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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Grand Re-Opening!

Look at me! Look at me! I have looked around to see what most people do when they go from a standard blog template to something more spiffy. Most of you are very cool, very nonchalant about it. Not me. Look at me! Did you see Gumby waving? Wave to him! He's Gumby, dammit!

All credit for all this good stuff goes to my Evil Uncle Dave. He's not really my uncle, and as best I can tell, he's not one bit evil (although if you've heard something, email me). In fact, I would call him Sweetheart Uncle Dave, but that would mess with his "street cred," which I'm sure he's worked very hard to establish, so we'll just stick with Eviluncledave.

I've been thinking and wishing about a new look for a long time. Apparently some of you have been wishing the same for me. I told a handful of people what Dave was doing for me. And one of the people that I would have thought was one of my oldest and dearest blogfriends, emailed a reply that really surprised me. That bitch person, who shall remain nameless, sent the following:
" . . . well goodie goodie for Susie. Allz I knowz is, it’s about damn time!!! We’ve been looking at that same dowdy site you call a blog for far too long." Well. You just never know how your alleged "friends" are going to react to your good fortune, now do you?

OK, I did get another email yesterday, from the same nameless person. That one said, "I'm so proud of you, this is going to be like...like graduation, or the
prom, or your first time..." Well, let's hope not. I've written about how I almost didn't graduate, on accounta my being a criminal; and I've written about how my prom date was too "messed up" to even drive me home. So tune in tomorrow, when I will tell you the surprisingly anticlimactic (that is an EXCELLENT use of that word, if I do say so myself) story of My First Time. (Oh, just STOP it! You KNOW BETTER. That is not happening.)

If you are Evil Uncle Dave, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and give you a big virtual hug. And everyone else, WELCOME, to the new and improved What Was I Thinking? Hugs to all of you, too :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

August95 tagged me with this meme. Just a silly meme, so it should be easy, but I found myself wrestling with it. List my five "guilty pleasures." That would be five things I enjoy, but feel at least a little guilty about. Guilt is a thing I try not to do. I made that decision a long, long time ago. Not that I do nothing bad. Oh, I do plenty of bad things. But they are my choice, so I don't allow myself the "out" of feeling guilty about them. Martin Luther's words, “Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly . . ." were the impetus for staking claim to my "I don't do guilt" posture. If I do something wrong, I consider the consequences beforehand, and if it's important to me to do the thing, and if I'm willing to live with the consequences, then I go for it. No guilt allowed. That's a lot of philosophy for a little meme.

So, here are some things from which I get pleasure, but about which I may have occasional mini-regret or even embarrassment:

1. Blogging, of course. I spend a lot of time here. I weigh, almost daily, the benefit to me, and the benefit to others (as they have communicated to me). My rule is, I can take time from realworld things and stuff to do this (especially I can do it instead of TV-watching), but I can't take time from realworld people to do it. Yea, almost daily, I look at this.

2. When I watch TV, I like me some mindless TV. How mindless? Like, "Reno 9-1-1" mindless. I like sitcoms. Lately I love "My Name is Earl," and Britcoms, like "Keeping Up Appearances." I like Super Nanny (she could kick Dr. Phil's ass in a child-raising contest), and I used to enjoy "The Osbournes," for the wisdom it added to my family therapy practice. Incidentally, while channel surfing on Saturday afternoon, I stopped on "Hogan Knows Best," in which former wrestler Hulk Hogan and his family do their "reality" thing. I watched parts of two episodes; enough for me to conclude that Hulk Hogan makes Ozzie Osbourne look like Andy Griffith, in the dad department.

Something Mrs. Hulk said to Hulk, that I'm pretty sure I'll never say to Jif:
"Put your boa on."

3. There's a whole food category. Chocolate anything and everything. And Cheetos. Mind you, I don't purchase Cheetos. However, as most moms will admit (if they have learned to sin boldly), there is a place in this world for Cheetos. And that place is at a children's birthday party. I will leave a child's birthday party with some orange fingers, for sure. Indeed, if anyone reading this is considering whether or not to have children -- consider the Cheeto factor. I like to eat Hillbillian foods, but in my firm commitment to never weigh more than my car, I don't cook them often. Not at all. If I make comfort foods, though, they are the real deal. I may make mashed potatoes only . . . oh, four or five times a year . . . but they are made with real butter and cream, when I do.

Now it's getting tougher to find things to feel guilty about . . . OK:

4. I flirt. And in the process of doing so, I may embellish the truth from time to time. You may have figured that out from visiting here. I get a lot of pleasure from this. But truthfully, not so much guilt, because it's not THAT kind of flirting. I am an equal opportunity flirter. Men, women, children. I like to leave someone's presence with the feeling that THEY feel better than they did before I got there. We're just not sweet to each other the way we could be. I try to be sweet to people, compliment them, help them upgrade their sense of self, at least for a moment. And I may lie in the process. I have no problem with that. And NO, I have certainly never lied to any of you.

5. I have gone through phases of buying too many of something. Shoes, purses, cosmetics, CDs. Probably the most consistent transgression in this category is books. That is not the case at the moment, but it is likely to emerge again at any time. I am a book addict.

There you have it. These are not the worst things I do. They are some of the worst things I do, from which I get pleasure. Revealing the other worst things I do from which I get pleasure would attract a more unseemly element than the riff raff that already frequents here, so we won't be talking about that today ;)

I won't tag you, but you know we want to know. So post your guilty pleasures, or spill them here :)

File under: " &Memes"

A Clarification

winter wreath

Yesterday, some people thought there was a funeral here. Some people thought this wasn't my door, because there was a funeral behind this door, and there wasn't a funeral here. These thoughts were expressed in comments and in concerned email. Allow me to set the record straight. It's my door. There's no funeral. The wreath is a winter wreath, not a funeral wreath. See, sometimes, in black and white, dark colors look black. In this area, funeral wreaths are not customary. I did not mean to alarm anyone. Now, LIGHTEN UP. (And don't you think if there were a funeral here, I would tell you? I mean, unless I couldn't; and then you'd figure it out. Of course, then I couldn't really post pictures either . . . never mind on that one.) Oh, and the quote still stands -- it's not too soon to be kind.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Sunday Post ~ "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Matthew 25:34-40

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, January 27, 2006

Biscuit Friday ~ Guard Dog


We recently discovered that Biscuit is an excellent basketball player. At least, he's good at helping LG improve her skillz.


He is actually quite good at blocking shots and stealing the ball. Of course, once he gets the ball, he has been known to double dribble.


And double slobber. And double bite.


HELP ME! My bookmarks have disappeared (again). If I normally visit you, or if you want me to vist you, please leave a comment so I can add you easily. I'll find you eventually, but this would help. Also, if you are geeky and know how to retrieve bookmarks that have been obliterated, that would be nice, too. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Just When You Think You Know Someone . . .

I have recently had a most unpleasant experience in blogworld. Events that happened earlier in my life, for which I have been forgiven, and which I had hoped could remain hidden, have been uncovered and exposed, by other bloggers. I was young, I was confused; I did the best I could under the circumstances, at the time of these events. I had hoped to put all that behind me. After the initial trauma to all parties, I had hoped that this story would never again see the light of day. And that was the case.

Until a certain girl band, Nikki and the Sisters, uncovered my story. You may know these women by their innocent-sounding name, SWLF, Sarah's Wacky Loving Family. Yes, the very same. If you see them mentioned around blogworld, you'll see, "Oh, they're so nice," "Oh, they're so kind," "Oh, they have so much love." But I have seen the dark underbelly of Nikki and the Sisters. And I'm here to tell you, it ain't pretty. If you have a secret in your past, they will expose it. They are like the National freakin' Enquirer.

What they say about me is, in fact, true. But everything has truly worked out for the best, for all concerned. I married my true love. And that other guy, he did OK. He really did, thanks, MOSTLY, to me. I inspired every success he ever had, and he will be the first to admit it (if he's still alive).

Now, I hope that we can return this matter to the closet, where it belongs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'm Just Sayin' . . . ( #4)


Bless your heart, we've all been there. But the rule is: Don't do anything in public that you wouldn't want to show up on the "innernets as a hole."

On Saturday, I took some pix at LG's basketball game, Beagles vs. Kangaroos. When I got home, I was dismayed to learn that I didn't get one single good shot of LG. I was going to delete the whole batch, when something bright yellow suddenly caught my eye. In this pic where the two teams face each other and match up their wrist bands, to see who is guarding whom, I had struck gold.

I'm just sayin', you never know when a blogger with a camera is behind your behind.

Monday, January 23, 2006

European Update

You are all welcome to a big piece of yesterday's pineapple upside-down cake. When I am in the mood for comfort food, I make something Hillbillian. The weekend just begged for a cake. There are probably enough chemicals in each of those bright red cherries to kill us. But we are a brave, cake-eating people.

I thought that Monday might slide by with folks not remembering that I had, in a moment of insanity, confided about certain medical tests that were scheduled. Comments on the Sunday Post revealed otherwise. Y'all remembered! Due to circumstances beyond my control (ohmylord, so FAR beyond my control), it is unlikely that the scheduled tests will take place today. They will be rescheduled. I am not going to keep an ongoing medical update, here. However, I know that some folks are concerned, and I promise I will tell you any definitive thing that I learn. As of now, I have no diagnosis, and no plan for treatment. I will give more info when I have it, for sure, but in the meantime, I'm going to stop talking about my own medical things and stuff.

And now some good news: Sarah's Wacky Loving Family is about to get bigger! Sarah's sister, Lisabeth, revealed in comments that she is expecting a little one. And this was a BIG surprise! Lisabeth thinks Sarah and God are in cahoots, and I must agree.

Speaking of God, thank you for your prayers. Even though the "procedure" date has changed, they are not wasted. They are so very much appreciated. And I do believe. Thank you :)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

Sunday Post ~ "Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man." -- Louis Nizer

Proverbs 16:24

("Food of comfort, skillfully prepared and eaten, is the second oldest therapy know to man." -- Susie Fairchild)

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, January 20, 2006

Get Your MAJOR AWARD Here!


Remember how I said, "If I could present an award..."? Well, who says I can't?! My dear friend Circus Kelli designed, and presented me with this lovely distinction, the BAIB Award. As the first recipient of it, I reserve the right to present it to anyone I please. And I am pleased to present it to YOU . . . IF you visited Kranki and Deb, and left them a comment. Hmmmm . . . should there be a deadline? Nope. If you haven't done it yet, go do it now, then come back and get your Major Award.

Perhaps you are a noble person who says, "But Susie, I didn't do it for an award. My reward is just the feeling of knowing I did something good . . . blah blah." NOT ME! I like me some awards!!!!

I am serious. I hope, if you agree with me that the opportunity for extending kindness to one another is one of the very best things about blogging, and if you have availed yourself of that opportunity, I hope you will celebrate yourself, and blogging, by posting one of these on your site. This award will be presented on an honor system. I will not check up on you to see if you earned it. However, it is only fair that I warn you, if you accept this award, and did not earn it, karma will kick your ass.

Now, being a techno-dunce, myself, I am not the best person to tell you how to take your award home with you, but I'll try. Mrtl, the badge-master, tells me you can right-click on the award (whichever size you want, in the post, or on my sidebar), and save it to wherever you save your pix, and paste it in your template from there. Or you can click on the pic, and go swipe it from flickr.

If you have any questions, ask them here, I'll try to answer, or get help from CK or mrtl. Here's one question that I know may arise:

Q: Don't you have some nerve, just coming up with your own award, and posting it on your site, and giving it out, willy-nilly?
A: Yea.

Also, let me know if you're going to display your BAIB Award, and make an acceptance speech here! No music will start playing to rush you off the podium, the floor is yours . . .

Thursday, January 19, 2006

BAIB ~ Blogging at its Best

I recently joked with some of you here about presenting my own Major Awards to fellow bloggers. If I could present an award, I'd present the BAIB, for Blogging at its Best. And it wouldn't have anything at all to do with what your blog looks like, or how many people visit you, or even what or how well you write. It would have to do with how much goodstuff you put out in blogworld, by way of encouraging comments.

For me, some 10 months of blogging have yielded many rewards. I got the increased writing practice, and the outlet for goofiness, that were really my only two goals when I began. But I've gotten much more than that. I've gotten to be a part of something much bigger than that, something I didn't imagine at all, when I began. I've seen how actual people can derive some actual benefit from the kind and encouraging comments of strangers. I've been on both the giving and receiving ends of that transaction. On my birthday, when I was anxious and scared, people I will probably never lay eyes on took my mind off of my worries, which was the very best gift I could have gotten that day. I've seen people go through illnesses, unemployment, children's disabilities, and worse, and be helped by strangers taking a moment to say, "I was here, and I care, and I'm hoping good things for you." It is no small thing, this "blove" we talk about.

I've talked a little bit before about how (and I still don't quite know how) blogworld seems to be an amalgamation of neighborhoods. I adore my neighbors. Can you imagine the block parties we would have, if we could really all come out and get together? One of our neighbors, the beautiful, charming, gracious von Krankipantzen, has made it through chemo, and through radiation, and is preparing for surgery. Big, terrifying surgery -- a bilateral mastectomy -- on Monday, January 23rd. Kranki has blogged through nearly a year of dealing with cancer. And in that year, she has amazed and delighted us, and given us an excellent cookie recipe, and exploited her beloved cat, Yoshi, nearly every Friday, for our pleasure. If you haven't already, or even if you have, please take a moment to stop in and give Kranki some love, and some encouragement, and whatever else you got lying around that she might put to good use.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from someone very special*, inviting me to visit someone else very special. This second someone is Deb, at Debutaunt. She lives in another neighborhood, but it's not all that far away. She is a fine writer, and the single mom of a beautiful little girl, Zoe. And she has leukemia. She's just entering a fifth round of chemo, with the hope of preparing for a bone marrow transplant after this round. I know that my neighbors here are not a bit shy, and will think nothing of going and knocking on a new door and introducing themselves. That's another reason I love you guys. So after you leave Kranki, with a kiss and a crush for Yoshi's head, please head on down the road just a bit and give Deb some encouragement, too. But be careful while you're reading there. She likes to give out a daily assignment! Last night's required me to do laundry at 11 p.m.! Just be careful, that's all I'm saying.

I wouldn't bother asking for this, except, it's important. People who've had serious surgeries, and people who've had dear ones who did not survive, despite our witty comments and our fervent prayers, tell me that it helps to have weird blog people come and comment. So of course we will do that. No good reason not to.

Thanks, friends and neighbors. And lurkers, too. Hey, if you lurk here, do me a big favor and go de-lurk on Kranki and Deb's sites :)

Much love to you strange, lovely people who stop in here. Now go get your BAIB. THAT is a Major Award.

*The someone special who emailed me was Nikki. If you are a non-believer that your comments make a difference, please read Nikki's comment here on this post. Not because of the outrageously kind things she says about me, but because no one knows better than she about the power of comment-love from strangers. Nikki is Sarah's partner.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Close Call

Tonight, I played a therapeutic game with one of my client families at the agency. "The Talking, Feeling, Doing Game." If a player lands on a "Doing" space, he or she draws a "Doing" card and does what it says. This usually involves acting out or pantomiming some vignette that is described on the card.

My clients are a single mom, her 18-year-old daughter, 14-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. Son drew a "Doing" card, and read aloud:
"Pretend you are home alone. Do the thing that you most enjoy doing when you are home alone."

I have seen a lot of frightened people. Rarely have I seen three females look more frightened than this boy's mom and his sisters, when he read the card, then he gestured that they should move off of the couch, because he intended to lie down as part of his charade.

And rarely have I seen three females look more relieved than when he acted out napping, then sitting up to play a video game. Whew!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Heart Colors

heart colors 2

Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I heard about being "saved" and "born again" from the time I could walk into my own little Sunday School classroom. (In fact, many years ago when the phrase "born-again Christian" entered the American lexicon, I was bewildered, thought it was redundant; I didn't know there was any other kind of Christian.) One of the ways in which we little Baptists were taught about salvation even before we could read, was the use of "The Wordless Bible." This was a little square book, no more than three inches on a side, with, of course, no printed words. Each page was a different color, and the Sunday School teacher explained what the colors meant.

The three most important pages were black, red and white. Black was the color of sin, and the color of our hearts until we invited Jesus to live in them. Because Jesus could not live in a sinful, black heart, when He got the invitation, He would wash our hearts with His blood --- the red page. After this, our hearts would be bright white, Jesus would live there, and we were saved.

While the wordless Bible was introduced before we were of reading age, it was brought out periodically throughout the primary grades. Its goal, or rather, our teachers' goal, was to get us to invite Jesus into our hearts. I extended this invitation many times. (You were only supposed to do it once.)

In 1967, I was in Mrs. Clara Bell's third grade classroom, with Jesus living right there in my white heart. We were learning about the amazing medical endeavor that was to take place that day, in Capetown, South Africa, at the hands of Dr. Christian Bernard -- the world's first human heart transplant. I don't know whether the other third graders were impressed, or bored, or what, but I was terrified. No one was even mentioning the most important aspect of this event. What if the heart Dr. Bernard put in was not the same color as the one he took out?! Oh, if he took out a black heart and put in a white one, that would be OK -- in fact, that would be a new way of saving people, of getting Jesus living inside them. But, if he took out the patient's white heart with Jesus in it, and replaced it with a black heart filled with sin, that man might go through the rest of his life thinking he was saved, but then die and go to hell! The thought of this was unbearable to me. I had to tell Mrs. Bell -- maybe she could call Dr. Bernard and ask him to make sure Jesus was invited into this new heart.

Something told me that no on else in my class shared my concern, so I was already self-conscious about approaching Mrs. Bell, and I was a shy child anyway. But this was important, it had to be done. I raised my hand to join in the heart transplant discussion.

"Do you know whether it's a black heart or a white heart that the man is getting?" Silence and a stern look from Mrs. Bell. I tried again, "I'm worried they'll put in a black heart," I said quietly, eyes cast down.

"Susie, I am ashamed of you! Whether black or white, our hearts are all the same," she said, holding out the red plastic heart model that I thought must have been like one of those "Slightly Irregular" items my Mom sometimes bought at Wilmington Dry Goods, because it wasn't even shaped like a heart. Mrs. Bell's voice sounded like it did when she talked to a white child about calling a black child "nigger." It was 1967, and any mention of black and white necessarily involved race.

I knew I'd done something wrong, but it took me a few minutes to figure out what. I sat at my desk and cried quietly, while other children looked at me, and Mrs. Bell did nothing to comfort me. They didn't understand about the wordless Bible, about Jesus washing black hearts, and all the rest. Someone might go to hell, and I, a seven-year-old, seemed to be the only one who knew enough to be concerned about this. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that had fallen upon my shoulders. And now Mrs. Bell thought I was one of those children who would say, "nigger," even though I never had, and had been proud of that. (I didn't know the race of either donor or recipient; it had never occurred to me to even wonder about that.)

I had tried. I sat there and silently prayed, asking Jesus to please come into that new heart, whatever color it was now, and whatever color the person was on the outside, too. I knew this wasn't theologically sound -- that each of us had to ask for ourselves -- but I hoped that Jesus would make an exception. This was after all, a historic event, and I was having a very bad day.


In writing this, I wondered if the Worldess Bible is still used, and I found this site, among others, where the black page is now called the "dark page," and the white page is now called the "clean page," and I didn't see any mention of hearts changing colors.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Sunday Post ~ "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ephesians 3:16-21

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bad to the Bone

On the day I was born, the nurses all gathered 'round
And they gazed in wide wonder, at the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up, and she said, "Leave this one alone."
She could tell right away, that I was bad to the bone

I've been tagged by Jim at "DAMMIT, we can't have nice things!" (and don't you LOVE that name?) to do this meme, 5 Bad Habits o' Mine, or something like that. I don't usually respond well to being tagged, but Jim is awfully cute, and he makes me laugh, plus we have gotten quite close, sharing snack cake secrets, so I'm going to give it a shot.

I gotta say, this is hard. The really BAD things about me are SO really bad; and the really weird things about me, well, I haven't even told my therapist yet, so I have to give you "bad me lite" here, folks. I will say that after 40something years, some of the things that I once would have said are bad, I now will say are just me, take 'em or leave 'em. And the other things that actually are bad habits, well, they're not as bad as they once were, and hopefully I'll keep working on them. Here goes:

Bad to the bone

1. I am a terrible procrastinator. No, that's not a "gimme," it's not like everyone else. I'm talking terrible. Let me give you an example. But first, in my defense: I do love Christmas trees. We didn't put our tree up until Christmas Eve. We always planned to keep it up until my birthday. I haven't been feeling well. OK: My Christmas tree is still up!

2. I am habitually late returning library books. I have paid HIGH fines, people. There is a WANTED! poster of me up in the public library in the county where we used to live. That's why we moved.

3. I drive a rolling dumpster. My car is a trash pit. Things get lost in there. Like important school papers, cough drops, library books (see #2). I clean it out periodically, but then I just start all over again, tossing things in the back, in the passenger seat. Forget about the trunk. I have no idea what (who?) is in there.

4. This is sort of serious. I think sometimes I tease people too quickly. I grew up the only girl, with five brothers. I was teased, and learned to take it and tease back, from very early on. If I like you, or even sense that I am going to like you, I will tease you. Usually my intuition is good, and the "new" people I tease have a sense of humor somewhat like mine, and aren't offended. That's usually, though; not always. I should be more careful.

5. I keep magazines and catalogs around waaaaaay too long. I always think I'm going to order something from the catalogs (sometimes I do), and I think I'm going to read the magazines (I usually don't), or I think I'm going to at least skim the magazines and tear out the articles that appear interesting, and file them for reading later (oh, please), so I keep them. Stacked up in baskets, mostly. But I am doing better, honestly. I got rid of tons of them right before the holidays. I'm serious, tons of them. I put them in the recycling bin at my agency, where we get paid by the ton -- and we got paid!

BONUS (added later):
6. This would be a good place to confess this, because it affects some of you: I SUCK at returning emails. If I get your email while I happen to be on the computer, I'll probably write right back immediately. Or if we're working on a project together, I'll get right back to you ;) But if it's a nice, chatty email, I am likely to try to wait until I can really respond thoughtfully and very friendly-like, and I never seem to get time to respond the way I'd like, and then it gets shoved off the first page, and then (I am so sorry), I might even forget about it. Hmmm. I should file "letter" emails separate from "comment" emails. I'll do that; I'll do better, honest.

I broke a thousand hearts, before I met you
I'll break a thousand more baby, before I am through
I wanna be yours pretty baby, yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey, that I'm bad to the bone

(My apologies to George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers -- who dropped the "Delaware" after they became "big" -- but whom I thought were very cool, growing up in Delaware.)

And now, I'm not going to tag anyone. But I am going to issue a challenge: If you are damn-fool enough to get on the innernets and talk about how bad you are, or how weird you are, then knock yourself out! And let me know about it, because I wanna come and read.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Calling in Sick 23 Times in One Week

I don't feel like writing anything, except that I just sent a blogfriend an email in which I contemplated changing my tagline to

Snot in My Head and Time on My Hands -- it's a bad combination

So I thought, grrrrrl, you better write something, get those mucousy thoughts OUT before they set up some kind of infection in there.

You know about the peepee troubles. Status quo there. Over the weekend I got a cold/virusy/sinusy thing. Which, on a positive note, distracted me considerably from the peepee troubles. (Ohlord, don't you HATE to go to a blog and read, "*sigh* Well, I'm sick again . . . ?" I KNOW. It's OK if you head for the hills, I promise some day soon I'll stop reporting from the infirmary. And I'm not talking about y'all who have serious illnesses; you know I come and check on you and pray for you all the time; I'm talking about whiners. But no whiners come here, so what am I talking about? I'm sick, give me a break, wouldja?)

Being sick, and being mostly self-employed, presents challenges that those of you employed in other ways may never have considered. If you just can't drag your butt in to work, you probably call one person. The receptionist, let's say. You put on your best sick voice -- I'm not saying you're lying, not at all, but you know you do -- you make your voice match the illness you're claiming. You might even add sound effects -- the strategically placed gag or flush -- eh? You know you do.

At the agency where I supervise interns, I call the receptionist. And I call my interns, individually. Not fun, but not too difficult. The difficulty comes in calling clients in my private practice. I've made over 20 individual "sick-out" calls this week. I HATE DOING THAT. Clients react in different ways:

Compassion. They respond with some variation of "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. Well, you take care, I hope you feel better soon. I'll see you next week." Very nice.

Abandonment issues. Some variation of "This reminds me so much of when my mother was too drunk to come and see me play Clara in 'The Nutcracker!'" Um, oh no, I'm sorry, I'm really not drunk, it's just *achoo* *gag* *flush*

Anger. "Well, it must be nice to just decide you don't have to work if you don't feel like it!" Well, it sort of is, except that I have to make dozens of calls instead of one, and I DON'T GET PAID!!!!

I'll-get-my-session-anyway. If I reach the voicemail, I'm good. If I get the actual client of this variety, fuggedaboutit. It's at least a 20-minute call. That I can't really bill for. I mean, I called him. To cancel. And I'm gonna make him pay for that? It goes something like this, "Oh, well, OK, I hope you feel better, because what I really wanted to talk about was ..." and BOOM, we're off, I can't get another word, cough, sneeze, gag or flush in edgewise.

When I worked in the corporate world, I often went to work sick. I did PR and marketing writing. I could hide in my cubicle with my cough drops, my tea, my lotiony tissues. I could think a little bit, and write a little bit, make a pathetic-sounding phone call or two.

When I became a therapist, some 16 years ago, I decided that I won't go to work sick. Here's my rationale: I'm there for YOU, the client. And I simply can't be there for you, in the way that you deserve, in the way that you're paying for, if I'm distracted by me. Sure, I can sit upright in a chair. I can medicate myself until my head is fuzzy. Or I can suck a cough drop, or keep a tissue to my face. I can absolutely sit there and let you talk for 50 minutes, and look at my watch at the appointed time, and take your check and usher you out the door. But I can't be available to you. I am in the habit of praying silently as I sit down with each client, that I will be "emptied of me." Make me an instrument of your peace... Only when I am empty of me can I be available enough to contain you, or whatever you need me to contain for you in that hour. Only when I am empty of me can I be available as a channel of Holy Spirit, to listen to you, and at the same time listen for Spirit to lead me in responding to you. If this sounds bizarre to you, well, OK. And if it sounds sacred to you, well, it is to me, too.

If you're sitting on my couch talking about whatever you're talking about, and I'm thinking, "ohdeargod, how much longer? . . . I'm gonna . . . no . . . I'm gonna snee . . . no . . . cheez whiz, if I sneeze now, wonder if it'll be green . . . wonder if I need antibiotics . . . I should say something here . . . but I swear if I say two more words, that's gonna launch a coughing fit . . . got 3 more clients . . . 4 more cough drops . . . wish I felt like making some chicken soup . . . mmm chicken soup . . . lotsa garlic . . . ohdamn my throat . . . my ears are starting to hurt, too . . . I really need to blow . . . can I wait ten minutes . . . it's so disgusting . . . but I really need to blow now . . . " but I say, every once in a while, "Oh, I see; tell me more about that," you might not suspect that anything's amiss.

You might never know. But I will. And I'm not taking your money for that. I'd rather have you disappointed in me than me disappointed in me. I promise you'll get your money's worth. As soon as I'm well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What About BoB?

Some of my very favorite blogfriends have been chosen as finalists in the Best of Blogs (BoB) Awards competition. Check them out, if you don't know them already (aw, come on, you know them!) and then go here and VOTE for them!

Who's Your Daddy?
William is your blog daddy; the blog-daddiest blog daddy of all blog daddies. Poop and Boogies is the daddy of all blogs. William is funny and optimistic, and his wife and kid are unbearably beautiful. That's probably why he blogs so much, because he just has to look away from them sometimes.

Soul Food
No, not talking about a cooking blog. Talking about Wave of Modulation, a site that can truly nourish your soul. I left a comment at the BoB site asking people who don't know Sheryl to go spend some time at her place. What a treat that is. I am not exaggerating when I say that because of Sheryl's photographs, and her words, I see the world differently. It's clearer and makes better promises. Wave of Modulation is a finalist for Best Art Blog (or Blog as Art, or Art/Photo/Poetry Blog, or some such, you'll find her, go look around).

Summer Lovin'
To my knowledge, the first person in blogworld to say that I was worth reading, and to send people to see me was Summer. Talk about humbling. Summer is a brilliant, eloquent, sensitive smartass. At This is Not a Ham Sandwich, she challenges, amuses and inspires. That's what she's a finalist in: Most Inspirational Blog. Vote Summer. (A P.S. about Summer. She's the only person I've heard bestow the superlative compliment "jane dandiest," and truly I think that phrase is hers alone; however, this one time, I will presume to borrow it, to apply back to its owner: Summer IS the jane dandiest.)

(As of about 7 a.m., the official ballot was not posted yet. You can (and I hope you do!) leave comments supporting your "candidates," but they won't count as votes. Keep checking back for the posting of the ballot to cast your official votes :)

Here's to you, friends. May you all win a Major Award.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Real Quick, Enter!

UPDATE: Congratulations to the winners in the funny kid pix contest, from Anne-Marie at "A Mama's Rant":

Lori Jolliffe of "Noggin Bits" for the picture of her daughter IN the toilet

Honorable Mentions in No Particular Order go to:

Trish at “Look Busy…Jesus is Coming” for the rather mortifying picture of her son holding the tampon

Helene at “Adventures in Parenthood” for the picture of her daughter, the lingerie model

The Queen of Spain at “The Queen and her Royal Family” for having a talented husband who makes great photo montages

Tammy at “Tammy’s Random Thoughts” for the exhausted kid pictures

Ah, well. I can't really feel like a loser when I have a kid like this one, you know?

I just stumbled onto a contest for funny kid pix, at A Mama's Rant. You only have until midnight tonight to enter, so run back to your place and get your kid pix up -- your own, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, all are OK; or even old pix of yourself! To get all the info, go here; and after you post, go back there and leave a comment, that's your official entry.

A paper towel incident

This one has been posted here before, but it's one of my favorites. When LG was about 18 months old, she came to me confessing this paper towel mischief. I used to say to her when some minor thing would go wrong around the house, "Uh-oh, now look . . . " and on this day, she recognized that the expression fit the occasion, so she told me, as though this thing just somehow happened, "Uh-oh, now wook."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Gingerbread house

Sunday Post ~

"Nine requisites for contented living:
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future." -- Johann von Goethe

Philippians 4:4-9

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, January 06, 2006

It's My Potty, and I'll Cry if I Want To . . .

10:30 P.M. "After the lovin'..."

I guess it's only reasonable to give y'all an update on how things went. Not bad; just not as well as I'd hoped. The symptoms are beyond those mentioned often in the comments, the "burning" with which you sluts good people all seem so well-acquainted. The doc recommends a "procedure" which involves the insertion of a camera into a place where no camera was ever supposed to go (insert pathetic whimper here). But that won't happen until January 23rd. So until then, unless parts of me burst and fly around the room, I won't trouble you further with symptomology, because, what IS this, the whiny blog of some middle-aged woman with pee troubles? I think NOT!

I've always been "Ms. I-like-my-privacy" on here, and I must say, I've had moments of regret at having posted what I did today. But dammit, I wanted some wishes, and it would have been disingenuous to just party without letting you know that it's a weird birthday I've got here this time. And maybe more than being about privacy, I want to be about being genuine. PLUS, if I hadn't told you, I wouldn't have gotten those songs, and those wishes, that absolutely made a tough day easier. You are good people. This blogging is a good thing. Thank you for helping me today. I'll let you know what happens after the tests later in the month. Until then, if you think of it, slip my name in your prayers. Thank you again.

Here it is again. A birthday. My birthday!

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering, "Hmmm, how does Susie plan to spend her birthday..." (work with me). Well, I'll tell you. I'm going to do something I've never done before. I, Susie, will be visiting today with a Eurologist. That's right. There is more than a little bit of self-deception at work here (that's nothing new for middle-aged folk and birthdays), because I am choosing to misspell the title of the person with whom I shall be spending the afternoon.

If I call him a Eurologist, I can tell myself that he's someone knowledgeable about Europe; I can pretend that he's sort of a travel agent. Not a thing wrong with visiting a travel agent on one's birthday. If I weren't being delusional-by-choice today, I would leave the "E" off his title, and admit to myself and to you that I'll be spending my birthday afternoon with a . . . come closer, I have to whisper, with a peepeedoc. And surely you agree, there is something very wrong with spending one's birthday in the company of a peepeedoc. (Unless, of course, you ARE a peepeedoc, or your significant other is; in that case, my apologies to you.)

I will not go into detail as to the whys and wherefores of this visit. Suffice it to say that scary and unpleasant symptoms developed during the holidays that could not be diagnosed nor treated by my family docs. Hence, they said, "We must send you off to the Eurologist to determine why you have such trouble when European!" (OK, I'm killin' myself with that one!)

Serious Susie, age 4
Serious Susie
Gift certificates for eyebrow waxing will be accepted

Alright, I told y'all that so you would feel sufficiently sorry for me that you would do my bidding today. It is, after all, my birthday, and I believe that gives me the right to be a little bossy (-er than usual). All I want is for you to wish me some wishes. BUT. There's a catch.

I want you to wish me some wishes in the form of song lyrics.

A line, a verse, whatever. Funny, serious, insulting, oldies, newies, original compositions, funk, bluegrass, crap, I don't care. I'm a BIG MEDICAL CHICKEN, and it will help my anxiety about today's goings-on, if y'all will sing to me. AND -- "Happy Birthday to you" does NOT COUNT.

Silly Susie, age 4
Silly Susie
Definitely capable of delusions.
Such as, "My jumper is of an acceptable length."

Ready? And a one, and a two . . .

UPDATE: It's August95's birthday, too! Go wish her some wishes, and show her your buttcrack (don't ask me; ask her, I'm not getting involved in that sort of thing).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Legend of the Fall

It's that time of year. Grown women and men, who've been walking unassisted for years, may suddenly just go sprawling on the ground, due, allegedly, to so-called "black ice." That is the only explanation I can fathom for what happened to me one year ago this month. The following is mostly excerpted from my feeble attempt at keeping a journal, which was my feeble attempt at keeping a New Year's resolution:

First journal entry: Saturday morning, 7:30, I'm in the parking lot of the church, site of the 8 a.m. basketball game, for which LG will be cheerleading. I fall. I FELL. My Olympus digital camera flew in one direction. My black suede hobo purse flew in another. My very cool black-framed Prada eyeglasses flew in yet another. Don't ask me how. I don't know HOW!!! I'll have to make up that story later. Just one minute, I'm strolling across the parking lot, the "squad photographer," ready to take my pix, and the next second, THUD, I'm face-down, shocked, hurt, missing many of my belongings. No tripping, no stumbling, just there I was. I couldn't move, for a long time. Just taking inventory. Then I finally roll over. OK, let me just say here, that it IS TRUE: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. All true. I hadn't fallen since childhood, except perhaps in soft snow, and this fall was HARD.

I roll over, sit up, and someone comes over to help, hands me glasses (scraaaaatched), purse, camera. No, don't need anything, yes, probably some ice would be good, no, just need to sit for a minute. Right knee is potentially in big trouble. Raise leg, bend knee, bend, bend, OK, not broken. Reassure LG. Again, and again.

Later (that woman never did show up with that ice!), I did my job, taking pictures of the cheerleaders (adorable little smunchkins!) doing their thing. Talking with the daddy of one of the other girls, and telling him the legend of my fall, I recounted the story of the elderly Kathryn Windham, a featured teller that I had heard at the National Storytelling Festival one year. She has said that while young people "fall," or "fall down," old people "HAVE a fall," or "TAKE a fall." So while I was lying there on the asphalt, it did cross my mind, "Hmmm, I wonder if I just FELL, or if, at 40something, I had HAD my first fall?" Oh, the things a girl thinks of when she's lying prone in a parking lot!

He and I are laughing about this, and the very sweet, very cool other-cheerleader's-daddy allowed that, oh no, I was way too young to have HAD a fall -- I just plain FELL, he said. Well, good. Thank you for that.

In the car going home, LG, who has heard my conversation with her friend's daddy, calls Jif on my cellphone and announces, "Mama HAD A FALL!" followed by evil laughter. Later the three of us talked about it and I explained to the child how, if she knows what's good for her, she'll tell the story of me "falling," or even the younger version, "falling down," and she'll not mention again my "HAVING" or "TAKING" any such thing. So Jif and I educate her thoroughly on these nuances, and we even throw in that when you get REALLY, REALLY old -- or DEAD -- you enter a whole new category, and may be said to have "TIPPED OVER."

Second journal entry: Still on the falling thing; but I do have one green hand and two purple-and-green knees, so as long as I'm still a "colored girl" from the fall, I can still pontificate on it. Talking about the seasons of one's falling life last night in bed with Jif -- after arguing over whose knees hurt more (1. How could he possibly win, he didn't even FALL!? 2. That's what you do after age 45 in bed, you fight over whose parts hurt more. What, you didn't know this?) -- Jif says that "falling down" is not actually the first manifestation of this occurrence in one's life. Even younger than that, you "fall-down-go-BOOM!"

Well, that is true, I countered, but there is a stage even younger than that, at which you "get DROPPED!" I add that I know this stage exists, because my one and only baby, for whom I endured all manner of torture to procure, GOT DROPPED when she was only a couple of months old, by HER FATHER!

Well, he says, if we're going to go there, "Tipping Over" isn't the last stage after all; you might actually GET DROPPED again at the very end!

Epilogue: It was April before I could kneel, due to the injuries sustained in the legendary fall. The one where I FELL. And you might not think being unable to kneel would be a big deal, but it was. Kneeling is useful for many occasions, and has its place in matters of reverence, convenience and recreation. Don't take kneeling for granted, friends.

Monday, January 02, 2006

My Favorite Person . . .

. . . was born 48 years ago, today.

baby Jif

http://www.GlitterMaker.com/ - Free Glitter Graphics

Sunday, January 01, 2006


New Year's Sunday Post ~ "A strong mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope." -- Thomas Carlyle

Romans 15:13

file under: &Sunday Post