Justin Bieber has a Christmas album out too, just sayin

I head to a holiday party with a friend. A Justin Bieber song is playing and everyone is jumping around in Christmas elf outfits. I start bopping and singing along. My friend says,

“This sounds like a fourteen-year old is singing it.”

“Yeah.”

He looks at me again,

“Wait, you know this song. Why do you know this song?”

“I have a little sister?”

“Don’t blame this on her. You know this song all on your own.”

All grown up, what’s 9 x 12 again?

My little sister and I are approaching our second anniversary. I ask her,
“Can you believe it’s been two years?”
“Feels like at least four.”
Well I have baked more in the last two years then I have in the rest of my life combined. I ask her,
“What would you like to do to celebrate our anniversary?”
“Eat at your restaurant. Dinner!”
“Sounds great!” I usually just eat everyone else’s scraps, but it is a celebration, I should order my own food. 
We’ve only ever gone out to eat for lunch. I tell my ten-year-old little sister,
“I feel all grown up.”
“You are.”
We order my favorite sliders. I ask for an extra ketchup. Whatever the food is it’s secondary to the condiments. I love mayo so much it was a Hanukkah present. The server brings over more ketchup and says to my little sister,
“People always order extra ketchup, but then they don’t finish it.”
Ok, so one time I overestimated how much ketchup I needed. The server continues to tell my little sister,
“So if Jess doesn’t finish this, you’re going to have to feed it to her with a spoon.”
My little sister seems to think this is reasonable. 
We’re nearing the end of the sliders and fries. There is a decent amount of ketchup left. My little sister gives me a stern look,
“You need to eat that ketchup.”
Our server returns. She asks my little sister about school and she mentions her teacher who plays the guitar and sings the times tables with them. The server says,
“I was always bad at my times tables, I think the sixes are the only ones I know.”
My little sister sighs and says,
“You must know the tens too.”

A cocktail to complement your Christmas outfit

I am a good bartender. One of Boston’s favorites 2011. Not that anyone is keeping track of that. I am. But I do not like creating cocktails. I’ll make cocktails all night like it’s my job. But if someone asks me to create something, I stop breathing, I feel the onset of a panic attack and I have to go to my safe place.

So imagine my surprise when last night I was inspired to make a cocktail. Our pastry chef made a fantastic gingerbread mansion:

I want to go live in it. Only in Cambridge do Gingerbread families need two stories. After the pastry chef was done making it. She gave us the leftover supplies. So last night there was a huge box of window shutters, i.e. mini-candy canes up for grabs.

In my head the cocktail creation wheels groan to a start. I approach it like a fashion dilemma: the candy cane as accessory. It would look great in a martini. It would look great in a green martini. What is green and minty? Et voilà!

It is a neon-green martini, straight from 1995, that would make any cocktail snob throw up a little in their mouth. BUT it’s beautiful!

Santa’s Helper

Tell me more about this giant phone

My mom has been needing a new laptop for a long time. I thought about getting her one for Hanukkah, but then considering she uses her phone for EVERYTHING I figured she might enjoy a tablet. She opened it and asked,

“Is this a phone?”

“Similar, but bigger.”

She’s not sure if she wants it. She has an old printer, as well as another new printer still in the box, neither are wireless. She’s curious about printing from a tablet. I tell her about wireless printers. We go to Best Buy. A young sales guy approaches us. He asks,

“Can I help you with anything?”

My mom asks,

“So these are wireless printers?”

“Yes.”

“A hundred dollars. That’s not bad.”

“Yeah, they’re not a new thing.”

When I see a guy without gray hair I’ll let you know

A woman comes up to the bar; she sets her things on a chair and starts to head for the bathroom. She stops and says to me,

“I’m waiting for someone. If a gray-haired gentleman comes in, will you tell him I’m sitting here?”

“Yes, but that doesn’t really narrow it down.”

“Oh. He has ruddy cheeks.”

Is it Santa?

How can I celebrate Hanukkah without my over-the-knee boots?

I just got yelled at by the shoe repair guy. I have a pair of over-the-knee boots that I love. I wore them so much they need new heels. I show them to him and ask,

“How much for new heels?”

He raises his voice,

“It’s too late. Too late! You should’ve brought them to me sooner. Do you see this nail? So much work. It’s not possible!”

And just as I’m assuming I’m only here to be yelled at and sent home. He adds,

“Twenty-five dollars and you can pick them up in a month.”

Antlers, penises, both will poke you

My bar is a calm dinner spot. Sometimes customers sleep with other customers’ husbands, but other than that we’re low key. I’ve worked at my bar for two and a half years and the other night I witnessed my first bachelorette party.

A group of ten screeching young women storm in parading penis paraphernalia. The average age at the bar is 45. I don’t know who planned this party, but it’s an odd choice for a large group of 22-year-old women wearing antlers. And why are they wearing antlers?

They are not antlers. My in-the-gutter brain has failed to recognize headbands full of waving penises.

It is their young handsome server’s dream table. Ten women beg him to strip. He even puts on a love song and does a mock proposal to the bride. She declares,

“That’s better than my fiance did!”

More screeching and shrieking ensues.

In general this server is on the look out for phone numbers. He chats up women at tables. He chats up women at my bar. He’s on a mission. So I assume after waiting on a table full of women covered in penises, he’ll be able to add his to the mix. They leave and he does not get a single phone number.

Later that night my bar manager complains to me about not getting laid. He declares,

“If that server can stage a proposal better than the real one and none of the other women gave him their number, what chance do I have?”

I couldn’t find the antlers, but there’s a large selection of penis slippers.

There’s winning, there’s conquering and there’s spraying Febreze in your mouth

After collecting everyone’s Thanksgiving stories, I have a winner:

A regular I haven’t seen in awhile comes in. I ask him,

“Did you go home for Thanksgiving?”

“No, we went to my boyfriend’s family and all his extended family.”

“How was that?”

“He came out to his Grandmother the day before.”

“Oh dear.”

“She’s crotchety in general, but that made her a even more crotchety.”

“I bet.”

“And that’s not even the worst part. My boyfriend and I were in charge of bringing the turkey. I was really excited to cook it and I brined it in molasses and sauce for three days before.”

“That sounds great.”

“Everyone really liked it, but there was something odd about it too. There was a weird floral scent.”

“Oh no.”

“When my boyfriend and I got home, we realized that the bag we’d used to brine the turkey was a Febreze scented trash bag.”

Rule #1 of first-date double booking: different start times

A young woman comes into the bar. She gets a drink and tells me she’s waiting for someone. There’s a guy and a young woman at a table behind her. The guy gets up from his date, introduces himself to the woman at the bar and returns to finish his first date.

The woman at the bar downs her drink and gets up to leave. The guy rushes up to her again, urging her to stay. She’s leaving. He tries to shake her hand. Too little, too late buddy.

A server approaches me and asks,

“Does that guy really have two dates here at the same time?”
“Looks like it.”
“Even I wouldn’t do that.”

Let’s go back to the 30% of the time when you claim you’re normal

The 75-year-old regular who introduced me to the term “enhanced panties,” declares,

“I’ve done the math, 30% percent of my day is devoted to work or something like that and 70% is devoted to chasing women.”

“That sounds exhausting.”

He starts laughing and pounding the bar.

“I love you.”

I smile at him. He raises his voice and demands a response.

“I LOVE YOU.”

“That’s nice.”

“We have something special don’t we?”

Not that I know of.

The shoe fits. I’m a princess

I spent a weekend with a three-year old and a one-year old and I did things I haven’t done in 25 years. No I did not fight over toys.

I finger painted. And even though I was wearing a smock, I still managed to get paint all over my shirt. As the three-year old slammed her hand down in the paint, splattering it in every direction, I glanced to see if her mom, my friend, was watching and wondered if I could get away with that too.

Next the three-year old decides it’s time to play dress up. I love dress up. I’m still playing that game. We head up to her room. She declares,

“I want to be Cinderella.”

“Ok.” This sounds simple at first, but for a girl who has every Disney princess costume it is not. She becomes frustrated when she can’t find all the parts of the Cinderella costume. Do NOT confuse Cinderella’s princess accessories with Snow White’s. They are NOT interchangeable.

Once her glass slippers are in place she turns to me,

“You need to dress up.”

“I have this scarf.”

“You need to dress up as a princess.”

This would be a dream come true for me if I were three feet tall and could actually fit into any of these ball gowns. I try to explain this. The three-year old is insistent.

“You need to dress up.”

“I’ll be Belle. She’s my favorite.”

Somehow the top of Belle’s ball gown manages to fit over my arms. The three-year old is mad. She tells me,

“You need to velcro it in the back.”

“This is good enough.”

She hands me the skirt. I put one leg in it. The waist band is snug around my thigh. Now the little girl is very frustrated with me and thinks I’m an idiot. She tells me,

“You’re supposed to put both legs in there.”

“I know. I wish I could.”

Then she hands me Belle’s child-size heels. I put three toes in each shoe. She starts pushing on my pinky toe.

“You need to put all your toes in.”

Just as I put on my head piece and squeeze a fourth toe into the shoe, my friend walks in,

“Very nice. I’m going to get my camera.”

I do not have the photo or else I’d share it with you.

I was in the yellow costume on the left. I swear.

Escaping a date, your life depends on it

Last night a regular came in with a date. He always has a different woman. At first this one seemed nice, but by her third margarita she was headed to crazy town.

She waves me over,

“Isn’t he great? He’s great.”

“Yeah.”

“You better remember my name.”

“Ok.”

“It’s Marcy and I’m the last woman he’s coming in here with. There will only be Marcy, there won’t be any others.”

I glance at him. He looks terrified. She continues,

“Marcy. Remember that. Marcy is the only woman. These are really good margaritas.”

I have found my people

I spent all day Saturday in a writing workshop to figure out if I want to do anything besides blog and bartend. As noble as both of those are. The outcome is inconclusive, although I have a much better idea of what I need to do if I want to make more friends.

What I’ve accomplished since then is I went to Target, I cleaned my desk and I’m about to clean my closet.

Overall the workshop was wonderful, except at hour four when the teacher spreads magazine clippings on the floor and tells us to pick seven. My heart sinks. If she thinks I’m going to create something that involves anything other than typing… I glance around in despair and head to the bathroom. The teacher says,

“Now I need everyone to get out your poster boards.”

The prerequisites for the workshop were sticky notes and a poster board 16 x 20. At my nearest arts and crafts store which I’ve been to never, the 20 x 30 foam boards were on sale for $2. I bought one figuring I’d just cut it.

I stand in my kitchen staring at the board, desiring to cut it in something resembling a straight line and knowing that ever since my parents’ parent-teacher conference in pre-school, I’ve never been able to do this.

I start to cut the board, it rips in several directions. I reject the scissors in favor of a steak knife. I stab at the board in an almost straight line and bend it back and forth like a perforated piece of paper. This works well enough and I got to hurt the board.

In the workshop, I pull out my board and stare at it’s ragged edge. The woman next to me pulls out a similar looking foam board with a more ragged edge than mine. She sighs,

“I tried to cut it, but that didn’t work so I took a knife to it.”

A woman across the room from us holds up her board with a ragged edge. She exclaims,

“I did the same thing!”

What’s the point of having a secret if I can’t blog about it?

A regular says,

“What’s wrong with me? I attract all the weirdos.”
“What do you mean?”
“A couple weeks ago it was that old lady, last week it was that drunk girl and then the other night a guy approached me.”
“It doesn’t sound like there’s anything wrong with you. You’re attractive to everybody.”
“Don’t say anything about the guy.”
“Okay.”
“You’re going to say something, I know it. I shouldn’t have told you.”
My problem is I never read this book.

I voted and I have extra stickers if you want one

I had full schedule this morning. I had to sleep until 10:30, then I had to vote and get downtown to meet a friend at noon. I walk out of my house at 11. I’m planning to vote and go for lunch in an hour. There’s a line. It looks like it’s a block long. I walk further. It wraps around the corner for several more blocks. People are waiting for two hours. TWO HOURS. I need lunch and then I’ll consider my options. Maybe they’ll just give me an “I voted” sticker and I don’t have to wait in line.

I tell my friend,
“Why is it taking so long?”
“It’s because all the volunteers are 80-years old.”
I return to my voting place. The line is more manageable. It’s only half-an-hour. Inside the 80-year-old volunteers munch on Dunkin’ Donuts. They look so good. Not only do I have to stand in line, but I have to stare at a box of chocolate sugar goodness.
The guy in front of me asks the volunteer what we’re all thinking,
“Can I have your donut?”
“I’ll trade you for some grapefruit juice.”
“Ha ha ha.”
“I really will. I really want some grapefruit juice.”
I really wish I had some.