Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Greatest Gift

With Christmas behind us, you’ve probably labored over what to give the most hard-to-buy-for person on your shopping list. You usually can’t go wrong with the default idea— gift cards. Since we gave several gift cards this year, it’s no surprise that one of them appeared to lack the dollar value we put on them. How frustrating!

After moving past the disappointment, we hunt around for the all-important receipt. Hopefully, it’s not trashed. Hopefully, the person receiving your gift feels better than this:

Your gift might elicit laughter and smiles, frowns, curiosity or tears, especially if it’s flawed, unnecessary or downright ridiculous. What gift do you continue to appreciate as time passes?    

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lighten Your Load

When we're at the cash register, we expect the salespeople to greet us, maybe comment on the sale price or compliment our purchase choices. That’s especially true during the holiday season when the retail industry wants to ring up every possible sale. So imagine my surprise when the cashier looked up midway through my check out and said, “You look like you’re in a bad mood.” Pardon me?

Maybe she misinterpreted my expression to seeing her appear from behind the crowed line of customers and rush up to the register, forgetting to say anything until midway through my transaction. I’m sure she felt stressed. Projection is real. In any case, I wasn’t in a bad mood, even after she kept giving me several odd glances. I probably should have asked if she felt well. I think my salesperson needed a vacation day. At least the interaction wasn’t like this one:

I can’t confirm if the product mentioned will help your situation, but I do know stress makes people more likely to say and do unusual things. Given the hectic season, don’t overlook the importance of taking a break from all the hubbub. When you take your important rest, how will you spend that special time?         


Friday, December 15, 2017

What Neighbors Do

We had a few surprises this week. Although we awakened to clear roads, snowflakes  blanketed the streets late into the evening. Some neighbors received a second surprise when one of our kids, willing to chalk up volunteer hours for a club, shoveled sidewalks—for three hours. I’m guessing a whole block of folks peeked outside and cheered. There’s nothing like receiving a gift you need when you least expect it. Some of the best gifts look like this:

Good causes paid forward always create lasting lessons. Paying something forward doesn’t always cost money, sometimes taking a couple of extra seconds to lend a hand makes a world of difference. Given today’s cranky culture, now’s the perfect time to put a smile on someone’s face. How will you do it? Let us know and post below.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Good Old Days

Fishing is such a relaxing family pastime.  The water flows along, interrupted only by an occasional boater or a duck. Once when we went, one of our kids beckoned the ducks with quacking sounds and then exclaimed, “I am the Duck Whisperer!”  I spent the time relaxing in the gentle breeze, swatting away flying critters, and cringing at  comments about the nightcrawlers’ “blue veins” and their “gooey, white hearts” as the poor worms were ripped apart, speared, and hooked for bait. Yuk! It was a worm’s worst nightmare.
I’m guessing few people associate relaxing lake fishing with violence. Once you combine worm gore and fish blood, you have a really messy event so I bring plenty of hand sanitizer. I doled out some sanitizer after the worm tearing and more after tossing back the catch. I won’t bore you with the measurements of the four fish we caught, but let’s just say several spanned the width of a hand. We’ll skip the tales about the “big ones that got away.” When you catch the really big ones, you better get proof and here’s a guy who does:
Jeremy Wade catches the scary fish, the ones you don’t want to know exist, especially if you‘re vacationing in an exotic place because that’s where they seem to lurk. The various kinds of fish  in our waters rivals the types of cereals on our supermarket shelves. Why so many?  In your opinion, why are there so many interesting types of fish, of people?

Renamed and edited from a prior post

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Your End Game

Most people love this time of the year—the lights, the festivities, the gifting—there are downsides, too, like the traffic, the stress, and the leaves. Sure, they looked beautiful hanging from trees, but now they litter the ground looking like a lot of work. Few people enjoy raking leaves. Families try to make it a fun time, but it’s only the little leaf pile-jumpers who enjoy the event, and usually after a series of questions like, “Are we done yet?” or “Can we get a snack?” and the straight-to-the-point comment, “This stinks!”

As soon as the leaves are cleared, we realize that we forgot to look up. When we do, we spot tree branches still harboring enough leaves to fill several bags. Here’s how we’d like to handle things:

Sometimes, regardless of how painful the journey feels, the only thing we can do is go through the process. It’s okay to have a moment of moaning and groaning, but then we need to pick up our rakes and get to work making things better. What work do you need to finish to reach the better side of a tough situation?