Tag Archives: Christmas

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

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under books, Chrimstas gifts, entertainment, humor, Kindle, life, Random thoughts, reflections, Uncategorized

Totally Skewed: Thoughts on Regifting

 CB005631

 

 

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

3 Comments

Filed under Chrimstas gifts, entertainment, food, humor, life, opinion, publishing, Random thoughts, reflections, Thoughts, Uncategorized, women, writing

The Best Way to Baste a Bird

The Best Way to Baste a Bird

 

Cooks everywhere have begun their search for the perfect turkey recipe, one that can be made without consulting Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So I’m offering a few time-tested tidbits.

 

First, you’ll want your bird to be visually appealing, not too dry yet fully cooked–or at least thawed. Nothing ruins a festive mood faster than having a guest find a half-frozen neck inside the main entrée. (Don’t ask me how that turkey managed to get his head in there.)

 

It’s best to cook poultry in a baste that provides a lovely caramel colored glaze, a flavorful hint of sweetness and just the right proof level to keep the kids quiet. That’s why I’m sharing with you my heirloom recipe, Bourbon Turkey Bliss.

 

If you have any trouble following this recipe, please let your doctor know. You might be suffering from ADHD, Adult Drinking Holidays Disorder.

 

 

mpj042261000001 

Bourbon Turkey Bliss

 

Ingredients:         10-12 lb. turkey, fresh or fully thawed to look that way

                             1 bottle (750 ml), divided, Wild Turkey™ bourbon

 (80 proof or greater)

                             1/3 C honey

                             1/3 C ketchup

                             2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

                             1 Tbsp. soy sauce

 

Instructions:  Mix 2 cups of Wild Turkey™ with honey, ketchup, brown sugar, and soy sauce to form basting sauce. Set aside remaining bourbon.

 

Brush basting sauce on turkey.

 

Bake turkey in an oven roasting bag at 325 degrees for approximately ½ hour per pound. (That’s the turkey’s weight, not yours.)

 

Drink any remaining bourbon while the turkey cooks.

 

Have someone else transfer the turkey from oven to serving platter.

 

Blissfully serves up to 12!

 

 

 

Read more from Diana Estill, author of Deedee Divine’s Totally Skewed Guide to Life and Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road at www.totallyskewed.com.

 

                       

                       

                       

 

2 Comments

Filed under cooking, entertainment, food, humor, life, Random thoughts, recipes, Uncategorized, women, writing

Books as gifts

imbuyingbooks_button

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

1 Comment

Filed under Chrimstas gifts, entertainment, humor, life, opinion, publishing, reflections, Thoughts, Uncategorized, writing