December 18, 2009

Things I [Heart] About this Season



I was a bit of a Crabster yesterday, so I didn't bother writing. I have no idea what was wrong with me; nothing in particular had happened, it was just one of those days. I want to say that I'm much better today. Doesn't take much, does it?

This time of year, I think we could all blame the occasional, random, bad mood on the complete overload of activity and emotional stress we are hit with, from Halloween until New Years.

No, I'm not acting like this because I'm on my period. Or because your son has 15 missing assignments and what am I supposed to do, ground him for the entire Christmas break? I'm not cranky because we just had to fix the furnace - out of the blue - for $350, or because Glee isn't on TV again until April.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm a little edgy because there are 4 million people on the only road in our town, and all I want to do is go the 1/2 mile distance to the grocery store. Or because, when I get there, the same 4 million people have somehow beat me and have all managed to get in line before me.

Whatever it is, I'm over it. Oh and thank God! because nobody likes a cranky me.

And, since I'm feeling so peppy, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite "This Time of the Year" things with you.

~~My white sweater~~

It's ugly and too big and not flattering in any way at all, but it is sooooooo toasty and cuddly and like wearing a blanket all the time.

~~Eggnog Lattes~~

I'm sure I've already sung their praises. Still. Yum.

~~Taking the long way through the neighborhood at night~~

I live at the end of my street, so I usually turn off the main road at the first turn and miss everything going on beyond me. But these days I take the second turn, and every time I come around the corner, the spectacular display of Christmas lights on every single house, in every single yard, from one end of my street to the other, never ceases to surprise and delight me.

~~Christmas cards with family pictures ~~

I'm a big fan of sending a picture, and I'm all about the unique and funny cards too. My favorite this year comes from new friends. It's a picture of their two teenaged kids, in full camo, kneeling over a massive dead buck. (Which, I am assuming, they killed, since their Dad has a garage full of commercial fridges and freezers for storing that sort of thing.) John's comment: "Nothing says 'Christmas' like two kids standing over a dead reindeer."

Merry Christmas from the Mc Donalds!

December 15, 2009


This morning on my favorite radio show, The Bob Rivers Show, the guys were talking about Christopher Monfort's arraignment - he's the one who killed Seattle Police Officer, Tim Brenton, on Halloween night. Bob mentioned that the prosecutors now have thirty days to decide whether or not to pursue the death penalty.

I love Spike O'Neil, Bob's sidekick, for his reponse:

"So what will they do with the other 29 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes?"

RIP, Tim.

December 14, 2009

Our Last Believer

Last night, John and I were talking about whether or not Jack still believes in Santa. He'll be 12 in February; I'm thinking he figured it out some time ago, but he has never asked a single question of us. I think he's in denial, which is totally fine with us.

See, John's ex-wife was a Jehovah's Witness, so they didn't celebrate Christmas for 17 years or something like that. Our first Christmas together was completely magical for me - Matt was only three, so it was like having two kids for the holiday! Ever since then, Christmas has been huge around our house. Between John and Casey, who was brought up as JW, it's pretty insane. We do the crazy light thing in the yard. We decorate every room with Christmas decor. J does the tree all by himself, then spends many nights sitting in the dark, with just the tree lights on, having his "Christmas Moments". And every year, we say we're going to "cut back" on the gifts. Yeah, right. Not even an option.

I don't have any particular attachment to Christmas, any moreso than any other holiday, so I'm totally good with him taking over. And I still get a kick out of how much fun he has. He wanders around the house whistling and singing Christmas songs and I love that. So we're a little sad that, after this year, Jack's probably going to go public with the Not Believing. He'll be our last Believer ... until the grandkids come along ... and I'll be able to post my own pictures like this one, of my friend Lacretia's daughter. I just melted when I saw it.
This is the Spirit of Christmas!
Text Color
Kylee Goetz
photographed by Krista Loeffler @

December 13, 2009


John and I love the weather reports around here this time of year. Being the native upstate New Yorker that he is, and me having lived a spell in Boston, we get a kick out of the level of excitement reached in western Washington when the prospect of snow arrives. Our favorite on-site reporter, Jim Forman, of the super bright yellow jacket you couldn't miss in a blizzard, gets out there somewhere in downtown Seattle and has up-to-the-minute Storm Watch '09 ('08, '07, '06 - they're all the same) highlights. The camera will close in on his hand, scooping (hardly) this wet, sort of fake kind of snow off the sidewalk, and he'll be saying stuff like: "You can see here, that this snow is wet. Wet and cold."

I think it's hilarious that a possible one inch drop makes the news at all, let alone becomes the top Reporting Live, Breaking News story.
Here is my driveway, right this minute. This warrants a StormWatch '09 news feed. School Closure Alerts and all.

Here is a picture of Boston.

That's a StormWatch.

But I'll tell you what, it makes for entertaining tv. Obviously, since I just spent 10 minutes making fun of it.

Oh, and by the way, I secretly love Jim Forman. And his jacket. It's the exact same one I have.

December 11, 2009

Bragging...a Little...

Hmmmm...once upon a time, I thought published authors were like movie stars, like Julia Roberts - totally untouchable. I thought no one could get near them, except at a book signing, after waiting hours in line to breathe in their divine presence. I hoped that someday, if I never became one myself, I might have the privilege of knowing one, even if only barely.

Well, I'm here to tell you that dreams do come true. (Oh, sure, I had lunch with Ann Rule, sort of. But that's taking some liberty, claiming her as a friend. To say the least.) You already know about my first Famous Author Friend, Kim Derting, of The Body Finder fame, who also writes the sassy The Road to Publication blog. And, (sorry Kim) I must let the secret out that famous authors aren't really untouchable. At least not if you get to them before they're published. They're really pretty normal. PJs and bed head at the bus stop normal. Did I tell you about the cami on the door handle? Seriously normal.

And now, I get to add to my list! My friend and neighbor, Susan, has graciously allowed me to partially own her mom, too! I met Vera Martignetti after she read a blog post I wrote about her granddaughter earlier this year. She was visiting from out of town and stopped by my house to thank me for my kind words. I learned that she was also a writer, working on a book. At the time, I had no idea she would be topping my FAF list so soon, and there she was, right in my driveway, totally touchable!

I got an email from Susan the other day, letting us know that her mom's book is finally here! And, as an aspiring author, I am proud and honored to be able to share this with you.

Susan writes:

During the first year after my dad died, my mom wrote many emails to the entire family. At first, these notes were a way for her to reassure us that she was fine. But over time, these emails included observations, tasks, funny stories, and sad ones too about life after losing her husband of 47 years. With that wealth of data, Mom wrote a very irreverent, funny, and helpful book about coping with becoming a widow. (The chair and remote on the cover were my dad’s.)

Description ~

In The Widow Business, Vera Martignetti shares the intimate experience of coping with the loss of her husband of forty-seven years, and how she learned to take control of the practical and immediate concerns of daily life alone. Martignetti's sense of humor is evident in this always thoughtful but often irreverently funny book as she leads you through her experience of being a first-year widow. He died. Now what? This widow’s survival guide answers the inescapable question.

About the Author ~

Vera Martignetti was born in New York City, raised in Jersey City, and lived the last thirty-five years of her life in Tucson, where she was a businesswoman for ten years before retiring. She has four children and six grandchildren. Although she has written about her family for her family for many years, this is her first book to be published. An essay entitled ''One Minute You’re a Wife. The Next, a Widow" won the Best Non-Fiction Contest in OASIS Journal 2008. At seventy-one, Vera’s maxim for staying young is Clairol, sunscreen, exercise, and attitude.

The book would make a great Christmas gift! It is available on Barnes & Noble’s website for $9.32 where you can even read the first few pages. It is also available on
Congratulations, Vera!

December 10, 2009

Tiger, If You're Listening....

I don't want to be negative in the month of Christmas cheer and all, but I really have to get this Tiger Woods thing out of my head. Just for a minute, because, if you're like me, you are as completely sick and tired of hearing about him as you are of hearing about that stupid couple who crashed the White House party.

But this is Tiger we're talking about. In the beginning, I was simply heartbroken, and hopeful that it might all be an awful, ugly lie, when it was just Slut Girl #1. But before we could say, "Oh, Tiger, not you!" the Ho Girl Count had multiplied beyond any hope he might have had for redemption.

I always loved him. I thought he was a true role model for kids, even if he was kind of a control freak, and a little manic with all that drive and motivation. Still, he made me believe in athletes again, after I had to make my son take his Kobe Bryant poster off his wall, after Michael Vick, after Tonya Harding. (Ok, she doesn't really count. We knew she was psycho from the start.) I really, really wanted him to be the real thing. But alas, Tiger turned out not to be the Charles Ingalls of sports, after all.

But my problem now isn't about his infidelity at all. I'm past that, already crushed beyond repair. My new issue is accountability. This morning, as we were watching the Today Show, John says, "Oh, God, please don't tell me they're going to say he's a sex addict." And within seconds, I swear, those very words came across the airwaves.

I will buy into a lot of addiction. I believe that some things eat you up and own you. I've seen crack addicts and I believe in that kind of evil. But no matter how much the media wants to sell it, I can't buy sex addiction. Which is beside the point, because it's not the label I'm struggling with. It's the excuse. The cleanse-all: "It's not my fault, I couldn't help it, it was out of my control." It's the excuse I'm afraid they're going to use - Tiger and his handlers - for this behavior that dates back to the beginning of time and, up until lately, has simply been attributed to Shitty Ass Judgement.

Please, Tiger. Don't be that guy, on top of everything else.

If there is one shred of dignity you might have left, here it is: Own this.

December 9, 2009

My Lovely Wednesday Dinner

Usually, on Wednesdays, Jack's buddy Elijah comes over after school and stays with us through dinner. After that, I take them to football practice, then drop him off at home. Elijah's mom is a single mom who adopted him from a foster family when he was a toddler. I am always amazed at her strength and commitment to this kid, and I try to help her out, give her a break, whenever I can. The fact that he and Jack get along better than I've ever seen two kids get along, doesn't hurt.

Anyway, I had to share this Wednesdays with Elijah story. Come dinner time, I ask the boys to set the table and pour the milk. Usually, as I'm sure it is in your house, this request is met with either a) grouchy resistance and whining or b) selective hearing. But this night, I was pleasantly surprised.

Elijah told me that he had learned how to set the table in Young Living Class (we used to call it Home Ec). First of all, what boy will tell you that he learned anything in YL? That would mean he was paying attention at some point, which would be so totally uncool to admit. But no, Elijah practically pushes Jack out of the way to get the placemats, telling him he'll show him how it's done.

Not one to be outdone (and not currently enrolled in YL but secretly wishing he were), Jack pushes back and they wrestle to get the supplies. I leave the room and the commotion, figuring that, one way or another, the necessities will make their way to the table eventually. I don't want to get hurt in the process.

When I was summoned to return, this is what I found:

In case you were wondering, chivalry is not dead.

December 8, 2009


I'm sure by now, even if you're one of my reader friends who lives far away from me, you've heard about the tragedy we faced here in western Washington just after Thanksgiving. Four of our local police officers were shot and killed, while working in a coffee shop in the city of Lakewood, just 20 miles from my house. The story is tragic for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it was a random shooting, execution-style. Not a month earlier, the same sort of shooting occured in Seattle, where a police officer was killed in his patrol car.

The killer was apprehended and killed, in a confrontation with another officer, just days later. That's good and bad, I suppose. He's off the streets, but there will never be any closure for the families of the fallen officers. He will have had the last word, forever. That makes me overwhelmingly sad. I can't begin to imagine the sorrow and loss their families and friends are enduring right now, and will continue to struggle with for years to come. There is nothing that will ever make this right, but there may be a smal bit of comfort in knowing that they gave their lives in honor, protecting others, being selfless and brave. That is far more than I will ever be able to claim for myself.

I am the wife of a Firefighter and former Reserve Police Officer, so this is close to home for my family and me. My husband, John, proudly wore his Class A uniform this morning, as he's done far too often this past year, and joined thousands of his colleagues in the funeral procession that will honor these officers today. They will join thousands more, their families, and members of the public in the Tacoma Dome, because that's the only place big enough to hold all the people who want to show their respect and honor the fallen. And it's still not big enough. Our streets are lined already with people standing along the roadsides, all the way along the procession, in the freezing cold. There are kids and elderly people, business people who have taken the day off to bow their heads.

I didn't know any of these officers, but I do know what they did, every day, on my behalf. I am proud to live in the community they served and to have been given the gift of safety and security, simply because they did their jobs.

Even if you're not here, if you're out in Maine, or Arkansas, or Connecticut, I'm willing to bet you know police officers or firefighters who make you proud. Take a minute, right now, to tell them how much you appreciate the service they give. Believe me, today is one of those day that a simple "thank you" will mean more than you know.

In tribute...

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar publicly identified the four slain police officers after an extensive and very difficult notification process. “All four of our slain officers had been with this department since it started five years ago. Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards were police veterans when they started and all have been outstanding professionals. This is a very difficult time for our families and our officers. The families will have many challenges ahead of them and we ask that their privacy be respected. Please keep our families and Lakewood Police in your prayers.”

Sergeant Mark Renninger, age 39 with thirteen years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Officer Ronald Owens, age 37 with twelve years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a

Officer Tina Griswold, age 40 with fourteen years of law enforcement experience. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Officer Greg Richards, age 42 with eight years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.

December 2, 2009

Oh, I hate that! I started writing yesterday in the morning, then got sidetracked. By the time I remembered that I had never actually published my post, it was too late to use my brain that much, so I left it until today.

LMAO this morning (yesterday morning) while reading this post written by Eva at Wrestling with Retirement. I follow her blog because she's totally hilarious (and posts some of the funniest cartoons I've ever seen) but today (yesterday) she pretty much killed me. She wrote about Victoria's Secret and her new idea for a better business. All I have to say about Big Bootie Boutique is Amen, sister!

Mind you, I am a former VS shopper (you thought I was going to say model, didn't you?) myself . Well, not totally former. I still love all the stuff, it just doesn't look that good on me anymore. Ok, not that I ever, ever, ever, even kind of, sort of, remotely looked like Heidi Klum, (I'm only 5'2") but there was a time (I sadly reflect) that I didn't completely crucify a lace thong and matching demi push up bra.

These days, though, not so much. I'm aware that I'm not really the same size I used to be, and that's definitely fixable. Still, I'm not so sure I could lose all this weight and be a true VS girl again. I'm just not the same shape anymore. Things aren't where they used to be. You can only push 45-year old boobs up so far with mere underwire and gel padding. (Not to mention, the bra weighs as much as my winter parka; nothing like that to make you feel even fatter.)

Not that I've quit trying; don't get me wrong. I haven't resorted to granny panties (although sometimes I look at them longingly, the way we look at flannel sweats with penguins on them, not because we want to create an oufit, but because we can't imagine anything more comfortable on the planet.) But I'm still married - someone still gives a shit what my underwear looks like. And quite frankly, the minute I do try on the white/beige/nude cotton number, I feel twice as unsexy as I did just standing there naked. And at this point, I'll take all the sexy I can get, within reason.

[ Reason, FYI for all you VS catalog-reading husbands and boyfriends, does not include anything with bows on the butt, anything missing fabric over the midriff or other *ahem* parts, or anything that has rhinestones or other "precious simulated gems" sewn into it. The next time something like that catches your eye, stop. Do not hold up the picture to your wife/girlfriend and say "You would look so good in this!" That is not a real compliment. It doesn't incite a graceful, "Why thanks, baby!" I am more likely to look at you like you have two heads and say, "Dude. Really." Proof, I believe, that sex for men is not directly related to sexy. ]

Today, I have to add a little something to my thoughts on VS. After getting sidetracked from blogging, I went shopping for brown pants with my friend Kim. That was a bust, since we went after lunch and who in her right mind thinks that's a good idea? All pants shopping should be done first thing in the morning, following a night where nothing was eaten after 6pm. But I have a party tonight, and I have this sweater I love...I needed the pants.
Or not.

After I tried on the ridiculously out-of-my-box, bright red, stretchy, totally fitted dress that for some unknown reason called my name from the discount rack, I gave up on the pants. I was obsessed with the dress. Which is really weird, if you know me at all. I'm not a dress person. I have calves that indicate I may have won Strongest Man in the World trophies at some point in the past. NO, they're not muscular, I didn't mean that. They're just huge. Enormously huge. Freakishly huge. I hate dresses.

But I bought it, the kickass red dress. In addition, I bought a full-body armor contraption that promises to corral my body into the dress (and hopefully, keep it there for the duration of the evening). This is not something you can buy at Victoria's Secret, I'm pretty sure. It makes simple granny panties the sexiest lingerie ever. I'm not brave enough to post the pictures Kim was taking of me in the dressing room, as she wet herself laughing, but let's just say if Teletubbies were still around, I'd audition to be the new one. The Beige Teletubby.

Tonight is the dinner that called for this dress and its accompanying bumps&lumps control unit. And I'm not so sure now, here at home, if I'm up for all that work.

Maybe I'll just wear my new sweater with black pants and hope no one notices.

December 1, 2009

Post-It Note Tuesday

Sorry I missed it last week. I would have posted:

But I'm better this week: