Thursday, February 08, 2007

What I found while looking through a box for something else

For my brother Steve’s birthday, I thought I’d post my favorite photo of the two of us. I knew I had the original in a box somewhere so I commenced searching. An hour later I found it (aha! I knew it was in there) but in the meantime, I was smiling and chortling and rolling my eyes at the various other things I stumbled upon. Here is one worth sharing.

If I ever need evidence to support my claim that I grew up in a family of weirdos, here is exhibit A. The Shopping List. My mom had taped this paper to the fridge (I notice that it was attached with strapping tape -- a reminder that certain things like regular masking tape, scissors, clean spoons, and apparently the ability to take anything seriously were hard to come by in my home). Mom started the list innocently enough with the words “vacuum bags” and then it all went downhill from there.

I can almost tell from the handwriting which items were contributed by which of my crazy 8 siblings (I only claim the musical notes and the rabbit food. They tell me I was adopted). Most of the items require little explanation if you’ve seen the films that defined our generation: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and Monty Python. A few others are inside family jokes made at the expense of, for example, a certain sibling who was infatuated with Harrison Ford and had recently been involved in a fender bender with a Ford Mustang sporting a $500 emerald green paint job. Some – like the Stella androids? – I still can’t figure out.

The parts that make me laugh the hardest are the unassuming little items like “bird seed” and “light bulbs” that were actually needed at the store. As if there were ANY hope of this list making it off the fridge and into a store in our lifetimes. The fact that she saved it speaks highly of my mother, who bred all these lunatics with patience and creativity. She deserves some kind of holiday in her honor. Oh, yeah. They’ve already got one of those.

Shopping List
vacuum bags
Romulan Ale
Retinox 5
“Bones you know I’m allergic to retineys!”
Indiana Jones
Gary Indiana
Illinois Smith
Han Solo
My Son, Luke
I’ll never join you! (followed by a “leap” and a line that falls to the bottom of the page where it says “Chewie! Get under him”)
Musical notes
Flash. Ahhahhh
Where? WHERE?
A Hamster and a microwave
[some Chinese characters I can’t read.]
A fold up tent
The action in M*A*S*H* is intents.
conditioner (hair)
freeze dried lizard skin
a newt
Klingon eradicator
small rocks
hair spray
rabbit food
bird seed
European swallow meat
a coconut
burnt witch
a large wooden badger
light bulbs
essence of Gelfling
a herring
1 holy hand grenade
4 coconut cream pies!
(crash bang thunk)
coffee filters for filtering fuzzy orange juice
instant tang
a purple elephant gun
Harrison Ford
Ford Mustang (with $500 emerald green paint job)
Ford Prefect
a shrubbery
Monosodium Glutamate
Tea and biscuits
No, not the biscuits!
The castle of AAAAAAaaaaah
Bore worms
No! Not the bore worms!
500 “Stella” androids
Breakfast cereals and lice and fruit bats and anchovies and orangutans
a speak and spell
an umbrella
tinfoil and a saw blade (ouch)
a fork
Old Spice aftershave
Sea Breeze
No! Not the Sea Breeze!
Fried Burgers
Fried Worms (with ketchup)

And here’s the photo I was looking for of me and my little brother Steve. Yes he is as weird as the rest of them but has managed to channel all his creativity into an amazing career in video game production. I admire the heck out of him for taking the heart-stoppingly brave leap into starting his own business and making it work. He is also as kind-hearted as they come, very smart, the father of 3 wonderful kids, the husband of a woman I love like one of my own sisters (only without the hair-pulling-fight history), an aficionado of card games galore, my very first and most loyal blog reader, and a walking Groundhog Day soundtrack. What more could I ask for in a brother? Happy Birthday Steve.

Don’t drive angry.


Kimberly said...

It always amazes me how you can turn something simple into a wonderful and witty post.

I've a sudden hankering to meet this family of yours...

...mine was very boring.

tami and todd said...

Well now we all know how you came to be the creative person you are! My hubby always makes fun of me for all the little papers and such I keep ahold of, but this is the perfect example why I do. What a treasure to come across!

TARA said...

What I want to know is how Ford Prefect can make the list and no one requested a towel.....

scribbit said...

So how does European swallow meat taste? We've only had the African variety here.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Speak and Spell
Burnt Witch
My son, Luke ...
My brother would definitely have added ion cannon on the list.

Thanks for the cruise down memory lane. I grew up with 8 siblings as well and although it was craziness at times, I love coming from such a large family.

What a fun picture of you and your brother.

Happy Birthday, Steve! Thanks for helping shape Julie into the witty and clever writer she is today!

Julie P said...

Love this post. How awesome you saved the "list"!

stay said...

Haha, awesome list, and awesome picture. I love that picture. It's amazing how much I looked then like my son looks now.

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes and the totally cute picture and the great (as always) post!

That's not bad for a quadruped. You gotta check your mirrors, just side of your eye, side of your eye...

compulsive writer said...

Great post!

Radioactive Jam said...

Makes me want to go look for something. Anything will do; the search is the good part.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

"Essence of Gelfling!!!!!"

Oh, oh my, I love your family!

I'm still laughing here.

It's no wonder I named my daughter Kira (different spelling but). Fine memories

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Oh man, that is awesome! What a fun piece of family history. This is why I save all our Mad Libs. It's not just that they're funny, but because of the great memories they inspire.

Wonderful post! Happy Birthday Steve - from a fellow Groundhog Day-ophile!

The Lazy Organizer said...

Did it make you laugh out loud?

What are you having for dinner March 9th?

memgineer said...

Hi, there. I'm posting a comment in honor of your brother, Steve, whose birthday it is and whom I know and love. He pointed me at your blog when you started it, and I pop in occasionally. Yes, I'm a lurker, but it suits me quite nicely, thank you very much. My comment is not for him, because he knows this part already, and besides, this is *your* blog.

You are a wonderful storyteller. Every time I visit, you fill my head with fuzzy thoughts, not the least of which is that I wish I could bend the words the way you do. Please keep it up, because you're touching even the people you don't know, the ones your brother wishes he could get to stop stalking him.

Thank you, and good night.

Julie Q. said...

Thanks for delurking long enough to tell me that. It means a lot that my words aren't being sent out into space never to be appreciated. I love having readers who care -- some I know about and apparently some I do not.

Kathryn said...

I love that you saved that list. It's a priceless picture of your family at that time. That's my definition of a quality family history document. And the picture is gorgeous.

freeflycoco said...

If you had the excellent handwritting deciphering skills of your next to youngest sister, you would see that it was actually that poor innocent girl who tried to start the list.
Of course, as often was the case in her childhood, her good intentions were sabotaged by her twisted family.
Thanks for making me who I am today. I don't know any other people my age who know all the words to every Queen and Supertramp song ever written. Happy birthday Steve!

Lianne said...

Love, love, love the shopping list. We are all about lists at our home.

You are a most delightful writer.

And Happy Birthday, hair-pulling Steve!