Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice! 12 days of Christmas

Happy Winter Solstice!

It's the shortest day.
Today, we celebrate the return of the light.
Welcome, Light!!!

Every year, we say we don't want to celebrate the holiday season the same old way.
Then every year, we mostly do.
Most years we say something about wanting to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
Then most years, we don't.

This year, we really decided to change it.

We decided we would celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. We would not start Christmas the day after Thanksgiving (really never did that). We would not start Christmas December 1st. We would not start Christmas until it was really close. 12 days out. That was our plan. It fell on a Sunday. Perfect. December 14. After Kevin's birthday. (Since his birthday/Christmas proximity has generally been a bone of contention for him.) Perfect. December 14th. Perfect.

Well, we'll get back to that date. It was to be a joyous day, starting with a family ritual and culminating with putting the tree up, drinking egg nog, eating gingerbread. I envisioned it. The perfect little nuclear family gathering we've never had.

And then we got sick. Pretty much all of us. But mostly me and Kevin. At the same time. That is rare, and those of you out there who are married with children understand how difficult it is. It's bad enough when you take turns being sick with your spouse, so the well one can take care of the sick one and Everything. Else. But, when you both get sick at the same time, no one gets taken care of and nothing gets done. And certainly not Christmas in a house where the spouses don't really love it.

So, no Christmas has been done. And it's now the Winter Solstice. Not to mention that we have been blizzarded here in the Pacific Northwest, which normally does not get blizzarded. And I have to think, in a way, "How perfect." I did the math last night, and if we decide to start the 12 days of Christmas today, with the Winter Solstice, they will last right to the New Year. I somewhat like that.

But, let's backtrack. What did we decided to DO for the 12 days of Christmas (that hasn't gotten done yet?)

Well, the idea was to make it somewhat simple. And make it about love and kindness and time together. Not about stuff.

I had been guided to a couple of different websites shortly before we made this decision. Here is the first:

The Story of Stuff

It's all about the nightmare that is our constant overconsumption of stuff. It wreaks terrible havoc on our planet. It wreaks terrible havoc on our lives. Christmas, as it has been celebrated by us in the past, has been pretty much the pinnacle of destruction. I even called Caspian's first Christmas with me the "Christmas of Carnage". He was 2 or 3. Probably 3. He was technically the first grandchild. He arrived at age 2, but that didn't matter to my parents. It didn't matter to Kevin's guilt about his semi-recent divorce. All these things were showered down with a rain of presents that we had to keep begging him to open, because got tired of it and had to keep moving. The poor lad would want to just play with something and we would say, "No, you have to keep opening." It really sounds like some sort of satire now, 7 years later, but it is true. Then, Kevin had to go to work (restaurant), and I spent SEVEN HOURS (I shit you not) cleaning up paper and plastic and organizing stuff. Christmas of Carnage.

It has gotten gradually better each year as we make a commitment to scale back and then don't totally. But it has gotten better. The problem is, we're parents. In the United States. As parents, we just want to give our children everything. We want to give them the dream. That's also the United States thing. But the issue is that we have been sold a bill of goods. Overconsumption. It's not even fun. And it's wrecking everything. And we know it. We, in general, and we, specifically my husband and I. But some part of us felt somewhat powerless to stop it. The part of us that felt like we still wanted to give our kids everything. Well, the story of stuff arrived at just the right moment to catalyze us.

Then, my dear friend had also set up a website for her daughter to raise funds for the needy in lieu of getting a bunch of stuff. I loved that idea, so we decided to incorporate it into our plan. (Which I will get to, eventually.) You see, the thing is, we buy our kids all the stuff they need. And we try to do it in a way that makes sense, in small increments throughout the year. They don't need an avalanche of crap at one time. It's too much. They can't even appreciate it. I remember seeing another friend of mine and a family member finding little things for the kids in their lives all year and squirreling them away. Silly, little things. And "saving them" for Christmas. It seemed so absurd to me. Just give that little thing to the kid when you find it. But here we come to one of the other ridiculousnesses of Christmas: It's a HUGE financial burden on most families. They might not describe it that way, but it is. And it's just not necessary.

And, it also sets up our economy in a very weird way. We save up save up save up for 10 months and then spend it all in 2 months. It makes no sense.

Also, about this time, I read of the poor Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death by shoppers on Black Friday. I have never participated in Black Friday. I do not understand it. I thought it was somewhat sick before. Honestly. Now it really turns my stomach. One of the comments in the news article about this guy's untimely holiday death (or very timely) referenced the following website:

Advent Conspiracy

Now, here's the funny part. We're not even Christians. But, as Americans, we get caught up in the Christmas trap. So, that website is a bit Christian for me, but I love the ideas. I think it is brilliant. It makes so much sense. I was inspired. I shared it with my family. We decided to do something different.

And then, of course, December 14th happened: illness descended.

At any rate, here is our outline.

We agreed to scale back on presents. The kids would each get something to play with, something to wear, and something to read. This seems to be a whole movement. I have heard a lot of people doing something like this. I like it. It simplified everything and is a good amount of gifts. The kids still get gifts. They just don't get completely obliterated by so much stuff they can't even enjoy it. It also helped me focus more on what was really important to get them.

We would give more to others. I actually had a decent Christmas budget that we now intended to not totally use. We would choose charities and give.

For gifts from others, we would recommend that they also give to our charities.

Zane decided he still wanted gifts instead of giving to charity. That's ok. He's 3.

We agreed that we would spend more time together, doing fun things.

We agreed that we would really work to keep kindness in our hearts and treat each other as such and everyone.

Caspian chose the Spotlight Foundation as his charity. They help horses and trouble kids. They're local. If you'd like to join us in giving, here's Caspian's page.

Kevin and I chose Save Our Wild Salmon. They are also focusing on local environmental issues, specifically with the salmon in the Snake River. If you'd like to give to help this ecosystem, here's Kevin and my page.

So, this year, we really are going to celebrate the Winter Solstice. We are going to have a ritual and put up our tree and play in the snow. We really are changing Christmas in our house. It feels good.

As they say at Advent Conspiracy

Worship Fully
Spend Less
Give More
Love All

Thanks for reading this far. And Happy Solstice! Welcome Light!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's a New Day. My Obamamania Continues

Yes, my Obamamania is continuing. Well, Obama and It's just so exciting. Love it. Hope. Progress. Unity. Peace. It's a new day. I can't help it. Obama's Aquarian ascendant is about 2 degrees from my Aquarian sun. I don't know what the rest of the world's excuse is, but for me that means his personality projects the core of who I am. Wow. The Aquarian age, peeps. We've been waiting and here it is.

Oh, and I LOVE THIS VIDEO! Lovin' the

I'm so into politics and following world events now. I really didn't before. I thought I didn't care. But I guess I just had no hope. Now I see that the world really is going in a good direction. I guess I knew the world was going in a good direction, but to have leadership in the United States going in the direction of peace, intelligence, unity, innovation, and progress is so exciting. What a relief!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Zane and Vegetables

So, Zane has been on a vegetable boycott for a long time now. Whenever we put any on his plate, he says, "But I don't like vegetables."

Any that happen into his mouth, he will take out and say, "There was a vegetable in that."

Sometimes he asks me what I want him to eat. I'll say something like "broccoli" and he says, "but I don't like vegetables".

You get the idea.

But then he's oddly adventurous in wanting to try everything. So the other night at dinner he decided to try some broccoli. He didn't really like it. Some of it he ate. Mostly, he didn't. He said it was ok.

Just now I was eating some carrots. He said, "Mom, since I tried a vegetable last night, I think I should try another vegetable."

I said, "Ok. What do you want to try."

"I'll try a carrot."

"Ok, great."

So I get him the carrot and tell him to chew a lot because it's crunchy. He chews it. I ask, "What do you think?"



"But not that good."

Chew chew chew.

Then he gets a plate out of the cabinet and spits it on the plate!

Good, but not that good.

Maybe I should have taken a picture of that?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Finally proud of America again!

I think this says most of it. More eloquently than I would.

Well, I'll say a few things. Here is how I feel. Simultaneously like I can finally relax and that I'm ready to help. Like if President Obama called and said, "Terri, I need you to do x, y, & z." I'd be like "I'll get right on that!" Other people are feeling that way, too. It's exciting.

How exciting is it that he won on a platform of positivity? How exciting that we are all included?

Yes, WE can!
We are one.

Oh my goodness, the Aquarian age just arrived.
2012, bring it on.
To quote Michael Stipe, "It's the end of the world as we know it.

And I feel FINE!"

Ok, I thought I was done, but although that was a strong finish, I have more to say.

I was quite moved by how calm Obama was at his acceptance speech. I am quite moved by his manner, which seems to say. "Ok, good. That part is done. Now let's get to work." I find it brilliant that he is already not only tying in to the most inspirational storytellers of our time (MLK), but also sharing the message that it's not going to happen overnight and it's up to all of us.

It's up to all of us.
It's a new day.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yes we CAN! (Reprise)

Had to post it again.

All you Obama peeps, get out there and vote! Watch this all day. Visualize President Barack Obama. Yes we can! Be inspired!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saving Money Idea

How often do you go to the grocery store? We had a habit for a while of going several times a week. We are either blessed or cursed with a Thriftway very near our house, so we would just walk there. Especially in the summer. We've come to realize this is not the greatest for our budget and have been focusing on going to Safeway once a week.

Here's an interesting article about how you can save money by cutting down the trips you make to the grocery store. It suggests once-a-month shopping trips!!!! I'm not sure I could get my act together that much, but it's an interesting idea. I do also like the idea of 2x/month. That might be more doable for us. We definitely notice that we spend more when we go numerous times a week (especially if it includes a Starbucks run!)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Yay Angie!

Check out this gorgeous pic of Angelina Jolie, breastfeeding one of her new twins. (Snapped by Brad Pitt.)

Kudos to her for nursing those twins. That has got to be a lot of work, but so worth it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More funny politics

Lovin' the Silverman. PLEASE participate in the "The Great Schlep". Sean, get down there! (I know that's not where your grandparents are, but you can convince some Nanas. I know you can. Yes, you can.)


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm all about Ford right now

Or maybe not about it. Odd.

I recently saw a quote I'd seen from Henry Ford before: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, either way you're right." It really struck me for my blog, Manifest Laboratory. I also put it up on Facebook. Then, right next to Abraham Cats, I saw an ad for this movie:

Flash of Genius


Friday, September 19, 2008

6 Things: Tagged by my husband

Egad. It's a good thing I'm freeeeeeeee.

Kevin tagged me.

Here's the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things/unspectacular quirks about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

6 Random Things

1. I am feeling so free today that I'm going to break rules 4 and 5. I can't be bound up by these fules. Ha ha. That was an "accident", but I like it as a new word. foolish rules = fules. Unlike Kevin, in general, I tend to follow the rules. However, I occasionally break the fules.

2. I like making up new words by combining two words together. Like things like "Bennifer" and "fules".

3. I enjoy celebrity gossip to a certain point. If I ever get stressed out and need an escape, I tend to go to That's about as far as I go. Ok, that's a little bit of a lie. I also tend to check in at Pittwatch. I can't help it. I love Brad and Angie. And the kids. I try not to go to other sites or read trashier mags or search out pictures that celebrities have not authorized. I think that's so rude and dangerous to the celebrities we claim to love. I like Pittwatch because Sherry (the blog writer) works to be very respectful as well. It's one thing to be a fan, and quite another to be a maniac. I try to be a fan. I did purchase the people mag with Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline on the cover. They are too cute.

4. I am left-handed.

5. I might be going to a law of attraction certified facilitators training program. It's in Victoria, Canada. We've always wanted to visit that area.

6. This is my favorite chocolate. Send me some. Link also in sidebar. If you are Kevin, you can just get it at Ralph's. I loved it even before we moved to the PNW. I love the PNW.

Ok, here's my big tag: Heather!

I can't think beyond that right now. I have other blogging friends, but since I have been mostly absent from the bloggy world aside from a crazed addiction at Manifest Laboratory, I have not stayed up to speed with them. They have probably already done all these. They are very hip to the bloggy world and tag each other like mad.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Dorking Around: What Tarot Card Are You?

Here's some fun from Heather:

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monkey Takes a Shower Vid

I don't know why. I just couldn't stop watching. It's not that interesting. But I still could not stop watching.

Sink Showering Monkey


Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Moment to Make a Mother's Heart Sing

Aren't they cute? This was right when Caspian came home from Idaho for the summer. However, this is not the moment of which I speak. We were at my nephew's birthday party yesterday, and as they were starting to clean up, totally unprompted, Caspian asked my sister-in-law, "Is there anything I can do to help?" WOW! Way to go, kid! I was so proud of him. He really is a good kid, especially in social situations. YAY!


Friday, September 05, 2008

It's about my husband or my hair these days

Today, it's the hair.


New Blog: Manifest Laboratory

Well, if you're here, perhaps you read this blog sometimes. And if you read this blog sometimes, you'll know that I haven't been writing in it too much lately. I'm in the process of reorganizing my blog life. I'm going to be taking down my other blog (so I won't link it) in the next couple months, since I haven't been using that either. Not sure yet how much action this blog will get from me. We shall see.

However, the exciting news is that I've started a brand new blog, right here on blogger about a topic that I'm very passionate about: Manifesting! (Conscious creating using sound spiritual principles.) The blog is called Manifest Laboratory. Here's what it looks like right now, although that is subject to change. I like the crazy Kermit the Frog green to tie in with a sort of creativity in nature, Jim Henson, and crazy lab assistant Igor idea.

It's a place to share my manifesting stories, and the books, tools, and processes that help me to create the life I desire. I plan to share stories about what I have manifested and what I'm currently working on manifesting. I like the idea of it being a "laboratory" because it's a work in progress. (I also like to pronounce it la-BORE-a-tory because it's more fun.) It's a place to experiment, have fun, and share our knowledge of what's working and how we did it. I am also willing to post stories from readers on their manifesting experiences.

Here's a quote from the first entry:

I plan to use this space to explore and report on my own experiences using information and techniques I've been gathering for over 10 years. Some of my favorites include The Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch, The Abraham-Hicks material, and The Secret (of course). I'm sure there are many more, but we'll get into these as this blog progresses.

Check it out!


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Kevin's Author Page

Ooh la la, just saw Kevin's author page at Everydayfiction. Check it out here. He's got SEVEN stories published there. Wahhoooooooo!


More great flash fiction from Kevin Shamel

He's a great up and coming writer who I just happened to have married. Let's hear it for Kevin Shamel, everyone, being published yet again at This is a fun story with something of an ecotwist. Go, read it now. And rate it. And comment. Do you like narwhales? Then definitely go read it right now! If you go today, July 6, it will be on the front page. If not, here's the direct link: To Save the Disco.

Here's another picture of Kevin for you.

I think this picture is saying, "Go, read it."

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books


ps: I might even start blogging about other stuff again soon. Might. Mwahh haa haaa!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Brad Pitt has gotten enough free press from me.

Heh heh. Well, I'm still pro-Brad. But I'm even more pro-this next guy. He is an up and coming writer. Another Sagitarrius (as is Brad). Perhaps you've heard of him. Kevin Shamel. I do happen to be married to him. Go check out his newest publication over at It's called Show Me Brave. Give him some good ratings, too. Tell 'em, Terri sent ya.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books


Monday, January 21, 2008

Hey I did something minorly creative!

Since we moved here in June of 2006, I have not done such a good job of organizing my photos. I post my favorites to dropshots and that's about it. We take a TON of photos. They have been disorganized in my computer. While searching for one to make a card for my neighbor the other day, I decided to clean things up a bit. It's AWESOME. I can FIND my pictures. I can DO things with them. Here is one thing I did with them. I call it "Zane grows up"