Am I Really Coughing All Over My Yuletide? And Other Stories from a Sickbed.

NOT how I felt about the flu.

NOT how I felt about the flu.

Christmas is tomorrow people. If you are Christian, agnostic, or a happy Pagan who digs Santa, then you are going to the “show” this Thursday. It’s a time for mad-cap baking; watching Elf forty times on TBS (Santaaaaaa!!!!!!!); and cursing Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they are out of the Boston Red Sox Meat Brander (maybe I’ll just get him socks).

During this time of year, Christians celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.

Also happening this time of year, the United States celebrates the birth of the flu.

Wait, what?

One never really understands the voracity of their own health, until it is taken away…during the most wonderful time of the year…while a Mariah Carey Christmas song plays in the background.

All I want for Christmas is to stop coughing.

All I want for Christmas is to stop coughing.

But as they say, there’s a lesson in there somewhere. So, when the fever and chills took me to school, I took note.

Lessons I Learned while Sick this Holiday Season:

  1. Holiday shows on ION involve a lot of thoughtful starting. In fact, they run light on dialogue, but have it in spades with sighing and intent looking, all set to track music. Themes involve: engagement by Christmas, saving your marriage by Christmas, having your first kiss by Christmas. Nothing with wine and/or chocolate. Weirdos.

    I actually did not see this one.

    I actually did not see this one.

  2. It is both ironic and remarkable the number of Tamiflu commercials that play on TV, while you have the flu, and popping Tamiflu.
  3. I will never be on the Sing Off!
  4. According to the Profemin commercials, I am either menopausal or a very pissed off and tired person. Maybe I am pissed off about my menopausalness. I might also have erectile dysfunction.

    I get it buddy.

    I get it buddy.

  5. There is a karaoke television app. Please, for the love of God, do not tell my child’s third grade class.
  6. So. Much. Supernatural. Why?

    People really dig this show.

    People really dig this show.

  7. Oh look, nothing is wrapped. Aces.
  8. I have perfected by “Oh no, I’m not sick” phone voice. It is the same one I use for, “Oh no, I haven’t had four glasses of wine,” or the, “Yes, of course I am awake at 5 a.m.” voice.
  9. Being sick sucks.

Mom Sick

Every holiday season I look forward to sitting back and relaxing with family and friends. The flu put a little kink in that plan. While things are much better now, being sick really does open your eyes to what matters most and what you might want to shed from your life. Plus, I really missed my eight pots of coffee-style energy. Health is just too precious.

So this year, hug your loved ones, call an old friend, do something nice for a neighbor.

And for the love of all things holy – take your vitamin C!

Have a wonderful holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

 

#merryflumas

#Tamifluismylovershhh

Photos Courtesy of:

Guy with the flu – www.adpharm.net

Mariah Carey – www.fanshare.com

Supernatural – www.supernatural.wikia.com

Elf – www.thehandmadehome.net

Postcard – www.green-mom.com

Nine Lives of Christmas – www.pinterest.com

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Am I Really Buried Under a Pile of Pottery Barn Catalogs?

Catalog Tree

Remember that line of dialogue from Forrest Gump? “Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far, far away…from all these Restoration Hardware Catalogs.”

Okay, so maybe the last bit is an addition, but while we snuggle under blankets with our hot chocolate, it truly ‘Tis the Season for giving and receiving five hundred catalogs in the mail. Every day.

So many glossy pages of monogramed sleds and puppy sweaters. So many ways to say “Happy Holidays” with a basket of pickled nuts. I have run out of space to store all things mail order.

Since it is also the season for pinning (a.k.a Pinterest prowling), I would like to channel a little Martha Stewart and list all the ways to repurpose those magazines:

    1. Tree Skirt. See above. p. 186. Only $98.99 $16.49! Order by Dec. 18.
    2. Holiday Foods. All too often I have asked myself, What the hell is figgy pudding? I have never tasted this delight, never been offered it, but we sure do like to sing about it in We Wish You a Merry Christmas! I bet you could make some in that Juice Bullet from the Bed Bath and Beyond catalog.

      Er - no thanks. I'm full.

      Er – no thanks. I’m full.

    3. Biblical Recreations. You could make a paper Mount Sinai for this Lego Moses (which actually might be a Lego Judas, but let’s not split hairs).  Moses
    4. Christmas Outfits for your Children. Let’s face it folks, it could be worse.
    5. Dog Blanket. Awkward Dog Blanket.   Dog Blanket
    6. A Not-So-Subtle Hint. Sometimes people need to be smacked in the face with ideas. Some people need visuals. Great. Do both. When inevitably asked, “Where did these catalogs come from?” Say, “That damn Elf.” Which leads me to……
    7. A Sad but Early Demise for you Elf on the Shelf. My daughter loves Elfie, but maybe the Elf gets wacked by a pile of catalogs. I don’t know. I didn’t see nothin’.  Elf
    8. Toilet Paper. Be THAT person who only wipes their fanny with the Weir’s catalog. Or maybe TP the neighbor’s house with Harry and David catalogs. Yep. You are just that classy.
    9. A Yurt for your Child’s Barbies/Chima Dudes/Star Wars Action Figures. Save yourself some money and time and build this dwelling. When your child start’s crying Christmas morning about how this is not the Barbie Town Home and/or the Death Star, kindly explain that it is 2014 and you are just being eco-friendly and trying to remove your carbon footprint. Then state that your family will be going gluten-free and swipe the cookie right out of her/his hand.  Yurt
    10. Re-Gift. Can’t figure out what to get the person who has it all? Give them a stack of your catalogs. Then they can look at all the stuff you will not be giving them this year.

 

Oddly enough, catalogs are like little presents in the mail. They are shiny reminders of all the cool stuff I will probably never buy, never use, but simply must have! I review them in a glossy-eyed stupor late at night, dog-earing every other page. Then I toss them in the recycle bin one month later.

Not this year. This year I have found many uses for the colorful registries. I also have found some pretty cool things which I plan on buying.

But not those pine-scented votive candles for $69.99, that’s ridiculous.

  

Photos Courtesy of:

Figgy Pudding – www.phnewspaper.org

 

 

Am I Really A Pancake Without Aunt Jemima?

MMM…pancakes. Now all I want to do is go to IHOP for dinner.

            But let me get to the point.

            January usually goes one of two ways: 1) You bolt out of the gate on January 1st toward you new goals like the Barcelona bulls are after you, or; 2) You feel like the life has been sucked out of you, only to be replaced by the color mauve.

            I’m feeling more on the numero dos side this January.

            Minus a few renegades, who leave their holiday lights up until the Chinese New Year, the neighborhood is pitch black.  Dried up Christmas trees await their final fate at the curb, like some type of martyr in a Steven Segal movie (“No, you go on without me. Just leave me here.”). The grass is dead and brown. The snow is dirty. Your skin is so dry, even the Gila monsters are worried. And the holiday bulge? As one good friend of mine put it: “I had an argument with my jeans this morning. Eventually I won. Just barely.”

            Ah yes, the January blahs.

            Now if you have a birthday in January, sorry for the ho-humness. I am sure your celebration will be phenomenal. But come on, you have to agree with me, this month does kind of blow.

            After an exciting December, my lofty goal for the month of January is to see how much sitting I can accomplish. I’m doing alright there. Unfortunately, I have lost a little of the “oomph” to write, go the movies, make a new soup that involves navy beans, or just be motivated in general.

            If any of you out there are in the same boat, maybe we can jumpstart this jour de vie with some motivational quotes, ideas, action items, and of course, libations.

            Let us call it the Hot and Sour Soup for the Lazy.

1)      Instead of a lime in your drink, put an orange. Think of the Vitamin C intake.

Goal Accomplished: Take More Vitamins.

2)      Put down the crossword puzzle and watch some trash TV. You don’t need Sudoku when you have the Ex-Wives of Rock on television. You will instantly realize you are a genius.

Goal Accomplished: Have More Brain Power.

3)      Put coffee in your cereal.  It may sound gross and will most likely taste like crap, but it’ll wake you up and save on dairy calories.

Goals Accomplished: Have More Energy & Cut Down on Fat. It’s a two-fer!

4)      Cut your hair.  I don’t know why, but every January I go nuts and chop off a massive amount of my hair. At first I love it and feel fresh for the coming year. Then I realize I don’t love it and spend the rest of the year growing it out. It’s a game changer though.

Goal Accomplished: Free Yourself from Clutter.

5)      Get your downward dog on.  Every year I say I am going to try yoga. And every year I decide a nap would be more exhilarating. But freaky sex-maniac Sting seems to think it is the bomb for your love making.

Goal Accomplished: Be More Flexible.

6)      Wear such bright colors that people think you are a clown. Let me state for the record that clowns creep me out. But after a couple of months of dark outer wear, it’s time to jazz it up.

Goal Accomplished: Perk Up Your Wardrobe.

7)      Google “Tips to Jumpstart the New Year.” It’s pretty hilarious what you might find. When I was plugging in the above key phrases, “ways to jumpstart your scrapbooking” and “ways to jumpstart your period” came up. Most likely they are related.

Goal Accomplished: Jumpstart the New You.

8)      Buy/check out a book your normally would not read. I tend to choose books that involve the hunt for a sociopath on the loose, or a story about Chinese foot binding.  Yet, after reading the whole series (yes, the whole series) of Fifty Shades of Grey I quietly embarked on a voyage of: “Hey, what other smut novels are out there?” A lot apparently. Most of them prompting me to eye roll and yell, “Get some self-esteem already! The book says you have big boobs, a killer job, a rockin’ body, and you volunteer at an orphanage. Surely you can work it out with the hot ex-CIA agent who speaks eight languages!” But I still read them. Shhhhhh.

Goal Accomplished: Become More Literate.

9)      Start your day off with an affirmation. No joke, I feel like an ass when I say these. They must be working for some people because folks swear by them. Maybe if the affirmation is, “I will remember to not burn the toast.” Or “Grapefruits only sting for a second, then they get better.”

Goal Accomplished: Have a Positive Outlook.

 So let’s check in with one another in a February and see where we are. If you have a few suggestions of your own, I would love to hear them.

            Just nothing involving costume making for cats. I can’t sew.

Am I Really Flipping the Bird to the Mayans from Under a Pile of Crumpled Wrapping Paper?

Soooooo…we’re still here. Thank God the world didn’t end. I still have a ton of crap to do. Plus, I haven’t been to Prague yet.

            If you believe in a higher power, then you are recovering from a massive holiday hangover from one of the following:

A)    Eight Crazy Nights

B)    The Birth of Sweet Baby Jesus

C)    Boxing Day

D)    Festivus

E)     Kwanzaa (you guys are still at it)

F)     The Pagan Winter Solstice Celebration

Whew. December has been busy. Good thing we didn’t perish.

Or did we?

Perhaps “the end” did not occur as we imagined it. There were no molten lava fires. The earth did not swallow us whole. We were not crushed under the weight of a gigantic Auntie Anne’s mall pretzel.

While we did have some tragic weather in 2012, such as Hurricane Sandy, earthquakes and tornados, we did not have one force of Mother Nature that swept mankind off the face of the earth.  The weather systems were devastating, yet we were able to come together as a people and have the hope to move forward and re-build. We could understand that these forces were beyond our control.

How can we re-build when the devastation is the loss of an irreplaceable life?  Where do we find the hope and strength when our pillars were taken from us?  And how can we understand and make sense of the methodically senseless acts?

No, a wind did not blow all of humankind off the face of the planet. But another human being sure tried.

Maybe the Mayans are trying to tap us on the shoulder to say, “Hey, morons! Cut the sh*t. Pull it together.”

In light of recent horrific human-on-human travesties, maybe we just need to stop. Stop continuing on the way we have as a people and start fresh. The new year of 2013 is a good way to “re-birth” ourselves to be a little gentler and a little kinder with one another.

Let us turn to the Golden Rules of Life we try to teach our children:

1)      If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  I don’t know about you, but my mother hammered this rule into my head. When I was a kid I would have to bite my lip sometimes. Unfortunately, as an adult, I suck at this rule.  There are ways to tell someone they are bothering you other than, “Hey a**face! Thanks for cutting in front of me. P.S. – your hair looks like Justin Beiber’s pubes.”

2)      If you see someone crying or hurt, give them a hug.  Have you ever watched four or five year old children? Whenever another child cries, they will go up to that child and hug them. Children have an amazing ability to empathize. They have not been indoctrinated with the adult ways of “Walk it off. Suck it up. That’s your problem, not mine.” Maybe we need a little more empathy.

3)      Mind your manners.  When did we forget to say please and thank you? And why is holding the door open for another such a problem for society? You see someone behind you entering the same store, why not hold the door open three seconds longer? What were you planning on doing with those three extra seconds? Swallowing? Buy a manners book people.

4)      Make new friends, but keep the old.  The Girl Scouts were right; you can never have too many friends. Reach out to someone. Welcome a newcomer into your neighborhood. Open your circle and open your life – or maybe someone else’s.

5)      Use your kind words.  This piggy-backs onto number one. Trust me, it’s tough sometimes. Some people really blow chunks. But letting things escalate will only make matters worse. Maybe that person has indigestion. You just never know.

6)      Just because someone is different, doesn’t mean it’s bad.  We’ve got a ways to go on this one. It’s so odd to me because we tout being so open to other religions, we brag about being a democracy and having freedom of speech. Not so people. How many times have you seen someone get hammered on Facebook for their political stance (and not a stance of belligerence) because it was not someone else’s?  How many people have been belittled because they live their life to a certain moral or religious code (one that does not hurt others)?  And do we really allow others to freely share their opinions without persecution? Nope. Seriously, why do people get so insulted by someone living their lives the way they want to? When did saying, “Merry Christmas” become such a dirty phrase? I don’t celebrate any Pagan holidays, but if someone came up to me and said, “Many Wiccan Blessings!” I surely wouldn’t be insulted.  I’d kind of dig it actually. This is not a PSA for Christmas, just a current example of how we need to loosen up a bit.

7)      Don’t pick your nose. That’s just solid advice all-round.

8)      Just walk away. Let’s take some advice from Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em/Know when to fold ‘em/Know when to walk away/Know when to run.”  This philosophy can apply to anything from a job, to a bad relationship, war, or a questionable meal at Denny’s. Think of some of the problems that could have been averted.

9)      Share.  We can take this one step further from the split-a-graham-cracker-with-your pre-school-buddy.  Share your feelings with someone. Your fears and worries. Share the good stuff too. Share your love and share your talents. You never know who you might help by doing so.

10)  Don’t hit others. We could also put into this category don’t shoot/stab/machete others. Seems simple enough.

Let me clarify: I am no expert in “We should all do XYZ to be a better ABC.” I don’t think a smile will take away all the bad in the world. But I have read Chicken Soup for the Soul. Plus, I am a human being, just like you. And I hurt, just like you. And I get happy, just like you.  Maybe if we start treating each other like fellow human beings, instead of reasons and scapegoats for our problems, we just might make it.

Just like a rotten apple sitting in a barrel of fresh apples, some people are going to be crazy and act crazy. We can’t control people like robots. But we can work on ourselves and do everything we can to create a safe place to live.

So let’s pretend the world ended and start over in 2013. Let’s make it fresher, better, kinder.

And maybe firmer too, because let’s face it, we’ve all had one too many mini-quiches this December.