Friday, December 28, 2012

What was your special gift?

Today it is 3 days post-Christmas. I've eaten my share of the holiday food, baked some Christmas goodies, made a trip or two to the local malls for exchanges or after-Christmas sales, and am ready to say 'I need an afternoon at home with some down time.' Tonight we will visit with some extended family and this afternoon I will bake some homemade chocolate chip cookies, but for right now I am giving myself permission to take a short breather. It's nice to have the time off over the holidays but I guess I thought I'd have a bit more relaxation time. I've enjoyed having my kids at home and some family time in the evenings, but even we haven't found the time yet to play a game or two of Phase 10.

This afternoon I want to share some pictures with you of my 'favorite' gifts ... the ones I received from my family that meant the most. They didn't cost the most or come in the biggest box, but they're the best because because they were each chosen with 'me' in mind.

From my daughter I received a special pottery mug meant for relaxing cups of tea in front of the fireplace. She knows I do not like coffee and a hot cup of herbal tea is more my style. Ironically I got her one almost identical to it. Guess great minds think alike. She also knows that I enjoy baking, but my current cookie dough spoon has seen better days ... hence the 'new and improved' cookie dough scooper. I will definately test this one out this afternoon.

Next my son, ordered me a book by an author that we are both familiar with. The author also writes a blog that I follow. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I LOVE my day job! This book is more about remembering what your goals and dreams are and not putting them off til later. Unfortunately, 'LATER' sometimes has a way of never coming around. Hopefully reading this book (while drinking a nice cup of hot tea in my new mug) will remind me that it's o.k. to still have goals and dreams (especially when you're an employee, a mom, a wife, etc.).

And finally, my loving husband bought me a gift that will allow me to reboost my creative time. Since I was a little girl I've always loved to draw. Painting was never my strong suit. I love to draw, color, shade, etc. I love using pencil and color pencils the most. I don't anticipate showing my works in any galleries anytime soon, but I can hold my own. My kids still have brown paper lunch bags from school field trips that I adorned with their portraits on the front. You'd be surprised how hard it can be to find your lunch in the plastic bin when there are 25 other brown paper bags.

So, to my family I say 'thank you'. Thank you for remembering 'me' when you shopped this year.

Now I want to know what was one of the heartfelt gifts you received this Christmas and what made it special?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How do you feel about glitter?

Today I took a vacation day. My hopes were high for a peaceful relaxing day, unfortunately things haven't panned out exactly as I had planned. My goal was to wrap up a little Christmas shopping (no pun intended), then treat myself to a nice lunch, and follow it up with some quiet time at the library. How did I do? Well ... I 'attempted' to finish up shopping, but walked away not finding most of the things on my list. I went to one particular store to look for 2 very specific things (things that I had always purchased at this store), only to find out that they no longer carried the brands I was looking for. I was told they were 'fazing' out the brands to replace them with their house brand. Unfortunately their house brand wasn't anything like the brands they were eliminating, neither in style or quality. Bummer for me and bummer for them. My shopping experience wasn't a total loss, I did manage to pick up a couple of things that my husband can wrap for me and surprise me with on Christmas morning. Yes, that's right ... we tend to pick out our own gifts to help the other out. After 30 years of marriage we've learned that we have a hard time buying for the other. It's just less stressful this way. The ironic thing was that I was frustrated when shopping so I posted to my Facebook wall that I 'wanted a dislike button for stores that discontinue carrying products they used to carry'. Then when I was walking out of the store I ran into a friend who said 'Hey, were you talking about this store?' Lol, guess I was busted.

My lunch was a disappointment and I never did make it to the library. I am now sitting at the computer in our home office. I don't mean to sound like a whiner, guess I just put too high of hopes on my day and got stuck with a double dose of disappointment.

So you're probably wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this entry ... whether or not you like glitter. Actually I suppose it has nothing to do with it other than all of these events are little pieces of the Christmas season. With the topic of glitter I am referring to Christmas cards. I've sent mine out and have received a few this past week. My question for you is 'how do you feel about glitter?' Glitter certainly makes for some lifelike snow scenes on the cards, but have you ever noticed that once you've opened a card with glitter you can't get rid of the glitter? It is everywhere. It goes on your hands, your counter top, your clothes, and your floor. It seems to be made of some strong galactic compound that apparently only super heroes can conquer, because not even a super duper Hoover vacuum cleaner can pick it up. I love the artsy effects it gives the cards, but it does make me wonder what the floors look like in the factory where they make them. I don't think I'd want to be part of that cleaning crew.

So it's truth time ... are you FOR or AGAINST glitter?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stop and Listen

It seems we are in full gear of the pending holiday season: Christmas lights are going up, holiday music is playing on the radio, stores are having sales, and signs are out advertising cookie walks and live nativities. There are lots of ways to celebrate the holidays. We cook, we bake, we shop, we entertain, we go to concerts and shows, and maybe we take time to walk down the streets in Rochester or Royal Oak. Most of us will be out amongst people at one point or another. When you're standing in line at the post office or sitting at a table in a coffee shop you need to 'stop and listen'. Listen to the sounds of the season. Listen past the music on the radio or the honking car horns on the street. Listen deeper and think about what you're hearing. You might hear the giggles of an anxious child as they stand in line at the mall to see Santa, you might hear someone who sounds distinctly like Scrooge yelling at the salesperson because they didn't like the price they paid for something, you might hear someone discussing their Christmas wish list, or you might hear people gossiping. The last one is the probably one of the saddest.

Today I made a run to Target then decided to grab a quick bite at a local fast food restaurant before pressing on to Kroger's for groceries. As I sat there eating my McDouble (please don't judge) I couldn't help but overhear the conversation of 3 high schoolers sitting at a nearby table. Teenagers have a knack for talking louder (not sure if that is intentional or not). The entire time I was there they were talking about other people. I never once heard them discuss themselves, only judging the other people they came across. 'Who does that girl think she is anyway? She's always in 'my' hallway. I mean seriously... she's not even in my class. Why is she even there?'

As the parent of a teenager I spend a good deal of time around kids, but the conclusion I've come up with is that people (of all ages) judge others. It's not age exclusive. Some may tell you they're above it, but if you really stop and listen you'll hear it. You'll hear it at your child's school, at your church, at a restaurant, at a booster or PTO meeting, at your job, at the mall, at the grocery store ... need I go on? I try to be aware of my own actions but catch myself being human as well - go figure.

Do you judge or criticize or critique your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, or more importantly strangers? Stop and listen to those around you. Hear what is really being said. Now stop and listen to yourself. Is everything you say free of gossip and judgement?

Christmas is the season of peace, love, joy and hope. Perhaps it's also a good season for reflection, for change, and for self-improvement. As the Christmas season draws nearer, let us all take the time to truly stop and listen. If given your choice ... what would you like to hear?