Why This Christmas Tree?


When I worked for Roman, it wasn’t unusual for me to ask, “Does it matter which way the cow and donkey face in the nativity scene?” Eventually, I learned plenty about Christian holiday traditions and mercy. But this year, I’m at a loss after seeing the holiday tree erected in Rockefeller Plaza. After miraculously surviving Super Storm Sandy, this brave tree was summarily chopped down, trucked to New York and lit up. It’s going to wind up in a wood chopper. I don’t buy into resurrection theory, but given everything this evergreen has survived, I hope there’s merit to it.

The Doctor [Isn’t Always] In

What’s your medical avoidance technique? When I feel sick, I worry for days – sometimes weeks – ‘til I feel better, at which point I say aloud, “See! I knew you were fine.” Any excuse can scuttle thoughts of making a doctor’s appointment: There’s Rocky Road in the freezer. I’ll call when it’s gone in case I find out I’m lactose intolerant. I have dinner plans and the dreaded blood test fast is set to start somewhere between cocktails and the salad. Sure, I agree that early diagnoses save lives, but that kind of logic doesn’t stick when I’m in denial.

On Surpassing 200 Blog Posts

When I started writing 100 Wicked Words, I committed to that number of words every day for a year and frankly, I didn’t know if I could meet the challenge. Have I stayed the course? Not perfectly. I skipped a couple, but the five posts I built into the blog’s launch provided insurance against that possibility. Thanks to God’s gift — He wired me with a hefty amount of ADD, OCD, hyperactivity or all of the above – my goal is on track. That doesn’t mean I don’t worry about repeating myself! I’ve now written nearly 22,000 words. Stay tuned …

A Frustrating Spelling Lesson

While in Dallas, my son gave me a formerly-loved Mac, but the word processing program had no spell check. I managed to post without it, but it took me 10 minutes to draft each blog entry and another hour to visually count and re-count the words since I edit as I proof. I’ve concluded that spell checkers are like toilet paper. You don’t know how much you prize them until you’re alone in a bathroom with nothing but a cardboard tube to keep you company. Can’t wait to load MSWord so the power of spell check is again mine!

All I Need is a Backpack …

Five days in Dallas? All I need is a backpack and I’m ready for anything. My backpack epiphany harkens back to a 3-week trip to Africa. Between New York and Madrid, my luggage was sucked into Iberia Airlines’ Black Hole of Calcutta. Groggy but determined, I trolled Nairobi for a few outfits with cash from the airline and off we went. Talk about liberating. No giraffe called the fashion police. No tourists noticed my very limited wardrobe. When my suitcase arrived at last, I traded everything for original African art. Now that’s a bag I would have regretted losing. 

Getting to the Meat of Things

My grandson lives on a small ranch , so I usually inquire about the cows on the spread when we hunker down over the Monopoly board. In particular, I asked about his cow, Oreo. “He’s good, but BooBoo just got chopped up.” To prove a point, he pulled a sleeve of meat from his Dad’s freezer. I was stunned. Vegetarian grandma meets quintessential Texas kid. He was about to go into detail about how yummy he expected Oreo to taste as a burger when I stopped him. I’m not sure how I feel about getting up close and personal with dinner. 

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Having a child really does change everything. Choices between paying for braces vs. choosing a newer model car over fixing up the old one rarely require a second thought. The adorable parasites grow up at last, at which point parents must re-learn how to prioritize themselves and get in touch with their own inner selfish child. It’s time to pay up, kids! Every parent has a price. I consider the ultimate sacrifice to be giving up the bedroom when I visit and camping on the couch. Little things mean a lot to folks who have run the child-rearing gauntlet.

Fly Me to the Doom

If things go too well when I find myself getting ready to catch a flight to leave town, I figure the plane’s going to go down. If the cab arrives on time and I get to O’Hare just in time to board, I know the plane’s going down. Add a smooth, on-time ride with no screaming babies, no suspected terrorists onboard and an aisle seat beside a person who doesn’t hog the arm rest or smell awful and — well, it’s going to be a particularly violent fall to Earth. I guess you could say my ritual works perfectly. So far.


It wasn’t the date that stopped me in my tracks when I spotted the Salvation Army bell ringer standing in front of Jewel. These good folks don’t usually show up until the Thanksgiving bird has been reduced to a carcass. But, holiday calendar boundary pushing is trendy, so here’s what caught my attention: The dude standing beside the bucket wore cut-off shorts and a sleeveless shirt. No scarf. No boots. No Santa hat, either. Seems global warming has high jacked even SA volunteers. I was reminded of Miami at Thanksgiving – minus the palm trees, rum punch and Latin rhythms.

Light My Ire

My eyes droop. I feel like I’ve eaten three chocolate cakes. Time to quit work and think about dinner? Not so much. It’s only 3 p.m. I call these Russia days, especially those on which the sun refuses to appear. The only thing that saves me from despair is that my friend and I count down days to the Winter Equinox when we begin getting an extra minute of light daily. But, wait! We’re screwed this year. That extra minute of light starts on December 21st — the day we spin off into the biosphere. Now, I really hate those Mayans.