#UpbeatAuthors: Time Has Value

December is one of those months where it seems like there is no time to:

  • A) sleep
  • B) breathe
  • C) recuperate

When you know there is going to be a stretch of time that is going to require massive chunks of your life, it’s smart to schedule down time. I have a lot of friends who are really into the holidays and who make themselves crazy with baking, decorating, trying to create perfect memories–and they’re too frazzled to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Here are a few time-saving tips:

  • Say no. There are things to which you cannot say no, like your children’s holiday performances. But you don’t need to go to every party. If you feel you must, put in enough time to say “Hi” and “Bye” to your host, then leave.
  • Cheat. I have lots of little cheats, from using frozen chopped onions in my cooking, to buying my pies from the local bakery. I don’t need to make/do everything myself. Plus you’re giving work to someone else, helping them pay for their holiday. That’s a good thing.
  • Use a spreadsheet to keep track of ingredients for holiday baking and holiday meal planning. It really is helpful.
  • Use Google Spreadsheets for gift giving. Each person contributes a wish list, which is shared with everyone. As gifts are purchased, the purchaser deletes the wish. Still anonymous but no chance of duplication.
  • Online shopping. Amazon has to pay its employees the same as your favorite brick and mortar retailer has to pay theirs. The difference is that there are fewer employees. However, UPS, USPS, and sometimes FedEx all benefit from online shopping. You save gas and aggravation.




Something Else I Don’t Get

Several years ago, when X-Chromo was still in high school, I attended some sort of awards breakfast. I ended up sitting with a woman who lives around the corner from me, and with whom I had butted heads–in a very minor way–on several occasions when our daughters were in middle school. X and this woman’s daughter were not friends. They weren’t enemies, but they travelled in different circles with different priorities.

I had heard this mother was “never the same” after she suffered a head injury in an auto accident. Because of that, I always tried to be compassionate.  Even when our ideas about how to improve the schools were at odds, I tried. So maybe this head injury is behind the explanation of what I don’t get.

Back to the breakfast. “Jane” sat with me, probably because I was a familiar face. Like our daughters, we were not friends. She started chatting. That was good. I’m lousy at small talk. It’s a skill I’ve never learned. Somehow, a discussion of the school dress code came up. “Jane” started spouting off about, of all things, high heels. About how her daughter wanted to wear high heels and it just wasn’t right. And a ban against high heels needed to be added to the dress code. On several occasions, she’d caught her daughter trying to sneak out of the house wearing high heels and that was something young girls should not be wearing.

I happened to see her daughter on line at the buffet–wearing a spaghetti strapped tank top and shorts cut up to her hoo-ha (both violations of the dress code, but she was a jock so it was overlooked). And her mother was worried about high heels?

I don’t get it.

#UpbeatAuthors: Support Your Local Library

My husband likes movies. He was a cinema major in college. He buys movies. Nearly every week, a package comes in the mail. More movies! We will never be able to watch all the movies in our house that are still in their cellophane in our lifetimes. We’re too busy trying to watch what’s on the DVR so he can record more.

Me? When there’s a movie I really want to see, I check the library’s website. That way, my tax dollars continue to work for me, I’m supporting a wonderful service to the community, and I don’t have to find a place to store the DVD after I’ve finished watching the movie.

I’m a voracious reader. But I’ve become very selective about what I purchase, as I have run out of space for books. Yes, I have an e-reader. Right now, I have three of them, not counting my Kindle for PC. Doesn’t matter. It makes more sense to borrow a book from the library. I can download from both my local library system and the New York City Public Library system.

Using the library costs me nothing but my tax dollars, which I have to pay anyway. Why not take advantage of it?





One of My Finer Moments

A former co-worker recently passed away. There were many heartfelt tributes to him on social media, all of them well-deserved. He really was a good person.

However, we did have a couple of points where our views on life could not have been further apart. One of them was the ERA–the Equal Rights Amendment. As far as I could tell, my co-worker thought women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

On June 30th, 1982, the ERA “died”. Not enough states add ratified the amendment to the constitution within the deadline or the three-year extension it was given.

On July 1, 1982, the front page of the local morning newspaper featured a photo of my co-worker raising the American flag at a celebration of the demise of the hoped-for amendment. He took a lot of ribbing that morning. Even I patted him on the back. But as I did so, I was also taping a handwritten KICK ME sign there.

Other co-workers laughed. Hours passed before someone told him about it. He was good natured about it. As I said, he really was a good person at his core.

#UpbeatAuthors: Thriftiness

The #UpbeatAuthors theme for the month of December is thriftiness. It’s a timely enough topic, what with the major gift-giving season upon us.

My family–parents, sibs, nieces/nephews–came up with a way to have holiday fun without breaking the bank.  Once a person hits the age of 21, there are no more individual gifts. They become part of what we call a White Elephant. I don’t know if what we do is a true white elephant, but we have rules and we have fun. The point is, no one goes broke buying gifts for everyone. After the final unwrap and stealing has happened, we then try to guess who purchased the gift we ended up with.

The true joy comes from finding a gift that everyone wants to steal. (There’s a limit on how many times an item can be stolen.) And no one goes broke.