Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fancy Fanny Fiddlers

                            "What Did You Get For Christmas?" 

It's the perfect question when you talk or write to friends after the 25th of December.  I even remember having to compose an essay to answer that question when I was 10 years old.

                                                              "Well, let's see..."

                 And here's a sampling of what you might hear 
                                 as a response to that query - 

  • Sweater
  • Fruit Basket
  • Scarf and Gloves
  • Perfume
  • Gift Card
  • Slippers
  • Movie - DVD
  • Large Tin of Popcorn
  • Books
  • Necklace
  • Specialty Coffee and Mug 
  • Socks
  • Box of Candy
  • Pajamas

So when I get back to work and my colleagues ask this question, I am sure I will be able to smile and fill in the blank.  When my kid sister on the east coast calls to chat, I can eagerly share all about my haul of coveted Ann Taylor LOFT gift cards.  Over coffee with a friend, I can blather on about the new movie I watched curled up on the couch the night before.

The gift I won't mention to anyone except my blog friends is the one that Sam called a "private present."  

                       Not Ready for Prime Time Gift Opening.

On the morning of Christmas Eve with so much to prepare for all the entertaining that night and the next day, Sam decided we needed to "discuss" all the bossiness that had crept back in to rear its ugly head.  Off to the bedroom.  Actually the topic was discussed with Mr. Paddle, I was soon listening respectfully.

Talk to Mr. Paddle

Not too much later, though, Mr. P. let up a bit, and there was lots of rubbing going on as well.  Much better.  Then I noticed a smallish package within my reach on the bed.  Several months ago I had asked Santa for something "leather" this year, but this box was too small for a paddle or a crop.  Mmmm...I kept sizing up the gift, and Sam kept exploring.  Finally he chuckled and told me to go ahead and open it.

"And what to my wondering eyes should appear," but 3 purple butt plugs and just one tiny reindeer, I mean vibrator.  What also caught my attention was the name, "Fancy Fanny Fiddlers."  And guess what the name was of the manufacturing company whose name appeared in the corner.  Yep, the company was called "Frisky."  You just try and say that 10 times really quickly!

                                Frisky's Fancy Fanny Fiddlers
                                Frisky's Fancy Fanny Fiddles
                                Francy Fisky Finnler Finger
                                Frisky Fiddler Faddly.....
                                              Oh, F_ _ k!

               Oh well, Sam likes that "F" word the best anyway.

Well, there were 3 graduated sizes with a small hole at the base of each fiddler.  Kind of like the big Papa Bear, the smaller Mama Bear, and even a wee Baby Bear.  One could insert a finger in the little hole of the size of your choice to assist you in fiddling wherever you decided to fiddle or one could choose this clever little silver vibrating bullet.  As they say, variety is the spice of life.  Anyway, there were all sorts of ways to fiddle in all sorts of orifices.  And we tried a bunch.

Later, I remembered a terrific butt plug chat with my beach sisters last summer while we were all bobbing up and down in the water.  I learned a lot from the more experienced butt plug aficionados but felt that I had little wisdom to share. If there is hopefully another trip, I feel that I will be able to participate more fully in any butt plug discussions. 

                                We often call ttwd a "journey."
        Sam has just led me down a new path where the sign reads: 

              Turn Left Ahead For Some Freaking Fabulous Fun!

                        Frisky's Famous Fancy Fanny Fiddlers!

                                         Feel the Fever!  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Greatest Gift

Every year during the month before Christmas, I find my stack of holiday DVDs and watch each one again like I am catching up with an old friend.  Each movie speaks to me in some way.  Some are funny.  Some are poignant and tender.  Some are reminiscent of a simpler time.  Some are filled with songs and dances.  Some are classic.  Some are obscure.  Some I know by heart.

Like many of you, I'll wager, my favorite is probably It's a Wonderful Life. It is a true American classic, and I am not sure our friends across the pond will be familiar with it.  The film stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his
dreams in order to help others.  His thoughts of suicide on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence.  This unlikely angel shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his town, Bedford Falls, would have been if he had never been born.

There is a quote from this movie that I love, and it gives a clue as to where this famous story originated.  As George Bailey stands on the snowy bridge considering suicide, the angels in heaven are discussing this man and how they must send someone down to earth to help him.  The Senior Angel explains to the novice angel, Clarence:

"At exactly 10:45 pm earth time, that man will be thinking seriously about throwing away God's greatest gift."

                           Clarence says with worried concern, 
                                  "Oh, dear, dear.  His life."

Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings

This movie, directed and produced by Frank Capra, was based on a short story, "The Greatest Gift," which Phillip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939.  The film was particularly praised for its writing, and that angel's line of dialogue stays with me all year long.

 What do those words, "the greatest gift," really mean to me?

We all touch the lives of the people around us, whether it be family and friends, or the person who bags your groceries.  What makes life our greatest gift is the love we share with other human beings.  Every day of our lives is a gift, and like Oscar Hammerstein's song says, 

                         "Love isn't love 'til you give it away."

I think Sam has a bottle of my favorite perfume under the tree.  But I think my greatest gifts don't come wrapped in pretty paper.  They are the people that make my life meaningful.

  • The women that I care for through my work may not give me a present that I can hold in my hand, but their smiles and hugs are something special to me.
  • Sitting with my brother and reliving a memory from our childhood is so much better than a sweater.
  • Meeting an adult that once sat in my classroom as a 9 year old child is something that makes me proud and sometimes teary.
  • The friends that I have made through blogging are such a rich part of my life now, and I treasure each one of them.
  • Our boys coming home and making me laugh with their teasing and craziness.  When they say, "I love you, Mom," I feel like I will burst with happiness.

And finally, my greatest gift of all.  That would be my Sam.  He makes me feel so loved and cherished, that I thank god every day that he is in my life.  

I am always amazed when I think of the way our marriage has evolved in the years since we discovered "this thing we do."  He gives me that gift freely and from his heart.  And when he wraps his arms around me, all the other gifts in my life seem to pale.

                                            Merry Christmas to you all.
                  I wish you the gift of love because that is truly
                                       The Greatest Gift.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Fine Line Between Teasing and ......Something Else

One of the most wonderful things about ttwd for Sam and I is how much fun it is.  We laugh and talk almost non-stop when we are together.  We both tease and love to hear the other burst into giggles or snickers or downright howls.  Nothing can make me crack up any harder than teasing - my teasing him and him teasing me.  And nothing can make Sam any happier than my uncontrollable laughter.  He will hug me to him so hard when I take off on one of these gut-busting episodes, that I cannot get my breath.

I know this happens to many of you, too.  It makes me smile to read such posts where the teasing and the laughter bring a couple so much joy.  But have you ever noticed that there is a fine line between the teasing that can make your husband laugh and having it become something else entirely?  Instead of the chuckling you expect, there is suddenly an entirely serious look on his face.  This is where I always notice Sam's eyebrows come together, and whatever preceded this facial expression, does not seem the least bit funny to him anymore.  It happens here every so often, and there is usually a story that goes along with it.

Note the Eyebrows

If anyone were to ask either Sam or I who was the neat freak or fussy partner at our house , we both would agree that it would be me.  I am usually quite organized and tidy.  Sam could mostly care less what things look like or their state of cleanliness.  I have to be sure to think about how I speak to him when I find myself asking him to clean up after himself.  This used to be a sore spot, and I have definitely changed my choice of words and tone of voice now that ttwd guides our relationship.  And he really does try.

Anyway, I am the compulsive picker-upper.  There are far fewer things about which Sam gets nitpicky.  However, he would be quick to tell you that there are a few.  Even though I tell Sam that I am "Practically Perfect in Every Way," he usually just snorts.  There have been bits in some posts I have read where the blogger reveals that a husband has a little QUIRK about something.  I remember someone who was expected to put the clean laundry away in a timely fashion.  I think there was another whose husband insisted that sharp knives be promptly washed and returned to their place.

That's me!

Sam's quirk has to do with the trash compactor bin that rolls in and out from under the counter in the kitchen.  Ours is a tight little galley kitchen, and the compactor saves precious floor space.  You step on a little panel at the bottom and it slides out.  Then you deposit the trash, push the bin, and it tucks neatly back under the counter.  When I get busy, though, it is easier to leave it out until I come to the end of a task.  And sometimes I even forget then.  This drives Sam crazy.  He wants that bin back where it belongs each and every time.  He reminds me nicely and then not so nicely.

"Ella, can I see you, please," Sam called from the darkened kitchen after dinner.

I had just settled on the couch with my laptop and was not eager to jump back up again.

Wisely, though, I said, "Coming," instead of, "What?"

"Did you forget something?" he asked as he motioned toward the kitchen with his head.

In the glow of the stove light, I saw the compactor sticking out and knew I had forgotten.  I smiled at Sam and walked straight across to push the bin back in.  My mistake was that I thought this was just a light-hearted reminder.  With my only intent being to tease him a bit about being such a fuss-budget, I purposely said to myself under my breath, "Grumble, grumble, grumble," as I passed on my way back to the living room.

"What did you say?" Sam asked instantly.

I smiled again and said, "Just grumbling."

He did not smile back even a little bit.  This surprised me because I thought it was pretty funny.  It surprised me even more when I had my first standing up spanking.  I have been bent over the kitchen counter, dining room table, and washing machine, but Sam had down my knit pajama bottoms in a flash and just tucked me under one arm and proceeded to spank with his other hand.  Besides realizing that he did not think this was teasing, I also understood fairly quickly that this was not just an "I love you" spanking.  A bit too hard, if you know what I mean.

It was over quickly, I rubbed my bottom, and got my pajamas back in place.  Sam pleasantly reminded me to push in the trash bin and dropped the matter.

So how's a wife to know, I started thinking.  It's not like there is a big "HOH Traffic Light" hovering above his head.  Oh, be careful of the teasing, Ella!  The signal is heading from the green laughing zone, past the yellow caution light, and on into the red danger zone!  At least I would put on the brakes if I knew what was going on in his head.


In the end I decided that this spanking was really more like being stopped by a cop, but just given a warning. It wasn't a full blown traffic citation.  

                          "Just be careful in the future, Lady."  

                                Next time it will be a ticket."

That means you, Ella!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Patty and the Pecan Pies

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Patty.  And she is alive and well and plotting ways to throw a wrench into Ella's holidays.  For those readers who are new to my blog, Patty is Sam's older sister.  I also refer to her as "The Dreaded One."

Many years ago after her husband (the man was a saint) passed away, Patty moved to the east coast and settled in a small seaside town near some cousins she knew from her childhood.  After a few years there, she would moan to us how the cousins seemed to shun her and that she didn't have any close friends.  She was also estranged from her only child.  We usually invited her for Christmas, and I really started to feel sorry for Patty and how lonely she seemed.

After several years she expressed interest in the retirement communities in our city.  Talked about how she thought she didn't want a house any longer and hated cooking for only one person.  I even encouraged her to move (Rue the day), and she came to live near us about 5-6 years ago.

At first she was very happy here.  She seemed to have made some friends and was invited to play bridge and participate in other activities with several ladies.  She went out to lunch and shopping.   But within 6 months, this was starting to fall apart.  She was asked to leave one card group and other women were not including her in outings.  By this time, too, I was beginning to realize how bossy she was toward me.  Even rude at times.  She was often a major know-it-all with Sam, our boys, and me in particular.  She complained constantly about people in her retirement community or the staff or the food.

She ordered about wait staff at restaurants with never a please or thank you.  Hell, that's what she did to me as well!  Most 4 year olds are more polite.  Last year she started yelling at me in public, and I had reached my limit.  Even though we do not go out with her any longer, she attends family dinners and celebrations and manages to piss me off on a regular basis.  I really do still feel sorry for her, but I now know why the cousins out east and the nice ladies at her facility have washed their hands of her.  If she wasn't Sam's sister, I would have told her right off a long time ago.

I honestly do try to be kind, but it is very hard.  Sam and I both try to call her every few days so she knows someone cares about her, but many times she does not look at her voicemail.  Then she gets an attitude that no one pays her any mind and becomes hateful.  She hadn't answered any of our calls over a 5 day period.  The message I left on Monday, was to ask her to go for coffee after I finished a pecan pie for the big Thanksgiving dinner.  By Wednesday afternoon, when I finally reached her about a time to come on Thursday, she was cool but polite.  As we started to end the conversation, she told me not to get anything for dessert, since she had bought (you guessed it) a pecan pie.

I tried to turn it into a funny coincidence, but when she heard I had made a pecan pie, she hung up on me.  I was livid and stewed about it all afternoon as I worked on some prep for the following day.  By the time Sam walked in the door from work, I was in a "MOOD." 
After he changed to his comfortable jeans, he came to get me for an
attitude adjustment.  While he spanked, he talked about how Thanksgiving should not be spoiled by my temper.  He would be with me and would take care of anything his sister could do or say.  I was to leave it to him.  He decided that for diplomatic purposes, we would have Patty's store bought pie the next day and then he would have my homemade pie all to himself.  This did appease me because I know my Sam would much prefer something I baked.  The spanking continued until I was simply relaxed and feeling loved. 

    The stress and anger just melted away, and I felt so much better.

What can I say?  It works for me.  I had a relaxing and excellent Thanksgiving Day.  The SIL only said one nasty thing to me, and although I wanted to say something mean, I did not.  Thankfully, she never stays late, so we all enjoyed the rest of the evening.  Our kitchen is only separated from the dining room by a big peninsula counter, so we talked and laughed while I boned the turkey. 


The other night Sam pulled me onto his lap for a little "talk."  It really was just talk, but I could tell from his eyes and voice that it would be more than talk if I didn't listen up.  As he has done many times before, Sam told me he is well aware that Patty is an extremely difficult person and that even though she is his sister, he doesn't enjoy her company any more than I do.  He does not expect me to love her, but he does expect me to treat her with patience and kindness.  That means keeping my temper in check.

Sam intervenes quite often now if Patty starts with her antagonistic remarks and digs.  Even in front other family and friends, he will interrupt her to say, "You need to stop, Patty," or "That's enough."  Sam does not usually quote scripture, but he set the tone for our Christmas season when he hugged me and said, 

                               "You know how it goes, Ella....

                      And on earth peace, good will toward Patty." 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cookies Are Made With Butter and Love

Just realized that this is my 100th post!

There are always memories that play a part in why a cookie recipe becomes a family tradition - a standard that is baked Christmas after Christmas in a mother's kitchen.

When I was a little girl, my dad would drive quite a ways in greater Chicagoland to stock up on goodies from an old bakery in Oak Park.  My mom did not bake and maintained that if God had intended her to bake, he would not have invented Sara Lee.  Many times Dad would take me along on these outings.  This delicious place was called Smithfield Bakery, and my mouth still waters when I remember the cakes and donuts and cream cheese sweet rolls and bear claws and eclairs.  And, of course, the cookies!  They were huge - about the size of the palm of my father's hand.

                          "Now that's a cookie!" he would say.

Smithfield's baked many varieties, but the most outstanding were the sugar cookies.  On a winter night, Dad would brew a pot of coffee after dinner and dunk his cookie in the hot mug.  I either had milk or maybe some cocoa.  We would sit together on the couch to watch Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Good god, that man loved Boris and Natasha and even Mr Peabody.

Years later my wedding cake was baked by Smithfield's.  I became a young wife and soon a young mother.  I taught myself to bake and
have always loved it.  For years I tried one sugar cookie recipe after another searching for one that tasted like those from my childhood.  Too crispy, too flat, too sweet.  Finally I tried the recipe I am sharing with you today.  Really, the only singular ingredient is the sour cream.  Oh my stars - what a difference it makes.  When I took my first bite, I knew I had found the holy grail of recipes.

As my boys grew, they chose their own cookie cutter shapes and
dumped way too many red and green sprinkles on as they helped with the decorating.  I love these cookies best topped with just plain white sugar.


                               Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour               1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder                     1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda                       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg                               Topping:
1 cup soft butter or shortening                 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar

  1. Sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.
  2. In large bowl use mixer at medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy.  (I never use a mixer; a wooden spoon works just as well, and goodness knows I have enough of those!  Also, I much prefer Buttery Crisco shortening.)
  3. At low speed, beat in sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well combined.
  5. With rubber scraper, form dough into a ball.  Wrap in waxed paper or foil; refrigerate several hours, or overnight.
  6. Divide dough into 4 parts.  Refrigerate until ready to roll out.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  8. On well-floured surface, roll dough, one part at a time, 1/4 inch thick. (Go thicker than that.)
  9. With floured, 2 1/2 inch round or scalloped cookie cutter, cut out cookies.  Using spatula, place, 2 inches apart, on cookie sheets.  
  10. Sprinkle tops of cookies with sugar.  Reroll trimmings, and cut.
  11. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.  Remove to wire rack; cool.  (Be sure not to overbake.  I usually go for 9 minutes and let them sit on the tray for another couple minutes.  I just cool  them on the counter top.)

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  It's actually a recipe I make occasionally at other times of the year.  At Christmas, though, I always have pretty paper sacks so that all our family and friends can take a selection of cookies home after the festivities.


Every year when I have one warm from the oven, I think about my crazy, wonderful dad and wish he was there to help me eat them.

                    Don't forget to leave a few out for Santa.
                                  They are his favorite!

              "Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night." 

Links to Cookie Day Participants


collared mom 
His slut 
Mrs. Fever 
Ms. Constance