Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Silver and Gold"

That was always one of my favorite Christmas Carols. It made me want to have a silver and gold Christmas Tree. Now I have one.

Last year Fruth sold me a white Christmas Tree for $12.00 because all the lights were burned out. I just spent the last couple of weeks cutting the old lights off the tree. I bought clear white lights on white wire and I just finished decorating my white tree with my silver and gold decorations.

I had plenty of gold decorations already from my regular tree and just to splurge I went to dollar tree and spent $5 on more gold decorations.

I now have the tree of my dreams for less than $30.

Remember when you would get a straw and pound it on the table and the paper would fly off...

...or you would blow it off. Apparently that is one of the small pleasures of life from days gone by. Now when you get a straw the company is so intent on saving a molecule of paper that you have to spend 5 minutes peeling the paper, piece by piece, off the entire length of the straw.

Does it really take that much more paper to loosen up just a little?

We Cheered My Brother on When He "Broke" the Christmas Tree

In my family we always had real Christmas Trees. When I was in junior high school my parents decided that they wanted an artificial tree. All three of us kids HATED it. We wanted a real tree complete with needles falling and sap and that wonderful Christmas Tree smell that no scented candle can duplicate even though they all try.

For two years we complained about that stupid tree. For two years it was packed away to be used for the next Christmas. When my parents would get the tree out we would beg them for a real tree but they had "invested" in the artificial tree and they were determined to get their money's worth out of it.

The third year my brother had an excellent idea. He "accidentally" broke the stalk of the tree when he was packing it away. My sister and I just smiled sweetly as he stored it in the workshop. The next year my parents went to put up the tree when "lo and behold" it was broken.

We begged then NOT to buy another aritficial tree. They finally admitted they didn't like the artificial tree anyway and we always had a real tree after that. In fact I always had a real tree myself until just a couple of years ago. With my breathing problems it became obvious to me that I was going to have to give up a real tree.

I miss them.

My Doctor is Happy with My Weight Loss

saw my doctor for a check up yesterday. He was happy with my weight loss even though I still have some excess Thanksgiving fluid to lose. The really good news is that my scales at home are weighing me about 30 lbs. over! I knew they were 10 lbs. over but I had thought I had gained the other 20 lbs. Since I have heart failure it is entirely possible for me to gain 20 lbs. in just a day or two.

I still feel like crap with all the Thanksgiving weight that I am trying to lose but it is getting better everyday. Hopefully things will be fine in a few more days.I have spent the past year eating smaller portions. I gave away all my plates but 2 and I usually eat salad from those. I eat from dessert plates and even saucers. I also gave away all of my big bowls and have recently bought even smaller bowls than the ones I have had this year. That way even if I want 2nds. I can go back and still not have as much as one plate would have been before.

I have decided not to have any mashed potatoes, gravy, mac and cheese or dressing for Christmas. I have just been eating it on holidays anyway but it takes me weeks to get over it. I feel like crap.

I am going to have Peking Duck. I have never had Peking Duck and I have always wanted to try it. It will actually be cheaper than fixing an entire Christmas Dinner anyway. So I'll kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Heather Didn't Have a Christmas

This is a true story. It happened 5 years ago.

I met a little girl named Heather. She is 8 years old. Heather did not have a Christmas. I don't mean Heather had a bad Christmas, I mean Heather did not have any Christmas. She did not get so much as a candy cane for Christmas. She is a sweet child with long, blonde hair and very quiet and mannerly. She is shy. When you ask her if she wants something she is afraid to say, "yes".

Her mommy is a crack head. Her daddy is a drunk. I met her on New Year's Eve at her uncle's house. She was having a good time playing on the computer and her uncle bought her a personal pan pizza and went to Rite Aid and bought her some play dough. When I walked into the house he pulled me aside and told me what was going on. He did not know what to do for her. I had not planned to have a child in the house so I went digging through my Christmas stuff (I have entirely too much) and started giving her what I could find.

She was appreciative of every little item down to the candy canes that I let her have off the tree. Fortunately I had not taken it down yet. She would run to her daddy and show him every little thing. She was just tickled pink as only little 8 year old girls can be. Her drunken daddy would slur and paw over "my little girl" and go on about how much he loved her. Heather does not know that real daddies don't act like that. I kept her distracted all evening.

New Year's morning I woke up and went to the local dollar store, they had toys half price. I got Heather a few things. In fact I got her more than I could afford and I was afraid I would have to take some of it back. I woke her uncle up when I got home and told him what I had done. He immediately went to his wallet and paid for everything. He was grateful. He said he just didn't know how to shop for a little girl. I wrapped up the presents and we circled them around Heather and woke her up. Apparently Santa had come that night and left her presents there at her uncle's house because he couldn't find her on Christmas Eve.

Heather's eyes were shining and she was laughing and playing. Her daddy got up and cracked open his first beer of the day. She had pumpkin pie for breakfast because everybody knows you can eat anything you want on a holiday. She played for hours with the few toys I got. I know a lot of kids who would throw a tantrum over the little presents I bought for her that day.

Heather was happy.

The next day I went to work. I work at Fruth Pharmacy. The pay sucks but this is the reason I work there. I started to tell my coworkers about Heather. My coworkers are mothers. Within a few hours we had her a smorgasbord of toys - even a few regular customers pitched in some money when they found out what we were doing. When I left Fruth that night I had 4 bags of toys and candy and toiletries hand picked for an 8 year old girl. In a few days there will be some clothes for Heather too. This is not the first time my friends and I have run into a child in trouble and everybody chipped in to help.

Now Heather had a Christmas. It was 10 days late. The hard part is yet to come. I will try to turn her parents in. Not having a Christmas is only a small problem in this child's life. As of today no one has seen her mom since Christmas Eve. It is presumed she is off on a crack binge somewhere. When her uncle took her presents to her, her daddy was still drunk. He has not drawn a sober breath in days. I'm not talking just drunk. I'm talking pissing on yourself, can't walk across the room drunk. Can't even get yourself another beer drunk. I am disgusted I have to do something or I won't be able to live with myself.


I tried to call Heather's school. The woman I talked to was not interested in even looking for her with the little bit of information that I could provide.

I could not find Heather after that. I don't know where she is now.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 6th. is National Coal Miner's Day

The final reports are out for the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. For those of you who may have forgotten Upper Big Branch was the Massey Coal Mine where 29 miners were killed last year in a single blast.

Blame was placed squarely on Massey's shoulders for forcing miners to work with faulty equipment and falsifying safety reports on a regular basis. In fact the report was so damning that Massey has been sold to Alpha Coal. Now, of course, Alpha Coal is telling the miners families that they don't have to settle because the accident was Massey's fault. The management is still the same as it was before except that Don Blankenship was forced to resign. He walked away with millions of dollars in the process.

Everything is business as usual in the Coal Mining Industry. This is a pattern I have watched over and over for my whole life.

The Bigger They Are the Harder They Fall...

... at least that was the attitude of the tiny chihuahua that jumped out in front of my truck one beautiful summer day.

I was cruising the backroads of West Virginia on a perfect summer day. Everything was fine until I rounded a blind curve and all of a sudden a tiny, fearsome chihuahua jumped out into the center of my lane and planted all four of his tiny, little feet. I didn't have enough time to even touch my brakes as he faced me down with all the lion sized courage that a teensy chihuahua has inside. In my mind I could hear his growl as he bared his teeth and stared me down with pure hate in his eyes.

In the same second I popped him with my truck! I didn't have time to even attempt to swerve. He was just there, challenging me to do battle in the center of the road.

He lost.

I looked back in my rearview mirror. It was obvious that I didn't need to stop. He was lying there stiff as a board on his back with all four legs sticking straight up into the air. It was so sad but it was also too funny. He looked like something out of a cartoon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's not an insult...


1. Merry Christmas

2. Happy Chanukkah

3. Season's Greetings

4. Happy Kwanzaa

5. Happy Holidays

6. kuwa na krismasi njema

7. any other seasonal greeting that I can't think of right now

If someone cares enough to wish you a "Happy Holiday," please don't give them a lecture about how it is a crime to say "Merry Christmas," nowadays. Nothing turns my stomach more than to wish someone well and get a lecture because of it.

If someone wishes you a "Joyeuz Noel," please thank them and take ANY lovely seasonal greetings in the spirit in which it is intended.

NONE of them was EVER meant to be an insult.

The Ugly Angel

A few years ago I was shopping at a store called Hill's. I was in the clothing section and I picked up a Christmas Ornament that someone had lain down. It was absolutely the ugliest angel that I had ever seen. I thought "My God, Who would even make such an ugly ornament," and I laid it back down. A few weeks later I was in the Christmas aisle and once again I saw this ugly ornament in a department she wasn't supposed to be in.


I went back a few times checking out the new decorations as they came in. Each time I would see this ugly angel in a different place. Finally I said to myself, "It must be meant for me to buy this angel, if it is here when Christmas goes to 90% off, I'll buy it." I waited until January and I went back into Hill's with one intention - to buy the ugly angel. I went to the markdown table and went through everything and the ugly angel was not there. I walked through the whole empty Christmas department looking for the angel and she was not to be found. I finally decided that as hard as it was to believe , someone had actually bought that ugly angel!


With my very last step as I was leaving the Christmas department, I kicked something and it went flying across the floor. It was the Ugly Angel! It was like she was saying, "Please don't leave me!" I was actually very happy that I had found her and I bought her for 10 cents. I have all kinds of really neat Christmas decorations and I have been looking for years for a beautiful Christmas Angel but I have never found one that I wanted as much as that ugly angel. Every year she has a place of honor in my Christmas decorations and everyone that has ever seen her can't believe how incredibly ugly she is. She makes people smile and that is all that matters

Mrs. Claus Strikes again!!!

I have blogged before about my resemblance to Mrs. Claus. Last night, not one but two different kids, recognized me for who I was. I was at work wearing one of my lovely pink claus outfits complete with a pink Santa hat. There was a little girl messing with our lifesized Santa and I decided to ask her if she was having fun. She turned to look at me and I saw the glitter in her eyes. Her smile brightened her whole face when she saw that she was indeed speaking to Mrs. Claus. I was getting ready to ask her if she wanted me to tell Santa anything when I got home but her mom came and hustled her off before we could continue our conversation. She just looked at me longingly as her mom dragged her off to another part of the store.

Then I was going in Krogers. I was tired and I hadn't bothered to remove my pink Santa hat. As soon as I got out of my truck a little boy pointed and laughed and said, "hello." I could see the glint of recognition in his eye as well. This time even his mom saw how happy he was and I wished him a Merry Christmas as they went on to their car. Once again he was looking at me more than where he was supposed to be going as they went to their car.

I think I'm going to keep count this year of all the kids who believe I'm Mrs. Claus. They are always around 5 years old and it is absolutely magical to talk to them.

In a completely unrelated story. I went out this morning to try to run some errands. This is pretty much unheard of for me to do on Sunday Morning because I am so tired after work usually. On my way home I saw the reason for me to go out when I could have easily put off what I was doing until I felt better. I was behind a bus. I decided to go around it (there is a 3rd. lane for this purpose). As I started around the bus I saw a little boy crossing the road with his dog. He must have lost it's leash because he was walking the dog like it was a wheelbarrow by holding both it's front legs. He was desperately trying to get the dog to cross the road and it was obvious that the dog didn't want to leave the dog park! As he pulled and cajoled I pulled off to the side of the road. I hollered and asked him if he wanted a leash for the dog. (I always have a spare) He gratefully accepted. I showed him how to loop the leash around the dog's neck since he had no collar. They then went safely home. I really don't think he was going to have much luck getting the dog home before I came along.

Then a lady in our building stopped me. She asked me if I had a VCR. I told her yes. She told me to stop by later and she is going to give me about 50 movies. Her player broke and she just wants them out of the house. Good luck for me!!