I went to the troop meeting with R to teach PM merit badge.† When I asked who did the homework, only one hand went up.† I gave him $1.00 as reward and told him to write that down as his first entry in his financial record.† I handed out new books to all, reassigned Requirement 1, and added for them to read pages one through nineteen.† I told R, there is no reason for me to tell them what is already in the book for them to read.† Iíll help the illiterate dadís kid; the rest are on their own.
Piano yesterday I finished two-handed ďHark the Herald Angels SingĒ and started the version in the hymnal.† I can do the right hand by itself okay, but when the left hand tries to join, it is not pretty.† I also finished ďCarol of the BellsĒ† well enough.† I told her we could pick it up again next Christmas.† She liked that idea.† Iím still curious about what level ďCarol of the BellsĒ is.† I looked on Schaum.com and found that it is available in easy and level six.† I hope this is level six.† I think Iíll order them both.
I ordered the Schaum.com stuff plus a few more piano books.† Now that Iím at this skill level, my excitement has returned.† I feel like I am really playing piano, now.† And Iíve learned so much about music in general.† This is taking longer than I expectedóor rather, Iíve held on longer than I thought I would.† But we are both having a blast.† It is humiliating and invigorating at the same time.† And it is a healthy way to break a depressive cycle.†
BTW, my Seasonal Affective Disorder is better since I started taking vitamins. †Wow.† Who knew?
M got home early today and immediately got ready to go to his brotherís house.† He got there before he was expectedóno body was home.† Meanwhile, I got a call from Tís security company.† I was online at the time, so rather than call them back, I tried to call each of the boys.† No answer.† M called a few minutes later.† Apparently he set off the silent alarm.† The police checked everything out and approved him.† So at least we know the security company is not a hoax.† Theyíre on the job after all.† Thatís good to know.
R and I did the December Used Book Sale today.† We stayed busy; we had a slow to moderate crowd all day.† All was nice and quiet and peaceful until around 12:30 p.m.† A guy walked in that I remembered from before.† It was just R, him, and meónot that it would have mattered.† He talked nonstop for 45 minutes.† Without asking, I found out where he graduated university, where he lived, his opinion about everything from literature, politics, religion (liberal agnostic, thereís a surprise).† He reminded me of you-know-who.† R finally had to make him leave at 1:15.
I didnít leave the Used Book Sale empty-handed, of course.† I got some fun books for W, a hardbound Shakespeare, and a Western Lit book with a lot of my Reading List stories in it.† Except for Confucius, which our library does not have, Iíve completed the Reading List through Sophocles.† Euripides Electra is next.†
After the library, we went to Albany to do some Christmas shopping.† We ate at Loganís so R could throw peanut shells on the floor, then hit Kmart and Wal-Mart.† Before it was over, R wished he had taken my advice and shopped online instead.
November 7 I requested information regarding volunteering with Hospice.† So far Iíve received nothing.† So Iíll put that in the Not pile.† Iím also researching Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity volunteer opportunities.† This way, I can get back out into the working world slowly.†
Kids were no show this weekend.† I was disappointed and relieved at the same time.† Saturday was a full day for me.† I would have slept through their visit, Iím afraid.† I checked to make sure no one was sick; they werenít.† My only request:† let me know next time so we can plan accordingly.
My Schaum music came in.† I was right.† My Carol of the Bells is the hard one, the level six one.† Iím glad to know that.† And now Iíve got the easy (level three) version to work on by myself.† I also got a book of easy Christmas music.† Iíve got plenty of hymns, Christmas and otherwise, but few secular Christmas stuff.† Now I can play Santa music, too.† I plan to have a very musical Christmas this year.† I want W to think of me as the Grandma who could really play piano, in both senses of the word.
M left for Tís house yesterday.† He plans to stay with them until his next quarter starts in January.† Iím glad.† We could use some time apart.† I can tell he definitely feels like the nest closing in on him.†
R surprised me today by getting the tree down from the attic.† He even put the lights on for me.† I had him set up the yard lights we bought last year, so that got him into the decorating mood.† Seeing the tree has put me in the decorating mood now.† Itís beginning to look like Christmas at our house.
It is 15 days until Christmas and weíve still got a bit of Christmas shopping to do.† This year Iím totally blank on what to get Mama and A.† We are playing it close to the vest since the economy, meaning HP, is still on life support.† So a nicer gift is out of the question this year, which limits what I can give someone who already has everything.† I donít want to drown people in stuff they wonít really appreciate.† ĎCause itís like I tell Ďem:† Iím generous when I can be and frugal when I have to be.†
Iím reading Euripides now.† Medea is my kind of womanóa Super Bitch.† Like Clytemnestra in the Oresteia, she got done wrong by her man and gave back as good as she got.† E did a pretty good job of conveying the blinding rage a woman feels at being dissed by the man she loved and trusted and gave up everything for.† Her vengeance was impressive.†
I finally got November Birthday Swap in the mail.† I had to go to the post office after all, which delayed me by a few days.† But now Iím only behind on one swap.
It is cold and rainy today.† We are getting flood watches and freeze warnings.† Iím in hibernation.† So are the kids, I guess.† We did have one visitor today.† B showed up asking a favor.† She wants me to wrap a gift to her Mama.† She says she is tired of her brother never giving their mom a gift and wants to make her think this one is from him, not her.† We told her, ďShe wonít be fooled. †If he doesnít buy her a gift when heís got money, why would he buy her one when he is broke?"
The kids were a no show all weekend, probably because of the weather.† I got the house decorated anyway.† We did have visitors, though.† KH and J came by.† He wants another video game. †He knows exactly what he wants down to the year of its release.† And he knows his Uncle R can find anything on the internet.† And R gets a real kick out of it.† He likes being the fun uncle, the dependable uncle.† Too many of his nieces and nephews do not have fathers in their lives.† Since RH died, Kís boys have joined that list.†
R made Low Country Boilóshrimp, potatoes, corn, and sausageóon Friday night since we thought the kids were coming this weekend.† So we ate LCB all weekend long.† It was awesome.† I usually let everyone else go first, so Iíve never gotten so much shrimp before.† I thought Iíd get tired of it already.† Nope.† Just keeps getting better.† They better not stay away too much longer.† Weíre getting adjusted to just being the two of us again.† Itís not as bad as I thought it would be.† As a matter of fact, Iím really beginning to like it.
Today has been a SARS day.† I cannot get going for some reason.† I even cancelled piano at the last minute.† I took my meds on an empty stomach and in 15 minutes I was almost doubled over in pain.† So Iíll go tomorrow instead.†
R is going to the Troop Christmas party tonight.† Iíve made up some little gifts for the boys, a compass and a candy cane.† Dollar gifts, I call them.† I donít plan to go.† My kid is not there, after all.† And the wicked witch will be.† Iím not in a forgiviní mood just yet.†
I finished ďThe CloudsĒ last night.† I read the review today and wasnít sure it referred to the same play.† Benjamin Bickley Rogersí translation is confusing.† Although it may be that many of Aristophanesí references are so topical that I just do not get the joke.† Anyway, ďThe BirdsĒ comes next.† Weíll see if it is any clearer.
I went to piano today.† My head was still cloudy and it showed during my lesson.† I had trouble reading stuff Iíve been reading for years.† But Iím out until the New Year.† Iíll play with my new stuff for a while.
I stayed up past midnight to catch RDj on Letterman.† He has light brown hair for some reason, not his best color.† In the movie, his hair is black, his body is buff, and his usual hotness is sizzling.† He is on Regis tomorrow.† I may go to bed at a decent hour.
I finally got Different Christmas ATC in the mail.† Itís two weeks late.† It goes to the Netherlands.† Then I started researching Ares.† I found out Kevin Smith, the guy who played him on Hercules, is dead.† OMG.† I never know what Iíll learn from my ATCs.
I got up around 9 a.m. to catch RDj on Regis.† He looked and acted more like his usual self, the thoughtful guy, the sweet guy, the guy Iíve got the crush on.†
The kids came over today.† Both the mama and the babybaby were enthralled with the Christmas tree.† W murmured and stared at it with fascination, gently touching, then swinging each ornament.† He saw the nativity table-scape and promptly claimed it.† I got a picture.† Later, R got a picture of him standing on the table.† They stayed until 8:00 p.m., when Dollhouse came on.† R loves Dollhouse.
The boys, on the other hand, were mean all night.† M has been gone long enough for me to realize how disrespectful he has gotten lately.† They stuffed my big teddy bear in the cabinet under the TV, knowing it would make me mad.† It made W mad, too.† And they wouldnít get it out when I asked them to.
Iím pleased with how much R and I have gotten into the Christmas spirit this year.† I should stop waiting for the guys to get on board.† I should ignore their criticisms.† They are getting so like their granddaddy.† Sad.
OMG!† Itís less than a week until Christmas.† Iím still waiting for a few gifts to come in, although Iíve got a few extra days on them since we are having Christmas at Mamaís next week.† But we still need to get a few more things for the kids.† Iím okay with our stuff for W, since he is not old enough to worry with the quantity, and the quality is good.† I got him a See and Say; R got him a Thomas the Tank Engine flashlight.† He is at the age where it is still fun and easy.
Today is the winter solstice.† It is the shortest day of the year.† And it is as cold as a witchís bottom.†
I set a picture of Stonehenge as my laptop background.† With all the reading Iíve been doing regarding Greek deities, combined with my Bible reading, Iím seeing lots of interesting overlap.† Now adding solstice and Christmas traditions has really got the pot stirring.† Throw in a little mental illness, and weíve got a perfect setting for a new religion.† Or more likely, a neo-religion.†† Where boys are not superior just because they are stronger.† Iíd rather worship oxen.
Itís official.† R has SAD.† Or so he says, anyway.† He says all he does is eats, sleeps, and watches television.† I told him itís this house, it does it to you.† What it really is, is that he has gotten off his schedule.† He stays up later than he is accustomed to, sleeps until he feels like getting up, then eats, takes naps, and watches junk.† He is one of those who would be dead in a fortnight if he retired.† That is why Iím not going to let him.† Work him to death and he will live longer.
I read an article today (on CalorieCount.com) about the ďHelperís High.Ē It is ďÖa burst of energyÖ followed by a feeling of serenityĒ that comes from helping others.† It is similar to the results of exercise or meditation but it can last for several weeks and be re-summoned by recalling the kind act. The strongest high occurs when the helpful act involves direct contact with another.Ē† It suggests that elderly people should volunteer at least four hours a week.†
This explains my intense addiction to Scouting.† That high, that euphoria, I know it well.† Iíve felt it from the beginning.
I finally put Ares ATC in the mail.† Iím actually proud if it.† It turned out kind of sexy.† I found a painting called Mars Resting.† I cropped it close and added the line, ďDo what you love; love what you do.Ē† Words to live by.
My aunt Rís party is tonight.† B showed interest in ATCís so Iím going to bring her some to give her the idea of what they are.† Iím also bringing the gift I wrapped for her that we are pretending comes from her brother.† Whatever makes her happy.† I hope her mama is fooled.
Aunt Rís party was fun and relatively quiet.† All the loud people have either died or quit coming.† R and I played cards with A and M.†
Uncle L popped in for a few minutes; Uncle G and Aunt D stayed until supper was over.† Aunt D came without Uncle T; heís sick.† And Aunt M was there.† I hadnít seen her since Uncle M died.† L and her husband brought her, which I thought was sweet.
As far as I could tell, no body was stoned this year.† Theyíve all grown up and gotten respectable.† Or partied somewhere else.
Christmas at my house was fun.† Everyone loved their gifts.†† And the clam chowder was exceptional.† †W went straight to his pop-pop and Thomas the Tank Engine flashlight.† C loved his See and Say and the wooden train, both educational toys.† That gave him two low tech toys, one medium tech, and one sort of high tech.
The boys liked their aviator sunglasses and were impressed with the coin sets R ordered. And C really liked her Joy of Cooking cookbook.† I told her M said it was her favorite.† And since M loves to cook, that is saying something.
We got two surprises today:† the kids came for a visit (they were bored) and M came back home to stay.† I expected him to stay with them until the last possible minute.† We had given each one his favorite movie for Christmas.† We watched Tís Soylent Green on Christmas day, so we watched Mís Ghost Busters DVD today.† I also got R a DVD set:† Doll House, Season 1.† He says I totally surprised him with it.† Good.†
Iíll get my movie tomorrow.† Sherlock Holmes opened December 25, starring RDj.† Iíve been looking forward to this for a while.†
I told R I was going to see SH on the 25th, but since the kids stayed here all day, I gladly postponed my trip.† Saturday I had SARS and knew the theater would be crowded, so we postponed until Sunday.† C called that morning.† No, weíre not doing anything today.† Come on over.
After:†† OMG, it was so worth the wait; it exceeded expectations.† It was slow in places, but I realized later those areas were setting up for the climax.† In more than one place I screamed or jumped; it was totally awesome.† Iíll definitely get the DVD.
Mamaís house is tonight.† We decided to simplify things by making it a soup night .† Meanwhile, the SARS has got me pretty bad today.† Iím still planning to bring CFC since thatís easy to prepare, but the idea of a cheese ring is making me sick.†
After:† M and J werenít there since Mr. JC had to go to the hospital.† He was scheduled for tomorrow but his heart decided otherwise.† D said they might come down afterwards.† I said, if it were Mrs. M having surgery in Atlanta, I wouldnít.
The surgery lasted eight hours.† But heís alive.
When we got to Mamaís house, A, the C girls, and a boyfriend were playing Uno; T and D were miffed at being left out.† I laid lowóSARS again.†††Mr. and Mrs. G had been invited over.† When they walked in, D said, ďYou can't come in unless you're bringing food.Ē† They didn't know they were expected to and looked offended.† Then when the lined formed, all the other kids (not my gang) piled in line first and grabbed the best tables.† I could tell Mr. and Mrs. G thought these were the rudest people they had ever seen.†
We had the job discussion today.† I finally told him if he gets laid off, Iíll put the Cadi up for sale and start looking for a job.† He said, ďOkay.Ē† I then said I'd start driving his truck.† ďWhat am I supposed to drive?!Ē† ďYou won't need to drive.† You'll be laid off.† I'll be the one working.Ē† He gave met a cagey look.† ďAnd we'll ditch the internet, cable, and cell phones.Ē† ďYou can't live without the internet.Ē† ďYes, I can.† Like Dr. P says, there are no sacred cows.Ē† ďYes, there are,Ē M says.† ďThey're in India.Ē