Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dinner is Served. First Course: Gratitude

Oh, Christmas. Wasn't it great? Didn't you love that pretty stack of presents you got? I have pretty much made my way through an entire box of Whitman Samplers and I've played with nearly all of my toys and haven't broken even one of them yet.

Now you know what it's time for--thank you notes. It's what good and decent people write after receiving gifts. When they were younger, my boys used to get quite a few gifts from far-away relatives and after about a week or two of nagging at them to write thank you notes for their presents, I'd haul them to the table, place pens in their grubby little hands and tell them what to write and to whom. Once I got them going, they did pretty well, but as with most things like this, I had to be the Mama Bear and growl at them to get it done.

The other night I was wondering if they would do these notes on their own now that they are older or whether I'd have to remind them of it. I sighed a bit and then had my own flash of insight. Children (even older ones) learn by example. I couldn't remember ever writing a thank you note to my children for a Christmas gift. They had never seen me write one to HOB for that matter.

So, instead of preaching about writing thank you notes, I showed them the practice in action. When they sat down at dinner that night, at each place-setting was a thank you note from me, for my Christmas presents, and for the even more precious gift of being a part of their lives.

I wish I had thought of this when my children were younger. They would have seen me do exactly what I was asking them to do. They would understand how much a written card means and, more importantly, they would have experienced how it feels to acknowledge not just relatives who are far away, but also those people just across the table that we so often take for granted.

The real secret probably isn't a secret at all: I felt really good when I wrote those notes and gave them to my family members. It was a sweet, satisfying feeling to write down what I was grateful for.

Hope you'll take a suggestion from Betty and try this in your household. If you don't get a warm, happy feeling from it, I'll eat more chocolates just to make you feel better.

Just let me know.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Betty's Vacation Pics

A few months ago, I realized that there would be a week or so in December when both boys were out of school, I was off work, and HOB could get time off. We decided to go somewhere we had never been.

Can you guess where we went?

Need another hint?

Yes, indeed. We enjoyed a day or two in Seattle before boarding a ferry and heading over to Victoria, B.C. It was our first time in Canada.

Betty gives Canada Two Big Thumbs Up!

We visited the Butchart Gardens and enjoyed their Christmas displays.

The next day we headed to Sooke and had a fabulous time!

We visited Sooke Rotary Pier.

We found our way to Whiffen Spit and walked to the end of it.

We went to Sooke Pot Holes and enjoyed the beauty there.

We toured the Victoria Museum and found this Wooley Mammoth.

The next day we headed back to Seattle for another day of exploring. We went on the Underground Tour and walked around the city.

Then it was back home to California. We had a wonderful time!

As with all vacations, this one took a lot of coordinating, planning, money, and patience, but it was all worth it. Really, with vacations, you just have to stab a date on the calendar, commit to it and make it happen. It's so easy to put them off and to think "some day," but days have a way of turning into years and then it's even harder.

I am so glad Sonny Boy, Evan, HOB, and I had this time together. Thanks for coming by and sharing it through pictures!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "Vacation" by Rita Dove


I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs—but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.
Even the lone executive
who has wandered this far into summer
with his lasered itinerary, briefcase
knocking his knees—even he
has worked for the pleasure of bearing
no more than a scrap of himself
into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late,
they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning
—a little hope, a little whimsy
before the loudspeaker blurts
and we leap up to become
Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.

--Rita Dove

Tomorrow: Betty's Va-cay Pics!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday After Christmas!

Hope you all had good holidays. Are we looking forward to the New Year?

We've had rainstorms galore here for several days, but it cleared up for Christmas Day. Last night it let loose again leaving gorgeous scenes like this.

Even though the rain came down hard, these beauties remained intact.

Soon people will take down their Christmas lights, but we are lucky enough to have these brightly colored flowers dot the landscape all year long.

These flowers are for my snowbound blogger buddies. Hope you enjoy them!

The rain left some beautiful artwork on the sidewalks.

Hope you have a great week ahead!

It is no use to grumble and complain; It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain - Why, rain's my choice.

--James Whitcomb Riley

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my Blogging Buddies!

Betty and the fam-bam returned from vacay and this was the view from the shuttle at LAX.

Believe it or not, I was incredibly blissed out to return to this hectic scene and actually started singing "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" while walking with the throngs of people headed for baggage claim.

There were so many people making pick-ups of family members--you could feel the anticipation in the air. The constant rain for the past three or four days had let-up and the blinking lights were incredibly festive against the glittering background.

Even the horns honking seemed like Christmas carols.

Best of all, I returned to find your gifts of comments about my posts last week while I was away. Thank you all for coming by and for all your lovely sentiments.

I count myself as one lucky gal and I am grateful for all of you.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

I hope you are surrounded by love this day and in all the days to come.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Walk Down Ornament Alley Ends

Sixteen years ago I walked into my friend Karen's house and found that she had the exact same ornament that I had, placed at the exact location I place mine. We both hang this bird with outstretched wings near the top of ours tree and we both count this ornament as one of our favorites. Freaky. Almost as freaky as the fact that our mothers share a birthday and we both joined Facebook within the same hour without ever discussing it with each other.

I've had my bird for about 29 years and it makes me so happy to look up and see it year after year, there gracing the tree, wings outstretched. Both my boys know it is special to me so last year when we were taking down the tree and I dropped the ornament on the floor, shattering one of the wings, there was complete silence.

I must admit I teared up when I swept what remains I could see in the dustpan and asked Evan to throw it away. He wanted to try and fix it, but I knew it was beyond repair and told him just to forget it and I went back to packing up the tree. He kept coming in searching the floor, picking up tiny pieces I had missed, going out to the other room, coming back to search some more and thirty minutes later, Evan called me out to the table where I found my bird, patched up with fabric glue (the only kind he could find).

Now this ornament is more special and beautiful to me than ever before. My boy took the time and effort to fix my angel bird and the cracks in the wing remind me of his love and persistence. I keep this bird out year-round now, placing it in a glassed-in bookcase when it is not on the tree. When I talk to students, beaten down with all their responsibilities, about to give up and drop out of school, I remember this bird and I offer words of encouragement (and sometimes extended due dates for their papers). I remember this bird when I talk to friends going through divorces or dealing with parents' illnesses. Maybe I can't heal the entire broken wing, but my hope is I add a little glue they can use to find their own strength and courage.

To all those who made the long walk down Ornament Alley with me, I thank you. Here's hoping your wings are strong and take you where you want to go. And if one of those wings ever breaks or weakens, I hope there is someone there to help mend it. Is there any greater gift we can give another person than encouragement, faith, and love?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kasey's Heart

My niece Kasey was born when I was a sophomore in high school. She was, and is, a true gift to me. Since I grew up the youngest of five sisters, up to that point no one had every really looked up to me, depended on me, or really saw me as a leader of sorts. That all changed when Kasey came into my life. She was the first to give me that fabled status of Aunt.

All my sisters had left home by the time I reached high school, so the farm was a pretty quiet and lonely place. Luckily, Kathleen (mother of Kasey) lived 20 miles away and so when Kasey was born, I was able to go to the hospital and wait for her arrival. I had to wait until she got home to hold her, but the minute I did, I knew things in my life would never be the same. I was crazy about this brown-eyed beauty and I knew that I was important to her.

I was there for years to watch her as she grew and explored her world. Her eyes would light up when I came in the room. We played and played and played together, and she brought me so much joy. Her gift to me was showing me parts of myself that I never knew existed, that the rest of the world had never brought out.

Now I have thirteen nieces and nephews and every one of them is special to me. Being an aunt is just plain cool. Kasey, herself, now has four nieces and nephews and knows exactly what I am talking about.

One of the hardest parts of moving to California was leaving Kasey. She was around seven or eight when I left. A few years passed when she sent me this heart to hang on my tree. Little does she know how I have treasured it all these years. She stitched the G in counted cross-stitch on this white cloth, but I hope she knows that she stitched herself into my heart when she was born and remains there even now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Only a Paper Heart...

Back off, Hallmark. This is my one-of-a-kind ornament made by our Sonny Boy #1. He was in first grade when he brought this home. It is made out of scratch paper, the text on the back having something to do with the school budget. Now, this is the same boy who refuses to let me use his name and image in my blog, but he can't stop me from spouting off about one of my favorite ornaments here.

I am not the kind of mom who saved her children's artwork, or every ceramic ashtray or macaroni-covered picture frame. I don't even remember what present this was attached to, but I knew when I saw this tag, I would never throw it out. It is just a paper heart that says "I Love Mom and Dad and Evan." He cut it out himself, and being six or seven years old, he probably relished using scissors to make the slash at the top where the ribbon went in.

Today he is a tall, lanky 22 year-old, but it is absolutely effortless for me to picture him exactly the way he looked at the time he made this heart for us. My mind goes back shockingly quick to that blond-haired boy sitting at my table, pen in hand, practicing his letters and looking up at me with a smile that still makes my heart jump up. Do all mothers keep their young alive in their hearts this way?

This paper heart hangs on our tree, a gift from my first-born son.

Merry Christmas to all the moms, and those with mothering spirits, everywhere.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweet Knitted Bells

My mom is a knitting genius. Ever since I can remember, she has had some knitting project going and as one of her daughters I was the recipient of many of those projects. I didn't appreciate it when I was young, a fact that now makes me sad. I wish I could go back and retrieve all those sweaters and vests she made for me over those years. I'd hug them tight and marvel at their construction. The things I do have, the sweater, the slippers and the afghans, I do treasure and I recognize their worth. I have these bells she made for me and attached to a Christmas present she sent through the mail. I hang them on the tree every year as a tribute to my mom.

Over the years I have finally recognized that my mother did not express love with her words as much as she did with her deeds. I know that every inch of the yarn she uses goes through her fingers and then is woven into the item she creates. Knitting is her way of saying all those things she wishes she could but finds difficult to do because of her background and upbringing.

My creative urges go towards making cookies and writing short essays, things that are gobbled up, and then forgotten. My mother, however, leaves behind literally hundreds of items that people hold, use, wear and wrap around themselves to keep out the cold. Because of her eyesight, she does not knit anymore. I know the knitted items I have now are the only items I will have from her. So does that mean I box up the beautiful afghan and never use it? I am tempted to do so, but, no, I use it. There is no other blanket like it for making me feel warm.

And on Christmas morning, I will wrap myself up in it, feeling the hug I know is there, and sit with my family by the tree, looking up at the bells my mom made for me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Walk Down Ornament Alley Begins in 1981.

It was 1981 when newlyweds HOB (Husband of Betty) and Betty headed out to California in that '69 Buick Skylark. Oh brave new world!

When we packed for that fateful trip in September, we did not pack Christmas ornaments. So, when the tree went up in our small apartment, it was pretty bare. I walked over the Long's Drugs and bought this ornament which says "Love, The Nicest Gift of All. Christmas 1981."

That first year it was like us--pretty much alone. We had come to California to carve out a new life for ourselves but had not anticipated how we would miss our families on those first few holidays. This ornament sat in the middle of the tree and took up as much space as it could, but the boughs around it were pretty barren.

Through the twenty-nine years that followed that first one, this ornament has always hung in the same spot on our tree--front and center. Every year more ornaments have joined it, circling it, ornaments from friends, from our travels, handmade ornaments from our children, even ornaments from our workplaces.

It, however, remains in the center--the hub of the wheel.

It is like William Carlos Williams' red wheelbarrow. So much depends upon the love that started it all, represented by this heart purchased the year we were married.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bossy Betty Gets Mushy All Week Long Over All Things Christmas

Betty People! Betty and the fam-bam are on vacation this week, but I've taken the liberty of planning some reposts for your reading pleasure. I'll be back to check on you and your blogs very soon!

Even a pragmatic gal like Betty starts to get a little mushy when those Christmas ornaments are pulled out. Each one is like a seed that has been buried all year in that dark tin in the garage. When I hold it in the warmth of my hand, it blooms with memories until it fills up the tender folds of my heart. Is it any wonder I have to sit down and collect myself by eating chocolate-covered Oreos and drinking Diet Pepsi at least three times while decorating the tree? Oh yes, Betty can get quite mushy over things like this and in this season of sharing, I have decided to ooze all this sentimentality over you as well, like warm minty-flavored toothpaste, so put on the Elvis Christmas CD and prepare to hear about my five favorite ornaments over the course of the next five days.

Today, however, we discuss the canvas upon which these ornaments are hung. I'd like to tell you it's a lush Scottish pine, selected by our sweater-wearing, hearty family one cold and snowy afternoon and felled by the local red-faced tree farmer who bore a striking resemblance to St. Nick and who waved to us as we drove away with our tree tied atop our station wagon. However, it's actually a skinny pre-lit Target special plucked this year from the rafters of the garage by disgruntled family males on a freakishly hot, windy afternoon in December here in Southern California.

I used to insist on a "live" tree and the whole tradition of selecting it. I was frenetic to get the right tree, and I was on high alert for any family member not displaying what I considered to be the proper amount of excitement over the traditions of hanging ornaments, etc. Sensing any sign of less-than-maniacal enthusiasm from others set my holiday Spirit-O-Meter off like an overly-sensitive hotel sprinkling system. I would immediately rain down a torrent of Christmas spirit that would send others running for cover in other rooms while the Christmas Clown continued her reign of red and green terror in the living room, happy Christmas carols blasting from the stereo, oblivious to the fact that her family members had thrown themselves overboard to escape the horrific ride on the Good Ship Christmas Spirit.

I look back now and understand that, far away from extended family, I was determined to carve out my own traditions, and to make the holiday fill in the gaps for all Christmases past and present and not just my own. HOB had his own set of Christmas baggage and would have just preferred to skip the holiday entirely, so I was even MORE determined to make him and everyone around me happy, happy, happy, HAPPY!!!! This, as any psychotherapist will tell you was a monumental task, even for the strangely-energized delusional person. Add children to the mix, and then just call the local mental hospital and ask for the Family Plan.

One year it was clear the tree needed water, so I crawled under the prickly branches and poured the water in the basin, praying that it would not overflow on to the floor. I lay there waiting for the water to settle, listening to Jose Feliciano sing “Feliz Navidad” on the stereo. I was deep under the wide tree so that if anyone came into the room at that moment, they would have flashbacks of scenes from “Little Shop of Horrors.” I lay my face on the cool floor and began to think. It seemed to me that, in our house at least, if you had female organs you were the one to select the tree, nag until the tree got put up, belly-crawl under the tree on a weekly basis to make sure it had water, de-decorate the sucker after the holidays, wrestle it down, drag it out, leaving a trail of water and needles, and then clean up the pine needles for months afterwards.

Jose Feliciano was still singing when I lifted my head up, scraping my scalp on the branches and thought, “This part of Navidad is NOT Feliz.” I extracted myself from beneath the tree and proclaimed, “Basta, Yah! No Mas!” and that year, just after Christmas, I made my way to Target and grabbed the first sad fake tree priced to move. That pre-lit wonder that now stands in our living room. We snap the sucker together, bend out the boughs, hang the ornaments and voila! Bring on the presents.

Here’s the Christmas miracle: What I learned was the fully-loaded and tinseled tree, the five singing wreaths strategically placed all over the house, the plastic Santa and Rudolph in the entryway, and the flashing bells belting out tinny Christmas Carols mean nothing if the Mama of the house is not relaxed and happy. When I calmed down, and stopped resenting all those who were not matching my level of expectation for the holiday, the Munchkins of the village came out, came out, wherever they were and actually picked up decorations and hung them on the tree without being asked to.

So, Betty has calmed down A LOT from past years. Oh, don’t worry. Betty is not getting up on Christmas morning, scratching herself, having a ciggie and a beer and then going back to bed. No, we have all the traditions, the special dinnerware, the stockings on the mantel. And on Christmas morning we gather around that fake tree made out of an oil-derived material with its plastic pine cones and artificial boughs, and we smile at each other with real love.

Tomorrow: We begin our trip down Ornament Alley. Dress appropriately.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Shopping Hat

It's tough being a visionary.
I unleashed this idea about a year and a half ago and I have yet to see this product in the stores. I post this again, hoping that in this busy shopping season, the recognition of my genius will finally be realized.

Shopping with friends is fun, but occasionally you may go shopping with a friend who is a bit (how shall I say it?) vertically-challenged. Worse than just a vertically-challenged shopping friend is the vertically-challenged shopping friend who likes to wander off in the store.

I have a friend like that. I can't tell you how many times we have been clothes shopping and when it is time to make that vital decision about a green spandex body suit, or a thong bikini that I have tried on, she's nowhere to be found.

In larger stores, I'll need to have a long discussion about the different hair conditioners I have used over the years (I keep a chart in my purse) or have an extended conversation about the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing paper towels in large bundle packs. However, I look around and she's gone and because of her, shall we say "little" problem, I can't quickly and easily locate her in the store.

Plus her phone never works in stores. It's really weird.

Anyway, I decided to help her out and so for her recent birthday I created "The Shopping Hat." All she has to do is slip this hat on while we are shopping and I can instantly locate her among the racks and shelves. I just follow the moving feather/flower/flag.

The hat came out beautifully and I know my friend is just thrilled. Unfortunately, she's been unusually busy so we have not been able to go shopping together since she received the hat. I am thinking about making myself a hat just like it so that when we do go out shopping, people automatically know we are together.

Think about it: soon stores may just have stacks of Shopping Hats at the door for people of all sizes to use.

I plan to go into mass production this summer, so get your orders in now and beat the rush!

Shopping Hats:
They're not just for diminutive people any more!

Feeling Lost in the Crowd?
Tired of Searching for Your Party in Stores and Restaurants?
Need Something to Help You Stand Out?
Want to Personalize Your Look While at the Same Time Enhancing Your Personal Safety?

Well, Here’s Your Answer!


That’s right! Just by placing the shopping hat on your head, you’ll let others in the store know where you are at all times!
No more searching for your relatives in the store.
Let them come to you!
No more struggling with complicated cell phone calls.
Now, your friends will know EXACTLY where you are.

Your Shopping Hat can be personalized in many different ways!
Dress for the Season!
Send a Political Message!
Decorate with Flashing Lights!

Your shopping hat “flag” can be extended for those stores that have high racks, or lowered for stores with shorter racks or
on days when you are feeling a bit mischievous.

(Note: For those who may have criminal intentions i.e. “boosting” we recommend complete removal of “flag” )

Enjoy your shopping trip in style AND comfort!
Blame Others When They Get Lost!
Enjoy your new Shopping Hat!*

*Some assembly required. Please contact our service representative between 4:00-4:05 am if you need assistance.

Our Fourth of July Model!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Card Fail

Note to Self: Next year remember to 1) check the backlighting and 2) review the shot immediately afterwards. (We have about seven of these outstanding pictures.)

Plan B: Collage card from assorted pictures from the past year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "The Holly and the Ivy"

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Morning Flowers!

Hello, My People!

Another week dawns upon us and we face it with enthusiasm, hope, and optimism.


Today's flowers come to you with a wish that amid your hectic week, you have a chance to slow down and savor the small moments that come your way.

Those small moments of solitude, of wonder, of happy chaos that make up our days are the building blocks of our lives.

Here's Fiona, my friend's cat, taking one of those moments.

Hope you stop to do the same today.

Happy Monday!

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

-- Antonio Smith

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Betty Goes to the Christmas Parade

Hello Betty People!

Betty absolutely loves a parade. Yesterday was our town's annual Christmas Parade and it was a great one. This is not an event for wimps. It's a two hour extravaganza. The temps were in the high 70's/low 80's, so there were a lot of sweating people playing Christmas carols.

The bands are my favorites! (Betty was a proud band nerd!)

The Senior Center Walking Club! (Their T-Shirts read "Recycled Teenager")

There were hundreds of kids walking, including this Tae Kwon Do group.

This band featured ballroom dancers.

More bands.

Lots of dogs took part. I thought this one was particularly well-dressed.

The parade's not over until the giant tow truck comes by with the Big Guy riding on the back!

Hope you are all having great weekends!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Betty's Christmas Question

Sonny Boy let me borrow his camera to see if I was ready to move up to a Big Girl Camera.

I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Question: If I am really, really good in these days leading up to you-know-what, do you think you-know-who will bring me a pretty new camera?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Betty's Big Three

It's Self-Reflection Time

This last week of the semester is packed and stressful. Betty is a strong and courageous woman, able to face a stack of ten-page research papers with an optimistic attitude, a large supply of Diet Pepsi and a smile that belies her frenzied attitude.

(The small pillow placed upon my desk has dramatically reduced the number of bruises and contusions on my forehead as I either knock my head upon the desk in frustration and/or boredom.)

Knowing myself as I do, I have to take special care to keep nice and balanced. It’s best for everyone, indeed for society as a whole. There are three activities which keep Betty sane and within the bounds of social acceptability. These are the legs that keep the stool of sanity upright and able to balance the great load which is placed upon it.

What are these three activities? How kind of you to ask!

1) Walking:

Going out for a daily walk is essential for my mental health. I go alone most of the time and that’s the way I like it. I go ridiculously fast in a gait that could only be described as very, very special. When I have my walk, I am a happy person.

2) Writing:

At some point my brain needs to get out of the crowded airport of everyday life and board the plane of creativity, to fly around and see where the trip goes. If Betty is grounded too long, forced to wait at the gate, writing only memos, reports, and e-mails, no one in the boarding area is going to be happy. I'll see to that. I need to make my synapstical connections, to launch some high-flying ideas and see where they show up on the radar map. The turbulence is of my own making and it’s the fun kind.

3) Reading:

I read essays all day, so you would think I would avoid any excess reading. Ah, but I need to escape from the sharp edges of the peanut brittle-like student and academic writing. I want pudding. I want to sink into the words of a delicious, luxurious novel or at least the whipped topping of a poem. I seek out the smooth, the well written, the grammatically correct.

And so, even in these busy times, I need to remind myself to do these things for my own well- being.

It may be just a short walk.

It may be just a stolen ten minutes to scribble down some ideas.

It may be just a particularly well-written passage on the back of a toothpaste tube, read while sitting on the toilet late at night.

Betty’s gotta do these things if Betty’s gonna keep her sanity.

How about you? What do you need to keep all your marbles on the tilt tray?

Tell me all about it. Betty's listening.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Poetry Tuesday: "Faith Is a Fine Invention" by Emily Dickinson

"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

--Emily Dickinson

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Morning Flowers!

Happy Monday, my lovely people!

The Christmas switch in Betty's head finally flipped on and it dawned on me that the holiday is coming up--more rapid than eagles and all that. So, I got out our very fake tree with its very fake factory-assembled pine cones and went to town decorating it.

Really, you can throw colored lights on nearly anything and make it look good on a dark night. Am I right?

Perhaps part of my reluctance to accept that Christmas is coming up is the fact that the roses are still blooming in my southern California neighborhood and the temps have been very nice. Since I am a native of Kansas, part of me still waits for the temperatures to get around freezing and the white stuff to pile up around my door to flip on the inner Christmas switch.

However, tonight it rained and that was enough to put me in the holiday mood. It was wet stuff from the sky. Not exactly what holiday movies/songs are written about, but it worked!

And now, I present to you your Monday Morning Flowers.

Put on your sequined gowns/tuxes and stand tall as you walk down the runway, waving to all and wearing your "Monday Morning Queen/King" sash proudly.

Happy first Monday in December!

What is beauty? Not the show
Of shapely limbs and features. No.
These are but flowers
That have their dated hours
To breathe their momentary sweets, then go.
'Tis the stainless soul within
That outshines the fairest skin.

--Sir A. Hunt