Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Favorite Things

This is a great time as the year winds to a close to share my favorite things. If Oprah can do it, so can I. Now, O can buy each of you one of her favorite things where I can only sing their praises. Without further ado...

Valerie's Favorite Things | 2013

Downton Abbey
$47.00 (1st 3 seasons boxed set)
Grab a cup o' tea and settle in with the Crawleys.

Like Kool-Aid...for grown ups.

Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen
$3.49/10 pack

Great for not sweating/leaving rings. Slap a Tervis lid on and you have an awesome travel coffee cup. Fits in all cup holders. Dishwasher safe.

Neosporin Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy


Great eye shadow base but can also be worn alone.

$64.00 (complete series on DVD)
Discovered it well after its run on TV but I'm a fan. Go Panthers!

Leaves hands soft without feeling greasy.

I'm cheap and love a good bargain so, despite growing up with Downy, I have always used store brand, generic, whatever is on sale fabric softener. We were out, I went to Costco and they were out of their store brand so I splurged and bought the real stuff. When your kid and husband ask "what's that smell? I like that." you know you're onto something. It's a joy reaching in the closet and pulling out something that smells like a spring garden. So, as much as it pains me (and my wallet), I have to admit the generic fell short on this one and I'm back to being a Downy girl.

So, from Downton Abbey to Downy, there you have it. Enjoy!

No Room in the Inn

Bird and I were Christmas shopping last night when we stopped at an intersection where an apartment building is located. On the curb was a pile of furniture and other belongings that looked something like this:

As we sat there silently with Christmas music playing in the background and my "to do" list running like a ticker through my mind, she asks "what's that?" I thought for a moment. I thought "well, it's someone who hasn't paid their rent" and "this is what happens when you make bad decisions" and not-so-nice words came to my mind like "deadbeat." But what I replied with was "well, that's an apartment building and if someone doesn't pay their rent, they get kicked out."

"But why is their stuff on the ground like that?"

"The landlord probably gave them several notices that they were behind in their rent and then that's what happens after your last notice...they clean out your apartment and throw your stuff out in the yard."

"So they sleep inside without their couch or their clothes?"

"No. The landlord takes the apartment away from them and they either come get their things or the trash man will."

Pause. The light turns green.

"Do you think their Christmas presents are in that pile? Where will they do Christmas?"

And just like that, a little girl with a heart of gold softens this oft-too-jaded soul and humanizes what is so easy to dehumanize.  There's a person behind that pile. Maybe a child. And where are they celebrating Christmas this year? And, more importantly, where are they sleeping tonight? I don't have answers to any of this. Just sharing a conversation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Coping

So, I took a two-an-a-half year break from blogging? Why? I ran out of things to say and, to be honest, wasn't sure anyone cared whether I had something to say or not. Well, one of those things has changed. I have something to say. I may be saying to myself alone but I'm going to say it.

I don't want, like, or want to support businesses who open on Christmas Day.

My pacifist husband says, "well, you know, if we woke up on Christmas morning and didn't have AA batteries for some toy, you'd be glad Walgreens was open, wouldn't you?" The truth is:  maybe.  But, I'd like to think that the better version of myself would just cope. A notion we, as a society, have forgotten and gotten out of the habit. We want it bigger, better and NOW! Not in a minute, not tomorrow, but right this second. You know that old study some scientists did with little kids and they gave them a choice of having one cookie right that moment or waiting five minutes and getting two cookies and by and large all the kids chose the former option? That's what we are. A society of hungry, greedy, five-year-olds.

If we woke up on Christmas morning and didn't have batteries for the toy du jour, I'd like to think we'd say something like "well, let's play with the 50 other things you got. Or, maybe we walk over to a neighbor's house, exchange pleasantries, and then ask if they had a couple of batteries we would borrow.

I can't tell you in the moment what my reaction would be. I can only tell you what I hope it would be.