I know it seems like I’m all about grieving over here, and I guess I kind of am. But there are a number of things I’m thankful for this year which I feel need individual acknowledgment.

This year I’m most thankful for…

1. Every moment I had with my mother. No matter how difficult or emotionally heartbreaking, I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for anything.

2. My aunt Karen who pretty much moved right into my house for nearly a week. Without her there is no way I would have been able to honor my mother’s wish to die at home. Without her teaching me how to care for someone in a bed, I would have had to hire strangers to take care of mom at the end, and I’m so grateful, so INCREDIBLY grateful that Karen’s help allowed me to keep mom at home and be cared for by family and not in a cold hospital bed surrounded by strangers. Karen was a rock and I will be forever grateful for all she did, without me even having to ask. She just called one night and said “why don’t I spend the night,” and then stayed. And for making sure I’m “doing things” and not just wallowing here at the house.

3. My uncle Jimmy and cousin Allison. Without their support of Karen, without their help with things like grocery shopping for popsicles and bringing whatever Karen needed from home, without them stepping up, again without being asked, things would have ended differently. Especially Allison who makes sure to drag me out to lunch on a regular basis. Even if she doesn’t listen for a YEAR when I tell her she’ll love the Kowalskis.

4. My cousin Chris for flying in for mom’s funeral. I wasn’t sure he’d get the time off, but he did, and it meant a lot to me that he was there. Congrats on your promotion!

5. My mom’s best friend of 40 some odd years. When Karen couldn’t stay any longer because she had to work, I called Susie and all I said was “I need help. Can you come?” She was camping in Mammoth that night, and without hesitation said “I’ll leave in the morning.” She drove from Mammoth down to Irvine to pack and then back to my house. She was with me when mom passed away, and I will forever be grateful she was. She was able to help me in ways I’m not even sure my family could have, because they were dealing with their own massive grief. I will always be grateful for Susie’s presence and support that night.

6. Janie and Robbie, my Godparents, for giving me a place to go when I want to run away from home. For treating me like another daughter and just doing normal things while I’m there and not making me feel like I’m a guest. Also, thanks for letting me cuddle the grandbaby Kalea. She’s adorable and will be the wooliest baby in town. LOL I know how hard it is for grandparents to hand over the grandkid, so thanks.

7. Heather for the Day of Kittens.

8. Barbra for the Day of Puppies. (Yes, the same day.)

9. My knitters Barbra, Heather, Amy, Maridee, Kara, Alyson, Robyn Robin (Sorry!), Elizabeth and Thom for being willing to listen no matter what. For not telling me to be quiet because they’re tired of hearing about my craziness. For taking time off from work to come to my mom’s funeral and when I said it wasn’t necessary, all looking at me like I was crazy and replying “Well, of COURSE we’re coming.” Thanks, too, for not vocalizing the implied “you idiot!” For being there through good, bad, and moths.

10. Alyson and Bob. OMG, dudes. You have done SO MUCH for me through the years I can’t even begin to repay you both.

11. Marilyn. For everything. For making me quilts, for taking me on vacation, for making sure I get out of the house once in a while, for volunteering to help me with anything I need help with and for not judging when “my” house isn’t as clean as “mom’s” house. Yes, I cleaned the kitty litter today. *grin*

12. Cynthia for…well…being Cynthia. For giving me space when I ask for it and realizing I’m not snubbing her. I just need space. For the tissues at the graveside and for the herding of people when I needed a few minutes. For listening when I call her crying because of an e-mail and being ready to rip people’s faces off because they made me cry.

13. Nat. My “sister”. She knows why.

14. The Magnolias. When I said I couldn’t review books for a while EVERY ONE OF THEM stepped up and asked what they could do to help. They listened when I wanted to talk, and didn’t even hate me when I made them cry. LOL. Love you, girls!

15. For all the friends I’ve made this year, both online or IRL. You have all made this year so much more bearable. You’ve made me feel like I’m not alone and have entertained me while my life seemed to be out of control. You’ve all kept me busy with new books and have made me laugh on days that truly sucked.

Lynda the Guppy
aka A Grateful Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks


Today (and every day) I’m thankful for:

…My mom and dad for everything.

…Both my aunts and both my uncles for doing everything they do for my mom.

…My cousin A for all the “so there’s this book…” phone calls and black friday shopping and Ireland and going to the beach late one night in the middle of winter to get sand to send it to a soldier friend who was stationed in the middle east.

…My cousin C for for…well…being C and never learning to walk, but rather learned to strut, also the mohawk, and for choosing to serve his country. We miss you.

…My family back in Chicago, and even though I haven’t been back in years, and even though I’ve been bad about keeping in touch, I’m especially thankful for my Cousin S for reaching out recently and chatting with me like we last spoke yesterday. I DO miss you all. Wish I could be there for Christmas. Hey, does anyone have D’s recipe for those fruit pierogi? 

…My friends A and Cyn and T for being there all these years no matter what. You know that saying “friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies”? Well, that’s these three. I know I could call them any time day or night and they’d be on my doorstep with shovels, no questions asked. 

…My “old” knitting friends for being there every week and checking in with me to see how I’m doing and for making sure I’m hanging on, and for doing everything they can to help keep me going. 

…My “new” knitting friends for allowing me to crash their party and make me feel like they’ve been waiting for me to join in. 

…My friends, both “real” and “cyber”, for all they’ve brought to my life through the years.

…My yarn stash for being there and saving my sanity.

…The Container Store for making it that much easier for me to shop my stash.

…My local yarn store for allowing me to come in and just sit and knit without buying anything. Well, without buying MUCH. 

…and for everything else I didn’t list. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent it with those you love. I know I did.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Thankful Guppy 

A First Kiss

A Peanut Butter Heart

Valentine’s day has always been hit or miss with me. I usually take the opportunity to tell those closest to me how much they mean to me. One of my dear friends is a guy I used to date and he always gave me roses. In fact, my first flowers from A Guy were from him. My mom and I had gone to the theater on Valentine’s day and he dropped off a dozen red roses for me with my dad. Brave guy. LOL. But then that impressed my dad and he’s liked James ever since. LOL

The Day BEFORE Valentine’s day has been significant twice in my life. Strangely enough, they were both Fridays.

The most recent was last year. There was an Event of Life Changing Consequences that happened last February 13. I won’t go into details here, but it has been a long road. And thankfully a longer one than we had thought at the outset of this “adventure.”

An Elevator Heart

But the Friday, February 13 that stands out to me most was when I received my first Valentine’s day Kiss. I was about 10 years old and my dad was working late on The Incredible Hulk. My mom was working nights as a nurse, and so she dropped me off at the set to stay with dad until he was done. They were using a closed psychiatric hospital somewhere, and we walked over to where they were filming. I remember the stunt  guys were doing wheelchair races down the hall. LOLOL.

While we were there, Bill Bixby walked over and introduced himself. I was so incredibly, painfully shy, and I’m not sure I said anything. I do remember I practically hid behind my dad. LOL. So there we were. My dad trying to coax me into saying 2 words, and Bill trying to charm me into the same. I was having none of it.

Bill turns to walk away, snaps his fingers and says “Oh, I almost forgot.” He leans down, kisses me on the cheek and says “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I fell in love at that moment and I remember crying a few tears many years later when I heard he died. It was my first Valentine’s Day Kiss, and a moment I’ll remember forever.

A Noro Heart

So while people may say Friday the 13 is bad luck, I don’t believe it. Other months’ Friday the 13s have all been inconsequential. But my February Friday the 13s have been amazing. Sure, 2010’s was Bad News, but it could have been so much worse. In fact, it originally WAS so much worse. And things are better now than they were then, and much better than they could be.

And February 13, 1981 I got my “first kiss” so to speak, and fell in love for the first time. Not too bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Romantic Fool
aka The Fish With Sticks

A Christmas MeMe

I’ve seen variations on this MeMe, so I stole it from The Crazed Weasel who stole it from Carole Knits who stole it from Felt Like Knitting who stole it from…. well, you get the point. LOLOL.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. But sometimes Wrapping paper IN gift bags. LOLOL

2. Real tree or Artificial? I love, love, LOVE real trees, but it gets so cold and dry in my condo that literally 3 days after I put up a real tree, it’s so dry that I don’t dare turn on the lights. So…artificial. Damn it.

3. When do you put up the tree? Beginning of December.

4. When do you take the tree down. Sometime after New Year’s Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yup! Love the stuff! Especially if it comes in a can. *grin* Hey, it’s nothing but high class here at Chez Guppy.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmm…Tough one. Probably either one of my bikes, since I got SOOOOO much use out of them. Or my roller skates. 

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad or my uncle Jim. They both have so few actual hobbies it makes gift giving a bit difficult. (And if either of you are reading this, WHAT THE HECK DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS????)

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mother. In fact, in purchasing gifts I had to cut myself off because I found too much. LOLOL

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I think so. I know there was this plastic set my parents had when I was a kid, but I’m not sure if my mother gave it to me or not. Since The Great Flood at Chez Guppy, and with various other issues at this time of year, I haven’t decorated in about 3 years, so I can’t remember who has the set. 

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Always. In fact, I’m going today to take the picture for this year’s card. It’s a doozy. LOL 

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received I’d say 99% of the gifts given to me by my grandmother. LOLOL Until I turned 21 she would always give me a gold charm for my birthday and a music box for Christmas and I LOVED them. I still have all of them, in fact, packed safely way. When the reconstruction is completed, I’m FINALLY going to get this display cabinet of hers out of my aunt’s dining room. And I’m going to put some of my favorite music boxes in there. Sorry. I rambled. Anyway, after I turned 22, she started giving all of us this weird stuff. You know, like the free radios with purchase. Well, we’d get the radios. LOL And the cake slicers, and the glass ashtrays (when none of us smokes/ed), etc. Usually we all would get together after she left and open the gifts and then donate it to the Salvation Army. One year we got all cheap kitchen stuff, and one of my cousin’s friends was moving into his first apartment, so he got most of it. LOLOL 

12. Favorite Christmas Movie Do I even need to answer this? The Grinch. ABSOLUTELY the Grinch. I am obsessed with all Grinchy Things. LOLOL. 

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas I start thinking about it after Halloween, but don’t really do any of it until after Thanksgiving. 

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present Yes, but the recepient knew it. LOL

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Gingerbread in any form.

16. Lights on the tree Yes. And colored, please. 

17. Favorite Christmas song O Holy Night in nearly any form, but the Studio 60 version is my current favorite. Silent Night is a close second. And at the moment, I’m really loving the Barenaked Ladies’ Elf’s Lament. LOLOL Those boys are twisted.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home Stay home. 

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. And Rudolph, of course. When I went out shopping on Thanksgiving night (yes, the outlets were open that night) I found a sweater that had all the reindeer…except Blitzen! What’s up with THAT?!?!

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning With my mom or dad on Christmas eve, and the rest of the family Christmas day.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year People seem to be more stupid than usual.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color Theme? What do you mean THEME? LOL I guess I do have a theme, of sorts. I collect ornaments from when I travel, and my mom especially buys them when she travels, so I guess that’s a theme. LOL But they’re all different. I have surfing santas and sledding bears and Palace guards and race cars and…and…and…

23. What do you want for Christmas this year I got it already. LOL I bought myself a kickass new camera. I have some accessories on my list, too, but those I’ll get after Christmas. 

24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel. 

25. Favorite Christmas dinner? Pierogis. Made by me from scratch. 

If you’re reading this…consider yourself tagged!

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks