Archive for December 2012

12-30-2012   Leave a comment

It’s New Years Eve-Eve.  My sneaky scheme to convince my better-half to have  a small party for New Years seems to have gone the same route as many of my other sneaky schemes, no where. There was some discussion of our visiting friends for a few hours prior to midnight but I honesty don’t think that’s going to happen.  The last word I received yesterday was that we’re going to have a quiet night, just the two of us, for movies, Chinese food, and a marathon Scrabble game.  I know, I know, it’s sounds really exciting so just calm down before you have a heart attack. 

Most people don’t realize how exciting it is to spend time with us.  You think that big party in Times Square and the dropping of the Big Ball is something, your wrong.  Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest, and all of those other would be celebrities would kill to be sitting here again on our coach watching movies with us.  You could cut the excitement with a knife, a really big and sharp knife. 

Last year we threw a, New Years Day + 1, party so all of our celebrity friends from the so-so celebration in New Yorks Time Square could come to Maine the day after. We’re known far and wide for our fabulous gift bags that draw in the glitterati from all over the country and bring them up north to Maine.  Beautiful imitation diamond earrings in the shape of lobsters for the women and a cool faux diamond incrusted diver’s watch favored by  many of our local lobsterman. A magical Maine skin lotion, made from bear fat and moose extract is added to the bag and will keep their skin highly moisturized and baby soft.  It’s also good for protection from the cold down to ten below zero.  A good Chanel perfume will easily mask the odor of the bear fat.

As a special gift, we woke everyone up the morning after, collected all of their sleeping bags, and  made them a hearty Maine breakfast of Moose and scrambled eggs.  I can still remember Lady Ga Ga rolling out of one of the sleeping bags after a snuggly night with Justin Bieber.  I’m not sure who I felt sorrier for in that circumstance but I think it was Justin. Next we passed out snowshoes for everyone and took a long, brisk walk through the snow covered Maine woods.  Everyone immediately became a little sweaty and smelly  so we took a quick dip in our local creek, after cutting a hole in the ice, to get their juices flowing again. Later after a  few unrehearsed tunes from our guests back at the house, we said our final goodbye to end the celebration.

Who wouldn’t want to attend another party like that?  I shouldn’t tell you this because it’s a huge secret and I wouldn’t want to alert the paparazzi but the 4:00am game of naked charades last year was incredible.  Seacrest’s better-half, Julianne Hough, stopped the show when she was attempting the phrase, “your ass is mine”.  I wasn’t quite right for a few hours after that.  She eventually lost the game but everyone else was a definite winner. Although we did have a tough time keeping Jessica Simpson under control.  Her cravings got out of hand when she viciously attacked a table full of the candied oyster appetizers. Not only can that girl sing, she can really eat too. It took four of us to get her off that table.

Now you know what you’ve been missing.  Even Puerto Rico comes in a close second to these fun get-togethers, right Lily! I’ll be forced to blame my better-half for ruining another of our posh celebrity, New Years + 1 Day, parties.  I must love her a lot because screwing me out of another exciting game of naked charades is not nice. I ask for so little . . .

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12-29-2012   2 comments

I’ve always enjoyed the New Years holiday and I’ve partied my fair share over the years.  No pressure for gifts, no family visitors, and no caroling or  boring Christmas  cards.  Just get together, have a few drinks, dance a little, and be hung-over the next day.  Hopefully not waking up in a jail cell or in bed  with someone your not all that familiar with.

I’ve never been a big proponent of making New Year’s resolutions because I honestly never tried keeping them anyway.  It’s just an exercise in futility and just another thing to depress the hell out me when in July I reread the list, swear a few times, and toss it in the can.  The following five resolutions were put together by the US government and a few heath fanatics.  Do they actually think I would take these politically correct items seriously?  They’ve got to be kidding us and themselves.

1. Exercise or start a new physical activity

2. Eat more fresh foods

3. Make your home safer

4. Schedule regular checkups

5. Participate in cognitive health activities

Last year I decided to get more serious and came up with ten realistic resolutions that I might actually have a chance of completing.  As you can see by the following results I wasn’t a total failure but my successes weren’t all that great either. Here they are:

1.   Read four books a month.

COMPLETED – This was any easy one for me but I knew that going in.  I figured I should have at least one I could accomplish without working too hard.

2.   Keep the number of F-bombs below 100 a week.

FAILED – I’m sorry to say this one was much more difficult than I first thought. I blame my complete failure on my better-half who has an uncanny ability to bring  the F-Bombs out of me.

3.   Visit only the  classiest porn sites no more than four times a day.

COMPLETED – Just barely.

4.   Throw the finger at bad drivers no more than three times a week.

COMPLETED – I was especially proud of this accomplishment. There were times when I almost gave in to the dark side, but I hung in there.

5.   Spend less than $50.00 a month at Dunkin Donut.

FAILED – I never had a chance on this one.  I really don’t consider this a real failure because I suffer from an addiction.  That excuse work’s for almost everyone else so I thought I’d give it a try.

6.   Try not to call my cat a rotten SOB more than three times a day.

FAILED – He continuously baited me for a year to force my failure.  Those damn cats are so sneaky.

7.   Try not to scratch my junk in public more than twice a week.

COMPLETED – I kept it at a once a week level but again it was so damn difficult.  It’s only human nature that if you have toys you play with them. Duh!

8.   Drink less than last year but more than next year.

COMPLETED – I’ll make sure I drink the proper amount next year to make this a success.

9.   Do not smoke marijuana.  Baked in brownies only.

FAILED – Didn’t have it either way and I’m very sad about it.

10. Don’t dance naked near the picture window in the living room.  It scares the neighbors dog.

FAILED – I really don’t like that dog and it was worth a failure here to again frighten and make her crazy.  Damn dog.

I failed five of ten but in all honesty I tried my hardest.  I’ll have my 2013 list completed  soon and I’ll again try to make all of you proud. I hope you do the same and if you’d like to share your upcoming failures, please do so.  I promise not to snicker or laugh. . . . really!

Posted December 30, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Humor

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12-28-2012   2 comments

The snow has finally stopped with the final amount totaling close to 17 inches.  My back, legs, and arms were telling me it was more like 100 inches but what do they know.  I rolled out of bed early this morning and knew in my heart the driveway wasn’t finished with me yet.  I didn’t realize just how right I was.

As a last gift from our town’s snow plow I found the bottom of my driveway completely blocked from their last visit sometime during the night. This is an annual bitch of mine that I need to tell someone about but believe me, no ones listening.  I grabbed my shovel and out into the cold I went once again. 

Let me set the scene for you. I’m standing at the end of my driveway with wet feet and sore limbs after shoveling for at least a half hour to clear the mess.  I finally finished (or so I thought) and I looked up the road and what did I see but the towns frigging snow plow heading my way.  I swear that damn driver was grinning as he reloaded my driveway with a ton of now slushy and dirty snow.  He should thank whatever God he believes in that I wasn’t armed. I start shoveling again and still grumbling about it when ten minutes later I hear the plow making it’s return trip going in the other direction.  The snow had stopped, the road was empty of traffic, it was just me and the snowplow, and the towns incompetent driver. 

I was standing directly across the road from my (new this year) mailbox when the plow swooped through, hit my mailbox, spinning it completely around, and left the door hanging by a thread. This is the third effing mailbox in the last five years that I’ll be forced to replace. As I’m sure you know, I was no longer smiling. That was how my day started. 

I finished the shoveling and decided I needed to get the hell out of the house for a few hours. I was suffering from a mild case of cabin-fever.  I ran a few errands, bought a few books, and took a few photographs.  My blood pressure finally  returned to normal and the day once again became calmer and more enjoyable.

Upon the return of my better-half from work I was made aware that we would be meeting some friends a a local restaurant later in the day for a few drinks and appetizers.  I actually was looking forward to that so after a quick hour on the X-Box, I showered, shaved, dressed, and was ready to go.

We met up with our friends, had a few drinks, and got caught up the latest gossip and had a great time.  Being the law abiding citizen that I am I stopped after three glasses of wine and went to drinking coffee.  It turned out to be my best move of the night.

As we headed home the night was clear and cold and we were chatting a little. Just a few minutes from our house all of a sudden two white tailed deer jumped from an embankment on our right landing directly in front of us.  Lucky for us and them I was driving slowly enough to get stopped and to let them pass.  Even so that still got the old heart racing for a few minutes.

I pull into our driveway and I could  see that the town’s garbage men finally emptied our trash container.  As I walked down the driveway to retrieve it I noticed how icy it had become.  I yelled out to my better-half to be careful and as I did I slipped and fell on my ass and twisted my already damaged knee  It was a little stiff last night but right now as I’m lying in bed writing this, it hurts too much to get up.  Looks like a few more weeks of hobbling around until it heals again.  I’m never all that surprised by my clumsiness but it’s getting really tiresome.  I guess I can celebrate my first fall for 2012 and look forward to the first one that’s sure to come in 2013.

12-27-2012   2 comments

Reality decided to return today and help me rid myself of all remaining holiday cheer.  I just returned to the house after attempting to snow-blow approximately 10 inches of snow off the damn driveway.  Being the smart fellow I thought I was, I bought a new snow blower two months ago.  Mother Nature can’t get me this year! No sir!  Why am I never right about these things.

I fired up the snow blower, pushed it out into the snow, plowed about ten feet and saw that my left tire was flat.  I hadn’t touched the damn thing since it was delivered from Lowes and never thought to check the tires.  There’s no doubt I’m going to pay for that bit of negligence.  First thing, I’m going back out and try to use the snow blower even though one tire won’t cooperate.  I shall return . . . .

Well that wasn’t much fun.  Not being well versed in using a snow blower with two wheels it took a while for me to get the hang of operating it with just one.  Unfortunately as I made my first turn through the snow I forgot to disengage the thrower.  I shot about 200 lbs of snow directly into my garage onto my car.  Lesson #1 was check the damn tires.  Lesson #2 was close the damn garage door when your outside  playing with the snow blower. I don’t think I’ll be able to use the snow blower again with just the one tire, it’s too difficult.  It’s still snowing like hell and I’m going to be forced to dig out the old trusty snow shovel to do the rest of this.  Let me tell you that just sucks.  Back outside one more time . . . .

Well I was able to clean up the driveway a bit more but at the rate it’s snowing I’ll out there a few more times before morning.  This is what I get for wishing for a White Christmas.  I really hoped I’d never be forced to unretire that snow shovel.  Karma, thou art a vicious bitch.

The final report shows 16 inches of snow, two sore arms, two sore legs, one sore back, and one flat tire. Just great, right?

12-26-2012   2 comments

With New Years Eve on the horizon a decision has to be made as to how we’ll be celebrating it.  The days of drunken carousing have long since passed for us both but those their memories are still nice to have.  Each year I scratch my head about what we should do and then we end up procrastinating and doing nothing at all.  Over the next few days I’m sure to have a discussion or two with my better-half on what she thinks we should do.  I’m already preparing myself for that discussion by gathering information to help my cause. 

I’m going to argue as eloquently as I can that dinner, a couple of chick flicks, and a visit from her daughter and grandson isn’t going to get it done this year.  I’d like to have a few friends over for drinks, food, games, movies, or whatever.  If they drink too much we’ll turn the house into a B & B for the night and I’ll cook breakfast for the survivors in the morning. The chances of getting my way are about 60/40 if I’m lucky.

We have a few days left before the big day so I’ll have to be my sneaky self and start planning my secret mission.  Subtle hints about not being alone for New Years.  Casual questions about how some of our friends are celebrating the holiday and a few “Oh, that sounds so boring, I feel bad for them”.  More subtle questions about how lonely some of our friends will be with their children off celebrating elsewhere.  I’ll drop a few coupons around the house from the Party Place filled with money-saving offers for stupid party hats and noise makers.  Then I’ll dig into my bag of fireworks hidden on the porch and leave a few laying around where they’ll be noticed.  Then I’ll let all of those things start to mix and mingle in her pretty little head and Ta Da . . . .  we’ll have a New Years party and it’ll be her idea.

Pretty damn cool if I do say so myself.  I’m sure she won’t be able to resist coupons.  She’s a grade A shopaholic with a serious need to use every coupon she ever sees.  It’s like hooking a big fish and then just reeling it in.  I have a hidden stash of coupons for all occasions and places and I’m telling you they’ll accomplish more for me than they’d ever do for her. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky!

The campaign begins this afternoon when she arrives home from work.  I’ll be sure to report the results.

Posted December 27, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying Again

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12-25-2012   Leave a comment

This may be the best Christmas morning I’ve ever had.  My better-half with help from my nagging stayed in bed until ten o’clock.  We left the bedroom only for calls from Mother Nature and to refill our coffee mugs.  We laid there like two fat, dumb, and happy morons celebrating the fact that the holiday was over for us. It was lightly snowing at the time but by days end we had our traditional White Christmas.  I think we could have stayed in that warm and toasty bed all day but my better-half had her engine running early and was getting a bit antsy.  She forced me from the bed and the room which kind of  “harshed my Christmas morning buzz” a bit.  Dammit!

For most of the day we were on the phones, on the computers, or on the IPads wishing good cheer to the whole damn planet.  She spent a few hours reviewing all of the photographs that she’d taken over the holiday (about 600), erasing the bad, and burning the good to CD’s for other family members. It was still a lazy and relaxing day, it was great.

It took me a little longer than I thought to clear the Christmas debris from the house because I was busy eating goodies left over from last night.  I’ll tell you right now, it’s going to take me a few months to get rid of all this Christmas cheer that showed up just north of my belt buckle. We had a quiet dinner, just the two of us, where we devoured a rib roast that was to die for.  Fat and sassy after the meal we repaired to the living room for movie night. 

Here’s my take on the movies we watched.  Katherine Heigl in ‘One for the Money’ wasn’t too shabby.  She was supposed to be a bounty hunter which took a real stretch of my imagination to believe but then seeing her semi-nude made it almost worth the wait.  I give it a C+ for story, B- for nudity. 

Then we fired up the movie (using the term loosely) ‘Horrible Bosses’.  It was well named because it was really horrible.  How anyone convinced Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Anniston to even consider being in it was beyond me. Dumb, and Dumber meets Police Squad.  I give it an F- for story and an A- for nudity when I got to see a little more of brunette Jen than ever before. Trust me, if anyone tries to give you a gift of that movie, give it back, and remove them from your list of friends.  Just freaking awful.

The better-half was in bed early with a 4:00 am wakeup call looming.  I found it necessary to stay up for a while longer and to kick Tiger Woods ass in an eighteen hole X-box tournament.  It felt good to crawl into bed finally and to put another Christmas behind us.

Onward to New Years and 2013.

Posted December 26, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-24-2012   3 comments

It’s finally Christmas Day.  I’m still lounging around in bed and I plan on staying here as long as humanly possible.  We had a great holiday celebration last night and the kids and their new son are now on their way to northern Maine to celebrate with his family. Snow has started and I’m sure we can expect quite a few inches over the next two days. I hope they get there safely.

Last night was fun with really excellent food and great company. We drank liberally, ate shrimp until we couldn’t eat anymore, and even got in a few hands of cutthroat Hearts.  I suffered an embarrassing alcohol induced loss that I’ll never hear the end of.

The new grandson behaved like a little angel.  Except for a couple of feeding trips to Mom he slept the entire evening.  I was strong-armed into wearing a ridiculous red Santa shirt with matching hat and was officially dubbed a member of the Santa Helper’s Brigade.  It was the baby’s first Christmas and my first time being Santa. There were enough really embarrassing pictures taken with the baby to haunt me for years to come.

I have to say we all received everything we could have ever wanted and then some.  I probably won’t have any meaningful conversations any time soon with my better-half since she’s huddled over in the corner taking sweetly and softly to her new IPad.  Now she won’t give me so much grief about paying more attention to my IPad than to her.

It may take a better part of the day to clean up the wrapping debris that seems to be everywhere. We heard the cat a number of times through the night rummaging through wrapping paper and having a great old time.  He even received a few gifts which he appears to like a lot.  He now has two mechanical mice to chase through the house when he becomes bored with playing with us.

We’re both looking forward to a lazy day of relaxation and a really nice standing rib roast for our dinner this evening.  All in all it was a great holiday and well worth the time spent in preparing for it.

We hope yours was the same.

Posted December 25, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-23-2012   1 comment

The countdown is at two days.  In 48 hours I can stop writing about all of this Christmas happiness for another year.  Today was a continuation of our traditions in the preparation for Christmas eve dinner.  We’ll get together around mid-day to relax a while, watch some X-mas movies, and generally enjoy each others company. 

Our Christmas dinner is to be a little untraditional and will be served in the early afternoon.  The menu is varied and consists of a pot full of (clean & eat) shrimp, vegetable platters with dips, and crescent rolls filled with jalapenos and cheese. Next a sheet of walnuts wrapped with dates, then wrapped in bacon strips and broiled until crispy. Yum!  Other scrumptious desserts and high calorie goodies will follow because “pigging out” is required to show proper appreciation and respect for the chef.

Today requires running errands to collect of all the items and their ingredients needed for tomorrow.  We were up early and on our way to IHOP for a hot and filling breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast and coffee.  We took our time eating in order for our next stop to be open for business.  A short leisurely ride to the Portland docks to buy a few pounds of a shrimp fresh off the boat.  Thank God it was high tide which helps keep that wonderful Christmas harbor smell from wafting over the city.

Another quick stop for a bottle of really good French brandy, a few groceries, and were on our way back home.  This is the best part of Christmas for both of us.  She turns on her Christmas carols nice and loud and begins to preheat the oven for the baking marathon to follow. She’s trying something new this year, an apple and raspberry tart, which I’m really looking forward to.  Calories be damned, it’s freaking Christmas.

The kitchen is smelling wonderful, the tree looks great, and the brandy is even better than I’d hoped.  Things are looking good for tonight and tomorrow will be even better.

Posted December 24, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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12-22-2012   Leave a comment

Three shopping days left.  Are you finished with your preparations yet? This posting was my valiant attempt to find a culture that celebrates Christmas in the most traditional fashion. That being said you should also be aware that my better-half was born Ohhhh so may years ago in Corpus Christy, TX and is extremely proud of her Texas upbringing.  Corpus Christi is just a stones throw from Mexico so the Mexican influences are deeply ingrained in her. One of the things I initially loved about her was her passion for all things Mexican since I love hot food and many of their traditions.  Since we’ve been together I’ve eaten more Mexican food than most actual Mexicans.  Years ago my favorite snack was potato chips but that has long since changed.   It’s now tortilla chips covered in cheese and slices of jalapenos. My repertoire of Mexican dishes has been greatly expanded and there are times when I’m begging for a traditional American home cooked meal.

I’ve always been a huge fan of hot peppers and extra super hot salsa but she’s taken me to whole new level.  I go for weeks at a time where my mouth never stops burning and I won’t even mention the other things that burn regularly as well.  I hear reports that people who regularly eat hot and spicy food are healthier and have less of a chance of heart attack.  That might be BS but if it’s true I should live to be two hundred.

It’s time for a visit to Mexico and a look at their Christmas traditions. The Mexican people seem to have a rich religious tradition for their Christmas celebrations which is something that been lost in many parts of this country. The Nine Days of Posadas is a perfect example.

The celebrations begin nine days before Christmas and include a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Neighborhood families take turns hosting a night at their home. At each home, visitors will chant asking for lodging as they carry an image of Mary and Joseph with candles. After three such stops, a family will be let in to join that household in saying the Rosary, singing holiday songs, and a nightly party for the children complete with a piñata that will be filled with fruit and other treats. Nine days of visiting and fun especially for the kids.

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) most families attend a midnight mass, followed by a dinner at home which makes for a very late meal. They then place an image of the baby Jesus into the Nativity.

In most Mexican families, Christmas itself is celebrated not with gifts as in other cultures. Instead, Christmas in Mexico is more about being with family and eating, eating, eating, than with gift giving.

Gifts are exchanged in Mexico on January 6th, which is called Día de los reyes, or Kings’ Day. And they’re delivered by none other than the Three Wise Men themselves.  Children place their shoes near a window so the Magi can leave a gift and many children actually receive new shoes. Some Mexican families also have a Christmas tree but that is an individual families preference.

The Poinsettia is a common Christmas decoration. This beautiful plant is native to Mexico and unlike in most of the world, in Mexico the poinsettia is not simply decorative, it has been used for thousands of years in Mexican folk remedies.

Many Mexican families will have an egg bread wreath, called a rosca de reyes. Usually, this bread wreath also features a small, baked-in representation of the Baby Jesus. This wreath is also then used in the celebration of Candlemas on February 2nd and whoever gets the piece of bread bearing the image of Baby Jesus must care for it the whole year until the next Christmas celebration.

On February 2nd the family puts the Nativity scene carefully back into its holding and then enjoys a meal of tamales which marks the official end of the Nativity season.

All in all I think the Mexican approach to Christmas is rich and meaningful and something we can all learn from. I understand that the food is to die for and includes such traditional dishes as Mexican Spiked Cider served with tamales on the side.  It is sometimes called "Ponche con Piquete" (punch with sting), which can be as simple as a big simmering pot of cider to which rum and spices are added.

My other favorite would be Sweet Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche).  It’s simple to make and very, very tasty.

There you have it.  An old style Christmas approach with a large religious component.  While I’m not all that religious myself their approach takes me back to my early years when my family’s approach to Christmas was of a similar nature.

Maybe next year we can take some of the Mexican traditions and mix them with our own.  We’ve already collected a number of strings of red chili pepper Christmas lights.  It could get interesting and I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes.

12-21-2012   2 comments

Three more shopping days till Christmas. With that in mind I’d like to explain a few unforeseen consequences of living in Maine at this time of the year.  This state teems with thousands of great white hunters who like nothing better than combing the woods in an attempt to kill something and eat it.  As you can tell, I’m no hunter.  I was born and raised in an area much like Maine, western Pennsylvania, where hunting is considered something of a religious experience.  Most of my family were hunters and the king of all hunting was my father. Thank God for my nephew who took my place at an early age to accompany my dad on his hunting forays.  I could never see the point since the taste of wild game just didn’t appeal to me.

At this time of the year the exchange of gifts is a tradition but in Maine it takes an unusual turn. Some of our more common Christmas gifts are cheese logs, meat logs, and moose logs. Nothing says Christmas like a twenty pound package of moose meat or squirrel filets but it still creeps me out just talking about them.  A few weeks ago in an attempt to find other unique and delicious Maine specialties, I instead found these.

Beaver Butt Pie

All that you’ll need to get started with this nutritious and holiday related meal is a big fat beaver willing to give up his paddle and his innards. Simply lay the beaver paddle on the bottom of a pie shell, cover it with the preheated and stinky  innards, sprinkle some brown sugar on top,  and bake in an preheated oven at 350-degrees for 45 minutes. Add some fragrant pine fronds and a nice red Christmas ribbon and there you go. Ready for the family table.

Teriyaki Marinated Moose Lips

What could be more festive than cooking a bag of moose lips on the grill with a light snow falling in the moonlight.  All you need to prepare moose lips are a dozen pair of lips, ordered from Amazon, two quarts of teriyaki sauce, and a hot and ready grill. Roast and season to taste.  It’s a  Christmassy lip-smacking snack to munch on as you watch the annual showing of “A Christmas Story”.

Coyote Sauce

Imported Maine coyote is a local delicacy but available now through internet sites for a pittance. If your outdoorsy all you need is a .22 rifle, a little patience, and BANG. Add a little gelatin to the broth that you cooked the coyote in and Well-La, the perfect addition to a Christmas turkey dinner as a side dish to replace cranberry sauce.

I know your mouths must be watering after reading and picturing these Maine delicacies but never fear, maybe next year some of our northernmost citizens will make all of these meals available through mail order for you to enjoy with your loved ones.  You may not be able to visit Maine but we can bring the true Maine holiday spirit right to your door for a modest price.  It’s only right that we share our overabundance of critters with as many people as possible.  Also, we can use the money.

Bon Appetite  and Merry Christmas

(Sarcasm Off)

Posted December 22, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Humor

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