Over Here Santa, Look At Me, Right Here…Thatta Boy

‘Tis the Season for fa la la la la and little boys who want, want, want!  They love the Holidays my boys.  The cookie making, gift wrapping, list creating, Santa meet-ups, tree trimming and never-ending holiday tunes.  They truly do get into the Christmas spirit.  Yet, just the other night I asked my five-year old if he knows the real meaning of Christmas.  His reply, “Uh, mommy, of course I do!  It is about being good from right now until Christmas morning so you get ALL the gifts YOU WANT!”

Really?  Where have I gone wrong?  I was so ready to put his day clothes back on and haul his little a$$ to a soup kitchen.  But then I can’t really be all that upset.  I also cannot be the only one to blame.

First of all, the Holidays have become so commercialized.  I mean the Holiday decor, cards, gift wish lists and pre-lit Christmas trees hit the aisles of the big box stores as soon as the last firework explodes in the July sky.  The local radio stations start playing Holiday tunes the minute the clock strikes midnight on Halloween.  In fact, the BIG BOOK OF TOYS gets mailed in November to every home the US census has recorded a child, the presence of one or even ones in utero for that matter like AARP solicits the 60 an over crowd.

It is ridiculous really.  So, I am not all that surprised that my little boys are all about I, me, and mine.  Can they really help what they hear and see on TV, in the stores and all around town?  They cannot.  Little beings are like sponges.  They soak it all up and you media hype marketing people play them like it’s nobody’s business.  The insanity will never stop though will it?

So, parents, it is our job to teach our younglings the real meaning of the Holidays.  Perhaps 2, 5 and 9 are not the appropriate ages for them to ring the Salvation Army bell or scoop out soup in a homeless shelter but they are never too young to learn what it really is all about.

This year I vow to not get caught up in all the commercial hype.  My boys will not be riding on the “Polar Express” to the “North Pole” this year.  Yet, I will take them down to the train station and educate them on how the rail lines once fueled our country.  They will not sit on Santa’s lap this year, all three of them, competing for his attention like they did last year.  As my then four-year old said to the jolly old saint, “Look at me Santa, I am right here.  Me, just me, only listen to me and what I WANT!”  How embarrassing.  Not funny people.  Actually it was pathetic.  Even you Santa were laughing.  Shame!

They can sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all they are thankful for.  They can tell Santa how mommy spent 8 hours one hot summer day piling up their toys to donate because they have way too much. Eight hours and 500 toys later my life became so much easier and my home so much lighter.  The funny thing is, they haven’t missed one of those toys now gracing the shelves at Goodwill and daycare facilities around town.  Not once have they asked for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines or Toy Story remote control car.  Not once have they came to me crying because they miss recycled plastic Yoda, Shrek, Chewbacca or Diego.

What my boys really want is me.  My time and love and support.  They want me to sit on the floor and play blocks and puzzles with them.  They want to bake pies and cookies and have me allow them to stir the ingredients and lick the batter.  They want me to run in the rain, through the sprinkler and jump in the pool with them.  They want me to volunteer at recess, be the mystery reader for their class and help out during after school events.  They want me on the sidelines when they get the football, shoot hoops and crack the bat.

Parents, our children don’t need a ton of toys, electronics or a new car to make them happy.  They need our love!  Deep down inside they want our undivided attention more than anything.  I know these things now.  I know it because my children ask me:

See folks, children need so much more than they articulate on a wish list to Santa.  Of course, they are kids and kids should be kids.  Of course they will naturally want toys and electronics or a new set of wheels.

But when they are young adults, grown adults with children of their own or seniors, they will not remember the year Santa brought them a Deluxe Heavy Duty Super Duper Red Ryder Beebe Gun unless they actually shoot their eye out.

They will remember the year mommy fell on the Christmas tree trying to hang the lights and how they laughed so hard they peed their pants.  They will remember the traditions, tree trimming and gingerbread house making.  They will remember making gifts from their own bare hands to share with family and friends.  They will know the real meaning of Christmas.  They will, I just know it!

Happy Holidays and may you always stay true to the real importance of the season. 


What’s in Your Cup? A Cinnamon Powder Reflection

“What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Small Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s Monday and we meet again for our Monday Morning Mojo Booster via What’s In Your Cup?  Now don’t go and log off or get all hot and bothered, I will begin blogging my regular show here again soon.  This is just an added bonus to keep me accountable and you sharing in on the fun.

I started my morning off with an Extra Shot Soy Latte.  Since I wanted it served in a real cup that requires dishwashing, I ventured into the cafe.  I thought it would be a great way to start a Monday coming off of a tryptophan coma and many days filled with Holiday hoopla.  What I didn’t anticipate is what I would find in my cup.

Once the froth cleared and the cinnamon powder settled to the bottom, there in my cup were two twinkling eyes and a button nose.  Now this isn’t some freak thing like where people see images of saints or athletes in their grilled cheese sandwiches, this was just my very own reflection staring back at me.

It is bit different to see your reflection in anything other than a mirror and a coffee stained glimpse of my morning face was initially a bit startling.  Yet, as I looked deeper into my cup I couldn’t see the bottom no matter how hard I tried.  Then when my thoughts and eyes carried me back to the rim, I was gone.  But it got me to thinking and reflecting and thinking some more. 

You can’t always see the bottom, sometimes you have to be still and just float and other times, you have to tread like hell. – Swimgirl

The year is quickly coming to an end and with all the holiday happenings, it will be easy to get side-tracked and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  This morning, I vowed to make a point to stop and reflect on this year before anticipating the next.  So, with that being scripted, I shall reflect on the events of the year.  Here is a list of my top ten reflections for 2012:

1) Spending time with a loved one in their last few days here on earth can be extremely spiritual and healing.

2)  As taken from my two-year old son; Whenever someone asks what you are up to and you really care to not share, just answer, “Anything!”

3)  Saving for a rainy day is encouraged, saving for a storm is a must!

4)  There will come a time when you have to walk away from all the drama and just do for you.

5)  As taken from my five-year old son;  Things don’t always happen when you want them too, so you might as well make a melody out of the madness.  Because when you have to go #2 in a public restroom, wearing your Sunday best and mom is frustrated because we are out to brunch, just sit on the pot and make like Gene Autry.  “Frosty the Snowman will get the job done mom and I will be out soon!”  He can carry a tune that kid even if in the wrong setting.

6)  Sometimes you have to lose your map to really know your path.

7)  Deep breaths can heal your soul, even if temporarily and sweating like mad on a yoga mat.

8)  There will always be people throwing boulders.  You have to make like a river and flow over, around and in between them.  There will be times when you have to swim along with the current and at other times you can rest and it will carry you.

9)  As taken from my nine-year old son; You cannot always be the way people want you to be, sometimes you have to be you.  “I don’t always color in between the lines, but I like it that way sometimes.”

10)  Never stop being grateful.  For even in turbulent times, there is at least one thing you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and smirk about.

I am grateful for a lidless cup of java today.  Grateful that I took the time to sit still and just show up.  That with only 36 days left of 2012, I still have time to reflect on the past, look forward to the future and pause in the present.  That before busting out the journals, notebooks, scratch pads and eNotes to start our list of resolutions, we can also make a list of reflections.  Some may be good and some we may not want to turn back to.  Yet, each event makes us who we are.  It is our own unique story that some day will be our legacy. 

So, What’s In Your Cup?  Is there anything in your cup worthy of reflection?  Is there anything you could share that would stir the cup of communication?  Perhaps you prefer to reflect silently.  It’s all good here.  But I challenge you to pause, show up and just be before the end of the year. 

 Life Is Only A Reflection of What We Allow Ourselves To See


What’s in Your Cup?

I promised.  I will deliver to your inbox a Monday Morning Mojo Booster via What’s in Your Cup?  Yikes is this a big committment.  But, a promise is a promise.  Plus I know you all have been glued to your inbox just waiting for this since the clock struck midnight.

I also know that stress is inevitable yet we really all have to be conscious of when it is getting out of control.  For the adult eyes here, or when the $hit is about to hit the fan.  I ventured to the “new” Starbucks near my office.  It was the same Baristas but 500 yards down the road and fully equipped with a drive thru.  So far, I am highly impressed with service and efficiency of the drive thru line.  I mean who isn’t a fan of saving precious minutes. I would have been fired by now if not self-employed.  No corporate CEO is going to excuse your lateness, everyday, because you were waiting in a coffee line.  Good grief.

It is only fitting that I ordered up myself a Venti dose of  TAZO Calm tea.  Huh, What’s in Your Cup?  No coffee you say? Well sometimes a throat signal means it’s time to up the herbs and antioxidants.  I hope you are all keeping your stress levels down, boosting up your immune system and prepping to give thanks.  Most importantly, there is a lot to be heard in the short and sweet.  Shh…can you hear it? 

Now that is the spirit.  You’ve got the idea, right?  No pressure.  This is currently a calm zone.  So share What’s in Your Cup?  The topic for the week is Thankful.  With that in mind, keep calm and carry on and may your cup be overflowing with gratitude!

Keep Calm, Carry On, Drink Some Tea and Give Thanks!

What’s In Your Cup? Part One

By Swimgirl November 12, 2012

So like hey there ladies and gents.  I decided to spice up my life and with that adventure, well you all get to participate.  I’m not talking taking a curry bath or rubbing cellulite with a cinnamon and paprika rub, I’m talking chatter.  Blog chatter.  This, that and some random chat.

So this little blog is getting all spiced up and launching….okay, I know…brace yourself, a weekly this, that and random chat section, post, forum, whichever you consider it.  I think it is brilliant.  I mean where can one go, gather and converse internationally about the random stuff of life.  That’s right.  This blog and right here at WordPress.  I decided to Freshly Press myself by squeezing out some new content.

Freshly Pressed or Freshly Squeezed
Therefore, each and every one of you will receive a Monday Morning Mojo Booster via What’s In Your Cup?  Listen, share, read and laugh along.  It’s open for anything.  Suggest away, constructively criticize, rant, rave, throw down some smack or just listen and learn.  So welcome to all my awesome and loyal followers, occasional viewers and accidental stumble upons.  We are all here together.  Now What’s In Your Cup?

Mine is overflowing with all sorts of things.  First off, after surviving the 9 day rain hiatus smack down by Supetstorm Sandy, the weather was awesome this past weekend.  Sunny and beautifuly breezey with 60+ temps,  I could survive in this weather forever.  So, no need to bust out the paprika and cinnamon rub with these temps.  I devoted the whole weekend to my three sons.  Not the black and white television version.  The real life, in color and running around every town hosting a park or ice cream shop with my boys version.

No Sleep till Brooklyn

Wow do they have some energy.  Seriously, I think I conceived them with the help of the EB.  Not the one who delivers plastic BPA free not eggs filled with processed chocolate on Easter morning.  The Energizer Bunny folks.  I am part to blame for all their moving, going, doing, seeking, jumping, running, never quitting personas but I do like an occasional sit down with a cup o’ joe while reading a good book in real print.  See Kindle Bookstore Napper as to why.

I’ve had a few run ins with businesses that get me all fired up about joining their programs, events, seminars or classes and then close up shop.  I mean come on institutions.  For me, planning to attend something is worth the same amount of work as organizing a convention with the President of The United States.  The only thing missing is a blessing from the Vice President and the presence of the Secret Service.  So please, please don’t call to tell me you’ve postponed the event date or cancelled due to blah, blah, blah.  I’m not hearing you.

I will be venturing out for an overnight mother daughter trip this weekend.  I am excited and I do know it will be educational at the least.  When isn’t a Rosa (my late Nonna) party of 6 a complete blast? Yet, I am thinking more, based upon the throbbing and continuous pain in my upper back and neck, that perhaps I need a retreat alone.  Or maybe just a chair massage, ey?  I really am a huge people person but lately, I’ve got the in need of some alone time bug.  Ever have that?

I have the INO1SAT1.  I checked the CDC and there seems to be no vaccine for it.  Anyways, I wouldn’t get the vaccine anyway.  With all the negative side effects, chemicals and high levels of mercury, I’d rather just lock myself in my bathroom with a six-pack of Christmas Ale for thirty minutes and call it a homepathic treatment retreat.

Anyways, I have all sorts of packing to do and I need to run to the craft store to get some bubble wrap for my suitcase.  I wouldn’t want my luggage contents to get busted up in transport.  Red wine tends to stain.  Well you can expect some good content next Monday in What’s In Your Cup?  with post trip informationals.  Fun times ahead my friends.

So, in my cup today was a grande, soy, one pump, no whip mocha.  And get this.  I bypassed the usual drive thru Starbucks because I want to break routine and waiting in a drive thru line for 22 minutes really is ridiculous.  So, I went to the closer location, right by my office.  I figured it would get me to schmooze with the patrons and for some new Baristas to get to know me.  Would you have it that the location was temporarily closed while they are moving to their new location, equipped with a drive thru.  What?  The whole point in my going there today was to get out and mingle, now they will have a drive thru and the yuck weather is coming and I will be all anti-social again. Did I mention that they were closed and twenty-two minutes saved turned into twenty-two plus ten more minutes lost?

Anyways, let me know Whats In Your Cup?  I’m thirsty to know.  Until next Monday’s Morning Mojo Booster, may your cup be overfloweth with all the possibilities to achieve your dreams.  Drink up my friends!

When it seems like the sky is about to collapse, relax, it’s just the roof caving in. You can rebuild – Unknown and Me

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

By Swimgirl November 8, 2012

People on the edge of love go with their heart and not their head.
– Sienna Miller

After a very long week of going about like a statue with my head cut-off, I decided to take last Sunday to slow down and just be.  Superstorm Sandy dropped a whopper on our area with roads closed, schools closed, businesses closed, power outages, flooding, trees falling and rain.  Lots of rain.  Nine straight days of rain.  No sun and no break.  Just rain, rain and more rain.

On the 9th day, the rain stopped.  The sky was still dark and gray but the rain had finally ceased.  So I plopped the kids in the car and decided to go for a Sunday drive down to the lake.  Not to my surprise the marina and park were closed but we could still gain access to the lakefront.  The water was murky and the seagulls and lake birds of paradise pigeons were bathing in puddles.  The winds were calmer and people were venturing out again.  A true testament that I was not the only one venturing down to the lake post storm.

Yet, despite the rain, and the rain again and still more rain, the gray skies and inconveniences of the week, this by no means was problematic or catastrophic compared to what the East Coast and the Jersey Shore were dealing with.  It saddens my heart to know that Mother Nature can be so beautiful yet so hurtful at times too.

Yes, in my own personal realm, last week sucked horribly.  I was so busy at work and by Day 5 of the rain, I just wanted it to stop.  It was so easy for me to get wrapped up in my own personal struggles and daily annoyances that at times I lost sight of the bigger picture.  Such as that my family was safe, the roof over our heads was in tact, we had electrical power and fresh, clean water to drink and bathe in.  That our family pet was only tracking in mud not missing.  That my children having to be rerouted when school suddenly closed  was a blessing compared to the event where they could have been injured or missing in the storm.  Worse yet, a fatality.

We were all safe, inconvenienced, but safe.  Yet, it was so easy for me to forget all this.  Rather I went on ranting and raving about my busy, sleepless week until we were heading home from the lake and I was stopped at a red light.  I glanced over to get a peak of the sky to see if there were lake effect clouds moving in.  But to my surprise, I saw a sky that seemed to be invisible.  It wasn’t gray or cloudy.  There were no hues of black or blue.  It was as if the sky was gone.  It was more like an aura of white light that was inviting me in.  Saying don’t fret, don’t frown, don’t be invisible. 

As I glanced further down, I noticed the statue missing its head.  It was as if this exact picture was a replica of my life last week.  It was as if I was too invisible to recognize that there are people who truly are in need.  It was as if my body was stuck in motion last week, frozen in time, but my thoughts were wandering everywhere.  I was so full of mind but not mindful.  It took this scene above for me to realize the real meaning of the week.

Just like geometry is defined as, the study of properties of given elements that remain invariant under specified transformations, this week for me so to was geometric in nature.  There are some things that remain unaltered during times of transformation.  My personal thoughts carried on despite the turmoil elsewhere.  The statue stood still while the rain continued to fall.  But that sky, oh that sky changed.  It opened and allowed the light to shine in to give me the insight that it is so much more than what’s in my head, my own personal struggle.  By letting my head lead instead of my heart, I became invisible. 

Are you invisible?  It’s never too late to make a difference.  No amount is too small or too great. 

Superstorm Sandy Disaster Relief