Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's reality is this:

There is no greater punishment for a writer than the knowledge that true freedom lies buried in words who refuse to rise to the surface. ~~ Hasky

(Because the only thing I can write these days are one-liners about not being able to write anything)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Pageant Touchdown (Revised)

For the past three years, The Arts Center of the Capitol Region in Troy, NY has supported a program called BookMarks as part of its ongoing Memoir Project.  Once a month, from November through April, writers are invited to submit a piece on an assigned topic (often within a specific word limit) to be curated by a professional writer and (hopefully) presented to the commnity at an Arts Center reading. I recently submitted a piece on "Family at the Holidays," curated by memoirist and teacher Marion Roach Smith. Tonight, I was privledged to share my work alongside several incredibly talented local writers at the community reading. 

The piece I submitted was a substantially revised humorous personal essay titled "Christmas Pageant Touchdown."   I appreciated, among other things, that Marion restricted the word count  to 750 - a challenge for me, since I am naturally wordy to a fault. And because my original piece totalled 1,650 words. And  because I struggle to eliminate words once I have obsessively edited them into place.  Word cutting feels a bit like extracting the teeth of my work before finding the perfect prosthetic bridge to conceal the vacancies - and who wants to practice dentistry when there is already so little time for writing?

Since I didn't believe I could actually accomplish this piece in 750 words, I accepted the challenge.  I opened my original 1,650 word piece and began eliminating small, unnecessary tag lines and redundancies. Then I moved on to bigger concepts that could be pared down, stated more succincltly, and, in some cases, cut altogether without damaging the integrity of the piece. (Though I can't say the same for my writer's ego - that part of me that still believes that every single letter I write is necessary and deep and absolutely critical to the meaning of my work.  And Life itself.  You can pretend this doesn't sound familiar - I won't judge.)   Ultimately, I found that I could, indeed, splice and dice my work from 1,650 down to a tight 750 with a little effort, a lot of ego stroking, and a moderate amount of self-doubt.  As always, I kept my longer version, where it continues to live in one of my word files, but I actually prefer this shorter piece now, and am grateful for the lesson in word economy -- it is a lesson I intend to keep forcing myself to learn.  And practice.

If you're interested, the 750-word version of "Christmas Pageant Touchdown" is below. I hope you enjoy it.  And I hope that if you find yourself in "elimination mode" during this holiday season, that smiles, music, joy, and laughter remain at the center of your story where they belong.
~~ Hasky

Christmas Pageant Touchdown

Through the pine scented church air, a familiar melody cascaded over the choir loft before crawling down the altar’s green stairs. As the glorious tones travelled toward lemon scented pews bowing under the weight of mothers and fathers, children and grandparents, neighbors and friends, a deep, collective breath drew and held itself in momentary pause. Then all at once, voices and organ landed together on the downbeat of the entrance hymn’s opening verse.
Absorbed in their song of peace and good will, the congregation barely noticed the projectile object suddenly soaring high above.
But I noticed. 
At that point, all I could do was stand inside my coveted Virgin Mary costume, paralyzed by fearshamepanic, while gently, almost gracefully, a thin white swaddle cloth floated to the floor before landing in a pile of gauze and safety pins.  And then, as the final cacophonous verse of Silent Night fell around me, Jesus Christ’s naked Betsy Wetsy stunt double, draped in nothing but Christmas vigil candlelight, crashed to Earth.
Trapped in a moment I could neither escape nor rewind, I absorbed the appalling reality: I, the mother of Jesus Christ, had just heaved the infant Savior up the center aisle of St. Mary’s of the Lake church. As the music faded, I watched Betsy Wetsy Jesus roll toward the rows of hand-painted, cardboard cattle cutouts and asymmetrical cotton-ball sheep.
My glare of condemnation immediately landed on Tommy Lovell, who stood with the other alter boys in giggling, white-robed oblivion, whipping one another with ragged red rope belts. While he half-listened for his cue, Tommy amused himself with his weapon of destruction: the incense-filled ball he had converted into an irreverent yo-yo.  Not until my eyes struck him did he realize what he had done.  Reluctantly, he followed my gaze to his own hand, where the source of my Hell smoldered:  Incense!  The thick cloud of evidence billowed like a holy barbeque.
Tommy had earned the sacred responsibility of holding the censor this year.  Father Berg had explained that Tommy was to keep the ball completely still, so the vapor could rise gently toward God and purify our spirits. But the moment Father Berg walked away, Tommy’s arm began to windmill. He moved slowly at first, gradually speeding up until his shoulder swiveled all the way around its socket and the fog machine pumped its scent into my notoriously sensitive sinuses. The smell invaded my lungs, my nostrils, my eyes.
When I realized what was happening, I prayed:
God, please don’t let me ….
Start sneezing!
Amen …
I braced my final eruption with a squeeze that launched Jesus into orbit.
And just like that, I ruined the 1984 Christmas pageant.
I shattered the illusion.
I revealed, to hundreds of people, that the baby Jesus lying face down in a pile of cotton was conceived in a factory and purchased at the local Kmart.
Hundreds of huddled heads turned toward me; human window blinds unfolding slat by slat, revealing horror and disbelief. And the faces of my disappointed, only slightly surprised parents.
When time and my heart restarted, I proceeded toward the plywood Bethlehem just as Mrs. Douglass, the pageant director, had instructed. 
Step right, together. Left, together. Right, together. Left, together.
The fourth time my left foot stepped forward, I spotted the crumpled swaddle cloth and remembered Mrs. Douglas’ warnings about breaking character:
“No matter what happens, once the organ starts, you mustn’t stop.”
Yet in an uncharacteristic moment of instinctive spontaneity, I stopped to scoop the swaddle cloth before continuing toward the glue-covered clump of paper-mâché camels.  A few steps later, I came upon the naked mound of Betsy Wetsy Jesus.  This time, I stopped to retrieve and re-swaddled the baby.
With the Savior in my arms once again, I continued toward the aluminum-foil North Star, careful not to demolish the lopsided tower of GoldFrankincenseMyrrh the three not-so-Wise People had stacked in front of the stable’s entrance.
At last, I placed the resilient baby into the wicker crib.
Triumph. This was what joy felt like.
I glanced at Betsy Wetsy Jesus one last time before pivoting to face the people.
To my surprise, they were smiling. All of them.  Even my parents.
The smiles of Christmas.
Together, we drew a deep breath before landing on the downbeat of the closing hymn: 
“Joy to the World, the Lord is come!”
And in spite of myself, I had managed to deliver him.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa isn't coming this year!

Last year at this time, life was very much the same as it is today: It was just before Christmas. Red and green decorations erupted all over stores and offices and front lawns while lyrics intended to make me smile and glow (i.e. "Born in a stable" and "I am a poor boy, too") generated tears of sorrow and angst rather than celebratory smiles and endless joy.  They always do.  I'm not sure why, exactly.

I should probably clarify right away that, overall, I am not anti-Christmas.  I even love the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, not because he is an angry, nasty little miser, but because he eventually sees the beauty of humanity that often comes alive at this time of year - and more importantly, he realizes his own capacity for growth and compassion in the process.  I love that, despite the anger and hatred that often seem to permeate our world on a daily basis, this time of year inspires people to give  -- and not just material gifts, but time, and service, and genuine human connection.

But last year at this time, something out of the ordinary did happen, and I have found myself thinking about it over the last week or so, amidst all the twinkling and sparking and jingling.  I was in Plattsburgh visiting my family a few days before Christmas, and while my parents were at work and my brother was busy, I sat at Panera enjoying a hot coffee, an internet connection (much faster than my parents' dial-up), and a two-hour block of time to write.  The restaurant was packed, but I had been fortunate enough to find a corner table by an electrical outlet - my own little pre-Christmas miracle.  And since I was trapped in a writer's nightmare - time to write and nothing to write about - I was happy to watch groups of people parade by with their packages and their soup/salad combos and their animated conversations.  Something would give birth to an idea if I just sat.  And sipped.  And observed.  Patiently.

At about 2pm, a frazzled mother walked by with two very young, very tired children.  While the little boy screamed and cried, the little girl pulled on her mother and threw herself into chairs and tables to relieve the indescribable stress of childhood. Suddenly, without a word, the children switched roles - the little boy began slapping himself and falling into walls and garbage cans while the little girl started screaming and pleading for toys and cookies and princess shoes.  And then there was mom - loaded down with bags and soup bowls and sippy cups and a very large, ergonomically destructive purse.  She threatened to topple as she lumbered past me, and she almost seemed to prefer lying face down on a Panera floor to dealing with her very normal-for-their-age-and-situation kids. 

As a childless woman of 37, I sympathized with the mom on some level, even as I wondered what would possess anyone to trek around town on the Friday before Christmas with two little ones who should have eaten lunch (and probably taken a nap) hours ago.  But I get it - daycare isn't always an option.  And isn't this, at least theoretically, supposed to be part of the seasonal joy?  Shopping and lunching with one's children, surrounded by the splendid wonder of Christmas tidings and lightly falling snow?

I'll save you some time on this one: The answer is No

But I didn't realize it before that moment. Not really.  Let me be clear here  - I am generally not a "grass is greener" kind of person - only because I have found that, from afar, weeds tend to be greener than grass. It isn't til you are up close and personal with the lovely shade of "greener" that you realize it's non-grass, often covered in fertilizer, or waiting to be plucked and discarded from someone's carefully manicured lawn.  That being said, I do have a habit of romanticizing parenthood.  I've often wondered whether I made a mistake by choosing not to have children.  And then, something like this plays out in front of me and reminds me of the reality: Children are wonderful, beautiful miracles - a good thing since they are exhausting, and expensive, and an unending litany of needs and demands and anxiety-provoking behaviors.  They are, after all, human beings.

Of course, none of this logic hit me at that moment.  I was too caught up in the scene unfolding, the mother's eyes beginning to water, the children exploding in a cacophony of wails, the eyerolls and speedy exits of the other diners whose "tsk tsk" nods further condemned the already defeated mother as she plopped first the boy, then the girl into red, plastic booster seats and shoved them as close to the table as possible.  I didn't think things could possibly get worse, until I watched the little girl pick up her mother's bowl of soup and turn it over on top of the table. 

Time stopped.  Noodles and chicken hit the floor, landing in puddles of their own broth.  The green ceramic bowl sat, inverted, in front of the victorious little girl whose Grinch-like grin curled her mouth upward and forced her eyebrows into a sinister arch.  I couldn't move.  I didn't know whether to help or look away or leave.  And shamefully, I admit, I was most curious to see how mom intended to handle a maneuver that would have paralyzed me.

And that was when it happened.  Mom yanked her little girl's arm, looked directly into the child's face, and screamed through the tears leaping two at a time out of her eyes: "SANTA ISN'T COMING THIS YEAR!"

All I could do was join in the collective gasp as everyone in the restaurant (who hadn't already retreated to the quiet parking lot) recoiled and immediately slapped a "Worst Mother of the Year" label on this woman's soul.  How could a mother say such a thing?  How would these children ever enjoy Christmas now?  What about a simple "Time Out" or going to bed without dessert?  Or what about feeding these children lunch at a decent hour and navigating the crowds with two children in tow a little more strategically?

But as I sat in judgment, another thought arrived, replacing the all-too-familiar critical voice of a non-parent:  This woman, this tired, overwhelmed, vilified woman, was Santa.  And she didn't get to go away to a toy shop and hang out with elves and show up once a year to be adored and idolized.  She was Santa every day.  Unless she was busy playing the role of Tooth Fairy.  Or Easter Bunny.  Or Nurse/Taxi/Chef/Coach/Teacher/Housekeeper/All-knowing, Never-sleeping, Rarely-eating ... Mom.

For a moment, I met her eyes and tried to tell her, with the nonverbal glance of a non-mom who would never speak her language, that I understood.  Not her situation, of course.  But her defeat.  And her desire to give up.  She glared at me as if to scream "What the hell do you know about my life?!" and she was, of course, very right.  I knew enough to know that I knew nothing. Not about her life, anyway.

At that moment, a Panera employee showed up with a broom and a pile of napkins - he could have been a knight on a white horse for all the fuss this mother made. She wept and thanked him and apologized over and over while she helped him clean her messy life off the table and floors.  Her children simply watched in silence.

It took me a year to write about this  - probably becase I felt some sense of voyeuristic shame as I watched it happen, refusing to look away, unable to walk away.  But as the holiday season continues to envelop us day by day, I am reminded that the spirit of Christmas is really what we make it.  Some of us play Santa.  Some of us play Scrooge.  Some of us bake and shop and wrap.  Some of us sing and party and travel.  But no matter what our roles and regardless of our beliefs, we all want Santa to show up with gifts.  And it is my hope that whether you are a four year old child in need of a nap, or a forty year old mother in need of a break, or even a kid from 1 to 92, that your Santa Claus knows where to find you.  My guess is, your gifts have already arrived, you just haven't gone looking for them yet.

May your holidays and your new year ahead be filled with happiness and peace ... and perhaps a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Love, Hasky

Friday, December 9, 2011

Exposing *Sybil Exposed* (Or: Throwing Down With Debbie Nathan)

Today opened like every other day: I woke at 4am. I pulled on my workout clothes.  I grabbed my water bottle and towel.  I drove to the gym.  I hopped on my elliptical machine because, yes, I am a rigidly unchanging, territorial, "this is my gym equipment" person.  In fact, I function on auto-pilot until 9am every day, unless something unusual happens to interrupt the trance. 

But this morning, as I enjoyed my 5am, daily dose of Dr. Drew Pinsky on CNN (always a replay from the night before), the unusual happened.  And the trance broke.  Dr. Drew was interviewing Debbie Nathan, the author of Sybil Exposed.  I'm probably not the only person who immediately thinks "Sally Field" and "Multiple Personality Disorder" whenever the word "Sybil" enters a conversation, and I am always intrigued and somewhat frightened by the Sybil story.  Even so, I was not entirely sure, at first, that Dr. Drew was talking about the title character of Flore Rheta Scheriber's 1973 book until I began reading the subtitles marching across the bottom of the television screen.  But sure enough, Ms. Nathan's raison d'etre, at least today, was exactly what I assumed:  her book-promoting attempt to discredit Ms. Schreiber's account of Shirley Ardell Mason, who suffered from dissociative identity disorder, and was known to the world, very simply, as Sybil. 

Now, maybe it's because I am in the process of writing a memoir as I battle my own versions and expressions of truth, or maybe it's because Flore Rheta Scheriber died in 1988 and can not defend the allegations against her, or maybe it's simply because I take exception to anyone jumping into the mental illness arena to offer nothing but criticism and negativity, but I felt an immediate, intense dislike for Ms. Nathan.  And the longer she talked, the more I disliked her. Instead of redeeming herself, she shed doubt on her own legitimacy, offering neither fact-based arguments nor productive solutions to what she alleges is a dishonest portrayal of the first documented account of a woman with sixteen identifiable personalities.  What she did offer was her alleged discovery of several boxes of clinical notes at the New York Public Library filled with "proof" that Ms. Scheriber fabricated her book for the sake of sensationalizing a serious, debilitating, terrifying condition.

And who better than Ms. Nathan to provide unsolicited expertise in how to sensationalize a non-truth in order to sell a book?  Perhaps she would be better suited to a 10-Step Guide on How To Profit By Exploiting the Deceased and the Vulnerable.

Over the years, I have heard the term "Sybil" used as a generic insult lobbed at anyone who appeared moody, depressed, or angry. And (in the case of women in particular) assertive.  I have listened to people confuse and conflate dissociative personality disorder with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.  And I have been on the receiving end of the name-calling during times of anxiety or depression, when the only support offered was a snide "Oh come on, Sybil.  Snap out of it."  Discrimination against the mentally ill is one of the few remaining, socially condoned forms of abuse, and I believe that Ms. Nathan's book is an attempt to garner support for her own position (and her lucrative book deal) with no regard or respect for the true experts  - the mentally ill population, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, treated or untreated, acknowledged or in denial.

Don't get me wrong - there was a time in my life when I preferred to write about other people's writing, too.  I was nineteen years old and majoring in English Literature, where I took pride in my ability to critique Shakespeare, and examine the gaps in Yeats, and expose the inconsistencies in Dickinson.  I was youthful speculation mixed with arrogant pontification.  I was nineteen, after all.  And I thought I knew everything.  About everything.

Until I realized that the only thing I knew for sure was that I knew nothing.  Because nothing was consistent.  Nothing was infallible.  Nothing was definite, or absolute. So why not just write my own words, then?

And that is what I have decided to do. I know, as a writer, that there will be critics and naysayers of my work.  There have already been plenty.  But I welcome them with the knowledge that their legitimacy lies in my mistakes.  In fact, I almost feel sorry enough for the Debbie Nathans of the world to take a few intentional missteps in their direction, to give them an opening. A voice.  A purpose.  I almost want to give them that artificial gift  Almost.

I wondered, this morning, what Ms. Nathan may have contributed to this world if she had written her own words, shared her own ideas, provided an alternative to a problem, rather than devoting herself to (and distracting herself with) a problem of her own creation.  But I guess if Ms. Nathan is happy with the outcome of all her hard work (and I believe that she is), then I have no business criticizing her. After all, I don't want to play on her team, anyway.  I prefer enjoying the organic purity of my own homemade words and ideas, rather than indulging in someone else's toxic leftovers, especially when I didn't even enjoy their flavor first time around.

Monday, December 5, 2011

No dog necessary. No permission required.

At one time in my life, I prayed for the endless "When are you getting married?" interrogations to stop.  It seemed like everywhere I went, people pummeled me with questions and judgments, as if I were a prairie woman or a British Royal in danger of spinsterhood at age 25.

Why wasn't I yet "betrothed." 
What were my plans? 

Essentially: What was wrong with me? 

And then I got married.

Cue the unsolicited input about parenthood - when I should procreate, how I should discipline, why I should want nothing more than to reproduce myself even though the current "me" was far from functional.

"You don't want to wait to long."
"You should start having kids now so you can space them far enough apart."
"You have to read the parenting books and magazines as soon as possible!"

Truth was, I didn't want children.  And I sucked at marriage.  But I was a hell of a people pleaser who lacked an alternative plan, so I decided to do "the right things" at "the right times" in the hopes that others would think I knew what I was doing.  Or at least get off my back. After all, if I was "just like everyone else," then everyone else would be happy.  And that would make me happy.  Right?

But that was when it hit me: If I didn't have a clue about how to define, much less live a normal, happy life, and I was simply copying everyone around me who seemed normal and happy, then maybe no one around me had a clue either.  In fact, maybe their recruitment initiative was inspired by a desire to surround themselves with people like me - people who would justify and confirm their choices, and commiserate with them when those choices left them bitter and bored and filled with misery just waiting for its company to arrive.

So, I spent the next few years making a series of unpopular decisions. I said "no" to children.  I said "yes" to divorce.  I moved away from my childhood home.  I walked away from a teaching career and into a political one.  I made a few friends.  I devoted myself to exercise.  And I craved my privacy and personal space as if they were the last bites of a delicious meal that I didn't want to share with anyone.

And when the conversations about marriage and children and "normalcy" finally changed (as I had once prayed they would), I actually found myself longing for them once again while I faced their replacements:

"You must feel so isolated."
"You're not getting any younger,  ya know."
"You must be panicked at the thought of being old and alone."

The difference now, of course, was that these comments didn't come from other people.  They came from me. Or from the version of me that constantly challenged and successfully sabotaged the youthful, risk-taking, life-loving, life-living Hasky.  These were the lies I told myself. Caution became my default approach to life, and the fear of illness and injury was enough to send me running from any challenge, every risk, and all forms of personal interaction that threatened to go beyond a cup of coffee or a business meeting. 

People certainly saw (and frequently commented on) my desire for a unique blend of personal space and total engulfment that often left me wondering whether I felt abandoned or suffocated.  I had no idea what I wanted, I was pretty clear about what I didn't want, and I was veering dangerously close to condemning anyone who refused to jump on my Self-Pity Express.  Every time someone got engaged, or had a baby, or bought a dream house, my reaction was the same: An eye roll.  A snide comment about "selling out." Or "being lame." Or about "the clueless following the clueless" down the rabbit hole of convention. I had become one of the "You should do" and "You should want" people who used to annoy the hell out of me.  And I don't know about you, but whenever I start a sentence with "You should ..." I am really suggesting that I have the answers to someone else's questions -- even as I strategically avoid facing the answers to my own.

Over the years, the judgments and the conversations about my life choices have pretty much subsided. Or maybe they're still there and I just notice them less.  Who knows?  Occasionally, a stray "Don't you think you'll ever want a family?" floats past me, and I pop it with a razor sharp comeback like "As much as you want to be tactful."  But for the most part, I think I have made myself clear: Sharing my life with many people is much more rewarding than sharing it with just one.  At least for now.  That may change again some day.  And as I trace the path my life has taken so far, my guess is it certainly will.  The good news is, I am allowed to reassess any time I want.  And I am allowed to change. No permission required. 

This post was inspired by my recent adoption of a rescue dog, who has not only drained my energy, eaten all my dish towels, ignited my intense fear of failure, and challenged my germophobia beyond what I ever thought possible, but who has reminded me of the most hurtful comment I can recall from years ago, when I was feeling very isolated and hopelessly alone and blindly following the scripted, clueless masses:

"You don't wanna turn into that 'crazy old lady' whose only companion is a mangy dog, do you?"

And I certainly didn't want that.  So I convinced myself that I couldn't adopt a dog, not because I didn't want one, and not because I didn't think I could "handle" it, but because I didn't want to become the stereotype of resignation and desperation that, truth be told, I had already become.  No dog necessary.  

I am glad I waited to adopt this little guy, despite his apparent (though previously undisclosed) medical and behavioral needs, because now I am ready, and confident, and honored to have him in my care. He is not a child, and I have to keep reminding myself that he is a resilient animal built to withstand my mistakes and missteps and "learning as I go" approach to life.  But he is certainly not mangy either, which means I am neither crazy nor old.  On the contrary, I am mindful, and thoughtful, and organized (sometimes to a fault).  So what harm can a little risk taking do when I have thirty-eight years of survival to brace my inevitable trips and my eventual falls?   After all, nothing is worse than tiptoeing through a borrowed existence with your eyes closed and waiting for someone else to catch you. Life is so much richer once you become your own safety net.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meditations on The Grinch

As I indulged in my annual viewing of Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas the other night, I watched it from a different perspective than ever before.  Perhaps because I have done so much work on myself in the last few months, I started to see the Grinch less as a misshapen, green cartoon character and more a symbol of the isolated, angry, frightened sabateur in all of us.  Something of a universal inner child, really. Sure, the Grinch threw a Who-wrench into Christmas morning.  In fact, he left the Whos without ribbons.  He left them without tags. He left them without packages, boxes or bags.  But, as everyone knows, Chrismas in Whoville could not be stopped. Christmas, as always, "came, just the same." 

As a child, I was hanuted by how seemingly unaware the Whos were when they awoke to the dark and empty Christmas morning.  Their ritualistic singing circle and vacant smiles scared rather than inspired me.  They seemed lifeless as they joined hands and swayed to lyrics I couldn't understand.  How do you explain such apparent contentment in the absence of gifts?  Why would these people unite in oblivion after such an un-merry violation of their town, their streets, their homes?  Yet so many of the things that once scared, and disturbed, and confused me live within a broader context now;  I aim for compassion rather than falling mindlessly into judgement.  I value integrity over possessions.  And, for the most part, the things I cherish most cannot be stolen from me.  Not without my permission.

In the interest of compassion and understanding and appreciating the broader context, I'd like to look beyond human behavior and into the human condition.  And I'd like to suggest that the Grinch didn't set out to steal anything. Rather, he was merely trying to cope with unresolved issues through various means of self sabotage.  Certainly, his was an exercise in futility, but a valuable lesson learned.  If only life could  always sort itself out in 25 commercial-free minutes.

So, here's the challenge: The next time you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, practice compassion.  Understanding. Maybe even a little appreciation.  Can you see the Grinch as protagonist rather than antagonist?  Is it possible to see him as both?  Is it ever possible to only see one without the other?

  • The fact that the Grinch's heart grew three sizes in one day substantiates the correlation between congestive heart failure and a negative outlook. 
  • As an "apple" with excessive abdominal girth, the Grinch is most certainly a stroke risk battling metabolic syndrome and unstable insulin levels.
  • The Grinch's talent with a needle and thread (Exhibit A: Max the Dog's reindeer costume) suggests an unrealized artistic talent that inevitably leads to his physical and emotional displacement on top of a mountain, removed from all Whoman contact.

In other words, give the guy a break, already.  Your inner child will thank you.

Just in case you missed it this week - enjoy How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll see a different version this time around.