Sorry, Not Sorry: The One About 3 Holiday Pet Peeves That Vex Me

It seems to me at this time of year everyone has at least one pet peeve that vexes them. Perhaps you’ve noticed this, too.

Now that we’re officially smack dab into the season of Forced Frivolity Rampant Consumerism  The Holidays, I want to tell you what vexes me the most. You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve narrowed it down to 3 pet peeves, succinctly explained below.

See if they resonate with you, my little fruitcakes, then you may share yours in the comments below. To get you started, but please don’t feel limited by, at the bottom of this post I’ve created a list of possible peeves* that do not bother me but I’ve heard about– oh. yes. I. have.

📷 ONE 📸

IF YOU SEND A HOLIDAY CARD that is a family photo or you put a family photo inside a regular holiday card, please I beg of you, tell the recipients of the holiday card who these people are.  Do not say a vague “Joyeux Noël from the Jones-Beauforts” BUT instead list the individual names of the people + pets in the photo. Do not assume we’ll recognize everyone in the photo.

You do know who they are, right? So why not share that information with the rest of us?

🌲 TWO 🎄 

IF YOU PUT UP A TREE to celebrate Christmas, do not overdecorate it.  Less is more.  There is this design concept known as negative space that, stick with me here, posits that an object is more noticeable and therefore appreciated if there is emptiness around the object.

I’m happy that you’ve invested in twinkling lights & colorful bulbs & tinsel & strands of pretty beads & personally meaningful ornaments, BUT do not cover every stinking inch of every branch on the tree so that all I see, anyone sees, is a big triangular-ish blob of shiny.

I want to see the details of your beautiful decorations, truly I do, so could you make that happen, please?

🍪 THREE 🍬

IF YOU’RE A BAKER OR CANDY MAKER, I ask of you to be forthright about what kind of sweetener you use. Some of us cannot digest artificial sweeteners while others avoid natural sugar at all costs. I don’t care how you sweeten what you make, that is not my concern, BUT for the love of all that is good, be honest about what is in the goodies.

You do understand that you can make someone sick if you lie about it, right?

~ 🔻 ~

~ 🔺 ~

* Here is a list of 10 holiday pet peeves that I’ve heard mentioned emphatically by other people:

  1. Reciprocity regarding the exchange of Holiday cards, obligation or opportunity
  2. Christmas music, yay or nay
  3. Party games that involve gift exchanges
  4. Incorrect use of the letter “s” when addressing a card or gift to an entire family
  5. Location of outdoor holiday decorations, near the house or out in the yard creating possible obstructions/distractions for drivers
  6. Appropriate day on which to take down the holiday tree inside your home
  7. Use of tissue paper or shredded paper inside a gift bag, yay or nay
  8. Hostess gift for an open house party shouldn’t be wine because you only take wine when it’s a dinner party
  9. Holiday newsletters, yay or nay
  10. Bow on holiday wreath goes at the top, the bottom, or the side

PLEASE NOTE: In an attempt to make our home connection to the internet reliable and faster, we’re changing our internet service provider tomorrow [Wednesday], going from coaxial cable to fiber optic cable. Fingers crossed this change goes smoothly, but if not… it’s been great knowing you I’ll see ‘ya when I see ‘ya. 

The One About Grace And Frankie & Fun Quirky Details About My Dad

[Spoiler alert]

• • •

OVER THE WEEKEND I FINISHED WATCHING the last hilarious season of the TV show, Grace and Frankie.  One of the episodes* in this season involves Grace [played by Jane Fonda] reconciling with her younger brother [played by Jamey Sheridan] who she hasn’t seen in years.

She invites him to her house on the pretext of familial love, but the truth is she’s feeling unexpectedly nostalgic and wants him to give her the family recipe for chicken paprikash.

He knows this recipe by heart.

In the course of their conversation he figures out the subterfuge and starts to walk out, but Frankie [played by Lily Tomlin] finds a way for the two of them to get along.

He was young when their father died and he wants to know fun little details about the man.  So for every chicken paprikash ingredient he says, Grace tells him something personal about their father.

This episode was quintessential Grace and Frankie, funny and poignant.

Absurd, yet believable.

• • •

THIS EPISODE GOT ME THINKING ABOUT fun little details about my father;  he died when I was 15 so my memories of him are from a kid’s point of view.  The details I remember aren’t about his professions, or his accomplishments, or his character– just idiosyncratic things about an adult.

Thus in honor of this coming weekend’s Father’s Day in the US, and for snorts and giggles, I share a list of some fun quirky details about my dad.

Ostensibly it’s about my father, but perhaps gives a glimpse into who I am as well.  I’ve read that the oldest daughter is a female version of her father. Maybe so, maybe not.

All I know is he was character.

• • •

✅ He could wiggle his ears.

✅ His favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s Day. He wore a green necktie and green suspenders, and insisted we have corned beef & cabbage dinner– with a shot of Irish whiskey for the adults.

✅ He collected antique guns.

✅ He was a camera-shy** camera nut, with more brands and lenses and tripods and lights than you can imagine. Equipment everywhere.

✅ He kept bees and we ate honey from the hive.

✅ He had a pair of boxer shorts underwear that had a white background with red ants crawling around. When he wore the underwear he’d say he had “ants in his pants.”

✅ He was ambidextrous.

✅ He didn’t suffer fools easily, nor dawdling little girls, so if I was being pokey and said “I’m coming, I’m coming” he’d yell “SO’S CHRISTMAS.” 

• • •

Questions of the Day

If you knew him as a child, what fun and/or quirky little details do you remember about your father?

Are you like him in any ways?

If you watched it, what did you think of Season 7 of Grace and Frankie?

Did the series finale work for you?

* Season7, Episode 14 – The Paprikash

** The best photo of him I have is of him sitting by a cadaver he worked on in med school.  While interesting, it is macabre, not suitable for this PG-13 blog.

Of Cornfields & Coolers: A Fast Weekend Trip North

Please note that after a week of rainy days the blue sky and puffy white clouds made me happy.

OVER THE WEEKEND we drove 4.5 hours north through central Ohio farmland, seeing cornfields hither and yon, so that we could go see Zen-Den’s mother.  She’s now spending her days in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home. We also wanted to meet up with Zen-Den’s sister and her husband who live about a half hour away from MIL.

We hadn’t seen any of them since November 2019 because of all the Covid-19 restrictions, yada, yada, yada.

The weather for our drive was great, summery warm but not humid. I’ll admit that it was mesmerizing to be on the road after 16 months of staying at home.  Everything looked the same, but different.

Mother-in-law was able to chat with us for about 45 minutes before she was tired.  Considering her situation she seemed in a good place mentally, physically, and even spiritually.  Never one for small talk, we knew that it’d be fast visit with her so we also planned on visiting with SIL and her husband.

We met them at a lovely, Mediterranean-esque vineyard and had a delicious lunch outside on the patio under a large umbrella where adult libations flowed.   Then we walked around the beautifully landscaped multi-acre grounds that included a pond, walking paths, a gift shop, and a swanky bar with a hip vibe.

It was a pleasant, relaxing afternoon outside in the sunshine, walking a little, drinking some, and laughing a lot.

I mean A LOT of laughter.

Please note that the empty wine glass, with visible dregs of red wine, was left on the rustic lamppost near the vineyard parking lot.

SO THAT WE could break up the 9 hour round trip drive, on the way back home we stayed at a Hampton Inn.  Naturally something goofy happened while we were there because that’s how it goes with us.

When we travel by car we put bottles of water on ice inside a small Igloo-brand cooler that holds about 6 bottles.  It’s nothing special, just practical and durable.

As we were getting ready to leave the motel in the morning Z-D went to get ice from the machine on the first floor near the reception desk.  He had the cooler with him.  When the woman working behind to desk saw him with the cooler she started laughing.

At him.  He was baffled, not upset.

She said that she was used to seeing large Igloo coolers on wheels, the kind families take with them, but our little cooler was just too cute for words, a miniature cooler that for some reason tickled her.

Z-D explained that the little cooler was just for the two of us, so it made sense. According to him she nodded her head in understanding, but kept chuckling as he walked away.

Thus it came to be, what I can only describe as, a situation wherein Zen-Den was COOLER SHAMED.  I mean, really, who goes around publicly criticizing a man’s cooler? 🤨

Anyhow that’s what we did over the weekend. Just a weekend, kind of normal, like they used to be.

What did you do over the weekend, my gentle readers?

Please note that this is the cute little cooler mentioned above.

One-Liner Wednesday: A Memorable Piece Of Marital Advice From Aunt Ann

This is one of those you-can’t-make-it-up stories.

Z-D says considering all the bad advice that is on social media lately I need to share this here. It’s a story from my past that imparts some memorable advice.  

Kind of weird advice.

I swear to you that his Aunt Ann said this to me years ago. And I’ll also tell you up front that I can honestly say I took her advice to heart.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

~ ~ ~ ~

Many years ago I went to a bridal shower held for moi.  It was ostensibly for me to meet about 20 of Zen-Den’s older female relatives, but was in fact a way for them to size me up.

They were not a friendly crowd.

It was an awkward uncomfortable event for me, an introvert, a sweet little lambie tossed in among the wolves, but I did my best to be likable because back then I cared about such things.

At this shower we played a game in which all the women at the shower were to write their best piece of marital advice on a 3×5″ index card.

While they got snacks I was to read all the cards to myself, picking the card with what I believed to be the best advice.  The person who wrote this card then got the door prize.  I can’t remember what it was, but these women wanted that prize.

There was a competitive spirit amongst them.

That I do remember.

I realized immediately that this game was a trap, the Kobayashi Maru of bridal shower games.  No matter whose advice I picked I’d tick off someone and there’d be repercussions, perhaps for decades.  These were women with a penchant for holding onto resentments.

Grudges were their lifeblood.

I did not like this game, but miracle of miracles I read Aunt Ann’s piece of advice and I instantly knew that I liked it the best PLUS I realized that no one there would ever resent me for picking it.

Yes, that’s how timeless and profound it was.

Aunt Ann told me: Never start ironing your rags, because once you do, you won’t be able to stop. 

Is this not so? And was I not fortunate to have Aunt Ann point this out to me, thereby setting me on the course to a life of freedom that comes from having wrinkled rag?

Huzzah!

~ ~ ~ ~

To learn more about Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday click HERE.

What’s Cooking? Old Recipe Pamphlets and Cookbooks [Part 1 Of 2]

Today it’ll be Show & Tell + Discussion. Tomorrow it’ll be Think & Do + Poll Question.

THERE IS A PLACE BETWEEN TRASH AND TREASURE WHEREIN ONE CAN FIND STUFF

STUFF being defined as interesting things, unique things, obscure things that are worthy of conversation but not much more.

In this case the STUFF is from a box I inherited that contains my grandmother’s handwritten cookbook, a couple of printed cookbooks, and other bits of information about food and drink.

Thus I give you Show & Tell.

~ ~ ~ ~

SHOW & TELL

The STUFF featured in the above photograph has one noticeable thing in common: these recipe pamphlet and cookbook covers have the color red on them.  Other than that they are about as random as can be.

They are in order of publication year:

1933 – The Art Of Mixing by Wiley and Griffith

1941 – Quick•easy RECIPES from MUELLER’S

1942 – THIS IS MY BOOK OF MAGIC RECIPES from The Borden Company

1943 – How to bake by the Ration Book from Swans Down

1949 – Aunt Chick’s Pies by Nettie McBirney

1963 – Joys of Jell-O from General Foods Corp.

1960s [?] – TRUDY TENDERFOOT MEETS REDDY KILOWATT from Ohio Edison Company

~ ~

DISCUSSION

Anyone else feeling less guilty about not following through on Marie Kondo’s advice about getting rid of STUFF that doesn’t spark joy?  Especially in light of the fact that STUFF often makes for good conversation starters?

Anyone know why red was [or is?] a popular color for the front of cookbooks?

Anyone try a new-to-you old recipe lately?

~ ~ ~ ~