October 31, 2005
Getting What You Want

Since we’re hours away from the month of November, perhaps I can safely talk about the topic of holiday gifts. I know you’re going to hate me for saying this but I’m close to being done with my Christmas shopping. Both of my children have birthdays within two days of Christmas (December 23rd and December 27th) and my husband’s is a week after the second child’s, so if I don’t get some of my shit together early it can be a more stressful time of year than it is already.

I’ve been thinking about my gift giving strategy or personality, or whatever you want to call it, and I’ve determined that I’m a practical yet thoughtful gift-giver. I really try to get something the person will all three: want, use and appreciate. I watch what family members eye in stores, make note of casual comments, and consider a person’s interests. Regarding presents for my children I also factor in what I can tolerate in my house, noise-wise and storage-wise. Other than that, I’m learning to make my gift selections then “let go,” trusting that they’re good enough and that it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme because no one remembers what you gave them the year before anyway.

When it comes to receiving gifts, I’m refining my approach. Some people like being surprised, but if you’re going that route you have to really trust that the gift giver knows your taste. To get what you want, what will truly bring a smile to your face when you unwrap it, you have to tell the person what to buy. Boring? Maybe. But it works. The season is about giving of course, and that’s really the fun part as far as I’m concerned, but the fact of the matter is that you will be receiving gifts too. It’s part of the deal. So I say you might as well not have your loved ones waste their money; they are going to be buying something for you, so let it be something you’ll enjoy.

This is the first year that I’ve created wish lists on certain online stores that I like (Amazon and Sephora). As it says at the Sephora gift registry set-up, “Don’t leave your friends and family guessing. Get what you want.” It feels obnoxious to do this but it’s also a lot of fun. Even if no one buys anything I’ve noted, creating my dream lists provided a vicarious shopping thrill, a sort of satisfaction without a credit card bill. I hope no one will be offended that I did it—but I’ll only tell them about it if they solicit gift ideas from me. Think of your favorite store or hobby and if there’s online shopping for it, maybe a gift registry will help a frazzled relative figure out what to get you.

Now if I could just figure out how to take the tedium out of holiday gift wrapping.

October 24, 2005
Note to Self

Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you
stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command,
and better tools will be found as you go along.

-Napoleon Hill

No more waiting, just jumping in. The quote's a reminder regarding some personal goals. Maybe you need to hear it too.

October 17, 2005
Party Like it’s 1985

Saturday is K.’s 20th high school reunion. I’m not sure whether it will be fun or not, but there are a few indications that it may be ok.

1. I have a great outfit—a black Anne Klein dress, black 3” heeled strappy sandals, chandelier earrings and a red and black beaded purse that I got in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago (the earrings being the only thing I paid full price for).

2. It’s not my “show”—it’s his past we’re visiting, not mine. There’s less pressure being the charming wife.

3. The hotel we’re staying in, according to its web site, has custom made beds enveloped in 7 luxurious layers of designer Egyptian cotton linens. Sounds comfortable.

4. We know a a dozen or so people who are definitely attending. I like all except one.

5. There’s an open bar.

October 10, 2005
Why I Write

I choose to write because it brings me clarity.

I choose to write because it brings me peace.

I choose to write because I can’t not write.

I choose to write to share something of interest with others.

I choose to write because the desire is strong.

I choose to write because it’s challenging and I want to get better.

I choose to write because I love words, stringing them together, seeing them on the page.

I choose to write because I admire good writing and I want to do it too.

I choose to write because it’s a way I can contribute and be happy.

I choose to write because it makes things better.

I choose to write because it’s a way to understand.

I choose to write because it provides answers.

I choose to write because it calms me down.

I choose to write because the day is incomplete without it.

I choose to write because it’s a thrill to do it well.

I choose to write because it’s a channel for wisdom and guidance.

I choose to write because I am more than a wife and mother.

I choose to write because it’s my only hope.

I choose to write because it’s fun.

October 03, 2005
10 Things That Made Me Smile

1. I actually started cleaning and organizing the garage, which I’ve been meaning to do for many months. The new cabinet is no longer empty, the recycle bin is now filled, and there’s a bunch of stuff boxed up to donate. Yeah, there is a lot more to do. But I started and that, I believe, is a miracle.

2. A dozen delicious cupcakes that we girls enjoyed while daddy was away on a business trip. Who doesn’t smile at a beautiful cupcake?

3. Watching S. through the fence at preschool whenever I arrive early. She’s tooling around on a scooter, playing with classmates or skipping around singing to herself. Seeing your child on her own, happy, is so gratifying.

4. We finally got our carpets professionally cleaned. I was waiting until summer ended so there’d be less outdoor junk making it’s way indoors. It’s so nice and white…until I spill coffee on it again.

Speaking of coffee, I made a good batch and was so proud of myself. I’ll have to track the measurements of the coffee/milk/cream/sweeteners I use so that I can repeat the good combinations, instead of winging it each time!

6. Another mom at the elementary school mentioned that she has a clipboard for each child’s school paperwork (homework, fliers, fund-raising info) to keep it all in order. I copied the idea and I love it. The papers for each girl are now accessible and neat. Yes, I get excited by new organizing tricks.

7. Seeing J.’s happiness at having me in her first grade classroom volunteering every Monday. I can tell she’s proud to have me there and she’s affectionate with me outside during recess.

8. My favorite TV shows are on again: House, Cold Case, all of the Law & Orders, Without a Trace.

9. An enjoyable visit with K.'s parents at our house this weekend. I got to use the new cocktail napkins that say “It’s 5:00 somewhere” (my in-laws are by- the-clock social drinkers and luckily, they laughed and were not offended).

10. A new pedicure—which always gives me a lift, I’m shallow that way—with OPI’s classic I’m Not Really a Waitress shade that’s always mentioned in magazines. Quite nice.