Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve a good day to skip reading the newspapers.
Why?  Because today is Annual Look Back Day.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would read that kind of article.

"It's so much fun.  Let's all look back!" 

Who died in 2014?  Gotta keep up with the dead guys.  It's so embarrassing when you think somebody's dead and he's still alive.  And I always think people are dead.  I know Abe Vigoda is still alive- glad we got that one ironed out!- but otherwise I tend to get a little confused.

Then there's Obamacare.  Let's look back on how Obamacare came to be.  On second thought, let's not. Let's concentrate on praying the Supreme Court throws the damn thing out next year.

Grubergate?  That can be kind of fun to contemplate this New Year's Eve.  Mostly because just the fact that I am not him, or related to him, gives me a sense of profound peace.  Desperate Irish Housewife may have her failings, but being Jonathon Gruber is not among them.  Thanks, God!

Celebrity weddings?   Yawn.  Get back to me after 30 years together, Mr and Mrs. Clooney.  Maybe then you'll have some interesting thoughts.

Celebrity divorces?  Isn't that half the reason they get married in the first place?  Twice the ink, baby.  Twice the ink.

Sure, there were plenty of genuine tragedies.  Murdered cops, murdered children... plenty of reasons to lie awake at night.  Here's a tip:  keep your rosary handy on your nightstand.  That way at three in the morning  you can actually do something for those poor people.

No, I think I'll skip the papers this morning.  Maybe tomorrow, too.  I don't want to read any articles about how nobody keeps their New Year's Resolutions, either.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Feast of Stephen

So!  How was everybody's Christmas?

We mixed it up a little this year.  For the first time in I don't know how many years we decided not to go to the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve.  Rumor had it a bishop was going to show up and you know what that means:  A looooooong sermon.  And we just weren't feeling up to it.

We did observe our Christmas Eve tradition of going out for Chinese food.  This was also a little different this year.  I should have been suspicious when I was able to get a reservation a little too easily.  We sat down at our table at 6:30, just as agreed, a server took our order and then said, "You do know it's going to be an hour and fifteen minutes before the food is ready, right?"

He wasn't kidding.  Note to self:  try another restaurant next year.  Make the reservation weeks earlier.  And make sure the place has a full bar.  That would definitely have come in handy the other night.

My daughter and I hit the 11 am Mass on Christmas morning while the spouse stayed home with a fever. (Hey, it's Christmas, somebody has to be sick, right?)  Completely different crowd from the Vigil Mass.  I hardly knew anyone there.  Out of town relatives, maybe?  People who only come to church on Christmas?  No way to be sure.  But I did learn another thing:  the last mass of Christmas can be kind of relaxing.  After vigil masses and midnight masses and masses at dawn, everyone is too exhausted to go overboard.  And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

FROM St. Peter's Complaint, 1595      
By Robert Southwell

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How Irish Is This?

My father had a health crisis last week.  He is 86 and was hospitalized for - well no one was sure at the time.  They thought at first he'd had a stroke.

It turned out that what he had was some kind of simple viral infection.  In a younger person it would have been a cold.  At 86 it was enough to send him into a tailspin

He is fine now, and back home after 2 nights in the hospital.  His only complaint now is visitors.

"I know what they're all thinking," he told me over the phone.  "They're thinking, Jeez. poor guy, he's had the course.  Better go see him now before he buys the farm.  It's so annoying."

We initially thought we should drive to the Est Coast to see my dad, but after that conversation I realized if we did, my father would add us to the list of "people who think the poor guy is dying."

So we are staying put for Christmas.  We will plan a Spring Break trip to New York, though.  Sneak up on him.  "Hey, we didn't come to see you, we came to see, uh, a play or something."

That will work, I am sure of it.

I'm glad we are Irish, but man, sometimes, it's too much.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Movie NIght?

The daughter finishes her final exams today, and that means one thing:  movie night!

I've put off watching any Christmas movies until the last week of Advent.  This was dumb since it means I missed TNT's broadcast of "The Lemon Drop Kid" starring Bob Hope which I've never seen and can't find on video.  Note to self:  pay more attention toe TV schedules next Advent.

But tonight all that changes.  I have Netflix, I have DVDs--what could go wrong?

This:  apparently we now have to consult North Korean butcher Kim Jong Un on what moves we can watch.
Turns out he's touchy about movies.  So thinkg twice, America, before you settle in with the eggnog and enjoy a holiday flick.

"Elf."  A movie about short people.  Short.  As in, Aren't all Asians....?
GASP!  Out it goes.  So sorry, Dear Leader!  Never again, I promise!

"Miracle on 34th Street."  About Santa as a mental patient.  Just like that lunatic who's running North--OH NO!  I DIDN'T MEAN THAT!  HONEST!

"A Christmas Carol."  One rich man lives in comfort while all around him people are sick and starving OH MY GOD!!  HIDE, EVERYONE!  HIDE!

Oh dear God.  That was close.  Better scratch Christmas Movie Night this year, maybe watch some reruns of "Law and Order" where- Americans have the balls to put bad guys where they belong-


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fear the Hacker!

LOS ANGELES — Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday dropped plans for its Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” a movie that depicts the assassination of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after receiving a terror threat against theaters.  (New York Times)

HELL- "I don't know why I never thought of that,"  Satan, in a rare interview, discussed the Sony decision.  "And I'm a little ticked off at Kim, too.  I thought he and I were buddies.  But he comes up with a gem like this and doesn't think to share it with me first?  I'm gonna remember that.

"Ok, well, granted, some of the pictures I wish I could have pulled predate my favorite dictator.  'The Exorcist,' for instance.  Look what that sucker did to the sale of Ouija Boards!  And all of a sudden everyone's believing in me again.  I spend centuries convincing them I don't exist, and boom!  all that work goes out the window in one screening.  I had to start all over again.  It's a lot of work, you know?

"End of Days.  That turkey with what's-his-name, Arnold.  It made me look ridiculous!  One little terror threat and bingo, Universal would have caved.  You know it's still out there on DVD?  Sure, watch the damn thing.  Go ahead and laugh.  I'll be taking names.

"And remember Devil's Advocate?  Al Pacino made me look like a moron, sticking my finger into holy water fonts just to see the water bubble.  Hey, news flash, Al- you ever see The Exorcist?  They use holy water to run me out of town.  Everybody knows that.

"Seriously, I am going to get into the computer hacking game.  If Kim can do it, well, I taught the kid practically everything he knows, I ought to be able to mess with Hollywood's emails.  I've already got half their souls right here, baby.  Emails are nothin' compared to that."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Heightism Straight Up

Michelle Obama recently complained that once when she was in a Target store, some woman had the nerve to ask her to get something down from a shelf.

Mrs. Obama, who is 5'11, relates the story here:

"This kind of thing happens in America every day,"  she told DIH.  "Really, it's a national disgrace."

"Tall women are constantly being subjected to heightism," Rev. Al Shrimpton added.  "'Get me this.' 'Get me that.' 'How's the weather up there?' Where is the outrage?  Where are the protestors?  And where the hell are the stepladders- can't people just use a stepladder?"

"Mrs. Obama is First Lady of the United States," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today.  "That some shopper had the nerve to ask her to reach something, well, it's- um, nervy.  The First Lady has more important things to reach for than a box of Root Touch-Up."

"She should've dropped it on the little runt's head!" Venus Williams, at 6'1", says she's had similar experiences.  "I took my niece's kindergarten class to an apple orchard once.  Can you believe some of those kids wanted me to pick them an apple from the top of the tree?  Obviously they're being raised to believe this kind of thing is completely normal."

Blogger Desperate Irish Housewife, 5'2, has issued an apology to the First Lady on behalf of all short women.  "'Petite Privilege has no place in America,"  she said today.  "We the five- foot- four- and- unders deplore that shopper's lack of sensitivity.  Tall women face serious obstacles today.  Low ceilings, short pants, and of course there's no such thing as free alterations.  We are glad the First Lady has brought the public's attention to this important issue.  We applaud her bravery as well as her height.  And we urge her not to give up the fight for height equality. Stand tall, Mrs. O! Keep looking down on the rest of us!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tree Stall

This year I decided to be smart and order my Christmas tree online.  I di dhtis because for some reason I just couldn't face buying one at Home Depot or Costco this year.  I don't mind buying the tree.  It's getting it into the car and out of the car and into the house and into the stand.  That was the deciding point for me.

So, I ordered a tree.  It came.  Gorgeous. Perfect shape, fresh. lovely.

I had paid extra so that the guy who delivered it would also put it into its stand (purchased form teh same company).  This part was news to him, but he was happy to oblige.

Two days later I think, That tree is drying out.

I call the company.  Turns out Delivery Guy was supposed to saw off the end of the stem before putting it in the stand.  He didn't.

Don't worry, said the Tree Lady.  We'll send another tree, we'll do it right this time.  And we]ll take the old one away.  Can you leave it outside?

So -- the best laid plans and all that- I wrestle the tree out of the stand and drag it outside.
The next day I find a new tree on my porch.  And the old one still lying there.

Long story short: thanks to a friend who seems to be  a Tree Rescuer , I now have two trees.

I thought it would be nice to have two trees, one in the porch so I can see it when I'm coming in the back door, one in the living room so I can see it from the sidewalk.  That part is, indeed, very nice.

But between the hassling and the wrestling and the "is-it-straight-oh-god-I-hate-this-part," followed by the "we- don't- have- any- lights, what- do -you -mean- we- don't- have- any- lights, I -mean- none- of- our- old- ones- work- so- now- someone- has- to- go- to -Home- Depot- after- all- oh- surprise- surprise- that's- me,"  plus the "you-know-we've-never-had-two-trees-maybe-that's- why-we-only-have-enough-ornaments-for-one -tree,"

Between all that my tree decorating is stalled.  I got the lights on them last week. But no developments since.
I gotta rev up my holiday spirit.  It seems to be fading fast this year.

One Last Walk?

I took my labrador for a walk around the lake yesterday.  I was determined to do this, since according to the weather forecast yesterday had the last decent weather we'll see for a  while.  Which is to say it was 40 degrees and foggy.  Today we have 25 and light snow- still mild by Minnesota standards, but not by mine.
I have two dogs.  The lab, Bella, is around ten years old, we think- she's a rescue so we're not sure when she was born.  The other dog, Mitzi, is a chihuahua mix, we think part min-pin.  The lab is a sweetheart.  Mitzi is ferocious.
I don't take Mitzi for walks very often.  I figure she gets plenty of exercise digging under the fence and bolting whenever she can.  Bella does her share of bolting too, of course- her previous owner gave her up because he was sick of picking her up at the city shelter and paying her fines.  But she has a badly arthritic knee so I try to keep her exercise as regular as possible.
There is a purely selfish motive in all this, of course.  I bought myself a pedometer a few weeks ago.  I heard  somewhere that if you walk 20,000 steps a day you can drop a few pounds in weeks.
 I think I may have actually made 20K once.  Hard to tell since my pedometer has this annoying tendency to shut itself off in my pocket. It's like it's reading my mind.  "Oh come on, Desperate, you seriously thinkg you're going to hit 20K today?  Give me a break.  I'm going back to zero."
Technology is not my friend.
Now we have fresh snow on the ground.  Bella would love a chance to go out on the leash once more.  Unfortunately the wind is picking up and the weather is going to feel even more rotten than it looks in a little while.
Maybe I'll take the dog for a drive.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Dont' you love a feast day int he middle of a penitential season?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Flu Day 2

The daughter has the flu.  She is miserable.  But we both agree, better her than her dad.  That would be a lot harder to take.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Sugar Plums

I should have known.  Yesterday was our parish's annual "Sugar Plum Days" event.  the ladies of hte Altar and Rosary Society hawk Christmas cookies and evergreen wreaths in the church basement after Mass, St Nicholas shows up and distributes chocolates, and the next day, you guessed it, half the kids in the parish come down with the first flu of the season.

Or at least mine did.  But given how many of her friends she hugged and took selfies with, I'm guessing there'll be a few more casualties before too long. Oh how the other moms will thank me.

So daughter home sick and miserable.  How can I bring Christmas cheer to our abode?

I thought I might start stringing the lights on the tree  But here's the truth:  Stringing lights?  Not my strong suit.  Actually nothing involving a sense a balance is my strong suit.  To say nothing of anything that requires balancing while standing on a ladder.

I could continue addressing Christmas cards.  I did all the "Merry Christmas" ones last week.  Now I'm down to the "Seasons Greetings" set.  This could be a little tricky as the only cards I have left have pictures of St Patrick's Cathedral on them.  I'm  thinking I could get a metallic marker and point out the corner of Saks across the street. Everybody likes Saks.  They have great Christmas- uh, holiday window displays.

In other news, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of  "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."  In honor of the anniversary I bought my husband a Wally the Moose glass. Last night we broke it in with a couple of eggnogs.  With a little splash of rum, of course.  And a scrape of nutmeg.

Which is sounding good right about now.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Five Star Christmas Tree

But first, what say we all take the Christmas Season Laziness Test?

Question #1.  You are giving a holiday party.  Do you ignore wine with corks, and buy only bottles with screw-off tops?
Question #2.  On the subject of exterior lighting- do you hang lights along the roof line, or is one lighted wreath on the door enough of a statement?
Question #3.  Holiday baking.  Do you try out the tempting new recipes that won this year's newspaper Cookie Contest or do you stick with the same ones you've been making for years- you know, the one you can practically make in your sleep?
Question #4.  On Christmas cards.  Do you buy only the ones that say "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays," not just because "HH" is bs but because you don't want to have to add "Merry Christmas" in handwriting to every damn card?

If you answered "yes" to the above questions, congratulations!  You are every bit as lazy as Desperate herself.  This is a classy club, people.  Wear your badge with pride.

The reason I bring this all up is I have received my Christmas tree.  This year, for the first time, actually ordered it online.

Why, you ask?  Because Desperate is done with buying the tree from the lot, bribing someone into loading it into her car, and dragging it out of the car, into the house and then spending a perilous hour trying to get the damn thing to stand up straight in the tree stand.  Oh, and with cleaning al the little needles out of the car before they harden into tiny spikes and make their way to the driver's seat where they lie in wait to bite her in the butt.
No.  This year, Desperate said to herself, all that fun is OVER.

Anyway I found this company online called Five Star Christmas Trees.  You give them money, they bring you a tree. You give them a little more money and they'll even set it up in its stand for you.  In a fraction of the time it would have taken me to do it, of course.  These guys are pros.

On Monday a man showed up at my door with what looked like one of those tall, skinny cypress trees you see in Tuscan landscapes.  "Give it a couple of hours,"  he said, "it just has to loosen up a bit."

Well.  The next morning the tree was gorgeous.  Full, not a bare patch anywhere, perfectly shaped, just beautiful.  I was thrilled.  I still am thrilled, with the tree.

The trouble is the company keeps sending me confirmation notices.  "Your tree has been delivered!"  I get why they do this. It's good business practice.  I respect that. But as of this writing-- I am not exaggerating- FSTC has sent me over one hundred "confirmation" notices.

At first I thought it was my fault. Maybe they were waiting for a "thank you."  So, I sent them an email.  "Thanks for the tree, I love it, it's beautiful," yadda yadda.

"You're welcome!"  they emailed back.  "Enjoy your Five Star Christmas Tree!"

But that wasn't the end. Within minutes a dozen more "Your tree has arrived!" notices cropped up in my mailbox.  It's like the Sorcerer's Apprentice is their IT guy or something.  Now I'mnot sure what to do.  I've already begged them to stop.  But they are unstoppable.

Bottom line is, if you want a tree without the hassle of either lugging one home from a tree lot or dragging ye olde fake tree out of your attic, Five Star will deliver a honey of a tree.  Whether or not your email program will survive the experience I can't say.

CORRECTION:  I take it back.  Five Star has nice trees but atrocious customer service. They screwed up the installation of the first tree, promised a second one and then just dumped it on my porch.  I can't get it into the stand.  So it will probably die too.