Sunday, December 13, 2009

Please come tell your best Christmas story. . . Here's mine.

Menu of the Day:

What' i've been doing: Making Italian Wedding Soup with about 80 homemade meatballs.

Song playing: Diamonds and Rust by Baez. This song slays me.

What else I've done today: took a nap. went for a run with Mrs. Modern Hippie, you know?...i think that's it.

Public Service Announcement: If you still get the newspaper delivered to your home, (and i hope you do) please remember to write a check for your carrier. the way i figure it, you tip a waitress more than $10 or more sometimes for an hour of service to deliver your food. A poor paper carrier is braving the weather, dark, cold, (depending on where you live) dogs, and maybe even muggers (also depending on where you live).
Re: Photos: the saddest photo to ever put in my tree is the one of my nephew Joshua, added this year. (My tradition is to put photos of lost loved ones in the tree. The good years are the ones when you never have to add a new one.) The other photos are my tree this year, (which looks like every year). The rest are just random photos of my house taken today.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here is one of my favorite Christmas stories. (I have told this on Gumbo before, so it will be a repeat for some of you. )

I do love the little condo community where i live. We have made some very good friends, like Dorothy (who was like family to Brian and me and when she died two years ago we grieved like family and who also sadly adorns our tree with a photo) and other folks like Bob and Lois and Cas, who hang out with us at the pool, many who are older, as more older folks live here than not. I have some good friends. But there are some people who live here i don't like very well at all because of their attitudes towards others.

One of the NON-older folks who lived here named Kathy had rented a condo for about 20 years. And she had teenage kids who sometimes got in trouble for stupid stuff, like trying to swim in the pool during non-adult hours, that sort of thing. Plus Kathy dated African American guys occasionally. This bothered some of the more conservative folks who lived here. Plus the fact that she rented didn't help her status. I liked her just fine. She wasn't a friend. But i liked her. I didn't like her teen daughter so much, but i did like her son.

Anyway, one of the older women Betty, who lived in my building was very crafty and went around decorating our lampposts which are outside everyone's condo. She wrapped them with greenery and red ribbon. It was beautiful. And in addition to our building she always did the condo adjacent to ours too because she was friends with our friend Dorothy and some other neighbors.

Kathy's condo unit happened to be on the very end. And so Betty would decorate every single lamp post in our building and every single lamp post in the condo next to us, EXCEPT for Kathy's condo.
So when you drove in you would see these uniformly happy lampposts, except for the lone one on the end.

This bugged me. But it REALLY bugged my husband, so much he went to the store. He bought (as close as he could get it) the exact same greenery and ribbon. And he said he wanted to go out and decorate that lamppost for them. So one night, very close to Christmas, (it was nearly 1 o' clock in the morning, and very cold too!) he and i bundled up and went out and decorated Kathy's lamppost so that when they woke up the next morning it looked like the others.

We never told anyone. Not even Kathy. And not to Betty either. And since then Betty and Kathy have both moved away and no one has done any lamppost decorating for a few years. But i still think about that Christmas feeling i had decorating that lamppost.

OK, come tell us your feel good Christmas story. It doesn't have to be the BEST memory, just a good memory.


equeyaya said...

I love that.

Not sure I have a Christmas story... will have to think on it and come back.

louielouie said...

No story just some memories

I really do love Christmas it is all about my family, mostly my dad. My parent’s families were all still back in Wisconsin so it was just the 6 of us each Christmas.

I had a pretty great childhood; didn’t know we were poor. Thought everybody’s Christmas stockings were actually their socks; what ever was clean was left by the fireplace. We always got socks in our socks, oranges and mixed nuts. When I was in junior high, my friend Joan got a WATCH in her sock; never heard of such a thing.

We always opened our presents from each other Christmas Eve, after late service. We couldn’t come down to the house until after we had rearranged the church for Christmas Day service; removed all the candles, changed the color of the Paraments, cleaned up and so on. Once we were home it would be after midnight.

My dad would sit in his big chair and my little brother would hand out the presents one by one. We ate oyster stew, a tradition of my parents, with lefse and fruit soup, gifts to my dad. The lefse has become a family tradition and my German mother, Italian/Polish sister in-law and my daughter make it every Christmas.

It was great. We laughed, we sang. If you received something to wear, you went and tried it on and came back to show everyone. We had to put all our gifts away that night, because if left them out and Santa saw how much we had he wouldn’t leave any new gifts. The next morning we only had time for those socks before church. After church it was my mom's rolls and Santa (Klaus) presents. All the presents were wrapped in the same Klaus wrapping paper, different than any we had in the house. Klaus spelled our names wrong and sometimes mixed things up. I carried that tradition on with my kids. Once when I used "regular" Christmas paper on a Santa gift, my kids asked about it and I had to say he must have run out and borrowed ours when he got to the house.

I didn’t know until years later, the one-by-one gift distribution Christmas Eve and again Christmas morning was to make the small number of gifts seem like more. We still do it that way, even with the extended family. It takes forever. A source of strife last year was when my sister’s family couldn’t be there until days later and her girls missed out on seeing what everyone else gave and received. The grown-up cousins still want to spend Christmas Eve together. How great is that?

Although my mom still lives in the old parsonage, we’re no longer in charge of church set up. The food has changed, my brother and I bring in Christmas Eve super - and it's not oyster stew. Some of us have been gone a time or two, we've had some spouse changes, tense years and tears, but the spirit remains.

My dad’s gone and I miss him at Christmas more than ever. He loved Christmas He loved his Lord and he loved his family. We're a blessed bunch.

jojo cucina cucina said...

very beautiful post, louielouie. It's not Christmas if there is not some sad moment there for who has been lost. Because there is always somebody.

jojo cucina cucina said...

P.S. for a few years i made Oyster Stew because it is tradition. But i quit after awhile because only my dad and I would eat it. No one else in my family likes oysters.

Modern Hippie said...

I love that picture of josh, ours kind of blends in the tree too much, we have a FEW colored lights its not as bright. it is weird to have to put josh on the tree this year, its going to be a really weird christmas, this the first time in my life that someone close to me has ever passed away, except for my grandpa which was different because it was a little more expected but at the same time he died January 6th right after the holidays so we had a whole year before xmas again, August was too soon to have xmas without josh.

i love your pictures. what i love more, is that i know your house so well i know exactly where everything is, like that peace sign, and i only know where it is because i know where you have those vases haha the pink ones anyways, did you add a few more over from your built-ins?

oh your tree, perfect as ever. i like that i can see you in the mirror taking the picture haha

i always loved those snowmen, make sure you add that to your will for me. haha that might sound weird to everyone else but jo and i have everything mapped out for when we die, although jo is convinced shes dying first so we know more of her stuff than mine. but i did write her, her obituary, if you go through her archive you can find it she posted it on her awhile ago.

do you have the dancing santas on the mantle? i cant tell! i love those little guys!

you make HOMEMADE italian wedding!? i want some!! i LOVED that, the restaurant always had really good italian wedding, i loved it. i tried buying it in a can once, it was horrible.

its weird when you call my mom "mrs. modern hippie" because mom is SO far from being either modern or hippie haha

i think my parents tip the paperboy, they also tip the mailman, when dad used to work at coke he used to give them collector glass coca-cola bottles (like a whole case) but that was when you couldnt just buy it at the grocery store and it was more of a cool novelty.

we always had the coolest parties in middle school because we always had the glass bottle soda, and always had so much soda haha

not to mention the paperboys wake up EARLY

i always loved that story, i think thats soo cool. you guys should start decorating the lamp post!

i love christmas for all these unknown reasons, i hate when i explain why i love xmas because it doesnt compare. its just such a great time, even all the days leading up to xmas shopping for everyone, wrapping gifts, the way it just feels. although it doesnt really feel like xmas to me at all this year even after we put up our tree, do you have that at all Jo?

although i think the funniest xmas memory would be when i was sick, i was sick long before xmas i think the day after i got home from college i started getting sick, it was pretty bad, and not fun at all. but on xmas day when we went over to my grandmas, i immediatlely walked into the guest bedroom and laid down, and this was a year that Jo and Brian came and I had all these presents for jo i went crazy that year and she had to open them without me lol and she would come in and check on me, and my sister would come in, it was almost like every 5 minutes someone was coming in to check on me. but what was funnier was when i got better and we looked at pictures and my dad and sister took a picture of me my grandma had framed and started bringing it around so i could "be at xmas" and there are all these xmas pictures of "all the aunts" and this picture its soo funny. and my uncle mark was collecting a fund for the ambulance, and when i finally felt better and came out the WHOLE party started sinigng "welcome to christmas" haha

Jo, are you brian coming this year on xmas day? maybe just for the party? you guys should!

Modern Hippie said...

i didnt read the other posts, i love you post Louie! you know whats funny? my mom used to say the same thing! that santa wrapped his presents at our house LOL

we started just a couple years ago, i think by the suggestion of jojo, to open the gifts all at once. usually troy passes them all out and we usually dont start opening until everyone has their presents but it is kinda weird because then you're like "oh oh what did you get?!" but you usually see the big gifts, its all the little stuff. in the morning though when its just dad, mom, ash and i we go one at a time.

ash doesnt get excited about presents at all, i will get excited, but ash is like "oh cool" but i have a feeling she will be STOKED this year, does ash ever read the blog, Jo? if so we need to delete this comment after, but i dont think she does, let alone read everyones comments haha. but my dog chewed up her FAVORITE pair of blue suede pumps, they were $100 pair of shoes, and i offered to pay for them but she just said "no no no its fine" (much like that email i recently sent jo lol) so i never did. well she STILL brings it up, she had "blue day" at work the other day, they normally can only wear black and white but a couple times of month they do colors and so she was really pissed she couldnt wear her blue shoes. SO they were on sale, the exact same pair of shoes and so i got my mom to buy them, i think she will be very excited and then we also got another VERY cute black and white shoes, from another shoe designer that she loves. (oliver actually chewed 3 pairs of shoes, not RUINED, just chewed on the heel but ash was weird about getting new heels) i didnt want to replace the other ones he chewed because they were peep toe from when she lived in san diego and she doesnt like to wear them here especially since she has to wear nylons at work.

p.s. I don't like oysters either Jo. maybe its a louvrak thing?

IslandPearl said...

I love louielouie's comments --

I, too, got walnuts and pecans along with an orange and an apple in my stocking as a child. And, oh happy day! sometimes a tangerine too.


And to this day, the aroma that bursts forth when you first jam your thumbnail into a tangerine to begin the peel brings a flood of very happy memories to me.

I never felt poor as a child -- didn't realize how strapped we were til I was much older. Dad was a teacher and Mom, in those days, a SAHM. She didn't go to work at Penney's til I was in highschool.

I still don't know how they pulled it off, but we always got toys and stuff. I can't for the life of me recall what they got each other...maybe that's the secret.

Mom was (is) a notorious package poker and shaker. One year Dad got one of those noisemakers that makes barnyard sounds when you move it the least little bit. He wrapped and hid it under the tree while Mom was at work.

When she got home later that evening we all just sat quietly watching TV in the den.

Soon enough we heard a plantive 'MOOOOO' coming from the living room and rushed in to find a very startled Mom sitting on the floor byt the tree, trying to look innocent.

I never saw Dad laugh so hard! Mom said he even giggled in his sleep that night.

IslandPearl said...

I forgot to add -- the other treat that always appeared in my stocking was a candy cane. I still love them.

Modern Hippie said...

hahaha thats a great story Pearl! thats soo funny, i think i can picture that happening with my own family but i think it would be my sister sitting by the tree looking innocent.

we always had good christmases, lots of presents but mom and dad still got themselves alot of presents too, i remember one year "santa" got mom a plane ticket to England so she could go to her cousins wedding. its always a bit funny when you think back to those gifts that your parents got from "santa" cause mom and dad would be looking at each other, i dont think they would even hug each other until after we left the room to try and pull off the santa thing.

equeyaya said...

Okay, the reason I didn't think I had a story was because I was reaching back too far. My childhood Christmases were always comfortingly familiar. Until I was in my early teens, we were always at home, always woke to gifts and stockings, just our own little nuclear family for the day. I think I thought it was boring compared to my friends' big family gatherings, but it was good. I think we had a lot of gifts, but not as many as my kids got. Somehow it always gets bigger.

When we were older, we drove to Florida for Christmas, which seemed weird to see Christmas decorations amidst the palm trees. But I came to enjoy that tradition, too, because I loved my grandparents so much and my grandmother always made it wonderful.

But probably my favorite Christmas story is from 2000. Mel was 9 and Grace was 7. Our old cat Lucy had died that summer. We (I) decided to get the girls each their own kitten for Christmas. For some reason it was hard to find kittens that year. Someone I worked with told me about a friend of hers that lived on a farm where about a dozen kittens had been dropped off. It was an hour away, but we drove out to see what they had.

The kittens were all different sizes and shapes, and we suspected they had been collected and intended to sell to a lab before something went wrong. Most of them were already pretty big. The youngest ones were about 12 weeks, jet black with a tiny bit of white on their chests and green eyes. Clearly siblings.

We made arrangements that I would call the people who had them on Christmas eve after the girls went to bed and meet them halfway between their place and ours. I left the house about 10:30. I didn't have a cell phone then and they got lost and I waited and waited and finally they showed up. I had brought an antique wood and wire pet crate my parents had given me. They yowled the whole time I drove them home.

I put the crate with the kitties under the tree Christmas morning. The girls didn't notice them right away, but were so excited when they did. At first we thought the kittens were both girls, and Mel named hers Sabrina from the TV show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Grace named hers Samantha. Within a few days we changed Samantha to Salem. Now we call Salem Mr. Boo because he's a scaredy-cat. Brina and Boo.

They still love their kitties. They are so cute when they snuggle together in their little bed. We give them catnip on Christmas Eve.

There are lots of good Christmas memories with my girls. 2005 was a bad year, but we'll leave that one out. This one is shaping up to be a bad year, too. But I'm going to do my level best to make it good for my daughters.


louielouie said...

Equeyaya, love the kitty story

I’m sure it will be a good one for your daughters. Thinking back to my childhood, listening to other’s childhood memories, and talking with my son about Christmases past, it seems as if children remember what the grownups emphasize. They don’t focus on the pain around them, the economy or even the sadness when looking back. Over time, the sharp edges wears off and the sorrow fades. Children appreciate the love and care you put into making special memories for and with them.

Just last week, my son and I were looking in an old photo album, trying to place a loose picture and we came upon a group of pictures from his Christmas program right after his dad and I split up. There were two, nearly identical photos; one of each of us holding him all dressed up and smiling, clearly taken by the other parent. He said “I used to have those two pictures in a connecting frame.” At the time, I thought it was important for him to have those pictures from his Christmas program, together.

It was not a good year or a joyful Christmas and there were tougher times ahead. But you could tell by the face of that little boy, in both photos, that he knew he was safe and he knew he was loved. The man that boy is now knows it still.

jojo cucina cucina said...

pearl, i love that story about the joke on your mom with the noisemaker! What cute parents you have.

Kylee, Santa wasn't supposed to bring presents for the parents! Weren't you suspicious?

eque, i believe louielouie says it well. Your girls will always remember the good memories and you are always making good memories, in spite of any bad times. Your food tradition memories alone are enough!

The only time i ever wished i had children was during Christmas. I just can't seem to ever summon that spirit i used to feel so much when i was younger, i think because i need to be around kids to remember. Or maybe it's because i just get too overwhelmed thinking i have to do so much and so then i lose sight of what the spirit is all about. I feel like i used to manage stress so much better. (I also blame the media somewhat for this for making me believe I am already behind when Thanksgiving hasn't even happened.)

I'm feeling better lately about gathering together with our family (as we always do on Christmas Eve). I could feel myself getting anxious about it for awhile now. I've not looked forward to it because of Josh. The first Christmas is always the hardest and i was worrying about my brother and his son Brian (and actually for all of us) this year.

But i've been talking to my brother and nephew this week and both of them sound really good. I know it's going to be hard still, (especially Christmas morning). But i think they are stronger and are talking together more and more now. And for that i am grateful and more relaxed.

Christmas can be so sad sometimes. But i guess only from love can that happen. And we all need love.

IslandPearl said...

louielouie, that was beautiful.

Christmas can be sad when we are missing someone -- it was Deb's birthday and it will never be the same without her. And Dad was a 6'1" elf my whole life.

Funny, though, about Deb -- she loved to buy presents for everyone, picking out just the most amazing unexpected things. But she never once put up a Christmas tree in her whole life. She always spent Christmas with Mom and Dad, so she just didn't think it made sense. So I gave her some sort of tree every year for 20 years or so -- pins, earrings, a cardboard fold out tree with cardboard ornaments, a headband with a light up tree (probably the tackiest one of all -- those were always her favorites).

IslandPearl said...

I hate being the 13th post, so I'll just be the 14th too.

equeyaya said...

Thanks, louielouie! I know you are right. I'm just hoping that there is no drama in the midst of the celebrating so that we can emphasize the things about the holiday that should be emphasized. I'm going to do all I can to make that happen! My girls are older and I trust them to keep things in perspective. They have really been wonderfully supportive to me through the past couple of difficult years, and I thank God for them...

I'm finished with my shopping, and most of my wrapping. Don't hate me. This is completely out of character for me. I just feel like I want to check Christmas off my to do list this year so I can move on to the Next Big Task.

Still I am reminding myself to stop and appreciate the lights in the neighborhood and the candles and the tree and to find peace in all of that.


louielouie said...

Dang Modern Hippie,

I was about to ask for the snowmen.

With my luck I'll just get back the stuff I gave jo, that she hasn't already drunk, and all I can think of is too small pj pants.

Jo's house exudes Christmas from top to bottom. Something Christmassy would be perfect since she is the perfect Christmas decorator. Just no tree ornaments for me. Oh yeah, and no precious moments lol

Modern Hippie said...

equeyaya, i think thats cool that your favorite christmas memory is when you gave a really cool present to your kids.

you know, i dont think i've ever had a bad christmas not that i can recall, because like i said before even when i was sick when i look back on it, it was kinda fun in a weird way and i got really cool presents that year lol

louie, i love "over time, the sharp edges wears off and the sorrow fades."

Jo, why couldnt my parents get presents from santa?? why is it just kids?! i always thought it was completely normal

pearl, i'm assuming deb is your sister? you should continue getting trees, maybe get a tree ornament every year and put one on your tree.

thats a very cool tradition though, i am taking your advice and cherishing this time that i get to live with my sister. i was laughign tonight because we got fondue from trader joes and we did it on the stove (double pot boiler style) and we were eating it with the wrong bread in the living room out of the pot and i was laughing about how when we look back and think about that, its gonna just seem fun.

its sad that holidays are usually assoicated with drama, although i've never experienced it in my family (even when it was going on last year and i didnt know it till we got in the car to leave lol) that was because it was some crazy person who married into the family and thats usually the reason isnt it? inlaws.

i love christmas time, i LOVE saying "merry christmas" you don't get to say it any other time of year and to me it sounds so much more sincere. you dont say "merry christmas" as robotic as you say "thanks have a good day" or "i'm good how are you" i love the city during christmas with all the trees lit up, its the prettiest place. i much prefer the city christmas lights than the suburban christmas lights. i htink its because the city doesnt go overboard, you see patio balconys wrapped in lights and the trees......the suburbs. they go OVERBOARD and have contest and its so... well for one its not very green! hahaha

haha louie, i already have dibs on all the glass art and books.

jos house is the perfect amount of christmas and even cooler, its not corny xmas, usually xmas decorations are VERY arts and crafts-y i dont know why this happens but its usually true but jojo does xmas well.

however. i cant imagine jo has a single precious moment in her house - am i right jo? i dont believe ive ever seen one? i know my mom has them because i used to "collect" them and get them as presents as a kid - i dont know why, they are so exspensive what the heck is the point to get them for kids? haha

IslandPearl said...

MH - the first Christmas after Deb died, I found the perfect ornament -- it's a Hallmark and it's a tree made out of a shoe stand -- tiers of beautiful little pumps with a star on top. We shared a genetic addiction to shoe acquisition that I carry on today for the both of us. We called it IMS (Imelda Marcos Syndrome).

jo's seen a picture of it...maybe I'll add it to my blog.

The shoe tree is Deb, and Dad is represented by a moose ornament that I got years ago. I can't bring myself to do the photo thing, but these different ornaments (plus all the ones from the trips we took together) are a nice remembrance.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Hey everybody!!!!!!

I'm feeling much better about Christmas than i was. I just needed to get myself organized and now that i've done that i'm ready for whatever comes. All my presents are wrapped now.

Ms.Hippie, thank you for saying that about my house. I like my decorating too. It's not overdone but it's not formal either. and GAWD no, i do NOT have any Precious Moments knickknacks in my house. And i was never anyone who gave you one as a present either.

By the way, if you and Ashley don't have a real fondue pot, i do have one for you. (because i have two.)

Also Ms. Hippie, i think when you are willed the condo (a will is something that we are going to do as a new year's resolution in 2010 for sure), everything in it is yours too, but you should probably share. So be good to louielouie too. (Maybe let her have one of those glass blown snowmen.)

....You can also let her have the other fondue pot.

jojo cucina cucina said...

I love the shoe ornament too and the idea of a Tree honoring a loved one with the remembrance of something that represented their personality.
I'm going looking on your blog now, pearl!

equeyaya said...

Isn't that your resolution EVERY year, Jo? Lol!

We finally did ours last year and I will have to redo it soon.

You should make Kylee your Executrix, with her writing your obit and planning your funeral and everything else.

I really just wanted to say "executrix."

louielouie said...

I love the word executrix. I have never heard it before. It reminds me of dominatrix. It can't be the same as a regular executor - must be a dominatrix type executor; sort of a portmanteau. I had to look up portmanteau because I couldn’t remember the name for two words going/blending together. My personal favorite is the spork, but some folks prefer Brangelina.

Anyway, in my mind that would make Modernhippe a controlling executor, forcing all others, escpecilly the males, into submission, and maybe bondage. Don’t know her well enough to know if she could pull it off or not. Is black leather necessary? Equayaya could you lend her a riding crop? That might help.

But then there would be no way I would get a glass snowman or any good stuff I can’t think of right now but am pretty sure she has and I am going to want.

equeyaya said...

I think it's just a female executor, but I like your angle better, lol! Kylee can absolutely borrow my riding crop. I could probably even scare up a dressage whip for her!

And I LOVE the word portmanteau!

How do we keep veering off to the grammar/vocabulary topics?!

louielouie said...

I love selective learning. I didn’t bother to find the real meaning of executrix because I didn’t really care to know.

However, I took the time to research portmanteau because I knew such a word existed and knew it wasn’t a Spoonerism (another swell word mix-up thing) and I wanted to be correct for that part of my post.

This morning I googled dressage whip vs. riding crop. Good thing you’re on your toes Equa. A dressage whip is so what Kylee needs.

I hope she appreciates the assistance we are providing her.

IslandPearl said...

I'm executrix for my mom.

I always loved aviatrix too (listen to the cast album of "Drowsy Chaperone" -- "...I'm Trix, the aviatrix..." cheesy lyrics at their very best! Better yet, SEE the musical live). Or Kate Hepburn as Lady Cynthia Darrington in "Christopher Strong."

I love words.

Modern Hippie said...

HAHAHAHA you guys are too funny!! but i like to go in order of the post written so i'll get to all that in a second :)

that is very cool about the ornaments Pearl, I don't know that I could find an appropriate ornament to go for Josh, could you Jo? it would have to be a really odd ornament I feel, like a replica of that jacket he always wore or weights or something lol hes not as easily defined by an ornament, i like the pictures though i think it fits on jo's tree more because she has pictures not just of those who have past, she has a photo string garland (little photos all strung together like garland) and then she adds in photos of past loved ones. we were going to put another tree of my papa that passed away in 2007 but papa bruce (jo's dad) is also in the picture and ash felt if i put the picture on the tree it might be like killing papa bruce, so we didnt put it on, lol

i did see your shoe tree on your facebook, its the cutest tree, i have one similar, i have a shoe addiction as well and i always get shoe ornaments from everyone i love them. (we need to all talk about things we see on facebook to make Jo jeaulous and encourage her to join)

haha no, you always gave me good presents, half the time you didnt even need to ask me what i wanted. i still have the "beaded" curtain thats not beads and its way cooler and not 70's.

ohhhh we would love the fondue pot! i was just saying how i thought my mom had one that she doesnt use but ash thinks she gave it away.

and yes, equeyaya Jo does say that every year she will update the will, because i am supposed to be Executor I dont think I can be a Executrix, especially not about that. although I have a lot of responsibilty when Jo dies, I am going to be a mess, but then again maybe it will spin me into crazy tough bitch and I will need a leather whip.

I am also in charge of making sure no one "fake" does her eulogy (i already told her i couldnt do it) something that happened when a family member died years ago, someone who was never truly her friend got up and did a sappy eulogy as if they were best friends and the whole family knew it was bullshit and hated it. i might need a leather whip for that.

but dont worry Louie, if i get everything else in the house I'll share the glass snowmen and the fondue pot, i'll even share some of the books i'm pretty sure jo and i have a few copies of the same book, for that matter i'm pretty sure JO has more than one copies of the same book lol

and by the way, i do apperciate the assistance you guys are providing me. although i have an aversion to wearing leather ever since i saw catwoman.

but if jo never does update her will this is going to be testament to everything, you are now all witnesses and my father is the current executor (he definitley is not an executrix lol) and I wouldnt have to battle with him too much

louielouie said...

Slow down now Kylee

Jo has left me some specific instructions too, mostly about her journals, but don’t forget Brian figures in the equation too. Course we can always off him, or you can subdue him with that dressage whip.

But you know, all bets are off if she hasn’t updated her will. Your dad will rule the roost. And remember the service is for the living. I have some plans there beginning with my solo of “Wind Beneath My Wings”

We WILL have an open mic at her service (a full mass) with drinking in advance so folks can really work up the stories and tears. I may invite some random adolescent girls just for the drama.

I am planning a great eulogy, I know you’re in charge of the obit unless she gets it written herself first. I figure I have dibs on the eulogy, I come from a long line of preachers ya know. I just can’t decide between a sonnet or just a string of limericks. I find Haiku too limiting and I love me a good rhyme.

Jo’s going to be sorry she left town (a funeral no less) and can’t manage the turn of this post.

louielouie said...

And hey Island Pearl,

You probably have a dressage whip there in Hawaii too for help in your executrix role. I know I passed a bunch of stables and riding ranches when I got lost on my way back to my son's house from the Kailua mall. Who would have thought?

Don't ask. Google Maps said it was something like 5 miles away but my round trip was more like 35.

equeyaya said...

this is so damn funny, i'm laughing out loud!

jojo cucina cucina said...

I am dying (no pun intended) lauging out loud too! This is seriously so funny. Really a classic. How fun to come home from a funeral trip to read this!!!! Really, truly, y'all crack me up.

And to YOU, Ms. equeyaya, with the riding crop, a quarter for the word 'executrix'. I had no idea there was such a word and thought you were pulling my leg so i looked it up in a REAL Websters dictionary.

Seems to me the term is rather sexist though, since it only applies to women. As if such a thing as a woman being executor is so rare it needs it's own term?

Kylee is definitely going to be in charge and every time i go to a funeral i think about it some more.

I am definitely going to get the will done this year. (Equeyaya is right, it's been my resolution three years running now.) But this year, we're doing it. And until then, this blog can serve as backup Sarah, there you go. One of those handblown glass snowman is yours, PLUS the extra fondue pot! (Everybody here should get some of my books where the first page is always signed with my name and some threat of what i'll do to you if you don't return them. Kylee will be in charge of that too.) I wonder if we will have Internet when i am 94 years old???? LOL.

RE: Those special glass blown snowmen that Ms. Hippie and louielouie are fighting over. Those are handblown by a well known local artist Jenifer Holmes, who used to date Brian's best friend years ago. (I've seen her work as far as Sun Valley.) the snowmen were expensive so i bought one a year with the intention of buying three (the whole feng shui thing) but she finally retired from the glasswork before i could (and turned towards sculpture last i heard) so i never got that third one.

Back to funerals for a bit: I just got back from the Amtrak train trip to Salem for the funeral last night and was so tired that i slept until 9:30 this morning straight through. There was no question about me going because my aunt (on my dad's side) has always been supportive of me and i really like her so much. And it's funny i see myself in her too. She doesn't ask for help. She's a bit manic under pressure because she is super organized, she sees faults in others, but also sees good in everyone too, and she doesn't seem to need anything, but she does. (I just don't know what.)

And sometimes you don't want to do something but you know you have to. I was so not looking forward to this trip in the middle of Christmas. But i was so glad that I was there. I stayed at her house with her because she wanted that and then i got to drive her and help her get up and ready. She is 74 years old with MS and weighs an alarming 95 lbs even though she is 5'6". She does a have a son who takes good care of her and lives only a mile away. And we all had an early dinner together before i had to leave.

On the trip home i opened a card my aunt had slipped me and inside were two $50 bills and a $50 gas card. I myself considered giving her $100 in lieu of flowers because i know people need more help with the cost of the funeral than the flowers but i know her, she would never accept it, so i bought her a book and wrote her a letter and left it instead.

I don't know what exactly to do with the money now and i know she would be insulted if i sent it back. I have to think about this.

Let me know if y'all have any ideas. I was thinking that i could have my dad (her brother) send her money and i can include this, she wouldn't even have to know. She would accept it from him i think. I just know that she is not wealthy.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Re: the train ride: it was quite a fun adventure. And Business Class is the way to go. (No big families traveling together and rather quiet). Last night's trip had only one other guy and myself in the car so i had three seats to spread out and it was quiet the whole trip. (It's a four hour plus train ride.)

It was nighttime and the conductor turned off the overhead lights for us. So it was nice and dark and glowy. The Polar Express was playing overhead on the TV without sound, I had one of those half bottle wines they sell in the dining car - a good Hahn cabernet, stuck my iPod on and just sat back and watched the occasional Christmas lights spin by.

There was kind of a Christmas moment there when Dan Fogelberg's "Aulde Lang Sye" (sp?) came on unexpectedly.

Christmas moments are what i look for now not so much the whole Christmas spirit.

jojo cucina cucina said...

i came up with the idea about what to do with the money. And I called my Aunt Marie, first to see how she was because i know the day after funerals are difficult. And to tell her my idea to see how she thought of it.

My sister's daughter's daughter is having a birthday on jan. 4th. And Jessica, her mother isn't planning a big bash for her because she told Mariana that every other year she would do the big bash because she doesn't want to spoil her daughter too much because it is a lot of money for those child kind of events with the bowling birthday parties or the other kind of gymnastic-y party halls. So she had asked me to join them for a quiet dinner and i said of course. But then i thought how nice it would be to have ALL MY NIECES, Kylee, and Ashley and Jessica and Mari celebrate Mari's birthday, just the girls go out for dinner at Mari's favorite Chinese restaurant. And so i called Aunt Marie and said i was going to use the money for that instead of buying myself a blouse (as she suggested) or donating it to charity (which i considered) and she LOVED the idea because it follows the whole aunt/niece theme.

So Kylee/hippie, mark Jan. 4th on your calendar for the evening and i'll see if Ashley can make it down too. OKAY? Mari's birthday.

I'm going to bring my camera and take photos of us all and will mail them to her so that she knows that her money she gave me was enjoyed in a family way that celebrates her too.

jojo cucina cucina said...

oops i meant mail the photos to Aunt Marie.

equeyaya said...

That's a nice idea. I was going to say have your dad give it to her, or maybe donate to the MS Society - but I think she'll really appreciate that, and having the photos, too.

I just updated my blog, and I quoted you on it! We had a big snowstorm this weekend and I posted photos.

Modern Hippie said...

Louie, I will only let you sing 'wind beneath my wings' if its a whitney houston/ceiline dion version. jojos favorite.

JO! WE ARE SO HAVING YOUR FUNERAL AT MANDOLIN CAFE! (we went there last night for open mic i just got back into town)

but we will let a ton of cheerleaders come in and take up whole tables just to use the free wi-fi

well all your glass art is from jennifer isnt it? when i was a girl scout we actually went to see her work, it was really cool she had her own shop right next to her house.

jo you crack me up, in describing aunt marie, you just described yourself. especially because i could totally see you secretly slipping $100 and a gas card as well)

ohh that will be so cool, how old is mari turning now? i always think she is older than she actually is i think thats because shes soo tall. whats her favorite chinese restaurant? you know i love chinese.

i will be in town still on the 4th though so that works, i think ash will have to work, whats thr 4th, oh its a monday she doesnt work mondays (not usually but sometimes) she might be able to come down.

louielouie said...

Let’s set some things straight:

I don’t even really know if I want the glass snowman. Just want something that someone else is supposed to get.

No Mandolin Café. Has to be at Our Lady of the Something (no disrespect intended)

The best funeral ever was my dad’s. There were a ton of Lutheran Ministers there; active and retired; they processed in vestments. And the singing. It was awesome. My sister is an ordained Lutheran minister and I am in full support of female clergy, but there is nothing like the male voices of old preachers, in harmony and good hymns. Fantastic dead-spread too; those Lutheran ladies know how to put on a reception.

Jo, It’s a dressage whip not a riding crop; dang haven’t you learned anything from Equeyaya?

Stop trying to be the best aunt ever. I am the “Best Aunt Ever”. So there. Do really like the niece lunch idea a lot though. I refuse to believe being named Executrix trumps a 21st birthday piñata.

I am getting exited for Christmas. I am pretty much as ready as I can be. Em has her when-to-get-what out of the freezer instructions so my fate is sealed. She is making lefse today with my mom and sister in law. My exhusband baked cookies and mailed them to my son (who still doesn’t know when/if he can come home) and my mom, niece and sister have sent packages too. I have that warm-family-feeling important for me at Christmas.

Hope you all are feeling it, or whatever is important to you at this time of year, too

jojo cucina cucina said...

Very very funny, ms hippie about "The Wind Beneath Wings song" being my favorite, but if louielouie says she wants to sing it, it would be so worth it.

That was what i was saying about Aunt Marie. We share the same DNA and it's weird to see myself in her. We even have the same Flintstone feet where our toes are all the same length! When she told me that i made her take off her shoes and socks because i didn't believe her. Another things she does is that she is not afraid to ask the hard question. And she admits that it sometimes gets her into trouble. But i always like the brave person who is curious enough to ask the hard question and don't go much for folks who tend to be overly polite. And she is the same way.

While we were talking she was ironing and ironing and finally i said to her, "how many blouses are you wearing to this funeral anyway?" and she said she just liked ironing when she was under stress and i totally understood. I also like ironing a lot of things in a row. (I just hate it in the morning for getting ready for work.)

I'm going to blog about the Mandolin Cafe next with those photos i took. I have company tonight. We're having Bob from our condo is coming over for wine and snacks, so it might not be until tomorrow.

jojo cucina cucina said...

oh louielouie, i totally missed reading YOUR email before replying.

You know i am the Best Aunt Ever. My nieces look up to me totally, don't you Ms. Hippie? You all want to be be just like your Aunt Jo. Except maybe you could be a little more family oriented and not quite so judgmental. They listened to me over the years about not sleeping with boys in high school (at least i think they did) and not becoming a cheerleader, and how many pairs of Doc Martens they could buy if they didn't smoke and how to always have an opinion. Remember, ms hippie when i used to ask you where you wanted to have lunch and you and your sister would shrug and politely say, "I don't care?" and i would jump on you and tell you "well then, let's go out for Brocolli!!!!!!" And i didn't always take your side, but i also didn't always take your parents side when you vented on and on about whatever. And if i was mad at you, i was mad at you and let you know how i felt, in hopes that you would grow up doing the same so that no one ever made a doormat out of you or that you would hold back and seeth inside instead of giving people boundaries???? (you certainly learned that one.)

Yes, if there was an Oscar for such a thing, i would definitely be a contender for Best Aunt Ever, In Spite of Her Dysfunctional Family Upbring, doncha think? and i would be sure to thank Ms Hippie/Kylee most of all when i gave my acceptance speech.

louielouie, i can't quite picture Jim, baking chocolate chip cookies at midnight for your son. And that's what makes it so special.

I'm blogging from work at lunchtime because i'm so bored. I'm all caught up and it's sooo quiet because everyone else is gone on holiday break already.

louielouie said...

Well, My nieces look up to me too!

I offer great advice and resources, including but not limited to medical (have you discussed the HPV vaccine with them AND their parents? If you haven't, you need to), personal and career topics.

I think my niece believed me when I told her her husband would care more about what her legs felt like then how they looked – she was worried about her thighs. I believed me.

And what a role model I am. I completed a high ropes course just to show my sister’s girls it wasn’t for boys only (nearly soiled myself in the process) and they could conquer it too.

When I engage in belching contests with A, I don’t let her win just because she’s younger. She's good; but neither of us can compete with her uncle, my brother. HE can belch the entire alphabet.

I also bought into A's plan and convinced her dad that he and I should give my mom a spa day with two of her granddaughters (my Em and A) for mother’s day. Those girls are smart. Grandma loved it and they both got a massage and pedicure out of the deal. The girls sprung for lunch and beers at Schultzy's. Grandma's a sucker for a Bier on tap.

And it’s not just the nieces. This year I added pockets to the nephews’ yearly Christmas pjs. It totally complicates the process. I did tell the younger two (ages 11 and 16) I made them Christmas vests instead of pjs this year. I even offered to give them to them early so they could wear them to school last week.

It’s important for these kids to learn to roll with the punches and the family propensity for lying. Actually, based on their dad, my brother the belcher, they’re pretty well seasoned.

Oh I know I can’t compete with Jo, just didn’t want the rest of you to think she was all that and a can of Coke.

I’m still the best ex-wife ever.

~grits~ said...

wow -I finally took the time to read every comment and truly enjoyed it all!

louie - I love lefse! We havent made it in awhile though. Norwegian friends from Minnesota got us hooked on it.

Kylee, I remember the Christmas you were so sick and jo was so very worried about you. That is so sweet that your pic was passed around so you could 'be there'.

jo, I dont remember the lamp post story from Gumbo, but it sounds just like something you and Brian would do!

(((((((((((pearl and our debs))))))))))

Barbara, I LOVE the christmas kitties story!!

I am just blank as to a really good christmas story but I do remember that one year we left a beer and pretzels for Santa. Taylor was sure he would like beer as her daddy sure does and that he was probably tired of milk and cookies!

jo, you have such a fascinating family! I always enjoy so much how you write about them so I can picture them in my mind and feel like I know them too.

jojo cucina cucina said...

louielouie, i thought i was the only special one who got pockets in my pajama pants!

BTW, when did you do the high ropes class anyway? They weren't even born so how could they appreciate it?

Grits, i am so glad to see you here. I love that Taylor wanted to leave out beer for Santa. I can't believe that isn't done more often! LOL...And one beer isn't going to impair Santa. Let's hope Taylor was the only one who thought of it!

louielouie said...

See what a great aunt I am? If YOU get pockets, the nephews get pockets.

I went on the ropes course one summer when my sister’s girls were vacationing with us. They thought we were so exotic. We had sugared cereals on vacation, ate chips and stayed in cabins by lakes or condos with pools.

We were at this great park on Vancouver Island where we kayaked, swung out over a river on a rope swing and had a grand time. Ron and Nick were all excited about this high ropes course - the two little girls were too short. Emily, who is Nick’s age, wanted to do it but wasn’t sure she could. So I said, “sure you can and I will too!” So we did.

She was great but I swear, I nearly threw-up after I was on the ground - and no longer hanging a ba-jillion feet in the air from my safety harness.

Actually I did a lot of things just to show my kids they weren’t scary. Scary things. The ropes course, jumping from high rocks into the English River, kayaking to islands I thought were too far away, even flying.

Flying alone to Italy to meet Em summer before last was a big risk for me. But how could I have told my daughter I was afraid to go when SHE had just made the trip herself? Even coming here to be with Nick was hard for me. I've always made all the family vacation plans and do make tough decisions at work so I don't think folks know how hard it is for me, and they get impatient with my indecision or insecurity.

Thank God for my kids; they have really stretched and strengthened me.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Actually louielouie, you make a very good point and the one i have always said. I don't know how y'all who are parents are so brave? and when i think about all my stupid irrational fears or phobias, of driving long distances, flying in airplanes, traveling to a place I've never been before even when they speak the language, it makes sense.

I would be less fearful if i had children in some ways because i have to be more adult and like you say, show them not to be scared themselves, because lord knows i would never want sissy kids.

But i can't think of anything more scary than having a child.

So it's a Catch 22.

Brian said...

I thought Executrix was a name for vacuum cleaner in the 60's. Ohh, maybe that was an Electrolux.

You guys crack me up! :)

jojo cucina cucina said...

actually the idea that it also sounds like a vacuum cleaner makes sort of sense.

jojo cucina cucina said...

i impress myself every time i know how to spell 'vacuum'. Just had to say that.

Brian said...

'Vacuum' also sounds like the word that would come out if you sneezed right when you were cussing someone out. :)