Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bring back Lou Rawls

Well, I was sitting here and thinking about a bunch of nothing (this being the 'happy hour' of the day) and what just did happen in my head but this?

Oh, yeah.


Mmm hmmm!!


Background for you young folks in the audience: This tune was released in 1976, the year of our United States Bicentennial, the year of me being 14, the year of being beguiled by this smoky-voiced crooner named Lou Rawls, who could sing the estrogen out of an audience of retired librarians.  What a voice, what a voice.  Who CARES if it's a breakup song when Lou is sliding his way into your eardrums and heart with All His Emotions???  Nobody, that's who, not even those people who had just experienced a breakup and might never ever be happy again.  Lou was there to sing their pain. to take control of their sadness and turn it into a power ballad of self-love.

Then when I started thinking about it, I was shocked that I remembered every dang word and could probably do the backup vocals too.

Which, naturally, got be to thinking.  What OTHER songs of my 14th year might I possibly remember that made it to the Top Hits of 1976?

Well, after doing 5 minutes of research, it turns out...a lot.

From the "Top 100 hits of 1976" list from, here is the list.  Using only the song title as prompt, the ones I can probably at least hum the chorus of are in bold below:

1. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney and Wings
2. Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee
3. Disco Lady, Johnnie Taylor
4. December 1963 (Oh What a Night), The Four Seasons
5. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
6. Kiss and Say Goodbye, The Manhattans
7. Love Machine, Pt. 1, The Miracles
8. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
9. Love Is Alive, Gary Wright
10. A Fifth of Beethoven, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band
11. Sara Smile, Daryl Hall and John Oates
12. Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band
13. I Write the Songs, Barry Manilow
14. Fly Robin Fly, Silver Convention
15. Love Hangover, Diana Ross
16. Get Closer, Seals and Crofts
17. More, More, More, Andrea True Connection
18. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
19. Misty Blue, Dorothy Moore
20. Boogie Fever, The Sylvers
21. I'd Really Love to See You Tonight, England Dan and John Ford Coley
22. You Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate
23. Love Hurts, Nazareth
24. Get Up and Boogie (That's Right), Silver Convention
25. Take It to the Limit, The Eagles
26. (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, K.C. and The Sunshine Band>
27. Sweet Love, The Commodores
28. Right Back Where We Started From, Maxine Nightingale
29. Theme From "S.W.A.T", Rhythm Heritage
30. Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
31. You Should Be Dancing, The Bee Gees
32. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls (Ed note: <3 br=""> 33. Golden Years, David Bowie
34. Moonlight Feels Right, Starbuck
35. Only Sixteen, Dr. Hook
36. Let Your Love Flow, Bellamy Brothers
37. Dream Weaver, Gary Wright
38. Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson
39. Lonely Night (Angel Face), The Captain and Tennille
40. All By Myself, Eric Carmen
41. Love to Love You Baby, Donna Summer
42. Deep Purple, Donny and Marie Osmond
43. Theme from "Mahogany" (Do You Know Where You're Going To), Diana Ross
44. Sweet Thing, Rufus
45. That's the Way I Like It, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
46. A Little Bit More, Dr. Hook
47. Shannon, Henry Gross
48. If You Leave Me Now, Chicago
49. Lowdown, Boz Scaggs
50. Show Me the Way, Peter Frampton
51. Dream On, Aerosmith
52. I Love Music, The O'Jays
53. Say You Love Me, Fleetwood Mac
54. Times of Your Life, Paul Anka
55. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
56. Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop
57. Convoy, C.W. McCall
58. Welcome Back (Theme from "Welcome Back, Kotter"), John Sebastian
59. Sing a Song, Earth, Wind and Fire
60. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Tavares
61. I'll Be Good to You, The Brothers Johnson
62. Shop Around, The Captain and Tennille
63. Saturday Night, The Bay City Rollers
64. Island Girl, Elton John
65. Let's Do It Again, The Staple Singers
66. Let 'Em In, Paul McCartney and Wings
67. Baby Face, Wing and A Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
68. This Masquerade, George Benson
69. Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra
70. Wham Bam, Silver
71. I'm Easy, Keith Carradine
72. Wake Up Everybody, Pt. 1, Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
73. Summer, War
74. Let Her In, John Travolta
75. Fox On the Run, The Sweet
76. Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
77. Got to Get You Into My Life, The Beatles
78. Fanny (Be Tender With My Love), The Bee Gees
79. Getaway, Earth, Wind and Fire
80. She's Gone, Daryl Hall and John Oates
81. Rock and Roll Music, The Beach Boys
82. Still the One, Orleans
83. You're My Best Friend, Queen
84. With Your Love, Jefferson Starship
85. Slow Ride, Foghat
86. Who'd She Coo?, The Ohio Players
87. Walk Away from Love, David Ruffin
88. Baby I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
89. Young Hearts Run Free, Candi Staton
90. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Neil Sedaka
91. Money Honey, The Bay City Rollers
92. Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker), Parliament
93. Junk Food Junkie, Larry Groce
94. Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again, Barry Manilow
95. Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss
96. Disco Duck, Rick Dees
97. The Boys Are Back In Town, Thin Lizzy
98. Take the Money and Run, The Steve Miller Band
99. Squeeze Box, The Who
100. Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.), Glen Campbell

Wow.  My 14-year old's brain is HOLDING ON, y'all.  Maybe it's because in 1976 pop music was EVERYWHERE, maybe because some of these songs are still being played, maybe because this was a period of life that just had great music, maybe because my brain was opening up new nodes to cram in useless information to be retrieved almost 40 years later, who knows?

Just sit back, click a link, and enjoy.

And while you're at it, maybe think about what was popular when you were 14, and share with us how many of THOSE top 100 songs you can jam to, instantaneously, however many years it's been since then.

Thanks for listening - Tiff out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Well, here's TMI

Ah, the internet, where long-lost talents of gifted persons from days gone by are unearthed and aired out for us to admire, be horrified by, or a combination of the 2.

An example:  Le Petomane.

A man who could CAPTURE and then release wind at will, in many amusing and various tones and timbres, through which legions of Parisians (and visitors) found much enjoyment.

What a career that would be.  One for which I am well-suited, I'm not embarrassed to say.

My 'talent' has never been in eager demand, but I do amuse myself with it, as I suspect most people do.  I abide by my Grandmother's admonishment "wherever you be, let your wind flow free, for that my dear was the death of me."  She was wise, my Grandmother, at least in the ways of bodily functions.

Now, lest you think I'm just randomly and at will releasing the hounds, so to speak, I do not.  Restraint and respect for people are high on my list of Things to Be and Do, so I will use the power of sphincters to wait until a seemly time to practice my art, sometimes in great pain to do so.  For my talents come through natural means, not those to the Great Performer mentioned about who retrograded his gaseous supply.  Sure, he had talent, but really, true talent comes from within, and well kids, I have that talent.


It's been said (here, for one) that most people release one-half a liter of gas a day through the nether regions.  Well, MOST people are flat-out amateurs!  It takes real skill to have reached MY level, I will tell you!  And that's only from what I know about the daytime issues.  Heaven, and Biff, knows what goes on overnight.  Half a liter.  Child's play, a weak effort!  Pssssh.


Anyhow, it's really great what the internet will remind you of, guide you into finding more about, give you a gauge against which to measure yourself, and then allow you to brag about, isn't it?

Dear Lord I hope so.

Billowingly yours,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So much fluff

He's much bigger than this now.
Our dog, Wernstrom, is a good pup.  He has trained us well.

We go out with him when he needs to do his business, and will stand outside until he's done, plus 10 minutes of play time.

We hand him an after-meal treat because that's just what happens.

We let him out at regular intervals, serve him food at 7 and 5, teach him new things weekly, get all up in his face nightly, hug him and love on him and administer reproach when necessary.

OK, the reproach thing might not be him training us, but we are human and need authoitay!

All along this dog journey I have wondered if we did the right thing.  Was getting a dog into our home and family the right thing to do?  Was it OK to add all that responsibility to our lives, all that routine, all that energy expenditure?  Dogs are WORK, and puppies moreso.

This is what I have to say now about how things are going:

   Biff left a while ago to work up at the shop.  He took Wern with him.

   I woke up this morning with a nice big puppy sleeping with me after Biff had to leave for work.  Puppy stayed quietly in bed with me until it was time to get up.  Good boy.

   Thing 2 came home for lunch today and one of the first things he did was play with and treat the dog.  That's love.

   Wern loves to run around the backyard, and MORE if he has something from the firepit in his mouth.  Goofyness is great.

   He is  smart.  New tasks/tricks are usually learned in 5 minutes, and remembered.

   He barks at the right time.  Excellent skill.

   He loves EVERYONE. 'Nuff said.

   He growls at the 'right' times, even if it seems like nothing is worthy of growling at.  Big boy knows his tribe!

  And, when I come home from work and there's a giant pile of toy stuffing on the floor.  I don't really care.  That just means he's been having fun.  Fun is good!!


What can I say?  This kid is growing on me.  He will be 8 months old in early February.  EIGHT MONTHS!  He's big as a grown dog, sleek and shiny and almost-nearly not a puppy anymore.

Guess dogs are OK after all.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The sad hard work

(a story, adapted from life)

It's hard to help someone die.  The process can be exhausting. 

Take Nona, for example.  She's been dying a while now.  At first it seemed like maybe her death was going to come soon, a thing of the Maker's mysterious choosing, but she's hanging on, day after day keeping up with breathing and eating, though she's still really weak.

Helping the dying takes a lot out of a person.  Having to be helpful and positive and sympathetic and 'there' for them wears a body down.  Like, each day you help the dying you die a little too, which is pretty close to the truth if you think about it.

Nona's not much trouble.  She knows something's up but still feels good enough to try to sit up and eat small bites of the soft food I make for her.  Chopped up pasta, some pudding, spoons of milkshake, creamed corn on a good day when she seems like she can chew.  Ground up meatloaf is Saturday's treat, after which she needs to nap because protein is hard on her.  Nona gets along, breathing in and out, spending her days looking at things and listening to the talk around her.

But she is, in fact, dying.  As pleasant as she is, and as little trouble as she is, she's headed Home, as my folks would say.  It's taking a while, but her feet are on the path.  Death is inevitable. 

The odd thing is, Nona's not old at all.  Odder still, Nona's my baby.

Oddest of all, she's perfectly healthy.

But still is going to die.  One day.  And the worst part is that I did this to her.  I gave her life, so that one day she will die.  Some day, when I'm not around and she is old, she will rely on someone else to comfort her, to feed her, to change her, to sing to her, to read to her, to talk with her, to point out the sun and birds and trees to her, to comfort her when she is hurt and scared and alone and cold.  I cry to think of it, and hate myself for what I've done.

I did this to my baby.  Every day she's one day closer to death.

She sleeps peacefully, not aware of her ultimate demise.  She's happy in the tub, not caring about being frail and confused someday.  She looks at me with love, unaware that I have killed her by having her.

I have done this horrible wonderful thing, this Nona.

God help me wring this terrible wretched truth from my thoughts.


Readers, please note: if you have ever wondered what women with post-partum depression think of while they're catatonically wandering around their homes after having a baby, this is pretty much it.  At least it was for me.  I was so SAD to have had Thing 1 that I apologized to him time after time for being part of his death. 

PPD isn't just being sad; it's capable of rendering a normal woman completely crazy and derranged and thinking the very darkest of thoughts.  It scared me.

I did finally get better.


Tiff out.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


So, I think I've hit a wall.

When smiling becomes tough, when every dang muscle is tense, when 'angry' is the first thing I go to in the big book of emotions, it's pretty clear that something is awry.

Amiss, even.

The dog, while cute, is irritating.

The cats, while admirable and fuzzy, tick me off.

The house, while cozy and warm, irritates me with just How Very Much needs to be done, daily, always.

My lack of vim and vigor is distressing.

I do want to just crawl into bed and not come out.

Stupid job loss, anyhow.  It's making me crabby and uncool.  Tense, terse, dense.  It feels like my arms weigh 50 pounds and my head is full of smog.  Hard to shake off.

Must. Shake. Off.

Sunshine and unicorns tomorrow.   Tonight I'm going to disappear into a book and let Lovecraft rule my world.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another one in the chamber (10)

Today was a slickery kind of day in the frozen Souf.  Freezing rain overnight made for a tricky commute in the a.m., so I did what most people, when afforded the opportunity, would do - I stayed home.  Nice to have the flexibility, really.

It warmed up enough to melt what had frozen to the new metal roof, so at times throughout the afternoon sheets of ice would slide off the roof and smash on the ground below, which made for much excitement when leaving the house to run errands at around 4 today.  We also had icicles dripping from the eaves, so that was great fun when an ice-cold drop of water went splooshing down the ol' neckhole of the sweatshirt I was wearing.

Worth it though, because a 5-pound bag of dog treats was on sale at the Tractor Supply for 5 dollars, and thus Wern is happy.

That is one spoiled brat dog.


About half as bad as this, which is bad enough.
The current ongoing battle of the Tiny House: getting Thing 1 to clean up his side of the room.  Lordy, what a sty.  There are clothes and papers and medicines boxes and all manner of crapitude near his bed, and I have been on his tail about it for 2 weeks and he's been stalling and stalling.

Well tonight I got tough.  He gets no dinner until it's cleaned up.  He tried, just now, to counter with the 'hey, good thing I have this box of Cheeze its right here,' at which point I took a stance and told him there would be no SLEEP tonight unless it got cleaned up.

Seriously, the place is a mess, and I can't stand it anymore.

And thus, I have become my mother.


Hark!!  I now hear the sound of paper being wadded up!  Could this be the start of my victory?


Also, does anyone want a box of Hickory Farms schwag we got for Christmas?  It's just sitting on our kitchen table.  A nice assortment of meats n' cheeses!  Guaranteed to last until next Christmas if you're into re-gifting!


Update:  a travel bag that has 'been missing' for a couple of months just emerged from the Things' room.

And the boys are arguing.  Sounds like the start of something big.


This has been your update from the Tiny House, for Wednesday 14 Jan 2015.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The expected surprise (# WHAT?)

Me as a mom of young kids.  Feel the love.
While raising children, it is best to appreciate all the good things about the stages of their lives that you, as their parent, need to guide them through so they can, God willing, reach some point at which you don't worry about them anymore and can assume all is well with them on a routine basis.

It will happen, you know.

The not being concerned for them on a daily basis.

Mostly it will happen when you're DEAD, but at least then you can be afforded the sweet release of a simple HAUNTING rather than having to step in an intervene/coach/soothe/admonish in a real meat-world way at every dang turn of phrase and drop of hat.

Because this intervention-y activity is what parents do.

  • When babies are busy being babies, the big worries are choking and other associated items of crap they can shove in their mouths.
  • Toddlers?  Much the same, but comes with willfullness and mobility.
  • Young kids? School and burgeoning social interactions as they Find Their Tribe.
  • Tweens?  ZITS.
  • Teens?  More zits, but also hormones, Finding Their Second Tribe, figuring out who they are, and enhanced mobility.
  • Almost-adults?  THE WORLD.

So, in the parently panoply of concerns, the continuum goes from 'crap I shouldn't let the baby eat that' to 'I hate the world if it hurts them.'  Quite the escalation of concerns.

Today came one of The World lessons, in which Thing 1 found himself firmly parked up against the bumper of the car that was once in front of him but was now kind of trying to make out with his in a very NSFW manner.  Yep, if cars were actors, his would be in an episode of Girls that nobody should really watch.

In short: Boy rear-ended a car today.

In what can be referred to as a moment of significance, I got a CALL from him instead of a text, which was very to-the-point but still made this Mama's heart go whizzing out of her chest and straight home, to comfort what it could and take care of the rest.

Comfort I got to give over the phone to start, and taking care of the rest happened in the Tiny House's kitchen with his Dad, who had come to pick him up and take him to get the blood work done that Thing 1 had been heading out to do when he so very impolitely kissed the bumper of the car ahead of him.  We had some Talking, some comfort, words of advice, and I hope a message that forgives mistakes but admonishes a lesson in how to not do that again.

In the end, Things 1 is paying for his own insurance (on his Dad's account), is lucky that we didn't sell the old van just yet so he can drive it to work until the car is fixed, and needs to ensure the repair of his vehicle is effected under his own power (if not cash).  Also, that he needs to slow down and keep a safe following distance.

A much harder lesson to teach than 'no, baby!,' in its own way, and own time.


He's OK.  He's OK, He's OK.  This is the parent's most fervent wish, no matter how old they are.

He's OK.

We are lucky.

Tiff out.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Done before 7 (8)

A thing I've had more than one conversation about this week:

I marvel at the families who have their supper ready before the chicks come home to roost and there's still daylight left in the day.

How do they DO that, and why?

For us here at the Tiny House, the routine is that we get home from work, relax a little bit, then decide what to thaw out and use as the starting point for our dinner.

We cook, 6 nights out of 7.  This is a regular thing at the Tiny House.  And it happens...late.

Mostly, dinner is ready at about 9, which we then serve up and go to the couches to eat.  Much different from how it was when the kids were little, when I would cook for them first so they could eat before their baths at 7 and their bedtime at 7:30.  I didn't mind the double cooking then, I would likely not mind it now if there were little ones around.  The REAL break came after they were in bed, when I could have a glass of something adult-oriented and cook something children wouldn't care for, much.

For now, because the Things are man-sized and eat Real People Food, we start late and eat later.  It works, and the kids like that schedule, so yay!

But tonight?  Dinner is ready at 7, and now I don't know what to do with the rest of our night.  How do folks just go RELAX after dinner, for hours?  It seems odd.  Even more odd are those who eat, then go DO STUFF for hours after dinner.  I really don't get that.  The predinner hours are for doing yo stuff.  After dinner?  SLOTH TIME, baby.

So tonight I'm conflicted.  It's ready, or nearly so, right about the time that we'd normally start thinking about such things.  It's almost as upsetting as going out to dinner!

Someone, hold me.


Had a nice talk today with someone who might like to hire me one day.  Only the job title she used for the possible position was one that is below what I'd been told the position was for, and for sure at least one grade lower than I am now.

I'm not taking any job at any grade lower than I am now.

I'll hang out a shingle before that and see what the cat drags in.


Feeling ornery tonight.  Maybe that's what the early dinner is all about.

What a rebel I am.

Tiff out.

Friday, January 09, 2015

In up to my hips (7)

(Listen to this while you read.  No, I don't know why)

Late last year, when I was clearly delusional, I allowed someone to volunteer me to be an SOP author for BigCo.  Didn't seem so difficult, until The Meetings started.  Once a week, people from all over the world were gathering to talk about the One Change that would have a very high impact not only on my new SOP, but also on a whole host of other SOPs, guidances, templates, instructions, accessory documents, and likely the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

Things got really complicated after that.

Just yesterday, for example, after going through a presentation I'd already sat through once, the realization dawned on my that the SOP update that's just been approved is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what the subject of these meetings are, and that I now have about 3 months what it took the previous team 18 months to do.

A minor side note: I have never done an SOP for BigCo before.  Surely this combination of ignorance and the tight timeline will result in a high-quality suite of documents that will be nothing but a shining beacon of assistance to those in need.

Will keep you posted as exciting events continue to develop.


On Monday, I will meet with some folks to talk about how to address a confusing issue that I'm sure nobody remembers anything about since we've all been on a year-end break for a couple of weeks.  I intend to foist as much of the worky stuff off on the guy who will just be returning to work that day, because what's a 'welcome back!" without a little 'here's a big pile of stuff we need you to do, and soon, because now our timelines have tightened up considerably if we want to get this bad boy out the door when it's supposed to go.'

Instant panic.  Welcome to your new bellyache, my friend.


One last little piece of news:  I was sitting around with a couple of other folks today here at the office, and we were chatting about how all our lives are going to change drastically this year due to certain business changes, and someone not me remarked at how they thought it was odd that the CEO of our company hasn't uttered a word about it either internally or externally.  Not a word.

His end-of-year message though, I thought, was particularly thoughtful.  The title?  'Stay the Course.'

That's right, peons!  Just keep working like you aren't fully aware that we have shaken out the corporate carpet and YOU are the dust that is flying from it!  Don't be distracted by the ground moving under your feet or the distinct whistle of doom rocketing toward you, just turn out those widgets until such time as your ID badge doesn't work anymore!  Toodle pip, dearies, I'm off to go bathe in champagne and order a new set of unicorns, I'm so stressed by thinking about how shattered you must all be!

Stay the Course, indeed.  While Rome burns, I will stay the course.  While the demon clown of job change nears, with the rank stench of the spoiled meat of my career oozing from its pores, I will stay the course.  While my stomach roils with anxiety and my heart skips a beat in a lurching crazy response to uncertainty, you can be sure I'll stay the course.

I have an SOP to write, after all.


What have some management blunders been in your life?  Surely BigCo can't be the only place that reflects such boorish assessments of what's important.  Do tell us all about it, and have a wonderful weekend.

Tiff out.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

You may have heard about our cold, yes? (6)

Dear Lord Loser - the numbering is back up, just so you know in which order the nonsense should be read.  You're welcome.


For many years my family lived in upstate New York.

'Upstate' as in just barely north of the PA Line, but anything north of 'The City' is upstate so our little town qualified.

Up there, as you can imagine, there was Winter.  Lots and lots of winter.  Winter for months, winter that started in September and didn't let up until April.  Winter that had lots and lots of snow and cold and dark.  Winter that brought sunsets at 4:30 and clear night (5 pm!) skies.  Winters with snowmen that were built one month and were likely to still be there the next month, such was the perseverant cold.

Blood gets thick with Winters like that, and folks do complain about summer being too hot when the temps hit 75F or so.

I feel ya, sister.
So you think that with all those late '60s/early '70's Real Winters (before global warming became a thing!) under my belt, I'd be used to the extreme low temps we're experiencing today in NC, but that would be an incorrect assumption.  Nope, I am as miserable as a native Floridian when the AC is a little too cool (below 70!); it feels like I'll never be warm again.  In my house the temp is set to 65, and the poor HVAC unit has been working mightily to keep it there.  I won't allow the kids to turn it up any higher because then it will NEVER go off.  The highlight of my day has been the drive to the orthodontist's office with Thing 2, the heat cranked fully to the red zone and blasting like I had to dry my hair.  Bliss.

Taking the brunt of the 50-degree temp drop from last Sunday (70!) to today (less than 20!) is tough on an old gal like me.  And it's fine to moan about it a bit. right?  Thank goodness there are things like heating systems and warm cars and hot tea and slippers and wearing a hoodie AND a scarf indoors to take the edge off.

Those 15 years of Winter in CT of recent vintage seem to have worn smack off, so it's no wonder that the NY winters of my youth are but a distant dark memory.  Those hard tough edges have worn off, have been lost along with every pair of mittens I've ever own and the need to have a winter coat.

It's just not supposed to be this cold, you see.


Go ahead and laugh, but just know that when the water heater in the crawl space can only deliver sort-of scalding water for a short time when it has the potential to serve up truly scalding water for eons in better weather, it's freaking COLD.

Now I'm going to go stick my hands in my armpits and figure out what I can boil for dinner (steam, you see).

Here's to warmer days ahead - Tiff out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I guess I just don't understand

Recently, as you may have noticed, we had something called Christmas to celebrate.  It's tradition to have something to celebrate in the darkest days of winter, and when you add in lots of lights and PRESENTS and rich food and drinkies, I'm pretty sure nobody should argue that Christmas (even if a slightly artificial construct that draws from many similar types of midwinter celebrations) is worth having every year.

Check Stitchipedia for an explanation!
Therefore, our church had 3 Christmas Eve services this year, at 3 p.m., 4:30, and 6, to help the believers and seekers and dutiful celebrate...the birth of Jesus and more sun every day (also worth celebrating, though that bit was left out of the sermon).  There were a TON of people there, we raised a significant amount of money to help plant a(nother) church in Ecuador, lots of new folks got their yearly dose of Jesus, and it was a lot of work getting it all to run smoothly.  I have some notion of that, because I helped staff the info booth for one service and was on the safety team for another service.  We Were Busy.

By my estimate, there are about 30 people who volunteer on service teams during each service to help keep things running.  This includes folks in the band, on the AV team, the ushers, the parking lot team, the safety team, the cafe folks, the infobooth people, and the teachers.  Thirty is probably an underestimate, but let's be conservative.  If each person switches out for someone new in the next service, that means that there would be 90 people on a Sunday (we also have 3 services on Sunday) who volunteer to help keep the show going.  Out of a population of about 1000 who attend services at our site every week, this mean that 9% of the attendees are keeping all the plates spinning and making sure that the other 91% are having a good experience.

I will interject here that a goodly number of people who serve, serve for more than 1 service, which makes that 9% number shrink, but again, let's be conservative.

Those 90 people are doing some work on a Sunday, y'all, and also did so on a very busy Christmas eve.  So this year, like in years past, the staff opted to NOT meet on the Sunday following Christmas, to give themselves and the volunteer corps a chance to chill for one Sunday in the year.  This was duly announced during the CE services and also on Facebook, so the word could spread around.

Well, one person didn't much care for that, and suggested (paraphrasing here a little): 'I don't agree with this.  Churches should be open every Sunday.  Why couldn't you get a team of temporary volunteers to help run the services if you want to give the regulars a break?'

Let's unpack this gem from the commenter's perspective, shall we?

  • I think church should be open every Sunday and shame on you for not doing so.
  • I have not expressed this to anyone before now, or talked to staff, because if I had I would have better understood how much into each service that I'm not aware of.
  • I think the staff should have recruited at least 30, but perhaps as many as 90, people to volunteer to run the services.  
  • Some of them will have to know how to run a sophisticated sound board, or know how to play an instrument, or make coffee, or have the patience of Job with babies, but hey:
  • These fill-in will only have to do this once a year when the regulars are being given a break from their week-in-week-out service.
  • It really shouldn't that difficult to get 30 (or 90) people to do this once a year!
  • Because, after all, how hard could it be?

Well, y'all.


I ALLLLLMOST responded to this person, but in the end just bit my (online) lip and did not.  See the things is that 1)I don't recognize him. 2) There are no church friends who are mutual friends with him.  3) I have a lot of church friends on FB, and am at church nearly every week so I recognize folks so if 1 and 2 are true he may not be the world's most regular attender or just hasn't involved himself enough in church to be memorable or make any friends at church with whom I might also be friends.

It seems apparent that he's one of the 91% who thinks that just GOING to church is enough and that if the show is good enough he'll contribute some money and a helpful suggestion about How Things Ought To Be from time to time.  Well, friends, I'm here to say that in my opinion, he gets no say and should have kept that entitled attitude about how hard other people should work to his own dang self and not outed himself as the Queen Bee of Snoot on MY church's FB page.

Questions arise, such as:

Would it have been overreacting to say something along those lines?

Did I miss my golden opportunity or did I do that right thing by not dignifying his ignorant contribution with a response or rebuke?

Is he the QB of S or am I just being overly sensitive?

We may never know, but I do really REALLY hope one of the staff reached out to this fellow and invited him to join a service team.  Or 8.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

4 (a realization)

Do y'all sense a theme with the post titles?


It's a pretty convenient way to remember how many I've done, but the theme is starting to wear on me a little so be ready for things to get shaken a little as I go BACK to actually giving posts titles.

It's a glorious new day!


Tell if I've told you this one before.
If I'm going to be posting once a day during the week, I might need to  generate some new material.  With about 1500 entries here already, there's a darned good chance that what I write about, from a historical perspective, has already been covered.

Like that former housemate who was shot and killed by an enraged jealous boyfriend.  I told you about that one, right?  And how a friend of hers (who was not-so-secretly in love with her) took a bullet to try to protect her?  I was trying to think of his name earlier, and was coming up blank, but now I recall it was Brian and he was a super-nice guy who found a big chunk of trouble in that gal.

Pretty sure I've mentioned the freight elevator in the academic building that housed the biology dept.  This was the one elevator in the building that was used primarily for hauling cadavers from the  basement where they were kept in large vats of formaldehyde, up to the anatomy labs on the top floor.  We always new when cadaver labs had started - the whole building smelled of formaldehyde.  That freight elevator was hand-operated and VERY old school.  No button to push for a floor, oh no.  You just mashed on the 'up' or 'down'  button and stopped mashing when it looked like the elevator was about even with the floor outside.  I got good at it after a couple of years riding up to the grad school offices on the third floor.

Canoeing in Florida and getting the wits scared out of my by an alligator, surely that's been told at least once.  And the all-night fishing expeditions the former husband loved?  The smell of salt air coming in through the windows of a small motel on that little island we used to go to before the kids came along?

Remembrances of when the boys were young, the hikes and playground days.  The Cub Scout years, the fights with teachers and the classroom volunteering.  I can't recall how much of that I've covered, and how much is yet uncovered that I should probably mention before I forget entirely.  Why, if I didn't have photos and some scattered entries in paper journals, my memory likely couldn't conjure up too many distinct episodes of their young lives, such is the mess that is my brain.

And then,, just about 9 years ago, I started this blog (OK, a little over 9 years).  For a time I was a very assiduous blogger indeed, and so I feel like the last life interval has been somewhat reasonably covered.

However, if there's something you'd like to know about me, or if any of the topics mentioned above don't sound familiar to you, please ask or let me know.  This daily blogging thing is going to require a LOT more thinking than just simply writing down the same stuff over and over and over again.

Because I'm going to need SOMETHING to jog my memory in 20 years or so!

Tiff out.

Monday, January 05, 2015

3 (Monday)

It'll make sense eventually
I have been unsuccessful in making my way to work today.  After more than two weeks off from work, it's not a battle I'm prepared to face.  Fortunately, wherever my work computer is there also iswork, so my kitchen will have to suffice for today (and likely tomorrow, as there are no scheduled meetings at this time to make it worth the 40-minute trip in).

Yesterday at church I was talking with someone who is on one of the teams I volunteer on.  She's a personal trainer, self-employed, and makes (by her own admittance) a pittance.  However, even being just above the poverty line isn't enough for her to go get a job at a gym, which she's done before.  She likes just being her own shop and living life how she wants to.  What freedom that must be!  For a while I've toyed with the idea of setting up shop on my own, but I'm not a natural entrepreneur and am mightily frightened of the world outside of corporate America.  It's a dumb way to be, isn't it?  Am I going to make the world burn or turn the tide of opinion by sitting around shuffling papers when I could be grabbing big handfulls of life and making things awesome?

Speaking of natural entrepreneurs, an old friend who started off with the same qualifications and training as me, is now spending 2 months in Germany for a client doing stuff for which they have hired her at what is likely to be a Very Nice Sum Indeed.  They've put her up in an apartment, she's travelling all over Europe, her family has visited.  Pretty awesome stuff.  All while I sit like a blob in the bottom of some cosmic bathtub, waiting to slide down the drain with a goopy slurp.


Well, that one took kind of a dark turn, and all because I'm miffed at having to go back to work already.  After my luxurious 2 weeks off.  Which I spent mostly doing nothing, and still getting paid for it.


On a side note: there's a police car outside my house.  The nice officer is talking with a neighbor.  If I stepped out on the front porch I could hear every word of what's going on.  Would that be weird of me to do?  Just stand out there and listen in to what's going on and who is having trouble with whom?  Maybe I could pretend like I'm looking for something in my car, eh?  Just rummage around in there few a few minutes to glean something juicy to share with the LOML when he gets home?  Have I sunk to those levels?  Are we hearing the goopy slurp yet?

You have to admit that anytime the law shows up in your yard there's a certain amount of mystery and intrigue that goes along with it.  We don't see much of the law around here, and it's natural and understandable that I should want to concern myself with possible neighborhood dangers and issues, right?  Just a few minutes out searching my car for something I know I won't find should be OK, or maybe take out the trash, then the recycling, then some more trash, until I can develop an outline of what's being discussed?

The neighbor being interviewed once had a drunken naked fistfight with his wife out in the street, which makes this particular interaction all that much more interesting.  Things haven't gotten to that level of crazy in a while, but I suspect there's never really a languid moment at their house if both of them are home.

OOoh!  I think I just heard a raised voice!

Nope - now it's laughing.  I went and locked my door for nothing.  No throwdowns will occur, it appears.  Just some friendly streetside banter with your best buddy the cop.  Have a nice day, please proceed with what you were doing.


Tiff out.

Friday, January 02, 2015

2 (for 6)

Yesterday was supposed to be 'it,' but for reasons (and it is said) the date was changed to 03 Jan 2009.  What's the matter with a couple of days difference, after all.  The reasons were compelling enough, I suppose.

Six years tomorrow (not yesterday!) we got hitched.  It has been, without a doubt, one of the most enriching and enjoyable relationships I have ever been involved in.  What's not to like about a smart, funny, lighthearted, thoughtful, engaging person who is also multi-capable, helpful, energetic, and good-looking to boot?  Nothing is wrong with that, I say, NOTHING.

So I'm writing him a poem to celebrate.

Boy, I hope this turns out (*runs to fetch some liquid courage and ruminate*).

OK, here goes.

Himself, plus a very cute puppy he flew around with today.
Six Things I Like About You, in Haiku

Eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, your face
All the lobes of your fine brain,
Oh, I guess that's six.

But wait, there's much more!
Drumming on the steering wheel,
A generous grin,

Those out-there comics
Admirable chopping skills
Though no sticky hands!

'Dad' jokes at the lake
Wanting to drive All The Things
Giver of great hugs.

Able-bodied man
of God who loves to teach
and discuss and seek.

Strong shoulders, kind heart
Quick wit, endlessly patient
Musical to boot.

Inventive for sure
Really good at solitaire
Warmth, love, fun, invitation.

Thank you for saying
You would be with me always
Because, as you've said:

If you ever leave
me, I'm going with you. I
love you LOML. - Schmumpins.


Six years.  Time does indeed fly, and when each day is a light burden, a pleasure of ease and loving interaction (OK, most of them.  We do have our moments [mostly mine] and nobody's easy to get along with all the time), well it just makes time fly that mush faster.

Heh - 'mush' faster.  I'm leaving it in, because this is that kind of post.  All lovey-dovey and full of those weird adult feelings.  DEAL WITH IT.

Tiff out.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


New Year's Day.  The ultimate fresh start. 

I'm spending it how I'd like to spend the whole year, which is, I think, a tradition.  If not a tradition, then it's something I do year after year, hoping that how I spend this day will reflect how the year will go.  Some years it works better than others, and because I have yet to spend the entire year safely ensconced at home with a bubbling pot of beans on the stove and beams of bright sunlight illuminating just how much I need to dust, I will keep trying this tradition until one glorious day when it comes to pass that the juju worked.  Sometimes wishes do come true.

Tangentially, and yes there is a point, lately there has been some lamenting, on Facebook of all places, the great eater of blogs, regarding how much folks miss blogging and vow to make a return to it this year.  2015, the year of the blog.  Like stepping back a decade, when FB wasn't and we had to make our own fun like in the olden times!  Why, this blog is 9+ years old, and although the posting has slowed to a trickle of late but not shut down completely, I too feel like it's time to turn the taps back on and get a little creativity back into my life.  There's way too much time spent staring blankly as a parade of posts on social media and not enough time thinking of things or writing or experiencing life for real. 

What does this mean then?  Well, the title of this post has something to do with the one resolution that may be difficult to keep but we'll see how far I get.  It's back to the heyday, my friends, with that one resolution to be a post a day (save, perhaps, for weekends) to chronicle this new year.  There is no lack of topics to cover, what with the Things applying to colleges and moving on in their lives, with a possible new job, the professional life in transition, more house stuff going on (new siding, anyone?), life happening, and all the gossip news that, at least for this year, will be written down for history to take note of and perhaps learn from.

Other resolutions remain the property of me and me alone.   If I succeed at them, the year's end will make note of that too, and then we can revel together in my resoluteness.

We'll see how far I get, but if the notion that the way to you spend new year's day is the way you'll spend your year, then maybe I can affect the outcome on purpose and with reason and not let simple fate rule.  A post a day, just like it's 2005 all over again.

Wish me luck.