Tag Archives: sanity

Notes for Next Christmas

IMG_9329I have a friend who has a very thoughtful way of living her life, and I try to pick up her habits when I can. She recently told me that every year after Christmas she takes a few minutes to jot down what worked and what didn’t, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes over and over again. I suspect that I should probably do this every Sunday night, but starting with Christmas seems like a solid idea.

  1. Obviously, drill a hole in the bottom of my tree and make sure it’s stable before decorating.
  2. Do not buy the square Christmas card. Again. For the second year in a row, I was lured into ordering the square card, which has to be hand processed at the post office and requires a 70 cent stamp. I guarantee there is not one person on my Christmas card list who will think more of me for having a square card. Not one of them will think, “Wow, things are really going well for the Monaghans. This thing cost 21 extra cents to send! Impressive.” And if they do, I should probably take them off my list.
  3. Do not be lured into the “40% off holiday cards” offer that you get just before Thanksgiving. It will be 50% off the following Monday. (Again, second year in a row I’ve flubbed this.) Contrary to everything I’ve ever held to be true, during the holidays, all the spoils go to the procrastinator.
  4. The post office doesn’t open until 10am. If you get there at 9:45 you will be first in line, and will be out of there in no time. If you get there at noon, you will probably wait 45 minutes, but the nice postal worker will be on duty. She’s the one who re-tapes my packages, laughs at my jokes and can read my handwriting. If you care at all about your mental health, it’s totally worth it to go at noon.
  5. I have a list of online retailers who ship with those styrofoam peanuts, and am going to remember not to order from them again. The permanence of those peanuts is not limited to their staying power in landfill. They also attach to the back of your black exercise pants in a profoundly unflattering way. I wisk them off with my hands and they attach there, so I wipe my hands on my pants to get them off, and there they stay. This is just one of life’s great problems that can be solved by shopping local.
  6. Don’t overthink the Christmas stockings. Every year I scramble to find right-sized and compelling loot for the stocking, and every year my kids race through it to the “real” gifts. For them, the stocking is like the card you have to read before you get to open the gift. They barely notice it, and half the stuff gets lost in the bigger mess. Consider going back to old school things like oranges and coal.
  7. Leave for Christmas Eve mass at least an hour early. Church on Christmas Eve feels like the 1989 opening of the Batman movie. Best to line up in advance and sleep in a tent if necessary in order to make sure you get a seat.
  8. Continue my practice of avoiding the cookie party.
  9. Say yes to anything that involves children singing in church.
  10. Fudge is not your friend.

Wake Me Up When The Election’s Over

We’re almost there, people. The election is just over the hump of the weekend, and the end is actually in sight. I tend to like a salacious and horrifying story, the inner-workings of human drama. But there’s no thrill in this election. It just feels prickly and uncomfortable, like the angora sweater my grandmother bought… Continue Reading

Jigsaw Puzzles With Toddlers

If you’ve ever done a jigsaw puzzle with a two year old, you know what it means to run through the entire range of human emotions. You hope, you cringe, you pull your hair out. At some point, you’ll be disgusted, elated and then relieved. It’s a worthy exercise, and its success depends on your… Continue Reading

Local Woman Gets Angry in Person

The other day I was stopped at an intersection, looking both ways as I’ve been told to do, when the woman in the car behind me started honking repeatedly to encourage me to take the plunge. I wasn’t in the mood for a fiery death, so I waited for the traffic to clear in both… Continue Reading

After Graduation, The Leaving Period

A year ago, a friend of mine whose child had just graduated from high school suggested I write an article about this big milestone. I thought about it and decided to wait. It would have been like writing a guidebook about Paris based on internet research, without actually going there and seeing the light, smelling… Continue Reading

High School Commencement Speech – First Draft

It’s kind of weird how Rye High School hasn’t asked me to deliver this year’s commencement address yet. I mean it’s a month away and these kinds of speeches don’t write themselves. I’m local, I’m verbose, the price is right. And heck, I’m going to be there anyway. Assuming they’ve been calling my landline or… Continue Reading

Greatest Mother in the World Spotted in YMCA Parking Lot

As published in the Rye Record on January 22, 2016 I saw a woman leaving the YMCA yesterday with a baby strapped to her chest, another, slightly larger one in a stroller, and a three year old holding her hand. She was infested with small children. I stopped to watch. How in the world are… Continue Reading

Lost and Found and Down the Rabbit Hole

It usually starts with “Mooooom…” Though it sometimes starts with “Hooooooney…” I hear it more in my lower back than in my ears, because I know this calm plea for help often leads to a trip down the rabbit hole. It’s the moment that some member of my family cannot immediately find the item that… Continue Reading

They’re not Thoughtless. They’re Astronauts.

It’s funny when your kids start driving and noticing how frequently the adults around them don’t obey the traffic laws. Look, Mom, that guy didn’t signal. Look, Mom, that lady ran the stop sign. Again, I need to fill them in. I explain to my kids that it’s because these people are just a bunch… Continue Reading

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