Archive for November, 2016

The Christmas Spirit

For us, the Christmas season used to start the day after Thanksgiving. It was long before everyone started calling  it “Black Friday”. It was back when I had a lot of energy and was able to get up at 4 a.m., put on a tacky Christmas sweatshirt, and be on the road with a carload of giggling girls after a traditional breakfast of leftover pumpkin pie with whipped cream eaten out of my hand and washed down with hot coffee. The next day, I would send daughter and husband to get a Christmas tree, always giving specific directons and using hand motions to describe a tall slender tree, not too big around, yet big enough to house all of our special ornaments from the last umpteen years. They  insisted on a “real” Christmas tree, “not one of those artificial things”. They would always return home with the biggest fattest tree on the lot, big enough that we would have to shove the dining room table up against the piano and move the bookshelf into the guest room.  I ate many a Christmas dinner with my back smooshed against the tree, so close that I had to shake the pine needles out of my shirt before serving dessert and would still find some in June as they worked their way up and out of the carpet. My daughter would bemoan the fact that we didn’t have a yard full of blinking lights, waving snowman, and an automated Santa who “ho-ho-hoed” every time a car pulled up in the driveway. “EVERYBODY ELSE has Christmas decorations in their yard,” she would whine. “It looks like we don’t have any Christmas spirit!” I guess she wasn’t counting the spirit of the piles of gifts, dozens of cookies , pans of fudge, and mugs of hot chocolate complete with candy cane stirrers that we made every year,  but wanting all of her Christmas wishes to come true I begrudgingly added a few outside lights one year and a small lighted reindeer the next. Call me a Scrooge if you must, but I would rather enjoy the decorations in your yard rather than mine. That was enough decorating for me, and I reminded her that when she had her own home, she could do it exactly the way she wanted.  This seems like just yesterday, but somehow the years have flown past. HE and I are now the grandparents of the family, and our daughter and husband just bought their first home and have even volunteered to host Christmas dinner. Instead of a huge fresh “real” tree taking up half their living room, there is a lovely tall and slender artificial tree in a corner of the living room.  Funny, but it is about the same size that I used to ask for every year. By now, there is probably a simple wreath adorning their front door for outside decoraton. That’s all. Although I TRY to keep my nose out of their business, I have to admit that I had to tease her about this.  I am very tempted to sneak over one day while they are at work and fill their yard with dancing snowmen, strobe light santas, and blinking red-nosed reindeer. Oh, and if you want peace on earth, you might want to stay away from their neighborhood. I’ve got plans to have the sound system blast out “Jingle Bell Rock” when you push the doorbell.  Never let it be said that I didn’t make ALL of her Christmas wishes come true. 

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Not by the hair of my….

As I entered the grandmother stage of my life, I was expecting the hot flashes. I also expected the forgetfulness, mood swings, night sweats, and even the middle-of-the-day sweats. What I did not expect was the facial hair. I first noticed it a few years ago as I sat in church, listening to the sermon. Yes, I do listen, Pastor. I may not always remember it (see above), but I do listen, just not at that particular moment. I was contemplative, worshipful, and  absentmindedly stroking my chin when I felt it. THE HAIR. I pulled it, and it stretched. It stretched out longer than a Sunday morning sermon, and when I lost my grip, it bounced back with a “boing” like the curly tail of a piglet. I was horrified, and got up in front of God and everybody and headed for the ladies’ room, where I managed to pull the thing out with my bare hands, since I didn’t  carry a pair of tweezers in my purse. Desperate times call for desparate measures.  In the weeks that followed, I found a few more hairs which seemed to sprout overnight, every night. Worse than the curly chin hairs are the dark hairs on my upper lip. I’ve always been attracted to beards and mustaches, just not on myself. These lip hairs can be pulled out  with my handy-dandy tweezers, but pulling them out can bring tears to the eyes of even the most stoic Farm Woman. Another alternative I have tried  is to have my upper lip waxed by a professional. Warm sticky wax is painted on, special torture paper is applied, and while they try to distract me with talk of the weather, it is RIPPED off quickly, pulling the offending hairs out with it. This, too, brings tears to my eyes, but at least it is a quick torture.  I have researched more natural ways to rid myself of my mustache. One involves mixing turmeric to a paste and applying it daily, leaving it on for 15 minutes before wiping it off “along with the unwanted hair.” Right.  Turmeric is an orange-yellow spice which is used in pickles, Middle-Eastern, and Indian cooking. It is also used as a natural fabric or food dye. With my luck,  I would probably end up with not only a mustache, but a brightly colored orange-yellow mustache which would probably resemble a caterpillar on my upper lip.  I think I’ll pass on the turmeric, even though it is right there in the spice cupboard. However…if any of you brave grandmothers  are thinking about adding a little turmeric to your turkey broth to make the Thanksgiving gravy a nice golden yellow color, put a bit on your upper lip and let me know how it works. 

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