Good morning everyone, and Happy Saturday once again! So how did you spend Yule? For us, it was pretty low-key but meaningful. See, at our home, we do both Yule and Christmas (or as we say, “Giftmas”), where the Winter Solstice is the spiritual side of the holiday, and December 25th is the secular – all the better the days are separated. We even separate our gifts in that way. We open one gift each on Yule, but the gifts are the needful things, and the rest are “Ooh! Shiny!” Ryan got the complete Harry Potter book set, in which he ran into his room and began devouring immediately after. Ron got a fancy electric razor – the kind that actually does cut through his barbed wire whiskers. (And yes, he ran into the bathroom to use it right away!) And this Kitchen Witch got perhaps the best gift ever – a Paula Deen cookware set! And what did I do with it? Why, I ran into the kitchen right away and began using it, of course! Ryan knew I’ve been needing a new pots and pans set for many years, and our wonderful son put in a lot of thought behind it to make sure I would love it. We have raised such a fine young man.
All day yesterday, I was up baking cookies for tonight’s gathering with Ron’s family. His family is insanely huge, and their tradition is everyone buys for everyone – no Secret Santa. There’s no way we can afford that (not even to “just buy for the kids”), so for the past few years, I’ve baked gift bags full of a variety of cookies and hand them all out. Sure, they may not be video games or whatever, but at least I know they’ll be appreciated (somewhat?). Last year, I added sugar plums to the bags, and this year, Ryan made his famous ooey gooey brownies! Needless to say, it’s been hard to keep everyone from stealing them, including myself!
And on top of all the merriment going around, I got a call yesterday around 5pm for a dream job, and I start Tuesday! (“Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!”) It’s an office manager and bookkeeping position for a chain of designer fashion boutiques right here in Chicago. The location is just five minutes away from home and oversees over three hundred employees: Sales clerks, store managers, designers, models, seamstresses and of course the main managers and owners. I’m extremely excited about this incredible and unique position, and I have faith in myself I will do a great job right out the door. They use the same software I’m already used to working with, everyone I met was very kind and courteous, and oh my yes – SHOES! Purses! Jewelry! Beautiful dresses! I teased Ryan I’m going to need to take over his room as a second walk-in closet, as I’m sure I’ll be putting my employee discount to work.
So that’s how the Dake’s roll – how are your holidays going? I love reading everyone’s posts and hope to learn of new and exciting ways to make the Yuletide celebrations even more meaningful and fun. Even when times have been hard, we’ve always had each other, and that’s what’s important. And for many of our troops, they have been coming home in droves for the “Christmas Exodus” and also now that Iraq is finally over.
(Ummm… Santa? zOMG!)
However, not everyone in the military is enjoying a homecoming, and it’s one of many sacrifices some of us may forget when we’re involved in our own festivities. I ask each and every one of you, wherever you are, to raise a glass to those still serving, and those we’ve lost, so we can send out positive vibes and let them know at the very least in spirit they are loved, respected and appreciated.
One Soldier in particular, who Ryan actually met during his training, will not be forgotten: Pvt. Danny Chen, who took his own life after being constantly consistently, sadistically hazed by the very people who were supposed to have his back. Before Ryan brought up the topic, I had already read the initial articles, and it had me thinking of the “nicknames” Ryan said everyone had gotten, like the Jewish Soldier (affectionately?) known as “Ham”, and Ryan being called “Turtle”, due to his BCGs and his thin neck beneath the wide collar on his uniform.
I hope we all learn to understand what words can do, what our actions can do, and yes – the NCOs who brought this upon Pvt. Chen are brought to justice. With 2012 fast approaching, I always see this as a time to resolve issues and look to the future. My one hope for the upcoming year is we all become just a little more tolerant and loving towards one another.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, one of meaning, peace and comfort. Blessed Be to you and yours.