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Happy Christmas!December 24, 2004

Let me put you where I am. Well, that might be uncomfortable, since I'm occupying this chair and don't really feel like fighting over it. I'm at work, settled in for a long winter's shift. Got here at 7pm, getting off work at 7am. It's currently o'dark thirty and holding. In front of me are four big ole computer screens. One is the police radio, one is the phone system, both 911 lines and normal police phones, and two screens are for the computer-aided dispatch computers, which keep track of where my cops are at all times. Okay, most times. Sometimes they go to Starbucks without telling me (or offering me a cup) but they shouldn't do that. Right now I have two officers at lunch (breakfast, whatever), three in the green (available), and one sergeant somewhere in the building.

It's a small room, with five chairs. There are only two dispatchers working right now -- me and my late-night partner JoAnn. We're a good team. We knit. We don't gossip, except for things like the Peterson trial or current Jessica Simpson scandal. She keeps up with those types of things and fills me in when I need to be filled.

We have holiday lighting and decorations all over the room. A string of white-light icicles goes exactly three-quarters of the way around the room, which kind of drives me crazy, but it's all right. All the regular overhead lights are off in deference to our desperate desire to sleep.

The radio in the break-room is set on a popular station -- mostly today's hit music (sigh) with a light smattering of Xmas tunes. Not so many Christmas tunes that I want to slit my wrists, just enough to seep into the brain and remind you that yes, you're at work while everyone else is drinking spiked egg nog.

To my left are: My purse, my knit-kit, a half-done sock, a Clapotis pattern, a map of the city, an empty *$ cup, a lipgloss, and half a roll of toilet paper because my nose won't stop running. To my right are: A city phone directory, an article on sweater design, a half bottle of water, a shaker of salt, and TJ's peanut-butter filled pretzels. At my feet is a Honolulu Marathon bag that's holding my novel (hey, I really didn't notice how poetic that was until just now). My feet are propped up on an upside down recycling bin. I'm in uniform. We won't discuss that.

Today, I'll go see Lala for a minute (maybe two if she's lucky), then go home and to bed. Up this afternoon to wrap and prep for the Christmas that I didn't really see coming. I need glasses, apparently. Then back in at 7pm until 7am, when I'll go home for a quick nap before getting on the road to drive home (5 hours south) for Christmas dinner.

Think of your public servants this weekend, people. It's hard to be at work when you just want to be at home with your family and loved ones. And there are a lot of us out here -- dispatchers, cops, doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters, security guards, bridgetenders.... I've run out. Sleepy. I think bridgetender is rather creative, actually. Oh! Pilots. Bus-drivers. I bet you get the picture now. Anyway. You know what I mean.

Truly, I'm happy to be here. It's weird, but I am. ESPECIALLY since Rosa is picking up tamales tonight on her way to work from the best tamale place in the whole world (the history page is great). I don't mind working. And I get to see my family on Christmas night, which is more than I've been able to in past years.

Did I mention I get tamales tonight? I'm not eating all DAY in preparation. Dude.

Merry Christmas, all y'all who celebrate it. Those who don't, have a great Saturday. Hug yer loved ones, and tell them what they mean to you, and I'll see you on Monday(ish).


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I guess I never really thought about what dispatchers do, but you are really a sort of air traffic controller for cops, aren't you? Pretty amazing. May you have a lovely Christmas, where ever you must be!

Merry Christmas my friend! You deserve a very special one, and I hope that you find some time to celebrate!

Come on Rachael, let's discuss your uniform and I'll tell you about some of the hideous things I've had to wear working in the hospitality industry....ok, maybe not. My husband and I both work for a large Estate that has, among other things, a four-star hotel, winery, etc. And we are open every day of the year and we always work holidays. It is very difficult to be there when everyone else has the days off and even more so when people are nasty or cheap. But we are grateful for people like you who make sure everyone is safe for the holidays and every other day of the year. Merriest of Christmas anyway, Peace in the New Year and make sure you take some mistletoe with you to Lala's!

Merry Christmas! Thanks for helping to keep us all safe this holiday.

Is it a *cool* uniform? Do you have a badge? I bet I drove through/past your hometown many times on my way to and from college too many years ago...

Happy Christmas!

Rachael, you rock! Believe me, I do think about those working on Christmas (some that I know choose to work on Christmas because their only family member is in prison and otherwise its too depressing...ouch, yah?)

Have a great Christmas dinner with Little Mama.

Merry Christmas, Rachael! Thank you for being there!

My favorite thing about this post is that I can picture it, because I've seen where you work! From all the way over on the East Coast, thank you for being there. In every sense of the phrase.

Rachael, wishing you the happiest of holidays to you and your family. I will be thinking of you tonight. I hope you know that you are very appreciated at your job. hugs, :)

What a lovely, bittersweet post. May words and love come easy to you in the coming year.

Don't forget us telephone operators! Merry Christmas!

Thank you and merry christmas.

Okay, but what I *really* want to hear about is the uniform...

Jacob's dad is a firefighter, so he's missing festivities today. What would we do without our public servants, or our fabulous Rachael?!?!?!?

Happy holidays to you, Lala, the schmoos, the kitty schmoos, and everyone else. Meeting the two of you has made my holiday brighter!! :)

I've been a daily visitor to your blog for somewhat over a year now and your posts never fail to make me smile, or make me squeal with fellow knitterly glee in a project well done, but this time, it made me think. Having had a friend of my family call us this morning to wake us up and wish us a Merry Christmas all the way from Iraq made it even more of a timely post, for me. I've had family members in the armed forces -- Navy and Army -- all my life, and my father-in-law is a police officer for a nearby town. Every year, we've known someone who couldn't be with the family for the holidays because of a distant service post or some-such. Every year, I tend to think of it in the terms of how tough it is for us here at home because we can't be with those who are away or working, but your post made me think of how hard it is on the other side of the coin -- how it must be for those who're actually -at- work or posted away.

I raise my mug of coffee to you in a toast-- Merry Chistmas to you, Rachael, and to all the wonderful people in your life. May the coming year be even more full of love, friendship, joy, wonderful things, fabulous knitting, and personal triumphs than this one has!

Big love. Big hugs. Have a safe trip to the Li'l Mama.

(xmas) MWAH!

Hugs and love to you, Rachael. As always, you make me laugh and help me be mindful of so many things. It's been a delight getting to know you and Bethany. I wish for you both even more dreams coming true in the year ahead! Will keep you and all the other real life guardian angels in my thoughts over the holidays.

M's working the same exact shift tonight, and tomorrow night, and the night after that. When you get off, sleep good and quick, and drive safely to that Little Mama. Merry Christmas!

My dad is a bus dispatcher and will be working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's tough.

Merry Christmas and all the best to you.

Thinking about you, and hoping Christmas time is blessedly slow at dispatch..... However, as a public health person, I know that's usually not the case! Thank you for a year's worth of fantastic reading, and for sharing little snippets of your life that have made me laugh and cry. And that's really freaky, 'cause of course, I don't know you!

A lovely Christmas post, Rachael. Thanks for the reminder about all those service people who we take for granted. Lots of love to you and Lala. See you soon! Mwah!

a belated congrats on finishing the marathon, and here is to a happy holidays and a new year full of fibery goodness and friends. merry christmas, you are an inspiration.

Hi Rachael, Thank you for your supernice email. And thanks for being our public servant! I'm ready to throw myself into Christmas traffic soon so I'll think of you everytime I see the cops. I'm working, too, but at home, and procrastinating by reading my blogs. Merry Christams & Happy Solstice!

Season's greetings !

Having no car, I usually take public transportation to visit my family. I always thank the bus drivers and subway staff. And taxi drivers, if it comes to that.

Happy Christmas to ya.

I LOVE Tamales. Is Lala your SO?

In fact I was thinking of you and your fellow public servants this morning when I was planning out my trip to the airport tomorrow. I often take advantage of Christmas being a slow travel day to get where I need to be, and I always think about all the people I see along the way and how they're not spending the day with their families: the bridgetenders (I love that word), the BART employees, the airport shuttle drivers, the TSA and airline folks, the cops running the checkpoints. And since I've known you I also throw a mental shout-out to the ones I don't see, like you, who give up a piece of their lives so the rest of us can enjoy our own comfortably and safely.

Thank you for what you do, and for being willing to do it for our sake. Merry Christmas (and happy New Year, since I won't be back online till afterwards). And love to Lala and the feline and canine family members too.

Merry Christmas Rachael dear! Thanks for helping to make my year happy and yarn-filled. In both meanings of the word. :)

Drive safely, y'hear?

Merry Christmas, Rachael and everyone! I am a blogging newbie but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your adventures in homebuying, knitting and marathoning. Best of luck for a fantastic 2005!

I, too, am a Christmas Day worker. If you happen to go to a Broadway show as a Christmas tradition, please spare a Christmas wish for everyone onstage and off - holidays are fun but hard when you have to spend them in a theater (or in front of a computer screen!)

It was like being in the room with you. It's funny, I was just thinking something along those lines, about how I had today off and so many people were working and would be working tomorrow, and then I read this! I hope the tamales were perfect and you have a safe trip and a lovely Christmas.

Merry Xmas, Rach! Drive carefully this weekend, OK? Have a great time.

happy holidays...all of 'em!
have a wonderful weekend.

Merry holidays and thank you for being on guard for us this weekend -

Drive carefully.

Rachael, at 10:30 last night I was dropping a dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts off at our local Fire Station (Police dispatchers are in the county seat, a good 40 minute drive from my house). I told them that my police dispatcher buddy had reminded her friends to take care of those taking care of us on Christmas.

And right now I'm making banana bread to take the day shift.

Thanks for the too-necessary reminder, and bless you, too, for taking care of people!

BIG hugs from Richmond!

Happy, happy Xmas! Enjoy your family, friends, Lala and those tamales. Much peace, love, and frog-free knitting to ya.

And just out of curiosity - - which of the four extremely-important-sounding computers at work were you blogging from, exactly?

Thanks for all you do! Merry Christmas.

HOW popular and widespread is the RACHAEL phenomenum? HOW you ask?! How?! Tonight I went to my sister and her families home for Cmas dinner and WHAT did I see under her tree? You won't believe this. Under her tree I saw a RACHAEL water bottle cosy. Yep.

I yelled to my sister, "WHERE did you get the pattern for this??" "Did you get it from RACHAELS SITE?!" Why yes, she exclaimed, surprised I would recognize it. Turns out, my sis also reads your blog and I did not have a clue! Small world or WHAT?! So we spent some time chatting about your adventures and musing on how it would be to have such a fun life as you :)

Merry Christmas!

Uniform, uniform! We bet you're hot in your uniform! That was a lovely post, as usual, Rachael. Hope you had a lovely evening last night.

Didn't realize you were working Xmas Eve.
I work 11pm-7am. This is my weekend to work so I decided to just work both nights, not try and mess up my schedule by switching shifts. Other then being exhausted going to work last night everything worked out well. Christmas eve and night were quiet by our standards. Now I can go to sleep and recover.

Thanks again Rachael for another WONDERFUL, thought-provoking post. As I sat at my mom's house with no power this weekend, I was thinking of all those poor guys climbing poles on Christmas instead of snuggling with their families. But I must admit, that the regulars who are always in on the holidays didn't occur to me. Thanks much for your service (and your reminder).

And I *heart* the idea of delivering goodies to people working hard for us over the holidays... Remind me to do that next year, will ya?

you are awesome, as always. go finish that marathon of a novel and wow the world. :)

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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