Well, you’ll be pleased – nay, thrilled!  – to hear that the NFL’s minimal stats corrections for week 15 of the regular season did NOT impact the score of the semi-final fantasy football match that saw my Snow Monkeys win by the slimmest of margins.  To refresh your memories:

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.25.25 PMDamn, that’s tight!

So now, with last weekend’s victory finally assured, it’s upwards and onwards.  There’s a fantasy football championship on the line (potentially my Snow Monkeys’ third in two years!) and I’ve got to start prepping for my final match versus Petunia Power.  In my other league, Ivon Bartok’s Running Dead faces off against Alex Levin’s Flemish Giants.  After fifteen long weeks, it finally comes down to this.  For THIS:

1Gorgeous, isn’t it?  By Tuesday of next week, it’ll be sitting on my virtual shelf alongside my 2011 championship trophy, my Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series, and my MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video.

Hey, you know what’s really crowded nowadays?  EVERYWHERE!  I can’t even pick up a salted caramel cream puff at my favorite chocolate shop without having to wait in line.  Seriously, people!  Is this your first Christmas?!  Did nobody warn you it was coming?!  Did somebody change the date on you?!

How are you all faring?  Braving the crowds or battening down the hatches?

I thought I had everything well in hand until I received a late text from my sister informing me that my mother has nixed our plans to get her a tablet computer, for skyping purposes.  Apparently, she doesn’t like Skype because it makes people’s heads too big and grotesque.

And here’s where YOU come in.  Just leave a suggestion for what I should get my mother for Christmas in the comments section of this blog and you’ll automatically become a member of Mom’s Christmas Brigade with all of the perks that membership entails [note: membership entails no actual perks].   So what are you waiting for?!  Start suggesting!!!

34 thoughts on “December 19, 2013: Okay, finally, sweet sweet victory! And one more to go! Braving versus Battening! Mom’s Christmas Brigade!

  1. I made a “to do” list earlier this evening and immediately got a case of the lazies. About to miss some ordering deadlines…yikes!

  2. 55555 (or LOL). This was a fine post, not that the other post are not worthy of your talents. But, in support of your victory, I hold in celebration a beverage from a local micro Brewery, Summit, from their 14 sample of a limited series named Biere de Garde. Well done.
    I think a fine porcelain tea pot with a gold / silver decorative pattern would make a nice gift that I hope a mom appreciates.

  3. Your mommy has more traditional tastes – simpler tastes. While you might like some techy gadget that doesn’t mean mom will enjoy it the same way (remember the tv thing?).

    So, why not think of the sorts of things your mom loves. What does SHE enjoy? Perhaps something that doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles – a new chair (though those can be quite specific to the individual), a new set of fine cutlery or something else for the kitchen she may need (fridge, dishwasher?), a Bose system (if she enjoys music), a digital camera (if she doesn’t have one), or simply a basket full of foodie delicacies (with some accessories such as cheese plates and such). Even simple things – such as a nice lap throw – could go high end if you get something like a nice alpaca blanket (very soft!). Think of something that she’ll really love. Would she like one of those digital picture frame thingys were you can load in a slide show of all your kiddie pics? I don’t know your mom well enough to suggest a gift for her, but maybe something here will spark an idea and lead you to the perfect gift!


  4. If your mom is like my mom, she always is needing a new robe for Christmas. She gets cold sitting around so is now wearing scarves around her neck. A nice soft throw blanket for those naps on the couch or a new cartigan sweater. She doesn’t need anything for the kitchen because by now (she’s 88) she has it all. My dad is always going to Sam’s or Costco’s and bringing back weird stuff. Everything he gets comes in threes. (He thinks I will take one.) In the past couple of months he has brought home three cans of Off Bug Spray, three pair of large scissors, three varying size carving boards, three jumbo size shampoo. three Ranch Dressings… My mom doesn’t want any of that. She wants warm things and a pillow for her chair because she is getting shorter. Have you outfitted her bathroom with grab bars?

  5. Shopping stories? Well funny you mention it, I was at Walmart yesterday since they offered the best combination of groceries, stocking stuffers, and table decorations. Plus they had those electric mobility carts that allowed me to get around without having to crutch my way through the whole store.

    My daughter Jackie drove me there and the traffic, both inside and outside the store, was nuts. One thing that mobility cart could have used was a horn. You would think that a guy holding crutches like a mast while rolling along on a whirring cart would have been more conspicuous, but the aisles were constantly blocked by people looking at the shelves while leaving their carts blocking the rest of the space. Everyone was cordial when I asked them if I could pass, but it just seemed odd how often people would block the aisle while not thinking about it…or maybe I just don’t go shopping enough? I did feel a little like an old codger getting his checkout ride on a scooter. The only thing missing was the written test.

    And tonight we made cheesecakes for our Christmas Open House on Saturday; one chocolate and one butterscotch. They’re baking now, and it’s all looking good for the party. Now I just need to make the cream cheese sausage balls on Saturday and we’re good to go.

    As for Christmas presents for your mom, did you get your taste for French cooking from her? If so, what about a sous vide machine and cookbook? I know that a kitchen appliance is one of those things that might be perceived as a bad or tacky gift, but you seemed to love yours so much, I thought it might run in the family.

    If she has a group of friends that she meets with regularly, then how about some gift certificates to nice restaurants for them as a group? I don’t know what is nearby your mom’s place, but country club memberships might offer a nice Sunday lunch and reprieve to get out of the house (if she’s inclined to go with friends; it would be no fun to do alone).

    Due to my mother’s hearing loss, for a couple of Christmases I tried to give my mom technology gifts (a home computer for emails and chat and a cellphone for texting). But even though she received them with enthusiasm, she never could work out how to use them. I spent many an hour as in-house tech support until she finally gave up on it. She just wasn’t a technology person.

  6. I agree with baterista9 about the housekeeper. My mom has had one for a few years now. Can’t do all that housework herself anymore.

  7. Does She Knit, Crochet..? Likes WOOL? — I still have a couple of Hats left – [unless She’s into Toques. Got plenty of those!] – I do Throws too… Perhaps if there was more lead-time, I could have done something “Custom”..?
    whatever… E-me if you want pics & links.

  8. A remote starter for her car.

    I figured out a few things I want too late to tell my mother-in-law, who would have got them. Maybe she wouldn’t have got me the skateboard because she would say I don’t need one, but you should see how poorly mine turns. It might be that I’m a bad skateboarder but I won’t know until I’m not using a $6, weathered board.

    I haven’t shopped yet. I’m thinking of doing it at a really weird hour so I don’t have to deal with crowds. I usually shop on Christmas Eve, paying attention to final closing hours so I can hit multiple stores at the last minute, but I’m feeling more organized this year. I’ll do it Monday.

  9. How about some making hands look smaller gloves so you can go ahead with the tablet and Skype plan. :p

    Seriously, I think the housekeeper idea is a good one, provided your mom doesn’t already have one, and is comfortable with the idea. Dog walking service? Some people don’t like gift certificates, but I love them for things and places I really use. Good luck.

    My mom likes the scratchers lottery tickets so I buy her those.

    Real congrats to the Snow Monkeys and good luck in the upcoming battle.

  10. And here’s where YOU come in. Just leave a suggestion for what I should get my mother for Christmas in the comments section of this blog

    does she like jewelry? if she doesn’t have one already, maybe a mother’s ring or necklace;

    if she does, maybe something with her birthstone?

  11. Sometimes we give too much importance to occasional comments. Lets go on with the tablet. Tablets do other things besides skype including sudoku or programs to train the memory besides recipes? 😆
    Other possibilities are a Swiss Army knife or a Rubik cube.

  12. As I get older, I have always wanted…a male stripper! Just kidding. I don’t think that would be your mom’s thing. How about a cruise, or a chef to come into her home and make her a fabulous meal?

    I don’t go to the stores unless I have to just before Christmas for the very reason you complained about. I am not into crowds either. Fortunately, we got all of our shopping for the day done in November.

    For your next mailbag: you stated, when you began this blog, that you were doing it to keep your writing skills up. At this juncture, would you say that you have accomplished this goal?

  13. so. WHEN are you guys flying out again..? — ’cause you’ll need your “SLUSHY” boots! Ottawa/Montreal, we’re all about to get whacked with another BIG STORM starting Friday afternoon… FREEZING RAIN & ICE this time instead of -20C snow…

    Pack accordingly. As in for BOTH extremes!

  14. More battening than braving here. We had a terrible valley inversion, where the cold air sinks to the valley floor, and it is warmer in the mountains. Collects all the gunk and gives us bad air quality. I can’t go out in it easily, my lungs aren’t what they used to be. Also, hubby is running like mad with student drivers. We did get a couple days with him at home, so I was able to send out a couple packages, but nothing else. He and I have already exchanged gifts, except what I’m waiting for from Amazon.

    My mom always liked jewelry, and expensive knick-knacks. Her china cabinet was loaded with foo-foo stuff. I’ve inherited both the stuff and the tendency. Slippers can be a good gift, but only if you know what your mom likes. I second soft throws, you can never have too many throws. New apron, new kitchen gadget?

  15. My mother in law is about the same age as your mom. She asked for cozy pajamas and slippers. I found her some nice suede, fleece lined, no skid bottom slippers that will keep her toesies warm and will be safe to walk in.

  16. No tech gifts. Unless you want to get her a Sound Bar that accentuates the vocal range so she can hear what the people are saying on TV without having to crank up the volume. If they make such a thing. If they don’t, someone should.

    How about some nice gloves. Everyone could use a new pair of gloves. Can Sis tell you her size? Down jacket? or fake down that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned?

    Hey, how about a suggestion for my mom? I haven’t shopped for her yet! Actually for the past couple of years, I have taken her out to lunch and on a little shopping spree after Christmas to buy clothes. She likes the company and then she can actually get clothes that fit.

    Congratulations on you Snow Monkeys victory, Joe! Good luck in the playoffs!

  17. @ Deni – 😆 All joking aside, I’m pretty sure that’s what any Italian mother would want!

    So, Joey – get busy!! 😀


  18. My mom hasn’t used the DVR we bought my patents, ever. My dad loved the control of a DVR but my mom refuses to try. I suppose it depends on your mom’s personality. My late MIL would have loved a tablet! She embraced techie toys but like @JeffW, my hubby did a lot of tech support. I miss my MIL, she was a pretty smart cookie.

    The others posted good ideas. Your Sis is probably the best Mom expert. I’ve suggested getting someone to clean for my mom but she refuses to have a stranger in her house.

    Going to head back home after lunch, yay!

  19. I don’t know you mom but I love getting wool socks for Christmas. I really wish someone would send me some. 🙁 Also, Montreal is very cold this time of year. I know I was in Plattsburgh last weekend and it was below zero and still 150 miles south of MTL. Maybe you want some for you and Akemi too before you travel.

  20. @Tam Dixon:

    Like your hubby, I miss my mom too. She was smart in a lot of ways, just not on the technology front.

  21. I always go shopping super early in the morning or take an early lunch if I need to run any errands. I actully love this time of year as I can be up and done with all my week-end shopping by 8:30-9:00am.

    As for mother mallozzi, I say a “homemade” 2014 calander with pictures of you and Akemi and the dogs. Or perhaps photos from your travels.

  22. Glad to hear that the Snow Monkeys are kinda almost there!

    As far as your Mom goes, it’s hard to say without knowing her better. My step-mom likes simple things, and her favourite thing that I’ve ever gotten her was a fleece throw from LL Bean. It’s soft, ultra-light, and nice and warm when she feels a bit chilled. She also really like nice sweaters, so that’s another idea.

    Been pretty busy lately, between work, the hospital and getting ready for Christmas, it seems like I’ve hardly had time for.. well, anything else.

    Unfortunately, today out of nowhere I pulled my right trapezius and now it’s in spasm, causing me MAJOR pain up through the neck and down my right arm right through the elbow. OW! Hopefully, some application of heat will help it relax and I can do something productive this weekend, because as it is now it hurts to move!

  23. Ba humbug, tell her to stop being selfish, you all want to see HER, love seeing her and she should love seeing all of YOU even if your heads are big … and get it anyway. Problem solved. Tell her I said so. 🙂

  24. Heya….how bout a nice recliner to enjoy her reading?
    And, enjoy her fav TV shows since you did buy her a new one a few years ago..I think.

  25. I thought of something today Joe. If she is starting to get hard of hearing, a phone that has a loud speaker on it, for the hard of hearing.

  26. Judging by what I’ve seen at where I work, fleece blankets that you tie together are really popular. It’s handmade and there’s is care going into picking out what fleece you’d think she’d like. And I live in Washington state and Van. B.C. isn’t that far away so the warmth of fleece is always welcome.

  27. Get her a new computer anyway. My MIL was using a horrid old PC tower in her basement that was constantly needing “tweaks” to try to make it NOT take forever to just start up or open a web page. She didn’t even know she needed a new computer. So last Christmas, I said to my husband, “Why don’t you get your mom a Mac laptop for Christmas?” So while the 3 of us (husband, MIL, and me) were visiting my family in Detroit last December, we took a trip to the Apple Store. She was literally tearing up while she was experimenting with the display models to see which one she wanted, she was so moved by the gift. She LOVES her new laptop. That crappy old PC in the basement never gets so much as looked at now.

  28. I went with the “ice storm” theme and how I would hate being cold and frozen all the time and I found this web site. Heated things (G rated). http://dodoburd.com/gifts-to-keep-you-warm

    A trip to someplace lush and tropical is always a nice thing. How about a generator in case she loses power?

    Frost-free windshield covers: http://www.sharperimage.com/si/view/product/Frost-Free-Windshield-Cover-%28Set-of-2%29/201956?trail=

    Wrist heaters that directs warm air to your fingers? http://www.thanko.jp/product/919.html/

    RoboPlow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPg1ZMiC9pA

    As far as store–staying as far away from them as possible. Yesterday after my last pet sit at 10 p.m. at night, I went to Target on my way home to buy these great gloves for Patrick that will prevent him from hurting himself. I walked into the store, found similar gloves, and looked at the check-out lines: They looked like they would during the holiday in the middle of the afternoon. I said, “Seriously people?” I was SO tired. I needed to be home. I lingered over in the men’s department, using a very thoughtful tip my client left to buy some PJ’s for Patrick, and to see if there were more gloves like the one I got in the men’s department. Then I needed to buy a new blanket. But they didn’t have the one I wanted. Then I went to check out and all those people were no longer there. I got home about 11:00 p.m. I decided to go to Target on-line and buy 10 pairs of them. He’ll need them throughout the year and his school said this particular ones were just perfect. We’ve been trying to find something “perfect” for 4 years now.

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