Archive for December, 2005

Year in Review

It’s that time of year. Everywhere you look or listen, people are looking back over the events of the past year. The most interesting people, the most compelling news stories, the top 100 songs . . . I always enjoy those retrospective things, so I decided to get in on the act by reviewing the goings on of 2005 here at What Was I Thinking? (Plus, our extended family Christmas celebration was postponed until Monday, AND we’re hosting the church New Year’s Eve party, AND I’m not feeling well, so I have no time or brain cells to come up with something new!)

All in the Family

*This is one of my first, and still one of my favorite, stories I’ve written here, about LG’s birthday party.

*And this one reveals how we got our last name.

*Now the truth can be told: Jif’s Mom is a porn peddler!

*The responses to LG’s guest post were very enjoyable to us . . .

*And so was the Sunday Post that featured baby LG.

It’s fun to laugh at yourself, it’s a tonic, tried and true . . .

Do you recognize that? It’s the theme song from the old Candid Camera show. If you only knew, how many times in my “I Love Lucy (on Crack)” life I have looked around for that camera, because, really, these things just don’t happen . . .

*Who gets their ass kicked in a department store fitting room?

*Who writes a post all about her own ass? (oh, oh, you MUST read the comments to this one; actually, PLEASE read the comments to all of these posts here; comments are most often the best part of this blog 🙂

*Who tries to sell photos of her in-laws at a yard sale?

*Who raises a kid in a crack house, and has the kid commenting on the size of old ladies’ bottoms? (Hmmm, is there a pattern of subject matter here?)

On the Job

I don’t write much about my work, but here are a couple . . .

*I can’t always say what I am thinking, except in a blog post . . .

*And this one isn’t so much about me, but about what can happen when a therapist takes some wrong turns.

I Smell a Rant

I do try to keep it positive here, but every now and then I gripe a bit . . .

*like when people behave badly with cell phones

*or when people in restaurants make false promises to me.

Partial Nudity

*First, I wrote about why I don’t blog naked . . .

*then, darned if I didn’t go a little bit naked here, in probably the best “meme” I have seen in blogworld; I would highly recommend doing it if you haven’t already

*and I wrote very nakedly here about my experience of September 11, 2001

*and this was something completely different for me, a writing style unlike anything else here, when I apologized to a neighbor from my childhood

*and finally, here, my heart was surely naked as I said a final Shalom to my new, but beloved, friend, Sarah.

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

*I couldn’t do the year without including this one, by far the most visitors I’ve had, and actually, the post that still attracts the most new readers — NOT because they’re looking for funny, but because they’re looking for booty!

The Most Fun I Had Here this Year

*First, read this one to see where all the wackiness originated (again, you GOTTA read the comments!)

*Then read this one, because, mostly you wrote it! This one sealed my addiction to blogging, it was so freakin’ much fun!

*And if the previous one hadn’t done it, this one would have. I laughed so hard, the day all the famous people came calling (and by “calling,” I mean “commenting” 🙂

*And most recently, I had a lot of fun pretending to be the Butterball hotline this past Thanksgiving.

Oh, my gosh, what a great hobby this is! I have had so much fun, and met so many dear, lovely, (and only a little bit scary) people. Thank you for being part of my life these past 10 months. And thanks especially for celebrating the holidays with me, and inviting me to celebrate with you. As I told a blogfriend in an email this week, “I found Christmas in blogworld to be quite lovely,’visiting’ with people, wishing them wishes, reading about their celebrations, like going from house to house in a close-knit neighborhood, the kind in which I haven’t actually lived in years, if ever.” Thanks for being such a welcoming neighborhood.

May 2006 bring you good health, a clear conscience, and enough of every good thing, to share. God bless you, friends.


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Angel 2

The best laid plans . . .

What we had anticipated: a traditional candlelight service on Christmas Eve, then some Santa-ing, to bed late, up early, back to church where we would be the nursery volunteers on Christmas Day, then to SIL’s for brunch, then home to prepare dinner for 9 people, including a contingent of Jif’s family.

What happened: A long wait at the pediatrician’s office, where LG’s throat was swabbed and it was determined that she has strep, to the pharmacy, lots of phone calls to cancel/postpone things, some Santa-ing, to bed late, up early, home in pajamas all day, monkey bread with coffee in the early a.m., huge Hillbillian brunch around 1 p.m., abandon plans to cook a “nice” Christmas dinner, afternoon naps, leftover Hillbillian brunch for dinner, playing Jenga and Clue, admiring LG’s creations with her new fashion-design kit, watching bits and pieces of A Christmas Story, Ravens game on TV, asking Jif during evening TV-watching, “Is it really awful to be a little bit thankful that LG is sick?” Jif smiled a little and said, “Maybe a little bit of a blessing in disguise.”

stripe thorat
From LG’s journal


LG, on the phone with the cousins: What did Santa Claus bring you? I got a giant cardboard guy!

Legolas lurks

And on that subject, under the heading “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”: We strategically positioned cardboard Legolas lurking behind the Christmas tree, for the element of surprise. When LG came downstairs in the first morning light, with her sleepy eyes wonderously taking in the array of gifts . . . well . . . let’s just say that a tall, pale, armed stranger standing behind the Christmas tree is not necessarily instantly recognized as a good thing. Oh yea, there will be some therapy bills for that one.

Legolas is my bee-otch!
Now, he’s LG’s and my bee-otch


Context is everything: “May the wind be always at your back,” is a lovely sentiment when used in toasts, blessings, and the like, on special occasions. When back to back with someone in bed, not so much.


Christmas Eve dinner, LG is demonstrating her knowledge of the names of sports teams, for her sportsaholic Daddy. Daddy offers, “When I was little, I was on the Green Hornets.”

“What sport?” asks LG.

“All sports. Every team from my neighborhood was called the Green Hornets.”

“But, you know how we have the Orioles and the Ravens, and we know they play different sports. If you were always called the Green Hornets, how could you keep it straight what sport you were playing?”

“I could tell by what kind of balls were coming at me.”


A phone call to Miss Beautiful, our 5-year-old niece: After a lovely chat with Miss B, I ask to speak to other family members, to wish them a Merry Christmas. “I’m the only one you can talk to right now. The rest of these people are snoring like pigs.”

visions of snausages dance in his head

I hope your day was joyful, and that you, like Biscuit, got some rest 🙂

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card 2005

Christmas Sunday Post ~ a song by Chris Rice

Welcome To Our World

Tears are falling,
hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God

You’ve been promised,
we’ve been waiting
Welcome, Holy Child
Welcome, Holy Child

Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God

Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Isaiah 9:6


file under: &Sunday Post

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A Christmas Eve Story

There is a lady in my church who was probably one of the most brilliant and interesting people I’ve ever met. I say “was,” because, although she probably still is, you wouldn’t know it if you met her today. She was taken hostage quite a few years ago by Parkinson’s disease. She is now in a wheelchair, and although she often still attends church, it is frustrating to her. People want to visit with her, but she can’t think of the simplest words with which to join in conversation. They say that her brain would be fine, except for the effects of the medication she must take, to control some of the physical symptoms. Her intelligence, her sharpness, her physical energy and activity, these seemed to be her essence. People who’ve met her recently wouldn’t know that. By the way, quite a few of the stories I’ve written here came out of an autobiography group that she started, after having written her own.

Yesterday, the church newsletter came, and I was SO delighted to see that she had written something for it. And even more delighted when I read it. I truly can’t discern whether it is so moving to me because Miss Mary wrote it, or because of the story. And if you don’t know Miss Mary, or don’t believe the story, I don’t know if it will do a thing for you. I’m sharing it anyway.

God Looked Down

God looked down on His people, and He did not like what He saw. “I made them to love me and be my friends, but they don’t even know me. They are lost and confused. I sent Moses and the Law, but they cannot keep the Law. I sent them the prophets, but they did not listen to them. I’m going down there myself.”

The angel who stands by God’s right hand was aghast. “You can’t do that!” God silenced him with a look, for the angel knew perfectly well that God could do anything. “But it isn’t fitting for the Lord of all creation to descend on people!”

“When you love someone and they are in trouble, you go to them. That is fitting for me,” said God.

When the angel saw that it was indeed the intention of God’s heart to go, he bowed his head, then raised it and said, “Well, then, we must make arrangements. Will you descend on a stairway of stars? And we must have a golden chariot to carry you in glory through the streets of the city. And a legion of angels to keep back the people. And Gabriel with his trumpet and a band of choristers to announce your coming.”

God laughed. “No, no stairway of stars and no golden chariot. And certainly no angels to keep back the people. I will go to them as one of them. I will live with my people.”

And so the great news spread through the halls of heaven. The cherubim ran and shouted, and the seraphim sang, but the tall angel did not shout and he did not sing.

“Don’t go,” he said. “They will kill you.”

“I know,” said God. And He went.


To my friends in blogworld, this Christmas, may you have the gift of knowing that you are loved. You are SOOOOOO loved. Like Miss Mary says.

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Two years ago, very close to Christmas, I discovered that I had miscalculated my continuing education hours for the year, and in order to keep my clinical license current, I had to get my butt to one more seminar before the year ended. So on December 20th, I was sitting impatiently in a seminar in Washington, D.C., “learning” about heavenonlyknowswhat, and looking forward to the lunch break when I could go across the highway to the large mall for a few last minute things. When the lunch break came, I discovered, in Lord & Taylor, the prettiest scarf you ever did see. And it was the perfect accompaniment to my newly purchased pimp coat.

Later that day, at home, I described the scarf to Jif and LG, heavy on the “it would be so perfect with my pimp coat” angle. Even told them just where to get it, at the L&T store right close to our home. Fast forward a day or two. I was straightening up in the living room, where Jif had left some shopping bags with the advisory, “do NOT look in them.” Shyeah, right. I opened the Lord & Taylor bag, happily pulled out the box, removed the lid, pulled back the tissue paper and . . . oh sh!t. It was not my scarf. I mean, it was a scarf for me; but it was not the scarf I had described. Since when does “jewel tones” mean black, ivory and gray? (A friend later pointed out to me that if the jewels were onyx, pearl and marcasite….yea, whatever.) What to do, what to do? Do I put this back and open it up on Christmas morning and pretend to love it? Or do I let them know it’s not what I wanted, thereby breaking their little hearts?

Thirty minutes later, I was happily walking out of Lord and Taylor with MY scarf, having just exchanged the wrong one for the right one. I put all Jif’s shopping bags and boxes back just so, with the replacement scarf in the box. And I said not one word.

On Christmas morning, when I reached for the scarf box, Jif stopped me and gave a disclaimer. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but when we went to wrap this, we discovered that the cashier made a mistake somehow. It’s not the scarf you wanted…she must have picked up another one on the counter and put it in the box for us. I’ll exchange it for you; we just wanted you to know we did try to get the one you wanted.”

When I took the lid off, I said, “What are you talking about?! This is it! This is the one I saw! I LOVE it! You got exactly the right scarf!” LG and Jif looked at each other, eyes widening.

Jif said, “You mean this, THIS is the one you saw in D.C.? This is the exact scarf you wanted?”

“Yes!” And just as I was about to ‘fess up to my peeking in boxes, and my pre-Christmas exchange, my baby girl gasped and said…


And her Daddy said, “IT REALLY IS!”

And do you think I was going to take that away from them? They were practically glowing, floating, and whatnot, with Christmas miracle joy. What kind of grinch would I be, to shine the cold light of truth on their Christmas story? I’m no grinch. I basked in the glow of the miracle right along with them.

And I only felt a TINY bit guilty about that.

About two days later, out of the blue, Jif said to me, “HEY….. did you find that scarf . . . “

“Yea, I did.” He knows me too well. We decided not to tell LG. Just tonight, at the mall, as we walked through the accessories department in a store, she said to me, “Remember the Christmas miracle scarf?”

“I sure do. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”

“Me neither!”

I’m not telling. Would you?

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the dog is lit

Sunday Post ~ “Our finest gifts we bring (pa rum pum pum pum) . . . “

A few years ago, I waited eagerly for a television special documentary called “Christmas in Bethlehem,” in which, I thought, I would get to see how the birth of Christ is celebrated in the holiest, most reverent way imaginable. When the show finally aired, I was deeply disappointed. There, at the birthplace of my Lord and Savior, the faithful set up little tchotchke booths. They sold all manner of tacky souvenirs. At the appointed hour, there was a fireworks display. I don’t know what I was expecting, exactly, but it wasn’t that. I wanted to see something better, something higher, something somehow superior to that carnival atmosphere. I confess, I judged those people harshly.

But the more I thought about it, the more I understood the celebration there. For those who believe, the Christmas story truly is The Greatest Story Ever Told. What do we humans have, what can we possibly do, to make our celebration of the story a fitting tribute to its meaning? We can’t put a Star of Bethlehem in the sky. We can’t dispatch angels and a multitude of heavenly host, singing praise from above a stable. So we do what we can. In our primitive, limited human way, we say, “WOO-HOO!” by pulling out from boxes, bags, closets, garages, the happiest, most joyful things and stuff that we have. Sentimental tchotchkes, twinkling lights, decorated trees (and dogs). We make and share the best things we can think of, to eat and drink.

And most importantly, we try to bring out the best that we have inside us. We talk about having a “spirit” that we may not think too much about having, the rest of the year. It’s a spirit that encourages us to “adopt” children or families less fortunate than we, and go shopping with their wish lists in hand. It’s a spirit that encourages us to forgive, to reconcile with family, to tolerate people we may label intolerable the rest of the year. It’s a spirit that asks us to pause and consider how to live these days in peace and good will.

I like to imagine that God is delighted with our primitive attempts at acknowledging this occasion, the way a parent is delighted by a kindergartener’s handmade gift. If you don’t believe, as I do, that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” there is still plenty to celebrate. I wish you a joyful celebration of the knowledge that somehow, somewhere, love and truth and hope entered our world, and abide with us still.

Luke 2:1-20

file under: &Sunday Post

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Biscuit Friday ~ Pushmepullyou

Inspired by events at Hoss’s place.

Caption, anyone?

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Welcome to the Blog Cookie Exchange! I hope you brought something good. Oh, look how festive you are! I’m wearing the sweatshirt that only sees the light of day once a year or so, usually at the children’s Christmas pageant at church. Here it is:

Christmas sweatshirt

You can probably make your own with a white sweatshirt and a Sharpie!


I like to cook and bake, but at Christmas time, I’m pretty stressed and try to keep it simple. These recipes are not complicated or sophisticated, but they are the ones about which people always ask, “Did you make your … this year?” Many of my recipes originate with Southern Living Magazine, but then I tweak them. I’m not sure, but I expect that’s how these came to be in my repertoire.

Crumbly Cheese Cookies
These probably should not even be called cookies, because they’re not sweet, not for dessert. They’re more of snack or appetizer.

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (more if you dare)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Beat first six ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended; knead in cereal (it’s OK that it gets crushed in this process). Shape into 1″ balls and arrange on baking sheets. Press/flatten with a fork.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 4 dozen.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
I like these because the cookie part is not all that sweet, in contrast to the kiss in the center.


1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups Bisquick
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 13-oz. package Hershey’s kisses

Beat condensed milk and peanut butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add Bisquick and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.

Shape dough into 1″ balls; roll each in sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately press a Kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.

Makes 3 dozen.


One of our favorite traditions is that of forcing letting LG draw our Christmas card. Here’s her first one, done when she was 5.

LG's Christmas Card

I take her drawing to a little copy shop where they reproduce it and supply the envelopes. Of course, most of you are savvy enough to do this all on your computers without involving the copy shop.

Another tradition is the Jesus Cake. It is important to us that LG always know what the holiday is really about, in terms of our faith. On Christmas Eve, we have a birthday cake for Jesus. I bake it in a star-shaped pan (available at craft stores usually) to represent the Star of Bethlehem, and to remind us to keep following Jesus, and to let our lights shine. The cake is chocolate, to represent the darkness of the world that Jesus entered, and the darkness in our hearts. The frosting is white, to represent the light of Jesus, of God’s love, bright enough to cover all the darkness. We put red candles in the cake, the red to remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and the candle flame to represent the Holy Spirit. There are three candles on our cake, one for each person in the family.

Favorite Gift this Year

My favorite gift to give this year is this little compact purse mirror, from Red Envelope (www.redenvelope.com).

purse mirror

I like girly gifts, and I like silly little pretty things that people would probably not buy for themselves. I got one of these for a SIL, one for a friend, and three for three of LG’s teachers. They are $30 each, engraved with the first name of each recipient. Red Envelope has a free shipping offer right now, and I can’t promise anything, but the two times this season I placed an order for these, I had them within three days, even with the engraving!

I could use some advice in this area, too. The three teachers I bought these for are special, above-and-beyond, with extra-curricular stuff, too. I can’t really spend that much on all of LG’s teachers. I still have four more to buy for. I have heard from teacher friends that they get tons of picture frames, candles and mugs. Personally, I love me some picture frames, candles and mugs, but I guess if you’re a teacher you have enough. SO. Any good teacher gift ideas to share?

What Not to Give

A few weeks ago, one of our little friends was selling candy for her school. We ordered 3 boxes of various kinds, planning to include them in our Christmas gift-giving. Well, on Sunday, little friend brought our 3 boxes of candy to church, along with a statement of the monies due her. The candy boxes were stacked in ascending size order, and tied together with a festive ribbon. They looked very appealing, except:

Sh!t ain't right!

This one had a BIG OL’ HOLE in it!!!! Some varmint had apparently trespassed against our candy. How do you not see this before you deliver it to your customer? Think we could get away with giving it as a gift and pretending we didn’t see? I thought not.

Thank you kindly for coming to the Cookie Exchange. If you’re having people in today for holiday partying, let us know, we’ll come see you, too! If you want to play, show us or tell us:

Favorite holiday recipes
Special traditions
Favorite gift to give
What you wear when you don your gay apparel 🙂

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An update, because I wasn’t quite dorky enough yet. When you come here to the cookie exchange on Wednesday, or when we vist your “house,” tell us what you wear at Christmas time, too. Come on, ‘fess up, you know you have a sweater, a sweatshirt, a tie, some undies or socks, just for the holidays. So tell us, or better yet, show us! (Jessica and Bucky, I swear . . .)

(What’s this about? See yesterday’s post for details. All are welcome!)

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This will be my first Christmas in blogworld. Do y’all have any blogworldwide traditions? Mrs. DoF was here talking about all her holiday baking, which gave me the idea of a blog cookie exchange. Not REAL cookies, but a day to share some of our holiday goodstuff. Like recipes, special traditions that someone else might like to try, a cool gift idea (you know, like Oprah does with her “Favorite Things” show!), anything you’d like to share with other bloggers, for the purpose of making their holidays brighter. Whaddya think? I’m going to post mine on Wednesday, December 14. I know it’s short notice, but if people actually want to cook/make/buy the stuff, they need some time to do it!

If you’re “in,” maybe put up an invitation at your place, too, or email your blogworld friends and relations who don’t visit here.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, please join in, and share with us whatever you do celebrate. And if you don’t celebrate ANYTHING, well that just ain’t right! Pick something and celebrate it!

This is the season to get together and share our best with those who enrich our lives. I’d have you all over for cookies if I could, but since I can’t, this is what I came up with. I know it’s dorky. I hope you’re dorky enough to do it, too 🙂

* Favorite recipe(s)
* Favorite holiday tradition
* Great gift idea

(Anything else you’d like to share, too!)


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