The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
December 1996

Tiptoe, December 5

$3500, December 11

Xmas Grittings, December 19

1996: | Nov | Dec |

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Thursday, December 5

Tiny Tim tiptoed out of our lives a few days ago. Actually, he pretty much went out singing, having just sung "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" for a crowd and gotten off stage.

Tiny moved here to Minneapolis a couple of years ago. A friend who jammed with him at a house party said he was a walking music encyclopedia, and a sweetheart besides.

Of all the strange wonderfulness from the late Ď60s, Tiny Tim was the most strange and wonderful. I liked him a lot, though I never met him. He had terrific courage, I think, to get up there and do what he did. He loved music and he loved to perform and he didn't seem to care that a lot of people thought he was simply funny or even grotesque.

So thanks, Tiny Tim, for reminding us to sing old songs about flowers and love and to have a good time doing it.

Hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving. I mostly had a cold, and we had no guests this year but it was still nice.

We spent the weekend dealing with household chores like shrink-wrapping the upstairs windows. We have a lot of big windows in our place. The snow came early and we were unable to get the upstairs screens unstuck in time (from the trim painting last spring).

With Denny's help I was able to use up a lot of smaller pieces and tape them together. We use the plastic several times, and after it's too small and ragged for windows (even 95) use it for small paint jobs, etc. We can't recycle this stuff, but we certainly re-use it.

The cats, of course, hate it because it interferes with smearing their noses on the nice cold glass when they get excited about pirate cats or squirrels. And neither of them likes the hairdryer while it roars away shrinking the plastic. I don't know why I persist in calling it a hair dryer — I use it mainly for the windows and drying paint and glue on projects.

The attic windows have no storm windows, and the frames have warped, so shrink wrapping is a challenging necessity. The big one popped off the tape several times, scaring hecky darn out of me. I'm going back up there on the next warmish day and see if caulking stops the gale that blows through.

Harvested some of the Italian parsley I started under lights, and planted some basil which is now up. Yes, I know I can buy lots of parsley at the store, but it's fun to grow it, and even though it gets a bit leggy, it tastes really nice.

My editor emailed to say that the wine book has gone into a second printing. So don't worry, there are plenty out there for your Xmas shopping!

Happy Hanukah, too! That starts this evening. It's early this year. Hum along for a moment: Tiptoe, through the tulips, with meeeeeeee. . . .


Wednesday, December 11

That's what a woman paid for a "Tickle Me Elmo" toy at a charity auction. Her children are grown and she has no grandchildren. Apparently this is the toy this year, besides the Holiday Barbie, and people are shoving and pushing and screaming to get them, rather like the Cabbage Patch Doll craze a few years back.

The toy sells for $28 retail. My reaction was: $28 for a toy? True, it isn't a stupid war toy — it's red and harmless and giggles when you tickle it, but it's just a toy.

What's wrong with us? What are we thinking?

I can understand fighting for food or water during a famine, crisis, or drought, but fighting over a toy? An overpriced toy at that?

"My kid is going to be devastated if he doesn't get one for Christmas" said a woman on TV. And if he does get it, what's he going to be? A budding little American consumer? A believer in status toys über alles? If he doesn't get it, will he blame future emotional problems on not getting a red furry toy at the tender age of 5? Will he hate his mother and become a serial mother hater?


Instead of waiting in line for three hours or whatever the reporter said, she should have been spending the time with the kid. It would do him more good than any toy. They could spend the time covering a bean-filled oatmeal box with red fake fur and gluing on a head with Elmo's features on it. No other kid would have one like it. "My Elmo rattles." They could donate the leftover money to a food shelf.

Grump. Besides, the kid'll get so much other junk for Xmas he won't even notice.

Grown adults fighting over toys is silly. What would Jim Henson think?

Hey! I just remembered the year I asked for a Roy Rogers holster and got a Dale Evans one instead. Well, hell, no wonder I'm such a mess. . . give me that Elmo or kiss the floor, jerk!


Xmas Grittings
Thursday, December 19

Yes, I have decided that itís not just sand I'm putting down on the sidewalk outside, but Xmas sand in the form of grittings. Hey, you do what you can in this climate to keep the sense of humor at least twitching.

Hmm, if I added some oregano I'd have seasoned grittings. . . 

I had no sense of humor when we were out looking for a tree. They were all too big, too expensive, or too spray painted. Yes, spray painted. Most of the pines and whatnot turn brownish in the winter, so they cut them anyway and spray paint them. The firs, etc., are allowed to be natural, but start looking a bit peaked next to the greeeen greens. It's weird.

We ended up with one that was a little too big, somewhat too expensive, and au natural. At the same time I discovered a place to get worms for the worm bin I asked Santa for Xmas. They won't ship them in the cold weather, you see. Of course, now we'll have to name them all, and get tiny little collars and ask about shots, etc. No spaying or neutering needed. And they eat scraps.

I pointed this out to the cats who roundly ignored me.

At the UPS place we were in line with a gentle old lady who was indignant because UPS wouldn't let her ship guns to her son in Georgia. She exclaimed that the gun shop ships them, so why couldn't she? I lost track of the logic they used on her, but it took them quite some time to get her to take her guns back to her car.

You want to know something nice to do? Look at the Salvation Army person ring-dinging and smile, even if you don't donate. They'll love it. People walk by treating them like posts, even while donating. No eye contact at all. I was watching one day and noticed this weird fact.

Well, tra la — tonight's low is supposed to be 15 below. Won't be here next week at all, so please stay safe and warm during the holidays. Have fun, and make light of everything, for 'tis the solstice season.


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
1996: | Nov | Dec |

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Copyright © 1996 by Terry A. Garey.