- Sign up sheet (to play)
- Register prize donations
- Code of conduct
- 2013 FAQ (will be updated with a few changes for this year)
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?
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:-
Mary Mccoy 36
Michelle B 34
- Renee M.
- Sarah Byrnes
- Tina S.
There are also a few faithful souls who have commented every day but were late one time:
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.
- Day 1: Welcome and Introductions
- Day 2: Giving Tuesday
- Day 3: 2nd Annual Holiday Recipe Exchange
- Day 4: Hating the Elf on the Shelf
- Day 5: Blue Christmas
- Day 6: St. Knickerless Day
- Day 7: Beyond Fairytales
- Day 8: Beginner’s Guide to Lesfic
- Day 9: Holiday Carol Sing-a-long
- Day 10: Creating Something Good, Part 1
- Day 11: Healing and Emotional Responsibility
- Day 12: Creating Something Good, Part 2
- Day 13: 3rd Annual White Elephant Gift Exchange
- Day 14: Creating Something Good, Part 3
- Day 15: Holiday Memories
- Day 16: Chag Chanuka Sameach!
- Day 17: Choosing to Believe
- Day 18: Sex Toy Story 2