Don’t Ask

Last week was bad enough but today will be the worst. This is the day when the largest number of people will ask me what I’m doing for New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s eve for me is like a sunny day – extreme societal pressure to get out there and do something wonderful when you’d really rather just cruise through it. Sami, however, likes to make a fuss. Over the years, he has come to associate New Year’s Eve with dips, and so now that we’ve passed the club stage and the house party stage and the stay up to watch the ball drop stage (that’s just me – he’s still stuck in that one), so every New Year’s eve he makes dips to celebrate.

It’s just the two of us, but there he is, whirring and blending to produce dips. Hummus, baba ganoush and onion soup/sour cream dip. There’s no end to the chips, pita bread, raw vegetables and so on that go along with the dips – one year, there were little meatballs, too. For the two of us, one of whom falls asleep about 10pm.

So you ask me what are we doing for New Year’s eve? The answer is we’re staying home, Sami will make dips, I’ll fall asleep and at midnight, he’ll wake me up and ask "Aren’t you going to have any dips?"

That’s what I’m doing.

Nevermind. I’ll Just Sit Here In The Dark.*

So, the traditional incandescent light bulb will become unavailable in  a few years and the only option we’ll have is those cute little CFPs. I find this an odd move – very countercurrent to where the direction of the baby boomer wave is moving.  You’d think they’d be clamoring to hold onto the old bulbs and fighting veneered tooth and acrylic nail against fluorescents.

Pulse check: Male readers are not sure sure where I’m going with this, but all the women are 2 steps ahead -
Am I right, ladies? It will all become clear when I ask you this one little question: have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror under fluorescents?

I rest my case.

The most valuable piece of beauty advice that I ever got was from Eva Gabor, via her appearance on the Merv Griffin Show. Did you know that Eva replaced every single light bulb in her home with pink bulbs? Yes. And why? Because pink light is more flattering to women and shows off their feminine beauty to greater advantage than white or yellow light.  Since that moment, I have always had at least one pink bulb in my habitat.

Who among us hasn’t gasped upon looking into the mirror of a fluorescent-lit public restroom and thought "Ghoul!" That is your fluorescent lighting for you.

I smell cahoots here. Either Al Gore has the world market for CFPs already locked up, or its a cartel of plastic surgeons standing ready to take of those baby boomer wrinkles and chin lifts. We probably could have gotten by with a few pinks bulbs and splash or tow of red wine but in the harsh glare of those fluorescents, what can we do but nip and tuck to avoid the fright in the mirror?

Well, its a done deal. The US Congress, who couldn’t manage to get anything done at all this year despite the big talk from Nanny P and Howie, at the last minute outlawed incandescents and doomed us all to reality looking back at us in the bathroom mirror. Pink light bulbs aren’t cheap and they’re not easy to find either but I think a little stockpiling is in order here.


* The title of this post is the answer to the famous question: How many Jewish Mothers does it take to change a light bulb?

Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Tart Like Me?

If you know me at all, you understand that I prefer sour over sweet. And so it follows that I am a fan not only of all things vinegar, but also of the grapefruit. It seems to me that the grapefruit has not had its due, mainly because grapefruit breeders are trying to turn it into a big orange. Those lovely red Ruby Stars that you grab for in the market have only a little bit of tang to them and are far more sweet than they used to be.

But now thats all changed – The Washington Post, trying to crowd out the pack with the first Trend To Be Watched for 2008, is calling the grapefruit -based Italian Greyhound the cocktail to try this year. The photo is a little disappointing – a toxic pale straw color would have more appeal to me, but just the idea that this has the flavor of both grapefruit and bitters makes it all that much better.

While I was googling around for an image of a grapefruit to go along with this post, I came across this recipe for Poppy Seed-Grapefruit ice cream. Call me Sandra Lee, but I have no problem with taking a quality vanilla ice cream, letting it melt a bit and then mixing things into it before refreezing. Seems to me this recipe could be made pretty good by adding poppy seeds to the ice cream and using the grapefruit juice reduction as a sauce to pour over.

ADDENDUM: In only remotely related information, I had a sore lip and a sore throat today when I woke up yesterday, but now they’re all gone. I wiped it out with repeated ingestions of red wine, which as you know is is a progenitor of red wine vinegar. Vinegar for health! (Or wine, if its too much trouble to go get the vinegar.)

I Love Christmas And Christmas Loves Me Right Back

We’re in that awkward stage, Sami and I, in that we aren’t small children and we don’t have small children. Still, we were lucky enough to be in the presence of a small child for Christmas. I strongly recommend that whenever you can, find a small child to share the holiday with, like we did, even if it’s one that was a little bit on shaky ground with that naughty and nice thing.

In case you were worried, I was on the "nice" list. I must have been, because I got so many great gifts.

  • From my son (the Santa in that link above), I got the gift of comfort. He recognized that my tipsy only two bolts when there should be four desk chair was a trial for me and provided me with a plushy new chair. Four bolts!
  • From my daughter, I got the gift of watching her give to others. She spent days creating an old-fashioned Christmas by making sugar plums, cinnamon ornaments and candied nuts to give to other people. Through a lawyerly parsing of my instructions to "decorate the tree any way you want to" came forth her vision of a white paper doily/Advent countdown theme for tree ornamentation. Also, she got me a fancy and fool-proof wine opener that is much less dangerous that the one I had been using.
  • From my twin, I got the gift of a return to my younger days in the form of Season 1 of St. Elsewhere on DVD. Santa has become an admirer of Mrs. Hufnagle.
  • From Sami, I got the gift of letting me pick my own present. After years of trying to surprise me with the likes of answering machines, hand-held mixers and mini-tape recorders, he finally kinked in a let me tell him something that would please me. You already know what it is – the Little Jersey Girl.

To make up for an unforeseen delay in shipping, Denise Rich, the cow artist, let me know that she was adding an extra item to the box – a pendant that features her artwork. How’s that for customer service? This was a totally unnecessary gesture but I appreciated it very much. The package arrived before Christmas and although others peeped into the shipping box, I did not. Much to my surprise when I opened it on Christmas day, there were also some earrings in there, too.

The Little Jersey Girl is lovely. The image itself with the sunlight behind the calf’s ears, is striking and the texturing of the surface makes the whole thing look like an original painting. I’m keeping it on my office desk where I can look up from the chaos and see a peaceful baby cow. The pendant necklace is surprisingly delicate and the image, although small, is clear and sharp.


The bonus is not the item – the bonus is the connection. I’m always amazed that I can feel such genuine warmth for people I haven’t met and most likely never will. Don’t you just love the internet? This is the nicest surprise I’ve had since Mr. Happy Crack sent me a pair of boxer shorts.

Moving Towards 2008

Ok, now that Christmas is over, it’s time to turn attention to the new year. I have to admit that its a bit embarrassing to reel off the same resolutions year after year. Its a litany of personal failure that I’ve been dragging these around for so many years:

  • eat healthier
  • stop procrastinating
  • improve my cursive handwriting
  • match up all the socks as soon as they come out of the dryer
  • develop better sleep habits
  • keep my pocketbook clear of receipts, small change, crumpled post-it notes, boarding passes and other detritus

… and so on. I’ve come to peace with all of this stuff. It’s not like I’m giving up – I know where my areas of opportunity for improvement lie. It’s just that I haven’t been all that successful in making a difference for myself.

This year, I’m going to try something different: pointing out areas that need improvement in other people. I believe that this effort will be far more satisfying and much easier to critically evaluate. The number one burning issue that needs immediate attention is

Ew the careless public sneezing.

Yes.  When the pandemic comes, we are going to be pretty much doomed unless public sneezing habits change and change fast.  Every day, I observe carelessness in this department from bartenders, cab drivers, cashiers – people who are the perfectly positioned for key roles in mass contagion.


TO: The Sneezing Public

FROM: A Concerned Suzette

DATE: Right Now

RE: Spread of Germs

(message) You are disgusting.

What we need are Sneeze Police. I’m almost one.  Whenever I see someone sneezing out in the open (or coughing into their hand) or putting down the tissue they used,  my internal dialog is the same : "When the pandemic comes, you are the first one the Sneeze Police are going to take away." Since I say this so easily in my head, it’s only a matter of time until I start saying it out loud.

Uncovered coughing is bad, too but generally speaking,coughers have
reduced lung capacity and expel with much less force. Look at that
sneeze up there: tell me you wouldn’t duck if you could see it like
that in real life.

Also, I’m hoping that cloth handkerchiefs make a comeback. Benefits:

  • people use them and then put them back where they came from
  • the only people who have to handle them are the sneezer and the person who does his laundry, most often a family member who has already been exposed anyway
  • easier on the nose
  • more economical in the long run

Have you done your research on anti-viral tissues yet? Don’t bother. #1 – they do the same thing regular tissues do if used properly: they stop the airborne spread of germs. #2 – they are made of three layers, the middle layer contains the active ingredient lauryl sulfate, which is a pesticide. Pesticide right up your nose. The manufacturer  had to get EPA approval before this product could be released. And you know what the EPA stands for, don’t you? Something Pockets Something. EPA approval is similar to buying indulgences from the church. Doesn’t mean that wrongs are righted, just means that wrongs are forgiven.

Pesticide right up your nose. Think about that then go out and buy some hankies.

And So This Is Christmas

Have Yourselves a "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do" kind of Christmas.


Holy Family with Dish Drainer

This is not my outdoor display but resides less than a mile from where I am. I’ve been saving it as a Christmas surprise for you. I’m not quite sure what the message is here, although I suspect that it’s a manifesto on behalf of using an automatic dishwasher instead of making your mother do the washing up by hand on Christmas Day.

Good will to men and lemon-scented Cascade to women. Merry Christmas!

Time’s Up! Last Chance For Last Minute Shopping

UPDATED! UPDATED!  UPDATED!    The Christmas shopping timeclock is running down and we’ll soon be approaching panic mode. Well, not me – I’m all done. But maybe you still have a few things to pick up? This is how it works:

  • you have people that you want to gift,
  • you have some good-to-ideal presents in mind for most of them,
  • there are a few who are difficult to buy for or you don’t have any solid ideas
  • you shop early for the easy ones
  • the tough ones that you haven’t shopped for early are not going to get any easier
  • you hold out hope that a flash of inspiration will strike you
  • here we are in the home stretch and you still don’t have any ideas

Let me see if I can help out with a few suggestions:

Monday 12/24 – One Shopping Day Until Christmas:

This it – you’re out of time. One shopping day left, and not even a full one at that. I hear Walgreen’s is open on Christmas Day – if you haven’t finished shopping by today, you can always pick up some Epsom salts or toothbrushes for your people. It’s the thought that counts, right?

If you are still searching for that one special knock-your-socks-off gift, let me show you one last item: a Pork Roll & Cheese Candle.

What I love about this is – hell-o-o? pork roll! But even more than that – it has no wick. It’s a candle without a wick. What does that make it? I guess it’s in the candle category because, as the website advises, "If you like, you can put a votive on top". I like!

Sunday 12/23 – Two Shopping Days Left Until Christmas:

In my lifetime, I fully expected to see science fiction come true, but I certainly did not expect it to come in at a pricepoint of $79.00. Here we have the MP3 Video FM Recorder Watch. Mulit-functional, multi-lingual and an  eBook feature thrown in as well. All this comes attached to a crummy plastic band of the sort that you’d find in a gumball machine. I guess that’s how they can bring it home for only $79.00. Downside: 7 hours continuous video playing time will get you from Newark/Liberty to LAX, but you have to hold your arm crooked the whole time to keep the 1.8 inch screen in focus. Also, does not come with the smell of age like a book from Abe’s or stinky perfume samples like the latest issue of Vanity Fair.

Saturday 12/22 – Three Shopping Days Left Until Christmas:

Milk Duds
– it’s clothing made from milk. My daughter has a mug made from corn and my son has socks made from bamboo, so whatevs, my renewable-resources peeps. "Dolores Piscotta was the first designer in the world to design a line of clothing made from dehydrated milk spun into fiber." And soybeans, too. Check here to see her line of items for Ladies & Doggies, some of which match. (FYI – I never had any luck at all convincing my daughter to go with the Mom&Daughter outfits, so based on my personal experience, I’m thinking that its got to be a lot easier to convince your dog to dress in a matching outfit.)

The milk fabric looks silky and luxurious and is out of my price range. I might invest 30 bucks in a milk eye mask to see if the 17 amino acids really "does wonders for the skin during long airline flights." Hmmm, I don’t know –   If I have to fly around wearing dehydrated cow’s milk on my face to get younger-looking skin, that  might be the deal breaker right there. It