Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Every year on this day at 9 a.m., emotions roll through me. When I was growing up, my grandfather would call and ask if we had the parade on. His call became tradition. Not one Thanksgiving has passed that I don't stop my preparation of the holiday feast and take a moment to remember the joy Grandpap and my other grandparents gave me as a child. I hope my grandchildren remember me with as much love.

I hope you have a moment today to remember a special person in your past and to create a memory for someone. Happy Thanksgiving. AJ

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who's Got The Moves

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Game plan. The two words have a different meaning for most women and men. When men hear the words at this time of year, they think how their favorite team will take down the opposing team. They plan their fantasy teams and discuss stats at every opportunity. For most women however, ‘game plan’ is a mindset on how we will survive the holidays, getting everything done we need to do and with poise.

Before I crawled out of bed this morning, I mentally laid out my game plan for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. My plot played out this way. Today, this morning before going to my full-time job, move all excess furniture and plants from dining room. Dust, again, the remaining furniture. Tonight, after dinner and dishes, make pumpkin rolls, pies and cut the veggies for the ton of potato filling I make every year. Tomorrow morning make the filling and etc., etc., etc. The list goes on until the moment I sit down at the table and clasp the hands of my husband and the child who sits on my right and we give thanks to the Lord for all the blessings he has bestowed on us this year and pray for the grace to help others in the coming season.

One time-saving tidbit I picked up this year is to make a Thanksgiving Dinner binder. It’ll help me next year and maybe my daughter and DIL in years to come. Inside, I will put my game plan, complete with my recipes and shopping list. This a great idea, since I’m running back to the grocery store today to get two ingredients which I forgot while shopping this past weekend. Don’t you just hate when you do that?

Also, email or facebook all company coming to put thier tupperware in the car now. Save yourself searching for extra bowls to send leftovers out the door.

So how do you handle the holiday? Do you have a game plan or time-saving hint to share?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

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I decided to post this blog this week because I faced a gun twice (it's not an experience I want anyone to have) and next week with the holiday we all will be too busy to sit and read. Also, I’d like to reach as many friends and friends of friends before they head out the door on BLACK FRIDAY and become victims.

Holiday shopping is dangerous. While humming classic tunes, we head to the stores with visions of the perfect Norman Rockwell holiday fogging our minds. The malls are busier than any other time of the year, and as we juggle packages while seeking the next ideal gift for little Bobby or Susie, predators lurk near. Your purse or wallet is his target. The packages you carry are his prey. You are about to become his victim if you don’t do something to protect yourself from the holiday stalker.

1) Keep a list of your credit card numbers and contact phone numbers at home.

2) Dress comfortably.

3) Do not wear expensive jewelry.

4) Never go shopping by yourself. If you do, walk with other shoppers to and from the store or ask a security guard to walk you to your vehicle.

5) Avoid shopping at night if at all possible.

6) If you can’t park near an entrance, consider parking near the roadway entering the store. Thieves do not like to have an audience when committing their crime. Also search out well lit areas. Familiarize yourself with the area you’ve parked.

7) Strip your car. Put all CD, sunglasses, loose change anything of any value out of view.

8) Hide your GPS and garage door opener from view, or better yet leave them at home. A thief can easily

9) Do not use your keychain control to lock your doors. Techno savvy thieves could pick up on the frequency and unlock your car.

10) Avoid revolving doors. Predators can grab your purse as entering and make a clean get-a-way before you can emerge.

11) Men carry your wallets in your front pocket and woman carry your purse close to your body with the flap turned toward you. When walking with someone, carry the purse between you. Consider using a fanny pack. Only carry the necessary cash and or one credit card. Leave check book and other credit cards at home.

12) Do not flash large amounts of cash.

13) Watch while your credit card is receipt is filled out and that your credit card is only swiped once. Also request any carbons. Keep receipts in your pocket, not in your bags. Make sure you get your credit card back.

14) Never lay your purchases down.

15) Avoid using restrooms where there are long, dim, hallways.

16) Do not use arcades or video stores as babysitters for children of any age. Predators are waiting.

17) Make regular trips to your car so that you’re not over burden.

18) Save your most expensive purchases for last. Go straight home. Do not stop afterwards for lunch or dinner.

19) Do not carry big packages that obstruct your view.

20) Have your keys in your hand when exiting the store. Walk with authority. Check backseat and under car. Lock door immediately.

21) Be aware of approaching strangers. Con artists may try various methods to distract you.

22) Stow your purchases in the trunk. Never in the backseat. Remember a thief doesn’t care if you have to replace your car window.

23) If you see what looks to be a parking ticket under your wiper, ignore it and pull away. Check it at another location.

24) Never go home if you think you’re being followed. Go to a busy, well-lit safe place.

25) Even though you have a zillion things on your mind, stay alert, don’t be the easy target and have a wonderful holiday.

If you have another tip or experience relating to a scary experience, please share. Also everyone commenting will be entered into a drawing for a 2010 pocket calendar. This week, I’m picking three winners.

One more thing, I'll be blogging on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog this Friday, Nov 20. It's my Birthday. Topic; A Holiday Writing Recipe. I hope you'll stop by.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice From The Bartender In The Sky

Late last evening, feeling angst and sporting a headache that throbbed against my skull, I took a walk in the dark. My only companion, the moon. With his hair over one eye, he watched over me—saved me from the dark shadows. I gazed up into his face and wondered about the billions of people who’ve gone on to the next world before me, the ones who had dumped their troubles on him. The ones who had shared with him their dreams. The ones who had laughed and loved under his twilight.

I wondered about their stories. Some are known by all of us. Some by a few.
As I walked, I gaze over the valley that was my great grandparent’s farm, now divided among their children’s children. I know my great grandparent’s names. I can tell you they lay in the cemetery on the rise to the east. I can tell you their birth and death dates. However, I don’t know what they were like as people. Did they enjoy music or reading? Were reserve or outgoing? What was their favorite time of the year? Or their favorite foods? Did they believe and trust in the Almighty? What were their dreams?

We have pictures of course with names scribbled on the back, but by who? We have ledgers and invoices of transactions stored in the old farm house attic, but no personal memoirs. Knowing this, sadness crept in my heart as I crossed an open field. I wished someone had left behind their words for me. Told me who they were. Left a clue as to who I called my pass.

At that moment, the moon winked at me and from within I heard, “You were given the gift of the written word. Why haven’t you left behind words for your children or grandchildren or great grandchildren? Not all will seek them, but there will be one who will. Like you, they will cherish the memories you share and pass them on to another who well cherish their heritage. And so on.”

Stunned, I gaped into his one eye. The ancient man was right. He winked again and turned into a cloud, probably to advise someone else. I finished one swallow of crisp night and with a light step headed for home. I pulled from a drawer a diary given to me one Christmas years ago and wrote; November 8, 2009. Within these pages you will come to know who I was, what I felt passionate about, and what were my dreams. My hope is I will teach something of the pass, something that will make you a stronger person and that I’ll touch you in some way. With love, your heritage.

Note: Everyone leaving a comment will entered into a drawing on November 14 at 8pm est for a 2010 pocket calendar.