Christmas Music Commute

I love Christmas music. I am one of those who, on December 1, will find the radio station that plays ALL CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALL THE TIME and keep the dial parked there until December 25. Our radio stations in Tulsa have changed this year and the station that usually plays all the Christmas music is now playing ALL 80s ALL THE TIME (and if you think I don’t adore the crap outta that, then you don’t know me very well), but thankfully a local Christian station stepped up to the plate and has our Yuletide musical needs covered.

This morning I heard a song that is not new, but that I had never heard before, and it is my new favorite. It’s just such a cute song and I wanted to share it with you here. This is the unplugged version, which lends a certain rustic quality to the sweetness of the song.

Sidewalk Prophets Hey Moon from the Merry Christmas to You cd

Also, this morning, I heard this groovy little number and I won’t lie, there was much shoulder-shaking on the highway as I drove into work:

I so wish there was a video to this song with GoGo boots and pixie-haired dancers doing The Pony.

Percy Faith Orchestra Happy Holiday from the Christmas Is…album (ooooh, you can even get this one on vinyl!)

And then…a woman called into the station and requested ON PURPOSE the Christmas Shoes song *shudder*. Why do people have to be so mean? Aren’t we supposed to be kinder during the holidays? This woman, bless her heart, said this song was one of her favorites. And she was serious! I just can’t even with that song…JUST. CAN’T. EVEN. I mean, if you like this song, great, but please let me help you in your need of musical taste. That song is not real music – it’s emotional propaganda whose sole purpose is to make you cry. I don’t need anymore melodrama in my life…I live with two teenage girls who more than fill that need, so please take your syrupy sweet sad lyrics elsewhere. I’m not even going to link to the song – you can Google it if you haven’t heard it. (And this concludes the Grinch portion of my post today)

In related news, yesterday I overheard one of my coworkers saying that he hates Christmas carols. What??? How can anyone hate Christmas music? Anyway, being the sensitive-to-everyone’s-needs person that I am, I stampeded over to Youtube wherein I found and texted the following songs to my coworker:

 

 

And finally,

My coworker adores me now and is not at all annoyed. *snicker*

 

What are your favorite Christmas songs? Or conversely, if you also are not a fan of the Christmas music, which one do you like the least?

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Listen Up!

Since I am so avant garde, so cutting edge, so on the brink of the next big thing, I have discovered a new type of media: stories told in an audio format. I believe they are referred to by the millennials as “podcasts”.

Go Google it…I’ll wait…

I like listening to podcasts while I work because it keeps me on task and makes the day a little more enjoyable. And there are as many different kinds of podcasts are there are genres of movies, so I think there really is something for everybody. These are some of my favorites:

When I need my faith in humanity restoredSincerly, Hueman

This is a newish podcast that tells stories about people who are making a difference in the world and having a positive impact. When you feel like the world is a hopeless place, this podcast will give you oodles of renewed optimism.

When I need to laugh: Mortified

Mortified is a series in which adults read from their childhood (mostly middle school/high school) diaries. Beware though, sometimes episodes can get a wee bit raunchy – not all episodes are that way, but a few are…just so ya know.

When I’m feeling sentimental or emotional: Terrible, Thanks for Asking and Strangers

I LOVE TTFA and Strangers mostly because the episodes stay with me  – I find myself thinking about them for hours after listening. These episodes make me feel all my feelings.

When I want that Stranger Things vibe to continue: The Polybius Conspiracy

Bobby claims he was abducted by the makers of a new arcade game back in the 80s. Follow this series when you want a bit of nostalgia for the days when you used to spend your Saturday afternoons (and all your dad’s quarters) at the arcade.

When I just want good storytelling: This American Life

Probably the granddaddy and gold star of podcasting, TAL is so good at what it does. With years and years of archives, there is no shortage of stories that will interest folks of all walks of life. This is what I listen to when I don’t know what I want to listen to.

Other notable audio gems: Serial (this is how I got started listening to podcasts), S Town, Missing Richard Simmons, In the Dark (I just started listening to this one – I’m only on episode 1).

So anyway, that should be enough to keep you busy for awhile. There are so many podcasts now that it’s hard to sort through them all. What are some of your favorites and when do you typically listen to them? Sound off below!

 

 

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Holiday Sanity Savers

Every year around this time, I start to get all panicky and sweaty and wonder how in the world am I ever going to get/buy/do everything that needs to be gotten/bought/done before December 25th?? Every year I think surely THIS will be the year that finds me  weeping uncontrollably into Santa’s beard when I pass by him in the department store and yet every year, I somehow make it through. All gifts end up wrapped and under the tree, all Christmas goodies get baked and delivered to neighbors, and on December 26th I high-five myself and give myself a pat on the back for making it through another holiday season.

I started to get that sweatypanicky feeling again today, but then I remembered that there has never been a Christmas, not a single one, where I wasn’t able to do All The Things. I had to remind myself that I’ve always had enough money for gifts, I’ve always managed to buy what I needed, and Christmas has never, as of yet, gone down in flames in a fiery crash of tinsel and bows.

I can handle this.

You can handle this.

WE CAN HANDLE THIS.

And because we have skills /technology/support at our disposal to help us do ALL THE CHRISTMAS-Y THINGS.

What might those things be? Glad you asked! Take a gander at what we’ve got going for us:

  • We can delegate. If you’re like me, you have kids who are nearly grown adults who are more than capable of clearing the clutter and vacuuming the living room so the house can be decorated. Or maybe you can call a friend over to help you clean and decorate. Or maybe you just hire someone to do it because you are just OVER IT this year and it will be money well spent. Point is, don’t do it all yourself by yourself – enlist the help of someone close to you (or someone you can pay, whatever).
  • We can schedule things ahead of time. Did you know that you can schedule a text message? I only recently learned of this amazing bit of technology and it is a game changer for me. Sometimes I want to send a text but the person receiving my text might be sleeping or in a meeting. With my Galaxy phone, I am able to compose the text, then schedule when I want the recipient to get it.  Need to send a text to Janet reminding her to bring cookies for the class party, but you know she’s getting a massage right now? Schedule that text to be received in 4 hours when you know she won’t be blissed out on lavender massage oil and Enya. Need to remind your college student to pick up a pie from the excellent bakery next to the university but you know he’s in class right now? Schedule it to be received when he gets out of class. See? Technology is a little bit helpful. *Edited to add: I’ve learned that this may only be an Android thing. Sorry for getting your hopes up iPhoners. 
  • We can adopt the “less is more” attitude towards Christmas decorating (and spending and eating): Did you know that there is no law that says you have to put up every single decorative holiday item you own???? Truly!! Pick out the things that you actually love and display them. It’s really okay if you don’t set out the ceramic Santa that Aunt Linda made in her Beginner Ceramics class that she took at the Vo-tech twelve years ago. Really, let’s just let that sad little guy stay in storage this year, okay?
  • We can embrace online shopping. I mean, if you haven’t already. Seriously, take advantage of the fact that you can have most of your gifts delivered right to your door. RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR. No crowds, no beleaguered sales-people who can’t answer your question, no impulse buys that blow your budget…only the soft clickety-clack of your keyboard or phone. Aaahhhhh. So nice and quiet.
  • We can take time to enjoy and appreciate the little things: Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while sipping hot cocoa, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, delivering some blankets and food to a grateful shelter (human or animal – either one is fine), the absolute silence of nature that comes with that first heavy snowfall (don’t you love that??? I love standing outside and being in awe of the quiet), snuggling up with those we love the most…let’s try and do more of these things this month, shall we?

I am going to try my hardest to not be a Grinch this year. I will enjoy this season and float through it with ease and grace and style…okay maybe I’ll just try not to trip while I gingerly tiptoe my way through it. Either way, I will remember to be mindful and appreciative of everything this month has to offer.

Do you have any Holiday Sanity Savers of your own? What do you rely on to make the season merry and bright? 

 

 

 

Thankful

In my last sad, depressing, Grinchy post, I lamented that I just don’t enjoy the holidays as much as I used to. I bemoaned the fact that it was all just too much pressure and too much money and too much time.

Well.

Let me tell you that I had one of the best Thanksgiving weekends I’ve had in a really long time. Grinch be gone! Maybe having low expectations is the secret to happiness?

I took a short road trip and got to visit with family I haven’t seen in years and HAD THE BEST TIME. I got to see my cousin and her kids, and my aunt, and then I jetted over to my hometown for a quick visit with my BFF and her family. (I’ve got a post brewing in my head about my hometown; I was overcome with nostalgia over the weekend and need to put it into words)

It was just so nice to be able to get out of town and see family, and the town of my childhood and feel connected to something again. My youngest daughter went with me and I got to show her the area where her mother grew up – I think she actually found it interesting!

So yes, now I am looking forward to this holiday season. I’m ready to put my tree up and decorate the house. I’m ready to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and make Christmas cookies. Can’t really say I’m ready to start shopping yet, but that will come.

I think I just needed a change in the Thanksgiving routine. Traditions are great, but when they become stale it’s time to switch it up and do something that feels fulfilling. And I am deeply fulfilled right now.

 

 

 

 

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How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety Like an Adult

It’s only Tuesday and I’ve already seen at least 5 articles this week on how to get through the holidays with your sanity intact. And I’ve read every one of them because I’m already feeling the strain.  No doubt, ’tis the season for all of our anxieties to come shining through like a flashlight in the face!

But doesn’t this seem wrong, somehow? Why do we feel obligated to put ourselves through this year after year? Yes I get that traditions are important but does being super stressed out have to be a tradition too?

Truth be told, I don’t enjoy the holidays any more. I have a hard time finding the joy in it all when it all just feels TOO MUCH. Too much pressure, too much money, too much food, too many things to do, people to see, places to go…and for what? So we can post some Norman Rockwellesque photos on social media? So we don’t disappoint someone in our family? So we can feel like we did it “right”? I feel like the whole thing needs to be reworked.

But until I’m able to escape to the Caribbean for the months of November and December (someday!), I’m going to have to suck it up and deal. And here’s how I plan to deal with it:

  • Radical Acceptance – these holidays are happening whether I like it or not. They just are. So I can accept that I am going to have to do things I’d really rather not do, but since I am an adult I will handle myself with maturity and grace. And then I’m going to reward myself for Adulting so well.
  • Cope Ahead – I can make a plan and do things ahead of time that will make the actual event easier to deal with. That might mean cooking a few dishes ahead of time, getting in some exercise so I feel better, getting more rest, or watching for things I need to go on sale (so I feel like I have at least a little bit of control over my money).
  • Improve the Moment – sadly the only thing I can think of here is having a nice glass of wine or some spiked punch. But maybe it also means having some neutral discussion topics on hand – movies, books, etc – so that if the conversation takes a ridiculous turn, I can steer it back to common ground (this could also be considered Coping Ahead, I think). Retreating to another room for five minutes to watch a funny cat video is also a good way to improve the moment and my mood if I feel like it’s getting to be too much.
  • Find Joy in the Little Things – when my kids all pull together to get the house clean while I’m at work on Wednesday, noshing on my mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing, that glorious nap that comes after the meal, Christmas music on the radio during my daily commute, A Charlie Brown Christmas (along with ALL the Christmas classics), driving around and looking at Christmas lights, baking treats with my kids, making that first batch of the peanut butter balls that makes my husband so happy…these are the things I’m going to focus on. These are the things I’m going to look forward to.
  • Writing – I’m going to write, write, write, either here or privately because I already feel better about everything since I sat down to write this post.

If you love this time of year and you feel like you are on top of it, more power to you (and also, I envy you)! But for the rest of us who tend to feel like we’re caught in the undercurrent of TOO MUCH, let’s just take it easy on ourselves, okay? Let’s agree to do what we can and let that be good enough. Let’s agree to take spectacular care of ourselves and maybe, just maybe we’ll surprise ourselves and come out on the other side of this with some good times and warm memories.

 

Holiday Gift Ideas (Subtitled: Things I want that you might want, too)

Dear Holiday Season: WE ARE IN YOU.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday only days away, now is the time to start thinking about what to get your loved ones, your liked ones, and your barely tolerated ones for Christmas. I love this time of year when my anxieties about money shoot through the roof! Which is why I tend to avoid Oprah’s Favorite Things because I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy an $800 mattress for anyone on my list. And is that really the kind of thing you buy for someone else??? I prefer to choose my own mattress, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of MY favorite things…things that are totally affordable and practical. Because wouldn’t that be embarrassing if we all showed up to the Christmas Eve party with a $400 cookware set??? (Incidentally, there is a list of Oprah’s Favorite Things for Under $50 that has some pretty cool stuff on it too.)

So let’s begin, shall we?

BOOKS

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance

 

I haven’t read this, but I think it looks fun. And it’s so preeeeetty!

 

And look at this cute lil fox!! Isn’t he adorable? Because sometimes you need to jot your ideas down in a cute lil notebook!
If foxes aren’t your thing, there are lots of other designs as well.

 

I don’t know…I just feel like this would be perfect for your 12 year old nephew or for that Millennial guy in your office whose name you drew for the Secret Santa.

FACE & BODY

I love this stuff so bad. Actually I kind of like the whole Tarte line, but this stuff is my favorite. And why not make it a set? I’ve had my eye on this Tarte eyeshadow palette for awhile now.

 

I canNOT STAND to wake up with mascara on my eyes, so every night before bed, I swipe my eyes with these. These would be great for Santa to put in someone’s stocking.

 

Oh man. THIS. This is my favorite favorite favorite body lotion. It smells like luxury and feels like rich Corinthian leather. I have the perfume that goes with this lotion and it smells divine also.

 

FOR THE GUYS

For those times when he wants a hammock but can’t find any trees:

You don’t even have to blow it up – just wave it around like you do a trash bag and it fills up with air instantly!

 

My 20 year old son has had a full beard since he was a senior in high school. Why it never occurred to me to get him something like this before is beyond me. (But he’ll be getting it this year for sure!)  Gotta keep that beard looking fresh for the ladies!

HOME STUFF

My BFF got these for me for my birthday and I absolutely love them! If you love Tyler candles, then you will love these thick card stock sheets that make your clothes smell beautiful, and they last quite a while.  The Glam Wash is excellent too (I was my robe and my favorite pjs in it), but it is a little pricier.

 

I am in love with this little clock! The cute fluffy birds, the old time-y font of the numbers, the slate gray color…this would be perfect on my night stand. (hint hint)

 

These are just a few ideas to get your started on your shopping.  I have a lot more ideas to add to this list, but frankly, I have run out of steam for today.  What are your go-to gift ideas? Have you started your shopping yet? Are you a Black Friday shopper or do you wait until Cyber Monday? Or are you more of the panic-at-the-last-minute shopper? I aspire to be finished by December 15th but I always seem to be shopping til December 23rd. Oh well, it all gets done eventually.

 

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Bad Food Combos That Just Need to Stop it Right Now

Hey Again.

So I just finished eating one of these:

And I thought I would like it when I saw it in the store. It’s LITERALLY just 1 apple and 20 blueberries all smooshed up. I like apples. I like blueberries. How bad could it be?

Well.

I really wanted to like it; I thought maybe it would be like a Fig Newton without the Newton, but sadly it was nothing like that. As soon as I bit into it, I remembered something very important: I don’t like the taste of dried apples. You would have thought this would have entered my mind beforehand, but it didn’t. And this bar tastes like a whole lotta dried apples. So it was no-go from the start, but I really like the idea of these bars. It’s literally just fruit that has been mashed together and formed into a bar. I mean, you could just grab an apple and a (very large) handful of blueberries and eat that, but if for some reason carrying around fresh produce just isn’t your bag, then these bars might be for you. There are a lot of other flavors, so it might be that a different flavor would taste better, but seeing as how apples are the main ingredient in all of them, I don’t think I would like them very much. I’ll just keep eating my apples the way God intended: in a pie with a scoop of ice cream on the side. (I’m kidding) (No I’m not)

But this whole idea got me thinking, what other foods sound good together but actually taste like death?  Another one for me is Greek yogurt and peanut butter. *shudder* I just can’t do it. I don’t think peanut butter should be tangy. Ever. OH! Celery and peanut butter. CanNOT deal with that. No. Mainly because I don’t like celery.

You know what else makes me mad? Canned soups. Sounds like a good idea, right? Make some soup, stick it in a can to be enjoyed at a later date. But why FOR THE LOVE OF INA GARTEN, WHY do all canned soups taste the same? Do they taste the same to you? They all taste like mixed vegetables to me…and not in a good way. Yick!! Maybe I’m just not eating the right kind of canned soups, but this is another thing I tend to pass on.

Also, Kale + anything at all ever. Go home Kale. Your 15 minutes are over.

So, what else? What other food combos should be banned? Is there some combo out there that everyone seems to love that you actually loathe? Fess up! Let the world (or at least those of us reading here) know what food combos you would ban if it were up to you!

 

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