Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So What Did Happen In 2009?

At this time of year I always like to look back and remember some of the highlights of the year.  Not necessarily my highlights but those in the world at large.

The planet lost some good folks this year.  Mostly they are just like the people down street...everyday people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  We do "know" the famous one.  Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swazey, Ed McMann are some I remember right off the bat.  Who have I left out?

Some new folks came on the radar too.  Susan Boyle, the great singer from England, is one.  I don't know when Taylor Swift first showed up, but this is the first year I got to know her.  Same for Black Eyed Peas that I really like. 

We also got to know Jon and Kate in a whole new way in 2009 although they've been around for 5 years or so.  Tiger Woods did his thang this year, or rather he got caught this year.  John Edwards, Elliott Spitzer and other politicians showed their true colors too. At least one of those wives didn't get up there and 'stand by her man'.  Octomom had a whole bunch of babies and there wasn't even a man around. Sheesh!

The economy went crazy and lots of people lost their money and their jobs.  McKenzie Phillips 'told on' her long gone dad from The Mamas and Papas group.  I used to love to listen to them.  Now that feels all squishy.  I personally think she was telling the truth.  Do you?

And how in the world could I forget the inauguration of President Obama?  Amazing to watch!

It seems that we got greener this year.  Where I live we dealt with a drought most of the year, then we almost floated away in a huge flood.  So weird. 

In my little family, jobs were lost and then new ones found, finally.  Thank you, God!  Some of us got caught up in the banking and mortgage fiasco this year and one ran a half marathon for the first time.  We all continue to age but it is most evident with my mother who will be 90 in May.

Who knows what next year will bring?  I'll be starting my personal list of goals, hopes, and dreams for 2010 pretty soon.  Want me to share it?

New Years Eve is day after tomorrow.  What are you going to do?  Are you ready to kick 2009 to the curb or are you holding on tight for some reason?

That's it for now.  See you soon and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Is Winding Down

In a way it seems like Christmas has been here for a loooooong time.  In other ways it seems it just got here and it's gone already.  The 'major day' is past.  Packages have been opened, toys have been played-with, and most of the cake is gone (thank goodness!).  Yesterday was actually another big shopping day with rushing to exchange for another size or a different color. 

I am nowhere near back to normal yet, still sipping cider and eating fudge.  Since Monday we have piled in the car and visited loved ones from one end of this state to the other.  Grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We saw them all...and that is what make it Christmas!  That, and the ambrosia, the caramel cake, and the Fincher's Barbeque!  Yes, I know....at least 5 pounds.  How about you?  Did you get 5 pounds for Christmas too?

We have two more sleeps before my older son heads back to Colorado, my younger one goes back home and back to work, and things are 'back to normal'.  Visits with your adult children are just the best.  There really is nothing better.  The only thing is that it reminds you how very much you miss them.  You fill that "missing" with all sorts of activities, which you also love, but not nearly so much.  So when it comes time for them to go, it's like ripping the scab off once again.

Hopefully we'll be able to get the four of us together once more before Tuesday morning when the holiday is officially and completely over.  It's been good to hug and reconnect and talk in person, not just via electronics! 

Is normalcy just a great distraction for Real Life like we've had the last few days, or maybe normalcy actually is real life, and all the magical times like Christmas are somehow unreal, fantasy???  The magic of Christmas is winding down now...out of Real Life and back into normalcy ... or out of fantasy and back into Real Life. What do you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No More Christmas Magic

When you are a little child, Christmas is easy.  It takes forever to get here, and when it does, it's this grand and glorious day that is a little bit of magic.  It's hard to go to sleep the night before Christmas, so you play real hard all day hoping you'll be sleepy and can go to sleep so Santa can come.  At least that is what I did. 

I think we adults do everything we can to find that magic again every year.  I know I do.  As much as I do love Christmas and being with family and friends and celebrating and finding good cheer everywhere you go, it isn't the same kind of magic.  Once you understand all the ins and outs of magic, it no longer holds the same allure.  It's still fun but it's not the same.

So this Christmas we are getting ready for family to come home and to gather altogether on Christmas Eve.  We'll have favorite foods and stockings and fudge and cake.  Some will go to church and some will stay home.  We like colored Christmas light inside and out and presents all around.  It's just so much fun to be together and play and I can't wait.

I can easily go to sleep on Christmas Eve.  I don't have to play hard all day to try to get sleepy and tired.  Magic is not coming Christmas morning but a wondrous, memorable and fun day is and I can't wait!

Monday, December 14, 2009

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

It's not that I am always trying to take the easy way out.  It's just that I like simplicity.  For me, simple is best.  Over the years I have become more and more of a minimalist.  Whether it is decorating, cooking, shopping, or clothes I prefer that which is simple.  When things start getting excessive or over the top, I start getting the heeby jeebies!

I have several friends who are the opposite.  Their homes are gorgeous with extravagant furnishings.  Their recipes are complicated with ingredients I don't have.  Their wardrobes are exciting and extensive. 

I have two umbrellas, a black one and a navy one.  That's pretty dull even for me but they keep me dry.  When one breaks, I may replace it with a hot pink one but two umbrellas is plenty. 

These are my friend's umbrellas. Makes my collection look rather pitiful, huh? And she says, "The following umbrellas are missing: July 4th, zebra, Falcons, Lancome, and my favorite--Barbie, which reads," I want to be Barbie. The girl has everything." I love being around her, the flair, the color, the fun.

Speaking of keeping it simple, I made a simple recipe for Christmas goodies yesterday and everybody loves them.  All you do is this.  Place mini pretzels on a cookie sheet.  Top each pretzel with a Rolo candy.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes or so until the candy is soft but before it gets to be messy.  Take out of the oven and press a pecan half into the Rolo.  Now the candy is more flat looking.  Let them cool and set up before removing from cookie sheet.  These are so good and simple.  Better grab one.  They won't last long!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Central!

There is something about a day like today that I treasure every Christmas.  I know it drives a lot of people up the wall but, for some reason, I find it comforting.  It's when I try to get a grip on "the list".  At some point in the day, every inch of the floor is covered with stuff.  Today I had John Denver singing Christmas songs in the background, puppy under my feet, and the TV going.  I'm taking a look at who is getting what, how much I've spent, and what I still need to do.  Once I get this day under control I am really ready for Christmas. 

Hope you are getting there too.  May we all enjoy the sounds and sights and tastes and smells of Christmas that are still to come.  I can't wait!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Very Best Week

This week is what I call one of my very best weeks.  Every day is a good day but some are just outstanding and this week was full of those kinds of days.  First of all you already know my sister spent the first half of the week with me and we just had constant fun.  At least that was my take on it.  We went to the mountains, went shopping, ate great food, and saw a bunch of mutual friends.  She went home yesterday.  Boo hiss.

Today started out with the morning spent in the studio with my art class and the best teacher anywhere.  I finished the last assigned drawing, after a year of drawings, and will start oil painting very soon.  Don't worry,  I will let you know how it goes.  This last drawing is a copy of a Weeping Russian woman by an unknown (to me) artist.  It's not my favorite drawing but I'm still amazed and proud that I, such a novice, was able to produce it.

After art class I met a very good friend for lunch at Sugar Cakes on the Square.  Finally we had found time to sit down, spend some time together and catch up on our lives.  Friendship does take nurturing and I was happy to give and receive some friendly nurturing today.

Next on the agenda, on my way home, I stopped at a Christmas party.  The setting was in a beautiful home, the food was scrumptous, and we were serenaded with Christmas carols by a superb male Quartet.   As great as all that was it paled in comparison to the company.  This was a group of colleagues who worked together for twenty years or so, and, in a way, grew up and 'grew up our children' together.  That is what made this gathering special.  Shared experiences of every kind you could imagine have knitted this group into a tight community of love.  There was talk of the frailty of our parents, the lives of our children, retirement activities and such as that.  Learning that one of our group passed away suddenly in November made smiles turn upside down,  and news of weddings and grandchildren turned them right side up again.  Connections we share and laughter we enjoy is what made the party so special.....and the end of a perfect day.

  So if any of you are dreading getting older, you see it isn't all bad!  I miss my kids and 'all that' to pieces but having time for myself to design day after day ain't bad at all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Is On Your Christmas List?

Are you having trouble finding gifts for everyone on your Christmas list?  Or deciding what to buy to finish your holiday shopping?  Every magazine has gift-giving guides and ideas in all price ranges and Oprah has her "Favorite Things" list each year.  So I thought I'd share my own personal gift giving guide for 2009. 
I already mentioned that my sister and I shopped together and bought each other pjs, long flannels on sale at KMart for $10.  Not too sexy, I know, but warm and cozy for watching TV and eating popcorn.  We also got cute Christmas socks for $1.

Then I found a painted and monogrammed wine glass for a friend of my husband at TJ Maxx for $7.99.  Make sure you get one made of glass, not plastic.  Gotta keep it classy. 

I chose this watch from Buy.com for someone special on my list.   They had a great closeout deal on it with free shipping.  The one I got had a bigger, cooler face with day and time. 

Last but not least, my husband wants a Kodak Video Camcorder Flip Camera....and I do believe Santa is bringing it.
Everything else is a secret.  Sorry I can't share them because they are surprises.  They are really the best presents of the bunch.  We'll talk about those the day after Christmas!  By then there will no more secrets.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Tree Is Up! Merry SITSmas!

Merry Christmas to all! Merry SITSmas to all!
It is officially Christmas at my house!  "The tree" is up, stars are in the windows, and shopping is well underway.  Hope you are right where you want to be with your Christmas plans.  Some years, at my house, we like to wait til Christmas Eve to shop.  It seems so much more exciting then. Sort of like living on the edge.  Other years it's nice to do it all early, then sit by the fire and chill.  This Christmas is shaping up to be a relaxing one.  No stress on the horizon.  Lots of our shopping done online. So easy and usually cheaper too.

Ha!  Did you think this was my house?  Well, no, but isn't it lovely.  This is where I had lunch on Saturday.  The food was unbelievable if you like a nice Southern buffet, but it's so easy to over eat!  I enjoyed every minute of it...especially the fried green tomatoes and sweet potatoes. 

My sister is visiting for a few days and we are having so much fun.  Getting the house decorated, going to new places, and shopping for a few Christmas gifts.  We ran into a pajama sale and both picked out the pair we liked.  That's what we are giving each other...fun!  We'll act surprised on Christmas Day!  "Oh, I got pajamas!  I love them", I will say.  Then she will open hers and say, "Oh my gosh, can you believe I got pajamas too?"  How fun!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tiger Woods and Real Life In A MInute

I write about 'real life'.  Makes you wonder, "Well, isn't all life real?"  Of course it is, but, on reflection, I think when I say and write about Real Life, I am referring to what is relevant to me.  Since it's my blog, I guess I can do that.

The news is always in my peripheral.  I want to be aware and know what is going on out there but I don't want it to consume me.  I don't swear by any network but tend to graze rather quickly through them to get the 'facts'.  But when it comes to the the Tiger, I have watched and listened with fascination.  My husband likes to golf so we have lots of Tiger books around the house...so he can learn to be a better golfer...not a better man.  No connection there.  "Obviously, that is all he can learn from this dude", said dripping with sarcasm.  I am personally sick of him.  He had it all...the world by the tail.  Good upbringing, good family, health, looks, talent, children, fame and fortune.  He could have used it for good.  He did not. 

I admit that I have to "work" on judgement a lot because I don't want to judge...and yet I do.  I am not The One with that charge.  I love the quote, "Where there is no judgement, there is nothing to forgive."   I am a warm and fuzzy person.  So is that quote...so I love it.  And, at the same time,  I know I am doing it.  Rather than judgement, I would prefer to come across as uplifting all the guys with the gifts that Tiger has who are 'doing the right thing'.  The ones who are authentic, not one person in front of the camera, and a totally different person away from them.

I admire a strong man who stands tall in the light of day and the dark of night and stays true to who he is and who he says he is.  I love honesty and integrity in a man.  Caring and loving, strength and tenderness, is sexy...when, and only when, it is real, when it is authentic.  I think I'll stop here lest I beginning rambling and preaching....as if I haven't already.

Today is Saturday.  Be authentic.  If you lead different lives because you don't know authentically who you are, then it's time to find out.  If you know, but like to hide it in the shadows, then hey, open the windows and let everyone see the real you.  Be proud of that which is you.  All of this "you" terminology certainly pertains to me, myself, and I first and foremost as I seek to live my life as an authentic, real life person.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa and the Elf

Okay, this is what went down in the South yesterday.  An elf was in court today for threatening to blow up Santa Claus.  The elf stood in line to see Santa at a suburban mall outside of Atlanta, and when it was finally his turn, he approached Santa and told him he had dynamite in his elf sack and he was going to blow up old Santa!  Well, now, what would you think if you were Santa?  This was a first.  Usually Santa can count on his elves to help him out, to get him a sandwich, to have his back.  But not this elf!   Santa freaked out, they captured the elf, and evacuated the entire mall.  Man, elves aren't what they used to be!

Hope your day has been much more uneventful than Santa's! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Love GoodWill

In my garage is a shopping bag full of goodies.  The shopping bag is on its way out of my house, not in.  It is filled with jeans, books, shirts, and a few odds and ends...and it's on its way to Goodwill.  I really love Goodwill.  There is a new one right around the corner from me and it's one of my favorite stops.  You can find all kinds of bargains there if you like to look.  You might find really cool things with the tags still on them.  I am pretty picky what I take home but it's all in the hunt, you know.

Funny story.  My husband came out of my closet with a pair of men's shoes in hand the other day.  I believe what he said was, "Whose are these?" with an incredulous look on his face.  Now I don't know if he fell for the story or not but I told him I got them for him at Goodwill.  Would your husband have believed that one?  I mean, who would buy someone else's shoes?  Not me, usually.  These shoes, though, were Rockports which cost over $100 if they are new.  Well, these were only $1.  My neighbor actually made me buy them.  The devil made me do it.

They were his size and I thought he might like to wear them to school since he is on his feet all the time.  I was going to polish them and make them look totally spiffy, which I had not yet done.  So he's holding the 'not new' but 'like new' shoes wondering, "What the heck?"  Is this my wife?

Back to Goodwill.  I really love them because they provide jobs.   I love their name.  It reminds me of "Peace on earth, good will to men."  Their mission statement touches me.

"Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work."

If you need to clean out the clutter, and who doesn't, consider placing it in a shopping bag and letting it go out of your house and back in circulation for the Greater Good. And you get a tax deduction. Works for me.