Black Friday or Blue?

I finished the bulk of my holiday shopping on election night in a small quiet store near my home.

I desperately needed a diversion.

Then on Black Friday I rose early and mailed those gifts to friends and family from an empty post office.

The peace was almost deafening.

On Small Business Saturday, my chi pup Rex and I walked the sunny beach at the lake and climbed the short ladder to the life guard station.

Luckily no one needed our help as we had a little business of our own to take care of.

I’d brought a small stack of holiday cards up there to pen as we kept an eye on a couple of fishing boats off in the distance.

After a while, we climbed back down and followed our noses over to a blazing bonfire by the trolley tracks.

Santa was already there, greeting all in line for their rides on an old wreath adorned golden trolley.

Rex and I opted instead for one hot chocolate, laced with small marshmallows and a s’more cooked to order by a smiling Boy Scout nearby. Both were being sold as part of his troops’s fundraiser.

Rex appeared to love his first sweet graham cracker.

And I loved my avoidance of stores this weekend even more I thought while licking every bite of chocolate off my fingers.

It seems a break in tradition can be quite delicious.

Month of Gratitude: Day 28


On this Black Friday, I stayed clear of big box stores and shopping malls.

Instead I chose to celebrate those gifts that keep on giving.

And I’m not talking fruitcake.

My friend Diane is a blogger and also an occupational therapist. A client of hers recently passed along some caps she’d knitted and asked Diane to give them to soldiers.

Diane blogged about it right before Veteran’s Day and suggested we all recognize soldiers past and present.

I loved the idea and immediately penned my own uncle a thank you for his years in Korea.

In her blog post, Diane also asked readers to leave a comment if they were interested in obtaining one of the caps. I left her a note of thanks and ended up being the first name drawn.

The cap is now on its way to a wonderful soldier I’ve met currently on duty in Iraq, along with a holiday thank you note.

The same day I received the package from Diane, I found another envelope in my mailbox. This time from another blogger I know named Deb.

Deb mailed me a bright and colorful pair of mittens, made from recycled sweaters, to keep my fingers “warm and nimble”.

She also included in her note much encouragement as I work to compile my writings on caregiving into a book that I hope will help others soon.

Like Diane, Deb warmed my soul with her kindness, along with my cold fingers.

I have to admit though I did put on my new mittens and ventured into one Black Friday event today.

It was being held at a shop benefiting those struggling in the community by selling donated new and ‘gently’ used merchandise.

I walked back out looking like Mrs. Claus with 6 lap size afghans a busy volunteer crocheted for the shop.

They’ll be gifts to warm my grandkids while reading their books in the chilly winter months as they sip their hot cider.

And the proceeds from my purchase will provide ample cider as well for the food shelf next to the store.

I’m am so grateful for these incredible gifts that keep on giving.

They’re gentle reminders of what this beautiful season really is all about.

Diane’s blog:

Deb’s blog:



Month of Gratitude: Day 6

It appears that gratitude for the extra hour of shut eye last Sunday, has been replaced by late afternoon sleepiness.

The normally talkative on my bus are now snoring all the way home.

Gray skies have definitely been a contributor.

I know we’ll adjust eventually, but the reality of winter’s coming has finally settled in.

And I’ll admit I was actually thankful today to see the brightly colored Christmas tree standing proudly in the rain by the Target store.

Sure that tree’s up too early, but it was pretty cheery.

And as to the rain?

I’m just grateful it wasn’t the white stuff.