Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Buck Peeps

It’s that time of year again, time to haul out the Buck Peeps


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     As a gift to Buck for Thanksgiving this year I gave up all interest in the holiday. I suggested we get Whattaburger meals mid-afternoon or so, but he baked a ham instead. It was a lovely meal, made all the lovelier because I did nothing to contribute to it. We sat on the couch and ate ham and potatoes au gratin, then pumpkin pie, and watched five episodes of Survivor in a row. We exhaustively re-hashed each episode, expressing our disappointment with this season’s cast as being a tribe of total losers, and we tore each member apart for being weak, stupid, and just plain mean. Then we took Nyquil and went to bed. I dreamed about Survivor, not that I was on the show … I dreamed I was sitting on the couch watching it with Buck. My dreams are often like that, just a re-living of real life. Sometimes I dream I’m sitting at my computer, typing.

     Question: Were whole cloves cheaper in the 1960s? I ask this because this morning I had the urge to avoid work and make those cloves-stuck-in-oranges balls that we made as craft projects in Brownies when I was a kid, but when I reached for the whole cloves jar in my spice cabinet and saw how much I’d paid for them, I couldn’t bring myself to stick them in oranges just to make the kitchen smell nice. What if I need them for something? What, I don’t know, but I might need them for something. Soooo…were they cheaper then or what? They must have been. How else could we have been making them all the time in Brownies?

me-brown-hairLast week I dyed my hair brown in preparation for going broke in the recession. I didn’t want to wait til the last minute when all the brown hair dye will disappear from the Walgreens shelves. I used my old camera to take this photo because it’s easier to hold in one hand. My daughter said she really likes this picture because it looks like Alice In Wonderland. I told her she’s very astute, because I am in Wonderland.

And below is a photo of that $20 ball of 100 hair elastics that every magazine is suggesting on their list of “Gifts For Under $20” that I read obsessively and am so sick of.  I used to have to write those article, so I know they’re grasping at straws. But look at this thing! It’s made by Bumble & Bumble and ugh, it’s so stupid for $20. I DO NOT want one. It reminds me of the rubber-band balls my grandmother started making when she was in her 80s. She used to show them to me when we’d visit her (Maine) and I was obligated to go, “Oh wow!” with great enthusiasm. With this thing I am under no such obligation. But I have wondered if Bumble & Bumble stole the idea from my grandmother. She had 11 dogs and lived in a giant house with a haunted guest room, so I’m guessing she wasn’t above giving away ideas such as this one.


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fire pan 

Friday night I scorched my throat when we accidentally caught the kitchen on fire. Being that we’re so far from the kids and everyone else we’ve ever known or met, we didn’t much care about a 4th of July barbecue. Instead, we started frying some chicken in the pan pictured above (which was a clean pan at the time) and then immediately went off to the living room to watch Tommy Lee Jones in The Missing on DVD. But Tommy Lee Jones being the terrifying fascination that he is, wasn’t on the screen for five minutes before we had to go outside for a cigarette and discuss him in depth (as is our habit). About 20 minutes later, we went back inside to continue the movie but the kitchen was filled with black smoke from burning chicken and in the process of beating back the flames and rescuing all the dogs, etc., I scorched my throat. I couldn’t help it; I can’t hold my breath for very long (three seconds, tops).

Buck was there putting out the fire too, of course, but he called me a wuss for scorching my throat. Later, I tried to tell Studio Bob about it on the telephone but he kept singing over me. He was singing Eight Miles High.

Then on either Saturday or Sunday or Monday I was going out to the laundry room/building where Buck was engrossed in the process of turning it into what he calls his “shop” but is really nothing more than some sort of Panic Room for himself, when an oversized arachnid that had been driven crazy from the El Paso heat jumped at me:

I started shrieking and shrieking and tore off what I had begun referring to as my “brand-new party dress” and will now be forever known as The Tarantula Dress that I will never wear again.

A certain party would be wise to pick up The Tarantula Dress with a broom handle and burn it because I am not a vampire and the abandoned dress lying there like some kind of blue sequined crucifix will not stop me from entering the Panic Room. I will simply use the other door.

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Christmas Day

     With the exception of my daughter, we’re a very apathetic family. Left to our own devices this Christmas we never got around to even putting up a Christmas stick. We’re cool with it, nobody really cares. Yesterday we did go out to the backyard and look around for a perfect stick, and I had the colored lights ready, but then the conversation veered off to something else and we basically forgot why we were wandering around the backyard in the first place. We drifted back into the house and never thought of it again.

     My collection of little Christmas trees (above) is enough for this year. We piled a few gifts in front of the fireplace, and instead of hanging stockings we just added them to the little pile of gifts: a couple of Timex watches, slippers and T-shirts, books and candy. The boys were once again mortified at the box of condoms they found in the bottom of their stockings. (Hey, I’m just being realistic, and I never want a lack of cash for condoms to be an excuse for unsafe sex.) At least they weren’t the glow-in-the-dark ones I bought them last year.

     Then Buck made his traditional eggs benedict for breakfast and it was very delicious. All in all it’s been a great Christmas. Merry Christmas everybody!


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     After months of waiting to see them, my sons are finally here! Max (on the left) made the mistake of telling me that the moon looked really cool over the mountains, so I made him and Sam get up on the roof with me while I took their picture. They’re used to this, I’ve been sticking a camera in their faces forever.

     They flew in from Providence Thursday night and Buck and I feel like we’ve just been laughing ever since. They’ve been cracking us up, and helping us move furniture. Actually, they’ve done all the furniture moving. This is the first time we’ve had our furniture in the house and it’s excellent … I forgot how nice it is to have a couch to sit on. And they didn’t even complain while I carefully considered each move of the couch or chairs and then said, “No, let’s try it over here instead …” 

I did that four or five or five times.

My daughter Cody is staying in Boston for the holiday. It was a tough decision for her, I know she wanted to be with us but she also wanted to be with her boyfriend.  I stayed out of it by supporting her decision whatever she chose. It’s hard enough to make decisions without your mother putting in her two-cents. I know this because my own mother had an opinion about everything and didn’t need any prompting to verbalize it, and wouldn’t stop verbalizing even when you asked her to. My mother’s constant “advice” made life miserable, actually. I never want to inflict that on my kids. We miss Cody, but that’s all part of this growing up stuff I guess. (My growing up, but her as well.) She sent a surprise duffel bag of Christmas packages on the plane with the boys, “To make me and Sam look bad, as usual,” Max said. But I said, “Yay! Thank god for daughters! Now give me that wonderful-wonderful duffel bag …”

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My Perspective Needed Changing

I have a lot to be grateful for in this life, but I lose sight of that at Christmas. I’ve been trying to reel myself in. One thing I’m grateful for is Buck’s very romantic side. He’s always done a lot of the supermarket shopping for us, partly because he believes he does a much better job than I do, which is true. He does do a better job. He never uses a list, or even tells me when he’s leaving the house. What usually happens is I go looking for him and discover he’s not even home. But he always returns with all my favorite foods, even the weird ones that I haven’t even told him I like, and he always brings me roses. These are my Christmas roses. With these on my table, who needs a poinsettia?

 In 1990, Donella Meadows of The Sustainability Institute in Hartland, Vermont, published Who Lives In The Global Village? It was updated in 2005 as The State of the Village Report. The original version was based on a village of 1,000 residents. It’s been tweaked with information from a variety of sources, and it’s pretty easy to research on the Internet if you are so inclined. There’s also a book based on it, called If The World Were A Village by David Smith. (It’s supposed to be a children’s book, but it’s for all ages, really.) You’ve probably seen these stats somewhere already, in some form or another, but I’m posting it here because it’s really interesting and an excellent way to keep things in perspective during this holiday season. Basically, what it says to me in relation to the holidays is that Christmas is a stupid monster of our own making, and if the world really were a village we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. And it makes me grateful that the world isn’t a village, because I would undoubtedly be illiterate, malnourished, and living in a hut.


     If world’s population were reduced to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:

The village would have 60 Asians, 14 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 Latin Americans, 5 from the USA and Canada, and 1 from the South Pacific.

51 would be male, 49 would be female; 82 would be non-white; 18 white
67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian
80 would live in substandard housing
67 would be unable to read
50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
33 would be without access to a safe water supply
39 would lack access to improved sanitation
24 would not have any electricity (And of the 76 that do
have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
7 people would have access to the Internet
1 would have a college education
1 would have HIV
2 would be near birth; 1 near death
5 would control 32% of the entire world’s wealth; all 5 would be US citizens
33 would be receiving — and attempting to live on — only 3% of the income of “the village”


LINKS: Donella Meadows State of Village Report

Family Care Foundation “If The World Were A Village of 100”

If The World Were A Village by David Smith


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Weird Santa

     Believe it or not this is an actual movie and I own it on DVD. It’s called Santa Claus and was made in Mexico in 1959, directed by Rene Cardona.  I bought it long before I ever knew I’d be living in El Paso.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I live here now, as karmic punishment for finding it hilarious that Santa teams up with Merlin the Magician to battle Satan for children’s souls on Christmas Eve.

     The film is dubbed in English, which is good because I don’t speak Spanish. In English, I thought Santa kept calling the devil “Bitch!” I ruined my hearing long ago — I tended bar in a rock and roll nightclub during the 1980s (The Way Station on Cape Cod, for anyone who remembers it) back when live bands were ungodly loud, and it ruined my hearing. I’m often incorrect about what’s actually being said. So the first five or six times I watched this movie I thought Santa was calling the devil “Bitch!” I kept hearing, “Okay, Bitch! How do you like that?” But it turns out he was saying “Pitch.” That’s the devil’s nickname, I guess. Pitch. But I wish I never found that out because Bitch was funnier.

     I’m the only person in my family who likes this movie. Everyone else thinks it’s insane, nonsensical, boring, or a combination of all three. If anyone wants to critique it for themselves, they can get it here for $2.95. I’m not encouraging you to do this. I just needed something to blog about, looked around the room and saw the DVD on the counter, and here it is.

At this site you can see some good clip from the movie, and hear Santa call the devil “Bitch!” or “Pitch” depending on your hearing.

Here’s a video clip of it from YouTube, but for some unknown reason that only adds to the bizarreness, they’ve made it black& white and removed the dialogue and replaced it with ukulele music.

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