On Giving Thanks

November 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Thursday, many of us will be gathered around a table groaning from the load of too many delicious things to eat.

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

English: Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ll talk about things mundane and magnificent. Like the fact that Thanksgiving falls on November 22nd and seems to be coming early this year (is it ever too early to give thanks?). Or the fact that so many of us in the Northeast had our lives shaken up mere weeks ago by hurricanesuperfrankenstorm Sandy and that we’re so incredibly fortunate to have our lives creeping back to a semblance of normalcy. And we’ll also send up a guilty prayer for those who are still weeks if not months away from anything even remotely resembling normalcy.

And we’ll pass the yams and marvel at the pies and then steal covert (or more obvious) glances at our smartphones. We might update our Facebook pages with pictures of our food or relatives and tweet clever or snarky things about the onerous responsibility of spending an entire day with family and being forced to muse upon things that we’re thankful for.

But for one day, we will slow down and mostly shut off and give thanks. And for that I’m truly grateful.

I’m grateful for a lot this year. For health. For family. For love. For friendship, the real kind, not the click and like kind. For the ability to make things better as they’re getting better. And for holding fast to, and then rediscovering my innate and hard-won optimism after a sandstorm of challenges.

So have I still been pruning my belongings regularly? Yes and no. And I hope to tell you more about it and more frequently than I have been.

In the meantime, thank you for sticking around if you’ve stuck around.


September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Remember the youthful trend of bribing people with the promise to be someone’s best friend? You’d negotiate the exchange of a cookie or coveted seat on the school bus for a pal’s ephemeral elevated allegiance. Until the next grade-schooler came up with a more tempting option and you were back to being simply friends again.

1950s - Painted Ladies - Best Friends Forever

Image by clotho98 via Flickr

These days online friendships are frequently measured by comments, likes and retweets. And offline? It’s complicated.

Time was, we’d pick up the phone for a long chat with nearly any of our friends. Now family, circumstance, career and technology have most of us playing phone/text/Facebook/Twitter/e-mail tag and trying to find an ever elusive mutually convenient time to catch up.

It’s exhausting.

It’s confusing.

It makes me question the nature of true friendships and revisit the thoughts behind an earlier post on pruning old friendships.

While I still have my core group of BFFs, some people I once considered close friends have become those with whom I [at best] share an occasional comment or inside joke on a shared social network. It’s all very civilized, but it feels crowded and sometimes fake.

Where a friendship might have once naturally run its course, it now seems to travel through a more circuitous path depending on shared public profiles. In many ways it was easier when a break-up was more permanent and moving on meant just that.

These days there seems to be the pull to publicly cling to as many former friends and colleagues as possible at the risk of losing sight of the more important and treasured friendships and relationships.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure that I want everyone who was once in my life to remain there. I didn’t love everything about high school and I certainly didn’t love everyone I went to school with – why would I want to know what their dog ate for breakfast?

I’m still trying to figure out how to tackle that particular persistent clutter without seeming anti-social-networking.

Treasures from Trash

August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve spent a good portion of the last few weeks on Fake-Cation. I use my own variant, fake-cation, instead of more recently mainstream, accepted and twee staycation (or its dozens of spawns), because while I was mostly local, I ended up working and pitching, thereby making it more faux time off than fabulous escape. That burst of activity coupled with earthquakes and hurricanes and a rumored tornado (oh my) made my time off more eventful than restful.

And yet here I am refreshed and ready for big things this autumn. I should clarify, big good things this autumn. I could do without additional drama.

But on to the real thought of the day. Sometimes when you’re clearing things out you may discover a treasured object or something lost long ago. It doesn’t have to be buried treasure- sometimes a misplaced earring or bottle of shampoo makes you rethink your purchasing habits of the last few months. Instead of regret, per se, you might be filled with a memory of a purchasing things that worked for you instead of the ones most heavily advertised or highly priced. In these instances, it can encourage you to also start buying based not only on need or price- but based on quality, consistency and reliability.

So much more fun to have one that you love instead of eleven that fill you with post buyer’s remorse shame.

The First Setback

June 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

My sister likes to use an old Yiddish saying that means something to the effect of- the first fight is the best fight. In other words, you show the other person what you’re made of-  if it means that you don’t back down or are willing to compromise, it’s that first real fight that sets the stage for future discord.  Only it’s a lot harder to fight your own nature or inclinations.

Boxing Gloves

Image via Wikipedia

After a public announcement of the need to divest myself of all of the extras, I realize that it isn’t a one time clean up I’m after, but rather a chipping away of a lifetime’s worth of bad habits. Whether brought on by a love of beauty or the American shopping ideal, I’ve become slightly overwhelmed by the things that surround me on a daily basis. And now that I want to pare it all down, I have to decide where to begin. Is is the kitchen, the room I’ve affectionately nicknamed ‘the prize closet?’ or is it the half of my bedroom that doubles as a somewhat dusty gym  (complete with a six foot tall Bowflex)? Do I rework my space to suit my aesthetic, or strip it all down and start from scratch? Your guess is as good as mine.

If I had my druthers, I’d magically migrate to a pristine Eichler house with enough space so that my thoughts don’t crowd in on me. Realistically though, until I’m ready to follow that dream, I need to tailor my living space as well as my head space.

So round one Rachel-0 Bad Habits-1

(and here’s what I dream about)

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