Sunday, December 31, 2006

this little meme

at the risk of finding no good way to sum up the year, i will instead give you this list of everything i would've included in my wrap-up, plus plenty more. er, thanks, jess.

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before? Allowed complete strangers to look at my financial affairs
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I accomplished some things, I've carried some over for next year. It's sort of a running list.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? I'll have to think on that one. Um... None!
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? Money in my savings account.
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 31st. The day we closed on our house.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Buying a house. My biggest achievement for 2007 will be staying in this house.
9. What was your biggest failure? I didn't do anything for my body, my spirit. I was a total slug all year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No, I have been so lucky.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Our home.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jack is learning to read! On the global scale, I fell like I should have an answer, or several...
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Britney Spears, George Bush, various teenagers who should know better!
14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage, tuition, car payment, and it should also be going to several other loans we have.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Wow. Is it sad that I really can't think of much? I am, however, really, really excited about going to Walt Disney World on Wednesday!
16. What song will always remind you of 2006? Lips of an Angel, Oklahoma!, anything from XM Kids
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? happier, fatter (probably), poorer (but it's worth it)
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Physical activity, creative projects, going to church
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sleeping
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Among family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2006? Every day
22. How many one-night stands? None
23. What was your favorite TV program? Lost, mostly for the camaraderie (we watched with my sister & bro-in-law)
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don't think I hate anyone. I definitely get aggravated, though.
25. What was the best book you read? Wicked
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Jack singing Oklahoma!
27. What did you want and get? A new house.
28. What did you want and not get? A lighthouse award.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? I never make it to the movie theatre. But Netflix has become a very good friend.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I stayed home with Matty and Jack and turned 37
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Feeling better about my health and my finances.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? Shabby. and not in the chic way.
33. What kept you sane? Reading blogs and getting creative again

Good-bye 2006! And best wishes to everyone in 2007!

december 2006 - a recap

wow. i had every intention of summing up our wonderful holiday season, complete with photos!. however, i seem to have misplaced the USB cord for my camera... rrggghhh.

so, for your non-viewing pleasure, i will now scroll the photos on my camera and tell you about them(in no particular order):

Little Christmas Eve - alas, i did not take any pictures the whole evening!! it was a great evening, though, and i'm sure we will continue this tradition. oddly enough, mat and i have done some sort of entertaining on Christmas Eve most of the years we've been married.

Our Christmas puzzle - we finished!! all but one piece! ack - between the month it sat out, and the moving from room to room, we seem to have lost track of one piece of snowy sky. i still have faith it will turn up.

Christmas Eve candle - we lit the red candle in the window when we got home from church. this is a lovely, quiet tradition that i look forward to carrying on.

hhmmmm, something tells me this isn't quite as exciting for you as it is for me! i am so thankful to have the entire collection of advent activities forever captured in this blog. it was the perfect way to jump into this blogging thing!! i'm looking forward to continuing this *tradition* in 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

up on the soapbox

i was really excited to get this news last night. it's early for me yet to start thinking about the 2008 elections (the whole campaign "season" is out of control, as far as i'm concerned.) however, i really developed a *like* of this candidate when he ran on the ticket with Kerry. i also feel that north carolina connection more than i thought i would.

i'll be curious to see how my feelings change as more candidates throw their hats in the ring. i just found it a little refreshing to get a glimmer of hope right now.

and is it O.K. for me to say i really like the campaign logo? that's not a shallow observation, is it? ;)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

24 december - Christmas Eve

i woke up this morning and puzzled and puzzled and drank coffee, and relaxed. mat and i took turns running out for a few last minute items. and jack pretty much entertained himself while having an early viewing of a DVD that matty bought him for christmas.

we gathered ourselves together and went to church. it was a beautiful service, and thanks to all of the "families" it was loud enough that we didn't get too sensitive about jack energy aura. the minister, whom we just met at my parent's house few weeks ago, gave a sermon that really spoke to both matty and i.

they finished the service with one of my favorite traditions: the singing of Silent Night to candlelight. i remember doing this at St. Francis in Potomac, and of course, it reminded me of the candlelight service at Holy Trinity in Greenport. i am so glad we went to church, because i've really been feeling an emptiness there.

jack had a quick bath, and fell asleep quick as a wink. so did matty! i had the whole evening to wrap presents and listen to the Messiah. while savoring a few glasses of wine, i listened to Christmas Music presentations on public television. until i realized that it was after 2 am!!

i never saw santa, though!

23 december - Little Christmas Eve

we had a lovely open house, with just the right amount of people stopping in. matty saved us by doing ALL of the food prep. it's amazing that he enjoys cooking again. he's still a mess in the kitchen, but i definitely notice that he's making more of an effort to clean up behind himself.

i tackled the rest of the house, with jack in tow. he really wanted to "help." it was just so aggravating, because i was in my uber focused mode, and i felt like everything he was doing was a) creating more work to be done, and b) not fitting in with "the look" i was going for. UGH! why am i cursed with the stress of needing things to be JUST SO. i mean, so what if the piece of ribbon he taped on the pantry door looked awkward and chintzy?!? sometimes, i just need to get over myself!!

but, back to the party. we had plenty of food, featuring the baked ham with root beer glaze, and swedish meatballs on our julbord. we puzzled, and played board games, and all in all, it was a perfect evening.

Monday, December 25, 2006

22 december - play board games

note for next year: advent activities should possibly only be scheduled for the first three weeks of december, after which time, lethargy will consume the family, and all activities will be suspended...

we're winding down, and the past few nights, we've all been content to get in our PJs and watch TV. i did run around wilmington all afternoon, to pick up some things. crazy, rainy, last-minute-shopping weather.

we had every intention of polishing up the house this evening, but per usual, we will have the mad dash to our open house tomorrow afternoon. and it will all be O.K.

21 december - Solstice

ahhh, Solstice. even the name is soothing. we had our annual celebration with our great friends. it is the perfect way to take a deep breath before addressing the last minute Christmas frenzy.

we started our celebration three years ago, and it has quickly become an evening i look forward to with a lot of anticipation. the boys can play together, or work on decorating an (all-natural) gingerbread house, while we snack on pre-prepared food (rotisserie chicken, anyone?), dim the lights, and sit around the fire talking. good, old-fashioned, cerebral, spiritual conversations. it's amazing to me how i don't feel like i get much of that these days.

then we go around the circle, and we each light a candle and talk about whatever we want to talk about. it usually ends up being something we're thankful for, although i know i also mention some sort of resolution for the upcoming year. we ramble about druids, and seasons, and yule logs and misteltoe, and we are able to bare our souls in way that many people don't get to do anymore.

the celebration has come to mean so much to each of us over the years. this year, we almost scrapped it, as our friends were dealing with the death of a dear pet. and i think a part of me was even ready to put it off (i've been so tired lately). but i am SO thankful we got together. now i am refreshed, and ready for some Christmas magic!

20 december - make Solstice stars

OK, so no stars, and still no cookies!! have i tried (AGAIN!) to cram too many things into advent???

jack is fighting a cold, and i am just feeling t.i.r.e.d.

looking forward to our annual solstice celebration, even minus the stars!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

18 december - have an indoor picnic

we all were thrilled with tonight's activity. we were home together, there were no social obligations, no big food prep, etc.

(i don't even want to know how much meat matty put on the big sandwich.)

we moved aside the coffee table and just camped out. this is definitely an activity we should carry on from month to month. it's a nice break in a hectic schedule.

self-portrait, jack, 12/18/2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

17 december - make a gingerbread house

jack and i had our annual gingerbread adventure while matty worked. jack was seriously tired from his sleep over, and i was seriously regretting agreeing to do another gingerbread house. i have royal icing issues.

we were smart enough to put the pieces together so they would stay standing while we decorated. at least we learn from our bad experiences (2004, 2005...) but the icing. the icing. i can't stand the smell of it, the feel of it, the way no matter how much i twist the icing bag, some of it oozes out the back end. i can't stand the way it turns to cement immediately when you drip some on the table, yet when you try to glue a gumdrop on the side of the house, it persists on dripping, dripping, DRIPPING!

the amount of cursing i do under my breath during these gingerbread adventures is going to cost me in future therapy for jack, i can just tell. i need to just give it up!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

16 december - special treat

the activity today stressed me out!!

originally, we were going to go to the holiday flotilla over on the big lake. however, i had a call a few weeks ago to set aside the date for a get-together at the home of a family we know. the get-together was to be followed by jack sleeping over for their son's birthday.

well, the thing is, we have a very awkward relationship with this family. neither mat nor i feel like we've really "clicked" with them, despite many efforts. many. efforts. they recently moved several hours away, but are keeping their home on the island as a weekend retreat, for now.

so, there was this loose invitation, and i didn't dare tell jack that there was a sleepover involved, in case it fell through. we just kept thinking they would call when they got into town to give us specifics about the evening. we wandered sort of aimlessly through the day, knowing we were expected to make an appearance at their house. we were all pretty tired, and even spent part of the afternoon watching a DVD. that is unheard of for us!! squandering away a saturday!

(it felt pretty darn good...)

we have no current phone number for them, since their cell phones have changed, so we literally had to go to their house to see if there was a party!! i had all sorts of schemes in my head of how we would turn around in their cul-de-sac if no other cars were there!!

turns out there were a few families there, and they ended up having 7 kids sleep over, and jack enjoyed himself, and matty and i endured the endless small talk. we have nothing in common with them!! even though it seems like we would: we have children who are close in age, we have similar education levels, we have similar tastes in music, in decor. we just don't.

all in all, it just felt like a wasted day and night. in my opinion, if you are still struggling with small talk with a couple you've known for almost two years, you need to just go your separate ways, and not try to force a friendship. it just seems so much more complicated when the children are all friends.

maybe this is why i feel like i have so few friends? does anybody else struggle with this?

15 december - campout around the Christmas tree

ah, the sleepover that never was... after spending the evening at my parent's third annual holiday oyster roast, jack was heard to say as i was tucking him into his bed, "it wouldn't have worked to sleep in the living room anyway." we were all exhausted, and thankful to be sleeping in our comfy beds.

as much as i love to look up at the christmas tree lights, i love being comfortable when i sleep just a little bit more!

Friday, December 15, 2006

14 december - have hot chocolate with all the fixins

wow, hot chocolate (as opposed to hot cocoa) is reaallly rich. i don't think any one of us took more than a few sips!! it was fun whisking the chopped up chocolate into the milk. and we even had a little science lesson, trying to explain why the whipped cream that we put in the bottom of the mug floats to the top when we add the hot chocolate.

anyway, after hot chocolate, it was off to printing labels for Christmas cards and making treats for the cookie exchange at school today. thanks to the world of blogging, i found this great idea that was perfect for child-with-short-attention-span participation. bagged 'em up and tied 'em with a bit of ribbon, and jack fell asleep watching the bonus material on 'The Santa Claus' of wolfgang puck making cookies and hot chocolate.

oh, it makes my teeth hurt...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

13 december - make a Christmas craft

our 'craft' was a food craft, at jack's request. he came home from school, where they are learning about winter celebrations, and announced that he wanted latkes for dinner.


so, after a walk through the neighborhood to deliver chex mix to a friend, we set about making latkes. chef jack mixed the flour and egg, while chef mommie grated the onion and potatoes. thank goodness for our Kitchen Aid food processor! as i was squeezing handful after handful of potatoes, i couldn't help but think of the generations of women before me who did this by hand!

the last of the batch were by far the crispiest, as the oil was HOT and the pan was seasoned. matty and i loved them, jack stated they weren't as good as the ones they made at school (thanks, jack), but he cleaned his plate.

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12 december - learn an Irish Christmas custom

So, representing the O'Neill side of the family today, we talked about Christmas customs in Ireland. They are very similar to the American customs we celebrate. The two that we focused on were: lighting of a red candle in the window on Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day (December 26).

I really like the symbolism of putting a candle in the window to show our hospitality for all weary travelers.

Many homes in Ireland still today will show a lighted candle, or perhaps todays equivalent, and much safer, electric lights, in the window of their home on Christmas Eve. This stems from the custom that to show a light in the window lighted the way of a stranger out after dark. It goes back to most ancient times, when the laws of hospitality were stronger and not abused. To have a light in your window on Christmas Eve to welcome the stranger meant that you were welcoming the Holy Family too. To have no light meant that you shared the guilt of the Innkeeper at Bethlehem who said, "No Room"!

I think it's eye-opening to realize how the "laws of hospitality" have definitely grown weaker from generation to generation. Nowadays, who really would open their home to a complete stranger?? Growing up, my parents hosted many friends-of-friends, or people-visiting-for-work-purposes, etc. They may have been strangers at the beginning, but some created truly life-long connections.

Several years ago, we hosted two college students who were on a choral concert tour. They were with us for maybe 12 hours, most of which time was spent sleeping. I don't remember their names, but I will always remember the experience: making up the guest room, driving them home from the concert, talking about their college and choral experiences, introducing them to our toddler, showing them hospitality.

We should do more of that. Open our home, expand our little world to include the unknown, the different, the potentially life-long friend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

11 december - go to a Christmas concert

in what has sort of become a tradition, jack and i attended katie's chorus concert tonight. i had visions of the two of us dressing up, having some dinner, and enjoying an hour of holiday music.


here's the thing: i have a 5 y.o. son with a LOT of energy. literally. he cannot sit still for longer than 15 - 20 minutes at a time. and he's a multi-tasker (much like me, much to my chagrin.) for example, he will sit still for reading, but he'll fidget with a toy while he's listening (maybe he needs more visual stimulation?) and these days, he's very sensitive about getting one-on-one attention, liberally using the phrase "nobody loves me," to pepper his running commentary.

so a high school chorus concert rates pretty low on his list of fun-things-to-do. i thought ahead and let him bring a bag of toys, thinking he would quietly play while they sang. i spoke to him ahead of time about my expectation that he NOT slide around on the floor. ("but they MOP them").

we had a great time at dinner. and the first few moments of the concert (pre-singing) were fine. but, there was nothing for him to look at (visual stimulation), the majority of toys in his bag were cars, so he had to slide around on the floor with them (the 'mopped' floor), and i agreed to watch after his 18 m.o. cousin (why are you only paying attention to him?)

so, again, i spent the concert out in the hallway, hushing, pleading, apologizing. way to set us up for success!! sign the kid up for an activity he is predisposed to despise!

note to self: jack does not enjoy concerts. how about an evening at the skating rink instead...)

Monday, December 11, 2006

10 december - make Christmas treats for the neighbors

jack and i made batches of chex mix today. i plan to have it available for gifts to drop off at our neighbors' houses, send to school, use as hostess gifts, etc., etc.

one of the things i love most about this season is that i really tap into my creativity. it was such a simple thing to package up the mix, and i am thrilled with the final result!

i tried to print out some labels, but for some reason, the red ink on my printer was not cooperating. not great, when you are going with a red and green theme!

i took an hour last night to whip up some festive pillowcases for us. what an awesome idea. i even made a little one for jacks pillow that he refuses to give up. (WHY didn't i think of that before??) anyway, i have visions of making pillowcases for all sorts of occasions, because it seems like such an easy, inexpensive way to brighten up any holiday. i'll never buy designer sheet sets again!!

(p.s. we finally got all of the nativity scenes set out. i'm not sure they are in their final places, but at least they are out of their boxes!)

9 december - trim the tree

today was the day we got our Christmas tree! we had fun in wilmington this morning, stopping by the crafts store and target. we got out of target with only a new coat for jack, some pjs and 2 action figures!! i fondly remember the days when i would visit target daily!! over the past few years, i've had to scale down on the target adventures (it helps that it's over 20 miles away!!). i definitely appreciate that i've cut down on the clutter in my home since i weaned myself. there have been several times that i've seriously gone into target looking for something to buy, and have made the better choice for me, and walked out!

the tree is so cute! it's a narrow tree that jack picked out. matty said he wanted a narrower tree for the space we have in our new house. it's funny, becuase the pictures of trees that have been appealing to me this year are tall, skinny trees...

it was just a magical family day for us. saturdays have become so special for us, since it's the only day of the week we are all together. i remember those long, long saturdays when matty worked doubles, and jack and i would lock horns all day long. i don't miss that time.

8 december - watch a Christmas movie with popcorn

our activity was to watch a Christmas movie with popcorn tonight. doesn't seem very special, does it? considering jack's been watching Christmas videos for the better part of two weeks now.

however, i decided to buy Rudolph, to add to our growing collection of movies. matty was able to stay awake for the whole movie, and we did have popcorn, and it turned into a wonderful night. and? jack has declared that Rudolph is now his favorite movie, so he watched it about 12 times over the weekend...

Friday, December 08, 2006

7 december - have breakfast for dinner

wonderful. matty cooked up our favorite breakfast, a recipe we stumbled upon for camping trips, actually. it was warm and comforting. he fell asleep in his "new to us" chair while jack colored in his new coloring book and i watched silly television.

a perfect night.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

6 december - set up the Nativity scenes

well, we didn't even attempt tonight's activity! by the time i got home from the huge QA inspection at work, it was all i could do to put on my pajamas and snuggle up with jack on the sofa!! there's still quite a few surfaces i need to clean off before we can set out all of our manger scenes. with this year's addition of the Mike Tucker "Made in Turkey" set, i think we're up to 8 different scenes!!

5 december - learn a Swedish Christmas custom

in an effort to learn more about the heritage of each side of our family, we spent some time this evening talking about how Christmas is celebrated in Sweden (mat's side of the family.)

we talked about St. Lucia day (and how we most likely could not celebrate that in our house, given that there is no daughter, and jack is not quite able to prepare breakfast in bed for us!!)

we learned about the jultomten. we had a set of 4 tomtes in our house growing up (my sisters still argue over whose is whose...) after mat and i were married, my father made a trip to Sweden, and was able to pick us up a tomte for our house. now jack is convinced that the tomte is helping Santa by keeping a watchful eye over our household.

we also learned about the traditional celebration of "Little Christmas Eve," featuring a julbord (the Christmas smorgasbord). i think we are going to have a Little Christmas Eve open house, which will be a great opportunity to show off our house!! (i'm planning baked ham, meatballs and rice pudding, but i think we are all in agreement that we'll skip the lutfisk!)

later in the evening, we watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and it struck jack that Mrs. Claus looks a lot like our tomte. (he's going to have to be extra good now...)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

4 december - do a Christmas puzzle

it was coooold last night! below freezing, which is about 20 degrees colder than normal for our insulated beach area. a perfect night for working a new puzzle in front of the fireplace. i found a Santa puzzle at The Christmas House (thank goodness i didn't have any more money with me... i could have spent sooooo much!! the puzzle is 1000 pieces, which is a HUGE amount for jack. i think he is a little overwhelmed by the number of pieces. he would drift away, and come back to work a little bit at a time. i, of course, was riveted to my spot, determined to get the border put together. i came close!

here's a pic from the parade on saturday. note our creative use of tinsel to decorate our 'elves.' that didn't last long!

here's a shot of jack on a "shocker slide."

today and tomorrow will be very hectic for me, with the QA inspector set to check in this evening. thank goodness our Advent activities are well-planned, and give me some down time at home. i'll be puzzling away!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

3 december - write letters to Santa

jack and i spent the entire day in our pajamas, while mat was at work. i guess yesterday took a lot out of us.

it was fantastic to have the fireplace hooked up finally (yay, mat!), and we lounged around, watched a few holiday videos. i did typical sunday chores, and took a few minutes to 'organize' the boxes of Christmas decorations that have taken over the front room.

we read stories, and i even played the piano for awhile. it was cold and rainy outside, and i can't think of a better way to while away a sunday afternoon.

when mat got home, i did run out to the grocery. he made burgers for us, while we lit the advent candle. jack was very nervous about saying a prayer, because it had the word "Jesus" in it. and Jesus died (eventually, jack.) he really is going through this phase of being scared about the most random things. well, seemingly random. it's been difficult to have him physically attached to me almost every moment of the evening. i'm sure this is a manifestation of stress (the past few months have been very stressful around our house...) i'm hoping he will continue to grow out of this.

anyhow, we tried to talk a little bit about what advent means to each of us, and i stressed that, for me, it is a time to be quiet and thoughtful, and to light candles and think about a time when our ancestors lived in the cold darkness. i continue to be intrigued by the links between our Christmas traditions and the ancient Solstice traditions.

as for those letters to Santa...we didn't get very far! mat was in bed by 7:00, and jack had no more concentration left at the end of the day. ah, well.

2 december - Christmas by the Sea Parade

today's activity was riding on the hotel float in the annual Christmas by the Sea Parade. (again, an activity which has been on the books for awhile. all we had to do was show up, set up the float, and ride!)

we featured Santa riding in a Cloud 9 bed, obviously pointing out that Santa chooses the Hampton Inn for the best night's sleep!! the crowd seemed to really enjoy it (a little more than i was anticipating. perhaps it was just the holiday spirit??)

one woman called out, 'how can i get a good night's sleep like that?' and mat quickly responded, 'make a reservation!' sometimes he really slays me with his quick wit. i was very thankful to have him ride with us.

as a surprise, jack's friends who were visiting for the weekend, showed up just in time to hop on the float. jack was thrilled, and i gave myself a pat on the back for keeping it a secret. (ok, granted, i only had to keep it a secret for about two hours!!)

following the parade, we settled in with our friends for dinner (which was supposed to be homemade for my birthday!) they had all been tailgating during the parade, and were pretty sloshed by the time we got there. we stuck it out, they ordered in some Thai, and the boys played together until we were all about ready to fall asleep.

we tried to watch "Miracle on 34th Street" when we got home. almost as soon as it began, i had second thoughts about jack learning anything about the questionability of Santa. i certainly am not ready to be a part of chiping away at his innoncent beliefs. i don't want there to even be a flicker of a doubt in his mind at this point!! fortunately, he fell asleep pretty early on, and i didn't even finish watching the movie. i am totally O.K. with perpetuating the story of Santa Claus!

Friday, December 01, 2006

1 december - visit at max's house

last year, i was intrigued enough by this holiday project to sort of "give it a go." (via loobylu ).

i got far enough along in the process to come up with a list of 24 activities that we could a) handle financially, and b) accomplish among 2 working parents and a 4 y.o. full-time student, without all of us spontaneously combusting after dinner.)

where i got stuck was the execution of the project, because i wanted it to be PERFECT. i wanted it to look like the picture above. sigh. (this is about the point in every project where i stop. it is soooo difficult being stumped by perfection!!)

anyway, i got enough out of my list of activities that we had a rather enjoyable holiday season, and completed a handful of the fun ideas i had compiled. it definitely added to the overall enjoyment of our simpler Christmas.

this year, i got a little more organized, pulled the list back out (tweaked it a little), and prepared to welcome december 1st. it is a nice tie in to the start of the Advent season, which, we are learning, plays an important role in the Swedish holiday celebration. of course, i was up past eleven last night, stressing over what the final project was going to look like (!). it's not fancy. i'll have to share a pic later.

anyway, jack was thrilled to read the activity for today, a visit at max's house. honestly, the visit was already planned so that we can go to mat's Christmas party tonight. i'll try to blog all 24 activities. i'm really looking forward to it.

thank you. no, thank you

about a month and a half ago, jack's school held their annual golf tournament/fund raiser. this thing is a big pain in the patoot to organize, i'm sure. it usually falls on the shoulders of one or two parents/teachers to coordinate, advertise, rally sponsors and teams, etc., etc. (incidentally, since we both work full time, we are not able to help with the "hard work." we typically sponsor a team and then show up to golf. tee hee. i said 'we golf.' that's funny...)

it as billed as a fund raiser, and therefore one would assume that the golfers would focus on the fun of the event and the benefit to the school. of course, since we live in a population chock full of golf-playing retirees, there tend to be alot of teams who focus on the quality of the course, their position in the line-up, the amount (and type) of refreshments. (these are the teams that make me edgy on the course, because heaven forbid they get behind me!)

as we were leaving the event, i took 35 seconds to stop and thank the mother who had put it ALL together. i think i said something as simple as, "thank you so much for all of your time and effort putting this tournament together."

this morning, as i dropped jack off at school, she approached me, and said that she had been wanting to thank me for the kind words that day. she said it was the nicest thing anyone said to her that day.


i can't describe how warm it made me feel to know that i really connected with this person (a woman whom i barely know.) that my simple words meant so much to her when she needed to hear them. thank you to my parents and grandparents and all of the adults in my life who instilled in me the importance of "thank-yous" and kind words.

that simple gift (or rather, re-gift, perhaps) i received this morning has really set the tone for my holiday season. i hope you might enjoy similar small moments throughout your season.