Holiday Observation #1:

It is very difficult to remove yourself from a holiday. I am continually asked “Is your tree up yet?” “Are you done decorating?” “Got all your shopping done?” “Are your Christmas cards sent yet?” These are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “No” or “We’re not celebrating the holiday this year” without it leading to multiple follow up questions and sometimes long drawn-out discussions. People want me (perhaps need me) to justify and explain why. I’m not angry, although I’ve grown a little tired of the third degree interrogations. It’s interesting how much we assume about others and how little we are willing to understand and accept (or capable of understanding and accepting) that not everyone is like us nor wants want to be like us. On the other hand, it has been incredibly wonderful not diving into the merry melee and madness. So far, I haven’t felt any pangs of regret. We shall see what next year brings.

Holiday Observation #2:

It seems like those who decry the alleged “war on christmas” are the ones who are actually feeding the flames of the imaginary battle. I have read more “It’s christmas and only christmas and if you don’t like it or agree f**k you” comments and posts on Facebook than I ever remember seeing before (not literally these words but clearly this sentiment. And not one anti-christmas post, for the record.) I finally spoke up about it on one wall. I merely pointed out the message seemed a bit anathema to the intent and spirit of the season and that being inclusive is never a bad thing. Several people disagreed with me, and I wound up being called an “anti-christian, Europhobic racist,” all because I said maybe we should try to be more inclusive and spread cheer not animosity. (Oh, and I might have pointed out the irony that some christians are angry about people “taking the christ out of christmas” and “stealing their holiday”, given the fact that christians subsumed many of the traditions of the season from pre-existing secular and pagan celebrations, but I digress.) Go figure. Guess being out of the holiday rigmarole I forgot that the holiday is about spreading seeds of dissention and hate and disgust for other cultures, beliefs and ways of life. My bad.

Financial Observation # 1:

When you grow up near or at poverty level and you struggle for most of your adult life to make ends meet and get ahead (or just stay afloat,) it is VERY hard to accept when you actually start making real financial progress and no longer have to worry about the basics. We have been doing moderately well for a few years now and I keep waiting for the hammer to fall. I can’t seem to trust our income or financial status, as if out of the blue it is all going to be taken away or disappear. I worry about having nothing to worry about. Perhaps it’s because of our current economic slump and having read about and heard so many horror stories of people, who once had everything, losing everything: jobs, home, health insurance, etc. What choices am I making that will prevent me from experiencing the same thing? Can I truly prevent that from happening to us? We try to live within our means, not use credit, save money and pay off debt, but I wonder sometimes if it’ll all just come crashing down around us. Which makes the thought of buying a house (something we’ve recently decided to look into) terrifying to me.

Financial Observation #2:

It is easier to sell something than to give it away. We listed our futon on Freecycle for a week. I included pictures and dimensions. It is a very nice futon (wooden frame, thick solid mattress) that was given to us. I got several nibbles and scheduled two separate days and times for two different people to come get it. Neither person showed, nor had the courtesy to send me a “we changed our mind we’re not coming after all” message. So my husband posted it on Craigslist for $125.00 and it sold the next day and was picked up the following day. Lesson learned.

Vacation Observation #1:

The best kind of vacation is when you plan NOTHING except where you’re going and where you’re staying. Play the rest by ear. Schedule nothing and go with the flow. Not having a schedule or plan truly allows you to enjoy yourself, relax and have the best time, doing whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.

Vacation Observation #2:

The hardest part of soaring so high from a fantastic vacation get away is how far you have to fall when you get back to “real” life. (aka “the job.”)