Monday, December 31, 2012

It's my blogiversary!

I meant to write a whole year-in-review, 1st anniversary, well thought out kinda post.

Then I spent the past few days playing nursemaid to my mom who hurt her back and reading, reading, reading so I could win the competition of who would read the most books in 2012. (I won!)

So, the year-in-review post and the book recap post will come soon. Cause, I'm thinking January is going to yet again be my own personal NaBloPoMo.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My favorite little cow

I can't help but share this adorable post about Bug and her performance in her church Christmas story. She didn't want to be an angel like the other girls, she wanted to be the Cow. I'm familiar with the basics of the nativity story, but this was the first I heard about the cow. Who was, in Bug's world at least, a very, very important witness to the big event!

You can read all about it on her mom's blog:

She's such a fun kiddo!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25: It's was just a Tuesday and/or Living the Sterotype

I grew up celebrating Christmukkah.

My mom is Jewish, my dad was not and we did it all.

I have childhood memories of tromping through the woods to cut down our Christmas tree, opening one present on Christmas Eve and excitedly waking up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. On my mom's side of the family only one of her siblings married someone Jewish, so Christmas Day was spent on the road, visiting both sides of the family. First stop was my dad's parent's house for a short visit and present opening with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Then back on the road to my mom's brother's house, for a big meal and more grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and gifts. Usually on the way home we'd stop back by my dad's parents house, sometimes for dessert, sometimes just to visit a little longer with them.

And on those years when Hanukkah coincided, we'd get home from all of that and light the candles and I'd be handed one more, differently wrapped, present.

Sometime during my teenage years I told my mom I just wanted to do Hanukkah. The only religious upbringing I had centered around Judaism, the christian holidays we celebrated were in completely secular ways. I didn't need the mountain of presents I was getting between the two holidays and really, it just seemed like too much.

We kept celebrating both for the most part, shifting from the back and forth with family to just spending time as a family of three at the beach, mostly because my mom was afraid it would hurt my dad's feelings if we didn't do Christmas as well.

Anyway, fast forwarding to the present, I spent last weekend with my mom and her side of the family, finally celebrating Hanukkah. I'm spending next weekend at the beach with my mom, up until New Year's Day. So with that in mind, I really wasn't that interested in driving back up north on Monday after work, after just having returned home on Sunday night. When my mom spoke of Christmas, I responded with "you mean Tuesday?" and she realized that it wasn't really necessary for me to make the return trip home.

So I stayed home and loved it.

My office closed at 2 pm on the 24th so I got a yummy late lunch in my neighborhood, ran a few errands and was home by 4 pm, curled up on the sofa with a pile of books. Yesterday I slept in, read, watched Home Alone and a House Hunters Marathon, went to the movies, picked up takeout in Chinatown* and then came home and read some more.

It was a pretty perfect day and a half. No schedule, no expectations, no talking. Just doing what I wanted, when I wanted.

I hope you had a great day as well - whether you were celebrating Christmas or just enjoying a nice Tuesday off like I did!

* insert Jew on Christmas sterotype here

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The year that I forgot Hanukkah

Well, forgot might not be the right word.

I know it happened last week, but I skipped it.

I'm not really sure why, other than I was out of town on the first night and meant to take the menorah and candles with me and then I forgot. By night 2 I was home, I had candles and there was nothing stopping me from lighting them.

But I didn't.

And from there it was pretty much ignored.

Usually my mom sends me a present to open each night (because she still thinks I'm an 8 year old), and she was fully prepared to do so, but I said I'd rather wait and open gifts with her in person.

I still fully intended to light the candles.

But then I didn't.

I've been having fun buying gifts for people, so it's not like I'm in a bah humbug mood (yeah, yeah, yeah, I mixed my holidays), but I'm just not in an excessively celebratory mood either.

I think it's a combination of things. Work stress and uncertainty. Missing my dad. Indecision and uncertainty about plans over the next few weeks.

Usually I want to make decisions and plans. I am ALL about the planning. This year.... meh. I just want a fast forward button and/or the ability to hibernate for a bit.

I think I'd change teams at this point if Santa wanted to drop down my chimney and leave either of those behind.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Surprise Surprise

Today was a hectic Monday. 

My team at work was doing our strategic planning for 2013 and while it was only on the calendar for 3 hours I had a strong feeling it would go longer. 

Today was also the local business association's holiday meeting/luncheon/awards presentation and my friend who coordinates the neighborhood music festival was being honored. I'm on the planning committee and the association wanted to have the whole committee there when she was presented with her award. Of course the luncheon was starting just as my work meeting was supposed to end. 

I said I'd do my best, but honestly didn't have high hopes of making it to the luncheon. 

As the meeting was in process I realized my odds of getting out on time were diminishing so I emailed and texted a few friends to let them know. I got responses back like "no rush, it will be networking for awhile, just get here as soon as you can" and one asking if I'd say a few words about the honoree and really, really, it would be great if I could attend. 

Then about 20 minutes later I got a text from the honoree, telling me "Hey dude, you really NEED to come :)"

First thought: she's being nice, wanting me to enjoy the fun lunch and skip out on work. 
Second thought: maybe the whole planning committee is being honored and she doesn't want me to miss it. 

Never, ever did my mind go to the actual reason I NEEDED to be there. She wasn't the honoree.

I was.

Apparently the business association gives an award to a citizen volunteer each December and this year they selected me.  

Maybe had I known the award existed I would have been suspicious, but I was pretty much clueless right up until they said they had to trick the honoree to get her there. 

I am so lucky that when I moved to this area nearly four years ago I ended up where I did. I live in a great neighborhood, with so many wonderful events and an incredible business community that is responsible for many of them and their support integral in the success of others. When I think about my volunteer commitments I'd say I help out more than most but certainly not as much as many. 

Having my time and efforts noticed and appreciated really is awesome. It certainly made my day!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I spent this weekend with so many of my friends.

Friday night was dinner with the work bestie and her husband and munchkin and then Saturday I hit the road to spend the rest of the weekend visiting friends out of town. I shopped. I went to dinner at my favorite restaurant. I played with adorable kiddos. All with some of my friends who know me best. I watched the Redskins beat the Ravens in the company of the friend who turned me into a Skins fan about a decade ago. I had a traffic free drive home (amazing!) and was here for 10 minutes when the phone rang. It was yet another of my closest friends, who happened to be in my neighborhood and wanted to know if I wanted to come meet her and her daughter for hot chocolate.

It was really the busiest weekend I've had in ages and filled with so many people who are important to me.

Then I got home and started going through the mail and found my first holiday card of the season. From an old friend. Someone who used to rank pretty high on that list of people who are important to me.

Until he dropped me.

Completely disappeared from my life.No phone calls or emails returned, not even an acknowledgement when he heard my dad passed away this fall. His wife on the other hand is still quite friendly. She'll comment on my Facebook updates, wishes me a happy birthday, and I'm guessing is the one that added me to their card list.

It's something I guess. But in this case I'd much rather have nothing.

I'm ok with casual friends drifting in and out of my life. But I have a really hard time losing the people who once held such a huge role in my life, who helped me grow up and be the person I am today. I hate letting go of those people. I hate it even more when I don't know why it happened. And even more yet when it's not an entirely clean break. When a reminder of the friendship lost shows up in my mailbox.

I know I can't really 'fix'that situation. And I try really hard not to let it bother me. And after this weekend, I'm trying really hard to focus on all of those wonderful friends who are still in my life!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I went to the dentist today.

I left with a filling, a temporary crown and an incredibly numb half of my face.

It's been about 8 hours. The numbness has long since worn off, leaving me with pain.

Whining (i.e. blogging) about it makes me feel like a big ole baby but seriously, it hurts!

I feel like in general I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I've been dealing with migraines most of my life and I can power through a pretty intense headache without much problem. I had minor surgery a few years back and barely put a dent in the percoset prescription the doctors sent me home with.

But when it comes to my mouth it's like the exact opposite.

I have zero pain tolerance. And I know the dentist will lead to pain. So I get nervous and anxious and put it off until I have no choice but go.

The noise, the smell, the person with their hands in your mouth... :: shudders ::

And then you leave and 8 hours later your mouth still hurts!

Can dentists prescribe pain meds? Because I have to say, my Advil is not cutting it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Season of Asking

I'm a big fan of gift giving. And I'm also a big fan of supporting non-profit organizations. 

I have a handful that are important to me that I give to on an annual basis and I'm also generally pretty quick to support those that are important to friends and family when I hear about them participating in a fundraising walk, run, jumprope-a-thon, etc. I also always make a gift during times of greater need, like with Hurricane Sandy. In fact, I made several over the past month - both to the Red Cross and to smaller, community driven or personal fundraising efforts I was aware of. 

I'm not talking about major gifts, no one will be naming a building after me anytime soon (or ever) but I give pretty generously in my opinion, and have increased the amounts over the years as I've been able to. 

I'm not saying all of this to pat myself on the back, just trying to set the stage for the rant that is coming your way. 

I am so annoyed that I keep getting fundraising appeals from groups I've already given to this year. 

I used to work in a development office. Fundraising wasn't my role, but as part of that team I know that once someone made a gift that was it for the year in terms of asks. Sure, they'd still get our quarterly magazine and invitation to events so they had other opportunities to give, but the direct appeal letters came to an immediate halt once a gift was made. 

That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I keep getting letters in the mail or emails in my inbox asking for a gift when I've already made one. The best was a few weeks ago, when I got two envelopes from an organization in the same day. The first was a thank for you for a gift I had sent, the second, a letter asking for more money. 

Come on. 

Then there are the organizations that have sold my name to other nonprofits. I'm not sure who it was, but I have gotten easily a dozen, maybe closer to two dozen, fundraising requests from organizations in the past few weeks that I haven't given to before, many of whom I've never heard of. I'm not sure how they got my name, but I do know they aren't getting my money. 

I know times are tough, and nonprofits are struggling to serve more people than ever before, but really, alienating those who are already your supporters isn't going to get you there. It just comes across as being unappreciative and greedy. 

And makes me question my giving choices to begin with.