Archive for January, 2012

The daunting task of “undecorating” my house lies ahead of me. Unlike decorating, “undecorating” is no fun. There is no thrill to wrapping things up and putting them away. But, if I don’t make haste and strip each room bare of its holiday cheer, a paralyzing-effect will come over me. It happens every year. In my head, the New Year is symbolically put on hold until the past year is tidily put away. No new projects can start until the last sparkle snowman is bid adieu for the season. So, without further delay, I’m pushing up my sleeves and singing this “Happy Working Song.” It seems to work in all the Disney movies!

Click to play Happy Working Song:

#1 – Time Is Nothing
A new year brings new dreams and new energy to pursue forever-dreams. Kien Lam is an example of someone who is pursuing his dreams. He says on his website, “I graduated with a business degree from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and worked in finance as a strategist for a few years before I parted ways with my company and started on a journey to live out my dream of traveling around the world.” As he traveled the world he took videos of what he saw and after careful editing created a beautiful five-minute movie called Time is Nothing//Around the World Time Lapse. Click on the first square on the left to start the movie.

#2 – Miniature Food
The idea of miniature food is probably appealing to those of you who are starting the New Year off on a diet, but the miniature food that artist Shay Aaron creates is not edible. Check out the tiny and intricate food made from Fimo clay. They are incredible inedibles!

#3 – Life’s Third Act
Here’s more food for thought. Watch this TED video in which Jane Fonda addresses the promise of life’s third act. The video description reads, “Within this generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy — and these years aren’t just a footnote or a pathology. At TEDxWomen, Jane Fonda asks how we can think about this new phase of our lives.”

#4 – It’s Free!
If your pocketbook is suffering from the effects of holiday spending, you might want to check out these sites which link to offers for free things:

100+ Sites Offering Great Literature for Download

Surprisingly Things You Can Get For Free (Or Almost)

100 Best (Free) Science Documentaries Online

#5 – A New Start
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Carl Bard

Enjoy your weekend!

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The rhythmic sounds of a tumbling clothes dryer and a snoring old dog create a soothing background of white noise as I compose my thoughts. The holidays blew through my life like a gust of wind, picking up bits and pieces of my routine and then rearranging them in chaotic order. The kids blew in, stayed awhile, and then blew out. Life provides us with opportunities to learn lessons every day and these past holidays were no exception. Mindful refresher courses came in abundance during the last few weeks. Now in the quiet of my home and my mind, I reflect on the holidays and the lessons I learned or revisited.

No matter how much planning and preparation transpires before the holidays, I will never have enough time to do everything I want to do. With that in mind, I didn’t try to please everyone and I didn’t get together with everyone I wanted to see this holiday season. Prioritizing my time was how I stayed sane and, for me, family always comes first. There’s plenty of time during the rest of the year to bake, craft, and visit with friends. Having all of my kids under one roof is a rarity these days, so I gave myself permission to be selfish with my time.

Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
A week ago my dog survived chocolate and alcohol poisoning due to an absent-minded husband and a gift of homemade bourbon balls. Three hours and $369.00 later, I gratefully carried my little dog back home from the emergency veterinary hospital. Will he get into chocolate, again? I hope not. I’ve learned that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. And, in this case, I’m not referring to my dog! Adoption of new routines in our home – inspection and placement of my husband’s briefcase – will hopefully prevent any future incidents involving my sweet-seeking dog.

Don’t Sweat the Messy Stuff
Laundry baskets of dirty clothes stood in queues outside the laundry room, mystery goop stuck to the stove top, and dozens of unclaimed drinking glasses littered the house. My kids were home and it showed. For all the days my family was reunited, the house was a huge mess, but I was okay with that. Not a lot of time was wasted sweating over the messy stuff and as much time as possible was spent enjoying the mess-makers.

The Best Gifts
Driving around town admiring Christmas lights never grows old. Nor does preparing big pots of homemade soup and listening to my kids slurp them down and then, in a Charles Dickens’ way, ask for “more.” Watching their faces as they opened their presents and listening to their laughter fill the house reminded me that the best gifts aren’t on lists and have no dollar value.

Be Prepared
On Christmas Eve my oldest child complained of a bad headache and by Christmas morning his headache was accompanied by stomach pain. After sleeping most of Christmas, fever, chills, and heavy groans developed. Flu? Appendicitis? By Christmas evening we were in the hospital emergency room. Thankfully, he’s fine now, but next year, before the kids come home, I will remember to check the batteries in my digital thermometer and I will buy a fresh supply of acetaminophen.

Life is Precious
Like a thief in the night, bad news came and stole the promise of the New Year. In the middle of the night, the day after Christmas, my daughter came into my bedroom sobbing. She had just learned that a friend of hers was dead. While consoling her, we talked about Tim, a fun-loving and adventurous young man. Tim came from England, not just to study in the United States, but to fulfill his desire to see the world and to meet and befriend as many people as he could along the way. In the blink of an eye, his young life was snatched away by a drunk driver. Sad and bad things happen, even during the holidays. They are part of life. They make us wake-up, pay attention, and learn hard life lessons – like never take anyone for granted and live life to the fullest.

Growing with Gratitude
At year’s end I received an email with an annual report from my blog host. What started out as a way to share my thoughts, ideas, photos, and passions with others, has turned out to be an extraordinary experience for me. In the process of producing this blog, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. My children now have a journal of their mother’s sometimes quirky and sometimes serious thoughts and also a place to go to for family recipes intertwined with bits of family history. But what I’ve learned the most about while writing this blog is how small, thanks to the Internet, the world is and how large my world has grown! Finding out from the annual report that my readers come from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, simply overwhelmed me. I am grateful for every one of you who stopped by and took the time to read What About This? Thank you so much!

May 2012 find you happily grateful, in good health, and filled with abundant joy!

This post is dedicated to the memory of Tim Selby Barraud.
Photo of Tim soaking up the Oregon sunset – courtesy of my daughter.

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