Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

In honor of Sylvia Day

I just had my annual little cry for Sylvia Day, when I pay special tribute to my first fur baby. (It’s not as though her memory is neglected the other 364 days of the year – I have pictures of her all around my house and her ashes are on my mantle in a lovely little purple piece of pottery.) I recognize that I get super attached to my dogs, and not everyone can relate, but they are my family, and I’m glad I decided to make a little holiday to remember Syl-beast. I read through all the emails and notes people sent me when she died, and it makes me sad, but also happy, to go back in time and remember her funny little quirks and what an awesome friend she was to so many. And I wear the necklace Kristin gave me as a token of healing.  I even got a card in the mail today from Ann Trina. I can’t believe it’s been six years. Bittersweet traditions.

 
I always post pictures of Sylvia on Facebook on her day, and it’s funny to me to see who mistakes her for Ruby, my current companion, but I get it. I don’t have a lot of pictures of Sylvia, at least not compared to camera-savvy Ruby who is a social media icon. But I do have a handful of lovely portraits of Syl and me from a fortuitous event right before it was too late, and it’s one of the memories I always pause on.

 
My then-husband had an opportunity through work for us to pose for a portrait photography class. It was an interesting deal in that they needed test models to practice on, so it was free and you got all the pictures and some of them were great and some were not. We had a time in the future we were scheduled for, and then Sylvia got sick and one of his coworkers asked if we wanted to swap dates with her (thank you, Carol!) so we could go sooner and take Sylvia (which was good for them too – opportunities to practice with kids and dogs were important). At first I thought maybe it was silly, and then I was uncertain if I wanted to subject her to it – I wanted things to be easy for my dog, and I wasn’t sure if it would stress her out. In the end we went, and I’m so thankful for that, because we got some beautiful pictures and it was a lovely moment captured.

 
And it was a nice respite, too. I was devoting pretty much all my energy to caring for and worrying over my dog, and this was a family outing where nobody knew anything was amiss. The students and instructor were great and Sylvia worked her charms on everyone as usual. Sometimes she cooperated and posed, but at one point she got up and walked around the room and greeted all her paparazzi one by one. They loved it. I found out after the fact that I was wrong, they did know she was dying, they just had the kindness and grace not to say anything to us, and for some reason that moves me every time I think about it. They gave us some normal.

 
One week to the day after our session, she was gone. Gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten, sweet Sylvie-girl. You and our other furry friends live on forever in our hearts. And I’m so grateful that I have some pictures of my beautiful, wily girl.

 

2008-03-18 18.36.19-1

 

SONY DSC

 

Ah yes, the art of trying to get your dog to hold still, look up, and act casual. :)

 

2008-03-18 19.31.14

 

Dad and I went to see Crosby, Stills and Nash the other night at the Embassy. I got tickets for his birthday; he’s been a big fan forever, and a little of it rubbed off on me – I like the greatest hits album in my collection. And, you know, it seemed like it would be fun. How can you not enjoy some good, live music?

Lately (and by “lately” I mean for the last five or ten years), going to concerts has made me feel old. (Drunken hipsters annoy me.) (So do drunken other people, and not-drunken hipsters. But I digress.) This concert, pretty much the opposite: I was the youngest person for miles. Or at least rows. I know some of my contemporaries were there, but we were definitely in the minority.

And you know what’s awesome? Older people sit down at concerts. Maybe because they’re tired or standing for long periods of time is uncomfortable, but I think it’s because they’re more experienced and they’ve learned that standing at concerts is just plain stupid. Honestly, most of us can see better when we’re sitting.

This doesn’t mean it was some staid, subdued affair. To the contrary, people were rocking out. Just, politely, from a seated position, leaping to their feet to whoop and holler their appreciation after every song, then wisely sitting down to enjoy the next number. They were into it, man. It’s always great to see something here that is a) sold out and b) full of enthusiasm.

And the fellas on stage – they aren’t spring chickens, obviously. Crosby & Nash are 72. Stills is 69. Um, hi. That’s impressive. Even more so when I tell you that they played for about three hours. No opening act (perfect!) just them, killing it, with a short intermission (yay, pee break!).

And don’t worry, everybody stood up for Suite: Judy Blue Eyes for the encore, singing along joyfully. They definitely knew how to bring it home.

Of course, musing about the generational differences in concert-going also leads me to some universal truths:

  • There will always be two (probably drunk) chicks off to the side of the stage or in the aisle, dancing, even when the song isn’t remotely danceable.
  • Likewise, there will be some person near the front waving at the band. Stop it. They can’t see you. They don’t know you. Just stop.
  • The line for the bathroom will be stupidly long. At least this time the men’s line was at least as long as the women’s. Yay, equality! :D
  • Someone in your vicinity will be doing something annoying. This week I had two. The man next to me was the LOUDEST snapper in the world. I seriously could not possibly snap my fingers that loudly, and he was doing it for hours. Stop it, Dad! Oops, just kidding, it was the man on my other side. Oh, and he was just a tiny bit offbeat. GAH. Also, the woman across the aisle was screwing around with her phone the entire time. Texting, taking pictures, texting, answering at least three phone calls, texting, taking pictures – oh my god, just stop already!

Which brings us to tonight’s public service announcement. Anytime you hold your phone up above the heads of the people in front of you to take a picture (or, god forbid, record some craptastic video – who are you kidding?), you are interfering with the experience of the people behind you. Your pictures are probably going to suck anyway. And there’s no need to take so many of them. And as the person behind all of you, seeing lots of phones sticking up at any given moment is obnoxious. I was watching security; they were trying their damndest to get you to stop, but they couldn’t keep up. And this is something we think is a problem with kids, but clearly we older people are just as culpable. Be in the moment. Be in the moment. BE IN THE MOMENT!

Geez, it’s hard to imagine that I feel old when I go to concerts! Get off my lawn, you stupid kids!

Anyway, I feel like I took kind of an accidental hiatus in my concert-going a few years ago, and I’m glad to be back in circulation. I’ve had the opportunity to see some good stuff the last year or two. Here’s hoping I can keep that streak going.

Rock on, my friends.

If you think this post is about you, it’s not. And it is. It’s not directed at any one person or interaction, it’s based on weeks of everybody.

I am a Midwestern girl. I have lived here my entire life, and I like it. I understand the appeal of living someplace with perfect weather all year long, but I sincerely mean it when I say I wouldn’t want to live someplace where we didn’t have all four seasons.

And I really do love winter. I love snow. LOVE. And in case you live under a rock or are from a different country, it has been quite the winter this year. We’ve had a lot of snow. We’ve had some periods of extremely cold temperatures. And we’ve had A LOT of snow. Yes, so much that it merits being mentioned twice. And as far as I’m concerned, this is the best winter we’ve had in years! Usually we don’t get much snow, or it doesn’t last very long. Not this year. I was out yesterday morning shoveling the almost one foot of new snow and I was struggling to figure out where to put it. The mounds lining my sidewalks are already so tall that it was quite an effort to launch more snow onto or over them. I’m thinking of putting in a ski lift on the biggest one. I was exhausted when I was finished. And I felt great. A few hours later Ruby Dogwonkafonka and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Sidewalks weren’t clear and we traipsed through some stretches with snow almost to the top of my boots. We slipped and slid walking in the middle of the street, where ice was the layer beneath the snow. I almost wiped out multiple times. We had a blast.

Winter is a big adventure.  That’s my outlook.

And even though I don’t think I should have to defend my affection for the season, I will acknowledge that I have a good gig working from home, and that it makes it easier to love the snow when I’m not required to drive in it every day. I’m not opposed to driving in it though – I sometimes have a weather-be-damned attitude that causes me to venture out when perhaps it isn’t the smartest move. (I do this much less often now that I don’t have AWD or 4WD.) Getting the car out of my alley is usually the biggest challenge; if I can do that, I’m good to go.

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Why are people so angry with me for liking winter? Because they sure seem to be.  At the very least, they act like I’m crazy and that there’s something wrong with it.

I don’t understand people who like heat and humidity, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. We’re just different. It’s kind of like being a morning person versus a night owl. One isn’t better than the other. We’re just different. And as with many things in life, you don’t choose which you are, you just are what you are.

So let’s make a deal. You don’t have to like winter, but please stop trying to squelch my fun. If I get excited when more snow is in the forecast, remember that my glee doesn’t actually cause the snow.  I’m sorry you are cold and miserable. Get better socks.

And now, a list! Things I love about snow and winter!

  • A fire in the fireplace. Nothing is cozier or homier. And it might include s’mores.
  • Fuzzy socks.
  • The way fresh snow sparkles in the sun.
  • Watching dogs romp in the snow. Sylvia freaking loved snow. She would run like a maniac around the yard and dip her head to lap some into her mouth without breaking stride. She would stick her entire head into a snowbank. Dogs and snow make me happy.
  • Warm blankies, some of which I might’ve actually made myself.
  • The really beautiful socks and scarf I bought in Ireland. The socks are super warm and I would never be able to wear those without cold weather. My feet would explode otherwise.
  • My new purple coat.
  • Hot chocolate. Maybe with booze.
  • The way my dog sleeps smashed up against me when she’s cold.
  • My amazing red mittens that keep your hands warm and dry EVEN IF YOU DUNK THEM IN A BUCKET OF WATER.
  • Deciding to spend the day sitting inside wrapped in a blanket reading a good book. Or watching a favorite movie. Or napping.
  • Homemade chili.
  • Shoveling. Yes, I enjoy shoveling. I find it satisfying.
  • Karma points earned by shoveling for a neighbor.
  • The camaraderie and neighborliness of people helping each other get cars dug out, unstuck, etc. This happens a lot in neighborhoods where you have lots of on-street parkers.
  • Turning the heat up one degree higher on a really cold day.
  • The way the world looks after a wet snow when everything is coated and beautiful.
  • Snowmen, snow angels, snow forts.
  • Going for a walk while it’s snowing, and everything seems extra quiet and still.
  • Snow days! (I get it, we’ve had a lot of them this year.)
  • The fact that snow isn’t rain. 38 degrees and rainy is probably the most miserable weather I can imagine.

And as usual, Frazz gets me. :)

Frazz

 

ps….I wrote this yesterday; today I got my car stuck trying to pull into the alley to get to my garage. Really stuck. Four strangers with shovels dug and pushed and dug some more and pushed and finally got me dislodged. And this does not change any of the above. All part of the adventure! Thank you, strangers!! :)

A lot of you are friends with me on Facebook and are likely well aware that I am caught up at the moment in the fight against HJR-3, a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.  I’m going to write more about that one of these days – I keep trying to get my thoughts into a cohesive lump instead of the ranty outbursts I post on Facebook. But today is not that day; today I have a little comic relief for you. But first, a little background.

Here’s the wording of the proposed amendment:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The first sentence is bad enough, but the second is wildly troubling even for some who are opposed to marriage equality. It has opened up all kinds of questions and even led to a supporting bill theoretically defining the intent of the amendment.  

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to listen to several area representatives speak, and one of them suggested that even though he found the second sentence troubling, he still supports the amendment. I was (naturally) pissed. Today, however, he (with some others) filed an amendment to remove the second sentence.  I emailed the encouraging news to a friend with whom I’d been discussing it over the weekend, and got this back in response. It’s freakin’ awesome.  

But first, before we get to that, this is a wildly important issue, and if you are looking for more information or want to know how to get involved in the fight for equality for ALL Hoosiers, please visit Freedom Indiana (or ask me questions – I am happy to talk about it).

HOLY CRAP, while I was getting this together the amendment to remove the second sentence was passed! But this is still awesome and funny and timely so you’re getting it anyway. :)

I did not write anything below this line – all from my clever friend. (Sorry about the somewhat wonky formatting.)

__________________________________________________________

Good for him. Now maybe he – or anybody in the media – could start asking folks what the heck the second sentence does or means. We supposedly have an entire bill, HB 1153, that describes what the second sentence doesn’t do. Namely, that it’s not there to take away benefits, rights, etc. So why is it there?

If the institution of marriage between man and woman is so fundamental – a truism – that itself connotes only one meaning, then why would you need a second sentence? Its removal does nothing…unless of course it does exactly what it sounds like it does.

I’d like the exchange to go a little something like A Few Good Men

 

                                      WENDY

                              (continuing; beat)

                         Speaker, I have just one more question

                         before I call the Indy Chamber and

                         Indiana University: If you gave an order

                         that Marriage wasn’t to be touched,

                         and your orders are always followed,

                         then why would marriage be in danger, why

                         would it be necessary to have

                         the second sentence?

 

               And SPEAKER has no answer.

 

               Nothing.

 

               He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Gay marriage is a sub-standard form of

                         union. The second sentence is offered

                         because –

 

                                     WENDY

                         But that’s not what you said. You

                         said the amendment was to protect “marriage.”

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         Yes. That’s correct, but –

 

                                     WENDY

                         You said, “Marriage was in danger”. I said,

                         “Grave danger”. You said –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Yes, I recall what –

 

                                     WENDY

                         I can have the Court Reporter read

                         back your –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         I know what I said. I don’t need it

                         read back to me like I’m a damn –

 

                                     WENDY

                         Then why the two sentences?

                              (beat)

                         Speaker?

                              (beat)

                         Why did you –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Sometimes legislators take matters into their

                         own hands.

 

                                     WENDY

                         No sir. You made it clear just a

                         moment ago that legislators

                         could not take matters into their own hands.

                         Marriage is between man and woman. So

                         Marriage shouldn’t have been in any

                         danger at all, should it have,

                         Speaker?

 

               Everyone’s sweating now. Everyone but WENDY.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You little bastard.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess

                         to –

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’d like an answer to the question,

                         Counselor.

 

                                     JUDGE

                         The Court’ll wait for answer.

 

                                     WENDY

                         If Turner told his men that Marriage

                         wasn’t to be touched, then why did

                         it have to have a second sentence?

 

               SPEAKER is looking at Long and Morris.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Speaker?

 

               SPEAKER says nothing.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Turner ordered the second sentence, didn’t

                         he? Because that’s what you told

                         him to do.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Object!

 

                                    JUDGE

                         Legislators…

 

               WENDY will plow through the objections of LEHMAN and the

               admonishments of the Judge.

 

                                     WENDY

                         And when it went bad, you cut these

                         guys loose.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor –

 

                                    JUDGE

                         That’ll be all, counsel.

 

                                     WENDY

                         You had Judiciary hold a phony

                         Committee hearing –

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Counselor –

 

                                     WENDY

                         You doctored the committee meetings.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Damnit WENDY!!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’ll ask for the fourth time. You

                         ordered –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?

 

                                     WENDY

                         I think I’m entitled to them.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I want the truth.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You can’t handle the truth!

 

               And nobody moves.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (continuing)

                         Son, we live in a world that has

                         walls. And those walls have to be

                         guarded by old white men. Who’s gonna

                         do it? You? You, Rep. Heuer? I

                         have a greater responsibility than

                         you can possibly fathom. You weep

                         for gays and you curse our

                         marriage. You have that luxury. You

                         have the luxury of not knowing what

                         I know: That squashing gay rights, while

                         tragic, probably saved lives. And my

                         existence, while grotesque and

                         incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

                              (beat)

                         You don’t want the truth. Because

                         deep down, in places you don’t talk

                         about at parties, you want me on

                         that wall. You need me on that wall.

                              (boasting)

                         We use words like honor, code,

                         freedom… we use these words as the

                         backbone to a life spent defending

                         bigotry. You use ‘em as a punchline.

                              (beat)

                         I have neither the time nor the

                         inclination to explain myself to a

                         man who rises and sleeps under the

                         blanket of the very freedom I provide,

                         then questions the manner in which I

                         provide it. I’d prefer you just said

                         thank you and went on your way.

                         Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a

                         weapon and stand a post. Either way,

                         I don’t give a damn what you think

                         you’re entitled to.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (quietly)

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (beat)

                         I did the job you sent me to do.

 

                                     WENDY

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         You’re goddamn right I did.

 

2013, you were all right

A year ago it seemed that the idea of a “blessings jar” was circulating all over Facebook. It’s simple enough. Write down the special moments in your life as they occur, put them in a jar, and review them at the end of the year. I’m not really good at resolutions, goals, and the like, but this was something I could get on board with. Of course, I didn’t have a jar handy so I used a vase (which was a present from my dad and created by my artist friend Kristi Jo Beber, so it was already all kinds of good stuff) but for the purpose of this post we’ll just keep calling it a jar. (Aside: Kristy Jo’s stuff makes great gifts. Keep that in mind that for next Christmas or anything between now and then!)  I didn’t always remember to tend to the jar, but by the end of the year it was full.  I wrote on post-it notes and scraps of paper. I scribbled just a few words and once wrote a page & a half about a particularly interesting day. Many of the notes had happy faces and/or hearts drawn on them, because I use emoticons even when jotting messages to myself apparently.  Most of the time I remembered to date them, but not always. And because I was doing it my way, I put other things in, too. Concert tickets. Notes from friends. A fortune from a cookie. An envelope that made me laugh. A series of postcards from my friend Greg. And then last week on New Year’s Day I sat down and read through everything.

Here’s the summary version: I’m a very fortunate person.

I appreciated little things. I appreciated big things. I reconnected with people from the past. I made new friends. I put aside old hurts. I paid off some debts AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, bitchez! I reveled in my family. I took trips. I was reminded of a moment when I was able to use the blessings jar to make myself find a positive spin in a situation that was making me cranky. The overriding theme was contentment, and how can you beat that? Reading through them reminded me of small moments that would have been long forgotten and made me laugh a second time over funnies and sillies.

And because I took my own liberties with the game, next to the vase was a bowl. And in the bowl I put all the birthday cards I received, and more recently all the holiday cards that came in the mail. And I reread all of those too.

Now I’m going to take all of the scraps of paper and notes and cards and package them neatly in some sort of cute container and label it “2013”. Because the vase already has the first piece of paper for 2014 in it. I hope I do this for every year from now until the end of Wonkaternity. (I’ve decided 2014 is going to be a banner year for making up my own words for the wonktionary. Earlier I coined “napportunity”; I intend to seize every napportunity that crosses my path this year!)

I won’t share all the paper scraps with you, because some are too personal and some would bore you and there are really quite a lot, but here are a sampling for the reading.

  • 3/18: The world has the Mondays, but I feel awesome. :)
  • 1/17: I had both blueberries AND grapes on my Rice Chex this morning.
  • 3/6: Awesome snow day! Shoveled like a badass. Made a snow Ruby with Dan. Lots o’ fun!
  • 2/13: I tried something new – tap lessons – and I loved it!
  • May: I went on a fun, relaxing vacation with some of my favorite people AND I was happy to come home. :)
  • 8/10: Mourtney’s b-day at the lake was a super fun day.
  • August: I can afford to have the work done to bat-proof the house. (This was the one where I was trying super hard to see the positive in the boatload of cash I dropped to prevent any more good bat stories for y’all. Oh, and the rabies.)
  • 6/8-9: Super fun weekend in A2 with Klondike and the Laheys. :)
  • First weekend in June: I felt a satisfaction with doing everything I wanted to do with my weekend. And the new purple curtains made me feel happy every time I walked into the living room. I love my house! :)
  • 9/7-8: Such a wonderful weekend in Ann Arbor! All day Saturday bumming around w/Caryn, victory over ND, and ton of fun and excitement at the game! Sunday morning w/Brannie, then loading up on food goodies before coming home. Top down all weekend. Happy heart! J
  • I can take advantage of being self-employed to go for a bike ride in the middle of a Tuesday with my dad. :)
  • 9/23: 1:09 cake  [IT WORKED!!!] (Did I tell you that story??)
  • 7/23: Ruby finally healed from her incision! :)
  • 10/31: A WHOLE BUNCH OF PUMPKINS appeared on my porch! :) Someone stole mine & now I have LOTS! And tap was canceled (kind of) so I’ll be home for Halloweenie!!!! :)  (two happy faces on one piece of paper)
  • I love my green sheets! :)
  • The day I wrote the long missive, I’d been to a funeral then out for lunch with my dad and grandma. One of the highlights was Grandma telling Dad and me that she had used up a pen, and when we asked what kind she said, “A pencil.” Which caused us to laugh and laugh, and if you’ve ever experienced my grandma laughing uncontrollably, you know it’s noteworthy. And also something a restaurant might not appreciate. And lest you be concerned about her answer, it’s a pen that looks like a pencil; she hasn’t lost her mind. ;)
  • And then there was this one, the most important one of. (Dad, I’ll stop talking about it soon, I promise.) dad survivedI draw a sucky heart, but you get the idea. And the little words surrounding it, which you probably can’t read, are the people who made it possible and helped us greatly: Doctors, Nurses, Friends, Family, Rachel, the Huffs.

 

Happy New Year, my friends! I look forward to your help filling my blessings jar!

 

Guess what I did today?

I changed the light bulb in my TV!

Yes, I did. All by myself.

I used tools and everything.

Well…a screwdriver. Which is a tool. One tool. Ooh, and I used a box cutter to open the box, so we’ll stick with tools, plural.

And it was quite difficult, you should be very impressed.

Actually, it was super easy, but you should still be impressed, because you didn’t even know TVs had light bulbs, did you?

Well, they do. Ok, some do. Including mine.

Many years ago (let’s say 8 or 9 but probably not 10), my then husband and I bought a BIG, HUGE, SHINY NEW TV. And we got a DLP (which stands for Digital Light Processing, which is interesting, because I thought it was Digital Light Projector so we see how much I know, which is almost nothing) TV. One of the reasons we chose DLP instead of a flat screen is because they told us the TV could last forever, theoretically, and would just need to have the bulb inside replaced from time to time.

And apparently “from time to time” is a really long time, because this is the first time I’ve replaced the bulb since we separated five and a half years ago. The ex & I. The TV and I have a solid relationship. Together forever. (I wish I could draw a heart around that.)

And I was pretty sure I would be able to change it by myself because Mike (my ex) did it at one point back when he still lived with the TV, which is not a knock on him at all, just that I remember him saying it was ridiculously easy.

Recently it seemed that the TV was getting dim. Nothing drastic, but I’ve been binge watching The West Wing again (omigod it’s. so. good.) and I realized that all of the episodes looked like they were full of secret meetings in the middle of the night in dark locations. And I sort of remembered that was a warning sign before the bulb went out the first time, many years ago.

Almost six years seemed like a good long time, and that it was time to be proactive and replace it. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to find one easily, and I expected any store I went into to try to sell me a new TV. The bulb is not inexpensive. TVs have come way down in price.  Mine is no longer huge by today’s standards. However, my living room is cozy (we don’t want to offend it by calling it small) and frankly a bigger TV would look ridiculous in here. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with it. I like it. It’s HD, widescreen, I know how it works, and it works just fine. I don’t like that the world is disposable and that when what I really need is a new battery for my phone the system is designed just to replace the phone. So I was prepared to dig in my heels and insist on just a new bulb. Imagine my delight when I walked into the store where I bought the TV lo those many years ago and the guy in the TV department said nothing at all about “upgrading” but just walked me over to the service department so they could get the replacement bulb for me.

The store, in fact, is adorably charming. (Stucky Brothers, for you locals.) They still had me in the computer system from when I bought the TV and they took the time to update my address and phone number. They printed the receipt on a dot matrix printer. Apparently they’re like me: why replace it when it still works? The bulb cost almost double what I could’ve gotten it online for, but I like them, and their service, and that they’re a local, family-owned business. (My clients can buy the same things they get from me for less money online as well, and I try to practice what I preach.  Buy local when you can, people. Also, service matters.)

So I got the bulb, I sat down with the manual (perhaps the most astonishing part of this episode was that I found the manual so easily, although unbeknownst to me the bulb included instructions), and I changed that bulb. My favorite part was that it instructed me to wear clean, lint-free, soft gloves. Which led to a discovery of a pair of really cute purple gloves that I think might have been a present from someone, possibly my grandmother, possibly someone else.  They were soft and clean and lint-free, so I put them on when I put the bulb in the TV. Well done, gloves! And now I will start wearing you for real, too, sorry I forgot about you!

I almost forgot an important step in the bulb-changing process: plug the TV back in when finished. That would have been crushing, for the TV not to come back on. But I remembered, and it DID, and good gravy, it’s bright and colorful and beautiful! And I can see the faces of the people on The West Wing again – woo hoo!

Speaking of The West Wing (again), it is so much better than anything on TV right now, including The Newsroom which is Aaron Sorkin’s current show on HBO. But we can talk about it more when I’m finished. Don’t hold your breath for that. Staycation will be over soon and I won’t be able to watch TV all day long. But I will be done with season three by Monday, because that’s when the DVD needs to be back at the library.

And now, I will go back to enjoying my glorious, vibrant picture.

Oh, and see, aren’t these gloves pretty?

gloves

It’s that time of year again when the mail is fun. Usually it’s junk and bills and solicitations for charitable donations (possibly with cute address labels). But for a few weeks as the year ends, holiday cards (and I’m going to say holiday instead of Christmas because some friends very deliberately send me Chanukah or non-Christmas-specific cards) bring cheer & sometimes glitter. I love seeing my friends’ kids get older, love seeing the cute pictures chosen to include, and it’s lovely to know someone was thinking about you, even if only for long enough to address an envelope. :)

Historically I have sent my fair share of cards. I like doing my part to spread joy and sparkle, and selfishly, I find you receive more cards in return if you send them out. Although I do try not to get hung up on things like, “Oh my god, I got a card from Mary Beth, but I didn’t sent one to Mary Beth, maybe now I should send one to Mary Beth!” It’s not about taking inventory.

This year, however, I’m not sending any. I ran out of time. I suppose technically I still have time but I have resigned myself that it’s not going to happen without a lot of stress and hand cramping, and I don’t really need that.

So consider this my Christmas card to you. If you’re reading this, that pretty much guarantees that I appreciate you!

I have just written and deleted about seven different versions of a sentence trying to articulate how fortunate I am to have so many friends who mean more and more to me as every year passes. Which is funny, because this segues nicely into the other thing I wanted to talk about, and I thought it was going to be a big jumbled mess, but now maybe it won’t be.

In addition to the usual pictures of cats and lists of 23 things you should do to be a more human human and pithy stati (make no mistake, I love Facebook, in spite of what that sounds like) my news feed is filled on a regular basis with people urging you to hug your loved ones and tell them that they are, in fact, loved. A recurring theme in our world seems to be not telling the people you love how much they mean to you until it’s too late. My family is a perfect example. We all love each other very much, but we don’t actually say the words very often.  So I was thinking I would like to write blog posts to each of my parents, sharing the things that are special about my relationships with them and saying the things I want to say while I still have the opportunity. I kicked the idea around a little but didn’t actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, to be more accurate).

And then, four weeks ago today, my dad called and said, “I just Googled symptoms of heart attack and I think I might be having one.” I thought he was kidding, because that’s how he is. I thought he was going to follow it up with a crack about a political article he’d read or some other silly line. He wasn’t kidding. And in the car* on the way to the hospital, he said something that sounded like, “If I don’t get a chance to say this later” and I told him to shut up. And then I spent two hours while he was in the cath lab sitting in the waiting room** kicking myself that my last words to my dad might be “shut up”.

Thankfully, those weren’t my last words and Dad is doing amazingly well. But I definitely have to write the blog posts now. It may take me a little while, because I’m super emotional about it still and I have to be in the right frame of mind to allow myself to get all weepy, but they’re coming.

And also, this is why I’ve been too busy to blog and haven’t had time to send Christmas cards and have just been generally discombobulated. For two weeks all that existed was Dad and work and sleep.  And now I’m catching up with life. My annual staycation is next week, and I could not be more ready.

Merry Christmas, friends. Happy Holidays. Thanks for reading, thanks for being a friend, thanks for being you.

________________________________________________________

Footnotes…

* Life Lesson #1: Call 911. Call 911. Call 911. Do not drive to the hospital yourself. It was a bonehead move and fortunately everything worked out ok for us, but it was a HUGE MISTAKE. If you ever find yourself in this situation, please learn from my mistake. An ambulance clears traffic. An ambulance can run red lights. An ambulance driver is not emotionally invested and his/her hands probably aren’t shaking while driving. An ambulance comes with a spare person to provide medical care in transit. CALL 911.

** Life Lesson #1 2: Have someone come sit with you. It’s not selfish or silly or an imposition. Have someone come sit with you. Call me; I will come sit with you. It’s nice to have company even if you don’t want to talk. And also, if none of your people come, the chaplain won’t leave and that is awkward and weird. I know this because I was stupid and didn’t have anyone come, but fortunately my uncle knew better and he came (and brought my grandma) and so did my friend Kristin. K also fed my dad’s dog and took my house keys and went home and fed my dog and brought my keys back to the hospital. She’s a rock star. And also, I need to give more people spare keys to my house.

(Life lesson #3….learn to count. Sheesh.)

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