Monday, December 5, 2011

Seasons GREED-ings

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

you know, Deck the Malls with Crowds of Folly and whatnot. isn't that how the song goes? Have a Holly Jolly Gift-mas?

i know, i know i am repeating the age old and popularized-by-Charlie-Brown adage that "Christmas is too commercialized"

for all of those groaning, rolling your eyes, or logging off, (well i guess those of you logging off won't be able to read this) i must say, that if you don't want cliche reprimands, stop creating the need for them!

for example, the average amount of money an American family spent on Christmas in 2009 was $417. this year, it is estimated to be about $646. wow! aren't we going through a recession or something?

and this is the av-er-age.

this includes the newlyweds struggling through college.
did you know that if just 10 families gave up their $646 worth of presents, they could build a well and purification system for an African village? And this $6,500 includes preparing the community for the water project, actual construction and the long-term monitoring and evaluation needed.

but i see how the latest ipod is more important than clean water.

another sadness of Christmas commercialism: "the meaning of Christmas"
how many of you have heard a heart-warming song, or movie, or TV show that ends with the simple lesson that "The true meaning of Christmas is that it is better to give than to Receive?"


then wouldn't it be Givemas? what happened to CHRISTmas? when did we forget that Christmas really has nothing to do with silver bells, sleigh rides, or bellies shaking like bowls full of jelly? When did the symbol of Christmas change from the most perfect, loving, and divine being on earth, to a bearded fat man who climbs down your chimney? And isn't it so interesting that "winter" break always lands over Christmas? i really don't think that we would have riotous people if we called it "Christmas break"

i know, i know, it's fine and dandy to sound all noble when I'm sitting at the computer, but is it really logical to remember these things, when you're in the midst of mistletoe? (and by the way, i have never in my life seen a real spring of mistletoe and, for my sake it should probably be brought back.)........(just kidding) but the point is: amidst the "ho ho ho" and "jingle bells" it can sometimes be hard to remember that we are celebrating the most miraculous event in history, and not just scouring the stores for that have-to-have gift.

my advice to you (although i am by no means qualified to give advice of any sort) is to take time to be grateful for all of the wonderful privileges you have in your life, and maybe forsake the brand-name coat and donate to charity. I think that's what our ultimate example would have done, and as we celebrate his birth during this season, try to give him the gift of loving others.


*my sister said that she didn't read my posts anymore because they didn't have anything "interesting" like pictures. so here is a picture of a greedy child. enjoy, but do not imitate.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The tur-KEY to gratitude

joy of joys! Thanksgiving is my Favorite holiday! ( I love Christmas time, but for happiest actual holiDAY, i must say that Thanksgiving is my favorite)

you begin with the watching of the parade. the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade of course.
you must be sure to wake up early, just in case it starts at 6:00 A.M. this year. when it doesn't (because, who are we kidding, it never starts that early) you get to flip leisurely through the thanksgiving specials, and the news channels which are all full of "Turky 911" tips.

the parade is a wondrous sight to behold. Big bird is taller than any of the sky scrapers, and famous singers are reduced to dressing up as candy canes and belting out "have a holly jolly Christmas. what a rush.

After Santa comes down the street ("because after that it's just guys cleaning up horse poop, and THAT doesn't throw ME at ALL" -miracle on 34th street) comes the bowling.

the "Turkey bowl" is a very competitive tradition with my dad's side of the family, and once you turn twelve, you're out of luck mister, because not more bumper rails! aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents all scrunch up their nose, wave their arms to the left and concentrate hard on their ball as they will it a li-i-i-ittle more to the other side. the sheer sight of their face is worth showing up in your jammies.

next comes the no, the ART of cooking dinner. the aroma of juicy turkey marinating happily in the kitchen, the sound of potatoes plopping into boiling water, and the occasional sneaking of pie crust is the picture-perfect-we're-a-happy-family kind of moment that everyone sees on TV.

when the relatives arrive, there are babies to be held, games to be played, and most importantly, food to be eaten.

if you've stayed with me this far, i'm going to cut you a break, and stop talking about my Thanksgiving traditions (even though it IS my favorite holiday, and i think i deserve a little indulgence) and skip to the real reason behind Thanksgiving.

Everyone talks about the pilgrims and how they were thankful for their food and habbledee-whoo-be-whatty. well, i would just like to take a moment of gratitude.

Even though i presume that the pilgrim story is largely inaccurate, i think that for whatever truth it holds, they are a great symbol for us.

i recently returned home from a humanitarian trip to the Dominican republic with the fam. in honor of thanksgiving, i want to share some things that i didn't even realize were such a blessing until i saw the contrary.

1. Clean water (as much as i want, and it comes right to my house!)

2. enough food to eat

3. the opportunity to go to school (all of you who skip class, these kids would do ANYTHING for an education.)

4. people who understand what I'm saying. (imagine being an immigrant and not having ANYONE understand your language)

5. smiling (the universal language)

6. air conditioning. (trust me.)

7. that people have to take a test before they can legally drive (this is not the case in the D.R.)

8. toilets that can flush toilet paper

9.sterile hospitals

10. that i don't have to worry about wild dogs every time i leave the house

11. the freedom to say whatever i want

12. a government that isn't corrupt (anyone who disagrees with me on this one, go to the D.R.
and THEN tell me that we have a bad government)

13. that i know how to read.

14. shoes

15. a better security system than bars on my window.

16. that it isn't socially acceptable in the U.S. for a married man to have a couple girlfriends

17. rice for breakfast

18. nice smelling laundry detergent. (or laundry detergent at all for that matter)

19. a toothbrush

20. people who are kind no matter what their circumstances.

so buenos nuches mis amigos, and remember to be thankful for all the little things from washable marker to opposable thumbs.

oh there's that soap box i was looking for!
i guess when it comes to turkey day, i'm a bit of a ham.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On an awkward note....

Dear Awkward Moments,

I understand that we've had a lot of history, but I really don't think that we need to spend every minute of every day together. It's not you, it's me. I'm just not ready to be embarrassed every day.

I know that a lot of girls complain about their boys never surprising them with flowers or chocolates or whatnot. And although it's sweet that you try, when you come up and surprise me in front of my friends and family...I find it difficult to save face.

My point is: I think we need to start seeing other people. It's not that I expect to never see you again, but I was thinking that we might want to make our meetings a little less....frequent. there is a world full of people out there, and i know that you would be happy with any number of them!

I wish you the best, and if you want any recommendations, i have a few names and numbers of people I'd love to see you with.

Most Sincerely,