Archive for December, 2007

I’ve been thinking again. Here’s a sneak peek inside my head. It ain’t always pretty. But keep in mind, you’re just visiting, and I have to live in here!:

  • I don’t often (have I ever? not certain) espouse a political position here. Indeed, at least half of you might be surprised to learn of my political affiliation and my voting record. I cast my votes “per person,” not per party. As I’ve said to a friend, no political party would touch me with a ten-foot pole if I were to speak freely about my various beliefs, values, positions, and the like. I don’t fit in anywhere. But government is interesting and important to me. So I am looking as thoroughly as I’m able, at all major candidates in all major parties.

    In the last presidential election, someone accused me of voting for the person that I’d most like to have dinner with. That is, voting for the personality of the candidate. Since I had reservations about all the candidates’ political ideologies, I can’t really deny the charge. I am more likely to vote for people that I like, or imagine that I would like. There is one major candidate (I won’t say the name) for whom I will not be casting a vote. And yes, it’s not because of policy, it’s because of personality. I know people who have worked for this person. And those people have been cursed, screamed at and verbally abused, routinely, by this person. No votes for you! Then there’s another candidate, whom I thought was very promising, but when I went to the candidate’s website to read about policies, positions, ideas, I found a movement underway to write mean letters to a government official. It wasn’t a petition to get rid of that person; it was after the person had already resigned and packed up. The invitation was to write a “good-bye and good riddance” type of message. At first, I thought, well, I won’t hold it against the candidate, this must be a fansite, and not the official website. But no, it was the official website. I’m sick to death of public nastiness and incivility. From my perspective, a candidate loses respect, credibility, and certainly, any chance at my vote, when he or she chooses to go there. You can be happy about someone leaving without encouraging people to write hateful letters to them. I hope, wish, pray, we can do better than that.

  • I don’t know how to put the “rat’s ass” on this sidebar. I will one day. But it still makes me smile when I see it out there in blogworld somewhere. That’s one of those things that’s hard to explain to those unfamiliar with blogging: “And it is the sweetest, dearest thing; they put little rat asses on their websites, for me (*sniff*) . . . ” But you guys know. xxx
  • Oh, that reminds me. See those three Xs above? They’re hugs. I’ve been putting Xs on here for hugs for a couple of years now. But then someone told me they’re not hugs, they’re kisses. And I was all, “Well, cheez, it’s no wonder I’ve contracted WTF disease if I’m kissing strangers all over the place!” But really, an X represents the arms, crossing around you for a hug. An O represents puckered lips for a kiss. This makes perfect sense to me, and these are the symbols I’ve used ever since . . . 5th grade. Then after that someone called me out on it, I went looking on the innernets as a hole, and it seems that while I am not alone in my usage of the Xs and Os, I am in the minority. Like, 12% see it my way and 88% see it her way. Craziness. I defy you to make an X with your lips (although she did send me a photograph depicting such perversion), AND, if you make a circle with your arms, well wtf kind of hug is that? That’s a ballet position, not a hug. Won’t you cross over to my side?
  • Oh, and while we’re kissing and hugging (vice versa, or not), which internet dating service are you going to use? I’m not going to use one, of course, being all married and whatnot. But I see these TV commercials. The one that says they will accept you as you are, and criticizes that other one that rejects 9 million people a year, or something like that. But if I were going to choose one of those two, I’d try the one that turns some people down, rather than the one that accepts absolutely everydamnbody. Wouldn’t you?
  • Why is it that whenever someone gets emotional, cries, on TV, the reporters and such say that the person “broke down”? The person didn’t suddenly sputter to a halt. Didn’t have steam coming from the hood. No one called Triple-A. A person breaking down . . . maybe a stroke or a heart-attack would be a human “break-down,” but crying? I don’t think so.
  • Wind chimes. I have always wanted some. I was thinking of putting them on my Christmas wish list. I especially like the ones that purport to play a song — Amazing Grace, specifically. I realize it probably doesn’t really play the song, but supposedly, the chimes are in the notes of the song and perhaps by some wind miracle they could align from time to time for a verse or two. But I hesitate. I worry about other people. Do wind chimes bug neighbors? When we have lived near people with them, I have always found them pleasant. But I don’t know if everyone would. Where do you stand on neighbors with wind chimes?
  • Just today, I read the horrific story of two separate incidents of “armed gunmen” (don’t get me started) shooting up the congregants in places of worship in Colorado. Terrible, right? But somehow, the most disturbing line of the article I read was, “The gunman was killed by a member of the church’s armed security staff before police arrived.” Since when do churches have armed security staff? Is this something Jif should bring up at the session meeting tonight? Lord, have mercy.

That’s enough thinking for me, for now. So what have you been thinking?


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Sunday Post

mitten tree

β€œThere is no delight in owning anything unshared.” — Seneca

Matthew 25:35-40

(Sorry so late today. One of those days.)

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I know you’ve been waiting, and now, it’s time! The Third Annual Blog Cookie Exchange will be held next Wednesday, December 12. For the uninitiated, here’s what it looked like last year, and this is what happened the year before.

The tradition was born out of a wish that we “imaginary friends” could enjoy the holidays together. We’d love to share some holiday cheer in person, but since we can’t, this is the next best thing — a virtual holiday open house. By way of explanation, I shall cut and paste from last year’s invitation. Here’s how it works:

Start with some variation of:

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

and/or anything else you’d like to tell us about your holiday celebration. As is the custom here, there aren’t many rules. Whatever you’d like to share is fine — carols, stories, decorations, something new that you’re trying this year, whatever. Here it’s Christmas, but all holidays are welcome. If you don’t celebrate ANYTHING, then your grinchy scroogey ass can just fake it for one day, for goodness’ sake! Make something up! And you don’t HAVE to include cookies, if cookies aren’t your thing. It’s just that “Cookie Exchange” has a nice, Christmas ring to it. Better than, say, “shindig” or “hootenanny,” although it may turn into either or both.

If you don’t have a blog, leave your contributions here in the comments. If you DO have a blog, leave a comment here next Wednesday on the Cookie Exchange post, and we’ll all come to your party, too. I think last year I went to about 40 parties in one day! And I didn’t gain any weight or need a designated driver! So here’s the deal, again. We wanna come to your place and eat your cookies and rummage around in your things and stuff next Wednesday. (Oh, and do post an invitation at your place, if you’re so inclined — everyone is welcome, the more the merrier!)

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I’ve Been Thanking

Most of you have noticed, I began a new page here last month. The Thanksliving page, with the link at the top here. Since I’m trying to keep it up on a daily basis, and since that puppy is going to get longer and longer until it eventually becomes unwieldly, I’ve decided to post the entire month’s entries on the main page at the end (or beginning) of the month, and start a new month on the Thanksliving page (you still with me?). I realize that will wreak havoc on the comments on that page, but wreaking is one of my talents, so that just is what it is. And here is November:

Monday, November 12, 2007. I filled up a collapsible mesh hamper (so thankful for those things!) with considerable difficulty. Neither arms nor legs wanted to cooperate. I dragged the thing to the basement and stuffed the clothes into the washer. Turned the dial, pulled out the knob. Buzz, but no whoosh. That is, motor, but no water. No water. I wanted to sit down and cry. Then lie down and die. I know it sounds melodramatic, but I worked so freakin’ hard to get that far, and was so pleased with myself, not to mention really needing some clean clothes. I called Jif to whine, and he recalled that he had replaced some hoses and maybe had not turned the water back on. That’s all! I laughed and said, “Thank GOD!” and meant it. I turned the faucets, and water came out. The wrong temperatures (Jif must have plumbing dyslexia), but still, water came out. And that, I kid you not, restored my will to live today. I am thankful that when I pull out the knob on the washer, water comes out. And you know what? I might never have been thankful for that specific thing before. And now I know, it’s absolutely a thing for which to be thankful. I expect that there are more people in the world who do not have that luxury, than who do. I’m one of the lucky ones. Lucky, and soon to be wearing clean drawers. My washer runneth over πŸ™‚

(later, same day) OOH! I got another one! A few days ago, I received these earrings and wore them for the first time. Within 20 minutes, after taking LG to a friend’s house, I had lost one. The wires don’t hang just right, and needed the little plastic backs, which did not come with the earrings. Anyhow, I looked everywhere, and it was gone. Today, I found it in my car seat. It was not there for three days of driving that car, but somehow, it was there today. πŸ™‚

Tuesday, November 13. Today, my boss, who is not known for giving compliments, told a group of colleagues, regarding my work with clients, “Susan has a strong presence and is very present…” I knew what she meant. It was a very high compliment. Nice.

Wednesday, November 14. I got a call from my brother, whom I hadn’t heard from in . . . a very, very long time. That was good. And I was only here to receive it because my schedule got all screwed up and I wasn’t where I should have been . . . except that I was. πŸ™‚

Thursday, November 15. I’m thankful that Jif was able to go to “Bring Your Parents to School Day.” I wasn’t; but he was, so I’m thankful. I’m also thankful for his bringing home dinner.

Friday, November 16. I love driving through our neighborhood this time of year. It looks like a paintbox, with all the different colored trees. I’m also thankful for my dear friend, Judith. She’s home for a while with a broken ankle. I wanted to push myself today to go get us lunch and take it to her:
Me: Are you alone today?
J: Yes . . . someone was going to come over but she cancelled.
Me: How about if I bring you lunch?
J: Oh! What are you going to cook for me?
Me: Oh, no. There will be no cooking done by me. I’ll pick up something. What would you like?
J: We have bread here, and turkey . . . ham. You want to have a sandwich here instead of picking something up?
Me: That sounds good.
J: What sounds good? Making sandwiches or picking something up?
Me: I want to come to your house and eat your food.
J: (Laughing) It’s good to have a friend who will say that to you.

It’s also good to have a friend you can say that to. I wasn’t being cheap; I would take her lobster if I could, but the truth was, I feared by the time I drove somewhere and went in and out with our takeout, I would have no energy left to visit with her. I had a fine turkey and cheese on white, and an even finer visit. I am blessed, indeed.

Saturday, November 17
. I’m thankful that we live so very close to LG’s school. We were able to decide at the last minute that Jif could take her and a friend to see a play that their friends were in, and I would stay home, not quite up to the outing. But we could weigh the possibilities right up until a few minutes before the play; and I knew if I really got in trouble, they could come home. When I was LG’s age, my school was a good half hour away from my home. This is much better.

Sunday, November 18. I asked LG to look at a catalog and see if there were any outfits she liked, for Christmas. She picked out one, from head to toe. And it is the one that I have already ordered, it’s already here in my closet! At her age now, that is something of a miracle that I would have chosen something she actually likes πŸ™‚

Monday, November 19. I found a way to help out a friend tomorrow, taking her daughter to my office for a few hours while she takes her son for a medical appointment. The girl is LG’s good friend, and I haven’t been able to help people out much lately. I’m usually the helpee. So I’m thankful that I get to return a favor. I really miss being available, being hospitable; but I’m thankful for the moments in which I still can be.

Tuesday, November 20. First thing upon my usual too-early awakening, as I lay there wishing I were sleeping: on one side of me, Jif snored softly. On the other side of me, the VBD snored softly. They made me smile; being awake isn’t so bad.

Also today, I’m thankful for a doc who calls just to see how things are going. It was the vet, but still . . . The VBD wouldn’t get out of bed yesterday, and later in the day his eyes were pink-rimmed and his “face was puffy” (LG’s assessment), so Jif took him to the vet. He got some antibiotics and some eye goop, and when I saw the bill I thought surely they must have also come home with a late model used car, but no, that was it. And today, when I got home, there was a message from the vet, just wanting to know if Biscuit was improving. (He is.) That’s really nice.

Wednesday, November 21. Today was a little challenging. Thankful for medicine — cough medicine with codeine, to be specific — and for medical insurance, because even when it sucks, it’s better than none.

Thursday, November 22. I met a really nice dog named Stella. She came to Thanksgiving dinner:


Very thankful for pets. (They rarely dog anyone or get catty, when the family gathers for the holidays.)

Friday, November 23. Thankful that one of my photos of the grandkids from yesterday turned out well enough to use in the making of my MIL’s Christmas gift. It’s hard to get six kids looking in the same direction with relatively pleasant expressions on their faces.

Saturday, November 24. Ridiculously delighted by the feel of a hot mug of tea cupped between cold hands. What a wonderful sensation. Then I received a card from my pastor and friend, as I do from time to time. In it was a quote that I may use on a Sunday Post some time: “No one has ever promised that the going will be easy, but there are good companions for the road…”

Sunday, November 25. Thankful for sleep. And for options. New docs to call, new theories to investigate. Thankful for people who don’t give up praying even when it seems not to change anything.

Monday, November 26. Thankful for the ability to laugh, even when the new options don’t work out. And also for chocolate raspberry mousse.

Tuesday, November 27. Thankful again for chocolate, and for laughter. LG thought that “Godiva” was pronounced like, “Go, Diva!” which seems kind of appropriate. We learned this about her last night. Tonight, she and Jif brought me a tiny box of “Go, Diva!” chocolates when they went to Barnes and Noble. πŸ™‚

Wednesday, November 28. Thankful for Junior’s Shoes. I wanted these shoes when I saw them in Kohl’s, but they didn’t have my size. (This is a whole thing with me; I love red shoes, but I digress.) Anyhow, I came home and looked online in Women’s Shoes, but they weren’t there. Then I had Jif take me to another Kohl’s (because I was on a mission; I was obsessed, like the girl in The Red Shoes fairy tale) to see if they had them there. They still didn’t have my size, but I did note that in that store, they were displayed in the “Junior’s” section. Hmmm…so when I got home, I went back online and found them under JUNIOR’S! Woohoo! My shiny red junior shoes are on their way! (Note that I am now a “Junior” in Kohl’s, while two years ago I was a “Senior.”)

Thursday, November 29. I am thankful for Christmas music on my car radio, and for the several neighbors who have their sh!t together enough to have their Christmas lights up and on already. My sh!t, it’s not that together, but I do enjoy and appreciate their efforts. πŸ™‚

Friday, November 30. Thankful for LG’s English teacher, and the way she handled our most recent crisis. Thursday night, LG intended to soak in the tub while reading her diary of Anne Frank for English the next day. Of course, the book fell in the tub. It was hair-dryed and flattened out, but still obviously damaged. LG was very anxious about telling her teacher. This teacher has a reputation for being tough. Truly, from the stories I’d heard about her, I thought her handling of the situation could go either way. I tried to prepare LG for what to expect when she ‘fessed up.

“Honey, it’s not as though she’s never dropped something. She has. She has even dropped a book, I can guarantee it. She may have even dropped a book in a bathtub. It’s a thing that happens sometimes . . . OK, what’s the worst case scenario?”

“She’ll get really mad at me.”

“And . . . what? She’ll take the book from you and hit you in the head with it. Then she’ll kick you in the knee. Bailey [BFF] will jump on her back, and she’ll start spinning around trying to dislodge Bailey, and in the meantime, someone will have called Mr. G, and when he walks in the door, Bailey’s legs will be flying around, because Mrs. McP is still spinning her, and Bailey will kick Mr. G in the face, knocking his glasses off . . . ”

I continued until we all ended up on the 11 o’clock news.

“That won’t happen,” she said.

“Well, OK, but even if it did, even if the very worst happened, we’d all still be just fine. Just tell her and get it over with.”

Ultimately, she wanted to tell Mrs. McP before school, rather than waiting for her class in the afternoon, and she wanted me to go with her for moral support.

At first, when we arrived at the classroom, it appeared things may not go well. Mrs. McP, alone in her room, saw us and said sharply, “Do we have an appointment? I don’t see people without appointments,” and she makes an exaggerated gesture of looking at her day planner, “no, I don’t have an appointment this morning.”

Holy crap. I hold up my middle finger two fingers (a peace sign) and mouth the words over LG’s head, “Two minutes, please?” And she seems to calm a bit.

I extend my hand and smile, “Good morning, Mrs. McP, I’m Susan Fairchild, LG’s mom . . . ”

“Well, of course you are. She’s a clone.”

“So they say . . . ”

At this point LG is tentatively holding the book out toward Mrs. McP, whose eyes and mouth open wide, as she takes the book from LG. “What on earth . . . ”

LG steps up. “I was taking a bath and I accidentally dropped it in the tub. I’m very sorry. My parents said they will replace it . . . ” LG was obviously mortified and sincerely contrite.

Then Mrs. McP steps up. “This has NEVER EVER happened in the whole history of the world.” She is obviously being facetious. “It’s OK. We have extras. Is it readable? Then you can continue to use it for the rest of the unit. The wrinkled pages will remind you to be more careful. You don’t have to replace it. Now, if you had lost it, that would be irresponsible and I would expect you to replace it. But you just made a mistake, had an accident. And more importantly, you took responsibility for it

::tangent::at this point, I inwardly do the “YES!” fist pumping thing::end tangent

and I appreciate that. You are very sweet and very responsible for coming to me and telling me what happened.”

And LG continued her day feeling good about taking responsibility for a mistake. And I wrote a “thank you for helping us teach her that” email to Mrs. McP.

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Sunday Post


“It is difficult to steer a parked car, so get moving.” — Henrietta Mears

Isaiah 30:21

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