Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I kept waiting for Bobby Flay.

Before Mama and Daddy drove the long drive across the great state of Texas to get here, Hubs asked me what we would do during their visit.

Crickets chirping.

"Well," I said, "we'll go out for good Mexican food one night, maybe a movie, out for steaks another night, and that's about it."

Did I mention they were here for a week?

Now, my people do not really have to be entertained. We are a lot like the Culhanes from Hee Haw. Just sit us on the couch together and we're good.

This means one of two things. We are boring or we are entertaining on our own. I'll let you figure that one out.

Friday afternoon we went to the movies and saw The Tale of Despereaux. I never took French in high school; I took two years of Spanish. So, I have no idea what Despereaux means in French. My guess is that it translates, "falsely advertised movie full of creepy rats and only one cute mouse but the book is still great, so skip the eight bucks and buy the paperback for the kids."

After the movie we went out for Mexican food. So, in about three hours, we had used up over half of our planned entertainment.

On Saturday, Mama wanted to ride over to a little town nearby (littler than the one we are in) and "see what's there."

I tried to tell her there was pretty much nothing to see except for the downtown square. My friend N went for a girls' day out one day and the entire group visited about six stores and had lunch in roughly two hours.

Still, Mama wanted to go. The great steak place is in this little town, so we headed over for an afternoon of sightseeing, planning to end the outing with a steak dinner.

We stopped at one store in the downtown square. That took up about twenty minutes. We then piled back in the car, looked around and decided to head to Wal-mart.

The Wal-mart visit took up about an hour.

It was 3:00 PM.

So, Hubs decided to take us to the Peanut factory so we could visit their gift shop. (We were low on entertainment options and peanut products.)

I'm not making this stuff up.

Mama and I were doubtful that the peanut factory gift shop would be open for the holidays. When we drove up, there were no cars in the parking lot. Still, Hubs was sure they were open. Hubs was right.

Sitting inside the small gift shop was an older lady just waiting for us to buy a twenty pound bag of roasted peanuts. She was lovely. We walked around the small shop, and as I browsed the many flavors of peanut butter, I overheard my Daddy strike up a conversation.

My Daddy does not meet a stranger. He talks to everyone. And, like most Southerners, the conversation always begins with where people are from. (You have no idea how important that is.)

After Daddy told the nice lady they were here visiting his daughter and son-in-law, he then continued to tell her that they were from Southwest Georgia, The Peanut Capital Of The World.

He threw down the goober gauntlet.

Fortunately, there was no malice in Daddy's declaration or else there could have been a throw down right there in the peanut factory gift shop. Plus, the nice lady behind the counter really doesn't care about peanut capital titles. Her only concern is that her ride comes at 5:00.

We all bought something. I purchased some cinnamon peanut butter and Mama purchased some roasted peanuts. We passed on the raw peanuts because they were old and my people use raw peanuts for boiling, not roasting. We know that only fresh, green peanuts are good for boiling.

I guess you'd have to be from the Peanut Capital of The World to understand.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not a creature was stirring, except for the cat.

Christmas Eve at our house is much like that of many other families. We hang the stockings with care (or in this house, drape them on the hearth because the mantle is not adaptable to cute stocking holders), we read the Christmas story, and leave food out for Santa.

Most years we've left cookies. One year we made him a sandwich because we thought he may be sick of all the sugar and need something to tide him over. You know, something to cut the sweet.

And we always leave something for the reindeer.

We've sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn and left carrots or apples on a plate next to Santa's cookies and ham sandwich.

This year, our daughter chose cookies for Santa and one apple for the all the reindeer. Looking back, the reindeer may have felt a bit slighted this time.

We placed a cup out on the coffee table and left it up to Santa to get his own beverage. He's been by our house a few years. By now, he should just make himself at home.

Now that Maggie is painfully addicted to Elegant Medleys, she harasses any person who gets up in the night. No matter what time of night it is. Once you are up, Maggie thinks you are supposed to feed her.

Our daughter thought about Santa arriving in the night, waking Maggie from her princess slumber, and then running away in frustration from Maggie's constant pawing and purring and begging.

So she left him a note.

Which I shall try to paraphrase here:

Dear Santa,

Here is a can of Elegant Medleys. Give it to Maggie so she will hush.

Santa must have taken her advice because we woke up the next morning and found an empty can of Medleys on the kitchen counter. Remnants of tenders morsels remained in the cat dish. .

Even Santa Claus knows to keep this cat happy. I'll bet he keeps a lint brush in the sleigh.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Catching up

Well, let's see. It has been, um, quite a few days since I wrote a real post.

Christmas. It came. It went. It conquered.

My parents arrived just before Christmas and will be headed back home in a day or so. Bless their hearts; they drove. From Georgia. To New Mexico. That's a long way between Cracker Barrels.

We've had a good time catching up and eating, eating, eating. It's what Southerners do when they get together. We eat when we get married. We eat when we have babies. We eat when we die. Well, we don't. The people left behind do.

Where two Southerners gather together there will be food in the midst of them.

Or something like that.

I'll be back soon for a few funny stories. Goodness knows I've got enough material.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Track Santa

Take a minute tonight to track Santa with the kids.

NORAD is on his trail.

Be sure to watch some of the video sightings!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Journey

I was sitting here thinking about how stressful I can get this time of year.

Last minute shopping, wrapping, planning meals, cleaning the house, and all the regular household duties that we do year round.

Then I thought about what Mary was doing and thinking and feeling over two thousand years ago. My stress is nothing compared to what she endured. She traveled for miles across rough terrain, anxious and uncertain, knowing that the time was very near for her baby to be born.

It makes my few minutes waiting in line at Walmart so unimportant.

But, in a way, she and I do have something in common. We anticipate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. Full of hope, she waited for him to be born and full of hope, I look forward to celebrating that glorious birth.

So, if I'm not around in the next few days, you'll know why. I won't be on a donkey, crossing mountains under a night sky, but I am decidedly enjoying the journey to Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And yada yada yada, he won.

Some of our dearest friends were over for dinner on Saturday. We've known each other a long time. We met before the Internet was invented.

I know.


To you youngin's out there who think the Internet has always been around, let me tell you about the 80's. We thought computers could think. Hello, War Games.

Hubs and I are trying to shake a cold. We sound and look awful which makes for lovely dinner hosts. All I can say is that our friends must really love us or they are too gracious to offend. (Plus, they know we are obsessive with hand washing.) They suffered through my cooking and our hacks and wheezing.

Not on the food. That would be rude.

Seriously, my sweet friend N, the wife, called early in the day to ask if we were still up for company. She didn't want us to suffer through the evening for their sake. I assured her that we sounded worse than we felt and that I had doped up Hubs on Day-quil.

We had dinner and exchanged gifts. And guess what they gave us?

The Seinfeld Scene-It Game!! Game on.

We sat down at the coffee table to play. My playing piece was the Cigar Store Indian. Hubs was the puffy shirt because, truth be told, he really does want to be the pirate.

Hubs won. I blame it on the Day-quil. It must have the opposite affect on me. It turns my brain to mush. When I cannot remember a Seinfeld line, I am either suffering from medication side effects or a high fever.

I learned later that when our friends drove home, the husband D turned to his wife and said, "You know we're never going to beat them at that game."

To D I say, "Have you tried the Day-quil?"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Gospel Message in a Burger King Hat

Between being a child, having a child and teaching children in church over the years, I've been witness to various pageants, plays and musicals.

The thing about kids is that, no matter what happens, the crowd will love them. Once you become a grown-up, people expect you to be, you know, talented and coordinated to be successful and entertaining.

Which must be what happened to The Jackson Five. All except for Michael, who really never grew up anyway.

Vacation Bible School productions are always a huge hit. By the end of the week, the kids are so high from craft glue and Capri-Suns that anything they do on stage is bound to be entertaining. And really, what's better than to corral one hundred sweaty kids on an elevated stage while they flail their arms and legs and sing?

Solid. Gold.

But my favorite kid productions are always the ones at Christmas. There is a certain sense of innocence and wonder and there is a least one kid picking his nose. Bless his mama's heart. That's a sweet video for the family collection.

In addition, there are always kids with costumes that are too big, kids whose Mamas didn't read the flyer that went home about wearing a certain color shirt, angel wings that fall off and halos made of cheap Christmas garland. At least there's still a good use for it.

There is also one little girl on the stage who is determined that baby Jesus is either under or over dressed. She becomes the pageant's Nurse On Call, which is a good thing because I'd hate for the Lord and Savior to get pneumonia.

Then there are the wise men. One Wise Man is wearing a Burger King crown, turned around so we can't see the logo. We all know that the Wise Men would never go to Burger King because the toys there are lame.

One kid waves to his parents during the entire program. He doesn't sing. Instead, he uses his energy to punch the shepherds in the arm or step on Mary's bare toes. (By the way, Mary is always wearing cute sandals like Crocs or pink flip flops under her over sized sheet costume. She may be innocent, but she knows fashion.)

People think the waving brat, I mean, kid is sweet. The crowd usually giggles and it makes for a great America's Funniest Videos moment.

But, all teachers know that the Perpetual Waving Kid is usually the one who took the clothes off baby Jesus in the first place and destroyed the original Wise Men crowns, which is why the music teacher had to run out at the last minute to beg for the cheap, paper Burger King ones.

At the end of every Christmas musical is an encore of a super cute, message-filled number when all the kids sing their little hearts out around the baby Jesus. Thanks to the Pre-K Nurse On Call, He is in costume and appropriately ready to be the center of attention.

And thanks to the real baby Jesus, that super cute, message-filled number declares the Gospel message of Christmas. To all of us.

Even the Perpetual Waving Kid.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebrating a Birthday in the Midst of Christmas

I went home from school with a friend that Friday. It was always a treat to go to a friend's house for a slumber party. This was special. She was my best friend and this was my birthday...

Read more over at The Internet Cafe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A few of my favorite things: Christmas Crazy Edition

I have two posts I've been working on but can't seem to get them together. So, until my brain kicks into gear or I have a V-8 moment, I am going to fall back on the old, familiar, uninspiring list format.


Plus, I have like less than two days to finish a week's worth of errands. I have almost all my shopping done. Most of our family and friends are out of town so I planned well in advance for them, figuring in the UPS transit time. My parents are going to be here for Christmas, so I left their gifts for later. Which is NOW.

Not to mention the dear people who actually live with me.

You could say I have some catching up to do.

And I'd really like to be finished so I can relax and focus on what or Who really matters.

Now that you've heard about my issues, here is a list of a few of my favorite things.

1. Whale Wars- This is my new addiction. I don't really agree with the tactics of the group, but I can understand their passion. Plus, I am so far away from the ocean or any other body of water, that I love watching anything remotely ocean-y. I told Hubs the other night that I get thirsty watching the show. Analyze that one, Mr. Freud.

2. Online shopping- This has been a life saver for me this year. We really do not have many shopping choices here in Smalltown and I am quite certain that most of my family do not need the Ped Egg from Walgreens.

Plus, it gives me a chance to congratulate the UPS man for his fine work.

Today, it was a toasty 18 degrees and he showed up on our doorstep in his brown attire with a hood. If it had not been for the nice view of his brown truck, I would not have opened the door. I normally don't open the door for hooded men.

3. Free shipping. A plus with online shopping if you shop around for the best deals.

4. Angel Tree- There are so many wonderful opportunites to help needy families this time of year.

Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree is close to my heart. I've volunteered with them in the past and seen the miracles that can happen in torn families. Their angel tree is not based on need. They are designed to foster family relationships. If you are interested, there is still time to help this Christmas.

5. Mexican Hot Chocolate. Specifically, Nestle's Abuelita. Chocolate and cinnamon. Yum.

6. Warm kitty cats on cold days.

7. White House Christmas Tree ornaments. I just received this year's in the mail. Love it.

8. Warm kitty cats under Christmas trees. Just make sure you hang the White House ornaments way up high.

8. The Christmas episode of Little House on the Prairie when Laura gives away Bunny so Ma can have a new stove. Makes me cry every time.

9. A Christmas Story. Another chance to watch Ralphie shoot his eye out. Those icicles have been known to kill people.

Signing off and heading to Walgreens. ;>)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twelve Days

Twelves days to check off my list.

Twelve days to mail the Christmas cards.

Did I forget someone?

Twelve days to fill the stockings.

Twelve days to return those angel tree gifts.

Who did I leave out?

Twelve days to plan the Christmas menu.

Twelve days to decide. Turkey, roast or ham?

What have I left out?

Twelve days to get it all done, make it all perfect, without losing my sanity.

Twelve days until Christmas.

Who have I left out?

With the hectic time of this season, when you're making your list and checking it twice, rest in the Peace of The One we celebrate.

Turn your eyes upon the manger and its message of grace.

Twelve Days...

Melanie- Please try my email address again. I have corrected it. (It should be dotcom instead of dotnet; I apologize.) I was going to email you, but your address wasn't available in your profile.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life Lesson # 357

When you are in a hurry and have to pick up your child from school, never get in line behind two twenty-something young men at Wal-mart.

They do not understand the logistics of Wal-mart shopping.

Because I like to do my civic duty and all, I thought I'd share these logistical rules which are etched in a plaque somewhere in Bentonville, Arkansas.

First. Unload your cart in a timely manner. There are moms behind you in line who are in a hurry and should have gotten in line 10 minutes ago.

Second. Once you've unloaded all of the Hot Pockets and Ramen noodles, move out of the way and please put down a divider so that the mom behind you can unload her cart which is totally void of Hot Pockets and Ramen noodles but may include Lean Cuisines and a prescription of Xanax she just filled at the pharmacy. (Lucky you. She popped one about 30 minutes ago.)

Third. Please- for the love of Sam Walton and all things decent and holy- do not hash out who is paying for what using several credit cards, gift cards and whatever else you can find.

Fourth. Once you've paid, please get your stuff, put it in the cart, and let the cashier serve the next customer, which is in fact me, the mom who should have gotten in line 10 minutes ago.

This is a friendly lesson from a mother on a mission. Oh, and one day you will lose your taste for Ramen noodles.

Trust me.

Poor Time Management

The fact that you are reading this means that I have written it, which means that I have completely wasted at least 5 minutes when I should be doing things like grocery shopping, vacuuming, cooking, and the like.

We are having some people over tomorrow evening, so I have lots to do.

But nothing, no nothing stops me from blogging. Except for no Internet access, which, really doesn't stop me because I just go to the public library.

And we know that means I must be desperate.

So, anyhoo.

I'll be around over the weekend, checking in on my favorite bloggers. I just may not have time to post. Or write anything coherent or meaningful.

BTW, my father-in-law survived his Santa experience. As far as I know, none of the children or parents ran away screaming, which is a true measure of Santa success. Don't you think?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How To Be A Good Santa (tongue in rosey cheek)

A little elf called me last night to tell me that my father-in-law is going to play Santa tonight at their church. Santa phoned him and asked for reinforcements because he is busy at the North Pole dealing with the Elf Union issues while trying to produce millions of Wii's.

Maybe Santa could use a bailout.

This is the first time my father-in-law has helped out Santa and donned the red suit, so I thought it may be nice to share some tips on how to be a good Santa.

Not that I've ever been a good Santa. I've never even been a bad Santa.

But I've been a kid. Once. Long, long ago.

So, here ya go.

1. Prepare to be a cool liar. Kids will ask you all kinds of things like, "Do you really live at The North Pole?" and "Is it cold there?"

Resist the urge to tell the kid to watch The Weather Channel and pay attention in geography class.

Two-year olds don't watch TWC.

2. Tell the kids how absolutely wonderful and lovely and helpful Mrs. Claus is and that you wouldn't be the man you are today without her.

This will get you a blank stare from the kids but Mrs. Claus will love you.

3. Pop a breath mint.

For some reason, all the Santas I talked to suffered from halitosis.

4. Tell the kids to leave out Reese's peanut butter cups and Starbucks coffee on Christmas Eve.

I hear that's Santa's favorite.

5. If a kid asks you if they've been good, look over at their mother.

If she looks put together and stands there smiling, holding a camera, tell them ,"Yes, keep up the good work!"

If she looks disheveled, is popping a Xanax or is in fact hiding, tell the kid "You're lucky I'm only allowed to give out coal. At least, that's what the law allows."

6. Keep some Purell on hand. And maybe a can of Lysol. Zycam for extra insurance.

7. If the mom talks on her cell phone while her child is experiencing one of the most precious and memorable parenting moments, repeat the following to the child:

"You can have the tricked out 4 wheeler but only if your parents are good and your mom gets off the cell phone while she is shopping, driving, and supposedly experiencing one of the most precious and memorable parenting moments, hello, lady with the bluetooth!"

You may want to yell a little.

8. As a rule, unless it is directed at the parents, yelling is frowned upon.

9. When you're bored, just for fun, tell the kids that you are a victim of Global Warming and your home is melting as you speak.

That'll make for a really happy time.

And a great Christmas card picture.

WFMW: Easy ways to make guests feel at home.

With Christmas around the corner, many of us will have people visiting this season. Here are a few things I've done over the years and a few things I've experienced as a guest that make an overnight stay more comfortable.

1. Double case the pillows. I purchase inexpensive white pillow cases, then use another pillow case over that. You will be surprised at the difference. Plush, fluffy and soft pillows with little effort!

2. Place a basket or other container in the guestroom with magazines, toothbrushes (the ones from the dentist work great), sample toothpaste, shampoo, anything that a person may forget to pack. Include some miniature candy bars or mints. Really, it's the thought that counts here. It is fun to sort through the basket and your guest will feel so special.

3. Turn down the bed. This may sound silly, but it is nice to find the comforter pulled back, the pillow fluffed and everything ready after a long day of chatting and visiting. (The key is to do this without them knowing it, so they will find it as a surprise when they retire for the night.)

4. Tell your guests where they can find fresh towels, but also leave some folded towels for them in their room. Again, it's the thought that counts.

5. If your guest is an early riser and you are not, set the coffee pot on the timer and put out some pretty mugs nearby. Hearty mugs are great and make them feel at home.

6. The Welcome Book. My mother-in-law gave us one when we purchased our first home. The book is designed for guests to simply sign or leave a note. You can find them in gift stores like Hallmark or online. You can also use a pretty journal. This makes an excellent house warming or wedding gift.

Remember, hospitality does not have to cost a lot of money. Anything you can do to make your guests feel comfortable and welcome will mean a lot.

Any ideas you would like to share? Leave them in the comments.

Be sure to visit Shannon for more tips this week!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

But you can't take The South out of the girl.

This is what we found this morning after rubbing our eyes and slowly creeping out from under the warm covers.

Snow? Eh.

I opened the blinds so our daughter could see what was left from the powdery frozen sprinkles while she sat and ate her breakfast.

If I were a really good mother, I would have gotten up early and made hot pancakes and bacon for my sweet child. Alas, she ate her cold Kix cereal while gazing at the snowfall which did not meet any school closure standards.

Hubs leaves for work before we leave for school. I told him the ice scraper was in the SUV so he could scrape the ice from the windshield on his car. When I got out to my Honda, my windshield was clean. I love that man.

Here is a tip.

Once your spouse has cleaned the windshield for you, leave well enough alone. Don't try to melt away the rest of the icy glaze with your wiper fluid because your windshield wipers may in fact be frozen and the wiper fluid will freeze onto your windshield, leaving you blinded. Then, you will have to pull over, get out of your toasty warm car and scrape the windshield again after your kind husband cleaned it for you.

Hypothetically, of course.

I've mentioned before that I've experienced snow in North Carolina. The stark, cold difference here is the mighty wind.

I'm thinking Christopher Guest has been here.

Seriously, y'all, the wind will cut you like a cold, dull butter knife without the biscuits.

I really hope it snows a little more today, enough to make a difference. This little bit of snowfall is a lot like false labor- nothing good comes from it but there's just enough of it to ruin your day.

On that note, I have to add this picture. These are dairy cows who are normally grazing when I pass them on the way to school.

I call this the dairy cow version of a Sit In.

A Cow Whisperer would tell you that the one over to the left, yeah that one is saying,"Who's the idiot taking our picture?"

I apologize for any typing errors in this post. My knuckles are still thawing.

Monday, December 08, 2008

You can take a girl out of the South.

According to the weather forecast, we are going to have "snow showers" here in Smalltown, NM tomorrow.

Just to show my ignorance, I had to ask Hubs exactly what a snow shower is. Is it a flurry? Rain mixed with snow? Real snow?

They say transparency improves a person's writing. This may be true but, it doesn't improve your image.


This morning I asked him if there is anything special I need to buy or do to prepare for the snow shower. He assured me that it wouldn't be very different from the time we lived in North Carolina.

Hello. I was either pregnant or taking care of an infant then. My brain cells were slush.

Today I will go to Wal-mart and stock up on something. I just feel that I must. Maybe I'll buy up some toilet paper, water, and some pop-top soup. And cat food. Let's not forget the real necessities.

Hopefully, tomorrow you will find some great snow shower photos here on the blog. I can finally enjoy snow that sticks. (That's a real weather term, BTW.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Cats and crabs and such.

Before I move on to the rest of my birthday, I want to show you Maggie sleeping under the tree. You could say she isn't showing her best side.

Not that she cares.

Hubs got home from work this evening, we all got dolled up, and headed to Red Lobster. Red Lobster is not usually my first choice for seafood. Once you've lived close to fresh Gulf Of Mexico seafood, The Big Red Crustacean is not your culinary choice.

But then you move to cattle country and The Big Red Crustacean becomes your only choice.

We decided a few weeks ago that Red Lobster was going to be my birthday celebration when the three of us were eating crab legs at the local Chinese buffet.


Our daughter was tickled over the snow crab legs 'neath the red lanterns and tacky chandelier, but Hubs and I are were not inspired. However, the taste of sub par crab legs made us crave some above par crab legs. Since we can't really get above par, we went for par.

Thus, The Big Red Crustacean.

When we ordered tonight, our daughter said she wanted catfish. This child eats catfish like my Daddy and my grandmother. My grandmother weighed about 100 pounds, but she could eat catfish like a man. (Daintily of course.)

Hubs and I know how much catfish our sweet, delicate offspring can eat, so when we go out, she is allowed to order the adult portion. This is the only time we stray from the kid's menu. The mention of this always puzzles the waitress.

So, our daughter ordered the adult catfish. The waitress suggested that we go with the lunch portion because the dinner portion included two large fillets.

"No, she can have the dinner portion."

Then the waitress secretly rolled her eyes. (I'm a mom. I can see these things.)

Hubs ordered 1 1/2 pounds of snow crab legs. I ordered 1/ 1/2 pounds of King Crab legs.

You do the math.

May I also add that all three dinner orders included salad, bread and a potato.

Yes, we are pigs.

Really, if you eat crab legs, you know that there is not much meat in 1 1/2 pounds. At least, that's the lie we told ourselves.

But when you've been deprived of crustaceans dipped in butter for going on 5 months, your mind plays tricks on you.

Hubs and I shared our crab with our daughter. She ate most of her catfish, all but a few bites.

When our waitress brought the check and removed our crab shells and wet naps, I laughed and said,"Really. We didn't get enough crab."

To which she replied, "I've never seen such carnage in my life."

Can you believe that she didn't even ask if we wanted dessert?!

At least I don't look like a monkey...

Today, I turn old.

Maybe that was last year.

Seriously, I turn 38 today and I feel pretty much the same. I've spent the day decorating the house for Christmas while listening to Rush (Limbaugh, not the band.) Nothing puts you in the Yuletide spirit like a good right wing monologue.

We are going out to eat tonight. Red Lobster- the closest thing to seafood I can get here in the Land of Disenchantment.

I promise to post later. I have a few pictures of Maggie under the tree, neither of which are fuzzy and pleasant, so I guess you could say they capture her personality quite well.

So far, it's been a nice birthday. More to share, I'm sure.

To be continued...

(I totally left you hanging with the upcoming pictures of my delinquent cat. Who cares about the rest of my day.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What I Really Want For Christmas

Everyone says I'm hard to shop for. At least, that's what my husband tells me. I tell Hubs that my close friends (and his mother) usually score right on target, so maybe, just maybe they know me well. Or they are women and great shoppers.

Really, it's a mystery.

So I decided to just make a list of what I really want for Christmas this year and every year and maybe it will make it easier on Hubs.


1. World Peace. Let me get that completely out of the way, so I can move on. Otherwise, I would look completely insensitive.

2. I would like for laundry to stay clean at least an hour after I fold it and put it away.

3. Someone to wash, fold and put away the laundry.

4. A permanent dust buster that cleans and repels dust forever. Forever.

5. A nap.

6. Removal of the tired eyes, saggy chin and gray hair look. Apparently, it is not in style.

7. I'd like for the greeter at Wal-mart to have a chair. She's 90. Let the woman sit down.

8. A Seinfeld marathon followed by 24 hours of A Christmas Story with Sonic commercials during the breaks.

9. Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller on the next Presidential ticket. (Hey, at least it makes it interesting.)

10. Diet Coke to come straight out of the tap.

11. STARBUCKS in my town. Not that I've mentioned it before or anything.

12. Donald Trump to get a haircut.

13. People to stop calling Christmas "holiday." It drives me insane.

Which leads me back to the next Presidential ticket and my last Christmas request...

14. A "We Say Merry Christmas" bumper sticker.

What say you about your Christmas wish list?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rest, Ye Merry Big Fat Cat

My Christmas tree is snoring.

We put up the tree on Sunday. Maggie waited patiently as we brought out the dusty, old box, constructed the fake tannenbaum, then decorated it. She stood, OKAY lounged watch. Finally, our daughter wrapped the tree skirt around the bottom and Voila!

Maggie's fort.

She loves hiding under the Christmas tree. When she was a kitten, we would find her sleeping on top of the packages. She was so cute and tiny and cute and, did I mention tiny? then.


Back in the day, her cute and tiny furriness fit on top of a shirt box. Her teeny paws propped on a jewelry box. Now she's lucky if she can hoist herself up on a robe box.

Maggie, girlfriend. I feel your pain.

So now she is snoozing 'neath the tree, snoring her old lady cat heart out, dreaming of Elegant Medleys and porches void of strays. There's no box or bag or any other kind of package to be seen because I haven't wrapped a single thing. The tree skirt is her world.

I just wish she'd wear a Breathe Right strip.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Cost of Christmas

This morning I opened my Inbox to find at least a dozen emails taunting me to click and save more money this Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday.

Black Friday was branded such because it is reportedly the biggest day of the year for retailers, often the first day they are in "the black," making profits beyond what you or I could imagine. But I think, after this deplorable tragedy, Black Friday has taken on a new meaning.

It isn't often that I blog about news articles or scandals, but the death of a Wal-mart employee at the hands and feet of a mob cries out for commentary and serious thought.

If you are not familiar with the story by now, here is a summary.

A Wal-mart employee was killed while opening the store on Black Friday. He was literally trampled to death. Employees who ran to his rescue were also injured, along with customers, including an expectant mother.

When the store closed for several hours because of the tragic death, some of the customers complained.

I know what you're saying.

This is awful, sad, inhumane.

How could people be so greedy for a sale?

I would never do that.

Don't be so sure. The influence of a crowd can be powerful. This psychological phenomenon must not excuse any responsibility; it should be discussed.

Where does the responsibility fall?

On the excited mob which had been waiting for hours for the store to open?

On the retailer who markets the sale with limited quantities and doorbuster deals?

On the retail industry which continues to open their stores earlier and earlier each year, ratcheting the tension, and spurring adrenaline?

I am sure a panel of lawyers will sort it all out.

While sitting and watching the news story, reading the headline and wondering who is to blame, the person who comes to my mind is very clear.


I am the consumer.

I am the mom who wants her kid to have a good Christmas.

I am the wife who wants to save money, who tries hard to spend frugally.

I am the person who feels a rush when I find a good bargain- at 4:00 AM or 2:00 in the afternoon.


No, I wasn't part of the mob. I was at home in my bed. But, I am not very different from the people who broke down a metal door to reach a big screen TV, killing someone on their way.

What makes a person transition from bargain hunter to savage shopper? I don't know.

Is it wrong to wake up early all in the spirit of shopping fun to hope for that last Elmo? No.

We all need to save money, watch our budgets, check our checkbooks. It is the responsible thing to do. Yet, are we really shopping the crazy sales for the savings or for the rush?

I may not be able to stop an angry mob but I can be sure that I am not a part of it. In reality or in theory. I can delete the emails advertising savings on things I don't even want. Or need. I can carefully evaluate my motives for shopping a sale, and check it twice.

This Christmas Eve, after all the stores have closed and all the deals are off, we'll tuck our children into bed. We'll sit down with our spouses in the quiet and look at the decorated tree.
We'll take a moment to savor the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Odds are that next year none of us will remember what we gave or received the year before, let alone the great deals we got on the presents under the tree.

This Christmas, and the Christmas after that, we will remember the gifts that matter.

Our family. Our friends. The ones we love.

These are the gifts we value most.