Giving Thanks

holiday-craziness

Hello Friends,

I had a post all prepared: a few paragraphs talking about all the stuff I’m thankful for this year. It was nice.

I re-read it this morning, and decided not to share it with you.

Why, praytell, would you be interested in what I’m thankful for? Aren’t we all thankful for one thing or another? Do you need to hear how I am grateful for my loved ones, our health, food, shelter, chocolate?? How is this different from anyone else?  

Instead, I decided to share one thought that I feel is important to say. And this is it:

I am thankful to all of you, for reading, following, and taking time to comment on my blog.  I am truly filled with gratitude for your support.

I should take more time from my busy schedule to appreciate what others do, and embrace the abundant joys in my life.  I don’t do it enough, and I certainly shouldn’t wait until the end of each year to recognize all of the gifts in my life. But let’s face it, time flies by and before we know it, here we are, heading into winter (unless you’re in Australia, in which case, you’re getting warmer, but since I have no followers (yet) down under, this doesn’t really pertain), and I’ve let another ten or so months pass by without so much as a beholden note.

I’ll work on that. Maybe we should all work on it. Would be a nicer place to live, wouldn’t it?

We’re going to get busier in the next month, and I will be writing here in December, but I’ll wish you a nice holiday season now – before the craziness sets in. I wish you stress-free, healthy, love and goodwill-filled days, maybe some snow,  some quality family time. Isn’t that what it’s about, after all?

As you run around, shopping, cleaning, and cooking, just remember: it will all get done. Don’t worry. Have an eggnog. Sing a carol.  Light a menorah. Watch a Peanuts special. Enjoy it. The years are fleeting, my friends.

Let’s keep that in mind as we head into the season.

And let’s be thankful.

I am.

Happy Thanksgiving

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

The folks at The Broke and The Bookish have a weekly Tuesday Top 10 list and this week, I decided to participate. Today’s topic is Books I would recommend to…

Here is my list of top ten books I read this year that I would recommend to a girlfriend:

simons_bronze-horseman tatiana-and-alexander the-summer-garden Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122-1 slammed hopeless rulesofcivility wolvesimhome this_is_where_i_leave_l love-anthony-193x300

       

   

       

     

    

    

    


    

    

      

     

     

    

       1.  The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons (1st book in the trilogy).  Meet Tatiana and Alexander, two young, beautiful people who fall in love amid impossible circumstances in WWII Russia. 

      2. Tatiana & Alexander (2nd book).  Forget sleep.

      3. The Summer Garden (Final installment). Closure! This is the most beautiful love story I’ve read all year…in a few years, in fact, with the exception of…

      4. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I voted for this book as best fiction of the year on Goodreads. If you haven’t read it yet, give yourself an early holiday gift: nestle on the couch for the weekend, and lose yourself in her story. You’re welcome.

      5. Slammed by Colleen Hoover. This is a new adult love story, but I couldn’t put it down.

      6. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Yep, she did it again.

      7. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Taking place during 1930’s New York, an expertly told love triangle. This was written so beautifully, I found myself re-reading passages just to enjoy them again.

      8. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. This is about a fourteen-year-old’s relationship with her late uncle’s partner. I loved this.

     9. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Very funny story about love, marriage, divorce and family.

     10. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. About an accidental friendship where a lonely woman helps a grieving mother understand her autistic son. I’d recommend anything by Ms. Genova. If you haven’t read Still Alice or Left Neglected by now, walk away from your laptop and go get them.

What books would you recommend?

To Be Or Not To Be….Honest

Have you ever driven somewhere, radio blasting, singing along to Barry Manilow’s Looks Like We Made It, only to switch the station to something more contemporary when your friend gets into the car?

Have you ever been enjoying a Disney movie (read as ‘porn’) in the middle of the afternoon, only to quickly change the channel when your spouse walks into the room because you don’t want him to know what you’ve been watching?

Have you ever had an hour-long conversation with someone who was intently listening to you, only to find out later in the bathroom mirror there was something hanging from your nose or stuck between your front teeth?  You feel mortified and re-live the entire dialogue, inwardly cringing and embarrassed? All this time, you thought you were THAT interesting…

Ahem..yeah, me neither.

But for those who might have answered yes to any of the above, why is it we feel the need to disguise our true desires or preferences? Do we think we’ll be judged if we enjoy the  music of an old, closeted gay guy that our mother turned us onto (heh heh…I’m assuming)?

Is it that catastrophic if a part of our body fails us and let’s something hang out? Or makes a noise?

Maybe. Yes.

As a writer, I should be able to lay it all out there, expose my true, inner self. Tell the world, So what? Yes, I enjoy thirty-five-year-old music that is not the Grateful Dead.  I may even circle the block an extra time to listen to an entire Neil Diamond song, or shed a tear to a soulful Englebert Humperdinck tune.

If that were true (and I’m not saying it is) I wouldn’t admit it. Why is it so hard for me to be honest?

Just once, I want to say, Oh, that kernel between my teeth? Of course I know it’s there. I was saving it for later.

Acceptance is everything. Maybe I’m a conformer.

I see students at my son’s high school wearing pink hair, or black lipstick, or clothes not sold at Abercrombie or American Eagle, and I think, Good for you! Be yourself, while simultaneously wondering, Oh, you poor kid. How many friends do you have?

What is my problem? I hesitate to say I lack confidence. I mean, look at me, I’ve blogged about my first Brazilian wax experience for God’s sake! (And if you haven’t read it – or gotten a Brazilian – I urge you to do both).

I’m an open book. Or am I?

Can I admit to the world that I can’t pass the movie Never Been Kissed without watching that awesome ending where Drew Barrymore waits for her first real kiss from Michael Vartan on a pitcher’s mound? I’ve seen it twenty times, and still need to see it again.

Or that I cry every time I watch A League of Their Own? That ending, where the old women are playing baseball, with the Madonna song playing  in the background…This Used To Be Our Playground. Lost youth- gets me every time.

Don’t even get me started on Hallmark commercials…Tell me I’m appreciated. Tell me it won’t be the same without me there. Tell me you love me…

Excuse me while I compose myself…

Perhaps not. Perhaps, if that were all true, I’d keep it to myself, and rock my head and snap my fingers to Pink and Barenaked Ladies, and LMFAO, and not admit that my favorite song is You Make Me Feel Brand New by the Stylistics.

Wait..Um….

That’s why I love fiction- love to write it and read it. Because characters can love all of those things and they won’t be judged or ridiculed because they’re made up. And if my protagonist wants to watch ‘Disney’ movies, it’s just to move the plot along- though realistically, I probably won’t be writing any steamy sex scenes while my father walks this earth. I’d love to sit at the table just once when EL James asks her father to pass the stuffed grape leaves at Christmas dinner. Awkward!

I wonder if we all try, for even one day, to say what’s on our minds, or listen to what we want to hear, or watch what we want to watch, in front of someone who we’re trying to impress.

We might be surprised.

There are a lot more Manilow fans out there than we think. They just haven’t come out yet.

Body by Chocolate

It’s the same story every year.

I bought Halloween candy too early. Again.

One year, I held off so long, I forgot. The first masked children rang the doorbell, waiting with their bags open, their peeking eyes in anticipatory glee.

I hid in my bedroom, ashamed, until they left. I did this all night.

The following year, I sent my husband out to buy candy on the eve of Halloween. He returned with an obscene amount of full-sized candy bars. “All they had left,”  he told me.

An expensive mistake.  

Since then, I buy it myself, from Costco, in advance.  I suffer the same torture every year.

I sit with the bag, day after day, while I try to work at home. They taunt me – those mini-chocolate hellions: We know you want us…..We can feel it. We see how you look at us when you pass. Come on…just a taste. You know how we make you happy….

Ah! I ask my kids to hide the bag as I remind them of the dangers of drugs; implore them to avoid menacing peers who will coax them to try it…Stay strong! I tell them.

While they’re at school, I search the house for the loot. Where the hell did they put it? I am thinking of all different ways to punish them, as I search through their closets, the basement, kitchen cabinets.

I amass 6 bags of old clothes, unused kitchen items, boots, and toys, and put them aside for the poor.

My house has never been cleaner. Where is that candy?

I find it in the basement toy chest, under a 1200-piece Lego box. 

Should have done a better job. Only took me three hours to find it.

 Last year it took me three and a half.

On Halloween, I pour the candy into our special orange bowl. (I used to have a nice basket, but it was stolen – don’t ask)

My husband looks at it. “Where’s the rest?”

 “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He peeks into the bowl again. “I thought we bought the 250-pc bag. There isn’t even half of that here.”

I shrug, and walk away. He follows me, not to be deterred.

“Where is the candy?”

I sigh, in defeat.

“Give me a hug, and I’ll show you.”

He can’t. His arms don’t reach around me anymore.

“I see.” He says. “I’ll have a chat with the boys. We’ll work on their creative hiding skills.”

Yeah, good luck with that.