Monday, January 25, 2016

My Birthday Wish List

          Here comes another birthday.  At my age birthdays zoom by faster than mile markers on an interstate.  I’ve never been one to putter along at the speed limit, so before I know it, there’s another candle on the birthday cake.
          Should you feel the need to wish me a happy birthday, here are a few do’s and don’ts.
          One, do send cash or gift cards.  Any denomination will do.  I have a healthy respect for money, both my own and that of others, so any form of moolah is appreciated.
          Don’t waste your money on anything else, especially if it has to be dusted or worn.  I abhor dusting, so anything that requires display or upkeep is a no-no, likewise with clothes.  I do not wear pink, ruffles, or spandex.  I look ghastly in anything from the “autumn palette,” and should you buy anything in my correct size, I will be forced to deny you guessed it right.
          I also suffer from lactose intolerance and cannot eat bananas or anything with brown sugar.  My IBS makes me less pleasant than I used to be.  
          So, it is best to stick with a gift card.
          Two, do lie to me.  When you send your wishes, be advised lying to me about my age is not a sin but a kindness.  Feel free to shower me with blatant charity about my age.  Yours will be a heavenly reward.
          Tell me how youthful I look for someone in her “fifties.”  (Any younger and I will suspect sarcasm is your motivation.) Ask about my anti-aging regimen since I do not look a day older since the last time you saw me.  Practicing in front of a mirror before we meet is a good idea.
          Never, ever, use the word “spry” in your birthday wish to me.  It is a nasty, little, four-letter word I have come to despise.
          Now that I have stolen your good will and cheer, now that I have completely discouraged you from coming near me on or around my birthday, please know that I wasn’t always this touchy and crotchety.
This isn’t really who I am.
          It’s those infernal birthday candles that keep growing in number on top of my cakes. It’s that old lady with gray hair and wrinkles who looks back at me in the bathroom mirror who is to blame.   

          It’s that constant reminder that I zoomed past my youth and the golden years, and I am racing toward the end zone. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Hate Mountain Cedar


My son and future daughter-in-law invited us to go see some cabins up in the Texas hill country. The campsite had a rustic, little gazebo that overlooked the valley and a lake below. They thought it would make a romantic, scenic spot to exchange wedding vows. 
We dressed nicely since we were going to meet her family for the first time, and we enjoyed the winding Sunday drive as we left behind San Antonio and approached the panorama of Canyon Lake. 
“Juniper trees,” said my husband as he parked the car.  “The place is covered in mountain cedar.”
I looked at a copse of trees.  They looked like Christmas firs, the kind one sees in cowboy movies or Little House on the Prairie.  A light breeze hit my face as I climbed out of the car. They did not look threatening at all but I knew my husband was allergic to mountain cedar.
“Will you be all right?”  I asked. He nodded.
HoneyBunch is one of the sturdiest men I know.  He is rarely sick. Few things affect him.
Except for Mountain Cedar. 
The fine, yellow pollen the trees give off during the winter months makes his eyes turn red and water.  They itch like fire.  His nose runs and he gets chills.  It knocks him off his feet and it is the only time of the year he will let me dose him with OTC meds - allergy pills twice a day.
We had to walk through the middle of the trees to go look at the cabins, the main hall, the gazebo.  We took pictures and everyone discussed the pros and cons of renting this place for the upcoming wedding.
My eyes started to burn.  My nose started to itch.  Both my eyes and nose started to water.  My husband warned me not to rub my eyes and to keep my hands away from my face.  Neither one of us had a tissue.  I swiped at my eyes with the long sleeve of my shirt and I heard my husband object but I ignored him.  I had tears and snot streaming down my face.
I was making a great first impression in front of the new in-laws.
A few minutes more of this suffering and I no longer cared about the discussion. I was blinded by the burning coals the blasted trees had poured into my eyes. I moaned to HoneyBunch and the kids that I needed to get away from the juniper.  I needed to get home.
I needed a tissue.  I needed a Zyrtec.  I needed out of this inferno. 
They wanted to go eat somewhere.  They wanted to go see another two possible venues. 
I wanted none of that.  Couldn’t they see I was dying?
Blinded by the pollen, I let HB lead me back to the car. He found me a wrinkled, fast food napkin I had stowed in the glove compartment. I moaned again, vowing to never, ever again go any place without a box of tissues in the car and a bottle of Zyrtec in my purse.   
Those harmless looking trees are sneaky little bastards and I think we should pull up every, single, evil, juniper and burn it at the stake. Downwind, of course.
That would show them who is boss of this ecosystem. (Don’t worry.  We could find a tree to replace it that wouldn’t send 80% of the population every year into allergic reactions.)

The kids chose a different venue for their wedding.  My allergic reaction had nothing to do with their decision, but had they ended up saying I Do among the junipers, I would have found a way to mainline Zyrtec.  At least my tears that day would be of joy and not because of mountain cedar.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions.


To charge not pass
To instigate not watch
To savor not nibble
To color not erase
To screech not whisper
To stare not blink
To listen not hear
To laugh not smile
To inhale not breathe

To Show Not Tell 

Monday, January 4, 2016

That One Holiday Relative No One Likes


You know who I am talking about: that one curmudgeon no one wants to sit next to at dinner or pick up at the air port or bunk with in the guest bedroom.  He (or she) never has a kind word, makes funny noises whether awake or asleep, and always wants his way.
The weather is too wet or dry or cold or hot.  The traffic goes to fast or too slow and where is everyone going? Don’t they know HE alone owns the right of way and everyone should slow down and move over to the right shoulder while he parades by?
The food never fits his diet, gives him gas, and tastes like slop. Everyone should wait on him, wait for him, or wait until he is finished speaking. No one else’s opinion matters, nor do their needs or feelings. 
If one must have children, they should be kept quiet and in the other room.  If one must marry, it should be only for the convenience of a personal valet, shopper, and maid. Spouses and children are only good to fetch and carry. Why else would one want one? Employees are always at his will.
If he has been coerced into picking up the tab at a restaurant or a hotel, he gripes and demands the best service but does not leave a tip, usually though he makes himself scarce when the bill has to be paid but only after he ordered the most expensive item on the menu and a few extra items a la carte.  
A smile, a kind word, or an expression of good manners would be out of the question.  His presence alone should be compensation enough. He insults everyone and everything around him, then wonders why everyone avoids him or brightens the moment he announces his departure. According to him, they are rude and selfish and stupid.
Thank goodness he has enough intelligence and charm to make up for their lack.