Monthly Archives: December 2006

Christmas Day Videos: Little Drummer Boy

Bing Crosby and David Bowie: Little Drummer Boy (1977)

For your Christmas entertainment, I bring you something from my childhood era: an aged Bing Crosby and a glam rock David Bowie singing Christmas duets. This video is from a Bing Crosby Christmas special that aired right after Bing had died. Did you know you can order this song on CD from Amazon? I didn’t.

Merry Christmas, everyone. See you next year!

Daily Affirmations with Misty

It’s a rare thing that you get feedback from people about how you affect their lives. I try to let people know what they mean to me, but I don’t often say to someone, “You really matter to me. I’m glad you are in my life. You make a difference for me nearly every day.” Who doesn’t want that kind of affirmation? I think if we all spent a little more time handing out that kind of praise, the world would be a nicer place.

Stephen and I are truly blessed. We have families that we love and get along with. We have relatives that we actually like to spend time with. I’ve heard horror stories about mother-in-laws and Stephen and I both have good ones. And while my parents are divorced, I’ve come to terms with what that means for me and have coped with the repercussions of that fairly well, I think. We love and get along with Stephen’s brother, Andrew, and his wife and often wish we lived closer to them. I love my kid and, beyond that, I actually like him. He’s funny and sweet and (mostly) a joy to be around.

Beyond our families, we have a wide–world-wide in fact-circle of friends. Some we see nearly everyday, some only once or twice or year. A few we haven’t seen in several years but are still in regular contact with. We have the normal set we’ve collected over the years by way of school and colleges. We have the group that was ready-made here for us by Andrew’s high-school friend, Amy. We’ve got friends at our church, which should sound normal but is actually a first for me. And we have two groups of long-distance friends. One is a set of people that Stephen met online several years ago, which is more common now than ever before but is certainly different from a generation ago. And the other set is our friends we’ve made at Dragon*Con.

I don’t want you to read this and think I’m bragging. I’m not. I’m humbled by the number and quality of people in our lives. For someone who grew up with a fairly small circle in high school and college, sometimes the shear number of people that we know overwhelms me.

I blame Stephen for being Mr. Social. Thankfully, it’s all his fault. I lay that at his door with much amusement and respect for his friendly, open nature.

All that to get around to telling you about one particular internet friend. Someone that I would never have gotten to meet and know without Stephen’s involvement in the online community.

At first glance, it would seem that we’d have very little in common. She’s lived all over the world (London, Tokyo, New York) and I have lived in three states, the second two only in the last ten years, all in the south. She went to a serious university and I went to a small, southern school. We don’t share the same faith. We don’t share a profession.

But somehow we do have things in common. A love of family and friends. A not-so-secret yen for romance novels. A desire to write a few things down so we can look back later and remember. A somewhat lackadaisical pursuit of handcrafts, the lackadaisical part due mostly to having to care for our families and manage our households. Oh, yeah, we’re both stay-at-home moms.

I have admired her for making some incredibly tough personal decisions and managing to thrive. I like and respect her because she’s funny and smart and a really nice person to spend time with. And in the past couple of weeks she has given me two really nice gifts. I don’t know if she intended them to be Christmas gifts, but I am receiving them in that spirit.

The first was a letter she wrote. I posted a bit about it here. It was a thoughtful, checking-in sort of letter. Since I am pregnant she wanted to be able to touch base with me in a non-intrusive way and let me know that she was thinking of me and what I was going through. Since the beginning of pregnancy is so rough for me, I found it to be an amazing sensitive thing to do. Especially since I tend to be a little internally focused during that time and sometimes am not very communicative.

The second was a song. A Bengali version of “Silent Night.” It’s so beautiful in and of itself but in email she sent me to go along with it is just as good. In it she said that I had been a role model to her as a mother and that the thought of being able to call on me for advice was enough to calm her in tough situations. Wow. Talk about affirmation.

When we first started this site, I wanted it to be a place where I could let people know what’s going on with us, but I also felt that I needed to have a “mission” in mind for my writing as well. I read several mommy blogs and while I enjoy them, they are a bit intense sometimes with the “telling it like it really is in motherhood” angle. Yes, it’s tough. Yes, it’s bittersweet. Not every day is a good day. In fact, I had a pretty tough child-rearing day just today. But the mission is to tell the tale with kindness, to have a place where people can talk and ask questions (especially about our faith since there are people of several different faiths–or non-faiths–reading here) and to hopefully be affirming and loving to people that read and to people we talk about here. Do I accomplish that every day? Probably not. Sometimes this becomes just a place to let off steam. I try to moderate that, but it does happen from time to time.

And yet, here I get the affirmation. And yeah, it makes a difference in my life. It makes me feel special and loved. So I pass it on to you, my friends and family. I have thought of many of you over the past couple of days in deciding what to say in this post. Some of you I haven’t spoken to in a while. That doesn’t mean you are not in my thoughts and prayers. Some of you I spoke to yesterday and you are just as present in my thoughts and prayers. I hope this Christmas season finds you all well. Thank you for all you do for me. I hope that I can manage to do half as much for you.

Cataloging the Granade Library: Part 4

The subtitle for this post should be: “Books under the bed: Now with more dust!” or maybe, “Books so dusty even Ray Granade won’t touch them!” or maybe, “Why the crap do we have books under the bed!!?!?” or my personal favorite, “We’re saving that, Why?”

Why yes, in case you were wondering, books do get incredibly dusty when they are shoved under a bed for 5 years. If you have some stashed under your bed, I recommend not going under there without hazmat gear. Stephen had the job of raking them out from under the guest bed and I think he has allergy trauma now. I am covered in dust and it’s actually bothering me a bit, it must be my super tingly pregnancy sense of smell.

But it’s hard to complain with so many books going out of the house. 43 are going to The Booklegger (our local used book store) after Christmas. 12 are going back home to their rightful owners. And a sad two got trashed for all time. This sense of accomplishment accompanying getting rid of books totally satisfies the nesting instinct, just in case you were wondering.

I think the living room can be finished in one session, with someone manning the ladder to get the high bookshelves. I really thought we’d break 1,000 but there’s no way there are 300+ books in the living room. Geof, your overall total may be pretty close to being correct.

  • 678 total books scanned.
  • 164 books scanned today.
  • Stephen’s count: 393 total.
  • My count: 139 total.
  • Eli’s count: 146 total. Yes, my kid has more books than me. For NOW.
  • Discards: A record 28! Mostly from under the bed in the guest room.
  • Discard total: 43. Don’t shoot us, John!
  • Trashed: 2 books. They were falling apart.
  • Bibles counted but not scanned: 20. Most of them are mine, I’m obsessed with translations.
  • Rooms finished: Kitchen, Eli’s room, master bedroom, guest room (finally!).
  • Borrowed Books Found: Ashley: 2, Geof: 1, Alana: 1, Stephen’s Parents: 3, my Mom: 5. The ones that live in AR are all going back for Christmas. Merry Christmas to you!
  • Books checked out: 1 to Joy. I know we have others loaned out but we can’t check them out until people return them for us to scan. Hint, Hint.
  • Other things found under the guest bed: two “Dance, Dance Revolution” pads for Playstation 2, 12 yearbooks, two wedding photo albums, and six copies of Rolling Stone magazine (mostly with U2 on the cover).

Update: Sometime in the night I remembered that there is a plastic tub of books in the guest room closet. Oh, well, we’ll get the guest room finished eventually.

Progress Report #2 on The Fortunate Traveler

I hadn’t posted in a while about working on this cross-stitch piece. I didn’t work much during the time I was sick. I did get some done (mostly the purple dude) over Thanksgiving and I should have snapped a photo then, but I forgot.

Here’s the last time I took a photo.

Here’s this evening after I finished a large chunk of the beastie’s wing. The blue in his wing is so yummy that I could totally lick it. And, no that’s not a pregnancy thing.


Cataloging the Granade Library: Part 3

I’m trying to break up the scanning/input of ISBN codes into reasonable parcels, sections that can get done in one sitting/day. This is mostly so I can feel as if I’ve accomplished something at the end of the session and have tidbits to report here. I have the large built-in bookcases in the living room that I’m not looking forward to and they will probably be last. However, the bright spot in that is that those, for the most part, are our newest “prettiest” books so all the bar codes on them should work. Unlike today’s scanning, which where all children’s books and for your information, NONE of the bar codes on kid’s books work! Nearly every single one of them had to be typed by hand. Arg!

  • 514 total books scanned.
  • 147 books scanned (hand-typed, whatever) today.
  • All 147 live in Eli’s room.
  • Eli’s count: 144 total.
  • My count: 99 total. Eli’s room holds some of my children’s books that I bought before he came along.
  • No discards today!
  • Rooms finished: Kitchen, Eli’s Room, possibly the office.
  • Children’s books with high resale value: Like Butter on Pancakes. Retail Price: $5.99. Current Value: $45.97. This book was already out of print when I had Stephen’s dad find it for me two years ago and now it’s so very, very out of print. It’s probably my favorite kid’s book.
    All I See. This is actually one of my books by one of my favorite children’s author: Cynthia Rylant. Retail Price: $6.95. Current Value: $24.96.

Are you guys finding this interesting or dull? I am enjoying posting what I find but if you guys are bored to tears, I’ll just keep it to myself. I know the resale value thing is sort of odd. I know the numbers are somewhat arbitrary, but it’s kinda fun to think about the books that I enjoy actually being worth something.

Maybe We Can Teach Him to Eat Them For Real

Every few days, we’ve been letting Eli have a toy from his Christmas stocking. The latest is a basket of plastic vegetables.

Tiny toy vegetables

Eli isn’t what I’d call a vegetable eater, beyond fries and ketchup and cheese sandwiches, assuming that ketchup is a vegetable. Given that fact, I thought Eli would play with them for a while and then forget about them.

Was I ever wrong. He drags them around the house, dumping them out of their basket and putting them back in. He shoves them in his mouth and spits them back out with a “pbuh” noise. He washes them, thus removing any plastic pesticides or plastic bugs from them.

Eli washing vegetables

However, some vegetables are more equal than others. Eli demanded that the vegetables join him in the bath tonight, making a kind of toddler soup with garnish. When I gave them to him, he handed some back to me. “You take these. You take these.” He divided them into two groups:

Dividing the vegetables

“Those vegetables are not funny,” he told me. “These vegetables are very good.” He then popped the red pepper in his mouth like a cigar.

Cataloging the Granade Library: Part 2

I finished the large bookshelf in the guest room. Go me! Still tons under the bed and in the closet though. I also did all my cookbooks. So the kitchen is done. The office is mostly done. I think I may have some cross stitch books in the closet, but I’ll do those the next time I have to dive in my boxes for other cross
stitch materials. We are going to put shelves up in the office so maybe the books under the bed will migrate there. At the rate we’re going, the whole office will be covered in shelves before Eli starts kindergarten.

So here are the counts for today.

  • 367 total books scanned.
  • 120 scanned today.
  • 331 books on the large bookshelf in the guest room.
  • 21 books in the office. Possibly more to come from the closet.
  • 15 in the kitchen. All cookbooks and that’s not counting the family made collections.
  • Stephen’s count: 270 total.
  • Eli’s count: 1. Will potentially start his stuff tomorrow.
  • My count: 96 total.
  • Discarded: 4 today, 15 total.
  • Highest Resale Value: The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Commemorative Issue, Three Volume Set at $64.55.
  • Two Most Bizarre Resale Values: Edward Gorey 2004 Calendar: The Doubtful Guest and Stupid Joke. Retail: $14.99. Current Value: $25.
    Sluggy Freelance: Game Called on Account of Naked Chick. Retail: $12.95. Current Value: $55.51.

Getting Ready for Church

“Look Out! Here comes the green airplane!” Eli zooms into the bathroom with his green foam airplane and lands it on the counter by me.

“Green plane! What kinds of green things are you carrying today?” I ask green plane.

“Fishes!” Eli replies in green plane voice, “Fishes for biblestudy!”

He zooms off with his green plane, presumably to deliver the goods.

Cataloging the Granade Library: Part 1

For Christmas, Amy bought us the Delicious Library software that Stephen talked about here.

So tonight, we (Geof and I, Stephen was doing REAL work) began scanning in books. We completed six shelves for a total of 247 books. I’m not sure why I feel that this project must be completed above all others, especially when we have so many baby-related tasks that need to be done. It’s probably nesting of some sort. Mostly I want it to be done so I can put it on the website. I’m also not sure what the use of that is, but I desperately want you all to be able to peer into our library. Like you care. But hey, if you ever want to buy us a gift, you’ll know what we already have!

So here are some random statistics from the library project:

  • 204 of 247 books belong to Stephen.
  • 43 of 247 books belong to Misty.
  • 0 of 247 books belong to Eli, so far.
  • 246 of 247 books live in our guest room. Who knows where they will be moving to before Baby TBA gets here.
  • 1 random book scanned from the office.
  • 8 books by Clifford D. Simak.
  • 7 books by George Alec Effinger.
  • 7 books by Terry Prachett. And we haven’t even gotten to the Prachett shelf in the living room.
  • 11 books were judged unworthy and discarded.

Would anyone like to start a betting pool on how many books there are in this house? And how many belong to Stephen? 😉