Monthly Archives: December 2008

My First Give Away

I had my hair colored the other day, and while I waited in the chair I was flipping through a magazine, Real Simple, I believe it was.  There was an idea that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind, and I thought I’d give it a try.

I am issuing a challenge to all my readers – leave a comment telling me about your favorite charity, and why. I will choose one from the comments next week, and donate $1 for each comment I’ve received on this post to that charity, up to $50. This is coming from my own pocket, no one is funding this but me. But I love the community aspect of giving, and I’m hoping to learn about some charities I may not already know about. I’m not sure how I’ll pick it – whether by whoever makes the best case, pulling a number out of  a hat, humor, whether I like you or not (just kidding!), or some other method I decide on at the last minute. But pick one I will!

So tell all your friends to come post here and tell me which charity we should donate to! Comments will be closed at 5:00 pm EST on Wednesday, December 17th, and I’ll announce the winner here the next day.

Disclaimer: The charity will have to be a legitimate, registered, non-profit 501(c) organization.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

Rambling Mom has tagged me for this – I think she made up this meme, which is pretty cool all by itself, no?

The rules are – think of 12 “great gifts” – for yourself, a significant other, child or “anyone”.  She suggests you “think of gifts that reflect your priorities and/or values, or the priorities and/or values of the people receiving the gifts.”

OK, you’re on.

I’m going to try to think of gifts that are, in my opinion, timeless. Let’s see if I can actually come up with 12.

1. BOOKS. You simply cannot go wrong with a book thoughtfully chosen for any recipient. Be sure to inscribe it, and include the year you gave it, please!

2. PAJAMAS. This is a Christmas Eve tradition in our family, started by my mother one year when she realized from looking at Christmas morning photos of my sister and me that we looked pretty ratty. I’ve continued it with my kids, and they look forward to going to bed on Christmas Eve in their new PJ’s each year.

3. ORNAMENT. If you’re a parent, it’s nice to give even your young child an ornament each year. That way when they move out someday, they have a good base of decorations, complete with memories, to get them started in their own home.

4. PHOTOS. Family members love getting gifts of photos of your kids, but even a friend would love a specially chosen photo of the two of you. When Krystal was young I started making photo books using Shutterfly to document the previous year. This has been a big hit with the grandparents, and of course I always make one for us to keep.

5. ANYTHING HOMEMADE. Even if you aren’t particularly talented, if you take the time and trouble to make a gift it will always be appreciated. One year in college I made gifts for all my family members (due to budget issues) and I think I was the biggest recipient that year as it was so satisfying to create something for the people I loved

6. ANYTHING ELECTRONIC. OK, I’m running out of “timeless” ideas, but in this day and age most of the people I know are jonesing for one sort of electronic gadget or another. Unless you are buying for a Luddite, or a Bluddite, this is probably a good choice. And if you are buying for me, I can assure you it will be very much appreciated.

7. MONEY. It’s not every original, but it is always appreciated. The only downfall is it’s sort of the easy way out. Make sure you’re not just being lazy, OK people? The old adage “it’s the thought that counts” has roots in truth.

8. GIFT CARDS. This is a close cousin to actual money, and I personally only use it for people I need to buy gifts for, but don’t know particularly well, such as my kids’ teachers. As Rambling Mom points out, if you’re giving gift cards make sure the establishment will be around long enough for your recipient to use them, especially in these economic times.

9. TOOTHBRUSH. Scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but my kids always get a cool new toothbrush in their stocking. Because everyone needs new toothbrushes, and it’s a nice stocking-sized gift, that’s why. However, I don’t recommend this gift for a significant other, unless it was specifically requested.

10. ANYTHING FROM YOUR HEART. If you give from your heart, with your recipient in mind, you have truly given a gift, regardless of what it may actually be, or whether it came from a store, on sale, was regifted, or was not ever purchased at all.

And so I end at ten, because it’s a nice round number, and anything else I added to this list would be filler. (I’m also willing to give up the 8 maids-a-milking and 9 ladies dancing if you want to get down to it.)


After a lazy morning I realized that the movie I’d been thinking about taking the girls to was due to start in a little more than an hour, and we were all still in our pajamas. I motivated the girls to hop in the shower to me with the promise of an exciting outing. This worked as intended, and the pestering to reveal the surprise began (reason #1 why I delay telling the girls about anything special or exciting until the last minute).

Krystal said, “Can you at least spell it? I want to see if I can read in the air!”

I can highly recommend “Bolt” – the hamster totally steals the show.

Oh, and Krystal apparently can read in the air. At least “movie”.

Netflix comes through!

As a Mac user, I sometimes feel like a red-headed step-child. A lot of applications don’t work on my platform and it can be disappointing at best, and frustrating at worst.

When the WGA went on strike last winter, I joined Netflix and absolutely loved discovering new-to-me series: Six Feet Under, Arrested Development, Wonderfalls, and Weeds just to name (a few of) my favorites. The plan I subscribe to includes unlimited “Play Instantly” movies and shows, but due to DRM restrictions (or so they claimed), it was not available on the Mac platform. Major bummer.

Until December 4th, when I got an email announcing this:

Netflix Netflix Netflix
Now watch instantly on your Mac!!
Good news Mac users! Now you can watch movies (some new releases)
& TV episodes (including current season) instantly on your Mac. Watch as much as you want, as often as you want.

Watching instantly doesn’t affect the number of DVDs you get by mail and is included in your membership for no additional fee.

Watch instantly button

-Your friends at Netflix

I am so excited! This opens up a whole new world to me!

That is all! Tonight I am using the sitter I had lined up for my now cancelled date, and will be having a date with myself.

One. Word. (oops, that’s two)

I lifted this from Jen over at Negative Lane. A real challenge for a blowhard like me. But fun in its elegant simplicity.

The rules: Answer each question using a single word.

Where is your cell phone? Counter
Where is your significant other? Nowhere
Your hair color? Brownish
Your mother? Difficult
Your father? Dead
Your favorite thing? Sleep
Your dream last night? Bizarre
Your goal? Happiness
The room you’re in? Homey
Your hobby? Running
Your fear? Dying
Where do you want to be in six years? Florida
Where were you last night? Home
What you’re not? Girly
One of your wish-list items? iPhone
Where you grew up? Suburb
The last thing you did? Phone
What are you wearing? Pajamas
Your TV? Addiction
Your pet? Puppy
Your computer? Lifeline
Your mood? Resigned
Missing someone? Sister
Your car? Big
Something you’re not wearing? Jewelry
Favorite store? Target
Your summer? Please
Love someone? Kiddos
Your favorite color? Yellow
When is the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? Huh?

One and Done

After my last “big date” with Gary almost two weeks ago, a break over Thanksgiving wherein he traveled across the country to have a too-short visit with his kids, and a date looming this weekend which I had not decided what we should even do, I had to face the truth. The cringing when I saw his number on my caller-id had to mean only one thing: I am not ready to date. Or at least not date this man.

I have had a lot of time to think since our last date. I wasn’t feeling any physical attraction, and even though several of you mentioned that you didn’t initially feel attracted to your husbands, or other men you ended up in relationships with, I knew I didn’t have the time to wait for that to develop (sitters are expensive, and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger). Truthfully that’s happened to me as well – I actually married a man I wasn’t sure I liked after the first date (turns out my first instincts were correct, oh well).

But it wasn’t just that. I think we have some different values about a lot of things, which was evident to me even after just two dates. Which will probably be a bigger issue for me as I’m older and I know I’m pretty well entrenched in my ways and ideals, as I imagine almost anyone is in their forties or fifties. Interestingly enough, the last time I did online dating, in the mid-90’s, my experience with men was similar to what I also ran into with Gary this time – the men were nice, but seemed to presume a level of relationship or intimacy that was more advanced than where I was.

Anyway, I knew any future date would have me seething in resentment that my “me” time was being taken up. I knew I had to take care of this beforehand. My best friend’s husband gave me the go-ahead to use email, given we’ve only been on two dates, and I was more than thrilled to use that option. So I sent Gary an email this morning:

I hate having to resort to email for this, but honestly it’s how I feel most comfortable, especially since we don’t know each other super well. I apologize in advance if this seems impersonal, or cowardly, to you, but please understand this is about me. Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about you, and me, and whatever might or might not be going on between us, and about me. Yes, I said me twice. I’ve been doing a lot of introspection. And here’s what I’ve come up with. I signed up for speed dating because I thought I wanted to date. I thought I wanted to give myself something: some grown-up time, an adult friendship, someone to count on, and possibly even someone to have a relationship with. And unfortunately, I find that even though I did this to try to give myself something, I’ve realized that I don’t have anything to give right now. Perhaps at the root is that my children are too young, my job situation too sketchy, or any combination of those plus everything else involved in being a single mom, – but whatever it is, at the end of a day, at the end of a week, I am spent, and there is nothing left for anyone else.  I feel awful because you have been nothing but kind and sweet and generous to me. You seem like a wonderful man, and I have enjoyed getting to know you.

I hope you can see this as I mean it, which is completely about me. It is me who thought I was ready for something I am not, and not you who did anything wrong.

I wish you nothing but happiness and success in all you do – and I hope you’re able to get to your girls full time just as soon as you can.

All the best,

Ragtop Day

And he responded back within 10 minutes – he said he thought something was up, offered himself as a friend anytime, and wished me a “great life with your girls.”

And I feel relief.

Hide the Photo

This post over at Playgroups are No Place for Children reminded me of my own embarrassing mover story.

In the mid-80’s I was in the US Army, stationed in South Carolina. While there I met a guy, we got engaged, and moved in together. In fact, he is the one who had the Cavalier mix that became my first child. Anyway, one year for Christmas I got a Polaroid camera – remember those? Seems so quaint now, doesn’t it? You’d take a photo and it would spit out this gray square that magically transformed into an image right before your very eyes! While the film was more expensive than 110 film, at least you didn’t have to pay for it to be developed, or wait 2 weeks to get your pictures back. Can you believe the barbaric photo conditions we used to live under?

Being a 20-something man, my boyfriend/fiancee one day decided to be funny and snap a photo of me with that camera as I stepped out of the shower. Pure mortification ensued on my part, but at least the roll wasn’t going to be dropped off at the pharmacy for developing (where they’d probably refuse to develop it anyway!). He got a laugh at my expense and hid the photo.

A few months later we broke up and he moved out. And a few months after that I was leaving the Army and returning to New England. The movers came to pack up my stuff (oh, the gloriousness of military moves where they do all the packing and moving!). I was wandering around my house trying to stay out of the way when one of the movers sheepishly approached me with a 4×4 square and handed it to me. One look at that nearly-forgotten photo and I turned 10 shades of red as the poor mover tried not to be embarrased for himself or for me.

Happy December to Me!

And a thanks to Amber, who has bestowed me with an award!

I always feel a little embarrassed when I read what a fellow blogger has written about me, but I’m always grateful for the sweet and generous words. I’m not sure what’s up with the “kreativ” spelling of creative, but hey, I’ll take it!

So, the rules are:

♥ List 6 things that make you happy.
♥ Pass the award onto 6 Bloggers you consider to be Kreativ.
♥ Link to the blogger who gave you the award.
♥ Link to the blogs receiving the award.
♥ Notify the recipients.

Six things that make me happy:

  • Sunshine
  • Chocolate
  • My children, when they are laughing and playing and getting along
  • Seeing a lower number on the scale than the last time I stepped on it
  • A quiet afternoon to myself (it’s been awhile!)
  • Spending time with friends

Six Bloggers I think are creative (aka kreativ) – while I read a lot of fantastic blogs, many of them don’t read me. Since I like to break the rules occasionally, I’ll just direct you to my blogroll – right over there to the right. I love them all. A special nod goes out to my regular commenters: Janet, Starstruk, Marcia and Rambling Mom. And of course Amber, the newest regular commenter, who is the one who gave me this esteemed award! I know that’s only five, but hey, it’s like picking a favorite among your children, right? It changes from day to day, moment to moment.

There, linking completed – even if you don’t feel like passing along an award, go ahead and list 6 things that make you happy, even if it’s just for yourself. It does a body (mind and heart too!) good.