Thursday, November 16, 2017

Random Thursday Things

  • I actually started writing a completely different blog post this morning.  I was having a bit of a vent session because I felt a little bombarded yesterday - I was getting emails from all directions with a variety of requests and questions.  When things come firing at me all at once like that, I tend to get overwhelmed and stressed out.  But if I write a whole post about it, what good am I doing?  Just feeding the beast, right?  Today is a new day!  I deleted my whole "woe is me" post and decided to move on and let it go.
  • So, last night I kind of finished decorating.  I say "kind of" because there are a few little touches left to do - I want to add my orange slices to the dining room tree, but I didn't have any oranges last night to make them.  I also need to cut out snowflakes for the glass panels of my door.  And last but not  least, I need to put the garland on the banister, but I need an extra set of hands to help with that one.  Otherwise, I'm done, and it feels good!
  • You know what does NOT feel good?  I can't find my Christmas CD's anywhere.  I searched high and low.  They are always sitting in the corner of the dining room with my CD player.  ALWAYS.  And now, suddenly, they are gone. It's as if a weird thief broke in, combed every inch of my home, and took only the small stack of Christmas albums.  *sigh*  I know this does not seem like a big deal, but I am lost without my Justin Bieber, Blake Shelton, Elvis Presley, and Wayne Ronstadt Christmas CD's.  Decorating last night just felt wrong without them.
  • I'm a little ridiculously excited about going to Bulk Barn tomorrow after work.  I've come a long way from the first time I tried to buy stuff at Bulk Barn.  I still have a little anxiety over worrying that I'm buying too little or too much - I'm really not good at the "eyeballing" thing! - but the savings in buying it this way is worth that anxiety.  
  • I'm a little disappointed that the chip wagon in town closed earlier this week.  I had been planning on having one last snack this coming weekend.  Now I guess I'll just have to dream about that poutine all winter long... *sigh*
  • I'm very excited to get my bake on next week.  Now that the decorating part is done, I am excited to start checking things off the baking list!  I'm taking part in a Cookie Exchange on December 1st, so there's no time to waste.  
  • One of the things on my Christmas Bucket List is:  "Make Grandma's Iced Sugar Cookies with Mom".  My Grandma made the best iced sugar cookies in the world, and now Mom makes them to keep the tradition alive.  However, I know Mom finds them a pain in the butt to make, and only does them because she knows how much I love them.  I have never learned how to make them, so I think it's about time I learn!  I'm hoping to make a date with her for a lesson, maybe December 9-10 weekend.  I think every weekend is completely booked prior to that...
  • I'm not gonna lie, I'm starting to get very excited for Christmas get-togethers!  This year, I think I'm getting wound up about it extra-early because of this one I'm going to on Saturday night.  Usually the MVT Christmas Party is my first of the season (always the last weekend of November), but not this year!  It makes me feel like I can bust out the hollying & jollying even earlier!!  Woo Hoo!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday friends!  I'm trying to get back into blogging on a more regular basis (I've been hit-or-miss at best for the past few months) - so today I'm sharing what I'm loving this Wednesday!!

  • The Grinch mug that I picked up at the Onslow Christmas Craft Sale on Saturday!  I've been sipping coffee from it all week at work.  And the saying on it couldn't be more true... lol!
  • That my Christmas tree is up and the rest of the house is well on it's way to being fully decorated.  I truly do LOVE the cozy, Christmassy feel of my home when it's decorated for the holiday season.  Tonight I'm planning to decorate the dining room and kitchen, and then I'll be mostly finished.
  • My Christmas Bucket List!  I shared it on Instagram on the weekend, and so many of my friends commented on what a good idea it is.  (I have Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things to thank for the idea).  I can't wait to start checking things off!
  • My new dark "winter hair".  I usually tone down my blonde with some lowlights for the winter, but this is the first time in a few years that I've gone totally dark.  I had to go back to my hairdresser last night, as there was still some blonde showing through and in certain light, the blonde pieces were looking green, so she darkened it all back up.  It's a refreshing change for the winter months.
  • My Onslow hoodie & raglan tee that I picked up this weekend!  My former elementary school has been selling some new swag, and as a proud former Onslow kid, I knew I had to get some of their merch. As soon as I get home after work, the first thing I do is put on my hoodie!
  • That Christmas House Tour plans came together in the end and I'm so excited to visit the houses participating!!  It was a stressful few weeks trying to find people, but in the end, I actually ended up with a bonus house - 5 stops instead of the usual 4.  We have a nice variety of places this year, and some very creative people participating.  Woo hoo!!
  • I know it's only Wednesday, but I'm loving the prospect of another fun weekend ahead.  Friday evening, I'm planning to head to the city to visit Bulk Barn, to stock up on my Christmas baking necessities.  Then I'll come home and make my squares for the next day, because our church is hosting a Harvest Tea. We were unable to have our annual Harvest Supper this year, so we're supplementing with a tea and it will be lovely.  Then Saturday night, I have an early Christmas get-together with some friends, and I'm very much looking forward to it!
What are YOU loving this Wednesday??

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Christmas prep has begun...

I had my first "Christmassy" weekend of the season. 

I know what you're probably thinking... TOO SOON!  TOO SOON!!!  But for me?  It felt wonderful.

I should note that I don't really consider it "Christmastime" yet.  I'm just thinking of it more as "Christmas Prep Time".  I get easily overwhelmed and flustered when too much is going on at once, and while Christmas is my favourite time of year, it can also be a very busy and stressful time of year.  I'm just trying to stay on the ball and keep my plate balanced. 

Also, I've noticed this year especially that a lot more is happening earlier in the Christmas season.  It kind of feels like everyone wants December to be relaxing and care-free, so more and more is getting bumped back into late November/very early December. 

Which means "Prep Time" has to start earlier. 

My first "official" Christmas event is actually this coming Saturday.  I have an annual get-together with some friends, and this year, it's happening on Nov. 18th.  Then the MVT Christmas party is Nov. 25th.  I have a Cookie Exchange party booked for Dec. 1st, and another friends Christmas gathering which I'm hosting Dec. 2nd. The Christmas House Tour is Dec. 4th. Then, it's Christmas Book Club pot-luck at my place on the 8th.

That's a lot of holiday parties and events loaded into the back end of November and early December.

I like it, because it leaves the rest of December wide open for last-minute shopping, wrapping, and cozying up to watch all of my favourite Christmas movies and specials.  (I literally get stressed out when I don't have time to watch all the movies. lol)  It gives me time to really savour and soak up the best time of the year.

But it also just kind of shifts the stress into the month before.  Hence why I have to start prepping on November 12th.

Yes, that's right.  My trees went up on Sunday, and a lot of the decorating is already done.  My front hall, living room, bathrooms, and bedroom are pretty much finished.  I still have to trim the dining room tree and decorate in there, as well as the kitchen, and also put the garland on the banister, but that will all get done this week, after my decorating injuries have healed.  (Yes, you heard me right.  The backs of my legs are aching as if I ran a marathon, which I'm assuming is from running up and down the stairs bringing decs out on Sunday).  Next week, I will start the baking.  I also started the shopping in late October.  Far from being done, but it feels good to at least have a good start on it.

I have also taken Kelle's lead and created a "Christmas Bucket List" - which isn't really a "bucket list" so much as a "to-do list", but created in a way to increase fun and decrease stress.  Little reminders of fun holiday things I like to do, along with the bigger important events mixed in, and I'm already excited to start checking things off.
I feel so much better being on top of things, and if starting the day after Remembrance Day helps accomplish that, then so be it.  I know people think I'm crazy - people have told me to my face that they think I'm crazy - but honestly, I look at it as securing my own mental health.  I'm doing everything I can to ensure I don't have a pre-Christmas meltdown.

And also?  I just really love Christmas.  So sue me.  What harm am I doing to anyone if I enjoy sitting cuddled up on my couch by the glow of the Christmas tree?  It's not like I'm forcing it down anyone else's throat.  (Well, except for our minister, who kind of has to walk through a Winter Wonderland to get to his office in my front hall right now, haha!)  I've even been keeping my blinds closed so that people won't drive by and say, "Christmas tree up?  Already?  Is she well?"

I am well.  I am ensuring that I will be well.  The Christmas season makes my heart happy, and if I can manage all of the stressful aspects that come with it, then I will, indeed, be very well.

Cheers to the holiday season!  May it be merry for one and all! :)

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Halloweenie Weekend on Tap

I'm a little bit sad that it's already the last weekend of October.  I LOVE October, and it just seems to have flown by way too fast this year.

But here we are.  And the last weekend of October is always the best weekend of October.  I'm ready to enjoy it!!

First up, I have to do a little work.  That means, cutting grass as soon as I get home from work today, for what SHOULD be the last time this year.  In fact, my grass isn't all that long right at the moment, but I"m afraid if I don't do it now, it'll be long and shaggy and in desperate need of a cut as soon as the snow melts.  I usually like to deny that grass cutting time is here for a few weeks once spring has sprung, so the shorter it is now, the better.

Once the grass is cut, I'm off to Shawville to grab some groceries and some last-minute odds and ends I need to complete my treat bags for the kiddies!  Also, as per usual, I haven't given much thought to a costume, and I'm doing my usual scramble to try and cobble something together.  We'll see if the stores up there have anything to offer.

Once those Friday chores are complete, it's time for the FUN stuff!  My hope is to get my pumpkin carved and treat bags assembled tonight and tomorrow morning.  Of course, I plan to do so while watching something spooooky on TV.  I'm very tempted to binge Season 2 of Stranger Things, it should be creepy enough!  But I could also hit the DVD shelf and go to some of my favourite Halloween movies... it's tradition for me to watch "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - old Disney version - and I'm also feeling drawn to both Scream and The Amityville Horror (Ryan Reynolds edition, hells yeah) this year.  So who knows.  Regardless, there will be something spooky on tonight!

You know what else I need to do at some point over the next few days?  I have not made ONE pumpkiny thing yet this year.  And I came across an old Facebook post where I bragged about "the best pumpkin bread" recipe ever.  I need to dig that out and get my bake on!!

And then, on Saturday, it's Scary Movie Marathon time.  One of my favourite days of the year!!  This year, Lindsay and I have decided to watch Saw (her choice) and Urban Legend (my choice), as well as Hotel Transylvania for Sammy.  I love the fact that we can incorporate Sam into our tradition now, as he loves watching movies!  I'm very much looking forward to the pizza and snacks and candy!!  Not so much looking forward to Saw... eep!!  I usually try to control movie choices and ensure they are ones I've seen before.  This is one I have always avoided, and I'm terrified to watch it.  Might have to sleep with the lights on for a few nights...

So October might have whistled by at lightening speed, but I'm going to make the last weekend count!  Hope you all enjoy a "spooktacular" weekend too! :)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

For a Boy In Fiddler's Green

He sang, "I'll die before I quit",
And this guy's the limit...


When you wake up in the morning, you just don't know what the day ahead will bring.

Last Wednesday, October 18th, when morning broke and I crawled out of bed, I had no idea it was going to be a day of heartache. 

It didn't take long for the news to hit, though.  I had just arrived at work, settled in at my desk and I was starting my day, when my phone buzzed with a text from Lindsay.

I didn't even have to open it.  I instantly saw that she had forwarded me a post from The Tragically Hip's Instagram account, and I just knew.

Gord's gone.

It was such an odd feeling.  A deep sadness, instantly, and yet somehow mixed with a little disbelief.  Because even though we all knew the day was coming - a brain cancer diagnosis isn't something you can ignore - I had somehow started to believe that Gord Downie was invincible.  That he was going to live forever.

The last year and a half of Gord's life, he was such a presence in our country.  He didn't just fade away.  He went out with a bang.  Shortly after revealing to their legion of fans that he had terminal brain cancer, The Tragically Hip embarked on a cross-country tour last summer with Gord at the helm.  While The Hip never admitted to it, it was widely thought to be their farewell tour, a chance for the band to say good-bye on their own terms while Gord was still healthy enough to do it.   It was a summer-long love-in, one of the most bittersweet experiences of my life, as we fans of The Hip gathered to sing and dance, embrace and cry, and show Gord Downie just how much he meant to us.

I'll hold that show in Ottawa last August as one of the best moments of my life.  I felt so fortunate to be there, to watch The Hip one last time live.  And then sitting in my living room with good friends, watching their final show in Kingston live on CBC, an event like our country has never seen before... well, it still gives me goosebumps to think about it.

We cheered, we saluted, and we said good-bye.

But that wasn't the last of Gordie.  Oh, no.  Not by a long shot.

Gord Downie then embarked on a personal crusade, which he gave us a glimmer of in those final Hip shows, as he began to plead with the country to start healing our wounds with the First Nations people.  He put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all of the people across our great country on notice:  these wounds are deep, there are people who are still deeply hurting, and it's time for reconciliation.  It's time to try making things right.

How did he do this?  He unveiled a solo project that he called "The Secret Path".  It was a body of music and an illustrated book that shared the true story of Chanie Wenjack, a young boy in the 1960's who escaped the Residential school he was boarded at and tried to walk home.  Chanie never made it, as he died of hunger and exposure.

I am ashamed to admit that I was not very educated on the Canadian Indian Residential School System, or the grievances that our country's First Nations people hold over how they were treated for many, many years.  I was astounded to find out that the last of the Residential Schools weren't closed until 1996.  I had no idea of how poorly they were treated, and how they were forced to assimilate to "White Canadian" in cruel ways. 

Gord Downie opened all of this to me through "The Secret Path" project. 

Gord Downie was my teacher. 

Suddenly, Gord Downie was so much more than the lead singer of my favourite band.  Gord was doing very important work.  Gord was raising awareness, shining a light on a dirty secret our country has tried hard to hide and ignore.

Gord was everywhere.  The farewell tour was over, but he was still very much in the spotlight.  Spotted singing "Lost Together" on stage with Blue Rodeo.  Making appearances in select cities to perform "The Secret Path" in concert.  Being honoured in an emotional ceremony by the Assembly of First Nations, during which they annointed him "The Man who Walks Among the Stars".  Hanging out with Bobby Orr in the stands during the playoffs, watching his beloved Boston Bruins play my beloved Ottawa Senators.

Gord had been so very present that I hadn't even noticed there had been no appearances or updates on his health in recent months.

The news of his death at age 53 was like a swift kick in the gut. 

In the week since, I have immersed myself in all things "Gordie".  Listening to my Hip albums on repeat, re-watching the concert from Kingston last summer, watching the documentary "Long Time Running" that had its early televised release on Friday evening, watching the concert performance of "The Secret Path" that was televised on Sunday.

Reminiscing.  Marveling and reveling at his talent. Giving thanks for this man who did so much.  Shedding a few tears over him being taken from us too soon.  Celebrating the man, his music, his work.

You are ahead by a century...

Thank you, Gord.  Thank you for everything.

Here's to the Man Who Walks Among the Stars.

He will live on in our hearts forever.

As Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear September Heat Wave: That's Enough.

I think the last time I posted, I was lamenting the end of a lacklustre summer.  It was back-to-school time - quite likely my least favourite time of year - and I was sad.  I had knots in my stomach as I thought of the end of sunny days by the pool, long afternoons on the deck with a book and a drink, BBQ season.. I was just mourning the end of anything summer related.  And due to dismal weather for much of the summer months, it all seemed so unfair.

But I shook it off.  Here comes fall!  My favourite time of year is here!  To hell with that crappy summer.  Bring on the scarves and leggings, the pots of soup and pumpkin spice lattes, the Halloween movies and cuddling under blankets with a hot cup of tea.  FALL!  Hip hip hooray!

Oh, but Mother Nature had a little trick up her sleeve.  Remember that dismal summer?  The one plagued with days of rain, lacking severely in heat, the nice days of which were few and far between?  Well guess what?  We're getting it now.

Last week was quite likely the longest consecutive string of days of sunshine and warm temperatures we've had all summer long.  And it is just rolling right on this week.  At first, I was OK with it.  I was like, "Ah well, everyone who was sad about not having summer will get a taste of it now, it will make them happy."  But now, it's dragging on too long.  I was ready to ditch the shorts and tanks, pack away bathing suits and sunscreen.  I was ready to move on.  And now I can't.

Each morning when I check my weather app on my phone, I say a little prayer that the temps for the coming days will cool off a bit.  And each day, they just get higher.  By the weekend, we're supposed to be up over 30 degrees.  I'd welcome that in July... not in September!!

Usually, I'm a "make the best of it" kind of girl.  And last week, I did my very best to enjoy it.  But now I'm so over it.  I'll take all the sunny days in the world, but this heat? ugh.  I'm done.  I'm sick of being sweaty and hot, of needing the AC on and being uncomfortable all the time.  I want to wear big sweaters and walk through crunchy leaves!  I want to bundle up and feel that chill in the air!  I WANT FALL!!!

We have another whole week of this ahead, so I might as well suck it up, eh?  Grin and bear it.  My time will come. Let those summer lovers enjoy their last kick at the can, because the snow is just around the corner...

The good news is that in exactly one week, when the temperatures are to finally drop a bit, I'll be boarding a plane with a group of friends for a long-weekend trip to Nova Scotia.  At least I have that to look forward to.  That will carry me through this stupid September heat wave.

Bring on October.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The End-of-Summer Blahs

I touched on it yesterday's post, but this week... man, this week has got to be my least favourite week of the year.

School is starting again.  Summer is winding down.  I always get this icky feeling in my stomach for a few days around this time of year.  It feels like it might be worse this year, and I think that's because I feel like we didn't get much of a summer.  The weather was shoddy, I'm not sure we ever had a +30 degree day (with humidity we did - but not many), and it just seems to have flown by so fast.

Also, I didn't have a good sleep last night.  Probably not helping matters.  I fell asleep on the couch watching TV around 8-8:30 - which is a bad habit that I wish I could break - and then woke up at 10:30.  I moved to my bed, and while browsing on my phone, I came across an email that gave me too much to think about at a time when I needed to shut my brain off - not get it all wound up and churning again.  *sigh*  Oh, and I had heartburn. The world was just working against me, obviously.

The End-of-Summer Blahs. I get 'em every year.  Nothing seems to make it better. Not looking back on fond memories made in the sun, not looking ahead to fun things to come, not even the anticipation of Shawville Fair which is coming up this weekend.  (Truth be told, I greet Fair time each year with severe mixed emotions - it's always a fun weekend, yet at the same time, the last taste of summer: bittersweet.)

Seriously though, why am I always so sad when summer draws to an end? I LOVE fall.  And after fall comes my favourite season of all - WINTER!  I look ahead to the coming days with great joy and excitement.  I've waxed poetic about all of my favourite fall things: cozy clothes, cuddling up inside as the air gets colder, crunching colour leaves beneath my feet, making soups and sauces and baking treats, spooky movies, a long-awaited trip with friends, and I'm also excited about two Netflix shows coming up: Fuller House at the end of September and Stranger Things as the end of October.  Not to mention, Scary Movie Marathon, always a highlight on my calendar!

 ...and then, awaiting that first snowfall... my magical time of year, it is just around the corner...

Just have to get through these End-of-Summer Blahs first.

I've had days much worse than this.  And I know I just kind of have to hold my breath and wait for this week to pass.  It will all get better soon.

I'll be hanging in there until then...