Thursday, December 06, 2018

Christmassy Thursday Things

Going to just do some random rambling about Christmassy things today!

  • This past Monday night was the annual Christmas House Tour, which I help to organize as a fundraiser for our church.  This year, we had five beautiful and very different homes open their doors to us, and everyone did an amazing job.  This fundraiser has kind of been my baby for the past few years, as I start in September trying to find homeowners in our community willing to let 100+ people in their doors to see their homes and decorations. We only ask them to decorate as they normally would for the holidays, but people always seem to go the extra mile for it, and I truly appreciate how hard they all work to make this fundraiser for our church a continued success each year.  It is such a fun evening going from house to house, oohing and ahhing over the beautiful decor and neat ideas (it amazes me that people come up with new and clever ideas each year!).  This year, we had enough goodies and gifts donated to have three separate draws, and we also had a generous donation of gorgeous handmade wooden Christmas ornaments that we were able to sell, and they were a big hit. The generosity of our church family and community as a whole always makes me so proud.  
  • Now that the planning and execution of the House Tour is over, I can relax and enjoy the season even more.  I should get one more big check off the ol' To-Do List tomorrow, as I have the day booked off to finish up my Christmas shopping.  I really only need a few stocking stuffers, and some wrapping essentials.  But I always enjoy a trip to the mall during the holiday season, to soak up the sights & sounds.  And I love when all of that part is completely finished, and I can anticipate the part that I REALLY love - THE WRAPPING!!  I still have 2 parcels to arrive by mail, and fingers crossed they appear within the next week, because I have next weekend booked for my wrapping extravaganza.  I love turning my living room into my elf workshop, putting on Christmas movies, sipping on rum & egg nog, while wrapping away all day.  Bliss!!
  • Oh, I also do still have one Christmas gift to finish making, too!  Actually, 2 of them.  I have to finish crocheting a blanket, and then I have to weave in the ends on it and another blanket I made earlier this fall.  That, so far, is the only part of crocheting that I despise... weaving in the ends.  Ugh.  I'm going to work my little buns off to get that all done this weekend, though.
  • Last night, I did one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen - melt and swirl chocolate for my Christmas bark!  Sadly, I was only able to make two of the three kinds I make annually because I way underestimated how much white chocolate I would need.  Back to the Bulk Barn I go tomorrow!
  • Tomorrow evening is our Christmas book club dinner and meeting, Saturday our town is having the annual Santa Claus Parade, and Sunday is the White Gift service at church.  All fun and festive things going on!  My mom and I are also planning to bake on Saturday, a little tradition we just started last year when I asked her to teach me to make my grandma's iced sugar cookies.  They are a big job for one person, but it goes so much better with two tackling the job!  Overall though, it's a less busy weekend than last weekend, and for that, I'm so grateful!
  • I kind of over-booked my evenings for next week, which I'm disappointed about now, as I've reached the point of the month when I just want to hunker and squeeze in as many Christmas shows and movies as possible.  Tuesday evening I have a hair appointment, Wednesday I booked in for a Pound workout demo, and Thursday is curling.  But once those evenings are over, things will calm down a little bit.  The way the weeks fall this year still leaves me plenty of down-time before Christmas to do my hunkering and last-minute preparing.  I'll be OK.  I know I will. lol!
  • One thing that I'm NOT looking forward to? I still have lots of LYNNDONNE work to do.  ugh! Do you know what a pain it is to drag around a giant elf and try to think of new and funny things for him to do?  I'm glad people seem to enjoy him, but I'm not sure Lynndonne will be coming off the shelf next year!
  • Have I mentioned it's snowing?  It is.  Right now, as I type.  Oh God, how I'm praying for a White Christmas!!
OK, I think that's it for today folks!  Hope you are all feeling festive and excited!! :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

December: Currently...

Hello December!  Hello my favourite month of the year!!


I have so much Christmassy stuff I want to talk about, but first, a quick post on what's up with me currently, in my favourite month of the year!!

Listening to...  Take a wild guess.  Of COURSE I'm listening to Christmas music!!  All of my old favourites are out: Bieber's Under the Mistletoe, Wayne Rostadt's Christmas in the Valley, Elvis Christmas, Pentatonix, and so on.  One of the items on my Christmas Bucket List was to download a new Christmas album this year, and I haven't yet, but I'm eyeing Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas.  I just may make a move on it tonight.

Eating... Strangely enough, I'm eating semi healthy right now.  Only because of the Goodfood box I got last week.  I still have two recipes I haven't made yet, but it has introduced some vegetables into my home, and that's a good thing.  I also was proud of myself for not sampling too many of the Christmas cookies I made over the weekend.  Most of them went straight to the freezer.  Woo hoo!

Drinking... The usual - water.  I haven't really got into my "hot drinks" yet which I usually do this time of year.  Maybe I'll make a hot chocolate tonight.  I'm also looking forward to rum & egg nog.  I'm an egg nog fan, but I usually wait and buy it super close to Christmas.

Feeling...  Despite it being my favourite time of year, there has been a lot of sadness in our community lately, and that is definitely weighing on me.  Feeling more blue than I normally would this close to Christmas, but unfortunately, there are things in this world we cannot control, and we can't make them go away. My heart is with those who are hurting, and I am hurting for them.

Reading... Did I say Harry Potter last month?  I think I did.  I thought I'd be done it by now.  It's not that I'm not enjoying it.   There's just been too much going on to really spend quality time with my book.  Any free evening I have is spent working on my crocheting (still one gift to finish), baking, watching Christmas movies and specials, and trying to squeeze in some New Girl since it's leaving Netflix later in December.  By the time my head hits the pillow, it's lights out and fast asleep.  I always struggle to get reading done this time of year.

Watching... As I just said, I've been working through as many Christmas movies and specials as I can!  So far, I've watched Little Women, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, A Christmas Carol (Disney Jim Carrey version), Four Christmases, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Nightmare Before Christmas.  Last night I was super stoked to discover A Muppet Family Christmas on YouTube and watched it, as well as an old Max Fleishman cartoon I remember from when I was a kid called "Christmas Comes But Once a Year".  I also watched a bit of the SNL Christmas special.  Still lots to go!! And as I also said, I'm trying to squeeze in a few episodes of New Girl each night too.  The show is leaving Netflix (boooo!!) later in December and I'm on the last season.  So frustrating to have to rush!!

Wanting... SNOW!!!  We got snow early this year, but we had a mild spell last week and most of it melted away with several days of rain.  There isn't a lot in the long-range forecast, and some more mild days predicted too.  It's officially the time of year when I start panicking it might be a green Christmas.  I HATE green Christmases. :(

Needing... My last few Christmas gifts to arrive.  The darn postal strike has added extra stress to the online shopping this year.  And of course, I never learn, I order from Shutterfly every year, and every year have a hassle with delivery.  I have Friday booked off to do my last little odds and ends and stocking stuffers, and once they're done and my parcels arrive (knock on wood), I'll be completely DONE!  I need to have this done so I can truly breathe and enjoy the Christmas season.

Missing... loved ones who aren't here anymore.  As much as it's a joyful time of year, it can be bittersweet as you think of the ones who have passed away.  It's inevitable that we miss them just a little bit more this time of year.

Enjoying... the Lynndonne shenanigans again this year!  Last year, I decided to do silly Elf on the Shelf scenarios with my giant elf, Lynndonne, and while it might seem crazy to put that much work into it - especially when I don't have kids! - I had enough people tell me they hoped he'd be back this year that it made it worthwhile to bring him alive again this Christmas.  We're 5 days in, and it really does bring me joy to post what Lynndonne is up to each morning.  I hope he ( and his new, beer-drinkin' pal Tucker) are making a few people smile each day. :)

Happy December, friends. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Random Thursday Ramblings


  • It's been kind of a rough week.  I feel like I got all rattled on Monday with that electrical situation going down at my house, and even though it was fixed quickly, it kind of started my whole week off on the wrong foot.  Each evening, I find myself scrambling around, and plans just haven't gone as I expected.  Nothing is really WRONG, I just don't feel RIGHT, if you know what I mean?
  • One thing that has been very apparent to me is that my mother is my super-hero.  She has swooped in to save me several times this week, and when she does, I just take a deep breath of relief.  Don't know what I'd do without her.
  • Part of my feeling of discontent this week is that the month of December is looming, and I feel like it is TOO FULL.  I know.  This happens every year.  Christmas season is busy, yo.  And there's the side of me that relishes it - the parties and the fun activities, the hustle and the bustle.  But there's also the side of me that just wants to hunker down, watch Christmas movies by the glow of the tree, sit in silence by myself.  As the days and weeks fill up, I'm panicking that there will be no time to hunker.  I need time to hunker.
  • Another part of my fretting was that, up until last night, I had not baked ONE Christmas cookie yet.  I'm ahead of the game in decorating and shopping, but wayyyy behind in the baking.  My mom keeps telling me to relax, there's lots of time, but is there?  IS THERE??  It doesn't feel like it.  In any case, I whipped up a batch of Grinch cookies last night (just my regular chocolate chip cookies with green food colouring, and red & green M&M's instead of the chips), and it soothed my soul a bit.
  • It's at times like these that I really feel bewildered as to how women who have other people to care for - husbands and children - handle all of this.  I mean, I'm in a fluster, and it's just me!  How do you guys survive the holidays?!  Blows my mind.
  • I keep pausing and reminding myself that this is my favourite time of year.  Soak it up and enjoy it.  Don't let the stressful parts overshadow the joyful parts.  I have most of the day Saturday to bake, and I will take advantage. Once I get a few kinds in the freezer, I'll feel a million times better.  
  • So... moving on from that little Christmas vent session.  Last night I finally finished listening to season 1 of the podcast "Someone Knows Something".  I'm a little disappointed that, it seems, no one really does know anything.  I was really hoping that the digging into the past that they did would result in something concrete, to give that family some peace. Still, I found it very interesting and intriguing, and I'm so glad it was my first podcast experience.  I'm excited to try out more.  It's been great to listen to while I crochet.
  • You want to know something weird that's stressing me out?  It's so dumb.  But I saw a list of what's coming and going from Netflix Canada in the month of December, and one of the shows "going" is New Girl.  The show I'm currently watching.  I usually take a break from "normal tv" this time of year to ensure I get all of my Christmas movies and specials in, but now I have no choice but to rush to finish New Girl by December 20th.  I'm just starting Season 6, so there are 20+ episodes to go.  I don't like that pressure that Netflix has put on me!  Not fair!!
  • So, recently a friend of mine gave me a coupon to try out a meal delivery service called Goodfood.  I live alone and usually come up with meals on the fly, just depending on what I feel like that day, not a lot of planning or thought put into it.  Honestly, I turned down the coupon at first, then thought, "why not?  It's $78 in free food.  Might as well give it a whirl!"  I have heard great things about this company, and while I don't expect I'll become a regular customer, it doesn't hurt to try something new, and eat some healthy food for a change. (Vegetables... they are my enemies...)  I don't like to judge too harshly, but so far, my experience has been less than stellar.  A) The email I received said the box would be delivered on Tuesday by 8 pm.  Mine didn't arrive until 6 pm on Wednesday.  The box is refrigerated and kept cold with big ice packs, and the meat was all packed on the bottom, so still good and cold, but the bagged items on top of produce, spices, etc. were no longer cool.  Still very edible, so again, not a huge deal, but the delay in delivery was disappointing.  I received an email asking me to rate my Goodfood experience before the box of food even arrived.  B) Because the box arrived late, I scrambled to make my first meal last night. They recommend using the fish first and the salmon dish was my least favourite out of the ones I chose, so I made it first to get it out of the way.  BLEH.  I'm not a huge fish fan to begin with, so that's not really their fault, but nothing about the meal wowed me.  I took all the leftovers to my mom, and told her I won't be sad if she chucks it.  Just not my cup of tea.
  • What I DID like about the Goodfood box: the packaging and the portions, and the fact that they provide you with literally EVERYTHING other than oil, salt & pepper.  One of my dishes has a cream sauce, and there's a whole pint of cream included in the bag for that dish.  Each bag is well-labelled, filled with exactly the food items needed to make that dish, and there is a nice, colourful, clear recipe card for each dish with step-by-step instructions.  Also, I had been warned that the portions were on the small side, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The pieces of salmon last night were big and I wouldn't have eaten a whole piece, even if I did like it.  The salad was huge.  The potato-pea mash was also huge.  It would have fed 2 people easily, with leftovers.  So I have pro's and con's.  Tonight I'm trying a pasta dish that should be more up my alley.  So far, I'm pretty sure I won't be ordering again, but I wouldn't discourage someone else from trying it. 
  • I'm looking ahead to the weekend and thinking it should be a nice mix of busy and quiet.  Tonight we curl late, which kind of sucks, but I'll just come home right after the game so I  can hopefully get to bed in decent time.  Tomorrow is the MVT Christmas luncheon, and while I plan on having fun, I'm also planning to semi-behave.  I don't want to feel crappy on Saturday, so I need to take it easy and get home in good time.  Saturday, as I said, shall be a baking day, and I also want to go to Shawville to a tea with my mom, and pick up a few little things I need at the store and pharmacy.  Hoping for a quiet couch & Christmas movie night.  Sunday is going to be a little helter-skelter - church, choir practice, a meeting, getting things ready for the house tour, and I told my mom I'd help start her decorating that day if she wanted me to.  Oh, and a dinner that night at the Legion.  Eeep.  Sunday is a little scary.  And then Monday is the House Tour!  Fingers crossed that all goes off without a hitch!!
How are you handling the pre-holiday hub-bub?  Are you feeling as stressed out as I am?  Maybe more so? I hope we can all take a collective deep breath and get a handle on things!  I know I need to!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The First Christmassy Weekend of the Season (And other weekend stuff.)

This past weekend was my first Christmas party of the season, so I finally had permission to let my holiday freak flag fly!  And it felt GREAT!!

Curling started up again for the season last Thursday, and that always ends up feeling like the start of the weekend (even though I'm still working Fridays until Christmas).  It took me a few ends to get comfortable playing again, but by the second half of the game I made some decent shots and felt like it was coming back to me a bit.  I like my team and I think we'll have a great year!  It was bitterly cold that night and I had picked up groceries before the game, so I didn't stick around long after in case things were freezing in my car.  I was home early enough, but I'm always wound up after curling and didn't fall asleep til after midnight.

It has become ever-apparent to me that I don't handle it well when I don't get my full night's sleep.  I literally feel hungover the next day.  And that's how I felt on Friday.  I had one drink at curling, so it wasn't a real hang-over, but man did it feel like one.  I was tired and achey and just wanted to lie down.  I plugged through the day, though, and got home a bit early, as usual on Fridays.  I did a few little things around the house before I couldn't take it anymore; I HAD to lie down.  I napped for two hours, and woke up feeling groggier than ever.  Naps hardly ever help me, I always wake up more tired and cranky than before.  But I had stuff that needed to get done, so I soldiered on.  I made my snacks for the Christmas party the next day before returning to the couch.  I watched the movie Hidden Figures on Netflix.  I'd been wanting to read the book first but hadn't got around to it yet, and the movie is leaving Netflix in December so I squeezed it in.  It was so good! Such an inspiring story.  I recommend it if you haven't seen it already.  Catch it before it's gone!

Saturday morning, I was up early and enjoyed my coffee while watching Jimmy Fallon, as per my usual Saturday morning ritual.  But I didn't laze about for long.  I got busy tidying up the house and getting things ready for the party later in the day.  Once all my work was done, I showered and got ready, did some crocheting while listening to more of the "Someone Knows Something" podcast, went for a drive with my mom to find evergreen boughs for her Christmas planter, and did some last minute prep before the girls arrived.  By late afternoon, I had poured myself a drink and was ready for the festivities to begin!

This gang of girlfriends and I have been having a Christmas potluck party for as long as I can remember, and it's one of my favourite holiday parties.  The ladies started arriving around 4, and everyone brought a snack of some sort to share.  The food table would have made you drool.  Everything was sooooo good.  After visiting and eating for a while, we moved into the living room to do our gift exchange.  I came up with a Christmas version of "Never Have I Ever" to play, and in the end, we each had a new Christmas decoration or ornament of some sort to add to our holiday decor.  We hung out well into the evening, with Stacy giving massages and Sharon doing hair. LOL  It was definitely a multi-faceted party!! I had a great time chatting and laughing with the ladies and felt very much in the Christmas spirit. :) 

Sunday morning, I was up for church and then we went to a baby shower for a family friend who is expecting her first child in December.  But remember that tired, hungover feeling I talked about earlier?  Well, it was back again.  Another night up past midnight means another day of feeling yucky.  *sigh*  At least this time I did have more than one drink to cause the feeling, but I really don't think that's why I felt crappy.  Regardless, I sucked it up.  We had some snacks, visited, and watched the mommy-to-be open her gifts before I headed home to my couch again.  I passed out right away and slept for a couple of hours.  I had a supper of leftover snacks from the night before and watched the Grey Cup game.  I had high hopes for our hometown Ottawa Redblacks, but it just wasn't their year as they lost 27-16 to the Calgary Stampeders.  No Grey Cup party this year, just little ol' me, but I just wasn't in the mood for it.

What was I in in the mood for?  Well... lying under the Christmas tree, actually.  See, in an early season of Grey's Anatomy, there's an episode where Meredith, George and Izzy all lie under the Christmas tree and I always thought it looked so magical.  Well, guess what.  It's not.  I couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculous I must have looked and the tree looks much more magical from my couch than from underneath it.  So much for that experiment! LOL!!

Yesterday was back to work, but as the winter work season is now in full swing, it was a peaceful, quiet day in the office.  This should be the norm for the next couple of months, and I'm so grateful for these quiet days.  The busy season will be upon us again in no time, and I daydream about these days during that time!

My evening, though?  Not so peaceful. ughhh.... My friend Lindsay was gone to visit family for the weekend with the baby, leaving her hubby Ryan and Sam at home.  With snow in the forecast, Ryan had to go in to work last night and asked if I'd come stay with Sam.  No problem, I said!  I got home and was rushing to get laundry done before I had to go for my sleepover.  All of a sudden, something REALLY weird happened in my house.  It was like half the house had a power surge.  Some lights flickered, some dimmed, some went out completely, but some were fine. Some appliances went off, others were fine.  (Thankfully, my washer and dryer were not effected!)  It was the strangest thing I'd ever seen.  I called my cousin who is an electrician, but by then the lights were all coming back up and appliances were working again.  He told me he didn't think it was anything to worry much about, but that if it happened again, I'd probably have to call Hydro.  It was definitely one of those moments when I wished I had a man so he could deal with it, because I had no clue what the hell was going on!!

Thankfully, my mom always comes to my rescue.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  When the same thing happened again 10 minutes later, I was feeling very flustered and upset.  I ran over to the church (she was there for our church's weekly Spirit Cafe) and asked for her help.  She called one of my landlords for me, explained the situation, and he told her he'd figure something out.  Meanwhile, she and I loaded up everything in my fridge and freezer to take over to the church fridge, since my fridge wasn't working.  Shortly after, my landlord called me back to say he was on his way with an electrician.  I had to leave, but he assured me he'd let me know what they discovered.

Needless to say, I was rattled.  It was a little disconcerting leaving my home when I didn't know what the heck was going on with the electricity, and I was worried.  I was convinced I wouldn't sleep a wink last night.  But thankfully, my landlord called again about an hour later to tell me they had solved the problem (he explained it, but I don't really understand that stuff. LOL!  Something about two big fuses and one had blown. Which is why only half the house was having problems.  Once they replaced it, everything was fine again.)  Phewf!!!  I was able to sleep well after that!!

So today is a new day, and I'm leaving all of that mess behind me.  I got big early-morning hugs from Sammy, and that was a great way to start the day. Snow is gently falling, and the office is once again nice and peaceful.  Hallelujah!! This week I hope to get a start on my Christmas baking, and I'm gearing up for our company Christmas party on Friday, as well as the Christmas House Tour next Monday. Another busy but fun week in store!!

Happy Tuesday friends!! :)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Whatever Happened to Adrien?

When it comes to tech stuff, I tend to be late arriving to the party.  I lived without Internet & Netflix in my home until several years ago, I didn't get a PVR until years after everyone else had one, and most people had cell phones a decade before I eventually got one.

So...no surprise that I'd never listened to a podcast until this week, right?  I've heard about podcasts forever, but I had no idea what they were, how to "get" them, how to listen to them... I decided this week to figure it out, because I thought it might be nice to sit and crochet and listen, without having to keep an eye on the TV like I do with my shows.  And there was a podcast I've heard about over the past few years that really interested me:  the CBC's "Someone Knows Something".  In particular, the first season, which focused on the disappearance of a little boy from Arnprior, Ontario, a town just across the river from mine, forty-some odd years ago.

Adrien McNaughton was five years old on that day in June of 1972, when he went out fishing with his father, brothers, sister, and a family friend on Holmes Lake near Calabogie.  Tired of fishing, Adrien was playing up on some rocks, not far from the rest of the group, when his father turned around after a few minutes and discovered his son was no longer there.

Adrien vanished without a trace that day.  His father, his father's friend, and Adrien's older siblings, all called for him, searched for him, as the evening stretched towards night.  Eventually they called the police and a search party began.  Over the course of two weeks, 9,000 volunteers from across the Ottawa Valley and troops from CFB Petawawa combed the woods surrounding Holmes Lake, and divers searched the deep waters of the lake itself, looking for a little boy who seemed to have disappeared into thin air.  No remains, no clothing, nothing was ever found.

In 2016, over 40 years after Adrien's disappearance, documentarian David Ridgen, who grew up in Arnprior and is about the same age as Adrien would be now, decided to return to his former hometown and see if it was worth digging a little deeper into this cold case that hit a little too close to home, so long ago.

I have listened to 6 episodes over the course of 2 evenings as Ridgen investigates the tragedy that happened not very far from where I live, and yet I don't think I'd ever heard about it until this podcast came to light.  I feel totally immersed and gripped by this story.  I try to wrap my head around it.  What would it have been like to be at the lake that day when Adrien's family realized he was gone?  How would it have felt to be his parents sitting by that lake keeping vigil as the search party went out day after day, turning up nothing?  How would I feel as the days went on and life started to return to normal for everyone else, but my little boy - my son or my brother - was still missing?  How would it feel to be the McNaughtons now, over 40 years later, ripping the bandage off an old wound they hadn't expected to be opened back up again?

Of course, as I listen to David Ridgen's interviews and his findings, I can't help but become an armchair detective.  In the first episode, he touches on how people in the area talked, as they are so apt to do in small towns (don't I know it).  Rumours went around at the time.  Some of his interviews have me suspicious of some of the people he has spoken to that were there that day, and some of the situations surrounding Adrien's disappearance.  I don't like to say anything "out loud" on this blog; because what do I know?  Armchair detectives aren't usually worth a grain of salt, I can admit that, and I'm not going to start pointing fingers.  But I've developed some theories of my own, and I just have to wonder

I still have a few episodes to go in the first season, and I've already snooped ahead and read some of the updates that came after the podcast aired.  I know they are leading us towards the assumption that Adrien drowned in the lake.  Yet, I can't help hearing his dad saying, "But how can that be? I would have heard him. There would have been splashing and cries for help."  Valid point, right? I think so...

From what I've heard so far, the family seems to really lean on the hope that Adrien wandered away, back to the road, and was picked up by a person or a couple who were desperate for a child.  Kidnapped, but into a good family who loved him and raised him well.  I suppose, if put in the same position, I might hope for the same thing; pray for it, even.  But what are the odds, really?  What are the chances Adrien was whisked away, given a new name and a new home and new parents who raised him as their own?  It seems like a long reach to me, no matter how much you might wish for it.

A drowning.  An animal attack.  Death due to the elements.  A kidnapping.  An accident.  All are possibilities when it comes to what happened to Adrien McNaughton when he disappeared at Holmes Lake that day.  And over 40 years later, people are still asking questions.  Wondering what happened.  An unsolved mystery that has riveted me this week, and really makes me wish someone did know something, so that his family could finally have some peace, and we could finally know what happened to the little boy who vanished into thin air.

I highly recommend this podcast "Someone Knows Something", and I'm looking forward to future seasons as David Ridgen explores other cold cases he's come across during his time as a documentarian and filmmaker.

And I look forward to hopefully more updates on Adrien, because I don't see myself forgetting this case anytime soon.  I can't tell you the number of times I've thought of his mother's voice, saying, "A few weeks after the search ended, Murray was sleeping on the couch.  Taking a nap.  And he got up and said he was going back to the lake to look, because he dreamed of Adrien.  And he was saying, 'Come get me, Daddy.  I'm still here.'"

Just the thought of it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It's beginning to feel a lot like...

As I sit here this morning, a beautiful snow-globe snow falling outside my window, sipping a rich and steamy mug of hot chocolate, it just feels like it.  Like you-know-what.

Christmas.

And yet, it's still only November 20th.  Still several days away from American Thanksgiving.  Still over a week away from the Mountainview Christmas Party, which is usually considered my official "I'm allowed to go Christmas Crazy!" day.

But it feels like it.  Oh, it feels like it SO MUCH!!!

I know part of my reason for being in the spirit extra-early this year is the snow.  Snow = Christmas for me.  And there have been other years where we're still cutting sod at this time of year.  The snow has come earlier than usual.  And for a snow-lovin' girl like me, it's absolute bliss.

But I also now have two Christmas-prep weekends under my belt, and that has definitely added to it as well.  I'm feeling more ready than ever at this stage of the game.   My house is now completely decorated, and  I have only a few gifts and stocking stuffers left to buy.  I got a great start on everything last weekend, and then tidied up loose ends this past weekend.  I took advantage of what will likely be the last quiet, low-key weekend before the holiday season is in full swing, and got some serious checks on the to-do list.

Last Thursday evening, my friend Sharon had invited me to join her at the Indigo Chapters After-Hours event being held at the Pinecrest location, where almost everything in the store was marked down 30%.  I enjoyed my first holiday cup of Starbucks joy of the season and was able to pick up a few more gifts and stocking stuffers while we were there.  However, for some reason, I had dressed for the tundra, and I was so hot and sweaty as we rambled around the store, that when Sharon said, "I think I'm done" I was just like, "yep me too."  The crowds had gotten crazy so we peaced out.  We got home just as the snow was starting to fall, and I was so wound up when I got home that I lay awake reading for much longer than I normally would have.  I think I was probably asleep by 1 AM. 



So, the next day was a snowy day, as the weatherman had predicted.  The snow that had started overnight had accumulated, and continued to fall all day.  Our first "real" snow fall of the season.  My heart was happy, even though the rest of me was very tired! haha!  But I took advantage of the first really quiet day in the office to cut out my snowflakes, and when I got home from work, I put them up on the door.  That was one of my to-do's for the weekend, so it was nice to have it done right away!  Then I curled up on the couch, put on one of those cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix, and checked out for a few hours.When I woke up, I got up and ready and headed to girls night at my friend Vicky's,  We snacked and chatted for a few hours, and I enjoyed the evening out.

The next morning, I was up fairly early, but had nothing major to do but a few odd jobs around home, so I took it easy.  A leisurely cup of coffee while I caught up on Jimmy Fallon and Grey's Anatomy, washed my bedding, and worked on the crocheted dish cloths I was making for our church's fundraiser Harvest Basket.  Then I got busy knocking some more things off my list:  I put away laundry, did dishes, put the garland on the banister, made pumpkin bread (also part of my contribution to the Harvest Basket), put up the snowflakes on the ceiling in my living room, changed one of the outdoor lights that had burnt out at my house, finished my dish cloths, repaired one of my broken Christmas decorations, and tidied up the house.  It felt good to get so many little odd jobs done, things I had been putting off all week.  I joined my mom for supper and spent some time at her place before coming home and enjoying a quiet evening at home, watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (usually one of my first Christmas movies I watch because it ties in Halloween and Christmas) and episodes of New Girl, doing more crocheting, and reading Harry Potter.  It was also the first time I "lit up" my living room fully - the tree, all my light-up decorations, candles - anything that "glows" was on!  I just love how magical it looks and feels!!



Sunday morning I watched SNL on the PVR and worked on a crocheted Christmas gift until I ran out of the yarn I needed.  I got ready and headed over to church, where we had a really nice service, I put Baby Finn to sleep in my arms which was a wonderful feeling, and we did the draw for our Harvest fundraiser.  After church, we headed down to my sisters for brunch, and the whole fam-jam gathered.  We stayed there just chatting and visiting until late afternoon.  My mom and I headed into Hull so I could pick up a few more of my "Christmas Prep" necessities.  I got my gift for a decoration exchange this weekend, and also got all the baking essentials I needed at Wal-Mart and the Bulk Barn so that I can begin my Christmas baking.  Yet another huge CHECK!!

Once we were done shopping, we went to the movie theatre where my sister's family met us and we all went to see the new Grinch movie.  It was super-cute and we really enjoyed it, of course just adding to my festive mood!  I just LOVE going to the movies, and when it's a Christmas movie... even better!!

So it was a super-productive yet quiet and relaxing weekend all at the same time, and I just LOVE those kinds of weekends!  This week, I'm gearing up and getting myself ready, as I am hosting a Christmas potluck for a group of my friends on Saturday.  It's the first Christmas party of the season, and I can't wait!  Let the hollying and jollying commence!!  For REAL!! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November To-Do's: Coming along nicely...

Is it really already the middle of November??  HOW did that happen??  WHEN did that happen?!?  

Despite the month flying by like crazy, I have to say, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at at this stage of "Christmas Prep Month".  I'm definitely ahead of the game in regards to getting ready for my favourite holiday of the year, at least compared to where I'm usually at on November 14th.

Here is what I've got done so far:
  • I DECORATED.  This was a big one for me.  I was always a late-November decorator, until the year I participated in the Christmas House Tour.  Decorating early that year was a necessity, as the tour falls on the first Monday of December.  I LOVED having my house decorated early, I wasn't sick of it by Christmas, and I've continued to do so every year since. I assembled the tree on Friday afternoon when I got home from work, and then Danica helped me decorate it on Saturday.  We also brought out all the decorations for the living room, my bedroom, and the bathrooms.  I did the dining room and kitchen on Sunday.  I still have a few things left to do, and I decided not to put up the dining room tree this year which saved me quite a chunk of work, but it feels good to be mostly done that task.  I just LOVE my house when it's decorated for Christmas!!

  • I've shopped.  On-line.  Probably a little too much.  Usually I wait until Black Friday to the bulk of my online shopping, but I've seen some screamin' deals already on my favourite websites, and jumped on them.  My immediate family is mostly taken care of now, I just need stocking stuffers, and a few other gifts I'm holding out for Black Friday.  My credit card is suffering, big time, but I have the rest of November and all of December to chip away at it.  If all goes well, I should be completely done by end of November, which feels great.  Now I just need the parcels to start arriving.  Stupid Canada Post strike has been driving me nuts when I check on a status of delivery and it says: "Delayed due to disruption in postal service". Grrr...
  • I ordered Christmas cards.  This was a first for me!!  As a single girl with no sweet engagement photos, wedding photos, maternity photos, or cute kid photos to share, I've always felt a little depressed sending out my generic old Christmas cards.  Boring!!!  But this year, an idea struck me for something original, and I went with it.  The cards arrived yesterday, and I'm so excited!!!
  • I took my car in for a tune-up.  My car will be 6 years old this coming January, and aside from oil changes and tire changes, I have done absolutely nothing to it.  There's an issue with my model of car with the transmission - I've received several letters from the company regarding warranty on the issue, and what to do if they car started acting up- and I was noticing a definitely problem with mine, so I wanted to get it checked, plus just a regular maintenance check.  As it turns out, my car is still in pretty great shape!  They checked all the fluids, changed the oil, put my winter tires on for me, and tested the transmission.  They did a computer re-set on the transmission, which they said solved that problem, and I'll need new tires in the spring because my summers are done.  I also need new rotors, but my brake pads are still good, so they're going to re-assess in the spring.  In any case, I expected there could be a LOT wrong that would cost me big money, but I was pleasantly surprised.  That was a big check off my list, because I hate dealing with that kind of thing and it makes me very anxious.  Like, almost ready to sign myself up for a husband just so he can deal with this crap. *sigh*  But I did it, it's done, and it feels good.
  • I got my flu shot.  I know, this is a little thing, and apparently in Quebec it's not even recommended for me (my age, health, etc) anymore, but I like the extra protection.  We all had to have flu shots when my dad's health was failing, to protect him, and I've got one ever since.  I've never been seriously ill during flu season.  While I was up in Shawville taking my car in yesterday, I got the flu shot too, killed two birds with one stone. CHECK!
  • I'm organized and prepared for the Christmas House Tour, for the most part.  Tickets are ready and I'm distributing them to be sold, I have collected door prizes and already have a great start on the Christmas basket that we sell tickets and have a draw on that night.  All coming together quite nicely!
  • I've already watched  some Christmas movies. LOL!  Danica and I watched Little Women and Santa Claus is Coming to Town on Saturday night after our decorating was done.  I have a million more to go, but it was so nice to have the tree lit up and relax and watch movies with her on Saturday night.  I just couldn't stop smiling.
Still to do:
  • As I mentioned, I want to be done shopping by the end of the month.  Fingers crossed that I can accomplish that, and it's looking good.
  • Christmas baking.  I have my list made for the Bulk Barn to get my baking supplies, which I'm hoping to get this weekend.  Then the Christmas baking can begin!
  • Go to the movies. There are SO many movies out right now that I want to see.  The Nutcracker, The Grinch, Bohemian Rhapsody... I know I won't likely get to see them all, but I'm hoping to get to the theatre for one this weekend.  It's the last quiet weekend between now and Christmas, so I want to take advantage of it!
  • Cut out snowflakes.  I said there were a few decorations that haven't been done yet, and one of them is my snowflakes that I cut out every year for the panes of glass in the door in my house.  It's a job I put off because it's tedious and I end up with a blister on my thumb from the scissors, but I like the final look of it. 
  • Finish decorating.  Put the garland on the banister, hang the snowflakes from the ceiling, and be done.
  • Prepare for our annual girls Christmas Potluck party.  We're having it November 24th at my place.  It's the earliest we've ever had it, but the consensus seemed to be that most wanted to have it before the hustle and bustle of December hits.  I'm OK with that!  My house will be ready, I'll just need to get some snacks prepared and get my gift for the exchange.
  • Finish crocheting.  Some of my gifts this year are crocheted items, and I'm ALMOST done.  I just have one blanket to finish, and I'm half-way done it. 
That's all I can think of right now, but needless to say, I'm pretty happy with the November progress so far!!  What's on your November To-Do list?  Are you checking things off and feeling good about it?

Happy Wednesday friends!!