Week #49: Crazy Christmas

“…I realized that tradition is priceless…[It] doesn’t have to be logical; it only has to emphasize the light of Christ & His everlasting love.” ― Lori Copeland

People do strange things. Like this guy, who has come up with another way to put his hood up. Or this parent who took their toddler in a shark costume to the beach.

Or these people. Seriously.

But one of my favorite weird things that people (& yes, I’m including myself in that group) have done is the Internet. After the invention of this instant connection to people across the globe, vast sums of information & knowledge, what do we do? Anthropomorphise cats who communicate in ‘lolspeak’ & who plot our demise as we’re distracted by their adorableness. One of the newest incarnations of this is Grumpy Cat, a perpetually frowning feline who just wants the world to burn. Since it is the Christmas season, Grumpy Cat contributors had to celebrate in their own special way:

https://i1.wp.com/www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/grumpy-cat-its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-christmas.jpg & https://i0.wp.com/animalshak.com/files/2012/11/74782_10151260551658605_1558933715_n.jpg

Like I said, people do strange things—& the holidays catalyze this tendency into an avalanche of cheery traditions & manic celebrating. One such tradition is the Penguin House. For some reason, one house puts up what seems like hundreds of Christmas-themed inflatables to celebrate Christmas. (It’s called the Penguin House because the majority of these blow-ups have at least one penguin on them.)

Paulie's Penguin Playground - Christmas display in Olathe, Kansas

Even though it’s a local tradition, I’ve managed to make it through 5 Christmases without visiting. But last night, a few friends & I trekked through a drizzling December evening to this penguin-y winter wonderland. Wandering around, dodging Santas on motorcycles & getting scared by elves popping out of chimneys, it struck me that Christmas is about joy. For me, that joy comes from celebrating the birth of my Savior, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be accented by sharing strange traditions with the people I share my life with. Sometimes we can get tripped up in all of the conventions of something, when we should remember that birthday cake isn’t the reason for the hullabaloo, but another way of saying, “Today is special”. I just might be adding a visit to the Penguin House to my yearly Christmas customs & I hope that whatever spells special to you, you can enjoy it this year, while remembering the source of joy that fuels all our crazy fun 😀

Week #(42 &) 43: Re-new 42

“Okay. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, & everything is…42.” – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Everyone’s flawed, but the trick is to recognize that & how our lives won’t explode if we fall to those flaws every now & then. One of mine is that I tend to build things up & go all or nothing until I burn out. Or something doesn’t turn out how I thought it would, so I get all deflated like a busted puffer fish. Like someone said they’d give me the answer to everything & it’s 42. That was how I felt last week when I made it to Week #42 of my AN52 experiment with a 99.9% success rate, only to crash & burn.  Since you all wait with bated breath for each week’s thing, I hope my missing last week did not cause any one to pass out. I knew I could come up with something that had happened in the course of the week, but I didn’t think that was fair to either of us. So for Week #43, as penance & challenge, I did a new thing every day (with two on Sunday). Here’s the run-down, enjoy!

Sunday: I made Oreo Nutella truffles (recipe here). They actually turned out alright; I guess even I can’t mess up Nutella & Oreos. As secondary thing, I purchased a $5 Starbucks gift card in one Starbucks & took it to the drive through of another Starbucks for the barista to give to the next customer. Why the somewhat confusing location switch? I was shy to have whoever got it see me :/

Monday: I got knitting needles & a ball of yarn. 5 days & 10% of a scarf later, I have a new favorite hobby.

Tuesday: Apparently the Swiss also make really good fire starters. I used my Swedish FireSteel & flint to make fire. & while I only successfully burned toilet paper, I’d like to point out that where there’s toilet paper smoke, there can be real wood fire as well 🙂

Wednesday: There needed to be something crazy thrown into this plethora of things & I occasionally do really weird things for my job, so by their powers combined, I wrote an article title on a panty liner for part of the spread design. I’ve never done that before. It’s the oddest normal thing I’ve ever done.

Thursday: Let’s just say that by Thursday I was feeling the burn. I decided to try a social experiment where I left a dollar out on the end of the table I was sitting at, far enough away where it wasn’t clear that it was necessarily mine. I wanted to see if people would react to it & if so, how—let me know it was there, take it, etc. Below are my secret agent notes, which I will take no offense if you skip reading. *You can read the cliff notes one sentence summary below the italicized text.

7:45. Working the social experiment. I felt like a ninja as I inconspicuously slipped my iTouch & its accompanying dollar from my pocket. Utilizing my sweet spying skills—i.e. peripheral vision and reflections—I kept an eye on both as I waited for my drink. When I return, I casually pick up my iTouch & arrange my bags to block my view of the dollar. The side of Starbucks that I was sitting on was fairly full for the small location. Two pairs of friends (both female), & one single man & woman were spread out in the area. None of them look shady, but appearances can be deceiving. I don’t think anyone will steal a dollar, so I’m mainly waiting to see if anyone notices & mentions something. The woman has already left. I wonder if any of the workers will mention; there are three guys, one with a rather nice beard, but they seem to be staying behind the counter. Now, I’m going to put my iPad up on my purse so I can justify having it right in front of me on the table. It’s 9:04. 2 more girl pairs and one couple have come in. Only one of the original pairs is still here (the one with the ThinkGeek laptop stickers). But no one has mentioned anything. I’ve moved my purse to try to knock the dollar onto the floor, but it didn’t work. One of the employees came by sweeping the floor, but no luck. Guess that the world is full of good people or no one was tempted enough or no one cared. Mission accomplished?

*No one paid any attention to me or the dollar.

Friday: I currently don’t remember if I’ve been to a surprise party before (though I know I’ve never been the subject of one *hint, hint*), but I think I’ve participated in one. This thing still counts though, because I had never been the second wave at a surprise party before. My friend Kylie recently graduated from culinary school & a few other friends & I traveled to Wichita to surprise her. Her family set everything up & were the first to surprise her when she got to the house. After she’d been there about a minute, we jumped out of the hallway & let me tell you, it was like Christmas. If you can ever extra surprise someone who’s already happy & grateful, I highly recommend it.

Saturday: Today felt a bit like a microcosm of this whole experience. I had a brilliant idea for my Halloween costume & all I really needed was a pair of coveralls. I thought to myself, How hard can it be to get a junky old pair of mechanic’s coveralls?—I know of a thrift store back home that has a whole row of them. How wrong I was. Five stores, three phone calls, several miles, a couple cases of mild anxiety & one cousin’s offering of nice, new coveralls (& therefore not good for ripping up for a costume) later, I finally found kind of what I was looking for. At a normal store. For 20 bucks. This costume is worth it, but I’ve never had to ask so many people about coveralls (or gotten so many weird looks) in my whole life.

What did I learn from this week’s gauntlet of things? Don’t sweat the small stuff & don’t underestimate the power of 42.

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