December 16, 2011

Friday Frustration: I got nothin'

It would appear that my thought to share a gripe a week with my readers was ill-thought out. Either that or for as crabby as I was last week, the pendulum has swung the other way this week.

I am in such an unbelievably good mood. I saw a darling cartoon this morning that captures my mood perfectly. I am dancing with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

On a hunch last night, I got to thinking about a favorite teacher of mine from over 30 years ago. She was elderly then, and so I wondered if she was still alive. I did a quick search and found out not only is she still alive, but she's active with a Senior group in her hometown. I sent her a note and Christmas card today. I wonder if she'll remember me as well as I remember her?

Then, this morning, right after I made a professional vow to change how I work in 2012, a friend of mine told me about a job opportunity that could be a perfect fit.

It's been that sort of a day. I finished reading a book written by a friend of mine that filled me with joy and gratitude. Michele Gianetti's book, I Believe in You: A Mother and Daughter's Special Journey is a personal account of her daughter who has dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder. Her chronicle of the love she has for her family and the path they've traveled is nothing short of amazing. I'm so proud of her for sharing her family with the world.

Tonight is my daughter's birthday party. In the past, I've always had a "themed" party which meant special decorations, food, games, and weeks of planning. She announced to me that she just wants to have her friends over and have pizza and snacks and fun. At first I was a bit disappointed, but today, I realized what a gift she gave me. The gift of simplifying my life. I keep thinking I'm forgetting something, but really, it's just that it's that simple. Thank you, sweetheart!

Tomorrow we're joining dear friends for dinner to celebrate the holidays. I cherish the ties that were forged when our children were young and have remained in place through moves and school changes. Then the weekend wraps up with a special Live Nativity performance at our church. Camels, sheep, cattle, angels, shepherds, and of course Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Yeah, to anyone who is bah-humbug-ing?  Dare you to look at that cartoon and still frown.

Have a wonderful FANTASTIC Friday and rest of the weekend.

December 9, 2011

CSI Santa

This is the time of year when the Santa skeptics are abound. It only takes a whisper on the bus from another child or a bold announcement in the lunch line to plant the seeds of doubt in the shining eyes of your innocent one.

We've done some pretty wild things to keep the belief in Santa alive. Santa wrapping paper was hidden away and only used for Santa's gifts. We nibbled cookies and drank milk under duress, and we even put on big boots and left foot prints in the snow. My own parents knocked a log out of the fireplace onto the family room floor. I can remember coming home from midnight church certain I had seen Santa's sleigh in the sky, watching for any evidence of his travels. 

One of the most magical Christmas surprises I had was when we didn't have a tree up yet on Christmas Eve, and while we were at church, my aunt and uncle came over and put one up and decorated it for us, leaving a special note from Santa's Elves promising that he would be back after we went to bed. 
When my girls were little, the first year we had our dog, they were afraid he would bark when Santa came in, so they took his crate up into the older one's bedroom and slept together in the same bed to ensure they kept the dog quiet so Santa would still visit. 

There is a certain joy to be had in keeping the magic alive for a child and adult alike. One of the things my girls never knew was that I caught Santa. You see, I was so impressed with their plan that special year, that I decided to sneak into the bedroom and snap a photo of them sleeping. Apparently, Santa was impressed with their plan also, as he paused to smile for me. 

The company I CAUGHT SANTA is graciously offering FIVE of our readers a free photo. There are 20 Santa poses to choose from and you can upload any picture you wish. See the site for some cute ideas. To receive a code for a free photo ($9.99 value), simply comment on this blog post (not on the Facebook page) sharing a special Santa memory and then like I CAUGHT SANTA CLAUS on Facebook.  

The company also has other characters for skeptics everywhere. Offer proof and charm fellow believers. We will select the 5 winners on December 18th at midnight, EST. Winners will be contacted the 19th with a code for their photo.

If you cannot wait until the drawing,  I CAUGHT SANTA has a 25% discount code for Fresh Daily Bread's readers. Just enter SAVE25 at the checkout!

Ho, ho, ho... MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Friday Frustration: with all due respect

I wanted to call today's post Friday Pet Peeve, but I'm a bit obsessed with alliteration. I considered Friday Flame, but figured that may conjure the wrong image. I intend to make this a regular feature on this blog in an attempt to jumpstart some creativity. So without further ado, today's pet peeve. 

Prefacing a statement of disagreement using the phrase with all due respect is one of my biggest pet peeves (Believe me, I have plenty! So many that I hope to fill a year of Fridays).  The need to use such a phrase underscores a prior lack of respect. It's as if the speaker is qualifying the fact that they don't normally exercise respect when speaking. I liken it to when someone has to tell me they are smart or classy or talented. I hope such traits are obvious enough to not require announcement.

When I carry on a conversation with another person, I treat them with respect. As tempting as it may be to say "it's a two way street", respect is a one way street and I choose to lead the way. If someone were going the wrong way on a one way street, I wouldn't careen forward to prove I was going the right way. I would move to the side.

In keeping with that tone, when someone I am talking to shows a lack of respect, I do not follow suit. I continue to speak with respect. If the conversation escalates, I simply remove myself from it. But whenever I hear the phrase with all due respect I bristle. It's like an asterisk that the rest of the conversation didn't take place from a place of respect.

Are there any words or phrases that rub you the wrong way?

December 5, 2011

A Novice Guide to Train Wrecks

Or rubbernecking or however we choose to define those moments when the momentum of a vehicle carrying someone to a destination careens out of control. We adopt the vernacular of "train wreck" as a code word for "I'm gonna stare".

I admit, when folks do things I don't expect? I stare. I am riveted. And even when they've indoctrinated me into their unexpected behavior? I still watch, curious if they can keep it going.

True dat. Or Beast. Or maybe Booyah. I'm borrowing the most current slang I hear my teenagers use in attempt to keep my commentary as relevant and timely as possible. I may be messing up the slang. I am actually giggling that I typed such words. My goodness, it's amazing what we do to be heard.

For every person muttering that they Do.Not.Do.That., I contend someone else +2 is muttering how much that is them. You see? Train wreck is only if you get off course. Train wreck has no basis in the folks who somehow or another manage to bullet forward without mishap. So it's about the gamble. How much can we  push it before we wreck?

How far can we go?

Crazy as it sounds? I think this is exactly what defines the American dream. This is the dynamic that pushes us towards the ridiculous. The impetus to behave in a way that is out of the norm, but with the hope that someone will agree and endorse you.

Each time you find yourself unable to turn away? Ask yourself ... Why? and if you can answer it? tell me. Let the world know why you're watching. What keeps your eyes on a Train Wreck?


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