What the Crap Wednesday: The Kitters Edition

So, you guys remember our Bo Bear right? He's just not really full of joy. He poops on himself a lot, walks in it, doesn't clean himself, doesn't feed himself, and generally sneezes 100 times a day and has nosebleeds. Poor little guy. As you can see in his "before" picture, his chest hair gets a little greasy. Turns out, when you are a cat and your nose is stuffed, you don't smell dirty and you don't clean it. So, he was a little ragamuffin of a cat. And we were always like What the crap kind of cat are you, Bo? You don't play, you don't really get excited or open your eyes all the way EVER.

So, after we got back from our Jeju trip to find him at my mother-in-law's with dried poop on his shoulder (how, I ask you, how?), the hair on his chest greasy like my own hair that hasn't been washed for a month, and a fully clogged nose, I decided to take some action.

So, we came back to Wonju, and I decided with my days off that we'd take him to the vet and have him groomed. Because washing him at home is so traumatic. And yeah, we've given him haircuts before, mostly just cutting out the dried poo, but it looked ugly. I wanted things done the right way. And when they groom them at the vet, they put them to sleep. Which I'm not really a fan of, because maybe the end result is a little more traumatic. But the way he caterwauls and writhes to get away from us when we're painlessly, I reiterate, painlessly, trying to cut a chunk of matted hair off of him, I thought we'd give him a break and knock him out.

There is a cat who lives at the vet we go to. His name is Chop Chop. He looks like this:

How can you not love that face? Okay, minus the fact that the poor boy is wearing makeup. We're in Korea, so we don't really have to say What the Crap about the cat makeup anymore. But you may go ahead if you wish... Okay, so Chop Chop got a little trim. (After this picture was taken, obviously). He was still kind of fluffy, but most of his fur had been cut shorter, leaving his huge head and fat feet and the end of his tail alone. I figured that because my ultimate goal for Bo is for him to look exactly like and grow to the exact same size as Chop Chop, I'd just ask them to do the same thing to him.

So I left him at the vet and it was going to take them a while to do it. Kenny brought him home from work, and y'all, I laughed for 10 minutes straight.

And then when I was finished, I considered crying because he just looked so little and pitiful. And I know you're all reading this thinking that I'm about to go all What the Crap on the groomer. But you would be wrong. Because apparently, having your male cat shaved like this is like giving him a soul makeover.

First, I was taking pictures of Bo today and he crawled in my lap and sat down. What the crap? He never does that. He always just tries to get away from us whenever we try to pet him or hold him or anything. And he's a big fat baby, always whining about it. But no, he walked over to me, climbed up onto my leg, snuggled down into a comfortable position and laid there. I sat very still with my mouth hanging open in awe. Because like I say, this never happens.

Second, some of Kenny's high school students came over to bake cookies and watch a movie because they are on holiday. And guess what! Bo was the life of the party. One of the kids picked up one of Miso's cat toys and shook it. (Actually, we call all the cat toys Miso's because she's the only one who ever actually played. Like a cat.) And Bo RAN. He RAN to the toy and batted at it and chased it. He played for real. And not in his usual slow-motion, eyes-half-closed, please-stop-bothering-me way, either. He was enthusiastic. It was a miracle. What the crap?

And he was sociable! He hung out in the living room with everybody, cuddled in one girl's lap for a while, and generally was a great cat. It was like he was a real cat. What. The. Crap!

Also, he's become dependent on hand-feeding, because he can't look down without sneezing. So we have to hold his food up above his head and drop it in his mouth. Otherwise he doesn't eat, and then we can't feed him his stupid medicine because he'll just throw it all up, usually on the carpeted areas of our home. But today, he ate all by himself. For a long time. Just grubbing at his little bowl. What the crap?

Bo is like a new man. It's insane. I was all prepared when we brought him home looking like this to feel sorry for him until his fur grew out. (You wouldn't believe how soft he is, still.) But now, I don't have to feel sorry for him at all!

And Miso is pissed, y'all. She is not liking having any competition for attention. I feel bad for her. When we brought Bo home, she didn't recognize him. Not at all. She would hiss and growl at him. She has quit that, but she still gives him the stink eye whenever he comes around. She sniffs him a lot. And you would think she would know who he was by smelling him. But Bo smelled nasty. We were feeding him a lot of soft cat food, and as you know, he wasn't a washer. So his face always smelled funky, like tuna. And he didn't really clean his behind either, so sometimes he smelled a bit like poo. Basically, Bo smelled like crap. But when he came home from the vet, he smelled like a flower. And he looked like a completely different cat. So, I don't really blame her.

But I'll be giving her some extra attention over the next few days. See if I can even things out before I have to go back to work on Monday. Eeeeeew! Did I just talk about work before it was absolutely necessary?

So, to sum up: What the crap? Seems all our cat needed was a good cut and style. Who knew!


ChubbO Chubbington Makes a Comeback.

Hey, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I am working on a few posts because y'all, I had a half-crap/half-awesome time in Jeju over the holiday. In fact, I'm still on holiday! Until next Monday. But I'm busy. No nap for me today. Aren't you proud?

Anyway, today my first post is up at ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal. I'm incredibly giddy and excited about writing for them. Plus, Joe McPherson is one cool guy. Anyway, you can find my post here. Make sure you guys go leave lots of comments about how amazing and wonderfully written my article is, yeah? Okay, now go play with all your Christmas presents!


Christmas Blog Party: Driveway Dust Edition

Y'all. It's MEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oh goodness. Talk about Guest Blog Extravaganza. Next time I promise not to overwhelm you with so many Wonju Wifeless days in a row. Because, let's face it, all these guest bloggers were freaking sweet and I loved reading their stories, but DANG I MISSED MY BLOG! I'd like to thank you all for reading, especially for all the kind and encouraging comments you left the HubbO. Anyway, let's wrap this party up, what do you say?

Incidentally, the Christmas that The Sisda found out that Santa was a big ruse orchestrated by the parents every year was the exact same Christmas I realized I had been deceived.

It was not, as my father suggested, the Year of the Barbie House. It had been his job to put together that blasted Barbie House. And what you must understand about The Bob is that in order for anything to work, for anything to come together as planned, that thing must be persuaded. It must be talked to, as we say in the Buckley house. Apparently that particular Christmas, The Barbie House was not cooperating and The Bob was unable to give it a proper cursing because it was in the middle of the night, he was squished in the hallway, and I refused to sleep with my door closed. So while my father is breaking a sweat over the stupidpieceofcrapdollhousewhomadethisjunk, my mother is shushing him. He might wake me! He might ruin Christmas for me FOREVER. So, he's laboring under the weight of ruining my life pretty much. For all the fuss he made and all the talking to he had to give that house under his breath, The Bob was victorious. The Barbie House was intact and I was still full of faith in the Fat Guy. Also, I wore adorable Christmas nightgowns with stupid hats: see evidence above.

It's funny that a bike crushed my dreams of Santa for me. Because it wasn't the first bike that ruined everything. The first bike was also the Year of the Jeep. Yeah, one of those miniature motor-powered red Jeeps that my cousin Danny and I rode the crap out of up and down my grandmother's driveway. It wasn't just any Jeep either. It was like, Turbo Charged. Also, it was our police vehicle. We caught bad guys in that thing. Then, after we caught the bad guy, we decided what his punishment would be based on his crime. His options were: hanging, electrocution, and firing squad. Anyway, I think the fact that the Jeep overshadowed the bike probably kept my eyes off the wheels, which were white and would have hidden any gravel driveway dust quite well. So, the Year of the Jeep, my Belief in Santa Meter was 110% full. Because, how can you not love a guy who gives you a Jeep for Christmas? And a new Huffy bike. And a fabulous Minnie Mouse sleeping bag. Really, I ask you. (And yes, same nightgown, same bangs, shorter hair, bigger teeth.)

Also, my Santa Meter was full up because of the way Santa's Presents were never wrapped. Because, hello? Santa has to travel the entire planet and give everyone gifts. Who has time to wrap that many presents? That's how I always knew Santa was the real deal. He didn't mess with gift wrapping and handwriting. He set up all my gifts on the right side of the tree, Price is Right style so you could see a little bit of everything. And then Holly's presents would be arranged on the left side of the tree. Clearly, Santa knew us. And clearly he cared enough to construct a present mountain for each of us. But wrapping? Labelling? What a waste. Gifts from your parents and your family came in boxes, paper, and bags. Santa's gifts? They were awesome as is.

Because I had fallen asleep while Holly lurked, spying on the Mumsie and her bathrobed behind, I woke up Christmas morning full of joy, hope, and belief. But this year, my bike was the main attraction. It was a 10-speed. It was purple with hot pink accents. It was everything I dreamed of. Except the tires were black.

And ladies and gentlemen, there was driveway dust on the black tires. How? Is? This? Possible? I thought about it and thought about it and smiled for pictures with my new bike and my same ol' bedhead bangs. I was thrilled to have the bike, but this did not seem like Santa. It smelled a bit funny, if you know what I mean. Because Santa delivered this bike directly into my living room, just like he delivered everything else. And he came in through the chimney, obviously. (Which was always a miracle because we have a wood-burning stove instead of a real fireplace and we kept the door closed. But Santa was a freaking miracle anyway, so who needs to bother with tiny details like that?) However, driveway dust is NOT miraculous. In any way. It meant that my bike had been in the driveway, which defies flying sleighs. And that's when I knew. I knew that Santa wasn't real. This bike's delivery was not magic enough. It was all a hoax.

And it was a freaking awesome hoax that I would milk for years to come. Because, I had a younger sister, who unbeknownst to me had already found out the same truth I had. But neither of us told each other. And so the Santa ruse continued. Until we were like 20. Obviously, we knew it wasn't Santa. And my parents knew that we knew it wasn't Santa. But it was tradition. And Santa presents should not be wrapped. So every year, when we woke up and drug ourselves into the living room, there on either side of the Christmas tree were our Santa Presents. Beautifully arranged and set just so. The year my mom tried to do away with Santa altogether, there was an uprising, an enormous protest from my sister and me.

I'm not sure what's happening this year at the Homestead. Haven't been home for Christmas in a while. This year, I'm spending Christmas in Jeju with Kenny. But maybe next year, we'll be in the log cabin on Poplarwood. And maybe, just maybe, Santa will show up. Because sometimes, even after you don't believe, he just keeps on coming.


Christmas Blog Party: Year of the Bike Edition

It was the year of the bike!

This is when Santa existed no longer! I loved Christmas. For all the wrong reasons. Christmas was nothing to me when I was little, other than presents and good food. Christmas was all about me and that is why I loved it. The meaning behind Christmas meant nothing to me. I sat through my mother's Bible reading every year and rolled my eyes to myself thinking "Jesus is cool...but Santa is better." Though my mom tried her hardest to make Christmas meaningful, I had nothing to do with all that.

Christmas Eve would come and the clock would slow down, I swear. The Christmas Eve service lasted too long, and I would kick my leg constantly. Even when my mom put her hand on my leg and gave me the stink eye, I didnt stop. She would whisper, "Everyone on this pew can feel that!" Still didn't stop! How could you sit still when in mere hours Santa was going to come down your chimney? The service would FINALLY end and Mom would want to chat. I mean, how can you hold idle conversation when presents are coming? "Let's go Mom! If we aren't home, Santa will pass the log cabin on Poplarwood Road!" 

When the garage door would rise and we were finally home, the anticipation grew. It was almost time. I would put my pajamas on and get on the couch and watch TV. Every year I would try and pretend to fall asleep on the couch so my mom would leave me there and I would catch a glimpse of the jolly man with the belly full of jelly. But every year, Deb would say to me, "Holly, you are not asleep. Get up and get in the bed." Reluctantly, I would rise from the couch cushion, give a dramatic little kick and sigh, and drag my feet to bed.

Each year, I NEVER slept. If I did, it was short and fitful. I would sit in the bed and listen very carefully to hear the sound of hooves and bells. Though I never heard these things, he never disappointed. I would get up around oh, 4 in the morning. I would go and wake up my parents in the back bedroom, jumping up the bed yelling, "It's Christmas! I think Santa came! It's Christmas!" My mom would groan and mumble, "Seriously?" Finally there was a rule made: if you can't see the sun, you can't wake anybody up.

The year of the bike, I went to bed with the dramatic kick and sigh and laid in waiting. But this year, I heard a noise. However, it was not hooves or bells, or the jolly laugh of the fat man. It was a low moan and a shake of the christmas tree. Excited, I rose. And then stopped. Should I really see Santa?? I mean, is it allowed? Will he be mad at me? I heard another noise and could not help myself. I swore to be very quiet and tiptoe and only see Santa with one eye, because the other would still be hidden behind the door frame. That way, Santa couldnt be mad, because he would never know I saw him. As I very quietly leaned ever so slightly around the door frame I gasped! What is this? This is no man with a red suit. This is my mother's behind covered in her pink bath robe as she bends over my brand new bike. Wait. BRAND NEW BIKE? OH YEAH!!! Wait, Wait, don't get side tracked....WHERE. IS. SANTA?? Why isn't he setting my bike under the tree?? Is it true? Could Kevin McCallisters brother Buzz be correct??? NO SANTA??? Does this mean Rudolph is a lie too?? And the elfs? How could this be? I'm so sad...but I still get presents, so does it matter who they come from? No. I guess it doesn't. As long as presents really exist, I'm cool. Okay, the panic has subsided!

So, as my mom continues to grab presents and I continue to duck my head inside my room when she is turned toward the hallway, I watch how hard she works to set things just so. And I am thankful she loves me and cares how the presents are set when my sister, with her bedhead, and me, with Grover in tow, walk down the hallway into the living room.

The dream of Santa was a sad one to lose. I felt I needed to keep this revelation to myself so next year I would still get presents from this ‘Santa’ And I carried on this charade for a long time. Even when my mother knew I didn't believe, I refused to let her wrap all the presents. Some still had to be unwrapped and presented as from Santa.  Even at 19, Santa still came to the log cabin on Poplarwood Road.

Holly (aka The Sisda) lives in Tennessee with her husband Matt, and her three stinky fatty dogs, Billie Jean, Semper Fi, and Stella. She annoyed the crap out of her sister for about 18 years and then they kind of chilled and have been more like friends for close to 4 years. She is an excellent story teller and should probably start her own blog. Right?

Christmas Blog Party: T.S. Eliot and a Scooter Edition

Santa Dies in a Scooter Accident or My T.S. Eliot Christmas

“Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation […]
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.”
--T.S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi” (lines 21 & 22, 30-31)

The “satisfactory” feeling in the quote above reflects the mendacity the magi (wise men) felt when finding the inn where Baby Jesus lay. The moment changed them, but it was a silent moment on a silent night. Oddly, the events that change us are often inconspicuous. No bells. No whistles. No soulful guitar solos. Just the quiet acknowledgment of another spot in time.

And that mute “satisfaction” mirrors my realization of Santa’s non-existence. I can’t remember the exact age, but I remember being in a friend’s garage the day after Christmas.

“All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again” (lines 32-3)

Josh: “Nick, do you believe in Santa because I have something to show you that will change that.”
Me: No!...Well, I dunno. Maybe.
Josh: Okay, so do you remember that scooter we were using as a sled yesterday? The one Santa gave me? Well, look what I found!

My friend pulls out an empty cardboard box. The box has a picture of our scooter-turned-sled on it, a clear indication it was store bought. The receipt was even stapled to it. I’d already begun doubting Santa’s life; he was teetering on the verge of existence. But in that moment, Santa died. He died quietly and satisfactorily. Josh and I glanced at the box, looked back at each other, shrugged, turned around, and left the garage.

We, like the magi, “returned to our places” (line 40).

“Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence no doubt. I had seen birth and death” (lines 36-7)

Santa dies for everyone. We all have that “spot in time.” But that’s okay. For he is always alive for someone somewhere, reborn in children from the ashes of parental myths. That is why when discussing Santa—as when discussing poetry—you always use the present tense.

Nick blogs about his teaching experiences at nickxsavestheday. Nick met Danielle the summer of 2006 over Nabokov's Pale Fire, invited her to a book club, and the nerdfest has continued ever since.


Christmas Blog Party: Resurrecting Santa Edition

Thanks to Rob, we now have Day 8 And a Half of the Christmas Blog Party! So, two birds, yeah?

First, I must say that I am shocked, shocked, at Danielle's gang-murder of Santa: it's like Kenny in South Park. Bring him back post after post, just so we can slay him again, lose innocence all over again. Way to go, Dani. What're you killing next year? Baby seals? Unicorns? The other day I overheard her telling the devil that she next year she might do a series on first dead pets. But I'm here to talk about Santa, not Danielle in all her evilness.

Now, the funny thing about Santa in my family is that right from the get-go, my dad, a Pastor, never really let us believe that Santa was real. We made good and sure that the Santa Myth was fully undermined, by opening presents on Christmas Eve, before Santa had made his rounds. We were reminded that "Jesus is the reason for the season," and each December there was "Real Christmas" and then there was "secular Christmas." Real Christmas was the holiness of the advent candle, the deep yearning of "O come, O come Emmanuel" and the transcendent satisfaction of longing, in "Silent Night" leading into the elation of "Joy To The World" - one of my first bliss-outs.

Santa was part of the "other" christmas -- the one with lights and bells and colors and drippy fun songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland," and the climax of Santa's Christmas was not the nativity, but an orgiastic celebration of materialism: the opening of presents.

So when I was little, Santa was never much more than a tack-on that allowed the irreligious masses to celebrate Christmas, even without recognizing what Christmas is really about, or acknowledging that it mostly, really, belonged to us Christians, who hadn't missed the point. These days, I see things a bit differently. So instead of telling the story of when and how I stopped believing in Santa, I'll tell you the story of how I started.

My coming to believe in Santa is a slow, complex recipe with tons of ingredients and years of simmering, so here we go:

Step 1: Some time in university, a really tiresome crew of cynics seemed to follow me from class to class, poking holes in every assertion anybody made. In response to that cynical readiness to dress-down anything they came across, and reading some philosophers whose ideas amounted to the same: that arrogant prick poking holes in everything, destabilizing everything, to the point that nobody dared to speak up, lest they too be shot down (Jaques Derrida, I'm looking at you), I decided, basically, to go against that, because screw you, Derrida, and screw you, you arrogant smirks in the back row. It takes courage to make an assertion. Eventually this attitude led me to realize that, in a similar way, "yes" is simply a more fun default answer than "no." So I was ready to believe in stuff, rather than disbelieve, because disbelieving might be more "grown up," but believing is more fun.

Step 2: A Christmas Story. I didn't come across some of the best Christmas movies until after I left home, for some reason. I discovered Ralphie and his Red Ryder bb-gun in my first year of university, and not having watched it 24 hours a day on whatever channel it is that does that, the movie's sharp, intense shot of Christmas nostalgia and loveliness still gets to me. Somehow this story set in the '50s - way before I was born - feels exactly like my childhood Christmases, in the same way that Bill Cosby's early stuff feels like he's describing my childhood, even though I grew up about as demographically far from Philadelphia's projects as possible. The joy, angst, and innocence of childhood, and the charming affection the family members have for each other, are the roots of this Christmas film.

Step 3: It's a Wonderful Life. This is another film that I came to late. I can't remember exactly when, but it was also somewhere in my early twenties, and maybe because I didn't grow up on it, it absolutely made me cry the first time I saw it. And the second time. And the third time. And it has one of the great screen kisses, and one of the funniest love scenes (the bathrobe and the bush), and one of the most joyful endings out there. Sometimes a certain song or movie is like ripping a band-aid off all kinds of pent-up emotions, and this movie is that, for me, every Christmas. And the whole movie ends off in George Bailey’s house, and he’s with his family.

Step 4: coming to South Korea. I managed to miss Korean Christmas my first two years here, my first year because I was packing to go home, and my second year because mom had gotten sick, and we gathered the whole family in Canada for a final Christmas together. It was precious... but I still hadn't seen a Christmas in Korea. My first Christmas in Korea was marred by grief over my recently dead mother, and the dull realization that things were not going to work out between me and the lady I'd promised to come back to Korea for, while I nursed my sick mother in Canada. Christmas in Korea is not the most important holiday of the year. Not by a longshot. It's not even really a family day: a lot of people hang out with friends. It's mostly a couple holiday -- kind of like Valentine's day on steroids, with cheesy music and fake snow instead of chocolate and flowers. Being around that, it began to dawn on me, how important it is for me, on Christmas, tobe around family.

Step 5: And then I started to miss Turkey dinner -- one of the greatest North American traditions out there -- and next time somebody tells you "We're Canadian. We don't have a culture." ask them how they'd feel eating microwave dinners on Christmas Day. And the thing about turkey dinner, too, though, is the people: you eat turkey dinner, sure, but you eat it with all the favorite people who live near you: family if possible, or the friends who stand by you. Once again: the people who care about each other get together.

And that's the thread that ties it together for me. Family. Hence my choice of song. See, Santa IS part of the family Christmas. We can’t disown him. Heck, one of his names is "Father Christmas" -- the thing about opening presents is that yeah, we can be cynical and snarktastic about how Christmas is a corporate holiday or whatever, but it's still a family sitting together, around a tree, exchanging one of the oldest symbols of love: gifts. Santa is a powerful enough symbol to enable that exchange. And even though the modern, fat Santa first found his image as a tawdry shill for Coca-Cola, he's grown beyond that, and become a symbol powerful enough to inspire a ton of Christmas giving, not just to family members, but to the poor and needy. We shouldn't be so quick to dismiss Santa, when a lot of altruism is inspired by his image. It's a salvation army Santa next to the donation bucket, isn't it? If we were still pantheists, Santa would be thegod of giving and maybe also of family and celebration. Plus, he's miles cooler than that lame also-ran Easter-bunny.

Santa's part of that jumbled, Christmassy mess of signs and symbols that can be noisy and frustrating but which, ideally, ends up with everybody being a little more generous than usual, and spending a little time focused on the people they love. That's why, even though I didn't used to believe in Santa, now that Christmas has been completely unfettered from it's original meaning -- now that scholars have assured us that there's no way we could know if Jesus was actually born on December 25th, now that the X-mas backlash has led to the anti-X-mas "Let's-just-call-it-Christmas-again" double-backlash, now that it's gotten politically correct and twelve-year-olds can sing Adam Sandler's "Hannukah Song" but might not know the whole first verse of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "Last Christmas" is on the radio more often than "Silent Night" and it's all hyper-commercial and people can pick and choose which symbols represent Christmas to THEM, now that Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo cackles maniacally over all the Christmas confusion, my mind turns to my family, and to me, Christmas is about being around your family, and the people you love. Whether a family is gathered around a Children's bible, reading the Christmas story, or a tree, opening presents, or a box, sorting items for a food drive, it's that family togetherness that underpins it all, to me.

So that's how I came to believe in Santa: by coming to a country where it's common not to spend Christmas with your family, and by realizing that that childhood Christmas, even the parts my parents taught me weren't "REAL" Christmas, is a precious and wonderful thing about growing up, and I miss it, and I miss Santa Claus, the way I used to know him back in Canada. I still get the most homesick at Christmas.

This year, my Christmas homesickness has been more acute than usual, because this summer I went to Canada to see my family. We had a great old time, and I got to meet my adorable niece and nephew for the first time. I also saw my grandmother and grandfather (from my mother's side) and visited my mother's grave for the first time since the week after her funeral, and saw my grandfather for the last time before he passed away this fall.

The experiences I had with my family? Nothing epic or outrageous, just driving around running errands with my sister-in-law, while her kid's in the backseat, my brother and I getting our hands on the best beer in the store, and then cracking a cold one and making bum jokes, like when we were twelve and fourteen, but with beer. Getting my niece to dance to "Bad" by Michael Jackson, by pumping her knees and bobbing her top-heavy baby body up and down... and suddenly it's really sad that I can't eat some turkey dinner with them, and my best friend since 2005 is leaving Korea the Monday before Christmas, and I’ll miss him like hell: he’s my family too. But then, I’ve got girlfriendoseyo ready to celebrate with me our third Christmas as a couple, and a swack of friends (more than I’d anticipated) all signed up to have turkey dinner with me at my buddy’s place... and maybe this Christmas won’t be so bad after all. It’ll sure be different thanany I’ve had before, but I’m figuring it out, and if I can be around some people I care about, cool.

Rob blathers on about most anything and everything, sometimes Korea, but always with humor and videos at Roboseyo. He's been making Danielle feel a part of the expat community in Korea for over a year now and she truly appreciates it.

Christmas Blog Party: True or False Edition

When I was in second grade, a friend at school told me that Santa wasn’t real.
I rushed home and confronted my mom, who shrugged and said, “Her parents just want all the credit.”
And so I still believed.
In fact, I would pray to Santa at night, imagining Santa and Jesus hanging out in heaven, peering down at little Ashley, making sure she was being good.
When I was in third grade, I found a toy in my parents’ closet that I later received from Santa on Christmas.
I doubted a little, but still believed.
When I was in fourth grade, I was in a gifted program. It was pretty much the best thing ever, because we got to leave class and go down to the school basement to play games and do activities. One day, we were playing a trivia game and the question was, “Santa Claus is a real person. True or false.”
“False!” every shouted cheerfully.
“Right!” our teacher answered cheerfully.
My heart sank.
No more denying it. No more glossing over the evidence. No more looking the other way when I had a sneaking suspicion that Mom and Dad were maybe possibly Santa Claus. No more pretending I’d never heard my classmates every year tell each other how Santa is a fake.

I know Santa isn't the "reason for the season," but a little part of that Christmas magic wore off after that.
With four younger siblings, the Santa charade continued for some time - which was fun, and I imagine having my own kids will put a whole different sparkle on the season. Putting out milk and cookies, a carrot, and a note was such a treasured part of the Christmas ritual. Admittedly, I was a bit stung by the whole Santa thing - even writing a philosophy paper in college about Santa and whether parents should tell their kids about him. In the end, though, I've decided that Santa is good for the soul and the imagination. There isn't nearly enough imagination these days - why not add a smidgen more?
Santa or not, Christmas is a wonderful time of year - filled with family gatherings, Silk nog, caroling parties, Candy Cane Joe Joes (sorry, Danielle, I'm sure you don't have these in Korea, but OH EM GEE.), seeing old friends, and time off work.
I can't wait!
Ashley writes about crafting for her Etsy store, green ideas, and loving her job and her husband at Our Little Apartment. She found Wonju Wife on Twitter about a month or two ago and Danielle hasn't stopped blog-stalking her since!


Christmas Blog Party: Santa is a Sleazy Guy Edition

Hello, and welcome to my part in Wonju Wife's Christmas Blog party! When Danielle asked if I wanted to guest post about when I quit believing in Santa Claus, I was like, "Sure!". But at the risk of completely alienating all of Danielle's readers and causing tons of Christmas hate-mail to rein down on my head, I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

I was relieved when I heard that Santa wasn't an actual guy.

See, unlike all those children who were told the truth by older siblings, or got into fights about it on the playground, or happened to wake up and spot Dad helping himself to the cookies left out next to the tree, I wasn't sad or angry; as a matter of fact, my thought was, "Oh boy! That's a relief!".

(Now, before you start sharpening candy canes into peppermint shivs, hear me out on this one.)

My parents did the whole Santa bit. I saw the movies, heard the stories, even visited the guy at the mall. I could (and still can) name all of the reindeer. I bought the Santa thing hook, line and sinker. But you also have to understand that I was always a very literal kid. And while I loved the idea of free presents, there were more than a couple of parts of the whole Santa story that just didn't gel for me. In fact, if you think really about it, Santa sounds like a pretty sleazy guy.

Reasons why I was happy when I found out that Santa wasn't a real guy:

Sitting on some strange guy's lap is creepy. When I was in grade school, we used to have people come into the classroom and put on a puppet show about once a month. The cast of puppets included a little boy and girl puppet named John and Jane, and a big orange puppet in a police uniform named Officer Smiley (or some equally original name). Officer Smiley was always teaching the puppet children things like what to do about a school bully, what to do if you were lost, not to take candy from people you didn't know, and here's the kicker, not to sit on a strange man's lap. Now, I took Officer Smiley's instruction very seriously. He was a policeman and a puppet, and everyone knows that puppets do not lie. So what am I to think then when on one day a year, scores of parents drag their children to the local mall to see a bizarrely dressed guy who leans over and goes, "Hey little girl, if you come sit on my lap, I'll give you a candy cane"? Exactly. Pervert alert! Pervert alert! You know why all those kids are crying while their parents forcibly wrestle them on to Santa's lap? Because Officer Smiley specifically told them not to. (Perhaps instead of elves, Santa should have Officer Smiley off to the side, explaining that while you should not sit on any other strange man's lap, this particular guy in red had been cleared by the Puppet Police and could be trusted). So you can understand why the mallSantas freaked me out. I was just glad that the woman in the elf costume was there to get photographic evidence in case it ever went to trial).

He breaks into your house while you are asleep. Blame it on too many episodes of Home Alone, but I was terribly concerned about home security as a kid. And while I understood that Santa was only breaking and entering to leave things as opposed to taking them, it still bothered me. I mean, if an old fat guy could manage it, then the Boogieman wouldn't have a problem either. What if he saw Santa doing his chimney thing and decided to give it a try? It didn't matter if Dad checked under the bed and in the closet before turning out the light. The Boogieman could just bide his time because Santa had shown him how to get in! We might as well have a sign on the door that said "Welcome Boogieman! See Santa for Instructions". Never mind that he himself was breaking and entering, Santa repeatedly blew a gaping hole in our home security! (The fact that this never bothered Mom and Dad boggled the six-year-old mind). Think I'm overreacting? Try this: Just as you're drifting off to sleep tonight, imagine some strange guy slipping cat-like down your your chimney and skulking around your living room with a sack. Freaky, right? I guarantee that you and your trusty baseball bat will be up and checking closets for the rest of the night.

He's always watching you, like some kind of scary Peeping Tom. How many times did you hear some adult saying "Santa is watching you!" when you were a kid? Parents. Teachers. Babysitters. The mantra started sometime around October and ran constantly right up until December 24th. "Santa is watching you!" I was absolutely convinced that Santa was crouched behind the bushes under my window at all times, cherry red nose pressed against the panes. I used to lie in bed and wonder, "Is he out there right now? Why does he care if I'm asleep or awake? What kind of sicko perv watches someone sleep?". I never got out of bed to check though, because who knows what would happen if Santa copped to the fact that you knew that he was there? At best, you'd just get coal for Christmas. At worst, some Arctic explorers find your frozen corpse buried at the North Pole. (This is just another case of Santa getting away with more than your average Joe. Santa's watching your every move? That's fine. Adults encourage that. The creepy neighbor next door tries it? He gets a can of pepper spray to the face). If you ask me though, the "jolly old elf" is a stalker.

All this isn't to say that I didn't like the idea of Santa. And I certainly wasn't going to turn down presents. But it always bothered me that I was the only one who thought that maybe Santa was playing a little fast and loose with the rules. Finding out that it was just my parents and not a magical super-criminal did a lot to put my mind at ease.

Of course now that I'm an adult (with a proper home security system and peep-proof windows), I'm okay with Santa. We've reached an understanding. He doesn't break into my house, stalk me, or make me sit on his lap, and I don't taser him or turn him in to the FBI as public enemy number one. (Plus he still comes through with the presents...he just gives them to my Mom to pass along to me). Paranoid? Maybe. But any guy who has an official song that goes, "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and I'm telling you why...Santa Claus is coming to town" is not a guy to be messed with.

Officer Smiley taught me that.

Elizabeth blogs about her brood of kitties, her fantastic hair, and all things quirky at Quirky is a Compliment. She is the sister to one of Danielle's high school gal pals and was the first blog on Danielle's Google Reader.


Christmas Blog Party: The Video Game Edition

Video games killed Santa Claus.

Well, indirectly at least.  "The Secret of Mana" was the absolute most coolest exclusivest hardest-to-get-est RPG (Role Playing Game) when I hit that critical pre-teen age.  But it showed up, wrapped, under the artificial tree that humored my allergic sinuses.

It shouldn’t have.  Three years prior “Snow Brothers” had done the same.  Frustrated by an intermediate level the day after Christmas, I asked my mom if I could return it.  “It took your grandparents a lot of work to get that” was the response.  You can’t blame her.  Being house decorator, cook, and present coordinator does not leave much energy to remember to string your child along on little white lies.

Like punk rockers, I can't remember what I wanted or if I even wanted to, but, after Snow Brothers, I remember wanting Santa to keep cranking out the gifts.  Having concluded that the fat man in a red suit did not care if I "peeked," generally did not care about my self-absorption, and did not care about my wanting violent games (they never arrived, no thanks to mom!), I still wanted more with a zealousness that can only be matched by those for whom I advocated in Drug Court in my later years in life as a Public Defender.

In any case, my disbelief, like that of the average child, had degraded from new discovery to rusted object of lingering profiteering.  The mutuality was readily apparent; my parents proffered no insistence of sitting on the fat man's lap; no insistence on letters answered by strangers; no insistence on ceremony except my assistance in dragging the fake tree from the basement to its Frankensteinein assembly in our ever-joyous living room.

(For the sake of easily influenced children and their parents, we won't get into how denial served my parents and I quite well from my early teens to my late twenties.)

To this day, I still anticipate token gifts or cards from the mysterious, obese, present- disperser.  To some extent I've accepted role-reversal, shopping for miniature models for the odd second cousin.  At home I'd glue a candy cane or two, and even act as the catalyst in larger gestures fueled by egg nog and other stereotypes.  Straddling the truth like a fence, and a good professional, I have two pieces of advice to give:

1.  If you don’t know this already, you don't have to power up the Mana spear to level 8 if you've got enough healing items.  But the Sprite dies in the end.  Like beliefs, confronted with transcendental dragons, often do.

2. Santa will bring you presents if you leave him cookies.  So leave him some cookies, already.   Chips Ahoy are yummy but at 1.99 per pack you can freaking buy two, all right?  (P.S. I take commission so buy 3.  Yes you have to.)

Darren writes about the Korean word for wedgie, taking yoga in another language, and the plight of the Native English Speaker in Korea at First-Level Korean. He sits two desks down from Danielle, is irrepressibly helpful, and obligingly laughs at her jokes. Sometimes.


Christmas Blog Party: The Easter Bunny Edition

I like to think I’m a pretty smart girl.
When I put two and two together concerning Santa Claus, it actually happened on an Easter Sunday.

I was in like the fourth or fifth grade - I think.  It’s hard to remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I know it was somewhere around the age that you should find out the truth anyways.  However, I have a sister who is four years younger than me.  I know my parents worked extra hard to make sure that me finding out didn’t affect her in any way.  My parents would always tell us that Santa exists as long as you still believe in him.  (No one knew that my sister’s disenchantment would come when her fifth grade teacher assumed all fifth graders knew the truth about Santa, and she said something about it in class.  My sister went home from school in tears that day.)
I remember the excitement of venturing into the den to see what kind of goodies the Easter Bunny brought in our baskets.  It was never quite the same excitement that comes with Christmas morning, but I was always thrilled to find chocolate bunnies and new videos to watch and the fun play jewelry.
This particular year, I found chocolate peanut butter-filled bunnies and chicks.  They looked... oddly familiar.  I couldn’t quite place why I recognized this candy.  I thought about it during church.  I thought about it during the egg hunt at my aunt’s house.  Finally, while eating Easter dinner, I figured it out.  It was the same candy that we had just sold in my school’s spring fundraiser.
I remember asking my mom about this.  She told me that the Easter bunny probably just got it from the school fundraiser since he knew it was the kind of candy I liked. I wasn’t convinced.  Like I said, I’m a smart girl.  I just knew, right then and there, that there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny OR Santa Claus. But there was one small problem with this revelation.  While I easily accepted that mom and dad brought out our Easter baskets, I wasn’t as convinced that Santa didn’t really exist.
When I was in the first grade, I slept in a bedroom in the back of our house in a little twin bed.  My sister was only a year old at the time, and she slept in a crib in the same room.  I remember we had been in bed for quite a while that Christmas Eve.  She was sound asleep, but I of course was having the hardest time getting to sleep because I was so excited about Santa! As I tried to fall asleep, I all of a sudden heard something.  I sat up.  I listened.
“Jingle bells!” I whispered in excitement.
Sure enough, I could hear bells outside my window.  I tossed myself back in bed and pulled the covers up.  I squeezed my eyes shut and tried furiously to make myself fall right to sleep.  Santa was here!
I told my parents all about it the next day.  I went back to school in January and told my classmates.  I just knew that I had heard Santa stopping at our house.
So when I discovered the truth about the Easter Bunny a few years later, I couldn’t quite fathom how it could possibly be true that Santa didn’t exist.  I asked my parents if they went outside my window and jingled those bells, and they continued to tell me no.
I still get little warm fuzzies when I watch the Christmas movies like Miracle on 34th Street where everyone finds out at the end that Santa DOES exist.
My parents admitted once my sister and I were older that they were responsible for the bells, but in the end I think I sometimes deep down don’t believe that they did it.
Melanie blogs about running, volunteering, and her cat Tucker at Life is a Marathon. She has been friends with Danielle since 1997 and continues to give her sound advice and a few scrapbooking tips.


Christmas Blog Party: The Christmas Baby Edition

I am a Christmas baby. Specifically, the day after Christmas.
With a birthday so close to Jesus’, it has always been hard for me to get jazzed about Christmas and Santa and caroling and decorating. And every time I tell someone my birthday -- be it at the drivers license office, filling out paperwork for overpriced health insurance, whatever – they always tell me about someone they know that has a birthday around Christmas.
Then comes the question:
 “Do you get shafted with gifts? Do some people get you something for Christmas AND your birthday? That happens all the time to my friend Soandso Whatsherface. I bet that sucks.”
 Christmas and birthdays are, apparently, all about gifts.
 What they don’t know is that I’m not an only child. In fact, I’m about the furthest you can get from being an only child: I have four siblings. And, while the whole Christmas/birthday thing sucked, my parents tried to make up for that by giving me a gift on each of my siblings’ birthdays (sometimes two on my twin sisters’ birthday).
 That eased the material pain, but there’s always been one thing that I’ve always missed out on that seems like a rite of passage for most non-Jehovah’s Witnesses: the birthday party. I’ve never had a birthday party on my birthday. (For the record, my mom tried the whole “Christmas in July” birthday party. July is during the summer, though, which means that you are not in school and half of your friends are going to be on vacation. It sucked.)
 And, not unlike most self-centered American youths, I was always too busy thinking about MY birthday to really put some thought into the whole Santa ruse. Also, you kind of resent the holiday altogether since all of the nativity sets and garland around your parents house overshadow the haphazard birthday bunting and last-minute cake.
 Then again, I guess you could say that I never stopped believing in Santa.
 My parents still label the gifts they give their kids and kids-in-law with “From: Santa.” I guess you could say that, in a way, I never believed in him. I always knew who to thank for the packages I would hastily rip open with tags written in my father’s jaunty cursive. Even the year that all five kids ripped through the packaging to find our first-ever family computer and insufferably loud dot-matrix printer, we knew our dad was behind it.
Now that I’m older, and hopefully a little wiser, I know that birthdays and Christmas and holidays are really all the same. They’re opportunities for a day off and a chance for you to count your blessings, and trust me, I am blessed.
Joanna writes about knitting, her lovely chickens, and living in Texas at Driving Miss Dallas. She has graced the Wonju Wife for quite some time now with her great sense of humor and sweet comments.


Christmas Blog Party: The Training Bra Edition

Which came first the training bra or giving up on Santa?

I was in fifth grade when I stopped believing in Santa.

How old was I? Who knows. I moved a lot and used the grade I was in as the marker. For example: in fifth grade I lived in Texas and thought I was Janet Jackson. Regardless of my years, I was still believing in Santa way longer than other kids.

It wasn’t just that I was idealistic. I had done scientific research on the subject.

Just like most, I had tested this Santa business in the usual ways. Sealing the letter before my parents could snatch it. Putting it in the mail myself. I was all about quality control. And yet, each and every year there beneath the tree was exactly what I wanted.

Mind boggling.

However, above and beyond all my tests I had hard proof that Santa existed. And it wasn’t from the cookie crumbs or letters with golden reindeer hooves. I KNEW Christmas morning after Christmas morning that there was no way my parents could afford the presents I received.

Santa was not just my sugar daddy. He made dreams come true.

For me, it was always about the feeling of Santa. I don’t remember ever trying to catch Santa. I don’t remember trying to hear him on the roof or calculate how he got around the world. That would be cheating, and besides Santa is about the magic of giving, not the catching. Instead, I would shut my eyes hard repeating to myself that the quicker I fell asleep the quicker it would be Christmas. The quicker Santa would work his magic.

Christmas is still my favorite time of year. As I write I am nursing my paper cut wounds from my self inflicted Christmas card mill. I’d like to think that while I stopped my letters to Santa after fifth grade I still embody the sentiment. Each year, without fail, there are presents under the tree from Fashion Santa, Epicurious Santa, and Literary Santa. Turns out Santa has diversified.

We are all Santa if we choose to be.

Claire reads incessantly, writes about all things literary , and ends every post with a perfect quote at Even Pretty Girls Need to Read. She has been leaving inspiring and encouraging comments at Wonju Wife for something like a year. She also read Twilight. Just sayin'.


Christmas Blog Party: The End of Childhood Edition

I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I don't remember the putting together the facts that just didn't add up - the fat man, the skinny chimney, the flying mammals that weren't bats, and the way that Santa's favorite cookies, which I left on the mantel, just happened to be the same as Dad's. 

What I do vividly remember, though, is the way my mom's face looked when I told her I knew Santa wasn't real. We were taking an early-December walk through my neighborhood, looking at all the Christmas lights, when I dropped the big news of my knowledge. I think, ever-practical child that I was, I didn't want my mother to go out of her way to go through the Santa motions needlessly. When I told her, she dropped down to her knee, put her hands on my shoulders, and just stared at me with the saddest look in her eyes.

I don't have brothers or sisters, and it was clearly a look that feared this was the beginning of the end of my childhood, her only baby's childhood. Looking back, I know that Christmas died a little bit for my mother that day. Although we've carried on our many holiday traditions through the years, they are just a little bit deflated without a need for the Christmas play that parents put on each year. 

This year, for the very first time, I have a full-sized Christmas tree in my very own house. I've hung stockings above my fireplace. I might even buy some of those poinsettias everyone loves so much. But I know, when the time comes and I have children of my own, I'll be bundling them into the car and driving down I-95 to my mother's house each Christmas. I'd love for her to have the joy of playing Santa again, and for all that she's done for me, it's the least I can do. 

Sarah is a DC blogger writing about her training, triathlons, and pup Cooper at Was It For This. She has been blessing Danielle with her kind words since last year.


Christmas Blog Party: The HubbO Edition

Hello readers! I am Wonju wife's Hubbo, Kenny. I seldom write comments here but I must tell you that I am one of the frequent (but quiet) visitors, and one of the most dedicated mental supporters of this blog. I come here mainly to check how many pieces of cake she got from the recent blog post, because it determines the size of the smile today, not only for Wonju Wife but also for me. Whenever you guys leave lots of comments, she gets really excited like a puppy in the snow. She dances in the kitchen, rolls her body on the floor, plays drums on her belly, and lays a cutest fart on me as a finale. I laugh with her and I become happy too. So remember! You can bring incredible cheer to our little family with your little finger movement.
Now it's time for the Christmas party! I am going to tell you my Santa spoiler story.

Basically Koreans do not have a long history of the Christmas tradition although we have over 100 years of Christian history. Of course, now we have a big Christmas business and all the department stores are competing like crazy to show how much money they can possibly waste on the lighting decorations. But still it is really hard to say that we have a Christmas tradition for families.

In my father's time, Christmas was just one of the cold days. Free rice cakes or sugar candies from the town church were only things you could associate with the night of Christmas Eve. Besides, to get that treat, you should be a church-goer, or if not, you should promise that you will come to church every week. My dad never got Santa's presents, and although my mom received some Christmas gifts because my mom's father was a pastor, they weren't from Santa. They didn't know about Santa or simply couldn't afford to have him around.

When I was a kid, winter was always harsh for my mom. Struggling with my dad's humble salary, she could barely afford to buy the coal briquettes to heat the house and the cabbages to make winter kimchi. My mom, however, tried hard to give us some 'Christmas' in the western manner. She cut the wiggly pine tree branches from the forest on the small hill near my house. She decorated with cotton snow, some bells and balls, but no lights. For Christmas dinner, she put palm size choco pies with candles on the table while we ate seaweed soup and rice. At night she snuck into my and my sister's room and put our gifts next to our pillows. They were really practical, stuff like socks and pencils which she needed to buy for us anyway, but it worked. My sister and I were thrilled to find the surprise in the morning.

She was missing something, though. Santa. She didn't care much about Santa, or she didn't know how to play Santa since she never met the man. Now I think I didn't care either then. I of course knew about Santa, and I kind of believed in him. But he was just in my prayers, like God, not in real life.

However, one card from Santa changed everything.

I think I was nine or ten. On Christmas Eve, I pretended to sleep, waiting for my mom to come into my room. I knew she would put some gift on my pillow before she went to bed and I just wanted to see her do that. I heard the carol choir singing and my mom and my dad talking with the carolers and giggling, and I waited and waited.

I woke up in the morning and found a gift box on my pillow as usual, but this time with a card.
즐거운 성탄절!
산타클로스로부터‘ (To Kenny, Merry Christmas, from Santa Clause)

It was a belt with a buckle that had the picture of flying Astro Boy in the middle. Astro Boy was the most popular animation character then, and immediately I knew I was going to be the coolest boy in my apartment. And the card! Oh my god! I got a gift from Santa! I couldn't believe my eyes. I hoorayed and took the card to my parents to show it off. Wait a minute. Did my mom do this? Better ask.

"Mom I got a gift from Santa! It says Santa here!...did you do this?"

"No, it says 'from Santa.' Then it's from Santa, not me, isn' it?" Mom said.

"Dad, did you do this?"

"No, why would I? I'm not Santa. I'm your dad, aren't I?"

"Yeah, you are right," I grinned.

I went out to the play ground, and I opened my coat so everyone could see my awesome belt from Santa. The kids were playing with glass beads on the frozen sand. They were too busy to notice my new belt from Santa. So, I had to announce properly that I got my Astro Boy belt and that it was officially sent from Santa.

The kids saw my belt in astonishment and seemed pretty impressed. But Un Gyum, the boy who always hung out with younger kids to boss around them, sneered at me. "Hey dummy! There's no such thing as Santa. Do you still believe in Santa like a baby? The gifts from Santa are actually from your parents, you idiot. "

Huh! I was angry to hear that, but at the same time, I felt sorry for him. Probably he never received a gift from the real Santa.
"You know what? Actually I thought the same thing, so I asked my parents directly about it. They said they didn't do it. They didn't doooo it. Hello?"

"Then your parents are lying," the jerk said.

Then one of the kids (I think it was Suk Hyun) there helped me.
"His father is a pastor. Pastors cannot lie. It is illegal!" All the kid there nodded their agreement and I sensed my victory.

"My parents are not liars. Santa is real. I bet my life on it." I ended this argument showing my absolute conviction of the ultimate truth.

I happily lived for a while like a normal boy who believed in Santa. But it didn't last very long. I think it was around March when I was crying for a new school bag. My mom said 'NO'. I was sad and angry, because I really wanted to have a new bag. My birthday was coming, so I thought I should get it. So I whined, complaining to my mom.
"You never buy me anything. You never care about what I want!"

"Really? I don't buy anything for you? What is that you are wearing now? Where did you get your shoes? I bought them for your New Years present. What about your Astro Boy belt? I bought it for your Christmas present. What about all the stuff in your room..........."

Astro Boy belt for Christmas? So it was my mom and not Santa. The world got white. I couldn't hear anything. Because I bet my life on that guy.

I lost my real Santa then. But my mom kept doing her own Christmas ritual. Every Christmas morning I woke up and found a wrapped gift sitting on my pillow. I knew it was Mom, fake Santa. The strange thing was that I kept waiting for fake Santa. I think I am still waiting.

Kenny writes about his life, his wife, and his art (in Korean) at The Awesome Plan. He has been listening to Danielle talk since October 2006. And he should get some kind of award for that.


Why I Love My Job (most days)

Why I Love My Job from danielle buckley on Vimeo.

Please disregard my purple underwear that make an appearance in this video. Because those are my fat jeans. And although I'm getting ChubbO again, the fat jeans still fall down (so I feel like there's hope left. Maybe?)

And yes, all choreography is original. Thank you. I know I'm talented and someone should pay me to make up dances for kindergartners. Actually, the "wooooaahh, wooooaahhhh"  bits are inspired by childhood ski trips in which Holly (The Sisda) used to cabbage patch it down the bunny hill all wrapped up in her snowsuit. So, thank you for your inspiration, Hols.

Plus also, aren't my kids adorable??

Save the Date(s)!

So, you're pumped, right? Oh, come on, even the Grinch would love this party. The miracle of the season is that I found 9 amazing bloggers (okay, my sister isn't a blogger, but she's cool enough to be one, so we're counting her, too!) to share their Santa disillusionment stories. Please be warned this Christmas Blog Party is rated NSFS (Not Safe for Santa) and is not suitable for small children or those still living the Jolly Old St. Nick dream. You've been warned! Also, there may be embarrassing pictures, too. Woot.

I'm the 10th blogger, by the way. Just in case you were all thinking "Oops. Danielle's been doing math again! She's got the party going for 10 days, but only 9 bloggers." You would be WrongO. Because I totally counted the days and the people on my fingers more than twice.  So make sure you put this Christmas Party on your calendar. EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY.

You may now leave a comment or two about how excited you are and how you're going to listen to Christmas carols, eat candy canes, and generally spread good cheer in anticipation for the ultimate Christmas Blog Party. I will thank you for your awesome comments in advance. Because I live off of them, people!


"An Award of Some Sort"

So there was this one time... when I got an award. I lived off my blog award high for days, I tell you. Well, last night was pretty much a repeat of the last time, only I had a husband to yell at, so I didn't have to squueeeee only to myself and my computer screen. So, when I saw Amber's comment, I shouted, "I got an award! I got an award! I got an award!" until Kenny finally came into the office to see what I was going on about. 

And then I told the new girl at work that I got an award. And she was seriously impressed, let me tell you. And then I told her it was for my blog. And she said, "Oh, cool," but her face was like, "I can't believe you're actually talking out loud about the Internet and that's the 5th time today so maybe you should get a real life and stop promoting yourself and bragging about your ridiculous blog." 
So, I gave her this look that was like, "Whatev. My blog is so totally cool and now I'm going to make you my friend on Facebook so you have to see all my links to my blog and you won't have any excuse not to read it in between classes." 
And then she gave me this look with the side of her face that said, "I'm not looking at you anymore because we're at work and I am a productive part of this establishment and I actually do work here. Unlike you." 
And I was all, "Dang, she's doing work. Maybe I should do work. Or, I could just look at the Internet some more. Or eat a hamburger." 
So, basically, I announced my award to two people. And that just wasn't enough. So, I'm announcing it here, too. Which I am required to do, by blog law, actually. 
The Honest Scrap Blog Award Laws: 

1) List 10 HONEST, personal (or bizarre? interesting?) things about yourself that you wouldn't normally tell people (except maybe your husband because he has to pretend to listen to this kind of stuff for free?)

2) Pass this award on to 10 other bloggers that you love to read & think others should too.

3) Tell your friends to check out the award giver's blog: So, I got this awesome love-handle-warming (yeah, the love handles are back, my friends, sorry to spring that on you) award from the lovely Amber, who is obviously awesome because her blog opens with a Kurt Vonnegut quote. 

My list of 10 Honest Things You May or May Not Be Aware Of

1. I am lazy when it comes to personal hygiene. Not like showers and stuff (most of the time), but little stuff like making sure I don't have a unibrow, or cutting the dagger toenails, or moisturizing, or shaving my legs. In fact, I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs. Maybe in August? Hmm.....

2. I don't know how to cook. Seriously. Grilled cheese is my specialty. It makes my life more stressful. 

3. I desperately want to Save Tibet. But I haven't figured out how to get around China yet. 

4. I'm tired of generalizations about Korea. Just all around over it. 

5. I go through productive and then incredibly unproductive phases at work. I will work really hard for two weeks and get my stuff together for real. I will have thoroughly thought-out lesson plans and activities. Then, I will go for a week without doing crap. I will use all my breaks to eat donuts, drink coffee, fart around on the Internets, and generally dread my classes. I know that these weeks make my life harder, but it's like I can't be on point all the time. 

6. I dream of having my own talk show on Korean TV. Where I speak perfect Korean and get to interview whoever the heck I want. Plus also, I will have an excuse to hang out with G-Dragon. 

7. I think 10 things is a bit excessive.

8. I get really depressed when I look at myself in the mirror and know that to fix what I see I will have to exercise for the rest of my life. It's extremely overwhelming. 

9. Miso likes to sniff at my bellybutton. 

10. I want to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. I think having a sleep routine would be glorious. 

Okay. So, number one and number three are taken care of. Now onto the part where I obligate other bloggers to take part in these shenanigans. 
1. Even Pretty Girls Need to Read. I love Claire's blog. She's thoughtful, always blogging from under stacks of library books, and has what I think is a pretty levelheaded approach to this whole Twilight craziness. 
2. Writing to Reach You. Ashley is a strawberry (what is it with everyone calling everyone a peach? I don't even like peaches. But I loooooove strawberries. So, strawberry it is!) and her writing is consistently vulnerable, honest, and inspiring. I can't imagine how great she must be in real life. 
3. @koreangov. This is satire at its best. Like this. And this. Maybe it's only funny if you live in Korea?
4. The Bloggess. Jenny is as honest as it gets. And she's scrappy, let me tell you. Mom, don't click this one, okay?
5. Life is a Marathon. Melanie is my real life friend. She already knows all those honest things above and she still hangs out with me. So, she's a total strawberry (not a peach, because like I said, I don't like peaches). And she has a cat, Tucker. So she understands about obsessive cat-loving behavior. And she runs a lot. And when I read about her long runs, I feel so tired. It's like exercising through the Internet, for real. 

Honestly, I'm tired. It's my bedtime. And I can't be bothered to bother 10 people. So, the 5 of you will have to suffer all by yourselves. 

Belated acceptance speech: I'd like to thank my husband for listening to me talk incessantly about the Internet and the people who live there that I love. Also, I'd like to thank Miso and Bo for not charging any sort of fee and allowing their image to be reproduced as many times as I feel like it. 

Love you all! Good night!
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