Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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I am taking this time so easy I can’t even believe it myself. We do not stress ourselves by including obligatory events in December, so our home life is without strain to complete or compete. We decorate a little, and I like to burn candles this time of year because the dark begins in the afternoon and seems like a cheery flicker in the dark. We celebrate not exactly any holiday other than the winter solstice, but are happy to join in the whole festive season. I drive less and shop very little because the crowds and traffic are not on my list of jolly things to experience. I buy a little more than usual in the specialty foods and booze category, but in general our consumption is normal in December. We certainly do not go wild. We like it quiet.
I am very lucky that the Tucson Botanical Gardens is right around the corner from home, so I zip over there for some outdoor nature time. It is also a winter treat to have the butterfly and tropical frog show at the gardens in the greenhouse. It is a gift the year around to be able to take a beautiful botanical break away from traffic and shopping and work. This is my idea of a jolly good time.
I consider my life to be blessed with ease and good health. I wish all my gentle readers a holiday week of gladness and good fortune. May you all be the merriest of readers in the jolliest of good company. God bless us every one.
At the end of the year we typically make a purchase for the home and call it our holiday gift to ourselves. We have also enjoyed short trips in December to celebrate for a few days in the past. The travel is not in the cards this year since we had to spend big on a new air conditioner recently. This purchase, needed but not very sexy, shot holes in our budget. We will enjoy the time between now and 2017 in Tucson at home.
This is not at all bleak. I decided to make prudent small investments in local fun available to us. I purchased a three month subscription of Sling TV to add new programming to our nightly ritual of watching a few shows. They offered me a free Roku stick if I paid up front for three months. I may quit at the end of that time, but for now we are having a lot of fun with all the new options. I am watching a series on Cyber-War that is blowing my mind. We like the comedy series Bunheads, which we just started to watch. The stick is in the mail, which I think will be fun. I don’t know if it is voice activated, but it is updated to make search easier. For a total of $60 we get the new stick and three months of channels we like. I also decided to let Alexa keep her subscription to Amazon Unlimited music. At the end of my free trial she will switch my payment plan to $3.99 a month to play every song at Amazon, but only on my Echo. She will be the only device able to stream this. I have been having a great time calling up all artists and almost all songs for my home at will. When Alexa is loaded with this unlimited capacity, she truly rocks my world. I want her to be able to do all the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s greatest hits in December, so I don’t mind paying to have her loaded for a while longer. I listen to her all day, so I do get a lot of value for dollar from this subscription. I have been traveling down memory lane in music, and it has been fun.
To put finishing touches on our festive celebrations I have also decided to loosen the Uber budget. I rarely use the driving service, but love it when I do. Any time I want to drink alcohol or don’t want to fight the crowd at the end of an event I call Uber. It makes such an upgrade to any event arrive and leave with your driver. It only costs us about $20 round trip to go downtown Tucson for dining, shows, or the 4th Avenue Fair. This is my last gift to us, a few more more to spend on transportation. Our basic entertainment is restaurant dining. If we take Uber we can cocktail without worry. There is plenty of tourist excitement for us just a few miles from our house.
I am finished with my holiday shopping now. All I have to do is pay for the Uber as we use it, and I am done. I feel intensely liberated this year. I never get into the shopping frenzy thing, but this time I am happy all the gifts will be invisible, consumable, and will not require and storage after the holiday. I wish you all such efficient holiday planning. Good luck! Do you have your plans made? Do you shop for lots of gifts, gentle reader, or take it easy this time of year?
When September sends kids back to school everyone starts to prepare for winter holidays. I was at the grocery store yesterday and saw the entire seasonal section ready for Halloween. It is still August but the candy, the costumes, and all the yard decorations are on display to get us in the mood. Americans spend about 7 billion dollars annually on Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation. More money is spent on adult consumes than on children’s costumes. The season that begins Nov 1 and runs through Dec 16, known as the holiday shopping season results in 52 billion dollars in spending. You might say that the slow warm up in both celebration time and money spent on Halloween is a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the spending year. People get very wound up with lists and crafts and party planners as New Years finally approaches. The typical diet/fitness regime begins on January 1, along with new credit card redemption plans. The remorse about over spending and over eating lasts about a month until Super Bowl time.
Fall is a natural time to store things and preserve them for winter. Our ancestors endured heavy hardship if they did not prepare and store enough food for the winter months. Harvest was a time of joy and celebration (perhaps not exactly like modern Day of the Dead) when neighbors came together and gave thanks for the crops they had grown. They had to be mindful to keep enough and share enough to make it as community through the cold months. Today we let the food banks worry about feeding society. We follow an unnatural cycle of spending just when we should be doing some saving for future needs. I suggest a few changes we can make to give the earth a better holiday season:
When I think of an ideal day I have plenty of time and plenty of tasty snacks. The weather can be any way, but my awareness is high. When I think of the Thanksgiving season and the Black Friday vision of what is to come I become a serious holiday prepper. I am not preparing for the zombie apocalypse or the end of civilization, but for the temporary insanity of all the world shopping to be shopping. I am preparing to stay home, work very little, and dine in some fine establishments close to my home for holiday meals to savor, remember, and pay chefs to create. I will not find myself at Trader Joe’s, or any other grocer, the night before Thanksgiving because I will not need any groceries for my meal. I have what I need, reservations at Maynard’s. Situated in the old train station and across the street from Hotel Congress, this fancy restaurant gets rave reviews, and we have never tried it.
For our big December family gift to ourselves we are taking our coon hound to Scottsdale to her favorite hotel, Kimpton FireSky. She loves the dog centric customer service, and all the other guest dogs. We love to dine at Posh, right across the street. We will drive up for the improvisational cuisine and a break from being at home. There are many cute small businesses in Scottsdale that create a flavor in the old downtown that we enjoy. We like the art galleries and will probably hit a local farmers’ market or two while we are up there. It will be citrus and date season, and although Phoenix is no longer very agricultural, there will be some local products we don’t have down here in Tucson.
For Christmas Eve we have reservations to dine very close to home at Pastiche. This week you can buy gift cards at Pastiche that come with a 25% bonus. Next week the bonus goes down to 20%. I am armed with my $125 worth of Pastiche gift cards which I purchased for only $100. I am so ready to party. I am completely into the idea of doing no cleaning, cooking, or entertaining, other than inviting friends to join us out on the town. I used to enjoy a labor intensive, baking, crafting, decorating, cocktail partying holiday cheer. Now that is all just way too much effort. I appreciate the labor and creativity that chefs and restaurants can provide, while I take it easy and be grateful that there is no clean up after my nap.
The moon, the way we view it ,and the power it holds have been studied for all of history. The phases of the moon are significant in agriculture as well as business. Lunar calendars were used to measure time until the Catholics went Gregorian on the Euros. Since the Julian calendar , created by Julius Caesar in 46 BC was inaccurate in terms of the planets, the Pope became concerned that Easter was sliding into summer. Catholic calendar year is key to the liturgy practice and costuming. The whole system supporting the Easter Bonnet was slowly slipping away with each new year. Astronomers were hired to deal with the issue. The Greek Orthodox religion uses the Julian calendar now, as do the Berbers, the Ethiopians, and others concerned with historical continuity.
The Pope as a symbol was resisted by the Protestants. The idea that Pope Gregory would now change the way they counted time was not going to go over with the new religions that sprung up precisely to combat Popery. At his death the Vatican treasury was empty, but Gregory XIII had left his mark on time. For this reason the Gregorian style was not adopted at the same time. The Swiss used both calendars simultaneously for more than 100 years. The Catholic cantons adopted it when they got the bull from the Pope in 1582. The Protestants kept the Julian style rather than agree with a Catholic concept. The Protestant cantons gave in to the new calendar in 1700. The canton of St Gallen was the last hold out, continuing on the lunar side of life until 1724. The Chinese succumbed in 1949, but they still use their own lunar calendar.