Saturday, December 27, 2008

EVERYone deserves a Bailout!

If you click on the form, it will open for your better reading. I strongly suggest everyone print it out and send a copy with your tax return. Whatthehell, everyone deserves a bailout - see below for Santa's Bailout hearing!!!

And then of course -
Watch Santa plead for a bailout before actual members of Congress!! Santa's Bailout Hearing

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays...

Sometimes it is hard to keep traditions going. People move, people die, families split up, and different income levels can keep folks apart, wishing for home. But these are exactly the reasons I started or revamped my family's Chirstmas traditions.

Growing up in, and later going to, Mom and Dad's house was always fun; it was a huge house that was open and built for large parties. There was always a crowd of Dad's friends there, making merry, playing pinochle and poker, dressed to the nines, drinking and eating and having fun. Everyone was invited and folks would drop in unexpectedly all season long (he was in broadcasting, and many of his friends worked odd hours.) You might go into a room and see a state official with his arm around his wife, tossing back a couple and laughing in a crowd, and into another room and see an elected official playing an intense game of poker. It was a great and exciting environment for a child to grow up in. Midnight Mass was a requirement for any who were left standing by then; we kids would get out of bed at ten, dress in our best, and join Dad and his friends. When I was older and had married and moved away, I missed them. But the year I came back, divorced, weary, with two small children, my parents had their annual big bash - and out of the blue came a phone call. DH's mother (of course he wasn't DH then, just an old friend from church), asking if we could stand a few more folks at the house, they were a mile away at their Aunt Cathy's. We said, Sure! And thus began my relationship again with DH, an old friend who became a great deal more! But when my parents grew older, retired, and sold the house and moved to a tiny apartment, they stopped their celebrations, stopped doing anything, making anything, decorating, even going out to Mass. It didn't help that the Mass was let go, and became a 6:00 on Christmas Eve 'thing' - more commercialized, less full of wonder and amazement.

I continued the 'open house' theory when we moved away. Any and everyone who wanted to come by, could. Even when we had very little money, there was always food on the table, "snackages" set up on fold-out tables, an iced-down vat of eggnog next to a steaming crockpot of mulled cider, slices of oranges and sticks of cinnamon floating in it, with the bottles nearby for those who liked liquor in their drink.

Devilled eggs were a tradition at every holiday meal, and our secret recipe always won raves and looks of surprise when newcomers bit in. The hardest part was keeping DH away from the plate, as devilled eggs are his favorite! Everything homemade, from the cheese balls to the cakes and cookies. Every year I would introduce something new - rarely a sweet, usually a spicy addition. Before I married DH, turkey was on the table for both Thanksgiving and Christmas; afterward, because of his passion for ham, Ham was the main course at Christmas. We tried and liked the honey baked, cinnamon coated, circle-cut hams - but honestly our favorite is a huge bone in shank, skin stil attached, steaming hunk of salty, peppery, fat-girdled, slow roasted, pink and tender, feast of pork!

Christmas lights had to go up the weekend after Thanksgiving, and could never be taken down until the weekend after the New Year. Even when we just had a small tabletop tree, the order was preserved. Now that we have moved to a place where they can appreciate decorative endeavors, our lights went up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - only because snow and cold were predicted for the weekend of Thanksgiving! But we still didn't plug anything in until Sunday night...

Many years ago my friend Peggie owned the store at the red light. From one August through November, we created by hand a full ceramic village, sitting in the store and painting in our slack times. We displayed it in the big picture window right on the corner. I made an identical village for my own home, piece by piece. Every year we added to it; streetlights, skaters and ponds, firemen, more people, trees. I love putting it up; a snowy scene of a quaint and happy village, a light underneath each house, casting a glow on the 'snow' from the windows. Oddly, the place where we live now looks rather like it - the bar and grill built in next to the post office with the mailbox and flag out front, the glowing windows of the tiny clapboard and stone church lit from within...

Christmas morning is when we open the presents. I am usually up long before anyone else, to get the pies and ham started early. We would sit around the tree and DH or the kids passed out the presents. There were always clothes and practical presents - but at least ONE thing that each child really really wanted. Our favorite memory is the year when our middle son wanted a drum set - 'a real professional one'. One of our friends in Beaufort owned a 'junk shop', and in November a young man sold his professional, band-worthy, complete drum set to our friend. We smuggled it to the house and hid it in the garage. That Christmas morning, our son came tearing out to look for his drum set under the tree, but didn't see it. He was so sad. His last present was a small jewelry box. We could see him fighting back tears of disappointment as he opened it. All that was in it was a note - "Look in the garage". He went tearing out there in his pajamas, and didn't come in for four hours - and when we did finally get him back inside, we had to run cold water over his hands from where they were so cold, wrapped around the drumsticks! He still owns the drumset, BTW.

We used to invite over the cops and firefighters and EMTs on duty, but that tradition won't go over here - there's only one deputy and he lives here in town with his family, and the firefighters are all volunteers and will be home as well as the EMTs. But we'll still have the cakes and cookies, cheeses and meats, laid out for our Christmas Day evening tradition - that of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" , "Miracle on 34th Street" and "A Christmas Carol" intersparsed with the Claymation stories of Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa. Now DH can have all the devilled eggs he wants. And this year we can finally have a real "Yule Log" in the woodstove, instead of just the decorative one on the table or sideboard!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's that Time Of Year...

This post is a Christmas wish for all of my friends in the Lowcountry blogworld. I know - everyone thinks I am this mean and small minded person who ferrets out stupid people, and gores them with joy and mean-spiritedness. But what makes me so mad is the people who are determined to not only be stupid, but to be cruel and hurtful simply to vent their own helplessness, their own insecurities, against others. My biggest problem is that I believe that all people, everywhere, have the ability to be good, decent, and productive people - some, too many, simply choose not to. They choose the darker path, the path of stupidity and cruelty, when they would be so much happier if they accepted not only others, but themselves, as who they are. That is and has always been my frustration - that people look down at their feet, or over at their neighbors' house, instead of grasping for their own particular star.

So for the people whom I love and left behind, as well as those who are glad I've gone - here's what my life is like now. Joyous and happy and hardworking and full of glorious days and radiant, silent, amazing nights. Life can really be this way. I finally chose it, and hope that someday, you will too... or at least find something within yourselves that truly makes you happy.

Click to play Merry Christmas 2008
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Monday, December 1, 2008


There's really no other word for it.
That's my house. Yup, right there. And we're not finished yet, TYVM. There's still the six-foot-high, three piece yard card being repainted from the previous owners, and the extra extension cord we have to put up (60 mph winds yesterday, a little difficult to raise a ladder) over the bay window. The arbor by the road is lit, and the front porch is blue with twinkling star lights, to complement the snow family in the front window (also blue) and the dining area and kitchen behind it (also blue, with snowy tablecloth, towels, and decorations). The verandah is multicolored to compliment the entrance into the front room, redolent with red and gold decorations and multicolored lights.

Every single stashed away indoor and outdoor decoration is up and out and glittering. Well, except that I have a string of icicle lights and a looong string of white multi-function lights that work, that I may have to find a place for. Hmmmmm. At least THIS house has 6 outdoor receptacles.

I do love Christmas, and this old house is a decorator's dream. Big windows, many many characterizing features. Waiting to see how and if the predicted snow Tuesday and Friday falls, to get better pictures...

"Trim every blessed needle on the blessed Christmas tree
Christmas comes tomorrow
Trim you
Trim me...."
Now you'll be singing THAT all day...