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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

SPRING MUSINGS

Wtad.com/white pages/4.13.17
peeps                                                                                                                      by Bobbe White

Spring in the Midwest is a season of surprises and contradictions. Here are a few:

WEATHER                                                                                                                                              Like any season in the Midwest – we have about seventeen of them- everybody talks about the weather. My favorite comment, “I wish the weather would just make up its mind!” This is the Midwest. That’s what our weather does best: spring into summer, then spring back to winter. BoInG! BoInG! BoInG!

YARD                                                                                                                                                        I like mowing, because of the exercise. Plus, it’s great to see instant results from your efforts. However, thick, spring grass provides resistance. I pretend I’m a football player trying to push a sled and the coach is standing on it, for more resistance. Drive by our house every other day. I’ll be mowing after work; Jeff follows behind me to fertilize the yard. Okay, let me get this straight: I mow frequently. He fertilizes to make it grow more, so I’ll mow more frequently.  How does this make sense? But I don’t complain, because I like to mow.

MUSHROOMS: a Midwest phenomenon. Many people spend hours hunting for them. The environment must line up perfectly: moisture, temperature and timber. Add ticks, snakes and spiders. It’s the best. Preparation involves frying. We seldom fry food, but with mushrooms, we eat them faster than we can fry them. Those who don’t find them, buy them from other people who found them. How do you find a seller? Just listen to conversations on Monday mornings and the finders brag, “I found 13 pounds this weekend.” However, they’ll never reveal where they found them. I have “Mushrooms” in my phone contacts. I’ve paid up to$20.00/lb. I know. It’s crazy. But they’re crazy good! Sometimes, when we have them for dinner, we even add a main course.

EASTER MEMORIES                                                                                                                             As I write this post on Maundy Thursday, I remember when our daughter, Korey was the only Jewish student in St. Peter’s kindergarten. Mrs. Kuhl washed feet, while Mrs. Wavering distributed grape juice and crackers. Korey said, “THIS SURE LOOKS A LOT LIKE PASSOVER.”  Mrs. Wavering agreed, because, actually, The Last Supper was Passover. Some years, like 2017, Passover and Easter overlap, which I think makes total sense. Other years the holidays can be a month apart. Why? It’s complicated, due to different calendars.

Because we’re an ecumenical family, we also had Easter baskets for the kids. On Saturday night, I lined up Peeps from the kids’ bedrooms, down the hall, like little soldiers, to their baskets. Those little devils were hard as rocks by morning. We figured it was a better use for them than actually eating them. One year, after Nick had rifled through his basket, he seemed a wee bit disappointed. Apparently, the bunny had forgotten to include a new tooth brush. Bad bunny!

Never discount how deeply engrained our seasonal habits or traditions are. Whether it’s mowing, mushroom or egg hunts. Now, go continue –or make- your memories. No Peeps, please!

ONE ROSE, COMING UP!

WTAD.COM/WHITE PAGES 21517

Bobbe White

The red crush of Valentine’s Day is over.We all somehow survived. It’s always interesting around an office, even if you’re not a fan of the holiday. ESPECIALLY if you’re not a fan. Why? Because we performed complicated algorithms on how many floral orders were delivered in direct correlation to total number of possible recipients. For those who can’t remember basic mathematics (who can?), an algorithm is a set of detailed instructions, which results in a predictable end-state from a known beginning. In other words, I have no clue what that means. In other words, the total number of bouquet deliveries I observed was 2.75. Odd number? I think not. Two bouquets were legitimate, obligatory Valentine’s bouquets: one newlywed and one newly engaged. Those are obvious.

The third recipient’s bouquet celebrated not only Valentine’s Day, but also their wedding anniversary, which happens to be Valentine’s Day. She gets a ½ point, since Hubby was double-dipping: ½ Valentine, ½ Anniversary. Still, I’d give him a high five for picking this date.  He’ll never, ever, ever forget.  That leaves ¼ of a bouquet. There, on one desk, was one lovely red, variegated rose. The card read, “And you thought I forgot!” That was my desk, my $4.00 rose and my handwriting. Yes, I bought my own. I did last year and will again next year. Big deal. My husband doesn’t do flowers. So what? I just wanted flowers on my desk. Ladies, if you are feeling glum, because you were flowerless in the public arena, take control, stand tall next year at the floral desk and shout, “ONE ROSE, PLEASE. IT’S FOR ME!” Sometimes we need to complete our own darn selves. Besides that, the algorithm proved that we are in the 90th percentile. So there’s that. The bottom line?

“Teach your children well”.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

They’ll thank you one day.

Why Do We Live Here?

scrape-windshield

Written by Bobbe White for “The White Pages”  WTAD.COM

Why Do We Live Here?

Frankly on weekends like the last one, I do not know.  It was simply too cold and icy to justify; too treacherous to visit family, stay upright while attempting to walk into work or do anything, really. All of this on the weekend before Christmas! What rotten luck for us procrastinators.

It all started Friday after work. Here we were: coats zipped, gloves on and remote start buttons activated. Unless you’re like me, without remote start. We had a windshield scraping fest instead. But, it was as if Santa’s elves – with and without remote start- had descended upon our parking lot!  Even though it meant the remote starter people would have had to stay late, they did! It was the coolest thing ever. No, actually, it was cold as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks! And hockey players are the only ones who would’ve found our parking lot remotely enjoyable. Anyway, everyone helped everyone else get the icy buildup cracked enough to drive away safely. It was heartwarming and almost great fun. Almost.

Saturday was colder and windier. Ice drizzled on our cars. I chose to use floor mats on the windshield, to minimize scraping after work. It worked well on the left side, but the wind swooped in and took the right side mat, which found me executing a double-twist, triple Salchow* jump on the iced parking lot, to retrieve it.

*Salchow (sal’– kau): a figure skating jump with a takeoff from the back inside edge of one skate followed by one or more full turns in the air and (ideally) landing on the back outside edge of the opposite skate.

I wanted to go home. Customers had been sparse during work and Broadway was ghostly quiet, but while I was out, I went to the cleaners, the liquor store and the mall. Fortunately, I’d dressed warmly in my down-filled parka. I became uber toasty inside the mall. Then the zipper broke. In order to take it off, I struggled to slide it over my hips. Forced is closer. WD-40 anybody?  And I thought the Salchow was difficult!  When it was time to go outside and wiggle back into my coat, it was exhausting. A woman watched me curiously. I made eye contact with her and said-as if I always put my coat on over my hips, “My zipper broke, okay?” She smiled and edged away from me.

Sunday, was more of the same: icy roads, frigid temps, and the addition of a few inches of snow. A winter trifecta! I stayed home. The end.

Wait! I need to answer the first question: why do we live here? We live here because when the temperature rises to 23 degrees, everyone loosens their woolen scarves a bit and remarks, “It’s nice out today?”  And they mean it.

Happy frantic shopping week! Stay warm and safe.

tHe FuNnY sIdE oF cHrIsTmAs

The White Pages – December 14, 2016                                                                                                    Bobbe White

Written for WTAD.COM 

As the days until Christmas count down, stress levels mount up and up and up, until you feel as if you’re going to blow a gasket. It’s tough to get your gasket repaired this time of year. I have no idea what a gasket is or does, but in human terms I imagine it’s the holiday flu, or the holiday blues, or the terrible two’s (like watching adults act as if they’re two again. You know: becoming sick, cranky and fussy, with a tendency to meltdown into a puddle of tears.) A powerful time of the year is upon us; Thanksgiving bustles right into Christmas. To survive emotionally, try finding some comic relief where ever you can.

Remembering memories that make us laugh is one way to feel better for a moment. A moment? Hey – one moment’s better than none. It’s about jiggling and releasing those funny memories in your brain.  Anytime you hear yourself say, “That reminds me of the Thanksgiving or Christmas when…”  you may want to write it down so you don’t forget it for another fifty years. Remember, it doesn’t matter if your memory is funny to anyone else. I do recommend sharing, because you might get somebody else laughing and sharing their funny memories. Here are some of mine.

At Thanksgiving, our daughter, Korey, suggested downsizing: “Start by throwing out everything in this house that’s broken!” I started with our 30-year old dead microwave, because heating up Thanksgiving leftovers was a drag. Okay, we’re spoiled, but we’re still in a hurry; family needed to hit the road. I purchased a microwave the next Monday; installation was three days later. It’s great having a nuker again, except its position to the adjacent cabinet prohibits no more than a 45 degree door opening of this model. I’ll have to fold a pizza, I guess.  I texted Larry, the installer, to (1) thank him for his service and (2) ask, “Do microwaves ever open from the other side?” Here’s the text I received:

josh

I began laughing, then crying from laughter. You know, “Craughter.” It was awesome. I thanked Josh for the advice and the laugh. He said, it wasn’t a problem and to have a good day. Did I EVER!

A co-worker is trying to pull off “Elf on the Shelf” for her four-year old daughter by posing Skittles in different household activities nightly. Skittles is the elf’s name. I had no idea that they must be named. Anyway, one morning last week, Madelyn ran to Mom to report Skittles had been in the flour bag and was just a white mess. “Skittles is soooooooooo sh*t!” she said.  “EXCUSE ME?!?!” said Mom. “Skittles is soooooooooooo sh*t!” Madelyn said again, bubbling with giggles.  Mom searched madly for a better word. The word. The right word.  “Do you mean “SILLY?”  And Madelyn replied, “Yeah, Skittles IS silly!”

elf

Another co-worker’s grandson had shopped at their church’s children’s bizarre. Anderson proudly announced he’d purchased a pencil eraser for his one-year old brother. And a ruler for his mom. That reminded me of the one Christmas, my kids picked out peach-colored golf socks and an O.D. green puffy headband for me. I wore the socks a lot.  The headband?  Not so much. I wish I’d kept both items, because the combination makes me smile every time. Finally, co-workers were sampling a Kris Kringle exchange gift of Goat Milk hand lotion. It smelled horrible. Then one of the guys tried a dab, and said, “It’s not baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!” An answer with which any goat would be impressed.

Have a great pre-holiday week and remember to jot down your funnies so you can enjoy and share them this an every holiday season. It will help, I promise.

 

DON’T TOUCH THAT SEEK OR SCAN!

Don’t Touch That Seek or Scan!

Written by Bobbe White for WTAD.COM

Christmas Holiday isn’t everyone’s favorite –or happiest- time of the year, but there’s something remarkably intriguing about the music, which accompanies the season.

In the olden days –eight years ago- before Sirius, we used to dial in our favorite radio stations in our cars and homes. I think there’s still a dial, but it needs some WD40, seeing as nobody knows where it is. During Christmas we get to tap into Christmas past and feel the familiar emotion of those tunes. Some songs ALWAYS anchor memories, for example: sitting on my daughter’s bed, unpacking stuff in her sorority house, circa 2008, listening to “Game, Game, Game”, from Mamma Mia. I don’t know why exactly, but it does and always will.

The same thing happens with certain holiday songs. We’re magically transported back to a time, when the song hits a chord in our heads –or hearts-even if you or your family didn’t celebrate Christmas. Maybe your family –like ours- celebrated a secular Christmas. We were Jewish, but when you’re retail merchants, like my parents were, you still doll up the displays and the Musk (Google it) drums the Little Drummer Boy for weeks. And we can’t help but hum or sing along, regardless of our beliefs. Songs of the season tether our heads to our hearts.

Irving Berlin’s, “White Christmas” premiered on radio at Christmastime, in 1941, just 18 days after Pearl Harbor.  It was only when Armed Forces Radio began to play the song overseas, for American troops that images of the kind of Christmases back home became more memorable. 1942 was the first winter that American troops spent overseas. “White Christmas”, among other carols, spoke to the nostalgia and homesickness of Christmases past, as they longed for a return to home in particular; hope in general. Back home, sweethearts, wives, parents and families were trying to have a semi-normal holiday with hope, too.  It is said that the camaraderie and hopefulness of our troop’s enthusiasm, even in this dark period of history, propelled White Christmas to be a hit, and today it is still the most played Christmas song ever. It’s the glue that connects the past to the present, and the old to the young. Amazing. Never mind it only has 54 words; it both takes us back to a place – and propels us ahead with positive expectation. Never mind Irving Berlin was a Jewish immigrant from Russia. How many cool Christmases do you think he celebrated there? Uh, not many. But it works and it plays and we leave our radios on the station for the first time all year, every year, without surfing for something else. Each Christmas song celebrates a meaningful theme:

-One Horse Open Sleigh: friends and family gather together.

-It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: regardless of belief, tell me you don’t feel the endorphins swimming when you see beautiful displays of lights around the city. Add snow and WHOA!

-Santa Claus is Coming to Town: kids believe that magically, somehow their wishes will be delivered. (Oh boy, the pressure is on the parents, ugh….)

-Feliz Navidad: even if you’re not Hispanic, you know what this means, and you know every word.  That’s integration and acceptance of the world differences, before it was even a top issue. Jose Feliciano. Haven’t thought of that name forever.  How do I still know this?

-Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Christmas Song. You don’t remember it? I’ll give you two hints:  hula hoop.

Jubilee. The art of celebration. A hopeful look to the future. An appreciation for the past. Songs let us possess these things forever.

This month, drive around your city, town or the countryside some night close to Christmas, find a Christmas station and I dare you to tell me you don’t feel a little something resembling hope and good will towards men, women and children everywhere.  Double-dog dare ya. It works, like magic!

POST-THANKSGIVING QUIZ

Bobbe White, The White Pages, 11/29/16
Written for wtad.com
We’re a few days post-Thanksgiving and my recent memories keep going to a multiple choice quiz to describe it. Answers below:
1. Our fridge is (still) full of food, which indicates
(a) I bought too much
(b) we’ll have leftovers for days and days and days and days
(c) nobody liked the item anyway
(d) all of the above.
2. I’m happy to report that we had an enjoyable Thanksgiving, with
(a) crying
(b) fighting
(c) pouting or
(d) none of the above!
3. With two black labs in the house, it seemed like:
(a) we need a bigger house
(b) Lily White, age 10, has little patience with Molly White, age 1 ½.
(c) I wish I had a Dyson
(d) all of the above.
4. When visiting my mother for Thanksgiving Noon lunch, I wished I could have been,
(a) visiting my dad too
(b) been at my Mother and Father-in-law’s at Noon, seeing as one of us (me) thought dinner was at 5:00pm. Oops.
(c) home tending to my own roasting turkey, which was done at 1:00, but since I forget Thanksgiving was at noon, I wouldn’t be home at 1:00, and I didn’t have time to run home to turn it off, or we’d have been even later, so I had to call my neighbors, Jill and Terry, to turn off my turkey, who, thankfully, were delayed in their own dinner, by two hours, due to traveling family arrivals.
(d) See? It all works out.
5. As our thoughts turn to Christmas,
(a) I’m thankful not one person reminded me at work on Friday, 11/25, what was happening just ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!
(b) wished I’d shoved the Christmas tree back in the box better, so Nick could’ve taken it home to St. Louis intact
(c) wished the 4th leg and base to the tree hadn’t fallen out of the box in our basement
(d) all of the above.
6. When back in St. Louis, Nick and Korey tried to erect the tree and realized the 4th leg and base were missing from the box. Nick considered creating a base with
(a) bucket of concrete
(b) bucket of dirt
(c) a late night trip to Target in pajamas, to buy a new tree, which of course, Mom will offer to buy, since she packed the current one so poorly
(d) the 4th leg and base were recovered back at home (e) all of the above.
Here’s hoping you had multiple reasons to be full of good food and thankful for many blessings.
full-fridge
Answers: 1(d), 2(d) 3(d) 4(d) 5(d) 6(d)

“WE HAD THE PERFECT THANKSGIVING,” said No One Ever.

By Bobbe White
Written for the White Pages 11.23.16 at wtad.com
thanksgiving-humor

Is that sweat on your forehead? “ Noooo, that’s P2 (P-squared: pressure to perform). Do I hear your stomach churning?  I thought so, but figured that’s the shout of glee: “IT’S THANKSGIVING!”  I love Thanksgiving, because the gifts are  “F4” (F to the 4th power):  food, family, friends and football, minus huge outlays of funds for the wrapped kind of gifts. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, in its intended simplicity, can be “F6″ (F to the 6th power) which includes frazzled and fighting.  Ease up on yourself and others. Martha Stewart isn’t slaving away in your kitchen.  Your table guests have expectations, which may or may not be met.  Enter my Thanksgiving flops, which always tickle me at Thanksgiving.  (1) My assignment was pecan pie. While my reputation for culinary excellence is a bit weak, pecan pie is one thing I can do well. Except when it rides on my lap in the car.  Apparently, the heater unsolidified the solidified.  Three hours later, upon arrival, my royal blue corduroy slacks (stop, it was the ‘80s) looked like flooded farm rows of Central Illinois. Each velvety rib of fabric was like a Mississippi levee, containing brown, syrupy liquid. UGH. Those slacks weren’t salvageable; even the cleaners couldn’t crack the Karo code, which caramelized between the levee walls. My brother-in-law distributed straws, because that was the best way to consume my pie. Starbucks could make millions on this new creation: Pecan Brûlée Macchiato. Unlike today, I was mortified at being the Thanksgiving turkey. (2) When planning Thanksgiving at my first home, I knew some guests liked dry white meat; the others preferred dark. Even if you’ve never prepared a turkey, guess which side is up while roasting? Yep, the Breast. Not that year. I don’t know if I was confused by its anatomy or what, but our breast swam in drippings. I could’ve salvaged my pride, by righting it on the platter, except an observant guest yelled, “YOU COOKED THE TURKEY UPSIDE DOWN! HAHAHAHAHAHA!” Yeah, Ha.  I’ve progressed since then, and that’s one thing I’m thankful for, the ability to unexpect the expected. Not everyone will like everything, or the fact that they were asked to bring black olives, instead of green. Big deal. Someone will be late (again). Count on it. Someone else will be missing-for a good – or not so good reason. Deal. Some prefer watching Redskins @ Cowboys; others will fight for the remote to watch the National Dog Show. Big woof.  Everyone’s family is just one clown short of a circus. (Thanks, but those aren’t my words; however, there’s a dish towel at the Salty Sun…) I have a bib on my gift shelf I’d love someone to wear, except our youngest this year is 25 ½.  It reads, “You’re kidding…I’m related to these people??” And therein lies the rub. Not the dry kind for your bird, but the kind that can rub some of the much needed JOY into the OY of Thanksgiving.  Hope for humor during the flops, flaws and faux pas.  Be accepting.  Unexpect the expected. Because we all get a little bit crazy at the holidays. Well feathers! I left two dozen farm, fresh eggs under my desk at work last night. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to the store I go…

Happy Thanksgiving from the White house.