2020, NahNahNahNah, NahNahNahNah, HeyHeyHey, Goodbye

As I sit here, admiring my tree on our quiet Christmas Eve of the Suddenly Altered Plans, I ponder on what 2021 will bring.

2020 was the Year of Suck for so many. So much loss. Mind-boggling, stupefying loss. Lives, jobs, businesses, churches, relationships, live music, moral compasses, respect for one another. Even humor took a beating.

To get you caught up – The blog has been quiet for a few years as my work responsibilities grew unreasonable for most mortals, and my other jobs (wife/daughter/mother) changed in many ways. Young ones moved on with their lives, but my mother’s dementia continued to advance to the point where she could no longer live by herself. Moving her into Assisted Living, and all the worries that went along with it, quickly overtook the Worry about Mama portion of my brain that should have calmed somewhat, knowing she’d be looked after.

Then in March, every one was sent home due the fear of that virus from China that we’d all been watching on the crazy map with the big red circles. “Flatten the Curve,” they said. “Only two weeks,” they said. Mom’s home closed to visitors. “Just for a few weeks,” they said. Summer came and went. Beaches closed. Restaurants closed. Finally a few visits allowed, masked and outside. Fall came and went. Vacations canceled. More restaurants closed. Visits limited to a tiny room with a plexiglass partition that she doesn’t understand. Thanksgiving came and went. Now Christmas is here. Her center is on lockdown, two residents tested positive on Tuesday. There are no words for my state of mind right now.

My workplace offered an early retirement. I signed up. New Year’s Eve is my last day. Before the woke culture ruined our workplace, I’d been assigned additional responsibilities leftover from someone who’d previously left, and then lead analyst for a new project that quickly careened out of control. So basically 2.75 FTE worth of work for little ol’ me. The volume of work was overwhelming, but I was getting good reviews, good raises (for higher ed), was considered an expert in my field and a great team member. It’s all so different now; it’s unrecognizable. And that’s with everyone being 100% remote since March. I wonder how many people would have been burned in effigy if we’d all been face-to-face. Surely I’d be one of them.

In the weeks to come, you’ll be hearing more from me.

Merry Christmas Y’all

2012 has been a year of prime bandwidth suckage at our little praxeum, with the one happy exception of a certain girl getting into grad school.

Regardless, today I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas. Our day was long, spent driving 6 hours in the driving rain, to Obi’s Sister’s Brother-in-Law’s house in the nether-reaches of southwest Georgia. There we celebrated our Savior’s birth with a groaning table of wonderful food and, when the rain broke, the shooting of shiny new armaments in the woods. Presents for the little ones, piles of paper in the floor and then surprise of surprise, a wedding.

Even when the future is dark, there is hope.

God bless us, every one.

You Can Thank Obama for those Lumps of Coal in Your Stocking

How’s That List Coming?

You’ll remember two weeks ago my hair was on fire.

Since then, I have harnessed my inner Wonder Woman and accomplished the following:
-Completed and mailed a hand-knit monster as a baby gift.
-Yes, the tree is up.
-Yes, the tree is decorated.
-Yes, the Santas are up, and this year there are two new additions.
-Last week alone we attended two Sunday School parties and a staff dinner. This week there are two more parties.
-The baking is somewhat finished.
-Yes, the knitted gifts are finished. Some of them are even wrapped.
-Yes, 95% of the gifts are wrapped.
-Yes, College Boy is home and wreaking his usual havoc. I love it.
-Our Hornist With The Piano Gig finished her last Christmas “extra” performance today.
-No wassail. Yet. 😉

The Christmas Memories, Part 12

This year I’ve been a little stumped as to what to include for a Christmas memory. There are still so many; how do I choose?

Then my little niece, The Divine Miss S, shared one about her recently deceased grandfather that I knew needing telling. You see, this is the second Christmas since her grandfather went to be with God. Last year, his loss was too new, too hard. This year, she was ready to tell her story. Her grandfather, my brother’s father-in-law, was the epitome of the cultured southern gentlemen. He was extremely well read, and full of funny stories, with a soft spot the size of Virginia for his grand children.

Ever the teacher and like most seniors, he had a special way with the little ones.

There has always been a tradition between my grandpa and me. Every time he would come up for a Christmas visit we would always count the lights on the back porch. When we would count the colors there was always a different number of each. I would count the colors and Grandpa would write them down. It was a very special moment for me because I got to spend time with my grandpa. When it was getting close to Christmas it would be something to look forward to every year. It was very special for me to spend time with him because I loved him so much and he was a great person to do that with.

So the next time you see colored lights on a house, think of the special times shared with little ones. They are so fleeting and precious. And remember Marvin, who counts all the lights up in Heaven now.

For other Christmas Memories posts, see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Some are sad, some are funny, but they are all very special to me.


For the StarWars nerd on your list that has everything in the galaxy, these are the perfect gift. Plus they don’t cost you a thing. That’s good, considering most of us are as poor as rats on a spacebarge these days.

StarWars Snowflakes. More info here. Original inspiration here.

The Force is strong in these.

Apologies to Mark Lowry

I just couldn’t resist. And I expect Trog to steal this in 3…2…1…

Deck the Halls

Teh Awesome.

Scrooge McBama – UPDATED

Really, folks, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

In anticipation of a deflated holiday retail season due to the sucky economy and the fact that unemployment has reached Great Depression levels, the Obama Administration announced yesterday a new tax on the sales of fresh Christmas trees. Really.

Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government” (76 CFR 69102). The Federal government mandates that the Christmas tree sellers pay the 15-cents per tree, whether they want to or not. The Federal government directs that the revenue generated by the 15-cent fee goes to the Board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the Christmas tree program established by the Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. President, that’s a new 15-cent tax to pay for a Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.

Well, gollygeeBeav, I didn’t know that Christmas trees needed Image Enhancing Government Overreach. And BTW, it’s a tax. You can call it a “fee” until you’re red and green in the face; it’s a tax.

The article also makes no mention of cute little Hanukkah bushes, dreary atheist stick and coal displays, public education “Winter Holiday” generic botanical objects decorated with non-offensive/hand-made/non-fat broccoli chains adorned with profiles of Che Guevara, or Hezbollah semi-automatic gun trees complete with twinkling IED stars and grenade ornaments. Surely these splinter celebration groups will react in outrage at being left out of what is sure to be this season’s must-attend tradition. Mom and pop tree farms should brace themselves for an influx of #occupyObamaMas squatters who will ruin their property and chase away any remaining potential Christmas tree shoppers due to their squawky bullhorn chants and outstanding hygiene habits.

In other news, Gov. Scott Walker made Wisconsin atheist’s heads explode by referring to that tall evergreen thing to be installed in the Capitol rotunda tree as a… Christmas tree… (gasp)… in a press release.

Stupidity, indeed.

UPDATE: Well, now the administration has backed off their plan. Is that all it takes, really? A cacophony (albeit minor, but exquisitely snarky) from “conservative media outlets” puts the President’s gears in reverse? Hey, I thought I was just another little blog. But, ahem, let me flex my muscles a bit. You. Obama. GET OFF MY LAWN.

Merry Christmas to All!

Luke 2:1-7

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

May you have a joyous and blessed Christmas!

The Christmas Gift that Became the Foundation of America

Via HotAir, where Cap’n Ed notes the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.

Merry Christmas, Bill Whittle, American Treasure. Just think where we’d be if Congress was filled with men like him.

Things Are So Bad…

…even Santa is having trouble finding work during Christmas.

While the jolly old elf hasn’t been reduced to holding a cardboard sign on street corners, proclaiming that he’ll ho-ho-ho for food, the post-recession times are tough on the world’s most famous deliveryman.

Metro Atlanta area Kriss Kringles say that their hours have been slashed; they haven’t had a pay raise in several years; and, even as Christmas Day closes in, their calendars are wide open for parades, office parties or sitting in the big chair at the mall to ask children if they’ve been naughty or nice.

Gary Casey, 71, of Duluth has been portraying St. Nick since 1996, and he says he’s never seen times this tough.

“Oh sugar,” he said. “In the good times, I’d have 400 bookings. But now I’m just barely breaking 100.”

Casey, who founded the company SantaAtlanta.com, said before the recession hit in 2007, he typically arranged appearances for more than 100 Santas. But, these days, he’s down to just 60 working Santas.

“There just isn’t enough work to go around,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Being married to a “Santa-in-waiting”, so to speak, this comes as very bad news. Especially when thinking about retirement. We’ve talked about the hubster taking up something like this in his later years for a very long time.

Eric Winney, 52, of Buford is moonlighting this season with “Santa’s Lawn and Landscape Services.”

“Yes, Santa also cuts the grass for a living,” Winney said. “It helps pay the bills.”

Winney also has a side business of renting out actual reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh in parades or make guest appearances for office parties.

“It’s been real slow,” he said. “We’ve got 30 reindeer that are pretty much idled.”

Cut grass? The hubster hates to cut grass. That’s what teenage boys are for. Oh my.

Both Winney and Casey say that, as Santa, they typically make between $150 and $200 an hour, albeit their Santa season is just in November and December. They haven’t raised their rates in years, and they say other Santas are charging even less.

“But we have real beards and authentic, high-end costumes,” Casey said. “Kids can tell a fake beard a mile away. And a dime-store costume just isn’t going to cut it. So, yes, that costs a little more.”

I bought the Santa pattern years ago. I have the outfit in my head. Visions of velvet and ribbon. A fur tipped cape. A bit Russian, a bit Irish, with tiny bells all the way down the stripe of his pants.

We can’t let the Grinch win now, can we?

Carnival of Christmas 2009

Just up – CatHouse Chat’s annual Carnival of Christmas 2009! Click over and enjoy the many stories, memories and traditions. Then leave Kat a warm holiday comment for her labor of love!

The Christmas Memories, Part 10

Three years ago, I started a series on personal Christmas memories. Here are all the previous installments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.1, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Some are sad, some are funny, but they are all very special to me.

Round these parts, we’re “famous” for a certain type of decoration. Friends bring their little ones over and every year we’re stopped in the grocery store and asked if we did it again.

It all started with this one little man, less than six inches tall, purchased at Homeplace in Five Points, Athens, GA. He was our first and graced our little mantle in our little house for our first Christmas together. His sweet face hasn’t changed a bit. His little bell still tinkles, so we know it’s him when we unwrap him. The kids always ask – which one was first? Who is the fattest? Where’s the Irish one? Where’s the Mickey Mouse one? Where’s the Lego one? Where’s the bug-eyed one? Over the years we added a few here and there.

Big ones.

Little ones.

Shiny ones.

Politically incorrect ones (can you find him?)

All shapes and sizes and varieties and costumes and nationalities. There are even two from Russia. Yes, I’d say we added just a few… some are handmade, some from the dime store, some were brought back from trips, some given by friends, some were expensive, some for five-for-a-dollar. There are so many now, they spill forth from our extra-large mantle to the hearth, the tree, the window sills, tables and even a clock.

Every year, this little man and his band of merry-makers bring JOY.

Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one.

Advent is Here and a Friendly Reminder

The Anchoress has a great post on the Advent season. Read

…why I am inspired, this year, this Advent, this very night -O Holy Night- to keep Advent at the fore, and the World of Illusions and Easy Forgettings somewhere at bay, where I can not so easily reference it, or be so quickly distracted.

My favorite Advent devotional is at Following The Star. The music is especially moving. The site also has devotionals for other times of the year.

Now for the, ahem, Friendly Reminder. This site has a Comments Policy. Please read it. In fact, if you’re prone to invective discourse, perhaps you should read it aloud. While Stacy & Co. love a flame-war as much as the next, and in fact encourage vigorous debate as “Rule 4” in How to Get a Million Hit on Your Blog in Less Than a Year. While they relish the schoolyard skirmishes, I don’t. Nothing gets people into a “Bah, Humbug” mood than being subjected to other’s bad form and/or acting out, especially during the holidays. So behave yourselves, or be banned.

Merry Christmas.

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