Christmas Movies


Spent last night watching JAWS and JAWS 2 and reliving some of my youth.

So many poignant scenes in that film make it a masterpiece of subtlety and love, that I can never skip it when I have a chance to immerse myself in it.



Then, there’s Dreyfus and Shaw.  Flawed human beings, who make us adore their foibles and root for them to win:




I still remember sneaking into the drive in movies to see JAWS way back in the Summer of 1975 at 14 years old.  Even knowing how dysfunctional my Aunt and Uncle’s marriage was, as well as that of my parents at that point, I still treasure JAWS as a reminder of happier times on the Cape or in New Hampshire, sharing time with fellow detainees, just waiting to be adult enough to get on with our own lives.

Then, of course, there’s my other favorite Christmas Movie, “Die Hard”, with the wonderful Alan Rickman (“Snape”, to those of you who have never seen his other wonderful earlier movies), and the sad Alexander Godunov (Ballet dancer, and rival in another memorable oldies film, “Witness”).  While there are other baddies in the Die Hard repertoire of sequels, none will stick with me as much as the original.


hans gruber

Then, not to be outdone, there’s Mel Gibson’s butt in the original Lethal Weapon film:

Mels butt plus his dealing with his own demons as he fights to find a reason NOT to kill himself every danged day:


My choice of Christmas films may be a bit dark, but there’s plenty of reason to keep busy and enjoy Hollywood’s take on the “joyous” holiday season.

As for me – the floor must be dry by now, so it’s time to get my butt in gear and go rinse the floor and put the washing machine panel back on the front of the beast.

Happy Holidays, however you choose to spend this time of year.

Christmas Memories


Even when I’m surrounded by rain, Spring-like weather and new growth that is common for Winter in my part of Northern California, I’m reminded of the Christmases of my youth.

For whatever reason, memories of helping my brother and father deliver newspapers on Christmas morning, probably 1970, are lingering around the back of my brain.

Mike and Jo - 1963 maybe

While we may have fought like cats and dogs upon occasion, most of my memories of my Big Brother are beautiful snippets of caring.  His smile, when I met him on the street (after he moved out of our Mom’s house), and he offered me a ride.  Big Bro didn’t have to stop, but the fact that he made the effort at only 16 has always struck a cord with me.

While we would only nod at each other at high school (I was a freshman and he was a senior, living in separate houses and towns), Big Bro would never deny the relationship and always tried to make me feel welcome and a part of his life.

So it’s strange to be sitting here remembering the end of our parent’s marriage about 1971, and our last happy Christmas together hustling to deliver the Christmas newspapers so that we could all go home to a warm and filling Christmas dinner.

Mike with Blue Jay March 2010

Big Bro could certainly charm the birds from the trees (literally, too!) if he chose to do so, and I often wonder why he had to leave all who loved him when he was still so very young.  52 is way too young, and yet he had a lifetime of adventures in those years.

A lovely and accomplished wife.  Two fine young men as sons.  While we would always want him to stay forever, because he truly was the life of the party, its hard to believe that he’s been gone 7 years, and Mom has been gone 13 at this point.

I’m not particularly melancholy today.  I’ve been spending time cooking up a storm last night to keep the house warm and fill my freezer with easy to reheat food (with more hamburgers and meat loaf being made later today).  I’ve made more bracelets in gold plated brass (once @Suzz got me motivated to her color scheme of Olive, Amethyst and Orange, I’ve been very inspired).  And, I’m even in the process of washing the laundry room floor from the overflow 2 weeks ago.

(It may have taken me forever to handle the washing machine repair and clean up the mess, but I’m finally ready to trust that it’s repaired reliably and willing to put the front panel back where it belongs).

After a night spent pouring rain, and being creeped out by the bushes on the side of the house scraping the siding and sounding like lost children (yes, freaky in the middle of the night, even when one knows what is causing the sound), I’m doing what I can to both stay busy as well as rest (hence, this post) so that I can stay healthy while also trying to be active.

So, Netflix is on with a Barbara Streisand musical playing loudly, Herself is pacing from room to room wondering why I’m not napping on the couch and cuddling, and all is good with the world as I go over snippets of this and that in the back of my brain.


Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Could we?
Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were
The way we were




I was going to write something snide, or deep, about being an orphan at the holidays.  Plucky, I’m not.  I’m just a problem solver who choses to focus on what’s ahead, vs. mourning what’s left me behind.

However snide I may be from time to time, though, I’m not particularly deep.  Trust me.  I’m not.

I’m just very, very practical, which gets me compared to Mr. Spock.  Alot.


Last night’s conversation with a fellow adult orphan was an exercise in futility because she thinks I’m some robotic, Spock-like being, and was focused on her own unhappiness as she dwelled on the fact that her life was what she made it.

Exactly what she made it.  Seriously.

No matter how many times I’ve told her that my health relies upon me being cool, calm, collected and avoiding stress and drama, she refuses to acknowledge that it doesn’t mean I don’t feel all these feelings.  I just deal with their emotional turmoil and upset by owning my hurt feelings or upset and moving on.  I don’t dwell on upsetting topics as it does no good AND doing so can wreck my health.  Seriously.  The first thing to get messed up when you’re crying is your breathing, and I don’t want to risk an exacerbation or a potentially expensive hospital stay simply because I refused to accept what life is showing me.

I’m also channeling Sheldon during some of these conversations, and it’s all I can do not to snap !


We’re both now orphans 24 x 7 x 365 as our family trees have moved on without us, leaving the older deadwood behind.  You know, just like real life.


In my friend’s case, she’s 53, never married, and again is worried she has nothing to show for it.  No partner.  No kids.  No big house filled with friends and family at the holidays.

But, if you’ve lived your life as you chose, how can one be upset over years-past decisions coming home to roost?  If you want a husband, you had to be willing to compromise to achieve that goal.  If you wanted children, you had to be willing to give up your role as the baby of the family.  If you wanted a house, you had to be willing to save and do without until you achieved that goal.  Life will always throw a monkey wrench into your plans, but if you were willing to try real hard, you might have accomplished one or more of those goals.

I wasn’t willing to follow the conventional path of partner, children, home = security.  My experience was that none of those things were without sorrow, violence and risk, so I made different choices in my life as a member of a very large family, and confident that I would always have that family.

What a folly !

People marry to continue families along new branches, and my choice to forgo that aspect of life meant that I became an adult orphan with no family willing to share their lives with me because I was no longer part of the core.  As the family tree continued to grow and branch out, I was left with bare branches and stunted growth.

While I accept the consequences of the choices I made, I always expected to leave the party early, and not be the one left behind, assessing my losses and missing people who are no longer here.  🎶  You’re missing 🎶

Last year was hard, having been informed that I was no longer part of the family due to my NOT being invited to a nephew’s wedding.

Spending Christmas in Jamaica and the Caribbean certainly helped to asuage my feelings of hurt and rejection, especially considering how hard I worked through the years to remain close to all the kids, providing vacations together, and visiting at least once a year.

However much one wishes that investments in people and time spent together results in a life-long connection – both through blood and shared memories – there is no guarantee that life is fair and that people will love you back.

When branches of the tree die off, leaving deadwood and islands of growth, one must learn to accept that one has also been left behind and is not considered part of the family anymore.


I refuse to be the beggar at the feast, humbling myself when I am the slighted party.  Why do I bring this up now, though, ruining an otherwise Merry holiday?

Because sometimes life sucks, and one has to accept what is.  Not what we hope.  Not what we think we deserve based on status or hardwork.  Just accept life the way it is, and continue on the path you’ve chosen that otherwise fulfills you the remaining 364 days of the year.

If you’re lucky, people will accept the fact that you may be an orphan but you are not a waif – an object of pity in need of comforting.

You’ll make some favorite food you were wanting, you’ll fill your hours doing things you enjoy or which keep you too busy to think about what you’re lacking, and the holidays will pass.

You’ll be left in peace to do what you wish, and spend your life how you prefer.

If that doesn’t work for you, then please make new choices today, tomorrow and thereafter until you have achieved the quality of life you desire.

But, please…  don’t come crying to me about how abandoned you feel and how you thought your life would be more than what it is.  Don’t give me a hard time because I’m a stoic who chooses to find joy in life despite its reality, vs. crying over things I cannot change.  🎶 Life has killed the dream I dreamed 🎶

I’m a problem solver,  and I’ll only aggravate you by my decision to accept what cannot be changed and moving on.  We have it better than at any other time in history, so I refuse to dwell on why my life isn’t perfect.  I’m a big fan of adulting.

🎶 “The Dream I Dreamed” 🎶  from Les Miserables

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed, that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream
I dreamed
Except when you fail to make a family of your own…
🎶 You’re missing 🎶 Bruce Springsteen’s 9/11 ode
Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama’s in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you’re missing
Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, but you’re not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you’re missing
Pictures on the nightstand, TV’s on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you’re missing, you’re missing
You’re missing when I shut out the lights
You’re missing, when I close my eyes
You’re missing, when I see the sun rise
You’re missing
Children are asking if it’s alright
Will you be in our arms tonight?
Morning is morning, the evening falls I got
Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How’s everything, everything?
Everything, everything
But you’re missing, you’re missing
God’s drifting in heaven, devil’s in the mailbox
I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops



Cossetted ?


My girlie is 10 and has developed a new ritual that is filling all of her spare time.

I assume the position on the couch, usually after cooking, and the poor dear attacks my scalp like I’m made of spun sugar or exuding sweetness from every pore.

Heaven forbid if I should wish to move or protest all the cossetting.  I’m going to be groomed whether I want it or not.



When you google stubborn, I’m surprised my face isn’t the first thing which shows up.


I have a strong Irish temper, with shades of Scots, French and Brits to add ice to my ire.

Dealing with an inability to do anything very physical has always been a sore spot, and that frustration has grown as my wellness has declined.

This week, I’ve been busy trying to pass for normal and keep up.  Despite pain and numbness in my arm and shoulder, I was busy making product and trying to figure out how to pay for my portion of our new shops, and running on very little sleep.

I had zero patience, was in the middle of getting a crown put in ($ ca-ching!), and had just sorted dirty laundry to get caught up on household chores now that our recent holiday shows were done.

So, of course, the washing machine floods the laundry room and won’t drain.  No, I do not have time to deal with that !


How much could a service call run?

How much could a new washer run?

All questions that I didn’t want to answer, so I spent way too much time in bed, avoiding the issue and being chilled to the bone…


or, napping on the couch… when I could get Herself to allow me to be on it.  (Heaven forbid I should nap on my own couch without “sharing”)…


But, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I won !  I won !  I won !

YouTube rocks for dealing with my anxiety about how to figure out how to get the front panel off and diagnose the problem…


So, a few more YouTube videos.  A few more naps.  I bought some quarters, “just in case” I couldn’t figure out the solution and implement the repair.  And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Tonight, after yet another Gingerbread Holiday Baking Championship viewing, and a nap, I was ready.

10:35pm, all Her stuff was swept out from under the laundry equipment (yes, the failure was all Katie’s fault.  She plays hockey with door stops, pens, bottle caps and catnip winebottles, all of which ended up out of reach, under the washing machine).


I’m working on my second load of laundry (yes!), and while I’m now ready for yet another nap, I’m thrilled to report that I defeated the dreaded service call trap, and was able to repair it myself without any injuries or extra expense.

Merry Christmas to me and my stubbornness.

Plus, I’ll have clean clothes to wear tomorrow, when I go to get my crown installed.

Wish me luck that my dental plan paid more than expected, or at least what they should, so that I’ll either get money back, or at least not owe any more.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night !