Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday's Feast - 30 November 2007

What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

I grow old. I used to love rides. Couldn't get enough of them. Rollercoasters were my friends. I even took my bridesmaids to Cedar Point right before my wedding as a last fling. Now getting dizzy makes me queasy. :-/ I have to be fairly judicious in my choice of rides, keeping it short and sweet. You will still find me in a Tilt-a-Whirl if caught visiting Kiddieland. But once or twice, rather than for hours at a time.

How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?

Well, first I get red. Very red. Even if I'm simply IN a social situation, I tend to flush. My husband says it's attractive. I feel a bit Rudolph-esque. Sometimes I will get completely quiet and move into observation mode. This is my preferred approach, as it keeps me out of trouble and lets me focus on others. I join in when compelled and not before.

Sometimes I succumb to feeling that I must participate. This would be the "that's what good girls do in social situations" response. This is not the preferred approach, as I tend to lose the connections between folks and start interrupting. Ugh. And I will often blurt something dopey, like sharing my weight with a dinner party. It really is best to be yourself, you know?

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

Ooo. 10. But I've tended to go after these discussions like a lawyer (wonder why?), which I'm told does not always make me a fun discussion partner. I tend to cut to the meat of an issue earlier on, finding the weakness in others points of view. So I've worked hard over the years at doing so, making my point, then shutting up to allow for other viewpoints.

Main Course
Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

Nope and nope. I'm not in a risk category. What doesn't kill me will make me stronger. And I don't like injections of mercury.

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

Depends on how many of the shows that I enjoy are on during a given week. I probably average an hour a day, particularly if I'm watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann regularly with Carl. So that makes 7 hours a week. Sometimes, though, on the weekend I will vegetate in front of the TV if my family is out and I'm in. So make it 8 hours a week to keep me honest.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

What really counts

I was reading a blog entry recently about the Presidential election. The writer posited the notion that what really counts in assessing candidates is not experience but character. He then listed various presidents and rated them successes or failures and noted how character played a part in those successes and failures.

I'd like to agree with him. I'd like to believe that what is most important is what is in a person's heart and mind and how they live that out. But I don't think that I do agree. I can think of many people of fine character who would not make good presidents. Jimmy Carter was/is a man of impeccable character. In his years after the presidency, he has demonstrated that again and again (Habitat, continued work for peace in the Middle East, to name a few places).

But he wasn't much to write home about as the leader of the free world. He accomplished little in his four years. He was perceived as a failure in arenas in which he was actually successful, such as ultimately bringing home those kidnapped in Iran
alive. In fact, I think his inability to manage the Iran Hostage Crisis, to persuade the US that peaceful means were the best option for bringing the hostages home alive, demonstrates much of what was wrong with his administration. They didn't play the game very well.

Maybe character would be a be-all-and-end-all if government wasn't political, wasn't a game that must be played. But it is. And, while I hope the candidates of my choice do have fine upstanding characters and do share my values, that's not what I'm assessing to guide my decisions.

John Edwards is my candidate for President in the Democratic primaries. I feel almost sheepish saying so. As an Oak Park Democrat, I'm sure I'm supposed to be voting for Obama. And I did support him, at first. But I've found him to be a bit milquetoasty. The message of hope is a fragile strand on which to swing my heavy hopes and dreams for this next administration.

John Edwards is emphasizing the domestic issues I feel are most important: universal health care, economic fairplay for the poor and middle class, and supporting workers. He is emphasizing these issues instead of focusing on the power ploys playing out in the Middle East. I don't believe he would be an isolationist President. But I believe he would focus on righting our own wrongs before he runs off and tries to right someone else's wrongs.

The blog to which I referred earlier lauded Edwards for his character, as demonstrated by these domestic emphases and in part due to the loss of his son. Maybe character can be tied that closely to a political agenda. But I don't necessarily think so. We've had plenty of presidents who had fine agendas yet possessed characters less shining (JFK, FDR, to name a few).

And I don't even agree with a major decision that I'm sure is supposed to demonstrate sacrificial character: the collective decision of Elizabeth and John Edwards to run for President while knowing Elizabeth has a terminal illness. My opinion, had they asked, is that those little munchkins of theirs deserve to have a mom around who is focused on them more than anyone possibly can be on the campaign trail, since she's not going to be around for all that long, in all likelihood.

But they didn't ask me. And whatever character they are, or aren't, demonstrating in making that decision has little to do with why I would, or wouldn't, vote for them. Him. I care about the domestic decisions that John Edwards would make that would affect my country, not his family. And I think he'd make the right ones.

Vote for John Edwards. And give him a little bit of money, if you've got any lying around. Because he's going to need it to get any farther than Iowa.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've got a brand new pair of roller skates

Well, not really. But I do have a brand new mixer. Christmas gift from Mom and Dad after watching me prepare food with my previous mixer. Now, I really think my old mixer was just fine. I bought it at a garage sale for $5. I think it was shortly after we got married, which would make it . . . (brief pause here while I attempt to perform the cognitive gymnastics known as mental math) . . . 23 years old.

When I was 23 years old, I was in peak physical condition. Looking good. No kids yet, lots of exercise, didn't really worry about what I ate. My mixer did look a bit the worse for wear at 23, though. The beaters were all bent out of shape. I tended to insert the spatula into them frequently. And the power cord displayed the colorful assortment of wires that, apparently, are supposed to be kept inside. Did you know that sparks come out of those exposed wires sometimes?

The reason I bought this particular mixer was because it was the exact same model my mom had through my growing up years. It was homey and familiar. It didn't scare me, and it didn't do a million slice and dice activities. It simply mixed stuff up. I prefer simplicity in my household appliance. Particularly motorized ones.

I'm a bit afraid of motors, truth be told. Once, my dad tried to teach me how to ride some type of small motorized thingie. It was either a snowmobile or a motor bike--can't remember which. Dad? Anyway, I distinctly remember my vocal emissions while attempt to drive: I'd squeal loudly each and every time I accelerated. And my accelerations were rather, um, jerky. And so I progressed around the trails up behind our house. Vrroom. Jerk. Squeal. Vrroom. Jerk. Squeal.

Back from the digression. You can see why I felt like my mixer was just fine. My mom disagreed and offered to purchase a new one for me for my Christmas present. Guess I wasn't quite as attached to that ole mixer as I thought, because I jumped right on that bandwagon.

We perused the Target website, sizing up the mixer competition. Oh my. There was definitely another reason I had clung so vociferously to my old mixed. Those new-fangled jaws of power cost a bundle! Fortunately, I wasn't paying. I told my mom to pick whatever she wanted to get for me. I reserved the right to choose the color.

It arrived yesterday, but I was in the midst of bookcase mania so chose to leave it boxed. But now it sits, in all its colorful glory (Cobalt Blue) on my counter: the KitchenAid Artisan. Wow! I made Banana Muffins this afternoon in it. My butter and sugar have never been so creamed. I did have a little Lucy-esque accident with the flour. But the kitchen's all cleaned up again . . . .

Perhaps I'll take up bread baking, now that I have a dough hook. Lemon Meringue pies, anyone? There's a sausage stuffing attachment available, as well as many others. I foresee a whole new world of cooking for me.

Or maybe I'll just make better Banana Muffins and skip the rest. :-)


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A brief and shining ventilation

There are so many more important things going on than this. Obviously. But that's never stopped me before from complaining about the mundane annoyances of life.

The topic is bookcases. Two of them. Two of them that will replace the one I had before. The one I had before fell apart. This was not surprising, as it had fallen apart numerous times during the past 15 years. Usually, I put it back together with my handy assortment of tools. I have glued, nailed, crammed and jammed the thing into usable shelving many times.

Alas, it was not to be this time. Out of nowhere came the sound of wood crunching. Well, particle board crunching. When a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make any sound? When a book case falls apart in the music room and no one is there, it definitely DOES make a sound. Crunch was heard both near and far.

Various locking screws and nuts no longer screw or nut. So it was time for a new bookcase. Unfortunately, I could not find a suitable bookcase of the same size. So I had to spend twice as much and buy two bookcases. I would've preferred to move us into mission style furniture at this point. But, as we have no other mission style furniture, and no plans to purchase any new furniture for the next 10 years (while children are receiving their higher educations), I opted for very plain danish modern ish.

We picked them up over Thanksgiving weekend. After much discussion, we collectively decided that we needed to drive two SUVs to pick up two bookcases. Just in case they didn't fit into one. We trekked out on Friday. Black Friday, to be exact. The furniture store is located 30 minutes from our house. Somehow, 30 minutes seemed quite far to my dad. Why? I don't know. He lives in Michigan where you have to drive 30 minutes to get ANYWHERE.

But I digress. We easily collected the two bookcases in one, yes, one SUV and drove on back from the hinterlands to Oak Park. I thought my brother, Dave, might feel compelled to put them together while he was visiting. He's one of those guys who has a hard time sitting still. Always likes to have a project handy. But, after he repaired two of my kitchen cupboards, he didn't seem inclined to tackle the bookcases. Bless his heart. He left them for me.

I managed to avoid the task for 24 hours. But now I am working on them. I think putting furniture together (or any project that requires scanning wordless directions) is tantamount to giving birth. Once you've put something together, you forget how painful it is. You forget that it's akin to smacking your skull endlessly on the floor for several hours.

I hold the single page of instructions in stronger light. With my glasses on. So that I might see if the sketches delineate precisely which way is UP on each piece of wood. Decoding images is not my strong point. After knitting for many years, I still can't look at a piece of knitting and tell you how many rows I've knitting because I don't exactly recognize the difference between one row and two.

I imagine that's a learning disability. But in our academic world, word decoding is far more important than image decoding. I didn't learn I had this problem until I hit geometry in 10th grade. After scraping by with a C, I promptly forgot this challenge until I got married and started putting things together. Furniture. Bikes. Children's toys. Somehow, I became the designated put-ter togetherer.

I have developed coping mechanisms to help me decipher the wordless sketches manufacturers seem compelled to supply me with. I stare at them, mostly. For a long time. It's sort of similar to "measure twice, cut once". Look a million times, put together once. I've tried it the other way. I usually end up taking things apart several times. Or smashing them with a hammer, trying to MAKE them fit together.

And why is it that wordless sketches are the chosen instructions of manufacturers? Do they assume that a large part of their consumer audience is illiterate? Or do they think it's simply easier to follow a diagram rather than a wordy paragraph.

Obviously, I prefer a wordy, if precise, paragraph. :-)

Off to bang and smash. I mean carefully assemble.


Friday, November 16, 2007


There is a virulent stomach bug attacking Oak Parkers this month. Everyone's talking about it, as mass illness of this nature tends to bring out the small town in people. And everyone has a story about who caught it, what horrible havoc it wrecked on them, and who the "Typhoid Mary" is in their crowd.

I listened with distant sympathy, initially. I don't get sick. Yes, I have been struggled with anemia for several years now. But I don't get sick. I get sick seldom enough that it is News in my family when it occurs. It is a badge of honor. It is will power.

So, as I watched the men of the family come down with the bug, I again felt sympathy, of course. And a certain secret sense of superiority, as I knew I wasn't going to be suffering as they were. And suffering they were, and did. Looked nasty. Appeared to involve worshiping the porcelain god, moaning, and a great deal of restless sleeping. Thank goodness I wouldn't be subjected to such indignities.

Two days after Jon finished tossing his cookies, the mighty fell. Well, I didn't actually fall. I was sitting at Thursday AM Bible study, kvetching about how annoyingly unfair the Old Testament God seems to be, when I noticed that my stomach and surrounding environs ached. Being a bit weight-fixated at the moment, I decided that my jeans were too tight. Wrenching myself of the daydream about yelling at God over the unfairness of being 45, a daily exerciser, and overweight, I ignored said ache.

Drove home. Felt worse. Couldn't ignore it. Do you know why one salivates so excessively before, during and after regurgitation? To protect teeth enamel, Wikipedia tells me. I've always wondered about this. Finally looked it up 36 hours after the couldn't ignore it segment of pre-illness.

And it was a rather ignominious 36 hours. It is so annoying to lose an imagined superiority in such a stunning uncomfortable fashion. The last time I ached this much was after skiing a 50k race in my 30s with little preparation. Since I don't believe in getting sick, I can't actually remember the last time I had to invoke vomit euphemisms in the first person.

Parenthetically speaking, I remember making lists of those euphemisms during long Y swim meets with my friends. We'd sit and lick our fingers, full of red dry Jello mix (for energy!), and toss out vile descriptive words and phrases with glee. Young people don't mind talking about the V word because they have short memories. They don't remember how awful it is to actually do the V word.

But I digress. :-)

There is nothing like a stomach virus to give you a new and enhanced appreciation for the incredible variety and strength of said viruses. Each person seems to suffer in their own unique way. Jonathan slept for 15 hours the first day, which is often his response to illness. Carl didn't have the luxury of quite so much sleep, but was pleased to become ill on a non-football, non-Bach Cantata weekend.

Sleep was not happening for me, as I hurt too much. I finally gave in and took a Tylenol Plus Other Drugs That Knock You Out, and surrendered to a blissful sleep. Woke up various times to text with Annie about who was driving her where and when, and to pet the Maggie dog, keeping me warm during my feverish ups and downs. Carl felt sorry enough for me that he didn't even complain about the dog being on his side of the bed.

I am better today. No technicolor emissions. Not much food, either. One of this viruses cunning symptoms is its ability to restrict food intake to small, bland and boring for some days after it surfaces. I rose from the couch this evening to bake some cupcakes. Don't ask why. After a few licks of the batter, why I had only eaten yogurt and a few crackers became quite obvious. Hmm. Back to crackers for another day, I think.

Annie has yet to contract the disease. She's off at a party this evening (a birthday party for a 16 year old in Chicago hotel??) then sleeping over at the virus-free home of another friend. Either she'll avoid it all by being away, or she'll come home exhausted and m
y humbling experience with virology won't be over quite yet.

Back to the couch to finish reading another Henning Mankell mystery. (Thanks, J!)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pray Tell

What is with public prayer and elected officials lately? Two recent news items make mockery of prayer as a spiritual exercise. There is the stupid law recently passed in Illinois requiring a moment of silence each morning, thus legislating a time for payer that is already protected by law. And we've got Governor Sonny Perdue leading his assembled masses in prayer for rain. Yes, rain. In drought-stricken, water-wasting Georgia, they are resorting to praying for the heavens to open and water to fall.

There are so many things wrong with this activity. I scarcely know where to begin. Practically speaking, a public prayer assembly would be the very last action I'd want my governor to take in a drought. I want him to be staying up nights with conservation officials months in advance of the current crisis, when it is clear that a drought is happening, to determine how to head it off.

But that wasn't Governor Perdue's approach. Lake Lanier, Atlanta's drinking fountain, has been withering away all summer. Yet, "(a)ll summer, more than a year after the drought began, fountains blithely sprayed, football fields were watered, prisoners got two showers a day and Coca-Cola’s bottling plants chugged along at full strength. In early October, on an 81-degree day, an outdoor theme park began to manufacture what was intended to be a 1.2-million gallon mountain of snow."

The state didn't manage to take significant action until late September when it finally banned outdoor water use. I have no window into how God might work. But I highly doubt She'd be terribly inclined to dump rainwater at the request of such foolish, wasteful people. No God would be that stupid.

Which brings me to the spiritual aspects of such an exercise: God as Keeper of the candy store door. What an immature approach to faith, asking for God to supply our wants when we have the means to meet our needs. And there's the age-old question of if God did answer prayers in this way, why would She choose to "answer" Governor Perdue's prayer but not the prayers of those in similarly waterless Tennessee? Save woman X from breast cancer but not woman Y? What, Tennessee is full of sinner, and woman Y full of sin so their collective prayers are not worthy?

The concept of prayer as a way of asking for stuff, even big important stuff, eludes me, in spite of its Biblical presence. I can't reconcile a loving Creator with a God who would capriciously answer some prayers and not others. I don't believe that those whose prayers aren't answered are deemed unworthy. I don't believe that prayers are answered by God at all.

Prayer is a fragile thread that connects me to something far More than myself. It weaves community among those who share it. It's an unending conversation in a language I can only begin to understand, with Someone I'll never see and am not always quite sure is there.

Do I bring my concerns, petty and large into the conversation? Sure. I'm so human that I can't help be focused on me, Me, ME! But I have no expectation of the fairy wand wave, the key magically unlocking the door to the candy store, the slate of my poor behavior wiped clean with no effort on my part. My faint hope is that between the skills I was created with and the talents you were given, maybe together we can figure it all out.

Where is God in all of that? God is in the part of me that patiently listens to you when you complain a little too long about that thing that bugs you about your husband. God is in the part of you that unbegrudgingly offers to get out of bed early to take my son to school when my car is dead. On a much larger scaler, God is in those environmentalists who've been bugging Governor Perdue for months now to DO something about the water shortage.

What's the point of praying when you aren't listening for the answer, Governor Perdue?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007


My head hurts. Why? So many possible reasons.

1. The addictive power of sugar. When you give rats a choice between sugar and cocaine, even the rats who are already hooked on cocaine will choose, yes, sugar. This seems patently unfair. What's the deal here, God? Why not make broccoli addictive? Or no salt Saltines? Noooo. You created a world in which that which is bad for you is damn good. Nice.

2. Intentional injections of hazardous materials as part of health care. In spite of the known toxicity of mercury, manufacturers continue to put it in flu vaccines at levels exceeding 4 times the daily limit for adults. Thimerosal, already banned from children's vaccines even though the US and the vaccine industry insist it causes no harm is the form of mercury included in these vaccines. It was banned as a "precautionary" measure due to protests by thousands of parents of autistic children who claim it either caused or exacerbated their children's condition.

Is there any good reason for humans to ingest mercury? "Certainly it would be good to have no mercury exposure at all," said Jeanne Santoli, deputy director of immunization services division for the CDC. "But there's no conclusive scientific evidence that the amount of mercury one might get from a flu shot is linked with any neurological development outcome that's negative."

Why do I not find that particularly comforting? The EPA (not exactly a high functioning protector these days) says that mercury turns liquid into hazardous waste at 200 parts per billion. Drinking water is supposed to have no more than 2 parts per billion. The flu vaccine has 50,000 parts per billion.

The flu is bad. But we shouldn't be forced to choose between having the flu or injecting ourselves with toxic chemicals.

3. My family is paying $20,200 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yours, too, if you're a US tax-paying consuming family of 4. Now, the Democrats are apparently the ones who have come up with these figures. Naturally, that makes them suspect in some circles. But let's say that number is off by (oh no, I'm going to attempt math here) 25%. I wouldn't be much happier with my family paying around $15,000 a year for those wars.

And that figure doesn't include the loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iraqi, Afghani, and American. Can't put a price tag on those expenses. But apparently it's worth it to both a majority of the Democrats and Republicans in our Congress, as they keep voting to fund the wars, at our expense, our children's expense, and at the expense of security in the Middle East.

And I haven't even begun to consider Bush's veto of a bill to fund health, education, and labor programs. Too expensive and too full of pork, he says. We can pay for silencers for Blackwater operatives, fund loser wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threaten war in Iran, but can't fund health and education? No wonder I have a headache.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday's Feast on Saturday - 10 November 2007

Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?

Popcorn. My addiction to popcorn this summer may be the sole cause of the extra 10 pounds I'm carrying. In addition to the extra 30 pounds I'm carrying, of course. But the extra overage is giving me that very special muffin-top look over my waistband. Popcorn with butter (real butter, not chemicals) is even better than popcorn, though.

What year did you start using the internet?

Been out here a long time, I have. I know I was online regularly while in law school my last year at Kent (1987). I don't think we had a home computer at that point. Believe we acquired one around 1990 or 91. I can still see the now quaint prodigy interface we first used. No graphics. Nothing but text. :-)

What is your first name in Pig Latin? (Here’s how to speak it if you don’t already know!)

Izlay. Or, if you prefer, Lizabetheay.

Main Course
Name something you are picky about.

I really, really don't care for passive-aggressive behavior. If you've got a problem, if an issue is bothering you, address it. Don't make some little weenie side swipe of a comment and then pretend you "didn't mean it that way" then slink off to kvetch because you were called out for your passive-aggressive behavior.


Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.

I enjoyed chocolate yesterday and I savored it today. Stopped into the new Ten Thousand Villages store yesterday and scored some fair trade milk chocolate. About 1/3 of the bar melted in my mouth while I read "Waking Up To What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion" (living the Buddhist precepts) and waited for Annie. I am quite sure that eating chocolate while waiting for a teenager demonstrates any number of precepts for meeting situations with intelligence and compassion.


Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm putting together a beef stew for dinner this evening. I've lit a candle, which is my reminder that I'm feeding my family more than food when I spend time cooking for them. Fosters a bit of intentionality in my mood. So, even though I don't particularly enjoy cooking, I'm careful to note smells, textures, flavors--anything that prolongs positivity in the kitchen.

I firmly believe a grumpy cook inevitably sours the food served. Oh, it may taste just fine. But if I'm cranky while cooking, and my family encounters my snit, the mood tends to rub off. Then we all come to the table with our hackles raised for no good reason. After all, this is mostly my choice, being the family cook. And, even if it wasn't, what would be the point, exactly, in fussing about it? Either do it with a good will, or don't bother.

Which is all well said, but sometimes very hard done. Sometimes, as the Dixie Chicks opined, I'm not ready to make nice. But I digress.

I like to sing along to music when cooking. Love to sing, love to pretend I do it well, love to do it in solitude so I don't have to face the reality of my less than stellar vocal cords. Singing makes even a reviled task a joy. So I deal with meat and its attendant issues and sing "Walking in Memphis". I peel potatoes and pick off Es and Fs in "Seasons of Love".

I'm not a big Martha Stewart fan. But I was quite pleased to hear that she believes burning a candle will protect me from crying while chopping onions. Since I already have a candle lit, I should be set. I hate crying, though I know it's good for me--like broccoli. I chop. I cry, in spite of the candle. I'm singing "For Good". (Yes, it's a Broadway theme I've got going here.)

Could be the song, not the onions. The song is about friendship and its impact on us. The crux of the song, for me, is in this particular lyric: "Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you: I have been changed for good
." Sometimes, we seem to have so little notion of the powerful impact we have on one another. We speak and act and behave with little regard for the consequences. And when it's all said and done, we look back and, what? Regret what we've done? Defend ourselves? Resolutely shut the door against whatever we'd prefer to avoid?

The fumes dissipate. It's only one onion. But the tears continue. The friendship in question ended months ago. So why cry? What's the point in fussing about it now? Maybe what emanates from relationships and friendships doesn't disappear quite as quickly.

The stew is simmering on the stove now. I pull the candle over to the table for a bit of rumination. The unfairness of the way things are, as we talked about this morning in Bible study. The candle shines anyway. I consider what I've learned. I make a choice, flip to another song, move on. Just as I lit the candle with intent, I extinguish with volition. Blessing on the food we'll eat. Blessings on the choices we'll make. Blessings on our relationships, past, present and future.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Friday's Feast on Saturday - 3 November 2007

How much money do you plan to spend this upcoming holiday season?

I don't really know. We spend $100 for each immediate family member, then $25 to $50 for everybody else. Except Tehra and Jan--we three spend a large amount on each other for no apparent reason other than it's fun to gift each other.

What was the last television show you watched, and was it good?

I must admit, with Annie and Carl out all evening, that I channel surfed last night. I watched several really horrible shows, including What Not To Wear. It hit a bit close to the bone, with the victim describing her soon-to-be-discarded wardrobe as "comfy casual". The hosts were catty and mean until the victim succumbed to their version of fashion. Yuck.

If you had to paint the walls of your living room tomorrow, what color would you choose?

I'd choose the color currently on them, as I've recently painted them. It's an off-white shade, vaguely rose-tinted. It's warm and cozy, possibly even comfy casual.

Main Course
Name something clever or practical you have thought of that should be invented, but hasn’t yet.

I am not capable of dreaming up something from nothing, unless it involves words. Perhaps mothers would enjoy self-sanitizing pacifiers?

List 3 things you would like to receive as gifts this upcoming holiday season.

I already have everything I need. A cozy comfy casual fireplace for the living room or kitchen would be practical and fun. has some nice choices. A new set of dishes would help me feel ready to host supper shuffles this winter. That's about it.

For those wondering, my girlie surgery went well. I've enjoyed hanging on the couch for a day or two, and am now looking forward to better health. :-)