Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's already Wednesday!  WOO HOO!!  Here's what I'm loving this Wednesday:

I'm loving the memories of a fun & relaxing weekend, the first truly festive weekend of the Christmas season!  I kicked if off Friday by celebrating (maybe a smidge too much) at our company Christmas luncheon.  The good news is, I didn't throw any chunks of ice at anybody's head.  The bad news is, I don't think anyone will ever play poker with me again.  The party wound down fairly early this year, so lots of water and early to bed (by 10:30 pm) resulted me being A-OK in the morning.  I met up with Mom and Danica, and we went to the Christmas Market at Pine Lodge, where I got a few of the things I really wanted:  a pair of sweater mitts, a Christmas mug, a new decoration for my house, and a container of homemade goodies.   Then Dan and I chilled for the rest of the day, watching movies and old episodes of Full House on Netflix (she loves watching Full House!).  On Sunday, I went to church, took pics for the McCann family, and then settled in to watch Coat of Many Colors with Lindsay, Stacy, and Maddy.  Finished the day off by watching the Redblacks win the Grey Cup with Mom!  What a great weekend!!
I won a boobie prize at the MVT Christmas party... an elephant ornament!  And yes, those are my drunk eyes. yeesh.

I mentioned them above, but I really do LOVE the new sweater mitts I bought from the Sewing Sistas.  So warm and cozy!

I also LOVE the "Coffee & Joy" Christmas mug I bought from Casey Snyder Design.

And I didn't intend on buying any more Christmas decorations, but I LOVE the wooden rustic tree I picked up from Pepere's Workshop.  So happy with my Christmas Market purchases!

I loved going through Shannon, Casey, and Rylie's pictures last night and editing them.  I was a little worried that I hadn't gotten many good ones, but once I really took a good look last night, I was quite pleased with a few of them.  I hope they are happy with them as well!

I so loved watching the Ottawa Redblacks win the Grey Cup on Sunday night!  I'm not much of a football fan, but it was a very exciting game that ended in dramatic fashion, in Overtime.  The Redblacks were the underdogs going into the game, so it was a pretty sweet finish.  My dad was a huge CFL fan, and always cheered for the Ottawa team, so I know he was smiling. :)

Our church's fundraiser Christmas-themed Facebook auction closed over a week ago, and on the last day, my cousin Paula outbid me on the Movie Night In or Out basket that was donated by G&D Appliance Repair.  As it turns out, Paula won the basket and then sent me a message to tell me she got it for me!  I was SO excited!  I picked up my basket last night, and it is just chock-full of everything you need for a perfect Christmas movie night!  A popcorn maker, popcorn containers, my favourite Christmas movie - Miracle on 34th Street, both versions! - snacks, and a two-for-one pass for the movie theatre.  If ever there was a basket made for me, this is the one.  And yes, I do love it, very much so.

Loving that I accomplished my goal of getting pretty much all my Christmas shopping done on my day off Monday!  It was a long and tiring day (my poor mother just about quit on me a few times), but it felt so good to come home, sort through everything, and feel like a big weight was off my shoulders.  I still need a few odds and ends, mostly gift cards - but I can get them locally and there's no rush, it isn't even December yet!

I love that our Girls Christmas get-together is this coming Friday at my place.  We are having a Crazy Christmas Sock Party this year, which I think will be a fun twist on our annual Christmas gathering.  Everyone is to bring a pair of Christmas socks filled with little Christmas goodies and treats, which we will exchange.  (that reminds me, I need to find a game to do the exchange!)  Can't wait to eat, drink & be merry with some of my favourite ladies!

Loving that Saturday is going to be a full-on BAKING DAY!!!  I can't believe I haven't done any baking yet... I'm way behind the ball on that one!  But I bought all the supplies I need, so Saturday will be baking and bark-making,  I'm excited to put on the Christmas tunes and spend the day in the kitchen!

Happy Wednesday pals!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

5 Things on Thursday: A Weekend of Fun Ahead!

This weekend feels like the OFFICIAL kick-off to the holiday season, and I can't wait to celebrate it!  Here are 5 Things I'm looking forward to this coming weekend:

  1. The Mountainview Christmas Party is TOMORROW!!  It's always my first holiday party of the season - held on the last Friday of November each year - and there is so much wonderfulness about this day.  A delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings, catered right in the MVT shop, where everyone is comfortable and casual and just ready to relax and have fun.  I'm looking forward to a Caesar or two, the mouth-watering meal, listening to some great music from our very own Mountainview "band" (so many talented musicians work here!  they all bring their instruments - including drums! - and set up in the shop, and we literally have music all day from the guys), playing Texas horseshoes, maybe a hand or two of Euchre, and who knows what else the day might bring.  MVT Christmas Party is also the day that Wayne and Pat allow me to start singing Christmas Carols (they established this rule many years ago, when I started humming Christmas tunes right after Halloween... lol) ... so I'll be belting them out loudly starting tomorrow! ;)

  2. Going to the Christmas Market at Pine Lodge on Saturday.  I have somehow always missed out on this event, but not this year.  I talked a LOT about how much I was looking forward to it in my post yesterday, and I can't wait to browse the vendors and local artisans who will be there.  
  3. Having my niece Danica for a sleepover on Saturday night!  It's been a long time since we've had a sleepover, and she's been bugging me for a while about having one.  Her big brother is in a hockey tournament this weekend, so she's going to stay with me.  We're going to get a start on my Christmas baking on Saturday afternoon, and then make popcorn and watch Christmas movies.  A perfect girls night!!
  4. Sunday plans!  Shannon, Casey, and Rylie are coming to visit me after church on Sunday so that I can take their family photos again.  I took their photos last year as well, and it went so well.  Rylie smiled and posed so easily for me.  I have my fingers crossed that we can get some good ones again this year.  After that, I'm having a "Dolly afternoon" with some friends.  Lindsay had never seen Dolly's special "Coat of Many Colors" TV movie that came out last year, so a bunch of us are getting together to watch it.  Dolly's follow-up special, "Christmas of Many Colors" is coming out next week, so it's perfect timing!  And then I'll join my Mom for supper and to watch the Grey Cup.  GO REDBLACKS!!!
  5. A day off on Monday to finish my shopping! My list is pretty small now, thanks to the convenience of on-line shopping, but I'm still looking forward to my shopping day.  I have a list of baking supplies to get at Bulk Barn, stocking stuffers and a few odds and ends to complete some gifts, and I'm just looking forward to a laid-back, fun day in the city with Mom.  I want to eat lunch somewhere nice and stop at Starbucks for a Chestnut Praline Latte in a red holiday cup, browse the stores,  take my time and enjoy it.  I can't wait!
Before I go, I'd like to wish my American bloggy pals a very happy Thanksgiving day!  Enjoy!! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2016 Gift Guide for the Pontiac Girl

I don't know about the rest of you, but Christmas gifts are front and centre in my thoughts these days.  My lists have been made (both gifts to buy & my own wishlist), many on-line orders have been placed, and the parcels have started rolling in at the post office.  I have Monday booked off to go shopping and hopefully after that day, I will be COMPLETELY done!  Phewf!!

I'm also hoping to hit up some of the local shopping in our area this weekend, and I decided today to shine a spotlight on some of those local stores/artisans/vendors who have products that would be a great gift for any Pontiac girl.  I already own some of them, and I'm wishing for others!  Any of these items would be a thrill for me to find in my stocking or under the tree on Christmas morning, and I think I know a few other Pontiac girls who would love them as well.  With this weekend being the "#ShopShawville" event as well as the Christmas Market at Pine Lodge, there will be plenty of opportunity to show some love for local vendors, as well as cross some names off your shopping list.  There will be plenty to please the Pontiac girls (and boys too!)

We'll start out with these new "I'm a Pontiac Girl" Raglan t-shirts, a team effort from Casey Snyder Design & Jolie Folie.

These are the PERFECT shirts for girls to wear to their holiday parties in the Pontiac!  I love how comfy and festive they look, all while promoting that THIS girl is a proud Pontiac girl!!!

The shirts are the latest Pontiac merch from Casey Snyder Design and Jolie Folie.  I already bought my "I'm a Pontiac Girl" mug around the time of Shawville Fair, and it is my favourite mug!

Every Pontiac girl needs one!  OH, and there is a version for the lads as well!

If I was a dude, I would TOTALLY want one of these!!!!

In case you can't tell, I have a thing for mugs.  Kind of a serious obsession, actually.  My cupboards are full of mugs, and I just keep buying more.  I'm looking forward to seeing Casey Snyder Design's table at the Pine Lodge Christmas Market on Saturday, because I have my eye on this mug:
Perhaps a little pre-Christmas gift to myself?!?  We shall see ;)

Once again with Jolie Folie, I have to mention one of my most favourite items that I have purchased from the boutique:  my blanket scarf!  
I know you can get these in many stores, as they are very popular right now, but Jolie Folie has an amazing selection of colours to choose from, and they are soooo nice.  Mine is black and white, but I'm hoping to get a more colourful one this year.

Another of my new favourite local artisans is the Sewing Sistas Boutique.  I didn't even know sisters Ashley and Breanna Hodgins had started up this little venture until I saw them at the Onslow Christmas Craft and Bake Sale a few weeks ago.  Their specialties are hand-sewn mittens like these:

I hear they will be at the Christmas Market this Saturday as well, and I'm hoping to snag a pair of mitts similar to these:
They look so cozy and warm!  And after searching my closet for warmer winter wear this past week with the arrival of the snow, I seem to be severely lacking in the mitt department... toques for days, but can't find matching mittens lol.

The Sewing Sistas also do hand-painted wine glasses, and they are SO cute!  If I was rich, I'd be buying one for each of my friends for this holiday season!
Unfortunately for my friends, I'm a little bit of a selfish brat... so instead of buying one for each of them, I just got one for ME! hahahaha!

I cannot WAIT to drink Moscato from my "Drink Up GRINCHES!" wine glass at every holiday party I go to this year.  I LOVE it!!!  Visit Ashley and Breanna at the Christmas Market on Saturday, you won't be disappointed.

Next up is the company "Funky Leggingz".  This is a company that sells the comfiest leggings in the coolest patterns and colours!  I think there are several reps in our area that sell them.  I bought one pair last winter, and then got another pair from the rep that was at the Onslow Christmas Craft and Bake Sale.  The ones I got are similar to these:

I can't say enough about how much I love these leggings.  With a big cozy sweater, they are perfect for lounging around the house on a snowy winter's day!  The rep I bought from will also be at the Christmas Market on Saturday, so go snag a pair for you or someone on your list!

These are just a few of my favourites, I could go on and on!  I guarantee any of them would be a hit with the "Pontiac Girl" on your list!! Be sure to check out the #ShopShawville event and the Christmas Market at Pine Lodge this weekend and show some love to our local stores, boutiques, vendors, and artisans!

And no, I am not being compensated by any of these great local vendors. In fact, none of them even know I am writing this post! LOL!  I'm just a big fan of shopping local when I can, and I hope all of our local businesses and entrepreneurs have a successful holiday season.  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wintery Tuesday Random Ramblings

  • I know it's not "officially" winter yet, but winter has arrived with a bang nevertheless.  The snow started on Sunday morning and basically continued right into the night last night.  It was accompanied by blustery winds that have resulted in drifting snow and a lot of cranky people around here.  And because I love the snow and have said so a time or two, it has made me Public Enemy #1. *sigh*

  • I still make no apologies for loving the snow.  As much as I love summer and enjoyed this past one to the max, this is the time of year that fills my heart with delight.  Sunday afternoon, I was so excited to hunker down.  I was in a big cozy sweater and leggings, fuzzy wool socks, curled up on the couch in a blanket while the snow and winds raged outside.  I ordered Christmas presents on-line with the fireplace on TV, then I watched the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. I made popcorn and hot chocolate with lots of little marshmallows.   For supper, I made one of my favourite "winter" meals of macaroni with hamburger and tomato.  With my house already decorated for Christmas, it was literally my perfect kind of day.  Welcome back, winter!!!
  • On Sunday evening for a few hours, I was totally wrapped up in the closing of our church's fundraising Facebook Auction.  The bidding wars really heated up in the last hour, and it was so much fun.  In the end, it was a huge success, making over $5000 towards the building fund project for our church, which is in desperate need of a new roof and other repairs and upgrades.  I was once again reminded of what an amazing community we live in, as so many different people donated items and services for the auction, and so many more were bidding on them.  The support was incredible!!
  • Well, thanks to the convenience of on-line shopping, I would say I now have about three-quarters of my Christmas shopping done.  Pretty much everything I can get online has now been ordered.  I have next Monday booked off for a shopping day to finish up the odds and ends and stocking stuffers, and then I should be completely done my shopping!  That's the one part about Christmas that I find really stressful, so I'll be happy when it's complete.  Then it's just the fun stuff:  Baking and wrapping!!  I LOVE the baking and wrapping!!
  • Friday is our company Christmas Party, and I'm really looking forward to it.  We always have this delicious turkey dinner for lunch, and I'm literally drooling just thinking about the stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy... mmmmm!  I always feel sad that we don't get to have Thanksgiving again with our American pals, but this year I basically will!  And then when it comes to the drinks, I'm going to try to walk the fine line between having fun and being silly, and getting so drunk I throw chunks of ice at other peoples' heads.  (true story, unfortunately.)
  • For the past few weeks, as I've decorated and listened to my favourite Christmas tunes, and watched a few Christmas movies, I've felt the need to clarify that "I know it's too early" - but after this weekend, I don't have to worry about that anymore.  After Friday, the holiday season will officially be open and I don't have to hide my Christmas spirit any longer! YAY!!!
  • The one thing I keep forgetting amid all this holiday hype is that the Grey Cup is on Sunday, and our Ottawa Redblacks are making an appearance in the big game for the second year in a row!  I don't pay a whole lot of attention to football, but I'll be rooting them on on Sunday.  GO REDBLACKS!!!
Happy snowy Tuesday, my friends! :)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Confessions

It's been a while since I've confessed on a Friday... I think I'm due! :)

I confess... that I did go curling last night after all.  And no, I really didn't enjoy it (the actual curling part, I mean.)  I have no athletic ability, I have old lady knees, and I'm easily frustrated, so yeah... kind of a bad combination.  But I think it has the potential to get fun if I keep practicing and eventually start to semi-understand what the hell I'm doing, so... I guess I'm going to keep curling.  Pray for me.

I confess... that I'm a GIANT baby.  At one point last night, I literally almost had a two-year-old tantrum.  I felt totally uncoordinated, I hated wearing the stupid slippy thing on my shoe that everyone insisted I had to try, my knees were killing me, and when I landed on my ass while trying to slide out of the thingies, I almost lost it.  Like, I spent a good five minutes blinking back tears and going back and forth between these two thoughts:  "I am NOT EVER going to be good at this, and I am NOT EVER going to be a curler.  I am SO not doing this all winter!" and "DO NOT CRY IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, YOU LOSER!  THEY ARE GOING TO THINK YOU'RE CRAZY!!!!"

I confess... the one part of curling I actually do like is when I'm supposed to be a sweeper but they don't actually need me to sweep, so I get to just shuffle/jog down the ice beside the rock.  That I can do all frigging night long, no problemo.

I confess... that after the stressful first night of curling was done, I ate a cheeseburger.  And then all was right with the world again.

I confess... that Brenda and Sue also introduced me to a delightful new drink last night that I'd never tried before... vodka, cranberry juice, and club soda... tasted like red Kool Aid to me, and it was soooo good!

I confess... that when I got home, I thought I'd crash quickly, but I was sooo wrong.  It took me forever to wind down.  I watched TV til almost midnight, and then couldn't fall asleep when I went to bed.  So, I'm a wee bit groggy this morning.

I confess... that I'm planning to finish off the Christmas decorating tonight and tomorrow!  I thought I'd get Tree #2 up in the dining room some night this week, but it never happened.  I'm running to Shawville after work to get new lights for this tree, then I'll come home and put it up, get orange slices drying in the oven, and hopefully get the popcorn garland made.  I'll get the rest of the dining room and kitchen decorated tomorrow and then I'm finished that part of the Christmas prep!  Phewf!

I confess... that it seems surreal to me that our company Christmas party is exactly one week from today.  I can't wait!  It's always so much fun!!

I confess... that I kind of want to have a Scandal binge session.  I don't think I actually have time this weekend to have a Scandal binge session, but if I can somehow work it in, I will.  I need me some serious time with President Fitz.

Happy Friday, dudes! Have a great weekend!   :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Introvert or Extrovert?

You know how some people fall distinctly into the "introvert" or "extrovert" category?  I don't think I do.  I think I must be a good mix of both.

People who know me would say, "You think you're an introvert?  Are you nuts?  No way, you're not even close!!" Because I can be loud, I can be silly, and I can certainly enjoy being in the spotlight at times.  (especially if I've had a drink or two...)  I love hanging out with my friends, going to parties, taking part in big social events in our community.  I'm not afraid to speak publicly, and I enjoy being a bit of a clown.

But I don't like venturing too far from my comfort zone, and when I'm pushed, I tend to retreat.  Instead of taking a deep breath and a big step forward, I'm far more likely to recoil, curl up in a ball, and sink into a hole.  I hate walking in somewhere alone, I can be extremely self-conscious, and if I'm uncomfortable, my social awkwardness can escalate to ridiculous levels.  There IS a reason I'm perpetually single, y'all.

Take, for example, the dilemma that is facing me tonight:  joining a "just for fun" local curling league.  I've been weighing the pros and cons for a few weeks now, trying to decide if this is actually something I want to do.  The league started last year, just a bunch of Quyon folks getting together for some laughs, some fun physical activity, some drinks at the curling rink on Thursdays.  I didn't join last year because I was already taking Zumba on Thursday nights, but all I heard were rave reviews about how much fun it was, and how much they all enjoyed it.  I curled in a bonspiel with friends last February and had a lot of fun, so I thought maybe I'd join the league this year.

Now's the time.  They start out with two weeks of "practice" before they start playing real games, and last week was the first week of practice.  I weaseled out of the first week, so I need to decide if I'm going tonight, or not curling at all.

The pros:  A bunch of my friends are taking part, and I know we'll have fun together.  I always like sitting around at the curling rink and visiting.  It would be a night out every week, especially at a time of year when there isn't much else going on.  It's getting some exercise, which I desperately need more of in my life.  It might be fun to learn the game so that I actually understand what's going on when my mom forces me to watch it with her on TV.  And they serve the best burgers up at that curling rink...

The cons:  This is the time of year when I like to hibernate, and I know that every week I'll be saying, "Ah shit.  I have to curl tonight."  Especially when it gets colder.  I'll have to psych myself up to get out the door each week.  I suck at curling, and I will never be an athlete, so whoever gets stuck with me will be carrying a constant burden all year.  I don't know who's team I will be on, and even though I "know" everyone, I might not be with people I know all that well, and I'll feel awkward and backwards.  Thursdays are normally my grocery nights, and while I might have time to do both, most weeks will be too cold to leave the groceries sitting in the car for a few hours while I curl.  And also... I'm broke.  I know the expense is minimal, but still... I'm broke.  Always.

Really, I know that the decision is clear:   all I need to do is decide if I want to be an introvert or an extrovert.  As much as I love hanging out with friends, making plans with them, and having a good time, I also really like my time to myself, my solitude and my quiet.  All these years of being single have turned me into a very selfish person.  I like doing what I want, when I want, and nobody telling me otherwise.

If I decide to join the curling gang, I'll be making a commitment to stepping outside my little cocoon every week.  I'll be forcing myself to do something that is out of my comfort zone; something that I'm quite sure I'll never be good at, no matter how hard I try.

So which am I... a homebody, or a curler?

An introvert, or an extrovert?

... I still don't know.  *sigh*

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday Loves!

Here is what I'm loving this Wednesday:
  • Dinner plans tonight! Last week, on Election Day in the USA, Claire and I were fretting in the office about the possibility of Donald Trump becoming the next President.  Lindsay confidently told us there was no way that would ever happen.  She was so sure Hillary Clinton was going to win, that she said if Trump won, she would take Claire and I out to The Keg for a steak dinner on her.  So... guess where we're going tonight? ;)  
  • For those of you saying "But hate steak!"  Yes, this is true.  Although one of the very few times I've actually enjoyed steak was the one and only time I've ever been to The Keg before, and I had the Steak Oscar at Lindsay's recommendation.  I loooooved it.  And that is what I will be having tonight as well, with a twice-baked potato.  I'm drooling just thinking about it.
  • Loving that my plans and purchases for Christmas gifts are coming together, and I'd say I actually have about half of my shopping done now thanks to the wonderful world of on-line shopping.  It's such a relief to check names off!  I still have a few people that are question marks - I struggle to come up with good, unique, and affordable ideas for one or two on my list - but overall, I'm pleased with how well it's going thus far.
  • As the week goes on, I'm realizing more and more how happy I am that I started decorating last weekend, and that my living room is all but done.  It's just such a wonderful feeling to cuddle up on the couch to watch TV at night by the glow of the tree.  I LOVE how my house feels when it's all festive looking!
  • I'm also loving the prospect of yet another weekend of festive preparations coming up.  I want to get my tree up in the dining room and get it decorated.  I still have a bag full of the candy canes and cookie ornaments we made for it the year of the tour.  I want to add the dried orange slices again, and believe it or not, I'm actually considering making another popcorn garland - something I swore I would never do again.  But for some reason, I now think it would be peaceful to sit and watch a Christmas movie while stringing popcorn.  Call me crazy.  In fact, I'll probably call myself crazy after I start the project...
  • I know I've mentioned this a few times lately, but my Lord, I LOVE the show Scandal.  I haven't been able to fully give myself over to watching Christmas movies yet because I've been so into this show.  I don't know what it is about President Fitzgerald Grant, but I just love him so much and I want Olivia to be with him.  Makes no sense... I've never been a huge Tony Goldwyn fan, and I don't even find him that good-looking, but since I started watching this show... can't get enough of him.
  • I just love how well our church's fundraiser Christmas-themed Facebook Auction is going!  It closes on Sunday, and so far, it has been going AMAZINGLY well.  When this community rallies, they rally HARD.  
  • I love that it gets dark so early now.  I know, I'm a weirdo, but I just love dark and cozy evenings.  Puttering in the kitchen making supper (usually soup these days!) and listening to music; reading in the bath; getting into jammies early and cozying up on the couch to watch TV... when it's bright out til 9 PM, it feels wrong to do these things, but the early darkness gives me permission to go into hibernation mode.  And I LOVE hibernation mode.
  • And also, I know most people are loving this crazy beautiful weather we've been having, but I love the fact that snowflakes are finally starting to appear in the long range forecast.  I just don't want them to come on our company Christmas party day next Friday... I'm a selective snow lover. ;)
Happy Wednesday, pals! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When Christmas Came to Town Early...

As I mentioned in my post last week, I was feeling pretty heavy-hearted and anxious in the days following the US Presidential Election.  I do not live in the US, but I feel the choice they made effects us all on a global scale, and yes, I do find this a scary and worrying time.  My heart was troubled.

So what does Jill do when she's worried or sad or scared?  She tries to find ways to cheer herself up.  And in this case, it meant that Christmas came to town a little early this year...

My rule for Christmas decorating had always been "last weekend of November" for putting up the tree and getting the house all Christmasified.  But two years ago, I was on the Christmas House Tour that our church hosts annually, and I had no choice but to get the decs up early.  It was a month-long project to get ready, and with the tour being Dec. 1st that year, I literally started getting ready on Nov. 1st.

You know those people who say, "Ugh I get sick of my decorations by Christmas.  I can't wait to take them down after the holidays."?  I am not one of them.  That year, when I was pretty much fully decked out by mid-November, I LOVED having my house bursting with Christmas cheer.  And I was still sad to take it all down in early January.  So last year, I thought, "Why wait?"  No, I didn't start decorating November 1st, and no, I did not decorate as much as I did the year of the tour, but I did start around mid-November, and I was glad I did.

So this year, while I was feeling anxious and upset, I made the decision to go ahead and start decorating on the weekend.  This was the earliest I've ever decorated aside from the year I was on the tour.  I still followed the "not before Remembrance Day rule" as it was on Friday (although I don't really think it's disrespectful to decorate before); but on Saturday I let the hollying and jollying begin.  I got my house cleaned first thing in the morning, then Mom and I headed out to a local school that was hosting a Christmas Craft & Bake Sale.  JUST the thing to put me in the festive mood!  Not only that, I finally got a start on my Christmas shopping, as I picked up my first gift at the sale!  Woo hoo! I also got a hand-painted wine glass for myself  for the holiday season that says "Drink Up Grinches!", a new pair of Funky Leggingz, some new winter scents for my Scentsy warmer, and we also had lunch from the canteen and bought some sweets from the bake sale.

Then I just couldn't wait to get home and START!!  Last spring, my friend Josee moved out west, and before she left, she bestowed upon me her Christmas tree.  I have a smaller tree that is a hand-me-down from my mom, but I decided I would put it up in my dining room and use Josee's in the living room.  It is a BIG tree and it took me all afternoon and into the evening to get it up and decorated.  I just puttered away it, and kept putting on Christmas movies to get me through the task.  It was also an extremely sheddy tree, and I had fake needles from one end of my house to the other.  Yikes!

But it looked sooo beautiful once it was up and decorated.  I think I'll buy more lights for next year because I didn't quite have enough to properly light up this gigantic tree, but I was happy with it in the end anyways.

I was pretty tired once the tree was finally done (you know you're getting old when putting up a CHRISTMAS TREE exhausts you), but I did dig out some of the other decorations, and the living room and front hall are now mostly done.  Next step is getting the dining room tree up and starting to work on it, and decorating that room and the kitchen.  I have a few things for the upstairs too.

So yes.  I did it early.  Maybe a little too early.  But you know what?  It really does make me happy.  I love how my living room feels with the lights off and just lit by the glow of the tree.  It's cozy and comforting and somehow a little bit magical.  This is my time of year, and why shouldn't I celebrate it for as long as I can?  There's no law against it, and I'm going to maximize it for all it's worth.

Also, I have a couple of holiday parties that will be happening at my house, with the first being December 2nd, so I had to make sure and have the decorations up in time for that.  By the time this weekend is over, the bulk of it should be done, which frees me up for baking, shopping, wrapping, and getting ready for the Christmas parties with friends and family.  It's kind of a relief to know it will be done and I can just soak up the beauty of it while I work away at other Christmassy projects.

Christmas came to my town early this year, and I couldn't be happier about it.  Let the holiday fun BEGIN!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

5 Things on Thursday

Here are 5 Things that are on my mind this Thursday:

1. I didn't write a post yesterday because I needed time to let things settle in my head and my heart.  I didn't want to write from a place of anger and fear, and I'm glad I took the day to just think. I admit that I don't follow politics - in any country - very closely, and my main source of info regarding the US Election was Jimmy Fallon.  So I may not be the most informed when it comes to the topic.  But for the first time in my life, I cared very much about what was about to happen, and I sat down to watch the results of the election south of the border.  I was praying with all heart and soul that Donald Trump would not win.  As time went on throughout the night, it became increasingly clear that he WAS going to win, and I felt a deep and scary panic start to take hold of me.  At one point, I actually started to feel like I couldn't breathe.  I do believe I had a little panic attack, and that was my sign to shut the TV off and go to bed.  I understand that Hillary Clinton might not be the most savoury choice to many, but how could she be worse than him? The most powerful and influential country in the world, and our direct neighbour to the south, has elected a man who, in my eyes, is a racist misogynistic bigot who can't even complete a sentence and who has zero political experience prior to this election.  I'm baffled.  I'm blown away.  I read a lot yesterday, and I tried to understand.  I read news articles trying to explain why this happened.  I read blog posts by educated people who tried to explain why they voted for him.  I really have tried to understand, but I just don't get it.  And I'm scared.  This feels like a very dark and uncertain time, not just for the USA, but globally.  I'm trying to keep positive, and I keep reassuring myself, "I'm lucky to be Canadian.  I'm safe.  The sun is going to keep coming up.  We are all going to be okay."  But I just don't know what the future holds with a President by the name of "Trump" in the White House, and it is scary to me.  Terrifying.

(I know I have some readers and blog pals from the States, some of whom probably supported Trump, and please don't be offended.  These are just my thoughts and feelings on the matter.)

2.  But the sun does keep coming up.  And thankfully, aside from fear over what happened Tuesday night in the States, I am feeling better now than I have in a few weeks, health-wise.  I know my posts lately have all been me whining about headaches and hives and infected tonsils and rashes, but thank the Lord, most of it seems to have passed now.  The rash is still not completely gone, and it's leaving dry and flaky skin in its wake, but I can handle that.  Phewf!

3. Another positive this week is that I am finally starting to get some good ideas for Christmas gifts, and a list is starting to take shape.  I still haven't actually bought anything, but the ideas are there, and that's sometimes the hardest part.  Now if only my bank account would become suddenly flush with magical money, we'd be all set. ;)

4.  Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada, so it is our opportunity to reflect on our freedom, and give thanks for those who died for us, and for those who are still defending our beautiful country today. I attended our little town's service at the Cenotaph last Sunday, and I'm glad there was such a great turnout to show their respect and pay homage.  It feels like a very important thing to do; to take the time to remember and be grateful.  Lest we forget.

5. I have a movie date planned for tomorrow night with my mom and my BIL's mom, Donna.  I really look forward to our movie dates, as we try to go a few times a year, and this time we're heading to finally see The Girl on the Train.  We all really enjoyed the book and I can't wait to see how the film interpretation compares!

Happy Thursday, friends!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Things Inside My Brain Today

I have so many random things swirling around in my brain today, so I'm just gonna lay it all out there...

  • I feel like the past few posts have just been me lamenting over health issues.  Well, guess what.  Here I go again.  Last Wednesday I went to the hospital, was diagnosed with infected tonsils, and given a prescription.  They asked me 80 billion times if I was allergic to penicillin and 80 billion times I said no.  I don't think I've had to take it since I was a kid, but back then, I was fine.  (God, I LOVED banana medicine, I used to pretend I was sick just so I could get some.) Now, apparently I am allergic.  I broke out in a rash on my neck on Saturday, and by Sunday morning it had spread all over my torso and up into my face, so back to the ER I went.  ugh.  Twice in one week.  Sonofabitch.
  • The good news is I had yet again speedy service at our local hospital, and I was lucky enough to have the same doctor that I had on Wednesday.  He even remembered me.  He told me to stop taking the penicillin, told me to take Benadryl to help with the rash, and because my infection seemed completely cleared up, he didn't even need to prescribe me another antibiotic for my throat. 
  • It was kind of a waste of a trip, though, because I had basically already diagnosed myself exactly the same way he did.  I was torn about what to do:  stop taking the meds, take Benadryl instead, and not worry about the throat because it was much better - OR - go to the hospital, because maybe I'm dying and I just don't know yet.  Thankfully, it was the former.  And now, I'm basically a doctor, because the real MD told me exactly what I already thought.
  • Now it's Tuesday, and I still have a rash.  It can F off annnnny day now.  Especially on my face.  I feel like I have a pizza face and everyone's probably wondering what the hell happened to me.  Thankfully, it's not very itchy.  Just ugly.
  • On to other laments... I have not bought one Christmas present yet.  Not ONE.  I'm starting to feel panicky.
  • Despite the panic over the lack of Christmas shopping, I am getting VERY excited about Christmas.  I'm hoping to have a very holly-jolly Saturday, as it is the Onslow School Craft Sale that day, and I'm also planning to start decorating.  I have yet to watch a Christmas movie or listen to any Christmas music, but Saturday will be the day.  My official kick-off to Christmas.  I can't wait!!
  • I've been starting to make a list in my head of the Christmas baking I want to do, and last night when I was taking containers of soup down to the freezer, I discovered I still have a tin of last year's Christmas baking in there.  Whoops. Guess I'll toss that to make room for the new!
  • I'm a little bit nervous about Election Day today south of the border.  This may very well be the first time I've really cared about what's going on down there politically, and the first time I've felt fear over what might happen.  I'm actually thinking I might camp out on the couch and stay up tonight to see what happens.  Either that or Scandal... either way, my evening will involve US politics, whether they be real or imaginary. 
  • Oh, and yes, I LOVE Scandal.  I'm well into Season 3 now and it's like candy to me.  I can't get enough of Olivia Pope and her relationship with the President, and now there's this new love interest Jake... I just can't wait to get home at night to dive back in where I left off.
  • Our little church is holding a Christmas-themed Facebook auction, which opened on Sunday morning, and so far the response has been overwhelming.  The generosity of people in our community has once again blown me away.  It makes me truly proud to live in this town and to be one of these people.  
  • I still have way too much Halloween candy kicking around my house, and the quantity of mini chocolate bars I eat in a day is a little bit ridiculous.  Each week I say I'm going to get back on track, but the bowl of Halloween candy is apparently bottomless.  *sigh*  
  • Oh, and my music love du jour is Chris Stapleton.  I mean, I already knew Chris Stapleton's music - he won me over with his performance of "Tennessee Whiskey" with Justin Timberlake at last year's CMAs, and any song I've heard of his on the radio, I liked - but last week I downloaded the whole Traveler album, and I can't stop listening to it.  So good, my friends.  SO good.  My favourite jams right now is "Nobody to Blame" and "Whiskey and You".

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Hello, November.

November.  It's November.  WHEN did this happen?!?

The weeks seem to be flying by at record speed lately.  I can't even begin to fathom where the past year has gone.  It dawned on me the other day that last September, when I headed off to Nova Scotia with Lindsay for a long weekend getaway, I declared myself on a year long "Sabbatical".  I only just realized my "Sabbatical" actually ended over a month ago.  And I don't really feel like I did that much Sabbaticking.  (yes, I just made up a word.)

But now it's over, and there's no time for Sabbaticking now!

I find myself diving head-first into this crazy-busy season, as I'm working on organizing our church's annual Christmas House Tour, and I've also offered to help with the Christmas-themed Facebook Auction our church is holding to help raise funds for a new roof and much-needed repairs to the building.  Add to that the usual hub-bub of planning and prepping for the Christmas season, and I'm already finding myself a little overwhelmed.  There are Christmas teas and bazaars and craft shows and parties booked from now til kingdom come.  There's baking and decorating and shopping to be done.  There's a lot going on in my little world, and while I love this time of year and the excitement it brings, I'm also already feeling the hustle and bustle, and I kinda want to turn it down a notch.

Part of my problem has been this general feeling of being "unwell" the past few weeks.  It has been one thing after another - nothing major, just little frustrating ailments - but this week resulted in a trip to the ER because of an extremely sore throat.  I'm not the kind of person who goes to the hospital for any little ol' thing. I usually have to be forced up there kicking and screaming.  So I'd had this sore throat since last Thursday or Friday, no other cold symptoms, and honestly, I wouldn't even know there was something wrong with my throat until I tried to swallow.  But eating, drinking, even yawning... well, it hurt.  A lot.  My mom kept urging me to get it checked in case it was strep throat or something, but aside from being a little low-energy, no appetite, and having swollen glands, I had nothing else going on but pain when I swallowed, and I figured they'd just tell me it was a virus and send me home.

Then yesterday morning, I realized my tonsils were bleeding.  Yes, you read that right.  Bleeding.  And THAT kind of freaked me out.  It was the kick in the pants to finally get me up to the hospital, and sure enough, I have tonsillitis.  The good part about all of this was that I had the speediest and best service I've ever had at our local hospital.  Part of my dread of going up there is sitting and waiting for hours (and of course, I really didn't think they'd find anything wrong with me, so it felt like it would be a giant waste of time).  But I got to the ER around 8 am, and discovered I was one of only two people there.  I was taken into Triage quickly where they took my vitals and did a strep test, then after a brief sit in the waiting room, I was moved into a room in emergency. I only had to wait about 15 minutes for the doctor.  He told me my strep test came back negative, but after one look in my mouth, he told me my tonsils were infected.  He prescribed me an antibiotic, and instructed me to gargle with salt water from now on after I eat to keep them clean.  I had picked up my prescription at the pharmacy and was back to work by 10 am.  Record time.

I don't know if it's the antibiotic, or the reassurance of seeing a doctor who did not tell me I'm dying, or what, but I feel better today than I have in weeks.  I feel like I finally have a bit of pep in my step again.  I don't have a headache, I don't have hives, my eyes aren't puffy, my tonsils aren't bleeding, and my throat is already feeling better.

Thank the Lord.

Oh, and aside from the sore throat which kind of ruined my candy consumption, Halloween was fun!  We all dressed up at work had a little party in the office.  Then I went to my mom's for the evening to hand out treats there, and there were so many cute costumes.  (Nicole, I promise I took pictures!  Just not uploaded yet!)  We had 31 kids, and I'm so glad my friends all bring their little ones to see us.  It was great!!

So now... on to November.  The holiday season is hurtling at us at a hundred miles an hour.  The hustle and bustle is coming at me, and I don't even know if it's possible to turn it down a notch.

Time to buckle up!!