Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Website!

Yay! I have a website now! You can ask questions, read blog posts, and see various ridiculous and/or learn interesting things at - Yes. It's that easy.

I'm sorry for taking so long to put this up! Total dick up on my part! I miss you! Please come to the website!

Lurve and luff

Monday, December 24, 2012


Being a Christmas ornament is a pretty high pressure job. Let's face it, for 95% of the year, ornaments are tucked away, stored for the proper season. Some might say it's an easy gig but I don't see it that way. How many other jobs have such high pressure seasons? If you're a Christmas ornament, do you spend the off season hoping your glue won't fail leading to an embarrassing malfunction that could get you kicked off the A-Squad?

What happens if you get nibbled on by moths? You'll never make it to the tree that way. Ornaments are totally at the mercy of their owners. There are no guarantees of making the cut. As I unpacked my ornaments this year I swear some of them were looking at me with sad panda eyes. They knew they weren't aging well. This didn't change their desire to be a part of the celebration and I felt a little sad leaving them in their boxes. I hate disappointing people. Apparently I also hate disappointing things that aren't actually alive. Damn you giant conscience!

It was hard for me to look some of those older, more frail ornaments in the eye and give them the bad news. They weren't going to the big show. They were to remain in their packaging, nestled among the decades old newspaper and tissue.

I also noticed this year, mixed in with my ornaments was an very old piano with an angel singing at it. It has my mother's name on it and I believe she received it as a young child. I looked at that ornament and although I didn't hang it on the tree this year, I made a mental note that there was a ticking time bomb in my Christmas tote. Some day my mother will be be gone and I will open that box of ornaments and there it will be. A kick right in the dick. That's going to suck. But at least I know it's in there.

Go Christmas! Get goofy! Have fun and go over the top!

Also - what the hell do I do with ornaments given to me by my former mother-in-law? She gave me some things in good faith - mainly butterfly related and a box of balls. (Ha! Balls....) What am I to do with these things? I tried to throw a particularly ugly gold butterfly creation away but then felt so guilty I removed it from the trash can. I really, really did. I don't know what's wrong with me. Is this normal? My ex is a super douche but his mom was okay. She tried really hard. Too hard sometimes.

Who feels guilty over a damn ornament they don't even like??

May your holidays be filled with the magic of the season. Truly, I wish any and all who read this blog my sincere Christmas love. Don't sweat the small stuff. Hang your favorite ornaments, eat your favorite holiday treats, and enjoy your crazy families. I intend to do all that and then some.

Merry Christmas peepers!

Friday, December 21, 2012


I apologize for my slacking ways this week. I have a new website I have no idea how to use. I'll be learning ASAP and will soon be moving the blog over to the official webpage. Woo-hoo!

In personal news, my grandfather passed away at 82 years old this week. He and my grandmother were married for 54 years and the two of them were the best team ever. I miss them both but I did get to deliver the eulogy for both of their funeral ceremonies. It's my way of honoring them. The following is the eulogy I gave today.

It’s almost impossible to think of my grandfather without thinking of my grandmother. I can’t help but to think, Memere had a lot of input here. Christmas was her favorite time of the year. At Memere and Pepere’s house, the Christmas Carols started in October and went pretty much through February.  

Christmas at the Granger house was truly a sight to behold. A lot of people can say they had great family Christmases and traditions but how many of them can say they had a musical, spinning Christmas tree? Memere and Pepere did Christmas like nobody’s business. My last conversation with Pepere, before he left The Village, was, ironically, about Christmas. Or, more precisely, Christmas ornaments.

In my family every year, Memere and Pepere would give each grandkid an ornament. We usually received these on Christmas Eve so we could put them right on the tree in time for Santa to see them when he stopped by. The past few years, Christmas hasn’t really felt good to me. In fact, I think I may have been holding a grudge because the holiday reminded me so strongly of my grandmother and I wasn’t ready for that. It hurt too much, it felt too soon, and when Pepere moved out of the house on Hackmatack, a little part of me went with him. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was really angry.

I was angry that he was old and frail. I was angry that she was gone. I was angry that despite all our best efforts, the job of keeping him in that house was simply too big. I felt like a failure. I know it sounds crazy but I really thought I was letting him and Memere down. I believed she was disappointed. I buried that hurt under layers of anger because feeling angry is so much easier than feeling grief or accepting change.

I buried it so well I forgot it was there. But this year, something inside of me shifted. For the first time since I became an adult and left the nest, I had a real Christmas tree to decorate. I had a real plan to do something really fun and totally for myself and my husband’s pleasure and all of you who received our Christmas card have seen the end result of my letting go of that anger.

A funny thing happened this year as I decorated my tree. I had Christmas carols playing and was decorating by myself. It was then that I realized, almost every ornament on my tree came from Memere and Pepere. I have almost 30 years worth of ornaments, painstakingly wrapped in tissue and saved for me by my mother, the planner. I’m so grateful to her for keeping those ornaments for me and making sure I had them when I was ready for them. Even more than the ornaments given to me by my grandparents, I had ornaments from their home to put on my tree this year. Ornaments I have been looking at my entire life, that I used to decorate the tree at Memere and Pepere’s house when we were all together.

I told Pepere that. I told him how smart they were to have given us something we would have forever without even trying.
I also told him about a funny thing that happened to me this season as I was decorating my tree a few days after Thanksgiving. The first ornaments to go on my tree were the ones from their home on Hackmatack Street. As I hung them on the tree I began to feel something warming in my chest and my heart. I began to smile without realizing it and as I continued to hang those ornaments I felt the most intense sensation of love. Of being loved. Of deep happiness and peace. I knew what I was feeling was special. I know it was my grandmother. She came to me to let me know, I didn’t need to be angry at Christmas anymore. She reminded me that Christmas was her absolute favorite time of year and, as I pointed out to Pepere in our last conversation, Memere never gave me bad advice. She wanted me to feel her presence to remind me of that. I truly believe she was visiting me to let me know she was close by and she knew I would pass the message along to Pepere.

He smiled when I told him that. He said, “Your grandmother loved Christmas. It was her favorite.” I realized then, in that moment that while she was the front of the operation, he was the one behind the curtain making sure she had everything she needed or wanted to make Christmas (or, actually, any other day of the year) really special. Pepere made sure the tree was cut straight on the bottom so it would fit precisely in that spinning, singing, stand. He was the one who painstakingly stored the ornaments and decorations each and every year. He was the one who would build our toys for us when they required assembly. Pepere was the one who let her have the spotlight while he made sure things ran with precision. The only time he commanded attention was when he was playing Santa and passing out the mounds of presents beneath the tree.

It wasn’t only at Christmas that he quietly ensured things ran according to plan. Memere and Pepere were a team in every sense of the word. Well, by team I mean, she wished for something, he made it come true. Even when - well especially when I think - she needed him to be the bad guy and deliver unpopular news. No matter the request, large or small, he lived to make her happy. And I think we can all say, he did a great job.

So remember that today, we celebrate the life of Pepere. A life that started out small in the town of New Bedford, Massachusetts that grew and grew into what you see around you today. Six children. Six loved daughter and son-in-laws. 13 Grandchildren. And one, great-grandson. This is not a time to mourn a loss. This is a time to open ourselves to the joy of reunion. By no means do I believe this timing is accidental. He wanted to go out on a high note and Memere wanted to say hi to us all and let us know, by virtue of the season, she’s with us. She wants us to know it’s okay. She called and he went, he’s with her, where he’s meant to be, where he wanted to be. Some things never change. Open your hearts to the love they had, let that be your comfort.

Merry Christmas Memere and Pepere and all of you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Talking to Your Kids About Sandy Hook

A parent asked me today how to talk to her son about the tragic school shooting here in our small home state. He's already freaked out by school and the thought of someone stealing him thanks to the joys of being six years old in 2012. Kids today are exposed to levels of hatred and violence there is simply no excuse or precedent for. Throughout history children have borne witness to and carried the scars from brushes with the adult world's evil. Forever changed they grow into adults who know the depths of depravity a human being is capable of. They walk among us with wise eyes and quietly carry the burden of guilt and memory only those who survive a catastrophic event can understand. Survivors survive. We call them survivors because they will carry this inside them for life. Eventually the brain and the body will work together to knit a protective scar over the horrors they have seen but the horror will come up to haunt them forever.

Still others of us are blessed enough to have traveled through life without more than glimpses of what the worst could look like. For that we should all take a moment and say Thank You - to God or the Universe or whatever higher power you connect with.

You have to talk to your kids about this. And you have to protect them from seeing the news, newspaper, blogs, Facebook, whatever. They have seen and heard enough. Secondary traumatization is what can happen when we are exposed to graphic scenes or images over and over and over again. If adults can suffer from it - and without doubt we are all grieving right now - children will suffer from it that much more. Children are truly not able to comprehend the immensity of what happened this morning when a 20-year old gunman walked into a school and murdered 20 students, six teachers, his mother (at her home), then killed himself. As an adult I can hardly wrap my head around it. It's still soaking in and I wish that it wouldn't.

Ask your kids if they have any questions before you start talking. Listen to them. Let them find their own words - words have power, let your children find their voices. Expect to hear questions such as  "Can this happen to me?" "What if that happens here?" "Am I safe? Is my school safe?" "What would you do if that happened to me?" "Why did that guy kill those people?" "Were those kids bad?"

Stay calm, keep your voice neutral and assure them, over and over, that they are safe. Their school is safe. This is a one in a million event. The bad guy is dead. We have police and firemen and hospitals and doctors here to keep us safe. Their school will be making new ways to keep them safe. We don't know why that man did that. Sometimes people do bad things and we never find out why but what's most important is that we remember those who were hurt by those bad things.  We love the children who were lost. We never, ever, say kids are bad. There's no such thing as a bad kid and the kids in that school did everything they were supposed to do. They followed their teachers instructions and they had parents and siblings and friends who loved them very much. Just as much as we love you.

Don't allow the kids to perseverate on the topic. We are going to talk about this one time tonight then we are going to make popcorn and watch a movie or read a book. We can talk about it tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that if you have to. We'll be here. You'll be here with us. We'll be together every day forever and you will always be safe and loved with us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tree Envy

This year is the first year Jacob and I have gotten an actual, nice Christmas tree. Yes, it's fake. Whatever, stop judging. The dogs would totally make out with a real tree and I don't have the time or extra skin available to dive in and pull my cat out of the tree seventeen times a day.

Initially I had a bit of trouble feeling the tree love. I mean, it's lovely to look at but do fake trees have souls? A sense of humor? Do they know they're the star of the show? Real trees come with all sorts of adventures including the epic sawing of the bottom of the trunk to make it even. Watching someone attempt to do this can be stressful. Until you realize it's fun watching your loved ones struggle. That's when you break out the iPhone video camera and post to YouTube.

A fake tree will never bring fun extra friends into your home the way a real tree can. We've all seen the magic of Clark Griswald  being attacked by a squirrel. I'll tell you right now, if my tree came with a free squirrel I would call that a Win. I would name him Sparkles and he would wear a tiny elf hat and sit on my shoulder wherever I went. Like a pirate with a parrot but better. Because parrots don't have fluffy tails. Sparkles and I would become a holiday favorite, we could make appearances at local schools and sign autographs and take pictures. We'd be local celebrities and perhaps even receive a key to the city.

None of that is going to happen with a fake tree okay?

However, fake trees do come with their own set of frustrations and struggles. I'll leave you with a quote from my friend, Dawn. She is the coolest, most Christmas spirited girl I know.

All right Christmas tree. Even though I bought you at a flea market over the summer for $20, I expect more from you. A missing stand? Random sections of blinking lights? Tree top blackout? A severe lean to the left? 3 collapses? You may have eluded me this far but today I am putting an end to your bullshit. You will be perfect if I have to strangle it out of you. We're gonna take treehugger to a whole new level motherfucker.

If that doesn't say Christmas I don't what will.