Random Thursday: Peanuts, Sugarplums, and White Wine in the Sun

Feeling kind of musical today, decided to go with it . . .


I know “Linus & Lucy” isn’t really a holiday song, but I tend to think of it as one—blame the Peanuts TV specials.

Our favorite local radio station seems to agree; they’ve played almost every day since Thanksgiving and my kids and I always converge on the radio and dance to it.

This is an excellent version by The Piano Guys, who brought us Cello Wars.

I so want to be the lovely lady in the green pantsuit someday.  She’s a hoot and a half.


I love The Nutcracker and I love unusual musical instruments.

Put them together and make the results hauntingly beautiful, and I’m all over it.


I’ve recently discovered Tim Minchin and became an instant fan. He’s one of the most amazing pianists I’ve ever heard and I usually end up crying with laughter at his songs and irreverent, barefoot wit.

A few of his songs are a tad more sincere, though just as clever, and this is one of them. It’s my new favorite Christmas song, and I don’t say that lightly.

Someday, when I’m that lady in green, I hope my family will have holidays like this, too.

And yours, too.


And finally, because I firmly believe that the world needs more Muppets:*

* And that if you put these three specific ones together—with perhaps a soupçon of Fozzie—you get something that looks a lot like a map of my psyche.  Which muppets are you?


Why Mommy threw out the Barbie Guitar: An exculpatory repost

The first upset over the Great Cleaning finally happened last night, when Janie couldn’t find Sunny’s Barbie guitar for her impromptu concert of holiday songs she’d memorized from Clifford The Big Red Dog’s website.

She searched the donation bags, then stormed over to demand its safe return.

I told her I’d pitched it because it was broken (and to put the donations back in the bag, please) and after a short, futile argument (over both) she left.

But I’m afraid I lied.  That guitar wasn’t just broken . . . it was possessed.

Here’s the whole story.

I’ve tried to get rid of it before, but someone always rescued it.  If it comes back this time, I’m gonna try burning sage.

But at least the Tinkerbell watch is silent . . .

A Great Gift Idea, or A Funny Thing Happened Before Caffeine This Morning

I’m usually the first one up in the morning and I confess that I set my alarm early enough to make sure of this.  The house is quiet and peaceful—and usually no one will need me for about an hour.  Which is good, because I’m not at my temperamental best until six-thirty or so.

Except this morning, as I shuffled into the L-part of the living room I call the dining room and the rest of the family calls Mommy’s Mess, I heard a weird sound.  Sunny lost her Tinkerbell wristwatch in April, so we’re all used to a disembodied triple beep every 60 minutes,* but this was a steady alien buzz.

The first thing that crossed my mind—and this is why I don’t go into my subconscious unarmed—was that the wristwatch had finally gone into overload and we needed to evacuate.

In the manner of all brave Mommies—or TSTL horror movie victims, whatever—I ventured closer to pinpoint the sound and discovered Sunny’s pink Barbie guitar singing to itself in falsetto wasp.**    I picked the thing up and slid the pink bar to the center, but the hum started to rise in volume and pitch.

I found the off button and jabbed it.   A cheerful Barbie voice starting chirping, “Goodbye!  Goodbye!” over the ever increasing noise.

This didn’t help my bomb-threat delusion at all.  I fought the urge to throw open the front door and hurl  it into the front yard while screaming, “Incoming!”

Because it’s cold out there.

So I slapped it a good one, which reset the pitch and shut Barbie up, but didn’t do anything for the volume.   Pretty soon, the damn thing was going to wake the kids.

Flipping it onto its stomach, I found the battery hatch, which had been thoughtfully screwed down by people who were worried my offspring might decided to pry it open and put the shiny coppertopped things in their mouths.  The fact that they’re probably right didn’t make it any less frustrating, except—

I ran to the kitchen, pink demon instrument in hand, tore open the Everything Drawer and found the set of jewelers’ screwdrivers I’d been given for our wedding shower.  The third Philips was small enough, and the hatch sprang open to reveal a number of double-A batteries that weren’t budging.

I could have used the screwdriver to lever them out, but I opted for whacking the guitar over the chair back instead, sending batteries flying.

I felt like Jimi Hendrix.  Or maybe Garth Brooks.

I re-screwed the hatch and leaned the guitar next to Sunny’s bedroom door before going back to my mess and typing  up the whole story just so I could suggest this:

If you’re looking for a holiday gift to give the parents of small children,*** especially if you’ve given the small children anything with batteries, please consider a set of small screwdrivers that include both slotted and Phillips.

They will thank you.

Psst:  And if the thing you gave the small children makes noise?  Don’t bother with the extra batteries.  Please.


*Yes, we’ve looked for it.  On the floor, inside furniture, behind books in the bookcase, under everything—I drew the line at having the cat x-rayed.  We suspect it was pushed through a vent somewhere, but the adults in the family don’t care that much.  We are, however, extremely impressed with the battery life.

**Or WASP, I suppose.

***The smallest size is good for repairing eyeglasses, too, if one could only find the flippin’ screw once it falls out.

Random Thursday: Sheep, Salad, and Silent Hallelujahs

The coordinator of the church Christmas Pageant e-mailed the cast list this morning.  Janie is a shepherd, which is a pretty good gig for someone who was the donkey last year* . . .  except Sunny is the sheep.

This was done on purpose—last year’s coordinator wanted Sunny to walk down the aisle with Zoe, another curly blonde child, in matching angel costumes.  Sunny declined, at the top of her voice, to be haloed, robed, or go anywhere near Zoe, who is a sweet kid but tends to ignore the personal space of smaller children until they fall over.

So it was hoped that being close to her sister this year would make Sunny more comfortable.  It seems to have worked—Sunny is very excited about being Janie’s sheep.  As her mother, though, I can’t help but think that my curly-headed little lamb is probably going to keep her shepherd on her toes . . .


I’ve been humming the Hallelujah Chorus all day.  I could say it’s because I finally finished that stinkin’ chapter of my WIP and sent it off to First Reader last night—and this afternoon, she sent it back with a lot of lovely comments** that had me breathing a sigh of relief.

But really, it’s because my friend the Earworm King suggested that this might be a good way for librarians to bring a little holiday music into the workplace:

Since the library has always been my haven against the relentless, repetitive cheer that is Winter Holiday Music™, I’m gonna pass, thanks.   But if we ever have a talent show, I’m there with the signs!


I just tucked Sunny into bed.  There’s nothing like a snuggle-hug from a warm, recently-bathed and shampooed kid in fleece footie jammies.

I said, “You smell really good.”

She said, “Like salad?”

I blinked. ” Salad?  you think salad smells good?”   I’ve never thought about salad smelling like anything much, except maybe green.  She didn’t smell green—her soap-paint is violently strawberry and purple grape, and her shampoo is orange cremesicle.

She nodded.  “I like salad.”

This is patently untrue.  She likes the idea of salad, since it’s a grown up food and she is determined to be a Big Girl.  But carrots and cucumbers are as far as she’s been willing to go, and even then you have to match her bite for bite in a crunch contest.  “You like salad?  Are you sure?”

“Yes, Mommy.”

So I gave up and sang a song, for which she forgave me,  kissed her, kissed her bear, cocooned her in her quilt and afghan and left.  Then I turned around and came back.  “What kind of salad?”

Who knew a half-asleep three-year old could make the same tsk sound as her older sister?  “Fruit salad, Mommy.”

I’m not bright.  But I mean well.


I have an hour and ten minutes left to make the writing goal part of my pre-resolutions today.

I think the extra chapter of Clementine with Janie and the extra snuggle with the fruit salad was well worth the time—but now it’s a wastin’.

Ciao, y’all.


*And who stole the show with her single line, which she projected at exactly the wrong time to great comedic effect:

Zoe, around her favorite thumb: “Feaw not! For I bing you glad tide-lings of gweat joy!”

Janie: “HEE-HAW!!!!!”

**And, yes, a few that made my slap my forehead and wonder why I cling to the notion that English is my native tongue.   And why I still try to have my characters handle guns when it has been made very clear to me that I have some kind of natural anti-talent in this area . . .  But she always phrases things in a way that never makes me wonder why I’m still writing.  That, my friends, is why she’s First Reader and I’m damned lucky.