Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

This year, for a bunch of different reasons, Christmas prep for my family just hasn't been anywhere close to the norm.  Collectively, we just don't seem to have our usual Christmas spirit and enthusiasm.  Now here it is Christmas Eve, and we are about out of time.  The Christmas Eve festivities are set to begin around 6:00 pm this evening, which means we have about 10 hours left to make our surroundings at least, look and feel like Christmas.  This will be a challenge!

A couple of weeks ago Ratchlet, MtG, and I were out for the evening for one of our regular Christmas shopping expeditions.  We were feeling particularly uninspired and basically felt all we were doing was feeding the commercialism of Christmas that has gotten out of hand....buying "things" that cost too much, were not particularly meaningful, and wouldn't do much of anything to bring joy.  This has come about over the years to the point that we felt it was completely over the top and not worth the effort!

We decided to try to limit our extravagance and focus more on changing the way we celebrate to bring about more feelings of sharing, loving, and the happiness of being with our family.  

We have put up no outside decorations and hardly any inside decorations.  We are putting up just the small white tree and a few easily accessible Christmas favorites.  We have chosen a local charity and made a contribution of something needed.  We have reduced the number of gifts we give each other.  We have scaled back the food we share.  We are adding in some new things that might help us feel more of the Season's "good parts."

These are all good things and will hopefully, give us some Christmas memories that will make this a great Christmas.

This will be MtG's first Christmas without Santa.  Mikey and I as well as Ratchlet, TA, and MtG will be spending Christmas Day together at their house and we will try some different things.  

Despite all our efforts to cut back and focus on the things that make Christmas the special holiday it should be,  I haven't started to "feel" it yet.  At this point, with a bunch of things left to do, I'm struggling against my general feelings of Grinchdom.  So far, it still feels like a lot of work to be done.  Various frustrations abound.  There are people we love, miss and wish we could see, but we are separated by uncontrollable circumstances.  Nevertheless, their absence leaves a gaping hole in the midst of what should be a joyous celebration.

So yes, Mr. Grinch has inserted his mean little heart into our Christmas this year and I have 10 hours to kick him to the curb and find that Christmas Spirit that is sorely lacking so far.

Our Christmas shake-up might result in one huge Christmas failure or it could turn out to be the best Christmas ever.....but if nothing else, we will still be together with most of the people we love best in this world, and that is where we always find joy!

I hope that Mr. Grinch doesn't intrude on your Christmas and that each of you enjoys the happiness, celebration, and peace that we all seek at Christmas.

Merry  Christmas, my dear friends.  Thank you for visiting so faithfully over the years.  May your holiday be filled with love!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"What's the Use of Wonderin'?" (one more time...)

You would think that anyone who has lived well into their 60s (like me) would have pretty much encountered most of life's weirdness by now!  It doesn't, however, appear so. There are still a whole bunch of things I don't understand...new trends, styles, inventions, attitudes, behaviours  that I just don't get.  More new ones cropping up every day....and there are still other things that have been around for a long time that I still don't get.   For instance:

1.  I don't know what this is officially called, but to me is seems a bit like a reverse French manicure!  It is a new style of manicure where the majority of the nail is left either natural of with just a hint of color, but the tips of the nails are painted in something bright or sparkly or really dark, or with some small design.  I haven't seen one yet that looked good.  In fact, they are mostly just a big ugly!  've seen it done on both hands and toes.  Why?  Why would anyone want to make their nails ugly??  I just don't get it!

2. I continually come across word usages and phrases that are being incorrectly used.  It's particularly irritating when they writer is close, but misses anyway.  The words they use just don''t mean what the writer thinks they mean!   I read this one on Facebook recently.  The person was talking about starting a new healthy diet plan.  She called it "her  new regime."  What she meant was her new regimen.  The words are spelled very similarly, but leaving out just one letter changes the whole meaning.  She used it several times so I don't think it was a typo.  She just used the wrong word.  It only takes a couple of minutes to look up a word so that you ensure you are saying what you mean to say!!  I just don't get it!

3.  One of life's biggest annoyances falls into the category of a pet peeve:   I am seriously annoyed by people who don't return phone calls, or emails.  By not returning them in a timely manner you are more or less sending the message....." I just don't care about you or your question or your point of view."  It's tantamount to a slap in the face.   Some people just won't get back to you, even when you say please!!  That's flat out rude!  I just don't get it!

4.  People who don't RSVP to invitations fall into a sub-category of #3 above.  We have hosted many parties over the years and we have pretty much always sent written invitations.  We always ask people to let us know whether or not they are coming.  Usually this is to make sure that we have enough food and drink planned, so that no one goes home hungry and we SAY SO on the invitation.  Still we never hear from everyone.  Never, never!  There is some correlation between the no shows and the no response people, but even that's not 100%.  Really it only takes a minute to call and say yes or no!  But it just doesn't happen and the host is left with a mystery.  Maybe they don't understand what R.S.V.P. means....but I doubt it!  It's annoying and I just don't get it!

5.  Have you ever wondered why some days feel like they last forever while other days whirl by like a dervish and its suddenly over and you can't even remember what you did??  That's generally true of all different time period designations.  Sometimes 5 minutes can feel like 5 days and 5 days can feel like 5 minutes.  Our perception of time has a lot to do with whether or not one is doing something enjoyable.  Still I don't quite understand why time doesn't ever feel like a finite thing!  An hour is 60 minutes....always.  A minutes isn't that long of an interval.  Shouldn't they always feel the same??   Why one minute can feel long while another one feels short is a thing, I just don't get!

6. I don't know if this is just me or if happens to everyone, but some days when I am getting dressed (even on an ordinary unimportant day), I will look in the mirror and sometimes I will feel like I look really good.  Other days....not so much.  Every day I do the same routine of skincare, hair, make-up, etc. etc.   Its the same face I had yesterday and I'll have the same face tomorrow,   I should look the same.  But some days, I'm Grace Kelly and other days I'm Emmet Kelly (a  very famous, but sad looking clown from the 50's!!) Why should this be?  I just don't get it!!

7. Why isn't everyone fascinated and intrigued by Science?   We live in such an amazing universe and new things are being discovered every single day.  Yet there are many people that not only seem totally and completely uninterested, oftentimes there are people who don't even believe  that what  has been done is really true!  This blows my mind.   And I'm not just talking about Fundamentalists or others whose belief systems are driven by their church or whathaveyou.  Science is fact.  Just because you have never heard of something before doesn't mean it is untrue!  Not interested in Science??  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to learn new information about this world we live in.  Check out this site; it has some stuff that you probably didn't know and it should amaze you.   https://www.facebook.com/ScienceIsSeriouslyAwesome  It you aren't interested and amazed, well, I just don't get it!!

8.  All of a sudden, there has been an explosion of blogs, Facebook stuff, and other websites where the writer(s) are using what appears to be a GREY or BLUE font.   If that weren't bad enough, the greys or blues  they are using are LIGHT grey and LIGHT blue.  They might not realize it, perhaps it shows up differently on their computer monitor for some reason, but when it shows up here, those fonts ARE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE.  Seriously!!   Often the size of the font is on the small side and between the pale color and the small size, I cannot be the only one who can't read it!!  Please use black ink.  Please use a visible font and size.  I beg you writers, think about your audience!  Some of us don't have great vision for lots of different reasons.  If you want to be read, please, make it VISIBLE!!    If not, well why are you bothering to write?   I just don't get it!!

As always, I probably won't ever understand any of this so, really, "What's the Use of Wonderin'?"  These things seem perfectly clear to me, but others don't agree with me.  Haven't you all accepted the fact that I am always right??    LOL!!  Well, I'm sorry but I just don't get it and I never will!

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Cheer Cheer Cheer for the Highlanders"

This little guy is representative of the Scottish Unit from the band from my old High School in Lake Wales, FL  At that time, the band was under the direction of Mr. Tom Bishop.  Mr. Bishop composed our Alma Mater and arranged a couple of "fight" songs for football games and was really good at his job. Mr. Bishop (from all reports) was an excellent Band Director, which was evident from the quality of the band.  I can't recall how many years straight that the Band received  Superior ratings at District and State competitions. Not being able to play a note on any type of instrument any more complex than a comb and tissue paper, I never personally experienced being in the Band.  But those that were, loved it, loved him, loved the music, loved his marching programs, and just generally loved all the aspects of the Band. 

During the Football Season, the band would present a new half-time show put together by Mr. Bishop for every home game.  While they didn't play at every home game, the Scottish Unit (which was exactly what it sounds like....bagpipes and drums and kilts) would lead the band onto the field playing a Scottish song the name of which I cannot remember at the moment, but it was very stirring and I would get a lump in my throat every time they started on to the field.  The Scottish Unit had uniforms that were completely different from the regular band uniform and basically looked a lot like this little cartoon character. I can't recall the name of the tartan either, but it was black and yellow with a bit of green and red.  The jackets and vests that they wore were black with gold/yellow trim, as were the traditional Scottish hats they wore.  (Photo below, sorry its black and white.  You just don't get the same feel as when you see them in color.)  The rest of the band was in creme colored uniforms with gold/yellow trim, and quite impressive on their own, but never so stunning as when The Scottish Unit would be out in front, and the rest of the band was stretched from one side of the field to the other!  They were the most gorgeous band I have ever seen OR heard....simple wonderful. 

The Scottish Unit
circa 1963

Mr. Bishop passed away quite a while ago, but the legacy lives on.....the Alma Mater is the still the same, I believe, and the Scottish Unit and the rest of the band looks just as stunning as always!  I'm so glad it hasn't changed very much; there is no sense in messing with perfection!

The reason I am writing about this tonight is really quite simple.  This year's football team is about to take the field to play in one of the semi-final games to determine the State Championship for their level schools around the state.  Kick-off is just about now!

Go Highlanders!! I should be there to cheer you on in person (once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader!), I wish I was there, and even considered going, but in the end, the timing just wasn't right.  Nevertheless, I am there in spirit, watching with bated breath, shouting myself hoarse, and on pins and needles as the boys play their hearts out.   Hugs and kisses to the players (both old and new) and I will have my fingers crossed all evening thinking about you.  Do your best, guys!

And if Mr. Bishop was still with us, you could bet that at half-time, the band would inspire everyone as the Scottish Unit took the field!


Sad to say the Highlanders lost,  I don't know the final score, but whatever it was it wasn't quite enough.  Don't feel bad team, there's always next year!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Getting Better"

In another example of how photography and I have a skewed relationship (see  http://mellodeemusings.blogspot.com/2009/11/kodachrome.html ),  I would like to share one of the best photos ever taken of me. 

"Side by Side by Sondheim"
November, 2013

In the world of good photography, this would not be considered anywhere close to a "good" photograph.  The background adds nothing, the image is kind of washed out, the composition is uninspired, and it gives no clue as to why, where, or when it was taken.  

The photo was taken on the spur of the moment before the show I was recently in.  The headshot they had posted in the Lobby of the theatre was vastly different is style from the rest of the cast's.  This was the AD's effort to take a photo that would fit better with the others.   She used no special lighting, no consideration was given to the pose, she just said "smile" and snapped the picture.

Despite all of that, I love the photo!  My hair is behaving, my smile is real, I look a lot younger than I am,  and thinner too!   It's actually flattering.  Amazing....are photos of me "Getting Better" at this late date???

So even though it will never win any prizes for photography, that quick little shot makes me feel pretty.

That's not a bad thing exactly.....is it?

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