Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Mall Tree

The view can be relative. The long view:

the medium view:

and the close-up view:


"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Celling Your Soul?

I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want a cell phone.

Okay, I just wanted to get that out in the open and out of the way first thing. We did have one for two years - biggest waste of money I can ever recall! I never turned it on and I can’t remember ever having used it to make a telephone call.

I did receive calls from it when my spouse was carrying it, typically at inconvenient times and consisting mostly of “guess what I just bought at a garage sale” or “I’m on my way home” – usually when they were within ten minutes of arriving at the house.

Recently I saw two comments regarding the necessity of cell phones: “cell phones are a fact of life in this on-demand life” and “the world demands immediacy.” Notice that the word demand is in both of those statements as in “insists, orders, commands, or requires.” Well, I guess that I have just gotten too far in life to let others have that kind of power over me, to demand that I be available twenty-four hours a day whenever they decide.

And no one even bothers with the “you might need it in an emergency” pretext anymore. They are just annoyed when they can’t reach you whenever they want. In fact, they are downright insulted when you explain that you have your cell phone turned off because you wanted it turned off.

Or, occasionally, they are shocked that you have really decided to intentionally turn it off! What a concept!


While we are on the topic, what is with those strange ear-clippy phone things that always remind me of Star Trek costumes? Anyone who remembers clip-on earrings has got to figure that those things must hurt by the end of the day. Do you remember your mother getting home and pulling off her earrings the minute she walked through the door?

Additionally, the ear-phone wearers are insulting those with whom they are doing business in the real world; real people who are apparently not important enough to merit their undivided attention. If that is the case, then they don’ t need my business.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Alternate Office Gift Exchange

One autumn I started a new job at just about the time that the office manager was beginning the thankless task of planning the office holiday party.

When she came to me about the office gift exchange I said “No, thanks.” Big mistake. She hounded me and hounded me about participating.

Meanwhile, co-workers were privately cheering me on, telling me about what a pain it was to go buy something for someone they didn’t know and it stretched their holiday budget, and they never got a present they wanted.

Finally, in desperation, I had to come up with an alternate suggestion and believe it or not I did.

Instead of an office gift exchange we would find an orphanage or foster care center or children’s social welfare program and get a list of kids by sex, age, and interests and buy them presents. Each employee would bring an unwrapped toy to the office holiday party and at the party we would wrap the toys and a few days later a staff member would deliver the presents.

Wow! The idea was a hit and we all had so much fun! The company even pitched in some funds for some extras.

There was a mild competition for the delivery run, but rank has its privilege; the office manager and another senior staff member delivered the presents

That is the first time I had enjoyed shopping for an office gift exchange and had a really good time at an office holiday party and every employee overspent the suggested budget and we all had fun.

And if you know some office that can use this suggestion, please pass it along.


"I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls..." - Julia Peterkin (1880-1961), American Author.