Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saying Goodbye To 2016

Here we are at the end of another year. And like I’ve done with all the others that have come and gone, I find myself reflecting on the past twelve months. Not only on world events but also on me as an individual. Have I grown as a person? In the right direction? Have I been impatient at times? Selfish? Insensitive? Or ungrateful? Have I practiced kindness, compassion, understanding and tolerance? Particularly where it’s most needed. Have I left behind a gentle footprint? Did I fulfill all my goals? Am I satisfied as I look back? Would I change anything?

The truth of the matter is that I am not fully satisfied. Looking back, I realize that there are things I did that I shouldn’t have done. And things I didn’t do that I should have. I know I could have done better. I know I could have done differently. I know that I could have handled x, y and z in another way. A better way. But that’s the thing with hindsight. It’s 20/20. We evaluate past experiences through a perfect lens and would make better choices in the present time than when we had to make them.


On a personal level, 2016 was not the best year nor was it the worst. It lacked stimulation and motivation and enthusiasm but thankfully it also lacked grief and struggles and tragedy. It was a roller coaster ride that had some highs and lows but nothing earth shattering. And just when the most amazing man in the world and I thought the year would end in the same direction it had been headed toward for so many months - WHAM - it took a sharp, completely unexpected turn right before Christmas and placed us on a new path. 2016 certainly surprised us. In a good way. (I’ll write about all this in January.)


I am not a backward facing person, so although I may have regrets, I don’t dwell on them. What has happened has happened. With each new day comes the ability to undo what’s done or redo what unraveled. With each new day there is the opportunity to change direction, to make better or different choices, to set and fulfill new goals, to walk a gentler and kinder path, to continue to grow as a human being and to be at peace with one’s soul. With each new day we are given a blank page on which to rewrite the story of our lives. And with each new year we can look forward to 365 of those pages to get it right.

So I say goodbye to this year and all that defined it, and welcome 2017. I will embrace the next twelve months and all the possibilities they will bring with them. And will trust in the magic of new beginnings.

And finally, thank you to all my blogging pals for sharing another year with me in this amazing thing we call life. The journey has been that much more wonderful with all of you in it.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

(Holiday) Question Of The Day


  • Taxing
  • Eventful
  • Wearying
  • Surprising
  • Atonement

I considered using apologetic or remorseful or repentant but atonement – even though as a noun it’s out of place with the rest of the words – was the perfect fit.

After 2017 kicks in, I will write a post about what 2016 was like for us and it’ll all make sense.

Now it’s your turn. What five words would you use to describe 2016?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Project 366: Week 51

Week 51. I’m almost done. I admit to being a little lazy with these shots as this project comes to an end. But I don’t apologize. It’s been very busy around here and just the fact that I’m keeping up with this is somewhat of a miracle!

This week's photo theme: Near Our Home


Friday, December 16, 2016
Sunrise
"My favourite time of day.”

Project 366, Day 351: Sunrise


Saturday, December 17, 2016
Snowy Path
“On my way to the mall.”

Project 366, Day 352: Snowy Path


Sunday, December 18, 2016
Autumn Remnants
“Reminders of the fall season.”

Project 366, Day 353: Autumn Remnants


Monday, December 19, 2016
Icy
“Everything is covered with ice.”

Project 366, Day 354: Icy


Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Footprints
"Where are yours taking you?"

Project 366, Day 355: Leaving Behind Footprints


Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Snowy Greenspace
"All four seasons produce a pretty view in this area.”

Project 366, Day 356: Snowy Greenspace


Thursday, December 22, 2016
Weighed Down
“Trees are quite strong. They carry the weight of snow for months on end.”

Project 366, Day 357: Weighed Down


What I've learned this week:
The best gift you can give someone is your time.
Endings lead to new beginnings.
Anger is pointless. It doesn’t solve problems and it is exhausting.
Don’t take everything that people say personally. Some people were simply born without the tact gene.

A happy day to all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Day After The Day After Christmas

So here we are on the day after the day after Christmas. On the morning of the 25th, we drove to our hometown and spent the day with family and friends. This year we did something completely different for the first time ever. We went out to eat instead. We met up at a buffet restaurant with my mom, my brother and his wife, my older daughter and her boyfriend, my aunt (my mom’s sister), my cousin (son of aunt) and his wife, and my cousin’s daughter. We usually don’t get together with my aunt and my cousins, so it was especially fun!

Then we drove back to my mom’s place (less aunt and cousins) to hang out and open gifts. This Christmas we decided we’d each bring one present (no more than $30), pool them all together, pick a number from a bag and choose a gift from the pot. It was a lot of fun. And yes, there was some trading going on at the end.

In the evening, we visited with my father-in-law for a little while and had some cookies and tea with him. After we left his place, we drove over to my best friend’s house and enjoyed some time with her and her husband. We returned to my mom’s place at the end of that night (that’s where we were staying) and slept like logs.



The next day we had coffee and toast with my mom, drove to my mother-in-law’s to visit with her and then headed over to my older daughter’s home for a bit. We had originally planned to go for breakfast with my brother and his wife that morning and visit with everyone else later in the day, but we had to rearrange our plans and head home earlier because the forecast was calling for freezing rain that afternoon. And you don’t want to get stuck in that.

Despite the visit being cut short, we all had a wonderful time. The only one missing was my younger daughter. She decided to accept an invitation from her father to go to Florida for a week. We really missed her but she will be coming home this Friday for a few days and the three of us will share a late Christmas.


So we ran around for a couple of days and returned home exhausted. And all talked-out. That’s what I told the most amazing man in the world “I’m all talked-out”. There was so much conversation in such a short period of time that my head hurt by the time we got home. I’m an introvert, after all, and there’s a limit to the amount of blabbity-blabbity-blabbity-blah I can handle before my brain feels bruised.

That’s my news. How were your holidays?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Magic Of Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve. The most enchanted day of the year. 51 years later and I still feel that little girl stirring inside me. Excited and joyful and optimistic. Such is the magic of this day.


Between 9 PM Christmas Eve and 2 AM Christmas morning, there is something so tender, so mesmerizing and so promising about those hours. In that fleeting period, a peacefulness sweeps across the land that is without equal. Warmth envelopes our hearts, compassion rises to the surface and we recognize that we all have similar dreams and hopes and vulnerabilities and fears. Every single one of us on a comparable journey; one that we don’t always understand.

When Christmas Eve arrives, it brings with it the greatest gift of all: harmony.

May we all carry that gift with us into every day of the year.



Peace, love and joy to all of you.


Friday, December 23, 2016

This Festive Week

It’s hard to believe that it’s the eve of Christmas Eve. This week seems to have zipped right by. I accomplished a lot and also did nothing at the same time. Does that make sense? Probably not. But you would understand what I’m talking about if you’d lived my life the past few days. How has your week gone?



Yesterday I shared a photo of mince tarts, which some of you commented about. They are one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. And they’re homemade. Not by me. The elderly gentleman that I volunteer to look after each Wednesday...well, his wife bakes them a few times a year. When she does, she leaves some on the table for us, and her husband and I have them after our lunch. This Wednesday, not only did she put aside some for lunch, she also sent me home with a large cookie tin full of them! Yeah. Can you say OHMYFLIPPINGOSH? When I got home, I was tempted to hide them and eat them in secret. But the most amazing man in the world is worth sharing with.



If you look around the stores or online, you find some really cool, sometimes funny, items for the holidays. Take the product below, for example. You attach that label to some candy and you give it to grouchy people or people who haven’t been hit by the spirit of the season. At the very least you’ll get a smile in return. Hopefully.



And then there’s this next product. I’d love to have a Grinch plush toy! I should mention it to my family next year when they’re asking me what I want. Hey, don’t laugh. We're all weird in our own way.



I’ve talked enough, so I suppose I should wrap it up now. But before I go, here is the 1978 tune “Mary’s Boy Child” by Boney M. It is a really fun song with an upbeat tone to it. Enjoy! I’ll be back tomorrow with my Christmas eve message.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Project 366: Week 50

Week 50! Wow. How did this happen? Where did the year go? This week is stuff I’ve noticed here, there and everywhere. Simple observations.

This week's photo theme: Observations


Friday, December 09, 2016
Shoveling
"It’s that time of year again.”

Project 366, Day 344: Shoveling


Saturday, December 10, 2016
Winter Boots
“You need a warm, sturdy pair to get through a Canadian winter.”

Project 366, Day 345: Winter Boots


Sunday, December 11, 2016
A Winter Day
“One of the quieter ones in our city.”

Project 366, Day 346: A Winter Day


Monday, December 12, 2016
Trees
“Weighed down by winter.”

Project 366, Day 347: Trees


Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Mall Decorations
"One of the prettiest sightings of this season."

Project 366, Day 348: Mall Decorations


Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Snowy Couple
"Welcoming winter together.”

Project 366, Day 349: Snowy Couple


Thursday, December 15, 2016
Christmas Treats
“Go ahead, help yourself to one.”

Project 366, Day 350: Christmas Treats


What I've learned this week:
The more you are grateful, the more things you will find to be grateful for.
Do something every day that makes you smile.
You have the power to turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.
Don’t allow others to intimidate, manipulate or bully you into doing something you don’t want to. Stand your ground.

Have a good one!

Christmas Stuff

At the start of December I shared some information that Mad Magazine had uncovered about another reindeer in Santa's team aside from Rudolph who's always in the spotlight. Today I'm back with one more. This one:



Can you believe that Dasher was almost euthanized? I'm curious to know how or why his life was spared. I wonder if Santa had something to do with it.

Anyhow...

Did you know that if one’s “true love” bought all of the gifts mentioned in the final verse of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" they would total 364? Yeah. Where the heck do you put all that? You know what else? I don't even like the song. It gets on my nerves. Just like "99 Bottles of Beer" does. If I'm going to suffer through so much repetition, I'd rather listen to the cat version.



Speaking of songs, have you stumbled across the moving rendition of 'Hallelujah' sung by the choir from Killard House Special School in Northern Ireland, and led by Kaylee Rodgers who is only 10 years old.

Take a moment to listen to this child singing. It will blow you away.



Have a good one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

There's Something About Christmas Time

Yesterday the most amazing man in the world and I spent the day in Ottawa with the younger daughter who is studying, working and living there despite the fact that she is only 5 years old (forever in my mind). We had a wonderful time together. She is doing very well, which gives us peace of mind and makes us happy. And she has grown into an amazing, kind, responsible and mature young woman that makes us very proud every single day. Here we are after our lunch date. Notice the naughty or nice signs over my head?


The most amazing man in the world came into our lives when both my girls were very young (baby girl was only four years old), so he has helped me raise, nurture and guide them. He is an incredible role model who - together with me - has demonstrated what a healthy and loving relationship entails. I could not have asked for a better stepdad for my kids. And a better partner for me. I am very blessed.

*sniff*

Excuse me while I dab my eyes...

Okay

This year, despite Christmas being my favourite holiday of the year, the spirit of the holiday did not come easily. There are many reasons but I'm not going to get into them right now. Thankfully, I am feeling it more and more each day, and yesterday it really hit me. By seeing my daughter. By being together with these two people that I love beyond words. By taking a road trip. By seeing all the Christmas decorations. And by listening to the song "Christmas Time" by Bryan Adams playing in one of the stores. I swear my heart just about burst as a flood of memories of Christmases past washed over me. I realized right then and there that every day is Christmas in my life with all the loving and supportive people that have walked beside me in this amazing thing we call life. Throughout my entire life. I could not have asked for anything better. Take a moment to listen:




Yes indeed...

♪♫ There's something about Christmas time
something about Christmas time
that makes you wish it was Christmas every day ♫♪

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

(Holiday) Question Of The Day



Definitely this one:



And this is the runner up:



Hey, don't judge me. Sure they're pretty despicable at first but they eventually reform. Everyone deserves a second chance, no?

Your turn!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals! How are you all doing? And are you as busy lately as I am? Tis the season.

We are in deep freeze today. It is -17 Celsius (1 Fahrenheit) as I write this. Cold enough for ya? We're used to it here. We don't like it but we're used to it. The good news is that the weather will warm up starting this afternoon and for the rest of the week it'll be quite mild.

Now let's get to the funny stuff.







Have a good one!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Project 366: Week 49

I’m two weeks behind on posting for this project but that can’t be helped. I’ve been very busy and it’s been hard keeping up with everything. So I will post some images today and again sometime this week. This set is random shots that were taken quickly and without too much thought. Or effort. So no award-winners. But at least I’m keeping my commitment to this project that is quickly coming to an end. Just like 2016. Can you believe it?

This week's photo theme: Quick Shots


Friday, December 02, 2016
Bubble Games
"Fun with colours, soap and oil.”

Project 366, Day 337: Bubble Games


Saturday, December 03, 2016
Coloured and Uncoloured
"Coloured and uncoloured coloured pencils. Can you say that three times quickly?”

Project 366, Day 338: Uncoloured and Coloured


Sunday, December 04, 2016
The Plant
"Inside the funnel of leaves of one of my favourite plants, Vriesea splendens.”

Project 366, Day 339: The Plant


Monday, December 05, 2016
Bubble Games
“More fun with colours, soap and oil.”

Project 366, Day 340: Bubble Games


Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Rise and Shine
"Waking up to a peaceful morning."

Project 366, Day 341: Rise and Shine


Wednesday, December 07, 2016
The Snowman
"Not as popular as Frosty, but just as jolly a snowman.”

Project 366, Day 342: The Snowman


Thursday, December 08, 2016
Kitty
“A friend’s cat posing for me.”

Project 366, Day 343: Kitty


What I've learned this week:
It’s not what we see, it’s how we see it.
Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to do things differently or make things better.
When things are great, it’s easy to be happy. The real challenge is staying afloat on those sucky days.
Turn off the inner critic. That person has nothing valuable to say.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

This Festive Week

Yesterday I never got a chance to create a post. That’s how busy I was. I took off early in the morning and headed out to the stores to do some Christmas shopping. My first stop was the bookstore; a place that I love going to any time of the year. A place that is irresistible to me. When I get in, I have trouble getting back out. It’s like being swallowed up by a black hole. But yesterday I had other places I needed to get to, so eventually I made my way out of there. Reluctantly.



Speaking of Christmas shopping, it’s been quite an ordeal this year. You’d think with a handful of family to shop for, it would be easy. It isn’t. I found it easier to shop for all the young kids that were on my list many moons ago. That was fun. Adults are not as fun. Adults are harder. And it’s been getting worse and worse every year.



I went out early yesterday to avoid any mad rushes and failed miserably. Everyone seemed to have the same idea. People everywhere. Stores packed. Extensive line ups to the cash. Traffic jams galore on major roads. UGH. This is a small city with less than 150,000 people in it and this type of craziness doesn’t happen often. But a week or two before Christmas is one of those times. To top it all off, the weather got wintery-crappy on my way home and the roads were sleek. I hit an ice patch as I was slowing down at a red light and my car started to skid. Toward the car in front of me. Thankfully, I got it under control and everything turned out fine. But I could have done without the few seconds of heart pounding terror. Ah, the perils of winter driving in Canada...



Hey, you know what I love? The Christmas song ‘The First Noel’. And here is a favourite version of it sung by the American country music group Lady Antebellum. Hilary Scott (lead and background vocals) is heard singing. What a voice on this woman. What a voice!

Enjoy the song and the rest of the weekend!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday Words Of Wisdom

I'm in a rush today, so I'll leave you with these words of wisdom. From a tree, no less...



Now that I'm in the 50s club, I'm a little droopy. And slightly tilted *snort*

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

(Holiday) Question Of The Day



Many moons ago, I used to have a long list of friends and family members that I sent Christmas cards to. As time went on, our kids grew up, everyone got older, people moved away, we lost touch, cards stopped being sent - on and on the reasons go - and each year I'd examine my list and prune it accordingly. The list kept getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Now I only send out a handful of Christmas cards.

How about you? Do you send Christmas cards? Or any type of holiday/greeting card.