PARADE AND PUNISHMENT

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A REPEAT OF THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY POST THAT REMAINED UP FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, THEN SOMEHOW DISAPPEARED. TECHNOLOGY IS NOT MY FRIEND.

Let’s say I did it for science. Why else would someone over the age of 25 attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade they have managed to avoid for the last 20 years? Dallas has hosted this parade since 1979 and it has grown to over 100,000 party-goers.

I attended once before. In the 90s. After being pushed and shoved, having beers sloshed all over me by strangers (and myself), I decided to forego the event indefinitely. Even though we’ve been living within a mile of the parade route for nearly three years, I’ve had no desire to participate.

However, Friday, Robert informed me we were attending this year with his friends.

What?

We’re going. It’ll be fun.

Harrumph.

So, Saturday morning I awoke at 8:00 AM. Unheard of for me on a weekend. By 9:00, our guests were here wearing bright green shirts, beads, and headbands with shamrocks on springy antennas. I looked positively funereal in my camouflage pants, gray t-shirt and sunglasses. My spirits lifted a bit when I was handed a tumbler of champagne and orange juice. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I slurped my vitamin C infused alcohol from my red plastic Solo cup with a guilty eye toward the clock, 9:30. We piled in the car and drive .07 miles to a parking place, where the ever-prepared and much more awake friends offered us beads, a green bowler hat and shamrock stickers to apply to our persons. I passed. Robert looked splendid in his bowler. The threat of tequila shots avoided, we made our way to the street and perched against the barricades lining the route.

The parade began at 11:00. At ten ’til, I was on my second banana, pineapple, vodka something. People-watching was entertaining. Two college aged boys were holding up signs as they moved through the crowd. “Free hugs!” Genius. Women were lining up. Some guys, too.

hug

I had to stop watching because I could sense people moving in on my space. Widening my stance and extending my elbows, I returned to claiming my territory, lest some interloper edge me out of my front row view. Nothing worse than being tipsy at 11:00 in the morning and losing your spot to some munchkin who manages to sneak in under your guard.

As we listened to Snoop Dog’s sound check, “Check, check, check, check,” ad infinitum, I wondered for the hundredth time when I could go home and take a nap.

Wait! The parade! Down the street, we saw the approach of police lights and could hear the faint wail of bagpipes. A picture’s worth a ridiculous amount of words, so here you go. This way, you can say you saw the parade without having to attend.

bagpipe

skaters

bike bar

Float occupants tossed beads to the greedy, screaming crowd. They really need to practice this, as beads either skidded across the asphalt, the strand breaking before coming to a rest about three feet from us on the wrong side of the barricade, or they whipped past us at a velocity that caused me to duck and cover. Every now and then, I’d shoot an arm straight into the air mid-duck and find my hand gripping one of the coveted necklaces. Robert and his pal were a bit more aggressive, plucking them from the air and placing them over our heads until we were weighted down. I kept repeating, “Tim Gunn would not approve. Fashion dictates you take a look in the mirror and remove one accessory item.”

I was ignored.

float 2

float 1

mustache

We were home by 12:30, and I was sound asleep by 7:30 PM, at which time my husband shoved me toward the bedroom. I awoke at 1:00 AM. WIDE AWAKE.

There you have St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas. I am the proud owner of a dozen strands of beads, if not more, a cookie from the Hare Krishna float (don’t ask), and three koozies.

Give me another 20 years and I may be up for this again.

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HOLIDAY SCOOP AND THINGS YOU MAY ALREADY KNOW

In the spirit of helping my fellow-man (and woman), here is what I have learned this past week. You’re welcome.

1. Never trust a teenager who tells you what time your mother-in-law is expecting you. The result is arriving 30 minutes AFTER she intended to “serve.”

2. An unwrapped gift will remain unwrapped until I wrap it. Seriously. DAYS after Christmas. Right now, in another room, a certain individual is staring at the gift in question and saying to himself, “Geez, when is Ann gonna’ wrap this?”

Actually, we’re in a stand off. He wants me to wrap the gift (which I agreed to do because he used the classic, “I’m a guy and I can’t wrap presents well,” ploy.) However, I am not going to wrap it until he completes the gift by putting the photo in the frame. He’s 18 and should be able to manage that himself. Apparently, that gift is going to live in my kitchen unwrapped and un-given FOREVER.

3. People attempting to attend Christmas Eve service at church on a rainy, cold evening will lie, cheat and steal to reserve a seat – or an entire pew – for their LATE (not dead but clock- challenged) friends and family. Seriously. Derek and I (who were on time and in the first group to enter) had to march almost to the front of the church to find a pew someone wasn’t planking on or that wasn’t strewn with coat, scarf, gloves – all spread out across every last inch.

4. Either I have no friends, or no one is sending out Christmas cards anymore. I think we received 4. One was from our newspaper carrier and I think they make him do it. I thought everyone wanted to show off their cute kids and puppies. What happened? At least the Kardashian family did their part.

5. Bowl Games have stupid names now. We should protest. Let’s occupy the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl.

6. Work you take home to tackle over the holidays does not do itself. Although I still hold out hope.

7. Time passes more quickly when you are at home than when you are at work. I know this for a fact because I only seem capable of one activity per day. I scheduled a phone call this morning and it has thrown me off completely. I am still in my pajamas with very low expectations for exiting them. This is bad news for the people I am meeting for cocktails at 4:00.

8. Do not stack that container of olives on top of the container of berries. The olives leak. (This may not be a universal truth, but it’s something to consider.)

9. My husband can watch more football than yours.

10. Save yourself the trouble of reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” because the movie is crazy good. It’s also exhausting. P.S., Sweden in winter does NOT look as charming as it sounds. Join me and the other slackers in skipping ahead to book 2, which according to my sources gets moving faster than book 1.

Oh, and one last thing… did you hear Samoa is tossing today and skipping on to the 31st? No December 30th at all. I didn’t even know you could do that. They are crossing the international date line so they will be available for more trade with Australia. I think they should play a little more hard to get. Australia has that cute accent and all, but really…

Also, does that mean they get more sleep or less? Because I am all about gaining some snooze time.

UNSUCCESSFUL SANTA

Have I mentioned that I hate shopping for the holidays? Well, I do. Each year I attempt to come up with some idea that will make the whole experience less stressful, but it fails miserably.

I am no good at choosing just the right thing for someone, unless they hit me over the head with hints about what they want. Repeatedly. And preferably purchase and wrap it for me. That’s right. I’m not even good at gift wrapping. I just throw paper on whatever it is, slap some tape on the seams crookedly and it’s done. No bow. Oh, and sometimes I cut a ragged strip of wrapping paper from which I fashion really bad gift tags.

Martha Stewart would have me flogged.

This year I am again determined to do better. Seriously, it can’t get any worse unless I just start tossing the gift in the actual shopping bag under the tree, receipt and all.

In my first step toward improving, I found a website where you can create or purchase some really creative things. And by creative I mean smart ass. Nothing inspires me more than that. A gift I can really get behind. A gift with attitude.

I think I hear Christmas bells!

Check this out. T-shirts. This one is for the friend who keeps encouraging me to go camping.

This is for my brother.

This little gem from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is for hubby.

This beauty is for one of the architects I work with. Could be an annual giveaway.

Enough T-shirts. Now for something different. Like a notebook. Or a threat. Or a notebook threat?

I may have to give this to the HR Director to take to meetings. The bottom right hand corner clarifies in small font: “With Kindness.”

For my lovely team members? This is perfect. They too can go to meetings armed with this deceptively nice-at-first-glance notebook.

And for me, I’m getting this little accessory. It’ll come in handy at holiday parties where I am expected to mingle with irritated children who are up past their bedtime. It’s a festive button!

I’m sure I can find someone’s stocking that needs this addition. Not as good as a Betty Ford Clinic button, but still…

A few items confused me…

In what world does this ornament say, “Merry Christmas?”

Oh, dear.

And lastly, a sentiment we can all get behind.

What’s that? No good?

That’s it. I’m buying liquor for everyone this year. One size fits all.