Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Because it's not just anyone who can pull off the pop-bead-plastic tiara and Beatles onesie.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Knowing that an ice storm was headed our direction and that we will soon have treacherous travel conditions, I had a flashback to Miss Opal, our Good News after-school program teacher. Miss Opal was a wizened blue-haired wonder who smelled of a combination of Ben-Gay and Jean Nate. Miss Opal, who could command the felt board Eve to eat the apple with an especially sinister snarl. Miss Opal, who always reminded us to be good samaritans.

I heard Miss Opal's voice in my head as I dialed our elderly Greek neighbors, Helen and Kosmas to see if they needed anything from the grocery.

Helen always says hello suspiciously. Telemarketers seem to prey on the elderly, and add to that the elderly who speak English as a second language, and she's learned to be cautious. When I tell her it's me there is a barrage of joy, "Oh, Christy, Christy [her name for me], why you not at work? Baby sick? You still sick? You don't sound so good. Christy, I'm glad you called me." It's hard to get a word in edgewise. I explained that we had a storm coming. "Oh, no, Christy. It's gonna be a bad storm, huh? It's gonna be ice, huh? This weather. What you gonna do, huh?"

"What you gonna do?" is the philosophy by which Helen and Kosmas live. Their own form of spiritual wisdom. Their own response that, yes, at times, shit happens. Their own acceptance of all that comes in. Their own Tao. What you gonna do, huh?

I explained to Helen, carefully and slowly, that we were going to the grocery to stock up on things. I explained that we were worried about them and wondered if they needed us to pick them up anything. I explained that we didn't know how long the storm would last, but just in case, it might help to have everything we needed for a few days.

Helen listened carefully and said, "Oh, Christy, you're right. I mean, what you gonna do, right? And you, you gonna do something to help. So, yes, I need something from the grocery before the storm comes blowing. You wanna write this down?" I sat, poised with pen in hand to get Helen's list.

"I need one unsalted hairspray. In the can that spray."

I waited.

Helen was quiet. "You get it, Christy? One unsalted hairspray."

"Okay, Helen. One unscented can of hairspray. Anything else?"

"No. That's good."

We each have our own needs in emergencies. Me? I went to the library yesterday and got a big pile of memoirs to read. And I want to make sure R. picks up some peanut M&M's on the grocery run.

Helen, she's got her hairspray. What you gonna do, really?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Memo

To: Sinuses
From: Contemplative Chaplain
Date: December 16, 2008
RE: Your recent failure

It has come to my attention that you have been failing miserably in your job as you maintain superior nasal clarity, the highest standards of health and the promise of wellness.

While your productivity remains high (it seems that was 3/4 of a box of Kleenex used today, sinuses, well done!), your performance falters. And the product has been a bit, well, green.

It is frustrating as your supervisor (or is it servant?), to have you fail in job performance during this crucial holiday period. Perhaps you are unaware that when you are unhealthy, your performance effects not only my sense of smell, but also my sense of taste. This is an unsatisfactory experience as today I could not taste the egg nog or chocolate almond cupcakes with little tiny green and red sprinkles atop them at the annual holiday party. As this is a seasonal event, which only happens once a year, you can imagine the horror.

I appreciate your attempts at helping me to lose weight. Thus far, I have dropped two pounds thanks to your extreme taste deprivation. However, time is of the essence here, as I don't want to miss the once-a-year chance of eating melting moments cookies which were my grandmother's recipe.

I anticipate more effective sinus maintenance in the future or else drastic measures will need to be taken. Jalapenos maybe. Or the dreaded neti pot. I trust you will respond to the antibiotic that I introduced you to a few days ago, and allow yourself to learn from her superior work habits.

Consider this a warning. Step it up, sinuses. 'Cause there's no "I" in "Team."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And Also...

We got a new camera.

You have been warned.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Now With 34% More Protein

I read on a blog recently that no one likes to hear blog writers apologize and make excuses for not posting. And how they'd rather not hear the lament of writer's block, or busy schedules. Instead, they'd just rather the writer write when the could and stop wasting their readers precious time with long-winded explanations.

I also read on my favorite brand of granola bars that they have updated themselves and now have more protein.

The long and the short of it is. I'm back to trying to post more routinely. And with more protein.

I'm letting myself off the hook and not planning on writing monthly letters to the boy. It was feeling burdensome, as if I had to remember every single detail and I found deadlines looming over me. And so, I'll write some here and there, and you'll undoubtedly have your fill of Grayson stories to keep you begging me to just pipe down about the boy. I also figured that each entry didn't have to be a well prepared entry, pondered at length. Instead, I could, perhaps, just try to write more often and include the trivial. I'm sure, for instance, that you all would like to know what color toenail polish I'm planning on painting my nails, and then we could swap techniques for cleaning mini-blinds. Or not. I suppose I don't want the blog to dissolve into trifling nonsense. We'll see what comes...

So, there's that. Business and updates out of the way.

Recently Grayson and I have been hit with the one-two wallop of head cold which has rallied the bad bacterial forces and become sinus and ear infections. That's sinus and ear infections for both of us. I'm not sure who is the bigger wuss here. I sleep more. He whines more. Or maybe it's the other way around. We're both taking antibiotics and wiping snot all over one another. It's been one of the more exhausting health adventures we've had for awhile at Casa P-M and I'm amazed at R., with his immune system of steel, and trusty Zicam for remaining all-powerful in the face of these wee monsters (the germs, not me and Grayson...or maybe us too).

The tornado watches I alluded to, the cryptic mysterious post of which few seemed to notice (Have I lost all my readers? I suppose it would serve me right for being a lazy slacker...whoops, no apologies, I need to heed the lessons of Love Story here), has come to pass and our small not-for-profit community-based Hospice had to lay off ten workers. All of them good folk who now face a difficult job market and dismal holiday without income. I am thankful to be spared, and yet remember that "there but for the grace of God..." These figurative tornadoes have whipped through Fort Wayne, but I seem to have escaped with only wind-blown hair, some changes in job responsibilities (which have allowed me to become the chaplain of our in-patient 14-bed-unit, an assignment which I wasn't relishing but have found absolutely delightful--or as delightful as being surrounded by death can be) and a few more stories to tell.

You'll hear them soon...