Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Until Further Notice

The following quote, which I first ran across some time ago is one that merits daily reminder, but we get so caught up in our day-to-day grind and are so busy 'white knuckle gripping' the things we are so hellbent on worrying and stressing over that we allow it to fall to the wayside.


"Until Further Notice... Celebrate Everything!"


Now I am not certain the origin of this quote, though I have seen it repeated many places, and also seen it as the title of published materials. No matter, the concept is one of the best pieces of advice we could receive. As most of us have experienced, or will realize soon enough in life, nothing is certain, nothing lasts forever, time flies and as Stephen King said it best in his novel '11/22/63' (which I highly recommend reading, by the way), "Life turns on a dime. Sometimes towards us, but more often it spins away, flirting and flashing as it goes: so long, honey, it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?" So celebrating everything that we're blessed with whether that is some material gift, relationship, family, love, life, still being able to breathe and do daily tasks, or what have you _____ (fill in th' muthacluckin blank)... appreciate that, be grateful, remember it and celebrate it on a daily basis.

So a lot of these superficial holidays, the ones that have been over-commercialized, and exist in their current form now more than ever to feed the pockets of the already rich and greedy... their true meaning has been lost anyway. Can we take a moment to think of the reason behind these holidays? Some of them you wouldn't celebrate anyway due to a cultural meaning, a clash in beliefs, or just for the mere reason that it is nothing but a materialistic marketing ploy in itself. Many holidays are celebrated by people who don't even apply, and they do it just for the big delicious food spread, or the binge drinking, etc.  Now I'm not one to discourage any honors or celebrations, as that is sort of 'anti' what I'm saying here. I'm just saying that on these big commercial holidays, remember what they stand for and be 'awake' in that respect, you might be celebrating and supporting something that you're opposed to... instead, celebrate those important things, and the real moments of life. The little things that we let slide by while we're allowing those big, empty non-important distractions take us from what's real that deserves to be celebrated.

Take these thoughts and good vibes going forward through the holiday season that is upon us, and beyond. Perfect time to do at least one positive thing, or good deed, or project good thoughts and celebrate a moment today, right now, this minute... If we practiced this "Celebrate Everything" philosophy (yes, even the bad stuff, because it builds strength as well as helps us appreciate the good stuff) then we wouldn't even need those ridiculous New Year's Resolutions, most of which we don't stick to anyway. Good habits, the successful ones, are usually the small steps we take, daily that become habits. When you set outlandish goals and bite off more than you can chew, what happens? You likely choke and quit... Baby steps, little things, celebrating everything, big and small but setting realistic goals for ourselves will give us so much more to celebrate, and admit it, make you feel more accomplished in your daily flow. Plus, it gives you a reason to party everyday?? Ha, that's fine, just don't overdo it.

As my Mom always preached, "Everything in moderation."

Our society doesn't really grasp that very well. We are a modern generation of greedy, thoughtless, over-indulgent and gluttonous beings. It's why we're so unhealthy (for the most part) physically, mentally and emotionally for that matter. Not many of us like to admit we are not perfect or that we could really use improvement in these areas, but we get so caught up in ONLY what we see from our own perspective and never force ourselves to look around and see what anyone else is going through or needs, besides what we need and want. What goes around comes around, and that applies to good and bad, so I'd much rather have goodness flowing back to me... yes, I have really gone off the 'philosophical deep end' today, but hey, deal with it. Maybe it's the green tea. Either way, not a bad  message. Yesterday was cupcakes and over-indulgence (on my own part) and today I'm trying to be a better me, and pay it forward. :-)

Speaking of pay it forward, that happened to me in the drive-thru the other day. This was the first time it has ever happened to me, so I must make note of it. I was quite shocked, I must say because of that fact. I of course decided to pay it forward as well. My bill had been close to $8.00 (USD). Before I committed, I inquired the amount of the person behind me. The cashier checked and it was $5.20. So I paid for the person behind me. Please note that the amount wouldn't be an issue if I hadn't just begun working again (things have been a little rough lately) so I wasn't being cheap, I just wouldn't have been able to pay, say, a fifty dollar tab!!  I'm not sure if the people in the car behind me continued the gesture, I hope that they might. I think that 'pay it forward' is sweet... it is a small thing, of course and isn't curing world hunger or helping the homeless, but it is still a nice gesture and it filled my heart with a giving spirit. That's why I say, even one or two small gestures of kindness a day, even if that is just uplifting someone who seems to be going through something (perhaps with just a smile), they truly make a difference.

These are all great ways to 'celebrate everything'. Parties and celebrations don't always have to be for us, they can be selfless.

Enough of my psychobabble, you're probably not still reading this anyway... I don't think I have much of an audience, really. If I do, you guys never leave me comments. I would love to see more comments and more readers again. So if you're still here with me, please leave me a few words.

Though I'm trying to write more, I can't be sure I'll blog again before the week is through so I thought I'd make note of the upcoming 'unusual' and odd holidays from today through maybe Sunday (12/10). If you're looking for fun things to celebrate (as if you don't already have enough from just still being alive and kicking!) then you can use these little amusing dates below as prompts to laugh, and maybe start some tradition, or have some fun with your children and family. Be sure to read a little more about the ones that catch your eye, some of them stem from history, and some have some interesting stories behind them... so we learn a little something as we go. So read about them and enjoy! (I get these from a couple different sites, google "odd holidays" or check out the site Fun Holidays (click here).

For instance, this "Microwave Oven Day" (Dec. 6): I didn't realize that the "Microwave" was Invented by American engineer Percy Spencer during World War II, or that they were first commercially sold in the United States in 1946 under the name 'Radarange'. They rapidly became a coveted kitchen appliance and spawned a whole section of the food industry. Now, they're a common appliance in most homes. I remember our first microwave. My father brought it home when I was about 12. It was a Litton, I think, and the thing lasted until just a few years back before my parents' passing. That's pretty remarkable these days, as not many of our modern tools and appliances have a very lengthy lifespan!

Anyway, I guess I better get back to work, but in the  meantime, check out the next few days, there are some cool little funky holidays, and of course Christmas is here (12/25), Hannakuh (12/12 - 12/20), Kwanzaa (12/26 - 1/1) and more things going on. Do yourself a favor, get to know someone else's traditions and cultures, talk to people about the things they celebrate, educate yourself, practice diversity, understanding and kindness. The world is so much bigger than just your tiny little bubble of perception. Remove your cubicle walls. ;-)

  • Microwave Oven Day - December 6
  • Miners' Day - December 6
  • National Gazpacho Day - December 6
  • National Pawnbrokers Day - December 6
  • Special Kids Day - December 6, 2017 (First Wednesday in December)
  • St. Nicholas Day - December 6
  • International Civil Aviation Day - December 7
  • National Cotton Candy Day - December 7
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - December 7
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 (Catholic)
  • National Chocolate Brownie Day - December 8
  • Official Lost & Found Day - December 8, 2017
  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day - December 8
  • Gingerbread Decorating Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • International Anti-Corruption Day - December 9
  • International Shareware Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • National Pastry Day - December 9
  • National Wreaths Across America Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • Weary Willie Day - December 9
  • Dewey Decimal System Day - December 10
  • Human Rights Day - December 10
  • National Day of Animal Rights - December 10
  • National Lager Day - December 10
  • Nobel Prize Day - December 10
  • World Choral Day - December 10, 2017 (Second Sunday in December)
  • Worldwide Candle Lighting Day - December 10, 2017 (Second Sunday in December)

Now... CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

Being back to the grind is an awesome relief after another stent of unemployment. I am so ready to find a more permanent place to hang my name tag and hairnet (so-to-speak). At this time in my life, I really need job security and something dependable.

Although office environments vary, one thing is usually common. Unhealthy sweets brought in by various employees, either as a treat, or for special occasions. Sometimes these are planned occasions such as birthdays, work anniversaries or going away "goodbye" cakes. The cursed evils can range from doughnuts, professionally sculpted cakes and pies to cupcakes and sweets based on various cultures and countries. The temptation is hard to resist, and there always seems to be some reason to celebrate. "Bob's Birthday", "Susan's Last Day", "Marcus's Promotion", etc. Since I am currently working in the field of Hospitality, it can be even more difficult to avoid the nefarious nom-ables, since there will be special promotions and sometimes celebrations or 'welcome' luncheons for new notables and such.

Today was just such a day. I was gliding through my day successfully avoiding sugary confection, and then she who was in charge of promotional fanfare summoned me... I was on my way back from the break room where I had elected to have a cup of hot chocolate and allow that to be my only 'sweet' for the day, when I heard her angelic sounding voice announce "Cupcakes! From Georgetown! Plenty left, go get one while you can!"

Georgetown Cupcakes (could you resist?)

I gave myself a stern "No!", I tried with all my might to steer myself towards my office to the right instead of off to the left to the evil land of demonic pastries... to no avail. I spotted them, all layed out with their little decorations and perfect frosting boasting Christmas cheer... and I crumbled.

Here are the ingredients to the evil little bastards:


Now I was sitting at my desk with a cup of hot chocolate and cupcake, feeling like a pig, wallowing in regret. Then of course came the sleepy aftermath of the sugar rush, that 2:30ish insane need for a nap. There was no way I was going to get through the rest of the afternoon and accomplish Jack S***!!  All Hail the Cupcake... Devil in Disguise.


Elaine Explodes of the Office Cake Ritual (Seinfeld):





Then Once She Scorns the Group, She Begins
To Miss The Cake and Eats Her Boss's Collectible:



Laugh, just laugh, and don't condemn me... The deed has been done. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Memory

I've been unable to get to sleep tonight, although I felt very tired when I went to lay down and attempt to go to sleep. You see, I've been doing my Thanksgiving cooking, so maybe it's just all the memories preventing me from actually getting some shuteye.

Me, Giving Y'all The Bird
Right now, as I write this, it is 3:45 AM (Thanksgiving Morning). Those childhood feelings and memories of my parents have been woven into each dash of seasoning, every stir of the spoon or whipping of the batter.

As I chopped, saute'd and pureed, all I could see in my mind's eye were visions of my Dad and Mom working together in the kitchen, days before and all the way up to Thanksgiving morning getting everything ready for our big dinner together. 

Holidays were always exciting to me growing up because it was the only time that all of my siblings would pile in at the same time (mostly) and all the kids and we had a true houseful. I would wake up early to the succulent smells of Mom's pies cooking and the dressing browning gorgeously in the oven. The house was just ablaze with love and warmth.

I remember it thrilling me so much to go in the den and find Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV, and I would dream about NYC, then other great holiday-time programs would always be on. Still, I couldn't rest because I was so amped up waiting for everyone to come home and be together.

Just feels so funny, even though it has been several years since my dad passed, and now three years since my Mom left us... like I should still be waking up to that magical time, that wonderful, safe feeling that, to be quite honest, is really indescribable.

I can post about it but, can't do it justice.

So anyway, after procrastinating early in the week, I finally got through the grocery shopping and being in a crowded store with human beings, and got all my ingredients together. I was set. Took everything home, and I put everything away and of course needed a little break. So I made myself a steak and a baked potato, and I sat down and ate honestly my first meal of the day (I should not have gone to the grocery store hungry, but I didn't do too bad... can't do much damage since I am on limited funds at the moment, times being tough as they are right now).

After a little R&R, I jumped up and began preparing my poultry selections and getting ready to put together my traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing (as close to what my Mom and Dad made as I can). Then I prepared my pasta for my Rotel Chicken Spaghetti, and cleaning as I went, I was pretty proud of myself.

Still, I ached for my Mother and Father... how I wish I could be in my childhood kitchen with them, having coffee and laughs, and putting together a true dinner and still waiting for my family all to arrive so we could be together again, like it was back then, in my eyes, perfect.

As we grow up, we realize nothing is really perfect, and I'm sure this was only my own perception of if all... but what matters is it was perfect to me. I've taken many things for granted in my life, and I have lost many things that I took for granted. We learn lessons all-too-often the hard way. Not that I would change (much of) anything. I'm no fool, I know if we change anything we'd be changing everything. But I wouldn't be human if I didn't think from time-to-time what I wouldn't give to go home.

If you're reading this, I wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving; not what the holiday is based on, in history actually, but what Thanksgiving means to me, which is being grateful for every day, and everything that we have not lost. Remembering not to take the small moments and the little gestures and gifts in our lives for granted either... because it's those tiny little fleeting moments that stitch together and form our big ol' 'Quilt' of a life, patches of joy, love, pleasure, pain, abundance, loss, grief and magic.

Who we are is nothing more than where we've been and who we love and have loved us, those who walk with us for a little while, and those who are with us for the entire journey... and that, though it may not seem like it at times, is real magic.

Be blessed, and don't forget about the magic.

Just Me,
Jax


Happy Thanksgiving Mom & Dad, I Miss You Forever <3 p="">