Tag Archives: Christmas

The Inevitable Come-down from Christmas and that New Year’s Resolution List

OK so it happened again. There was a definite come-down two days after Christmas for me. Did it happen to you, too? This was a particularly zen holiday so that makes it worse. I didn’t Scrooge one second this year. But since I was a chubby cheeked toddler and all the Christmases in between the come-down creeps in. Like New Year’s morn when your head is pounding and the clock to punch back in at work is ticking furiously.

I know the holidays aren’t great for everyone. But can I wax mystical about mine this year? Just for a minute.

It was so peaceful. None of my perfectionism reared its ugly annoying little sharp-tongued monster head. My son said it was “The best Christmas ever!” He says that every year but for some reason I think he meant it most this time. We saw lots of family and friends and also had quiet time at home. Our usual traditions still intact (although our fave Indian restaurant was closed on Christmas Eve so we had Thai instead. And they gave me a gift of hugging hippo salt and pepper shakers!) Me and my son’s dad, or as I will now call him my co-parent, had a truly lovely time together. Like old friends again. No stress. No high expectations. And the weather was fabulous.

So I had my little come-down pity party after. I had a short cry in the shower. It would have lasted longer if “Cat’s In the Cradle” had shuffled on my iPod.

Now onto the list. There have been years where I was like, “I’m not gonna participate in making that ridiculous resolution list. They all list-fully fall away in a matter of months or even weeks anyhow.”

But in my concerted effort to continue the forward motion of zen, I shall make one this year for sure. So off the top of my clear head here it is.

  • Lower my expectations and put a pillow on top of the mouth of the perfectionism monster.
  • Give gratitude. Every day. And infiltrate this into my son’s brain as well.
  • Have more game nights.
  • Less technology. Or at least stop bringing my phone to the dinner table. And infiltrate this into my son’s brain as well.
  • Write more.
  • Balance work-life. Try to stave off exhaustion and have a dinner party once in awhile.
  • Get to the beach more. Even if just for 30 minutes to watch the sunset.
  • Let go of the things I can’t control, like my son being an almost teenager and not loving all the things I like to do.

So there it is. I’m sure I could add more but I’ll stop now. Eight is my favorite number anyway. The first and the last on the list are definitely the most difficult.

I’ll refer back to this list in times of turmoil. And look back to the zen of Christmas holiday 2016. What are your resolutions? I’d love to know.

And oh yes, I wish you a beautiful 2017. Happy New Year!


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Because It’s Christmas


One of my favorite holiday movies of all time is Love Actually,  an early 2000 British classic among Gen X-ers and the like. Throughout this humorous, heart-felt, quirky, kitschy film they use the line, “Because it’s Christmas….” to rebuild friendships, confess love, and just downright be real.

I’ve been using this line for weeks now. And it’s liberating.

“Because it’s Christmas…  I’m going to give candy to the kids at school.”

“Because it’s Christmas…  I’m going to have a piece of chocolate at breakfast.”

“Because it’s Christmas… I’m going to stifle the angry urge to curse out the person who just stole my parking space and instead give them a nod and a smile.”

“Because it’s Christmas… I’m going to spend more money than I should on gifts for my loved ones because it just feels good.”

“Because it’s Christmas… I’m going to wear ridiculous holiday-themed hats and slippers and shirts.”

“Because it’s Christmas… I’m going to drink more tea and coffee than I have in over a decade.”

You get the point. Call it an excuse. Call it an opportunity. Whatever the case, Christmas gives me reason to be a little nicer and a less frustrated perfectionist.

Some people hate the holidays. It’s too commercialized. Too much pressure. Too many sad memories. I get it. I’ve been there.

But not this year.

Because it’s Christmas I’m doing everything I normally do but with even greater purpose and zen. And I’m doing it in fuzzy elf slippers and a t-shirt that reads “Santa is my Sugar Daddy.”

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Oranges, Sage, Sand and Time

Yesterday while stepping outside the office to the parking lot I caught a whiff of some kind of dry brush percolating its arid scent in the late spring warmth. It immediately transported me back to 1989. To a sandy and rooted path towards the Mediterranean sea. I looked down at my feet and couldn’t believe I had really gone on that trip all those years ago. Seems like an eternity. The girl who traveled there had freckles and bushy brown hair and a wondering mind. I still have the freckles and a matured version of that mind so it must have been me.

I love how smells take you to places and evoke memories in an instant. In the midst of everyday life we step back and take a deep inhale through the honker and relive a moment as if it were right at our feet.

Take oranges for another example. That smell of freshly sliced citrus transports me back to an even earlier time. To childhood and the kitchen counter and the oranges stacked in a bowl during Christmastime. It is always Christmas when I smell an orange. And now the citrus fruits lining my lanai swell and ripen in wintertime.


Fresh cut grass reminds me of Tennessee summers and my dad and my brother and the aggravation then prideful relief when the yard work was finished.

Decaying leaves and burning wood always remind me of fall and Halloween. The beginning of school days. Trick-or-treating. Playing in piles of orange and red and brown fallen oak and maple. Writing somber poetry.

Curry and coriander bring forth memories of Christmas Eve and our now decade-long family tradition of enjoying an Indian feast before driving around to see all the neighborhood holiday lights.

Instant coffee and tobacco– my grandparent’s house. Powder soap and crayons– elementary school. Soft, sweet Petunia– my mother’s garden. Aveeno Eczema Therapy lotion– my son’s infancy. Rain– lazy summer days and escaping to shelter. Cinnamon– all the good memories ever all wrapped into one.

Last night I stared down at my feet after a good jog on the causeway. The terrain underneath reminded me of that path to the Mediterranean sea and the desert of the Australian Outback and all the places I’ve been and seen and experienced. It’s still a bit of a shock how much I’ve done. The smell of the salty, shelly gulf wafted around me and I smelled not a memory but a presence. I was home. And alive in the present with all the memories of the past in my brain waiting for the frontal lobe to spark the temporal and let me relive them again, if only for a time.

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Creepy Christmas Thingies and the Emanating Demise of Halloween

So I’m at Target last night scanning the aisles for last-minute Halloween supplies.  Of course they are all picked over as I knew they would be.  I don’t shop much anymore and never immersed myself in this year’s spooky retail haven.  Although thank you The Surfing Pizza for letting me live that voyeuristically through your kick-ass blog.

Soon to be stashed in the cart of forgotten fright.

Soon to be stashed in the cart of forgotten fright.

Sure there was a decent stock of Halloween-themed baking supplies on the shelves– skeleton cookie mix, monster cupcake kits, pumpkin-shaped molds for people who have the time and desire to make their own chocolate.  I stood there for five minutes contemplating whether or not to bake a fun Halloween treat for the party I’m attending tonight.  Then I decided I’d just make a cheese plate with the expensive block of Havarti in the fridge that my kid won’t eat.  We began to head toward the produce section for grapes.  Yes, don’t you love that Target (or Super Target as it is also known) has its own grocery store?  A one-stop shop without the outrageously and questionably dressed patrons of Wal-Mart (I can’t believe spell check just told me I misspelled Wal-Mart. And that spell check knows Wal-Mart).

But on the way to produce my son and I had to do a quick peek at the left-over decorations and costumes.  Good thing is they were all on sale.  Bad thing is they looked pitiful.  The shelves were half-stocked with glittery, painted pumpkins and white, plastic spiders just hoping to be taken home.  And half of the costumes were either on the floor or falling off the hanger.  I did find one killer hat I had to purchase, even if I don’t wear it for the party or trick-r-treating.  It was seriously the only one left and was on sale.  And it makes me look like a chick Victorian vampire-lady.  Whatever the hell that is.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s Halloween.  You can make a hat and a t-shirt into any character you want.

Awesome Victorian vampire mini hat I couldn't resist.

Awesome Victorian vampire mini hat I couldn’t resist.

As we neared the back of the store there was a grocery cart overflowing with Halloween decor and supplies I knew were facing their ultimate demise– the dusty warehouse or cheap Dollar Store.  I felt sorry for them, knowing they didn’t even cut it for the season’s last-minute Halloween shoppers.  And right behind them stacked in neat rows and standing full and proud and new were holiday lights and plastic Christmas wreaths.  They were kind of laughing at the cart of forgotten fright.  They were slowly creeping, those creepy Christmas thingies, towards the fun aisle that would be a plastic winter wonderland in days.

I love you Halloween, in all your kooky spookiness.  You don’t prance around for months, steam-rolling over Thanksgiving and guilting us into buying presents we can’t really afford.  You provide us a reason to dress up like Batman, a princess, a warrior, or a dude with a mullet.  For one night (or many, depending on how many parties attended) we get to be someone else.  And the kids, they get CANDY.  No questions asked.  Oh yeah, except for “Trick or treat?”  And we get to steal from their bags.  Or scare the shit out of them as they near the front porch.  You make it OK to watch ridiculous horror flicks, dress in orange and black, and TP someone’s yard with Charmin.

The only thing I don’t like about you Halloween is that you don’t stay very long.  You slink away into the morning after with your half-eaten Tootsie Rolls while we have to pick up the worn vampire ensemble off the floor and long for you until next year.  And you leave your moans, screams, and howls echoing in the fog as irritating holiday music blasts on a short rotation out of every department store or gas station way way way too early.

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