Sunday, December 30, 2007

the eve of the big eve

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and everyone will be having a party or pretending their having a party or going to a party.
As if there is something special about the night.
Well, there is still Dick Clark... sort of.
But I remember New Year's Eve 1999, when everyone was sure the world was going to come to an end or all the computers would stop working and our lives would come to a halt.
Some people had stockpiled food and water and money -- all ready to fend off the rest of the world .. and their neighbors... for months.
We all had to work that night at the paper, so if anything HAD happened, we wouldn't even have been with our loved ones.
Of course, nothing happened. It was a big letdown.
All of the hype, all of the buildup .. and nothing happened.
Hey, isn't that sort of what New Year's Eve is like every year?
Perhaps I'm just too jaded.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


So the year is waning and many people are thinking about their New Year resolutions.
I've never been very good at making, or keeping, them, so most years I figure, why bother?
I do, however, always admire those people who make resolutions and actually work hard to achieve their various goals.
There are those who diligently diet and exercise; others who finally quit smoking; or perhaps they head back to college or change careers.
There are so many areas where I could resolve to change my life that it's hard to pick just one.
But I'm trying to narrow it down before New Year's Day. Perhaps it won't be so much a formal resolution, as simply a resolve to begin to make a difference in at least one area.
Like I said, there are many from which to choose.
I wonder if others are having the same dilemma?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve 2007... I sit here as another Dec. 24th wanes and think back to the many Christmas Eves I have seen.
WAY back when, my three sisters and I could hardly contain ourselves on Christmas Eve; we giggled and whispered and wondered what Santa would bring.
As the years passed, the wonder faded a bit, but family Christmases were just as important.
In our first years of marriage, my husband and I would head to church on Christmas Eve, spend the evening just the two of us, and often head to my parents' house on Christmas morning.
More years passed and then we were three -- and our daughter brought back that innocent wonder once again. Oh, and the Christmas Eves of putting toys together and wrapping last-minute presents, as we raced against the clock.
More years flew by, our daughter married and it was just the two of us again.
Now, in 2007, it is just the two of us once more, but this time my daughter and I are the "two."
My husband passed away nearly four years ago; my father, nearly eight. My mother died this year; my daughter is no longer married.
But still it is Christmas, and new traditions are created and old ones observed.
So many memories; some sadness, but happiness nonetheless.
May all your memories be happy ones.
Merry Christmas.

another thing...

There is one thing about the holidays that has really been bothering me. I noticed it several times leading up to Christmas, when stores had special "men's nights" to cater to men who were "so overwhelmed" at the thought of Christmas shopping.
The stores were open only to the men, they gave them food and libations, some offered neck massages and various other goodies.
All because "men are so busy and can find shopping so confusing."
Give me a break. I know there are men who truly do help out at the holidays, but I hear many more tales of women who buy, address and sign the cards; do all the shopping and cooking for the holiday meal; do all the cleaning and special laundry; basically do all the decorating (perhaps a man will put up the tree or even put the lights on it); and wrap all the presents except for their own, plus mail those that have to go a distance.
Yes, in far too many cases, the women still are doing just about everything to make the holidays special.
And then the men get special treatment to lure them into stores?
What's wrong with this picture?
Santa, it's time to bring more equity into this equation.

Is that Santa?

Can it be Dec. 24th already? Are your stockings hung by the chimney with care?
I look out my window here at The Reporter and it could be almost any time of the year.
The sky is pure blue, few clouds in the sky, a bit of a breeze.
It doesn't really look like winter, much less Christmas Eve.
So far it's been fairly quiet on the police radio -- probably most people are shopping or on their way for a holiday visit.
Let's hope the quiet continues, for everyone's sake.
I don't think the "magic" of Christmas Eve ever sets in for me until I'm at home, with the Christmas tree lit, perhaps some holiday music playing quietly and the packages, neatly wrapped, are under the tree.
Well, at least they're wrapped. I won't pretend to be great at creating beautifully wrapped presents.
For now, it's work; then a test at the hospital -- can you believe it, on Christmas Eve? Then home to kitties and family.
Here's wishing you a quiet, peaceful lead-up to Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

it's almost time

Dec. 23... Festivus for some. The day before the day before for many others of us.
Baking those last cookies, wrapping presents, bustling around doing some cleaning, and, finally, sitting down to watch "White Christmas" with my daughter -- one of our yearly traditions.
Yes, it's a sappy musical, but I can't help but love it.
For one thing, much of it takes place in Vermont. Yes, I know it doesn't REALLY take place in Vermont, but I can pretend.
And it's a tale where everything works out in the end; everyone ends up in love; everyone ends up happy.
How many movies like that do they make today?
So, we watch it, repeat a lot of the dialog, sing with some of the songs ... and note the bad editing at places.
In short, we love it.
Year in, year out.
It's one of those Christmas movies that's a must every year... just like "The Ref."
Talk about a world of difference in movies!
But each has their place.
Enjoy as we reach those final hours before Christmas Day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

bad drivers!

I had the day off today... from work... in order to take care of some medical appointments. so that meant, of course, driving around the area.
And, of course, that meant once again taking my life into my hands.
I counted no fewer than four different drivers at four different lights who just barreled through lights that were dead red.
No just turning red; not yellow.
Full red.
One of these offenders was a tractor-trailer.
I was thankful that the drivers who were first in line for the green lights didn't make the mistake of trusting the light and starting through. Otherwise, there would have been a few families whose holidays would have been marred, possibly fatally, by accidents caused by these idiots.
What is wrong with drivers in this area?
Yes, accidents happen.
But these incidents were pure arrogance.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh, the weather outside...

OK, it's not frightful today, but I can't STAND the wind that we've been having lately.
Or the ice.
On a few recent days, the trees next to my driveway have been so ice-laden that their branches have almost touched the ground ... and these are TALL trees. It scares me to think that one morning I'll come out and the trees will no longer be standing.
But it's the wind, that howling wind, that disturbs me the most. I can't even say why, but I hate it. It's far from the breezes of summer and fall that filter through our wind chimes and soften the heat and humidity.
I know, in the summer I can't wait for autumn. Then I look forward to colder weather.
Now I'm complaining about the wind.
Some people just can't be happy with the weather... guess that includes me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

days gone by

I got a call from my college roommate Friday evening. She lives in Nevada now, and before that lived in California. And before that lived in Mass. So over the "few" years since our days at Shippensburg, we haven't been able to see each other that often. But boy, we sure can still talk.
And every time we chat, we remember some of those good, goofy times when all we had to worry about was going to class. And passing the tests. And our dorm housemother. And the endless papers... when, you get the idea. But there also was so much fun. And the holidays were always part of that.
Everyone always decorated their dorm rooms, the doors, the halls -- you name it. And going around to see the other dorms was always part of the fun.
Of course, one of the "sweetest" memories was when the guys from our brother dorm came over to sing Christmas carols one night, standing out in the snow and the cold. Naturally we all were appreciating all of this from our open windows -- and it was really a fun experience.
Until our sweet housemother got on the PA system and demanded it all come to an end.
We were not to "hang out of the windows, and make this dorm into a brothel!"
I'm not kidding... that's what she told us. At least part of the "housemother" description was accurate.
But I won't go there -- it IS the holiday season.
And, I suppose in the end, she helped make that occasion unforgettable.
It would be great to be able to go back to that time, if even just for a few days, and recapture some of the fun that was part of holiday college fun ... and to be young again with all my friends and to have "only" the worries we did then.
Older and wiser? Perhaps.
And still lucky enough to have friends from those days to remember some of those special times.
I hope you do, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

the blues

Does everyone get the blues around the holidays? It seems that way, based on a lot of people I've talked with lately.
I'm no exception, I admit. This is my first Christmas since my mother died in April. My dad died almost eight years ago; my husband died almost four years ago, and sometimes it just seems a bit too much to deal with.
Thank goodness for my daughter, the rest of my family and my friends.
Still, when I hear "I'll be home for Christmas" or some of the others that were favorites of my late loved ones, the tears come.
Gee, what an upbeat post for this December Sunday evening.
And I shouldn't be so gloomy. My decorations are up, my cards are sent, most of my gifts are purchased. There aren't many to buy for immediate family, but I've found that it's fun and fulfilling to participate in "angel trees" and similar projects.
So it's time to snap out of it, I suppose.
Loved ones no longer with us will never be forgotten; they'll always be missed.
But I want to honor their memories with love and happiness, not gloom and doom.
Hope I'm successful.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'm into therapy -- physical, that is

For several weeks now I've been heading to physical therapy three times a week.
I've had problems for years and years with my neck and right arm... unfortunately, I'm right-handed.
A car accident decades ago, a herniated disk 10 years ago -- and old age -- have all combined to once again through problems at me. Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers, sometimes going up the arm; pain and stiffness; weakness in my hand.
Gee, isn't age wonderful?
But therapy does seem to be helping, and I have the wonderful people at the Physical Therapy and Wellness Institute in Lansdale to thank.
NO, this is NOT a commercial. But sometimes people deserve some recognition.
I wish I was making faster progress, because I don't want to feel like an old lady just yet. But I'm feeling stronger, and plugging away at my home exercises, too.
So, here's hoping.

snow, snow, snow

Yes, December is officially here. Anyone who wasn't sure got a wake-up call today with the snow, freezing rain and other nasties that Mother Nature threw at us.
I could have lived with just the snow -- even a few more inches. It looked beautiful this morning, and it was a pleasant reminder that yes, we DO still have seasons. Sometimes you wonder when it's November and it's over 70.
So now comes the big question: Will we have a white Christmas? It would be great to see the snow start falling around 7 p.m. Christmas Eve and wake up with a few inches of the white stuff on the ground. Not enough to ruin anyone's family plans, but enough to remind us what Christmas SHOULD look like.
Anyone disagree??