Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For the past few weeks, Dave and I have been discussing where to spend Christmas. Should we go to San Diego and spend Christmas with his sister? Please, NO! I get along with everyone in the world except Dave's sister. I don't know if it's me, or if it's her. We clash. I'm Alice and she's the Queen of Hearts. I'll present her with a bouquet of white roses and it's off with my head. Not fun! :)~ Then again, maybe it would be nice to go to Los Angeles and spend Christmas with my brother and his family -- they spend half of the year in LA and the other half in Brazil. We haven't seen them in a while and they are a joy to be around, but Dave doesn't feel it's right to travel to LA to visit my family, while driving through San Diego and not stopping by to see his sister. We can do a drive by, open the window, and toss a few whites roses into Susie's bed of red roses. ::looking into the rear view mirror:: Ooops, oh joy, she can't run fast, her talons are too long! Am I the mean Queen? :)~ I suppose we can spend the day with Jeff -- newly ex-brother-in-law --and his daughter Shana Sue, like I've been doing for the past 27 years! "Where's your sister?" asks the readers? Dave suggested we just stay home -- at my house. After much debate, we decided on the latter. A week before Christmas, ShanaSue phoned asking, "What are WE doing for Christmas? We MUST spend Christmas at my Dad's house because this will be our last Christmas at home. The house is on the market and when the economy picks up our house will be the first to be sold!" I told her, "I'm willing to prepare Christmas dinner here, and I'll bring it over to your Dad's. Run it by him and let me know." Days go by. I finally phone ShanaSue. She answers her cell, she's working in the ER, and luckily, she's on break. We chat for a few SECONDS, when she says, "I must go to the rest room!" Fifteen minutes later she calls,"I'm between patients, let me call you back." I tell her, "Dave and I are going to Fry's, so if you phone within the next hour, I won't be here. ShanaSue said, "I get off at 9, I'll call you when I get home." She didn't call, and NEVER mentioned Christmas. Dave and I made plans for OUR Christmas -- our first Christmas ALONE. Color Dave very happy. The walking on air while whistling a happy tune "kind of happy." The only problem with happiness's fleeting.

At 2:17, on Christmas Eve day, the phone rings. It ShanaSue, "You and Dave will be here at noon, right?" WHAT?*^%$? A battle ensues, lasting a good 15 minutes. She insisted she told me that we're spending Christmas together-- she didn't. :) We reached a compromise. I will prepare the dinner and she'll be responsible for the desserts, beverages and the floral arrangement for the dinner table. The conversation ended with, "Oh, by the way, Aunt Deb, there will be 11 of us, not counting my Dad, you and Dave, for dinner. Make sure you bring plenty of food and don't forget the h'dourves! You DID go to the Honey Baked Ham Store, right?" I honestly believed ShanaSue's "Princess" days, okay her beyond spoiled brat days, were over. :( Long pause. ::thinking:: Yes, as a matter of fact I did shop there the day before. I purchased two half hams. I gave one to Yaya, my best friend who won the Arizona State lottery for $13.5 million last March but acts like she's as poor as a church mouse...a country church mouse... .Yaya welcomed hungry, unexpected guests, into her home from Mexico, and didn't feel like standing in line at the Honey Baked Ham Store. I gave her the ham. Okay, she had to pry it from my arm. Why am I the one who gives and gives but feels like Scrooge? I admit, I begrudgingly gave Yaya the ham. BAH-HUMBUG! One thing I've learned about people who have millions and millions of dollars -- they don't think they need to pay for anything. I paid $60.00 for that ham and Yaya walked out the door with her nose in the air. I was hoping she'd run into the javelinas' on the way out to her car. They'd wrestle her to the ground for that ham and I'd be on the balcony cheering them on -- my tiara intact. I'm too kind. Really, I am! I'm a welcome mat. :( My New Year's resolution will be, to take care of Dave and I first. To do what WE want to do.

Enter meltdown phase! I had one and a half hours to get to the Honey Baked Ham Store, Fry's and the "mall" to purchase MORE gifts for the added guests. BAH-HUMBUG! I, along with "other shoppers" have lost the true meaning of Christmas! What are we doing out on Christmas Eve? I'm thankful the stores weren't bursting at the seams with shoppers and bad attitudes. I purchased 2 whole hams and a slew of sides at The Honey Baked Ham Store. 2 turkeys and all the trimmings at Fry's. A few games, for the girls, at the mall. I figured, Dave and I would give "the other guests" loaves of pumpkin bread and a box of assorted Christmas cookies, with a few "menorah and dreidel" cutouts, iced in baby blue and white, included. I got up at 4 and became a slave to my stove for the next 7 hours. While things bubbled, I couldn't help but think about the movie "Hocus Pocus." I wish I had a huge black cauldron, suspended over the flame of the hearth, and ALL my bad thoughts were boiling away. It's Christmas Day and this day is supposed to be about a Baby, NOT about a zillion and one unimportant things. Things no one will remember a week from now. It's time I handed "the drumstick" over to ShanaSue -- whether she can't cook or never wants to learn; that's HER problem. One thing I'm taking away from ShanaSue, is "my" broom. I still need it; to bop over the heads of the "ingrates" in my life. Maybe it's time to "clean house!" Sweep these people out of my life for good. Yes, right after, I baste the turkey, glaze the ham and strategically place the marshmallows on the yam casserole.

Dave and I arrive at noon. ShanaSue invited three doctors to have dinner with us. Two are residents, in their early thirties and handsome -- oh, to sigh-for handsome. They're away from their families -- one from Australia, the other hails from New York. The other physician, is newly divorced. He had the day off and brought along his two daughters because his ex-wife, who's also a doctor, is working in the ER this Christmas Day. :( 2 nurses and 1 tech. Ronnie, ShanaSue's best friend, and his roommate.

First sentence, out of ShanaSue's mouth, in her 7 year old whining voice, " I didn't know grocery stores were closed on Christmas Day! I had to stop at 7-11 for the things I was supposed to bring for dinner -- minus the table decoration." I'm thinking " Don't bother, ShanaSue! We'll just put your pretty head on a tray, decorate it with tinsel and "Voile" -- we have a "Dollar Store" mark down, gracing the table this year!" I am seeing red, without the green. If I could shop at 4 stores on Christmas Eve, when I should be at home with Dave, ShanaSue COULD have forgone ONE of her Christmas parties and kept her end of the bargain. How much time could it have taken to stop by the bakery, liquor store and florist? An hour at most. I will never do this again. Never.

ShanaSue brought 4 packages of Hostess doughnut and a 2-liter bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi. I was tempted to ram the doughnuts down her throat and bop her over the head with the Pepsi, but I remembered, "I'm a lady." :)~

Merry Christmas to all, and to ShanaSue, "You're in for a "FRIGHT!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

T'was the Night Before Christmas

I've always believed in the magic of Christmas, especially the magic of Christmas Eve.
I've told this story many times, but I need to share it, just "once more," for others whom haven't read it. This story, from my childhood, ties in with the magic that filled my heart this Christmas Eve.

My Mom always sang, "Away in a Manger" to my sister and I, every night at bedtime until we were about 11 (me) and 7 (Diane). My Mom also told us the story about Baby Jesus and how the magic came to being at midnight, the night He was born. My Mom said, "At midnight, all the animals that were in the stable, the night Jesus was born, talked to each other and they continue to do so, each Christmas Day when the clock strikes 12." My sister and I were usually at midnight Mass, so we missed witnessing this miracle. On Christmas Eve, it was a tradition, for my sister and I to take a nap after dinner and be awakened about 9 pm, so we could get "dressed" for Mass. Even back then, we fussed about our clothes. I miss those days. Do you remember when young girls dressed like young ladies? Velvet or wool double breasted coats, fancy velvet hats -- trimmed with a satin bow and a ribbon that dangled down your past your shoulders and tickled your neck, boots with fur trim and muffs and mittens in the winter; pastel colored coat, Mary Jane patent leather shoes, anklets with lace trim, gloves edged in lace in the spring. I loved living in that era. When children referred to adults as Miss, Mrs. or Mr... when children never interrupted a conversation...and the words/phrases, "Excuse me"..."Thank You"..." You're Welcome"..."May I" and "Please" were part of their every day language? Politeness, kindness, and manners were never practiced, they came naturally. The only things practiced were piano and ballet steps. My dad insisted I was dressed in shades of pinks and blues;, my sister in shades of lavenders and yellows, but for Christmas I wore red or navy blue velvet and my sister wore forest green or black velvet. One Christmas Eve, Diane and I asked our parents if we could stay home and attend Mass in the morning instead, so we could hear the animals talk at midnight. Well, at 10 pm, my sister and I walked down to the stable so we could be with our horses -- Bootlegger and Glory. We took Pierre and Susie and Venetia with us. We settled down, sitting on bales of hay, clutching our lunch boxes that contained Christmas cookies, cubes of sugar, raw carrots, dog and cat treats and a thermos filled with hot chocolate. We sat there for a LONG time, paying close attention to our "friends" and thinking about the questions we wanted to ask them. The next thing I remember was waking up, in my own bed, early Christmas morning. We missed midnight Mass, the sound of "bells" signaling Santa's arrival and hearing our animals speak. :(
Years later, I STILL believe I'll hear my animals speak, at midnight, on Christmas Day. I haven't yet, but one day I'll welcome a fur baby into my home and heart and on Christmas Eve, I'll be ready!

This Christmas Eve, Dave and I were wrapping the last of the unexpected gifts. Earlier that day, at precisely 2:17 the "peace and calm" I've always experienced on Christmas Eve day/night flew up the chimney, out into the desert air. That's another story and I'll share it with all of you in my next post. Anyway, I noticed I was missing a gift. A DVD, Wall-E, that I purchased for ShanaSue's friend, Ronnie. Before I began the ghastly task of tearing the house a part, Dave told me, "Debra, look in the car." Dave is always right. While Dave was hot gluing garland and ornaments to his packages of pumpkin bread, I went outside to the drive, unlocked the car door, and there on the floor was the DVD. As I was making my way back to the house, I heard a "rustling" coming from Dave's side patio. I shined the flashlight in that direction, and there, standing alone, was "Einstein." Awww, he's my favorite javelina. Einstein is one of 8 javelina's that visit me, yes me, every six weeks. Actually, I haven't seen them since the 4th of July. I was beginning to believe the wildlife association relocated them to another part of the desert where vegetation flourished because the developers' haven't found it...yet. Worse than that, maybe the Department of Justice got involved and placed the herd in the witness protection program, because an angry mob of Oro Valley residents want to stick apples in their mouths and roast them for their New Years dinner. ::horrors:: Dinner! The herds only crime was to savor the contents of their gardens. Excuse me, what gardens? Mary, Mary Quite Contrary never lived in the Southwest because it takes gallons and gallons of water to hydrate one blade of grass and we don't have vast quantities of water here. Okay, maybe they upset their trash cans. Is that a crime? Anyway, I must admit, something is up with the herd. They rarely stay for more than a few days -- they've been here for almost two weeks. They travel a circuit, beginning in the river bed, my community, the golf course, country club, then back to the river bed. A few days ago, the herd wreaked havoc in my neighbors, Elizabeth -- the mole, yard. Her flowerbed was destroyed. I believe they were celebrating Deb's coming out party. Elizabeth asked me, "You don't feed the pigs, do you?" I replied, "No, I don't feed the pigs."She said "pigs." I feed the javelina's.' Pigs? I know, I know, we aren't supposed to feed the wildlife. Well, man is not supposed to swallow up every piece of land and plow through vegetation and strike terror in the hearts of animals either. Where are they to live? The Hilton? Most importantly, what are they supposed to eat? Take out from Taco Bell? Think about it. Humans are edging them out, as if they have no right to exist. God created this Earth for ALL of us to enjoy. We all must do our part to give a hand to the animals on their journey; to give them a safe place to rest, a full tummy, a pond to drink from and pond to play in on hot, arid days. I've gotten to know them very well and I've named them. Ugh-oh, never name a wild animal. :(

Einstein : is the world's smartest javelina. First let me tell you how Einstein got his name. The javelinas' enter our community through Dave's backyard. Dave's home is the only structure, east of the wash, that isn't walled in, so the herd climbs the cliff that leads up from the desert floor, into Dave's yard. Dave's home, is also the only house that has a pond, and it's the only place, aside from the Oro Valley Country Club, where the herd can drink. The herd gathers and just "stand there," on the other side of the wall, waiting for me to materialize. They remind me of the children, from the movie, "Children of the Damned." We have a mental telepathy sort of thing going on. Also, when I know they're in the area, I'm forever looking out the windows of the French doors, to see if they're waiting for dinner. When they're "here," they come when I call do the quail. Not Dan and Marilyn. I bet, Dan spells his last name "Q-U-A-I-L;" not Quayle. :)~ Of course, the herd don't have manners, so they fight over the food. I toss peanut butter sandwiches, yams, potatoes and heads of lettuce and cabbage over my wall. Einstein, knows the food comes from my side, so he ambles around the wall, to my driveway and stands at the bottom of my balcony where he feasts alone. I thought that was a genius idea, hence the name Einstein.

Martha Stewart : is the bossy leader and a battle ax with the scars to prove it. The right portion of her nose has been torn - almost in half -- and is barely hanging on. She's adorable, absolutely adorable. Very wise.

Alexis "Lexy" Stewart : is the daughter of Martha; even in the wild. :)~ Lexy, is a bit of a snob, but has a disarming smile, and very sharp teeth. "Better to eat you with my dear," Lexy said. :)~ She's standoffish, and her snout is always pointing towards Heaven. Then again, maybe she picked up the scent of "Jimmy Choo." Alexis has a good heart. Yes, I did tell Alexis I named javelina's after her and her Mom. Alexis may mind; Martha will be delighted.

Mr. Magoo : is nearsighted and crazy as a loon! He ambles along and if anything stands in his path, he'll wait for it to move instead of going around it. Martha always comes to his rescue and nudges him in the right direction. Martha is tolerant to a point, but one day, when she reaches "old age" she'll nudge Mr. Magoo right over a cliff!

PansyCakes is the "squealer" of the group. The first time I saw him he had bits of wildflowers stuck in his teeth. He tried his best to remove them, but failed miserably. He has the sweetest heart.

Hoss is quiet. Yes, I named him after the character "Hoss" portrayed by Dan Blocker from the TV series, "Bonanza." Hoss looks like a grizzly bear but has the heart of a teddy bear. If he were human, he'd work as a bouncer in a bar. A sleazy bar, at that!

Seal is always splashing in the pond and he's quiet as a mouse. He's an old soul. His eyes are filled with wisdom. He minds is own business and his manners as well.

Deb, the debutante, was born this past Spring and had her "coming out" party in Elizabeth's garden. They had a ball, a debutante ball! Deb's twin brother, Sam, passed away on the 4th of July.

If you want to know Sam's story, and life with "the herd" for the past 7 years, you will have to buy my book...when it's published. :)~ My story is not based on the herd, in fact, they make up only a small fraction of the book. The few people who've read it, said there were times when they laughed so hard they cried; followed by moments when they cried so hard, they were happy when my words took on a different curve and they were back to smiling. The readers were in complete agreement when they said, "You couldn't have the laughter without the tears." I do go on! Now do you know why the words "the end" don't appear in my books? I have too much to say. I'm always adding on. ARGH! I'm supposed to be writing about what happened on Christmas Eve. Let's begin...

On Christmas Eve, Einstein, followed me up the drive and took his place below my balcony. I should consider renaming him Romeo. I looked over to Dave's side, and the herd wasn't waiting. It's unusual, very unusual, for Einstein to be on his own. I always have "take out" available, so I grabbed the bag from the fridge and tossed sandwiches and yams, down to Einstein. I decided to keep him company while he ate. The night was peaceful and calm, the only sound to be heard was that of Einstein's chomping on his yams. I started to sing. "Silent Night"..."O' Come All Ye Faithful"..."The First Noel" and ended with "Away in the Manger." Einstein listened to every word. When I hit the "high notes" he quit chewing and stared at me with the most adorable expression on his face. Tears were streaming down my face. I was experiencing the best Christmas Eve of my life with a beast. A beautiful beast named Einstein, my Romeo. I wonder what story he told his family when he got home.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
May God, G-d ::the Jewish part of me is peeking through::, Bless the beasts and the children.

Merry Christmas!

It's a wonderful day to begin blogging...then again, maybe it isn't. What would Shakespeare say about blogging? "To blog or not to blog, that is the question." If you promise, never to hold my words against me, I'll blog. The world of Blogdom is new to me. Meaning, I haven't a clue as to what to do. Is there a book of blogging etiquette? Are there rules? What do I blog about? What does it mean "to blog?" More importantly, are you interested in what I have to say? Forget about Shakespeare, I say, "To read, or not to read...that is the question!" Blogging is therapeutic, and it doesn't cost a thing. I'm aFreud, oops, afraid psychoanalysts will become obsolete because of blogging; so will the "little couches" that grace their offices. Not that I've ever been "on one," but if you continue to read my blog, you'll conclude that I should give it a try.

It's been a month of madness and it's bittersweet to realize that Christmas comes to an end today. I'm rushed and frazzled and that's the problem with Christmas. One is so busy trying to create the magic of the holiday, you don't take the time to enjoy it. When you do find a moment to catch your breath, you glance at the clock, and your heart sinks. In a few moments, it will be over and you didn't enjoy it, not really. Christmas has become a blur of activity; fighting the crowds of frowns and rude behavior at the malls in the suburbs, and the specialty shops that dot the downtown district. Rushing home to wrap, if you're lucky, the perfect gift. If you're one of the unlucky shoppers, who wait until the last minute, how DO you expect to wrap the damaged box of the gift the other shoppers didn't want? Oh no! Leaving the house again, in search of the perfect box to wrap the present no one wanted. Now the real fun begins! You're frustrated because the wrapping paper wants to tangle with the tape, and the Christmas lights want to tangle with the person who is responsible for hanging them. The joy of Christmas is upon super glue . There are cookies to bake, cakes to ice, turkeys to defrost, hams to glaze and somewhere, Grinch is watching us, laughing with glee, because he's the one who steals Christmas from us. I thought Christmas was about a precious Baby, born in a manger, in Bethlehem, 2008 years ago. Christmas should be simple. Children should awaken early on Christmas morning to find one special gift that they've yearned for, all year, under the tree. After breakfast, it's off to a Church service to pay tribute to this wonderful gift from God, the Christ child. After mingling with the parishioners, it's time to return home to celebrate. Indulging in a wonderful dinner, laden with calories, with friends and family, and then cutting into the birthday cake you made for baby Jesus. Christmas bliss!

It's a little a after 6 am, here in the desert. There are a few of you "down under" who are already poring over Christmas photos', reliving yesterdays memories. Some of you, in places to "sigh for, " like London, Paris, and Rome, are winding down from Christmas Day. While others, in the Midwest, are in the midst of celebrating. People, like me, in the Southwest -- and those, of you, living on the West Coast are just beginning to wake up. Hawaiian's are still waiting for Santa to arrive. Wherever you are, I pray you're surrounded by the people you love and the sounds of children's laughter are tugging on your heartstrings. I hope your taste buds are being tantalized by great food and Christmas cheer ::giggles:: a nip or two from the bottle never hurt anyone. Ooops. the ladies will be sipping their Christmas cheer from a glass slipper. May you have peace of mind and love in your heart. A fire in the hearth to keep "Jack Frost" at bay, or the AC set to "just right." I also hope Santa was good to you, and you received at least one gift on your Christmas wish list. I also hope you remembered those "less fortunate" and gave and gave and gave! News flash: I'm watching, okay listening, to KVOA's "Tucson Today at 6 am" as I type this. The words, "The stars come out, to work in LA's soup kitchens, dishing up Christmas dinner for the homeless." All I ask is, "Where are these "Stars'" the other 364 days a year? Soup kitchens are always open! This irritates me beyond belief. The "star" serve a meals for a few hours, while donned in clothes that cost more than these unfortunate souls will have in their pockets for an entire year, while being photographed "performing" their good deeds. Afterwards, they'll drive off in their "to gag for" new cars , to their mansions in "the hills." Merry Christmas! I think the "stars" should take one, or two, of these homeless people with them. Stop by the salon and give them a haircut and manicure/pedicure. Stop by Fred Segal's and get them a something warm to wear. Let them sleep in the guest room; or guest house. Make them "part of the family" for at least one day. Have them wake up EARLY on Christmas Day and find a few gifts, for them, under the tree. Give them the gift of love. companionship and hope. If they're "concerned" about "these people," hire a few security guards. It's sad, but so many people are turned away, not only during the holidays, but every day. There's NEVER room at the inn. :(

I'll be back, sometime today, or...tomorrow...perhaps the day after, to share my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with you. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.

Much Love,