Like most people who walk the Earth, I love the movie Christmas Vacation. I can recite every line between Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid, particularly the scene in Walmart where Cousin Eddie presents Clark Griswold with a list of proposed gifts for the entire family.
Christmas is a time to give rather than to receive. I agree. Yes, I agree so much that I’m giving my husband a list. And don’t worry. Our daughters will have plenty to open on December 25th. But Mama has stumbled upon a few toys, too.
1) The Pioneer Woman got her start on a ranch in Oklahoma blogging for the rest of the world, more than two hours away. Her blog was launched as a way to keep in touch with family members, but it quickly became a favorite site for more than 25,000 visitors a month. A MONTH. Daily Mail readers, you’ve got some catching up to do.
As much as I envy The Pioneer Woman’s success (and movie option starring Reese Witherspoon), I honestly love her Food Network show and cookbooks. I don’t have any of them, so I’m asking our house elf to purchase the set for me. I have much to learn from the former marketing executive who swapped life in Los Angeles for miles of cattle country.
2) During the three years I’ve blogged for The Mommyhood, I’ve promised myself in writing that I’d shed the 40 pounds I didn’t lose after my second daughter was born (in 2006). I’ve hiked the hills of our neighborhood, joined a gym, quit a gym, downloaded Couch to 5K apps, cussed out the entire cast of Biggest Loser on DVD, and tried to chemically induce fat loss with juicing diets and high-protein fare that could’ve wiped out the Pioneer Woman’s deep freezer full of beef. So, this year I mean it: I’m going to work off the extra layers of warmth on a compact elliptical trainer. Sold through the Sharper Image catalog, I can conveniently hide the machine under my bed when I dump this program, too.
3) Last June, our family traveled to Louisville, KY for the One Direction concert. The next morning, we took our girls to Churchill Downs to see the most famous horse track and museum. While we were visiting the spotless barns of Kentucky Derby winners, Ava passed out from dehydration. Too much dancing and not enough fluids tapped out our pop music fan, sparking excitement from the tour guide who was scared to death she’d throw up in Mine That Bird’s stall. After we got Ava situated on a nearby bench, handlers joked that “she just needed a little branch water!” Her mother, however, needed a little bourbon. So, I’d like to revisit the Maker’s Mark Distillery and take part in a sampling of the Bluegrass State’s finest spirits.
4) I learned on Good Morning America this past Friday that One Direction would be performing in America’s greatest outdoor arenas this summer. I ran to the computer to buy tickets, but every location within a 4-hour drive of Charleston had sold out in minutes. I didn’t have a chance. I also didn’t have enough money. Single tickets were being sold for as much as $329; lawn tickets — standing room only — for $98 apiece. Ava saw the British boy band from the last row of the top tier of the KFC YUM! Center, but our little Maryn went “Wee, wee, wee!” all the way home. Mama could afford only two tickets (and I was foolish to pay what I did for those). Our youngest would have to settle for Taylor Swift, who dated Harry Styles just long enough to drive her older sister stark raving mad with jealousy. I’d love to be able to take Maryn this summer, though, if the musical gods will allow it. But if not, I’d like Mike to take all four of us to a Paul McCartney concert. We saw “The Cute One” in Cincinnati a few years ago for a whopping $39, and the man never took a break in the 3 1/2 hour performance. It’s as close to British royalty as they’re ever going to get.
So four things. That’s it. Cookbooks, exercise equipment, a bottle of bourbon, and something to look forward to this summer. But what I truly want more than anything is another year of working from home. No one can get this for me, though. I need to keep drumming up freelance work and writing new books so I can stay right where I want to be.
As Cousin Eddie says, it’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.