Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Reads of 2014

My friend Jill just sent me a link to a book list from The Aspen Institute blog that listed their fav reads of 2014 and since I'm always up for borrowing a good idea, here are mine:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd -- this book had me riveted from page one.  I'm leading the discussion for the book club later this year and cannot wait to see what the rest of the Jld Sustainers thought about it!
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer -- traces the history and coming of age of six friends who meet at camp in the seventies. Just my kind of book -- and since it was a gift from my best friend Cathy, I loved it even more.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt -- finger lickin' good.  Pulitzer winner.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole -- if you've never read this one, do it in 2015. Joe gave it to me in high school and I've read it many times since. We all have a bit of Ignatius in us -- some more than others, of course. 
Queen of the Turtle Derby by Julia Reed -- I love everything of Julia's and read this when it came out in the 2000's and again last year since Julia was the speaker for Community Partners of Dallas' Chick Lit Luncheon in 2014.  Hilarious.  Hilarious.  Hilarious. 
Room by Emma Donoghue -- #CannotPutDownFiction -- this book is on my fav book list forever.  Creepy stuff.
One More Thing by B.J. Novak -- B.J. was a writer and actor on The Office and he is laugh out loud funny.  The new David Sedaris -- and I LOVE David Sedaris. 
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz -- advice for living a successful life.  I read this when it came out years and years ago and even kept copies of it to give to anyone who asked.  Not sure why I let the practice go, but I resolve to reread it annually. 

What are yours?

Happy new year, dear friends! <This is a borrowed greeting from one of my fav bloggers -- Katie at Preppy Empty Nester!  Giving the girl credit...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Gift! I Got You!

If you know what the title of this post means, then you've known me for a very long time.

Our family plays this game and has forever.  It is supposedly a throwback from long ago -- the basic idea is that if you are the first one to say to someone "Christmas gift!", then they are supposed to give you a gift.  I believe that it was originally played on Christmas Day only, but our family plays it for every holiday, including Christmas Eve, birthdays, Valentine's, Martin Luther King Day, etc.  We have never followed through with the gift giving part -- the first person to say it just gets the pleasure of winning and lording it over everyone.  

My personal favorite is when you can catch someone totally off guard and say "Oh, John?"  Him:  "What?"  "I just wanted to say Christmas Eve Gift!"  This is naturally followed by lots of disgust and drama, etc.  It's tons of fun to win.

I like to win.

The downside of this game is that on holidays we don't call one another because the other person will invariably answer the phone "Christmas Eve Gift" and then they got you.  In the pre-caller ID days, we would answer every call this way, so then explaining went along with the game, which is why lots of my friends play the game with us too.  Joe particularly likes to get my mom.  Let's be honest -- we all like to get mom.

Anyway, it is now 1:37 pm on Christmas Eve and I haven't had a single phone call and won't unless someone decides they are throwing in the towel -- and I'm waiting to pounce if they do.

I like to win.

I'm truly grateful that I have a family when so many in Dallas do not.  Lots of kids served by Community Partners of Dallas would be happy to let someone win the game every single time if it meant they could have a family to be with today and tomorrow and forever.

I think I'll give mom a call and give her a thrill since I know how she'll answer the phone.

But I'll get her tomorrow. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Cards and Why I Hate Them

Do you send Christmas or Holiday cards?

I started sending them when I was a kid and even on into my twenties, but then I quit doing it for a very long time.

NOTE:  I still have an example of one I sent as a kid -- it's pink and has a Bijorn Wiinbladt-looking angel on it. Purchased at Neiman Marcus, natch.

NOTE to NOTE:  Remember when Neiman Marcus put their name on everything they sold?  Even designer clothing got an additional NM tag sewn (later stickered) inside.  I loved that.  Wish they still did it.

I'm not sure why I quit sending them in my twenties and thirties. Of course, it was more difficult to send a card then since it cost more to have them personalized and of course there was no such thing as excel labels.  Plus, I guess my friends quit sending them too.  Let me make it clear that I never stopped loving Jesus and continued to shed many tears over Its a Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown. I just quit sending cards at Christmas.

Anyway, probably 10 years ago I started sending them again.  I think that it was because I loved seeing the photos of people's families on them and (being a theatre major) I have never minded putting out "publicity" about myself -- so I liked the idea of having an excuse to send out a picture of myself that I got to choose and "sentimize" myself.

NOTE:  Not sure that sentimize is a word.  If not, I need to sell it to Tyra Banks.

ANOTHER NOTE:  By the way, Joe hates this publicity-seeking side of me, but cry me a river, babe. I think I'm hilarious and I am unanimous in that.

NOTE to ANOTHER NOTE:  Mrs. Slocum reference -- I got a million of them!

So you're probably thinking "Get to the point -- why do you hate them?" and I don't blame you.  I hate Christmas cards because I have a terrible time throwing them away.  I keep them for years.

Need to know what your card looked like 5 years ago?  Come over to my house.  I have them in scrapbooks, hole-punched and tied with a ring, in a silver bowl in the living room, just everywhere.

The photo above is this year's display and this is early on, people -- I'll have to get out the ladder in a week in order to display them around the den.  You did this to me.

Also, the cards and how they come to me kinda piss me off because it makes me realize what a shallow person I am, yet they also make me feel guilty.  Don't understand this?  If people use labels instead of hand-addressing them, I judge them.  If they actually write something to me inside the card and hand address them,  I know they are judging me.  Ugh.

Hey, not sure why I'm telling you this, but I'm having lots of fun at home this morning receiving Community Partners of Dallas' Toy Drive wishes, so I guess since I'm having so much fun "working", I felt the need to confess something to you all.  

Merry Christmas, friends -- and keep those cards coming!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Headlines are not how this should end.


There are lots of stories that I don't want to think about.

You might find that funny since I work for an agency that serves abused and neglected children, but it's true.  So many children living through nightmares -- right here in our own community.  You may be shocked, but there are confirmed reports of abuse and neglect in every residential zip code in Dallas County -- and more than 20,000 reports of abuse will be received annually in Dallas County alone.

But no matter how horrific the horror, the degradation, the injuries, the children are just that -- children.  Most of them just want to be loved and cared for and treated like every other kid.  That's why our Toy Drive is so vitally important.

We have some wishes left over here at Community Partners of Dallas and it would really be great if they could be filled right now by you.  We'd love it if you would call us at 214-624-7557 or come by our office at 1215 Skiles Street (near Baylor Hospital in the Meadows Foundation's Wilson Historic District -- gotta keep showing the love to The Meadows Foundation!) and pick up a wish or two and make dreams come true for these kiddos.

Thanks -- the kids need you now.  Me too.