Please pay attention to me.

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Photo booths are the original selfies. They’re what happens when you want a picture of you “having tons of super-fun! look at me!” and you don’t have anyone who actually wants to take the picture.

You mug. You duck-face. You toss up gang signs. You try too hard in an effort to show how effortlessly cool you are.

Does that mean I can resist a photo booth or selfie? No.

This planet has 1.236 trillion bones, twelve billion eyes, and six billion voices. Statistically, I’m insignificant, and that’s really hard to take. I like to pretend I matter. I want to be noticed. I want to be liked (and, well, “liked” in the Internet sense, too).

It’s just not me. Everybody wants to be appreciated. 

Give a little extra attention to your friends and loved ones this season.

How?

  • Tell them they look awesome.
  • Tell them their contributions matter.
  • Bake them cookies.
  • Bring Thai food over.
  • Give their pet a holiday scarf.
  • Fawn over their kids. Do that stupid thing they’re tired of doing with the kids, like reading Thomas the Tank Engine three times in a row. This will make you eligible for sainthood in their eyes.
  • Call them or leave them a hilarious Skype message. (Does Skype allow video voicemail messages now? OH YES. YES IT DOES. Leave Skype messages for everyone, preferably from your dog.)
  • Finish a book that you think they’ll like? Hand it over.
  • Draw a picture and stick it on their fridge when they’re not looking.
  • Purchase a sheet of gold stars and put one on their sweater.
  • Remind them of that hilarious time when the two of you did that terribly stupid thing and miraculously didn’t wind up in the hospital.
  • Take a photo of them doing a silly thing so they don’t have to do it themselves… Put it on the Internet, then don’t care if it gets “likes,” because you two have them in real life.

I cling desperately to my mild successes in the face of many, many flaws.

A few Thanksgiving ago, my dog (black and white) gave my mom’s dog (tricolor) a concussion.

This year, no pets were injured, so I am going to stamp it a Holiday Success. (My standards are low.)

Thanksgiving

Another mild success: my friend’s baby shower. (See image below of me and her, holding an owl quilt my mom made.) I looked good (bottom right), gifts were well-received, and there was baklava to eat.

Best yet: the guests didn’t catch on that I had no idea how to throw a baby shower! Pretending to be a person success! 

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The “pretending to be a person” business sounds like a joke, but it’s kind of not. I’m often struggling with inexplicable emotional reactions to things. (When I first heard the word “schadenfreude,” I was relieved that I wasn’t alone in my wickedness.) I also can’t figure out how to do things others do smoothly, such as:

  • How to apply nail polish properly.
  • How to wrap a gift.
  • How to comfort people in emotional disarray.
  • How to get along with cats.
  • How to amuse children.
  • How to stay awake past midnight.
  • How to flirt. (Luckily this is no longer relevant.)
  • How to keep in touch with people who have moved away.
  • How to keep a cool head in an argument.
  • How to host a party.
  • How to manage my hair.
  • How to accept a compliment.

I have so many minor fails that I have to celebrate my successes.

Thanksgiving and the baby shower were wins. I’m holding onto them as I enter into the tumultuous holiday season ahead.

The Game of Birthdays

On the first of December, my younger brother turned 26. I drew this picture to commemorate the moment in the style of his new favorite book/TV series.

(To continue the Game of Thrones line of conversation: “When you play the Game of Birthdays, you win or you die.” True enough. Usually the end of birthdays indicates that one’s ceased to live.)

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My brother’s birthday is the last holdout before the onslaught of Christmas.

Oh, Christmas.

How I hate its music. Particularly “Santa Baby.” Because who wants to get sexy with Santa? Look at the man. I don’t think the temperature at the North Pole is the sole reason Mrs. Claus is frigid.

The only thing I hate more than the music is the weird, wasteful gifts that people buy in order to check “buy presents” off their lists. Like this snowball maker:

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This thing is $30. Because, you know, making snowballs by hand is hard.

There are so many idiotic products available that there’s actually a blog called The Worst Things For Sale.

Visiting it will kill a few hours of your life. Just a warning.

Godspeed, Internet. May you find something decent to put on your wish list.

Or you could just ask for cookies. That’s my plan.

On Fairy Homelessness

What do you get a friend who has everything this holiday season?

A home for fairies, obviously.

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Humans should stop worrying about people problems (“do I look fat in these jeans?”) and start focusing on solving pixie problems.

Fairy graffiti. Fairy pickpocketing. Fairy violence in the streets.

Don’t make me go all Sarah McLachlan “Angel” on you.

Wait, forget that. I’m going to do it anyway:

T0 learn more, I got serious with artist Courtney Noonan about her quest to save the world, one gossamer-winged family at a time.

Let’s talk fairy-homelessness. I know that this is a hot-button topic with a lot of opinions, and I’d like to hear what you have to say. Let’s start out with a softball question: how did you first hear about the wave of fairies without a place to rest their wings?

Well it wasn’t so much hearing about it as seeing it personally. When I would let my dog out at night, I noticed them hanging around my recycling bin. I guessed that they were trying to make lean-tos from old bottles, and I knew that I had to do something. You would think that fairy magic would save many of these ethereal beings from such a sad fate, but it seems that their magic mostly applies to children and animals, not so much their own finances.

Bills have been proposed to help move them into tiny apartment complexes, but it has been said that such unattractive, cramped quarters would dampen fairy spirits. What are the advantages of the fairy homes as opposed to larger, more institutional settings for fairies?

It’s an interesting question. As with humans, some fairies prefer communal living situations, but they are by far in the minority. Fairy houses give a sense of autonomy, privacy, and of course, add beauty to the surrounding landscape. The apartment complexes that have been attempted, as I understand, were made of poor quality watermelons and often collapsed – but that is all very hush hush. As with anything, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. The craftsmanship that goes into a fairy house of high quality Jack-Be-Little pumpkin, Red Delicious apple, or even our roomier foliage houses simply can’t be underestimated. Tell me, would you rather live in an apartment where your feet slip on seeds and even puncture the very floors, or in a modest, organic pear hollowed out right here in the United States?

My word. What a scandal! For our readers out there who perhaps do not have fairies in the area, what are the advantages of keeping resident fairies? And, if one does acquire a fairy house of one’s home, how does one attract a fairy and entice one to stay?

Well, fairies can be tricky. You may have a good fairy or a bad fairy take up residence in your house, much like rolling the dice with neighbors on your block. Good resident fairies will help tend your garden, make beautiful flowers bloom throughout the season, help you find lost items, and of course buy your childrens’ teeth from them. A bad fairy will play practical jokes, cause minor injuries like a twisted ankle, or cause you to get lost following their enchanting lights (see: hinkypunks). Fairies of all kinds will be attracted by the simple placement of an empty home, much like hermit crabs. You can also put out small saucers of honey, but that could attract bears as well. Having a slightly wild yard will entice the fairies to stay since they enjoy multiple hiding places and detest the use of chemicals.

Are fairies good with other types of creatures — for example, pets or other magical entities?

Yes, as long as they are good fairies – they will do their best to get along, make things run smoothly, not cheat at boardgames. The bad fairies, however, will set dogs to barking at “nothing” and have a particularly odd effect on cats. They will cause them to spring straight up into the air, growl in that strange cat way, or sprint out of a room. As far as other magical entities, fairies can at times come off a little conceited – but who wouldn’t when faced with the drab looks of a hobgoblin? They are also known for teaching tricks to unicorns.

Wow, Courtney! You are a giant tub of Leprechaun gold’s worth of information. Do you have any final remarks on your plans to personally help the fairies? What housing or artistic projects are in the works for you?

I try. In the future, I plan to continue constructing fairy houses that will fit fairy needs and green architectural standards. I see flowers making their way into the blueprints soon. I’ve also been delving back into photography to capture the natural beauty of the world as is – and hopefully some suspicious glowing orbs.

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Make sure you check Courtney’s work out on Etsy and her portfolio! Support the arts!

Barbie-Flavored Victorian Explosion

Mad tea party, anyone?

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Darling Alys, for whom this stag sipping tea was designed, is to be lawfully wedded to a man whose last name is literally Grimm. She’s going to be Alys in Grimm-land. You know what that means, don’t you? If you guessed “fancy hats in the pinkest place you can imagine,” you nailed it.

If you’re ever in Bethel Park, PA (… for some reason), you should check out Bella’s House of Fine Teas.

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I’m not kidding. Look at this place. It had custom-painted ceiling tiles with little pink flowers and hearts on them. Though it’s mostly a Barbie-flavored Victorian explosion, the other rooms have other themes/color schemes.

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You might notice the weird number of wedding dresses everywhere. I thought they’d broken them out to be in theme for Alys’ shower. Not so. They just have old wedding dresses up all over the place.

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Here’s the bride-to-be being thrilled that she matches the décor. On the right is Drea enjoying a sandwich croissant and sipping chai.

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What did she get? you may ask. I gave her like $50 worth of chocolate, which is a shit-ton, and she is absolutely not giving a single ounce to her husband. She also received a porcelain bride doll from her grandmother (which goes with a set).

Her mother made her a bee hat with a rainbow of garters to give out as favors. No one understood the bee hat or the garters, exactly. I got a black one and spent the rest of the evening striding through supermarkets and family dinners with it exposed like a flapper. I take the joke too far.

Good stuff! Congratulations, Alys & Chris!