Recent Posts

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Killing Thanksgiving

I'm mad as hell. Somebody stole my turkey day and it will never be the same again. Every year in November, untold numbers of turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving feasts around the U.S.A. But this year, malevolent forces were out to kill the very holiday itself. Not with a gun. Not with a hatchet. Not with some explosive device. The killing weapons of choice? CREDIT CARDS!

I am not a fan of Black Friday. BUT when it's moved up to in Thanksgiving Day, Thursday...well that just makes my blood boil.

Have we become a nation of the most ridiculous, conspicuous consumer FOOLS on earth? The invasion of Black Friday into Black Thursday is a perfect example of how easily American consumers can be sucked in by giant retailers into thinking they're getting a good deal. Yes, I realize that we are a consumer driven society but why are we so easily snookered by giant retailers? For the love of God...the Good Will Store was having a Black Thursday sale on Thanksgiving Day.....the Good Will!  So....maybe you could buy somebody's worn, musty, dusty, old tweed jacket for $1 instead of $2.00?

Thanksgiving is the one holiday of the year that is slightly less consumer driven than most. Family, feasting, fun and football on TV or a rollicking, ragtag game of football outdoors with the more agile members of your family clan. The Thanksgiving tradition I've always enjoyed is steeped in homespun, happy times centered around gratitude and appreciation for the blessings we have and for the people we love. All that and plenty of turkey and all the trimmings are symbolic of this special day out of the year set aside for thankfulness and pleasant family togetherness.

NOT ANY MORE! This year, the historic and noble feast of Thanksgiving Day was unceremoniously bull-dozed aside by pure, unadulterated greed. Greed on the part of retailers, many of which opened early on Thanksgiving morning. Insanity...on the part of frenzied mobs of shoppers who are lured like cattle to a slaughter-house of bargains. It's merchandising madness gone terribly awry. Frantic, deal hungry shoppers play right into the avaricious hands of lustful merchants who gleefully ring up sales with the swipe of millions of credit cards as fast as a thief can pick your pocket.

I don't begrudge retailers making money. They can cram in as many customers into their stores with as many clever discounts and cheesy marketing tactics as humanly possible. I used to be a marketing believe me I know all about wild and crazy ad campaigns. HOWEVER, I just hate it when businesses invade our family Thanksgiving celebration and turn respectable dinner companions into ravenous shopping sharks who jump in the car and fiendishly race after a good deal, turkey leg still in hand....on Thanksgiving Day.  Like deer in the headlights, Americans are easy targets for these modern-day Scrooges of the retail industry.

I'm sadly afraid that it won't be too many more years down the road, that Thanksgiving Day will be a mere footnote in American history....replaced by "Happy Retailer Day". The iconic Thanksgiving American holiday will be killed off by rapacious retailers who prey on naive, bargain-smitten shoppers. I like a deal as much as the next person, but I'm not going to risk my life for one.

I know perfectly lovely people who have made a tradition of Black Friday shopping. Most days, they appear to be completely normal, sane individuals. But on Black Shopping weekend, they degenerate into crazed bargain demons. They salivate with excitement over the thrill of a deal at 3 a.m. Camp out in the bone-chilling cold and wait in line for hours. All for the inglorious degradation of getting clobbered senseless by a flat screen TV sailing through the air.

I wonder how the early Pilgrims would react if they could see the hoards of pushy, vicious, desperate, ferocious bargain fanatics trample over their grandmothers to get a deal on a Kindle or a 15 piece Rachel Ray cookware set. Life in the rugged wilderness near Plymouth Rock might actually look tame compared to the near savagery of Black Thursday and Black Friday. Those intrepid Pilgrims might just high tail it back to England if they ever caught a glimpse of screeching, screwball shoppers diving head first into the bottom of a giant bargain bin at Walmart to snag the last Hello Kitty toaster.

I guess I just don't appreciate all this depraved, wacky kind of shopping fun. So I'll just help myself to some left-over turkey stuffing and fervently hope that Thanksgiving Day will still be on the calendar next year before it's totally killed off.

And they call this "fun" ??

Oh, the insanity of it all!

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Do you Pin? As in Pinterest? For the unenlightened, Pinterest is the darling social networking site of 2012. It's a virtual pin board. It allows members to organize and share anything that interests them by "pinning" images on a theme board. Sort of like a digital scrapbook. People have become so addicted to Pinterest they call it, pinsanity. A lot of stuff on Pinterest is aspirational. Wishful thinking. Collage displays of travel spots you dream of visiting someday or clothes you'd really love to wear when you lose that extra 30 lbs. Recipes are popular on Pinterest too. My friends who unabashedly adore Pinterest, admit that it's often more fun to look at mouth-watering food pictures than get up, walk to the kitchen and actually real time.

In the United States, females make up 82 percent of Pinterest users. But outside of the U.S., Pinterest members tend to be mostly male....57 percent men in United Kingdom, 79 percent men in Japan and 74 percent men in France. Hmmm...I wonder what the trendy Pinterest themes are in Paris?

Honestly, I don't have much interest in Pinterest. I was invited to join by friends and so I did. But I just couldn't get hooked on it. It involves a LOT of time. Facebook is my social media drug of choice. I don't fault anyone who uses Pinterest but I often wonder how they find the time to peruse all the stuff that's on it.

Frankly, Pinterest gives me an inferiority complex. Like I need another one. There are all these millions of women on Pinterest every day, who display photos of how they make their own candles from scratch, whip up 12 layer cakes, boil their own cutesy soap in the shape of reindeer, plan extravagant menus fit for royalty, redesign the interior of a cruise ship, work up chic decorating ideas for a mansion most of us could never afford to own, and cleverly clip garden shrubs into topiaries that resemble each member of their family.

Me? I'm just lucky to drive to the Post Office, buy stamps and not have an accident on the way home.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Buck Stops Here...Literally!


This might be sad to hear
But I’m not fond of deer.
They may strut with grace
And have a cute, cuddly face

But they don’t know their place
When they debase
My garden space.
It’s a disgrace.

They devour every flower
And for good measure
They smile with pleasure
Noshing on my blooming treasure.

I yell, I plead, I shoo them away
But to my dismay
They won’t stray from my garden buffet.
It’s their favorite hang-out cafĂ©.

I'm not fooled by their bambi looks
Those doey eyes out of story books.
They steal my plants in broad daylight
Or sneak around in the dead of night.

Spring, summer and fall
They have a culinary ball.
Even during snowy winter
They eat my evergreens down to a splinter.

Now listen up, you hungry beasts
I’m tired of providing your daily feasts.
You just finished off my beautiful mums
And you’re still coming back for tasty crumbs.

I’ve had it up to here, you pesky deer
Enough is enough, so you’d better stay clear
Of my precious garden plot.
Trot back to your own forest lot.

Oh I know, we’ve invaded your territory
But boo hoo on that old sob story.
I don’t shoot at you or sling arrows your way
I don’t even eat your meat, I dare say.

So do me a favor if you please
Return to the woods with big oak trees,
Ticks and fleas and lyme disease
And leave my flowers to the birds and bees.

Now if you abide by this humble truce,
You will not replace our Christmas goose.
But if you don’t stop your nibbling ways
Then it’s roasted venison for the holidays!
Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You Might Be Too Old to Tricker Treat if....

Years ago, when I was a mere youngster...I loved Halloween. Decked out in homemade costumes and with paper grocery sacks to hold our friends and I raced door to door along the darkened sidewalks, for Halloween treats. Our bounty consisted mostly of crappy hard candy, pieces of candy corn, rotten apples, worthless pennies and the occasional razor blade. For the record, I loathe candy corn. Every once in a while we hit pay dirt at one of the "good" houses and were rewarded with a decent sized chocolate bar.

We always knew where the "good" houses were and we paid them multi visits. Back then, Halloween was a night of frightful, frivolous, innocent fun with my rambunctious young pals and usually nobody got hurt. Even more amazing...nobody got texted, sexted, Ipodded, emailed, cell phoned or tweeted. Somehow we all survived.

Today, Halloween is the most popular and most lucrative commercial holiday next to Christmas! Billions...with a B...spent on costumes, candy and party paraphanalia. You never know what kind of freaks, crazies and weirdos will be prowling your neighborhood disguised as Lady Gaga, Spiderman, Angry Birds, vampires, pirates and Obama or Romney clones. Like we need more of those guys. There are giant stores dedicated solely to the sale of Halloween costumes. If you can't find a costume in a store, you can order one online...often priced at well over $100 each. What happened to going "toga" in a household sheet? 

A few years ago, we lived in a lovely burb of Atlanta that was a very family oriented community. Nearly every single family in this town owns at least one golf cart...whether they play golf or not. On Halloween night, thousands and I do mean thousands of young tricker-treaters are chauffered door to door on golf carts driven by their parents or by themselves. None of the kids walk. They all hitch a ride on the family golf cart to collect their Halloween goodies. Even better, they all use GPSs and cell phones to alert friends to the "good" houses. And they can speed there twice as fast on a golf cart. Why oh why, did I have to grow up in the dark ages!

These days, Halloween is as much a huge hoopla for adults as it is for children. BUT we all know there are a few folks out there who simply should not be out on neighborhood streets trolling for treats on Halloween or any time of year. If you're not sure if this applies to you, read further....

  • You think chocolate is over-rated. But a nice bottle of vodka would be appreciated.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • You like to run over kids on your Hoverround. 
  • You only eat high fiber candy.                                                                                                 
  • Kids point at you and scream, "Yikes, scary witch mask"...and you're not wearing one.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • On the doorstep you yell: "Tricker...." and forget the rest of it.                     
  • You're the only tricker treater in the group with a hip replacement.                                                                                          
  • You consider it a good night if your Depends don't leak and you don't drop the battery to your hearing aid.                                                                                                                    
  • You're confident you can fight off candy thieves with your oxygen tank.                                                                                                         
  • You're the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood using a walker.              
  • Little kids run away from you screaming...and you just stepped out to get the mail.
  • After the 4th house, you realize you'd rather be back home watching Antiques Roadshow.                                                                              
All in jest, of course, dear readers. But hey, forget the lousy candy. Instead, drop by my house on Halloween for flaming dacquiries and pumpkin vodka shots. Bring your golf carts but don't run over the mailbox.

Peace, love, Happy Halloween, man. Ya that's vodka in my water bottle. Far Out.

                    Sphere: Related Content

Monday, October 22, 2012

Outside My Autumn Window

This morning, as I do every morning...I fling open the kitchen curtains and glance out across our front yard. It's Fall here in Michigan and most of the leaves on the trees have dropped off, rendering the bare, brown branches into eerie skeletal formations...just in time for Halloween. One stately maple tree defiantly hangs on to its brilliant coat of fiery crimson-red leaves, glimmering in the morning rays of sun like thousands of dazzling rubies. Through the window, I cast a quick look at our colorful, little garden patch by the front door to see how many flowers the rabbits and deer munched down during the night. Our autumn garden is ablaze with cheery yellow, deep purple and lush gold mums. A veritable midnight buffet for the deer and rabbits that inhabit the woods behind our house. So far, not too much damage done by the woodsy critters.

Our green front lawn is encrusted in a smattering of fallen leaves that literally sparkle with a resplendant sheen as shafts of sunlight bounce off the dew-moist foliage. My eyes drift across the street toward our community pond. I have an unfettered view now that most of the leaves have fallen. The periwinkle blue water shimmers in the morning light. A low ridge of ripples float across the tranquil water as a family of ducks paddles silently about. From the short distance of my kitchen window, I can see mirrored in the calm pond water...the perfectly clear reflections of the sky, puffy white clouds and neighboring homes. It's as if they've resettled in the pond. Our gentle little pond exudes a blissful untroubled beauty and thought-provoking serenity.

In the brief few minutes that I've taken to explore the morning from my front window, I am once again mesmerized and inspired by the simple grace and majestic dignity of nature. It's going to be a beautiful autumn day.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, July 13, 2012


The chairs haven't started to melt but it was 107 degrees on our deck.
It's hot. It's steaming, screaming, broiling, roiling hot. It's blistering, baking, fiery, scalding hot. It's stifling, sizzling, sweltering, white-hot, HOT. Last week on our deck, the temperature hit 107 the shade. And we live in Michigan.

It's been so feverishly hot up here this summer in our normally cool Great Lakes region, that yesterday a guy baked a pizza on the roof of his car...and the crust burnt. No telling how he'll get all that gooey mozzarella off the finish. It's so hot up here with no rain for weeks, that our big, sturdy maple trees are melting. The leaves are wilting, falling off and just plain surrendering to the heat. It's so hot, my sweat is sweating. It's so hot, the corn is popping on the stalk. The charcoal in our grill is firing up all by itself. Asphalt parking lots are turning into La Brea tar pits. My shoes get stuck on the sticky black-top, tennis courts.

Yet in spite of this hellish heat wave..there is refreshing, good news. I have met a new friend. A very cool, awesome, delightful, scintillating, shiveringly delicious friend....and his last name is Slushie. His first name is Vodka.

Vodka Slushie. My new BSF...Best Summer Friend. I even introduced Slushie to my hubs. We sit out on the deck on a balmy summer's eve, the stars twinkling above us, the crescent moon peering over the tall trees in our back woods and chill out with the coolest, tangiest, most refreshing alcoholic beverage since Jose Cuervo hooked up with Miss Margarita. After a couple sips, our body temps drop to below-sizzling. After half a glass, we feel like we're on a sleek sailboat bobbing in a fresh breeze on Lake Superior. Two glasses later and we're floating in the Antarctic (figuratively speaking).

Vodka Slushie has numerous advantages over frozen cocktails. For one thing, it doesn't get rock-solid frozen. It won't give you brain freeze. It's easy to sip  without numbing your tongue. You can make a batch ahead of time and wow your guests at an impromptu party or enjoy a glass just for yourself. It's not your convenience store slushie. It's so much better. It's got Vodka. Perhaps you've enjoyed one before. There are many recipe variations online. A bunch of us girlfriends became acquainted with Vodka Slushie at a Girls Nite Out gathering. Ever since, I've been a devoted fan... especially since it's been so excruciatingly hot outside.

Many people have asked for the recipe. So now, with enthusiastic pleasure and for the benefit of all mankind and womankind suffering from this infernal heat....I offer you the definitive way to beat the heat with a delicious, cool and refreshing concoction that will set your armpits to shivering in seconds and your taste buds screaming for more...the Vodka Slushie.

Vodka Lime Slushie 
2 six ounce cans frozen lemonade (partially thawed)
2 six ounce cans frozen limeade  (partially thawed)
8  cans water
3 cups Vodka (more or less depending on taste)
1 64 oz. bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled
Sliced limes or fresh mint leaves...for garnish

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT SODA, in big plastic bowl or large deep dish.
Freeze over night. (Be sure the bowl you use won't crack from freezing.)
The mixture will not completely freeze because of alcohol content.
When it's nearly frozen, it's time to serve.
Scoop mixture into glasses. Ice cream scooper works well for this.
Top off each glass with some lemon-lime soda to liquify a bit.
Garnish with lime slice or mint leaf or both.
Serve with tall spoons. At first it's very thick. But the lemon-lime soda helps it quickly melt into easy drinking consistency while remaining icy cold down to the last drop.
Extremely refreshing.
Serves at least 10 people, depending on size of glass.
Sphere: Related Content

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stumping in the Sunshine State

Ahhhhh...the blissful, balmy, batty state of Florida. Land of perpetual sunshine, lazy sailboats, swaying palm trees, bronzed starlets, sun-crispy tourists, screwballs and waddling snowbirds (of which I am one), skyrocketing short sales and foreclosures, plummeting home values, insane drivers, pushy elderly people, all day happy hours, early-bird specials, tumultuous traffic and...lines---long, long, long lines...mostly for waiting to get into restaurants, movie theaters and walk-in clinics.

I'm down in quaint little Dunedin, Florida, an idyllic little village on the Gulf of Mexico, frittering away the winter months by devoting my time to such important issues as zumba classes, tennis, tai chi, restaurant hopping, playing with my grandboys, strolling along the bay and picture-perfect sunsets at the marina. All the while maintaining an enthusiastic vigilance toward discovering the consummate Margarita cocktail.

It's a lovely life down here and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have to enjoy it. I escape for three months in the Florida sunshine and then I go back to the real world. This week, our little community hosted a major event...Mitt Romney came to town. It was a gloriously sunny, brilliant blue sky kind of day. So I decided to amble downtown and check out the political scenery.

I snuck in through the Press Only entrance gate. Told them I wrote a popular American blog and they actually believed me. Yowza! Now that's great security.

Thousands of people showed up to see Mitt...young and old. It was a happy, carefree, non-combative crowd.

One young woman standing next to me in the crush of bodies asked me with utmost seriousness: "Is this where Newt Gingrich is supposed to speak?" I pointed to the million ROMNEY signs plastered everywhere and informed her it was a Mitt Romney appearance. She seemed confused but decided to stay anyway. She was an operating room nurse and told me I could get free antibiotics at the local Publix supermarket. Good to know. We became fast friends as only people can do for 45 minutes at a political gathering...and I actually think I persuaded her to consider Romney instead of that diabolical Newt character.

Lots of national network news cameras perched above the crowd waiting for the ultimate sound bite.

Romney came on stage and the crowd roared. He seemed very affable in person and much more personable than in does in those TV debates. He spoke very effectively and passionately. He's tallish, very lean, wore faded jeans and is quite a handsome guy. Very statesman-like.

I only saw four hecklers in the entire crowd. One was dressed in a fuzzy doggie suit. Don't know the significance of the dog costume but it must have been suffocatingly hot inside that outfit. They didn't start heckling until Romney was done speaking. We have very polite hecklers in Dunedin. Nobody could understand a word they said.

The "Street Dogs" heckle a couple glares behind them.

I did spy a couple of Occupy Wallstreet protesters. Two 60ish women with cheesy, hand-written signs appeared angry and menacing. But they didn't have tents so I guess they really weren't planning to take over the neighborhood. Although their fanny packs looked rather ominous. Security!
These old gals got grumpy because there were no free hot dogs.

These two birdbrains could care less about visiting politicos as they snooze on a sunny dock.

Now here's an interesting side note. See the lady above in the black blouse?
She is California Congresswoman, Mary Bono. Yes...the widow of Sonny Bono. Turns out she married Florida Congressman Connie Mack (the guy in the center of the photo). By the way, that's Mitt Romney on the left.

When it was all over, Romney and his troops hopped back on his big blue bus and it was chilled martinis and margaritas for all the gang. (I'm just conjecturing). Another fun day in the sunshine state.

Back at my condo after the Romney mania, I came upon five elderly neighbor ladies (most in their 80s) seated outside in the dappled afternoon sun. They were all laughing and knocking back jumbo glasses of chilled Khalua on the rocks. They cheerfully called to me:"Come join us". It's always 5 o'clock somewhere. God bless America!

Sphere: Related Content
Related Posts with Thumbnails