Don’t lie to me about Santa.

We lie to kids all the time. We should stop. I often talk to Chris about all the Hallmark holidays that have gotten out of hand. Maybe I am a buzz kill, but we are basically telling kids lies and then later expect them to trust us. My parents did it and I turned out fine (at least I think I did), but I think I might just stop the craziness when I have kids. I thought Stefanie Wilder-Taylor said it just right in “Gummi Bears Should Not be Organic:

“Early on their life is filled with fantasies they believe to be true, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (notice I capitalized Tooth Fairy—because, like God, the Tooth Fairy is still very much a real and venerable life force in my house.) And who puts those fantasies in their head? We do. So when your child tries to convince you that the reason they took all the forks out of the kitchen is because they needed them to help run the jelly bean factory in their closet, how can we be mad when we’ve convinced them that a fat guy with a sack of toys is going to be sliding down their chimney?” page 92-93

She is right. We lie and then we expect them not to lie to us. Besides I think most kids do not even know the true meaning of Christmas. They think of it as a plethora of gifts, a tree, photos with Santa, and whatever other crazy traditions we have started. What if instead we all went back to the true meaning of Christmas? Giving to those in need and being together. Sadly, because of all the crazy hubbub of Christmas, I have become a Grinch. I do not want to buy you a gift just to get you a gift, and I do not want you to do the same. I do not need a thing.

It is funny — I decided to Google “the true meaning of Christmas” and I got such an array of answers about Jesus, God, and lots of other religious babble. One site did give me an answer I liked — that the true meaning of Christmas is Love. Now that is something I can wrap my arms around. Can we show our kids that? Instead of telling them about a fat, jolly Santa, the North Pole, and lots and lots of presents, why not show them how to give to kids in their community that do not have as much? Maybe sharing a coat with someone who does not have one? Or selecting toys to give to children that do not have any. What then are you teaching your kids? Love, gratitude, sharing, and appreciation for all they have each day?

I do not want to raise kids that feel they are just going to get presents upon presents under the Christmas tree, and so many they cannot even begin to appreciate them. That is commercialism and consumerism at its best. I would rather dote on them throughout the year, rather than swoop in on one day out of the year. Besides it feels like a lot of pressure, and is it really worth it? Call me a Grinch, but I do not want to start that tradition.

Workplace: Fewer or more walls?

The world moves and changes at a rapid pace and when I see folks that work in larger companies struggle with on a day-to-day basis is their personal space. As companies grow the trend seems to be moving towards open office environments. Is that the best way or does it look great? This is a recent article from The Washington Post titled: “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace” and it is definitely worth a read.

I work in an open office environment. Some days it works and some days it is hard to focus. It is fun, there is transparency, but I am not always sure that everyone is truly as productive in an open environment. Plus it can be highly distracting.

Does the open environment matter based on the individuals that sit in the space? Yes. If you do not get along, you do not necessarily want to have walls down. If you do, it can be so easy to talk and banter with those that sit close to you that you might look back on your day and think about what you really got done. This quote from the article says it all:

“If employers want to make the open-office model work, they have to take measures to improve work efficiency. For one, they should create more private areas — ones without fishbowl windows.  Also, they should implement rules on when interaction should be limited. For instance, when a colleague has on headphones, it’s a sign that you should come back another time or just send an e-mail.  And please, let’s eliminate the music that blankets our workspaces.  Metallica at 3 p.m. isn’t always compatible with meeting a 4 p.m. deadline.”

Private areas to meet when necessary. A place to make private phone calls if needed. Agreed upon rules on music and definitely ones that respect the use of headphones. Maybe we need little “Do Not Disturb” flags at our desk? I wonder if there is an app for that. I do not desire at all to move back to cubicle land, but if you have an open environment there needs to be a thoughtful approach to how it caters to those of differing needs. We are not one size fits all.

WDWDWF (What Did We Do Without Facebook)

During these weeks that fly by with such crazy speed, I find it harder and harder to keep up with life, emotions, and the state of the world. I have not watched the news in months. I stay connected with morsels of information from Chris, whatever pops up in my Facebook feed, and the few moments I am at my desk at work with glances to see what is happening on CNN on the television in our area. Not too connected you might say?

Well, Facebook always tells me when a famous person dies, with friend’s status updates stating: “RIP, ________.” Or if there has been a plane crash, weather disaster, or incident in the world, my Facebook feed might say: “You are in my thoughts, ________.” I even know what job, home, or city my friends would be suited for based on the quiz they just took and shared. Or what level of Candy Crush they just completed. And, worst of all, whatever product I just searched for on Google, will now show up in my Facebook feed as a “Suggested Post.” So the news just follows me, I rarely have to go find it.

I almost forgot, I started following the No Poo group on Facebook, and now every other post is about someone who has failed or succeeded at removing toxic shampoos and conditioners from their personal care routine. Don’t get me wrong I have learned tons of new insights, but it is a lot of information and crazy amounts of people chattering on my Facebook feed. How to dye hair and stay “no poo”, how to get rid of frizzy hair and not use toxic product, how to start out on low poo, or mothers that have never washed their kid’s hair. I can only imagine what other “groups” discuss and at what frequency. It is like Dear Abby on steroids on every topic imaginable.

At the end of the day, some of it is worthless, some of it is so-so news, and some of it is just hilarious. WDWDWF? (What Did We Do Without Facebook)? We sent more texts, emails, and picked up the phone and talked to each other. Go figure. Before that we wrote letters (yes, I miss the lost art of letter writing). These days the only items I get in the mail are junk and bills. An occasional letter, yes, but that is the exception.

In any case, I am grateful that it is Friday as I look forward to a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow, time to catch up on emails, clean my house, run some errands and eventually curl up with a good book. Not too much to ask right? Oh, and I will probably take a few moments to peruse the mindless chatter on Facebook. Either it will be a waste of my time, or I will laugh, share, and like what you have bestowed on my feed.

OOBAJUBAWOBBLES

So I was recently thinking of a summer while I was in college. I was a camp counselor, and I had the most hilarious camper. She somehow had been taught (or made up herself) that breasts, boobs, whatever you want to call them were “oobajubawobbles.” Oh what fun the counselors had with that one (after hours of course). If only I could remember each word she had for the size. She had a different word for flat to massive. Normal size was oobajubawobbles, extra-large were super oobajubawobbles…the list goes on.

Ah, the fun and randomness of little ones. If I remember correctly she was in elementary school. Talking about oobajubawabbles made her laugh so much, so I did not mind. Even if we were really talking about breasts. I love that something that happened 15+ years ago brings a smile to my face, and a chuckle. I do not remember what she looked like, and I do not remember her name, but the word was so different that the story has never left me.

As someone who can get excited while talking, thus talk fast and often smooshes words together I have a fun time thinking of all the strange words I have made up over the years. Chris and I often find we make up words that only we know and understand what they mean. We use them in public, or sometimes awkward situations and we both can communicate without those we are with understanding the meaning of our words. So maybe it is not just kids that say the darndest things.

In case you were wondering there are no search results on google.com for: oobajubawobbles. Maybe today we can make history. Share this blog post and let’s see if we can make it findable on google. For that little girl who could not stop laughing about oobajubawobbles.

#oobajubawabbles

Change the way you look at things

It hit me hard and felt like a colonic. Yes, that is what I said. It felt like a colonic. I have had one, I know what I am talking about. All the foggy thinking, gunk, and stirring thoughts and emotions were sucked out of my thought. A dilemma I have been agonizing over for the past few weeks, came clearly to me. I needed to shift my thought. I needed to change how I looked at this situation. It all happened after I came across this quote last week:

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”

After a little Google sleuthing, I think it is a quote from Wayne Dyer. I am not sure if he means that by looking at a situation differently, we will see it differently. Or, if he means that by looking at a situation differently, the actual situation (or people involved will actually change). Maybe both would/could happen. Either way, it was an eye-opening moment for me. It has made me think about my little dilemma differently. How I approach it, how I think about it, and how I react to it. Hopefully, that means that it will resolve itself in a way that is better than I can even imagine.

Are there things in your life that could benefit from looking at them differently? Things within your marriage/relationship or with your family or friends? Is a work situation that you think is beyond repairable worth looking at differently and a slight shift gives you the answer(s) you need to realign, change course, and take a project to the next level? Just as I was hit hard, take some moments today, not to get an actual colonic, but to have a colonic of your thoughts. Clear out the gunk, change the way you look at things, and just maybe things will change.