Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year (with bonus FREE advice, whether you want it or not!)

Well, Internet nieces and nephews, the New Year, 2017, is almost upon us.

How are you doing?

Me, I'm fine. Thanks for asking. It's a little chilly out here in my "woman cave." But a fresh, hot cup of coffee, perhaps laced with a soup├žon of bourbon, should help take the edge off.

Anyhoo, just wanted to let y'all know I'm still here! Sorry if I haven't posted as often as you might like (ditto if I've posted MORE than you'd like).

But as always, my New Year's resolution is - not to make any New Year's resolutions!

And I STRONGLY urge you to do the same!

Listen, kids - everyone makes these wonderful, grandiose resolutions at the first of the year. "I'm gonna lose weight! I'm gonna stop drinking! I'm gonna start exercising!"

And what happens? You got it. By the time February 1st rolls around, 99.9% * of these resolutions will have been broken, sometimes in spectacular fashion, but mostly just quietly, with embarrassment, shame, and guilt.

Don't buy into it, kids! Be smart! You know what? All those advertisers out there promising to "help" you keep your resolutions just want one thing - your hard-earned cash. They COUNT on you failing, because they know you'll blame yourself, and keep trying, again and again.

Why not try something different this year?

Tonight, at the stroke of midnight (or 9 p.m., if you're like Aunt Chrissy and go to sleep earlier these days), hold up your right (or left) hand, or foot, or whatever bodily appendage is still working, and say:

"I, [state your name], do solemnly resolve that I will NOT solemnly resolve to do ANYTHING except do my best to enjoy each and every day as it arrives, so help me [deity of your choice]."

Then go to bed, sleep it off, and go to church (optional, but Aunt Chrissy, as a devout Catholic, just has to get that in!).

And if you're looking for a place to send your hard-earned cash, why not find a nice charity, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or a local food bank, and give it to them? You'll be helping others, and that's always a better feeling than failing at yet another stupid, useless diet.

Now - go thou and do likewise. And have a VERY happy 2017!

(* and by the way, did you know that 80% of all statistics are completely made up?)

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Day After (to be read on Wednesday, November 9, 2016)

There was an election yesterday. Did you hear about it? Chances are you did. It's been pretty much impossible to escape it for the past several months. And as the number of days dwindled down to a precious few, the negative campaign ads and phone calls and Tweets and Facebook memes and angry shouting between people who were, before it all started, bosom buddies, has just gotten louder and more insistent.

But on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, most, if not all, of the noise will be finished.

Oh sure, no matter who wins, there are going to be grumbles about the election being fixed, or rigged. No matter who loses, there are going to be people who insist that President Elect So-and-So "will never be MY President!!" And no matter who comes out on top, there are going to be a lot of people in your life - family, friends, coworkers, parents, kids - who are going to be feeling sad and frustrated, because their candidate didn't win and yours did.

Or - it may be the other way around.

So - how to survive the crushing depression that at least half the people in your life (perhaps including you) are going to be feeling Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016?

Well, here are some ideas to help you cope. Not in any particular order, just as I think of them.

1. If your candidate won - be a gracious winner. Don't stride into work, smirking and clapping people on the back, saying, "Thank god YOUR candidate didn't win, eh, Jack? We'd all be sunk then! Heh heh!"
After all, if your candidate lost, how would you feel if Jack did that to you?

Remember that fine old Biblical adage: do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Well, if your candidate wins, put yourself in the place of your friends whose candidate lost, and treat them the same way you hope they'd treat you, if it were the other way around.

Commiserate with them. Say something like:

"Hey, man, sorry about that. But you know what? [fill in name of losing candidate] sure put up a hell of a fight, didn't [he or she]? You know, I didn't agree with [his or her] policies, but wow, that was an amazing campaign! Did you ever think we'd see anything like that in our lifetime?"  Etcetera, etcetera.

Then offer to treat them to lunch. If their candidate lost, they're probably worrying about what's going to happen to the economy in the next four years. So getting a free lunch as a consolation prize may be a good way to smooth things over.

2. If your candidate lost: be a gracious loser. If you don't think you can be completely sincere in your congratulations to those of your friends who rooted for the winner, call in sick. Stay home, read a good book, watch an old movie. ("Citizen Kane" comes to mind as an excellent choice.)  Don't spread doom and gloom around any more than necessary. After all, if the winning candidate really turns out to be as bad as you think they will, there'll be plenty of doom and gloom heading everyone's way pretty soon. Why add to it?

3. Remember - no matter who wins, this is still America. Every candidate has the absolute right to question the results and ask for a recount. Chances are it won't pan out, but hang back and let them do it. No one is going to feel good about a questionable result. We all want to be sure that the person who won really did win, fair and square.

4. Stay off social media - especially Facebook. This is absolutely essential to your continued mental health and well-being. If your candidate won, you're going to be super-tempted to post annoying memes making fun of your friends' and families' loser choice. And if your candidate lost, they'll be tempted to do the same back atcha. Stick to cute puppies and kittens for a while, and "unfollow" anyone who doesn't.

5. Hang in there. We'll have to go through this whole thing again in four years. But meantime, we've got a lot to look forward to: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, Passover, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries ... whatever holidays you celebrate, there are going to be a whole bunch of them coming up before the next election. Start looking forward to them now.

Because the election is over - and no matter who won, or who lost - remember, we're all in this together!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fat acceptance, or loving your body the way it is

It's flawed, because we're all sinners. But it's there. For better or worse, it'll be there till the day you die. It's what gets you through the day. So even if it doesn't always work the way you want it to, you treat it with respect and kindness.

No, it's not your cat or dog - or your '05 Toyota Corolla with the lousy paint job.

It's your BODY. You know - the temple of the Holy Spirit? That big fleshy thing that enables you to drive to Starbucks for your morning Breakfast Blend?

(And allows you to receive the Eucharist at Mass or Divine Liturgy - kind of a big deal as well.)

Yeah, that.

So why do so many of us hate our bodies?

And more importantly - why do we encourage other people to hate theirs as well?

Shouldn't we be grateful to have them at all? After all, where would you be without your body today? Just floating around on a cloud somewhere, bored to tears and wishing for some skin, that's where you'd be.

So today, instead of looking in the mirror (or at the scales) and yelling, "I hate my body!", how about looking up at the sky and saying:

"Hey God - THANK YOU for giving me this body! I apologize for anything I've personally done to make it less perfect. But it is what it is. And today, I am so grateful to you for giving it to me! Thank you SO MUCH!"

Couldn't hurt. Now, let's go to Starbucks.

Monday, April 11, 2016

real life parable

(This happened several years ago, yet I think about it a lot. It really encapsulates our whole experience here on Planet Earth, I think. Let me know your thoughts:)

It was one of those depressingly foggy days that strikes Southern California every so often, especially in autumn and winter. As I was slogging into work and dragging myself up the hill to my office, I was feeling pretty gloomy, but then I remembered a similar day a few years ago.

I had been so depressed on that day that I called in sick, got back in my car and started driving aimlessly around the city. Everywhere I went it was grey, foggy and grim. Finally I wound up in La Canada Flintridge (a community near Pasadena) and turned onto the Angeles Crest Highway going north. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so gloomy up there, since there’s lots of trees, and maybe I’d find a coffee shop or someplace with hot chocolate or something.

Well, I drove and drove and drove and no coffee shop, but the road wound up and up and up and UP and all of a sudden – bam! No, I didn’t hit another car – I went through the topmost layer of clouds and there was the sun and the blue sky I’d been craving all day!

It was wonderful, it was beautiful, and it was just what I needed to see. And from that day on, I always remember that no matter how grey and gloomy and depressing it is down here, if you just get up high enough, the sun is always shining. So don’t give up – just keep going.
Well, hello there, friends and neighborinos, nieces and nephewrinos (eww, that didn't quite work, did it?)!

Nice to see you! How've you been?

Aunt Chrissy's still alive and kickin', and still chock full of wise words and unsolicited advice, for anyone who wants it!

Could that be ... EEEYYOOOOOO??

If so, you've come to the right place! So bookmark this blog, 'cause posts are gonna be written and this blog is gonna rise up and WALLKKK!!

(or something ... )

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Aunt Chrissy gets crafty!

Hi everyone, and welcome back to "Aunt Chrissy's Words of Wisdom"!

I'd like to tell you about some of the crafts I've been working on since my last post.

"If you must draw flowers badly, at least draw them boldly." - Martin Luther, badly paraphrased
First of all, I'm continuing to work in my sketchbook. I was inspired by a couple of people online: the great Lynda Barry, and a gentleman named Danny Gregory, whose "Sketchbook Skool" I highly recommend.

Second, I started making jewelry - specifically, rosaries. You see, I used to make them when I was in high school (a loonnng time ago!) and was delighted to find that the same company I'd bought my Rosary Kits from then, Lewis and Company, is still in business with a great website.

Rosary I made, in my high school colors. Go Sacred Heart Gremlins, Amen!

Then, after making rosaries for a while, I got interested in jewelry making in general, and started teaching myself different techniques. Being a cheapskate, I am trying to learn on my own, from books and online videos.

And related to that cheapskate mentality is my latest hobby: making PAPER beads! Who knew? Well, apparently a lot of people - I'm always the last one on the bandwagon.

Paper beads from old music sheets. What a concept!
Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable pastime and I highly recommend it - and will probably post about it ad nauseum, till I find something else, or win the lottery.

Anyway - that's what's up with Aunt Chrissy!

So - what's up with YOU??