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They’re Here . . . November 2, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance.
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Well . . . they’re here. 

No sooner have the political ads, calls, and brochures stopped flooding our airwaves, phone lines and mailboxes, when a more ominous threat to our life balance appears.

Holiday ads. 

No matter where we look (TV, e-mails, magazines, catalogs, newspapers), everybody selling anything wants us to get started on our Holiday Shopping and other festive preparations.


Today, I received:   “It’s time to start your Holiday Shopping,”  and “Get a Head Start on Holiday Planning.”  Both e-mails overflowed with helpful advice to get me to part with my money sooner, rather than later.

The latter article commenced with, “Feeling overwhelmed by the endless holiday to-dos? “

Why would I feel overwhelmed?  It’s November 2nd. 

The article continued:  “Stay on track with this week-by-week checklist that covers meal prep, travel plans, shopping tips, and decorating shortcuts.”

Isn’t it wonderful how someone who has never met me is able to keep me “on track” with a generic check-list of tips, plans, and shortcuts designed to remind me to keep up with the Joneses (and everyone else)?

I decided to come up with my own check-list of tips, plans, and shortcuts designed to simplify our Holidays:

Week of November 1 ~ Let friends and relatives know that we want to simplify Gift Giving this year.  Tip: The more people crossed off our gift list, the more we will avoid the hustle and bustle of a consumer-driven celebration.  Enjoy the Great Florida Beach Walk, a Taste of Manatee, and the Bridge Street Festival.

Week of November 8 ~ Enjoy Play Readers, Pool Party, Island Players (6 one-act plays), and the 30th Anniversary of our first date! 

Week of November 15 ~ Cortez Folk Art Fest and a pre-Thanksgiving visit from my sister and her family.

Week of November 22 ~ Relax. 

Thanksgiving Day ~ A Meatless Feast.  Express gratitude for all the blessings in our lives ~ like not having to buy, store, thaw, cook, stuff, and carve a bird.  Prepare Feast in less than an hour because “Bird, Bird, Bird is NOT the word.” 

November 26 ~ Unpack and decorate the house with FAVORITE  holiday ornaments (miniature trees, reindeer, and Santas).  Turn out the lights and  enjoy the glow of our 3-foot tree while sharing favorite holiday memories with each other.  Post-Thanksgiving Pot Luck at the Activity Center. 

November 27 ~ Buy a Poinsettia.  Tell Tigger not to eat it, “It’s poisonous.” 

November 28 ~ Pop popcorn.  String with cranberries.  Heat up cocoa.  Put on a Christmas CD.  Relax in the glow of kith and kin.

Week of November 29 ~  Wait for NPR to call and inform me that I won the short-story contest.  Holiday Music at the Ringling Museum ~ bring an unwrapped toy to donate.  Traditional Cuban and Latin Jazz Bands under the stars at DeSoto Park.  Help neighbors decorate the street lamps.  Rock Hall of Fame Concert and Laser Show at the Planetarium.

Week of December 7 ~ Seasonal Think and Drink at the Planetarium: What Was The Star of Bethlehem?  (Look at the night sky of 2000 years ago and see what the Magi might have seen.  Learn about the Winter Solstice and Full Lunar Eclipse coming on December 21st).  Cracker Christmas at Manatee Historic Village.  Christmas Celebration at Gamble Plantation. 

Week of December 13 ~ Mail Christmas Cards with checks (or gift cards) for the “wee ones.”  Send personal notes to close friends.  Send cyber-greetings to my friends in the blogosphere.  Cross everyone else off the Christmas Card list.

December 18 ~ Bake Christmas Cookies.  Take some around to neighbors and wish them a Happy Holiday Season.  Admire their holiday decorations.  Eat cookies.  Winter Festival and Luminary Walk at DeSoto Park.

December 19 ~ Visit a local Nursing Home, Hospital, or Hospice.  Move  through the halls singing carols and spreading holiday cheer.

December 20 ~ Wander around the neighborhood after dark to admire the decorations. Curl up and watch The Grinch, as his heart grows two sizes!

December 21 ~ Read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for the 47th time.  Full Lunar Eclipse.  Winter Solstice. 

December 22 ~ Swing by the liquor store for Spirits!  Join the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as they haunt Ebenezer in Scrooge.

December 23 ~ Light candles.  Read through Christmas newsletters  received from our nearest and dearest friends while enjoying the true spirit of Christmas.

December 24 ~ Read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.  Go to bed.  Stay awake listening for Santa and his eight tiny reindeer.  If he arrives in a timely manner, invite him in for spiked Egg Nog and cookies. 

December 25 ~ Open up the sprinkling of presents under the tree.  Enjoy a holiday visit with my sister and her family.    

Week of December 26 ~ Contact friends and family located at a distance to share Holiday memories and wish them a Happy New Year. 

For a more complicated season:  Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist

Stumbling Into StumbleUpon November 2, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, People, Word Play.
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Yesterday, right after learning about FoodPress, I changed the tags on my recent post, A Month of Meatless Meals, from “fabulous food” to “food,” and “recipe ideas” to “recipes.”

A few minutes later, the post started garnering recognition.  One hit after another rolled in.

Hmm . . .

Wondering whether the post had been FoodPressed, I investigated. 

Nope.  Not on FoodPressed.

I went back to SLTW and saw that another 100 hits on the same post had been recorded during my brief absence.


I checked my stats and saw that the hits had been referred from StumbleUpon.

Still intrigued, I followed the link and stumbled into this message:

You’ve been Stumbled!

A member of the StumbleUpon user community added your page to StumbleUpon’s index of high-quality, human-curated content. StumbleUpon is currently the #1 social media traffic generator in the U.S. To take full advantage of this traffic, implement dynamic badges on your site and advertise with us.

After taking a tour of the site, I created an account and set out to discover why Oprah Magazine called StumbleUpon “the greatest thing ever invented.”

Stumbling around StumbleUpon is great fun.  I plug in the categories of articles that appeal to me . . . and StumbleUpon acts as my personal assistant/reference librarian by gathering relevant articles for me to flip through. 

It’s a bit like creating a customized e-zine.  Fun stuff!

To the reader that Stumbled my post by sharing it with StumbleUpon . . . THANKS!  

I’m much obliged.