Saturday, February 7, 2009

Red Carpet Roll Up

I love holidays. To me holidays are like snow days. They provide the impetus, a reason - even though we don't need one - to stop and do something we've been putting off for some time. On a snow day we can sort through family pictures and not feel like we are wasting time. We can do an art project, play a game, watch old movies, write letters, or bake and not feel like there is something else we are supposed to be doing. A snow day is an unexpected gift of time.

Come to think of it, snow days are sounding an awful lot like the Spirit of #218.

Holidays have the same affect on me. Around holidays I find myself digging deep into the recedes of my mind to think about unsuspecting people in my life who deserve recognition. Sure, I could - and probably should - do this all year round. But I don't. I get busy. I get in a routine, calling the same people, writing the same people, and occasionally (if I'm really on top of things) getting a package in the mail to a small, but familiar group of family and friends.

In a typical week I don't make time to send a short note to Bob Younger, my great boss when I was 16, 17, 18 and working as a counselor at the Samuel Field Y summer camp. Too much effort. My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Jahoda, sensed from my first day in a new school that I was uncomfortable and she made it her business to help me fit in. While I am appreciative of her gestures and periodically think about her, tracking down Ms. Jahoda - 33 years later - is not on my short list in a typical work week. And what about Roger Winston and Ted Miller who were so influential in my development as a Student Affairs professional? They are both retired, but still they deserve reminders that their working years mattered... that the forty some odd years they got up every day and went to work actually influenced who I am as a person today. Yes, I - we - should make time for these sort of gestures in our every day life, but most of us don't.

That's why I love holidays. Because, at holidays I stretch myself. Sure, I still shoot a small treat off to the usual suspects, but I also try to take a snow day. That is to say, I try to use holidays to select a (just one) random, deserved person from my past and to send them a thoughtful note in the mail.

That's what I'll be doing today. While my boys are thumb-printing their class valentines, I will be tracking down Mrs. Stump from Peabody, Massachusetts. She is the mother of a resident who lived on my floor when I was an resident assistant at Arizona State (about 20 years ago!!!). Tracy's mother came to visit a number of times while Tracy was in college and, for whatever reason, we made a connection. Years later Tracy invited me to be in her wedding. I spent a beautiful summer weekend at their home with Tracy, her mom and dad, and her two sisters. It ranks right up their as among one of my favorite weekend getaways. I want to tell Mrs. Stump how memorable the weekend was and that my remembrance of her warmth and hospitality, that June weekend, stays with me as a reminder of the kind of home I would like to create.

Fact of the matter is, if you've ever received a note like this in the mail, you know it could be written on a piece of torn out loose leaf paper with smudge marks, and be ridden with errors. It wouldn't matter, because the very act of receiving such a heartfelt note, is the real gift. But, why go to such lengths and then fall short in the "packaging" department.
At the end of last season I found these Valentine Puzzle Cards on sale at Starbucks for $1.00. They are heart shaped puzzles with red envelopes. Isn't that a FUN way to get a valentine? Not only will the message be unexpected, but the anticipation will build as Mrs. Stump pieces the puzzle together. Side note: If I didn't the pre-made cardboard puzzles, I would make one out of red construction paper.

That's Valentine's Day. Now the Virtually Groundbreaking Award Show... At Christmastime my sister in-law shared a great drink recipe for Limoncello. It's a combination of cranberry juice, vodka, and lemon liquor. Let me go on the record for saying, I am no drinker... much to my husband's dismay. BUT... this drink, I loved!!! Added bonus... it's red. I think that's what we'll be serving up at our house (along with champagne, of course). How about you? What will you be serving at your Award Party?

This is it. Today the curtain closes on Red Carpet Week. It's been a week full of discussion about Valentine's Day (now only 7 days away) and the Virtually Groundbreaking People's Choice Award (now only 11 days away). Get some rest this weekend. Next week will be busy.

Signing off until Monday...

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