Thursday, December 31, 2015

And Here We are...

...at the end of another year. 2015 just zipped right by. The years keep rolling along and time seems to be picking up speed as I get older.

It feels like only yesterday that I was 15 (in 1980) and thinking about how incredible it was that I'd be around to witness a new millennium roll in, possibly with children in tow since I'd only be in my mid thirties by then. Well, it did happen that way. I did celebrate the year 2000 as a mother of two young children. But as a single mother. And totally unaware at the time that two years later I'd be crossing paths with the most amazing man in the world and we'd begin our wonderful journey together.


Each year brings along surprises; sometimes they are good, sometimes they are not so good. But they all challenge and help us grow. As individuals. As fellow human beings. Our experiences instill wisdom in us that we take along into the next year. And hopefully we are better people because of it.

As I say goodbye to 2015, I feel at peace. It's been a good year. I am grateful for having been given another 365 days on this beautiful planet with the people I love. And although I don't make resolutions, I do promise, like I do every year, to respect the world I live in, to be compassionate and kind to all living beings, to continue to approach life with enthusiasm and gratitude, and to celebrate every moment of this incredible thing called life.


And last but certainly not least, I am so grateful for all of you and your continued support. Year after year.

I wish you all joy and peace and good health for 2016. And I look forward to the many more adventures we'll share together in the next twelve months.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hometown Memories: New Year's Eve Card Games

"To laugh often and much; 
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; 
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. 
To appreciate beauty; 
to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; 
to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

Before I was old enough to start going out with friends to parties, I used to spend New Year's eve with my family. Our next door neighbours (a husband, wife and young daughter) would join us and we'd gather around the kitchen table playing the card game blackjack (21). My dad was always the dealer and the bets were small, nickels and dimes. Most of us would lose a little, win a little or break even, except for my dad. He'd be wiped out by the time we quit the game to go gather around the TV to watch the countdown to the new year.

My parents in their youth.

We joked that he had no luck whatsoever with money to which he shrugged and replied that he had the best luck of all because he was "lucky in love." And it was true. Aside from having an amazing relationship with my mom, he was cherished by all family, friends and the people in our community. When he died in 2007, the funeral home could barely accommodate the amount of people that passed by to pay their respects. He touched the hearts of many and left behind a legacy of love.

It was a life well-lived.

Here's a beautiful song for all of you who are missing your dads this time of year. Get out the tissues...



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

What five events in your life (important, special, interesting, emotional, difficult, life changing, etc) stand out for you in 2015?


1) I turned 50! And cheesecake was involved, of course. Because every half century birthday should include something that yummy.



2) The most amazing man in the world and I took a trip to Cuba and had a great time.



3) I shared the story of how the most amazing man in the world and I met.



4) My youngest daughter graduated from high school, celebrated her 18th birthday and left for university in Ottawa...all within a few short months!



5) And since we are empty nesters, the most amazing man in the world and I decided to put our house up for sale to downsize. (This is still ongoing.)



Some fun, emotional and exciting things happened in 2015, including milestones and significant changes. It's been quite an interesting year.

Your turn!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, my blogging friends. How is everyone? And what are you up to? Any plans for New Year's eve? We haven't decided yet, which is pretty typical of us. Last minute plans are quite common with the most amazing and me. It makes life a little more interesting.

So, shall we get to the funny stuff? Why not...







Have a great day!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday

What's on your agenda for today? Any plans? None for me. I plan to kick back and relax. We were on the go for the past couple of days visiting family and friends, not to mention all the Christmas shopping and rushing around for the past week or two, so it's time to slow down.


While listening to music as I sipped my coffee this morning, I tried to think of songs that have the word Sunday somewhere in them. I came up with this one:


Remember when Lionel Richie was part of the Commodores? Are you old enough for that? I certainly am. And this is a song that I really enjoyed from that band in my youth.

Can you think of a song that has the word Sunday in it? Come on, give it a shot...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Day After Christmas

Where Santa was...


Lucky bugger.

We went away, too, although not to the beach. Instead, we traveled to our hometown of Montreal for a couple of days to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. It was awesome! I'll write a little more about that soon and share some images.

What did you do yesterday and today?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And Here We Are...

Christmas day is tomorrow! Can you believe it? OHMYGAWD...I'm so excited.

What have you been up to? Did you bake cookies? Go shopping? Decorate your home? And what are your plans for tonight or tomorrow? Will you visit loved ones? Take it easy? Go away? So many questions, questions, questions...

Share your thoughts, plans or whatever else you'd like. And while you do that, I will wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas! And for those that don't celebrate or celebrate another occasion, have a beautiful day!

And finally, there's this song. Because Christmas eve wouldn't be complete without it.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Grown Up Christmas List

I have spent my entire life in a peaceful and safe society, and although I've encountered some obstacles along the way, it's been a fairly charmed journey so far. So when this time of year arrives and my family asks me what I want for Christmas, my answer is always "I don't need anything". And I really don't. As long as the people I love are healthy and happy, my Christmas wishlist is fulfilled.

It is not the same for everyone. The world is plagued with problems and we certainly have a long way to go before "peace and goodwill to all" are more than just words that we pay lip service to. But I believe we can get there. With understanding and compassion and a warm heart and an open mind. And with one act of kindness at a time.


I've gone from wishing for toys and games and candy as a child to the end of the world's troubles as an adult. That would be the greatest gift of all. For everyone.

Have a beautiful day, everyone.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

Which one do you use?
In the past I've put up real Christmas trees, but for several years now, it's been artificial ones.

How about you?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. Just a few more days until Christmas! Can you believe it?

How was your weekend? Good, I hope. Our university gal came home yesterday and she'll be here for about three weeks. Best gift of the season. I'll be serving some of her favourite meals while she's here, which I'm sure she'll enjoy. 'Cause there's nothing like mom's home cooking.

Shall we get to the funny stuff? Let's...







Have a great day ahead!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Snow

So we finally got some snow last night. A very small amount, mind you. Living in Canada my whole life and having experienced decades worth of snowstorms that result in mountains of snow, this is really just a dusting of it. Regardless of how much, one thing that is always affected is the way people drive. They either forget how and become paralyzed or they forget that they should slow down and act like obnoxious fools.


You know what else is affected? The holiday mood. With this new fallen snow, it's truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And I've had this song stuck in my head since last night. What better person to sing it than Johnny Mathis.


Sadly, the forecast is predicting mild days ahead and this snow will undoubtedly melt. I'll have to enjoy it while it's here.

What's going on in your part of the world?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

History Of Santa Claus

Did you visit Santa Claus when you were a kid? My parents took my brothers and me to see him when we were little but I don't really remember. That's what photos are for; to freeze those moments forever. For when our memory fails us. This is a photo of the three of us that I've shared a few times over the years because it's a favourite. We look pretty mesmerized by Santa, don't we?


Every year, I took my two daughters to visit with Santa when they were little and we'd make a day of it. Lunch, shopping and pictures with Santa. Always pictures with Santa. Here's one of them:


We always had a great time. Some years I would sit for the photo together with the girls. That was fun. And when Santa would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, my answer was the same every time "A vacation would be nice." He'd laugh, the girls would laugh. Even people nearby who heard me say that would laugh. But the vacation never came. Ah, well...

Here's an interesting video for you. All about the history of Santa Claus.



Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A To Z Of Gratitude: Z

Z  is for Zest

One of my favourite words.

It is defined as having great enthusiasm and energy. Pouring your whole heart and soul into every task.



Adopt this attitude and live your life with boundless zest!

(And that's a wrap, my blogging friends, for the 'A to Z of Gratitude' posts. I hope you enjoyed them.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

You're Probably Around My Age If...

...you remember when this doll first hit the market:


When Coleco introduced Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983, they were a huge media-fueled hit. By Christmas of that year, they had become the "must have" toy of the season and some adults that had once behaved like civilized members of society lost their minds in their quest to get this toy. People drove all over the country to find this doll, fistfights broke out in toy stores, delivery trucks were chased, and clerks and managers were threatened when stock ran out.


You're also probably around my age if you remember the next similar sweep of madness that hit the market with this toy:


'Tickle Me  Elmo' brought about another Christmas shopping frenzy savagery named "Elmo-mania" in 1996 when my older daughter was 4 years old. People once again behaved like lunatics; fighting, cussing, threatening. One clerk in Fredericton, New Brunswick suffered a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion after being trampled by a crowd of 300 who stampeded down the aisle after spotting him being handed a box of the toys by another employee.


So much for peace and goodwill to all. This is not what Christmas is about and the behaviour of these raging adults is absolutely shameful.

Here's a video of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze:



Do you remember these crazed fads?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

What are five things you love about Christmas (or December or a holiday you celebrate this month)?

- Christmas carols

- The smell of cookies baking

- Visiting with family

- Ornaments

- Christmas Eve

Your turn!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy new week, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Our weather has been very mild, so Saturday afternoon we headed downtown to mingle with the holiday shoppers and enjoy the outdoors. Here we are by the water where you don't see a single boat behind us. They're all hibernating and will be back in the spring.



I even got a chance to park my behind on Santa's chair. I kept a lookout for him because I wanted to ask for a tropical vacation for the most amazing man in the world and me. We've been reasonably good this year and I think we've earned one. But Santa never showed up. So no trip for us...



I guess we'll have to settle for some humour...







Have a great day!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hometown Memories: Away In A Manger

There are some Christmas songs that tug at my heart strings and make me choke up with emotion. "Away In A Manger" is certainly one of them.

As soon as it starts playing, I'm transported back in time to a loving family and many heartwarming memories. I think of my parents in their younger years, particularly my mom - a very devout Christian - who took us to church regularly, sent us to Sunday school and made sure we attended midnight mass every Christmas Eve as soon as we were old enough to stay awake through it. She wanted to share her profound love for Jesus, instill it in us, really, and so my childhood is filled with such moments. And around Christmas time, it was all about baby Jesus and his humble beginnings. As a little girl, it made me sad that He didn't have a crib to sleep in.
My personal spiritual journey has taken me far from the religious teachings of my childhood and I have since then formulated a belief system - or rather a philosophy - that resonates with me. But despite that, whenever a song such as this plays, I am overwhelmed as I think about those early days and the most important things I learned from my mother: love, honesty, compassion, generosity and, above all, kindness. All the things that define her.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Sylvester The Talking Kitty Cat Sings About Christmas

I ran across the video below earlier this week and it had me in stitches, so obviously I have to share it with all of you. I'm aware of a lot of famous internet cats but I've never heard of Sylvester who looks exactly like my black cat. Exactly. With the exception that my cat doesn't do anything else but sleep all day. Oh, and my black cat is a female.

Anyhow, the abundance of holiday posts can't be complete without the inclusion of cats. It just can't. So enjoy.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

A To Z Of Gratitude: Y

Y is for You


Every single one of you. Every. Single. One.

I am grateful for all of YOU. My blogging pals.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All About Christmas

Here's a nifty fact:

"...for the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence, Jesus Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all. The religion’s most significant holidays were Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus’ birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honoring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D." (source)


And here's an interesting video for those of you who are interested in learning more about the Christmas holiday.



I'm a real trivia junkie, so I'm always tuned into this kind of stuff. How about you?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hometown Memories: A Favourite Holiday Tune

I really enjoy the festive music this time of year. And I do have some favourites. One of them I discovered in a Christmas television special that was produced in 1968. The song, which is also the title of this TV classic, is "The Little Drummer Boy".


Every year I looked forward to watching this show with my brothers mainly for this song and I also looked forward to singing it in school during the Christmas celebrations.

Years later, it continues to be a top choice for me. And who can sing it better than Bob Seger?



Whenever I hear 'The Little Drummer Boy', I travel back in time to many wonderful childhood memories.

Do you like any holiday tunes?