I meant to post this last guest blog from Harbor Mom before The Big Day, but things like cramming 100 packages into a car, and trying to remember where the stockings were put away last year, got me distracted and poof! Before I knew it- the 25th had come and gone. But this is a sweet story to end the year on... so here it is. I will be renovating Chez Veasey this week- I'll be back in 2010 with photos and stories about how Sexyhusbandomine weilds a hammer. Until then-Happy New Year to you all!!
HARBOR MOM's post:
I am the baby of the first three children in our family (the last two were born 9 and 18 years, respectively, after my birth, so they ain’t a part of this!), born in the late 30’s and early 40’s. Our father, once he returned from WWII, worked in the chimney department of a big engineering firm, and was out of town inspecting big smokestacks over the July 4th week and Christmas week every year. Our summer holidays were spent with him at whatever tropical spot he happened to be working: Pascagoula, MS; Pine Bluff, AK, Fernandina Beach, FL, not particularly garden spots in the 1950’s. Christmas was at home (so Santa would know where to find us), but without our dad until I was 15.
My mother was a terribly talented and creative woman, which was very lucky, as there wasn’t a lot of money for anything other than necessities. She could sew, cook, paint, and she once poured and laid a concrete foundation for our back porch all by herself, when Daddy just couldn’t seem to get around it. He said he wished she could join the Bricklayer’s Union, because she was as good a brick mason as he had ever seen. She was also bi-polar and obsessive/compulsive, but that just made life interesting and taught us tenacity and patience. Christmas was always an especially difficult time for her, and we never knew from day to day whether there would be laughter or tears. Again…it made life interesting, and we all adjusted.
Mother always bought a cedar tree at Christmas. They were plentiful in Alabama, and CHEAP. For those of you unfamiliar with a cedar tree, ornaments can be hung only on its perimeter, as it is so bushy and full from the trunk out; and it’s very scratchy (but it smells divine!). My sister and I begged each year for a tree like those on the postcards and in the movies. Where the branches stuck straight out from the trunk, instead of drooping down; and where there was space in between the branches so the ornaments could be hung “inside” the tree, nearer the trunk, as well as on the tips of the branches. At that time, spruce and similar trees were available in Alabama, but very, very pricey.
When I was about 13 or so, we all went off to school that December day, planning to get our tree after school and decorate it over the weekend, and hoping it would be a ‘laughing day,’ rather than the alternative. When we got home that afternoon, we walked into the living room and stood, dumbstruck. Not only had Mother gone out and bought a beautiful Colorado Blue Spruce, perfectly shaped, she had put on the lights and all the ornaments, then spent the entire remainder of the day “icing” the tree. I don’t know if they even still make Ivory Flakes (it’s what all women used then to wash their ‘delicates’), but she had put Ivory Flakes and water in her mixing bowl and beat it to a glossy froth; then, using a long-handled wooden spoon, she very delicately and gently laid pillows of ‘snow’ along each and every limb and branch of that tree. It took hours and hours, and the entire box of Ivory Flakes. And it must have required endless patience. It was a magnificent sight that I can still conjure up in my mind’s eye. It was as if she had transported a fully decorated tree from a snow-bound forest right into our living room. Back then, multi-colored lights were the norm, and the bulbs were the size of your thumb. She had loaded the tree with lights, and they reflected off the sheen of the snow. How I wish I had a photograph, other than the one in my memory, but snapshots then were saved for special occasions, as cameras, film, and processing were expensive for most middle class (if there were even class distinctions then – mostly just haves and have-nots, as I recall).
The most special thing about this memory was not so much the tree – spectacular as it was to our adolescent eyes – but that our Mother. Just. Did it. She overcame whatever she might have been experiencing that day and focused all her attention on getting that tree, wrestling it into the house and into the tree stand all by herself, untangling and draping the lights and unpacking and hanging all the ornaments to decorate the tree (which she particularly disliked doing), before creating the snowy miracle we saw that afternoon. I expect that was the good part of the experience for her. I imagine she was able to be inside her own head while she meticulously ladled the snow onto each limb and branch of that huge tree, and I hope the serenity of the finished product filled her mind and heart at the end of the day. I am ashamed to say that I don’t remember whether any of the three of us realized at the time the sheer amount of mental as well as physical effort she had put into her gift to us (or whether she or we even realized what a gift it was at that time); and I don’t remember any of us ever discussing it in later years. I hope she knows that, nearing 70 years old now, I still remember that vision as if it were yesterday. And maybe I’ll try it next year, on a small tree, for my children and grandchildren.
That’s my Christmas memory.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Happy Day before Christmas Eve Day Chickens! Today's guest blogger is the vivacious and verbose B.J. With this special Christmas tale....
When I still had 'in-laws', the MIL, who we will lovingly call Cruella, was a piece of work all year, but really shined during the holidays. She pretty much started at Halloween, that slow, silent, crawl toward demanding audience participation over the next two months. She planned everthing, Tgiving, Christmas Eve & Day, and didn't leave room for you to have other activities or life. She was, you know, self appointedly IN CHARGE. Did you know that everything stops, including the World Clock and Global warming, if you DON'T HAVE TINY LESEUR PEAS?????????? Someone's 'oversight' by bringing a different brand almost caused a smack down in the kitchen one year.
M2 was about 1 1/2, and we go walking into C's for the Thanksgiving meal, and the f-in oven was on fire. Full blown, call the Red Truck, kind of fire. So I just turned around and walked back out, thinking 'me and my toddler are not going down with this freaky ship'. AND I had Vodka in the car. People were screaming instructions and all kinds of shit was going on and my NORMAL niece walked over and threw flour or baking soda or fireplace ashes on the f=in fire and put it out. But it was also all over the turkey.
SO, turkey goes into the sink to be washed off, I fix a drink in the driveway, me and M2 go in to find the Ranch Hand, who has settled into his football watching/eating chair. He's messing with the remote, while the f=in kitchen was on fire! Nothing gets to him, or he doesn't react to anything like a normal person. Meanwhile, the scene in the kitchen was high drama, about the turkey being ruined, the entire meal being ruined, Cruella's life being ruined, and on and on and on. Then my sister in law, 'little Cruella in training', said 'oh shut up" and everyones eyebrows in the LR went 5 inches up but no one said anything. Cruella Sr. went downstairs (weird split level house) and smoked about 90 cigarettes, reapplied lipstick, and came back up. She probably had Vodka down there too. We managed to get through the meal. God,I wished I had written down what went through my head while sitting around that table. If was Southern Style Uncomfortable Silence, which southern and silence don't go together.
I called these people The Adamms Family, just so you know.....
SO, in the kitchen cleaning up with my two SIL's by marriage, I say "do you think we could all get together for Christmas the Sunday before so the R family could go to Oklahoma? They both said YES for various reasons, but thought that was a great idea! **ie, they had been chained to C'ruellas cmas schedule for years, and welcomed the change. So I bring it up, thinking my SIL's will so back me up, and the look on C's face is imprinted in my memory FOR-EVAH. Then she say's 'Well,what the hell are WE supposed to Do CEve and Cmas? Sit around and look at each other?? Silence. My chicken shit SIL's say NOTHING, and the Ranch Hand stands up and say's 'you ready to go?' and I said SURE, and picked up M2 grabbed my purse and we left. Oddly, the next door neighbor was stomping out of her house into the driveway and digging through her car for something. Probably Vodka.
I won't bore you with the crying phone calls, notes, etc, we got right after that. Don't sit there and think 'oh how sad' because she promptly booked a trip to Vegas and her ass was parked at a slot machine singing Jingle Bells All The Way that year.
The next year was even better.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Today's guest blog post comes from the fabulous SCRAPPIN' JENNY. Please show her some love at her awesome blog-some of the best photography on the internets and she needs an Etsy shop!
There comes a time in most parent’s lives when they are forced to have “that talk” with their children. You know the one. It’s often uncomfortable, you never know quite what to say and in the end, neither you or your child is any happier.
I’m talking about the myth of Santa Claus, of course.
My daughter was in second grade when she came home from school and said “All the Jewish kids at school said that Santa Claus isn’t real. They said it’s just you and Daddy pretending to be him.”
My first thoughts weren’t ones I shared with my daughter because I am a good mother and I’m pretty sure child protective services would have taken her away from me if I’d let loose with the tirade that was running through my mind. Instead I took a deep breath and asked “That’s interesting...what do you think?”
My daughter cocked her head to the side and stared thoughtfully off into space for a moment then said...
“I know there has to be a Santa because you and Daddy would never spend that much money on me.”
I smiled very sweetly at her and said “You keep thinking that sweetie.”
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that your children never accuse you of being Ebenezer Scrooge.=
Monday, December 21, 2009
The following comes from one of my favorite bloggers, KREG. In the interest of
Growing up, the yuletide trip to see my paternal grandparents was a forgone conclusion. Everyone from that side of the family gathered on Christmas Day to exchange gifts and eat the holiday fare until gastronomic distress ensued. This was no small family gathering, as twenty four (sometimes more) people packed into the house. Even with all those people, there was never any shortage of food, and tradition demanded that we all stuff ourselves just short of bursting. As BOTH my grandparents were the children of German immigrants (but obviously not the SAME immigrants, because that's horribly illegal and wrong, even by 1910s backwater Oklahoma standards), the cuisine of that region sometimes frequented the menu. Such was the case one year when sauerkraut appeared on one of the many side tables temporarily re-tasked to the noble Holiday chore of holding the glut of food.
I love sauerkraut. El, oh, vee, eee. (A culinary love possibly second only to bacon. And maybe garlic-stuffed olives. And wiesswurst.) I put a considerable dent in that dish all by myself, but couldn't help notice that I was not the only courtesan of the sexy-fine fermented cabbage. Every time I'd return to get more, it was obvious that someone else was devouring it as well, although I could never catch the culprit in the act. Even with the unknown interloping hussy stealing away portions of my pickled love, I still managed to down about a pint of sauerkraut, plus MANY other fantastic foodstuffs.
Hours passed, and we exchanged and unwrapped many presents, posed in front of the tree, drank wine, took naps, told stories, and finally had our traditional 4:00 snack of sausage and fried potatoes before beginning the two hour trek back home. About fifteen minutes into the drive, I began to experience a disturbance in the force. Something unholy was brewing deep within me, and it wouldn't be long until the fury was unleashed. Trying to ignore the kicks of the "baby", I settled back into my seat and tried to sleep...
It was a fitful sleep, and while drifiting in and out of slumber, I seem to recall foofing at some point. At some point thereafter, I was jolted awake by a blast of cold air when my mother rolled down the window. Further, my mother, who is usually a very sweet woman, was using foul language to lament the current smell that smothered every one and thing in the automobile. The window went back up, the swear-storm abated, and I got back to the task of napping.
The return to naptown was shortlived, as I quickly found myself again in another swirl of cool air and profanities. Inner monologue: Christ, that sauerkraut was more potent than I imagined. And apparently I'm foofing in my sleep. Oh well. The window is back up now, so back to napping.
More cold air. More angry comments. Finally, my mother began quizzing us in turn; first my brother, then myself, and finally my father.
"Did you foof?"
I lied straight to my mothers face, and on Christmas no less. Then I quietly foofed again. This was starting to be fun. So the cycle continued for a few hundred miles; the foofs, the window, the accusations, the interrogation, the denials and lying, the fitful napping.
When we finally pulled into the garage, my mother leaped from the car and bolted into the house, bemoaning the atrocious smell until her livid voice was no longer audible.
My brother looked at me and spoke: "Man, I could NOT stop foofing. I think it was all that sauerkraut I ate."
"Yeah, I think I may have stained the car seat with my tract-gas. Wait! So YOU'RE the other person who ate the sauerkraut!"
My father just looked at the both of us and then grinned whilst emitting one of the loudest and longest foofs I have ever witnessed.
We didn't tell my mother until the following spring.
Merry Holidays to all!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The lovely and talented MISS THYSTLE has finally regained consciousness and graced us with her guest blogging post. Please do not read it if you are easily offended, under a doctor's care for abuse of Ambien, My Current Employers, or related to me in a parental capacity. The reast of you--ENJOY!
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS- THYSTLE STYLE
Twas the night before Christmas
at Miss Thystle's house
and I sat drinking whiskey
with no pants and no blouse
I had just settled in, TiVo remote
on my lap
when out in the yard there arose such a clatter
I whipped open the door to see what
was the matter
The twelve blinking Baby Jesus'
cast such a twinkling glow
they gave the appearance of ground effects
to the riders so low
I had just racked my shot gun and stepped
behind a cactus
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
but a drunken old man, chugging a beer
His eyes were all blood shot
and his clothes were really smelly
and when he blew a snot rocket
it looked like mint jelly
He sat down on the curb and started
scratching his junk
My eyes started watering
thanks to his funk
"HEY MISTER!" I yelled
"What the heck are you doing?"
"Oh MY GOD WHAT'S THAT SMELL?"
"Don't tell me you're pooing!"
He turned very slowly
so as not to get the spins
the tossed the bottle over his shoulder
and right into the bin
The light from my scope laser illuminated
his stout little form
I thought for a moment "Is that Phil
or maybe it's Norm!"
But no! It was Santa!
Drunk in my yard
Swilling Mad Dog from a 40
and scratching his nards
of course it was Santa!
It was Christmas even night
but what was he doing in the Ghetto
Santa! I shouted
It's me! Miss Thystle!
Did you bring me some new boobs?
Or maybe a pistol?
But Santa just shrugged
and layed down in the grass
and stayed there slightly snoring
because he was drunk off his ass
Hey Santa! I shook him
You've got to get up!
All the kids need their presents
you drunken old scut!
Miss Thystle, he slurred
I'm too drunk to drive
Could you fire up the Juice
and give me a ride?
Away to the living room I flew like a light
wrapped myself in an afghan
grabbed the keys
and a rum mixed with Sprite
I loaded him up
and strapped him up tight
fired up the Bronco
and drove into the night
He started tossing out presents
one here, two over there
while singing along to Lady Gaga
and sipping his beer
When all the gifts were delivered
Santa turned with a smile
then he threw up in
my lap, used my coat for a pillow
and curled up for a nap
I awoke the next morning
to sunlight so bright
I was sure I'd imagined
my wild Christmas night
But there on the counter
lined up like reindeer
where eight bottles of
Jamison and a full case of beer
I looked for a card and taped to the side
was a picture of Santa's ass and the words
Thanks for the ride!
So I leave you with this my sweet little kittens
I hope your Christmas stocking is stuffed
with a ball gag and mittens, a blind fold, a whip
Durecell batteries sized D
and furry handcuffs with heart shaped keys
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
IS IT OVER YET?
I kid, Chickens. I loves me some Christmas Season. Because today's guest blogger, the lovely & talented Thystle, is currently
WRAPPING PAPER OR GIFT BAGS?
Sometimes both. Sometimes a lucky recipient gets a present wrapped in Christmas paper shoved into a Birthday gift bag. We like to call it reducing our carbon footprint. Our friends like to call it cheap and lazy.
REAL TREE OR ARTIFICIAL? ANGEL OR STAR ON TOP?
We don't hate on the artificial, but us city folk do not have these things you people call attics or basements, so we have to go with the real. Up until last year, we topped our tree with a paper cutout of The Wiggles in their Big Red Car. It's quite possible the Jonas Brothers may be placed there before the holiday has passed. Because how can you dream about a White Chrismas without picturing Joe in those skinny jeans in Camp Rock? Not that...ermmm..I ever think about that, Chris Hanson...next question, please.
EGGNOG-YES OR NO?
Let's see: Artery clogging? Check. Full of Junky Calories, sure to make your thighs bigger? Check. Involves alcohol? Check. Tastes like cookie batter? Check. Guess that would be a yes. Do I also need to tell you people that The Pope is Catholic?
HARDEST PERSON TO BUY FOR?
This will be the fifth year in a row we get Dee-Dad a sweater vest. Need I say more?
DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY SCENE?
I have several: an old fashioned one from my mother, a beautiful ceramic one from my MIL, a plastic Playschool one, a Playmobile one that half the pieces have gone missing from (Joseph is now a knight, Mary is a zoo keeper) , and a new Nativity that I just made for OUR NAME IS MUD (shameless plug ahead) called "Bobble to Bethlehem" which is a bobble head nativity that will be available for purchase in your local stores next year. Unless stores find it offensive and do not order it-which I guess is a possibility. This was the fate met by my Salt and Pepper Nativity set (Jesus is The Reason for the Seasoning), which like a Jessica Simpson movie, was never released.
Note: good news Chickens! the Bobblehead nativity is available online www.ournameismud.com
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE?
The one in the dvd player, babysitting The Spawn.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?
World Peace, Economic Recovery, and Universal Compassion and Tolerance. But if that's too much; well, a girl really can never have too many Christmas sweaters.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The fabulous Ruth (otherwise known as RPC, does not have a blog. So consider this foray into crafting a post akin to sneaking the first beer to an underage kid who will later grow up and become an alcoholic. I know THYSTLE was scheduled for today, but she may be hiding under a table somewhere, so hopefully she will take Wednesday. So without further ado, I give you RUTH.
Lorrie's instructions were: "incredibly moving" or "pee in your pants funny". I¹m going for the rent your garments and tear your hair... how could anybody be so mean to their kids?
In our household Santa only ever brings small gifts to fill the kids' stockings. If there are any big presents, I want full credit as the donor. I'm sure that this has led to some humiliating times at school "What did Santa bring you?" - "A tangerine, a state quarter, and a bouncy ball" doesn't have quite the same same cachet as "A Nonetendo Playstation XOXO Whoa with triple digital feedback controllers". Still, nobody ever asked why Santa was such a tightwad when it came to our household, and the kids never asked him for expensive presents.
Despite this, Santa still doesn't always perform as requested. He frequently has to write letters of excuse. One year my daughter asked for a stop watch just before Christmas. Being too short of time to race out to the stores I ordered online. I was too cheap to pay for overnight shipping (over $20 on an $8 stopwatch!) so here is the letter left in the stocking:
I'm so sorry not to have the stop watch that you requested. I had it all ready for you but the reindeer took it when I wasn¹t looking, and used it to time their races. They dropped it in the snow and got it all messy, so I will have to find another one for you. I will send the reindeer back with it in a few days it serves them right that they have to make an extra trip.
A few days later the promised stop watch appeared with this note:
We¹re sorry that you had to wait for this. The Boss was VERY cross with us, and he made us come out to you specially even though we were tired after Christmas, but we had a LOT of fun with your stop watch.
Love, Santa's Reindeer
My daughter (now age 15) has never asked about the existence (or not) of Santa. I think she decided early on that if she didn't ask she could still hang up her stocking. My son asked from time to time, and got evasive answers from me. When he was about 8 or 9 he said to me "When I'm married and have kids, you will tell if it is really you who leaves the presents won't you? I'll need to know whether or not to get the presents for them". Last year for the first time I asked them if they still wanted to hang up stockings. "Of course we do!" they both exclaimed. I'm sure that the same will be true this year. After all, who can resist the chance of a tangerine and a bouncy ball!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Happy Thursday Chickens!
The winner of the STOP GINGERBREAD CRUELTY PLATTER is........ (drumroll please) BJ!!! Congrats!
Here is the GUEST BLOG schedule for all you other elves--who will also get a little sumpin sumpin when you submit your wonderful blog entries-which did I mention should be no more than 5 paragraphs long and either incredibly moving (OMGawd I must rent my garments and tear my hair) or pee in your pants funny--but NO PRESSURE.
Monday December 14- The week will kick off with a post from the Bloggy Goddess that is Thystle.
Wednesday December 16 - We'll hear from the fabulous Ruth
Friday December 18- We'll read something that will make us have bad dreams all weekend from our man Kreg
Monday December 21 We'll see what Jen has to say about all this
Tuesday December 22 We''ll read a pithy entry from the never verbose BJ
Wednesday December 23 We'll read what Harbormom has to say
Thursday December 24 I'll wish you all a verrrrrry Merrrry.
(Blue & Kristin-I knew you did not want to write, but if the fancy strikes you feel free to jump right in)
Speaking of blog entries- the fantabulous Paul sent me this little entry in days of yore but it got lost on the mess that is my desk. I had promised to publish it, and he reminded me that i never did so. So here it is...a very big AWWWWWWWWW. Thanks Paul!!!
My grandfather was diabetic. In his later years, he had trouble eating. Though he was still exercising regularly, he had little appetite. I came across one of your products in a store. A big yellow "motivational cereal bowl." I'm not sure what you'd intended it for, but it was perfect for Grandpa. The slogans encouraged him to power through breakfast, and the sheer size of the bowl made his portion seem less intimidating. He ate from it pretty much every day, and got quite a bit of enjoyment out of it. And it helped my mother in her constant battle to keep his weight up. Just wanted to let you know of its success, and to thank you for the good it did us. Today, it sits on the counter in his memory, and I can't help but think of him every time I see it.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Haitus. Sabbatical. A Break. Whatever you want to call it, it has become obvious that manning the blog this month has gone the way of shaving my legs in the winter.
So here's the deal, Chickens.
For the month o December, I'll be featuring your fabulous, funny, tear jerking, controversial or irreverent stories about Your Holiday Traditions.
That is, if you'll send them to me via email at L V Mud (at) a o l. IF YOU DO- YOU GET A GIFT!!! Yes Chickens, I will send you a little sumpin sumpin if you send me a little sumpin sumpin. EVERYONE WHO WRITES A POST WINS!!
YOU CAN ALSO WIN A FABULOUS GINGERBREAD PLATTER BY SIGNING UP TO PARTICIPATE IN COMMENTS BELOW. Sign up by Thursday, December 11th at which point I will announce the winner and release a schedule of guest bloggers.
BTW: your own blog need not suffer on my behalf. Double posting is permitted. Ms. Claus in lingerie is not (sorry Kreg.)
So sign up below to help keep this blog chugging along in the month of December. Picture me, standing beside a red kettle, singing Silent Night if it helps.