Gratitude Sunday: Holiday Kitty Litter

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “I will go out of my way to avoid the shopping crowds and the extreme consumerism – I hate all that.” Annie Lennox

Sunday Haiku
Squint at clouds, layered,
gray battles silver lining,
tiny hole of blue.

Sunday Musings
Get ready for the ride! Here come the holidays!

People have different approaches to the holidays. Some folks are full tilt boogie everything for the holidays love every minute folks. Some folks are total Grinches and don’t enjoy any of it. Most of us fall somewhere in between. I’m likely a few notches above Grinch level.

It’s OK. It’s OK to make a big deal out of holidays. Or not. You should, in the words of the 70s, do your own thing, find your bliss, be one with the universe. Find your own comfort zone. Do what makes you happy. If you like going all out, do it as long as you don’t go into debt for it. If you feel like doing nothing, that’s up to you as well.

I do less each year. It’s just that time in my life where my wishes exceed my abilities. I didn’t think much about it while I was getting here because I was busy living my life, but aging creeps up on you and suddenly you can’t do what you used to be able to do. I don’t drive at night if I can help it. Hwell, that’s a lie. I drive to the pool and back; it’s about six blocks and I’m hyper-vigilant because my pool date is non-negotiable. I can’t walk as much as I used to though I keep trying; I avoid step stools, and I don’t have the muscle to force open the sticking shed door where we store the Christmas stuff. The two guys in my support system don’t care about decorations (as least they won’t bother to help) as long as they get a present. We prioritize. Presents it is.

I’m all for celebrating. In your own way, whatever that means. Maybe it means lighting a candle and sharing a phone call with your child who lives across the country while your kitty sits on your lap. Maybe it means an Ethyl Kennedy style Christmas with a spacious, financially secure home beautifully decorated by staff, with all your dozens of family members around you. Like every other family the Kennedys have suffered their own tragedies. Maybe your entire celebration might consist of sitting in a recliner next to a window reminiscing about Christmas past. Maybe your celebration is something in between or nothing at all. Hopefully you get to celebrate with other people, because that’s the whole point. Connections.

I know you’ve been waiting for it. The part where I whine, or complain, or grumble about what I don’t like about the holidays. It’s pretty simple. If you’ve been reading me you’ve heard it before.

Commercials. Marketing. Consumerism. Capitalism.

Each one of these things in and of itself is not a bad thing. Even a couple of them put together aren’t bad. However when you add them altogether and multiply it by greed, the psychological damage is potentially exponential.

Letting people know you have items for sale is not bad. Discounts are good. Here’s where the greed comes in: marketing sets us up for unrealistic expectations. Commercials take advantage of that, and market the psychology of spending and purchasing.

In commercials everything is perfect. The village is picture perfect. It’s snowing but there’s no wind and nobody is shivering, and all are smiling while enjoying the shopping adventure. Everybody has a beautiful new wool coat, and gloves, and boots, and scarves. The family gatherings take place in large well appointed spotlessly clean homes. Party goers are coiffed and coutured, all the women spanxed and heeled and the men are dressed in suits. The food on the table has been food styled to be camera ready. Grandma’s fully abled, and there is nary a differently abled relative or friend in site. Commercials are making progress showing some same-sex couples/families, but they still all have these perfect homes and lifestyles. And of course, you wear your LL Bean clothes and own a vintage pickup truck to drive to the perfect spot from which to cut your Christmas on the perfect day when the snow is dropping lightly but not cold or wet.

In commercials people are so financially secure they can buy a $40,000.00 car for both adults in the household, it’s all good. Want diamonds? On it. A new tractor for your gentleman’s hobby farm? Coming right up. Flying home for the holidays? No problems, no delays. All the presents on the wish lists for all your kids, who needs a budget? Easy, peasy. If you want the lifestyle in this commercial, buy this product and you will surely achieve the same as what you see before you on the bright shiny TV set. You will have the perfect holiday and the perfect life.

That’s not unreasonable, right? To want more, to desire, to work to be better. Not necessarily better than the other guy, but better each day, better than the persons we were yesterday. To want the goodies being made available to you? It’s certainly not unreasonable.

It’s not unreasonable, but it is unrealistic; commercials paint an unrealistic view. Not many people in this rigged economy can achieve the level presented in commercials.

I want to see a thirty second commercial (imaging the flashes) with a modest three/two ranch, or a WWII tract house with people stepping all over each other, like a game of roll over, whenever any one person moves makes a chain reaction with everyone else having to move as well; the guests in torn jeans, ragged sweaters, and flip-flops, guzzling down beers; kids screaming and beating each other up when the parents aren’t looking; the teens have sneaked off to the back yard to smoke cigarettes and the “college” kids are in the side yard smoking cannabis; grandpa’s slugging down whiskey hiding in the rickety old shed they call a garage where the old ’69 Dodge Charger sits on blocks; grandma’s blissed out on bible verses and Jesus’s birthday; sister is fussing about the food (thank god somebody is), but with all the fuss, there is not a can of cranberry sauce in the entire house and she’s on the phone with the cousin who made the last minute run to the store who has been to four stores and they are trying to brain storm what obscure local store might still have a can or two on the shelf. The sister-in-law who never shows up has called to say she is on her way; a niece and her kids have fetched a disabled auntie and they come busting through the door, relatives scattering ahead of auntie’s cane which she wields like a sword separating the crowd because she thinks she’s some kind of warrior pirate queen; one uncle is drunk already and fortunately passed out in front of the football game turned up loud for the deaf uncle sitting beside him; another uncle is lecturing about horticulture, in French, which nobody understands except for one great-grand-nephew who is all puffed up because he is taking first year French in his first year of high school and he thinks flowers are stupid but he’s trying to keep up with the French because he’s at the age he knows everything. The gay cousin is hanging out with grandma, better Bibled than bullied, she loves him the best anyway, and since he’s the only one who can make gravy since grandma quit making it, the family keeps him. The cousin who got out of prison in August brought his new wife and their new baby who has Down’s Syndrome and the baby is the only one who smiles at the cat who ripped down most of the Christmas tree, the only decoration in the room. Zoom in on the cat, a piece of tinsel still hanging from his mouth, the only one paying attention to the baby and from the vaguely Christmassy music we can’t decide if we are looking at the cat from hell or a loving kitty. What are we selling? Maybe, Holiday Scented Kitty Litter, your choice of fragrances: Pussy Pine or Calico Cinnamon. And real life. Realistic life. I’m sure wealthy people forget the cranberry sauce and need kitty litter as much as the rest of us, we just don’t get to see it my way.

Commercials assume financial security. Few of us have the financial security portrayed in commercials so marketing through commercials psychologically stimulate unwarranted desire. If the item had not been presented you might not even know you need it. Correct term: want it. There is little in the commercial, consumer, capitalist world we NEED.

I’m not going to drag on and on about the evils of overspending and over-consuming because of unwarranted desire because I have a cold and I’m going back to bed. Suffice it to say, as I’ve said in previous years, buy used, recycle, re-purpose, encourage history (give grandma’s bracelet to a family member who will remember the story) or knowledge (grandpas’ old tools) sharing instead of buying more stuff. Re-gifting is honorable, but the most important part of the holidays is the connection with others. Spend time with those you love. It’s so much sweeter when you have company along for the ride.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – A neighbor caught some colorful pictures at our local lake. Love the creamy white fog over the hills and all the natural shades of grayed green.

Photo by Tina Carlson

A bright tree illuminates the pathway.

Photo by Tina Carlson

Last of the summer roses; white seems appropriate.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Sometimes a Great Notion (1971, rated PG) with Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, and Lee Remick from the novel by Ken Kesey. I’ve been watching old movies I haven’t seen so I can recognize the cultural references. This movie is about a family’s struggle to keep making a living in the Oregon logging industry. Fabulous photography of the land, and like construction or demolition, I could watch logging all day (not do it, watch it). I particularly identified with the last scene. I didn’t figure out the meaning of the title but the alternative title (Never Give an Inch) resonates with me as I continue swimming upstream. * Because of sick leave on the couch I re-binge-watched Breaking Bad (2008-2013, rated TV – MA). I also watched the new follow-up movie about the same series, El Camino (2019, rated TV – MA). This series is about the development of a man who was a high school chemistry teacher with a family has always lived a mild average life who finds he has late stage lung cancer and begins to make some choices he would never have made otherwise, including production of methamphetamine and the violence that goes with the drug world. The compelling characters, plot twists, and the neat wrapping up of details at the end kept me watching.

Currently ReadingBlowout (2019, world politics and the oil industry) by Rachel Maddow. I’m just starting this and I’ll be a while with this one. Maddow is brilliant at putting the pieces together, and I’m slow with the uptake, but I am nothing if not persistent.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Not being expected at work.
  • Not having to call my ex-supervisor to let them know I’m sick.
  • Chicken soup.
  • Popsicles.
  • Cold sheets.
  • Expectorants.
  • Analgesics.
  • My bed.
  • A warm house.
  • TV remotes.
  • Little House on the Prairie. Just the best way to be sick, snuggled up with Ma and Pa Ingalls.
  • Hot tea with honey.
  • Being able to taste some strawberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gratitude Sunday: Holiday Kitty Litter

  1. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: What’s On Your Thankful List? | Sassy Kas

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