Dear Santa...

I distinctly remember looking out my window one Christmas Eve and convincing myself I saw a red light shooting across the sky. Rudolph, obviously.  
As can be seen in the photo above, my visits to Santa were all business. He spoiled me. And I loved it. So this Christmas, in honor of the jolly old man in red, I'm recounting my top 10 Christmas gifts. Thanks for the good times, Saint Nick. And thanks to Ricky and Patti Long, my favorite elves who helped out.

10. Portable DVD player
I was absolutely useless the Christmas that I got this electronic device. I sat in that red chair and watched the two DVDs I owned (Legally Blonde and Miss Congeniality) all day. Shameful confession: I never read the instructions and thought the DVD player always had to be plugged into an outlet. Two years later I discovered a battery in the original box. It broke a few months later. Whoops.

9. The Blind Guy
If you aren't familiar with the Blind Guy's background story, check this post. For those of you who are familiar, here are the photos to prove my fascination with this man and his entertaining facial expressions. Thank you, Ricky, for giving me a framed pic to forever immortalize the 2000 election and the celebrity it created.

8. Beanie Babies
PURE JOY. That's what I felt every time I opened a new beanie. I got the Princess Diana bear (a rare collector's beanie, hence the plastic display box) for my birthday one year and thought I was SUCH a big deal. Where is the bear now? I have no idea. I would hope somewhere buried in the giant box of beanies I unearthed last week. But man, that purple bag of beans was practically pure gold way back when.

7. The Josh Tape
Oh the Josh tape. I had everything from SNL hosting gigs to appearances on Letterman to 30-second stories on Entertainment Tonight to 2-second glimpses on red carpet specials. All focused on the love of my tween years: Josh Hartnett. And then...the unthinkable...I LOST THE JOSH TAPE. I had feebly given up after months and months (possibly years?) of searching. Luckily my mom found the tape right around Christmas and decided to wrap it up as a gift. As you can see, I was elated to have the Josh tape back in my possession. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, the Josh tape still lives on today.

Also, while we're on the Josh topic, I have to share something that I found while I was looking through some old pictures. It's shameful, and I don't blame you for judging.
This is the trunk I packed in every year for summer camp. Apparently I just couldn't leave anything untouched by Josh mania. Yep, even my summer camp was aware of my Josh Hartnett obsession. What I love most about this embarrassing example of my middle-aged years is that I thought this piece of artistry was so beautiful that it warranted photo documentation. Reason #340598709345 that a good chunk of the people I met during middle school will always remember me as the girl who was obsessed with Josh Hartnett.

6. iPod
 This was back before iPods had become microscopic. For my first ever iPod, Santa brought me an old school mini (which was new school at the time). My light blue mini is now about 10x the size and weight of what Apple is currently marketing as the latest in iPod technology. However, this antique is still truckin' along! It has now been promoted to the position of my official "Christmas iPod" and holds all 362 of my Christmas songs. It's my top music source October through December!

5. Moon Shoes
Unfortunately for me and for you, I can't find a picture of me in my moon shoes. I'm pretty sure I looked just as skilled and awesome as this girl whenever I put those things on, though. For those of you who have never experienced the magic of moon shoes, allow me to explain. Basically you strap these bad boys on your feet and have an experience as close to walking on the moon as you'll ever get (unless you decide to go walk on the actual moon, which I would guess is pretty unlikely). Magical. This form of entertainment could usually only last about three minutes, but it was a GREAT three minutes.

4. The Mini Pool Table
I think this gift was originally intended only for my brother Stephen, but all three of the Long kids claimed it. Not a fan of pool? Not a problem. You could convert this gaming mecca into a ping pong table or or an air hockey table (minus the actual air part). Hours of entertainment. Our oober cool Uncle Jeff (the only of my mom's three brothers who was still single at this time and came to spend Christmas with us every year until he met his darling wife) even took the time to give us all lessons on the basics of pool strategy. What a guy! Unfortunately I think my initial learning of pool in mini-form stunted the maturing of my pool skills seeing as how I'm a completely miserable pool player in the full-sized pool table world.

3. Pogo Stick
I may not look happy in this pic, but it's just because I'm in the zone. The pogo zone, that is. Patti Long disagrees with me, but I'm pretty sure I once pogoed up to 500 times. We're talking 30+ minutes of consistent pogo. I was the pogo master. This year I tried to revive my pogo skills when I borrowed a family friend's pogo stick. I jumped three(ish) times then fell into a chair. Apparently I am the pogo master no more.

2. Jack Rabbit
My sister got her feelings hurt this particular Christmas morning because she thought Jack Rabbit belonged to all of us. No ma'am! He was all MINE! I was the cool kid who took her rabbit on walks. Jack had his own leash (sorry I don't have any photo documentation of that; it looked as ridiculous as you're thinking) that he would usually put up with until we made it to my next door neighbor's yard. As soon as we passed the boundary into their grass, he would start jumping spastically all over the place until I took him back home. Despite this fact, I kept trying to "walk" my rabbit. And I was completely oblivious of how ridiculous I looked. As I grew older I had less time to care for my little bunny. Since he wasn't getting the attention he deserved, I gave him away to a 3rd grade classroom. As far as I'm concerned, Jack is still alive. That's the best thing about my rabbit: he's an immortal like Zeus or Hercules. Long live Jack the rabbit!!!

White Christmases aren't the norm in Tulsa, OK but when they do happen they're absolutely fab-u-lous.

I must take a moment to recount The Great Christmas Snow of 2009. It was a great snow, but it was A LOT of snow. My stubborn sister (gotta lover her!) insisted that she was going to church with or without the rest of the family even though a snow storm was supposed to hit while we were in church. So we all went, but we were NOT happy about it. The candlelight service, as always, was lovely. It was so lovely that the other four members of the Long family (keeping the Christmas spirit alive) forgot how mad/frustrated/annoyed we were with Carolyn for dragging us there. We pleasantly chatted after church for a bit until my brother came running up to inform everyone that we needed to leave. NOW. I walked outside and was greeted by a BLIZZARD. A blizzard by my Tulsan standards, at least. There was not a single flake on the ground when we went into church, and when we came out of church there was not a speck of ground without a flake.

Our car was in covered parking, but there was still snow everywhere. The boys removed said snow and we booked it out of the parking lot before things could get worse. We were doomed right from the start. Two minutes into the drive, the boys had to get out and dust the snow off the car again. Why couldn't the windshield wipers do that? Because the windshield wipers kept freezing. Excellent. The first  road we tried to take was already closed so we turned around and  tried another. The boys continued to get out of the car every few minutes to whack the ice off the windshield wipers and de-snow the car as we slowly made our way to road #2. Our cheerful Christmas moods quickly turned sour. We all coped with this in different ways. I berated Carolyn and blamed our turmoil on her. My brother and dad were silent (mostly due to the fact that they were rarely actually inside the car, so they didn't have many opportunities to yell). My mom yelled at me for yelling at Carolyn. Just one big happy family!

We finally made it to road #2. There was a hill we had to go up. It was a BIG hill. And there were already at least five other cars stuck on said hill in front of us. We went up a distance. Got stuck. Helped the lady in front of us who was stuck. She got stuck again. We got stuck again. My dad starting brainstorming hotels we could stay at that were close and then suggested that we walk four miles home (the women in the car quickly shot this option down). Our Christmas spirits drained, we decided it was every man for himself and pushed our car past the woman we had been helping. Somehow our Toyota Camry was the first car to make it to the top of the hill (yes, ahead of all the four-wheel drive vehicles). There was a brief moment when we all cheered and yelled to celebrate our accomplishment. Then eight sets of headlights come into focus in front of us. We had failed to realize that on the other side of the hill, there were most likely other cars trying to make it to the hill's peak. There are normally only four lanes on this road, but on this snowy night the cars on the other side of the hill had decided to make eight lanes. Leaving our lane options at...zero. I don't really remember how we got home. I just remember that we were all really quiet and tense. And that we were in the car for a very long time.  An hour and a half after we left church (it usually takes us 15 minutes to get there), we FINALLY made it home. And then, of course, the car got stuck in the driveway. Needless to say, snow was much more fun on Christmas morning than on Christmas Eve night in 2009.

One last honorable mention:
This Christmas I only asked for two things: a plane ticket to New York City and new tights. I figured the tights were a sure thing, but the plane ticket was a little less sure. I burst into tears when my favorite elf, Ricky, presented me with a map of the U.S. that had arrows pointing from Fort Worth to NYC and an attached flight itinerary. Jackpot! Santa continues to spoil me even when I'm on the cusp of adulthood!

To close this post, I'd like to direct your attention to this precious photo of my family putting up the Christmas tree. Really, my favorite thing about Christmas isn't the presents (no offense, Santa). It's hanging out with these weirdies. Cliche? Yes. Still true? Absolutely.

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases spent enjoying the loot Santa brought you with the people you love!


The Benefits of Being a Pack Rat

Today my dog, Ellie, and I were sitting at my Tulsa home busy doing...absolutely nothing. I remembered my mom had mentioned that she found a box in the attic labelled "Becky's stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY." I decided this very boring December afternoon was the perfect time to find said box. And so I did. Here is where my attic adventure took me:

On my way to the box in question, I found another fun box. What was inside? Every single beanie baby I ever owned. If you look closely you can see that I made each BB a personalized beaded necklace with his or her name on it. I really liked beanie babies.

I also found my old American Girl Locker. Sadly I don't actually know where my dolls Felicity and Amanda are, but I do know where their things are. I'm totally forcing my daughters to play with all these cute things even though they'll be doll antiques by the time said daughters are in existence.

A snowman pillow I made. Cute, right? It's now proudly sitting with me on the couch.

Now onto the good stuff: the "Becky's Stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY" box

I laughed so loud at the contents of the folder I had labeled "My Men" that Ellie ran into the room to see what was up. In one pocket of the folder I found posters of some of my secondary crushes (Shane West, Hayden Christensen, Chad Michael Murray, Orlando Bloom, etc). The other pocket was dedicated solely to my #1 crush: Joshua Daniel Hartnett. Shocked to learn that I know Josh Hartnett's middle name? Don't be. To say I was "slightly obsessed" with him in middle school is a huge understatement. Here's some background on my Josh infatuation...I saw Pearl Harbor 8 times in the theater; I had a videotape called "The Josh Tape" with every single one of his press appearances recorded on it; my friend made me a special Josh binder with his picture all over it and gave me little mirrors so I could look into the mirrors and my face would be next to Josh's; for my senior spring break trip I wanted to journey to Minnesota where Josh lived so I could track him down and we could fall madly in love; I had a PURSE with his face on it. And in case you need any further proof that I'm a freak, here is a taste of what I found in the Josh section of the "My Men" folder.

I'd like to spotlight a few things in this photo: the Valentine my friend made me from Josh in the middle, the Josh Hartnett book (who knew he had a book?!) in the top left corner and the sheet of Josh Hartnett stickers in the bottom left.

These are all the magazines (yes, all 24 of them) I purchased because there was some mention about Josh in them. Pitiful.

Oh adolescence. Thank goodness that's over with. Unfortunately I'm still widely known as "the girl who was obsessed with Josh Hartnett" by tons of people who witnessed this obsession first hand. Don't know if I'll ever shake that reputation. I guess I can test it in 6 years at my high school reunion.

At Jenks Wild (a camp my school's entire 6th grade population went to for a long weekend), this baby was my pride and joy. We got beads for completing certain tasks or behaving well. The bear claw was the envy of the entire camp; only for the truly outstanding 6th graders who did something super awesome. I got mine because I came to camp even though I was sick. Looking back, did I deserve to be championed for possibly spreading illness around to all of 6th grade? Probably not.

A pack of Kleenex my friend brought me back from the Salt Lake City Olympics. That makes this particular pack of Kleenex 8 years old. Really Becky? Really? This is one find I'm more embarrassed than proud of.

Two books I submitted for a writing contest in 3rd and 4th grade. Instant classics.

My favorite baseball cap. So fashionable. It doesn't fit my head anymore, but Ellie seemed to like it.

My vest from Brownies. So tiny!

Other highlights of my attic looting included:
--Tons and tons of notes from middle school and beyond
--A mini tea set in a little picnic basket
--A sweatshirt from when I went to cheerleading nationals in 2nd grade
--4 birth certificates for Build-a-Bears
--My Little Dribblers uniform
Story to go along with this uniform: I only played basketball for one season because I was HORRIBLE. How horrible? The only basket I ever scored was for the other team. No, I'm not kidding.
--Little bottles of sand from Destin and St. John
--Various tennis and piano trophies/medals
--My 4th grade teacher's wedding announcement
--The first book I ever read: Green Eggs and Ham
I took this book and hid under a clothing rack at Toys R Us while my mom was in line at the check out. After successfully reading it by myself, I walked up to my mom and announced my accomplishment. So she bought it for me.  :-)
--My best friend's sister's graduation program from 2005. Do I have my graduation program? My best friend's? My sister's?  Nope. But I have Leigh Anne's. I have no explanation. Except for the fact that I'm a pack rat.

When my mom came home from work she tried to convince me to throw away some of this stuff. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, though. And so my afternoon ended when I put everything back in its place and returned the box to its attic perch. The trashcan is empty, the box is full, and I'm in an incredibly good mood. This random collection of knick knacks is guaranteed to be hours of entertainment in another 10 years when I re-deiscover the "Becky's Stuff: DO NOT THROW AWAY" box.

Once a pack rat, always a pack rat.


The Crock Pot Point

What is this "crock pot point" I speak of you ask? It's the term I coined to refer to that turning point when adulthood starts to kick in. Today at work I was talking to my friend Katie about her weekend plans. She said she wanted to have a low-key Friday night since she has to get up early on Saturday morning. I suggested she should go home and make something in her new crock pot then curl up and watch a movie. Katie was shocked and appalled that I thought she was the type of girl whose main source of entertainment on a Friday night is a kitchen appliance. But it's true: she's at the crock pot point. She's an adult.  (But to clarify: she's an incredibly FUN, young, and hip adult who very rarely has crock pot Friday nights.) The more I think about it, I'm noticing that my crock pot point may be looming in the very near future. I've already started experiencing a number of symptoms:

This year for my 22nd birthday I got my very first set of dishes and a Christmas doormat. And I was THRILLED about both of these gifts. I've already started dreaming up all the dinner party possibilities I have with these new dishes. Swoon.

Which brings me to my next symptom...I have dinner parties. I read through cookbooks to find new recipes and corral people together to offer them a free meal. I got this from my mother. Well, really from all mothers. Because all mothers (mine especially) love to feed people, regardless of whether or not those people are actually hungry.

This leads nicely into symptom #3. I'm becoming my mother. Example: I throw Patti Long-isms into conversations all the time. You see, my mother likes to make up words and phrases. I hear these words/phrases so often that I start to assume they're real. Then I let one slip in public and people get confused since they don't speak the language of Patti Long. I don't view this process of turning into my mother as a bad thing. I mean, I figured it was inevitable. Plus, Patti Long and her Patti Long-isms are pretty great. But since my mother is an adult, if I'm becoming more and more like her then I too must be an adult(ish).

I don't shop for "cute" clothes any more. I shop for functional clothes. (However, I still always choose cute shoes over functional shoes so I think this is at least a small victory.)

I clip coupons. Sure I pretty much never use any of them, but they're there for me just in case I decide I do need 50 cents off my shampoo or a free warmer unit when I buy an Air Wick Scented Oil refill fragrance (forget the fact that I don't actually have an Air Wick Scented Oil to refill in the first place). Every penny counts, you know.

The final dead giveaway that I'm growing up: I'm sitting in bed at 10:00 on a Friday night writing a blog entry. And I'm totally fine with it.

To you, adulthood, I say: BRING IT ON. I may stay home to cook a crock pot delicacy on the occasional Friday night, but I'm still awesome. Plus, there's always Saturday. Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean I need to be mature all the time.

Next step: buy a crock pot.


Being annoyed/annoying since 1988

We all have those little things that drive us wild. If you're ever in the mood to annoy me, here's how to do it:

1. Repetitive noises.  This is especially a problem if there is some repetitive noise that is keeping me from sleeping. A creaky fan, a car alarm, a barking dog, etc. The WORST is snoring. My mother once found me sleeping curled up in a towel on the bathroom floor of a hotel room where I had gone to escape a member of my family's (who will remain nameless) incessant snoring. I also used to take ear plugs with me to every sleepover to avoid any and all possible repetitive nighttime noises that could keep me from catching some z's. What 9-year-old shows up to a sleepover with her teddy bear and her earplugs, you ask? This one. Both those things saved me from many sleepless nights.

2. Speaking of not being able to sleep, my loud neighbors upstairs annoy me. Not the people so much (they're all very friendly), I just hate that I can hear every single footstep, pulled out chair, and dropped book.  I think the  girl who lives above me has some sort of radar and knows EXACTLY when I either a) want to take a nap or b) want to go to bed at night. Around the time I settle into bed for either a) or b) is about the same time my neighbor decides to run laps around her room with her little yippy scampering dog or move every piece of furniture in her room for the millionth time. Well, that's what it sounds like she's doing.

3. Skinny people who talk about how fat they are.  As I'm eating a greasy cheeseburger, I don't need your size 2 frame to tell me what a delicious salad you had today and how you're upset  that you only got to work out for two hours instead of the usual three.  Go tell that to your size 0 friend.  My cheeseburger and I are not interested, thank you.

4. People who misspell the word "definitely."  I don't know why this is the word that gets me, but everytime I see "definatley" or "defanately" or some other butchering of the word in a letter/text message/e-mail, I cringe. Can you spell the word "definite"? Great. Add an "-ly" at the end and we're good to go. Can't spell the word definite? Learn to and  then add the "-ly." Still struggling? Use another word like "absolutely" or something like that. Problem solved.

I was making this list of things that annoy me in my head today while I was in the kitchen listening to my neighbors and their dog prancing around in a conga line upstairs. (Alright they might have just been making lunch, but it sounded very conga-like to me.) What am I doing as I listen?  Drinking milk straight out of the carton.

And then it hits me. Oh my gosh--I'M ANNOYING

First of all, since when am I too lazy to get a cup out of the cabinet to pour myself a glass of milk? I convinced myself the dishwasher won't fill up as fast since I didn't put that cup in and we can save water by running the dishwasher less often. The reality: I'm lazy. Additionally, I'm starting a habit that millions of people would put on their "things that annoy me" list. So then I start thinking: what other annoying habits do I do on a daily basis? Apparently, a lot.

1. I constantly feel like I have a frog in my throat. As a result, I'm constantly clearing my throat. The worst part is, I usually don't notice when this throat-clearing is taking place. I'll let an "ahem" slip and confusion follows. Example:
Me: Ahem
Bystander: Yes?
Me: Yes what?
Bystander: Did you want something?
Me: What do you mean?
Bystander: You just cleared your throat.
Me: Oh, no, I was just clearing my throat actually.
Bystander then either gives me a weird look and walks away (if they don't know me) or gives me a weird look and tells me how weird I am (if they do know me)
2. Singing annoying songs at inopportune moments.  My cousin, sister and I once refused to stop singing the theme song to "The Brady Bunch" until my uncle pulled the car over and bought us a new tube for the lake. It worked, but geez. What little terrors we were! My sister and I still use this tactic when we're in the mood to be annoying with the fam in the car. If it's not "The Brady Bunch," it's "Gilligan's Island." My family just loves it when car rides turn into forced karaoke sessions.

3. Being stingy for no reason.  My milk carton incident was not the first time I had used the "save room in  the dishwasher"  thought process. I once got into an argument with my friend Megan because she wanted to use a rubber spoon while we were making cookies. I said since we had already dirtied a wooden spoon it wasn't necessary to dirty a rubber spoon. Things escalated quickly and I ended up chasing her around the kitchen trying to grab the rubber spoon out of her hands and obstructing her access to the bowl of cookie dough. That was a new low. It's a wonder Megan puts up with all my shenanigans. (You may recall she's the friend who tried to get me to stop singing in the car by listening to music in other languages)

4. Non-stop chitter chatter.  I tend to talk a lot. Especially if I'm nervous or uncomfortable. I'm sure sometimes people wish I had a mute button so they could turn me off, or at least  turn down the volume.

I could add more to both of these lists, but I don't want to give you anymore hints on how to bother me or provide you with more of my annoying habits for you to take note of.

So in my kitchen with milk carton in hand, I came to  the conclusion that people have been annoying me and I have been annoying them for a very long time. This is not going to change. Ever. But if I keep my old school TV karaoke sessions to a minimum, could you return the favor and PLEASE make sure you spell check before you type or write the word "definitely" in my presence? The world will be a happier place for both of us.