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Archive for December, 2013

Do You Believe?

santa 6Ah, Santa.

What do we do with Santa Claus?   Jolly ‘ol Saint Nick.

Some people don’t believe we should propagate the fantasy with kids, some people are neutral, some people go full-tilt fantasy as long as their kids keep believing and then some (*raises hand*).

I’d like to make a case for Santa.  After all, he’s WAY too busy today to speak on his own behalf.

This year, my little girl is right on the cusp of belief and disbelief.  It’s definitely the last Christmas I can pull off the fantasy.  So, I enlisted the help of my dad (an excellent storyteller) to tell the kids about the origins and evolution of Santa Claus…to drive home all those smooshy feelings that keep you choosing to believe in something, even when the evidence is beginning to outweigh the power of imagination.

santa 4Turns out the REAL story of St. Nick is the story of love, kindness, and helping those in need.  Isn’t that a story we can ALL get behind?

santa 1The original Saint Nicholas, who was later made Bishop and mimicked by countless other secret night-time gift-givers, was so convicted about giving to the needy and providing money, food, and toys to children who had nothing, that it caught on.  Talk about a trend worth following!

Whether you’re spiritual/religious or not, the idea of showing basic human kindness to others is something everyone can agree on.

So, the question isn’t really whether you ‘agree’ with Santa, it’s – are you on board with our modern-day take on him?

santa 8And, yes, I admit, the idea has morphed into a more materialistic chase that frustrates even the unbreakable Christmas spirit in me, at times.  But, we don’t have to let it BE that.  Instead of surrendering to the greediness that can be bred by the Santa story, we can use the idea of Father Christmas to do two things:

1.  Enjoy the gift of creativity and imagination.  There is such beautiful artistry in a great story.  Think of the delicious elements of a timeless fairy tale…   The way we weave the best aspects of the known world we can think of – pleasure, love, good winning over evil, bravery, sacrifice, etc., along with the supernatural or impossibly wonderful – (i.e. magic) – into a narrative that fills us with wonder… is there anything better?santa 5

 

You do this on a small scale – all the time.  Even bah-humbug grown-ups make up miniature fantasies anytime we WISH traffic would just part and make way for us to scurry home, or we close our eyes for a milisecond in hopes that that guy will call us back after a date, or we hope, beyond all reason that it’ll be sunny even when the weather channel says there’s a 100% chance of rain on a special day.  We WANT there to be MAGIC.  It’s in our nature to yearn for fantasy.  It’s why stories and movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are so popular!

Passing this on to our children is a gift.  The gift of creativity and the gift of WONDER.  Teaching them that there is a possibility ….that there exists the tiniest crack in reality that …COULD be magical.
That COULD be other-worldly…
it not only stirs their imagination, but it breeds hope.

2.  Appreciate the thrill of anonymous giving.  The anonymity that exists in the legend – that is, the fact that you don’t get CREDIT for the gift – gives it a another layer of honest goodness and sweet satisfaction.  Any selfish desire to get that kickback feeling that comes when someone recognizes you… is gone.  So, it removes any self-centerdness to reveal a pure underlying love of giving and generosity.

Have you ever given a gift where the person never knew it was from you?  Wasn’t it divine?  This is another certain privilege of participating in the Santa story.

santa 9

This is a season where that crack of possibility, that there might be such as thing as magic, opens just a little wider;
Our capacity to dream becomes a little larger;
Our willingness to open ourselves up to whimsy and wonder and even the foolishness that a fairy tale brings, becomes greater.
And our reluctance to suspend disbelief starts to chip away.

 

And maybe for just a moment – BELIEF in something magical becomes a reality.  Even if it happens for a fleeting moment…just a flash of “what if?” …isn’t it wonderful?

santa 7So – I don’t know about you, but as long as there are Christmases, I’m going to choose to engage in the mysterious wonder of Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to ALL of you, and to all – a good night!


The shop around the cyber-corner

In this gift-giving season that’s upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about shopping.

I love to shop.
But, not necessarily in that female stereotypical way… so, if you’re thinking, “no way… I hate malls…,”
I get it.  I can identify with not being the “typical” ‘loves-to-shop’ woman–

Heck, in a city where we’ve taken the idea of a mall and turned it into a metropolis-sized temple of materialism…
I practically need a wee dram of scotch and a football quality pep talk to brave Houston’s Galleria.

BUT…. Give me wifi, a mouse and a reasonable budget…and I’m your girl.

shopping 1Right now I’m in the market for a scrunchy, tall, black, suede-esque pair of boots… comfortable, yet fashion-forward – and under $40.  I’ve had the darndest time finding exactly what I’m looking for,  (it might surprise you to find I’m particularly picky…), but the search continues.

I’ve gone to several local shoe stores, to no avail.  So – I had to turn to the ‘ol interwebs… you get so many more options and filters…surely I’ll find what I’m looking for THERE…

And it occured to me… what if online shopping could be even better….
if you could streamline your requests, and add in all kinds of perks to the process while you search?

Well – I dare say it can!
With online dating.  The ULTIMATE shopping experience.  Hear me out…

shopping 4There is no other place in the world that you can fine-tune your specific requirements for your “purchase” quite like online dating.

Sure, when you’re buying shoes, you can narrow down the search by color, size, price… big woo…
With MAN shopping, you can narrow your search by height, weight, income, body-type, personality-type, religious preferences, number of kids, marital history, age, sexual preferences, location, political stance, ability to answer logic problems (not kidding!), education, income, and a hundred other factors.

PLUS you get to read essays they’ve written (which lets you know if they can write well, if they have a sense of humor, and if they’ve come to terms with the fact that “alot” is not a word.)

You also get to see how they’ve answered a bevy of questions ranging from their thoughts on dating/marriage, to how they’ll raise kids, to where they’d like to vacation, to whether you should buy real or fake Christmas trees…you know – the stuff that MATTERS.

But, it’s really so much more.  Online dating is the only shopping experience where you get these added benefits:

 

Unlimited Test Driving.

Sure, car dealers will let you take a car for a spin… MAYBE, if you’re lucky, you can keep it overnight.
But that’s it.shopping 3

Online dating lets you take the “car” out as many times as you need to, to know it’s the one.  Yeah…it may claim to have a sweet moon roof and Bose stereo system… but until you’re feeling the warm glow of moon light on your face and hearing “O Fortuna” in surround sound…who’s to say it’s not an empty promise?

Same goes for men.  Gotta see it to believe it.  He REALLY values family?  He’s REALLY romantic?  He REALLY puts the toilet seat down?  Hey – Time will tell.

And you get all the time you need.

 

Great return policy

If you find a product you like… and your shopping days are over… but then, tragedy strikes and he turns out NOT to be the one… you don’t only have 30 days…or 60… or even 90…
You can return your purchase ANY time you want, in whatever condition you want – no questions asked.shopping 2

Unless someone’s put a ring on someone, dumpers and dumpees are free to get back online to begin looking for an even better match.  Talk about customer service.

 

Constantly updated sales team & Product Turnover

Unlike Target (*kisses two fingers and holds ‘em up in the air out of respect for the mother ship*), you’re not going to see last summer’s flip-flops being pawned off as the next trend.  Sure…they may still be somewhere in the Fall line… but new merchandise is constantly being added.  Every time I’m on an online dating site, there are new faces/matches to review.  And the stores (sites) themselves are ever evolving for their customer needs.

 

shopping 5I could go on… but, as Dec. 25th creeps closer and closer, you need all the time you can get to do your regular, old-fashioned shopping.

So, shop with abandon.
But remember, if it’s a relationship you’re in the market for, your odds are much better than finding those “black suede boots.”

So – happy holidays and happy shopping!


Making a Donkey out of U-M-E

The other night I was playing the radio game with some friends.  (If you’ve never played the radio game, you should remedy that posthaste.  It’s great car-trip fun.)
Anyway – on one song, my friend named the artist before I did, and in his excitement, put up his hand for a high-five (for his amazing musical catch).
Without even thinking about it, I slapped his hand in reciprocal excitement…only to then think, “wait…why am I celebrating his win?  He’s my opponentHe’s the enemy!”
So, why did I high-five him?

assume 7
Simply because he put his hand up!

And it’s human nature to respond.
I’m basically just a sheep, blindly following non-verbal commands…even if it means praising my adversary.

And while that’s fine for me and a buddy playing the radio game, its more insidious counterpart in the dating world…isn’t so fine.
But it happens ALL the time.

 

assume 3

Men and women both do this – me make assumptive gestures – in words and actions – and on a date, it’s hard not to return the metaphorical hi-five.

Picture this… you’re 5 minutes into a date and the girl makes a comment about how you’re going to just LOVE her parents….
Um…what?

Or, before you’ve even finished your first drink, the guy is planning your next date.
Come again?

 

This is an issue I keep encountering in my own dating life… men who assume.  (And we all know what happens when you assume…)

Everyone jokes that women all do this – practically plan out your wedding before you’ve closed out date one.  But, I’ve experienced it recently, comin’ from the menfolk too.  It’s not just us girls.

These are the guys who, by their references and actions, presume all manner of things…about a level of mutual attraction that isn’t necessarily there.

There are two main forms this unrequited “we have a real future together” attitude comes in:  verbal and physical.

Verbal

This includes, but is not limited to…

making plans to do things or visit places together, inlcuding international travel
     “Oh, you haven’t seen the new Mummy exhibit at the Science museum?  We’ll HAVE to go…”
     “Well – you’re going to LOVE the margaritas in Cabo… you’ll see…”

speaking about meeting family and attending family functions
     “That’s totally something my mom would say!  She’s gonna love you.”
     “You haven’t experienced St. Patrick’s Day ’til you’ve spent it with my crazy family.  You’ll see.”

talking about what kind of house you want to live in, how many kids you could have together (or how to blend your existing kiddos), who would move to the others’ place, etc.

assume 6I was on a date recently with a sweet guy.  We were hardly 15 minutes into our date… as in – the food hadn’t even been ordered yet – and he was pulling up photos of RV’s we could use for future camping trips.
(Now, a caveat – most men, when they hear that I don’t like to camp, always want to win me over… so, this isn’t THAT strange, but when he continued on later in the evening, showing me more spacious and convenient road-living options… it was too much.
Really – ANY talk of RV’s is too much.)

 

 

Physical

These are tricky in first-date land.  Because everyone comes in with a different set of rules and limits on what they will/won’t do on a first date.  Will you hold hands?  Snuggle?  Hug?  Kiss?
These are already sticky wickets for 2 people who LIKE each other…but what about a date you’re just ‘enduring?’assume 4

Assumptive posturing in the physical arena may look like:

Putting your arm around my shoulder

– Opening up your hand to you, as if to say, “hold this”

– Leaning in eagerly, and oh-so-expectantly for a kiss.

These (and more) are all things that it’s hard to NOT reciprocate, without feeling like a 1st-class jerkface.

Say you’re watching a show/concert/movie and a guy puts his hand, open/face-up on your knee… …what would you do OTHER than hold it?  Give him an akward low-five?
Put a Werther’s in it and give him a friend-zone-worthy smile?
Cross your legs at that exact moment, as if you didn’t even notice his hand there, and watch his arm fall off with a thud?
Shoot him that “not gonna happen, buddy” stare?  (Seems harsh!?)

assume 5This happened to me recently on a date… I wasn’t feeling the spark at all… but the guy sweetly put his hand out… and what did I do?  I took it!  And we held hands for easily 10 min!  And all the while I was conflicted about the mixed messages I was probably sending.  Argh…

Same for the arm around the shoulder!?  Wriggling out of that isn’t exactly a subtle communication.  Sigh…

Now… the more egregious faux-pas are easy to sidestep.
If I’m dancing with a guy and he presumes to grab my hiney, I’ll take his hand RIGHT off.  That’s culturally acceptable… and often expected.

But, refusing to hold a hand…just seems mean!?
And yet…I really don’t want to hold the hand of someone I’m not feelin’ chemistry with.  Am I locked in, simply by rules of courtesy?

What’s a girl (or guy!) to do?

I need some super suave, stealthy tricks to evade these unwanted gestures.
Not unlike the “hug & roll.”
Open to suggestions here, friends.

assume 2

The moral of the story is this…

When you’re on a first date –
READ THE ROOM!!
Use the clues your date is giving you to know if you can pull off the hand-holding or even a little goodnight snogging.  Watch for things like eye contact, light touching, sitting close, etc. to know.

If she’s making frequent trips to the bathroom…with her phone, or looking off into space, or checking the time, or scooting away… it’s not the time for a smooch OR showing her the latest motorhome models.
It sleeps 6!  That means we CAN have those 4 kids!”
smh…

 


Yuletide Misrepresentation

Friends/Readers,

I know it’s been a while since I posted something… our family has been battling Ebola.  Well, ok – maybe it’s just a winter cold, but it feels much more dramatic.

So – I’ll be back to my regular bloggy self soon, but just a quick thought for today.


 

“Oh, I’m dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you…”

Xmas 1I heard this song on the radio last night – one of my favorites –

I’ll be home for Christmas…you can count on me.   
…if only in my dreams.”

Wait, What?
‘If only in your dreams?’  As in…you’re NOT coming?

That’s like saying – “you have my WORD I’ll be there for the most significant family gathering of the year……. PSYCH!!

I totally got you!  Right?? I got you!  Oh, the look on your face… when you thought you’d be with someone you loved…bahahahahaha….. I got you GOOD.”

That’s terrible!  Why make up a whole song dedicated to lying to your poor sweet family?

It occurred to me that this is the Christmas equivalent of guys in the online dating world who misrepresent themselves…in any of various ways – by putting up photos that don’t really look like themselves, saying they believe things that they don’t, claiming they don’t smoke when they do (or drink or whatever…), seeming like charming and thoughtful gentlemen… and then turning around and being the guy who blows smoke in your face while cursing like a sailor and later sending you a text photo of his….
ok, you get the point.

This Christmas song, though squishy and sentimental (and don’t get me wrong – I have no plans of not listening to it and crooning along in the future…) – is a dressed up, tinseled up, ornamented up, holiday-ised version of the dating world’s “gotcha!”

No fair!

So, for whatever it’s worth – if I’ve told you I’m going to do something Christmas-y with you this year – you can count on me.
And not just in my dreams.
In real life.  We may not have snow or mistletoe or presents on the tree,
but Christmas events will find me – where the love light gleams.

I’ll be around for Christmas – in more than just my dreams.
I’m just sayin’