Archive for December, 2009

Christmas Créche

December 27, 2009

Well, here we are after Christmas.  I did decorate this year.  Bought a cut pine tree and piled on the ornaments.  Put the random other decorations I have about the house.  It was nice, but not necessary.  Felt good to have stuff up.

And now that Christmas is over, I’m already looking to put things away.  But, as I was looking around, I took a few moments to admire the Christmas créche I ‘won’ in the divorce.

Thought I’d share a few pictures of it with all of you.

Plastic Wonderment

Now, it does look a bit plastic (except the fine wooden stable with straw thrown [strewn?] about), but it’s really good quality, solid… ummm… something… rubber?  And with pretty good detail on the individual pieces.

And, yeah, you may have noticed in that last picture – – –

it's him! it's him!

It’s Christmas Kangaroo!  Bet you didn’t know that there was a kangaroo at the nativity, did ya!  I have no recollection, Senator, of where the hell Christmas Kangaroo came from.  He showed up way back when Boy Child and Daughter Person were little littles.  Whatever toy set he arrived in is long gone.  But, even before that set disappeared, the kangaroo was enlisted into the nativity and has been there for well on 15 or so years now.

don't worry...Jeebus will raise them soon

Another tradition started by someone [whistling nonchalantly] was that, at some point in the holiday season, the sheep all contract anthrax.

shepherds keep watch on their flocks...kangaroo keeps watch on the baby

And, no, there’s nothing kinky or untoward in the kangaroo’s gaze…

just one of many happy onlookers

…well, at least while all the others are looking on…

not appearing in this year's créche...Christmas Gorilla

Another favorite ornament I was able to get was Christmas Gorilla.  He often shows up at the créche scene, but this year decided to hang out near the star on the Christmas tree.   Note:  Long time readers may notice “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament to the right of Christmas Gorilla.

So, with so many memories and fun, I’m thinking decorations stay up at least until next weekend.

Happy Holidays all…

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Holidays Sans Family

December 25, 2009

Well, another “Baby’s First” for me… here I am, having just turned <i>mumblety-three</i>, and this is the FIRST Christmas morning ever where I have been totally alone. Last year, Daughter Person showed up around 10am and spent the rest of the day with me.  This year?  Alone.

yeah, but without the annoying kid or the crooks in the window

I say this, not to elicit sympathy or support, but merely as statement of fact.  I’m okay with this.  It’s all part of the transition process.  Christmases can never be the same as they were, really.

Drawing on the example of the delightfully delicious Daisyfae, I have been taking the morning alone to reminisce a bit.

Christmas as a kid, I grew up near the family farmhouse.  Then, there were very few family members who were not living within a 50 mile distance.  The holidays were a mass of humanity, from babies to ancients.  Not being sexist, but the ‘farm family’ mentality was that the womenfolk did the cooking and the menfolk did the farm work.  And could those women cook!  Yes, the standard ‘meat and ‘taters’, but the desserts and side dishes were to die for.  Grandma and Grandpa had one of those nifty farm tables that started six foot by three feet, but had enough insert leaves to require killing at least one tree and would extend to some 24 feet long at least.  And still that was not enough to hold the entire family.  It was barely enough to hold all the over-21 adults.  The rest of us were relegated to the next room where the older teenagers got to sit at the deputy, adjacent, assistant dining room table and the younger kids (which I qualified for) seated at one of three or so card tables set up nearby.  It was delightful and comforting and…home.

Then, the ‘globalization’ of America hit.  People started moving all over the country to go to jobs they wanted.  We lost that family feel at holiday times.  It was still a good time, but not quite as all-encompassing as it once was.

I, too, followed jobs across the country and, starting my own family, had quite a few holidays at my own home with very few people.  It was still wonderful, especially when the Boy and Girl Childs were younger and still mesmerized by the magic of Christmas.  Yet, I still missed the old extended family holidays.  Even when going to where I grew up or where the ex- grew up to be with the remnants of the families, it wasn’t the same.

Maybe that was all part of the training for me to face this day.  I probably could’ve finagled an invite to one of my cousins’ places.  But there’s still that thing about not being the same as the extended family dinners way back when.

And I’m doing okay with it.  A few twinges, of course, but I’m not despairing or melancholy.

Besides, I won’t be alone all day long.  I have been invited by Dear Friend to go hang at her house later today and will definitely take her up on that.  Not because I’m feeling lonely at Christmas, but because it will be just a good time with people I enjoy hanging out with.

You make ‘family’ wherever you can.  And I am content with how today will unfold.

May this post find your holidays fulfilling and happy for you.

Well, Wah

December 22, 2009

You may recall that I entered a diet contest with Dear Friend awhile ago.  Part of that contest was to write up a 100-word reason why we should get a free session with a personal trainer.

Found out today that I didn’t win the personal trainer…but Dear Friend did*!  ‘Yay’ for her, ‘Boo’ for me**.

Now, against all the advice you, my thoughtful readers, gave me, I did go with the generic and G-rated write up (“…I need to lose weight because I’m stuck at this weight blah-blah-blah…”).  Looks as if I should have gone with the R-rated version (“…I need to lose weight to score some chicks, man!…”).

So, consider this a personal apology to all of you for not taking your advice.  And next time I ask for advice, I’ll do whatever you say…

…why do I hear ominous music playing?…

==–==–==–==

*by the by, Dear Friend is going to help pay for a trainer for me…seems she to think she had “the fix” in and didn’t win fair and square.  She works with one of the judge’s sons and thinks he whispered her name to make sure she won.  Me?  I think she won fair and square…but to get at a personal trainer to get me losing weight?  I’m all for it.

**oh, but on the good side – – after 7 weeks, to include cookies and treats galore staring me in the face, I’m at the same weight I weighed in at at the start of this contest…there’s hope!

Drink, Drank, Drunk

December 15, 2009

Later tonight.

’nuff said.

Film at 11.

=-=-=-=-=

Addenda:  okay, no film, but here’s a picture i took that night… WHEEE!!!!

and it just got blurrier from here

Chocolate Hound

December 12, 2009

You’ve heard of bloodhounds that can track a human down based on just a hint of a scent from a glove or shoe or some such?  Well I think I’ve found the human equivalent, only she can track down chocolate.

My exercise and diet buddy is just such a person.  She loves chocolate.

Now, I like chocolate.  There are some kinds of chocolate that can’t survive an hour, let alone a day, in my house – – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers to name two.  But there are some that kinds that I can take or leave – – Kit Kats, Almond Joys, Malted Milk Balls, for example.

For Halloween, I bought one of those big variety packs, just in case some kids came by trick-or-treating.  They didn’t, so I was left with a couple big bags of chocolate candy bars.  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?  Inhaled.  History.  Applied to my waistline.

The rest?  Well, being the good host, I put them out in a bowl to entice those visiting my place.  Any time my friend comes over, she wanders her way…okay, she makes a beeline…for the candy bowl where she indulges in a few mini-bars.  And she looks at me in wonder and asks how I can keep chocolate out without eating any.  Then shakes her head in amazement when I explain that some chocolate just doesn’t jazz me up.

But, she is my diet buddy.  We’re supposed to be watching out for each other.  Supposed to help each other from overindulging in calorie-laden foods.  I was letting her down, good host or no, by having the chocolates out.

So I told her the next time she came by, I would put the chocolates away.  That day was today.  She was coming over to pick me up to head to the gym to get some exercise.  So, before she came, I hid the chocolates (now enclosed in a covered glass snowman for the holiday season) in a desk in the same room.

hidden a bit better than this, of course

She came in the front door and immediately headed over to where the chocolate bowl usually sat.

“Hey, where the hell is the chocolate?”

“I told you I was going to hide it next time you visited.”

Now, I wish I had a stop watch for what happened next.  Here we are in a room with a set of shelves and four pieces of furniture with multiple drawers.  After a quick glance at the shelves to see if I uncleverly hid it in plain sight, she turned a searching eye to the rest of the room – – –

…and walked directly over to the desk and opened it to find the chocolates.  It couldn’t have been but 10 seconds from her fussing at me out for hiding them to her finding this covered, well hidden container of delectable treats.

I was quite impressed.

My friend?  Said it was nothing.  She was trained by her children hiding things on her.

A sixth sense for finding chocolate?

I’m thinking that can be marketable.

Rabbit Rant

December 9, 2009

I spent over 5 minutes quietly ranting at a rabbit Monday night.

Okay, it wasn’t a real rabbit.  It was a white and blue porcelain rabbit.

And it held the cremated remains (cremains!) of my sister.

The memorial service wasn’t really a service, but more of a remembrance of my sister for her local friends.  Given the quick scheduling of the event, there were only 5 family members who could attend, me being one of them.

The remembrance was held in the chapel.  The cremains and two pictures of my sister were at the front.  People who wished stood up and gave a story or two remembering my sister.

The stories told were mysteries to me.  The type of woman described was unknown to me.  I had no clue who this woman was.  She never let me in.  Even when I asked to be let in…to come visit in her waning months…she refused.  Phone conversations, what few there were, tended to the superficial.

When the remembrance was over, my brother-in-law invited all the folks back to a side room in the funeral home to reminisce and chat a bit more.

And once they were all gone, I had my chance to go to the front of the chapel and finally really say “Goodbye” to my sister.

But I just stared at the rabbit.  Words wouldn’t come.  I stared some more.  It hit me — here I am, a grown man, staring at a porcelain rabbit.

And I slowly let loose with what was on my mind.  As I said, quietly.  People were still in the hallway outside the chapel.  I spoke in a whisper…through gritted teeth.

I ranted at her.  I asked her why she treated me, her own brother, so poorly.  I asked why she was a better sister to my ex- than she was to me.  I asked why she was a better friend to all those in the room who were strangers to me, than she was to me.

And, of course, she didn’t answer.

So, I left it at “Goodbye”.

And still feel unsatisfied.

This will take awhile.

But, hey…how many people can say they’ve ranted at a rabbit?

no carrots for you!

Making Work Fun

December 8, 2009

Coming home from my sister’s memorial service, I had to take a couple airline flights.  On the first one today, I ran into what I thought was only urban myth – – the humorous flight crew.

happy to serve

I say ‘urban myth’ because of the internet jokes which occasionally hit my e-mailbox.  Given the push for professionalism in the workplace, especially when you have lives in your care, I sort of doubted that the jokes were true.  I’m speaking specifically of the flight attendant or captain speaking tongue-in-cheek to the passengers when giving the mandatory safety speeches or welcome speeches.  You may have seen some in your e-mailbox.

For example:

Captain:  “Welcome to XYZ Airline which has some of the finest flight attendants in the sky…unfortunately, we don’t have any of those on this flight…”

or, another I saw in an e-mail…after a supposedly rough landing:

Flight Attendant:  “Please remain seated while Captain Kangaroo bounces what’s left of the airplane to the terminal building.  At that time, you can unfasten your seat belts and work your way out of the smoking remnants of the aircraft.”

…and many more…

They just all seemed too flippant.  Too irreverent.  Too unprofessional.

But not on Southwest Airlines.  They seem to encourage it.

Today, I heard a couple that really made me smile.  So, for you I am now that person — “I heard this from a friend who was there, so it has to be true…”.  I admit that none of these are gut-splitting howlers, but they did give me a chuckle, which was needed —

1)  “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a full flight today.  I realize that means some of you have to sit in seats that don’t lean back.  Therefore, we ask that you just lean forward to make up for it.”

2)  (After the safety briefing about seatbelts and oxygen masks)  “For those of you paid attention, thanks very much.  For those of you who didn’t – – ‘good luck’!”

3)  “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to point out the flight attendant in the middle of the cabin.  She was nominated as Flight Attendant of the Year for our airline!”

<passengers give her a round of applause>

“…now, I don’t know why you’re clapping…she didn’t win.”

4)  (As we stopped at the arrival gate)  “Flight attendants, prepare doors for arrival.  Everyone else…Get Out!”

5)  “As you depart the aircraft, please check the monitors for your connecting Southwest flights.  If your connections are on another airline, what the hell were you thinking?!”

I asked the perpetrator of 4 of the 5 if she had a professional writer.

and there are quite a few professional writers out there

She claimed they were spontaneous.  Perhaps she was looking to get on the website of Southwest Airline jokes.

Me?  I enjoy having as much fun on the job as I can, so it’s good to see others doing so as well.

If she only looked like this...

And my hat is off to Southwest Airlines allowing stuff like today…and this…