Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Didn't you used to be chunky and weird?

Some Things Never Change

So after a good year of anticipation and planning, the reunion party went off without a hitch. Everyone seemed to be well buzzed and enjoying themselves and more importantly, no one got hurt until after I left. I'll hold back some of the details to protect the innocent, but here are Eleven Generic Tips (or Ten Tips and one Poke in the Eye)that I think everyone can enjoy at their own class reunion.

Tip 1: If you are going to greet people with an exuberant "Didn't you used to be chunky and weird with crazy hair?" Make sure they have a good sense of humor. By the way, this wasn't directed at me (thought I can see why you jumped to that conclusion.) But I did hear about it, she was smiling and you are forgiven.

Tip 2: When returning photos of a classmate's shall we say, frank and beans, please do not mix them in with your current photos of your lovely family around the Christmas tree. This can be shocking to friends innocently flipping through your pics, but it will show who's really paying attention. Mine eyes, mine eyes. Even your casual "Oh, that's Bob (not his real name-or is it?) I was going to give it back to him tonight. I don't need it anymore."

Tip 3: If you were not able to pull off the last fake occupation I gave you at the 15 year reunion, come up with some suggestions of things you might be able to fake. I guess this tip is just directed at Mr. Most Absent. Let's just say at the 15 we got a little creative for him 'cause he needed a bump. And maybe a bump from Most Absent to midwife was a bit of a reach. Most Absent dropped the ball and told people he learned his trade on-line. Yes Russell, its possible, you just won't have any clients. Now you come to me with "Juj, they're not buyin' it, gotta give me something better." Well your bratwurst shaped fingers eliminate concert pianist and the fact that I'm craning my neck to talk to you eliminates jockey. I'm trying to work with you here, but you seem to not fit into any of my exotic ideal fake jobs. I'm already pulling off beekeeper and there cannot be two of us at the same party or they will suspect, buzzed as they are, that we are in cahoots. Next time, email me ahead of time and I'll punch up both your resume and your class bio for a small fee.

Tip 4/Poke in the Eye: Someone told me she is waiting to read my reunion book bio information until she has to do "a number 2." This is not really a tip, but more of a poke in the eye, to said classmate and she knows who she is.

Tip 5: If you won the genetic lottery and entered this world as a twin, please know that if you don't show to either night of the two night event, Juj is entitled to share all of her fun memories of you with your brother and he is obligated to laugh and reminisce right back. Apparently you didn't hear about my shared DNA profile drink special? The Gordons and the Heindels showed up for it. Funny aside here, one twin read the class list name by name to his brother asking after each name if he should say hi from the planned to be absent twin (that's a good 285 names for those of you who follow me, but probably done all by twinspeak ESPn--Dooleys are not only psychic, but huge sports nuts). Fortunately, I got a "yes, say hi to her," not so much for the friend who tried to smoke in his dorm room. Didn't you know Dooley's were anti smoking before it was green and en vogue to shun the nic?

Tip 6: Lesson for the boys: ok, just to Mr. Most Attractive: This is your 20th reunion and if you danced to "Baby Got Back" back in the day, you can alter that to "Baby Got Spanx" if your graduating class has entered the child bearing decades. And when your Miss Most Obnoxious classmate, Toe, ends up on her back on the dance floor with her skirt over her head as will invariably be the case at any social occasion, pointing and exclaiming in a voice more innocent that my seven year old's "Hey, she's wearing bike shorts!!" will get you a spot on the blog. Yeah baby, we are all wearing bike shorts! Why do you think it takes us twice as long in the bathroom?

Note in defense of my good friend Toe: Lying on the dance floor with skirt over head is just the latest in a long series of moves by Toe to prove that yes, she is a girl. Her early emotional scars date back to middle school when attending free skate at the Skate University (not an Ivy League feeder). When she arrived in her standard issue brown Toughskins and Terry Bradshaw jersey some chick asked her to couple up for Moonlight Couples!! I'm a girl!! I'm a girl!! she shrieked, and she is still trying to prove that simple fact today.

Tip 7: Asking Why didn't you guys do karaoke? = offering to host the 25.

Tip 8: If you win a goody bag, plan to have an oxygen tank on hand. Lord knows the excitement of a hello Kitty notebook and a bootleg of the Karate Kid can send your heart soaring. Heart soaring, yes, hyperventilating and shrieking, a little scary.

Tip 9: If you receive an email that your hosting committee would really like a current photo to post on the class website, don't take this opportunity to send an embarrassing one with no instructions, see that it got posted, then send a "Whoa Girl, that was just for you," email. I fixed it, we're still friends, but really, your sex tape is totally safe with me. Thanks for letting me be the toilet paper on your shoe at your 20th reunion.

Note to class of '88: Meredith is a serious, smart, accomplished, cultured, mostly sober and brimming with self control classmate regardless of what thousand words that picture spoke. My bad. I wish I could have posted said photo here, but she just started taking my calls again and I don't want to risk it.

Tip 10: Some of you may be tempted to show your love for a fellow same-sex classmate by humping and groping him on the dance floor. Be sure to move slowly enough so we can get better footage for the class website. What we have now looks a little Blair Witch rather than Ron Jeremy. We'll have to use it, but please let's work together at the 25 so we can preserve these precious moments.

Tip 11: Most of your fellow classmates have aged a bit and right after common sense, hearing is the next casualty. Embarrassing misunderstandings can happen.

Note to M.M.: I thought you said you were "living in a U-Haul." All I could think about was your new 4 month old daughter and your bagpipe playin' spouse in the echo chamber of despair. (Let's flag that bagpipe thing for Mr. Most Absent for next time) So when I passed the plate for you, it was out of concern. Fortunately someone clarified "living on Newhall" which is a little different animal. Sorry. Donations were redirected to Lani's bail.

Note to grade school chum: Lani: some things never change and since grade school I've been telling people to start every sentence to you with "I bet you won't..." and you never disappoint. Fountain diving on the first night, traffic cone abduction on night two? You still rock and roll girlfriend!! Afterbar and all, last one standing. No wonder my mom never wanted me to play at your house! I feel so predictable and in control sitting next to you. You never let us down.

Note to Divina: Hosting an afterbar with Lani and her traffic cone dangling over the railing of your high rise while serving tasty, mostly clean, treats and beverages? Nothing you can't handle. Your military background has served you well. Miss Friendliest and Miss Most Memorable in a nutshell.

To the committee: Thanks for everything you put into this event. I could have done at least 3 more nights with our peeps from '88 provided we could vote someone off each night. Although after common sense and hearing, I guess the voice goes next. Took me 4 days to get back enough croak to call some of you and laugh ourselves silly all over again. Does this mean we're not 25 anymore?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Election Shopping to you and yours

Disclaimer about political propaganda: Juj's blog is apolitical and slotted to give equal print space to representatives from both campaigns regardless of how unattractive they are in High Definition TV or how irritating they are to me personally. If you want to know who I'm backing in this election, you won't find it here, but rather, I'd recommend you drive by my Obama '08 jack O'lantern.

In these tough economic times, and I know they are tough 'cause my crack financial advisor and neighbor, Karen, keeps me posted on the nation's financial house of cards anchored in quicksand, we must look around for the VanGogh under the velvet Elvis.

But before I delve into treasure hunting with Juj, let's get back to Karen. Karen is a financial whiz who could stuff and fluff Oprah's Suze Ormon in her dryer. And believe it or not, Karen doesn't have her own show on MSNBC. Think of her as the hybrid of Warren Buffet and Chicken Little: The markets are crashing, the markets are crashing.

Recently she advised me to rathole a few thousand dollars in my house. Although ratholing sounds like fun, I'm reluctant to learn a new mom-craft right now 'cause I have no money. If I had a few thousand dollars, I think I would probably spend it at the Dollar Store and come home with, well, thousands of things I don't need. This is why I look to Karen for advice on financial and other matters.

Hybrid of Warren Buffett and Chicken Little with Highnotes of Bob Villa:

Subheading: Other Things Karen Knows

Karen spent a few years as a stay at home mom, like me, but unlike me, she can't pine away an afternoon reading Vanity Fair while the kiddies study the Wonderpets. I'd be outside on the porch with my Mojito reading People Magazine and before I finish the page where you have to find 6 things different about the almost same picture,(always check the jewelry and belts) Karen has mudjacked her basement. And I don't even know what that means, but its not when someone steals all your mud at gunpoint--I already asked. And before I know if Dominic Dunne thinks Phil Spector is guilty,(he does), Karen has stripped and refinished all the wood trim in her home. Before I see if Paula Abdul can sit Straight Up without fidgeting on American Idol (she can't) Karen has replaced all of her windows. By the time I get to the reveal on Trading Spaces,(they hated it), Karen has power washed her house and half of mine. So compared to Karen, I'm a sloth, but in addition to being industrious she's kind of quirky too.

Karen can do a spot on Grandma Walton impersonation from the first episode of The Waltons: The Homecoming. In fact, she channels Grandma Walton frequently at book club. Yes, we're in a book club together, but while Karen is a reader, she is too busy rat holing gold bricks to get into any fiction, so she provides the entertainment portion of the evening in character of Grandma Walton.

Yes, Karen is a gold mine of talent and skills and entertaining to boot. Smack down that! Suze Ormon. Karen can also make the rest of us feel like the Three Little Pigs, playing all the day away while Rome burns. She will make you feel like the time allotted for your annual Pap exam was frivolous and ill spent.

One Thing Karen was Way Wrong About:

She let go of my 5 month old daughter because she thought she could walk. Yeah, Karen dropped my baby, but only 'cause she thought she was freakishly advanced so I let it go.

Now, to Ebay, a veritable Bomb Shelter of Financial Security:

One of the financial advantages to Eblogging is that it keeps me off of Ebay. In fact, that is pretty much the only financial advantage of Eblogging. Sometimes, I miss Ebay, the warm welcome "Hello Shopwood70, how's it going?" The pleasant and loving reminders that my watched items are ending soon, the thoughtful suggestions of what I might be interested in. Yes, Ebay fills a void left by my childhood imaginary friend, Jumpy, who disappeared shortly after I packed up for college. Ebay is always awake and up for shopping and rummaging happy for me when I've won an auction. Ebay is sad for me when I've been outbid. And Ebay wants to know what I think about each and every transaction I've ever made on his site. I've been known to cancel social opportunities and shirk parenting duties because a watched item was about to close. But trying to exercise some spending restraint, I've let go some good ones:

The Ones that Got Away:

  • The rabbit's foot blessed by a druid for the low low starting bid of $9.99 and free ship (Where do you even find a druid, much less get him to bless your rabbit's foot for the low low price of $9.99?) In fact, Ebay has an extensive collection of this type of jewelry under heading "Druid Wiccan Pagan Wicca Jewelry."

  • The Haunted and Active Kirsten American Girl Doll (worth at least 15% more than a new boxed doll directly from the American Girl Store because she's possessed) Check back under category "Psychic, Paranormal, Toys and Dolls."

  • A Phone Psychic reading by "Bob" for $9.99 and free ship (Bob prefers to be verbally abused and humiliated and apparently couldn't find a job at Chuck E. Cheese) This was a one time listing, I'm sorry I didn't make a bid and I have no idea under what category Bob is stored.

I suspect that Karen's financial smarts have caused her to avoid a relationship with Ebay. But even though I know my Ebay affair is co-dependant and wrong, I couldn't help but be intrigued by this little find: Sarah Palin Cabbage Patch Doll, a collector's item. The Whistler's Motherload of an Election Year Bargain.

Yes, there is a genuine Cabbage Patch Biden, Obama, and McCain doll to go with Sarah, but Sarah's pulling in at least three times what the boys are. At the time of this posting, Sarah's raking in $9,600. Obama is a distant second with $4,800. Joe Biden was a paltry $800 and I think that was mostly because his kids pooled their allowance. In fact, I think you could say that in this capacity, Sarah is maxing out her potential in regards to stimulating the economy and we'd be crazy to think she could do any better.

Yes, $9,600 is the top bid. One lucky bidder among 88 will take Sarah home tomorrow when the auction closes. And if that person is into saving his pennies, he will enjoy FREE SHIPPING on this item.

The days when people sunk $9,600 into, say, a bank, real estate, or a stock portfolio, have passed, but its good to know that we have at least 88 creative financial minds out there willing to take a risk and sink the wad in a Political Cabbage Patch doll.

I'm guessing Karen is probably not one of the 88 bidders vying for a spoon session with Sarah P. (There is a warning that her American Flag pin may pose a choking hazard to children under 3 so I guess Sarah's not much of a snuggler anyway) No, Karen is probably onto something more secure with that ratholing idea. Though I may not have a few thousand dollars lying around to rathole, this is one class of 88 that I'm happy to know I'm not a part of. But I'll post the winning bid here soon.

Disclaimer #1: All proceeds from the political Cabbage Patch dolls will go to Toys for Tots so its not like you're throwing your portfolio down the sewer. Your foolishness will make lots of small children happy at Christmas so bid away, bid away.

Disclaimer #2: I fully expect the Ebay Police to come after me for posting this auction on my blog. Let's just say it wouldn't be the first time I've been pulled over and ticketed by the Ebay Police. I've learned my lesson about auctioning Marlboro Indy Car racing memorabilia. And that lesson is the little guy is but a fly dancing on dog poop to Big Tobacco and they'll squash your tiny Ebay auction with a tobacco farmer's sh**-kicking boots faster than you can say "Increase my Max Bid Please." Think the suits at Marlboro won't stomp all over your legal and fair auction if they think anyone is making fifty cents on their name without cutting them a quarter? My paranoid roots tell me that Big Tobacco makes the Russian Mob look like a bunch of vodka swillin' lollipop lickin' Oompa Loompas when it comes to threats and intimidation. So here's my chance to stick it to the nasty folks at Marlboro: Readers, Quit smoking. Yesterday. And don't forget to vote!!