Monday, December 27, 2010

Sometimes the worst gift becomes the best gift

I follow Good Foods Market & Cafe on Facebook.  On 12/23, I came across this in their status:

For our eleventh Day of Giving, we have a Celestial Seasonings gift basket! For your chance to win, tell us about your most favorite gift you've ever received for the holidays. We will choose one winner based on our favorite response. Prizes can only be picked up in our store.


So, I responded with this:


My favorite holiday gift was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer my husband got me. We don't usually buy each other such expensive items, but because we were in the middle of relocating across the country, my husband wanted to give me something special. I'd wanted a KA mixer for years. Our kids & I were staying at my parents while our move was in process. He ended up carrying it (in its box) through I don't know how many airports, as he had to fly from his new job locale to their home. It weighed a BUNCH, but he faithfully got it to me. I've had it 12 years and still love using it.

They came back on 12/24 [aka Christmas Eve] with:

Today's winner is Debbie Glenn Monck for her story about her husband's dedication. Plus, KitchenAids are pretty awesome! Thanks for the great stories, everyone. Check back later today for the last, and best, giveaway.

In between entering my response and finding out I'd won, I had one of those conversations you don't want to have with your husband.  Especially not on Christmas Eve.  While I don't feel I need to go into all the details, I will divulge that I came to realize I am not what I want to be, or what he needs me to be.  

So, when I found out I'd won the gift basket, my first thought was [irony!!!].  If they only knew. . . . . . they most likely would have given the gift basket to another deserving winner.   

But over the last few days, I realize that what I've been given, in receiving this information from my husband, is in some ways a gift.  And maybe it's the best kind of gift.  I won't be so cliche to say "it's the gift of a 2nd chance", because that's just plain corny.  But I will say that I've been slapped in the face [figuratively] with the fact that nothing much matters.  Except the relationships we have.  My house, my new blender and LL Bean tote bag and lap desk.  My occupation.   {These things will all come and go.  And sometimes I'll like them, and sometimes I won't.  And eventually they'll be nothing.}

We like to joke in our family about Bohemian Rhapsody [the song].  Yes, I know it's a classic, but it's SO dramatic.  The lyrics say "nothing really matters".  And that's almost true.   But I really want to learn to concentrate on the bit that does.  So, while I'd like to write an entry that makes me appear somewhat cutesy, or fun, or at least somewhat sane, I forced myself to be honest.  And while my blog title is Once Upon a Sunny Day, not every day is sunny.  And not every Christmas is remembered as merry.  But I want to make it a point to remember the worst gift I received.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ask me what's on sale this week at Kroger

I stopped in at Kroger after work.  Fortunately for me, I now work 1.2 miles from my home.  And. . . there's a Kroger between my workplace and my house.  
Today I visited my local grocer for the ingredients to make King Ranch Bean Casserole [scroll down the page and you'll see it - below the version utilizing tofu].  Previous to my vegetarian days, I enjoyed King Ranch Chicken.  So, I sought a veg version and found this one.  Chip worked late tonight, so it was a good time to try a new recipe containing beans [he's anti legume, anti war, anti . .. ].  It turned out pretty good.  But that's not the point of this entry.
There's a winter storm headed our way.  Snow and ice are predicted.  Which means Kentuckians flood the Kroger stores.  I truly believe if one was a sociology student, the local Kroger would be a great place to compile thesis data.  My neighborhood store was packed.  Shopping carts were hard to come by.  The aisles were full.  The check out lines were long.  And people were buying, you guessed it, white bread and milk [mainly whole].  A few were purchasing Coke products.  One man stood in line to purchase one item only:  an off brand 12 pack of Mountain Dew type soda.  A lady behind me in line dropped her stuff [boxed candy canes, a loaf of bread {yes, white}, and a couple other things].  She mentioned there were no carts available as I helped her pick up her goods.  
All of this begs a question in my mind:  If people truly believe they might be stuck indoors for a few days, why don't they choose more exotic foods?  At least spring for a nice cheese and some Triscuits.  What are people making with all the bread and milk?  Is there some secret I don't know?  Seriously, and I know a power outage is a consideration, but these people were shopping at 5:30 p.m.  The storm wasn't predicted to move through until around midnight.  They had at least 6 hours to prepare a gourmet meal.  I wonder if these folks eat out everyday and have nothing in their pantry?  And now they fear they'll be forced to eat at home.  Or is much more simple?  Maybe bread and milk are snow storm traditions.  Like turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Easter.  I grew up in the desert, so maybe this info isn't entrenched in my psychi.
On another note, regarding the sociology study, we now have a security guard at our Kroger.  Why?  He usually stands outside the store, but tonight he was inside [too cold for him outdoors, I guess].  Someone honked at me as I backed out of my space at the far end of the lot.  A large white van [I'm thinking plumber].  I suppose hostilities are high.  What if the store runs out of bread?  Oh yeah, they were really low on large bags of potatoes.  It seems to be the white foods that are popular [again, maybe a snow theme?  get it?  white snow/white foods. . . ]
Well, I found my items for the casserole.  Then I headed home.  Only to pull into the driveway and be greeted by my daughter, wearing pajamas and a towel over her freshly washed hair.  She had climbed the side fence, checking if the recycling was full [tomorrow's our pickup].  She walked towards the car, and stated, "We need to go to Kroger."  She then mentioned why - snack needed for tomorrow's FCA party [which, mind you, probably won't happen due to the approaching storm].   I asked why she didn't call me - her brother knew where I was.  She claimed she did call.  My battery was low, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
So, later in the evening, she and I went out.  Yes, we hit a Kroger [not the same one].  It wasn't near as crowded and no one honked at me.  And there was no security guard, and the Salvation Army bell ringer was friendly.  And looking back, I wish I'd picked up some Triscuits and a nice cheese.  We might be iced in for a while.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If I was more like Oscar H.

{My Favorite Things}.  Rodgers & Hammerstein.  Minor chords and a 3/4 time signature.  A true classic.  If I was to write my own version it would include dark chocolate and picnics and hiking Raven Run.  I might choose to keep the line about silver white winters that melt into springs, because today is a silver white [technically late fall] day.  I'd also add sunshine and bike rides and salsa made from homegrown tomatoes.  Note that most of my favorite things have to do with spring time and summer. . . . . 

And in place of when the dog bites, when the bee stings. . . . . . I'd include when drivers are rude, when men don't hold the door, when people are just way too selfish [no, it doesn't have the same effect, but I never claimed to be Oscar Hammerstein].  Oh, and I'd also add when the furnace goes out and it's 19 degrees outside [because that's actually happening right now].

Oh, and why not throw in as favs when the kids don't argue [I haven't heard them be cross today], when the soup turns out well [it did tonight!], when my son has a good audition [he did, on Saturday], 
I'll simply remember my favorite things, 
and then I don't feel. . . . . . . so. . . . . . . . bad 
[all the while counting 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 ♪♪♪♫♫♫].