Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Second Breakdown

The second breakdown was a direct result of the first. Again , it involved my older daughter. A few days before , Dawn had mentioned Christmas stockings. I said I just can't do stockings without Natalie here this year. I should have mentioned that fact earlier as she walked in Christmas morning with a bag of goodies. Just before we sat down, my eldest made her signature Christmas morning coffee laced with orange liquor and orange garnish. Being that I had just laced myself with orange juice a mere hour before that made the coffee drink all that more poignant.
As I began to open the stocking bag, I heard my own voice crack up "I never got you a stocking. I am such a bad mother ..". It did not matter to my daughter one way or the other but I felt it was an issue worth crying over and I did. I blubbered throughout most of the stocking stuff. My saving grace was the waterproof mascara. To make matters worse inside the stocking was an orange chocolate, orange bubble bath, orange lip gloss, etc etc . That set me off again. I was in my own personal citrus hell.
As the gifts unwrapped and the dinner came to a close , I finally felt more relaxed. The wine helped me reach that mellow yellow stage.
Screw Oprah. Screw Martha Stewart. It was over.
Until ...
Just before my daughter's boyfriend left the house he said these parting words ,
"Orange you glad we're leaving .."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ma's Christmas Morning Meltdown

I lost it at approximately 10:15 Christmas morning Eastern Standard Time. I lost it and I blame Oprah for it. Let me backtrack. I like to be organized , and I was. The house looked festive. The gifts were all bought and wrapped. All the extra food necessities were in the cupboard. I had printed off the cornbread, vegetarian stuffing recipe for Dawn recommended by Oprah instead of the sausage stuffing. The bird had been defrosting for 2 days in the refrigerator downstairs as per the health guidelines. The turnip and potatoes were prechopped in cold water the day before. I had made my list and checked it twice. All was well.
I woke up rested and ready for Christmas Day feeling prepared for the annual holiday dinner. There would be no nuking today. I relaxed , had my coffee, and fed the dogs. I was ready for Oprah's recipe. It was fairly simple to do, a little chopping, and it would be in the oven for 45 min at 350 in plenty of time for the turkey around 11am . Let the games begin. Rereading the recipe , I noted the ingredients were maxed on the plus side. Getting my chopper out , I thought to myself no wonder Oprah is gaining weight. Two minutes into the chopping , the chopper broke. Not a problem . Get the knife out. I had plenty of time. Chop.Chop.Chop. Lots of carrots in this stuffing. Chop. Chop. Wizzy was barking for a treat so I threw him a teeny piece of carrot . Healthy for growing puppies. Chop.Chop. Next came the celery. Stalks up. There were plenty of those too. Wish the chopper had not broken . Chop. Chop. Onions. Sliced . I should have halved this recipe. Watching the clock. Continued chopping and slicing. Wine ? I needed a cup of white wine. Found the bottle . Got out the wine opening gadget . Threw Wiz another a piece of carrot. Opened the bottle . Measured and poured . Resisted the wine taste temptation. Wizzy barking . Threw the little bastard a carrot. Got out my pan to saute the veggies. Turned the stove on. Added my ingredients. The pan was too small and ended up in the sink . Found a larger pan. Barking. Threw some carrots on the floor . Sauted the rest . Four cups of broth ? In the cupboard. Checking the time, I knew I needed this stuffing in the oven pronto. Hurry it up. Spice it up. Read , read. Chop, chop, saute and bark. Wizzy shutup .
I needed a cup of orange juice . How will all this liquid ever absorb? Oprah must have drank that bottle of wine . I debated that same thought. Pushing Wiz off my slipper, I reached for the orange juice . That is when it happened. In slow movie motion the box of Tropicana fell over. It poured onto the glass shelving. The orange juice flooded the food below like orange lava.
And it fell over me ...over my hair, my new gray , satin , la Senza jammies , down my top , in my pants , my slippers, onto Wizzy and the clean Christmas floor.
The phone rang . It was N@. "Merry Christmas Mama !" .
That is precisely when I lost it. I cried . I laughed . I cried again. Uncontrollably. I was juiced, sticky from head to toe. Between sobs, I explained. N@ kindly understood the stuffing saga and agreed to call later on that night.
Things did eventually right themselves . After all, it was the happiest time of the year. The kitchen got cleaned up . The stuffing for 50 servings and the turkey made it into the oven in time for Christmas dinner.
I showered ....and no one even knew about the acid rash on my chest.
The lesson learned: Be prepared for the unexpected and most importantly , what I know for sure ... always opt to drink the wine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Wish List

Two of my very favorite Christmas Wishes .

Each of us has a list . For some the list is long , lengthy and often expensive . For others , it is simply a warm place to sleep and a hearty meal . When my daughters were young , their Santa lists consisted of easy bake ovens and cabbage patch dolls. As parents , we always did our best to make their dreams come true. Late night wrappings and baking frenzies took up a lot of my time as a young mother. I was always lucky that every year, I had my children safe beside me. This is the first year that one of my daughters will not be home for the holidays. I am not sad although I will miss her presence and her ability to make me laugh against all odds . I am not sad for many reasons . My sister has a son in Korea who will not make it home for not one but two Christmases. They plan to use skype to stay connected over the holidays . There are other families whose children are stationed far away in war torn lands with no connection at all. Still others have someone in a hospital that they visit though the parent cannot connect to who they are. There are those who only have a picture to remind them that someone once sat in that empty chair . That is why I am not sad . There are so many families who through no wishes of their own cannot spend the holiday together.
I am very blessed.
When I think of my list, I think of things I cannot touch. Things like love , health, hope and peace.
Today, you may read the words on this page , but more than that , my Christmas wish is that you feel the words.
Merry Christmas to You and Yours ,
Love ,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bing Crosby - I'll Be Home For Christmas

This Christmas song takes on special meaning , as we watch the many news reports of weary travelers looking for any means possible to beat the cold and wintry weather to be home for the holidays. Looking exhausted after many flight delays , a young man lifted his luggage and muttered one word "Home ."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Fetish

There are those of us who are upfront and honest about their snow fetishes . There are others who continue to deny that shoveling snow has always been one of their hidden passions .
I heard that Montreal is in snow dumping as I type this . The falling white stuff continues to mesmerize one certain someone who is at this moment licking the flakes off her patio door with her two chihuahuas.I only have one thing to say to you ..
"Let it snow . Let it snow . Let it snow !"

Gene Autry - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

We love the concept of reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh . The story of Rudolph leading the way despite his disability proved that no matter what others thought , you could end up a leader in life . In reality , most red noses during the holidays are directly related to hangovers.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jimmy Boyd - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

When my Dad would play this old Christmas song , we would laugh and snicker but never quite understood it until we got a little older. We all knew what mistetoe was but I mean , how could our Mommy kiss Santa Claus ?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dedicated to My Friends Shawn and Didier

Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
every shelter is full - we are lost but not found,
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
we hope every minute that someone will care,
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,
"Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!
But now we sit here and think of the days
we were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways.
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew,
now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.

So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children:, "don't come when they call",
we "bark when they leave us", "climb over the wall."
We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,
now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew,
we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse - left to roam,
now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye,
"Maybe someone else will give you a try."

So now here we are, all confused and alone,
in a shelter with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat,
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer,
we know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads,
of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears,
our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.

If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn ,
could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year,
can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat
and help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
and more of us will, if more people will give.


Please, even if you can't adopt a kitty, cat, dog or pup from a shelter, TRY to bring something to make their holidays a little more special. They are there all alone, probably in the cold. Bring some old dog food or cat food, or an old leash from one of your dogs. Make their day a lil' extra special. They deserve it!


Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee

As a teenager, this was the song we danced too around the Christmas tree. I was on my itunes the other day and noted that Brenda Lee's song is still played by a new generation of holiday downloaders . Of course , it could be the baby boomers still rockin' after all these years .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gene Autry - Frosty the Snowman

When we were kids we never had much of a radio. One old record I recall my Dad putting on for us was this cowboy singing about that snowman that could walk and sing . My brothers , sister and I would all dance around the house just like Frosty.
Still a classic after all these years .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bing Crosby-I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

My Dad loves to sit with his walkman , relax on his lazyboy , and listen to some Christmas music . He has always loved Bing Crosby and this song in particular .
I am gonna play DJ for a day and dedicate this number to my Dad .

..and don't worry Dad , our Christmas will most definitely be white .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merrick Alexander

... came into the world this morning at 7 pounds , 5 ounces . The new and only grandson of my best friend. She has not one but three grand daughters so this little fellow will have to find his place amongst the alpha females .
N.B. Looks like he might have red hair !

Monday, December 15, 2008

How Ma Crashed A Toddler Christmas Concert

Toddlers a toddling ..
Proud Daddy and his girl .

My best friend's grandaughter was in her first Christmas concert on Saturday. I was invited to attend and take a few pictures of the prestigious event. It seemed like yesterday my own kids were singing Christmas carols and reciting poems. The concert was held at the Y.M.C.A. building and by the time I arrived ,there was not a parking spot to be seen. Every proud parent and their relatives had been there earlier than I. No need to rush. I knew I had a seat saved for me. I turned around up the street and came back again and lo and behold I found a parking space. I pulled up in front of a driveway and put my vehicle into reverse. Checked my mirrors , looked back , and proceeded to back into the space beyond the driveway. Crunchy crunchy bang bang. What the fa la la was that? I got out of my truck and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a little beige Jeep and a very irate ( but later quite nice) black man.The headlight on his Jeep was broken .The irate, but later quite nice black man , bellowed at me "I was honking . I was honking" . I quite calmly replied "I am deaf, and you can't just honk and move behind a moving vehicle just because you want to use the driveway to turn around .. "Later on he admitted he was late and thought I was already parked. We exchanged numbers and names and walked into the concert together. No one was hurt except for a little injured pride on both sides. As we went to our seats, you could almost here the whisper * the accident people *.
The law says I am at fault for backing up even though he cut me off from behind. Rightfully so.
Good news is the Ho Ho Hoe was not damaged ( I was going very slow ..)
The kids were excited and happy. The grand daughter was cute. The parents were proud. The lunch was yummy. Santa & Mrs Claus gave out presents.
... and that is how I crashed the toddler Christmas concert.
The crunchy crunchy bang bang .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Go Fa La La Yourself

The Sears Spring & Summer catalogue came today in the mail . Will you please let me get through the jolliest time of the year before you do this to me ? I and the rest of the consumer world have been jingling our bells at both ends. All we need to see is your new bathing suit line when we are digging out from 25cm of the white stuff. Hola . You can't shovel in strappy sandals and a parka .
I am putting this reading material away at least until mid-June when hopefully, but not necessarily, we get some summer buying clothes weather .
Oh yeah , right ..... the Christmas Wishbook comes out then .
Fa la la yourself .

Monday, December 08, 2008

For All The Folks At Home

Grandpa Horton is thrilled to get Don's debut CD autographed by the man himself .
Saturday Night Party Girls
The Sons of Maxwell , Don & Dave Carroll
Don , the romantic brother ,who has always loved the music of the swing era .
Dave , who will be a new Dad , is well deserving of the the many accolades for his beautiful song "Now."

Martha , Don , & Dad ...all share beautiful smiles .
Don autographs his solo CD for Ma while Don is wondering where his CD is ....

For the tenth December, The Sons of Maxwell , Don & Dave , traveled back to their hometown of Timmins through a winter storm to perform the first of their holiday concerts for all the folks at home. Bundled up for the cold , we anxiously awaited the music that would warm our hearts for the Christmas season. The boys did not disappoint. From the moment they stepped on the stage to their final standing ovation, it was obvious audience and entertainers alike had connected in a very special way. Their style of music is as individual as the brothers themselves. Together , they can harmonize beautifully to the traditional songs of Christmas as well as their own trademark folksy music. Individually , both brothers have come out with solo CDs showcasing their unique styles of song. Don is the crooner type of guy whose new CD aptly titled "Valentine Delivered" is a collection of swing sounds that appeal to young and old alike. My father is a big fan of Don and his Fabulous Little Swing Band Show. Dave's debut CD Perfect Blue has won several awards this year and if you have not heard the inspirational song "Now " you are truly missing out in a gift to the soul. Their versatility in song choice ranged from the Beatles to Johnny Cash to Christmas in Killarney. In between the singing and the smiles, we were treated to a little brotherly camaraderie as Don & Dave kidded each other on their respective CDs. We had such a fun time. Afterwards , Ma's joyous group celebrated with a little wine , snacks, and autograph signing @ Caseys.
I want to mention the powerhouse behind the boys is their mother , Sharon , who works endless hours of love and devotion to organize this hometown concert every year.
For the Sons of Maxwell , thank you once again for lifting your voices and our spirits right into the Christmas season .
For Don & Dave ,
You Belong to Me , I Promise to Pursue . Now .and I will Go Tell It On The Mountain to everyone ( including Oprah ) .
Love , Ma & Family

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dashing Through The Snow

This is one of the many reasons I love dogs . The pure and infinite delight in the moment . A lesson so many of us need to learn as we hurry through our days missing out in the simple joys of life .

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Angels With Snowy Faces

Wiz runs with the big dogs and proves that 4 pounds of feisty terrier is not a snow wimp ... so far.