I’m Thankful For YOU

I have a story or two to tell you, but it will have to wait until Sunday or Monday. Gotta have turkey with the grandbabies — twice — and  I can’t miss the love.

So for now, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving — give thanks for who you know, how you got where you are, and the lessons you learned along the way. Be thankful that you are able to dream and imagine and create. Give thanks for those who have passed — be thankful that they came into your life and gave you so much of themselves.  Give thanks for sunrises and sunsets and Tchaikovsky and Monet and Harry Potter.

Eat some turkey, have extra gravy (it’s only one day!), and know that I’m thankful for all of you. For your writing, for your art, for your stopping by and saying hi.  Somehow I feel we’re all friends in here.

And that’s something to be thankful for.

Black Friday Or Bust

todayIt’s that time again.

Almost as obnoxious as the primaries, but on a yearly cycle, the biggest shopping day/weekend is only a few days away. I dread it. Yet I can’t wait for it.

I am a late bloomer when it comes to Black Friday. All my life stores were closed on Thanksgiving, and the most important thing of the weekend was what you were going to wear on that day and if there would be enough stuffing for everyone.

Nowdays we are shopping weeks before we even catch sight of a turkey. The whiff of money outblasts any scent of turkey or baked bread.  I’ve seen a dozen ads now for Black Friday on the Monday Before, Pre-Black, Pre-Cyber Post-Black, and so on. Even my own employer is trying their hand at it.

Too much chaos and madness made me stay home all these years. Scenes of people punching each other out on the sales floor for a Cabbage Patch doll or stepping over someone who was unfortunate enough to lose their footing is NOT how I wanted to spend my vacation day. Lines wrapped around buildings and down parking lot aisles and once inside did a double wrap around the store.

Nuts. They were all nuts.

Then one Thanksgiving all the cousins and grandparents and kids pulled out the sale papers after dinner and I took a peek. Oh! I love that movie! How much? $1.99? No! And my mixer — it does make a weird noise every time I use it. What? Here’s one for $7.99? No! Temptation took hold. Suddenly I found myself wanting all sorts of things. Things I needed, things I didn’t need. Things I thought about but not really but there it was more than half price!

Needless to say, the madness couldn’t match my pocketbook, so I wound up putting back half of my cart. Good thing. My drawers had more than enough fuzzy pajama sets and socks and my cabinets didn’t need anymore glasses or blenders or industrial gloves.

I’ve learned a lot since those first couple of shopping considerations. I’ve got friends who won’t come within 30 miles of a shopping center or store that day. I know others who get up at 4 a.m. so they can hit the place when the doors open at 5.  I know people who hate the crowds and some who just laugh at them.

Whichever category you fall into, know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gimmicks to get your money. All the hype makes you believe you need whatever they’re selling — especially with such big discounts. Stores place the most innocuous things along the aisles, hoping you’ll toss a few into your shopping cart as you move along. Ten innocuous things later — surprise at the checkout. You get my drift.

So my advice for this upcoming fiasco is simple. If you go shopping, have fun with it. Take your time. You don’t need to be anywhere at the crack of dawn.  If you’ve been waiting to purchase something big, and you’re in a financial position to do so, go and buy it. Just that one thing. Don’t be tempted by the fantastic deals sitting right next to it.

If you go shopping with no particular deal in mind, limit your impulse budget. Take a second and decide exactly where you will put this new treasure. If you don’t have room don’t buy it. Take a list. If you’re Christmas shopping, stick to the list. Don’t let the buy of the hour distract you.

And if you’d rather stay home, by all means do it. That way you can hit that pumpkin pie you “forgot” to bring out for desert the night before.

Besides — you didn’t need those polka dot jammies anyway.

When Is A Holiday Not A Holiday?

grandmaI am beginning to see for myself why older people act and think like they know so much. Why their opinions are so die hard. So know-it-all.

I’m getting to be that way, too.

Sometimes the world seems so stupid. I know that’s a demeaning statement; it’s not fair to the rest of the world who is struggling to make it (just like me). But it’s a blowing-off-steam statement as well. For how many useless things and actions thread through our personal tapestry every day that sidetrack us from getting what we really want?

You know I don’t mean the obvious roadblocks — we all deal with them as they come. I mean the events that can (and should) be avoided that are always haunting us.

Being an “older” sprite, I can see the futility of trying to change a person, of wanting to be a vice president with a high school education, of trying to visit the capitols of Europe on a retiree’s budget. I mean, if you could you would. But some things aren’t meant to be. But instead of accepting what you cannot change (that wonderful adage), people spend hours and days and years trying to do just that.

Maybe it’s just that the older I get, the more roads open up before me. There are lots of roads that are closed, buried in rubble or sunk under the sea. But it’s like the roots of a tree — more sprout out every day. And when I see my friends, my acquaintances, my new found peeps, spending all their tears and energy and lifeforce trying to make it “better”, I get ticked off. For I find beautiful flowers trying to push the boulder out of the way instead of growing around it.

Take Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Big, emotional holidays filled with nostalgia, made-up memories, and TV propaganda. People get so wrapped up in “family” and “being together” for the holidays they lose common sense. Their hearts are broken because A had to work or B got the flu and couldn’t fly in. They dwell in the mist of “this may be XYZ‘s last Thanksgiving with us” or “Why can’t Christmas be like when I was a child?”

Don’t they know that every dinner is Thanksgiving? That every day you open your eyes, take a breath of air, and see the sunshine, is Christmas?

Why do we need a particular day to focus our energy on our friends, our family? A particular day to give gifts, to cook a turkey, or to go to church? A has to work? Get over it! Nurses, waitresses, truck drivers, TONS of people have to work on the days you lay back and sing Christmas carols. B‘s got the flu? Better to stay home and get better than bring the germs cross country to incubate in the stuffing.

The same thing is true about remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other man-created important dates. Maybe I’m biased about remembering these things because my hubby barely remembers those actual dates.  I don’t get flowers or diamonds or fancy dinners on those exact dates. But I’ve got a hubby that’s stuck around for 33 years, and we squeeze in dinners and buy plants in the spring, and it somehow has always worked out.

I don’t judge my life by the rememberance of wedding anniversaries or Christmas presents. I judge it by the times I’ve been able to say “thanks” over a meal, or by the number of sunrises and sunsets we’ve been able to share. I know I’m too old to start a new 9-5 career, but not too old to develop my writing one. I’m too old to play the “if he/she loved me they would ____”  For if he/she really loved you, they would. Period. It could just be that, for some reason, they cannot. And so it is.

I don’t think I’m a hard realist as much as I am an experienced dreamer. I have had dreams shattered, plans never come to fruition, loves lost. As I look through the tunnel backwards, I see how I could have turned a lot of keys sooner. How I wasted years angsting on things I couldn’t change. Things that didn’t matter.

Perhaps that’s what the older generation sees. They wonder why we worry about getting together on the holidays and worry about getting together tomorrow.

And that makes a whole lot more sense to me.

 

Thanks for the Blogging

Thanks

Thanksgiving.  That time of year when we eat too much, watch too much football, and sleep away the day. It also is the day we give thanks for friends and family and our life, such as it is.

This Thanksgiving I want to put an extra thank-you out there. A thanks to the wonderfully fun, entertaining, and sometimes poignant blogs and bloggers that I follow.

I know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there; millions reading, billions thinking about the whole process. Like you, I don’t have a lot of time to read — I, too, have a bizillion other creative paths to walk down. (Think of how tired we all are!)

But I’d like to thank the following bloggers for keeping my dream alive. I know there are some that I have missed, some who have taken a break from blogging, and many that I should be following, but in my heart I love you all.

Check them out, and, if they tickle your fancy, give them a follow!

 

The Return of the Modern PhilosopherVery funny blog about aliens, vampires, gargoyles, and love and life in Maine.    https://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/

Everyone Has a Story.  Strong stories about divorce, recovery, and discovering life again.  http://everyonehasastory.me/

Maxima.  Love poems that cannot help but stoke the flames in your heart.  https://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com/

Not Quite Old.  Funny, uplifting blog about finding the balance between growing old gracefully and staying as young as possible.  https://notquiteold.wordpress.com/

Live & Learn.  Uplifting blog dances across all topics, with perfect pictures to match.   http://davidkanigan.com/

Leaf and Twig.  Gorgeous images accompanied with the perfect haiku.       https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/

Catwoods Porch Party.  Art, cats, nature, animals, weather, and whatever.    catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com

Dawn Whitehand.   A wonderful Australian artist, making unique mixed media sculptures from clay, found objects and textured materials which are based on organic natural forms.   dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com. (She also has a kickin’ blog of poetry and images at apoemandadrawingaday.wordpress.com.)

gwenniesworld.  Marvelous photography with an eye for nature.  gwenniesworld.wordpress.com

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.  Combines personal memories, physical hardships, and a plethora of images reflecting her everyday life.  annkoplow.wordpress.com

ImaginePublicity.  Motivation and marketing savvy.  imaginepublicity.com

The Beauty Along the Road.  Discovering Beauty in the small details of our lives through scenery photography and heartfelt words. beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com

Glorialana’s Blog.  An uplifting, sensitive blog that also slices gently into your heart and soul. glorialana.com

Breezy Books.  Encouraging advice and personal stories for those who love to write.  breezybooksblog.wordpress.com

Victoria K. Gallagher.  Flash-Fiction with a cup of Re-Ali-Tea, as she so aptly puts it.  victoriakgallagher.wordpress.com

Carol Balawyder.  Writing about justice, mid-life dating, grief, inspiring blogs, and  awesome writing workshops.     carolbalawyder.com

Andra Watkins.  Best selling author and traveler who explores family and life relationships.   andrawatkins.com

The Write Transition.   A medical thriller author, physician, public health advocate, and writer who believes every experience is worthwhile, even if our paths deviate from where we started.   carrierubin.com

Jillian Maas Backman.  Best selling author and motivational speaker, a creative muse who ties intuition to success on all levels.   www.jillianmaasbackman.com

Cats at the BarFunny adventures of a boatload of cats.   catsatthebar.org

Figments of a DuTchess.  Creative thinker and a successful participant in Weekly Photo Challenges.  drieskewrites.wordpress.com

Booksphotographsandartwork’s Blog.  Great eye for photography, with a book review now and then.  booksphotographsandartwork.wordpress.com

gwenniesgarden.  Some of the most unique and gorgeous flowers and garden photography I’ve seen.   gwenniesgarden.wordpress.com

Friendly Fairy Tales.  Fairy tales and poetry celebrating magic and nature for kids of all ages. http://www.friendlyfairytales.com

hugmamma’s MIND, BODY and SOUL.  A mother’s love for her daughter and her life is reflected in her heart-warming tales.  www.hugmamma.com

Please Pass the Recipe.  Original and traditional recipes and the stories that go with them.  www.pleasepasstherecipe.com

A Journey Called Life…  Everything from poetry to fantastic images to stories about life.  www.architar.wordpress.com

The Procrastiwriter.  A motivator (and procrastinator) who shows how to be a successful writer around a full-time life.  www.theprocrastiwriter.com

And last, but not least, Sunday Evening Art Gallery.  An online art gallery featuring unique, fantastic art and artists.  www.sundayeveningartgallery.com

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

HallowThankMas

christmas-scraps-145Ahhhh….All Hallow’s Eve is just a few days away. Time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts…and the official start of Christmas advertising.

Forget what used to be — forget that one didn’t hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or see a decorated Christmas tree until Thanksgiving. I’ve been in stores with entire sections cut off for Christmas decor already, and even heard a Christmasy song on TV last week, too.

I’m not even done raking my leaves.

I’m sure there will be hundreds of blogs and articles about getting back to “old-fashioned” Christmases and values and saying bah-humbug to commercialism. And thousands more toting their wares.

How can we escape the mania that is now called HallowThankMas?

I have a 5 year-old and a 8-week-old in the house these days. They make me want to go all out for Christmas — something I’ve let slide the last few years. Trees and decorations and Christmas Villages — all the stuff that made my Christmas fun through my formative years.

Yet they start advertising toys and merchandise so early, that by the time you get around buying that one “special” thing, that “special” thing is sold out. You don’t even have your Thanksgiving turkey bought and you are expected to decorate your house with garland and lights and blow-up snowmen. If you don’t, your kids, your grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with you.

I know it’s a bit early to gripe about a holiday three holidays away, but sometimes the pressure to roll along with the tide gets to be too much. I already don’t put my tree up until after Thanksgiving; I don’t watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life until Christmas week. I do drive down Candy Cane Lane during December, and enjoy the parties and appearances of the pretend Santas and the choirs in church.

But there has to be a line drawn between the golden hues of autumn and the snowfall of Christmas Eve. There has to be an appreciation of each special day for its own sake. It’s hard to buy Halloween decorations for your own little celebration when Christmas lights are blinking down at the end of the aisle. It’s hard to get your family together for a Thanksgiving Day dinner when everyone’s planning New Year’s Eve already.

I admit, I’m not an angel. “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas in Sarajevo” never get old. I make an effort to share the “old ways” with my kids and grandkids, the meaning behind the words, the love, the magic of the Christmas season.

But I refuse to give in to full-fledged commercialism.

At least until Black Friday. That’s when my new TV will go on sale.

Thanks is a Clean Word

ThanksI am writing my Thanksgiving Day Thanks Post a bit early this year. Between family gatherings and Black Friday shopping and all-weekend football games, I never know when a moment of mental clarity will hit, nor when I might be able to share said clarity with you. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. You do, too. I don’t need to state the obvious — my past blogs reveal the miracles of survival I’ve been privy to the last year (couple of years, really). And I’m thankful for the usual — health, family, sanity (although there are those who wonder about that last one). But there is one thing in particular that I’m extra thankful for. Especially this time around.

I’m thankful that with company coming Thanksgiving Day, I have to power clean my house.

Now, before you chuckle and say people come for the food and friendship and not the eye candy, you are right. But I’ve always said you need to throw one big party a year so that you can really clean house. How many of you pull out the sofa and pick up dust bunnies and lost pencils and ancient Cherrios? How many  of you move the super-fragile things you have precariously perched on shelves and speakers to dust?  When was the last time you vacuumed the crumbs out of your sliverware drawer? Or organized your mail pile?

This is not Hoarders over here. I do have an over-accumulation of furniture and boxes downstairs, some remnants of departed family members, others in a holding pattern until my son sells his house. We won’t talk about the Mud Room: that is my husband’s jungle, and I get lost just looking in there. Somewhere down there is a nice, cozy TV area, kinda a sports-theme corner with a small TV, sofas, chairs — you know. But I wouldn’t know what it’s like sitting down there because it’s temporarily storing a gym’s worth of exercise machines just waiting for bodies to arrive.

My plans for this pre-Thanksgiving weekend are not so ambitious as to break up the chi that has so carefully been arranged down there. The bedrooms are fresh and clean, and a path will be made in case family members are too full and sleepy to make their way home Thanksgiving night.  No, my thanks on this pre-T day are a lot more humble.

I am going to give thanks by cleaning out my Tupperware cabinet. I then hope to move along to my bedroom closet. Not too much at one time — progress is often made one step (or cabinet) at a time. But my heartfelt thanks for getting one more thing off of my to-do list will be with me long after the turkey is turned into soup.

Remember — giving thanks on Thanksgiving — on ANY day — is not only about thanking the powers-that-be for your family or your health or your connection with Spirit. The powers-that-be hear your thanks for that every day. And the Universe thanks you in return.

What they don’t hear is your thanks for finding the shoe you’ve been looking for for two months. Or the flash drive that fell down into the sofa a long time ago.

Thank you.