Skip to content

Year: 2011

Sweet Kisses

30+ Day Challenge, Part 36 – Something You Ate Today

Hershey’s Kisses.

Or Hershey Kisses, without the apostrophe-s, as I called them as a kid.

I have a big bag of them.

I know there’s a lot of fancier and finer chocolate than Hershey’s.

It’s a little bit bitter and a little bit waxy.

But it’s a whole lot of good.

Plus those fancy ones don’t come in kisses.

I love kisses.

Chocolate or otherwise.

Hershey’s Kisses always been a big part of my life.

Especially on Christmas or my birthday.

I would always get a bag from Granny as a gift.

Silver foil on my birthday.  Red and green on Christmas.

After having dinner with his mother on Thanksgiving, the Attorney showed up at our house with a pumpkin pie.

I don’t like pumpkin pie.1

“I know you don’t like pumpkin pie,” he said, before I could comment. “But Granny does.”

It was sweet of him to think of her.

But, he thought of me, too.

By bringing me kisses.

Chocolate and otherwise.

{ fin }

  1. In fact, there are only 2-3 kinds of pies I like.  I’m much more a cake and cookie man. []

Painting You

“I paint it how I see it.”

It turns out that I have always used that phrase incorrectly.

I’ve always used it as a way of saying, “This is how it really is.”

But, I realized today that it really means, “This is how I perceive it.”

I paint it how I perceive it to be.

That’s why Picasso, Monet, and a fifth grader can all paint the same bowl of fruit and get three different paintings.

It’s all in the interpretation.

But, the bit of grammatical clarity I got has only served to create a bigger question.

Do we really paint what we see or do we paint what we want to see?

The “we” really being “I.”

Did I paint what I wanted to see?

If I put you on a pedestal and you fall off, who’s fault is it?

Yours or mine?

Ultimately mine.

Because you didn’t ask to be up there.

It’s how I painted you.

Now I don’t think I can put you back.

It’s definitely not fair for me to try.

So, do I reinterpret?

{ fin }

Holiday Special #1

The holidays always brings reruns of favorite movies and TV specials.  So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to rerun some of my older holiday-themed posts on the remaining days up until Christmas.  Any footnotes are current.

“Christmas Time Is Here”

Originally posted December 15, 2006 at LARGETONY Blog

I can’t believe it’s only ten more days before Christmas. I’m way behind on dealing with it, although it’s not like I do a whole lot in celebration, anyway. I’m pretty much a low key guy, and I like my holidays the same way. I had planned to get a tree last weekend, but didn’t because Adelina, the not-greek Portuguese lady whose place I painted a couple of months back, asked (hired) me to lead a small team of guys (three) to put up her Christmas stuff up at her ridiculously huge house.

This weekend, I’ll get our tree up and tonight is my company Christmas party. So, I guess it’s time I get in the mood. I thought my holiday banner would at least jump start me and inspire me to write some things in honor of the holidays, but I was without the internet for about five days, and the freaky warm weather we are having right now is throwing me off.

I was over at Yaniblog this evening (tying to catch up on all the blog reading that I am about two weeks behind on) and he had posted a Christmas meme. So, I figured, what the hell. I’ll kick things off in a similar way. Anybody who wants to share, feel free.

  1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. Egg Nog is like phlegm custard topped with nutmeg.
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? I was always of the feeling that wrapped presents were from family. Wrapping presenst would mean boxes, making it harder for him to stuff the goodies in his sack.
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored. White lights always seemed like something that fancy people do.1
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. I wear it as a belt buckle. 🙂 To be honest, I don’t know if I have ever even seen real mistletoe. Just the fake stuff.
  5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the second weekend of December. A little late this year. And it all comes down on New Year’s Day.
  6. What is your favorite Christmas dish? Ham with a mustard and brown sugar glaze. Don’t be surprised to get up in the middle of the night and find me standing in the kitchen in my underwear digging into what’s left over, carving off little chunks. Just one more piece…
  7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? I don’t know if I have a favorite memory, but I do remember my mother trying to fool me into bed “before Santa comes” by shaking bells out behind the house. I have to admit that it worked well enough that I didn’t chance it and ran to bed.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? It was in the third or fourth grade at school. I was laughed at to the point of humilation for believing.
  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. I’m a patient person. I can wait for just about anything.
  10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? If I had not had my grade school trauma, it would probably be cut-out sugar cookies. They are a real strong symbol of Christmas for me. I don’t have sugar cookies any other time of the year.
  11. Snow! Love it or hate it? I really like snow. i don’t think I would like living some place where they get weeks and weeks of snow. But I look at it like going to the bathroom. You don’t want spend your life in there, but a good dump now and then is pretty satisfying.
  12. Can you ice skate? Lordy, i can’t even imagine. And with the size of my feet, it would be like those ships that bust up the ice in the North Atlantic.2
  13. Do you remember your favorite present? It was a stuffed dog that I got around age five..and I was attached to it many more years than I should have been. It was eventually taken from me.
  14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas to you? Reaffirming to the people you love that you love them.
  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Rum Cake
  16. Favorite tradition? Putting up and decorating the tree. Mostly because of the smell.3
  17. What tops your tree? A star.
  18. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving? Giving, definitely
  19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” when Judy Garland sings it. That version is a little sad in a bittersweet kind of way and it sort of emphasizes that it’s not what you have, but who you have. I’m also pretty partial, as you can hear, to “Christmas Time Is Here.” Stay on the page long enough and you’ll hear three different versions.
  20. Candy Canes? If somebody wants to suck something for that long, I got a better idea for them. And I’ll rub it with a mint leaf first if they want.
  1. Five years later, someone I know well conforms that. []
  2. I have tried since this original post.  I’m terrible at it. []
  3. Two years ago, I switched to artificial. []

Holiday Special #2

The holidays always brings reruns of favorite movies and TV specials.  So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to rerun some of my older holiday-themed posts on the remaining days up until Christmas.  Any footnotes are current.


Originally posted December 15, 2005 at LARGETONY Blog

You ever considered how picking out a Christmas tree has similarities to cruising for dick? There you are, checking out the ranks, on the hunt for that perfect specimen: a big, thick, sturdy one that you think just might hit the ceiling. Be careful how you handle it in your fists or your hands might get all sticky. You might even get the gunk on your clothes. It’s safer to use a glove. Next, you drag it home and pop a tight ring around it’s base. Then, next to a roaring fire you lay on your belly underneath it, and screw and screw and screw. You take a break, get it upright again, then screw and screw some more. Oh sure, it keeps you happy and satisfied for a while, but eventually the magic wears off and you toss it out and hunt for a different one next time. Even if it’s not a real one, you hide it away until you have use for it again.

Well, I went cruising for a tree tonight.  Even though Christmas is not a big splashy deal at my house (when there’s only two of you and one has lived almost nine decades, there’s not much call for an overblown holiday), the one thing I really do get into is the tree. It’s always been my thing.

When I was kid I was always the one to pick out the tree. It wasn’t like some family ritual to let the baby choose the tree. Please don’t imagine me as a bean-pole Cindy-Loo Who from “The Grinch.” It really made no difference to my father. His only interest and obligation to the tree was getting it standing. The pines and spruces didn’t hold much interest for my brother, either, until after Christmas when he would take it outside and see how fast he could get a still partially green tree to burn. (No matter what you got for Christmas, no toy can excite a redneck kid like a book of matches.) My mother focused on the making it pretty, so (with her help) the selection fell to me. By the time I had come to live with my grandparents, they were happy to let a teenager handle the effort.

Over the years, I have gotten trees just about every way you can, besides growing your own or stealing one. There were trees bought at tree lots, trees bought at grocery stores, trees bought at nurseries, trees cut in the woods (okay, that might count as stealing because I’m not sure we always knew if it was on someone’s property), and trees from tree farms. But the one thing I have never had is a tree from a box. Never had an artificial tree. I don’t think I ever will.1

I will admit that there are a lot of really beautiful fake trees out there. And a lot of people are switching to them because they are easier to put up and they don’t leave the trails of pine throughout the house. (Face it, after a few days in the house, a fresh cut tree is like having a long-haired cat that you decorated with tinsel and bells.) And as re-usable tree become more popular, the perishable kind gets more and more expensive. But I’ll paythe price, because fake Christmas trees also don’t leave the smells of pine throughout the house. And that is the best part of it for me.2

I really don’t get all that into the decorating part. I mean, I enjoy it, but I’m not all that good at it. You won’t ever see one of my trees in Martha Stewart’s magazine. But decorating it is all part of producing that potent woodsy sweet smell of pine. It may be just something I create in my mind, but I swear that once the lights start giving off heat, it makes the smell stronger. You don’t have a nose as big as mine and not become a smell-oriented person.

When I brought my big boy home tonight, Granny lit up. She enjoys Christmas as much as I do, and although I’m sure she has been seeing holiday images and stuff on TV the last several weeks, I think seeing the tree made it really register that Christmas is coming. She sat and watched me, giving me advice on where to remove excess branches without ruining the shape. When I was cleaning up, she took a little sprig from the cuttings and put it in a glass of water. She told me she wanted to have the smell in her room, so she put the glass on her night table.

We didn’t decorate tonight. That’s probably gonna come on the weekend when I have more time. Besides, when you have a tree that’s been sitting out in the cold, it needs a good day or so to warm up so that the branches relax. Too many times I have decorated a cold tree, only to have the ornaments dumped on the floor as the limbs softened. But before the weekend, I’m gonna go by the tree lot and look for another fir (I like short needle trees. We always had long needle trees as a kid, but it was like trying to decorate Velcro). Granny’s sprig in the glass inspired me to surprise her with her own little tree for her room.3Nothing big. Maybe three feet or so. And also like a dick, it doesn’t have to be a big one to be satisfying.

{ fin }

  1. Oh, how things have changed in 6 years. []
  2. The worst part is putting on and removing the lights, which started outweighing the smell a couple of years ago. []
  3. I’ve put a small live one in her room ever since. []

Holiday Special #3

The holidays always brings reruns of favorite movies and TV specials.  So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to rerun some of my older holiday-themed posts on the remaining days up until Christmas.  Any footnotes are current.

“Simple Gifts”

Originally posted December 26, 2007 at LARGETONY Blog

I hope that everyone experienced a joyous holiday this year. No matter which one you celebrate or how you celebrate it.

We celebrate Christmas at our house, my Granny and me. But we don’t do it up real big with a lot of fuss and fanfare. We never have.

There’s a tree, a wreath on the door, and a ham in the oven. The biggest fuss is the rum cakes Granny always made for her friends that I now make for her for her friends (those that are still with us). All in all, it’s pretty low key. And that’s the way I like it.

When people ask me what I did for Christmas and I don’t have stories of big family dinners and dozens and dozens gaily wrapped presents taking up every square inch of floor space withing ten feet of the tree, they always look at me a little sad. It always makes me chuckle because all that stress and drama and pressure that people put on themselves during the holidays makes me feel a little sad for them.

I will admit, though, that I almost fell into the pressure trap myself.  Because this was my first Christmas with the attorney, I about had myself tied up in knots over what I should give him for a present.

But, I was smart enough to realize that I was being stupid. Simple is how he likes it, too.

Despite his considerable means, he lives a simple life. Sure, it’s a bit higher life than I live, but relative to his peers, it’s pretty simple.

I think that’s one of the things that draws us to each other. The simpleness of it all.

He told me he would delay his trip to his mother’s until Christmas Day, if I would simply come down and spend Christmas Eve with him.

I did. And he did.

We cooked dinner, kicked back by the fire, and listened to Christmas jazz. Simple.

We gave each other just one gift. His gift to me was a little bit more than I would have ever expected (not that I expected anything). But, I know he didn’t do it to impress. He did it simply because it was something he thought I could use.

I chose my gift to him for the same reason.

Not to impress. Not out of obligation. Nothing fancy.

Just like our relationship.

Just simple.

{ fin }

Holiday Special #4

The holidays always brings reruns of favorite movies and TV specials.  So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to rerun some of my older holiday-themed posts on the remaining days up until Christmas.  Any footnotes are current.

“St. Luke’s Shepherds vs. St. Matthew’s Kings”

Originally posted December 25, 2009

Despite what you think from the title of this post, this isn’t about high-school football play-offs.

So, don’t worry.

It’s about the Bible.

So, now worry. 🙂

It’s a bit after midnight here, west of Mayberry.  Officially Christmas Day.

I just said goodnight to Granny and turned off the lights in her room.  After getting her settled in, I sat next to her on top of the covers.  We propped ourselves against the headboard and watched TV for a while.

She got tired but wanted to hear the story of the nativity before she fell asleep.  As you all know, I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I’d have to be a downright heathen to refuse to do that.  So, I grabbed Granny’s Bible off the night table and read from the second chapter of the Luke.

No room at the inn.  Shepherds and their flocks and all.  But no Wise Men.  No kings.

At first I thought maybe I was reading from one of those contemporary editions or something.  But when I looked at spine, it said “King James.”  I asked Granny about it and she told me, “That’s Matthew.”

Then she told me she prefers Luke, which is why I guess that’s what she asked me to read.  I asked her why she preferred Luke since it was essentially the same story.

“Luke is more for regular folk.  Matthew is too…too…”

She searched for the right word, then finally finished her thought with, “too Republican.”

We both chuckled about that and I made a mental note to tell the Attorney, who has been known to have Republican tendencies.

Apparently there are differences in the facts of the Christmas story, depending on who told it.  Luke talks about the manger and shepherds.  Matthew talks about the kings.  The shepherds heard from an angel.  The Wise Men followed a star.

Isn’t it kinda ironic that the Gospels are not necessarily the gospel?

So, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that even now, 2000 or so years later, that Christmas is a different thing to different people.  But whether your Christmas includes shepherds…or not.  Kings…or not…Jesus, Santa, Angels, Rudolph, presents, trees, or stars…or not, we’re all celebrating the same thing.

The easy answer is “the birth of Christ.”  But the bigger answer is “goodness.”

You may not believe a baby was born in a manger to a virgin. Or, if you do, you may not believe that babe is the Messiah.  But, if you celebrate Christmas at all, surely you can believe in the goodness that the story represents.

And, if you don’t celebrate, surely you can believe in goodness nonetheless.

It’s all mankind truly has to give.

Goodness: It’s no better, nor worse, from shepherds than from kings.

Happy Holidays, dear friends and readers.

{ fin }

Holiday Special #5

The holidays always brings reruns of favorite movies and TV specials.  So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to rerun some of my older holiday-themed posts on the remaining days up until Christmas.  Any footnotes are current.

“Comfort and Joy”

Originally posted December 25, 2008 at LARGETONY Blog

I thought I would pop in for a moment to send out greetings to all my readers and friends.1

It’s about 2AM this Christmas morning.  I’ve just gotten home after seeing the holiday in at midnight with the Attorney.

Granny was asleep in her chair, the TV was on.  It was a rerun of “Golden Girls” on Lifetime.  I looked at Granny, long past her Golden years.  I guess she’s platinum now.  Or maybe Titanium, because she has stayed strong through her 92 Christmases.

I didn’t wake her even though she’d really be more comfortable in bed.  She’ll probably be stiff in the morning.  But she seemed so peaceful.  Sort of the way dogs always seem so peaceful when they are alseep.  So, I just made sure she was well covered with the blanket.  Let sleeping dogs lie.

When I’d left the Attorney, he was in his chair, too.  The big leather one with the ottoman.  It’s big enough for two. (At least we make it that way.) We had a sweet goodbye and I left him to watch the lights twinkle on his tree.

After settling Granny in, I found myself doing the same.  I hit the lights and sat across the room from our tree, taking it in from a distance.

I even caught myself doing that thing that I always did as a kid.  As I stared at the tree I would squint my eyes so the lights looked like hundreds of stars.  Then I would tilt my head from shoulder to shoulder, watching the rays swing back and forth.

A private moment of comfort and joy.

May all of you have a holiday filled with moments of comfort and joy, both private and shared.  My best to you all.  Happy Holidays.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Chanukah.  Happy Kwaanza.

Whatever you observe, I hope it is fulfilling and brings you peace.

{ fin }

  1. This was posted a few months after I had decided to quit blogging.  One week later I created “West of Mayberry” and started all over again. []

They Shoot Horses

When a horse breaks its leg, they kill the whole animal.

The last two weeks have not been the best.

At least in regards to me and The Attorney.

Over the Holidays, our relationship has been on holiday.

Or hiatus, which is the word I used when I told him I needed some time apart to think things out.

Because something occurred that forced me to look at him a little differently.

Before you jump to conclusions, he didn’t cheat; he didn’t do anything harmful to me or to Granny.

But he did do something.  Something serious. Something that didn’t seem like The Attorney to me.

I was surprised.

I was even more surpised because I found out third hand.

He said he was too embarrassed to tell me.

That’s what crippled the horse.  Not telling me.

Granny, who is surprisingly aware of my feelings at  the same time she might not be aware of what day it is, reminded me of my senior year of high school.

I swung by a friend’s house after a ball game when I was supposed to come straight home.

I didn’t stay long.  Just a few minutes.  Long enough get my truck stuck in a ditch across the road from my buddy’s house.

We tried and tried to get it out, but only ended up digging deeper in the mud.

I had to call a tow truck, but didn’t have the $30.  So, friend’s mother loaned me the cash1

Waiting for a tow made me much later than what was allowed, but once it arrived, my truck was free in minutes and I was home.

Naturally I had to explain why I was late, so I took the punishment for going to my buddy’s instead of coming home.

I didn’t mention the tow.   My grandparents would not have tolerated me borrowing money.

I had it all straightened out, so why do they need to know?

Well..because we are the important people in each other’s lives.

And that means communication.

Of course they found out the whole story and I caught hell times ten for it.

They were surprised.  They were upset.  They were angry.

But, they didn’t shoot the horse.

Although it should be obvious, I’ve had to remind myself that a relationship is not a horse.

I thank Granny for the reminder.

So, tonight, this New Year’s Eve, the Attorney is coming up and we’ll put 2011 behind us.

That includes the hiatus.

Besides, the Mayans say that the world will end in 2012.  If they are right, I don’t want to spend my last year on earth without The Attorney.

No matter what year is my last.

{ fin }

  1. which I payed back in a week. []