Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mommy Dearest.....

So....Erynn came home for Christmas. We had a lovely Christmas eve: drove down Christmas Tree Lane looking at the lights.

Then we drove thru a neat area that puts luminarias (candles in a bag) throughout their entire neighborhood. Very, very cool. Christmas Day was good -- spent with friends. Christmas evening she and I watched A Muppet Christmas Carol.

Yes, Lecram, I agree: it IS one of the best versions around. But then again, I love anything with a muppet....
Boxing Day was spent shopping -- as is my tradition. And then it was time for Erynn to head for home.
--and all hell broke loose!

::ring ring!::
"Yes, sweetie?"
"Mummy (she thinks she British sometimes) -- what does it mean when the little light that looks like a battery comes on?"
"It means something's wrong with your battery (smart Mom, eh?). Are you out of Fresno already?"
"Is it steady or flashing?"
"It flashes about every minute or two."
"Keep driving. You should be alright."

Ever have one of those moments? I could hear the rimshot. I could feel the thunder. So (said she later), could Erynn. But "keep driving" she did.

::ring ring!::
"Yes, sweetie."
"Mummy, (not the wrapped in cotton kind), the car just died."
"Where are you?"
"I don't know! There's no signs around."
Note: now, if you were driving a car with a blinky warning light, wouldn't you kinda keep track?
"Sweetie, call Roadside. They'll come help you. Then call me back."

::ring ring!::
"Yes, sweet--"
"Mummy, I hate them! ::sob sob:: They made me walk to the next exit to tell them the name, and then they said ::sob sob:: they still didn't know-- they told me ::sob sob:: to call 9-1-1."

Note: now, first, let me say, Erynn is a truly strong and fantastic girl. She works and pays for most of her schooling, gets good grades, and basically blows everyone away with how put together she is. But she sucks at car drama.

Long story short -- I called kowboi -- or Handy Andy, as I like to call him (but only when he's not close enough to hit me). We drove to McFarland, where Erynn was waiting at McDonalds -- after a McOfficer gave her a McLift. Kowboi discovered the problem, and MacGyvered it so we could get it back to Fresno. And we almost made it! Got as far as Kingsburg before it McDied. So I called roadside, had them come get the car and tow it to Fresno. I called some of the Rogues to let them know we were returning and to meet us at Headquarters.

a big thanks, again, to kowboi. A very Handy Andy to take on a trip.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Christmas Meme from Cosima and Lime....

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Up until a year ago, the answer would have been a hands-down-hot-chocolate. But I went to San Francisco for New Years and had the most incredible Egg Nog……Actually, I had 3 egg nogs…..and a couple of martinis……but no worries!! I wasn’t driving. “Why wasn’t I driving?” you inquire. Because Kermit learned he wasn’t a tree frog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa always wrapped the presents in a particular paper. We called it the “Santa Paper.” Yes, yes, not very original – but effective. Santa didn’t put tags or ribbon or bows – he just used “his” paper. Worked great until Erynn discovered “his” paper shoved under the couch in July…..

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
This year I’ve gone with multi on both the house and the tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No – because the only kissables at the house are the cats. And they’re not good kissers…..But I do think I’ll shove a sprig in my pocket next year for use on shopping sprees.

5. When do you put up your decorations?
I like to put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving, although I it was the 2nd weekend in December this year before I was done. But I insist that the decorations stay up thru 12th night. Christmas officially ends on January 6th.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Actually, I don’t have holiday dishes. I’ve always wanted a set: I’d really love to have the set with the 12 Days of Christmas on them.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
One year I won a 7 foot stocking from a local store. I wrapped up stuff from the stocking to give to my brothers and sisters.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I woke up and heard Santa putting the presents under the tree I crept down the hall to get a peek: saw Mom, Dad, and my two older brothers putting the presents under the tree. Went back to bed. Told my little sister Jo-jo. She had already figured it out.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Duh. What a stupid question. When Erynn was little, she knew she could talk me into opening a present every day for a week before Christmas!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
It is a mouse tree. Seriously. All mice. Stop laughing! Really! It’s even got an Angel mouse topper. And Drummer-mice that hang on the lower boughs and play Christmas carols. I mean it! Stop laughing! The only non-mouse thing is the choo-choo that goes around the base: it’s a Rudolph train. If you ever see a mouse train, please buy it. I want it.

Oh…..and I’ve started a Wizard of Oz tree……

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I love snow, especially at Christmas. I would love to spend Christmas snowed in at a cabin in the mountains. With Brad Pitt….or George Clooney……or Daniel Craig.

Back off Lelly!! You haven’t even gone to see him in Bond yet!.

12. Can you ice skate?
As a small child in upstate New York I could! They used to flood the tennis courts and we’d skate there. Shhhh…..don’t tell my mom, but we used to sneak out onto the lake and skate too..

13. Do you remember your favorite gift for Christmas?
That would have to be the Budding Beauty Vanity. Or my guitar. Can I choose both?

14 . What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Letting my family and friends know how much they mean to me.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
chocolate. Anything chocolate.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Erynn and I drive around on Christmas eve looking at the lights and decorations on houses. We try to find new places each year.

17. What tops your tree?
You’re probably still laughing, right? Yes. As I told you above: it’s an Angel-mouse.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

19. Do you like Candy Canes?
duh. What a stupid question……
20. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Traditional: Silent Night, Holy Night.

But I love Kathy Mattea’s version of “Mary, Did you Know?” It makes me cry. And…as we all know….it’s not Christmas unless Jayne cries.

Mary Did You Know

Merry Christmas, and God Bless you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sucked down the Rabbit Hole

This is the story I've struggled with the most. I've started it often -- but never finished it. Either is was funny -- and it's not a funny story. Or it was depressing -- and I've grown tired of depressed. Or I didn't get it right. Or I was afraid you'd think I was fishing for sympathy.

I'm not. I'm not any of the above. But I did need to get this one out. Allya'll that know me, know the "end result." Somya'll know the beginning, somya'll know the middle. But I felt that allya'll needed to know why this time of year -- the time of year that used to be my absolute favorite time of year -- is now my wobbly-est time of year...

According to my family, “It’s not Christmas unless Jayne cries…”
40 years ago, it was my budding Beauty Vanity, 30 years ago, it was my guitar. 25 years ago, my first Christmas away from my family, 20 years ago, Erynn’s first Christmas. These were all “true” Christmases. They were Christmas because Jayne cried.

And then, there was my Christmas four years ago. The year I got sucked down the rabbit hole—

I was driving home from church – I’d just finished doing my annual Christmas pageant. Erynn hadn’t been there – she’d had an improv rehearsal. But where had Mik-
::ring ring::
“Michael! Where were you?”
“Where are you?”
“I’m on my way home – did you forget about the Christmas pageant?””Oh – yeah! Guess I did – how’d it go?”
“Great! Everyone liked the li-“
“Where are you?”
“I’m on my way home – do you need something?”
“Nope – just wondering where you are.”
“Yeah-yeah, I’m on my way home. I’ll tell you all about it in a bit.”
“Home in a bit” was delayed by a quick trip to the store.
::ring ring!::
“Jayne, where you at?”
“Sorry, babe – had to stop at Target for tape.”
“Oh – okay. See you in a bit.”
And then, I’m pulling in the driveway. It’s a long, dark driveway. I punch the garage-door opener, and pull the car in. As I get out of the car, I’m surprised to suddenly find a strange car pulled in right behind me.
“Can I help you?” I ask warily.
“I’ve got family court papers for you.”
“Oh, you must have the wrong address—“
“What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Jayne. Jayne Day-Richardson.”
“Nope. Right person. Right address,” he curtly responds as he hands me a thick stack of documents, “Merry Christmas.”
Shell-shocked, I take the papers. Surely this is a mistake – But it’s no mistake: the papers have his name vs. my name. “He must be dying – or he’s won the lottery” are the only two thoughts in my numb brain. Autopilot guides my feet into the house – “Where’s Dad?” I ask Erynn. “He’s not home,” she responds from the couch, “But someone has been here twice looking for you.” I continue to the back of the house – still on autopilot. “I’m gonna take a shower, sweetie, okay?” I’m aware of her response – I’m just not sure what it was. I turn the shower on – having no intention of getting in – I just need it to drown the sound.
I dial his number. No answer.
Pain like an arrow pierces my brain: He didn’t take the truck in to be worked on – he took the truck.
I dial his number. No answer.
Another arrow pierces and runs me through: he didn’t take the horse-trailer to be painted – he took it and hid it.
I dial his number. No answer.
Another arrow pierces and runs me through: he wasn’t getting rid of old clothes last week – he was moving them.
I dial his number. No answer.
Yet another arrow pierces and runs me through: this is why he didn’t want both of our names on Erynn’s car.
I dial his number. No answer.
An arrow as wide as a car knocks me to the floor: this is why everyone acted so strange in Fiji – they knew that “this” was coming.
I dial his number.
“Michael. What have you done?”
“Jayne. It was time—“
“Michael. What have you done? Is this how you –“
“Jayne. We aren’t happy. It “
“Michael. Where’s the talking? Where’s the trying to fix?”
“Jayne. I can’t talk to you. You never listen. You never support-“
“Michael. How can you do this – now? Erynn graduates in six months. I’m getting ready to do my student teaching. You do this now? Two days before Christmas? Without talking?”
“Jayne, it was time. You never—“
“Michael, don’t. I can’t believe that this is how you do THIS. After 21 years – you let some stranger serve me papers in the driveway. What were you thinking?”
“Jayne. I’m not happy. And I deserve to be happy. That’s the most important thing in life, right?”
“No, Michael. Actually, the most important thing is our daughter. What—“
“Well, you know Jayne – that’s another problem. You always put her first—“
I don’t remember how the conversation ended. I remember climbing in and sitting on the floor of the shower – letting the water course down my arrow scarred body—sitting there, shaking and crying…..
-cause it’s not Christmas, unless Jayne cries……

Thursday, December 07, 2006


We are a family of word-lovers. My mother instilled in each of us a desire to know words. Instead of “said” we were encouraged to use replied, retorted, exclaimed, whispered, shouted, admonished (personal fave) – well, you get the picture. There were a couple of word rules:
1) we couldn’t use it if we didn’t know what it meant. And
2) we couldn’t say it unless it was in the dictionary.

This was my mother’s way of keeping us from cussing – wouldn’t work so much now, ‘cause “those words” are in many dictionaries -But it worked just fine back then.

We couldn’t call each other f*ck*rs, bi$ch@s, as$ho(es, or even ba4t#rds – cause we couldn’t find them in the dictionary. But phenomenal alternatives were found, and creative compounds built: Mucus-hound, Feces-dweller, larvae-lover.

What a wonderful life, eh? (Rhetorical – yes, it WAS a wonderful life…..)

Poor Jason...
Jason is my youngest brother, and as a child he received quite the pickings on by his five older siblings. We would call him names...he wouldn’t know what they meant...he would look them up... – and cry... and then we would heartily laugh.

Jason spent oodles of hours with eyes in the dictionary....

One day, I was sitting outside with my sister JoJo and her boyfriend – the boyfriend we all tolerated, but considered a fecal-dweeling maggot-munching, toad-toting fiend.

“Whatcha doing?” Jason asked.

“Noneofyerbizness, Four-eyes,” Danny sneered.

--see why we didn’t like him? I mean it’s one thing to pick on your OWN sibling…

“Hey,” I retorted, “Don’t call him that—“

“It’s okay,” interjected Jason, “I don’t care what he says. He’s a hemorrhoid!”

A what!?!?” I choked.

“A hemorrhoid,” Jason calmly repeated.

“Jason,” I admonished (heh-heh, personal fave), “You know the rules: if you don’t know what it means, you can’t say it.”

Hemorrhoid,” explained Jason, “ Hemoorrhoid. A painful and inflamed area near the butt-OCKS. And that is what Danny is: a painful area near the butt-OCKS.”

Dontcha jus' love it? I mean, dontcha!?!?!?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Casino Royale

I went to see Lelly’s lover

Okay, okay, not her “real-life” one….I went to see her “if-he-shows-up-on-the-doorstep-I-get-to-do-him-without-jeopardizing-my-long-term-relationship” lover:

“The name is Bond. James Bond”

Okay – to all the critics and purists
--which, by the way – how can you be a “Bond purist?” I mean, there’s been how many Bonds? Six? Seven? Get over yourselves already.

And Bond – get over here!

::Spoiler alert ahead::

Okay – if you don’t wanna know what happens – leave now.

Did you leave? Did you stay?

Last warning…..

Hmmmm…..Money penny gets some! Yes! Money penny gets some Bond lovin’ in the movie. Fanfrickingtastic, I say. Okay, okay, her name is Vesper Lyn, but when she meets Bond on the train (hey, I warned you) she says, “I’m the Money” to which Bond replies, “Every penny of it.” (FYI -I'm stealing this line. I will say, "I'm the Money" you reply, "Every penny of it." Deal?)

….sorry, went to the store…..

Okay, fast forward over all the boring plot details, lets just leave it at Money penny, aka Vesper Lyn (what a non-Bond-chick name, eh?) rolls on the floor, in the sand, and on a boat with Bond – and what a Bond he is – all chiseled and nekkid. Oh! And there’s a scene where (::spoiler alert!::) he’s tied nekkid in a chair—

God....what a gun.....

….again, I’ve gone to the store…..sigh, Vespers getting the vapors…..

So, see? Perhaps there’s hope, eh? I mean, if the Movie’ Money penny is getting’ some, perhaps the Rogue’ Money penny….

…oh hell, I think I’ll just stay here at the store. Do you need me to pick up anything?