I Don’t Know Why Everyone Gets So Worried

I think I forgot to tell you that Daddy-O and JiJi got me a new pink pocketknife for my birthday.  It was a happy moment.  Ain’t it purty?


I’ve toted it around in my purse proudly for a few months but have only had a couple of chances to use it so when Christmas rolled around, I was pretty stoked.  See, we are a family that likes ourselves the ribbon.  We enjoy twisting that curling ribbon all around the package and tying it as tight as we can. It makes the packages look more festive.  We are also a family that enjoys ourselves some tape.  We like taping the gift boxes shut and also all the seams of the wrapping paper so that finding a finger hold to rip the paper off is nearly impossible.  But the packages look pretty and that is what is important.


When Coach was opening his first package and having some difficulty, I ran to my purse to get my pocketknife.  “Here,” I offered, “you can use my pocketknife.”

Coach looked at me with horror.   “No,” he hollered.  “You put that away!  You’ll hurt yourself!”

And then Martie said when I offered it to her, “No, I’m good!  I’ve got this, see?”  And she sawed away at the tape with her nail.

Daddy-O said, “Lord, go get some Kleenex before you bleed all over the couch!”

Poppa whipped out his own pocketknife and sneered at my tiny little pink one as he expertly flicked his open and sliced through the ribbon.

Madre let me open my knife and use it on one of her gifts but when I had a brain cramp for a minute and couldn’t remember how to close it, Coach took it away from me and stuffed it down between the couch cushions. 

I got my knife back and will have you know that all my fingers remain intact.  I don’t even know why you worry. I am excellent with sharp things.  Except for this one time.  Geez, bunch of worry warts. 



I don’t have my own personal in-laws anymore, although when I did, I found them to be lovely people.  I probably didn’t realize at the time how lovely they were as I didn’t have what you’d call a happy marriage and it clouded my vision with everything.  However, I’ve made my peace with it (mostly) and with him (mostly) and I hope he’s done the same with me, so there’s no need to dwell on any negativity here.

The in-laws that I currently have the most of come from Martie’s husband, Coach.  He entered our lives so seamlessly, so flawlessly, that it is hard to remember what it was like before he ever came along.  Coach would do anything in the world for me and for our family.  He fixes my broken stuff.  He tells me how to listen for car problems.  He hangs out at Madre and Poppa’s house, with or without the rest of us.  He gives me a guy’s perspective whenever I need one.  It’s like he got a real wife with Martie and then a fake one with me.  (For the record, I seem to be the only one who breaks stuff and cannot fix it and calls whining at 11:00 pm with need for an immediate answer.  If he were close enough, I’d make him kill all my bugs, too.  So I have to say I’m probably not his favorite fake wife but you’d never know it, he’s so nice to me.)    

With Coach came his own family.  The more time that passes, the closer we all get.  I just never experienced anything like that really, so it is a constant surprise.  Coach’s parents, like Coach, would do anything for me, I think.  I am invited to every major holiday event.  I am hugged just like the other kids.  They ask about me every time there is a get-together.  And every year at Christmas, Coach’s mom fixes me a bag of goodies.  She makes all this homemade stuff, see, like jellies and pickles and okra.  One time, ONE TIME, I said that liked a jelly she made (it was corn cob, and if you’ve never tried it, you need to), and that was it.  Now I get a care package of one of each jelly she made over the course of the year (always a corn cob included), and one of each pickle, pepper, okra, etc. she made.  Martie, Coach, Pooh and Tigger come home on Christmas Eve laden down with every gift imaginable from Coach’s parents, and we rifle through all of it so I can see their loot.  Once we’ve done that, I sit back and wait.  I don’t say anything because one year Grandma might forget and I won’t want anyone to know how disappointed I’ll be, but every year Coach will say, “Oh, wait, there’s a bag for you in the car.”  Off he’ll trot and I’ll just beam.  It’s pretty much my favorite gift.


If anyone would like to come over for some biscuits, just let me know.  I’ve got plenty of jelly to go around.  Freddie, the pickled okra belongs to you and me. 


Guest Post: Lucy Loo, Madre’s New Dog

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Hello!  We just had Christmas!  Here’s what I ate:

Book (Poppa was really mad)

Ping Pong Paddle (I barfed after that)

Jimmie’s Ear (She hit me on the nose)

Martie’s Chin (She hit me on the nose)

Jimmie’s Ribbon (She was mad)

The couch (Everybody was mad)

I also ate – look, another dog!  I want that dog!  Can I have that dog? . . . .  No one ever lets me have another dog! 

I ate:

The other dog’s ear (He was mad)

My leash (Madre was mad)

Puppy food!  (Why come no one was mad?)

Also, I ran! I ran! And sniffed! And ran and played! And! – zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Editor’s Note:  Poppa is a patient man.  Lucy Loo was tearing through the house and made a mad leap from the floor of the living room onto the sofa, clipping Poppa in the face and knocking his glasses and hat off.  Poppa merely reached over and retrieved those items and put them back on.  Later, though, he whispered to me, “I’m tired of that damn dog.”  She’s awfully cute, but it’ll be great when she learns another speed besides “Tasmanian Devil” and “Coma”. 


Before time was, before I was, He whispered into the void.

I am coming for you.  I will save you. 

There was no Earth.  There was no light.  There was no form, no sun, no moon. 

I am coming for you.  I will save you.

The rumblings started in the midst of nothing, deep and powerful, groaning and surging.  Angels gathered, seraphim and cherubim, warriors readying for the fight.  Spirits culminating, swirling, twisting, fighting, spreading, a tornado, growing, growing, growing, overlapping one on top of another.   The beauty was blinding, terrible, glorious. 

And it was good.

I am coming for you, He echoed through the darkness.  I will save you.

And then there was light.  And it was good. 

Time began.  A nation was birthed.  A world was destroyed.  A world was reborn.  The Father wept, His heart broken over the sheep that strayed, that stayed away.  Still, He loved.  He spoke.  And then . . .

A Baby was born.  There was straw and a manger, a mother and a father. A  Father. 

I am coming for you, He cried.  I will save you.

The Baby grew.  He learned and prayed and loved.  Behind Him, warriors readied for a battle, and in readying for the battle, they fought, spirits culminating, swirling, twisting, a hurricane, overwhelming, growing.  It was glorious; it was terrible.

I am coming for you.  I will save you.

The sheep went astray.  The sheep, which He loved above all else, turned away from Him.    

The Hero rode in on a donkey.  Regal, bearing the weight of the world, He rode the donkey and was celebrated by the few.  He was majestic, yet humble.

I am coming for you, He called from his seat on the burro.  I will save you.

They beat Him.  Lashes across the back, one, two, three.  Four.  Five.  Six.   Seven.     Eight.        Nine.          Ten.            Eleven.              Twelve . . . . .




The crown of thorns dug into His skull, blood running down His face.  Wrist to the wood, WHAM went the hammer, once, twice, three times.  Wrist to the wood, WHAM went the hammer, once, twice, three times.  Feet to the wood, WHAM went the hammer, once, twice, three and four times.  Hoist the wood, slam into the ground, pierce The Side.  He died.  The Hero died. The temple was torn in two, from Heaven to Earth.  God cried out. The Earth shook.  The Hero delivered Himself to God’s mercy, and He died.

I am coming for you, He shouted from the grave.  I will save you.

I turn my back on Him.  I walk away from Love.  I embrace pretty things and I am empty.  I take my life and break it, shards scattered all around me, but the shards glitter and shine.  Pretty.  Empty. 

I gather the shards and offer them to The Hero who accepts them.  He puts them back together.  It is glorious; it is terrible. 

I am coming for you.  I will save you. He handed me the life. 

The enemy is coming.  He has been coming all along.  He pursues me with a relentless passion.  He knows no love, can accept no love, brings no love, but he brings the appearance of love.  He brings the appearance of beauty.  He brings the appearance of wisdom.  I follow it.  Pretty. Empty.

I am coming for you.  I will save you.  The Voice is louder.

I hear Him.  Save me from what?  From you. 

I am coming for you.  I will save you.  He thunders. 

I hear Him.  Save me from what?  From His wrath. 

How?  How will You save me?


The enemy is destroyed by a Breath.  The enemy is destroyed by a Light, glorious, terrible.  He is destroyed by the Word.   In a moment, the blink of an eye, in the whip of a hummingbird’s wing, the enemy is defeated.  Like that, it is over, that quickly.  I have been retrieved from the maw of death, plucked from its very edge.  He came for me.  He saved me.

He is my Hero.  He stands tall, His power so great, so terrible, so glorious, and it resonates throughout the Earth and none can withstand it.  There is no discrimination, only Love.  He came to save us all, each person, each heart, each soul.    

It all began before it ever began.  My Hero.  Happy Birthday.   

Christmas Eve

In Martie’s thirty-eight years, we have spent two Christmas Eves away from each other.  Only two.  The first time was the year that I lived in Colorado.  I was working two jobs and lived a million miles away and there was neither money nor time for plane tickets or family visits.  I had a lot of friends to spend the holiday with but it just wasn’t the same. I know Martie didn’t like it.  She was quite vocal about it. 

The next time we spent Christmas Eve apart was the first year that Coach and Martie were dating. Coach’s family does their big Christmas shebang on Christmas Eve and as his official girlfriend, Martie was invited.  While they were at the family event, the weather took a turn for the worse and Martie had to spend the night at his parents’ house.  There was no driving home.  Martie called to tell us, frantic.  She wanted to be with her family and sleep in our room, staying up all night talking about boys and family and what we wanted to be when we grew up and wondering if Coach was ever going to propose. 

Poor Coach.  He had no idea what he was getting into with her or this family.  Early the next morning, as the sun was just peeking out of the clouds, he and Martie rolled up in his giant man-truck.  The roads were slippery and icy yet he braved the weather to get her home.  She sprinted from the car, slid her way all the way up the driveway and rushed into the house, hair askew and clothes wrinkled from sleeping in them.  She was slightly wild-eyed and shaky.  Coach’s eyebrows were all up in his hairline.  He said, “I thought we were going to have to call the Rescue Squad to get her here in the middle of the night, she was so upset.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He learned the rules fairly quickly after that.  Martie and I spend Christmas Eve together.  We take literally three to four hours to unwrap every gift on Christmas Day.  We leave everything spread out across the entire living room so we can play with it all day.  We don’t cook a big meal.  Instead, we make finger foods and snack until we go to bed.  If we get out of pajamas it’s only because guests are coming over but sometimes not even then.  And we always go shopping the day after Christmas. 

I guess Coach is accepting.  He married this family after all even after learning all of our traditions and idiosyncrasies. 

What are your family traditions? 

Men, A Gift Giving Guide

Alright, boys, I’m here to help.  I know that most of you have yet to begin your Christmas shopping.  I’m guessing Wal-Greens is your first stop. Actually, I’m guessing Wal-Greens is your only stop.  While I personally feel like you should have already scoped out the perfect gift for your girl and ordered it online from Tiffany (or Godiva), I understand that perhaps you operate best under pressure and since you have a full 30 hours left of the holiday shopping season, you feel calm and serene.  Amirite?

A few years ago when I was a married woman, I had a husband who felt like useful gifts were a fantastic idea.  I’m here to tell you that they are not.  He purchased for me one year a Dust Buster.  You know, one of those instruments to CLEAN with.  As a Christmas gift.   For ME to CLEAN with.  I did manage to smile and say thank you.  He had purchased it before Christmas and wrapped it himself, so A for effort.  But my Dust Buster broke in the first year of ownership and do you know he got me another one the next year for Christmas?  That was a pleasant experience for him and me both.

Men, I care for you.  I want what is best for you.  I hate to see you spend long, lonely, cold nights in your dog house.  Because I care for you and don’t want you to spend long, lonely, cold nights in your dog house, I have compiled a short checklist for you to help with your holiday giving this year.   

  1. Small boxes are best.  Blue ones (like Tiffany blue, for example) or gold (like Godiva gold, for example) are particularly appealing.  Also, gift card boxes are extremely welcome as are small notes inside of big boxes that read:  Merry Christmas, baby. Let’s go shopping. 
  2. If your gift plugs in and she has not specifically asked for it, take it back.  Immediately.
  3. Cookware is not a good gift.  Nor are cleaning items of any sort. Anything that we can use to better serve YOU?  No.
  4. If you value your life at all, or most importantly your nether regions, do not even consider, nay don’t even breathe in the direction of exercise equipment or diet books.  Purchasing gifts of this nature will cause women everywhere to react in the same manner, as if you threw us nekkid out of the car onto 2nd Avenue. 

Following these simple rules will allow everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season.  It will also allow you to sleep in your own bed on Christmas night.  Isn’t that a nice thought?



So Back To Glitzen

Sigh.  People just don’t appreciate the sparkle anymore.


That isn’t entirely true.  The postman did say the first time he saw Glitzen, “Nice rack.”  That’s something.

Random Acts Of Kindness, In Practice

Thank you to everyone who shared a story with me.  I’ve copied the comments from yesterday here plus had a couple more to add.  Warm fuzzies abound. Read on.

A new mother (Mommy One) has taken advantage of technology innovations and purchased an array of baby monitors designed to ensure her baby breathes well through the night.  I can only imagine the kind of rest this allows for new parents.  I remember Martie and Coach getting up all night every night to check on their babies’ breathing for years.  I have to confess I still do it when I spend the night and Pooh and Tigger are ten and seven.  Anyway, Mommy One tested three different monitors before deciding on the one she wanted to use full time.  She is a member of a mommy message board and interacts with other new mothers there.  One such mother (Mommy Two) was expressing her sadness for a friend who lost her baby to SIDS and in doing so expressed her fear of the same fate for her baby.  She gets very little rest because of her worry and mentioned that the monitors were too expensive for her.  Mommy One sent Mommy Two one of her extras, the exact monitor she wanted as a Christmas gift today. 

FREDDIE’S RAK – I keep hearing that the most precious gift someone can give you is their time, and in this fast-paced world we live in, I firmly believe that’s true. I have a friend who has an amazing family, runs an office with little help, volunteers what little time she has to professional organizations and her church, and still takes the time to sit and have lunch with me and focus on me and my life. She is an amazing individual and I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

I also have this other amazing friend who works a job she has learned to enjoy, is writing a book that is going to be on the shelves of every woman in the US, is an amazing aunt and sister, and took time last Saturday to help me shop for my little sister’s birthday gifts. I am so blessed with people who are so giving of their time!

A woman has two children, ages ten and fifteen. Today she was struggling over how to provide Christmas gifts for her children.  She and her husband were counting on a bonus that did not materialize and all of their other money is earmarked for medical bills incurred this summer.  She was teary-eyed and mentioned it to a co-worker who in turn mentioned it to another who in turn visited every executive in the office and collected $350 in three minutes.  The mother was presented with the money in a closed office meeting and left the workplace, overwhelmed. 

STUDIO BUKOWSKI’S RAK – Probably one of the kindest things I have ever experienced happened after my dad passed away. A friend gave me the book (to help comfort me in my grief) that was given to him after his beloved wife passed away. He said it was time to pass it on to someone else who needed it and the note he included brought tears to my eyes.

Jimmie was discussing her Random Acts of Kindness with her boss today and mentioned her own good fortune with the plane ticket and the pedicure and the grocery money.  Her boss asked how the return flight was paid for and then offered the Southwest points to get her home. 

BOOTSIE’S RAK – Last Christmas our office had a tacky holiday sweater contest with a $50 gift card prize. One of my friends won the gift card. Later that afternoon that very same gift card was placed on my desk in an unsigned card. The only reason I know it was the same gift card is because I was on the party committee and had seen the gift card before it was awarded. My friend knew we were struggling and wouldn’t take an outright gift, so she “anonymously” gave me the gift card. She still doesn’t know that I know it was her and I won’t tell her because I think that “random acts of kindness” make everyone involved feel good.

Needless to say, Jimmie did a lot of nose-blowing today.

If you missed your chance and have something to send in, please still do so.  My cheeks hurt from the smiling but I’ll take that pain any day.  I love this. 

Also, who is proud to be a Titan now? 

Chris Johnson

Random Acts Of Kindness, A Favor

I know I said I was a Grinch this year and in some ways, I am.  In others my heart is just a big old pile of marshmallow goo and my eyes are misty with unshed tears of thankfulness.

In the last two weeks, three people have done really nice things for me.  None of them were expected, all of them were welcome, and I did nothing to deserve any of them.  These acts of kindness, to me, show the measure of their hearts.  Want to know what they were? 

  1. A kind person donated enough Southwest points to pay for one leg of a plane trip for me.  I was invited to visit some friends and I very much wanted to go, but I could not afford airfare and the bus ride was 17 hours.  I was disappointed but perfectly alright with missing this trip (I am a grownup who understands the power of a budget, after all).  I had mentioned the trip in passing to a friend who had another friend who had a vat of SW points just sitting around.  So the miles were donated and my ticket was booked.  Oh, I ruined my mascara that day.   
  2. Another kind person took me out for a pedicure, their treat.  It’s been a while since I had my piggies done but recently I broke a nail in a bad place.  I was handling the care of that myself with good results but when a friend asked if I would visit the nail shop with her, I said yes.  (She wanted to go, in part, because she heard rumors of how ticklish I am and how it appears that I am having a seizure when they scrub the bottoms of my feet.)  I moved some money around and we made our appointments.  When I went to pay, my pedi was already covered.  Oh, I ruined my mascara that day. 
  3. A final kind person sent me a grocery store gift card, and mandated that it was for things I wanted, not needed.  I have a new method for grocery shopping now. I make a list of things I need and also a list of things I want.  If there is money left over after the list of needed things are in the cart, I can add some of the things I want.  I feel like this is an excellent plan and very budget friendly so I shared it with a friend who in turn sent me the cutest Christmas card with a gift card in it.  Oh, I ruined my mascara that day. 

See?  Do you see why I invest in mascara?  I cannot tell you how many happy tears and sniffles and hugs I’ve experienced these last few weeks.  While I can say thank you and give the best hugs ever, I really feel like the best way to show my appreciation is to pay it forward.  I’m on the lookout for things I can do for those around me but I won’t share them here.  Those things are best done in secret.

So what is it I want from you?  I’d like a favor, please.  Will you share some random acts of kindness with me?  What I’d really like is a story of something lovely that someone did for you once, not something you did for someone.  I’ll also take stories of things you witnessed done to others.  Tell me how you have been affected by an unexpected kindness.  Don’t you think we could use some of those warm fuzzies about now?

Comment here, on Facebook, in an email or even a phone call.  I’ll post the ones you allow me to post so we can all partake.  What do you think? 


My dentist and I are no longer friends.  I’m sad about that because I really like him and his staff.  They always do a lovely job of prodding around my teeth with a razor sharp pic and they offer the minty tooth polish which I prefer over the fruity tooth polish which everyone knows is gross.

I had an appointment at 3:50.  At 4:20 I was still sitting in the chair with the stupid napkin around my neck and had seen no one.  I took off the napkin and was headed out, already mad.  The dentist caught me as I was leaving and we had a discussion.  Wait.  We had a Discussion.  We exchanged words that weren’t unpleasant necessarily but we both were pretty upset.  In my anger, I decided it was best to stop talking and didn’t say what I wanted to say.  Instead I shut my mouth (or opened it, as it were), reclined in the chair and had my tooth fixed with tears streaming back into my hair.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

The argument is often made that everyone should expect the wait for a medical professional, that it’s just the way things work.  I, respectfully, disagree.  It is only that way because we allow it to be that way.  Is it too much to ask that I be given the courtesy and the opportunity to value my time for myself?  Communicate with me.  Let me decide if it is worth my time to wait or to reschedule if you are behind.  Emergencies happen, but your emergency should not have to cost me.  I have enough of my own that cost me plenty.  Simply tell me, when I ask, that you are behind.  I’ll happily make other arrangements and come back when the timing is more convenient for both of us. 

I won’t go back to my dentist, the man I’ve seen for nearly seven years.  I’m not mad and stomping off like a brat, but I think we both said things that cannot be unsaid.  So I’ll find another dentist, hopefully one who has an amazing staff and respects my time enough to simply communicate, to let me know, to let me be the grown up who can make a decision for myself about whether I sit in a napkin or leave to continue my day. And I’m pretty sure he will find another patient who is just as lovely as I am, who pays her bills on time and who doesn’t sport the (rarely) bitchy attitude that I carry. 

We both will win. 

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