Showing posts from 2016

The Post I Couldn't Write...

I've had something in my heart since the beginning of December (Dec 3rd to be specific), but I couldn't share my thoughts.  At least not until Christmas was over.  So here, with tears, I share with you sad news (that if you're local you may already know), Ray Beesley passed away. You may not know the name.  You shouldn't know the name. The name was not important.  But the man was. He owned Beesley Event Photo.  It was a family affair and as I found out after he died, that it was his daughter who took the photos.  Ray wasn't behind the camera, he was in front of it.  He was in countless holiday photos for decades.  But it wasn't Ray in those photos, it was Santa Claus.  Let me reiterate this; Ray did not "play" Santa Claus; he WAS Santa Claus.  And it didn't matter if he was in his suit or grocery shopping (as I once saw him at our local Shoprite), he WAS Santa. He wasn't about the photo or the list of gifts.  He was about listenin

Christmas (Eve) Word of the Day:

Improvisation. When you go to make your annual Christmas Eve alcoholic beverage, that you only make once a year and find you are missing one of the ingredients; you improvise.  Yes, it would have been early enough for me to run to the local liquor store for some blackberry brandy to make the beverage right, but the wallet is thin this holiday season, so just forget about it and add a little more blue curacao, peach schnapps and raspberry vodka to the pina colada mix along with lots of shaved ice. (Many years ago I bought a icee maker at a flea market.  One of the best expenditures of $15 ever.  For at least 10 years I have been using it Christmas Eve to make myself a bastardized version of a Blue adult frosty beverage that was sold at the now defunct Spoodles restaurant at Walt Disney World's Boardwalk Resort.)  And with no whipped cream to add to the top of it, I've just improvised once again and thrown in some cool whip.  And no, I haven't co

When Christmas and Hanukkah Collide

Christmas is always December 25th, but Hanukkah moves around on the calendar.  The holiday keeps you on your toes because it could be at the end of November (like the year when it coincided with Thanksgiving) or any time in December. This year the first night of Hanukkah is also Christmas Eve.  For a blended family like mine, it causes a slight challenge. Background:  My husband was brought up in the Jewish faith, but he does not practice.  My in-laws (and when they were alive my grandparents-in-law...if such a word exists) are Jewish.  My family is Christian.  (Although my father and his side of the family are a different denomination than my mother and her side.  When it came time to be confirmed, I chose to my mother's Presbyterian tradition, while my brother chose to become Episcopalian like my father.  Of course with that said he was eventually married in the Presbyterian church and his funeral was overseen by a Congregational minister, who was a very good friend to him.)

SOMWaD: The Poop Snoop Finale!

A decision has been made:  My son had decided to let the Snoop while you Poop stay. The Snoop was pretty relieved as evident by his final note: After much consideration my son DID name him:  McShiSh*t.  I have dubbed his full name to be Poopy McShiSh*t. Unlike Ralph, who will disappear on Christmas Eve night, Poopy will hang around a little longer.  (After all he only just appeared on Monday night.)  Sometime during Christmas Day he will disappear.  (Maybe to a perfectly timed flushing sound??  How creative can one woman get?) Thus ends the saga of the Poop Snoop; on to other pressing holiday matters such as when should I start baking holiday cookies?  (I'm thinking I start this weekend and then do some more next.  Doing them all next weekend would be best, but I don't think I'm going to have the time.)  My chocolate cinnamon sugar cookies are always a hit with the family. (And with the elf  as well. Who knows what Poopy McShiSh*t will think?)

SOMWaD Update: Fun or Failure

The whole "homemade" Snoop While You Poop (or as I crowned him:  The Holiday Poop Snoop) did not work out quite as well as I had hoped. He appeared in our bathroom on an outlet ledge overlooking the sink and, of course, the toilet with a carefully written note.  I was sure this would bring giggles and make the not so fun morning routine a little more tolerable.  (Blog post to come on that in the near future.  I could use some help in how to get that kid up and going in the morning.)  WRONG! Hubby played along, gasping at what had appeared in the bathroom.  When we finally managed to get him out of bed and into the bathroom, he was not pleased.   Words along the line of "Get him out of here."  (Only there were other words in between the him and out.)  He pulled down the carefully placed note and tossed it in the trash. So much for levity in the morning. Later as my son was brushing his teeth (and I was trying to get out the door), I see my son spraying our ve

A Little Holiday Cheer from the SOWMaD

As holly and jolly as I try to make the season, this past weekend was a big FLOP.  Lots of stress, tears, name it.  It WASN'T a good weekend.  And it WASN'T pretty. As the weekend wound down, I did one smart thing.  Sunday nights are for The Simpsons and I made sure that we all we snuggled up in my bed to watch last night's episode.  I didn't know it was the holiday episode and I didn't know that the "B" story would be so brilliant.  (At least WE thought it was brilliant.) When Marge brought "The Gnome In The Home" to watch over Maggie, we started to chuckle.  We were flat out hysterical when we heard that the gnome eats the fingertips of not so good girls and boys.  And when we heard that toy company (I believe it was Spyco Toys, but I could very well be wrong*) also had products as Bear Who's Always There and the Snoop While You Poop, we were rolling on the floor laughing.  Which is EXACTLY what this family needed after th

Looking to the Light

As high tech as my family can be, we still enjoy some simple pastimes that people did decades ago.  We've played Scrabble together. (Although not recently and the main reason for doing so was to help my son with spelling.)  In warmer weather, we eat outside when my husband grills.  And now that we're in the holiday season, we get into the car (ok, SUV) and drive around town to look at the lights. Yes, people STILL do that.  Or at least we do.  And usually several times during the holidays.  I turn the radio on to the holiday station(s).  (Prefer Sirius XM Holiday Traditions, but since that doesn't go on air this year until Dec 10th, we've been tuning into Holly.)  Sometimes we don our "Santa Hats."  (Yes, we're that dorky!  And proud!)  We drive around for an hour or so.  I try to pick streets that I know have lots of lights/decorations.  (And since we've been doing this for several years, I know which streets are decorated more than others.)  I v

The Elf Fails

Once the Thanksgiving meal is over, it's time for the elf to make his appearance.  Yes, we STILL have Ralph visit us from Thanksgiving night to Christmas Eve.  I hope he'll be around for many years to come.  For us Ralph is less about "keeping an eye on the child for Santa" and more about alleviating tension that often comes with the season. (Although thankfully, this year the Christmas Crazy Kid level has been a little bit lower than usual.) Emotions tend to run high this time of year.  Having Ralph around makes us laugh as he gets into some wacky situations (though nothing too crazy...I'm not cleaning up after any elf).  He may hide among the left over Halloween candy (not that there's much left now).  He may hang in the music room as a reminder for my son to practice the trumpet.  Or he may just hang off the ceiling fan in the living room for the fun of it. The other morning when I found a package on our front doorstep for our son (UPS must have be

So Here I Am Again

I've been lying awake for the past hour or so (give or take).  The alarm was set to go off at its usual time (which is about a half an hour from now...with now being as I sit at the keyboard, screen glowing in the otherwise darkness).  This whole sleep thing seems to be eluding me a bit.  Which is sad because despite what my son thinks, I DO love sleep. The good thing though is that while I am up, sitting here and typing, I am not doing so because I feel the need to hack up a lung or because my face feels like it wants to explode due to all the pressure in my sinuses.  Thankfully, a visit to the doctor's office had made that much better.  I'm not an advocate for antibiotics, but when they are needed they work wonders.  Clearly I needed one because only one pill later and I am feeling so much better.  I didn't ask for one either; she just assessed me and felt that it might be the right course for me. And she was right because hours after the first dose, I felt bette

The 2 AM Sinus Infection Blues...

So it's the middle of the night; or actually early morning, and I'm sitting in front of this computer because despite a dose of Nyquil 7 hours ago, I am not sleeping.  (And I am also now out of Nyquil.) It's that wonderful time of the day when my sinuses are full and I wish that my face could just fall off.  That time where I am wondering if I need to see a doctor and take a sick day or just soldier on. With Christmas just 20 days away, I'm feeling the pressure. I need to get better.  And so does the husband.  He came down with it first (I think last Monday or Tuesday) and I followed suit on Wednesday, although I don't think I got the full blown fun until Friday or Saturday.  (So far the kid has been spared and I'm praying that it stays that way.  The kid has a strong constitution and hopefully a better immune system than his parents.) It's one of those darned colds or infections where you feel miserable, but then not so.  Is it worth a trip to the

Tree of Imperfections

The day after Thanksgiving is our decorating day.  Actually I did start decorating after our Thanksgiving meal on Thursday night.  I put up my Little Town of Bethlehem and part of my New England Village from Dept. 56.  I really need more space if I wanted to show them both off, but I'll take what I can get. My husband usually assembles the tree.  Yes, we have a fake one.  I love trees and think that they should stay planted outside where they belong. I know you can get a live one and then plant it outside afterwards, but I'm going to be honest, that would be too much of a hassle for me.  Plus with all my allergies, a real tree just isn't in the cards.   The tree was purchased (for me, or so he says), by my husband back in 1996.  So it's 20 years old.  It's been assembled, decorated, and taken down and stored in our (musty, damp and sometimes moldy) basement for 19 years.  We've gotten our money's worth out of it.  Every year, when my husband bri

Here We Are...

...last month of 2016.  For those of us who've had a tough year, we can breathe a little easier knowing that it will soon be over.  On a personal level, 2016 hasn't been as bad for me as it has for many others that I know.  While it has not been the best year ever for me (I'm not sure I know what year that was for even the really good years [like the one where my son was born] had some serious downsides [my son was born but I lost my job earlier in the year at the same time we lost my husband's grandmother].), it has certainly not been the worst.  (The prize for worst year ever has to go to 2012 which included two deaths in the family, another job loss, two robberies and Super Storm Sandy.)  We've only got 30 more days to ride out 2016 and then it's on to 2017. It's also World AIDS Day.  I mention this only because it didn't seem to get much fanfare this year.  (Or at least I didn't really hear about it.)  I suppose that is a good thing; HIV is

It's NOT About the Turkey

Thanksgiving:  It's all about the turkey right?  What is the first thing you think of when you think of the holiday?  BE HONEST!  Are you really thinking about what you are thankful for or are you thinking of turkey?  Word Association:  Black/White, Hi/Low, Thanksgiving/? For most of us Thanksgiving = Turkey. There are those who might come up with stuffing or pumpkin pie as their first thought, but let's face it the bird is the "face" of the holiday.   Of course we all know that Thanksgiving is not just about the food.  It's about a time of reflection and gratitude. But let's put aside all the "good thoughts" for a moment and be a bit more realistic.  Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends.  But isn't that celebration done through the massive consumption of turkey (and other goodies)? For years my family has been denied the pleasure of the bird. My son didn't find out about what a "Thanksgiving Feast&quo

My Guilty Thanksgiving Indulgence

Thanksgiving is pretty simple around my house.  I have a small family, so our Thanksgiving meal is usually pretty quiet and uneventful.  There's not much fuss or muss.    As hostess, this is a big plus.  One thing I am very thankful for is that my family has managed to make Thanksgiving relatively stress free.  (I say relatively because there is ALWAYS stress...I seem to attract it like a magnet, but that's a whole other story.)  And it gives me time to indulge in a favorite annual pastime... Thanksgiving morning, I will wake up later than usual; which is not late.  I probably won't be out of bed until 7 (which is SHOCKING for me).  I will grab my wallet and head out to the local convenience store and pick up two newspapers:  one for my dad and one for me.  The cost will be higher than the usual daily paper and the paper will be heavier due to all the ads, which my husband says is ridiculous and he's right.  But I will still buy not just a paper for my dad, but f

SOMWaD: The Lunch Conundrum

(As this is Thanksgiving week and food is on everyone's mind, I thought this was the perfect time for this post.) Lunch at the middle school is different than Elementary school.  I found that out last year.  In the elementary school, where they don’t have a specific cafeteria, lunch could be purchased most days (not all) and options were limited.  You paid a set amount for lunch per day; around $3.50 a meal, which is pretty reasonable.  Depending on the options, every month I would fill out a form and send in a check for the days that my son would get a lunch.  It was around $25 - $30 a month.  Not a bad deal. In middle school, the kid can pay for every meal, which means you have to remember lunch money and have enough.  Or you can prepay via credit card and then the money is deducted with every item your child buys.  Same company provides the meal as in elementary school, only now there is a dedicated cafeteria (so I'm assuming that hot meals can be made on the premises

The Crazy Thoughts of Mine When I Wake Up In the Middle of the Night And Am Wide Awake.

It's around 3 in the morning here.  I woke up, aching in places that are not all mentionable.  I'd like to say that it's because of my intense walk yesterday, but that's not necessarily true.  I did walk outside yesterday for the first time in a long time, but I've been doing some intense indoor walking exercises and I also did an incredibly intense hike last Saturday (doing things that I never thought I could or would and probably shouldn't it).   My aches and pains could also be the result of the intense cleaning I did yesterday.  Thanksgiving, after all, is just a few days away.  My intention for this weekend was to clean the house, although my husband had started to do a great job earlier in the week. there are always those places that never really get clean.  You know the spots that you ignore until one day you see them and you just can't turn away from the piles of dust and dirt that exist. You hope that others don't notice, but you are afraid

It's Finished: The Pulitzer Project

I'm done.  My Pulitzer Project has concluded.  While I was unable to read EVERY piece of fiction that won the Pulitzer Prize, I did read as many as I could (or that could be found electronically).  It took not quite two years (and I did give myself a few breaks during the process) and I have to say I’m relieved that it's over.  I want to say that in my opinion, winning a Pulitzer, doesn't necessarily mean that the book is good.  I found there to be several "clunkers;" even though they may have been acclaimed. Here's how it breaks down: ·          1918:   His Family  by Ernest Poole:  Surprisingly good and relevant nearly 100 years later. ·          1919:   The Magnificent Ambersons  by Booth Tarkington:  It's not that the book was bad, I just hated the main character and just wished that he would die and the book would be over already! ·          1920:  no award given ·          1921:   The Age of Innocence  by Edith Wharton: Beautifully writt