OK, so this commercial comes up at least once every hour no matter what program I’m watching.

I find it disturbing, but not in the way described in the comment below:
The first time I saw this commercial, I thought it was cute, but now I’ve seen it like a billion times and it gets annoying

It’s not annoying, it’s DISTURBING!

I find it disturbing because it takes images of an innocent children’s Christmas play and turns it into an incentive to make us shop.

It starts out innocently enough with a cute kid reading from a giant book.

That’s so cute! We’re sucked in from the very beginning. And then the parents get into the action. What parent hasn’t relived their child’s life from the sidelines, coaching them with batting tips, grilling them on math equations, reciting verses, pitching out vocabulary words in need of a definition?

Initially this father looks like some geeky dad whose kid will temporarily pretend like he’s a stranger even if they are at the movies together. (yeah, that’s what kids do) But we soon see just how sinister this is…assuming, of course that you are watching with a critical eye and not just blindly following Target’s ploy to lure you into shopping based on…


Can’t go there yet since you haven’t heard the whole story…

To Target they darted for presents a-plenty

Which this stage mother, it seems, thought a happy idea.

But I’m not sure I’d follow her coaching which seems to put a lofty priority on consumer dreams.

So I’m thinking we should just ignore these and ALL commercials and spend time in contemplation, reflection, retrospection, gratefulness, and thanksgiving.

Now there’s a thought!


I’ve never understood why this nation of immigrants never adopted the siesta so popular in many other cultures. Were we just too busy conquering western horizons to stop for nap in the heat of the day?

I’ve discovered that power napping gives me – well, it gives me power. Twelve minutes between about 2:00-3:00 (much later than 3 and I’m groggy the rest of the day) is just enough umph to get me over the afternoon lag.

It’s always 12 minutes. No alarm. My body just seems tuned to that 12 minutes. It’s just enough to reinvigorate me, but not too much so that I’m dragging the rest of the day.

Yep, I’m ready to go the distance after a 12 minute nap.

Well, after that and a cup of chai tea with sweetener and cream. That’s my other afternoon indulgence. I started that in NY last December at my friend Susan’s house. (I also got engaged on that trip, but you’ll have to read Views on Marriage to learn more about that!)

And to make it extra special, I drink it from one of the hand-painted benjarong ceramic cups I brought home from Thailand!

benjarong cup

I’d write more, but I’m late for my power nap.


Written on February 20th on a flight from Grand Rapids to Dallas

There is a young man in 13C, doughy and pudgy with round reddish cheeks and a youthful shaggy haircut chuckling at something he’s listening to on his ipod. He’s visibly and unashamedly enjoying a private joke the rest of us are missing. I look over my shoulder several times hoping to lock eyes. I think he would really like to share his private joke with someone, but we aren’t accustomed to making eye contact in public places so even though he looks my direction several times, he never senses that I’m watching him and would gratefully share his laughter. His seatmate is engrossed in a word hunt puzzle clipped from the local newspaper of the last town he visited. I can tell he’s been traveling on business. He has all of the trappings – his computer, an expensive watch, a textured, starched white shirt and well-polished shoes. The woman in 11B is engrossed in a conversation with her seatmate, but I’m not as interested in their conversation as I am in her shoes. They are a shiny-strapped low heel pump, the color of half-dried blood. Sorry if that is an offensive way to describe a color, but they aren’t red and they aren’t burgundy. They are somewhere in between. I am not a shoe person, but I find them fascinating and I’m dying to ask where she bought them.

The young man in 13C has laid his head back and is either sleeping or listening to something less stimulating. His seatmate has either finished his word hunt or given up because he, too is resting his eyes even though we exchanged smiles just before his head rocked back onto those famous adjustable headrests that American Airlines likes to tout.

Red shoes and prematurely balding dude (sorry, but that’s the best way to describe my limited view of him) are still talking. She’s got a copy of “The Mapmaker’s Widow” on her tray, but she seems content with the conversation so the book lies untouched.

Ok, I finally couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to know where she got those fabulous shoes. Timidly, I tapped her on her shoulder and admitted my lust for her shoes. “WHERE did you get those shoes, I have to know!” I braced myself – it would have to be some exotic store in some large city I would never visit. Perhaps she would tell me they are from a high end designer whose creations I could never afford. No story I imagined prepared me for her answer.


“You’re kidding!”

“No,” she replied gleaming. “Every girl should have a pair of ruby slippers at least once in her life.”

Ruby. That’s what they are! Not half-dried blood, but ruby like the jewel. The kind of slipper every girl ought to have at least once in her life. I leaned back in my seat, made a mental note to hit a Payless shoe store as soon as I could, and she returned to her conversation with her seatmate. 13 B & C are fast asleep, mouths wide open. Looks like a good place to be. Think I’ll do the same. Another hour without a toilet and most likely I’ll miss my connection in Dallas. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch the last flight home. In the meantime, might as well sleep. Looks like a long night ahead.

I’m at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for my on-campus session with students in my Civic Entrepreneurship Course in the Graduate Library and Information Sciences program.

It’s always a stressful time for me because they make such sacrifices to be here and I feel pressed to make it a very useful time. Fortunately, I have two things going for me. First, Jill (my GA for one more week) has done a great job organizing a field trip to the American Library Association Archives to research the historical roots of libraries as the university of the people and the center for civic education. Second, I have stayed in the Illini Union so often that it feels homey. It’s not my decorating style and the beds are not nearly as comfortable as my own, but it IS familiar.

Illini union

There is a really cool interactive map where you can see all of the rooms around here. Well, I guess I’ll climb under those scratchy sheets and get some sleep. After a hectic day of packing and then traveling, I don’t think I’ll have any problem sleeping. I’ve got a hectic day AND week ahead of me. If you don’t believe it, check out my calendar!

More later…