God truly does speak to us not only when we least expect it, but in the most unexpected of places.
God truly does speak to us not only when we least expect it, but in the most unexpected of places.
A few days ago, the lamp on my office desk ‘sparked’. There was a loud popping sound and despite my best efforts to bring it back to life – it was officially gone. Apparently I’m not GE, I could bring a once good lamp back to life. My mother gave me that lamp years ago – and well, it was special to me. However, I must admit, I saw this coming, all the warning signs were there. First the light would flicker occasionally. A few weeks later, I had to turn the knob ever so gently to the right…then quickly to the left and back right again, while standing on one foot, facing east, while singing “This Little Light of Mine”, to get it to turn on. Then, there were my late night working sessions when I would talk to the lamp while performing the above in a desperate attempt to get it to work….
“You know you want to shine, yes you do….come on little light bulb, you damn f@#!ing filament…WORK ALREADY”
Yes, I know, a bit ridiculous – but then us creative, sentimental, sensitive types often are.
So yesterday I set out to purchase a new lamp – I dreaded this outing. I decided that I wasn’t going this alone, so I enlisted my daughter to join me on this less than exciting excursion. Gionna had about as much interest in going with me to buy a lamp as I did in listening to the new Taylor Swift song she played – repeatedly – on the way to the store. We make compromises in life, this was mine – for the decade. So I did my best to… “Shake It Off”.
There were aisles of lamps at the store – and they were hanging from the ceiling! This was not going to be easy. Apparently now when buying a lamp, you can mix and match the lamp base to the lamp shade. Lovely. I hadn’t taken my Adderall that day – this was going to be a task of monumental proportions. I walked up and down the aisles twice, surveying my choices – and I was overwhelmed to say the least. I wanted my old lamp and like a small child who wasn’t getting her way, that’s all I could focus on for a few minutes.
“Christ! Just pick a damn lamp already woman”, I said to myself.
Fifteen minutes later, I had chosen the perfect lamp base. Ok, we were making progress. Well, I was anyway. Gionna was buried in her iPhone – probably live tweeting this entire experience from hell that her mother dragged her to.
“My mother is talking to herself in the store, OMG! #soembarrassed #whyme
I placed the lamp base in the shopping cart and proceeded to search for the perfect lamp shade. Given that my color choices were biscuit, mushroom, oatmeal and cafe au lait, this would be easy. Except now I was hungry and wanted to go to Starbucks.
“Gionna, let’s go grab coffee and then come back and oh look, they’re having a special on lightbulbs!”
“Focus mom – you don’t even have a damn lamp shade yet, just forget about the lightbulbs and the last thing you need now is espresso”. Gionna scolded.
I finally found a suitable lampshade, more in love with the price than the color, and my work was done. Except it wasn’t. When I brought the lampshade to the shopping cart, I noticed that the tag on the lamp shade had a giant “C” and the tag on the lamp base had a giant “A”. Immediately the song from Sesame Street played in my head….
“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me
C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me…”
Yeah, I’m a hot mess without Adderall – and I was hungry, I forgot to eat that day.
But I digress…
Right there in middle of the lamp aisle, I figured it out.
“Are you friggin kidding me” – I said louder than I had wanted, prompting an unwanted glare from a young mom. It seems that you have to match the letter of the lampshade to the same letter as the lamp base. What sadistic, sinister, son of a bitch thought this was a genius marketing idea?!? I wanted a damn lamp, with all the components already put together – that’s all. That is not asking too much. I yanked the lamp base out of the cart and searched up and down the aisles looking for a lamp shade with a giant “A” attached to it. I found such lampshade and of course its color was called “Oyster”. Holy Mother of Monikers, do they feed the marketing department at whatever company decides these names. Now I needed a cup of coffee …..by the bay!
Back home with my purchase, I went into my office and saw my old lamp. I knew it wasn’t going to sell on eBay, but I just couldn’t toss it out either. I moved it from my desk to the office floor, and later that night, from the floor to the garage. I often dispose of inanimate objects in stages – it’s a process – yes, even the disposal of lamps. Love me, love my quirks.
My new lamp took its place on my desk and quite honestly, I don’t like it. But it works and serves its purpose, and I suppose in time, I will grow to like it. Whatever. I was still left with what to do with the lamp my mother gave me. And that’s where things take an interesting turn.
If you have read even half of this blog in the past few years, then you know I enjoy gardening. It’s my therapy and if I can’t spend at least one hour a day in my garden, I feel a little lost. So today, while watering my plants and just sort of putzing around – I kept passing the lamp that had now taken up residence near the garage door that led outside. I knew the next stage of the process was the garbage can and I wasn’t ready for that. I started fiddling with the lamp, taking it apart, removing the cord – and then it hit me. I was going to use the base of this lamp and turn it into a planter. This must be what Sir Issac Newton felt like when he discovered gravity! I felt a surge of creativity and energy surge through me and I couldn’t get started fast enough. I was rather proud of myself for figuring out a way to save this lamp from the depths of some dumpster – it would now be with me forever, just in a different form. As I cut and painted and planted, I couldn’t stop smiling – this was turning out even better than I was imagining it in my mind’s eye. And my imagination is rather wild and exciting.
I’ll let you be the judge…
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
Early this morning I went for a walk and thought back over the past year. Personally, I am thrilled that 2014 is now part of history. That being said, the past twelve months were very much a learning experience for me. Like all of us, I made mistakes. However, I have no regrets. I know I disappointed some, perhaps even wronged others and maybe could have done more to rectify certain situations. I learned that friends can turn into strangers and people I thought I wouldn’t like are actually some of the best people I know. I finally figured out that it is best to simply walk away from people who always seem angry and thrive on conflict. I know now the battle they are fighting has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with them. I hope that my family and friends will forgive me if I have hurt them in any way and will continue to be patient with me as I continue to work on myself in the coming years.
Gossip was alive and well in my little town during 2014. I used to hate being gossiped about, and of course, it still hurts a little. But in the last few months, I came to the conclusion that I’m actually providing a service. I’m giving very boring, petty and insecure people something to talk about, and I’m all right with that. I suppose I should thank them for making me the center of their world. I once read that our reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us. When you have spent what feels like an eternity trying to repair a few moments of time that destroyed the view others once had of you, then you must ask yourself if you have the problem or is it really them? God does not make us try so hard, only enemies do.
I cannot control what people say or think about me – that is another thing I learned this year. A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that insecure people only eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights. I’m not certain those were his original words, but they made me smile and there may be some truth in them. I am a very confident person and have even been called intimidating. I like who I am and am rather nonconforming. Add to that my Italian/Sicilian heritage and you can begin to see why this bad-ass broad from California is often the topic of discussion in small town Alabama. I swear more than I should, refuse to eat fried food or grits and still say “you guys” and will never say “Y’all”. Yeah, I blend in just fine down here.
I’m beginning 2015 with a smile on my face. I can truly say that I woke up happy. We have to choose to be happy. No one can do that for us. And I truly begin each day with that thought in my head. That doesn’t mean I have sunshine shooting out my ass and I skip about my day tossing fairy dust while riding a unicorn over rainbows. But why not choose to be happy? I no longer have the capacity to tolerate negativity and drama or those who need it for survival, I have far too many things to be happy about. I have two of the most amazing kiddos a mom could ever ask for. I have a group of crazy friends that have gone above and beyond helping me get through some very difficult times and I have two wonderful parents who have gone through fire for me and love me unconditionally. I am beginning 2015 with a smile on my face because yes, I am happy. More importantly, I am blessed.
Auguri per un felice 2015.
A little over a year ago, I wrote about the day my little guy discovered pinwheels. At that time I had already designed and begun building a garden for Joey, but it was after that afternoon in the doctor’s office that I realized pinwheels would play a very big part in his garden.
So, each time I had a few extra dollars, I would buy a pinwheel and store it away until I was ready to add them to Joey’s garden. During the creative process, the garden took on a life of its own and while the first phase is complete, it’s far from finished. See, I don’t know what Joey’s next discovery will be. Joey has the rare talent and ability to see the ‘new’ in the simplest of things. To find unexpected joy and excitement in things that may seem mundane and ordinary to us. I do know this, whatever Joey discovers and falls in love with next, I will find a way to make it a part of his garden so he can enjoy it as often as he wants.
“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
~Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Here’s a video of the making of Joey’s Garden…
“Measure twice – cut once.”
That simple saying has been my mantra for the past couple months. I haven’t necessarily applied it as often as I should, but that’s because my mantra for so many years was borrowed from Albert Einstein, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Lord knows I love to try new things and I almost always refuse to read or ask for directions. I believe learning from your own mistakes is the best way to learn, maybe not the easiest – but there’s never a dull moment!
My ‘anything new’ of late has been carpentry. Yes, you read that right, carpentry. This stiletto wearing, perfect nail polish, big hair diva borrowed a power saw a few months ago and now I’ve morphed into Tim from “Tool Time” – but with boobs and I’m much easier on the eyes. It began when my backyard gate fell apart – literally fell off the hinges, giving my dogs, Stella & Vinny, their first taste of freedom. That freedom resulted in me chasing them through my neighborhood at 6:00 a.m. with no makeup, wearing pajamas with little martini glasses on them, a severe case of bed-head yelling….. “STELL-AHHHHH”!
Vinny is only eight weeks old, and while he likes to do everything Stella does, his little legs were no match for mine. Ok, that’s not entirely true. Vinny can still be bribed and he returned to me like Baby did to Johnny in Dirty Dancing, leaping into my arms when he heard me open the package of dog treats. Stella, however, seemed to be channeling the running scenes from Chariots of Fire, (now you have that theme song in your head). But I digress.
I’m a pretty resourceful gal, but carpentry has never been my thing. I looked into having someone build and install a gate for me, but quickly realized that unless I won the lottery, this was going to be something I had to figure out on my own. And that’s exactly what I did. A quick internet search revealed more than enough ideas to get me started and after numerous trips to Home Depot, I was ready to do this. Using a circular saw, hand saw, power drill, crow bar, galvanized screws and the occasional swear word – I designed, built and installed a gate all by myself and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed. In the end, there were minimal casualties: one broken nail, two broken toes (I advice against trying to install a gate in the rain) and my “Joe’s Italian Restaurant” shirt now has extra venting after getting caught on a nail – multiple times. And that folks, is how my love affair with building things and power tools began. I’m not sure my friend will ever see his power saw again because, well, I’m in love.
With my gate now complete, I desperately needed a new project. A few months ago I built a sensory toy for Joey that he could stay in his wheelchair and play with. This idea was inspired by those toys babies play with before they can walk. The ones that are shaped like arches and the baby lies on the floor and reaches up for all the toys hanging from it. Joey loved those when he was younger but now he needed something stronger and age appropriate. Of course, I could have purchased one for hundreds of dollars – anything labeled special needs automatically quadruples in price, but since that wasn’t an option, I decided to build one myself. Joey loves to reach for things and is learning cause and effect and I was having a difficult time finding toys that entertained him and held his attention. So with some PVC pipe, nails and wood – my creation came to life – but that only took a few hours and I needed something that would keep me busy for a few days or even weeks.
While sorting through Joey’s toy chest one afternoon, I came across a pin wheel that my friend in Louisiana had sent him and I was reminded of a project I had dreamed about over a year ago. You may remember me writing about the day my little guy discovered pinwheels.
I wanted to somehow build Joey a garden full of pinwheels and that’s exactly what my next project would be. During the past year, any time I had a few extra dollars I would buy Joey a pinwheel and I now had about ten, along with other little things I thought would make him smile and be visually stimulating for his sensory garden. Using wood from a previous project gone bad, some borrowed power tools and paint from Gionna’s many science projects, I began constructing Joey’s garden. I didn’t exactly have a plan, things like this seem to come to fruition as I go, taking on a life of their own and that’s exactly what happened. Some nights I could hardly sleep, I would wake up with a new idea and couldn’t wait for daylight to make it real. And quite often, I didn’t wait. Thank God I have neighbors that are heavy sleepers.
Having built several flower beds for my garden over the past three years, that was something I could now do in less than an hour. So, first I built a basic flower bed and added soil. From there, I added posts to hang things from, used bright-colored paints and tried to build this through the eyes of my little boy – what would he find exciting, what would make him smile and reach out in wonder. That’s all that mattered to me, his smile and happiness. I can’t afford to take Joey on vacations, he will never play sports like other little boys or do many of the childhood things that I wish he could, but I can build him his own little ‘park’ – that I can do. I have to admit, I felt like a child watching this all come together. As I ‘planted’ the pinwheels in his garden a few days ago, the perfect breeze blew through and all the pinwheels were set in motion. I’m not sure why, my but eyes filled with tears, those happy ones that us moms get from time to time. From the moment I first thought of creating this garden for Joey to its completion a few days ago, took a little over a year – but I think sometimes the things that mean the most to us, and hopefully others, can’t be rushed. And like so many other things in life, this will be a work in progress. I would love to add to it as time goes on and Joey’s interests change or he learns new skills. I want to somehow incorporate water into this area – Joey loves to feel water on his hands and toes. Maybe even wire his new sensory garden for sound and lights! I want to use up every inch of remaining dirt in my garden for Joey. The possibilities are endless and that’s what I love about creating something like this – it’s constantly evolving.
Ten years ago, I would never have believed that I would pick up a power saw and know how to operate it, and then actually enjoy it. Don’t be too impressed though, I had to watch quite a few “You Tube” videos before I knew what I was doing and even then, I said many prayers to St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Carpenters. I also would never imagine that I would build gates and flower beds and sensory play areas filled with pinwheels. But ten years ago, God chose me to take care and love the most amazing little boy and He knew I would need to be able to do those things. And I thank God that He did. However, I do believe that he puts an extra team of guardian angels in charge of watching over me anytime I pick up that power saw.
“God gave the seed, but he wants the fruits back. Pick the seeds up.Plant the best ones. He promised the rain. It will be a bumper harvest!” ~Israelmore Ayivor
If you could be any age, what age would you be and why? Even if it were only for a day, what time of your life do you long to return to?
For me, I think that age would be four. There’s an innocence and wide-eyed wonder we still have at that age. I knew nothing of family conflict, physical abuse, divorce, lies or any other of life’s cruel realities. I loved absolutely everyone and everyone loved me. The world was a beautiful and peaceful place. It was truly a time free of worry. But what I remember most, there were no distractions – nobody seemed to be in the rush they are in today. Time from my loved ones was as available as the air that I breathed. And my mom was always there for me. I never woke up wondering if I would see or talk to her that day, I just knew that I would be able to. It was the one thing I could completely count on and trust in, she would be there, no matter what.
Almost four decades later, I still want all those things. I suppose what we want doesn’t change, just the people that we want those things from – they sometimes change. There is a primal sort of feeling in the way we want and need to know that there is someone out in the world that loves us, that cares about us – no matter what we have done, how we have acted or how unlovable we may be at the moment. There is a very deep security, a safety net even, knowing that someone you love, loves you back. It’s the voice you need to hear when everything seems as if it is falling apart; it’s the familiar hug that makes all your troubles disappear, even if it’s only for awhile; and it’s the touch of a loving hand on yours that without words, says, ‘it’s all going to be all right, I’m here for you’. When that is taken away from us, when we no longer have the person that provided us that much-needed and longed for security, the void left is very deep and irreplaceable. It’s an empty and hollow feeling like none I’ve ever known. Sometimes I wish I was a kid again – skinned knees are so much easier to fix then broken hearts.
“Where’d the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn’t stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall”
Every February I begin to wonder what I will give up for Lent. I admit, I’m not always successful in my abstaining from whatever it is I have chosen. Ok, let me just be perfectly honest, I’m an epic failure at Lent, rarely getting past four days let alone forty. So a few years ago, I decided that I didn’t have to necessarily give up something for Lent, why couldn’t I do something that I don’t usually do. Something that would make me a better person. I could be more charitable with my time, I could perhaps make a difference in someone else’s life. It’s no secret that I do not like to conform and I’m not a huge fan of the rules society or religion places upon us. So putting a spin on how I was going to handle the Lenten season wasn’t much of a shock to those that know me well. Besides, the year I gave up coffee only caused me to swear more, so the following year I gave up swearing which almost led to stroke like episodes. My health was obviously at risk – Jesus would not want that.
This year I decided to let those who have touched my life in some way know how much they mean to me. Every day, beginning on March 5, I have written a letter and mailed it (no, not an e-mail – a letter with an envelope and a stamp ) to a person who has made a difference in my life. Maybe what they did happened ten years ago or it could have taken place only ten days ago – it could have been monumental or maybe a small, random act of kindness, it doesn’t matter, forty people will have received a letter from me by the end of the Lenten season. And given my life’s circumstances, it will be very easy to write to forty people who have been there for me. This endeavor may very well carry into our next religious holiday, maybe Rosh Hashana. Wait, wrong religion. But you get the idea.
Personally, I’ve never understood how giving up something like Facebook or cookies or chicken strengthened one’s relationship with Christ. But that’s just me. Giving up sweets isn’t an option for me, I’ve been on a 12oo calorie diet for six weeks now – the only thing sweet I see is my children’s faces and given that one of them is 19, even that metaphor is a stretch. I also don’t drink soda or eat fast food – two of the most popular things people choose to abstain from for forty days. According to Twitter, here are the most popular things people are giving up:
Whatever you choose to give up for Lent is a very personal decision – and for me, doing something extra is a good fit. I’ve already heard from one person who received a letter from me. I didn’t have her mailing address, so I drove to her home and placed the letter on her porch with a flower from my garden. She called me later that day and was almost in tears. You know, those happy tears us women are prone to. Giving up chocolate wouldn’t have made her day or caused me to reflect on all the good in people – but reminding her how much what she did for me & my family a few years ago sure did.
So yeah, I think Jesus is ok with me still drinking coffee and swearing now and again. And we all know that Jesus was a coffee drinker, it’s in the Bible – Hebrews it!
In less than 12 hours it will be lights out for the incandescent light bulb. The ludicrous light law was given life when the federal ban on producing or importing incandescents of varying watts was passed in 2007. The efficiency standards started with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. Another shining example of how our individual rights are being threatened and this of course is another win for crony corporatism.
I really do not like being told what I can and cannot buy. We should be given a choice, whether it’s healthcare, Slurpies or lightbulbs. So up yours Federal Government because I’ve been stock-piling incandescent light bulbs for the past three years – my family thought I was crazy for doing this — but now they know where to come when they need an incandescent bulb, as none of them are too fond of those curly mercury filled, over-priced, need a hazmat suit to get rid of them, light bulbs. Personally, I have had 3 of them burn and pop which resulted in a lovely smoke cloud when I turned them on – one even caught on fire. I never had that happen with Mr. Edison’s invention. I’ll live by candles before I ever purchase a LED or CFL bulb again. But I suppose the government will impose a candle tax soon and then put into law the proper way to get rid of candle wax…. you must first pour it into a Government approved container while standing on one foot – in the dark, since you can only burn candles during daylight hours – and never on days that end in ‘Y’. Then the container must be picked up by a Federally Approved Agency, where millions of dollars have been spent on the intense training of candle wax waste but they only operate when the earth, moon, and sun are in perfect alignment.
In the end, incandescent bulbs won’t go away entirely. The capitalist will always find a way to produce what society wants when the government morons turn their idiotic ideas into law. By the way, all incandescents are still legal in Texas– Gov. Perry signed an exemption in June 2011. God Bless Texas!
Now, there is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Many exemptions are written into this light law, including “specialty bulbs” such as the 3-way bulb, silver-bottomed bulb, chandelier bulb & refrigerator bulb. For those of us that dislike the cold, sterile light emitted by LED & CFL bulbs, I have more good news. After some research, I discovered that incandescent bulbs are only illegal for home use, but not for industrial use. Find a commercial supplier that sells to the public and problem solved. Yes, you will have to buy them by the case – but it is still cheaper than what you would spend at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Here are a few links to get you started:
Now, after your incandescent bulbs arrive, you can take those ridiculous curly, hazardous, non-recyclable bulbs out of your lamps and toss them out the window. But then, immediately call the morons at the E.P.A. to rush over to your home in their Hazmat suits to clean up the mess because those idiots are in dire need of something to do to keep them from passing any more loony luminary laws. People, this is INSANE – allowing a government to dictate economics to us. This is America land of the FREE. The government does not have the power under the Constitution to legislate upon this matter. It is no where to be found in Article 1, Section 8 — go look for yourself, you won’t find one damn word about the power to regulate light bulbs there. Of course, I was in my office when I was reading about all of this, and it is lit by incandescent lighting, so maybe a LED bulb would have shed more light on the matter.
I’m not sure how my daughter’s generation is going to react to this news – they are 20-somethings with more to worry about than lightbulbs. However, my daughter is very much her mother’s daughter and by that I mean, she loathes being told what she can and can’t do – or purchase. She, along with her friends, all know about Ms. Roseanna’s Light Bulb Closet and while they thought it was funny at first, they now realize why I don’t need an incandescent intervention or my own episode of “Hoarders”. They even gave me incandescent lightbulbs as Christmas gifts this year – and I was thrilled! I admit, I have a somewhat vain reason for loving the incandescent bulb – I look fabulous in that type of lighting. Hell, we all do. And while I’m still mistaken for my daughter’s older sister instead of her mother, I know for a fact that time marches on and soon it will march across my body. And when that happens, I’d like to quote the lovely and gone too soon Donna Summer, ‘Dim all the lights, sweet darling….’ – but they better damn well be incandescent!
Oh, and keep in mind, this law was passed during the Bush Administration.
Until you are the parent of a child like my little Joey, you may not fully comprehend what it’s like to have a school like the Linda Nolen Learning Center for your child to attend. These are not your typical teachers – not by a long shot. They ride in ambulances when one of their students is rushed to Children’s Hospital, they deal with almost as much bodily fluids (and I mean from ALL ENDS) as the parents have to at home. And even though they may have less than ten children in their class, they all have varying and often multiple disabilities – many requiring medical equipment, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. They have to know how to communicate with these children who are non-verbal – and they are able to, understanding what their different facial expressions, moans and sounds mean. Seizures are a daily occurrence, along with emotional melt-downs and outbursts. I’ve seen first hand how they interact with the students and it’s like they are their own children, it is the closest thing to a family outside of my own that I’ve ever encountered. What I love most is that they do not see Joey’s disability; rather, what he may be capable of doing. Goals are set, limits pushed, small victories celebrated with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. They are somehow able to tap into each child’s creative outlet coming up with wonderful & stimulating activities that I would never have thought of and they let each child express themselves freely. It’s not unusual for Joey to come home with green paint under his fingernails or Kool-Aid stains on his shirt from a painting project gone wild. The teachers at LNLC put into practice what I’ve always believed about children, regardless of their ability, and that is, that every student can learn, but it just might not be on the same day or in the same way.
There are very few, and I mean very few, people I trust Joey with and I can honestly say that while he is at school, I don’t worry. Well, ok, I worry; I’m a mom, that’s what we do. But I never question if he is being loved and cared for. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for all teachers; I think like nursing, it’s a calling. You obviously don’t enter teaching to become a millionaire. But to work at a school like LNLC requires a level of love, patience and compassion that leaves me speechless. I’m impressed with everyone at LNLC – from the lady at the front desk who Joey flirts with incessantly, to the counselor, the nurses (yes, Joey flirts with those two as well), the teachers, administration …even the janitorial staff – they all know these kids and interact with them. But most importantly, the students know they are loved – hugs and smiles are never in short supply.
The staff at LNLC is nothing short of amazing and today I felt the need to share that with everyone.
Something to think about….
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the special need teacher’s job.” ~D. Quinn
In our home, today marks the official kick off of all things Christmas. Yes, today begins my yearly metamorphosis into Clark Griswold’s, younger, better looking sister who is a Clandestine Member of the E.E.L.I.I. – the Excessive Exterior Luminary Intelligence Institute. Christmas music, decor and over-the-top outside lighting that often causes a temporary neighborhood brown-out, are what the kids & I dream about all year. ALL YEAR. I think it is more than mere coincidence that on this very day in 1512, the Sistine Chapel ceiling was open to the public. See, us Italian, creative & expressive types stick together. Did you know that Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88? That will be me, doing what I love until I take my last breath. The headline will read,
“LOCAL WOMAN FOUND TANGLED IN TINSEL WHILE DECORATING”. Witnesses say her last words were, “I call bullshit on one bulb going out and all the others staying lit”. Alabama Power now worried about 4th quarter profits.
Perhaps my teenage daughter just rolls her eyes when this time of year arrives, since she is the one who gets sent to the attic multiple times to bring down decades of decorations. But deep down—- deep deep down, I know she enjoys it. My little Joey, however, gets as excited as his mama – he loves the lights and sounds that come to life about this time each year . In fact, given that he has spent many Decembers in the hospital, his Christmas tree stays up in his room all year.
The Christmas DVDs will now stay out by the television for the next couple months and our Pandora stations will all be set to the Christmas channels. For us, this really is the most wonderful time of the year and it has nothing to do with gifts or the marketing mayhem that corporate clowns will force down our throats over the coming weeks. There’s just a feeling in the air that comes around right about now – and no, it’s not because the temperature has dropped some. I’m referring to that illusive Christmas spirit. It’s coming, I can feel it, and I’m happy to be one of those that kicks it off just a little earlier than most. I’ve never conformed to the restraints of society, so if I want to put my Christmas decorations out now, that’s what this mama is going to do. It takes a full week to transform my home into Santa’s Village South and I want to enjoy it as long as possible. January will be here in the blink of an eye and soon I will be wrapping up my decorations, putting them in boxes and out of sight in my attic. Sort of like the Christmas spirit – it comes in with a bang, makes all of us feel warm and fuzzy inside and you always wish it would stay just a bit longer. Sadly, it seems to get packed away and then it’s gone. In the words of Kin Hubbard, “Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.”
Now, for those of you shaking your head because Thanksgiving seems to be lost on those of us who get tangled in the tinsel a touch too soon, here’s what I’m going to do. Just for you, I will buy a Butterball and put him on display – but I’m going to decorate his frozen ass with a big red bow and a Santa Hat.Gobble Ho Gobble Ho, Gobble Ho, Ho, Ho!
And in the spirit of Christmas marketing, don’t forget to visit http://santaletters-us.webs.com/ and order a letter from Santa. This is my little home business that I’ve had the pleasure of doing for almost a decade. Bringing to life the antics and mischief that takes place in Santa’s North Pole Village is something I enjoy writing about each year and sharing with hundreds of children. I hope yours will be one of them.
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!”… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”
~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I went to the grocery store today for a few things. Not a big deal and hardly worth writing about. Well, not in my world. No, in my little corner of the world, the boring and mundane seem to somehow morph into comedic events that often find their way to my blog or occasionally my Facecrack page.
Almost every morning before I get up, I wonder what is going to happen that I will be able to write about, because more often than not, by the middle of the day a level of chaos has ensued that would rival an Abbott & Costello routine. Actually, the first thing I do each morning is say this little prayer, “dear God, please, please keep me from saying something stupid, don’t let me swear in front of my mother or laugh at the most inappropriate of times.” I’m beginning to think that God is extremely busy between the hours of 4:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Central Time because he has yet to help me hold my tongue. We need a Patron Saint of “Are You Really Going To Say That Out Loud”. Perhaps there is a St. Filter of Foligno.
But I digress…
I arrived home from the grocery store, carried the groceries upstairs and began putting them away. During this time the phone rings. It’s a lady from the company that supplies my son’s diapers and she needs to know how many diapers Joey has left so she can reorder more for next month. No problem, I go back downstairs to Joey’s closet and begin counting – she puts me on hold;
Another call comes in while I’m doing this – it’s a different company calling to refill Joey’s formula, but they need to know how many packets of formula I have on hand before they can refill the formula. So, I stop counting diapers and begin counting formula packets.
In the middle of counting formula packets, I realize I haven’t yet put the groceries that need to be in the refrigerator away. So I stop counting and run back upstairs. I’m almost to the top of the stairs when there is a knock on the door. REALLY!?! I turn around and head to the front door, but then decide not to answer it – it’s probably someone selling something. I go back downstairs and resume counting formula packets. I’m almost done when the call waiting clicks again. It’s the lady from the diaper company – she hung up and called back. Oops! Her voice isn’t quite as pleasant as before and I detect a hint of an attitude. I remind myself of my early morning request to God to keep His hand over my mouth. So far so good.
I’m back in Joey’s closet counting formula, no, wait, diapers. Yes, diapers. Now the knock on the door has escalated to a multi ringing of the doorbell. I stop counting and run back up the stairs and open the door. It’s a lady from down the street thanking me for helping her find her lost dog last night. She goes on about wanting to take me to lunch tomorrow or maybe coffee and then starts to tell me what a beautiful home I have and OH MY GOD WOMAN PLEASE STOP TALKING BECAUSE I’M COUNTING! I smile, mumble something and invite her in, while at the same time glancing up to the kitchen and seeing the groceries still on the counter, cradling my phone on my shoulder and running back downstairs to see how many diapers Joey has left but then I remember that the formula packet lady is still on hold. I click back over and apologize for keeping her on hold. She asks me again for the number of packets Joey has left and I just blurt out 240. Why that number? Because the radio station that is playing in the background just announced that if you are holding a ticket with those three numbers, then you will win $100. The lady tells me that it is impossible for me to have 240 packets because that is more than they send to me in a month. Well damn. I tell her that I was probably counting diapers and put her on hold. I tell the lost but found dog lady to make herself at home and I get diaper lady back on the phone. I tell her how many diapers are left and she asks me if I’m certain. At this point I’m certain of nothing and I jokingly tell her that but my humor is not well received. She tells me that I must tell her exactly how many diapers I have or I could face penalties. Ooooh, I’m scared. Is The Divine Director of Diapers going to show up on my front porch demanding a recount. Is there a division of dim wits at the NSA now watching how many diapers cross Joey’s derrière?
In the end, diapers were ordered, formula packets were counted and refilled and I made a new friend in the neighborhood. But taking everything you just read into consideration, is it really any wonder that when I went to get some water from the refrigerator a few minutes ago, this is what I found:
Would you like to venture a guess as to where the milk that I just bought is located? Yup, it’s in the laundry room, on a shelf, next to the bleach.
Our government shutdown last week. And while Barack would like for us to think this is an epic event that can be compared only to an apocalypse, the truth is, only 17% of the government has shutdown. Barack has deemed many services still essential. More than half of his wife’s staff (makeup, hair, etc.) are still employed, Michelle’s website, http://www.letsmove.gov/ is up and running and the White House chefs all still have jobs. As of today, Medicare, the United States Postal Service, tax collection and our military all continue to operate – but Barack did have to cut all sports and entertainment TV to our troops overseas. God forbid they enjoy themselves if and when they have even a minute of free time from risking their lives for us. Good luck trying to visit the National Zoo or any National Park – and don’t even think about trying to view Mount Rushmore, Barack made sure we can’t even slow down on the roads that our tax money pays for to stop and look at that national monument.
“We just can’t trust the American people to make those types of choices…. Government has to make those choices for people.” ~ Hilary Rodham Clinton
I remember enough from my high school government class that each year Congress has to agree on a budget to fund the government. This year we seem to be at a standstill, with Congress unable and unwilling to agree on how best to use federal funds. It is my understanding that they couldn’t even agree to a stopgap measure to temporarily provide funds for our government.
The point of contention in all of this is funding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, Obamacare is the president’s pride and joy that will increase the number of Americans who receive health insurance by forcing them to buy it or face severe fines. At first, I thought this was a ridiculous tactic by the republicans, a type of temper tantrum, if you will. But in the past few days I have read and heard countless stories from personal friends of the nightmare they are now faced with regarding their health insurance. Sure, they can keep their current health insurance, but the rates have more than tripled and their deductibles are five times higher now. How in the hell is this affordable to average, hard-working American citizens? Barack is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, promising us one thing and delivering something that can only be described as its polar opposite – and the begin of our demise.
I hope like hell all or part of this tyranny of a healthcare plan is either done away with or forced to undergo a major overhaul – actually, I wish that for our current government. Our rights are slowing being stripped from us – this is not the America I knew even fifteen years ago. For those of you that have been drinking the Kool-Aid, you are about to have a very bitter taste in your mouth as the rest of Obamacare and his presidency unfolds.
When I taste something bitter, I spit it right back out. And then I make a little video…
“When enough people realize that they are slaves but don’t have to be, revolutions happen.” ~ J.S.B. Morse
“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“You know something is wrong when the government declares opening someone else’s mail is a felony but your internet activity is fair game for data collecting.” ~ E.A. Bucchianeri
“The only way to make a difference is to acquire power.” ~ Hilary Rodham Clinton
“Politically, Republicans and Democrats are at opposite ends. One’s a burp and the other’s a fart. ” ~ Jarod Kintz