Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Gift of Time

My bloggin’ buddy, 99, asked me a couple of days ago to write something lighthearted for her. I’m still working on it — but until I come up with something, I thought I would re-blog this post of hers. She wrote a heartfelt New Year’s wish that I would like to see all of us practice. Of course, there will be fewer humor blogs if we do … but that may be the sacrifice we all have to make for a better, nicer world.

Happy, healthy 2016 to all my bloggin’ buddies and all their loved ones too.

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Filed under Humor

Give Peace A Chance – Bomb Agrabah

It was one of the most embarrassing things about working at the World Health Organization for an American like me.  My knowledge of geography really wasn’t all that hot.

I was pretty good at Europe.  I knew that Italy is shaped like a boot, and Switzerland, where I was living, looked like a delicious croissant.  Russia and China?  No problem.  South Africa and Chile — those were easy — they’re at the bottom (and I had been to Chile, so I knew that it was south).

It didn’t help that several countries changed names at the precise moment when I was trying to find them on the map.  Yeah, I’m talking to you Burma/Myanmar. 

But I’m a pretty quick study.  My knowledge of geography grew daily as I had to figure out where the hell everybody was when they went away without me.  Today I can proudly say that I, an American citizen, am no longer geographically challenged.  I’m so good, I can even find Malawi on a map.

Malawi

It’s right there at 4:00.  Google Image.

So I will admit feeling a wee bit sanctimonious when I learned that the GOP wants to bomb every Arab city including Agrabah.  Because I know where it can be found.

GOP voters support bombing Agrabah!

Those stupid Republicans!  They don’t even know where Agrabah is!  They don’t remember their, umm, history.  I know that it’s the town from The Arabian Knights.  Agrabah, the city of magic is the stuff of fiction, and folk lore and Disney movies.

 

Agrabah is where Aladin and Jasmin lived.  The city they flew over on the magic carpet.  Oh and the Genie.  He was there too.

My bloggin’ buddy, Bruce Thiesen wrote an interesting piece about the GOP, that made me think that bombing Agrabah isn’t such a bad idea.

I figure, by focusing all our military efforts on Agrabah, we can rewrite Middle Eastern politics and history.

  • We can shoot fictitious people instead of real flesh and blood ones!
  • We can carpet bomb the hell out of a magic city instead of ones with bricks and mortar and things like hospitals and schools.
  • We can demonstrate to the world that we are willing to use the most terrible of weapons if anybody tries anything on us, but without hurting a fly.  Or a flying carpet.

Bombing the shit out of Agrabah will satisfy the blood lust of the Right Wing without hurting any real people.  The GOP will be happy, the Military-Industrial Complex will get their $$$$$ and nobody gets hurt (well, except the taxpayers). It’s a win-win-win.  Lots of wins.

This is how we give peace a chance.

I’m expecting the Nobel Peace Prize for this baby.

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Wait! Isn’t it Actually a ‘War on New Years’?

This morning I read that a Texas (sorry Val) official has a very Christian response to those waging the “War on Christmas” — he’s threatening to slap people who say “Happy Holidays” to him.  In the most Christian way, I’m sure.

Slap Happy

This is the photo that accompanied Sid Miller’s Tweet that I cannot seem to copy. It said

“If one more person says Happy Holidays to me I just might slap them. Either tell me Merry Christmas or just don’t say anything.” – Republican Sid Miller, Texas State Agriculture Commissioner

Ho hum.  I will pause here while you roll your eyes.

But Sid did make me think.  And not just that this guy was obviously the model for the bad boy next door in Toy Story.

No. Sid didn’t make me think about how asinine those folks who insist people wish them and everybody else on the planet “Merry Christmas,” are.  But that they are actually waging a war.

ON NEW YEARS!

Because, you see, “Happy Holidays” is all encompassing.  It can be a greeting for Christmas, yes, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah (or as I like to call it the Jewish Festival of Lights the Name of Which I Cannot Spell). You can reach out to your pagan friends celebrating the Yule or your ‘funnier than shit’  friends celebrating Festivus.  And you can use it instead of “have a nice day” to folks you don’t know.

And it can be used to wish folks a Happy New Year, too.

That’s why I’m thinking that, really, the war is on New Years. The one all-inclusive holiday!  EVERYBODY gets a New New Year!

So by refusing to permit “Happy Holidays,”  clearly none of us supposed to have a Happy New Year.  And while given the shit we in the US will have to hear until November, 2016 we are going to have to work on that “Happy” part, still, we should all wish it for each other.

I WANT A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In fact, I WANT EVERYBODY TO HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Well, except for these folks who claim there is a War on Christmas.  I want them all to be spat upon by Donald Trump.  And perhaps slapped silly.  Sillier.

So to ensure that you have a Happy New Year, I am re-running the secret to my good life.  How I have managed to have Happy New Years-es for 30 years.  And I’m doing it before Christmas, Kwanzaa and Festivus (sorry folks who celebrate the Jewish Festival of lights that I cannot spell) and any other religious or non-religious celebration that I might have left out inadvertently)  so that you can plan accordingly.

***

Our New Years’ Tradition

On the stroke of midnight,

Open the back door –

to force out all the BAD luck.

Not my back door.  Google Image from many years ago because I repeat myself.  Did I mention that I tell the same story over and over?  No?  Well I do.

Open the front door —

to let in the GOOD luck.

Not my front door.  Google Image from many years ago because I repeat myself.  Did I mention that I tell the same story over and over?

The rest is optional, but we always:

  •  Drink a toast to the New Year.
  • Kiss anyone and everyone who happens to be nearby
  • Hope for all the best for all we care about in the New Year.

This year I will of course add to family and flesh friends a wish the happiest, healthiest of new years to all my blogging buddies.

So Happy Holidays, Y’all.  Including New Years!

Aussies

I just saw this on Father Kanes’ blog and had to add it.

https://thelastofthemillenniums.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/the-day-in-a-quote-296/#like-27504)

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Home For Christmas Again

Does your family tell the same stories, over and over again?  Mine does.  Or my Mom and Dad did.   Oh and in case you haven’t noticed, I do too.

My husband is no doubt rolling his eyes and thanking his lucky stars.  Because  since I started blogging, he is forced to hear fewer repeats of my stories.

To me, the heart and soul of Christmas is Love.  And repeating traditions.  That is what this story means to me.  And even though Christmas is a sadder day than it once was, this story warms my heart.  And I tell it every year.

Here.  If you haven’t read it before, you may need this.

Handkerchief 2

Don’t worry; it’s clean.Google Image.

***

She told the story every year with a warm smile on her face.  Sometimes her eyes got a little bit misty.

“It was 1943, and the War was on, and your father was in the Navy, on a ship somewhere in the Pacific.  We never knew where he was.  Like all the other boys I knew, he was in danger every day.  We lived for the mail, we were terrified of unfamiliar visitors in uniform.  A telegram sent us into a panic.  And ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ had just been recorded by Bing Crosby.  It was Number One on the Hit Parade.”

That’s how Mom started the story every time.

Of course I’ll Be Home For Christmas was Number One that year.  Everyone, or just about, was hoping that someone they loved would, in fact, be home for Christmas.  That all the boys would be home for good.  But all too many people were disappointed.  I doubt there were many dry eyes when that song came on the radio that year or for the next few.

Mom and Dad got engaged right around Pearl Harbor Day, but the War lengthened their courtship significantly because Dad enlisted shortly after the attack.  It was to be a long war, and a long engagement.  But Mom was in love with her handsome man.  If possible, I think that Dad was even more so.

Mom, Circa 1943

Mom, Circa 1943

 

My Dad was drop-dead gorgeous, and I have heard that in his single days, he was a bit of a ladies’ man.  Every girl in town, it seemed, had a crush on Dad.

Dad, Circa 1943

Dad, Circa 1943

 

In fact, my Aunt Sally once told me that she had been manning a booth at a church bizarre one Saturday in about 1995, when an elderly woman came up to talk to her.

“Are you Freddie E’s sister?” the woman asked Aunt Sal.

“Yes I am.  Do you know my brother?” Aunt Sal responded.

“I did,she sighed.  “I haven’t seen him since we graduated from high school in 1935.  Sixty years ago.  He was,” she stopped to think of just the right word, “… He was dream-my.”

“He still is,” Sally quipped.

One day not long after after Mom had passed, Dad and I were looking at some pictures I hadn’t seen before.

“Dad,” I told him with wonder looking at a particularly good shot, “You should have gone to Hollywood.  You’d have been a star.”

“Nah,” Dad said.  “Mom would never have gone with me.  And once the war was over, well, I wasn’t going anywhere else without her.”

Dad circa 1935

Dad circa 1935

Dad never quite got over feeling lucky that he had Mom.  And he never stopped loving her.

But back to Mom’s story.

“It was Christmas morning, 1943, and I went over to visit Dad’s mom and dad.  Grammy E’d had symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for seven or eight years at that point.  She could still move around (she was later, when I knew her, almost completely paralyzed), but she could barely talk.”

Mom continued.  But your Dad’s mom was singing ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’  Well, she was trying to sing it, any how. She kept repeating that one line, over and over again.  ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’  I thought she was crazy.”

“You see,” Mom would say, “Your father had somehow managed to get Christmas leave – he was coming home!  He wanted to surprise me and wouldn’t let anyone tell me he was coming.  He was expected any minute, and there I was, trying to leave.  But I couldn’t stay.  That song made me cry; Freddie was so far away, and in so much danger.  I couldn’t bear hearing it.”

So Mom left after a while, she had other people and her own family to see.  Later Dad caught up with her and they spent most of Christmas together.  Both of them always smiled at the memory.  Dad was home for Christmas that year, just like in the song.  It was a magical year for them both.

Mom was always touched by Dad’s surprise and by his mother’s loving gesture in fighting back the paralysis that was taking over her body to try to get her son’s girl to stay.  To sing when she could barely speak.

“I’ve always wished I’d stayed.”

We lost Mom on Easter of 1997, and Dad really never got over her passing.

The song and Mom’s story took on an even more poignant meaning in 2000.  Because on Christmas of that year, Dad joined Mom again for the holiday.  He went “home” to Mom for Christmas again, joining her in the afterlife.

Even through the sadness of losing Dad on Christmas, I always have to smile when I hear that song.  Because I can just see the warmth in Mom’s eyes now as she welcomed Dad home.  This time, I’m sure she was waiting for him with open arms.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Christmas Stories, Dad, Family, Growing up, History, Holidays, Love, Missing Folks, Mom, Mom Stories, Music, Taking Care of Each Other

Jerks with Joysticks

Yes, I did watch some of it.  Last night’s GOP debate.

Oh Look! They're Circling the Circus Wagons! NYTimes Image

Oh Look! They’re Circling the Circus Wagons! NY Times Image

I actually watched as these clowns stroked themselves and postured about who was more willing to kill innocent men women and children.

These men (sorry, Carly, but you’re not ready for prime time) are revolting.  Jerks with Joysticks, fondling themselves while they play at war.

Only it’s not a game.  And all their fear-mongering does is breed more fear.  Well and hatred.  It breeds that too.  It’s a two-fer!

Elections matter.

 

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‘Grave’ Therapy

Over the years, I’ve had to do some pretty weird things for work, had to work for some  weird people.  And while I have sometimes felt that my job was hell, and that it would be the death of me, well, I never thought that it would lead me to an early grave.  Or an early casket.

Possibly among the things I’ve hated most have been those retreat-thingys organized by HR.

For the most part, I’ve gotten along with folks I worked with.  Still, I find HR retreats — with their artificial conviviality — uncomfortable.  And even I, who willingly tells my most embarrassing stories to the whole world, finds doing so in a closed room to folks I work with when I don’t choose the timing — awkward.  They always seem so false, so forced.  Perhaps because they are.

Work-Life Balance

Google Images

Never again will I complain though.  Because as bad as things seem, they can always be worse.  MUCH WORSE.

Today I found out just how much worse things could be.

Yup, I read on my new BBC App that some Korean companies are holding mass funerals.  For their employees.  For their LIVE employees.

According to the article as well as independent sources, the Korean suicide rate is quite high, because folks are seriously stressed out.  Of course that is a serious situation — so much is expected of employees that they just can’t take it.

So, to alleviate the stress, somebody came up with a colorful approach to stress reduction.  [Please don’t tell my boss.*]

Well, they hold a company retreat, of sorts, many companies worldwide do that too.

But this one has a twist.  Or maybe it’s just twisted.  Perhaps both.

You see, they have groups of employees all get together, and write farewell letters to their families.  As if they are about to kill themselves.  Then, while gathered in a room with the folks they work with, they stand next to empty coffins.

The participants at this session were sent by their employer, human resources firm Staffs. “Our company has always encouraged employees to change their old ways of thinking, but it was hard to bring about any real difference,” says its president, Park Chun-woong. “I thought going inside a coffin would be such a shocking experience it would completely reset their minds for a completely fresh start in their attitudes.”

Yes.  They get into the fucking coffins!

Let me reiterate:  You go to work one day, and head off for a company retreat, knowing that it will be an awkward, wasted day and that you are already way behind in your work.

Then they have you write a suicide note and put you into a coffin.

lyingincoffins

BBC Photo, I’m guessing. Because while it came from the article linked to above, there is no credit given. Perhaps the photographer did not want to disrespect the, umm, un-dead.

The idea is to make employees feel that their lives are worth living.  However, I think that if someone forced me into a coffin, I would be thinking long and hard about my career choice.

And about litigation.  I would definitely be thinking about suing the shit out of somebody.

So the next time you decide you hate your job, count yourself lucky.  Because things aren’t really all that bad unless they trade your cubicle for a pine box.

***

*My current boss would never do this.  She’s a doctor.  She tries to keep people OUT of coffins.  But there have been other bosses …

 

 

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A-Sick – Abroad

When you move to another country where you don’t speak the language, you expect things to be challenging.  But I think that there are scientific studies that estimate that the odds of your expectations equaling reality is precisely 5,392,487 to 1.

When we moved to Geneva in 1997, we, like all other expats, knew that there would be culture shock.  We didn’t speak the language.  We didn’t know our way around.  We were babes in the woods and there were wild boar in them thar hills.  Oh, and in those woods.

In fact, we hadn’t been in Switzerland long before John came down with a cold.  NBD, right?  Off to the pharmacy we went.

But of course, we couldn’t speak the language, which made it a bit of a challenge.

Nevertheless, I took my responsibility as family french speaker seriously.  I went to the pharmacy with my husband with my English-French/French-English dictionary in hand.

My husband has a cold (mon mari a un rhume).  He has a stuffy nose (il a un nez bouché).
Sadly, my french was not really good. And I learned again that day that if you are foolish enough to speak to a french speaker in French, the asshole will respond to you in french!  WTF??????  Why do they DO that?

Anyway, in pidgeon french, I told the pharmacist that we wanted a decongestant.  And really, it didn’t seem like such a big deal.

“Vous avez besoin d’un lavage de nez,” said the pharmacist.

John and I looked at each other.

“She’s recommending a nose washer,” I said.  “I guess that makes sense.  I guess a decongestant will “wash you nose.”

We were handed a box and the pharmacist allowed us to open it to look at the instructions.  The illustrated instructions.  Color illustrations. of a man leaning over the sink with a ‘lavage de nez’ in one nostril and a stream of green snot pouring out of the other.

Lavage de nez 1

I am not just using this picture because my husband is a big baby when he gets sick.  Really.  Google Image

Ewwww.

Upon our return to the US, we learned that netti pots had become popular remedies for stuffy noses.

Ewwww.

They also spread infection because they are difficult to clean.  And then there is the goo that goes into the sink….

Ewwww.

Tonight while spending money I don’t have on gifts for folks, I saw a commercial for a Navage.

So I needed to share my story.  Because that’s what we bloggers do.

 

Ewwww.

I just felt it necessary to prove that I don’t only think about poop when I think about weird medical treatments.

But of course, everything I discuss would interest any 12 year old.  Like me.

You’re welcome.

 

 

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