Tag Archives: Christmas

Take my turkey leg torch already

The Turkey Is Done

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Christmas dining 2011 has now been put to bed, and I singlehandedly reinforced the great lengths a mother will go to for her children.  I will stop at nothing to preserve my offspring’s feelings of self-esteem and confidence. So, now that my children are getting some of their own culinary experience and interest, I simply didn’t want to dazzle them tooooo much with my amazing kitchen and cooking skills, and run the risk of leaving them feeling like they could never measure up.  I don’t want them to feel intimidated when the official Christmas duty kitchen torch is passed and they are responsible for preparing all the special festive fixins.  Consequently for our holiday dining I did things like this:

  1. Put out a last minute call to daughter Christmas Eve to pick up water chestnuts for Spinach Dip.  Replied confidently and firmly in the negative to her inquiry as to whether or not we needed anything else.  All was good until we went to make said Spinach dip and I had no — nor had it even once occurred to me to think about getting …. Spinach.
  2. Pre-made the sweet roll dough on Christmas Eve for our Christmas breakfast sticky buns, and instead of “lukewarm” as instructed, added milk cold enough to evidently deactivate the yeast, consequently waking Christmas morning to completely flat plasticene like dough instead of gently risen puffy beginnings of deliciousness.
  3. Undaunted I started over, remaking the dough and forming the little individual buns.  Also pulled out a little known “expert” trick of placing the buns in their greased pan on top of another pan filled with warm water, so that buns would rise faster.  They rose quickly and efficiently and doubled in size, at which point I knocked the pan sideways so that all the gently risen buns slid into the warm water, and bobbed around like cinnamon buoys in a lake.
  4. Cleverly bought a much bigger turkey than in past years, and put it into the oven later in the day than ever before.  As we played a board game and smelled the delicious turkey cooking, we then heard a small explosion in the oven.  We were baffled upon examination – there were thin shards of glass on the turkey breast, but none of the glass casserole dishes appeared to have broken.  In an obvious attempt to make me look like I’m losing my mind (possibly brought on in part to the fact that I lost one of his presents that I bought him 2 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS and hid, and at the time of this writing has still not been located); hubby asked if I might have inadvertently inserted a wine glass into the turkey, because that’s what the glass pieces resembled.  I was justifiably outraged, but just then with tensions rising, the mystery was solved.  It was the meat thermometer that exploded.  Picked shards of glass off the turkey skin and after much arm twisting I reluctantly agreed not to use any of the drippings for gravy, for fear of glass shavings.  My arguments in favour of roughage fell on deaf ears.

Spontaneous Combustioning Thermometer

5. Then inserted the new meat thermometer that I had received in my stocking.  It’s digital and very high tech, and we anxiously waited for it to announce that the required internal temperature had been achieved. This much anticipated declaration was not made until approximately 10:00pm.  As happy hour extended well into the early evening, I slurredly protested periodically that the turkey was going to look like the National Lampoon one, but dammit, I’m goal oriented and metrics driven, and we had committed to this new piece of technology and we were going to see it through to a 180° reading, come hell or high water.  I was not far from wrong, National Lampoon wise, but on the upside, if you make people wait long enough for dinner they are still extremely complimentary and effusive with praise about the meal.

Now, everything has gone according to plan and the bar is set quite low, and in future years when one of the kids hosts,  even if they invite us over  and have us pick up Swiss Chalet on the way, as long as they spring for the festive meal special, they will have one upped me and can feel like the winner of one of those reality cooking shows.

I also let them win at board games.

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It’s a Wonderful Mom, for a couple of days anyway

Golden Retriever ChristmasIt’s almost Christmas, and as per usual, I’m not sure that ours is going to measure up to the ideal.  I always feel a bit inadequate at this stage of the game.  There’s been a noticeable absence of cool stuff like Rocking around a Christmas tree, or dashing through the snow on a one horse open sleigh. The yard is mostly mud this year, not snow, so the whole sleigh thing (or snowmobile equivalent) is going to be out of the question.  Plus how can I rock around a tree that isn’t up yet?  We are still in denial about our offspring having grown up – we remain locked in the past where they all fought over putting the star on the top so we had to do it 3 times.  So, we’ve been holding off putting up said tree until at least 2/3 of them are home. It’s getting closer and closer to the big day as they; some would say selfishly, insist on living their own lives and delay arriving “Home for Christmas” until the last possible moment. A couple even went so far as to get their OWN trees, which some would argue is actually cheating on our family Christmas, but of course I’m not one to judge.  Heaven knows I don’t want them to worry about me….

 I haven’t done anything Martha Stewart-esque, (like securities fraud, OR  adorning the house with any homemade crafts.)  I  hauled out the same old tired decorations I’ve been using for the past few decades, and just made some essential touch-ups (example:   ripped off a ribbon from table centerpiece that looked too wrinkled and stained due to careless storage and sloppy wine drinking).

I have purchased all the requisite stuff that I will in early January throw out, such as egg nog, fruit cake, nuts that you have to crack, and hard candies.  I bought a lot of other ingredients to make stuff that let’s be honest, I’m probably not making. So come July I’ll have the usual 3 cans of Eagle Brand Milk, butterscotch chips and graham cracker crumbs that will have expired.

I did make some of my standard delicious treats, like shortbread, which I now eat instead of breakfast so there definitely won’t be any of those left by the time any actual company arrives.

I spent last night at the mall, and holiday spirit was a little bit in short supply.  A few things that rubbed me the wrong way:

  1. Home Outfitters – I have 15 items, some of which weigh as much as a small child. … YES I WANT A BAG. 
  2. So SORRY Sears, to inconvenience you and the giant lineup behind me (since you only have one checkout open in your whole store) because I got all “difficult” and refused to let you  charge me $40 more for a sweater than the sign said you would.  Thanks for taking the time to prove that I was right and then processing my sale without so much as a “Sorry we thought you were lying”.
  3. Hey trendy clothing store – my email address is none of your beezwax when I’m doing nothing other than picking up a gift card for my kid.
  4. Yo – grocery store … I thought “Utility Turkey” meant it might be missing a wing – not that it would look like it stepped on a landmine.

I was also mildly annoyed by some downright cranky staff ignoring me or treating me like I was an idiot for having the gall to ask if they actually have something that they advertised in their flyer the day before.  Adding additional insult to injury, these gum chewing eye rollers were often wearing Santa hats.

It’s 2 days away and I’m officially sick of “So this is Christmas”  “Do they know it’s Christmas time?” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”.  One song that doesn’t grate on my nerves is “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – unless of course it’s the Jessica Simpson version, which makes me downright nauseous.  The “Santa Baby” song is kind of fun too, but a little slutty and I worry about my impressionable young daughters.  That songstress is clearly exchanging favours for presents, and we’ll have none of that.  I would rather encourage my girls to set their sights on something worthwhile, like front teeth or even a hippopotamus.

Intermittently I do my wrapping, and never ceased to be surprised by stuff that I bought a few weeks ago and completely forgot about. 

But in spite of all my whining, I’m really not the Grinch.  On the contrary, over the next couple of days I will do a complete transformation.  The things that I preach to my family about all year like fibre, portion control and reduced fat will all go out the window, as I do a complete 180 and get into Holiday mode, and start doling out toxic delicacies like cinnamon rolls, quiche, cheeseballs, truffles and pies.  I will slack off on other rules, like the dog not being allowed in the living room, and not indulging in alcoholic beverages at breakfast.  Hubby may even be allowed to sit and read a magazine without being peppered with reminders about things that need done. Prolonged lazing on the couch is completely acceptable, in spite of how nice it might be outside.

So, enjoy “Christmas Mom”, family.  She is my gift to you.  Remember, “January Mom” is just around the corner, and we’re back to the norm where every sentence she utters begins with: “You should ….”

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Failure is a Gift… and My Gifts Are Failures

Well, it’s about a month until the big event, and time to start the nightmare that is Christmas shopping.  Trying to buy other people something they want.  What a concept.  If they want it, and are over 16, and they have the means — or even if they don’t have the means but have a credit card — chances are they already bought it.

This makes shopping even harder, because now I have to think like a marketer, and identify an unmet need, and then fill it.  I need to buy people something they don’t even know they want, but that will delight them, ideally beyond their wildest dreams.  This is a tall order, and one that I have been known to take very seriously.

I’ve failed miserably at this in the past.  I used to be a sucker for gadgets. My first gift to my then boyfriend back in 1974 was a “hot lather machine” for shaving.  Seriously.  And I couldn’t WAIT for him to open it. He was barely old enough to shave, and somehow I thought that the only thing lacking in his life (now that he had me, the ultimate prize) was the foam that he put on his face before scraping it with something sharp, was too cold.  Life altering indeed.  Even more staggering is that he used it, but I think that’s just because we were in the early stages of relationship training where he still did what I said.

And I distinctly remember presenting my sisters with such technological wonders as nail dryers.  Because what girl hasn’t suffered  through the cruel hardship of having to wait for her nails to dry, or heaven forbid “wrecking” a freshly polished talon (which we all sported in the 70s) before it was sufficiently hardened?  Much like Dr. Drew, I was able to act as a Lifechanger and bestow upon them these nifty gadgets that would actually blow on your nails FOR you. Talk about luxury.  Ivana Trump had nothing on us.  I think that these gifts would have been more meaningful if my siblings were asthmatics or something, and blowing on their own nails presented more of a problem, but sadly these ladies have always enjoyed perfect health so I wasn’t able to have quite as dramatic an impact.

What other useless gadgets have I gifted, you ask?  Well, I’ve attempted in good faith to transport my sisters and girlfriends from their kitchen tables to luxurious spas, by providing them with the rare and coveted facial steamer.  So what if you can accomplish the same thing by leaning over your boiling kettle, or opening the oven door during broiling – at the time I was almost exclusively shopping at the high-class “Consumers Distributing” store, and from the picture in the catalogue it seemed like a definite  life changer, in an  elegant  “Calgon take me away” sense.

And remember back in the seventies when everyone smoked?  Well, everyone except my dad.  My mom chained smoke (God rest her soul – not a coincidence ).  So I was able to find the perfect gift to solve the problem of my dad’s constant bitching about secondhand smoke.  It was of course to buy her a ‘smokeless ashtray’.  I expected to win hands down the favourite child of the season award that year.  But surprisingly, turned out not to be a big hit.  Mom was annoyed because the thing basically smoked her cigarette down to the filter in seconds, as it was powerfully “inhaling”  the whole time it sat in the ashtray.  Consequently her number of smokes per day skyrocketed.  And while Dad was hard of hearing, the industrial sounding hum that this thing emanated seriously impacted his enjoyment of Bonanza reruns.  Conclusion:  total bust.

 And sometimes, without intending to, in my zeal to dazzle I guess I could be downright insulting.  But, keeping in mind that I aspired to improve lives in a similar fashion to Richard Simmons and  “Oprah’s Life Class”, when my dear friends complain about cellulite, naturally I take that as a challenge to come to the rescue.  The quizzical (disbelieving?) expressions on the face of recipients whom you’ve just (at no small expense, might I add) gifted with an anti-cellulite product is something that must be seen.  Never mind that in my head I visualize them, because of me, now being able to rock their Daisy Dukes, and not in a “the People of Walmart” kind of way.  It’s true what they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

But I am not always on the giving end of crappy gadget gifts.  My husband gave me something for Christmas early in our married life, that signalled that indeed the honeymoon was over, and had me seriously questioning our compatibility.  My feelings were hurt and I couldn’t believe that he thought that this was a suitable gift for me, his trophy wife.  It has gone largely unused, but I’ve kept it over the years, just for spite. 

It’s Black Friday and I’m hitting the mall.  Let the games begin.

 

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Filed under Aging, Fashion, Friends, Humor, Memories, Thats Life