Monday, November 28, 2011

Life is a Special Occassion

A few months ago I found an article in an old magazine. I tore it out so I'm not even sure which one it was (I think Redbook), what year, etc but it was such a touching article that I photocopied it and gave it to my mom.
A few weeks ago an aquaintance of mine passed away from cancer. A few days ago, a neighbor of mine passed away. I can't help but think of my family and close friends and what I would do if/when one of them passes. I think about how important it is to treasure every day. We always say that but how many of us really live it? I know I don't...not enough.

This article is really amazing and I hope you take a few minutes to read it and think about your life being a special occassion as well.

Life is a Special Occassion (author unknown)

"The morning of my mother's funeral, I moved mechanically aorund the kitchen of my childhood home, preparing the house for guests. A friend had brought a coffee percolator, so I went hunting in the corner cabinet for some cups. What remained was a motley collection: two plastic mugs, bright orange; the same green pottery mug I remember Mom bringing to Dad in bed each morning. Nothing that would do for company.
I walked over to the lowboy cabinet just off the kitchen that held my parents' wedding china and slid open the door. The china had a whiff of the forbidden. The set was eggshell white; the plates, a spare elliptical shape. I'd never seen it used. Even for the best company, it was always the rustic brown plates - for friends, for Dad's clients, for holidays.
I thought back to when I'd cleaned out my grandmother's apartment after her death, discovering a wealth of untouched luxuries; vials of Lanvin perfume, beautiful clothing with tags hanging, endless crystal squirreled away. All the while, she dressed in threadbeare polyester pants and ate off cheap plastic plates.
I was not immune to these habits. My best clothes hung in my closet, waiting for events of great enough consequence. Good wine was never opened - which occassion was weighty enough? I even had my own unused formal china; the gold-rimmed set for 12 I had rescued from my grandmother's place. It had gone from her dark cabinet to mine, still waiting.
I knew I was breaking some sort of rule now as I reached into my parents' lowboy. I removed the fragile cups two by two and arranged them carefully on the counter.
Dad had been wandering around the yard, lost in thought. Now the door slammed as he strode inside. He looked at the counter.
"Not those," he started to say. He picked up one of the cups and looked at it. In that moment, we both had the same realization; whatever he'd been saving them for was never going to happen. He put the cup down and walked out of the room.
The first night after returning home, I made dinner for my family, then set the table with my grandmother's green, yellow, and gold china. No occasion, no guests - just my husband, me and out 3-year-old daughter, eating a decidedly ordinary meal of roast chicken and sweet potatoes. And I noticed something; finally using those plates made them seem less imposing, and yet more special. They became something truly useful and beautiful.
Now I put out that set of china whenever the mood strikes. Because always saving one's best things for a better day, a different day, carries with it a judgement; that the life you're living right this moment doesn't count; that it isn't good enough. And I've decided it is."

I hope you feel that you're life, right in this moment, is good enough.


Friday, November 25, 2011

My Black Friday - thoughts and totals

Another Black Friday is here. I felt the twinge of excitement when I got up this morning, knowing that I would be out and about doing some shopping and getting some good deals.
I know some people avoid Black Friday shopping like the plague. I've went out the last few years and really enjoyed myself. I think if you go out with the right mindset, and don't plan to pepper spray your fellow shoppers, then it can be an enjoyable time.

I was happy to go to bed last night and wake up early to hit a few stores in the morning. No I did not go out last night. I refuse to go out and patronize, non-essential, stores on holidays. I could really get on my soap box on how disappointed I am with the stores opening at 10pm and midnight but that's a whole other post.

What I will say is that you can find just as many deals on-line and at 6am this morning...unless you picked up a $200 TV at Best Buy but even then, really? Sleeping in a tent for a week? Dude, you could have went to work and made the $400 you saved while you slept on concrete.

Enough of hit list for Black Friday

Jo-Ann's (for holiday decor and kids crafty things)
Target (yes, I got almost all the deals I wanted at 7am this morning instead of at midnight last night)
Walgreens (one gift and then just some other hot deals)
Office Depot (gift and a steal for me)

I did pick up a few items that I already know I'm returning. One item at JoAnn's didn't ring up right and I changed my mind on another. I didn't want to deal with waiting in line to make the return so I'll go back another time. I also picked up a couple DVD's at Target that I later found out the person already has so those will go back.
So, not figuring in those upcoming returns, my total out of pocket this morning was $244.52. My total savings today was $308. 62!

I've also done some shopping on Amazon the last few days, so between my online, Avon items and instore shopping (and the shopping I do all year long), I'm 95% done with all my shopping for 18 people (plus got some great deals just for us). LOVE IT!

I have to share my killer deal at Office Depot. I picked up a deal on printer ink and I wish they had more in stock! A color ink combo pack (including 85 sheets of 4x6 photo paper) was $10 off (normally $32 I ended up getting it for $19.99). PLUS, with the purchase of any HP printer ink you recieved a ream of HP all-purpose printer paper. So for $19.99 I picked up color ink, 85 sheets of photo paper and a ream of paper. Woohoo! That deal is going on through Saturday so hop over there if you need some ink!

I hope you all had enjoyable Black Friday experiences, no matter what you did. Make sure to patronize your local businesses on Small Business Saturday (including your local Avon lady) and hop online to check out the deals on Cyber Monday (including your, may not be so, local Avon lady). ;)

Love and holiday shopping,