Sally in The MIX

Monday, January 16, 2017

Challenged by 40 Bags in 40 Days

Darling Daughter and Granddaughter have made a resolution, dang it! I had made a resolution to make no resolutions. But Darling Daughter and Granddaughter are hard to say “No!” to.

Darling Daughter texted one day, “40 Bags in 40 Days!”

“What are you talking about?” I wanted to know.

Darling Daughter explained. The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge is for hoarders, like she and I. Starting March 1, we have to pick one area in our homes, and declutter it. We have to get rid of one bag a day, for 40 days in a row. The diabolical inventor of this torment said on the internet that it is OK to get rid of two bags in one day, and take one day off.

Oh thanks!

Granddaughter jumped on that text-message bandwagon immediately. I waited a moment. Well, more than a moment. 40 Bags in 40 Days sounds like work to me. Maybe I could wait 40 days?

Here came another text. “Are you in?”

Hum. Does somebody I know and am related to want me to clean up the house and get rid of all that stuff I’ve been hoarding for 10 years, since I moved into my present abode? But I need all that stuff!

You know that old law that as soon as you throw something out, you need it!?! And there is all the stuff I need for my crafting. You know…that big basket of yarn so I can crochet everybody I know (that means everybody in the county) a hat. Or that huge stack of books I intend to read some day. Or all that drawing and painting stuff piled up in the corner because I love to draw and will someday learn how to paint horses. (And never mind that I have not an artist’s drop of blood in me!)

And then there is all that stuff my kids and grandkids have left with me for safe keeping. Son’s drums from high school? How can I get rid of those and never mind that he is now age 50 and said to “Sell those drums!”

Then there is Darling Daughter’s croquet and badminton set left with me for family cookout days. Well, I gotta’ keep that for goodness sakes. I love family cookout days.

And then there are son’s and grandson’s piles of clothing from before they joined the military and couldn’t get into now if they went on a year-long diet. Well, that stuff might go. But these belonged to my babies!

I mentioned this trauma-inducing challenge at a meeting recently and our good friend MaryLynn Lufkin from Catholic Charities Helping Center in Sallisaw tried to help. MaryLynn likes to help everybody.

“Bring it on down,” she said. “We’ll take it!”

Well, I’ve been promising to do that for years but have not been able to de-hoard myself yet. Maybe it’s time. Maybe I should take a tiny corner of my home every day and declutter it. I even downloaded and printed the organization list for the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. It’s on my desk somewhere, hiding among piles of recipes and crochet instructions.

I just had one more question for Darling Daughter.

“How big does that one bag have to be? Will a small plastic grocery bag be OK?”

She laughed at me and answered, “YES!”

Oh dang. I’ve got to de-clutter!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

No New Year’s Resolutions Please!

The New Year has never been one of my top 10 holidays to celebrate. I much prefer Christmas, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, my kids’ birthdays.

In fact, I have trouble staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. And the older I get, and I’m getting pretty old, the harder it is. I’m usually asleep by 10 p.m. and miss all the hullabaloo about a new year.

Age doesn’t have anything to do with New Year’s resolutions. I never made any resolutions cause I knew I’d never keep them past Jan. 2. I did look up a few resolutions on the ‘net to see who was doing what. They made me laugh because they are so un-keepable.

1. Give up chocolate. That’s a joke, right? That is NOT going to happen. Chocolate is good for you.

2. Spend less than an hour a day on the internet. What!?! Give up my lifeline to the rest of the world? No way!

3. Lose weight. At my age, who cares? Even my doctor agrees.

4. Not tell the same story over and over to my friends. Well, if they will just remind me that I’ve already told that story, once or twice or thrice, then I’ll shut up. It’s an age thing.

5. Write the great American novel. Hey! I’m working on it, OK?

6. Exercise. See #3.

7. Be positive and less sarcastic. Yeah, like that’s gonna’ last past Jan. 2.

8. Stop making lists. I cannot live without my lists. I make lists of my lists. It is impossible to grocery shop without a list. If I didn’t have my grocery list I would starve to death.

9. Learn another language. Why? English is hard enough.

10. Take a Senior Citizens class at the community college. Sounds good, but I would have to get up off that couch to do that.

11. Be financially responsible. Uh, where’s the fun in that?

12. Doctor the house cat for fleas at least once a week. No! That cat bites, and scratches, then messes with my computer, and calls me horrible cat names when I get out the flea spray.

13. Jump out of bed and get to work immediately. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! More coffee please.

14. Take a vitamin daily. Can’t remember what day it is, much less remember to take a vitamin. Don’t remember where I put them anyway.

15. Stop procrastinating. I’ll have to put that one off until tomorrow.

One writer refused to make a resolution because he/she “is already perfect.” I’m not perfect. I’m just sleepy and a bit tired. And I don’t want to make resolutions. They are so out of style.

Instead, for 2017, I will make wishes. I wish happiness and health for all my family, friends and those who deserve it. I wish to spend all my time with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are, of course, perfect.

And I wish the very best for all who visit (or don’t) here for 2017. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

‘God Bless Us, Every One’

Christmas is only a few days away, and along with this happy holiday come the holiday-related movies and television specials.

So it was that I watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” on TV. I watched them because there was nothing else to watch on TV and I’m not a satellite owner nor do I wish to be one. (Kids, do not put that on your list for mom.)

While the two classic Christmas tales reeled off one after the other, I think I was either trying to complete a Christmas do-it-yourself project, trying to figure out what gift I had bought for which grandchild, or searching my recipes trying to find those only made at Christmas. So I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, at first.

Then I found myself drawn into the tales. And at their conclusion I found myself terribly sad for some reason. This worried me for several hours. How could such happy, uplifting stories make me sad?

I finally came to the conclusion that there were no children watching with me. For nearly 20 years I had sat my three children down to watch both Rudolph and Frosty to foster the Christmas spirit or so I could go on to other Christmas pursuits. But once my children turned 13 or so, they usually abandoned Rudolph and Frosty for teenage attractions.

With those thoughts in mind, I realized this year that I was sad because I missed those days of being the mom of three kids. I missed trying to figure out what they wanted for Christmas that we could afford. I missed the Christmas shopping, the buying and the hiding of gifts, the Christmas school plays and programs, the staying up all night to wrap gifts, then being woken up after only an hours sleep by three kids who could not contain their excitement. I miss cooking a huge Christmas feast. Those days are long gone, even for my three children who are grandparents themselves now. I wonder if they miss those parenting Christmas days.

With that in mind, I went looking for old Christmas-themed movies to take my blues away. First, we will dispense with the ones I cannot even force myself to like. There will be no Elf, no Grinch, and no “Gremlins,” even though my kids thought that cute little critters that turned into demons at midnight were fantastic!

I will not watch any musical Christmas movies made in the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s, even though I love the song “White Christmas.” Too many silly love interests for me.

I want a happy, laugh-out-loud, Christmas. So I will watch “Home Alone,” (fall-down pranks make me laugh every time), “Christmas Vacation,” (otherwise known as what Christmas is really like with a crazy family), “Christmas with the Kranks,”(or what Christmas is really like with a loving family), “The Santa Clause”, (because nothing beats Tim Allen falling off a roof), and “A Christmas Story” (because I can’t tell you how many times my own mother said “You’ll shoot your eye out!”)

And when I am ready for an uplifting story I will go on to that greatest Christmas movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And then I will go outside and ring bells, because “Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

(That’s pretty bad when you can quote from a movie without even looking it up on Wikipedia!)

And then my heart and spirit will be back where it belongs, in the present with grand and great-grandchildren, and I will continue loving the memories and not be saddened by them.

So Merry Christmas, ring lots of bells, and as Tiny Tim might say, “And God bless us, every one.” And may your holiday have lasting, happy memories.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Merry Christmas Trees!

The magazine Good Housekeeping published a story this week on “20 Hilarious Christmas Tree Fails.” And I swear, every one of those fails has happened to me and my family.

The article begins with an illustration of Charlie Brown and his infamous Christmas tree, which is one of the best stories ever told. It’s sort of an ugly-duckling-to-swan story about a tree, but it’s really about Christmas in the heart. I love it so much, I have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which has few needles and is tiny. 

Next is a photo of a dog chasing the house cat up the Christmas tree. Anyone who has a house cat knows that as soon as the Christmas tree goes up, the cat will be in it. The cat will knock off only the breakable ornaments, will drink all the water in the tree stand, and will pee and poo in the Christmas tree skirt and on your wrapped gifts if you have been stupid enough to put them under the tree, with a cat in the house, like I am.

Up next is a photo of crooked tree. Is there such a thing as a straight Christmas tree? I’ve never had one, and have even had to, as the article suggests, tie the tree to the wall to keep it upright. Which didn’t work either.

TIMBER! The tree fell over. Well of course it did. The cat was in it and it wasn’t straight anyway. My most famous falling Christmas tree is on film for all posterity. Son received a camera for Christmas and daughter was opening a gift when the tree fell on top of her. “Take a photo son,” I advised. And so we have a photo of daughter, under tree, with only her legs sticking out.

All the needles fell off. All believers in real Christmas trees have this problem. That real tree goes up after Thanksgiving. The cat drank all the water in the tree stand. And the needle-less tree doesn’t come down till the New Year. I have actually found Christmas tree needles in the corners of the living room when vacuuming for the Fourth of July.

The Christmas tree has bugs. Trying to save money one year, my kids and I went to the woods, found a perfect cedar tree, cut it down (crooked of course) and put it up for Christmas. The next morning, all warmed up, that little cedar tree unleashed a million ticks on us. Never again!

Tree is too short, or too tall. I err on the too tall side, year after year after year. I‘ve had to apologize to husband and sons on several occasions and years because they had to cut the tree trunk off, again. One year they even had to cut the top off. One year we didn’t cut anything off, and had to climb a ladder to put the star top on. That was a beautiful Christmas tree. Then I made a mistake and turned the ceiling fan on.

Oops. Ceiling fans make good hedge trimmers too. And they can make your Christmas tree look like a hedge.

The tree is my favorite Christmas decoration. And may all your Christmas trees be happy, or at least memorial like mine.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tales of a Christmas Shopper

Christmas shopping is one of my favorite past-times.

Shopping is my favorite hobby, but add that I’m buying for 10 great-grandkids, four grandkids, and my wonderful three children, and I’m in heaven.

I love it so much, I start on Dec. 26 every year for next year.

Unfortunately, that may lead to problems. One year I asked Granddaughter how she liked her new talking teddy bear.

“What talking teddy bear?” she wanted to know.

Oops. After I finally found that teddy bear where I had hidden it in the spare bedroom closet, and promptly forgotten it, Granddaughter got it for her next birthday.

With that incident firmly in memory, I rummaged through the Christmas stash this past weekend to make sure everything was accounted for.

Oops. Well, I don’t remember buying all those remote-control cars, and I’m not sure what Great-grandson is going to do with all them. He’s going to have to share with the other great-grandkids. And I didn’t even make it all the way through the stash. I hope I don’t find any other surprises.

Hoping I am not the only forgetful shopper, I went shopping on the internet for more fun Christmas shopping stories. Hope they make you laugh too. It’s the only way to survive the season.

-From one foolish shopper who ventured out on Black Friday: “The holiday season officially starts on the last Friday in November, when the first shopper is trampled at Walmart.”

-“Dad gave Mom a DVD last year. DVDs are great gifts, except, (a) it was a rental, and b) we don’t have a DVD player.”

-Grandpa decided that shopping for Christmas gifts had become too difficult. So he decided to send each of his grandchildren a check for Christmas. On each card he wrote “Merry Christmas from Grandpa. P.S. Buy your own gift.” Grandpa had a good time at the family Christmas celebration, but wondered why his grandchildren seemed a little distant. It worried him into the New Year, or until he moved a stack of magazines and found a pile of checks, all made out to his grandchildren. They were the gifts he’d forgotten to put in their Christmas cards.

Twitter Tales:

-“Went online to get the kids' Christmas gifts and an hour later all I ordered was a really funny coffee mug for myself.”

-“Wife and I agree about not giving son too many Christmas gifts, but I still sneak him a few a couple of days later so he'll like me more.”

-“For Christmas I gave my kids' teachers grocery store gift cards along with a map of the quickest route to the liquor aisle.”

-“I am trusting my kids pay no attention to the 84 empty Amazon boxes stacked in plain sight in the garage that showed up right before Christmas.”

-“On the 13th day of Christmas my true love said to me, ‘I think I might be a hoarder.’”

And may you all have a happy shopping season too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Thank You to the Young

As a mother and a grandmother for over 50 years, I have noticed that kids are sometimes wiser than we adults. And they are a whole lot more fun.

That’s why I offer the following kids’ thanks for Thanksgiving. They make me laugh and be happy, for which I am thankful.

-“I would like to thank everyone for everything.” Tom, age 4

-“I am thankful for my mommy, my daddy, my sister, my brother, and horses.” Emily, age 8

-“I am thankful for my hamster who makes my sister gag when I forget to clean out the cage.” Harry, age 6

-“I am thankful for my brother when he has to go to summer camp.” Suzie, age 4

-“I’m thankful for my right hand because my left hand sucks at writing.” Brant, age 5

-“I am thankful for everything good – and bad – that has ever happened to me. The good makes the bad OK and the bad isn’t really bad because there is so much good. So maybe I’m really just thankful for the good since there really isn’t any bad. Ugh. I’ve confused myself.” Kenzie, age 9

-“I am thankful that I love everyone in our family, and they love me too.” Lizzy, age 8

-“I’m thankful for Fridays because I don’t have to do any homework.” Steven, age 10

-“I’m thankful for my whole family, dolphins, pandas and snow.” Sophia, age 5

-“I’m thankful for strawberries.” Quinn, age 2 (A child after my own heart.)

-“I’m thankful for trumpets. I’m thankful for numbers. I’m thankful that I am eating. I’m thankful for water. I’m thankful for cups. And for pouring down the faucet.” Bodhi, age 3

-“I’m thankful for air because it keeps us alive.” Levi, age 6

-“I’m thankful for Mommy, apples and pears.” Ellis, age 3

-“I’m thankful for rainbows because they have lots of color.” Sadie, age 5

-“I’m thankful for the world because I like living on it.” John, age 5

-“I’m thankful for all the colors because they help us paint and draw.” Page, age 6

-“I’m thankful for the smell of my grandma’s chicken soup.” Casey, age 7

-“I’m thankful for my mommy who takes care of me when I’m sick and my daddy who is really smart.” Andy, age 5

-“I’m thankful for sunshine because it makes me smile and makes things grow.” Angel, age 6

-“I’m thankful for my blanket because it keeps me warm.” Loren, age 6

-“I’m thankful for the maple tree in my backyard and my pet fish because he makes me comfortable. Nick, age 5

-“I’m thankful for the smell of lavender in my garden.” Abby, age 7

-“I’m thankful for the earth because we don’t have to wear spacesuits to walk on it.” Colton, age 7

-“I’m thankful for my family because I really like them.” Jade, age 5

-“I’m thankful for the sound of a song.” Andrea, age 6

-“I’m thankful for moms and dads because if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be alive.” Allie, age 7

And I’m thankful for the wisdom of the young.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Words from the Wise on Politics

Vote! Vote! Vote!

I believe in voting. It’s the American way. I also believe in keeping my mouth shut, and my laptop closed, when it comes to talking about the candidates. But I still want to talk about the election.

So what does one do?

I went looking for our own late, great observer of the political scene – Will Rogers. This wise man still makes me laugh out loud.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the great Will Rogers:

-“There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it's not a tie, for we couldn't go through with this thing again.”

-“I'm not a member of any organized political party.... I'm a Democrat.”

-“A fool and his money are soon elected.” 

-“What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.”

-“If you ever injected truth into politics you’d have no politics.”

-“Congress is so strange; a man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees.”

-“We cuss Congress, and we joke about 'em, but they are all good fellows at heart, and if they wasn't in Congress, why, they would be doing something else against us that might be even worse.”

-“It's getting so if a man wants to stand well socially, he can't afford to be seen with either the Democrats or the Republicans.”

-“Elections are a good deal like marriages. There's no accounting for anyone's taste. Every time we see a bridegroom we wonder why she ever picked him, and it's the same with public officials.”

-“You know Lincoln's famous remark about ‘God must have loved the common people, because he made so many of them?’ Well, you are not going to get people's votes nowadays by calling ‘em common. Lincoln might have said it, but I bet it was not until after he was elected.”

-“We always want the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs.”

-“This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.”

-“Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians, and I like to watch both of 'em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they've been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington.” 

-“And, when the votes are counted, let everybody, including the candidates, get into a good humor as quick as they got into a bad one.”

-“So cheer up. Let's all be friends again. One of the evils of democracy is you have to put up with the man you elect whether you want him or not. That's why we call it democracy.”

-“This would be a great world to dance in if we didn't have to pay the fiddler.”

-“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

I am taking Mr. Rogers’ advice, and shutting up with only one or two last words – Go Vote!