The Small Joys Tag

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First there are always rules. The official Rules and Regulations of this Tag are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. Mystery-opsis (aka Val) invited/tagged me to make this list and I want to sincerely thank her for making me remember the fun of blogging.
2. List fifteen of your small joys.
3. Tag five other blogger friends who bring you joy. [declined, as I don’t have 15 blogging friends – yet]
So here are the 15 small things that bring me joy:
1. As a female who had 8 parents and 13 siblings of one kind or another, family is a huge slice of joy.
2. My sons, when I get to hear them tease each other and talk about serious things as men.
3. My grandson who reminds me of innocence and truculence – and what influences they have in life.
4. Autumn – too rich of a season to refer to only in the mere word fall. I miss the odor of yard waste burning, but the colors and cool temps are still a wonderful influence on my cup of happiness.
5. Forests – my first friends. With their cool shade and mysterious tracks from creatures who live there.
6. Singing a song that my heart needed to share. Especially an anthem for the day.
7. Driving a winding road with no demand for timeliness, just a wander for the knots to unwind.
8. Decorative lights in trees. I love how people are using them more and more for festive occasions, not just Christmas.
9. Fireworks! Not for the sound, though that’s amazing when you’re close (I was a crew member for municipal firework shows in my middle ages, and I loved being close enough to change my heartbeat!). My favorites are the ones that have actions like swirling fireflies or glorious draping tendrils like fountains – that end with a crackling sound.
10. Christmas and all that comes with it. Advent wreaths for family worship, the decorated trees, the special ornaments and that gift that is exactly right to give that person who came to mind when you saw it. The church fests, choir cantatas, candlelight services – the whole shebang!
11. A good trail ride on horseback when they fit my stirrups correctly – on a cool autumn morning.
12. The first cup of perfectly brewed robust coffee in the morning at the perfect temperature for gulping and feeling it move down your body.
13. My comfortable home. It’s my sanctuary, and I love how cozy it is. I like being alone within it very much.
14. Hearing a beloved laugh – whether family or dear friends.
15. The smell of a good meal when I enter my home – even if I made it.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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A big thank-you to Val at https://murisopsis.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for this blogging award.

Val blogs about her life and the different things she notices in her journey that catch her interest. These insights will often be preceded or end in poetry that is very often cleverly and intricately created. I admire how concise she can be when conveying something intricate.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community. Now, how does it work and what are the rules?

Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog. (check)

Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you. (check)

Nominate 11 new blog to receive the award and write them 11 new questions. (Pending)

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog. (check)

 

Here are the questions Val posed to me:

  1. What famous actor/actress would play you in a movie about your life? Patty Duke because she looked the most like I do and our spirits are similar from what I’ve learned about her. I know she’s no longer available for acting parts, but it will never happen anyway so I get to pick whomever I wish, right?
  2. If you could change your name, what name would you choose? I honestly love my names, though I didn’t like having such a distinctive one when I was younger than 15.
  3. What event in your life would you like to “do over”? The good ones were good because they were rare, and the bad ones taught me a lesson I needed to learn. I’d offer the ‘do over’ to someone I loved if I was given the opportunity.
  4. If you had a prehensile tail would you keep it or have it amputated? I’d honestly lose it.
  5. You have just stepped into a time machine, what year in history would you visit and why? The last year of Jesus’ life, so I could meet him.
  6. What is your favorite comfort food? Too many to list. That’s how I got this big (blush).
  7. You can change your eye color (any color(s) at all), what would you choose? I honestly like my eye color (a tawny hazel green). I’ll keep it.
  8. You have been granted 3 wishes, what do you wish for? (more wishes is not permitted)

Wish 1: That I could have become rich in a way that was honorable, so I could be more generous to charities for foster kids.

Wish 2: That my beloveds would be financially secure and do things they love to do.

Wish 3: a cure for COVID-19 is found and life is restored to normal in time for school to resume again.

  1. Your pet can talk, what do you think they’d say about you?

Hmmm. I have no pets. But if I did, it would probably say, “She loves me.”

  1. How old were you when you got your “first kiss”?

Hmmm…  15 I think.

  1. (last but not least) Which would you rather be able to do – tap dance, juggle, or ice skate like an Olympic athlete? I’m a bit old for dancing or skating, so Juggling will have to do.

As for nominations, I don’t want to pressure anyone, and I don’t have many folks who follow me. Let me know if you’d like a nomination (and an award) and I’ll be happy to work on a list of questions for YOU!

#5 – My Home

7 - HOME - CopyIn my 100 posts of thankfulness I can’t emphasize this enough: I want to thank God for MY HOME.  I think Home is a bigger priority for a woman, since we tend to be more vulnerable and have safety considerations that many men don’t share.  But every human person needs a place they can call HOME, whether it’s shared or independent. We all need to know we have a sanctuary and that we have a place where there’s always a welcome.

A home is the place you go to feel safe and to find privacy as well as recuperation. A sanctuary from the stresses of the places we’ve been and the people we meet and work with.  As humans, we need to make sure that the people we live with are trustworthy and willing to respect our need for time to recuperate alone sometimes.  When you are what I call “couch homeless” this is nearly an impossible task, and the only real sense of sanctuary may be in a bathroom – until someone knocks.  This is one of the reasons Homelessness is so wearing on a person – they have no sense of sanctuary, as well as not having any idea of when that kind of thing will ever be regained.  It’s an anguish that goes beyond the survival trials, and all of it together can just break a person’s spirit.  I’ve been couch homeless and on the street homeless, and it’s hard to believe in your self-worth when you can’t even manage to keep a home or have barriers that others cannot breach.

I’m so very thankful that as I was living with my son (after losing my rented condo of 5 rooms), on the brink of becoming fully homeless again (because we were both underemployed and couldn’t pay the rent), I was contacted about a decent paying job.  This job was a temporary job that was only promised for 6 months, but had possibilities for 3 years.  Once I attained that job, I was able to get a modest apartment (one bedroom, 3 room apartment, 580 square feet).

Once there I could finally begin working on getting my broken health healed, as well as having my self-respect rebuilt as I began to furnish my home.  It’s been six years since I began that job, and my home is becoming more and more mine. By that I mean that I bought new furniture for the living room for the first time in my life, at age 65! I was so anxious about it and I had to laugh at how the size of the furniture was too big for the apartment. However, now that I’ve lived with it for a year, I’ve found that it’s perfect for my lifestyle. It’s comfy for my guests, makes conversation easy for my poor hearing (even with hearing aids), and my grandson loves being able to slouch all over it, too. The furnishings are exactly what I want, and not what I have found that will “do”.

Our building is in a residential area, and so it has a great feeling of safe harbor to it.  We don’t get many children visiting on Halloween, though I keep hoping and make sure I’ve got candy in case some do. To the side and along the back of my building is a grassy lawn, but the edges are wonderful forested thickets.  That means I have a great view when I wake up in the morning, as my bedroom looks out on a wooded area.  There will be deer in the early morning, too. And just tonight – fireflies in lawn next to the thicket that I could see through my bedroom window.

Last winter, I was able to afford a garage to rent in front of my building. It’s not only perfect for parking my car into, but has room for storage as well. I’ve gained so much with that garage, as I have never had one to use before. Not ever in my life – so I am still reveling in having it. My youngest son helped me by putting up various wall racks and hooks for me to hang my lawn chair and other things. As well as a sturdy shelf that I had in my bedroom before, but now is out in the garage. So now my bedroom looks more like a bedroom.

I have all of my favorite things for my alone times.  A good computer (two monitors!), music on the TV when I want some for background, a kitchen to bake goodies in, or just make a good home cooked meal, a bedroom to primp as I dress or just relax and fall asleep in, as well as a bathroom to soak in the tub or enjoy a good shower.  I love my home’s comforts and conveniences.  It’s well maintained and my landlord is a blessing in keeping things neat and tidy as well as safe.  I don’t worry about snow removal or grass cutting.  They manage it well and I feel good about where I live when I invite someone to my home.

Home is where we practice hospitality as well as finding sanctuary.  I don’t have room for many folks all at once, but I have places for people to sit, and things for us to do while we visit. I even have places for my grandson to enjoy when he brings his Dad over for a visit now and then, or when I get to have him over for the occasional overnight visit.

I honestly enjoy all that my home has brought to me, and thank God for it daily, and sometimes more often than that.  Because I have had to make do with poor options, and I’ve had to do without – it’s even sweeter to know that I am living well at this point in time and it feels really good to return to where I live – at HOME.

#4 – Working From Home

Sorry I fell out of step with these 100 things I’m thankful for. I’ve been a bit troubled about the shutdown that began back in March, here in the US.

With the pandemic concerns for SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19), I saw my office leadership cleaning the office twice a day. It wasn’t ever in their job description but they did it cheerfully, making jokes about it, and casually, without complaint. When supplies were running low thanks to shopper runs on cleaning supplies at stores, they let us know to keep our eyes open and that they had enough for one more week. Happily, I found some at my store, during Senior Hours. I bought enough to take care of cleaning for 5 weeks, I was told with nearly tears in my supervisor’s eyes. I refused repayment and let her know that it was their own attitudes keeping us going and encouraging us to stay the course.

In that time, we lost 10% of our pay for the rest of the year. The client that most of us worked for further reduced our hours (from 40 to 34/week), and then threw 15 furlough days (unpaid days of no work) to be sprinkled through the rest of 2020. I’m so very thankful I will be ok with these reductions, but my heart goes out to the coworkers with families or other dependents. Some were also furloughed and it made me go into a small tailspin.

When I received my $1200 stimulus check, I bought a new computer since my former one was over 8 years old. That was providential, because instead of issuing me a laptop to work from home, I was told to use my own computer to access the one I use in the office via internet and other connections.

I also bought a new desk, and that makes it easier for me to work well in comfort through the day.

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[My desk, in the living room of my home]

I thought that everything would be wonderful and better when they told me I could work from home on April 22nd, once we found that the connectivity was working. I mean, my commute to the office took about an hour to get there, and then another hour to get home. The gas budget was $80/week before the gas prices began dropping during late winter. So an 8 hour working day was actually 10 hours away from home. I was usually wiped once I got there. Too wiped to even make a healthy meal, most of the time.

So, now I only had to go to the living room and enjoy the benefits of working from home. I couldn’t figure out why I was still anxious and dodgy. I am doing better since I began antidepressants. I have no problem saying that, and I hope others will be fine admitting it as well.

I should also mention that in March, about a week after my state did their shut down, I began CPAP therapy at home. I use a nasal pillow, and I worried my 5 year old grandson (who I have for an overnight visit every 2 weeks, as his father has to work on Sundays) would be afraid of it. He liked my jokes about being like an elephant, and uses a face mask for his asthma attacks, so it went well.

So here I am now, and I’m astonished at what the CPAP therapy has done in my life since I began it. First, I went through the spring season without an asthma attack – I usually have had to do nebulizer treatments nearly nightly, and have frequently ended up missing time from work and seeing my doctor. None of that happened this past spring.

Cleaning my home was hard, and usually had to be spread over several days. I am again amazed to report that just last week I:

  • Washed three loads of laundry (taking it to the laundry room in my building and bringing it back when done, folding and hanging the clothing and putting it all away).
  • Used the new vacuum cleaner (wireless and light! But so effective it will capture pet hair and fine crumbs!) to vacuum two of the three rooms in my home.
  • Swept the kitchen and bathroom floors, and then steam cleaned them with the steam mop, as well as the entry spot of quarry tile by the front door.
  • Then I baked muffins for my grandson.

All in just one day!

You might think that would make me post something about being thankful for CPAP, and I probably should have; but for me it’s all working so well just because I am safe at home. I’m not afraid of the virus, though I am one of those folks with vulnerabilities. I just mentally didn’t do well with the diminished cars on the roadways, and the unfamiliar face masks and all of the rules for shopping. Happily, I usually use the Pickup service at Walmart, and it’s still without extra costs. It’s a huge blessing for me. I think being an introvert at heart helps as well.

I have wanted to work at home for a very long time. I am at full retirement age, now (66), and that commute can feel mighty long after a demanding day, lemmetellya. There are other reasons that working from home is good for me, though.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 33, so I’ve been dealing with it just that long (33 years). One of the problems with fibro is that it curtails your energy. When I run out of energy, I feel like my mind is stuck in white noise. This is usually called brain fog, and it’s an apt description. I have no creative ability left, so I make sure I’m not doing anything that requires it in the evening when the energy might run out. I make no decisions after 5 pm that are critical. I know that in the morning I’ll have my best mental acuity and most things will wait that long for me to work them out. If I am in a full flare, the decisions may wait a bit longer. Sometimes much longer. That’s just how it is.

So working a full time job is often a wonder for people who have fibro at my age. Believe me, if it wasn’t so rewarding and not so physically demanding (I work on a computer all day long), I wouldn’t be able to do it. Add that my client (I work as a contractor for a staffing company) is an inspiration and someone who frequently thinks of things I didn’t see, and you can see that my job can be fun some days. My wages aren’t that bad either.

The new work hours and payment hit I’ve taken has reduced my options in some ways, but I have been dealing with a financial recovery process since 2013. I was living below my means for a very long time, and just recently I’ve paid off most of the debts that were putting me on an austerity budget.

So I am thanking God that I am working from home right now, and they aren’t going to require me to return any time soon with the new resurgence of the pandemic within the US right now. If I wish to return, they’ve set up my desk so that there are only empty cubicles on either side, and I’ll be socially distant from any coworkers. They have the lunchroom set up similarly, and plenty of sanitizer stands through the office now that supplies are more available.

I just like coming to work in my home. I dress like I’m going to work, and turn on all the lights in the living room. It cheers me up to have them on, and helps me feel focused. I have the smell of fresh brewed coffee nearby, and I can play music at home, but not at work.

When it’s break time, I flop over the wide and comfy chair by the window and just enjoy the comfort and peace of my home. I might have music playing, too.

If I want a snack, the kitchen is very close, as is the bathroom. My whole apartment is only 580 square feet, but it’s well maintained, vermin free, in a residential neighborhood, and my neighbors in the building are sweet people. The management takes good care of the building and property, too. I love my life now that my hard times have receded.

So I am immensely thankful and grateful to work from home. This is my sanctuary, my comfort zone, and everything is convenient for my needs here. I even honestly like having the reduced hours. It gives me time to cope with my stress levels in healthier ways.

How are YOU doing in all of this?? I honestly want to know, so please tell me.

#3 Thankful for – Kindness

I want to thank God for KINDNESS.

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  Somehow that trait was diminished in my family of origin, and even overruled in some ways.  It was diminished so well, that when I saw it being acted out in television shows I perceived it as phony and unreal.  When I saw it practiced around me by others, I either thought of it as “someone trying to manipulate someone else” (because that’s how it was used in my young life), or something only weak people do.

Thankfully, God helped me find out that kindness wasn’t a myth, and that it was as real as the pain of stubbing a toe (that REALLY smarts and is utterly undeniable).

Learning to be kind to others was hard, until I learned that it really and truly had to begin with being kind to myself.  I honestly didn’t really grasp that very quickly, having learned that the only way for people (myself included) would make enduring uncomfortable and foreign changes is when they are browbeaten (punished) into making them.  So if I made a mistake or even just a bad choice, I’d beat myself up about it – harshly and without kindness.  I thought that would make me better.  I was wrong.  Once I was able to be more kind to myself, it got easier and easier to be kind to everyone else I wanted to be kind with.

The real surprise was that I actually make more consistent changes within myself and my life walk when I am kind to myself. It has been a lovely gentle surprise in my life’s journey to find that to be a real thing.

How can kindness live while really bad things going on around you?  I can only say that as we engage with kindness toward ourselves, it gets easier to see where kindness makes us feel better in bad situations. Then punishing others becomes less important and certainly less rewarding.  See how I did that?  I showed how learning kindness helped me learn what forgiveness was: my ability to give up my right to punish someone else for something they did wrong to me.  I don’t need an apology to forgive someone, now.  I only need to be kinder to myself and the world, by giving up my right to require punishment for them.  Does that mean I have to let them repeat the injury?  O HECK no!  Forgiveness does not require that I lay down and be anyone’s rug, chuckle.

This lifelong journey for the lessons of kindness drew me to a poem that I had as a bookplate when I was only 20 years old, and newly married.  It’s a poem written by Stephen Grellet (1773-1855), and it still resonates with me. I use it as my illustration today.  I hope it inspires you as well.

Finally, I want to thank God for being patient and tenacious (a kind word for stubborn) in teaching me that kindness is the better way to go, in spite of what I wasn’t given in life.  Didja know Kindness is a fruit of the spirit?  Means the more I practice it, the more God’s spirit can flow into and through me.  A very good thing.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:8

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#2 Thankful for – HOME ECONOMICS

Quick summary: Once upon a time I tried to post 100 days of Thankfulness. I fell off the task several times, so I am only going to say 100 posts of Thankfulness this time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I might. I talked about it more, here

I am thankful for HOME ECONOMICS class in High School. I took the class in 1968-69, and it’s been rare to find it in schools for many years. There’s a cry to bring it back, and some schools are doing it, though it’s an expensive program to present with all the sewing machines and kitchenettes to provide for students’ use. In my case, it was utterly a blessing, though!

I grew up a tomboy, and never paid much attention to what happens in the kitchen. That was my older sister’s domain, and I was happy to leave it to her. By the time I was 14, I jokingly referred to myself as a “can-pan” cook until I had my own kitchen to work and experiment in.  Now that we have so many frozen meals and options, I might never have learned to cook – if it wasn’t for “Home Ec”.

I took the course to please a parent, but I have to admit that I found learning how to sew and cook turned into one of the more interesting classes I took in High School.  First, since the class is foreign to many younger people, I’ll explain that one semester (or for half the school year for my foreign friends) was spent learning to sew, and the other semester was spent learning how to cook.  One group of students might begin with cooking while my group was working with the sewing.  So that part of the school always smelled interesting on the days the students really began working in the kitchenettes.

I already knew how to hem a skirt, mend an open seam, and mend simple tears (though not very neatly) and even how to embroider simple stitches. But now I was introduced to learning how to buy material and use a sewing machine to create something wearable from a pattern.

As I mentioned, I had food survival skills, but now I learned how to read and follow a recipe, shop for produce, plan a meal so each thing was ready at the right time to serve, and how to maintain a good standard of cleanliness as you went.  We even had some visiting guests to explain how their products could make things easier to do.

I really didn’t think much of the skills I gained from that class because I had to change schools when the semesters changed, and that made life a bit harder to focus.  However, once I was “on my own” I drew on those skills often – by reading the instructions that I now knew how to understand.  Taking the class made me brave enough to make my own dresses (when I could afford the materials), learn how to crochet and make clothing from patterns.  I also found the courage and finally the comfort of functioning well in the kitchen.  I’m not sure how I would have managed to do as many things as I learned how to do in that class, but I’m so thankful I didn’t have to find out, chuckle.

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Thankful for – Facebook

Quick summary: Once upon a time I tried to post 100 days of Thankfulness. I fell off the task several times, so I am only going to say 100 posts of Thankfulness this time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I might. I talked about it more, here

For my first day, I want to thank God for FACEBOOK. I know it’s been a challenging place to visit with all of the furor and hate talk going on, but that’s just because we aren’t used to that kind of thing being able to invade our homes. We’ve dealt with it on the street quite easily, and comforted ourselves by saying it wasn’t happening in our familiar circles; but perhaps that wasn’t the right response. So it’s occurred to me that perhaps it’s a good thing not to be too comfortable being segregated from things we need to be part of changing. I’m thinking that’s what God wants me to do – be the change I want to see. Discomfort makes it possible and more urgent as I get more uncomfortable. However, I DO think that home and hearth (aka intimate family) are meant to be our safe havens, and we are wise to restrict the rancor and anguish of the topics from inciting the same at home.

I thank God for Facebook because this is where I see what people far from me are doing, and I can see their pictures and even seen videos of them in an instant! I’m old enough to remember what it was like to only have letters with snapshots (if we could afford to get them developed and have copies made), and hideously expensive long distance phone calls. That’s all I had when my sister moved to another state with her husband in the early 70’s, and it was really hard to know and understand what was going on in each other’s lives.

Now, we have Facebook along with cell phones that allow for free long distance talks, and even video options for video chats! Facebook allows me to post something right now, and it will politely wait until my receiver is ready to sit down and receive it. How nice! I can choose to have private or public messages when it comes to shouting out the happy things, too.

I even have friends there that I haven’t ever met (yet); and yet I smile with their happy news, and my eyes get misty with their sad news. These folks all matter, and I really DO care. I try to let them know that on a one to one basis, too. Cause we all need to really hear it for ourselves, when someone says we matter and they care.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the encouraging and positive memes, but those are just mild influences in my journey. Nothing means more to me than a really personal message, y’know?

So, for the first of my list of 100 things I’m grateful for – I thank God for Facebook, with all of the bad that I need to address, and all of the good I might have missed out on. I love sitting down to see what everyone’s posted in my news feed each day.

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100 Things I am Thankful For – Introduction

A few years ago, I decided to make some posts on Facebook, and did it rather sloppily. I meant to post one thing each day that I was thankful for. I wanted to do it for 100 days.

What actually resulted was that I did make 100 posts for things/people I was thankful for; but I didn’t do it once a day. I fell off task some days due to illness, work life balance triage, and just because of writer’s block some days.

So the next time I posted, I might do a catch up thing, and that meant that some of the things I was thankful for, got lost in the news feeds now and then. Oops!

So, what I want to do is to try it again, and put it all here.

Some will be reposts from back then, some will be new posts. I had included people I thanked God for specifically, and that was right to do in the Facebook world. But not so necessary in the land of blogging. So I’m going to avoid that kind of post in this new list.

I found that when I read what other people posted that they were thankful for, it inspired me to see life in a brighter better way. We need that sooo much these days.

I also found that when I was writing them, that I was learning about what I appreciated in life more than what I thought I did. Things that I thought were important weren’t so critical. So they are taking less of my time these days.

I’m not going to set a daily post structure on myself. I’ve already learned that doesn’t work for me. I will do my best to post at least once a week, perhaps more.

This is going to be a journey. Take some time to enjoy the ones you like most. Tell me if I did something a bit wrong, and I’ll fix it. I’m sure that I will make some mistakes as I go along because I’m a human. We do stuff like that. Mostly, it’s unintentional. Please believe that.

Day One - Introduction

Take a Survey

I copied this from murisopsis, and if you go there, you’ll see who she got it from, as well as her answers.

I really like these cause I learn a lot from my blog friends’ answers. Have fun reading mine :).

1. Do you like mustard? O yes, especially the honey mustard.
2. Choice of carbonated drink? I don’t drink carbonated beverages, so flavored water is my favorite cold beverage.
3. Do you own a gun? No, but I have family members who do; and even one who use to train people on how to use firearms. So I don’t have an aversion to them.
4. Whiskey, Tequilla, Rum or Vodka? Of those in the list, I like Rum the best. I don’t drink for a buzz or to get drunk, I like the flavor or I don’t drink it.
5. Hot dogs or Cheeseburgers? Depends on the day, and who’s cooking, hehehe. I avoid cheese so I guess all beef hot dogs are more preferred, but I like hamburgers a lot when they are done right.
6. Favorite Type Of Food? If it’s not burning my mouth, has no cilantro in it (tastes like soap – EW!), and isn’t made with a bitter wine sauce, oysters or clams, I will probably love it.
7. Do you believe in ghosts? Not sure yet.
8. What do you drink in the mornings? Flavored water until the coffee is ready.
9. Can you do a 100 Pushups? Hahahahaha! 
10. Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall?? Autumn is my favorite followed by Spring, then winter. I don’t do hot weather very well at all.
11. Favorite hobby? Reading, though I have others…
12. Tattoos? Not yet.
13. Do you wear glasses? Yes. I even have what I call “techno vision” (they keep changing the name of them) glasses so I can work with my computer at work without moving my head so much to keep things visible. You can’t see far away with them, so they stay at work.
14. Phobias? being in a nursing home in a diaper with limited cognition.
15. Nickname? Dodi, Dori, churchmouse.
16. Three drinks you drink? Water, coffee, Chai for the virgin drinks
17. Biggest Downfall? Hmmm….
18. Rain or Snow? Rain! oh yes, rain…
19. Piercings? Ears, two on each side.
21. Kids? J2 sons, grown and flown long ago into honorable manhoods.
22. Favorite color? Depends on its use. Are we painting a wall or wearing it? If wearing it, is it a top or bottom? Coat or shoe? See…I have a complicated relationship with color, I admit it.
23. Favorite age? I loved being 50 so much better than any other age.
24. Can you whistle? Not well.
25. Where were you born? Buffalo, NY
26. Brothers or Sisters? 2 full sisters, two half brothers, 3 half sisters, 4 foster sisters (I was the foster) and 2 foster brothers. 8 parents to raise me. (two from birth, they divorce, and you get step parents, things are dysfunctional so you get foster parents – twice).
28. Surgeries? Two: a ganglion cyst on my wrist, and meniscus repairs on knee.
29. Shower or Bath? Bath is preferred 30. Like gambling? Nope. I generally find people to help with my extra money. Where did 31 go? No idea!
32. Broken bones? I broke my fingers a couple of times, but I waited until I was 50 for a break that required a cast. My right arm, too (I am right handed).
33. How many tv’s in your house? 1, that’s all I need.
34. Worst pain in your life? A back muscle in such a knot that it felt good to stop breathing. It was a close call to convince me to give Demerol a chance…
35. Do you like to dance? Nah. I’d rather watch others and get a good laugh. I’m not coordinated and have no rhythm!
36. Are your parents still alive? I have lost both my birth parents; but I have a beloved foster mom still living :). I enjoyed bragging about having 8 parents. But when I lost the first one and it hit me that I would have 8 funerals, I was crushed for weeks. They each very are dear.
37. Do you like to go camping? I really do love the smell of a campfire and the songs of the wild.

Please join in! These are fun to do and fun to read and remind me of when I used to blog on xanga. All you have to do is copy (CTRL+c), paste (CTRL+v), and change the answers to reflect your experiences!

Changes in Christmas Music

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From Crosswalk.com

I was reading an article about singer John Legend producing a new Christmas album, and that he was “revamping” the song Baby It’s Cold Outside “to modernize the song’s outdated and sometimes troubling lyrics”. For those who haven’t been able to capture them all, the lyrics are here.

To be very honest, I’ve always been unhappy with the lyrics of that song, even when I first heard it as a young teen on late night TV in the movie Neptune’s Daughter. Some of the responses by the guy seemed so self-centered to me. Some of the responses of the woman were also too provocative for my “black and white world view” teen mind. She was being too wishy-washy about leaving, and seemed to be a provocative tease. So, I’ve never liked the song. I didn’t perceive the rape culture at the time, so I’m not going to address that here. My prejudice against the song was strong before I was awakened to the rape culture’s reality.

When it began to pop up in Christmas playlists, I was annoyed and wondering why – until I got to watch Elf, again. I think I had dismissed it and forgotten about the song after seeing it the first time. Like I said, I didn’t like the song, but I honestly liked the movie, Elf, in more ways than I didn’t. So I probably deliberately overlooked the fact that the song was there.

So now I knew why the song is included in holiday playlists, but man, why play it so often? Eventually, I figured it out and here’s the real part that I am grappling with: the secularization of the season that requires removal of all religious contexts. Didn’t expect me to go in that direction, didja?

I like to listen to music on my TV, because I no longer own (nor can I afford) a stereo system. So when the Christmas season gets underway, I enjoy turning on the music channel on my cable provider. They used to provide two channels, one with old stuff and one with fresher content. The one with old stuff would have singers like Perry Como, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing the old standards I grew up with. Not necessarily the channel I want to linger in, since it’s my parent’s domain more than my own. Not bad, but not where I want to stay. I just visit a bit and wish it was included in a blend of new and old.

The other channel has the fresh stuff, and even some of the ridiculous stuff that was hard to find once upon a time. Like Dominic the Donkey, or I’m Getting Nuthin’ for Christmas, just to name a couple. But as the season playlist went along a couple of years ago, I noticed that I never heard any of these artists singing the other songs that were part of the playlists of my adulthood. No more Drummer Boy, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, or even The First Noel by some of the recent artists like Celine Dion. There’s even a really wonderful song, Jesus, Born on This Day by Mariah Carey, that will never be played there. It’s deliberately scrubbed all of the ‘reason for the season’ right out.

I’m not surprised, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t find even one channel that could be more impartial and offer a blend of ALL of the holiday music by currently active artists who are selling holiday recordings.

Y’know?