Blogging Into a New Year

I like to think that the reason I dread the holidays is because of Christmases past. I tend to over-analyze things and since many a Christmas found tension in the house from my parent’s less-than-ideal marriage and my grandma taking over my bedroom and leaving it with a stale smokey smell, the truth of why I dread Christmas is probably more simple. I don’t like it when it’s over. After weeks of searching for the best presents, singing Christmas songs with the rat pack, and looking at houses covered in electric brightness, the idea of slowing down and facing a more normal day is rather anti-climatic. The house is left with a tree losing all its needles, empty boxes of See’s candies, and wrapping paper that was once filled with possibilities now lying flattened and torn on the floor.

But, I love the possibilities of a new year ahead and the wonder of what each day may bring. You see, I love goal-setting. I enjoy (mostly) watching my children learn new things and grow into their personalities and abilities. This last year was yet another year of change for us. We moved to yet another new town, bought a new house and had to make new friends again. My kids had a great year. My husband had a great year professionally. I finished my children’s writing course, but didn’t complete my goal of having a children’s story published. I can’t say I gave it my all though. I spent the year avoiding “rejection,” which meant not sending my writing out there enough times. I probably sent out 4 stories this year. I have one that was just recently sent out. I should be on a more aggressive pace–at least if I want to be published in a children’s magazine. I spent time fearing failure instead of searching for possibilities.

I am a Will Smith fan. Of course I’ve never met him and don’t know who he is personally; however, I like the person I read about and he has said many inspiring things. I hope to meet him one day. Yes, I know that is a fat chance. I do have a niece that goes to school with his oldest son — so maybe? Anyway, I would like to focus on one of his quotes as I face this new year:

“Even if you’re on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

I would like to think I’ve been at least sitting there writing in 2008, but I haven’t been writing, just sitting. I know I’m on the right track with my writing and my jewelry business. But in 2009 I hope to get moving before I get run over. I will end this uncharacteristically solemn post with two ancient proverbs that I hope will inspire you towards a 2009 not focused on a broken economy, difficulties or past failures. 

“Fall seven times and stand up eight” –Japanese proverb

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” — African proverb

Are You Kidding Me?

Everyone’s budget is hurting–especially California’s and also our “city” here in the valley of California. Yes, the economy has left the police force looking for money under all the rocks. My husband got a ticket on the eve of Christmas Eve or is it (like my sister says) Christmas Eve-Eve. Anyway, on the 23rd of December a ticket was left on my husband’s vehicle.

First, we don’t live in the city proper. There are no fighting for parking spots or parking meters. There are few cars that even come by the house!  Technically, we live just inside the city boundaries, but my kids aren’t even in the city school district. Directions to our house are not even on Google because we live in such a new area way back in the subdivision. My family gets lost even after they have been here before. We are far from a major street and everyone who comes to visit us must have clear directions from us and YET, my husband gets a ticket in front of our house the day before Christmas Eve for parking the wrong direction? Are you kidding me? Hmmm, let’s generate some income for the city. Surely, we can find some car parked the wrong direction in some neighborhood no one knows about and don’t forget those jaywalkers. Bring down those filthy criminals.

The Season of Penguins

I am the kind of person that is ready to get that Christmas tree down the day after Christmas. It just seems like so much work. I think we could not have one and I’d be fine. This year I have surprised my husband a bit–I bought lights for the outside of the house. Just some tasteful white ones but a big step for me. We can’t compare to some of the neighbors. Houses have lights with reindeers, santas, snowmen, trains, and presents. My favorite of all though has to be the nativity scene down the street with musical lights. My eyes dance with delight as I hear the music and see the flashing lights around Joseph, Mary, Jesus and the penguins. Now, I get the penguins hanging out at the north pole. I just have a hard time remembering the penguins at Bethlehem. I never pictured them in the stable–is my version of the Bible missing something? They look a bit cuter than the shepherd and cows, but for some reason they seem out of place to me.

The music is also an interesting touch. But it has to be annoying to the people in the house to hear it over and over and over. I get tired of the Christmas songs on the radio this time of year. I mean within one day you will hear everyone from Kid Rock to Anne Murray singing “Winter Wonderland”. You also can’t go a day without “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey (which I admit I still try to sing). My all time favorite though has to be hearing George Michael  singing “Last Christmas” every year. When is last Christmas just too long ago to mention anymore? Doesn’t that song just bring tears to your eyes (or a gun to your head)? I just read that he is going to release a new Christmas song out this year. I guess he figures that is the only song he has that still gets consistent playing time so why not add another Christmas song.

I’m not a scrooge though. I enjoy buying gifts for people — when I really know them and what they like. I even drink Egg Nog (although I’m drinking Soy Nog which is just called Nog but I think that still counts) in little snowmen mugs. I have also been knitting (those little dickies I mentioned in the last post) my little fingers to the bone. Okay, that’s not true, but I went to a Christmas cookie exchange on Saturday and I’m going to another one tomorrow night! I figure those should hold me for a few years, don’t you think? I’m almost like a little elf, huh? Speaking of elves, I also like watching the movie Elf.  The other day I was at the dentist (I went 3 times last week — long story I am sure I will share after the surgery and I’m off pain-killers) and they had Elf playing in the waiting room.  I can’t watch that movie without laughing out loud. I know everyone in the waiting room thought I was a bit strange but come on, how can you not laugh at Elf?  Plus if you can’t just be yourself in a dentist waiting room preparing for oral surgery then when can you be yourself? Then I got said when I realized that after my surgery, “smiling” won’t be my favorite for quite awhile…

Well, it’s time to get out the snowmen mug and pick a cookie from the cookie exchange, and sit outside to listen and watch the penguins and Jesus. If only you could be here.

UPDATE: The other day I heard Rod Stewart singing “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. It was scary. There are some songs that Rod Stewart cannot sing and that is one of them. “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” from the “If You Think I’m Sexy” man? No way.