Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the Season

    This Holiday season,  shopping days have names like "Black Friday",  "Small Business Saturday", and "Cyber Monday".   We were talking recently about the impact that the slower economy might have on the small businesses in our town.  I heard some suggestions about how to support local businesses as we exchange gifts with family and friends this year.  If we try to shop on Main Street, we can help our local economy. It may take more time and planning than the gift card display at the grocery store, but we may be able to help save the business of one of our neighbors.  I'm all for simple solutions, and  I'll share a few of my favorites.  I know that there are many occupations that wish they were busier.  Give a gift certificate for some house cleaning.  Hire a handyman to do some work for an elderly relative.  Purchase a certificate for a manicure or pedicure from a local beauty salon.  Go to the craft fairs, and find one-of-a-kind type gifts that have definitely been made in America.  Buy yarn and knitting supplies from a smaller downtown shop.  Buy a gift certificate from a local restaurant.  Give a movie night with a couple of tickets and snacks.  Buy two tickets to a play from the local theater group, give one away as a gift, and make it a fun night out together.  Build a gift basket from a specialty store.  A cooking lesson or a craft class may be a great gift for someone you would like to see get out more.
   I could never think of any good gift ideas for myself.  A few years ago, I began asking for something that I would be able to use up.  I love nice smelling candles, and bath and body products.  I get the chance to think about  the person who gave me the gift, as I use the item throughout the year.  Another time I asked for two tickets to anything.  It's great to look forward to a night out when everyone is getting cabin fever after the Holidays have passed.
   Hopefully these hints will help you to think of great ideas for your circle of family and friends.  As always, take what you like, and leave the rest...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

   Happy Thankgiving!  This week let's work on an "attitude of gratitude."  Let's try to focus less on the negatives and more on the positives.   While in line at the grocery store or the drive through, make a gratitude list.  It will make waiting easier, and may help ease the tension.  Try to come up with five things each day that make you grateful.  Good health, family, friends are three pretty easy ones.  Don't love your job?  Spin it that at least you have a job you can complain about.  Hopefully,  by the time Thursday arrives you will be in a good place, and really get to enjoy the Holiday.  Ask everyone at the dinner table to state something they are grateful for.  Try to enjoy yourself!
    Life isn't perfect.  If your problems consume your thoughts, then try to offset  every problem on your list with one good thing in your life.  Try to make a conscious effort to focus on a positive viewpoint.  Here are a  couple of my favorite ways to spin my situation to a more positive light.  "I'm grateful I got in this line, because now I get to work on my list."  "If I get stuck at this red light, I can finish my list."  I know it sounds crazy, but it helps me.  I think it's a lot better than beating myself up for choosing the wrong line.
    Think about those who have health and financial issues, and keep them in your thoughts.  Say a quick prayer for our servicemen and women who will not get home this year. 
     Have a good week everyone.....gobble.....gobble....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Oldest and the Youngest Celebrate November Birthdays

   My Dad turned 84yrs young 11-11-11!!  Of course, I phoned him at 11:11am to wish him a Happy Birthday.  I was lucky to catch them home.  He said they were headed out for the day, but would end up going out to dinner.  It was after 10pm when I caught up to them next.  He said twenty-one friends had met at a local restaurant.  It's hard to believe that my folks have been retired and living in Florida for twenty years.  Though we all miss them, we know that they have been able to stay active because of the beautiful weather.   I cannot wait for their twelve day Thanksgiving visit, which will take them to children in three New England states.  It will be fun to get together again and celebrate with four generations.  It's a day to enjoy traditions and favorite family recipes. 
  Yesterday, I went to a birthday party for one of my youngest relatives.  My cousin's son turned one year old November 12th.  He got a nice collection of trucks that all light up and make noises, and had his first piece of birthday cake.  It was  beautiful and messy and fun all at the same time!  Anyone with a 12-12-12 birthday should start planning now for next year.  It's once in a lifetime!!
   My take away is to enjoy each day, and not take things for granted.  I am fortunate to have both old and young relatives who are healthy enough to celebrate their birthdays.  I plan to make a couple of "top eleven" lists for my Dad.  There are four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren for a total of eleven. I'll list the best eleven silly songs and lame jokes that we heard often around our dinner table.  I'm going to try and get the one who originated each joke to tell it again.  Hopefully it will help us remember and laugh about the good old days. I know that we are all thankful to have another holiday together. 
 Here are some other suggestions.   Go around the table and ask everyone to say something that each one is thankful for.  Ask everyone to tell their favorite Thanksgiving memory, or their favorite food.  Most of our memories are about disaster dishes or burnt food.  It seems that we remember some of the misses much  more than the perfect dinners.  It gets a lot of laughs, as long as we don't pick on the extra sensitive cooks.  As always, take what you like and leave the rest. 
Have a good week everyone...and the beat goes on...the beat goes on

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

 Spring ahead and Fall back. That's the way we remember how to change the clocks.   Last night we turned the clocks back one hour.  Daylight Savings Time was implemented years ago in order to help the farmers get one extra hour of  daylight.  Many of us use it today, as a reminder to change the batteries in our smoke detectors twice a year. 
  I remember using it with Matt to clean out his toy box.  We called it "getting ready for Santa".  I told him that we needed to make room for new toys.  It was a good way to take inventory, throw away broken toys, and give away those in good condition.  It also gave us an opportunity to talk about the wish list for the upcoming holidays.  I got a pretty good idea of what he still played with, as well as what he might need to add to his collections.  There is nothing worse than getting a toy you already have.  It's also a waste to buy toys that will be too young for them now.  Once we did the toys, we moved on to stuff like books, clothes, snow boarding equipment, boots and ice skates.  It was great to have a list when aunts and uncles asked for a practical gift idea. 
  In the spring, we did the same routine, and called it getting ready for his birthday.  Spring cleaning always seems like a lot of work.  I decided to spin it, and make it fun. Somehow, making room for new stuff always got more cooperation.  It was a win-win.  I felt like I had a handle on each year's favorite items, and we passed things on while they were still popular.  I believe that favorite things get to stay around longer, and we have boxes of treasures that will stay packed for now. 
  This fall, I will go through closets, and storage shelves in the basement.  I don't know how things collect, but I do know I feel better when things are organized.  My system is easy, and puts things in three catagories.  I will either give it away, throw it away, or put it away.  It's always good to have some ideas for things to do on rainy weekends.   The beat goes on.... and the beat goes on.....