Christmas in July may be next

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Today my aunt sent an email to me at work. This in and of itself isn’t unusual, but today’s news made me shake my head in wonder. Not the kind of wonder as in wow, but I wonder when and how life changed much. One of her favorite radio stations started playing Christmas music today. November 9th. What the heck?

It is hard to get excited about Christmas when I haven’t even bought the turkey for Thanksgiving yet. We still have leftover Halloween candy sitting in the candy jars around the office.

I understand retailers are trying to catch every dollar they can, but this is getting crazy. Next year will we see candy canes in the kid’s Easter Baskets?

Back in the day when I was a kid (I am not THAT old – so don’t go there!! LOL) Christmas music, specials and holiday displays didn’t roll out until after the Thanksgiving leftovers were eaten. As I write this I was scrolling through the channels and I see Lifetime has started playing Christmas movies already too.

I used to think I was just getting old and had too many responsibilities to love Christmas as much as I used to. It was such a magical, fun time of year, we waited 11 months for the festivities to start. Now it is a magical quarter of the year. No wonder it has lost its luster. By the time we clean up after the 4th of July we are seeing stocking hung and trees tinseled in our department stores.

We still have the reason for the season, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. If you don’t believe, it is ok, but don’t be a hater by scoffing at nativity scenes. They aren’t harming your beliefs if you just smile and ignore them. Just sayin’.

Back to holiday saturation. Christmas lights are up at stores and one of the businesses I pass has totally covered all of their trees in lights already. I shopped for groceries to Christmas tunes this weekend.

Black Friday ads are out and they are starting earlier than ever. Used to be the day after Thanksgiving, then it was early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving, then midnight on Thanksgiving, now it is right after the turkey comes out of the oven, before the pie is cut. Is anything really that necessary to pull you away from a family gathering?

I fondly remember Thanksgivings before this marketing mania where most families gathered together for a wonderful meal and a day of laid back laziness. Add a little football and an afternoon of penny poker with a side of homemade pies and life is good.

Our family is still pretty much the same in spite of the media’s attempt to lure us away from dinner and family to spend a few bucks. It isn’t like we won’t be out there trying to give the economy a boost for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so a few more hours isn’t too much to ask.

This year I’m going to try and keep my happiness with the holidays going. I’m going to fully enjoy each one. Separately. Ok, I’ll probably look at the ads to see what I can get on sale the day AFTER Thanksgiving. No sense in paying full price when I can save some cash by shopping the sales.

So turn on the carols now if you want. Watch all of those Lifetime movies two months before December 25th. If you are happy celebrating Christmas for two to three months, I am happy for you.

I am going to look forward with anticipation for December 1st, then decorate and celebrate for four solid weeks. It will be nice to have an old fashioned December for a change. Even if it is only for mm 🙂

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Kindergarteners and Candidates – both need to learn to play nice

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Ah, Election Day is over in the United States; all but the counting. Thank God. I am so very tired of the mudslinging trash talking candidates.

If they were kindergarteners they all would be either put down for naps because they are so cranky, or given a time out without an afternoon snack.

If they were older, they’d be in the principal’s office to see what punishment would be given to them fitting the awful things they’ve said about the other kids (or candidates in this case).

Let’s take a look at the brilliant Robert Fulghum’s words from “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” .

These are the things I learned:

Share everything. – Our candidates need to include tax returns and things they aren’t proud of, keep your nose out of the other candidate’s business.
Play fair. – Ah, this is where the guys with more money and power smear the little guys, other guys, anyone that hasn’t disclosed something (see the first line).
Don’t hit people. – Especially below the belt.
Put things back where you found them. – Maybe the trust of the American people?
Clean up your own mess. – See above. Quit blaming everyone else for the stuff you’ve done.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Ah – tax money, flying around in Air Force One to campaign?
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Word hurt. Every kindergartner knows that.
Wash your hands before you eat. I’d like to assume all the candidates have this one covered.
Flush. Ditto!

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Yes, and quit trying to regulate how big of a cookie is good for us. We all know how many calories are in cookies and if we choose to eat one or ten, that is my choice.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. I worry that the work some isn’t happening. Quit campaigning and complaining.
Take a nap every afternoon. Maybe they wouldn’t be as cranky if they took a little rest. 
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Branch out and have a bit of fun, but be careful.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we. What will your legacy be?
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK. If you are looking and learning, you won’t be trashing the other candidates.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. See?? Politics are even mentioned.

If I was asked to run elections, I’d take away the war chest of funds amassed by all the candidates. The favors and preferential treatment of companies and individuals would stop with the halt of this money. Anyone running for office must use at least 75% of his or her time explaining their platform, believes and plan to improve whatever needs improving. The other 25% of the time can be spent telling us more about him or her as a person. Play nice and don’t say bad things about the other guy.

The hours they campaign must be limited. Especially if you are in office. If you had a “real job” – read teacher, office worker, truck driver, shoe maker … you get the idea – you can’t run off for weeks at a time trying to drum up votes. Seriously, with social media what it is, we can know all the candidates intimately without the outlay of millions of dollars.

And if you are the current President of the United States, keep yourself off of late night talk shows. It is just tacky.

I hate politics and political agendas. I love the United States and want the people that live here to trust their leaders. Maybe it is asking too much in this day and age, but I don’t think so. I put my trust in the system as crazy as it is and voted tonight after a long day at work and the cold rain. No matter what you think about politics, I hope you voted. It is your right and duty as an American. May the best candidate win!

[Source: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ] pictures from Google Images.

YouTube for You? Not really for me

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YouTube. What do you think about it? I am on the fence. it can be a great source of information. I look up knitting techniques often. If a stitch is new to me, or the pattern I am using doesn’t quite explain it clearly enough, I can find multiple versions of directions. If the first one isn’t clear, or the person doing the demonstration is hard to follow, there are hundreds more to choose from.

Sometimes I don’t watch the news, and YouTube will supply pictures of top stories I’ve heard about at work or on the radio.

It is handy. I can watch videos on my laptop, cell phone and even on our TV. There is a search feature were we can specify searching on YouTube. Online newspapers often redirect you to videos, some of them are on YouTube.

I’ve seen some really cute videos. Little kids, puppies and kittens. Awwww factor multiplied. My hubby likes to watch videos on monster trucks, crazy cars and weird inventions. Then there are the very, very odd and often disturbing videos.

I linked over to one where a woman has had surgeries to make herself look like a real life Barbie doll. She even holds her hands stiffly like a Barbie. Most disturbing is the blank look on this woman’s face as she puts on her “Barbie” makeup. She layers product after product on her plastic looking face. Four different kinds of eyeliner are used! She is pretty, just like the doll she has molded herself to look like. She shares the vacant look of her doll counterpart also. Scarier than any vampire I’ve ever seen.

Her male counterpart has had about $100,000.00 in plastic surgeries to recreated himself into a Ken doll. His doctor admits he has too much silicone in his body to be healthy, but this human Ken doesn’t care. He claims it all started when he hated his nose. After 10 (yes, you are reading this correctly) surgeries, he “almost” likes his nose. Did he not see the horror that Michael Jackson ended up with for a nose after way too many surgeries on it???

YouTube gives audience to people who crave attention for the odd things they do to themselves. It is absolutely true that you do not have to watch them. Sometimes I have to believe people need to have the opportunity to share different live styles and quirks with the masses.

Other videos disturb me on another level. When you finish watching one, a block of pictures enticing you to click on them opens up. As you scroll over with your mouse, you can choose whatever you want to see that is more or less related to the video you’ve just seen.

After watching fake real Barbie layer on her fake face there was a girl in a Dallas Cowboys jersey getting her head shaved. I don’t know why because I didn’t have the sound on while watching it and it was too painful to watch again. She obviously agreed to have it done. The guy shaving her head was kind to her, even kissed the shaved part of her head as she sobbed. Maybe she was undergoing chemo and was going to lose it anyway. Perhaps it showed her strength by telling the ravaging chemicals “SO THERE!” I hope so. UPDATE I just read she did this aver a football bet. Seriously???

I am not adding the links to any of these videos. They are easy enough to find if you search for them. I don’t want to help anyone go viral. One website I checked out stated YouTube has over 4 billion views a day. Wow. a lot of people either have a lot of questions or even more spare time on their hands.

If you crave YouTube attention, or want to go viral, you can Google it and there are marketing websites that tell you can do to increase your chances of your video going viral. One has a formula that looks pretty complicated to me.

Maybe you have a product you want to advertise or book you have to sell. Hey…maybe I can find a cute baby turkey to help me promote “The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping” on YouTube! Then I’d need a camera person, sound expert, maybe lighting specialist, jingle writer…sounds complicated to me. Probably the baby turkey part would be the hardest. What would I do with it? Maybe put it in a cute little pen and keep a camera on it 24/7 and post THAT on YouTube too! Nah, I think I’ll stay pretty much clear of YouTube and baby turkeys, no matter how cute either of them are.

I’ll leave the whole viral video concept to a generation younger than me 🙂

(images thanks to Google – they have everything in images!)

 

New Chapters Aren’t Limited To Books

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What a week! It was busy, busy, busy in all aspects.

Work is crazy due to the corporate move we are in the middle of. The data center has been successfully moved, the warehouse has moved and is up and running. The office workers will move in 4 waves, the first was last Friday.

I took off Friday for a very good reason. My husband is retiring after 36 years on the job and they were throwing a surprise retirement party for him. Our two sons that live here as well as my local daughter-in-law all took off work. Our son and daughter-in-law from Maryland took off work and flew in to double surprise him. It was fabulous. The guys told heartfelt stories about him and shared reasons why they are going to miss him.

While they miss him, we get him back 🙂 For the last 36 years, and especially for the last 13 our lives have been ruled by the weather. If it looked like snow, snow was predicted or rain and high winds were predicted, we had to stay home. No play tickets or concert tickets were purchased from October to April. We had to stay in town even when he wasn’t on call, because he really had to go in either way.

Don’t get me wrong, he made a good living, we are very thankful for the job and his dedication. But now he has time for things we haven’t done in a while. Like a winter vacation. Maybe a weekend someplace warm just because we can.

It is a major life change, but a good life change. I still have to work because unlike him I don’t have a great retirement plan. Way back when he started at 19, he paid into his retirement fund from the very first paycheck. We didn’t have much money then, and he wouldn’t have been inclined to put the much needed money in his retirement account. But we made it. Some weeks were dicey, but here we are 36 years later.

Even though I am still going to be working 40 hours a week, I am also going on partial retirement. Until the hubby decides what he wants to do when he grows up, he said he is going to clean, do the laundry and cook so we can have our evenings and weekends free. I asked about grocery shopping – he said yes. I am ecstatic. Now we can take drives to see and do things that we didn’t have time to do. We love going into Chicago to the museums and zoos. I will have the best of both worlds.


Life may be changing, but for the better for both of us. I am looking forward to our new chapter.

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