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This is its 7th year. People are still searching for it! That makes me smile. Enjoy!

turkey farm

Across the hall from my office is what I believed to be a daycare center. Turns out, it is some sort of work-release program for 3- and4-year-olds, from which they operate a turkey farm. As you can imagine, it’s been a busy place this week. I’ve dealt with a turkey or two in my day, so I thought I’d take a moment to offer some last-minute turkey selection guidance, with a little help from my turkey-raising friends across the hall.

Do look for:

good bird

A plump, confident bird that will look you right in the eye. All parts should be . . . “in the ballpark,” so to speak.

AVOID:

visually challenged turkey

A bird that appears intoxicated, or just effin’ goofy. You don’t want that.

inverted bird

The upside-down turkey, with crossed legs and shifty eyes. May also exhibit a paranoid demeanor. This bird will NOT digest easily.

ingrown turkey

Watch for the inbred turkey. Its feathers and legs tend to grow inward. Also be leery of turkeys with excessive glue or other miscellaneous white liquids dripping from their beaks. You just don’t know where a turkey like this has been.

afflicted turkey

This is the “WTF” turkey. Any bird that elicits, as your first response, a startled “WTF?!” is to be avoided. Just say no.

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I’m going to pull no punches in this one. If you listen to me, you’ll look better and have more fun when you find your jiggly, dimply ass in the sand, in the surf, at the pool, by the lake. I am something of an expert at buying fat swimsuits. I did it wrong for many years, until I discovered the secret. It pains me to hear of women, particularly of mothers, who refuse to put on a swimsuit and join in summertime fun because of their weight. Some of these women weigh 130 pounds. Some of them weigh closer to 300 pounds. It doesn’t matter. If you have children, you need to play with them, and you need to dress for the occasion. If you have friends, same thing. Even if you have no children and no friends, but are blessed enough to have access to a pool, or a beach, or a mountain stream, get the #$%& over yourself and put on a swimsuit and play in the water. You deserve to do that, if only because you are a child of God, put on God’s earth, where God has given you some nice water to play in.

If you do have children, don’t be so self-absorbed that you deprive them of the memories of Mom playing in the water with them, or building sand castles with them, or whatever they might want to do. I know for a fact that American photo albums are full of children and their daddies (of all shapes and sizes, because men don’t give a rat’s ass) playing at the beach in their swimsuits. These are “intact” families, but the photos look like Mom and Dad shared custody, because Mom won’t be seen at the beach, the pool, etc., because there’s a dimple on her thigh, or because her thighs are the size of Parthenon columns. Again, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 130 or 330; it’s the same twisted thinking that says, “I must be something other than who I am right now, before I deserve…” It’s a lie. Stop spreading it.

I, for one, am way too fat to be seen in a swimsuit at the beach or anywhere else, according to societal standards. And you will see me at the beach. More often than not, in a very pretty swimsuit. The fashion myth that most overweight women have bought into is “I will look slimmer — or at least less conspicuous — in a simple black swimsuit.” No. You won’t. News flash: fat is not inconspicuous at the beach. It’s highly conspicuous. So is ugly. If you care what other people think — and be honest, you do, or we wouldn’t need to have this conversation — you really don’t want to go with both fat (which you can’t remedy right this minute) AND ugly (which you can).

So what do you wear? If you LOVE black, you can wear it. But don’t wear it thinking it will make you fade away. Nope. It could make you look like a fat woman in mourning for someone lost at sea. Although I wear lots of black, for summertime swimwear, I’m a fan of tropical colors, happy colors. Maybe you like florals, maybe you like geometrics, maybe a retro print. If the color lifts your spirits, makes you smile inside, that’s the suit for you.

What style? First, I’ll offer that when my daughter was a toddler, I discovered the one-piece “jogsuit.” This is ugly as hell, and makes even the shapeliest person look bad. BUT, you can have lots of fun in it, because you don’t have to worry about adjusting it — almost never. Which means you’re likely to be relaxed, smiling, engaged in life . . . which makes you look more beautiful! See, that’s what it’s about: engaged in life. That’s what makes you look beautiful; not the size tag sewn into your suit.

So, having given the jogsuit its props, let’s move on. Many larger women are in favor of the swimdress. If you adore your swimdress and feel happy in it, knock yourself out. My personal bias is that the swimdress stands on a proclamation porch and announces to all who can hear (see), “May I have your attention, please? There are thighs here that are not fit to be seen. I give you my word, I will do my best to cover them and keep them out of your way.” But that’s just me.

There are many lovely one-piece variations. Some now have coordinating pareos or board shorts, for when you want to be a little more covered. I’m not anti- pareo or board shorts. Again, the important thing is that you feel comfortable enough to not give your suit another thought, and get on with the business of enjoying the place, the people, the food, the activity.

My personal preference for the past few years has been the “tankini.” As covered as a one-piece, but just wearing a two-piece makes me feel younger and (let’s face it, this is the real appeal) it’s way easier to pee in. (Well, you don’t pee IN it, exactly.) Tankini bottoms can be bikini-like, or fuller coverage, or boy shorts, or even a “skortini.”

In my life, I have seen about a bazillion strange women in swimsuits. I remember exactly ONE of them. She was fat. Quite fat. And she was wearing a two-piece suit. Not a safe tankini, but a midriff-baring suit. I couldn’t stop staring. I’ll admit, first I was staring at her rolls of fat. Frankly, you don’t often see that on a white female at the beach. But what I remember most now is her face. She was walking down the beach. She walked with purpose. She looked people in the eye and smiled. I found myself envying that woman. Somehow she had figured out that she had a right to be there. I admired her tremendously.

Now, did everyone on the beach have the same reaction to her? I’m sure they didn’t. I’m sure there were people who ridiculed, even people who were disgusted. I don’t remember any of them. They didn’t inspire me.

There you have it. Buy the most beautiful suit you can find, put it on and then forget about it. If you’re fat on the couch, you’ll also be fat on the beach. And your boring, “inconspicuous,” or downright heinous suit is not going to disguise that fact. People will notice. Some people will even be mean. As I recently wrote to a friend when this subject came up, “… desperately trying to hide parts in a swimsuit only makes us look like someone desperately trying to hide parts in a swimsuit. I now buy the most beautiful suit I can find. I figure people are going to know I’m fat no matter what, and most of them are going to react negatively to that. So my choices are to have people react with, ‘Damn, that’s a fat woman,’ OR ‘Damn, that’s a fat woman, but that is one gorgeous suit.'”

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The Big One!

SNOWMAGGEDON 2010:Front door view2

This is what I saw when I opened my front door a few hours ago. The little hole is where I stuck a yardstick, to measure 21″. We’re up to 27″ now, and it’s still snowing! I’m AMAZED I have electricity and internet, to be able to share this with you; thought I should take advantage of that while I can. Click on the photo to see a few more on flickr.

If you’re in SNOWMAGGEDON 2010, stay inside, be safe and warm! (I love the names for this storm: Snowpocalypse, Snowmygosh (SNOWMG!), SNOWNAMI… any others?)

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Stumbled across this video this morning, after reading a news story about this kid’s dad, watching on his laptop from Afghanistan. It’s a good prayer for Memorial Day weekend:

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Easter cupcakes

I wish for each of you a joyful Easter day, peace beyond all understanding in the midst of whatever is happening, and a way to get to a place that feels like home. Those are the blessings of Easter, it seems to me today.

I learned something about Easter celebrations this year, thanks to the internet. All my adult life, I’ve heard Roman Catholic friends and relatives talk about “doing the Stations of the Cross.” I figured it had something to do with remembering the crucifixion of Jesus, but I didn’t know what. The “stations” are not part of my Protestant tradition. But I was curious, and I had internet, so I went a-googlin’. First I found sites for adults that gave me information but didn’t entice me in the least. I learned that the “stations” are a devotional practice that begin in the 4th century in Jerusalem. Believers went to places that Jesus had gone during His last days and hours, and meditated upon His experience and its meaning. For a Christian, that is clearly a worthwhile thing to do, but the way in which it was presented — going to different locations in a church and reciting scripted verses and prayers — didn’t capture my imagination.

Then I went to a Stations of the Cross site for children, and I saw much more value in the practice. That’s the site I’d like to share with you this morning. What I liked most about it is that after describing each scene — Jesus being mocked, or Simon helping to carry the cross — the reader is encouraged to remember a time when you felt that way, and “show Jesus your heart.” Then Jesus will help you change your heart, will heal your heart. That seemed to me to be as good a description of following the Christian path as any I’ve ever seen: showing Jesus my heart, getting help to change my heart when it needs to change.

Happy Easter, friends.

He is risen!

Psalm 51:10-12

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OK, that is what my husband just said, while I was trying to think of a name for this post. They’re baking potatoes, and they’re in the microwave wrapped in plastic. (Don’t judge me.) It’s a post about quotes, and that is a quote, and it’s not one you’ll read anywhere else.

I liked giving you quotes last Christmas, and went looking for some for this year. One long “credo” seemed just right for now — it has children of the world, faith, hope, and unity:

CREDO AT CHRISTMAS

At Christmas time I believe the things that children do.

I believe with English children that holly placed in windows will protect our homes from evil.

I believe with Swiss children that the touch of edelweiss will charm a person with love.

I believe with Italian children that La Befana is not an ugly doll but a good fairy who will gladden the heart of all.

I believe with Greek children that coins concealed in freshly baked loaves of bread will bring good luck to anyone who finds them.

I believe with German children that the sight of a Christmas tree will lessen hostility among adults.

I believe with French children that lentils soaked and planted in a bowl will rekindle life in people who have lost hope.

I believe with Dutch children that the horse Sleipner will fly through the sky and fill the earth with joy.

I believe with Swedish children that Jultomte will come and deliver gifts to the poor as well as to the rich.

I believe with Finnish children that parties held on St.Stephen’s Day will erase sorrow.

I believe with Danish children that the music of a band playing from a church tower will strengthen humankind.

I believe with Bulgarian children that sparks from a Christmas log will create warmth in human souls.

I believe with American children that the sending of Christmas cards will build friendships.

I believe with all children that there will be peace on earth.
— Daniel Roselle

(If you can share other traditional beliefs of the season, please do, they’ll be most welcome.)

My favorite printed message on a Christmas card this year was on the card sent by my sister, Squirl, and I was tickled to see that the card was made by a fellow blogger, Tiffany, at www.electricboogaloo.net. The message:

“May your holiday season be filled with all of the things that bring you joy. You know, like reindeers or whatever.”

Tonight I am quietly celebrating with two good people and a bad dog, the birth of the One whom we believe is our Savior. I hope you are joyfully celebrating something, and that you know you are loved.

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Here we are again, friends. Welcome to the 4th Annual Blog Cookie Exchange! If you’re new, here are the basics for participating in the exchange:

Favorite holiday recipes
Special traditions
Favorite gift to give
What you wear when you don your gay apparel 🙂

But really, you can write or post pix of anything that tells us how you celebrate the holidays, or your favorite memories, or your wishiest wishes or scroogiest bitches.

Thanks to hand and arm trouble from WTF Disease, I’m afraid I’m not the hostess I once was, but you are most welcome to share all that I have managed to pull together.

Easy Reindeer Cookies

Susie’s Cookie Q and A
Q: Seriously, could these cookies BE any cuter?
A: No.

Nor could they be any easier. These days I am all about the rather impressive, but really, really easy. Like these reindeer cookies. Here’s how we roll:

Take a roll of store-bought cookie dough — sugar, peanut butter or ginger bread, and add 1/4 cup of flour (to make it roll out easier), and roll it out to about 1/4″ thickness.

Cut out the reindeer head shapes, using a bell-shaped cookie cutter. (An upside down heart-shape would work fine, too, don’t you think? OR, shape the long roll into a three-sided cylinder — kinda pyramiddy — and then cut it into 1/4″ slices.)

Use mini-pretzels for antlers.
Use M&Ms or chocolate chips for eyes.
Use M&Ms or Red Hots for a nose.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Eat.

And I know I’ve shown you this before, but I don’t think I’ve told you how to prepare it:

The Fascinating Pinecone Cheeseball

pinecone cheeseball

1 (8-ounce) container garden vegetable cream cheese*
1 (8-ounce) container roasted garlic cream cheese**
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 scallions, finely chopped (use both white and green parts)
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
Fresh rosemary sprigs (or sprig of pine)

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Shape into an oval (pinecone shape); chill 2 hours.
Arrange pecan halves over cheese oval, pressing in lightly in overlapping rows, beginning at bottom and working upward. Arrange rosemary sprigs at top of pinecone. Serve with crackers.

*If Garden Vegetable cream cheese is not available, may use plain cream cheese with ½ packet of Knorr vegetable soup mix.
**If Roasted Garlic cream cheese is not available, may use plain cream cheese mixed with 2-3 cloves of crushed, roasted garlic.

***********

We were invited this year to join a long-standing tradition of some distant friends of ours.

“distant friends”= we really like them, and think we would like them even better if we got to know them more, and they seem to feel the same about us, but we don’t see them enough for that.

Their tradition is a Carol Party. You take a small house, fill it with friendly people, a few of whom have actual musical talent, the rest of whom like to hang around people with actual musical talent (I belong to the latter group), add a couple of guitars, a keyboard, an impressive variety of percussion instruments and a box of kazoos, plus some drinks and cookies and a bunch of photocopied Christmas song lyrics, and there you go. It really was fun. Until they got to “O Holy Night.”

That is (or was) my favorite carol. I know people make fun of it, but doggonit, I like it. Even — or especially — the “fall on your knees” part. When the orchestra swells, and the choir goes all forte — it’s thrilling. And it’s real. I mean, think about what they’re singing about. If you were THERE, back in the day, and you saw that amazing star, and then you saw and heard a bunch of angels (ANGELS!) up in the sky singing at you . . . are you gonna tell me that wouldn’t knock you right on your ass? OK, then. But they can’t really put “knock you on your ass” in a church song, now can they? So, yea, fall on your knees indeed.

Back to the party. When it came time for “O Holy Night,” the host says all the men have to get together. So it’s men in the dining room, and women in the adjacent living room, and we start to sing. But, as is the tradition at this party, the men put their arms around each other and do a can-can to this song. (Except Jif was new, and never having been part of an all-male line-dancing holiday revue, he thought they were trying to do the Munchkins’ Lollipop Guild dance from the Wizard of Oz, so his moves were a little. . . spastic.) And then, at the “fall on your knees” part, they all did. And it just continued to deteriorate from there. Not pretty. Nor festive.

So, I don’t know, I may need a new favorite Christmas song: this one would be a contender. I really love it.

My favorite gift to give this year is a toffee apple, from here. I had hoped to post photos, but we’re slow here, so they won’t be in our possession until this evening. Maybe I’ll slip a photo in later. One of my students gave me one of Lisa Anne’s toffee apples last year, and it was so amazing we went right out and bought a few to give as gifts. This year, we’re buying a few more. The thing is, I’m not a big apple person. And I really don’t like candied apples — waste of a perfectly good fruit and perfectly good candy, I would have said. But Lisa Anne converted me. Huge, tart apple covered in high quality caramel, toffee . . . YUM. And the large size, I unapologetically gave one to a family of seven, and they each had a dessert slice and some left over. The coating is so thick and rich, just a little goes a long way. So, yea, I think you’d like them.

This might be a good place to say thank you to everyone who reads here, comments here, and to those who write on your own blogs. Just a few years ago, I was a big internet cynic. I did not trust that enough people were real enough on the internet. And yes, since I have trusted cyberpeople, I’ve gotten scorched a time or two, but mostly I am thrilled and delighted by how much more of life I have learned, that I could not have learned, had I not met you all online. You make my life richer. You even help me like myself more. You make a horrid illness easier to laugh through. And now you make me cry a little. In a good way.

Merry Christmas, dear friends.

Now gimme some cookies!

If you have a blog, I hope you’ll invite us in for your holiday post (and if today isn’t good, put it up when you can, we’re easy like that). Leave a comment to let us know, and please, visit the people who leave comments. If you don’t have a blog, share your holidaying here in the comments.

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