the time of play will be dependent on what time a particular person has to leave.
  • We wait to hear a time of departure, but none is given.
  • We finally have a few people gathered in one room, ready to play.
  • We lose a player who feels the need to run down the street to his house to change his clothes before he can play.
  • We wait, but eventually start without him.
  • We ask if everyone knows how to play, to which everyone responds “yes.”
  • A few minutes in, we realize half the room doesn’t know how to play.
  • A card is selected and everyone is asked to write down their answers and pass them in to be read aloud.
  • Several people jot down their answers and hand them in, while a select few stare at the TV.
  • I stare at those people, as if to say “don’t act like you’re thinking of your answer, I know you’re not” and then say “pay attention!”
  • My dad, who refuses to play games with us, begins to tell stories mid-game, which only serves to distract us (mostly me).
  • Being on-edge from the lack of food, I start throwing out comments to stop this (examples: “Hush!  Stop it!  No talking!”).  This does not work and more people join in the conversation.
  •  This goes on for a while. I become so irritable that I anticipate I may have a meltdown at any moment. 
  • We finally agree to end the game, which, in my opinion, had ended in complete disarray.

I took my pain-ridden body home, drank a helping of Nyquil (so gross) and was in bed by 9:00.  I woke up mid-way through the night to eat a full sleeve of crackers, wishing I had accepted the plate of leftovers offered to me before leaving my parents’ house.

Oh, by the way, this is as far as I got with the green bean casserole that day:

I went to Walmart and everything!

*I hate that they spell it that way.

**I’ve since recanted this thought now that I feel better.

*** The rest of us just stare at her with fear in our eyes. This is a family tradition.

Unleash Those Hidden Talents, Girlfriend! (or Boyfriend!)

Welcome back! 

Ok, recently I’ve been thinking about how we have control over certain things that happen to us and how so many things are left to chance.  Situations that we find ourselves in are the result of where we’re raised, the types of families we’re a part of and the various opportunities that may or may not come along during our lifetimes. 

Have you ever wondered if you have a great talent for a particular activity, but you’ve never known about it because of a lack of exposure to that activity?  What if you have a natural ability for painting, but have never taken a class or experimented with it?  Perhaps you have the potential to be an award-winning violinist, but have never picked up a musical instrument (except for the recorder in 5th grade)? What if you were born to be a swimmer, but also had a fear of water that kept you from ever finding out that you had mad swim skills? 

I’m sure there are countless people throughout history who could have done amazing things if they had been given the right opportunities.  Allow me to illustrate, by providing two completely backwards examples.

The year is 1963.  A baby Michael Jordan is born into the world.  But here’s the kicker… instead of being born into an American family in Brooklyn, he’s born into a Russian, figure skating-loving family in the city of Krasnozamensk.  He strives for years to learn the more common twizzle turns and flippity flips, but to no avail.  His village peers skate laps around him and he decides that he was simply not meant to be an athlete.  He goes on to be an average student in school, always wondering if he could have been more.  Nevertheless, because he has been told his whole life that he was not made for sports, he concedes and goes on to become a nanny for a wealthy family who owns a hat-making business by the name of “Ushanka hat?  We got ‘em!”  In case you don’t know what a “ushanka” is and need assistance understanding that joke, here’s a picture:

This is a ushanka. I definitely need one.

Westerners try to introduce basketball to the country in the ‘70’s, but it is quickly rejected due to the incompatibility of the harsh Russian winters and inexplicably short basketball shorts.*  Michael grows old, never realizing the magnitude of his unleashed talents.

Here’s another one…

What if beloved actor Leonardo DiCaprio had never been introduced to acting, but instead was born to an Amish family in Pennsylvania that didn’t own a TV or watch movies?  Rather than starring in high-budget flicks about diamonds and sinking ships, he would plow the fields and build beautiful nude furniture from sunrise to sundown, periodically shouting “I’m the king of the farm!”  Instead of sporting a modern hair-do, he would have an Amish-mandated haircut that would serve to ensure females were never attracted to him (this would be a pretty ugly haircut given his striking good looks).  Luxurious hand-made suits would be substituted with hideous, yet practical, hand-made overalls.  Rather than driving fancy sports cars and flying around the world on private jets, he would saddle up on his best pony.**  One day, he would venture out into the non-Amish world, catch a glimpse of a movie playing on TV and wonder if he could’ve been an actor.

It really makes you think, huh?  What if you are the Michael Jordan of a sport you haven’t yet been exposed to or the Leonardo DiCaprio of the arts?  Think of all the things you’ve never tried.  Haven’t skied before?  Go skiing.  Haven’t baked a pie?  Go bake.  Haven’t tried singing, other than in your car while nobody else is around?  Quit your job, take singing lessons and start a band.  Ok, no…I take it back.  Don’t do that.

* I don’t have the slightest clue if/when basketball was introduced to Russia.

** A small pony would suffice, he’s a short little guy.

A Kardashian Katastrophe

So…did you hear??  Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kris Humphries!  Ok, I know this is old news by now, but still, it’s worth discussing.

I used to watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” when it first began. If you haven’t seen it, don’t.  Once you start, it’s hard to turn back.  Even though you know it’s harmful to your mental health, you’ll continue to watch.  It’ll suck you in.  After a while, you’ll start to think that Kardashian-like behavior is normal.   Oh, you say you need examples?  Here you go:

  • Speaking with a painfully obvious fake voice
  • Wearing unreal amounts of make-up
  • Talking about an event that happened in the past as if it’s currently happening

Even if you want to quit, it’ll be close to impossible because they are everywhere.  And they’re like roaches- there’s a million of them, they come out at night and I wouldn’t be surprised if they carry disease.

Anyway, I say all this so that you’ll understand why I’m familiar with their show.  Even though I pretty much can’t stand them, I’ve watched my fair share of episodes. 

Once they started getting engaged, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I refused to watch anything related to Kim’s or Khloe’s weddings.  I knew it would be the epitome of annoying girly stuff.

After Kim got engaged, I found out the basics of her relationship:

  • She and Kris got engaged after knowing each other for almost no time at all.
  • Kris was quite a bit younger than her.
  • Kris was a professional athlete.  Of course.
  • Kris had the same name as Kim’s mom, Kris.  How convenient.  And how convenient that his name started with a “K.”  She probably picked him out of the “Professional Athlete” phonebook based on the compatibility of his name with the Kardashian Empire’s naming convention.

Even though I went out of my way to avoid hearing/watching/reading about Kim’s whole shebang, I was still exposed to it.  I had to listen to this garbage for months.  I was successful in my efforts to not watch the FOUR HOUR long wedding special, but somehow I still knew that Kim and Kris didn’t have any chemistry, talked to each other with a complete lack of respect and that Kim’s sisters yelled at him frequently.  The one thread of hope I held onto was the fact that we would all have at least a few years of peace and quiet once the wedding was over.

Wrong.  A mere 72 days after the wedding, the “marriage” was over.  I feel uncomfortable even calling it a marriage.  They didn’t even try.  Most 8th graders have relationships that last longer than that (I didn’t).  And even if they did have “irreconcilable differences,” could they not have just faked it for a little while longer?  I mean, people invested a lot of time in this ridiculous circus.  The least they could do is act like it was time well-spent. 

The rumor is that it was all a sham for publicity.  I can definitely see that being the case.  If that is true, I wish they would’ve thought of our feelings before pulling a stunt like that.

I can’t imagine what could have possibly happened to make them call it quits so soon.  Perhaps one of the following:

  • Kris found a loop-hole in the pre-nup. and decided it was time to cash out
  • There wasn’t room for Kris on the Kardashians’ 17th reality show
  • Producers feared Kris and Kim would take the attention away from their efforts to exploit the two youngest Kardashian sisters (they’ve already started doing this)
  • Kris realized how annoying Kim and her family are

As usual, I’ve done my best to see the silver lining in all of this.  There are a number of lessons we can learn from this tragedy:

  • Celebrities probably shouldn’t get married.
  • If you’d like to have a big party, but can’t justify the cost, call it a wedding.
  • Sometimes people will surprise you (i.e., Khloe’s marriage lasting longer than Kim’s).
  • The more you spend on your wedding, the less likely your marriage is to succeed (I’ve always believed this- no, this isn’t based on any kind of statistic, just observation) .
  • Always keep a divorce attorney on retainer.
  • Kardashians are like dogs that do tricks over and over…if you reward them by watching their four-hour long wedding specials, they’re just gonna keep getting married.