STAY CALM, and:
Finish shopping for your family, and 75 of your closest friends and colleagues, making sure you stay under that $200 limit you set for yourself this year;
Bake 500 dozen cookies that are so special no one has ever eaten them before;
Decorate at least three trees of varying size for inside your house with different themes, one of which must be woodland creatures;
Check batteries on all those “safe” candles you now own, so the cats and dogs, and babies don’t set themselves on fire;
Add one more string of lights outside, so TV station satellites can pick out the glow of your home from space;
Cook every kind of meat that exists so everyone (including that Uncle we all have) enjoys Christmas dinner;
Cook every vegan dish you can think of so the two people you know who are vegan don’t starve;
Watch all twenty gazillion Christmas movies in one weekend while you . . .sing along to every Carol that was ever written;
Send out at least two thousand Christmas/holiday cards to remind everyone you’ve ever met in your life that you are still alive;
And, most importantly — make sure the liquor cabinet is well-stocked, so you can accomplish all of the above!
Enjoy the holidays . . . and try not to hurt anyone.
From our castle to yours … MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
“Would you like to go to NYC for New Year’s Eve?” he asked.
“Sure. Why not,” she said.
And so, they held hands.
“What is your favorite color dead leaf?” he asked.
“Orange,” she said.
And so, they dated.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
“Have another beer,” she said.
And so, they laughed.
“He asked me to marry him, is that okay?” she asked.
“About time. It’s your life,” her children said.
And so, she said yes.
“Does Bastille Day work for you?” he asked.
“Definitely,” she said.
And so, they were married.
“Will you hand me the remote?” he asked.
“Here ya go,” she said.
And so, they smiled and grew old together.
Hey, everybody — did you hear she’s writing a new book?
No, really? That’s so exciting!
Who? Who’s writing a new book?
Penguin #1 (Reginald):
The lady who writes this blog, dummy!
Penguin #2 (Matilda):
What’s it about? Does it have a penguin hero?
Penguin #3 (Archibald):
Oh boy! A penguin hero! I can’t wait to read it!
Don’t be silly, Archibald! This blogger writes about human beings, because she is one, and she was taught to write about what she knows. She doesn’t know anything about us.
Oh drat. No penguin hero. Then why did you call us here today?
Yes, Reginald, I agree with Archibald — if it’s not about us . . . what is this new book about?
It’s about a woman named, Annie Mae Steinberg from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Her friends called her Mae.) The story begins in the late 1800s, when she travels west to South Dakota to become an actress on the stage of the Gem Theater. The Gem is located in a mining town called Deadwood.
Deadwood? O-o-o-h . . . that sounds scary!
Yes, it does sound frightening. Was she all alone out there?
Completely. She left all her friends and family back in Philadelphia to have her own adventure. You see, Mae was a dreamer . . . a bit like you, Archibald. But, fate stepped in and completely altered her grand plans.
Oh no. How? Why? What did fate do to her? I’m beginning to like this Mae human.
Me too! Tell us more, please.
I can’t . . . the book’s not finished . . . the blogger human is still writing it. We’ll just have to wait until it’s published.
Ya know what, Reginald? You suck! You called us all over here to share your big news, and now you tell us — you can’t tell us! What a jerk!
Now, now. Don’t be so hard on Reggie — he hasn’t been the same since he lost that part in “Penguins of Madagascar.”
Reginald’s head droops as he walks away:
Thanks a lot, Matilda. Just for that, I won’t tell you what the book is called, and you’ll never be able to find it to read. So there!
That’s not fair! I want to read about Mae. Sorry for calling you a jerk, Reginald.
I’m sorry too. You would have been the best actor in that movie — honest! Please tell us, Reggie.
Reginald turned, his ego restored, and with his head held high, declared:
Please return here at various intervals for updates on this human blogger’s progress with Mae’s Revenge. The target release date is early fall, 2017.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE ! MAY 2017 BE YOUR MOST JOYFUL YET!
(For those who have seen The Sound of Music – this will make sense. If you haven’t – watching it would make a lovely New Year’s Eve activity!)
Melanie Hamilton Wilkes:
Oh my goodness!
Dearest Aunt Pittypat—that awful man said I
was too unattractive to grope!
Whatever will I do?
Fiddle -dee-dee, Melanie—simply do not cast your
vote for that brute!
* * * Problem solved* * *
It is almost autumn in the northeastern United States. Two more days.
There are no more bright green leaves splashing against the hot summer skies.
There are only tired, slowly drying, brownish remnants drooping from transitioning boughs.
There are no beautiful crimson, orange and yellow leaves speckling the trees. Not yet.
Nature is at one of its awkward stages. The in-between time. The time between fond remembrance and eager anticipation.
I hate this time of year. It’s like being eleven again. Not good. Not old enough to have a boyfriend or girlfriend—but too old to play doctor with any friend.
C’mon, nature. Get on with it. Fall!
It’s August, and parents all over the country are crying.
Some are crying tears of joy…finally summer is over and the kids are heading back to school.
Some are crying tears of fear…their “babies” are heading off to Kindergarten.
But the most all-encompassing tears are being shed by parents of young adults who are moving into dorms in preparation for their first year of college. — Their tears cascade over their cheeks in an unexpected gush of joy, pride, anxiety, anger, awe, and yes . . . fear.
Joy for their offspring, as they see their beaming smile while they unpack in the closet posing as their new home.
Pride for producing such an obvious genius compared to all the other losers wandering the halls, unable to find their assigned rooms.
Anxiety about all the sage advice they worry they may have forgotten to impart . . . oh, and about that unusual looking character covered in tattoos and piercings who was part of the welcoming committee for their child’s dorm.
Anger due to frustration with the roommate’s parents, who insist their child must take the lower bunk because of ‘back issues.’
Awe, as they take the campus tour given by their brilliant child, who remembers the name and location of each building after only visiting the campus once before . . . six months ago.
And finally —
Tears of Fear, as they slump into the front seat of the family car, preparing for that emptied-soul, heartbroken, lonely trip home, and then wrench their necks as they try to get one more glimpse of their “baby,” . . . which raises the fear they may have to visit the chiropractor at the college medical facility before they can hope to be able to drive back home . . . where they will be able to cry, sniffle, and wail noisily, without embarrassing their very own newly-minted college freshman!
Photo Credit: Sue Panzone Rosica, Belmont University, Tennessee