Yes, it's a commercial. But what is it with this time of the year, Red Balloons and a bit of kindness? You can't help but be warmed by the faces in this ad...
Yes, it's a commercial. But what is it with this time of the year, Red Balloons and a bit of kindness? You can't help but be warmed by the faces in this ad...
Wrote this for my Writers’ Group Christmas Party tonight–an unusual memory perhaps, but a memory nonetheless:
What was I thinking? My conscious has been niggling at me lately and it is about an adventure I had in fourth year at university. I have not always been the lovely person you are accustomed to, and every now and then a flash of that earlier feisty, perhaps a little selfish and superficial personality shows its rather unlovely self…. but not too often.
I remember the days when life was about me, me, me. And many of my friends were the same. It was not like we were horrible people—we were just single kids in our early twenties who had to find an outlet for our energy after studying our brains out for mid-terms.
We lived in residence but since we were seniors we got to live in the residence that had apartments—with four room-mates sharing accommodations. And it was boys and girls living down the hall from each other—which was a real change from separate residences, where the boys had to be “signed in” at the front desk before being allowed upstairs.
In real life, we were no longer boys and girls, we were men and women—but being at school we were not challenged by the responsibilities of mortgages, and keeping our homes respectable, and paying bills other than our tuition, books and housing. Many of us were still supported somewhat by parents, loans, and summer jobs. So maybe we can be forgiven for our dastardly deed.
It was Christmas and we were in the midst of finishing up final papers and studying for finals. The guys down the hall had a Christmas tree, and I and my roommates thought that having one would brighten up our spirits and apartment. So we asked them where they got their tree. They told us they had swiped it from a mall a couple of miles away. Someone had set up a tree kiosk and was selling the trees in the parking lot. They had all piled into an old 71 Chevy and secured a tree—but really what they had done was stalk the lot after midnight and stolen the tree when no one was there to see them.
There was a process to the whole adventure. They had driven to the lot, turned their lights off, run to the where trees were kept and taken a tree as opposed to choosing a tree with deliberation and thought. They then peeled out of the lot with four wheels barely on the pavement and raced home. Well, this sounded like quite an adventure to my roommates and me. The guys offered to take us to the lot and procure a tree for us—but we had to come along. So eight of us piled into the big brown Chevy and we nonchalantly made our way to the lot.
We entered the lot, turned off the car’s headlights, and three guys piled out of the car to get us our tree while the driver waited in anticipation of taking off like a wild man. They got the tree—stuffed it in the trunk and got back in the car. The car doors were barely closed when we were peeling out of the driveway, tossed around in the back seat of the car like rag dolls. And of course we were laughing and having a merry old time. There may have been some grain or grape beverages involved—I am not sure.
We got back to residence—jubilant in our success. We did not think about the fact that we were stealing. We did not think about the fact that the trees we had stolen were the basis for someone’s livelihood—we just basked in the glory of our escapade. We took the tree into our apartment and decorated with strings of popcorn and paper snowflakes. Such a lovely centrepiece to our Christmas celebrations—untainted by any feelings of regret.
Today I wonder what we were thinking. We probably knew it was wrong but were too high on the adventure to let that bother us. This Christmas memory is not one that I regret, as it makes me think about the fact that good people sometimes do questionable things. We learn from those things and it becomes part and parcel of who we are. Despite the fact that it still niggles at me—I still remember the rush of excitement, the camaraderie in the devilish deed, and the fun we had.
Have you ever done something that you regret or should regret?
Christmas is coming
Feels a little like a threat
Need another month
The top three answers in a survey by the newly off the presses “livehappy” magazine were:
1. Be present.
2. Make, bring, or share food!
3. Do something unexpected.
I love all three of these answers and they pretty well cover the elements of a happy life. The question that elicited these responses was “How would you make others happy during the holidays”, but I would like to put forth the theory that these three answers are the solution to that question that has bugged all of us sometime in our lives and that is: “What is the point?”
The point is to be here and now and understand that that is all you really have and you should make the best of it. Food is almost always a good answer to any question—whether the delicacies be indulgent, or healthy, or both. Food provides nourishment, comfort, and if is a chocolate cake–happiness.
And the third answer? That is the one that keeps us on our toes. The unexpected shakes things up—that is why ‘Bond, James Bond’, always wanted his drink “shaken, not stirred”. He knew that stirred would probably produce a better drink—but he wanted something more and stirring was just not exhilarating enough. Think about the whole process—to shake a drink you create drama, while stirring neither inflames or inspires—it merely gets the job done. (I read somewhere that shaking your drink does not result in a better drink; stirring does—but stirring brings to mind a double double not a *martini—which is much more cosmopolitan.) I think I may have wrung this metaphor (or whatever it is I am trying to express) dry. (Pun intended).
Anyway, back to the point—what is your answer to “How would you make others happy (and yourself) during the holidays? We are allowed to be a little self-indulgent at this time of year, don’t you think?
· For the erudite: It was in the movie Casino Royale in 1953, that Bond orders “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.” (Wikipedia)
The holidays. For many, they're not cloyingly sweet happyfests like on the Hallmark Channel. No, for a lot of people, 'tis the season to be lonely. Loneliness is probably as old as time itself but I suspect it's more virulent now than in days of yore.
First, let's get one thing straight: Being lonely is very different from being alone. You can be both, but not necessarily.
I am providing you with a rare opportunity ~ a sneak peek into this week’s newspaper column which is not due until tomorrow morning. As this is the first day of December I thought it was apropos. This is not hot off the presses–it is a look at something before it even meets the presses:
December really creeps up on us. It is not like we do not know that it is coming. But I am always a bit unprepared for this most magical time of the year. It comes directly after stealthy November, so why am I so surprised that there are now just a few weeks before Christmas instead of months? I believe that my ability to live in denial gets me through November, but when December skulks out of the shadows and jingles its bells even I cannot deny that I should get in gear.
So what gets you into the Christmas spirit? I devour Christmas magazines and cookbooks but seldom glean anything of import from them. I am not particularly crafty though for years I pretended—but now I just let the authentic me loose, and authentic me is not all that crafty. I enjoy a bit of cutting and pasting but that gets old after a while and does not really get one much past making Christmas cards, paper snowflakes, or the occasional bookmark. I think that my crafting phase has passed and though it was short-lived I did give it the “old college try” and if you happened to be the recipient of my craftiness, rest easy that you will not have to admire my “all thumbs” creations in the future.
I do have a bit of a decorating bent, but find that I am thinking about the fact that what I gloriously decorate my home with will have to be taken down in about a month—so of late I tend to decorate with statement pieces rather than all the small things I have collected over the years. The only place I break this rule now is the Christmas tree—mine drips with nostalgic tissue paper bells, popsicle stick sleds, pipe cleaner snowmen, and pinecones decorated with lots and lots of glitter. Sure my kids are in their twenties now—and are no longer producing these little works of art—but I keep them stashed safely away and bring them out every year reliving their childhoods when innocent belief reigned supreme.
I remember those days of innocent belief, when I was not the purveyor of all things Christmas but an innocent and receptive beneficiary. As a kid, I could not believe that there could be a thing so wondrous as Christmas. My mother can be blamed in large part for this, as she created the best Christmases ever. I remember going to my cousin’s house one Christmas and she showed me all the clothes she got and I recall thinking how horrible—mind you she was four years older than I, so at 13 she was very happy to get clothes, but at nine years of age I could not imagine worse presents. I told my mom then that I was really glad that Santa had not left me clothes. Dolls and books, games and toys were more my speed at that age—and Santa always made sure there was plenty to unwrap under our tree.
At our house, we did not have the tradition of each person unwrapping one present at a time while the others in the family looked on—and though I now think it is a lovely way to celebrate—I liked the way we were each given a present and we all opened them at once. It added to the confusion and chaos of Christmas morning—which is one of its most attractive attributes to me. We were a family of six—mom and dad and two boys and two girls—and the mayhem was all part of the fun.
Christmas past seems to play a large part of Christmas present. We remember old traditions and we keep them even if just in our memories. Some are translated to fit today; and others are kept intact to be celebrated over and over again. I have a rather bedraggled Christmas tree that my kids do not want me to get rid of because it is the one they remember from their childhoods. So every year we get it out and dress it to the nines, and it is transformed from a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to the belle of the Christmas ball.
So as this month of December gets started and we embrace it and all that it celebrates, we will enjoy the new season it heralds. Winter is made so much more palatable by the cheer imparted by the holiday season.
In the immortal words of Pink: (Let’s) “Get this party started right now.”
ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS?
Hope is the Seed of Faith
Faith is the Seed of Drive
Drive is the Seed of Seek
Seek is the Seed of Knowledge
Knowledge is the Seed of Awareness
Awareness is the Seed of Power
Power is the Seed of Choice
Choice is the Seed of Abundance
Abundance is the Seed of Dream
Dream is the Seed of Happiness
Happiness is the Seed of Pleasure
Pleasure is the Seed of Desire
Desire is the Seed of Destiny
“You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That what it’s all about.”
My favourite line from a commercial on television shows a woman who is wide awake at night thinking all kinds of thoughts, and one that occurs to her is: “What if the hokey pokey is what it is all about?”
Would that be so bad?
Krista’s prompt for today: People are afraid of all kinds of things: spiders, the dark, or being enclosed in small spaces. Tell us about your greatest fear — rational or irrational.
My greatest fear is that I will not reach my potential. People dream of retiring—but I do not. I dream of dying with my boots on—doing whatever it is at the time that I am passionate about.
Here are some other things I am afraid of:
1. Touching dead insects – you know when you see a speck on the floor and pick it up and then find out that it is a dead bug? Well that creeps me out. Live spiders do not bother me, but touching one that is dead does.
2. Driving beyond 15 miles from my house because that gets me into the dangerous territory of four lane highways, lots of traffic, and panic-driven mistakes. I did not get my licence until I was thirty-five and I still believe that me driving just locally (and never on snow or ice covered streets) has saved the lives of countless people.
3. Looking silly when I do not mean to be silly. Looking silly when you mean to be silly is a totally different thing.
4. Having to wear one of those beeper things around my neck and tell someone “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” That is my nightmare. I no longer laugh at those commercials. I think about the fact that that could be me someday.
5. Sticking my hand into a bag of potatoes and getting a rotten one. This fear harkens back to my childhood when my family kept 50 pound bags of potatoes in a shed outback (we called the shed “The Building”) and being sent out there at supper time to get potatoes. I stuck my hand in rotten potatoes several times and the stink and slime of the experience is still a very bad memory.
6. Trick or treaters who are taller than I am.
8. Finding something hard when you bite into something soft. I realize that this needs some explanation—my husband once bit into frozen yogurt and found a piece of glass.
9. Heights. Or more specifically—looking down from heights.
10. Climbing a narrow ladder that goes straight up—was in a lighthouse once with a very narrow ladder that led to where the light was and I got stuck halfway up and had to come down. Now if you think I am a chicken, I must tell you that before we were allowed in the lighthouse and near the ladder we had to sign a waiver. That should have been my first warning.
*I am not really afraid of bananas—just wanted to see if you were awake.
So what do you fear?
Just to be contrary and to prove that it is not Thanksgiving here (Canada) tomorrow I thought I would write a post about all the things I am not thankful for. I am not often aggressively contrary –perhaps a little passive aggressive at times, but aren’t we all?
So it is just me—well, then—let me get on with my ungrateful list anyway:
1. I washed one of my favourite sweaters with an errant Kleenex (actually it was a Scotties tissue) left in the pocket of my jeans. It is now covered in big white pills of tissue, strips of tissue, and especially wonderful—a million little itty bitty pieces of tissue. I try to forget that I really like this charcoal coloured V-neck and that it complemented about a million things in my wardrobe because I am really not up to harvesting all the bits, pieces and strips of tissue. I am very ungrateful for that stupid tissue.
2. I am quite unthankful for fact that I am not supposed to drink with the new medication I am on. I am not a big drinker (a bottle of wine lasts a week and a half at my house) but on occasion I do enjoy a tipple. Must admit I cheat a little, but with the permission of a pharmacist who says I can have half a glass of wine.
3. I am not grateful for all those people who got out there while the weather was still fine and put up their outside Christmas decorations and lights. Don’t they know that the whole spirit of the thing depends on frozen digits and runny noses?
4. I do not give thanks for the bad things that happen to me for the wisdom that they are supposed to impart. I can learn just as well from the good things.
5. I do not give thanks for socks with holes in the toes. Or the heels. But most especially for holes in the toes.
6. I am waiting for the infernal fashion of bare legs to be over. Who started this? Whoever it was—I am ungrateful for them.
7. I am really unhappy that a lot of the styles I wore three and a half decades ago are back in fashion—but I can no longer partake.
Okay that is enough complaining—where is that half glass of wine I am allowed?
What are you ungrateful for? (American friends—you do not have to answer this.)