Wednesday, December 30, 2009
First of all I have to take a moment to say how much I love Craig Wilson.
I have been reading him religiously for years now.
I would love to have a glass of wine with him and "shoot the shit" as my mom used to say.
I find him charming and interesting.....but once again I digress as I sometimes do here.
His article was quite apropos since I have been talking about books.
He could never have written this story had a Kindle fallen on him, only if a book had.
And the book sounds wonderful to boot. Ah, fate.
So take that Kindle people!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
They will never ask me to be a blog featured on their Kindle, the darling of their universe and the world.
Amazon will never ask consumers to fork out $1.99 a month to read this blog.
It was announced today that holiday sales of books were way down. BUT holiday sales of the likes of Kindle and Nook and other nazi kizmo's that claim to be important and life changing book reading technology gadgets were through the roof!
They showed a picture of a man sitting in his high back chair by the roaring fire as he held his friggin' Kindle. He looked ridiculous. And like the weak Oprah he claimed it was so easy to hold up. Poor pasty fella should try getting some sun and using a dumb bell (other than himself), to lift so he has some upper body strength to hold a damn book.
"Look it's so easy I don't need to lift my arm to turn the page"
I love technology. I don't need as much of it as most but I like it. I worked in the technology field for 23 + years. So I am not afraid of it like my parents.
But this Kindle thing gets my panties in a twist.
It's right up there with poor customer service for me in the irksome category.
I do not and probably will not ever ever understand why this is better than a book.
So I'm guessing no more libraries will eventually be the case if we don't need books?
Will we be able to download something from Dewy Decimal somehow then?
I love the smell of books and holding them. It's pure pleasure for me.
So call me old fashion but I will be holding on to my books.
I have hundreds on book shelves all over my home.
I have been buying books since I was old enough to be able to buy them with my own money.
I got books as gifts as a kid and I remember my whole library of Nancy Drews that my mom bought for me. A new one would arrive to what seemed like every month. I couldn't wait. I even have my Dr. Seuss books.
So maybe in the end I will win.
These books could be worth some money some day other than just my love of them.
Maybe they will be considered antiques and I will open a little store front and sell these foreign objects that people once read called books. With yellowing pages and leather bound.
People will want to buy them like they do antiques today.
To show off, to have history. To put on a shelf to display.
I know I sound like the person who thought radio was everything and that Television was a horrible form of entertainment. I get that and I see it. But I don't much care.
That plastic piece of crap is making Amazon/ Jeff Bezos rich.
And good for him because he needs more money.
But I wonder if like my computer it could possibly die a slow technological death.
Geeks on call can't fix it and and there is no help in upgrading it now and poof there goes your books. Now you need to buy another and start all over again.
Like when my hard drive crashed. Anyone know if that can happen to these things?
Some things are just better the originial way. Like your boobs, your face & your waistline.
Just a few things I think I would miss.....
I would miss my crazy ass bookmarks. A movie stub, my metro card, my grocery list.
Athough my battery will never die while reading my book.
I would miss leaving my book on my beach blanket so I can dive into the water to cool off.
I would miss the experience of the heft of books like I Know This Much is True and the little ones like Bridges of Madison County,
I would miss coffee table books of wonderous places to discover and beauty.
I would miss cover artwork that sometimes can draw you into the book.
I would miss the smell of the book.
I would miss so many things.
Am I the only one?
Monday, December 28, 2009
After loving the movie I mentioned below, Julie and Julia. I did some googling on the author Julie Powell. Amy Adams made her hopelessly charming and adorable and loveable.
My mistake was googling her.
I watched some videos and some Q & A.
Not so adorable, charming or loveable.
In fact quite the opposite affect for me on a number of levels.
I won't go into details in case you loved that movie too.
Oh my goodness just don't do that.
Don't google someone you admire or like because they could fall back down to earth and prove to be mere mortals.
Have to work but it's not really all that busy.
Imbibed in all things a little too much over the holidays and feeling a bit sluggish.
All in all a not so terrific Monday.
I did watch 2 movies over the holidays.
No I didn't go to the theatre as I had hoped.
But I did watch a couple that were pretty darn good on PPV
I so wanted to see the Alec Baldwin movie "It's Complicated" but never got there for some reason or another.
I really enjoyed Julie and Julia. Much better than I would have thought.
Although I tend to like a lot of movies that Amy Adams appears in it seems.
But the movie did make us both hungry.
I do not think I could do what Julie did.
Work all day and come home to a teeny tiny kitchen and make these elaborate meals.
My husband said the thing that was most unrealistic was that the husband never gained any weight. That made me chuckle. If I cooked like that all the time my hubby would waddle to work for sure. He loves to eat and he loves it even more when he doesn't cook. (which i admit he does much better than me)
The other movie was The Proposal. Typical and predictable but something to watch.
My hubby loves Sandra Bullock so seeing her in all her "glory" shall we say made him happy.
It wasn't awful and the scenery was sure pretty.
The other fun and excited thing I did over my Christmas holiday was beginning the ardeous process of cleaning out my 2 car garage.
Allow me to explain how it got in this mess.
I swear my husband has hoarding tendencies. I make him throw things away.
He begins projects and never completes them. He finds things on the side of the road and brings them home because he can restore them. And frankly 50% of the time he does and they end up being beautiful but it's the other 50% of the time that has contributed to my garage in shambles.
I admit the picking things up from the side of the road began when we bought our lake house. To fully furnish this house after we bought it was a huge investment. We knew we were going to rent the house for part of the season to assist us in our mortgage. But furnishing it was another issue. We wanted it to be nice and comfortable but we were not going to invest in expensive things that people would lay their wet towels on or spill their drinks etc. We knew that people who rent your home are not going to treat it like your own. But again I live there too so it had to look good, be practical and be nice.
So IKEA and Costco and Target became staples for us. One day my husband happened upon an older oak clawfoot table with matching chairs that someone had put out on their curb about 3 blocks from our home. We had seen these tables and talked about something like that for the game room but for a lot of money and thought this table would be perfect. I could see us all around there playing games, cards or puzzles. So he picked it up and brought it home. The table top was a mess, very scratched but the rest was in great shape. So I bought fabric green felt and put it on the table top and made it like a real game table. Cleaned up and polished the rest and we had a brand new looking table.
It worked fine. A few years later when doing some updates I took it outside and sanded the damaged top and then painted the whole set black. So out of the hundreds of things he has brought home - I have one thing that has turned out to be great. ONE THING.
I call him Fred Sanford - from the show Sanford and Son - which most of you are too young to get the reference anyway. But trust me he can be a pill with this garage and finding others garbage to be worth something. So we have a 2 car garage that can not get even 1 car in.
He now needs his work bench and other tools to work in the garage so we needed to clear it out. He could not be trusted to do this alone!
So yesterday we had a somewhat warmer day (49) and we headed out to the garage to begin to tackle the "stuff".
I suggested we clear the right side of the garage first, clean the then empty area and begin to put things back there. This is where the work bench is as well as all the shelving.
To organize. I love organizing and organization hence why I have heart palpitations every time I enter that damn garage.
We got the right side completed and he was tickeled. Took us a lot longer than I thought it would I must admit. And we sure laughed a lot. He picked up a Lowe's bag of empty containers that had screws in and asked me why he saved that? As we both laughed. There is no good answer for that one I'm afraid.
I got Rick to let go of a lot. We filled up garbage bags and even had a few good laughs.
Who knows why he felt it necessary to keep these old hole filled work gloves.
He said they were perfectly fine so I made him put them on and we laughed like crazy when his fingers were poking out of all 9 fingers and the ends were ripped around the wrist area.
He hung his head and said, "I think you may be right these can go in the garbage"
He was seeing the light. (He had 3 more pairs that were in perfect shape.)
So we now have the left side of the garage to tackle.
That will take longer. The ever popular tool section.
Then we will tackle the middle. We have keep, throw away, and a maybe pile in the middle.
I personally don't think anything in the maybe pile is worth keeping but I have to do baby steps here.
It's very funny to me that he is not like this inside, only in the garage. Funny, but thankful.
Inside if a magazine is on the coffee table for what he deems too long - out to the recycle bin it goes whether I have read it or not. So you can see why this garage makes me confused. He hates clutter in our home and really hates dirty dishes. Draws that become unorganized he will pull them out and organize them. He can not tolerate a dirty bathroom and will be the first to clean it. (I like that about him) But his garage is another story.
I hear ya all saying I should be thankful that it's at least in the garage and not inside the house.
I know, I know.
But sometimes I just wanna bitch.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
She felt that sometimes it’s so much work that she would rather give her two weeks notice. That made me laugh.
I’ve been married twice. The first time way too young at 23. I married my high school sweetheart and as my parents tried to tell me I was too damn young. At age 27 we didn’t want the same things in life in any given department. I didn’t want to be friends with my girlfriend any longer and he sure as hell did! (wink, wink).
By the time I married the 2nd time my career was going somewhere. I knew what I wanted, what I didn’t want. I didn’t need someone in my life for monetary reasons or any other reason for that matter but wanted someone in my life to share my life.
Big difference and it’s too bad most of us don’t get that sooner than later.
But I have never found marriage hard. Ever….even the first time believe it or not.
If it’s that hard then maybe the wrong decision was made.
Hard to me is going to work.
Working with people who don’t share the same anything as you.
Having to be politically correct for 8 hours a day when your head could explode.
Having to pretend you give a shit for your co-workers 5th baby and having to endure all those pictures.
Playing the political work games.
Listening to your boss pontificate pure and utter bullshit while you have to nod your head as though you agree and smile.
Pretending can be so tiresome and stressful.
That is hard and difficult and makes life a pain in the ass.
But you do what has to be done because you need that job/money and human resources frown on you when you bitch slap your co-workers.
You don’t have to do that in marriage. If this is a true partner you can say what you want, feel, and you don’t have to pretend. Marriage is that soft place you fall.
So if marriage is that hard for you that you can’t make it work then maybe you should think about what you can make work for you and what would make you happy.
Besides everyone thinks a good marriage is always going to be a lusty romance novel.
Please. It’s about love, respect and friendship but saying that isn’t as romantic to most women. But there is something to be said for your partner rocking the baby to sleep or staying up with your child when they are sick. Why isn’t that romantic in it’s way as well?
This man/woman is in the trenches with you. To me that is romantic however unglamorous it is. They are choosing to be there and build this life with you.
The friend above who started me thinking on this is correct in some way.
I have always felt that the she and her husband are nice people- separately, but together they don’t work. I am sure that makes it hard. They are fundamentally 2 complete opposite people. And I don’t mean in the little things like he’s a camper / outdoorsy guy and she likes hotels and inside.
Nope I mean morally they are polar opposites.
I mean red state, blue state.
I mean Wal-Mart and Nordstrom.
I mean kids and no kids.
I mean women’s rights and women should shut up and stay in the kitchen or blow me.
I know she married because she didn’t want to have to work outside the home and she thought having kids she could avoid that. And she really really wanted kids. He did not.
She had no qualms in telling me that 22 years ago. There was heat with the 2 of them.
A lot of physical heat but we all know that will die and then what are you left with? Exactly!
He told me a week before their wedding that he felt like he was being trapped.
Now what the hell was I to do with that information? I remember that moment as clear as day. I even remember what I was wearing. (black shorts and salmon color Newport Beach T-shirt)
Honestly, my first thought about his comment was, Okay buddy where the hell are your balls if you feel trapped? Say something to the woman you are about to marry that you really don’t want to get married, don’t tell me about it you big pansy ass.
I always felt he told me so that I would say something to her.
I guess looking back I should have.....I don't know.
I do know that today I would say something but back then I was conflicted.
So now they are both in this “difficult” marriage and have children.
They are both miserable and will tell everyone that they are.
(It’s so much fun to be at their home while they berate each other and say mean things to one another.)
This guy won’t go to counseling either. To me that is a big red flag. To me that states that you don’t think enough of this union or your wife to try to save this any way you can when she asked to go to counseling. To me it says I don’t give a shit enough to try to make this work. That speaks volumes don’t you think? So I guess they are both at fault here. She needs to stay for the money and for what she thinks it does for the children and he stays so he doesn’t lose stuff.
So this holiday season I am thankful I have a wonderful partner.
That I am not married to this man or Tiger Woods.
I don’t find being married to my Big Guy difficult. Oh sure he can make me angrier than any human on the face of the earth – it isn’t all baby’s breath and rainbows all the time. But I love him. I respect him. I am still smitten. I can tell him anything and we can fight it out and go the distance. I know he always has my best interest at heart. He shows me he loves me every day.
Besides, if not I have Italian relatives who know what to do with the body.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
This book just grabbed me. I don't know if it was because of the era in which it was written and so vividly explained. I don't know if it was because the lead in the book was the same age as me during that year that this all took place. I don't know if it was just because of the emotions it stirred or it was just the right book at that particular time I picked it up.
I remember buying the audio book so that my husband could experience this book on a car trip we were taking. The person reading the book was so awful that neither of us could listen to it. To this day we copy the inflection or lack of and laugh. The person had no inflection it was as if she didn't really know American English and was just reading words that were strung together without emotion. It was so bad.
But I remember telling my husband that it would make a great movie. I have NEVER said that ever about a book. If it's a book I say, leave it the hell alone. I hate all movies from the books I have read. But this one I was interested in seeing. Then I heard they were making a movie of this. While a bit scared of how they would screw this up I was also very excited because it was so visual as a read. If that makes sense to you.
I just read a review in USA Today that said, "It can't have been easy to adapt because of its reliance on the musings of a dead, omniscient narrator. But a device that works on the page comes off artificial and emotionless on-screen.
The movie strikes clashing tones, veering from lightheartedness to heavy-handedness."
AND.... But the scenes that take place in an alternate universe — a way station between heaven and Earth — are jarring. Depicting heaven has long stymied directors, and Jackson's cheesy computer-generated world breaks no ground.
Ouch. That was some of the nicer things said in the review.
So I guess I won't see it. The description of where this young girl went (alternate universe) after she was murdered was so interesting. It appeared different to everyone to be what they thought it should be or what made them happiest. Told from this young girls perscpective, her young voice.
It was so emotional and moving. I just loved the book. So it looks like you need to skip the movie and go right to Amazon.com or the library and get the book. I really think you would enjoy it. Let me know if you do read it and what you think.
I read Bridges of Madison County years ago in one snowy cold Saturday afternoon. It was a very thin quick read. Then the movie came out and they told us who was cast. I was livid. Meryl Streep couldn't have farther from Francesca. She was described as olive skin, dark flowing hair with big dark eyes. She came to America from Italy to marry an American soldier.
They spoke of her being voluptous. MERYL STREEP??????
I know everyone says she is our best actress but c'mon.
I vowed not to see the movie on principal.
All my girlfriends were going and asked me to go along. I said NO I read the book.
I mean it was bad enough that Clint Eastwood who places Clint Eastwood in every movie was the man she was to fall in love with. I was screaming NOoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!
I avoided this movie like the plague and it wasn't easy with my friends.
I was on a business trip across the country. They were showing a movie.
The movie was BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.
I had to laugh at that. I did not put on my headphones because damn it I didn't want to see it.
Well that lasted about 20 minutes. I put the headphones on and really flipped my Italian America lid. Honest to God Meryl Streeps accent was horrendous. She was not beautiful, but homely. She was not olive skinned with flowing dark hair. Sure she was a frustrated potato farmers wife and that is where the character similarity ended.
I must admit that Clint Eastwood impressed me in the role and I admit I was wrong about him. But Meryl? No! She sucked at this role and I do not know what country that accent was from but none of my relatives spoke like that. (and they are from all parts of Italy)
When the damn movie was over I asked the woman next to me who was crying if she liked it. She loved it. She never read the book. She said she always wanted to read the book though.
So there ya go. Without the descriptive pictures painted of characters and surroundings you get a flat picture with piss poor accents and no one is the wiser. I am sure if I had never read the book Meryl may have seemed like a good Francesa but in my minds eye she looked more like Valeria Golino (rain man) or at the worst even the Spanish Paz Vega or the Mexican Selma Hyack.
So now you can see why I never see the movies of the books I read.
And it looks like Lovely Bones will forever be just a good book for me.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
He said that it is well known what happens to women as they age but no one talks about what happens to a man.
A few years ago my husband went to bed fine. In the morning he couldn't walk.
I hear a THUD on the floor and realize he has just fallen. I, being the ever thoughtful wife, do not want to get out of this warm bed at 5:30am so I ask, "are you okay?" Knowing full well if one has just fallen to the floor chances are slight that you are alright.
He had ripped something behind his knee cap that only staying off of it would repair.
So as he likes to say he has entered, "I go to bed fine and wake up with a sports injury" phase of my life.
Then the dreaded grey hair - oh no, not on his little noggin but DOWN there on the twins.
I laughed but man he was taken this badly. Then pluck it out I say. OH NO, it would hurt the fella's. Jeez. This is why women have the babies!
Then the fella's fell. Now for some reason that made me laugh. But as he explained to me he knew my breasts would fall - everyone knows a woman's breasts will fall. How come no one told him about his nuts falling? I didn't have a good retort for that one.
Then he says - out of nowhere I might add - "You know how it takes your Uncle Bob so long to sit down? This is why damn it. He doesn't want to sit on his balls!"
I know, I should be more sympathetic but c'mon that's funny.
Then all of a sudden this year everything is happening to him. He gets up in the middle of the night to pee. He is very tired. Full body fatigue. He tells me a few weeks ago over a glass of wine that he feels like he is getting weaker. Ok to be honest with you I am thinking he is having some ego issues about getting older. But I listen. He tells me how poorly he is sleeping, which of course I knew because I am the same way. He is really concerned as he talks about all this stuff. And I admit that is what is frightening me a bit. He is truly feeling like shit. So I think that this may be a good time to bring up his crankiness. Which I might add he isn't adding cranky onto his list of symptoms he is now sharing.
You see my husband is always happy, smiling, warm and non judgemental. He is kind and always going that extra to help everyone. Suddenly I have noticed that he is perpetually pissed off. He is cranky as all hell. He is yelling at people driving. He is literally yelling at them, honking his horn. This is so out of character. He is snapping at me, which he never does. Snapping for everything and anything. He is even losing patience with the dog.
One day I asked if it felt like every nerve was at the surface and he turned and looked at me with wide eyes like I knew! I was thinking PMS. He seemed to be in it all the time now. I didn't like this new man.....and he didn't either.
So I mentioned that his mood has been difficult for me and I am sure it was even more difficult for him. (whew, he didn't get angry) I asked if he would go to see a doctor. He said, "oh we don't have the money right now and I'm sure it's just the stress of the business....yada yada yada."
I didn't press it but I listened to all the symptoms. Then on Monday morning I called a doctor for him. I thought sending him to a doctor was cheaper than a divorce from the ole Mr. Cranky Pants. I made the appointment, did not tell him, filled out a work order like it was job.
The following week he had a doctors appointment.
He picked up his work orders from my desk for that day and looked at the 2nd one.
He shows it to me and says, "What is this?"
I state that it is a doctors appointment instead of a 2nd job.
"Why I'm fine?"
"No you are not fine. Please do this for me as a Xmas present if for no other reason."
He didn’t really argue, just a little fussing I think for show. So I knew he knew deep down something was truly amiss. And I knew I did the right thing.
Well the verdict was Male Menopause.
I thought that was a joke where my husband bought a sportscar and traded me in for a 25 yr old blonde. But apparently no joke. This is just like a woman's.
Funny thing was the very day he came home from the doctors with all this information and hormones we saw it on our local ABC 7 evening news.
Truth be told I was quite ignorant to this whole male menopause thinking it was a sexual thing.
You know all those viagra and cialis commercials.
I knew he didn't need help there so then what exactly is male menopause?
I really thought something else was wrong and I was frightened. But hell I can handle menopause as long as he isn't getting a new young blonde.
So he rubs his testosterone gel on his belly every morning and he is so much better!!
It took about 3-4 weeks.
He’s back to normal and that makes the old man happy! And his wife.
He no longer feels week, he has more stamina and he is sleeping just a bit better.
Sleeping is still a bit of an issue that they say will continue to get better.
So why don't they tell us this? I take bio-identical hormones for this crap it's not a big deal.
Why don't men know they are not crazy but that they deplete their hormones just like us and need a little help to feel better.
I was telling my step mom how much better he feels, looks and behaves. She said that my Dad had all of those symptoms years ago but the doctor just told my father he was getting older.
So maybe doctors are just now realizing that men need to check their hormone levels too?
Look it's not very often I feel badly for (white) men. But I actually do here.
I knew this was in my future. He had no idea to the extent it would be for himself.
His father didn't know. His friends don't know. So it's amazing how just a little tube of testosterone gel rubbed on your abdomen can make your life so much better.
So my Big Guy is all better and it was nothing terminal or scary after all.
He's big and strong like bull.....and so is his bruised ego.
He is right though, this is one area that we women get a little more attention and information.
But I don't think we need to hold a telethon for the guys just yet.
Monday, December 7, 2009
We got about 5 inches of heavy wet snow.
It was beautiful but......
The dog didn't know what to make of it.
Then after a few timid steps she loved it and began to jump around in the white stuff.
Then by Sunday she was not having any more of this stuff and we felt the same.
She was confused on where to poo. So she held it. We walked and walked and even took her into her favorite wooded area thinking that might help her to go. Noooo.
Saturday and Sunday were tough on the old gal's potty issues. She was a miserable diva on Sunday until she finally figured she would just have to do it in snow. After 2 days of refusing to go in the snow she was most relieved when she finally succumbed to squatting in the cold white stuff to do her business.
I wish I had had my camera because the look on this dogs face was priceless!
After that exhausting effort she needed to nap for 4 hours.
My husband kept telling me that this winter was going to be colder and snowier because of all the acorns and other such things he notices in nature. He always is telling me nature let's us know.
Well I would like to tell nature this.....we now have surpassed the total snow fall of last year.
We can be done now.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I adore this man as a boss and as a human being. He is smart, kind, young and funny.
While reading this it is hard to imagine coming through this and one does tend to think, what would I do in this situation? I know I thought that any ways. It is moving.
Please have a read. Tell me what you think. (A quick backstory note is he is from Ireland originally)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I was watching a rerun of Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio. (with Bon Jovi)
As you may or may not know James Lipton asks everyone the same 10 questions at the end of the interview. I find their answers interesting.
So I thought I would put the questions out there for you to answer. First thing that pops into your mind. C'mon give it a shot.
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
(Other than hubby) Books
4. What turns you off?
People who are small/close minded
5. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck because of the versatility to use it as a noun, verb, adjective etc.
6. What sound or noise do you love?
Ooh there are 3.
A baby laughing, my husband’s voice and a wooden bat hitting a ball.
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Crows in the morning!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
10. If heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates.
C’mon in and join the party- eat and drink all you like and never gain weight!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I don’t like Christmas.
I have said it here before, it’s not my favorite holiday.
I suppose if I had little ones it all would be a bit different.
You see the excitement and joy in their faces and it can make everything happy.
But I don’t.
To me there is no excitement for this holiday in my house.
It started to get bad for me as an adult when it was no longer fun just pressure to buy and spend and have everything done a certain way and in a timely manner that pleases everyone else.
Each year I dreaded it more and more. Work was stressful at this time of year with contract deadlines that had to be met. Year end numbers that had to be met. Work travel at this time of year is pure hell. The deadlines, the winter weather delays in airports, the crowds.
I remember one year packing Christmas cards in my suitcase thinking I may get time to write out the cards in my hotel rooms so that they would arrive on time.
I never got to them, each and every night was work on a lap top or on the phone until I feel asleep at the hotel desk or lying across my bed.
The damn cards went to NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis and back home again – never having been finished in time to send so that they would arrive on time.
There was the year end work and then adding in the shopping that must be accomplished and the house that needs to be decorated and the food that must be purchased and the meals and parties that must be made and attended. It drove me crazy. I got nothing but stress and anxiety from it all. The gifts you must buy for people you don’t like because others at work are doing this, you can’t be the only one not giving. People you don’t like, like a neighbor that you have said, “please no exchanging of gifts this year, give if you must to a charity because we don’t need anything” but they never listen and tell you, “oh come on it’s fun and you have to reciprocate” No it’s not fun, I don’t care for you and I have to buy you something and spend time with you and I am too wussy to tell you to fuck off.
I began to hate this holiday with a passion. I longed for the time when it was a fun and a beautiful holiday for me. But consumerism drove it out of me. Can't I be 12 again and go back to all the famly fun without all the stress and obligations? The visits from my extended family and the twinkling lights that I did not have to put up? The smell of all cookies that I didn't have to bake just enjoy? The pulling of the sled as the family of cousins and aunts and uncles Christmas caroled. (the adults used the sled for carrying the hot toddies as we kids took turns pulling it.)
Now those days were fun.
I’ve told the story here before about me wanting to buy a menorah to keep the damn Stepford women from bugging me about our lack of out door decorating. (holidays)
I’m thinking I may need to resort to that again.
But this year it isn’t the damn women of the neighborhood, it isn’t the consumerism, it’s just life. I feel exhausted this year. Financially it has been a very difficult year for us. Very difficult. A juggling act. Stress can make you tired. There are times when I am scared. Times I am down right thankful that I still have a roof over my head. I don’t feel like a holiday right now. I don’t give a shit if I even put up a trees or string any damn lights or put a friggin’ wreath on the door. And yes, I know that it’s not a holiday about cookies, wreaths and lights but about something bigger than all of that. Yea, yea, yea. Well I am not completely sure I am buying into all of that either right now. (let the nasty comments begin)
The only thing I am looking forward to is making the southern recipe from Paula Deen for homemade egg nog. Oh it’s killer and it really does warm your heart and make you forget your problems! Because this year that is what I really want for Christmas….to forget for a little while.
I only got to watch this event in the summer when there was no school. My sister always wanted to be outside. She was the tomboy who loved to get dirty and be on her bike and just play. I preferred hanging with my mom. I loved movies, music, books and just plain hanging out. Those were her things too so to me it was fun. I didn’t consciously think, Oh I want to stay inside with Mom. It just seemed like more fun to do. Oh I liked to ride my bike and explore and all the things outside that kids did back in the day when kids played outside. But if I had my druthers it would be to stay indoors and “help and hang” with mom.
I didn’t help her one bit but I so enjoyed the day of pasta making and Saturdays the day of baking. Okay I admit I did not enjoy laundry day or cleaning days. I went outside for those days. My love was food even then. Looking back on my life and family all of the memories revolve around family, food, laughing and of course liquor. I say of course but I do know most families don’t make wine in their basement.
As I climbed onto my kitchen chair perch on Friday’s I would see her make a big well of flour. Inside that well were the eggs and if there were other ingredients I don’t recall. I just remember how she tucked her thumb under her palm and used her 4 fingers in a rapid fire manner and moved some of the wall of the flour and mixed it with the egg. Left, right, forward, backward. To me this was done like magic. The wall never collapsed but slowly incorporated with the eggs. Her hand moved so quickly that you didn’t see the flour move.
I would put my elbows on the table and my chin in my hands and be completely mesmerized. I drove her crazy with questions. I remember one time she told me to just try to be quiet for awhile and watch because if I was quiet I would be able to see everything. In other words, “shut the hell up kid you are driving me nuts” But she never made me feel that way even though looking back I am sure I was bugging the hell out of her.
Once the dough was made then the flying hands with knives would begin. She had this very long wooden rolling pin. No handles just a long wooden dowel of sorts. It had to be 3 ft long. After the dough was rolled out she cut the pastas. Spaghetti style was done 1st with a regular knife and quickly. Again this would fascinate me at the speed in which she cut and how precise they were. I would have no digits left if I tried this at home!
They were all the same length and width to me. I am sure they were varying thickness but it never seemed to be. Then she would cut some that were more like Fettuccini…..my favorite. All with the same little kitchen knife and in rapid fire succession. When she was done with the spaghetti she would throw some flour over them and take her two hands and toss them like it was salad. She would then lay them out on the table with dish towels and cheese cloth over them to allow them to dry. My sister and I would love to eat them. We would always be sticking our hands under the cheese cloths and grabbing a noodle to eat as she would tell us to stop in Italian with a laugh.
Then the whole process would begin again. Now the dough was rolled out and I could help at this stage. It meant ravioli’s. She would let me take a water glass and cut out dough. She would put the filling in and I would fold it over and pinch the ends with a fork dipped in flour. I absolutely loved doing this. Looking back I wonder did I really love this because I don’t enjoy it so much anymore or did I just love doing it because my mom was doing it? I don’t really know. But as I even type this the feeling of that time comes back to me and it is warm and happy.
My favorite pasta is gnocchi. Oh I could eat those little potato dumplings until I burst. On my birthday this was my favorite meal to ask for. My husband thinks they are carp bait and that makes me laugh. I see what he means but I just love them. I have never been able to make them as light as my mom. God knows I have tried. Mine were generally heavy, like paper weight heavy, and that isn’t what they are to be like.
These pasta’s she made sat on our huge farm table in the kitchen drying until it was close to dinner time. Then they were put in the freezer or fridge. Come Sunday we had fresh pasta for dinner and then for the rest of the week. In my family pasta was a staple in soups, main course or a side dish. When I went out into the world on my own I didn’t eat it for a long time. I wanted to eat American food - you know good ole American processed foods. I remember when I discovered Velveeta at age 20. I was thrilled that you could get a brick of cheese in a box. We bought cheese from this man behind a deli counter who barely spoke English. Big hunks of cheese. I was very impressed that there was cheese in a box in a cube. So I went through a Velveeta stage that now makes me howl.
On Saturdays my sister and I had to attend CCD classes. (Catholic religious classes like Sunday school only on Saturday) We went to a public school so we had to get that Catholicism in us somehow so my father would be happy. Every Saturday when we came home we knew what our mom was doing. Baking and listening to Dean Martin records. Our father was working and our mom was in the kitchen baking so we had baked goods for the week. Dad loved sweets and because he took his lunch to work mom always had to have “goodies” in his lunch.
When Mom cut the pie crusts off the sides after filling the pie plate she would put all the pieces in a pile. When my sister and I got off the bus from CCD classes she would let us roll them out and make a cinnamon roll a piece. Not a Cinnabon type roll but a long roll. We would get them in the oven and then change our clothes from school clothes to play clothes. (do kids still do that?)
Once they came out of the oven Mom would pour us a glass of milk and we would devour our personal cinnamon rolls while still warm.
My mom made doughnuts, cookies, cakes and pies. She made these waffle like things like the funnel cake you see at the county fair and sprinkle powdered sugar over. Oh how I loved those. But they were usually saved for company or when their friends were over to play cards. They would drink, smoke and eat these funnel cakes.
My sister and I loved when they had card night. We would be in the other room watching TV in our pj’s and when they took a break the men would fire up their cigars and my mom would get the oil hot and make these. The other women would sprinkle on the powdered sugar and they would put them on the table and call the men back to eat ‘em while they were hot. My sister and I always knew that was our call to run into the kitchen.
I can’t even fathom this life. Her life was so domestic and God knows I so far from that. While I don’t eat processed food anymore now that I must eat gluten free, I still can not imagine all that baking and cooking all the time. Some weeks I just want to have a night off. My husband cooks and is much better than me. Thank Goodness!
Last week I made a plate of cheese, some meats and some great gluten free crackers. I opened a bottle of wine and we called that dinner. Thankfully there are no kids who have to have a good balanced meal here. We can be lazy. To me it was a great dinner.
My mother on the other hand would call that an appetizer.