Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

ImageNo, we’re not Canadian. And it’s no longer Canadian Thanksgiving. But we’re celebrating anyway.

My family and childhood friends gather each October over a conveniently-timed school holiday to feast on turkey and all the trimmings. It’s a time-shift extraordinaire, designed to bring family together who would otherwise:

  • Be at home celebrating with the other side of the family.
  • Be stuck halfway to their destination in a freak, Thanksgiving week snow storm.
  • Spend 2-1/2 days traveling through a succession of airports for a 2-1/2 hour meal.
  • Head to Florida for the winter to escape all of the above.

It’s a great system, really. There is no pressure from the upcoming Holiday Shopping, er, Christmas season. No one is heading out, bellies bloated to get in their favorite 4 a.m. Black Friday line. And sometimes, the weather is so nice we’ve eaten outside. I can tell you, that does not happen around here in November.

If I could get others to cooperate, I would probably shift some other holidays around, too. Here’s what I’d do:

Celebrate the 4th of July in October. You can hold the fireworks at 8:00 p.m. and there are no mosquitoes to contend with.

Have Christmas coincide with Labor Day so I could do my Christmas shopping and my back-to-school shopping at the same time.

Always have obscure, national holidays fall on Mondays so we could have an embarrassment of three-day weekends. Oh, wait – we already do that.

That last one might seem obvious to some, but when you are a freelance writer, you are what’s called deadline-driven, that is to say, the weekdays and weekends often run into each other leading to the classic freelancer’s no-day weekend.

What about you? Have a holiday you’d like to shift? When would you hold it, and what is it called?

I love a parade

IMG_0696It is my privilege to attend an annual 4th of July parade that defines what small town celebrations are all about. Each year, we anticipate representatives from all modes of transportation – tractor, truck, car, horse. We cheer loudly for the bands and the veterans. We vie for the free water and hotdogs, and the kids risk life and limb to retrieve candy from the street.

I love this parade. Its main asset is that it changes little from year to year, and let me tell you, there is much comfort in predictability.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

The mammoth is looking a little warm. He probably wasn’t meant for this weather.

IMG_0673 There is a lot of liberty going on here.

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All the emergency vehicles are in the parade, so don’t light the barbecue until it’s over.

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Not sure which I like best – the mariachi band or the polka band (I have an inherited love of mariachi music, but this is a Grammy-winning polka band, I kid you not!)

bands The guys in the little cars hope the parade never ends.

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At times, the pacing could have used a little attention.

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Nothing to say here.

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I think I was this car in another life.

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The water ski team is taking no chances this year.

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Belated best wishes to those of you for whom the 4th is the holiday of the summer. Hope you celebrated in style!

A Christmas decorating don’t

Alert: This tip could save your reputation!

One year as I shopped the frenzied post-Christmas markdowns, I happened across a  store selling off all its leftover Christmas lights for about two dollars a string.

“Score!” I thought. They were a little picked over but there were plenty of festive red lights so I bought a few boxes. Most of the lights I owned were shot, and I love a lot of lights on a tree.

The following year, I painstakingly strung four long strings of lights on our tree and plugged it in. It looked fantastic! All those sparkly red lights! Feeling a rare sense of domestic pride, I hauled out the ornaments and the kids and I decorated the tree.

I left the room and the kids flipped off the lights to enjoy the sight. That’s when I noticed a nearly atomic-red glow from the other room. “Hmmm,” I thought, “That glow could get a little annoying.”

heartThen I glanced out the kitchen window and realized that the red light was emanating from the house, the shocking color reflecting off the snowy yard. It looked like a…like a…bordello. No two ways around it.

After my hysterical laughter died down, I realized that I was going to have to remove all the ornaments to restring the lights. What a pain! Fortunately, I am the queen of shortcuts. Aided by a trip to the hardware store, a glass of wine, and an additional hour, I interspersed a couple of strings of white lights with the red ones. The white light cut the red glare just enough to save my reputation…and the time it would have taken to remove and rehang the ornaments with three young kids.

So let the buyer beware – if you’ve got your eye on those bargain red lights, make sure to include a few white ones.

It’s almost here! I’m participating in the Blogfestivus challenge sponsored by the blogging goddess at Blogdramedy – 5 days, 5 posts, 200 words. Please stop by Monday to read my first post.