Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

Christmas Zen

We’re all in a festive holiday mood around here. Bonus Baby merrily ripped open all the wrapped presents her sister had bought at Santa’s Workshop for us that we foolishly placed under the Christmas tree.  Bonus Child was focused on torturing me all day, putting her cold feet and hands all over me and deliberately blocking my view of the computer screen.  She claims she’s certain I’m not getting her the kid’s laptop that she wants for Christmas and she’s mad at me for that.  And Big Daddy’s singing Christmas Carols.  After the Red Cross rejected him when he went to give blood Saturday because his blood pressure was so high he was about to burst, he came home singing in his finest baritone voice, “I’ll be deeaad for Christmas…” Funny guy!

Despite all the everyday hustle and bustle, torture and annoyances, I still haven’t been fired up enough about anything to post a rant lately, although I came really close after Black Friday shopping.  So I’m wondering, have I reached the end of the line?  And I’m not talking about the blogging thing…I’m talking about my life line.  You know how they say we’re here for a purpose…to work things out…to grow and change?  And now it seems I’m so zen about things,  so uncharacteristically mature and calm about things that would have sent me through the roof not so long ago, that maybe I’m the one who should be singing that Christmas tune.  Have I worked out all the kinks in my psyche??

For instance, I was reading a post by my brilliant hilarious blog friend Robin who was suffering some angst over her teenaged son’s somewhat slacker ways.  This brought back so many memories of my own endless struggles with my Oldest Son’s apparent willingness to just “get by.”  I pleaded.  I yelled.  I bribed.  I stressed.  But still…he was content to work well below his awesome potential all through school.  I bought him planners and organizers to teach him how to remember to turn in assignments and pay his bills on time.  Still, he ended up losing his full tuition scholarship and frequently paid ridiculous credit card late fees, not because he didn’t have the money, but because he “forgot” to open his mail or write a check.  I stressed.  I agonized.  I pleaded.  He usually took the path of least resistance and took out loans or paid for classes with his own funds rather than go through the paperwork hassle of using his GI bill benefits that he earned by risking his life in Iraq.   I nagged.  I begged.  I foamed at the mouth.  But now that he’s moved out, found a young lady who is happy to take care of marry him, I’ve just learned to let go.  Even when he still gets overdue bills sent to the house.  Even though I’m pretty sure he’s screwing up his classes.  I have finally learned to just take a deep breath and let go.

Then there’s mom.  She used to really push my buttons.  She doesn’t try to do this.  It’s just the way she’s wired.  But it used to piss me off soooo bad.  Here’s a scenario my sis texted me yesterday…substitute her sweet smart daughter–she really is one of the good kids–for my three generally well-behaved sons–and it’s a classic mom soliloquy:

Fourteen year-old niece was going to a formal Christmas dance with her super-nice clean-cut boyfriend wearing heels that mom deems too high and grown-up.  Mom is clueless about these things.  But for weeks she’s railed about these shoes and and how slutty they look.  Sis invited mom over to see how cute lovely niece looked for the dance.  She immediately goes into Sis’s dining room and focuses on the mini blind the dog cracked trying to fix it, then she starts in on the heels, the length of the dress and the pouf it has (I saw it–it’s adorable), how it looks all bunched in the back, BLAH BLAH BLAH, then she starts railing on about the TV show they had on about brides wanting plastic surgery and when niece tries to explain it she cuts her off, then start ragging about Sis not having any decorations on her tree yet because her girls didn’t feel like decorating (like really, who does?) and calling her girls the laziest people God ever made (I told Sis I thought it was my boys that were the laziest because they didn’t hang their jackets up when mom came to visit) and that my sister should have MADE them do it and she should be ashamed etc. etc. etc.  and I just sat here and had to laugh (and sympathize) with poor sis because I’ve lived that scenario so many times…and it finally doesn’t bother me anymore.

Have I mellowed out?  Am I just too old to care?  Or did I finally grow up?  I don’t have it figured out just yet.  But I plan to enjoy the holidays with this new found inner peace.

Merry Christmas, all!

Green is for Forest Critters

I don’t believe in wasting anything.  I have leftover night every week so we don’t waste food.  We are fairly good about recycling.  We have a compost pile that turns our excess yard and kitchen waste into veggie-sprouting garden soil.  It’s just wrong to use the wonderful resources of the planet irresponsibly.  But…after about 2 million years on the planet, you can’t expect us to go back to living in caves and picking fleas off each other.

I’m not even going to get political about environmentalism.  It’s a good thing to think green.  You don’t have to believe the greed-mongers pushing cap-and-trade or the green fanatics fudging data about global temperatures to want to treat our world gently.  But we were put on this planet to live.  And we just don’t live like bears in the woods anymore.

I may not be the tidiest person in the world, but I need to be clean.  That means I will not wash my laundry in cold water, unless it’s a delicate load that specifically requires it.  Any person who expects me to do their laundry will use enough toilet paper so that they don’t leave skid marks on their dirty undies, even if the eco-czars frown on it.  I want to clean my kitchen with germ-killing bleaches and run the temperature boost  on my dishwasher’s hot water setting.  It may save something by not flushing the toilet frequently, but I don’t want to smell urine cooking all day in unflushed toilets, nor did I allow my boys to pee au natural in the outdoors, unless we were stuck somewhere without a port-a-john.  Our pampered evolutionary-weakened bodies would not allow us to survive too well living like we did thousands of years ago.

The ever-so-green magazine, Alternative Consumer, had an article on how to spend a “freegan Christmas.”  Can you say “cheap and totally devoid of life, fun, or joy?”  Let’s all grab some paper bags and make a tree mural, and color in some ornaments with Sharpies.  It doesn’t need to be very big since there won’t be many presents, and the few that are there will be sitting in yet another recycled paper bag.  No colored wrapping paper, no pretty cards, no glowing lights.  Yeah, that sounds like a fun holiday for the kiddies.

I’m planning on spending the next few days like the socialized secular American consumer that I am.  I still need to decorate the artificial tree we just set up today.  I have a few more goodies to buy for the Christmas stockings.  I’m going to arrange my lovely Christmas cards around the family room.  I’ll feel slightly shallow like the rest of you overindulgers, but I’ll enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of my family members.  It’s only once a year.  Merry Christmas to all you who celebrate it!

What a Grinch Needs

You may gasp, or shake your heads, but I’ll be completely honest here.  Holidays are pretty much a pain in the butt.  They’re extra work; traditions created to induce massive spending and contrived to evoke fake holiday cheer.  Bah humbug!

I’ve never completely fallen in lock-step.  If the weather is pleasant and I’m not feeling lazy, I may get in the mood to decorate outside.  It’s a rare occasion that I bake  Christmas cookies, but I’ll happily eat any sent my way.  I finally talked hubby into getting a fake tree last year, but I don’t have any immediate plans of putting it up yet.  I’m getting tired of having people ask me what I want this year, because I don’t want to think that hard.  I’m starting to feel a knot in my stomach because I’ve only just started my online shopping for hubby and the kids, and only one of the kids has given me any kind of list.  Oldest son keeps saying that he really doesn’t want or need anything.  He’s dead serious.  He’s the most non-materialistic person in the world.  But I’m a mother, for God’s sake.  Even though I don’t buy into this game, there is no way a child of mine is not going to have some nice exciting things to open Christmas morning!

Once again, nobody knows what to buy my mother.  She’ll get the same assortment of gift cards we’ve all decided would be the most appreciated gift for her on her fixed income.  Then we’ll wonder if she really remembers to use them.

This whole deal is starting to become a little forced and humdrum to me.  It used to be a little more exciting (although a lot more exhausting) when the kids were little.  We had fun being sneaky, staying up late, sipping wine and waiting until the kids were finally asleep to load the presents under the tree.  No one could get up and look at the presents until we all were awake.  Then Big Daddy and I would load up on coffee and take pictures amid the excited shouts and squeals of delight.  It was so much easier to buy toys!

On Friday, I sent out the final bits of information, complete with a required family photo and brief letter to a potential child, to the foster care agency where we’ve applied.  There was a lot of paperwork involved, which really makes me wonder how some kids end up in crappy homes.  They check everything.  If I’ve really succeeded in not forgetting to send everything, we could actually get a call soon for a final walk-through of our home.  I’m not even sure if this is possible, but I’ve started thinking it might be fun to have a rugrat here for Christmas.  I’m thrilled to death to have my three big wonderful sons here with us on Christmas, but the real magic of Christmas is in the eyes of a young child, who has absolutely no idea what Santa may have brought.  I think we’d all get a kick out of it!

Room for one more?

Merry Christmas, EVERYONE

My boss and his family do not celebrate Christmas.  It is not a part of their religion.  However, when people come to the office during the holiday season and wish them a Merry Christmas, they do not get offended.  They smile and accept the good wishes sent their way.  They graciously accept the tray of Christmas cookies sent up from our good neighbor, the bank downstairs.

People in the USA have taken the political correctness thing to extremes.  We’re afraid to say anything for fear of offending someone.  We walk on eggshells sometimes worrying about whether we may hurt someone’s feelings when we’re actually hurting ourselves by overthinking our own words and actions.

When people wish others a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, they are merely spreading the goodwill of the season.  Christmas means a lot of different things to different people.  For those that have grown up celebrating it, the holiday evokes happy memories for many of them.  For some, the birth of a Savior gives them hope.  Others recall the warmth and joy of holidays spent with loved ones.  Pretty lights and Christmas carols take the edge off a sometimes cold and heartless world.

We just want to pass the joy along.  When I happen to wish someone a Merry Christmas, I’m not assuming that they celebrate it the same way I do.  I don’t know or care.  I’m just passing along the spirit of the season, sharing good thoughts to another member of the human family.  I’m assuming you’ll be alive on December 25th and hoping that the day will be a good one for you.

There’s no reason to take offense.  Just accept the good thoughts and be happy that YOU will not be spending the rest of your winter paying off holiday debts, working out to shed those extra pounds, or sweeping up pine needles out of your carpet.

Christmas Time at the Slackers

I talked to Middle Son J on the phone the other day.  I don’t remember saying anything all that inspirational, but he texted me later and said he felt better after talking to me.  J is stuck in Germany for the holidays, courtesy of the US Army.  Being in Germany might be a wonderful thing sometimes, but when it’s Christmastime, it’s usually nicer to be home with friends and family.

I think J might be missing us a little.  I know we’re missing him a lot.  But Christmas with us isn’t necessarily as special as one might remember.  In fact, it’s pretty much same old, same old with a little added forgetfulness and laziness.

On an ordinary good day when the sun is shining, we border on lazy.  At Christmas, it’s worse.  We finally got our new Martha Stewart artificial tree up on the 19th, but it’s still not decorated.  Thank goodness for those little white lights already on it, and the pretty ornaments Sheri got us this year.  We haven’t gotten around to digging the rest of the ornaments out of the basement.   Every time I think about doing that, I then think about how I’m going to have to pack them all back up again in a week or two.  Saps the life right out of me.

I was going to take a picture of the undecorated tree to post here so J could see that it really is a very pretty tree, even naked as it is.  Big Daddy even admitted that it’s not so bad.  But I don’t remember where the camera is.

I wrapped my first three presents just this morning so I could drop them off at Mom’s after Youngest Son’s eye appointment.  Of course, we were late for the appointment and I had to borrow mom’s tape when we got to her house to finish wrapping her presents.  I’ll be danged if I was going to have to go out in the cold again for ANYTHING.

It’s so cold here the schools all had a 2 hour delay this morning.  It actually hurts to step outside.  There’s certainly nothing to miss about that!  We’re still the same slugs we always are.  We still lounge around in front of the TV stuffing our faces, except now the goodies are even more fattening, like the tray full of Christmas cookies Big Daddy bought last week.  When the phone rings, we still all yell, “Not It,” so that we don’t have to get off our lazy butts to answer it.  (Last guy to yell “Not It” has to get the phone).  One night, Big Daddy jumped up saying “It could be J.” and ran to the phone.  But he had already lost the game anyways so it was his turn to get it.

Just as I started writing this post (to put off making dinner), I heard a little “Woof” coming from outside.  I’m thinking that it sounded like Sky but I’m hoping it’s not.  It’s freezing outside.  The guys have been downstairs lifting weights for a good 15 minutes or more and I just got up from snoozing on my lounge chair.  I looked out on the porch and there was poor pup, dying to come back in out of the cold.  Big Daddy had put her out to pee and forgot about her.  She’s fine, but she ran around full speed for a minute then finally settled in front of the fireplace.  Poor little Pupsicle.

I think we got all the packages you sent us, J.  I hope you get the ones we sent you before Christmas.  We’ll be thinking about you.


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