With 2012 drawing to a close, I decided to have the last post of the year be a look back at the “Best Ofs”. Thanks for a great year everyone!
With 2012 drawing to a close, I decided to have the last post of the year be a look back at the “Best Ofs”. Thanks for a great year everyone!
This post from staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald recalls his best Christmas ever in a story from his childhood.
When I was seven, my parents separated, and in the aftermath of their separation, my mother struggled financially. She never let me or my brother know how bad it actually was, but when I look back on that period of my life, I realize how hard she worked to make ends meet.
She was working a full-time job and another part-time job from home, and I remember times when she would come home late from her full-time job, make us dinner, and then sit at the desk with her calculator and a stack of papers until we went to bed. There were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I would see her still sitting at the desk working.
When Christmas rolled around that year, my brother and I made our usual lists and gave them to her to give to Santa Claus. I can’t even remember what I asked for that year, but I remember that when we gave her our lists, she said something like, “Santa’s had a rough year, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get everything you asked for.”
At the time, I thought nothing of it. Santa doesn’t have rough years, does he? Or maybe he does. My seven-year-old brain struggled to make sense of her words, but if anyone would know about the state of Santa’s year, it would be my all-knowing mother. I struggled to think of a time in all my seven years of existence when she had been wrong about something before, and I couldn’t. In the end, I decided that perhaps Santa does have rough years.
On Christmas Eve, I got sick with a nasty holiday cold. “Ho, ho, haaachooo,” could be heard all through the house, and instead of going outside on the porch and watching the snow fall from the sky, I was stuck inside the house in my bed with snot falling from my nose. But my mother was right there next to the bed, picking up my used Kleenexes, taking my temperature, and delivering piping hot chicken noodle soup to my bedside.
After a long night of coughing and sneezing and nose blowing, Christmas finally came, and though I still felt greener than the Grinch, I was able to muster up enough holiday cheer to make the trip downstairs to the couch to open presents.
There weren’t many gifts around our tree, and all the boxes were pretty small. Nothing on my list could fit in any of these boxes, I thought. I figured my mother was right. Santa really had had a rough year.
I opened the biggest present first. I eagerly tore at the wrapping paper until it lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the couch. I was left with a plain white box, which I opened to discover one of those white Coca-Cola bears that McDonald’s used to sell at Christmas time for a few bucks when you bought something from the menu.
My brother opened his first present, and he got a white Coca-Cola bear too. We glanced at each other as if to ask, “Did you have this on your list?” Then we both looked away as if to say, “Me neither.”
I opened my next present, and my brother opened his. We looked at each other again, “Nope, me neither.”
When we finished unwrapping all our presents, we were both left with the entire collection of toys that McDonald’s had offered with their Happy Meals for the month of December. My mother must have sensed our disappointment because she went into her bedroom to bring out two more presents.
“I got you each one more gift,” she said with a smile.
My brother’s face lit up and so did mine, and we had the presents unwrapped before they even left her hand. Our eagerness quickly turned to confusion. I received the movie The Addam’s Family and he received Charlotte’s Web. We looked at each other one final time, “Nope, me neither.”
After sitting in silence for a moment, my mother started talking.
“Santa had to eat McDonald’s Happy Meals for two week straight so you could have Christmas presents this year,” she said, still smiling.
Slowly, smiles broke out across our faces. We argued over who would get to watch his movie first, and the rest of our Christmas was spent watching the same two movies over and over again until we both fell asleep on the couch.
Every year, at Christmas time, I think back to that Christmas. I remember how sick I was, and I remember how disappointed I was. At the time, I would have said that that was the worst Christmas ever, but each year, the memory of that Christmas glows a bit brighter. Each year, I think of that Coca-Cola bear, those Beanie Babies, and those movies, and I am reminded of the strength of my mother’s love for her two sons. I am reminded that it truly is the thought and the love that is behind the gift and not the gift itself that matters most. Twenty years later, I think back to that Christmas, and I remember it as the best Christmas ever!
One thing that seems to be a common vehicle of relationships is a “field of dreams approach” to happy ever after. I don’t disagree to this approach on the face of it; however, I do disagree with how most people “build their fields”. I believe that honesty is the undisputable piece of land that all relationships must be built upon. Love can be a wonderful thing, but it also one of the most powerful. Love is blind, a chameleon, a veritable jack of all trades that can be a master of someone to the point that nothing else matters than the object of that love. When this happens, the field of love becomes obsession. This obsession is usually based on a tunnel-visioned dishonesty. By this, I mean that the “obsessed one” is so full of their own feelings that they feel that the feelings are mutual; but that for whatever reason, these feelings are not out in the open. So they build a life based on what they feel the one they love need or want whether they actually have the encouragement or not.
Building a relationship should be a team effort. It should not be a “let me build a life for them and let them come to the realization that THIS is what they want”. It should be based on honesty (self and with others), respect, affection, communication, and mutual love. If there are red flags, don’t ignore them. Face them head-on and determine whether or not they are deal breakers. If they are, move on; if they can be worked on, get some objective help and work on those problems together.
When building something yourself, the work may be hard but the finished product brings satisfaction. When building a relationship, sharing the work can be a little trying at times because let’s face it, nothing and no one’s perfect; but when you keep communication at the forefront and let each other know that you’re there for one another, the finished product can bring even more satisfaction. Just keep in mind that the finished product is a constant work in progress just like the people working on it.
The building starts with you and needs to move on to include who you want with you on your field of dreams. Start the building with self honesty and when you’re ready for company, don’t forget to send the invites!
True strength is not measured in physical forbearance; it is measured by how much your mind can hold, your heart can give, and your hands can act in selflessness. It’s not about how fast you rise from the ashes; but how much you have learned before you are reborn, and how long you can keep standing while remembering that no matter how many times you fall you can always rise again as long as while you’re down you take what you need from the hard times and leave what will always keep you from reaching your full potential.
This week, staff writer LeeAnn Yops gives us a humorous post for upcoming New Years Eve.
2013 is a hop, skip and a jump away and with that comes the dreaded New Years Eve plans. NYE isn’t really anything special for me, yet I feel like I’m too young and too single to stay home eating pizza-flavored Combos while I wait for a frozen pizza to bake.
Simply put: New Years Eve sucks. It sucks so much that there was a crappy movie made about it with 9,000 characters that you couldn’t keep straight. It’s expensive, there’s too much hype and it’s a commitment I’m not ready to make.
As a very single lady, I could go a couple of ways with NYE plans.
Stay in, drink 5 buckets of champagne, pet my cats, watch every single “because you watched The Good Son” recommendations on Netflix, and be mad I’m not out.
Pay for a stupid bar package, have a few cocktails, enjoy my friends’ company, and be mad I paid so much money for a place that’s so crowded.
Go to a house party, have fun, be mad that the boy I like isn’t paying enough attention to me, and then get mad at myself for caring at all that the boy isn’t paying attention to me.
If these were my college years I would be daring a friend to make out with both of the boys she’s seeing and I would be dared to kiss 10 people in return. Although fun back then, that seems exhausting, plus I don’t want to get pregnant by the mouth. That’s how it happens after all.
Considering I like my friends I’m sure I’ll have fun in some way, but for now I will dread the end of 2012 while perusing the “because you watched Dinosaurs” recommendations. If I do go out, I hope the boys take a fine notice to my all shape wear dress. It is beautiful.
Here is a poem I wrote as a reminder that time is what you make it. It is ever-present, but it doesn’t have to stay dark. And with the new year fast approaching, now is as good a time as any for rebirth.
Time here, then fleeting
All of it means nothing
Then it is everything
A shadow passing over my life
Never gone, never enveloping me completely
Its ever-flowing presence moving
Through the scenes of my memories
Past and future
On a Christmas Day sprinkled with white
Came good wishes from friends, laughter with family
And even surprise good tidings from an ex
There are smells of apple cinnamon
And sounds of Christmas music
And sights of twinkling lights
Though I sit here single and alone
I’m not lonely
Cause while I don’t have around me every loved one
I still feel their love in the distance
And my heart stays warm.
This week staff writer Rigby Rat gives us some of her favorite quotes! Do you share some of the same ones? What are some of your favorite quotes?
Rigby Rat’s favorite quotes:
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama
“Experimenting on creatures who are unable to articulate their pain is not respect for nature.” – Gerald K. Adams
“The death of fear is in doing what you fear to do.” – Sequiche Comingdeer, Cherokee
“For thirteen years, I taught my tongue not to tell a lie; and for the next thirteen, I taught it to tell the truth.” – The Koretzer Rabbi
“Children should be able to grow up without being indoctrinated with anyone’s religion. Until they have the age and experience to make an informed decision, they should not be forced to participate in rituals and prayers to various deities.” – Brian Templeton
“Three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves, politicians. All these need parental supervision.” representative Dick Armey
“The more you carry the past around, the less likely it is that the future will improve.” – Bill Bradley
“Those who train their children in athletics to the exclusion of other necessities, make their children truly vulgar.” – Aristotle
“Answer with kindness when faced with hostility.” Tao Te Ching, verse 63
“It takes less brains to be successful in the film business than in any other.” – Lewis Selznick
“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” – Buddha
“There are only two kinds of class: first class and no class.” – David O. Selznick
“The quieter you become, the more you hear.” – Baba Ram Dass
“When the heart is at ease, the body is healthy.”- Chinese proverb
“Mind is the source of happiness or unhappiness.” – Buddha
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude.” – Confucius
Remember, an actor without a writer is a waiter!” – R.J. Colleary
“Those who love deeply never grow old.” – unknown
“Think well, and you act well. Act well, and all is well.” – Vernon Howard
“The most important thing a man can do is try to understand how he can live a good life.” – Socrates
“I loathed every day and regret every day I spent in school. I like to be taught to read and write and add and then be left alone.” – Woody Allen
As we find ourselves hours from Christmas Day, we must remember that love, kindness, and acceptance all some of the greatest gifts that can be given but not just during Christmas but all year ’round. So this season and everyday give a little more love and kindness and pass around more understanding. Merry Christmas to all and to all a great evening!
This week staff writer Frank Friedlander gives us a holiday post those with young kids can relate to. Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy Holiday!
The good news is that we’ve long since finished our holiday shopping. We won’t have to brave the madness that is last minute shopping at the mall. Everything is wrapped and ready to go.
Where am I going with this? I’m not quite certain. What I do know is that this will be the first Christmas morning in which Francie is somewhat aware of what’s going on. Her first Christmas, she was four months old and hadn’t a clue. The next year, when she awoke that morning and was given gifts, she was happy then, but again, hadn’t a clue why.
This year, she knows Christmas is coming. She knows presents are coming. She may not be quite sure of the exact timeline, but she’s ready. She knows that Santa is bringing her things. She knows who Santa is. She likes Santa, from a distance, anyway. Once she gets close up, that’s a different story; she clings to mommy or daddy like a monkey to a tree. Then when we walk away, she wants to watch him again, from a distance. Kind of like a bird watcher would.
Kind of ironic how parents spend eleven months out of the year preaching stranger danger to our children, but that final month, all bets are off. Hey sweetie, see that guy with the beard, funny outfit, and a mug of eggnog? We want you to sit on his lap and tell him everything you want. “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas,” he bellows.
And then we freak out a few months later when she walks up to some random vagrant with similar qualities just because the eggnog has been replaced with cheap bourbon and “Ho! Ho! Ho, Merry Christmas!” has been replaced with “The end is near! Judgment day is upon us! Repent for your sins!”