Archive for December, 2013

When I was in middle school a classmate brought in a goat for show -n- tell. The goat ate everything and anything in sight. Knowing this about goats I wasn’t surprised when I learned recently that goats are now eating Christmas trees. Hope Crolius, the owner of the Goat Girls farm in Amherst, Mass says her goats, “Have a beautifully designed 4 chambered digestive tract and eating tree needles is good for them.” Since more and more people are using goats to mow (eat) their lawns rather than mow it themselves this also comes as no surprise. So, Hope invites people to dispose of their trees at her farm. I imagine if goats eat trees then they can eat real wreaths also; since it’s essentially a round tree.

Our city collects trees and grinds them into mulch, but, who knows, using goats can be another option.

I wonder if a goat eats pine trees in abundance if it develops pine breath the way someone develops garlic breath. I also wonder about tinsel left on a tree. No matter how fastidious you are about removing tinsel, there’s always one strand that hides and clings to the tree. If you have a fake tree, next year when you remove it from the box you’ll see the tinsel. So my question is – if a goat eats the tinsel, will it get chewed up or will it get passed through? Something to think about.

Walking through my neighborhood today I saw both Christmas wreaths and decaying pumpkins decorating front porches, which brings me to my next question. If goats eat trees, can they eat pumpkins? That would be a good way to dispose of them. Our state zoo feeds pumpkins to the elephants – doesn’t matter the size or the freshness. I watched as zookeepers tossed pumpkins at the elephants that scooped them up with their trunk and ate the whole thing. They didn’t bother roasting the seeds. The crunching was loud enough for all spectators to hear. Now that’s a digestive tract to be proud of. My last question – if elephants eat pumpkins, are they capable of eating trees and if they eat tinsel does it get chewed up or passed through? That’s something I definitely don’t want to think about.


            “What are you doing,” my husband inquired. “Cleaning out the refrigerator,” I replied. “Why now, we’re not moving?” “Our daughter complained there was nothing to eat in the house, so I’m determined to prove her wrong. We have plenty of food in the house. First, I have to throw out this stir-fry pork dish.” “Why? I ate it for lunch yesterday. I loved the asparagus in it.” “What asparagus? I didn’t add asparagus.” “Yes you did, the green hard stuff.” “Oh, I don’t know what you ate that was green, but it definitely wasn’t asparagus.” “Maybe that’s why I’m not feeling well now.” “Could be, you don’t look so good, how unfortunate. I’ll put the doctor’s phone number on the fridge. You might want to give him a call.” “Thanks.”

            “I’ve got to chuck this jar of pickles.” “Why, we like pickles.” “Yeah, but the last time I ate these particular pickles I was pregnant.” “That was over twelve years ago.” “I know, aren’t you happy I haven’t craved one since.” “Here, move over, it’ll go faster if we throw them down the disposal together.”

“Ow!  Be careful. Whatever’s in that dish just broke my toe when it fell on my foot. What is it?” “It’s my meatloaf which hardened over time.” “Harden? It’s like a brick, heavy enough to break a toe.” “You could mention it to the doctor when you call him for your stomach.”

“I hope he can see me today.” “Two days before Christmas, I doubt it.”

“Move out of the way, you don’t want this to drop on your broken toe.” “That’s disgusting. What is it?” “It’s wilted lettuce that’s leaking all over.” “We had lettuce in the fridge? How come I never saw it?” “It was in the vegetable drawer and you don’t look there. I brought it awhile back when we pledged to eat healthy. I planned to make a salad.” “What happened, why didn’t you?” “We went to Sam’s Club and bought a box of 2,500 ice cream sandwiches.” “Oh, those were good, do we have any left?” “Keep your hands off, the last one is mine. Next time we go to Sam’s we’ll buy two boxes.”

“Now, why are you pouring that salad dressing down the drain?” “It expired over two years ago, probably the last time we had a salad.”

“Here, pitch this hot fudge sauce for me.” “Why?” “It expired over five years ago, before we moved to North Carolina. So, that means you packed and transported expired food items. Any particular reason why?” “We were in a hurry?” “You’ve eaten it over the years and never got sick from it?” “Not anymore so than when I ate the pork with what I thought was asparagus.”

“Who are you calling; the doctor to make an appointment for my foot?” “Forget your foot. I’m calling a restaurant to make dinner reservations for tonight. Our daughter was right when she said ‘There’s nothing to eat in this house’.”


I have rolls of Christmas wrapping paper sitting in my closet. Wrapping paper, like the phone book has become obsolete. Wrapping paper is not needed for a gift card; and since I bought everybody on my list a gift card, the paper remains untouched and neglected. The ease and convenience of a gift card is appreciated by a person who doesn’t know how to wrap. Also, a person getting a gift card that they requested doesn’t have to prepare their facial reaction for a gift they may hate.

This year while shopping I’ve also done birthday shopping for family members with birthdays close to Christmas; not close enough to be overshadowed by Christmas, but close enough.

When I was little I was happy my birthday was in the summer so I didn’t have to go to school. I always felt bad for the kids who got homework on their birthday. Bummer.

Even though my two oldest kids have birthdays one week apart I throw two separate parties for them. I didn’t want one of them to grow up with issues. One week we’d have a party with family, friends and cake and a week later we’d repeat the process. It was a lot of eating cake and loosening of the belt. However, during that week we did keep up the Happy Birthday banner. Sometimes the banner would be forgotten about and hung till Mother’s Day, much like your annoying neighbor’s Christmas lights.

Now that both kids are grown and moved out we celebrate both birthdays once, whenever we can get together. Sometimes, Christmas cookies (now stale) may linger and their gift cards seem like an extension of Christmas , but being together is reason enough to celebrate; that and the fact I don’t have to wrap a gift card.

When guest come to your house do you make them remove their shoes? Is it rude to ask them to do so? If a host requires a guest to remove their shoes then they should provide a chair, shoe rack and socks or slippers. This is when it pays to be a surgeon – swipe the booties from work to give houseguests. Every year we do what’s called the Parade of Homes, where builders get to show their newly constructed houses. Some builders permit shoes and others don’t, but provide booties.

It can be embarrassing for the houseguest sporting the sock with a hole in it to remove their sneakers. The big toe with the nail fungus is there for all to see. A pedicure is in order when going barefoot in someone else’s house. However, a host will regret making the guest with smelly feet go sans shoes. Guest will sniff the air trying to determine what the awful, cheese like odor is. Even the guy with the smelly, stomach churning feet doesn’t know it’s him; they never know.

At a friend’s house when I was asked to leave my shoes at the door I complied happily and didn’t think anything of it till their dog that was at the park came in and put his paws everywhere. The dog that was roaming the park and had probably stepped in poop, gum, sticky soda, dried up ice cream and God knows what else had the run of the place. They didn’t give his paws so much as a swift wipe at the door. The dog is essentially coming in with his shoes on. The same people who request you remove your shoes are the same people who let their dog carry in a host of ugly stuff under their paws. It doesn’t seem fair.

In my house I wear shoes, not for comfort or fashion, but for the extra height. I’m vertically challenged. If I don’t wear my shoes I can’t reach the top shelf. My husband comes in handy for retrieving things from the top shelf. I have a step stool for getting into my bed. I used to run (to get height) and jump into bed, but I got tired of the nightly gymnastic routine. So, when I’m home I could carry around a ladder or wear shoes. I choose the shoes.

This morning on my local news during a ‘Crafts for Christmas’ piece a lady was decorating a candy cane to look like a reindeer; ah, the abuse. Candy canes are in abundance this time of year.

Basically, a candy cane is a lollipop without a stick, which always gets messy. When sucking a lollipop or cane it’s inevitable that some drool will drip down. Don’t deny it! It happens! When it happens your fingers become messy and sticky. At least with a lollipop the stick makes things a little less sticky. This is why it’s not a good idea to suck on a candy cane at work; a big one can last all day.

You arrive at work sucking a candy cane to help soothe your sore throat. You suck loudly during the staff meeting and annoy your boss. When you stand to make your presentation you inadvertently place your sticky, germ riddled sucker on your co- worker’s lap-top. Your co-worker mentally scratches you off his Christmas card list and starts surfing for curses to place on you.

You’re still sucking away when a new client arrives to hear your presentation for their exciting new product. When the client shakes your hand and pats your back, you respond in kind. You pat the back of his cheap, wool coat several times. When you pull away you notice wool on your hand (tinged with red) and red stains on the back of his cheap coat. You lose the account, but get a $200 dry cleaning bill for his coat. Your boss gives you a pink slip and a candy cane and makes a mental note to return the Christmas gift he and your mother you. Security tosses you out the door and you land at the feet of a bell ringer who asks you for a donation. You give her your candy cane as you’ve vowed to give them up. It’s a sad story.

My local paper had a list of tips for sending Christmas cards. Tip # 1: Select cards suitable for the recipient’s beliefs. This means if you’re sending to a couple and one half is Jewish; don’t send a Christmas card, send a holiday card. The Christmas card selection in a store is huge, but, the Chanukah selection? Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Tip # 2:  Make sure all names are spelled correctly. In some cases this doesn’t matter as I’ve received cards with the senders name only. Talk about an impersonal assembly line.

Tip # 3: Sends cards early so they can be displayed. I’ve gotten cards on Christmas Eve and after Christmas telling me I was an afterthought or they sent me one only because I sent them one. 

Tip # 4: It’s ok to include a personal note, but keep it short as the days of the long, rambling newsletter is obsolete. Today, with Facebook everybody already knows your business, even if they don’t care or want to.

Giving Christmas cards can get out of control for just family members. When you get married and Christmas rolls around, you buy your spouse a card. If your spouse has family (most likely they will) you buy cards for their family members, now your in-laws.

Then you and spouse have a child and come Christmas you buy the baby a card even though they can’t read. You buy a card from your child to their awesome Daddy. Then you have a second baby which means more diapers and cards. Come Christmas you buy cards from one illiterate child to another. And now you buy one card for a great daughter and one for a great son. You and spouse buy cards for great daughter and son to give to their mommy or daddy. You buy cards for Wonderful grandma and grandpa from their wonderful grandchildren. Then you buy cards from your children to their Special Uncle which reads, ‘This card is to tell you how much you mean;’ of course they need the card to tell him because they can’t speak! They can’t speak and they can’t write!

After Christmas you buy and send cards to all who gave gifts. You get a card for the wonderful, special, awesome… and the insanity continues.

I just heard the song ‘My Favorite Things’ on the radio. When did this song become a Christmas song and why? I love the Sound of Music and the songs in it, but neither the movie nor the songs scream Christmas. The movie was set in Salzburg, Austria at the start of WWII; nothing in it lends itself to the holiday season. There were no lights, snowmen, reindeer or even a sprig of mistletoe to be seen. To associate this song with Christmas is really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g.

I think if you want a song that’s perfect (and also stretching) for the holiday season it should be Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. This song was about surviving a breakup, but come the holidays it could symbolize surviving time with family. Think about it, once a year you get together with family you choose purposely to see once a year and spend an extended amount of time with them. An extended visit is more than 3 days. 3 days gives you time to catch up, after that, catch up on FB. If you have guests that treat your house like a luxury hotel with you as the maid, after 3 days give them a bill equal to the rates of a local luxury hotel and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly they’ll leave. Here’s your coat. What’s your hurry?

Christmas will come and go and you would have survived shopping, baking, eating, parties, relatives with kids, relatives who ask when you’re going to have kids, relatives who drink too much and relatives who try stuffing the tree up the chimney because they drink too much. You will sing I Will Survive till they leave and when you find the wallet Uncle Sam (who spilt red wine on your white couch) left behind, you’ll have reason to start singing ‘My Favorite Things.’

My holiday season was ushered in with our local Christmas parade. This year The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade made me feel old because when I read the list of performers in the parade I didn’t know half of them. 

One year when I was walking to the starting point to join the spectators watch our local parade, a dog comes running down the street and starts chasing me. I ran from it for fear I’d be the lead story on the nightly news; ‘local woman bit by dog at parade.’ As I’m running with the dog nipping at my heels down the parade route I see some people smiling and waving (big at parades) at me. (The dog was also smiling and showing me all his teeth.) It dawns on me that these people think I’m part of the parade. These people thought watching a lady running from a dog while screaming, “Help,” was entertaining. Finally one spectator yelled “Hey, she has no candy. She’s not part of the parade.” He realized I was not the entertainment and jumped in to help me.  He distracted the dog with candy. I would have thrown candy at the dog if I had any; better he eat candy than my leg.

Candy is big at parades. I think kids love parades because they get candy and unlike Halloween they don’t have to dress up and beg for it. They stand on the sidelines and people throw candy at them. If they’re lucky it’s the soft candy that doesn’t break when it hits the ground. This year a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa landed at my feet. I unwrapped it and bit off Santa’s head. YUM! I was munching on Santa’s belt, enjoying the parade when someone showed up with two, huge dogs. One approached and sniffed me and Santa. Oh no. Did he want a bite of me or Santa? I put Santa in my pocket and went home. There was no way, no how I was going to be the entertainment for this year’s parade. Not again.