Monday, November 30, 2009

Kill the Grinch

On this eve of December, I’m scheming how to jam-pack the next 31 days with as much my-cup-runneth-over joy as possible.
I dare you to do the same.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lazy Sunday

All the festive, family fun caught up with me today, and I napped the afternoon away.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Family Fun

Today included introducing my cousin to falafels, which she wasn’t at first convinced were a real thing, re-introducing myself multiple times to my great aunt, and watching MTV’s Nitro Circus with my dad, uncle, cousin and John. Tell me, could we be any more All-American?

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Seven years ago, when I was living in Arizona, I was part of a team that covered the mayhem known as Black Friday. While I typically don’t enjoy malls or crowds or packed parking lots, it was one of the most fun days I had as a reporter. Since then, I’ve wanted to try this version of organized chaos for myself. And today was my chance. Yes, I’ve technically had a half a dozen other opportunities to hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving. But this year my 16-year-old goddaughter was in town. What better way to fuel a marathon shopping trip than with Starbucks and the enthusiasm of a teenager?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Cheer

We arrived at our Thanksgiving Day destination, opened the back of my parents’ Jeep and watched in horror as all four bottles of wine rolled out of the vehicle, onto the ground and down the slopped driveway. From inside her house, my sister could see and hear my father’s reaction. “Oh, no. Oh, no. The wine. The wine,” he exclaimed with his hands on his head. Let me tell you, folks, it was a true Thanksgiving miracle that not one bottle broke, not one sip was spilled.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Four Days

Fun. Festive. Family-filled. Yes. Yes. Yes.
But I’ve never known a holiday to be restful, no matter how many days off accompany it.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Remembering the Righteous

“Whoever saves one life, saves the whole world.”
It all comes down to ordinary people doing the good that needs to be done. When that doesn’t happen, the most terrible, unimaginable horrors take place.

Tonight I met a man who survived the Holocaust. I got to listen to his story. He was only about 16 when he escaped the Warsaw Ghetto. He was helped by a young man about his own age. After the war, he found out that his friend lost his life for helping Jews. Such people are known as the “Righteous among the Nations of the World.” The quote above is written on medals to honor them.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Childhood Ponderings

John overheard our friends’ 6-year-old daughter ask her dad what he thought her voice would sound like when she was older. “Beautiful,” he said without a moment’s thought.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

A King of Peace

“My kingdom does not belong to this world.” ~John 18:36

Jesus was speaking to Pilate when he said this, and it wasn’t in the course of a casual conversation. Jesus had been arrested and would be sentenced to death. I can’t imagine he was relaxed, but he certainly seems unattached. And detachment seems to be one of the most important lessons worth learning. This simple sentence is a reminder to me not to cling too tightly to anything in this life.

Solemnity of Christ the King

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Clothes Behaving Badly

I am not a shopper, and a pair of jeans I was trying on today seemed to know this. This particular pair of jeans protested the mere possibility of coming home with me by slicing my finger with its sales tag. Yes, there was blood. And the jeans were banished to the unwanted section of the dressing room.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

It’s Not Too Late

The big feast of Thanksgiving is almost here, and you can help make the holiday happy for a family in need.
Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose has made it easier than ever to act on your good intentions.
Click here and give. Just $18 buys turkey for two families.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seven Words …

And they are not even mine:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
~Abraham Lincoln

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sucker

What we learned is you shouldn’t use a vacuum to dust the tops of dressers, especially if jewelry sits on top of the dresser. Unless, of course, you want to wear a face mask and sift through filth.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Special Agent

My mom is my secret weapon. This is especially true if the mission involves feeding a crowd, throwing a party or tying a pretty bow.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Pooling Positive Energy

Everyone I know has something significant happening tomorrow. OK, five people. But we’re talking things as serious as surgery and as happy as my brother’s 25th birthday. Some of these folks, despite being friends with me, are rather private. So without going into every detail, I’m sending out an all-call for positive energy. Whenever you read this, please say a prayer for these special people, and God will know exactly who you mean and what needs to be done. Thank you.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sweet Conundrum

“I need to talk to you guys about Thanksgiving,” my sister said to me and mom. “How do you feel about having two sweet potato dishes?”
(No, I really didn't see a problem.)

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Recession Wine

To all my penny-pinching, wine-loving friends: I’m looking for the very best cheap wine money can buy. If it gives you a blinding headache, do not list it here. If you make a sour face when drinking it, that’s no good either. But if it costs less than $5 bucks and you genuinely like it, I want to hear about it. If you have a favorite for under $10, please tell me about that one, too. Consider it a public service. The holidays are one social gathering after another, and people need to know what to drink without breaking the bank. (PS: If I can buy it at Trader Joe's or Costco, even better.)

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Are You Kidding?

I love the optimism of marketers. Companies I’ve never bought a thing from think I’m suddenly going to spend $27 for a candied apple just because they sent me a fancy catalog at Christmastime.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good versus Perfect

“Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
I believe Voltaire said that, although the quote might not be 100 percent correct. But I’m going to let it go. I’m not going to make myself crazy over it. And I’m going to see how many other things I can let go. Not that anyone would ever mistake me for a perfectionist. Right now, I’m shushing the inner critic who is laughing as she points out all the places my life is riddled with a lack of perfectionism, a lack of excellence. She says I shouldn’t give myself any excuse for leniency. For sure, she would run a tighter ship. It would be all tough love and discipline, baby. But at 11 o’clock on a Thursday night, I’m not interested in tough love or discipline or the hours of work left constantly undone. I’m interested in sleep, and whatever was or wasn’t accomplished today will have to be good enough.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Diversion Approach

The best way for me to get something done is to have something else pressing to do.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple Cinnamon

I made pancakes for dinner.
The important part of that sentence is: I made dinner.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

New Game Tomorrow

The goal of the day was to Get Things Done.
But the invisible team of Undone seems to have won.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like Newlyweds

I’ll listen to any woman who has been married 53 years and still dances with her cheek pressed against the chest of her husband. Her advice: “Give and take.”

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Non-Stop Action

Today’s events included a breakfast party, a dinner party and a nap in between.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Hits Keep Coming

This week felt like one crazy tragic news story after another. I’m wondering if every week is this way and I only just noticed because we added Headline News to the radio rotation at work.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life Lesson

It sounded interesting, but I did not enjoy my 67-cent coconut-curry-milk-chocolate bar. The yellow-stained wrapper should have told me that this flavor experiment had gone awry.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Do Not Quit

I heard the man say, “We have to be careful because we can underestimate ourselves.” And I knew he was right because so many times I give up before I even start.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quiet In There

Oh, the anxiety my worrisome mind creates. It is a master of What Could Go Wrong. My soul would prefer not to be bothered with such neurotic games. “Shhh,” my soul says. “Trust. Trust. Trust. Everything is as it should be.”

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Overheard

“You’re on the Caveman Diet. If you can grow it or kill it, you can eat it.”

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints & Souls

My family celebrates Dia De Los Muertos with an enchilada feast, homemade “Day of the Dead” bread, and an altar dedicated to my grandparents, the two babies my mother miscarried and, this year, the baby my sister and her husband lost in July.
At my church, we write the names of those who have died on pieces of paper and place them on the altar for the entire month of November.
To an outsider, these traditions may seem bizarre or morbid or simply sad. But to me this designated time for remembrance is a chance to connect. It’s a chance to thank those I’ve loved for the kindness and beauty they brought to my life.
Some people, without me ever having met them, have had the most extraordinary impact on my life. John’s mother is at the top of that list. And how could I ever thank her except through an act of remembering her in my heart?
If there are loved ones you would like to remember, I invite you to write their names in a comment, and I promise to place them on the altar at my church next Sunday.

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Halloween

I’m really warming up to this Great Day of Pretend. I could do without the gore and violence, but I like the idea of becoming, even for an evening, the person you dream of being. I like the idea that even the humble pumpkin can transform into a grand jack-o-lantern.

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