Thursday, January 24, 2019

My January Stuff

So, as my post yesterday indicated, I've been doing all my favourite January things.  Watching TV, crocheting while listening to podcasts, reading, listening to tunes while I cook or bake...  Here's a rundown on what I'm "into" these days:

  • Game of Thrones:  This show was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to subscribe to Crave.  I have been hearing about it for years, and I've been told so many times I would love it.  So Sunday morning, I subscribed and dove into the show right away.  I finished the first season last night (so yeah, I've watched a lot of GoT in the past few days), and I have to say... I'm underwhelmed so far.  Disappointingly so. I'm not giving up on it, but I'm really not sure this show is my gig.  I'm having a hard time keeping track of who is who, for one thing.  I have to keep googling to remind myself how certain characters are related, or how they're connected, or just who the hell they are.  Problem #2: Beheadings.  Stabbings.  Tongues being cut out.  Hearts being eaten.  I have realized in recent years that I don't handle blood well, and I don't  handle TV blood well either apparently.  I cannot eat while watching this show because there is SO much blood.  I have to hide my eyes.  Sometimes it happens so fast and without warning, I don't get a chance to hide my eyes.  I haaaate that.  I'm going to hang in there, though.  Too many people have promised me I'll love this show for me to give up on it yet.  I keep thinking if I stick with it, I'll get hooked yet.  Maybe Season 2 will finally grab me.  Can I hope for less gore?  We'll see.
  • Crave in general: I was so excited to get Crave because there are quite a few shows available through that streaming service that aren't on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  I hate to say it, but again... I'm underwhelmed.  I had read several reviews online and many complained of a poor set-up and it not being very user-friendly.  I figured it was just people whining.  It isn't  I can't figure out how they haven't got a better set-up.  I can't see a list of episodes for each show, there is no description to read, and it only plays one episode and then stops.  I have to go back to the main frame and click on the show again to get the next episode to roll.  SUCH a pain in the ass.  It makes Netflix's occasional "Are you still there?" message seem like nothing to ever complain about.  And don't even get me started on "fast-forwarding" or "rewinding".  It takes FOR. EV. ERRRRRRRR.  Surely to God, if Netflix and Prime Video and all these other streaming services can figure it out, Crave can too?  Another disappointing aspect: When I signed up, I went with the basic package for $9.99/month instead of the special package with current HBO shows + movies for $19.99/month.  I was well aware of what was available to me by making that choice.  However, once I was subscribed and started adding to "My Cravings" list, all of these amazing recent movies appeared to be available.  I was stoked.  That first night, I excitedly settled in to watch "The Greatest Showman", only to discover when I clicked on it that it said "Upgrade to Watch".  These newer movies weren't actually available to me at all. I don't think content that is NOT  included in my package should pop up at all. I wasn't impressed.  So overall? Yeah.  Less than thrilled.  I'll keep it to watch these shows I've been wanting to see, but then I'll probably cut Crave loose.
  • Someone Knows Something: As you might recall, back in November I got all tangled up in the first season of the CBC podcast "Someone Knows Something".  It was the first time I'd ever listened to a podcast, and I was doubly intrigued by the story of a boy who went missing in the '70's from a nearby town.  I didn't continue to other seasons because A) it was Christmas, I had so many movies and shows to watch, and B) I didn't think I'd care about other stories that weren't as local as the first season was.  Over the holidays and into the new year, I tried out a few other podcasts - Dirty John and a true crime podcast a friend recommended, but I didn't love them the way I loved Someone Knows Something.  So last week, I decided to give Season 2 a try, and yet again, I'm hooked.  This season revolves around a girl named Sheryl Sheppard from Hamilton, ON 19 years ago.  Nothing I enjoy more than coming home from work and spending an hour crocheting and listening to SKS before supper time.
  • Call the Midwife Blanket: I kind of lost my cro-jo over the Christmas holidays.  You would think it would have been prime downtime to start working on the next project, but I just had no inspiration at all.  I finally picked up the hook again last week and started on a pattern I'd been wanting to try out for the "Call the Midwife" blanket.  I haven't actually watched the show, but viewers had spotted a sweet and dainty blanket in one scene and someone has created a pattern for it.  It's coming along nicely, and I'm glad to have my cro-jo back!
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King: Guys, the end is in sight!  I have a little over 100 pages to go, and for a book that has close to 900, that feels really close!!  I actually think I will be done before book club on Feb. 1st now, which at one time I thought would be a miracle.  As long as I get some quality reading time  this weekend - and I should - I'll get it done.  I can't wait to see how this behemoth of a story wraps up.  It has been quite a journey!!
  • Music: So far in 2019, I've been all about Dolly Parton, the Pistol Annies, and Lauren Daigle.  Girl Power, eh?  I didn't love the movie Dumplin', but I did love the Dolly music that came with it.  The soundtrack from the film, and an album I downloaded of essential Dolly, have been played a lot in my home over the past month.  I also have really been enjoying the Pistol Annies and Lauren Daigle albums I have downloaded recently.  Great great tunes. Perfect to listen to while I putter in the kitchen!
So that's what I've got going on this January!  What are you watching/reading/listening to/working on to keep yourself busy during these cold winter months??

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Snow Daze

It's the time of year when I wish and hope for snowstorms.  I love to be cozied up inside, hibernating, hyggeing.  And I know we've had snow this year, don't get me wrong, but I hadn't yet truly experienced a real "snow" day.  I was yearning for one.

Well, these past few days?  My wish finally came true.

We were hit with a cold snap over the weekend, so on Saturday, I opted out of going on an outdoor skating activity with our book club group and instead hunkered down.  It felt well-deserved, because the day before had been a full one.  My mom and I had gone to Renfrew to Walmart and out for lunch, then we came home and assembled the cupboard I had bought the weekend before.  Once that was done, I went on an organizing spree.  I emptied my cupboards of all plastic containers, chucked the old and stained ones, and boxed up the rest to donate to the Family Centre.  I started sorting through all the Tupperware and other stuff I had piling up in the corner of the kitchen, and finding new homes for everything (or tossing what I didn't want).  It took some sweat and elbow grease, but by 8 PM that night, I had a clean kitchen, organized cupboards, and there was peace and harmony in my kitchen for the first time in a long time.  It felt good.
 Before (yikes): 

 New cupboard:
 After (phewf):

So my hygge day on Saturday was a nice reward.  I started work on a new crochet project, I read while I sipped tea, and I watched episodes of Wentworth.  I also washed bedding, did dishes, and cleaned bathrooms - so it wasn't a completely lazy day!  I was almost disappointed with how fast it flew by, and before I knew it, I was getting ready to head out for the evening with Mom.  We went to my nephew Caden's hockey game in Aylmer, and then the whole fam-damily went out for dinner at the Aylmer BBQ to celebrate by BIL's 45th birthday.  It was a great evening!  I came home with the intention of settling in to watch the Black Mirror: Bandersnatch choose-your-own-adventure movie on Netflix that I keep hearing about, but I ended up falling asleep on the couch.  Whoops!

Sunday morning, I woke to see it had snowed a lot more overnight than I expected, and it was still coming down.  Snow Day!!!  Woo hoo!!!  Church was cancelled, Mom and I both agreed it was too cold and snowy to go for brunch, so I hunkered down to enjoy a TRUE snow day.  First, I subscribed to Crave as I had finished up Wentworth on Netflix the day before, and I started right into Game of Thrones.  I worked on a puzzle, I crocheted and listened to podcasts, I read, I napped... Oh, and there was Snow Day FOOD!  My favourite Snow Day lunch - straight from my childhood - is macaroni, tomato soup & cheez whiz.  It tastes absolutely magical on a snow day!  Then I made homemade pizza for supper. It was bliss, I tell you.  True bliss!   I literally did not poke my nose out the door ALL day.  It was no work, all play - my DREAM day.

Monday broke sunny, but still bitterly cold.  I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere again, but I also knew another straight day of doing "nothing" wasn't an option or I'd go stir crazy.  One day of completely vegging was a delight. Two days?  Too much.  So I got laundry going, tidied up the kitchen from all the pots and pans I'd dirtied up the day before, and sent in my notes to the local newspaper.  I did more reading, crocheting, and Game of Thrones too, don't get me wrong, but I did some work too!  In the afternoon, I decided to "clean up" leftover Christmas chocolate by chopping it all up and putting it into a batch of cookies.  I had enough leftovers of macaroni and pizza to last me the rest of the week so there was no need to cook anything else. It was a nice day, a little bit of accomplishment and a little bit of relaxation.

By yesterday?  Yes, I was ready to get out of the house.  I was ready to go to work.  I was ready for some action!

It's snowing again today, but at least the deep freeze has lifted.  (Maybe a little too much, as they're now forecasting freezing rain and showers by tonight... too far the other way, Mother Nature!!)  Part of me wishes I was home enjoying another snow day, but part of me is content to enjoy a quiet snow day in the office.  It's the kind of day I dream of during the busy summer months.  

Let it SNOW! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thoughts on Thursday

It's been a while since I've done a random smattering of things from my brain.  Here we go...

  • I know this is going against how pretty much EVERYONE in the WORLD feels, but I really kind of  love the month of January.  I'm not sure why, but January feels slow, almost sluggishly.  Christmas feels like it was a million years ago, yet it's still only January 17th.  I love the snow, I don't mind the cold, and I embrace the Hygge.  Hibernation time is my favourite.
  • The sad part is, I haven't been doing much hibernating.  Those "more active" and "get organized" goals I mentioned yesterday have kept me movin' and shakin' thus far in 2019.  It hasn't allowed for much time to just hunker and be cozy... yet, anyways.  I have to go to Walmart tomorrow for some more "organizing" materials, I have more coming from Amazon next week, and I have a cupboard to build as well.  After that... I think the organizing frenzy should die down a bit.  God, I hope.
  • I KNOW it's a good thing that I'm getting out on weeknights and being active, but I greet Wednesday's Pound class and Thursday's curling night with deep sighs and wishes that I hadn't signed up for both.  My hermit soul just wants to be at home.
  • I need to get back into crocheting!!  Before Christmas I was hustling to get presents finished, and then it's like my cro-jo disappeared.  I have only made one dish cloth in 2019!!  That's IT!!  I want to try out a Call The Midwife blanket, so I'm going to dig out the yarn I bought for that project and start it this weekend.
  • I bought a dutch oven from Amazon, and it arrived this week.  The box was so heavy, the mail lady made me go in behind and pick it up myself because she couldn't lift it.  I brought it home, opened it up, and thought, "oh my f*ck..."  This pot is MASSIVE.  I had no idea how big a 7.5 quart dutch oven would be, but I wanted to make sure it was big enough to do a big go of spaghetti sauce so I ordered the largest one available.  Yikes!!  I really hope I find uses for it - big pots of soup and sauce are my favourite thing to do in the kitchen in the winter - because I don't want it taking up space for no good reason!
  • I really wish Crave would hurry up and add their service to the Amazon Fire Stick!  I'm close to being done Wentworth, and nothing else on Netflix is speaking to me right now.  I know, I know...there's still tons of content on there that I want to watch.  But nothing is really grabbing me.  I want the shows that Crave offers.  And every time I check, it just says "Coming Soon" to Amazon Fire.  *sigh*
  • You know what?  I'd just about give my right arm for a chicken shawarma and garlic potatoes right about now.  mmmm...
  • Another reason I need a day to just hibernate and do nothing: I need to get some SERIOUS reading done.  I'm just over half-way through 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Our book club meeting is Feb. 1st, and I am the leader.  I need to know this book.  And it's not that I'm not enjoying it - I'm enjoying it quite a lot, actually - but it so so SO long.  I just need some solid blocks of time to sit and read.  Uninterrupted.  And not at bedtime, because I fall asleep, even if it's the best book in the world.
  • Speaking of sleep... I have had some weird sleep issues this week, which is not a normal problem for me.  I usually put my head down between 10-10:30 pm and it's lights out, I sleep soundly til my alarm goes off at 6:05 am.  On Sunday, I had an afternoon nap, and then dozed off on the couch again watching TV in the evening, which resulted in me not being able to sleep AT ALL that night.  Big mistake.  I was so dopey and groggy the next day.  I had fitful sleep Tuesday night, and then last night I was wakened around 3 am by a crazy dream that had me convinced my room was flooded. I totally unmade my bed and I was scrambling out of my room before I realized the floor was not wet, there was no water, and I now had to totally re-make my bed.  Then, I heard a loud bang somewhere in my house - I'm assuming it was a snap due to the cold, because I could find nothing this morning that indicated the result of a loud bang - and needless to say... it was not a good quality sleep.  And now, tonight is Curling, and I NEVER sleep well after curling.  Son of a NUTCRACKER.
Welp... that's all the random crap I have going on between these two ears today.  Happy Thursday, friends!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2019: The Goals

I know, I know... we are already well in 2019, and I'm still doing these Holiday Recap, New Year's Resolution Posts.  But it's a slower-paced time of year for me, and I've been in no rush to blog it all within the normal confines of Blogland.  So half-way through the first month of the year, here are my Goals for 2019:
  • #moreactivein2019 : Just as the hashtag says.  I've long since given up on ever being as thin and in shape as I was a few years ago.  I fell off that wagon, hard, and I don't foresee me ever getting back on it.  At least not to that extent again.  I just love food - and junky food - so much.  BUT.  I  can try to be more active.  I feel like last year I found every excuse in the book not to get my butt up and moving.  I didn't walk on a regular basis, I stopped doing exercise DVD's, and I generally returned to my sloth laziness.  This year, I'm vowing to be more active.  I have a gym right across the road from me now, a fitness class that I love being offered right in town, and I'm curling one night a week.  It's harder to find legitimate excuses now.  If nothing else, I just want to make walking (or, this time of year, snowshoeing) a more regular practice.  I'll feel so much better if I get my blood pumping and my joints moving.
  • Kitchen Organization - get it done! : I'm a procrastinator and a bit of a pack-rat, so organization within my home is always a chore.  Every winter, there seems to be another "project" lined up.  This year, it's the kitchen.  My junky, cluttered-up kitchen has been the bane of my existence for months now.  I have limited cupboard space, and every cupboard is jammed.  I weeded out stuff I didn't need a few years ago, and I'm quite comfortable in saying that I don't have much in those cupboards I'm willing to part with now.  And I also have a Tupperware addiction and a mug addiction, which means I keep bringing in more.  Since there's no room left in cupboards, stuff is just getting piled in boxes and bags on the floor in the corner of the kitchen.  That Tupperware pile keeps spreading.  The mug collection has spilled onto the counter.  I also put groceries (canned goods, etc) that don't fit in cupboards on the little table in my kitchen.  It is a disaster.  So I have purchased a new microwave stand and pantry cupboard to provide some more storage space.   The microwave stand is already together and looks great; the pantry cupboard will be assembled this weekend and hopefully ALL the excess "stuff" will go in it and I will be done with this problem!!
  • Weekly Money Challenge:  I've been doing this for several years - putting the amount of money in a pot for each week of the year.  Week 1: $1, Week 2: $2 and so on.  By the end of the year, you should have $1300+ saved.  It's a great way to have some extra money saved up at the end of the year.  I usually use mine to pay off Christmas, the last rent of the year, etc.  Maybe this year I'll actually be successful with saving and have a little extra saved for a trip or something!
  • Read 15 Books: Last year was the first time I actually accomplished this goal (since I started keeping track) - and I'm hoping to do the same this year.  At this point, it might be a miracle if I can finish just one lol.  (11/22/63 by Stephen King is SO. LONG.)
  • Up my church givings:  A long time ago, I signed up for pre-authorized remittances to our church for my givings.  My financial situation has changed since then, yet I've never changed my givings to the church.  I need to do that this year.
  • A new car in 2019? Possibly... : This is one I'm not really sure about, but I'm tossing around the idea of trading in my car.  I have a year left of payments on it, so I'm not sure if it would work out, but I might research it in the spring.
  • Stop using the "R" word: This might seem like a silly little insignificant thing to some, but I hate that I use that word so often.  I like to think I'm a kind, compassionate person, yet I use this word which is highly offensive to those with mental disabilities and challenges.  Why?  Why do I do it?  I don't usually think about it, and it's usually used in reference to myself:  "I felt like such a r----", "I was being so r----".  I don't like the sound of it, or the implication of it, so why do I continue to use it?  Banishing it from my language in 2019 (and really hoping others do too.)
  • Try to do things with a happy and open heart: I dislike change, and I resist it.  I also find often I feel like "why do I always have to be the one to do this?" or "why is everything always dumped on me?"  Not that I want to turn into a doormat.  But there are things that I have to do, or that are required of me - in many different circumstances, both new changes and old jobs - that I wish I could just handle without feeling bitter or used or anxious.  I'm going to set the intention to greet these things with more patience, happiness, and understanding.  It doesn't mean I"m going to become a pushover - I'll still stand up if I think it's something that should not be put on me - but when I do have the obligation of doing something, I don't want to carry resentment with it.
  • Keep up with the Hygge:  Last year, I made it a goal to enhance the Hygge in my life after reading The Little Book of Hygge.  Unfortunately, enhancing the Hygge - at least in the ways I wanted to - required a little more coin than I was willing to spend.  I did a few things - learning how to crochet being a big one!  - I received a rock salt lamp for my birthday, I made a point of lighting candles and cozying up more often in comfy clothes, fluffy socks, and blankets - but I wasn't able to invest in some of the things that I thought would "enhance the hygge".  A fireplace (still not sure that one will ever happen because I can never figure out where it would go), an area rug, and new blinds in my living room are all on the "maybe this year" list.
  • Do what I LOVE! :  I'm already pretty good at this, I have to admit. haha!!  If something feels right to me, if it's something I enjoy, if it's something I want to do - then I usually go for it.  Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do because we have no choice - but if there IS a choice, then I'm going to keep working on saying "no" to the things that don't feel right, and saying "yes" to the things that do.  Dinners out, pedicures, cozy days in with Netflix and a good book, going to the movies, planning fun things to do with my nieces and nephews, reading on the deck in the summer, boat days, pool days, photo safaris, cooking, baking, listening to music, spending time with family and friends, day trips... these are all things that make me happy, and I hope to do plenty of these things in 2019!
Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  Have you stuck with any so far this year?  What are your goals for 2019?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Best of 2018

I decided to do a little "time capsule" style post to talk about my favourites of 2018 - in movies, TV, books & music!  These are the stand-outs in my mind when I think back on the past year.


A Quiet Place

A Star is Born
The Grinch
Bird Box
Mary Poppins Returns
The Shawshank Redemption

I feel like I saw more kids movies in theatres this year than adult movies, so I'm struggling to think of many stand-outs.  Definitely A Quiet Place and A Star is Born were two that I was dying to see, and ended up loving.  The Grinch and Mary Poppins were two of the kids ones that stood out as being really good.  I didn't actually watch Bird Box and Dumplin' until New Year's Day, but I was still in serious holiday mode, so I'm counting them as "last year".  Bird Box was stressful in the same sense as A Quiet Place, yet I thought it was so well done. There was a lot of hype around Dumplin' but it was just meh in my books.  (Maybe because I've always been the big girl, and in my experience, there is no hot boy who falls in love with the big girl... it was unrealistic.) I did really enjoy the music, though.  And I know Shawshank Redemption is OLD, but 2018 was the year I finally saw it, and it was just as good as everyone said it was.



House of Cards
Downton Abbey
13 Reasons Why
Parks & Rec
The Haunting of Hill House
New Girl
Life In Pieces
Fuller House
Roseanne/The Conners
This Is Us

So. Much. TV.  So. Much. Netflix.  2018 will go down as the year I finally watched Outlander, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, Parks and Rec, and New Girl! Because of those shows, I fell in love with Jamie Fraser, spoke in a British accent for weeks, fell in love with Chris Pratt, and fell in love with Nick from New Girl.  (I did not, however, fall in love with Kevin Spacey).
I watched 13 Reasons Why (and read the book, but preferred the TV seriies), and was left feeling very upset and traumatized it, especially by an incident that happens towards the end of Season 2.  That's all I'm gonna say about that.
I was so excited when Roseanne returned to TV, as it felt like a little slice of nostalgia, a little piece of my childhood  (much the same how I feel about Fuller House). And I admit, after really enjoying the season, I was so disappointed in Roseanne for her racist and disparaging remarks on Twitter that ended up shutting the whole thing down.  I was glad for the rest of the cast that they removed her entirely from the project and re-launched it as The Conners, because that was old-school TV magic that I wasn't ready to let go of after getting just a small taste of it.
One of the only other shows that I watch on regular TV is This Is Us, and this was the year we found out "How Jack Died".  It put a black mark on the Crockpot, and left us with puffy eyes for days.
But you really want to know the biggest stand-out for me?  It was The Haunting of Hill House.  It shook me, it scared me, and I had to sleep with lights on for a long time.  Watching it in the weeks leading up to Halloween left me tapped out on the scary and thinking I might not watch anything scary again for the rest of my life.  The Bent-Neck Lady haunted me.  And yet... I thought it was SO well done, and I still think about it now, several months after watching it.  It was riveting and it hooked me so hard for those few weeks.  (I probably would have watched it in less time, except that I had to space out the episodes and make sure I watched them in daylight hours and not too close to bedtime).  It's probably the show I will think of most when I think of 2018.


Christine by Stephen King
The Child Finder by Rene Denfield
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I actually finished 15 books this year!  That's like a HUGE accomplishment for me.  I always set a goal of 15 books but I'm usually lucky if I get through 10.  (Despite my love of reading, I am actually quite a slow reader.)  Last year, I decided to read all of my book club books first and once I got through them, I could spend time reading things I really wanted to read yet always pushed aside because of book club selections taking precedence.  I liked that process and plan to continue it this year.  The list above were favourite 2018 books - some were for book club, others were not.  Because of Yes Please, I watched Parks and Rec.  I finally read Harry Potter.  I played along with Jimmy Fallon's book club with Children of Blood and Bone.  And Stephen King had me fearing my own car.  All in all - a great year of reading!


Say Something - Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton

Girls Like You - Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B.
Mama - The Glorious Sons
Walking the Wire - Imagine Dragons
Want You Back - 5 Seconds of Summer
Alfie's Song (Not So Typical Love Song) - Bleachers
Parallel Line - Keith Urban
I Could Use a Love Song - Maren Morris
Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Backstreet Boys
Alone - Halsey
I Know - Jocelyne Alice
Get Along - Kenny Chesney
In My Feelings - Drake
Vintage Love/Time's Speeding Up/Bar Star/Up Sweet Baby/Civilianaires/Amen - The Trews
Shallow - Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
When I Get to Heaven - John Prine
Best Years of My Life - Pistol Annies
Look Up Child - Lauren Daigle

I started off the year listening to Justin Timberlake's Man of the Woods album non-stop for weeks, and burnt myself out on it.  I almost forgot about it because I am so OVER that album.  Lots of these songs take me to my back deck and summer.  I spent a LOT of time listening to The Trews this fall after falling in love with them at the Shawville Fair, and I'm still not tired of their Civilianaires album.  A late 2018 discovery was the Pistol Annies.  And of course, 2018 will forever be etched in my brain with A Star is Born, and finally understanding and appreciating both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (I was not a fan of either of them before).

So how is 2019 starting out?

Movies - I'm anticipating the following coming out this year:
Glass (January)
Dumbo (March)
Pet Sematary (April)
Aladdin (May)
Toy Story 4 (June)
The Lion King (July)
It: Chapter Two (September)
Downton Abbey (September)

TV - I started the year by catching up with seasons added to several series' I'd previously watched on Netflix, including Life in Pieces and now Wentworth.  I'm hoping to subscribe to Crave (it says on their website that they will be coming to the Amazon Fire Stick soon) so I can get into shows like The Handmaid's Tale, Castle Rock, Letterkenney, Veep, Sharp Objects, Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies, etc.  And on Amazon Prime, I'm planning to check out The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Books - Just before Christmas, I started our first book club book of the year, 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  I'm a fan of Stephen King, and the book was one of my choices.  I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Kennedy family and what happened to JFK, so to find a book by SK surrounding those events intrigues me.  The book is a mammoth, though, and as a slow reader, I'm worried I won't be done in time for our first meeting on February 1st.  I'm not even half-way through yet.  I'm really enjoying the story, though, so hopefully I can plug through it and get done in time!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Holiday Recap

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, here we are, well into 2019... time to get back into the blogging saddle!  Here's how my holidays shaped up:

For me, it felt like the official kick-off to the holidays was Friday December 21st.  We had a little snacky party in the office late that morning and did our little stocking gift exchange, and I was sent home shortly after noon.  I immediately went and collected my mom and we headed off to Shawville for my big pre-Christmas grocery shopping trip.  I do it every year - I pick up all the treats and things that I associate with Christmas, and stock up on the essentials.  I always kind of like to think of it as if there's a big snow storm coming and I won't have to leave my house for two weeks if I don't have to.  Even better this year was that I'd stocked up on PC points throughout the year, so I basically got $120 in groceries for FREE!  Merry Christmas to ME!!   There was supposed to be Christmas caroling in town that night, but it was an awful day weather-wise - it rained, and by evening it was absolutely POURING.  Caroling got cancelled, so Mom and I headed out for supper at our little local restaurant.  It was a fun night to be out, the restaurant was busy and everyone was so cheerful and Christmassy.  It really made up for the lack of caroling.

That Saturday, I had plans to be Elfy.  I made up tins and trays of goodies for family and friends, and went out delivering them.  I had also crocheted some Christmas tree ornaments that I was handing out.  It was a fun way to spend a day so close to Christmas, it made me feel warm and happy!

The 23rd was The Eve Of Christmas Eve at the Duquettes, my cousin's annual Christmas party that I so enjoy and look forward to.  We gathered there for snacks, drinks, and music.  I was the only one with a guitar this year, and I hadn't played in ages so it was a bit of a disaster in that department.  But we were laughing, because my friends' kids were all sitting in front of me belting out Christmas songs, they didn't even care if I was strumming the right chords.  They were the perfect audience haha!  Unfortunately, the evening came to a quick halt for me as I took a giant flip on the little set of stairs going down from the kitchen/dining room into the living room.  I knew the stairs were there, I am always careful on them, I don't know what happened this time.  I wasn't even drunk (though I'm sure everyone thought I was).  I wasn't badly hurt, just my pride.  I quickly packed up and made a speedy departure, I'm sure my face was 50 shades of red from embarrassment!  The real Christmas miracle here:  I had my iPhone in the back pocket of my jeans, and I landed squarely on it when I fell.  Somehow, it did not break.  It didn't even crack.  I have no idea how that happened, but I am extremely grateful for it!

And that brings us to my favourite day of the year... CHRISTMAS EVE!!!  I had taken the day off work, so I spent the day slowly getting ready.  I had my traditional viewing of the old Miracle on 34th Street when I got up while I sipped coffee with Bailey's.  I cooked bacon and made the evening's appetizers and breakfast for the next morning.  I did my nails.  I packed up all my stuff.  By late afternoon, I headed to my Mom's, where we just chilled and chatted until it was time to go to church.  I was a little nervous about Christmas Eve church because I had signed up to be part of the choir (the first time our church has had a choir in over 20 years), and at that point, I was just looking forward to it being over.  As it turns out, it went beautifully, and I was so glad I had participated.  Christmas Eve service is always so magical, and just fills me with so much joy.  Afterwards, we returned home to play games and read T'was The Night Before Christmas before all heading off to bed.

And what do ya know... when we awoke the next morning, the big lad had been there!  I pride myself on being the first one awake, but I think this year Mom and Danica beat me to it.  It was their voices that woke me.  Dan and I sat on the couch admiring the presents until Caden finally got up and joined us.  The rest followed shortly after.  We had our breakfast of sticky buns and bacon bunnies, then we were on to stockings, and eventually, the presents.  It was a leisurely, well-paced morning, with lots of fun and excitement.  We joked that this was "The Year of the Disclaimers".  I think almost every gift came with a disclaimer:  "Well, I'm just going to tell you, you might not like this..."  But in most cases, the disclaimers were unnecessary as everyone seemed very happy with what they got!

I went home early afternoon for a nap and to shower and get ready for the rest of the day. Late afternoon, my mom and I stopped in to visit at my aunt and uncle's.  He had been in the hospital for a month, but got home for a few days at Christmas.  After our visit there, we went to my BIL's parents' house, where we were invited for Christmas Dinner.  It was a wonderful evening, the meal was delicious, and I just enjoyed sitting around chatting and laughing. By the time we returned home, everyone was ready for bed!

Boxing Day is when we have our own little family gathering.  My brother's family arrived in the afternoon, and we opened gifts with them and the kids all had fun playing.  We had another delicious turkey dinner, and just enjoyed the day spent with family.  When bedtime rolled around again, I was sitting with Danica on the couch and I said, "I'm so sad that Christmas is over."  And she replied quietly, "But it isn't.  It's only just beginning."  Girl after my own heart...

I had booked off work until January 3rd, and I made a conscious effort this year not to fill my days off with "plans".  I've done that in the past and ended up not being able to enjoy any downtime.  This year, I had plenty of it.  I played games with the kids, who were at my mom's for the rest of that week.  I watched Netflix. I baked cookies and made soup.  I read.  The only events that took me out of the house or away from my mom's, were a movie date to see Mary Poppins Returns and dinner at Boston Pizza with Caden and Danica and their Grandma Donna, and dinner on the 30th at my aunt & uncle's in Sand Point.  (Another amazing meal... I literally still felt full the next day.)

New Year's Eve also marks my sister's birthday, so we celebrated with a little family party at my mom's.  Kara and Chris brought party hats and horns, we invited Chris' parents to join us, and we played games, watched hockey, had snacks and drinks, and managed to all make it to midnight to ring in 2019!

New Year's Day I headed home around lunch time and spent the rest of the day on the couch, Netflix binging.  On the 2nd, I was clinging on to the last day of holidays for dear life, and soaked up that day as best I could, again with Netflix, and some quality reading time.

I'm always slow to get going in the New Year.  Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, and so when January 2nd rolls around, it brings with it a little bit of the blues.  I try very hard not to get too bogged down by it.  I think I've been extra successful this year not getting caught up in the post-holiday depression.  Over the next week or so, I hope to share some of my "Resolutions", or goals for the new year, and all of my favourites in books, movies, TV, and music from the past year.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a safe & happy start to 2019! :)