Gifting at Christmas

My 90 year old dad is blind, but exactly how blind is usually hard to tell because he functions very well.

The other day however, a circuit blew and the lights in the kitchen turned off suddenly right before dinner time.

My mom and I tried to fix them but figured out pretty quickly that we needed a new fuse.

I shrugged, and suggested that we use my camping lanterns and not tell my dad.

My dad stresses over these things and asks a bazillion questions and issues even more directives, making what would be a tedious task into a torturous job.

I was curious, would he realize we were eating in dim light?

The answer of course, is no.

He had no idea.

So when it came time for me to pick a Christmas present for him, I decided to get him a one-touch Keurig coffee maker.

Seeing him fumble around for a cup and try to fill it with water without missing or spilling before he even adds his coffee grounds or sugar made me stop and think.

He could really use an automatic Keurig.

Put the mug in place, put the coffee pod in place, push one button, and voila. . . coffee!

Today it arrived in the mail, with K-E-U-R-I-G in big letters on the box.

My mom took one look at it and knew what it was for.

And for once, instead of chastising me for spending money, she congratulated me on getting the perfect gift for my father.

This is why I love gifting at Christmas.

Facebook’s algorhithms

Once upon a time, I HAPPENED to mention in passing that I was thinking of buying a something-or-other.

Verbally.

As in out loud, without typing a stroke on a computer.

Not a day later, I started seeing ads on Facebook for something-or-others.

The best something-or-others out there on the market.

With the most competitive prices.

Something like that happened today.

I bought a Nine Line t-shirt for my son – a pro-gun shirt because he supports the Second Amendment.

No judgment.

I happen to know he will LOVE this gift.

I can already hear his high falsetto voice cooing at me, “You REALLY know me, don’t you mom?”

Now, I’m getting ads for Shield Republic and other patriotism-focused stores and I’m amused.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not amused because the algorithms might think I’m a Republican.

I’m amused because those algorithms have to reconcile the fact that on the one hand I bought a Second Amendment t-shirt but on the other hand, I also bought a rainbow LGBTQ face mask.

I defy definition.

[Mic drop]

I don’t have a love story

I don’t have a love story.

And that’s okay.

I don’t need one.

The love in my life is so overflowing from other sources, from my family and friends, that it seems unbearably selfish to wish for more.

So I won’t keep wishing for a love story.

I already have too many to choose from.

Let me tell you some love stories.

My dad once bought me an enormous basket of every single type of fruit that Lunardi’s sold because I cried postpartum that all my fruit spoiled while I was in the hospital giving birth to my rainbow baby, Duncan.

Or my 15 year old birthmother who had to make an impossible decision about putting me up for adoption.

How heart wrenching to give up a beloved child.

There’s the time my sister-in-law cried with me because I was heartbroken over a breakup.

She felt my suffering like it was her own.

And of course, there’s the time my sister and I giggled as we sat in the back of a car in a hotel parking lot, drinking beer and thinking we were being unobtrusive.

We were SO obvious!

There’s my mom who spent countless nights staying up late, baking cookies for a bake sale or putting the final touches on a costume or wiping my fevered forehead.

And my cousin used to invite me to visit her on weekends because she knew I was alone and had no one to hang with,

So you see, I’ve not devoid of love.

I’m flush with it.

I don’t have a love story because I have love stories.

A very merry pop art Christmas

Christmas is coming up and I’m hard at work making plans.

This year, my kid decided that she didn’t want to take Christmas photos so what’s a mom to do?

I hired a professional illustrator to create our Christmas card.

My only instructions were to make it look like pop art.

That’s right, I wanted a Lichtenstein-esque Christmas card.

And that’s exactly what I got from the artist (the talented Michael Samuel):

It’s cartoon meets pop art meets graphic novel.

And I love it.

I was so inspired by the card, that I even had the back side designed by the same artist:

The resulting card is spectacular.

I bought matching green envelopes with the polka dot/tree inserts to keep with the theme.

No one likes a plain white envelope, right?

Of course not.

I will be sending out approximately 90 Christmas cards this year to family and friends.

I can’t wait for the reactions to come rolling in!

P.S.  If you want to see the original photo that inspired this art card, click here.

Christmas 2020

I hate to say it.

It’s going to drive all of you crazy but I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping.

That’s right, I’ve done almost all my Christmas shopping and it’s only mid-November.

This is par for the course with me.

I managed to get some really great deals on stuff for my family and friends..

I’m always on top of things when it comes to buying presents.

And getting ready for Christmas.

Mostly because once my birthday is over, I go into FULL HOLIDAY MODE and start buying presents, planning my Christmas cards, and decorating.

This will be an unusual year because of covid.

We might have to celebrate in our garage.

My brother has two young children and because I do this every year, I got them ornaments of their spirit animals (a seahorse and a black cat) for their Christmas tree to put on the presents I bought them.

So here’s to the start of this weird and wacky Christmas season.

May your days be filled with love and Christmas cheer, even in these challenging times.

One lucky lady

My birthday is officially over.

Let me tell you, it was SPECTACULAR!

Over 40 people joined my birthday zoom to wish me a happy birthday and listen to the bawdy songs of Rachel Lark.

I myself had a blast although the lyrics to The Unicorn Song did ring a little painfully close to home.

LOL

I was really touched when we went around the “room” and everyone shared how they knew me and what they loved most about me.

Apparently, I’m a very loving and creative woman who is a great mother, friend, and confidante.

I was humbled by all the compliments heaped on me and I swear the glow will last me until my next birthday.

The prize for knowing me the longest went to my friend Scott, whom I met in pre-school and who happens to SHARE my EXACT birthday.

That’s more than four decades of friendship, my dears!

The prize for telling the funniest story went to Suzanne who remembered when she accidentally used my microfiber towel at Burning Man to clean up a mess, thereby earning a chagrined “Oh. . . that was my only towel” comment from me.

Apparently people seem to think I have a calm demeanor.

And I tell funny stories on my blog.

So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone for making my Covid Birthday so special!

I really am ONE LUCKY LADY!

One lucky baby

I post this every year.

I couldn’t be happier that I’m reunited with my birth family and finally know my birth story.

So, here we go again. . .

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

I was born first to Paul and Sherri, two teenagers living in Sonoma. They accidentally conceived me during their eighth grade year in school.

Sherri was sent to live with her aunt and uncle in San Jose to await my birth.

I was born on November 2nd. I was a forceps baby and I came out with a banged up, scratched up head (see pic below) but no worse for wear.

Alice and “Mario”, my parents, got the word that I’d been born and I’d be joining my 5 month old sister Lisa.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.19.46 PMI will forever be grateful to Sherri and Paul for putting me up for adoption. I was lucky enough to meet them when I was 22 and they have been a part of my life ever since.

IMG_7821Nothing pleases me more than explaining to people how lucky I am to have two sets of parents who love me.

I am one lucky baby.

Happy Birthday to me!

Woot woot Ms. Lark

Well, it’s OFFICIAL!

I’m happy to announce that the illustrious Ms. Rachel Lark will be performing her brilliant, bawdy brand of songs for my birthday.

For my ACTUAL birthday!

I couldn’t be more pleased.

I have seen Rachel perform live in-person two times:

Once at Burning Man.

Once at a private burner party.

Both times I was blown away by her clever lyrics, challenging subjects, humor, and lofty commentary on modern life and relationships.

Although this won’t be in person, it’s the next-best thing and the best gift I can give to all my friends and family who show up to wish me another entertaining spin around the sun!

Birthday

It’s my birthday in less than a month.

I’ll be turning 47 this year and covid is really putting a damper on celebrating.

I wish I could share a meal with friends and go to a movie or out dancing.

Instead I will probably be at home.

Doing nothing except eating a nice dinner with the family and sharing a cake (no candles, naturally).

I’ve had enough birthdays now to be relatively blasé about them.

Some years I want to celebrate, some years less so.

This year I feel like CELEBRATING.

We’re alive and living on a rock hurtling through space with a giant nuclear fusion reactor nearby.

Why NOT celebrate how amazing that is?

This year, I’m thinking of arranging a virtual birthday party for myself, complete with zoom link and funny hats.

Yes, that’s right.

Funny hats encouraged.

I could also see if my favorite bawdy songstress is available for a Zoom performance!

That could be nice. . .

A time for everything under heaven

IMG_4717 22 years ago today, my heart tore in half when my son Douglas died of cancer – a teratoma, not unlike what Gavin had removed about two years ago.

The hospital room was so quiet and it smelled of tears. Tears that fell from my eyes like endless rivers of sorrow.

I thought I’d never stop crying.

I stopped believing in God. Stopped singing.

My ex husband got me a dog, Mac, to get over my grief and having that dog to pour all my love into brought me back to life.

He was a four legged replacement for the son I lost.

Sadly, 12 years ago today (on the 10 year anniversary of Douglas’ death), Mac’s life ended in a freak freeway accident on Highway 80.

So you COULD say that September 22 is my least favorite day of the year.

You could say that but you’d be wrong.

Because instead of spending the day grieving, I spend the day having fun and feeling alive.

Last year was rough because my nephew’s birthday party fell on what would have been Douglas’ 21st birthday and NO ONE REMEMBERED.

This year I’m going to celebrate my nephew’s birthday again.

It’s an opportunity to HONOR my loved ones and CELEBRATE everything that is wonderful and beautiful in my life – like wonderful friends, close knit families, and LOVE.

And I’ll celebrate the lives of the two kids that I have.

So happy September 22nd to all my friends. I hope it’s a happy one for you too.