Monday, December 31, 2007


Christmas Song of the Day: Little Drummer Boy

I played my drum for Him
I played my best for Him

I try to do my best. It’s never any good. It’s never enough. And when I hear this song, I cry.

Early in my divorce, I gathered my siblings and my cousins around me and created an email group so we could all keep up on each other’s lives. My ulterior plan was to get them to make me laugh. I needed distraction in the worst way back then. It was an early hot pot for creating this blog too.

We are an interesting bunch, my family; bringing all manner of talents to the table and seeing their creativity in action was a constant source of fun. Birthdays would include haikus, poems in free verse, embarrassing memories. Sometimes, out of nothing other than a need to smile, I would assign homework. One of our favorite serials was called: “The Adventures of Rosella and Tanji”. We wrote several stories on these two characters. I would assign two words or phrases to each individual on the list and they would have to incorporate those elements into the story.

Our heroines, Rosella and Tanji, were two fictitious white trash women. The three amorous and hungry Bob’s, Aunt Ruby, their ten children, road kill, and an unfortunate hospital intern comprised their social scene. It was wonderful, and I would laugh until I cried. At some point, those stories stopped. Part of it was that we are all busy adults, life got in the way. But I think it was also the fact that time heals. I was finding joy and happiness in my life again, I didn't need it manufactured.

The list still exists, we still email each other. We still keep in touch. I'm so lucky to have the family and friends that I have. Leaning on them helped me get past the the worst times.

Sometimes, even years later, we get a clear unequivocal sign that we’ve closed a door. A door to a fond room where we know happy memories are kept in with the not so happy ones. We can go back in and walk through the rooms if we want and smile. But then we walk out of the room again, close the door, caress the wood, turn around and move forward. And we’re good.

July 26, 2007; 7:30 am; Work. I received a phone call from a provider's office wanting to check on a claim. I needed to open up an application in my system to get the caller to the right place, which would take several minutes. So I decided to make small talk with the woman on the other end asking how the weather was where she lived. She was in Michigan - and we talked about rain and she asked me how the winters were where I lived. I said that they were much better than winters in upstate New York from where I hailed.

The caller asked why I moved and I was honest; that after my divorce, I felt like I needed a change, so I moved. She shared with me that she was newly divorced and having a very hard time with it; had been praying very hard for help from God to let go of the past, the anger, the hurt, the loss. She had been divorced a year and she was still having a hard time.

We both shared some things about our experiences and I was supportive, telling her it took me two solid years before I let go of the anger and the relationship and to be patient with herself. We talked about the kids and how they handled it; her 4 year old was struggling. She told me she would lift me up in prayer and I told her I would do the same.

I realized that my experience had just helped someone else. A seeming random phone call turned into an opportunity to reach out to a fellow sister who was in pain. A chance to show her that she might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, but she would soon and she would be ok.

By this time, my application had finished and I was able to ascertain where I needed to transfer her call. I told her that she could call me on this number any time she needed to talk and that she would be ok.

It was at this point I realized that maybe the chat we had was as much for my benefit as it was for hers. It was like God touched me on the shoulder and said "See? You're ok." I gave the caller my name and asked her what her name was.

It was Tanji.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Congratulations Jang Hyuk!

Charismatic actor of "Thank You" and "Volcano High"- my favorite Korean Drama of all time - Jang Hyuk announced yesterday that he and fiance Kim Yuh Jin are expecting their little girl Tee Hae, to be born in February. The couple will be married in June. I thought he looked uncharacteristically exuberant in the recent press conference promoting his new series with Lee Da Hae "Robber". May she be born healthy and well and bring her parents happiness.

Actor Jang Hyuk (31) will marry a dancer, who is two years older, on June 2nd of next year.

Bride-to-be dancer Kim Yuh Jin (33) met Jang Hyuk is 2002 at a fitness center and has been dating him for 6 years now. Kim is expecting to deliver a baby in February.

They met last June with their parents and had a small but cozy engagement party. After Kim has delivered the baby and recuperated, the couple will marry in June.

Jang Hyuk's bride-to-be, Kim, was a dance major and has been performing as a dancer within the country. When she first met Jang Hyuk at the fitness center, she was giving pilates lessons.

Jang Hyuk said, "In 2002, I went to learn pilates. There were 40 women and I was the only male. At first we weren't friends. She was a teacher, and I was the student. We had a meal together maybe once a month, but slowly we got to know each other naturally."

He added this to say about Kim. "She has many similarities with me and she has many differences with me. She doesn't have a lot to say, but she's not that quiet. Her heart is warm, her understanding is large, and most importantly, she has faith. As more time goes, I feel that she is a good person, a person I'm thankful for. We might not have the nervous feeling as we did when we first met, but now we have more memories and affection with each other and that's a good feeling too.

Especially in 2004 when Jang Hyuk went through a hard time with the military duty scandal, he commented that he made it through with her by his side.
He said, "When I was in the army, she was with me. When I was having a hard time, she let me rest on her shoulders. I can't explain how thankful and moved I was. After facing a difficult time together, I feel like our relationship deepened."

To Kim, Jang Hyuk said, "Thank you for being with me for such a long time. Let's be thankful for every little thing that comes along the way and find happiness in the future together, since the future is more important. I'll try my hardest to fill that portion well, and I don't know how many obstacles lie in our way, but I promise we'll get through it together…I'm always touched just by being with you, and I thank you again and again."

For the baby, the father-to-be said that baby will be named "Tae-Hee." (Big tae, and Joyful hee). As the name says, he wants their baby to be a person with a larger heart, a person with a lot of laughter, and a person who will live a joyful life. "I want my baby to be healthy and be born quickly, so that I can hug her soon."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Picture Frames

Christmas Song of the Day: A Wonderful Christmas Time

The moon is right
The spirits up
Were here tonight
And thats enough

One of my favorite songs of all time. It takes me back to when I was 17 and my sister Bellie was 15 (more or less). I don’t know know if I or we had made another sister – Ebbie – mad at something (which was pretty likely) or if she was just down, but Ebbie was in the family room sitting and moping about something. She may even have been crying – I was a hateful sister. Anyway, it was Christmas Day and we were helping make dinner and this song came on. Bells and I ran into the family room and started bouncing and singing until we forced Eb to laugh and smile. I can’t hear this song and not think of my dear sisters and I think that’s why I love it so much.

Five years ago, my divorce was a thing of the past, but my feelings of emptiness, loss and loneliness were not. It took me a long time and countless prayers to get over it.

One night, I dreamt I had remarried and my new husband and I were fixing up an old house. There were four bedrooms upstairs that needed to be repainted. It seemed that no matter what I did, I messed it up. I spilled, I painted outside the margins, I was making a mess. Needless to say, I was getting very frustrated. My husband (who’s face I did not see by the way), was so gentle with me. He told me that I needed to take a break and that he hired a fella to do some of the painting so we could go out and get away from the stress a bit and relax. I didn’t want to go, felt like a failure. No, I had to finish, I needed to be more careful, take more time and get the job done myself. No one should be doing it for me.

My gentle partner guided me out the door and told me not to be so hard on myself. That it was ok to take a break and that I shouldn’t worry.

I don’t remember what we did when we went out, and although we had a good time, I remember a feeling of pensiveness. There was so much work left to be done at the house. And I was afraid I would just muck it all up again.

We returned. It was twilight – not yet dark out, but the sun had set. Each room was completely finished and perfectly so. The color of the paint was perfect as well but it’s a color that is hard for me to describe. I walked into my bedroom where the old man was just putting the finishing touches on the room. He turned and looked at me, saying nothing. Not only was the room painted, but exquisitely furnished. He had done all of it for me. As I looked around in wonder, I saw hundreds of picture frames around the room. On the walls, on the dresser, on the floor, everywhere. I looked and saw that the picture frames were empty. The old man smiled and I woke up.

I’ve remembered the dream all these years. With Guest Blogger’s help, I realized that the dream meant several things. I couldn’t take care of things all by myself. That it was ok to ask for help and to accept help when it was offered. And if I let God take care of things, he would fulfill His promise to me to restore all that I had lost and give me still more. That I had to be patient with Him and with myself. I would have happy moments again to fill up those frames.

You know, I’ve been waiting to fill up those frames all these years. I’ve been living the last 7 years waiting. It’s time to realize that I’ve been filling up those frames with people, with family and friends, with blogs and experiences and lessons. I need to remember that life is lived now, I’m living it and I need to be thankful not only for all that have, and for all that I don’t have. It’s all a gift and I still have a lot of frames to put pictures in!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Question

Christmas Song of the Day: Kanon (Pachebel)

This dream
He had
Each child
Still knows

We are waiting
We have not forgotten

I received an email from a work colleague today. Steve is Jewish and a cynic (of whom I think very highly) and this morning he sent me an email:

“Tell me -- how did the birth of God's son and savior to the human race lead to buying flat panel TVs ??”

To which I responded:

“I could give you some claptrap about the tradition of bringing gifts á la the Three Wise Men in the New Testament. Stories of St. Nicholas (who was a real Catholic saint) and subsequent traditions of gift giving to children also gave rise to the current trend. And I could say that because we are flawed human beings who delight in satisfying our baser nature, that the focus of the holy celebration has been lost in a bacchanalia of consumerism.

Or my inner pessimist would say:

It didn't.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Christmas Song of the Day: Les Cloches Du Hameau

On entend, on entend
Les bergers, les bergers
Chanter dans les prairies
Ces refrains si legers
Qui charment leurs amies

I am so lucky. I've been blessed with some really great friends. Some friends are family. Some are friends I've met along the way. You have been introduced to Little Lacie of the Enormous Brain who I met two jobs ago. Today you get to meet Kenny.

Ken was interviewing for a sales position in our office when I met him and offered to get coffee. He boldly ended his order with "Thanks, Dolly!" To this day, he swears he never said that and I might believe him – he's never used the moniker conversationally since - but I know what I heard. Bastard.

Ken could be Frasier and Niles Crane's more verbose middle brother. I quickly found that we could chat about anything – and he knows his stuff. I don't think there is a subject on which he does not have a working knowledge. He's killer when discussing songs, books, movies, television, he's up on current events, has distinct political opinions (which for the most part, we share), his library of jokes is extensive – and his timing is exquisite. It will kill him for me to relate the following:

Ken was doing his sales-y thing on the phone. I will tell you, sitting in a cube next to him hearing the pitch all day could get old. I called Guest Blogger to sort of drown out the most recent story I had heard for the 8th time. He was talking to his latest mark and mentioned that he knew a little bit about wine. "I'm an oenophile as well…" I related this to my cousin.

She replied, "He didn't pronounce it OH-na-file did he?"

"Uhm, yes. Oh, there, he did it again."

"Tell him it's pronounced EE-na-file."

This little correction spurred a flurry of emails and contradictions that to this day, make me smile. I scored. And I scored big.

Ken gives the most amazing neck massages but unfortunately is incapable of NOT mentioning foundation garments while rendering his services to stressed females. Always, at that point, the massage would be over and I'd tell him to get the hell out of my space…until I needed another neck rub. The love of his life is his daughter, born 4 years ago this coming June. He is a devoted family man. Mostly. He cooks, he cleans, he's the poster boy for Metrosexual, and he's as good as any girlfriend when you need to talk.

I can't tell you how great it is to have a really real guy as a friend who'll tell you all the guy secrets and be brutally honest about it.

"Ken! I met this guy and he was really nice, we talked for a long time and he gave me his business card and…"

"Sells insurance?"

"Yeah, he was so sweet, helped me clean the snow off my car..."

"He's trying to sell you insurance, E, don't get too excited." He was right.

Then during another interval; "OK, E? This is how it is. What is the answer that will get me laid?"

"Yeah, but then there was this and he said this…"

"Maybe you didn't hear me. What is the answer that will get me laid?"

"Hahahahaha. Yeah, but then his body language while he said this was…"

"What is the answer that is going to get me laid?"

"You really think…"

"What is the answer that is going to get me laid? It's all we think about, E. It's not that complicated. It just is." He was right. Again.

The best thing about Ken is that I know he loves no matter what. And bless him, he'd do me in a second, just as I am. Not that I'd let him, but it makes a girl feel beautiful. He appreciates the subtle nuances of my character, he tolerates the big honking Catholic that I am and makes fun of my lack of fashion sense; my green corduroy coat being particularly offensive. He has read books at my urging and will sit on the phone with me, both of us stupid from chardonnay and watch "The Quiet Man" while we quote it together.

Happy Birthday Kenny. I love you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tagged for Randomness

Christmas Song of the Day: Snow Miser/Heat Miser

I never want to see a day
That's over forty degrees
I'd rather have it thirty,
Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

I never want to see a day
That's under sixty degrees
I'd rather have it eighty,
Ninety, one hundred degrees!

This one takes me back to riding the bus to school. It was a favorite and when it was due to come on, the whole bus would sing these two parts, especially the trombone part “Ba duh buh buh baaaaa dah, ba duh buh buh, baaaaa dah!”

I got tagged by Little Lacie of the Enormous Brain today to write seven random things about myself. Not sure where this is going to take me, since I haven’t really thought about it all day.

1) I want to go on a tornado chasing vacation.
2) I once walked ten miles with my cousin, Guest Blogger, to poke holes in a cake.
3) I had 0 cavities up to the age of 18.
4) I remember a dream I had when I was three. I was still in a crib at the time. I was dressed in a white cow-girl outfit and I was about to fight a witch, wearing traditional witch garb. I also had a recurring dream when I was between the ages of 7 – 11 about Indians attacking my Gramma’s house and I was hiding in the bushes and got caught. I would always wake myself up before I was killed. Stereotypical hero fantasies, both. Interesting to try to interpret now.
5) I have a working knowledge of Catholic end-of-days prophecies, as well as with some of the more prominent Catholic apparition sites of the last 200 years.
6) Soy scares me
7) I am pretty good at interpreting dreams. Oh, and Lacie has seen dead people in my house, but staunchly refuses to tell me my future.

I hope that was random enough.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jump Start

Christmas Song of the Day: Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

I see Schroeder playing the piano, I see Snoopy humming, I see Pig Pen and his little bubble of dirt enclosing him round about. The whole CD of A Charlie Brown Christmas is fantastic.

Today, I work from home. A little. I wanted to see if I could get a jump start on my Christmas...what? There are only the annoying 12 proverbial days of Christmas left? Yeah, you heard me right. I'm getting a jump start. The battery is dead. I've hooked some cables in the form of 2 days off hoping something will ignite some enthusiasm for the season. Spark plugs might be bad though. I'm just not in the mood. The cookies from the Christmas Cookie exchange? I never eat cookies. I never choose to eat cookies. But they are there. And I eat them. They are a source of instant gratification and instant self-loathing.

But that is NOT what today is about! No! I'm happy! I'm determined to decorate and get in the mood!

No, it's not working yet, but it's early. I will go to the gym in an attempt to counteract the affects of the demon pastries. I will then do some housework, and go to the eye doctor and get some other mundane things accomplished before coming back home and unpacking my Christmas decorations. Surely, that will fill me with peace and goodwill toward my fellow man.


But then, maybe I just need to say a foul word. A friend and I have recently been discussing the merits of cursing to alleviate stress. Whorebag. It's 9am and I've said it 3 times today already - and that was my 4th. I'm feeling better already.

Heh. Merry 12th Day of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Best Kisser Ever

Christmas Song of the Day: Better Days

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

By the Goo Goo Dolls. Not a traditional Christmas song, but the words are about the season. When I heard it for the first time last January I was moved to pray for all the people I could see on the sidewalk. It came on again today on the way to work and strangely enough; I heard the song on the same stretch of Route 7 that it played the first time. I was moved to pray again. I looked around wondering why I was being asked to respond again. People were waiting at the bus stop, kids with back packs, Muslim women with their heads covered, and men in business suits. In parking lots, I saw day laborers waiting for work. I looked around some more and every car I saw suddenly represented a person, my eyes raised up to the apartment buildings that dotted the landscape, each window an individual, maybe a family. A family whose drama was being acted out, whose story was being written. And someone needed prayers. Maybe everyone needed prayers. Maybe I’m just a goof. Well, that’s ok, I don’t care. When I’m told to pray, I pray.

Must be the season making me all stupid.

The best kisser ever was Jai. Not his real name, but that’s what everyone called him. He worked on my Dad’s farm back in the 80’s. I run a great risk, I know, of someone reading this who knows precisely who Jai is. Hmmm, I also run the risk of someone reading this who knows precisely who Jai isn’t.

My poor dad, trying to run a business and having to deal with six beautiful daughters roaming around the farm, nothing more on our minds than a few make out sessions. Summers were doubly frustrating no doubt, when not just his daughters, but his nieces came up for the summer, all of us in our mid-teens, feeling attractive and every bit the power of our burgeoning femininity. There’s nothing like long summer days, short shorts, hay that has to be got in, cows that need to be milked and hot sweaty young men to make young nubile girls leap into action.

Ahhh, summer love. Guest Blogger fell head over heels for Jai. I lost my heart to Other Guy. Even upon the mature reflection of nearly 30 years, Other Guy and I had something pretty special, but I was too young and he was ready for something more grown up. It was not our time.

Sorry sorry. I was remembering and smiling. Anyway, we tormented those poor guys that summer. Shaving cream fights, mud fights, water hose in the milking parlor fights. Guest Blogger learned the hard way not to wear white pants when there was a water tank in the vicinity. Guest Blogger got to kiss Jai on more than one occasion and I, Other Guy. Guest Blogger declared Jai the best kisser ever. I eschewed all in favor of Other Guy. All good fun.

But summers must end. Guest Blogger went home. Other Guy and I, referencing the above differences, did not last. But that Christmas, during a long chat in a warm car on a cold night, Jai kissed me. A bone melting, heart soaring, tummy twisting kiss. Woof.

I don’t expect him to ever read this, but just in case. Thirty years and perhaps thousands of kisses later ask either one of us and we’ll both tell you. Best kisser ever.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Christmas Song of the Day: Do You Hear What I Hear

A child, a child, sleeping in the night, he will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

Love the song and the sentiment, but mostly, I love Whitney Houston version because it was the first time I realized I have a voice range similar to hers. I just like singing it

I drive a lot.

In 2004, I drove 32,000 miles. In 2005, I drove 38,000 miles. Once I moved to Virginia, I cut down significantly and drove a meager 22,000 miles for the whole of 2006. Go ahead, ask me what my average price per gallon was in 2004. Spreadsheets rule.

Anyway, when you drive, you see some very interesting things. Most interesting that I’ve noted so far this year:

Miller's Orchards Farm Market
Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania

The Nascar-Themed Corn Maze. This just makes me smile. I am not the demographic that they are targeting, I get that. But good for them. I bet they make a ton of money.

Ho-Mart Convenience Stores
Hinds Oil Company

Conveniently located in three Pennsylvania townships! There is a move underfoot to stop Santa from employing his usual belly laugh of "Ho! Ho! Ho!" because is offensive to women. Perhaps someone should reconsider the name of this chain. I'm just sayin' is all.

Bo's Restaurant and Museum
Wallace, North Carolina

The name amused me. It was not open when my daughter and I drove by it, so we were unable to indulge our dual love of food and aestheticism. We were bitterly disappointed. Wish they had a website.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Song of the Day: Ave Maria

Hang out until the violin starts. This makes my chest ache. The version by the Philadelphia Philharmonic is exquisite as well, I just couldn't find it on imeem or This is by 小提琴 . Yeah, I don't know either, but it's beautiful

There are few things more pleasant, relaxing and rewarding than baking Christmas cookies. The kitchen is warm, the house is filled with the smell of cinnamon and vanilla. Fingers and bowls are sweet. Christmas songs are playing in the background and memories of Christmas cookies past float about. “Remember when you made those…things with that stuff on top?” The cookie recipients are always well disposed toward the gifter and the treat; these only come out once a year after all. (click on the "read more" link, I set up something new yesterday...trying to make the front page a little more efficient)

No, there are few things more pleasant. It makes the pain that much more acute when you burn the bleeping cookies at 8am that you are supposed to take to the bleeping blacking mother flipping gob dang cookie exchange at 2pm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Song of the Day: Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad!
Prospero Anos y felicidad!

That song has been my favorite since I was 9 years old. And I think it’s a crime against nature if anyone other than Jose Feliciano, the Puerto Rican Stevie Wonder, sings it. Big ball of wrong.

Got some snow here yesterday in Northern VA. I had left for the office at 5:30 am, thereby avoiding all the commutie fun to zip into the gym. Bizarre time of year to start a running regimen, but I’m motivated and on the hook with a few people, so I have to keep it up or doom myself as the most miserable of failures.

This won’t become an exercise blog. I despise activity. My nature wars with itself; I would far rather sit on the couch, watch mindless slop and eat myself stupid. You don’t make many friends that way and your kids start to worry about your health. Anyway, I’m feeling good. Let’s see if I can make it stick. Maybe if I get on the hook with you too, it will keep me honest.

The joys of waking the dog. The crisp air. A starlit night. A new moon. 2am. 2 A – F***KING – M. I was not happy with Buddy, but he really did need to go out. I took teeny steps afraid to break an ankle on the icy sidewalks. He capers in the snow. At 15 years old, Buddy can still caper. Not so well; that right hind leg of his doesn’t like to bend anymore, but he still bounces around sticking his nose in the snow, snuffling all about. I enjoyed it at 7am this morning when I walked him again. I enjoyed the capering, the bracing air, even the color of the sky; a lovely periwinkle blue that I’ve only noticed in winter. That walk was good. The 2am one, not so much.

I’m re-reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It will likely take me several months since I only read in bed and invariably fall asleep after a few paragraphs. I started it two weeks ago and am only up to Tom Bombadil; a delightful character that did not make it into the movie. It helped me get back to sleep by 3am.

Holiday party at work today; further necessitating the trip to the gym. Trying to get my cousin to skip a work event this evening and shake us both up an emo-busting diet-enhancing low-calorie martini tonight. I’ll let you know if she gets sucked in.

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