Friday, December 31, 2010

Gifts, Not Resolutions

I have mentioned in the past that I write for a little, independent newspaper out of Bellingham, Washington. While I very rarely cross the streams, I liked January's article a lot so, here it is...

Happy New Year, Poppets! Have you recuperated yet? Are you ready to start fresh in 2011? Because that’s what new years are for, right? Fresh starts, resolutions, changing who we are, all that. Only…I don’t believe that. As I have written here before, I am all for making personal changes; I am not a fan of the pressure to make said changes based on the turn of the calendar.
When I worked in human services - a long time ago, in another life – we would often get people who had made it through the holidays, made it through New Year’s, but would show up in our offices sometime between mid-January and mid-April, horribly depressed because once again they had failed to lose weight, quit smoking, save money, whatever their resolution had been. They had used this time to try to stop being self-destructive even though there is no reason to think it will work any better now than it does on a random Tuesday in March. But they beat themselves up as if they had failed at something simple.

I was talking to Lithus about this the other day, explaining why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, when he said something that struck me. He said that there are people who hold out for this particular turn of the calendar with the hopes of not just making a change, but the hopes of forgiving themselves for the past year’s (even years’) sins. They use whatever resolution they make as a manifestation of that forgiveness. But the forgiveness isn’t really there, so the resolution doesn’t stick. When the resolution doesn’t stick, it just proves we don’t deserve to be forgiven. And if we aren’t forgiven, then why do we deserve to stop being self-destructive? It’s a cycle.
It kind of rocked me back on my heels. I’ll be honest; I had never thought of it that way.
So this year, I have a suggestion. Let’s make forgiving ourselves our New Year’s resolution. One year for Lent, a friend of mine gave up self-loathing. For my thirty-fifth birthday, my gift to myself was to embrace my curves and be comfortable in my own skin. Years later, my friend still has the self-confidence she gained that Spring and to this day I rock my plus-size fashion with the sexiest of them. In other words, we can do this forgiveness thing and have it stick.
First, don’t resolve to change any specific, outward thing. Habits, patterns, actions, addictions can all wait for a bit. Second, forgive yourself for not having changed those habits, patterns, actions or addictions yet. You aren’t a failure. Whatever it is, we aren’t bad people. Not at our core. The forgiveness really can be the action this year.
Because here’s what happens - once we’ve forgiven ourselves, we can start to see ourselves as people worth being healthy. Physically. Emotionally. Worthy of not self destructing. When we feel worthwhile, any change we make is more likely to stick, even on a random Tuesday in March. Especially on a random Tuesday in March.
Okay, yeah, this got a little touchy-feely. But you want the truth? I believe every word of it. I believe self-forgiveness is one of the greatest resolutions we can make. I believe we are more likely to make the changes we need to make when we like our core selves first. So, if you have to make a resolution in 2011, try this one.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good King Wenceslas

This isn't just one of my favorite carols, it's one of my all time favorite songs. For me, it's part of Scrooge's promise to keep Christmas in his heart throughout the year.

Sorry so short. I'm rushed today and wanted to get this up.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Important PSA

Every year, I get a pap smear and, since turning 40, a mammogram. My biological grandmother, the original Pauline, died of breast cancer before I ever even met her. Hell, my mother was only 16, so it's something we take seriously in my family. This year, I was at a new clinic so had to fill out all the paperwork from scratch. They always ask for family history, so I called my mom and asked how old Polly was when she was diagnosed. We did the math; I wrote down the answer; we hung up.

She was 41.

I am 41.

I am woman enough to admit; it threw me. All will be well. There is absolutely no reason to think otherwise; this was simply another yearly exam. And it was a good reminder.

Women, get your annual exams. Men, remind the women you love to get their annual exams. It's too easy to catch early. There's no reason not to see your doctor once a year. Stick around to celebrate many more holiday seasons.

Those are Pobble Thoughts ~ and Pauline's. That and a buck fifty will get you a hell of a lot more than coffee.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Lithus and I were snuggling on the couch last night and I realized ~ this has been one of the the best holiday seasons ever. Not just of my adult life. Not just since Daddy died. But, truly, ever. With that kind of statement, one would think I could explain why. Would think I could point to certain events or happenings that made it so special. I can't. It just has been.

There's been a lot of peace this year. There's been a little extra money, which yes, is helpful, as much as I'd like to say it doesn't matter. There's been the right amount of busy-ness and socializing. There's been the right amount of time just the two of us and of time to myself. It's been...wonderful.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still the Holidays

Mostly, our living room has been neatened, but the flotsam and jetsam of the day is still scattered around in the unexpected scrap of wrapping paper or the wayward walnut that rolled under the ottoman. Lithus is back to work. I woke this morning with a plot in my head. This week, I have a doctor's appointment and a haircut. All very ordinary things.

And yet the house is still decorated. My afternoon coffee will still have a splash of eggnog rather than cream. This week I've promised myself a pecan pie and Lithus more butter tarts. We have a dinner and an event to attend for New Year's Eve...

Delightfully, the holidays don't just stop because Christmas Day passes. Which works for me.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

First, let me say that yes, I did get my hard fat pillow. Many smooches to Lithus.

Casa de Pobble looked like this in 2010:

It tasted like lamb, green beans, sweet potatoes and butter tarts. Sounded like carols, laughter, George C. Scott, a Dollhouse marathon and more carols.

And is a good day, too. Which is a...nice...thing to be able to say.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

When I was planning this post, I knew the music had to be right, today of all days. I've even bemoaned to my mother my inability to find what I wanted. Because, while I've chosen these songs carefully all season, today's was particularly important. It had a standard to live up to.

See, for the first 27 years of my life, Christmas morning would start with my father getting up first, putting on coffee, turning on the tree, lighting a fire in the fireplace and doing whatever other stuff needed to be done (I'm realizing as I write this, I don't completely know ~ to my knowledge, in 27 years no one ever once performed this routine with him. Not Once.) and then, when everything that needed to be done was done, he would turn on the music. Every year, it was the same music: A Festival of Carols In Brass by the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble.

The music would fill the house, literally trumpeting that Christmas morning had arrived. When we were little, it was permission to come into the main part of the house. When we were older, it was the alarm clock that woke us, urging us out of bed, into the day.

Crow and I would have our stuffed animals with us, because we couldn't leave them alone on Christmas morning (to this day, Bear comes to Christmas with me). My mother wore her beautiful red and black quilted apron-dress thing. It was the only day of the year I ever remember her wearing it and yet I remember her wearing it every single Christmas day. And my dad would be in the living room, usually off to the side, where he could watch but be out of the way, with his coffee, sleepy smile and bright eyes. And Christmas would begin ~ all to the sounds of the same record.

The music changed throughout the day ~ and throughout the years, even. As time went on, Crow brought in new age and popular artists. I (re)introduced Bing and Frankie and Nat into the mix. But the wake up, it's Christmas! call was always the same, always just right, always the Philadelphia Brass.

So today's music had to be just right. And it is.

Merry Christmas to all who happen by here today. You are loved. Blessed be.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why, Oh Why?

Five hours of sleep and I'm awake and WIRED. Why? Because it's Christmas Eve, people! Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Slowing Down

And then you get to the point in the season where you's done. Everything you needed to do has been done. Everything you needed to buy has been bought. It's done. And you can relax and enjoy the next few days.

Lithus is off until the 27th now. We're actually considering a movie this afternoon just because. It's lovely.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lame, My Ass

Usually this time of year, it's all music, all the time, especially when I'm busy the way I'm busy this week. Love the holiday busy and it deserves an appropriate soundtrack. :) The last few days, though, the soundtrack to my busy-ness has been msnbc or c-span. I'm glued to the Congress because I'm not the only one who's been busy as hell.

Food Safety

Holy shit. These folks could've gone back to D.C., packed their offices and gone home. They didn't. Special props to the Republican senators, including Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who reached across the aisle and voted against party lines to pass DADT.

Now I gotta get back to my turkey dinner because we are still in holiday busy-ness, as well as political busy-ness.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Holiday Busy-ness

Yesterday, by 7:30 a.m., I had already frosted two dozen cupcakes, had another dozen in the oven, and a small cake poured and ready to go in the oven. Yep, it's the holidays.

It's going to be a week of eating. Our Yule feast last night was beef stew, crusty bread and that aforementioned small cake. Tonight, a friend is coming over for a full turkey dinner. Tomorrow, we have dessert and cocktails at Boss and Mrs. Boss's house. Christmas is lamb. Sure, I'll workout and I'll Wii but this week is pretty much a fuck it and enjoy week.

We were able to watch the lunar eclipse from our living room window ~ at least until the clouds moved in. But the clouds didn't move in until after it was fully eclipsed so I got to see it. With my sweetie.

Packages were mailed Monday and are expected to arrive by Friday. Lithus's gifts are wrapped and under/next to/around/beside the tree. I am banned from the living room closet until further notice or Saturday, whichever comes first.


Happy, happy, happy...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Meet

It's Yule. I had several posts in my head. One was about the holiday and what Yule represents for Pagans. One dealt with what Paganism/Wicca is becoming versus what it is. The final one addressed issues with Christians and Christianity in the US these days. You won't be reading any of those. At least not today.

Today, we beat back the darkness. Tonight, there is magic in the air. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Blessed Be!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not So Unintentional Paganism

Every day I've posted music here, I've also posted music over at Pauline's site. It's been fun and an easy way to keep up over there without having to work too hard during the holidays. But tomorrow has had me a little stumped. Tomorrow is Yule, the Winter Solstice. Here, where I am happily out, I will be posting Pagan music (no, I'm not telling what; you'll have to come back and see). But I'm not completely out IRL and Pauline is certainly not out. Hell, Pauline isn't anything. She's not religious; she's not political. She's just a novelist. Period. And yet...I couldn't bring myself to post something overly Christian tomorrow. Lucky for me, Crow sent me an email after the post entitled Unintentional Paganism. In fact, the title of this post was the subject line of her email.

Here's what she said:
(A mutual friend of ours) sent me this link as his Christmas card.  I knew I had to show you, but when I saw the title of your blog post, I had to check to make sure we weren't seeing the exact same thing!!  This is so incredibly gorgeous, so rich in Pagan imagery, just a luscious video... I know you'll get it!

And you know what? I do. She is absolutely right and I totally get it. So tomorrow, I will post this over at Pauline's place. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more.

Those are sly Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So This Is What They Mean

When I was really young (less than five), my family lived in Fredonia, New York, right on the coast of Lake Erie. According to a family story, my Uncle John (using his real name because, seriously, Uncle John? It's so common, it's practically a moniker) who has never lived outside of Texas was watching a weather report one winter and hearing about the massive snowfall that had hit upstate New York and said to my aunt that we had adapted to and learned to live in a way that my uncles and aunts could never even imagine.

Now that I'm living in Alaska, I've been feeling a little like that. First, we had to learn to sleep with the sun up, because it never went down. Then, we were scraping the car by mid-September. The first snow came before Halloween. The other night, we had 60 mile an hour winds. Those weren't the gusts. Those were the winds. The gusts were higher than that. The core temperature was 2F. The wind chill took it deep into negative numbers. And it is only December.

Lithus heads to Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse today. Where the core temperature (e.g. not the wind chill) is -20F. Where the winds at the oil platforms are 112 mph. Again, not the gusts. Gusts will be higher, gusty-er. And suddenly, I'll take Anchorage and it's 2 degrees with 60 mph winds. Heat wave...We're having a heat wave...

So, brace yourself for a groaner, but it had to be done. Plus, it's a beautiful, beautiful carol.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gift from the Goddess

Is this kind of talent a gift from the Goddess? Or is this a gift from this goddess to us? I'll let you decide. And that's all because she stands alone. Jessye Norman. Yeah, that Jessye Norman. You're welcome.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Explosion

Today is one of those days I truly love. Lithus took yesterday off (kinda - he managed to only go in for an hour) from work and we went shopping, planning, snuggling, wandering, kissing, laughing through the rest of the day. We even bought a microwave.

By the time we got home, we were happy, tired, and ready to dig into our rotisserie chicken bought from the deli. The living room is blanketed in bags and bows and wrapping paper and presents and cards and glitter (neither of us are 100% sure where it came from). He is feeling Christmas-y for the first time all season. I am feeling even moreso than I had been.
And today I get to wrap and donate and decorate and stamp and mail. Because yes, that kind of thing makes me very happy. I love being busy. I love being holiday busy even better.

At one point yesterday, we called my mother and asked "red or eggplant?" When she asked why, we wouldn't tell her. Being singularly unhelpful (humph and look, Mother), she eventually said "Either." So we made our own decision. But before we got off the phone, my mom laughed and said "I love this time of year." And you know what? So do I.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Video Killed The Radio Star

Here's the truth: I almost didn't post this video. It's that bad. In fact, it's so bad that some people attribute Boney M's musical demise to this very video. And there are other options, even of this version.

But here's the other truth: It's so bad, it's good. Would you like some wine with that cheese?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Yule Carol

In the past, I have written about my love of A Christmas Carol. Talked about how it is the epitome of the season, if you are celebrating Christmas or Yule. About how what Scrooge really learns, not just the surface stuff, but what he really learns is so vitally important to me. My three favorite movie versions are George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, and ... the Muppets.

Now comes a seque that totally and completely makes sense to me on an intuitive level. I hope you can follow me. If not...oh well. Feel free to pretend the top and the rest aren't connected (even though they totally are).

An email from Lady Blackbelt showed up in my inbox this morning...

are you gonna be in town?  was that you that said maybe to Cam and Mrs. Pike's evite?

Nope. It wasn't me. I wrote her back assuring her that, if I was going to be in the Boston area, she would already know by now. Because oh hell yes, they would know. See, the Blackbelts and the Pikes (okay, first Cam because Mrs. Pike hasn't been around as long, but she slipped right in as if she'd always fit, so she gets the credit, too) were instrumental in giving me back Christmas.

My dad was dead; I was getting divorced; my biofamily had chosen my ex. The Lovely Cats and the Divine M did their best, but they were a long way away. It was...not a good time. I'd muddled through, making the best of whatever I had left and trying to pretend my life hadn't changed so very completely.  But it wasn't good.

Then these people showed up in my world and everything started to change again, only this time, for the better. My fuck ups were supported (and even occasionally fixed) in spite of myself. My acheivements were celebrated. My tears were embraced. My laughter was shared ~ and became honest, again. They were even some of the first people I came out of the broom closet to, and they didn't care in that wonderfully appropriate way. From there, it snowballed. I made other friends who loved and supported me. I changed careers. I got my life back.

So, yes, Lady Blackbelt, if I was going to be in the area, you would know. You will know.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you hard cider.

Yep, it's another two-fer, because how do you choose????

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuba Family Players

Last weekend, Lithus and I stumbled onto a free carols concert in downtown Anchorage. It was all tubas, all the time. In fact, it billed itself as Tuba Christmas. Tuba players from all over the state come together in various towns and cities, dress themselves, dress their horns, and play Christmas music. As the Divine M put it, Tubas huh. That must have been something. When I think of Christmas music (or I guess really music in general) tuba is not the first instrument I think of. Interesting.

Now, in fairness, while I do think of brass ensembles, I don't necessarily think of tubas. Or I didn't realize I thought of tubas. I had no freaking idea all of these instruments were in the tuba family. No clue. But they are. And it was a delightful, unexpected find. If you want to see pictures, they are posted over here, at my travel blog.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, December 13, 2010

We Interrupt This Program...

According to the AP:

WASHINGTON – Richard Holbrooke, a brilliant and feisty U.S. diplomat who wrote part of the Pentagon Papers, was the architect of the 1995 Bosnia peace plan and served as President Barack Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, died Monday, an administration official said. He was 69.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the family had yet to make a formal announcement of Holbrooke's death.

Now, first, I pray this is a case of misinformation and I have to come back and apologize for not fact checking better.

Second, my heart breaks for the Holbrooke family and others who loved him. Losing a someone during the holidays really, really sucks. Really sucks. Especially how quickly this happened.

But I said to Lithus Saturday (I think) when I first heard he had been hospitalized and for what, we are so totally fucked. The country, hell, the world, needed this man. Not as much as his family did. I no longer believe in the greater good crap. But we needed him. Badly. And we've lost him, just as much as his family and friends have. And don't fool yourself, whatever you might have thought about his politics or his style, he was the best chance we had in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So I ask the Goddess to give comfort to those who love him, at least as much comfort as can be found right now. But I also say, dear God help the rest of us, too, 'cause we could be good and fucked.

Those are sad Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sale! Sale! Sale!

It's the time of year for good will, peace on earth, and BOGO sales. Who am I to argue? So here it is, your official Pobble Thoughts Buy One Get One sale. Enjoy.

If you have the time and the desire, go here for the official video. Sure, it's the same song but wow...Somebody let me know if that is indeed Ossie Davis in the audience.

And trust me; go here. In fact, go there even if you don't click on the one I've posted. It's that much better and worth it that much more.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you two coffees.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Unintentional Paganism

A couple posts ago, I wrote about Sea-Tac's over-reaction to a request to include some Hanukkah symbolism in their decorations. I've noticed many other places have removed traditional Christmas decorations, rather than include Hanukkah symbols, all in the cause of "not being offensive." Of course, it's not inclusive either, but now you're just getting picky and demanding (sarcasm). You know what is so exciting for me about this turn of events, though? The more general the "Christmas" decorations get, the more Pagan they become. I am now presented with gorgeous winter landscapes, woodland creatures in their habitat, sunrises and sunsets over water. This so works for me. 

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Got Nothing

Today would be a day I didn't blog because I have nothing witty, thoughtful, or even particularly boring to say. Except that I am posting music everyday for a little while ~ meaning don't expect it to end on December 26th. Christmastide doesn't arrive until the 25th, afterall. Digressing, Pobble...

Lithus is enjoying my enjoyment of cooking during the holidays. He's had homemade French onion soup and eggplant parm so far. Keeps looking at me, wondering what happened to his wife. I assure him it'll go away once the holidays do and my desire to cook will return to a desire to open a can.

Today we're going to a Christmas market. One of the joys of living downtown is it means everything is in walking distance.

We went for a drive last weekend with friends and ended up driving on an ice road. They actually plow them to clear the snow off the ice. While my Canadian readers (Hi GOML! Hi Wolfgrrrl) probably won't be terribly impressed ~ Lithus wasn't ~ it was big shit to me.

And yeah...that's about it. So let's get to the music, shall we?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thanks, Brian

See this man here?

His name is Brian Jolley. His mom and I are friends. While it is possible he doesn't even know I exist, I think it is more probable that, if his mom pushed, he would think hard about it and finally come up with "Oh, yeah...Pobble...I remember hearing about her. I think..." I, on the other hand, know he exists. I know a lot about him. Although his story isn't mine to tell (it would make you cheer, make you weep, make you proud, make you angry, make you get the idea), there are some things I can say:

He's young; he's handsome. He can be goofy. He's loyal and kind. He's a good man. A son, a friend, a nephew, a soldier. And, unlike when these pictures were taken, he's home, in the US ~ after two full tours in Iraq, almost back to back.

Did you catch that last one? He's home. He's here. Stateside. His holidays won't include IEDs, care packages, or body armor. Thank the Goddess.

It's easy to forget, though, that just because Brian is home doesn't mean they all are. Too many soldiers are celebrating the holidays in conditions we don't want to imagine. For many others, even though they are home, they still aren't, not really. Not in their heads or their hearts. So, as you give thanks, attend parties, drink egg nog, decorate trees, do all the wonderful holiday things we do during this time of year, remember. And stop to say thanks.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Editor's note (that's me) ~ The video was originally Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing their truly magnificent version of Little Drummer Boy, but it's been removed for copyright reasons. Boo on them. So, instead we've gone with the, admittedly more cliched, song here. It's cliched because it fits, after all.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Finding Christmas

The holiday decorating is a little different this year. I'm okay with this. In fact, I'm quite happy. Plus, if you have to have an artifical tree, it might as well be Gothic black. :)

 Those are Christmas-y Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Critical Mass

You know what December means, don’t you? Of course you do. It’s time for my annual column on giving. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already time to be writing this again. Last year so many people were in hard times that I wrote this. Guess what? For as much as things have changed over the last twelve months, not much has changed over the last twelve months. At least, not as much as most of us would like. So maybe we should talk about critical mass. As usual, if you aren’t giving this year, or can’t give this year, that’s okay. But if you are or want to but don’t know how, here are a few thoughts…

1.      Pick an organization or cause you care about and pledge to give them…however much you can every single month of the year. Choose one of the suicide prevention organizations I wrote about last month. Or a shelter you know about. Or the ASPCA. Whatever cause touches your heart. It can be five dollars. Seriously. It can be ten dollars. The individual amounts don’t matter as much as the twelve payments. Remember, we’re looking at critical mass, here.
2.      Get in touch with your best friend, your colleagues, your condo association, whomever, and all “adopt a family” together. Or a single child off of the mall’s Angel Tree. Or a senior. The point isn’t to give the most presents or even to give to the most number of kids. The point is to make your money - and your best friend’s, your colleagues’ or your condo association’s money - go the farthest.
3.      Get those same people together and everybody pitch in for a single toy. Schools, Toys for Tots, hospitals, human services organizations…again, take your pick and give them one present from all of you. There is no such thing as too small a donation.
4.      Every time you go to the grocery store between now and December 23rd, buy one unit of whatever nonperishable food is on sale. Or whatever toiletry is on sale. One. As you leave the store, drop it in the collection barrel that you know every single grocery in the area is going to have up.
5.      Think socks. Or underwear. Or mittens. Are they glamorous and exciting? Aw hell no. But you can get them at the Dollar Store and at discount stores and on sale for very little money. And when it’s winter and someone is cold, I promise, they will be prefer to have several pairs of socks over an iPod.
6.      Still too much this year? Believe me, I get it; I’ve been there. Look at your own closet. Anything still in reasonable condition that you don’t wear any longer? Coats, sweaters, hats, scarves – all good options, so long as they are gently worn. Even backpacks and purses. Shelters will find use for them.

And maybe, there’s just nothing. There is nothing extra to spend, nothing extra to give. None of us want to be there and yet, it’s the way of the world sometimes. There’s still something. As you walk by someone on the street, holding up their sign, look them in the eye. Acknowledge they are a human being. Tell them you wish you had something for them and that you’re sorry you don’t. Treat them as the equal they are. Show them some respect. It’s so little, it costs us nothing, and yet it can mean so very much. And really, isn’t that what this time of year is supposed to be about?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. Grateful some things have changed Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you a whole hell of a lot ~ and, yes, coffee.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

East Coast and ... Alaska?

Back just before we left Vancouver, Washington, I wrote about my dislike of the culture in the Pacific Northwest. Go on, click on the link and read it if you don't remember. It's a short post. And it boils down to the people in the west just weren't as nice as the people in the east.

Alaska, Alaska feels like home. Feels far more like the culture I'm used to. The car battery died a few days ago, while Lithus was in Europe. I trudged back into the apartment building, asked if anyone had a recommendation for a garage. That wouldn't do.

Suddenly, two people who work for the apartments and another woman who doesn't but whose business rents space here were determined to find someone here in the building who could give me a jump. Twenty minutes later, a man I'd never met before was using the jumper cables from a woman whose name I never got to start my car again.

But it's cold here and whatever caused the battery to die initially didn't get addressed so by the time Lithus was home, it was dead again. Saturday night was the Company's holiday party. It was being held at the hotel directly across the street from our apartment. Lithus asked his boss if Boss would mind giving us a jump, since he was going to be in the area. That wouldn't do.

Sunday morning, Boss and Mrs. Boss showed up, drove us all to breakfast, and then jumped the car. When it was obvious what was wrong, there was no way we were (okay, Lithus was) going to be allowed to work on the car in the cold parking lot. We drove over to their house, parked the car in their garage "to warm up and thaw out" as the four of us went for a drive up to Big Lake. Once we got back, the guys tinkered with the car while Mrs. Boss and I went upstairs, ordered pizza, and drank lemon drops. By the time Lithus drove us home (did I mention the lemon drops?), it had been decided that we would take over the garage again today.

Last night, our friend, Nicki, called. He had today off as well and wanted to know if we could all get together. Lithus told him that, sorry, we were working on the car this afternoon. This wouldn't do.

At 2:00, Nicki showed up at Boss's house and spent the next two hours working on the car with Lithus.

No, we won't let anyone, even a stranger, pay for a jump.
Of course, we'll stop by. And feed you pizza and booze.
You will use our garage.
I will help you work on your car.

This is what I'm used to, yes, even from stoic, aloof New Englanders. This is what home is supposed to feel like. This is what good people do for each other. This is the east coast...and Alaska.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's Not All About You

A couple years ago, a decisive blow was struck in the great War On Christmas ~ which can be seen at every mall, grocery store, craft market and parade in the country, by the way ~ at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. A rabbi was walking through, on his way out of town, and happened to mention that, given the plethora of Christmas decorations, it might be nice to see a menorah along with the rest. In typical over-reactive style, instead of just adding a menorah, the wise folks at Sea-Tac took down every single decoration that was identifiable as Christmas-y. Because, after all, why be inclusive when you can martyr yourself to political correctness and scream about the War On Christmas?

So Happy Hanukkah.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Wassail = Drunken Joyous Party!

Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl , we'll drink to thee.

Now, maybe it's just me, but any song that starts off like this should be a racuous one. Lots of toasting and laughing and enjoying oneselves.

Somewhere along the line, however, this has become sung like a dirge. I could find instrumental versions of it that sounded as if the carolers were actually having fun, but I couldn't find any vocal versions where they sounded either bored out of their minds (the best option) or suicidal (the worst). So, here we have an instrumental version ~ and the lyrics below. Read them; you'll see what I mean. These people knew how to party.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl , we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our horse, and to his right ear,
God send our master a happy new year:
A happy new year as e'er he did see,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

So here is to Cherry and to his right cheek
Pray God send our master a good piece of beef
And a good piece of beef that may we all see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our mare, and to her right eye,
God send our mistress a good Christmas pie;
A good Christmas pie as e'er I did see,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

So here is to Broad Mary and to her broad horn
May God send our master a good crop of corn
And a good crop of corn that may we all see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

And here is to Fillpail and to her left ear
Pray God send our master a happy New Year
And a happy New Year as e'er he did see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our cow , and to her long tail,
God send our master us never may fail
Of a cup of good beer : I pray you draw near,
And our jolly wassail it's then you shall hear.

Come butler, come fill us a bowl of the best
Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small
Then down shall go butler, bowl and all.

Be here any maids? I suppose here be some;
Sure they will not let young men stand on the cold stone!
Sing hey O, maids! come trole back the pin,
And the fairest maid in the house let us all in.

Then here's to the maid in the lily white smock
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock
Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin
For to let these jolly wassailers in.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


One of the things I have wanted since arriving in Alaska is to just wander up on a moose. Everybody assured me it would happen. There are something like 1500 moose within the Anchorage city limits. Lithus has come and picked me up and driven me to where he'd seen a moose but, alas, I had yet to spy an unsolicited moose. Until last night.

The other night, we were driving home from the airport ~ because Lithus has finally returned from Europe ~ when the car in front of us came to a complete stop on the highway. Our cabbie changed lanes and slowed dramatically, too, coming to a complete stop...directly in front of the moose, standing in the middle of the road. And we all just hung out and waited until she had moseyed on across the highway. Her friend stayed on the side of the road, watching, until she decided to head off the other way.

I am told she was a yearling, or maybe two, but still very young. Dear Lord, she was huge. And beauitful. And moosey.

Which helps make today's music choice quite easy...

Those are moosey Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Growing Up Musical

I do not remember a time in my life when music wasn't a part of it. My father was a singer and musician. My grandmother was an opera singer. My mother played piano. Growing up, Crow and I were always involved in something musical. While it never felt forced, I remember looking at Daddy at one point in my late teens and knowing it had been intentional that we had grown up musical.

For ten or so months out of the year, the music that floated through and around the house was usually classical and showtunes, with some 1970s protest folk thrown in for good measure. But from the Friday after Thanksgiving to shortly after Epiphany, it was all Christmas music, all the time. The Canadian Brass. The Philadelphia Brass. The Kingston Trio. Later, Manheim Steamroller and George Winston were added into the mix. And, of course, Handel's Messiah.

After my dad died, we were quieter for a while, but I knew I was healing when music started making its way back into my world. In light of all this, we're going to try something: musical posts. Just for the season. If I actually remember to do it everyday.

We'll start here because, while Daddy had already died by the time flash mobs came into being, I think he would've approved. Especially of this one.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you an eggnog latte.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The First Christmas Post of the Year

Because this really never gets old...


Those are Pobble Thoughts and the musical stylings of Straight, No Chaser. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thanksgiving: A Perspective*

Well, it happened. I have landed on my butt on the snow. It was my own damn fault. I was not wearing particularly aggressively soled boots and I was pissed, so I was striding along as if I wasn't on icy, snowy slickery-ness.

Now, let me give you a little background information. Lithus and I live right on the edge of "the good part of downtown" and "the bad part of downtown." What this means is, if you look out the east windows of our building, you see modern, sparkly buildings. Downtown shopping. Businesses. Parks. Starbucks. If you look out the west buildings, you see older, lower buildings. The soup kitchen. The halfway house. The drag clubs. The by-the-week flophouse "hotel." You're never quite sure who you're going to meet. It's part of what we love about the area.

Which brings us back to our story... First, I slipped and the man coming down the parking lot behind me called out for me to be careful. Being pissed already, I managed a grimace and a wave. But I didn't slow down. Another fifty steps and down I went. By that time, the man had closed the distance. Not in a scary way, or anything. Just in a he was walking faster than I was, even with my angry stride, way.

He bent down and offered me a hand. I, not being the least bit angry at him, accepted it with a grateful if ego-bruised smile. He held onto my arm long enough for me to get good and stable and before we started to move again. We were right at a place where our paths diverged so I said another quick thank you and started toward my apartment building. He stopped and said "Thank you for letting me help you."


Did I notice he wasn't very clean? Or that he didn't have all his teeth? That he was probably a resident of one of the establishments around me, if he was a resident anywhere? Of course I did. I am a city girl and I am a people watcher. Either of those things means you always know who is around you, behind you, approaching you. Put them together and trust me, I see everything. But I'm also good at threat assessement. This guy just wanted to help me get back up on my feet and stable. And trying to get my feet back under me, his cleanliness and oral hygeine were the least of my concerns.

I want to be surprised at the thought that perhaps someone ~ okay, a woman alone ~ wouldn't have accepted his help. I'm not. It makes me sad to not be surprised. And it makes me sad that he had to thank me for letting him help me. Not sad for him, though. He's not the one who's lost his humanity, after all.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

* with thanks to Lori for the title