Holidays

NYE

person pouring champagne on champagne flutes

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Man, do I miss Dick Clark’s Rocking Eve and the giant ball in Times Square. I’ve never been much for New Year’s Eve celebrations. My parents never did anything on New Year’s Eve. Watching Dick Clark drop that ball was my only celebration. I always said one year I’d go to Times Square and experience it for myself but it still hasn’t happened.

As a young adult, I was too broke to do much of anything, and then when I had the money I was usually driving back to whatever state I happened to be living in at the time. While local roads are filled with drunks most interstates are empty on New Year’s Eve.

One of the few times I did get all dressed up and hit the town was Y2K. Most of my friends and family thought we were nuts for hitting the town. I mean after all the whole world was going to fall apart at the stroke of midnight. I still can’t believe so many bought into that load of nonsense. I spent it in the place of birth, Nashville, TN, on 2nd Avenue at a bar called Graham Central Station. It was this multi-level monstrosity where you could hear techno on one floor and country on another and still something else on another. I remember racing up to the rooftop bar at midnight hoping to see the world burn or maybe fireworks and absolutely nothing happened. Zippo. I guess the powers that be were terrified all hell was going to break loose so they didn’t do any fireworks. We were all so disappointed.

A week ago tomorrow the building that housed Graham Central Station (although it’s something else now) along with most of that block was destroyed by a different explosion. It breaks my heart to look at those pictures. I spent many evenings in downtown Nashville when I was in my late teens to early 20s. I spent my 16th birthday on 2nd Avenue at the Old Spaghetti Factory with my two best friends. I worked on nearby 4th Avenue. I partied after work and parked my car every weekday in the now heavily damaged AT&T building. I saw concerts at the “new” arena. Some of the few good memories I have of that town include downtown and the 2nd avenue area. Even though I view that city as an abusive ex-boyfriend that won’t stop calling.  I cannot wrap my head around people who want to cause destruction.  Obviously, those folks are deranged and not of sound mind. Still, I cannot wrap any portion of my brain around their thought process – maybe that’s a good thing.

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Holidays

Date Night

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It’s about time for my annual date with George Bailey – aka watching It’s A Wonderful Life. For the record, I prefer the black and white version, not the colorized abomination.  Although, my Blu-ray contains both. I wrote about this annual date and why it’s so important in 2017 shortly after I started this blog. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Imagine my delight and surprise when one of my favorite writers/bloggers/podcasters, Mike Rowe, wrote about George Bailey this past week. Mike Rowe tells a fantastic story and the way he wove the despair so many people feel around this time of the year in with the problems plaguing so many right now was nothing short of fantastic. I beg you to read his short essay at this link then go watch It’s A Wonderful Life.

And to anyone reading this, you are special to someone and you aren’t alone.

Photo Credit: I took a picture of my Blu-ray package.  The image probably belongs to someone.  No copyright infringement intended. I’m broke and make no money off this blog. Blood/turnip and all that jazz. Enjoy.

P.S. – Not sure when I am posting again. Maybe next week before the new year, maybe not.  I’m off work and my family is home. My desk sits in the corner of my living room and don’t get an ounce of peace and quiet when these fools are here. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m also trying to figure out how to get out of the house. It might be daily walks or I may pack up the kids and tell them we are going on an adventure and end up taking our picture standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona just for a photo op.  There’s just no telling when it comes to me.  In any case, Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a prayer that when 2020 turns into 21 it doesn’t realize it’s now of legal drinking age and decides to really get crazy.

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Holidays

Christmas Nostalgia

img_0904I recently found out the word Nostalgia is derived from the Greek “noostos –  to return home” and “algia – a painful condition”.  I have also heard it means pain from an old wound.  Any way you cut it, it’s pain from something old. Each Christmas I feel a little bit more nostalgic for traditions or times of Christmas past.  I think it’s a function of growing older.  I can only remember being nostalgic about certain things when I was younger.  In my college years after my mom died, I missed Christmas at my Granny’s house even though that had stopped when I was around 10.

When my oldest child was about three or four I began to long for the days before kids when we’d drive down to see my husband’s family in Louisiana. We usually drove down on Christmas eve, often arriving just in time for a dinner of gumbo and crusty bread.  After lots of talking and wine about half of us would head to Midnight Mass.  After the kids were born we made it a point to always be at our house for Santa.  Often times the hubs and I were putting together toys at midnight or we’d be so beat we’d go to bed long before midnight. I haven’t been back since before the kids were born.  Maybe this year, I’ll go and maybe I’ll take the one or both kids with me.  There was always something so grounding and solemn about Midnight Mass.  It always calmed my chaotic mind.

But, those aren’t the only things I’m nostalgic for. As I get older I find myself getting more and more nostalgic over the little things and experiences I can’t recreate.  I mean it’s just not the Christmas season until I see the Hershey’s kiss commercial where the kisses are ringing like bells.  I miss the malls of my childhood.  They were so crowded with people; everyone did their shopping there.  There was no Amazon and Walmart wasn’t open 27/7.  This was the days of layaway.  I miss Santa at my childhood mall. He looked like the real deal. At least, I was totally convinced. I miss the Kroger cookies seen in the picture for this blog. I had them every year growing up. Now, every year it’s a hunt to see if our Kroger will actually carry them.  The years we didn’t live near a Kroger was heartbreaking. I had friends and relatives send them to me. I miss local attractions from my childhood home in Nashville.  Attractions that no longer exist like the Talking Christmas Tree, Twitty City, and the Dancing Waters at the Opryland Hotel.  Now, I find myself nostalgic for when the kids were little, standing in line on Black Friday for the one gotta have it toy and then staying up half the night to put toys together on Christmas Eve. 

I think all this nostalgia has something to do with how different our last couple of Christmases have been. The kids no longer believe. And, we’ve had quite a bit of last-minute travel. It makes the holiday feel a little thrown together. It’s not really a bad thing. We’ve still managed to have a good time and incorporate some of our family traditions like Tamales on Christmas Eve and Chinese food for Christmas Day dinner.  But, it has been different. This year I’ve been thinking about what Christmas will look like after the kids have moved out but don’t yet have families. Will they want to hang with single friends or will they want to come home?  And, there’s the elephant in the room – aging relatives. I know we only have a few more years with some family members. That weighs heavy. 

In the end, I guess all we can do is count our blessings and enjoy the season and all of the miracles both big and little. Who knows we may be making memories we long for in future years. Only time will tell.

Photo Credit: Me, myself and I.  Not sponsored by Kroger but I will sing your praises all day long if you’d give a sponsorship.  I lurv Kroger.

 

 

 

 

 

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Holidays

Traditions

butt rollsTomorrow kicks off the holiday season. Some would argue it started around Halloween.  Meh, if you say so.  I know plenty of people who already have up the Christmas tree and have been blasting Christmas music for nearly a month. To each his own. I’m a bit of a purist. The tree won’t go up until after the bird has been eaten but that’s not what I wanted to talk about.  I want to talk about traditions, family and coming together for Thanksgiving.

I grew up in one town my entire life. My mother, her siblings and my Granny all lived in that same town. There was no over the river and through the woods for us. It was a 20-minute drive to the white trash side of town. Everyone in the family dutifully got together but most of the adults just acted like assholes. The funny thing is I didn’t see it that way until I got old enough to realize what was going on. My kid self thought it was pretty cool.  I got to see family I rarely got to see. I got to eat exotic food (jello ring) and my cousins and I got to pretty much do whatever we wanted without adult supervision. It was pretty rad.  It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I realized it was kind of awful.  The food sucked.  My Granny was not a good cook.  Her dressing (aka stuffing for everyone not from the South) was green because she used so much sage. The turkey was as dry as the Grizzwald’s turkey. The ham was just gross. About the only thing edible was the butt rolls. Yes, I said butt rolls. What are butt rolls you ask?  You need only look at the picture I have attached to this post to answer that question. Most people call them heat and serve but it’s their distinct ridged pattern on top that let to my family calling them butt rolls. Yes, I realize there are technically three humps and a butt only has two humps.  That’s not the point.  For some reason, someone in our family thought they looked like a butt and they were forever called butt rolls from that moment on.  Anyway…  the adults argued endlessly and there was a lot of awkwardness that went over my head until I was much older.  But, the kid’s table, that was a fun time. Actually, our table was a blanket on the floor.  I can remember all of us kids sitting there on the blanket barely eating anything but butt rolls and watching tv.  Ahh, traditions.

As I got older, that tradition faded away and every Thanksgiving someone would scramble to put it on. Even after I got married to the man with the most normal family in the universe Thanksgiving could sometimes be troublesome. Who will host, who can come, do we really have to listen to Cousin Eddie’s bratty ass kid again this year?  Okay, so there isn’t a Cousin Eddie but I can think of several bratty ass kids in the family over the years.  You get my point.

In recent years, I have abandoned all this crazy have decided to go the non traditional route. One year we went hiking in the desert and had turkey tv dinners for our Thanksgiving feast.  This year we are going out to eat at a Brazilian steakhouse.  You know one of those places where the waitstaff walks around with meat on a sword and carve it off onto your plate.  Yet, even though we are having fun and enjoying family time like we should, I can’t help but wonder what Thanksgiving will look like in 20 years when my children are adults. They haven’t really known very many Thanksgivings where ALL the family get together. Will my kids want to spend one of the holidays with us?  I hope so.  Will they want the traditional turkey and dressing and butt rolls and 10,000 deserts? In some ways, I hope so because I sort of miss cooking the feast in other ways I say let’s just do something fun but together. I hope I’m instilling family time and traditions with them even though we don’t always spend it with extended family. Most of all, I just hope the kids will want us to be apart of their celebrations as I will always want to be part of theirs.

Photo credit:  I pulled this photo off the internet but it probably belongs to the Sunbeam Bread Company.  I can still remember the delicious smells of the Sunbeam affiliate bakery in Nashville when I was a little kid. No copyright infringement intended. I’m not making any money from my weekly drabbles.  I just needed my readers to know what I meant by butt rolls.  Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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Holidays, Musing, Rants

Feel The Love

three red heart balloons

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love. When I was a small child, no older than four or five, I have a clear and vivid memory of standing in line at the pharmacy counter of our local drug store.  I looked to my right expecting to find candy bars and gum but instead, I found small boxes that had silhouetted couples walking hand in hand bearing the slogan “for feeling the love.”  Being the precocious and curious child I was, I asked my mother if we needed those little boxes to feel love. This was one of those rare and wondrous occasions when my smart-mouthed mother had very little response.  As fate would have it, right after I asked my question it was our turn at the cash register.  We moved past the strange love boxes and I was enchanted by other things.  But, I distinctly heard my mother tell the pharmacist, “You really need to put those things behind the counter and away from kids.”

As an adult, the thing that stands out most to me about that memory was not my very valid childlike question or my mother’s dumbfounded response but why we would need anything tangible to feel love.  I think that’s what I was really asking but I had no way to articulate that at the tender age of four or five.  I don’t think I could really wrap my brain around the idea that to feel love I needed to buy something from a store. I mean, didn’t I feel love for my mother and other family members without having to buy anything? Wasn’t it a feeling deep down and not a tangible thing?  As an adult that is easy to answer but as a little kid not so much.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t like or really celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I think it’s silly to say one day out of the year we are going to profess our love.  If you think about it that way it’s a pretty shitty holiday. I mean who only wants to hear I love you or You’re appreciated only once a year?  I sure don’t and a damn $10 box of chocolates once a year is not going to make me like that idea.  A lot of people I know think I’m pretty curmudgeonly for this opinion.  That’s okay.  They are entitled to their opinions.  Personally, I’d much rather have flowers picked from the yard on a random day than a dozen roses delivered to my door on a prescribed day.  I would much rather have a fancy meal or fancy chocolate for no apparent reason than some set aside made-up holiday where everyone is getting something very similar to what I just received.  It doesn’t feel special on Valentines Day. It feels rehearsed and expected. I’d rather have unrehearsed and thoughtful.

This year on Valentines Day I will be carting kids to extracurriculars and eating leftovers. I know I am loved. I don’t need a card or a box with silhouetted couples walking hand and hand to feel that love.

Photo Credit: Free photo lifted off the internet but don’t you like how it’s a picture of balloons and my story was all about condoms?  Sometimes the Universe really smiles on us. 

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Holidays, Musing

Holiday Traditions

IMG_2266Happy New Year!  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but I’m back.  Much like you dear reader, I have been busier than the best whore in the whore house on two for one night and twice as scattered.  But, before I take down the tree and start looking toward Mardi Gras I want to talk about traditions.  I love holiday traditions. I love hearing what friends and other cultures do to celebrate their most sacred times of the year. I love the Christmas traditions my family of four has cultivated over the years.  I love reminiscing about the traditions from my childhood.

I didn’t carry over that many traditions from my childhood. Driving around looking at lights and reading the about the first Christmas on Christmas Eve night was really the only must do’s I had growing up that I have carried over to my own family.  We didn’t make cookies for Santa; we put out whatever we happened to have. We didn’t go visit the big guy at the mall.  We didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve or Morning.  We didn’t have a special breakfast.  And, we sure as hell didn’t have some crazy elf.  (Whispers – Y’all know I hate that damn elf.)  But, I still feel like we totally seized the holiday every year.

This year was weird for our family.  We traveled about 800 miles to see family and enjoy some time in the mountains.  We left before Christmas proper so that meant fewer decorations were put up, we opened gifts early, and we generally did not know the day or date for 10 or 12 days.  This was the first year in at least 7 years that we didn’t have tamales on Christmas Eve night or Chinese on Christmas Day night.  But, we were able to see family we hadn’t seen in a couple of years.  We were able to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at the same church where my hubs and I were married. And, we were able to show the kids a part of the country they’ve never seen.  I realized that even though we weren’t able to have our normal traditions I still felt the Christmas spirit. We still had fun and we still had each other. Who knows, maybe traveling on Christmas will be our new tradition.

So, dear reader, what are your traditions? Comment on here or if you’re reading this via the Facebook link, comment there. I love hearing what people do. I once had a sister in law who’s family was of Scandinavian descent. They had some weird fruit based cold soup on Christmas night. I wish I had gotten the recipe before she left the family. It sounded kind of gross but who knows, it could be fun to try.

P.S. – Guess what y’all?  As of the last post (Christmas Zen), I have done 100 posts! It’s like 100 Days of School only way better because you don’t have to do some stupid craft that requires 8,000 trips to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Actually, it’s more like 100 episodes of a tv show only without a cake and a party.

P.P.S/Photo Credit – You never know what you’ll see when you are doing a road trip in the South. I took this picture myself while sitting at a stop light in B.F.E. I can’t even remember the state.

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Holidays, Musing, Uncategorized

Christmas Zen

silhouette of man at daytime

About this time every year, I totally lose track of everything – and I do mean everything.  I forget the day, the date, what I purchased for everyone, where I hid the stocking stuffers, what I’ve committed to bringing to the potluck dinner, and the list goes on and on. At this juncture, the meticulous lists I make to keep myself organized have long since been forgotten.  If I am with it and taking meds for my ADHD they too have been forgotten. Quite simply, I’m hanging on to the knot at the end of the rope with my fingernails.  The funny thing is any other time this type of chaos would usually put me into a panic attack of epic proportions but not this year.

I’d like to say the reason for this new found zen is some sort of meditation, yoga or pills but it’s not. I wouldn’t even say that my give a damn is busted. When it comes right down to it, I guess I just don’t care. Before you ask, no I am not depressed even though with each passing year I feel more and more like Charlie Brown. I think this feeling of zen is more a feeling that the stress doesn’t matter. It’s a feeling of there is nothing going on in my world that demands I worry about it that much. Life will work itself out.  It could also be that things seem to be going halfway right.  Ironically, that right there is what bothers me the most.  I know when the universe gives you the gift of zen it’s about to hit you right in the face with a big ole shit sandwich. That’s just the way life works.

Despite my zen, there is plenty of things to be annoyed about. For example, why does my youngest still want me to move that damn elf around even though I have a house of nonbelievers?  Why are so many people talking about how 30+ year old cartoons and songs are suddenly offensive yet homelessness and families without the ability to have a traditional holiday celebration are barely on those same people’s radar. And, why for the love of God aren’t people behaving themselves at school concerts.  You are not here to see Metalica.  Stop whooping and hollering like you are at a rock concert or rodeo.  No one needs to hear screams followed by, “WOOO HOOO GREAT JOB POOKIE.”  Pookie may have done a great job but all those other kids parents and family want to watch their kid in peace.  Holler at your own house, not at the school auditorium.  Damn people were you raised by wolves?

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Holidays, Musing

Thanksgiving

img_1989Ahhh Thanksgiving.  A truly American holiday.  As Linus taught us in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, ours is the first country who set aside a day just to give thanks. That’s a pretty cool concept.  What’s even cooler is it’s the one day a year where it’s socially acceptable to eat one’s own weight in weird food, take a nap in front of the tv and then eat some more.

This past week I’ve seen a myriad of articles about how to keep the peace during Thanksgiving this year.  I don’t know what kind of family you’re from but there has never been any peace at my Thanksgiving dinner table and I doubt there will be this year. As a child, I can remember my mom and her siblings warring with each other. At a minimum, if there was no shouting then there was a lot of awkward silences followed by my Mother’s tirade in the car.  Since I met and married my husband Thanksgiving hasn’t nearly been the walking on eggshells affair of my childhood but it hasn’t been without its pitfalls. A broken finger, a near burn with hot oil, people who didn’t bring what they were supposed to or just plain didn’t show up; still, we managed rather well.  Last year I threw down the gauntlet and said no more of this crazy dinner half the family refuses to eat. No more kids taking three bites of turkey, two rolls and 10 deserts.  Instead, me, the hubs and both kids went to a desert canyon and hiked.  We trecked all over the west Texas high desert. We stayed in a hotel so we’d have a nice hot shower at the end of the day. It was lovely.  But what of your feast? We had turkey tv dinners and frozen chicken pot pies.  All of our extended family thought we were crazy but I thought it was the best Thanksgiving I ever had.  I was with those I love most enjoying nature. What more could I have asked for? And, let me tell you I was pretty damn thankful.

This year my hubs and kids went “home” for the holiday. They went ahead of me because I had to work. I will follow when I get off on Wednesday. It wasn’t the ideal situation but it was the best we could do. It has been strangely quiet since in the house by myself.  Our house is not typically quiet. It usually sounds like World War III is about to ensure.  And, while there are plenty of Thanksgivings I can remember from the distant and recent past were I would have happily eaten Xanax like M&M’s because so many people and things were tap dancing on my very last nerve, I don’t think it will be like that this year.  I’m looking forward to the noise and the weird food.  I’m almost looking forward to my kids eating three bites of turkey, two rolls and 10 deserts.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing my hubs and kids and even the long drive home. Each of us have much to be thankful for even if it’s just Thankful for Xanax.

P.S. What is your favorite of the weird foods?  I adore Green Bean Casserole. You know, the one with the fried onions. And, as we call it down South, dressing. That would be stuffing but not made inside the bird. We just put ours in a casserole dish and bake it.

P.P.S. I’m with my kids on the 10 deserts. And, I have gotten to where I hate Black Friday. Maybe I’ll write my next blog about that.

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Holidays, Rants

Bearing All for Valentine’s Day

I wasn’t going to do a post on Valentines but this showed up on my Facebook feed.

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This is part of an advertisement for a local salon who happens to be running a waxing special for Valentine’s Day.  This ad gave me such a case of red ass (no, not because I got a wax) that I just had to talk about it.

Why in the world do we as women feel we need to do anything to ourselves to please a man? Furthermore, what about what Mama Bear wants?  Why doesn’t the ad say something like Mama Bear likes X, buy her a gift card today? Or, just plain Mama Bear likes X.  Why does this ad emphasize the need to cater to someone else’s tastes?  I bet Papa Bear would also like if Mama Bear made home cooked meals topless every night but you don’t see advertisements for that, do you? People are over here screaming #metoo but what about bullshit like this?  We bang our drums at every turn about how women are equal to men, and we are, but yet we still feel the need to look a certain way for men instead of for ourselves.

The lions share of men don’t think or worry about how they look for us and quite frankly I’m okay with that.  My hubs is currently sporting a goatee. It looks nice on him.  I hate it.  It feels likes I’m kissing a wild animal and not in a good way.  He knows I feel this way but I would NEVER ask him to shave it off.  That goatee is on his face, not mine, and he likes it.  Who am I to ask him to alter his body in any way for me? Why in the world would it be okay for him (or any other man) to ask me (or any other woman) to alter our bodies?  It wouldn’t.

So the next time I want to get an eyebrow wax, I shan’t be going to the place that featured this advertisement.  I don’t care if they are the best in town and offer sting free wax and a bottle of free champagne.  I wax whatever I want for me and I don’t care who does or doesn’t like it.

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Holidays

Let the Countdown Begin

IMG_0570.jpgWell, the countdown has begun.  We are T – minus a little over 24 hours until the jolliest fat man in a red suit this side of the nuthatch makes his grand appearance.  I don’t know about your hours but the natives are super restless.  As for me, I’m currently typing this blog from the checkout line at my local Kroger grocery store.  From the looks of these lines, about a quarter of my town’s population and I are here.  Apparently, we all forgot something crucial for our feasts, ran out of some basic necessity or are just plain crazy.

It is absolute bedlam up in here.  I would go so far as to say the crazy is at an all-time high.  First I was greeted by a grown man sporting footie pajamas with cats wearing Santa hats ringing the Salvation Army bell.  Let me tell you, he just oozed Christmas spirit.  LIMG_0567.jpgike the picture I got of the guy?  I tried to be stealth.  The aisles were jam-packed with all of us idiots not to mention all the people who I guess had nothing better to do than to go with their relatives and loiter in the aisles.  As I typed this, I was standing beside a family of five, Mom, Dad and three little girls that appear to be all under the age of five.  Did I mention the girls are in one of those impossible to steer car-shaped buggies?  Yeah didn’t think so. Why in the world did the whole damn family need to come to the store for eggs, chips, and Cheerios?  The only thing I can think of is one parent didn’t trust the other alone with all the kids or it was a punishment of some sort. You think I’m leaving you here at the house in peace? No way sucker, you’re coming with me. We are all going to suffer.  And, lookie what the hot sheets have to say.  It’s a sad day when the National Enquirer headlines look like legit news.  IMG_0566.jpg

But, do you want to know what the coup de gras is of this whole trip? It was the balloons at the checkout.  You know the ones, a bouquet of about 6 or 8 stationed at each check out lane.  They’re generally about the current holiday with a couple for birthday and get well.  Today the balloons consisted of the usual suspects.  We had Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, and balloons that just said Welcome.  I guess the welcome ones are to place outside your home to welcome visitors.  But, by far the best one said, I’m Sorry.  You know, nothing quite says the holidays like an ‘I’m Sorry’ balloon.  Was this a pre-emptive strike for horrible gift givers?  Is this something people will hand out tomorrow after Festivus and airing one’s grievances are over?  What is the purpose of the ‘I’m Sorry’ balloon? Quite frankly, if you have to tell me you’re sorry you better have something better than a $2.99 mylar balloon.  You better look contrite for one thing, you better have a damn good excuse/story and flowers would be nice or maybe wine.  A balloon does not cut it.

After that insanity, I made it home to discover I forgot about five things that I should have bought but we can totally do without and a roadrunner (yes the actual bird) in my flowerbed.  Wild horses couldn’t drag me back out to those stores and I left that roadrunner to his or her own devices.  For all of you who have yet to finish the mad dash of the final countdown I will give you the same encouragement my hubs gives me, “come back with your shield or on it.”

P.S. The next couple of weeks are going to be sketchier than gas station food as my kids are out of school for winter break and other family crapola.  I will post when I can.

P.P.S For those that are interested, the origin of “come back with your shield or on it” means either you win the battle or you will die and then be carried home on your shield. Legend states Spartan mothers would say this phrase to their sons before they went out to battle.

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