Browsing all posts in December, 2005.

Dec 28th
Wednesday

Being the romantic bastard that I am, I gave my wife a new Koehler kitchen faucet for Christmas. (I can hear the ooh’s and ahh’s….sexy!)
After being (happily) married for over 22 years romance sometimes takes a backseat to let practicality ride shotgun for Christmas. We both try to stay away from anything too superfluous because we’re on a fairly limited budget and have neither the money nor the desire to give each other matching silver and gold Beamers adorned with gargantuan matching red bows (honestly, puhhhleese!)
I got up early on the 26th to go to Home Depot in search of Plumber’s Putty and a Basin Wrench. (it almost sounds like I know what I’m doing) After getting all the tools I thought I’d need I began taking out the old to make way for the new. My wife left the house with the girls in tow presumably to give me an empty house that I could scream in. I should have prefaced this post by re-posting this.
Anyway, everything was going pretty well or so I thought. With plumbing, even a chimpanzee can look good doing it. That is, until you turn the water back on.
When I turned it back on, a firehose-like column of water shot out of the bottom of the sprayhead and soaked everything within a five foot radius of the sink. Ooops.
I felt like Curly in a plumbing episode of the Three Stooges.
My father-in-law came over to see how I was doing.
He’s one of these guys that could put in one of these with his eyes closed and one hand behind his back.
He looked at our semi water park of a kitchen and said, “… you got a leak.”
I caved and called a plumbing buddy of mine who promised to come over around noon that day to see what was wrong. I was cleaning up when I found a small and insignificant black washer that must have blown off the sprayhead when I purged the line. I put the washer back into the bottom of the sprayhead where I thought it went and once again turned on the water expecting to see the return of Ol’ Faithful.
Amazingly dry as a bone. One little black washer had been my problem.
Maybe that’s where they got the phrase, “Little things mean alot.”

~m

Dec 27th
Tuesday


The scientific community wants to give us all a little present this year.
Click here.

~m

Dec 26th
Monday

Dec 23rd
Friday

This is my first Christmas blog post. ( and certainly not my last)
I will be Christmasing from here on out so feel free to visit but know there will be nothing new from me until Monday or so.
I wish all readers and friends of Smoke and Mirrors the very best the season has to offer: peace, love and much needed happiness.
Above all, my wish for you is a blessed Silent Night.

I’ve come up with a short list of things to do that could conceivably change your view of this insane season of so-called love and giving.

Read at least one Christmas story to a child.
(The Polar Express is my suggestion, if you truly believe.)

Drive by a mall around 9pm on Christmas Eve and smile at the empty parking lot.
(I actually do this every year)
You will realize the “rush” is finally over and in some small way it gives a sense of closure.

Call a really good friend you haven’t talked to in a while. (I do this as well)

Drop a 5- dollar bill where you know a child will find it.

If you have a family waiting for you at home on Christmas Eve, stop and consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world. You are. And so am I.

A very Merry Christmas to Carnealian, Snot, Interstellar, Beau, Dorman, AnnieR, Kat (i miss ya), Lisa Schamess, Ash, DebW and Joshua. (and Patrick Roche for starting this whole damn thing)
I wish you all warmth. You have enriched my life and I want to thank you for your incredible kindness.

peace to all (and to all a good night),

~michaelm

Dec 22nd
Thursday


Red sox nation got an early Christmas present yesterday.
(cue the Elvis version of “Blue Christmas”)
OMG.
What frosts my cookies is that a counter offer was never made!
One of the best lead-off hitters in the game and the front office watches him saddle off into the sunset. Who’s next to go? Ortiz? Varitek?

To the Red Sox front office:
Merry Christmas, guys.
Damn, you make us proud.
Please go choke on a warm chestnut.

Damon leaves Sox for Yankees

~m

Dec 22nd
Thursday

Dec 19th
Monday

I was digging through some old boxes the other day and found a few old writing pads.
Old ideas can sometimes strike new inspirational chords inside the mind.

I used to work in a shop that sold wonderful music boxes.
Some were beautiful in their simplicity while others deeply overwhelmed the senses with their intricate designs and magical sound.
The feeling of nostalgia tugs at the heartstrings as the mind reminisces of simpler days when the living the living was easy and not quite so hectic.

I was thinking "childhood memory" with the pic for this post.

No internet, no cell phones, no Xbox, virtually no technological interruptions.

A woman said a very interesting thing one day while listening to a Tchaikovsky box.

 

She said, almost sadly, “One must be very lonely to listen to one of these.”

 

I found the comment to be uncommon at first but changed my mind after thinking about it a while. Sound does evoke the deepest of memories and the most intense emotion from the dimly lit caverns of the mind—maybe it’s a voice you haven’t heard in a long time, the growling of a dog, someone tapping on your bedroom window at 3:02 in the morning, a whisper in a darkened room when you thought you were alone, maybe a favorite Christmas song. The mind deciphers the sound immediately and places it into an emotional category only you can understand.

This woman’s comment made me realize that a music box is maybe something more delicate, a melody as unique as the particular individual called to mind.

Sometimes melody draws out memory long believed to be dormant.

I was visiting my father the other day and sat with him during a sing along.

He no longer remembers the lyrics but can whistle something close to the melody. (I was laughing to myself because his pitch was terrible and my mother would have told him so.)

My mom used to do the same thing but unlike my dad she had the whole package—melody and lyrics. (and pitch!)

It would always astound me that my mother couldn’t remember my name but knew all the words to Jingle Bells. Modern medicine maintains it has something to do with the portion of the brain that remains unaffected by disease.

To me, it seems to beg the question: what’s worse to lose, your ability to sing White Christmas or your knack for remembering the names of your grandchildren?

While the answers will always lie mostly in the hands of fate, there will always be the familiar echoes of the heart resounding long after the setting sun falls into the waiting arms of the distant horizon.

Dec 16th
Friday


I am currently in the midst of finishing a short story that should have been done several months ago and haven’t written much for the blog. I thought this little story was so thought provoking. I’m not sure if it’s true but I know it’s very cool, especially at this time of year.
BTW- I am still waiting for “my” angel.
I received this from my friend Gerry, my blog’s most voracious reader. Enjoy.

~michael

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., when my car started to choke and sputter and die.
I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would
have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck.
It wouldn’t even turn over.
Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart” building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.
When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.
At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.
I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car.
She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now.

So I asked,
“And you were praying?”

That made her back away from me a little but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling walked next door to the McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee.
She gave the food to the kids in the car who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet ever since.

She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years.
They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there. So she packed up everything she owned in the car.
She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?” This definitely made me cry.

I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear
the flutter of their wings …

Dec 16th
Friday

Another gem from Jade Walker:

“The good writer develops his own voice, her own voice. You just can’t do that if you don’t listen to yourself. And the best way to listen to yourself is to read to yourself — out loud. Listen for the cadence — or the discordance. Listen for the beat — and the offbeat. Listen for the rhyme and the reason. Sometimes, you’ll hear the jarring word, the awkward phrase — the word that looked just fine but sounded junky, the phrase that typed nice but sounded clunky. So, talk.” –Michael Gartner

Dec 15th
Thursday

This post is for JR.
No human being should ever leave the world in this way.
I refrain from offering any details. It’s just too morbid.
I only ask that you say an honest prayer for her.
She deserved at least that…
Honestly, I’m totally weirded out by the whole thing.
See you on the other side J…

~m

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