My latest acrylic painting - "Kimono Cat"

My new "Kimono Cat" painting, one of my Contest prizes

Everywhere we are being reminded that Christmas is 3 weeks away; some people have been putting money aside all year, others are dreading their next paycheck – knowing they must squeeze a few more gifts from it. Children are great about letting you know what they want (and expect)… the one thing guaranteed not to fall prey to procrastination, they’ve been planning and revising their lists for the last 6 months.

If you’re shopping for someone other than greedy children, however, you might not have a clue what to purchase as a gift. Never fear, every retailer on the planet seems to know what your mother-in-law really wants this year.
One of the most irritating things about commercializing Christmas (for me, anyhow) is the amount of stereotyping you find. Everyone is pigeonholed into a nifty little phrase or a couple keywords.
“My Handyman Husband”, “My Computer Geek Father”, “Our Son the Quarterback”, “Spa and Facial Lovin’ Sister-in-law”.
We wives automatically get jewelry, whether we want it or not… and apparently ALL teenagers love Twilight! It’s only a matter of knowing which “team” they’re on. Pul-eeeeze.

The Today show has been doing segments on gift-giving, and some of their recent suggestions included: beaded clutches, glittery earphones, lacy underwear, a $52.00 make-up kit (and she stated that it did NOT include mascara, lol) and a DVD of “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” starring Danny DeVito. I kid you not. Actually, I think I just described a Philadelphia hooker.

Every year, we plan to NOT purchase any gifts for ourselves, and spend those extra dollars on kids’ presents instead. I say “plan” because I usually crack on Dec. 23rd, and buy him something small anyway. I can’t remember when I stopped counting the number of gift tags with my name on them, but at some point in my teen years – quality became more important than quantity. After my daughter was born, you could’ve wrapped her in a recycled bow year after year… just watching her excited face gazing upon the sparkling mass of wrapping paper and ribbon was MY gift.

The real truth is: Being an adult means you have a job, make money, carry a pocketbook, and have the ability to purchase things you want for yourself throughout the year. Fortunately my tastes are quite simple.

However if we lived in a house built from gold bricks, and lined the litter box with $20 and $50 bills, I might be persuaded to create a Christmas wish-list of my own.
My fantasy gift list would include:

1. A Roman bath-house stocked with my favorite handmade soap from awesome etsy sellers.
2. A pantry stocked with every spice known to man.
3. A resident veterinarian
4. Former Navy SEAL bodyguards for my children

…You’ll notice I did not include World Peace on my list; I doubt any amount of money could buy That, although our governments would like us to believe otherwise.

Oh, you wanted a realistic list? Okay, well then…
1. a basket of handmade soap
2. another (larger) basket of ink for my printer… oooh, and some paper too.
Also, a karaoke machine would be great fun!
I must admit though, at the very top of my list (the only gift I really want) would be a nice evening alone with my Dearest.
No, not Dominic!

Joe and I haven’t had a real date – the whole dinner and movie deal – since October of last year, when Mia had a babysitter and Jacob was in utero. That doesn’t count the few random nights where we stayed awake past midnight after getting the kids to bed – and crashed on the couch with oven-baked pizza and Netflix. We usually fall asleep halfway through both movie and pizza.
I’d like an excuse to dress up… dig the earrings out from the bottom of my lingerie drawer and hopefully still find a match (dig out the lacy underwear, too!), fix my hair, and put on some $5.00 make-up. We’d enjoy the nightlife, eat salty popcorn in a semi-dark theatre with a sticky floor.. and watch anything except a Danny DeVito film.
No offense. I prefer short guys of the Michael J. Fox variety. 😉

Will I get my wish this year? hah, probably not. But you can keep the fancy cashmere sweaters, the pashmina shawls, and the bottles of perfume… There is a black hole in the corner of my closet that will suck any frippery into an inescapable abyss.
I’m sure though, in some parallel universe, an old Norwegian fisherman is probably scratching his bald head at the collection of feminine heels and beaded clutches that keep mysteriously appearing from the wormhole in his cabin.

I do plan to surprise Joe with a gift this year, and yes, it will still be a surprise because he doesn’t bother to read my blog, lol His latest Facebook addiction is the Vampire Wars game, and he hinted that he would like me to paint a vampire cat portrait that he could use as his Facebook avatar. Right now, he’s using Admiral Adama-nic from “Battlestar GalCATica” that I gave him for Father’s Day as his avatar, and he’s received quite a few compliments on it from his FB friends. I’m sure a Vampire Cat would be well received, although it may seem as if I’m jumping on the Twilight-Team bandwagon.

Hey, maybe then I’ll wind up on the Today show’s next gift segment. And maybe I’ll paint a cat portrait of Danny DeVito as Dennis Reynolds. …And maybe not. 😉