I'm back from the long weekend. Actually, I was back yesterday but I had to clean up a few details. Our holiday was wonderful. Very enjoyable. Grandma and Aunt Stepstool came for the weekend. We had prime rib for supper on Christmas Eve. Prime Rib, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes (these last two by specific request). It was an excellent meal.
After that, we opened gifts. Bunny was quite funny. She wanted to open Grandma's gifts instead of her own. As was to be expected, she was spoiled rotten. There are toys as far as the eye can see. She has started carrying her baby dolls around - dragging is a better description, actually. It is very cute.
Prince Charming loved his gifts, especially the Wisconsin Badgers hockey jersey. I raked in the sparkle. My mom got me a lovely pair of pearl earrings and Prince Charming got me a diamond necklace. Love it. I'm spoiled.
The whole weekend was wonderful, actually. I hope you enjoyed yours, too.
I got this by email today as a joke, but upon reading it, decided to reprint it here because it is both funny and...unfunny.
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.
I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted Gregorian calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual reference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
This news article sheds new light on the Sandy Berger "Pantsgate" scandal.
All of which leads me further to believe that Berger got off lightly and should have been stripped of any ability to ever have access to classified material again, EVER. It is reprehensible, sloppy, criminal, and downright irresponsible, what he did. Hiding documents under a construction trailer, I swear. He knew what he was doing was wrong, then he lied about it, then finally tried, when it was obvious he'd been caught, to minimize the damage.
Talk about an expensive assassination! It seems that $10 million in Polonium-210 were used to poison Litvinenko.
British detectives assigned to the case who traveled to Moscow are due to return home soon. It seems that their investigation was blocked in Moscow but politics are keeping this aspect of the story quiet:
Security sources told The Times that Russian officials refused to ask Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy questions to which the British team wanted answers. Aware of the diplomatic sensitivities of this case, police chiefs and politicians have avoided any public disagreement with Russia or criticised the way Yuri Chaika, the country' Prosecutor-General, has effectively hijacked the investigation.
And of further interest is this oddity:
The first consignment [of Polonium-210] is reported to have arrived in the second part of October. The rest arrived in two further batches but police do not know why the couriers risked smuggling further supplies into Britain when the original amount was sufficent to murder their target.
The latest theory, made by Alexander Shvets, another former KGB spy, is that Litvinenko uncovered damaging information about a powerful Russian businessman with close links to President Putin.
Even with the weight advantage to Rosie, I'm still going with The Donald. I'm not a fan of either, but I really abhor Rosie. (And, I'd like to see a claymation figure of her burn when a claymation figure of Trump tells her she's fired.)
Today is Bunny Boop's birthday. Last year at this time I was in a hospital bed coming to terms with a little thing called "cluster feeding."
Since that day, she has brought nothing but joy to our lives. Without a doubt, she is the very best of us. So, what follows is a short pictoral retrospective.
Not sure about her arrival on the scene. Her Birthday...
Having fun in the sun...
Discovering the realities of static electricity...
Her first taste of birthday cake...
Her mother's attempt at her first Very Important Birthday Cake...
(For the record, the cake was two layers of chocolate fudge cake, separated by a single layer of French vanilla cake. Between the layers was a strawberry rhubarb sweet/tart filling. And yes, that is homemade buttercream frosting.)
When the Allies were liberating Europe, they came across lots and lots and lots of records of the Holocaust. This is undeniable, irrefutable proof of the horrors visited upon people at the concentration camps.
All of these documents were sent to one central location, a place called Bad Arolsen, where they were collated, compiled, and filed away from the public's view. Apparently those are the kinds of things people don't like to be reminded of. Not dissimilar to the images, recorded live, of planes crashing and towers falling, but I digress.
Anyway, the sheer volume of evidence will be difficult for our favorite mad man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to deny:
The storerooms are immense: 16 miles of shelves holding the stories of 17 million victims – not only Jews, but slave laborers, political prisoners and homosexuals. To open the files is to see the Holocaust staring back like it was yesterday: strange pink Gestapo arrest warrants as lethal as a death sentence, jewelry lost as freedom ended at the gates of an extermination camp. Time stopped here in 1945.
But most of the names here are of unknown people. While the Nazis did not write down the names of those executed in the gas chambers at places like Auschwitz, they did keep detailed records of millions of others who died in the camps. Their names are listed in notebooks labeled “Totenbuch,” which means “death book.” The names are written here, single-spaced, in meticulous handwriting.
"Here we see the cause of death: executed. And you can see, every two minutes they shot one prisoner," Jost explains.
"So they shot a prisoner every two minutes for a little over an hour and a half?" Pelley asks.
"Yes. Now look at the date: it’s the 20th of April. That was Adolf Hitler’s birthday. And this was a birthday present, a gift for the Führer. That’s the bureaucracy of the devil," Jost says.
It goes on from there with the reactions from the first 3 survivors to get a good look. It's hard to deny the survivors too.
Of course, Ahmadinejad is very creative. I'm sure he'll find a way to deny 16 miles of evidence.
The MSM was so quick to label Iraq a "civil war". But strangely, they have yet to use that term in reference the ongoing battle between Hamas and Fatah. Instead, they call this "infighting" and "factional fighting". Interesting, that distinction. I haven't heard of any "foreign fighters" muddying the waters in this latest Palestinian-on-Palestinian conflict, have you? Here's what a Palestinian man-on-the-street had to say:
"It's a real war. Since the morning, I've been praying to God that this is going to end," said Suleiman Tuman, a 53-year-old shopkeeper who was trapped in his Gaza City grocery store by the fighting.
"Both sides used to fight the Israelis together. Now they are directing their weapons toward each other and we're in the middle," he said. "Both sides are responsible for this war."
And I guess he would know.
Consider, if you will, what we would call it if Democrats and Republicans were having shoot-outs and gunbattles in the streets. Somehow I doubt that the MSM would call that "infighting".
Dave, CalTechGirl, and Christina, thank you for your most helpful comments about my situation. You have no idea how helpful they were. Thank you, also, to those who sent me email on the matter.
Christina, honestly, I think your situation was worse. If anyone ever suggested to me that Prince Charming might not be the father, I'm pretty sure I'd find the inner strength to beat back my politeness and rip their head off, leaving nothing but a bloody pulp in my wake. I would turn them into fresh chum. In particular, saying these things at the bedside are outrageous. So, I think you win.
Although, CalTechGirl's situation sounds like the equally awful flip side of the same situation. Sort of the less evil doppelganger, or something.
All of your comments were helpful, for now I know that I am not alone. The stereotype exists for a reason. My family would never say the equivalent of these things to Prince Charming. They know that I would rip them a new gastrointestinal system if they did. Of course, they are also polite enough not to voice their nastiness (should they have any) in a public forum to the person in question. They genuinely like Prince Charming though, so I doubt they have any similar feelings about him as she has about me.
It seems universal that I should have a serious chat with Prince Charming about how these comments make me feel. He doesn't have a lot of control over her or her mouth, but it would go a long way toward explaining to him why I prefer his uncle and aunt over his mother. It might also make him a bit more understanding about why I'm not so eager to visit. Not that he's particularly eager, himself.
So, I will talk to him about it. He can't change it anymore than I can, but refreshing his awareness might help me feel better.
I have thought about it quite a lot and am still uncertain about what to do about her, however. I am still loathe to leave her comments stand unchallenged, but I shall see how Prince Charming feels. If I would prefer that I do my best to let it slide, I will try to do so. My only concern is that the comments seem to be getting less veiled and more insulting all the time. If he prefers that I bite my tongue, it will be with the caveat that if her insults grow overwhelmingly burdensome, I may react without thinking at some point in the future.
But I will discuss it with him.
Thank you all again. I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement. At the very least, it is nice to know that I am not without a sense of humor (however warped).
This whole thing has brought out another resolution. I am not going to be that kind of mother in law EVER. As long as my child is happy, I will be content.
So, I will try to be polite and have better manners than some exhibit, but grace only goes so far and I have a mean temper.
I'm having a bad day. Found out this morning that I made 2 mistakes on Friday in my huge heap of stuff to get done. I'm not feeling well today. Bunny was sick all weekend, and this includes being sick for her birthday party. Figures. She barely touched her birthday cake. I did take pictures of the cakes though, and will post them eventually or soonish, whichever comes first. From all reports, the cake was tasty, so that's something.
I'm a bit bummed over something that was said to me over the weekend.
I am fully aware that I should toughen up, sticks and stones and all that, but this person has a real knack for saying the things that are going to make me angry. I suppose what bothers me is the way they are passive-aggressive and, well, just nasty.
Let me set it up for you.
Prince Charming and I are sitting at the dining room table across from each other and this other person is sitting between us at the foot of the table. Nobody else is in the room. We are looking through some old school documents from Prince Charming's school days. And this person says, I kid you not:
"When you divorce him, Phoenix, make sure Prince Charming gets these back."
This was not followed by a giggle or a smirk or even a wink.
This was not said in a jesting tone, but matter-of-factly. It was said like you might ask someone to pass the salt and pepper. And the items in question, just for the record, were not exactly priceless treasures that some cold-hearted gold digger would want.
Now, she has said things in the past that have bothered me. Things like not needing any more grandchildren and Prince Charming not needing to change the beneficiary on his insurance policies. I know, I know. I shouldn't let it bother me. But, in the sum total, you can't keep chalking these things up to being jokes. As I have contended many times, THEY AREN'T FREAKIN' FUNNY!
And a joke, by its very nature, is humorous to somebody, if only the joker. However, not even she was laughing. Moreover, I might have bought the joke argument a few years ago when I barely knew her. Maybe. But now my experience with her is into the fourth year. She's not a joker. She doesn't jest. So the whole "she must have been joking" argument is fallacious on the merits.
I don't care if she doesn't want me to be the mother of her grandchildren. The horse is already out of the barn on that one. I don't care if she doesn't like the fact that I and our child are supposed to be the beneficiaries of his insurance policies. Frankly, that's a state law (I believe) and she's going have a hard time getting around that.
Maybe I'm not the best mother in the world. Maybe I'm not the best wife in the world either, for that matter. But frankly, these judgements are not up to her. Prince Charming seems satisfied with his choices of me as his mate and in choosing me as the mother of his child. For most people that would be enough. But not her.
In her opinion I must be evil incarnate, come to destroy the life of Prince Charming. I must be a really miserable bitch. And, maybe I am a miserable bitch, but certainly not for the reasons she assigns.
Prince Charming and our daughter are my world. I gave up an excellent career to be with him. I took a huge pay cut to come and live with him. I do everything in my power to make his life with us comfortable, happy, and stress-free. Prince Charming and I have had one fight in 4 years. One. From what I understand, this is highly unusually low. Even happily married couples fight, but we don't fight all that much. We communicate regularly, and given our opposite sleep schedules, this speaks volumes about our commitment. At least, I think it does.
Do you need more proof of his happiness? He'd rather be with me and Bunny than out with the boys or contributing to some bar's bottom line. He would be the best authority, of course, but he sure seems happy to me. I am not in this for the short-term. I have signed up for the Life Plan. Had I not loved the man to distraction, I sure as hell wouldn't have chased him for six years. Long Distance. I love him very very much. I am not going to apologize for that. She may not like it. But you know what? She doesn't have to like it.
You want to know why we don't come to see you very much, Lady? It is comments like this, where you anticipate our eventual divorce to my face, that make me very much not your ally when you complain about not seeing us. What, in the name of all that is good in the world, is my inducement? Sign up here for a weekend filled with insults and win a special kick in the head for your trouble!
I'm not going to subject myself to it, thank you very much.
Sigh. You don't like me. I get it. Maybe you think the prenup was a signal that I don't really love him. You are wrong. The prenup, completely and absolutely none of your business, has more to do with the continuation of my father's livlihood than our marriage. And just for the record, every person in my generation from my family had to have their spouse sign one. It was a decision we made as children (well, some of us were still children) when the first of us was ready to walk down the aisle. We agreed to require this from each other to protect our fathers and our birthright. I didn't even know Prince Charming when I agreed to this. Moreover, Prince Charming fully expected to have to sign one before I even mentioned it. Because he realizes how modern farms are organized and the perils of divorce and how they impact business. He's no dummy. You should also know that there are provisions in the prenup that protect Prince Charming. Again, not that it is any of your business in the first place.
Or, perhaps your issue is with the fact that I am a child of divorce, and therefore might see it as an easy escape from a bad situation. Let me set you straight. I am more likely to try harder to save a marriage because I know divorce. I know what it does to children. I know what it does to men. And, I know what it does to women. I am unlikely to view this as a good plan. Why? Because I married Prince Charming when I was old enough to know myself and not have any delusions about what was ahead of us. I am pragmatic, and so is Prince Charming. We don't expect every day to be a honeymoon. Neither of us has unrealistic expectations.
Now that I'm done ranting, here is my bigger problem:
I know full well that she isn't particularly fond of me. I even sort of expect her to say these nasty things to me. So why is it that I'm so ill-prepared when she pulls the trigger? She said this and I froze like I was caught in the headlights of an 18-wheeler. I am stunned when she says things like this. This is why I know they aren't jokes. My family is familiar with jokes about divorce. Very familiar, you might say. But usually, the joke of the sort she told is told first-handed, where the teller owns the divorce.
"Oh, look, I think I've just spotted my future ex-husband." "Well, when we divorce, I'm going to get his golf clubs because they've been such an integral part of my happiness - keeping him out of the house." "I don't see how divorce will change things all that much. He already only visits here and we never have sex. All that's left is the paperwork and making the ring into a pendant." "He can't afford to divorce me!" etc.
In each of these example where divorce is a central theme of a joke, the joker owns the divorce, playing a pivotal role as one of the divorcing parties.
Telling a "joke" about someone else's divorce is a) in bad taste, b) impolite, c) crass, d) offensive, e) a tell. Or, F - all of the above.
You wouldn't think I'd have to tell her that.
Why can't I break out of the stun and call her on her bullshit? Why must I persist in attempting to let it slide off my back and act unaffected? I am affected! This sort of thing hurts me. It hurts me very much. I wonder if she doubts my love for him.
I know that shouldn't bother me, but it does. I don't understand. Am I the only person that she does this to? Am I her only target? Why can't I tell her, as I would like, "Sorry, lady. You are stuck with me for life!" or "Honey, you can shove your nasty comments up your hee-haw."
I don't want to be impolite, I really don't. But I am loathe to let her continue to play her little word games with me. I don't want to allow her to keep treating me this way.
And, before you all start in, I am aware that she may not be aware of the hurt she's causing. She'd have to be an absolute clod, but it is within the realm of possibilities. I try very hard not to break into tears when she says things like this, painting a bland emotionless expression on my face or looking into my lap entirely. Regular readers may appreciate that this takes a supreme amount of effort for somone so opinionated.
It is also remotely possible that she's trying to be funny. It is possible that I am the one who lacks a sense of humor. But somehow I doubt that this is the case. In either case, whether she says these things without intending offense or through a misguided attempt at humor, I think she should know that she's making enemies. I could be her ally, but instead she is setting me up as the opposition. Does she think she can win?
Part of me feels like I should be the better person and just take it. It wouldn't be polite or respectful to call her out. But on the other hand, seeing as how I intend to be with Prince Charming for the next 50 or 60 years, I don't want to keep feeling this way when she fires off her little comments every few months. True, she's unlikely to live for another 50 years, but I do not want to become her target dummy either.
Does she think I'm not clever enough to understand what she's saying? Does she think I'm not smart enough to know when I'm being insulted?
I don't know what to do. Prince Charming has always thought she was joking in the past, but I'm not sure what he thinks of this latest comment. I have asked him if he thinks her past jokes were funny and he agrees that they are not. But I don't think that excusing it by saying "that's just the way she is" is the right answer either. He also is quick to point out that she doesn't get along with any of her children's spouses, but again, I don't view this as an excuse.
Is it any wonder that I avoid her as much as possible?
So, my questions to you are:
1. Am I over-reacting? 2. Are her comments funny? 3. Do I lack a sense of humor? 4. Should I continue to "take it" or should I pointedly make it clear that she's insulting me and I don't like it?
So, I have to tell you about something that totally made me laugh the other day, even if I'm not particularly proud of it.
As I was driving through town, I saw one of those houses that has gone overboard on the whole Christmas decorations thing. You know the kind of house I'm talking about. This house has 8 or 9 of those inflatable characters cavorting in the front lawn. Spongebob, Pooh, and a number of other licensed characters are busy wearing Santa hats or doing something. (Look - I freely admit that I am not a fan of these things. They are just a bit too...carney for me).
Anyway, what was so funny is that this time as I drove by it looked like a massacre had taken place. It appeared as though 8 or 9 people had been slain there on the front lawn. This was because the characters had deflated. It was disturbing but funny, if you know what I mean. I'm not suggesting that an actual massacre would be amusing, I knew that the "bodies" were merely deflated representations of cartoon characters, but seeing them like that was hysterically funny.
So I laughed and laughed, deep from the belly. And then I felt bad about it because some kid is going to be heartbroken.
Not to worry though. They've all been reinflated and the Carnival of Christmas Crap has returned. (No offense intended if you own one of these things. I just don't think anybody needs 9 in their front yard).
Many of my best posts are written in my head as I wash dishes every evening. Very few of them actually make it to the screen, however, and this disturbs me. I don't know what happens. Life, I guess. By the time I login I have forgotten the gist or the topic entirely. It makes me think I'm losing my mind, to be honest.
Motherhood has taken a toll. I'm not quite as on the ball as I once was. My house is not nearly as neat and clean. I haven't read a book in about 8 months. I'm just too busy. I am sure that things will quiet down again after the holidays are over, but for now I'm just a bit on edge.
I can barely seem to keep track of my things to do.
We found out this past weekend that our good friends are moving away. It is not surprising news, but it isn't welcome news either. We completely understand the whys and wherefores, but we don't have to be happy about it.
They will be missed for the joy that they bring the neighborhood, from K's stories, to S's little comments, and to the kids' happy smiles. It won't be the same without them. The parties won't be nearly as lively, but we will try to go on.
They'd just better get used to emailing us regularly is all I have to say.
I want to share something with you all that is a perfectly apt little vignette that describes my life.
For the past three months I have been busting my butt to get ready for the holidays. I've been doing all of the same things everyone else does and then some. I've shopped, of course. And finished shopping last Thursday. I've decorated. I've festooned the halls and every surface. I've sent out cards, I've wrapped gifts, I've planned menus, sent out invitations, and played hostess. And I've baked. I've been baking for 2 and a half weeks. Last night, the biggest of these projects was concluded.
I finished the baking and assembled 22 holiday-themed tins for our friends, family, and other special recipients. Cookies, candy, they are practically brimming with calories and flavor. Now, I know that I don't have to do this. And, Christina managed to catch me in a snit and actually got me to admit that I don't enjoy it. And, I don't enjoy the way it takes me 2 and a half weeks of non-stop on my feet to get this done. But, I really do enjoy putting the tins together and sending them out. It is like Holiday Cheer in a box. Oftentimes the recipients are not expecting the offering, and so it is a pure moment of bliss for them to open the box. It is like Christmas Magic, wrapped up in a special delivery.
It makes me feel like a little elf, doing Santa's bidding (even if sometimes in the wee hours I feel like slave labor). I was up until 1 am baking on Friday night, then assembled the tins last night. Once the goodies had been equally distributed to all, I boxed them up and suddenly this feeling came over me.
It was not just relief, although there was some of that. It was a moment of pure accomplishment. I've never done 22 tins before, you see. Usually I only do 12, a much more manageable number. So there I was, basking in the glow of a job well done, looking over all that I had completed. Two-thirds of my Christmas cards are done and in the mail. The bills are paid. The dishes are done. The house is back to rights after the party over the weekend. I'm feeling at peace and satisfied.
I go to bed, pleased with myself, and looking forward to enjoying the next three weeks. This morning, I rise and get Bunny and I ready to depart the house for our Monday morning and what do you know? The battery on the Jeep is dead. Clickety clickety - no go.
Do you see what happened there? I was feeling pleased with myself, maybe even a bit proud, and the powers that be choose to take me down a peg. Maybe it wasn't the divine. Maybe it was merely Phoenix's corollary to Murphy's Law:
Murphy's Law: That which can go wrong, will go wrong.
Phoenix's Corollary: That which can go wrong, will go wrong, and at such as time as to maximize the inconvenience and aggravation level.
So, I'm busy feeling chastened and pondering my next project: The Birthday Cake.
But, just so you know, I always do this. I always plan ahead, I always work ahead or develop a schedule. I always make more work for myself by seeking perfection. I am always proud when the project concludes. And...I am frequently reminded not to think too much of myself.
So, I'm aware of the problem. They tell me that's the first step.
For my money, I'm betting his cigarettes were dosed in the hotel bar. This would explain why bartenders were exposed (bars are notoriously ill-circulated) and drinkers frequently smoke. It also explains why traces of polonium-210 were found in the men's bathroom (you might take your cigarette with you to the loo, but not your drink). It explains how Litvinenko's wife and Scaramella might have been dosed (if Litvinenko was still smoking the same pack when he met him in the sushi bar or saw his wife later in the day). It further explains how traces could be found in other locations visited by Litvinenko (when he smoked another ciggy).
Traces of polonium-210 has been found at Parkes Hotel, Mayfair, it was confirmed last night. It means that radiation has been found at all three hotels where Mr Lugovoy had stayed since flying to London on October 16. The Parkes was the first he stayed at.
The radioactive isotope has also been found at Risc Management, a security firm in Cavendish Place, visited by Litvinenko with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on October 17.
Just moments ago, here in downtown Cottage Grove, WI, a car has crashed through the front of Dollar General.
As of this moment, the tail end of a burgundy late-eighties model Buick are visible to the gawkers. The brake lights are lit up and the glass from the front windows of the store are hanging and impeding the driver's door from opening.
Oh! Now we have a deputy, a super-duper firetruck, and the Chief's truck on scene.
Oh! Now the fire department members are rolling the car out of the gaping hole. An elderly woman, her silvery hair flashing in the light, is exiting the vehicle. She is walking. Appears to fine, from our vantage point from the tallest building in town, based on her command of motor skills.
Man! This is pretty exciting for a Friday in the Grove.
And now, reports are funneling in that the elderly lady driver of the car is fine, if shaken, and that there were no injuries inside the store.
This is Phoenix, reporting live from Cottage Grove.
We haven't done a meme in a long long time. I thought this one might improve the mood around here. Picked it up from CalTechGirl (thank you, dear). Feel free to steal it and run away with it.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hmm. I prefer wassail, but will take high quality Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate on occasion. A Swiss Miss girl I am not.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Well, that depends on the gift. If it is Barbie's very own RV, that is not wrapped. If it is 1 karat total weight diamond stud earrings, those are wrapped. Sleds are not wrapped, dollies are. See what I mean?
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Ok. Call me a commie if you like, but I only like white lights. Our tree has three strands of white lights on it in fact. We actually don't put Christmas lights outside. There are three reasons for this: a) I don't want my husband getting injured in the name of holiday decorations, b) it is a ridiculous waste of power and money that is better spent keeping people warm and as presents under the tree, and c) our child is too young to appreciate it.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I do have a kissing ball, but that is hanging every day of the year.
5. When do you put your decorations up? As soon as possible after Thanksgiving. However, this is largely dependent on our travel schedule. This year stuff didn't go up until last weekend.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I have 3 favorites: Grandma Vella's turkey leftovers, Mom's Sweet Potatoes, and the Cornbread Corn Casserole.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: The year I got $100, a calculator, and a shopping basket and got to have my own shopping spree. I think I was 6-years-old. You wouldn't believe how far that money went. I bought a toilet that flushed for my Barbie. Crazy! Of course, the years I have gotten jewelry all rank pretty high too. And the year Barbie got her RV, of course.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What "truth" do you speak of? Santa is alive and well and I know it. There is no mass conspiracy, only bitter people who end up on the "Naughty" side of the list and are running a counter campaign. Santa may enjoy the company of little people, spend too much time playing with animals and toys, and enjoy having children in his lap, but he is still very much a benevolent
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open all family gifts on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning is reserved for Santa's gifts.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights. Pink silk roses, white silk flowers, pink and gold ribbon, pearls, silver ornaments.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? If I get to stay inside, I love it. Otherwise, winter in Wisconsin sucks.
12. Can you ice skate? Not even in my wildest dreams. But I love the movie The Cutting Edge.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Oh! Too hard! Nah, I take that back. My favorite gift was Bunny Boop.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Spending time with my husband and child, making memories and starting our own traditions.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? This is impossible, so I'll simply say my Chocolate Cream Pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Opening gifts on Christmas Eve, then racing down the stairs to see what Santa brought on Christmas morning. But, I am looking to start a whole bunch of new traditions now that we have Bunny.
17. What tops your tree? White Satin Bow.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? It is all about the giving. I love coming up with the perfect gift for each person.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? A tie: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and Two-Step 'Round the Christmas Tree.
20. Candy canes: ICK.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas in Connecticut, It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
22. What do you leave for Santa? A wicked suggestion to meet me in bed. Oh! You mean on the plate. We've never done this before, but this year I was thinking about leaving him a ribeye steak, some potatos, and a Korbel and Coke. (It is a long night and Santa needs to keep his strength up!)
My daughter's first birthday is coming up. We are having a little party for her to celebrate this momentous occasion. We wanted something small and intimate, not raucous and boisterous, (it is for a 1-year-old after all) so we kept the guest list very small. Mostly family and two or three friends. No more than 20 people. Now, however, I wish we had invited more people. The festivities are looking pretty sparse based on those who have RSVPed in the negative.
My father and stepmother can't make it as they live in Kansas and we just saw them at Thanksgiving. This doesn't bother me. Spysistah lives on Bermuda and also can't travel at this time of the year (deep cover).
However, I would expect my mother to come. She's not, however, as she's decided to go to Florida to visit her soon-to-be-ex-inlaws. Don't even get me started. My college-aged sister will be attending as she will be back up this direction for Christmas break. Prince Charming's parents will be attending, fortunately. However, none of his sibling's nor their children will be attending. No excuse given. Just regrets. I'm beginning to rethink that small fortune we shell out every year in savings bonds, I'm so pissed.
You'd think they could make it to her first birthday party. But no. It isn't too far to come to Madison to go shopping or to work, but it is too far to go for your brother's only child's birthday party. In my book, that is shitty. And I won't be forgetting it either. The next time somebody wants me to bake a cake for 150 people I'm going to be too damn busy re-reading Harry Potter. The next time somebody asks me where the kids' savings bonds are I'm going to have to wonder about that myself. And the next time somebody wants us to drive 2.5 hours for some birthday party for a 90-year-old woman, I'm going to have to claim a previous engagement at the petting zoo. Or the mall. Or the front lawn.
I'm sick of this bullshit where Christmas has to always be at their place now that the girls no longer live in the Madison area. I'm sick of not counting because we have grandchild #10. I'm sick of this second-class citizen crap where we are treated like red-headed stepchildren.
I don't give a good damn if you dislike me. Go right ahead. It hasn't bothered me overly in the first 4 years, I can probably survive 40 more. But my daughter is another thing. You can't say that Aunt Phoenix has missed any birthdays. We've attended the parties that were held (to my knowledge) and I've always sent cards if there wasn't a party.
This is bullshit. There will be repercussions. They will rue the day...
All of these describe my current emotions as directed toward the pediatric clinic we frequent.
You see, back in September we had Bunny Boop's well baby check. At that time, we tried to schedule the flu shot and her 12 month well baby check, but they wouldn't let us. The doctor's calendar didn't go out that far, you see. They instructed me to call back in a month and I did so.
At that time, they grudgingly permitted me to schedule her for the first half of her flu shot. (It seems that at this age they give them 2 half-doses or something.) The doctor's calendar still didn't go out to December, so they informed us that they were adding our names to a list and they would call us when they had the calendar so that we could choose a workable day/time.
November 10 came around and Bunny had the first half of her flu shot. At that time, the calendar still didn't go out far enough and I was instructed to wait for their call.
And wait and wait I did. Until yesterday, that is, when it seemed like I had waited long enough. So I called them to find out when we could get in for the well baby check and flu shot. I was told the afternoon of January 19. That date kind of irked me. What happened to December, I asked?
All booked up, it seems. Why didn't anyone call us? Our name was on a list and you guys were supposed to let us know when the calendar included December. Hmm. Let me check on that for you.
Oh! It seems we have an appointment set up for you on December 12 at 11:30. Um...this is the first I'm hearing of it. Why didn't anyone call us? I don't think that date is going to work for us. Well, I still have the January date available. No, you don't understand. She needs the second half of her flu shots and her 12-month boosters. Is it really wise to put those off? I'll have to check with the nurse. Nope. It would really be best if you could make the December 12 appointment. You mean the appointment that you all made for us without consulting us? I'll check with my husband and see, but I doubt it will work. I'll call you back tomorrow.
And, as I suspected, that date will not work so I call them back today.
That date - December 12 - is not going to work. We have a conflict. Okay. Do you want the January appointment? Are you serious? There isn't anything available in December? No. I have a January 8 appointment available at 1 pm. No, no! I need mornings, as early as possible. That's going to push us farther into January. Can she go that long without her flu shot and boosters? I'll have to check with the nurse and call you back.
That was two hours ago and I'm still waiting.
What is this new practice of making appointments for patients without their knowledge? Have you ever heard of this? It isn't like I'm difficult to contact. I have a cell phone that has voicemail. My husband has a cell phone with voicemail. And my home phone takes messages and sends me an email when it takes a call. They didn't even try to contact me. They just put us on the schedule willy nilly with absolutely no regard for our calendar. Perhaps they think Bunny can drive herself to the appointment, negotiate the long halls and elevators on her own at the ripe old age of 1, but she can't. She's not quite that gifted.
And I am freaking pissed at this lackadaisical manner in which my child's health is being treated by these goddamned health "professionals". Somebody is going to hear about it! Mark my words.
I have a pretty ambitious set of goals for the next three weeks and have been feeling more than a bit nervous about my ability to get it all done. Last night, however, turned the tide for me and I am feeling much more confident.
As of bedtime last night I have completed:
-187 Gingersnaps baked -196 Mint Marvels baked -117 Almond Sugar Cookies baked - 3 batches of chocolate snowflake cookie dough prepared - all previously purchased birthday and Christmas gifts are wrapped and adorned with bows and ribbons - one third of Christmas cards written and sealed
I still have plenty to do, of course, but I feel like I'm getting a better handle on things. I still need to:
- finish shopping (for 2.5 people) - finish Christmas cards - finish baking cookies and making candy (9 more items to do) - put up the tree and decorate - plan the menu for the cocktail party and shop for ingredients - plan the menu for the birthday party and shop for ingredients - take Bunny Boop's Christmas picture, order, distribute - get the Savings Bonds - send out 21 Christmas Cookie tins
Wow. I really shouldn't have written it all out. I'm feeling much less confident now.
I'm telling you, this shit is freaky! It could have been a plot from a SpySistah Chronicle. It would be just like me to poison somebody in a sushi bar (the idea of eating raw fish creeps me out).
Also interesting, though as of now not connected, to the Litvinenko case, is the apparent poisoning of Yegor Gaidar, a crony of Yeltsin, former prime minister of Russia, and the man who was the architect of Russia's market reforms. In an odd coincidence, it was a one-time bodyguard of Gaidar, one Andrei Lugovoy (also ex-KGB), who met with Litvinenko in that hotel on the day he fell ill. (Gaidar fell ill the day after Litvinenko died.)
It isn't a good time to be a contrary voice in Russia, it seems.