Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friday 55 7 Da Count- Out with the Old, In with the New


Old Man 2010,
you've brought a lot of trouble.
You were a colicky baby,
a petulant child,
a defiant teen.
You turned into an irascible old man.
Yes, you mellowed out at the very end
but not enough to make me hope you linger.
Be on your way.
There's a new kid in town,


So there you have it.  I won't be sorry to see 2010 pass into history.  I can't say it's been nothing but heartache but it's had more than it's share of trial and tribulation. But you know that...and this is Da Count, time to take note of the good stuff I've got rather than bemoaning the crap.  Through it all there has been provision.  Friends, both 3-D and virtual, have been there to offer a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. I don't know what I'd have done without them. Really,  I'd have gone out of my mind.  I'm also deeply grateful that my kids have endured.  The health and emotional issues have been manifold and deep.  I'm grateful there seems to be a slow upward trend and praying it continues in that direction.  As for the seemingly unending financial surprises too, frustrating as they are, I'm thankful I was able to absorb them without it meaning more debt. 

2010 did bring me a new job that is in a great place with great people and allows me access to all sorts of free care for myself and my family.  That's been a HUGE help with the various health issues among my kids.  There's a particular situation I don't address on the blog that has seen considerable improvement too....enough that I've dared to hope where I hadn't before.

So ok, the whole year wasn't entirely bad.  It had some important good too. And it's important to count that even as I look forward to 2011 and leaving the rough parts of 2010 behind me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slice of Lime-Year End Wrap Up

This year saw the good, the bad, and the ugly in me, displayed here in Slice of Lime for all your bloggy enjoyment.

Back in February I dyed my hair pink at the request of a friend going through treatment for breast cancer. This friend of mine has told me for years I need to dye my gray and I refused.  When she asked me to go pink I relented for the sake of solidarity.  We'll call that me being good.  As an update, she is doing really well as she finishes up a second round of chemo and her own hair has come back in.  This time, she opted not to dye the gray. I think she looks stunning and told her so.  She has come to love her gray hair. 

Later on in the year I showed up two of my manly bosses (one who is just massive, the other who is a 4th degree black belt) by ripping a phone book in half after they each failed in their attempts. It continues to be an office wide joke. I've been known to just interject the words "phone book" when comments are made about women being weaker than men or when it is jokingly suggested I should be able to do some impossible task because they find it easy. Yeah, I still gloat on occasion. I guess that would qualify me as bad.

For my birthday, which I share with another local friend we had a redneck party. Ugly, reeeeal ugly. Uglier than a fencepost....but a helluva lot of fun.  Need I say more?  A picture really is worth a thousand words...or dry heaves.

If you've stuck with me all year and through this whole post then here's a bonus of me playing Baby New Year and expressing part of what I am hoping for in 2011...a rest, a good nap (because again, if you've followed this year you know it's been hellacious in a lot of ways)...and heck, how about a return to pudgy being considered irresistibly adorable.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unmitigated Praise

Dad is not one given to speaking an encouraging word.  He is disinclined to giving praise in any form.  I'm not kidding here.  When I brought home report cards that were straight As I'd be asked why they were not A+s.  If he was in a good mood I'd be told, "That will suffice."  There are exactly two things which will earn some small measure of positive reinforcement.  One: I can thumb my nose at authority.  Dad's chest will puff with pride if I publicly get in the face of some Napoleonic figure and tell that person where to get off.  (And with that admission I offer you one more peek into the bizarre universe that is my psyche...)  Two: I can bake him a funny cake (find a picture and recipe at the bottom of this post).  This will generally prompt a comment along the lines of, "Damn, kid.  This is good stuff."  He will then make happy noises as he devours it rapidly.

You also need to understand that Dad is not prone to spontaneous correspondence.  In the last two decades pretty much the only time he initiates contact is to let me know his itinerary for some trip he is taking ( so as to both induce envy and to let me know from where I might need to ship his body if some horrible fate befalls him, which is a very real possibility in certain instances) or to ask if my kids want him to renew the subscription to whatever magazine he sends them.  I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the times he's opened communication without it being related to some other topic....though to his credit he did make the first move when I only had one good hand for counting since the other one was mangled beyond use at the time.

Bear in mind this post is in no way intended as a complaint or to evoke pity.  I'm at peace with Dad.  We're cool.  I accept who he is.  I think he mostly accepts who I am.  You just need to understand who he is to quite grasp the magnitude of the email which I found in my inbox last night.  Here for your pleasure (and for all posterity) I reproduce, in it's entirety, the email which was for my edification.


Your funny cake is always good, but as your wicked stepmother* said, this one is "spectacular". Perhaps it is because the goo on the bottom is thicker than usual. Whatever the reason, I have difficulty in restricting myself to 1/4 pie per serving.


* for the record, she is the most unwicked stepmother ever as evidenced in this post

I'm So Excited!

My family is evil.  Mr. Lime is a teacher.  He and the kids are rubbing it in that they have all week to lay around hibernating and that I have to go into work.  Evil I say.  It's taking some degree of effort not to exact retribution.


I just saw a headline and article synopsis on Yahoo! which stated if I am not excited to spend 40 hours a week with my co-workers it may be time to find a new job.  Now wait just a damn minute.  I like my coworkers, every single one of them.  They are fine people.  We are a good team.  I feel like we do worthy work in helping folks overcome pain and regain health.  This week I really don't want to spend with them though and even on a normal day I don't bounce out of bed singing about the delightful opportunity to spend an entire workday at my place of business.  Excited is a very strong word.  I'm grateful for my job.  I like my bosses and coworkers.  Excited?  I dunno about that.


Speaking of my place of business, Diana found out yesterday I don't tolerate her attempting to pick an argument with me at the front desk.  Very unwise....and quite the potential for some exciting action.


Speaking of excited, my mother-in-law thinks it would be exciting for me to spend the 5 vacation days I earn in February driving to and from Georgia to visit her.  Really, I am beginning to think people don't understand the definition of "exciting."


Now THAT'S exciting.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A New Holiday

December 26

For those of British extraction or who are part of the commonwealth, it is Boxing Day, a day originally when household servants had off and gifts were given to the less fortunate.*

Among African-Americans, especially in the Northeast, it's Kwanzaa.*

According to the sitcom Seinfeld, it's Festivus...for the rest of us, time for the airing of grievances and feats of strength.*

For me, after the massive baking blitz (40 dozen cookies, 4 funny cakes, a pound cake, and a baked pineapple), the traveling, and the return in snow, it was a day to cocoon in my favorite blanket by the fire as I alternated between watching movies, eating leftovers, and napping.

Hibernation Day it is.

*All facts have been unsubstantiated by even 10 seconds of a Google search because today I just can't be bothered with even that level of effort.   Be glad you got a post at all....or not.  It's up to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Slice of Lime-Spirit of Limes Past

A Couple weeks ago I was sorting through old pictures for another reason and I found this little gem from my Senior class play.  We performed A Christmas Carol and I was cast as the Ghost Of  Christmas Past.  I had a great time inflicting as much guilt as I could on my buddy Scrooge there.  If you knew the fellow portraying Scrooge he was the least likely to be described as that sort of a character but he did a good job in his role.  I was not one who enjoyed much about high school but I always loved being apart of the theatrical productions.  It's one of the few aspects of high school I look back upon fondly.

And now, may God bless us, every one.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Diana's in the House

Last night I sat curled up on the couch as the fire in the fire place roared,  Christmas movies played on t.v., and the Christmas tree glittered beautifully in the soft firelight.  All the family was together and we had just enjoyed a nice meal. Next to me was an address book, in my lap was a pile of Christmas cards.  I sat writing them out by hand to each of the family and friends I wished to convey cheery holiday greetings to when Diana added her thoughts...

"So I see you;'re doing the obligatory maintenance of a facade of connectedness even though some of these people you only have contact once a year when you give into Hallmark consumerism as you provide the post office with increased business."

Yes, Ebeneezer.  So good to have you home from college. Now no cookies for you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Trini Christmas-Parang

Way long ago when I first started this blog I used to do a weekly Trini Tuesday post to share some aspect of Trinidadian culture.  Today I'm going to reprise a post or two from the early days because I'm fairly certain most of you have never read it and I'm somewhat in need of posting material.  It won't be on a Tuesday this time though because I thought the content would be good for a getting us all moving on a Monday morning.

Allow me to introduce you to some of the sounds of Christmas in Trinidad. I have to admit when I lived there and December rolled around and the weather was still in the upper 80s and I heard Walking in a Winter Wonderland I almost split a gut laughing. When I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas played on the radio I thought, "Keep dreaming." When I was chatting with neighbors I mentioned the incongruity of living tropically and hearing such songs. We shared a giggle over that, discussed real snow, and then they asked me if I had heard any parang music yet. They told me parang was the real Christmas music of Trinidad, not all that Bing Crosby and Burl Ives stuff. Well, now I HAD to learn about it!


There is some debate as to the true origins of parang music. Some say it was brought directly by the Spanish colonizers. Others are inclined to believe it came along with imported cocoa plantation workers from Venezuela. Either way it is clearly a Spanish influence that is deeply ingrained in Trinidad. Parang comes from the spanish parranda. meaning the merrymaking of the musicians. In the most traditional forms of parang all the songs are sung in Spanish even though the language is really not spoken at all on the island. Many of the instruments, though not all, are common to Spanish music.

Parang season (yes there is a season) runs from October (I'm ok, with it being this early, honest I am, it's not crass commercialism down there) to January 6, which is Feast Day for the 3 Kings (Les Rois, a French name that ends the Spanish music season on an island populated by Africans and Indians...I LOVE that). As with so many things in Trinidad, there are competitions to crown the champion parang bands. The competitions were begun as a way to revive a tradition that had begun to die out prior to independence.

In days past, parang bands would circulate through neighborhoods much the way we see Christmas carollers in the USA. The bands would have 4-6 singers and instruments of all sorts. Guitars, violins, mandolins and cuatros, maracas, scrapers and wood blocks, and box basses (imagine a hillbilly instrument, the upside down washtub with a pole and string coming out the top so it could be plucked, box bass is similar)and pollitos (sort of a wooden castanet) are all common parang instruments. The bands would announce themselves with an aguinaldo song and relate the story of Christ's birth. More sacred themed songs would be sung, perhaps later a call and answer type piece of music or a salsa or waltz would be played so all the revelers could enjoy a dance. Tasty treats would be shared. Finally a despedida or departing song of thanks and well wishes would be sung.

Eventually the parang bands became a bit more stationary and parties were organized around a favorite band and the revellers would come to them. Still the music was sung in Spanish and the same styles of songs prevailed. It simply allowed a good Trini fete to go on late into the night. In more recent times, styles have diversified. Soca-Parang, which is sung in English, has become popular especially as a tourist ploy since it carries more North-American themes. And not to be left out, the Indians have added their instruments, themes, and musical patterns to the mix to create Chutney-Parang.

Now for your listening and viewing pleasure some parang.

Here is a fun one I remember from when we lived in Trinidad. It wouldn't allow embedding but go listen to them sing 'Bring Out De Ham.'

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday 55 & Da Count-Growing Up


Once I was your universe
containing you in darkness.

You emerged to light
and I became the sun
on which to center your orbit.

Now you slip my bonds of gravity
and fling yourself
among the stars.

Blaze bright, find the path
that allows me
glimpses of glory
and leaves no crater
upon my heart.


This week Diana turned twenty.  That was a strange milestone for me since I was twenty when I got married (and I'm also marking that anniversary this week).  If she were to announce she is getting married soon I'd definitely think she's too young.  I can only imagine how insane my parents thought I was at twenty....alright, they still think I am but that's another matter entirely.  Sometimes she is so grown up and mature and responsible.  Sometimes I just want to bean her.

Calypso has had a good week health-wise.  That all by itself is count-worthy but she's also been talking about future plans in ways that display a sense of hope.  She's also been willing to ask for some help she has needed but resisted.  In spite of all the difficulty she's had this year I've been proud of her mostly consistent effort.  

Isaac towers over me so the physical growth is obvious.  I don't generally have to get on his case about schoolwork.  He's mostly easy going.  I miss the way we used to curl up on the couch to read together or watch his favorite cartoons but I like when he comes into the kitchen to talk to me about some of his odd observations in life.

One is out of the house, one stands ready to depart, and one watches in anticipation for his turn.  It's strange, unfamiliar territory we all explore as we grow but it's interesting to watch...most of the time.  I'm counting the evidence of maturity when I see it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slice of Lime-The Seeds of Madness

 (Yeah check out the crazy bookends in this picture.  Those lunatics married and procreated.)

Mr. Lime and I got married in the middle of my junior year in college........the day after fall semester finals. We wanted to have time for a honeymoon during the semester break and did not want to wait until May.

During finals week I became a raving lunatic. I know that must come as a terrible shock to all of you.  Every time I tried to study I'd think about wedding plans. Every time I'd try to check up on last minute details I'd think how I should be studying.  Consequently nothing was being accomplished in either area.  I did manage to scratch my newly blossomed, stress-induced eczema into a weeping, raw mess though.  The upside was that my skin would now match the red dresses I'd chosen for my bridesmaids.

My darling husband-to-be came to my apartment one night and found me in a wild frenzy. He said I should put away the books and planners, make some tea, put my feet up and he'd go rent us a movie so I could unwind. He asked what I wanted. I kissed him gratefully and said a light, fluffy comedy sounded just about right. He repeated his instructions that I relax while he went out to get the movie. I exhaled a blissfully contented sigh as I mused over what a thoughtful man I would have the joy of spending my life with.

He came back a little while later and popped a movie into the VCR. What light, fluffy comedy did he rent to alleviate me tension and anxiety? The Killing Fields about the Khmer Rouge led genocide in Cambodia.

At the end of the movie I sat there nearly catatonic. Mr. Lime asked what was wrong.  I burst out crying hysterically. He looked at me like I had three heads. I wondered between sobs how he thought this was supposed to make me feel less stress. He thought if I saw someone whose problems were worse than mine I'd feel better about my own situation. In between sobs I cried, "No! Now I just have guilt about the suffering of these people on top of my own stress!  How can I savor any joy knowing about all the horror these people are enduring?!"

This weekend we will pass the 22 year mark.  If we decide to go see a movie to celebrate he at least knows the definition of a light, fluffy comedy now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Only Makes Me Adore Him More

It seems the ever delectable Hugh Jackman and I share more than just a birthday.  It seems he also has some issues with zip lines as he demonstrated this week. During filming of a segment with Oprah Winfrey he was supposed to zip line from the Sydney Opera House to the set.  At the end he wound up face planting the set and cutting his eye.  Though his injuries were nowhere near as serious as mine were he handled it with the humor and aplomb I'd expect...kinda like me asking my grave faced surgeon who was trying to break it to me gently that I might not get use of my hand back if the ability to flip him off with that hand would indicate I'd properly healed.  So now I need to amend a future birthday wish.  I don't just want to spend a future birthday with Hugh.  I want us to conquer the zip line for our birthday.  (My apologies... since my computer sound card is all whacked out I have no idea what is being said in the video.  I just put it up since it shows him on the zip line)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twisted Christmas

It's late.  I finally finished decorating the tree and sat down to try to post and had all sorts of computer issues.  I need to tuck my tired self into bed but here's a little idea for a quick post.  It calls for audience participation if it's going to be any fun at all.

I'm going to list something I want for Christmas.  The next commenter will grant that wish but with a twist.  Then they will add their own wish which will be granted in a wacky way by the next commenter.

For example...

Lime:  All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.
Suldog: Wish granted but they are giant walrus tusks.  Dear Santa, I'd like all the fruitcake I could ever eat.
Secret Agent Woman: Wish granted but it's been made with the floor sweepings of all you local dive bars...empty peanut shells and cigarette butts included.  All I want is an all expense paid vacation to the Caribbean.
G-man: Wish granted, here's your ticket to Port au Prince.  Dear Santa, may I have....

Everyone understand?  Ok, here goes.

All I want for Christmas is Hugh Jackman wearing a bow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Tree

Last year I had great difficulty working up much holiday spirit.  I had gone back to work and was finishing up the third month of working in Hell for Satan's chiropractor (before moving on to my current and far closer to heaven type of employment arrangement).  I just couldn't make myself care.  I did no baking.  I can't remember if I sent any cards.  I think I might have skipped it based on how many I have left to choose from this year.  We put a tree up and it sat in the living room bereft of any adornment for two weeks before my family finally gave up on me ever decorating it.  See they are accustomed to relying on me to cultivate the holiday spirit while they just soak it up.  Well, last year I said a bit fat "Bah Humbug" to that whole routine.

This year I've done better.  So have the other members of the household.  This weekend there was a family trip to find a Christmas tree during which there was no groaning and moaning about the process.  The first saw your own tree place, where we've gone for years, seemed to have a truly crappy selection of trees for high prices.  We left there and headed to a  new place with vastly better trees at far better prices.  A Charlie Brown type tree for $60 or a nice lush evergreen for $30.  That's a no-brainer.

It was rather late till we got back but the tree was erected Saturday night.  Of course this required hauling out the vacuum cleaner because we have to rearrange furniture to make space for the tree.  And really when you do that it's almost like an early Christmas to see what sorts of exciting things have accumulated under the love seat.  Oooh, look!  I got 4392 wrappers for cough drops!  Hey, I got a pen that leaked all over the carpet!  Wow! I always wanted a fossilized, half-eaten...uh...granola bar...or hot-dog....or something...  So the tree stood bare for the night.

Sunday the decorations were dug out of storage and put around the house.  Half the colored tree lights we had were dead beyond resuscitation.  I tried putting up the few working ones we had left but they were entirely too sparse.  If it's possible to have Charlie Brown lights on a good looking tree I think I achieved that.  I just had no interest in heading out to buy new ones so we threw on a sufficient number of white lights.  (Forgive me the white lights, Suldog.)  I got all the other decorations out while Mr. Lime and Isaac wound the few working colored lights on the banister.  By then some dinner was needed.  So the tree stands semi-clothed in white lights and leaning somewhat oddly (thanks to the kid at the tree farm who drilled it crooked).  I'm not feeling terribly motivated to finish it this evening.  It won't be ignored for two weeks like last year but in its own way the half dressed, leaning tree sort of conjures a certain holiday spirit...rather like the one guest at the party who has had a bit much to drink.

(The picture is kind of crappy since it's off my phone and really doesn't do justice to the angle of leaning.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Friday 55-Or Is It 61?

Who knows it all
from trivia to history to crazy jokes?
Who cooks it all
from muffalettas to curry to a steak on his Weber?
Who collects it all
from radios to ticket stubs to all things Harley Davidson?
Who is a friend to all
from high school pals to old blog buddies to new 55ers?
G-man is.

 (Yep, that was 61 instead of 55 words but with good reason since G-man is 61 today.  His last birthday was spent with an unpleasant health problem so I wish him an especially happy birthday this year.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Slice of Lime(lette)-Where Does the Time Go?

When did it happen that Diana went from being a baby sleeping in her crib (notice the groovy tie dyes?)...

To being a young woman independent and confident enough (ok, so she's ALWAYS been that) to drive halfway across the country with a friend (I just wasn't up to that level of expression until she was at college).
In a few days I will no longer be able to say I am the mother of three teenagers since Diana will be 20. It's shocking, I say.  Shocking!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Meme-y Christmas

 Empress Lime has allied with Queen Mimi once again for a bit of holiday meme silliness.

Let's talk Christmas. I'm in a naughty and nice mood.  Some are one-word answers, others need a little explanation. Feel free to elaborate when the blog spirit moves ya. And above all else...Have fun!

1. or the Mall
Did you not read yesterday's post?  Etsy...the weird pages

2. Bows or ribbons  Bungee cords

3. Expensive or sale tags
Cheap is good, free is better.  Think I'll stitch that on a pillow and sell it on Etsy.

4. Long list or short
We talking groceries or chores here?

5. Wrapped packages or gift bags
Duct tape covered shoe boxes

6. Eggnog or vodka
Are you trying to make me puke because one sip of eggnog or several glasses of vodka will achieve that quite well

7. Have you finished your shopping?
Have I started it is a better question

8. A Christmas Carol or The Bible Story
And the were three spirits keep watch over scrooges by night.  An angel of the LORD appeared to them and the glory of Jacob Marley shone all around and they were terrified. But the angel of the LORD said, "God bless us everyone."

9. Are you Scrooge or Santa's Helper?
Oh heck, around here I'm the whole freaking workshop full of elves but I may go all Bah Humbug on people if they don't start picking up some slack.

10. Did you ever catch Santa Claus in the act?
In the act????  Santa???  Holy crap!!!  I thought all he did was KISS Mommy!

11. Tell me about your Christmas tree...gotta pic?
I once hung a penis gourd from it

12. Christmas carols or Rock Station
Ever heard Jingle Bell Rock on a pipe organ?

13. Do you believe in Elves?
I thought he died on his toilet after an overdose of drugs

14. I am looking for Santa. Describe him for me. 
I was always told anyone could be Santa.

 15. Do you leave cookies out or bourbon?
Both, I like to see the mice staggering around drunk the next morning

16. White lights or multi-colored
Depends on how much vodka I've had before they start flashing

17. Wreaths on the doors, windows, outside?
I haven't even gotten my tree up yet and you're hassling me about wreaths???

18. Who are the 3 wisest wise men in your life?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker

19. Is Christmas religious or commercial for you?
You mean by desire or by default?

20. Ever kiss under the mistletoe?
Nope.  Used to boink under the Christmas tree though.

21. Stars or angels on top of the tree 
Part of me would like to make a crude remark about the supermodels for Victoria's Secret Angel line being impaled on trees but that would probably not be very Christmas-like of me

22. Who deserves to get a lump of coal for Christmas and why? 

23. Who is #7 in the 12 Days of Christmas song?
*Hums*  Sevens somethings something something... Um...Seven chocolates limelets...oh HECK no!  Three is enough!  I dunno....I give up.

24. Snail mail cards or e-cards
Can I email some snails?

25. What do you want for Christmas? 
No jokes here.  My family to enjoy being together and Calypso to be returned to full health and attending school full time so she can finish her senior year strong.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Lime's Gift Guide for the Disturbed

You've seen this sort of thing from me before (here, here, and here) and it's back again just in time for Christmas. I've scoured Etsy, ok...I merely scratched the surface...and found you all some lovely gifts.

You may think this a Barbie doll's toilet brush but you'd be wrong.  No, it's for the impeccably groomed bordering on
OCD.  Still perplexed?  It's a belly button duster.  Well you wouldn't want an unsightly proliferation of navel lint would you?  Now that grooming nightmare can be a thing of the past with this handy little gadget.

Next up is another personal item.  Yes, it's actually designed to be worn and the maker says this special Willie Warmer is sized to fit the "average male" though she also makes extra large for those requiring the accommodation.  She notes that although this one is styled to be natural in color and with the inclusion of pubes she is willing to make custom, non-natural colors.  Spotted dick, anyone?

Ok, moving on from one disturbing image to another, here is a warning sign.  And you thought the impending zombie plague was your biggest worry.  You thought you had dealt the death kneel to the monster under the bed?  Well, the new threat in town is apparently ceiling octopuses!

And now for the whimsical murderer wannabes with an artistic yet frugal side, we have the Macaroni Murder Lady.  Were I to analyze this I'd be inclined to think the creator has some deep seated issues stemming from early trauma during summer camp arts and crafts.

 Let's make sure not to forget that special lady in your life but forget those fancy jewelry stores trying to sell you blood diamonds.  You want something more ethical.  You want Bony Spaceship Earrings....because they are made from the vertebrae of an Australian possum...a possum that was electrocuted by power lines.  The artist even details how this type of death occurs.  Won't she be excited to know love her enough to want her to wear electrocuted possum bones?  What?  They're mounted on nickel-free posts so she won't react negatively to them....

Well there you have it, folks.  If you are stymied for gift ideas I have just provided some excellent suggestions.  Though I take no responsibility for the deterioration in any relationships caused by giving such gifts.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Friday 55 & Da Count- Sharing with Friends


Invading armies desecrate the holy place.
Brave men fight back led by the one called 'The Hammer.'
The foe is defeated, the temple cleansed.
We must relight the lamps.
There is so little consecrated oil.
It will take days to prepare more.
Unexpectedly, the lamps burn 8 days.
A great miracle has happened.
Happy Chanukah!


I posted this 55 three years ago but since it's Chanukah I decided to put it up again.  We have some friends who have shared their holiday with us.  We celebrated it together many years.  I was delighted for my kids to learn about it and enjoy it with friends.  I won't totally rehash the old count the same way I did the 55 but I will count a sharing atmosphere where I work. 

I am not the only person at work who has been recently plagued by numerous difficult circumstances.  There seems to be a rash of it among my coworkers.  Two other coworkers have cars that keep falling apart like mine.  Two have immediate family members with serious health issues.Five of us are currently receiving treatment at our own office for recent injuries.  With so many people under all sorts of stress you might think I work with a bunch of surly people and in fact contribute to the sour mood myself.  We are all capable complainers at times but for the most part none of us linger in that for too long.  We can all tell when someone comes in after a particularly rough patch and we all cut the one having a hard time some slack.  We listen to each other, support each other, make each other laugh in spite of the crap going  on.  On our lunch break you generally find us giving each other various necessary treatments, which on one hand is kind of hilarious (Hey Doc, can ya crack me?  Sure...can you give my shoulder  a combo?  Yep, right after I hook up Jane to the decompression table....once she finishes the deep muscle work on John.).  On the other hand it's really a relief to be working in a place that takes good care of its patients and where we all take good care of each other.  It's also really count-worthy that we don't take advantage of each other in an opportunistic way.  After the rough week I had (and the rougher week one of the other girls had), and when I consider the hell-hole I used to work in (where they just didn't give a damn about anything but the bottom line) I just really want to count the sharing of burdens in a caring manner that goes on among my coworkers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Slice of Lime-Sew What?

Just prior to being hit by the plague I did accomplish something over the holiday weekend.
You may recall how I made my first quilt two years ago for Diana's graduation....ok, fine, I didn't actually finish it until 15 minutes before we drove her to college but the idea was there.  Well, Calypso is set to graduate this June so that means this Christmas she gets her fabric.  Last time, Mom and I went halvsies on the cost of fabric (it ain't cheap, lemme tell ya) since she is my quilting/sewing mentor (the woman has made more quilts during her lifetime than I think she can count and I recall playing under her frame as a child...quilt frames make the most awesome set up for blanket forts, by the way). We planned to split the cost again. Last time we had a hard time finding what I wanted in my area. This time Mom suggested we head closer to the Lancaster County area where fabric stores are plentiful, well stocked, and generally cheaper.

She had hoped we'd be able to find what we wanted at a Mennonite place that was selling flannel for a dollar a yard in October.   For the record, a dollar a yard is unbelievably cheap.  We arrived and their prices had increased to $2.49/yard, which is still crazy cheap considering the good quality of the fabric but the selection did not include the colors we were looking for.  I was able to get the batting layer for a great price though.

After I checked out I had to go looking for Mom, who had gotten talked fast to another lady making a coat.  they traded suggestions.  Mom gave altering tips and the other lady hipped us to another fabric place she was sure would have some things we'd like so everyone benefited.  Mom and I headed down the road and very nearly missed the place.  From the outside it looked very tiny and not at all promising.  From the inside it was completely amusing.

Floor to ceiling it was packed with bolts of cloth stacked in an disorganized, ominous, Jenga-like fashion.  It was pretty hilarious.  We were greeted in a friendly manner though and asked if we needed help.  We asked if they had flannel and where it might be.  The clerk directed us to the back corner of the store.

Here's mom squeezing sideways through the aisle.  We giggled the whole way to the back of the store, marveling over the stacks and wondering how anyone found anything.  Once we found the flannels we rooted through the skewed towers of bolts and found a few colors we thought might work.  The challenge was how to get at them without topping the whole wall of fabric on our own heads.  At that moment the clerk poked her head out from behind a row of teetering bolts, peered down the narrow aisle, and asked if we needed help.  After retrieving a step stool and getting her weightlifting workout we had 6 bolts to look at and decide upon.  The lighting was pretty bad so Mom and I brought them to the front to be able to see them better.  We noticed the sign on the door warning us against stealing and asked if we could just open the door to get some good light.  The clerk said we could go outside with the bolts if we wanted.  Mom was delighted and promised not to steal the bolts.  The clerk laughed, gestured at the disarray surrounding her, and declared, "I don't think anyone would notice if you did!  Just before you got here I was nearly buried by an avalanche of Christmas potholders!"

We found two suitable bolts and shared another chuckle as the clerk swept aside a pile of who knows what on the cutting table in order to cut our yardage.  Mom and I hit a third store to find the last color we needed.  It was more expensive and not nearly so entertaining a place as this little country store.