Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Mindy Kaling saved Christmas

Mindy Kaling saved Christmas. I feel as though I should send her a gift basket. Possibly an Edible Arrangement. Nah, a Ghirardelli gift basket. You can just tell she'd be pissed if she received something as exciting as a delivered gift only to discover it's freaking fruit. But I digress. To begin, let me remind you who Mindy Kaling is. You all know, you just might not actually be able to match her face and name without this hint. She's Kelly Kapoor on The Office. Yeah, lightbulb moment for all of you. Anyway, she wrote this absolutely hilarious book and it changed my life. Ok, I'd say more like changed my month. But still, it affected me. Here's how it all shook out: I went to Kansas City this weekend to meet up with my bff Sam and her mom, Faith to see Kathy Griffin. Due to some lucky circumstances for me, Sam needed me to pick her up in Des Moines on my way down. (Des Moines is roughly 2 hours out of my way, but was totally worth it.) When I have any drive that will last over an hour by myself, I usually download an audiobook so I have something to focus on and follow while I'm super bored driving through cornfields. For this drive, I downloaded Kaling's new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Now I have a preexisting condition of wanting to be bffs with any female celebrity I even remotely like. Obviously, my close, personal friendship with Mariska Hargitay is why I should be the new Detective Stabler on SVU. I mean, of course we would be fast friends and just spend all day laughing and gossiping on set and then going out to hip happy hours after work. But again, I digress. My immediate reaction to Mindy's (yes we're on a first-name basis) book is that we are SO besties!! She's obviously super funny and I found myself nodding frequently because I have either said those things myself, or they were just so funny that I immediately agreed. (Please reference the chapter where she lists the qualities of a best friend. It is perfection.) But what really made me fall in love with her is that her book allowed me to open up and appreciate something that didn't necessarily have a purpose, it was just fun and enjoyable. It also had me sitting in the car, outlining about 5 different blog topics (my favorite of which will be entitled "This is Why I'm Fat" Don't worry, I plan on actually going through with writing that one. It won't be super long because let's be honest, how much can one write about eating too much and exercising too little? But it'll be good). She inspired creativity in me that I hadn't realized I'd lost. I've mentioned previously how depressed winter makes me and that it simply puts a cloud over me until it's warm and sunny again. But Mindy's book started to thaw my frozen heart and encourage a playful vibe. But her book isn't the entire point of this blog. The entire weekend inspired such a positive change in me, I don't think I realized how much I had needed it until I was in it. So after enjoying the first half of the book, I stopped in Des Moines to join some of Sam's friends for dinner, then head down to KC with my real life best friend. We had 3 absolutely wonderful uninterrupted hours to talk, catch up, gossip, bitch, and just generally reconnect. Sam is already a friend that I'm actually pretty good about staying in touch with, and she's also the friend that I'm geographically closest to right now. We make a point to visit one another every couple of months. But the drive to KC just seemed needed. We didn't have to worry about annoying our significant others with our pointless chatter and could just be friends, being friends. We finally rolled into KC at 1am and got a few minutes to chat with her wonderful parents, then all headed to bed. Saturday morning was spent sleeping in, then having coffee, breakfast, and great conversation with Sam's dad while her mom taught a quick music lesson. (Her mom is the one who sang the beautiful song during our wedding ceremony. Ok, so now we're all on the same page.) Then the 3 of us girls leisurely got ready to go and went to The Plaza for a yummy lunch and some shopping. We all put ourselves into a food coma during lunch so our shopping was kind of half-hearted so we went home for a nap before going to the Kathy Griffin show. So of course, Sam and I took the opportunity to watch some Teen Mom 2 and wrap Christmas presents. Then we had a yummy snack and went to the show! We were all surprised but not shocked to see the crazies from Westboro Baptist Church protesting the show with their hateful signs about homosexuality. I don't really like the term "anit-gay" because it seems to give validity to the idea that there is a debate surrounding homosexuality. That's like being anti-blonde or pro-short people. It's not worth debating because there's nothing to debate! But seriously, I'm making a career of digressing. Back to the task at hand. Kathy was obviously hilarious and we all really enjoyed the show. Then Faith took us on a quick tour of pretty Christmas lights, which I totally loved.
What I have neglected to mention yet is the fact that I haven't decorated for Christmas. For those of you who know of my usual LOVE of Christmas, this is going to come as a shock. I just haven't really been in the mood this year. I seem to have lost my Christmas spirit. I did go so far as to take my 3 huge Rubbermaid tubs of decorations out of the closet, but they have since sat in the living room, untouched. No wait, I hung our jingle bell wreath on the front door, but this has been the extent of my "decorating". I did send out Christmas cards, but I had ordered those in early November, before I fell into my Christmas funk. And I think more of why I was into Christmas cards this year was that we got to use wedding pictures on them. If we'd had to actually take new pictures, I don't think they would have happened. I've been trying to pinpoint what it is that's keeping me from really getting into Christmas this year, and I think it's a combination of a couple things. First, it's simply because it's winter. But this is kind of a cop out because I loved Christmas last year and that was during winter, too ;) And being busy is crap, too because everyone is busy during the holidays. So I think what is really more the culprit is the fact that I won't be seeing my family this Christmas. I feel like a whiny little kid saying this, but it's been really hard for me to come to terms with it. This will be the first time that I won't see my parents and grandparents on Christmas. My brother and his family will be up in Portland with my parents while Dane and I will be spending Christmas in Phoenix with his family. I should clarify that I'm excited to spend Christmas with them, I've never done Christmas morning with Dane's family and I'm super excited to see how they celebrate. But I'm afraid that I'm going to get emotional or something and offend them or make them feel like I'm unhappy being there. When really I'm just a little brat who misses my parents. I'm a married woman in my mid-twenties and I want to spend every Christmas with my mom and dad for the rest of my life. I'm way crappier at the whole sharing holidays with each others families than I thought I would be. We spent Thanksgiving with my parents in Portland and I loved it. But it never really occurred to me that Dane might be missing his own family. And I'm excited to do Dane's traditions and see his family! I don't want to minimize the positive side of spending Christmas with them. I'm simply having a hard time letting go of my own traditions for this year. But I think it will be good for me. This is part of being married: compromising and sharing holidays are just part of the job. So I'm on board and I plan to fully immerse myself in it and be the kind of new member of the family I would want if the roles were reversed.
Being with Sam's parents really seemed to help me get back on board with Christmas. Their house was decorated so cute (Faith's theme this year was The Grinch. SO ADORABLE) and it was so nice to be able to spend time with and talk to the people who I consider my second set of parents. This weekend was so healing for me it was amazing. Saturday night after the show Sam, Faith, and I sat up, drinking wine and snacking and chatting. Just those 2 hours of what felt like family time was exactly what I needed. Sunday morning was again spent sleeping in, then having our usual coffee and breakfast chat. There are 3 things that come to mind when I think of Sam's house in KC: their breakfast nook, where we spend morning talking with her dad. Their living room, where we spend evenings talking with her mom. And her sister's room, where I sleep when we're there. It's really nice to have a room to myself to kind of relax and unwind, but Sam's right next door for when I want friend time.
Overall, it was a perfect weekend that was finished off by another 3 hour drive with my best friend, then another 2 hours with my new friend, Mindy Kaling.
So to rekindle my Christmas spirit, it took a book, a best friend, Christmas lights, and family time with my Midwestern family. I don't know if I will actually decorate this year, I might give myself a break on that and focus on making myself festive. But I'm definitely not trying to ignore Christmas like I was before. In fact, I think I might actually be looking forward to it. And I'm going to bring any of my own traditions that I can to Dane's family this year. My favorite being new pjs for Christmas morning. I just saw that my favorite flannel pjs at Victoria's Secret were on sale and had free shipping, so I got myself a cute new set of flannel jammies to keep that tradition going. (And a little retail therapy can't hurt either)
So Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope none of you have had to hunt for your Christmas spirit and are enjoying a festive holiday season. Also, I hope Mindy Kaling knows that her book has much more than simply on-the-surface entertainment value. And most of all, I hope that all my families (in Portland and Phoenix and Kansas City) know how much they mean to me and how important they are in my life, all in their own ways.

And P.S. I decided today that Tim Tebow is ruining God for me. That guy is such a freaking douche bag. Please find something else to do on the sideline because your stupid kneeling prayer is making it suck to be a fan of God.