Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tipping Toward Holiday Magic

Wonderfully light flakes of snow are falling outside my window.  As I look across the street toward the park and its lake, what a difference from just a few short weeks ago when the leaves were still scattered about, some even still desperately trying to hang on.  Now, it's more stark, more open without the abundance of foliage, a wholly new perspective.  It was sunny earlier, still chilly, but more inviting.  I just spied a lone runner ~ but the Coloradans are a hardy-bunch.  They have all the proper gear for any winter activity and one can still comfortably run outdoors when properly attired .... I assume!  There is a squirrel frolicking among the light dusting of snow's kiss, running from one tree to another with glee (or maybe just checking on the winter's stash in each!!)
It was time to make a cup of hot cocoa and turn on the Christmas tree lights.  Truth be told, one small section of lights, in our pre-lit tree, are dead, but Chris is buying a strand today.  With the gentle snow fall, my cocoa and the lit up tree, it's definitely beginning to feel like the holidays around here.
When out and about, we see the holiday decorations at the shopping areas and have been looking forward to visiting many of them in the evenings to witness it all magical and aglow.  I'm hopeful that some ice skates will be laced up and taken for a spin!
One of our anniversary-Thanksgiving-merry holiday traditions back in Indiana was to take the train to Chicago, where we would walk around the Christkindl market.  I don't think we ever bought a thing, even food or drink, but the village market was quaint and brought the European holiday touch to our lives.  To my utter delight, I recently learned that Denver has their own.  We had planned to go this past Friday, the opening, but didn't make it.  We were going yesterday, but got sidetracked by our dear friend, Jessica.  I wanted to make it part of today, then Chris decided to head into work for some overtime (and to get a project completed as he was on forced vacation last week). 
When we would head into The City, it was usually bitter cold and often snowing.  When the sun disappeared today, it began to feel more like those holiday times in Chicago.  Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear.....snow, snow, snow!  I sent Chris a text to say that it was the perfect time to visit Christkindl now.  I don't know what it will be doing once he gets home and we grab a quick bite, but we are going to head that way and begin to get filled with the inspiration of Old World Europe to return home and get started on our decorating.  The lights will be strung, the ornaments hung and other knickknacks placed hither & dither ~~ all to enhance our Thanksgiving feast that we will share with kin and kith this year.
Happy Thanksgiving week!  Enjoy the prepping, the baking, the basting, the cooking and sit down to enjoy the laughter, the love, the conversation and the memories.  Each of us is a special ingredient to make our gatherings a feast of life!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Keeping The Party Going!

We ROCKED October!
And our bank account can prove it!  HA! 
In addition to the things I have already posted,
We walked the Denver Botanic Gardens after hours for a ghost tour!  Our guide has been working there, in security with unlimited access, for 17 years.  He had a couple very personal experiences he shared with the group.  We were able to enter this gorgeous home which was donated for the sole purpose of being used by the Gardens as administrative offices. 
We took in a burlesque show, called BOOlesque, at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret.  Very funky locale, perfect for burlesque!  Costumes were encouraged and I was very happy to see most in attendance comply!  I was one of 6 selected by the staff for the costume contest!  What a surprise!!! I was wearing my Dead Prom Queen (Rest In Popularity) costume for this event.  While I didn't win (it was by applause and I had one cheerleader to the winner's 10), it was truly an honor to be nominated!  For real!  In year's past, Chris has always taken the spotlight for his Halloween attire, rightfully so.  It was a shock when I heard the announcer say "Dead Prom Queen"!!!  The performances were great and we look forward to a return visit!  (If only I had won the contest, we would have scored 2 free show tix!!)
We attended parties the weekend before and Halloween nite, all in costume.  I wore a black bustier style vest, fun black bra, black ruffly booty shorts, black fishnets, knee high white boots and sparkly mask for the Exotica Erotica Ball.  (We left and went to Tracks for a bit that nite, too).  For Halloween, I did a new version of a Steampunk aviatrix: bustier, skirt, flesh fishnets, knee high brown boots, my goggles and a kick-ass belt that Chris made for me!!  Chris also painted up a plastic gun for me, but when I tried to wear the holster, it was throwing off the fit of the belt.  Bummer...but I will make it work another time! 
I worked Halloween City through Halloween day.  That shift, 11:30-4, was non-stop cashiering!!  The line never died, not surprising.  So so many wait until the last possible second, I guess!  Can you believe I was asked if we were having sales (and why not)?!?  Really?!  It's THE day...why in the hell would a Halloween store discount on THE day?!? 
We began November on a high note...drove past a church with the front grassy area full of FREE pumpkins!!!  We never got around to carving the two we bought at Sprouts and I had decided we would creatively carve them to be luminaries for Thanksgiving day.  And these 4 free ones, put our other 2 to shame!  They are huge! 
We also began November at Tracks for their regular First Fridays, for our first time.  It was a night to celebrate Jessica's court hearing granting her name change.  We went for a drink beforehand at the Thirsty Lion in LoDo.  Then, the 3 of us hit the club for what turned out to be 3 HOURS of dancing for me and Chris!  Yes!  I have needed that!  We had yet to dance any of the previous times we have gone out!  The music was perfect (thank you, DJ Markie!!) and we were en fuego!  No one kept up with us!!!  I think we surprised them all with our endurance....and our sweet sweet moves! 
November is an important month for C & J, our anniversary is the 25th.  This year, we had hoped to see the Chihuly exhibit at night, but I was remiss at getting tickets and we have lost out.  Maybe we will use our free ticket to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, if there is a movie we want to see.  Perhaps we will make a special dinner at home ~~ or try a new restaurant.
And, we are hosting a small Thanksgiving.  MAML and Megan, and, most likely, Jessica, will join us for ham, cornbread casserole, yams with marshmallows, walnut cranberry compote, stuffing, pumpkin brownies with cream cheese frosting, deviled eggs, a 2nd dessert....and, hopefully, a Yule log!!!  We will sit around our place, eating on TV trays because we don't have a table, enjoying one another's company, watching some football and maybe, just maybe, Elf will make an appearance.
We haven't decided when (or to what extent) we are putting up our Christmas decorations.  It might be the weekend before Thanksgiving, for our guests' enjoyment, or it might be our usual, the weekend after.  I think we are both leaning toward before as Chris is on vacation that week (he was at use it - or lose it) and I rather think it would add to our intimate gathering.
This is the month when everyone becomes more conscious of gratitude and I am (always) thankful for my health, my family & life! 
Keep a positive attitude!  Live, don't watch, life!  Keep the party going!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The "Live It" List

Social media and television talk shows are praising a young Oregon woman who chose to die with dignity by assisted suicide over the weekend.  During a discussion of this topic on "The View" this morning, it was shared that Ms. Maynard created a bucket list and set forth to accomplish many of her wishes in her final days, weeks, months of life.  Rosie O'Donnell offered a correction, of sorts, and said it should be called a Live It list ~ with which I wholeheartedly agree!!! 
We can and should create To Do lists that we begin right, in fact!
Each of our lists will be very personal to the journey we want to take in our own life.  However, our lists do not have to entail only BIG events (skydiving) or expensive trips (Italian vacation) or require a great deal of time (degree-seeking).  They absolutely can include those kinds of things, of course, but they do not have to be exclusively over-the-top.  We don't want our lists to set us up for failure because we don't have the time, the money, the courage and then we make excuses and feel disappointment. 
Let's look at travel, for instance:  you can see where you live with fresh eyes.  Take one of those stay-cations!!  Request brochures from the visitors bureau of your county and one or two of the surrounding counties.  I guarantee you will be surprised at what you learn from those information packets that you have been missing out on in your own backyard!  There are museums, exhibits, parks, entertainment centers, theatres....and much more.  Has there been a city within the US you have wished your whole life to visit?  Request brochures, check out the calendar of events, research airline tickets and lodging.  Have you wanted to take a family vacation, with your siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.?  No better time to get the idea circulating, so everyone can coordinate schedules.
If you are interested in learning, but may not have the time and/or the money for college, try taking adult-education courses or join a book club (heck, START a book club). 
Perhaps you have never really taken time to pamper or treat yourself.  Maybe getting a professional spa service (manicure, pedicure, facial, massage) can make your list. 
Have you wanted to be a volunteer?  Run a 5K, a 10K, a 1/2 marathon?  Attend a conference or convention for a hobby or passion?  Do you want to improve your health, fitness, wellness?  Is there a hobby you have been putting off (there may even be a box, a closet, a room full of stuff)?
Get to making a list.  Brainstorm, writing everything down:  the extraordinary, the scary, the crazy, the simple, the long and short of it all.  The sky's the limit! 
Then, go back over your list.  Sit with each entry for a minute or two.  See if it stirs something within.  If not, cross it out and move on.  If so, highlight it and keep going.  Once you have gotten to the bottom, write all of the highlighted ones on a new sheet of paper.  Give it a title (this is important!) and the date (this helps to keep you accountable).
Now, which one(s) can you begin this very week?!? 
Which ones will require a bit of planning?  Maybe grab a file folder for those, label them and this is where you can keep track of everything you are doing along the process of meeting this goal. 
I have written a couple lists over the years.  Crossed off some that I met and crossed out others I no longer desired!  I still want an Italian vacation ~ so I need to make a folder for that one!!  Rather than professional spa services, I make a point to have products at home to treat myself weekly.  Self-care, which includes fitness and healthy eating, are a priority and make my Live It list possible!  A vacation with my family, in a few cabins, by a lake, in the woods, is also on my list (but even thinking of coordinating that gets me a little anxious, not gonna lie!!).  Other things include: fresh flowers monthly, more visits with my family in Florida, running a 10K race, finishing a graduate degree (maybe...), more volunteering, owning my own business (just gotta figure out what that is!).  My lists are in a binder, in a bag, at the top of a closet.  I will get them out this week to review, to add & delete and to begin.
What about you???  Are you ready to LIVE?????

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