The 2nd Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Contest Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took the time out of your annual Yuletide Panic—or coping with other people’s Panic—to participate in the Second Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest.  Even if there was some bah humbugging over the rules this year.

Once again, I’m glad I set these things up for drawing instead of judging, because there’s enough Yuletide Panic going around and I can’t afford to hand out prizes to all of you, anyway.

Eleven names were placed in Sarah’s Lumpy* Red Felt Hat of Win and one was eventually** grabbed this morning by an extremely sleepy fuzznoggin of a six-year old, who had probably forgotten all about it by now.

Special recognition goes to Mike, who managed to work in the ACLU; Kev, who managed to fit ménage à trois into the scansion this year; indyclause, who created a sonnet of bitter exasperation; Linda and her granddaughter for alluding to cat barf in the cutest way; Grace for saying what we’ve all been thinking about automatic sorting machines; liligrif for almost agreeing to post a comment this time;  Siobhan, whose poem I will be sending to her mother-in-law unless I get some new pics of my fairy godkid; my two favorite Anonymous-numbered poets whose sense of humor deserve better than anonymity, and so who should expect much nagging in the coming year, and; George, who needs to learn to take a compliment, dude.

But, the winner of the $25 online gift card to Powell’s Books is:

Cha Cha

whose Hogwarts themed entry leaves Rita Skeeter in the dust.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me —

12 Grimmauld Place
11 pensieve lessonsThe Golden Snitch''.
10 ton-tongue toffees
9 phoenix feathers
8 fizzing whizbees
7 golden Galleons
6 Weasley sweaters
5 socks for Dobby
4 Privet Drive
3 deathly hallows
2 blast-end skrewts
and a thrashing from the Whomping Willow tree

Congratulations, Cha! I’ll send the card to you tonight with the e-mail you provided—if you would prefer I send it elsewhere, please let me know!

Christmas Stress

It’s possible no one would have noticed, but I thought I’d mention again that I’ll be taking the next two days off from the blog, as we have a houseful of company to enjoy, several hours of emergency Christmas Pageant rehearsals to attend, the traditional Last Minute Holy Cow I Forgot a Gift Waltz to choreograph,  and for some reason, our choir director has chosen Handel’s “A Child is Born” for the Christmas Eve service:

This is either a sign of great faith in the possibility of miracles or complete insanity, as there are only eight of us, one small organ, and—in the opinion of at least half of the Alto section—way the heck too many notes along the way.

But that’s half the fun, right?

Have a Happy Merry!

*And Damp, as the weather decided to spray our area with that iced napalm the meteorologists like to call Wintery Mix over the weekend.

**It took  few tries.  The first time, she grabbed all of them at once and nearly popped me in the nose with her fist, as well as potentially bankrupting me.  The second time, she tried with the hand holding the toothbrush, while telling me she was too tiiiiiiirrrrrrred, Mommy. This is the same kid who will be impossibly wide awake at 4am Thursday morning.


Weekend Writing Warriors: Anti-Cupids (Relationship Checklists)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!


I’m skipping over a couple of pages, a little past the point where Viv and Jack’s caffeine-fueled banter is interrupted by Jack’s phone.

It seems that he forgot he had a lunch date . . .


Jack didn’t believe for a minute that this was the first time he’d irritated Renee since they’d started seeing each other, but it was the first time she’d let him know it. He’d normally take it as a good sign, except he couldn’t help wondering whether she was relaxing in his company, or following a relationship schedule.

Or maybe he was projecting. He’d dated a lot of women who pulled out the metaphorical training regimen and stopwatch after the third or fourth date, as if they’d stopped enjoying themselves and started recording distance, time, and pace. He knew perfectly well what they were expecting at the finish line, and he wasn’t particularly interested in crossing it.

It wasn’t that he was anti-marriage or didn’t believe there was a woman who was The One for him, but he assumed she would show up eventually and wasn’t particularly disappointed that she hadn’t. Until she did, he didn’t see why he couldn’t have mutual fun with the other ones—who were, he had to admit, usually tens.

Like Renee, a tall, willowy brunette with sleek cropped hair, intense blue eyes, and a wide smile that had sold a lot of toothpaste, floss, and whitening strips for Twinkleclean Holdings LTD, won the agency its second gold ADDY for the Beautystain lipstick campaign, and had captured Jack’s interest during the casting for the HappyCool popsicles commercial—though the client’s wife had vetoed her in the final round after viewing the video.


Not sure about the flow of the first two paragraphs, but that’s a second draft worry, right?

I’m also not sure I like Renee’s name—not that Renee isn’t a lovely name and that lovely people don’t go by it, but I’m not sure it’s right for the character.  Possibly because it’s a lovely name and the character herself irritates the bewhosis out of me.

I do know why Jack likes her—I swear I have no idea where the last phrase in that last sentence came from, Mom . . .

To attempt an awkward segue, I also know that if any of you would like to have a chance to win a $25.00  gift card to the awesome indie bookstore  Powell’s (good for online ordering, too), you have until Midnight CST tonight to enter my Second Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Contest.  It’s a remarkable silly contest that goes great with spiked egg nog, so why not give it a go?

C’mon—it’ll be fun!

Random Thursday: Acappella Fa-la-las, a Crow, and a Cow

 Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Two of you sent me two individual  Straight, No Chaser vids, and I couldn’t chose.  So I didn’t.

FIVE of you sent me that Kmart commercial . . . but I have the feeling most of you have already seen it.  More than once.


The Fairly Inclusive If Slightly Commercial Christmas Holiday Can Can

Start at :43 (trust me) and hang on:


Barbie Baubles

I have two daughters who so far have only had sixteen birthdays and fourteen Christmases between them, and have somehow amassed twenty-seven Barbies, Kens, and assorted Mattel® Friends, plus five Monster High dolls and several bushel baskets worth of related outfits and accessories.

That last bit is something of a joke, as my youngest does not suffer a doll in her proximity to be clothed for more than thirty seconds.  In fact, the dolls themselves haven’t been touched in the last year, except to be grabbed from the storage bin, shoved headfirst into an improbable outfit for reasons unknown and then field-stripped in thirty seconds, before being dropped onto the playroom carpet in flagrante deplastico.

However, about a month ago,we donated—with the children’s ennui blessing—the entire nudist colony and their combined untouched wardrobes to Goodwill, where it is hoped they will be adopted and loved and clothed and all that jazz.

But when Watson sent me a link to Margaux Lange’s website, I thought, “Rats, missed opportunity.”

Because Ms. Lange has found a unique way to repurpose Ms. Roberts and her friends.

Or parts of them, anyway.

Barbie Necklace

She’s even found a way to make something pretty out of all those horrible Barbie heels that like to gather in the dark corners and eat their mates before throwing themselves under your feet pointy side up, like tiny plastic caltrops.

Barbie Ring

But the earrings are my favorites:

Barbie Earrings

Disturbingly chic, non?

Go check out what she’s done with the rest of them . . . 



One crow + one mayonnaise lid + one snowy roof +
a delighted Russian family with a video camera =

The kicker for me?  The crow took his lid with him.


Random Cowcycle


It’s not holiday related, no.
But it is udderly moooooooving.

(Watson is responsible for the image—the pun is all on me)


Twelve Days of a Little Bit of Everything

For those of you who didn’t tune in yesterday, the
Second Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest is on!

There could be a $25 Powell’s Gift Card in it for you, so why not give it a try?

Here’s some inspirational music to help get you in the mood:

Now go write a poem.

Poetry Wednesday: The 2nd Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Contest!

Since the first Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest was such a blast last year, and because I haven’t had a poetry contest in a long time—and because it’s a week until Christmas and I’m seconds away from launching into that last-minute panicked running around in circles thing that I do when I realize that I’ve forgotten four people on my list and two of them a) live with me and; b) are nigh impossible to shop for, which seriously cuts into my Poetry Research Time (yes, it exists, thank you)—I decided we should make it an annual thing.

So here we are.

Christmas Stress

The Basic Rules:

1. Take  a standard December(ish) holiday* song, secular or sacred, and doggerel it up with your own words.

2. Post the results in the comments of this post, or send it to the e-mail address in the upper right hand corner there, if you prefer to remain anonymous—or if you can’t seem to keep it clean enough for a family blog even as borderline as this one (you know who you are).

If you do chose to e-mail it to me, and you’re a first timer, please put “Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus,” or a reasonable spelling thereof, in the subject heading, because I’m being spammed like whoa at the moment, and if I can’t tell, I’m not opening it.

3. Once your results are posted or received, your name will be placed into Sarah’s Lumpy Red Felt Hat of Win.**  You can offer as many poems as you like and bribery is, as always, enthusiastically encouraged, but your name is still only going in once.

4. Deadline is December 22nd at midnight CST—that’s Chicago time, if it helps.

5.  If your name is selected out of the Lumpy Red Felt Hat of Win by a small child of the household, you will win a $25 online gift card to Powell’s.

6. The winner will be announced on December 23rd, as I fully intend to take the next two days off from the blog, if I can fend off the Internet Withdrawal Spiders.

Sounds like a pretty good deal, yeah?  I’ll bet a few of you have already chosen your song, too.

But wait—there’s more!

As a special Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Gift to you, I’m adding two extra rules:

First Extra Rule:

You have to use “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a general format.

Though you may use any vaguely winter holiday you like.

To preserve sanity, please just post from the last day, like so:***

On the last day of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me:

8 times the presents
7 bowls of cold borscht
6 loaded dreidels
5 bags of Gelt
4 slabs of brisket
3 pans of Kugel
2 packs of menorah candles
and a latke as big as my head

Christmas Stress

On the whatever day of Festivus, my person gave to me

Six miracles of secular origin
Five grievance hours
Four feats of strength
Three tins’less poles
Two slices o’ meatloaf
And a forty-eight hour Seinfeld marathon

You know what?  You don’t even have to use a holiday—just the format:

On my twelfth day at the library, my patrons asked of me:

12 Computers Running
11 Tissues for Wiping
10 Novels for Reading
9 Songs for DancingLibrarian Stereotype
8 Works of Tolkein
7  Cheat Codes for Winning
6 Quotes and Sayings
5 Stupid Things
4 Spelling Words
3 Working Pens
and the Gentlemen’s Restroom Key

Easy, yeah?

But wait—there’s more!

The Second Extra Rule

You must include a Fifth Day, and make that line beltable.

Because otherwise, there’s no point in the first extra rule, amiright?

If you have any questions, put ’em below and I’ll make up some answers.

Contest starts now.

Go forth and doggerel!



Please note an addendum to the First Extra Rule, to be known as The Indy Clause:

Instead of using “The Twelve Days” format, you may choose instead to write a poem explaining how much you hate Christmas Songs and Why.

It still has to be at least five lines, and you still have to be able to belt out one of the lines—with vicious sarcasm, if need be.


*And thanks so much, lunar calendar, for making Hanukkah a last-minute, candle-scrambling surprise this year . . . maybe it’s my ingrained Episcopalianism rearing its inconvenient dignity again, but I just don’t think glittery birthday candles belong in the menorah my grandparents brought me from Israel.  There.  I said it.

Rhinestone cowgirl**Let us have a moment of silence for the Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win, which provided us with poetry winners for several years, despite causal abuse and frequent pancaking, before being irrevocably shredded during the Great Upheaval of Bedrooms this Summer.  Thank you, Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win . . . we shall ne’er forget thee.

***Except better, because there’s a difference between being a lover of poetry and a poet, and I’m standing knee deep in it.

Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest Winner!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled poetry post:


There were a grand total of nine entries in the First Annual Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest—three of you preferred to e-mail me your lyrics, and in two cases, I’m glad that you did—I may never think of Jack Frost or the ringing of silver bells the same way again.  For those of you who are tuning in late, six of the entries that were fit to share publicly can be found here.

Thanks to all of you for playing along!  It’s so comforting to be weird in a group, isn’t it?

Everyone’s name went into the Shallow Box of Win—because the Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win has disappeared into the recesses of the kids’ play room and I was running late this morning—and Sunny was gracious enough to pull a name while hopping on one foot and trying to pull her second boot on.

There was a brief flurry of paper and after I picked her up, dusted her off, and fixed her footwear, she had a name clutched in her hand.

Congratulations, Mike A!

(aren’t you glad I nagged you into entering?)

Send me your mailing address and the link to the CafePress mug of your choice,* which I will most likely share with everyone, so choose wisely.

And now, I’ve got to go write the annual department holiday song, which, traditionally, should include genealogy, local history, and or the vagaries of patron behavior.

This year, I’ve decided to ruin co-opt “Home for the Holidays,” mostly because it’s short and everyone knows it—it’s amazing how many librarians don’t know the words to “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

Even my kids know it—when I mentioned it, she and Sunny sang the whole thing through before I could explain which one it was.

“How many times have you heard that?” I asked.

“Seventy bajillion since Thanksgiving,” said Jane.


“On the way to school and back,” she said.

“You’re in the car about twenty minutes each way,” I said.

“We know.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved Holiday Song supersaturation with a week to spare!

Perhaps the Mayans were right?


*Or opt for an online gift card—you won’t hurt my feelings.