Friday, December 21, 2007

Flea of One Good Thing has another wonderful “Letters to Santa” story this year. Her Mrs. Claus letter is perfect.


At chez selzach, the best gift was for a child we selected from the angel tree. We debated over what to get and eventually decided to get what was first on our child’s list: a bike. We didn’t go for one of the expensive, super-nice bikes, but found a reasonably priced one. I hope he won’t be disappointed.


My grad school department hosted a Christmas party every year. We’d get a tree and decorate it and everyone, students, staff and faculty, would bring food. After the party we’d bring in gifts and wrap them. Finally, the gifts, tree, and a food basket would go to a needy family. It was such a nice tradition.
The family and I made a last-minute gift run last night. We noticed multiple police cars at the little pizza joint next to our subdivision. We wondered if a robbery had taken place as we turned into our neighborhood. We took a quick drive down a couple of neighboring streets, to enjoy the holiday lights, and made our way home. That’s when we noticed the police helicopter flying directly overhead.

Peanut and I went inside while Hubby gathered the laptop out of his patrol car. He turned on the radio while the computer booted up. It was abuzz. Yes, the pizza place had been robbed by two gunmen who fled on foot…into our subdivision. The helicopter was circling, perimeters were set up, and a tracking dog was brought in. Neighbors on the next street called in to report suspicious people and items dropped in their backyards.

Several hours later, two males were taken into custody. They later confessed to robbing the pizza place. They live in a subdivision catty-corner to ours and were trying to make their way back to their house. I guess they didn’t realize the cops would be faster than them. I’m glad they’re no longer on the loose.

UPDATE: The robbers were apprehended at the hospital. Apparently, they went to another nearby pizza/Italian joint for some slices of pizza before robbing the other place. They ended up with severe food poisoning and went to the ER. Talk about karma.

Hubby and I frequent the food poisoning place but usually order whole pies or other meals which (we assume) are freshly made. If this place is anything like the dumpy place I waitressed at in college, they prepare the by-the-slice pies in the morning and leave them sitting out all day. When someone orders a slice, it goes into the oven to be warmed then is served. Food poisoning comes as no surprise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cheeky tagged me for the "8 Things About Me" meme:

The rules are as follows:
People who are tagged need to write in their own blog these rules & the eight things. At the end of your blog post, tag six people and list their (blog) names. Leave a comment on their blog telling them they've been tagged and encourage them to read your blog.

Since I doubt I even have six readers, I’m not going to tag anyone. If you read the blog and would like to participate, consider yourself tagged and leave me a comment saying so!

1) I was attacked by a police dog-in-training when I was a kid. It was my second day at a new babysitter’s. I went inside to get her because a boy was hitting one of the other girls (we had been playing in the back yard) and made her cry. I got partway across the kitchen when suddenly a snarling German Shepherd had me pinned to the floor and was biting my shoulder. Luckily, the babysitter’s husband, a State Police K-9 trainer was home and got the dog off me. I had several punctures on my shoulder and a bruised bone. Needless to say, I never went back and they paid for my doctor’s bills. Mom never took actions against them, but I would probably have done something – they had 3 K-9s loose in the house among the kids. A smaller child could have been maimed or killed.

2) My best part-time job ever was driving an ice cream truck. My then-boyfriend’s parents rented the truck for the summer season (as one of their usual get-rich quick schemes.) The boyfriend and I would drive it several days a week. We learned all the good beaches and neighborhoods and figured out the competitor’s route so we could beat him to the good places. I became super quick at adding and subtracting in my head since we only had a cash box. At the end of the day, we’d split the money 3 ways. 1/3 to his parents to cover gas and cost of the ice cream and the other 2/3 split between the two of us. I’d come home with anywhere from $50-250 in cash.

3) I am a dual-national, although both of my passports are years past expiration.

4) Patience is not one of my strong points. I’m also stubborn. It’s not a good combination. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I struggle a lot to be patient, especially with Peanut. He also is stubborn, impatient, and strong-willed and we butt heads all the time. I see so much of myself in him.

5) I love home-cooked meals, but am not a huge fan of cooking, especially after a long day at work. I’m looking forward to Christmas and the thime to make a real dinner – roasted chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, creamed peas, cranberry jelly…the works.

6) I want to learn something crafty/artistic. I’d love to learn to felt, crochet, or make stained glass art. One of these days I will. I tried to learn crocheting a couple of times and did miserably. Quilting also fascinates me, but I don’t think I’d ever have the patience or skill to make something pretty.

7) I get homesick every time I visit my parents. I miss my home state, but am pretty sure I wouldn’t be happy living there. My parents live in a gorgeous area, but it has become built-up and expensive. I miss the seasons, flora, fauna, and my family, of course. The traffic always drives me nuts, and after a couple of bad winter storms and a week or two of temperatures not breaking freezing, I’d probably be ready to move back south.

8) I love to read. Generally, I read fiction as a way to relax. I mix in some classic literature and non-fiction, but most of the stuff I read is fiction – novels, short stories, mysteries. Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorite authors.
Ah, home, sweet home:

Woman on crutches accused of groping Santa
Sexual assault allegedly occurred on his lap at Connecticut mall

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mom is settling in (somewhat) at the state hospital. I've spoken with her a couple of times and we had good conversations. She was coherent and asked many questions about me, Peanut, Hubby, the pregnancy, and the family. She also said she's going to try harder to do what she needs to do to get better. It's wonderful to hear that she has some hope again. There are other days when I call that she refuses to come to the phone or is in the middle of another hyperventillation spell and can't talk.

I've filled out pages of paperwork on her financial status. Full price monthly stay at the hospital is roughly $10K. Her monthly check isn't even 1/10th of that much. They should work with us to make sure she has enough money to continue paying rent to the trailer park and her other medical bills. There won't be much left over for the hospital. Certainly nothing near their price.

Somehow she has lost her top teeth (denture) and glasses. The teeth went missing in the medical ward. She placed them in a cup and I suspect they were accidentally thrown away. The missing glasses are another story. She laid them on a bathroom shelf to take a shower and when she was finished, they were gone. I suspect they didn't disappear accidentally. I wonder if another patient took them.

The hospital will somehow take care of getting her some new teeth, but the glasses are questionable. I spoke with her ophthamologist's office today and they can't find the record of her glasses, which were purchesed there. So I left a message for the social worker and will see where it goes.
I love the Advent season. The tree and lights are up. The advent wreath is on the table and we say a little prayer and light the appropriate candles each night. I’ve pulled out my Christmas CDs and have been enjoying the music.

My favorites are the traditional Christmas carols. I have a couple CDs that feature arrangements and direction by John Rutter. The choir is amazing and the arrangements are beautiful. The songs remind me of singing carols in church as a child. Songs by Rutter were common both in the children’s hymnal we used at the Lutheran parochial school I attended and in the Congregational church Mom and I went to.

I popped one of the CD’s into the car radio. Peanut listened for a minute then asked “Is that Mr. Bean music?” I cracked up. We gave him the Mr. Bean TV series on DVD for his birthday, and one of the episodes features Mr. Bean in church, singing a traditional (but not Christmas) hymn – in fact one I recognized from my own childhood churchgoing days. Smart boy.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “In the Bleak Midwinter”.
words by Christina Rossetti, 1872
1. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

2. Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

4. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

5. What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart

Monday, December 03, 2007

Since I last posted...

Peanut turned 3 (actually he turned 3 a few days prior to my last post). We had a small Superman-themed party at our house with a few friends and their families. We ordered a few platters of food from our local Pubics (Publix) and did no planning. It was great. The kids played together and the grownups sat around eating and talking. Best Friend and her family stayed into the evening and we ordered a pizza and watched a couple of movies.

We visited Hubby's family for Thanksgiving. Peanut had another birthday party there along with his second cousin who just turned one. He had so much fun playing with all his cousins and being doted on by the grandparents. There was some family drama, but nothing too bad. Oldest and youngest SILs are both drinking (a lot by the looks of it). They popped in for Turkey, dropped off gifts, then headed to the campround to drink some more. Oldest's grandson was sick and wound up in the ER that night, but she couldn't be bothered to help her very worried daughter. We wound up staying at FIL's so our niece, her husband, and sick baby could stay at MIL's instead of spending the night alone. Youngest SIL also filled us in on her DUI hit-and-run this summer. Unfortunately for her, the victim got her tag number, so several cops were waiting when she arrived at home. She somehow weaseled out of a DUI charge, but still has to appear on the rest. Hubby's drug-addict cousin, who is squatting in a trailer with no utilities has apparently been breaking into MIL's vacant house for heat, cable, and hot water. Pretty much the usual.

Mom is still at the state hospital. Apparently someone transposed my home phone number, so the social worker and general physician weren't able to contact me (but somehow the shrink has working numbers for me - go figure.) Mom had a bad time for the first few days, got dehydrated, refused meds and food, tried to remove her patch (psych meds), and had to be tube fed. She's eating and drinking now. It sounds like a g-tube is a pretty nasty thing and is good motivation for her to eat on her own. They want to do some scans of her abdomen, but I haven't been able to contact the general doctor, so I'm not sure what's going on with that.

We're looking forward to Christmas. Peanut is so excited to see all the lights. We may get the tree up tonight - I did the outside lights last night.