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New magnets!  These are from Sunshyn of Sunshyn's Daydreams... she has almost as many magnets as I have!

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

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West Wing

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Just say "No" to the Salvation Army.

If anybody is looking for an alternative place to donate money this season, I'm not going to make a big pitch this year because you were all so incredibly generous last year, and I don't want to feel that I'm taking advantage of anybody, but Priscilla is again saddled with her 7 grandchildren, is being operated on for her rectal cancer on December 10, and all the resources for Christmas assistance have dried up. 

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Our family is  "adopting" her family again this year, but if anybody would like to make a donation for her Christmas, it can be sent to

Breaking Barriers
1722 J St., Ste. 321
Sacramento, CA 95814

and be sure to say that it's for Priscilla, since they are working on finding Christmas assistance for a lot of people.

(I'm including the BB address because I'm uncomfortable that people might think I'm using the money for myself or something.)



13 December 2001

OK. I'm allowing myself one day to wallow and be all mopey and depressed and stuff and then I promise you'll never hear anything but ho-ho-ho's and jingle bells and merry whatsit coming from this site. But if you want to be depressed for a minute, this is the shop for it.

I want to preface this by saying that my father was a mailman. Christmas is not a mailman's favorite holiday. This was proven by the number of times he grumbled "I hate Christmas" from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. You couldn't get too excited about the approaching holiday because you never knew when your excitement and happiness about Christmas would cause a rage and then the Dreaded Silence.

He even went so far as to schedule a nervous breakdown over Christmas when I was about 13. I know it wasn't his fault, but I do remember that Christmas and how uneasy we all were, knowing how fragile his mental state was.

When the holiday finally came and the family gathered together for Christmas, he hated his mother so much that invariably he would get upset with her. In truth, none of us liked to spend much time with her, and sooner or later during the evening, all four of us--my mother, father, sister and I would be hiding out in the kitchen, pretending to be working on the dinner, while my grandparents, godfather, and whatever guests had come to share the evening with us, would be sitting in the living room.

I vowed that when we had kids, we would not have Christmases like that. I think that we pretty much gave the kids merry Christmases, and good memories to remember.

When they got out of the little kid/Santa stage, and we had moved up here, we had huge Christmas dinners. We were hosting foreign students in those years, and whoever ended up without a home got invited to dinner. I think our biggest year was 24 people gathered around the dinner table. You'd think we have a huge dining room, but we don't. This is a 22x12 room. We had to borrow chairs and tables from the local community center (where the kids worked, and could "steal" them temporarily). There was absolutely no room to move. Once you sat down, that was it. No getting up because there was no place to go. I had the only seat that was "mobile" because I was serving food. We might have five different countries represented around the table, in addition to the family.

The foreign students finally faded away and we were left with just family. In truth, by they we were all ready for smaller dinners. The thing that marked all of our dinners was laughter. I loved the laughter. The kids would put on terrible shows--but as they got older, the shows got better. Some of the traditional dumb skits rolled over from year to year, but they got better at playing musical instruments, and the shows turned into concerts. David, who never learned a musical instrument, did his one-finger rendition of "Deck the Halls," which year after year sent Uncle Norm into spasms of laughter.

There's still a lot of laughter. It's a laughing family, but I miss David's hearty laugh and huge smile. I even miss wondering if Paul was going to pout about something (he hated it when I told him he was like his grandfather--but he was).

As I was closing up the office tonight, the radio, which plays soft rock all day, was playing "In the Arms of the Angel" again--the song Paul's widow sang with Ned's wife at Paul's funeral. I walked out and got into the car and turned on my Christmas CD and it was right in the middle of "Blue Christmas" (I'll have a blue Christmas without you; I'll be so blue thinking about you...")

And I let myself have a little cry.

Christmas is here again and people I love can't be with me and that makes me sad. I'm sitting home alone tonight, since Walt is off at a retirement dinner, and I just want to get all the wallowing out of my system and start tomorrow with the ho-ho-hos and jingle bells.

Dr. G is out of town now until after Christmas so there is no salary, but there is also no work to go to, and that is an unexpected bonus--I'll have time to clear away a spot in the living room for a tree.

It's going to be a low-key Christmas as far as gifts go, so all the shopping is done. I'll now have time to go and get a nice Christmas put together for Priscilla. I watch TV and see the people who are in dire straits and I know I am blessed. I am blessed to have (most of) the people I love with me for Christmas. I am blessed that I will have food on the table, and presents under the tree, and a house that still rings with laughter.

That's not such a bad thing to be able to say.

So it's time to stop feeling sorry for myself, put on some cheery Christmas music and finally get into the spirit.

Move over, world, Santa Claus is comin' to town.

P.S. I'm laughing. I just went back and looked over my entries from last year and discovered that on December 15 I wrote another entry called Blue Christmas which was very similar to this one. I guess I'm right on schedule. I can hardly wait till December 22 when I have my annual Christmas Crisis!

One Year Ago:
It's a Small World After All

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to
Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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