November 24, 2008


Normally I would not do a post on Christmas before Thanksgiving, because I believe that Thanksgiving is being ignored and pushed aside by Christmas, but something happened this morning that I really need to vent about.

I went into a store with the intention of buying a small Nativity scene to display in my office. Advent begins this Sunday, so I need to get it this week or this weekend. I also intend to display an Advent wreath around the Nativity, and I need a Nativity that has the all the figurines separate because I put them out in a specific order, as the season progresses. I went to the section of the store that has Christmas decorations and began looking around for a Nativity that would suit my needs and couldn't find a single one. Nothing. I thought I must surely be missing it, or maybe it was in a different part of the store for some reason, so I asked a sales person. She didn't even know what a Nativity scene was. I explained: "It will have a creche, with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the wise men, the shepherds, and an Angel." She said, "Oh, we don't have anything with all that, the only thing we have is this." And she walked over to the lawn decorations, and showed me a light-up 2-D silhouette of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. I told her that wouldn't suit my needs and asked her if she knew if they would be getting in anything else and can you fathom what she said? "No. That's the only one like that we have, we won't be getting anymore in, and I don't think we'll be getting anything like you're saying in at all."

I was SHOCKED. I managed to say thank you and walk away. I looked around a little bit more, and realized that I saw NOTHING that made any reference to the birth of Christ whatsoever. Not even the Christmas cards. Not one Madonna and Child. Nothing that said Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Not even a cross in red and green (which seems to be a deep South thing, but I don't like them anyway, because Easter is about the cross, Christmas is about the creche). People have been saying for years that Christmas is too commercialized, and I have always agreed, but I'm afraid now that Christmas, at least in retail, is disappearing. This is not Christmas, my friends. This is not the celebration of a holy day when the Lord God Himself came to earth in the form of a helpless child, despite the consequences, simply because He loves us. What we see in the stores and in many "Christmas" movies and tv specials is Santamas. We see the popculture worship of what has become of the image of St. Nicholas, who was born in Patara (now somewhere in Turkey), who always had a fondness for and watched over children after losing his parents in an epidemic when he was young.

Do I like Santa Clause? You bet. Is he a Christian? If you trace the persona of Santa Clause back to the roots of St. Nicholas, then yes, he was a devout Christian. CHRISTian. CHRISTmas. I think St. Nick is horrified to see what has become of Christmas, and frankly, I am too. Shame on retailers, and thank God for those who truly keep to what Christmas is about (and don't decorate until after Thanksgiving, if any of those are left.)

November 11, 2008

My Family

I am missing my blood family terribly today. My cutie always-makes-me-smile nephew, stoic/cynical but loving sister, quiet bother-in-law (who may as well be blood, as I've known him most of my life), easy-going and sensitive brother, and my wonderful mother. I'm also missing my father, who passed away about three years ago. I feel like I took for granted all the times I had with all of these people, though I know I didn't, with the exception of my dad. (I haven't quite forgiven myself for that yet.)

I don't know why this is coming up today, except perhaps because I'm tired and ready for a day off and I always seem to miss them when I feel like this. My mom was also up here this weekend for Old South Day. That must be it.

Still, right this moment, I'm in this place where I would give anything to be back at FSU, going to see everyone every month. Back then I didn't have a husband to worry about; no one felt used because I went down so often and no one came up. Never mind that we don't really have anything important to do on the weekends, and my sister has a young child to travel with. I'm not suggesting that we go down every weekend, but I don't think once a month is too much. Not when he gets to see his family every day. It might be different if I didn't have them to deal with, but dealing with them and then not having my support system nearby is a double hit that gets harder and harder to take.

Anyway, I'm taking this Friday as a mental health day. I hope it works, because I'm not supposed to see my family again until Christmas, which means that, with the exception of my mother, it will have been 4 months since I last saw my family. That's too much time. Michael and I are going to have to talk about that. Next thing I know it's going to be every 6 months, and then once a year, at Christmas or Thanksgiving, and we are so not going there. I don't care if I have to go down there every time, I don't care about the miles on the car and I don't care if I have to leave without telling him ( I'll only do that once, and only before we have kids). I'll make the point that I have to see my family. Often.

November 6, 2008


In this tiny town I work in professionalism seems to be a misunderstood concept. Being professional does not mean that you are trained or educated in your chosen field and work in that field. That is being a professional, and there is a difference. Being professional, in my opinion, consists of arriving for work early enough to begin work at your scheduled time, being courteous to your coworkers, not feeling or acting entitled to more paid time off than you or anyone else has, and generally comporting yourself as though you are not the most important person in your workplace because chances are, you are not.

What has brought this little pet peeve of mine to the fore today? Our receptionist. Remember her? I did promise that I would never be nice to her again, but I knew at the time that such a thing wasn't practical, and I mainly said it because I was mad. 'Jane' is basically a good person. However, she doesn't seem to understand professionalism. She is late by at least a few minutes every day. Almost everyone else is as well, but she is the receptionist and it was made clear in her interview (just like it was in mine) that she had to be here before everyone else so she could begin answering the phones promptly at 8:00 AM. Not 8:05. Or 8:15. Also, she lives 5 minutes from the office, so she should be able to wake up as late as 7:30 and still make it in by 8. Not so much. She called and left a message on the answering machine a few days ago saying she woke up late and would be in around 8:30. The time stamp on the message was 7:00. Why in the world does it take this person an hour and and a half to get ready and make the five-minute commute to work (three minutes when it's not 'rush hour')? It's nice that she showers and washes and blow dries her hair every morning, but that only takes me 30 minutes, and my hair is longer than hers. Throw it in a ponytail, get dressed and eat a small breakfast in 20 minutes and you should be able to make it to work with 15 minutes to spare. I would love to know what she does with that other 45 minutes.

But I'm getting off topic (sort of). Yesterday she informs me that I'll need to take the phones from 8-9 this morning so she can spend time with her husband before he goes away for 3 weeks for a temporary job with his mom's company. IF she had vacation time left, I wouldn't have a problem with that, but she doesn't. An exception is made because it is her husband and he is going to be gone for three weeks. Fine. How does she plan to make up the time? Using the hour we 'get' from our bi-weekly lunch training sessions. No one else 'gets' an hour for that, but she assumes she's entitled, even though we didn't actually have one this pay period. Whatever, favorites are favorites, I just do my job and know that vengeance belongs to the Lord. The big problem? Her husband left at 4:00 this morning. Here's what happened (as she told it to me when she finally got in this morning at 9:15): They went to bed around 11, got up at 3, he left at 4. The poor baby couldn't get back to sleep until 5, and then she slept until 8. So that means she spent a whole extra hour with her husband before he left. Wow. I'm sure that made all the difference in the world and the next three weeks will be a breeze because of that hour.

Now, I know I sound bitchy, but I do understand and believe that she will miss him terribly. I know how hard it is to be away from the person you love and are used to having around for an extended period of time. However, part of the reason they have to be apart is because he won't lower himself to get any job while he's searching for a 'good' job, so they really need the money. Also, I truly don't think that extra hour made a huge difference in how hard the next few weeks are going to be on her. Finally, while family always comes before work, you have to choose your battles. Eventually a time is going to come when something will come up (a child's play perhaps) that really will make a difference, and the bosses may be tired of making exceptions. And sometimes, you just have to suck it up and make sacrifices so you fulfill all of your obligations. Would I have gotten up if it had been Michael going away? Absolutely. Would I have been in to work at 8? No. I would have been in at 7:45 like I am every morning, and ready to work at 8.

November 4, 2008

November 4 To Do List

Get up early - Check
Exercise - Check
Vote for McCain/Palin - Check
Pray fervently that the rest of the voters in the country do the right thing - Check