Monday, December 31, 2007

About 133 posts

My first blog, Common Sensibilities, has 988 posts. I'm not sure how many of them came in 2007, but I've been posting there since 2002. Not bad, huh? That blog has changed over the years--if it was a little more literary in the beginning, now it's a little more personal and sometimes Ft. Wayne-oriented. And it's more fun than ever.
We're newbies here. I started this one in August, and you're reading the 133rd post. Thank you everybody who's stopped by! My site stats show a steady, if small audience, and the occasional comment always makes my day.
I wanted this blog to be a little more regular--my goal was to post every day, and I managed to do that til this holiday season (mostly). December's been my downfall! And I came up with the "I woke up thinkin'" theme as a way to keep my posts contemporary, yet personal. Lots of the time, it works pretty good! I wake up thinkin' about a wide variety of stuff. And, knowing I have to write about it, makes me think about stuff a little more interesting than, "Did I pay that water bill," or "Do I have to wash my hair this morning?" or worst of all for the reader, "What am I going to wear!?"
But the fun thing is, if I could come up with a clever enough riff on any of those things, I COULD write about them! And have!
I also promised myself I would not write a bunch of posts that started, "I woke up thinkin' about my dream last night...," because I figured, who the heck wants to hear about my dreams! But I even break than rule once in awhile if I have a nutty enough dream, like the one last night where I was staying in a Hyatt hotel in New York City and instead of an elevator to take you to your floor, you rode a train! A big one! It might have even been a steam train!
I told myself I'd post on this blog til the end of the year, and see how it was going, and if it was still fun, and anyone was reading.
Well, a few people are reading, and it is still fun, so on I go. Come along!
Happy New Year everybody!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

About post-Christmas shopping

Even when I had a lot less funds than I do now, I love to shop post-Christmas.
Not that I hate to shop pre-Christmas, but there is a certain pressure: to find the perfect, or at least a fitting, gift; to get it all done by December 25; to have it wrapped; and to oh please God don't let me lose that receipt so it can be returned for whatever reason.
Post-Christmas, it's all about saving money.
And, I love to save money!
So I set some aside to replenish my supply of the holiday necessities--wrapping paper, gift bags, lights to replace those which have died. Gift tags. Some ornaments I couldn't resist. Christmas stationary for those riveting Christmas letters people wait all year for me to send. Oh, and that understated Christmas top for half-price was not to be resisted. Only $2.50 at Target! Oh, and that Ghirardelli peppermint bark was not to be denied to me. Again: half-price (sense a theme?).
Now, the downside to post-Christmas shopping: worse crowds than I ever, ever, see pre-Christmas.
Today at Target, we could not get in the front door because of the line for returns. I had to push two or three old ladies out of the way.
Oh, only kidding!
It was actually just one middle-aged lady, and I knew I could take her if she resisted.
The dollar aisle was so packed I could hardly reach for that $1.00 Spanish for Dummies book, or the 10-Minute Workout for Dummies, or all that Dilbert stuff (and how happy must Scott Adams be that I could stock up on Dilbert magnets, list pads, and post-its?)?
And the marked-down, 50% off Christmas aisle? Packed with two things--people AND stuff! I could not believe how much Christmas stuff Target had left! It seemed at pre-Christmas levels!
And am I succumbing to marketers when I feel an uncontrollable urge to organize at this time year ... right when they put all the storage containers and stuff on sale? So much so I had to buy six containers, in three different sizes?
Call me impressionable.
So we walked out of Target with quite a potpourri of stuff in the cart--from the Dilbert to the organizational, to the groceries I forgot to get yesterday, to the wine gift bags that were too good to pass up. Hey, I need one for a dinner party tomorrow!
Yea, I probably spent too much money. But I celebrate a year coming to an end where I had a little shopping money, and will put everything to good use. Don't I get kudos for buying NO makeup, especially NO lip gloss (yea, I'm a little embarrassed by how much lip gloss I own).
I'll be home putting stuff in those containers. How about you? What are you organizing?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

About, could we have watched more Christmas movies than we did

Well, maybe, but I wouldn't want to try.
When Tony was little, we had a tape (actually, I think we still have it) with three or four half-hour Christmas shows on it. Rudolph, Year Without a Santa Claus, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, all the good ones. Come December, that tape was a permanent resident of the VCR.
Problem was, Tony didn't want that tape to move from the VCR, so come January, February, and even beyond, I'd come in the room to a Christmas show, Tony stretched out in front of the TV, Buffy the Wonder Dog beside him, perfectly happy to be celebrating Christmas in March.
Yea, he still hears about that.
We had cable back then, but nothing like the plethora of channels we have now. And no DVR. I don't know if little boy Tony could have survived all the Christmas show choices available to kids nowadays.
So what did we watch this Christmas?
White Christmas, of course. I think I saw it three times. Once while we wrapped presents (a tradition), once when it was on the CW (a horribly edited version with all the musical numbers either shortened or edited out), and once with my dad on Christmas Eve. My mom hates Bing Crosby, so this last viewing was extremely interesting with her commentary, which mostly consisted of her announcing every time he came on the screen, "Bing Crosby! I hate him! He can't sing either!"
Greg hates It's a Wonderful Life, and I love it, so this year I bought it and brought it to watch with my dad, who at least doesn't mind it. I am always a little surprised at that movie's length (no matter how many times I see it)-- by the time Clarence the angel comes, I'm thinking it's about over, and instead, there's lots of drama left. But I love Jimmy Stewart's performance, and Donna Reed is luminous, and ya gotta love little ZuZu.
And, last but not least: A Christmas Story. Over and over. The three different houses I was at on Christmas, all had Ralphie and family on for at least part of the time. So I got to see the poor kid with his tongue stuck on the flagpole, the awful visit to Santa, the fight, the turkey incident, the opening of the BB gun. Several times. My dad likes this movie because lots of it was shot in Cleveland, and of course the house whose exteriors were used in the film has been restored to match the movie house, and you can visit it. And it's set in Indiana, so we have that connection, too. And, it's just fun.
We didn't sit glued to the TV. We talked and ate and opened presents and laughed and sometimes we laughed at the movie that was on, and sometimes we ignored it entirely. And sometimes we even turned the movie off and had Christmas music as a calmer background to a busy, happy day.
How about you? What as the background to your Christmas?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

About what to do on Christmas

And this is what kept going though my head.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

About when Christmas comes early to our house, as observed by a two-year-old

[Found a copy of this letter in my sent file, I think Taylor, 2, usurped my Gmail again. Beth is a family friend.]

Dear Miss Beth,

Hello, how are you? It's me Taylor.

Beth, they are at it again here. I went over to my Mama D's last night and chaos was everywhere. Aunt Jayme was cooking dinner! Papa was late getting home! Daddy had to work late too! And even Mama said she "had to go to Walmart" and kept us waiting 'til she got there! Caroline was taking a nap and McKenna woke up and wanted to take all the toys! She is so hard to control!

Well, then they made us eat dinner, which was potatoes! What are we, Irish!? (Oh yea we are.) And they put a bunch of stuff on the potatoes and acted like it was something special. I mean, why put pizza stuff on potatoes? Or that yellow cheese? Or chili? They gave me no chocolate at all!

Then, Daddy and Papa and Tony made all us kids put on our coats AND OUR SHOES and leave! To look at "lights"! Beth, we had perfectly good lights in the house. Why did they drag us out in the cold to look at more?!

Well, we had no more looked at one pathetic house when they announced it was "time to go back"! What was up with THAT! So they turned around and back we went to Hearthstone Drive.

When we got there, something had happened. There was no room to walk. There was stuff all around that Christmas tree thing they are so shot with.

And then people started opening all the stuff! I'm not sure, but somehow Papa knew which thing to give which person, because everyone seemed to get stuff they liked, like the helicopter for Julian and the mirror for my mom. But how did Papa know? I'm figuring that out.

And why did we all get presents? All I could figure out it was some kind of big birthday celebration for everybody all at once, so I just joined in and shouted "It my birthday" and "Happy birthday," over and over, then for a treat for all of them, sang "Happy Birthday to You" several times. It must have worked, cos I really like the AquaDoodle and the Dora book and the play kitchen I got. And Papa got us a red wagon, too.

When I said "happy birthday" once, Daddy said it was Jesus' birthday. I looked around and saw no one named Jesus there, but if he shows up, I am NOT sharing that AquaDoodle with him. He can just get his own.

Well, as if this all wasn't bad enough, Mama announced that now we had to get rid of all the furniture! Beth, what in the world was she thinking? Does it mean if people give you presents, you have to chuck your furniture? What kind of birthday present is THAT?

So, Papa and Daddy and Tony took all the furniture away! I was afraid they were going to start taking the toys away too, so me and McKenna took some of ours and hid under the table.

Well, by the time we left, the room was empty. Mama said somebody was bringing her new furniture tomorrow. Maybe that Jesus is bringing it! Just in case, I made sure my AquaDoodle was in the car. This whole situation has got me cautious about my stuff.

Anyway, Beth, I'll keep you appraised of the goings-on here. Just don't be surprised by anything.

I hope you and your family have a nice Christmas-thingy, whatever that is, and if presents show up under your tree, hide 'em fast. Your furniture might be disappearing, too.

If you need a few choruses of "Happy Birthday," give me a call, I'm available.

Your friend, Taylor

Thursday, December 20, 2007

About pushin' the panic button

Hallmark has a couple little characters named Hoops and Yoyo, and I've sent way too many of their themed e-cards to family and friends over the last couple of years. I don't know what kind of creatures they are supposed to be--Hoops is, I think, the pink one, and has ears like a cat (or dog) and a tail; Yoyo is green and has longer ears, like a rabbit. Mostly, they are themselves. They have high, squeeky voices and they talk really fast and also sound as if they've inhaled helium. They sing well! Mostly, they are really, really cute and funny.

Now, maybe you've seen the commercials for Staple's Easy Button? Solves all your problems (office and otherwise) with just a press of the big red "Easy"? Well, because life is NOT easy, Hoops and Yoyo have a button too! And, it's more realistic!

Yes, it's the Hoops and Yoyo Panic Button! When your Easy Button is just not doing it for you, here's the answer. Just succumb to panic!

Greg got one of these for Christmas from one of the young woman with whom he works, and he's implementing it both at work and home. No more problem-solving in either place. We're just going right to mayhem:

"Stay calm. Stay calm. On second thought...PANIC!! (panic sounds)"

I'm dying to get one of these for my office, but on the web site, it says "pre-order now for 2/11/08"! These things are flying off the cybershelves (and probably the brick and mortar shelves, too, I guess).

Looks like I'll be trying to keep calm until February...but after that, watch out! WAAAAAHHHOOOWWWEEEE!

How about you? With Christmas less than a week away, is it calm ... or PANIC?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

About Santa Baby

Keeping on a Christmas musical theme. I have another one stuck in my head. Unfortunately. It's Santa Baby--the Madonna version. And I have a problem with that. To me it doesn't sound all that much different from the version I grew up with--by Eartha Kitt. (And how old are you if you know who SHE is? You know, young folks--Catwoman in the OLD Batman series.) To me, she's a familiar old friend from the Mike Douglas/Merv Griffin talk show days.
Why remake a song if you're just going to sound just like the original? Why bother?
So to get the song OUT of my head, I've done a little research. The good news is, I learned more about Eartha Kitt, Madonna, and Marilyn Monroe than I anticipated. The bad news is, of course, the song is still in my head.
So, here's a little of what I've found. First, the lyrics:
Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,
For me.
been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I'll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you'll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that's not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there's one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your 'X' on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's,
I really do believe in you,
Let's see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don't mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.

I discovered the following:
The very popular version of "Santa Baby" (also found in the film, "Party Monster" (2003)) thought to be sung by Marilyn Monroe was instead recorded by Cynthia Basinet for Jack Nicholson as a Christmas gift.(Did you know she died with a phone in her hand?)

Okay, now you decide for yourself. Here's a couple YouTube offerings, one of Eartha. The second is of Madonna, and it's not the actual video of her version of Santa Baby. You can view that on YouTube, but not embed it.

Well, what do you think? Eartha, or Madonna?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas tree poll results

We had two votes for no tree; two for "tree is in the attic"; one was up and decorated, and one was "still on the lot."
Be sure to vote in the new poll: What's your favorite carol?

About caroling

People don't sing like they used to. They listen to music on their iPods instead.
We were at a concert the other night and my 10-year-old grandson's ears perked up during one selection. "I can play this song on my recorder!" he said.
It was Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.
When I was 10, I could sing all three verses with my eyes shut. Also, all the verses to We Three Kings (I love the one that starts, "Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume").
We sang carols everywhere: Sunday School, church, school. We had a Christmas cantata at church, a Christmas program at school, a Sunday School program. Our Girl Scout troop went caroling around our tiny little town. People gave us hot chocolate and cookies. (We still froze.)
We had Christmas records on at home and the Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concert was a favorite on TV on Christmas Eve.
Most of us have lost the casual singing from our lives, I think.
Oh, the carols are around, in the Muzak at the mall to the all-Christmas, all-the-time radio stations. Folks who go to church still hear the classics, and even sing them on Sundays.
But for most of the, the chance to belt out a good ole carol is limited to the last-song-sing-a-long at a concert or maybe some furtive lip-syncing in the car.
I had been thinking about this, as my son-in-law had taken the time to teach his Cub Scout den some carols, then took them caroling at a nursing home. I have him major props for this.
Then this morning, an article in USAToday:
"Caroling or silent nights? A holiday tradition vanishes" by Maria Puente. "It's an appealing notion: Spread cheer without leaving the warmth (and the giant-screen TV) of your own home. Must be why YouTube boasts more than 300 caroling videos.

"But has it come to this? Except for pockets of passion, traditional, in-person neighborhood caroling is practiced by a shrinking fraction of the population."

So it's not just me. Only 6% of the population plans to carol.

One time when my kids were little, we actually did just carol around a neighborhood. Our friends organized it, we had guitar accompaniment, and a dozen or so grownups and kids sang our way up and down their street.

We were freezing, is mainly what I remember.

But I'm glad we did it, and I'm glad my kids had the chance to carol in the old-fashioned way at least once.

But I doubt they know all the verses to Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, either.

Well, how about you? What carols are you singing?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

About WHAT! More snow!

The snow yesterday was kind of like when the Whos in Whoville beginning singing after they've discovered that the Grinch has taken their presents. It started in slow then in started to grow.
We saw it on the radar long before it fell to the ground. Finally about noon or so we saw actual flakes.
At times we had what they call on TV a "wintry mix" which means a miserable bunch of snow, rain and sleet all together for awhile. I would called it a "miserable mix."
But mostly we got snow, and it got harder all day. Still snowing like crazy at 8 a.m. Blowing a bit too.
The snow blower got put to use, and the front porch got shoveled, and inside it's cozy and smells like coffee and cinnamon rolls.
Now it's time to figure out something for lunch, and pretty soon it'll be time for football.
If the weather was nice, we'd be fighting some traffic and mall crowds and shopping and all that.
Instead, outside it looks a lot like Christmas, and I'm going to stay home and enjoy it.
The stores will be there tomorrow.
How about you? In or out?

Friday, December 14, 2007

About Christmas parties

Because on Wednesday, I had two in one day, and I'm not over them yet. Next time you see I've helped planned two parties for one day, just slap me. Because I deserve it.

Even though we had a good reason for having them both on the same day: an outside editor was in the office on Wednesday, so it was nice to include him. (He usually "attends" meetings, etc., by concall.) And we had the ladies' party Wednesday evening because so many people were busy other nights.


The first party was a breakfast carry-in. I was responsible for party favors, and found angel mugs filled with tea or candy for everyone. Yea me! I had signed up to bring donuts, so that necessitated a stop before work to pick up a dozen. My dozen donuts joined a feast of egg cassaroles, breakfast cheesecake (OMG. Topped with crunchy cinnamon), fruit, bagels, coffee cake, and more. I'm not a big breakfast eater, but when faced with breakfast cheesecake, I give in. We had so much food, we had breakfast the NEXT morning, too.

After work, it was the ladies' party, off-site. This necessitated a mad dash home, packing up the car with the foodstuffs procured the previous day, remembering all the other stuff I said I'd bring, jumping in the car and tearing to the restaurant to pick up our main courses, and fighting traffic to the party room.


I was a little late, but again walked into a feast: appetizers of cheese and crackers, shrimp, bruschetta bread, summer sausage, pretzels and more. Champagne and wine. Salad, pasta, and bread. Mini-cream puffs for dessert.


We had an ornament exchange after, and did one of those games where a person opens an ornament, then the next person can either pick a new one, or "steal" another one from someone that's already been opened. Hostilities almost broke out when certain particularly beautiful ornaments changed hands several times, but cool heads prevailed and an armistice reached. But I really did want that reindeer ornament in the cool box. Dang!

I survived both parties, though exhaustion has become my friend, and I've got a party or two to go. So I'll be taking my vitamins and trying to go to bed early.

How about you? Are you partied-out?

Monday, December 10, 2007

About ice

Fire and Ice

(From Harper’s Magazine, December 1920.)
by Robert Frost

SOME say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Of winter weather, little is more dangerous than ice.

It hides--black ice, hard to see and easy to fall on or skid your car over.

It shines--so you know to try to slow down, but if you do it too quickly, you ssssllliiidddeeeeeee, probably somewhere you don't want to go, like into another car or a tree or a ditch.

It's heavy--it pulls on power lines and snaps them, it collects on tree branches and bends them 'til they break.

But even still, it's beautiful. This afternoon, the ice still clung to the trees around work, and the fog hung around and it was like being in a words of tree ghosts.

We have a winter storm watch for late tonight and tomorrow. But who knows what it will bring? The front hangs to our south, and we get more ice. A few miles north, and we get a cold terrible rain that chills you to your bones.

Makes me hold to those who favor fire.

How about you? Fire, or ice?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

About how great our tree turned out

Well, it took a tractor ride around the whole Christmas tree farm, ten people weighing in with opinions about the kind of tree (Scotch pine? Frazier fir?), the height (as big as possible! not as big as the whole room!), the fullness (you can see through it! but the ornaments will hang nicely!) to who would cut it down (Tony's got the Carhartt's on! Julian's the Boy Scout!).
We did it, and got it home, and in its stand, and in the livingroom with unbelievable ease.
A couple hours and several dozen trips up and down the ladder later, we had a Christmas tree!
(Douglas fir, perfect shape, seven feet tall, just full enough, cut down by Matt, Julian and Tony).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

About wranglin' a Christmas tree today

Well, y'all, we're off'n to thet ther Christmas tree cuttin' farm, wer ther men-folk and the young'ins will be a-cuttin' down a tree. We'll be a-trekkin' threw ther wilderness at St. Joe's Christmas tree farm, lookin' fer ther perfec pine ta haul inter our house 'n stay fer a month. We're a-hopin' we kin find one wit-out any critters in it, such as the prayin' mantis thingies thet came wit our tree thet one year.
Ther wirther-lady sez thet we mite get us sum freezin' rain but I'm a-thinkin' thet will jest add to the excitement of seein' the men-folk layin' on the wet ground with thet little hack-saw tryin' to get thet frazier fir ta go "timber!"
The littlest ones mite git a little damp 'round the edges but they are hardy critters.
They kin hep us drag thet tree bak up to the payin' place and git some hot coco ta warm up.
We'll be bringin' it home and trimmin' it up, barrin' any unforseen not-human critters bustin' out.
If you kep watchin' this space you jest mit see a pictur.

Friday, December 7, 2007

About finding your own Christmas

Do you ever tire of reading letters like this one:

"It saddens me to see the glory of Christ removed from Christmas. For years we saw Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year emblazoned across storefronts until it became XMAS. Now Christmas trees have become holiday trees, great trees or family trees and traditional Christmas carols are discouraged in some schools." (from the Dec. 4,2007, Huntington, Texas Item)

The perennially recycled "Keep Christ in Christmas" theme--familiar, huh? The writer shares a common worry with many letter-writers at this time of year: the dreaded secularization of Christmas.

We were watching A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight (for the third time this season). This melancholy little gem was first presented in 1965: 42 years ago. And what's it about? Charlie Brown trying to find the true meaning of Christmas among the commercialism of the pink metal trees and Snoopy's garishly decorated doghouse, and the lists of presents his friends want. And find it he does, in the words of a little boy reciting the Nativity story from the Bible, and in the magical trimming of the most pathetic Christmas tree ever.

Charlie Brown, too, was worried about what he saw around him, but acted, and learned.

I was thinking about how the writer of the letter kept looking for Christmas around her, and could only see the lack of it; how Charlie Brown lamented the crass commercialism of the season, and found what he needed in his friends, and his little tree.

And it made me think of this.

Mother Teresa once wrote, in response to a person who wanted to join her in India:

"Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are -- in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. ... You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society -- completely forgotten, completely left alone."

And I realized that, if I could talk to that lady who wrote the letter, I'd recommend she watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" one more time, and then I would borrow some of Mother Teresa's words, and tell the lady, worry not about that which is around you: those things you cannot change. But rather, change what you can:

Lady, find your own Christmas. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right where you are--in your own home and in your family, in your workplace or in your school.... You can find Christmas all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Even at the mall, even in the schools, even at that place with the "Happy Holidays" sign. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society--completely forgotten, completely left alone. Forget the holiday tree and the season's greetings. Remember to live Christmas, because that's what we should have learned from Christ. How to live it.

How about you? Have you found your own Christmas?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

About when angels sing

They just don't care, you know--the little kids don't care about all the social rules that govern us who have grown tall.

They stand on the steps at the front of the sanctuary for their first Christmas program, and they crane their necks looking for their parents and everybody there just to see them. Then they spot their group, their little faces light up, they jump for joy, and they wave madly. And if you look at the audience, you'll see a group responding similarly--suddenly, the grownups don't care who's watching them, either.

And if it's a major accomplishment on the teachers' part to get a group of forty little kids to stay in place for half an hour (and not run with their usual abandon around the place), it's really too much to ask that they stand still. Because they will not. They will jump, they will wiggle their butts, they will bend side to side, they will stretch. Because they must.

And the singing--they don't care if they are singing in tune, or singing softly, or singing in concert with their group, or not singing at all. They give as much of their attention as is preschool-ly possible to the teacher leading them, and all (well, most) of their mouths are moving. Some are to be whispering, some are shouting the words (and sometimes, the wrong words), some seem to be taking a break.

You see rapt attention, and wide smiles, or just curious looks, and sometimes, sheer terror.

You see little people poking their neighbors.

You see big people smiling at each other at the sight.

And when they sing (um, shout) "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus," for a little moment, it's easy to remember what Christmas might be all about.

When they're done, they run down the steps to their moms and dads and grammas and grampas and everyone there who loves them, and get a hug, and an "I'm so proud of you," then they are ready to go get some birthday cake and juice, and no, they do NOT want their picture taken by the Christmas tree.

Which gets taken anyway, thank you.

How about you? Have you heard the angels singing, yet?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

About my commute was going to suck

Sorry, but I hate winter-weather driving, and since it started snowing last night, and a good ole Alberta Clipper was clipping us, I went to bed thinkin' my drive to work would not be good, and I woke up knowin' it wouldn't.
There's a skylight right above my bed, and when it's covered in snow, and I can't see any sky, I know what to expect outside.
I've had some pretty nail-biting drives over the years. Since I drive from Ft. Wayne to Huntington, about 20 miles mostly over a state route, my safety depends on whether the big snow plows have cleared the way, or not.
Today, it was NOT.
Plus, and this was my bad, I had to run an errand that took me INTO Ft. Wayne first. I should have run that errand the day before. Instead, I ponied up in the parade of folks driving into the city. And it was a very slow-moving parade. I tried to smile and wave out my window; unfortunately, I forgot my crown, plus, no one was paying any attention to me, what with their hands clenched to the steering wheel and eyes glued to the snowy road and all.
And it was very snowy. From my house to my errand, no evidence of any snow-clearing.
From the errand on the route back out of town, no clearing, and two traffic slow-downs because of wrecks.
And even when I hit the highway that takes me out of the city and on into Huntington, still snowy! I was hoping the state trucks had gotten out and I'd just have wet pavement to deal with.
It wasn't until I was west of Roanoke that I could see any trucks had been out and I felt comfortable letting my speed creep above 45.
Even then, there was a car backwards in the median.
But I made it to work safely, if lately, and eventually my pulse will slow down.
The snow's stoppng, and my drive home should, repeat should, be better.
But I'm kind of wishing I were fighting sand dunes in Ft. Myers, not snow drifts in Ft. Wayne!
Oh well! What about you? What kind of dunes are you plowing through?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

About the zen of tea

[And since I'm totally American, this is a totally pragmatic interpretation. (And I use tea bags, you tea snobs. I suppose brewing loose-leaf will be my next step, but not there yet.)]

I didn't grow up drinking tea. My parents were coffee drinkers. Instant, at that.

I met my future mother-in-law when I was about 16, and it was then I became a convert, for she enjoyed a cup of good ole Lipton of an afternoon.

Over the years, I discovered the many flavors and kinds of teas, and if that was limited to a little Constant Comment in the '80s, my choices exploded in the '90s, and have positively gone nuclear in the 21st century.

And this would be thanks to the research that shows: tea is practically a wonder food. An antitoxident feast! Suddenly, everyone wants to drink tea!

I was just reading, I think in O Magazine, yet another article about how good tea is for you and just what kind and how much to drink. Although often the advice is that green tea is best, this particular article stated that any tea is good, and that 4 cups or so is a good amount for health.

I'm good with that. I usually drink four cups (sometimes less, seldom more) in the morning and sometimes a cup or two in the evening, especially in cold weather. So my tea health is right up there.

I have gravitated to green teas, way before everyone else did, just because I liked the taste. with a Bigelow Green Tea with Peach being a current fav. And if you've never tried a white tea, Stash has some good ones, White Christmas (with peppermint) currently first on my list. There's also a fusion honey white/green that I can feel detoxifying my body with ever sip. Not really. I just love the lightness of the taste. At least, it's warming me up.

One time at Trader Joe's I got all healthy standing there looking at the teas so I bought some organic super-charged extra-healthy green tea.

Whoa. I might was well as gone out and grabbed some grass from the yard and brewed it. Couldn't drink it.

It's that time of year when of an evening, I brew up some warmness--oh, Celestial Seasonings has some wonderful seasonal teas, an herbal called Sugar Cookie that is Christmas in a cup--and count the calendar days 'til spring. But the tea mug feels good in my hands, and the winter not quite so harsh as I hold it.

How about you? What's warmin' you up?

Monday, December 3, 2007

About just a bunch of stuff

I took the weekend off writing for the first time in a month, since I participated in the National Blogging Month program. It was fun but I really learned to appreciate columnists who have to churn out good words everyday no matter what. I felt like while some of my words were not so bad others, well, really sucked. But I also learned not to care so much because my goal was to write everyday, no matter what, and sucky words were part of the "no matter what."

But the break's over and I'm back to my own goal of writing, if not every single day, most of 'em.

So with that in mind, I started thinkin' about what was on my mind I should write about today. How soon our disciple leaves us, even after just a weekend off! Because my brain just couldn't focus on anything!

Should I write about Christmas? But I didn't get much decorating or shopping done, so all I could write about was me waking up worrying (me and half the population) that I wouldn't get everything done on time. I've got three weeks, so I'll hold off on that post, I might need it in two weeks.

Should I write about my busy weekend? Well, who didn't have a busy weekend? (I'm sure someone didn't but I just can't relate.) Who really wants to read about babysitting, grocery shopping, a trip to Target, some bad weather, the Colts winning, or Ohio State making it to the national championship game (thank you, Missouri and W. Virginia!)? Whoops, you just did, sorry!

Should I write about that bad weather? Now there was a real possibility. Because it got bad fast -- snow to freezing rain that made all the roads skating rinks -- and I had to drive in it with a van full of kids. But the stupid irony -- as bad it was Saturday night -- by the next morning, the temperature had risen, all the ice was gone, and when I went out to get the Sunday paper, it felt like spring. I want to say, that's just not right, but it's just the Midwest.

Well, I've done it. Written about everything and nothing.

How about you? What's you spend you're weekend doin'?

Shopping poll results

The results of our shopping poll are in! It's unanimous: Everyone has STARTED shopping, but no one is finished ... much less wrapped. Take the new poll: what's your tree status?