Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why I love Christmas

In the spirit of one of the greatest holiday movies of all times, A Christmas Story, I have decided to write A Theme. But instead of writing about what I want for Christmas, mine is about why I love Christmas. You see – I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. I love the tree, the music, the decorations inside and out, the giving and receiving of gifts, Santa, the reindeer and all the other trappings surrounding this festive holiday. Most of all I love the magic of Christmas and Santa Clause. See, I have a confession. I believe in Santa Clause. I believe with all my heart and soul that Santa exists and his purpose is to bring joy to children around the world. I don’t know if he really lives at the North Pole or has elves or flies in a sleigh with magic reindeer, but I know that Santa is real.

I consider myself very fortunate to still retain this magic and this belief. It has kept Christmas in perspective for me over the years. I am not religious so this is not about the birth of a child under a star in the dessert. However, I recognize and appreciate the magic that aspect of Christmas holds for many but I think it is for the same reason I find magic in Christmas. The baby Jesus story is about bringing hope, joy, love and peace to the world. This is Christmas. A time to sit back and enjoy hope, joy, love and peace. And maybe eat some pumpkin pie just as a topper.

So for me Christmas is magic because it has the ability to bring people together share for one day all those wonderful feelings of hope, joy, love and peace. I remember Christmas Eve as I was growing up – it was always a huge family event. Everyone would come to our house for dinner, games and, of course, a visit from Old St. Nick himself. I loved that visit. When I was very little it was so unbearably exciting to wait for Santa to come through the door with his bag of toys. As we got older we realized that Santa was a busy man so he usually got some help here from my dad but it didn’t lessen the joy of the moment. Now that I am a parent I am thrilled to watch my son anticipate the impending arrival of the jolly man in red. Yes, he is excited about receiving new toys but is that really all bad? When you think about it, he spends over a month anticipating and dreaming of Christmas morning. There is pure joy on his face – joy that is brought by the mere thought of this jolly elf. Again, I ask, is a few new toys really that much of a price to pay for a season of joy?

I am making sure to try to balance out his expectations to make my son realize its not about getting. Its about the magic. Every year we go out and buy toys for the Toys for Tots boxes. I make sure my son picks out toys and puts them in the box. At the same time we have long discussions about why these boxes are so important. I also have been conducting toy drives at work for local children in the DCF system. For two weeks my son has watched my come home from work every day with toys and presents. We talk about how these toys are going to go to children who might not otherwise get any toys on Christmas morning. Its about giving to others so that other children can have the same hope and joy.

I realize that this is why I believe in Santa. I believe in Santa enough to go out and ensure that there are toys for children. I realized that this is how Santa manages to get to all the children in one night. He has so many believers helping him out that all the children of the world who celebrate this holiday receive a visit from Santa or his helper. Santa is magic. Its not about changing the world, but about just one small moment on one day and bringing a smile to a child’s face.

My tree is up and decorated – it was such fun to sit and watch my son pick through the ornaments finding his favorites and hanging them on the tree. The train is under the tree. My son loves to run the train. The Elf on the Shelf has been making his nightly trip since Thanksgiving. The shopping is done. I didn’t go crazy and I have no reason to go to the mall. For now, I can just sit back and enjoy the season, watch all my favorite holiday movies, listen to Christmas music and watch my son experience the magic. This is why I love Christmas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

So its been a year

Ok - not quite a year since my last blog but, meh, its my blog right? I let it go mostly cause I was super busy and distracted with other things. Oh and not so good on the new years resolutions but we will revisit that at the official end of 2010.

High points so far this year - lots of travel - Hawaii, Arizona, Japan. Way too much time in Hawaii. I think it was five trips this year. So over that. Japan was fun - so much so that I may be seeing more of it in the near future.

So back to the mundane. Finally feeling human again - I spent a week in Japan for work and coming home I picked up some sort of bug - personally I am calling it a Japanese superbug - basically it was foreign to me and it hit me hard. I normally can take some cold drugs and work through almost any illness but not this one. No - this one was an on your back, in bed, lose all touch with reality cold. I swear I only vaguely remember this past week. I attempted to go in to work on one day but that only lasted a few hours - then back to bed. So the only problem with this - Japan is 13 hours ahead. So I came home adjusted to Japan time - then promptly got super sick and my body demanded sleep when it wanted it. So since I was so focused (or should I say lack of focus) on just giving my body what it needed to feel human again, I have not changed timezones. So now that I feel human again I apparently am still on Japan time. Yep - up all night. Today is going to really suck. But at least it will suck because I think I can finally force myself to stay awake to change my body clock instead of succumbing to the fog of the cold from hell.

On the plus side I did a lot of reading when I wasn't passed out, which was kind of nice. Not a lot of knitting because I couldn't manage much focus - but I did knock out a square for a blanket I am contributing to - simple garter stitch on size 3 needles - I could handle that - very mindless. Wow, can't believe I am thinking how big size 3 needles are :) actually it was the yarn that made the difference since this has been the year of lace. I have been making a lace shawl this year with laceweight - its like knitting with thread - but I have found I enjoy lace because it challenges the mind. But no lace this week. Too foggy in the head.

I want to see if I can get back to my blogging. Lots is about to happen - nothing I want to share until the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed - but it promises to give me some good blogging fodder if for nothing else than to preserve some pretty cool memories.

How about a picture to close it off?

This is a very rare picture - I actually had my friend take it of me which I almost never allow - I am a complete behind the camera kind of girl. But something about the wind and the cold and the fact that I love this new jacket made me feel like getting my picture taken. This is me on the Sea of Japan - it was my first time seeing it and I was seriously impressed. It was a chilly, windy day and the sea was temperamental but not too angry, but I can see where it probably gets fierce during the winter. It was an amazing site and I think I fell a little in love with it. I can't wait to see its many moods (ok - thats sort of a hint of things to come)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! Welcome 2010.

Happy New Year to all! In looking back, 2009 was a very busy year. I feel like I spent the year playing catch up! The year just flew by. But overall I think it was a good year. No major accomplishments that I can think of but at the same time, no major problems. It was a year filled with work, travel (for work), knitting, spinning, and reading. I also watched my son grow so much this year. He started kindergarten and has really developed in to his own little person. He is proving to be reasonably smart and very friendly. I am quite enjoying him right now, even if he is also developing that little bit of attitude that comes with discovering that he is a stand alone person capable of making decisions. Its quite funny at times but we have to keep on him to keep him balanced. But overall he is just a joyous little boy.
So 2010 is here. I have been thinking a lot about resolutions, cause it is that time after all. I realize people have different opinions on resolutions but I kind of like the idea of setting a goal and measuring myself against my goal. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't. Last year I wanted to read 52 books in the year. I am not sure if I made it or not because I stopped counting midway through the year. I think I came close. I tend to read a lot. This year I am also going to set some goals and one of them is to do a better job tracking my results. So check back this time next year to see how I do.

So for 2010 I have the following goals:
1. Give up chocolate - I love chocolate way too much. Its time to take a break. I have done this before so I know I can do it again. But if I am cranky for a few weeks, just remember its the chocolate speaking.
2. Spin every day - even if only for a few minutes. I really want to take my spinning to the next level and learn how to make the yarn I want. I need practice to get there. The only time this might be a problem is when I am traveling. If I can take a spindle I will but otherwise I will give myself a grace period when I travel.
3. Walk on the treadmill every day - again even if only for a few minutes. I need to get back in the habit of exercise and I need to make my treadmill more than just a piece of furniture. The minimum each day will be 10 minutes. Again, when I travel this could be a problem. Most of the hotels I stay at have gyms or I can go outside but in the event that neither is an option (no gym and not safe to walk alone outside) I will get a pass ... but only if I have no choice. And I have to document why. Oh - this one also gets a pass if by chance I get sick because this goal is about getting healthier and taking care of my body. But again - document!!!
4. Read 52 books - I figure I will try this again but do better at tracking. With my Kindle I can at least add a note on each book of what day I started and finished the book. Maybe that will help.

OK - so those are my "must do" goals. I am committed to these and feel that these are "doable".

I also have some "like to do" goals. If I can manage these I will be happy, but if I have to drop something these will be able to go.
1. Knit a mini sock a week. This would get me a good stash of mini-socks for the holidays next year. I can hang them on the tree and give them away as decorations.
2. Knit a log cabin square a month to make progress on my blanket.
3. Complete all my current WIPs. Right now in Ravelry I have 10 WIPs: Fluke, Handspun Hat, Domus Aurea, Twilight Scarf, Log Cabin Blanket, Flying Swirl, Fancy Mitts, Mini Firestarters, Forest Canopy and Luce Scarf.
4. Complete the Girasole Project - this is a big endeavor. I want to spin, dye and then knit the Girasole blanket. Not only is this a lot of yarn but I want to spin it woolen (which I am not so good at yet) and to a specific size. This will take lots of practice before I can spin the final product.

Hmmmm - I think that is enough! At least for this year. Lets see how I do. At least I am starting with the right intentions - I have taken the first step, hopefully the rest will follow.