You can’t always get what you want…

My porch is covered in recycling. Covered. An ocean of cardboard boxes, egg nog containers, wrapping paper… all the the flotsam and jetsam a holiday leaves in it’s wake and it’s going to get worse before it gets better because at some point in the fast-paced celebrate-o-rama whirlwhind we’ve been on over here, both Joe and I lost all touch with reality, and missed recycle pick up day.

Actually, we didn’t “miss” it as much as we had absolutely no idea what day of the week it was. That’s how it gets around here at the holidays. Somewhere in between Christmas eve with Joe’s family, Christmas with my family, Boxing day with my Great Aunt and Uncle, houseguests from out of town, herds of small children all over the place, Holiday parties, concerts, services and cookies, meals, candles, dinners, brunches and deadline knitting,

Yvwraps1

(this is the shawl that needed to be done yesterday. It isn’t.)

not to mention that much of this is accompanied by bottles and bottles and bottles of wine (and even if you don’t drink them and other people do it still can lead to a lack of clarity that’s disorganizing) and suddenly you’ve got two adults who have no hope of pinning down the fact that it’s actually Tuesday and are now stuck with a double dose of recycling that they can’t get rid of. Brilliant move.

The highlight of all of this cardboard/empty bottle/wrapping paper generating season is always my mums party. She hosts an epic scene each year between Christmas and New Years, and it’s a party in fine McPhee style. People come from far and wide, many of them people we see only once a year, and we eat, and we drink and we rock babies, and we tell stories and (as I have explained previously) we dance. (I’m not going to try to explain being a dancing family. Either you are are you aren’t. We really are.)

The highlight of this big to-do was always Janine. Nobody danced more, laughed more, listened more, talked more (and occasionally, drank more) than Janine, and I have to admit that as we crept up to the date of the party I worried. Most years, Janine was the heart of the party. I worried that without her this year we would miss her too much to have fun. I worried that people would cry at the party and make the other guests uncomfortable, (I worried that person would be me.) I worried about her husband Stephen and how he would face one of Janine’s favourite days. I worried that we wouldn’t be able to have mimosas without the whole party dissolving into something that took several boxes of kleenex to pull together….and because I am largely a coward, I didn’t want to go.

Yesterday I got up, I made a hundred million little tart things, forced my three daughters to put on an outfit that didn’t include jeans ripped in the arse and went. I know that all of you are more mature and worldly than me, so I know that I’m the going to be the only one who is totally suprised by this, but it was fine. Better than fine.

Everybody coped, everyone went on. Stephen danced with Tupper and my mum and all of us,

Standtupp1

and when it got late, really late…and when I’d taken a deep breath and looked around at my whole family still going on, we all realized something incredible. We’d done it. We’d done the party without Janine and everyone had gotten through. We were sad and we missed her very, very much, but nobody sobbed the whole evening. There was Joy in much of it. Joy watching Janine’s niece and nephew take a bubble bath with my nephew, a whole next generation of little kids repeating infamous bathtimes Julie, Janine and I remembered vividly together from our childhood. Joy sharing another Christmas and realizing that as much as this hurts, it hurts less than it did and that things do get better. They really do. Janine would have loved it.

So we got it together. Stephen took the lead and we put Janine’s favourite dancing song on, we turned it up loud, we poured the drinks that Janine loved at Christmas and we held our mimosas up and stuck together, and toasted her. Then we tore it up to the chorus of the Stones song that Neen always sang at the top of her lungs,

Stickstands

You can’t always get what you want,

but if you try sometimes, you just might find,

You get what you need.

Happy New Year all. Stick together with the people you got.

See you in 2006.

130 thoughts on “You can’t always get what you want…

  1. best of the season to you and yours, Steph! You may not always get what you want, but here’s hoping we all get what we need. (I have a list. It’s long.)
    I can feel Janine smiling…

  2. Dammit. Made me cry. Well, I’m Norwegian — but my nose prickled. Serve you right to miss recycling (we missed garbage day — today — and the weather’s warmed up. This could get ugly.)
    Good job. Go cast on something new, just to reward yourself (Half an hour. What could it hurt?)

  3. That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. I love the magic that we sometimes only get to see when the pain is bad enough.

  4. Steph you’ve taken me back 50 years to similar family parties – bathtimes and all. Thirty plus people crammed into a smallish house. Lord knows what the poor neighbours did while we sang and danced till the early hours. Egg nog featured too in the form of the infamous snowball. Happy new year.

  5. I’m so glad the party was still fun, and even better. From what you’ve shared about Janine, it’s just what she would’ve wanted — especially the mimosas!
    Happiest of holidays and an extra-special New Year to ya!

  6. It sounds like you’re having a lovely time, and remembering Janine together in just the way she would have wanted (is that her, pictured on the left, dancing away, on the left in the post you linked to?).
    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  7. arrgh. of course that should read “dancing away, in the post you linked to”, but there are a lot of short people dashing about in my house, and I’m easily distracted these days.

  8. Here’s to a happy and hope-filled new year for you and yours. Stupid old aphorisms are often true–time really does heal all wounds. Not all the way maybe, but they do scab over enough to remember all the good times you had with those who are gone and feel joy in the remembering instead of just feeling the loss.
    May a dark-haired man be the “first foot” over your doorstep on Hogmanay (and tell him to bring at least the whisky, if not the shortbread!).

  9. Shawl question(s) – what stitch(es) are you using? What yarn?
    P.S. I feel bad for zeroing in on this, instead of all the wonderful party-stuff you wrote about. I think I’m a little jealous…
    Happy New Year!

  10. Indeed. To the Stones’ chorus and your sentiments.
    While there were a few bright spots (*ahem* blowing off a wedding to see you in person) most of this year reeked. Good riddance to 2005, I say.

  11. That was maybe one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Sweet and Sad at the same time.Sure did make me tear up.But then again my boys will tell you I cry. It’s what I do. Thanks for a wonderful year of reading, both the books and the blog. I hope you come to my part of Virginia some day.

  12. You are perhaps one of the least cowardly people I know. Online. Ummm…and you should dust more around here. My eyes seem to be running and stalkers don’t cry.
    A very beautiful tribute to your friend. Here’s hoping the next year is full of love, joy, wool and knitting time. Happy New Year, Harlot. Hugs.

  13. Happy New Year, indeed, Harlot Household. (Er. Tongue-twister was unintentional)
    I’ve had many holidays with the ghosts of absent loved ones. And I’ve learned that the pain lessens, but the love never does.

  14. Good on you for going, and I’m sure she would have been proud of you. Now I’ve got to go find some tissues because I’m blubbering like an idiot.
    happy new year!

  15. first, I have to dry off the keyboard.
    You went, and you danced, and I my stubborn and aching heart would insist that the best way to remember Janine is to dance, dammit. Especially to her favorite song, cranked to 11, with a mimosa in each hand. She’s left you a legacy of joy and exhaltation and togetherness. I hope people might say the same for me someday. Be well, my dear. And Good Yule to you all.

  16. Loss is so hard, but love, memories and time brings one through it. Glad to see Janine’s spirit was there surrounding all of you and may she always.
    Thanks for another year of wonderful knitting, life’s stories, experiences, humor etc…You have taught me a lot.
    Wishing you and yours peace and joy in 2006.

  17. god bless neen and everyone she loved
    joy and happiness will always win out over heartach and sadness
    have a very happy new year harlot and company!
    lorie duncan and clan

  18. Excellent. What a wonderful way to remember Janine. A toast to you all; for the party, and for the New Year to come. Cheers, dear friend.

  19. Good for you for going. Good for you for thinking of Janine’s husband – who probably needed to be with people who loved him and Janine more than he needed to be alone. Holidays without loved ones get just a wee bit easier as time goes on.
    Oh, how I wish we were a dancing family…I’d love to be an adopted Pearl-McPhee. And I never wear any trousers or skirts with rips in the arse, so I’d not embarass you.
    Happy New Year to my favo(u)rite Yarn Harlot!

  20. Auld Lang Syne, Stephanie! Thank you for your part in making my 2005 Better (books, book signing, blog).

  21. Bless you for this celebration of life and for reminding us, all year long, that life is supposed to be a celebration.
    May the new year bring you all the love and joy you deserve so much!

  22. Joyful moments, special people, new memories made…. Glad you and yours celebrated toasting Janine and Stephen. Happy New Year.

  23. Well, maybe it didn’t make you cry, but it did me. I’ll add my toast, to pain that slowly lessens with time, and the knowledge that someday we’ll all be together again…

  24. It’s this time of year that always makes me reflect on the goods things I have in my life and appreciate those people who really love me. I’m glad your family had a good time – sometimes all that matters is family. Happy New Year!

  25. *clink* (sniff)
    To Janine…
    *Clink*
    To the generosity of Stephanie and the knitblogging community for sharing pieces of the ups and downs of their lives with us online…
    *clink*
    To the continued success of the Harlot bookbookbookbook series…
    *clink*
    To that common thread, whatever it may be, that allows each of us to lose, but laugh, dread, but get up and dance again through life’s rough patches…
    *clink*
    To the sopping $30 hairball in my laundry room that only yesterday was an 11oz. suri alpaca cria fleece (sob)… barkeep, fill me up…
    *clink*
    Happy New Year!
    *clink*

  26. Happy New Year to everyone! Steph, thank you for allowing us into your “living room” and your life.

  27. Happy New Year! The party sounds like a ton of fun. We aren’t a dancing family, we are a card playing family.

  28. *wiping away a few tears*
    Steph, Your family has created such a clear and wide path to the joy in the everyday that it’s really no surprise that you all found your way there again at Christmas, even though you were painfully and obviously short one body filled with an exuberant soul. You just know that Janine’s soul was there whooping it up right alongside you all.
    Big hugs. HNY.

  29. Every cloud has a silver lining-and trust the Queen of Harlots to remind us all. Stephanie, your blog means so much to so many of us who might otherwise wallow in self pity when life gets rough. Without the tangles in the yarn of life we wouldn’t appreciate the good times.
    Happy New Year and *cheers* to your continued health, success, and life.

  30. Steph — Happy New Year!
    Sure knitting might be with yarn – but it’s also with people.
    Thanks for telling tales of both.
    Namaste.

  31. I can so relate – my mother-in-law passed away in October from cancer. We had sister and dad sleep here to have the joy of a five-year-old’s Christmas. It was a lovely time and I know my mother-in-law was smiling – she loved the season. But inside we were all a little sad, and a little awkward.
    Just remember what my five-year-old told his Auntie the day after Mom passed away, “Just close your eyes and you can see her any time you want.” Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.
    Happy New Year to you, your family and this lovely gathering of fellow knitters – and here’s to a healthy and adventurous 2006. Cheers.

  32. I’m glad I’m not the only one who cried. Happy New Year, Steph. I also now have the Kinks’ “Come Dancing” playing in my head…because everybody’s dancing at your house.

  33. After my brother died (14 years ago), the anticipation of “a day” (whether it be birthday, holidays, etc.) was immeasurably worse than “the day” itself. In fact, when the day would finally arrive, it was almost always a relief to bring up Danny’s name and tell funny stories about him. There might be a tear or 2, but even that was o.k. It has become very important to continue doing certain things during the holidays. It’s our way of honoring and remembering my bro.
    Happy, happy New Year to you and yours.

  34. You’ve brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your 2005 with us on your blog. I look forward to hearing about your 2006.

  35. It is the end of the year indeed, and the beginning of a new one. I hope that this next year will be better than any other for all of you and your families. With love and care.

  36. Steph –
    You came through the holidays without Janine beautifully. Remembering the joy of her, that’s the best way. Nearly 14 years after my father’s death on March 17th, 1992, I still hate St. Patrick’s Day, and it really didn’t have much significance for me before then (not being particularly Irish). You are a far better woman than I. God Bless and much joy in the New Year!

  37. Here’s to the old, may we never forget those we love and all the good times. Here’s to the new, to the untasted joys yet to come. Here’s to the sliver in between, where we always live. May we never forget the old; may we never fear the new; may we always live *now*.
    God bless you and yours and all this season. Glad yule and a beautiful New Year.

  38. Stephanie….Thanks for all the good stories this year…So happy to hear that your family is making it through your loss this year…The pictures were heart wrenching..Happy New Year!
    Martina

  39. Made me cry too… we made it through the first Christmas without my mom, so I know what you are feeling…. life does go on….a bit changed…but it does continue….to see another day…week…year. Thanks Stephanie for making 2005 so enjoyable, am looking forward to 2006 and your fun posts and fun books.
    Happy New Year!!!

  40. Like many others who have commented before me today, I too sit here with tears in my eyes. Loss is never easy but you have shown it doesn’t have to take away the life we all have to live.
    Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself and your life with me and the every other person who comes online everyday with the anticipation of what you have to share with us!
    You are a bright and sparkling part of my life and I’m so happy that I’ve been blessed with the chance to be a part in some way.
    I wish you, Joe, and the kids a Happy New Year full of life and love!
    Carrie

  41. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the warm and loving stories that show the person (and family) behind all the knitting. Happy New Year.

  42. Well, I thought to myself, “Jeez, you are such a dork, crying at a stranger’s blog entry!” But evidently I wasn’t the only one. You always manage to put into words universal truths, even from very personal moments. Especially from very personal moments.
    Sometimes you do get what you need. From unexpected places.

  43. Thank you for sharing this with us. It takes a lot of bravery to write so openly about the sad stuff, instead of just focussing on the (often extremely) funny. You’re one hell of a lady.

  44. Happy & a Peaceful New Year to you and yours. I started the day hearing Odetta singing “Amazing Grace” on NPR (Now I have to go and buy more of her CD’s) and am winding down today with your beautiful posting. Tomorrow it’s Odetta, a trip to my lys and dancing in the kitchen. Life, is indeed, good!

  45. Steph,
    You make me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. You are an incredible writer. Probably an incredible person too ๐Ÿ˜› but as someone who writes, I recognise the real thing when I read it and you got it, babe, in spades. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Our family is a dancing/singing family too. New Year’s Eve used to find us at my best friend’s kitchen table, usually 3 or 4 generations around it, singing everything from WWI songs to current hits. Meanwhile in the basement, the dancing went on. People wandered from one set to the other like a natural flow. Thanks for the reminder.
    Sharon

  46. Thanks for sharing your lovely party with us, as well as your fears and dread… am glad you are a dancing family, because it sure helps get through the rough times. Blessings to you and yours in the coming year.

  47. dang, girl, I was going to share our recycling nightmares here on Long Island (no food containers, paper must be sorted and bound, no paperbags allowed, etc.), but that is all so unimportant compared to missing your best bud at the big party. You are a brave soul for going, and blogging too, and I’m glad you all danced to her song. It is only right. Have a wonderful new year’s… not my favorite holiday, but I hear we are invited to a party where wigs play a significant role, so that could be fun.
    And, for anyone out there who wants to send some good vibes my sister Mary’s way, she had to evacuate her house tonight due to flooding in her part of Oregon. She is a knitter. I’m not sure if she had room for her yarn.

  48. Beautiful.
    Your tribute to your friend is inspiring. You celebrate your friend’s life and your love by remembering her joy…

  49. It sounds as if it was all so lovely. It also sounds as if Janine was there after all………
    A Happy, Wonderful, Love-filled, Crazy and Fibery Year to you and all of yours!

  50. I’m sure she was thrilled to see you all having a good time celebrating her memory!
    Merry Christmas to you, Happy New Year, and Happy Knitting in 2006! ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Sounds like heaps of fun! Anyhow, have a happy new year!
    Strange that you actually mentioned ‘Boxing Day’…I thought that it’s more of a British thing…and I thought you were American…or am I wrong on both accounts?

  52. I start my day with your blog – I wonder if you have any idea how many of us look forward to that little moment of brightness you bring to us –
    Happy all things to you and your family.

  53. From what I have learned of Neen (all of it from this blog here), I can only say, Yes.
    A blessed and happier New Year to your family, Stephanie. May you keep shining the light of your humor and your love for knitting, family, and all things Canadian for all of us to share.

  54. Happy New Year to you and your family. I almost didn’t make through your post without crying so I give you lots of creedo for making it through the party. Neen sounds like she was a wonderful woman.
    What yarn is that shawl made out of?

  55. Steph, there’s no way I can say it better than anybody else has. I wish you well in 2006 and beyond. Bravo to you, Stephen, the whole family.
    Happy New Year to all!!!

  56. Well darn it you made me cry… Happy New Year here’s hoping next year will be a damn sight better than this one. I’m hoping for hospital free…

  57. Apropos of, well, nothing; am I the only one who’s been feeling the urge to break into an Abba song all day today? (if you don’t know which song I’m referring to, I can safely assume it’s just me)

  58. A few years ago, my mom’s best friend Janey died of ovarian cancer and that was the year that my mom stopped having her annual tree decorating party because it was Janey’s favorite party of the year. I’ve always wished that we’d kept having them because I think that Janey would have preferred it. We all deal with grief in our own ways, though, and I guess this was how my mum had to do it. I keep thinking that one of these years, I’m gonna announce that the party is back on but at my house. I should do that.
    Sometimes dancing through something you know is gonna be hard and then realizing you made it through is kind of freeing. I’m glad you got through and I hope you guys all have a blessed and happy New Year. Thank you for all the laughs, the thoughts, a tear or two and for sharing the stuff you’ve shared this year.
    You know it’s all your fault that I’m a Knitter, right?

  59. Touching and beautiful. You made me cry, too, but they were happy tears. Happy New Year’s to you and yours, Stephanie.

  60. The only reason the recycling got done around here was that DH remembered and took it to the dump (no pickup here).
    Our small family got smaller this year, too. It does seem like something’s amiss without little Grammy.
    On a wistful note, our smallish family (only 4 locally) would love to be adopted by yours…sounds like much fun is had on the other side of the lake!
    Happy New Year to Team Harlot and all the others out there!

  61. When your family has open enrollment for adoption, let me know! I would love to be part of a dancing, partying family!! We are jig-saw puzzle family on Christmas–not much for excitement. Our big deal is to decorate cookies, put together jigsaw puzzles and go to bed early. boy, are we missing out!
    Your efforts to celebrate your friend and carry on in joy are insipring.

  62. Darn it. You are the only person who can get me crying. What you give to me, I hope tenfold for you. That is much joy. Happy Holidays. Dawn

  63. I don’t know how you didn’t cry, because I’m crying just reading this. But on another note, my roommate took our recycling to the recycling center this week… for the first time since, oh, May, I think. So really, two weeks is nothing.

  64. My mom and I once sang a version of part of that song as our answering machine message. Both her and Jeanine are smiling at us right now, I just know it.
    Happy New Year, Stephanie, today and always.

  65. Stephanie, like you I dreaded the first Christmas without someone who’s sorely missed. I *was* the one who sobbed at our Boxing Day party. Turns out it didn’t matter. I did, however, remember recycling day. Now I can put my car back in the garage.
    All the best to the Harlot Household for the coming year.

  66. Stephanie-
    I almost hate to add my comment after this particular entry, but since I’m here…
    I received your book At Knit’s End for Christmas, and it’s my new favorite. My soon-to-be husband and I have laughed ourselves to tears reading the meditations that especially strike a chord. There’s a half-knit sock on the back of my toilet and 2 balls of yarn and probably 9 or 10 random dpns in the kitchen utensil drawer. I just wanted to let you know your book is fabulous, entertaining, insightful and a belly laugh. Cheers to you!
    -Jill

  67. with teenagers in the house, why are you and Joe still doing the recycling? and i’ll assume you’re just dragging it to curb……..I have to load and drive mine to the local dump and hand sort it myself
    the shawl is beautiful and i’d accept an IOU for such a wonderful gift……don’t worry ’bout that one…Happy New Year from the south

  68. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and there’s so much I want to say that has already been said. All I want to add is, being a Parkdale gal myself, I adore the tshirt in the pic in your post! Happy New Year!

  69. Do your neighbours ever try to steal your knitting when you’re posing it for a photo on the fence? I’d sure be tempted! ;p

  70. And may you be amply blessed by the spirit/God of your choice.
    I’m glad to now there’s been some noticible knitting together of the broken places. Funny how you don’t always notice that it is happening. Best to you.

  71. Glad it all went well. I cried for you when reading this, but then, I cry easily at happy, sad, whatever. Happy New Year to everyone on the blog site.

  72. The “days” are bittersweet at first, please know that in time the “bitter” lessens as the memories grow “sweeter”. So glad you all were able to be together, and that you made it through it. After 10 years, a surprise memory of my brother can still take my breath away, but every memory is cherished.
    Thank you, dear one, for all you’ve shared. Wishing you, your family, and everyone here a very wonderful 2006!

  73. Beautiful post.. Beautiful tribute to a cherished friend, you all did good by celebrating and toasting her. We should all be so lucky.

  74. May there be a wonderful new year ahead for you and your family, Stephanie! Sincerely, Marianne and Pudge from Knit-Wits Inc

  75. Dang. Maybe you didn’t cry, but I sure did.
    Thanks for the wonderful story. Talking about someone when they are gone means they really did matter, they really made a difference in your heart. Which is the only place that matters.
    What an honor you have given her this year… dancing for her.

  76. While this has been a less-than-wonderful holiday season for me, there have been a few bright spots. You’re one of them. I’ve thought of you often since you lost Janine, and this is such a beautiful remembrance of her. You set me to sniffling again…thank you.
    The kids I have yet to have will never get to ride on my Paw-Paw’s (very high) shoulders and duck at the doorways, never taste my Granny’s deviled eggs. But they’ll have a legacy of bald heads and big feet and hours in the kitchen and all-night card games. This is how we honor them, how we keep them close: we make sure the memories are more than just things we remember.
    May the Divine of your choosing (or un-choosing) bless you all richly in 2006. Maybe this year I’ll get around to the Snowdrop. ๐Ÿ™‚

  77. A toast to Janine! You obviously touched Steph and all of the Harlot clan.
    I’m sure she was there toasting and dancing with you Steph. She seems like the sort that wouldn’t miss it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy New Year!

  78. I’m so glad. It sounds like you guys celebrated Janine’s life in the best way you could. I think she would have approved.
    Warm, healing thoughts to all of you.

  79. Good for you and yours!! See – you can do it – and your family is all the richer for having you how to show them they can survive. Life is all the good times and the hard times rolled into one. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2006!

  80. Good for you and yours!! See – you can do it – and your family is all the richer for having you to show them they can survive. Life is all the good times and the hard times rolled into one. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2006!

  81. Happy New Year, all… altho I celebrated New Years back in November, it doesn’t hurt to do another one!!

  82. Hi Stephanie,
    It’s Tuesday again already here in Australia. Don’t forget to put the bins out today.
    Tina
    PS Great stories and happy new year.

  83. Aw, Dog. I hate being such an easy mark. Teary. I shall shed them in tribute, but gladly.
    I thought of you and your dancing family on NY’s eve. See, we’re normally NOT a dancing family. But faced with me man Allan Doyle and a’ the rest, a carousing crowd of thousands, TWO sets of fireworks, and the beauty of Niagara Falls (once you turn your back to the ugliness of the City of Niagara Falls, that is), we became a dancing family. Brilliant. I highly recommend ringing in a new year in oh so Canadian a style. Big kitchen ceilidh, socks rated to 40 below, every kind of knitted hat imaginable within reaching distance, and hot chocolate all round. (The toddies were had later back at the hotel ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Cheers for a great ought-six!

  84. We have curbside recycling in my neck of the woods. Our recycling is picked up weekly and we have a big 98 gallon toter to hold it in. I am proud to say I fill that puppy up to overflowing every week! Can’t imagine how much garbage we would generate every week without recycling. Papers home from the elementary school must account for 50% of our recycling every week.

  85. What a lovely post for Janine. So sorry for your family’s loss, but with you to remember her, she will always be around. Hope 2006 is as good to you as 2005!
    P.S. I enjoyed bookbookbook two SO MUCH, I read it in one sitting, in like an hour. I NEVER do that. Wonderful stories and writing. We are lucky to have ya, Harlot.

  86. I can totally get that. We had our first Christmas without “Nana” (my SIL’s mom) her birthday was the 31st as well. It washard, but not nearly as hard as I imagined it to be.

  87. Good for you all. I wish you fond memories of Janine forever. My family and I lost my dad right before Christmas this year and I will remember this story of your family’s grace.

  88. This is for all the knitters in Ontario – the LCBO is selling wonderful knitting bags! Sure, they are trying to pass them off as cloth shopping bags for carrying four bottles, but they are really great for knitting – nice compact size with four compartments to keep all your projects separate. I highly recommend them – they are a bargain at $3.95.

  89. my name is Janine too and my close family members always called me Neen – particularly my father, who is gone and missed and whose birthday was on Christmas. thanks for the nice post.

  90. I must have tried six times to respond to this post when it first came out, and I blew it each time. Now, reviewing it again, I feel compelled to make one more try.
    1. Our recycling is taking over the planet. Your recycling won’t be on your porch long becuase ourse, out here in California will frighten yours into running straight to the facility without any help from you.
    2. your family sounds lovely–and your essay was brilliant and moving and tremendous. Thanks so much for letting us in on the little window of the Harlot’s world–even the private parts like grieving and celebrating a beloved life. Knowing you and your family–even in this odd, techologically enhanced pseudo intimate way–makes not only my days but my perspective on humanity brighter. Thank you, and have an outstanding year.
    (I won’t say ‘keep up the good work’ because when people say that to me about my writing I have a total brain seizure–‘oh crap, what if I screw it up and let everybody down’ and suddenly I can’t write at all. A simple thank you always makes me feel really good, so I’m passing one on to you.)
    Shanny Mac

  91. I’m so glad you celebrated while missing Janine. My husband was in a terrible car crash on teh 29th, and I’m so glad he’s going to be ok. We are all too fragile, and we have to remember to care for each other.

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