Friday, December 21, 2007

Homo For the Holidays

It's that time of year again. For some it's about presents. For some it's about their faith. For others it's about a magical time of year, and goodwill toward others. I admit this year I've found the Christmas spirit to be a bit...elusive. It's hard to be festive when you have bouts of intense pain. When you're sick of your job. When you can't play Auntie face-to-face because of distance and obscene airfare. When you can't afford to do the holiday the way you'd like.

Don't get me wrong: There is a great deal that I am very much looking forward to over this break. Not having to wake up and go to work will be GREAT. Spending lots of time with the puppies. Making fires. Making LOTS of Christmas presents. Catching up on movies I didn't see while having a glass of wine and crocheting or making jewelry.

The holidays have always been about family to me, though. This is my 5th Christmas without Mom, and that's still a bit tough at times. This year, we made the old family cookie recipes, though, and it was SO nice to have a cookie decorating party again. MandyFish and NerdyGirl will be here in Laramie. Together. For the first time in a LONG time. And from the sounds of it, we could have one of the largest flock gatherings/homecomings/happenings ever. I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Holidays with Mom were about love and support. "If one of your friends can't make it home, you make damned sure you bring them along. I just need a few hours notice so I can make sure there's enough dinner." And there were Thanksgivings and Christmases and Easters and others where someone would be pulled along. Sometimes they were reluctant at first, but by the time they left they were giving Mom a big hug at the door. They also usually had a plate or tub of leftover something tucked under their arm, so there was a bit of home-cooked goodness to ease us back into reality. We'd put people on the couch or air matress, as the mobile home didn't have a guest room when both kids are home. Mom used to tell potential guests "It's anything but the Ritz Carlton, but there's space to sleep, food to eat, and you're welcome to share anything we've got." She even kept spare stocking stuffer presents, just in case. Because nobody should have to do a holiday without at least one present to open.

Those who've been to Ruby Slippers (my house) might find this attitude familiar. At least, I sure as hell hope they do! We didn't have much growing up. Dirt poor, some might say. But we always had ENOUGH, and made sure to share what there was. I try to do the same thing today. "Sure, you can have some of that." "Yes, bring them!" "Let me make sure I have enough food." "So glad to see you."

Today's lesson: It's not about carols, cookies, or cards. It's not about gifts, getting, or garland. Most of my friends have a LOT of big stuff going on in their lives, and a lot of it is not GOOD big stuff. At this time of year, try to focus on the fact that you have a chance to spend time with someone. To talk with them. When coping with the stress that families bring on, remember that we're all human beings. Nothing else should matter. Be thankful for gifts the universe has given and mindful of those around you. Don't focus on your own problems, and don't focus on the flaws of others. Focus on the good times you've had and laughter you've shared. Remember the times they were there for you. When you think about those things, it's hard not offer every inch of floor space and the last cracker in the pantry. And isn't THAT what the holidays are supposed to be about?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Subscribe to the Wonderful!

Today's post is brought to you by a special guest...Flynn. Apparently the 402 times I went into my blog after someone whined at me "You need an RSS feed" weren't enough. As I've told y'all often, I turned the blasted thing on and off, reset it, configured it, and mucked around until I was blue in the face. can suck it up and follow links to read blogs like the rest of us. That said, Flynn had me log into my blog and he played while the rest of us worked on cookies. Of course, he then installed a new browser on my laptop and set it to default. So y'all better appreciate this, because I'm not likely to let people touch anything unattended again! ;)

Visitors rejoice! You can now subscribe to Jim's blog!
It only took a little hackery, but I persevered, and now you can find a handy-dandy "Subscribe" button above our beloved Diva's picture.

Also, you can click here:

AddThis Feed Button

[Flynn Out]

P.S. The link will add Jim to your default RSS reader, be it Google, FireFox, Outlook [shudder], or whtaever other backwards program you use... ... Get Google!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Live, on location

Hello, this is Big Gay Jim reporting live from the lobby of the Fine Arts Building, where I'm staffing a Spectrum table during the opening night of "The 'M' Word." I had a chance to see the final dress rehearsal last night, so I'm manning the lobby tonight. Maximus was here before the show, but had to run off to work on a paper or some silly school-related thing like that. The show's decent, but it doesn't seem like a very full house tonight. I could be wrong, as I've not sat in the lobby before. ;) While I have a few nanoseconds to spare, I wanted to give the regular readers a few news updates:
  • Work is busy right now, as it's time for final papers and stressed out students. I'm creating schedules for my employees at work, and PACMWA grant proposals are due tomorrow at noon. This is my way of saying "Sorry if you don't see me this week, or hear from me. It's not personal. Cope." ;)
  • I did NOT tear my rotator cuff. It was a sprain with a possible sublexation. This means an almost-dislocation. Think hyper-extension with lots of pain. Prescription: ice, 2 weeks limited activity, and over-the-counter ibuprofen (LAME!).
  • My nephew has arrived! Alexander Damien Gerritsen was born at 6:37am (Holland time) on December 3. My sister was in labor for 6.5 hours to deliver the 8 lb. 8 oz. baby, who was 20.5 inches long. Nothing compared to the 20 hours she was in labor the first time. She was home 4 hours after delivery! Everyone is healthy, happy, and Ella is already trying to share her cookies with her new baby brother.
  • Reese is getting around under his own power for the most part. I'm still limiting his activity to protect his back legs and feet from damage. He's not walking, as he doesn't quite plant his feet correctly all the time. If he's slow and thinks about it, he's fine. Reese is rarely slow, so he does a lot of tipping over and dragging his hind end around a turn that may or many not have been there. He continues to improve, and I'm not certain he'll even need to use a cart or other similar device. If I can convince him to wear some booties to prevent the sores on his legs while he learns to walk (and run?) again, we might be good to go!

It's a busy time of year. MandyFish got married, Squid turned 21, and Jack Frost is back with a score to settle. Today's lesson: take everything one step at a time, and take two deep breaths before freaking out. I, too, have a shitload of stuff to get done and meetings or appointments to juggle. We can all make it, but need to give each other some extra space time, as tempers are running rampant.

Inhale...exhale. Repeat as needed.