About six years ago when we piled into Steph's Honda, I didn't know that we were starting what would become an annual tradition but I'm so glad that's what it has become. Each year, Steph, Mel, Jean and Sophia and I go to Nay Aug Park in one car to view the Christmas lights at Nay Aug Park together. Some times we'll have coffee, hot chocolate or lattes from Starbucks and I'll bring a bag of cookies I've made for the holiday season. (Life is always sweeter with a little snack.) Steph drives and we all share funny banter as we drive through the park, remarking on the lights with a few "ooohs and ahhs" thrown in for good measure. The lights are the reason that we schedule this date on a week night in mid December but it's about so much more. We've created so many fun memories that we often talk about months and years later. "Remember when Sophia said... " And we do more than our share of "laughing all the way."

One of my favorite memories is from about two years ago when then 7-year old Sophia was making up her own Christmas jokes. The first few she told were not hilarious but they were cute funny, like you would expect from a child. Then she told a joke that just didn't make sense and we didn't even fake laugh. After that Sophia proclaimed "Ugh, that was lame wasn't it?"  And THAT made all of us crack up.

Now ever year we make sure that we plan our night to drive around Nay Aug Park to enjoy the holiday light show, drive through a number of Scranton neighborhoods to appreciate the beauty of many decorated houses and then return to my home in North Scranton where we laugh more, eat, drink and exchange Christmas presents in front of my Christmas tree giving off a wonderful fresh scent. I am happy to host our post-lights fun. Having people in my home fills it with warmth that lasts a long time in the form of memories and pleasant thoughts that make me smile.

Brighten up your holiday season by viewing the lights at Nay Aug Park this year. It may sound corny but the experience will "light up your life."
Pack up the car with some hot chocolate, cookies and good friends and get to Nay Aug Park now through January
Last week I was getting a pedicure at a well-known salon in Scranton. (I won't name the salon because I don't want to promote it. I find that it's over-priced, has many arrogant staff members and does not support its customers/local community. That is just my opinion after being a client for about 15 years. You know women and their hairdressers. It's a tough relationship to end. I'm happy in my new relationship though :-)   Anyway, I was using a gift card my cousin had given me for Christmas to make my toes pretty for the Scranton Chamber's SAGE Awards for which I was a finalist in the "Solo-preneur" category. The woman who did my pedicure was a lovely woman, I have to say. As I sat there enjoying the comfortable leather chair and the feel of someone pampering my tootsies, I heard another salon staff member talking to her client. She found out that he was new to the area and she told him that she was from right outside of New York City and she finds that there's often as much or more to do in Scranton as a big city like NYC. Of course I was eavesdropping but I didn't feel guilty. It was an open space so the conversation was up for everyone's ears. I smiled after she told him about how much she enjoys living in Scranton. I had just come off a recent round of the usual "bashing and bitching" of the area and was so happy to feel that yes, there are people living here in Scranton besides me, who do like it and don't mind telling others. 

Please forgive my melodrama. I do know many fabulous people who live in northeast PA and are proud but lately there has been so  much noise that I've tuned in to that I have a bad taste in my mouth (ears, soul, etc). I've come to believe that the people who live in northeast PA and complain about how much it sucks incessantly and yet won't relocate are either: A) waiting to be abducted by aliens who can decide where to relocate them (not a bad plan but I hear the anal probe isn't too pleasant) B) masochists who wouldn't be happy living somewhere they actually might be, well, happy or C) here to provide a different perspective or flavor so we don't get bored or too comfortable.

Anyway, it was very refreshing to hear this woman openly exclaim how she enjoyed living here in Scranton and proudly tell this new transplant to the area about some of the features she enjoys that he might want to check out.  Thanks salon