Archive for December, 2011

When my son left for college we converted his room into a den for my husband. My husband assured me he would keep it neat and not drape his clothes over the furniture. Well, he’s been true to his word. His clothes do not drape the furniture – they sit on the floor, instead all his papers and books cover the furniture. I can’t remember what the furniture looks like. It could be French or modern, but the current look is ‘contemporary sloppy.’ The only time the room is clean is when we have overnight guests as it’s also the guest room.

Weeks before my girlfriend came for a visit this summer my husband cleaned and shredded papers. Why he shredded papers I have no idea. He gave the impression we were in the Witness Protection Program.

This past holiday when my son came in for a short visit he repeated the process. From the way the shredder was going day and night you would think we were a family with secrets. If he wasn’t shredding he was vacuuming, probably the scraps of paper that fell from the shredder. When all was said and done I got a look at our old living room furniture and remembered why we moved it upstairs. Yuck! I silently admitted it looked better hidden, when I couldn’t see it.

I decided it’s going to be a long time till I invite company over or at least till I get new furniture.

I got my haircut last week at a salon where I was required to fill out a survey. I found the questions to be bizarre as they were unrelated to hair. Question # 1 one was – what are your hobbies? Since I was in a hair salon I was tempted to write getting my haircut, instead I wrote ‘answering stupid surveys.’

Question # 2: Do you have kids?

Question # 3: Are you married?

Shouldn’t questions 2 and 3 be reversed?

I thought the survey might be used as a conversation starter between me and my stylist. Wrong. Since we didn’t talk about anything on the survey I failed to see the need.

It’s not like seeing a new doctor for the first time and you must fill out a medical history form listing medical conditions for yourself and family members. The form serves a purpose. The doctor looks at it and can gage what 5 fatal diseases you might one day be inflicted with. (He will then run tests which will cost thousands and your insurance company will deny payment.) Nowhere on the form do I need to list my hobbies or favorite foods.

However, I must list my true age and weight… hmm, come to think of it, filling out a silly questionnaire may not be so bad after all.

I recently received a box of chocolates from a friend who went on and on about how pricey and delicious they were. Looking at the box, trying to guess what each candy held I thought of the line from the movie Forest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll find.” The first piece I bit into held caramel. Yuck! I spit it out. The second piece held coffee. Yuck! I spit it out.

My husband suggested we cut each piece in half to see the middle before biting into it and throwing it out. Good thing we did as we didn’t like any.  Not one single, solitary piece we liked. We looked at the mutilated candy and wondered what to do with it. We couldn’t serve it to company unless we blindfolded them. We didn’t want to throw it out so we did the only logical thing we could think of – gave it to our son who eats anything. He seemed appreciative when we gave it to him, although he hadn’t yet looked inside the box.

I would have been appreciative for a plain old fashioned Hershey bar, my favorite. No fancy wrapping and the price is right.

Christmas has come and gone and now the question is – what to do with all the leftover candy canes. My family doesn’t like candy canes and yet, without fail, come the holiday season people feel compelled to shower them upon us. They use them as decorations and include them in goody bags. They’re even crushed up and used to decorate cupcakes, cookies and candy. Enough with the candy canes already!

And when did nuts get to be so big for Christmas? Everything you eat has nuts. Everywhere you go – there’s nuts, it’s the must have item!  This year I baked five cookies which included nuts. I don’t know why, normally I don’t eat so many nuts. In a game of ‘Dirty Santa’ people fought over a jar of nuts (they were mixed.) Growing up nuts was always a staple for the holidays. There were 25 kinds of nuts and only one nut cracker. When one had to wait for the nutcracker things got heated. My favorite nut is the chestnut probably because Nat King Cole made them so appealing roasting on an open fire. I get a nice image while eating them.

All my nuts will be eaten, but the candy canes will take up space until I throw them out. I feel bad about chucking them, but what else can I do with them?

My daughter got married this past October and wanting our son-in-law to feel like a part of the family this holiday season I bought him a Christmas stocking. I bought a stocking for him and all family members as our old ones needed to be replaced. The stockings included a gold glitter glue pen. We each wrote our names and once the glue dried the lettering started to chip and fall off; so that my son’s name (Jason) read ‘son.’

To rectify the situation I went to a craft store and bought fabric paint. I wrote the names on the stockings and luckily, so far, nobody’s lost their identity. The stockings have been hung by the fireplace with care and my son still has the JA attached to his name.

The only bad thing is all the names are off. My name slants downward. My husbands name slants up and my daughter’s slants up in the middle and drops again. Not one name is straight. It looks like I wrote the names after I dipped into the spiced eggnog. But, I guess my son-in-law is officially a family member as he has his own stocking with his name on it, where the names, like the people are just a little bit off.

Merry Christmas from the Smiths – Bill, Mary, Todd and …. ? I always feel bad for the ‘And’ person on a card. It means they’re the last one listed, almost like an afterthought. The ‘And’ person is always the baby. I know; I used to be one. Coming from a family of six I was glad if my name fit on the card. Invitations are always addressed to Mr. and Mrs. So and So ‘And,’ it’s never the reverse. It would be nice if just once the ‘And’ person received top billing. An invitation would read we cordially invite Mike and Mr. and Mrs. So and So.

What’s sad is when the ‘And’ person listed on a greeting card is a 50 year old man, living with his parents. That person has cause to be depressed. That person may be wise to remain nameless.

There’s a slow growing trend that’s sure to become a Christmas tradition for some – online Christmas tree sales. Target, Costco, Sears and Kmart deliver fresh cut trees door to door anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. There are certain dangers with a real tree that you don’t get with an artificial one. There was a news story that featured a family that bought a tree which had a snake setting up house in it.

I think everybody has a Christmas horror or funny story. For me it was when my grandmother fell into the tree. We watched both her and the tree fall (in slow motion) to the ground. Gosh, I still get the visual that makes me laugh.

Sometimes you don’t realize how tall a tree is till you have a dwarf (for us it was our two year old daughter) help decorate. We realized, afterward that every single ball we owned was on the bottom two rows of branches. It was as high as she could reach. When she went to bed we rearranged the ornaments. Luckily her memory at that age, like her height was short, so she didn’t realize the balls were rearranged.

I guess for her our tree was equivalent to the Rockefeller Center tree. I grew up in New York and at Christmas time would make the trip into the city to see the majestic tree. When I was a kid I thought there was nothing more magical than the first time I saw the tree.

I guess that’s what Christmas is for kids – the magic; the magic in the sights and sounds, the magic in Santa Claus, magic in believing. Believing in the magic may be the best gift of all.

They keep growing in popularity. Many houses in my neighborhood have them. I’m talking about the inflatable Christmas lawn ornaments. I have a love hate relationship with them. I like them at night when they’re inflated and erect as a symbol of Christmas cheer. I hate them during the day when they’re deflated; looking like it was involved in a hit-and-run accident. I hated it when my neighbor (directly across the street) displayed his so its light shone bright thru my bedroom window, making it hard to sleep.

I feel sorry for the people who have to battle to get in and out of their own driveway as it’s blocked by cars that come from far and near to see their neighbors lights; the lights which can be seen from space. It’s easy to get carried away when decorating for Christmas. I know. Every year I have to reign in my husband and remind him, “More may be merrier, but more can also be tacky.”

I went to a Christmas party where all the guests were required to bring one wrapped, unmarked gift for the ‘Dirty Santa’ gift exchange. I got a ‘Seen on TV’ gift: a glorified flip flop with bristles that massage and exfoliate your feet while showering. It’s a gift I never would have thought to buy for myself, but I smiled and graciously accepted it.

There’s two types of gift givers. There’s the good gift giver who buys a gift they’re sure the recipient will love. They know it’s the perfect gift as they remember their friend talking about it (a good friend listens) in past conversations. It’s hard for them to contain their excitement as they watch you unwrap it.

Next we have the bad gift giver who tends to choose a gift based on what they like, not what you like. They buy you a gift they think you should have. They’re under the assumption that just because they like something then everyone will like it. They’ll buy you pierced earrings even though you don’t have pierced ears and try to convince you to pierce your ears. It’s more of what they want and less of getting what you want. It makes you think – who’s the gift for, really?

It’s because of bad gift givers we have re-gifters. Don’t get me started on them.

What do you do when someone shows up two hours early for a party? What is the proper thing to do? Do you invite them in? Do you pretend you’re not home? I’ll tell you what I did when a friend showed up at my house two hours early – I told her she needed to leave and come back. She’s a good friend so I was able to turn her away and not feel a shred of guilt.

I have one friend that I tell to arrive fifteen minutes later than everyone else because she always used to come fifteen minutes earlier than everyone else. She’s not a close friend.

I think that deep down the early birds want to catch you unprepared… cleaning, in your robe or disrobed, without makeup or saying goodbye to the mailman who had ‘a special delivery.’

So, I repeat – what do you do? Should you let them in and entertain them? Let them in and give them a book to read while you go about your business? Do you hand them a dust rag and tell them to get to work? Should you let them take a picture of you in your robe, hair in a towel and sans makeup and hope it doesn’t show up on YouTube?

When you keep showing up at parties before the hostess herself, people will start crossing you off their list.

So, if you want to be on everybody’s guest list then be sure you come bearing gifts, be sure to compliment the hostess, be sure you leave before your welcome wears out and most of all be sure you don’t arrive two hours early.