Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day and Sand Tarts

So it's Christmas Day, 2007. It happens to coincide with my 200th post. Thank you and big cyber hugs to the three readers who've stuck with me through ups, downs, daily postings, and weeks in between nuggets of wisdom, sarcasm, wit, and the occasional inspiration. Without you three... well, I probably would've quit altogether some months ago.

Today, seeing as how some people actually celebrate this holiday with warm fuzzy feelings, I will not embrace my inner snark, and instead be of good cheer. Well, be of decent cheer. Today I will bestow glad tidings of great....

No, I won't go that far. But surely you loyal readers saw that one coming.

Today, I will share with you my grandmother's recipe for Sand Tarts, a traditional southern Christmas cookie:

Sand Tarts --

1 lb. oleo
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour (add slowly)
2 T. ice water
2 T. vanilla
2 c. chopped pecans

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes



The recipe is wholly wrong.

I followed it and I did not end up with anything sandy or tarty. I ended up with an oozed cookie with a pecan in the center. When I tried to remove it from the cookie sheet, it crumbled. Though this recipe will make your house smell incredible... I'll give it that.

For a real, workable sand tart recipe written by someone that didn't have dementia when she wrote it, go here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aftertaste

I still haven't washed the commercial after-taste of Christmas out of my mouth. Maybe that's because it's only December 20. More than likely, it's because when I bite down on a grudge, I really grip it hard and it mixes with my saliva for a while before I give it up again. And Christmas is one big humbug for me.

In fact, were I a biologist that discovered a new species of bug of any type, I'd name it the "Humbug" because I could.

It's not that I don't share a soft-spot for Christmas songs and hot wassail and kissing under the mistletoe. I do. In fact, I can be quite romantic over chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The key here is that I *can* be. Once I've vomited out ever kiss beginning with Kay and the one-day-only sales at JC Penney's and Kohl's and whatever the toy of the year is and however long the lines are to get it. That remind me, I need to go buy High School Musical 2 as a gift.... At least I can put that one off till tomorrow, as it's not in the stores yet.

Today I'm especially enlightened towards the jaded side. There is no reason. No cosmic cause. It's just fun to embrace the cynic in me during a time when I have nothing better to do than be cynical.

As a mom, I find it necessary to feed, bathe, and love my kids. I don't feel the need to put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house with garland and lights. So when presents wrapped in red and green paper arrived by post, I piled them "under" a side table with a lovely floral arrangement created by me in silk flowers reminiscent of the exotic plants for which they were inspired. By chance, the arrangement also happens to be red and green. Yay for Christmas spirit.

A dear friend of mine has it exactly right. She and her husband are leaving on a jet plane Christmas Eve to spend a week in Jamaica. "To hell with this holiday" is my paraphrased version of her thoughts. I'm jealous; why didn't I think of that?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Here we go a Caroling

Time to start humming off-key as we gear up for a month long celebration (read: exploitation) of Christmas events. For those of you who prefer your religious affiliations to be something else, make a mental change of "Christmas" to whatever you prefer.

I've already attended one parade, turned my car stereo to the channel playing holiday tunes 24/7, and have begun mailing gifts and planning meals.

So how many know the history of Christmas? Not the "celebration of Christ's birthday" (O Holy Night...) -- which is closer to August or September rather than December -- but the pagan-based celebration that was tied to the winter solstice? The one where they hung bull balls to a tree as symbols of fertility? Think of that next time you look at the Christmas ball ornaments you've so carefully hung. (O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...) Mistletoe has origins in fertility customs as well. Yule logs are tied to the Sun God, among other things. Reindeer are symbolic of the Stag God (Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer....). The list goes on and on. Christians adopted the holiday as an opportunity to worship in secret. And there's plenty of controversy as to whether or not the pagan origins and the Christian meanings should still be tied together, in religious as well as secular sects.

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And when you get bored with those, google "Christmas pagan holiday" and overfill your cup of eggnog on facts and tidbits of knowledge.

(Mary did you know....?)

For me, it's just another opportunity for commercial giants to lure me into purchasing stuff people don't need in my greenbacked attempts to prove some superficial measure of love for them. On that note... it's time for me to go shopping for those last-minute gift ideas. (City sidewalks dressed in holiday style.....)