Friday, December 22, 2006

All I want for Christmas is a Chia Elephant*

Since Christmas is on everyone's mind (well, maybe not everyone's... sorry to any Jewish or Pagan or otherwise-oriented friends out there), I've been thinking about gifts, of course. For today's Friday Five, I thought I'd list a few of my favorites from the past 32 years.

Five of the best gifts I've received

  1. My last year of college, I lived in an off-campus house with two women who I was not super-close with before our time as roommates, but whom I got to know better and better and had immeasurable amounts of fun with in the year that followed. In the first few weeks that we lived there, I taped a sheet of legal paper to our refrigerator to keep a record of all the amusing things we said to each other. I labeled it "Quotable Moments at 304 1/2 Fifth," and, though we were well aware that those moments were likely quotable and hilarious only to us, the list still amused us no end. We kept adding more sheets throughout the year, and, the weekend that two of us graduated, our remaining roommate photocopied each page, painstakingly cut each quote onto a separate sheet of paper, and pasted each quote onto a page in a blank book she purchased somewhere and presented it as a graduation gift to me. The inscription she wrote in the front was gift enough in itself: "To the wittiest woman I know. May your life be filled with quotable moments," she wrote. But even better was the fact that she preserved for posterity all of my memories in that house--memories that will mean nothing to any of the rest of you but that still make me laugh nonetheless. Memories like...

    "I'm not going to suck your jug."
    "It's an adventure of the mind and spirit, so maybe it will be fun!"
    "Are my pants coming with me, or are they staying behind?"
    "We pride ourselves on clean, well-maintained units."
    "You could never be Miss Wisconsin."
    "What do you mean 'naked'?" "I mean naked!"
    "I can't drive if I'm lumpy."
    "It's not tuna, but it's not apples."
    "Not my Honeynuts!"
    "Oh my gosh... These beans have good flavor!"
    "The last thing I want to think about doing is going on a creative excursion with my authentic self."
    "They're growin' arms... They're juicin' out like mad!"
    "Woah. There's not a seat there."
    "You jug-suckers and dust-blowers. Now you can see what I do!"
    "I am not responsible for all mold!"
    "I got a sliver from the library."
    "The yack was there when I got home."
    "You should never see a professor's feet."
    "They're like... Petroleos."

    Like I said... meaningless to most of you, but entirely priceless to me. (Thanks, Erin.)

  2. When I wrote that "What I think of first" post a couple weeks ago, I missed a really important one. I should have included, "Dale and Jenny give perfect gifts." Case in point, this trophy I received for my birthday four years ago. I had a bowling party that year (it was the year and the night I somehow claimed Shaniqua as my official Bowling Name), but I don't actually think the trophy had much at all to do with that event. For some reason, Dale had dubbed 2002 "The Year of Stef," which I suppose had something to do with including the year upon my trophy. I think, of course, that it would have been better to receive a "Best. Stef. Ever." trophy (those words, of course, individually punctuated just like Comic Book Guy but with less sarcasm and desperation). But it was a fine gift nonetheless, and I cherish it to this day.

  3. I already mentioned the lip balm my ex-boyfriend once bought me as being probably more significant than it should have been, but I still remember it as a sweet and (at the time) meaningful gesture nonetheless. I could name several other times when he got a gift "just right" as well, but I'd rather not go down that path just now.

  4. I am known among my friends for several things. "Not a cook" and "Not good with plants" are two of them. I think that, with the latter, I've gotten a bit of a bum wrap. I've been given a few plants as gifts that are apparently near-impossible to care for under anything less than the most ideal conditions, so I hardly think I should be held accountable for their demise. In my kitchen at the moment are two plants I have kept alive for a solid four years at least, but no one points to those in my defense. In any case, Dale and Jenny (the perfect gift-givers) brought me a plant for Christmas a few years ago, and, accompanying the plant was a Last Will and Testament for me to fill out. I named that plant (she was called Lily); I looked up care instructions on the Internet; I put her in sunlight and watered her on a regular schedule; and yet still, she lasted only a few months. That last will and testament might have been a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts, but it amused me anyway. Oh, Lily; I hardly knew you, but you were a fine gift.

  5. I am having a hard time filling this last slot... I feel like I should go back further than four years and consider the gifts I got as a kid that were particularly memorable in some way. When I open up the category like that, though, it's even harder to narrow it down. Was it the Matchbox Burning Key Car that I hesitantly asked for (and received--gender roles be damned) circa Easter 1984? Or maybe the giant, decapitated Barbie head for hair-styling and makeup-applying on which I learned to do a French-braid? Or possibly it was the electronic Battleship game that my little sister and I still wanted to play just a few Christmases ago but which died a sudden and disappointing death on her first fire that night. So many choices; I just can't decide; so I'm going to leave it at that.

I'm out of here for a few days, as I suspect many of the rest of you are as well. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and I'll catch you sometime next week.


* OK, this subject line really isn't true at all, but I have to admit to
someone (and therefore I will admit to the Internets at large) that, every time I see that damn "Ch-ch-ch-Chia!" commercial on TV, I think, "You know? That Chia Elephant is actually kind of cute. Would it be wrong to have a Chia Elephant in my home, if only for its kitschy sort of charm?"

I did
not put this on my Christmas list, despite the fact that I did actually add this little guy to said list and sort of do expect that one of my family members might have pity on my pathetic self and my poor plants and actually purchase it for me. But the Chia Elephant likely will not be found beneath my parents' tree, and I guess I am OK with that.


nabbalicious said...

Merry Christmas to you!

Anonymous said...

You got the Barbie head? I wanted one soooooooooo bad, but never, never *waaah*
Merry Christmas, Stef :)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm partial to secretly wanting the Chia Man Head, but I do see the merits of ChiaPhant.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

#1 sounds like the kind of gift that's better than any high-priced store-bought anything. So so cool.

Merry Christmas to you, Stefanie!

stefanie said...

And to you, too, Nabbs (though I guess I already said that, didn't I?). It's the 26th now as I'm typing this, so perhaps I should wish you a happy Boxing Day?

Anniina--Yep, but I didn't have the Barbie Dream House or the Barbie swimming pool (which I really wanted), so you don't have to get TOO jealous or anything. I didn't have an Easy Bake oven, either, though strangely I don't remember ever really wanting one. Ah, my fate as a lazy and disinterested domestic was sealed early, it seems.

Metalia--The Chia Man head is a little too over-the-top absurd for me, but I appreciate the whimsy of it nonetheless and I certainly would respect you if you owned one. I'm still all about the elephant myself, though.

Digital Janitor--I know, right? I thought that was the coolest gift at the time, and almost ten years later, I still do.


"I'm not going to suck your jug."

Wow! I can honestly say that I've *never* actually heard those words in the same sentence in that order before. :-)

lizgwiz said...

I will admit to secretly wanting a Chia pet of some sort.

One of the best gifts I ever got was a bed pillow. From the guy I was dating at the time. I had randomly remarked some weeks earlier that my neck hurt, and I thought I needed a new pillow. I was so touched when he bought me one for Christmas--I couldn't believe he actually listened and remembered that.

Jamie said...

Stef, I wish I'd read this before consulting your wish list for gift ideas. I'm one of those crazy people who would actually give a Chia pet as a gift. One Christmas, I gave a Chia pig to my sister (who loves and collects pigs). She managed to keep it alive for several years. All wrapped up in Christmas lights, it was adorable.

I also had one of those Barbie heads, and learned (or at least tried to learn) how to French braid on her hair. The fun lasted until the aforementioned sister colored all over her face with a blue crayon that I'd been artfully using as eye shadow (since the make-up that came with her never actually stuck).

Your best gift ever got me thinking. Something like this would be great for a family member, too. The same sister will woop with laughter anytime we hear the word "missionary" (a word drawn as an "act out" card when we were once playing Cranium; nuff said). Oh, and remember when Jan tried to act out "nibble"? Which reminds me, over the holidays, I heard my other sister (the one with triplets), who'd forgotten to bring nipples for the baby bottles, call my other sister to ask, "Hey, do you guys have any nipples? You do? Two each?" ... And this isn't even counting all the funny quips from my nieces and nephews. (Upon asking my 2-year-old in-potty-training nephew if he needs to use the toilet, "Nope, I'm good!")

Anyway, I hope your gifts this year were great, if only near as cool as the ones mentioned in your list...

stefanie said...

Funkybrownchick--Well, I feel the need to explain the context on that one, but with the context, it's probably not as funny, so I'll just let you wonder on that. ;-)

Liz--I love that I am not the only one with a secret desire for a Chia Pet. And I totally understand why that pillow was such a meaningful gift. I'm not sure what it says about our expectations, though, if we are impressed simply by the proof that a man pays attention and listens to us. Shouldn't we assume that they are listening and paying attention? (At least when football isn't on?) Sigh...

Jamie--You're right. The eye shadow that came with that thing sucked. And please don't ever demonstrate for me the acting-out of the word "missionary," OK? I really don't need to see that. ;-)

Jasclo said...

The quotes are funny without even knowing the specifics. And what a great gift.