Monday, December 31, 2007

Speaking of Andy Williams Reprise

I was just watching the clip of Andy Williams and PP&M again. I think my Mom had a crush on Andy. I can imagine her sitting in the kitchen of our rental home, looking at my Dad. All 5'3" hairy, burping, farting, smoking, grumpy inch of him. Then there's Andy - all tall and lovely with that perpetual tan. I'll bet he never said "Well, SHIT!" three times a day. I'll bet he smelled like soap, not Cigarellos. And he wore those cool, sexy sweaters not old flannel bathrobes with sno-mobile boot liners for slippers. I'll be he didn't put on coveralls to shovel snow. No, Andy would have a fab late 60's alpine ski get-up.

Poor Mom. Wanting Andy Williams. Married to Bilbo Baggins.

The Lazy Family Chronicles

Today we all slept in until 10:30am. Yes, you read that right, 10:30am. Then made waffles and bacon to get the circulatory system really revved up. That was immediately followed by TV watching, blogging, newspaper reading, and coffee drinking. Whoo, what a morning! We're exhausted. Think I'll go nap. I have no idea where my blog gets its idea of time, since I'm posting this at 11:46am.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm mourning Christmas

Feeling a little down today. For the first time since my parents died 9 years ago, I really and truly enjoyed the Holiday season. This year my love of Christmas returned in full throttle and I just couldn't get enough carols, cookies, decorations, greenery, presents, etc. Now I'm feeling so down that it's gone - a vague sense that I just didn't squeeze enough out of it. I feel that way about Summer too - maybe I just set my standards too high.

Right now, two kids are in Burnsville with their Dad shopping for his present of new snow boots. One child is at a friends. I have the house to myself for the first time in weeks. We've had 6 of my in-laws here since the 24th - they left at 7am this morning.

I'm exhausted. First I came down with a nasty cold on the 23rd and I've had it all Holiday. Then I was "ON" as hostess for seven straight days. Ever put on 3 squares a day for 11 people? Let me tell you it's like cooking at a girl scout camp. And my in-laws are not the type to eat pizza delivery. I had home-cooking at every turn. Must say I did rather well. Christmas Eve we had Mussels Diavola with linguine, homemade marinara, shrimp scampi, and scallops with artichokes. Christmas Day we had waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, scrambled eggs, bacon, and bagels. Later that day we had baked ziti and crab legs.

The rest of the week included an 18lb turkey, more pasta, fresh salads, oven roasted potatoes, chocolate cake, loads of Christmas cookies, pots of espresso, cheesecake, turkey pesto paninis, etc all made from scratch. Now before you think I'm lying I must add that my mother-in-law is a miracle-worker in the kitchen and helped me a great deal.

Perhaps I'm just feeling the let-down after a whirlwind couple of weeks. Or my head is too stuffed-up to feel happy happy. Or maybe I realize there are several tons of laundry waiting for me. Maybe it's that the sun has disappeared. Or maybe it was being told by my teenager that I was a lying-stealing-crazy-cruel mother since SHE misplaced the birthday bucks her Grandma gave her, therefore of course I or some other family member STOLE it. We found it later. Don't argue with crazy teens, because they are just absolutely STARK RAVING MAD.

So today I'm feeling "mushade" as my Italian in-laws would say, or "mush" for short. My family of origin would call it a pity party. My Grandfather would say "well, you know where you can find sympathy in the dictionary? Right between SHIT and SYPHILLIS". A wonderful source of compassion is my family. I need some Sudafed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I'm being held hostage in my own home by piles of delicious food and multiple loud children!!!! When I break free, I'll post about our Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This one's really special. It's a clipped photo of my husband after the Nordic Rock Throw during Decorah's Nordic Fest. It just wouldn't be Christmas without this on the tree.
Here is one of my favorite ornaments. It's a lid from a fruitcake-in-a-coffee-can my dear Aunt Co sent sometime around 1979 I'm guessing. On it, in her wonderful handwriting it says "Sorry Margaret it's another damn fruitcake". I hate fruitcake and she sent one to my parents every year. It's an ongoing feud.

Another Unoriginal Blog - Have Fun!

Blogging pal MG posted a photo of his lovely, oh-so-tasteful Christmas tree with a heart-warming story of his crystal ornaments. So I though I'd post mine. Not so lovely, not even CLOSE to tasteful, but fun nonetheless.
And yes, those are Christmas Barbies on the window sill. I have all girls.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Speaking of Andy Williams , , , , ,

I loved 60's folk music. I'm a dork, always been a dork, will always BE a dork.

Great Moments of Christmas #6

Man I just LOVE Andy Williams Christmas Shows - sweet memories of childhood. I don't think that's him doing the spin though - how about you? I really want one of the pink sweaters. Too bad his cute wife turned out to be a crazy husband shooter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Proud Moment in Parenting

Got a call from the school Principal today. My daughter was involved in an "incident" involving a note and some foul language. And she lied about it to boot. So tomorrow night we will go to the victim's house and apologize to the family. Like they say, the first 40 years of parenting are always the hardest. She's a great kid who made a really, really stupid decision. Don't know if I should laugh or cry. I kind of feel like Ralphie's Mom after he said F**K to his Dad in Christmas story - get out the LifeBuoy soap!!
I'm sure I'll laugh about this someday . . . . unless she ends up on Jerry Springer.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Great Moments of Christmas #6

"My mouth's bleedin, Bert!"

Great Moments of Christmas #5

MichaelG finds this bit annoying, but I've always considered it genius. This was LOOONG before Bowie found his mainstream voice via MTV, which made it all the more magical.

Great Moments of Christmas #4

No further comment needed

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hair Affair

Here is the results of the hair-dye-in-a-box experiment. Now you might not think this looks too bad. But consider that I'm usually a fairly sun-bleached light brown. For the first time in my entire life my hair is darker than my eyebrows. When I sub at the Middle School, all my kids say "Hey, nice hair!" and I don't think they really mean it as a compliment.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Great Moments of Christmas #3

I'm not a fan of the "Vacation" sequels, nor of sequels in general. But this clip cracks me up every time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bad Decisions All Around

What a day of decisions, and not all turned out well . . .

1. We decided NOT to drive to Iowa to my sister's wonderful Christmas party. It's going to snow . . we don't want to get stuck there . . . we have to be back home early Sunday afternoon . . . and then the weather had the nerve not to snow.

2. I made chili for supper and now have one raging case of heartburn - and I didn't even put any onions in there!!

3. And the grand finale is that I have now dyed my hair practically black. I look like some weird Goth-Mom-Curmudgeon-Rocker thing with reading glasses. My gray was coming through and I'm trying to pinch pennies. Who knew those innocent little boxes of hair color packed such a wallop?? So now I'll have to dish out the bucks to have a professional correct it. I searched the internet for home remedies and found lots of suggestions involving vinegar, dish soap, bleach, peroxide, and baking soda. I think I'm done experimenting. There should be a warning on those home color boxes - "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Great Moments of Christmas #2

This is by far the best version of this timeless tale. It just wouldn't be the Christmas season without Alistair Sim and Scrooge.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh to be a kid again

This guy just cracked me up when I was a kid. Remember when Christmas commercials were kind of special?? And you didn't start seeing them every 5 minutes starting November 10th???

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A stolen Christmas memory

A blogging pal brought up the subject of Christmas letters and it stirred a memory. You'll just have to get used to me copycatting the ideas of others - my life is just not that interesting! Anyhoooo . . . .

We had this relative, my Dad's cousin, whom I'll call Alene because that's her name. Alene wrote the flat-out BEST Christmas letters! She would give a complete run-down of all the surgeries, hospitalizations, and ailments to be found in our extended family. Of course she never intended it as humorous material, but being a rather sarcastic family we found them hysterical.

And she would NEVER disappoint. One year she told of a relative who had a brain scan, but they found "nothing". In the days after my father's emergency bypass, she send a card saying she'd really like to visit but she's recovering from retinal detachment surgery. Dad couldn't stop laughing, which of course was quite painful given that he had multiple large staples holding his entire chest together. This of course made us laugh even harder. I'm telling you, we enjoy good comedy.

My youngest sister finally gave Alene's letter it's name: Merry Christmas but I Broke My Arm

Well one year, perhaps 1980, the letter didn't arrive, and it didn't arrive, and it didn't arrive. It was looking like a sad year in the Christmas letter department. Christmas Eve found us all snuggled cozily at my folks' house while a beautiful snow fell outside. "Ding-Dong" went the front door and there were our long-time neighbors stopping by for a quick holiday greeting. They also brought a white envelope and stated "this came in our mailbox by mistake, but it's addressed to you".

Yes friends it was the Merry Christmas But I Broke My Arm letter. And it was a beauty. Nothing could have been a happier sight on that Christmas Eve.

And we all lived happily ever after - God Bless Us, Everyone.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Great Moments of Christmas #1

Vera Ellen, the amazingly skinny incredibly good dancer, eventually died of anorexia. While Rosemary Clooney eventually grew large and enjoyed a spanking good career. just goes to show you that sometimes the girl who eats cheeseburgers wins.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I actually DO like Christmas

Lest I give the wrong impression, I actually do like the Christmas season. I'm not a full-time curmudgeon. Here are my favorites:

1. Christmas cookies
2. Our downtown - all historic, festive, and snowy
3. The smell of a real pine tree, especially that smell when you're on your stomach, underneath the tree, pouring in that first pitcher of boiling hot water. Ahhhhh - heaven!
4. Taking out time-worn ornaments and remembering the little stories that go with each of them. Our tree is rather eclectic, with strange things that pass for ornaments but have great meaning to us.
5. O Holy Night sung by the fabulous Phyllis W. at the church of my childhood. Sadly that is just a great memory now.
6. Sitting around the kitchen table with loved ones, much coffee, and many aforementioned cookies
7. Late at night on Christmas Eve . . "the world in solemn stillness waits"
8. The gifts my husband receives from subcontractors.
9. Our Christmas Day tradition of a big beautiful breakfast at the colorful table we'd set the night before. Then dining on appetizers and those darling little bottles of Coke only available at the Holidays.
10. Traveling to NY to see my husband's family. Nothing beats the Holidays with Italian New Yorkers!! Especially New Year's Eve Day lunch at Dominick's in Little Italy of the Bronx - Arthur Avenue. The area fire department drives their truck up and down the street all day while various firemen jump off at regular intervals to buy pannetone, biscotti, espresso, fennel, sfoggiatelle, cannoli, and other Christmas treats.