Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Today, I reflect back on a difficult year of discovery.  Several new people who have come into, and out of, my life have taught me to remain true to my convictions.  Those who passed through,  temporarily,  served to remind me that words must be congruent with actions, in order to be true.  The others have been added to my list of friends.

I am thankful for my family, friends and health.   Hubby and our four K9 kids are
my touchstones to God. They keep me grounded in the present and love.

May today, and the next year be filled with blessing to you and yours.   Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy World Nutella Day – February 5, 2014

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world nutella dayNutella has always been a part of my food vocabulary.  Growing up overseas, we were exposed to international foods from an early age and items that might have seemed “exotic” to some, were commonplace to us.   Nutella, was one of those treats.    My great-grandmother would spread it on toast, as a dessert with tea. Since it was a memory I associated with childhood, I always assumed it was  tastier than it actually was.  The same way camp cabins seemed so enormous, when we were younger, but grew smaller as we aged.

I was wrong.  Nutella was not only as delicious I remembered, it was even better incorporated into “adult” desserts.

Imagine my surprise when I moved to the U.S. and there was NO NUTELLA, anywhere.  Some Italian specialty markets carried Nutella, but it was expensive and would fly off the shelves as soon as they were stocked.  In some cases, it was like watching a small version of Black Friday sales crowds, before the mayhem and murder.

KeepCalm_NutellaOnFortunately, American fans demanded that Nutella be available and we prevailed!   Now, Nutella is available in our local grocery store and a few American food corporations have created their very own versions, of the luscious hazelnut spread.   I wish them luck, but I am a loyal Nuella woman.

There can be only one!

Eight years ago,  blogger Sara Rosso created World Nutella Day  to extol its wonders.  Other food bloggers soon caught the bug and World Nutella Day became a grassroots success.  Unfortunately, the “holiday” met with some early legal challenges from Ferrero, the Italian company that produced Nutella.   Once they realized that World Nutella Day was not only a celebration of the product, but an opportunity to gain new fans, they relented and joined the fun.   Today, Ms. Rosso and Michelle Fabio  are the coordinators of the festivities, with the blessings of Ferrero.

If you have not tried Nutella, today is the perfect day for your first taste!  To all the other Nutella fans out there, I high-five you with my spoon!

¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

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I received the best gift I could ever hope for, on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) – time with Papi, Mami, Hubby, Brother (PSM), Sister-in-Law, 2 Nephews and our Niece. Later today (Christmas Day) we will spend time with my Mom-in-Law and Hubby’s extended family.

We exchanged funny cards and gave the kids the “Harry Potter” boxed set collection. Nothing is better that time with loved ones. Several years ago, we decided to only give gifts to the kids and enjoy the joy of watching tear open their presents. It keeps the focus on our family and we love it!

Hope the spirit of the season fills you with joy.

Please enjoy “Navidad en Panamá.”

30 Days of Thanks – Day 29

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Black Friday violators may be found in Dante's 4th through 9th levels of Hell.
Black Friday violators may be found in Dante’s 4th through 9th levels of Hell.

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”  ~ Randy Pausch

I am thankful to have worked in retail while in college.  I enjoyed my jobs and have pleasant memories of flexible hours, great customers and fun co-workers.  With one glaring exception – Black Friday.  I was left so traumatized by the experience, over 25 years ago, that I never shop on Black Friday, and only patronize small, locally-owned or socially-conscious, green businesses.

Black Friday traditionally marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  It was the period of the year where retailers would operate “in the black,” or at a profit, versus than “in the red,” or at a loss.  For folks employed by retail establishments, it simply meant earning more money in a shorter amount of time.

Sadly,  Black Friday has become synonymous with greed.  And violence.

I urge you to consider whether or not those items are dire necessities worth dying for today.  Or ever.

In the meantime, enjoy the dulcet, acapella tones of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s  “Greed.”

30 Days of Thanks – Days 27 and 28 – Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day

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snoopy charlie brown thanksgivingWishing you continued blessings and gratitude for being on the blog journey with me.  Please enjoy time with loved ones, as it is precious and entirely too short.  Pause for a moment to think about and thank all the people who work on holidays, sacrificing time away from friends and family, to keep us safe, healthy and free.  Let us work together to ensure they come home quickly, safely and are fully supported upon their return. Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Thanks – Day 25

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Fa-la-la-Lifetime
Fa-la-la-Lifetime

This time of year inspires upbeat, tug-at- the-heartstrings, romantic comedies to celebrate the holiday season. It is the only time of the year, I find myself wanting to watch television movies, because the characters overcome adversities and eventually find their happily ever after.  These are not the women-in-crisis, committing or victims of adultery or true crime dramas.  No, several television channels devote the period right before Thanksgiving until Christmas to uplifting stories, and I watch as many as I can.  Every year.  Thank you to the programming departments of those channels for making us smile.

Veterans’ Day 2013 – 30 Days of Thanks – Day 11

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As a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the poppy is near and dear to my heart. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, millions of red crepe paper poppies, handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, are distributed across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities.

Thank you to our Veterans and those men and women who continue to serve in the Armed Forces.

I have written posts about my deep respect for men and women in uniform, as I did not serve.   From family members, including my beloved Hubby, to friends and coworkers, I have known Veterans from too many wars.  They are some of the most incredibly gifted, loyal people, with an enormous capacity for love.  My personal commitment to them, is to continue to shatter stigmas about PTSD and shine a light on the ongoing, immediate need for full medical and psychiatric benefits for all of them, for the rest of their lives.  It is the least our Country can do for the people who sacrifice themselves for us.

Sadly, I have received “private” notes from those who see my progressive views as “unpatriotic” and have questioned my feelings.  To those “people,” (who know NOTHING about me or my family), I simply say, “Karma, finds everyone” and delete their negative remarks. Then, I donate to VoteVets.org, to ensure that we elect progressive Veterans, who continue to be committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of all Americans.  Patriotism is neither liberal, nor conservative, it knows no socioeconomic boundary, and is not ascribed to a specific sex, creed, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age.  To me it is a feeling of humbleness whenever I encounter someone who has given freely, and openly of himself or herself, in service of our Country.