Holiday Lists – what do they say about us?

Every year about this time we sit down and write our holiday lists – whatever holiday we may celebrate. Children spend hours pouring over toy ads getting ready to send off their letters to Santa.  Adults, while acting reluctantly, compose a list of things they hope to get rather than the ugly sweater that their favorite great aunt seems to find so amusing and another list of the things they truly dream of having.

Unspoken (unwritten?) in all of this are the things we all wish the holidays and the coming year will bring – health and happiness to our loved ones, a more stable, peaceful world, the ability to make the world around us a happier and brighter place. It is amusing and curious that we often do not actually write these things on our lists, but I have yet to find someone who would not place those things at the top their "wish" list.

Which leads us to a very interesting question about our holiday lists?  What do the items on them say about us?  Have you ever stopped to think about that?  I only did recently when I started putting together a list.  Now, I have to clarify that this list did not start out as a holiday list.  It just started out as a "wish" list.  Things that I would like to have at some point.  Watching this list evolve, I have realized just how eclectic my tastes have become and I guess how varied my interests have become. There are things on this list that I would not have considered wanting a couple of years of ago.  For example, a lot of the techy, geeky things – Bart exposed me to a greater view of that world and as a result, I have fallen in love with gadgets.  My tastes in music have changed – thanks to my sons, their friends and my friends.  The maturity that is coming with age has awaken desires to develop talents that I always knew were there, but never took the time to nurture.  I have also come to face the side of me that loves the finer things in life.   What I find reassuring about these discoveries about myself is that I have not lost anything in this progression, I just have grown.   And that ranks right up there with those other unspoken wishes that we all have at the top our lists.

So now that I have stoked your curiosity, here are some of the things on my Christmas list –

A new HDTV with built in DVD player (just because I want one)

A Canon ESO Digital Rebel XTI with a flash set-up & accessories (to let me start taking the pictures that my eyes see)

A Nintendo Wii (yes, this is for me – not the boys!)

A Macbook  (I became an Apple convert when my love affair with my iphone started)

A silver engraved business card holder (to hold my cards for my new business)
itunes gift cards (for all of the music that my sons are exposing me to – Brooks & Dunn to Breaking Benjamin)

Hairspray the DVD or any of the other John Waters films (to make me laugh)

A set of Rachel Ray's cookware & knives (to encourage me to get back in the kitchen where I love to be and where I feel close to my mom)

An Amazon Kindle   (just because they are so cool!)

And lots of gift cards to the book store  (because sometimes you just want a book that you can keep and re-read)

Any of Rachel Ray 30 minute meal cookbooks  (so I don't have an excuse not to cook)

A blue cashmere sweater (because they are just so soft and I look good in blue)

Knee high black leather boots (they're sexy – enough said)

A chenille bathrobe  (to be all warm & cozy)

Ok – enough – time to stop. I could keep going on, but I think you get the idea.  As I read this list again, I realize that I am not entirely sure what it says about me at this point in my life, but whatever it is, I rather like it – there is enough variety to ensure that I'm not a dull person.

So what does your list have on it and what does it say about you?

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QotD: Guest vs. Host

For a full sit-down dinner with several guests, would you rather be the one cooking or do you prefer to just show up and eat?

I prefer to be the one cooking.  I love to cook, but there is something about fixing a big dinner for friends and family that is such an expression of love.  Good friends, loving family, good wine, good food makes for a perfect day.

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Time to do something new

As I sit here watching the minutes creep by, I am reminded of why I need something new in my life.  I like my job most of the time.  I’m pretty darn good at my job all of the time.  But there is that overwhelming feeling that I am destined to be doing something different.  More personal, grander, more fulfilling.  Not necessarily more exciting, but something that leaves me feeling gratified at the end of the day.  Something that makes me wake up each morning and feel that my destiny is in my own hands.  Something that gives me the freedom to put all of my amazing skills and talents to the fullest test, driving me to find the things in me that I did not know I had, pushing me to learn and grow each day (or at least most days).


 I’m to the point of dragging myself out of bed, mind wandering on the drive into work, sitting in my little stall in this cubicle farm and feeling like I have been shackled to this desk and chair until the clock finally strikes and it is time for me to leave.  Maybe I just need a change of scenery, but my heart tells me otherwise.  As comforting as the security of that bi-weekly paycheck and the benefits is, it has also become suffocating.  I’m scared.  There are so many other people who depend on my financial security (my kids, my stomach, my car finance company, Comcast, Peco, my landlord… LOL), but their dependence now weighs on me like an anchor around my neck pulling me down into the watery depths of boredom.  I am working on the courage, and the plan, to free myself, but there are so many things to consider to ensure that my children do not suffer for my need for room to breath.   I refuse to keep worrying about anyone or anything else.  That will work itself out.  It might mean, fewer cable channels, a smaller apartment, fewer new pairs of shoes, but those are minor sacrifices to spend each day feeling like it is my own.  Not feeling as if I owe that day and my energy to some corporate behemoth that has no recognition of my heart and soul’s desires.   But a feeling that the day and the energy I have put into it has made the world a better place, me a happier person and has put my soul at rest in the knowledge that I am giving of myself and to myself.


I watch with envy and admiration to my friends and acquaintances who have found the strength to work at jobs they love, whether it is for themselves or someone else.  There is a carefree attitude that they carry that I want to see in myself and to have others see in me.  Not to say they do not work hard, struggle and get frustrated.  I know that they do! I’ve been there to hold some their hands through some pretty rough times, but they have one shared knowledge that I do not these days.  They know that no matter how rough the times may be, they LOVE what they do.  Their passion and dedication are my touchstones, my holy grail that I am urgently seeking.  I am ready to strike out on my quest, my crusade.  What I need now is a plan (which I am this close to perfecting – watch for more on that in the coming days – things may surprise you!), the strength (which may come out of sheer desperation and boredom) and the support, advice and mentoring of some really talented people who understand this yearning.  I’m seeking volunteers!  I’m open to all advice, direction and moral support. 


I need to find that place in the world that is uniquely mine.  Wayne Dyer said (and forgive me Wayne for stealing your quote) “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”  It is time for the abundance in my life.  Now I just need to find the place to do it, whether it is for me or someone else.  It has become an imperative that I find the abundance.


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I was reminded tonight why I love this city.  I was such a suburb girl for so long that I couldn't imagine living in the city.  Then a few years ago I started working downtown – 2 blocks from Independence Hall – and I was hooked.  The city was so vibrant and energetic.  At the time it was great to be in the city and then go back home to the countryside (Chester County) at night.  But the longing started then to start to explore more of what this beautiful city had to offer.  So, last September, Bart and I took the plunge and moved into an upcoming neighborhood known as Northern Liberties.  It was wonderful.  So much was within walking or subway distance.  We got to do so much, learn so much and meet so many new people.

While our relationship did not last, our love for the city has not changed.  Although it was bittersweet because the move meant the end of something very wonderful, my move in June from Northern Liberties to Olde City was amazing.  I have a beautiful, huge loft that is within steps of of fantastic restaurants, bars, shops, markets, parks and history. I am walking distance to just about everywhere in the city and am lucky enough to be only a couple of blocks from 2 of my dear friends. 

The 3 of us (Denise, Tom and I) are city adventure buddies.  We seek out new things in our very exciting city and try to experience all it has to offer.  So, here we come to the reason for tonight's post.  We attended an event called Night Lights on South Broad.  The Academy of Fine Arts and the Center City District put together a street event with bands, stilt walkers, magicians, jugglers, food from the restaurants on South Broad and the best of all, light shows projected onto the sides of some of the beautiful famous buildings.  We wandered up and down the street just watching the entertainers and gazing in awe at the light shows.

The beauty of the displays, the fun of the entertainers and bands, great taste of the nibbles and the companionship of great friends, just another reminder of how vital and vibrant this city can be.  And why I am enjoying spending time here. 

Building awash in colorHula Hoop girlMusic men


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If you look down on the right side of my page, you will see a link to 43 Things.  I was just playing on the internet and came across this site.  The concept is that you can write yourself up to 43 goals.  They can be as minor or as major as you want.  The fun part is that you can also set "how are you doing" reminders.  You can also see other people who are working on the same goals you are and comments they have made on their progress. 

With all of the changes, transitions and turmoil my life has been through lately, it was cleansing to sit for that 1/2 hour thinking about some of the things I want to accomplish.  I only have 17 things on my list right now, but each day I think of something new that I know I should add. 

Why did 43 things appeal to me?  Because it puts my goals out there.  In a unique way it makes them public and in a strange way, it makes them feel more real.  I have always had these goals and have never really seemed to be able to make much progress accomplishing them.  Now, I have to deal with the knowledge that if I don't work on these goals, I won't be able to mark them off my list.  I don't know why having them posted makes them more real.  I can't begin to explain why they feel that way.  I only know that they do and that makes me happy.  They have become something solid, not the abstracts "I'll get around to it" that have floated in my mind for all of these years. 

Now, I just have to make myself continue to make progress on those goals.  I have set some pretty aggressive personal goals and deadlines.  Now to move forward.

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