Archive for December 2009

Conflict Resolution

December 31, 2009


Friday, January 1, 2010, will be a new day, a new decade, a New Year, and a new time for making New Year’s resolutions.

Resolution: A promise, a pledge, an oath.

I’ve thought through the idea of making resolutions very carefully, and every time I make a New Year’s resolution it presents me with a conflict.

Case in point one:

Resolution:  Eat healthy

Conflict of resolution:  It’s winter. It’s cold. The roads are icy. Danger lurks around every slippery turn. It’s much safer to stay at home and sustain myself with what I have in the house. So what if it’s holiday goodies, at least I won’t starve!

Case in point two:

Resolution:  Exercise

Conflict of resolution:  From the looks of the exercise equipment, I am going to have to exercise major household cleaning in order to get to the exercise equipment. Notice the word, “exercise” appears three times in the previous sentence. I’m already exhausted! And what if, by chance, the equipment is ready to use and my exercising results in weight loss? Then my clothes won’t fit, and I will have to buy new ones. That’s money. Money that I won’t have to buy healthy food. Then I’ll be back to eating leftover holiday goodies. Problem!

Case in point three:

Resolution: Read more

Conflict of resolution:  I love to read. Reading feeds the mind, but in order to read, I need time. If I’m exercising, trying to manage the slippery roads to drive to the grocery store, working, writing, and doing my daily chores, how do I have time to read? Utter exhaustion.

There you have it. Three simple resolutions that cause conflicts. So I say why bother making a New Year’s resolution when I know there will always be a conflict. Therefore, I resolve to make no resolutions.

2010 is going to be a great year!

In case you’re determined to stick to your New Year’s resolution, check this out:   39 Proven Ways To Keep Your New Year Resolutions – All Year Long! (CreateSpace, December, 2009)


He’s Back

December 30, 2009

Christmas Kermit refuses to let go of the holidays!

A Thought

December 25, 2009

When you’re at peace with yourself, you shine from within.

Light up the world with peace and happiness!

                                                                   — cso

Holiday Book Fun

December 22, 2009

 “Everything you can imagine is real.” ─ Pablo Picasso

             A few days before Christmas, I stopped at the bookstore for one last gift. While dashing through the aisles, I literally ran into a woman whose arms were overflowing with children’s books.

            “What’s your problem, dearie?” she asked.

            I apologized and told her I was on a mission to buy The Gift of the Magi for a friend.

            “Wonderful story!” She picked it up off a display table and handed it to me. “You need to stop and smell the cookies.”   

            “Too busy,” I said as I helped her gather up her books and carry them to the checkout counter.   

            As we waited in line, I asked, “Do you come here often?”

            “Usually at Christmas,” she said. “My husband has a magical touch when it comes to making all kinds of gifts, but when it comes to writing, all he writes is lists. I love books so one of my jobs is to find just the right ones that will make youngsters smile and spark the imaginations of the older ones.”

            “What do you do?” I asked.

            She laughed a merry laugh. “You wouldn’t believe what I do.”

            After we finished checking out, she grabbed my arm and pulled me over to the café. “A cocoa latte is just what you need, and then I can show you the books I bought.”

            At the table, she reached into her bag. This book is for the little ones, and she held up Jan Brett’s Snowy Treasury. “It has four different stories set in four different snowy countries. They remind me of home. And look at these,” she said, grabbing more. “If you love silly cats, Merry Christmas, Splat is perfect for you. And here’s the ho, ho, ho funny Junie B., First Grader:  Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! and The Lump of Coal. For the older kids, I found, A Season of Gifts and Secrets of a Christmas Box.”     

            “You really do love books,” I said.

            “Books are better than sugar-plums dancing in your head, dearie!”

            “Do you have special plans for Christmas?” I asked.

            “My husband works Christmas Eve. He travels all over the world, you know. While he’s gone, I’m going to snuggle up with a hot cup of cocoa and a very steamy book. She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye. “That way I’ll be ready and waiting for my husband on Christmas Day. Would you like to see my book?”

            Too much information, I thought, but before I could say anything, she pulled out The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook:  101 Asian Recipes. My husband loves Asian food. It will make a perfect Christmas dinner for the whole crew. Then she looked at her watch. “Oh my, time to dash!” She wished me a Merry Christmas and with a wink of an eye, she was gone.

            I gathered my things and noticed she had left a book on the table. I ran to the parking lot and saw her get into a car as shiny as Rudolph’s nose. I tried to wave her down, but with no luck.  I heard her exclaim as she drove out of sight, “The book is a gift, read it tonight!”

            I wondered who the strange woman was and then looked at the book in my hands. What Does Mrs. Claus Do?

Check these out, too:  Harvest of Light (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008), The Sound of Kwanzaa (Scholastic Press, 2009)

The Christmas Letter

December 18, 2009

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” ─ Mark Twain

             Admit it. You receive them. You read them. You may even write them. I’m talking about the letter that falls out of the holiday card, shouting, “Read me! Read me!” From my experience, these letters are usually filled with a running record of events that have occurred over the past year ─ vacations, recitals, blue ribbon prizes, championship games, A+ report cards, surgeries, births, deaths. You name it, and you’ve probably read it in one of those letters.

            I like receiving holiday cards with letters and pictures in them, and I will readily admit that I, too, write those letters. It’s a way of keeping in touch with family and friends I don’t often see. In my opinion, if you just sign your name to a card, you’re wasting a stamp!

            When I write my letters, I try to be creative and humorous so I don’t bore my family and friends.  I pick a theme and go with it. Over the years, I’ve done just about everything.

A Myth:  It’s a well-known fact that many a tongue hath made “myth-takes”…

Poetry:  On pen, on paper, on envelope and stamp…

Carols:  It Came Upon a Brainwave Clear, Hark! the Herald Agents Sing…

Newscast:  Our top news story on this frosty eve comes from City Hall where the Ogrens…

            This year my brain was in a deep freeze. No theme. No great things to write about. No nothing! So like every creative writer I dug into the hidey-holes of my mind and was able to come up with another fantastic Christmas letter which I’d like to share with you.


Simple. Sweet. Letter done!

More letters: 

The Twelve Days of Christmas in Wisconsin written and illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono (Sterling, 2007)

Jake’s cousin, Emma, is coming to Wisconsin for a visit. He writes her a letter each of the twelve days of Christmas, telling her all about the history and people of Wisconsin and the fun things to do. Along with each letter, he sends her a “Wisconsin” gift.

If you know someone who is studying Wisconsin history, this is a perfect Christmas gift. Check out the other books in the Twelve days of Christmas, State by State series.

A Dilemma

December 15, 2009

“Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.” ─Irvin S. Cobb

     I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan is a favorite book of my library preschoolers. They can’t get enough of the garbage truck that burps, smells, and collects ugly underpants and rotten radishes. This book alone has inspired some of my preschoolers to choose being a trash collector as their life-long career.

     Speaking of trash collectors, our trash collectors have created an unusual dilemma for me. Around the holiday season, I always give a tin of home-baked goodies to our postal and paper carriers. Last week when I picked up the recycle bin, I noticed in the bottom of the not-too-clean bin a holiday greeting from our trash collectors. I’m guessing that was a gentle hint that I was neglecting them and they would like to be remembered, too. No problem!

     For the postal and paper carriers, I put the tins in their respective boxes. The only boxes the trash collectors have are our garbage bags and recycle bin. Problem! Do I give goodies to the trash carriers, or do I give them something else? Maybe hand sanitizer would be a better bet. Either way, where do I put the gifts?

     If I put the gifts on top of the garbage bags or recycle bin, will they think it’s garbage and toss it out? If they open up the tins and see the goodies inside, will they still think it’s garbage and toss it out? Then there’s the neighbor who “shops” the garbage every Thursday. Will she pick the gifts up and claim them for herself before the trash collectors arrive? Do I sit by the window all day and when I see the trucks coming dash madly through the ice and snow clutching the tins? Something so simple can be so difficult.

More garbage for you:  Grandma Drove the Garbage Truck (Down East Books, 2006), Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash! (Margaret K. McElderry, 2006), Garbage Trucks at Work (PowerKids Press, 2009)

What’s in a Name?

December 10, 2009

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

            Names label you and should be chosen carefully. A name tells the world who you are. My name is Cathy with a “C,” not Kathy with a “K.” My “C” is important to me. I “C” the world through a humorous eye. Or is that “I”?

            Celebrities have been known to choose some very unusual names for their children. Take the name Apple. Does that mean the person is delicious or tart? What about Blanket? Warm and cuddly? Or how about Moon Unit? Totally out of this world? 

            Names can be short like Al in Arthur Yorinks’, Hey, Al or long like in Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. Names can be descriptive like Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown or Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor.

            Sometimes names can be a hassle as in Chandler’s story.

            Chandler, a kindergartener, kept forgetting to write his name on his papers. His teacher told him that if he forgot again, he would have to write his name twenty-five times. Chandler forgot and had to write his name over and over again. When he finished, he informed his teacher and his classmates he was changing his name. “What are you changing it to?” asked his teacher. “Bob,” Chandler replied. “B-o-o-b!” he spelled as he wrote it on his paper. “Oh,” said the little girl sitting next to him. “I don’t think you want to do that!”

            Names are important. What’s your name?

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