Christmas past

One of my fondest Christmas memories took place in my early teen years. The whole family was in my parents room watching TV one Christmas Eve. I kept hearing this noise in the next room. It sounded like we had a mouse. I mentioned it, but no one else had heard it.

A few minuets later, I heard it again. Again, no one heard it. The third time it happened, I got up to investigate. My brother Scott said he heard it and it was bats in the attic. Unlikely, I said. Bats hibernate in the winter. Even if there were any up there at this time of year, they would be asleep. I did what any self-respecting, bat-loving little sister would do. I demanded he prove it.

Scott, being certain I would chicken out, started to head to the attic stairs. Mom, being certain I wouldn’t chicken out, told Scott not to take me up there because I might get hurt.

All of this I met with suspicion because I had been up in the attic before and never had a problem. My dad said turning on the light would upset the bats. Ok. Case closed.

That was the night that dad took Dan and me for a ride in the car, looking for The Star. There was an alignment of planets that was supposed to be the star that the wise men saw. So we drove around on a rather overcast night, chasing a star. We caught a possible glimpse, but nothing definite due to the clouds.

When we got home, it was time for bed.

The next morning I found out the cause of the noise. No, not reindeer on the roof. It was my new pet rabbit. I named him Caesar Augustus — Gus for short. He was one cool rabbit. Grey circles covering his jaws, eyes and ears, with white bisecting the circles. His shoulders, front legs and his four little feet were white. The rest was grey. When he stood on his hind legs, it looked like he was wearing grey, old-man pants or hip waders. The grey came up under his armpits.

Gus was a fun rabbit. In the summer, we kept him outside in a pen. There was a dog house for him to sleep in, but he decided to dig a warren and use the dog house as a bathroom. On nice days, he’d hang out on top of the dog house of sit under the butterfly bushes. I’d sit and talk with him, pet him, or sometimes read to him. I’d let him out when I was there and we’d just hang together. I’d pick butter-and-eggs –one of his favorite vegetation delicacies.

I look back to that Christmas with Gus and family as a favorite Christmas.


Just a few observations

A) Several times a week, I go to my favorite coffee shop — Rothrock Coffee. The owners are wonderful; the coffee gods and goddesses are some of the nicest people in the world; the coffee kicks ass!

But now I’m wondering if I go there too often. Nah. Not really! But last week I worked graduation. The weather was wretched and it made students late and harried. In short, it was tougher than usual. To make matters worse, Rothrock opens after I have to be at work and closes before I get out. Yes, there’s coffee at the venue, but it’s not Rothrock coffee.

Sunday, I went to the shop per usual and it was closed! For a private event! The horror! They were having an employee holiday party for family and friends!

Ok. Seriously, no worries. I think it is great they were doing that, so I turned and walked back to the car, knowing they’d be open the next day. Suddenly, I hear my name called. I was being beckoned back to the shop. When I got in there, I was handed my usual large latte. OMG! They knew my name AND my beverage of choice. Sort of like “Cheers,” but for coffee. I was over the moon! When I told this to a friend of mine, she suggested maybe I went there a little too often.

So today, the day before Christmas, they closed earlier than usual for a Saturday. I got there and the chairs were up, the door was locked, and the baristas were cleaning up.

Again, no worries. I think it rocks that they were giving their employees a couple extra hours. I’ll be back. I’ll always be back. But, no! One of the owners again called to me and asked if I wanted something to go. Caveat: All they had were cold drinks.

Like I care? I got an iced latte. Maybe I do go there too often. Pfft! No way! I’ll be back there on Monday. A Merry Christmas and a big ol’ “thank you”to all the caffeine elves at Rothrock!

B) On my way home, I passed on of the roadside crosses they put up when someone was in an accident at that spot. Swooping down in front of me was a red-tailed hawk. I couldn’t tell if it was a juvenile or a female. It landed on the cross and sat looking around. Too much symbolism. I don’t want to think about that too deeply.

C) Driving through a neighborhood near me, there are 12 families who put up the “12 Days of Christmas” decorations. There’s a sign in the yard of one family and another just like it further up the street. In the dark, driving along, I haven’t been able to read the sign. Today I went past, stopped at the curb and read the sign.


Well done, neighbor. Well done indeed.

You sweet man! You made my day.

I love soft days when the mist lets you walk without getting too damp. Today is a cross between rainy and a soft day. Some of the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn, but the weather has been bouncing between comfortable and too damned cold. Some of the leaves aren’t bothering to turn, just turning brown and giving up. Others are remaining steadfast.

Continue reading

Serial dreams and heartache

I know why this is happening.

For the past week, every other night or so, I have dream installments. They involve Dan and he’s not dead. He just decided he didn’t care for the way his life was going and he wanted a clean break. A new start.

Dan tossed his cookies

Dan tossed his cookies

The first dream was one of those that happens when you’re just becoming conscious, but essentially still asleep.

Continue reading

Adventures in graduation


I didn’t attend my college graduation ceremonies. I was already working in New York (that’s New York City, to non-New Yorkers) and wasn’t able to make it back.

Now, many years later, I am once again at my alma mater and working in an office. Through my department, I met the woman who runs special events on campus. Eventually, I began working for the photography company that shoots the individual photos at commencement ceremonies. I now make sure the grads have filled out their Nomenclator cards and that the Nomenclator (the guy reading the cards) keeps the cards in the proper order.

I’ve been doing this for several years now and love it. There’s something about seeing the students embarking on their futures. It has nothing to do with nostalgia. It has to do with the excitement, the smiles, the proud families.

It’s not routine, even after six or seven years, 3 times a year. A professor come in with a robe that had been skunked. Student marshalls haven’t paid attention and don’t know where they need to be. A student runs in, late, only to find out his commencement is being held across campus in another venue. Occasionally, we have a fainter.

Continue reading