Friday, December 23, 2011

Grab 'em, hold 'em and tell them you love them...

Yesterday our little college community found out we had suffered another loss. A student, close to graduation has died. His parents will now move through this holiday season without their child.

Several people I know are recently separated or divorced after decades of being married. The families are moving through this holiday season trying to figure out a new definition of "family" and looking for peace and blessings to fill the spaces left by these changes.

On Facebook I heard of a friend of a friend whose 5 year old son is dying from an incurable disease. The family is hoping to have one more Christmas with their precious boy.

And just like that my week long cold/coughing spell seems utterly inconsequential. A minor inconvenience. If ever there were a time of year to remember our blessings, to grab those we hold dear, who are the joy and heart of our lives, and tell them we love them, it is RIGHT.NOW.

To my mother, father, brother and his family, to Bob, Cooper and all my friends, thank you for being in my life and I love you all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The One in Which I Defend "Lying" to My Kid...

It has come to my attention recently, on places like Babble Voices and some other blogs, or on Facebook, that some people think it is a bad thing, a scarring and horrible crime against humanity to encourage your child to believe in Santa.

What horrible, terrible, very bad, no good thing happened to these people in their childhood? Childhoods? Whatever...what exactly went wrong one day for them that the joy, the mystery, the HAPPINESS that is embodied by that jolly man in a red suit with his eight tiny reindeer lost it's jingle jangle jazz?

I have a newly minted 5 year old son. We did not go to visit the mall Santa his first Christmas on this earth as he was one month old and a preemie. I was sure he would contract ebola if we went near the mall that first month. I might have been functioning under the irrational influence of mommy hormones and the drugs they gave me during the delivery to keep me from dying. But every year since, we have been to see our Santa. It has been the same Santa every year. And he is a good Santa. He is not scary, he does not smell. (I would know too. I have the nose of a blood hound.) He is kind and gentle and has a soft Kentucky accent. There was only one year, when Cooper was 3, that Cooper screamed bloody murder, and that was not because of Santa. It was bad timing on our part and a long line. When it came time to get Cooper to sit with him, I said "I don't know how this is going to go" and Santa said "Bring it."

Cooper loves the whole concept of Santa. The kid is a born consumer. But he GETS it. He understands the magic around the holiday, the suspense, the spirit of both giving and receiving. We watch almost every holiday special there is, so he has seen many differing messages about how Santa gets around, how the whole sleigh and sack of toys thing might work. He is savvy enough to question the logic behind it all, but still believes it is all possible. Because it is MAGIC.

We have had the chance to talk about the Santa legend what his backstory is, how Santa came to be the dude we know today. This year I purposefully included Cooper in the process of selecting things to buy to give to a charity, and in what to buy through Heifer Internationalso he understands that there are people in this world who don't have much, if anything, and don't get presents like he does. That it is important to give.

I don't consider it LYING when we celebrate the holiday and encourage him to believe in Santa. Because it isn't about whether Santa really exists. It is about embracing, reveling in, the magic of the season. To believe in joy, wonder and at least this year, use the Advent calendar as a way to reinforce learning our numbers and counting to 25. So hands off the mystery all you Scrooges. This gal believes in Santa and her kid will too for as long as he is willing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I don't like change...

I am not generally a fan of change. Even good change. It is, well, CHANGE. Ask my parents. Moving from one home to another was always devastating for me as a kid. Even though the new house was sometimes bigger, newer, in a better school system (like I noticed that kind of thing THEN).

You see, I nest. I like my THINGS. My bits and bobs and doodads. When I was pregnant, (which, in case you are not aware, is like the MOTHERLOAD of change, no pun intended,) in a fit of prenatal nesting/cleaning I "decluttered" the house, thinking I needed to protect this little bit of a person who would not be crawling much less walking for 9 months, from the more dangerous breakable, chokable items. I put some of the "precious" mementos away, and 5 years later still live without them. Some have been sold at the annual yard sale, some are still just put away in the attic.

But the point of this is about change. I have been in my current office for almost 10 years. When I first started at this job my office was on the second floor of this house which is an office building. About a year later I and my assistant director relocated to the first floor. I got a newly constructed office space that had previously been a room with pink carpet and two large copiers in it. It has LOTS of light and a back door through which I come and go and is also useful for getting a great cross breeze on lovely days.

This is the door, and one huge window.

As you can see from these pictures, there is great light, and I have a lot of plants. I can't help it. Wherever I go, I grow plants. My dining room is like a botantical garden right now because I have moved some plants inside for the winter which live out on our deck during the summer and fall.

Anyway, I love this office. And in a few weeks I have to move to a different office, back on the second floor. It is a nice enough office, the one upstairs. It is not a lovely shade of blue, Nantucket Fog by Benjamin Moore to be precise, but it is a nice shade of pale green. But I will miss this office and all its lovely light. And cross breezes. The one upstairs has windows, but the ceiling is not as high as in this one, so they are not as big, and the cross breeze won't be there.

There are positives to being in the new office. Where I am now is very accessible to everyone coming into the building whether they are here to see me or not. So I get to be the building receptionist a lot. The copier/printer for the building is right outside of my office. This means I have become the go to person for any paper jam or other technical malfunction of said machine. I won't miss being a very well paid administrative assistant, is what I am saying. Also my current office is always 10 degrees colder than the rest of the building. Since this was once a house, I am in what was probably a pantry with a porch. Half of my office sits over open space, on stilts. It is not very well insulated. In February I have the space heater running all the time and there is a distinct breeze blowing in from the back wall. The new office will not have the heat problem, and is in a location that will not be the first stop for people seeking the financial aid office, or any office for that matter. So I will be able to get more done without as many interruptions.

The one creature that may have the hardest time adjusting to this change is Caper, my boss's dog. She comes to work every day, and every day upon entering the building she comes bounding into my office, looking for love and treat. Mostly a treat. After the move she will be bounding into the office of our director for institutional research. She will have to be reprogrammed to come upstairs. I hope she does, or else I will have to leave a supply of treats with the new office resident. She also hangs out with me when her mother leaves the building, which means she will have to come upstairs in the future. If there was a creature whose habits were more ingrained than mine, it would be Caper. This is going to be hard on us all.

Caper under my desk today...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My life in instagram moments...

Life has been CA-RAZY and busy and while I noodle around reading other people's posts and facebook and twitter, I spend most of my time recording my life in pictures with my iPhone, then posting them on Instagram. Here is my life recently...
Cooper has a best friend at school, who came over for a play date today. Poptarts, Rudolph on TV, best friend, what more can you ask for.

At the park...

Cooper helping put up the tree.

Me, getting a much needed refresh on the highlights.

Cooper as Ironman, relaxing before bed.

I spent some time recently taking pictures in a local graveyard. I find them beautiful and fascinating in the fall and winter. I hope to get more once it snows around here.

Things are going to slow down around here, I hope for the next few weeks, and we are not traveling for the holidays, so I hope to catch up on some things. I am also turning over in my head a plan, something that I have wanted to do for a long time, that would not replace what I do full time professionally, but could add some fun and joy to it if I can make it work. So I hope to spend some time trying to work out a concrete plan. I may ask the internets for advice in the near future too. Stay tooned!