Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday. Humph! Who needs it.

Got a birthday tomorrow? If you're from Samoa, let me be the first to say, "I'm sorry."

Yep, those crazy cats down in Samoa have decided to just get rid of Saturday, December 30, 2011. When December 29 turns to midnight, their calendar will jump to December 31.

A whole day just wiped away.

Personally, I think losing a perfectly good Friday is nuts. I'd kick a Monday out long before a Friday, but that's just me.

In case you hadn't heard, Samoa has decided to move itself. Well, actually the island won't budge an inch, but somewhere in imagination station they are moving to the other side of the International Date Line.

They're tired of doing business a day late with Australia and New Zealand. Apparently those Samoans nearly spit their communion on Sundays knowing their neighboring Aussies are doing business.

Of course the move hasn't come without its fair share of criticism. Particularly from the tourism industry. Since Samoa was the last place in the world to see the sun set, it was quite the destination for the world's romantics. (The tourist folks aren't finding the distinction of being the 'first place to see the dawn' quite as lucrative.)

But romance can be salvaged - because you can celebrate an anniversary, wedding, or birthday in Samoa and then jump on a plane for a quick 1-hour trip to American Samoa and celebrate the glorious event twice.

There is one definite perk for employees in Samoa. Employers are expected to pay their staff for the work day that never happened.

Cha-ching. Now that's what you call makin' an easy buck.

I gotta hand it to those Samoans, though. When you can make a day simply disappear, you've got some power. It didn't take much to get buy-in though. The business sector has been waiting for this day much like a young child waits for Christmas.

Frankly, they're tired of coming in on Sundays to do "urgent Monday" business with a New Zealander. If they waited until Monday, then it was really Tuesday for their consumer.

Hey, I get it. I have a tough time waiting the 3 minutes it takes for my popcorn to pop. I suspect waiting a day or two to get some service could get annoying.

Those Samoans must be pretty easy-going people, though. (I suppose living on a beach all the time would keep you mellow.) Turns out they are accustomed to wild changes.

Just a couple years ago their government decided to change traffic and move motorists to the other side of the road. Yep. Try driving on the right side of the road all your life and then suddenly moving to the left.

I would think it would be a lot tougher to adapt to that than just skipping a day on the calendar.

Why did they shift those cars? Pretty much for the same reason: other countries nearby were doing it and they didn't want to feel left out.

So it makes you wonder if those Samoans are really about progressing business deals or if they simply can't handle peer pressure.

The truth is, those Samoans aren't losing anything, really. 2012 is a leap year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It has nothing to do with wrestling or a 1950s fraternity badge. But I'm a sucker for pinning.

I have a new love.

It's name is Pinterest.

If you don't know of what I speak, then I first must gasp.


And then tell you life is better with Pinterest in it. You must discover my joy.

It isn't just a website.

It isn't just a time swallower (which, indeed it is).

In a word, it's BRILLIANT.

To take the definition from the site, "Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web... Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."

Since I get a huge thrill out of creativity and usefulness (and I can't muster up either on my own), Pinterest is the brain I wish I had.

Because I get to go inside the brain of tons of outrageously creative and smart people in a matter of minutes.

And then steal any portions of that brain that I want.

It is inspiring, helpful, practical and genius. And I love it. Frankly, I've found it impossible to live without it.

Particularly as I prepare for the Christmas season - decor, treats and such - I just scope out ideas on Pinterest and -


the ideas are endless.

Then there are the inspirational or funny quotes that fill you with hope and laughter. It's like living in a continual Wonderland!

Pinterest makes you look good. It makes your house look good. It makes your dinner table look good. It makes your kids, your wedding, your dog and even that old suitcase collecting dust in your closet look good. (Did you know it could become an accent CHAIR?!?)

I'm not even kidding.

On ONE page, you can find 100th birthday party ideas, a Phineas and Ferb DIY sandwich, a Starbucks bottle recycled into a snowman decoration, and mad photography skills.

I think I hear Martha Stewart crying.

It's eliminated the need to buy magazines. Or watch HGTV. In fact, even Googling decorating ideas seems slow and tedious now.

Because I. have. Pinterest.

I only wish I had thought of it. But that would have taken creativity. Which means I would've needed Pinterest...

to develop Pinterest.

Excuse me, but I must go. I have streamers calling me to roll and twist them into a flower centerpiece for my Christmas table. Oh, and I'll be making miniature mugs out of marshmallows and candy canes later.

You should really come over.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Falling for Christmas

You know those TV shows where someone is falling to their death from an 18-story building and their "whole life flashes before their eyes"? I think Christmas is a lot like that.

Okay, not the death part. The last part. Where your life flashes before you.

Last night I was sitting in our family room looking at our Christmas tree. I carefully eyed every ornament - each one precious in its own right.

The ones that depict something significant for each year of our children's lives. The ones those same children worked tirelessly on in school, leaving their classroom floors dotted with glue and glitter - and my tree shimmering.

The ones from friends old and new. The silly ones, the sentimental ones, and even some shiny, store-bought ones that have no attached meaning at all other than at some point I wanted my tree to be made up of more than just popsicle sticks and construction paper.

But soon my gaze catches one particular ornament - a framed picture of my two oldest children as mere babies, donning their adorable Christmas duds.

And it begins.

That "life flashing" stuff. Because it has gone fa la la la la faaaast.

Go ahead, let the dreamy, taking-you-back-in-time music from sitcoms play in your head...

I'm in my childhood home, racing from room to room because my older sisters are convincing me Santa and his reindeer were flying around just outside our house - if I could just get to the right window fast enough I would see them. UGH! The speedy crew eluded me constantly!

The year I begged incessantly for a good 10 months for a Ziggy doll. (I did get it!)

The Christmas treats that my mother spread through the kitchen in red, white and green ceramic dishes pulled out for only this occasion.

Of course, there's the traditional park-it-in-front-of-the-TV-every-Friday-night to watch Rudolph, Frosty or It's a Wonderful Life. It's fun to watch those with my own kids now, and how funny it is to see how far technology and cinematography have come over the years!

Fast forward to the traditions I've made with my own family:

Gingerbread houses, adding a new Christmas book to our annual collection, ornaments, baking, and snapping photos to capture a slice of time.

But no matter how much I miss those chubby cheeks and that wispy baby hair, the photo ornament on my tree is still just a reminder of one Christmas in the midst of many.

And not the most important one.

Remember the first Christmas. That was no slice of time. That was the start of eternity.

A young woman, her husband and a tiny baby. In a barn, mind you.

But in that stinky barn was the best news ever. The news of Christmas.

Because from childhood to adulthood to parenthood and beyond, Christmas - at its very core - is very simple.

Now you're probably thinking, "SIMPLE!? Then you haven't seen my neighbor's light display! Or the flurry of activity down at the mall!"

For just a moment, forget about the doorbuster deals, how you'll avoid your drunk boss at the office party, and that you just ran out of scotch tape.

Step into your family room and look at your tree.

Go ahead, find it.

Find that one ornament.

That sends you...

...falling, too.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I'll admit it. I love local television news.

Frankly, it cracks me up. Because sometimes it simply makes no sense.

Virtually every time I watch, there is something that makes me have to hit the rewind button because I can hardly believe my eyes/ears.

Now I'm not talking about getting a second look at a guy on-the-run from the police or even hearing a cute sound byte from an elementary kid.

I mean the did-I-just-see-what-I-think-I-saw-because-that-doesn't-fit aspect of a story.

For instance, the other night there was a story about day care centers specializing in care for special needs children. Very nice story concept, but the video they showed as the reporter spoke included shots of the young children playing...with a very large plastic bag.

"Keep out of reach of children. Suffocation hazard." comes to mind.

Somehow I don't think video like that conveys the message you want to send when attempting to advertise that you're willing to take in special needs kids.

I'm also a bit surprised at a story that ran tonight about some underprivileged kids who were able to go on a $50 shopping spree in Walmart, courtesy of our local police department.

Again, wonderful concept. Great warm and fuzzy story about our dear public servants giving back to the community.

But these are "underprivileged kids" according to the story.

And one child starts rattling off what she was able to get with her $50.

In the midst of her list, she says, "A DS game..."

Now, wouldn't that imply that the child has a DS at home?

I didn't realize underprivileged kids owned $150 electronic toys.

Maybe she got it to give as a gift? I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Otherwise, someone's definition of "underprivileged" is a bit off from mine. Which could very well be the case.

And finally, I'll end on probably the most mind-boggling news event that ever occurs in this great state of mine.

It's when - in this upper Midwestern community where we are no strangers to snow, wind chills and ice - the weather guy alerts us with a "Winter Weather Advisory."

Really? You have to advise me, on a December day, that I will be experiencing winter weather?

It goes without saying, doesn't it?

Uh, it's gonna be cold and likely it will snow.

Yes. That's pretty much the definition of winter here.

I love that they waste 4 minutes on it.

Fortunately, I've already re-wound a few stories back because I couldn't believe the little kid was actually running through the living room with a plastic bag...and that means I can fast-forward a bit.

Winter Weather Advisory only gets 30 seconds of my time.

But now we're in a commercial break.

And don't even get me started on some of those painful-to-watch local commercials.