Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!!

Oh, friends and loved ones, today is the day!! Brent asked if we had to dance around a bonfire or something. I told him not to be silly. It's much too cold for a bonfire. We'll just put a candle in the middle of the living room floor.

You know some of the depression struggles I have cannot be helped. My brain does not fire the way other people's do and for this reason I am very happily medicated. That being said, some of the fight I fight comes down to making a choice. I am careful with what I watch, what I read, the people with whom I hang out. I try to be careful what I eat. (Except for the butter on saltines snack I am having right now. Okay, it's not even butter, it's margarine. I'm sorry. It's tasty.)

Today is the day I make a choice about winter. Today is the day I am done grieving, done whining (don't hold me to that one, okay?), done feeling sorry for myself. Today is the day I buck up and move ahead.

Oh my sweet friend, it doesn't take a visit by three ghosts to make me see it's time to embrace some holiday joy. If not for the Christmas baby, I would have no strength to tackle any of this. If I did not believe that God really came down and became a human who could identify with me, I wonder what would be the point of living in this crazy world.

So let us take a cue from our chum Ebenezer:

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

I am going to take a little blog break to focus on Christmas with my family and then take that long awaited trip to the Sunshine State. I will see you again, precious friend, in the new year. Stay safe! Stay warm!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Writer's Block Friday : Waiting for Solstice Edition

Blah, blah, blah . . .

1. I see that I wrote yesterday that I shouldn't have waited before posted Tuesday's poem. Of course I meant I should have waited. This is further proof that I am loopier than usual.

2. Jeremy J sent me a link yesterday to a group which declares the first day of spring to be December 22. I signed on immediately. Welcome, Spring!

3. Cyberspace Sarah made an emergency trip up to see Sara Groves at our church last night. I was trying to find a post on one of our blogs about how we accosted her at a Beth Moore event last year when Sara was just trying to sit there and listen like everyone else. Let's just say we were a little concerned there would be a restraining order. Imagine our surprise (Of horror?) when she said, "Hey! I've met you!" Yes, you have. Thank you for being gracious.

4. So I took Cyberspace's picture with SG (because we are close and she remembers us, I call her by her initials), got home and realized that I had not had a picture with SG -- just like at Beth Moore. This would explain the awkward moment when she moved in to stand next to me. She thought it was my turn, but was too lovely to say, "Don't you want a picture with me?"

5. Because how weird would that be to stand there and have your picture taken with people you don't even know but who know you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Waiting for the Solstice: Part III

I had two phone calls of concern over my mental health yesterday. One, in particular, was a great worry over Tuesday's poem/song. I knew I shouldn't have waited before posting that as this week's selection. I only meant to show that there are minds more out of whack than my own at this time of year.

Anyway, we are down to four days today, and I am feeling much better, thank you. The sun has been out for three days in a row. Today's high is 20, I think. (Whoo! Break out the shorts, Big Daddy!) I have cut my Christmas cookie intake way, way down and left that third cup of coffee out all together. It's all helping.

A Facebook friend asked where the party was going to be on Monday. My initial answer was, "In my mind, of course," but I'm concerned that sounds a little nutty, and I started to think maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. Maybe I should have a little celebration.

Let's brainstorm:
* I could eat a sundae. (Get it? Do you see where we're going with this?)
* How about an egg -- sunny side up? (Nope, too runny. Eat my eggs over hard.)
* Sun Chips
* I could dress all in yellow.
* I could listen to Good Day, Sunshine or Here Comes the Sun or Don't let the Sun Go Down on Me or You Are the Sunshine of My Life.

Ah, the possibilities and only four days to go.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Waiting for the Solstice: Part II

Oh, how could I do that to you yesterday? What a horrible song. It's lack of daylight I tell you. It's making me go wonkier than ever. I burst into tears singing "Mighty to Save" on Monday night while I pictured God getting ready to rotate the earth ever so slightly back to summer.

Five more days.

Here I am in front of my little light therapy light pretending I am sitting in the warm sun of Aruba and not in West Central Minnesota where yesterday's high was -2.

Tragically, I didn't manage makeup of any sort yesterday. What would have been the point? Where was I going yesterday when the high was -2. You can see I have painted my fingernails gold . . . like little suns.

Oh, I am sure once Monday rolls around, I will settle down and grin and bear it. I will return to my right mind. I will take on the cold and snow like the true, strong Minnesota woman I am.

. . . or I will pack my family in the car and head to Florida for the week. HAHAHA!!!

Nope, not kidding. That's my plan. I hear it's 65 glorious degrees there now. Heat wave!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Poem for Tuesday

I heard the most horrible Christmas song ever on XM Holly the other day and now I am forcing its twisted lyrics on you. Honestly, I am so fond of you I don't know why I am doing this. Just imagine the sweetest little voice ever singing this song and just thank your lucky Christmas stars you didn't think of it first.

We thought we were crazy.

The Chimney Song
Bob Rivers Comedy Corp

There's something stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is,
But it's been there all night long.
Well, I waited up for Santa all Christmas night
But he never came and it don't seem right.
And there's something in the chimney
And it doesn't make a sound,
But I wish you Merry Christmas.

There's something stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is,
But it's been there all week long.
Well, the dog keeps barking up the chimney flue
And we don't know what we're going to do.
Cause there's something in the chimney
And it doesn't move around,
And it's been a week since Christmas.

There's something stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is,
But it's been there all month long.
Well, it's jammed up tight above the fireplace
Now the house smells funny, such a big disgrace.
That there's something in the chimney
And it doesn't talk at all,
And it's been there since last Christmas.

There's something stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is,
But it's been there all year long.
I'll been waiting up for Santa like I did last year
But my brother says, "He's already here."
And he's stuck up in the chimney
And he doesn't say a word
And he'll be there every Christmas.
And we'll have him every Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Waiting for the Solstice

Quit being so cute, kid. Mother's trying to be seriously cranky about the lack of daylight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Dirty Eyes

As it turns out, I have dandruff of the eyelashes or something owing to my poor eyelid hygiene.

Well, that is what he said. Now I am on a strict eye washing regimen. Is this too much information? Frankly, it was a bit of a shock to me. It just never occurred to me I had poor eyelid hygiene. I consider myself a pretty clean person. One of the instructions on the sheet said to wash my eyebrows with antibacterial shampoo.

Really? I may skip that step.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but it came on the heels of the eye surgeon (who is remaining nameless today) explaining to me that I can't see as well out of my right eye because he left it that way because I am 40. He explained he'd bought me seven additional years without reading glasses by leaving one of my eyes nearsighted. So, I don't have to have glasses because I can't see out of that eye alone . . . or something. Then, he looked at me as if I was completely dopey for not shouting out for joy at this news and promptly told me about the poor eyelid hygiene thing. He wrote a prescription for an expensive antibiotic gel the pharmacy didn't have.

It was a long morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Say, can you see?

I was at the eye doctor this morning and he confirmed what I already knew. My right eye isn't healing quite right. I will probably have to go back on a series of eye drops. I need to go to a second opinion appointment tomorrow. I don't care much, as long as it gets better.

I have never been a particularly good healer. In college I had my wisdom teeth out on a Thursday thinking I would be ready to go back to class on Monday. I swelled up like a chipmunk and couldn't go until Wednesday or so.

We won't go into unnecessary details, but you know how after women give birth they say, "Oh, you forget the pain right away!" Me, not so much. Many weeks of laying on the couch feeling sorry for my body.

Just being in the same room with someone who heard over the phone that his or her cousin has strep throat will send me to the doctor for a throat culture and to bed for a week.

So pass the eye drops. Shoot. Where's that Target pharmacy coupon? Grrrr. Out with the recycling yesterday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marshmallow World

I've made no secret that winter is not my favorite season. The high today is four (4) with a wind chill so that it feels like -27. What would I have to gain by lying to you? It's cold. You'll have to forgive me if I get a little bit whiny while I wait to acclimate. I will. It takes time.

So anyway, I was driving to my hair color appointment yesterday . . . Which took longer than I anticipated when I heard my beloved stylist say while I was in the shampoo bowl, "You look like a shiny new penny!" While, I admit, it was very fun to look like a shiny new penny, I didn't think I had the energy to carry it off so early in the winter and so back under the foils I went.

Where was I? Yes. I was driving to my appointment when "Marshmallow World" came on the ol' XM holiday station. I was singing along with enthusiasm when we got to the fourth verse and these lyrics:

It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts
Take a walk with your favorite girl
It's a sugar date, what if spring is late
In winter it's a marshmallow world.

I opened my mouth to sing the line "what if spring is late" with the horror that I always feel when singing that line -- you know, "Argh! What if spring is late?!" -- when for the first time in my 40 years, I stopped to think about what was going on in the song. I always thought it was strange that while the rest of the song seems to sing the praises of snowy winter, that line reflected the truth. This is all very pretty and fun, but HORRORS! what if spring is late? It hit me like a lightning bolt, like a cartoon light bulb going on over my head. This lyricist is saying he would not care if spring is late! So what if spring is late?!

I was stunned. I drove on in silence. It's just so very wrong.

I'm not sure I can sing that song again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Poem for Tuesday

I'll be honest with you. (I try to be most days.) I've only eaten lutefisk maybe three times. We've talked about lutefisk, right? Well, we should have. Bless my ancestors hearts, they dried their fish and then reconstituted it with lye. Yes, lye. Not rye -- lye -- which according to Wikipedia is a "corrosive alkaline substance." This makes a sort of jellied fish that smells like (take a wild guess) lye. We then eat it at holiday time drowning in a cream sauce and butter. Well, as I have said, I probably have only managed it a few times. As I recall the smell is much worse than the taste, but it's been a long time, and I am sure I was trying to be brave.

Anyway, growing up a Twin Cities radio station would play a reading of this poem and it always made us laugh.

Oh, the memory of the smell is coming to me as we speak.

Dan Freeburg

'Twas the day before Christmas, with things all a bustle.
As Mama got set for the Christmas Eve tussle.
Aunts, uncles, and Cousins would soon be arriving,
With stomachs all ready for Christmas Eve dining.
While I sat alone with a feeling of dread,
As visions of lutefisk danced in my head.
The thought of the smell made my eyeballs start burning.
The thought of the taste set my stomach to churning.
For I'm one of those who good Swedes rebuff,
A Scandahoovian boy who can't stand the stuff.
Each year, however, I played at the game,
To spare Mama and Papa the undying shame.
I must bear up bravely. I can't take the risk,
Of relatives knowing I hate lutefisk.

Then out in the yard I heard such a clatter.
I jumped up to see what was the matter.
There in the snow, all in a jumble,
Three of my uncles had taken a tumble.

From out in the kitchen an odor came stealing,
That fairly set all of my senses to reeling.
The smell of the lutefisk crept down the hall,
And wilted a plant in a pot on the wall.
Uncles Oscar and Lars said "Oh, that smells yummy,"
And Kermit's eyes glittered while he patted his tummy.

Mama announced dinner by ringing a bell.
They rushed to the table with a whoop and a yell.
I lifted my eyes to heaven and sighed,
And a rose on the wallpaper withered and died.
Then Mama came proudly with a bowl on a trivet.
You would have thought the crown jewels were in it.
She set it down gently and then took her seat.
And Papa said grace before we could eat.
It seemed to me, in my whirling head,
The shortest of prayers he ever had said.

Then Mama raised the cover on that steaming dish,
And I had to face the quivering fish.
The plates were passed for Papa to fill,
While I waited in agony, twixt fever and chill.
He dipped in the spoon and held it up high,
As it oozed to plates, I thought I would die.

Then it came to my plate, and to my fevered brain.
There seemed enough lutefisk to derail a train.
It looked like a mountain of congealing glue,
Yet oddly transparent and discolored in hue.
With butter and cream sauce I tried to conceal it,
I salted and peppered, but the smell would reveal it.

I drummed up my courage, tried to be bold,
Mama reminds me, "Eat before it gets cold."
Deciding to face it, "Uffda," I sighed.
"Uffda, indeed," my stomach replied.

Then summoning the courage for which we are known,
My hand took the fork as with a mind of its own.
And with reckless abandon the lutefisk I ate,
Within 20 seconds, I'd cleaned up my plate.
Uncle Kermit flashed me an ear-to-ear grin,
As butter and cream sauce dripped from his chin.
Then to my great shock, he spoke in my ear,
"I'm sure glad that's over for another year."

It was then that I learned a great wonderful truth,
That Swedes and Norwegians from old men to youth,
Must each pay their dues to have the great joy,
Of being known as a good Scandahoovian boy,
And so to tell you all, as you face the great test,
"Happy Christmas to you, and to you all my best."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Practical Gifts

While I go rescue a few ornaments from the dog, please enjoy this year's interpretation of the manger scene by Toddler D. Last year, you may recall, the shepherd tried to kidnap Baby Jesus and then flung himself off the buffet when he was caught by the shocked Wise Men.

This year the Wise Men have brought Baby Jesus a gift of landscaping shrubbery and are now in conference about what to do with all those burial spices and things they brought. Such impractical gifts for a baby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dog Ran Away

It's winter today, and I suppose it will be until . . .well, to be honest . . . May. We have that first layer of snow and the high today was 21 or something. Toddler D decided he wanted to play out on the porch without socks. I let him. I figured he would eventually decide it was much too cold and come inside. I opened the door several times to check him and try to encourage him. The last time I did this, I noticed the dog was no longer on the porch with D. I was pretty sure he had been at one point.

Toddler D, did you let Fritz out?


Great. On went my medium weight winter coat (for temps below freezing but above zero). On went my winter boots. (The trendy cute ones, not the functional ones.) Out I went.

I called. I called. I walked up the alley. I wished I'd put my mittens on. I contemplated putting D in the car and driving around. I called some more. I tried to follow dog tracks in the snow.


I decided that when the dog got cold enough he would come back. OR maybe a family who loved him more than I do would take him in out of the cold. Also a good possibility. As I headed for the door a little white face (except for the chin from a nasty diaper incident we shall not discuss) met me at the door.

From the inside.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is that a dust speck?

I don't have anything smart to say today. I have been sitting here just staring at the computer for quite some time. I was watching a dust speck just this moment.

I've been in a couple of interesting discussions regarding tree trimming timing. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I had a Facebook friend write that she had the tree up and the presents under. That seems too early to me. I need to take a breath from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I turned a little holiday music on the next day and we baked cookies, but that was as exciting as it got.

If department stores had their way, we would start November 1st after Halloween. There's not much to sell us on Thanksgiving.If you start this early, by my way of thinking, you sick of it and ready to take it down December 26. I'm not comfortable with that. Seems like such a sudden ending.

Then I was in a discussion with a woman (okay, it was my mom) whose family did not put the tree up until Christmas Eve. After 42 of being married and having her own family, she's still a little angry about this. Christmas Eve does seem a little late.

Is there some middle ground to our holiday decorating?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Small Prayer

Gigi and her plate at Thanksgiving while niece Ella looks on in horror at cranberry Jell-O salad.

I was in the next town at Target today when I ran into my grandmother Gigi. (As you may recall, that's just her fancy way of spelling G.G. for great-grandmother.) Please, let me be 86 and driving myself over to the next town in my sporty Mazda to buy Legos for my great-grandson because I thought he probably needed some for his birthday next month. She was concerned that the Lego supply would be down after the holidays, so she wanted to get them today. That's my Gigi's way of thinking and that part doesn't have anything to do with her age. She's always been that way.

I'm not saying that Gigi should be driving, by the way. It's been a long time since I have ridden with her, but she is . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Poem for Tuesday

Last week we had a poem from a man who liked to make up words and yesterday I was reminded of another man who liked to make stuff up, Theodore Geisel. He wasn't a real doctor, but he liked to play one in his stories.

Welcome Christmas

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Come this way!

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Christmas Day.

Welcome, Welcome
Fah who rah-moose
Welcome, Welcome
Dah who dah-moose
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas
Bring your cheer
Day Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome all Who's
Far and near

Welcome Christmas, fah who rah-moose
Welcome Christmas, dah who dah-moose
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas
Bring your light

Welcome Christmas
Fah who rah-moose!
Welcome Christmas
Dah who dah-moose!
Welcome Christmas
While we stand
Heart to heart
And hand in hand

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome welcome
Christmas Day