Now that we are in full-on holiday 2021 mode, a few weeks ago it was looking like those who didn’t start placing orders with Santa in March were going to be putting IOUs under the tree this year. Now I’m hearing the supplier bottleneck logjam is breaking free. Yeah, we’ll see.
Seriously, Rene ordered a gallon of paint for our plant room around Labor Day (the walls are a celery green color), and he canceled the order on November 7. Apparently, there’s no eggshell white base paint to be found across these Rocky Mountains. Our plant room wall situation is not a catastrophe by any means. However, I can’t imagine how frustrated those who make a living relying on oh, I don’t know, paint, nails, lumber, glass and other home fixer-upper stuff, have been feeling these past months.
I have to question the rationale and truth behind how all the supplier shortage talk has played out, though. On November 15 I read in one of my morning e-newsletters that holiday gifts would be in short supply, shelves would be bare, and we would be stringing popcorn instead of buying garland for this year’s trees. Four days later, I read a Wall Street Journal article proclaiming how some car manufacturers in Japan had already put production lines back up to 100% output, one of the LA-area shipping ports had decreased the number of ships waiting to unload by 25%, Target would have plenty of Little Live Scruff-A-Luvs Cutie Cuts to sell, and so on. Who and what do you believe?
Who’s Telling the Truth?
I had a flashback to the early 1970s version of the game show, To Tell the Truth, where three individuals tried to convince the panel of famous celebrities (?) that they were the same person. I always thought the other two individuals did a better job being the person they weren’t. Remember Kitty Carlisle’s feathery, furry formal dresses? Anyway, all this supply chain talk of “all is well” and $3 avocadoes has made me skeptical of most everything I hear. Who’s telling the truth? What is truth anymore?
Staying on the topic of facts and reality, thanks also to the supply chain chaos and resultant semiconductor shortage, I had been without audio in my nearly 18-year-old SUV since September when the amplifier went out. Two weeks ago, the new amplifier finally arrived and got installed by the service shop when—surprise!—it wasn’t the amplifier after all. It was the “radio unit.” I rest my case. As a result, it’s been playlist music and podcasts off my phone during the daily trek to and from Bye Aerospace. Here’s what I learned from podcasts this fall:
Despite 2021 being a jacked-up year on many fronts, I am feeling grateful again for the sentimentality of this holiday season. Although I am thankful to still live in a free country, Independence Day in July doesn’t have the memories, the build-up, the sacredness, and the pine-tree smell of December.
With that, here are some of my unexpected holiday faves:
Favorite Holiday Movie: The Family Stone. Huh what? Yeah, this 2005 movie is one very few know about. It stars Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, and Craig T. Nelson and has witty laughs, heartbreak, holiday charm, and renewal. The Stone family tries so hard to be the stuff Hallmark holiday movies are made of, but the realities of life get in the way.
Second-favorite Holiday Movie: Ah yes, The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. Rene is subjected to this torture every Christmas Eve. Cotesfield (Nebraska) kids, I encourage you to watch this movie just to catch the scenes at Ike Godsey’s general story in depression-era 1933. It will remind you of Hanzel’s grocery store. Every year I pause and replay the scene where Patricia Neal (as Olivia Walton) sends John-Boy off on a mission to find his missing father late in the evening on Christmas Eve. John-Boy returns alone around midnight after being dropped off in front of the Walton’s house in the (bootleg whiskey) Baldwin sisters’ father’s sleigh. Patricia Neal slowly shakes her head, clenches her teeth and screeches: “What am I gonna do with you, boy!” Rene often hears me repeat this phrase throughout the year (in fun, of course).
Favorite Holiday Song: Carol of the Bells by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. What a mind-blowing treat to fuse heavy metal and Christmas in a tasteful opus of musicality.
Favorite Holiday Album: There’s so many, I can’t pick just one. They include On This Winter’s Night by Lady Antebellum (before they changed their name), Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan, Christmas by Manheim Steamroller, A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, The Christmas Collection by the Carpenters, The Classic Christmas Album by Luther Vandross, and ‘Tis the Season by the Jackie Gleason Orchestra.
Congratulations, Dr. Gardner!
Before Thanksgiving, Rene and I enjoyed a delightful evening with Lori Gardner, who was in the first cohort of students at the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology to take classes in the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE) specialty. Lori was also the first Diane Simard Endowed Scholarship recipient, and since she recently graduated with her PsyD degree, it’s Dr. Lori Gardner now. Bravo!
The next step for Lori, who lost her mother 20 years ago to breast cancer, is to accrue supervised hours as a postdoctoral fellow and study for exams that will fulfill licensing requirements in Colorado.
If you, or if you know of anyone, who might be interested in working with Dr. Gardner, she is seeing clients at Denver DBT and Psychotherapy (call the main intake line at 303-332-8704 and let them know you’d like to work with her). She specializes in working with clients experiencing life transitions and adjustment difficulties, chronic health conditions including cancer, identity issues, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, personality disorders and the many forms of grief and loss. During our lovely dinner together, she shared her experiences in cancer research before starting her PsyD program at the University of Denver, which focused on behavioral health psychology.
In closing, I am grateful. Grateful for you, for taking the time to absorb/consider/tolerate my monthly thoughts and for reaching out to let me know what strikes a chord—or not. This column (“blog” is apparently no longer a cool-kids term) is more than a labor of love. It’s part of my perpetual healing and learning, and I’m honored to share my reflections with you.
On that note, cancer of all types continues, and several of you have graciously recommended or ordered my book for someone you care about who received the dreaded cancer call. Please know I send healing thoughts and invite them to reach out to me via my website if I can help in any way.
Blessings, joy, and peace to you this holiday season!