Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
WT Mom Holiday Survival Tip #2
Monday, November 28, 2005
A Closet Full of Goodies!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Holiday Letter to Martha from ERMA
Hi Erma, This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to. Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Then to make the sled complete, I made a white horse to pull it, from DNA that I had just sitting around in my craft room.
By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I'm serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I'll let you in on a little secret: I didn't have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand.
Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling. Then, while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store.
Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I'm wearing for breakfast. I'll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I'll be making.
Hope my breakfast guests don't stay too long, I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves before my speaking engagement at noon. It's a good thing.
Love, Martha Stewart
Response from Erma Bombeck:
Dear Martha, I'm writing this on the back of an old shopping list, pay no attention to the coffee and jelly stains. I'm 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school, packing a lunch with one hand, on the phone with the dog pound, seems old Ruff needs bailing out again. Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries, how DO they do that? Still can't find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, tried using an old disposable razor ... trashed the tablecloth. Tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries mushed up after I defrosted them in the microwave. Oh, and don't use Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade that resembles puke! The smoke alarm is going off, talk to ya later.
Found My Sense of Humor Again
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Get Your Mammies Grammed
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Raise Your Glass, and Repeat After Me...
- Find it necessary to plaster every square inch of wall space with "Santa Is Coming" motif decor.
- String cranberries by hand for my tree. I will respect my fingers and therefore not poke them repeatedly with a needle doing this needless activity.
- Guilt myself into individually hand crafting little trinkets for every Jane, Jan and Jackie that I have ever known (c'mon, you guilt-ridden crafters know who you are...).
- Put up that God awful decoration my friend gave me last year, just because she gave it to me and I don't want to hurt feelings. Yes, I hereby give myself the permission to accidentally pass that along to some other poor soul. (Don't you just love re-gifting?)
- Buy my kids even close to everything on their lists...(Is your glass still raised?)
Just so we're clear here, these are things WE WILL NOT DO, even though it may make us squirm, sweat and slobber not to.
Moving right along...(raise that glass again, WTM's!)...I will NOT:
- Flit from one party to the next, in an effort to make an appearance at everyone's, regardless of whether I want to go. I hereby give myself permission to politely decline an invitation - and without the 30 minute explanation, "Well, see, my cat died and my best holiday sweater got eggnog on it last year, and I'm really having a bad hair day. Oh! And little Jimmy isn't feeling so hot after eating all that crap at his holiday party and barfing at school today." A simple, "Thank you so much for thinking of us, but we won't be able to make it this time" will suffice. Practice it before you call.
- Require myself to have a different outfit for every holiday event I do attend, just in case I see any of the same people. If my friends judge me by the extent of my wardrobe, they're no longer my friends. Period.
- Ever purchase (again?) a sweater with Frosty, Rudolph or Santa riding his sleigh on it. At the risk of getting hit with a massive rockstorm, WTM's, these little gems have seen their day (and it was dark), and it's time to moveon.com.
Finally, let me just say this...If you have to ask yourself: "Is this over the top?", then it probably is. Let's preserve just a bit of our sanity this year.
Is your glass still raised? OK, now repeat after me (this is the last one, I promise!):
"I am a White Trash Mom and proud to be one. This holiday season, I vow to stay sane by following the steps above. I know that I can do it. I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And by golly, people like me!"
Now sit down, kick your feet up, down whatever it is that's in your glass (milk, eggnog, hot toddy, cosmo, vino, screaming orgasm - oops, sorry, you're probably at home, not a tavern..., cocoa, cider), and take a break. All those pre-holiday resolutions have probably made you tired. Toss back a few bon bon's. Back to bed for me! Thanks for the warm glass of milk effect! Who needs therapy when we've go each other?!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Spandex and Christmas Jes' Don't Mix!
After partaking in the "cram as much food in your face ritual", we commenced our search for the best rides. After all, we'd all taken our motion sickness med's. We were armed and ready for F-U-N, FUN! Bypassing vendor after vendor with hot chestnuts, fresh pork rinds (eeeooow), country skillets out the ying yang (ok, I admit, those were awesome, home-cooked food!), anything you could possibly think of putting on a stick, pig's feet, taffy, fudge, fudge and more fudge (did you see the part about the pig's feet???), we were dazed by our fruitless search.Oh, I'm just getting started. It was like that feeling you get when you're absolutely overwhelmend and stifled by the crowd at a fair. So, we're walking around in the shopping hell, going, "Uh, point me to the roller coasters, please," when the lady in front of a "theater" accosts us and implores us to, "Come on in for the lahvnaytivtee!". "I'm sorry, the what?" "The Lahv Nay-tiv-tee! It's jes' gettin' ready to start up. It's real nice!" "Oh, the Live Nativity. How long does it last?" "About 15 minutes. The kids'll love it!" With that, we're in. That's when it dawns on me that we haven't seen a single person of color since setting foot in the amusement park. As if this isn't disturbing enough in and of itself, my husband leans over and whispers for me to look around at the general demographic here. Now, I'm trying hard not to be a WTM snob here, but it seemed to me that we were surrounded by people over 50, many of whom were dressed in spandex, Christmas sweatshirts (you KNOW the kind I'm referring to...) and cowboy boots. Some had suspenders. We were in a freakin' amusement park. You know, rides, cotton candy. It was an unseasonably balmy 81 degrees. Almost 50 bucks apiece just to walk in the door, and we're sitting waiting to watch a second-rate showing of the birth of Jesus. I popped another Dramamine, and the show began. Now, here's where writing surely can't do justice to the scene. To their credit, the "set" was pretty cool looking, though I don't think they had shiny pottery in biblical times. Stone looking structures. Live donkey. Authentic costuming. But here's the thing. This guy comes out - like the narrator. He's all dressed the part in robes and bare feet. He's gesturing dramatically, and words are coming out of speakers somewhere, and he's mouthing words, but they're obviously pre-recorded. CHEESY! They go through the whole story of the birth of Jesus, no room at the inn, etc. I seriously thought they might end with an alter call and a group dunking. Let me just interject here that I consider myself to be a Christian. My faith has gotten me through many a twist and tangle over the years. I don't know if you other Christians consider us Catholics as one of your own, but I do. I know, I know. For years, we Catholics thought we were the only ones up there (you know where I mean...), but we relented way back in like the early 70's and recognized that it would be extremely haughty of us to continue to believe that. So, here's where I'm going with this. From now until the holidays are over, this amusement park - and let's just get it out in the open. Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. There. I've said it. Sue me! So, SDC has what they call An Old Time Christmas in Silver Dollar City. The entire park is decorated for Christmas. Elves walking around. All the staff dressed in Christmas finery. There are nativity scenes everywhere, and carols are piped in 24/7. (Can you imagine working there every day?) Here's my question. . . Aren't they being just a little bit exclusionary? I know it's the Ozarks, but Geezy Pete! Heavens to Betsy! Golly Moses! Judas Priest! Couldn't they devote even one little area to the Menorah or something? It just seems so narrow-minded.I don't know. Maybe I'm just in a particularly devil's advocate sort of mood. I say unto you. Let thou amongst you without sin cast the first stone against me. Or, as usual, come sit by me. The water's fine. Maybe not so holy, but fine, nonetheless!
Every Mother is a Working Mother
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Muffy or Granola? Or Somewhere in Between?
That's right, my fellow WTM's. There was a time when I, too, could have gone either way - WTM-hood or the ever so dark side of Muffia-dom. In the early 80's, I was even known to wear my Izod and Polo collars up, and pink and green were two of my fav colors to wear together, especially with complimentary striped belt and Chinos. Yup! That was me. And dare I admit this to you...my friends had a nickname for me. It was (gulp)...MUFFY. I kid you not. So, how, might you ask, did I escape the clutches of true Muffia-dom? Well, that's where my story truly begins, my little WTM prodigies. That's where it begins. I was straight out of college and working in a typical straight-out-of-college sort of job. You know the kind. . . where you are so thankful to get the paycheck that allows you to make the minimum payment on your credit cards each month? The kind where if you slept with the boss (think short, balding, even with the hair plug implants, paunchy waist, bad breath), your chances of advancement would increase dramatically. EEEOOOHHH! So, I was coasting along in this sales job (office equipment), biding my time, really, just to get my feet wet in sales and get the experience that everyone looks for on a resume. I was engaged to be married to my honey of a hubby, when lo and behold, Bad Breath Baldy fired me! Guess sleeping with him would have saved my hide - - and I say again . . . EEEOOOHHH! So, I did what any fashionable, college-educated, getting-married-next-month girl would do. I went into retail, managing a semi-upscale ladies clothing store. I worked for peanuts, often putting in 12 hour days, all for the clothing discount. I got cost on all of my clothes. It was unbelievable, really. At any rate, I spent more on my clothes on a monthly basis then than I do now (even with the discount...). I became completely obsessed with clothes. I was oh-so-dangerously-close to Muffia-dom. A year and a half into this (and my marriage), I got pregnant and found myself getting vericose veins at 25, due to working on my feet so much. Tired of working for what we would now consider spare change, I was getting desperate for a way out of the situation. But then, the miracle occurred. My husband was offered a temporary transfer (just about a year) to Oregon - timber country, Douglas Firs, fresh air. Better pay for him, no more long hours for me on my swollen, pregnant feet. Sounded like Kismet. So, we moved. We didn't sell our house, since we knew we'd be back in a short time. So, we rented. It was the beginning of summer, and the realtor told Hubby that we wouldn't need air because it only got over 90 degrees there 3 or 4 times per year. No biggie. So, we rented a townhouse on the outskirts of the small lumber town where Hubby would be working, and we moved a few weeks later. Whoa, Nellie. Talk about culture shock! Now, you have to understand that we both grew up in large metro areas - suburbs, but part of a large city. Moving to a city of population 11,000 was, to say the least, a big change. But here's the thing. We didn't own enough plaid to live in this community. These people there were like Muffia and Biffia only for lumberjacks. The only things we had going for us were:
- We weren't any of "them Treehuggers from the North." (God Bless Timberica.)
- We weren't from California. Period. (Apparently, that's a cardinal sin in and of itself.)
- We weren't planning to stay. (They literally breathed sighs of relief.)
And then, the weather. It was the hottest freakin' summer in the history of the state. That summer of '91, we did everything we could to get into a/c. We saw every movie that came out except Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (hey, a girl's gotta have SOME standards...). We even went bowling when I was seven months pregnant. And let me just say here, DO NOT DO THIS. I repeat. Do NOT go bowling in the last trimester of your pregnancy. Ouch! The day in OCTOBER when I brought my daughter home from the hospital, it was 103 degrees! I am not exaggerating. 103.
Then, there was the laundromat. Oh, Lord, the laundromat. Did you know people actually talk to each other at the laundromat? And they want to tell you their life stories? Talk about a captive audience. Well, this woman thought it would be fun to tell me all about how they used to live in tents there. Tents. In the 70's. OMG!
Finally, there was the whole prenatal class thing. You know how we have to pay to take the prenatal classes before we deliver our children? Maybe $100 or something? In the little town where we lived (which happened to be the county seat), they actually paid YOU to take prenatal classes. $100 right off the top of your hospital bill. Apparently, they had like a cajillion women coming down from the hills, in labor, saying, "I thaaank A'hm havin' a BABY!" For real! They were completely unprepared for childbirth and were total disasters for the medical staff as a result. So, offering the $100 got them to come in to the hospital for the class. Never mind that they wouldn't be paying their hospital bills anyway, thank you very much. Whatever works, I guess.
So, the prenatal class was kind of a combo of LaMaze and Granola teaching. They taught us to breathe. They taught us gun safety. Yes, gun safety. That was a requirement to complete the class and get your 100 buckaroos! And our town was so small that there was not even the slightest possibility of getting an epidural. IV drugs were it. And they made you feel bad if you took those. So, that's how I came to have my kids with no drugs. No, WTM's, I'm not kidding. And my girls never even fit into the newborn clothes. At 8 lbs, 13 oz and 10 lbs, 2 oz, I'm lucky I even remember the experience!
So, how does this relate to not moving over to the dark side of Muffia-dom? Well, I think the whole granola experience of living in the self-proclaimed Timber Capital of America kind of made me re-evaluate what was important (like grass in my yard instead of sawdust or wood shavings - uh huh, for real). Did I become like them and start wearing Birkenstocks with heavy socks and no makeup every day? No. I still like to look nice. But I'm not going to kill myself if I'm seen out in public with no makeup or imperfect clothing.
There are far more important things in life. Like making the store-bought cut-out pumpkin cookies look homemade by putting them on a pretty platter. And then letting the Muffia ooh and ahh over them like I slaved. And relishing that charade. A little too much, perhaps. Sorry this post is so long. Hopefully, you took the Evelyn Woods Speed Reading Course, and it didn't put too much of a dent in your bon bon eating time! Have a fab weekend!
Watching a Muffy on the Brink
I am only a room parent for my daughter's school because they were totally desperate. However, at our school the room parent gig is a fairly easy one. The return on investment of time for being a room parent (okay, let's just call a spade a spade---a room MOM) is quite high. At the school where I am a room mom, it basically signs you up for a few holiday parties and then you are free the rest of the year.
This year, my room parenting duties are with another WT Mom, as well as a "newbie" to the Room Mom gig. She is a very nice and young mom with several small kids. She is...as we say...a mom on the brink. She could go either way----to the dark side of the Muffia or to the light of the WT Mom philosophy.
When we saw the assignment sheet for Room Moms this year, the other veteran & WT Mom asked me about her. "Do you think we can turn her?" asked Wise WT MOM/ROOM MOM. "Only time will tell," I answered gravely. "The first test will be...the craft issue." Now, don't get me wrong about crafts. I actually LIKE doing crafts with my kids. I especially like doing craft things with my kids if I want to talk long distance with a friend or do anything for myself, by myself for more than 15 minutes. Crafts are an excellent way to keep children in one place for more than 5 seconds and keep the horrible mess contained to one area of your home or yard. Anyway----the point is, crafts are good at HOME. BUT crafts during a holiday party at school...that is another story.
Crafts at a holiday party at an elementary school are fine... if you have a bomb shelter in which to do the craft in or if you cover the children from head to toe with plastic trash bags. But to put any kind of glue or paint in the hands of 25 Second Graders who just ate chocolate cupcakes...that is INSANITY. As the Halloween school party approached, the two veterans (myself and other WT Mom) tried every way we knew how to talk the "Newbie" mom out of the craft thing during the Halloween party, to no avail. Newbie mom thought it would be "fun" and it was "easy". So the day of the Halloween party came. I brought several trash bags, extra wipes and paper towels for back-up. The other WT Room Mom brought some Xanax left over from a root canal, in case things got really bad and we had to use sedation. Well, WT Moms...THEY ATE HER ALIVE. Twenty-five little demons, high on sugar, tore into her as soon as she started to "show" the craft and what it was supposed to look like. The scene was so ugly but we stood by on the sidelines, watching it all in horror (and a little bit of snarky laughter). "Shouldn't we help her?" I asked, not moving. "If we help her now, she will never learn. This lesson could help her from turning to the dark side," said my wise WT friend. She finally gave up after about 20 minutes. She left right after that, saying she thought her child was feeling sick and she needed to take him home. We nodded silently, acting as though we believed her story. Will she turn to the dark side or embrace the light? WT Moms, we will keep you posted after the next Holiday party.