Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why "The Christmas Shoes" is the Worst Song Ever (Especially for Christmas)

There are plenty of bad Christmas songs out there.  Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas music in general.  The problem is that there are only so many Christmas songs, but there have been hundreds of popular artists within the last few decades or so, and they all tend to release Christmas albums with their own version of popular Christmas tunes.  With that many versions of each Christmas song floating around, it's hard to have more than one or two favorites of each.  But there is one song that, no matter who it is sung by, ruins Christmas.

I'm talking, of course, about "The Christmas Shoes"

I hate the song "The Christmas Shoes".  Can't stand it.  I ABHOR the song "The Christmas Shoes".  Every time it comes on the radio I have to switch to another station or turn it off.  It wrecks Christmas.

Let me walk you through (some of) the lyrics:

1)  "It was almost Christmas time..."  (Verse 1)

This is the very first line of the whole entire song.  It sounds pretty innocent.  Until later in the song, when it mentions that "it's Christmas Eve".  What?  That's not "almost" Christmas time.  That plain old IS Christmas time.  I'm sure most people would agree with me that pretty much the entire month of December is Christmas time.  Not just Christmas Day.  By the time it's Christmas Eve, you're all up in Christmas' business.  If the lyric was "It was almost Christmas Day", it would make a lot more sense.  Christmas Eve definitely IS almost Christmas Day.  But that's not what the lyric is.  I can't have much respect for a song that begins with such a factual inaccuracy.

2)  "He counted pennies for what seemed like years/Then the cashier said 'Son, there's not enough here.'" (Verse 2)

Who IS this cashier?  Are they joking?!?  This kid just said that his mom is dying, which is why he's trying to buy these shoes, and the cashier decides to tell the kid he's short the money?  What a JERK.  The kid was counting out PENNIES, for crying out loud.  I'm going to assume that the store was packed, being that it's Christmas Eve and all, and the song mentions that they were standing in a line.  Did the cashier REALLY take the time to count out every penny to see that it was not enough?  "Sorry kid, you're 97 cents short".  I get that it sets up the song so that the guy behind the kid gets to help pay for the shoes and all, so he can remember the meaning of Christmas, but.....hey.....speaking of.....

3)  "I knew that God had sent that little boy/To remind me just what Christmas is all about"  (Bridge)

No.  No He didn't.  Just what does this guy get reminded of here?  That Christmas is all about shopping?  Because that's what they are doing.  Last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve.  It's not about peace and goodwill to your fellow man.  Not about Jesus coming down to earth.  And it's definitely not about spending time with family...which just happens to include your dying mother.  It's about shopping.  Material goods will triumph over all.  Because dying or not, Mama still wants one last pair of shoes, apparently.

4)  "Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time..."  (Chorus)

Then why are you freaking SHOPPING, kid?!?  (See #3.)  Your mom is dying and you really think that she cares more about receiving some sort of gift than seeing her son during her last moments on earth?  If I was a mom, on my deathbed, and my kid ran out, saying he had to run an errand or something, and it was Christmas freaking Eve to boot, I would be pretty upset.  Shoes or not, that kid is definitely cut from my will.

5)  "He searched his pockets frantically/Then he turned and looked at me...Tell me sir what am I going to do/Somehow I've got to buy her these Christmas shoes"  (Verse 2)

Gee, kid, why don't you make it a little more obvious?  The song doesn't include that the kid went "Ahem, hint, hint" and nudged the guy a few times right after he said this.  Who wouldn't feel bad for the kid and try to help him out?  But the real question is,  how do we know that this kid isn't some sort of scammer?  Maybe he's just trying to score a few free Christmas gifts, (for a Mama that's definitely not dying), or grabbing a few things to sell on eBay for a profit.  The whole thing sounds pretty fishy to me.

6)  "Sir I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please/It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size/Can you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time/You see she's been sick for quite awhile/And I know these shoes would make her smile/And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight"  (Full chorus, sung the last time by children)

In general, the chorus is kind of annoying, but worst of all is when the chorus is sung for the last time by children in the most popular version of this song (which I think is by Newsong, but I could be wrong).  It is psychotic and creepy as hell.  It's sung in a slow, monotonous way, and sends shivers (the creepy kind) down my spine.  

7)  "...I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight"  (Chorus)

Yup, that's what Jesus really cares about.  Apparently you do NOT get into heaven without the appropriate footwear.  Duly noted.

Here's to a happy, joy-filled, blessed, stressless, and, most importantly, "Christmas Shoes"-free Christmas season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Yesterday was a very NOvember kind of day.

No, I did not just make a typo.

When I was in first grade, my teacher read us a picture book about a boy who did NOT like November, and felt that the month started with the word "no" for a reason.  The whole book was about all of the things that he couldn't do now that it was November.  November meant NO swimming, NO sunshine, NO this, NO that, etc.

I don't really remember the point of the book other than that.  I don't know if the book had a happy ending at all.  Looking back, if the whole point of the book-children's book- was that the month of November is depressing, that's.....well.....depressing.

(Just tried Googling the book.  Can't find it.  However I don't remember the exact title of the book, and definitely not the author, so I'm stuck with search phrases like "November children's picture book" and "NOvember".  ("Did you mean 'November?'")  Doesn't work.)

Anyway, in spite of how depressing the book may have been, I remember really enjoying it.  Though that may have been because after the teacher read us the book, we got to make our own pictures of what NOvember meant to us.  Mostly pictures of NO playing get the idea.  Anyway, whether because of the book itself, or the picture-drawing, I still think about that book every single year in November.

And yesterday was the ultimate NOvember day.

  • NO sunshine.  For at least the 3rd day in a row, no less.  It looked like it was 8:00 at night at around 2:00 in the afternoon.
  • NO leaves.  I miss all of the colors.
  • NO time.  Worked all day.  Taught dance til 9:15.  That's a long day.
  • NO phones.  Our phone system was down at work.  No phone calls, no messages...actually...the quiet was kind of nice...
  • NO food.  Ok, I ate.  But I had leftover pizza for both lunch and dinner.  Yippee.
  • NO warmth.  And rain to boot.  Boo.
  • NO hubby.  Gone on a conference through Saturday.  Which also meant...
  • NO snuggles.  Honestly, how's a girl to keep warm?
  • It's worth noting that, like my 1st-grade self, I also did NO swimming and did NO playing outside.
And, like the November book we read, this post really has no happy ending.  Maybe that it's only 2 days and 6 hours until my hubby gets back?

Maybe not.

The end.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the "leftovers" cheesy breakfast scrambler

Who knew leftovers could be so good?  

But they can be.  Here is the best.  breakfast.  ever.

Also possibly the easiest.  (ok, besides just pouring another bowl of cereal.)  It only takes about 15 minutes to throw one of these together...the chopping, shredding, cooking...everything!  

Here it is...the Leftovers Cheesy Breakfast Scrambler.  Every few weeks or so I will make one of these with whatever perishable products I have leftover in the fridge that would otherwise go bad from not being used.  For example, this week we had about 1/3rd of a block of sharp cheddar cheese leftover from a recipe I'd made about a month ago.

So that got shredded up, and in it went.  Also had some BBQ pork sticks that we had bought from the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago.  There were only a few left, so I sliced them really thin and they became part of this concoction as well.  I usually like to add in a vegetable (peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. all work well) but I had been a good girl and used up all our produce in other meals this week.

Veggies and/or meat, scrambled eggs, and whatever cheese you have sitting around.  Every time ends up being a little bit different, but always tasty.  

Leftover Cheesy Breakfast Scrambler*
Serves 2

leftover veggies and/or meat
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I use non-fat milk)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. oregano
leftover cheese

1.)  Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add veggies, if using.  Sometimes I also add a little butter or salt and pepper for extra flavor.  Saute veggies until tender.  Add meat, if using.
2.)  Meanwhile, whisk eggs with milk in small bowl.  Add salt, pepper, and oregano (my mom's secret to irresistible scrambled eggs!) and whisk together.  Add egg mixture to skillet.
3.)  Scramble eggs, mixing to incorporate meat/veggies throughout.  Continue until eggs are cooked through.
4.)  Top with cheese.  Heat until melted, about 1-2 minutes.  Serve and devour!

*Recipe is approximate.  Above are really good guesses but I never really measure anything...

Super simple, and, in the words of my hubby, "WAY delicious"!  

Friday, October 7, 2011

"You(r) _____ need(s)..."

Picking up groceries last night, I inevitably wandered to the baking aisle.  Found a brownie mix with MARSHMALLOWS in it which I had never seen before.  That's all it took to sell that delectable-looking box to this girl.

As I got home and was putting the groceries away, I picked up said brownie mix to put in the cupboard and caught a glimpse of the directions.  At the very top, in big, fancy letters, it said:

"Your wife needs..."

followed by the list of ingredients/supplies.  

I was appalled.  Confused.  Furious.  What on earth?  I don't consider myself much of a feminist, but this crossed a line, and all of those repressed feminist instincts came to the surface as I tried to figure out what advertising genius thought it was a good idea to put THAT on the box.  This is 2011 people!  Why the assumption that the WIFE would be the one purchasing and doing all of the baking!?!  Never mind that that's the way it is, always has been, and ever shall be in this household (I would definitely faint from shock and surprise if my hubby ever even suggested that he would bake up some tasty treats).  But even so-the nerve!  Honestly!

Anyway, after all of these crazy thoughts (and more!) went swirling around in my head (which really only took about 1.409876 seconds) I looked at the box again to see:

"You will need..."

Oh.  Carry on.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Anniversary

Hard to believe that JUST a year ago (ok, a year and a day.  With all the adventure of celebrating this weekend, I'm a day late.) we were doing this...
...and this...
...and a whole lotta this!

Fast forward to this weekend, where we journeyed to Chicago to celebrate our first amazing, crazy, busy, fun, hard, incredible, ordinary, ridiculous, loving, surprising, wonderful year of marriage.

And while going to Chicago was a much-needed get-away for the two of us, my biggest surprise came as we were leaving the city.  That's when I got to open my present to find...

(click to enlarge)  
Yup, a present I have to work for.  As if I haven't done ENOUGH to earn TRUCKLOADS of gifts for the unselfish and loving wife* I have been during this past year.  (*Also selfish and unloving at times, but hey, we've all got our flaws.)

Here goes nothin...
Found: book #6, in the linen closet.  I actually thought of this hiding spot on my way home, so I was happy to find my first book here.
Found:  book #3, underneath the bookshelf.
Found:  book #4, behind all the DVDs.  Fun fact: #4 is the only one we also own the DVD of, so book #4 was hidden behind it's corresponding movie.
Found:  book #5, underneath the shoe shelf in the front closet.  Note: ignore the ugly, terrible, over-flowing, honey-you-need-to-take-out-the-recycling, recycling bag.
Found:  book #7, in the upstairs bathroom that we don't really use.  Also notice my shape-shifting appearance change since this was getting dangerously close to the time we needed to leave for church.
Found:  book #2!  Really, honey, really???  

So there you have it.  I even managed to restore my hubby's soul just in time to leave for church.  

Happy FIRST Anniversary, Honey!

Our (slightly chilly) carriage ride in Chicago.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

the commute

Afternoon commute 2 Wednesdays ago:  
4:45-5:18 pm = 33 minutes

Morning commute 2 Thursdays ago:
8:32-8:59 am (including a pit stop at Caribou) = 27 minutes

Morning commute TODAY:
8:50-8:54 am = 4 FREAKING MINUTES!!!!!

Conclusion:  The only way my commute could be any better is if there were still a Caribou along the way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moving. Boo.

Hubby and I are moving this weekend.  

Moving sucks. I've moved 12 times in the past 6 years (back and forth between Iowa and Minnesota, and then to Madison).  Hasn't made me like it any better.  Packing, trying to eat up food, more packing, cleaning, packing, moving boxes, packing, etc., etc., etc.  Boo.  

Not that I'm not excited to move.  I'm just excited for it to be done.

So I've been preparing and thinking about moving a lot.  And then I realized that I had approximately 0 photos of our current apartment.  Which is kind of important, since this is the first place hubby and I ever lived together,  for the first 11 months of our marriage.  And despite all of it's smallness (800ish square feet) and quirks, I'm probably going to want to remember it someday.  So here it is.

Bedroom/office.  You can see why I'm excited to move since this is what the room looked like about 97.348075% of the time...aka Tyson on his computer.  Ok, that's a lie.  Usually the bed wasn't made.  Anyway, only 5 more days before having a bedroom that is ONLY a bedroom, and an office that is ONLY an office!
At first I thought the bathroom was strangely proportioned and overly large (compared to the rest of the place), but I came to love the extra space and it grew on me.
Disclaimer:  This is our kitchen in the raw.  I took this photo pretty much right after we ate dinner one night.  Before anyone bothered to take the time to clean it up (ahem, hubby).  This is probably a more accurate representation, anyway.
This is what I am going to miss most about our ENTIRE apartment.  Seriously.  The little ledge behind the kitchen sink is GENIUS.  Good bye, ledge. 
Dining room/living room/ignore all of the boxes and dirty plates.  I already told you nobody cleaned anything before I took pictures.  Whatever, honestly.
Ok, so the bookcase is coming with us.  But I still like it.
And I had to include the top of the bookcase, because I love everything on it.  And I'm not sure that my favorite part of it (the willow branch decoration thing) will make it to our new apartment in one piece, and I really kind of like him.  It was part of the floral arrangements at our wedding reception, and still looks beautiful, even dried.  However dried = brittle.  I packed it up with a ton of paper and labeled the box "SHANNON TOUCHES ONLY!!!".  So we'll see what happens. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting Ahead

Sometimes, I get a little bit ahead of myself.  

I'm a planner.  Lists are my friends.  I'm one of the 8 people left in the civilized world who still use an actual, paper, writing things down in pen, view by-the-week planner.  And I love it.  I tried using a calendar on my computer for awhile (ahem, 2 days).  Didn't work.  There is something therapeutic about actually writing things down.  Writing things down helps me remember what I am supposed to be doing and when I am supposed to be doing it.  Not so if I am typing it in.  Just doesn't work for me.  Plus, I have really nice handwriting.  I mean, I have to show it off somewhere.

Anyway.  Planning.  Supposed to be a great thing, right?  I thought so, too.  Truth is, sometimes with all of this being organized and planning, I actually screw myself over.

Once upon a time, when I was a junior in college (shhh...I won't admit that was over 3 years ago already...), I was working very hard on a studio project.  (Ok, when wasn't I working hard in college on a studio project?)  This particular project had a lot of components to it.  It was due in less than a week, so I made a list of everything that needed to be completed.  It was quite a list, so I decided to tackle some of the things that I didn't want to do first.  You know, get them out of the way.  I started working on a part of the project that wasn't huge, but still time-consuming.  It took me the better part of 4 or 5 hours to complete.  As I was working on it (I don't remember exactly what it was, by the way.  Possibly a lighting plan), several people saw me working on it and said variations of "Aw crap!  I haven't even started thinking about that yet!" so I was feeling quite proud of my effort and forethought.   As I was finishing up our professors called our attention and said that they had some revisions to the project plan.  They said they understood how hard we were working and that it seemed like all of the components they had planned to be due for this project were taking longer than they had expected.  They then said that because we were working so hard that we no longer had to do one of the components on the list.  The part that I had just spent the past several hours working on.  I looked at my drawing, looked at my list, sighed, and thought "Well at least I get to cross it off my list anyway..."

Variations of the above happened a few times in college.  I decide to do something to get ahead.  Professors change their mind.  I discover I wasted precious hours that could have been spent on something that would be actually due.  You'd think I would have learned my lesson.

Fast forward to now.

Hubby and I were supposed to be moving this weekend.  For long and complicated reasons that I don't feel like getting into, we are now moving the last weekend of August instead.  About a month ago, being the planning and productive wife that I am, I went to the US Post Office website and filled out the form to forward our mail to our new address.  Assuming that this weekend was set in stone as our moving weekend, I selected Monday, August 1st as the day to begin forwarding our mail.

I don't think we're going to get any mail for a month now at our current apartment.  Seriously, just junk catalogs and credit card applications.  And I'm pretty sure that the poor sucker that is subletting our new apartment for the next few weeks will be getting all of our mail.

All because about a month ago I thought "Well, if I do this now then I don't have to worry about it the week we are trying to pack and move everything.  Hooray!"

* sigh *

We'll see what comes Monday...and shhhhhh!  Don't tell Tyson!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm FAMOUS!!! Sort of...

Famous enough to have a newspaper article written about (my hubby and) me.*  In a nationally acclaimed newspaper.  Ahem, the Sioux City Journal.

*Based upon a true story.  Names, events, and quotes may have been changed to protect...I'm not exactly sure who.  I'd like to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt, considering he interviewed us after 9:00 pm to work with my crazy dance teaching schedule.  Although considering the fact that "Tyson" is changed to "Tyler" halfway through the article...I'm not sure that is even a good enough excuse.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Big Chip 2O11

The 36th/37th/38th (depending on who you asked) official year at Big chip held all of the good and the bad and the craziness that we've come to know and love.  The stuff that keeps us coming back every.  single.  year.

It was playing Angry Birds inside...
...because outside looked like this.
But then it was playing outside...
...because the next day was so much better.
Even if all you wanted to do was be pulled at 2mph around the lake on the tube.
It was spending time with (goofy) family, both old...
and new.  :)
And taking too many pictures because I don't have hardly any pictures from anything this year and darnnit I don't think that wedding pictures count for Christmas card photos over a year later...
But mostly Big Chip was enjoying the lake.
As in everybody enjoying the lake.
And hanging out with a cute boy (who just so happens to be mine all mine).
And then it was coming home and going to a Twinkies game.   Because "Hey dad, don't you think it would be really fun to go to a Twins game this weekend?"
And it was.
Even if it meant that asking dad to take pictures meant they turned out like this.  Cute couple though.