Thursday, December 31

Another New Beginning...

"What the New Year brings to you will depend
a great deal on what you bring to the New Year."

Vern McLellan

While we make our New Years' resolutions with true determination to stick with what we want and know we can achieve, remember that our resolutions' success or failure do not define who we are. We are defined by our actions.

Please join me in this coming year to strive to be kinder, more giving, to laugh more and cry less and to live life to the fullest no matter what the circumstance. Remember that to have a friend, you must be a friend....and to you, my friends, I wish you all a Happy & Healthy 2010!

Friday, December 25

Like snowflakes
floating gently,
to earth,
small kindnesses
touch our lives.
First one, and then another
and another,
until at last the world is
bright and shining
with goodwill.
and once again...
it's Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22

Holiday Hoopla

As much as I love this time of year and all of the good things it brings, and even though I promise myself every year that I will be ready in plenty of time, it never works out that way. Shouldn't be all that hard...Christmas is the same date every year, the date doesn't change...don't know why I can't get it together.

But...beyond that, I am fine and I do so appreciate those that are keeping watch over me ;)

Holiday Hoopla: 12 Random Things About Me and Christmas.

1. The neighborhood I grew up in was a new neighborhood when we moved there and I was just 5 years old. The people next door became my second family and we did everything together, including holidays. They were (and still are) Jewish. One of my favorite memories is of the two boys coming over to help us decorate the tree. This was huge for them and we all had an exact number of ornaments to hang, and my Mom just let them do whatever they wanted. Then we always had some kind of cookies or cake and we would turn off all of the living room lights and just sit and look at the tree. She would usually re-do just about all of it (even mine) but for all of us, it meant the kick off of the Christmas season.


2. The story goes that when I was 3 years old, I woke Mommy & Daddy and told them that I had heard Santa's reindeer on the roof. Now, this has been repeated so many times that I am not sure if I actually remember this happening or not. But, to this day, my Mom will ask "Do you beleive in Santa?" and I will answer "No". "Then who was on the roof?" she asks....and I always answer "Santa". She loves it.


3. I have a pretty big Christmas pin collection. Most are handmade, but I've been lucky enough to score some wonderful vintage pins...and earrings to match. They are some of my favorite things.


4. From the time I was very small all the way through High School, we always went to Midnight Candlelight Service. They passed candles to everyone with those round paper holders to catch the dripping wax. I always wanted to sit in the balcony, so I could look down on the candles when they were lit. One year, my sister was in the Nativity Play and at the end when the kids were all singing she yelled out, "Happy Birthday, Jesus!". Amen.


5. There are so many great Christmas movies, but my absolute favorite (and it isn't Christmas 'til I get a chance to watch it) is the 1953 version of "A Christmas Carol" with Alistair Sim. Those old black & white movies with crappy special effects are magical to me.


6. When my daughter was in kindergarten, her very brave teacher put together a holiday program for the parents. Everyone was made to feel so special and given some very important job to do. The responsibility must have been too much for this one kid named Ryan..he went nuts at the end of the last song and knocked over the tree and kicked the head off of the snowman. This was a signal to all the rest of them to throw the cotton ball snow at each other and run all over the stage like maniacs.


7. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that we love Alaska. After our first trip, I just couldn't shut up about going again and The Hub gave me a Christmas surprise! He puts a stack of 4 boxes in front of me and says I must open them in that order. The first is a pair of ear-muffs. Now, I had also been yakking about a trip to New England so I thought those were a clue for that. The next box was an 8x10 picture of Mt. Mckinley, covered in snow and the words "We're Going Back!!" across the front. The next box was a small photo album with pictures of all the things that we were scheduled to do on our winter tour...see the Iditarod, ride in a sleigh, ride a snowmobile, stay in a log cabin etc. And, in the last box was a list of all of the clothes we needed to get together to accomodate -30 degree weather! Great surprise. Great trip. Great Hub.


8. When I was 8 years old, one of my gifts from Santa was a wedding dress and everything a bride needs to get married right away..including those high heel shoes that were made of some kind of glittery, clear plastic that clacked on the floor like real high heels and stayed on your feet with 2 elastic strips, like 2 big rubber bands. It just so happened that my best friend Judy also got the same set and we made a deal that we would both wear our new high heels to church. My Mom went along with stuff like that, but Judy's Mom didn't. Ah yes, I clacked all over the sanctuary...just me, not Judy. Just me.


9. I spent several Christmas holidays as a single Mom and lights and decorations are quite exciting to a little girl. The Daughter was about 3 years old and I was desperately searching for something to do that was close to home and didn't cost too much money. About 1/2 mile from our house was a very nice neighborhood that was always done up in tons of lights and each evening, cars would just be lining the streets to look at everything. It started as a drive by, but one night we stopped and got out to walk around and things were never the same. The owners would hand out candy canes and they had all kinds of moving decorations...way before anyone really did that kind of stuff. Anyway...we were there, just the two of us, every single night until they took the decorations down. And this became our tradition...we were there for the next 5 or 6 years each Thanksgiving night when they turned them on for the first time and every night after, until they took them down for the year.


10. One of my biggest dreams is to visit New York City at holiday time. I want to see the big tree, see the Rockette's, see the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center and see the department store windows. I can't explain my interest in all of this...but, it's something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember.


11. My Dad passed away, very unexpectedly, a long time ago...25 years. Sometimes it seems like forever and sometimes it seems like last week. His favorite Christmas song was "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and it reduces me to tears every time I hear it. I was in the grocery store and it began to play and I began to cry. I miss him everyday but I really miss him at Christmas time.


12. Dad loved to drive around and look at everyone's Christmas lights. I don't know if people that have snow do this, but here in the South, it used to be a very big deal. I mean we would even plan dinner so that we could be out in the car just after dark. He tried to drive in different areas, but he always included the 3-4 blocks closest to our house. We just drove very slowly and took it all in. I don't know of anyone that does this anymore.


Wishing all of my dear friends the Happiest of Holidays!

Saturday, December 5

Fun Family Plans Today

This Holiday Season is moving too fast!! I keep thinking I am way ahead of the game, but I am just kidding myself.. :)

But, we are taking kids and grandkids out for a magical day, and we are just as excited as they are! Everyone is headed out to see Trans Siberian Orchestra...yes, I said "everyone"...all 15 of us!

Just in case you aren't familiar with this show, here's a quick re-cap:

"The band's concert performances continue to surprise their loyal fan base with a combination of the arena rock spectacles of Pink Floyd and the musicality of Queen. TSO's music first approach, the music is first created and then the very best vocalist and musicians are sought from the classical, rock, broadway and R & B worlds, facillitates a cross pollination of musical ideas-creating hybrid forms of music which allow the rock operas to glitter in ways even the creators could not predict.

Billboard magazine praises TSO's winter tour as a "rock extravaganza that incorporates elaborate staging, metal mixed with Christmas Carols and dazzling visuals," while calling the group a winter stable. With it's timeless message, a sound that offers something for everyone, and audiences that cross all generational divides, TSO has become something that must-be-seen-to-be-believed."

Basically, what they are saying is that it's very loud and very bright. Even though The Hub and I are fans of this, I am thinking that a whole show of lasers, lights, fire and such will be a bit over the top (it's not Rick Springfield, for crying out loud)...but, whatever...the kids and grandkids are just beyond excited and that's what this is all about.

Followed by a big group dinner at The Olive Garden...a favorite for everyone.

Hope you all are enjoying the season...have a wonderful weekend, dear friends!