Monday, December 7, 2009

Two Turtle Doves

This week's festivities are beginning early, for seasonal reasons. Only last week, we had reports of holiday photos * holiday sweaters * and barf, all in one whine, and every good pixie knows that is just the beginning. We also heard of clock and car failure, and the snow hadn't even started then.

So, I'll start with an anti-whine, which is that my sister's wonderful annual family party was glorious, and I got to dance and sing with my nephew, and my Fabulous Aunt told old stories I had never heard before [some of them proved definitively that she IS my late dad's sister], and well, great food and great company all around. The difficult sister called in, and we kind of passed the phone around -- I recommend this arrangement. Highly recommend. Good wine also helps. Also, the "no gifts" rule, with an exception only for minors.

In whines? Oy, the Project of Doom. Got a draft done, thank dog; need to do fixing, and backed up on other work. My house is a disaster. No, zero, nada, zilch shopping done except the gift for the nephew who danced with me. My best pants have cat barf on them. Not fresh. Gah. At least I didn't wear them to the party.

So, what's new with you, in this intense seasonal time?


Amy said...

This Wednesday is the single most important class of the semester, marked by the final, in-class impromptu writing that my students MUST include in their Portfolio. The essay is, in fact, one of the two most important pieces in the Portfolio, and it's an assignment that the department creates and commands must be administered on Wednesday.

Guess which day we have a snowstorm warning for?

liz said...

My father is coming to spend the night tonight.

Now, ask me! Have I cleaned anything, changed any sheets, or cooked?

Have I invited the house cleaners in?

Am I, in fact, totally freaking the fireplace out?

The answers are No, No, and, surprisingly, NO.

He's gonna hafta take us as we are this time.

Madeleine said...

Liz, good for you for not panicking. Life, it is messy.

I had a neighbor over on Saturday afternoon to talk about some work stuff of his I might get him some free advice about, and the house was in its usual state, but he has 6 year old twins, so I just waved it off with "I'm sure you're familiar with mess." Also, I'm doing him a favor, so.

Madeleine said...

Amy, nothing like a good two days to stew over imminent disaster with a) nothing to do about it and b) no level of certainty. Sympathy.

liz said...

Amy, can it be submitted via email?

Can you, in effect, send out to the whole class the impromptu writing prompt at the regular start of the class and have them email their essay back to you at the regular end of the class?

Amy said...

Actually, I find the whole thing slightly funny. I've got an email out to the coordinator, asking what our contingency plan is. Whatever it is, that's what I'll do. (Such is the life of a part-timer, right?)

Maybe Liz's Que Sera Sera attitude is catchy this week?

P.S. the email idea is good, but they'll never do it that way. Too forward thinking.

liz said...

Take a picture of it with their cell phone and tweet it?

kathy a. said...

amy - carrier pigeons? i guess the point of doing it in class is so they can't have their roommate write it, or spellcheck, or whatever, but you know that if the assignment is rescheduled, that means a blizzard on the new day.

yay, liz! hope you have a good visit with your dad.

so, a little more whining about the difficult sister. she actually asked about my kids! but it was totally freakish -- "how's C? is he happy? because i remember he wasn't very happy for a while." my son had a terrible year or 2, but he graduated HS with excellent grades and moved forward with his adult life. he graduated 5 years ago; she didn't so much as bother with a card. she saw him at a family wedding 6 months ago, but didn't talk with him. wtf? i guess it's an AW that she asked, just kinda weird.

Madeleine said...

kathy a., I think it is a given with difficult relatives that there will be occasional randomness. You can interpret it as "nice that she's interested" or as "well that was passive aggressive" but really in the end . . . randomness.

Though I agree that "the other end of the phone line" is a perfect way for them to join the family event ;-)

My most difficult relative has missed a couple of recent Thanksgivings. It is painful for her daughter, my lovely cousin, but really the rest of us find it much easier this way.

esperanza said...

Oh, do I ever stink at this preacher's wife gig. Tis the season for church parties with--excuse me--little old ladies. And they always want the Sweet Baboo to come also. Because what could be more entertaining for a two year old than a salad luncheon and Christmas carol-singing? And, as long as I'm whining, why are they always called "luncheons"? What the heck is the difference between a luncheon and a lunch?

AW: grandma comes this week

AW: 32 weeks!

Madeleine said...

Mini Baboo is rockin' the gestation thing.

Could the little old ladies be regretfully told that their luncheon is scheduled at the Sweet Baboo's naptime? I understand their desire to share in the Sweetness, but suspect they will be less charmed by the actual display of "parenting a toddler in public" that inevitably ensues.

kathy a. said...

a luncheon is an event. lunch is lunch. the l.o.l.'s have clearly forgotten that "events" are prime meltdown territory. is it possible for sweet baboo to make a brief appearance at the beginning or the end?

yay, mini-baboo! yay, grandma!

madeleine, randomness is a very good way to look at it.

kathy a. said...

dudes -- i had saved an online shopping place's 30% off email, but didn't get around to the shopping part yet. and today? a new email with 75% off + free shipping! probably sucks to be them, but i was going to boost the economy a little anyway.

esperanza said...

wow, kathy, I am in awe. Procrastination pays off!

and here's the weird thing: the Sweet Baboo is an ANGEL at these things. She threw a fit at our "pre-lunch" at the house, for who knows what reason. Once we got there, charming, charming, charming. Traitor. She did get wiggly, but all we got were indulgent smiles.

Madeleine said...

Sweet Baboo for the win!

You had two options: being proven wrong by teh charming girl (win!) and being proven right and exempted from next year's festivities (win!). So you couldn't lose either way.

kathy a., my favorite retailer is sending sale emails nearly every day. I am worried they won't survive the recession, but I did get SG's winter gear at 40% off (after waffling over size issues when it was 25% off). Yes the sleeves are too long! It's a design feature, allowing her to keep her hands warmish despite the fact that the pockets are too far away. (And yes, of course I have supplied her with gloves which are in said pockets. You can imagine the protests when I suggest she use them.)

JenR said...

Ugh... announcement today that there will be no salary increases and yet more "unpaid holidays" next year. We are profitable but our sister companies are not, so we all suffer.

kathy a. said...

madeleine, buying things with "room to grow" is a time-honored tradition!

yay, sweet baboo! little traitor that she is. :)

y'all know, of course, that the stuff on 75% discount is the stuff nobody will ever buy, absent some incurable malfunctions in the taste arena. but i did get a discount, and the free shipping, and have crossed 2 major items off the list.

kathy a. said...

oh, jenr. that really sucks.

Madeleine said...

JenR, so sorry.

liz said...

JenR, that completely sucks.

Sarah at ratatat said...

JenR - oh, so sorry. Now the way to bring in 2010 with good cheer.

KathyA - yay 75% off. I know it is marketing talk, but I like sales.

Esperanza - I am planning a luncheon right now. But I don't think we'll get anyone as sweet as the Sweet Baboo to come.

Amy - I am with you in Snow Watch. I am mostly annoyed. I live in Wisconsin. It snows every year. Seriously. And you'll in the media didn't just move here.

Cute Anti-Whine: The baby (15 months on Wed) likes snow. She wants to touch it, sit in it, eat it.

Whine: my older children have lost 3-4 gloves, and 2 hats. And they aren't in the school lost or found, despite disappearing at school.

Sue said...

AMy - sorry about the storm watch - that sucks.

Way to go Liz and kathy a for the not freaking outage. (Kathy - dry cat bark can be chipped off of clothing if necessary, and any residue of stain simply wiped clean - damn, I should have an infomercial for that one. But really - in a pinch, it'll work).

JenR - that sucks big time. Not even a cost of living increase????

Double Sister points for both Sweet Baboo for being, well, sweet. And to Mini-Baboo for rockin' out in the uterus for yet another week. Yay!!!!

Whine: Big! Decorating! Party! at the church on Saturday. In attendance: Moi and one other staff person.

Anti-whine: I was very contained and in control on Sunday morning (ie - I didn't go all postal on their asses like I wanted to). In our "celebration time" I began by celebrating that K came to help ME decorate the church yesterday. Without her help, it would have taken me twice as long." *Insert Big Grinchy Smile Here*

Anti-whine: They got the message - now everyone is falling over themselves to apologize and come up with the Best Excuse of the Year. It's lame, but kind of fun to watch.

Madeleine said...

Sue, I'm now picturing you as a clever dragon, holding your fire and just steaming slightly at the nostrils while the humans genuflect at your feet.

Nomination to Sarah for Seasonal/Old Skool for the missing hats and gloves. Already!

(Sarah: elastic sewn on and then threaded through the sleeves was my pre-emptive strike on hand-gear. Hats are hopeless until you can train the kids to stuff them in their sleeves. Or patrol the edges of the school yard looking for sodden lumps of the approximate color.)

Amy said...

Sue, did you mean to call it "cat bark"? because that is hilarious.

Votes for Madeleine for Mullet for: "sodden lumps of the approximate color."

Once again, pixies, Whining Works! The snow storm is going to hit us tonight instead of tomorrow, and it's supposed to be mostly melted by class time. Yay!

kathy a. said...

i love "cat bark," too! sue, the excuses sound entertaining. ;) dog ate my newsletter?

sarah, such a sweet image of baby and snow! sympathy for the lost gloves and hats; going to be a long season in the frozen sectors of pixieland, eh?

amy, glad your class is dodging the worst of the storm.

the project of doom has returned to the desktop, now weighing in at 300 pages, to be reviewed soonest. which i think means, comments by friday or forever hold my peace. i dreamt last night of the project, and not happy dreams. so, along the lines of madeleine's excellent recent advice, the cats and i are going to do one hour at a time, and indulge in recreational procrastination as needed.

esperanza said...

If The Universe were just (are you listening, universe??) Projects of Doom would at least be SHORT. 300 pages?!?

If The Universe wants to pay attention, I have some other ideas to make things work better around here. Txt me.

The Universe said...

All ears, Esperanza.

Sue said...

Oops. That was supposed to say "cat barf" but actually "cat bark" is much more fun.

liz said...

AW: Did not clean for my father's visit. Did not panic. Did not apologize. Asked him to use my bathroom instead of the hall one (cleaner).

AW: He and MM had a great time together.

AW: He admired MM's school.

W: He started to pressure me about Thanksgiving (Hell. No.)

W/AW: I've started a new blog. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I don't know what I'm going to do with the old one. Think I may merge them.

Hold me.

liz said...

Actual address of new blog

kathy a. said...

(((( liz )))) glad the dad visit was good! well, except the pressure, but at least it was limited in scope, no?

Days said...

Seasonal whine of snowstorms and cold weather and head colds and gastro viruses setting in.

Major antiwhine that said storms and sickness have held off until after my dissertation defense. Which is blessedly, thankfully finished. I think the relief is palpable to everyone in my life.

I am off to cuddle with the kids in front of a fire, a televised holiday special and try to avoid any contact with "bark" - cat or otherwise.

Kudos to esperanza on the Sweet Baboo's sweetness when confronted with LOLs, and kathy a. on her sale savvy-ness. Sympathies to Jen R on the job front.

Sue said...

Madeleine - add some steam from under the collar, and you've got the picture almost perfectly depicted. Dragon, minus flamage. Yup. That's me.

liz said...

Sue, I sort of see you with flames shooting from your eyes, until you bat your lashes to get your temper under control.

kathy a. said...

congrats, days, on finishing the dissertation defense! woo-hoo!

Madeleine said...

Dissertation defense! Woo-hoo! Champagne for everyone.

Sue said...

Ya Liz. So far I'm not feelin' that warm and fuzzy Advent-y thing yet. Why is it that ministry has taken virtually all of the fun out of Christmas for me? Is it just me, or is that simply wrong?

I suspect I might feel differently if I didn't feel like I was experiencing Advent so that my entire congregation can say that *they* experienced it.

Vicarious religion R Me. Time to hang out a shingle.

Redzils said...

Dr. Days - congratulations! I literally felt like I was floating for two days after mine - I hope you are feeling lighter too, and enjoying the achievement!

Hi, everybody! I'm here reading every week, but I can't post from work so mostly lurk and send encouraging thoughts and muttered cluestick threats out into the universe.

As for me, my job continues to be soul-sucking, my long distance relationship unsustainable, and my general outlook fairly good, despite those things.

It's been such fun to buy people holiday presents, now that I am not an impoverished graduate student, and I am trying to hang onto that glow for a little while.

liz said...

Dr. Days!! Yay!!!!

I'm the Meanest Mommy In The Whole Wide World (tm), because I wouldn't let my dawdling son, who'd I warned THREE TIMES to hurry the fireplace up, take his DS with him this morning (for after-school).

"I know."
"Yes, yes I do. I am being EXACTLY as mean as I want to be."

sarah at ratatat said...

Yay for shopping, Redzils. I know we're on frugal now, but I'll admit shopping cheers me.

Love the dragon view of Sue. And sad that Advent is so joyless. Vicarious living is hard.

Whine: We have a 2 hour delay rather than a snow day. And my kids have an afternoon dr appt. So sending them to school for lunch just sounds too silly.

I am not sure if this storm would seem so bad if the media hadn't covered it like a terrorist attack from mother nature for the last 2 days. We have snow. I am more worried about the ice that will linger.

We're mostly staying home.

And on my mitten woes, my son actually lost one of the mittens sewed onto his sleeve with yarn. After losing 2 pairs not sewed on.

Amy said...

That kid is *determined* to lose mittens. Oof! I'm very sorry. In his case, there's not much we can do for him, unless you are willing to consider a staple gun.

kathy a. said...

hi, redzils! glad the outlook is good despite everything.

high-fives to liz, from the other mean mommies. ;)

hot chocolate to all! brrrr. sarah, you made me chuckle with the "terrorist attack from mother nature." our local news people spent the last 2 days falling all over themselves because there was a dusting of snow nearby. snowballs -- the story of the century.

Sue said...

Sorry things are so rough redzils - but definite high fives for your great attitude.

Lost mittens. I'm sure there is a mountain of them in one location somewhere in the world. Right next to the mountain of lost dryer socks.

Warm blankie wishes for all weather-related whineage. All we're getting here is a lot of wind and a few flakes. It takes a lot more than this to make it a weather event around here.

Apparently being the Meanest Minister in the Whole Wide World (tm) works. The sign-up sheet for readers and coffee hosting people is filling up fast. No one has actually come to the church to sign the list, however, for they fear my wrath. Mostly the offers are on the answering machine late in the evening when folks know there won't be anyone (dragons or other scary types) here.

Hey, whatever works....

liz said...

Keep letting them see the steam coming from your nose and the flames from your eyes.

liz said...

All things considered, I'd rather be dancing to Ulupalakua.

kathy a. said...


KLee said...

I have an abandonment issue whine. I had a friend who agreed to help me out with something. It involved a modest weekly time commitment, and an occasional weekend here and there. She agreed, and was really good about honoring those commitments for a year. This year, not so much. I've been trying to not load her with responsibility because I know she's going through a rough period, but I have not gotten a lot out of her. There's been no effort to attend the occasional events, and there's been a couple of times that she's bugged out of the weekly event, sometimes leaving early and sometimes completely.

Last night, we had a training that we both had to attend. I've been telling her about it for two solid months. I got the "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming...." for all of the times I've mentioned it until yesterday. She complained that she'd had an awful day (so had I, but we both still required to go)and wanted to beg off. I told her that she REALLY needed to go, and she groused for a bit, but said she'd be there. 10 minutes before it's set to begin, she calls my cell and says she has a "family emergency." Now, she may indeed have had an emergency, but I really needed her, and I feel disappointed and let down. I feel that I (and our endeavor) are no longer priorities to her. I feel very unimportant.

I was very upset about it last night, and I'm afraid that I ranted to my poor husband about it, but today I just feel sad. Should I confront her, or should I just tell her that I feel like I no longer matter to her. I want to be supportive to her, yet I'm also tired of carrying the load by myself.

I don't want to accuse, or to endanger our friendship that is separate from this project, but I do need her to honor the commitments that she made to me and to the project. What do the pixies think?

liz said...

How long will you want to continue your friendship if she continues to crap on her commitment to you and the project?

You don't need to accuse, but you can lay the facts on the table and ask if she intends to live up to the commitment. Ask her for her honest assessment of her ability to do it.

KLee said...

She's not really CRAPPING on it -- she's had a rough time lately (cheating spouse, divorce, money woes) and I am prepared to cut her some slack. That being said, I do ALL the work, and all I have asked her to do was come to this meeting with me, and she bailed.

I don't mind doing the lion's share of the work. I AM the more senior of the two of us in the organization, and I have all the requisite training required, but it would be nice if lately we weren't getting the short end of the stick. It hasn't really bothered me until last night because once or twice does not a problem make, but when I've told you about this for two months, and you know you HAVE to attend and you flake out on me anyway? I mean, there really could have been an emergency, but I'm really doubting it.

And, I have the feeling that if I call her on it, she may feel hurt enough to be angry with me. And, while I know (rationally) that a friend that would dump me when THEY are in the wrong is the attitude I should have, I don't want to lose the friendship or the commitment to our organization.

kathy a. said...

oh, klee. that sounds really hard. is there someone else who can help pick up the slack?

kathy a. said...

awards will be friday; keep whining!

Sue said...


Sue said...

So, this morning I'm supposed to write a sermon for Sunday (because tomorrow I have to take our big boy kitty to the vet, poor thing). The theme is Joy and I'm just not feelin' it.

A few months ago I was celebrating that for the first time in several years, I didn't have a therapist or any upcoming doc appointments. It felt good at the time. Now? Not so much.

If I were to see my doc today and if he were to ask how full time work was going, my response would be "I'm coping, but barely."

I tried to tell the Board that 3/4 time is better for my health, for their budget and for everyone - but noooooooooo - they didn't go for it.

I get up every morning and the first word out of my mouth is "Ugh" - I'm thinking that's not a good sign, right? Maybe it will all look better once Christmas is over with, but for now, it's like a huge mountain I can't begin to climb.

I'm planning on working a half day today to make up for Teh Busy from last week. Maybe that will help too.

Sorry. Long Wah.

liz said...


Madeleine said...


Joy in adversity. Tough stuff to channel.

liz said...

Playing the first line of Joy to the World is easy.

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Do Ti La Sol Fa Mi Re Do.

liz said...

Alas, it didn't maintain my spaces.

Amy said...

Sue and KLee, I wish I had something smart to say, an idea or something, to help you both. All I've got is I'm sorry.

Passing the virtual egg nog, hoping it's spiked enough to get us all through this season.

AW: Although we've got winds gusting to 50 mph here, the snow storm held out. We had some slight freezing on the roads last night, but nothing so much that travel was hard or too dangerous or that the school would cancel over.

W: All of my students got their work done on time, but one student (who is Completely! Hopeless! and Dense!) said she didn't bring her Portfolio. Her excuse? She came to class from work. This is for the third class in a row, and last night was The Last Night I Would Take Them, because they are due to the department at the end of the class period during which they write their final impromptu (i.e., last night). They have had this in writing and from my mouth a zillion times. This woman never ever ever understands anything, though she does ask me to explain a hundred times, and I was surprised that she didn't panic a bit more when I told her that if she doesn't get it to my mailbox this morning, she'll fail. End of story.

I think I should feel more guilty about hoping she forgets or decides not to, or something. She's not going to pass anyway, and it will be easier to explain it to her if it was her fault, rather than the (lack of) quality of her writing. [sigh] I'm certain she's learning disabled, but she's never said anything and she's not enrolled in the academic support center, so I guess I've done what I can.

kathy a. said...

"Attention all personnel. Emergency rations of Joy to Sue, STAT!"

Amy, how frustrating and sad.

Sue said...

Thanks everyone. Remember that half day I was taking today?'s now 3:12 by my clock and i'm still at the office. What is wrong with picture/????

I do, however, have my coat on and I'm leaving now.

Thanks for infusions of Joy. They help. Really.

There's a song that Alison Kraus sings called "Get Me Through December" - I'm pretty sure it's the clergy theme song for Advent. If it isn't, it should be.

kathy a. said...

Remember how I thought the project of doom comments were expected friday? Ha. Already got one prodding email and one snarkish email today. Bleah. Bring on the joy.

Madeleine said...

Whine: I do not appreciate being informed at 3:40 pm about a particular item of clothing needed for the school winter concert tonight at 6:30 pm. Particularly when we will be elsewhere between 4:10 and 6:30.

Anti-whine: Brown? Yes, a brown shirt counts as dark, she says. Phew.

Days said...

The cat just "barked" three times in my youngest daughter's bedroom. My youngest daughter has been "barking" for three days. No school holiday fundraiser for us tonight.

((Sue)) ((Redzils))

Thanks ye pixies. I would like to propose a motion that we all take a half-day and do whatever is needed to find our seasonal joy.

Jenevieve said...

W:As soon as I am done with This Effing Anesthesia Rotation, I'll have plenty of Joy to spread around. The staff are pretty nice, but oy vey, am I ever not an anesthetist. Way, way too stressful, especially when I haven't had a day off in 16 weeks. Sheesh.

AW: One. More. Day.

W: That day includes 8 surgeries and what will almost certainly be a 13-hour day.

Passing around the blondies I made tonight with milk and dark chocolate chunks and toasted pecans. Yum!

Madeleine said...

OMG the bodily fluids. So sorry, Days.

OMG the workload. So sorry, Jenevieve.

Sue said...

Oh Days - so sorry to hear about the barkage. That's rough. Bleh.

Sue said...

And I'll second that motion about the half day to find some seasonal joy. I'm all about that. would I spend that half day???

* workout at the gym?
* nap?
* seasonal beverage of my choice with hubby at a nice pub?
* seasonal beverage of my choice with a good book?
* nap?

The possibilities are endless!

Amy said...

Jenevieve, do you realize that the acronym you've created is TEAR? it sounds like it has the capacity to induce tears, anyway.

KLee said...

The "family emergency" in my dilemma was "my mom's dog was having seizures, and my mom was freaking out." Now, I don't really think she'd lie -- she's not that type of person -- but I seriously DO think it was very much a "use this as an excuse not to go."

We had a small talk, and I laid out the time commitment from here on out for the next couple of months VERY PLAINLY. Let's hope it all works out.

kathy a. said...

I'm not going to give away exactly what award Days wins for the barkage, but she can start celebrating if that helps.

MMM, Jeni's blondies. I'm sure that will get her through the TEARful day tomorrow.

Madeleine -- yay for emergency shirts of the right hue!

KLee, hope the talk does the trick.

Meanwhile, I'm joining Sue and passing the seasonal beverages of choice, because the fireplacing Project of Doom had a little couple 'splosions after person A emailed and said "Oh, nevermind, stop working, I'm not paying attention to what you say anyway."

Sue said...

kathy a. - my head just did a little 'splosion re: Project of Doom.

UM - WTF??????

Passing large quantities of seasonal beverage of choice....

Sarah at ratatat said...

Sue - sending you Joy. And half days. Many half days.

KLee - how frustrating. That's the kind of situation that just eats at me.

Small anti-whine here: my husband may go on a training trip near friends of ours and if I can make the stars align, I'll go along.

Whine: even trying to make the stars align sounds expensive. And the only way we can swing it is if we leave the kids home and that is making me sort of sad.

Need spiked seasonal beverages, I think...