December 18, 2001
Last-Minute Suggestions


Amusingly/touchingly frantic e-mail from Jaymi, which I found waiting in my mailbox this morning:

I still can't find your Amazon list no matter what I do, all I get is your old one and now it's going to be too late. If you get this tonight, send me a link, I just can't find it! I'm so sorry!
she's the original Christmas Elf

Mind you: this is the Tot who has single-handedly managed to help keep 1800flowers.com, the Hallmark Greeting Card Company AND The United States Postal Service afloat, this past year.  And now she's trying to send me MORE stuff?

Save your money, Puss.

Or -- if you're determined that your Ebeneezer Grinch of a mother not wake up present-less on Christmas morning next week -- here are a few non-Amazon.com inspired ideas that might help:


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  • I would like a day off from making coffee.   I make four pots of coffee, on average, every weekday  --  that's one pot at home, plus three pots at work  --  and another two pots per day on the weekends. That works out to 24 pots of coffee per week, or 1,248 pots per year. I'm thinking that it would be nice if one day a week somebody else makes the coffee. (And dumps out the crusty old coffee grounds, and scrubs the burned coffee from the bottom of the carafe, and bleaches the spilled coffee stains off the countertops.) Can you arrange this somehow?

    I drink my coffee black with no sugar, btw.


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  • My snowman collection.  I may be boycotting all outward trappings of the holiday season this year -- I'm not listening to the Christmas tapes, I'm not wearing the dangly candy cane earrings, I'm not even bothering to drag the plastic Christmas tree off the top shelf of the bedroom closet this year -- but I must admit that I miss my snowman collection. I left most of it behind, when I ran away.  But perhaps one of these days, we can recreate it.

    (Or is that what we're doing already?)


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  • Dish towels.  Grandma Vert always used to ask for "dish towels" for Christmas. It didn't matter what the occasion was -- her birthday, Mother's Day, her wedding anniversary, Christmas -- if you asked her what she wanted, the answer was always the same: dish towels. Which was fine when I was a six-year-old with 35 cents to spend at Rexall Drugs, but which grew increasingly frustrating, the older I got. I didn't want to buy her dish towels anymore! I wanted to buy her gigantic bottles of stinky cut-rate perfume! I wanted to buy her rhinestone bedroom slippers with four-inch heels! I wanted to buy her notecards with cheesy watercolor puppies and kittens printed on them! And that's what I did for a few years: I bought her the stuff *I* wanted to give her, instead of stuff she wanted/needed/had actual earthly use for ... and then I wondered why my gifts disappeared, soon after they were opened, while the dish towels my brother gave her hang proudly from the kitchen towel rack until they were nothing more than rags.

    The moral of the story? When they ask for dish towels ...

    ... give them gigantic bottles of stinky cut-rate perfume, if that's what you want to give them.

    Just have the good sense to wrap it in a DISH TOWEL.


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  • Bright orange salad dressing.  Speaking of grandmothers ... would someone mind shipping me a bucket of Grandma St. John's special French-Russian salad dressing?


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  • I want stuff to work the way it's supposed to work.  I want our new ISP to quit disconnecting us every two minutes for no reason whatsoever. I want our stoopid OLD ISP -- the one we had for about ten seconds in October, until we figured out that "cheap" doesn't mean "better" -- to quit dinging my checking acount every two weeks. I want the morons at People Magazine to quit sending me "Pay us our $16.85 or die!" notices, and to start sending me the actual goddamn magazine once in a while. I want our telephone to quit going dead in mid-conversation, I want our printer to quit putting those squiggly black lines through everything, and I want the brakes on the Subaru to last another six months.


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  • The George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol."   OK, so he's no Mr. Magoo. This is still my favorite version of "A Christmas Carol."


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  • I don't want/need my two front teeth for Christmas.  I've still got my two front teeth, thank god. But I could probably use a replacement for that chunk of molar that fell out last week ... and the name of a good endodontist.


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  • A SecraTerri of my very own.  I've recently unearthed a bunch of old journals (circa 1992-1995) that would be a perfect addition to the *FootNotes* archives. Unfortunately,  I just don't have the time to transcribe them. (Hell. I don't have the time to "transcribe" a GROCERY LIST right now.)  I probably couldn't pay very much -- or anything -- but if you could find me a good, reliable Secra, someone to transcribe those old journals for me, in any format, so I can upload them to the website, I would consider that one heck of a fabulous Christmas present.

    (Maybe she could even correct my spelling, validate my links and keep Cranky Denver Lady pacified, now and then.)


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  • "Racketty-Packetty House" by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I ordered this book -- a favorite of little girls in the SecraTerri Family for generations -- from Amazon.com a YEAR ago. As of this morning, it is still back-ordered. Are they trying to tell me that stories about talking dolls and magic dollhouses are no longer considered cutting edge children's fiction?


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  • A smaller apartment.  There are times when four hundred square feet is simply too much space ... especially for a couple of big dopey middle-aged newlyweds. Do you think you could help us find us something a little cozier?

    Like a pup tent, maybe?

    (And while you're at it, could you arrange to have Upstairs Neighbor Guy move into the pup tent next door? And could you make sure that the zipper on his tent is really noisy and unreliable and breaks a lot, especially at 3 a.m.?)


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  • A severe and debilitating chocolate allergy.  I'm thinking this might be a really useful thing for me to have, right about now, not unlike my severe and deblitating cheap chablis allergy ... my severe and deblitating cigarette smoke allergy ... my severe and deblitating Celine Dion allergy ... and all of the other severe and debilitating allergies that help me avoid stuff that makes me sick/makes me fat/makes me break out/makes me dead.


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  • Sunshine.   What is the point of living in California if it's going to RAIN every day?? I ask you?


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  • Fingernails.  I've always wondered what it would be like to have fingernails. Can you arrange for me to have fingernails, just for one day ... just so I can see what it feels like? I'm talking about real fingernails here, OK? None of those stoopid plastic fake ones that fall off in the middle of your Senior Prom (and then won't stay attached, even with half a roll of Scotch tape). Give me ten long, strong, luxuriant, natural, disaster-proof/GBC-binder-resistant fingernails, just for one day.

    (Or for one back-scratch.)

    Then maybe we can try curly hair. I've always wondered what it would be like to have curly hair ....


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  • Fruitcake.  It should be fairly simple to find me a fruitcake at the grocery store ... mainly because *I* am the only human being on the planet who actually EATS them. If they don't have any fruitcakes on display, ask a store clerk: they've probably got a warehouse full of them, out back. (And if you can't find me a fruitcake, a case of Grandma Vert's frozen prune dumplings will do nicely.)


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  • Stocking stuffers.  Here are a few last-minute stocking stuffer ideas, just in case you're planning to stop by White Front on your way home:  
    • The latest issue of McCall's Magazine.
    • A couple of 45 rpm's. (I would especially like "Superman" by Doc & Prohibition, "Redskin" by Richie Allen or basically anything by The Bay City Rollers.)
    • A jumbo-sized jar of Tang Salad Dressing.
    • An autographed Pete Duel poster.
    • Chocolate Maypo.
    • Tame Creme Rinse.
    • A "Love Is" coffee mug.
    • Angel Face Foundation -- preferably in the little square bottle -- preferably in "Precious Porcelain."
    • Fast Lane Tea.
    • Typewriter ribbons.
    • A coupon for a free Teen Burger Basket at Triple X.
    • A can of Psssst! Instant Shampoo.
    • Flash cubes for my Kodak Instamatic.
    • An AOL 2.0 disk ... preferably in 5-1/4" floppy format.
    • A pair of tan wafflestompers, size 8-1/2 wide.
    • A box of Today Contraceptive Sponges. (They're great for removing eye makeup.)

Hope this list helps! Call me if you have any questions.

(And if you run out of ideas ... you can always get me dish towels.)

Love you!



tell 'em secra sent you

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~



just don't get me a subscription to "people" magazine. ever. grrrrr.

p.s. i'm SERIOUS about the transcribing-the-old-journals thing!