11/25/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles Week 8 – Reunions, God’s Presence, Life’s Presents


Cousins Kevin and Hayley
November 23, 2012

What an unexpected turn in the road my life has taken in the past few weeks. It started with a text from someone I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. At the time, the text annoyed me, because it caused a slight chink in the invisible wall I’d taken great effort to put all around me to keep out pain. I considered the text and answered as politely as possible. The person texted back. Really? Are we seriously going to go to that invisible place where I have to decide if I’m going to risk letting hurt and rejection in again? I truly didn’t want to. I more honestly wanted to scream at this person to leave me alone, I was having a hard enough time balancing the façade I tried to keep in place that showed everything is just peachy keen. She kept texting. Tenacious woman, I’ll give her that. I wouldn’t capitulate, but I left the door to my emotions open very slightly.

The next day led to more texts, from another female. That part of the wall dedicated to her crumbled a little, but certainly not entirely. I have become way too wary about humans to believe things can work themselves out that easily. Over the next few days, we texted and got to know each other a little better. This was a great way for me to communicate. I didn’t feel the pressure I can feel speaking on a phone. And I don’t tend to put my foot in my mouth so much. I felt a little light streaming into my heart where it’d been pretty dark for the past few years.

The calendar indicated Thanksgiving week was approaching. I could probably never adequately explain the vortex of confusion I feel every year beginning shortly before Thanksgiving and ending around January 2nd. Melancholy, missing those who have passed away or are gone from my life, the endless effort to seek the spiritual and divine meaning of the holidays, the sad observations of how ugly some people can get at this time of year when we’re supposed to celebrate love, the retailers never-ending campaign to reach into my pockets for money I don’t have and don’t care to use a credit card so I can pretend I do. Lastly, well-meaning people putting their hand out to take some of that same non-existent money to further some holiday campaign.

This year, I continue to say ‘no’ to the things that make me unhappy about the holidays, and my focus is on spreading some love to people who typically get ignored. They’re not poverty level, they’re the working poor. People who work incredibly hard at their jobs, but just don’t make enough to do much more than keep the heat and lights on and gas in the car. It is brilliantly fun to see the smile on a waitress’ face when I leave a possibly extravagant tip, as I listen to her story of working two jobs and being on her feet all day. I don’t just leave the tip, I give my time and listen to their story, express appreciation for their great work and kindness. Some of the time, you can see these people don’t hear nearly often enough that they’re appreciated. The feeling I get doing so is simply priceless.

I got a chance to visit with my great-niece Hayley and her family this week. What a gift this was to me! We had the most delicious lunch at Waffle House, went to see “Wreck It Ralph” at the cinema and did a little Christmas shopping at WalMart. I had the best time, and that flipping waffle was so unbelievably good. I bought a coffee cup from Waffle House to remember the day by! I haven’t seen Hayley recently, as they live out-of-town. It’s a joy to see what an interesting and wonderful human this girl is evolving into. I have to give a high-five to her folks, they’re doing a great job. The visit put a warmth into my holidays that has lacked a little.

I also got to enjoy a very nice Thanksgiving day with my family at home. I’ve decided the only thing that even remotely competes with my enjoyment of a Robert Downey, Jr. movie is a fragrant Honeybaked ham warming in my oven! Both cause copious drooling! I spent the evening enjoying conversation with family members at my brother Jon’s house. Previous years found the group gathering around the table a little larger in number. Some have passed on, others had different destinations this year. I found it one of the nicest times I can remember.

I’ve so strongly felt God everywhere I’ve been. He’s there when I’ve acted like a decent human. Unfortunately, he could see me when I was meaner than a junkyard dog! His unwavering presence is my greatest present of all, this holiday season. I hope to show more of His love as I celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Whatever you may or may not celebrate over the next few weeks, I wish you the best blessings, love and light.

Peace!

11/17/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles Week 7 – Progress, Peace, Squirrely Friends, Recipe For Thanksgiving


What a chaotic few weeks I’ve had… busier than a frenzied flea at the SPCA. I got to feeling like the doggie in the photo after a while.

What I felt like after this week!

Fortunately, a little sleep, (I might add that sleep, for me, is a marathon event between myself and Buddy the cat. He starts with the event Pillow Takeover: positioning himself above my head with claws strategically placed near scalp. Wait until human is asleep and then … CHARGE, out pop the claws, scalp moves south to get away, and Buddy gains a little more territory. After a few hours of this, he moves on to Butt Borders… placing himself down under to hog the warm spots and contort human even further. It’s a regular gold medal victory for that cat every night!) a few walks in the fresh air, hot coffee and decent food… I started to resemble the lassie with the cup of java….    

Feeling right as rain!!

                                                                                                     

Thank goodness I’m a resilient squirrel in a (lately) extraordinarily nutty world. Seriously! Have you caught the news at all? Some days, I think the entire planet has lost their marbles. And that’s saying something, coming from me. 🙂  But, I’m not here to wallow in reality, this is MY blog and I’ll make it as lilac-shaded through my glasses as I want to! In this little corner, things are okay.

I‘m back to eating well, taking walks and sweating to workout videos, getting to bed at a decent hour. I created a new Excel program at work that SHOULD make life easier. I can do a lot of things on computers, but I’m not a geek, so… I go through a lot of coffee and lotsa nuts before it’s just the way I want, but I DID IT! Squirrel tail salute to me!

Speaking of my furry friends, I’ve found a delightfully daffy fellow blogger who’s as loco about them as I am. This blog provides me with many smiles and a cheerful person behind that squirrely curtain: http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2012/11/17/squirrel-butt/  Squirrel, said I’d raise a paw to you today!

On to other silliness, I post the following picture, courtesy of my friend Rick Gordon over at Facebook, who probably posted it courtesy of another FB’er. This week, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. Like it or love it, be it the meal, the games around the table after the dishes are cleared, or even those insane Black Friday sales, the following piece of wisdom is surely correct for some human mutant you’ll meet during the holiday season. 

 

I’ve told Rick I’d like to have this put on a t-shirt. For now, I’ll suffice with a 5 x 7 print out for my board at work. Coworker ticking you off? Pop the picture out… it’ll speak volumes!   Back to the holiday meal, I’m making a light, fluffy dessert I found on www.allrecipes.com 

Strawberry Fluff

Ingredients:

2 (3 ounce) packages sugar-free strawberry flavored Jell-O

1 (16 ounce) package low-fat cottage cheese, blended with a mixer for smoother consistency 

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, in its own juice, drained

Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine the gelatin powder, cottage cheese, whipped topping and pineapple. Mix together well, refrigerate until chilled and serve.  I personally prefer raspberry, so may make that if I can find the sugar-free variety.

Well, friends, that’s about it for now. Just remember, when your annoying family members are causing you to have dangerous thoughts, manslaughter is still illegal in the state of Ohio! (where I live) And probably in the area where you live too. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/29/11 Thanksgiving, Christmas Memories


How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV special)

Image via Wikipedia

Hello everyone. My last post touched on some of my favorite things about the holidays.

I’ve thought of more things to add to that list. Definitely “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” cartoon version only, please. Jim Carey did a nice enough job with the film, but it can’t match the charm of the original, for me. We watched “Shrek The Halls” last night and enjoyed that a lot. I love Donkey!  

If I were to think about food that makes my holiday season special, that would be easy. HoneyBaked Ham. Jingles cookies. Home made Buckeyes. I’ve had a variety of store-bought Buckeyes. Not even close. Jingles. I realize that I might be the only person on earth who has such a rosy fondness for Keebler Jingles, but I just love them! When I was a kid, we could get them at Charlie and Hilda’s store down the street from our house. I loved them then, and still do. Maybe they remind me of childhood, I don’t know.

It’s funny how you can write a sentence or two about your childhood and that little door opens wide, bringing in all kind of memories. Christmas Eve, waiting in the kitchen with the door to the next room closed, while Santa delivered gifts. Neighbors stopping in to visit. This is the old days in a small neighborhood in Northside, where it seemed everyone knew everyone. I loved Christmas Eve back then. I can’t remember much about the presents I got. Oh, I remember when my brother Jon got the jump rope off of the box of tooth paste and wrapped it up for me! It’s the thought that counts. 🙂 Or the time we gave my mom some gosh awful smelly “perfume” from the corner drugstore. That stuff probably REEKED in reality, but we were very proud of ourselves, saving up enough to buy it for her. 

 Thanksgiving weekend went pretty peacefully. I ate too many junk carbs which left me feeling like a lead balloon come Monday morning. Frisch’s still wins for best pumpkin pie. Oh…. someone accidentally put the frozen pumpkin pie I bought in the refrigerator instead of the freezer. When I opened it Thursday morning to bake, it had the consistency of a pumpkin smoothie. Frisch’s pie later that evening seemed heavenly in comparison. We played a few lively card and board games at my brother’s that evening. How I got seated at the end of the table with the Special People…. well….. that’s okay, because we Special People kicked butt and won the games! Never underestimate the power of a delicate mind or bull-headed doofusses. We didn’t get to watch “Planes Trains and Automobiles” until Friday evening. We laughed a lot and I liked the ending.

As was “Bridesmaids”. I will not tell you which scenes got multiple airings in my house. Suffice it to say my son and I laughed so hard we were gasping and crying at the same time. We are SUCH rednecks…. but happy, so who cares?     

I did visit a few elderly friends over the weekend. We stopped at Judson Village on Saturday to help out with bingo and to visit a few of our Little Brothers friends. My son helped a lady named Martha who took a shine to him and told him about a million times how handsome he was. I didn’t know his face could stay that red for that long! I asked one of our Little Brother friend’s what he would like for a treat and he adamantly didn’t want fast food. He wanted fresh bananas.

Something I very much take for granted.

I’ll be delivering those bananas this week. Maybe I could dress up like the Chiquita lady and do a little dance. Hmmmm. Maybe not!

              

11/14/11 A Few of My Favorite Holiday Things. What Are Yours?


A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good evening friends. I sat down to write and couldn’t come up with a topic. After visiting various sites offering writing prompts and blog prompts, I still don’t! Wow, makes you feel like investing your time in whatever comes next, doesn’t it? I enjoy poetry prompts – they’re concise and specific. But writing prompts are sort of goofy. They suggest topics I don’t want to read about, I’m guessing you may not either.

The holidays are approaching. Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. That could provide a boatload of topics to blog about. “In search of the perfect pumpkin pie.” (Frisch’s continues to win that for me.) My favorite cartoons of the year air: “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The all time best holiday movie: “Christmas Vacation” I admit that this being my favorite Christmas movie probably sets me up for: “If “Christmas Vacation” is your idea of a holiday classic… YOU might be a redneck!”

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Image via Wikipedia

One might think with me being an unabashed follower of Jesus that I would love Christmas. I DO love the part of Christmas that celebrates His birth. 

I love getting a card or letter in the mail during the holidays that includes a snippet of what’s going on in someone’s life. Thinking about it, I’d relish receiving a card someone made from construction or notebook paper and a colorful pen with a few lines about how they and their family are doing. How many times have you went to the store (okay, this is only for the women reading this. I think I hear my brother Jon falling off of his chair laughing at the idea of going to the store and looking at greeting cards! Point taken.) and spent quite awhile trying to pick out the perfect card? I could retire on the pile of $$$ if I had a dollar for every time I spent an hour or more looking for the perfect card, then went home and left them in the bag, never addressed or sent, because I was just too busy with all the other pressures I put on myself during the holidays… or used to, in the past. The past few years, I don’t think I even bothered to look for cards. I happily joined the chorus of “postage is just so expensive”. Really? 44 cents to haul your sorry envelope across the country and deliver it in rain, sleet or snow is a lot of money?

Presents. I like buying things for my husband and son, some treats for the cats and dwarf hamster (I would love to find Chow a stripper costume since she loves to cavort in her cage like a pole dancer, but that’s another story for another time!) I like to bake and create things. Unfortunately, I only know one crochet stitch, so if you want a handmade item, I’m up for a scarf or afghan. Anything fancier than that and I’m lost! The present I’m seeking to give this year is of myself. My time. Maybe phone friends here and there, write a few notes, visit folks who don’t get much company.

There’s one present I ask for and no one ever buys it for me. Yellow legal pads. Why do people find that so odd? I love to write on yellow legal pads. I don’t know why. The specific color and bold lines on the paper appeal to my eye and writing pen. I can almost bet I’ll get a candle or some good smelling object from Bath and Body this year, but no yellow legal pad will make it into my Christmas stocking. 😦    Maybe I’m missing the point that I’ve been a rotten brat and Santa has no intention of putting the desired legal pad in my stocking? I’ll have to ponder that! Maybe point number two is that I’ve gotten rather odoriferous and don’t know it, hence the constant receiving of sweetly perfumed objects. Oh dear! 🙂

Sometimes my husband and son are notorious “present shakers”. I am equally notorious for putting decoy tags on their gifts or no tags at all (writing in code on the box). It is truly entertaining to see them try to figure out what the gift is and think they’ve narrowed it down, only to have me switch the tags to their rightful presents on Christmas Eve!

My favorite New Year’s Eve tradition for some time was to telephone a friend of mine in England at 7:00 p.m. my time.

She would open her back door and I could hear Big Ben chiming in the New Year.

@big ben
Image by shashish via Flickr

Ah, the simple things that make me giddy!

 I would like to hear about favorite holiday things of yours, whether it’s memories or traditions.

Or when the holidays are over!

Blessings!