Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Last post of the year. And what a challenging year it has been. Not just for me but for many others as well. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which sucked and continues to suck but we are dealing with it. There's been disappointments, frustrations and sadness. But not all of 2011 was bad.

My best friend came out to surprise me for my birthday and we had an amazing time. I re-formatted my blog and became more serious about posting and writing. There's been more family togetherness, which sometimes made me want to curl up in a corner and eat my hair. Mmm Herbal Essence, tasty.

I think 2012 will be awesome. Despite what the Mayan Chicken Littles say. I don't usually like to make resolutions but I do set some personal goals to achieve throughout the year. So hopefully I'll be thinner with some stories and a book published. And then the world will end. Be just my luck.

Have a happy, healthy New Year and be safe wherever you plan to celebrate.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Traditions

When we lived in New Jersey, it was traditional to ring in the New Year with Dick Clark and watch the ball drop in Times Square. We also laughed at all the silly people freezing their butts off while we sat all warm at home but I digress. Whether we hosted a party, went to a party or spent a quiet NYE at home, we did so while watching the festivities in the City.

Now that we live in Las Vegas our new tradition for ringing the new year is to watch the fireworks over the hotels on the Strip. Last year we sat in a heated car until the last minute, got out to watch the display, wish each other a Happy Happy and ran back in the car. It was unusually freezing cold!

Aside from how you spend the evening, there are also certain traditions/superstitions that are practiced to ensure good luck, good fortune, happiness and more in the new year. One year we celebrated NYE with another couple we were good friends with. The husband brought over a pot of lentil soup and insisted that when the clock struck midnight we each eat a spoonful of the soup. Doing this was supposed to bring us good fortune in the coming year. The soup was good, the fortune so-so.

My great-grandmother was full of these rituals. She believed that you should have all your laundry done and your house clean before the midnight hour or else the new year would find you always washing clothes in a filthy house. She also believed that you should pay off all necessary debts or else you would be continually broke and owing other people.That's easier said than done these days. She had food traditions, too. Eating red cabbage meant good luck. However, cabbage leaves some people gassy, which means bad luck for the others around them.

Anyway, here's a short list of New Year's traditions from around the world. Extra commentary by me is in blue at the end.

At midnight, it's customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each one signifies good luck for one month of the coming year. Unless you choke on grape # 3.

The Finnish predict their fortunes for the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water and interpreting the shape the metal takes after it hardens. A heart or ring shape means a wedding, a ship signifies travel, a pig means lots of good food. Or that you've made a pig of yourself in the last year.

Round shapes which represent coins, symbolize prosperity. There are heaps of round fruits on dining tables. Some folks eat precisely a dozen fruits at midnight. Polka dots are also thought to bring good luck. So dressing in a polka dot dress should get you lucky! 

Unmarried women play games to predict who will get hitched in the new year. In one game, a pile of corn is put in front of each woman and a rooster is let loose. Whatever pile he approaches first shows which woman will be the first to marry. This is worse than standing to catch the bride's bouquet.

People stand on chairs and jump off them at the same time at midnight to banish evil spirits and bring good luck. Unless you fall off the chair or go through the floor, then the evil spirits have the last laugh.

Central & South America
Folks wear special underwear in places like Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. Red means love; yellow means money. Brown means dirty.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve. All is calm right now. But later, it will be busy and loud and tons of fun. There will be food and laughing and music and presents. We celebrate Christmas Eve and since my son still believes in Santa Claus there will be presents for him to open Christmas morning.

But for now, tonight is the big deal. Me, Husband and Little Man will gather with my parents, my brother and our uncle. I cannot wait. I still look forward to Christmas Eve like a little kid. I love to watch people open the gifts from us. My son has taken over the duty of passing out the gifts and reading the names off the tags. Once the gifts are opened we sit and have dessert. I provide the baked cookies and my mom usually has some sort of cake or pie. Then there's more talking and laughing and fun.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas wherever, however and with whomever you spend it.Whether it's a grand affair or a small intimate gathering, have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland

Friday, December 16, 2011

Here's to not getting the shaft this Christmas

There are a few presents under my tree. I had to wrap them and place them there because of Cousin Eddie. I'll explain. One of my family's favorite Christmas movies is "Christmas Vacation." If you haven't seen it then this post will make no sense to you. If you have seen the movie, carry on.

Well, Little Man bought a few token gifts for family at his school's Holiday Boutique. A few days later he put them in their little gift bags and placed them under the tree. Then everyday he would check to see if any more presents were there. My dad (in jest) referenced the Chevy Chase holiday movie and said "Maybe we're all getting the shaft this Christmas." Little Man asked him what that meant and my dad explained.

Excerpt from the movie:
Clark: "And if you believe in him, and you believe in your mom, and you believe in your... your dad, and if you've been good all year round, Santa Clause is going to bring you something."
Ruby Sue: "Sometimes I think all that Santa crap's just bull. If he was so real, how come we didn't get squat last year? We didn't do nothing wrong, and we still got the shaft."

Little Man seemed a bit concerned and said "I was very good this year. I hope I don't get the shaft." Then my mom told me my dad felt bad and that I should hurry up and put some things under the tree to reassure Little Man that he was getting presents for Christmas.

Thanks, dad.

And thanks, Cousin Eddie, for not getting a job (in 7 years!) and buying your kids Christmas presents so that they wouldn't get the shaft, thereby making it possible for my dad to tell my kid about your Christmas fail and making me wrap presents and put them under my tree earlier than usual.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frosty, the Miser Brothers, Kris Kringle and other Christmas 'toons

So, in reality I'm an 8-year old girl living in an adult woman's body because I love love love watching the Christmas cartoons each year on television. "Frosty the Snowman" - Happy Birthday! "The Year Without A Santa Claus" has me singing the Snow Miser and Heat Miser songs. And I still get a little choked up when Kris marries Miss Jessica on "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

I've been watching these each year since I was a little children. Now, I enjoy them even more with my son. It's so cool to sit with him and watch something that I grew up with and see his reactions. He also sings along with the Miser brothers and he thinks the Burger Meister Meister Burger is a poop.

We also watch the newer animated Christmas specials like "The Polar Express". He asked me if I would get on the train and I told him - Absolutely! But I would want to toot the horn and steer. Please hold the women-as-bad-drivers jokes.

I am a big Peanuts fan and I'm proud to say my kid is, too so it goes without saying that our favorite Christmas show is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." We get up and dance with Snoopy and the gang and laugh when Snoopy kisses Lucy. Spending time watching these holiday shows with him makes Christmas even more special.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I've got a store!

I am now hawking my wares on Ok, so far there's just one tee shirt with a creepy black widow spider on it, but! I designed it myself. Go here and buy buy buy! My store is called Desert Sinsation. More cool stuff coming.