Friday, December 24, 2010

O Lutefisk

My mom sent me the lyrics to this old Christmas favorite.
Her comment, above the lyrics were "Enjoy!"
I'm not sure if she was referring to the lyrics or the subject matter...
PS: Be sure to sing it out loud, off key, nearly drunk, and vit yer best Norveegan accent, ja der hey.
Sung to the tune of O Tannunbaum
Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... how fragrant your aroma
0 Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... You put me, in a coma
You smell so strong... You look like glue
You taste yust like an overshoe
but Lutefisk ... come Saturday
I tink I'll eat you anyway.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... I put you by the doorway
I vanted you to ripen up ... yust like dey do in Norway
A dog came by and sprinkled you ... I hit him vit an army shoe
0 Lutefisk ... now I suppose
I'll eat you as I hold my nose.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... how well I do remember
On Christmas Eve how we'd receive ... our big treat of December
It vasn't turkey or fried ham ... it vasn't even pickled spam
My mudder knew dere vas no risk ...
In serving buttered lutefisk.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... now everyone discovers
Dat Lutefisk and lefse makes-Norweigians better lovers
Now all da vorld can have a ball ... you're better dan dat Yeritol
0 Lutefisk ... vit brennevin
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a Buffet Table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, yelling: "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MOM'S Christmas list

Dear Santa,
I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.
Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A very PC Merry Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves,"
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And Equal Employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passay
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion,

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone everywhere---even you.
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Company Christmas Party

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 1
RE: Christmas Party
I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00pm. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time, However, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees!
A special announcement will be made by our CEO at that time! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: December 2
RE: Holiday Party
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year.
However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians or those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree present. No Christmas carols sung.
We will have other types of music for your enjoyment. Happy now?
Happy Holidays to you and your family.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: December 3
RE: Holiday Party
Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name.
I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?..... Somebody?
Forget about the gifts exchange, no gifts exchange are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy. NO GIFTS EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
DATE: December 7
RE: Holiday Party
What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party!
Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party -- or else package everything for you to take it home in a little foil doggy baggy. Will that work?
Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms.
Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with gay men, each will have their own table. Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table. To the person asking permission to cross dress, no cross dressing allowed though.
We will have booster seats for short people.
Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.
We cannot control the salt used in the food we suggest for those people with high blood pressure to taste first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for diabetics, the restaurant cannot supply "No Sugar" desserts.
Sorry! Did I miss anything?!?!?


FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All #%&$ing Employees
DATE: December 10
RE: The #$%*!@% Holiday Party
Vegetarians?!?!?!? I've had it with you people!!!
We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your #$%^&*! salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them.
I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right NOW! rotten holiday!
Drive drunk and die, you hear me!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!
The Bitch from HELL!!!!!!!!

FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: December 14
RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.
Happy Holidaze!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Carols for the disturbed

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, ...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is tight this year

My dear friends and family,

Somewhat embarrassing to admit, I'm not getting an annual bonus and Christmas is tight this year. I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You'll most likely agree that it's a splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I've included the instructions below.

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:

You need four maxi pads to make a pair.
Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.
The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.
Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.

Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.

These slippers are:
* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light and Get out the Sand Bags.

I've attached a photo of the first pair I made so that you can see the nifty slippers for yourself....

Maxi Pad Slippers

Monday, December 6, 2010

Funky “trash” as wall art

Our dining room has lots of wall space for pictures, but our budget doesn’t have lots of cash for pictures. Do you also have some wall space that’s just crying out for art?

Here’s a conversation-starting idea: made funky wall art with empty wine bottles. They’re basically trash recycling. How’s that for thrifty nesting?

I’m one of those weirdoes who shops based on packaging or scent. In this case, I picked bottles of wine that had the coolest, most fun labels in the store. Chug-chug and it’s done… no, we didn’t chug the wine. It was actually very good and I’d like to buy more of this label. Anyway, I picked some wine labels that appeal to me as little pieces of art. Since my taste in art is a little modern, tongue-in-cheek, and food related, these labels AND bottles were perfect for my décor. Next time you’re in your grocery store or wine shop, take a look at the labels. I bet you’ll find a few that appeal to your taste in art.

By the way, if you’re more interested in a beautiful wine label and don’t want the bottle, has a great tutorial on how to remove wine bottle labels.

Back to this thrifty nesting project:
  • Each bottle of wine was $7. If you have friends who drink wine with cool labels, ask them for their bottles. Heck – visit a restaurant that is proud of their wine list and ask if you can pick through their empty bottles. I am not kidding. It’s trash. Just tell them why you want the bottles.
  • The shelf is a $2 Goodwill find. I gave it two coats of green craft paint and two coats of gloss Mod Podge for some shine.
  • Hang the shelf and arrange your bottles on it. I suggest it would look best with 3 and 5 bottles. No more, no less.
Total project cost, including the wine that we drank with dinner: $30. If you get your bottles for free, then total cost $2.

In this case, I feel that I hung it just a little bit too high on the wall. I need to lower it about 6 inches. The rule of thumb when hanging pictures or art is to place the center of the picture at eye level. Figure out where the nail would go, then lower the nail another 1 to 3 inches. Trust me. Most people hang pictures too high. When you hang it just below eye level, it makes the space and art more intimate and sophisticated. And it gives your art the impression that it cost more than you spent. It’s all psychology, but I urge you to try it and see how lower pictures makes you feel. 

If you try this, please take a picture and share it with me – I’d love to see how it turned out!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We have a fifteen year old at home who eventually will move out and set up her own Christmas tree in her own home. My own tree has several ornaments I got on trips or as gifts from dear friends, and they're all part of my own heirloom Christmas tree ornaments. Even the plastic Santa selling ice cream cones that I got on a road trip to Florida is one of my heirlooms, not because of the quality, but because of the memories surrounding it.

When my kiddo was a teeny baby, I knew she would need some of her own ornaments when she set up her very first Christmas tree (she can't have my plastic ice cream selling Santa, it's MINE), and so we started a cherished family tradition that she loves.

Here's a fun Frugal Nesting tip you can use to start a family tradition with any little ones in your family: start a collection of future Christmas or holiday heirlooms for your children to have when they set up their own homes.

On our daughter's first Christmas, she was a 2 month old preemie, only about 4 pounds, and still dwarfed by her preemie jammies. One of this tiny baby's gifts was an ornament that showed a teeny tiny baby teddy bear and the words "Baby's First Christmas."

Every year since, Santa has given her one or more ornaments that represent something significant from that year. By the time she sets up her first Christmas tree in her own place, she'll have a collection of heirloom ornaments to place on the tree. Each one will have a story that she can eventually tell to her kids and grandkids.

Christmas Ornaments 3, originally uploaded by Randy Son Of Robert.

The pictures in this post are borrowed from flickr users, but Rachel's ornaments include:

A pelican - from when her dad lived and worked 90 miles from home (boy did we miss him!) right on the beach at a restaurant called The Pelican Pub. We loved visiting him and climbing the big 300 foot tall sand dune just yards from the pub.

A sewing machine - when she was in third grade, her class sewed aprons as a class project. She was especially proud of hers and I still wear it when making cookies.

A truck - a few summers ago she visited G-ma and G-pa on the farm in Wisconsin. She was only 10 but that summer she learned how to drive the old farm truck. (In the field.) Later, when she returned home, she offered to drive my car for me, since she already knew how to drive. Thank goodness logic prevailed and she understood "no license-no driving."

When she started playing the cello in orchestra my sister Tina came to the rescue with a cello ornament. G-ma Donna also sent a music stand ornament the same year.

The past few years things have changed a little with Christmas. She approaches me and asks, "Are you giving me another ornament this year?"

I told her, "Yes, of course Santa will give you another one."

She raised one eyebrow. (I wish I could do that!) "Yeah, whatever."

Before she could stick her ipod headphones back into her ears I quickly asked, "Do you want to pick one out or be surprised?"

She smiled. "I want to be surprised. I love the ornaments."