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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Friday, December 30, 2005


The Week after Christmas




T’was the week after Christmas and all through my home
There were tissues and aspirin and a husband who’d moan.

The stockings, once hung by the chimney with care,
Were flattened and crumbled and thrown anywhere.

Poor husband was nestled all snug in his bed
With a very sore throat and a cold in his head.

And I in my jammies, (with Papa in bed)
Had just settled down (after all animals were fed.)

When out on the street there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the sofa to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash!
(Knocked into a table which caused a small gash.)

The moon on the mud (it had rained night and day)
Made the front lawn look like a place pigs would play.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an Olds SUV filled with guests, I did fear.

Little old Aunt Annie and her divorced son, Gus
Had stopped by, the darlings, to visit with us.

More rapid than eagles boots trudged toward our door.
When I saw they’d brought kids, I sunk to the floor.

Through the mud and the muck more and more boots came.
Gus whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Now Barkley, now Gregory, now Dylan and Royce
Hurry up, get out of the mud and try to be good boys!

So up to the porch stoop Gus’s kids did fly
While I pulled on a robe just ready to cry.

Aunt Annie was dressed all in fur from her head to her boot
The kids were plain filthy as if playing in soot.

Cousin Gus had a buzz on and a 12-pack in his hand
He’d found a warm place, I feared, now to land.

His eyes they were bloodshot; his coat torn and hairy
His nose was as red as a maraschino cherry.

His mouth was a-yacking; he had lots to say
And the beard on his chin held food from yesterday.

He gave me a kiss with a breath that was smelly
And popped open a beer to maintain his big belly.

Soon his red-rimmed eyes and nodding head
Gave me to know I had something to dread.

The kids spoke not a word but went strait to the tree
Where they hung on the branches while screaming WHEEEEEEE.

I tried to be nice and to give them a hug
While watching the mud spots all over my rug.

I gave out some candy and served them some food
But they all were plain horrid, nasty and rude.

Then after laying a finger up into his nose
I was overjoyed the moment I saw Gus rose.

He grabbed Annie’s arm-- to the kids gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard Gus exclaim as he stumbled toward the Olds,
It’s not nice to have guests when you know you have colds.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Holidays!

So busy busy! Don't know when I can write next...but I am...


Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and...

PEACE ON EARTH

It's more than words on a Christmas card...

It is what I wish for all of us everywhere no matter what religion or lack of religion; no matter what sexual orientation or skin color; no matter what age, sex or disability. Red state or Blue.

To each and every one of you I fervently wish for:

PEACE ON EARTH

xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxox

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Holiday Tips


I’m up to here with Christmas bells, balls and bills.

The spare bedroom looks like a cross between a Hallmark store and FAO Schwartz. I’ve stock-piled about 10 pounds of butter in the freezer, 7 rolls of Scotch tape and purchased a case of tasty but inexpensive red wine to give out as last minute gifts.

I’ve experienced my first Christmas party hangover, received multiple invitations for New Year’s Eve, hid the cat nip mice in the freezer so the cats won’t attack their stockings like they did one year, shredding them to bits to get at their cat “weed.”

I’ve already OD’d on Christmas Carols and there’s still a good week of carols ahead of me.

But what truly kicks off the holiday season for me is when the newspaper delivery man includes a Christmas card in the morning newspaper. Not only do we get a lovely card, we also get one of his self-addressed envelopes to facilitate and expedite sending in our “tip.”

I give this guy credit. It does work. I see the self-addressed envelope and drop in a check.

I haven’t sent out Christmas cards in years. But I’m thinking I might start again next year, and include my own self-addressed envelopes to see what happens.

I'll be sure to send a Christmas card to my newspaper guy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Crabbing


I love this time of the year but it does bring out the super sentimental part of my personality. I think about loved ones who aren’t alive anymore to spend Christmas with me. I try to reconcile all the good cheer and holiday parties with the annoying problems of real life: broken vacuum cleaner, bills piling up, visits from relatives that mean cleaning the guest room and planning special meals, trying to squeeze blood out of a stone so that everyone gets a present.

I try to dump the Martha Stewart Christmas vision out of my mind and replace it with the facts: lights on tree are now intermittently working; presents have been lost in shipping; finding out the present I bought relative A was already purchased by relative B, so I must return the one I have and look for something else. No bonus this year and the family and friend invitations/edicts about where I’ll be every moment of the next few weeks.

Arrgggh

And the glorious, eye-glistening Christmas music that sometimes is so happy it makes me want to cry because I just can’t match the mood.

So that’s why, I play this particular Christmas Carol frequently during the days leading up to Christmas. I love the lyrics and it puts me, believe it or not, in a happier mood than if I were just listening to Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells.

If you aren’t familiar with it…I recommend it highly.

Not every minute of this jolly season is jolly -- and this song speaks to times when for no good reason or for many good reasons you just feel a little lonely, a little sad or a little down.



Hard Candy Christmas

By: Carol Hall
Original Appearance: The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas


Hey, maybe I'll dye my hair
Maybe I'll move somewhere
Maybe I'll get a car
Maybe I'll drive so far
They'll all lose track
Me, I'll bounce right back
Maybe I'll sleep real late
Maybe I'll lose some weight
Maybe I'll clear my junk
Maybe I'll just get drunk on apple wine
Me, I'll be just

Fine and Dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow get me way down

Hey, maybe I'll learn to sew
Maybe I'll just lie low
Maybe I'll hit the bars
Maybe I'll count the stars until dawn
Me, I will go on

Maybe I'll settle down
Maybe I'll just leave town
Maybe I'll have some fun
Maybe I'll meet someone
And make him mine
Me, I'll be just

Fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

'Cause I'll be fine
(I'll be fine)
Oh, I'll be fine


And don't worry, I'm fine!

I just want to share this song with you in case you ever feel overwhelmed, under appreciated, over the top or under the weather during the holiday season.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Mall Mauling and a Big Fat Ho

Saturday we decided to do a mall shopping trip. I usually avoid the malls like the plague. I love internet shopping and prefer to shop in jammies as I’ve stated on another post.

Husband needed to shop and likes to see what he’s buying so I went along for the trip. We separated so he could shop for me and we picked a place and time for us to reconnect.

I had hardly gone two feet when an elaborate, twin stroller rolled over my right foot. Ho ho ho!

I say: Ow. The harried mom looks over at me and shrugs.

Ho ho ho!

Yes, we were in the Disney Store where the aisles are narrow, little ones are running wild, and numerous strollers are rolling though these narrow aisles holding a variety of precious children…still – keep your damn strollers under control!

I exit Disney with a slight limp as I had chosen to wear very soft, lightweight shoes for my shopping trip, not the steel-toed boots I should have been wearing.

How about Macy’s? I say to myself. Macy’s has wide aisles and you can attempt to choose departments that might have less stroller traffic, like fine china for example.

I think I’m safe as I wander through the housewares department, examining articles for possible purchase (for me!) -- You see, I’ve done my Christmas shopping and this trip with husband usually ends up being a “buy for me” kind of trip. One, I am the only person I haven’t bought a Christmas gift for and Two, if I’m going to do some impulse buying, it might as well be for me.

I’m humming Silent Night to myself as I check out the wine glasses when “THWACK” a boxed wine rack (some assembly needed) falls out of the overstuffed arms of another harried woman and right onto the metatarsals of my left foot. This was one heavy box.

I say: Ow, mumbling "somanabitch" under my breath.

Harried woman says: There’s no help in this store and I’m trying to carry too much.

I think that was her apology for making me totally lame.

Ho ho ho!

I check my watch and I still have 45 minutes to waste until I meet up with husband, so I decide to go into Lord and Taylor.

Lord and Taylor is a pretty pricey store. They always seem to have a lot of sales people and the way the shoe section is organized, strollers don’t fit. So I decide to try on some shoes…sturdy shoes with metal frames if they sold them.

Both feet are now throbbing and I can’t help but wonder why my size 6 ½ feet can suddenly be such a huge target for abuse.

I try a few pairs on and notice a really nice looking shoe on the center display which is about 4 steps from the chair I am sitting in. I get up in my stocking feet, walk over to the display to look at the shoe when I am suddenly and without warning, impaled at that very spot by an overly made up, mini-skirted gal strutting her stuff in over-the-knee boots with a 4 ½ inch stiletto heel that is now grinding it’s way through the top of my foot.

“Ahhhhhhhhh” I scream and she doesn’t even flinch. “Get off my foot” I scream even louder.

I am in excruciating pain and as I think this --I congratulate myself for such an excellent word choice and for remaining calm while experiencing such physical agony -- until I realize she’s got something in her ear with a wire that leads to her pocket and she can’t hear me and she’ll never get off my foot until I beat her off me.

So I gently give her a push causing her to lift her stiletto long enough to salvage what was left of my twice assaulted right foot.

“ Hey, fuck you” she says.

“Whoa,” says the shoe salesman who magically appeared or was responding to my bellow. “Miss, you were standing on her foot and you have your music up so loud she couldn’t get your attention.”

The bitch snarls at me and looks down at my foot in disgust.

I quickly put my shoes back on and take leave of Lord and Taylor, but not before I turn in her direction, and say in a loud voice: Ho ho ho, HO!

She gets my point and even though I’m lame, maimed and slightly shamed, I get the hell out of the store before she can catch up to me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snowbound

Here in Connecticut it is snowing. My birds are happily pecking at the seed in their feeder, the cats are curled up by the heater vents and the dogs are begging to go outside and play.

I’m listening to Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart sing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and I think I’m inspired to start wrapping Christmas presents or make some cookies or do something holidayish.

I feel like I’m inside a snow globe and I love that feeling.

For those people who have to travel in this weather, I am sorry. But for the lucky ones like me who can stay inside, warm and cozy – a snow storm is a treat of treats.

Some flakes are so big you can almost here them hit the ground with a thud. The dried up winter lawn now looks like it’s covered in ermine.

The feathers of the cardinal, perched at my feeder, are blood red against the white, swirling background.

From the window of my office, I look out at the world though a veil of intricate, ivory lace.

Even my garbage pails look beautiful covered in snow.

Somewhere I have a copy of Whittier’s Snowbound. Have you read it?

It’s a long poem…but I’ll quote the beginning lines. It’s just how I feel:

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
Meanwhile we did our nightly chores,
Brought in the wood from out the doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd's-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.

It really is worth reading in its entirety if you have time...

Stay safe and warm if you're in the snow zone!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Ed Kozinn: King of Connecticut Dentists


Candy-pants, scaredy-cat, yellow-bellied coward – I am all three when it comes to going to the dentist.

I shake; I get waves of nausea; I see black invading my peripheral vision. I need Valium, Petite Sirah and Stella Artois in heavy doses before I can even pick up the phone to make an appointment.

It’s a long story as to why my phobia is so powerful and so intractable. Lucky you, I won’t share the gory details that have led me to this lifelong fear.

But, have I set the scene for my recent dental appointment? Is your mouth dry, your palms wet, your lower lip aquiver?

If so, you are now in my shaking-shoes, walking into a very open, office with a pleasant person at the desk greeting you as if you were a normal patient and not a bowel-growling, eye-twitching, knee-knocking wreck.

Now imagine how happy I was to meet my newest hero, Dr Edward Kozinn. This man is so special. He listens; he is gentle; he talks with you -- not at you or down to you.

I’ve been to the office twice now and each time I’ve felt a sense of calm and safety. And best of all, what I didn’t feel was any pain.

I’ve been around the dental block. My records have been transferred from office to office, looking for someone who will allow me to ask questions and take part in decisions that affect my dental health.

I had all but given up hope, until I went to Dr. Kozinn’s office and found what I was looking for: compassion, caring, competence and cooperation.

Need a dentist? Scared out of your mind?

Go see Dr. Kozinn and if you need to get on a plane to get to his office, it’s worth it.

Note: I am including his website which contains directions to his office for all local candy-pants who, like me, had given up hope finding a dentist that would make them feel safe and in good hands. (http://www.drkozinn.com)

Also, I first contacted him through his website email address and almost immediately received a response by email plus a phone call – and it was his day off.

I told you he was special.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blah-ging

I’m blah. Sorry I’m not around much lately.

I seem to have lots of loose ends to deal with like– car repairs, an abscessed tooth (tomorrow I go to the dentist), and other mundane and or torturous crappy things I must do. Plus, my stereo isn’t working right.

I hate to use this space to whine…so I tend not to write when I feel overwhelmed.

I am writing with my sunglasses on… (tres chic!) because I left my regular glasses in my car which husband had to take to work because his car decided to fall apart this past week and is in the shop.

Every Christmas that I can remember we have pre-Christmas car problems. Mine or his or one year we actually had two non-working cars on Christmas Eve. Even the tow truck guy seemed sorry for us.

He used a very pleasant voice when he said: Which car do you want me to tow first?

I personally seem to acquire holiday root canals.

Sometime between Dec. 1st and Jan. 1st, I’ve had at least three root canal problems that needed immediate attention. I am hoping that tomorrow, the dentist will say, “Let me drill that tooth and fill that tooth and send you on your way.
Hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth (fixed!)

Front teeth problems cause me more anxiety than the ones in the back. I’m always waiting for the dentist to say: “I’m sorry this tooth needs to be pulled and you will have to walk around with a big space in the front of your mouth until after the holidays or maybe forever.

“So, go ahead, put on that sparkly top you bought to wear to that holiday party coming up – and you’ll still look like a hockey player.”

I’ve always had a fear of losing teeth either through accident or disease, losing teeth is one of my recurrent dreams….

Blah blah blah.

This is the exact reason I haven’t written anything lately. I’m in a doltish period and when my stereo doesn’t work right I’m twice as doltish and blue.

I’m going to go and jiggle some speaker wires.

Maybe I can fix it. Maybe the garage will call saying the car is fixed. Maybe the dentist will fix my front tooth.

I need a fix.