bah, humbug!

that’s right, i’m a scrooge. i don’t deny it. but it’s not that simple, let me explain… it’s october second and i can see christmas decorations. of this, i am not pleased.

my earliest holiday memories included the last quarter of the year. we would bid g’bye to the summer with a labor day bash and settle in for the winter with family, friends, fires and festivities. the seasons would (actually) change, the leaves would fall and that was the cue… that the holidays were to begin. october brought us halloween. candy and costumes! what’s not to love, right? november would peek in and before you know it, we’d all be gathered together for thanksgiving!! more family, friends and food. snow would fall (somewhere, it’s too hot where i live) and december would bring the best holiday of them all: christmas. more family, friends and food — but this time, with GIFTS! and since you all know me so well, you know i’ve always looked forward to the new year. not really the year as much the party to issue in the new year. but these days.. i just want to change the calendar and move on. i’m frustrated by the holiday season and it bothers me.

i spent the larger part of my childhood with my grandmother in a sweet little suburban southern california town. she had a group home for developmentally disabled men. there were no less than six of us in the house during those years. she cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for all of us, everyday. by herself. she also entertained the larger part of our extended family for the holiday seasons. she was an excellent grandmother and she excelled at all things in the awesome homemaker category (i could be a little biased).

we decorated the house for halloween as conservative as possible. usually just two carved pumpkins at the top of the stairs leading to our front door. sometimes with that spiderwebby stuff. on halloween night, my gramma would open one of the windows and play a spooky halloween record — you know the one with the creaky door, the ghost moans and chains.  good stuff.  classic. we always had our porch light on, we always gave out candy and she always let me go trick-or-treating door-to-door as long as i remembered to stay away from “those” houses. which houses? it’s hard to say… my grandmother had an innate sense of OHHELLNO and didn’t like certain things for her own reasons. i think i have it too.  but either way, halloween tradition carried on until the bestie and i determined that we were too old to go. saying goodbye to october meant november! and thanksgiving!!!

thanksgiving was a situation. it was intense. my grandmother would start her round of calls early in the month to check in with the family and find out who’s doing what. she would pull the dinnerware from the shelves and cabinets and start in on the cleaning and polishing. that’s right!! polishing the silver. a lost art, if you ask me. such a time consuming chore, so full of detail but the reward that comes with a full table, completely set and everything aglow with it’s own shine and sparkle is worth it (again, if you ask me). it obviously was to her.

the days of november would dwindle. my gramma would collect her head count and about a week before, there was the shopping. the mountainous, endless, heavy, grocery shopping. the menu never varied so the list was always the same. she would put everything away, count the sleeping spaces, wash the linens and prepare herself for thanksgiving week.

tuesday of thanksgiving week was beginning prep: the cleaning, pruning, and dicing of any and all ingredients. tuesday evening she would bake a pan of cornbread, the size of a twin-sized bed, to the most beautiful golden brown with dark edges and burnt corners. she would set it out to cool, always scooping a corner out for herself to “try”.  wednesday was when the kitchen really started movin’… for this was the day she made DESSERTS!! sweet lord baby jesus the desserts!! again, always the same: peach cobbler (mmm!), sweet potato pie (mmm!), pecan pie (mmm!), lemon ice box pie (mmm!) and POUND CAKE (i just had a heart attack!). sadly, there weren’t many dessert leftovers. she would end the day by greeting the over-nighters, helping them get settled and finally putting the turkey in the oven.

on thanksgiving day, my gramma would be up before the sun. i don’t think she slept much as she would get up periodically to baste and check the turkey. when the rest of the house was brushing it’s teeth, she would be assembling all of the  need-to-stay-cold items. and from there it was nothing less than master chef. she really was amazing:

  • turkey with giblet (eww!) gravy
  • a HAM! (with cloves and pineapples, and NOT from honey baked)
  • sage cornbread dressing (i would slap you r’now for some)
  • mashed potatoes (lump free!)
  • green beans
  • corn
  • okra (uhh, i don’t like okra)
  • cornbread (but i DO love cornbread)
  • dinner rolls
  • cranberry sauce (i like the cranberry salsa or chutney or something that the bestie’s dear sweet aunt ruth used to serve with pillsbury crescent rolls)
  • waldorf and carrot & raisin salads (fruit +  mayo = wth?)
  • black eyed peas (occasionally)

she did it all herself. we didn’t help much, she didn’t ask for much and everything went as planned. i remember one year having about 12 or 14 people at the table. we had to add two leaves to the table and still didn’t have enough room. my grandmother’s china collection was stunning and when it all came together (at one o’clock) it was truly divine.

there would be laughing, playing, tv watching, cheating at cards and general familial mayhem. my gramma didn’t drink much so we didn’t have too many drunken outbursts. everyone would hug and love and just enjoy the day. most of the family would leave at sunset — stealing my desserts and always loving her up for feeding them so well. the next day, the only clue there had been a thanksgiving FEAST would be the leftovers. by the middle of the next week: homemade turkey soup. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh– the good ole days.

and in begins the christmas season. we used to go to a christmas tree farm (obviously weeks prior) and have them cut the tree that we had chosen. we would spend the evening decorating a live fragrant dirty dusty sappy beautiful christmas tree. we used the same ornaments for as long as i can remember. they were always carefully placed and stored in the same boxes marked “xmas”. the tree would be lit every night from dusk to bedtime. on christmas eve we would turn the lights on and they would stay on until the end of christmas day.

my grandmother always played santa and surprised me with something that would be over-the-top. my most favorite christmas morning surprise was a HUGE box of books. really? yes! it was a box from May Co. and it was big enough to hold king sized bedspreads, so, IT WAS HUGE and it was filled with books. i still have some of them.

the christmas spirit, leftovers and remnants of packaging took us through to new years eve. we always watched dick clark and we would light the christmas tree (for the last time) and waved to the year gone by. sometimes i made it to see the new year, other times… not so much. on new year’s day, we would disassemble the holiday season, pack away our holiday cheer (and every last decoration) and make resolutions that we never intended to keep. 😀

but NOW! now, we can hardly get through august without seeing ribbons and bows peeking through. and as i pointed out, on october second there are decorations hung for purchase in the local stores. what kinda $h!t is that? why would you do that? to sell more? are there really people out there just frantic to buy decorations before the rest of the free world? they don’t have anything from last year? why? there are people still putting up those nasty huge bulbs (i call um ghetto bulbs) from 1982!!

my list of questions could go on for days, but the point i’m trying to make is that selling things and marketing have taken away my holiday cheer. things change as we age and mature and especially when we have kids. but for me, the real holiday season was wrapped up in everything i just mentioned. in the family and friends. the celebrating. not in the buying, the receiving or black friday (which i avoid like the black plague). i can carry on with my family traditions, but it’s not the same and i don’t think it will ever be that way again.

the holidays used to be a warm time: filled with family, friends, food and good cheer. it was a way of celebrating the old year and celebrating the new year. it was a time to reflect and pull fond memories and share them with thoughtful gifts or handmade goodies. a time to forgive, to bond, to share. but now it’s just a marketing scheme. a horrible gaudy expensive marketing nightmare. people camp out in parking lots to buy the new craze or they just bogart the local toys ‘r us with pepper spray and take what they want. thanks, but no. i’ll stick to sugar cookies and turkey dinners with the ones i love. you can bombard my senses with your holiday crap but i refuse to accept. i can’t see your ornaments or fake trees. and i certainly don’t smell those God awful cinnamon scented migraine inducing pine cones or hear that holiday music. i’ll have my christmas when i’m ready, thank you. right after thanksgiving. you can take your marketing scheme and shove it, i’m not shoppin’ here no mo!

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thirty days of thanks

the figurative essence of a man (an excerpt that was also posted, but  has since been removed to eliminate the repetition) is an interesting rambling on of my favorite aspects of man.  Not just man, but men.  Men in general and men in specific.  It would like to be something more complicated than a list of my favorite attributes of men. However, it turns out that “the essence” was merely the appetizer portion of my blogging debut.  The meal itself, would follow in a whirlwind of hopes, dreams, realizations, ideas, inspirations, dedications and memories.  I would be lying if I took any credit for this idea or its pure soul-searching motivation.  In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I want to highlight my facebook friend, Paula F, for the encouragement to give thanks out loud.  She encouraged her whole world to share their thanks with her each day for the month of November. To truly celebrate Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed the initial thought so much that I may have, literally, raised my hand as if to scream “Teacher! Teacher! Pick meeeee!”

even though I was very excited and anxious to participate, I took a little time to consider the dedication that I wanted to promote with my posts.  I knew I would start light and eventually end up heavy handed, but such is the way.  Once I started, I was already on a roll.  With a meager, yet humble and encouraging audience I started my day thinking about my thanks.  Actually taking time to form the thought, and draft the prose in my mind before publishing any flighty nonsense.   Of course, I want to have fun, encourage fun and always bring a smile to my readers, but I found myself searching, better yet, requiring, that my posts be clear minded, well formed thoughts and some sort of “method to the madness”.

It turns out that being grateful and expressing thanks is not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it doesn’t sound easy.  Not to me, anyway.  I feel that the best way to express any thought requires the use of vocabulary.  And one cannot properly use vocabulary without a clear cut understanding of the word(s).  You have to comprehend before you can use them to communicate.  With that said, being thankful is simply that: expressive of thanks; effectively conveying meaning or feeling.  Effectively conveying meaning or feeling?  Wow, this is serious business.

lemme catch up. day 1: i’m thankful i have life. that i made it into this world and was given a chance. day 2: i’m thankful for my body. while i am aging, it APPEARS to be gracefully. LOL.

day 3: today, i am thankful for the will to do what is necessary and the ability to follow through.

day 4: today i am grateful for grade AA butter and warm Belgian waffles. MMMMM!! just kidding, today i am grateful for the desire to be helpful, even in the face of certain disappointment and adversity. perseverance! i can’t hide my shine! 😉

day 5: today i am thankful 4 men. MANLY MEN! (4 me, 1 man in particular), but men who care for themselves. well groomed and handsome men. freshly shaven men with new haircuts. men who smell good and who’s smile melts your heart. men who care enough about any and everything 2 care out loud. men who remind u that u’re a woman. men who make u smile when u don’t know it and give u butterflies when they look at u. men.

Jennifer Perez Awww….I want a manly man…=)!!!! Enjoy yours:)

Nicole Reese oooo I second that, you made me thankful!

Tanisha Ware installment 2: men with strong arms and broad shoulders. a man you can hide behind because of his strength and size! men who hold you up and never let you down. arms that hug you, hold you, love you and bring you flowers. a man that adores you. a man that cares for you. men. mmmph!

Camille Fairman Williams OMG, you worded this so accurately and beautifully. Can i steal this for my wall?? I’m in absolute agreeance.

Tanisha Ware take it honey! have it! it’s all yours! i’m just saying out loud what we all feel. and even if your man, the man, her man, his man, any man isn’t the “size” or exact “make and model” as i have described, you missed the point. as long you feel good when you’re with him and great when you miss him, you found him.

Camille Fairman Williams uh oh if that’s the criteria… i think i may have caught me one of those…YAY!!

Julie Stropka Word! Mine is not always clean shaven but he smells yummy and he does all the rest!! ♥

Tanisha Ware bahhha! @Julie Stropka, you said “word”… wooooooooooord!!

Tanisha Ware installment 3: a MAAAN! a man that makes you bite your lip in anticipation. a man who asks what you want and listens to the answer. a man who waits patiently for your response to a question he already knows the answer to. a man who is truly disappointed if he is forced to disappoint you. a man who will always make it up to you. a man.

Julie Stropka Don’t you just love it! 😉

Tanisha Ware mmm hmm! i do. like a fat kid loves cake!

Camille Fairman Williams alright… where are you getting this from?? are you picking my brain when i sleep? Gathering all the hopes and dreams of my wanted man? LOL

Tanisha Ware it’s just what was in my head when i woke up with this morning. 😉

Camille Fairman Williams and the funny thing is, is that what you’re saying and what most women want isn’t far reaching or far fetched in the least. very attainable, i know those guys are out there (fingers crossed) ♥

Tanisha Ware they are. but they wear figurative camouflage and are hard to see… knights in shining armor disguised as runners in nikes.

Julie Stropka and they find you when you aren’t looking…I promise! I met my hubby at Best Buy! 🙂 He is a good man who takes good care of our family..♥ Trust they are out there, and I hope you find yours 🙂

Tanisha Ware installment 4: a man, dammit! a maaaaan! not a boy who thinks he’s a man, not a boy who has to tell you he’s a man. a man you can see from a distance. a man that exudes man. a man who loves himself and those who love him in return. a responsible man that can handle business!! ALL business. a man. dammit! a man.

Julie Stropka You should be a blogger..seriously this is good stuff chica..

Tina Edwards ok, yer killin’ me. yes yes, manly men are good, don’t want to think about you and whoever too deeply, so cut it out. I mean, honestly, would you wan’t me to go into any kinda detail about how I feel about Jase? Really?

Tanisha Ware installment 6: a man of quality, integrity, dignity and dare i say; grace. a man who can walk, talk, move, stumble, fall and always make it look like something you want to be involved in. a man who will always have your back, be at your side and live forever in your heart. a man you love to watch and who watches you. A MAN!

Tina Edwards I’m gonna start listing Jason’s tattoos… I mean it!

Tanisha Ware Tattoos don’t scare me! You should know that. I’m plotting and planning No. 5.

a thankful day 6: as my dear sweet granny used to say “if it wasn’t for the bitter, how would you know what was sweet”?

day 7’s thanks… today i am thankful for being resourceful. for seeing the forest and the trees. for seeing the snake, letting it bite me and treating the wound accordingly.

2day i am thankful 4 my mama! it’s her bday. so HAPPY BIRTHDAY Michele Tazzi ! there’s no 1 in the world like my (or ur, if u wanna be picky) mama! i wish i had me somma her cookin’! wish we closer in proximity & able 2 njoy a night of kamikaze shots (down 2 our last dime) like we did so many years ago! 😉 oops! was that ‘posed 2 b a secret? I ♥ u mama!

Michele Tazzi Shhh.don’t tell all our secrets..lol but Kamikaze shots are just wonderful.I Luvs my Biggie ones both and wish u were here too so I could cook for you and make bread so I could watch you tear the loaf up getting a chunk…lol Luv Ya Baby

Tanisha Ware I love you too, ma! Happy father’s day and happy easter to you!!

day 9: today i am thankful for my aunt. she’s going away on an medical missionary excursion. she’ll be far away, physically, but not far from my heart. she takes better care of me and my son than i do. i wish her safe travels, rest and food when she needs it, but most of all, I WISH FUN FOR HER! i hope she has a great …time. i think we’re both homesick already. have fun DD! we’ll miss you! XOXOO

day 10 of thanks: today i am grateful for the opportunity to start anew. sometimes life just sinks. but everyday that we are blessed to wake up, we have the chance to make a change and bring us that much closer to what we really want. the hard part is separating the “what we want” from “what we deserve” or the “what we… need”. wants will never outweigh needs. fill your needs and your wants will be met.

Deb Avila Davis what a inspiration T 🙂 thanku for sharing u got a beautiful soul friend!

Tanisha Ware ‎*blush*

Deb Avila Davis lol 🙂

Nicole Hannibal awwww well said!

Tanisha Ware who let me post “sinks” and not “STINKS”? lol

Deb Avila Davis me lol i knew what you meant lol

day 11 of thanks. november 11th. a bittersweet day for me. i am grateful to all that have served, continue to serve and will serve. but for me, today is the date of my dear sweet granny’s birth… and sadly, her death. she died 4 years ago, today, on her 82nd birthday. lord love a duck if i don’t miss my sweet gertrude…. bless the lord and the heavens above for sending me such an angel. x

Tanisha Ware she loved me sumthin’ FIERCE, and i loved her back! i only hope that i can be the kind of mother, sister, aunt, and hopefully grandmother that she was. she was the most phenomenal person i have ever known.

Tanisha Ware with that said, i GIVE THANKS this day for my grandmother, Arlena G. Ware, for without her, i would not be me. she gave me her heart. everyday. thank you gertrude!! i love you! i miss you terribly!

Kim McNamara Revelles Wow you just touched my heart! Well said my friend. Your grandma was a special woman! I remember her, she was such a sweet lady. I believe you will be just like her and even better! Love ya girl, hope you have a great day! ♥♥♥

Tanisha Ware agreed! if you knew her, then you felt her, if you didn’t know her, you would have wished you did. thanks kim! xoxoo

Lana Ross wow sorry

Sharly Eckley She must have been special if God gave her and took her on the same day. You were blessed to have her as long as you did. I miss my grandma, too. Grandmas are so great!

Tanisha Ware i agree sharly! i whispered that to her, that day… “gramma! you gotta me some-kinda-wonderful to be born into and removed from the world on the same date!” amazing right? and i agree, grammas are great!

thanks on the twelfth: today i am thankful to be “healthy”. to be whole, have and use all five senses and not in need of any medication on a daily basis. i am thankful that i haven’t ever required a cast, crutches, a brace of any nature, surgery, replacements or upgrades. i am here, now, just as i came. i’m taller, heavier and more talkative. but i am free of pesticides and preservatives. 😉

thirteenth thought of thanks: perhaps the END of the day is the best time of day to confess one’s appreciation for the day. *shrug* today, i am thankful for friendship. for true friendship, lifelong friendship, facebook friendship, family friendship, acquaintance friendship. the general ability to connect with others.

day 14: today i am thankful for kisses. in love kisses, not aunt margaret kisses. sweet “end of the day” gentle pouty lipped kisses. kisses that linger… on the lips and the mind. the kind of kiss that makes you stare off into space and grin unknowingly.

days 15 and 16: yesterday i found myself unable to place thanks on any one thing. i thought about it for most of the day. i figured if i went back to posting in the morning it would help, but still, nothing came to mind. i listened to a lot of music. specifically “pretty wings” by Maxwell. even as i drifted off to sleep, he serenaded me and when i awoke his words and downright passion resonated in the air around me.

i want to take time to thank anyone that follows their musical calling. music is so very powerful. i am grateful for any song that has made it to my ear, past my heart and straight into my soul. music brings everyone together. it speaks for the lost, the quiet, the meek, the unloved. it reaches into your memory and brings out memories, people, smells, places, other songs. it’s amazing.

so for my thanks, i would like to be thankful for Maxwell. and i would like to thank any musical artist and every musical artist for bringing the funk!

day 17: today’s thanks include nubi hawaiian delight frozen yogurt with mochi, clean white fluffy fuzzy robes straight out of the dryer, “tisses” from my son, lunch and errands with the gal pals from work, texts from just about anybody (bahah!) and the very rare pat on the back from the boss.

day 18: today i am thankful for curiosity. for that nagging feeling that makes me look under the foil on a week old refrigerator experiment. the desire to see what’s in, what’s next to, what’s behind, what’s near, what’s under, what’s covered by anything else. the need to know the answer, even if i don’t want to know the answer.

the want of all the information, not the selective judgment free aspects that i am provided. the facts, the goods, the truth and the light. the real and never the fake. the substance! i am a seeker of the why.

day 19: today i am thankful for the unexpected. the things that keep me on my toes. keep me, at least attempting to be, one step ahead. the things that knock the wind out of me when i’m already in full motion. the things that make me rearrange my plans or throw them out the window altogether. the things that make life GRAND.

23 days of thanks: although i have been a total slacker since thursday, i am here to give my thanks. for the 19th: i am thankful for payday. what a way to start the weekend. for the 20th: i am thankful for my bestest friend Shannon Adcock and her two beautiful children. they came to visit with us and we had a tornado o…f fun. for the 21st: i am thankful for sleeping in late with SuperBoy.

installment 2: (a continuation of the 21st) children are always angels when they are sleeping and mine is no acception. he’s just so darned cute.

installment 3: for the 22nd: i am more than grateful for the lingering of love. the impish smiles, the slight swelling of pouty just kissed lips, the swooning in delight. the feeling that you love, have been loved, have made love and all is what it should be. i am grateful and thankful that someone’s heart is open to me and they are willing to let me in, to hold their heart and care for them. thankful they will do it in return. thankful.

installment 4: for today, the 23rd of November, i am thankful for the kindness and understanding of others. i am not the easiest person to get along with (no commentary allowed). but there are quite a few SPECTACULAR people in this world, who not only tolerate me, but actually like me (some of um love me! i know! can you imagine?), and that means the world to me. i do what i can to be a good person, a good woman and a good friend. i’m not always right, and i hate to admit that (sometimes), but i always have the best intentions. i love my life. i love my family and i love my friends. thanks for listening.

today, today i am thankful for my family. i am a holiday scrooge!! but i have too many good memories of thanksgiving to let them die. we ’bout to get this kitchen fired up!! if we’re fb friends it’s because i knew you, know you, love you, work with you or care about you in some way, so that makes you special to me. have an awesome day with your family! make some memories!!! XOXOO

Tanisha Ware says “Don’t sit over there thinkin’ you can escape my last 5 days of thanks for the month of November. I ain’t done yet! You just wait.

while shaking my head in shame, i must admit that i did not make it back to express my thanks, not  for those last five days of november.  and i haven’t expressed anything more than random thoughts during december.  however! for every moment leading up to thanksgiving day, i was focused and sincerely grateful.  i lost a lot of my holiday spirit just growing into an adult.  and whatever little light still shined was completely burned out when my granny passed away.  but i’m a parent, i am someone’s mother.  not just someone, but Kenneth.  i am Kenneth Michael T’s mother.  i owe it to him to provide a warm and safe environment in which to grow and learn.  i also owe him fond FAMILY memories full of traditions and fabulous food.  and it took aaalllllll the way up to noon on Thanksgiving day for me to actually pull it all together and get off my ass and say “let’s do the damned thang”!

and i did exactly that.  my son spent the holiday with his father and that side of the family.  i talked with my aunt and co-chef around noon.  we planned out a menu and headed to the grocery store.  ludicrous, right?  but we did it anyway.  we spent an insane amount of money for a full turkey dinner with only two guests.  she and me.  we filed the groceries away accordingly and started our mission.  we turned on the music, had some laughs and got the party started.  a full turkey dinner planned and executed by the ladies of Ware.  the menu included turkey, sage cornbread dressing, greens, brown sugared yams, sweet potato and lemon ice box pies.  oh, and kool aid.  it was de-lish!  almost dead on.  my sage cornbread dressing was so close to my sweet granny’s that it actually brought a tear to my eye.

but i was thankful.  for all of it.  for every last bit of it.  i don’t think that i would have been as inspired or as thankful without my new found attitude.  is it an attitude?  a perspective?  a “way of life”?  i’d like to think so.  i’d like to think that each day i have awakened renewed and refreshed but most importantly appreciative.  happy to alive, to be loved and be living my life!  indebted to the lord, the moon and the stars for blessing me with my son.

there is something to be said for living up to a challenge.   there is more to be said for accepting the challenge and persevering!  i’d like to think that i not only accepted and lived up to the “thankful” challenge, but that i grew from it.  that i am a better person for it.  i am trying to see things differently each day.  not always succeeding, but trying to see the brighter side of life.  the silver lining.  learning to embrace what has come to pass and prepare for what is on the horizon.  but never, never losing sight of the light.

thank you to Paula F, for encouraging me to be a better me.  you are my light.  and thank you to my cyber-clapping internet-encouraging facebook friends.