Have you heard the story of the Bread Family Christmas? I didn't think so. Time to grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back and relax as I share with you one of the most illusive stories never told.
Although very little is known about the origins of the Bread family, their ancestry can be traced all the way back to the days of Moses and the leavened lineage of the Manna’s.
A long time ago, the wind was howling, snow was falling and it was a very, very cold Christmas Eve night. Corn & Ginger Bread were busily preparing for holiday guests to arrive for their annual Christmas celebration.
The Bread’s were blessed with six little muffins, each one embracing unique, individual personalities:
Excitement was in the air as the little muffins anxiously awaited the arrival of well… you know who? However, the excitement was less than a reality for Corn Bread, he was stressed and worried because the troubled economy made raisin six little muffins difficult. It goes without saying that times were tough for the Breads. Everyone, was cutting back and tightening their belts, or at least trying too, as many Breads were being sliced away from everything they had known.
Day after day, Cornbread would roll to the factory because they kneaded the dough. Through it all, Ginger Bread never seemed overly concerned. Ginger went about her sweet way, smiling through the worst of times. Inside the little canister they called a house, Ginger Bread always made everyone feel a little bit better and could always transform a bad day into a good one.
Ginger Bread made sure that the little muffins got a quick nap earlier that day, so they would be wide awake for the festivities. After a couple of hours, Ginger sang, “rise and shine”. Waking up was a little difficult for the little muffins as they seemed to be stuck in the warmth of their surroundings, but a little bit of careful nudging and they were ready to greet everyone.
It wouldn't be long before the "in-laws", the Loaves, would arrive. This added to Corn Bread's stress. Their rye sense of humor was never received well, and most of the time they ended up behaving like heels. Yet, year after year, Corn Bread kept hoping that this would be the year things would be different.
As customary, Breads from all over the country would soon be arriving from yeast to west and everywhere in-between. Aunt Éclair and Cousin Pita were the first to arrive. Uncle Crumpet soon followed. Uncle Crumpet always made Ginger Bread nervous because sometimes he would arrive a little half baked.
The relative entourage included: Biscuit who had obviously packed on a few extra layers but was jolly and fluffy as ever; Ciabatta, who traveled all the way from Italy; Sourdough, well, he showed up angry and Grandma Pumpernickel was a crusty ‘ol Bread, but you couldn't help but love her.
Time moved quickly and soon everyone arrived. Ginger Bread's house was filled with Breads; more than three dozen were gathered around the oven. The clock ticked ever so slowly as the little muffins anticipation grew. The little muffins were almost crumbling with excitement, when suddenly.......a loud POP was heard outside the little house, followed by a giggle. It was time! The moment they had been waiting for.......
There he was, easily identifiable by his characteristic hat, shirt and no pants ensemble. Yes, it was the famous Dough Boy himself, delivering goodies, fresh from the oven. He spoke not a word, but the giggles were endless. Dough Boy was soon out the door, on to the next oven, but they heard him exclaim as he soared out of sight, ....Happy Baking to all and to all a good night!
Mom, it's the ONLY thing I want for Christmas! In my house, this seasonal mantra typically began shortly after Halloween and continued through Christmas Eve. These "more than anything", die-hard requests always seemed to be attached to the most elusive, hard to find, toy of choice on the market. To this day, I can still recall the echo of desperation in the tiny voices of my children.
As a mom, I dreaded and despised the non-stop, commercial driven antics of the toy industry. HOT item lists and anticipated shortages plagued my very existence. How could I let my kids down? There could be no exceptions or mishaps, Santa had to deliver! Mindful of a limited income and armed with determination, Black Friday became my ultimate challenge...my mom badge was at stake and I had to emerge victorious.
Admittedly, my first Black Friday escapade was a colossal failure. As a newbie, I learned very quickly that Black Friday shopping was not an exercise for the amateur or an adventure for the fainthearted. Black Friday shopping success depended upon strategy, expertise and a fierce desire to beat the competition.
After Thanksgiving festivities would end, my Mad Woman on a Mission personality would surface. As a Black Friday shopping guru, my strategy began by gathering sale ads, mapping out Early Bird Specials and Door Busters, making a detailed list of which sales were at what stores, set out my clothes and went to bed early.
The alarm would ring at 1 a.m. and I would arrive at my first store around 2 a.m. The specials were very limited and I had to be first or second in line if I were to have a chance at getting that "must have", "hard to get" item.
Thinking back, I have to laugh remembering how easy it was to distinguish between Black Friday professionals and first timers. First timers just didn't seem to understand the consequences of drinking too much coffee or the hassle of returning lawn chairs to the car. Let's just say that depending on the crowd, getting out of line wasn't always respected. First timers would experience a Black Friday boot camp of sorts. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately describe the brutality that could sometimes accompany Black Friday shopping. Once the doors opened, rules disappeared and the shoppers that, just moments earlier, appeared to wait patiently, transformed into raging mobs brandishing fisticuffs, pushing and showing displays of ruthless hostility.
Over the years, I became very skilled at Black Friday shopping and my BFF and I incorporated team shopping into our ritual. Team shopping made it even easier to secure more of our "must get items".
The era of Cabbage Patch Dolls®, Ninja Turtles®, Power Rangers®, Tickle Me Elmo®, Power Puff Girls®, Nintendo®, PlayStation II®, Fur Real Cat®, and Holiday Barbie® are now gone, but the memories remain. Black Friday shopping became a quest I conquered and now it's over! Well maybe? Times have changed and while I still love Black Friday shopping, I admit that I enjoy it more from the comfort of my home computer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not saying that I will never suit up again to once again tackle the crowds and experience the rush of adrenaline while zigging and zagging my way through the frenzy of sale chaos. While I cannot predict when or if nostalgia will once again release my Mad Woman on a Mission personality, one thing is certain....should that day arrive, I highly suggest that you move on or move over!
No doubt, the 90's birthed the era of the minivan phenomenon. At that time, the minivan was the most sought after automobile for moms everywhere, and I was no exception.
As the popularity of the minivan grew, I was determined that I could not, would not be persuaded or affected by the advertising industry. I was an independent thinker and believed my purchasing habits and decisions were solely my own. In my mind, I had perfected bargain shopping, embraced the gift of haggling and even strategically participated in re-gifting. (Yes, dear friends, now you know.)
1997, I remember it well. That was the year that I subconsciously succumbed to the hype of an advertisement, and without much hesitation, purchased a forest green mini-van, complete with sliding doors on each side.
Unbeknownst to me, this vehicle would change my life....and the way my life was viewed by others! Throughout history, there has never been a vehicle that has stereotyped its' owner quite as effectively as the mini-van.
Within a few short months, the silent metamorphosis had begun. I hardly recognized myself. I had become the epitome of domesticity. How could this have happened to ME? After-all, I grew up during the late seventies, chanting women's lib mantras and refusing to make coffee as part of my job description!
Yet, somehow I changed. Behind the steering wheel of a mini-van, I reeked of the word MOM. I soon discovered that a minivan is a vehicle that is constantly traveling without ever really identifying a true destination.
Minivan mamas could typically be described as coupon clipping, financially challenged, laundry sorting, meal preparing females who proudly displayed stick family, honor student and band decals on the rear window.
While most minivans could seat seven people, that just wasn't enough! Minivan mamas always seemed to add passengers, not through labor and delivery, but via pick up. Minivan mamas would often moonlight as transportation liaisons for school activities. Yes, minivan mamas could often be heard yelling, "Don't make me pull this van over..........", from the front windows that were always rolled down for some reason.
Minivans were, and I guess still are, a modern day "Let's Make a Deal" caddy on wheels. Through the tinted back glass, an array of "necessary" items lined the cargo space. These items often included but were not limited to: Sports equipment, instruments, bicycles, strollers, diaper bags, groceries, lawn chairs, stuffed animals, blankets, snacks, books, umbrellas and so-on.
Beyond the obvious, I think the most amazing transformation was the persona transfer that continued outside the vehicle. Minivan mamas could typically be spotted at the area discount store, sporting a hurried look, wrinkled brow, dressed in sweat pants or jeans, no brand name tennis shoes, make-up free, have at least two children tagging along and always had keys in hand at the register.
Time passes quickly and the heyday popularity of the mini-van has since been replaced by the SUV. It's all in the advertising, and I am a firm believer that the advertising industry failed to expand upon the minivan's greatest attraction! The secret golden egg mystery of minivan advertising continues to be the little known fact that 16 year old's would rather walk to school than drive a minivan! Now THAT’S an advertising concept!
Fall has arrived! There is just something soothing about the sound of a steady, set-in-for-the day rainfall pleasantly splashing against the sidewalks. As I gaze out the open window, watching bubbling pools of water transform into a mini-stream running downhill, a cool breeze drifts through the screen and suddenly the worries of the day are removed.
Still mesmerized by the sound of each raindrop, my mind travels back in time. I find myself reflecting on the "Good ‘ol Days”; wait a minute, did I really use the phrase, "Good 'ol Days"? Anyway, I digress, but.......ah yes, memories. Back in the day, I was a hard-working, ambitious 20-something dreamer. I had big plans and yet, I can't help but snicker as I recall that my biggest worry back then was whether or not I would have a date on Saturday night. Oh..........if I only knew then what I know now.
Over the years, many changes have happened in my little part of the world. For those of you that grew up in the Evansville/Newburgh area, I thought you might like to take a walk down memory lane with me. C'mon, admit it, you can almost see the fuzzy cloud and hear the 70’s music fade in, can't you?
As memorable as these things are, it is important to note that the next generation will have their own reflective moments; so…why blog about nostalgia? As humans, we tend to remember the good things and forget the bad. Thinking back, along with a little research, the reality of the 70's were not all puppy dogs and roses. Like today's world, the 70's were a time of turmoil, suffering and mistrust. They were also filled with anxiety, worry, fear, violence and uncertainty.
It's important to understand that action taken, not wished is what impacts outcomes. When we begin to see beyond the smog that clouds our vision, just think of the possibilities. If we would simply learn to appreciate the positive happenings that occur each day, strive to make a difference in our community and the lives of others, complain less and be determined to move forward.....imagine........really IMAGINE....how much greater YOUR reflection will be 20 years from now!
Mesmerized by the sound of each raindrop, my mind travels back in time; how far back I travel is determined by the day…………..
With Labor Day just around the corner, I can't help but laugh when I recall my very own "labor day's". Those times were filled with excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown
Labor Day received official Federal recognition as a national holiday in 1894 and celebrates the economic and social contributions of the American worker.
I am sure that most will agree that childbirth. the nine months preceding and the 18+ years that follow certainly exemplify the word, “work!”
The time as arrived to dispel the Misconception of Labor Day expectations.
In today's world, family planning is particularly popular among many young couples. These somewhat naive, soon to be parents, are intent on making their mark on the world, starting careers and having their “ducks in a row”....before starting a family.
The word “trying” is often used in reference to starting a family. Regardless of whether you're “trying” or shouting to the rooftops, “whoops” or "WHAT"; grab a life jacket and hang on tight, because you're in the same boat. That's right, the same rocky, wave riding boat; so lift your head from your porcelain paradise and remember that meals are always temporary!
Initially, the giddy excitement of knowing that you are the vessel that carries another life is overwhelming. The desire to learn everything possible about this nine-month journey is exceptionally strong and soon-to-be moms endeavor to read every book and article ever written about this expedition. Detailed explanations are sought about everything from mood swings to delivery. This information, along with advice from friends, relatives and strangers, should be taken with a grain of salt. No pregnancy is book perfect and the likelihood that your baby will be the next Gerber® Baby, is slim to none.
First time expectant moms document weekly changes, know the exact week and day of the adventure and treasure each moment; second and subsequent babies, not so much. Ironically, while excitement abounds around the first time expectant mom, the enthusiasm fades quickly with each additional announcement.
As a new mom, with no previous babysitting experience, I was totally unprepared for the responsibility I was about to accept and created the following list based on my experience.
Daily if possible! For the next four to seven years, it will be necessary to tote a bag full of items everywhere you go. This bag will contain a variety of items based on the child’s age; some of which may include: bottles, pacifiers, diapers, baby oil, baby lotion, wet wipes, toys, coloring books, rattles, baby nose aspirator and so on. In addition, it will be a long time before you will be able to enjoy a dinner out without saying the following statements:
LABOR DAY ARRIVES
It will seem like an eternity awaiting the arrival of your bundle of joy and you will soon learn that birthing classes didn't tell you all of the facts. The classes actually made labor sound bearable. The phrase “you will feel discomfort” had to have been written by a man. Discomfort, DISCOMFORT; try anguish, torment, agony or torture, as these words better define the pain.
The popular thing today seems to be “natural” childbirth; personally, “natural” is overrated. My advice is to begin asking for drugs before you really even need them to ensure that you avoid being told, “I’m sorry, it’s too late.” Actually, I see no reason NOT to be knocked out like they did in my mother’s day. Having my baby cleaned, powdered, diapered and then handed to you doesn’t sound half bad.
Last but not least, recognize that your spouse has absolutely no clue what to do, what is happening or what to say. Totally insensitive comments are inevitable, so brace yourself.
Hubby: Do you want to watch TV to take your mind off things?
Me: Do you want to retain the shape of a TV?
Hubby: Just breathe.
Me: Great advice Einstein, the one thing I didn’t have to think about.
Me: I am focusing, on the PAIN!
Hubby: It’s almost over.
Me: Yea, right, that’s what you said 6 hours ago!
Hubby: I love you.
Me: Yea, yea, like that’ll ever work again.
Hubby: I see the head.
Me: Well, Hot Diggity Dog
Me: You’ll think push when I push you out of this fourth floor window
Hubby: The doctor is on his way
Me: Here or does he have another golf game?
Hubby: Do you want some crushed ice?
Me: Yea, stick a block under my fist and I’ll crush it!
When everything is said and done, you will have experienced the ultimate human achievement and will take home with you a beautiful, dependent little life that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state. Years later you'll discover that successful parenting results in a beautiful, dependent teenager that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state.
Happy Labor Day!
Today, I am 56 years old and I am celebrating! Yes, you heard me right celebrating. Why wouldn’t I celebrate? Turning 56 is better than NOT turning 56, if you catch my meaning. It seems like only yesterday, I turned 21, so you will have to forgive me for being a bit bumfuzzled as to how this transformation happened? After all, I know they say that time waits for no one, but seriously….time flew by so fast that I missed my mid-life crises!
So why write about my birthday? Why not? I realize that most women wouldn’t admit their age, let alone put it in writing; but hey, it is what is. Is aging pleasant? No, it’s not. Bones creak, eyesight worsens, hearing is questionable, fatigue is a state of being and worse, the sags and bags and lines…oh my! Truthfully, it takes me so long to get ready to leave the house that I’m still not quite sure if general everyday maintenance really takes that much longer or I just move a lot slower.
So what have I learned in 56 years? Not enough, that’s for sure. I think everyone has a list of things they would change if given the opportunity, and I’m no different. However, a do-over wish list where the focus is on the past just isn’t productive. It doesn’t do any good to pine for a life that didn’t happen.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I had two choices, either jump feet first into a world full of unexplored experiences or resign myself to a rocker style existence. I decided to choose jumping feet first and grasp everything life has to offer. Since I can only go around this world one time, there is no time for could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.
I believe that I have entered my Fried Green Tomato Season of Life. I catch myself saying and doing things now that would have been unthinkable 10, 15 or 20 years ago. I no longer worry about what other’s think, and I am simply having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ramming a car of a rude patron at a shopping center (sigh of relief heard from my insurance agent), but I also do not have qualms about “telling it like it is”.
For example, the other day, I stopped in at the grocery to pick up a few things. At the checkout, some lady, pretending like she was “all that and a bag of chips” was berating the young cashier about something that didn’t ring up correctly. The little gal must have only been about 16 or so and her face was a mix of embarrassment and hard to hold back tears. That was THE moment of truce. My Fried Green Tomato Season of Life kicked in full force.
Me: “Lady, what’s your problem?” I said. “Seriously, whatever is wrong can be fixed!"
Lady: “This is none of your business.”
Me: “True, but I’m making it my business and you need to stop it!”
Lady: “Well, I never”
Me: “I’m not doubting that”
Lady: She huffed out and left her groceries (no worries, she wasn’t buying that much anyway)
The cashier just looked at me and said, “Wow, thank you. We’re not allowed to say anything.” I smiled and said, “I know, I once worked as a cashier a long time ago too.” Although, I’m quite sure the manager was not overly happy, I did receive quite a few nodding smiles from what I could only perceive were fellow Fried Green Tomato Season of Life people. Let me tell you, that felt good!
I’ve accepted that aging is simply a part of life. I can either embrace it or mourn it, but I still have to live it. So I guess, for me, my Fried Green Tomato Season of Life is a rebirth of sorts. A fresh look at the world around me, recognizing the thorns I’ve walked through, scratches and all, and chasing the rainbows of my future.
Where will this season take me? Who knows, but I’m wide eyed, jumping in with both feet and taking on every adventure with enthusiasm and a just a tad of carefree whim.
So, even though my birthday arrived just like any other day, without fanfare, a cake or presents; just the busyness of what has become my existence; my Fried Green Tomato Season of Life is just getting started. You can either join me or get out of the way, because this mama is on the move!
Traffic is buzzing, sounds of youthful yelling, laughing and running around the neighborhood have ceased and Facebook is eerily silent during the day. This can only mean one thing….summer hiatus is over and a new school year is in session!
Social media popularity has catapulted First Day of School photo rituals to a whole new level. As I view the many Back to School pictures posted, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic reminiscing about my own kids’ and their “first day of school moments”.
Sitting here at my computer (yes, a real computer, not a phone), thousands of memories flood my mind and appear as a time warp of sorts, somewhere between yesterday and eternity.
Things I miss:
Things I do NOT miss:
As a card carrying member of the Empty Nesters Club, I want to remind young parents of a few things:
Lastly, while social media is a great way to share your photos, please remember to print or BACK 'Em UP! Should your favorite social media site disappear, a computer virus wipe your files or your handy dandy smart phone dies, your photos, along with your memories, will be gone...FOREVER!