Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 19: On love and loss

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First, you’re all in trouble. Do you really think I’d let you get away with such wanton, blatant, and terrible misbehavior as you displayed yesterday? For shame. In the corner, and now! Stop grinning! This isn’t a reward! You’re supposed to…

Oh, never mind. Miscreants, all of you. Even Tracey, who pretended to behave. Except Ruth. Ruth was a good girl. Renee! I’m shocked at you. What’s a sweet girl like you writing such NSFA material? I thought we were friends. Leigh, you would have gotten the Ana seal of approval if Kate hadn’t corrupted your story. I admit that Chickie made me laugh with your shout for Mommy. Isn’t that how it is? JC, I want to give you a sticker, but I’m afraid those sweet appearances are hiding nefarious double entendre. I have my eye on you…Anne gets points for effort in actually staying PG-13..(coughs loudly in the direction of everyone else).  Minelle, you mean cards like “Do the laundry” and “Don’t bake the scissors in with the ham?” Pieclown, your snow woman made me laugh, and of course Ameliah’s wooden spoon is always a delight. Katy Beth, I completely understand feeling zooey. Shannon, I like the idea of a scavenger hunt! With some incentive from a wooden spoon, perhaps. Kate, you earn an extra demerit for encouraging Kyra in her NSFA endeavors. LAURA! Amy, you were being so good until you had to introduce nudity. (Apologies for not mentioning everyone, but this would take ages.)

I’m shocked at you. All of you. Completely and thoroughly shocked. Shocked most of all at Evil Mistress Kate who relishes in leading the faithful astray.

I also have some announcements, not that your bad behavior merits it!

From Ami Starsong, of St. Knickerless Day:

P drew the winner of the St Knickerless Day prize today out of my cake mixing bowl.

I got him to draw 3 in case the first or second didn’t want to reveal their real addresses for me to send them the knickers.
In first place is “Laura”
The two backer-uppers are Lara Estes and Chickie.
I can’t remember when you wished to announce winners. Was it before, or after Christmas when you had all the winners in?  I will need to contact the winner not only to find out if she wants to accept the prize but also to ask her size. When may I do this, please?
Laura, please comment whether you will accept your prize, and I’ll have Ami email you with details.
.
From The Long Bean, of the holiday music quiz on the first night of Hanukkah:
Here are answers and scores from the three entries:-
God rest Ye Merry Gentlemen     Anni Lennox
Mistletoe & Me                              Isaac Hayes
Must be Santa                                Bob Dylan
Christmas All Over Agauin           Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Hard Candy Christmas                   Dolly Parton
Merry Christmas Baby                   Sheryl Crow & Eric Clapton
Carol of the Bells                            Marillion
Christmas                                         Ann Margret (from the Movie Tommy)
We Three Kings of Orient are       Beach Boys
I Believe in Father Christmas        U2
Santa Claus is back in Town          Robert Plant
A Winter’s Tale                                The Moody Blues
I saw Three Ships                             Sting
Christmas is Just Around the Corner              Barry Manilow
O Come All Ye Faithful                    Anne Murray
Early Christmas Morning               Cyndi Lauper
Jingle Bell Rock                                Hall and Oates
The Holly and the Ivy                     Jon Anderson
December Will Be Magic Again    Kate Bush1 point was given for the title and one point for the artist. The scores are:-

Laura              34
Mary Mccoy                   36
Michelle B    34
Congratulations, Mary! You win one of the Advent Calendar holiday cards. Please email me with your mailing address so I can send it. All three entrants will receive one extra point toward the Perfect Attender award.
Thank you, Long Bean, for such a wonderful quiz! We all enjoyed listening to it, even if we weren’t brave enough to submit answers. That was a toughie. I knew God Rest Ye and We Three Kings, but I had to look the second one up. I’m not kidding. I sang all the lyrics and still couldn’t remember. As to artists, forget it. I’m hopeless at that. 🙂 Thank you for providing us with some extra holiday enjoyment.
And, speaking of holiday music, here’s a fabulous one in honor of Hanukkah:
Perfect Attenders
 Happy news! The following faithful are still in the running for a Perfect Attender award:
  1. Abby
  2. Ameliah
  3. Amy
  4. Cat
  5. Chickie
  6. Holla
  7. JC
  8. Joelle
  9. Leigh
  10. Mary
  11. Pieclown
  12. Renee M.
  13. Ruth
  14. Sarah Byrnes
  15. SassyTwatter
  16. SH
  17. Shannon
  18. Tina S.

There are also a few faithful souls who have commented every day but were late one time:

  1. Lara
  2. Minelle
  3. P.T.

If you’re not on either list, take heart. You’re still earning a prize entry for each day you comment, even if it’s after the midnight EST deadline. I believe that a late comment earns you half credit, but I’ll have to consult helper elves Anna and Kathryn plus my notes from last year.

 

On love and loss

And now, finally, the post! I’ve been so preoccupied this year that I haven’t been able to do the surprise checks and announcements of past Advent Calendars. It’s too bad, but I’m glad you’re all still able to participate. It’s been a rough year for many.

It’s also been a more somber Advent Calendar than usual. Normally I try to keep things upbeat, but I’ve been earnest and that’s translated into the event. I was overwhelmed by your outpouring of love and support for Day 17 ago on choosing to believe. I received lovely private messages and emails that I treasure more than you will know. Thank you for your love, kindness, and tenderness with my tender heart. I tried to respond to your comments but couldn’t. Chickie, I did want to say that my heart goes out to you. It’s a tough situation when we want to help others but resent being undervalued. Money, time, talents…friendship, heart, and soul.

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet reminders that what I say does touch people and does make an impact. Since last week I’ve felt paralyzed by so many things hitting at once, and receiving all of your love put things into motion so I was able to visit some of my favorite quilting grannies last night for a potluck and some American mahjongg (similar to the Chinese kind but with different rules). It was a lovely evening of twinkling Christmas tree lights and pleasant company.

Several of you mentioned losing loved ones recently, and I wanted to speak to that. Yes, Saranna posted about her mother for Blue Christmas on Day 5, but I wanted to add my own thoughts.

Long-time readers of Governing Ana will remember stories of meeting new quilting granny friends this past year, particularly the hilarity of jello shots. (Read at your own risk.)

More recent readers may remember “Sara,” my favorite quilting granny who treated me like a cherished granddaughter. I had to say good-bye to her a few months ago, in a process that has still rippled outward. Life goes on and we meet new friends, but there will never be another Sara.

Recently, another quilting granny friend has taken a turn for the worse. She has a chronic, terminal illness that put her in a wheelchair years ago but left her a good deal of independence…until now. This quilting granny, whom I’ll call “Jackie,” texted with me during Sara’s last days to reassure me that I could go visit her in hospice and it wouldn’t be an intrusion on family time. That I wasn’t ridiculous to care that much about a woman I’d met less than a year earlier, and that I had the right to say good-bye.

Jackie is young as quilting grannies go, not even old enough to qualify for retirement if it hadn’t been for her illness. (To give you an idea, her granddaughter is four.) We’ve met for lunch, “coffee” (iced tea for me), and I’ve taken care of her adorable granddaughter. She was the first (and still only) person at my church in whom I confided my secret naughty life as a spanking fiction author. Not only did she think it unremarkable, but she proceeded to tell me about church ladies who have promotional parties to learn how to use sex toys.

And then she shocked me by saying, “After all, [in response to my comment about grannies who quilt] who knows what’s under that quilt?”

Yes. NSFA. From a church quilting granny. I may never recover.

Jackie has been told before that she had X months or years to live. She’s outlived them all, but all of a sudden her illness has progressed at an unthinkable rate. Despite family living with her, she is looking into assisted living options.

A month or two ago, she zipped around town in her wheelchair-accessible van and could even stand up if absolutely necessary. She scared me to death whenever she did it (what if she fell? I don’t have any medical training for an emergency), but I bit my tongue.

I’m glad I did because that independence is long gone. Will it come back? I don’t think she or anyone knows. I have been a bad friend, holding my distance. I loved Sara despite knowing at age 96 she didn’t have an infinite amount of time left. I loved Sara despite unexpectedly having to say good-bye to her overnight (she was independent one day and unconscious from a stroke the next). I loved Sara through saying good-bye because dear friends held my hand with every step.

With Jackie, I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t say good-bye to one more person right now, and not someone I thought would eventually die but not any time soon. She bragged about me as if I were her daughter, and she is the only person I’ll allow to use that kind of surrogate name. (I hate pretending at family relationships. It’s dishonest and sets people up for hurt.) But when she said she thought of me as a daughter, I felt love of a pure and selfless nature.

I don’t know if she is considered terminal (I mean imminently), but it’s been a shock to see her go from independent to dependent. I used to hesitate even to offer to open a door for her. She never got upset if I did, but she (understandably) liked to do things for herself. When she put groceries away, I’d bite my tongue so I wouldn’t offer to do it for her. I like doing things for people, but sometimes good intentions result in negative consequences (as I said in Choosing to believe).

The saddest thing, however, is not to say good-bye to someone dearly loved. The much sadder thing is to never have anyone who needs a tearful good-bye. To live anesthetized to both pain and human relationships is the worst death of all. To give up on human interactions because it hurts to much is to render life worthless before it’s finished.

We may need to say good-bye to people who hurt us. Maybe there is someone toxic in our life who betrays us, tears down our self-image, and feeds us insidious self-doubts. Maybe there are people who offer what seems to be love and/or friendship, but there is an ulterior motive. Maybe we began life with people who were supposed to care for us and protect us, but for whatever reason (human frailty, flaws, or pure awfulness) inflict pain each and every time.

Maybe there are people who tell us, in actions if not words, that our lives are not worthwhile or that we don’t matter. Talia in Taliasman was raised that way, just as Kat in The Way Home and Lighting the Way grew up as an afterthought. Learning to trust, to reach out, and to care is not easy when one’s life has been built on hurt.

I’ve been avoiding people and situations for a while now because it’s been a h*ll of a fall in a h*ll of a year. I opened my heart and home to a woman I thought was a victim of abuse, only to be used, robbed, and fed what seem to be lies or at least unverifiable questions. I said good-bye to a woman who brought back reassurance that the world was good and trust meant love, not hurt. I watched my community reel from several quick deaths in succession, followed by a brain tumor in a woman who had just celebrated taking her life back from cancer. And there have been personal things as well, too personal to share on a public blog.

I said a few days ago:

When life gives you lemons, add a few drops to freshen your rinse cycle.

I insist on keeping things real, and I despise smug, facile pseudo-answers of people who have never known real pain. But I also believe in humor.

What you have given me, dear readers, is the comfort of a place to be heard. A soft place to fall, and an avenue with which to share thoughts. That’s why I began Governing Ana in the first place so many eons ago. Can it possibly only be just under four years? No, it must be at least a dozen.

I’ve had the privilege of your stories, your laughter, your raucous unspeakable disobedience, and your tender, gentle-hearted tears. You have come to this blog each day this month (not to mention the past years), opening yourselves to whatever I have to say. You’ve respected when I’ve needed space, you’ve engulfed me in loving hugs when I needed closeness, and you’ve opened your hearts and minds.

This holiday season is marked, for many of us, by loss. Loss that seems overwhelming…but amidst this loss (and the terrifying prospect of more loss) we find love.

One more time, my favorite hymn in the entire world:

Ubi caritas et amor deus ibi est.

Where there is love and charity, there is God.

To loss. To love.

L’chaim!

 

 

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59 thoughts on “Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 19: On love and loss

  1. sassytwatter says:

    You captured the true meaning of the word.

    I felt your loss and pain come through your words….I started reading this post with smiles laughing I loved the naughtiness of reading everyone’s responcew yesterday but then bam you hit me in the heart. Always thank you for your words they make me pause and think.

    Like

  2. Jay says:

    Isn’t it so much easier to just lose yourself in books… things always seem to work out for them even through loss…
    we are here for you in whatever you need and you have built a community where people feel safe and secure to share
    thank you for that especially this time of year

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      But the problem with books is that happiness is so hard, and just as it occurs the book is over. I’ve always hated that. 🙂

      And blessings to you. A community is only a raving woman with a blog unless there are readers like you.

      Like

  3. SH says:

    Thank you, Ana, for such a wonderful post. You bare your heart, as much as you can on a public blog, to all who read here and make everyone feel welcome and safe enough to be themselves. Truly special 🙂

    Like

  4. abby says:

    I find it so amazing that starting a blog has brought me so much in return. You have created a safe place, a place where all emotions are welcome….life is never predictable….but it is always to be cherished.
    hugs abby

    Like

  5. laurellasky says:

    My dear Ana,
    First of all I love these post where we can express our feelings without judgement and hopefully say something to the person who is in pain, physically or emotionally destructive. This is a wonderful place to share feeling.
    On the lighter side, I believe I commented every day. Second, my Aldolph song was a fun sone even if a bit naughty, second I did a post on Chanukah, plus added to Ruth’s and Nancy’s post. It’s kind of funny that of all the people who respond to this blog, there are only 3 Jews. Of course Jesus was a Jew.
    Love and blessings to you Ana. I know that all that respond to your blog love you and wish you the best.
    I should stand in the corner for all my naughty comments but I’m getting a Christmas amnesty. 😍😘😁😁

    Like

  6. Joelle Casteel says:

    I’m going to start by being a brat and pointing out that I was total NSFA yesterday 😀 I even mentioned Jelly Belly candy canes 😀
    but ((Ana)) I have a real hard time trusting, so both Kat and Talia really resonated with me. I think part of that trust is why I continue to deal with my mother, no matter how I have to fight to keep healthy boundaries with her, especially in the midst of my Master just not having it in Him currently to give me the emotional support I’ve trusted in Him to give me in the past.

    Like

  7. ruthshulman says:

    (((( Hugs ))) … i don’t have any words that seem right here, except it’s good to be your friend. I’m happy to know you and if I can ever help (besides being the “good girl” 😉 ) I will be happy to.

    L’Chaim!

    Like

  8. lara estes says:

    Your openness has touch my heart in many ways this holiday season. Thank you for sharing your feeling here. Maybe someday I will be able to do the same. Love and hugs.

    Like

  9. Mary M. says:

    I find myself wondering every year around this time about who will not be there at my family gathering next Christmas. I always resolve to try and enjoy the people who are present and to be as much present as I can be. I feel that participating in the calendar this year has helped me do that.
    Also, thanks to Long Bean, I have Ann- Margret on auto-repeat in my head!
    Ana, I assume the Mary on your Perfect Attender list is me? I do not think I have been naughty.

    Like

  10. Renee says:

    Ana as usual you have gone straight to the heart of the matter. What is really truly important? Nothing really except love. Thank you sweet friend for the reminder that we are not meant to be alone. Blessings and hugs. R.

    Like

  11. Amy says:

    You know, I keep seeing you thank your readers for so many things, but I can’t help wondering if you know how much you’ve given to the community you’ve built. When I read posts like this one, I feel my hope rise. You seem to radiate this grace, and it is truly beautiful. I’m really glad to have “met” you. I will add my own thank you: Until this year, I’ve struggled to enjoy the season. This is the first year in ages that I’ve had both a lot of fun and felt the holiday spirit, despite the challenges of the last year. Something I began doing last year to pull myself out of my own worries and think about how I could help others was to light candles as prayers of hope. I am lighting a candle of hope for you. ❤

    Like

  12. Chickie says:

    Hugs Ana.

    Yesterday I set out to be as thoroughly NSFA as possible. Then the work interruptions kept pulling me in every direction. So you got the interrupted version of the naughtiness stirring in my head lol

    Like

  13. Holla Dean says:

    I am constantly awed by you and how you handle all the adversity that’s tossed in your direction. This is such a wonderful community and you bring so much to it. We are all very fortunate to have you as such an integral part of it. Hugs and lots of love!

    Like

  14. JC says:

    Ana, I start out by saying that I deserve a sticker I am as sweet as it appears 😉
    I have been an angel this year. With Michael not involved this year, I haven’t even picked on anyone!

    I have to say that normally I stay in the background on these sites. But I love this event and the fun and not it brings to a time that has good memories but unfortunately some sad ones as well. I love that this event gives a chance to escape for awhile and connect with others.
    I am sorry for the heartaches of each one here. But thanks you all for making a sage place to share.

    Like

  15. pieclown says:

    Hi I had hope to come home and read something here to make me feel better. No it did not. This past week has not been good. Yes all the killing world wide got me. Then I learn that I worked with years back had died. He was 39. i knew he had kids. Then today, I walk into work and get told that a co-worker had passed the day before. Our section of the call center is normally chatty and silly. Not today. I have other things that are not great. One is pain, but I have that until I die. I do not plan to do that any time soon. It just makes me grumpy. I do not like being a grumpy clown.

    Ok, I have shared and thank you for giving me and the others a place where we can be our true selves. Most people do not what to here that you like to spank or be spanked or anything off the beaten path. But here we can. We can also talk candid about life, deaf, and everything in between.

    Well until tomorrow,
    Love Peace and Pies

    Like

  16. ameliahfaith says:

    Dearest Ana. I am truly sorry that life has been so difficult for you this year. If I could take any of your pain I would do so gladly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings but more importantly your courage. ❤

    Like

  17. catrouble says:

    Hey Ana…I had to laugh at the first part of this post…wonder how it is that you inspire so many naughty minxes…of course, I was good but the others…*sigh*

    So sorry you are having such a rough time this hear…the holidays are so hard when you have lost someone or are facing losing someone. You are such an inspiration to all of us and I am so proud to call you friend. Sending lots of prayers and positive energy for you.

    Hugs and Blessings…
    Cat

    Like

  18. Shannon Love says:

    I have to say that the song list really kicked my butt. I thought I knew a pile of Christmas tunes but apparently I didn’t. I did recognize Anne Murray’s voice (that’s what growing up in Canada gets me). Oh well.
    Those quilting grannies sound awesome!! Just from previous mentions plus this post, they crack me up. I’m so sorry about Jackie.
    You’ve had a heck of a year. I sure hope things improve from here on out. You deserve so much happiness.
    Your in my thoughts and prayers.
    (by the way, I totally bragged about your accomplishment with Something Good to my co-workers. They were blown away by the work you did. Very inspirational!)

    Like

  19. Tracey.Gee.393 says:

    You know I loves. I didn’t pretend to behave. I behaved badly. 🙂 This year has been a rollercoaster for you and for so many. I know we all send our love. What a wonderful group gathers here. A safe and loving place to be. Unless you’re an Elf. xxooxx

    Like

  20. P.T. Wyant says:

    First of all… {{{Ana}}} You are an amazing, loving woman and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

    Now that the mushy stuff is over with…

    Ana, go stand in a corner.
    The rest of you, line up and take a wooden spoon.
    No shoving, there’s enough for everyone…
    (And a few extra in case of breakage.)

    I just went through and checked and I posted before midnight every day:
    P.T. Wyant December 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm
    P.T. Wyant December 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Oh, and some of your links up there don’t work — one took me to post dated 2013 and really confused me because I didn’t remember writing that… You get an extra whack for that.

    *runs and hides*

    Love ya, anyhow!

    Like

  21. Laura says:

    I want to thank you Ana for being there each and everyday. While I might not comment on each posting I always read them. They have gotten me through some tough times when I felt alone. You always make me feel as if I was one of your BFF’s. So thank you, thank you, thank you! 💖

    Now, I just double-checked and I replied everyday but my name isn’t on either list. I know I was late the first day because I had just returned home from the hospital after getting a shot to break a three day migraine attack. Please re-check for me.

    Ami – I would love the gift. Ana has my email address.

    Congratulations Mary you totally deserve it. The songs that kicked my bottom were U2’s and Robert Plant. I was so frustrated with Santa Claus Is Back In Town that I finally put down Elvis Presley. lol

    Like

    • Mary M. says:

      Thanks Laura, and congrats on the knickers! I was convinced that the Robert Plant one was It’s Christmas Time Pretty Baby sung by Elvis Presley. Oh well, thanks again to Long Bean for the fun and earworms!

      Like

    • Ami says:

      Thank you, Laura. I shall wait for Ana to let me know your email address and I will contact you re sizes etc. I am so glad you can accept the prize as I know you will like it.

      Hugs
      Ami

      Like

  22. Roz Harrison says:

    Firstly, congratulations to all winners 🙂

    Ana, thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. You are such a loving and giving person and I am so sorry you have had a difficult year. I am so sorry to hear about Jackie and glad you spent some time with the quilting grannies. Sending love, positive thoughts and prayer.

    Hugs
    Roz

    Like

  23. mrenn2014 says:

    Ana, Sorry you had such asad year. I hope 2015 is filled with hope!
    Darn…I knew I forgot something yesterday! Sooo exhausted when I got home last night. Pushed the 15 year old through the shower and told the 21 year old goodnight. I hope to sleep this weekend! I’m still not sure about this working full time outside the house. I haven’t figured out how to get everything I did as a stay home mom and everything I need to do as a working mom done. I’m exhausted most of the time.

    Like

  24. Sarah Bennett says:

    Hi Ana

    I love the NSFA Quilting Granny reference. Woot! Smashes stereotypes of the older generations. Yay!!

    I definitely understand about loss but also great love. My life has just changed dramatically as I’ve relocated to be with my now fiance. Life is sweet and also bitter as I just said tearful, gut wrenching goodbyes to my family of choice in Washington state.
    My blood family in Illinois is missed but in different ways.

    Coping with change and loss changes us integrally and many things are clearer in spite of fogginess of other things.

    I’m grateful for this advent calendar. This group of folks have become special to me this year, some whom I was already acquainted with. The stories shared, the laughter and saucy behavior (just caught up on posts. Naughty miscreants)

    Hugs and prayers to you Ana as you face your uphill battles.
    And blessings to you all this holiday and always.

    Like

  25. minellesbreath says:

    First off… Choke, cough… Yes those cards! And whatever do you mean regarding scissors and ham? I am so…. Ahem,… Confused!

    I am truly sorry about your friend. Life keeps throwing curve balls! I hate that for you! However I agree that choosing to be present and love, in spite of the pain, is the right choice!

    Like

  26. Kyra says:

    First of all I apologize for my NSFA comment yesterday. Secondly my heart goes out to you. It’s difficult to trust anyone after someone abuses your trust but we have to remember that there are far many more good people out there than bad. You have shown that you have a kind and forgiving heart Ana.
    I know what looks ssh feels like. After my mom passed I felt completely desolate and ice cold inside. Because it was so sudden I think I went into shock. We were out shopping for goodness sake. The only things I think that got me through were my family ( blood and especially family of the heart) and reading. I must have downloaded over 50 books in the week after she passed. Reading took me to another world and for that I will be eternally grateful.
    I mourn your loss Anna but life gets better…with great friends and great books.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Evil Mistress Kate was responsible yesterday, and she delighted in leading you astray. I chastised her, only for her to cackle with glee at being popular and loved. If we need to go after anyone with wooden spoons, I nominate her. Care to join me? 🙂

      It’s a funny thing, but becoming an author has meant I do less pleasure reading. Since writing is work, it’s changed. There have been times when reading was my anchor, though. I think now that I tend to bake/cook or play mindless computer games. At the moment, I’ve made my way through half of Season 5 of The Good Wife.

      And yes to great friends Many great friends. ❤

      Like

  27. thelongbean says:

    Another sad stor..
    I thought I had managed to post every day before the time, but as I live way outside the US and do not get to your blog (except when the music was published) until the morning here, it makes trying to comment within the time limit rather awkward.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hey…you and Roz are in the same situation. I typically (but not always) post by 5 or 6 AM EST and then close entries by midnight. That’s an 18-19 hour window for comments. It may not work for everyone, but the helper elves and I do have to draw a deadline somewhere. Maybe in future years there will be a less time-consuming way to calculate entries.

      For now, we just enjoy your company–and the music quiz!

      Like

  28. Ami says:

    I am truly sorry to hear about your friend, Jackie. I cannot believe all this sadness for you. But you are right – if people choose not to open their hearts to love, they are missing out big time. Empty dry husks is right.

    Yet again I am sending supportive thoughts and prayers.

    Hugs
    Ami

    Like

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