November 30, 2008
Just a Note

...from my mom's newspaper column, early 1960s, McHenry County, IL

Just a Note
From Gloria Coughlin

It's Christmas time, the time of the year when we spend too much money, buy too many gifts, work ourselves to a frazzle and complain constantly. I think it's great.

It's a time for remembering, and if you have a family it's the time for forming the memories that they will have 20 years from now.

This doesn't mean that you have to be all sweetness and light in the middle of this chaotic season. If you feel like screaming now and then, go ahead and scream.

If letting off steam will clear the air for a few laughs later, don't worry--the children won't remember the screams 20 years from now. They will just recall the laughs.

When I was a child, we had a large family and Christmas was a pretty wild affair. On Christmas eve the clan gathered at our house. They had to if they wanted to see us. We couldn't go anywhere because we were usually running around like maniacs doing all the things that we should have done the week before.

My mother was usually baking bread, wrapping gifts, stuffing a turkey, spiking the egg nog and entertaining the crowd simultaneously.

It was usually two o'clock in the morning before we got the papers on the kitchen floor. In our house, putting the papers down on the floor was the indication that the cleaning was done, the gifts were wrapped, the punch bowl was empty and everyone got ready to go to three o'clock mass.

When I say everyone, I mean just that. We didn't have a bedtime on Christmas Eve. If you were nine or ninety, you went to church in the middle of the night.

When we got home from church, we took the papers off the kitchen floor and everyone sat down to beautiful Christmas breakfast that seemed to materialize out of nowhere. After breakfast we opened our gifts and collapsed.

My mother was the focal point of the Christmas preparations. She did the work and my father pulled the boners. It was like watching a vaudeville act.

It was my father who bought the tree, but it was my mother who had to drill the holes and add the branches to cover up the bare spots that he didn't see at the time of the purchase. We like to think it was because he had bad eyesight.

It was my father who put the tree in the stand and my mother who caught it when it fell.

My dad insisted on doing his own shopping. The Christmas that I was ten years old, he bought me a box of White Owl Cigars. He never could quite figure out why. His worst faux pas was a Christmas card that he sent to my mother that said, "Merry Christmas To My Friend in the Service."

One year he told us that he'd buy the turkey and ended up buying seven pounds of hamburger. For years after we called him "Wimpy" and got hysterical at the sight of a turkey.

My mother and father are both gone, but they left behind a gift that we'll always have at Christmas time.

Memories of love and laughter.

Posted by Amy at 07:28 PM | Comments (4)
December 13, 2007

I have to keep making new placeholder entries because the spamhats are spamming my comments.

If you haven't been added yet, you need to contact me to tell me WHO YOU ARE. I especially want WestBevHi93 to contact me because that username is so fabulous.

Posted by Amy at 10:35 PM
November 06, 2007

...if you have a brand new LiveJournal, with no other links besides me, and I have NO IDEA who you are, I am not adding you. Please e-mail me and remind me how I know you, and I will. Thanks.

Posted by Amy at 07:47 PM | Comments (4)
September 18, 2007
OK, last call!

I am home from school today with a cold that came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. So with one hand holding a Kleenex up to my nose and the other poking on my keyboard, I am adding everyone who has friended me on LJ.

If you are not there yet and still want to read, here's what you have to do.

1.) Go to and create an account
2.) "Friend" me when you are logged in with your account name
3.) I will see you sitting on my list of people who call me friend, and I will "friend" you. Then you can actually see my journal. Until you friend me and I friend you, you will only see placeholder entries.

If you need help beyond that, email me or comment here. But it would be tons easier if you all just friended me, so I don't have to hunt you down and ask for your usernames.

My username is parsleypants on LiveJournal. Whoo-hoos to those who figured it out on their own!

Posted by Amy at 09:07 AM | Comments (10)
August 30, 2007
Hang on, hang on...

I haven't added all you new LiveJournal friends yet. I can barely get through the evenings without passing out at 7:30 p.m., so give me a few more days! :-)

Posted by Amy at 10:39 PM | Comments (12)
August 16, 2007

I'll be updating more frequently over at my LiveJournal page, so add me as a friend if you have one and would like to keep up. If you don't know my username, e-mail me.

Most of my entries there will probably be private, so you have to join to read. Sorry for the inconvenience, but such is the life of a public figure--or a high school teacher! Stay up, players (hi, lingo from 1998, hihi).

Posted by Amy at 10:41 PM | Comments (17)
July 03, 2007

I'm in the process of organizing my office.


It's so awful that I just can't stand it. Next week I'm going to start planning for next year--I'm teaching full-time again! Yay!--and it just has to be organized. I will perish if I live like this any longer. I WILL PERISH.

Take a peek into Quinn's room.


My God, we're all slobs! Why can't I get it together? I used to have my paperclips organized not only by size, but by color scheme! This is just unacceptable (to be said with a Supernanny accent).

Posted by Amy at 10:13 PM | Comments (5)
June 08, 2007
Normal Room

One of the nifty sites I have bookmarked but don't know where I found is called Normal Room. From the website:

See how people live around the world! Explore the variety of lifestyles and cultural peculiarities!

Normal Room shows you interior design and home furniture from all around the globe. Search our image database and explore the differences and similarities in architecture and home decoration between people in different countries.

I am what we call in my family a peeper--I love driving past houses at night and peeping inside. The momentary tableau is just so fascinating to me. I think another word for this is possibly "nosiness."

My brother Dennis loves peeping too. One of our favorite traditions is to drive around our old neighborhood on Christmas Eve, peeping at what's going on inside the houses we used to be so familiar with.

"I like to leave my living room drapes open at night sometimes," Dennis told my niece Kaitlin and I one Christmas Eve as we crept around the neighborhood, going about 10 m.p.h. and probably freaking people out.

"Why is that?" Kaitlin asked.

"I just enjoy looking at other people's houses so much," he said. "I like to give back."

Posted by Amy at 08:59 PM | Comments (3)
May 28, 2007

I will tell you right now that nothing makes me happier than "What You Won't Do for Love" by Bobby Caldwell.


If loving smooth jazz is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Really, I can't recommend Capital Radio, under the Pop Music category on iTunes radio enough. The tagline for the station is "Turkey's Hottest Music!" which is kind of a head-scratcher, but it plays all these songs that you remember from decades past, but aren't shoved down your throat on OLDIES! or MIX! stations on "normal" radio. And it's free!

Posted by Amy at 10:31 PM
May 27, 2007
Rolling Stones

(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

You call yourself a Christian
I think that you're a hypocrite
You say you are a patriot
I think that you're a crock of shit

And listen, I love gasoline
I drink it every day
But it's getting very pricey
And who is going to pay

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con.... Yeah

It's liberty for all
'Cause democracy's our style
Unless you are against us
Then it's prison without trial

But one thing that is certain
Life is good at Haliburton
If you're really so astute
You should invest at Brown & Root.... Yeah

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
If you turn out right
I'll eat my hat tonight

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah....

It's getting very scary
Yes, I'm frightened out of my wits
There's bombers in my bedroom
Yeah and it's giving me the shits

We must have loads more bases
To protect us from our foes
Who needs these foolish friendships
We're going it alone

How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
Where's the money gone
In the Pentagon

Yeah ha ha ha
Yeah, well, well

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...
Neo con

Posted by Amy at 09:05 AM
May 23, 2007
Closet capers

I am hiding from my closet.

Yesterday, Andy's entire wall of hanger rod and shelf in our walk-in closet fell down. Actually, I think it jumped, weighed down by hundreds and hundreds of short-sleeved plaid shirts. Whatever the motive, it was a huge mess and I spent the morning sorting through his clothes and making neat piles: Goodwill, trash, and current.

Tonight he speedily installed a new rod and shelf, and we hung everything back up and he hauled the garbage away. I keep my clothes pretty well weeded-through, so I had nothing to get rid of, but then I decided to go through all the stuff in garment bags, and now I'm in a mess that is compounded by the Goodwill piles still all over our bed.

And all I want to do is go down and watch today's View with the latest Rosie/Elisabeth smackdown. And don't you all even start about Rosie with me. She can do no wrong, hear? We are BFF because I've had like five questions answered on the "Ask Ro" section of her website, including one today. So...everyone who has an insult to share with the class about her (that will of course mention her weight, as that is relevant to her worth as a human) can SUCK IT.

What can I put in the closet to get rid of that musty smell? I don't want to use something really strong and fruity, but it needs to smell more like summer in a bowl than it presently does (tm Joey Tribbiani).

Posted by Amy at 09:08 PM | Comments (9)
May 02, 2007

Denny has moved out of ICU, is up and walking around, and will be coming home at the end of the week. This is SUCH good news, and we are all so happy. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and words, again.

Posted by Amy at 01:31 PM | Comments (5)
April 29, 2007
Another sick family member

Those of you who know my brother-in-law Denny, please send some good vibes his way. He had triple bypass surgery and heart valve replacement on Friday, and he isn't doing so well. He's still on a ventilator, and his heart is not yet beating on its own. The next few days will be critical. We all thought this would be a fairly routine procedure, but it hasn't been. We are all very worried.

Denny is probably the jolliest, most affable person in the family. "Why Denny?" I asked my sister Julie today. "He doesn't even annoy ANYONE!"

Ohhhhhh Denny. That's enough of this nonsense. Snap out of it, won't you?

Posted by Amy at 03:51 PM | Comments (10)
April 07, 2007
I have Melissa Etheridge in my head

Ain't it crazy
For a moment there
I just gave up trying.
But now I see
You can let the light in
You can begin again.
Ain't it crazy
I lay me down in this sweet perfection
I am a witness to my resurrection.

Heal me, lift me
Take me to the waterside.
Drop me in let me swim
Let everyone know
I'll be coming home again.

Posted by Amy at 12:25 AM | Comments (3)
April 01, 2007

My mom had a heart attack, probably brought on by struggling to breathe. Amazingly, she is doing OK (as OK as someone who can't even walk across her room can be) and will probably come home tomorrow. But she'll never be back to what she was...full-time oxygen, home health nurse, and physical therapy. But she will still be at home, and for that we are thankful.

Thank you, friends, for your kind words.

Posted by Amy at 11:17 PM | Comments (11)