Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Farewell To 2017

The year is quickly coming to an end, and as I reflect on the past 12 months, I ask myself whether I’ve done the best I can, been compassionate and patient and thoughtful enough, met my goals, practiced gratitude, respected the earth and nature and all living beings, opened my heart and mind, grown as a human being, made peace with myself, and lived in the moment while dreaming about the future. There are no easy answers. In some areas I have done well, in others I must strive to do better. But all in all, I feel like I’m on the right road. Learning. Growing.

I also ask myself if we have advanced as a species, what the state of the world is, if we’ve made any positive differences, whether we are headed in the right direction and if things are as bad as many of us think.

It is ironic to me that in a world where information and knowledge is available to us at the click of a button, the majority of people have a dismal view of the world. Because if you dig a little deeper, beyond what the media would have you believe, things are in fact getting better not worse.

The facts show that overall we are healthier, more tolerant, better educated, freer and more aware of the world outside our immediate domain. Poverty rates are declining, and we are more literate and less violent. We have accomplished some amazing things in the last few decades but only few of us know it.

We should not lose hope. We should not buy into the constant negative news. We should not allow ourselves to be controlled by fear. That’s what stirs emotions. That’s what causes drama. And that’s what sells. But that’s not what’s true. There are unsung heroes we don’t hear about. There are advancements that are not newsworthy. There are inspirational stories that are never told.

Look around. There are individuals rising up, speaking out, uniting and shaking the very foundation we stand on. We are forcing change. We are protecting the vulnerable. We are speaking up and marching forward. I find that 2017 has been an extraordinary year in many ways, especially for women. Just think about all the powerful men that have been called out for their abusive behaviour, and held accountable. All this because of unity, courage and perseverance. The human spirit cannot and will not be oppressed and contained. Together we are pushing for equality and justice and progressiveness. And making progress whether we believe it or not.

I do not share the pessimism that is weighing down many. And no matter what kinds of challenges I’ve faced (and am facing) personally or how many challenges we are dealing with globally, I remain optimistic about the future. I also bid a warm farewell to 2017. Because no matter what, I was blessed with 365 more days on this beautiful planet with everyone I love.

I look forward to 2018 and new beginnings. And I hope you do, too.

Happy New Year, my friends! Peace, love and joy to all of you.

Friday, December 29, 2017

This Week

It’s Friday once again. The last one of the year. A year that many people will be glad to bid farewell to. I have a few thoughts on that but I will save them for my final post of the year that I will share this Sunday.
The two best things that happened this week were 1) my younger daughter arriving from Ottawa on Sunday and staying with us for a couple of days and 2) the rest of my family coming over on Christmas day for lunch. The company was wonderful, the food was great and the memories we created are priceless. I’d been worried when I got up that morning that they wouldn’t be able to make it because it was snowing, but it wasn’t severe enough for them to cancel. For this I am very grateful.

The worst thing was my mother not joining us. She has not improved since her fall in June, at least psychologically, and aside from medical appointments, she never leaves the house. Over the past few months her doctor has personally examined her numerous times and he’s also sent her for a series of x-rays, blood tests, scans, etc. He has found nothing medically wrong. It has become very challenging dealing with her as her demands grow, particularly for my brother who lives very close and does the majority of care. No matter what approach we take, nothing is working. No matter what suggestions we make, they’re all refused. We suspect that she might be suffering from anxiety and possibly depression but because she refuses to even consider that, we can’t get her evaluated or treated. We’re out of ideas. For those of you who have dealt/are dealing with a difficult elderly parent, I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and suggestions.

Last week I wrote about the car dying on me and having to call for assistance. Well, we changed our car battery and that’s the end of that. And thank goodness we did because a few days later the temperature took a dive. It is flippin’ cold and it will be for several more days. This morning I woke up to a temperature of -21°C (-6°F). No way would our car be starting in that weather with an old battery. Sunday night we’re going to be bringing in a very frigid New Year! How’s your weather. Can you send some warmth our way?

I have some art to share. Some old, some new. After the holidays I’m going to get into a normal routine that will include time for drawing. For now there’s this:

How was your week? Do you have any plans for the New Year? Depending on how we feel and the weather, we might go out for dinner. I’ve had my party years and now I like quiet celebrations. How about you?

That’s all for today. I’ll be back on Sunday to say goodbye to 2017.

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

This Week

It is Friday again, everyone. How has your week been? I spent it cleaning and organizing our home for Monday’s get together. This is the first one we’ve hosted in over a decade. We lived too far away when we were in Kingston, so we never celebrated Christmas at our place. Instead, we drove to Montreal each year to see everyone. Now that we’re much closer, we can finally enjoy the holidays at our place. It is exciting!

I went to pick up a few things earlier this week and when I returned to my car in the parking lot it wouldn’t start. My first call was to the most amazing man in the world who obviously couldn’t do anything. My second was to CAA (Canadian version of AAA). We’ve been members for-e-ver and this is the first time we’ve ever had to use their services. It took about a half hour for someone to arrive and bail me out. Thankfully the car battery only needed a boost and no towing was necessary, so I was able to get myself home. This has been the extent of our problems with this car that has turned out to be absolutely amazing. It’s getting old now but we are reluctant to replace it. I don’t think we’ll ever get this lucky again with a vehicle.

Has your car ever died on you like that?

My car troubles reminded me of this funny image I ran across recently:

Art. I’m too busy these days to put real effort into it but I did manage some simple drawings. Like these:

After the holidays I’ll be able to dedicate more time to it.

Speaking of time, can you believe 2018 is almost here? Sometimes I just can’t wrap my head around how the days and months and years just WHOOSH right by. When I was in high school the year 2000 seemed like a lifetime away, and that has come and gone. I’m not only much older than that rebellious teen at that time but I also have two adult daughters. Sometimes I can’t wrap my head around that either.

What’s your weather like these days? It looks a lot like Christmas around here. We have snow, which is nice, and freezing temperatures, which is not nice at all. As I write this it is -12°C (10°F). Baby, it’s cold outside. So you know what I plan to do today? Stay home. And also make a delicious red lentil soup. If you can get here, you’re welcome to some. I always make extra.

And that’s it for this week. Have a great day and a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tired Of The Same Old Christmas Tree?

Here are some other options.
(The last one had me laughing out loud! Because who doesn't need a tree in their home that's impervious to elephants.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

How much time do you have? Because I've got plenty with the cool people in my life. But since we do have lives to lead, one memory that sticks out is Christmas day 1997 when my brother dressed up as Santa Claus.

At the time, one of my daughters was six months old and the other one was 5 1/2. Of course we were all wondering whether or not the older one would figure out that it was her uncle behind the suit. She didn't! She truly believed that it was Santa. It was such a fun day.

My girls have always had - and continue to have - a wonderful relationship with my brother. I couldn't have asked for a better uncle for them.

How about you?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The War On Christmas

Every year it's the same thing. Facebook friends post angry, derogatory or frustrated messages about the so-called war on Christmas. They feel it's necessary to defend the holiday, and their posts are typically about how no one is going to restrict them from saying Merry Christmas and "it's Merry Christmas not happy holidays" and on and on it goes. I see things like this:


And this:

All from my God-loving Christian friends. *eye roll*

For years I've witnessed this type of behavior and for years I've posted nothing on my page about it. But yesterday I'd just about had enough of this nonsense when I saw this image from a friend:

So on my own Facebook page I posted this:

How do I respond with any type of warm and friendly greeting I receive?
I say "Thank you. You too!"

'Tis the season to be a good human. Be one.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, bloggers! What's up with everyone? How was the weekend? Did you do anything special? Nothing exciting to report on our end. I've been busy preparing for the Christmas gathering with my family. And I am happy to say that I finished all my holiday baking. This is the last one fresh out of the oven yesterday evening:

Mini pecan pies. Very easy to prepare. Very delicious. We ate two last night because how could we not? The house smelled so good that it was impossible to resist. The remaining treats are now in the freezer. They'll be served on Christmas Day.

How about you? Do you bake? Does someone bake for you? And what kinds of sweets do you particularly enjoy this time of year? Share your thoughts!

And enjoy the funny stuff below while you're here.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 15, 2017

This Week

What a week it’s been. Monday I successfully veganized a family favourite cookie recipe. This was my second attempt. The first batch didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted and it really bothered the perfectionist in me, so out went the cookies (sad, I know). Then I did a little research, wrote up a new recipe and baked a new batch. When they were ready, I broke a piece off one cookie to taste the results and... HOLYFRESHLYBAKEDCOOKIES, I DID IT! I danced around the kitchen with joy. Don’t I rock? Yeah, I rock. All of this effort is for my younger daughter, so she can enjoy them like everyone else when she’s here on Christmas day. They are truly made with love.

Tuesday was another great day because we took a drive to IKEA !!! *squee* I love going there even if I don’t buy anything. But we did pick up a few things on this visit. Our goal was to finish our dining area and have it ready for Christmas day for the family gathering. So we lugged a few things home and this is where we’re at now.

Like every other room this one is also in need of artwork and pictures on the wall. But we’re going to wait until we find things we like and things we can afford. Regardless, I think it’s a good start for now.

Then later in the week there was more rejoicing when this Christmas card arrived in the mail:

It's lovely. Thanks, Rain.

Art. I’ve done some of that, too. Finding time for drawing has been a real struggle this month but that's the way it goes this time of year. Here are a few I've managed to get done:

I never got around to making cookies yesterday. The day got away from me. I don’t mind since I’ve still got enough time from now until Christmas to finish all my baking. I did, however, make my marinara sauce between coats of paint and it came out great. The sauce and the paint (haha). Click here for the recipe.

And I think that’s a wrap for this week. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Just Who Is This Guy Named Santa?

This morning I'm doing some painting. Nothing major. The big projects are finished in our home and now there are little minor ones left to do. Since I have to wait 4 to 6 hours before I can apply a second coat, I'll bake in the interim. Maybe some mini pecan pies. Or some raspberry thumbprint cookies. And if I'm feeling really ambitious, I might even get a pot of pasta sauce going. I'm thinking marinara. I've got a recipe boasting about taking ten minutes to prepare this sauce. IDONTBELIEVEIT. It takes me about ten minutes just to locate the ingredients needed. But I'll keep an open mind.

Now, just what do we really know about Santa? Who is this guy? And why are we okay with him breaking into our homes? I'll leave you with this:

And what the heck, I'll also leave you with one of my favourite holiday tunes by Trans-Siberian Orchestra; an American progressive rock band.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

When my daughters were little, my favourite holiday tradition was taking them to visit Santa. We did this every year and we'd make a day of it with lunch, shopping and photos with Santa. Some years I would sit for a photo together with the girls and Santa would ask me, too, what I wanted for Christmas. I always asked for a vacation. Santa would laugh, my girls would laugh and some people within earshot would laugh. The vacation never came, though. I think that's when I stopped believing in Santa.

Those days are over *sigh* but other traditions continue. Here are three ongoing favourites:

- Decorating the tree
- Baking cookies
- Christmas day lunch with the family

Your turn!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

And here we are with another Monday rolling in. How are you all doing? Was the weekend a good one? What's going on with you? Share whatever you'd like in the comments. I always enjoy hearing from blogging pals. Speaking of blogging pals, if you're new around here and haven't commented yet, please do so. I'd love to hear from you. Meeting new people is fun. And It'll also give me the opportunity to visit your blog if you have one. Go on. Don't be shy. We're a nice bunch here.

Now let's get to some funny stuff.

Have a good one!

Friday, December 8, 2017

This Week

Is it Friday again? It certainly is. This week I had periods of super productiveness and periods of total sluggishness. Monday was the busiest of all. I cooked and baked up a storm. I covered all our meals up until yesterday’s dinner and even threw a few things into the freezer for another day.

Our weather is pretty erratic. It’s cold. It’s mild. It’s freezing. It’s mild again. We’ve had snow, so I get my winter boots out. Then it melts and I get my shoes out. And back and forth it goes. How’s your weather these days?

Yesterday I went to pick up some groceries and when I returned to my car with my shopping cart I noticed that the vehicle next to me was parked so badly it was taking up two spaces in the parking lot. I didn’t snap a photo but it was something like this (image from internet):

This is not the first time I’ve seen bad parking. And this is certainly not the worst. I once saw a pickup truck that was parked sideways. Why do people do this? Do they not care? Do they not know how to park? Perhaps more practice is needed. Or a little consideration. I live in a small city and parking is not an issue, but in big cities where parking spaces are limited, people can and will lose their minds when someone takes up two - sometimes three - spaces. At the risk of offending anyone, it’s your responsibility as a driver to learn how to park properly.

End of rant.

Next up: art. Because this month is a busy one with the upcoming holidays, and I have less free time for drawing and such things, I do quick and fun sketches whenever possible just to keep practicing. Here are a few examples:

The past couple of weeks I feel like I’m more relaxed and certainly more content. I like when things are in place and there is some type of order around me. It’s nice to finally be able to walk through a room and be pleased with the surroundings instead of seeing boxes and dirty walls and misplaced furniture...month after month after month. Below is an example of a room that makes me happy. We put up our holiday decorations early this year for this reason. A visual reward for our hard work.

We will hang artwork and picture frames at some point in the future.

Speaking of home renovations, our cats were very helpful, especially when we were painting. How helpful? This much:

Our fuball, Mocha, loves basking in the sun.

They sure do have it hard around here, don’t they?

And that’s it for now, friends. Thanks for popping in for a visit.Have a wonderful weekend!