Saturday, December 28, 2013


Very blue today.  Not suicidal, just down.  Melancholy.

Christmas was not one to remember.  In fact, it was probably my worst ever.  There were fights, things forgotten and overlooked, blaming and shaming, grim silences, and I was on the verge of tears for two days.

Today is cold and rainy and I need to go to the grocery, but I am just sitting on the couch.

I can lie on facebook, and here, and make things sound like they are normal or fine or even fun.  But lying is tiring.  I don't want to lie any more.  Which may send what few blog readers I have scurrying away, but I can't keep the stories up.  Honesty in 2014.  

It might get ugly.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Photographic Proof

"M" is for "Mom."

We all got Funko Pop figures.  These are Hannah's.  And that's my new Nativity scene;  gift from Hannah.

She has always been able to wear any kind of hat.

Finn was the first to show signs of weariness.

Klunk, though, was set to battle for the covers.

Then Hannah went down.

The night ended, however, with brother/sister video game bonding.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Notes

The wonderful thing about having small children at Christmas is how early they wake up on Christmas morning, bursting with energy and excitement.  They cannot wait to see what's been left under the tree.  The wonderful thing about having children in their 20s at Christmas is that they sleep in a little.

The other thing about them being in their 20s is that they both have extremely strong opinions on, well, everything, and explosive, personal-attack-type fights can break out at any time.

In the rush before and the excitement of children returning home for the holidays, sometimes moms forget to take care of little details.  Like buying food.  There's plenty of milk, as Christmas tradition requires the baking of cookies, but not much of anything that a couple of picky eaters are interested in.

It doesn't seem that "baking too many" chocolate chip cookies is possible.

Thank goodness for Chinese restaurants.  And delivery.

The older your children are, the more inside jokes you have.  And some of them can still make you laugh so hard you snort Dr Pepper up into your nose.

Not a lot of knitting gets done on Christmas day.

Christmas tradition: picture at the top of the stairs.  Sometimes with animals, sometimes not.

Christmas Eve tradition: red boots.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Some unpleasantness in the last couple of days which, hopefully, the magic of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will erase.

First, I went over to son's apartment last Friday for us to have lunch and play the "Walking Dead" video game.  Stepping in, I saw what was obviously my Christmas present on his coffee table.  He's making me something, and just hadn't thought to put it away before I arrived.  He was just about devastated.  This was the only gift this year, he told me, that he was sure about.  The only one that he'd put lots of time and heart into.

What do you say?  

Second, Daughter, who works at a Kohl's outside of Atlanta, had hoped to switch shifts with someone so that she could have Christmas Eve off.  All but one of our real Christmas traditions are on the 24th, and she wanted so badly for the holiday to be as much like always this year.  She has had a tumultuous and unhappy year.  But she has to work until 7 pm tomorrow night.  Which means that it will be sort of deep into mid-night when we get home with her, and she will, undoubtedly, be exhausted from the last few days.  But we will all be here, and we'll do as much as we can the same way.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two By Two

Again and again I say, though it's a grammatical mess, I have two Best Friends.

I divide my Favorite Christmas Songs into "Traditional" ("O, Holy Night") and "Modern" ("Please Come Home for Christmas.")

When you knit in the round, is the right side of your work on the inside or the outside?

My favorite Christmas decorations are candles in the window

and lights.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Binge and Surge

I have been binge watching "Alphas" --- a now-cancelled SyFy show.  I was going to be sitting for a while yesterday, and decided to watch something.  I think David Strathairn is a  remarkable actor, and he was the lead in the series.  Figured I'd give the show a try, if for no other reason than to watch him, and, of course, I got hooked.  I watched all of Season One yesterday, and am just about through with Season Two today.

Have you ever done anything like that?

Also, have you ever begun to think yourself rather clever?  You know, you come up with an idea or turn of phrase that you want to pat yourself on the back for.  Then you see things like this, and realize you aren't at all as slick as you had thought:


Feeling more and more Christmas-y around here, as all presents are wrapped and beginning, a few at a time, to appear under the tree.  It also dawned on me, after reading kmkat's blog entry today, that another reason I'm feeling extra anticipation this year is because this is the first time that I will be waiting for both my children to come home for the holiday.  That hadn't dawned on me before.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I had to go out today to pick up a couple of prescriptions.  All of my Christmas shopping is done, but I hadn't made my yearly holiday trek to Pier 1.  Don't ask me why, because I don't know exactly, but it has become one of those have-to-do-or-it-will-feel-weird Christmas "traditions."

"Our" Pier 1 has moved to a new location, in a big shopping center just across the road from my pharmacy.  Since I was going to be that close, I decided to go over.  

Now, maybe it's the contrarian in me, but each year, when people are running around, pushing and shoving and heaving deep sighs and being impatient, I intentionally slow down.  And I smile at people a lot.  Go figure.

But today, contrarian or no, the one thought that keep flying through my mind as I made my way around the center was:
"THAT'S the way of parking you're going with?"

You see, there are straight lines between which you are to guide your car.  You needn't leave your tires turned at such an angle that it will take you some time to back out of the space.  There is sufficient room in one space to leave your entire car --- what made you park so quickly that you took up just enough space in the next spot that no one else can park there?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Loose Ends

I collect Nativity scenes, and, each year, I try to buy a new one.  This year, I came across the most inexpensive one ever, and it is already one of my Absolute Favorites.  Refrigerator magnets!  Love.  It.
(Apologies for the dark photo --- black refrigerator + a very grey, rainy day.)

The one knitting project I had on my needles for Christmas is done save for putting in the sleeves and closing the side seams.  The next "crisis" is whether it will fit. . .

Son is bringing Daughter into town tomorrow morning.  We're gathering to watch the musical episode of "Psych", but while she's here, we'll also decorate the tree.  I've had the lights on it since the day after Son and I bought it, but it hasn't seemed right to decorate it without her.

Our only holiday travel will be to pick her up from Atlanta, then take her back whenever she has to be back for work.  Since she works at a Kohl's, we may only have part of Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day with her, as I assume they'll need her back on the 26th.  Still, she'll be here, and we'll go eat at IHOP, and it will, very suddenly, definitely be Christmas.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


This morning, I finished a book which I started yesterday afternoon.  At the risk of showing my profound ineptitude at being classically well-read, I will tell you that the book was The Island of Dr. Moreau.  It was exceptionally readable, and the story, the language, and the way it made you consider humanity were extraordinary.

The Island of Dr. Moreau followed fast on the heels of another book that completely absorbed me --- The Reason I Jump.  It was written by Naoki Higashida, a 13-year-old with autism, and it gives the clearest, most insightful, most soul-breaking look into what autism is I've ever come across.  It is simply magnificent, and it changed my heart and many parts of my life.  There is no way to recommend this book highly enough.

The "coincidence" of the title comes from the fact that, upon finishing Dr. Moreau, I thought I would write a blog post about books which have left a lasting mark on me.  Then, when I signed onto facebook today, I saw there was a "tag-along" happening, wherein people were listing 10 books that made a profound impact on them.  Not necessarily their favorite books, but ones that stayed with them.  So, here I go.  In no particular order:

1.  The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida
2.  Until Tuesday, Luis Carlos Montalvan
3.  Harpo Speaks! Harpo Marx
4.  Lamb, Christopher Moore
5.  Jesus the Son of Man, Khalil Gibran
6.  To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7.  The Island of Dr. Moreau, HG Wells
8.  With Malice Toward None, Stephen Oates
9.  In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
10. The Adams-Jefferson Letters

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Three years ago today was my last day of work.  I gave and graded a final exam, turned the grades in, and drove home.  I had been told I'd be brought back in January.  Then I was told I'd be on staff again in the summer.


I've lost count of the number of job applications I've put in over these intervening three years.  I used up all my unemployment benefits.  I have had exactly three job interviews, none of which bore fruit.

It's hard for me to believe that my life from now on will be sitting on my couch reading, knitting and computering.  It's fine for a break, but not necessarily a way of life.  But I don't know what else to do.  Have I served my entire life purpose already?  Do I simply hermitize from now on?  I've tried going places to get involved with people, but it didn't work out.  I tried volunteering for different organizations, but those opportunities dried up.  

So I sit.  Except for going to therapy, my psychiatrist and the grocery.  Occasionally, if I'm feeling particularly wild, I'll take myself out for a meal or a trip to a bookstore.  Otherwise, I sit.

I've got, maybe 30 more years of this?

Thursday, December 5, 2013


When I was in middle and high school, I played tennis.  I immersed myself in the sport and followed several tennis players closely.  One of them was Arthur Ashe.  Arthur Ashe was a graceful, efficient player.  He had a cool metal-y/carbonite racket while everyone else played with wooden ones.  He was smart, he was funny,  he was committed, and he taught me about apartheid.

Arthur Ashe refused to play tennis in South Africa as long as audiences were segregated. He would not go to South Africa if he could not speak freely. Reading what he wrote, and listening to what he said, I learned about passes and homelands and banning and Soweto and Sharpeville and necklacing.  I don't recall him ever discussing Nelson Mandela, but it's hard for me to believe he did not at some time, somewhere.

Today, when I heard that President Mandela had died, my first thought was of Arthur Ashe.  I don't know when or how or what I would have learned about apartheid were it not for him.  And here, the man to whom the whole world looked as the embodiment of change and patience and forgiveness and the end of that horrid system, was gone.  I thought that, if there is a life beyond this one, what a wonderful meeting two of my heroes would have.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Life Can Be So Brutal

On my father's side of the family, I have a whole lot of cousins.  (Daddy was one of seven children.)  The youngest of all of us just became a grandmother (!) for the second time, and went to New York with her husband to visit their two granddaughters.

He died in his sleep early Saturday morning.  They were staying in a hotel.  There has to be an autopsy.  Arrangements have to be made to get him back to Tennessee, then for his funeral.  They were married close to 30 years.

Three years ago, their son died suddenly.

How do you cope with these type of things?  I've lost my husband, yes, but we knew it was eventually coming.  To lose a child is truly beyond my comprehension.

And now my Baby Cousin has to bear both those horrible weights.


For some reason, this year I am constantly moving Christmas stuff around the house.  I'm not sure why things are so unsettled, but they...