Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas with Mixed Feelings


Over the past few years I have not always decorated our home for the Christmas season; this includes not putting up a Christmas tree every year.  I love Christmas, enjoy Christmas sermons at church, fully delight in Christmas songs and have fun with family and friends during this special time.  But for some reason, I often have a hard time putting up decorations. 

I think part of it stems from the fact that when I was younger and in school, taking down the tree and trimmings meant Christmas break was fast coming to an end.  This ending of a two week break always did make me somewhat depressed; my free time was and still is important to me, and school was not something about which I was always thrilled.  Also I do not have anyone in the house that experiences child-like glee, excitement and anticipation of Christmas; so there is no pure innocent enthusiasm I can catch from others in my house.   But still I feel the house is empty without any kind of decorations and that the spirit of the season has not fully settled into our home.

When I was living with my parents, my dad would take us out to a field nearby for us to search for and cut down a Christmas tree.  That was always a fun and exhilarating time for me.  We would get the tree back to the house, put in a stand, and my sister and I would decorate it with combination of ornaments we made, given to us by a grandmother and from a store.   Putting up the tree and knowing what lay ahead for us was such a pleasure to me as child and even into my teen years.  But then later in my teen years I was the only child left in the house and taking down the tree after Christmas became more like a chore.   Not to mention Christmas break coming rapidly to an end really dampened my mood.

But here I am many years later and I cannot settle my feelings on Christmas decorations.  Since being in the real world and becoming a working adult, I have learned better how to deal with my feelings for the couple of days we might get off for Christmas.  Though I still strongly miss those 2 week school breaks, I hope today’s students do not take that time for granted because before they know it will all be over. 

So back to decorating my house.  For a few of the years we lived in a loft in Atlanta, I would get about a 4 foot tree and put it on the dining area table.  The reason: there is no telling what our dog would have done to the tree and ornaments while we were away if it had been standing on the floor in the traditional manner.  Earlier this month while telling one of my co-workers I was not putting up a tree this Christmas, she jokingly called me ‘un-American.’  Since Thanksgiving I have wrestled with the idea of decorating our house or not and felt slightly distressed by the thoughts of both. 

After much consideration, I finally decided on putting up a few decorations with a winter theme.  So I bought some small, woodland, winter-themed ornaments and set them on a decorative plate and put them in the living room.  These ornaments consist of a super cute squirrel, a snowman, ‘pine branches’ with accompanying pine cones, an old-fashioned lantern and a couple of other small woodsy baubles.  I did make two small ‘Christmas trees’ that are cone-shaped and made of foam; these are wrapped in a wintry-themed wrapping paper.  And on our front door, I have a wintry themed wreath.  So with these trimmings, I feel good about leaving them up through January; though I will take down the “Christmas trees”.  I wanted things to leave up for a while and not look Christmas-y, and I think I accomplished my goal.  So now my house does not feel empty, even though I do not have up many things, and I feel a little more prepared for Christmas and the spirit it brings. 

So Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!!!  I hope you celebrate in whatever way makes the season merry and bright to you!

Todays pun courtesy of the interwebs:

What did the Gingerbread Man put on his bed?  A cookie sheet!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Men and the Alphabet



Men have taken over everything.  Thankfully, for many decades and generations, we women have been asking politely or aggressively for some of those things back.  The other day at work, I had to deal with a customer that just pushed all of my buttons and set me off.  Now by this time, I do not recall any of the conversation or why the customer called, but at some point, the customer had to give me the VIN to a vehicle.  Now as I am sure most of you know, when giving words for the alphabet – such as A for Apple – most of the time, the letters are associated with a man’s name or something male.   Like this:  B for Boy, C for Charlie, D for Daniel, E for Edward, F for Frank, G for George, H for Harry, J for John or Jack, K for King, O for Oscar, P for Peter, R for Robert, S for Sam, T for Tom, V for Victor and W for William.  Right there, those are 16 male things for the alphabet; that is more than ½ of the alphabet.  How the hell did we women get mostly pushed out of the frigging alphabet???  I mean, I know we have M for Mary, N for Nancy and Q for Queen, but those three are hardly a consolation prize are they?  3 whole letters out of 26 total.  How pathetic!
 
After years of working in insurance, using the above words has been ingrained in me, but I am trying to change it.  There are times, I will admit, that I do fall back on using the afore-mentioned words, but I try really hard not to.  For many months I had a piece of paper taped to my desk that had a selection of words to use for the alphabet and NONE of them were male related.  For example, for the letter “B” I had Billboard, Bridge and Bird.  For “C” I had Cash, Candle and Checkers.  For “P” I had Practice, Patience and Plastic.  For “E” I had Electric, Eggshell and Effort.  Sometimes using the words “Patience” and “Effort” reminded me to put in a great deal of Effort in showing Patience with some of the customers I have to deal with.  ;-)
 
Anyway, after my conversation with this customer who just got deeply under my skin, I told my co-worker about men even taking over the f’ing alphabet.  I then said with much disdain and aggression in my voice ‘that when men start taking over periods and childbirth, then they can have something as simple and gender-neutral as the alphabet too.”**
 
So for any of you ladies reading this, I strongly urge you to stop using male words for the alphabet.  Give those hairy, power-obsessed, dictating, greedy bastards a swift kick in their male-tacos and roar “ENOUGH.  We are tired of being put down and pushed around.  Give us our fair share.  And while you are at it, quit scratching your balls in public.”
 
 **By the way when I told that to my co-worker she almost fell out of her chair from laughter
This post's pun courtesy of the interwebs: An elevator makes ghosts happy because it lifts the spirits.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Are you living a happy life?


I have wanted to write this post for some time now.  I feared three problems – which were: I did not know where I wanted to take this, what point I wanted to make (if any) or how to bring it to a nice thought-provoking end.  Thing is, I still don’t know any of this; however, I have decided to not let these difficulties stop me any longer.  So I am going to take a stab at this and see how it turns out. (Fingers crossed with a shot of vodka courage!)

For a long time now I have been thinking about life and more specifically, being happy in life.  I don’t know if these thoughts are due to a rising maturity level on the age and emotional fronts, gaining a little bit of wisdom (hopefully) or because, being that I consider myself to be a late-bloomer, I finally feel more like the kind of grown-up I always thought adults were.  But my biggest question is this – how many people, when they reach their deathbeds, are really and truly happy with the lives they lead?  And for this post, I am only thinking of people who may know that death is knocking on their doors, and they may have some time to reflect upon their lives.  People who are suddenly overcome with death and don’t have this time of reflection, for the sake of not muddying the waters of this post, I am going to respectfully disregard. 

A couple of years ago, one of our close friends introduced us to a documentary about an extended family living in the hills of Virginia; I think the name of it was “The family name of White County.” Or it could be “The Whites of _____ County.”   By this time I have long forgotten the family name or county.  But the documentary filmed this family over an extended period of time trying to capture the essence of them and understand their way of life.  This family was dirt poor; had nothing, came from nothing and probably would leave with nothing but this documentary as any kind of legacy.  Their homes were run-down shacks for the most part; probably more than half their cars were beyond any use to a junk yard, and there is no telling if many of them had a high school education.  I only watched about 30 minutes of footage because I could not stomach it.  I do not think I am ‘high and mighty’ or better than them; but the whole time I watched that short piece of footage, I was thinking something along the lines of ‘how can they live like that?; is this really how they want to live their lives; and do any of them want to better themselves or have a real fighting chance of making something of themselves?’  I was incredibly disturbed by their way of life and how they survived.  I could not comprehend how they could live as they did, and, seemingly in my mind, that possibly no one tried to break the horrific, hopeless, utterly miserable cycle of not becoming a productive, contributing member of society, their family or even to themselves.  But in the end, was that kind of lifestyle they most wanted out of life?  Did they not know they could hope for better?  Did they even want better? 

And then I see people who try multiple times to find real true love – their one and only.  For these, do they ultimately not mind the not-so-good times/years, heart ache and bad relationships (assuming they had some of those) once they do find the right person – the person with whom they love spending the rest of their lives?  Do they see those upsetting/frustrating/hurtful times as the path they had to take to find their soul-mate?  To not only learn what kind of person they are, but to learn the type of person they want to be with for better or worse, forsaking all others?  Did someone like, for example, Elizabeth Taylor find some kind of pleasure with her first 7 husbands; were there good times to be had by her with them?  Did she find some happiness with them?

Then sometimes I look at people on whom great misfortune and terrible fate has befallen.  The people who are homeless or may be on the verge of becoming homeless.  There are probably numerous reasons people find themselves in these situations, and for now I am not going to speculate because I cannot begin to comprehend what they are struggling against and experiencing.  But in the end, do they have any happy, wonderful memories to cling to; any hope to hold dear or any times to recall having something to live for?

What about people who seemingly have it all?  Those with plenty of money to burn, prestige, and luxuries beyond compare?    If they are missing true love and the heart-filling joy that brings, do they feel a hole in their hearts?  Can they say unequivocally that they are happy and joyful?  I know the saying quite well – “money doesn’t buy happiness,” – but I am sure these people try incredibly hard hundreds of times.  But in the end, after constantly worrying about getting more/keeping their money, trying to fill an aching void with stuff, do they know or seek the one thing that cannot be purchased by money that may make them whole and wholly at peace?  *For this I am entirely speculating.  I in no way know what this lifestyle would be like.    ;-)

Then you have to consider the ones who accept great career opportunities, some of which may require them to move.  The move may be only a few dozen miles or it might be a couple thousand.  What about them?  Are they moving to place where they can be happy and less stressed, maybe even no longer miserable?  What about those that may have been at a job for a short period of time and found themselves to be unhappy and dispirited?  What if they were stressing and struggling, trying to make certain goals and numbers just to ensure a larger commission?  And then, for these particular people, a tremendous opportunity came along that would remove the stress and need to work for commission and they took it, which ultimately gives them a better quality of life?  If they did not take this great opportunity, would they regret it for the rest of their lives?  Some I know would say unequivocally and emphatically YES. 

Where would one be if one did not open the door, at least sometimes, when opportunity knocks?  How far would one fall down the rabbit hole before surfacing for air and life?  Not just a life, but a happy one?  Yes, I know that I am using ‘happy’ many times in this post, but isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?  There is so much to this world, countless things to learn and experience and a plethora of people to meet; I feel these could add so much value to one’s life.

People find happiness through different means.  For some that means living a life to serve others; for some that means raising a family; for some that means traveling the world and learning about different cultures; for some that means having a career to be proud of; or even a combination of all or some of the above.  And the list goes on and on and on. 

One thing I believe ultimately is that you have to live your life in a way you can be happy with.  I will not use the now defunct/sarcastic phrase “YOLO”.  But its true, original meaning I think still applies.  My belief is ‘you only get one shot on this merry-go-round so you better make it count.’  There might be some people who feel they have to live a life trying desperately, in maybe a financially idiotic way, trying to please others and appease someone else’s sense of ‘well I think this is how you should live’ attitude.  But why???  Why try to live up to someone else’s standards that may go against your core values/beliefs or make you live a life that is dissatisfying and not genuine to yourself and your beliefs?   At this stage in my life, I don’t think one should live up to someone else’s philosophy.  Just because something works for them, doesn’t mean it works for you.  (Side note of appeal – if you are in a relationship, then you must of course listen to that person, value them and their opinions/beliefs, respect them and try to do what is right for both of you and learn the art of compromise.  Relationships are not a one-way street.)

I don’t want to live a life and then when I get to be 100yo (wishful thinking) think ‘I wish I had done more.’  I feel like I am pretty well on the path to not feeling that way.  I have done things I have longed to do and hopefully with more time, I will fulfill more of my goals.  This is probably a statement that may be upsetting to others, but I don’t think one should feel bad for taking an opportunity that moves them away from family or friends.  This goes back to my belief of ‘doing what is best for you, doing what makes you happy and not closing doors on opportunities just because it might upset people.’

I recently bought and displayed a small flag that hangs below our mail box that perfectly and succinctly sums up what I am saying here.  It simple reads “Enjoy life.”

 

**I don’t know if this will encourage or upset people, but I feel much better getting off my chest and putting it out there.  At the very least, I hope for understanding.**

 

Today’s pun: Did you hear about the ATM with money problems?  It was having withdrawals. ;-)

 

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Life Update


So you all have probably not been anxiously waiting on the edge of your seats to read my latest post.  But I would like to think maybe the great time span since my last post has made you wonder, if only briefly, when another one would come along.  Well folks, here it is!

I feel that I have a really good reason for not writing in so long, I have been really BUSY.   Sounds like a clich├ęd excuse I know but ....... hubby and I MOVED – to another state!!  We moved to North Carolina – about 45 minutes from Charlotte.  February and March were crazy months for us; February was the craziest though – such a whirlwind it was! Hubby and I both found jobs, found a house to rent and moved.  Whew, seemingly so much was accomplished in a short time span.  March did slow down some for us, though not by much. 

The reason for our move was that hubby had a good job/career opportunity come up and after much deliberation, he went for it.  He is not one to excitedly anticipate change, especially a change as life-altering as moving and kind of beginning again.  But he faced his fears and experienced a Freedom Opportunity! (see post about FOs here)  His new job is still in the IT industry but he has different roles and so far seems to be enjoying it. I was quite proud of him for taking the plunge and accepting this great opportunity.

So about a week after he accepted this new position, I found a job too!  With another insurance agent.  Then about 2 weeks after that, we signed a lease on a house for rent and followed that up with hiring a moving company to move the up here the last Thursday of February.  So hubby and I effectively had 2 week days off before starting our new jobs.  We have now been at our new jobs for 5 full weeks and we like them and the people. 

We really love our new house in a quiet little neighborhood.  I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to no longer have neighbors connected by walls, a floor and ceiling.  Just to have room to breathe and move around without worrying about disturbing others (or being disturbed by others) is so very nice.  We have a nice back deck, lovely front and back yards and trees around us.  Hubby is beyond thrilled that he has a place to grill again.  I mean so thrilled and excited that on our 2nd full day of being here, we went and bought a grill.  He has already had to go buy a 2nd bag of charcoal!  The food coming from it is delicious!   As far as the backyard is concerned, Otto absolutely relishes it.  When we get home, he immediately goes to the back door whining and begging to be let out so he can romp, play, run and roll in the grass.  Or lay on the deck.  He really delights in being outside.

Also, we are back in the country now; no more city living.  All of us take pleasure in that fact.  It is calm and relaxing out here.  The two things that were a little difficult getting accustomed to was that there are no deliveries of food here and we cannot walk to any restaurants.  We are at least 7 miles from the nearest town.  But it is so pretty out here.  Yesterday when it was really quiet, while sitting on the deck I could hear cows from a nearby pasture mooing.  That made me smile.  J

So anyway, there are still are a few more boxes to unpack, hopefully those will be finished in the next few days.  But for the most part we are settled in.  As hubby says this is the best decision we have made in a long time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Time


Wow I cannot believe we are 2 months into 2014 already.  Where has 2013 gone?  In fact where have the past few years gone?  As I get older, the faster time flies no matter how many good or troubling times might enter my life.  Or any person’s life for that matter.  Time definitely seems to begin flying at light speed once you hit 30; at least that is how it seems to me.  (Though I turned 30 a couple of years ago.)  When I was in my 20’s, and especially during my teenage years, time c-r-a-w-l-e-d by; I don’t think I really understood the concept of time during childhood.  All I really understood about time then was when school began and ended.  Christmas break was always a special and fun time for me – we had about 2 weeks of school break, and I was incredibly happy.

Now that I am older (though I definitely do not feel my age), I have a better feel and understanding for time and how quickly it passes.  I sometime buttheads with time and its persistence in passing by so quickly because I feel that it needs to give me more, well, time.  ;-)  There is so much I want to do – whether boring, responsible things or having fun life-well-lived experiences – but I find it difficult to get it all accomplished at least in a ‘timely-manner.’  **looks like I am well sticking to my theme.  ;-) **

I know I am not the only one who feels that way; people have probably felt this way since human existence began and will continue on until humans exist no more.  Hoping for more time will never end just like people’s dreams and hopes.

All I can hope for is that I make the most of what time I have – use it wisely, but also have some fun along the way, enjoy myself and make sure that I will be satisfied with all that I have done and accomplished when my time ends. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let The Water....

Let the water rush over you
Feel the rain upon your skin
Feel the wind buffet you

You are free, from you calmness pours
Your arms open, spread wide
Like an eagle, you feel you can soar

Upon these grass covered hills, you see the rivers below
Close your eyes now, dream of serenity
The wind and rain help your radiance to grow

Suddenly it all stops, the wind and rain
Your arms close around you in great embrace
A smile becomes your face, a true inner-peace, no pain

(My attempt at a poem. Hope you liked.)