Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If you open it, they will come

When I look back on my childhood, I have many memories of the holiday season.  I can't tell you all the gifts I received each Christmas.  There are some things that seemed like a big deal, like my nerf mini-golf set.  Then there are the smaller gifts that were pretty much an annual thing, such as giant, newsprint papered, activity books and a set of markers.  Most of all, the memories are filled with experiences.

Our family delivered The Cleveland Plain Dealer.  On Thanksgiving, when the papers were all delivered, my siblings most likely went back to bed.  I would stay up and help my mom.  Usually, I was tearing the bread up to make the stuffing (yes, we are a stuffing, not dressing, family).  The soundtrack for the kitchen hustle and bustle was the local, morning news broadcast with the turkey bowling event.  It was compelling television in the way that only local news teams can deliver.  Part of the team was at a grocery store where people were using frozen turkeys to bowl down cans of cranberry sauce.  AWESOME-SAUCE (see what I did there?).  When that broadcast was over, it was time for the Macy's Parade!  Then my mom would get her traditional phone call from a friend of hers and I'd be on my own to do whatever needed to be done.

Some years, my mom would take in strays who didn't have Thanksgiving plans.  We were a crowd on our own with my parents, my four siblings, and me.  As the years went on, the numbers grew and grew. And, my mom always prepared enough of her amazing food for everyone and then some.  Even now, when I don't get to be there for Thanksgiving, I can smell and practically taste my mom's stuffing. She always had a smorgasbord of vegetables, too, so that there was bound to be some type that each person would like.  Then, there would be the annual sweet potato reference to Louie Anderson's Thanksgiving bit.

Anyway, I could go on with more experiences, more memory sharing, but I've gone on too long already.

What I really want to bring up here is the way Thanksgiving is becoming less and less of a holiday and more about getting that jump on Christmas shopping.  More and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving day.  Getting that super-amazing-discount-on-that-super-amazing-gift is so important that it certainly means that the store employees have no reason to have their own experiences, make their own memories with their families. And, to top it off, they can then be yelled at by the people who didn't get the deal before everyone else claimed it.

So, just because the stores may be open, it doesn't mean you have to go. After all, when your kid grows up and reflects on Holiday memories, she's probably not going to remember the great deal you got on that one present that one year you shopped on Thanksgiving.  She's more likely to remember that one year you weren't with the family on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The order of things

Yesterday, Jarvis and I went for a walk.  We've been exploring the neighborhood; going down streets we've never been before.  While we were out and about, I looked down a street and saw a giant, inflatable turkey on the front lawn of a house (I wish we would have gone down that street for me to snap a picture, but, alas, we didn't).

As we continued on toward home, I got to thinking.  Yep, we know what that means! BLOG POST!  My first thought was to give the people at that house a shout-out.  Something like, "Way to go people-who-remember-that-after-Halloween-comes-Thanksgiving!  That is awesome that you are showing some love to Thanksgiving as it becomes more and more glossed over by Commercialmas!"

From there, I went on to think about the order of holidays.  My executive decision about the calendar is that Thanksgiving should be the holiday closest to New Year's.  The end of one year is the perfect time to recap and be grateful.  Get all the candy and gift giving stuff out of the way in October and November.  For those who aren't focused on the commercialism of Christmas, the date is rather arbitrary so moving it up isn't really screwing up the religious aspect of it.

Of course, this is all in my humble opinion.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It's not about keeping up with the Joneses

Back when I was first facing my depression, I was sitting in a room talking to a couple of people who were my leaders for a church organization.  The room had a crucifix on the wall.  They told me that I knew nothing of suffering and that I need to look at the cross to see what real suffering is.  This is a profound experience of bullshit.  I mean, REALLY?  If we are to look at our experiences compared to a crucifixion, a large number of people are whiny complainers about non-existent suffering, be it physical or mental.

I've since heard someone talk about how we shouldn't minimize our own struggles because others have it worse is the same as minimizing our own happiness because others have it better.

I still struggle with minimizing my experiences when compared to other.  My therapist called a relationship I told her about as abusive.  I then went into minimize it mode because abuse seemed like such a harsh term.  I wasn't burned with cigarettes, or beaten, or rape, etc.  But, there is more to the word than those extremes.  So, yeah, maybe it was an abusive relationship on a different level.

Recently, I watched a video that seemed to be a message for the LGBTQ community.  But, it goes deeper.  It speaks to all of us because we all have our own closets and our own struggles.  Here's the video & I hope it speaks to you, too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You, too?

You know how, when you buy a car, you start to notice that car model everywhere?  Or if you buy a car in a color you never had before, you start to see every car in that color?  You feel this sense of sibling-hood with those drivers.  You might feel like you should give a little nod to the other person to acknowledge your common bond.  The thing is, not everyone went out and got the same model or same color car when you did.  You're just more aware of it because it is now personally connected to you. Well, okay, this has gotten a bit silly, but I hope you know what I mean.

Over the last few years, and, more so in the last year and a half, my husband and I have been dealing with infertility.  We came to the end of our road after going through an unsuccessful round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).  It seems to be that my eggs suck and when combined with my endometriosis, getting pregnant isn't something I can do. Finances also come in to play. We took out a loan, but that didn't cover it all.  When all was said and done, we're talking about $20K with no baby to make it worth it. And, to just add to the awesomeness of it all, I get to have a hysterectomy.  Yep, my insides are such a mess of scar tissue that it's all gotta go.

What does all of this have to do with the car stuff that started off this entry?  Well, I watch a lot of TV and movies (needing to find a job gives me lots of time). I feel like I can't watch anything that doesn't have someone dealing with infertility or a hysterectomy.  Sometimes it hits me and I cry while watching.  I find myself wondering if I'm going through the car scenario.  Were these story lines prevalent before, or am I just more aware of them based on my personal experience?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

At the dog park

Before I get started, yes, I do "sing" dog park in my head to the tune of "Car Wash."

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to express some thoughts about dog parks.  I like to tire out our almost 9 month old puppy, Jarvis, by taking him to the dog park.  He is FULL of energy, as one would expect of a puppy.  The dog park is a great way for him to burn energy and it is good for him to be around other dogs.  It's nice to see him play...and...honestly, nice to not be his soul source of play (it can be exhausting for this puppy mama).

I've become confused about the purpose of dog parks.  I thought of it kind of like the equivalent of taking kids to a playground.  It's a place for dogs to play and learn to be around other dogs. Jarvis can't wait to get out of the car when we pull up!  He just wants to get in there.  I can't open the gate and get his leash off fast enough.  Then, the butt sniffing and slobbering begin.

However, some of our experiences show that not everyone there is on the same page.  If you want to play fetch with your dog and not interact with others, I feel like some dog parks may not be for you. The one we go to the most is not very large.  It is split in two with a smaller area and larger area which is nice for smaller or timid dogs.  Often, the smaller (which is just more narrow, but still a lot of space) one isn't used.  If you just want to play fetch, maybe heading over to the unoccupied side would be best. I worry about Jarvis with other dogs and rough play, but I know it is good for him to be with other dogs.  If it gets to be too much, I'll take him away.  If I didn't want him to be with anyone but me, I wouldn't take him to the park. So, if those other folks take their toys and go home, Jarvis and I are better off.

Maybe I'm just crazy.
Why wouldn't you want your dog to play with Jarvis?