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Let the stress subside and the relaxation begin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hello SparkFriends~

As of yesterday afternoon I am off work until January 4th and boy, am I ready to be off. I know I don't have half the troubles or the stressors in my life that most of you have but I think that each of us has their own stress limitations. Maybe is is because I have faced mental illness throughout much of my life that I can say that.

Don't get me wrong, some stress is good for me but I can tell when things are rapidly getting out of control. It is then that I really need to step back and have a good talk with myself. Unfortunately, I don't always listen to myself and try to push myself and push myself. One of these days I'm going to push myself off a cliff!!!! Ha!

Last week I let my whole Spark Plan slip by the wayside. I walked once and used the excuse that the time I was walking could be better spent on the tasks that really needed to get done. I ate a lot of take out for the same reason and deep down I think I gave up drinking so much water because heaven only knows how much time I could save by not spending it in the bathroom....please say you are laughing when reading this....

Anyway, it was 9:00 last night and I looked at my husband and said, "I'm going for a walk in the woods...are you game" Thankfully he was, so off we went armed with our flashlights. There was a heavy mist falling, we couldn't see the road to save ourselves but boy was it nice! The dogs, of course, just loved it although we've discovered that Louisa is afraid of the dark while Maddy would take on the devil! I felt cleansed after I arrived home.....probably because that morning's makeup was probably washed off my face by the mist.....but regardless I felt great.

So here is to making exercise a priority and not something I only do when I'm feeling good! Lesson learned....I hope!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPEFULANGE 12/22/2010 9:47AM

    Enjoy your time off - you deserve it! And you deserve time to keep yourself energized and happy with lovely walks in the woods. emoticon emoticon emoticon

I know what you mean about the bathroom!!! I find myself scheduling my water intake based on when I'm going shopping or to a meeting! emoticon

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MEMARE 12/21/2010 1:26PM

    Enjoy your time off and take many romantic healthy walks in the woods! emoticon

Merry Christmas!
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NEWFIEGIRLHERE 12/21/2010 10:54AM

    WEll Susan, I can totally relate to this blog. It appears that I have let spark take a step to the side. I have eaten more molasses and spice cookies or banana bread with tea or coffee in the past week than I have in the last 20 years. I found everytime that Rebecca was reaching into the cookies jar so was I. I can sit hear and tell you every way that I have gone wrong but yesterday , as much as I had to do, I put it all to the side and took the time I needed for me.
I am so glad that you did the same and even happier that your dh was game, especially that time of night...and yes, once again you had me laughing. You are so witty...I love it. emoticon emoticon
what a great way to spend time together.
emoticon emoticon X2

Comment edited on: 12/21/2010 10:55:23 AM

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S3XYDIVASMOM 12/21/2010 9:01AM

    Sometimes procrastination pays off. The pay-off here was a delightful time in the woods after dark. It sounds very Christmas-y. Like others, I envy you the opportunity to do so.

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/21/2010 8:45AM

    A walk in the woods at night! That sounds fun! Only, I'd be too chicken to do it alone! I just wish we had some WOODS here in the South Plains! emoticon emoticon

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JHADZHIA 12/21/2010 8:45AM

    Good for you getting out there! We could never take Bendix out at night, he would be off chasing something in no time, not that he hasn't given us a few over nighters..
I so know the feeling of biffy breaks :(( I prefer to get a lot of my water drinking first thing in the morning (easy with my workouts -I feel thirsty) because there is nothing worse then having to use the facilities when you are out walking somewhere and there is no relief in sight!!
Enjoy your time off to recharge and re energize, and exercising can help with that, you only feel good doing it!

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JLITT62 12/21/2010 8:17AM

    Wow, I am in bed by that time so I am totally impressed. Plus DH won't even walk the dogs when he gets home around 5 pm cause & it's dark & cold, so I'm even more impressed that DH readily agreed to go with you!

Lola is a bit afraid of the dark, as well. Chester has never seemed to mind it. Cold & wet is a different story!

Actually, the dogs in are in bed with me by 9 pm . . . altho they do go out for last call with DH later on.

Comment edited on: 12/21/2010 8:23:24 AM

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Would you choose yourself to be a friend?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hello!

I'm writing this blog today to talk about something that has really been bothering me lately. A lot of you have made comments on my SparkPage that they consider me a good friend, etc. Well, while I really appreciate the votes of confidence it made me pause for thought.

If ,for example, I was given the opportunity to go back to just being a soul, would I choose the same physical and personality characteristics that I have now?

Several years ago, I would have screamed a resounding "NO" because I was under the impression that if this or that was different about me I would finally be happy. If I was taller, if I was thinner, if I was smarter, if I didn't have depression, if I didn't quit university, if I didn't date so and so, if I had studied this subject, if I had been more disciplined...you get the picture!

At the heights (or should I say bottom) of my depression, I was referred to a wonderful no-nonsense psychologist. In the first six months, I'm sure all I did was complain about things that had happened in my life until finally one day she stopped my "pity party" (her expression) and was told to rethink the past. These things were all in the past and yet I was dragging their memories along for the ride much to the detriment of my mental well being.

It was like a light bulb went off in my head and slowly I became to accept those things about me that I didn't like and realize that those very experiences made me into the person I had become. I could have continued to berate myself for quitting university (I eventually went back and graduated), for not being smarter, for not being at the stages that my friends were all at, but for what? I would have developed into a self-loathing individual and that very self-hatred would have eventually destroyed me.

One of the very first things I was told to do was to write down things a good friend would like about me. This was very eye opening and allowed me to see me as others would and not as my inner critic. Believe me, this journey didn't happen overnight and I continued to see the psychologist for three years until she retired this past spring.

But now, if I had to go back in time and could start life over, I really think I would choose the same physical and psychological characteristics that I was born with.

I'm not perfect, I'm not great, I'm just me! I have come to appreciate my rich inner life because my mind is always active. I have come to know my limitations and I view them as self-preservation rather than excuses. I've come to realize that I'm not very important in the grand scheme of things but I am very important to me!

It is funny how the more laid back I am becoming with myself that my urge to take care of myself is becoming more pronounced. I thought it would be the opposite but that isn't the case. I've recycled my "all or nothing" attitude into one of "every bit counts" and it is working.

Hopefully I haven't bored you with my ramblings!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEMARE 12/21/2010 2:31PM

    Great blog! Didn't bore me at all! emoticon

I like your closing paragraphs. emoticon

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FLOWERDALEJEWEL 12/19/2010 2:50AM

   
Friends take you as you are, warts and all. I'm at an age now where, if someone doesn't like something about me and makes a big deal about it, they're written off the list. Life's too short to worry about things like that. I'd like to think that someone likes me because I'm honest, funny and caring and those who do, well they're the friends I want to be with. You have become and honest, caring and funny friend to me and although we have never met, Internet/Spark friends are just as important and the ones I can lay hands on.

Have a wonderful Christmas Susan and a great New Year


Comment edited on: 12/19/2010 2:51:48 AM

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TEMPEST272002 12/18/2010 6:16PM

    You've come a long way, baby. Like you, I've also discovered that the less hard I am on myself, the better I do. I lesson I would do well to remember as I get angry again & again at my difficulties around snacking/smoking. Another wonderful blog.

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HOPEFULANGE 12/18/2010 2:30PM

    I would choose myself as a friend and I'm glad you would choose yourself too!


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JLITT62 12/18/2010 12:56PM

    Not the least bit bored, in fact I think your last few blogs have been wonderful & thought provoking.

What a great question . . . and one I'll have to ponder. I think I'm a good friend, yet I have few friends. Hmmm.

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PANFRIEDTROUT 12/18/2010 11:48AM

    not bored at all ~ quite the contrary!

when i saw your blog title on a friend feed, my very first thought was "probably not" ...even though I make a good friend to others.

I'm glad you posted a part of your personal insights because I'm still struggling with that self*loathing you mention as well as the "all or nothing" thinking.

your blog makes me feel that if I just keep persisting, eventually I could answer your question with a resounding Heck yeah!

thank you

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/18/2010 10:42AM

    Your ramblings are beautiful! What a great way to step back and look at how wonderfully you've been made, and how worth it you are to love yourself! emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYFITZ 12/18/2010 9:53AM

    Fantastico! A great heading! emoticon I agree with what you said. We are, the experiences of our life! If I had not have a depressive illness I would not be able to empathise in the way that I can with my clients, family and friends. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 12/18/2010 9:29AM

    Part of living a healthy lifestyle is accepting yourself as you are, warts and all. You need to be able to love yourself to want to take care of yourself and treat your body and yourself with respect. Its sounds like you have your head around this concept! Well done!
Have a Super Sparking Saturday!!

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The Greatest Gift of All......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi,

As this seems to be the season of "gifts" I thought I would write today's blog about what that really means. When you think of gifts do your thoughts immediately go to brightly wrapped packages under the perfect tree? What about other kinds of gifts? You know, the kind that money can't buy. Be it a smile from a stranger, a hug from a child, or the gentle nuzzle of a warm snout welcoming you home.

I'm blessed in so many ways. I've got the very best group of SparkFriends who are becoming more and more like my family as each day passes. Don't you think it is miraculous that a bunch of us, who started out as strangers, now know so much about us that it feels like we've been friends for years.

I'm blessed to have know my young friend Cathy. I wrote a blog about her several months ago and told you all about her battle with cancer. Despite her terminal illness she has not missed a day of school until last week. We all know the end is in sight but it is her determination and smile that I will always remember. It has been a real gift to have known her and I look forward to today when her parents are bringing her in to say goodbye! I hope to be able to remain calm enough to thank her for her gift of kindness she has freely shared with everybody around her.

I'm blessed to have have a dysfunctional family because at least I have a family. Deep down I think there is some discord in all families because we all truly care and think we can speak our minds. The things we often say to family members!!!!

I'm blessed to have a sense of humour so I don't take myself too seriously! I'm blessed that I have a weight problem because I'm learning how to put me first. I'm blessed to have depression because I can relate to so many people.

I think even in life's darkest moments we can all come up with something we are truly blessed with! Be thankful this holiday season for the many gifts that already surround you including the very gift of life itself! As my father would say, "I'm just happy to be on this side of the sod!"

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIBBYFITZ 12/17/2010 9:50PM

    I am a Sparkfriend of TEMPEST272002 and she kindly sent your link via her blog post. You have a wonderful way with words and I could relate to a lot of what you said. Dysfunctional family,depression. I agree this helps us understand better, both ourselves and people around us who for whatever reason are struggling with day to day life. Thank you for a wondeful blog! emoticon

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PANFRIEDTROUT 12/17/2010 9:15PM

    I often hear or see people write about being thankful or having a positive attitude and so on. Seldom do I see or hear any practical ways as to how to do that or exactly what that means to them. You've provided very clear examples and made me want to take a look at my life and do likewise.

Thanks!

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STARTINGINLIMBO 12/17/2010 1:35PM

    Great blog. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us!

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FLOWERDALEJEWEL 12/17/2010 6:07AM

   

Your Dad was right, it's always better to be over the hill than under it.

I've always been blessed with a close family and a couple of really close friends, good neighbours and great Sparkfriends, what more could I possibly ask for?

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JLITT62 12/17/2010 5:21AM

    I have been wracking my brains all week long, trying to come up with mostly upbeat blogs to help inspire people -- maybe today I should just point them towards yours!

You have such a wonderful outlook on life -- and yes, you're right, even the things that seem the toughest are often a gift.

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DRGOMTI 12/16/2010 10:56PM

    I'm thankful for anti-depressants and AA or I wouldn't be around to discover another great program, SparkPeople n friends who posts such inspirational blogs!! Thanx!!
Hugs, Donna

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KAYDE53 12/16/2010 6:57PM

    Gifts that money can't buy are always the best! And bless that young lady Cathy, as she leaves this life, and her family as well. You never know what tomorrow brings, do you? Great blog! emoticon

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HOPEFULANGE 12/16/2010 12:22PM

    Susan, you are a wonderful person for being able to see the things many others take for granted. Thank-you for reminding us to slow down and appreciate what we have around us.
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TEMPEST272002 12/16/2010 12:15PM

    What a beautiful blog! It's hard to see the gifts we recieve through sadness and pain - but they are there when we look. You're blog started me thinking about the gifts I've recieved through hubby's illness - a renewed appreciation for hubby, for our free health care, for the support of friends and family, for the incentive to quit smoking. Thank you for the reminder.

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LESLIES537 12/16/2010 11:11AM

    emoticon blog! I think it's pretty miraculous myself! emoticon

It's inspiring to see how you can look at such things as your depression and your 'dysfunctional' family as blessings! YOU are such a blessing too!

May you have the strength to communicate to Cathy how much she means to you and to be there as the strong and supportive friend that you are. God Bless you!
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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/16/2010 10:48AM

    Oh, you're so right! We ARE blessed, even when we don't realize it at the time, we are still blessed! I enjoyed reading your blog. I hope your friend does not suffer and senses all the love coming her way as her live comes to an end here in this world. emoticon

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BUCKO_BUCKO123 12/16/2010 8:51AM

  yes - we are blessed because we are alive!

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JHADZHIA 12/16/2010 8:51AM

    Nicely said!! My greatest gift is the Mother I was blessed with having. I would be absolutely nowhere without her. She is one of a kind and I am very lucky to have been born to her. When I think of the problems some of my Spark buddies have had with their mothers, it makes me very sad that they will never know a bond like the one Mom and I share..
It shows great character to look on the bright side of dark things. Good for you!

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Holidays and Depression

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hi,

As many of you know, I have lived with depression for many years. I know some of you are shaking your heads and thinking, "but she is always so upbeat" but it is true that I deal with this demon on a daily basis.

I think that a lot of people, whether they have a diagnosed depression, or not, find the holidays a wee bit of a downer. The past couple of days I have had my moments too when I found myself really in a gray mood, when I've been so close to tears that I could feel them. I'm fortunate that both my husband and I recognize the "signs" and we both do our part to ward it off. Last night's therapy was to grab some takeout pizza and drive around for a short time looking at Christmas lights. Worked like a charm as did the walk I took around our block when I got home.

Okay, so here is my opinion on why some of us feel "let down" by Christmas. I think we all have these preconceived notions that the holidays are a time for "peace and goodwill towards all mankind". While this is a great concept, I think it is a bunch of phooey. If you have problems in your family dimension throughout the year, they are not going to magically disappear over the holidays. My cousin's daughter is married to a pompous jerk (see, I tell it as it is!) and I know there is going to come a time during over the holidays that I'm going to feel like sticking the roasting fork in his eye but then again, I feel like that all the time towards him! Ha! I am NOT going to expect anything different from him or expect to feel any different towards him because I've learned the hard way.

Ditto for mother-in-law!! We all live in the same small town and yet we never see them because of how they have made me feel over the years. My beloved mother-in-law has a tongue like a knife and has cut me so many times with it. The Christmas Eve we got engaged, John wanted to tell his parents (like you would) so off we went. My FIL gave me a big hug and said he was happy for both of us and his mother took one look at my engagement ring and said "that won't look so pretty on your hands when your hands are chapped from scrubbing toilets". Yep, so needless to say I'm not having any expectations about having warm and fuzzy feelings about her this Christmas!

So, now you are all thinking that I'm a cold-hearted person but I'm really not. I have just learned not to have too high expectations that the holidays will magically erase any awkwardness in my extended family. Mom is going to come up to my house on Christmas Eve, spend about one hour in our company and they go to bed with a box of chocolates. Then the next morning she is going to have a massive headache and beg to be taken back to the home where she lives! It is actually quite funny if you look at all from a certain vantage point.

Please don't think any less of me for my honesty! I'm just telling you like I see it. Depression is normal around the holidays even for people that normally aren't affected by it. But is it any wonder? Allow yourself to lower your expectations and I think you will discover a part of the secret to inner peace!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUGARBABY60 12/16/2010 5:16AM

    Might think of creating your own NEW TRADITIONS like going on a vacation at christmas time to avoid all the hassel and have something very pleasurable to look forward to . Less family time often means MORE peace. give it a try.

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FLOWERDALEJEWEL 12/16/2010 4:03AM

   

Geez the MIL sounds like a cow, I reckon you're right stick her with the fork and see if she's done LOL

If family or "friends" (I use the term loosely here) give you the irrits, put them to the back of your mind and house if possible and forget them. Too many important things to do, don't fuss over the unimportant.

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SURFCITYMOM 12/15/2010 7:44PM

    I am with you. The holidays (and my extended family) have always made unrealistic demands on me because of THEIR personal expectations. So after I got divorced, I decided that the only people that count in my life are the ones I will let in. Hence, I have a number of close friends that are like family without the dysfunction. My son of course is included, but my birth siblings are all excluded. My parents are gone, and until they died, I was made to feel guilty if I didn't live up to their expectations - like being nice to my siblings when they would not do the same for me. I am a happier person and I make the holidays what I feel comfortable with.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 12/15/2010 6:53PM

    I wouldn't say that I get depressed at Christmas; my expectations have been low for a very long time. But I fail to feel the enthusiasm of those around me. It just seems like a time when the demands really pile up but there are no more added hours to my days. It all begins to seem like a major chore.

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KANSASROSE67 12/15/2010 1:58PM

    I love your honesty! You are right...having too high of expectations can make the holidays much more stressful. I have a group of wacky in-laws too. Lots of drama and hurt feelings over nothing is their forte. It's taken me more than 20 years, but I'm learning not to get that churning feeling in my gut every time one of them is upset. I can't control their reactions, only my own. Great blog!

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/15/2010 1:34PM

    All I can say is that I am really looking forward to our daughter coming for a week at Christmas. My parents are coming, too.

However, with a house with 990 sq. ft., it is going to really weigh me down to have the whole family under our roof, and I hope I don't go screaming down the dirt road in frustration!

Yes, I have to push the demons back every day, too. I do understand what you mean. emoticon emoticon

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JHADZHIA 12/15/2010 11:30AM

    I am lucky I don't stress over this at all. If my Mom goes to my sister's farm for some Christmas good cheer, more power to her. I have spent a week every year at Christmas at Mom's place, its time she had a break. I am quite happy to be alone as I have lots of work to do to be ready for the new direction the club is taking in the New Year and also because the previous manager's notes, calender and all the Office templates she gave me are all obsolete. She saved me a lot of work with all that she gave me to keep going, but out of date is out of date. Time to start my own trends.
I guess I am lucky the in-laws are all wonderful people, but I never see them as we very rarely ever get together. I don't have a whole lot to do with my brother and sister, they are all very busy people with their families and jobs.
I wish you luck dealing with your relatives. Isn't that the way. You never see the good ones, but the bad ones are always there :((

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HOPEFULANGE 12/15/2010 10:20AM

    I'll probably be on the same track this season. I'm really looking forward to the holidays but there are always things about your family that makes you want to run screaming. We're going to have a full house for a good two weeks - my parents first then the in-laws. With no where to hide in between since I'm taking vacation from work!

Ah well, let us remember the good things and enjoy our family in the moments that we can!

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Secret Santa...and my best gifts ever.................

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Here at the college where I work we are in the midst of our Secret Santa week. Everyone is welcome to participate and we are to buy four gifts that cost between $2-3 and one final gift that costs around $20. (On a side note, we used to do this in university back in the 1980's and the four gifts were to cost no more than $1 each....how times have changed).

I enjoy this week for many reasons. The shopping is a lot of fun because everybody sort of competes to see who can be the most creative with their limited money. You'd be surprised at some of the things you can find! Then there this is the "gift delivery" as nobody wants to be caught in the act. We've had elaborate schemes over the years that have involved clues hidden throughout the building, students acting as delivery people, etc.

The fun, in my humble opinion, is way more important than the actual gift-giving and receiving. Case in point: yesterday our rather uptight librarian received some children's party favours yesterday and his note said he had to be seen in the library playing with them. You talk about funny! Here he was with one of those exploding sphincters that shoots out streams of paper and he was acting like a kid! He absolutely loved it and I loved it because I got a chance to laugh (like I need an excuse!!!!) as did all of the students! I've never seen him enjoy himself more and I've worked with him for almost 20 years...so it was great!

Okay, now on to the second part of my blog. I decided to tell you about the best gifts I've received and given over the past years.

1. My engagement ring from my husband on Christmas Eve in 1998...or was it 1997? oops!

2. A hammer my now husband gave me back in 1994. Yes, he gave me a hammer and I was really upset about it until I heard the reason why. He had just bought an very old fixer-upper house and he said it was his way of telling me he wanted me to share my life with him. I always retell this story around Christmas and most women say, "and you believed that stupid story?". I did believe him and still do because that is just the way he is.

3. The whole WillowTree nativity set that my father bought for me his last Christmas alive. He said he wanted me to put it up every Christmas and think of him. I put it up a few nights ago and shed a few tears in his memory but then became thankful for having nothing but beautiful memories! As it turns out my father-in-law built me the most beautiful creche that Christmas and so I have both of my "fathers" in mind when I look at it.

4. My last Christmas with Peaches. She was still ripping open presents and even got herself stuck in a gift bag! She was always so nosey and just loved bags of any sort. We managed to get a video clip of her walking across the floor stuck in the bag and all you could see was her tail!!!

5. A DVD my dear cousin did for all of us in which she had random pictures of all of us set to Christmas music. One of my favourites is a picture of my father (taken in Saskatchewan). He was on board the Via rail train and is waving to me and I was just outside for some fresh air. It looks like he is saying farewell and I just bawl like a baby when I see it. But then, later on I laugh because there are some mighty funny pictures put on the DVD as well.

As for my favourite gifts...I'm not really creative but I do have one particular gift that I gave that means to most to me:

A few years ago, when my grandmother was 96 and still living in her own apartment, my cousin and I spent hours with her going through recipe books. Nan was quite the baker in her life and we all have wonderful memories of large family gatherings where there was more food then their were mouths to feed. We didn't really tell her what we were up to but we gathered them all and got contributions from other family members and made up a 100 page family recipe cookbook! We had them sent to various family members (including my brother in Australia) with the instructions that nobody was supposed to open it until the same time on Christmas Day. We had also sent along teabags (such a Newfoundland thing to do) and we all sat back at 9:30 a.m. and shared a cuppa with each other even though we were all miles apart. We were were overwhelmed with the thanks we received for doing it and everybody treasures the memories the cookbook brought back!

Anyway, thank you for reading! Any good stories about Christmas out there? I love the responses I get when I ask questions!

xo Susan

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLOWERDALEJEWEL 12/15/2010 5:28AM

   

Sounds like lots of great memories.

I have one that sticks in my mind, when I was a teenager we had a one room shack that was on the banks of the Murray River (a river in Victoria) It was just a holiday shack and we had another family holidaying there with us. There were camp beds all over the floor, you had to climb over each other to go outside. Breakfast was a production line system and we'd all go outside and jump in the river or swing from the ubiquitous rope swing into the water. We had one of those CSI Miami boats you know the ones with the big fan thing on the back, it sounded like a helicopter taking off.
I had a lot of pictures of that one Christmas together but alas they burned in the fires. Thank heavens my memory is still working I can still feel what it was like being young and doing all those stupid things.


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OUBACHE 12/14/2010 8:03PM

    What a great blog. I used to work in a department where they did Secret Santa and I enjoyed it. The our office split into separate divisions and moved apart, and the new group is really too small for SS to work.

Thanks for sharing your memories. This time of year is a little hard and I have been missing some loved ones a lot lately. Your stories remind me how important it is to keep them alive through our happy memories instead of just focusing on them being gone. Thanks.

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HOPEFULANGE 12/14/2010 12:59PM

    Your husband sounds like a wonderful man! I love your stories - keep them coming!
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S3XYDIVASMOM 12/14/2010 11:57AM

    In a lot of ways I don't really enjoy Christmas all that much, but I enjoyed your stories.

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/14/2010 9:16AM

    I love the Secret Santa idea! I wish it would take off here in OUR library at the university where I work! I'm afraid it would become a negative issue with some of the participants, given their personalities, and that is really sad! It's worth a try, though! I'm planning on doing this next Christmas! Thanks! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JHADZHIA 12/14/2010 9:05AM

    That Secret Santa is a fabulous idea! Lots of fun! Never had anything like that when I was in school.
My most precious gift was any beadwork from my talented Cree grandmother. She had a completely paralyzing stroke when she was only 72 (lived, unable to move, in a nursing home until she was 92) She passed away 13 years ago, it was a relief as she suffered so much. So we don't have very many pieces of her work. What Mom and I do have is very cherished. She also did some amazing birch bark baskets. I really think we should donate them all to a museum instead of passing them on to the next generation as then they would be well preserved and looked after instead of packed away in someone's basement getting mold and mildew.
Our family hasn't bothered to exchange gifts the last little while. My sister said don't bother as we were all going through tough financial times. My brother works two jobs to support his family (his wife had emotional problems and couldn't stick with a job until finally she tried childcare at home and that helped out some). My sister's farm had crop failures three years in a row, so gave it up, sold some of their land and rented the rest out. He does hauling jobs, she works as a janitor now.
I really don't miss the gift exchange at all. I am just happy to get to see my busy brother and sister at all. It happens only once or twice a year..

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BARBARACT 12/14/2010 8:38AM

    Those are wonderful stories! Thank you so much for sharing. I have to really think about that question myself!

I really enjoyed reading this. Sounds like some wonderful Christmases.



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