Gratitude Attitude

Clump #266: Shop for Christmas presents; day twenty-four of National Blog Posting Month.


It all started with the dreaded (dreaded?!) pink Change Filter indicator on our refrigerator.  I was feeling so put upon, knowing I would have to change out the darned thing, then stand for five minutes letting water run through until it was clear, and, of course, go out and get another filter to have at the ready for the next time.  You could also add a soupcon of “Why am I the only one who notices and has to deal with this?”  Soon I started to laugh with our son about my ridiculous attitude.  Oh my gosh … what a nightmare!

I imagined all the people in the world who endure hardship for water, who would think it a miracle to have clean water at their beck and call for so little effort.  I could see dehydrated children begging me for the bowls of water I was throwing down the drain.  Oh dear, how lucky I am.


In that frame of mind, I headed to the stores to get some Christmas shopping done.  I might have taken a photo like this last year from the store Pier One.  A statue of a seated female Goddess (?) below caught my eye.


Immune to the rampant consumerism surrounding her, she was serene in meditation …


as was her friend who was marked down for quick sale.


I spotted the “Thankful Wall Decor” item below that included the advice: LIVE SIMPLY.  Of course, one way to live simply is not to buy too much junk, like signs telling you how to live.


Actually, if you are being thankful, you might not buy the sign, according to an article in The New York Times called “How to Defeat the Impulse Buy, With Holiday Shopping, Willpower Isn’t Enough,” by David DeSteno. He concluded:

“What these findings show is that certain emotions can temporarily enhance self-control by decreasing desires for immediate gratification. While feeling happy doesn’t do much to increase patience, feeling grateful does.

So if you’re looking to avoid impulse-buying this year, take time not only to celebrate with your friends and family, but also to count your blessings. You may find that the easiest way to thwart retailers’ enticements as you peruse the shopping aisle isn’t to try to resist what you want; it’s to be thankful for what you have.”

Later, I received this lovely card in the mail from a friend I’ve known since third grade.


My cup runneth over!

Big Clumps and Tiny Bubbles

Clump #250:  Do some Christmas shopping and move three big clumps from our bedroom; day eight of National Blog Posting Month.


Last season I found candles that seemed like the all-purpose perfect gift … and I didn’t have enough. With three sets at the ready, and wrapped (for free) so nicely, I’m way ahead of the game this year.  For those interested, they are Et Al Designs beeswax candles. I’ve discovered they’re also sold at The Grommet, a very cool place to shop online.

So, keeping the pace going in our bedroom: it became the repository for stuff belonging to our younger daughter studying this year in Russia when clearing her floor during the recent carpet-cleaning frenzy.


I have a feeling the bean bag chair will ultimately get the heave-ho, but for now I put it back where it lived when she was much younger.  When we finished the basement, she requested a little hide-out under the stairway, just like Harry Potter’s “cupboard under the stairs”:


My husband was away at the Fall Festival Committee wrap-up meeting and dinner, so I was home alone.  Don’t feel badly for me.  I flipped on the T.V. and found a Lawrence Welk show on PBS from 1973.  What a time capsule!  I’m sorry that this is the second post in a row with photos taken from our television screen.  I promise to get a life tomorrow.

It brought back so many memories: first, being encouraged by our doting great aunts that my three sisters and I were going to be the next Lennon Sisters when we sang for them.  They were very serious, believe you me.   I just read the Wikipedia entry for The Lennon Sisters.  Apparently they still perform but, like us, they are now a trio.  Certainly by the time this 1973 show was aired we were way too cool (in our minds) to watch Lawrence Welk.  Our grandfather loved to turn it on when he was living with us.  It’s a wonder we can see straight with all the eye rolling that went on (behind his back, of course) during those times.


Remember Bobby and Cissy?


This particular show was a tribute to the music of Irving Berlin.  Lawrence, himself, danced a waltz with Cissy to “Always”… which just happened to be the “first dance” at my husband’s and my wedding.


So much big hair and hairspray …


on everyone!


Watching the audience dancing during instrumental numbers was like looking back through a family photo album.


The singing number below was just the kind of thing Saturday Night Live parodied so effectively with Kristen Wiig and the tiny hands singer (look it up).  I guess the women were supposed to be British governesses?  Kind of creepy.


After the recording ended, there was an interview with dancer Cissy of Bobby and Cissy.  Here’s what she looks like now (?)


Seems like she still lives by the Lawrence Welk advice: “Keep a Song in Your Heart.”  Not to mention a rainbow around your neck.  (Feel free to roll your eyes, it’s only fair.)

Who’s Holding the Bag?

Clump #118:  Try to finish Christmas shopping.

I’ve got a secret for the men reading this post.  Right now at this time of year, everywhere they go, women are performing the verbal equivalent of a secret handshake.  It’s a simple: “Are you finished?”  No other details need to be stated.  The question is usually answered with a heavy sigh, maybe even a roll of very tired eyes, and then an assessment of how far she is from the holiday-shopping-finish line.  I thought I would reach it today, but no such luck.  I feel like that rabbit running along with a carrot dangling from a stick attached to its head.  Just one more thing, and I’ll be finishedwait, one more thing, and then … oh, but don’t forget …


Added to the mix, I’ve been thinking about the kerfuffle over Megyn Kelly’s assertion on Fox News that Santa is white, and for that matter so is Jesus ( here  is Jon Stewart’s hilarious and thought-provoking treatment of it on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart).


And I was listening to this holiday classic, The Man With the Bag:

Old Mr. Kringle
is soon gonna jingle
The bells that’ll tingle
all your troubles away
waiting for the man
with the bag
Cause Christmas
is coming again

It occurred to me that, not only is our symbol for all this magic white, he is also a man.  Ahem.  And I do mean magic.

One year our son was old enough to doubt, but young enough to want to still believe.  He tested the magic by asking for a pumpkin for Christmas.  Kind of a mixture of Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  Let me tell you, I summoned all the magic I could conjure.  Looking at our sinking pumpkin outside the other day (a little behind in my holiday transitioning, perchance?), I must have had angels working for me to deliver the goods in good condition.


Last night I had a valuable coupon that was about to expire, so I trudged to our local mall to “finish up” … HA!  And guess who I saw leaving the building as I was entering?   Ho-ho!    He agreed to a photo and, rather than asking whether I’d been bad or good, he asked whether I was going to send it to anyone.  I told him I would put it on my blog, but he wasn’t interested in the specifics.  (My hands shook like a bowl full of jelly!)


Mr. Kringle said he was feeling hot and tired.  So … I guess maybe a patriarchal figure can relate to a woman’s plight, after all.