The Worst Christmas Presents Ever

The Worst Christmas Presents Ever

by Peggy Browning

worst Christmas presents ever

Life is good. Live, laugh, love…and enjoy it. But don’t give this cup as a Christmas gift.

 

Ho ho ho. So here it is…that most jolly of seasons when everyone is merrily skittering around…filling their shopping baskets with gifts for giving to others. They are happy and excited, trying to choose just the right gift. Unlike me, they are not giving the worst Christmas presents ever.

They’re choosing presents for people they love, people they like, and probably for a few people they don’t even like, but feel obligated to buy a gift for.

They are buying wrapping paper and tape…ribbons and bows…and festive Zip-Loc bags to wrap up all those precious presents they are sure the recipients will love…or at least like…or not exchange for a gift card.

I don’t like gift giving season. In fact, I kind of hate it. I suck at gift giving.

I’m serious. I am a terrible gift giver. Nobody wants to get a gift from me. Because I give the worst Christmas presents ever.

No one wants me to draw their name from the Christmas hat. No one want s me to be their Secret Santa. Even my kids don’t like to get gifts from me.

I am notorious for giving bad gifts. I have no excuse for it. I’m just truly bad at it.

One year, I gave my grandson a huge package of various sized batteries, a battery organizer, and a big orange box to store his other junk in. He loves batteries…he needs batteries for many of his toys…he loves to put stuff in boxes…orange is his favorite color.

So that’s what I gave him. I was so pleased with myself for finding that battery organizer and the orange box.

Needless to say, the gift was less than impressive. My present was questionable among all the other packages. The faces of the adults present said “What the hell, Grandma?”

OK…so I give the worst Christmas presents ever!Whaddya want me to do about it?

Last year, the same kid won an award in Cub Scouts for baking cupcakes or something. I was so proud of him!

So I made him an apron and bought some cake mixes and cans of icing and mailed them to him so he could bake cupcakes in style. Little did I know that the Cub Scout thing was a one-time activity to earn a cooking badge.  He’s not that fond of cooking and the gift of that manly-looking apron elicited another look of, “What the hell, Grandma?”

So that apron landed on the list of one of the worst Christmas presents ever.

One Christmas, my son Ben asked me, “Are you giving us more of that home-made crap this year?” He was about 19. So…no…there was no home-made crap that year. Honestly, until that time, I had thought my hand-crafted gifts were appreciated. . C’est la vie…you never can tell.

Fewer people are traumatized by my presents these days because I have stopped giving Xmas gifts to people who are not my grandchildren.  I do still try to give them something that makes them smile.

So I give them what I loved as a kid. They get a new pair of pajamas, a new Christmas tree ornament, and a flashlight.

I loved my warm pajamas. Our house was always cold because we had open flame butane heaters and my mother was afraid we would die of carbon monoxide poisoning if the fires burned after we went to bed. Flannel pajamas were greatly appreciated. (and lots of heavy quilts.)

I loved our Christmas tree as well as the old glass ornaments. We didn’t buy new ornaments every year, nor did we decorate with a theme. Our tree had ornaments that had weathered many a Christmas season. Each one was unpacked and hung on the tree with a child’s wonder. I still have my very favorite one…the one with Silent Night and a frosty old church inscribed on it.

I loved flashlights. We lived in the country, where the nights were dark and the stars shone bright and the Milky Way was visible. We didn’t have mercury vapor lights way back then…or at least we didn’t. So if you needed to check on a sound outside, or walk to the barn to check on a cow, or make shadow figures on the ceiling…a flashlight was a necessary part of life.

Here’s my wish for everyone on my very small gift list: Be warm…Be happy and filled with wonder…and Let your light Shine.

So that’s what my four favorite people get. Warmth, Wonder, and Light.

Everybody else gets…well…nothing. Settle down…I’m saving you from experiencing the worst Christmas gifts ever. Don’t be disappointed.  At least you didn’t get any home-made crap from me this year!

2016 Election, Air Pollution, & My Mental Health

My Rosy Outlook is being disrupted by the 2016 Election.

women over 50

stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

Breathe, Peggy, just breathe…

I’m having a grouchy day today. To be more accurate, I should add that I’ve also had a grouchy week. And probably 15 months of grouchiness. How long can this damn 2016 Election last?

I have no personal reason to be grouchy. My life right now (and I emphasize right now because experience tells me that it could change tomorrow) is pretty great.

I live in a nice-enough apartment with a comfortable bed, food, water, and heat & cooling. I am well-clothed. I have good health; my cholesterol and glucose are well within the normal limits. My grandchildren live within easy visiting distance.

I am pursuing one of my life’s idealistic dreams of serving in Americorps/VISTA. I work with people I like and respect and I am proud to be a part of that enterprise that serves my country.

I exercise daily and take my anti-depressants and vitamins religiously. I meditate and pray and count my blessings. I laugh and smile A LOT. I tell jokes. I hug people…even the 20 second hug that is supposed to be life-changing and affirming.

And yet…I can’t shake this underlying vague anger and anxiety that’s bothered me now for a week or longer.

The only thing I can blame this grouchy demeanor on is this: election fatigue.

The 2016 Election has gone on way too long.

I know we’re all tired of hearing about this election and  all the ugliness that is hurled outwardly through the media by sparring campaigners.

  • The accusing rhetoric
  • The threats
  • The Rebel flags
  • The white hoods
  • The racism
  • The out and out lies
  • FBI, Russia, email hacks

I am having trouble breathing with all this BS floating around in the air.

All of it is toxic air pollution, as deadly as any smog, smoke, exhaust fumes, or burning coal could ever be. It makes it hard for me to breathe and I seriously need to breathe…in with the good…out with the bad. In with the happy…out with the grouchy.

It feels too late to ask people to talk about the issues. I’m pretty sure that all the real issues of this campaign have been forsaken to make the point that America is not great, that America is in the shitter, that America…Land That I Love…is doomed. Doomed, I say.

I am disappointed that all these ugly accusations have clouded the real issues of this campaign. I am incredibly disappointed that we have sunk so low that we resort to fear-mongering and name-calling. And I am immeasurably disappointed that so many people seem to have such little grasp of history.

I am so tired. I can’t wait until November 9…I plan to sleep late and I pray the pollution will have cleared when I awake.

I need to breathe again. And I’d really like to lose the grouchy attitude and anger and anxiety.

 

Trump’s American Vision vs. Peggy’s American Vision

Trump’s American Vision Sucks

by Peggy Browning

Trump's American Vision

Trump’s American Vision: Scorched Earth and Fear

Trump’s American Vision leaves me cold. And kind of pissed off.

Of course, everyone who knows me knows that I would never vote for Trump for a seat on the local school board or city council much less for President of the United States of America. Trump’s American Vision is in direct opposition of my own American Vision.

I get it…I know he was the star of a “reality” TV show. He also seems to be a legend in his own mind. He seems unhinged and out of touch with the real world. He is projecting his version of horror-filled scenarios on to the rest of us.

Trump’s American Vision is made of fear. It is based on exclusion, xenophobia, homophobia, economic disaster, racial unrest, terrorism, war, trade inequalities, and dwindling power of the white American male. Have I left out anything that he thinks we should be afraid of?

He’s trying to scare and manipulate the rest of us so we will see America through his fearful crazy-goggles.

I’m not afraid. I never have been. I don’t think I ever will be.

I don’t rely on National Enquirer for my information. And I have no respect for the opinion of someone who does. I have no respect for conspiracy theories and rumors. I don’t base my opinions on what someone else spouts off. I like to investigate and learn the truth on my own. I like to see for myself just what is happening.

Trump’s American Vision is to “make America great again.”

Donnie and I obviously don’t live in the same America. I like mine best. I think Trump should get out more…you know…see the real America.

My vision is that America is already great and that it will continue to be great if we do not give in to fear of change. America is in a period of change and growth right now. I believe we will come out of this period stronger and better than ever before.

My vision is based upon experience and knowledge from the past.  My confidence is based upon what I have observed this spring and summer.

Blue Skies

My American Vision: Blue Skies, Verdant Fields, and Confidence.

 

I’ve been watching the Oklahoma legislature during the second session of 2015-2016. The Oklahoma state budget was in a shambles (and still is). Deep cuts were made to essential services that improve the lives of Oklahoma citizens. Education, state parks, human services, medical care, disability payments…all these vital services were cut to the bone. The shortfall in money was not due to the falling oil prices or to lack of stewardship by the various agencies. It was due to the short-sighted partisanship of the governing body.

So what happened? Exactly what you would expect would happen in an America that is great. People said…No, this is not right and we will change this. Record numbers of new candidates filed for offices in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and Senate. They spoke up about the unfair distribution of ad valorem taxes for school districts. They went to the State Capitol and talked to their congressmen and they successfully passed bills that had been on the books for years…like autism insurance reform. They stopped bills that discriminated against the LGBT community.

No riots or other hub-bub occurred. But change is coming to Oklahoma and it’s coming through the use of our consciences and our votes. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be done.

America is already great.

This summer I worked as an Americorps/VISTA volunteer for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. I had the privilege to travel all over western Oklahoma monitoring summer feeding programs for children ages infant – 18 years old.

And you know what I saw as I traveled from small town to small town? I saw dedicated, caring people who were concerned and DOING SOMETHING for their communities. They weren’t merely feeding children. They were feeding their spirits as well.

I saw people working together to make sure their children were provided for and that their futures were secure. I saw kindness and generosity everywhere I went.

I saw that the system…and the people…are working and keeping America great.

And yes, I saw blue spacious skies and golden fields of wheat. I saw the red Gloss Mountains and the Little Sahara sand dunes.  But mostly I saw that America is great…that America is working…that America is beautiful.

I believe that my American Vision…in direct contrast to Trump’s American Vision… is the correct one. I believe that our home of the free and the brave is still great and we have nothing to fear.

(Unless, of course, Trump is elected without my vote. If that happens, I will be afraid, very very afraid.)

 

Sanders’ Best Hope Is a System Intended to Stop Candidates Like Him | Mother Jones

He wants to change the primary process. But every change has unintended consequences.

Source: Sanders’ Best Hope Is a System Intended to Stop Candidates Like Him | Mother Jones

20+ Passive Aggressive Office Notes That Are So Good You Can’t Even Be Mad | Bored Panda

If you’re surfing the ‘net this morning when you’re supposed to be working, here’s a few notes to make you smile, laugh aloud, or give you some ideas for your own passive-aggressive notes.  __Peggy

Nothing says workplace passive-aggressiveness quite like a note, and Bored Panda have found you the best ones.

Source: 20+ Passive Aggressive Office Notes That Are So Good You Can’t Even Be Mad | Bored Panda

I’m a veteran, and I hate ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ Here’s why. – The Washington Post

It’s not Veterans Day. It’s not military appreciation day. Don’t thank me for my service. Please don’t thank me for my service.

Source: I’m a veteran, and I hate ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ Here’s why. – The Washington Post

11 Things The Republican Party Should Protect Children From

The Republican party claims their transgender bathroom bills are about protecting children. If they really cared about kids, they’d address these 11 issues.

Source: 11 Things The Republican Party Should Protect Children From

8 Things I’m Too Old For…

Michelle Combs…is dead on about the things she’s too old for. I’m too old for them too. And you are too. Please read and enjoy Michelle Combs thoughts on growing older. —–Peggy Browning

8 Things I’m too old for. If I go back 25 years and think about the information available to me compared to now, I realize why my ADD brain swirls like one of the cheap pinwheels my husband decorates our deck with.

Source: 8 Things I’m Too Old For…

Classen SAS students march to state Capitol amid budget cuts | Oklahoma City – OKC – KOCO.com

Classen School of Advanced Studies students and their parents are marching from campus to the Capitol Wednesday morning because of the state’s education budget cuts.

Source: Classen SAS students march to state Capitol amid budget cuts | Oklahoma City – OKC – KOCO.com

Is Your Mental Health my Responsibility?

Mental Health… is  your mental health my responsibility? If it is…then you’re screwed.

by Peggy Browning

your mental health

Please don’t allow me to be responsible for your mental health.
stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

I must ask again…is your mental health my responsibility? Please, I beg you, don’t make me responsible for it.

You will be sorely disappointed. And I’m sorry for that. Please don’t take anything I say as a personal affront. My opinion doesn’t matter…well, it does in my life, but my opinion does not matter to your life!

I am not an unkind person. But I often say the first thing that pops into my mind. Wild and crazy words race to my mouth, totally unfiltered and I say them. If you are standing in the way of this verbal barrage, then you might be wounded. Not mortally wounded, but you might be a little bit stunned.

Believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wouldn’t be mean to you on purpose…ever. But my smart mouth gets me in trouble all the time. And I usually don’t even recognize that what I said was offensive to you.

If you are a store clerk or a waitress, you might want to check your mental health before you wait on me.

There’s a reason for this.

So here’s what happened today.

I went to the local JC Penney’s store because I wanted to look at the dresses and see what’s available that I might squeeze my plump hiney in for my daughter’s wedding in August. I know…I have about four months, but I just wanted to see what’s out there that’s considered fashionably acceptable.

As soon as I stepped inside the store… I mean, the door was still swooshing shut behind me…a young woman said, “Hello, honey. How are you today?”

And I said, “Well, I’m just fine, Sugs. How about you?” (Sugs – noun. Pronounced shoogs if you’re from the South or Texas)

She looked at me like I had slapped her. I didn’t even know I was being offensive, but her look told me differently. I was just being a smart ass and answering her like she had addressed me. I had expected her to laugh. She didn’t.

I guess she thought “honey” was a proper, even friendly, way to address an older woman. Perhaps her supervisor had even told her to call older women sugary, stupid names. I don’t blame the clerk…but I don’t like to be called honey and sweetie and baby. Ma’am works for me.

I don’t know of any woman my age who likes to be called those names. It feels condescending and like clerks and waitresses are trying to convince themselves they like you well enough to wait on you.

But back to the story… I felt like I had damaged this woman’s mental health (at least for 30 seconds or so) because she seemed hurt when I called her “Sugs.” And this is the lesson I wanted to teach, but didn’t because I didn’t dare to hurt her feelings any more than I already had:

Don’t let your self-worth or self-esteem be measured by what someone else says even if they are an asshole (especially if they are an asshole.) And never, ever, ever, ever put your mental health and well being into the hands of someone else. That is your own treasure.

Don’t let the careless words of someone who doesn’t matter to you at all harm you. Let it pass, their opinion of you doesn’t matter. And neither does mine.

I went back to Sugs’s register after I looked at dresses and chose a t-shirt for my grandson. We ended up laughing about silly stuff…I told her about my grandson talking about farts all the time which is pretty funny if it doesn’t annoy you to death.

I don’t know the state of Sugs’s mental health when I left, but I hope she doesn’t hold me responsible.