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Monday, December 20, 2010

Do you think wieners grow on trees?

Well, it's still pouring. Steady, unrelenting rain. I went out yesterday, as we needed groceries. It was okay walking to Vons, but coming back, with eight bags full (milk, soup mix, juice for the kid with the cold, cat food and the requisite pot roast) I realized that, with both hands full of plastic bags I could not hold an umbrella. I got home literally soaked through to find the hubster putting a stamp on the familiar looking envelope...the one that goes to the Employment Development Department.

It's not awesome news but we're getting ONE weeks worth while they "file" the new claim that congress voted we could have. He sent my older son out to catch the mailman with it, as the mailman was on the other side of the street. My son couldn't find him and came back.

Not to be deterred, I slid into a pair of loafers and grabbed the envelope and umbrella. The mail truck was still parked at the corner, I was going to find him. By the time I got down the stairs and to the curb I was knee deep in water. Literally knee deep. I left my shoes in the gutter and sprinted towards the blue and white truck, the precious envelope in my shirt to keep it dry. Yes, I found the mailman, nice guy. I waded back across the street, slid back into my floating loafers and dragged myself upstairs. This wasn't easy as I was wearing jeans which were now soaked up to my thighs and weighed 20 pounds. I've got enough to haul upstairs, adding all that waterlogged denim to my already ample butt was something akin to rock climbing.

Out of the clothes and into a robe, full of soup, finally beginning to warm up and knowing I had made my last trip out for the day (and I didn't CARE what we ran out of) I decided to fire up the internet and catch up on Conan.

I think it was last Wednesday's show. Anyway, he was featuring some guy who specialized in "retro" Christmas. THIS was just want I needed. The ghost of Christmas Past, right here in my messy living room. How awesome is that? I settled down in front of the monitor, ready for a warm and wonderful trip down Christmas Tree Lane.

There's Mr. Retro. All dressed in green, including the apron, and wearing a little Christmas ribbon tied in a bow around his neck. He looked like a cross between Betty Crocker, Chef Boyardee and that elf in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - the one who wanted to be a dentist? I was suspect about his "retro" credentials already. I was a kid in the 50's. No one dressed like that.

Well, after some odd, inappropriate and only borderline Holiday black and white photos that looked decidedly set-up everyone went to a counter where Betty the dentist elf showed everyone how to make a "retro" hors d'oeuvre Christmas tree by sticking weenies and doughnut holes on toothpicks and poking them into a Styrofoam cone covered with tin foil.

It occurred to me that this guy is the victim of a practical joke. He went looking for "retro" traditions one day and some college sophomore handed him a file full of the most outrageous stuff the sophomore and his buddies could come up with while stoned. "Dude! There were WEENIE TREES!"

Okay, you want "retro"? I was THERE. In the first place, as I said, we didn't dress like that. Our fathers didn't dress like that, nor did our mothers. Aprons tied at the waist, at least any apron being worn outside the barn. The ribbon tied in a bow in place of a necktie meant only one thing...a poofy dime store cowboy. Or Colonel Sanders, who had the dignity to wear a black one. I know of NO ONE who stuck weenies, doughnut holes and possibly gherkins on a tin foil tree and served them. The classic 1950's Christmas Cocktail party consisted of full skirted dresses for the moms and sport coats or suits with very skinny dark ties for the dads. Occasionally a v-neck pullover instead of the coat.

Yes, there WERE cocktail weenies, usually in some sort of sauce and presented in the precious chafing dish. Right next to the rumaki, which was usually followed up by a platter of cleaned and cut celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese and pimentos.
The men all talked business or sports and the women were bright, friendly, beautifully dressed and coiffed. They discussed kids, recipes and the PTA. They were happy and content. This was largely due to the fact that the last thing each one did before leaving their house was to down a Miltown with a martini, but I digress...

My grandmother had an aluminum tree, complete with a color wheel slowly turning behind it. Don't like the silver tree? No problem, wait a few seconds, it's gonna turn pink. And even SHE didn't put weenies on a tin foil cone.

I don't know where he got his information. This display was NOT a "retro" Christmas. This is Christmas with the Jetsons.

For what it's worth, Conan didn't seem to be taking much of this very seriously either. I've never been a talk show guest but even I know you don't go on a show like Conan and discuss poking wieners.

So, my apt is still a dump, the tree is two feet too tall, my jeans are still soaked, the rain isn't supposed to let up for at least another two days, no one's getting any Christmas gifts and I have no clue what I'm serving for Christmas dinner but least I know how to properly serve a cocktail weenie.

It could be worse.

But there is no joy in Anaheim...

The rain is unrelenting. We need the lights on during the day. I'm sitting here watching the morning news, where we're being treated to shots of Oprah Winfrey spending her Christmas on a sail boat in Fiji while she waves the cameras off and begs for her privacy. Unfortunately, even nearsighted ME could see the cameras on the boat she was's a freaking SHOW. Oprah watchers will be treated to the same shots I just Oprah, no, BEYOND rich Oprah, sailing her way around Fiji for Christmas and then showing it to her viewers come January. Oprah, who thinks she connects with the simple folk of the American land.

I may vomit.

Anyway, the tree is up and finished. It looks like crap. Well, it looks like crap during the day. All trees look wonderful when the lights are on and all trees look like crap when they're off. Christmas trees. I'm not talking about the Liquid Amber on your parkway.

Not only do I suddenly find this just way too much work anymore, I find Christmas to be singularly unrewarding. There was always something kind of wonderful about getting the tree up around the first week-end of December, putting the outside light up over Thanksgiving week-end, unpacking the candles and tsotchkes that lined the mantel and I actually enjoyed the shopping...the crowds, the cold, the general festiveness. Entire evenings were planned around "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer."

I used to have our Christmas on Christmas Eve. People have so many places to go and this was ideal. We went to the Children's Mass at 5pm then came home. I loved the roast beef and yorkshire pudding for dinner, the gooey desserts, the flurry of paper in the living room as everyone took childish delight in being able to open gifts a mite "early". We saved our own gifts for Christmas morning, because the hubster hates opening gifts on Christmas Eve, I've no idea why.

Christmas morning were our personal gifts, a breakfast casserole and, as no more guests were coming we were off to Disneyland.

Disneyland was magical on Christmas. Crowded, yes. But wonderful. Dicken's carolers strolled up and down Main Street. Stores were open and there were wonderful things to buy, all on sale. The boys headed for Pirates and Space Mountain, the hubster would stroll the front of the park, listen to the band, the songs, ride the trolley and savor the sights and smells of a world we had, actually, never lived in.

Now? It's impossible to get any help, we have no place to store the tree, we FINALLY got the damn thing up yesterday and it took six hours from unpacking to the final star. No matter how carefully I wrapped the ornaments there were broken ones all over. Unfortunately there were ornaments I liked, all that Disney crap remains intact. I used to LOVE that Victorian Mickey and Minnie thing they did. My tree skirt looks like this:
Except it's not's all cream. It was expensive even when I finally snagged it at half price and I loved it. I have some ornaments like that too. I wish those had broken. I wish the cat had peed on the tree skirt.

I think Disney sucks. I really do. Over the years, Disney has become one of the most corporate, money grubbing pieces of American arrogance in existence. In a time when the country is dying, financially and emotionally, Disney continues to wave happy times at your children while raising prices twice a year. The special trip everyone dreams of, the one Disney peppers your television with so your kids won't miss it, gets more and more expensive. do you have ANY idea how much it COSTS to go to freaking DISNEYLAND? $101 for a one day ticket. Of course it's cheaper for kids...provided they're under TEN. Because at 10 you pay full fare, buddy. A family of FOUR, looking for a splurge, a treat, something, anything to take them away from the crushing worries of this life we're living in America for ONE DAMN DAY will end up paying up to FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS to get in the fucking GATE!

This, I assume, is why Disneyland and all their accompanying fan clubs, is now filled with nothing but DINKS and arrogant, conservative, Fox "News" fans who look down their collective noses at the rest of the country and flash their $500 a year annual passes at the parking attendant as they cruise by in their gas guzzling SUVs and Mini Vans and talk about how wonderful it is that the lower classes can no longer afford such pleasures and if they just stopped spending carelessly on things like food, rent and new shoes for the kids they, too, would be enjoying the delights of the upper class.

Yes, I've known people on these boards, and I blame them in large part for ruining all things Disney for me. I know someone who claims to be a former teacher and a good mother. In the first place, I've never known a good mother who announced that fact. If you have to keep telling people something, you're probably making up for your severe deficiencies. Not only that, I know this person to have been deliberately and hatefully cruel to the children of friends...because she can't distinguish between an adults failure to kiss her ass and the fact that she courted the adults kids and then treated them like crap emotionally, dumping them, ignoring them, refusing all kindnesses sent by the kids of those she no longer considered her equals. This is NOT someone I want to hang out with and this is NOT someone I want to share anything with. If THIS is what hangs out at Disney parks now I want no part of them.

One of these days, I'm going to blast her unkindness to kids everywhere I can post. But for now, I'm really too busy for that kind of shit. She and her fat friends from the great, conservative, chest thumping "America, love it of leave it" counties of the state can keep strolling through the formerly family friendly streets of the Happiest Place on Earth, keeping themselves occupied by spewing hatred and disdain in their path.

I will continue to encourage the cat to play with all the Disney ornaments I have place within a paws reach of the ground, while making sure the ornaments from places I really and truly enjoy, like the Schulz Museum, remain snug and tight and out of reach of batting kitty paws. I will take great joy in thinking of those holier than thous strolling the streets of artificial snow and knowing that they're getting fleeced by the corporation that now stands for Disney.

Walt Disney once said "We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money."

Walt must be spinning like a lathe.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You asked for miracles, I give you the F.B.I.

Today is the day I decide I hate the freaking holidays and would be just as happy lighting a menorah. Because Hanukkah is over and done with. I actually sat down and did the "It's a Wonderful Life" bit on myself today. I realized there would be absolutely NO change in the cosmos if I hadn't been born. Seriously. This moroseness started with the weather.

No, it started a month ago, when the unemployment ran out and, in spite of the notice with the last check that said "you're eligible for an extension. Don't do anything, we're going to do everything for you." we've heard nothing. That was a month ago. Well, after two weeks of trying to get through the phone lines, which is an amazing system denying all entry while making you think you're questions have actually been answered, I finally found an e-mail question form which, they said guaranteed a response.

The response, timely though it was, told us to shut up, they were working on it. If we didn't hear from them in 10 days we could ask again.

Lord have mercy!

I've tapped everything I can and managed to pay the power and gas. And half the rent. A week from right now is Christmas night and I've got a 22 year old autistic son who, though on the lower end of "high functioning" and really is more Asperger's than true Autistic, still believes in Santa.

About a week ago I hung a wreath on the door and figured I was done. Not even hardly.
I've no idea what I'm going to do about gifts for the boys but I'll figure something, I always do.

Anyway, the weather. Well, it got cold and rainy. This is cooking weather. A few days ago the hubster had a few bucks and brought home, on spec, a pound of ground round which I decided I could turn into a shepherd's pie. It was, btw, damn good. We're living on dollar bags of pasta and canned tomatoes, so this was a bit of heaven.

The carrot peels, however, were the last straw for the garbage disposal. No, not the disposal, but the u-trap. This was Friday. The sink was draining slowly, but it was draining.

Yesterday morning. Dark and raining. I talk my son into going to storage and getting the Christmas tree. This will be the very first year since we were forced to move we've been able to get the tree. AS I have no car this involves the bus. So there we are, hauling a bagged tree and two cartons of lights and ornaments home, in the rain, on a bus. At least no one else was crazy enough to go out in the pouring rain to ride the bus, we had it pretty much to ourselves.

I went out again, we needed milk, flour, eggs. I came home thoroughly drenched and tired, I decided to take a nap. I had scored a chicken the other day and planned on roasting it for supper. About 4:30 I got up, ready to start the chicken only to find out that the sink was now hopelessly backed up and the kitchen is an explosion of dirty dishes, pots and pans that couldn't be washed. This is what I get for leaving them on Friday night for someone else to do.

Out again to the store for Liquid Plumber and a new plunger, because the one we have is a piece of crap that isn't working. Back home, cold and wet to find out the Liquid Plumber isn't working either. I straighten up the kitchen as best as I could and looked under the sink. I studied the pipes and decided the clog must be in the u-trap. I poured boiling water down the sink and went to bed, hoping it might work. I woke up every hour on the hour and, as long as I was up, I went to check the progress. No dice.

I woke up, got my slip joint pliers and my crescent wrench and went to work. I disassembled the pipes while the hubster read his e-mail and watched. Yep, the u trap was a mess, and so was the pipe leading from it to the outside. I couldn't find a snake, but the hubster came up with a wire hanger which he untwisted. I pulled our as much junk as I could and poked a hole in the rest, re-assembled the pipes and turned on the water.

I had done it. I was now wet, filthy, there were bits of something slimy in my hair, but the damn sink drained. I could have called the landlord, but, given the current situation with the rent, I figured it probably wasn't a good idea to call attention to myself.

I showered, put on clean clothes and commenced doing three sink fulls of dishes. I made lunch. Then we finally started on the tree.

An hour later, all the branches were finally sorted and unpacked, organized by size and the assembly begun. I forgot. I bought the tree for my house. I don't have a house anymore. What I have is a 5 x 8 ft tree in an apartment living room. Looks like freaking Birnam Woods in here.

No one is running "Die Hard" so we put in the DVD. It's not the same, in spite of our family love for this classic Christmas treat. "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho."
For some reason we're just watching it, the dark, hulking tree obscuring all views of the rain, the night sky and the buildings across the street.

There are boxes all over the floor. Trash, ornaments, and DVDs. The hubster is working on a project and there are DVDs being delivered to us. Tons and tons of them. None of them fit to gift or display in public, btw. I have no place to put them so they're stacked in boxes in the living room. The dining room table, beautifully clear and organized on Thanksgiving can't be found. The coffee table is a pile of papers. And I'm having company for Christmas Dinner, a week from today.

The hubster, for all his good properties, doesn't seem to grasp the idea that leaving all the damn cleaning until 11PM on Christmas Eve is NOT the way I want to spend the holidays. I'm off tomorrow and Tuesday and I do NOT want to spend my time off tripping over and dodging boxes and papers and DVDs and God only knows what else. He just sits and writes and drops stuff. I try not to sit and cry.

But once again Alan Rickman has flailed his way out of Nakatomi Plaza to the ground. I have dragged a chair to the monolith in the living room we call the Christmas tree so I can start on the lights and the chicken has finally made it to the oven. The hubster has gone out, we're looking at at least four more days of rain. I'll get the damn tree decorated, I'm hanging the swags that I made for the house on windows they don't quite fit and I'm going to have to spend no small amount of time with a hot glue gun repairing broken decorations.

And in two weeks I'll end up doing it all over again, in reverse.

And no one will look around and say "Holy crap! I can't believe what you've managed to do in here." They'll just sit and text their friends, listen to their iPods and watch "Sponge Bob's Holiday Spectacular" while I haul boxes to the trash and boxes to the bedrooms and gather up year old magazines that have never been removed from their plastic delivery bags but can't be thrown out because "I want to look at that first!"

See? I HATE the holidays!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sometimes, there really are no words...

(CNN) -- Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for its radical stance against a myriad of issues including homosexuality and the war in Iraq, said Thursday it will picket Elizabeth Edwards' funeral in Raleigh, North Carolina.

This is just so wrong.

I have faith that a loving God will forgive them. Because I sure as hell can't.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Levi Strauss must be spinning...

Pajama Jeans?


Are they running these during the day? I'm not home to watch television during the day so I don't know. I know that, during the later evening hours, I'm being treated to the newest fashion sensation. The comfort of jeans with the comfort of pajamas. No, the look of jeans with the comfort of pajamas, that's it. Because your jeans aren't comfortable. This is why people have fought to wear jeans in public for years, btw...because they're not comfortable.

So NOW...we have a solution. Pajama pants that are designed to look like your jeans. They complement every size butt, too. Just like your pajamas, I'm guessing. Yeah, I look SO good in those I go to work in them.

Apparently you're supposed to wear these to all the places you would wear your jeans but don't want to wear your jeans because what you would really rather be wearing is your pajamas. However, as society frowns on women of most ages wearing pajama pants to the office we should spend $40 dollars on these:

Now, to be honest, IF my ass looked like that I'd probably go out in these too. It doesn't. I can just picture mine in those...two axe handles across, every lump on display. I'd probably do just as well painting my naked butt navy blue.

The nice man (notice it's a guy, btw) on the commercial says that if I wear these, not only will I look fabulous but I'll be just as comfortable as if I were wearing sleepwear.

So let me get this straight. I'm going to put these on. They'll feel just like my pajamas. Which means the legs will ride up until the hem is wedged between the top of my calf and my knee. The seat will bag and the drawstring waist will stay in one position while the crotch twists itself into a knot. But they're soft, so it's okay. And for $39.95 you too can have this pleasure. Plus shipping, natch. Makes the perfect holiday gift. You can sit around in your pajama jeans while you clap your lights off and on. Sign me up.

But they kindly demonstrate how uncomfortable real jeans are. The same woman who can't use a spatula without gouging the Teflon coating off of her skillet while attempting the most difficult of kitchen tasks (the flipping of a grilled cheese sandwich) is now showing us how awful jeans are to wear. They're difficult to snap, impossible to zip without breaking one's finger and, as she's wearing a low rise cut that's at least 3 sizes too small when she finally peels them off there's an ugly welt right on top of her hips and all the fat in her lower extremities has been forced up to her natural waist, thus making her formerly model perfect belly button the world's biggest outie. This woman, btw, is the luckiest woman in the world. She has managed to find work in commercials where her total lack of life skills pays her handsomely. Because this chick can't drain pasta without setting her kitchen on fire. She probably couldn't make it out of her house to the mail box without breaking something. She'd be on disability if it weren't for all that commercial work.

Although I must admit, I've worn jeans like that. I've spent no small amount of time over the course of my life flat on my back on the floor trying to zip up my 505s because they were fresh out of the dryer and, for some bizarre reason, one is a size smaller when lying on one's back. Don't do this alone, btw, the thing is, the Levi's WILL soon relax and resume their natural shape. BUT not for a few minutes. It's imperative that you have a friend, or a crane, to get you up from the floor, you can NOT do it by yourself. The jeans will NOT relax when you're supine. I have no idea why. Your significant other will find you hours later, flat on your back on your bedroom floor, like some sort of big, blue, pill bug.

And still, I find this infinitely more acceptable than wearing pajama pants painted to look like jeans out in public. But then, I also refuse to pay 100 bucks for a pair of jeans with somebody elses name prominently displayed on the ass. It's the principle. Why should I PAY to advertise someone else? If I'm going to pay into three figures for a pair of pants, shouldn't they at least have MY name on them?

Perhaps I could advertise the blog on the back of my pants. "Could I really make this stuff up?"

Yeah, it's big enough.

Now THIS guy knew how to make pants.