Friday, November 07, 2008

Christmas is Not Your Birthday

I mostly love Christmas. I love baking cookies (although now that I shouldn't eat them it's definitely an exercise in control). I love Christmas music...the classics, not the new stuff. I love the feeling when I find the perfect gift for someone, and I love the time when the shopping is finished, I can put Christmas music on, wrap presents, and watch old movies with my family. I love decorating the tree, and when it's all finished, laying down underneath and looking up at the lights. I love when my parents and both sets of in-laws come over on Christmas Eve. We go to Christmas Eve services at church (which is more remarkable and special with my Christian family and my Jewish in-laws), and come home for a Christmas/Hannukah meal and everyone is together and it's all good.

Here's what I don't love. I don't love fighting the crowds at Cool Springs Mall, where it takes 30 minutes to drive .25 miles because it's the only place in middle Tennessee to shop at certain stores. I don't love lugging all the Christmas decorations up from the basement, knowing that in less than a month I have to lug them all back down again. Every year I forget to buy the great storage boxes they have to hold ornaments and things, and so after Christmas, when they're nowhere to be found, I have to wrap each one in old newspaper and squeeze them into shoeboxes or whatever boxes I have left over after Christmas. Then there's always the box full of the best stuff that I don't find until after Christmas when I'm putting everything away.

And the biggest thing is that I don't like the fact that no one in my family really NEEDS anything, myself included, but I can't convince anyone to nix the presents. We give to charity, buy presents for the Angel Tree at church, which is all great, but when I search high and low for the perfect present for someone who has everything they need, I get a little bit cranky.

But, today I got an email from Sam Davidson, at Cool People Care, which if you haven't checked out, you really need to.

Anyway, here's part of the email, and you'll have to go online to check out the rest.

Christmas is NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY...Because we all know that unless you're Jimmy Buffet, Jesus, or Conrad Hilton, Christmas is not your birthday. And, we also know that every step we take to save the planet is a good one. And, we know that the current economic environment didn't magically make our gift list any shorter.

I'm happy to learn that every Friday from now until Christmas, I'm going to get ideas for gifts for my friends and family that will help save the world. And they'll even give you a downloadable gift tag to explain how the gift will help save the world. I plan on using that little feature, because when my nephew opens up the power strip, he will probably need a little explanation.

Read "Christmas is Not Your Birthday" here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Media-influenced Voting

Well, it's finally here. Election Day. After marathon campaigning, media blitzes, slogans and negative ads, it's time for America to elect our president. I am usually filled with pride that this country gives every citizen the right to vote. I see news stories with Americans from all walks of life, at all stages in their lives, proudly leaving voting locations with the satisfaction of casting their equally important votes for the most important office in our land. But this election, more than any other in history, gives me reason to pause.

We have become such a society of short, PR-laden sound quotes, where people get their information from headlines, news briefs, tickers on the bottom of sporting events, bits and pieces of news stories, e-mails that have been forwarded all over the country with questionable facts and stories angled towards special interests, blogs, and so many facets of mis-information, that it gives me a stomach-ache. So many people are voting for candidates based on what someone else has told them, whether it is a news anchor, a preacher, a teacher, a parent, or a friend, and NOT because they have researched the issues and the candidate's REAL agenda, based on their history, not on the packaged press kit information that some PR agent has distributed.

It makes me wonder. On one hand, it is remarkable that within eight years of 9/11 we are this close to electing a black man whose middle name is "Hussein". But on the other hand, what does it say about us as a society, when we allow the media to have such influence over our direction?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Change my World...VOTE!!

I haven't posted in a while...
No reason, really, except that every time I sit down in front of the computer I'm playing Bridge Baron. Of course, I lose every time. Waiting until you're an adult well into middle age is not the time to decide to learn to play bridge! But I'm going to keep plugging away. I'm taking a second 9 week course, "Play of the Hand". Problem is, I don't remember much of what I learned in the first course, "Bidding". I need to find someone to play with who doesn't mind me taking half an hour to decide what to do. That's why playing a computer game is good.

I'm running again, carefully. My plantar fasciitis is cooperating as long as I only run about twice a week. So I'm still doing the stair machine way more than I would like, but hopefully it's keeping me in shape. I'm running out to do 7 miles this morning, but first I want to share this music video from my cousin in California. Stephanie, you rock!

"Change My World" is a non-partisan effort to remind voters that while children may not be able to vote in this election, they still have a voice. They depend on us to do what is right for them, not just for today, but for tomorrow as well. ..."

Great message:

And this, from the kids...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama supporters in Harlem...Sad

I made a decision when I started keeping a blog that it would NOT be a place for my political views. I like to keep them to myself. I don't feel like espousing my viewpoint would really do much to change anyone else's, nor do I want to have to argue with anyone about why I believe what I do. I think that's the beautiful thing about being an American. I pray every day for the upcoming election. And that's all I'm going to say about my viewpoint. (Unlike my husband!)

Anyway, there are some interesting things out there that I just have to share. Here's a link from Howard Stern (audio only), with some clips from voters in Harlem who were Obama supporters, and their understanding of the issues he supports. This is so sad. If you are going to support a candidate, and be vocal about it, at least, understand some of the basic tenets of their campaign! I hear the word "ignorance" being tossed around by both parties, attaching it to their opponent based on various issues, but we as voting citizens must educate ourselves on the issues. There are various websites that show facts and voting records, not opinions and false promises. Some are better than others, but I like and politifact. I believe it is our duty to do research, not blindly go out and vote for any candidate based on race, political party, negative campaigning, and other tenuous reasons. Read, research, and make decisions based on knowledge, not fear or emotion.