Thursday, December 25, 2008

Deck Us All!

In honour of Dear Old Dad:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Keep your head down low
and take a run in the snow
And never give up...never give up...That good old Christmas Spirit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And Since We've No Place to Go...Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Well, I had a routine doctor's appt. this morning and while I was there I thought I'd mention I've been hacking up a lung for more than 5 days, so Dr. Lu listened to my lungs...and she listened to my lungs...and she listened to my lungs...and then in her non-alarmist way informed me that I have a partially collapsed lung!

"You are squeaking!" she said, and gave me a Z-pack.

So, since I've no place to go, I'm in my Christmas Pajamas early, lights lit, candles burning, fully relaxed just me, Mackie and my Collapsed lung, ready for a very lovely Christmas! And I Hope you all have one, too!

God Bless Us, Everyone!

I like how it appears Mackie has miniaturized himself and is sniffing the end of my red snowflake sock, when in all actuality he is across the room just walking past the tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

I'm still busy with the Snot Factory. I've produced several barrels of the stuff just today, and I sure wish I could find a buyer because I'd be rich in no time. Sure hope my strength holds out.

This is my annual Christmas Letter. I know, I know, I've published it before but I'm to sick to use vital brain cells making up something fresh. Besides, this is still funny, right?

It’s a Wonderful Life

Dear Family, Friends, Acquaintances and Total Strangers:

It’s time once again for the Annual Update on me and my family. As you know, it is a Great Pleasure to send you these yearly reports in a chatty newsletter format. Even
though my family and friends talk on the phone daily, this letter is mostly for
those of you who don’t really know or care what the heck happens to me all year
long but at Christmas Time you really Can’t Escape!

Well, it was a good year for my dear departed husband, Denzel Jamal. He just turned 50 and that means only 40 more years left on his sentence! He also completed his GED after just 3 tries!

Speaking of successful graduations, our son Remy Daniels Martell successfully completed 30 days of Rehab right before his 16th birthday! I asked him if he met any famous people while he was in there but he just looked moody for a moment and then left with his friends to go pick up the 9 mm I promised him for Christmas. Kids these days!

Our daughter, Bane Marie hit the news last summer when she delivered a 12 lb. 9 ounce baby boy in front of the beer cooler at the Arco Quickie Mart. She and little Bubba are doing well. As soon as she gets her figure back, she and Billy Hicks plan on having a Big White Wedding at the Barbecue pit down by the lake. Everyone is
welcome to come: the price of admission is a case of beer, but you know I think
these young folks could use some cash so pony up, people!

As for me, well, the Meth got my teeth this year but it sure kept my weight down. And I painted the house TWICE! Of course the Landlord didn’t care for that Solid
Black I picked even if it was off the back of a truck and dirt cheap so he made
me do it over in purple with Orange trim which I must admit are colors that
blended better with the neighborhood.

So that’s all my news for this year. I’m doin’ fine trading my cash for food stamps at double the value and hitting up the Food Bank using several different ID’s courtesy of one of Denzel’s buddies on parole, He and I have a thang goin’ on but don’t any of you tell Denzel! Have a Happy New Year and I’ll see you Next

Keep it Hangin’
Mae Hem

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flu Break

Just a wee break for a few days until I get this 2000 pound troll off my chest and the hammers beating upon my sinuses to stop their clanging. It hurts and has a temperature!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This whole percentage thing started back in the 90's when employers expected you to give your 110% on the job. I always had a problem with that...because I was all like: Will you be paying me 110% of my wage? Dude?

And frankly?

I need at least 70% of myself for myself. Heck, I need 30% just for peeing. Eating takes up at least 45%. Watching Netflix gobbles up the rest of it and somewhere in there I still manage to wedge sleeping, travel time, and updating this blog.

That whole 110% business pretty much went by the wayside. Now they just close the plant with one day notice and don't give you your severance package.

However, percentages started creeping into other areas and once again, nobody but me seems to find this annoying and unfair. Let's take milk, for instance.

Life was so simple when you had MILK, half and half, heavy cream and buttermilk. You could figure out easily what strength milk you needed. Plain milk for cereal, half and half for your coffee or tea, and heavy cream for whipping. Buttermilk was used for something but since I equate it with Eggnog I don't know and don't care.

But now. Some fool or fools out there decided that MILK wasn't any good for you anymore, even though they also tell us that we need a gallon a day or our bones will turn into dry kindling. So they came up with Percentage Milk.

You've got Vitamin D Whole milk. 2% milk. Reduced Fat milk. 4% milk. Lowfat milk. Nonfat milk, and Fat Free milk. I can never figure out what order they come in so I just get half n half and use it for everything; that way I can pretty much avoid having to learn what percentage everything is. For my clients I just go by the color coding on the milk carton. Miss E goes with the yellow carton, Miss B uses the blue milk, etc;

But now. Right here at Christmas Time when life should be joyous and contain lots of baked goods, I've run up against a Percentage Problem. One that required me to pin a poor Trader Joe's employee up against a stack of boxes while I laid out an assortment of chocolate bars and asked her to put them in order. Fortunately she was really sweet about it, and even showed an interest in my chocolate dipping experiences.

You know what I'm talking about. We used to have Milk chocolate and Semi-sweet chocolate. As far as I knew, semi-sweet and dark chocolate were just interchangeable terms. Well, maybe they were different. Semi-sweet are for baking Toll House cookies and the dark chocolate was for avoiding in the Whitman Sampler.

But NOW! We have percentage chocolate! There is Milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, 54% chocolate, 62% Cacao, 73% Milk Solids, etc; For all I know there are even chocolates in the 90 percentile range. Each brand has it's own variety of percentages, too. So if you are looking to blend a Guittard with a Ghiardelli, you'd better know their different percentages.

I have learned that the higher the percentage, the nastier the chocolate. You'd think that more percent would be more yum-factor but it's just the opposite. Like with employers, I'm not willing to go with the 90% chocolates. I bought an 80% chocolate bar one time and it ended up in the trash. Chocolate is supposed to be sweet and melt in your mouth, not taste like burnt rubber tires.

As far as I know, no one has yet come up with 110% chocolate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Hatred Confession

Everyone who reads this should know by now how weird I am. It's not a secret. I freely share my odd quirks and opinions; that's what a blog is for.

And for the most part you all tolerate it. I got nary a rebuff for declaring I hate Frank Sinatra. My opinion that unwed mothers should be FINED not rewarded with welfare and all kinds of medical benefits probably just stunned folks into silence, but whatever the reason I didn't get any guff about it. Even my disclosure that I HAVE CRACK was accepted with some tolerance.

But now, today's revelation? Bound to set me beyond the pale. It will place me firmly in the ranks of those who are on the outside of enough. Those to whom the boundaries of polite society are forever closed.

That's right. I've said it. Cast me out, oh my people! I don't care. I hate it and that's my Final Answer.
What is it, anyway? A glass of milk with raw egg, 2 cups of sugar in each glass and a sprinkling of gritty nutmeg on the top. Purchased in a carton that cleverly disguises itself as normal milk. Thick enough to be liquid pudding. BLECH I say! Disgusting.
I've been told there is a grown up version, though. Loaded with booze. Very tasty. And yet the idea of combining dairy, sugar, alcohol and raw egg seems to me to be sheer insanity. Who ever dreamed this stuff up? Russians who ran out of goat yogurt?
Well, there you have it. My True Confession. Shun me if you must in public, but try to be kind at the Christmas parties. You can be happy because it means there will be all the more eggnog for you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It wouldn't be Christmas without a dish of wooden spools.

All these pictures would look better if I knew how to shut off the flash.Little Wade Nursery Rhymes and a Santa jar with cotton ball snowballs!

Almost enough popcorn balls... and good china and lots of fruit and when the table is heaping with food, then it's Christmas time!

Noel! With those cool fake tea light candles!

A tree full of lace doily snow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

O! Holy...SHIT!!!!

O! Holy Shit!
The Box was brightly shining!
It is the night of my first plastic treeee
The Thrill, the Hope, the Weary Brain revolting
Yonder lay a pile of dark green sticks.
Assembly Required!
O Hear the mental Anguish...
O Tree Divine
O Tree. Oh plastic Tree....

This really worried me. The instructions kept telling me to refer to the printed instructions for further instruction. I'm not kidding!

Almost there...
Mackie is exhausted!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild and Sweet the Words Repeat

I have to admit it: I'm one of those geeks who cries at Christmas carols!

Not the silly ones like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" Or "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", but rather those old, deep, wordy ones from olden times.

The radio seems to play the newer ones over and over and you rarely hear the old religious ones. Oh, wait, that's because it's the New World Order of Generics to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Bah-humbug to that, I say!

And even when we do hear the old ones, perhaps they are too familiar to strike us anew. They just play like old tapes in our head, without meaning. But there are such beautiful phrases and images in the older carols. When I am listening and I really hear them, I get goose bumps.

For instance:

Repeat the sounding joy...!

Fall on your Knees....O hear the angel voices! O Night Divine...

Happy golden days of yore...

Hearts will be glowing...

This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am.

Constant faith and hope sublime lend strength and comfort through all time...

We're riding in a wonderland of snow...

A song, a song, high above the trees...with a voice as big as the sea!

Let loving hearts enthrone Him...

Glad tidings of Great Joy...

But there is one that has always driven me nuts! It goes down in the list of 'misheard lyrics'

"Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we..."
That is such a mouthful that when you hear it it sounds like, "grateful Coaras-Rayhee" which I always thought was some mystical phrase in a foreign language like Catholic.

On this new and glorious morn I'm going to bake some Christmas cookies. May all your Christmases be white!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saving Elvis

I really hate the way Frank Sinatra sings. His music is creepy and kind of depressing. He is always hitting flat notes and off-key notes and I think he ruined every song he ever sang... ESPECIALLY the Christmas carols.

Jazzing up Silent Night and snapping your fingers with Congo drums playing in the background is just wrong. It's wrong, I tell you!

Dean Martin was ten times the singer that Sinatra was. He had more soul and nuance in his voice and even when singing like a drunk his music was melodious.

AND! I'm fairly certain he was never recorded singing off-key, unlike Frank, whom I think recorded every song and never took advantage of the 'instant do-over' option of being in a recording studio.

And then there was Elvis. I love Elvis. Especially his early music. He was dreamy and he had such a lovely voice

I was talking to a friend about Elvis and he said, "I always thought I could have helped Elvis."

I was stunned! Because I always thought I could help Elvis! It was MY idea!

I wanted to become his best friend, whisk him away to boot camp or 'Outward Bound' or just some remote cabin somewhere and dry him out. And then re-wire his mind with Wayne Dyer tapes. So that he could have stuck around much longer, and not faded. Not diminished. Someone to look up to, adore, enjoy, as he successfully navigated the shallows and shoals of this life.

I hate marathons. I hate the Sacramento Marathon because they block off all the streets and I can't GO HOME. It took me 45 minutes to go 10 blocks today. Why can't those marathon people run around a TRACK somewhere? Why can't they run around the block on the sidewalk and not cross any streets at all and not tie up traffic? Why do they have to be pampered and petted and spoiled? All traffic stops for them, and WHY? Sure, it's always for a good cause, and I support their causes, but how did RUNNING ever come to be associated with charity?

Why not a sit-athon? People could sit inside the Arco Arena for hours and hours and let the rest of us GO HOME.

Around here, it's a marathon about once a week. They just had a marathon on Thanksgiving. And today is another one. I just want to cross the street! There is nobody coming! Just let me pop across the street so I can GO HOME.

The cops are like Nazi Pro-Marathon supporters, too. Every single block has a cop pulled across the intersection with his lights flashing. And, they've taped off all the alleys, those bastards!

I got out of my car in the freezing cold and begged a copper to let me cross when nobody was coming.

"No, Ma'am" he said. "But in 30 minutes this street will be cleared because they will all be past this checkpoint and then you can go. So you can just sit there and wait."

So I did. And this was when I really, really, really wished someone had saved Elvis. So he could have made more records. Maybe a Christmas album every year, the way we all hope Josh Groban will do!

And that way I would not be stuck in traffic, year after year, waiting for the marathon to end, and forced to listen guessed it...FRANK SINATRA on the radio.

Friday, December 05, 2008

O! Holy Bauble

I remember Christmases of the past! Those golden holidays of yore. Driving around at night to look at the lovely decorated houses. Oohing and Aaahing when someone had gone over the top and strung lights not only on their roof top but all down their sidewalk and around every tree in their yard! Wow!

Christmas lawn ornaments were mostly of the Nativity Scene: cardboard, wooden cut-outs or 3D hard form plastic. Some of them lit up from inside.

There were Santa's and sleighs with reindeer on the roof. Candy canes stuck in rows up the border of the walk. Snowmen. Sometimes you'd see a Christmas Angel or We Three Kings.

And always there would be that goofy neighbor who went overboard and slipped from the pretty category into the tacky category. The consensus was always, "It's just too much!"

And then some jolly soul invented the Inflatable Lawn Ornament.

Which for some unfathomable reason didn't spend even a moment in the 'too much' category, but instead, shot to the top of the list for most popular 'must have' of the season.

I don't understand the appeal! Sure, a snow globe is a cute idea, but a 30 foot one? Check it out:

There is more square footage inside this snow globe than in the house!

I did a quick google on 'inflatable Christmas ornaments' and the list was mind boggling:

Santa with Rudolph

Santa in a race car with Elf Pit crew

Cowboy Santa

Cammo Santa (for Stealth Christmas, I guess)

Santa getting a ticket. (That really screams Christmas, doesn't it?)

Santa on a John Deere. (At least the John Deere is a green tractor. Kind of Christmasy.)

The list goes on and on but the one that really got me...the one that grabbed me and wouldn't let go:

7 foot alligator in a Santa hat.

It makes no sense. It is not even remotely relative in any way to the furthest reach of Christmas imagery. There are no Christmas songs featuring an alligator. No Bible stories. No merry bands of alligator-y traditions. No Choir of Heavenly Alligators. No Alligator we have Heard on High. No Hark the Harold Alligator. No Little Town of Alligator how still we see thee lie...

Oh wait, maybe it's a Crocodile. I get them confused. It would make more sense if it was a Christmas Crocodile, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One Molecule Away

Learning how to make fudge has become almost a full-time job for me.

Selling my jewelry on the black market to purchase more sugar to keep this fudge-making habit alive has become my secondary job.

Sneaking down side streets and alleys looking for unlocked dumpsters in order to furtively dispose of the disastrous hardened failed-fudge results takes up the rest of my time.

I've been getting 2 hour phone tutorials from my Aunt Sandreen who is the Queen of Successful Fudge, and I am sure my fudge is improving because of her sage advice!

Proper ingredients, timing, boiling temperatures and even the weather are factors that can make or fail a batch of fudge.

"And don't use margarine" said Aunt Sand, "Only butter will do!"

"I don't use margarine" I said, "I always use butter."

"Good!" she said, "As far as I'm concerned, margarine is just one molecule away from plastic!"

I also like to use real milk or cream in my fudge attempts. If it says it's milk but then has a % sign on the carton, it means they've taken out the good stuff to use for themselves and have found a way to market the remaining pig swill to gullible consumers by telling them it's healthier for them.

"Percentage" milk is one molecule away from sidewalk chalk.

AND! As I was preparing some ramen noodles for lunch, I realized those noodles are just one molecule away from being recycled paper!