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Listening to Christmas Music Before Thanksgiving

I started listening to Christmas music on Friday. I look forward to this time of year for months. I’ll admit, I started a little early this year. Usually I wait until Thanksgiving, but I just couldn’t wait this year. So I started early. Our local radio station started playing Christmas music on Friday and I figured, if they can do it, then so can I.

I know what you are thinking: it’s too early. I disagree. Most people will only tolerate it during the month of December. For four short weeks these songs that artists spend so much time on get played. That’s not long enough for me. There are too many good songs. I want more than just four weeks.

I’ll admit sometimes around December 18 I grow weary of hearing yet another version of Do You Hear What I Hear?. But when I find myself getting sick of Christmas songs on December 18, do you know what I have also done? I have taken in Christmas. Since becoming an adult, I’ve suffered from Life Goes Too Fast syndrome. Symptoms of Life Goes Too Fast syndrome usually display in the form of phrases such as “how is it already the middle of November?” and “I can’t believe he’s already 3!” I also discovered that when suffering from Life Goes Too Fast syndrome, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas becomes roughly 2.5 days. Which is why I start my Christmas music early. It makes the weeks between the two holidays seem longer.

I’ve always been a fan of Christmas music. I began listening with dedication in college. My school schedule was such that I sometimes had exams until December 22 which meant that I came home on December 23. While I was away at school, I missed the Christmas atmosphere I grew up with at home. I missed the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree. I missed coming home from school, plugging in the Christmas tree lights and doing homework by the tree. Listening to Christmas music was my connection to home. My freshman year I made a mix CD called Kickin’ It Christmas and it was quite possibly the best Christmas mix CD ever made. I burned copies for pretty much every peson I knew. It was that awesome. I listened to it roughly a million times.

A few years, and a few moves, after graduation I couldn’t find my Kickin’ It Christmas CD. Luckily my former roommate who saves everything, still had a copy, burned me one and mailed it to me. Imagine my surprise, and slight embarrassment, when I listened to it only to discover that Kickin’ It Christmas was comprised mostly of N’Sync and 98 Degrees’ renditions of Christmas Carols. With the exception of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas and The Dave Matthew’s Band’s The Christmas Song I could not even bear to listen to the CD anymore.

Each year my tastes change slightly. Some years I favor the classics. Other years I seek out the newest versions of the Christmas songs. There are favorites from childhood that will always warm my heart and there are new ones that are added to the list each year.

I love Christmas. I love the joy that it brings. I love the hope it represents. When my schedule gets packed with extra work and social commitments, listening to Christmas music is my way of remembering that this time of year is not about a bunch of presents. It helps me slow down and focus.

Unless, of course, it’s off a CD called Kickin’ It Christmas.  Stay away from that one. Trust me.

Throwback Thursday: Rose Colored Glasses

The time has come. This is the final Throwback Thursday. I’m not sure what prompted me to end my blog at this point but for whatever reason this was my final post. Whether I did it on purpose or not, I think this is a great final post. Considering all the ups and downs I went through during that semester, this reminds me that I made it through everything with a smile at the end.

[Comments by 2012 Susan]

November 20, 2002 4:27 PM

Recently I have been told that I see the world in rose-colored glasses. I don’t entirely dispute this fact, but I think because I do not know any different, it doesn’t seem to me that I see the world any differently than anyone else.

But then I began to think about situations and the different ways people can perceive them. For instance, a lot of good things tend to happen to me. Case in point, last week I found two tickets on the ground to the sold out Counting Crows concert at Cornell [this still remains my best lesson on why you should also pick up trash that you see littered on the ground]. That’s a pretty big thing, but I also tend to get good parking spaces and luck out in other situations. But I don’t luck out anymore than anybody else. I think I just notice it more.

I think that I get my fair share of misfortunes as well. I am not saying horrible things, but two weeks ago my computer crashed and I lost 4 pages of the outline for my paper [this happened to me more than you can believe, even in a world of auto save. Amazing right?]. Or there was also the time I lost my favorite cross necklace then, a week later, I lost my favorite ring. That’s not lucky at all. Maybe I just take things better.

Maybe I do see the world differently. When I was walking home from class today I was thinking about how wonderful it was that we had such a nice day of weather. Wouldn’t everyone notice a beautiful day of sunshine? Does that make me simple? Maybe. But it’s not because I am not intelligent. [Okay wow. We just took a big leap there, didn't we? I'm guessing there is more to this story. Seems a little defensive to feel the need to defend commenting on a beautiful fall day, not quite sure what was going on here.] I may point out a lot of stupid things about life, but it’s not because there is a lack of other thoughts roaming around in my head. I just tend to focus on the good. Sometimes the good things in life are no more than a warm day in the middle of the November. It may not be the best news ever, but it’s still a good thing about the day.

So sure, hand me those rose-colored glasses, I will wear them any day if it means that I will be able to enjoy the day better than someone who can’t see the silver lining in the clouds.

Please Pray For Rose

Sometimes when you start dating someone, you start dating his friends. The people that matter to him begin to matter to you. If they don’t, you start to have real problems. When I met Rob and Rose, they were my husband’s “married friends”. While most of my husband’s other friends were still searching for Mrs. Right, Rose was the consistant female at social functions. She was like the head girlfriend (except technically she was a wife). She helped fill in the back story on how everyone met and how long who has been dating who. From the very begining she was a mentor to me. Teaching me the ways of my husband’s friend group.

A year later, after I got engaged, it was Rose that answered my questions about wedding planning and married life. I was the first among my friends to get married so I looked mainly to her for guidance. It was Rose who applied my makeup on my wedding day and Rose who prepared a plate of food for me so I wouldn’t starve at my reception.

Rose was my first close friend to have a baby. Just a few weeks after our wedding she became my first friend that was a mom. A few years later when I was living only a few blocks away and pregnant with my first baby it was Rose who I watched for tips on how to be a mom. After my son was born, Rose and I would meet at Chick-Fil-A for lunch and swap stories about being a mom of one.

A year after my oldest was born, Rose had a second child and the following year I had my twins. We now had five kids between the two of us. Chick-Fil-A lunches weren’t so easy anymore. I still remember the day Rose came to visit me after the twins were both home from the hospital. We were downstairs looking at all the kids and discussing how crazy it was and she told me just how crazy it was about to get. She was pregnant with twins.

In the span of four years, the two of us had seven children. We had twins 9 months apart.

We don’t live a mile apart anymore. We hardly every see one another. Our lives are such that finding time to hang out means finding a needle in a haystack. But perhaps more than any other person in the world, I know she understands. On my hardest day, I remind myself that Rose has one more kid in the mix.

I’m thankful for Rose in my life for so many reasons. She’s helped me be a better girlfriend, a better wife and a better mom.

Today Rose is having brain surgery. Rose has a brain tumor. The prognosis is good as the doctors are pretty confident the tumor is benign. But it is brain surgery nonetheless. Rose will be recovering in the hospital for several days and then at home for several weeks. As anyone with small children can tell you, this will be difficult for the entire family.

If you are reading this today, please take a moment to pause and pray for Rose while she’s in surgery. Pray for the doctors that are operating on her and pray for her family members that are anxiously awaiting the surgery results. In the upcoming weeks, please remember to keep Rose’s family and Rose in her recovery in your prayers.

You can follow Rose’s story at www.insideroseshead.com

Throwback Thursday: Life is the Small Moments

I don’t want to freak anyone out, but we are down to the last two Throwback Thursdays. This actually works out perfectly because the Thursday after next is Thanksgiving which is a perfect stopping point. Who wants to mix a delicious Turkey dinner with young twenties angst? Most of you will be visiting family and will have plenty of drama to fill your day, you don’t need to read about mine from ten years ago. I’m pleased to inform you that today’s post has no mention of my ex-boyfriend. In fact, it doesn’t mention any guys. For my loyal Throwback readers, this is going to be rather hard to believe. I will point out that this entry is an entire week after the last post so it does seem that I have started to see the bigger picture in life. I enjoyed re-reading this post because I have very little memory of this night which, after reading it, is somewhat ironic. Without this post, it might have been lost from my memory forever, but because I wrote about it, I have it. I’m thankful for that.

November 15, 2002  12:20 AM

[Comments by 2012 Susan]

I think that life is made up of a bunch of small moments. Nothing really big ever happens, or if it does, it is rare. But what does happen is years go by, you look back and remember a bunch of different memories. Think of high school. You don’t think of senior year all at once. You remember homecoming, senior skip day, and graduation parties. They are a bunch of little memories put together. That’s what life is. There are a lot of things that happen that we file away and never think about again. But they are just as important as other things that happened to us.

Okay Susan, where are you going with this one? [Not, an error there, that's actually 2002 Susan asking that question.] Last Sunday I was sitting at The Nines [a bar] listening to one of my best friends singing at an open mic night. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing and we decided to go just 30 minutes before we left. I was sitting there listening to her, at a table with the other three girls I am going to live with next year, and it struck me that I never wanted to forget this moment [I think we can agree it's a good thing I wrote this post, wasn't it?]. It was nothing special, well my friend was amazing, but it wasn’t some huge concert with her playing in front of thousands. It was just her singing to a bunch of people chillin’ [not a typo, I actually wrote chillin'] in a bar on a Sunday night. I was kind of jealous of her in that moment. She was doing something she loved and she was sharing it was other people. I don’t know if she will remember that specific night in 20 years. Maybe one day one of her kids will ask her if she ever sang on stage and she might reply “Oh, a couple of times in college, it was no big deal.” But it was a big deal. It was life. It was four girls taking a break from homework to see someone they cared about perform. The fact that I could share that moment with my four future housemates was really great.

People go their whole life waiting for something big to happen. Meanwhile, they overlook all the little things that are going on around them that make up life. There is a quote that says “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Too often we go our whole life waiting for things to get good. When really, if we were to just sit back and enjoy what was going on around us, we would find that living life is not about jumping from a plane or making lots of money. Life is sitting with your friends watching your favorite TV show; life is making hot chocolate on a cold day; life is watching your friend sing the best version of a Jewel song you have ever heard. That’s life.

Happy Birthday Dad

A word of advice to those considering starting a blog: plan ahead. For example, if you decide to write a thoughtful post to honor your father for his birthday, realize that a year later when your father’s birthday comes around again, you are going to want to write another thoughtful post to honor him. And that year you might feel added pressure to make the second birthday post even more special because that year happens to be a significant milestone, as birthdays go. And while your thoughts and memories are not limited to only one blog-worthy moment, you might realize that the topic you chose to write about the previous year would have been much more appropriate the following year. And so, I am admitting defeat. My father is a wonderful man. Our relationship is full of many wonderful memories, however, I’m going to reshare my post from last year, as I feel it’s very timely this year.

Happy Birthday Dad.

[Reposting from November 4, 2011]

There are some conversations with my parents that I will always remember because the content of the conversation was so memorable. The day they told me they were getting a separation. The morning my mom asked if I wanted to go buy a new car. The day they told me I couldn’t go to Japan like I had planned. The phone call when I told them I was engaged. The two times I told them I was pregnant. The conversation I had with each of them during my second pregnancy when I found out I was having twins.

Those conversations are memorable because the content was so important.

There are other conversations that seemed so common at the time, but years later when I look back on them, I realize how significant they really were. Specifically, I remember a conversation I had with my father.

It was the fall of 2000. I guess you could say it was my first adult conversation I had with my dad. I had just returned from college for the first time. I had left for college as a 17-year-old and celebrated my 18th birthday in the first few weeks of school. I was now home for my fall break. It was an election year, one that held significance to me because it was the first time I would be able to vote.

I grew up in an area where people didn’t really talk about their political beliefs too much. Or maybe they did but I was just a kid and didn’t care so I didn’t listen. Many people held jobs where you couldn’t publically take sides politically. That being said, I assumed everyone was Republican. My father had worked for a Republican U.S. Senator for several years of my childhood and I just assumed that was the right party (excuse the pun). I specifically remember finding out one of my friend’s parents was a Democrat. You might as well have told me she was a Communists. I was devastated.

So you can image my shock when I attended a liberal arts school in upstate New York. Saying you were a Republican was like saying you supported the Nazis. I went from thinking I knew a lot about politics to being very quiet on the matter. I was hearing things about the ‘Grand Old Party’ that I had never heard before. The picture they painted of Republicans didn’t quite match the fond memories I had with the former coworkers of my dad at the annual summer picnic.

But back to the conversation.

I arrived at my dad’s house in the evening. My father and I started talking about what life at college was like. I had been elected to Student Government so I filled him in on the different requests we got each week at our meetings. Different student groups arguing about different campus policies and staging protests and sit-ins. I often felt that some of these students would have been better suited growing up in the 1960′s. This was a year before 9/11. It’s funny how things that seemed to matter so much before that day seem so insignificant now.

Somehow the conversation turned to politics and I remember asking him to help me see his side of things. This was the most important man in my life at the time and I needed to know how he could sleep at night knowing he was a card-carrying Republican. So he began to explain his views. I told him things I had heard at school and he told me why he disagreed. I asked him about specific issues and he gave his thoughts. Only he wasn’t talking to me like a child. He was talking to me as an adult. I was an adult talking politics with my dad.

Eventually the conversation changed to how I was enjoying my classes. To be honest I don’t really remember what else we talked about.

But I will always remember sitting in the living room that night talking for hours with my dad. For so many years, our conversations had been about curfews, chores, allowances and school. And now here we were, talking politics in the living room like a couple of adults.

I still have to ask my dad to help me see the Republican side of things. He helps me see that life is not always black and white. It’s not that the Democrats are always right and Republicans are always wrong like I was taught by my college classmates. Sometimes both parties are wrong. Sometimes neither one has a perfect solution.  There has to be some give and take and compromise on both sides. I credit my father for helping me see that.

Happy birthday Dad.

Throwback Thursday: Finding What Was Lost

Another week has passed and it’s time for another Throwback Thursday (catch up on past weeks here). If you read last week’s post, you’ll remember that in the last post 2002 Susan seemed to be on an upswing. The good news is, two days later she still seems to be doing okay. The back news is, she seems to be stuck in her “Deep Thoughts” stage, dishing out thoughtful pieces of wisdom like only a 20-year-old can. On that note, enjoy.

November 7, 2002 1:45 PM

[I'm going to be honest, there aren't any comments today. I literally have no words for this post.]

So yesterday morning I am about to dry my hair and I can’t find my comb. It’s not in any of the spots that I usually put it. Everything else is there, except my comb. With the exception of the hair dryer, this is the single most important element of the hair drying process and I can’t find it. So I grab another brush and make do. Not the ideal situation, however I didn’t have much choice. I finished drying my hair, returned the brush to the shelf and, lo and behold, there is my comb.

Isn’t that just how things always work? You look everywhere for a notebook and when you finally give up and go to class, you come back and there it is, under something on your desk. You can’t remember the tune of a song and then an hour later when it doesn’t matter anymore, you remember it word for word.

If you’ve lost something, the moment you don’t need it anymore you will find it.

I can’t say that the comb incident was some revelation in my life and everything is okay now. However, I will say this: I have to trust that that’s how things will work. I can’t rush things and look for what is missing. I have to work on finding a way to made do with what I have. And until I have moved on and forgot that I was missing something, only then will I be able to find it.