Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Posts Tagged "christmas"

Disneyland Dazzles for the Holidays

Posted on Nov 29, 2010 in Holidays |

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Celebrate Today

Posted on Nov 14, 2010 in Featured |

Celebrate Today

My children are sleeping deeply tonight — three days of magic will do that to a 7-year-old.

We are home now, back in Silicon Valley where neighbors are milling around on a Sunday afternoon; there’s homework to be done and nothing seems to have changed in 72 hours. Funny. It has for us.

I watched my kids, exhausted, full and happy walking off the airplane after the weekend filled with the kind of emotion that only Disneyland can offer. They seem so carefree now, my boy’s blue Micky Mouse wizard hat casting a shadow on the jetway; my girl’s hair still perfectly in-tact after two days since being coifed by the Bippity-Boppety-Boutique maidens. Even I felt free. Disneyland will never know how much their “Celebrate Today” theme moved me to tears, and how it has  left me inspired to live in the moment — today, and more than ever, tomorrow.

As I type, clothes are in the dryer. In the morning, I will re-board a different flight, this time to The Mayo Clinic in a Hail-Mary type pass to see if the doctors there can help my mom. By now you know the story of my mom…

All through the Disneyland park, you feel the passion of  Celebrate Today. Anything, anyone is worth celebrating. It’s hard to remember that life itself is worth celebrating, especially when life isn’t playing nice. But, inside Disneyland, there is a celebration for everything! A celebration at the extraordinarily lit “it’s a small world,” every 15 minutes when the clock strikes and children of the world dance. Did you ever notice that at Disneyland? The children of the world are dancing, just because.

I watched celebrations of children’s first visit to the Magic Kingdom, an old man’s birthday, an informal family reunion, a marriage, a life beginning, and in one special case we saw this weekend, a life ending. We saw the Make-a-Wish Foundation in action with a massive group of people boarding the Toy Story ride, partying like there was no tomorrow. Why? Because they were Celebrating Today for a child in their family that won’t have many more tomorrows. I asked a cast member on the ride what the impromptu FastPass was about and he told me, “They are Celebrating Today.” Yeah, baby. They are.

Celebration is Disney. My mom celebrated her high school graduation in 1962 with my step-dad at an all-night fete at Disneyland. I celebrated many birthdays here, my grandmother brought my cousins and me here. My mom brought us here just because. My aunt performed here, my father was one of the original Mouseketeers (shhh, don’t tell!). I’ve celebrated summers and winters and random school breaks here at Disneyland. One day, my mom and teenage brother went to Disneyland on a whim, ditching life and celebrating their day. There are so many celebrations of my family life on the streets of Disneyland over the past 50 years.

Disney is celebrating holidays today and every day for the next six weeks. Celebration  is different than decoration. Decoration are designs and wreaths and bulbs. Celebration is the understanding that there is something in the air that enlightens people. We celebrated this weekend — and for us, where the holidays will be uncertain with my mom’s health — it might be the single greatest holiday celebration of our year.

I was not paid for this post, however, my children and I were treated to an extraordinary weekend of holiday magic at Disneyland, courtesy of #Disneylandmoms.

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Bye Bye Christmas!

Posted on Dec 26, 2009 in Holidays |

Homeless Tree

It was December 26, 10 a.m. and, by the grace of all that is good in the world: Christmas has been ridden from our home.

It’s not that I dislike the holiday, in fact, I love Christmas and all it’s traditions and craziness and fun and manic frenzy. I love Christmas carols and watching my kids full of fun and candy cane stickiness during the holidays. I love getting dressed up in my pretty red party dress and I love giving gifts and decorating the house with lights that set a romantic cast on everything. I love Christmas. But, I hate clutter more.

Each year, La Gringa and I dismantle Christmas with the same passion as we put it up with. We put every single thing away. We ban “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” songs from our kids repertoire and we chuck the tree — fondly this year named Puffer — onto the curb with a vengeance. Farewell, Christmas! Hello, clean house!  This year, La Gringa did it herself while I shopped the sales. Before I even got home I had several text messages from friends and neighbors who’d passed by, teasing us for ripping down the holidays before Santa could even make it back to the North Pole.

We go big at the holidays! Then we get rid of it. Fast. Only 330 days to go until we see the dancing Santas, twinkly lights and lit-up reindeer noses on our mantle again. I can’t wait. Sorta.

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Chopping Down the Tree

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 in Family and Friends, Holidays |

… must have been pre-tic bite on the girl.

Chopping Down the Christmas Tree

Chopping Down the Christmas Tree

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Tree Climber Saves Christmas

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 in Giving, Holidays |

You’ve heard me blog and beg and plead and look to you to help us find someone to light the local tree. The extraordinary Straun Edwards from Trees 360 Degrees did indeed light the tree for our community and the San Jose Mercury News’ Sharon Noguchi covered the event.

Read the awesome story here!

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Tree is Bare, Branches are Full

Posted on Nov 17, 2009 in Giving, Holidays, School |

The tree lighting ceremony drama –lighting up my frustration from here to Thomas Edison’s grave and back — continues. There are a million technicalities,  hurdles, economic downturn-rejections and red tape landmines everywhere I turn. All of this, of course, in two languages.  It’s sort of borderlining on panic.

But, there is also a fullness I’ve never really experienced before.

In my plea to local businesses to help us put lights on our holiday tree for our local community event, I found gems everywhere. There’s the lady from Discount Lift Rentals who calls me at 9 p.m. to tell me she’s going to call everyone she knows to give us help in finding a boom lift. Then she kindly explains to me the difference between the booms and the cherry pickers and the arms on the things. I’m pretty impressed the chick knows power equipment. That’s hot, in a Rosie ‘Yes We Can!” sort of way. There’s the friend who volunteers her husband and her vacation time to put up the lights — if only we had a way of getting in the tree. Then there’s the tough real estate agent who’s got a kinder than kind heart who offered to make calls on our behalf. And there’s the friend who’s gonna ask the neighbor if he can help. I’ve got a friend who runs a media site that’s willing to bullhorn our needs. And tonight, I’ve got several friends who know a friend who knows a friend…..  Everywhere there is help.

And in the strangest way, I feel the tree lighting up.

Don’t get me wrong. There ain’t enough kumbaya in the world to substitute for the dang tree being lit. But sometimes inspiration comes from the people who cannot say Yes, but not for a lack of trying. I love people who try, no matter the outcome.

So we wrote blind letters, cold called and begged every person in the book tonight to help us find a way to light our community tree. And someone, somehow will come through. I know it will happen. And when it does, it won’t just be the person who said Yes that gave the gift. It will be all those I was lucky enough to hear No from that would have if they could have.

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