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Category Archives: Christmas

I Forgot the Cow Bell!

My sister Cheryl gave me the most appropriate present for Mohawk Valley Girl: a basket of local stuff.

I should have taken the picture as soon as I opened it.

Of course I was not surprised to see items from the So Sweet Candy Cafe, our friend Margaret’s wonderful store.  I am surprised the Santa and Mrs. Claus sugar cookies lasted long enough for me to get a picture, and we have not eaten the Egg Nog Fudge, either.

Aren’t they cute?

I was delighted to see a card from local artist Maria Vallese of Retro Sorrento, whose works were recently added to the So Sweet inventory.  However, the item that made me do back flips (figuratively speaking, of course), were the turkey joints.

I must get more to send to my correspondents!

Turkey joints, for non-local readers, are a marvelous confection made in Rome, NY, where I grew up.  Steven had never had one, but now he is a true believer.

Lots of yum!

Other goodies included a big jar of garlic pickles and smaller jars with jellies and honey.  The whole thing was wrapped in a beautiful Christmas dish towel.

Cheryl loves dogs as much as I do.

I immediately made up my mind to take pictures for a blog post but got distracted (hey, it was Christmas morning!).  I luckily remembered to snap before Steven had eaten all the turkey joints.

Cheryl told me the pickles and jellies came from a place in Booneville called Awesome Country.  Sounds like a good place for Mohawk Valley Girl to visit!  The towel and ornament came from Newport Marketplace, another of my favorite places.

Ah yes, the ornament!  I forgot the ornament when I took my pictures, because I had right away placed it among our Christmas display on the mantle.  It is a very adorable cowbell.  I actually remembered it before I wrote this post, but I thought “I Forgot the Cow Bell!”  would be an excellent title.  Now I am wondering if “Cow Bell to Follow” would be more appropriate.  You may notice I am late in making my Monday post.  I dare not delay further for more photography.  Let’s just say I owe you a cow bell!



Merry Mental Meanderings

I do not see why this blog should not go All Christmas All The Time for the rest of the week.  After all, Friday is Christmas, it’s practically here! (Said in a Boris Karloff narrating How the Grinch Stole Christmas voice.)

At times, I fear, the Christmas spirit eludes me.  Today I spend some time stressing and obsessing about all I need to get done before the end of the week.  Then I stressed over the fact that I was stressing, because, dammit, I’m supposed to be enjoying this! I LIKE Christmas!  I like to give presents!  I thought I had planned better than this.  I hasten to add, I am not completely without the Christmas spirit.  I get it in spurts and try to enjoy it while it lasts.

As I pointed out yesterday, it is difficult to talk about my gyrations preparing for Christmas without giving away key points about presents I may or may not be giving (already I’ve said too much).  However, those gyrations (that word is so descriptive of my life) are the reason I am posting this later than I like to and why I did not write something earlier while at work (on a BREAK, I hasten to add).  Oh, I know, I could stress about Christmas and still write a blog post.  In theory at least.  The fact is, I did not.

After work I had three stops to make.  I can mention one, because it did not involve anything Christmasy:  I went to The Medicine Shoppe in Ilion to pick up a prescription.  Of course, there is also no need to expand upon that, because as I have often observed, people who go on about their health problems become tiresome (I know, it almost never stops me, but I try to keep it short) (I said TRY! Sheesh!).

Where was I?  Oh yes, a brief shout-out to the Medicine Shoppe.  I called in my prescription renewal to their automated line last night and my prescription was waiting for me after work this afternoon.  How cool is that?  They are also super nice there.

After the Medicine Shoppe, I made two more stops that were Christmas-related. They were relatively successful.  I would love to go on, especially about the second stop, BUT…  Perhaps I will revisit the subject in January.   In the meantime, I continue to chase that elusive Christmas spirit.

The Medicine Shoppe is located at 10 Central Ave., Ilion, NY, phone number 315-894-7283.  You can Like them on Facebook.


Christmas for Mohawk Valley Girl

Hmmm…. after staring at an empty space under “Add New Post” it seems my brain’s Christmas present to me is a big fat case of Writer’s Blank.

It’s not as if I’m asking myself to come up with something brilliant. I’ve been saying all day that my blog post is going to be merely a wish of cheer and goodwill to my readers. How hard could that be? Apparently too. But one thing I have learned: if I put my fingers on the keyboard, words will eventually appear. And if I can keep myself from erasing what appears, eventually I can hit Publish.

It is a grey, gloomy day in Rome, NY, where I am celebrating Christmas with my husband and dog at my parents’ house. It’s almost as if Halloween came for Christmas. How cool is that? I love Halloween! I have taken two short walks with my dog, which have been quite enjoyable. We all opened presents and had a nice Christmas dinner. My mother and I mimosed (sorry if that makes you jealous, but I believe champagne and orange juice are readily available in many areas). I am now enjoying a glass of champagne without orange juice. It is New York Champagne, by the way. Great Western Extra Dry, my favorite.

In short, it has been and is being a wonderful Christmas. I shall now hit Publish and get back to enjoying it. I wish peace and goodwill to all.

By the way, tomorrow will still be Lame Post Friday.

At Least the Presents are Wrapped

It is almost 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and I have not written my blog post yet. I can hear church bells ringing outside, and the vague headache that has been plaguing me most of the week has returned. On the brighter side, I have done everything I had to get done before picking up my hubby at work at 6:30. Except load the car. And gas up. And make my blog post.

The devil on my shoulder (you know, how in the cartoons the character has a devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, each trying to convince her of a certain course of action?) is saying, “It’s Wuss-out Wednesday! Why not go all the way and not post ANYTHING?” She knows there is no chance of convincing me of the extreme option, but she tries. The angel (and you thought I didn’t have one) (you know who you are) is saying, “It is Christmas Eve, one of the holiest nights of the year. Is it respectful to wuss out on such a night?”

As they continue to argue, I will just share a little half-baked philosophy that I perhaps ought to hold for Lame Post Friday, but what the heck, it’s a holiday. Does anybody else feel as if Jesus was really born on Christmas Eve? After all, according to the story it was night time when the shepherds watched their flocks and the angel came and told them to follow the star. Then again, according to the song “The First Noel” the star gave such great light that it continued both day and night. Oh, but in the Rankin/Bass Christmas special about “The Little Drummer Boy,” the Three Kings traveled at night so they could follow the star.

Now I’m getting bogged down in argument, mixed up in my sources and, I confess, a little silly. Or a lot. And why not? In another couple of hours I will be with family to celebrate a holiday of joy, peace and goodwill. Have I first wussed out on my blog post? Perhaps so. But Merry Christmas Eve anyways. If you’re celebrating, I hope your celebration is grand.

One last note: I finally came up with that title. Does it seem to you as if Non-Sequitur Thursday came a day early? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Christmas Guilt

You wouldn’t think I would have a Tired Tuesday when I’m on vacation, but so it is. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m not very sick; I’m apparently just sick enough. I truly had not meant to complain about it, but it’s part of the reason I’m publishing a kind of a crappy post today. I’ll count your forgiveness for that as another Christmas present (which would work out fine, except I was bad all year so do not expect any presents).

Where was I? Ah yes, another Christmas where my half-baked plans have once again gone awry. “Half-baked plans?” you say. “I thought you went in for half-baked philosophy on Lame Post Friday. I was kind of looking forward to that.” (Oh, OK, I guess nobody but me looks forward to my Friday Lame Post; I thought for once I would let my imaginary reader say something nice about the blog).

In this case, half-baked plans is… not exactly right but appropriate. I have in fact done less than half of the baking I had planned. Well, I didn’t want to start it too soon, in case the cookies got stale or (more likely) eaten. And I’ve been busy. So here I am the day before Christmas Eve and not much done.

As yesterday’s post detailed, I have baked one batch of the most delicious cookies imaginable. Seriously, Steven ate one and said, “I LOVE you!” I am not above buying affection. I went to rehearsal (for the play I’m in, did I tell you about that?) (I was going to link back to a previous post where I did, but I can’t find it, sorry) and apologized to the cast for not bringing any in. Now they are mad at me for bringing it up and I don’t blame them. What was I thinking?

I was supposed to go to the store today and buy more powdered sugar but did not make it. At least I got the laundry done. Clean underwear is a good thing on Christmas week. Perhaps some would prefer I went commando and made cookies, but I daresay they wouldn’t want to hear about it and you know it is just the sort of thing I would mention (some of you are probably already taking in a deep breath to shout, “TMI!” I hate that expression).

I managed a batch of Chex Party Mix, the original recipe that you bake for 45 minutes. Then I took a two hour nap. In my defense, the dog wanted to, too. After I got up I made a batch of White Trash. That isn’t baking, but it is a very popular snack in my family.

I have rehearsal in about an hour and a half. It might be a good idea to study my lines some more (I also looked at them at the laundromat). I’m afraid I don’t have time to make the peppermint bark, even if I could find the recipe. Will I make it to the store and bake more cookies tomorrow? I DON’T KNOW! Will my family still love me if I don’t? I HOPE SO!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, everyone.

A Christmas Present I Once Bought

Yesterday I wrote about how I could not seem to write about a Christmas memory, because I got all bogged down in talking about how broke I was. Today I cut out all that stuff as well as a couple of paragraphs about some other presents I bought that year. Here is my story about a Christmas present I once bought.

So there I was with not much money to purchase Christmas presents. It was the early ’80s, later than five-and-dime stores but before Dollar Stores were ubiquitous. I was walking through Riverside Mall in North Utica with my sister Diane. I lacked a present for my sister Cheryl. A housewares place had a display of odd lot silverware out front, 50 cents a piece.

“I’ll get Cheryl a fork,” I said, just only kidding. Cheryl had just moved into an apartment of her own.

“That would be a good present,” Diane said, “because when I ate over there we used plastic forks.”

Of course my parents got Cheryl a full set of silverware, so I felt I had been properly cast into the shade. However, Cheryl was quite pleased with her gift. As she left our parents’ house Christmas evening, she said, “I’m going to go home and eat something with my new fork.”

I wonder if she still has it.

It Wasn’t a BB Gun

In lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday, I offer a personal Christmas Story (I was going to say a story about a Christmas present from my past, but I thought that might be getting too cute) (but that I could get away with it in a parenthetical comment).

I thought of the story after reading another blog post (once again procrastinating writing my own blog by reading others’). The blog was Return of the Modern Philosopher. The post was about buying the perfect present for a girlfriend. This is the story of the first Christmas present my husband Steven gave me.

We had just barely kind of sort of started dating in late November. In fact Steven went home for Christmas and said to his mother (as he told me later), “I think I have a girlfriend.” In the meantime I was saying to my friends, “He’s NOT my boyfriend,” largely because I did not want to jinx it (I never had many boyfriends, despite being quite the looker in those days) (no, really, I was cute, and I wore really short mini-skirts).

Steven was going to school at the time and had a couple of papers due. I remind you that these were the days before computers were common equipment for these things, so I offered to type them for him. I love to type. We arranged that he would drop them off at my apartment while I was at work. This was a new apartment I had just moved into, living alone for the first time. In fact, I was not even fully furnished.

I had told Steven the story of how I had a craving for tuna noodle casserole (my dietary needs were simple in those days). After working till nine, I walked to the grocery store and purchased the ingredients, then eagerly walked home only to find… I did not have a can-opener. I ate noodles and butter instead. It was a funnier story when I told it. I used gestures.

You probably all know where this is going. Steven dropped his papers off to me at work with a cute, self-deprecating smile, telling me he had “put a little something” in with them. Yes, it was a can-opener.

I have told that can-opener story for years. I now have a sneaking suspicion it is a funnier story when I told it. I must have used gestures.

However, it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday. Now I can go back finishing out my weekend with my wrist properly on my forehead saying, “My blog post wasn’t very funny today!”

Have Yourself a Merry Post-Christmas Let Down

Look, bloggers get post-Christmas let downs, too. Today I can only offer a little more Christmas Carol commentary. I hope you find it amusing.

Regarding “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: If I would have been the little lamb, the second verse would have gone, “Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, ‘Hey, the wind is talking to me.'” Then the third verse could have gone, “Said the shepherd boy to the Hollywood agent, ‘I have a talking sheep.'”

I realize neither of those lines is in the rhythm of the original tune, but you know how singers interpret things (I actually hate it when they do that, but hell, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em).

One other thing: What if I don’t WANT to have myself a Merry Little Christmas? What if I want to have myself a Merry Big Fat Christmas? What are you going to sing to me then?

I have no other silly observations to make, so I will finish by sharing a Christmas Carol memory.

One Christmas many years ago, my husband Steve and I as well as my sister Diane and her husband, Chris, were staying at my parents’ house. To complete the picture, I’ll just mention that at this point my parents’ house only boasted one bathroom.

Christmas morning I was up before anybody else and got into the shower. I thought since everybody was still asleep, I could get away with taking a long shower. I sang Christmas carols in the shower. In retrospect, I don’t know how I thought anybody could sleep through that, but I do love to sing Christmas carols. Indeed, other people were up when I emerged from the shower squeaky clean.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “If I had known you were awake, I would have taken a shorter shower.”

My sister Diane retorted, “You would have taken a shorter shower if you didn’t have to sing every verse!”

It’s still five days away, but my New Year’s Resolution is to have more Mohawk Valley adventures, so I don’t have to make such silly blog posts all the time. Hope your own post-Christmas let down is mild.

More Carol Commentary

Merry Christmas to all. I mean to make this a fast post so I can get back to my own celebrations. Anyways, who reads blogs on Christmas? I hope somebody.

I thought I would share a few more of my thoughts on Christmas carols.

“You better watch out/ You better not cry.” This always struck me as unreasonable. What if I was really sad? What if I hurt myself, you know, not from being bad?

Later in the same song: “He knows when you’re awake.” Leaving aside the stalker implications, why is insomnia considered misbehaving? Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had the problem of waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. This, also, was not the result of misbehavior such as, for example, stealing my mother’s International Coffee (she freely shared it with me in later years).

I’m just saying (I love that expression).

A comment was made on my previous post on Carols: moviewriternyu brought up “Frosty the Snowman.” He wondered why this dying man only wanted to run and play with the kids and nobody called 911. I had never thought of that, but wished I had. What struck me, after reading his comment, was why was Frosty hanging out with all these kids with no other adults present? This, however, seemed rather unsavory, so I did not continue that line of thought.

One last thought: why do we all dream of a white Christmas when I have never ever in my life met anybody who liked to shovel snow? Oh, I know, snomobiles, skiing, etc. In fact, this morning when we were shoveling my parents’ driveway, a neighbor remarked that it was good exercise. So I guess that makes my last thought kind of lame. Too early in the week for that!

I guess the reason I brought up “White Christmas” is I wanted three carols mentioned. Three is kind of an important number in many contexts. That is some half-baked philosophy that I will pursue at another time. In the meantime, although it’s been said many times, many ways (most recently at the top of this post), Merry Christmas to you.

NOTE: Go to for another post on Christmas Carols.

Christmas Cooking

What’s wrong with All Christmas All The Time anyways?

How about a cooking post. I had hoped to have enough oomph one day this week to make White Trash to bring to the Ilion Little Theatre dinner meeting on Thursday. Tuesday I managed it.

First I found a peppy Christmas CD to inspire me. I picked “Roomful of Christmas” by Roomful of Blues. Oh yeah.

I got the white chocolate chips out of the refrigerator. I have four bags altogether, enough for two batches. One Girardelli, one Nestle and two store brand. I decided to mix and match: the Nestle and the store brand. When I taste tested the chips (well, naturally I taste tested! Stop shaking your dieter’s finger at me!), they tasted remarkable alike.

I put them in my fancy double boiler, a frying pan of water with a pot sitting in it, and added two tablespoons of olive oil.

While it came to a boil, I mixed six cups of hexagon cereal, two cups Tasteos (generic Cheerios), two cups peanuts and two cups pretzels. I broke some of the pretzels (on purpose).

Of course I put too much water in the frying pan. I siphoned some off with a turkey baster.

Then I could not find my red and green sugar. It is not part of the recipe to sprinkle colored sugar on the finished product, but I like to be seasonal. Red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween. Wait a minute, did I use it all up last year? Who can remember these things?

I was out of time to search for colored sugar! I had to start stirring the white chocolate chips or they would burn to the bottom of the pan! Oh no!

I hollered up the stairs for Steven, being quite loud about it, because I had the music cranked. He thought something must be horribly wrong, so that was ill done of me. Scaring my husband over colored sugar. What’s the matter with me? (Do NOT answer that!)

Steven came down and confirmed our lack of colored sugar. No matter. White is still seasonal.

I poured the melted white chocolate over the stuff and stirred. Then Steven had to find something else to put his coffee filters in, because I accidentally dropped some on the plastic bag they were in. I never said I was Rachel Ray.

Soon I was spreading the mixture on wax paper to cool. Later on I taste tested it as I broke it apart and put it in a bowl. Steven tried some too. We pronounced it yummy.

In retrospect, I’m sure I’ve shared the White Trash recipe before. However, I thought what with hollering up the stairs and spilling some on the coffee filters, last night’s episode had a certain charm all its own. Anyways, some people just can’t get enough White Trash.