weekend assignment #206: TODAY is my birthday!


Karen Funk Blocher writes:

Weekend Assignment #206: My birthday is coming up on Monday. In the grand tradition of the Beatles and my mom*, I magnanimously declare this to be your birthday, too. So, what would you like for your birthday? (And no, I won’t actually be buying it for you. Sorry!)

As a matter of fact, it IS my birthday today! I am 46 years old today. All of those under forty who are moaning and groaning about the fact you are getting so “old” just hush up. You just don’t know how much better it is once you get past the 20s and 30s. Seriously, the 40s are fierce. Now turning 46 is a little strange I will confess. I’m not exactly sure how I should feel (or behave sometimes). I am the mama to kids of all ages and stages of life and I am going to be a grandmother. Now THAT is strange! But then again, my grandmother was all of 36 when I was born so maybe it isn’t so strange after all. I can’t wait for my granddaughter to arrive and to watch Holly become a mother so perhaps it isn’t really so strange after all. All in all, whatever age I am is what I make of it. I feel great. I look pretty good, so I have been told. Therefore I will declare that it is absolutely fabulous to be 46!

So there it is. Today I am 46 and in honor of this auspicious day I decree that everyone who stops by this blog of mine must, at the very least, say hello to me today. That is what I want for my birthday.

In the meantime, I will be enjoying this gift from Bill.


Extra Credit: Do you ever tell anyone what present(s) you want in real life?

I have been known to drop hints on occasion and sometimes I even get what I ask for. I hope I get what I ask for here.

Weekend Assignment #198: Winter’s Winning Ways


Karen Funk Blocher writes:

We’re officially still within the first 30 days of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, so we’ve got quite a bit of it to get through before the spring solstice. This may therefore be a good time to cultivate an appreciation for the season, which I will encourage thus:

Weekend Assignment #198: What is your favorite thing about winter? Whether you love this time of year, hate it or merely endure it, you should be able to find something good to say about the season. What is it?

Extra credit: What do you hate most about winter?

Here under the Big Top we don’t necessarily hate winter. We can go weeks on end without seeing the sun like many other folks but we usually remind ourselves of how hot it can get around these parts in the summer. Like Karen, I grew up back east where one must often negotiate tons of snow, ice, slush, sub-zero temperatures and wind chill factors that can even freeze your snot. I might complain at times about the winds, the rain and the tule fog but I do appreciate the fact that we have it pretty good here…until we take a day trip up to the snow about an hour or so away from here. How pretty it is I find myself sighing. How clean and crisp the air feels, I exclaim. Then the snot in my nose freezes or I slip on a icy patch and land on my big ol’ butt and then we have to drive home (usually after wrestling with tire chains that we haven’t used in a year or two). No, I think we usually have it pretty good around these here parts in comparison.

Winter time is great time when one is Vampira, the night shift nurse. We call it great sleeping weather. The skies are gray pretty much all day. The steady rhythm of the wind and or rain easily drowns out the daytime citizens going on about their lives as well provides a steady, soft lullabye that beckons me into what is often a restful sleep. Daytime sleep like that in the summer months is virtually impossible. For that I appreciate and welcome Winter.

What do I hate (or dislike most) about Winter? Besides the fact that it is RSV, colds and flu season and most of humanity (at least the dumb-assed part) feels compelled to drag their sick, snotty, coughing, sneezing selves out and about to work, to run errands, to church and to school where they selfishly cough, sneeze, slime and expose vulnerable people like my Daniel unnecessarily to their germs? I could do without driving in this crap on a regular basis. Pictured below is the main drag off of my neighborhood. To the left is where I do my usual grocery runs and to the right is Chez McD, Daniel’s favorite restaurant.

Trust me, the Tule fog is as bad as they say it is and as bad as it looks from up above.

where in the world is the weekend assignment? #196 edition


Karen Funk Blocher writes:

Weekend Assignment #196: Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns? Do you miss your weekly appointment with that ill-behaved doctor, or your visits to Wisteria Lane? Does it bother you not to laugh at fresh jokes on your favorite sitcom? Or are you just as happy watching reality shows, or new episodes of shows that have been held back until now? We want to know!

Extra Credit: how are you spending the time instead?

First of all I want to congratulate and thank Karen of Outpost Mavarin for assuming the Weekend Assignment mantle.

Until very recently I have not put much thought into how the writer’s strike might be affecting me because I had a back-log of dvr’d shows (Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, ER, The Tudors, Big Love, Saturday Night Live, Ugly Betty and others) and movies that I recorded on the nights that I work. There are so many hours in the day and night to work, sleep and juggle family life and laundry so it takes a little time to catch up on my favorite and must-see recordings. But the I am catching up. Now what will I do? Maybe I will have to actually catch up on projects around the house that I am so good at putting off until another day.

Damn! No more excuses.

But then again, there is always Holly’s stash of dvd’s…

the last weekend assignment: the 2008 plans


John Scalzi writes:

First the important news: This is the last Weekend Assignment I’ll be doing here at By The Way. Next week is the last full week of me doing By The Way, and also we’ll be in the thick of holiday madness, so I think it’s best to wrap up this very long-running feature here and now. It’s been lots of fun, though, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed playing along as much as I have.

But I don’t want to spend too much time with the past here, because the future is so much more interesting to me at the moment. With that in mind, here is the topic for this week’s Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #196: What are your hopes or plans for 2008? Any big projects for the year? Anything you hope to accomplish or change? Or will you just relax? Because, you know, that’s okay, too.

Well, anyone who has hung out around here the past few weeks already knows what some of my plans are here under the Big Top. I am going to be a grandmother!

With all the analysis (and judgements) taking place in the news, the info-tainment shows and the blogosphere I guess now would be the time that I weigh in on what has been considered to be newsworthy recently. Frankly, I have nothing to say about other people’s daughters and future grandchildren. It’s just too easy to be sanctimonious and mommier-than-thou in this case. But then again, people who live in glass houses…well, you know. I will say here and now, that although my twenty-one year old’s impending motherhood as a single lady was not necessarily what I would want for her I am more than happy over this special coming attraction here under the Big Top. We have tried to raise our children to make responsible choices with their bodies and sexuality. Still stuff happens even when one is responsible. In my nursing practice, I call them bonus babies. In this case, I’m thankful to see that my daughter thoughtfully made her choice in a way that models her own upbringing. Oh yes, I see a lot of challenges ahead for Holly and her baby but then again, I am still challenged (and sometimes overwhelmed) because being a parent is HARD! I have no doubt it will be harder for Holly because the father has chosen to stay out of the picture. Still I also have no doubt that Holly and my grandchild will be surrounded by family and friends who love and support both of them. Holly is going to be an amazing mommy in spite of my influence in her life. I look forward to this next phase in her life and mine.

There are other plans including dance and cheer competitions, celebrating twenty-five years of marriage, another trip to Disneyland (if Daniel poops in the potty), a little bit of travel (Vegas, Hawaii and who knows?). I hope also that I can cut back my work hours because, well, with all these plans, I obviously will be juggling even more in 2008.

Extra Credit: How was your 2007?

All in all, 2007 was a good year. We are all healthy. We made some wonderful memories. I can only hope and pray that 2008 will be more of the same.

This is indeed the last Weekend Assignment as John Scalzi is preparing to devote more time to his writing career. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. I am sad to see an end to the usual stuff with By The Way but I am excited for the next adventure for him. Under the Blogfathjer’s tutelage through his Weekend Assignments and Monday Photo Shoots I managed to cultivate this little blog of mine into something that some folks actually want to read. It is still a means for me to record the day to day comings and goings of my circus life with my Ringmaster and my Clowns but the great Blogfather challenged me to make it more than just a laundry list. I re-discovered something I loved when I was a teenager…writing just for the joy of writing. I know it will never be the must read #1 blog or the next great American novel but I am still satisfied wih this creative outlet and what might someday be a gift to my family of their lives. Mr. Scalzi, I thank you for the instruction and inspiration.

Weekend Assignment #192: When Do the Holidays Start?


John Scalzi writes:

Weekend Assignment #191: When do you personally start celebrating the holiday season? Do you get into it at midnight of the Friday after Thanksgiving? Do you wait? Is Thanksgiving annoyingly in the way? Share your thoughts!

Well, John, does this answer your question?

Here under the Big Top, the Christmas holidays pretty much start after the warm fuzzies of Thanksgiving. This is a pretty big Big Top and, well, it takes awhile to get it ready for the Christmas holidays.

For our family, the days that lead up to Christmas over this next month is filled with awe, excitement and anticipation. Everyday something else from our Christmas treasures is up and with it’s arrival come the flood of memories that everyone shares over that particular piece. It seems to aptly reflect what this season means to me. It is a warm time to reflect on good times and blessings rather than the bad. It is a hopeful time as we look forward to the next new year that is just around the corner. It is a time to be a little more patient, a little more kind, a little more loving to one another and the average person on the street we encounter. Seriously, what can be so wrong with that? We should have more days like these.
It is easy to focus on what we perceive to be the bad of this time but I am a glass half full kind of girl so I rather focus on what the intent of this season is meant to be. Funny, but it seems that the more I do focus on it how the stress (my own) seems to lessen. I would rather reflect the love, the sharing, the kindness and the brightness of this time of year rather than anything else and in choosing to sharpen my focus on the positive, the negative seems to blur. Christmas is mostly a happy, warm time here under the Big Top and it is because we choose to make it so.

Extra Credit: Do you dream of a White Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, etc), just like the ones you used to know?

As long as I don’t have to drive in it or live in it, I am dreaming of a White Christmas sort of like the ones I used to know back in the day when I was growing up in Western Pennsylvania.