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Gifts not received

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Some of you may know that besides being a life skills coach and role model for author Billy Coffey, I also manage his website. This includes approving comments, scheduling new blog posts for him which he sends me via email, and sending Peter Pollock URGENT EMAILS TYPED IN ALL CAPS on those rare occasions when I’m experiencing technical difficulties with the site. One of the fringe benefits of this job is that I get to read Billy’s writing before anyone else does. Such was the case yesterday when he sent me his latest post Did you have a good Christmas?

I thought about that question.

Did I have a good Christmas?

And based upon the parameters in Billy’s post, I did have a good Christmas. Great even. My Christmas was quiet, spend surrounded by family, and I spent Christmas Eve being reminded that over 2,000 years ago in the town of David a Savior was born; he is the Messiah, the Lord. A baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. And while many equate January 1 as a time of new beginnings, I suppose I’m more like Ebenezer Scrooge. Waking up on Christmas morning feels more like a chance to start anew. When focused on that first Christmas gift–Jesus–everything else we receive is gravy.

I received some great gifts this year, including an iPhone 5 with Siri. Did you know that you can change the voice? If you go to settings, choose Siri, then choose Language, it will give you a list of several different languages in which to choose from.

If you choose English (United Kingdom), Siri becomes a British gentleman, which is awesome.

It's funny because it's true...

The only drawback to English Gentlemen Siri is that he has a hard time understanding my American accent. It was frustrating. I felt like Barry Kripke from Big Bang Theory:

But after several attempts to make a phone call via voice command, I finally figured out that all I needed to do was speak with a bad British accent and English Gentleman Siri was happy to oblige. Yeah…I’m totally doing that. Sorry/you’re welcome people within earshot of me using my phone.

But I digress…

Because I’m not here to talk to you about the gifts we receive for which we are grateful. I’m not even here to discuss gifts received that maybe we’re not so grateful for.

I’m asking you to consider being grateful for all those gifts you could have received but didn’t. For example,

Pajama Jeans

I have a friend who just LOVES her pajama jeans. She says they’re super comfortable and that when she modeled them for her kids, they didn’t even realize they weren’t actual jeans. To which I responded, “Um…uh, huh.” As I type this, I’m wearing jeans. I pretty much wear jeans every day. Why? Because they’re comfortable. I also have yoga pants, which are more comfortable, but unless I’m headed to the gym or to the bus stop, you’re not likely to catch me out in public wearing them. If you’re a stickler for comfort before fashion, then by all means, wear your yoga pants or your sweat pants out in public. But pajama jeans wearers, you’re not fooling anyone.

The WaxVac

Gaaaaahhh!!! I’ll stick with dangerous Q-tips, because that’s just gross.


This is a gift that says, “I don’t think you have the mental capacity or physical dexterity to remove a piece of plastic wrap out of its original container and that maybe your junk drawer isn’t quite full enough.

Thanks, but no thanks.

And of course, there’s

The Jesus Chair

Oh, who am I kidding? I would LOVE to receive the Jesus Chair. Then I would throw a big dinner party, set it at the head of the table and watch as guests uncomfortably ponder whether or not they should sit in it.

So how about it? What are you grateful for NOT receiving this Christmas?

Oh, you shouldn’t have…

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The gifts have been opened. The garbage sack of discarded wrapping paper and boxes have been (hopefully) been dragged down to the curb for the garbage truck to haul away. Time to be grateful for the bounty you have received–the gifts that were exactly what you wanted, and even those that missed the mark. It really is the thought that counts, right?

But since it’s just us here, it’s time to fess up. Did you get more of the former or the latter?

I believe the vast majority of gift givers truly want to give the recipient something they will love. Take me, for example. Every birthday, anniversary and Christmas, I rack my brain trying to find the perfect gift for my husband. I can count on one hand the gifts that would qualify as perfect. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate the thought I put into them–he assures me he does–I just can’t seem to get it right most of the time. He, on the other hand, being ever so practical, asks me what I want and then gets it for me. What a concept, huh?

And speaking of my husband (excellent segue katdish!)…

He’s a coffee drinker. We both are, actually. He’s one of those folks who is happy to drink coffee at 8:00 in the morning or 8:00 at night. With this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that gourmet coffee would be an excellent gift.

coffee from my dad and his wife: gourmet mocha java

gift from my brother & his family: coffee from Hawaii

gift from my sister: coffee from the French Quarter in New Orleans

Many of you coffee affectionados may be reading this and thinking these are excellent gifts. And they are. But not for him. I’ll enjoy them all, but that sort of misses the point, doesn’t it? They were given to him, not me.

Why won’t my husband enjoy these thoughtful coffee gifts?

Because when it comes to his coffee, my husband is Frasier Crane’s dad Martin.

No latte, no half-caff flavored frappuccino. Just plain, black coffee. Folgers or the grocery store equivalent. But he’s not complaining. How could they know he doesn’t like fancy coffee? These were all good gifts that just slightly missed the mark.

Since we just returned from a week at my in-law’s house, where watching Jeopardy at 6:00 was a nightly ritual, I would like present the remainder of the gifts received following the Jeopardy game format of answer first, then question.


Am I the only one who misses Alex's man-stache?

Here we go…

Gift which will likely still be on the card table after your January garage sale.

What is the Vampire Diaries 750 piece puzzle?


Gift most likely obtained by traveling back in time to the 1980’s.

What is a backgammon set?


Gift you never knew you needed until you got it.

Who knew you could fry barbecue?

What is a BBQ fry pan and…

What is gourmet salt?


A gift you should absolutely, under any circumstances buy for someone unless they specifically ask for it.

They don't even look good on the skinny model.

What are pajama jeans?

There’s my list.

Any interesting gifts found under your tree you’d care to share? Maybe we could negotiate a trade?

Oh, you shouldn’t have!

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Did y’all know it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday? Just in case this is news to you and you’re still looking for gift ideas, I thought that rather than giving you a list of things moms might like, perhaps it would be helpful to know what moms might not like.

Now, I realize all women are different, so a gift I could live without might be the perfect gift for your mom, wife or grandmother. But then again, maybe not so much. Here are a few items you (men folk in particular) might want to shy away from.

10. Monster Truck Rally tickets. (Unless they're for you and the kids while she goes to the spa, with the gift certificate you got her.)

9. Remote controlled foot bath (Does anyone actually use one of these things more than once or twice before it gets shoved in the linen closet?Although a gift certificate for a pedicure would be great.)

8. A bathing suit. (Unless a woman tells you which one she likes, the size she needs, and the name of the sales associate at the store that put it on hold for her, never EVER buy her a swimsuit. There's just not many scenarios where this will end well for you. Why risk it?)

7. I'm fairly confident no man of sound mind would buy this as a Mother's Day gift for his wife, but if this looks like something you think she might enjoy, see Number 6

6. (See Number 7)

5. A vacuum cleaner, or pretty much any household appliance. Sure, the woman in the picture looks happy, but she's a model. Or drunk. Or both.

4. The mass produced "I Love You Mom" plaque with glass rose. She probably already has one, and that's one too many.

3. Mother's Day brunch at Chuck E. Cheese (See Number 6)

2. A carton of cigarettes. Really never an appropriate gift in my opinion. Especially if they happen to be YOUR brand. And she doesn't smoke.

1. Mommie Dearest on DVD or blue ray. Unless, of course it's her favorite movie. In which case finding a last minute Mother's Day gift is probably not your biggest problem.

I hope these ideas were helpful, and I hope all you moms have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Blog Fodder (First in a series!)

Since our final destination for Thanksgiving this year was some 15 hours by car, my hubby (God bless him) decided to pony up for all of us to fly the friendly skies. The experience far exceeded my expectations. The check-in lines were not long, the experience going through airport security was relatively painless, and even though we were flying on cattle-car Southwest Airlines, we were able to get some pretty decent seats. To add to this glorious experience (for us, not for Southwest), the airplane was only half full. My son was able to have an entire row of seats to himself — thereby eliminating the need to engage “arm rest wars” with his sister for 2 hours and 25 minutes. My Thanksgiving Day travel experience left me with a real “Attitude of Gratitude”.

A funny thing happens when you write a blog (for me, anyway). Everyday, seemingly mundane experiences, in the hands of a seasoned blogging veteran (going on 8 months now – “I’ve come a long way, baby!”), are a never ending source for blog fodder. So what do you think I’m going to write about? Are you guessing that I will speak to the amazing physics behind a 80,000 pound, winged metal tube that is able to fly through the air? (You’ve obviously found this blog by mistake.) Perhaps you think I will write about the generous amounts of food (mini pretzels) and drink (ice laden plastic cups with approximately 2 ounces of your favorite canned beverage) they lavishly bestow on you. Did you guess that I might share with you my deep philosophical views on the subject of flight attendants and their “you’re lucky I’m even speaking to you” attitudes? (Actually, they were all pretty nice.) No, no, and no. What, pray tell, is the focus of this particular post? Well, silly! It’s Sky Mall!

For those of you who are not familiar with Sky Mall , it is a delightful little catalog that can be found in the seat pockets of most commercial airplanes. It is a literal extravaganza of a bunch of overpriced crap that nobody needs. How truly American! Truth be told, this catalog was such a wealth of material that I am forced to write a series of posts. I sense that you are all giddy with anticipation, so let me begin.

Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide! (Part One)

Oh, what to give this year? Most of us have so much that we are either stuffing our closets, attics and basements to the brim or are looking for ways to get rid of the items that no longer have the sparkly shimmer of newness. But because I realize nothing says “I love you the most” like an overpriced gift, I am endeavoring to provide some gift ideas for even the most discriminating person on your Christmas list. For your shopping convenience, I have categorized items by the potential recipient of such extravagant awesomeness.

Let’s kick things off with the most important person on your gift giving guide. Namely YOU! And what better way to get everyone in the holiday spirit than some over-the-top seasonal yard art?

Tacky Holiday Decor

Nativity Set: What better way to express the true meaning of Christmas than a full color, pre-lit, blinged out Nativity Scene? Show all your neighbors that you heart Sweet Baby Jesus! And at the low, low price of $579.94 for the entire set, you might even consider buying one for your heathen neighbor.

sky mall nativity











Pre-Lit Bethlehem Star: If you’ve decided to purchase the Nativity Set, then all your neighbors are sure to see just how holy you are. But are you missing out on an opportunity to witness to those who may be traveling past your house via low flying aircraft? Never fear, this “majestic 7′ x 10′ tall lighted Bethlehem star creates a beautiful display on your roof that is sure to capture your neighbor’s attention!” A mere $59.99

sky mall bethlehem star














I don’t know about you, but nothing brings back sweet, childhood Christmas memories like “a giant inflatable, illuminated, animated 14′ long Christmas train!” When it comes to capturing the magic of Santa Claus and the little child in all of us, I say the bigger the better! ($199.99)

sky mall inflatable Christmas train












I grew up in an era before cable, satellite television and Tivo. One of the things I looked forward to each Christmas was sitting down in front of the old, 300 pound wooden box with a screen inside of it and watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. That’s why when I saw “Brightly colored hammered steel brings Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally and Snoopy to life right in your front yard!”, I knew it must be mine! ($199.99)

sky mall charlie brown christmas








Looking for a way to frame your beautiful display of twinkly, Christmas cheer? May I suggest the Lighted, walk-thru 3-D Archway. “Welcome to your holiday “portal”! Archway’s metal-mesh frame is adorned with 400 pre-strung multi-color mini-lights for a brilliant color display at night. 129″ x 89″ tall overall.” ($149.99)

sky mall christmas archway









By now, some of you must be thinking, “Ah, Katdish! How pedestrian! I’ve seen all this before. How can I express my love of Christmas yet still maintain my sense of flair; my “razzle dazzle” if you will? Look no further. “Moving Hollywood-style Searchlights – with music . Two independently swiveling projectors cast large images that dance all over your home’s exterior from over 30′ away. Meanwhile, it plays your choice of 25 songs (20 Christmas, 4 Halloween, plus Happy Birthday) to add to the festivities.” ($139.99) I didn’t even know there was one Halloween song, let alone four!

sky mall christmas projector












And since you’ve invested wisely in your beautiful, festive yet tasteful holiday wonderland, wouldn’t it be great if you put all your neighbors on notice? “While waving one arm and moving one leg, this snowman stands atop a countdown clock much like that used at NASA for shuttle launches!” Let all those slackers know just how long they have to redeem themselves and their sparsely decorated yards! ($139.99)

sky mall christmas countdown snowman










So, there you have it. With a little help from our friends at Sky Mall, you can make your neighbors green with envy and your heathen friends red with shame as they behold your holiday yard in all its glowing glory.

We’re off to a great start! In my next entry, we will explore some fantastic gift ideas for your friends, family and business associates. Until then, remember that as long as you still have checks, you are never truly overdrawn, and that Christmas shopping is just the kind of “emergency” that your financial adviser was telling you about when he or she suggested you apply for a major credit card.