Recent Posts

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Post Script Ever!

Herein amends a good story to
........ahem .......
the best story ever!!!
(quite possibly) 
Best post script
(at least)

And I shall make it a game!

To begin you must read (or re-read) this, one of my first blog posts from waaaay back in October:


Ok now, see if you can unravel yesterday's turn-of-events, shown here in pictures:



My doorbell!!

What's this??

It's from Jeanine Payer ....?

Umm ......???

Oh ....... 
(tears in eyes)


Can't speak.  Can't write. 

Except to say, this came as a gift yesterday,
from Jeanine .....after she read my October post. 

Happy New Year everyone! 
(be kind to one another)

Thank-you Jeanine ....for being kind to me

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa I see you

The Polar Express, the first gift of Christmas

It's not even a full memory; it's just a vague knowledge that I never liked to sit on Santa's lap. I don't remember crying but my mom figured it out early on, and consequently, there's not one picture of me sitting on Santa's lap in all the boxes of photographs my parents took of us growing up.

I was uncomfortable because I knew Santa, the one we saw in the department stores and on the streets, was not the real Santa.

There was the Santa with black eyebrows at Sears & Roebucks.  So, what about the Santa at Neiman Marcus ......who had white eyebrows? What about the Santa ringing the bell--with the real beard??? And how could Santa go from wrinkly to smooth to wrinkly?? And from tall to short? And fat to thin? In the same day?

There was one time when I saw the real Santa ......and it is a story that I will never forget.

It was Christmas Eve and we lived in Kingsville, Texas at the time. My bed was next to the window and Lisa was asleep in her bed next to mine. I was five and a half. Lisa was four and a half. Of course it was winter, but even the winters in Texas can get cold. I remember the windowpane, not ice-cold as in C. C. Moore's 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, but cold, and after awhile it made my fingers and my nose too cold to stay pressed there. I had to settle for hovering as close to the window as I could without fogging the pane. And I guarantee, if you go back and look it up, on December 24th, 1966; it was either a full moon or quite close because the moonlight over Texas that night lit everything in a blue-white glow.

And then I heard the bells. I saw the moon glinting off of them way up in the sky! I saw Santa's reindeer pulling the sleigh with their legs swimming gracefully. Swimming.  Gracefully.  I distinctly remember that. Graceful, but with purpose. And then I saw Santa's red coat! He was too far away to see anything other than that bright red speck in the sleigh. But he was coming and he was in the sky above my house!! I quickly laid down and pulled up the covers ........and waited.

Before too long, I heard reindeer hooves on the roof!! And then I thought I heard some rustling and a creak of the door, because in that house we didn't have a fireplace. Lisa and I were very concerned about not having a chimney, but mom & dad assured us that Santa knew how to get to children's stockings who live in houses without chimneys. And then, after more rustling, a long period of nothing.

I woke Lisa up and we tip-toed out to the living room where all four stockings, now fat and lumpy, were hanging off corners of various chairs. We couldn't believe how loud the slightest noise made! Lisa pulled the string on the doll that Santa had left her "MY MOMMY SAYS I TALK TOO MUCH!" Sssshhhhhhhh .........we looked at each other panic-stricken! We didn't want to wake up mom & dad. They wouldn't be happy if they knew we saw everything Santa had left us, before Christmas morning. But we had! Our hearts were pounding in our chests. Santa had just been here!


I've never gotten over the sureness that I saw Santa through the window that night. I was recently reminded of this one evening while making dinner. The Polar Express was on TV. With my back to the TV, chopping carrots, I heard Tom Hanks the conductor of The Polar Express tell the boy in the story:
"Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see ...”
My wish to you tonight is for a full surrender of adult reasoning, and for a child's innate embrace of what is really real even if you can't see it ...........remember?

Merry Christmas Eve!  And Lisa?  I love you. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Human Beings

I was just getting ready for work's three days before Christmas .......and my mind was occupied not with what I still have to do (which is plenty but I'm only going to do what I can do; am seriously not sweating the small stuff this year), but my mind was busy instead, with thinking how lucky I am to have so many wonderful, amazing, loving people in my life ..... 

To all of you who I know, a simple thank-you doesn't seem enough--but I am grateful to each and every one of you.  I am ridiculously happy that you are a part of my life and I count myself lucky that we have "encountered" one another!

To those of you who I don't know, well I can't wait to meet you!!!

Happy holidays everyone.  Don't sweat small stuff.  Love one another--we're our best presents.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cartoon Saturday #4

Holiday Theme! 

Thoughts: am incredibly tired--just got back from quick two-day trip to/from Virginia Tech to to bring Thing One home for Christmas (six hours each way); am showing great restraint by posting only one Tiger Woods cartoon--there are millions; am stretching holiday theme to include polar bears & penguins (they both live in cold places similar to the north pole=Christmas!) because have been trying to fit in hilarious Gary Larson cartoon that cracks me up for weeks now ...

And finally ....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little Tree

Little Tree

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see     i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look     the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed,
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they will stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

                             --e. e. cummings

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Thing Two!!

Today is Thing Two's 16th birthday!  Happy birthday honey. I love you!  Oh, to be sixteen again ..........
not a kid--not an adult, driver's license! (fun ...but scary), bad skin, parents not understanding you, YOU not understanding you, teachers not as "nice" as they used to be, curfews, self-conscious--about everything, everyone bugging you about college--already, life in a fishbowl, bad grades? no concerts!, heartbreak (multiple) ......
Note to self: be nice to Thing Two this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Real Joys


All right, in the same vein as yesterday's Scroogy post, but on a lighter note .....I happened to pick up this little gem the other day from a gift shop on Colley Avenue here in Norfolk, VA, called Texture.  It's owned by a very cool artist/businesswoman, Gail Juren, and her shop is filled with all sorts of imaginative, helpful, interesting, beautiful, hilarious stuff.  This little book being one of them ....

(You can also get it from which has multitudes of hip, very funny gift ideas that are definitely worth checking out):

Back to the vein of things, at the end of Holiday Remarks & Replies (Pithy Proclamations For Correspondence, Entertaining, Shopping, Gift Giving, Loved Ones, & The Scrooge Within) are some quotes from Famous Scrooges which had me rolling around on the floor in true LMAOOTF style!  Enjoy!!

"Merry Christmas, nearly everybody!" --Ogden Nash
"Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year." --P. J. O'Rourke
"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." --Garrison Keillor
"Nothing says holidays like a cheese log." --Ellen DeGeneres
"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas?  You know, the birth of Santa." --Matt Groening
"What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day." --Phyllis Diller

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six.  Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." --Shirley Temple

"Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call." --Richard Lewis

"Adults can take a simple holiday for children and screw it up.  What began as a presentation of simple gifts to delight and surprise children around the Christmas tree has culminated in a woman opening up six shrimp forks from her dog, who drew her name." --Erma Bombeck

And finally, Mr. Emerson, who says what I was trying to say yesterday, only much more eloquently not to mention succinctly .............
"You will think me very pedantic, gentlemen, but holiday though it may be, I have not the smallest interest in any holiday, except as it celebrates real and not pretended joys." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

So dear readers, my wish for you ....may your holidays be filled to the brim with real joys and totally devoid of pretended ones!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not Really Bah! Hum-bug!!

(Jim Carrey, as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, in this year's
reincarnation of A Christmas Carol)

And so begins what will likely be a very unpopular post but it's been nagging at me and I simply must write about it.  Note Scrooge .....put here 1) to beat you to the punch and 2) to indicate that I am aware I'm about to come across as Scrooge's modern day great-great-scroogy-grand-child.

George F. Will's recent column in The Washington Post called "The gift of not giving - Solid proof that Uncle Ralph wasted his money" was the first impetus in my thought-process for this post.  And a conversation I had with a respected friend yesterday was my second. 

No,  I take that back .........for some years now I've been struck ........  as I'm scrounging around store after store, after battling tedious traffic, after valiantly scoring a parking space ten miles from the mall--that while my mission is to find the perfect second, third, fourth, & even more (don't forget stocking stuffers!) presents for the same person (like you do for your children & your spouse & other close family & friends?  I totally know you do it too!!), that our Christmastime gift-giving tradition has become insanely stressful, not to mention ridiculous.  Whatever happened to ONE nice thoughtful gift at Christmas?  And Hanukkah for that matter.  Although, and I speak here from experience, at least Hanukkah has maintained a modicum of rationality in the gift-giving department and a primary allegiance to the religious reason it exists.

So that was my first impetus, Mr. Will's column my second, and the conversation with respected friend, third.  Three compelling impetuses (that is a word--I looked it up) equals one potentially controversial, may turn you off, not usually done in the nice little blogosphere I wander around in, post.  But try to retain an open mind as I postulate  .......

I've explained my first revelation about buying sackfuls of presents for each person on your list.  Now for Mr. Will's column: . 

The gist is "...the crux of Yuletide economics which common sense suggests and research confirms, is: Gifts that people buy for other people are usually poorly matched to the recipients' preferences.  What the recipients would willingly pay for the gifts is usually less than the givers paid."

Eminent professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton business school, Joel Waldfogel, author of  "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays" is cited in Will's column as saying that in his "conservative estimate (sic) in 2007, Americans spent $66 billion on gifts and produced $12 billion less satisfaction than would have been produced if the recipients had spent the $66 billion on themselves."  In other words, a well respected study found that we wasted approximately $12 billion in 2007 on homely sweaters and hideous ties.

And we all know the feeling, don't we? When you receive that gift where your first thought is OMG! What were you thinking? Don't you know me?? Don't you love me???  Replaced hopefully asap with, well I know they meant well nice so they know that I hate it like it!!  Add all these collective experiences up, and according to Mr. Waldfogel, it equals $12 billion. I'm surprised it's not more actually.  Although honestly once I get to a paltry $1 billion, I begin to lose perspective on that amount of money. So times that by twelve.

Oh, reading further, George says it much more hilariously than me: "Christmas etiquette involves composing one's face to feign pleasure when unwrapping an unwelcome windfall--say a sweater of an applling color and a style that went out in the 1940s--and murmering "Oh, you shouldn't have" without revealing that you mean exactly that.  Price of the sweater: $50.  Value to recipient: $0.  Actually, less than zero, considering the psychological cost of the forced smile."

Now, on to revelatory conversation with friend yesterday who commented that, really, he just loves having all his loved one's gathered together to "laugh & scratch" (I added that--one of my dad's best expressions) for awhile, have a great meal together, and tell everyone how much you love them.
(Not in a weird embarrassing way--in a lovely memorable way)  (Do we even know how to do that?) 
Now reread that and think about it for a minute.  It might seem lame upon the first run-through, and you might wonder how is that any different than Thanksgiving?  But if you keep thinking about it, at least for me, it becomes much, much more appealing.  It's so real & genuine.  And think how much less stress is involved?!  And as far as Thanksgiving goes, we gather then to be thankful, yes is a uniquely American holiday .......and surely it's implied that we all love each other in November, but the big push seems to be thankfulness and Yay for America! unity.  And eating of course.

So I'm not advocating a new, total hardcore no-presents-sit-around-the-tree-and-stare-at-each-other Christmas tradition.  But this I know: the current economy is hard on everyone, everywhere, and we've learned our gift-buying habits at Christmastime are largely a mind-boggling waste of money; we all know that almost everything we really want we can't ask for (unless someone out there is willing to buy me a new laptop with a nice big hard drive and a giant screen?); and this most especially .......we simply don't tell each other we love them enough.  In my opinion, I think we use gifts too much to do that job. 
Like all the wine & cheese I sent every single Christmas to my uncle and my aunt, both of whom passed away this year, probably was not as meaningful as if I had sincerely told them, even one time, 'I really love you and you've been an important part of my life'.
I know!  I know!  You're thinking, I tell certain people that I love them all the time!  But, speaking for myself, of all the people who currently people and in the past have-peopled my life, who I really and truly love and loved--I've not told the vast majority of them that simple fact.  And I don't think I'm alone in that regard.

Despite the profoundly religious reason we celebrate Christmas, whether we like it or not, Christmas has morphed into a lot more.  Some good.  But a lot bad.  I'm just thinking ......I'm going cut down on the bad parts and focus more on the good parts.  (Thing One and Thing Two must be having a fit right now!)(Don't worry T1 & T2) 

So dear friends in my life and dear family and dear anybody else, when I tell you how much I love you this Christmas, don't feel uncomfortable, just feel good and remember it for the rest of your life.  You'll get a gift too, but according to the experts, it will probably make you feel bad and you'll be hopefully forgetting about it as soon as I walk out the door and you toss it in the trash!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's SITSmas!

Holiday Wreath in Colonial Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
December 6, 2009

Merry SITSmas SITStas!

Happy Holidays
Each And Every One Of You!

Hi All!  Today is Merry SITSmas Day over at The Secret is in The Sauce (SITS) ....the SITStas!  SITS is an incredibly dynamic website dedicated to helping bloggers find and support one another.  Normally we link from The Secret is in The Sauce but today for Merry SITSmas all the SITStas make a special holiday card on their own blog that is linked back to SITS!  There are prizes on the hour, every hour, all day long. 

Click on The Secret is in The Sauce button below...we're overflowing with happy holiday spirit!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sometimes I Need A Caveman

I cast myself as the "modern, no nonsense, (invisibly) Z-snapping woman".  If I do say so myself.

I take no guff from no guy.  I tell him immediately, loudly if necessary, when I know he's behaving badly.  And at my medium-age (refuse to say middle-age--"medium-age" much better), I  know every  guy-trick in the book and may, possibly, be rather jaded.  All the boys and men in my life know not to cross me, but of course they do because they're guys, and when it happens they hear about it. 

Hmmph.  After re-reading, am now thinking of re-casting myself as the "b*tch"!

So it pained me greatly when like an uninvited guest, a certain epiphany, knocked on my door last week.  It was actually not a horrible week--I had one night when I couldn't sleep, but I've more than made that up.  So what, then?

#1 Scenario involving guy friend who I've known since we were both 14 years-old--I'm not too good when something not-good happens unexpectedly.

Most people probably aren't great at dealing with the unexpected but I'm pretty sure I'm worse than most.  And this not-good thing that happened wasn't even that bad!  But it hit me wrong for fifty reasons and I reacted quickly and I got pretty upset.  It all went down in a "texting-storm":
me:  I am REALLY not happy with you me!
him: Can't talk now.  Why are you so upset?  You act like this was a life threatening event!
me: You could have at least told me about it!  It's worse than you're making it!  You promised me you would always tell me if something like this happened. I'm so far away ....(sniff)
him: Ugh! I'll try harder but you need to calm down        please.
"You need to calm down (space)(space)(space) please?"  "You'll try?"  I instantly did as I was told and calmed down!  All it took was that "space-space-space please" and I'm fine with you dragging me in my mini-leopard dress into the cave!!!!!!!

#2 Scenario involving boyfriend--I'm tired of fighting with adorable, annoying musician boyfriend who lives on the complete other side of the country.

We haven't seen each other since June which is just too long for a couple to be apart.  Of course long-distance relationships are far from ideal and this one is suffering under the circumstances.  So the other day we were bickering over something I don't even remember now, and he announces that:
"We are going to be ONLY NICE to each other for two weeks!  No resentments.  No annoying behavior.  And if either of us is resentful or annoying, the other one has to ignore it.  For two weeks!" 
Simple, huh?  Will it work?  Probably not.  But it might!  And man!  Boy.  Have I been nice ever since!!  And it's nice ......drag me into the cave and ravish me now, will you?

So what's the deal????  Why is a strong, clear-headed woman folding so easily and letting a (cave)man take charge?  I don't know.  But I know I'm tired of being in charge of everything, all the time.  And I know I'm not right about everything even though I believe I am, most of the time.  #1 scenario--you were right that I was overreacting and you told me politely.  And you didn't make it worse by getting mad  too.  Sensitive, respectful, & calm.  Thank-you.  #2 scenario--you were right that I have not been very nice for awhile and since you took charge and came up with a plan, I will genuinely give it a go.  Plus I love you.


The epiphany: every now and then ....especially when I'm behaving badly ....I just need a caveman.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can't Sleep ...

IT'S 4:55 IN THE MORNING and i can't sleep .......

So am composing check-list style letter to my life.

Think this is going to be a good day to get lost & go crazy!

(and sleep)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post-It Note Tuesday #3