Jessica always has ravioli for the holidays
The daily calendar that sits on my desk is getting thin. Another year is wrapping up. Jess suggested including our blog addresses in the Christmas letter and writing our own notes online. You must have liked the idea.
As I first starting writing this post, Jessica and I just finished making ravioli for Christmas Eve. You can see some of our results pre-clean-up. The homemade goods are a family tradition that we’ve kept up – along with my family’s meatballs when we put up the tree.
This past year has been one filled with hard work. I dove into the remaining coursework I had to do to complete my graduate degree – finishing almost 60 percent of my classes this year. I’m looking forward to reading for pleasure again – and tackling projects that aren’t due at the end of the semester.
We cut back on trips – visiting Washington, D.C. twice, Columbus once, and Atlantic City once. We also returned to St. Marys for Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s a light year of trips – only five states, counting the one where I live. This might be the fewest number of states I visited in a year since high school.
I completed my second term as president of the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. My final meeting brought out the largest turnout of chapter members in the last decade. We elected a new slate of officers, and they’ll do a great job taking over the chapter. I’m glad that I was able to stablize the chapter’s finances, recruit a new team of officers (and provide them with all the relevant information about the duties of their office), and overhaul and update the chapter roster. I’ve also continued and expanded my work with the Lackawanna Historical Society. I produce the Society’s quarterly newsletter, and I helped organize a database of previous newsletters as well as preparing program brochures for several events this past year.
Want to see more of what we did this year? Check out Jessica’s holiday post.
The alarm sounded again early yesterday and today. Work resumed after a two week end-of-year break. While I sat reviewing the unread e-mails in my inbox (listservs, notes to myself, and notes from co-workers urging me to follow up on ideas and inspiration), I wondered where the past two weeks went.
I heard a saying once that even a bucket with small holes in the bottom loses water – and will eventually empty just as a bucket deliberately emptied. No missing the meaning of that. Be efficient and effective when using your time. Actually, be jealous so to avoid wasting it. There’s a great thought – whether it be a resolution for the year or a admonition to focus on business when returning to work.
Where did the past two weeks go? I worked on the Lackawanna Historical Society’s upcoming newsletter, traveled to Ohio and to Philadelphia, did end-of-year work for the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, watched some bowl games, researched my ancestors in Southwestern Pennsylvania, read two books – The Grapes of Wrath (#10) and The Seven Daughters of Eve, and worked on a few other projects that you’ll hear about in the near future.
The first Monday back in the office was actually welcome.
The big news from the past two days (since the attacks in Mumbai) is the declaration that the United States is in a recession. The stock market had bad news the day of the announcement, and a bump up the day after.
But I’m not really sure what to make of the “news.” It was pretty clear that the economy was having a tough time before the official pronouncement.
I’m not an economist, and I haven’t conducted detailed studies on herd mentality and crowd reactions. But it strikes me that one of the positive things today is that we’re saying the word now. It puts a name to the thing haunting us and keeping us awake at night. No more of this he-who-shall-have-no-name crap. The reason I don’t want to overspend on Christmas presents isn’t the slowdown or bad times or the economy. It’s the recession.
It’s a serious word, and it makes everyone stop and think. Do I need the extra coffee? Should I buy the extra gift? Can we eat in tonight? It works in business as well. Can I justify this expense? Are we throwing good money after bad? Are we really fixing the problem? Is this the most efficient and cost-effective way to do this?
That’s good practice – for individuals and businesses – in good times and in bad. It might be the brightest spot for a bit.
Happy Thanksgiving. Turkey Day kicks off the winter holiday season. Shopping sales begin on Black Friday. People go from winterizing to decorating homes. Snow is no fun – but more sufferable for the next 30 days.
Some folks are already writing and addressing holiday cards. Overachievers.
Of course, some people have paid staff to put together cards for the season. I’ve sat in on discussions (and wrestled privately) with whether it’s better to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to avoid mixing holidays for different religions and cultures.
Here’s an idea around that problem: Segmenting the audience. It’s paid staff. They should be correct, right? Doh!