Category Archives: Daily Thoughts

Horn Honking Ettiquette

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The Good Manners Guide to Honking

Geese may honk.

Let me start by saying I never dreamed I’d have to write such a ludicrous post.  But recent experiences and absurdities have clearly proven to me that someone is going to have to have the guts to clarify to the world in written form, simple courtesies that used to be obvious to people with good manners.  But proper ettiquette behind the steering wheel seems to have flown out the exhaust pipe.

                    If you are a goose, you may honk at anytime.

For geese, honking is their only means of communication so human rules do not apply to them. Honk away if you are a goose.

If you are driving down the road and see a friend, you may give a friendly short honk and a wave.  Even if you don’t know the person, a short toot and a wave with a smile is considered a friendly greeting. A long honk with another gesture demonstrates you have no couth whatsoever.

A short honk and a wave is always welcome

A wave is always welcome!

If you are driving in a traffic jam and choose to honk your horn in frustration, you are proving your parents lacked the initiative to teach you about courteous behavior.  You are announcing to the world that you don’t know how to act in civilized society. Who are you honking at?  Where should they go?  Honks in a traffic jam only raise the stress level and blood pressure for everyone.  Keep thy hand off the horn!  Listen to music or a book on tape.  Practice acting like an adult. Grow up.

Honking in a Traffic Jam Only Makes It Easy to Identify the Fools

Why are we honking horns to lock car doors?

Do you have a door lock on the inside of the car?  Push it down.  Do you have a button on the inside of the door?  Push it.  It takes only the tiniest pressure from one finger NOT to hit your remote key and make everyone else around you jump because they aren’t expecting a honk.

Honking the horn to lock your car door is like having an argument on your cell phone in an elevator.  You are the only one prepared for the noise and intrusion so it is inconsiderate toward everyone else.  My former car would flash the lights to let me know it was locked.  My current car makes a honking sound if I use the remote.  Is this progress?  No.  I won’t use the remote to lock my door out of consideration toward others.  It is a small courtesy I can extend and I accept that responsibility.

Does it take a horn blare to lock a car? No.

Most Important Rule! 

At an Intersection, The Person in Front Decides When to Go

 That’s why they are in front.  They waited their turn to be first. They have a brain and a driver’s license.  Do not honk at them if they hesitate for a split second as they check oncoming traffic.  Who do you think you are?  In case you have forgotten your identity, I will remind you.  If you are second in line and honking, you are a rude nincompoop.

Last week I was at the intersection next to the Columbus, Ohio Convention Center.  A HUGE event was taking place.  Large buses were stopping along the sidewalk to drop off hundreds, even thousands of young people.  The light turned green.  The driver next to me did not move forward because dozens of children were in the cross walk in front of us. He couldn’t possibly move forward without running over a child. A charter bus unloading more young people blocked his vision to even turn right if the cross walk were empty. And yet the fool behind him was honking the horn. I wanted to run this nut’s driver’s license through a shredder.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated event.  When did we become so impatient that we have to hit the horn the second the light turns green?  Why don’t we think of that as rude?  IT IS OBNOXIOUS!  It’s no different than knocking someone over on purpose and then walking on without an apology.

Yes, I admit, I like my remote key chain.  I feel safe unlocking my car as I approach it without having to fumble for a key in an urban parking garage.   But I want my next remote key to only flash the lights to signal that the locks are engaged  like my last one did.

 However, I also want my next car to have a new and now necessary feature.  I want a button I can push from inside the car that will release the rancid smell of a skunk from my exhaust pipe to annoy anyone behind me who honks as I pause to check the intersection.  A girl can dream.  Go ahead and honk.  Make my day.  SPRAY!

Waiting for Spring

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Bring on the Tulips

Harbingers of Hope

How do I know we have really made it through the winter months?  That’s easy.  The tulips arrive.  Tulips are my favorite flower.

 In my family especially, orange tulips have a meaning of great significance.  My four year old daughter Kelsey and I planted dozens of them one autumn.  But they opened up the very day she was diagnosed with cancer the following spring.  It made me furious! However, each successive year when they arrived it meant that she had survived another year.  Those tulips started as an angry reminder  and changed to a victory statement.  They are such a sign of hope for me, that I have chosen to use them for my new facebook timeline photo.  Check it out beginning March first.

I know, I know, it really isn’t officially spring just yet in my part of the world.  But it is creeping up on us, closer and closer.  It is only a couple of weeks away.  I can sense it on the horizon.  The birds are already singing in the early morning. I’m tired of waiting to celebrate.  Just humor me as I leap forward just a little.

 Things I Love About Spring

    • Baseball season!  Yeah, I’m a fan.  I especially love watching kids play ball.  It is an excuse to be outside and gives me a socially acceptable place to yell (uh…cheer).
    • Longer days.  More sun!  Time to stop hibernating inside.
    • The smell of food cooking on the grill.
    • Blooming trees and flowers.  Even the grass growing greener gives me a visual boost.

  •  Hearing the birds sing as I leave my house early in the morning to go work out.
  • Going to the store to shop for flowers to plant this year.  Considering the possibilities before I usually buy the same old stand-bys that cohabit with me because they don’t demand much care.
  • Cooking hot dogs and making smores around the fire pit with the young people in my life.
  • I have a spring birthday.  Lucky me.  I ignore the age as much as possible, but still love to be celebrated.
  • When we are blessed with a warm day with sunny skies, we know we are winning the battle…it is NOT just a fluke dropped into the middle of winter to tease us anymore.

  • I like to paint something.  My front door, or my wood wagon that holds flowers, or my wood rocking chair for the front porch.  Makes things look fresh.
  • Getting back outside to my screened in (but unheated) porch.  Yay!  Let me curl up with a good book on my screened porch.

In my part of the world we are winning the the tug-of-war of the seasons. Bring it on.

Let’s play ball!

What do you like about spring?

Family Time

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Making Memories

Whoopee! Road trip!

I love to make memories with my family.  So when my daughter                    mentioned a gymnastics meet two hours away I was excited.  Road trip!  A great opportunity to bond and build memories. Just the girls.  I was psyched.

I picked them up bright and early.  I even washed my car.  Two pre-teen granddaughters wasted no time strapping small screens on the back of my front seat head rests. Volume was adjusted to LOUD.  They each burrowed under separate blankets to block out the screen glare and stayed locked to the screens for two hours.  Rude dialogue from the adolescent movie blared in my ears and ricocheted through my  central nervous system.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

No, we are not having fun.  No remote control for me.  No ear phones for them.  No soothing music from my favorite satellite station.  Couldn’t be heard over the din.  No conversations with my daughter sitting right next to me in the front seat.  No way to hear her.  No eye contact.  She spent her time texting friends and family members who were lucky enough not to be in the car with us.  No memories being made.  No good ones anyway.  No bonding taking place.

The Only Good News

But there was some good news.  They didn’t nag the driver (me) with that relentless question we all dread.  The driver, close to insane was the first to ask, “ARE WE THERE YET?

Sometimes, forgetting that most of my grandkids are now teenagers or pre teens, my anticipation of these events is still in Disney mode.  But I’m having to dwell in a Beevis and Butthead world.  Sometimes reality sucks.

A Man Cave for Girls

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But First a Good Book

Book_ThisYearIWill_sm.jpgWhere have I been?  Reading a great book!  For those of you who are trying

to have breakthrough moments this year  I highly recommend M.J. Ryan’s

book titled This Year I Will.  It is full of great ideas for breaking a habit, or

sticking to a resolution that has beaten you in the past.  Get it!  Read it!

Together it will help us break habits that have beaten us before we decided to

breakthrough.   I loved the sensible suggestions and encouraging words within.

Yes!  I Said Man Cave for Girls

One of my former high school students visited me in my home last night.  She is now a college senior who is a future teacher.  She came to my home to help me make a video about my upcoming book.  My young friends are wonderful resources when it comes to technology skills.

 Her name is Kaitlyn and she can make a computer come alive with creativity.  Best of all she is willing to share her skills with me.  I’m telling you when you teach with your heart your students will love you forever.  They flock to my side to help me every time I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I loved what she said when she first walked into my home office.  “Wow!’ she said.  I was afraid my disarray had punched her in the solar plexis.  But she took away my embarrassment with her next sentence.  “I can’t wait to have my own home so I can have a room like this.  This is like a girl’s version of a man cave!”

God bless her.  She ‘gets it’.  The room where I write is a feminine version of a man cave.  Which is to say it isn’t a man cave at all.  No dark paneling can be found in my domain.  No bar for drinks or kegs of beer.

 No giant screen TV has been invited into my room.  I’m surrounded by built in shelves backed by white bead board and filled with books I love.  The walls are a beautiful pastel, lampshades are gingham, and wicker baskets with charming fabrics hold my pretty folders full of past programs where I was invited to speak and writing ideas.  And my file folders aren’t manila.  They are flowered, striped, checked, paisley or polka dots.  “Why?” you ask.  Why not?

A variety of scrapbook papers are within reach and a polka dot flower pot holds my colored markers.  I have stickers, stamps, and paper cutters.  I’m surrounded by encouraging quotes and sayings.  I thrive on encouraging words.  Some of them say…

Your story matters

She believed she could…so she did.

It is often the bend in the road the makes life worth the drive.

To teach is to love.

Welcome to my loose interpretation of clean

Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Yeah, I admit.  It is cluttered.  There is always a pile on my desk.  Ask any student who ever entered my classroom.  But every item in it sparks my creativity and wraps me in encouragement as I write.  The framed cover of my first book hangs on the wall.  It is matted in bright yellow to grab my attention and remind me that my words matter.

I admit I didn’t get my shabby chic cocoon until my daughters moved out.  But I have it now and it lifts my spirit and makes my heart soar every day.  Here’s hoping you ladies will follow my lead.  It’s not just the men who need a special room to rejuvenate them.  Go for it girls.

If Kaitlyn were still here I’d have her take a bunch of pictures of my room and post them on my blog.  But, well, I’d have to clean first.  Let’s not get carried away.

Superheros I Know

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Facebook Mysteries

Facebook!  “If you want to be a writer,” everybody says, “you have to have a Facebook page.”

Therefore…well tardy of the forward thinking online crowd…I am filling out my background information for a Facebook page.  It’s exhausting.  I’m supposed to have an opinion about everything apparently.  Sometimes I don’t have an opinion.  Should I make one up?

Sometimes I have an opinion, but it’s embarrassing and I don’t want the world to know about it.  Do I really want to admit to the universe that I love watching American Pickers on the history channel?  I love the enthusiasm of Mike and Frank picking through all that junk in those dilapidated barns.  They would make great history teachers. There, now I’ve admitted my deep dark secret to the world, or at least the friendly community of my bloggers.

Mike and Frank comb the backroads of America.

It feels more than a little awkward for a professional teacher to be posting information about her political and religious beliefs.  Most teachers go way out of their way not to share that information.  There is that separation of church and state principle on which our country was based.  I wouldn’t even tell my students who I was voting for in any election for fear of overstepping a boundary of influence while I was in front of the classroom.  But these days I supervise college seniors doing their student teaching.  I’m not trying to influence anyone from the front of a classroom.

Who Inspires Me?

But on one question I am certain.  Who inspires me?  I can’t download a celebrity’s face or even a famous person.  People who live in the real world inspire me.  While my daughter was battling cancer, I met a woman who had twin babies, one of whom had cancer.  Twin babies is challenging enough, without a pediatric cancer diagnosis.  That mother inspired me.

I had a daughter  who was born with cerebral palsy.  She did everything with one hand for her entire life.  She did it so well and effortlessly that hardly anyone ever noticed.  She tied her shoes, buttoned her clothes, carried her books and rode a horse using only one hand.   Try it. But then I worked in a school where a student had no arms at all and ate his meals and typed with his feet.  All of life’s challenges are a matter of perspective.

Does someone have to be disabled in order to be inspirational?  Of course not.

I know a lady who bakes birthday cakes for people who would not receive a cake otherwise.  She has baked hundreds of cakes for people she has never met.  She has other volunteers deliver them so that the attention remains on the person celebrating the birthday and not on the baker.

Other people I admire?

  • Friends who encourage me and others… to be the best that we can be.
  • People who discover a need and fill it, without wasting breath about what other people should be doing to fill that need.
  • People who fail, but keep on trying, no matter what the odds.
  • People who face challenges with a positive attitude.
  • People who have fears (don’t we all?), but refuse to give in to those fears.  They just recognize the fear and move forward anyway.

These are the people who inspire me.  Usually these are people I know in all walks of life.  Sometimes they are a friend.  Sometimes they are a friend of a friend.  They aren’t famous or celebrities. They aren’t seeking out awards or even accolades.  They are walking, breathing superheros.  I’m proud to know them.  They inspire me everyday.  That was a facebook entry I found easy to answer.  But you won’t see famous photos there on my page.  No one knew Clark Kent was a hero either.

Do You Hate to Have Your Picture Taken?

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Say “Cheese!”

    I do. I’ll admit it. I hate to have my picture taken.
    “Ridiculous!” you say? I  don’t  think so.

Now, if I were the age, weight, and had the face of any one of these young girls, I’d be sticking the camera out in front of me and clicking away.  No problem.

I’d ‘click’ and text it to the world a dozen times a day. Isn’t that what they do?

That’s probably why young people love the camera function on the cell phone so much.   But I am not one of these three girls.  I am a scrambled design on the square that is supposed to share my photo.  I think it is a purple scrambled design.  Yep, that’s me.  A purple scramble.  I don’t even especially  like purple.

Things I Like Better than Having My Picture Taken

  • Cleaning the toilet with a toothbrush…in a gas station…at a truck stop.
  • Being in the middle of a root canal and hearing the dentist say, “Oops.”  That actually happened to me one time.  Bad story which involved the dentist himself driving me to an oral surgeon.  Still better than having my picture taken.
  • Taking a math exam which requires me to display my understanding of algebra II… which was as clear as mud even when it was ‘fresh’ in my mind.
  • Talking to someone on the phone speaking a language I cannot understand while trying to fix a technology problem on my computer.  That also has happened to me…this week.  Bluk.
  • A mammogram.  Even that is better than having my picture taken.  See the pattern here?

Things I Hate More Than Having My Picture Taken

      • Is there anything at all?  OK.  I have to admit, I’d hate it more to be one of those people on ‘The Biggest Loser’ who wear spandex which reveals their guts while being weighed on a giant scale in front of the entire world.  That would definitely be worse than having my picture taken.
      • Having my picture taken to POST for the world to see.  Yikes, I don’t even like pictures of myself for my eyes only.  Why does everyone keep telling me to post my photo?
      •  Why Won’t They Leave Me Alone?

    • Why must everyone keep telling me I have to get my picture taken and post it on my blog, my facebook page, my author’s page and my book cover?
    • OK.  I realize that I said this was going to be my ‘breakthrough’ year.  I know I promised myself and the blog world that I would ‘breakthrough’ on some longtime hurdles: eating reasonably, exercising consistently and tackling my dread of large doses of technology.
    • I swear I am making fabulous breakthrough headway in all these areas.   I confess I don’t know why this blog has bullets in places I don’t want them, no matter how many times I hit delete. backspace, or the left margin key.  But I am blogging with headings and pictures.  Just not my own picture.
    • I’m eating very reasonably and exercising everyday.  I have been the Wonder Woman of breakthrough in these areas.
    • Just please, stop the talk about posting a photo.  I never promised that.
    • What is so wrong about a square with a purple design?  Maybe I wanted to grow up to be a purple design.
    • Don’t be a hater of purple design people.  At this blog site, we value everyone.  We are an inclusive environment and welcome everyone.
    • But I must admit I do favor, just a little, the people like me, who never post a photo and have the courage to roam the world as a random design.  We are a gutsy crowd not swayed by appearances.

Clutter Buster

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 Begin humming the theme to the old Ghost Busters movie as you read this post. 

If you aren’t old enough to remember it…well…sometimes it sucks to be young.  (But not often enough)

For most of the year clutter and I are best friends.   We comfortably cohabit.  A few books can share a couch with me.  A pile of papers can reside for a while on my kitchen counter next to where I cook.  A couple of pair of shoes can rest next to the dresser before being banished to the closet.

Even the vacuum cleaner is allowed to rest for a day or two in a sun filled room.  In fact, taking the vacuum cleaner out of the closet and parking it in the center of the room says to any unexpected guests who might drop by, “I know this room needs to be vacuumed.  I was just about to do so, when you stopped by.”  That’s what I tell myself anyway.

But a week or so ago I wrote my piece about 2012 becoming my breakthrough year.  Remember?  Lofty new lifestyles are being addressed.  I plan to eat reasonably forever while conquering my fears of technology simultaneously.  An exercise plan has been instituted.  For good.  These issues will no longer rule my life.  Period.  Keep a straight face here.

The problem is this gal can’t just eat reasonably without replacing that annoying habit with something.  It turns out giving up comfort food has to be replaced by activity.  My hands have to be doing something other than moving snacks to my lips every waking second.  One can only use the keyboard for a certain number of hours per day.  My eyes glanced around my house frantically for a substitute plan.  Bingo.

I have become a purging princess.  I’m digging through closets, sorting, and pitching.   Decades of clothes in a variety of sizes, ALL are being held up one at a time subjected to the same revealing  question.  Listen carefully to this question, because it is an important one

“If I ever get to be this size again, is this what I would want to wear?”

Do not think about how much the item cost.  (Sometimes I remember that).  Do not chastise yourself with how few times you have worn it.  That answer is cruel and unusual punishment so don’t go there.  Only one question really matters.  See above.  That, my friends, is a breakthrough question.

I have taken so many trips to drop off rejected items, people close to me are sure I’m having an affair with the Good Will man.  I haven’t stopped with clothes.  Yesterday I spent hours in the basement, going through all the tubs of Christmas decorations, digging all the way to the bottom to the items I haven’t used in years.  Gone!  I have a box of books to take to Half Price books.  And the trash man will have to work a good bit harder when he stops at my house this week.

But a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do.  The food void must be replaced with something. I have become a clutter buster. More ghost buster music here, fading out.  da-da-da-da-dum.

Choose Hope

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Is Hope a Choice?

On my writing desk is a quote from Maya Angelou that I keep visible. It says…

” Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  Invite one to stay.”

Yes, hope is a choice.  Invite it into your life. Even when the economy is frightening and we are job searching with no successes, choose hope.  Even when the doctor gives you scary information, hope is still an option.  When we let fear take over it paralyzes us.  Fear leads to inaction.  Inactivity feeds fear.

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Simple Steps for Finding Hope

  • Lucky for us, hope is as contagious as the common cold.  We can catch it from hopeful people.  So hanging out with hopeful, optimistic people is the first order of business.  We all have people we know who lift our spirits.  Call them, email them, ask them to lunch.

  •  Put your pessimistic friends on a back burner for just a while until your hope returns.

  • Get moving.  Activity builds hope and extinguishes fear.  Do something.

  • Read positive uplifting books.  Try and own them so you can use a highlighter.  Re-read the highlighted sections whenever you feel your hope start to slip.

  • Listen to an uplifting CD.  I have favorite speakers on CDs who make me feel as though I can accomplish anything.  Sure, it takes work on my part.  But hope helps me make a choice to move forward…to go to work.

  • Help someone else.  However desperate your situation, you have skills or words that can help someone else.  Giving our time and talents to others rekindles the hope in us.

  • You think you have nothing to give?  Just listen.  In this day of technology overload, people are desperate for eye contact and a pair of listening ears.

  • Listen to upbeat music.  Sing along.  Get into it.

  • Plan something you’ve never done before.  Be spontaneous.

Hope is a choice.  Invite it into your life daily.  Reject fear.  Beat it with a stick if you have to.  When you are feeling hopeful again, sneeze on pessimistic people and pass it on.

2012: Breakthrough

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Are You Ready for the New Year?

Here it come ready or not.  2012.  I’ve decided to be ready.  I’ve done some years using “or not” mode.  It wasn’t pretty.   So I’m deciding ahead of time…this is my breakthrough year.  I hope someone out there is “rewarding points” for forward thinking gals like me.  Compliments and accolades will be accepted at any time.  (Applause signs are flashing here).

What is She Talking About?

Recently I read an article by Debbie Macomber featured in the December Guideposts magazine.  Debbie Macomber is an author who has learned to succeed in the business aspect of the profession of writing.

She reveals in this article that one of the things she does is choose a single word for each year. She thinks about this ahead of time until the right word seems to find her.   She uses this word in her reflections and decisions all throughout the year.  She described many of the words she has chosen in the past and recounted the experiences those selected words have influenced her life.

Bam!

It didn’t take long for my word to come to me.  My word for 2012 is BREAKTHROUGH.  

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Why?  It occurred to me that I am incredibly self-motivated and hard-working.  However, I am willing to work and work and work and yet when I hit certain barriers I don’t break through them. Want some examples?

  • Technology stymies me.  I can spend forever writing because I enjoy the process.  But when it comes to breaking through barriers of online marketing, social media, downloading gidgets and whatchamacallits and other google mysteries, I feel out of my element so I don’t get my writing to people who might enjoy it.
  • Weight.  I have been gaining and losing the same number of pounds for years when what my body really needs is a greater number of pounds to be eliminated once and for all.
  • I love to exercise right after I’m finished exercising.  I love the feeling of well-being that follows the exertion. I need some kind of breakthrough system for reminding myself of those rewards when I’m still lying in bed thinking about how cold and dark Ohio winter mornings really are.

I’m going to try for some major breakthrough in these areas.  I swear I am.  I felt much stronger about it before I tried for perhaps one hour in two sittings to attach an inspiring photo or picture right under the word breakthrough above.  Why can I attach a photo some days and find it completely impossible on other days?

So What the Heck is ZMOT?

Marky is my friend who is my technology mentor these days.  Why did I choose her?  I like to choose someone to help me with technology who is encouraging and just a little bit ahead of me.  Too much skill in an area in which I feel clueless is too intimidating for me.  She is also my writing partner in a new eBook I’m writing about Caregiving for Elderly Parents.

Anyway, Marky said we have to learn about ZMOT.  I thought she was talking gibberish but I downloaded it from Google.  ZMOT stands for the Zero Moment of Truth.  It preaches about today’s customers using the internet hand-held devices to decide about products and services instantanenously…sometimes while even standing in front of the product in a store.  Or even more frequently to order online.  Old ways of marketing are losing ground quickly to ZMOT types of marketing.

Do I really have to learn all this stuff? (Please read that question in a whining voice).  I just want to write and have people enjoy my writing…oh and maybe I’d like to make a little money at it sometime.  I’m trying to think like a breakthrough gal.

Yesterday I was out with a favorite little girl in my life who is ten years old. 

I told her all about my “BREAKTHROUGH” word for the new year.  I was proud of myself.  I felt like I was modeling positive behavior patterns for her.

She said, “There is a song titled Breakthrough.”

I said, “There is?”

“Yep,” she said, “Lemonade Mouth sings it.”

“Huh?” I said.

“As soon as I get two bars on my Ipod Touch from some Wi-fi area we pass, I’ll download the lyrics for you.”

And she did. 

I think that might have been a ZMOT moment.  I could hear Steven Jobs laughing at me from heaven.  It sounded like a cackle. 

Turns out I might need to learn this ZMOT stuff.  It is creeping up on all of us whether we are teachers, writers, health care professionals, store clerks or whatever. 

Do you want to try to breakthrough with me?  Maybe we can encourage one another.  I’m pretty determined.  December 30th is a safe time to feel determined.  But no I really mean it.  In 2012 I’m going to experience many breakthroughs.  I’ll keep you informed.

The Day After Christmas

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Kids hate the day after Christmas. Dads probably feel the let down too. The big TV sports games are over. Back to work looms. Only moms love this day. The shopping, wrapping, cleaning, cooking, dishwashing, cooking again, entertaining, cooking, cleaning again settles down.

But today begins the preparatin for next year. Today is the best and most economical way to purchase next year’s teacher gifts, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, yard and house decorations. For moms Chirstmas preparation is a 365 day proposition. For all those moms who are not still entertaining out of town company, today is probably the best day of preparation. The cooking for big groups is over. It is still days before moms have to face the giant dismantling of the decorations. Today is just low stress after Christmas shopping. Today is the day moms feel most ahead of the game for next Christmas. Anything we do today is a plus, a pat on the back. However, today is a nightmare for moms who have gifts to return. Surely we can put that off at least a day or two. Who has time to return gifts when we have to begin shopping for next year?

Ahhh, but all is well. We have 365 days to pull this all together again. Is 2012 a Leap Year? Do we get an extra day? We can use it.