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The other day, I was in a store, and noticed an Advent calendar for sale.  This calendar was decorated with a Christmas tree, presents, holly and other symbols of Christmas, but it was called a "holiday count down calendar".  This was taking the politically correct expression of "happy holidays" a little too far.
I can understand that a store doesn't want to offend its non-Christian customers by saying "merry Christmas" to them.  "Happy holidays" is a broader term that wishes good will to Jews, people who celebrate Kwanza, and Christians alike.  But most of the stores I've been shopping in haven't even said that to me.
Why do our solutions have to be all one way, or all the other?  Why can't an Advent calendar be called just that?  What else does it count down to but Christmas?
And when a customer is checking out, why can't the sales clerk take a look at the person's clothing and jewelry, and give them a more personal greeting?  Isn't a cross necklace or a sweatshirt with Christmas trees all over it non-verbal communication of what the person believes in?  If the customer is non-verbally communicating what holiday they celebrate, then why isn't it OK to wish them a merry one?
So when you see me wearing my Christmas earrings, and a shirt covered with Christmas wreaths, feel free to wish me a merry Christmas.  I'll wish you one right back.
Someone told me that furnace filters work best when they are half full of lint.  To make your filters last a few months longer, vacuum the dust off the top surface.  This will make the holes in the filter smaller, allowing them to catch the fine particles that cause allergies.
Our furnace repairman told me not to buy the allergy filters because they restrict the air flow too much, and strain the motor.
Our vacuum also has a filter that is supposed to be replaced.  The newer models have filters that can be washed, and this is a feature I will look for when I replace what I have now.  In the meantime, the filter  life can be lengthened by blowing air through the filter in the opposite direction.  Use a shop vac, and set it on exhaust.  Use the narrow tube attachment and blow air from the inside to the outside.  This will expel some of the dirt in the filter, allowing it to be used a while longer.
Both types of filters will need to be replaced eventually, but this will let you use it twice as long, saving a little money, and reducing the amount of trash you generate.
Remember, when you're out shopping, that you won't be able to buy normal light bulbs after January.  If you prefer the incadencent type like I do, then plan to buy a good supply while they are still available.
Also remember to buy American products whenever you can.  Sylvania light bulbs are made in America.  GE is made in Mexico, and the store brand comes from China.  Not only is it good for the American economy to protect American jobs, but buying local products also reduces the amount of energy used in transportation.
I went to Target the other day, and couldn't find an American bulb on the shelf.