BOTTLED

  • "Beauty is the secret sound of the deepest thereness of things." John O'Donohue

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FOG coming

Sometimes we know where we want to go,
and how to get there.

We can see with clarity problems ahead,
make plans, and even try to prepare in every conceivable way.

We traveled home this week from a short trip.
We knew the road and we knew the season:
both can be difficult, both can be dangerous.
We have traveled in the area before.
We were prepared. We were blessed.
We arrived safely.

top centre shows freeway winding through snowy hills

We  experienced blue skies and dense fog on our recent homeward trip. I have been thinking about it since then. The experience left an indelible image in my mind that will likely last the rest of my life. It is the image of blue clear skies above a thick blanket of cloud that can be warned about and then in the distance seen. Sometimes we can not avoid such experiences and must go through such 'narrow' places.

We traveled for several hours on a beautiful sunny December day along clear, mostly dry, roads. Temperatures were above freezing and icy patches from earlier in the day had melted to bare, wet pavement.


 As we neared Cabbage Hill in Oregon a reader board and flashing lights warned us about thick fog ahead. It was hard to believe or imagine as we drove through the sunshine but these warning signs are usually accurate. They often are placed at locations of safety and clarity to help travelers choose safe options and prevent accidents and sorrow. We expected to have some reduced visibility on the hill because it is quite high and steep. It can be like driving into the clouds going up it and coming out of them going down.  Strangely there were few clouds visible except distantly over the mountains.


Elder David A. Bednar spoke of such warning signs recently and instructed listeners about happiness and safety in families. These warning signs made me think of his General Conference talk: there is hope, there is help, there are blue skies, God IS real and does love each of us. There is a plan! It is the plan of happiness.



As  we crested the top of the downgrade and began to thread our way down the hill toward the hairpin turns we could see a thick blanket of cloud completely obscuring the valley and views below. I wondered how far we would have to drive through the cloud/fog and how thick it might be. I even got out our camera.  I thought it might be fun to video going into and out of dense cloud/fog.


As  we approached closer and closer time seemed suspended - is it around this bend? over this next drop? behind this view blocking wall of rock the road cuts through? I decided we were close enough to turn on the camera. [Please ignore the crack that began the winter after a large rock, dislodged from between semi tires, smacked into our windshield on another trip - we ignore it all the time - at least until we get together money to replace it by paying our insurance deductible.]

video

The fog never materialized around that bend - it was still ahead. Our fog lights were on.  We have a stable car with good tires. The roadway was dry and the lanes clearly marked.  Also the freeway was divided and had excellent side guardrails.  Oncoming traffic, separated from us by embankments and rails, would not be a factor and traffic traveling with us was very light.  We knew we were going to have this experience and  could not predict with certainty exactly when or the outcome.

We have traveled in severely reduced visibility in the past. Would this be worse? or not as bad? There was no turning back or aside or stopping. Only time would tell. We slowed down significantly. Past experience (and wise counsel) help us to negotiate potential hazards.

Sometimes it is hard to not literally or figuratively lose our way (even when we know where we are going) as we experience overwhelming trauma or other unforeseeable circumstances that obscure those plans and destinations in ways that seem beyond our abilities to comprehend or endure.

Elder Deiter F. Ucthdorf , in a talk entitled "Prayer and the Blue Horizon" spoke about such times and the solutions that will lift us above clouds of despair or darkened and difficult stormy times. When we encounter such times they can seem as obscuring fog that hides all views and even taxes our memory of clear skies, better and possible sunny days, and even the destinations and desires that are real but require our constant focus and persistent efforts to claim.

Elder Uchtdorf explained the hope and help that accompany God's ways, commandments and plan. I reiterate - there is hope, there is help, there are blue skies and the plan is The Plan of Happiness. It is His gift to us!

As soon as we entered the bank of cloud all view of the blue above and the world around us ended.

video

It wasn't nearly as bad as the worst we imagined - except it did not end.  It lessened but we continued in fog for many hours all the way home - with sometimes less, and sometimes more visibility! Holding the picture of blue skies securely in my mind, imaging them above us clear and bright, seemed to lessen the fog. It definitely made it more bearable even after darkness deepened and visibility lessened more. Even in the later darkness of night coming on I could imagine a clear starlit sky with all below bathed in moonlight. I knew with surety that the confines of the experience had limits and were temporary.

That is how we spent most of Christmas Eve - in a fog!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NOT SCROOGE

Least anyone think a scrooge or two are living around here let the included pictures, links and videos lay to rest such foolishness. 


video
I hope you enjoy these videos (despite the questionable resolutions) of our rotating tree, ornaments and etc.

video
We have loved the purple green combination, as well as the red and gold we needed to add to have enough ornaments. It has been terrific too.  I never would have thought it up without some shopping inspiration from prepackaged stuff and the help of my talented daughters, daughter-in-laws and sisters that have encouraged me and egged me on. Thanks girls! BTW those pears glow in the dark! So do the angels and the star on top.

without lights 
I don't think you believe in any 'Scroogeness'  anyway if you have been following the process of 'decking our halls' with wreaths , lights, and etc

One friend on walking into our living room asked, "how could a person not feel happy here? This looks like 'Christmas Present' in the story The Christmas Carol".  Although the camera distorts the sound of the bells they ring true in reality. The camera also reads some of the purples as blues.  It is ironic because they all look the same color in the room.  I suppose the light reflects differently to the lens of a camera than to the lens of the eye.

video


Indeed it felt a bit like the Dicken's description of Christmas present around here this year.
We have and live in abundance.

video

We are grateful to all our family, friends and other loved ones that accept our gifts of abundance by visiting or otherwise enjoying and sharing these delights of the holidays. We will miss all the fullness and lights when we put them away to start the New Year but we also like how fresh, clean and uncluttered everything becomes from all the dusting, decorating, and un-decorating of Fall and Winter.

It is always a time to look closely into every corner and crevice and scrutinize our attitudes, needs and wants - what is working, what is not and where are the cobwebs, dust, and closet skeletons with all their dirt collecting or hiding. Some things need to see the light of change, some need to be tidied and organized, and some just need to be swept out or thrown in the trash. 

It is a wonderful time to decide what we want most and then work to achieve those desires.

What is worth preserving and what can we let go?

Monday, December 27, 2010

BEST GIFT

I received few tangible gifts this Christmas.

We had no little children here.
We had to make our own excitement,
 our own 'Christmas'.

We almost, really, didn't.

We put off the budget.
We traveled and enjoyed other's festivities.
We looked at a few things in stores but bought nothing.

Belatedly we realized we would arrive home very late on the 24th and that food in the house was only what was in storage - no Christmas treats or traditional foods - only a frozen turkey in the freezer. And not only were we out of fresh vegetables, including potatoes, but when the stores closed they would not be opening again until Sunday and we do not shop or buy on the Sabbath so that meant Monday for us.

We arrived at a grocery store in a town 2 hours still to home - it was closed already, we drove on and with 10 minutes until closing we found an open grocery store. With no budget, shopping list, or menu plan - YIKES!!! we grabbed a loaf of bread, a bag of potatoes, a bag of oranges and a few other such items we know we regularly get on shopping trips.  That would have to do. I also did not have the calendar in front of me to say that missionaries would be coming over for dinner Sunday evening.

Now that is not a gift! or a great way to do Christmas. We cooked that frozen turkey, invited some friends over who thoughtfully and generously provided lovely home baked rolls and canned cranberry sauce, and I made a couple of pies for dessert - yes, from scratch but I still would rather buy Marie Calendar's pre-made crusts. We still have lots of apples and some berries from harvest. Thankfully loved ones dropped off some home baked goodies and a nice spread, that looked wonderful, took shape.

We have so much.  We hardly missed the frenzy of shopping and stressful preparation. We mostly celebrated with the things we already had.  We are so blessed.

And I did receive on special prompting.  I wished for something to top off the pie and suddenly remembered that a local drugstore (with a small food section) is open on Christmas Eve.  We made the trek and got some frivolous things like whipped cream, candy and chips for the festivities.    Moroni chapter 10 verse 5 teaches that by the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things. I know that idea just popped up when needed.  I know I was inspired to remember that.

That is the best gift I got this Christmas.
A gift of having 'remembrances' brought to mind.

I was tempted just a tiny bit to wish for things bought at a store. But then I remembered Christmas is a little bit more. My daughter and grandchildren had been reading the Grinch story and know what? - Christmas CAN come without "... ribbons, ... packages and tags. It can come without boxes [or candy] or bags ...".

The Holy Ghost can bring to our remembrance the thing that matters most - the truth of the good news, the gospel, that angels sang that sacred day - Jesus Christ, the very son of God, was born - and he will return again to earth. Because of him and by him and through him ALL God's children here on the earth will merit a kingdom of glory greater and more wonderful than we can now imagine.  Because of him and through him and by him there is HOPE for each and every single one - even a Mr. Grinch and a Mrs. Scrooge! [and you will have to find your own link to Scrooge - there are so many endless sources I am sure you can find one readily].

There are somethings that I know with certainty.  I look forward to that day when our Savior, Jesus Christ, will return to rule and reign on earth.  I cherish the hope to bow to him then and worship him face to face.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

FOG going

We took a little trip the week before Christmas.
Only about 6 hours of driving.
Imagine great-granny saying that.
How far would a buggy get her in 6 hours ...

I love our warm, fast, smooth riding car.
I love our paved freeways.
Whenever I travel I rejoice in these simple conveniences.

I remember choking-dust rumbling, gravel roads and when we considered them wonderful. I personally didn't as I didn't like grit between my teeth or breathing thickened air.  I remember my father speeding through the trailing cloud of dust from a vehicle in front of us while my mother's tense white knuckles belied the calm of her voice begging him to slow down. She hated the mud of get-stuck-in-the-dirt roads and never complained about graveled roads but she choose to not drive in dusty reduced visibility.  She slowed down and let the air clear - I liked that!

I remember my dad driving over hill and dale (that means literally through fields) and carefully negotiating along rutted dirt roads, one wheel on the hump of the grass centre and the other bumping along the grass and rocks on the right side - then when someone was coming from the other way you only had to move one wheel into the rut long enough to pass.  Those roads could so easily tear a car to pieces.  No problem though - dad would just get some 'baling wire' and fix the problem! He was good at that.  Almost anything that was 'haywire' could be fixed out there miles from anywhere except a hole in the oil pan - that was serious.  He was very careful to not hit larger rocks etc and knock a hole in it.

Our trip was safe and adventuresome.  Roads going southeast were a bit 'Canadian' and coming home northwest we had some fog to provide some excitement.

There is an infamous hill in Oregon known as Cabbage Hill.
I don't know why it is called that or it's history.

I do know it's treacherous nature and, like all travelers of the area, have had a few experiences there that are etched into my memory.  (Ask me and I will tell you a fun story or two - or just click on the links above for less personal ones.) The views from the top looking over the valley below are spectacular. We stop and stretch our legs there at the viewpoint sometimes even though there is no 'rest area'.

We are from Canada and accustomed to winter driving.  At first roads were bare and wet. Later roads were not great but certainly seemed passable to us. Our car has good fog lights, good tires and even in the snow we could mostly see the lane markers and the highway had been plowed.


As we neared the top of Cabbage Hill we noticed a back log of traffic headed the opposite way (down) along the freeway. We knew chains were being required for trucks and so assumed some of it was trucks chaining up etc.

When it continued for many miles we knew there was a problem on that side of the road. I felt bad for travelers sitting    as if double parked, in a jammed up snarl.

The scariest part was watching frustrated motorists begin to turn around and drive the wrong way along the shoulder of the freeway.  We watched some arrive past the back of the snarl and continue towards on coming  semi trucks! They all slowed to a stop but there were a few very scary moments there.  I watched to see where the nearest exit off was - not for at least 10 more miles!

Not to worry I thought - we are going the other way. What will be will be!

I am still wondering about the prudence of their actions. What does one do in desperate circumstances? How do we make such critical decisions? We each do the best we can with the information and tools available and later with hindsight congratulate or berate ourselves with hindsight. We each have the light of Christ - guidance from him available to us if we choose to accept it. During our most difficult times help and hope is available - choosing it is all up to us - do we bother to even pray? To ask God what to do or for His help?


Snow increased and visibility decreased.  Not cool! The lane markers became covered with packed snow and in places we could tell that earlier the roadway had been slushy because deep ruts had frozen and now presented a driving hazard.

Plows were working but road conditions did not improve. Eventually
barricades closed the highway and we spent the night in a hotel.

 The next morning we continued. The roads needed the plows more but at least morning was shedding some light on the mess and temperatures were rising.

Plows were abundant.  Thankfully traffic was not - mostly.  We came upon a couple of plows working in tandem and totally blocking the freeway traffic to a snails pace.  Thankfully for many miles that only meant us. I snapped a few pictures showing the mush they were clearing.

Eventually others began to pile up and crowd in - we slowed down and let them. Soon the plows had quite a following.  We considered that more danger than the road conditions and slowed enough that we were not in the 'sandwich' zone.

When the plows turned onto an off ramp to clear it we breathed a sigh of relief. This photo shows them running parallel to the freeway clearing the ramp.

Frankly anyone that needed to use that ramp was likely glad too!

Sometimes it is better to not be part of a crowd.  Later we saw a semi that had rolled over like a puppy wanting a tummy scratch.  It lay between the east/west freeway in the middle of the deep snow of the median. Apparently several such accidents had closed the road the night before.

Glad I was in a hotel!!
That was a Christmas gift - at least that is what we called it.  Our Santa money paid for that hotel.  Is safety a gift? YES!! It definitely is.

I will post the trip home later!





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'LL BE HOME SURPRISE

Nick has been away serving in the military.  His family thought he would not be home until the 23rd.  His wife's birthday was on the 21st.  He called friends to let them know he was going to make it early - could they help him surprise her??

A girlfriend took her to lunch.
Her hubby picked him up at the airport.
A cake was baked and decorated,
chocolate with Peanut Butter frosting.


The kids saw dad first - what excitement!
To surprise mom, the youngest (age 5)wanted to hide in a closet.
And then sneak up behind her.
It was a small full closet.
Like all wise dads he agreed with the child.
Her friend (age 4) and her and daddy went in the closet
with the door partly open.

mommy coming in with homeowner behind

When mommy arrived the door was still partly open -
those coming in tried to push it shut -
repeatedly! The homeowner being most pushy -
she hates that door that doesn't latch properly...

coming out - mommy still unaware

and she knew he was in the house, just not in the closet.


What a wonderful birthday surprise.



















The children were overjoyed.

This Dad is home for Christmas, this year!

Family togetherness - that is such a terrific gift!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WREATHS

Otherwise known as SMALL CHANGES -

This is about that other project I mentioned I tackled.

I love beautiful wreaths.
It is commonly known as a symbol for eternity.

I hate most wreaths -
perhaps not the wreath per se but just how neglected they may be.

I owned one - a ratty one.
I bought it as the base for a project that I never got around to.
I hung it anyway. It was made of simple 'hay looking' materials painted white with a bit of sparkle tossed on.

It was OK by itself or with a few embellishments but over the years the paint became worn, the sparkle fell off and many areas lost broken bits and pieces. It had even become slightly lopsided.

Since I am having an affair with purple paint anyway I decided to include it in the frenzy.


I tried it first with 'proper' made-just-for such-things type of paint (left of course from a remodeling project) - that was a waste of expensive paint! The wreath became a lovely shade of lilac.

pre-glitter



I painted it purple with cheap spray paint -
and glittered it with purple too.




When I started to add embellishments and purple poinsettias
[including the original navy one I painted purple]

original navy poinsettia is on the right

 to the evergreen wreath I was working on, this other wreath was a natural target for leftover bits, ribbons, ornaments and excess creativity that seemed to be keeping me wired those days.

My total investment consisted of the wreath itself (that I bought for $3), a 5$ splurge for a spool of bright green ribbon and the poinsettias, berries and purple paint I was getting anyway - I did buy an extra stem ($1 a piece - 3 total) of each at the dollar store to be sure I did not run out. I am not counting the dead wreath from the attic, ornaments that will continue to live in my over-the-laundry storage bins, or the glue, glitter, and 3D glitter paint languishing in the craft cupboards but if you don't have such things you would have to plan for those purchases.  So about 12 - 15 dollars for the 2 wreaths. Estimate 20 if you have to buy the glitter/glue etc.

 [Sorry I didn't take any before pictures of the evergreen wreath - you will have to imagine it - you know you can - you probably donated it or one like it to the 2nd hand I bought it at - oh, and btw - tuck that image of your worn out wreath away in the back of your brain so we can find it again later.]


Little and simple changes may effect many things.
Good changes bring good results. Very small things can cause what look like and become great changes or effects.

The same is true in our lives.

I tend to sit in the same spot in the living room, on the same chair at the table, and kneel to pray by one side of my bed where my actions have become habit. One day I decided that spot on the couch was getting too worn so I now deliberately choose to sit in a different spot - usually.  When I sat in a different chair at the table the rest of the family almost couldn't sit down to eat! My habits apparently affect my family significantly.

Recently I decided to kneel around the corner on another side of the bed. Surprisingly, that decision affected my prayers - for the better. I think more about who I am talking with and what we are discussing. I really am surprised.

Little things - who knew?!?

Are you still imagining that wreath you donated?


Could it be this one?

I only made a few small changes!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PROJECT PURPLE

I decided to decorate with green and purple for Christmas this year.

It is a whim that has taken my fancy.
Isn't it marvelous to be able to have whims and fancies?
Many men and women have given me this gift -
 even at great personal cost.
I am grateful.

Last year I chickened out.
I did hot pink and turquoise -
on a white tree.

That seemed radical but it was OK actually.
(It was inspired by some antique ornaments in those colors.)

My first obstacle was the difficulty of finding what I wanted to use.
Did you ever try to find purple poinsettias?


Sure I could get them at the craft store for about a million bucks (but even those were kind of more 'lilac' not royal purple) except I like to keep my money not spend it. The dollar store had white fake poinsettias in bunches of about 10 stems on each one and also some cool looking stems of red berries (that I know I will want somewhere sometime) that also were available in a nice lime looking green - sparkley too!

I NEEDED those.

I spent less than $10 there including all my berries and some funky bells.

I decided the poinsettias could be painted.

And they can - quite nicely - I am pleased to report that the texture did not even change too much. Just spray them lightly and the paint wicks into the cloth and dries almost instantly. They are a bit stiffer but overall pretty much the same.

Yup - I did.  I went down to the local department store, common to small town anywhere, and bought a can of purple spray paint - nothing special - just generic everyday paint in a spray can. There are fabric paints that can readily color even delicate papers etc but they cost more 4 times as much - SERIOUSLY! more than 4 times as much!

Our local ubiquitous department store also supplied some purple ribbon (that was discounted to a buck a spool) and the light strings for the tree (in green).  I had to splurge for one spool of green ribbon but with that and a few (very few) interesting green ornaments I started to dig through my 'stuff' and sort out possibilities.

Hmmm - lots of glitter  - in all kinds -  purple and green [check] AND glow in the dark - I pulled that out as a for sure - it is kind of greenish and might create some fun effects.

I also visited the local 2nd hand stores - you never know what antique-ish or intriguing (and no longer available for purchase elsewhere) thing lurks there.  My tree topper was from such a box some other year - it was just too interesting to pass up then. It is terrific this year.

I found a nice evergreen wreath form, stripped it down to the evergreen, fluffed it up, shaped it a bit and then refurbished it - but that is a different project!


I pulled a white poinsettia off its stem, and separated the layers of petals.










I also left them together,















clipped the top layer with a clothes pin,

sprayed the back

too much paint causing runs and drips
(spray from further away)

and then the front,

dropped the top layer and sprayed the top. I liked that best.

former navy on right

I had taken a large dark blue and silver poinsettia (single layered) off the 2nd hand wreath.  I sprayed it purple too.  It needed 2 coats to cover the darkness of that color contrast of the silver threads. The texture became almost plastic like.

drying outside

The day was warm-ish and I left them outside drying - they were too strong smelling to bring indoors for several hours.


Later I thinned white glue (by about half), and stroked a paint brush dipped in it along the petals and sprinkled them with fine purple glitter.  After they were dry I tapped off loose particles prior to using gold 3D glitter glue to make the center stamens shiny gold again.

These flowers (and berries) turn up on my tree, and in wreaths and garlands hung around the room in several places.  They became a fun and key player in this year's decor.


Today I needed a few more.  I just couldn't be bothered to go through the whole dismantling, painting and reassembly procedure.  I took a 'bush' of whites and my can of paint outside.
I figured I had nothing to lose - worst case scenario they might have to be redone.  I sprayed the underside first while holding them upside down, and then carefully sprayed the top surfaces as individually as possible.  They turned out OK.


 There were some lighter areas on the upper surfaces of the lower petals but as they dried, the paint continued to seep into those areas and they took on more color.  After I glittered them in the same way as I had the others. The glitter did not seem able to just stick in the paint and save me that step.

If you need flowers a specific color - paint them!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SHINING GIFT

This morning -
early -
very early,
as I lay dozing in my warm bed, wondering why my husband was up earlier that usual and ... (what ??? did I just hear the outside door????) - I heard the pitter, pitter, patter of not so tiny feet on my roof top! I promptly jumped out of my bed to see what was the matter!

I admit I did not move to any sash (either of door or window) in a flash, but I was certainly there at the door for re-entry. Thank goodness it has been raining all week and most of the roof is bare, but at that time of the morning I was extremely relieved to hear footsteps on the gravel drive and see him when I looked out the front door as he rounded the corner . I don't know what I thought I might see from under the porch in my nightie - maybe his broken body on the ground? It was frosty - he says the ice was only in a few places!

Hubby knows I love the lights.  

He went up top
and replaced that green light bulb that was burned out!

Now that is a SHINING gift! don't you think?  
I do! 


I tried to take a picture to show you but I am kind of wiggly jiggly today.  Here is that version.

I hope he knows I love him too.
More than colored lights.


And not just because he climbed up on a frosty roof and changed a light bulb (don't surprise me - I hate surprises) or that he went out and took the picture for me - without knowing or asking why!

He is a talented person with unique insights.  I really enjoy the things he shares - like this picture ...


The house lights are reflecting on the top of the car. He likes photography and gets some pretty cool shots at times.


He is a light in my life - 


right up near the peak.




Saturday, December 11, 2010

QUESTIONS

I ask a lot of questions:

always have.

Why?

Because I do want to know.

I don't do it to bug people
or to give them advice.

I ask because I would like to understand.

If you don't know I don't expect you to -
I might even be just thinking outloud.

If I expect you to know there are reasons why -
Do you want me to explain why I think so?
I am sure I would ask more questions as I tried.

Can you wait while I search for answers?
Can we search and find together?

Will you share my life of looking?
never stopping ...

I am amazed at the questions people never ask. They not only seem to not want to know but also seem to avoid enlightenment.  I think all our lives would be easier if we ask good questions and find appropriate answers. Being able to think and reason is such a tremendous gift!

To know me is to be asked. I remember asking my mom and my dad and my siblings questions lots.  I think they asked me a lot of questions too.  Every family has their 'culture'.  I think that might be ours. Ask ...

I considered naming this blog 'Qwestions' but decided I might not ask a question (or even cause you to ask one) every time I write a post.  'Time In A 'Blogtelle' expresses and documents some of my answers (as well questions) for me if not for you.

My husband thinks I ask him questions to pick on him.
Honey - I just want to know ...
I think he feels picked on because he wishes he knew everything.

He is a smart man but we have learned that (so far) he can't answer all the questions that can be asked. I should apologize to him.

David I'm sorry.
I don't mean to make you squirm.
Just so you know, I wince if I know you do.
Do you know I didn't mean to?
(Usually)

Do you all know that?

See, there I am doing it again!
It is like a reflex.

Friday, December 10, 2010

IDENTIFICATION PLEASE

Almost every time I need to make a business transaction, or visit a doctor or other personal service provider,  I am asked for at least part of my Social Security Number. I am told that it is for security and identification purposes.

If I offer my Customer ID number or my account number I am informed those aren’t secure enough - even if I have given all the other identifying information ever requested for the account such as the password, my name and /or the names of family members, and my address/phone numbers I am still asked for this government assigned number.

Why is that?

You, as a company or business entity, expect my complete trust that you will vigilantly keep my information and privacy secure.  Are you telling me that your own account and customer numbers are not as ‘secure’? 

Are you telling me that your own account and customer numbers are less ‘valid’ than a government number almost universally requested?

 REALLY?
That inspires my trust - NOT!

Hmmm – so why would I give YOU this ‘top secret’ number?

Frankly I do so regularly.
Because it isn’t - very secure or secret. 
And it makes my life less stressful.
And yours also, apparently.

Sometimes I refuse.  
It's just the way I feel that day - 
or maybe something you said or did.
You seem a little stressed.  


Isn't the ability and right to make choice like a wonderful gift? I can choose to give it to you or not - and you can choose to want my business or not.

Welcome to reality. 
Our family is really sorry to inconvenience you in this way. 
Really sorry. 

Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Have I satisfied all your concerns today?
How would you rate me as a customer today?


Wait I forgot - I am no longer your customer!


We sincerely hope you are satisfied. 
Is there anything else I can cancel from our lives? 
Oh, and btw,  thank you so much for waiving the termination of service fee. I will be sure to remember you charge one if I am ever tempted or compelled to use your business again. 

You may want to think about this - 
Have a nice day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

ONE LITTLE LIGHT

Christmas lights went up just in a nick of time.



The very weekend before winter blew in with a vengeance

David spent most of his free time that Saturday making connections work, checking bulbs, and climbing the ladder. We don't put many up - we try to keep it simple - but I love the lights.

I hope David knows how much it means to me to see them every single morning and evening - every time we leave the house or come home my heart does that little lurch flip that precedes a giggle. It's one of the best gifts I get each year they're up!

They make me smile.

Did I mention I love Christmas lights?

I prefer old fashioned multicolored lights.

Especially when they are neat and even. Even when one bulb quits I still love them anyway. (And why is it always the one nearest the peak and just out of reach of the tallest ladder? the one you have to get on the roof to change? errhhgggg!!)


I am a little disappointed about that light that is not shining. I wish it were. I wish I could fix it (not enough to jeopardize life or limb, however).

It's only one but I feel a twinge of sadness to see the dark empty spot
in the shining row of color.
It feels like when someone I love is gone.
The lyrics to a childhood song with a catchy melody sings about "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine..."

I notice things you do to light my world. There are so many that do so much - I can't begin to express how I feel. All your lights - all shining for me - thanks! You're all so beautiful!

Each of us has a marvelous amount to contribute to the world around us. When I feel like I am only one light that doesn't matter and that no one will notice if my light goes out, I think of that small dark spot along my roof where a light could be shining. Most passers-by don't notice but I see it every day.

What if someone sees me (when my light is out)?

I am sure I could do something every day to make light,

I hope I can.
I try to.

Blue lights are my favorites.
(I hope I shine blue.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

BUYER BEWARE

aka DEFECTIVE PRE-LIT TREE

"Christmas is a-comin'..."


Would you put these lights on your tree? Look carefully -

Yes there are 2 places that the wires coming out of sockets end as loose open wires.

 Yes there is also a loop of about 5 lights that are on a 3rd single wire running out of one of the sockets and back in another socket further down the line - in 2 different places.



Have you looked at the lights on your pre-lit tree?

Closely?

Are they safe?



I don't think mine were.
I wasn't comfortable with what I found.
No wonder there are so many fires!

Last year we wanted a new tree but decided we couldn't afford one.  We don't want big trees anymore and often only put up 4.5' trees.  [That is easy - just use the top two sections in the stand.  Leave the largest bottom section in the box. The top 2 sections are fuller and nicer than smaller trees on the market. Leaving the bottom section in the box doesn't affect the tree or its stability at all.]


After Christmas we saw a great sale on a small 6.5' pre-lit green tree and decided again - we bought it at the terrific price.

There were lots more - maybe you got one too. We even plugged it in at the store to be sure the lights worked.

We stowed it in the attic and just opened it today.
My husband unbaled it - funny - it was tied in a bundle just like the real trees you can get this time of the year.

As I began to 'fluff' it up I noticed a wire that looked like part of the light set had pulled apart - but it also looked like it was being used to secure the lights - that didn't seem very safe. I don't know much about electricity but maybe one of you does and can look closely at the pictures.

I looked more carefully and began tracing its source.  It was twisted around the branch and appeared to tie the lights to the branches - that would make sense I suppose - just use the same wire easily available to put things together with. I especially thought that might be the case when I found the next 2 wires - but it didn't make good sense either - why so much wire twisted and balled up all together in one spot?


Sloppy? - yes!

Cheap? - yes!

Safe? - ah that is the question.

I had been debating in my mind if I wanted to use colored lights or clear this year.  If I used colored I decided  they would be green.  Clear, colored, sigh, clear - it is too much trouble to replace them, green - I will put the green on and not plug in the clear - no that is just too much wire ...

Green, clear, green, clear, ....  this is where I was at when I saw the wire and began to investigate.  I unraveled it about a foot until I was certain one end fed directly into the set of lights on the top half the tree.

I had found meanwhile the next miscellaneous 2 wires - I started undoing them next. Those 2 wires turned out to be loose wires also that were twisted and then knotted around that light socket together.

GREEN - my decision came together rather quickly then.  My lights will be green this year. I had a genuine mess and I couldn't for the life of me see how it could possibly be safe.  We stripped those clear lights off the tree and will have a diy green pre-lit tree on hand for the future.  I will let you know how it turns out.


All the light sets we removed from the tree had miscellaneous wires with uncapped ends and extra loops of single wired lights looking like a third wheel on a date.  Common sense tells me that is not OK.

Am I just being paranoid?

NOPE - better paranoid than on fire.

Isn't common sense a gift in its own right?

And I wanted green lights anyway. [The basic tree is a decent enough little tree that was so inexpensive I will keep it and use it as is.]



Meanwhile - check your tree.
 Is it a fire hazard?