So, you all know I'm a hopeless fan-git over this Scottish singer, right? Right. I'm sure you're all bored to tears with my constant mentions of him, but deal with it. Not only do I love his music, which is ever-changing and growing, but he's a really great person as well.
His name is Fish, and he has the soul of a poet. I've always been attracted to the written word, and Fish's lyrics are just poems set to music. Anytime a song (or a poem) can take me out of myself, it's worth enjoying more than once.
Fish hails from right near Edinburgh (Jeni, you may run into him one day in Tesco!) in the Lothian area of Scotland, and plays mainly to crowds in the UK and Europe. I had just about given up on seeing him ever perform here in the Southern United States, but the Internet saved me! I discovered through an online forum that Fish would be playing a few dates on the Eastern Seaboard in 2000! (Yay for the Internet!) The gig that would be easiest for me to see was Atlanta, Georgia, at the Variety Playhouse. I made plans to make the long drive, knowing that this was probably my one shot at seeing the Big Man perform.
And perform he did. The show was great, but it was what happened afterwards that cements my love and admiration for the man. After the show, Fish is known to unwind with an alcoholic beverage or four, and typically, he invites fans along for the ride. At the gig, Fish announced that he would be repairing to a pub around the corner, and we were all welcome to join him for a post-prandial libation, if we were so inclined.
I dragged my poor husband (who at this point, had been awake for nearly 24 hours) off to the pub after the show so I could meet the Man in person. We hung around for as long as we dared, but JF was tired beyond belief, and wanted sleep in the worst kind of way. We decided to leave before Fish ever made it to the bar, and JF set off to fetch the car. As I waited on the corner, Fish comes sauntering by, and snaps off a smart salute in my direction. I stood on the corner for about 3 nanoseconds, debating whether or not to follow him into the pub to ask for an autograph and a picture. It didn't take long for me to turn and follow him inside. As I walked up to the towering man, I hovered a bit, wondering if it would be bad form to bombard him so quickly after arriving, but decided to go with the whole gauche, gushing fan-wank American persona I had so cleverly crafted, and tapped him on the shoulder. (Of course, since he's 6 foot 5, I had to stretch a bit to REACH his shoulder, but there you are...) He was as nice as could be, and not only obliged me for the autograph and picture, but I got a hug out of the deal as well.
Fish is known for personally answering emails, visiting fans whenever he happens to be in their hometown, and hosting special conventions just as a way for his fans to celebrate his music. His music is only part of what makes him special to me -- the other part is just being a damn nice guy. I know I was just another face in the crowd that night, but it made me very happy.
Note: My wonderful husband figured out what I was doing wrong, and resized the picture for me. Yay for the technical guru husband!
This is my favorite time of the year. I love the magic of the holidays. People seem nicer. Well, MOST people seem nicer. I run into a lot of really stressed-out, bah humbug kind of people in my neighborhood, but on the whole, most people seem to be chilling out more at this time of the year. Maybe it's just the judicious application of eggnog, but better moods abound.
Once Thanksgiving is over, the holidays are fast upon us. On Tuesday, November 28th, I celebrate 14 years of marriage to Juggling Freak, a fact which astonishes me. (I thought he'd have wised up LONG before now!) Juggling Freak is widely known, however, to be not quite right in the head. After all, he married me, didn't he? And on purpose as well! There's no accounting for taste with some people, apparently.
As soon as the calendar officially switches to December, I am able to forgo the Christmas embargo that Juggling Freak imposes every year. I am not allowed to drag out all the assorted Christmas accoutrement until December makes its appearance -- otherwise, JF asserts that I'd have Santas and reindeer dotting our house in late July. (Some people are SO grinchy about the holidays! Sheesh.) I drag out all the ornaments, including all the handmade ones from both my own childhood, and the ones from Offspring's. I lovingly place upon the tree the ornaments that my grandmother brought over from Germany, and the Disney ornaments that we hold so dear. My husband proudly hangs his squeaky Christmas octopus, given to him long ago by a friend who ran a Mexican restaurant. I find a place of pride for the items that Offspring has made, each one reminding me of her during Christmases past. I take delight in shining up my Queen Elizabeth I ornament until it blazes in all of its brass glory. I smooth the penguin tree skirt that I made several years ago around the base of the tree, and there begin the pile of gifts that will accumulate like drifts of snow that we southerners have never been fortunate enough to see.
We bake cookies, and wrap gifts. We shop for the perfect presents, and imagine the delight on the recipient's face as each box produces ooohs and aahhhhs. I sit in the glow of the tree at night, and savor the calm that I feel. Christmas may have become a mass-produced holiday, and may bring out the crass consumer in a lot of people, but for me, it brings the sweet and serene feeling that I am where I should be, with people I love, and Thank You, God -- I am so glad to be here.
I hope everyone in the US had a good Thanksgiving. I know we all probably ate waaaaay too much, but as Americans, it is our God-given task to continue the egregious excesses that we have become known for the world over.
We had dinner at my mother's. It was a lovely meal, complete with just about everything yummy that I look forward to each year. There was a small turkey, standing rib roast, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, collard greens, creamed corn, Parmesan and broccoli casserole, and my Grandmother's sausage stuffing. (My southern mother changed her allegiance from traditional southern cornbread stuffing (awful stuff) to the more Yankee-influenced sausage version early on in her marriage to my father. They may have divorced after 20 years of marriage, but by damn -- the stuffing recipe stayed!
I am thankful for so many things. My health, my family, and all the blessings that God has chosen to shower upon me. I realize that there are MANY people out there who have it significantly worse than I do, and I want to take time to thank God for that which I *do* have, instead of constantly wailing about what I haven't. I made a conscious effort a few years ago to stop praying FOR things, and start praying in thanks. Sometimes, it's very hard for me not to beg God to make certain things happen, but instead to give praise for all that I do have.
The thing that I am most thankful for is my family. Sure, I complain about them, but they are all that I ever wanted. When I thought about my future family as I was growing up, I could have never guessed that I would be so lucky. I have a wonderful husband, and a beautiful daughter. I am thankful in more ways than I can count for both of them. Sure, we have our strife, just like any family, but they're worth the effort. Marriage and parenting is hard work. It's worthwhile work, to be sure, but it IS work. We work at it every day. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do, though.
To all of you, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. (To my Canadian readers, I wish you a very happy day as well, with plenty of blessings of your own. I know that I'm glad that you're here and I hope you'll continue to return.)
I haven't been posting a lot lately because I've been very busy trying to get all of those thousand-and-one cafts for Christmas at least started, if not fully completed. Here are some pictures of some of the cards I've made in the last few days. I also learned a really neat trick for getting stamped images onto candles, so I bought a whole box of candles and those are going to be gifts for school friends this year!
Have any of you out there with children ever actually *tried* punishing a kid for forever? Did it work out? I'm considering it quite seriously at the moment.
My darling child, the fruit of m' loins, came home on Thursday afternoon with her mid-term progress report. I checked her grades, duly signed the slip and instructed her to put both her progress report and her printout of her reading log backin her bookbag because I knew she would need to turn them in on Monday. (Friday, if you recall, was a holiday for Veterans Day.) My sweet spawn informs me that she did not even bring her bookbag home as she had no assignments that day, and she didn't feel like toting it 100 yards ALL THE WAY to our house. I calmly inquire as to how she plans on taking back her signed papers, and she blithely assures me that she'll just carry them in her hand to school. I smell trouble on the horizon. This is a bad plan, I can see it coming.
On Monday morning, she scoots out of the door, with her papers in her hand. I think nothing more about it, other than to remember that her bookbag is at school -- that's why she's walking upright, rather than hunched-over like our anthropological forebears.
This afternoon, she begins to get herself all worked up because her teacher had to remind her to have me sign and return those papers. So, this sparks a mad rush for finding the papers, with tears brimming close to the surface. In the headlong scramble, a vague memory of her picking up the lonely, bookbag-less papers and walking out the front door hits my brain like a sledgehammer. Trying to slow down the tornado that's now whirling through the living room, I try to tell Offspring that she's already turned them in, and she snaps on me like an injured animal nipping at anything that gets too close to its tender places.
Whoa! Back that truck up, girlie! I warned you this would happen. Instead of being admired for my apparent precognition, I'm railed at for being a forgetful, "you didn't sign my stuff, Mom" kind of mother. Uh, no.
I am exercising my mental faculties, and in another astonishing feat of precognition, I will predict this is not the last time that we will be having this exact conversation. I forsee many more mad dashes through the house like this one, and many, many more sessions of blaming me for "ruining my life, Motherrrrr!" I can see it coming already.
So, my question, dear readers, is this: Exactly *how* much trouble will I get in if I lock her in a closet until she's thirty? Don't Child Protective Services frown on the whole "you're punished for the rest of your natural life?" mentality? Do you think I could get away with it? Remember, you're all accomplices now.
I just got an email in my inbox that I had been waiting for with breathless anticipation: the notice from Andrea for the name of my Secret Spoilee for the Winter Holiday Gift Exchange! I'm like a kid, dancing the Happy Dance in joy at getting my Spoilee's name!
I took part in the Exchange last year, and it was such fun! It was such a treat to go around to all of the blogs after the fact and see all of the neat gifts...
Now, all I have to do is get cracking on the gifts that I'm already dreaming up. I wonder if I'll have time to make all the things I'd LIKE to send....
I shouldn't be so glad to get away from doing something that I love so much, should I? I really do cherish those days when I *don't* have to hit the ground running, though. Of course, these days, it's not so much "running" as it is "shuffling, zombie-like, as quickly to the toilet as humanly possible first thing in the morning."
But, since we're observing Veterans Day tomorrow, we have a school holiday. Unlike last year, I might add, when the powers that run our school system put that day *back* on our school calendar to make up for a hurricane day. Local veterans were highly cheesed off by that less-than-stunning move. I can't say as I blame them.
At any rate, tomorrow will be chockablock with all those chores that have to be done during the week -- taking some forms to a downtown office, visiting the Girl Scout store, and various mundanities of that ilk.
If I'm ultra-productive, I may even get some laundry done! (Isn't my life positively scintillating?)
* I am so tired. My head feels like a watermelon on a toothpick. I hate sinus colds. Thank God it's winding down. I can't take much more of this mess. Thanks to all for the feel-good wishes. I sure need them. And some chocolate.
* I voted, but I'm not sure that my blue-ish votes will help much in my red state. I'm also too depressed to think about elections and candidates and how much they all suck. I got no less than FIVE telephone messages from one dude running for governor -- here's a clue, fella: When you bug me on my phone, it's annoying. When you bug me FIVE TIMES, I'm sure as hell not voting for you, just on principle. Let that be a fact you bring to your campaign people. Once is bad enough. Multiple times is a fast track to unemployment.
* There's a guy outside my house using a leaf blower. Normally this wouldn't be an item worthy of mention, but *it's raining!* This guy needs to be smacked with the clue-by-four.
* We're almost out of butter. Not monumental, but I thought you should know. (I told you I was tired.)
* My students are obviously suffering from "WIC" disease. WIC is shorthand for "When is Christmas?!?!" They are starting to get that holiday fever. Normally, I have one or two who we have to move through our discipline system each day. On a bad day, we've had four or five. Today, we had TEN children who got in trouble. And it's really annoying. I had to bring down the wrath of Teacher on them, and they were NOT happy. It must be a full moon, or there must be something in the water.
* The Jerks next door let their dog poop on our lawn again. Methinks they've forgotten the hood incident. I'm feeling evil, but I may not feel evil enough to face the rain to go out and handle dog excrement.
* I have not yet started to Christmas shop, and I'm dreading it. I LOVE the holidays, but the shopping -- eh, not so much. I'm much more in the mood to make holiday crafts than to buy gifts. I do have a few crafts that I'll be giving away, and I have to make another one of those holiday centerpieces as a hostess gift for a party this Saturday. I hope I have enough oomph to get that going.
Well, I'm about bulleted out. Hope you all are welll. Maybe I can scare up some energy later.
I know that I've been posting even more infrequently than normal -- forgive me. I have caught a nasty cold (thank you, my lovely children) and am feeling like something stuck to the bottom of a shoe.
In between naps and dispensations of NyQuil, I am trying to read blogs and comment. I feel a little more functional today than in days past, thanks to my long-suffering husband, who made an emergency (and invective-filled) run to the store for said NyQuil for me.
Hopefully, I will be feeling more human in the next day or two, and will be able to have the strength to focus on normal tasks. As it is, I find myself drifting and having very pyschedelic daydreams. I blame the NyQuil.