Woke up to just the lightest of dustings this morning; just enough to make everything look like it's covered in a bit of sugar but not enough to be a problem on the roads. The forecast calls for more snow later today, but I'll believe it when I see it. Tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be very windy and rainy. Welcome to Winter in the Pacific Northwest. I'm trying so hard to get into the holiday spirit but so far I'm not having any luck. In fact, an informal poll I've been taking amongst people I talk to (bank tellers, store clerks, etc), shows that no one seems to care this year. A couple of days ago I was on the phone with a Pierce County Court Judge's Judicial Assistant, and she asked if I was ready for the holidays and I said, "No. You?" and she said, "I am SO not in the mood this year." Yesterday in the bank, I could barely hear myself think due to the blasting loud carols and I finally said, through clenched teeth to the teller, "Isn't this music driving you insane?" Her head snapped up, she got this gleem in her eyes, and she said, loud enough for EVERYONE to hear - customers and employees alike - "I'm not going to lie, it's making me crazy!! I don't see why we have to have it on 24/7 like this, and I have a whole month left to listen to it!!" I glanced around at the other employees and they were all smirking & nodding. Brian told me that the holiday music is equally loud at the Washington Mutual Bank in Federal Way as well. I'm so not in the mood that I don't even feel like dragging out the decorations. Maybe I'll feel differently in a week or so, but right now I'm not at all enthused about it.
So what can I do to get myself in the holiday spirit? I'm not sure. I think we are going to try to give to more charities this season. Maybe the feeling of giving to others in need will make me feel better. Weyerhaeuser is having a clothing drive so I'll round up some stuff for that. I'm sure the local food banks could use donations too.
I found a small grassroots charity out here called Forgotten Children's Fund, which was started in Seattle in 1976. http://www.forgottenchildrensfund.org/ A Seattle restaurant accidentally received this letter, and the charity was born. Can you imagine being a parent, facing your children on Crissmiss Day and telling them that "Santa must've gotten lost" ??? The thing that really made me want to cry, is that this little boy, Craig, has to be a couple of years younger than me, as I was only 12 in 1976. I remember that Crissmiss of abundance and happiness in my own home, where I got a tape recorder among other snazzy gifts& clothes, then going down to my Aunt's house and eating till we were ready to explode, and it breaks my heart to think of other kids who were my age or younger going completely without anything that day. Since then, the charity has spread to a few other counties, including Pierce. Brian and I bought a couple of bikes a few years ago but we've never ridden them, so I contacted FCF and they will happily take the bikes off our hands to make needy children smile on Crissmiss morning.
Brian's fave charity is http://www.heifer.org/. Heifer started in the 1940's and their philosophy on charity work was, and still is, lightyears ahead of its time, especially for the 40's. Donation money goes to buy animals for people in poverty stricken villages all over the world. For example, $60 buys 3 rabbits for a family. The manure is used for crops, the fur can be spun into fibre and lets face it, rabbits can also be eaten. They also multiply exponentially. The family is then required to give away the offspring of their Heifer animal to other families in their village. A gift of chicks is only $20, Honeybees $30. Many times they will provide a large animal (water buffalo) which is already pregnant so that the family can give away the baby to another family. That way, the families can get on the road to self sufficiency. I think it will also make us feel more in the holiday spirit to help people in the world as well as at home.
The bottom line is that we are living with a really terrible situation right now. People are having to choose between food and heating oil. The poor find themselves having to scale down even more than usual thanks to the high cost of gas and oil. Not to mention the "staple" items that cost a ton of money now like cereal, bread, milk, eggs, butter and cheese. Thanks to Bush, and to quote a line from the movie "Flashback", we now have 2 classes: The Truly Needy and the Truly Greedy.
Brian and I are very thankful for our jobs, our warm home and our good fortune to be able to afford food and gas. We piss money away on junk every day. If we see something, we gotta have it now, and we buy it. We don't have a lot of time to donate to volunteer work, but we can open our wallets and share.
If you can afford to write an extra $20 check to a charity of your choosing, or buy a few extra cans/boxes of nonperishable foods with your own groceries to drop off at a food bank, I urge you to do so. Every little bit helps, and giving does feel better than receiving. And let's face it, with the medical insurance and prescription problem in this country, we're all one catastrophic illness or accident away from needing to go to the food banks ourselves.