Monday, December 22, 2008

rethinking aluminum christmas trees

Not really.  Maybe a chrome tree; now wouldn't that be spectacular?  

The reason I find myself actually contemplating a artificial tree is that because I need to go string the lights on our SECOND christmas tree of this year.  

We frequently buy living christmas trees in pots and then plant them afterwards.  We have probably a 30% sucess rate with the trees living beyond christmas.   One year my darling husband waited until april to plant the tree.  By april the tree was a lovely rust color and weighed next to nothing.  I suspect this was because it was dead!  But darling husband insisted it just needed water and mulch.  It sat there a long long long time just being dry and brown.   Darling husband still thinks it died because of residual weed killer in the ground.  When the weeds got taller than the tree we gave up and mulched it.  

Anyway - - - - this year the selection of living trees was very grim.  They were stunted and pricklier than normal.  So we bought the 7 foot Nobel Fir.   One of the kids asked about the name 'Nobel'  and I told them they were named after Alfred Nobel - the same guy all those gasses were named after.   

The truth about Nobel Firs according to the folks at Sparky's Christmas Trees is:   

Nobel Fir (Abies Procera)

The Nobel Fir is often called the King of the Christmas trees. With a silvery sheen and blue/green needles, it has excellent needle retention plus a lovely fragrance. It is quite a heavy tree and lots of work goes in to growing a great nobel. They are usually trimmed each year to give an even shape and are chosen for their density.

The Nobel Fir is also used in the greenery business, to make wreaths and garlands. Indeed, it is what we use primarily in our own wreath-making department.

Excuse me: Sparky's?  Who would name a Christmas tree company Sparky's???  Maybe in the United Kingdom that sort of association is not macabre - but here in the desert southwest everyone knows that real Christmas trees are one hot breath away from being the tinder needed to burn your house to the ground!  

Okay - I exaggerate slightly.  Many folks around here have cut trees every year with absolutely no problems.  We usually have the living trees but have also had several cut trees over the year.  Just keep them watered and get them out of the house by New Year and there are no problems.   

So we watered our beautiful Nobel tree regularly.  It kept drinking the water, which is usually a good sign.  Except the tree kept getting drier and drier.  To the point of being scary dry.  The needles weren't just prickly - they were crumbly.  So darling husband called up Home Depot and esplained the problem to them.  They said "bring it back and we'll replace it."  Yea Home Depot!  Of course that meant undressing the old one and now dressing the new one.  But that's better than living with a seven foot open fuel structure in the living room!  

The lights wouldn't be so difficult except that I made the mistake of watching Martha Stewart several years ago demonstrate the 'proper' way to hang lights.  It's not hanging so much as it is wrapping carefully around the entire trunk and then wrapping the individual branches.  It's ridiculously time consuming but boy howdy, it does look spectacular!

That's the true danger of Martha - she's frequently right!  If she were just a nutjob pushy homemaker with OCD we could just smile sympathetically and get on with our lives. Unfortunately she is a nutjob pushy homemaker with OCD that happens to really know the best way to do everything!  

You know - in honor of  our newer, moister tree; I think this christmas should be a little more Alfred Nobel and a little less Martha Stewart!  

(I dearly hope I remember correctly that Neon is one of the Nobels - otherwise the visual humor misses!)   


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Tonight's the Night" Revisited

I am very happy this cold blustery morning!  Every year we have a gathering at our house sometime between Christmas and New Years to celebrate all that is sweet and buttery and sugary.  I've quit doing the home made eggnog as I have been convinced by our media that it will kill everyone.  (via salmonella, not heart disease!)    But we do have hot-buttered rum and store bought eggnog and what not.  

And sweets; lots of sweets.  I have two new tart recipes I'm anxious to make and am looking forward to seeing friends I don't see as often as I would like.  And even friends that I see fairly often but always in a work mode, like Jeannie and Kristine.  Jeannie has RSVP'd that she will come.  I'm glad because she missed last year's.     (I think that is a correct apostrophe.  How can something so simple and small be so difficult for me and half the English speaking world?!?!?!)

Did I digress again?  Sorry bout that.  I was talking about Jeanie being out of town last year. Apparently she and her husband went to one of those church sponsored weekend marriage retreats.   Not because there was anything wrong with their marriage - - - they just hadn't understood the flier.  The retreat was called "Marriage Survival Weekend!"  Jeannie's husband was apparently the first member in 20 years of these things to bring a hunting rifle and a crossbow to the 'ready, aim, communicate!' class.   Jeannie was embarrassed because she knew it wasn't a survivalist thing!  She was even more embarrassed when she found out it wasn't a contest either!  Well, not really embarrassed; more like seriously irked that there would be no ribbons or medals or trophies.  We've learned not to talk about it to them.   The only reason I'm even bringing this up is because of something that Jeannie told us about about one of the sessions.

Apparently the group facilitator was giving his spiel about how sex is not the most important part of a marriage but that it can be a barometer.  He said that the quality of a couples sex-life is much more important than the frequency - but that frequency is a factor both for diagnosing problems and for ensuring that intimacy isn't lost.

He then asked the group to answer by raising hands if they had sex every single night.  Two of the couples raised their hands.  Then he asked for a show of hands of the people who had sex 3 to 4 times a week.  A fairly large number raised their hands.  About the same number raised their hands for the once a week answer.  When the facilitator asked how many people had sex 3-4 times a month there was still a substantial number of folks.  Even the once a month group was represented by more than a couple of the couples.  

He asked about a few more time spans and when he got to the last category and asked if anyone in the room had sex just once a year, there was one couple raising their hands.   The husband was waving his arm wildly and had a big smile on his face and seemed quite proud.  The facilitator thought this was odd but also realized this could help prove his point about not obsessing about the frequency and concentrating on the quality.  

So he asks the man to stand up and said to him, "You seem like a happy and contented husband even though you do not have sex as often as others.  Can you share with us why you are happy and content with sex once a year?"  The husband grinned even wider and said, "Tonight's the night!  Tonight's the night!"

Okay, I admit it.  That isn't a true story.  It's just that I had used the punchline as a title in a previous posting and so now google sends people looking for the joke to our site - and I thought we would help.  

We will get back to Breast Cancer talk at some point.  There are two sub-topics that we need to cover when we have more time and are in a more serious mood.  We have not signed up for the 2009 3-day walk but we haven't completely rejected the idea yet.  We do have something else in the works that will be unveiled soon.  How do y'all like purple????

Have a sweet day filled with your favorite indulgences!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Pink Seven

As y'all know we are using this time between walks to finish up unfinished business - including answering your questions. 

So I go to Google analytics to see what folks were searching for when they hit our site.  Wow, I did not know there were so many people interested in black christmas ornaments!  And just as many wanting pink!  

So I noticed that someone was searching for "Pink 7 Black ornaments".  And someone else was searching for "Pink 7 brown"  something or the other.  So I go google to find out what this Pink 7 is, fully expecting it to be the latest trendy brand name that everyone has heard of but me.

There is a new pink 7-up - but that has nothing to do with black ornaments.


There is a pink nokia 7390 

(and you can get a pink silicone cover for it~ and we have had lots of folks here looking for silicone of one sort or another!)

  but again - does not seem to be related to black ornaments or whatever the Pink 7 brown thing was.  

Now I know some of y'all have figured it out already.  So I will not say how long it took me.  In my defense I should tell you that I have never learned to type.  I use two fingers and pretty much have to keep my eyes on the keyboard the whole time.  (Which some folks would say means I should have figured it out even sooner than I did!)

I now believe that the people searching for Pink 7 Black ornaments and Pink 7 brown whatever were actually looking for Pink & Black ornaments and Pink & Brown something.   So I refer these folks to the earlier discussions regarding Christmas decor that is not red, green, and sparkly.  (Yes, in my house 'sparkly' counts as a color!) 

I was going to tell you a funny Jeannie story, but time is running short. 

 Instead I will show you the keyboard I want for my computer for Christmas.  I bet I would never make typos if I had one of these!

Or maybe this one:


Friday, December 5, 2008

I of the beholder!


Apparently not everyone thinks a drunken, unshaven Billy Bob Thorton is all that sexy.  Go figure.

We're going to continue to answer your questions.  Well you know - except for the people who arrive here searching for hot ladies brest.  Or big foot ladies.  I don't even want to know!  

But the poor folks who do an honest search for something important to them and suddenly find themselves caught in perpetual H.O.P.E.  and don't know what hit them  ~ ~ ~ I figure we can help out a little bit!  

Many folks have searched variations of "walk like a camel" and ended up here.  I don't know if folks are lookin to download the song, lookin for the lyrics, or - help us all - trying to find out what the song means.

"You make me wanna walk like a Camel" was recorded by a fun group named Southern Culture On The Skids.  Or SCOTS if you prefer.  

If you want to listen to the song you can CLICK JANGO HERE.  I was going to imbed the youtube video but to be perfectly honest - SCOTS is a rather strange looking/acting group and I did not want to turn y'all off of them before you had a chance to hear their musical genius.  Their absolute best song in my opinion is Voodoo Cadilac.  Which I think you can HEAR HERE.  

Without further ado - here are the lyrics:

Baby, Would you eat that there snack cracker
In your special outfit for me, please?

Yo ye pharoahs, let us walk
Through this barren desert, in search of truth
And some pointy boots, and maybe a few snack crackers.
OWWWW WEEE baby, you make me wanna walk like a camel.

Who's in charge here, where's my Captain's wafers?
Don't go around hungry now, the way you eat that oatmeal pie,
Makes me just wanna die, baby, OWWWW
You make me wanna walk like a camel.

Say, you don't think there's any way I could get that quarter
From underneath your pointy boot, do ya?
All I want is just one more oatmeal pie.
OWWWW WEEE, Little Debbie, Little Debbie
I'm a comin on home, baby, 'cause you make me wanna walk
Like a camel, OWWWW WEEE

Trust me - it makes more sense when put to music.  

Wellllllll, not really.  But it's a fun song to listen to.  

As for what it means?  I don't know.  One gentleman put forth the opinion that walking like a camel is slang for a guy walking funny because he is responding in a physically uncomfortably manner to being attracted to someone.  

Yes, a little oblique - but if you think I'm going to use the right words to explain this you are crazier than the folks looking for big foot ladies.  And either way I think the guy who said this is wrong because I've been looking and I can't find any other reference to that.  I guess I could write to the band and ask them.  We'll see.

So you have the lyrics, we don't know the meaning, and this ain't itunes.  Hope we were of some help!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Apparently Miss Jeannie found her way home; I recieved an email from her this afternoon and I'm pretty sure she isn't a hot-spottin kinda gal so I assume she was at her house!  

And I found out which Santa she was visiting. . .

I guess she had a good time. . . 

and wasn't as cold as she thought she would be. . . . 

and is considering joining the elf training program. . . 

. . . 

. . . .


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where's Miss Jeannie????

I emailed Jeannie  yesterday to discuss a scout meeting we had to go to and recieved this breezy reply:

I will not be at the leaders' meeting.  I will be at the North Pole enjoying hot chocolate and cookies with Santa Clause.
Ho Ho Ho!!!

Well isn't that special?

Which Santa?  

This one. . . . . . 

 who wouldn't even give poor Ralphie a B.B. Gun?

Or this one,. . . . . . .

 who looks like he could give a girl everything she's wanting - and more?

Jeannie is a complex person.  

She's all wholesome and sweet most of the time. 

 But as much as she enjoys mini-marshmallows in her cocoa. . . . 

she enjoys this more!

So we will have to see.   

Meanwhile if you see Miss Jeannie out there please tell her to come home!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get the biggest aluminum tree you can find, Charlie Brown, maybe painted pink.

Remember the other day when we addressed the second most common search term that brought people here? Well today we are going to tackle the very most common search. Most common depending on how you count, and what time period you are looking at.



During the week leading up to the 3-day walk the most common search was from people trying to find a map of the route. So I feel sort of bad that folks were directed to the post that had this map.



I had so many people hitting that picture that I actually looked up what exactly it was a map of. It is a map of the New Alresford town ship just outside of Winchester England. Winchester? See? I told you everything is connected! Not only is this township near Winchester - they are most famous for their Duck Races.


Okay - newcomers to this blog might wonder why I posted the map of an obscure town in England when I was discussing a route in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Loyal readers know the answer; it was pink!


Which leads us in an almost logical fashion to the actual question we are addressing today. But first a word about our statistical methods here at Team H.O.P.E.


We glance at the Google report and see what looks to be the most common question. Every now and then we actually look closer and count the entries (you can see our lips move while we count). But that whole counting thing is overrated. Partly because there are so many ways to ask the same question. The question today is "where can I find inappropriately colored Christmas decorations?"


No, nobody actually phrased it exactly like that. Many people came searching for black ornaments. Or pink trees. Or pink and brown ornaments. Or black and pink ornaments. Or pink wreaths. You get the idea.


As we have already established here - black Christmas tree ornaments are wrong. It’s like raisins in Cole Slaw.   Or catsup on eggs!  We don't care how 'elegant' or 'stylish' or 'sophisticated' it might be. (the black ornaments – obviously there is nothing sophisticated about catsup, anywhere)


Our opinion regarding pink ornaments? Well that one is a little tricky because we sold a ton of pink Christmas tree ornaments at our fundraisers. But you have to understand, they were PINK RIBBON ornaments. And for the last umpteen months we have been slaves to the PINK RIBBON.


But now that that walk is over and we are trying to figure out where to walk to next, we can admit that pink is not exactly a traditional Christmas color.


For those of you as yet unconvinced that black Christmas tree ornaments are wrong I have found a loophole for you! If you were to make the ornaments yourself; that would be a traditional Christmassy thing to do and the color choice would be irrelevant. And for those of you with teenagers this would be a fun way to spend time with them - without the eye rolling and the scorn that teens feel the need to exhibit when something might possibly be less than cool.


If you are bound and determined to have sophisticated storebought black ornaments (or hot pink, or lime green) then Hobby Lobby on Greenfield road and the Superstition Freeway is probably going to be your best bet here in town.


If you are visiting here from some other state looking for the best place to buy black ornaments I’m afraid we can’t help you.  But we do have some great recipes and some useful product reviews if you want to hang around awhile.


While we are talking about Christmas tree ornaments ~ ~ ~  we've also had people arrive at Team H.O.P.E. looking for Harley Davidson Christmas Ornaments. I know for a fact that Chester's Harley Davidson on Country Club has the official HD 2008 ornament and many other nice gifts and decorations.


You are wondering why we have a problem with black (or pink, or lime green) ornaments and don't seem to have a problem with Harley Davidson ornaments?


Well first of all - we are not a huge fan of motorcycle ornaments - this Hemi V8 ornament is so much cuter!



The thing with the Harley Davidson or Hemi ornament is that it is a specialty ornament rather than a motif or theme.  

How would we feel about a themed Harley tree?  Well now. . . .  seeing as how Black and Orange are the official Harley colors. . . what does that suggest to you?



If you do want a black Christmas tree with orange lights, 

or if you would prefer this tree:



or if you would like a pink tree  (Or lemon-lime.  Or purple.  Or upside down.  Etc.) we might  suggest Treetopia.


(But please remember – we are NOT the better business bureau.  We are a group of moms walking around having fun and trying to make a small difference in the world.  We have never ordered a product from Treetopia and make no claims regarding their delivery schedule or anything else about them)


And lastly; (Yeah that’s what I usually say about half-way through to keep you reading) we have to share something with y’all.  As you are looking for something sleek and stylish and cutting edge for your Christmas décor you might keep in mind that what is sleek and stylish today will be kitschy and campy tomorrow. 


Remember the pink aluminumun tree that Lucy wanted?  Well it’s not only sought after by the retro campy melmac people; but apparently many children of the late 60’s and early 70’s want the tree because it represents tradition and warmth and childhood memories.  That, friends and neighbors, is what we call irony.


We had another Christmas tree to share but this is already quite long enough and we want to give the other tree the time and verbiage it deserves!


So until then, have a holly jolly day!

Oh, and before y'all write to me to gently and kindly inform me that I misspelled that particular metal alloy - it's not exactly spelled wrong, I just spelled it the way I pronounce it!