Holiday Traditions

I live for this time of year! I love the holidays, and everything that comes with this busy, crazy time.  It tends to be the busiest time of year in my industry, and yet, I don’t mind kicking everying into hyper:drive to get to fit it all in.

Holiday Season in 3, 2, 1 … GO!

In our home, there are the things we ALWAYS do and somehow the list of things we USED to do is growing.  I know it is just a side effect of family dynamics changing, but I try desperately to hold on to some of the traditions, while we gently let other ones evolve.

We ALWAYS make our caramels (this year Patrick did them start to finish by himself and THAT is a BIG job!)  We always have way too many gifts. We always follow Jasmine’s wrapping protocol (or else!), and we always run all over the place and make sure we sneak the time in with those we love.

We USED to do the 12 days of Christmas (read above:  we always have way too many gifts, and this just might be the genesis of that.)  We used to open one a day each day during the 12 days, and spread out the cheer.  When Mickey moved out, we kept it up.  When Jasmine went to college, we did it via FaceTime, and somehow, as the kiddos started to disburse, we lost that piece of our tradition.

One of my favorite decorations is a sign that reads:  THE KIDS HERE ARE: and at the bottom has a board that can be moved to read NAUGHTY or NICE.  When then kiddos were little, a constant battle ensued.  Jasmine couldn’t bear to have it say NAUGHTY, and Mickey saw that as a challenge! 🙂

No one really fights to flip it back and forth any more, but I LOVE seeing it, and remembering those days.

We have a tradition of critiquing Christmas Light displays.  If it’s a job well done – well, “that man is obvously an excellent father.” If there is a small sprinkling of lights on one certain area, that’s a “Why Bother” and God Forbid you use all different colors of lights and just generally throw up Christmas on your front lawn. Nope. That’s a “MISH MOSH!” (Of course, we have no lights outside, so we are completely unqualified to judge, but what’s the fun in that!?

So many more things come to mind: The cookies we always bake. What goes under which tree, the pierogies my dad always gets for me from the church, the lump of coal I always pull out and revel in the story/memory.  Our matching stockings. The “one person at a time” gift opening routine.  I cherish this time of year, and the things our family has made so special.

When in England earlier this year, one of the guards at the Tower of London spoke about tradition. He said that when it comes to tradition, you absolutely cannot waiver. You cannot miss it even a single time, for then it becomes too easy to set aside, and the important tradition(s) can be lost forever.

I so agree. I so get it. And yet the memories of some of those things that we had to change over the years, are marked in my memory and on my heart.

You Heard the Lady,

XX

p.s. I  am also absolutely fascinated with  other people’s traditions. What’s your favorite?

 

 

 

Because We Can. We Must…

zcenter logo
When I first learned of the Z Center and the work that they do, one statistic struck me:

“1 in every 4 women will be the victim of a sexual assault before they turn 18…” I actually wasn’t struck, I was haunted.

If it wasn’t me, perhaps my daughter? My sister? My niece?

And I had to do something. Help stop the stigma. Help break the cycle. Help change that stat. Stat.

I’ve since been through a 40 hour training/certification and help out where I can.

Helping to raise funds, awareness, and being on call, once a week to be a Medical Advocate for any victims that might show up in Lake County Hospitals.  I’ve helped a little, but learned a TON, and am proud to be partnered with an organization like the Zacharias Center.

That’s why last week’s blog post was delayed until today, #givingtuesday in hopes that you will consider sharing what you can with this worthy organization.  https://www.ilgive.com/organizations/zacharias-sexual-abuse-center

(AND, there is a matching grant from a foundation in Lake County so for every dollar raised, ZCenter will receive a matching dollar!)

As a treat, I wanted to share this – one of my most favorite short videos. It will make you smile, and I hope it makes you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rqduqh3GNs&feature=youtu.be

Because…

consent is sexy

 

You Heard the Lady,

XX

You Know What You Touched

This.

soap

I’m so very pleased with my purchase from last night.  I was a bit horrified when I saw them; “It would be funny if it weren’t true!”

While I understand that the autistic teenagers that hang out at our residence might need some nudging and reminding (like, constantly!), I would hope that would be where this would end.

Evidently not. Or WHY ELSE would the nice lady at the holiday boutique last night make – and sell – said soap dispensers? (To other nice ladies, like myself??)

And then I got to thinking. (Because what else better defines “Random Musings of a Classic Overthinker” than this?)  But, why, in the name of all that is Holy, do I ever have to see a woman leave a public bathroom without washing her hands? WHY?  Did her mother never teach her? Was she never shamed into washing, even begrudgingly? Does she not like soap? Does she have a secret plan to contaminate the entire population and move on to other world domination plots? I just do not understand.

It seems to me that I am falling into a “judging” zone, which I believe I just wrote about last week.

Is this different? Can I judge on this particular transgression? Or no, am I actually bound to my own musings? Dammit.

I know that I have totally judged on this in the past, when I saw a woman walk right out of her stall and into the public, only to realize that she was in a stall that housed its own sink. I had to apologize to her in my own mind, and of course gave her the benefit of the doubt. Because, really, she would have washed. Right??  And to be fair, it’s rare. I don’t see it often, but when I do. I’M SHOCKED! What…? How…? Whyyyyy?!?!

Now, men, I obviously have no idea if you are washing or not. (Except for those of you with whom I cohabitate – yes, I know, I am all over you like white on rice…)  But for the rest of you, I don’t make a practice of hanging out in men’s restrooms – and you’re welcome – but for the love of donuts, PLEASE don’t make me wonder. Just wash the F-ing hands.

Don’t be gross.  You know what you touched.
You Heard the Lady,

XX

Zip it.

I can remember when now 24 year old Jasmine was a pre-teen, she would get so aggravated when she heard someone talking bad about another someone.  Her basis was basically this:  “What he or she chooses to do, say, wear…doesn’t affect your life, so why do you care?”  Another Jasmine goodie to the ever constant criticism of professional athletes. “If you can do it better, let’s see it.”

So, I TRY to let people do what they want. Wear what they want. Say what they want. It is, indeed, their life and they (whoever they are) have made it this far without my never-so humble opinion(s) shaping their existence.  Who am I to judge? I can almost hear Jasmine reminding me that I have done, wore and said things that horrify me to this day. And I thank you for not reminding me of them, or holding them against me. (I do a pretty good job of that, myself.)

And speaking of passing judgement. Ugh. That’s just plain DUMB. Because as near as I can tell, everything I’ve ever passed judgement on has shown right up at my front door. And that’s awesome. (or not.)

Now, that’s not to say I don’t get mad. React when I get stung. Swear (but you already know that about me) like a sailor – even directed at others – when appropriate.  What I try not to do is make it personal.  And if I do ever fall in that gutter, I have a good man who reminds me that’s not where I live, and pulls me out, and dusts me off.

Again, I’m not playing high & mighty – I wish I could say I never did it, or never do it. I’m just saying I feel GROSS when I do, and wish I didn’t.  So it’s a process, and one I intend to keep working on.

I once heard the mantra:

“I spend so much time on the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.”

That’s really where I want to live.  So, in the moments when I’m tempted to jump on the bandwagon and just rip someone apart, I usually get quiet (yes, it can happen!).  And in that quiet I am working hard on showing restraint, and probably digging deep for some inspiration like:

“When they go low, we go HIGH.”

 Or get high, but that’s another blog, altogether…

magical

In the end, it’s hard work being a decent, kind, non-judgemental, gossip-free Princess.  Especially when I’m out and I see someone in shoes that just DO NOT work with that outfit … Wait!? Did she just go there??

You Heard the Lady,

XX

Those Were the Days, Huh?

flat screens

And is it any wonder she has that rockin’ bod? I mean, she had to get up and change the channel, get up and raise the volume, get up and lower the volume, and get up again to turn it off.  It was a lot of work, and kids today just don’t understand.

Now, I just use my “clicker.” Or, tell Alexa to do it.

This suddenly makes me feel like one of the slugs in the movie Wall-E. Which I can probably find playing somewhere on one of our hundreds of cable channels,  if I could only find my clicker.

“Alexa!…”  You Heard the Lady,
XX

 

 

 

 

 

BirthMasVacaVersary Day (My Ideal Day Best Day Ever!)

It’s like a combo of my best days of the year, with my favorite activities pulled out of those days, and all wrapped into one (seemingly very busy) day!

Birthday:  Flowers delivered to the house, and no cooking or cleaning. All three meals OUT.

flowers

Christmas: Gifts! Lots and lots of gifts! For me, and FROM me. I want to dole them out and follow Jasmine’s strict rules on the opening order. Yes, yes, yes. And extended family. Parents, siblings, children, niece & nephew, boyfriends & girlfriends all present for the fun.

Oh, and let there be games: PooPoo on Your Neighbor’s Lawn (don’t ask), and Rummikub – Jasmine and Tim refuse to play with me (Harumph!) SO, they would feel that they would have to play – it is after all, MY day, and they would be forced to enjoy it. If not, a good card game with the crowd.

games

Vacation: Breakfast: Hmmm – I’m envisioning us at a nice hotel, so I’ll want to decide that day if I feel like getting going and heading down to breakfast or just slower moving and order room service. Regardless, there is coffee. And Bacon.

What's on Your Summer Reading List?

Let there be a massage, followed by time at the pool/beach with a book, OH! And a server to bring fish tacos & cocktails for lunch.  Must be WARM.  Then, a bit of shopping. After a shower and nap, let’s get dressed and go to a NICE Dinner OUT. With live music. And wine.

Anniversary: Since I kinda dig my hubby,  he has to be there and we will spend the whole day together. And since this is MY made up holiday,  we get to do MY things. His list, I can assure you would be very different.

Mothers Day: Each year on Mother’s Day, our children become cheap labor. Ah, who am I kidding, it aint cheap, it’s FREE. And since it’s in May, it’s always been about planting around here. But since BirthMasVacaVersary Day doesn’t have to be in May, I guess that equates to the minions – err, I mean the children – doing some other favors/chores for me. Whatever I want to point to. Or snap at…

By the looks of things, I’m totally exhausted (and stuffed!) after my very full, very fun, all about me, most special best day ever.

What does your ideal day look like/entail?  And what do you call it? Whatever it is, I hope you get to enjoy it in the very near future. I’m starting to plan mine now. (And I can feel my husband rolling his eyes…)

You Heard the Lady,
XX

 

What’s Your Favorite Season?

For me, it’s always been fall.

great fall

I remember weekends in Brown County, IN.  The leaves, the crisp air, that horse.

Grabbing a Sweatshirt .  For me the one that comes to mind is aged, well-worn and no longer suitable for public since my cousin Michael put a hole in it with a cigarette – or wait, maybe that was my dad’s favorite armchair – I digress.  That DePaul sweatshirt may be nasty, but it is still my favorite.

Pumpkin spice. I’m somewhere in the middle on this one. I love it on some things and others I think we’ve just gone too far. (That pizza, with pumpkin puree? Nope. Nope. Nope.)

Caramel apples.

And Jasmine and I have a tradition of making Halloween Cookies. It’s a big project, we make a mess, we laugh, we make some delicious and some interesting looking cookies. Sometimes we even include guests. (Sofia – we miss you!) And then, I clean it all up. Okay, let’s be honest – Tim usually cleans it all up. THE MAN IS A SAINT.

The decorations. The costumes for the kidlets. The annual debate about how much candy we really need to have on hand for trick or treaters. There really should be a science to this.

For Halloween I always make homemade Calzones.  Barbeque Chicken and Cheeseburger, to be exact.  Those, too, are delicious. I don’t know if anyone else really looks forward to them as much as I do, but … it’s my thing.

And I sure do miss the days of my kiddos laying their loot out on the floor and trading and swapping for their favorites…I cherish those memories.

The not so favorite schlepping and shifting of the wardrobes.

The oh so favorite shifting to sweaters and boots.

Yes, we are sad to put the boat into hibernation, yes, my hottub temperature needs to be increased, yes, its dark so darn early and I’m fighting to stay up until a socially acceptable hour to retreat to my bed. And yes, the countdown to the holidays begins, and all of the hustle and bustle that comes with that.

But for now,  I’m taking it all in. And craving an Apple Cider Donut.

You Heard the Lady,

XX