Thursday, December 22, 2011

Checking it Twice

Stop! Stop it before you hurt yourself. Running around in circles, waving your hands over your head and crying, “The Sky is falling” won’t keep Christmas from coming. You’ll just have to suck it up and get over it!

I know, you have been through a lot and things have been awful and a fair and reasonable world would let you have a day or two to catch your breath and take a breather, but it ain’t a fair world. Just take a look at what gets elected and you’ll understand just how unfair it is and I come from Texas so I know of what I speak.

The holiday is four days away, but you only have three of those days to shop and if you are desperate enough and crazy enough to shop on Christmas Eve I hope your insurance is paid up and your will made out and your loved ones well provided for cause you are taking your life in your hands.

First things first, take a long, cleansing breath; make a cup of coffee or tea or whatever you make. After all those years of working midnight till dawn for the police I don’t drink coffee any more, it stills smells good and I think I would like it, but my innards just can’t handle it and a few years ago I went to London and discovered tea.

Yeah they do drink tea in London, they drink warm beer there, but that is a story for when we have more time, tea the English way is not what you think of when you say tea.

I am sure there are nice, refined ladies who sit in overheated rooms sipping tea from fine china cups, but that ain’t the way me mates drink it. Oh no, they drink it in mugs, the larger the better and strong, so strong by looking at it you’d take it for coffee and they drink it even when it cools off and becomes sludge. No cup goes to the sink un-emptied.

Now the horrible stuff we get here is not something I would recommend cold. If you are a person who has lost the will to live just chug a cup of cold Lipton’s or Tetley’s. That’ll take the hair right off your chest. And some of the boutique labels don’t do much better, Green Peppermint or Sleepy Time tea isn’t fit to poison terrorists with and even if it was it would be banned by the Geneva Convention.

And the sad part, Tao of Tea makes some great fine production teas. But you don’t care about all of this because you haven’t finished buying presents yet and you are in a panic because Uncle Ralph is due on Friday and will be mortally offended if there isn’t anything under the tree for him even though in the last thirty-five years he hasn’t like a single thing anyone has bought him, but you feel like you have to grimly keep trying cause he’s family.

Try tea. But get the good stuff. Twinnings tea is available locally and it is really good, try the English or Irish Breakfast varieties of even some Earl Grey, even though I think it has a distinctive aftertaste. Go to Books by The Bay and buy a tin of the Tao of Tea’s Malty Assam, wonderful golden stuff and while you are there you can pick up Janet Evanovich’s latest Numbers book. This is your last chance to get in on the real Stephanie Plum before the movie comes out with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie and ruins the whole thing. Oh it’s number seventeen if you haven’t been keeping up.

You can get a gift certificate for Books By the Bay while you are there. Leave it blank so if the girl comes home with a new, tattooed, leather wearing boyfriend you’ll have a gift for him. If they break up before Christmas you can palm the gift certificate and use it yourself.

Gift certificates make wonderful last minute gifts. There are those who are prepared for just such an event, like the Art Connection or Easy Lane Frames and don’t even try to tell me that your artists pals can’t use more supplies cause the one thing that an artist never has enough of besides money silly, are materials.

There are those you might have to twist and arm to get a deal out of. Try the Black Market Gourmet. Now I don’t know if Jardin has thought of this or not, but there are so many things you can pick up at the Black Market Gourmet maybe you won’t even have to try to muscle Jardin into creating a gift certificate. Hey, go by today and be a part of the Solstice Jam, the music is great and the food varied and wonderful and you will have such a good time that you’ll forget just how much trouble you are in.

And if you get so wrapped up in the good times and buy soooooo much of the exquisite wine, which should be savored and not gulped like it was Strawberry Ripple on the hood of a sixty-three Chevy that hot summer when you were in college and that girl with the dimples and the cut-offs was stretched out on the hood next to you, but the Solstice Jam is a family event and such memories might be more than PG-13, that you loose the rest of today, when you wake up tomorrow, I have one last suggestion…


Yes, the nation’s store. Amazon will sell you as large or as little a gift certificate as your Scrooge-like impulses will let you get away with and by the magic of the Internet, save your bacon, by delivering it, on time for Christmas anywhere in the nation and points abroad.

Now think about one more thing before you crack open that weathered leather wallet and drag out the credit card which you haven’t used since Regan was in office and remember this is the season of giving…and he is making a list and checking it twice and you don’t want to wind up on the naughty list now do you?

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