Farewell and Good Riddance 2016

I know there were some good things that happened in 2016, but sadly they were so over shadowed by the bad. The most obvious being the election. I’m not talking just about the outcome, because obviously somebody is happy, but about the loss of civility. The long, long road of the primaries and then the general election practically did me in. I was just waiting for the election season to be over so I cold turn the television back on, but then. All I can say is thank goodness for Netflix and Amazon.
So rather than reslinging the hash of the horrible stuff that happened this year I am going to praise the good diversion stuff on TV I used to ignore reality. Top of my list was The Crown. Seeing a young Queen Elizabeth handle the scandals of her time with grace and good sense gave me hope for the future world.  
Stranger Things gave me a good few binge hours on the treadmill. It was a complicated enough story though that I am going to have to rewatch the whole thing again before the next season comes out. I have never liked Winona Ryder more than as a mother who does not give up trying to find her son. The fact that the co-creators and writers are a pair of brothers who grew up in Durham makes it even more fun.
Speaking of local stars, I loved Megan Ketch in the summer hit American Gothic. She was perfect as the “good” sister trying to have a baby. I was drawn into the story to figure out who the killer was week after week. The only bad thing is that it was on CBS broadcast regular TV so I could not binge it. I am becoming bad at watching serial TV. I am hoping that it comes back next summer, but I am worried that Virginia Masden, who played Megan’s mother is now staring on Designated Survivor another show I have started watching. With Masden committed elsewhere I am wondering if that kills American Gothic.
I relived the eighties with The People vs. OJ. I like Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark so much more than the real Clark. My favorite side bits were where the Kardashian children appeared, well before anyone was keeping up with them.
My last guilty pleasure is Fixer Upper. I am certainly not the only person who fell in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines this year. I am hoping that they are able to keep their relationship as light as fresh under the huge spot light of such fame. Magnolia Farms is the best thing to happen to Waco, Texas ever.
Using TV to ignore unpleasantness in the world is only possible with streaming, dvtvr and fast forwarding. If I really wanted to retreat from reality I would just read books. Please 2017, I like books, but don’t make things any worse.


Debutante Elves

I woke up in Charleston this morning, but had to leave before Carter’s final basketball game to get back to Durham to do my duty at the Deb ball. My drive was not difficult, but missing Carter starting the game and her team winning was. It was all in service of the thirty girls making their debut tonight.
I got home, showered and put my ball skirt on, heading down to the convention center at three to manage the family pre-ball photo sessions. I was so happy to have helpers, Marjorie, Pokey, Holly and Lynn to be Elves in service of escorting families through the photo stations. It is the best Deb ball job because your get to see every girl dressed in their beautiful white dress and their families all gussied up before any of the stress of the dancing begins.
Everything went smoothly since most families showed up early for their appointed photo times. There was no fighting and beautiful pictures were taken. My job running photography for the last few years is officially over. I have had fun shepherding this process, but will gladly turn the reins over to the next queen of photography.  
If I had known that doing this job would mean I miss the best basketball playing my own child is doing I never would have volunteered. But my leaving early meant that Russ got plenty of quality time with Carter driving back from Charleston together.  
It was a special day for so many people and I am thankful for all the people who volunteered to make it happen.  


Killing Time

If I were to design the perfect basketball tournament schedule my daughter’s team would play everyday at 3:00, would win and would play again at 3:00 the next day. That would give them enough time to get up, eat, do something fun, warm up, play, celebrate, eat again, do something fun and get a good night’s sleep. Sadly this is not how it goes.
For the last two days we have had late games. That means eating schedules are crazy. There is a lot of waiting around to get to play and then it is very late to eat dinner and then do anything fun. For parents it is even worse because we have time to kill, but still need to be available to do what our daughter needs us to do.
Today Carter and the team went downtown to the market in Charleston. Russ and I stayed at the hotel so he could work. Then she wanted to have lunch with us, but she really needed a nap. I had hours to kill so I decided to go to the movies since I was dying to see La La Land.  
Unfortunately it was only playing at a theater that was far off so I had quite a drive. It seemed as if every other old person in the Charleston area was also interested in seeing a 2:20 showing and the movie was full as could be. I ended up moving seats to make room for a couple to sit together next to me.  
The movie was wonderful and sweet and I only felt like falling asleep for a moment in the middle which is a real feat for me. I sat silently between two older women through the whole movie. We never spoke, or even looked at each other, but as soon as the movie was over the one on my left turned to me and not her husband and said in the most gushing way “That was wonderful, don’t you think?” I agreed with her. She and her husband got up and walked out one end of our aisle. I stoop up and the woman on the other side of me, whom I had not spoken to since I moved for her to sit there said, “That was so great. I hope Debbie Reynolds saw it before she died.” It was a strange thing for her to say to me since I did not know her, but I felt it too.
I did not want that good movie feeling to end, but it did quickly because when I got in the car I texted with Russ and discovered he had not made the connection to get a ride to the basketball tournament so I had to drive back to the hotel a long way and get him and drive back past the theatre a long way to watch the game.
The girls lost a hard fraught match against a team of… well I won’t say more. It was late and we rushed to dinner before the team went off to go on a ghost tour, the fun part of the day that had to wait until very late to enjoy.  
The tournament part of the day may be trying, but the movie part was great. I especially liked the nice people I sat with. Apparently a 2:20 movie in the middle of the week draws a polite crowd.


Ham for the Win

Figures, just as we are learning how to do basketball tournaments right, Carter is about to graduate from the team. This week is the Charleston invitational, or some name like that. It is the second year that we have gotten to spend the time between Christmas and New Years in Charleston. It is a sweet place to come.
Carter’s team played their first game today. Our venue is not as good as last year. In our first match up we were playing the team whose gym we are playing all our games at. The home team advantage was definitely felt for most of the game. We were behind by more than ten in the first quarter. Brought it to within two at the half and kept it there in the third. We officially never had the lead until late in the fourth quarter.
With just a minute to play we were up by four, then foul trouble brought the game to a tie causing it to go into overtime. The home team, who had led so handily through the whole game had not met the DA overtime team who put the whole thing in overdrive and won by six. It was a sweet win.
Russ, having learned at last year’s tournament that reservations for dinner are hard to come by had made a reservation at Husk months in advance. Thank goodness the only available table was for 9:30 since the game ran so long. Carter was just looking forward to a good meal with us and a waiver from the team curfew since she was out with her parents.
Fine dining is something we Lange’s are varsity on. Carter got the best thing, an appetizer that was a deconstructed ham biscuit. It was a few pieces of Country ham served rolled up on a charred log. Carter said how could you go wrong with meat on a log.
It was nice to enjoy the win and the time together. Tomorrow is another late game. This is what you get when you win, the last slot in the game day. That means that I have tomorrow to have some fun before the girls hopefully do it again.


Carrie Fisher Was The Force

How is it that Carrie Fisher, only five years older than I am, is dead? Carrie Fisher has been a constant in my life. First knowing she was the child of poor Debbie Reynolds whose husband cheated on her with Liz Taylor. Who could compete with Liz Taylor once she set her eye on your husband? Then Carrie was the only female in the male dominated Star Wars world. Even with those honey buns on the side of her head she was powerful.
When I really came to love Carrie Fisher was when she was in When Harry Met Sally. She was the sassy woman I wanted to be, of course without the mental illness or drug problems. Carrie was a constant. Never afraid to speak her mind and in the wittiest possible way. She never appeared to give a shit what anyone else really thought, but she was not cruel.
The world has lost a true original much too young. The only thing I can think of is she just could not stand the thought of what was going to happen after Inauguration Day so she just decided to get out of it all together.
Poor Debbie Reynolds, she lost her husband, later her fortune and now her daughter. The world lost a great humorist and writer and young boys who grew up Star Wars nerds lost their original crush. Carrie Fisher the force was always with you.


The Satisfaction of Nothing To Do

Last night, after the big meal was eaten and the presents were opened and the family had left I did something I never do. I went to bed with dirty dishes in the kitchen. Not all the dishes, mind you, just one ones that would not fit in the first load of the dishwasher.
For some people this is not a big deal, but I have a thing about going to bed with the kitchen perfectly clean. When I was a kid my parents used to throw a lot of big parties. They would be wild and loud. My favorite sound to fall asleep to was that of dance music playing, roaring laughing and feet dancing in the room above my bedroom. But when I woke up early in the morning, while my parents were still sound asleep, my sisters and I would come up to the party floor of our house and there would be glasses everywhere and food on the dining room table. It definitely had an effect on me. In my parents defense, they outgrew this big time partying fairly early on.
So back to my going to bed with dirty glasses on the counter. I did this not just because I was tired, but because I knew I had absolutely nothing to do today. What a gift. Well, now I had a little kitchen cleaning to do, but my wonderful husband got up and did those dishes. So I basically played games on my iPad, and watched some TV, put way a few gifts and just ate leftovers. No cleaning, no cooking, no prepping for the next event, no wrapping, no nothing. It was a fabulous gift.
I have just been looking at the Christmas tree contemplating leaving it up all year. Think of the amount of time that would save me if I did not have to take it down just to have to put it back up eleven months later.
Today is officially my laziest day of the year and I am enjoying it. Being terrifically unproductive is very satisfying. Happy Boxing  day to you and yours. I hope you got to do nothing too.


Christmas Come and Gone

As a child my mother used to say, “You’re as slow as Christmas.” I understood fully exactly what she meant because it always felt as if Christmas would never get here. Waiting for Santa took forever. I have never gotten over my love of Christmas.  
I was up this morning at 5:40 too excited for the festivities to start. You would think I was waiting to see which list I was on. Like I don’t know that I am always naughty.
My family was coming from the farm to open gifts and have a late lunch. This made for a very long and leisurely morning. Carter opened Santa gifts, I cooked and Russ walked Shay. Almost when Carter couldn’t stand the waiting any longer the family arrived in many cars laden with gifts that took many trips to get into the house.  
Circled around the tree we opened and opened. Everyone was surprisingly happy with each and everyone. The funniest gift was from my mother to my father, a dozen white envelopes each labeled with the name of a local establishment he frequents; Midtown Market, Barber shop, Lowes… and inside were not individual gift cards from each of these places, but $20 bills. We all got a big laugh out of that one.
After the gifting our friend Rich arrived to join us for the Christmas feast. The ham and salmon satisfied all, but I think the broccoli rice casserole I made specifically for my sister Margaret was my favorite. We licked the cups of our ginger ice cream clean and did the dishes.
Half of my family departed for naps at the farm and my sister J and Sophie stayed and I taught Sophie how to needlepoint since that was part of her Christmas gift. We talked and laughed and when they left I looked around at all the mess and decided just to leave it until tomorrow. It was a happy, harmonious holiday. Carter reported on Facebook that no fighting took place, for which we are all thankful. But now I have 365 very slow days to wait for next Christmas to come. I can hardly bear the thought.