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Let’s Try this Again

So I completely forgot to mention earlier, while I was busy distracting you with big, brown puppy-dog eyes, that I’m venturing back to Pinehurst again tonight for some more fanciful hob-knobbery.

Pinehurst Resort

Except this time, instead of having to fight off the grown-up advances of Assistant Golf Professionals and eye insulting Mr. Rodgers sweaters, I’ll be forced to mingle with high-ranking military types and their spouses.

The good news is that Justin is taking me to a pre-party so I can fully prepare for an evening of fake smiling ’till my mouth hurts. (aka. Get just tipsy enough so the fake smile appears real enough to be convincing, but not so much that I forget to address his superiors as “Sir” or tell his boss – again – not to refer to me as “Mom” when he’s talking about me in front of my face because I am most certainly not a mom and I find his use of the endearment to be offensive at worst and condescending at best.  Not that that’s happened before.  Ever.)

I would probably try to beg out of the event completely except for the fact that I am so craving contact with actual people that I almost hugged the cashier at Food Lion the other day when she looked me in the eye and told me I’d saved $1.73 by using my Very Important Customer card.  And I think she intentionally grazed my hand when she handed me my receipt.

Plus, I was told there would be a medley of buffet-style delicacies, including but not limited to: spinach and lollo rosso with cherry tomatoes, sweet onions and Roquefort cheese; oysters and clams on a half shell; carved sirloin with mushrooms and truffle crust; tequila and cilantro pesto crusted Atlantic salmon; buttermilk and Gruyère whipped potatoes; vanilla iced spice cake; and of course, Tar Heel pie.

And if you know nothing about me, know that I’m a sucker for decadent food I would not otherwise be able to afford if I weren’t a) attending a wedding; b) attending a work function; or c) stealing it off of the plates while waiting tables at a fancy restaurant.

So now, thinking about the food, I’m starting to get a little excited.

Although I suppose I’ll have to sew that blasted dangling button back on my peacoat before we leave.  Luckily I’m a self-taught expert at button sewing.  Oh, and I might need to scrounge up something to wear besides jeans, no matter how good they look.  The Pinehurst Police likely have a jeans-wearing photo of me from last time and there’s no way in hell they’ll let me get away with it twice.

It’s Pinehurst, baby.  Go plaid or go home.

Craigslist, You So Crazy

Occasionally, whilst surfing the Interwebs for job opportunities, I’ll find myself naïvely drifting into the murky, frothy, danger-filled waters of Craigslist.

Might as well just take a quick peek-a-roo to see if there’s any worthwhile prospects, I think to myself.  What’s the harm?

And on these rare occasions I happen to forget why I ever stopped visiting in the first place, Craigslist is always more than happy to refresh my memory.

What the internet would look like if it were an old-timey map.

Because once I’ve started perusing Craigslist, I’m quickly reminded that it is a teaming cesspool of internet goblins, illegitimate business ventures, sad personal ads, kinky-weird (and not kinky-fun) fetishes and a truly preposterous number of letters to strangers who’ve crapped on someone’s personal property.

Here’s the kind of thing you usually find…

Typical Craigslist Post #1:

Dear Person Who Took a Crap on the Hood of My Car While I Was Stopped at a Red Light on 5th and Main,

Why did you do that?  Seriously, why???  I mean, honestly, who DOES that?!?

In conclusion, I did not appreciate it and think you are a jerkface.

Sincerely Hatefully,

Guy in the Toyota Celica (a.k.a., the Cleveland Steamer edition)

Typical Craigslist Post #2:

Dear Girl with Brown Hair Wearing Some Sort of Patterned Shirt in Line at Starbucks in the Greater Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area,

I was standing in line behind you and you glanced meaningfully back at me as if to say “I recognize a kindred spirit in you.”  Or it might’ve just been because I stepped on the back of your shoe.  Either way, I felt a connection.  Let’s get married, ok?

I’ll Die Without You,

Guy with the Ironic Glasses and Emo Haircut

Typical Craisglist Post #3:







Typical Craigslist Post #4:

W/M/40 looking for a partner to engage in some sensuous bicyexuality…

Are you a well-maintained 10-speed Schwinn??  If so, I’d like to have sexual relations with you.  Meet me at the dumpster behind the elementary school, lover.  I’ll be the one in the vinyl bodysuit and clown mask.

And the job board is just as soul-stabbingly sad.  For instance, here are the recent gems I came across while searching for jobs today…

(**Note:  Sorry about all the random black bars but I decided to do the “ethical thang” and block out any information I thought would likely land me in civil court.  So sue me.  Or, wait–don’t.**)

Sneaky-sneaky!  This ad slipped in the “adult chat” part so deftly, so subtly, that I almost believed that maybe this wasn’t some sleazy operation being conducted out of this guy’s mom’s basement.  (Ha!  Kidding.  I knew all along.)

Please note in the description that “hard-working” is a must.  What isn’t required is a sexy phone voice or even the ability to speak English, mind you.  Because we here at Bob’s Basement Sexy-Time Phone Factory don’t tolerate any slacker-ass phone sex operators lazing around on their couches, surfing the Web, eating bonbons and living the high life on our generous $10 compensation package.

Nay, we expect you to knock out at least three sets of 25 squat-thrusts and 50 leg lifts during each and every phone call.  We’re all about discipline and dedication and, inexplicably, intense physical conditioning here.

The Upside:  (1) You and your significant other would have a common interest to bond over.  (2) No taxes are deducted from your paycheck.  Super-duper hooray!

The Downside:  (1) Everybody on the internet gets to watch you bicker over which of you was supposed to pick up paper towels on your way home.  (2) While naked.  (3) Seriously, paperwork?

It’s always nice to get the verbal abuse thing out in the open early because I hate when jobs wait until after I’m hired to condescend and mock my abilities to perform to their unreasonably high expectations.

What I gather from this ad is that, essentially, this position would require you to run this man’s news business for him while he stands behind you, screaming and heckling you with vaguely misogynistic schoolyard taunts.

For some reason, I get the impression that this guy is into some extreme shit.  I imagine he wrote this job description at 3 a.m. in between snorting a variety of narcotics and running to the bathroom mirror to slap himself and yell “BE A WINNER, DAMMIT!” while “The Final Countdown” blared on repeat in the background.  When he finished, he high-fived everything in his apartment and then set his coffee table on fire.

What Your Holiday Greeting Says About You (Hint: Probably Bad Stuff)

I don’t know if you guys have noticed at all, but there’s a lot of pressure on everyone to not act like their normal jerk selves around the holidays.

From the gifts you buy your relatives last-minute at the corner gas station, to the party invites you choose to accept or decline based on the variety and amount of booze being served, to the mall parking spaces you steal from the handicapped, all of these seemingly inconsequential decisions you’d regularly make without second thought any other time of year are now major opportunities to come off looking like a thoughtless, insensitive Christmas jackhole.

Unfortunately, the same also goes for how you greet people during the holiday season.  Which is why it’s important—nay, imperative—that you choose your words wisely, because everyone is judging you by them.  And by ‘judging’, I mean ‘writing down your license plate number to report you to mall security’. 

Lucky for you clueless people, I’ve already taken the time to decode a few of the more common holiday greetings based on my personal experience with humans so that you know what you’re really saying from now on.  Granted, not everyone uses a greeting for the same reason, and I acknowledge this delicate intricacy by providing helpful variations.  Simply choose the one that applies to you.

So here goes:

“Merry Christmas!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “Merry Christmas–I hope you can appreciate the sentiment even if your cultural or religious beliefs happen to differ from mine!”  or (b) “Merry Christmas–Kiss my ass if you don’t celebrate it, sinners!”

“Happy Holidays!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I hope you enjoy whatever religious and/or cultural traditions you participate in this month!”  (b) “I actually have strong religious convictions but would rather not risk facing some sort of makeshift mall Tribunal for crimes against  intolerance just because I dared to use a vaguely religious greeting in public.”

“Season’s Greetings!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “Being that I am politically correct to a crippling extreme, I find ‘Happy Holidays’ far too controversial for my taste.  On a side note, I enjoy wearing beige, patternless sweaters, refer to white people as ‘Caucasian-Americans’ and listen only to the jazzy, non-confrontational musical stylings of Kenny Loggins.”  (b) “Hi there!  I work for Hallmark!  Please stop me before I kill again!”

“Happy Kwanzaa!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a)  “I know for a fact that you celebrate Kwanzaa and wish to extend to you your traditional greeting.”  (b) “I know for a fact that I celebrate Kwanzaa and wish to extend you my traditional greeting.”  (c) “I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa and I’m not sure if you do either, but I’m just going to assume so anyway because of your ethnicity.  Feel free to punch me repeatedly in my silly, presumptuous face now.”

“Happy  Hanukkah!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a)  See above, except substitute”Kwanzaa” for “Hanukkah”.

“Happy Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) See above, except substitute “Hanukkah” for “Al-Hijra”.

“Happy Boxing Day!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m Canadian!” (b) “I’m Australian!” (c) “I’m from one of those other countries that celebrates kooky holidays!”  (Kidding, my Canuck/Aussie/other kooky country friends!)

“Festivus for the Rest of Us!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m a sad, aging hipster unable to deal with my grinding progression into adulthood, so I bury myself in the stale witticisms of early 90s TV reruns.  By the way, what do you guys think’s going to happen between Ross and Rachel?”

“Yule Greetings!”, “Yuletide Cheer!”, or pretty much anything with the word “yule” in it.

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m a character from a Dickens novel who’s somehow been magically teleported into this strange and impossibly modern era.  Won’t you please help me return to where I belong?”  (b) “I’m a pretentious asshat with a flair for theatrics and a crippling need to appear unique and unconventional, even at the expense of my own dignity.”

“Phyllis Diller is the Pterodactyl Queen!  All Hail the Flapjack Revolution!!”

What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I am completely batshit insane and will likely throw feces at you if you come close enough.”

So there you have it, folks.

I recommend you pick one of the above phrases and start practicing now.

Happy Phyllis Diller is the Pterodactyl Queen Day!

…And Then I Got In A Fight With Jesus.

So several years ago around Christmas I got into this insane argument with one of Justin’s aunts about charitable work.  Really.  It was crazy.  Crazy because this particular aunt IS the very definition of a charitable person.  Even her career – and that of her husband – is about providing comfort and support and a means for those less fortunate to navigate through this confusing system of ours.  She is compassion incarnate.  Or something.

So what was the argument?

It basically stemmed from the fact that I tied the act of giving to the idea of karma.


Allow me to explain.  We were talking about charity and random acts of kindness and such.  I said the beauty of any giving act is that while it certainly does some good for the recipient, it also instills in the giver a feeling of happiness, and… dare I say it?… pride.  And the reason this is a good thing is because this feeling is likely to inspire the giver to give again, thus perpetuating the cycle of good deeds and good feelings.  The design is flawless.

Or so I thought.

The problem with the correlation I made is that Justin’s aunt is devoutly religious.  She was deeply and personally insulted by my apparent insinuation that people only do good deeds in order to reap karmic rewards.  (And I assure you that is not what I said.)

Moreover, she would never dream of leading a charitable life simply because it made her feel happy.  (Again, not what I said.)

In fact, it was her duty as a Christian to help those in need.  (I can hardly argue with that, now can I?)

I tried to explain that I meant a nice “side-effect” of showing kindness towards others is the inevitable little warm fuzzy that nestles up in your face, your throat, your heart.  It can’t be helped.  It’s there, whether you want it or not.  And, whether you realize it or not, it encourages you to continue to feed it by doing more nice things.

What’s wrong with that?  Sounds like a win-win to me…

So you’re saying there is no such thing as a selfless act???


Of course not.  All I’m saying is if a “selfless” deed just so happens to make you feel good about yourself, what is so wrong with that?  The worst that could happen is it will inspire more selfless deeds.

Why do you think we like this guy on HGTV?

Mike Holmes

Or this guy on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?

Or this woman, doing what she does best?

Because they perpetuate the good.  But no one can say they don’t get anything out of it.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter why a person does something nice.  It’s just that he/she does it.

Which brings me to Part 2 of my personal Christmas reformation project.  Part 1 started here, when I realized there is no possible way for me to make everyone I love happy over the holidays.  Even so, I shouldn’t let that deter me from getting as much enjoyment as I can out of the things it will be possible for me to do.  Is that selfish?  Perhaps.  But I’ve noticed over the years that the happier I am, the happier it makes people around me.  Try it.  You’ll see.

My next selfish step (aka. part 2) was to get myself a Christmas present.  The gift of a warm fuzzy.

(Now before you stop reading because you’re afraid I’m going to ask you for money, don’t worry!  I know these are tricky times for everyone.  I will include a link at the bottom in case you are interested, but that’s it.)

In order to get my warm fuzzy, I made a donation to a charity I’ve read a lot about in recent months – one I’m confident will make the most of my meager contribution.  And trust me, it was meager.  And, just like I predicted, I now want to do a little more.

What I have decided is that no one will be buying me a wrappable gift this year.  I’m tired of trying to think of something easy and affordable that someone could buy for me that I couldn’t just as easily buy for myself (because let’s face it – no one I know really wants to buy me this, andMark Zuckerberg has yet to accept my friendship request on Facebook).  So if anyone asks, I will send them to my charity.  It will literally take them 30 seconds to buy my gift, and they can spend as much or as little as they’d like.  Then, if they really want to go above and beyond, they can email me ( or leave me a comment  here to tell me about it.  I want them to get the warm fuzzy too.

Everybody wins – and really, I don’t mind if they feel good about it.

I realize this is not a groundbreaking idea.  It’s not even a… um… ground tapping idea.  But it’s new for me.  And even if just one person gets me what I want this year (*cough*mom*cough*), I can honestly say that it will be the best gift I’ve received in a very, very long time.

To cross me off your Christmas list, click on THIS LINK to read about the GOD’S CHILD Project and then click the yellow “Donate” button.  You can also read more about the GOD’S CHILD Project on this website.

Don’t forget to send me an email ( or leave a comment on this post if you make a donation.  And even if you don’t make a donation but like the idea or are doing something similar, please share!

Deck the Halls, If You Must.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  In case you haven’t figured it out already, I’m not one of those, “Oooh I’m SO excited that the holidays are almost here!!!” kind of people.  Which I realize makes me a bit of an oddity because I am (usually) a chipper morning person who enjoys engaging in social activity (with people I like).

Stipulations aside, I think being a socially-engaging morning person would normally also qualify me as someone who just can’t wait to dig out the ol’ Christmas decorations and tune the radio to one of the 24-hour holiday music stations and pull out my Frosty-the-Snowman-meets-Rudolph greeting cards to fill out, address and stamp while sipping hot cocoa and eating snickerdoodles in front of a crackling fire.

But I’m not.  In fact, the very idea – aside from the hot cocoa and snickerdoodles because those sound delicious – inspires a giant lump of un-enthusiasm to well up in my soul.

I think it might have something to do with coming from a broken family. (As a child of divorce, I’m so fortunate that I will always have that excuse to fall back on for any of my own personal failings.)  You see, no matter who we go visit for the holidays, there is always someone who doesn’t get a visit, and the inevitable guilt-inducing remarks are made, feelings get hurt, and rather than just enjoying the company I’m with, I end up worrying whether I’ve made someone halfway across the country feel isolated and alone by not gracing him/her with my presence this year.

And the thing that I (and apparently they) keep forgetting is that I have a guest room too, you know.

If you come visit me, I can pretty much guarantee a stress-free time.  The house may not be in perfect order and filled to the brim with Christmas decorations; I may not have 32 different varieties of fresh-baked Christmas cookies on hand; I may not be sporting a 12-year-old red and green knit Christmas tree sweater; however, your sheets will be clean and your wine glass will be full.  And against my better nature, I might even cook.  (Drink enough wine, and it will taste just dandy.)  If you want cookies, we can bake them together.  It will be fun.  We will have fun.  And we won’t stress if the cookies burn or the pups knock over my 3-foot-tall Christmas tree because c’est la vie, you know?

And if you don’t come visit, it’s no big deal.  I won’t make you feel guilty.  Why would I make you feel guilty?  That just means more wine for me.

But really.  Isn’t that the point?  Celebrating the life we have?  Sure, we can get all deep and thoughtful and say the holiday season is about giving, about family, about love.  Which is true.  But since we seem to have such a hard time with all that, let’s just take this in baby steps, shall we?

When you feel the holiday stress start to get to you because you haven’t finished gift shopping or the grocery store is all out of your favorite eggnog, here’s a revolutionary thought: enjoy it anyway. When it’s all over and you have nothing left but 3 trash cans full of multi-colored wrapping paper and a carpet full of tinsel, people aren’t going to remember that you had an $80 wreath on the front door.  What they will remember is whether or not you smiled.  Whether or not you laughed.  Whether or not they made you feel happy because they chose to visit you this holiday season.

Stressing during the holidays defeats the purpose.  Whether you live for the holidays or would rather crawl under the covers until tax season, they’re coming.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it – and it IS a choice – is to take a deep breath, another sip of spiked cider, and love the crap out of all of it.

It sure beats the alternative.

What Are YOU Thankful For?

Today, just like any other day, I’m thankful for the usual:  my family, my friends, my health, my home.

But I’m also thankful I’m not my neighbors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cup of Excuses

I know.  You don’t have to say it.  Erin and I have been extremely neglectful keepers of the blog as of late.  In our defense, it is a holiday week.  That makes it easier for us to justify other things – things like eating, sleeping, and eating – as more important than blogging.

And I have actually been keeping pretty busy.  I have about a million and a half recipes to share with you, I took Christmas photos of my neighbor and her family, I put together a gift package to send to our friends in Costa Rica, I ate 2 thin mints and a baby carrot at the same time (I’ll let Erin tell you more about that one), I vacuumed up a GIANT monster spider this morning without soiling myself, and I’m thinking about painting the office (the room is cleared out and everything).  All of this has been interspersed with sporadic, semi-desperate attempts to bring my hard drive back from the dead.

No, I haven’t yet disposed of the carcass.  Psycho, anyone?

I’m also dreading the fact that I have to venture out into the world today.  It’s about this time of year when I like to hole myself up in my cave – not just to stay out of the chilly air, but to avoid all of the absolutely insane shoppers out there who come crawling out of their usual 9-5’s to wreak havoc on the outside world, shoving and clawing and scrambling to get the absolute best deal on the next tickle-me-sponge-bob doll while trampling Wal-Mart employees to death.

To death, my friends.

On the plus-side, I had an absolutely ethereal cup of coffee this morning.  I mean, I couldn’t recreate this if I tried.

Now.  If I can just make it through the next few days without getting trampled to death in a Wal-Mart, I will consider this yet another holiday success.

I’m Only Mean to the People I Love

After much careful consideration and over 4 weeks home from Costa Rica, I’ve come to the conclusion that my friends must hate me.

I mean, why else would they be constantly bombarding me with environmental job listings, certification programs, grad school opportunities, and questions like, “What are you going to do now?” and, “Soo… what did you do today?” (always said with a sly grin because they know the answer is not, “Oh, I had a productive day at the office.”)

And really, there is nothing more humiliating than having to answer, “I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next – I’m still weighing my options” and, “Oh, you know… laundry, cleaned the house, cooked dinner…” when the truth is that I have no frickin’ clue what I’m going to do with my life and I spend my days trying to figure it out, writing, researching, weighing my options, and why are all of you rushing me??!!

Okay, in reality I know my friends are actually being helpful, giving me that nudge they know I need because they’re my friends and I deliberately surround myself with brutally honest people because I can’t stand it when anyone’s like, “Oh, you have all the time in the world to figure out what you want to do!” because we all know I don’t have all the time in the world because I’m 28, which isn’t old, but it’s kind of about that time where I should be figuring my sh*t out, you know?  So I know they’re on my side here.  They don’t want to see me fail.

Which is comforting.

And also a lot of pressure.  I mean, I created this opportunity for myself – this blank slate – and so far it’s been like I’m swimming against a rip tide of “shoulds” and “have tos” in search of the ever evasive “wants.”

Making the transition from a fairly successful, decent-paying job that fit my educational background to… whatever I end up doing, is easier said than done.  But let’s face it – now, when I no longer have that bi-weekly paycheck coming in – is not the time to freeze.  It’s time to press on, put myself out there, and avoid the need I feel to apologize for my self-invoked economic status every time it seems like someone looks at my apparent flounder with pity.

Because it’s important to remember that this isn’t flounder.  This is… something else.  It’s like my dad always told me – I might appear to be procrastinating to everyone else, but on the inside I’m constantly formulating plans, playing out hypotheticals, moving the chess pieces around.  It’s important to think before I act, because we’ve all seen how hard it is to jump the tracks once we get going in a certain direction.  I don’t want to make a habit out of this.  I want the next move to be right.

So bear with me, friends.  I haven’t fallen completely off the edge.  I just need to dangle here a bit before I take the plunge back into reality.  I’m lucky I can do that.

And in the meantime, I sure am glad I have you.

Up, Up and Away!

Since Chuckles has his private pilot’s license, one of the perks of being married to him is that sometimes, if you’re a good girl and eat all your vegetables and don’t throw a tantrum in public that day, he’ll take you flying.

And yesterday was just such a day.  He’d come back home Saturday night after spending the last three weeks in California for work, so we decided to take advantage of a perfect blue-sky, 60-degree Sunday afternoon to head out to Frederick Municipal Airport and take the Cessna Skyhawk for a spin.

To me, it’s always a great opportunity to sing flying-themed songs and make totally hilarious Airplane! references.

Which is probably why I don’t get to go flying more often.

Anyhoo, this is how it usually goes:  First, Chuckles does a pre-flight inspection to make sure nothing important like the wings or prop fall off mid-flight.  ‘Cause how embarrassing would that be, right?

Keep up the good work there, buddy.

“Hmm, the passenger door latch appears to be broken.  Good thing that’s not my side.  Heh-heh.”

Next, Chuckles puts on his Serious Pilot Face and commences to fiddlin’ with lots of knobs and switches and button, all while trying to explain to me what each one does.  You know, just in case we’re ever in an emergency situation where I have to land the plane by myself.

Riiight.  Appreciate the effort, but I’m thinking “Scream bloody murder until we crash broadside into a barn” is going to be my go-to emergency landing strategy.

And away we go!

And it’s usually at this point that I realize I really have to pee.

“Seriously?  Now? You’re just going to have to hold it, sister.”

And then I make a mental note to invest in a Shenis.  [Warning: Link slightly NSFW, unless your boss is cool with you scoping out pics of giant gold phalluses (phalli?) on company time when you’re supposed to be filing TPS reports or whatever.]

And we’re off!

Views of Frederick…

From this distance, I bet I could totally spit on that silo.

“Can you fly this plane, and land it?”
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”

Hah, I slay myself.

Is This How the Grown-Ups Do It?

Last night a girlfriend of mine took me to a Festival of Trees.

The wha?

Festival of Trees.  It was an event located in the haughty-taughty area of North Carolina known as Pinehurst.  If you know anything at all about golf, you might’ve heard of it.  If you don’t know anything about golf, all you need to know about Pinehurst is that it’s home to several über prestigious golf clubs and even über-er prestigious-ier multi-million dollar homes.

Needless to say, I don’t find myself frequenting this part of the state very often.  But Christie, my girlfriend (that is – friend-who-is-a-girl – not lesbian lover), really wanted to see the Festival of Trees at the Pinehurst Resort, an event that raises money for the Sandhills Children’s Center by displaying and auctioning a multitude of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and other holiday-type décor.

My social activity list hasn’t exactly been bursting as of late, and although I (needless to say) don’t feel like an “insider” in Pinehurst, I was already jumping at the chance to go out.  Plus I heard there’d be wine.  So I put on my bestest pair of jeans (the dark-ish ones that only have a few frays along the bottom but fit so perfectly that no one really cares about a couple of love frays anyway, right?), a white button-up shirt, black boots with heels, my gaudy-but-beloved Ganesh necklace, and a pair of diamond stud earrings – it IS Pinehurst, afterall.  People there dress up.

When we arrived at the resort, I felt… um… a little out of place.

Pinehurst Resort

Photo courtesy of

After wandering down an immaculate hallway with no less than what I estimate to be 5,837 white columns and 432 gold and crystal chandeliers, we stumbled into a bar area full of women in ball gowns and men in tuxedos.  Dear God, this can’t be the right place.

Moving on.

We ambled down another hallway and a set of stairs, and there, finally, was the Festival of Trees.  We still might have been the only people wearing jeans, but at least we were no longer in Tuxedo Ally.  Like any good friend of mine would, Christie steered us immediately towards the cash bar so we could each get a glass of wine.  While we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford any of the $300-$6,000 auction packages, a glass of cabernet was certainly not beyond our budget.  Even in Pinehurst.  And hey – it was for the children.

I’m not the type of person to spend a lot of money on holiday décor – hell, I don’t spend a lot of money on regular décor since I prefer to surround myself with photos or art that I love and acquire over time.  But I did enjoy looking at all of the creative tree ideas.  They had everything from under-the-sea themed trees to trees made entirely of wine bottles (my kind of tree).

Wine Tree

Blurry photo courtesy of my phone’s camera.

I also came away with an interesting ornament idea that I could easily make myself – and let’s face it – already have the major component on-hand:

Cork Ornaments

Blurry photo courtesy of my phone’s camera and 1.4 glasses of wine on an empty stomach.

After an hour of counting the number of Mr. Rodgers sweaters that crossed our path looking at decorations and well into our second glass of wine, Christie asked me to hold her glass while she used the ladies’ room.  So there I was, in a semi-buzzed happy place and double-fisting some ruby red while hoping no one noticed the button dangling from one precarious string off the sleeve of my peacoat, when a guy in a suit and tie approached me with a big smile and a jovial, “Where do I know you from?!”

“Um… maybe around Fayetteville?”  He seemed nice, late 20’s, and it was entirely possible we’d met somewhere, though I seriously doubted we swam in the same social pools.

“No, that’s impossible.  I never go out.”


“Or, if I do go out,” he continued, “I usually get way too plastered to remember anyone I meet.”


I gave the appropriate on-cue laugh and tried to figure out where we possibly could have met.  Eventually he asked if my husband and I lived in the area, and I explained that we lived in a town about 45 minutes away.  He seemed flustered for a second, but quickly recovered and mumbled something to the effect of, “Well, I’m still not going to pass this up.  Here’s my card.  Call me if you ever want to get together.”  And with a smile, he was off.

I was stunned.

Was I just hit on?  By a person in a suit with a grown-up business card?

I know, I know.  I should have realized this from the very beginning, but the approach, while completely cliché, was so convincing!  Is my cluelessness a result of the fact that I’ve been off the market for almost 8 years, or is it simply because I’m used to the forward, abrasive drunk guy at a bar asking my boobs if they want to go home with him tonight – not the guy with a suit and a business card, for crying out loud.

And here I thought the fact that I almost never get carded anymore was the only major indicator that I am, in fact, getting older.

For what it’s worth, I have the number for an apparently-eligible Assistant Golf Professional with an airtight approach if any of you single ladies out there are interested.

Any takers?