Let’s Make it Advent to Remember

There are only 25 days left until Christmas. Yes, I count them. It all stems from the fact that as kids, we had this great advent calendar that my Aunt Sara made. It is a big felt tree with all the days on the side and as each day goes by, you get to put an ornament on the tree. Day one was always the star and Day 25 was always a Santa Claus with a pack on his back. My brother would get the odds and I would get the evens, but we always split the star and Santa between us, because they were the coolest ones. We loved that tree! Tomorrow is the first of the month and if I was home, I would probably be fighting over the star with Matt. However, I am not home, so Mom gets to fight over the star with Dad now instead.

The advent calendar gives you a heightened sense of anticipation, which is a huge part of the fun of Christmas. If it were only about the one day, it would not be nearly as fun. It is about the frosty air, the snow, the mistletoe, the Christmas cards, the decorating, the spending money, buying gifts, imagining people loving the gifts…It is about Christmas movies and songs and general joy. I know, I sound like a giddy schoolgirl, but my mother taught me that it is not all about the presents, that it is about a feeling. And also, I am a giddy schoolgirl. That is what Christmas is!

Sometimes it is hard to remember the giddy feeling. When I worked at Nordys, we really got sick of Christmas. The decorations went up Thanksgiving Day. The cheesy Christmas music played on a continuously looped track all day every day. The shoppers were annoyed and frustrated and annoying and frustrating. The traffic was horrible. The tourists were ooohing and aahing and walking oh so slowly as they gawped at the gaily decorated Macy’s shop windows. We opened at 6. We closed at 11. We got no sleep and no time to do our own Christmas shopping, and even if we did, we couldn’t get inside any of the stores because of all the people in the way. Oh it made me want to go home and get in bed and forget it all. It made me crazy sometimes.

However, I am in a better place now; I’ve finished my Christmas shopping (a lot of it online – thank God for the internet) I have sent cards, I have decorated, I have spent money and now I am ready to put the Muppet Christmas Carol on and sing along like a giddy schoolgirl.


Gobble, Gobble.

Yes, it is that time of year again. Time to sit down with your loved ones and give thanks that we have all made it through another year and are here together once more. Thanksgiving means so many differernt things to each different person. To me it means family most of all, but Thanksgiving also wouldn't be the same without the most iconic thing of all -- the turkey.

Yes, to many of us turkey sybolizes Thanksgiving. It is a ritual. We buy it, or it some cases kill it, clean it, cook it, carve it, eat it, put it away, eat it again, strip it and then make soup out of it. A little turkey goes a long way... I realize that the turkey is important. However, having not eaten meat in about...a dozen years or so, I can personally do without the turkey. Luckily, there are a few alternatives.

1. When in Rome...When I was in Turkey (ha - no pun intended) for Thanksgiving, my friend and I searched for days for a shop with a turkey or something similar to a turkey, but to no avail. All we found was a rotiserie chicken, which I was told was quite good. But NOT turkey.

2. Can a Loaf Really Be A Good Substitute?...This year I am going to try for the first time, Tofurkey, the fake turkey. Regardless of what you may think, it is NOT shaped like a turkey (I think there was an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where they eat a turkey shaped tofu turkey). It is shaped like a meatloaf (see pic). I have never tried it, but I am sure it tastes similar to a lot of other tofu-"meat" products. NOT like turkey.

3. Or You Can Really Overdo It...Folks in Louisiana like meat. They like all meats...Beef, Pork, Crawfish, Fish, Chicken, Turkey, Duck...So why not put as many meats together as possible and enjoy them all at once. Enter the "Turducken". The Turducken is a Chicken stuffed inside a Duck which is then in turn stuffed inside the Turkey. Oh and even better...Let's fry it! Now they know how to cook...but is this really turkey? (see pic)

So, there are many ways to enjoy your holiday traditions, be it the food fight with uncle Jim or the turkey, any which way you may like it. The bottom line is that you enjoy them, no matter what they are!


Holly Jolly Christmas

I was flipping through the radio stations on my way to work this morning and as I was scanning through, I heard something that really floored me. There was Bing, singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. Is it really? It’s not in Louisiana. Actually this morning, it was about 45 degrees in Baton Rouge, which is quite cold for this area. However, it does not look like Christmas to me! Christmas is snow and presents and family. I don’t have any of those things here.

I remember when I used to work at Nordstrom; we used to wait to put up the Christmas decorations until the night of Thanksgiving. Even my Mom, who is a Christmas fanatic, waits until after Thanksgiving to decorate. Are we pushing Christmas more and more every year? Will we soon have holiday decorations up after Labor Day?

I hope not. I enjoy Christmas. I like shopping for people; I like the holiday cheer; I like the frosty air, the snow, the stockings… However, like anything else, if we get too used to it, it becomes mundane. And that is the last thing I want – Christmas is meant to be special! So, Bing, go ahead and sing your song, but please, please don’t get Christmas started too early!


5K Or Bust!

Since the August Half Marathon I have not been running very much. So when my friend Bricker said he was going to sign up for a couple of 5K races, I kind of hemmed and hawed for a bit before I decided to shut up and sign up! Bricker used to be..how shall I say...not so healthy. A year ago, he weighed maybe 250, smoked, drank and ate lots of large Louisiana meals. He has since got his s**t together and I am so proud of him. It is the least I can do to support him.

Or so that is what I thought I was doing. As it turns out, he could beat me any day! Well - can, could and HAS! The first race we ran together was the Gumbo Festival 5K. We had never really run together, so I had no idea what his pace or style was. We ran for about 3/4 of a mile together and then he took off like a shot. He ended up coming in about a minute before me, which when running a 3.1 mile race is a lot.

This week we have been running together, and then today we had another 5K race (Crescent City Fall Classic) and he beat me again! He only beat me by about 15 seconds this time though... Results to follow, but we both got about 25:40.

It is great to have someone to run with and to pace yourself against. It really makes it so much easier. When I run alone I get bored and unmotivated. But thanks to Chris, I am back in the game!

Sometimes I Wonder...

...why people sit in the drive thru lane when there are about a dozen cars in line and nobody inside.

...why people don't respond to an evite. You know they looked at it. But then they don't reply. Isn't the whole point of the evite to figure out how many people are going? Why can't they just respond? There is an option for "no" and for "maybe". I don't see why it is so difficult.

...why people don't use their turn signals. What do they think they are there for, asthetics? Actually, it would seem obvious what they are for...it is right in the name - "TURN" "SIGNAL". Yes, you SIGNAL and THEN you TURN!


All Work and No Play...

...makes Jack a dull boy, right? It also makes me a sleep deprived grandmother. Yeah, I have always been kind of a grandma; I am the one who goes to bed early and gets up early, who turns down happy hour to go home and knit (no, I am NOT kidding) or read, who spends one’s free time writing Christmas cards and thank you cards and journals...boring, right? Yup. That’s me.

Anyway, if you thought I was bad before, you should see me now. I recently moved to Baton Rouge, but am still required to come to New Orleans from time to time to attend meetings or do site visits. So, I am frequently driving back and forth from one office to the other (about 70 miles one way). This, along with 10 hours of work a day, does not leave much room for anything else. My routine is becoming very tiring. I get up around 4:30 a.m. and go to bed around 9. I run approximately an hour to an hour and a half a day. I eat fruit and sandwich for lunch while in the car on the way to a meeting. Phew. I don’t see how people do it for such long periods of time.

I used to go to school and work at the same time and it was similar to this. I got up at 5:30 to make it to a 7 o’clock class on time, then went straight from school to work and worked until 10 at night, so didn’t get home until 11 p.m. However, I have definitely gotten out of the habit of doing that! I have gotten spoiled by my free time. I have started to take it for granted. I guess this is a wake up call (fitting – since it seems like I am getting less sleep). Wake up and smell the...

Luckily I only have to stay in Baton Rouge for a few more weeks. I will be so happy when I am back living in New Orleans, where it only takes me 10 minutes to get to the office, where I can walk to the restaurants and bars downtown, where I can pop home for lunch, where I can visit with my friends... I will try not to take all of that for granted the next time around.