Christmas Wishes

Christmas magic makes wishes come true.

I wished for some pillows. Husband and I like to prop up in bed to read, write, study. We each have a propping pillow,  giant, king-sized cuddly monsters that make life so cozy. When I was away for the weekend, husband discovered that two pillows are better than one. He was right. And life became a competition to see who could hit the hay first. The first one in bed got them both. You snooze, you lose, right? In order to maintain marital harmony, I wished for pillows, and I got them.

They are glorious. A new one for each of us. Now we both have two. Of course, when my husband went away for the weekend, I discovered the ideal number of propping pillows is four. Don’t tell him. He’ll find out soon enough.

And do you know what big pillows arrive in? Big boxes!

 

But the best Christmas wish?

Toots

My girl. She turned 18 back in June.

I wished that Piper would still be with me at Christmas. We had a scare at Halloween, and I wasn’t sure she would make it, but she did. We celebrated our 19th Christmas with her this year.

There’s a thing about wishes, though. Sometimes you get what you ask for and no more. I did it all wrong. I should have asked for another birthday, another Valentine’s, another Spring. We let her go on New Year’s Eve.

Logically, we’ve known the time was coming to say goodbye. No one lives forever; even that ninth life will run its course. But the heart isn’t logical. It felt like she’d always be here. I couldn’t imagine life without her. couldn’t picture a day when she wouldn’t be here laying on my feet while I wrote. I’ve lost my muse.

I want a do-over on my wish. I’d do it better this time.

 

Ten Things I Don’t Want to Hear Two Days Before Christmas

1) I have a Christmas lunch at work/school/preschool tomorrow. What would you like to make?

2) I need to start my Christmas shopping. Can you take me to the mall?

3) How about that! The guaranteed Christmas delivery wasn’t actually guaranteed.

4) The turkey’s going to take three more days to thaw.

5) We’re out of tape.

6) Can you wrap this? And this? Oh, and this?

7) I should have opened the shipping carton when it came two weeks ago. Instead of Star Wars Legos, they sent a beer pong table. We can’t give that to the kid, can we?

8) Did I forget to tell you my second cousin, twice removed, will be at Christmas dinner? We have a gift for him, right? I’ve met him once, but I’m sure you could pick out something he’d love.

9) The cat just threw up on your Christmas sweater. Is the dry cleaner open today?

10  ) Were we exchanging gifts this year, or just giving them to the kids?

Squish

Merry Christmas!

If Wishes Were Horses, They’d Poop On Your Floor.

I wasn’t going to blog today. Or tomorrow. Or maybe even the next day. But here I am. I don’t usually follow the Daily Prompt, either, primarily due to the recessive you’re-not-the-boss-of-me gene. But here I am. Today’s prompt asked if there was a gift I wanted as a child but never received. You know this story doesn’t end well.

Don’t ask me where I saw it. I don’t know. I was seven. At that age, I perceived that everything in the world came from Woolworth’s, Saturday morning commercials or Tupperware parties (is my 70′s showing? Let me tuck it back in…). But saw it I did, and I wanted it; coveted it secretly. Well, maybe secretly is the wrong word considering I told Santa, my mom, and pulling out all the stops, my grandmother. And maybe Jesus. I forget. Anyway, I asked for it. And asked for it. And what did I get for my troubles? Matching “What the heck are you talking about?” expressions. Because, indeed, they had no idea.

It wasn’t a Barbie for whom I burned with longing. Puh-leeze. My one concession to that franchise was a Malibu Ken, who had a scandalous tan when I took off his swim trunks. And no Strawberry Shortcake for me. Well, not until the following year. Nor did the delicious saltiness of Play Doh hold appeal (have I said too much?). The only thing on my Christmas wish list that year was a sandwich.

It was a thing of beauty this sandwich, the very height of cleverness, for you see, it wasn’t a real sandwich! It was a set of bath sponges made to look like one! I’ll let that sink in for a moment. A sandwich whose bread was a sponge! And whose cheese was a sponge! And whose pastrami…wait for it…was a sponge! What magic was this? And I haven’t even mentioned the best part. This sandwich was merely a stack of adorable absorbency without its crowning glory; a pickle! Made out of soap! A sweet little soapy gherkin just ripe for the scrubbing. It was a thing of beauty, so realistic I could have eaten it. And I wanted it. Badly.

All through the long weeks leading up to Christmas, I begged asked for this bath set. From anyone who would listen. To my mom’s credit ,I’m sure she wanted to encourage my sudden and new found interest in bathing and probably did ask me for details.

“Did you see it at Woolworth’s?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was it on TV?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was it at a department store?”

“Maybe. Yes! I think so!”

“Which one?”

“I don’t know.

I should have known it was a lost cause, but I didn’t. I hoped. And wished. Christmas morning came, and I did get a sponge. It was in the shape of a large key and came with bubble bath. I tried to find an image online to show you, but all I come up with is information regarding bubble bath and urinary tract infections. Once again, I am disappointed by bath sponges.

So there you have it. My heart was broken by a bath sponge and a soapy little pickle all those Christmases ago. I have never seen that set again, and my heart has never recovered.

Merry Christmas and stuff.

What did you wish for but never got? Just me, then?

My Daily Joy

Guess what? We’re now only 12 days from Christmas! Know how I know? Because it’s my birthday today. When I was a kid, I used to pretend that the Twelve Days of Christmas was written just for me. I have yet to receive a partridge. I did get a leopard gecko once, but it wasn’t in a pear tree.

Anyway, we’re in the home stretch now. Christmas is coming. The countdown has begun. Lords will soon be leaping and all that good stuff. Each day between now and Christmas, I am going to share a little joy. There’s always at least one thing to be joyful over, even on a bad day. It may be the whole topic of my post, or I may tack it on at the end, but it will be there.

My daily joy for today: I came into my classroom and found birthday presents on my desk. Since they were completely unexpected, they were all the more wonderful! And the school administrative assistant cool chick wished me a happy birthday over the intercom. Does it get any better than this? AND Peter Jackson chose today to release The Hobbit, obviously in honor of my special day. AND I don’t have to cook dinner tonight because we are buying pizza. AND my especialist friend sj wrote a birthday post for me that contained two of my favorite songs by two of my favorite musical groups ever.

Wait. That’s a lot of joy. Is it too much? I don’t think so.

What’s your joy for today?

 

My Saddest News

My coffee pot is dying. Well, maybe it’s not technically dying, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to kill it, which will have the same end result. I have diagnosed the issue, but I don’t think it can be fixed. How do you treat a coffee maker for PMS? I’m fairly certain that’s what’s wrong with it because it seems to be retaining water, and it punched the toaster oven for saying the new filters make it look fat.

I’ve never had this happen before, and we’ve been through a lot of coffee pots. I put in 3 scoops of coffee and 5 cups of water, which should result in a nice, strong, wake-me-up pot of coffee. What I get is 6 cups of weak, watery mess that couldn’t jump start a Matchbox car. Where is the extra water coming from?

My theory is that it isn’t pushing all the water through every time, and sometimes it pees out the extra. The question is how to fix it. I doubt that we can.

It shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s Christmas, right? We could go to the coffee maker store and buy ourselves a nice, beautiful, new coffee pot as a gift to one another. Sounds simple, no? No. It’s going to take awhile before my sweet husband will be able to let go. Right now, we’re navigating the five stages of grief.

Denial – There’s nothing wrong with the coffee pot. We’re simply putting in more water than we think we are. Never mind that I have used the same measuring device twice a day for two years.

Anger- I think the anger is directed more at me than the fates for even suggesting that the Krups may be on its last legs. And my anger is aimed at husband for being so attached to this particular stupid coffee maker. I don’t care about the Krups, just gimme the joe. Even if you have to filter it through a sock.

Bargaining- This is where we’re currently setting up camp. “If we just add a little more coffee to the brew, it will be okay!” Let’s just forget for a moment that I am already adding 20% more coffee than is recommended. And that it costs $15 a pound.

Depression- I think we can rename this one “sleepiness,” and it’s coming soon. When we’re used to about a billion micro-grams of caffeine a day and we’ve been reduced to drinking dishwater, the nap-attacks are just around the corner.

Acceptance- I wish I could say that with this stage would come a visit to a department store to purchase a new pot. Instead, we’ll start the thrift store prowl in the hopes of finding a better coffee pot than we could ever afford to purchase new.

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Wake me in about a month.

Christmas Spirit; It’s Free

Christmas can be a tough time of year. I know this from experience. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the demands on our time, bank accounts, sanity. For many years, I have struggled to hold onto any kind of genuine Christmas spirit, and then I beat myself up for not feeling the way I should feel. So helpful. I am learning that it doesn’t have to be this way. The joy of Christmas is free.

Here’s what’s working for me:

1) Let someone in line in front of you. Be it at the grocery store, or merging in traffic. Wave someone in and let them take your spot. Do it graciously. With a smile. It’s a little thing, but it’ll make you feel great, and it’s free.

2) Withhold judgment. That toddler who is face down on the ground screaming his head off? Instead of thinking “Ack! What a brat!” think instead that maybe the poor kid has just been dragged to 15 stores and is over this whole Christmas shopping deal. Or perhaps they are developing an ear infection and Mom is killing time in the toy aisle while their prescription is filled. Grace is free.

3) Take a little kid to a Christmas parade. If you don’t have one, borrow one. There’s magic in seeing the season through the eyes of a child.

I see Santa! And I just ate a doughnut.

I see Santa! And I just ate a doughnut.

 

4) Do some cleaning. It doesn’t have to be a big project. Tackle a drawer, a cabinet, even a closet if you’re brave. Find five things to donate to a charity (did you know animal shelters would LOVE your old towels?). Not only does it feel great to straighten things up a bit, it’s sometimes helpful to realize how much we already have. Straightening my family room and seeing the embarrassment of riches reaffirmed our decision to limit what the kids are getting this year.

5) Simplify. The calendar, the gift list. Trim what isn’t necessary. I bow out of any evening meetings that pop up   toward the end of the month, and we only agree to the activities that will add to the feeling of joy. The gift list is at a minimum, partly because we’re on a budget, but mostly because running around like chickens with our heads cut off to complete a gift list detracts from the meaning of the season.

5) Pour a cup of hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie. And any good movie will do, as long as it says Christmas to you. I recommend The Nativity Story, which is a beautiful interpretation of the Christmas story. Amadeus is on my Christmas movie list, too, because it always played on television at Christmas time. Whether it’s a Griswald Christmas something Dickens-ish, many libraries offer movies as free loans. Check out their selection.

6) Share your memories. I love to talk about favorite Christmas memories. Bringing back the magic of my childhood warms my heart. Find someone to share your stories with, and listen to theirs. In fact, what I want most for Christmas is for my friends and loved ones to write out their favorite memories for me.

7) Listen to Christmas music. NOT these songs, unless that’s what does it for you. I say go for the good stuff. A little Tchaikovsky, some Handel, stuff without lyrics that get stuck in your head. Again, these are often a free loan from the library.

8) Put some money in the bucket. Okay, this one isn’t free, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot. I keep a pocket full of change to drop in the Salvation Army buckets. Our tradition is to drop change into every bucket we pass. We don’t have a ton of money to spare, but it’s a constant reminder that we are already so blessed; having a little something to give is just a bonus. And it’s a good opportunity to teach the kids about giving.

9) If you don’t feel it today, try again tomorrow. That’s the thing about depression. It is a sneaky-snake of a voice that tells us we’re never going to get it right. And it’s a lie. If today was not a great day, get up tomorrow and try it again. My commitment to myself this season is to not let yesterday’s mistakes spill over into today. It’s a new day, friends. And it can be glorious!

 

How do you add joy to a holiday season?

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: How I Make My Christmas List

Do you have any idea how much stuff there is in the world? It can be confusing to make a holiday wish list. I keep things simple. My list usually includes:

A favorite book:

I’ve had this copy for longer than I’ve had my husband.

Aww! Don’t judge a book’s condition by its cover. Well, maybe this cover…

Sad spine. Pages barely hanging on. I do hate that Johnny chose to get drunk on this page. There are children following my blog. Or maybe I dreamed that last part.

Something sad:

This towel was a wedding gift. 17 years ago. That’s not a stain, I swear. It’s a diamond. Not only is it faded and ragged, it has *ahem* apparently shrunk in the wash.

Something I have set on fire:

Not only did I set it on fire, it got washed in hot water and is now an oven mitten.

Something I miss:

Sad story here. Not only do I not have this on DVD like I thought I did, I no longer have the video, either. Apparently, I gave it away because, hey, I had the DVD. Did that make you sad? It makes me sad.

What’s on your list this year?

A Treat for the Ears. Or something.

becomingcliche:

I am sick today, so you get a reblog. It’s the time of year when all the radio stations and shipping malls are regaling you with Christmas tunes, anyway, so I’m not that early. Heck, Hallmark has their ornament premiere in July, so I might even be a little late. Anyway, enjoy.

Originally posted on Becoming Cliche:

A nice wintery picture to make the falling snow look less like dandruff.

Everybody has a list. Here’s mine, in no particular order.

Christmas Shoes - This has to be the sappiest song ever written. And it makes no sense. A kid’s mom is terminally ill, so his dad lets him wander away from the hospital with maybe thirty-five cents in his pocket (okay, I made that number up. But it’s based on research with an actual child. My kid’s pockets contain less than fifty cents at any given moment) to go buy his mama some shoes. So she can look pretty when she meets Jesus. Personally, I thought the Prince of Peace was looking at our hearts and not our footwear. Maybe I should buy something other than Birkenstocks. And what kind of shoes does Dad think the kid can even buy with a quarter and some pocket lint? Even in the clearance rack at Wal-mart, the pickings would be pretty…

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Achieving Peace and Harmony

My sister-in-law is fantastic. She’s funny and smart, and she gives the most wonderful gifts. Her choices are thoughtful and carefully considered, always appreciated. She tries to find the perfect gift for each person.

Best present EVER! I love it! It's mine, right? I don't have to share it? Because I love it, and it's MINE! Hands off!

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Unfortunately, we’re at the phase where all gifts simply must be identical, and I don’t have the heart to tell her. She bought something truly awesome this time around, and my life is no longer worth living. Every single day, it’s the same routine:

“It’s MINE!”

“No, it’s mine! “

“It is not! Kris got it for ME!”

“Well, I’m just using it! I’m not going to hurt it! You’re supposed to share!”

“You never share with me!”

“You like the other one, anyway.”

“I do NOT! I want THAT one! It’s MINE!”

And on, and on, and on, and on.  Every single day. I am at my wit’s end. If this pattern continues, I will have to take matters into my own hands and buy my husband his own Contigo coffee cup so he will leave mine alone. It. Is. MINE.

It is dark, sleek, easy to hold, and you have to push its buttons to get anything out of it. I call it The Jacob.

Edward is a little jealous.

I will quit naming things after Twilight characters when people quit rolling their eyes when I do. Don’t reinforce irritating behavior. I am incorrigible. Don’t incorrige me.

Beat Those Post-Holiday Blues

There is no fun left in my life.

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Today is Epiphany. Three Kings Day. El Dia de los Reyes. The Wise Men have found baby Jesus and have presented them with their gifts. It’s all over for another year. It is common to feel a bit of a let-down after the anticipation of the holidays has passed, and that’s where I come in. Here are some ways to keep the spirit alive all year long.

 

1) Don’t think of it as laundry. Think of it as gift wrap for your body. Now isn’t it more fun to fold your undershorts, er,  I mean garland?

2) Your letter carrier is Santa Claus, delivering surprises the whole year through. Got a new seed catalog? You’ve been GOOD! Yay! Visa bill? You’ve been bad. See how fun this is?

3) Speaking of Visa bills, what better way to keep the Christmas spirit alive than by paying for that XBox all year long! It becomes the gift that keeps on giving. Or taking, really, at 15.3% APR, but who’s counting?

4) Think of dust as snow in your living room. We have just had a blizzard. I’m sipping my hot chocolate and watching the kids make dust angels in the floor.

5) You’re not grocery shopping. You’re buying gifts for your entire family. Gifts that will keep them from starving, and not-starving is the best gift of all!

6) Who says ugly sweaters are just for Christmas-time? It’s still cold outside, right? Pull out that monstrosity and wear it to the office. Who knows? You may just start a trend!

7) Need those kids to behave? Elf on a Shelf losing his effectiveness? Up the ante. Buy an original Weeping Santa. When the kids ask why Santa is crying, tell them that he wouldn’t if they were only a little better behaved. If you really want to get their attention, choose one with a weeping puppy. The kids will appreciate your commitment to raising them well.

Happy Holidays all year round, friends!