Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm still thankful...

Still not feeling up to writing, so I'm rerunning a post from a previous blog of things that I'm thankful for. This was originally posted in 2005, and I find that all the items still apply (with just a couple of itty bitty edits.

In the spirit of the holiday, I felt it was necessary to give share the things I'm thankful for, as opposed to bitching and moaning, which is what I really strive to do each Thursday. And Friday. And, well, you get the idea.

Now obviously, I am thankful for the normal things. I'm one of those weird people that actually gets along with my family (well, immediate family - parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, an aunt, uncle and a few random cousins anyway.) I have some great friends including one that I know without a doubt would go to the mat for me and possible break the law with no questions asked if I needed him to. I have a job, a home, my health - a lot of things to be thankful for.

But, instead of going with the obvious things, I'd much rather share some random things I'm thankful for. So here we go with the Top 10. Or somesuch.

1. TiVo - Those of you that have it completely understand. Those of you that don't - it's 2007*. Get with the program.

2. Fake Keds Tennis Shoes from Walmart - Only $3.00 and they don't give me blisters like the real Keds do at 10 times the price. And at that price, I can buy them in bulk and never have to worry about walking in the mud.


4. Old Family Recipes Passed Down Through the Generations - When my Dad's mother passed away, each granddaughter was left with a recipe. I inherited Sweet Potato Casserole. I really think this is the only reason my family still invites me to Thanksgiving lunch. Another great family recipe is my mother's banana pudding. It is one of those things that is too good for words. I hope my niece will be able to do justice to it when it is passed down to her.

5. Jersey Sheets - They keep you warm in the winter, aren't too hot in the summer and just get softer and softer each time you wash them. To Hell with 5,000 thread count, silk or whatever is the trend this week, I can't sleep on anything else.

6. Joss Whedon - The man created my favorite TV show of all time. And a pretty good spin off from it as well. Now, I'd be really extra thankful if he'd get off his but and write that Spike movie he keeps promising.

7. BR's Rum Cake - You know how when you scratch a dog in just the right place and their leg starts thumping? That's what happens to me when I have the first bite of my friend's rum cake. Maybe it is because I can't drink alcohol, so this is the only taste I ever get. Maybe it is because he always seems to serve it fresh from the oven while it is still warm. Could even be the hard yet gooey crust. Whatever it is, I just know I want some more. Now. Please.

8. Television Without Pity - Who knew people could make a living being snarky about their favorite TV shows? Me and my friends have been doing it for free for years now. Their recaps are so much fun that I find myself reading recaps of shows I don't even watch just for an extra laugh.

9. My Long Sleeved Gray Knit Shirt - My most comfortable piece of clothing. I would wear it every day if I could. I'm almost depressed about losing so much weight because the shirt is getting seriously too big. But maybe if I lose enough weight, I can get it cut down into two separate shirts and wear it twice as much. (ETA that the shirt is now about 8 sizes too large for me, but I still sleep in it sometimes. and I still love it.)

10. Spell Checker - Without this beautiful feature, most people would probably think I was stupid. Of course, what would really make me thankful would be a "What I really meant to type" checker. With that option, people wouldn't be left to wonder how my shorts could have long sleeves, why my family passed down our receipts, and why I sleep on jersey .... well, you get the idea.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I wanted to keep up the momentum and ensure that I post something daily, but I've had a pretty rough migraine going since halfway through Thanksgiving lunch yesterday. That, combined with the remaining pain from my knee surgery has kept me taking my meds and the meds, well, they sort of numb my brain in a way that makes me pretty unproductive.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

Until then, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Day After.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Rules

A friend recently forwarded one of those jokey lists of Thanksgiving Rules that usually goes around this time of year. Things like, 'Don't hold up the line by asking "Who made this?"' or "The prayer should last no longer than 1 minute." It was kind of funny and I could relate to a few of them. But it got me thinking about Thanksgivings Past with my extended family on my mother's side (people whom, for the most part, I'm most thankful that I will never ever have to spend another Thanksgiving with again), and I knew that I could come up with my own list, which I've shared below.

1. Only 10% of the words in your prayer can be “Lord”, “God”, “Father” or “Jesus.” Any more than that will trigger an electrical current attached to your chair that will shock the BeJesus (or BeLord) out of you. (This rule due to my holy-roller/hypocrite cousin's penchant for prayers that go like this – “Lord, today Lord, we just, Lord, want to Lord, thank you Lord, for all the things, Lord, that you, Lord, have given us, Lord. And Lord, um, Lord, we appreciate, Lord, this food, Lord, that you, Lord, have given us Lord…….etc, etc. for 15 minutes.)

2. Once at least one of the following is applicable to you or your life - you are over 30, have a job, own a home, are married, and/or have children - you can no longer show up with one 2-litre bottle of Kroger brand cola (with the Buy 1, Get 1 Free sticker still affixed) as your only offering to the potluck dinner based on the excuse that you are still 'one of the kids' and either don’t know how to cook or can't afford anything more.

3. Bringing empty Cool Whip containers to take away left-overs does not constitute bringing a ‘dish.’

4. While you should not hold up the line by questioning every dish with a "Who made this" or "What's in that?" it is still acceptable to discretely ask which dish crazy aunt Bess* brought, because crazy aunt Bess is known for mixing whatever is just past expiring in her pantry and crisper all together in a Pyrex dish and throwing cheese over the top and calling it "Aunt Bess's Casserole Surprise". (The surprise usually being E coli or Salmonella.) *name changed to protect the recently departed.

5. Just because you don’t like dark meat, does not mean that no one else does either, so do not think for a moment that it is OK for you to take the entire left over turkey leg home with you to give to your dog.

6. On the flip side, do not assume that you are the only one that likes dark meat either, and take the whole turkey leg as your serving. This ain’t the Renaissance Faire, and while you might look like it from the rear, you ain’t Henry VIII.

7. When hitting up elderly relatives for loans during the meal, remember that it is in poor taste to stop making regular payments to them in anticipation of their death if they are hospitalized at anytime prior to repayment of said loan.

8. If you are going to bad mouth other relatives on the ride over to dinner, please instruct your children not to repeat the comments to said relative’s children when playing out in the yard, unless you are fully prepared to get over it when the child of the badmouthed relative punches your kid in the mouth for saying that their Daddy was always a big baby because he cried in the middle of the night the first time that he spent the night at your house when he was 4 years old. (And by the way, anyone that would make fun of a four year old for being scared in a strange place was assuredly a big enough ass - even at the age of 7 - that a child of any age, and probably most adults, would have cried if forced to spend the night at your house.)

9. If the driveway is wide enough to park two vehicles, then pick a side. Do not park in the middle of the driveway, almost at the end, so that all the others that arrive after you are forced to park in the street and carry all their food up the long driveway (especially since they all actually bring multiple food items to share and not just a two-litre bottle of Kroger brand cola.) Also, if you know that you will be leaving early to go visit your 4th husband/live-in boyfriend's family (where you will undoubtedly take the other Buy 1, Get 1 Free Kroger brand cola as your 'dish'), go on and park in the street and not in the front parking spot where it will require everyone who arrived after you to have to get up and go outside to move their cars for you to get out, just as they are ready to sit down to eat or watch the ballgame.

10. If all the football fans are gathered in a room watching the game, and other, non-football watching people are in another room, it is not OK to come into the non-football room and turn on the TV to the same damn game that is being viewed in the other room and then turning up the volume in an effort to drown out the talk of the others. Go in the other room with the football people.

So there it is - Hope you enjoy.

And hope that you (all 3 of you) have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving

Found an old photo from a Thanksgiving long ago.

That's me and my cousin Bonnie (MCB). Circa 1991ish I'd say.

And it just occured to me that this was probably the last time that I wore that sweater, yet it is still hanging in my closet. I better pitch it into the Goodwill pile pronto, before someone sics Niecy Nash and her Clean House crew on me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is this wrong??

Boy stabs brother in fight over TV

Is there something wrong with me that when I read this headline, all I could think was “Wonder what show he wanted to watch?”

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lame Quiz Post

This really should not count as a post, and I promise that I will not always cop out and post a quiz result as a post. But, I thought that maybe one a week would be OK.

Plus, somehow I think that it will impress my niece and nephew to learn that anime was born the same year as their Jojo.

In 1963 (the year you were born)

A civil rights rally held by 200,000 blacks and whites, features Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated as he rides in a motorcade through downtown Dallas

Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president of the US

Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique, launching a middle-class feminist movement

Michael Jordan, Quentin Tarantino, Conan O'Brien, Johnny Depp, and Brad Pitt are born

Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series

Chicago Bears win the NFL championship

Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup

The Beatles receive their first #1 hit single, when "Please Please Me" tops the charts in the UK

Astroboy (known as Mighty Atom in Japanese) Japan's first ever anime was launched

NBC expands its evening network news program to 30 minutes

The television remote control is authorized by the FCC

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I am a Virgo.

Virgos tend to be perfectionists. Now, this is not to say that we think that we are perfect, just that we strive for perfection in certain areas of our life. In my case, that is usually means an unimportant area – like having all of my frozen dinners alphabetized and stacked neatly in the freezer. But not is some way that would help me tremendously, like in following through with career goals or continuing my formal education.

Along with the perfectionist stuff, we are also overly critical. Especially regarding ourselves. This can be a pretty painful set up sometimes, because in striving to do something in an impossibly perfect way, we will inevitably fail to meet these outrageous standards we have set, and then proceed to beat ourselves up over it for years to come.

I see this in myself whenever I start a new project, and it doesn't start off as well as I had hoped. Instead of plugging along in spite of the problems, I will end up abandoning the whole thing because it isn't perfect. And even if other people don’t notice the imperfection, I know it is there, lurking beneath the surface, and it taunts me at every turn. So, I give up.

A few years back, my father and I traveled to the home of our Harbin ancestors in the English town of Yeovil. It was probably the best trip of my life.

Yeovil is a little village located in southwestern England. It is just a few miles south of Stonehenge. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to visit Stonehenge. It is a place that I have been drawn to in such a strong way, that I can't even begin to explain.

Dad and I arrived at the site pretty early in the morning. And as we came up from the tunnel under the road, and the monument came into view, it was as if the world stood still around me. I couldn't hear the nearby traffic, the voices of the other tourists, I could only hear my own heartbeat. And at that moment, I immediately recognized something so deep within myself, so ingrained in my DNA, that it stretched back 5,000 years. I understood completely what Stonehenge was, and who was responsible for its existence.

Stonehenge was the work of one of my ancient ancestors. I'm sure that it was a project he started with the best of intentions. He carefully gathered all the materials he would need, scouring the world for just the right rocks even if he had to import them from many miles away (and probably paying extra for expedited shipping and handling.) Once the stones were in his pasture, he began placing the stones in just the right spots and positions. And then suddenly - a stone tipped over. He tried to upright it, but you could probably still see the dent in the earth where it had tipped over. He may have tried to fluff the grass where the dent had been, and maybe rake a few leaves around to make it less obvious. But that just probably made it seem worse to him.

I'm sure his neighbor wandered over, and commented on his nice collection of stone, and how impressive it all looked. He probably said, "Hyrb (Harbin in ancient Celtic) - it looks fine. No one will see the indention. They will just enjoy these massive stones and all the hard work you've put in." But Hyrb could see the dent, and he just couldn't let it go. So, knowing that it was less than perfect, he just gave up - left his carefully selected stones out in the field, hoped no one would notice his failure, and moved on, a few miles to the south, and perhaps to his next great project.

There are a lot of Stonehenges in my past. Some big, some small. Discarded, half-done needlepoint pillowcases where I missed a stitch, and though I tried valiantly to pull out the stitch and sew over it, I could still see the minuscule threads of the bad stitch. An entire closet full of empty photo albums, frames and assorted scrapbooking tools, all collecting dust while waiting for me to start making those perfect picture displays and keepsakes - if only I could decide on a consistent theme or style. And of course, the corpses of my abandoned blogs, little corners of the cyberspace where I had every intention of posting witty comments and thoughts on life at least twice a week, but where there currently lies dozens of half written drafts that I could never complete, because I couldn't come to grips with the imperfection of my writing. Cause, you know, the Virgo thing.

So. Here we are. I've picked up, moved a few miles south, and am ready to try again.

Maybe this one will be perfect.