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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bubbles and bubbly (well, actually, just wine)

I can’t believe that today is Christmas Eve Eve.  It’s almost here; it’s nearly here!  And while the excitement for Christmas continues to build and escalate in this house with a constant rumble and trembling of joy, I feel a simultaneous build-up of sadness in the pit of my stomach.  It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, and I just don’t understand it nor do I know what to do about it.  I’m so freakishly, insanenly enthralled with the whole Christmas season.  From the moment that I’m ‘allowed’ to listen to Christmas music (according to Mike this is socially acceptable the day after Thanksgiving), I’m giddy with the joy that IS the season – the lights, the music, the tree, the Advent calendar and wreath, the movies, the food, the drink…it all.  Obviously, the stress of the season gets to me too – all of the shopping, errands, festivities (which are great, but do fill up the calendar), cooking, cleaning, overly excited (i.e. out of control cranky) children, etc.  That wears me down too, but for the most part, I just can’t get enough of CHRISTMAS…until Christmas.  As it draws nearer instead of feeling more excited, I start to feel the impending doom of its’ ‘doneness.’  It’s like I’m PRE-sad knowing that so soon it will come to an end.  On December 26th, when I turn on the radio and it’s back to regular ‘ol boring non-Jesus’ birthday or Santa-themed tunes, I’m SO disappointed. 


I’m about to admit something a little embarrassing but that, quite frankly, is the part of the essence of me (the “Jenessence” --- a term that dates back to the early days of this here nearly seven year-long, Blog); so, take it or leave it, but here goes.  This is how much I love Christmas: a couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were sitting by the tree in a rare moment of peace.  The three kids were upstairs all playing together well and in harmony.  (Seriously, a Christmas miracle).  Christmas music was playing (of course, as it has been, CONSTANTLY since exactly a month ago – November 23rd), I was having a glass of wine (shocker) and ignoring the mountain of dishes in the kitchen sink so that we could just enjoy the moment.  I was telling Mike just how much I love Christmas, in particular, the whole Santa thing.  I’m still completely enamored with the magic of it all.  As a parent now, I obviously gain a different perspective of this Santa business and in some ways it has added such a depth and enjoyment to the experience.  They say, with children, you have the advantage of seeing life through their eyes.  It’s easier to ‘embrace your inner child’ when you’re surrounded by them…so maybe this is why the Santa thing has actually gotten harder as I’ve matured.  I explained to Mike that I just think the whole idea of Santa is so spectacular and magical and wonderful and [make sure your children are not reading this!!!...] amazing that it kind of breaks my heart that it’s not actually real and then…I…started…to cry.  Yes, I cried because there’s no such thing as Santa.  I didn’t even cry about this when I was a kid!  Sure, I was maybe extra emotional that night, maybe it was a more ‘tender time’ for me (if you will J), but I shed legit tears of sadness over…Santa.  Wow.


Anyway, as Christmas does come closer, and therefore, soon comes to an end, I’m trying my darndest to fight the inevidable sadness heading my way.  Tonight, in an effort to fight this and to, quite frankly, spoil myself, I did something that I haven’t done in almost exactly (to the day!) seven years.  I took a bubble bath.  Stay with me as I paint this picture (but try not to paint one too vividly in your head, you sicko).  The last time I soaked in a tub was when I was pregnant with Zachary and we were at a bed and breakfast in Leavenworth after Christmas.  When I told this to Mike he was like, “Well, yeah, I don’t even remember the last time I took a bath.”


I looked at him and stated the obvious, “That’s ‘cuz you’re a huge dude.”


I, on the other hand, do LOVE a good bubble bath and yet, and yet, it’s been SEVEN YEARS!!  So, finally, today was the big day.  I planned my entire day around the fact that this bath tonight would happen, darn it!  And it was going to be amazing!  And. It. Was.


We actually have a nice big soaking tub in the master bath of our ‘new’ house (of seven months already!).  I lit candles; I filled that tub full of bubbles and steaming hot water.  I had the best Christmas album of all time playing – Nat King Cole’s, obviously.  I had a glass of wine.  I had a book to read, but I didn’t actually start reading for quite a while.  I just basked in the glory of this completely self-indulgent, relaxing and TOTALLY earned bathing activity!  I laid there and listened to the rain on the skylight.  I listened to Nat.  I breathed deeply.  I thought about how I’m SO not going to wait another seven years for my next bubble bath.  Quite frankly, I don’t know if I’ll even be able to wait seven days.  So at least I’ve got that to look forward to post-Christmas (oh, and some insanely fun New Year’s plans…but more on that…later).  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ms. Jenny -- local celebrity, her star status

(real names and places have been adjusted so that I can share this story without losing future business or feeling like an awful person)
“It’s like you’re Angelina Jolie.”
“Or Madonna!” I suggested.
This is just a typical conversation that Rebecca and I had recently about my celebrity status.  I just wrapped up teaching a four week session of music classes at a library.  This library happens to be located on the often-known-to-be-prestigious-well-off-and-yuppy island upon which I grew up.  Ms. Librarian, at this library, was, for the most part very nice, helpful and accommodating, but she was also kinda somethin’ else.
After talking to the librarians at the two libraries that I taught at a couple of years ago she called me in a panic.
“Look,” Ms. Librarian said, “They raved about your music program, but they also said that it caused rioting.”
“Uh, rioting?” I asked.
“Yes, rioting and we just can’t have rioting here at the Yuppy Island Library.”
The “rioting” that she was referring to was the fact that, due to the number of instruments I have, we have to limit the number of toddler/preschoolers and parental unit/caregivers that can attend each class.  Initially, I’d said, 20 should be the max number, but in order to be more flexible, I said that we could make it work with 30.
“We’ll have a sign-up sheet for each week which we won’t put out until the week before each class.  I’m going to limit the ages to 2-3 year olds only this session and make sure to check at the door…” Ms. Librarian said.
(Is she a bouncer?!  Do 2-3 year olds carry I.D.s?  Would Moms start a black market business of whipping up fake I.D.’s so their 4 year olds actually appear to be younger and can attend my class?!)
“Also,” Ms. Librarian continued, “I’m not going to advertise the class until shortly before it starts, we just can’t handle having too many… we just can’t have…”
“Rioting?” I offered.
“Yes,” Ms. Librarian agreed. “So, if you could also not tell anyone about the class.  Don’t mention it on your website, and especially don’t tell your students from the previous library classes. I don’t want your following here taking the spots away from the Yuppy Island children.”
I assured her that a.) I don’t have a website, b.) I don’t typically see any of my previous library students – except for the occasional random, public sighting when I’m approached and asked for an autograph (not really, but I have had people come up to me at the grocery story or library and say, “Aren’t you Ms. Jenny?!  We took your class a few years ago…”). Besides c.) those children would all be in preschool or Kindergarten now anyway.  Not much of a following.  Then, being the savvy business woman that I’ve become, I suggested that, is she’s really concerned about accommodating so many students, they could always book me for two back-to-back classes on each of the four Wednesdays. That way we could provide music to 60 of the young Yuppy Islanders.
“You know, I wish we could, but you’re very expensive.  You’re cleaning out our 2012 budget.”  I mumbled something about how I’m totally worth it and we signed off the phone.
A few weeks later, Ms. Librarian called again in a TOTAL panic.
“I don’t know how this happened, but someone LEAKED the news about your class and it’s all over.  It was published in the Yuppy Island Preschool Association’s newsletter…hundreds of families now know about you coming here!”
I tried to reassure her, especially since our first class was the day before Thanksgiving, but I’m pretty sure the poor woman was about to have a nervous breakdown.
As for Rebecca’s and my conversation about my celebrity status…She had helpful tips suggesting that I come in with all sorts of Diva demands like “I’ll need an iced Perrier with two slices of lemon…the room should be kept at 67 degrees…” etc.
Finally, the first day of class arrived.  I got to the library way freakishly earlier than I needed to primarily to appease Ms. Librarian.  It only takes me about five minutes to set-up but I knew she’d be having a fit if it was getting closer to class time and I wasn’t there yet.
As I set up my stuff, she tried – she tried so very hard – to be helpful.  But I’ve realized, I’ve done this for long enough now, I’m kind of a well-oiled machine.
As I pulled out my box of egg shakers she said, “We have some egg shakers that you’re welcome to use.”
“Oh, thanks, I think I’ll have more than enough though.  I brought enough for 30+ kids.”
I pulled out my little boombox. “You can use our stereo if you’d like.”
“That’s OK.  Thank you.  I’ve got mine all ready to go.  Thanks!”
I pulled out my water bottle.  “Can I get you some water or anything?”  (And yes, she WAS watching me do all this before she asked).
“Um, nope, I’m set, thanks.”
“Is there anything you’d like?” Ms. Librarian asked.
I looked at her and completely seriously said, “I’d really love a backrub.”
She paused – startled for a minute, “Oh—“
“I’m kidding,” I quickly said. “Nope, I’m fine, thanks for the help though.”
Anyway, that first class that we (she) was so very worried about was a piece of cake.  And, because it WAS the day before Thanksgiving it was not a crazy mass hoard of rioting mothers and toddlers at all.  We actually only had about 20 kiddos plus their adult chaperone.  After class, as I packed up my stuff, Ms. Librarian chattered on and on about how great it was and how she loved all the early literacy components that I included (she said the same thing to me after every class).
“I do wish we could have you more, but you’re just so expensive and we don’t have anything left in the budget…”
(Yeah, you’ve mentioned that before, I thought).
Each week went about the same, she’d introduce me and say that my program was provided by the wonderful Friends of the Yuppy Island, and “Now, let’s all give Ms. Jenny a warm welcome,” and everyone would clap while I smiled and nodded awkwardly.  And then each class went smashingly well followed by Ms. Librarian raving to me about how great it was – kind of ad naseum.  After my last class on Wednesday, she handed me a small envelope and then proceeded to tell me that it was a thank you note and went on to explain the contents.  I will say though, Ms. Librarian, does seem to be acting upon her admiration.  She asked if she can tell all of the other library branches about my program and highly recommend it.  I can imagine what she’d said, “Ms. Jenny’s program is great….etc….but she is a little pricey…” But then hopefully, after experiencing it four times and raving about it she WILL add, “But she’s worth every penny.”
They attend their child's 1st grade music concert.
(Photo snapped by Paparazzi photographer, Matthew, age 9).

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


We did it! We went and saw Santa!  Kayli stood there as we waited for our turn all excited, and then as we started to walk towards him she did the slow motion, stiff as a board, I refuse to take another step closer, mini-meltdown.  We managed to cut her off with a quick, “You get to sit on Matthew’s lap!” ..where she proceeded to look awfully nervous and suspicious of the guy behind her until she’d finally had enough and melted off Matthew’s lap to run into my arms crying.  The photographer said, “Oh! Did you want a candy cane?”
I kid you not; Kayli immediately went from mid-sob to full faced grin and gave a watery exclamation of “Yes!!”  She ran BACK to Santa and sat on his lap smiling from ear-to-ear.  Unfortunately all of the pictures with her smiling were terrible or awkward-weird of everyone else.  It was like the boys AND Santa had used up their nice smiles in the first round of photos.  In one of the photos from the second batch (with a happy Kayli), Santa’s eyes were half closed and he looked like a ringing endorsement for the new legalization of Marijuana in Washington state.  Needless-to-say, we opted to pick the best photo from the first set despite Kayli’s stone cold face (but thought it was better than Santa’s STONED face option later).