Monthly Archives: January 2012

Photo-A-Day Challenge

 

Inspired by the Fat Mum Slim January Photo-A-Day Challenge, I’ve been capturing photos with a purpose this month. Thanks to my iPhone and the Instagram app it’s been easy to keep up. I think I’ll stick with it for February.

 

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On sharing the sunshine

Earlier this week I read this article on Huffington Post about Facebook making our lives miserable.

Hypersharing, author (the very-smart-and-Harvard-educated) Daniel Gulati argues, is “threatening our sense of happiness.” Mr. Gulati makes good points about those threats,  and he shares thoughts about the ways Facebook fragments our time and threaten the decline of actual close, personal relationships.

But it’s the “den of comparison” that I’ve been considering for days. Facebook makes us accentuate the positive, say the author. That’s causing us to unnecessarily compare ourselves to one another. All of that comparison makes set impossible standards for our lives.

Online, laissez les bons temps rouler, I say. It’s usually my preference to share positive, happy news and lighthearted thoughts and images. My life, of course, has plenty of more sordid moments. Ill fitting pants. Bills. Uncertainty. Arguments, bitterness and my own (numerous, I should add) shortcomings. But it’s life’s peaks that I feel like sharing, not the valleys.

Friends’ beautiful pictures, congratulatory messages and carefully pruned walls shouldn’t be enough to convince you that anybody’s life is totally perfect. No one gets through life without trials and tests and moments that induce tears and rage.

The HuffPo post asks readers for tips. I guess if I had one, it would have to be for social media consumers to approach those platforms with reality in mind. Amidst all of life’s rubbish, maybe many of us would rather share the sunshine.

Christmas 2011

What a joyful Christmas. I’m still celebrating, honestly. My little tree still has a few days left in her I think. Anyway, here are a few highlights from a wonderful week.

I had a really lovely time preparing gifts this year and this one was a real treat. I felted some beads and strung them on embroidery floss for my friend Morgan.  That tree was so fragrant the afternoon it was in my house. I will definitely do this again.

Like I said, gifts were fun and I didn’t overdo it. Yay, goal achieved. My husband’s family is pretty good sized (hey-oh in-laws! I know you’re reading…) and it was a finally time to do gifts for the nieces and nephews. I melted down crayons and poured them in star shaped molds, made play dough, upcycled tie dyed t-shirts into scarves, made a few very pink necklaces and picked out legos, baseball and football cards and a few handmade gifts at a local market. It only took me nine Christmases to get on the bandwagon for those loved ones. Pretty shabby, really, but I finally achieved it. It was fun getting it all together.

Speaking of fun, some friends had a Christmas party and the guest list included lots of buddies from our pre-baby days. Catching up with pals we seem to only see a few times a year was oh so Christmasy. Among the delicious noms were tiny beers, creamy and tasty little shots that (a little oddly) seemed to warm the heart and the spirit. Another fun treat.

I wish church were the kind of place you could take a picture but that’s not the case. I guess you’ll just have to envision a warm, Southern, Episcopal spot designed by a ship maker and bedecked with evergreen, poinsettias and candles. The candlelighting and Silent Night singing is always special, and was even more than usual this year since I completely missed Christmas church last year on account of a two-day old babe. I’m pretty sure I saw an usher snapping some iPhone pictures in the balcony so maybe I can get my hands on a few images but in the meantime they are just memories.

After church I made a gigantic Santa cookie and resisted the urge to take a bite. Santa didn’t get ‘er done so there were a few nibbles left for me in the morning. Yum.

Come morning, we discovered the stockings had been lovingly filled and a rocking horse was there waiting for our sweet little guy. Truth be told, Grant was in a sleeping mode Christmas morning, so Pete and I had a few moments to ourselves to open stockings, make coffee, start breakfast and take in Christmas joy and solitude. I know it’s the last year this’ll even be a possibility so that made it all the more special.

Christmas Day for us was basically an amazing Skype marathon. We caught up with our far-away relatives and heard all about their Christmases. I love that technology; it makes the distance so much more bridgeable. Hooray for that.

We had a great standing rib roast and a bunch of sides from our CSA. It was a great dinner and a perfect end to a really great day.

The week after Christmas we were joined by my parents, and my brother, Chris, his wife, Nina, and their sweet little Yorkie, Emma. There was food and fun and music and plenty of laughing, as well as a good number of walks around our neighborhood in the sunshine. We watched the requisite amount of football and enjoyed being together for the first time in several years. Life in the modern world is pretty wild so this was nice.

Everyone seems pleased enough that Grant is showing interest in drum set though we all realize that our family could actually use a bass player. The mood was jovial since we had lots to celebrate, with Pete earning his Ph.D. in 2011 and Chris getting to A.B.D status with his doctorate in music shortly before the holiday break. Looks like 2012 has the potential to be epic. I like that.

One extra special memory was a bike ride with my parents last week. Even after nine Christmases here it’s pretty novel that you can be out on a bicycle in December. July is another story so we get our jollies while we can.

I have loved this Christmas. Now it’ time to look forward to the year ahead. Soon I’ll put the decorations away but I hope to keep Christmas joy in my heart the whole year through. After all, that beautiful, peaceful, joyful feeling is a highlight I’d love to have every single day.

Photos via Instagram. I love that little app! The best camera is the one you have with you, you know.

My resolution: simplify.

Now I’m off to clean the hoardy hole that is my bathroom closet. I’m off with a bang. Happy New Year!