My daughters know me so well

I’m still talking about Christmas presents because —

  1. we only recently took down the tree.
  2. I just last week found some gifts I’d opened Christmas morning & then carefully placed in a safe spot so I wouldn’t lose them/forget them/accidentally throw them away. It’s Christmas every day at our house!
  3. my daughters gave me such awesome presents that I want to share.

It won’t surprise you to learn that all three things are true. But let’s focus on the third thing because it’s the most true: My daughters – – two incredible women in their sort-of mid-30s — are THE BEST present-givers ever. They must have learned this skill from the Internets because I sure didn’t teach them.

  • Older Daughter gave me something I’ve never had or thought about having before: a image0facial. I am 62 years old & have never had a facial. Is that normal? I don’t know–somehow I always associated facials with stars & celebrities & people who say, offhandedly, “But that handbag is only $5,000–a steal!” After all, I’m from the Pond’s/Noxzema generation with a dash of hippie-natural. I mean, I always thought that your face is your face. It’s going to go through some things (with deepest apologies to Marie L. Yovanovitch) & there’s nothing a normal non-celebrity person can do about it. But I was wrong. Thank goodness Older Daughter knew that I was wrong & decided to do something about it. (Again, I have no idea who taught her such impressive adult behavior. I should take notes.) I know I probably won’t look 10 years younger when it’s done, but literally putting my face in somebody else’s hands is going to be relaxing & fun. One question  — How close to your facial date do you remove chin hair? Asking for a friend.
  • Younger Daughter excels at finding gifts that make you think “This was absolutely made for me & now I never want to be without it.” I am both a notebook & writing-image2implement addict AND a make-up newbie (see above on facials). So what better gift than Sephora makeup brushes in the shapes of classic yellow No. 2 pencils? Yellow No. 2 pencils! This is genius & I sort of want to find the designers & shake their hands. Or write them a thank-you note with, you know, a classic yellow No. 2 pencil. Younger Daughter also gifted me this Ruth Bader Ginsburg keychain string doll. I love her. She’s the perfect size & has accompanied me practically everywhere since I got her & I credit her with all good things that have happened to me since. She goes with the RBG dissension necklace Younger Daughter gave me the previous year. I need to start wearing it every day, as well.

Thanks for letting me brag about my brilliant daughters reading. What are some presents your grown children have given you? And are you surprised that they learned such mature behavior AFTER they grew up–seems like only yesterday we were saying, “Please don’t throw My Little Ponies at your sister.”

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P.S. Nobody pays me anything or gives me anything or helps me in any way in exchange for a mention in “Coffee with Cathy.” Whatever you read here is from me alone, for no other reason than it’s something I like or saw or heard or feel or want to talk about. Of course, if Cadillac wants to gift me my dream car – an Escalade SUV – I’m open to negotiations, but otherwise, I can’t be bought. (Also blue. I like Dark Adriatic Blue.)

Was Dec. 25 really only 25 days ago?

Yes. Yes, it was. Only 25 days ago you were knee-deep in LEGO boxes & sugar-cookie crumbs & desperately trying to remember if you’d wrapped everything correctly because it sure looks your third-favorite sister-in-law is opening the bracelet you bought for your second-favorite sister-in-law. Oops.

(Side note: I’m sitting here with my computer while A Very Important Football Game is on TV & I’m, like, “Oh, it’s the cute guy from the insurance commercials. Aaron somebody.” This is the extent of my NFL knowledge.)

Returning to the Great Gifting Extravaganza of 25 days ago–remember how, before image3Dec. 25, we’d anguished over our burgeoning holiday gift list? Remember how we second-guessed every purchase & debated every gift-card-v.-actual-item decision? We worried & stressed & considered paying extra for the super-duper-extra-fast-guaranteed-delivery-yesterday-or-maybe-next-week shipping because we wanted to give everybody the perfect present. But, right now–25 days later–can you remember what those presents were? I have to admit that for me it’s all faded into a warm fuzzy memory of “thank-yous” & hugs & those Dec. 25 words every grandparent longs to hear: “It’s exactly what I wanted!”

However, I DO remember the awesomely wonderful presents I opened 25 days, and I bet you do, too. We focus so intently on our own holiday shopping that we forget it’s a two-way process. I need to grab a gratitude journal & remind myself because my family includes some of the best present-picker-outers ever. Here’s proof:

  • OK, it’s true that my husband John Pitts didn’t actually go out & buy the BrevilleIMG_2325 Barista Express Espresso Machine for me. But he DID say “go for it” when I told him I had ordered was going to order it & it it could be my Christmas present & I really really wanted it because had he noticed I hadn’t been making espresso lately because my other machine leaked all over the kitchen counter & we can’t have that but we must have espresso. Must. Have. Espresso. At least, I think he said “go for it.” He might have said “What the @#$% do you need a $500 coffee machine for?” I wasn’t really listening. But this? This is life. I love it so hard. We have deep meaningful conversations every morning. We understand each other completely. There was a learning curve in which I doubted myself a couple of times but we finally figured each other out. If you appreciate good coffee as well as the process of making it, then this is a must-have.image1
  • I have two sisters-in-law & they are both generous, loving & giving women who care about things such as equality & environment. One of them gifted me this gorgeous World Wide Fund scarf. It’s a meaningful gift because it reminds me 1) to be more like my sisters-in-law instead of pondering such minor annoyances as “Do you think my ears are different sizes–like feet? Because the left AirPod always slips out.”; 2) “WWF” stands for “World Wide Fund” & not “World Wildlife Fund” or “World Wrestling Federation” because legalities & trademarks, people, and 3) the WWF website has disturbing reports on the Australian wildfire & other climate-change news–and it’s not good. Take a minute & read for yourself. My sis-in-law says “thank you.”

But, wait! There’s more! Come back tomorrow for more gifting fun & other goodies.

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P.S. Nobody pays me anything or gives me anything or helps me in any way in exchange for a mention in “Coffee with Cathy.” Whatever you read here is from me alone, for no other reason than it’s something I like or saw or heard or feel or want to talk about. Of course, if Cadillac wants to gift me my dream car–an Escalade SUV–I’m open to negotiations, but otherwise, I can’t be bought. (Also blue. I like Dark Adriatic Blue.)

Why You Should Go to Walgreen’s

Younger Daughter is right. I need to stop being such a shopping grouch. So what if some companies seem determined to squeeze every last penny out of us they possibly can, even resorting to some bordering-on-the-edge-of deceptive packaging? Doesn’t bother me one bit. Because, as is the way with the world, karma sent some serendipitous bargains my way to balance the disappointment of getting shortchanged on age-attacking wrinkle cream. Here’s the story: I was in Walgreen’s a few days ago in yet another futile attempt to refill printer cartridges  (it never works and I always have to buy new ones and I strongly dislike having to pay close to $100 for something as distinctly non-fun as new printer cartridges). But while I was there, I literally ran into happened to see a shopping cart parked next to check-out that was full of tissue paper and gift bags. What first caught my eye were cute black-and-white prints with pops of bright pinks and greens. Perfect for all my friends’ birthday gifts I think about giving in my head. Then I found tissue paper with characters from one of 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s favorite movies — “Toy Story.”  And then I noticed the clearance sign on the cart that said “75 percent off.” Jackpot! And then when I was checking out, some of the gift bags were half-off of the sale price. I ended up with seven packages of printed tissue paper and 11 gift bags with coordinated tags and some also with their own coordinated tissue paper, all for about $12. I felt as if I were having my own “Extreme Couponing” moment. In a small way.

Mother’s Day

I love this book! Younger Daughter gave it to me for Mother’s Day and I laughed all the way through my favorite banana-and-peanut-butter-toast breakfast. Amy Sedaris is a comic genius and her 2006 “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence” (and, really, isn’t that the best way to offer some?) is the perfect blend of her signature retro humor and actual real recipes. It’s like you stumbled onto your crazy grandmother’s cookbook where she tucked articles on pantyhose crafts and how to make a paperclip necklace in between the pages. I mean, one minute you’re giggling over Sedaris’ advice that children’s parties always should have a time limit, “like, ‘from 2 to 2:30’,” and then you’re salivating over her recipe for “Real Chocolate Cake” and later still you’re pondering the command to look radiant when you open the door to your party guests — “It should appear as though you’ve used witchcraft.” Luckily, Sedaris gives us all the non-witchcraft help you need to be a thoughtful and serene hostess, secure in the fact that you’re covered for every entertaining emergency, even serving lunch to a lumberjack. Because you just never know. If you don’t have a wonderful child who gifted you this book for Mother’s Day, go out and buy it for yourself. And if you want to read it with a peanut-butter-and-banana-toast sandwich like I did, go here, https://cathylwood.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/healthy-eating/, for our recipe.

Mother’s Day

My husband and I are pretty independent people and usually function successfully without having to know what the other’s doing and where he/she’s doing it every minute of the day. So I was surprised when he uncharacteristically questioned me about my estimated whereabouts for Thursday. “Are you going to be around the house all day?” he asked. Several times, in fact. Finally, he admitted he’d ordered something for my Mother’s Day present and it was supposed to be delivered sometime on Thursday. Naturally, because I’m annoyingly nosy charmingly curious, I tried to figure out what was coming. Not flowers, for sure. Dear Husband used to send lovely bouquets to the newsroom where I used to work, but now that my office is my kitchen table and I don’t have co-workers to be jealous of to admire the flowers, what’s the use? And we can’t have fresh flowers at the house because the cats eat them and, of course, regret it a couple of hours later. Yuck. So, what would my husband have come up with for a Mother’s Day delivery? I couldn’t imagine — and couldn’t wait to find out. Finally, the FedEx truck pulled up and this is what I got: The most delicious and adorable chocolate-covered strawberries I’ve ever seen. I mean, these babies are huge! And gorgeous. Now, I know that a chocolate-covered strawberry is one of those things that sometimes does not deliver on its promise — it can look a lot better than it tastes, right? But these were red and juicy and fresh … as promised. They’re from Shari’s Berries, http://www.berries.com/. I loved these so much that I didn’t even mind when Dear Husband said he’d heard the company advertised on a radio show that … well, let’s just say I don’t agree with the host’s political views and usually try to avoid all contact with anything at least slightly related to this guy. But I’m making an exception here. Yup — apparently all it takes to buy me off is a box of chocolate-strawberry perfection.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Tupelo, Mississippi, has everything you could want: Great food, great people and great shopping. And two of those three are at The Main Attraction, downtown at 214 West Main Street. An eclectic clothing and gift boutique, Main Attraction is a place to while away the afternoon and unearth some you-can-only-find-it-here treasures. Owner  Barbara Fleishhacker is the genius behind the collection of flowy cottons, retro jewelry and fun and funky accessories. It’s Hippie Chick meets Southern Lady with a bit of Wouldn’t It Be Fun To Backpack Through India thrown in. Both Barbara and her store are warm, friendly, cool and hip all at the same time. In fact, she’s a vital voice for downtown Tupelo development and her store is a gathering spot for fellow Tupelo fans — and anybody who can’t resist the lure of a find. And, actually, there’s a coffee bar, too, so you can find all three of those things you want. The Main Attraction is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Phone number is (662) 842.9617. Visit http://themainattraction.biz for more.

Shopping for Gifts

Aw, such cute cuddly Valentine’s Day stuffed animals, right? Anybody would love to get one of these, right? Okay, look closer … closer … closer. Can you see what else is included in these gift packages? Yup, you’re seeing right. I mean, nothing says “I love you” like a six-pack of Bud, correct???!!! All over Mississippi today, women are questioning their choice of husband/boyfriend/significant other, I’m sure. A co-worker of my husband snapped this pic in a convenience store near Philadelphia, Mississippi, on Valentine’s Eve — I guess he figured he needed visual evidence since who would believe him, really? The store owner said that he’d made up the first one at a customer’s sort-of-joking request. He put the finished product out on the counter and immediately somebody bought it … and then somebody else saw it and wanted one … and then word spread and the owner’s daughter had to come in and make up these six-pack gift bags for two solid days — and they’re still selling out. So next year, when Valentine’s Day rolls around and a six-pack for Valentine’s Day  is the It Gift all across the country, remember that you saw it here first.