Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Fond Farewell To 2013

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

What can I say about this year that’s come to an end? That it had its fair share of tragedies and ugliness? That we still have a long way to go before peace and goodwill are not just words that we simply pay lip service to? That my faith in humanity is shattered repeatedly?

I could say all that, but I won’t. The world can feel quite burdensome to a soul that aches for the end of all troubles, so instead of focusing on what’s wrong in this world, I will focus on what’s right.

Gloom and doom sells in the news, and that’s all we ever hear about. But despite the fact that the media tries to convince us otherwise, we are, in truth, making tremendous advances, and the world is getting better.

As I bid farewell to 2013, I feel optimistic. Joyful. At peace. And certainly grateful. It’s been a good year. A year of contemplation and inner growth. A year of love and adventure and tranquility. And like every year that passes, I have been given another opportunity to become more familiar and more comfortable with myself. To better myself. I am thankful for this.

I pledge to be the best person I can be in 2014. To respect the world I live in, to be compassionate and kind to all living beings, and to continue to approach life with enthusiasm and gratitude.

A New Year dawns tomorrow, and we are given an opportunity to make it the best one yet. Let’s not just hope or dream of a better world. Let’s make it one.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Here is a powerful video depicting the beautiful highs and devastating lows of 2013.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone; the last one of 2013! Unbelievable, right? Oh, yeah.

Did you all have a nice weekend? Do anything special? Or did you just relax and unwind after the Christmas rush? Any plans for the New Year? Or do you prefer a quiet evening at home? We’re not sure what we’re going to do. We had a few days relief from the really cold weather, but it’s back again, which makes me reluctant to go out. We’ll just wing it and see where we end up.

2014 will be here before you know it, but before that, there’s some New Year humour we have to attend to. Let’s get to it...


Make it a great day!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thank You, My Blogging Friends

There are so many reasons why I have chosen to blog, but the most important one of all is you; all of you wonderful people that I’ve met – and continue to meet – along the way. From all over the world. You make me think and smile and laugh and even cry. You are supportive and inspirational and entertaining and creative. And I never would have met any of you if it weren’t for blogging.

As the year ends, I wish to express my gratitude to you, my blogging friends, for taking the time to stop by and read my posts, for all the lovely comments you leave, for all the kind words and compliments you offer about my photography, and for sharing another wonderful year with me in this amazing place on the internet.

I’m grateful for all of you. And I look forward to another wonderful year together. Thank you, my blogging friends! Peace and joy to all of you in 2014.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Expectation vs. Reality

One of the reasons I’m drawn to certain recipes, particularly in baking, is because of the photos that accompany them. I see beautifully-decorated cakes or cookies or cupcakes or bread, and I think to myself “Hey, I’d like to make something like that.”

But the results aren’t always what we hoped for, as you can see from some of the hilarious epic recipe fails below.

I laughed out loud with these because they reminded me of my failed attempts earlier this week at decorating my sugar cookies. Let’s just say that things didn’t go quite as I expected.

Make it a great day, everyone!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Photos Help Us Look Back And Remember

As always, I took a lot of photos while we were in Montreal. Capturing moments. Freezing time. I am so grateful for the ability to do this. When I look at an image, I am transported back to that moment. The place. The person. What better way to remember the past than through photographs.

My older daughter smiling as she opens one of her gifts.
Photos capture a single fleeting moment. They speak a thousand words without making a sound. And each one has a story to tell.

Below is a video of some of the most powerful photos of 2013.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After Christmas...

And here we are...the day after Christmas. Can you believe it’s over? Did you all have a good time? My daughter was invited to her boyfriend’s on Christmas Eve, so we had a brunch at our place with pancakes and chocolate fondue. Everyone enjoyed it.

We spent Christmas day in Montreal with my family, and had a lot of fun. Wonderful company, great food, interesting conversations, and lots of silliness...it doesn’t get better than that. There were even some fun gifts like the one below.

We all have the sarcasm gene.
Today is Boxing Day in Canada, primarily known as a shopping holiday similar to Black Friday in the United States. Businesses offer huge sales on some items, and people flock to them; in some cases, they line up for hours outside some stores.

I don’t do Boxing Day. There is traffic everywhere, and the malls are total madness. Didn’t we already go through that on Christmas Eve?

Nope, Boxing day is definitely not for me. I’m going to stay home, kick back, and enjoy some quiet time.

Have a great day, everyone.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Is Here

♪♫ It's a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time of the year... ♫♪

Peace, love and joy to all of you on this blessed day. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Just One More Sleep Till Christmas Morning

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past.
Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow,
and reliving those of yesterday.”
- Gladys Taber -

And so here we are...the day before Christmas. On one end I’m excited that my favourite holiday is finally here, but on the other, it saddens me that it will soon be over. Such is time.

Ah, time. It has picked up speed as I get older. This is one reason I embrace only what’s positive. Somewhere along the way, all those little things I worried about in my youth, and all those toxic people I stressed over stopped registering on my concern meter. Life is simply too short for that nonsense.

Getting older helped, but my brother’s premature death two years ago really put things in perspective. Death, particularly of a loved one, is a harsh reminder of one’s own mortality, vulnerabilities and limitations. It reminds us that our stay here is temporary, perishing at any moment, thus forcing us to reflect on our lives and what really matters.

Who really matters.

My beautiful daughter. She makes every Christmas matter.
Many years from now, the gifts you open tonight or tomorrow morning will be long forgotten. But the memories you create with the people you love will come to mind again and again.

I wish you all a beautiful Christmas Eve as you create your own wonderful memories.

Here’s an adorable video clip to make you smile.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Chuckles and Chortles

It’s the eve of Christmas Eve. Already. The month is quickly coming to an end, and so is this year. How was your weekend? Ours was icy. Literally. Old Man Winter arrived with a vengeance, and painted the town with frost and snow. I’d like nothing better than to kick his ass all the way into spring, but I’d probably break my foot against the blocks of ice. I’ll let Mother Nature take care of him in a few weeks when she fries his ass with sun and warmth.

Be afraid, Old Man Winter. Be very afraid.
* waves fist at him...and runs back inside the heated house *

Today I will be decorating and packaging cookies and chocolate candies that will go to good homes. If you drop by, I’ll be happy to share some with you. I’ll even make you coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Pretty sweet (no pun intended!) deal, no? Just look for the ice-covered house...

But before I become a slave to the kitchen, let’s laugh a little...

Happy Monday, everyone! Only two more sleeps till Christmas morning!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Am Grateful For Every Minute

It’s been drizzling continuously since Friday, and my lovely city is blanketed by ice. The timing of this nasty weather is lousy. It is just a few days before Christmas, and I’m sure people have shopping to finish, parties to host or attend, and traveling to do. No doubt many plans have been cancelled. It’s a mess.

We stayed put yesterday, and I finished up the final round of chocolate candy making, and spent about an hour or so wrapping all the presents I had left to wrap. While listening - and singing along - to Christmas carols. And while pondering this life.

My older daughter's first Christmas at six months old. She is now 21.
I look at my two daughters and can’t believe how grownup they are. It seems like only yesterday that I brought them home from the hospital; tiny little miracles of life. Suddenly they are young ladies; confident and independent. Where did the time go?

Little sisters sharing some laughs.
So many years come and gone; so many changes along the way. Good times and bad. Endings and beginnings. Happiness and grief. All shared with people I love. The ones that have left this world. The ones that are still here.

Big sister reading the letter from Santa to her little sister on Christmas morning.
Sisterly holiday hugs.
This life of mine has been full. Colourful. And above all, blessed. I am grateful for all of it. Every minute.

Christmas morning hugs from my girls back in 2002

This is a favourite Christmas song of mine. I can’t imagine the holidays without it.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's A Winter Wonderland Around Here

As you all know by now, I do not post on Saturdays and Sundays anymore, but I’m making an exception for the weekend before Christmas, and may even do the same next week before 2014 kicks in. We shall see.

It is a real winter wonderland around here with ice and snow covering everything. Seems pretty fitting considering winter is officially here. The snow is very beautiful, and I can't imagine Christmas without it. It adds a special touch to the holidays, and for a couple of weeks in December I want it here. But only for a couple of weeks. For the holidays. Then I want it to piss off.

But it won't go away that easily. The winter is just getting started, and it will hang around for several weeks. And we'll complain about it ad nauseam.

On weekends such as these, I am grateful for a warm home to hibernate in, a good book to curl up with, and an electric blanket that will warm up the sheets for that afternoon nap.

And heartwarming songs such as the one below to put me in the Christmas spirit.

Have a beautiful Saturday.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Awkward Holiday Moments

Yesterday, I spent the day with my daughter. Our first stop was at our family doctor for a follow-up visit, and to get my daughter’s blood test results. She’d been complaining about always feeling tired, and about occasionally getting very dizzy. It turns out that her iron levels are low. Multivitamins with iron, and some iron-rich foods should remedy the situation, our doctor said. It was such a relief knowing that there’s nothing seriously wrong. That’s always the biggest fear, isn’t it?

So after we were done there, and feeling happy, we decided to go do some Christmas shopping. It was madness everywhere. Traffic, mobs of people, and oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! I found myself sympathizing with the Grinch. Next year I will make sure to be done with all my holiday shopping by the beginning of December – at the latest – like I’ve always done.

Chaos aside, I had a great time with my daughter who is such good company with her wonderful sense of humour, and upbeat personality. She even treated me to supper, which was very sweet. I am so grateful for such blessings.

Anyway, I’ll end the week with a very funny video about awkward holiday moments that all of us have experienced at some point.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Awkward Christmas

I received a greeting card from the friends who visited us this past summer, and it’s  in the style of a photo card. There’s an image of the whole family on the front, and it’s quite beautiful. Definitely not one of those hilarious awkward family Christmas pictures you find scattered all over the internet.

These are the type of photos I have. Why did we have to be such a normal family?
On the left: my dad holding his godchild. In the middle: I'm sitting on my mom's lap.
On the right: my two brothers sitting on my uncle's lap; he's first cousins with my mom.
I don’t have any outrageous family holiday snapshots, but I think it would be fun to. They make for great stories, and future generations could laugh at us. Maybe I should convince the family to create some. Hmmm...

In the meantime, we can laugh at other families. Here are a few hilarious awkward family Christmas pictures that I ran across this week. Enjoy!

Where can I get me some of those gift box shoes?

Um...someone should tell them the position is already filled.

You just know this baby will need therapy in the future.

I bet this cat ran away after this picture was taken.

WTF?? Can you imagine receiving this at Christmas?

He's just loving that holiday sweater, and getting ready to sing ♫♪ The Sound of Music ♪♫


Overly friendly, warm (albeit corny) sweaters, coffee drinkers...hmmm...Canadians?

And lest we forget pets posing with Santa...

You can always depend on cats to screw things up.

Do you have funny family Christmas pictures?