Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Loves on Love Day

Everyone knows this is not exactly my favourite day of the year.  But, as I read somewhere this morning:  "Why be depressed if you're single on Valentine's Day?  You're single every other day of the year, too."  Ha. 

But, in an effort to NOT be a total Debbie Downer today, I have decided to compile a list of things I'm LOVING right now!  Coincidentally, it's What I'm Loving Wednesday.  How convenient.

I'm loving that I'm finally catching on to this crocheting thing!  Hey, if I'm going to be an old maid, might as well act the part, right?  My first few attempts were just little squares to practice the stitches, and then I attempted to make a beanie until my "practice ball of yarn" ran out.  I tore it out and practiced making a granny square for a while.  Then, last week, I bought a bunch of yarn and have been working on a giant granny square throw.  So far, it's coming along quite nicely, and I'm starting to enjoy the process rather than feel deep frustration over it.  Whoda thunk.

I'm LOVING the Olympics!  So much!!  Canada has gotten off to a great start - I believe their best start ever at the Games - and I'm just SO enjoying watching our athletes compete in sports we normally don't get to see much of.  I loved watching John Morris & Kaitlyn Lawes in the Mixed Doubles Curling (not only because John is hot); I got such a thrill watching the Slopestyle Snowboarding events; the Team Figure Skating competitions were also fun to watch; and of course, one of the best moments thus far was watching Mikael Kingsbury officially become the King of the Moguls.  Can't wait for all that's still to come!

I love that I'm on a bit of a roll with reading.  I seem to go through phases when it comes to books; sometimes I struggle, sometimes I sail through them.  Right now, I'm sailing.  I finished all of the "half-finished" books that were on my night stand, then I blew through They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars (our next book club book), and last night I started the book club book that's coming AFTER that one, The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld.  Last year, I seemed to get caught not able to finish books in time for book club, so I'm making sure I'm well ahead of the game this year!  It's the time of year when I have more time to read, so might as well take advantage of it.

Loving some fun plans that are taking shape for this coming weekend!  Hibernation mode means that I haven't strayed too far since Christmas.  I mean, I go to curling, and to church, and I've had a few little outings to Walmart and for groceries and to snowshoe... but for the most part, I've just been at home in my cozy little hole.  I love that, but I also miss seeing people and doing things, so I'm glad this weekend has some fun in store!

I'm loving that Lent starts today, and I've actually got a couple of Lenten promises that I've made this year!  First off, I'm giving up chips.  (This includes nacho chips, Doritos and Cheesies.  Does not include pretzels and regular popcorn.)  Chips are one of my very big weaknesses, and no matter how many times I say I'm going to eat healthy, the chips get in my way.  Can't stop eating them.  But when it comes to Lent, I seem to able to have more control of myself.  So I'm saying "See Ya" to chips for 40 days.  I have also decided to do the closet-cleaning Lent challenge.  Cleaning out my closet was the winter job I was dreading the most, but I think it will be more manageable if I do it this way.  Every day, I will remove something from my closet or drawers that doesn't fit/I never wear and put it in a garbage bag.  At the end of Lent, I should have a bag full of 40 items of clothing to donate to the Family Centre, and my closet should be in much better shape.  Win-win.  And of course, I will be putting some coins in the Lenten coin boxes handed out at church each day, to raise money for  Missions & Services for our church, as I always do.

And last but certainly not least, I'm loving that there's a new little one in my life!  There's been a baby boom in my group of friends in recent months, so I've been getting lots of baby snuggles in.  This past weekend, little Lainey joined the club!  Since she's just across the road from the office, it makes it reallllly easy (and tempting) to sneak over for a snuggle. ;)  Love her to bits!! xo

Happy Love Day, ya love bugs. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Productive & Fun Weekend In the Books

Happy Tuesday, friends!

My first weekend in February was a good one.  I got a lot of stuff checked off the "To Do List" and had some fun, too!

Friday was a quiet day at home.  I had woken up with a headache (those always aggravate me), so I just lay low for most of the day.  I worked on a puzzle, continued reading "The Nightingale", watched a whole bunch of episodes of House of Cards, and napped.  Oh, and I also downloaded the new Justin Timberlake album on Friday morning, and listened to it A LOT over the weekend.  I absolutely LOVE it!!!

In the evening, Lindsay picked me up and we headed out to our first book club meeting of 2018.  This month's book was "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.  I was the leader on this discussion, and honestly, I don't even think we needed a leader or questions.  This book generated BIG discussion and analysis all on its own.  It was nice to hang with the ladies, eat yummy snacks, and enjoy their company and conversation.  It's the time of year when cabin fever is starting to seep in a bit (despite my absolute love of hibernation), so it was nice to get out and have some girl talk.

Saturday morning, I again woke up with a headache, but it eased off fairly quickly, thank goodness.  I enjoyed a lazy morning, thew my bedding into the laundry, made pancakes, and cozied up with an extra cup of coffee.  I didn't get my butt moving until mid-morning, and just as I was finishing making the bed, my mom called to see if I'd watch my niece while she ran my sister up to the hospital.  After being sick and missing work most of last week, they had decided she'd better get checked out just in case, but was too weak to drive herself up there, and Chris & Caden were going to a hockey tournament.  So Mom went to get her, and I offered to keep Dan for the night.  After being cooped up with a sick mommy for a week I figured she'd need a fun girls night with Auntie.  And that's what we did!  We watched old movies from when I was a kid (Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and The Cutting Edge), she coloured while I worked on my crocheting (I got the start of a beanie made!  Ran out of my practice yarn, but it was nice to see something actually taking shape and looking like it was supposed to look!), we ate pizza and cheesies and just hunkered right down.  It was fun!  (And for the record - sister was sent home with diagnosis of a bad virus, so nothing too serious!)

Sunday was church, and then out for brunch before heading to Mom's to spend the rest of the day.  We watched the Sens game, I finished "The Nightingale" (woo hoo!  all of my half-finished books are now finished!!), and then got ready for our "Superbowl Party".  Which is our silly reason for having "snacks for supper", just the two of us.  Mom had zero interest in watching the game, so we just munched on pumpernickel & spinach dip, nachos, mini pizzas, and Sun Chips for supper.  Then I went home and turned the game on.  Was I actually into the game?  No, not really, other than I had decided I wanted the Eagles to win. (Brady's hot, but he's won enough.  Someone else's turn.)  I was really just waiting for the Halftime Show. And it did not disappoint!!  JT was SO good!!  I loved it, probably my favourite Superbowl Halftime Show ever!!!

Once the JT concert was over, I fell asleep on the couch, and while I had my PVR set and ready to go, I was so glad I woke up in time for This Is Us.  The big "What Really Happened to Jack" episode was on right after the Superbowl, and it was one for the books.  Many of my friends say they watch the show and cry every episode, but I seem to be an exception to that rule.  I have had tears a few times, but I don't sit and bawl through every episode.  I love the show, I think it is done amazingly well, and I usually come out of each episode feeling a connection to one or more of the characters.  And my gosh, who doesn't love Jack Pearson?  But I don't cry all the time.  Sunday night's episode was definitely a tear-jerker though.  It got me good.  I think it has a wide reach, because it speaks to different people on different levels.  While Jack Pearson's death was vastly different from my own father's, I could still relate to those kids trying to deal with that loss, that grief.  It was profound.  And yes, I cried.  A lot.  Pretty much from start to finish.

So, like many of my friends, I awoke Monday morning with a This Is Us hangover.  Puffy eyes and a slightly achy head.  But I had things to do, and no time to wallow in post-Jack grief!  I got my laundry started and then tackled the next items on Jill's Crappy Winter Jobs List: cleaning out the fridge and kitchen food cupboards.  I like to think of myself as a clean person, but man oh man, my fridge was disgusting.  Much like the front hall closet, I'm not entirely sure the fridge was properly cleaned before we started loading it up with our food.  I took literally every single item out of it, the shelves, the drawers, and scoured it from top to bottom.  It was awful.  But boy, does it sparkle now.  It felt good to throw out all the expired salad dressings and condiments and jams, etc. that lingered in the back, taking up space and long forgotten.  I didn't have any containers of mouldy old leftovers or anything like that, thank God, but a lot of bottles and jars with expiry dates past their prime.  Good-bye, old crap!  The cupboards weren't so bad, as they got well cleaned back when my kitchen was painted a few years ago, but it was nice to toss old boxes of crackers and rice and stuff like that.  Once they were cleaned and re-organized, I was able to clean off my cluttered little table and store a lot of that in the cleared space in the cupboards.  So I got my table set up with the little coffee and tea tray that I had mentioned in the Hygge post.  Justin carried me through all of this cleaning and re-organizing, as I had the Man Of the Woods album on repeat.  Have I mentioned lately that I might be in love with Justin Timberlake?  'Cause I'm totally in love with Justin Timberlake.

The rest of the day was spent chilling.  I shoveled and went for a walk,  continued reading our next book club book "They Called Me Number One" by Bev Sellars, caught up on the PVR and watched more House of Cards on Netflix, cooked a spaghetti squash that had been rolling around in the fridge for a few weeks and made a cheesy spaghetti squash casserole.  I konked out early on the couch... that was a pretty busy Monday for little ol' me!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Kevin Spacey Dilemma

Earlier this week, I mentioned that I have started watching House of Cards.  My friend Lolly has been recommending it to me every time we discuss our favourite Netflix shows, and it's always been on my list to watch, but I was really hesitant to start it.  My main reason for hesitating right now?  Kevin Spacey.

As we all know, we are now living in the "#MeToo" era. After years of abuse, silence, shame, and fear, women - especially in Hollywood - are going public with names and accusations, taking down very powerful men in the industry for sexual harassment.  As a woman, I feel it is a very empowering and long-overdue movement, and yet at the same time, I can feel very torn over it at times.  Names are coming up that I know, actors and comedians that I have loved, and I've struggled with accepting the fact that they aren't all wonderful men with good hearts, as I so naively thought them to be.  I've also honestly thought it must be a very scary time to be a man in any position of power.  Skeletons are being dug up, the wrong looks, the wrong words, the wrong touches, and so much more... no one is safe, it seems.

It all seemed to start with Bill Cosby.  Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the patriarch from The Cosby Show, the host of Kids Say the Darndest Things, the warm and hilarious and respected and esteemed actor/comedian, who, on in his late '70's, suddenly was hit by a barrage of women who came forward to accuse him of drugging them and sexually assaulting them.  I had a hard time with it.  I didn't want to believe it.  And, believe it or not, for a long time, I even tried to defend him.  "It's not fair to the poor lad. These women are bringing up things they say happened YEARS ago.  How can anyone prove it?  They just want his money.  He's too old to be dealing with this crap!  Everyone just leave Bill Cosby alone.  The man is a legend!"

But it went from a couple of women to a couple of dozen women.  The count is now up to over 60 women who have come forward with allegations.  Surely, they can't all be telling tall tales.  It's kind of hard to ignore.  Kind of hard to defend.

Harvey Weinstein really got the ball rolling when he was outed last fall as being one of the worst offenders. Since then, the list has only grown longer, with new names being added almost on a daily basis.  Ben Affleck. Mario Batali.  Matt Lauer. Louis C.K. Dustin Hoffman.  Jeremy Piven.  James Franco.  Aziz Ansari.

And Kevin Spacey.

Kevin Spacey.

To me, Kevin Spacey isn't the kind of actor I got all moony over.  I didn't have his picture pinned up in my locker as a teen, he wasn't on my list of "favourite celebs ever", and I didn't rush out to see movies that he was in.  But I did tend to enjoy him as an actor, and generally liked anything I saw him in.  Se7en and A Time to Kill, especially, rank among my favourite movies of all time.  Anytime Jimmy Fallon has had him on The Tonight Show, I've found him to be funny and really entertaining. I liked Kevin Spacey.  I really did.

Spacey's outing was different than the others.  Because it wasn't women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. It was men.  This wasn't a huge surprise, being that rumours had swirled for years about Spacey's sexual orientation, but those rumours had never been confirmed previously, and in fact on several occasions, Spacey had denied them.

Only after actor Anthony Rapp came forward with his story of being assaulted by Kevin Spacey years ago, when Rapp was only 14 years old, did Spacey deem it an appropriate time to address his sexual orientation.  And it was in his so-called "apology" to Rapp that he came out as a gay man.  This did not sit well with many.  Instead of an apology, it came off more as an attempt to change the subject, use his own drunkenness as an excuse, and imply a connection between being gay and sexually assaulting a child.

Kevin Spacey has since fallen from grace.  Big time.  A movie he was to star in for Netflix has been shelved.  His scenes in the movie All the Money in the World were cut and his role re-cast to Christopher Plummer in re-shoots after the film was already completed.  And Netflix severed ties with him completely, removing him from the cast of House of Cards for the sixth and final season, a show he has been the star and main character of from the beginning.

Thus, my dilemma.  Would I enjoy the show, starting it now, knowing all of this about the man behind Frank Underwood?  Would I be able to set aside the Kevin Spacey "ick factor" that now exists and appreciate his acting?  Would what I know about him now taint the way I watch his show?

As it turns out, no, it isn't bothering me in the least.  Granted, it probably helps that Frank Underwood is kind of a slimy, sly, dark type to begin with.  In fact, Spacey suits the role quite well, and it's almost a shame he won't be able to finish it out, because he really is good at it.  Good at being slimy and creepy and evil.

I guess if the shoe fits...

It's difficult sometimes to realize these characters we so enjoy on TV and in film aren't real people; that the actors behind them aren't all charm and grace and good hearts.  I really do struggle with it.  Another example this week came with the news of Mark Salling's suicide.  If you dig around in the archives of this blog, somewhere you will find a post dedicated to his character Puck, from the hit show Glee.  I wasn't a huge Gleek, but I did go through a phase of watching it, and mainly because I adored Puck.  I lost track of him after the show ended, but I had heard rumblings recently that he had been charged with possession of child pornography. Just about the ickiest of the icky right there...  Unfathomable, grotesque, despicable.  I'd like to have felt a twinge of sadness over his death, that he felt such despair, and forgiven him for his sins... But that's a lot to forgive and forget.  Mark Salling's death was greeted with little fanfare, little coverage, and absolutely none of the usual tributes and accolades that an actor's death would normally draw.

It's a tough one.  Rationalizing the enjoyment of an actor's performance against their real-life character flaws.  It almost feels wrong to be watching House of Cards right now, feeling eager to get home and watch more, anticipating what Frank might do next.  When the world has decided to completely cut him from the program going forward, maybe I shouldn't be watching (and enjoying) what he did in the past?

What's your position on the matter?  Is it icky to watch The Cosby Show now?  Have you lost respect for the likes of Ben Affleck, James Franco, and Louis C.K.?  Would you look back on episodes of Glee and still think Puck was adorable?  And is it wrong to find enjoyment in watching Kevin Spacey in his vast catalogue of work?

I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to think or feel about it all.  It really is a dilemma.  But for now, I'm going to keep watching House of Cards, and leave the judgments up to someone else.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Let's hold that "Master Crocheter" idea...

Oh, you guys.  I had a dream.  I had a dream of being a Crocheting Queen.  I had a dream of picking up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, and absolute MAGIC would happen.

I have no idea why I thought this was possible.  I have only made one foray into yarn crafting before, and it was when I was a kid and my mom tried to teach me how to knit.  I remember deep frustration, hot tears, and total anger at my fat fingers that just wouldn't work the way they were supposed to.  I knit one little scarf that was barely big enough for my dog, wrapped it around his neck, and approximately 10 minutes later he had chewed it up and left little bits of coloured yarn all over our garage.

That was the beginning and the end of my knitting career. 

And I honestly had no interest in taking anything like that up again until recent weeks, when suddenly I got the urge to learn to crochet.

Not only to learn how to crochet, but to become an expert at crocheting.  Instantly.

The memories of my knitting fiasco still lingered, but surely that was because I was so young.  Just a little 10-year-old girl.  Now, as an adult, it would come more naturally.  I would understand the mechanics of it much better.  I have an artistic flair, and that would somehow translate to crocheting.  I'd pick it up quickly now, and be off!  Crocheting hats and scarves and blankets for family and friends, and building an inventory for my little side business!!

Do you know how sure I was that this was going to come to me right away?  I made a list of names for my little crocheting side business.  That's right, I was brain-storming names for a business that did not even exist yet.

And after last night, I'm fairly certain that little crocheting side business will never exist.

The "Learn How to Crochet" kit arrived in the mail yesterday.  I stopped in at my mom's after work to steal a ball of yarn from one of her bins, and because she was so sure I'd never pick it up from reading an instruction booklet, she gave me a lesson.  And then, all of a sudden, I was 10-years-old again.  Frustrated and angry and... what's that??... are those TEARS in my eyes???

My fingers are still fat.  They still fumble around.  The hook keeps getting snagged.  Mom goes too fast.  I have no idea how to start.  The instruction booklet might as well be written in Russian.  I worked all night on this little wee red square that doesn't even look like a square anymore.  And my wrists and fingers were cramped and sore from the little work I had done.

How on EARTH would I ever manage to make something REAL???

It was a far, far cry from the image of "Hygge" I had dreamed up in my head.  I pictured little ol' me, sitting by soft lamp light in the evening, snug on my couch, with a ball of yarn and a pattern and a cup of hot tea beside me, quietly crocheting away, only having to keep one eye on my work as I watched TV.  Because, you know, I was just going to be that good at it


I think I'm going to take the suggestions of some of my Facebook friends and watch some Youtube videos.  I worked on single crocheting last night and now I want to move on to double crocheting, but I cannot for the life of me understand what the book is telling me to do.  And yes, of course, my mom can show me, and I think she already did show me last night, but I was not catching on at all.

I'm pretty determined that I'm going to learn, though.  I'm not going to let that first try of frustration and failure stop me like I did when I was 10.  I really do want to get the hang of this and hopefully get good at it someday...

But that dream of being amazing at it right off the bat?  Being able to read a pattern and just produce it perfectly as I had hoped?  Not gonna happen.

Looks like I'm just going to have to practice.  Imagine that. 

I'll keep working on my little square that looks more like a triangle.  Maybe someday it will turn into a blanket.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday Randoms

  • I've been crossing things off the ol' "To Do List" lately.  This past week/weekend, that included cleaning out both my fridge freezer and the big freezer in the basement, defrosting the basement freezer, and cleaning out the front closet (which has literally not been cleaned since the beginning of time).  Exhausting stupid jobs that I"ve been putting off forever, but man, does it feel good to have them done.
  • When I cleaned out the freezers, one of my rules was: "If the date on it is from more than a year ago, it gets tossed".  I had a TON of stuff to chuck. I did this task last Tuesday evening because garbage day was the next day, and with it being winter, I knew the stuff would stay frozen for a more clean removal from my home to the bin, and then into the garbage truck.  So for the frozen containers of soup and chili and pasta that had not been used, I let them defrost just enough that I could pop the frozen pucks of stuff and toss into a garbage bag.  Once I was done, the bag was so heavy I could barely lift it.  But I was determined.  So I dragged it out to the bin that was already out at the curb, and when I went to hoist it into the bin, it split open and chunks of frozen BLECH spilled into the snowbank.  I went back in and grabbed more garbage bags, and went to clean up my mess. It had been rather mild that day, so a lot of melting was going on, and there was a huge puddle in front of my house.  So of course, as I was bent over plucking frozen chunks of gross old food out of the snow, cars were driving by like maniacs and splashing me.  Over and over and over.  I swear, if a hidden camera had been on me, that would have been one for the Funniest Home Videos loop... I was not impressed!
  • It was sad, really.  The waste.  One of my goals going forward is to be more mindful of what I have bought and what I have saved in the freezer, and eat up what I have before buying more.  I mean, 3 old boxes of chicken fingers, 2 old boxes of chicken burgers, and 1 old box of chicken nuggets?  So unnecessary...
  • I'm pleased with what I've accomplished this winter in the "crappy job" department.  Now I have to clean out my cupboards and fridge, and my own closet, and then I'll be done everything on my list.  Feels good.
  • Another of my winter tasks is to finish up some books that I only had half-read that have been lying around on my nightstand.  I had started The Handmaid's Tale in the fall, but had to quit half-way in order to get to our next book club book at the time.  That book was The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, which took me forever to read, but I really wanted to get it done, and I completed it earlier in the month. That felt like a huge victory.  Then I went back to The Handmaid's Tale, and finished it up fairly quickly.  Now I've moved on to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which I received as a birthday gift several years ago and started but never finished.  I think I must just have not been in the mood for it at the time, because I'm really enjoying it now.  Once it's done, I'll have cleaned all of the half-read books off my nightstand!  Woo hoo!!
  • My last post was my Hygge post, and it has been very much on my mind ever since.  That said, the internet can be creepy sometimes.  I shared in that post that I wanted an electric fireplace, ideally one that is part of an entertainment unit like my sister has.  Then early last week, a Canadian Tire ad popped up on my Facebook for a fireplace entertainment unit that is pretty much identical to the one my sister has. I don't ever recall seeing a Canadian Tire ad pop up on my Facebook before.  Seriously, it kind of spooked me.  Anyways, it was on sale - regular $699.99, marked down to $379.99.  Such a good deal.  BUT , as I have mentioned, it is also supposed to be "The Year of Saving" for me, and having JUST paid off my credit card last week, I didn't like the thoughts of racking it back up again... such a dilemma.  After discussing with my mom, I had almost made up my mind to go and buy it on the weekend, only to discover to the sale had ended last Thursday.  So I guess the Universe decided for me.  I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for deals in the future, once I (hopefully) have more money saved up & more freedom to spend on such things!
  • Something I DID kind of splurge on, also from the Hygge post, that my mother scolded me for, was a "Learn How to Crochet" kit from Amazon.  I know my mom has the tools and the ability to teach me, but we can butt heads (at least we did long ago when she tried to teach me how to knit), so I thought I'd embark on this one on my own.  It's kind of funny, since I ordered the kit, I've been daydreaming about becoming a crocheting pro, and making all kinds of blankets and hats and scarves, being able to start up a little side business and sell my products in an Etsy shop or going to vendor and craft shows...  Haven't made one stitch yet, and I'm ready to become a world famous crocheter! ha!
  • So, when I ordered the crochet kit from Amazon, it recommended some things I should buy to go with it.  One was a package of 8 balls of yard, only an additional $10!  "Sure.  I'll need yarn, I love these colours, and that sounds like a good deal."  The package arrived, and I was like, "Huh.  Something's wrong.  How can there be 8 balls of yarn in here?"  Oh, they were there.  And they fit in the small package because they were itty bitty teeny tiny balls of yarn.  Like, literally, balls of yard the size of my thumb.  Sigh. I guess I'll take my friend Lindsay's suggestion and start crocheting scarves for mice?!?!
  • I know I mention it far too often, but OH how I love having Mondays and Fridays off in the winter!!  Yesterday, I spent the morning in the kitchen making Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (so yum), homemade bagels (turned out amazing), and White Trash cookies (also incredibly yum).  All were new recipes for me and I was so pleased they all turned out so well!
  • I watched Manhunt: Unabomber throughout the week & weekend on Netflix, and I got SO into it.  Such a well done show.  I was just a kid when the Unabomber was caught in the '90's, so I didn't really know the story well.  I found it fascinating, and was surprised at how they were able to actually get me to sympathize with him in the end.  And yesterday, after my friend Lolly recommended it to me many times, I finally started House of Cards.  I was a little reluctant to try it, I wasn't sure if it would be my cup of tea, and with all the Kevin Spacey backlash in the news lately, but... turns out, I'm already hooked.  I watched 7 episodes in one day.  And I can't wait to get home to watch more tonight.  Hooked.
Well, that's all I've got for the random today!!  Happy Tuesday friends!! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gettin' Hygge With It

Have you ever heard or seen the word "Hygge"?  Do you know what it means??

I admit, I had never heard of the word until I opened my stocking on Christmas morning and pulled out "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking.  And I also admit that my eyebrows kinda went up in confusion and skepticism.  "Huh?  What the heck is this?"

My mom quickly replied, "Oh, that was a recommendation from Aunt Marion.  She thought you should read it.  She thinks this is right up your alley."

Oh, okay.  Aunt Marion never leads me astray.  I set it aside and thought, I'll take a look at it later.

For several weeks, it lay on my night stand, and every time I glanced its way, I'd think, Oh yes, I have to check out that hygge book and see what it's all about.

Turns out, I was pronouncing it wrong for all that time.  Once I finally did flip that book open, I learned very early on that "hygge" is NOT pronounced like "jiggy", as I have used it in the title of this blog post.  It's actually pronounced "hoo-gah".   Hygge comes from the Danish word for "well-being".  It also encompasses feelings of being cozy and comfortable.  Over the years, hygge has become a defining characteristic of Danish culture.

Did you know it's been scientifically proven that Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world?  Despite having cold, dark winters, and a high average number of rainy days per year, the Danish people are happy.  And a lot of that has to do with hygge.

I haven't gotten far into the book yet, but the more I read each night, the more I'm starting to think I'm kind of already a Master of Hygge.  I'm the Queen of Comfy & Cozy.  There is nothing I love better than curling up in a dark room lit only by candles & Scentsy warmers, snuggled beneath a a big blanket, in my comfiest clothes and fuzziest socks, with a bowl of buttery popcorn and a mug of hot chocolate or Chai tea within reach.  I love hunkering down to watch a movie or work on a puzzle or write in a journal or colour, especially if there's snow (or rain) coming down outside.  Nothing I enjoy more than a wind howling outside while I'm snug as a bug inside, with a pot of soup or chili simmering on the stove, and the smells of bread or cookies baking wafting in the air.  Oooh! Or drawing a nice, hot bubble bath and soaking by candlelight with a good book until the water gets cold!!

I honestly think it's why I enjoy fall and winter more than spring and summer.  In the nicer months, there's more of an expectation to get out and enjoy.  Leave the stuffy confines of your home, get fresh air, soak up the sun, enjoy the breeze!  But as the Queen of Comfy & Cozy, I far more anticipate the dark and the quiet and the stormy days, when it's more acceptable to hibernate and cuddle up.  I think that's why I so look forward to movie nights and snow storms and even rainy days in the summer.  It's not, as my mom once told me, "morbid" - it's my deep love and craving for HYGGE!!!

That said, I have already thought of some ways I'd like to enhance the hygge in my home.  These aren't necessarily things I need to do right away (it is the YEAR OF SAVING, after all), but little wish list items I'd like to pursue in the coming years, all for my hygge benefit:

  • What's more hygge than a fireplace, man?  I've got the candles and Scentsy warmers and soft lamp light covered, but oh, how I'd still love a little fireplace.  Just one of the electrical ones will do just fine.  The problem is, I've never been able to figure out where I'd put one in my living room, considering the space I have to work with.  It's a big room, but because of a huge front window, there's only so many places furniture and the TV can go.  Ideally, I'd like one like my sister has - that is part of an entertainment unit that my TV would sit atop.  
  • I've decided I need an area rug for my living room.  My living room is absolutely the room in my home that I spend the most time in.  It's a big open room, with lots of space and light.  My furniture is, naturally, placed around the perimeter of the room, which leaves a lot of empty space in the middle, a lot of empty light-coloured faux-wood click flooring.  Don't get me wrong, I love having space, it's not a bad thing.  But I think a nice area rug would draw the room in, and make it feel even cozier.
  • Again, my living room space is my main focus, because it's where I spend most of my time at home, and thus, the last piece of the puzzle to making it "completely comfy" would be getting new vertical blinds.  The ones that are there are old, they have some water stains on them, and they don't match the paint colour.  I'd like nice, crisp white blinds to cover the big windows.  I've toyed with the idea of curtains instead, but I think at the end of the day, white vertical blinds are the way to go.
  • Moving into the kitchen, I'd like to install some kind of shelving or racks on the big empty wall over my sink to put my mugs.  I have a mug fetish.  I can't seem to stop buying new ones, even though I have no room for them, and I never seem to be able to part with old ones either.  Mugs are taking over my kitchen.  I think adding shelves or something to hang them on the wall above the sink will add a cozy hygge factor.  It will just call out, "THIS GIRL HAS COFFEE!  AND TEA!!  AND HOT CHOCOLATE!!!"
  • I'm not sure yet of how it would work or where I would put it, but I'd love to have a little "coffee & tea corner" in my kitchen.  I have my Keurig on the counter with an assortment of K-cups beside it, but I've recently re-discovered my love for tea, so now I also have many tea bags and cans of loose tea, kettles, spoons, and tea infusers and sachets lying all over the counter and table in my kitchen.  I'd like to somehow get it all organized, put in the same spot, and make it a cozy wee space.
  • I think organization and tidiness is a key aspect of hygge, because I find it distracting when things are out of order and "stuff" is taking over, and sometimes that's a problem for me.  I'm a bit of a pack-rat, and I can let the "messy" take over sometimes.  It's an especially big problem in my kitchen.  I don't seem to have enough cupboard and counter space for all my "stuff", and so it has basically taken over the little table in my kitchen, and I also have bags and boxes filled with Tupperware and containers and, well... just...STUFF everywhere.  It's totally annoying and I don't know what to do about it.  I'm going to seriously spend some time thinking of what I can do to create more storage space for stuff, perhaps a cupboard re-org and going through and tossing stuff that has been taking up space that I don't use.  I'd love to be able to have that little table empty of clutter, and without junk piled all around it, to enjoy coffee or tea with friends.  
  • There have been a few other areas of my life and home that have been nagging at me that need to be tidied/re-organized/cleaned up.  They include: my fridge and freezer, my front closet, and my own bedroom closet.  All three are winter projects for me, and I think once I have them done, I'll feel more content and cozy in my own home.
  • I'd like to learn a "cozy" craft, like crocheting.  I have lots of teachers around me, but I'm stubborn, easily frustrated, and quickly angered, so anytime I've tried to learn in the past has resulted in me quitting in a fit of tears.  I've recently decided maybe I should get the supplies I need and just try to learn from Youtube videos, as I've heard others have done.  I like the idea of cozying up at night with Netflix and working on a crochet project.  Bonus would be it could keep me awake!  I'm notorious for falling asleep on the couch way too early in the evenings while watching TV.
  • A rock salt lamp.  Probably in my bedroom, on the nightstand.  I think it would add a cozy element to my already-cozy bedroom, and I hear they help make you "feel better".  I don't know how or why - might need to do some research on this - but anything that makes me "feel better" can't be a bad thing, especially if it brings the hygge.
Just listing these ideas as they crossed my mind have spawned other, new ideas... like a reading corner with a little shelf of books near my big blue chair where I read in the living room.  And a music corner with an old selection of CD's in my dining room, where the CD player/radio is, which would bring nostalgia of my youth with all of that old music I loved.  And a writing desk and a painting corner in my craft room...  

Lord, I'm going to have "nooks" and "corners" all over my house at this rate.

Also, one last tidbit:  After I started reading the book and learned what the term meant, I saw someone on Facebook shared a link to "The 10 Most Hygge Recipes Ever".  Translated, it was a bunch of the best comfort foods... ALSO all my faves!!  I swear... I'm so hygge...

So, how do you feel about "hygge"?  Are you a cozy & comfy kind of person?  Does your living space reflect that?  Come on, everyone, get hygge with it!!! :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Some random Tuesday ramblings

Happy Tuesday, friends!!  Here's a little random on this chilly Tuedsay...

  • Anybody else feel like January is literally crawling by?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  These colder, quieter winter months are my absolute favourite, so I don't mind at all!  It just feels like Christmas was a million years ago, and it's only the middle of January.  I guess far too often I complain that time is flying by too quickly, so I'll embrace this January "crawl".
  • I've been soaking up all the things I love to do in this slower time of year.  I have a 1000 piece puzzle on the go, I've been getting in some extra reading (FINALLY finished The One Hundred Year Old Man, well into The Handmaid's Tale now), I made a giant pot of pasta sauce and homemade bread last week, and of course Netflix... LOTS of time spent with Netflix!!
  • Speaking of Netflix... I have a new love.  It feels like it's been a long time since I've had a new love, but it finally happened.  Outlander.  Jamie.  IN. LOVE!!!!!!  Sadly, I blew through the two seasons on Netflix in under two weeks, so Jamie is already gone from my life. (at least, until Season 3 appears).  It's hard to let go of my loves when the episodes run out. *sigh*  Jamie was a good one.
  • So now I'm back into Shameless again.  While I was into Outlander, Season 7 of Shameless landed on Netflix, so at least I had an old favourite to return to once Jamie was done.  Sometimes when I "return" to a show after being away from it, I discover I don't enjoy it as much (this happened to me with Scandal, The Mindy Project, and Suits) - but thankfully, I'm still loving Shameless as much as I did the first time around!  Those crazy Gallaghers...
  • So, remember when I said 2018 was "The Year of Saving"??  Well, so far, so good.  Goal #1 was to have Christmas (my credit card) paid off by the end of January, and barring any disasters, I think that should be achievable.  After that, the goal will be to NOT be tempted to ring up a bunch of new clothing or Amazon purchases, and get a nice cushion built in the ol' bank account.  While I don't have any trips or big expenditures planned for 2018, there are quite a few weddings coming up this summer and all the events that will go with them, so it would be nice to go into that knowing I have some dollars saved up. Here's hoping.
  • Heart palpitation update:  Still happening, but definitely to a lesser degree, more like light flutters several times a day than the big thumps & stutter-steps I was getting back before Christmas.  I guess the medication is working.  I had my appointment at the Heart Institute on Saturday, for an echo-cardiogram, which went smoothly - at least as far as I can tell.  The technician can't say anything, he just has the reports sent on to a cardiologist and my own doctor, but he didn't gasp or cry or rush me into a heart transplant surgery, so I'm gong to take that as a good sign.
  •  You know what I want?  A SNOWSTORM.  Like a big, giant, 40cm dumping.  We haven't had one of those in a long time.  We lost a lot of our snow last week in a January thaw, when it poured rain for 2 days straight and went to 10 degrees. ugh.  Seems like it's either -30 or +10 this winter.  No in between.  How about a nice -5 and 40 cm's of snow?  I want to be snowed in.  I want to have added reason to hibernate.  Come on, Mother Nature.
  • I'm pretty aware that the above paragraph will have a lot of my friends and family screaming at me. Whatever.  I'm Elsa, bitches.
  • Songs I'm loving lately:  Perfect by Ed Sheeran (especially the Beyonce version), River by Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran (have I mentioned lately how much I love Ed Sheeran??), Filthy by JT (took a few listens, but I'm digging it), Lost in the Light by Bahamas (no idea how I stumbled across it, but I love it), and Never Be the Same by Camila Cabello (which is nice, because that Havana oh nana song DRIVES me up the wall).  Also, my strange iTunes purchase of the week is an Elton John hits compilation that was on sale.  I have never been a big Elton fan, but I just felt drawn to it.  And yes, I am loving it, too.
  • I have another quiet weekend coming up (knock on wood) which I'm looking forward to.  I have to take my car for an oil change on Friday, I have to make soup for next week's Soup & Sandwich at some point, and I have a paint day with Shannon booked for Monday, but otherwise, it will be another weekend of puzzling, reading, and Netflixing.  My FAVOURITE!!! :)
What's new and random in YOUR world???