Looking at Broken Glass

I decorated the Christmas tree Tuesday night. I have 5 boxes of ornaments to choose from ranging from childhood ornaments belonging to my husband, Sparky, to ornaments that are from my mother’s father, to ones I made, on up to those that were gifted to us and a few that we purchased for ourselves. In years past I would select a theme and decorate accordingly. I have lots of reindeer ornaments. We have a ton of angels. There are all the hand-made ones, or the Santa and elves group, I even have an assortment of various animals and a lot of musical instrument themed ones. This year I decided to just put up all the blown glass ornaments. It has been a while since I put them up. For those that remember Ranger – the destroyer, we couldn’t decorate the tree with anything except ribbon bows and plastic icicles or he’d rip them off the tree and chew them to bits. He’s been gone a few years and I decided to get the fragile stuff out. You can imagine from the title what I found.
I have special plastic boxes with cardboard dividers to store the ornaments. The really important ones are wrapped in tissue paper and carefully placed where they won’t be jostled or crowded. Some of my other equally fragile but less sentimentally valuable are placed in the inner spots. I was saddened when I opened the storage container and discovered that several of my vintage 1950 glass balls had been broken. They weren’t the most exciting but they were some of my favorites – the raspberry ball with white flocked stripes, the sea foam green ball with a shooting star, the matte gold one with the hula girl holding a Christmas tree, and the red and black ball that had a Santa’s face on one side and “Merry Christmas” on the other… They were shattered and then pulverized. The piles of glass crumbs were not only sad but dangerous. I had to very carefully extract the intact balls and then dump the crushed remains into the trash without spilling any glass. I was successful. I still feel sort of sad about those that are gone. I mean, how do you replace a hula girl?

The tree looks good anyway even without the lost and broken ornaments…




Looking for Dignity

Dignity. The definition of this noun is wide ranging and includes: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect, a composed or serious manner or style, a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect, and a high or honorable rank or position. What all that says to me is that dignity can be conferred, earned, or innate. The problem is that many refuse to recognize the dignity of others. Some folks refuse to acknowledge their own dignity. This leads to self abasement. It can result in self loathing, racism, hatred, and in some cases violence against others and self.

Out of all the problems in this world, denying dignity of self and others causes more strife and anger than nearly anything I can think of. So what to do? I suppose it all starts with a little navel gazing. If we can individually recognize our own self worth then we can widen our view to include others. People laughed at the Saturday Night Live skits with the character Stuart Smalley and his mantra “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me.” The idea of daily affirmations was to many comical. However in a world where we are bombarded with negative messages about physical appearance, intelligence, education, career, gender, religion, etc. it becomes essential to have some sort of self talk that is positive.

How do you combat the onslaught of barbs and thinly veiled assaults to your self esteem? How do you support the dignity of others?
Yes, there are things going on that I can’t discuss in a public forum. I am an old hand at weathering these storms but it does wear on you after so many years…

Looking at Beers

It probably hasn’t come up lately and I’ve got some new readers that probably didn’t know but I don’t drink. Yep. I’m one of THOSE people – the teetotaler. I am not a member of the temperance union nor am I a Carrie-Nation-hatchet-wielding fanatic. I have made a personal decision not to drink alcohol. It is what is best for me. That said, most of the time if I say I don’t drink people respond with a “Cool” or some other equivalent indicating they respect my decision. Every once in awhile I will get a negative reaction. It has happened twice in as many weeks. We are entering the holiday party frenzy. Because everyone is trying to schedule their parties and attempting not to create scheduling conflicts, there are parties nearly every day. So far I’ve sent my RSVP to 4 parties accepting the invitations. I’ve declined 2 parties. I just can’t get into the events that are focused on imbibing as much beer as possible in as short a time as possible. I declined an invite and one of the organizers hunted me down. The conversation went something like this (I have to paraphrase):
Them: Hey! I saw you sent regrets for the party.
Me: Sorry but I won’t be able to make it. I have other commitments.
Them: Oh come on! The party is from 3:30 to 6:30 PM and we’ll have lots of free beer!!
Me: That’s nice but I can’t go.
Them: Sure you can – just stop in and say hi and grab a beer.
Me: I don’t drink.
Them: Really?!?! Dr. X is springing for some really good beer. You should try it! You’ll like it!
Me: No thanks.
Them: I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like beer. What’s wrong with you?!

The other encounter was more like massive eye rolls and then a whisper campaign indicating I was a recovering alcoholic. I have to admit that that bothered me just a little. Sparky and the boys drink beer, but they don’t get drunk. They are responsible. Sparky’s family is German and Polish and boy do they like their beer (and they drink responsibly)! I’ve tasted different beers and can honestly say it all tastes horrible. In honor of piwo I present a list poem for all those who enjoy this nasty tasting beverage….

Amstel Light
Allagash White
Farmhouse Ale
Burning River Pale
Miller Genuine Draft
Michelob Dunkel Weisse
Milwaukee’s Best Ice
Pendle Witches Brew
Tooheys New
Hops Lightning Gold
He’Brew Messiah Bold
Lake Placid Frostbite
Rolling Rock Light
Wells Banana Bread
Killian’s Red
Pilsner, lager, bock
Stout, ale, doublebock
Rye, shandy, ice
IPA, porter, weiss
Stein or beer bong
Growler or flagon
Toby, can or mug
Keg, bottle or jug
Any way you pour it
Drinking is the best way to store it