Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WACKY WEDNESDAY - Looking for a last minute gift idea? Well...


I'm peeved. Someone stole my Christmas spirit and I can't find it anywhere! December 1st started out great...Christmas music, a little shopping, decorating the house--all things that usually put some bounce in my step and a flutter of excitement in my tummy. I felt a little slip away when the washer died, a bit more when the large garage door decided not to go up anymore (thank heavens Mini Coopers can basically turn inside out and after some creative turns, I was able to escape out the smaller garage), and don't get me started on family drama!  I could write a whole saga on this past weekend alone titled:  "As The Stomach Turns..."

An inkling of "cheer" returned when I perused the Ralph Lauren site for boxer briefs my son requested (yes...he asked for designer underwear) and the page opened to several images, now locked in my brain to be relished later. Far cry from the old JC Penny catalog ads from years back. Ladies, if you ever need a visual to describe a hunky hero, might I suggest starting with "cotton basics." Very impressive...abs. I'm like "for real?" blotting the drop of drool from the corner of my mouth.

But the ultimate "kill joy" came in the form of an email message, "Christmas is coming." Big newsflash. I've been on an antacid diet for weeks anticipating the joyous occasion. Of course the simple message could by no means be offensive, right? Wrong.

I opened the festive looking email thinking I'd received a "e-gram" of sorts and low and behold, an urgent message alerting me to this "uh-hum" event, told me that I needed to rush to a certain website and stock up for the holidays with...Viagra or Cialis. Oh yes. That's exactly what my pantry shelf is missing. I stood there just the other day, scratching my chin, notepad in hand thinking...hey, what do I need to stock up on? What items need replenishing. 

I'm a mess in my office (which by the way, is the sign of a creative mind), but my pantry is fairly well organized. I have my canned fruit in one spot, vegetables in the other, baking staples, paper products, cereal, meals-in-a-box for those "write-in" days, and oh, that's "enhancement" drugs --a spot reserved  right between the jars of spaghetti sauce and cans of tuna fish.

What concerns me is I didn't notice the spot was "bare" (no pun intended...honest). Hmm. Now my memory short-circuits frequently, especially this time of year, but I think I'd remember if my significant other was popping little blue pills. Yep, quite sure after 36 years of marriage, I'd notice. Of course in the midst of hanging holly, decorating the tree, standing in long lines to purchase gifts, oh...and trying to write an award winning novel, I might have missed something or unknowingly hung a bell in a precarious spot. However, nothing has "chimed" lately.

And yet, some stranger out in the great cyber beyond, seems to be concerned that my holiday will not be complete without purchasing this item. Granted I'm always looking for last minute gift know, "stocking stuffers" (I'm just getting started), but this? Never came close to making the wish list.

Of all the things I've expressed a desire (really, no pun) to have wrapped under the tree...a new iPod, tickets to a favorite concert, a new washer so I can decorate the curb with the piece of crap I have now, or even a new toothbrush in my Christmas stocking--one with bristles that will hold a bead of toothpaste, I don't remember sitting on Santa's lap (seriously, absolutely no pun) and asking for these little "pills of joy." I'm pretty sure such a request would cause a reaction (no, no...think wait...not screaming).

In other words (and yes, this is a test of how many cliches I can squeeze in here), I do believe the little elf who was kind enough to inform me I should jump (okay, intentional choice of words) on the chance to acquire some of  "Santa's helpers" for a seasonably good rate (I'm having fun now...) apparently, has been mistaken.

I only wish there was some way to let those at "the Pole" (stay with me) know how annoying it is when they clog my inbox (......) with such messages. Therefore, I'm forced to send a message of my own.

In the hustle and bustle of this joyous season
I honestly can't think of a reason,
Why I'd spend my last cent
On penile enchancement
When I haven't got one in the first place.
I know there's a list of "Naughty and nice"
My name should appear on the first at least twice,
But the gift I'm expecting
Simply takes no erecting
Nor can it be bought off some cyber website.
So stop sending me nonsense I find such a bore
Messages, pictures--send me no more,
Your pharmaceutical hash
Is now in the trash
You address permanently logged under "spam."

For those of you feeling slightly overwhelmed, exhausted, and huffing "bah humbug" under your breath, I hope I've put a little smile on your face, caused an eyebrow to raise, or at the very least, taken your mind off the long list of things still left to do, even if only for a moment. Find the humor in life--the knot in the rope you're swinging from, and hold on.

As always, friends, thanks for stopping by and sharing in the wackiness of my Wednesday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

IT'S THE HOLIDAY SEASON...Strap on your bells, baby

  Today's melody:  "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by the man with the velvet voice, Johnny Mathis.

I grew up listening to Christmas albums by artists Johnny Mathis, Ed Ames, Andy Williams, Ray Coniff, Mitch Miller, and an old favorite, Dennis Day (with Jack Benny). Wow! Talk about a "time warp." I've got whiplash! A couple of years ago, my brother found me the old album by Ed Ames "Christmas is the Warmest Time of the Year," which gave me a favorite carol, Some Children See Him... It was one of my favorites, and while I've added Amy Grant, Kurt Bestor, Mannheim Steamroller, as well as Christmas tunes from my favorite bands of today, Johnny Mathis and Ed Ames still get equal time on my holiday playlist. My top ten favorites?

1.   Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
2.   Stille Nacht by Mannheim Steamroller
3.   I'll Be Home for Christmas toss up between Johnny Mathis and Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters)
4.   A Christmas to Remember by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
5.  Grown Up Christmas List by Amy Grant
6.   Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney
7.   Last Christmas by Jimmy Eat World
8.   Boots by The Killers
9.   White Christmas by Bing Crosby
10.  Some Children See Him... by Ed Ames

I pulled out the several plastic tubs full of Christmas decorations this weekend because I couldn't face housework. This way, I give the dust a "holiday feel"...literally. My theory is if I put enough angels, nutcrackers, snowmen, and Santas at eye level or above, no one will notice the floors need scrubbing. Add colored lights, dim the overhead ones, and put a fire in the fireplace and company will never notice the hand prints smudging the woodwork, or the dog's nose print on the glass insert in the back door. That's why we spike the wassail and serve rum saturated eggnog. It completes the holiday illusion. Everything appears wonderful and sparkly.

    Does your heart do a little pitter-pat when you open your decoration boxes and find your favorite ornaments? I collect angels and nutcrackers. I also have a fetish for Christmas dishes. But my favorite decoration? My nativity. It's the first decoration I put out and the last one I put away. Why? Because it symbolizes "peace." Arranging my porcelain figurines to create a scene depicting a sacred moment, reminds me to keep my heart open, allow forgiveness, quiet my snarky tongue, and find the good in everything. Not an easy task in this world.   

I really believe that's why we look forward to the holidays (even Grinch found his adrenalin rushing in anticipation of the season). Granted, the commercialism, overspending, and expectations dim the shine of the golden moment, but push all that aside and reflect on the "feeling" of Christmas. When you walk into the mall to do your shopping, there's a festive air. Carols play over the speakers, decorations hang from ceilings, and the smell of cinnamon almonds, roasted nuts, and chocolate fill your lungs.

And overall, people smile more. After Black Friday takes its casualties, people seem kinder, more patient waiting in line...more giving. If the Salvation Army volunteers stood outside grocery stores ringing their bells in August, do you think they'd get as much? Would you be inclined to drop that $5.00 bill in the red can mid May as you would mid December? We crave the "spirit" Christmas creates.

So why does it take twelve months for us to notice the neighbor who is struggling, or the homeless person huddled against a building to avoid the wind, or sadly, become mindful of the soldier away from home this one month versus the other eleven in the year? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could carry the gentle charity of Christmas beyond December 25th? That's why I won't put my nativity away until the last moment. As long as it sits across the room lit up with tiny white lights encased in angel hair, it's a glowing reminder of the kind of person I should try to be year round...not just at Christmas.

What decoration do you cherish, regardless of how ragged it's become over time? What ornament completes your tree? Mine? Small framed pictures of my children and grandchildren on Santa's lap that I tuck within the evergreen branches. Funny how no matter how old they get, when they come to the house, they all look to see where their picture is. I've even found them "re-arranged" to make sure they get front and center attention over a sibling.

So what ornament or decoration places you in the time capsule and zaps you back to a time or place where life seemed simpler? What certain carol puts the familiar ache in your heart or the tear in your eye?