Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at SEB.
Anne and I are hosting my mother and my daughter for dinner today and, of course, one of the bathroom sinks has clogged up. Because of course it has.
So in addition to all the usual stuff that goes with Thanksgiving, I’m also learning about plumbing and clogs. Also possibly learning the number to a local plumber to call tomorrow if I can’t figure this out on my own.
My mother, whom you can find over on her blog Momma’s Corner, has reached another milestone. Today she turns 82 years old and is looking pretty good while doing it.
Here’s a pic of her from this past Christmas Eve. Click to embiggen.
Mom had an eventful year in 2016 as she finally managed to sell the house in Otisville and moved in with my sister in Pontiac just across the street from the house my siblings and I grew up in. She’s since been keeping busy with her projects, feeding the zoo, and updating her blog at a pace that, frankly, puts me to shame. She even got an entry up marking this special occasion where you can leave your congratulations if you’re so inclined. As for me, I’ll be seeing her on Saturday when we gather to do the food and cake thing as is traditional.
So another Christmas has come and gone and I’m happy to say I got many goodies I’d been hoping for, but not all of them. I don’t mean that there was something I was hoping to get and didn’t, but rather a couple of items that were purchased for me never made it to my door.
It seems someone is a bigger fan of Hawaiian shirts than I am as two of them were purchased for me off of my Amazon wishlist, but were stolen or lost along the way. The first was purchased by my wife and the Amazon order says it was delivered on the Tuesday prior to Christmas and left at our front door. I was home and picked up several packages throughout the day, but that wasn’t one of them. She contacted Amazon and got a refund so no worries there.
The ghost of Christmas gifts lost. Click to embiggen!
The other one is this beauty to the right. I have no idea who purchased it, but it wasn’t Anne. It was bought on the same day that Anne bought the first shirt, December 15th. It never showed up at my door so I’m hoping whoever purchased it had it delivered to their home as it’s a $33 shirt.
I find it odd that two Hawaiian shirts bought the same day by two different people both failed to arrive at my home. I’m wondering if the UPS guy loves them as much as I do and seeing where they were coming from decided to help himself. I suppose it’s also possible that out of the handful of packages delivered that day someone only managed to steal these two off my front stoop. Regardless of how they were lost, if you purchased that one and didn’t ship it to your home then you will want to contact Amazon and let them know so you can get a refund.
I’m a little bummed as both were Christmas themed shirts and I love nothing more than wearing them out of season to see how long it takes people to realize what’s on the shirt. If you’re curious, here’s the one Anne tried to get me which is sadly out of stock now:
Man, 2016 has been a rough year, but we made it to another Christmas. Here’s hoping you got all the goodies plus some quality time with friends and family. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours.
Here’s our tree this year before the mayhem of this morning. Somehow the cats mostly left it alone this year.
Meet Christian pastor/asshole David Grisham of Last Frontier Evangelism. David isn’t happy with parents telling their kids that Santa Claus is watching over them and judging whether they’ve been good or bad and then rewarding them appropriately because that’s Jesus’ job. That’s why he took it upon himself to head to his local mall where parents and kids were lined up to visit Santa and tell everyone the truth about how he’s not real:
Of course the irony here is that Pastor Asshole is insisting that folks should substitute one myth for another. Regardless, he’s another example of a Christian who isn’t happy that some folks are celebrating Christmas in a manner he doesn’t approve of and he’ll be damned before he lets anyone get away with that.
He’s not all that different from the Christians who demand that people say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.” Upset that someone, somewhere isn’t acknowledging the Christ is CHRISTmas, they post indignant Facebook memes insisting “Merry Christmas” is the only acceptable greeting as though there aren’t a multitude of religious holidays that take place this time of year and that someone might be something other than Christian.
Christmas is one of the best bits of PR Christians have going for them. It’s been embraced as a national holiday in a number of countries and is seen as a celebration not just of the birth of their imaginary friend, but as a celebration of peace and goodwill towards others. It encourages folks to reconnect with friends and families, to be kind and generous, and to aspire to being better people. Regardless of whether anyone buys into the idea of Jesus, the holiday goes a long way to making people be better than they usually are.
At least up until some Christian gets annoyed because they think the people celebrating aren’t putting enough emphasis on the Christ part and decides to ruin the goodwill by pissing all over how other people choose to celebrate. You guys need to realize this is as much a secular holiday as a religious one and has been for a very long time. More importantly, you should stop to think about how you look like an asshole every time you insist others should conform to how you think the holiday should be observed.
You can say Merry Christmas all you want and most folks you say it to are going to take it as a gesture of goodwill. There’s no need to ruin that by insisting everyone must celebrate the holiday the way you do.
Here we are! We’ve made it another year. With the Presidential election coming up in the fall I’m sure it’s going to be a doozy, but my more immediate concern will be getting back into the rhythm of working as my vacation has come to an end and I return to the grind wheel this morning. After three weeks off I’m sure I’m going to have a ton of stuff to dig through. Not to mention there’s a big swap of company phones and a refresh of older PCs that are probably ready to go. Alas, my plans of hitting the lotto over vacation didn’t come to pass so I’ll have to go back, but at least it’s to a job I enjoy and where I seem to be appreciated. That’s a lot more than some folks can say.
Beyond that I didn’t have a lot to say other than Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season, whichever ones you were participating in. As for myself, I think this picture of Cuddles, the official SEB cat, sums up how my vacation went pretty well.
Haven’t posted anything in awhile so I thought I should toss something up. I’ve been on vacation for the past week and a half which means I have a week and a half to go before going back to work. I’ve been taking the last three weeks of the year off since I started in my current position mainly because I can. It’s one of the few jobs I’ve had in my career that offered any amount of vacation time and being able to spend three weeks doing nothing in particular is a kind of bliss. The only problem with being on vacation is that I lose all track of what is going on in the world. I get out of the habit of reading blogs, I fall behind on my webcomics, I don’t share as much stuff on G+ or Facebook, and I blog even less often than I do when I’m working. I am, however, much further along in both Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Metal Gear Solid 5.
All of my Christmas shopping has been done for a couple of weeks now, but there was some concern that one of my gifts for my wife wouldn’t arrive in time. That one finally showed up yesterday and it’ll be wrapped and placed under the tree today.
Lastly, my Christmas gift to myself — a new 16GB RAM kit for my desktop — arrived last Thursday… to my old address in Ann Arbor. I hadn’t purchased anything from Newegg in a while and, despite remembering to update my credit card info, I failed to remember to update my shipping address. I drove over there once I realized the mistake, but no one was home. Left my contact info and called the apartment office the next morning who also reached out to the tenant. Then didn’t hear much of anything for the whole weekend. Tried driving over again Monday afternoon and finally caught up with the fellow. He’d been out of town and his fiancee had been collecting his mail so I had to come back again on Tuesday to get the package. It made for a bit of a stressful weekend. I gave him a $10 gift card for Biggby Coffee as a thank you. Fortunately he likes Biggby coffee.
So that’s pretty much all I’ve been up to the past couple of weeks. Getting ready for Christmas, stressing over a mis-shipped package, and spending too much time playing video games. What about you guys? You all set for Christmas day?
I have three more work days and then I’m on vacation until the new year. Technically, I’m taking a week and a half off and the other week and a half is the holiday break we normally get each year. I’ve been working hard at getting the number of tickets in my queue at work down to an absolute minimum (currently 3 tickets are pending). Outside of work I finally finished decorating the Christmas tree last Sunday. The tree had been up for a couple of weeks, but I had bought a couple of new LED light strings — I finally found some that have the occasional twinkle bulb on them — and it wasn’t quite enough to wrap the whole tree. So I went out the next weekend and bought a couple more. The final result looks like this:
O’ Christmas Tree! O’ Christmas Tree! How long it took to finish!
Yes, I was watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special as I decorated the tree. We’re in a much smaller apartment this year so it’s a little tight squeezing past the tree to get the stairs to the second floor, but it works. It didn’t take long for the cats to rediscover the joy of laying underneath it.
Jasper was the first to claim the prized sleeping spot.
We also went shopping for a new wreath for the front door as our old one clashes with the door’s current color. Additionally, we bought a replacement solar light to hang off the shepard’s hook in the front yard. It came with its own, smaller, hook and we were trying to decide what to do with it. We chose to do something we had talked about many times previously and bought a small bird feeder and a small bag of wild bird seed and set up a Kitty TV outside the door wall.
So far no birds, but we expect they’ll discover it soon. We’ll probably know when the cats start trying to claw their way through the window.
As of this point in time we’ve completed all our Christmas shopping save for one nephew. Several of the packages are still in transit which is why the tree is looking a little bare at the moment, but they should arrive shortly and join the pile.
I’m really looking forward to having three weeks with nothing in particular to have to do other than visit family and friends. I plan to take full advantage of it by being lazy as hell and generally enjoying the shit out of it.
I’m often asked around this time of year, what with me being an atheist and all, just who it is I’m thankful to on Thanksgiving. My answer is simple:
I’m thankful to my wife who not only puts up with me and loves me when I’m at my best, but takes care of me and still loves me when I’m at my worst.
I’m thankful to my daughter for turning out to be a wonderful person despite having me as a father and the rather unconventional childhood she had to go through to reach adulthood.
I’m thankful to my mother for all the things she’s ever done for me which are too numerous to count.
I’m thankful to my brother and sister for their love and support over the years even when they didn’t always agree with my choices.
I’m thankful to my in-laws for so wholly accepting me into the family some 14 years ago.
I’m thankful to my friends for their friendship. Whether it’s someone I’ve known since I was in grade school or someone online I’ve never actually met, but have been hanging with virtually for years.
I am solidly middle aged at this point and there’s plenty of things I thought I would have done by now that will likely never happen. I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be in terms of owning a home or the amount of money I’d be earning and we often live paycheck to paycheck. However, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and gas in the car and two kitties who are spoiled. I may not have everything I want, but I have the things I really need and I am grateful for that.
I don’t believe there is an all-powerful deity providing me with anything. I do know there are people who have made it possible for me to provide these things for myself. So I don’t thank an imaginary friend for the things my real friends and family are due credit for.