Tag Archives: family

My Perfect Game

This won’t mean a lot to most of you out there, but this weekend the Detroit Tigers clinched their first division title since 1987, and their first American League Central title ever.

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It’s kind of a big deal.

But don’t worry. This post isn’t going to be filled with statistics and names of men being (over)paid to play a boy’s sport or ridiculous metaphors about the game that I’ve loved all my life. If you don’t love baseball, you certainly won’t love my explanation of why I do. If you do love baseball, you don’t need it. 

But for me, it’s more than a game.

It’s remembering summers by games that were played and the sensory clues I still find—the crack of the bat, the stitch on a ball, the smell of the grass in the field. It’s looking forward to spring training in the dead of winter when every other joy seems frozen beneath layers of ice and of snow.

It’s being able to identify players by their batting stance or jersey number and feeling an instant connection with a complete stranger when I see them wearing a shirt with the old English “D.”

tigers

It’s a simple game—a bat and a ball—but it can unite a city, a state, a family—with one swing of that bat or one pitch of that ball. It can make grown men cry, and sometimes, even a 30-year-old woman who usually one cries for road kill and good food spilled on the floor.

For me, it’s my escape.

Sports in general afford me the opportunity to forget about the mundane concerns of everyday life for a while and to spend an unpredictable amount of time with others who take pleasure in enjoying a similar break. It’s a reminder that I can still feel excited about something when a lot of the time I’m just numb.

For me,  it’s family.

It’s a 90-year-old woman who can’t always remember who I am, but will tell me about a game in 1948 with a clarity time hasn’t stolen quite yet.

Some days the games are all foreign to her and she couldn’t care less if one’s on. Some days watching the game with her takes me right back to being sprawled on her living room floor as a kid, watching each game on mute while Ernie Harwell came through on the radio (but not lying underneath the ceiling fan, as I was warned the goddamn thing would inevitably fall on me and crush me to death. Fuzzy memories.)

Because while I joke about her and there are still good times, the bad days outnumber the good by a lot. But on those good days, baseball bridges a gap as we talk of the games and the team. It’s tradition and memories tied up with box scores and hopefulness mixed in with stats.

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From this year’s Opening Day to where we are now, this season has felt somewhat special. And despite my promise not to wax eloquently with corny language, I guess I can’t help it. Sure, it’s a “pastime,” but it’s my favorite way to pass that time.

For me, it’s more than a game.

It’s my perfect game.

I have baseball and sports, but what’s your “thing,” so to speak? What are you unapologetically passionate about and have never grown tired of?

Everything Must Go!

Summer is winding down, which means garage sale season is winding down as well. I don’t know how it is where you live, but it seems I can’t drive 100 feet without seeing a cardboard sign with an arrow pointing me towards the sale of the century each weekend. 

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Before I get into the rest of this post, let’s pause and talk about these garage sale signs.

Two tips:

  1. People are driving by, meaning they won’t read the paragraph you write in 12 pt. font with a pencil on a piece of cardboard. Use bright colors and the word “Sale.” You’re not pitching a screenplay. You’re selling crap.
  2. Make sure you spell things correctly. If I see a sign that says “Hudge  Sale” as I did a couple weeks ago, I will assume that a dictionary is not among your offerings and will only stop to edit your sign and judge you.

Let’s move on. 

If you’ve never actually put on a garage sale yourself and tried to convince people they need to buy the crap you just don’t want, allow me to clue you in as to just how much fun they can be. I conducted a yard sale myself  a couple years ago around this time and feel I’ve recovered enough to talk about my experience.

The Night Before: You stay up late making tiny price tag stickers for all the junk you’re hoping people will buy. It’s early in the game, so you’re psychotically optimistic, calculating the total value of your “inventory” at slightly over $5,000, give or take what you can get for those old curtains that came with the house you found stored in the attic. 

6: 30 AM The garage sale is scheduled to begin at 8 am, but a woman pounds on your door and tell you she “likes to get an early start.”  When you walk outside to let her “window shop,” you notice that not only is the summer weather unpredictably cold and rainy, but that there are five other cars in your driveway.

6: 35 AM One of those cars is your crazy uncle—a black belt in flea markets, weekend auctions and roaming the beach with a metal detector—who is there to help manage the situation. He immediately lays claim to a yard tool he forgot he gave you last week.

9:30 AM You’ve sold a few things, but are already annoyed with the fact that everything isn’t sold and you’re not counting your riches. A shopper offers you a dollar for your lawnmower that is brand new and not for sale.

You ask him to leave.

10 AM You look for your uncle and find him drinking Busch Light in a can and offering extras to shoppers for $1 a piece. He tells you he has sold three beers. At 10 AM.

Noon: You leave the operation in the hands of your uncle/concession seller and go inside to get some lunch. A stranger knocks on your back door and asks to try on some T-shirts for sale, and another wants to know if you have “weenies to go with the beer.”

You ask them to leave.

12:30 PM When you return to the sale, you find your uncle slightly manic because he has sold a shovel, a set of garden tools and a hose for 50 cents each. You tell him that they weren’t for sale in the first place. He replies that he wondered why there were no price tags.

You ask him to leave. Of course, he won’t.

2 PM A group of college boys will stop by and start trying on some of your clothes in the driveway, conducting their own drag queen fashion show. Your mom will attempt to stuff dollar bills into their bejeweled belts (priced at 50 cents) and your uncle will offer them beer.

They are cute. You will not ask them to leave. In fact, you will give them the clothes, a few other items and several pathetic come-hither stares.

2:30 PM You decide things are taking entirely too long and start drastically slashing prices like an overzealous mattress salesman who does his own commercials. In fact, you just start giving stuff away and find that’s entirely more fun, especially because it pisses off your crazy neighbor lady who is trying to sell a holographic palm tree for $50.

4 PM You’re done. You’ve given almost everything away. It’s hard to know what your take is for the day, because at some point your uncle  apparently sold the cash box. However, you find a dollar your mom dropped during the impromptu frat boy fashion show and seek out your uncle, who is digging through your “crap I’m throwing away” pile.

4:05 PM You buy a beer. 

4:06 PM You vow never to do this again.

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Word to Your Mother

Although my mom often advised me NOT to go with the crowd (unless they were going somewhere cool), I am going to join the rest of the world in wishing my mom a Happy Mother’s Dayelectronically and through food.

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Two generations of trouble and a whole lot of love.

I’ve written about my mom on here before, so if you are late to the game, please take a minute to read it. I’ve also written about my grandma numerous times, so if you are late to the game, she’ll probably kick your ass.

At any rate, my mom doesn’t want to do anything today but relax in the sunshine, watch the game and enjoy some beer and cupcakes. More people should go with that crowd.

annemom

Word to my mother, indeed.

Opening Day Senior Moments

Today we will be moving from dining room drama to Opening Day of baseball season in the activity room.

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Gram in her throne pre-game.

If you know anything about me or my family—I tend to overshare here—you know that there are no bigger sports fans than me, my mom and my grandma (G.) Needless to say,  I am super excited that baseball season has started, and considering I don’t get excited about much other than food, sunshine and sleeping—preferably in the sunshine—this shows the magnitude of my love of the game.

And much like the bump on my nose, the love of the game is genetic.

Even though she can’t remember what day it is, G can tell you who played first base in 1968 and who pitched the third game of the World Series. This is the woman who Ernie Harwell knew by name at the games and who kept a mini souvenir Tiger bat under the seat of her Cadillac to ward off hoodlums that drove white vans with no windows.

So per tradition, I took the afternoon off of work to watch the game with mom and G. While we didn’t get to raise the Tiger flag outside as we had year’s before or hang up the banner in her room (damn fire code), we still had our own little watch party.

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We pimped G’s ride.

At first it was just the three of us. Then another resident got wheeled in, then another, then another until there were close to 10 residents and a few nurses—all women—watching the game.

It wasn’t like being at the ballpark or at a sport’s bar, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—especially for me, considering my desire for social interaction is limited to the clerk at the grocery store.

A quick recap:

  • The crowd was comparably demure, most likely due to overmedication and not overconsumption of $8 beer. There was the occasional “whoop!” from me and mom (normal, but in a much more reserved fashion,) a “Come on my little sweetheart” or “Goddamn bum” from G (depending on the situation) and random bodily noises from various other residents (normal, but in a much less reserved fashion.)
  • My attempts at the wave were not well-received, or even noticed, as far as I could tell.
  • Stadium blankets were not needed, but quilted afghans were placed on the laps of all residents in attendance—despite the fact that it felt like an 85 degree day in that room.
  • There were no $5 hot dogs or nachos to buy, but the nurse did come around at snack time with her cart of assorted juices and munchies—free! Mom supplied the Cracker Jacks, a single box of which contained exactly three peanuts and one tattoo among the popcorn.

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Gram got tatted up while eating the peanuts.

  • Although a resident did have her “baby” (doll) with her as usual, there were no screaming children and no tantrums due to cotton candy sugar highs or the denial of overpriced souvenirs. My kind of kid.
  • Due to their decreasingly slow reaction times, my efforts to circulate a beach ball through the “stands” was less than successful—even more so than the wave.
  • However, the seventh inning stretch included a rousing round of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that Harry Caray would have been proud of.
  • We had no streakers, but Geraldine did fly by the TV in her wheelchair numerous times throughout the game. She tends to cover a lot of ground when she’s on a mission, which is apparently all of the time.
  • Finally, when the game was over, there were no crowds of people to wade through or traffic jams to battle. In fact, considering that most of the residents weren’t aware that the game was actually over and were nodding off due to the post-lunch pre-nap nap they are accustomed to, they didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere.

So even though it’s possible this was a closing chapter on our Opening Day tradition, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I take that back.

The Tigers could have won and saved us from the post-game overanalysis of a certain 89-year old woman convinced she would have led the team to victory, but then again, it was just another Senior Moment.

And she was quickly distracted with a chocolate bar.

Let the games begin.

Senior Moments

Contrary to popular belief, I actually have quite a few friends.

True, most of them don’t remember my name five minutes after I talk (loudly and repeatedly) to them. They often can’t fend for themselves in basic ways — food, drinks, the bathroom — and concern about personal appearance (and unfortunately in some cases, personal hygiene) is virtually non-existent.

While I realize this could probably describe a majority of people I went to college with, I am actually referring to the senior citizens under 24-hour medical care at my grandma’s senior community/residential/hospital facility. That sounds formal, so we’ll just go with old people.

They don’t mind when I say that, and if they do, they’ll forget five minutes later anyway.

I’ve talked about the relationship between my mom, my grandma and me before, so we won’t bring that back up. But if you’re just joining us, we’re pretty close—three generations of Polish snark not lacking authenticity or attitude—for better or for worse. My mom goes to see her every day and I generally go around her suppertime a few times a week.

The dining room is where our adventures will take us today.

Fill a dining room with 25 old people, dementia, 20 wheelchairs, chair alarms, oxygen tanks, “clothing protectors (bibs), dietary restrictions and no verbal filter within a 50-foot radius and you have yourself a reality show that will never be made, although perhaps it should.

So until I figure out how to add a few midgets, a cake competition or a rehabbing D-list celebrity to the mix to entice TLC to pick it up, I thought I would share a few observations and snippets of conversation from the last week alone.

*There’s no way I could ever touch on the genius that is my grandma, so she is mostly excluded from these examples. However, she makes an appearance. In fact, she always makes an appearance.

oldfolksSexIn reference to his hot dog dinner, 85-year old Leon will proclaim that his “wiener is limp.” His wife will reply with, “It has been for years, but I stuck around anyway.” True love.

*Every time Leon asks to be wheeled back to his room before anyone else, Gram interjects (from her wheelchair) with “There goes the president. Big Shit McGee.”

At the same table, Richard took a moment to educate us on the fact that the president has decided to let everyone smoke marijuana legally now. This is not really groundbreaking news for Richard though, as apparently he has been smoking marijuana since the war and shared that it tends to make him paranoid.

*At which point Gram looked at me and said, “He’s not paranoid. We do all want him to shut his goddamn mouth.”

There was a minor incident when Richard “allegedly” left the table without properly saying goodbye to Chet. Chet announced he would not be talking to Richard tomorrow and proceeded to steal a tater tot from Richard’s plate.

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*A tater tot was later thrown across the room in a rather impressive arc given the waning athletic abilities of the elderly. I am not accusing anyone…Chet.

Carrots were the topic of ridicule and disgust one evening, as they were proclaimed to be “disgusting rabbit food,” “orange crap” and “shit I wouldn’t feed a dead dog” by three separate women.

*Keep in mind that at least one of these women is still of the mind that if meat is cooked, it no longer has to be refrigerated. Ever. In fact, it can be left out directly in the sun.

Mashed up pills are mixed in with pudding. Mashed up pills mixed in with pudding are spit out, most likely by the same resident(s) that will wait with bated breath for the metal dessert cart to be wheeled into the dining room. If there is no pudding, chaos may ensue.

Back at Gram’s table, Margarite will eat four bites of her dinner before dozing off and knocking her oxygen tube out of her nose, waking her up just in time for dessert. She never misses dessert. She also doesn’t say much, but this could be because Gram—with a mouthful of food herself— is usually harping on her to eat more than four bites of her dinner.

cracker

*This is purely a formality, as Gram will wait until Margarite dozes off to tell me to take the extra packages of unopened crackers and French Vanilla coffee creamer from her spot. Like a chipmunk, Gram will store these supplies in case of a club cracker famine in the coming months. 

Like clockwork, Julia at the table behind us will get up five minutes into the meal and set off her chair alarm. Every night she’s told to wait, but every night she stands up and complains about the noisy beeps that follow.

*At this point, I have to give Gram a “look” and make sure she doesn’t offer helpful advice to Julia about “sitting her ass down for cripe’s sake” or shaking the ants out of her pants. I am usually unsuccessful.  

This same (ever-so shy) woman will loudly proclaim that new male nurse passing out drugs in the pudding is actually a woman. How does she know this? Because there was a bowling tournament and when he had to use the bathroom, they had to change the sign on the door to accommodate his “condition.”  Plus, “he talks like a queer.”

*He/she will not overhear this, although the other aides will and will find this highly amusing. Apparently “Bruce”  and his aloof attitude are not well-liked in the senior community, whereas this very shy and quiet woman is basically a rock star in the eyes of the staff.

An unintentional game of geriatric Marco Polo will be played across the room, while behind us the gossipy table of women will complain about the food being too hot or too cold, the horrible hair style Agnus is sporting (the one in the deluxe wheelchair being fed through a straw) and how they just don’t understand why so-and-so couldn’t meet them for that game of cards today.

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“Dialysis is no excuse. She’s just being rude.”

A priest will clutch his nightly bottle of root beer like a Budweiser and refuse to let go until the last drop is gone, even if it requires a straw, which it usually does. Requests will be made on the sly for me to add a secret shot of vodka to their cranberry juice refills.

*If they tipped, I might consider it.

Once the last crumb of “crap cakes”  has been consumed and the “clothing protector” has been removed, I then have to attempt to maneuver Gram’s horrifically awkward wheelchair out of the dining hall and down to her room before her “dupa” explodes. This activity is about as complicated as a secret ops mission involving a tank and hidden landmines.

wheelchair-ramping

And I always make sure to say good-bye to Chet, as we wouldn’t want to incite another tater tot torpedo.

Gram can—and most likely will—do that on her own.

So, this was simply the past week or so and fails to include the time the fire alarm went off and diners complained about the loud “music,” any references to bodily functions (and oh yes, they are rampant) or other conspiracy theories that reside in a pile of peas.

There are many, many senior moments.

And please keep in mind that I love these people, as (most of them) have good hearts (emotionally, not necessarily physically) and good intentions. They make me laugh, they get me out of my head and if nothing else, they make me feel better about going to bed by 10 pm and actually liking prunes.

Prunes are highly underrated.

So are old people.

I will never forget my senior moments.

Yes, I’m nosy

I had another rather opinionated post that I was working on, but it was interrupted by some hemorrhaging from my head, so you get this instead. It’s probably a good thing that I wait to publish the other one, as I should edit a bit.

At any rate, back to head hemorrhaging.

Along with being kind of large, my nose is prone to bleeding in the winter months when the air is dry. No, I don’t pick my nose and cause it to bleed as so many people remark. But rather the simple act of inhaling and exhaling—rather necessary, I might add — or the occasional nose blowing can cause a nosebleed.

It’s not a big deal at all, other than being an inconvenience, which it totally was last night when I got one while shoveling my driveway with the ferocity of a manic gnat with roid rage. My quest to remove the frozen slush was interrupted by what I thought was the typical “noseous runneous” so common when outside at night in the winter.

Red snow is a bit scarier than yellow snow. Don’t eat either of them.

So I found myself inside, lying on my back in the bathroom staring at my ceiling, tending to what I prefer to call an overuse injury. While I was studying the shower curtain liner, it occurred to me that I’ve never talked about my nose on here. Considering it was basically begging for attention at that moment in time, I figured I might as well.

The thing is, I’ve never really had traditional body image issues. I know that sounds weird coming from someone “with issues,” but if you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you know the deal. Much like bloody noses, we won’t clot up the space with that info once again.

But I have always had a part of my body that I was very self-conscious of—not my legs, not my stomach, but my nose.

See, it’s kind of big and had a bump in the middle of it.

ah

Ever since it matured, I’ve despised it and wondered why I couldn’t get matching bumps a bit lower instead. I would cover my nose up in pictures to see what I would look like with a “normal” nose, started researching rhinoplasty when I was nine and too smart for my own good and went out of my way to make sure my profile was minimally photographed.

My mom always told me I was nuts, but there were a few kids that validated this insecurity for me (the nose, not the mental instability.) Middle school was the worst. I admit I didn’t help myself with bad perms and questionable fashion choices, but that awkward phase is made even more awkward when your insecurity is literally staring you in the face—and if you’re a loud sneezer.

High school was better and I kind of grew used to it. I actually got a body to distract from the schnoz and developed a personality that slowly found validation in things I did and not in how I looked from the side.

But it was — and still is — one of my biggest body image issues.

The irony is that the thinner I get, the sharper and more prominent my facial features become. I look better when my face fills out, and not just because of the nose thing, so if nothing else you would think appealing to the attention whore in me would speed up this process.

You would think.

Anyway, as my nose matured, so did I. The nose I have is the same nose that my grandpa had, my mom has and a majority of my aunts, uncles and cousins have. Along with kielbasa, chrusciki, a love of baseball and politically incorrect humor, carrying on this Polish protuberance is sort of like a family seal.

Do I love it? Heck no, but I do love my family (with a few exceptions.) When I started to look at the profile of my nose instead of my nose in profile, my obsession over it slowly went away. Plus, it’s kind of important for that whole breathing thing. Barring a few nosebleeds, it does it’s job well.

But if offered would I get a nose job today?

Nope, and not just because I’m cheap. But grandma didn’t pass along her ample boobs, so those puppies are up for grabs.

Figuratively, of course.

Polish Ebonics: kroosh-cheek-y

While there are a lot of odd things that come along with the holidays, there are also some treasured traditions. If you’re a member of my big Polish family, first of all, thank you for admitting it. Second, you know that the holiday season brings with it not only Christmas music, kielbasa and kapusta and a few hours of dysfunctional family members drinking “slushies” trying to act functional, but also chrusciki.

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Polish Ebonics: This is pronounced “kroosh-cheek-y.” 

My grandma has over 60 grandkids and great-grandkids, but there are only an elf-sized handful of us that actually had the pleasure of making these with her when we were growing up. (I take great pride in being one of the few.) While she hasn’t been able to make them for quite a few years, my mom and I still roll and fry them out every Christmas.

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Just like Thanksgiving was different for us this year, Christmas will be too. There will be no big family gathering as we’ve done throughout the years. But part of growing up is accepting that traditions can evolve and change shape just as easily as the people who are so attached to them and the memories created.

For me, I will always remember making chrusciki with my grandma in her kitchen when I needed a stool to reach the counter and could only make the bows. Then came the year that she couldn’t stand that long in the kitchen and left me in charge of the dough—she would fry and yell at my grandpa for “testing” too many of them.

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It wasn’t long before that became a bit too much and mom took over that step, with a widowed gram yelling her helpful two-cents from her recliner in the living room during “The Wheel” or “Jeopardy.” Eventually we started making them at our house and bringing them over, and this year, we will be bringing them to her room at St. Ann’s.

But the truth is that while they’re delicious, they’re not my favorite holiday treat. For that matter, they’re not my mom’s favorite holiday treat either. But we roll and fry and cover the counter with powdered sugar because we know that every year there is a woman who looks forward to eating a couple with a cup of tea—just as she’s done since she needed a stool to reach the counter helping her mom so many years ago.

So even if she only eats one and enjoys that one—and the memories it brings—it makes entirely worthwhile.

Well, that and the fact that every time she tells me they taste perfect—just like hers—I feel as if I’ve been able to give her a little (powdered sugared) piece of the happiness she’s brought me.

Chrusciki

I have to admit that I’m a bit protective of this tradition, as it is often replicated in a fashion not as favorable as the real thing.

There are a couple tricks, the first being that the water has to be ice cold. Second—and most important—it you MUST roll each and every strip out paper thin. This means rolling it out once, cutting it into strips, rolling each individual strip, cutting them into sections, rolling each section out and then finally making the slits and pulling them through.

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If it’s not thin, it’s crap.

No, this is not a political statement, but rather the most important thing to remember. Too many people make them thick, which in turn makes them heavy and chewy—not what we’re going for. They should end up delicate and light.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients—only seven in fact—and they’re not that complicated to assemble. But to make them traditionally is truly a labor of love—and totally worth it.

chruscikirecipe

From gram’s pen to our rolling pin.

4 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

3 t. baking powder

1 stick of butter (softened)

3 egg yolks

3/4-1 c. ice cold water

powdered sugar

Sift dry ingredients and add cut butter.

Add beaten egg yolks in center.

Gradually add in water and work mixture with your hands and a fork—yes, only your hands and a fork—until the sides of the bowl are free of dough. The amount of water needed may vary from batch to batch.

Form handful-sized balls of dough and roll out on floured surface with rolling pin. Cut into long, thin strips and roll each until paper thin.

Cut each strip into 3-4 inch segments, slit each segment and pull top through middle to form a bow-tie of sorts.

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After all dough is rolled and twisted (should take around 2 hours if done correctly,) fry in peanut oil, drain on paper towel, transfer to large bowl and sprinkle with large amounts of powdered sugar.

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At this point I’m covered in powdered sugar and stink like peanut oil, meaning I may pull out a couple other things I learned to say from my grandma, namely “Jezusa I Maryi” and “gouvna” at different decibel levels. Ahh…traditions.

So although I have no idea how to say it despite her many (failed) attempts to teach me—Wesolych Swiat!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

What’s a traditional family recipe that you make every year, even if you don’t really enjoy eating it yourself?

Uncle June

I would like to introduce you to Uncle June.

june

As you can see as he poses on my living room table, along with a dirty nose and a slightly vacant look in his eyes, Uncle June also has his suitcase. Why, you might ask? Because Uncle June keeps me company whenever I have to travel for work.

In fact, Uncle June has been to Orlando, Las Vegas (he was quite hard to handle on The Strip,) Houston twice, Dallas, New York a couple of times (he enjoys Central Park,) on a Dune Buggy expedition and even to Tennessee the last time I went (I took his picture on my balcony with the mountains as a background—he’s a trooper.)

I don’t feel like searching for all the pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

He has been my little touchstone when the plane takes off—the worst part for me—and my dining companion through countless expensed meals. (While most people feel funny dining alone, I have no reservations placing a three-inch gnome across the booth from me in a fine dining restaurant or café and taking his picture.)

When I was in New York, people saw me positioning him “just so” in Times Square and volunteered to take our picture together. It was nice, in a creepy “I’m posing with a little gnome” sort of way.

So, yes, Uncle June (named after “Uncle” Junior Soprano from “The Sopranos”) has been quite the traveling buddy the past few years.

You now know where he’s been, but where did he come from? My mom gave him to me as a joke, as you might remember we have a little “gnome” thing we do back and forth.

gnomegarden

(He’s too big to travel so he stays in the garden.)

And to be honest, the past few times I’ve pretty much just taken him out for the obligatory picture to send back to her, but I always take him along. It can’t hurt to have a little piece of home in a gnome secure in my carry-on, now can it?

I think not.

Hugs and Kisses

When I was little, I was really close to my grandpa and dispensed hugs freely to him upon request. However, I had a thing with kisses. As much as I loved him, I always gave him the cheek and quickly wiped away any contact that was made. He always made a big deal if I actually kissed him and joked about it until the day he died.

Now truth be told, my grandpa was one of the greatest men ever.  While I realize no one likes wet kisses, we also used to joke that we could put his shirt in the fridge and serve it to him for dinner due to the amount of leftovers spilled down the front. Not appealing.

But the real reason?

When I was little I thought you could get pregnant from kissing, so I avoided it at all costs with anyone of the male species—especially those with kielbasa on their chin. Now I am still a hugger much more than a kisser, but it’s because I am totally OCD and have intimacy issues.

Even when it comes to chocolate, on most occasions I still prefer the Hug to the Kiss—of the Hershey variety, of course. So while I’ve presented this “recipe”—it’s so easy I hesitate to call it that—before, I recently made a fall-themed batch and thought I would reintroduce it to the blog so you remember to make it too.

There are many variations that can be created with any kind of Hershey Kisses/Hugs, and it’s also fun to use a Rolo and a pecan or walnut for a turtle version. However, I still defer to the Hug—I like the stripes and it looks cool.

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All you need are three ingredients: pretzels, M & Ms and Hershey Hugs.

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and cover the foil with plain mini pretzels (either the normal twisty kind or circles).

pretzel22. Unwrap the hugs, and then place a hug in the center of each pretzel.

3. Stick the pan in the oven for only around four minutes (depending on the oven). You want to make sure the hugs get melty, but don’t want them to burn (hence the low heat).

4. As soon as you have meltage (technical terms), remove the pan from oven and immediately place an M&M in the center of each melty hug/pretzel hybrid.

pretzel3 5. Either cool on the counter for a couple hours, or if you have no patience, stick the pan in the fridge for an hour or so.

pretzel46. If you’re feeling so inclined, fill some little fall baggies with the treats, pair them with the turkeys you made a couple weeks ago and take a totally crappy picture of them to put on your blog.

If that doesn’t impress your friends…well, I wouldn’t be surprised. However, throw a few fun facts into the conversation and you’re good-to-go.

  • “Kisses” were first introduced in 1907 and are thought to be named for the sound or motion of the chocolate being deposited during manufacturing.
  • “Hugs” got their name because they appear to be little “Kisses” being hugged by white chocolate.
  • Hershey makes more than 80 million Hershey’s Kisses brand chocolates every day in its chocolate factories in Hershey and Virginia.
  • It would take around 95 Hershey Kisses to equal one pound of chocolate.

Considering my last post and question were about the dentist, I find it only fitting to ask you about your favorite sugary Hershey Kiss flavor today.

There are a million varieties now—caramel, almond, even candy corn—what do you prefer?

Are you a hugger or a kisser?

They stopped at perfection

I’m an only child, which might explain some of my “attention-whoreness,” but I did grow up with tons of cousins and tons of friends.

I guess I accessorized a bit more back then.

And while I enjoyed having my own room and first dibs on the front seat, I was always a bit envious of my friend’s that had older brothers and sisters to kind of clue them in socially. They got to hang out with the “cool” kids and see what they wore, listen to their music and pick up on the slang.

Then there was me, occasionally crimping my hair and slightly confused on the fashion front—middle school was around when “Blossom” was popular, just for a reference point—with a mom that was all about “self-expression” and letting me do my own thing. My own thing often included instructing “Get In Shape Girl” classes on my front lawn, rousing games of “Double Dare” and Mariah Carey concerts complete with foam balls in my training bra (that I didn’t need but was purchased out of pity.)

In other words, my mom was no help.

My point is not that I was a social misfit growing up—I had friends and my childhood until middle school was pretty darn good. Heck, when I wasn’t outside I was happy watching “Small Wonder” and “Who’s the Boss” in my T-shirt, shorts and jellies.

My point is that I often wished I had that older sibling to tell me it was no longer acceptable to wear my snap bracelets and blast PM Dawn from my little portable boom box. It always seemed like I was left to figure things out on my own, and while that’s a wonderful thing in the big picture, sometimes I just wished I had more of a clue.

Now, at almost 30 years old, I still feel the same way.

While being single and embracing my introverted personality is (to some extent) my choice, I often still feel like the little kid who knows more about sports and poker from hanging with the guys than the 20-something successfully navigating her way through the world. I know this is normal, but on so many levels I still feel like I want someone to guide me. I want someone to tell me that doing “this” is a better idea than doing “that” or, even better, I sometimes just want them to do it.

Problem solved, no?

I’m not talking about a professional that I’m paying to financially or professionally advise me—those are many dimes a dozen—but rather someone else to share the adult responsibilities I get sick of thinking about. I couldn’t care less about fashion or popularity. I’m talking about retirement stuff, insurance forms, car maintenance, family issues, thatching my front lawn—I want to split up some of these things or at least pretend to know what I’m doing better than I feel I do.

So while I enjoy being able to stretch out on the couch watching the game in my T-shirt, shorts and jellies and the freedom to forge my way through the “professional” world of whatever, once in awhile I wish I didn’t still feel like such an only child.

My mom, again, is no help.

“People aren’t going to help take care of you if you never let anyone in.* You choose this lifestyle and you can’t have it both ways.**

*Please note that I have never said I want someone to take care of me, as I am perfectly capable. That’s not the point of this rant.

**Also note that this was said as she was dropping off my laundry last Sunday, as we have an agreement that I do her grocery shopping and she does my laundry.

I guess being an only child does have some perks.