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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Well my little lovelies, we made it through the holidaze without bloodshed (except for the arachnid, but more on her later). The monster-in-law and brother-in-lounge have returned to their home planet of NJ, and all is again merry and bright at the Mouse House. After surviving two consecutive years of visits from family on both sides of the aisle on Christmas, I've compiled a listing of activities, nay traditions, that make for a complete holiday experience at the Mouse household.

1. Listing of the faults
This tradition falls to the matriarch on the paternal side of the family, that is, my dear monster-in-law. I believe she prepares all year for this important job. Each member of the family must receive at least one nasty comment, criticism, and/or backhanded compliment during the holiday visit for her assignment to be properly completed. Not one to gush with false praise, I must say that she does a phenomenal job with the annual fault listing.

2. The finding and killing of the venomous beast
This is a new tradition started just this year, but it was such fun and caused so much hilarity amongst the family that I thought it should be kept in perpetuity. The brother-in-lounge had the honor this year of discovering the venomous beast this year, a black widow spider, cleverly hiding in the shower curtain in the guest bathroom that he was using. What a lucky bloke! He bravely squashed the spider but said arachnid maintained enough of its color, shape, and distinctive red underbelly marking that we were able to positively identify it as a black widow. Perhaps next year, we can hope for a scorpion or maybe even a rabid possum!

3. The portioning of the baked goods
I will cop to this one. The tradition here is that I spend a frenzied day or two baking cookies for the holidays and attempting to guess how many I will need for family, friends, neighbors, and various gifts for people in the community. At some point, I will run out of an essential ingredient and develop a full-blown panic attack. The kitchen will be covered in baked goods, laid out in a seemingly random manner but which, to me, represents the ultimate division of goodies for all involved.

Then, some hapless soul (typically the husband) enters and unknowingly takes a cookie and eats it. Woe to him, the poor bastard! Hellfire and brimstone rain down upon his confused countenance as I berate the stunned man for touching the baked goods prior to the allotted eating time. I let him know that by ingesting this single cookie, he has upset the balance of nature and that the portioning of the baked goods will have to be repeated.

It should be mentioned that there is a corollary tradition that on the day after said holiday (Christmas or Hanukkah), I stare at piles of uneaten baked goods and interrogate family members as to why they are not eating more cookies.

4. The saucing of the pasta
For many years, the monster-in-law has brought the traditional Italian Christmas pasta dinner to the Mouse home.  Lolamouse does not object, as this frees her to bake the aforementioned cookies and not have her pasta sauce compared to that of her monster-in-law during the holidaze, a gift in itself. However, the Christmas meal arrives in a to-be-assembled state, which requires defrosting and saucing before serving. Easy, you think? One would believe so. However, one would be wrong.The saucing of the pasta requires a ritualized series of maneuvers that only the monster-in-law is capable of performing, as the husband and I discovered when we attempted to do it ourselves this year.

The pasta sauce must be of the perfect consistency before it may be applied to the pasta. This requires the judgment that only an Italian woman of many decades of experience can provide. If the sauce is too thin, it must be removed (and believe, me, it was removed!) and replaced with sauce of a thicker consistency. The sauce must not be haphazardly poured over the pasta either (shame on you, hubby!) It must be dolloped, ever so slowly, with a spoon of a size appropriate to feed a toothless infant, over each individual pasta serving. Then it must be spooned back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, relentlessly, until all of the sauce atoms have have the opportunity to meet and mingle with one another. Only then is it ready.

5. The recitation of the maladies
This tradition gets both sides of the family happily involved. The recitation of the maladies is the traditional greeting employed by the older generations of the family. It typically begins with one person inquiring as to the health or well-being of another person. Whereas some folks would simply answer "fine, and yourself?" or "fine, thank you" and continue on to another topic of conversation, this tradition requires the questionee to state a malady from which he or she is currently suffering or has recently suffered. After acknowledging said malady and showing appropriate sympathy, the questioner must then respond with a malady of his or her own. Maladies are then bandied back and forth between the two participants until a mutually agreed upon topic change is begun, such as medications and their side-effects.

Now that you know the traditions we at the Casa de Mouse adhere to during holiday family time, perhaps it will inspire you to begin your own holiday traditions. Or perhaps it will inspire you, as it does me, to drink heavily and be thankful that Christmas comes only once a year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Riley Tells It Like It Is

This little girl has it all figured out. Let's allow her to run Wall Street! You go girl!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't You Just Hate It When...

Don't you just hate it when it's just a few days before the holidays, and you celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, and they arrive at the same time this year so that you have double the prep work in the same short amount of time, and you have the house to clean because your monster-in-law is coming to stay forever for a few days, and you still have gifts to buy and gifts to wrap and cookies to bake and THEN your friend (who's also your neighbor) asks you to watch her cats while her family is on vacation  for a week, so now you've got to remember to feed cats every day on top of everything else, and when you go to their house on the first day, you find that someone has locked the dead bolt, which always sticks, and you can't get in the front door, so you have to skulk around the perimeter of the house trying various doors to see which one you may be able to get into, and finally your frozen fingers manage to unlock a door so you can go in and feed the cats, which you do, but you also notice that one of them has crapped all over the kitchen floor as well as the carpet and rug, which is really disgusting, and you start to wonder if this friendship is really worth cleaning up cat caca, but then you suddenly get a sick feeling in your stomach that you've only seen one of the two cats come in to eat thus far, and you slink around the corner toward the front door and stop suddenly because on the floor is a furry, grey cat shaped lump and it is not moving, and you know this is not good, so you walk over hoping that the cat is sleeping (you know it's not sleeping) or that it is sick and that you can bring it to the vet (you also know that it is not sick) and you see that its mouth is open and so are its eyes and it is quite rigid, so now you have to decide what to do with the neighbor's dead cat, which, by the way, is bigger and heavier than your dogs, and you really don't know the protocol for this particular situation, so you find a towel and wrap up the cat and place it in the garage, where you hope the temperature will be cold enough to keep the cat from rotting until the neighbors get home in a few days because you really don't want to put it in their freezer and make a catsicle, and now you have to figure out whether to contact your friend who you know will be really, really, really upset about the cat and ruin her vacation or wait until she's almost home to tell her, and you don't even know if you can contact her because she's overseas, so you try to text her husband and then set about cleaning up the cat crap all over the house and trying to forget the image of a fat, rigor mortised, glassy eyed, dead cat that is now permanently burned into your brain. Yeah, I hate that too.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A True Christmas Tale

Twas two weeks before Christmas, when in Lola's house
We were having our coffee and starting to rouse.
The lights were all strung on the tree from last night
The ornaments also, with nary a fight!

The daughter was nearly all ready for school
And was counting the days til the coming of yule.
And I was quite pleased decorations were done
Now we could just settle back and have fun.

When out from the dining room there was a clatter
We sprang up like hares to see what was the matter.
Away to the tree we all flew like a flash
We looked in the room and saw what looked like trash!

The weight of the tree must have just been too much
The whole thing fell down, barely missing the hutch!
The base was still fastened real tight to the trunk
Spilling water all over the floor for a dunk!

The branches and needles were bent up and tattered
The fragile, glass ornaments - broken and shattered.
Slivers of broken glass lay on the floor
Cleaning this mess up would sure be a chore!

We looked at the scene and were very upset
The daughter said, "Family's not even here yet!"
Although this is not what I would have preferred
I just had to laugh; it was all so absurd.

At least no one got injured; the dogs are okay
Maybe this year, a fake tree is the way.
The neighbor might have a Wet Vac we can borrow
Or we can just leave it and fix it tomorrow!

not our tree but you get the idea! (source)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

image source
My friend has AIDS and I'm angry. I'm angry that everywhere I go, I don't see mugs, cereal boxes, T-shirts, pins, hats, and even cookies with red ribbons on them like I did in October with the pink breast cancer ribbons. I'm angry that corporate America is too afraid of tarnishing their precious images to put big bucks into HIV/AIDS research and prevention. I'm angry that millions of people still don't have adequate healthcare, still don't know their HIV status, and can't afford their medications when they need them. I'm angry that although we know that condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV infection, there are still people who vote down sex education in the schools. I'm angry that there are people who call themselves Christians who believe that AIDS is a punishment sent by God for immoral behavior and who sully the name of true Christians. I'm angry that so many people think that since they don't hear about AIDS deaths on the news every day, there isn't a problem any longer.

AIDS is still here. There is still no cure. Treatment has advanced, but medications are very expensive and have devastating side-effects. They are not effective for everyone. It's World AIDS Day Today. Remember those who are still living with this disease. Viruses don't discriminate.

(Rabbit-You are an inspiration to me in every respect. Keep kickin' virus butt, love!)