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Something is causing a disconnect with some people in my life. I don't know what it is. Lately, I have been feeling like that person who always has crap going on in her life, so you avoid her so she doesn't talk to you about it. I knew someone like that once and I called him Sad Guy John. God, I hope I am not becoming one of those people. I just think the has been a rough year. Plus, I'm dealing with a whole new 8-year-old bundle of joy who lives with us, now. I think this must be what it's like to be all those people that keep dropping off the face of the planet the second they have kids. Formerly being a part-time step mom, this feeling of having no life never really surfaced until I started clocking in a full-time position here. I am now: Marla - full time step mom.

It's great spending so much time with Luke, because he's really a cool kid and I love him to pieces. But GOOD LORD he is a lot of delightful work. I take him to school, pick him up from school, do his homework with him, act as room parent in his classroom, participate in Cub Scout Den activities, attend school meetings and somehow try to run a home-based business and get a major fire-loss inventory done in there. It takes a lot of juggling and a lot of sacrifice. I gladly do the Luke stuff, because I enjoy seeing Luke flourish and succeed. I wouldn't do this if I didn't love him.

Every since the fire, people have said to me (and to others) on more than one occasion that they can't believe I haven't left. First of all, after I smack these people upside the head, I ask myself: what kind of deranged person wants a marriage to fail in the midst of crisis? We pulled together as a family. We got some counseling to get through some of the anger, pain and frustration and have really been quite tight since then. Second, what kind of jerk do these people think I am? This horrible accident happened and yes I was upset. But I was careful not to place blame and I certainly never thought of leaving my husband or step son behind. Sure, I wish things had gone differently, but all of us affected by the fire wish that the unchangeable past could be altered.

I am no hero for staying. This is my family. This is where I want to be. Maybe I need to keep telling myself that when I feel so terribly disconnected from what used to be my life. I'm still here. My life just got a lot more wonderfully complicated.


old news, but something I wanted to say

I am no prude. In fact, I have been known (not recently, but in my teens and early 20s) to have a cigarette from time to time. It's still legal to smoke, so while I don't really like the smell or what it does to surrounding lungs I don't really care if people smoke or not. If that person lives with me or is close working-promximity to me, then I might have something more to say.

It's no secret that the media loves Obama - perhaps rightfully so. However, if ANY OTHER candidate/president-elect were caught with a 20-year smoking habit, especially if that person were of the conservative variety, we would not see such a forgiving public. Scoff is you must, but you know it's true. I see blog after blog and comment after comment saying "oh, who cares if he has a smoke?" You know what? That's crap. Because if the cigarette were at the fingertips of another more conservative hand, we would never hear the end about the evils of smoking. We would not see such a forgiving public.

Hypocrisy aside, I worry what having a president who enjoys even just an occasional smoke, will actually cause smoking to increase in the US. "If the president does it, then..." or "If the president falls off the wagon, then there's no chance for me..." I can actually see the tobacco companies wringing their hands in sinister delight.

I don't usually make my political viewpoints known, but I voted for Obama. In my opinion he was the lesser of two evils. I say that, because I want you to be clear that I am not writing this as part of a post-election grudge. There is nothing wrong with loving Obama (except for you, Obama Girl). But I think it's dangerous to put on your rose-colored glasses and say all is well in fairyland, simply because it's Obama who will take office. I hope that we continue to think it's normal to question our leaders and the impact they have on our country and on the world.


macy's brings little magic to our family

***As published by the New York Sun in 1897***

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.