When I was growing up in Danville, Virginia, decorating for Christmas was always a very big deal.
My Mother’s goal in life, for several years, was to win the Temple Terrace Women’s Club Home Decorating Contest. Even though she was President of the Club, for several years, she still never won. And she was not above “putting in the fix” if she could have figured out how to do so.
I was never quite sure what the Temple Terrace Woman’s Club did. All I know is my Mother was inordinately proud of the fact that they once voted on something by placing their ballots in one of her bronze trash cans and everyone commented on how clean it was. Thanks to the maid, I might add.
They also had a dish towel sale one year. I don’t know what it was supposed to benefit, but we had several cases of dish towels in our basement for several years. Some are still there even after 45 years…
Anyway, the whole production always began with her moving the previously mentioned cardboard fireplace into it’s place of honor in the basement. After she meaningfully told my Father that she hoped one day she would have a real fireplace, she would make him haul out all the other stuff.
If you are looking for some special Holiday gift ideas for that special man in your life, I thought I would share a few suggestions….
If you are a Professional Shopper, you’ll be able to find “deals” on most of this stuff- if you truly know what you are doing.
My Mantra is: “There is no greater sin than paying full retail.”
And I’ve always said: “It’s better to have a few nice things than a bunch of crap…”
Ugg Men’s Bedroom Shoes- these are pricey, but they last forever. In the long run, it’s cheaper to buy one good thing than to keep buying several cheap ones. I’m on year three with mine and they still look almost new. I wear mine inside and outside to do things like take out the trash..They are also incredibly warm.
iPod Shuffle- I couldn’t go to the gym without this…I won’t share my gym music mix. Even I must have some secrets….
Amazon Kindle- I resisted this because I thought I liked the “feel” of a real book. Get the leather cover and it’s the same experience. I truly love this thing. And you can adjust the font so you can read without reading glasses!
Brooks Brothers shirts and sweaters- the best on the market and they last forever. If you are looking for quality, go to Brooks Brothers. Sign up on line and you’ll know about some great sales and get some deals.
Tumi Bags, Wallets and Luggage- Again, pricey, but lasts forever. These are also incredibly well designed. I was going through a cheap set of Samsonite luggage a year until I started buying this stuff…I’ve been around the world with my Tumi. Try eBay for some deals. I got a $500 computer bag for $100 on eBay. Avoid Hartmann! They have serious quality issues and won’t do repairs for free like Tumi does. And if Tumi can’t repair something, they replace it for free with a comparable item.
Bose Noise Reduction Headphones- again, pricey, but if you travel a lot, these are a necessity. I bought mine after having to listen to two drunken businessmen carry on for a 5 hour flight…
Joseph A Banks Merino Wool Sweaters- they have great sales and if you catch the right one, you can get these for $30 or less. I have about a dozen V-Necks and Steve loves the Mock Turtlenecks.
J Crew Cord Pants- nicer than jeans, but fit like jeans. I live in these when I’m not in the office in the Fall and Winter and even wear them to work on Fridays.
Clinque Skin Supplies for Men- I’ve been using this stuff since I was 17. Great shaving products…
Chanel Egoiste Platinum for Men- My signature after shave/cologne. Not well-known, but pure class. One of the most highly rated scents of all time. You usually have to ask for it at Macy’s or Dillards. Brooks Brothers “New York” and Bulgari are also nice.
Just my initial thoughts. I’ll try to add to this later as I think of other items….
December 1st is World AIDS day and I feel like I need to comment on this…
The AIDS epidemic was one of the defining events of my life. It all began when I was in my early 20′s and no one, who was not there, can imagine the fear and confusion, the hate and the love, that resulted from this health crisis.
People forget, that in the early days, no one knew what was causing it or why Gay Men were suddenly getting sick and dying.
All of us were wondering who was next. Would it be one of our friends? Could we get it ourselves? How were you exposed to it? What was our personal risk level? Were our young lives going to be cut short before we even figured out who we were?
AIDS blew open a lot of closet doors. Not the best way to “out” people. No one could have wanted that result, but it did make a lot of people face the fact, for the first time in their lives, that they actually knew Gay people.
The basement renovations were completed just in time for my teenage years.
The basement became my domain. My sister did not seem interested in it and my Father grudgingly shared it. My Mother pretty much ignored it and stayed in her room with “inner ear” issues.
My Mother always used “inner ear” issues to get out of doing anything she didn’t want to do. No matter what it was…if she didn’t want to do it or deal with it, she went to bed with “inner ear”. I think that was a pseudonym for Valium.
In any event, my Father and I thoroughly enjoyed the new basement.
I think this must be the basis for the Dr Laura Schlessinger post about Leviticus and Homosexuality that went viral all over the web. When I quoted it, Dr Laura’s “people” did write me to tell me she never said it…but it remains one of the most popular posts on this blog with several “hits” almost every day even though it’s a fairly old post.
One of the few things I’ll never forgive England for is driving out all the Puritans and sending them here…
And I’m so tired of “Christians” saying love the sinner but hate the sin. Then patting themselves on the back for their “tolerance”.
This position still reflects hate.
My response is: “Who do they think they are to even think they are allowed to consider judging me or my life?”
Frankly, they should just mind their own business and worry about their own lives and their own “eternal salvation” and leave us alone. Completely. They should not even speak about people they will never allow themselves to understand.
I’ve always believed faith is a private, individual journey and that it’s a little bit tacky to carry on about it too much in public.
And very dangerous to try to impose your religious views on others to drive political and social agendas.
There is something called the Separation of Church and State in the Constitution…
The Founding Fathers realized you had to protect people from the Puritans and the Puritans from themselves.
And if “Christians” actually followed all the biblical laws cited in the Bible, they would all be in jail…
Instead, they all seem to be rather selective in what they choose to follow.
In other words, don’t speak to me about Homosexuality being condemned in the Bible as long as you are eating shrimp cocktails…
Let me be clear: I respect your right to believe whatever you chose to believe. Just keep it to yourself. I’ll try to do the same.
You stay out of of my bedroom and I’ll stay out of your Church.
Why don’t we all agree to just mind our own business and try to get through life with as much grace as possible? Christians shouldn’t talk about Homosexuality and, frankly, I would love not to have to talk about Christians and what I think they should be doing. Let’s just agree to live and let live and leave each other alone…
We’ve gotten our Thanksgiving Turkey from these folks for the last 4 or 5 years. There is no going back once you’ve had a real, heritage breed Turkey. It’s expensive, but it’s only once a year. And we look forward to it all year long. It is a truly amazing difference in how much better these taste. I’ll never be able to eat a Butterball again…
Patrick Martins, Co-founder, Heritage Foods USA, Brooklyn; 718-389-0985; heritagefoodsusa.com
Patrick Martins likes happy animals–particularly endangered, humanely raised pigs, cows, and turkeys–and not just because they taste better. He believes their happiness is a moral imperative. As co-founder of Heritage Foods USA, his mission to save heritage breeds of livestock and the family farms that raise them began nine years ago, when a few hundred of his heirloom turkeys fanned out across the country. Today, that number is closer to 7,500, and every last one is raised by a farmer who shares Martins’s passion.
Why did you start with turkeys?
It seemed like a single item that everyone in the country could get behind to support the small farmer. And it was a project that revolved around a single day, so it made it easier to find a sustainable source–to say, “We have to get 800 of these things raised for a single day in November.”
What’s the argument for a $140 turkey?
It ends up coming out to $8 a pound, or $8 per person. That’s cheaper than Applebee’s and almost as cheap as a McDonald’s value meal.
Read the rest of our Q&A with Patrick Martins after the jump.
What makes a happy turkey?
It has room. That’s the biggest thing. It can walk around. No living creature should be forced to spend its entire life in a box. That should shoot through to the heart of every American. We live in a country that is wealthy, that is trying to improve itself, that is like a moral beacon to the rest of the world. We cannot keep animals in boxes. Period. With turkeys, if their instinct is to roost–to wrap their talons around something and fall asleep–they should be allowed to roost. A happy animal is one that is allowed to fulfill its God-given instincts. And walking is a natural instinct.
My Southern Gothic Life | Trying to Stay Sane in a Crazy Southern World…
New post up on my other blog:
MORE: My Southern Gothic Life | Trying to Stay Sane in a Crazy Southern World….
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