Archive for November, 2006
Overwhelming opinion seems to be a traditional book of profound blog posts. I’ll work on some guidelines, legalities, procedures and all that other stuff and definately put a plan together. Then I must pitch it to my partner, and then I’ll get back to all of you. This is exciting, realistically it can be done very quickly, because I’m asking for outstanding posts already in archives. If you missed commenting on the blog project yesterday, please feel free to do so here, eventually I’ll add a page, when time permits.
Our volunteer fire department has had Santa handing out goody bags on Christmas Eve for as long as even the oldest citizen can remember. Its a beautiful little community event for the kids, something to help that long night pass a little quicker. Parents look forward to it too, a little bit of a breather with their friends – happy kids to watch, beautiful Christmas caroles playing from the Church of Christ nearby. The money to pay for these treats used to come from donation cans that were set in the businesses around town. For the last few years, that hasn’t been possible because people were stealing the money from the cans. A fact that was known only to the fire department until just a few days ago, when they didn’t have enough left in the treat fund to buy supplies for this year. Today, one of my cops came to my office to tell me there was old gentleman on the phone who had moved away many years ago but was thinking about the Christmas’ of his childhood and getting a treat bag from the Fire Department. Sometimes the only thing he got for Christmas. He wanted to know where to mail his check to pay for this year’s treat bags.
Christmas miracle number two, and its not even December yet. And people wonder why I love this time of year above all others.
Miracle number three is that my fat cat Ophelia has not knocked this little tree in my bedroom off its table:
Speaking of the master bedroom…it’s all ready for Christmas too!
Very sedate for me, wouldn’t you agree? An angel or two, nativity and a single tree! Pap put his foot down here….
My “pleasure reading” used to be two or three books a week. Its down to one or two a month because I spend most of my pleasure reading time, reading your blogs. A trip through my blogroll in an evening usually gives me everything I look for in a good novel: laughter, tears, current events, love, death, anger, angst, and so much life!
I started thinking about some of the truly funny or profound posts I’ve read, looked for later and lost to archives never to be found again. Or I can remember the post, but not the writer. Have you had the same experience?
What would you think about a book, or an on-line magazine featuring the best posts you’ve ever made, or can recommend? If such a book or magazine existed would it be something you’d be interested in reading? If you were interested in reading it, would it be something you wanted to download and print yourself, download and keep on your computer, read strictly on line, or have as a traditional book?
This project is pinging around in my head not as a money making opportunity, but as a way to capture for posterity this picture of the world we create as a group every day. What do you think about that? If you’re an aspiring writer, its another way to get your name out there.
We can talk about the legalities and copywrite issues if people are interested in such a project. Mostly at this time, I’m interested in your opinion.
By the way… the bathroom is ready for Christmas!
Back to the day job today. Ugh. Before lunch had even arrived people were yanking my chain. A project that has a $90,000 shortfall. “Find the money, we really need to do this project!” the superintendent says. Like I can just trot outside with my trusty cash box and gather it from under the bushes. Mail to be opened and dealt with, a meeting tonight and my assistant is in near coronary arrest at having to have missed two days of work at near year end. gasp. I couldn’t do this job at all without her, but some days her intensity just wears me out.
Home was not much better. All the grandgirls and Tiffany woke up this morning coughing, hacking and sneezing snot all over themselves. I love them, but I’m glad they’re all going home today. The baby is the only one not sick, but she has the dog to contend with. My stupid dog has discovered he’s just the right height to scratch his back by rubbing it on the edge of her bouncy seat. But only if she’s in it. His frantic rubbing gets her tossing around wildly, usually from a dead sleep which startles her awake and makes her cry. That sends him into a frenzy of barking and chasing for someone to fix his baby. He’s too stupid to make the connection between his scratching and her crying. As if that behavior isn’t bad enough, he’s also decided that the crocks filled with poinsettias around the house are great places to pee. We won’t even talk about the cats today, its making me break out in hives just thinking about what mischief they’ve been causing.
Remember that newspaper interview I did a few weeks ago? It came out in the paper today. The picture is horrible, I look like some kind of spongy, old, bloated toad thing leaning over my books. I’m too scared to read the article, if he could make me look that bad in a picture, there’s no telling what he did with what I said. Rooky. I’m sure I’ll forgive him if the article happens to drum up some new authors or interviews for me. If it doesn’t, he’s definately off my Christmas card list. Well okay, I can’t get myself to go that far, but I won’t be putting a cute stamp on THAT envelope.
I also decided to withdraw from performing in the play. We’ve been blocking for the last few rehearsals. I can’t sing sitting still with the music in front of me. To sing while walking about AND emoting something besides terror is just beyond my capabilities at this time. I slept about two hours last night worrying about whether to quit or stay. I’m certain they won’t miss me in the least. Especially since despite my vast dancing experience, they gave the dancing parts to teenagers. Yes, I know it’s nearly unbelievable that any director would prefer slim, blonde, beautiful teenaged dancers to an aging, slightly graying, plumping by the minute ex-disco diva… but its true. I will be happily cheering them on from the audience however, and I may even sing along.
My upcoming effort to quit smoking begins December lst. I’m banning myself from smoking inside anything…buildings or vehicles. It will get cold soon, and that will make me smoke less. January lst I appeal to my doctor for drugs, or a medically induced coma until I get past the crabby stage.
A crazy, busy day, that will end most satisfactorily with hot chocolate, shortbread cookies and the end of Stephen King’s new book, Lisey’s story.
The dining room is ready for Christmas.
Grandgirl’s Mom …could be anyone. A title bestowed because I had to call her something, and she had drifted so far from the daughter I knew, her name just didn’t fit anymore. I’ve watched with optimistic caution since she moved back to the area and took up residence with her sister.
Since Wednesday, she’s been here at my house. I’ve watched while she cared for her children with patience and humor. She’s juggled the baby while supervising craft projects with the older three, mopped, washed and dusted while listening to the oldest one read, helped with the Christmas decorating while keeping the three year old at bay. She’s watched me… clear green eyes looking for the clues to getting everything to the table hot at the same time, to making a perky Christmas bow, to arranging a collection of cherished Santa’s. By Friday morning she’d earned back her name…Tiffany Nichole…but today she became my baby again, she lives in my heart once more as Nikki.
We have a Christmas tree in almost every room of this old house. Most are my decorating play toys, designed to match the room and make it feel magical. The tree in the library is called “The Family Tree”. It’s decorated with memories. There are ornaments made by everyone from my mother through my grandkids, ornaments purchased to remind us of special things and interests. All of them have a story. When we decorated the tree this year, it was Nikki who continued the tradition of relaying the story of the ornaments to her kids. Once they’d gone to bed and we’d settled into the library to admire our handiwork, hot tea in hand and Celtic music in the background, she started to cry.
“The three year’s I was lost I cried all day every Christmas.” She said. “I missed the tree, and the stockings grandma needle pointed. I missed the stories that made me feel like I was in the center of a crowd of ghosts all patting my back and saying they loved me. He (the scum sucking bottom feeder) just doesn’t get it. Being clean isn’t enough for me. I want to have a house, and a job. I want my kids to be proud of me.”
It isn’t easy to end a relationship, even when the partner is a creep, especially if you’re the kind of girl who has developed a dependent personality. This new life is hard for Nikki. She’s trying to start over with the residual effects of three years of crack use, four little kids, no job or possessions beyond the clothes on her back. But she’s trying so hard. While her support staff is still missing a few members who can’t see her effort through the chip on their shoulder, she is beginning to be the fine young woman I saw in the girl I raised.
It’s going to be a good year.
One of the things Pap and I do very well together is throw parties. We have a knack for putting together just the right food, music, atmosphere and people for a really interesting evening. In 1983 we were stationed in Indiana, and the buzz about our upcoming Christmas party was loud and annoying enough that both our squadron commanders and the base commander invited themselves to the event. If you’ve never served in the military, you might not know that this just isn’t done. Officers don’t mingle with enlisted. We were a wreck but up for the challenge. Me and Pap were very cocky in the olden days.
In 1983, we had only the oldest two girls. They really were as adorable as they look here. That’s grandgirls mom on the right, Tiffany, and Girl Prof., Michelle on the left. They were two and three on the night of this Christmas party, and we were cocky about our terrific kids too. They had new ruffled nightgowns and a babysitter who had been instructed to bring them out for good-night kisses just after all the guests had arrived and were settled in the living room, admiring my perfect decorations.
Three days before the party I was running around like a madwoman cleaning and getting things ready in the house so Pap took the girls to fetch the Christmas tree. They came home rosy cheeked and giggling later that night, a perfect tree strapped to the top of our car.
Tiffany didn’t even have her coat off before she started telling me about their trip.
“Me and Daddy went to the farm. We walked up and down the dirt with a big man who said ‘this one? this a good tree?’, then we went to the big man’s house and had hot chocolate!”
Tiffany was a dramatic kid, this speech involved much arm waving and stomping about. By the time she got to “chocolate” I was hmmming, and uh huhhing and hustling her down the hall to get her ready for bed.
The day of the party went extremely well. I should have known something was up, but… I wasn’t just cocky about my party skills I was downright arrogant.
The party was in full swing, the officers wives planted in my best chairs in the living room while my friends mingled uncomfortably on the fringes. The men had taken up residence in the kitchen, closer to the food and alcohol. The babysitter brought the girls out at the appointed hour.
They looked like little angels, as sweet and tidy as two porcelain dolls. Tiffany was holding Michelle’s hand, her little eyes sparkling. Base Commander’s wife is enchanted, she couldn’t be happy just looking at them, she also felt the need to talk to them.
“Your mother tells me you helped pick out this lovely Christmas Tree, Tiffany, was that fun?” She says in her patronizing talking to children voice.
“Me and Daddy went to the farm. We walked up and down the dirt with a big man who said ‘this one? this a good tree?’, then we went to the big man’s house and had hot chocolate! Then we went outside and Daddy said ‘this g_d damned tree won’t fit on the mother f*!%$&#^ car!’ Then we came home.”
You could have heard a pin drop in my house, my jaw was laying in my lap and the rest of the ladies looked like I’d just spit in their wine. Just when I was sure I was about to spontaneously combust, we heard the sound of a deep male voice start laughing. Followed by another and soon the entire cast inhabiting the kitchen. Base Commander came stumbling out of the kitchen wiping his eyes.
“Mother… remember that time Junior told the preacher what I’d said about his sermon?”
The tension broken, we stumbled through a half hour of embarrassing moments created by our children and then the officers left and the real party started. Pap and I lost our cocky attitudes and all shred of arrogance that night, we also stopped swearing.
With nothing left on the turkey plate but a few shreds of dark meat, and the sink full of empty containers from leftover side dishes, Thanksgiving 2006 is officially over and Christmas decorating has begun. The grandgirls put their tree up Thursday afternoon. Sometimes they worked diligently:
And sometimes they didn’t:
But when they finally finished it, they were delighted with their handiwork:
Thank goodness I have three more days off before I must return to the dreaded day (hell) job. I forgot how much mess decorating for Christmas makes when you’re doing it around three kids and an infant who has decided she’d really like to hang out and be part of the action:
In other news… did you see that the publisher pulled Obnoxious Jackass Simpson’s book? Too little, too late in my opinion. What kind of a money hungry, hard hearted, self interested publisher do you have to be to even consider such a heinous act?
Thanksgiving is a holiday I think we should have once a month. November’s can stay in honor of the Pilgrims and the generous Indians who kept their no farmin’ fanny’s alive. But, I could use a couple more throughout the year. I have an awful lot to be thankful for: Friends in the flesh and here in this blogging world, family, productive work, pets, flowers, sunshine, health…tomorrow when my family stands in the circle around our groaning table I will bore them to tears with my list of “I am thankful fors”.
Because I don’t particularly (hate) like to cook, when all my kids were home, they were required to help with this dreaded chore. In the chaos that reigns with a house filled with people, pets and schedules it slipped my notice that rather than teaching five kids to cook, they all picked up a “specialty” and while we managed to get dinner on the table every night, once they left home they still only knew how to do their one thing. For instance: Michelle did all the baking, Tiffany always made the salad, Sheena cooked the vegetables, Bill can work wonders with a potato and Princess set the table. I threw some kind of meat in a frying pan and we called it done. When Tiffany moved out, Princess took over salad duty. Then Michelle left for college… we could never figure out why we never had cookies in the jar, or worse, ice. It wasn’t until the bowl in the freezer had been empty for a week before we realized it wasn’t that we were using more ice, just that the kid that always made it was gone. When Bill left for college we rediscovered the joy of rice. Sheena left and we started eating cereal for dinner. Princess still sets a lovely table, but she doesn’t like to cook any more than I do.
When Michelle got married and moved to her big, sprawling house, we suggested that she host our Thanksgiving celebration. She was happy to do that and excited about showing off her lovely new home. Three days before the event, she called and asked her dad if he would bring the turkey. He said he’d be delighted to bring the turkey. She then asked if he’d also bring the dressing, corn casserole, deviled eggs, sweet potatos, green bean casserole and the rolls. Michelle provided a lovely setting and a great dessert that year.
This year we add a new grandbaby to our mix, and remember the bachelors who used to always share our celebration and are now married. We’ll make sure our on duty cop gets fed and any firemen that might happen to have to work. We’ll do the dishes, plop the boys in front of the t.v. and then…. the fun begins!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I am greatful for YOU!