The Darker Side of Trimming the Tree

1 12 2008

Christmas (3) 

“What exactly is the point of having a Christmas tree?” enquired one of the neighborhood boys. 

“Um… I don’t know.”  I said fighting with the Christmas tree stand from underneath the tree, while glass ornaments took suicidal jumps off the branches and onto the floor, and the CD player hummed “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”  For a moment, the reason anyone ever bothered decorating seemed to have escaped me.         

“Don’t people normally take their trees down after Christmas?” he asked again staring at the lopsided tree that was standing in our living room with amusement. 

“We’re not taking it down.” Ian, my copartner in tree trimming, answered.  “We’re just… well… starting over again.” 

“You know,” I said while picking tinsel and pine needles out of my hair, “we’ve been working on this silly tree for the past four hours. We’ve had to take all the ornaments off it, and it still doesn’t even stand up straight!” Why do we have Christmas trees?  The word “fun” seems to be coming to mind, but who knows.  

With an “I’m an adult, I can handle it!” attitude Ian and I had set out to make sure the house didn’t burn down, and somehow the Christmas tree was set up by the end of the day.

We threw our hearts into setting up the tree, and in return, the tree threw itself onto our younger sister, the cat, the coffee table, and it threw most of the ornaments onto the living room floor. We even attempted tying our unruly tree to the wall, but it made it clear it was going to have no part of that by pulled the nails out and threatened to rip a hole in the wall if we dared do it again.           

After several hours of blood, sweat and tinsel, we never did successfully “trim the tree.”  When mom returned home, the tree was completely stripped and lying on the floor as if it’d been attacked by a roaming gage of marauders. But in a flash of mother magic, the tree was standing straight in its stand, the garlands were hung with care, and the ornaments were artistically arranged on every branch. Our five hour tree trimming extravaganza had been outdone in a matter of minutes, but at least someone had finally put that tree in its place.

This year, as our countless felines run throughout the house, I’m afraid this year’s tree might not have a Christmas ghost of a chance of staying in its stand. Maybe I’ll settle for a Christmas fern.

Happy holidays, and may all your Christmas trees stay up! clip_image001


The Cow That Ate Baby Jesus

10 12 2007

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Copyright 2007 Kelsey Hough.  All Rights Reserved. 

Paper snowflakes and candy canes hung from the ceiling, the windows were now the stage for two dimensional holiday scenes, and a small, wooden nativity sat in a corner.  It was just about as festive and tacky as a two-year-old Sunday school classroom can be in the middle of December … and the kids loved it.

The majority of my small class played with the wooden nativity scene as they acted out the Christmas story — with some minor artistic licensing, unless of course, there was a Lego family and a T-Rex present at Jesus’ birth.

“Teacher, do cows eat this stuff?” asked Nate, a cute little boy who was playing with a black and white dairy cow, holding up a few pieces of hay in his chubby hand.  I said that, “Yes, cows do eat hay.”  So the plastic cow continued munching away on the hay in the feeding trough where the little, wooden baby Jesus was sleeping.

As Nate looked down at the toy bovine towering over the manger, panic suddenly shot through his whole body like a bolt of electricity.  He dropped the diary cow as if he was holding a smoking gun, and asked in a small, shaky voice, “Uh, teacher Kelsey?  Was… uh… baby Jesus eaten by a cow?”

Like a mature and competent Sunday school teacher, rather than laughing, I replied in a confident voice, “No, baby Jesus wasn’t eaten by a cow, Nate. He wasn’t eaten by anything.”

Nate shot another look of horror and fear at the plastic cow as he wailed, “I think baby Jesus was eaten by a cow!” The cow conversation had just begun, but I already knew I was fighting a losing battle.

From Crayons to Chaos 

As Nate’s cry reached the ears of all the other two-year-olds — who’d been happily playing with the Mary, Joseph and T-Rex — their lips began to quiver as they stared with fear and disgust at the black and white baby-eating cow who’d committed the unthinkable act of eating baby Jesus. The looks on their little faces was comparable to if they’d just been told their dear, old grandmother was an axe murderer.

Knowing more tears and hysteria were on the way, I tried explaining to my group of little alarmists how we know Jesus wasn’t eaten by a cow when he was a baby, because he grew up into an adult; he didn’t stay “baby Jesus.” But after that didn’t work, we had an educational discussion about the differences between carnivores and herbivores, and how, because cows don’t eat meat, they also don’t eat babies.

Vegetarian cows chewing their cud rather than gnawing on sleeping, innocent babies consoled most of them, and in a couple of minutes, you’d have never known my entire two-year-old Sunday school class had been on the brink of hysteria only a few minutes before.

While the rest of the class discussed their Christmas lists, Nate, who still wasn’t ready to let the subject go, asked earnestly, “But, Teacher, what if the cow didn’t see baby Jesus?”

Since, as we’d just discussed, babies weren’t a regular part of a cow’s diet, Nate was convinced that some absentminded cow the size of a house, might have actually eaten Jesus.  Because after all, Jesus was sleeping in the cows’ food dish.

A Bovine-Free Christmas Story  

It’s been several years since the “cow incident,” but I still can’t help wondering if Nate has an unexplainable fear of cows. At the very least, I highly doubt he’ll ever be a diary farmer.

What a horrible Christmas story it would’ve been if Jesus hadn’t survived “barn life”: God loved the world so much He sent His one and only Son to Earth, but sadly, He forgot to take into account the giant, baby-eating, dairy cows, so the Son of God became lunch for a hungry, absentminded cow. Thankfully, though, Jesus didn’t end up stuck in some cow’s teeth.

Emanuel, God with us, came to be the light into the world, to bring redemption.  And no, he wasn’t eaten by a cow; not even accidentally. Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.

Top 10 Signs You Need New Glasses

26 11 2007

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1. You have to use your hand to feel your way safely past furniture, even when the light is on.

2. When cracking an egg, you miss the pan entirely and the contents of the egg lands with a splat on the counter.

3. You’re afraid to open the cupboard door because every time you venture to take out a glass, your nose takes a beating.

4. You watch a movie feeling completely lost while wondering, “Why doesn’t it tell you where the characters are now?” Only to discover later that it had had subtitles the entire time and you never noticed.

5. You feel as if you’ve just completed the visual equivalency of a marathon every time you successfully read an entire chapter in only one sitting and then celebrate by closing the book.

6. When filling out a job application, you write down the skills and experiences that you feel make you a prime candidate for the job you’re currently applying for in the “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” section.

7. Everyone else is able to read the street sign before you’re even able to see it.

8. Asking questions like, “Is this a ‘G’ or an ‘S?’” becomes a part of your daily life.

9. A page in a book comes closer to resembling Alphabet Soup than readable text.

10. To your shock, you discover one of your favorite clipart pictures of a beautiful, old cottage in the countryside is actually a picture of a riding lawnmower on a golf course.

I scored ten out of ten, and that’s why I’m getting new glasses. 🙂 

I’m Back… I think

30 09 2007

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For the past few months a personal writing project I’ve been trying to finish has been sucking up all of the time and energy I’d normally devote to blogging, emailing and generally just having a life.  It’s as if there’s been a large leach clinging onto my scalp as it sucks out every drop of creativity until there isn’t even a dry breadcrumb left to throw at my blog.  But I’m hoping to try and change that.

My writing project isn’t complete yet, but it’s moving along nicely, and I’m going to attempt to juggle blogging again.  So, after an extended abscessed from the blogosphere, I’m finally back… or at least, I think that I am.


Feline Friday

27 07 2007

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“Friends may come and go, but cats accumulate.” ~Bob McMahon

I’ve accumulated another one.  This is Amy. 🙂

Titles: The Best of the Worst

12 06 2007

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1-“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies” (Well, that sounds like Academy Award winning writing there )  

2-“Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (Aw, a match made in hell)

3-“Herbie: Fully Loaded” (Before Herbie joined AA)

4-“Ssssssss” (That would have been an interesting one to order tickets to. “I’d like two tickets to Ssssss please.”)

5-“Leonard, Part 6” (Only weird when you realized parts one through five don’t exist)

6-“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” (This sounds like a dream I’d have)

7-“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (I knew they’d run out of good holiday movie plots after “Rudolph”)

8-“To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” (Rather than sounding romantic, it makes me feel like I’m reading someone’s personal mail)

Country Songs:

1-“They May Put Me in Prison, But They Can’t Stop my Face from Breakin’ Out” (A teenage country song, I’m sure)

2-“Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill” (Well, by all means…)

3-“You Can’t Roller Skate in A Buffalo Herd” (I’m glad you finally figured that out)

4-“How Can You Believe Me When I Say I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life” (What I’d like to know is, how did they fit that title on the CD?)

5-“Mama Get the Hammer (There’s A Fly on Papa’s Head)” (Maxwell Silver Hammer as a child)

6-“My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus” (I’m sorry?)

7-“If My Nose Were Full of Nickels, I’d Blow it All on You” (And why on earth would you want to do that?)

8-“If You Don’t Leave Me Alone, I’ll Go and Find Someone Else Who Will” (Some people were truly meant to be single)

9-“If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?” (Maybe it’s written from the perspective of a dog?)

10-“My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field, While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart” (There’s nothing like the reference to a tracker to really pull at your heart strings)

11-“Oh, I’ve Got Hair Oil on My Ears And My Glasses Are Slipping Down, But Baby I Can See Through You” (Short, sweet and to the point)


1-“Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” (That’d make a horrible ice cream flavor)

2-“” (A blog about toilet paper, maybe?)

3-“When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What He Knows Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And He’ll Win The Whole Thing ‘Fore He Enters The Ring There’s No Body To Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand And Remember That Depth Is The Greatest Of Heights And If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where To Land And If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right” (He was told to write a title, but instead he wrote a boxing jingle)

What about you?  What are some of your favorite sour titles?

(For more horribly funny titles check out WriterChick’s Post “Entitled…”)

Yackity, Yack

9 06 2007

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Things I couldn’t help but overhearing, probably because I was eavesdropping, and now have taken entirely out of context for your reading pleasure.

1. “I’m just saying I want to go to the Beetle Mart; I’m not making a joke.”

2. “The mating call of the wild centipede sounds like a dying moose.”

3. “I don’t see how it matters since he was a mental toilet.”

4. “You’re humoring me; I don’t appreciate humor.”

5. “When Einstein was young, he knew he’d either grow up to be a genius, or a stand up comedian. He decided to be a genius, because it’d look better on his résumé.”

6. “On the other hand, you have different fingers.”

7. “It’s hard to tell zebras and giraffes apart since they look so much alike.”

8. “I’m not a nobody; I’m your mother. Well, not your mother per se.”

9. “I’m going to be a professional party-pooper when I grow up.”

10. “I think you should use fake names, it always sounds more realistic that way.”

11. “If you were in a ‘Morbid Contest’, you’d win first prize.”

12. “Come help me, I dropped St. Francis behind the refrigerator!”

13. “If you say ‘chip’ without the ‘i,’ it’s “chip-oo.”

14. “I think my Mother Ship is a tattoo parlor.”

15. “Oh, you knit, too?”   “Unit two? I don’t even remember unit one!”

16. “I love green food … kiwis, peas, avocados, cheese.”