Sunday, December 31, 2006

Housekeeping....

As the Old Year winds down and the New Year inches closer, I still have a million things I've got to do, and no real energy with which to do them. Right now, it's hard to think past the flare, which I don't want to think about anymore. Instead let me just do a quick catch up, so all you lovely people won't think I've forgotten you:


- Dear Blogger Ornament Exchange-r, I just wanted to let you know that I received my Ornament, am very pleased with it, and will post on that topic as soon as my flare lets up a bit.

- Ditto Secret Santa players: I have been extremely lucky this Christmas to have been nicely surprised more than once, by quite a few people. It is a wonderful feeling.

- I was also able to surprise a few people myself, and that's an amazing feeling as well.



The telling of these stories is important, and should wait until my brain is clear(er) and I can tell them correctly. Thanks for your patience.

That said, I just want to wish everyone the Very Best in the New Year.

And thank you all for sharing your time & your hearts with me this past year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Does anybody else

have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is?

Just me?

Oh well.

Until about an hour ago, I was sure it was Sunday. And then when I went to watch what I thought should be on the t.v., lo and behold... not.

So, it's Saturday, people! Are you doing anything fun?

I'm resting, reading all the magazines I stockpiled before Christmas, knowing some downtime would be required right about now. It's been a long strange week, my friends. A long, strange year, at that. I'm looking forward to a new ~ hopefully better ~ one.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Falalalala

I'm totally not talking about the flare. Talking about it is in direct opposition of my current plan: totally ignoring it.

So.

I've seen a meme going around of the first lines from each month. That's no good for me, since my first post every month is a Perfect Post award. But I would like to do a little look back. Here's a year's worth of pictures - one of my favorites from each month.

So here's a pick of January through June:

Sister C, on her 20th birthday.

A toast to SisterJ on her birthday.


Baby Girl's bunting (originally planned for her big brother, and finished six years later), by Mum.




Youngest Nephew, being his adorable self in April.






And here's Baby Girl, less than a week old, in her usual good cheer.




And Youngest Sister, SisterK, getting ready for her Jr. Prom, the first week of June.

More to follow (hopefully tomorrow).

Thanks for the well-wishes, all. I'll get there: flares are par for the course around here

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Things I probably should've noticed before now

that the captions for the local news CAPITALIZES certain words. & I've figured out why, too: they're the teleprompter words, and the CAPITALS are telling the anchors which words to punch. I figured it out last night, following this: "A mother of ELEVEN is killed in a hit and run accident." I don't watch the news because it is so upsetting. So this little teaser seemed vulgar, somehow... and just... WRONG.


The flare continues, so that's all I've got for you today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tidings of comfort

I'm loathe to leave you all with the impression that my holiday was less than happy: the 2 a.m., Christmas-morning-post-amid-the-drunks was not the sum total of my Christmas experience: Indeed, it was most merry, overall.

However, as is my custom, I am now flaring, so the happy, oh-my-goodness-did-we-have-a-good-time- post will have to wait a bit.

I just wanted to wish you all a happy holiday once again (because, if you are anything like my family, you are certainly still celebrating in some way.) And to assure you all that I my day did improve. Thank you all for your happy thoughts & best wishes.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"It's Christmas... and I'm singing..."

and my dad is driving me crazy. This is neither new or unusual.

Also, I am seriously reconsidering my role as the only teetotaler (of age) in my family. Because being stone cold sober (well, except for my meds, which totally aren't cutting it, painwise) while everybody else is decidedly not?

Is soo much fun.

My favorite thing about drunk people? The repeating: they repeat what they've said, they make you repeat what you said, they tell the same story 52 friggin' times. And it wasn't even funny the first, trust me.

I'm going to enjoy this Christmas, Truly. But right now?

I'm all over this togetherness crap, and probably should go to bed, as other people's drunkenness brings out the mean in me.

--------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, I do hope you have the VERY HAPPIEST CHRISTMAS!

May Santa bring you everything you need/want/deserve.

Love, Never That Easy

Sunday, December 24, 2006

There's magic in the air...

There's a special, holiday Postsecret up today.

I'll wish you all a Happy Christmas Eve, and leave you with a Muppet Song:


Muppet Christmas Carol





There's magic in the air this evening
Magic in the air
The world is at her best, you know
When people love and care
The promise of excitment is one the night will keep
After all there's only one more sleep till Christmas

The world has gotta smile today
The world has gotta glow
There's no such thing as strangers
When a stranger says "Hello"
And everyone is family, we're havin' so much fun
After all there's only one more sleep till Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous
With a burst of pleasure we feel it all right
It's a season when the Saints can employ us
To spread the news about peace and to keep love alive

There's somethin' in the wind today that's good for everyone
Yes, faith is our hearts today, we're shinin' like the sun
And everyone can feel it, the feelin's runnin' deep
After all there's only one more sleep till Christmas
After all there's only one more sleep till Christmas day

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Oh, What a Wonderful Child"





PSHunt


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Here are my lovelies, in LINE for Santa:




I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"How do you measure it's worth...

just by the pleasure it gives here on Earth."

A simple phone call from Youngest Nephew, who I miss so much now that he's not here with us everyday.

Being able to help somebody out, unexpectedly.

Christmas Specials: on TV, on Youtube (Vintage, 80s, Christmas commercials: whatever you want), on hideously jumpy homemade video tapes on their last legs.

Wrapping presents, all day long.

I measure it's been a pretty good day.

How bout you?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Maybe it's much too early in the game...

In response to ProBlogger's Review/Preview challenge, I thought I'd do a little review of my year.

So, here it is: the Hits and Misses of 2006

Hit NaBloPoMo: Requiring more of myself & signing up to post every single day have been really great for me, I think. Not only have more people stopped by to read, but it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to know that I can set & reach this kind of a goal. (Today is day 50, btw.)

-----


Miss Splashing the teeny-tiniest amount of water on my laptop.

-----

Hit - Lyrica. This new pill has helped keep my base pain level at it's barely tolerable level (8 out of 10, most days). The fact that I am grateful for an 8/10 is, in itself, quite sad, however the 'keeping things from getting worse' properties of a pill cannot be overlooked in this circumstance.

Miss twelve other drug combinations I've tried this year. 12. I start a new drug tomorrow, though, so we'll all hope it goes in the hit column.

-----

Hit Adding Baby Girl to our family!

-----

Miss - The cancellation of The West Wing

Hit - Studio 60

-----

Hit The Saturday Scavenger Photo Hunt - Again, a reachable goal & new visitors added this to the plus column this year. What put it over the top is that it encouraged me to learn more about/play with my digital camera and photo editing software. Something I enjoy, now that I (mostly) know what the hell I am doing.

-----

Miss Painters Tape - which has failed me to impress me with it's abilities to make Christmas Cards stick to the door or photographs stay straight in their frames.

-----

Miss My stupid, oversensitive nose. And Tar, in all of it's various forms.


------
Hit November & its Democratic Sweep.

Miss No impeachment.

------

Miss OnlyBrother & S-T-B SIL moving twice in one year. Particularly since they moved farther away and took YoungestNephew and BabyGirl with them. Not happy about this. Very bad decision on their parts (which they are now regretting, but what good does that do any of us?)

-----

Hit Books. Ah, Books.
(Enough so that I'm planning a whole 2006-book post!)
-----


----

Hit Candy Cane Kisses. Seriously, people: must stock up in the event that January actually comes and the store doesn't sell them anymore. Physical harm might occur to any salesperson telling me they are out, otherwise.

-----

Miss Still not standing up for myself when I should.

----

Hit The Daily Show/Colbert Nation dyad.

-----

Miss Biopsies - 'nuf said.

-----

Hit Getting along with most of my family, most of the time

-----

Hit Having lots of new internet-y friends to wish a 'Happy Holiday' to.

That's you, in case you wondered.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God"




When I was younger, I was in my church's Christmas pageant every year for about 5 years running. I started out as an angel, one of the multitudes. We all wore curtains fashioned into robes and wings made out of cardboard, and sang "Glory to God in the Highest" when Sister Eleanor gave us our cue. It was a bit part, certainly, but I got to wear WINGS.

A year or two later, I was moved up to 'head angel:' Generally, this meant I was responsible for corralling all the other, younger angels. I was to keep them from falling off the altar or shoving each other in order to see the Baby Jesus doll.

The year after that, I got my first speaking part: I was still an angel (and by then our costumes had improved so that we were wearing nightgowns instead of curtains, and glitter on our cardboard wings), but now I was an angel with a line! Specifically, I was the angel that Linus talks about in A Charlie Brown Christmas: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were afraid. And the angel (that's me!) said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." That was my big line: "Fear Not! For unto you a Savior is born."
I delivered my line, then headed back to my angelic hordes just in time to take a little cherub to the bathroom. She decided to discard her wings on the way off the altar, where they were later trampled by three wisemen and about 14 shepherds.

Now, I was pretty happy with my part: I liked being in charge of all the younger kids; liked that I had a line, and that I could say it without throwing up all over everybody. But...

I really wanted to be Mary.

The part of Mary wasn't exactly spectacular ~ Mary didn't have much to say; she and Joseph mostly moved along to the beat of the narrator, trudging through the 15 feet in front of the altar & back again as they made the trek to Bethlehem. Her costume wasn't better than mine, certainly: a pillow tied under a blue curtain dress, accented by a white handkerchief tied around her head. Not a wing to be found.

But I still wanted to be her. Because, we all know it: if you're a girl, Mary's the good role.

My final year in the pageant, I'd been a reader on the altar for two or three years (this was before girls could be altar servers, btw: that's only changed in the last 10 years or so); I had been teaching CCD for a while; I filled in at the Rectory when the priests needed someone to answer the phones. In short, I was kind of a church fixture.

And I thought I had Mary's role in the bag.

Our pageant wasn't too big of a deal: we'd rehearse maybe three times in the weeks leading up to the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve. So, when the first week of December rolled around, and the first pageant rehearsal was set, I showed up at the convent, ready and willing to try on the blue curtain.

As I'm sure you've guessed, I didn't get to play Mary that year either. I had, in fact, wound up with the largest role in the whole thing: the narrator. I had to read the entire Christmas story, beginning to end, while others acted out what I recited. And it was an honor. And I was glad to end my Christmas pageant-ing with a bang: my parents & grandparents were so proud; After mass, the priest came and thanked me for doing such a wonderful job; and I did feel really great that I had made it through quite a long passage without incident (trust me, on other days? Incidents galore.). But...

I was still kind of upset that I never got to be Mary.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"I pray on Christmas...

he'll get me through another day."

Because Christmas & CFIDS are kicking my ass, people.

But, bonus, I did finish my shopping today (I think).

Which is good, because I fell out of my chair once today already, and I don't like it when that happens.


Rest, wrapping, rest.

A doc appointment on Wednesday; Baby Girl tomorrow and Thursday; a ton of pictures to scan in the next week, before SisterS comes and takes them home with her; baking, oh, and CHRISTMAS.

So, a few things that gotta get doen this week.

Back to the bonuses: Christmas shopping done. Christmas tree smelling good.

The End.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fa lalalala la la la la...

Nope, You're Not a Grinch

Although you may feel Grinch-like at times, it's just because you're worn out from the holidays.
You get into the holiday spirit more than most people - and you truly enjoy celebrating with your family and friends.


In case you were wondering.

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.


You know, I've never strung popcorn. But we did used to make those construction paper chains every year. And I do love to wrap. Seriously, I could wrap your presents for you, if you weren't so far away.


Your Christmas Song Is

Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal

Snowball fights, sledding, and tons of hot chocolate with candy canes.
Christmas is all about reliving the adventures of your youth.


Ok; except that wheelchair + snow = totally stuck. But I'll have the hot chocolate.



You Are an Angel

A truly giving soul, you understand the spirit of Christmas.


:Brushes off Wings:



Your Christmas is Most Like: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Christmas is a big, boisterous event at your place.
And no matter what, something hilarious usually happens.


I don't know if 'hilarious' is the right word...

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With a Puppy

Well - one cute, soft, cuddly puppy...
And a very soiled Christmas stocking.


Ha.

Wanna play? Check out
Blogthings

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"The Christmas Shoes" = Annoying





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Here are some other things that fit the bill:

People taking your picture when you obviously do not want your picture taken:









Even though I am totally one of those people: I took this picture of Big/OnlyBrother, Thanksgiving 2000. He does not like to be disturbed while eating.
















Pictures that make you look high, even though you are obviously not (only obviously because SisterJ is 7 and I am 10 in these pictures.)















And people who think, just because we're grown-ups, that we're going to sleep in on Christmas. HA!

Friday, December 15, 2006

On the third day of Christmas...

... my neighbors gave to me:

4th emergency evacuation this year!

Woo hoo!

Am defecting (yet again) to my Grandmother's house, due to smells. This time, the neighbor three houses down has decided to repave their driveway. My house reeks of an odd kerosene/gas smell, and, while my room is ok (with the door closed); I can't even get to the bathroom.

Also, Mum's got a doctor's appointment, so I'd be alone in the house, and if the smell crept under my door, I would have no way of escaping. So, off I go, yet again.

Hopefully, the smell will clear out today, because I still have a ton of stuff to do.
(And I kind of need to be here to do it.)

Off I go!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"They're singing deck the halls

but it's not like Christmas at all."

Because we don't have a tree yet, people. I needs me a tree. I need the smell of the tree, the knowing it's in the other room, all lit up and shiny. I need to hear the slight whir of the mechanical kids sliding down their ornament banister, over and over again. I need to know that all of our names are somewhere on that tree, and that Baby Girl's name will be added this year. These are things I need.

It's not that I'm not Christmasy already (cuz, obviously, I am); it's just that I miss the tree. And if it was something I could do myself? You know it would be up already. But I am not the boss of that, and all of Mum's good intentions have fallen through so far this week.

I'm counting on Saturday, though.

Saturday better equal tree, if these Scrooges know what's good for them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh, I yust go nuts at Christmas

I may have overestimated how much I could get done in a reasonable amount of time this year. (As if I haven't done it every other year?)

I'm doing pretty well with my family, so far:

The two people whose names I drew are getting thoughtful and pretty excellent presents, if I do say so myself. I only need wrapping paper for them.

Youngest Nephew & Baby Girl were easy to shop for, and I only need one more thing for each of them.

Both of my grandmothers are getting 'homemade' gifts from Snapfish: a calendar for one, a small book for the other.

I've got Christmas Kellys for everyone's stockings, as well as all the free stuff I've collected all year. (This is a great tip, btw: I'm a freebie fiend, and I sign up for them all year long. This year I've gotten everything from trial size shampoos & conditioners, to finger puppets, to chewing gum. I collect it all year, and will be able to contribute to the stockings pretty easily.)

That said, though, with 12 days left, not nearly enough of my list is completed:

Oldest Nephew, who I don't know as well, has yet to produce a list. And SisterJ, who was supposed to get some ideas for us, can remember only that "He wants a toy that starts with A... Maybe Avia? Something?" As you can imagine, this is not very useful.

Blogger Ornament Exchange: Hello, this means you have to buy and ship an ornament ASAP, fruit loop. Yeah, I probably should've thought of that before I signed up, right?

Same goes for the Spoonie Secret Santa exchange, from the But You Don't Look Sick messageboards. Must now by and ship Spoonie presents.

*I really want to participate in these things, by the way. I just have to get over the idea of the 'perfect' present, and do my best for each. I already have some great ideas, from reading my BOE blogger's site & my Spoonie's 'about you' page. It's the getting out there to shop now that it's too late to online shop for these presents thing that's a worry.*

I also still need presents for my best friend/ex-college roommate; SisterC & her boyfriend (who declined being included in the swap, b/c they are difficult & let's not even go there, b/c then I will rant about buying presents for people that I don't really like and how impossible it is); & birthday gifts for Mum, SisterC & her boyfriend, Dad & SisterJ (we're in the middle of my family clump, people; everybody but me and the kids has their birthday between November & February).

So, it's split about 60/40 right now. 60% done, 40% to go. Not too bad, but I'd like it to be better.

How about you guys? What's your ratio lookin like?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We three

Rennifej, over at 100 miles from where, had a meme up the other day, and, as we all know, I like to steal them. (PS, if you spell my real name backwards? The beginning of it is a curse word: so Rennifej has one up on me.)

So, here's the Three Meme

Three things that scare me: losing the people I love, never getting better, being too afraid to do something I should do
Three people who make me laugh: Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert (who I am counting as 1, because, to me they are like salt & pepper: Don't spilt them up), Dane Cook, Baby Girl
Three things I love: My family, reading, far away friends
Three things I hate: people who won't do the right thing, being late, not standing up to bullies
Three things I don't understand: the Former-Family-people-upstairs-situation, inequality, why change takes so long
Three things on my desk: my pills, piles & piles, a printer in need of a cord
Three things I'm doing right now: talking to you nice people, listening to a movie, wondering about dinner
Three things I want to do before I die: be well, have kids/grandkids, live on my own
Three things I can do: I can make beautiful flowers out of Playdough/Modeling Clay (and I can make the playdough/clay myself too), play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit, & write strong letters for/against vital issues
Three things you should listen to: Your parents & your kids (as much as possible), something that helps you relax
Three things you should never listen to: bullies, smoke alarms, the majority 'just because'
Three things I'd like to learn: what the hell CFS/ME is, and how to cure it; why people don't make the changes that need to be made on important issues like Global Warming or Iraq; how to decorate a cake
Three favorite foods: White Chocolate, melted cheese, and a perfectly ripe piece of fruit (but not together)
Three beverages I drink regularly: water, tea, root beer
Three TV shows I watched as a kid: Only three? How's about Romper Room, Duck Tales, & Special Delivery (random enough?)

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


And here, that means parade of the Christmas Kellys.

Did I mention I still live with my parents, and therefore have one, relatively small, room of my own? And how I try to save all my energy right now for vital things: like people, and presents, and cards; rather than decorating?

Hence the parade of the Christmas Kellys. Little dolls are the best I can do, people.


Plus, they're sooo cute, aren't they?






Lest you think I am a grown woman who plays with dolls all day, I must explain how the CK parade came to be: The Christmas Kelly tradition started about 4 years ago, when I saw a Kelly, dressed in her Christmas best, that had one of my sister's names. And she had this look, like my sister gets. And the more I looked around, the more I found Kellys that were like my sisters (One with giraffes, another playing an instrument, etc). So every Christmas, they each get one in their stocking. (And I treat myself to my favorite, too.)

Then, last Christmas, I got a package with 5 of them together. So now, we have the Christmas Kelly Parade.






That's my Monday Confession: my Christmas decorations are dolls.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hark the Herald Angels sing....

to taking it slow.

I'm definitely NOT multitasking.

Listening to a couple of Christmas tunes that I've downloaded onto my computer (Actual hours of Christmas music downloaded? 30+ So, I'm a big Christmas music fan... wanna make something out of it?)

But what I'm NOT doing is multitasking.

It seems like whenever I have a minute, I feel the need to fill that minute with something that needs to get done, some item I can check off of my neverending list. And that's a problem for anybody. And it's an even worse problem for someone with my health issues.

Ignoring the needs of your body and all those other things I've learned the hard way to pay attention to, is a bad idea for me: well, for anybody.


Downtime is a CFIDS/FM requirement, and I forget that at my own peril.
(real downtime not trying to do three or four different things while you're supposed to be resting)

But December rolls around with all its additional stressors and pressures, (when I've a hard enough time dealing with my everday ones), and I do more than I should.

But tonight, I'm not going to.

I'm just going to lay down, close my eyes and listen to the music.

:ahhh:

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Red, (no green)





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Here's me, circa Christmas 1980, in my red outfit, in my Grandmother's red hallway.
My eye happens to be black: no one can remember why, but it was our 2nd Christmas in a row with a black-eyed kid on Santa's lap. Also, I am eating a stuffed Bert. Classy.






Friday, December 08, 2006

(Secret) Santa Baby

I know I've said this already, but, wishing is hard! I mean, I could think of lots of things to wish for other people or things like feeling like a normal person again, for myself, but doable, realistic-type wishes? I repeat: hard!

But... I've got a couple. First: the rules and all that fun stuff: I found out about it through Writing Aspirations. The rules she posted follow:

------------
If you would like to participate as a Secret Santa Blogger, here is what you should do.

1. Tell me via email or comment that you'd like your name on the participant list (or not if you don't want me to list you).

2. Create a post with your "wish list". Tag it "Secret Santa" so it's easier to search.

- If you have items that need to be mailed, be sure to leave a way for a secret santa to send you something. (Either your address or give your address to a friend blogger [yes, you can use me] and then leave a note like: If you want to mail me something - email my friend at "whatever" to request my mailing address - that way it's still a surprise and you aren't sharing your address to the world)

3. Grab a button to use on your site.

4. Put the button in your sidebar and have it link to the post of your wish list.

5. I'll create a post of participants and create a button that will link to a page of those participants.
- send me the link to your wish list or secret santa post so that I can include the link to it on the list of participants.

There you go! This is just for fun. This is completely voluntary and there are NO promises that you'll receive anything. Your wish list can be silly and include things like: "I wish someone would show me the code to align the buttons on my sidebar" or "I wish I had a button of a pretty ornament" to something more serious like "I would like a gift certificate to Borders" or even "I wish someone would get me a car."
---------------



And now... My Wishes:

I wish... people cared more: Pick a charity, any charity; donate. Write your congresspeople. Sign a petition. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Just DO something! (& if you do, drop me a line, leave me a comment: let me know you care too.)

My most selfish wish? A couple of days in a nice hotel, with big, fluffy pillows, a hot tub and some room service. Because I haven't had a vacation in a really, really long time, and while my ultimate vacation would be one where I could leave my body behind, I know I'm going to have to bring the stupid thing with me. So, a nice rest: a couple of days with a hot tub to soak in, a comfy bed that isn't my own to settle down in, watch some movies, call my friends, eat some cake or something. A nice, cozy wish.

My most unselfish wish? A couple of days/weeks/lifetimes of maid service for Mum. I know just how hard she works, just how much a toll on her health my ill-health has been. To make things easier for her, in whatever way, for however long? It would make my heart happy.

I wish... people would want to share their good news as much as they want to share their bad (myself included). Sometimes it's hard to be positive when you're in my situation, and I don't want to get stuck in the negative. Othertimes, I'm feeling ok with where I am, and then it seems like everybody wants to tell me all about how horribly their day sucked. I'm looking for good news people: it's the season for it, at least.

I guess I'd wish for gift certificates: E-bay or Amazon: the thrill of the hunts would probably be that much better if I could afford to buy something! Or Snapfish credits (because I go through those things like CANDY)!

I wish ... I knew a way to incorporate the 2 tablespoons of flax Seed my doctor reccomends into my diet without wanting to throw-up.

I wish ... you'd tell me the best book you've ever read. Or the book you love the most right now. Or about any book(s) that makes you happy.

I wish ... the world smelled less. Perfumes are bad, people. Think of the number of smells each person wears before they put on their perfume: soaps & lotions; deodorants; shampoos, conditioners, gels, hairpsrays, & mousses; makeup & nail polish; assorted powders, laundry detergents, etc. And then you try to cover all that up by adding yet another smell? As one with a supersensitive nose, let me just say: Please stop. It doesn't work. The world would be a lot dangerous for me (& other, chemically sensitive people) if you skipped the perfume today.

I wish... I knew how to back up my blog without cutting and pasting each & every post (Someone tried to show me in the comments once, but I still don't get it).

I wish... I had some of these. White chocolate, minty goodness.

---------------
There: white chocolate, charity, pillows & positivity; not too shabby.

If you want to play, click the Writing Aspirations link above, and she'll hook you up. (You can also contact her if you were thinking of filling any of my wishes & needed my personal info.)

Play along, guys: I'd love to be able to fill some wishes this Christmas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Somewhere in my memory...

I meant to have my Wishes up today, but I'm having a hard time coming up with them still. Hopefully, tomorrow. Also, Poetry Thursday isn't on for today, because I haven't found the poem I wanted to post (and I'm too damn stubborn to post something else).

So, for today... How's about this:

-----------------------------------------------


I'm searching for a very specific Night Before Christmas coloring book for my Mum. It is the ultimate Night Before Christmas coloring book, and was the object of many fights during my childhood. The pictures were so delicate & detailed that we colored them with colored pencils, and the youngest siblings were banned from the book until they were old enough to stay in the lines. Somehow, over the years, our copy has disappeared, and every year, my Mum sighs over the fact that we don't have it anymore.

Since I've learned about the joys of E-bay, I've been searching for it, but I don't really have any of the details that E-bay searches require. So I've been slogging through a fair amount of coloring books, looking for this one particular book.

The things the search has turned up are varied and interesting. There's a Santa I find scary, a bunch of books that look interesting (& that I would probably buy if I weren't on a quest), and then ... There's this:




Um... I realize I may just have a sick and twisted mind, but ... there's something 'off' about that picture, isn't there?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

He's makin' a list...

Today we went to the Mall for one of my favorite holiday days: the Santa Picture.

Moms all know about the Santa picture, don't they?

I've said it before, I'm not a Mom, just a SuperAuntie. One of my favorite responsibilities as SuperAuntie has been the Santa Picture. We took Oldest Nephew the year he lived with us, and have taken Youngest Nephew every year since he was born, and today we took Baby Girl with us for her very first Santa Picture.

Since we've been doing this for years, we know where the "Good Santa" is, so that's the mall we go to. Oh, don't think that every mall Santa is the same, my friends. There's the cheap "Oh-my-god-he-just-came-from-happy-hour" Santa; the "Ok-but-I'm-pretty-sure-his-suit-is-made-from-polyester" Santa; the "He-is-seriously-THE-Santa-come-straight-down-from-the-North-Pole, and-even-though-I-am-a-grown-up-I'll-just-whisper-my-wishes-in-his-ear-as-we-go-by" Santa, and a whole spectrum of Santas in between.

We're lucky in that a "Great Santa" is at a mall about a half hour from our house. It's not too long a trip, and the mall has relatively good stores. Not that we get to do any shopping on Santa Picture Day. Ha! To any plans that even resemble shopping on Santa Picture Day.

No, no. Santa Picture Day is about WAITING. WAITING.
And did I mention WAITING?

First, you find the entrance to the maze that is the Santa line. You wind through the maze, in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, and singing so the baby knows you're behind her; keeping your eye on the six-year-old who's two steps ahead of you. You head forward until you bump up against all your fellow queue-ees. Every year, the Santa line is an odd mix of people: Moms in their stirrup pants and stained t-shirts, holding the hands of two three-year-olds in their Christmas best. Another mother, obviously on her lunch hour, frantically peeking at her watch, not even bothering to remove her coat while she cautions the 7 year-old she took out of school not to DARE getting that juice on his vest. A soon-to-be gawky preteen rolling her eyes at her mom, and her brothers, and Santa, and the world.

And the mood of the line varies too: One year, Youngest Nephew made such good friends with the 2-year-old Asian girl in front of us that they posed for pictures together while we waited. (The ones of them hugging always get a "who's this??" when people flip through the family albums.) Another year, we were stuck between a Mama-Nazi ("Don't sit on the floor; don't lean on the ropes; don't stand too close to the wall; don't sit on the bench; don't play with your shoes...) and a baby who spilled her juice all over her outfit: Her mum panicked, asked US to watch her while she ran into a store, so that they wouldn't lose their spot in line. (She rethought it pretty quickly, but damn...)

This year, we did OK: A mother and grandma with two boys (probably 3 & 8) in front of us; three kids (4,8, & 11) and their mom behind us. The three-year-old ahead of us was charming and sweet, and gabbed and played with the baby & Youngest Nephew, me, Mum, anybody who would listen. His brother sat quietly and read a book. The kids behind us mostly kept to themselves.

Our kids were excellently behaved:(She says, fingers crossed, knowing full well that this was a lot of LUCK, as other years have resulted in TOTAL MELTDOWNS in line. Being prepared ... Hello stickers! And binky! And bottle! Also had a lot to do with this year's success.) I brought a little paper and crayons, stickers, so Youngest Nephew could decorate his Xmas List for Santa, which he did between hugs for me & trying not to impale himself on the points of the fence they used to herd us. (I don't understand why they think these wrought iron fences are a good idea for holding a line full of small children, but nobody asked me.) Baby Girl ga-ga-ed for the first 3/4 of the line, then fussed a little for her bottle, and calmly drank it while we moved closer to our goal.

Speaking of 3/4 of the way through the line, did I mention that that is when word started to make it's way backwards to us that Santa was leaving for lunch at 2:00?

And that it was then 1:50, and we'd been waiting in line for 50 minutes?

Now, I bet you can guess just how quickly the mood in our line changed. Oh, yeah. There were some pissed of parents/grandparents/Super Aunties. We were all throwing that, "Can you believe this ??" look to each other, gearing up to fight for our rightful place in line. Grumbles of "Well, if they think I'm leaving after waiting this long..." Or "They should've closed off the line if they knew they were going to lunch...." grew louder as the clock ticked closer to 2:00.

Thankfully, the elves thought better of trying to cross the angry mommies, and Santa stayed long enough to see through the end of the current line. Those were some wise elves.

Youngest Nephew did his personal best with Santa: he introduced himself, talked about his list, smiled big for the pictures. Last year's discomfort and "get me outta here!" seemed to have passed. Baby Girl did ok... She just kind of stared at him for a few minutes, looked at all of us like... "Um..Hello? I don't know this guy!" then tensed up a bit. But she looked at the camera long enough before totally panicking that the picture came out beautifully.

So, although there was 1:15 minute wait, & despite the insane prices for the pictures ($29 for ONE SHEET, people!), & the fact that I'm so sore from sitting I want to curl up in a ball and die, Santa Picture day is still one of my favorite holiday traditions.

Looking at this picture, is there any doubt about why?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And so, I'm offering this simple phrase...

Refinnej, from 100 miles from where, has posted a Holiday Meme. And I think we all know that I can't resist the call of a good meme (meant for me or not).

1. EggNog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate, with Fluff.


2. Does Santa wrap presents, use bags or just sit them under the tree? Oh, I'm a big wrapper. I love wrapping, it's something that gets me in the spirit.


3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We're a white house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Not in years, thankfully: I've never had anybody to kiss underneath them, so they were always more annoying to me than anything else.

5. When do you put your decorations up? A little bit at a time, starting after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Pumpkin Pie.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Just the feeling; the aura, I guess; of everything Christmassy. It felt like love.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Oh, once I suspected, I was a total spy: comparing notes with my cousins, all the older kids. But evidence was sparse, and I really wanted him to be true. Until, one Christmas Eve. Our family's tradition was that the whole family would meet at our house, head to the Children's Christmas Eve Mass, to come home and find that Santa had left us a little preview of our gifts. A letter and a small present each. That year, I was probably 11, Former Aunt had apparently been in charge of our letter from Santa. Doofus that she was(is), she wrote a PRACTICE letter first, using my notebook. AND LEFT IT THERE! Proof was secured, and that was the end of that. (Although Santa, as a symbol of the season? I totally still believe!)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Every year

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Sentimentally, mostly. My sister & I are the only ones at home with Mum & Dad this year though, so maybe we'll try something new.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I agree, this is a both. I love it because I don't have to shovel it or go out in it. But I hate it b/c Mum hates it, and if we do have to get someplace, she's a nervous driver in snow.

12. Can you ice skate?
Used to was, I could...


13. Do you remember your favorite gift? As a child, it was a dollhouse, homemade, just for me. As an adult? It was one I gave, to Mum, a Kincade nativity set. The pieces kept coming for a year, but she was so happy with it; each time they came it made her smile.

14. What's the most important thing about the holiday to you? My family, the spirit, the togetherness (which, in my family, does not exclude fighting, screaming or adult tantrums, unfortunately)


15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Punkin Pie.


16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Taking the kiddos for there Santa pictures


17. What tops your tree?
An angel, usually

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving. But also opening (that slow, lifting-each-piece-of-tape-separately kind of opening that so torments my siblings).

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Oh Holy Night


20. Candy Canes or Chocolate Covered Cherries? Candy Canes. Cherries are ick.

21. Favorite Christmas movie: Nostalgia-wise, I've got The Muppet's Christmas Carol, The Claymation Christmas, & Garfield's Christmas Special. Newer, I've got Elf and the Polar Express. Of all time, it's probably a tie between It's a Wonderful Life & Christmas Vacation.
So. I'm kind of strange... As if you didn't know that by now.


And because I'm my own kind of person, I'm going to add one:

22. What makes this Christmas different &/or special for you? Well, we've got Baby Girl's 1st Christmas, and that's pretty special. Also, my family's more spread out this year: they've got soon-to-be in-laws to visit with, houses/apartments of their own to decorate: We're spreading out, and that'll be an adjustment on all of us.

As usual, I tag anybody who wants to play. (And anybody who's reading: I know you're out there, come say HI!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Did You Know...

...That there's a group called "Dayglo Abortions"? And

...That their name somehow comes up when you search for Ave Maria?



...That you can put your breakfast (a biscuit) in your robe pocket, and then completely forget that you put it there?


.... That it was yesterday's breakfast?

And that concludes today's public service announcements.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Strings of street lights, even stop lights...

(Yes, I have decided to name my posts with lines from Christmas Carols... wanna make something of it?)

Now, on to the HUNT:




PSHunt


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.

Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.




Light is today's theme, and it kind of stumped me for a while there. But then I thought about all the ways that light can influence a picture.

Too much light, for example, and you wind up with these:















Too little light?



And, sometimes, you wind up with an odd & seemingly impossible mixture of both:


But then there's the times that light makes your picture:








I can't wait to see what you've all done... Happy Saturday!