RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Christmas

Anxiety Woman tries every peppermint product of the holiday season!

BE MERRY!  The season demands I comply. Peppermint disappears from the shelves like eggnog and its predecessor pumpkin spice. It dies a cruel death even though you and I know it will bloom in every crevice of free soil come June.  I need PEP to get through the winter. PEP smells good and it comes with sugar and chocolate. It is spirited!

Although I do worry a bit about diabetes, I worry more about depression, Donald Trump’s impact on my life and my own sanity so this year I tried peppermint. Lot’s o’ peppermint.  Here are the results.

Product number 1:  Peppermint cocoa or mocha.

I make it at home with the cheapest cocoa packet, almond milk and peppermint extract.  I never used to buy the packets because I always have baking cocoa on hand but you  have to put 5 minutes of work into that.  When I buy it at a coffee stand it better be great because I make this all the time and I want a treat. Give me the Goddamn whipped cream please!

Kaladi’s Brothers hot chocolate was too sweet so I could not taste the peppermint at all. Steam Dot was not sweet enough, more like chocolate mud.

The winners:  Starbucks in Anchorage for its  “treaty-ness” and Peet’s Coffee overall because of customer service, ambiance and superlative everything.

Product number 2:  Peppermint ice cream

The overall winner is Tillamook. Both creamy and pepperminty, you can’t beat it.  I couldn’t even find it this year!  I tried others which were just bad. Peppermint oil is very strong and cheap but some places use artificial flavor anyway, yuck! It also doesn’t have to be pink, thank you!

Product number 3: Candy canes

The expensive ones are no better than the cheap ones but I stick with peppermint or crème de menthe. Then there are those gigantic gourmet canes they sell at ACE Hardware. Go expensive if you must get a fruit flavor, pumpkin pie or coffee flavor or make some kind of impression. All the flavored ones at Fred Meyer’s are just citric acid and run off from Monsanto. Look at this $1 pack off the sale rack.

cc

I also keep a pack in my Subaru for earthquakes and getting lost in the wilds of Wasilla. I must have bought them a long time ago as the price reads 19 cents!

19cents

Product number 4: Peppermint chocolates.

This part of the experiment has been most fulfilling. Ghirardelli?– NO!  Too much packaging, too little peppermint. Lindt white chocolate peppermint balls – YES! Know that handsome beardless chef they have on their advertisements? Somehow the chocolate is as smooth and shiny as his face!

lindt

Chocolate peppermint bark from Walmart – okay but chocolate bark from Alaskan Sweet Things – MUCH BETTER. Walmart’s bark tastes like it could have been almond bark or toffee bark and they had some left over candy canes. It’s not even cheap. Alaskan Sweet Things is less smooth- thus less corporate, beautifully colored, tasty and uses -GLACIAL WATER, (perhaps from Anchorage taps).

I confess I would eat any of the above laying around but making your own white and dark chocolate peppermint bark is the best. See’s used to have some white peppermint truffles but I could not find them this year. They are GREAT! Andes After Chocolate Mints and York Peppermint Patties will do in a pinch.  They don’t really say “Happy Holidays!” , more like, “All I could afford was these.”

Winners:  Tie between  Lindt White Chocolate Peppermint Balls and Alaskan Sweet Things White Chocolate Peppermint Bark.

Product number 5: Peppermint popcorn. Yes, it tastes good but it isn’t really worth it because as I get older everything sticks in my teeth.

Default winner: Boom Chicka Pop White chocolate peppermint popcorn

I have a headache now. Too much peppermint, sugar and Bold Italics. So much money and calories spent on research. I panicked and signed up for a “You can be a copywriter” website to increase my income and an Online Dating Site to improve my self esteem.  I wonder what the flavor of 2019 will be. Any suggestions?

Advertisements

Anxiety Woman’s favorite Holiday movies

I’m a grumpy, short-tempered knockabout. I keep dropping and forgetting things. I try to take it easy but it would probably be best if I took my entire vacation all at once this time of year.  Being aware that I am affected by the shortness of days only makes me feel more self-conscious of my shortcomings. I find myself wanting to sleep but unable,  wanting to go outside but unable, wanting to feel happy but …well, that’s why I blog. When I share something I hope it will help or entertain someone so that I don’t view my day as another one mooched off Mother Earth.

What helps me is a good Christmas film. I remember when I discovered “The Bishop’s Wife”. Cary Grant, or rather his double, ice skating is my fave. Olympians should attempt to recreate this scene in a pair’s competition.

bishops-wife1

That’s one dapper gent. Wait ’til you see the taxi driver skate!

I have two new favorites films this year. Like “The Bishop’s Wife” and “A Christmas Carol”, they address the illusion of money’s value.  These aren’t new movies but ones you may want to revisit each year, like the tree decorations you can’t throw out.

“Millions” came out around 2002. The only name I recognized on the DVD cover was Danny Boyle as director.  “Millions” makes many best Christmas movie lists. It looks like a kid’s film but one where the kids say “Our mother is dead,” in order to get cookies. The Saints are probably the best part in the movie for me. I love how St. Joseph gives acting notes and steps in to cover a missed line. I also enjoyed the donkey.

millions

I just finished watching “It happened on 5th Avenue” which should have a stage adaptation so that I can play the divorcee. It’s heart is very good but unlike “Millions” which is magical and wryly funny, “5th Avenue” is more old fashioned, its humor coming from the ye old role reversal of rich and poor.

5th ave

In this still, Aloysius, the poor but happy man enters the mansion.

Here is the same entryway after his many new friends join him.

it-happened-on-5th-ave-27

I guess this reflects some choices in my life. I choose to live with others. I choose to work at a job that gives me more joy than money. I still enjoy classic Christmas films like “Die Hard” but I’m glad I saw these too. If you have any suggestions for me, please comment. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!

 

 

Season’s Greetings from Quake Town U.S.A

I propose that Anchorage, Alaska change its name to Quake Town, U . S. A. Our current slogan is “Big, Wild, Life.”  In truth, “Big Moose/Many Gift Shoppes” would be more appropriate. “Quake Town” would capture the peril and uncertainty which most adventure travelers are seeking. Could we meet their expectations? If we have learned anything from the last earthquake I would say YES!  We could provide certificates authenticating quakes which occurred during your visit, conduct bracing earthquake drills at each hotel. auction off broken dinnerware or create desserts of ice cream with broken pieces of chocolate bark to illustrate the effects of seismic upheaval.

Perhaps this appeals to me because it is late and I can’t sleep, not because of earthquakes but because it is nearing the winter solstice.  My mind and body struggle to keep up with the increasing loss of daylight and the greyness of global warming. Yet I persist in attempting to create Christmas cheer. Behold my new lawn display:

pen 2

These exquisite creatures arrived in my driveway anonymously last week in response to my post searching for a light up snowman. Now that is the true holiday spirit! I did not know I needed penguins but now that there are three people living here and a need for both humor and earthquake detection I am convinced that there is a God.  I am the tipped over one. The sheet over the chairs is supposed to be a glacier since they looked a bit sad in the globally warmed greenery of my yard.  Here is a photo of them on active alert – triggered by the motion sensor I have them plugged into!

penguins

I also have a special aftershock detector installed in my bedroom which allows me to travel in time to a place of aliens, Time Lords and Daleks where earthquakes are the least of my worries.

IMG_20181210_010919

This suspended Tardis, also a gift, responds to settling tremors by absorbing the energy waves and swaying peacefully to transport my consciousness to another level. I enjoy the new Doctor very much and continued to be surprised how the writers get me to cry at the end of almost every episode.

I have tried some not so successful methods of cheering myself such as commenting on controversial posts on the internet. I do not advocate this unless you just want to wish them “Merry Christmas.” This is what I will be doing from now on so that when I receive emails telling me to “Shut up!” I will assume I have offended their religious beliefs and will apologize profusely instead of continuing an argument.

Also I attempted to make a holiday skirt out of a Christmas tree skirt which is now lying crumpled on my bedroom carpet.IMG_20181204_211620608

Although my waist is closer to 30 inches than 34, I cut the hole in the center to the latter dimension so that the skirt would hang longer and thus created a cascade of unraveling destruction. I may try to use my mini sewing machine to reconstruct the damage much as one might do after an earthquake.

Alas another fail, I attended a party yesterday and in my unbridled enthusiasm ate a wide variety of delicious foods, ignoring my previous experiences only to soil myself on the way home. Too much information?  May you all grow old a bit more graceful than I!

Here are a couple of more successful attempts at cheer.

IMG_20181204_211727839_HDR

My new hat has met with nothing but compliments. $6 at Walmart well spent. I also purchased an outfit for my car which is modest but effective.car

I hope this will bring cheer to little children and those who are children at heart as they see it parked on the icy streets of Anchorage. ’til we meet again, take it one quake at a time!

How to keep the holidays real

When it comes to the holidays how we  “keep”  them can be connected to a deep or superficial set of beliefs. This includes beliefs about who we are. Here are some beliefs which influence how I spend the holidays. Let’s get the negative ones out of the way first. It’s a short list but sometimes powerful enough to discourage me from enjoying what can be a very fun time of year.

Negative Beliefs which are probably not based in fact

  1.  I am a misfit. I don’t have the energy for this.  I’m depressed. I can’t figure out what I want to do for the holidays.

2.   Holidays are for families with young children. I am out of place at holiday events. Something is wrong with me because I don’t have a spouse or children. I’m an adult. I should act like one.

3.   This holiday is just manufactured to make me spend money.

Reality checks

  1.  I am unique and I have unique gifts which aren’t always “as advertised on television.” I have to watch my energy but if I only do a few things for the holiday I will enjoy them. I do get depressed when it’s dark and there is no snow but I am also creative enough that I don’t need the weather to be as I want it in order to have a good time.  Many people don’t know what they are going to do for the holidays so they go with the flow. Others feel trapped by traditions and obligations they would rather avoid. I can try something new every year just to mix it up.

2.   It’s not productive to hide my joy under a bucket. I might as well go out and share it. If I set an example that older women can have just as much fun as young folks then maybe someone else will feel empowered. There are many reasons I am single. Being in a relationship and having children is not something everyone gets to do. Live with it.

3.   Holidays can be corrupted by capitalism but someone has to keep the faith whether that’s faith in good cheer and charity or in Jesus or Santa. Halloween doesn’t have to be sexy for me. Christmas can be small. The winter solstice can involve an outdoor challenge.

How I keep it real

Spending time with people is more important than exchanging objects. It’s also nice to make gifts and shopping with a friend can be fun. Don’t beat myself up over gift giving. I can’t make other people happy.

Use winter as a time to clean out garbage, do research on my future. Do something creative most days. That includes making dinner.

Give to people who need it, not just out of obligation. Don’t measure gifts in terms of money spent but rejoice when I serendipitously have a part in getting someone to laugh or get out of their comfort zone.

Decorate, sing, bake. These are activities from my childhood which bring me joy.  Share this joy when possible, and also enjoy my own company. Share with the neighborhood.

Remember if people in Poland can hang their Christmas trees upside down then I can make up my own way to celebrate.

I am on the hunt for some old holiday “blow Mold” decorations that are more often seen on the East Coast, probably a snowman like one of these.

snowman2snowman5snowman3snowman6snowman8

You might think, ” These snowmen don’t look very REAL.” But to me, the joy they elicit is real even though they are made of plastic and they are very low maintenance as far as men go. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

5 degrees and holding w/ mint chocolate

Today there is a big old man in my bedroom blasting the Grateful Dead. One would hope that I got lucky last night but the mattress, box spring and I  are out in the kitchen. The bedroom carpets are being replaced and the walls painted. ‘Tis the season for home repair discounts. I have been in this apartment for over 12 years so I’m lucky we’re getting an upgrade before they have to carry me out in a box.  Speaking of boxes, I meant to mail out a present today but I can’t find it because all my stuff and my two roommate’s stuff is mingled in a Close Encounters mound centered in the common space.

 

pile.png

The belongings of three people who do not need anything for Christmas

 

I could spend the day outside but I did that yesterday and got a bit cranky. It’s about 5 degrees, I’m being generous here. When the trees are covered in Hoarfrost, you know it’s a little damp and a lot cold so I am prepared for my ice beard. I have hair all over face which gets wet then icy. Yesterday after skating I looked like Scrooge. My pale white hair frosted over and stuck straight out at the sides. I shouldn’t complain. It’s actually good weather for sleeping and taking a walk to see Christmas lights. I know I’m in trouble when I open the door and a cloud of mist appears when the warmish house air hits the super cold outdoors air.

T

frosty.png

The white stuff on my collar is my breath

 

Now my cranky housepainter is listening to The Rolling Stone’s Shattered. I wonder if he started painting at 20 and has been listening to the same station ever since then. I bought myself the cheapest peppermint patties I could find to cheer me up. They taste a little waxy but that way I don’t eat as many as I would the York ones.  I almost bought peppermint tea but I have 4 boxes of other teas I really should drink first. But peppermint is so delicious. It’s like winter in a cup but warmer.

Alaska Sausage and Seafood is like a winter wonderland of food. All the food is German, Swedish or Alaskan and wrapped in colorful foil, covered in powdered sugar, or filled with squishy marzipan. Of course there are also many sausages including a potato sausage  which I thought might be vegetarian but was mixed with pork squeezed into somebody’s intestine. I spent a good amount of money there because I am only doing edible gifts to most people this year. Having cleaned out my room, I was depressed with all the crap I have and how much time it takes to go through it. I have photocopies of things. No one keeps photocopies anymore. I have photos. I still have a few VHS tapes and way too many books. Salvation Army will save me if I can just get them into bags and out the door. But I must give because I love Christmas so here are some of the things I got. My roommates don’t read my blog so these are some of their presents.

fish.png

Not from Alaska Sausage, from Fred Meyers, not the seafood dept.

 

choc.png

Looks delicious, I hope they share

 

ling.png

A classy looking gift for about 10 bucks

Now I must go because it is time to bake. Then I will go downtown and buy a dreidl because I want to get the residents of the nursing home where I work to earn their gelt.

 

trees.png

Happy Hoarfrost to you, and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

Best Christmas presents eva!

And that is not Eva, like Eva Marie Saint who is 91 years old now just in case you never heard of her. The word is “eva” as in how you pronounce the word “ever” in Boston.

xmaspotato

This is my Christmas potato. It was my potato, in my vegetable basket. When my roommate discovered I bought him present and he had none for me, he put it in a Christmas bag with the word “Joy” printed on it and gave it to me.  My gifts to him were a box of Cheerios  which had a free Star Wars Drone inside and a People magazine specially devoted to Star Wars. He immediately opened the cereal and found the droid, then announced he would have to keep buying boxes until he found BB8.

Here is another great present. My sister and I were on Skype discussing famous male folk singers who wrote inspirational, poetic lyrics and who might or might not have raspy voices. She found this particular link and even though Tom Waits was not the correct answer, it was the right one because when we listened we both laughed until we cried and could not breathe.

My favorite comment reads “nice try drunk, sick Captain Beefheart.”

This may be the best holiday compilation ever!

My roommate also brought home some Rocher candy balls. Someone on facebook shared a post that these particular treats often have dried moths entombed inside their hard chocolate shells. We have not been able to bring ourselves to crack them open. Perhaps we will wait until spring and do it outside, just in case.

The other great presents were getting to go caroling not just once but twice! I was invited to many parties which is much appreciated because I am single and unemployed. I had mulled wine, salmon in black rice and homemade wontons.  I am so lucky to know so many good people and cooks! Also I got to know some new ones.  No one actually knows what the New Year will bring but I hope it brings lots of laughs, parties, singing and potatoes!

 

 

God’s letter to Santa, ho, ho, ho!

nightdeer

Dear Santa,

Sorry to take so long to respond to your last letter but its all I can do to keep up with my Facebook account. Now I’m hearing Facebook is old hat!  What are we two anachronisms gonna do? I bet the kids don’t even write in cursive anymore.

So here’s my list, top secret, no Wikileaks please. Most folks assume I’m perfect and all powerful, I hate to disillusion them but your polls are much higher than mine. I need your help.

  1.  Let’s get some rain falling somewhere other than Bangladesh and The Philippines. Can you do that for me?  Do you think a little rain, a little sun, a great year for produce would cool down tempers in the Middle East a bit? I haven’t been having any luck and I just don’t think new iphones are going to do it this year.
  2. How about vaccines for all the kids whose parents wouldn’t let them get vaccinated? I think I’ve got a few connections in public health who could train the elves to administer them.
  3. I want you to dump all the toy guns somewhere that people have a sense of humor or find a plant where they can figure out a way to use them as logs for those obnoxious tiny houses everyone is talking about. Second thought- no tiny houses for anyone this year and no fake guns. People can live in apartments and share toliets like the rest of the world and kids can use sticks to point and shoot at each other. Deliver lots of sticks!
  4. I’m sending the Grim Reaper to ride along with you. Everyone who asked for a Kalashnikov gets a visit from him instead.
  5. This is going to seem a little mean spirited, but I’m getting old. Please check your list and deliver the gluten free treats ONLY to people who have Celiac disease. The rest of them? Let them eat cake!
  6. Is there anyway you can think of to bankrupt Coca Cola and Pepsi this year without putting lots of people out of work? I keep seeing more and more teeth under the pillows and these aren’t even kids. The Tooth Fairy has me on speed dial.  Don’t suggest more Kombucha, please!
  7. We’ve got to find a way to discourage American football even further. Maybe a card with every ball that says, “A brain injury waiting to happen.”? How about a bumper sticker on your sleigh that says “Think or play football.” I like the ring of that.
  8. My so called “son” just stopped by and wants to thank you for taking the heat off him this season. He’s so embarrassed by all the baby pictures. He’s more burned out on humans than I am, I think there’s some internalized prejudice going on there seeing as he is mixed in background. Could you get him a couple of tickets to Star Wars? I want him to take a nice girl, or guy. I really don’t care, I just want him out of the house but when I tried before that ended badly.

I’m sure I can think of more things to put on the list but I know you’re really busy. Take care. See you at the retreat.

Love God.