Denial: A Page in my Christmas Book

The boxes are down from the attic, stacked in haphazard fashion in the garage and waiting to be refilled.

I am not ready.

For seven weeks and three days, Christmas has filled this house. Santa, baby Jesus and all of their various snowmen and reindeer friends have been happily perched on shelves, hanging from the tree or just chilling out on top of the piano.

Last night we finally took the tree down, only because the garbage man will pick it up today.

Everything else remains.

I am not ready.

Not ready for these holidays when the kids are so old that Santa’s magic no longer has any power…when nobody believes they heard reindeer on the rooftop as they snuggled in their beds.

I love our Christmas traditions — cutting down our tree at the same farm each year, decorating it together. The unwrapping of each ornament and my incessant need to tell the story of each and every one. Again.

Homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning…gingerbread houses carefully decorated with all-things-sugary, only to be eaten later in chunks.

I love how my teens still expect certain things to remain the same about Christmas, even without the magic of Santa.

But there was a shift this season — ever so slight — and I felt it in my heart. My family is growing and changing, and while it’s amazing and awesome and wonderful?

There are days when I would gladly take a page from my Christmas Memories Book and have a do-over.

Like the year I found out I was pregnant on Christmas morning, but kept the secret all day long as we watched our 3-year-old son open presents and laugh.

Or the year Santa brought the huge dollhouse bookcase for my daughter that was taller than she was.

Maybe the year when we sat on the couch with grandparents — all showered, ready for presents and drinking our coffee — while little ones somehow slept way past their usual wakeup time.

This book — my Christmas Memories Book — has one page left.

One page.

Nineteen years of these memories fill this book and flood my heart when I open it.

And now? I need to fill in that one last page.

I am not ready.

I will buy another book — maybe even another with 20 years to fill. And I will cherish each page as they are filled with the new memories of our growing family…a family that will still hold dear to old traditions while the kids bring in something new each year. A friend, someone special, a spouse one day, maybe a grandchild or two.

I think I will be ready by then.

All I want for Christmas is at Neiman Marcus

When I was a kid, Christmas was all about me. Starting each November, I would carefully turn down page corners in the huge Sears catalogue and circle my must-haves with a marker. Then I would carefully craft my annual letter to the portly man in the red suit, reminding him of all the good deeds I had accomplished that year. There may have been embellishing or a few little white lies, but he always came through.

I miss those days. Sure, running the whole Santa gig is awesome when your kids are young, but I’ve been Santa’s Helper for 19 years now.

It’s my turn. The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book has arrived.

Dear Santa,

It’s been a long time since I last wrote to you, but I’m sure you will remember me. I was the one who was always kind and caring to her little brother, even though he was always getting into my stuff. I always did what I was told, made my bed, said my prayers and did my homework. That’s how I remember it, anyway. Except that one time when I cut my own hair.

I’ve been a mom for more years than I can count now, Santa. I don’t like to brag, but I’m an amazing mom. Except for those times I had to call 911, locked a newborn baby in the car, burned a few dinners, ran out of diapers, said things my mother would never have said, fed small children Doritos and rice for dinner, cried over Algebra homework and lost my cool at Target I really rock this job. So I am sure you can see why I deserve some swag under the tree that’s just for me.

Jimmy Choo Biker Fox Fur and Floral Suede Shoulder Bag ($5,595)

A dramatic play of texture and color, this Jimmy Choo Biker fur bag is for far more than holding your things—it will finish any ensemble with extravagance.

If I had this bag, my status would instantly be raised from simply Soccer Mom to Uber-Chic and Trendy Mom. My yoga pants and ratty Old Navy sweatshirt would suddenly be extravagant. With all that thick fox fur I might even be able to trick my daughter into thinking this is an actual puppy, which is a win-win for me. Lined in leather, so those random pieces of chewed gum and sticky used tissues will be a breeze to remove.

Sofia Cashmere Diamond Cable Knit Cashmere Throw ($1,150)

These posh throws are one warming trend that will never go out of season.

I really need one of these, Santa. I need time on the couch with my remote control, a strong cup of coffee, a pound or so of peanut brittle and a cashmere throw. Maybe even two of them, so I can cover those stains where I spilled my wine and the dog threw up. As an extra bonus, this throw could double for an outfit when the UPS man comes to the door and I need to cover my yoga pants. See how beautiful and relaxed the woman in the picture looks? Totally me.

Michael Kors Leather-Bodice dress ($3,995)

Michael Kors applies true Yankee sensibility to his tweeds, plaids, lace, and leather. All-American sportswear with an English accent!

Well, there you go — I want to be all English-y and have people think I am sophisticated when I pop into Target for laundry soap or drag
the dog to the vet to have her anal glands expressed. And leather? So sexy, especially on someone my age because it wrinkles in a pattern just like my skin. The skirt is made from angora, wool and cashgora which I am pretty sure is some endangered species of mouse found only on mountain tops in Tibet. The model looks like she just stepped on a Lego, so she obviously knows my life. I would totally rock this dress.

Jean Paul Gaultier Lace-Mesh Long-Sleeve Dress ($395)

The only thing better than a fitted dress is our exclusive lace-embellished Jean Paul Gaultier sheath in a bright, sprightly emerald hue.

I want to be bright and sprightly too — like I feel when the holiday break ends and I drop the kids off at school. What this dress lacks in coverage, it makes up for in versatility. The meshy fabric would be great for attracting dust and dog hair. Why buy just a dress when I can have a shirt,
nightgown and dust rag all in one?

Heritage Hen Farm Beau coop ($100,000)

Dawn breaks. The hens descend from their bespoke Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house to their playground below for a morning wing stretch. Slipping on your wellies, you start for the coop and are greeted by the pleasant clucking of your specially chosen flock and the site of the poshest hen house ever imagined.

Poshest hen house? This place rocks! Forget the hens — this is going to be my own little mommy hideaway. It has a living room, library, an elegant chandelier and a broody room — I have no idea what that is, but I think I need one at least once a month. Fold your own laundry people — mommy’s tending her flock of magazines and martinis.

Teardrop Tailgate trailer ($150,000)

A chorus of cheers rings out the minute you pull up. Tailgating will never be the same now that your Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody-Tailgate Trailer is on the scene. You park, open the hatch, and slide out the bar—cocktails anyone?

I have to admit it — I am not the best school volunteer/homeroom lice checker/team mom/PTA coordinator. At best I can volunteer to bring juice boxes or send a check for the field trip. With this awesome trailer, I could erase years of bad karma with the uber-reliable room moms! Hook it up to the trailer hitch on my gas-guzzling SUV and haul it to the PTA meeting. Instantly I become the bestest, funnest and most in-demand mommy
on the playground. Extra bonus points if I can play old episodes of Parenthood on the flat screen TV.

Tom Ford Beauty Exclusive 16 Color Nail Set ($480)

Tom Ford Beauty debuts a wardrobe of high-performance polishes, offering mega-watt shine, while staying true to color. The extra-amplified gloss and shine nail lacquer — in a wardrobe of shades, from alluring brights to chic neutrals — lets you express your mood and complete your look.

Who knew that all I really needed was a coat of expensive nail polish? I thought my Old Navy jeans were a “look” but hey, why not take things to the next level? With so many interesting colors I might have to have the kids walk home from school because I am busy doing my nails — in my hen house. I am especially enamored of the colors all moms should recognize: Naked, Fever Pink, Coral Blame, Bordeaux Lust and Bitter Bitch. Seriously, I am not making these up.

Tweezerman Crystal Tweezer and Stand ($200)

Add some glamour to your bathroom and a little dazzle to your brow beauty routine with this Luxe Edition of Tweezerman’s award-winning Slant.

I need these tweezers, and not just because they are beautiful and sparkly. My rusty old tweezers have seen one too many gray eyebrow hair or splinter-in-the-foot and I am only slightly exaggerating when I say the whole family may need updated tetanus shots. Plus, these are classy
enough that I can tweeze my eyebrows (or nose hair) anywhere I need to – even in the nicest restaurants.

all photos courtesy of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book
 

And, Santa? If you are having a tough year – with the price of gas and bacon being so sky high — I would also be just as happy with a new
umbrella, some socks without holes in them and a popover pan.

Love,

Sherri

Jean Envy

They mock me from the closet…from the low shelf, hidden under an old pair of flip-flops and a sweater that’s missing a button.

The pair of Miss Me jeans with the bespangled back pockets (that is totally a word).

I bought them a few months ago, in a fit of enthusiasm that I had scored an awesome deal and they fit.

Having legs that are just about one inch shy of being regular length, I get giddy when I find a pair of LONG jeans that will fit me and not look like cropped pants.

Not that those aren’t cute.

But the Miss Me jeans?

They are awesome.

And yet, they remain with tags, on that low shelf.

I have stolen their chance at glory…stolen their chance to hug the slight curves of a sorority girl or grace the backside of rodeo queen.

What was I thinking?

Tags remain attached, giving slight hope that a sensible return-for-store-credit might be the solution.

And yet…

I want them.

I want to pull them on and admire the blingy back pockets that only draw attention to that flattened place where I sit and write.

I want to wear them to my favorite haunts…the grocery store, Target or the gas station.

I want to sparkle…just a bit.

Isn’t that OK? Does it really matter how silly a middle-aged woman may look with sparkles on her backside?

I took it to the Twitter a few weeks ago…threw it out there…

When is a woman too old for bling on her back pockets?

There was plenty of advice, including this:
“If she has to ask, she probably already knows the answer.”

Damn Twitter.

I want to sparkle a bit longer.

I want to stay up late and run with scissors and eat my ice cream first.

To say no, to take a chance, to dream big and just be alive.

With sparkles on my ass.

…and still, they mock me from the closet.

What am I afraid of? Does it really matter that I am too old to sparkle?

My time to sparkle may be now.

And it may just start with a fabulous pair of jeans.

25 Years to Life

He says I still have that new bride smell.

That man I exchanged “I do’s” with twenty-five years ago this week…the man I promised to love and to cherish, to honor and cook for, and to continue to laugh at his potty humor until death do us part.

Twenty-five.

Wow.

In that amount of time, people tend to hoard accumulate things. Things that may or may not have a real use later on down the road, yet they stay on the shelf, tucked away for later. Maybe these things were actually used for years, used to the point that even the donation truck might leave them on the side of the road.

We have things like that.

  1. A kitchen trashcan in the most beautiful 80s shade of baby blue. While it has served a long and useful life of 25 years, the cracks extend a wee bit further down the side each week.
  2. The hamper for our dirty clothes that was purchased on a romantic shopping trip to Cost Plus, during which time we declared, “Let’s join our dirty clothes!” and it still serves dutifully. Unfortunately, there are no cracks and I think this one may outlast us all.
  3. A toaster oven, which was lovingly gifted to us on our wedding day by a wedding guest who shall remain nameless (because I can’t remember). Hubs feels that the toaster oven is the be-all-end-all of kitchen appliances. I feel like it looks like a cross between R2D2 and SpongeBob SquarePants, and have relegated it to the cupboard.
  4. Matching set of bamboo beach mats, purchased on our first trip to Hawaii so many years ago. While they seemed like a great idea, nobody told us about the crazy pattern the bamboo leaves on your exposed skin. Ouch. They have resided in the attic ever since, never to see sand again.
  5. Blown-glass drink stirrers, with various tropical birds perched on the end. These were purchased on our honeymoon in Mexico, and we envisioned raging parties hosted at our tiny apartment where we would pass out drink stirrers to our happy guests. I am still trying to figure out exactly what type of drink requires stirring.
  6. A humongous counter-top microwave oven from the 80s, the size of which rivals a mini-Cooper. After occupying half of the entire kitchen counter-top for years, we moved to our current home which has a built-in microwave. Sixteen years ago. The intended recipient of the microwave (college kid) claims that his roommate has one. I fear I will one day be buried in it.
  7. A VCR. I cannot even imagine why we still have this. For you young ones, this is the prehistoric version of the modern-day DVD player.
  8. We still have the very first can opener we purchased, back when opening a can meant, “Dinner is served!”. I am pretty sure we are all current on our tetanus shots.
  9. The fire extinguisher that hangs in our garage, in that manly section referred to as the “Home Safety Center” by hubs. I fear that when I actually need a fire extinguisher, only glitter and dust will come out of the nozzle.
  10. A large paper-mache parrot, who has been a prized possession since our honeymoon in Mexico. We brought him home on the airplane back in the days when you could carry-on strange objects that could be used to pummel someone and take over the plane. Now he would be subject to a body-cavity search.

 

Sentimental old fools, or hoarders?

What do you still have after all these years?

 

Trifecta at the Mall

There was a time when I loved the mall. Really loved it.

The problem is, this particular time in my life was about thirty years ago.

The mall has changed.

My daughter needed a few things last weekend: a pair of jeans, a birthday present for a friend, and a pair of shoes. Simple enough, I thought…we’ll just hit the mall.

First stop?

Sephora

Where hard-earned money goes to die.

There are more types of makeup, brushes and facial cleansers in this store than there are ugly polyester pants at Sears. Products I’ve never even heard of before.

Clearly I am not their target market, with my Maybelline mascara and Wet and Wild concealer. The salesperson who dared to come up behind me and ask, “Have you ever used the BeneTint before?” was visibly shaken when I turned around and displayed my late-forties, barely-made-up face. She quickly made a beeline for the trophy wife who just entered the store.

Next stop?

Abercrombie & Fitch

Or my new name for it, Pornography & Fitch.

There are two Abercrombie stores at our mall: the kid one, and the adult one. This was one of the only times I have set foot into the adult store, and I was immediately attacked with display ad images I wanted to cover with my coat.

The worst offender was a full-sized perfume ad that showed a completely naked dude from the side (all the way down to his knees) against the back of a topless chick in the process of pulling off her jeans. Seriously, is the perfume that crappy that they need the porn to sell it? If I had those images on my computer, they would be considered porn. But life-sized in a store that caters to the 13 – 22 year old crowd, it’s fine. I am no prude by any means, but it really bothered me that my daughter would see that and think it was OK.

And don’t get me started on the lace shorts that looked suspiciously like underwear, but were being marketed as shorts. Um, no.

And for our third stop?

Hollister

Also known as Life’s a Beach Every Stinkin’ Day of the Year in Here.

I’ve become a semi-regular at Hollister these past two years, now that my daughter is old enough to wear their clothes. I pretend to look at the cute sweaters and tanks, but it’s quite obvious to the staff I am only there to provide the credit card once the cute clothes are chosen.

I try and fade into the background, but one time this tactic resulted in me being squirted with that hideous fragrance they spray on the clothes. Yes, they spray it directly onto the clothes…I’ve seen them. The vibe in Hollister is so beachy I’m tempted to bring my towel and take a nap next time we shop.

I am never asked if I’m finding everything OK in Hollister because it’s painfully obvious I’m not the one doing the finding.

And their friendly greeting when you come in, “Hey, how’s it goin’?” is painful to respond to. I decided next time I will say, “Well, it’s goin’ pretty good except for that bunion I just had removed and the unexplained heartburn and gas I’ve been experiencing.”

 

I suppose the proper payback would be to drag my daughter to Chicos? Pretty sure they don’t have any soft porn ad campaigns.

 

A Beautiful New Year

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit http://www.discoverbeautywithin.com/.

The New Year is here.

It snuck up on me somewhere between decorating the house for the holidays and forgetting to make any resolutions.

Part of the problem with 2012 is that for me, it’s huge: A really big year.

My oldest baby is turning 18 in the spring. Our 30-year high school reunion will most likely take place sometime in the summer. My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in August, and I will wrap up the summer by turning 48.

So when I looked in the mirror and no longer saw an 18 year-old but the mother of one, I decided it was time to make some Beauty Resolutions…

Wear More Makeup

This sounds more like a resolution my 13 year-old daughter would be making, but hear me out.  For years I’ve done the exact.same.thing with my makeup. Same boring, basic eyeshadow (you can barely see it an hour later), same mascara, a bit of powder, and a hint of blush. Not exactly the way to draw attention to my features and away from my flaws. I’m thinking a tinted moisturizer would be an easy place to start. After that, maybe a shadow with some actual color? At my age, it can’t hurt to find something to flaunt on my face.

Moisturize Like Crazy

Face it, moisturizer is an easy step to skip. But at my age, I would be crazy not to take advantage of the amazing age-defying products out there. The older I get, the more desert-y my face feels…so before I turn into one of those apple dolls, I need to get on the moisturizer band wagon. Fast.

Pamper Myself

Hey these are my resolutions, right? My 13 year-old daughter has this down to a science. Me? Not so much. I need to force myself to take a bit of time to use a facial mask, soak my tired footsies, or just deep condition my hair. I plan to start this one ASAP, since I’m a few decades behind on the pampering.

Talk to the Hands

My mother has the most beautiful hands. Seriously beautiful, piano-player hands with long fingers and perfect nails. I kinda missed the gene for beautiful hands but I do have decent nails. Ask me how often I take good care of them and I would have to admit hardly ever. How hard would it be to clean them up, put on a little coat of polish, and draw some attention to the nails instead of the wrinkles? This one has to be easy.

Now these resolutions? Feeling pretty confident about keeping them.

That whole exercising thing? Not so sure.

2011: The Year in Posts

Apparently 2011 ends tomorrow.

What a year it was around here! Since the year-end-wrap-up seems to be the hot ticket in Bloggyland, I thought I would follow along.

I’m easily persuaded by peer pressure. And shiny things.

I’ve picked my favorite posts from each month in 2011. So if you’re new around these parts, you might find something you enjoy. If you’re a relative of mine or one of those nice ladies I pay to read my blog, keep moving; there’s nothing new here.

January started with one of my very favorite guest posts Waiting for Departure over at my beautiful and talented friend Nichole’s blog In These Small Moments. She has since become a very cherished and dear friend of mine. This post was about watching my 15 year-old son pass through customs on his way to Germany; I still get choked up thinking about that small moment.

My favorite post about my tween daughter, I Still See Her, came later that month. I ended the month on a stressful note with Driven to Insanity, a post about adjusting to my son being a licensed driver. Makes my skin crawl just to think about it now.

In February Hubs and I were lucky enough to get away on a ski vacation with awesome friends and no kids. This prompted the post Worry which pretty much sums up how I feel when I leave my kids behind, no matter how much fun I will be having.

In March I wrote the tongue-in-cheek post Envy, which was later syndicated on BlogHer. What Mothers Remember was a post about a little girl who lost her mother, and how that touched me as a mom.

April found me thanking my first employer for training as a mother in the post Thanks, Jack! As my son’s high school graduation grew nearer, my mind was racing with images of his childhood, which prompted the post Photo Finish.

In May I wrote Dress Me Up Again, about dress-up clothes past and present. My daughter’s Sex Ed Unit at school prompted the post Booby Prize, about those girls we all love to hate. May was also the month I decided to move myself to WordPress, which went fine until the very end. I raised my white flag, screamed bloody murder, and called in the awesome Booyah’s Momma who took me across the finish line. Whew.

June was the month my son graduated from high school. First Door on the Right and Pomp and Circumstance were two of my favorite posts about this milestone. My Father’s Day tribute to hubs in the form of the post If You Give a Dad a Daughter still makes me smile.

In July I loved Do We Have Time? and Voices Unseen, two posts about how quickly time passes. Obviously I had issues this past summer.

A dear friend lost a dear friend of hers in August, which prompted me to write Milestones Lost. When my son also experienced a big loss in his life the same month, I wrote Mourning Lessons about his journey through the feelings of loss from toddlerhood to teen.

September found me getting ready to see my son off to college. The Sounds I Hear is about the relationship between he and his sister. Dreams is the first post I wrote after dropping my son off at college. It still makes me teary to read it now.

In early October I wrote about a funny going-away gift my son received in the post Gift Horse, and how life comes full circle in the post What You Wish For.

In November our house seemed a bit empty, but not all bad, as I noted in Table for Two.

December prompted me to write about my favorite Christmas gift of all, in the post My Christmas Secret.

 

Happy New Year to you all, and thank you for reading my words. I can’t wait for 2012.