Tis the Season

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Does anyone else sense that something is different about this holiday season? We all know that Christmas and the winter holiday has become very over commercialized. For some time now, it has seemed that stores have pushed the season up. This year seems different to me.
It seems as though the season is early, but it’s the people and not the commercial establishments that are off to an early start. I notice on social media that lots of folks put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. Now, there are no rules about when to put up your tree, but it does seem a bit early. Driving home from my daughter’s house on Thanksgiving evening, I noticed several houses that had their tree shining and decorated, on display in the window for the world to see. Quite a few houses had holiday lights trimming the house.
What’s this all about? I have a theory that we are craving the joy that comes associated with the holidays. We are all out there looking to “make spirits bright.” I’m hopeful when I see this if I’m even close in my analysis. It seems like we’ve all been at each other’s throats this year, and anything that serves as a distraction from that can’t be all bad.
As an optimist, I look for the good in things. I am usually excited about the holidays and the end of the year. I am a firm believer in our ability to change course and reinvent ourselves if we’re unhappy with our current situation. I love the end of the year. The new beginning. Starting over and pledging yourself to new resolutions.
Some people are more cynical about the holiday season. I know that there are lots of people that are lonely and unhappy at Christmas time. Emotions run high, and patience seems to be in short supply. We’ve all had someone cut us off and give us the finger during the holiday season. It seems to be more unsettling when you’re in a holiday mood.
Is anyone else experiencing this sensation of people pushing the holiday? Are you striving for that warm feeling yourself? What’s different about this year?
2017 is my first year in a long time without having to be in a retail environment at Christmas time. I enjoyed sleeping late the day after Thanksgiving. Not having to be somewhere at 5:00 am is something to be thankful for, to be sure.
I know I’ll be making more posts about the end of 2017 as the month continues. But, you know, I thought I’d just get started early. I wish you and your friends and family a beautiful holiday season and end of the year.

– Cat

How Did I Miss That?

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Sometimes, I contemplate experiences that I’ve had in my life. And, I wonder “Why did I take that for granted?”.  It makes me think more about being present, more mindful, in the moment.

Here’s what I mean.  As we age, we pass through different stages in our lives.  Friendships, family, and relationships tend to mutate as you move through the changes.  When you’re single, you tend to gravitate towards single people.  It’s natural to want to be with folks that are living the same lifestyle as you.  You like to do single people things.

When you’re married, or  when you’re a young parent, you will develop friendships with people who are at a similar stage in their life.  You don’t plan for relationships to change, they just do.  You may be close to a friend when you’re both single, going out, doing things together.  Then, when you become a parent, you find that you just don’t have much in common with them anymore.  It’s natural to form new friendships and for these earlier bonds to fade.

It’s a part of life, but it’s still a bit sad.  There’s the saying that some people are in your life for a reason, and some for a season.  Sometimes you’re lucky, and you can find a friend to drag through life with you.  Every once in a while, I mourn for a moment that I took for granted with someone.

In the break room exchanging views on life with Erin. Having lunch with Amy, and taking road trips with Catie. Having ice cream in Scotland with Scott, Lesley and Iain.  Seeing Diane talk in sign language with her customers. The time Travis caught that bird.  The time I laughed so hard with David that we couldn’t finish dinner. I miss all the great bosses I’ve had.  All the amazing coworkers I’ve been blessed with over the years.  Above all, the joys I had with my kids when they were little.  We don’t realize at the time how precious those connections are. 

 It’s not that you “break up”.  Erin and I are still friends.  We just don’t work together anymore.  She lives pretty far away, and is a young mother.  The opportunity to have lunch together and get all the problems of the world settled is just not there.  We don’t even get to talk much.  It feels like those moments are in an alternate universe now.

And, of course, we make new friendships, and connect, and adapt.  I don’t mean to sound so glum.  I don’t think that these thoughts are unique to me.  It’s just a realization that’s part of the aging process, I guess.  Maybe it’s just a case of reminiscing about “the good old days”.  We all do that from time to time.

So… life continues.  That’s beautiful, especially considering the alternatives!  Let’s not get bogged down in stress and schedules.  Let’s be aware of the people and good times in our lives.  We may miss them some day…

– Cat

Forgive Me… I’m Trying to Forgive You

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One of my favorite quotes is:

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself”

When I was checking on the source for this quote, it looks like Suzanne Somers gets the most votes.  We had Tony Robbins in the mix, along with TD Jakes.  Well, it deserves deep consideration, no matter who authored it.

I’ve held a grudge.  I’ve fed it and nurtured it.  I’ve felt the burn. The person holding the grudge will always feel worse than the target of the anger and resentment.  If you are stubborn and slow to forgive, it will always hurt you more than anyone else.

I know it takes so much effort to forgive immediately and with sincerity, but the pay off is huge!

While we’re on the topic of forgiving, it’s okay to hold yourself to a high standard of ethics or morality.  But, we are human, and sometimes we hurt other people, even if we don’t mean to.  Be quick to forgive yourself in the midst of your guilt trip.

The usual form of an apology is:  “I’m sorry that I got angry, BUT….”  Make your statement and then stop.  Don’t qualify your feelings and take the argument to the next level.  If you have a fight with a friend, both parties should apologize.  That’s what friends do.  It’s called making up.

Resolving a rift between friends can put you right on the mountaintop.  It feels blissful to bring restoration to a broken relationship.  You’ll be wondering why you waited so long!

Just a word of caution.  Remember, that while your feelings of forgiveness towards someone may feel right to you, they may take time to bring a resolution.  Your words and gestures of apology may not be returned right away, if at all.  Forgive anyway. You can only control your side of the equation.  This is something that we must learn from.  It’s part of life.  This is what it means to be accountable; to accept the consequences of your actions.

Who can you forgive today?  Give yourself a gift and get started.

– Cat

How I Fell In Love With Tony

My friend Tony, who works at my nail salon, gives me a reality check and a great leg massage at the same time.  He loves to talk while he’s practicing his art, and we’ve had some great conversations.

One day, he started our exchange of ideas by telling me that he “Loves being in America”.  In addition to his day job at the nail salon, he goes to the community college and studies computer science.  Tony loves talking to customers, and to people in general, because it affords him the opportunity to work on his English language skills.  They all speak Vietnamese at his home here with his Uncle and Cousin.

There was a particular time that he told me of the experience he had on his first day in America…his new country.  Tony stepped onto American soil in California, filled with awe and anticipation.  He was really hungry, and couldn’t wait to eat a cheeseburger.  He went so far as to go to the fast food restaurant.  He had a twenty dollar bill in his hand.  The thing is, the twenty dollar bill was all the money he had in his new country.  He really, really wanted that cheeseburger, but he knew that he just couldn’t swing it.  So he went hungry for a while, eating frugally until he saved up enough to buy a cheeseburger.

He’s a naturalized US citizen now, and can eat a cheeseburger when he wants to.  When he went for his interview to gain his citizenship, they asked him if he loved the United States. He told them “Of course I love America, that’s why I couldn’t wait to get here!  I love America!”

If you were born in the good old U.S.A.,  then you probably take the good things about being an American for granted.  I know I do.  It’s easy to get caught up in the cynicism.  It’s easy to get annoyed by 24 hour election coverage, especially when a lot of people don’t like their choice of candidates.  I just can’t imagine going any place else in the world with the equivalent of twenty dollars and making a go of it.

I’m so glad to be an American, and I feel so blessed to have Tony as a friend!

  • Cat

Diva Dorreen

Diva…what does that mean?

My friend Dorreen had a birthday yesterday.  She’s the kind of friend that you have a “sister” connection with.  We don’t talk that often, but in the 9+ years that I’ve known her, it’s always good when we do get a chance to catch up!  You never have to wonder about how she’s feeling at any given moment.  She is accessible, and always up front when she speaks.

I want to say how much I admire her tenacity.  She’s been faced with life threatening illness and major surgery, along with the rest of all the stuff that we go through as parents and grandparents…and she always puts on a brave face.  Anything she decides to do, she goes right ahead and does it!

A while ago, she decided she’d like to write a romance novel.  Done!  Then she wrote another one!  Bam! Her novel sells on Amazon.  Her pen name is  Diva Dorreen, and she is a force to be reckoned with.  Even though I’ve decided to take a try at blogging, I am pretty sure I would have to move mountains of self-doubt and uncertainty to tackle such a big project.

What an inspiration for so many people who have you in their lives to one extent or another.  Shine on, Dorreen!  Whenever I hear the word Diva, I’ll have the image of you in my head and a smile on my face!

–  Cat