Holiday Extemporaneity

I didn’t think I had another post in me this year. I might not, really. Like The Bloggess always writes, “this isn’t a real post.” It’s a collection of random thoughts, my type-A need to say something about last week’s tragedy in Connecticut, and a rad gift I received from my buddy Robin the other night. I’m done with my holiday cards, the end is in sight on wrapping, I was never planning on baking anything, anyway, so blogging is about all I have left in the vein of spreading holiday cheer.

But before we get to the cheer, let me add my sentiments to the deluge of words, prayers, sparklies, and thoughts being sent in the direction of Newtown this week. Shawn and I were intermittently glued to the TV most of the weekend. There were times I had to change the channel, to find relief from the crushing repetition of images of frantic parents and terrified children, and I will not apologize for needing those breaks. What those people are enduring is unimaginable, and yet, so human, so relatable, that each of us cannot help but be able to empathize utterly and completely with their grief. The sorrow in Newtown is reflected in all of us, and yet, somehow, year after year, these tragedies occur and there’s someone at the center of it who seemingly slipped through the cracks of our society. Americans are wonderful at coming together to grieve, at showing support to a community in need, but we’re pretty lousy at identifying those souls who need help in advance of the day they snap.

Yes, gun control is an issue at hand right now, but much more urgent is the need for a rational, national conversation about mental illness. No need to point the finger at parenting, nor autism. Let’s start with the issue of thousands of parents across this nation who know very well there is something amiss in their child, but cannot find the resources they need to adequately secure care for this person they love, but fear. Funding for mental health and pay for mental health professionals is on the decline. The trend these days is to medicate and explain away mental illness as a disease without the understanding that some of these people need more than pills to be OK. Yes, they are people, they have rights, and the asylums of old were horrific institutions of abuse and terror. But tell me, are the faces of those children in Newtown, or the vision of sweet Emilie’s grieving father on CNN, any less horrific? I don’t pretend to have an answer to this issue, but I do know this: we need a better system for treating mentally ill individuals, with care and respect, before they get to the point where violence is the only outlet for their disease. We must come together in an apolitical manner to manage this phenomenon in a sane and fair way before another massacre happens. Because the victims and gunmen alike are our children, and they all deserve a chance to live and be well.

OK, hold on, I’m about to pivot, because this is the week before Christmas, and I want to step off my soapbox and into a vat of eggnog.

Melinda’s having her second annual winey ornament party tonight. Some of us girls get together, exchange fun ornaments, eat a bunch, and drink a bunch. Exactly what a party should be! I bought my ornament from Target’s cross-collaboration with Neiman Marcus this year, and I’m pretty excited about it. I’m going to bring food, but I haven’t decided what yet. Culinary procrastination is only a thing in which I participate around the holidays. I’ve been told there will be nog, which would be an excellent title for my forthcoming album.

One thought I had was to make these babies, which have been going around (again) on Pinterest lately, and which seem too good to be…good. Ham and cheese sammies drenched in flavored butter and then baked until they’re crunchy and ooey and gooey? Sign me up!

Returning home from a particularly grueling last-minute holiday shop Monday night, I received a really fun gift in the mail from Big Hungry Robin, who served time with me at St. Andrew’s College back in the late 90s. It was a tiny recipe box full of bacon recipes that break all the rules, like bacon peanut brittle, bacon and egg tapas, and bacon apple topping for pancakes. Thanks, Robbie! I don’t know where you got this, but I bet my readers would like to know. Can you help out with that in the comments?

The Miss America Pageant is in three weeks. This year, Jill and I are making sausage balls, pizza dip with Wegmans wine and cheese sausage, turkey meatballs, buffalo chicken balls, and stuffed mushrooms for my eighth annual Miss America party. We’ll have our usual competitions for best interview, best walk, best tiara, Miss Congeniality and Miss Owego, but I haven’t settled on prizes yet. If you’d like to get in on the fun of selecting American royalty (at Miss America, not at my party, although public voting would add an intriguing element), you can vote to put a contestant in the semi-finals via America’s Choice.

Melinda and I were out shopping last Saturday and (natch) wished for cocktails to accompany our lunch. My disastrous idea was Tully’s, on the Parkway. My thinking was, although it’s a chain, at least it’s a NY chain, and that they have a big bar, so maybe they’d have some festive holiday drinks. Well, lunch was terrible, there were no festive cocktails, the place with filthy, and we won’t be going back. You shouldn’t either. How have we come to a place in which places like this manage to survive when others, serving good food in a nice space, fail? Demand better food and better restaurants in 2013, Big Hungries!

I’m heading up to Watertown on Friday so that I can take part in our annual gift wrapping fundraiser for the Miss Thousand Islands Pageant scholarship fund on Saturday. Yes, it’s a wee bit off the beaten path, at the Ritz Salon and Spa just off Arsenal St in Watertown. But isn’t the allure of having someone else wrap ALL your gifts worth leaving the mall? And not just someone, a beauty queen! That’s right, Miss TI 2013 Lonna McCary will be there, and in exchange for your donation, will wrap all the wacky-shaped stuff you’ve bought for your wife. Genius solution to a holiday problem! Hope to see you there Saturday!

I’m sort of out of steam on this post, as I am for this year. I was wrapping presents and writing cards last night, and practically required a fainting couch at one point – all of my energy was just depleted. Have a joyous and delicious holiday, my Big Hungries. I’ll see you back here in 2013. My hunger is big; my personality is bigger!

PS: This is Princess Max, of The Netherlands. Isn't she fabulous? I'd just like to put you all on notice that she is officially my style icon for 2013, so expect me to show up places a lot more in fascinators and crazy sleeves. I wish I had run into her in a bar in Amsterdam. I feel like we would get on famously. 


  1. I made something like those sandwiches for a ladies' lunch earlier this year. They were excellent.

  2. They look seriously frickin' delicious.

  3. You're very welcome, BHS! The bacon box came from a charming little boutique here in Tennessee however I am sure the are available online somewhere. Stay crispy my friends!- Robin