Holiday Unreality

Holidays. Gluttony, waste, forced obligations. Women exhausting themselves to get everything done on time for the great gorge. Millions of dead turkeys whose scraps will not be fed to dogs. I try to work on Thanksgiving if I can. One year I walked into a huge domestic dispute where the wife really didn’t want to go to her in-laws’ house. I had to go sit outside until they left. The spectacle called black Friday made me embarrassed for America, and that doesn’t happen often. Well there is Facebook, but that’s not just us anymore.

I need work. An acquaintance said, why don’t you make flyers offering housecleaning gift certificates? I said, that’s a great idea. She said, make sure you write Keep Your Dollars in America this Year! I said, I can’t say that, people here will get all offended. But consider not only giving work to people who pay taxes here, but also not detonating your credit card with crap made in China, or anywhere else but the US, the same crap people fought over on black Friday. Ugh. I hate that it even has a name and I refuse to capitalize “black” because that gives it credibility as a marketing tactic to make people crazy. This whole season from Thanksgiving to Christmas can go take a sleigh ride to Psychoville.

Our friend Hogan (Hoarder of History) appears to be levitating over carburetor of '71 Ford pickup. Hogan is a person to be thankful for.

She’s a handful is a typical euphemism for little girls who are consistently naughty. Jada, now 7 months, has gained 10 pounds and an attitude. She’s the kind of beautiful dog who gets adopted from a pound, then returned because she’s a project you have to stick with.  She’s soft and cuddly and loving, I hold her in my lap and she snuggles closer and closer into my neck. But keeping her from constantly jumping on everything and everybody is work. Paws on counters, stepping on my heels every time I walk somewhere in the house or outside, annoying the other dogs and cats, still not housebroken. Did I mention the jumping? She and Blitz are playmates but sometimes he hides from her and I have to watch she doesn’t get too rough—those puppy teeth are sharp and plentiful. I am committed to turning her into a respectable member of the pack.  This wild creature will be mine.

Blitz transforms into a wolverine when playing with Jada

I tell Jada, stop being such a baby and grow up!

Jada in a rare quiet moment (it didn't last). Who could resist this face?

Debra on Dogshit: Seven dogs. 14 piles of dogshit a day, 98 piles a week, 392 piles a month. The dogshit goes into plastic grocery bags and is eventually taken to the dump. My partner has never been seen picking up anything that came out of either end of a dog or cat. I went to NY for 8 days last year for a dictionary project and he claims he “took care of” the catbox. I know damn well he filled it up to the top with clean litter then shoveled it out once, the night I got home.

Here are some recent random pics of local interesting stuff…

Weird old combination stove, sink, and fridge seen at Hogan's

I had to look it up. Here's a classic ad for the 1952 General Fridge, Sink & Stove, same model as Hogan has. Look at that babe---as if! Sex sold appliances in 1952 same as now.

Two nice cats in a customer's yard

I became obsessed with making a celestial-themed quilt a few years ago. I just dug out the materials to finish it. I have to sew the batting and the backing, but we don't always finish what we start because every project has a passion tipping point, yes?

I hand-sewed each square, using a basic 8-point quilting star pattern. The fun was designing and making the top, not all this machine-sewing stuff at the end!

One last pedantic harangue: I recoil when adults refer to their parents as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad.’ Up to about adolescence, it’s acceptable to refer to them as “my mom” or “my dad.” After that, it should be ‘my mother’ or ‘my father.’ ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ should only be used among siblings. When an adult who is not related to me says “Mom used to hit me with a ruler,” I cringe. Why not be correct and say “My mother used to hit me with a ruler.” Just sayin’.

42 responses to “Holiday Unreality

  1. What makes me sick...

    There is NO way I can let my Landlord see the picture of that Stove/sink/fridge combo! A nice man, but if he saw that, he would buy every available one of these neat little contraptions on the planet (regardless of condition) and put them in every single property he owns. Since most of his tenants are my friends, we would all have to form some sort of coalition or something to rectify this madness. Just a thought! 😉

    • Wow, I just looked to see if they’re still making them and a few companies do, they’re around $700 new. I guess if you lived in one little room you’d be glad to have it. Your landlord probably wouldn’t buy new ones!

  2. What makes me sick...

    Oh yes, almost forgot, very cool quilt Debra! And where can I get one of those ‘mini kitchens’? I would like to put one in my bedroom. Just for the helluva it.

  3. The sad thing is that the spirit of both holidays is essentially good. Gratitude is good. Gifting, conviviality, good will and worship, if one chooses, are all good. Leave it to us hoomins to make it crazy and violent.
    By the way I have always worked on Thanksgiving – whatever it’s become, it’s the major travel weekend of the year.

    • It’s a great work day. When I worked in restaurants long ago, I always volunteered for Thanksgiving. I know you do petsitting and I did too for a few years, it’s a very busy day/weekend. Good day to work, at home too.

  4. Quite a post. Sure are a lot of different topics. I love Thanksgiving. It is our best family holiday. I have no idea how black Friday got started, but it is just plain crazy. I can’t imagine that being much fun. I see the whole day as down right sad, and an embarrassment to our culture.

    I can’t agree with you about using “mother” when we are adults. Way too formal for my tastes. My mother was always Ma to me.
    Different strokes for different folks I guess.

    • I think people misunderstood me. I only meant in referring to one’s parents, not addressing them. I called my mother Ma too, but never to anyone but her or immediate family.

      Back in my dating days, if I went out with a guy who said “Mom’s in Florida right now” it would send up big red flags. To me, it meant all kinds of obligations and fears—I would be expected to visit his family often, have his children, etc. It felt suffocating. I guess I was always looking for boys without baggage. That might sound sad to you, but it’s what I wanted and still want. I had so many problems with my own family, my first and second husband’s family, I don’t want to be involved in anyone’s biological family ever again. Man, the vicious crap people put up with because they’re family, I’m so done with it.

      But that’s just me, it’s lovely when family members get along and are close. I’ve never had that, and envy those that do.

  5. Do not partake of Black Friday. Or Cyber Monday either for that matter. And my girls did get turkey for Thanksgiving. But now Scooter is all broke out cause she’s allergic to it so we are treating her. She thinks it was worth it though to have turkey. I love your Jada. A lot of people don’t understand how rambunctious puppies are, but there is always hope for them.

    I always called my folks Mom and Dad. And even though they are gone, they are still Mom and Dad. Mother and Father makes me think of when they called me Sandra Lee. Trouble ahead.

    • Hi Sandie, some pups have Energizer battery packs installed. You have to keep after them constantly so people often give up and the dog ends up living outside. Spaying, so far, has not affected Jada’s hyperactivity level—it’s not going to be that easy.

      I only meant in referring to one’s parents, not addressing them.

  6. Whoa! How did you get a picture of me and my refrigerator stove?

    And double whoa! I found a typo in one of your posts! Shouldn’t it be
    the husband’s parents’ (possessive on parents)?

    Harangue noted. But I’ve always called my mom “Mother”, and for some reason it switches to “my mom” when I talk about her to another person. To her face and with my siblings she is “Mother”.

    Here’s something interesting. In the Irish language, the word for “mother” changes depending on whether you are talking to her or about her.

    Thanksgiving can be awesome. Just make it vegetarian. Hey, don’t bash it ’til you’ve tried it!

    • Ha ha, is that you in the picture?

      You wascal, I debated that and took the apostrophe out. To be really correct, it should be “the husband’s parents’ house,” but it seemed excessive and I always want to cut.

      A vegetarian Thanksgiving sound great. The worst part about eating meat how much flesh from a creature who had eyes and felt pain gets thrown out. I have a real problem with waste, a legacy from my mother.

      • I think it’s more natural sounding to cut the “house”. But my unprofessional opinion still says it needs an apostrophe. 🙂

        And heck yeah that’s me. I dress like that every time I cook and shine my wine glasses.

        • Sometimes when a sentence is awkward in a number of ways, it’s a good idea to dump it and rewrite. But for now I will accept your judgment!

          That illustration kills me. The dress. Imagine living in a place so small you would need this tiny unit, and looking that slinky and fresh while you do your chores. Look at her little apron, and the cleavage shot on the right. I can’t get over how racy this must have been in 1952. I wonder if any ’50s babes ever happily toiled over the actual model in Hogan’s yard!

  7. I think I’d like to meet your friend Hogan! I’m thankful for people who don’t rush through life from one possession to the next and take the time to linger and tinker with things.
    And the fridge, sink and stove combo? GENIUS! But it only gives us one new bauble to show off in our homes, instead of 3! No wonder it didn’t take off…..

    • Hi Harry, Hogan is currently building a wood stove out of car wheels. I don’t know how, but I plan on taking a picture soon. He wouldn’t dream of buying something new. Being resourceful and getting by on what you have makes you stronger! Or maybe I just tell myself this to compensate for never having extra cash…

  8. Hmm Darlin ………

    You must have had a lot on your mind that built up until you decided to post rants, raves, crafts, and a bit of nostalgia all in one post. I must say you covered a lot of topics in a small amount of space.
    Personally, I think the holidays can be fun and enjoyable. I do agree about the before, during, and after Thanksgiving sales. I’m still trying to determine where the fun is in all that. My brother was asked to go for a ‘shift’ at one of the stores Thanksgiving night, he said if he hadn’t experienced the chaos and me – me – me only attitude, he wouldn’t have believed it. He said he just stayed out of the way of all the people shoving others and calmly waited to get what he went there for.

    Now, for your mom vs mother theory, I don’t think I agree. Since my mother is still living, when I talk on the phone with her or see her in person, I call her mom. Yet (as within this post), when referring to her in text, I always use “mother” or if I go to introduce her to someone in my presence, then I will say “This is my mother – Mary” If you ask ‘mom’s’ everywhere, I’m not sure if they have a preference as long as their child calls them.

    Great pic of Jada’s face !

    • I only meant referring to your mother, not addressing her. Of course calling your mother “Mother” is stiff and formal, most people call their mothers Mom or Ma. But when talking about her to a friend, or writing about her, she’s your mother, not “Mom.” I know a gal who constantly talks about ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. And they weren’t even that nice to her. Well they’re not my mom and dad, are they. Ah just another thing to irk me.

      I’m not going into any stores until January!

  9. Jada is absolutely adorable. Give us an update on her antics as time goes on.

    Your quilt is beautiful. You have quite the talent!

    And…my mom will always be my mom to me, whether I am talking about her, writing about her, or thinking about her and no matter how old I am. Mother just seems too formal although I have used it a time or two!

    We have had mild weather here in Maine the whole month. I have LOVED every minute. I hope this isn’t the calm before the storm but I am sure it is.

    An email will be heading your way before the weekend is done!

    • Hi Char, thank you. Jada is like having a young horse in the house.

      I met some people who lived near Ellsworth and they said it didn’t snow much right on the coast. But inland must be crazy when winter sets in. And naturally it’s cold, but I’m glad you had a nice mild month. Must be gorgeous. I miss Maine.

  10. Hogan is definitely a person to be thankful for and the photo angle is great, he has a very nice dupa, as it’s known in Polish.

  11. I like Hogan.

    As for the stoves, in the past they were a common sight in bush camps in the north (however I never saw a babe with said stove). Though most just collected dust, as most camps and cabins had a wood cook stove.

    For me, black friday is a great spectacle to observe, in the vein of the theatre of the absurd to a Fellini movie. I really don’t get what all the frenzy is about ( I do, it is just that couldn’t get that fired up to fight over the right to spend righteous dollars on dumb ‘shtufffs’).

    Jada has a lot camera appeal and probably should be in commercials. Gotta love that face, that look, that Joie de vivre.

    Like the colours in the quilt. FYI I do know how to stretch a quilt but I cannot stitch a lick. Keeping with the quilt theme. I’ve had the good fortune to see the quilts on display in the Église Sacre Coeur Catholic church in Saulnierville during the Festival Acadien de Clare. Here’s a link.

    • Like a logging bush camp? Did the little sinks on the stove/fridge actually having running water through them?

      Yes, Jada has the joy the defiance. Jada no. Jada down, Jada off. Jada quit it, Jada out, Jada stop it, Jada drop it. Jada KNOCK IT OFF. But boy can she play fetch, it’s a great way to tire her out. And she’s loving and beautiful.

      That quilt picture is incredible. What a great idea to display these beautiful works of art in a church like this. I learned a lot about quilting when I made that quilt: It’s really expensive because you need so much fabric, it’s more work than you know going into it, and they’re almost impossible to sell, especially in relation to how long they take to make. Like a million other artists soon find out, most creative endeavors are a labor of love.

      • Hunting and fishing camps. I have never seen any with running water (where I travelled there was no electricity) though were used as drain. Am sure there are plenty out there still in service. Where space in limited. In a log cabin, on a serene lake. Actual they must have been well built, as Hogan’s stove appears to be in relatively good shape.

        ‘Labour of love’ true enough. At least when you’re finished, they keep you warm on those cold nights. My mother quilts. More to pass the time, keep busy, time to socialize (if the quilt is extra complicated or large then troops are called in for a bee) and to use up scraps of materials.

        • Well you’d definitely need electricity for these to run the fridge and stove part, and the sink would be connected to water pipes (to get the most out of them). Seems more useful in an apartment in a city. If I lived in one tiny room in New York City or something I’d be grateful to have one, even though so tiny!

          I know quilters who try to sell them but don’t have much luck. Most people make them for gifts for special friends or relatives, wedding presents, etc. I wonder if there was bickering at old-fashioned quilting bees. Figures I’d wonder that, as it doesn’t sound too appealing to me.

          Does your mother have photos of her quilts?

          • The ones that I ran across, ran on propane gas for the stove and refrigerator. I suspect at the time many companies were building similar products.
            Yes to bickering, and bickering is a polite name for it. Am not sure whether she has pictures, I’ll have to ask her.

            • Of course, propane. Mobile tanks. The burners in the pictures are definitely gas burners. I wonder if they came both ways, gas and electric.

              I hope your mother gave you a few quilts!

              • My mother’s claim to fame is not her quilts, but rather her crochet blankets. It is those which I prize most. She doesn’t knit but crochets everything one would normally knit. Socks to sweaters to intricate lacy ‘shtufffs’; And the speed from beginning to completion is astonishing.

                • I love the intricate lacy shtuffs. And the yarns they make now are so beautiful, especially the ones with different colors twisted together into a strand, marled yarn I think it’s called. It has a sheen and is so soft. She could make dog coats—better get one for Elvira! Your mother must be in demand. I have often thought over years of trying to market various art and craft creations, that what really sells is clothes and jewelry. People want to wear art, not hang it on their walls.

  12. Beautiful quilt pattern Debra! Although the references to Thanksgiving elude me, I loved the photographs of the dogs…and the stove! I wash my dishes with my hands! 😀

    • Hi Raunaq, how are you? Thank you. Do you have a holiday that resembles Thanksgiving? Some day of thanks without the insanity? I wash dishes in my kitchen sink too. Never had a dishwasher and don’t want one! I think they’re a pain—I’d rather have a small amount of dishes and just wash when done using them rather than a whole cabinet full of dishes that fill up a dishwasher—it seems like more work to me!

  13. looks like you and me have similar feelings towards the ‘festive season’; I love your quilt and I especially love your ‘passion tipping point’:; so true — I know of people who have begun this extreme writing project about writing a novel in november only to abandon it when the passion falls below a certain point

    • Hi JL, yes, I know people who dropped out of NaNoWriMo, it’s not easy to keep up the motivation to finish something that requires so much of you. I do it with art projects and actually lots of other projects too!

      I’m not a grinch, really—just don’t like to be pushed into cultural influences I don’t have enthusiasm for, ya know? As we go about our business, people keep asking “so are you all set for Christmas?” I used to explain. Now I just say “Yup.” They don’t need to know that means one’s substance of choice and a stack of movies!

      • nor am I a Grinch — but I do resent so much focus being put on one day and so much pressure for people on low incomes to spend spend spend; I too apart from having xmas dinner with my daughter will be spent similarly : watching movies, reading magazine articles and stories , and a walk on the beach, weather permitting —- we are in summer by then

        • I agree—it’s a stressful time for poor folks but people need to restrain themselves—worrying about what to buy and how much it will cost. I’m surprised that so many of us dealing with lack of or underemployment still think this is something they have to do. Just say no, get together with your friends, and no gifts. In fact, I never want gifts, on any occasion. I’d much more appreciate a donation to a good cause, like an animal shelter. I’ve never let my partner buy me a gift. If he’d caulk that bathtub, etc., like I’ve asked 100 times I’d appreciate it though!

          But an odd thing is happening to me recently—the more they try to ban the word “Christmas” (it’s politically incorrect here) the more tolerant I’m becoming of the season. Someday when the word becomes illegal I’ll throw a Christmas party.

          • “Someday when the word becomes illegal I’ll throw a Christmas party” -gotta love the conforming non-conformist in you.

            Am in the belief we have things screwed up. My way of thinking is the sediments of Thanksgiving could be more inline with the Christmas season. Giving thanks to those who have supported you. Embrace humanity and be humane and gracious to others. A time for reflection. That said it can be the worst time of the year for some. You really cannot hide from all the hoopla nor from the angst.

            • Everybody wants you to follow their agenda. I like to think our species is connected by basic human needs—love, companionship, humor, peace—but we are so hopelessly divided, worlds within worlds within worlds, each so aggressive in their need to rule. I’m just bewildered.

              Did you mean the sentiments of Thanksgiving? Because sediments is what we often end up with! Hence the angst, and perceptive of you to include it as inescapable.

  14. Funny – when I was a child, I called my mother “Mom”, but addressed cards and such to her as “Mother”. When I became older and we finally became friends, she was just “mom”. Now, I almost always use “mom” to refer to her. The change in words came with a change in relationship, and going back to “mother” just feels awkward and distant.

    I’ve used both words to refer to her on my blog, but somehow the context dictates which I choose.

    I’m really curious – what’s your source for one or the other being correct? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    The quilt is gorgeous. It’s amazing where the love of quilts and quilting can pop up. I once sold a set of what I imagined to be fancy C-clamps to a fellow in Manhattan. As it turned out, they were antique clamps for quilting frames. He worked in an office overlooking Ground Zero, and kept a small quilt frame there. He said the work relaxed him.

    • No source, Shoreacres, and usage is what counts, not apparently deviate rantings from my list of irksome phrases or words. I would never, ever show the little cringe I feel when somebody says Mom, but it’s there. I guess I just can’t imagine referring to my mother as Mom when speaking or writing. Kind of like a kit or pup, their mother takes care of them, and then they go off on their own. There are many personal reasons from our life stories that shape these quirks.

      Quilting is an amazing art. I like sewing them by hand, I go into the “rhythm of the needles” trance. I need a really big table to finish it though. I have no stretcher or frame so there will be hundreds of pins!

  15. My brother and I called her mother, per her request. That devolved into Babe, as in Lay that pistol down, Babe. I don’t do Christmas any more, gave up cards first. that wasn’t too painful, so I quit entirely! We raised turkeys for years. For eggs, not meat. More work, more $. My grannies made quilts from scraps and worn out stuff, all sewn by hand. The fabric lasted as long as the stitches.

  16. Raised in an Orange grove, CA. Our birds were all free range. We ate turkey eggs. Free range is better, can’t stand eggs from caged birds. I worked in an egg factory once. Worst time of my life, I quit after one month. We still have horses, tho, my old stallion is 37 years old, costs us $100 a month to keep his ribs covered.

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