Almost Time for the Countdown to Begin!

Here it is, the final day of 2013. One MORE year almost under my belt. It’s kinda’ hard to believe… As my Mom always said, “That old clock keeps ticking whether you are paying attention or not.” (Mom was profound that way). This year has been a roller coaster ride for me. It has been a year of exceptional highs and a few devastating lows. I saw this meme earlier today and it really, really connected with me:

lessons

I plan on recapping 2013 in greater detail tomorrow – including my year-long blogging experience! – but for today, the goal is finishing work (yeah, that’s right – I’m blogging at work, LOL!), going home to make a dessert for a PJ party my Beloved and I will be attending this eve and just generally “exhaling.” I have always found New Year’s Eve and Day especially symbolic, personal holidays. More on that tomorrow…

I wish each of you reading this the very BEST in 2014. May we all be blessed with love, joy, happiness, good health, success and prosperity. Happy New Year!  

C.O.L.D. Cold.

I have been at work all day and – despite having turned the heat up to 72 degrees, I have been COLD all day. My feet feel like two blocks of ice. My “bum is numb.” And my hands are so chilled I can barely type. Hmmm… Maybe I’m dead, LOL!

So today – to honor my chilled and frozen state – I have decided to create a “pictorial” blog – plus, my fingers are too cold to type much! Enjoy, and keep warm out there!

It's FREEZING!

 

Can it really even BE this cold?

Freezing cold

Sweet Mother of God – I am chilled to the bone!
I'm COLD

5 Minutes

Today is the first entry in a series that I will affectionately title, “Tim’s Little White Lies; Decoding the Confusing Meaning of Tim Speak.”

The word or phrase under examination today? 5 minutes.

5-Minutes5 minutes (noun) – Often combined with the words “just” or “only,” 5 minutes denotes an unknown and undefinable amount of time which is ALWAYS greater than 5 minutes.

Here are some examples:

“I can be ready in like 5 minutes.” Or,

“I’m gonna’ log on Facebook for like 5 minutes.” Or – as happened today,

“I am going to stretch out here for only 5 minutes before I go blog.”

That 5 minutes of “stretching out here” turned into a heavenly two HOUR nap beside my Sweetie, following an amazing Sunday brunch spent with two of our dearest friends and two new friends.

I’m not sure why I cannot simply speak the truth – but I guess these statements:

“It will take me probably 20/25 minutes to get dressed and ready.” Or,

“I will be logging on to Facebook now, and spending the next hour and a half laughing at cat memes, reading status updates and playing Candy Crush.” Or,

“I am stuffed obscenely full of great food and am going to now enter a carb coma, sleeping here until I wake up.”

…really are more accurate and honest but not really what anyone ever wants to hear, myself included! Sigh…

It might be a day or two early for New Year’s resolutions but in 2014, I plan/hope/desire to be more truthful, succinct and accurate in my speech. That said, I suppose I should start a list of resolutions now, so I don’t forget.

I mean, it would take like 5 minutes to write all this stuff down…

Post-Christmas Bottomfeeders

Today was my first day back to work after a week-long vacation over Christmas. I had a GREAT week off, so I thought I was well-rested and prepared to return to work.

I wasn’t. I guess I had forgotten about “Post-Christmas Bottomfeeders.” Don’t know that term?

Post-Christmas (adj.) – In retail jargon, the few days immediately following 25 December, usually associated with the heavy discounting of holiday items to reduce inventory.

Bottomfeeder (noun) – In the world of retail, a bottomfeeder is a person that shops your store typically during sales/promotional periods and ONLY buys deeply discounted product.

Oh yeah, today was THAT day. If it had been a bad horror film, my day would have been titled “Attack of the Bottomfeeders,” or maybe “Bottomfeeder Frenzy” or even “Coven of the Evil Bottomfeeders.”

They always display the same characteristics: Bottomfeeders always travel in pairs. Bottomfeeders always ask for discounts above-and-beyond those listed. Bottomfeeders must all have poor eyesight because the things they say to each other within earshot of clerks – in this case, ME! – are borderline offensive and usually stupid. Can they not see me?

If my life were an episode of “Batman and Robin” (the TV series), my day would have been punctuated as follows (one last note – these remarks all actually were spoken today while I was at work):

Big-haired bottomfeeder to her friend: “Thank God I didn’t buy these ornaments LAST week and pay too much for them.” BTW? She didn’t buy them today, either!slapTall female bottomfeeder to me at check out: “Since I am paying you in cash, can you forget about the sales tax, or can I take another ornament for free?”

powAnd probably the most annoying remark of the day, spoken loudly to give me a chance to respond: “I like these Christmas trees but if they are 50% off this week, they will be 75% off next week, “ to which I replied, smiling, “I doubt if those will still be here next week.” The bottomfeeder looked at me and said, “You hope…”

punchListen, I get it – no one wants to overpay for anything. I mean, I myself am a bottomfeeder. However, I do show respect to sales clerks and retail employees and, quite honestly, have some couth. Most retail shoppers are really nice people, probably more than 99% of them, but it is always the not-so-nice ones we remember.

And we do… 

It Feels Like August

Today feels like a day in late August/early September to me – not because of the weather or anything like that. Instead, I have to return to work tomorrow after a week off and, much as I love my job, well, I feel like that kid enjoying his last day of summer vacation before he has to go back to school. I am excited but sad. I am eager but anxious. I am looking forward to it and dreading it. I want to go to sleep and wake up rich and/or retired. I know; I am a brat…

hidingWanna’ know what makes it all REALLY ridiculous? I go back to work Saturday, then I’m off Sunday, work Monday, a half day Tuesday, off Wednesday, work Thursday and Friday then I have ANOTHER three day weekend… I know. I am spoiled. I am lazy. I am a child…

I wish I were uber-rich. I love my parents, I really do, but if our last name could have been Rockefeller or Hilton or Trump, well, I would have loved them all the more. Sigh… I better go watch some TV. I have to “get up early” tomorrow. Wahhhhhhhhh….. 

Boxing Day/Second Christmas Day

One of the many joys of being married to someone “non-American” is being exposed to a different culture and experiencing new traditions and holidays with your loved one. Today is one of those days for me: Boxing Day, or Second Christmas Day as it is known in Poland.boxing-dayAs it turns out, Boxing Day or Second Christmas Day has nothing to do with burning boxes; Boxing Day has its own traditions and history (click here) and Second Christmas Day is celebrated, at least by my husband’s family, as a day-long marathon of visiting with friends and loved ones you didn’t get to see on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

boxingdayIt is a lovely tradition, Second Christmas Day, and although we didn’t do any visiting today, my beloved is Face-timing with his sister-in-law even as I write this, six time zones away. (Those Polish – they take Second Christmas Day very seriously, LOL!) And, it turns out, our package of Christmas gifts from Europe arrived today so that event, coupled with a slowly-dwindling supply of delicious Christmas Eve left-overs, made the day feel like Christmas.

It has been a super great holiday so far. 2014? You have a LOT to live up to; this has been a pretty great year for me/us… We are waiting to see “what you got.” 

Christmas Day 2013, Late Edition

As promised, here is the “late” edition of my Christmas Day blog for 2013. I am happy to share that I was able to follow my earlier plan to a “t” – I have spent the entire day in my jammies with my beloved Martin, doing nothing but watching movies and being together. We have eaten all day, shared “Merry Christmas” messages with friends and family and, all-in-all, had an amazing day…

I also realized a long-time dream of mine today: As we returned two movies to Redbox and took out two more, I appeared in public in red flannel PJ bottoms with black reindeer on them, paired with a black t-shirt and brown slip-on canvas tennis shoes.

I felt very WalMart-y.

I know I have mentioned several times over the past several days that I am a lucky guy, but I feel I should mention it again. As this holiday – and year – draw to a close, I am with the person I love, we are safe and warm and happy, we have an amazing circle of friends and two supportive families and my life is pretty dang great. Thank you, Universe, for that. I am grateful beyond for all these blessings…

I am also lucky that I have two more days off before I return to work, so I am going to go enjoy our fourth movie for today, then go to bed. Tomorrow, bright and early (8AM?), my Sweetie and I will be out “holiday scavenging” lights, cards and ornaments/gifts for next year – we like to think ahead!

I hope all of you have had an amazing, amazing holiday. I leave you now with probably my favorite Christmas carol of all time, executed by one of my favorite DJ’s of all time: “Still Still Still” by Kascade. The sweet, beautiful lyrics are below:

This is a very old German carol, and very beautiful in this version. Enjoy.

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come
Of the joyous day to come
Of the joyous day to come.

Christmas Day 2013, Early Edition

It is Christmas Day, 2013. So far, I can honestly say, it has been the BEST Christmas of my life… More on that later, but for now, here’s my plan for the rest of the day…

I will be spending the next several hours in front of this:

TV

Watching these:

Xmas DVD

While wearing these (or something close to them):

JammiesSpending time with this guy (whom I LOVE with all my heart):

Tim and Martin editSweet plan, huh? I can think of no better way to relax and celebrate the day! Merry Christmas, everyone! More later…

Christmas Eve 2013

Today is Christmas Eve. I have had an absolutely lovely day with my husband, Martin. As is our tradition, we stayed in today/tonight, just the two of us, prepared/enjoyed an amazing dinner in the Polish tradition (which essentially means more food than anyone can possibly eat in one sitting!), opened our small gifts to one another and are now just trying to stay awake long enough to go to bed…

It has been an amazing day. And I thank The Universe for it. 

I am a lucky guy, and I know it…

For anyone out there who is alone tonight, either because they do not have a special someone, or maybe because they are separated from that person for whatever reason, my wish is that this be your last Christmas Eve spent this way. Love really is the most special gift of all, and I hope that everyone that reads this blog knows love – or finds it soon.

I often joke with Martin that he is my present every day (but especially at Christmas!) and I mean it. He is magic. He is special. He is mine and I am his…

I go to sleep tonight in love and loved in return, and it is pretty dang fantastic. Aside from all the usual, “PC wishes” for the new year – end of conflict, equality for everyone, clean drinking water everywhere, etc. – I hope that everyone can experience the joy I feel today, and every day.

Speaking of being PC (politically correct), it is now PC to extend greetings like, “Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.” Forget that – I say “MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!” 

 

Christmas in Shelby, Past and Present

Today, my family celebrated Christmas with Pop-pop (my Dad) in Shelby, Ohio, the town I grew up in… We were 13, total – Pop-pop, my brother, his wife and two kids, my sister, her partner and their three daughters, my beloved husband Martin and me, and my Aunt Agnes, the reigning matriarch of our family. My Aunt Agnes is – I think! – nearly 90, lives alone, still drives and is a strong, confident powerful woman. She has outlived her husband and her only child, as well as several siblings and her own parents. She has always been a farmer’s wife – in fact, I asked today how long she had lived at the farm when I went to pick her up for lunch. She honestly admitted she wasn’t totally sure, but thought she and my Uncle Paul had moved there in 1949 – sixty-four years ago. She is as connected to the land as the house she lives in. She is an amazing woman and I respect, admire and love her.

I was happy she joined us for our holiday lunch today. I worry that she gets lonely sometimes, but she never complains. It is simply not her way. She has been a big part of my life and was certainly a big part of one Christmas.

I’m not sure how old I was – maybe ten or so – but one year, my Uncle Paul took me, my little brother and my little sister “…dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh.” It was near Christmas and Uncle Paul had a small sleigh and a horse. So we all bundled up in scarves, hats and gloves and went bounding through the then-empty cornfields, bouncing along and giggling and laughing like crazy people. We had so much fun. It was a dream…

sleighThis is NOT my Uncle Paul, or the sleigh, but it looked very much like this one but bigger.

I have to confess – sleigh rides through frozen corn fields are not as warm or as smooth as one might imagine. But after, we came back to the house and my Aunt Agnes had made us hot chocolate – REAL hot chocolate, from milk and like melted chocolate bars – and it was delicious. I mentioned that memory to her today and she laughed and said, “Paul had that silly old sleigh for no good reason.”

That ride seemed like a good reason to me…

Anyway, the point of this whole story is to not only honor my amazing aunt, but to admit that I guess I never realized how great a childhood I had till it was over. Revisiting my old home town – especially around the holidays – makes me a little sentimental. That, combined with the fact that today was just great period, has put my “72 Hour Christmas” in great forward motion. Martin and I had a great day today, received super gifts, enjoyed all my family but especially my nephew and nieces and, well, had a good, good day.

Tomorrow? Christmas Eve. And then? The BIG day is here!!!

I better go get “nestled” – I need those sugar plum visions to start dancing!!!