Our Next-Door Neighbor

Heartwarming stories from “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are considered timeless literature for me. I can pick any story from any of these series at any time in my life and feel wonderful and uplifted. There’s a quote that reminds me of an event that happened during Christmas time many years ago.

We once had a neighbor who moved from New York into the house next to ours. She was a friendly and attractive lady who my siblings and I always waved to her and wished her a good morning. At the time, my siblings and I were all young children.

She had some mannerisms that were unfamiliar to us in the suburbs. She also had a habit of gardening in the front yard in her bathing suit catching the attention of any males who happened to walk their dogs into our cul-de-sac. My visiting cousins made fun of her, but I came to her defense saying that she never caused us any harm and looked out for us. I suspected that even if she heard my cousins speaking behind her back, she wouldn’t have cared what they thought because she was confident in who she was.

One Christmas day, we heard our doorbell ring. My siblings and I ran to the front door and looked outside the window. There was a wrapped package outside our door. I saw the back of a blond woman’s head and she herself was dressed in a lush red Christmas coat like Mrs. Clause. It was our neighbor, but she didn’t stay to chat probably due to any language barriers.

During a time when we didn’t have to be weary of potential bomb packages outside residential homes, we naturally brought the box inside and opened it since it was from our non-malicious neighbor. Inside our neighbor packed all sorts of goodies for us. We were amazed all all the snacks, toys, and refrigerator holiday magnets she packed for us.

I think back on this memory and feel that it’s a special moment when a neighbor wants to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in spite of the increasing cynicism and all things that go on in the world. I’m grateful that we had such a great neighbor while growing up!

In response to :

Santa’s Chat with Buddha

Stockings at the Krispy Kreme: What should Santa stuff the stockings with this year?

SANTA: Ho, ho, ho! Why, hello Gautama Buddha! What a pleasant surprise! I see you have a stocking here!

BUDDHA: Yes, well… there’s a first time for everything. 🙂 Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, faithfulness is the best relationship. However… I have a special request this year!

SANTA: Normally you request nothing for the holidays but kindness! You’re a tough cookie for the elves to figure out what to create for you. You’ve been a good man, Gautama! What is your wish?

BUDDHA: As you well know, there have been many forest fires plaguing the world this year.

SANTA: Yes, yes – it’s rather unfortunate. Mother Earth is truly hurting right now.

BUDDHA: Well, I would love to plant extra Bodhi trees this year with the hope that it may provide an enlightening experience for those that are within its presence as it has done for me. Some Bodhi seeds or saplings would be wonderful. My monastic order will be helping me taking care of them. When the trees are ready, we will partner with local businesses and people in the community and start a mission to plant them.

SANTA: What a fantastic wish! Mother Earth will be shedding tears of joy to nourish them once their planted. We’ll see what I can do.

BUDDHA: Thank you kindly, Santa!

SANTA: No problem! Magical seeds are easy peasy and totally within my scope. 😉

Image Credit: Lotus Wei

In response to:

  • The Daily Spur: Wish

Presents at Krispy Kreme

New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.

David Lynch

Hello! I woke up from quite a mysterious dream last night, and got a start on the day. My friend and I finished my mile long walk this morning, and the Krispy Kreme store was along the way! I enjoyed the decorations the employees put up for the holidays. I noticed a creme-filled doughnut called “Present” 🎁 which I avoided due the sheer calories and sugar 😜, but my friend got it instead.

There are also some fun knick-knacks for sale! Probably a good stress reliever to squish and smell!

I walked over to the corner to take a seat and enjoyed the colorful decorations on this tree.

By the checkout area, this light pink tree also had some presents underneath.

On the walk back, I noticed these large wooden decorative presents on the field.

Overall, it was an enjoyable walk!😊

It’s simple. Eat well, exercise and get lots of sleep but make sure you indulge occasionally. At my age , I think , what the hell , and eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut !

Michelle Pfeiffer

Christmas Lights

Season Greetings! Took a selfie with our snowman from the countryside! How we found him is a quaint story. He was abandoned by his original owners. Mom and I were going for a walk in the neighborhood, when we noticed a series of wired sculptures getting ready to be tossed in the trash. We decided to give them a new home at our place and picked up some deer and other fixtures. I wrapped some new lights around them to renew its lease on life.

This year I enjoyed various holiday light shows on YouTube. There are some incredibly talented artists out there! One of my favorites is the song, Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd.

Seeing him go live this past September on a skyscraper was a fantastic view despite not having an audience.

A Beautiful Sight

When I walk in the morning sunlight, the brisk air feels fantastic. I’m grateful that it’s only 51 degrees Fahrenheit where I’m located and not -8 degrees where some of my friends are located. However, it feels like 37 degrees. No snow just yet. Refreshing, not unbearable.

I’m sitting indoors marveling a beautiful sight. My Christmas cards.

Simple ornaments with colorful geometric designs and patterns. They’re certainly not Papyrus, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I feel good about my Christmas cards this year because I was able to help protect 160 kids from polio through the Rotary Club’s Polio Plus card program.

If you would like to learn more, you may visit: www.endpolio.org

Most of the time I generally listen to soft, slow Christmas music. The classics. This year I’m leaning into flashy, fast paced, sparkling numbers. Currently jamming out to Meghan Trainor and Lindsey Sterling!

Jojo is adorable in her dance number and dazzling outfits! Her energy

Micro Gift Wrap Stories

Featured Photo: Greta Penny, owner of The Design Craft Etsy store, has such a lovely green malachite wrapping paper for sale. It looks like a emerald geode!

I love gift wrapping! I just finished wrapping my gifts for my friends. Looking at my gifts now, you would have never guessed that I came from humble beginnings in the gift wrapping world.

I used to wrap my gifts in newspaper and cut letters and images from magazines to make cards back in the days when I thought buying a Hallmark greeting card was expensive. It eventually dawned on me that I needed to stop making cards that looked like it belongs to a criminal! 😀

Ransom Note Generator – I suppose you can make less creepy ransom notes with these color themes!

Unlikely Gift Wrap Solutions

Homemade cards run in the family. 😉 My brother once took a Cheese It box and refashioned it into a birthday card. He wrote with a permanent black marker, “Have a cheesy birthday!” Upon receiving it, his best friend roared with laughter! He absolutely LOVED it!

My dad used to wrap clothing gifts for his nieces in former Budweiser boxes. I remember us all laughing together at what seems to be a gag gift. My cousin smiled when she opened the box to find a pair of cute overalls and a striped yellow shirt from Old Navy. No alcohol for minors! We have an odd sense of humor and love to recycle and reuse our resources as much as possible.

I’ll never forget the day when mom asked for my help to wrap a gift up for a birthday. It was my first project. I reused some pretty yellow paper from an old gift and made some beautiful curly bows. The family looked at it with a bit of admiration, and from that day forward, my parents left me in charge of the gift wrapping.

Discovering the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping

Over the years I’ve been inspired by various artists and cultural wrapping techniques. Jane wrote a wonderful post about International Gift Wrapping to Suit All Cultures. I really enjoy the elegant folds in Japanese gift wrapping. They’re beautiful!

Shiho Masuda has a lovely YouTube channel for all sorts of gift wrapping ideas! ❤ Time to up my game!

#SoCs- Ornamental Tales

Linda G Hill: SoCs – List

Hello!

It’s been such a busy season for me. I have an ever growing list of all sorts of to-do lists. School, career, relationships, books, movies, recipes, some crafty creations. When I face some stress during the school season, Aristotle’s quotes remind me of a reason why I put myself through it all:

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

Aristotle

A friend shared with me that last one a long while ago. It stood with me ever since!

One day, you think I would have more sense, and cut back. Give myself more breathing room. Maybe I can burn some of those lists and send those ashes flying away on a windy day. 🙂 Experts say that people can optimally focus on 4 or 5 things at a time.

The present is such a gift. Right now, heart-warming stories of ornaments are on my mind.

When we were kids, my parents decorated our Christmas tree with greeting cards friends gave us, bookmarks, ornaments we made as kids. Glittery paper rings, popsicle stick frames, ornaments made out of yarn or dried noodles. I was always touched by my parents’ sentimentality and wondered why they never bought any ornaments or threw any of our creations away.

For them, the ornaments are more than just a pretty fashion accessory for the tree. There’s a story behind each of the ornaments. How happy we were to make these ornaments for our parents. How happy my parents were to receive a card from our neighbors and friends. How it brought us all together. A tree brimming with true joy and happiness.

When I was a student officer for the Guild of Geeks, I loved painting ornaments on the windows of the school with my fellow club members for a holiday contest for Christmas. We also painted Beamo, Dr. Who’s time machine, among other well known pop culture references. We won 2nd place which scored our club to have lunch with the university president on her balcony! We actually had some folks trained in light saber fights. What an amazing, albeit nerdy memory!

I remembered when one of my friends who was running for office extended an olive branch to his opposition by creating a Christmas ornaments with his opposition’s son. Despite things getting ugly during election time, I wonder what memories his son will choose to take with him. Hopefully, remember the spirit of the season in spite of politics.

I want to create a new memory. My mom and dad collected some pine cones on their nature walks. I took some back with me during Thanksgiving. I’ve been wanting to create a pine cone wreath. Give some out as Christmas gifts. I found so many inspirational ideas!

I was also curious about some other random stuff like The History of Ornaments and What kind of Christmas ornament are you? Quiz.

Halloween Avatoon Fun

Hey all! Hope you’ve been well! “All work and no play” has taken a bit of a toll on me. As the day draws near, I’ve explored some Halloween activities.

Previously, I’ve enjoyed writing some spooky tales like in Ominous Meeting or What Happens in Japan Stays in Japan.

I’ve dressed up as a cat for all my virtual meetings, and I will be carving a pumpkin tomorrow. I would like to go beyond 2-D geometric shapes, and Google has provided me with much inspiration. We’ll see!

Out of curiosity, I decided to check an app that Jude has used to create his avatars. I didn’t anticipate how much fun I was going to have with “Avatoon”. Thank you, Jude! In the Halloween spirit, here is my gallery! Enjoy!

A Fourth to Remember

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

Joy!
Wa-hoo!
Today’s the day!
Buzzing with excitement
We’re celebrating indoors today!
My owner created a scavenger hunt for me
She hid some delectable treats throughout the house
Pop a tunnel of floating bubbles along the way
Canine peanut butter, vanilla cookie treats
Await me at the end of the obstacle
An excursion to the back patio
Fetching a squeaky ball
My owner loves me
No fireworks
Tender
Care

Word of the Day: Excitement

Personal Life & Award Update

I hope everyone is well and healthy! Hence, the reason for my orange filled banner to encourage people to take care of their immune systems. 🙂

I want to apologize for my late blog posts for the A2Z challenge. I’m currently coping with the death of a friend who I had a real deep, caring connection with. For those of you who understands how that feels, it can be quite an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been sleeping and resting after being thrashed around by my feelings, memories, and thoughts.

Yet, I can just imagine him telling me, “Sa, hike with me. The beauty will surely make you feel better.” I will miss him dearly.

Imagine my smile when I woke up from my melancholic slumber to find a nomination in my inbox for The Real Neat Blog Award. This is actually the first time I’ve been nominated for this particular award. Thank you kindly James!

James has published a few books and possesses an otherworldly sort of imagination. One of the titles to his book, “The Haunting of a Marcasite“, surely has me intrigued. Stop by his blog for an interesting read and step into another world of memorable characters!

Rules For The Real Neat Blog Award :

  1. Display the Blog Logo in your blog.
    (I re-made my own banner, but you can find logos online. 🙂 )
  2. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  3. Do not forget to link to their blog for nominating you.
  4. Answer all the questions they have given you.
  5. Nominate 7 to 10 other Bloggers of your choice.
  6. Ask your Nominees 7 questions.

James’ questions:

What is your favorite place to get away to?
There are so many beautiful places in the world that I would like to visit, but I can only speak to places I’ve been to. There’s physical places where I’ve only visited once in my life.

Like… Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Visited this wondrous place 11 years ago and its natural beauty astounded me as the captain navigated our boat between the rocks. I was in awe and wanted everyone I knew to experience this with me.

Image Credit: Forbes

Right now, in the midst of this “self-quarantine”, my favorite place to get away to is here on my blog as I drink a good cup of tea. I’ll be working on my challenges today and check out the worlds of other A2Z participants!

If, you choose to become a famous actor or screen writer? What would you choose?
I’ve really enjoy memorizing lines and acting in theater plays. I relish the idea of performing on stage playing a role and entering the mind of another character. Even though I enjoy creative writing on a small scale, I never really thought of screen writing before. Acting feels instinctual to me whereas writing requires a lot more work to imagine an extensive and cohesive plot line. I’ve known a lot of people who were highly skilled in it though. We tend to work together quite often!

What is your favorite holiday ? Why ?
It’s difficult for me to choose as it’s split between traditional and non-traditional holidays. There seems to be a holiday for anything and everything. There are some “holidays” that I celebrate everyday.

That being said, I’ve celebrated many holidays with friends and family. I enjoy the big, traditional holidays as they allow me to reconnect with loved ones such Christmas, Thanksgiving, Lunar New Year. However, I’ve had some very meaningful, quieter moments celebrating Passover, Veterans Day, Palm Sunday and Lent.

I also like World Water Day, Earth Day, Random Acts of Kindness, National Comic Book Day, and May the 4th be with You.

Ice skates or Rollerblade?
Ah! I love both equally. I have great memories for ice skating and rollerblading!

Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.

Robert Frost

What are your favorite toppings to put a pizza ?
Pineapple, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives

A strawberry milkshake or a vanilla milkshake ?
Strawberry milkshake! I love strawberries! I found out that my birthday lands on National Pick Strawberries Day. 😉

What is the funniest show you have ever seen ?
Movie wise I kept laughing throughout “O Brother, Where Art Thou” & “Miss Congeniality”!

As for TV shows, it’s difficult for me to choose! There’s funny shows that I think I can only watch once like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Big Bang Theory, & Malcolm in the Middle. There’s other shows that I can watch more than once like How I Met Your Mother, Simpsons, or Gilmore Girls.

Bloggers Nominated:

  • America on Coffee: Coffee shops have been near and dear to my heart. I love the random assortment of music and shows that are shared.
  • Kate @ Holistic Life by Kate: Beautifully designed site, chock-full of mindful resources to help others live a better life.
  • Dr.Tanya @ Salted Caramel: The positive & sound advice she gives is a beacon of light. I appreciate her wisdom. She hosts “Blogging Insights Series” and shares great pointers.
  • Mr. A @ A Barbarian in Gentleman’s Clothing: Shares excellent book reviews and tips spoken from the wisdom of life experiences.
  • Sadje @ Keep it Alive: Her short stories and poetry tie in with wonderful lessons. She hosts “What do you see?” creative writing challenge.
  • Jay @ Fragrance Writer: He writes some beautiful poetry about fragrances, life experiences, and is willing to collaborate with other poets to create great works.
  • Tatiana @ Travelways: Her blog is incredibly rich with unique experiences and beautiful photos. It’s a visual delight!
  • Ann-Christine @ Leya She features some beautiful photos on her photo blog that bring a lot of peace to my life. Motto: “To see a world in a grain of sand…”
  • Zy Marquiez @ Breakaway Individual.com: He has written on an assorted array of topics from creative writing, culture, health and biotech with an interesting take on issues.
  • Dracul Van Helsing: Published Sherlock Holmes fanfiction & vampire novels; He also regularly writes intriguing fiction tales related to current events
  • Sandomina @ Insightful Geopolitics: Informative posts about the mysteries of space and global threats
  • The Alchemist Studio: Enjoy checking this studio’s pottery collection and listening to random thoughts and musings
  • Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau: I enjoy checking out her savory recipes and mouthwatering photos to match.
  • Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower: She covers tasty dessert recipes, travel trips, and blogging tips on writing quality content.

My blog compliments your blog! You’re not obligated to respond, but I just wanted to take time to appreciate the hard work you put into your blogs.

Questions to Nominees:

  1. What kind of music are you listening currently to calm or motivate yourself from the “outside noise & news”?
  2. What has been your greatest achievement this past year?
  3. What kind of skills do you want to develop in the months ahead?
  4. What on-screen villain is most intriguing to you?
  5. Do you have an outfit that makes you feel great about yourself, seems to boost your confidence, or makes you feel invincible? 😉
  6. Was there ever a movie or documentary that inspired you to take action or made you want to learn more about the background story?
  7. What kind of activities do you and your best friend do together? Do you have a favorite funny memory that you share?