Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Aftermath

Here I am sniffling, sneezing, headachy. Having trouble concentrating. Home. Only working two days this week. So what happens? I get sick. Geeze.

Too much Christmas maybe. Everyone was sniffling. Everyone was trying to hide those sniffles. I saw them sneaking around the corner to blow their noses, stifling the coughs. I saw them sneaking the cough drops out of the hanging basket in the kitchen. So I am not the only one. At least no one can say I gave it to them.

I never got out the Christmas cards. I have printed out New Years cards. Wonder if I'll get around to mailing them.

Sniff sniff...sneeze sneeze... thought I'd catch up here but changing my mind... going back to bed.

Monday, December 20, 2004


I made a mistake and turned on the TV last night, the Hallmark Channel. I did it to distract the grandson with a Christmas movie so I could have time to read the Sunday morning newspapers. Big mistake. It distracted SH from watching out for Little J. I never did get to open the newspaper.

So here it is Monday and I'm realizing that there are only five days left til the big day. The Christmas parties with friends are over (except for SH's company dinner tonite) and it's time to concentrate on the family parties. I haven't shopped. Haven't bought one item for any family member. Don't have a Christmas tree and now it looks like we might not get one. Haven't sent out Christmas cards... my printer jammed up this weekend and won't take cardstock anymore and I'm not going to go out and buy another printer just to print cards. Maybe I'll send out New Years cards. Maybe I won't. I haven't made Christmas cookies. Heck, I haven't even figured out who is going where on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Yesterday was the day that I was supposed to catch up on all this stuff. But I got distracted. I decided I needed to go to church. I needed to hear that big pipe organ and a choir full of Christmas Carols and a twenty minute sermon about why we celebrate this season. On the way out the door the preacher looks at me, "should I know you?" he asks. I remember what Dad used to say about people like me who show up twice a year, Christmas and Easter. I'm guilty. I shake the preachers hand and mutter somewhat of an apology for being one of those who shows up only a couple of times a year.

Reading through the bulletin, I saw they were having a Christmas concert that afternoon. I could use that I thought. I need some good old fashioned Christmas carole kind of joy. Then I see the agenda is Magnificat. I'm not sure what that is but it sounds to heavy so I change my mind.

My sister says she's going to Fairyland with a friend to see Santa. So I get distracted and figure it would be good to take my grandson to Fairyland too. Little J is all excited and runs up the clocktower, careens down the slide, slips down into Jonah's belly, and races through Alice in Wonderland's tunnel. We ride the train. I watch him, remembering my own trip through Fairyland fifty years ago, delighted to see that some things have not changed.

Little J eats his free cookie instead of decorating it first. We keep looking for Santa. We keep missing him. Finally we find out that Santa is seeing children in the Chapel. We get there only to find out that Santa is on a break. It seems he can't work through his four hour volunteer shift without having a lunch break... we find him at the snack stand, beard askew, leisurely fortifying his belly with a hamburger and fries. While our clock is ticking forward, the Fairyland clock ticks backwards. But we must move on. We have two parties to go to and this was not on the agenda.

We made it to one party. We had to skip the second one. It's my fault. I got distracted. I went to church. I went to Fairyland. And I watched that sappy Hallmark movie.

Little J gets up early this morning and follows me around as I'm hurrying through my morning routine. I'm rushing to the door at 7:58 to make the two minute walk to work. Little J grabs my hand. I bend down for a bear gripping hug and then pry his fingers away and try to distract him, sending him away to chase the cats. My tears well up as I hear his shrieks behind the door. I want to stay home and play with Little J, go see Santa, bake cookies, buy and wrap gifts, put up a tree.

So what's the message here? Hmmmm maybe I still don't get it. Christmas is five days away. I must work four of those days. I have two evenings already filled with commitments. That leaves two evenings for shopping, wrapping, eating the cookies that others baked and... distractions. Does it really matter if any of it gets done? And why am I sitting here writing this? Cause I'm distracted.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


One of my favorite writing sites is Inspired2Write by Susan J. Letham. She has an incredible newsletter. Check out her 2004 Special Holiday Edition.

She suggests ARTivities each month. Here is December.

ARTivities: Three of Everything
1. Write about three gains you made in 2004.
7.6 pounds of new granddaughter
10+ pounds more of husband
10 pounds more of me - yikes

2. Write about three losses you've had in 2004.
One uncle
Two good friends

3. Write about three big mistakes you made in 2004.
Spending too much money

4. Write about three good choices you made in 2004.
Taking memoir class with Linda Joy Myers
Going to Dallas for Red Hat Convention
Visiting friends in Anacortes

5. Write about three books you enjoyed in 2004.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
In Search of Grace: A Journey Across America's Landscape of Faith by Kristin Hahn
The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong

6. Write about three I2W classes you'd like to take 2005.
As much as I would love to take these classes, which all start on January 10th, I know I can't possibly sign up for all three. Maybe I will manage to do one of them.
Writing our Lives: About the Writer
The Write Approach
Writing and Photography - Penny J. Leisch

7. Write about three books you'd like to get this holiday.
Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties by Marion Meade
Runaway by Alice Munro
The Falls: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates

8. Write about three holiday gift wishes you have.
A Merry Christmas family
A Merry Christmas for friends
Fun, not stuff

9. Write about three wishes you have for 2005.

10. Write about three goals you intend to reach in 2005.
Lose that 10 pounds I gained in 2004
Walk twice as many miles as I did this year
Save twice as much money as I did this year

Monday, December 13, 2004


I hate going to the dentist. It brings back all those childhood memories of no novacaine, drilling and filling and even a couple of tooth extractions (yes they were permanent teeth). So I get up this morning all prepared... prepared cause I haven't slept one bite sized chunk of time so perhaps I'll fall asleep in the chair.

I get to the office early, with my kind of thinking that I'll just get this over with and be on with the day. There's a sign on the counter,"Have a seat while we have our morning meeting." So I sit and leaf through the six month old travelers digest magazines reading about all the places that I think only my dentist can afford to go to. Did I mention that I have prepaid my bill so I don't have to worry about it next year?

Half way through the second dogbitten magazine I get called into the chair. I ease my way into it, once I figure out how to get around the butt grabbing arm. "congratulations," my dentists says as I sit myself down.

"Huh?" I look at him leeringly.

"You're the first person to sit in my new chair. Comfy?" He smiles.

"Oh sure. It's great."

"Mind if I give you a little pre-numbing medication?" Like I would say no. Not. The chair lurches as he steps on his shiny new pedal and I careen halfway to the ceiling. "Oops, sorry. New equipment." I reach around behind my neck... just checking for a whiplash. "Just a pinch now. Three. Two. One." My upper lip now closes in on my left nostril. "I'll be back in just a couple of minutes." Before I can close my mouth he steps on the shiny pedal once again and I'm lurched back down to the floor.

Okay, I'm going to make a long story short now. He comes back in, eases into his stool, and with calculated movement, gracefully raises my chair up into the glaring light. It's a new light. "How do you like my new light," my dentist asks has he starts to stuff my mouth full of cotton. I squint. His assistant offers me sunglasses. I point out that I am already wearing my own glasses, and they happen to be tinted. I close my eyes as I catch the drill coming around from behind.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. "I need water," the dentist looks as his assistant. ZZZZZZZZZZZ. "Can we have water?" he asks again. ZZZZ.... he stands up and sets the drill aside. "Call the repair man," he whispers to his assistant. Meanwhile he gets down on his hands and knees and nonchalantly grabs a couple of dental instruments to pry open the equipment access door. The receptionist comes in to tell him it will be at least an hour before they can come and look at it. He tinkers around a bit, tosses his tools aside and says, "prep for a bondo" to his assistant.

I'm thinking I don't need water. Just drill and fill like the old days. All I want to do is get out of here and back to work. Imagine that... wanting to be at work. But it's not going to work that way. The dentist returns to his stool, thankfully with new gloves and a new tray of instruments. "I'm really sorry. We are going to have to bondo the tooth and have you return on another day."

I smell the bondo and can't help thinking about my recent experience with superglue. I picture leaving with my teeth glued to my tongue. Fortunately he is not as clumsy as I so within a couple of minutes I'm jumping out of the chair, setting up a time to come back on Wednesday and just ready to walk out the door. "Wait," the dentist says. "I have something for you." He hands me a Starbucks coffee card. "Treat yourself."

With stiff, numb upper lip and a tinge of bondo taste still lingering, I consider the coffee card as I get into my car. I don't think so.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Someone said free tickets to Dolly. Just show up in full Red Hat Regalia. So we did. OMG we had so much fun.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Who took the Carols out of Christmas?

Last week a couple dozen schoolkids, decked out in white shirts and ties, got booted out of Union Square just for gathering sing a few carols. All because the city rules prohibit any organized activity at Union Square without a permit.

So now I'm going to rant about another holiday peeve. Nowadays if you want to hear Christmas carols (at least where I live), you must pay.

Churches and schools collect anywhere from $10 to $50, and sometimes more, to hear their Christmas concerts. These are not concerts performed by professional artists. These are concerts with ordinary church choirs and schoolkid chorus groups. I know these institutions have lights by pay and choir garments to buy. But hey, this is Christmas. It's a time for sharing. I don't mind giving a voluntary commitment to support the effort but I don't think people should be turned away from a little Christmas ear spirit due to lack of funds.

It's bad enough that Christmas has been commercialized to the point that many families are burdened with holiday credit card debt half way into the new year. Let's not extend their debt yet another month or two so they can hear little Johnny perform at school or church.

On another note... why is it that those young fortunates with brand new convertibles and big stereo systems can pump their every-other-word-is-f*** rap music up full blast and drive around Union Square without a permit? Oh that's right... they aren't organized.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Warning - this could be offensive to some - its all in fun

Who took the color out of Christmas? Driving down the streets of my little city last night I noticed it again. Just like last year. All the storefronts, center dividers and trees are adorned with sparkly white lights. Not one bulb of color in the neighborhood. It’s been this way for several years now. Some decision made by the powers that be in this town.

The kid in me wants to rebel. I could hoc my house and rent a storefront just for the month of December. Smack in the middle of the main drag.

First thing, I’d place one of those big ugly Santa balloons on the rooftop. Might as well direct a spotlight on him too. Put Rudolph right up there next to him and be sure to light up his big red nose. Stick old Frosty the Snow Man up there while I’m at it… maybe I could light up his carrot nose a bright orange and give him a glowing fluorescent green scarf.

Next I’d find the biggest and ugliest artificial green tree to place in the center of my display window. It would be buried under several dozen strings of colored lights, not the little twinkly lights they sell these days but the big old fashioned egg sized ones that burn hot and bright. Top it off with a good smoothering of icycles and silver garlands to help reflect the color.

There will be a backdrop of sparkly gold stars against a royal blue sky perhaps edged with red and white candy cane lights.

Under the tree little toy trains, the electric kind, all the cars painted bright red and green, would cycle through blinking red and green signal lights glowing against cotton balls of snow.

A trio of Christmas carolers would stand next to the tree, each brightly illuminated to show off their colorful clothes from hat to boots. I’ll string a band of fluorescent blue notes above their heads.

They make everything to light up these days. Maybe I could find some bright red poinsettia plant lights to place under the windows decked with boughs of green holly, entwined with shiny red jingle bells.

Lest anyone might miss this most colorful display, I’d have a sandwich board sign in the middle of the sidewalk with blatant red and green neon lights of flashing arrows.

And when the powers that be show up, I’d have an extra special treat for them…
right over my lily white rear end there would be one tiny little sprig of mistletoe.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Brrrrrrr and Grrrrrrrr

It's been cold. Real cold. But last night I braved the cold and rode the Merry Go Round with some of my Red Hat friends.

Remember that crazy toy that went haywire on Halloween? It resided in the refrigerator for the past couple of weeks. JJ removed it last night. It's still going and going and going. I'm thinking there's a bunny trapped inside there, one that's been energized.

I'm wondering: If the toy gets energized in the fridge, why am I not energized from the freezing cold merry go round ride?

I did the dreaded grocery shopping tonight. I usually don't shop. I send hubby. Remembered why I don't shop. There was this annoying lady. Somehow she managed to show up in each aisle placing her cart kind of sideways across the aisle in front of me, then stepping back to peruse all the labels. She was one of those idiots who leaves her purse in the basket, gaping open, ready for someone to come along and... well you know. As much as I was tempted to teach her a lesson and as much as I wanted to run smack over her with my cart full of cookies and toilet paper, I controlled myself. It's probably a good thing.