Friday, June 8, 2018

How Important Are Holidays to You?


Are you someone who looks forward to and celebrates holidays to the fullest?  I think that most of us have a favorite holiday for specific reasons.  Time off work.  Family time together.  Dressing up.  Giving and receiving gifts.

Remember when you were a kid and it took forever for Christmas to arrive?  Every night you dreamed about that special toy you asked Santa for and hoped you'd get.  You could hardly wait for Halloween to get here so you could wear your new costume and have enough candy to last a month.  I remember hiding my stash so my parents didn't know how much I actually ate.  Thanksgiving can be so exciting with the anticipation of going to grandparents' house for a huge turkey dinner and lots of fun games. But, the best was your birthday -- that special day you didn't have to share with anyone.  It was all about you - gifts for you -- your favorite chocolate cake - and a day off from chores.

Growing up, birthdays weren't that big of a deal.  Even now, sometimes my daughter has to remind me that it is my birthday.

Christmas dinnerChristmas time is probably my favorite time of year.  I usually have all gifts bought and wrapped by early autumn.  I love baking for the holidays and I'm twitterpated when I think about spending fun time with my grandchildren.  Sadly, Christmas also smacks of unpleasant memories.  My mom died shortly before Christmas when I was a teenager.  I always envied families who had huge gatherings and was disturbed when people complained about having to go "home" for the holidays to see members of their family they didn't like.  Last year a bank teller spent at least five minutes complaining to me about her mother-in-law's turkey.  She refused to eat it because she knew it had been thawed on the counter overnight.  Then a tirade began about how much she disliked 'that' woman.

As much as I love my daughter and her family and am thrilled to spend Christmas with them every year, I also grieve for a very real loss.  Seven years ago our son and his family walked out of our lives right before Christmas.  No explanation.  No reason that we can determine.  We grieved deeply and it felt like our family dynamics would never be the same.  No matter how much time goes by, the wound is deep and raw.  Our son and family live in the same town as we do and I sometimes see them from a distance.  They are unapproachable and this mother's heart is torn apart all over again.  To make matters worse, we have no clue as to why.  

Christmas time is sad for thousands of people and reflected with a high suicide rate at that time of year.  Loneliness plays a big part of this equation.
Halloween pumpkin

As much as I love Christmas and what it represents, I hate Halloween.  I see no reason why grown-ups need to dress up like kids, eat an abundance of high fructose corn syrup treats and celebrate gore and violence.  Yet, I buy 400 pieces of that gross candy and welcome all the tots who come to our door.  It is always interesting to observe the polite children versus the ones who feel entitled.  

My favorite gift for some holidays is a sentimental card.  I save them and read them throughout the year.  Mother's Day.  Valentine's Day.  My birthday.

When people talk about what they are going to do on the next long weekend like Labor Day or the 4th of July, I look forward to getting caught up on my list of things to do without interruption.  Call me crazy or a workaholic but having that extra day or two makes my load that much lighter for the rest of the week or month.

I never figured out why people drink beer and wear green on St. Patrick's Day.  An excuse to party?  
Memorial Day
One day that I believe should be honored - but not celebrated - is Memorial Day.  I said "Happy Memorial Day" to a client last week and he replied, "There is nothing happy about Memorial Day."  I apologized and agreed.  We owe our veterans so much and I am thankful we take this time to recognize that.

New Year's Eve used to be fun but I can barely remember that far back.  It is really just another month end that requires extra book work for the end of the year.

Relax Stress
No, I'm not a scrooge and am glad people have holidays and time off and time with family on these special days.  These days just don't excite me much.  To answer the original question, "What is your favorite and least favorite holiday and why?" I would say that Christmas is my favorite but it comes with sadness.  I don't have a least favorite as most of the others I rarely celebrate.  But, I love dinner parties and will use a holiday as an excuse to plan a party for friends to enjoy, eat tons of great food, and relax.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?  What is your favorite holiday and why?  Do you get excited or depressed around certain ones?

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

This month my secret subject was "What is your favorite and least favorite holiday and why?  It was submitted by Blogging 911.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                            
The Lieber Family Blog              
The Bergham Chronicles              
Southern Belle Charm               
The Blogging 911                            
Cognitive Script                       
My Brand of Crazy                    

Photos courtesy of,,,,,

Friday, May 18, 2018

Are You Immune to Credit Card Fraud?

Every morning, the first thing I do on the computer is to check my bank accounts.  In the business account for our store, I was horrified to see a reversal of $2,300 by a credit card company.  It took some time to figure out that three weeks earlier the two young men who made purchases in our store had used a fraudulent card.  They spent a long time making a decision on what they purchased and chatted at length about their families.

We checked their driver licenses to be sure the name matched with the cards and the purchases went through without a hitch.  Even harder to believe is one of the men stayed in contact with us via email for two weeks organizing his next purchase for a custom-made ring.  Why would he give me his IP address and his name if he was scamming us?  They must have known that it would take three weeks before the credit card payment would be reversed.  

Friday, May 4, 2018

Do You Care if Pot is Legalized?

Do you think marijuana should be legalized - why or why not?

This is a tough question with many variables.  I was asked that question for this month's Secret Subject Swap and I have mixed feelings.  From a purely personal standpoint I vacillate between "no" and "I don't care."  Many of my friends have used or are using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and I applaud the health professionals who have helped them realize improvements especially in the area of pain control.

However, when someone pushing for legalization uses words like "cure" and "harmless" my antenna goes up.  Drugs rarely, if ever, are a cure.  And in all my years as a health coach, I have never heard of a harmless drug.  They all have side effects. Even coffee! I find a lot of discrepancies in their arguments.

Friday, April 20, 2018

If You Accomplish Nothing, Have You Really Worked?

The definition of work is to put in the effort to achieve a certain goal.  Does this mean that if I bang my head against a wall all day and not leave a dent in the wall, I have accomplished nothing?  We all have those kinds of days and this month I was devastated by working so hard on a time-sensitive goal and producing zip. 

About a month before we moved I realized that we would not have the same email server at the new house.  This didn't seem to be a concern until the internet provider enlightened me that when we closed our account with them, there was no way to access any of my folders or files.  

I had hundreds of files saved from 20 years in business.  It was crucial that these were saved.  I also had photos and warm fuzzy files in my personal folders.  Hence, I began the task of going over each and EVERY email, determining if I wanted to save it and then transferring it to a new Gmail account.  Not only a huge task but I did not like the folder option layout available on Gmail.

I dedicated three hours a day, every single day for almost a full month, to complete this task.  Then two days before moving I called the cable company to see if there was any other way to keep my old account open.  "Yes, of course.  You could put your account on vacation hold indefinitely."  WHY didn't they tell me that a month earlier?  I had already deleted everything from my old account but decided it couldn't hurt to keep it open to save all my contacts -- for at least another month.

After finally getting settled and ready to get back to work, I opened my new Gmail account to gain access to a few files and almost suffered heart failure.  All of my folders were there BUT most of them were empty.  I checked trash and spam.  NADA.  Empty.

Talked to computer guys but noone seemed to be able to help me.  I finally had to succumb to the fact that everything was gone.  All those years of files for our businesses and the businesses I managed for others were gone!

After much stress and investigation, I discovered that in Gmail, if you have several files in a folder and delete one of the files - it deletes them all.  I never heard of anything so ridiculous.  It didn't compute.  But it was true.

After allerting some of my business connections, my accountant and other associates that I no longer had access to old files, I resolved to find anything I could from other sources.  The move had set me back and my desk was covered with unfinished tasks.  Now, this!

The last time we moved was 12 years earlier and I didn't realize that those years had taken a toll on my stamina when it came to packing, unpacking, and carrying over 100 boxes up and down the stairs.  But mission accomplished, I was now ready to get back to work.

Five weeks later, I had one of those thoughts that gave me a head rush.  I knew all my files in my old account had been deleted but I never emptied my 'sent' file.  I was shaking when I opened that file and THERE THEY WERE.  Each and every single one of them was nicely compacted into folders I had sent to Gmail.  I shouted and got far too excited about this but it meant years of work had been found.  For the $15 it cost per month to keep my old account on vacation hold, it was worth every penny.

Moral of the story -- I'll leave that to you in the comment section.  Would love to hear your take away on this scenario. 

It feels wonderful to be settled and enjoying our new home. It's been fun entertaining and having access to so many things that had been in storage for years.


The highlight of the month was having my daughter and kiddos visit for a few days.  This kitchen has a huge pantry and the kids loved 'going shopping' several times a day.  It was a delight to watch them.

Gunner and Star seem to be happier here -- not sure why.  Maybe it is because they can run up and down the stairs all day.  Gunner is such a gentleman.  If Star wants the whole bed to herself, he allows it but stays close in his protective mode.

This has been a Fly on the Wall post where bloggers share what went on in their lives during the past month.  Stop by and read these stories by other bloggers you know and love:

Baking In A Tornado
Menopausal Mother
Spatulas on Parade

Friday, April 6, 2018

Have You Got Away With Doing Something Illegal?

I had a lot of fun interacting with the people who responded to my recent post on Facebook.  "I don't know if any of you have been bold enough to do what I just did. Just in case there would be knock on the door from the police, I told my husband what I was about to do. I thought about doing this for a long time and today I took the plunge. Today (please don't think less of me for doing this) I cut off all the manufacturer's tags on my throw pillows and rugs. I ignored the label warnings that it was against the law. There! That feels so much better to have that off my chest!"

Many responded that they would be visiting me in prison and others said they would bring me a 'special' cake.  Many said that they had also done the same but were never caught. 

Couldn't resist sharing this one: