Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Today will likely be the last time I'll be checking in to the blog before Christmas, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Thank you for another great year here at "Jill's World"!!

It's been a tough year for my family, and I've been grateful for this space to share my feelings, to remember, and to just vent. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your messages of comfort during the dark days. Let's hope 2011 brings happier times. I have had wonderful support from family, friends, co-workers, and all of you here in the Blogosphere. I love you all! xoxo

Enjoy every moment with your families and friends - soak up the Christmas cheer. It only comes once a year!! Eat every cookie you come across, belt every carol at the top of your lungs, tear into each present as if it's the last one, drink every drop of alcohol that crosses your path, and make sure to hug every person you love!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!

It's happening again.

I shouldn't be startled by it. It happens every year.

We're on the homestretch to Christmas Eve. The big countdown has begun. We're talkin' 3 days now. THREE. So yes, at 5 AM, my eyes start popping open. And I lie there and think of all the little last minute things I need to do. The shows and movies I still need to watch. What I need to take to my Mom's for Christmas Eve and morning (silly, I know, since I live two minutes away, and anything I forget I can quickly run back home for). I think about the food and the drinks.

I wonder how things will be different. I hope against hope that things will be the same.

We had our first taste of "new" family traditions on Sunday at Aunt Marion & Uncle Eric's, and I think we got along pretty well. It made my heart happy that we were able to get together, as we always have, and still celebrate, despite the aching loss we faced only a few short months ago. We're all still coping. We're all still grieving. But we were able to join together in the Christmas spirit; eat, drink and be merry.

Now, the Young side of the family forges ahead with our Christmas Eve traditions, even though we know it won't be the same, either. So along with my excitement and anticipation, the worry mingles. How will it be different? Will we be able to have as much fun as we have in the past? After going through the first Christmas dinner on Mom's side of the family, I now know it's possible. Maybe not the same, but being with family is so important. We'll get through it together.

Oh, and the other thing that I worry about this time of year? Yep. Getting sick. This year, it's especially important to stay healthy since my dad has had pneumonia several times recently, and if any of us bring him so much as a little germ, we will be banished from the house.

So I'm downing Echinecea and Vitamin C, praying for good health, sucking on mints and hoping this tickle in my throat is just a figment of my imagination.

In other news... We went belly dancing! You'll have to take my word for it, since I have no pictures, because the instructor was a little paranoid about being in them, and also...well, I was just shaking my booty too much to be bothered getting my camera out! We sweated. A lot. And we laughed. A lot. Good times!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Don't Do Surprises.

So, as many of you already know (even though I try not to talk about it 24/7), I'm going to Cuba in January. It's my first trip ANYWHERE (okay, I lie. Midland, Michigan was good to me this summer. But it wasn't Cuba.) - so I'm pretty stoked about it.

The reason I'm going to Cuba? My friend Kerry is getting married, so a whole gang of us are going down to do it up with her and her hubby-to-be Jeff. A week of fun in the sun? Being actually AT one of those beach weddings where the couple's pics are so hot and beautiful with white sand and blue water all around them? Free booze all.week.long???

Hellz yeah. I'm pumped.

Now, tonight is Kerry's bachelorette. My friend Brenda is the one who organized and planned the evening. Originally intended to be the traditional bus tour of the Pontiac, she was forced to alter her plans when one of the only 3 regular stops (for Karaoke in Charteris, you have no idea how wild it can be!!)...well, it CLOSED. Can you believe it?!? No more John Henry crooning in Charteris??

Tragedy. Plain and simple.

(But this probably explains why, when up there in October, after going in with some friends, the waitress who came to take our drink order promptly asked us if we wanted to buy the bar. She said the owner was selling for a super-low price, and it would be a great investment. Keep in mind this bar is smaller than my bedroom. When we all show up on the bus, quite often we don't all fit inside. And it had deer heads hanging on the walls. It was a classy spot.)

So anyways, Brenda was forced to re-work the Bach plans, and has decided to keep them top secret. EXTREMELY top secret. From what I understand, only a few select people have been informed of where we are going or what we are doing, and all have been sworn to secrecy. All we know is that we're going on a bus, we can dress comfortably (PJ's if we want! she swears), we need to bring drinks with us because it will be "quite a little drive", we are not going to eat anywhere, we are not going bar hopping, we are not going to be outside, we are not going to see strippers, and we are not going to some workshop to make our own "toys". (This was the idea I came up with last night. I couldn't think of anything else.)

Where the hell could we be going, people?

Like I said. I don't do surprises.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Wouldn't Be Complete Without...

Over at Stacy's blog, she's playing a little game today. List 5 things that Christmas wouldn't be complete without. Here's my list!

  • My mom's delicious cookies and squares. She starts baking the beginning of November and stores up for the holidays. This year, she gave me a tin to keep in my freezer and share with my friends and co-workers. I ticked her off by telling her she ruined my favourite Christmas shortbread cookies by throwing dried fruit in them, but truthfully, I'm in love with my mom's baking. I'm sure all of us have favourites that our moms or grandmas make. It's a tradition at our house to sneak down to the basement and steal a few before the big day!!

  • The Big Christmas Morning Breakfast Battle. For years, my family has been trying to get this tradition right. But it would appear our tradition is just fighting over what the "right way" is to do it. When we were little, we ate brekky after presents. Now that we're older, we've started eating a little before and a little after. (We'll see if we can restrain Caden and Danica this year...) My mom used to slave over a frying pan making bacon and eggs for everyone, and usually spent much of the time complaining that it was such a mess and the egg yolks would break and it was a real pain in the ass for her. So a few years back, she started making "Wife Beater". (More commonly known as Wife Saver, but we never call it that.) It's a breakfast casserole made of bread, eggs, bacon, onion, peppers, and cheese. Mom can make it the night before and toss it in the over a half-hour before it's time to eat, whenever that may be. It's easy and it's deeeelish. The problem? My sister doesn't eat eggs. And my brother, bro-in-law, and dad don't like it. The only thing we seem to agree on is Mom's sticky buns. They get eaten before presents because no one can resist diving into the sugary, sticky goodness. I can guarantee the rest of it will be another battle this year.

  • Watching Miracle on 34th Street on Christmas Eve afternoon. It's just me. Nobody else in my family cares. But for me, Christmas Eve day is, quite possibly, the longest day of the year, waiting for church and the party afterwards. So for the past 15 years, I've been watching Miracle on 34th Street in the afternoon to kill some time. It's one of my favourite Christmas movies of all-time, and I save it for Christmas Eve every year.

  • "Silent Night", played by Rolly on guitar at the end of Christmas Eve service. With the lights off, candles lit, and everyone singing's pure Christmas magic.

  • The Coconut Song...Young Family tradition, usually sung at least 13 times on Christmas Eve. I hope we still get to sing it this year :)

Cousin Chris didn't make it home from TO for Christmas last year, so he actually called us just so we could sing The Coconut Song to him. This is cousin Bucky holding the phone up so he could hear!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Girl!! xo

The Wild Thing turns 2 today!!

Tonight, we celebrate... We celebrate the fact that she is happy and healthy, talking a lot now, tormenting her big brother, playing with dolls and lipstick as much as trucks and hockey sticks, pretty independent with her shouts of "I DO IT!!", her willingness to help out (even when you don't want it), her big blue eyes and curly blonde hair, and that can you not celebrate that smile?!
Happy Birthday Danica!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Playing Crazy Eights!!

Finally. We're finally getting snow!! The promise of 35-45 cm on Sunday didn't happen. It came as rain instead. Booooooooooooo!! But today, we're getting a nice little blanket, and that makes me even more excited for the holidays.

So what can I do to pass some time before Christmas? How about playing Crazy Eights, blog-style? I got this idea from Keeping Up With Kelly & Co. Play along if you'd like!! :)

8 Favorite TV shows
1) Grey's Anatomy
2) Criminal Minds
3) Friends
4) Sex and the City
5) Young & the Restless
6) Being Erica
7) Survivor
8) Sens hockey games

8 Favorite Places to Eat and Drink
1) Kelsey's
2) McDonalds
3) Jack Astor's
4) Wild Wing
5) The Bamboo
6) St. Hubert's
7) Montana's
8) Gavan's

8 Things I Look Forward To
1) Christmas Eve!!!
2) Playing with Caden & Danica
3) Cuba in January
4) Christmas dinner at Aunt Marion's
5) New Year's Eve
6) Going to the movies (hopefully sometime over the holidays!!)
7) Spending time with family and friends
8) Winter activities

8 Things that Happened to me Yesterday
1) My muffler almost fell off my car. Thank God for the guys at work fixing me back up again!
2) Worked
3) Decorated the office for Christmas
4) Quickly cleaned my house (a lick and a promise, my mom would say!)
5) Watched some holiday specials - A Garfield Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town
6) Fell asleep on the couch and woke up freezing - my front door had blown open! eeeek!!
7) Was invited to the Sens game. But then had to turn down the ticket after my mom reminded me car has been rather unreliable these past few days.
8) Went to bed!

8 Things I Like About Winter
1) Christmas
2) Snow
3) Sliding
4) Sens hockey
5) Snowmen
6) Christmas lights
7) Warm blankets and cozy couches
8) Going for walks with snowflakes falling down

8 Things I am Passionate About
1) My family
2) My friends
3) Playing guitar
4) Writing (my blog!)
5) My TV Shows
7) The Sens
8) Edward & Jacob

8 Words or Phrases I Use Often
1) F*ck (I say it too much)
2) Frig off (I say that too much, too)
3) Holy cow
4) G'day
5) Good morning, Mountainview Turf, this is Jill speaking (I usually say good morning even if it's in the afternoon)
6) NO WAY!!
7) Gimme a break
8) Oh my God

8 Things I Have Learned From the Past
1) Life is short
2) Each moment spent with loved ones is precious
3) It's amazing how strong you can be when you have to be
4) Never count your chickens before they're hatched (cliched, but so true)
5) Mom and Dad are usually right
6) A few deep breaths can work wonders
7) Crying helps
8) Laughter is usually the best medecine!!

8 Places I Would Like to Visit/See
1) Ireland
2) Somewhere down south (Cuba, I'm coming!!)
3) Graceland
4) Nashville
5) The rest of Canada - down East, the prairies, the West Coast!!
6) Australia
7) Las Vegas
8) Disney World

8 Things I Currently Want/Need
1) My own house
2) ...or at least to paint the house I'm renting
3) a laptop
4) My credit card bills to just vanish
5) A new car
6) To lose 50 lbs.
7) A friggin boyfriend, geez.
8) For my family to have the best Christmas possible

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Christmas Carol

As Christmas fast-approaches (or slow-approaches...I can't believe how long December days can feel while waiting for Santa!!), I find myself immersed in holiday movies and TV specials. Before last night, I had already watched Elf, Home Alone, Four Christmases, and part of "The Grinch". (I know. It's only half-an-hour long, with commercials, and I still fell asleep before it was over. Pathetic!)

I thought I was well on my way. Until I started counting the shows and movies I still have to watch. Still on the to-do list are:

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • The Family Stone
  • Its a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Eight Crazy Nights
  • The Santa Clause
  • and all my fave tv shows, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman", "Shrek the Halls", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Mickey's Christmas Carol", "A Garfield Christmas"

...and I should probably watch "The Grinch" again since I missed most of it the first time!

But there's one story that always seems to be told, in many different ways, around this time of year. And that is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol is the beloved story that tells the tale of the cruel and miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. Marley informs Scrooge that before morning, he will be visited by three spirits. Sure enough, throughout the night, Scrooge is shown scenes from his past, present, and future by three different spirits, and sees that if he continues in the way he has conducted his life thus far, he will end up dying all alone. By morning, Scrooge has a new outlook on life, and he shocks his family, friends, neighbours, and especially his employee, Bob Cratchit, with a new cheery, generous attitude.

A quick Google Search of A Christmas Carol brings up many different adaptations over the years, in literature, theatre, film, and television. I'm sure we all have our favourites. My own personal favourite is "Mickey's Christmas Carol", when the Disney gang, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and of course, Scrooge McDuck, join together to create an animated version of the story.

I know a few people around here who are big fans of the Muppets' take on the classic story.

Last night, I finally got a chance to sit down with Luke & Amanda and watch the most recent version released, which my friend Sara let me borrow. Another adaptation by Disney, starring Jim Carrey in a life-like animation of the story, which was just released last year.

It was wonderful! I can only begin to imagine how much more thrilling it would have been to see in theatres last year in 3D. But since I usually only watch the Mickey version of the story, I was surprised at how scary it could be! I jumped - more than once. The spirits are...well, they're kind of creepy. Especially the ghost of Marley. I think that scene might have been better suited in a Halloween movie!

But overall? I loved it. It has instantly become one of my favourites. I recommend it - but just not for young children.

What's your favourite version of A Christmas Carol? Is there one particular show or movie that you make sure to view every year?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

SO WHAT Wednesday!

I'm feeling uninspired, blog-wise. So rather than remaining silent for another day, I decided to play along with:
SO WHAT if...
  • ...I'm leaving for Cuba in 37 days and I don't fit in half of the shorts, tees, dresses, and bathing suits I bought? It's Christmastime, dammit, I can't diet now!!!
  • ...My car is a 13-year-old dinosaur that might quit on me any day now. Nobody else in my town has a '97 Rav 4 with black roof racks!! When people see me coming, they're ready with a wave!
  • ...My credit card bills are massive. I'm happy with my purchases. All of them. So piss off.
  • ...The next time I go to the store I need to spend over half of my shopping budget on chocolate. I'm making lots of Christmas treats that require melting chocolate, okay?!
  • ...My fish tank is so dirty that you can't even see the fish. I open the lid to make sure they're still swimming around. They're okay. I'll get to it someday...
  • ...I watched 3 Christmas movies on Sunday. It got me in the spirit, and I can't think of anything more productive that I should have been doing! (Oh...right...the fish...frig!!)
  • ...The Sens are horrible. It'll be okay. And Wade Redden's still hot. I don't care if he's not even an NHL'er anymore.
  • ...Stupid London, Ontario got 3 feet of snow over the past few days. WE'RE gonna get our own dumping on Sunday. So THERE!!
  • ...I listen to Bruce Springsteen's "Merry Christmas Baby" at least four or five times every day. It makes me happy!

So there's my "SO WHAT Wednesday" rant. Felt good! Feel like playing along? Hop on over to Life After I "Dew" and link up!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Villain Gets the Last Laugh

It's a bad day to be a Sens fan.

I've been pretty quiet on the Sens front this season thus far, mainly because I've been less than enthused. So far the 2010-2011 Ottawa Senators have been a terribly inconsistent bunch. They strung together, like, four wins about a month ago and had me excited for a few weeks, but otherwise...dismal. Very, very dismal.

You know they don't win much when Amanda was overheard whispering to Luke during last night's game, "Have they won any games yet this year?"

They have. But not many.

Granted, there has been a lot going on off the ice in the past month, with the unexpected passing of assistant coach Luke Richardson's daughter. For a while there, it could be said that their minds and hearts were elsewhere. It was excusable.

But last night, they should have been pumped. There was no excuse for a lacklustre, half-assed effort. Because one of the biggest villains in Ottawa Senators history - right up there with Alexei Yashin - was in town.

It was the return of Dany Heatley. And Sens fans had been forced to wait for this reunion for over a year and a half. They were ready.

Too bad the team wasn't.

While Ottawa has been chastised for not selling out last night's game, they were 18,000 strong, and they came prepared. Chants of "HEATLEY SUCKS" rained down before the first puck-drop. They came armed with signs spewing all different kinds of malice. This one was my favourite:

They booed him when he touched the puck. They ran down to the glass in groups and chucked their old Heatley jerseys on to the ice. Those who chose to still wear theirs blacked out certain letters so it instead read "HATE 15" on the back. They roared when he took a penalty for high-sticking his former teammate and buddy, Jason Spezza. The booed loudly when he was credited with an assist on one of San Jose's four (unanswered) goals.

By then end of the night, they were even chanting "DANY DOUCHEBAG! DANY DOUCHEBAG!"

So it really is a shame that the team on the ice didn't display the same intense fervour and passion as their fans did.

Rather than celebrating a huge win and rubbing Heater's face in it, this morning the papers and sports call-in shows are all talking about what an embarassing game it was. What a massive disappointment it was. People are pushing panic buttons. (Literally, on the Team 1200 morning show TGOR, Steve and JR were actually pushing a panic button, with sirens and robot voice and all.) Fans are calling for them to completely blow up the team and start over. Names like Fisher and Alfredsson - cornerstones of the franchise - are being tossed around as trade bait.

Earlier this week, even in the wake of that pathetic loss to the lowly Oilers, it was fun to be a Sens fan again. The hype of Heatley returning to Ottawa was easy to get swept up in. It was exciting to see the anticipation build, and hear about what people were going to put on their signs, and what they were threatening to throw at him.

This morning? The hype is all gone. And all that's left is the sick feeling in my gut, knowing Dany Heatley - slimy little vermin that he is - got the last laugh.

And as the Sharks head out of town, we're left with this mess of a team, and no sign of hope.

No. It's not a great day to be a Sens fan. Not at all.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Sexiest Christmas Song Everrrrr

So, many of my friends in the Blogosphere have been taking part in a 12 Day Christmas Challenge, which I would have liked to take part in but wasn't on the ball enough to get my act together in time to jump in on Day 1 with the rest of them. It seems the holiday season kind of crept up on me this year, and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to write blogs about Christmas two weeks ago.

But now it's December. Now, I'm ready to go. Bring on the wrapping paper and bows, the multiple viewings of The Grinch and Elf, the chocolate cookie bark and gingerbread houses, the trees and lights...Bring on the Christmas season!

Today, they're all talking about their favourite Christmas songs. I've had my iTunes Christmas playlist on rotation for the past week, and today I even added some new additions thanks to getting some new ideas for downloads from Kelly's list on her blog (thanks Kelly!)

I've got lots of favourites. Too many to choose from.

But I've got a little twist on the topic, and my question to you is this: What do think is the sexiest Christmas song?

I think there are a few heavy contenders out there. For instance, "Santa Baby" by Madonna. Pretty slinky and sexy, right?

How about "Baby It's Cold Outside" - I'm thinkin' the Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton version, but any rendition will do. Conjures up images of snuggling by fires, wrapped up in blankets, while a snowstorm rages outdoors...oh yeah, baby!!

And of course, there's one of my all-time faves, Elvis crooning "Blue Christmas" - and I especially love the recent release of Martina McBride joining him in singing it. Super hawt. (But I think I might be a little biased, considering my crazy Elvis obsession. Young Elvis is so yummy...)

However, there's one Christmas song that takes the #1 spot in my world. Every time I hear it, it almost gives me goosebumps. It's that sexy. And these honours belong to Bruce Springsteen with his holiday hit, "Merry Christmas Baby". I luuuuuuuuuurve it!!

After watching the video Lindsay posted on her blog today of Wayne Rostad's classic "Christmas in the Valley", I had a hard time not putting him on the list. I mean, just go check out Wayne's sexy 'stache and the way he leans against the building whilst strumming his guitar...Drool-worthy, ladies. Absolutely drool-worthy. ;)

Got a song that you think tops The Boss for Sexiest Christmas Song Everrrrrr? Share it in the comments section!

Enjoy the tunes!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

December, Baby!

Happy DECEMBER!!!!

I love December. It means parties and good food and even better drinks and presents and family and friends and twinkly lights and decorations and holiday specials and Christmas carols and snow...
Wait. What's that? No snow? In Canada? On December 1st?

I know. It's so so so sad. Like, how am I supposed to turn on all my Christmas lights tonight without any freakin' SNOW???

It's been pouring rain here for two days now. Here at work, they estimate that if it had come as fluffy goodness, we'd have two feet. There's a chance it could change to flurries by tonight, they say, but for now, it's just rain. Ugly rain that makes everything brown and muddy and depressing. This isn't the month for brown and muddy and depressing. It's the month for snowflakes and sparkling and white cold awesomeness.

Where is it?! Where is IT!?!?

Hopefully it comes soon. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without a little of the white stuff on the ground...