To stuff or not to stuff

Gentle readers:

Another year has gone by in a blur, and has left us with the age old question: should stuffing be cooked separately, or in the bird? More on that later.

The year started peacefully enough, with me working on my book, and my husband working on trucks big enough to squash a fully loaded mini-van (preferably, not occupied). He had to turn down a cabinet post, because Washington D.C. is just too damn cold in the winter, and frankly, Secretary of Waste Management is just a nice way of saying “full of shit.”

As usual, we had to put up with ninjas this year. These guys must have been hired from Bernie’s school of ninjas and auto repair. True story: my kids and I were enjoying burritos on the patio of a cheap Mexican restaurant, when we spotted two men across the parking lot. They were staring intently at us while trying to act casual. They were wearing suits and just standing around for an hour. Occasionally they would give each other a man hug, just to break the tension.

They leapt into their car as we left, but I managed to lose them at the drive-through ATM. Obviously, they had forgotten their pin number.

In March, an online friend of mine proposed that we compile a humor anthology (My Funny Valentine makes a great Valentine’s Day gift, and is now available at Amazon for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. Just sayin’.) We wanted to showcase some really talented humor writers from around the country, and we’ve received some excellent reviews, thanks to our amazing contributors.

I published my own first book this year with Box of Rocks, a humorous mystery (see sidebar for multiple ways to click and spend money add this book to your collection.)

Now, back to the truly important matter. Christmas dinner is fast approaching, and my friend is lobbying hard to cook the stuffing in the bird. First of all, why don’t they call stuffing what it is, gooey bread surprise. People have taken this to the extreme of stuffing a bird with more birds – hence, the turduckhen. I’m not particularly emotionally invested in soggy bread, so I caved and gave my blessing on allowing her to stick unidentifiable semi-foodlike substances inside a turkey carcass. Also, she threatened to kick me.

I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Thanks to all of you for putting up with my foolishness for the year, and God Bless us All, Everyone!

Tidings of lactose and soy

In preparation for a brilliant late-life writing career, I spent 30 years writing the annual Christmas letter. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your life sound more interesting than it is. Unless you invented a cure for herpes last year, you’ll need to find something compelling to grab your readers’ attention. Your friends and family are just going to skip over the story of how you found a dead lizard in your shoe.

This year, I have two strikes against me in my effort to entertain and inform. 1) My kids have moved out and are making up their own misleading letters; 2) I have no cute grandchildren doing cute grandchildreny things. This calls for drastic action, in the form of extensive lying. Face it, nobody wants to hear about how you developed lactose intolerance and had to switch to soy milk.

I’ve listed some do’s and don’ts for getting your Christmas letter to the top of the rubbish pile of cherished holiday missives.

Do: Include a photoshopped picture of you with Carrot Top. This is a classic ice-breaker, which will peak the reader’s curiosity. No one can look away from a train wreck.

Don’t: Talk about your dog, unless he rescued midgets from a burning building. Your friends will not be impressed with his ability to eat stuffed animals and then knit sweaters in his rectum.

Do: Use spell check. It’s just plain embarrassing when you misspell Ponzi, or leave the silent “C” out of “indictment.”

Don’t: Talk about medical issues. Let me be brutally honest: your friends don’t care if your bones can snap in a strong wind. They will perceive your ____________ (insert random –ectomy here) as a shameless bid for attention.

Do: Trot out your accomplishments. Maybe you didn’t get a personal invitation to go to the space station (I got mine yesterday). You can still impress your friends with your mastery of Swahili, ballroom dancing, and taxidermy.

Don’t: Gossip. You don’t want Uncle Trevor’s affair to eclipse your own news, unless you were the other woman in question.

Remember that Christmas letters are a marathon, not a sprint. You can brag about your new baby seal fur coat next year. So get your creative juices flowing, and remember that I have dibs on solving world hunger this year.