ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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We survived Christmas. Well, so far. Christmas is still happening this evening at my father’s house, when my stepsister and her kids come down from Fort Worth. My son will spend the night at his grandparents’ this evening along with all of his cousins, and Jeff will pick him up in the morning. I’m just praying that he doesn’t bite one of my stepsister’s kids this year, as he has each of the past two Christmases. Usually it happens as the kids (who range in age from 5 to 15) start to get energetic around 8 PM and Sweet Pea shorts out a little when someone bumps into him or fails to perceive that he no longer wants them so close. Not that they have time to perceive much of anything, since the moment between “everything is okay” and “I’m going into overload now” is so brief that science has yet to measure it exactly

I just hope he doesn’t bite the youngest child, who is 3 months younger than Sweet Pea. My stepsister’s youngest child is a cancer survivor. Cancer is a scary thing, and biting the kid who had cancer makes Sweet Pea look even worse than he already does. Even though my nephew is tough as nails (meaning he can take it) and has been blessed with a gracious and forgiving demeanor (meaning he won’t hold it against Sweet Pea), I cringe at the idea of hearing that my son has bitten him. The child who could have died is naturally a more sympathetic character than the child that has behavioral problems.

No, if someone must get bit, let it be one of the older children. Or maybe one of the adults. He almost never bites adults, though. Unless they are teachers (he seems to find PE coaches to be particularly tasty).

Should I stay or should I go? )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
I thought this was cute and wanted to share. Hope everyone (unlike this poet) got what they wanted or needed this year.


December 26
by Kenn Nesbitt

A BB gun.
A model plane.
A basketball.
A ‘lectric train.
A bicycle.
A cowboy hat.
A comic book.
A baseball bat.
A deck of cards.
A science kit.
A racing car.
A catcher's mitt.
So that's my list
of everything
that Santa Claus
forgot to bring.
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
I've been too busy to sit down to the computer. I'm still too busy. The cards are out (except for one - your request for one came late, [livejournal.com profile] willowwanders, but it will be postmarked Christmas Eve and arrive in the UK some time next year I imagine), the gifts are bought (most of them, anyhow, and all at the last moment as is my own tradition). Still, not one is wrapped, the house is in shambles, and I suppose I will be expected to bring some sort of covered dish to my brother-in-law's house tomorrow so I need to get in the kitchen.

I plan to catch my breath a bit next week, and maybe catch up with my writing, too.

Merry Christmas to you all. Here's hoping for peace on Earth, and if we can't get that, here's to peace in your corners of the place.

Oh, and thank you, Maria, for the ducky on my page! I'm hoping for a ducky year, too!
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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My son, Sweet Pea, does not sit still. He also does not smile at strangers. This makes it a waste of money to visit a professional photographer, unless I want to pay a whole lot of money for a blurred picture of a scowling child. Incidentally, after 6 years I have yet to get a picture of him with Santa Clause. His very first Christmas he was only a couple of months old and was still kind of in his unattractive newborn state, so I didn’t have one taken. This was a mistake, as it turned out to be my only opportunity.

By the next year at the age of 1, he was already terrified of Santa and it would have taken a team of wild horses to get him on that strange man's lap. I hoped it was a phase, but it wasn’t. I have never been one who thought a picture of a crying terrified child fighting to get away from a fat bearded man in a red suit was charming, so I have never pushed the issue. No, I am biding my time. One of these days he will get over his fear of St. Nick and that year I will get my picture of him sitting on the old guy’s lap looking sweetly at the camera. The fact that my son will probably be able to grow a beard himself by that time will not faze me. I’m his mother, damnit. He owes me at least one picture with Santa. It if happens when he is 25, so be it. I can wait.

So each year, I dress him up in red (because it is Christmas and because the color suits him) and take picture of him until I am sure I have at least a couple that are cute enough to share with the family. This year, it took 188 attempts. Most of them I deleted because he was moving, closed his eyes, was talking, he put his face right up against the lens at the last moment, or he jumped out of the frame and all I had left was the background. Below are a few of the ones that were keepers.

Because of the Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) recently issued by the school, Santa was legally required to move Sweet Pea to the Nice list. I had to threaten the North Pole with legal action if this didn’t happen, but it was worth it. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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No rhymes, no reason, and no clever observations to this post. Just a few random photos of things I’ve written about in the fast couple of months. Why now? Because I finally loaded the pictures off of my camera last night, that’s why.

A teapot, Santa's air fleet, fishing for cats, red staplers, how to discourage free loaders, and tasty treats )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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Last night Jeff and I saw Trans Siberian Orchestra in Houston. My father and step-mother bought the tickets before I lost my job and a more pragmatic Christmas gift may have been more in order, but I'm not sorry we went. While a Christmas-themed rock opera may seem like a strange idea, it works surprisingly well. The lazar show and pyrotechnics alone made the stuff I saw at the Pink Floyd show years ago look amateurish. The rock music was louder and harder, too.

If you think that Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 sounds like an instrumental political statement when you hear it over the radio (a mix of the two peaceful Christmas carols God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Carol of the Bells played in a driving, violent heavy-metal style), the live show with the background images of multi national flags and world leaders accompanied by the lead in narration leaves no doubt.

Text Goes Here )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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I confess I'm one of those people who lugs around a lot of baggage in regard to Christmas. When you are a child, Christmas is all about fun and presents and singing and pretty lights. When you are an adult, it's about expenses and obligations and every memories of every dark thing that ever happened to you during this obligatorily "happy" time of year that still haunt you. Still, I think I'm getting better. I was able to decorate the Christmas tree without crying this year, and if that's not a sign of progress then I don't know what is.

Zombie Dads Are No Fun At Christmas )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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"What's a parrot tree, Mommy?"

"A parrot tree?"

"Yeah, I heard in that song, a partridge in a parrot tree. What's a parrot tree?"

"Oh..."
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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I went to a local Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee and write in my journal, which I do at least once a week to stay sane. My journal is an old-school paper journal. Unlike what I write on the Internet, this journal is for private consumption only, though I rarely go back and read anything that I've written in it. I have these journals going back to when I was 10 years old, a whole box of them. There were a few years of my life during the last 30 years I didn't have one, but for most of them I do. They are what I do instead of seeing a psychiatrist. Lately, every entry has begun with the words, "Still unemployed."

I can't write in a journal at home, and I've never written in one while at a place of work; I must be in a so-called "third place" where I can be alone and neither people nor an obligation will pester me while I'm trying to think. Sometimes, though, another patron will sit too close and talk too loud while I'm trying to write, and I will record what I'm hearing into my journal since my own thoughts can't make in it in there because of the distraction they are causing. Yesterday the distraction was from no other than Santa Claus, himself, talking on his cell phone. He was not wearing a red suit when I saw him, mind you, but this guy was the real deal: he delivered toys to boys and girls for Christmas. In fact, he was calling up their mothers to find out how the names of their children and what they wanted for Christmas.

Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus...Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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When it comes to Christmas decorations on a tree, I believe that less is more. I admire those trees with just the right number of ornaments on them, each surrounded by enough space to showcase the individual ornament in all its glory. Ideally, the most ornaments a tree should hold is a couple of dozen; this keeps the tree from looking cluttered. Simplicity is elegant.

My tree has about two or three hundred ornaments on it. We don't do elegance for the holidays around my house, we do overkill.

It Wouldn't be Christmas without Kitsch )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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The annual Christmas Family get together (which was held the Saturday after Christmas this year) was fun and cheerful. It was not boring because everyone was too busy watching television or was too nervous to bring up a topic lest someone get offended. It was not explosive because someone said what they really felt and then someone else responded with how they really felt, only in a louder voice. It was almost like a Hallmark Card commercial, except all the adults were a lot less attractive and the food was h'ordevres and a sandwich tray instead of a Norman Rockwellian feast.

This has thrown me off of my bearings. What other things that I held to be true in the universe are going to prove to be unreliable? Will the sun start rising in the west instead of the east? Will spring no longer follow winter? Will rush hour traffic disappear? Will radio stations stop playing the same old 40 songs over and over again in rotation? There's no telling. Christmas at my father's was pleasant and fun this year, so anything is possible. Be afraid, be very afraid.

In Other News, Beelzebub Befriends Jack Frost )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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The first Christmas after your mother dies of breast cancer is not the worst one, believe it or not. At least, it wasn't for my family. My mother died October 6, 1984, when I was 15 years old. By the time the holidays rolled around, we had settled into the routine of grief rather comfortably, or at least as comfortable as you can be with a jagged hole cut into the fabric of your reality. The feelings of a bad dream we couldn't wake up from had evolved into a sad existence we were determined to muddle through. More than two months after the funeral, we were still talking about my mother in the present tense, and we felt obliged to make it a good Christmas because we knew she wanted us to.

Novocain Noel )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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I came to work this Christmas Eve, when everyone else seems to have taken the day off. I'm taking all the days between Christmas and New Year's Day off, but Christmas Eve seems like a waste of vacation time when you take into account that we get early dismissal, anyhow.

The 8th floor was completely dark when I got off the elevator at 8:30. I had to find where the light switches are. I made a pot of coffee, and because I hate waste I will have to drink the whole thing and thus should be wide awake should I decide to take in a Christmas Eve church service tonight. Since I have a 40 mile drive home, it wouldn't be a bad idea to make a pit stop at the Lady's Room before I leave this afternoon, after drinking all that coffee. Still, I'm up to the task. There aren't a lot of things I can do well, but I make a damn good pot of coffee, to the point that I won't drink from a pot made by anyone else (other people on my floor always put too many of too few grinds in the basket, and can't be trusted).

My Christmas cards were mailed out on Monday, and should arrive in everyone's mailboxes on or around New Year's Day. They may be "late" as far as you all are concerned, but I'm very impressed that they will be postmarked before Christmas, which makes them "on time" in my book.

Peace, love, joy, and all that other jazz… )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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On my way home last night I dropped by the Ferris Wheel to visit with the Angel of Death and drop off his Christmas card. I haven't mailed my other cards yet (I consider any card that arrives by January 6, Epiphany, to be on time), but I thought I'd drop his off and get it over with, since he doesn't exactly have a mailbox.

"Thanks," he said when I handed him the envelope. He spoke through teeth clinched around his cigarette. "That's real nice of you."

Read More )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the gifts we get and give. I'm not talking about talent, or those warm fuzzy gifts that come from the heart. Sure, those are nice, but can you really return them and buy yourself something you've been wanting for a long time? Of course not. I'm talking about the gifts we spend money on, and that other people spend money to buy for us. Here in the aftermath of Christmas, it is a good time to reflect on gifts, and how I'm glad I don't have to buy or receive any more of them for a good long while.

My 3 year old sees thing differently. Every few days since Christmas, he has been inquiring about when Santa is going to bring him more gifts. Christmas morning was just about the coolest thing he can ever remember happening to him.

The stocking are still hung by the chimney, looking crazy / because I have not yet packed them back up; I'm that lazy. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the live nativity scene my church youth group used to stage when I was a teenager, and how when we weren't standing still trying to look holy and pious, we were talking trash. This isn't news to anyone who remembers being a teenager, and one of the people who stopped to admire our little living still life in front of our church remember it very well, but underestimated how depraved we really all were.

ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking that I am more behind and disorganized this Christmas than any other that I can recall. My tree is only partially decorated, my gifts are only partially bought (and not a single one is wrapped), and my cards are only partially mailed (only as of today, since I ran out of stamps). All of my nerves are completely shot, though, so I guess that's one Christmas tradition of mine that I am have fulfilled early this year.

Ho, ho, whoa boy )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about my traditional No News is Good News Christmas newsletter that I send out with my holiday cards, and how writing it this year forced me to put a lot of things into perspective. I was forced - practically at gunpoint - to realize that the things I've been thinking of as my "problems" are petty little irritations that don't amount to a hill of beans. Realizing that I don't have any real problems has made me feel like a jerk and put me in a sour mood, because there is nothing we humans like better than wallowing in a pool of our own self pity, and mine just evaporated in front of my eyes. So here I sit, presents to wrap, a tree to decorate, Christmas cards to write, and nothing to wallow in. My favorite part of Christmas is officially shot to hell.

I'd like to make lemonade, but all I have on hand are these sour grapes. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how much my coworker, Dixie, hates Santa Clause. She hates Santa with a fur-trimmed passion, though not near as much as she hates the Easter Bunny. Hers is not the usual seasonal irritation you find in a lot of people who dislike holidays and the things that represent them, but a deep-seated distain born from personal experience. You see, at her last job, Dixie worked closely with Santa and the Easter Bunny both.

Sit on my lap, and ignore the rabbit passed out in the corner )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how taking pictures of children is not as easy as it sounds like it would be. Most small kids are naturally cute, so you would think it would be easy to capture that innate cuteness with a camera. It turns out that there is a lot of work and patience involved.

I have not had good luck with the pictures of my son taken by professional photographers. He always has an apprehensive expression on his face and the angle is always one that just exactly fails to flatter him. I finally decided that I can use my own camera and get the same mediocre results for a lot less money. The day after Thanksgiving while the rest of America was out shopping, I decided to take some pictures of my son to see if one of them might be nice enough to send out with my Christmas cards this year.

Say Gee Whiz! )

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