Five Question Friday: December 2, 2011

What do you know? It is DECEMBER already! This is a huge holiday season in this country and around the world (but believe it or not, NOT in EVERY part of the world). Before Thanksgiving day draws to a close, many people are busily sifting through boxes of decorations and adorning their homes ~ inside and out ~ with festive decking. What a beautiful time of the year. We imagine snow (although most of the USA won’t see measurable snow until January, if then) and “dream of a white Christmas.” Carols fill the air where ever we go, and I do mean whereEVER! Trees are cut and bundled to occupy every vacant lot as they await the moment they are chosen to decorate someone’s home or office. Don’t you just love the smell of evergreens? What a wonderful fragrance! Ahhh . . . tis the season. πŸ™‚

One problem, though. I don’t do Christmas. We don’t do the x-mas shopping thing. The music that fills the air is not “ours.” And covering one’s home in blinking lights is a bit strange, but it is pretty most of the time. I really don’t like the gaudy stuff, but that is a matter of taste and everyone’s definition of “gaudy” is unique to them. Soooo . . . what about this Christmas “season” stuff. There is a big effort afoot (has been for years now) to make this a politically correct “Happy Holiday” season. Folks are astir that President Obama lit the “holiday tree” this year rather than the “Christmas tree.” Imagine that. Many are suggesting that he is eliminating religion from the holiday. Really? I didn’t know that the religious aspects of this holiday were dependent on having “Christmas” trees. Hmmm…. Learn something new every day. But that is to be expected. Christmas is not my holiday.

(Picture a decorated tree in this spot. I don’t have a photo, so use your imagination!)

(I take the above statement back. Found one!)

Having said all of that, I for one, am not offended about the ubiquitous “Christmas” holiday cheer and well wishes. Nor am I offended with the “Happy Holiday” greetings and trees. Personally, I enjoy watching the hustle and bustle, driving around to see the many colorful and cheerful lights, and watching the “happy” part of these holidays. After all, my holiday is coming up, too. Chanukah is a holiday commemorating miracles and light. (I will be writing about that more as the days draw near.) But I happen to live in a country that is predominantly Christian (or claims to be), so seeing what y’all do to celebrate your holidays is rather fun. It does not detract from my observance of Chanukah. Come to Jewish enclaves in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, and yes, even Cleveland, and you will see menorahs in a window or doorway of every home. It is truly beautiful. I hope you have opportunity at some point in your life to observe a Chanukah-kind-of-neighborhood. Or, visit Jerusalem during Chanukah. I hear it is magical. Someday I will be there and see for myself. This year we will light a simple, inexpensive chanukiah (menorah) that can be picked up in our nearby Kosher market because our beautiful menorahs are still packed in some box in a storage unit miles from where we live. But that is ok. The lights will still be beautiful, and it is the miracle of the lights that we celebrate, not the menorah itself.

So why this discourse about Christmas and Chanukah? Because the closer we get to Christmas and Chanukah, the questions for Five Question Friday will include more and more questions about Christmas. It makes sense since the vast majority of readers celebrate Christmas. For me however, that means I will share more and more about Chanukah. I will leave the Christmas questions in the post for those of you who read this blog and respond with your answers. It is fun to compare our answers, and it gives me the opportunity to learn about you, too. With all of this in mind, consider this part of the blog as my answer to questions one and two below. I look forward to seeing how you answer the questions.

As to question number five, it is another one of those that I will slash to insert one of my own. You will see why.

Now, on to the questions! Enjoy.

1.Β What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?

See above!

2.Β Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?

See above!

3. When do you turn on your heat?

When it gets cold. (Hahahaha . . . I couldn’t resist that one!)

I am one that does not particularly care for “artificial” heat or cold. I will wait until it is almost frigid cold outside before I turn on the heat. We need our furnaces running in very cold weather in order to live, but I prefer to stick with the natural order of things for as long as possible. The same goes in the spring of the year; I open windows and turn on fans to avoid using the air conditioner Β . . . until we are sweltering. And even then, we set our thermostat at 80 degrees farenheit, and continue to use the fans. My husband is not quite as drastic as all of that, and we definitely have to negotiate the issue, but in general, that’s the way it runs in our home. πŸ™‚

4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?

No. I am one who believes that nothing we post on the internet, either private or public, is truly private. So, I watch what I post. If I wish to write about something so private I don’t want anyone to see, or only certain people at most, then I use the old-fashioned method of putting pen to paper. Actually, that method is oftentimes quite cathartic, and I still keep a leather-bound journal where I record my private thoughts. I don’t write in it nearly as often since I began blogging, but I continue to keep it close at hand should I need to hand write my musings.

5.Β Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt?Β 

I don’t understand the reason for this question. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the banality of these types of questions give me pause at times, and it is in those times that I consider dropping 5QF. But, as in the past, I will substitute a question of my own choosing. So here goes:

C’s choice: 5. What is the first thing you do every morning when you get up?

My mornings are “ritualized” (is that a word? ’tis now!). Before my feet even touch the floor, I say the “Mode Ani . . . ” This is a statement of gratitude for having survived the night and awakened to a new day and new possibilities. Then I stumble to the bathroom half-asleep to wash my hands and wake up a bit more to say another “thank you” for the spirit within me and wisdom for living, and for this body of mine which is wonderfully made and houses my spirit while I walk this earth. (Isn’t it sad how much time we spend hating our bodies, yet we must live in our skins for a lifetime! That’s like hating our home. This “house”, our body, carries us everywhere! Without it we could do NOTHING! Better to be thankful for it. πŸ™‚ ) That is followed by the morning prayers, a formalized prayer time when we “daven,” or pray for every thing on earth. It is quite beautiful. Then I put the coffee on to brew, have a little breakfast, and finally spend time in quiet just observing the morning around me and outside my living room or dining room window. This is a time I move into the spontaneous prayers and “chat” with G-d. THEN, I’m off to the races (so to speak!) Β But this is how my day begins every day. This is why I really don’t like to be bothered by anyone for any reason during my first waking hour. This quiet time of gratitude and prayer sets the mood for my day. πŸ™‚

So, there you have it; another five question Friday. I hope your day and your weekend is magnificent and filled with gratitude for life! Seeya next week!!! πŸ™‚

23 thoughts on “Five Question Friday: December 2, 2011

    1. I’m not sure, Carl. I do know that now there are several blogs I follow that are password protected. In my opinion, if someone was determined, they could bypass that step. Most of us however, have no interest in that kind of detective work so I guess on one level, the posts are more private if not completely so. Just a hunch.

      Have a fabulous weekend!

  1. I feel compelled to answer your question regarding blog privacy, as I too want everything I write to open and public. However, I’m facing a situation when I may have to do some password protected posts in order to assure the privacy of one family member. And I hate that. By the way, when I do that, the password will be “******.” I’m trying to spread the word, so my regular readers will be able to access them easily. Thanks for raising this issue.

    By the way, in my post today I announce new additions to my blogroll, and you made the list. (Hope you can tolerate the GLORY! LOL) Sorry I have not gotten around to adding you sooner.


    1. Thanks Kathy! I’m honored to make your blogroll. Mine gets updated during the quarter break (which begins in two weeks! YAY!). I hope that you don’t mind that I bleeped out your password. I don’t know how that works, but if you are using it for your readers, I’ll let you pass the word around–not me! πŸ™‚ I’ll hop over to your sight shortly. Have a beautiful weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Patrecia. Glad you liked it. Thanks, too, for hanging in here with me. Two more weeks and my quarter is finished. This has been a tough one, but I’ve learned a LOT. AND, I am looking forward to getting back to blog hopping! Take care and have a glorious weekend.

  2. Cecelia, thank you for sharing your thoughts about Chanukah and your way of life as a person of the Jewish faith, both in your opening essay and in your answers to question 5, your question of your own choosing. Now on to the questions of our own choosing.

    1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?

    Our Christmas tree. I began collecting Christmas tree ornaments in 1968 at the botanical
    gardens in St. Louis. I have found many meaningful ornaments in our travels over the years
    and hanging them on the tree brings back memories of time and place.

    2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?

    I send our package to Virginia around the middle of December and can still be found shopping
    on Christmas Eve for other gifts.

    1. I have seen some beautiful Christmas trees. It sounds like you have a beautiful, ongoing tradition. And, I am not a shopper, so that part of the season I don’t miss at all. I do give gifts for the new year however, for a few family members and friends, usually something I make. This year, and last, I made calendars for the family. Enjoy your season!!

  3. Such a beautiful way to start the day. I should be more grateful for the blessings in my life. You’ve inspired me Cecelia. I’m going to start saying a gratitude prayer every morning. Thank you.

  4. Felt compelled to say something about your comments on the season. Like you i am not offended that someone or anyone says happy holidays or Merry Christmas. When I was a darn good athiest It didnt bother me that others felt the need to pray or acknowledge someone or something that I had no use for. As you know there came a time in my life when everything came to an abrupt halt and my life turned 180 degrees.
    I have always loved our country and spent 22 years defending the beliefs and the Judeo Christian principles that this country was founded on. The problem is that there has been a recent movement to undermine those things that were the foundation of this nation. There was a time when we all celebrated and practiced our beliefs each in the way that we felt was appropriate. But then thhere came a time when some most likely athiests didnt like seeing others doing these things and instead of ignoring them and going on about their business they protested and tried to stop those things that bring joy to many of us. Now we even have members of certain faiths that arnt content to protest or ignore . They would want to destroy anyone that doesnt think the way they do. Simply not the America that I spent 22 years defending. Can’t help but be very deep in the political scene after spending that much time in the military. So when I see little things happen that take away from what we all once enjoyed I have to speak out. When Hitler came on the scene he talked a good talk and had many believing in him just as is happing here in America. Those that questioned him were put down. That is happening here now. If everyone sits back and ignores what is happening because they think it will never affect them it won’t be long before the America you and I grew up in will be gone.
    I guess its like the story of eating a elephant. How do you do it? One bite at a time. There are factions right now that want to change the America that we love and they are doing it one bite at a time and its time that instead of being politicly correct we speak out. If we don’t it wno’t matter if we are Jew or Christian we will all have to live with the consequences.

    1. Kit,
      I appreciate your comments. There is indeed much to be concerned about both in this country and abroad. I could not agree with you more. Because there is so much of value that appears to be challenged on many levels, I hate to see us spend so much energy on the trivial. And, calling a tree a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree is trivial. We each worship in our own way, and no one is stopping us from doing that. You still worship in your church freely. I still daven at synagogue freely (although I have attended when there was a police presence because of threats against us for being Jewish. Another blog.) I have friends who are Muslim and they practice their faith freely (mostly. They, too, have needed protection from time to time.) I have budhist friends, too. I want to thank you for your service to this country, the USA. Your sacrifice is part of what insures us the freedoms to worship according to our beliefs, to educate women as well as men, to seek medical care regardless of “isms” that plague some people beyond our borders. Having studied quite a bit about the things that led up to the Nazi takeover of Germany, we are not there. But you do bring out an important point. We as a people must be vigilant to insure that discrimination and oppression based on religion, gender, race, age, socio-economic status, etc. be eradicated. We are not there yet. Plenty of discrimination and oppression can be seen in this country. But here we can speak out against it without fear of being beheaded. There is so much I could say about what I see happening in the US and everywhere, but it would take another blog or two. Soooo, stay tuned!

      I want people to know that you have dedicated your life to the service of this country. I thank you for that. We agree on some things, but not on all things I am sure. But that is not even the point. I appreciate your friendship, your respect of me, your love of this country and of your family, and your religious commitment. Thank you for stopping by and making your voice heard.


  5. “I didn’t know that the religious aspects of this holiday were dependent on having β€œChristmas” trees.” Me neither! The christmas tree is actually an old pagan thing and so is the christmas it self. It has nothing to do with anyones birthday!
    When the new religion was introduced, they adopted the “holidays” of the old (probably to make the transition easier).

    1. Thanks, CG. It is good to be reminded that some of the things we hold “sacred” are in truth not so sacred. Thanks for clearing up the true origin of the christmas tree, or holiday tree.

  6. Well, your gentle meditation on the holidays … and on morning rituals … certainly generated some tangential comments. I have gone back and password protected posts on occasion when I noticed in hindsight I may have been too revealing, usually about someone else in my family. I also know people who have family blogs they like to keep private. While I’m sure they are hackable, these days, hackers are after money, not titillation so I think their posts are safe unless they include credit card numbers.

    We celebrate both Christmas and Channukah, the holidays of our childhood faiths. It is easy to have Christmas overwhelm Channukah, but because it’s a minor holiday, even for most Jews, Channukah is insulated from the commercialization of Christmas … which drives me crazy even though I no longer consider myself a Christian. I prefer “non-generic” holiday greetings, mostly because political correctness drives me nuts.

    When I’m being good, I write two handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind each morning. I conclude with a letter to God, several (secular) daily readers, and a Gratitude List. I love what meditation does for me but find it hard to be disciplined enough to do it regularly. I admire your morning routine. Lately, I’ve been reading The Bedside Torah three days a week in the evening. Posting every day for Postaday2011 has mde it harder to stick to my routines.

    Enjoyed your post very much.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Bob. You make a good point about password-protecting blogs. Most of the time it is a matter of protecting a loved one (or one’s self) from unnecessary pain. As you suggested, most hackers aren’t going to fool with hacking into blogs unless there is some monetary benefit to doing so. I have two friends who now protect their blogs, one from family members as you suggest, another from someone who plagiarizes her work. There are valid reasons for making blogs private. I just didn’t think deep enough about the issue. Thanks for pointing out its value.

      Thanks also for you comments on the holidays. And it sounds like you have rituals for beginning and ending your days that are worthy of emulating, too. I am a firm believer in developing an attitude of gratitude and mindfulness. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I enjoyed your response! πŸ™‚

  7. Very interesting, Ms. F – thank you for sharing!
    I used to blame our lack of holiday decorations on our cat (who tends to destroy any/everything she can get her paws on), but now that she is staying with my wife’s family (our new apartment doesn’t allow pets) I guess I’ll have to come up with a new excuse. Hmm…

    1. Thanks for stopping by SIG. I’ve been so busy with these last few weeks of the school quarter that I haven’t been visiting blogs lately, so I appreciate when friends still come around here. (I know what it is like to have a cat, and “everything” was her fault! πŸ™‚ Now I miss her mischievousness.) In a couple of weeks I’ll be back to blog-hopping. Again, thanks for stopping by.

  8. We celebrate both Cs in our household and my kids love the fact that they get gifts from their Christian and Jewish relatives…. I love the celebrations too… The questions were too specific… I hear you. TY for your patience as I have been adjusting to a changed schedule in my life … Glad to comment again. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, my kids, too, get a double dose this time of year! πŸ™‚
      I should be thanking you for your patience! This has been a particularly trying quarter for me (thanks to one course — Assessments, Tests and Measures) and I have been swamped with coursework. I’ll be back to my regular cyber-visiting in a week and a half! and I will be glad to reconnect with my blogging friends. Good to see you here. πŸ™‚ Have a great week.

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