December 26, 2017

Picture Perfect Christmas!

Christmas is the holy day/holiday commemorating the birth of Christ!  The Christmas Season has been dubbed; “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year”!  Whether you observe this holiday or not, it is virtually impossible to ignore the splendor that besieges you wherever you look at this time.  This holiday season I was inundated with visual representations of Christmas, some outstanding, others missing the mark entirely.  It didn’t matter to me because it really put the holiday season into prospective, because the meaning and rituals of the holiday change as you grow older.  As you get older, the holiday season is not solely about the presents, the traditions, or the foods you eat.  As you get older, the receiving of gifts is of little importance, traditions become memories as the people you have shared holidays with are no long living or no longer live close by, and foods that you normally associate with the holiday, you don’t pretend to like, when you really didn’t.  What made this holiday season, a true joy in the secular sense was the efforts of my neighbors, friends, and family with their effort to celebrate this Christmas!  So I share with you the pictures of the decorations I see when I walk in the daylight hours, drive by in the evening, some home pictures, and Jeff’s attempt to compete with our artistic neighbors.

Each morning Sean Patrick and I walk by this decorated tree that I equate to a train wreck!  It is fun and bizarre, brings a smile to my face, but is totally ridiculous!

Love the way this guy makes Sean Patrick howl with delight!  

Talk about attention to detail, I look for the elves who make the cookies when I walk by!

All year long this holly tree is a sight to see, yet it takes on a more significant meaning during the Christmas season!

Christmas Blooms!

Riding along side the river, it always makes me wonder why they put a Christmas tree on a dock!  Probably to put a smile on my face!

Last year Santa was riding a bicycle, this year he switched to a tractor!

Love this home with the understated lights, shooting star on the roof, and the deer antlers decorating the wreath.

A tasteful reminder of the reason for the season!

Christmas Eve!  Light up the night!

Our tree and decorations!

Jeff’s attempt to get into the game and light up the front of our home!

Nothing deep or profound to say about the holiday season!  I hope all enjoyed their holiday in the way they chose to observe or celebrate it.  Warm wishes to all and may we all have a pain free week.

 

November 28, 2017

Count Your Blessings!

Last Thursday as I was thoroughly enjoying our Thanksgiving feast,  I began to think about all the things I was grateful for. Living with a chronic pain makes it extremely difficult to stay positive and be able to express gratitude; rheumatoid arthritis and gratitude don’t seem to mix.  I continued to eat and think about the hardships the Pilgrims experienced, yet they dedicated a day for thanking God for their bounty of food they were blessed with.  What I realized was even though the Pilgrims experienced such hardships in the new world, they still expressed gratitude, leaving me to believe that pain or illnesses don’t necessarily have anything to do with feelings of appreciation. Gratitude  is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation.  So, me being treated for a chronic disease should have no bearing on my ability to express gratitude.  Thanksgiving 2017, I am grateful for:

My rheumatologist, for his ability to treat the disease and his efforts to ameliorate my level of pain.  

Sean Patrick, my personal trainer,  whether I’m happy, sad, or in pain, his love is constant and his commitment to me is unyielding.  

Family and friends in my life that stick around during challenging times.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, has made me mentally stronger and aware of my own body and taking good care of it.

Chatter strips on highways, help me stay in my own lane!

The opportunity available, living in a time that I can express my opinions in cyberspace!

The list is long and varied, but when you really put things in perspective, life may not be perfect, but it was never intended to be perfect. Life was intended to be lived and above all appreciated.  Have a great week!  M

 

 

November 21, 2017

It’s That Time Of The Year!

Since early October I have felt pressure to compose a gift guide in response to the intense advertising in magazines, on television, & other media outlets, sharing Christmas gift guides. Last year in early December I reacted to a gift guide I had read and responded to in my blog post A Jolly Thought!   This post addressed my disdain of suggestions of Christmas presents  specifically geared for individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  In retrospect, my blog post seemed to read as a polite rant ending with my suggestions of what any individual with or without Rheumatoid Arthritis would like.  Well, this holiday season is different.  I’ve come up with a holiday gift guide that consists of presents I have received and items I have purchased over the years that merit recognition.  This is my tried and true gift guide that I hope you enjoy!

My good friend Jackie is a tremendous gift giver!  She bestows presents on you that you would never think of buying or needing, but now would never want to live without!  The Henry and Friends™ gray cushion cover with Henry the Jack Russell Terrier proudly displayed, has found a home on my bed in both winter and summer.  

The monogrammed cotton, white with navy piping, J Crew Pajamas are an example of something I purchased for myself and think it would make a great present.  These pajamas are holding up beautifully after a multitude of washing and are comfortable and take up little space in a suitcase.  

 The two monogrammed Garnet Hill Signature Bath Sheets  are a Christmas present we received years ago that are still used a few times a week. Whenever I’m putting them into the washer I think about my niece Carla and how thoughtful the present was and how much we have used them.  Years have gone by and they are still plush and absorbent.  

The last item in the above picture is the coveted Fairmont Hotel bathrobe.  This full length, thick shawl collar, terry and velour bathrobe is a dream to own and wear.  This was last years present from my husband and hopefully he purchased it on the Fairmont Black Friday days.  This year all Fairmont Stores are 25% off everything from November 24-26th.  You could never do wrong with a cozy bathrobe!

The LL Bean Moonbeam Alarm Clock is the best alarm clock to wake up with.  The blinking light  before alarm sounds is a welcome change, as is the gentle sound of the alarm.  This retro looking alarm clock has a light up dial making it easy to read.  It has an electrical power source with a battery back up, as well as USB port.  What more could you ask for?

Lush Bath Bombs are my absolute favorites.  I love a good soak with one and particularly enjoy the soft water and the different scents of the bombs. The Luxury Lush Pud is a seasonal bath bomb that I enjoy with its lavender scent. The Reusable Bubble Bar Magic Wand turns your tube into a pink bubble bath with a candy scent that feels devine.   

Hope this gift guide is helpful, and your holiday shopping is as painless as mine!  Have a wonderful holiday week!

 

October 24, 2017

I Didn’t Get the Memo!!!!!!!

It has occurred to me that I am out of the loop in relationship to the holiday of “Halloween”!   Growing up in Boston, it was always freezing cold and we wore our winter coats under our store-bought costume.  Nothing was over the top, it was a short jaunt around the neighborhood trick-or-treating, and early to bed! My friends and I quit the trick-or-treating in the 4th grade, and looked forward to have November 1st off each year, in observation of All Saints Day!

Lately I have noticed the way Halloween has been turned into just another commercial come-on.  Homes are decorated to the nines and the decorations are no longer pumpkins on the porch, or a scarecrow here and there.  People are spending ghoulish amounts of money, not only to frighten us, but to compete with their neighbors.  I didn’t get the memo!  When did Halloween become the warm up for the upcoming winter holidays?  It occurred to me, Halloween has become corrupted by greed.  With all the displays in the stores before Labor Day and decorations spilling out of front yard graveyards, trick-or-treating is just one of the components of this commercialized holiday. It’s turning into a monthlong holiday with pop-up stores selling costumes, decorations, and Halloween makeup.  It’s no longer a simple holiday, some of the decorations and costumes are downright frightening.  

I may long for a simpler time, and not be part of the commercialism of Halloween, but I surely enjoy everyone’s efforts as you can see in my snapshots. Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2017

Do you really need a “Holiday Financial Game Plan”?

What a title for a blog post referring to the “most wonderful time of the year”! Some people look forward all year-long to the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, most commonly known as the “Holiday Season”.  Whether they look forward to the parties, seasonal foods, or gift giving, it is the “most wonderful time of the year” that can financially exhaust you.  Being of mature age, I’ve used different plans throughout the years ranging from Christmas Saving Clubs, shopping all year, and forensic planning, realizing marginal success.  Here are some tips that over the years have kept me out of the red, and able to sail into the New Year without a stack of bills.

$$$$ Set a budget for what you intend to spend, but don’t make the mistake I’ve made for years. I always came up with a list of people, on this list was their name, intended gift to purchase, and a box to check when purchased.  In retrospect, sorry for the recipients, whose presents were purchased last, not really, I just overcharged and was happy to be done.  I found a better way to handle holiday finances, set a realistic holiday budget that focuses on the amount of money you want to spend, not what you want to buy. This is a bigger challenge that it may seem. It has taken many failed attempts to get it right and not stack up debt, and then I realized most of the debt I incurred was a result of the additional food, liquor, forgotten presents, Christmas tree, entertainment, and the list could go on and on!  Since the expenses and the budget changes from year to year, you need to re-establish a budget early and accurately include all expenses in your budget as not to be short on money and dependent on credit cards.

$$$$ Budget in hand, how to make it happen. Pay cash! Sounds good, but I have difficulty doing so.  I like charging my purchases, stores keep track of what was paid for an item and if you lose your receipt and need a return, you get the price you pay, not the sale price.  Since my budget is based on what I comfortably can spend and pay off immediately, I’m able to do this with pretty good success. My motivation comes from memories of paying off high-interest charge cards into April or May on presents I can’t remember.  So, starting off preparing for the holiday season early (October), you are able to take your time getting presents and diminishing impulse buying. 

$$$$ In the past some of the things that have gotten me into trouble was overspending to get rewards. Last year on cyber Monday at a department store purchasing a lipstick, I was invited (sarcasm) to spend $28 more and receive a free gift worth $125. I fell for it, and received a bunch of samples in a naugahyde bag, how foolish and frivolous!  Normally, I would blog about the products in the free gift, but, I was so rip-roaring mad that I fell for this, I didn’t! 

$$$$ In addition to budgeting, there are some other strategies I use before and during the holiday season. Early fall, I’ll make a leisurely trip and visit the alcohol store. I pick up a mixed case of wine (20% off whole cases), using some as gifts and entertaining.  I try to limit my time physically in stores so that I will not be tempted to overspend.  I shop online, only in the stores that offer free shipping and postage paid returns.  If I really need something from a store that doesn’t have free shipping, I will order online and pick up in store, if possible.  There are tons of suggestions, to limit overspending during the holiday season, but the one I like that helps rein in my spending is, remember the reason for the season.  No matter what you celebrate, keep the holiday’s spiritual message in mind!  

Have a great week!  

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