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


The Weary World Rejoices

Today is Christmas Day. It’s been a long and troubled year, but looking back on it, I have a home, a terrific family, the best friends, a great job I love with a company where my position is secure. I have food on the table, presents to give and receive under the tree, and yarn in my stash. I’m happy, healthy, and I have hope for the future. So no matter the ups or downs this year, I’m grateful for all the things in my life. They have helped make me the person I am today…both good and bad. *grin*

So Merry Christmas to you, if that’s the way you celebrate. If not, then Happy Hannukah, Merry Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyeux Noel, and all other seasons greetings and good wishes to you and yours.

May your days be merry and bright.

Lynda the Christmas Guppy
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



It’s that time of year again, when the veil between this world and the underworld thins and ghosts and goblins and ghouls come out to frolic with mortals.

It’s also when Spooky Elevator makes a return where I work. I LOVE Spooky Elevator!

Since Halloween is a Friday this year, and because I work with some really fun people, a bunch of us decided to dress up for Halloween. I wasn’t going to at first. All my costumes are in some bin or bag somewhere because of all the construction at Chez Guppy. So I was dithering right up until Tuesday. And that’s when one of my coworkers jokingly suggested that I go as a sponge, as my home, my mom’s home, and the office have all been flooded recently. I laughed, because that was just damn funny. But then I started thinking. Hmmm…Could this be done?

The answer was no. At least not in a way I would be happy with. But I did have a brainstorm and so I spent about $30 at Joann’s Tuesday night and came home with all the parts of my costume…

…any guesses? Oh, and don’t let the yarn fool you. This costume is NOT knitting related. LOL

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish with Sticks