The Blue Whale and the Baby.

Merry Christmas y’all. Just got back from church and I need to finish some wrapping but there is one thing I’ve wanted to share with you all month.

The worshiping blue whale.

What?  You’ve never heard of a whale at the Nativity?

Never witnessed a 150 ton marine mammal bowing before the creche?




See. I told you.

Alright. No one knows this little secret but me.

My office opens onto the Christmas tree. Every time I walk out the double doors, to get a snack or to walk the dog or to fold some laundry, I walk by our tree. And a few weeks ago I noticed the whale.

I noticed the whale noticing the baby.



All five of you who were in Brownies with me might remember making this ornament. A tuna fish can spray-painted gold. A Mary and baby Jesus glued in the bottom, surrounded by heavenly angel hair.

The seven-year-old me thought it was magic. I still do.

The blue whale ornament is new to the Community of the Tree. I bought him a month ago when I spied him on a tree in some large store. You see, I have a soft spot for whales.

They are huge. They really are quite strange looking. They spend all of their lives plowing through the deep waters. For something that could be so destructive — they seem kind. Inquisitive.

That blue whale got what this crazy month of December’s lights, glitter and exhaustion is all about.

A golden baby in a tuna fish can.

Something the black labs in Santa hats,

Michael Vick — minus a hand and a football after a few rough years on the tree — didn’t seem to notice either.






Bella and Edward in Twilight La La Land only have eyes for each other.



Darth Vader is a poser.

At first, I was sure Vader had his back turned on the whole Christ child scene but on second thought, maybe he’s guarding the tuna fish stable?




Who’s to know what lies deep within the heart of any ornament?

All’s I know is the blue whale is not gonna miss a thing where the baby is concerned.

I don’t know how he got there, but I’ve enjoyed him all December.




Merry Christmas to all creatures great and small.



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Running into Christmas. What songs are on your playlist?

Holiday music. I love it.

I load it on my shuffle the night before Thanksgiving and the next morning I run the Atlanta Half marathon to Christmas music. One of my odd little traditions that make life wonderful.

Tomorrow is the 33th annual Madison Christmas Rush, Fun Run, 5K and 8K. I try to run it every year – and so I’m charging up the old shuffle.




Here’s my top five holiday running songs. The songs I can’t help but repeat a few times before moving on to the next tune. Do me a favor and leave your favorite in the comments. I’m ready to add some new kick to my stride back up Dixie Highway toward the finish line.


    1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  Andrea Bocelli

Honorable mention:  Jackson Five, Justin Bieber


4. Little Drummer Boy.  Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes.

I love this. Call me the eternal teenybopper. Guilty as charged.

“Playin’ for the king. Playin’ for the title. I’m surprised you didn’t hear this in the bible.”


Honorable mention:  Josh Groban. Well, anything Josh Groban



3.  Step Into Christmas. Elton John

How cute is he in this?



2.   Holly Jolly Christmas — Burl Ives.

Maybe it jettisons my subconscious back to sitting in pjs watching Rudolph and all the old Christmas shows. I love everything about this song. His voice. The jingling bells. The 60s Holiday Special back up singers. The lyrics . . .



“Have a holly jolly Christmas

And when you walk down the street,

Say hello to friends you know,

And everyone you meet.”


1.  Merry Christmas Baby — Bruce Springsteen

Bruce and saxophone. Miss Clarence 🙁 but he’s rockin in this video.



I didn’t know till googling this video that Otis Redding sang a cover of this in 1967.


Appendix — Joy to the World, Mariah Carey

These two women can belt out a song.

Honorable Mention:  Natalie Grant.



Other tunes I love to run to around Christmas  . . . .

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa ClausJohn Mellencamp.

It’s Christmas All Over Again — Tom Petty

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen — Barenaked Ladies


So many more.

I’d love to hear your favorites.

Happy Holidays and happy running.


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Christmas Found Me. The search for my cheese.

You would think after almost 50 years, I’d get used to someone moving my cheese.

My life interrupted. Plans changed.

But when someone hides your cheese at Christmas, it takes awhile for the emotions to adjust.

I got a call last Friday night that they moved my Dad to ICU.

So we decided to pack up everything and head down to Florida for Christmas.

Nothing was wrapped. I still had shopping to do. But when someone moves your cheese — even at Christmas–  you must go in search of it.

Said goodbye to our tree (it was so pretty this year).




We loaded up clothes, presents, wrapping paper and plenty of Scotch tape and started driving.

I shared the backseat with my two youngest.



After a couple of hours when laptop batteries die and your seat doesn’t recline, you begin really think Santa must be supernatural to put up with riding around in that sleigh all night.

~ ~ ~

Christmas Eve was spent with family.

That was the wonderful part of having to search from my cheese at Christmas in Florida. So much of my extended family still lives right where I grew up.

This was the Christmas Eve I knew as a child. Kids bouncing off the brick streets and everyone donned in shorts and flip flops.





Of course, this also included a Christmas Eve visit to my Dad in the hospital.

I thought I’d find my cheese there.


But Dad was okay. Sad he wasn’t coming home and not with the family for his favorite holiday.


So we left him with a Christmas kiss. I so wish I could have strung a little strand of twinkling lights over the large sliding window doors into his room — but as kind as ICU nurses are at Christmas, that didn’t happen.

~ ~ ~

Then we went to our family party.

The Christmas Eve party went to at six months old.

Surely my Christmas cheese would be there. Found somewhere among the 60 relatives that now gather.

It was wonderful to laugh and talk with cousins. Remembering those Christmas Eves long ago when we would run outside in the warm, dark night — searching the Central Florida skies for a red blinking light.


I pulled out my camera at the end.

We said our goodbyes.

~ ~ ~

At home there were presents to wrap.

Maybe I would find my Christmas cheese there?

Every year I stay up way too late wrapping everything so the kids wake up to a tree transformed with presents. I couldn’t get my wrapping mojo on so  . . .

At 10:30 my sister and I decided to leave the excited children and head to church.

I used to love the 11 o’clock candlelight service before children came. Communion and candles and quiet worship.

We went to church in Winter Park. Not our church growing up, but we knew of the minister who had been an associate pastor long ago in our Orlando church.

Sorry no pictures from the service.

It was beautiful and quiet.

Communion and prayer at the altar.

Then toward the end, a soprano sang O Holy Night. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like it. Just when you thought her voice couldn’t be anymore spectacular — she reached a bit higher.

It was then. In a strange church, certainly not the church I thought I would be this year on Christmas Eve — that I found my cheese.

Christmas came once again.

Change is never easy but to live is to change.

In the quiet, solitude of church — the baby who changed the world was reborn in my heart.

Hope for me. Hope for humanity.

A late Merry Christmas to you.


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Madison, Georgia 2012 Holiday Parade.

Every year the primary school students walk from the school in the Madison Holiday Parade.

Every year I’ve had a Primary Panda eligible to participate, I’ve successfully avoided walking.

Call me Scrooge, I know.

This year my second grader really wanted to walk.

I thought how this is my last year that one of my three will be at the school — so why not?

We ended up getting adopted into the Dachshund Divas brigade. Joe was asked to walk River whose mama, Kim Watts, was out of town.

I had SO much fun. It was a perfect day. There was a huge turnout. All I could think was . . .

Why did I never do this before?

I’m in Florida with my dad who is very ill. I want to be here but hard to be away from family at this time.

Sitting here in a big city, I’m so thankful I had last Saturday in our wonderful small town.

It will be a memory that I can carry me through this topsy turvy Christmas season.

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The Charlie Brown Advent Wreath

Tomorrow starts the Christian season of Advent.

And since I’m am forever making up for a childhood with no Advent wreaths, I was on a mission to pull mine together today.

For the first time ever, I went to our local florist and bought an oasis wreath to keep my greenery green.

And I learned this is what one does to prepare the oasis. (Good thing something in this house got a bath today.)

So later on this evening after the oasis was good and soaked, I remembered to make the darn wreath for Advent starts tomorrow.

Since this thing is like SpongeBob on steroids I decide to move this project out of doors.

Avert your eyes from the leaves.

The towel was for bring the drenched wreath back into the house. Just saying.

Things got a little heavy duty.

After I started arranging, things looked terrible.

I mean, these ladies come to Garden Club and whip out all this greenery and create magical things.

Mine just looked like a it was banished to the Land of Misfit Advent Wreaths.

This wasn’t turning out at all like I envisioned.

So I snipped from a boxwood to my left. Ran over and plucked from a magnolia at the end of the drive.

Dear Goodness.

But I toiled on.


What we have here is the makings of a Charlie Brown Advent Wreath.

This will never do.

Maybe what I needed was light.

So I carried the dripping SpongeBob in and started to work some more.

I toiled away.

Look what I also found at the florist this year. Very cool.

Honestly, I would have given up hours before if I didn’t have to post a picture of the finished project.

And finally I ended up with this  . . .


So can CHECK that off the list.

Now on to the next project.

How are your Christmas chores coming along?

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Decked Out Halls. Madison, Georgia Christmas Tour.

The Madison Christmas Tour is this weekend. My in-laws and my across the street neighbors are on the candlelight portion.


For my in-laws not so much.

But for my neighbor the ever-creative, ever-talented Trish Jones (her coolio decorating/art blog) — in a word. WOW.

She and her house from the 1800’s are up to the task.

It’s just that she is a wife, mother of three with a thriving Etsy shop . . . and well, she is a mother of three.

Here was her house tonight.


We were met at the door by some proper young docents.

Then I witnessed this derelict docent racing back to her station inside.

Wonder who was distracting her from her duty?

Earlier today, I went over there for a sneak peak and it looked so great.



I’ve never matured enough in my decorating skills to use fresh fruit.

Not that I  don’t like it, it’s so Williamsburgy and traditional.

And traditionally, I’m decor-challenged.

Trish. 🙂 Sorry I took this before I reset my camera’s speed.

Look at all the neat touches. Just scattered about.

Trish bought this tree on eBay last summer and handmade all the ornaments.

Homeowner Rob, running to complete some decorating task or running from the camera.

Look at her cute solution to the non-working fireplace in their bedroom.

The journalist hard at work.

I could go on and on because her things were so adorable — but in the interest of hard-hitting journalism — I have the courage to show you the behind the scenes story.

A few hours before showtime, a few traces of life with three children remained.

And . . .

So I took off my crackerjack reporter hat and put on my good neighbor hat and started folding.

Rob jumped into.

If you’re in our neck of the nape tomorrow, the show goes on for one more night.

It is a lot of fun.

Because my house is not on display.

What about you? Would you open your door to hundreds of good folks at Christmas time?

* * *

And that completes my 30 days of November participating in NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

Woo! Made it.

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Good night John Boy.

A week ago  tomorrow we put the tree up in its stand.

(Because my college son was here and I knew Hubs and I couldn’t lift the tree by ourselves.)

Here stands the tree at 7 p.m. tonight.

Don’t judge. It’s been a busy week.

Our little burg of Madison is hosting its Christmas Tour of Homes tomorrow and Saturday.

I promise to post pictures of my neighbors’ beautifully appointed home on the Tour tomorrow.

As for my decorations, I’ve got a tree in a stand.

But I like my house to look festive for the Tour. So today I asked myself.

Jamie. You are busy. What can you do to decorate the outside?

I usually put white lights on the boxwoods around our porch.

Nope. Bored of that.

So it came to me today. The garden.

You can decorate the garden fence.

So that is what I did.

I was so excited.

I loved it.

It was my little garden all tricked out for the holidays.

My collards by Christmas light.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the garden,

Not a veggie was stirring, not even a collard.

I was so happy I decorated.

When my husband came home I asked, “What did you think of my lights? The garden. Isn’t it awesome?”

His reply, “It looks like Christmas on Walton’s Mountain. Like when they made the ornaments out of paper.”

Good grief Jim Bob.

I don’t care.

Well, maybe I do. And I’ll get the tree done tomorrow (maybe) and post photos from my very clever friends home.

Have you decorated outdoors?

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The baby Jesus disapeared.

Sunday night the children and I went to a church service where families participated in decorating the sanctuary for Christmas.

Okay, this is a horrible photo.

Just squint maybe it will look better.

Toward the end of the service, all the children took turns placing ceramic figurines from the nativity on the altar.

I took this photo afterwards, so people were milling about.

During the service, after all the shepherds, Wisemen, Josephs and Marys were placed, my son tugged on my sweater.

He pointed over to the adjoining pew.

A lone figure remained.

The baby.

Who my son picked up and started poking at the babe’s rear and saying “there’s his booty.”


After the service was over, I looked again and baby Jesus, booty and all, was missing.

Did someone steal the babe, all ceramic and wrapped in swaddling clothes?

Seems like some sleuthing is in order.

To be continued . . .

Linking up with Greta @Gfunkied and Julie @Mamamash for another Wednesday’s iPPP.


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Finding the tree. Forced Family Fun.

Yesterday, I made the family go look for the tree together.

I created this video to memorialize this occasion.

Not my best . . . but really when am I at my best?


Have you found the perfect tree yet?

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Musing on The Tale of the Not-So-Wise Wiseman

I’ve quit looking for him.

I’ve been around long enough to know when someone doesn’t want to be found. And with those types, I’m not going to bother.

A few weeks ago, we pulled out the Christmas decorations. This included our nativity. Mary, Joseph – the baby. Shepherds, sheep and camels. Then there were the Wisemen.

I suspected a problem with them.

We have a renegade and he’s AWOL this Christmas. I assume he’s hiding out in the attic amongst boxes containing ancient school books, baby clothes and one size 10, puffy-sleeved, gargantuan-skirted, Princess Diana era wedding dress.

I tried to fix him but I guess my mend wasn’t cosmetic enough to suit his highfalutin’ tastes — so he took off. (more…)

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