Category Archives: Fun

That’s no Cone of Silence, that’s My Life!

Wouldn't it be great if The Cone of Silence actually worked!

It’s not for lack of anything to say that I haven’t posted in a week and a half. I’ve just been having more adventures than even I thought possible, and I have a pretty good imagination for possibility. There’s been too much to say, and I haven’t been able to shovel fast enough. Since we last snacked on various quotato and quotata on Friday, November 5, I have attended:

  • A day-long Diocesan Convention where my only responsibility, besides eating what they put in front of me, was to hand out copies of the paperback “The Best Spiritual Writing of 2010” to seven unsuspecting and somewhat random people of my choosing, courtesy of my recent decision to join the local board of Episcopal Church Women. I loved getting to play Santa at the convention, and I didn’t even have to wear a wig, a beard, or a red suit.
  • Two different plays by the rising playwright Annie Baker: “Body Awareness” and “Circle Mirror Transformation.” Both plays were stunning — in their wisdom, in the beauty and power of the productions by two different theater companies, and in the ways they related to each other, without sharing anything other than the same fictitious small town setting and the same author. If you get the chance to see one of Annie Baker’s plays, GO.
  • The baptism of the first grandchild of two friends of mine. As the priest (Jeff) held the baby (Charlie) and put water on his head three times, little Charlie looked up into Jeff’s face, reached up his chubby hand, and rested his palm on Jeff’s cheek, all while never breaking eye contact with Jeff. It was one of those extraordinary wordless moments that there are not enough words to describe. Plus, as I’ve written before, I love the ritual in the baptismal service of renouncing things, and the challenge of actually renouncing something successfully. Since I’ve already renounced easy stuff, like satin, this time I renounced fear. My renunciation didn’t keep fear at bay for as long as I’d like, but it was a good start.
  • Two services at Emmanuel Church, including two gorgeous choral motets and two very different and equally gorgeous Bach Cantatas. I was a last-minute-substitute reader at this past Sunday’s service. I got to read a passage from Thessalonians about how it’s important not to be an idle busybody and how people who do not work should not eat. Nice. At least I got to read it myself, with my own inflections and rhythms, rather than sitting and hearing someone else read it and feeling lectured to regarding the evils of my unemployment.
  • An all-day workshop to learn how to create Beijing Circles: small groups of people united to take action around any of 12 different U.N. goals for improving the lives of women and girls around the globe. Inspiring.
  • A wedding and reception for a parishioner who explicitly asked if I would attend both the wedding (which PW performed) and the reception. PW’s done a lot of weddings this year, and only two of the couples have sent an invitation addressed to both of us. I sat in the back of the little chapel and sang everything as loudly as I could (without screeching). I felt like I was singing solos back there since, for at least five rows in front of me, no one else was singing. At the reception, a woman introduced herself to PW and said, “That was a wonderful service.” She then turned to me and said, “And you have a wonderful voice.” I then recognized her jacket as belonging to the woman who had been sitting directly in front of me at the wedding. Good thing she liked my singing, because she heard a lot of it, across three different parts. One of the rules of being named Joy is that I have to sing the soprano, alto, and tenor parts of the “Hymn to Joy,” any time I sing it. Thankfully, I don’t have to sing all three parts at the same time. The Union of Joy got that written into my contract during our last collective bargaining agreement.
  • A concert of early chamber music by Beethoven. I have never heard much humor in Beethoven’s music until this past Sunday. One of the program notes referred to an early string trio as “Beethoven at his least disturbed.” The performances were masterful, and there was a good and lively crowd in attendance. After the concert, I volunteered to drive a terminally ill and extremely slow-moving parishioner home, walking along with her for about 20 yards to the front door, and then up three flights of stairs to her apartment. I wouldn’t bother mentioning it, but that hour of my evening on Sunday has continued to ripple around inside me in ways I still can’t describe. One of the things she said to me in the car was, “I realized at this concert tonight, for the first time ever, that I’ll get to take all of this music with me. I don’t have to leave it behind.” As we walked together, every time I thought I was keeping a slow enough pace, I had to slow down even more. It was hypnotic, like a kind of moving meditation. It was a good reminder that I can feel, and express, deep tenderness to someone I have never met before. Plus, I learned that I can walk REALLY slowly when I have to. That might not be a resume-worthy skill, but you never know when someone will need to gather an emergency posse of really slow walkers.
  • Two Monday nights at prison. This week in our closing circle, a woman began to thank us for giving her the opportunity to make cards for her family. Her thanks turned into sobs as she blurted that this would be her last class because she’s being deported, leaving behind her husband and two children — a three-year-old and a 10-month-old. Almost everyone was crying by the time we finished the closing prayer. Brutal.
  • Two early Tuesday morning Heretic School/Bible Studies. I’ve written about these before. They are such an amazing and fascinating way to begin a day, no matter who shows up. I love poking around in these texts with people who aren’t hung up on whether the truth of them has anything to do with facts.
  • Three different stints as a volunteer at my local library. My self-esteem hit a pothole awhile back (long-term unemployment will do that to a girl), and I figured that volunteering at the library might put some “jump in my rump,” as a friend of mine says. It did all that and more. Speaking of rumps, the library ladies seem to think I hung the moon, so that’s a plus.

I wish I could carry pockets full of you around with me on my wanderings. If nothing else, it would explain why I’m frequently talking to myself. I may not have a paying job, but my life is overflowing with beautiful live music, extraordinary theater productions, wonderfully generous communities of extended family and friends and readers, volunteer jobs that range from the heartbreaking to the hilarious, and most precious of all, the four remarkably loving, funny, beautiful, and brilliant women who are my home. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig, I consider myself the luckiest woman on the face of the earth.

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You say quotato and I say quotata

It’s time to empty my pockets of some quotes-of-the-day I’ve collected over the past few whiles. Some of these are sparkly gems, so they may not be new to you. At least one is a horrible warning. I present them in no particular order.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

“My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky He’s referring to his faith in Jesus Christ here, but the sentence before this is not nearly as rhythmically hypnotic as this one. Plus, since the word “hosanna” is rooted in a Hebrew word that is a cry for help, I’ll jump on the opportunity to divorce it from being so Christocentric. Dostoevsky said a lot of other cool things, such as, “The formula ‘two plus two equals five’ is not without its attractions.”

Dorothy Parker's brain was so fertile, plants grew out of her head.

Wouldn’t Dorothy Parker have been a master of the Facebook status? There are way too many Dorothy Parker quotations to choose from, on just about any given topic. She once said this in a book review: “This is a not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Imagine what fun she would have had with this last election cycle.

This week, I’ve continued to come back to another bit of Parkerian brilliance, mostly as an antidote to hearing my kids complain of boredom. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

My cousin Rich has a football blog that is a must-read if you love the game, and especially if you bet on it. Trust me, he knows more about football than you do. If you hate football because of its fans, then you should still read his blog, if only for his hilarious dismantling of the people who are outraged by his objectivity when he turns it on whatever team is the object of their blind loyalty. I’m quoting several sentences from one of his posts this past week, where he took on some outraged Nebraska Cornhusker fans who filled his email box with rabid, irrational invective.

“To 4everRed, thanks for reading, but if this is an example of your Nebraska education, your parents should apply for a refund. So much cursing & name-calling & so little of it goes together. Watch a Robert DeNiro movie, maybe you’ll learn how to hurl a decent insult that doesn’t make your intended victim laugh out loud at just how stupid it is. It was difficult to understand what it was you wanted me to do.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was all that AND a bag of chips

Thinking about the diatribes that my cousin Rich receives from football zealots made me think of a quotation I saw earlier this week by another highly quotable guy, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. What, I’ve been talking about Rabbi Heschel all this time and you STILL haven’t checked out one of his books from your local library?? Sheesh. And by Sheesh I really mean My Bad, since my copy of his classic, “God in Search of Man” is way overdue, which I realize is keeping everyone else in the library-using universe from checking it out. I say sorry (but I need to hang onto it for a few more days).

Anyway, Rabbi Heschel has a ton of great quotations in that book alone, two of which appear on the same page: “Faith in its zeal tends to become bigotry.” and “Hypocrisy rather than heresy is the cause of spiritual decay.”

Speaking of hypocrisy and heresy, I hit on a new description of hypocrisy at Heretic School (aka Early Morning Bible Study aka Early Morning BS) on Tuesday: hating the sinner and loving the sin. Yes, I have the nerve to quote myself as a quotable quoter. That’s one of the perks you get when you step off the edge of sanity into the blogging world.

On Wednesday I had one of those frequent (for me) serendipitous Internet discoveries, where I started out looking for one thing and found another. Here’s something from the blog of Kurt Sutter, the writer for the TV show “Sons of Anarchy.” I’ve never seen the show, but his recent post “I Have it All, I Hate it All” has this verbal laser beam, which may be known to those of you who are familiar with 12 Step Programs: “Expectations are future resentments.”

Here’s a line that I had to read several times because I couldn’t believe the person really wrote it. This is from an Amazon book review of a memoir about a guy’s near death experience: “His descriptions of heaven seem authentic.”

I am not making this up, Internetians. Go and read it for yourself, and continue reading the review to enjoy one of those lovely spell-check-passing typos that, when your name is affixed to them, can make you look ridiculous. Of course, if you’ve already written, “His descriptions of heaven seem authentic,” perhaps you’re not worried about looking ridiculous. Either that or you’re used to it.

If I were really feeling my oats, I’d connect all the dots between these quotata. Alas, it’s late afternoon on a Friday, the sun has finally emerged after a couple of days of rain, and I have miles of leaves to rake before I sleep. When I do sleep I hope to dream of having a dinner party where Fyodor Dostoevsky, Rabbi Heschel, my cousin Rich, and Dorothy Parker are all at my table. That would be some wild conversation. See you next week!

Votepocalypse 2010!!!

Well, Internets, another Election Day in the US has come and gone, and we inch ever closer to seeing broadcast networks cover our electoral process with the same feverish and breathless enthusiasm/shock/voyeurism they once saved only for natural disasters. Coincidence? I think not!

Walt Kelly's prophecy

Now that the political lay of the land appears even more chaotic and dysfunctional than it was just a few days ago, in terms of the US being able to mount anything that remotely resembles a government that actually, you know, GOVERNS, here are my suggestions for improving our political process.

1) Voting should take place over a period of weeks, beginning with Halloween and ending with Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). No, children, you will not be out of school that entire time.

2) All credit card activity is forbidden until you vote. So, if you wait until Black Friday to vote, then you can’t buy anything until you have voted. Oh, you were planning to pay with “cash”? You mean, like, Monopoly Money? You are even funnier than people said you were. No, really!

3) Each candidate is allowed 5 total minutes of broadcast advertising over the course of their campaign. That is all.

4) All campaign advertisements shown on TV must feature either Betty White or Michael Caine. That is all.

5) All campaign advertisements played on the radio must feature the voices of either Homer or Marge Simpson. That is all.

6) All campaign advertisements distributed through print media or Internet must feature puppies or kittens. That is all.

7) All promotional photos of candidates and their families must show them dressed in identical Star Trek uniforms. This is our nation’s future we’re talking about. We need to see how our candidates and their families will look in the future.

8) All debates will include every candidate for each position. There will be no more than three debates per election per position. Each candidate must speak into a bullhorn. The audience will be allowed to make a ruckus, like in the House of Commons, but the only words audience members can say are “rhubarb” and “watermelon.” Candidates who do not have the floor can join the audience in saying either “rhubarb” or “watermelon.” The Ghost of Chuck Barris will moderate all debates, and the end of a candidate’s allotted time will be signaled by the hitting of a large gong. That is all.

9) The word “mandate” will hereby only be used to refer to two men going on a date.

10) The word “referendum” will hereby only be used to refer to a bad call made by a sports official.

11) The word “movement” must always be preceded by the word “bowel,” thereby putting it on track for extinction by 2012.

12) Candidates may only accept up to $1000 from external sources, while spending up to only $1000 of their own money.

13) Candidates may only receive money from their external sources by standing outside with a cup in their hand, shaking said cup, and repeatedly muttering “Running for [insert elective office here]. Spare a quarter?”

That is all (for now). Please add your own suggestions in the Comments section. But I’m warning you, if I don’t think it’s funny, or if I don’t agree with it, I’m going to delete it. You may argue that you don’t think any of these are funny. You may be right. You may ask yourself “Where does that highway lead to?” Indeed.

Friday Fun: What goes around…

My younger brother and I often made up goofy games when we were kids. “Line Drive” was a game that involved standing some distance apart in the back yard, yelling “Line Drive!” and then throwing a baseball as hard as we could at each other, but just out of reach. The idea was to have to make spectacular, Brooks-Robinson-like diving catches, where your body is fully extended and you barely catch the ball in the tip of your glove.

My brother’s expression for making a diving catch like this was, “You really snabbed that in your waring!” He said stuff like this all the time, and I never needed to ask him to explain. I always knew what he was talking about, even when I was hearing some goofy expression for the first time. I’d just say, “Yeah! I KNOW! Complete snabbage!”

Most of the time, we ended up throwing the ball past each other, having to chase it into neighbors’ yards or the nasty brackish creek behind the house, complaining that the other one was a lousy line drive thrower, threatening to quit. Anyone else watching us play Line Drive would wonder why we were so awful at playing catch. Throwing and catching really aren’t that hard, in principle. For my younger brother and me, catch was boring and mind-numbing. We preferred games that required diving onto the ground, getting grass and mud stains on our clothes, having the wind knocked out of us. Now THAT was fun!

The upstairs floor of the split-level home we moved into when I was in first grade featured a living room/library that ran the entire width of the house. To my brothers and me, it was like having an indoor football field, shooting gallery, and dry swimming pool all in the same place.

Below the living room was our dining room, which featured an uncharacteristically (to me) fancy crystal chandelier. It occurs to me only now that maybe the chandelier’s main purpose was to sound the alarm when any combination of the four of us was getting a little too rowdy in our indoor stadium. If we could hear the chandelier clanking from upstairs, we knew we had to tone it down. Hearing the familiar, “Hey, knock it off up there!” was also a good indicator that we needed to make quieter mayhem.

As kids will do, my younger brother and I were always inventing ways to get our ya-yas out in this enormous room without clanking the chandelier too much. One particularly ridiculous example of this was when we hatched the brilliant idea of playing an adapted version of “Line Drive” in the living room.

Oh, not with a baseball. You don’t throw baseballs in the house! Everyone knows THAT!

So, we weren’t stupid. We were INSANE. We stood at the far end of the library and we’d call out the names of baseball pitchers who had distinctive wind-ups: Juan Marichal was a big favorite, with that crazy leg kick. Then we’d take turns winding up and throwing a stuffed animal toward the couch at the other end of the living room. The couch was the perfect catcher — wide, soft, and a generously-sized target.

I probably don’t need to point out to the entire Internet that the words “line drive” and “living room” should never appear in the same sentence, unless it’s a reference to watching a baseball player hit line drive on the television in the living room. But when you’re 10 years old, and your younger brother is eight, and it’s raining out, and you aren’t allowed to clank the chandelier, well, who needs to wait around for Thing 1 and Thing 2 when you can simply BECOME Thing 1 and Thing 2.

That's me on the left

For those of you who haven’t yet played Line Drive with stuffed animals, don’t bother. I can report that, for the purposes of Line Drive, stuffed animals were extremely unsatisfying. It was difficult to throw them hard for any significant distance. The sound they made hitting the couch, when they actually made it that far, was muffled and unrewarding. This was before Beanie Babies had been invented (probably by someone else who played Line Drive in their living room and realized that pellet-filled stuffed animals are GREAT for that purpose). Throw pillows were too awkwardly shaped and sized, even though their name commanded us to play Line Drive with them.

We stood there, locked into our characters as Thing 1 and Thing 2, and scanned the library for things to throw (that we hadn’t already thrown). Books were lousy candidates, because they had this annoying tendency of fluttering open in mid-flight. We needed objects that had baseball-like properties, but weren’t actually baseballs. Small, somewhat hard, easy to grip, with a decent amount of heft.

We settled on a little statue that my mom had been given as a Thank You Gift for delivering one of her famous Book Talks. This was before book groups were invented. My mom would read a book, go and tell a group of people about it (usually a group of ladies over tea), and they’d give her a little Thank You Gift. We had all sorts of these Book Talk Thank You Gifts around the house.

Our ultimate Line Drive candidate was a 6″ high ceramic angel statue, painted gold and black. It was solid-looking, with wings that protruded thickly from its back. Perfect. Compared to the stuffed animals and books, it traveled true and fast, pinwheeled exotically in flight, and hit the couch with a satisfying thud.

Until. There’s always an “until” in stories like this, isn’t there? One time, one of us (I don’t remember who) released the throw too late, launching an end-over-end dribbler across the carpet toward the couch. The angel’s head broke off and rolled under a chair. Anyone in their RIGHT mind could have seen this coming. To this day, and on behalf of my younger brother, I plead temporary insanity and throw ourselves on the mercy of the court.

We probably looked at each other like this

Shocked by this unanticipated turn of events, we quickly shifted into disaster-response mode. We glued the angel’s head back on, christened her “Marie Antoinette,” put her in her place on a library shelf, cleared the room of any other evidence of our misdeeds, and went down to the kitchen to look for something to eat.

Later — I honestly don’t know if it was days, months, or years later — my mom was dusting in the library, getting ready for company, when I heard her exclaim, “What HAPPENED to my ANGEL?!???”

I explained to her, with completely genuine remorse and embarrassment, that my brother and I had been playing Line Drive with her and her head had come off but we glued it back on and we were really really REALLY sorry.

“You took this OUTSIDE and played Line Drive with it??”

“Um. No. We were playing Line Drive right here.”

“IN THE LIVING ROOM???”

“Uh. Yeah.”

The rest of the memory-tape of that conversation has been conveniently erased. We never did play Line Drive in the house again. We weren’t so certifiably nuts that we didn’t learn from our mistakes.

As a special karmic bonus — and significant shred of evidence for why my mom loves being a grandmother so much — decades later I was looking for a tiny (less than 1″ tall) ceramic penguin that sits on our mantle-piece above the fireplace. I had seen GForce (who was maybe eight at the time) fiddling with it, so I asked her where it was.

“I think it’s under the couch.”

“Why would it be under the couch??”

“I think I was throwing it around the living room.”

“You were doing WHAT?????!??!?!”

Beak-less, wing-less penguin survivor of GForce's version of Line Drive

Friday fun

Update: I was so impatient to post this that I forgot to add the song at the end, and I even had one already picked out!  See below for the video. Or better yet, before you scroll down there, see if you can guess what I picked to accompany this post. If you guess correctly, you are the Lucky Winner!!

I posted an abbreviated version of this for my Facebook friends, but it’s simply too good to hoard there. When we were at the Delaware Shore last week, I made a run to the nearby ginormous strip mall that is dominated by the aptly-named Giant supermarket. After finding everything I needed (no small task in an unfamiliar grocery superstore that appeared to be organized by members of the Random Product Placement Union), I stopped by the bathroom before heading back home. It wasn’t an emergency situation. It was more like my brain succumbed to the power of the suggestion of the universally recognizable sign for a women’s bathroom:

I am Woman, hear me pee

The bathroom was particularly impressive for a grocery store. There was fancy tile work everywhere, spacious stalls (not the kind where you have to stand on top of the toilet seat to close the door), and all sorts of framed quotable quotes on the walls. I’m more accustomed to the single seater unisex bathroom at my local supermarket where it’s best for your olfactory and pulmonary health if you hold your breath for the entire time that you’re in there.

So I stood there for awhile, marveling at this luxurious toiletarium. Before anyone else came in and found me in my slackjawed state, I entered my stall and was struck dumb by the quotable quote that was hanging on the wall above my personal toilet:

I kid you not, someone placed this quotation above a toilet in the Giant supermarket in Millville, Delaware

I apologize for the slightly blurred photo. I could not stop giggling, which made it hard to hold the camera still. My first thought was disbelief: did they REALLY want me to leave the bathroom without using it, drop trou, somehow crabwalk across the parking lot, and pee a trail from, say, their front doors to my car?? Then I wondered: was this an intentionally selected quotation? If so, what a coup to get hired to find and post quotable quotes in the bathroom of the grocery store, and to use that power to pick a quotation like this. Genius!

I wanted to go down the row of stalls and check every other stall to see if there were similarly brilliant quotations above those toilets. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to take the photo, several other people had come into the bathroom, and I didn’t want to freak them out by hanging around. I was already worried that they’d heard the shutter click of my camera from inside my stall, and were going to take it upon themselves to report me to some sort of authority.

Possible morals of this story:

Don’t wait to use the bathroom until you’re so desperate that your senses begin to shut down, otherwise you can miss out on all kinds of hilarity.

If you get hired to jazz up bathrooms, or if you want to improve the decor of the lavatories in your home, take advantage of your authority and select some quotable quotes that have multiple meanings.

Always carry a camera.

Here is Dale Evans’ take on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wisdom (she wrote the song):

On Boycotting the Feast of Conspicuous Consumption

It’s been very quiet here on The Crooked Line because PW and I have been on our summer vacations, one of which was the family camping trip to Rhode Island that we gave the girls last Christmas. Since everyone who hears about how we celebrate Christmas seems to love the story, it occurred to me to share it with you all.

Like a lot of people I know, our family has way too much Stuff. We try valiantly to get rid of more Stuff than we bring in, but on most days it feels like we’re beating back an unrelenting tide. Think of Woody Allen taking on the expanding pudding with a broom in the movie “Sleeper” (he makes the pudding starting at about the 6 minute mark on this clip and resorts to whacking it with a broom starting around 7:54.)

After we combined households in 2000, with each passing year PW and I felt increasingly overwhelmed with the post-Christmas influx of Stuff. When the holidays rolled around, we often found ourselves talking about how some of the most lasting memories from our own childhoods are from family trips. In December of 2005, PW and I decided to stop participating in the madness of Christmas as a Feast of Conspicuous Consumption. Instead of giving our kids and each other more Stuff for Christmas, our new tradition (for the past five years) is that PW and I give the girls a family trip to be taken some time in the following year. This has transformed our family Christmas experience into one focused on Travel, Experiences and Memories, rather than Stuff. Maybe it sounds mushy, and maybe it is. Still, the stories and adventures we’ve acquired on each of our family trips will far outlast any Stuff (except the plastic Stuff, which will surely outlast us all.)

I should add here that all the girls spend the week of Christmas with their other parents, which has worked particularly well since PW has extra priestly duties that week. As a result, we schedule our family Christmas celebration for some time later in December when everyone can be together (this past year we celebrated on New Year’s Day.) I must say that cutting the tie with December 25 has been revolutionary and extremely liberating. Thanksgiving is on a different date every year, so why not Christmas?!

The Rhode Island Collage - in pieces

From the beginning of this new tradition, even though the presents weren’t Stuff, PW really wanted the kids to have presents to open. And she wanted the destination to be a surprise. So sometime during the fall, she and I agree on a destination. We are so resolute in keeping the surprise, we don’t even ask the girls for suggestions. I am the family travel agent, so I do a lot of site scouting and making trips to the local AAA office or to bookstores to get maps, guidebooks, brochures, and magazines. During the week of Christmas, while the girls are away with their other families, PW and I create a collage of pictures and text of our destination that we glue to a standard 22″x28″ poster board.

The Rhode Island Collage - assembled

When the collage is complete, we flip it over and PW draws a nine-piece puzzle pattern on the back, labeling three non-interlocking pieces for each of our three girls. We cut up the collage, and put each piece into its own box, which we then wrap and put under the tree.

The first year we did this, our destination was to New York City. It was hilarious to watch the girls’ different reactions as they opened boxes that each contained a weirdly shaped piece of poster board that had photos of different New York City attractions. They are old pros now, though, and they usually figure out the destination after they’ve opened one or two pieces.

The second year we did this, our destination was to Nashville and Memphis, TN. Because there’s so much great music from those cities, that year I created a CD mix of songs that either mentioned Nashville or Memphis, or were by artists from either of those cities. In addition to the puzzle pieces, each of the girls got a CD, with a label I created from a map that had both Nashville and Memphis on it. As luck would have it, the CD was a huge hit with all five of us, and we still play it a lot. I’ve created CD mixes for each destination since then, which adds another layer of fun to an already fun enterprise.

In future posts, I’ll tell you stories from some of the trips we’ve taken, and share the playlists from each destination’s CD mix.

There you have it: our recipe for boycotting the Feast of Conspicuous Consumption. If you have your own traditions for celebrating Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Etc. by doing something other than adding to your piles of Stuff, please share your story in the comments section. If, on the other hand, you prefer the more traditional Christmas celebration, it’s my civic duty to remind you that you have only 120 days from today to complete your shopping. If you’re like a certain sister-in-law of mine, then you are probably already done with your shopping. Congratulations! If you’re like my mother, you’ve been squirreling away presents for months, and you’ll spend a lot of the next 120 days trying to find them. Good luck!

Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Etc. to all, and to all a good night!

This song is on every Christmas CD mix.

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes

For a little break from the heavy lifting I’ve been doing with the last few posts, I added a Q&A page today (see the updated menu above.) I also started using a different WordPress template that has a few more features on it. I also temporarily (maybe) replaced the old photo I had as the header, of a cliff at Cape Enrage on the Bay of Fundy. I’ll bring it back at some point. For now, enjoy the edges of a rose from one of the many lovely gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, where PW and I spent our lovely honeymoon 6 years ago. We’re off for a couple of days of R&R in Provincetown. I’m already working on the next post, though, so I’ll be back with something later this week. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!