Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tell me ALL about yourselves!

(Hypnotism voice, swinging gold pocket watch in front of you:) You know you want to tell me aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall about yourselves...

1.)Q. Can you cook?

2.)Q. What was your dream growing up?

3.)Q. What talent do you wish you had?

4.)Q. If I bought you a drink what would it be?

5.)Q. Favorite vegetable?

6.)Q. What was the last book you read?

7.)Q. What zodiac sign are you ?

8.)Q. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?

9.)Q. Worst Habit?

10.)Q. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?

11.)Q. What is your favorite sport?

12.)Q. Negative or Optimistic attitude?

13. )Q. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

14.)Q. Worst thing to ever happen to you?

15.)Q. Tell me one weird fact about you.

16.)Q. Do you have any pets?

17.)Q. What if i showed up at your house unexpectedly?

18.)Q. What was your first impression of me?

19.)Q. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

20.)Q. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

21.)Q. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

22.)Q. What color eyes do you have?

Q. Ever been arrested?

24.)Q. Bottle or can soda?

25.)Q. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?

26.)Q. If you could write a book what would it be?

Q. What 's your favorite place to hang at?

28.)Q. Do you believe in ghosts?

29.)Q. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

30.)Q. Do you swear a lot?

31.)Q. Biggest pet peeve?

32.)Q. In one word, how would you describe yourself?

33.)Q. Do you believe/appreciate romance?

34.)Q. If you could spend 12 hours with me and ask/do anything you like, what would it be?

35)Q. Do you believe in God?

36.)Q. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

It is over now. At last. And I'm not sure that it is just because I have so much to do before school starts (and ZOMG AFTER SCHOOL STARTS AHHHHHH) but I'm ready to take the tree down tomorrow. I won't, but I may spend New Year's Eve Day doing so.

Santa visited, with respectable results. Delia got many gifts and very satisfyingly played for a long time with the Playmobil My Takealong Farm that was her main gift from us. I mean Santa. She went to bed with her stuffed tiger and leopard and triceratops toys.

My mom got her about a bazillion gifts, from clothes to toys to little odds and ends. I have always felt a very strong gratitude, like an awe really, that she is so well loved not just by me but by others, friends and family.

I myself scored a few nice things, from a pearly grey fleece zip-up to a stethoscope to some cash and a few gift cards. Also a sudoku and a mah-johngg game for the Palm. J and I set a limit so we wouldn't spend outrageous amounts of money so it worked out well.

I went out ages ago, just after Thanksgiving I would say, and got J a steelhead rod and reel. Her brother was visiting us and we sneaked out (Delia in tow) and got it while J was sleeping in one morning. He's been here again since last Wednesday or so and it's been really hard not to give her the rod early because they went fishing a couple of times. But then there wouldn't have been as much for her to open Christmas morning and I would have felt bad. The wait was worth it, she was very surprised and pleased to have her own rig and she and her brother took it out today and fished again. No luck bringing home a fish but they went and got her a few of the bits and pieces of this and that to put in her tackle box, and sat around tonight tying leaders on these gigantic red hooks -- I've only ever fished for trout so I'm used to little weensy hooks, and these things look like you bring Moby Dick in with 'em by comparison.

I took Little Miss Exhausted out with me to the college bookstore today and got the three reference materials for which I bought my Palm: Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses, and Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference. Let me just say right here how amazed I am, that in about a half hour's time I used three skinny little cd's to load three whole books worth of information on something that will fit in a cargo pocket. I'm not that easily amazed by technology anymore (such the jaded geek! not!) but it blew my mind that this is possible. The super bonus was that one of the items came with a free prize, a little game called Shuffle. You know, because I don't have enough ways to procrastinate. Anyway this will eliminate the need to carry all those books with me to my clinicals, and find a place to put them, and have to run back and check them, etc. Yay!

Just in case any of you are wondering: didn't hear from my Dad. Other than the Holiday Pic, that is. Which did not contain any personal greetings. To be fair, I didn't call him either. Why, WHY do I feel a pang of guilt about this? Do you think I should call him? GAH!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas, HO! (caution: smarminess ensueth)

This afternoon we head to my Mom's for the first of the Christmas Trifecta of Gatherings. I'll be starting on chowder shortly to take with us, then we will pack up the goods and drive the hour or so to get there. We exchange and open gifts there with my Mom and stepdad, my brother and sister-in-law and their four boys. It's a lot of fun.

We'll return tonight, then of course Santa will visit tonight in the wee hours so that in the morning gifts can be opened. This is the first year of real anticipation for Delia so I'm really looking forward to seeing her reaction when she comes out to see the stuff Santa brought.

Then in the early afternoon we go to J's parents' house for the end of the festivities. We exchange more presents with her family -- six kids under the age of 8 will be racing around like little maniacs, gift wrap will literally be flying through the air, and with any luck there will be only minor drama.

So, we'll be opening gifts in three shifts. Delia will be all burned out by the end of it. I bought her waaaaaaay too many presents... It's just so hard to stop once you start! And when things are stressful I just cling tighter to all the people who mean so much to me. Sometimes that comes out in the form of gifts. :) Don't question it, just enjoy it, people...

I find myself lately being more and more overty grateful for the everyday things that I have and enjoy. It's distracting and sometimes makes me all weepy. I hope you all have the same problem.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Pageantry

Today I loaded up the small fry and hauled her off to church. My attendance has been spotty lately with the usual One Thing, or sometimes Another, but I felt pretty strongly that I should at least make an appearance today. As a courtesy.

In a departure from the usual homespun staged performance (ours is a small church without a lot of technical gadgetry, no video displays or fancy lighting etc.) they opted this year for a Pickup Pageant. Meaning, the bare bones of the cast was in place and this morning the pastor made a call for the speaking parts: Animal 1, Animal 2, Cow, Sheep, Angel 1, etc. The Voice of God part (shortened to "V of G" in the script) was passed around among the congregation to narrate different bits of the service.

I stepped forward and offered to co-Sheep with Delia, so she was bedecked in a sheep costume (of which I wore the hat with ears while speaking my part) and we huddled at the front of the church with the others. (When we got up there Delia looked around at the doll in the manger and said, “It’s all about Jesus today huh Mama?” We’re not super Jesusy people, nor is it a super “Jesus is my best friend” type church, so I found this to be rather amusing.) It was really very fun, with lots of overt coaching by the pastor and choir director, and everyone seemed charmed by the whole thing. I think it might be my favorite pageant so far.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Long-Awaited Santa Photo, plus Bonus Redneck Xmas Pic!!

Without further ado may I present to you, my beloved and long-suffering internets:

Delia on Santa's lap! She's not dressed in Holiday Finery (tm) because this was totally impromptu, but that smile is genuine. She had just told him all about her Christmas list and without too much coaxing permitted a photo op for her adoring fans. Ah, how she loves the paparazzi! And how the camera loves her!

And since I had the scanner all limbered up and ready, I went ahead and captured the seasonal greetings of that elusive species, The Common Redneck.
Note the RV Wear (tm) holiday-themed sweater plumage of the female, the western-style shirt adorning the male, and of course the male's majestic Santa Hat crest, seen only in the month of December. They stand proudly before their oversized vehicle, used for migration toward the nesting sites of only the female, as this is a matriarchal species in which the male's lineage is jettisoned once the couple has bonded. Theoretically this species mates for life, although this often proves difficult for the male. Note the exhibition of the fifth-wheel trailer's pushouts, as well as the dual rear-wheels needed on the truck to haul this behemoth down the road. Happy trails, Common Rednecks! See you in a few years! Maybe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It must be seen to be believed.

My Dad sent the world's tackiest photo Christmas card.

It's a picture of him in a green Western style shirt with red plaid yoke and a Santa hat, his wife in one of those holiday themed sweaters (you know the ones I'm talking about). They are posing proudly with their pride and joy: a huge white pickup truck with rear duallies, hooked up to an enormous 5th wheel trailer which has all its pushouts pushed out.

This pretty much says all you need to know about my father and his wife.

Done and Done

Mailed my last entry requirements to Euphemism College/Hyperbole University today. I had to send a state patrol check (basically a copy of my extensive rap sheet), proof of the incredibly painful MMR shot I had a couple weeks ago, and a signed statement from the Nursing program's Policies and Practices Handbook, wherein I agree to be a student nurse peon, refrain from mistreating my patients or divulging identifying information about them, and submit my portfolio in a timely manner or fail my classes. Whatever this portfolio is. One assumes that this will be made clear to one in due time.

I'm sure you're dying to know what's left. Well, having bought the enormous pile of books, obtained the required uniform, lab jacket, and shoulder patches, endured the several blood draws and vaccinations, submitted my fingerprints, jumped through the hoops and kissed the various assembled heinies, what could possibly be left? Just this: purchase shoes, and submit yet another set of fingerprints to Impossibly Large Governmental Hospital.

I'll actually be doing my actual clinicals at a smaller local manifestation of said Hospital, but they require a pilgrimage to the mother ship by way of introduction. They informed me of this via an email that implied that I would be doing my clinicals at ILGH, so to find out later that I must only visit there one time was an enormous relief. To submit my fingerprints (the FBI report already received by my school must just not be good enough for these folk) I must either park elsewhere and ride public transit up the big stupid hill that ILGH is perched atop, or else rely on kind friends to drop me off and pick me up. And also entertain my child whilst I am indisposed. A tremendous pain in the dark meat, to be sure, but at least it's only once. When I thought that I would be doing my weekly clinicals there, having therefore to drive half an hour into Metropolis, then park the car and jump on a bus and be there by SIX A.M., I was well and truly miffed. As it is, the Kinder Gentler Governmental Hospital is a scant 15 minutes away and there is parking in the general vicinity. Phew!

The shoe question is another story. Having been informed in no uncertain terms that Crocs or Croc-oid shoes are Unacceptable In Every Conceivable Way, I am now obliged to go out and try shoes on. These approved shoes must be white, can be athletic shoes, and must have a closed toe and an enclosed heel. No straps. Never mind that fully fifty percent of the health care workers I see on the job are wearing colorful Crocs of all sorts. We, as nursing students, may not wear them. And I am loath to bring my malformed, unsuitable, non-weight-bearing feet to the attention of anyone in a position to influence my school career, so I will not make any further issue of this, outside of incessantly bitching about it here on my blog and to anyone with ears outside of school.

And, has anyone tried to find white uniform shoes at an actual store? I tried on the one pair I found at the bookstore that looked halfway promising, but they were pinchy and horrible. If you have an insatiable curiosity about what my feet are shaped like, try this: sandwich your foot between two pieces of wax paper. Pound with a meat mallet or similar until your foot is shaped like that of a duck, goose, or other web-footed creature. Pay special attention to the arch area, whacking it sharply until it collapses completely. Now try and find shoes that are not narrow across the toes, can accomodate a full-foot orthotic, and aren't ugly. I defy you to do so. The shoes that fit and aren't ugly are along the lines of Keens and Crocs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Annual Christmas Photo

Okay, so tonight after some resistance (the small one can put up a bit of a fight these days), we took a few pictures tonight and even ordered them up at Costco. I love Costco for photos. You order 'em off the internet and then go pick 'em up later, or even have them mailed but I'm too impatient for that. In fact, I'm going to go pick them up after Delia goes to bed tonight so I can do up the cards and mail them by Monday.

Without further ado, here are the two I had to choose from when all was said and done:

We ended up choosing the first one, although I like them both nearly equally. We are also sending out a close-up of her, one of the ones in the album here on multiply. The one of her at the park. Not so much the one of her being a fashion plate with the plaids and the stripes and the rubber boots...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tree time (warning: sad at the end.)

So we got the tree up Monday night and Tuesday morning Delia and I decorated it. It turned out pretty well I'd say.

My Mom made us a great tree skirt, it's a white fabric with little presents on it and she quilted it with red metallic thread and put gold rick-rack around the edge and it is just adorable.

I have highlighted a few items of interest on the tree:

First, the green rhinoceros. I bought this at a department store clearance sale when I was about 15 or 16. It's your standard shiny glass ornament but it's shaped like a rhinoceros and it's green. To me it's just not Christmas without the green rhinoceros.

Next, Wonder Woman. We bought her at a garage sale a few years back. I generally am not that fond of merchandising on my tree, i.e. no Mickey Mouse or Spongebob ornaments or whatever, but something about WW just cracks me up. Another exception to this is that we have a few ornaments featuring "Snoopy and that Wittle Pigeon," as Delia puts it. They are plastic, therefore durable, and Delia likes to play with them, so we keep them.

At the bottom is the tree skirt, which I know this is not the best picture of it but at least you see it in its natural habitat.

To the right at the bottom are some ornaments I've labeled "Todd's ornaments." Todd Asay was a friend of mine who disappeared one night in May of 1986. His stuff was still there in his apartment, his bank account intact.

They found Todd's skeletal remains years later, buried in a water-heater box under a shed in his killer's former yard. This was on Christmas Eve day in 1999. He'd been shot to death, maybe after the murderer discovered Todd wasn't a woman. (Tip to men picking up prostitutes: the ones you pick up around the gay clubs might not be women. Just FYI.) The only "good" news is that they did catch his killer. Unfortunately it was after he'd also murdered his estranged wife in a grocery store parking lot. I was at work with my latte and my paper and when I opened the paper, there was the article about Todd, all these years later.

He was a drag queen and a dancer at a female-impersonator club (Darcelle's, it's quite infamous hereabouts) and occasional prostitute. He was also a great guy, a sweet man, funny and smart. One year he and I made Christmas stockings and he made these ornaments out of the scraps. I still have my stocking. Delia plays with the ornaments. I'm not sure when, if, or what I'll tell her about Todd. He would have loved her. He should be here.

I think about him every year around this time, when I unpack the Christmas stuff. It makes the holidays rather bittersweet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Student's Remorse

Okay, so I worked really hard to get here. I'm about to enter nursing school. I took all the prereqs, got all the shots and tests done, submitted my fingerprints, etc. etc. Now, I'm starting to have some second thoughts...

Today I went to Euphemism College and paid my tuition. That was close to a thousand dollars. Then I went to the bookstore. Maybe I should have waited a day or two, for the shock to wear off.

First I tried on a lab coat. Mmmmm, all starched and white and professional... And on sale. Yay! Then I picked up some shoulder patches, because the handbook clearly states that we must sport one on the shoulder of our scrub top and our lab coat. So far so good. Now we move on to the textbooks.

Okay. Here's a couple I need... "Required".... "First year students take one of these pieces of paper up to the register." Okay.

"Brace yourself," said the cashier, "this might sting a bit."

SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR DOLLARS AND EIGHT CENTS later, I leave feeling like that bear on the nature program, the one with the dart in its butt and a big NO.8 spraypainted on it and a radio collar around its neck. Dazedly I drive to the loading dock and wait for a chipper woman of a certain age to bring the hand truck. The hand truck with boxes of books. Plural. She cheerfully hefted them into my car while telling me that they used to pack it all in one BIG box and this way is much easier.

I give you, my beloved internets, a photo of today's haul. This is not including the three titles that I will get in pda format after my Palm arrives, which should be a couple more days.

The top book on the left and the top two on the right were the ones I got off the shelf; the rest are from the boxes. I guess this is why they recommend a rolling backpack, which we were told by the students we met at orientation was absolutely necessary. I have one that I bought off the interwob but I worry now that it's not going to be big enough...

The good news (if indeed there is any) is that we will not need to buy many more books in the next two years.

Next task: shoes... The ones I hoped would work from the bookstore are too narrow in the toes. I'd be cranky and exhausted by the end of the day on clinical days. Nobody needs that. So, I'll need to get some tennis shoes or something.

What is it with the lights?

I'm putting the lights on the tree.

How is it that I put the perfectly-functioning lights away in January, all carefully coiled and in a protective box, where they remain untouched all year, and in December there is always at least one string that doesn't work? And where do all the extra tiny bulbs go? And why don't they fit, and why are they so hard to pull out?

This year I'm buying some LED lights if I can find them on clearance the day after Christmas.

I'm about two minutes away from being done with the lights but I'm weary of the scratchy needles on my arms and the lights that are burned out and the fact that I'm doing this by myself as always.

Monday, December 10, 2007

For Crying Out Loud

So this evening my cousin calls me. Here is an open letter to my Dad in response to that call.

(Backstory: my Dad called me on my 40th birthday to tell me he was moving.)

Dear Dad,

Okay, fine, you're moving across country again (which you said you'd NEVER do). Fine, I can accept that. You got rid of your whole household of stuff by offering it to other people before mentioning it to your kids. Fine, fine. Now, evidently (since I'm hearing this second hand, I can only guess), you feel that your dog is reacting badly to all the disruption and you're worried that he won't do well on the cross-country drive, so rather than act like any normal person and maybe, oh, I don't know, talk to a veterinarian? Get some medication to calm the dog? -- you've decided that you might just have to dump the stupid dog off on Grandma. Not that she's offered to take him. Or anything like that.

Dad, she's 81 years old. She lives in a small trailer and travels a lot in a small motor home, she doesn't have a lot of room. She has a limited income. Are you going to pay for the dog's food and vet bills? I sincerely doubt you've even considered any of that. She already has a well-behaved dog that comes when it's called and doesn't pee on the rug every ten minutes. YOUR dog is obnoxious, poorly-behaved, runs away if it gets off leash, and has peed on my rug every single time it enters my home. It has bitten more than once and barks at everything that moves.

If you need to find it a home, maybe you grow a pair, get off your ass, and find a rescue operation or no-kill shelter that could find it a home? It might involve writing a check, but at least you wouldn't be sticking an old lady with the world's most irritating dog.

If you won't consider that, maybe you should think about how you treated Grandma's old dog. You were watching her while Grandma was gone someplace, and the dog (with its history of terrible abuse) freaked out, so rather than, oh, I don't know? Calling Grandma? Consulting a vet? -- you took the dog out on a walk that only you returned from. The kind that involves a gun and a shovel. I'm pretty sure that around here it's against the law to kill an animal without cause, but perhaps the laws there are different. If it had been my dog, you'd have faced charges. An animal that is suffering deserves a quiet, dignified death, not to be taken on a walk and shot by some asshole with a pistol in his pocket. The only consolation is that hopefully the dog never knew what hit her and was killed instantly, without pain.

And not even your super-annoying dog deserves that kind of fate. He's only being himself, as you raised him to be.

I used to only think of you as a thoughtless, self-centered jerk who usually kind of meant well. Now I'm not so sure.

So yeah, you might hear my name mentioned as one of the many family members who opposes this great idea you've had about abdicating responsibility for your dog, who by the way worships the ground you walk on. Probably you'll get all offended and use this as an excuse to avoid me. (Like you did when I was forced to ask you to stay somewhere else the night we brought the baby home from the hospital, because I knew that it would never occur to you that we might want some privacy that night.) At one point I might have declined to get involved because I didn't want to offend you, but, like my cousin, in fact like all my cousins, I'm just tired of how everything is about you.

I'm actually pretty glad you're moving back to Maryland. At least I won't have to feel obligated to drive up to see you, or put you up as you pass through town (usually on little or no notice), or grit my teeth and say it's okay when you miss another one of my daughter's birthdays. Like you missed all of them so far. (Three for three so far, Dad! Woo!)

Friday, December 07, 2007


Just obsessively checked my email for about the tenth time tonight and found a message that my Palm TX just shipped! YAY!

I ordered it ages ago (okay, almost two weeks) and was notified that it was an "advanced sale" item and would ship later. Up to ten working days. Which was today. It did say that on the website but I've gotten so used to ordering and having stuff shipped immediately or within a day or two that this two week business was killing me. I kept re-reading the email as if somehow it would become clear how it was possible that I ordered something that wouldn't be shipped for weeks. Because this is America and it's the 21st Century and these kinds of things only happen to other people and not me.

But it shipped today via FedEx and eventually it will reach me! Perhaps Monday even! Or Tuesday!

Let us all celebrate! Next round's on me!

Feelin' Even More Saucy

So The Best House Guest in the Whole Wide World has consented to do the legwork for me on Monday, when parking passes go on sale at Hyperbole University (where the nursing program at Euphemism College actually conducts its classes). This means getting up pretty darn early to drive out to campus and stand in line with bleary-eyed students from all walks of life. Must be early to get cheapest price! I cannot emphasize how much TBHGITWWW has completely saved my ass this past week or two.

Anyhow, in order to purchase my pass she must bring a copy of my schedule, thus demonstrating that I am a student of Hyperbole/Euphemism and therefore qualified to own one of their precious parking passes. I'm not sure why this matters so much since the campus sits high atop an otherwise unoccupied hill, far from anything else a person might want to park near, and parking everywhere else is free anyway out that far from civilization. But I digress.

So in order to print a copy of my schedule, it was necessary for me to log on to Online Services. Enter your student ID here, it says, and then your Global Pin. I dutifully did so (ever obedient as I am) only to be told in large, shocking letters that I had ENTERED AN INCORRECT STUDENT I.D. NUMBER AND/OR PIN.

Well, crap. Now what do I do? It's Friday night and the stupid offices are all closed until Monday morning. Why did I put this off until Friday night? Now I'll have to bring three dollars in exact change every single day and hope that the daily-pay lot doesn't fill up. Crap crap crap.

So, I did what anybody would do, I re-entered my allegedly incorrect information several more times just in case. Because, um, that works sometimes? Not really, but I was running out of options.

And then! I'm pretty sure Somebody Up There sensed my distress (and self-loathing) and gave me a little assist, because it occurred to me.. dimly... as if from long ago (roughly a week), that I had been issued, via email, a "registration pin." This extra-special gold-plated four-cornered pin is used only for (heavenly choral fanfare and spotlight on:) web registration.

Web registration. Web registration...

(wait for it, wait for it... )

Um... Maybe I can print my schedule off the web registration site?

ZOMG that's too easy.

So I fired up my email, retrieved the password, logged in and -- let me hear you sing it, sisters and brothers -- I printed up a copy of my schedule! I printed up TWO copies, just in case!

So now I'm feeling extra saucy. You all want to kiss me now and you don't know why, except I just told you. Now begone, shoo, you pesty internets. Leafff me to my thoughts, darlinks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Random stuff

I'm feeling all saucy because I went out and put up the Christmas lights yesterday. I love this time of year and I'm enjoying the anticipation of how much Delia will love getting up in the morning on Christmas day and seeing that Santa came through with the goods. We went to the mall again today (as it is where the closest library branch is) and she patiently waited to see Santa again. We have a great Santa at the mall, his beard is real and he is very smiley.

We have had The Best Houseguest in the World staying here intermittently and it's beginning to take its toll on Wilbur the Cat. While Mr. Ringo Fluffypants (he of the enormous poofitude) has consented to occasional contact, Wilbur remains in hiding when Elizabeth is in the house, making for some serious neediness after she leaves. Tonight Wilbur was downright affectionate and friendly at levels never seen before in captivity. Generally her (Wilbur is female, one of those "inexperienced veterinary students" things) idea of affection is to deign to allow you to occupy the space beneath her, but tonight there was purring, nuzzling, and even a small amount of drooling. Long live the Queen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Photos at last

Ok, so I haven't scanned the Santa picture, but I did retrieve a few things from the camera just now.

Here is my brother with his new Unimog (a 1963 Swiss 404, I'm told). I wanted a shot of the front end of it but the camera batteries had only one shot in them.

Here's a shot of the kids' table at Thanksgiving. Delia is the one in pink (on the left) scarfing jello.

Here's a shot of part of the mantel, taken in low light with no flash so it's kind of interesting.

The small framed photos are the ones we sent out in our Christmas cards in 2004 and 2005. I need to get a frame for last year's and put it up there too. The first year she was only about 6 months old and got freaked out sitting on the chair with no one holding onto her (I was just off camera ready to pounce if she tipped) so she wouldn't smile. We will take this year's as soon as the tree is up and decorated, so around next Tuesday or Wednesday probably.

More photos soon, I swear it!

Useless Blather

Seems like there are things I want to blog but no time to blog them. This is probably not a bad thing, since a lot of it would be so much useless blather. Nonetheless, this is my blog and I can blather if I want to. Brace yourselves! You may want to put a good show on in the background so you have something to amuse yourselves with whilst trudging through this entry. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Went today to get the final vaccination needed for nursing school. Good heavens. The MMR shot is the worst ever! It stings me! While I was at it, I went ahead and got a flu shot. What the heck. As long as I am going to feel crappy, I might as well feel as crappy as possible and get it over with in one go.

We are putting up some Christmas deck-uh-way-shuns tonight, Delia and I. She is playing with the entire cast of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" stuffed animal collection (a total score at Costco a few years back) and singing carols (and interesting permutations thereof) under her breath, punctuating this occasionally with questions: "Can we go to the McDonalds?" "Mama, is it Christmas?" "Is this one Wudolph?" etc. I am decorating the piano and mantel for now; we get the tree on Sunday.

Okay, so we have perhaps the finest houseguest ever. Or one of the top five, surely. Elizabeth is back in town after a lengthy and enviable tour of England and the Continent, and while she is getting established she is available for some child-sitting and house-sitting duties. We have to be somewhere pretty early lately for occasional appointments, so she has graciously agreed to stay the night here and be with Delia in the mornings until we get back, for two such occasions this week. This solved the issue of "Who can we get to come to our house at 5:30 in the morning?" The possibilities for such a favor are remarkably few.

So all of this already makes her my current all time favorite person, but then when we returned today from the first of these appointments, we found that not only had she gotten Delia to and from preschool in one piece, dressed and breakfasted beforehand even, the house showed definite evidence of tidying. Like, significant evidence. Now the pressure is on to recreate this tidiness before she returns tomorrow afternoon....

Saturday, December 01, 2007


So today the small person in my house went off to a holiday craft activity at the preschool while I, the small person's doting mother, went off to MegaToyStore and found exactly what I wanted to find for her. She saw Santa at the mall last Monday with fantastic results.

Here is a brief recap of her previous interactions with Santa:
2004: she is 7 months old, no contact with Santa as she is exactly the type of baby to scream as if she is on fire if a stranger holds her.
2005: now 19 months old, she reluctantly approaches Santa at my insistence and cries so sorrowfully that my heart tears itself out and throws itself down on the astroturfed floor of the Santa-hut. We get a photo in which her woeful eyes are red and watery.
2006: we troll past Santa at a couple of malls. I make no attempt to engage her in any Santa contact. She is observed to regard him with a combination of suspicion and longing.

2007: Pay dirt!! She sees him from upstairs and beelines down to him. When he offers her a candy cane and asks her what she wants, she tells him: "A Wittewest Pet Shop, a baby snow weopard and a baby white tiger stuffed animal, and a twicewatops." She sits on his lap and we get a great picture (which I will scan later for your enjoyment). Later as we are leaving the mall she again beelines to him and accepts another candy cane. She is enchanted. IT IS TOO ADORABLE FOR WORDS. MY HEART IS MELTING. GAAAAAAAAH!

So, because I am a doting parent, I found the snow leopard and the baby white tiger stuffed animals. The Littlest Pet Shop toy is waiting for her via Grandma, and I'm not sure about the triceratops... (specifically it is an animated Imaginext one that she wants) Santa kinda already got a boatload of Playmobil instead...

Holiday Memey Goodness!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Hot chocolate. What the hell is a "nog?" And why does it taste like crap?

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

When I was a child, all gifts were wrapped and some of them said Santa on them. Then on Christmas Eve while we were sleeping some NEW Santa ones appeared. But nowadays Santa's presents only appear under the tree while Delia is sleeping, which makes a lot more sense really.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Multicolored everywhere. White lights are kinda boring IMHO. But, they can look pretty in some applications.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?


5. When do you put your decorations up?

Usually two weeks or more before Christmas.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Cranberry waldorf salad. My mom makes the kind that has whipped cream (or as we call it, "whup cream"), minimarshmallows, tart green apples, halved red grapes, cranberries, and sugar. She sets some aside with no walnuts in it because I am allergic.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

Staying at my Aunt's one Christmas (on my Dad's side, my parents were divorced) with Grandma and Grandpa there sleeping on the floor like the rest of us kids. We woke up early (of course) and sang carols until the whole house was awake. We took turns choosing carols and when it was Grandpa's turn he started to sing, in his gravelly deep baritone, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille..." Grandma hollered, "Oh, FRED!" and smacked him. We kids thought it was the funniest thing ever.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I don't remember, really.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

We go to my Mom's on Christmas Eve and open gifts with Mom, stepdad, and my brother and his family. It is a blast. Then when we get home we sometimes open one small trinkety thing at home, but usually we just hit the sack. In the morning we go to J's family thing and open more gifts. It's Delia's idea of heaven, I think, to open gifts nonstop for two days solid.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

I put on the Christmas music station, or else throw in a cd (favorite is "Charlie Brown Christmas", Vince Guaraldi), and then I (and only I) put the lights on. Then we just start hanging ornaments until they are all hung up. No real system other than that.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

Love It!

12. Can you ice skate?

It hurts my feet. I used to roller skate A LOT though.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

Last year J gave me the most gorgeous tanzanite earrings and it was a complete surprise. I had never cried when I opened a gift before that.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

Seeing my family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Hm... fudge... pumpkin pie... sugar cookies (the kind you make yourself and frost and everything).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Going to my Mom's on Christmas Eve. It feels so intimate. We eat a wonderful meal together and then open gifts. Now I'm getting all verklempt. *grabbing tissues*

17. What tops your tree?

An angel that used to be an ornament but graduated to topper status a few years back when I realized that the tinfoil-covered star with the picture of the Lucille Ball (or something like that) on it I had been using when I was roomies with a gay man wasn't doing it for me anymore.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

Both! I like finding gifts people like, and I like the thought that someone has found something for me. Presumably because they like me.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

The aforementioned Vince Guaraldi album, and then I also like "Sleigh Ride" as performed by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

Least favorite: that stupid "Sugarplum Fairy" dance from the stupid Nutcracker. I effing can't stand the Nutcracker. Also, if I never have to hear "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano, again, it'll be the best Christmas present ever.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

Hm.... not a huge fan. The small ones they hand out at the tree lot are okay. Bigger than that and I'm overwhelmed. I do like those chalky little peppermint puff things that come individually wrapped though. Mmmmm....

21. What do you want for Christmas?

Tough one. The older I get the harder it is to come up with something. Starbucks cards, to keep me caffeinated as I begin nursing school, I guess. And to see my family. And for my daughter to be delighted and charmed on Christmas morning when she sees that Santa brought her just what she told him she wanted.