Category Archives: Chrimstas gifts

Free Kindle Book: Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life

TODAY, Monday, December 19,  Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life is free on Kindle. Don’t miss out. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Deedee-Divines-Totally-Skewed-ebook/dp/B0028AEDE4.

 

Merry Christmas!

Diana

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Kindle Book: Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

Today only, Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road is FREE on Kindle.  Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/Driving-Wrong-Side-Road-ebook/dp/B003XVZB7A    Misadventures in travel, home repairs, and everyday life.  Makes a great gift.  Available in paperback too!

 

 

 

 

Regular Kindle Price: $2.99

Paperback: $12.95

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Family Board Games: A Holiday Hazard?

In case you’re thinking about board games to keep your extended family engaged,  this holiday season, let me share what can go wrong.

 

Christmas Monopoly

From morning routines to family customs, our lives are filled with rituals. I figured there was no time like the holidays to incorporate a new one into my repertoire. But trouble arrived when one of my four children suggested we add a Monopoly game to our holiday boredom prevention program.

My oldest son Ron and his wife Julie had driven into town to stay with us for a few days. Their visits, which typically last just about long enough to digest a meal, are always welcomed. However, this time they’d brought along with them the dog they endearingly called my “grandpuppy,” a wiry-haired, hyperactive mixed breed with a vision problem. To this dog, everything must look like a tennis ball—because nothing is deemed unworthy of a good chase. So as you might imagine, our two cats were nonplussed about this houseguest.  

After a food orgy that began at noon and continued well past the point of intestinal discomfort, I commenced pitching camp in front of the television. (I mean, let’s face it; there’s only so much eating you can do before every bathroom in the house is clogged.) It was time to yell, “Back away from the table, and put down your fork.”

But just as I lifted the TV remote controller, Ron blurted, “Don’t turn on the TV! Let’s all do something together. You know, like family bonding.”

First he says he’s staying for two days, and now he says, “Don’t turn on the television”? This can’t be my child.

“I know,” Ryan, my twelve-year-old, said. “Let’s play MONOPOLY!”

Ron’s face brightened. “Yeah. It’ll be our new family tradition,” he chimed.

Right then, I was glad I hadn’t followed through on selling that game in my last garage sale.

As we gathered around the family dining table with Parker Brothers, the dog and one cat joined us. Each gave the other a suspicious eye, though thus far they’d been fairly tolerant.

About twenty minutes into the game, Ron said, “Hey, Mom, I’ll give you these two blue ones for that railroad you’re holding.”

I didn’t really need what he’d offered me, but I said, “Sure,” anyway.

His eyes lit up as he snatched away my railroad card. “Suck-Er-Er-er-er!”

Okay.  This is my child.

I’d forgotten how long a game of Monopoly can last.

Ryan was the first to go bankrupt, so he moved into position to help me. Already, I’d given Ron his third of four railroads. What blunders were left?

If any family bonding was taking place, I hadn’t yet observed it. More like it was every man, woman, child, and dog for himself.

My arms vibrated from all the table shaking that Ron’s leg bouncing produced. His childhood tics had reemerged, the ones that had caused him to be sent home from school with report cards that said, “Refuses to sit still in class.” That was back in the days before Ritalin.

Next, it was my husband’s turn. He drew a Chance Card that condemned him to pay the last of his money to the remaining three players. “No-o-o!” he shouted, slamming his fist down onto the table.

The dog yelped. Then the cat, thinking she might be in jeopardy, attacked with a hiss and a few punches to the muzzle. Ryan fell out of his chair, laughing, and hurt his knee.

Julie, who was by now almost out of money, maintained a glum expression. So Ron looked lovingly into his wife’s eyes and asked, “Would you like me to give you five hundred dollars for that railroad, Hon—just to keep you in the game?”

She gazed back at him and smiled. “Would ya?”

“Of course. What are husbands for?” he gushed. Then he whisked the card from her hand and hollered, “All R-R-I-I-I-IGHT!”

 No one was surprised when eventually Ron won the game, and he was the only one who went to bed happy that night. My husband felt his position as “head-of-household” had been usurped. Julie had been deceived by her own spouse. The other children had been once again outdone by their older brother. And thanks to this entire ruckus, the dog and cat now had more trust issues than ever before.

That evening, I fell asleep and dreamed about traipsing cross-county to view exterior illumination like most normal families do.

This year, we’ll need to establish a new holiday ritual—because the most I got out of that Monopoly game was the two bucks it brought during last summer’s garage sale.

Excerpted from the book, Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road, by Diana Estill.

 

Available in paperback and Kindle format

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Award-winning humor book now $2.99 on Kindle

I know how much Kindle owners (I’m one) appreciate a good read at a low price, so I’ve just made both my humor books available on Amazon for the low list price of $2.99.  But it gets better! Amazon is discounting Driving (not sure for how long) to $1.99!

Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road: Humorous Views on Love, Lust, & Lawn Care includes tales of misadventures in travel, home repairs, and everyday life.

 

Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life offers wacky wisdom and advice to help conquer life’s daily annoyances. Deedee (my alter ego) explains why women won’t read maps, Bubbas build the best burgers, and wise men should never use the B-word, “budget.”  A ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist.

These titles are available in paperback too.

Thank you for checking out my books!

Diana

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What do your dishes say about you?

The Blue Willow Bowl

 

Thanksgiving Central, the “war room,” otherwise known as my kitchen. In the place where it all begins each year, I search for a mixing bowl that hasn’t yet been soiled and sent to the sink.

Nothing.

Oh, wait. Here’s that Blue Willow bowl I never use, the one Grandma gave me . . . when was it? Seems like it was right after I married. I recall her voice when she asked, “Don’t you need a good mixing bowl?”  

I lift the bowl and examine it. How many foods have been made and served inside this cobalt blue and white heirloom? Probably thousands.

My fingers trace the rim. Still chipped in two places—just like the day she gave it to me. Otherwise, I see no cracks. Not any unplanned ones, at least. There’s a crackle glaze that’s rather pronounced around the love birds painted near the bottom. Hmm. Love birds. I hadn’t ever before noticed these.

Now, where is my banana nut bread recipe? Well, it’s not really mine. Actually, I got that from Grandma too—indirectly. For Christmas, one year not long before she died, she gave me a cookbook published by her church. Grandma’s contribution to the book had been her banana bread recipe. She was already up in years when she’d provided those instructions. So she accidentally left out the flour from the list of ingredients. I’ve penciled in the correction. 

I stir together the flour, sugar, eggs, and lard. Yes, lard. That’s how she made it. It’s one day a year. I’m probably not going to kill anyone with cholesterol. I mean, it wouldn’t be her recipe if I substituted canola oil.

Mindlessly, I stare at the blue and white china.

I miss her.

It hits me. I am here, stirring the banana bread that I will serve my family tomorrow, and I am mixing the same batter in the same dish that my grandmother used to blend her baked goods decades before this.

So who cares if the bowl is chipped?

Some day, I will look at one of my daughters and ask, “Don’t you need a good mixing bowl?” When I do, I hope she appreciates the significance.

I pour the batter into a loaf pan and turn on the tap to rinse the bowl.

Water pours. The blue willows weep. And tears flow.

Everybody needs a good mixing bowl.

 

http://www.TotallySkewed.com

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Totally Skewed: Thoughts on Regifting

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I’m fairly certain that regifting originated from the need to dispose of a fruitcake. From there it branched out and became an ideal solution for eliminating all kinds of unwanted presents. Subsequently, entire industries have suffered.

As each new recipient acquired a regifted item, he or she then was able to eliminate one cheap and thoughtless purchase from a holiday shopping list. Think of it as multi-level sales in reverse. Manufacturers were forced to produce fewer goods, which in turn led to the nation’s decline in GNP (Gross Needless Products). In fact, rumor has it that only one smoked sausage log has been made in the United States since 1978. Thus, regifting has become the bane of our economy.

If we’d all stop repetitively selecting the same purchases every year, then maybe we could put an end to this cycle of defeat. Just because every sales brochure we receive is hawking bathrobes at 50 percent off doesn’t mean that anyone really needs one. Why do you think they’re half-price and labeled “one size fits all”?

A terrycloth robe will be circulated through an entire extended family before someone donates it to the nearest homeless shelter. The same can be said for scarf and glove sets. Few Texas residents need a set of fleece-lined mitts. If you want to protect your loved ones here from harsh weather conditions, consider sending them lip balm and sunscreen.

This brings me to another ill-suited gift choice: throw blankets. I don’t care if they are camo-print or have been made from those new super-soft petroleum-based fabrics. Grandpa doesn’t sneak up on deer when he’s sitting in his recliner. And polar fleece might very well be the single greatest factor contributing to global oil shortages. Besides, nothing says “You look like a person who has no social life” better than a blanket. This, too, is sure to be passed along until it’s eventually claimed for dog bedding.

Speaking of possessions that guys don’t actually use, here’s another senseless acquisition—the auto emergency flashlight equipped with a ball peen hammer. Ladies, if the car breaks down, do you really want your man out there standing on the side of the road, fumbling in the dark, and trying to fix a vehicle with a demolition tool? And even if you are sadistic enough to answer yes to that question, that’s not how these situations typically unfold. Most men would turn on the overhead dome light, flip open their cell phone, and dial AAA.

Women aren’t the only ones who have difficulty making purchases for the opposite sex. Here’s a tip for men who are shopping for their spouses: Ladies are not infatuated with sharp objects the way you are. Don’t bother buying a knife set for your wife unless you mean to encourage sinister thoughts.

Furthermore, the cutlery industry has yet to recover from a butcher block steak knife set that someone purchased in 1982. This testosterone-laden object has since appeared at every bridal shower in the South. (Last seen, it was being offered on eBay by a seller whose name rhymes with “hobbit.”)

Finally, let me offer a few words about loofah sponges: STOP GIVING THEM TO ME!

I’m sorry. I just had to get that out.

Similar to other females, I love smelling like freesia, though I’m not sure what that is. But I don’t need a nylon scouring pad to apply my scented lotions and bath gels. These objects are fillers sold to the average consumer who believes there’s a need for all this colorful netting. Apparently, this includes most anyone who’s ever walked past the entrance of a Bath & Body Works.

While I can’t get enough vanilla scented creams and soaps, I’ve had to dedicate an entire linen closet to the storage of unused loofah sponges. The problem here is that, despite regifting, I can’t stay ahead of the influx of new arrivals.

Ultimately, regifting must be reduced to restore the financial health of our economy. The country’s GNP depends upon all of us doing our part to make better informed purchases this season.

As to what to do with your unwanted bath aids, I can only suggest upgrading your home to one that includes more storage space. Nobody needs a loofah sponge. And our slumping real estate market could use the assistance.

 

Excerpted from Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life, by Diana Estill.  Available now from Amazon.com.

 

www.TotallySkewed.com

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Books as gifts

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http://www.buybooksfortheholidays.com/

 

Please join the campaign to purchase books as gifts this holiday season! What else can you buy for less than $20 that will bring joy all year long? Socks warm the sole, but not the soul. Nobody likes cheap perfume. And nothing says “You look like a person who watches too much reality TV” better than a throw blanket. Books educate, enlighten, and entain. Support literacy. Feed an author. Give a gift that offers true value and genuine meaning. (And, yes, making someone laugh does too have value!)

###  End of sermon

 

www.totallyskewed.com

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