Monday, December 31, 2018

So long, 2018

And here we are on the last day of 2018. Where did the year go? Some days it felt like it was zipping right by. Other days it felt like it was dragging along. If you follow the news, you know that the past twelve months have been interesting and forceful and extreme and oftentimes tragic and chaotic. Despite everything, there have been stories of compassion and hope and joy. Because there is far more goodness in this world and far more people with integrity, whether we choose to believe it or not.

On a personal level, the year started off rather hard for me and continued that way for months. I felt discontented, lost, restless, tired and unmotivated. I felt beaten down by the stress caused by the lengthy sale of our home in Kingston, the move to a new city, the sudden loss of our black cat, the physical exhaustion caused by the abundance of work in our new house, conflict with a family member, lack of sleep, lack of outdoor time...and on and on it went. I was physically, mentally and emotionally burned out.

But I maintained hope. And with that hope in hand I slowly took action and made changes in my life that turned things around. It worked. As the year comes to an end, I am happy, focused and more energetic. My journey has stabilized and my enthusiasm has returned. Doing volunteer work and joining a group at the local metaphysical store are just two of many contributors to this return to well-being. I am grateful for this transition, the lessons learned along the way and the year ending on a positive note. What does 2019 have in store? Does it really matter? I will focus on living in the moment and making the best of each new day that I’m fortunate enough to wake up to.

Tomorrow, a new year begins and we are given 365 opportunities to make this a better world. The only way to do this is to stop the ignorance, stop the intolerance and stand strong against it together. I will do my part in respecting the world I live in, being kind to all living beings, feeling gratitude for all my blessings and celebrating each moment of this incredible thing we call life. I hope you will join me.

I’m thankful for all of you, for sharing this journey with me. And I wish each and every one of you peace, joy and good health in 2019. Let’s make it the best year yet.

Happy New Year, my friends!

Friday, December 28, 2018

This Week

Happy last Friday of 2018, everyone! How are you all doing? What have you been up to this week? Did you celebrate? Did you host? Did you visit? Did you eat too much?

We didn’t visit anyone, but we did host a Christmas lunch on Wednesday, and we celebrated and ate too much with my family. The food was great (if I do say so myself) and the company even better. My mom was here, my brother and his wife were here, my two daughters and their boyfriends were here. Oh, the joy! A wonderful time was had by all, and the most amazing man in the world and I have enough leftovers to last us for a long time.

Yesterday we were total slugs; we did nothing and went nowhere. It looks like today will be the same, especially because of the freezing rain. No complaints from me; I can hibernate with the best of them, especially when the weather is crappy. I would prefer to be a slug on a tropical island but I’ll settle for our warm house and the electric blanket. And all the books waiting to be read, quite a few new ones received as gifts this week! Life is good.

Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve? We haven’t made any but we would like to go out for dinner. Someplace quiet and not too crowded. Once upon a time, when I was much MUCH younger, I used to go out to party. I was able to tolerate the noise and the masses and the fast pace. Those days are over and done with. As I get older I prefer – and appreciate - quieter ways of celebrating. And when the weather is really bad, I’m perfectly fine with staying home all warm and cozy.

This week I am keeping it short. I don’t have much else to say or the energy to say it. So I will just wish you all a wonderful last weekend of 2018 and send you on your merry way!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

From Our Home To Yours

The gift of love.
The gift of peace.
The gift of happiness.

May all these be yours today and always.

Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2018

(Christmas Eve) Chuckles and Chortles

'Twas the night before Christmas... It's actually the morning before over here but it doesn't have the same impact.

How was your weekend and what's going on with you? Are you doing anything tonight? Tomorrow? Both? We won't be celebrating until Wednesday with my family, so the most amazing man in the world and I will cozy up on the couch tonight and watch a Christmas movie on Netflix. Tomorrow will be a day of rest because the day after it will be insane over here and we'll need all the energy we can get.

Below are the last Christmas funnies of the month.

Wishing you all a joyful and peaceful Christmas.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

This (Holiday) Week

Happy Friday Saturday, blogging pals, and happy (day after) winter solstice. While I may not care for the winter months ahead, I do welcome the return of the light. Because as of today, the nights begin getting shorter and the days start getting longer. Yippee! Who doesn’t like more daylight?

As you can see, this post was supposed to go live yesterday but I wasn’t able to complete it because it was a crazy busy time. I spent the entire day doing a mega cleaning to a good portion of the house. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the dust bunnies accumulate, especially with cats in the house.

Another thing we did yesterday is put up our Christmas tree. This is very late for us. We usually have it up at the beginning of the month. We kept putting it off and putting it off, and the days kept going by. It’s finally done and it looks beautiful. And the bonus is that the cats have shown little to no interest in it. I hope it stays that way!

Friday wasn’t the only chaotic day; it’s been insanely demanding but wonderfully productive all week. From multiple visits for groceries to hours spent in the kitchen, I've been keeping really busy (and out of trouble). It’s beyond belief how much is involved when you host a holiday. To make things easier, I’ve prepared a few things in advance. In my freezer so far you’ll find homemade cranberry jelly, maple-glazed carrots, sweet potato burgers, lemon-glazed cookies and the most amazingly moist brownies you will ever eat. The sweet potato burgers are specifically made with my younger daughter in mind who is vegan. But it doesn’t stop there. Every single thing I bake or cook for Christmas (aside from the turkey, obviously) is vegan. I make sure that all bellies are equally full and blissfully happy in our household.

Despite the roller coaster of a day yesterday, we squeezed in a visit with our neighbours who invited us over for coffee around 7:30. It was nice to get out and unwind with some friends. And it’s so cool to be able to just walk across the street to do so! You know what else is cool? Having someone prepare the most amazing coffee you’ve ever had. I think they have a Nespresso machine, if I remember right. Anyhow, I’ve never had one from this machine and WOW was it ever good. I looked up the price for it this morning and...nope...we won’t be getting one any time soon. I guess we’ll just hope our neighbours invite us over again. *snort*

Thursday morning we stopped in at the local SPCA with a box full of donations. I checked the wish list on their website and selected some items from there for us to pick up. We’ve been so blessed with the kitten we adopted from there in January that we wanted to show our gratitude. Kazee was six months old when we took her home and she has brought an abundance of joy into our lives from day one. And she is here because of this organization. Her previous family surrendered her after she had seizures and was on the brink of death from being treated with flea medicine for dogs. Instead of being put down, she was given a chance to live. And thank goodness for that because she has turned out to be the most amazing cat we’ve ever had. So we made a contribution on her behalf to celebrate our good fortune and to thank everyone involved - and the universe - for letting her live. *sniff*

Wow, I’ve really rambled on, so I will stop here, set you all free and wish you a wonderful weekend!

(I am behind on your blogs but I’ll get to them some time today.)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

Well, we don't have a fireplace, so you can forget about him coming in through the chimney and stuff like that there. I suppose he could enter through the front door or through one of two patio doors, but that would set off the alarm and freak everyone out. Opening a window would also have the alarm waking up the neighbourhood, not to mention scaring the hell out of the reindeer.

* sigh *

Maybe Santa should do like Amazon and just leave it outside the front door. Or be like the post office and mistakenly leave it outside the neighbour's front door. *snort*

Now it's your turn!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

How Much Of A Grinch Are You?

So I saw this fun quiz/meme over at Debra’s blog (see her answers here) and decided to join in on the fun.

And away we go...

What do you hate most about Christmas?

There isn’t much that I dislike about my favourite holiday of the year but even we Christmas fanatics have our limits. I draw the line at the shopping madness and the nuts that make it so. Goodwill goes out the window when people are running each other over with their shopping carts as they race to pick up the latest fad merchandise or when they give each other the finger as they battle over a parking spot. What happened to ‘peace on earth’ that we’re supposed to be working on this time of year? Sheesh.

What is your least favourite piece of Christmas music?

For all you real Grinches out there, I actually love Christmas music – wait for it - any time of the year. I can be heard humming tunes in the middle of summer. Okay, okay, enough with the gasping and finger pointing. We all have our quirks. That being said, there are a few songs that make me want to toss up my sugar cookies. A few that have that nauseating power include The Twelve Days of Christmas, Santa Baby, Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas Is You. Also, the repetition of the lyrics “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” in Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time feels like a hammer to the head. And anything – AnYTHiNG - sung by the Chipmunks makes me lose my %#@$&* mind.

What traditional Christmas food OTHER THAN FRUITCAKE (too easy) is being sent down the garbage disposal?

I actually don’t mind fruitcake. I’ve eaten some amazing types, especially ones that were homemade. I’ve even had the pleasure of munching on awesome fruitcake cookies that I got at a cookie exchange that I attended when we lived in Kingston.

If I had to choose something to ‘pour’ down the drain, it would be eggnog. Bleh. Eggs in general are not at the top of my list of favourite things to eat and the idea of eggs in a drink kind of grosses me out.

Which animated TV Christmas special leaves you wanting to rip the wallpaper off the walls?

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve watched anything in this category and I’ve no idea about any recent introductions. But if I had to choose, I’d say that stop-motion animations don't appeal to me like they used to back when I was a child. And – get ready for this! – I’ve never been much of fan of anything Charlie Brown-ish, let alone a Christmas special. There, I said it out loud. And I’m not sorry.

What was your least favourite Christmas gift ever?

I can’t think of a time when I really didn’t like what I received, but socks and underwear when I was young weren’t the most ‘exciting’ gifts. Now that I’m older, those items are quite welcome, especially being pricey as they are!

Who on your Christmas list is the hardest to shop for?

I don’t have a long list of personal gifts to shop for, and even when we get together as a family for Christmas lunch, everyone just brings one gift and we take turns selecting one by playing some type of game. So it’s gotten relatively easy as far as presents go.

In the past, though, when I bought individual gifts for everyone, the people I found hardest to shop for were my parents. They didn't need a single thing. Ever! When I had my kids, it got a little easier. Sometimes I would gift them framed photos of the girls from holiday photo shoots, photos with Santa visits or school year images. My parents loved them and I sighed with relief.

How would you spend this time of year if you weren't caught up in all the holiday madness?

I actually don’t get caught up in the madness. I stay away from the crowds, plan things out carefully so I don’t get overwhelmed, don’t run around like a lunatic and always keep in mind what the season is really all about: spending time with loved ones. We have an amazing time as a family when we all get together, so there’s no place I’d rather be. New Year’s, on the other hand, is a different story. Give me a couple of airline tickets to a tropical island and off I go!

And that’s how much Grinch is in me. Very little.

If anyone else would like to share their inner Grinch, please do so in the comments or on your own blog. I would love to hear all about it!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals! How was your weekend? Was it busy? Quiet? Hectic? Peaceful? Did you go out? Stay in? Watch movies? Read books? Visit friends or family? Share below. Inquiring minds want to know!

Our weekend was a busy one. Saturday we went to a Christmas party where we had dinner and where the most amazing man in the world and his band played live on stage afterwards. I spent the evening chatting with a lovely woman who not only happens to be the wife of one of the band members, but also a neighbour who lives across the street. It was a fun-filled evening and the band put on an incredible performance.

Yesterday I got together with a bunch of friends at the local metaphysical store. We've created a group and get together just about every Sunday afternoon where we talk about the most interesting subjects. The most amazing man in the world often attends but yesterday he was wiped out from Saturday night, so he decided to stay home. Anyhow, this week we had a potluck to celebrate the holiday season. It was a lot of fun and I'm very grateful for all these people!

And that's that. Let's get to the funny stuff!

Have a great day ahead!

Friday, December 14, 2018

This (Holiday) Week

It’s Friday again! It returns faster than I can say “where the heck did the week go?” But that’s fine. This is actually my favourite day of the week. Maybe it’s because it’s the bridge between the week ending and the weekend beginning. This was especially important when I was working full time as a single mom with young kids. Weekends couldn't come fast enough. Those days are long gone but the sentiment remains. What’s your favourite day of the week?

So yesterday evening while I was doing a drawing, I was listening to holiday music. And one of the songs I was enjoying is “The Little Drummer Boy” sung by Bob Seger; the absolute best version, in my opinion. Now some people like this song, others cannot stand it. Well phooey to the latter. I have fond memories of this song all the way back to my childhood. It is – and always will be – a favourite.

I also like the song below (Boney M - Mary's Boy Child / Oh My Lord). It has a very ‘island music’ tone to it. I imagine myself dancing to it on a Caribbean beach. Not that I’d ever want to be away during Christmas. I love getting together with my family to celebrate. But I’d have no problem at all boarding a plane for a warmer place the day after. I would like nothing more – at least once in my life – to bring in the New Year on a tropical island. The most amazing man in the world says we will do this one year. I think so, too. It’s just a matter of time...and money. Especially money.

Here's another video for those who can't see the one above:

Okay, now here’s some old artwork. It’s nothing special but it fits nicely with the holidays and extends this blog post:

And finally, you know what I’m really excited about? Everyone coming here for Christmas. And this year – for the first time - my younger daughter’s boyfriend will be joining us. The older daughter’s boyfriend has been joining us for years but the younger one’s hasn’t been able to. He has family commitments on the 24th and 25th that make it impossible. So what’s different about this year? Get this... I decided to have everyone over on the 26th instead! There’s no rule that says we have to celebrate on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. And even if there was a rule, I’d break it. Because that’s how I roll. So this year it’s a full house and I could just burst with joy. But I won’t because the family is counting on me hosting Christmas.

That’s all for now, friends. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Peace On Earth

I don't have the answers to the world's problems but I truly believe that in order for the "peace on earth" that we parrot every year around this time to go from being a hollow statement to having true meaning, it must begin within us.

Perhaps if we open our heart and mind to people of a different culture, religion, political affiliation, race, language, heritage, social status, perspective, sex...and embrace them, instead of being fearful, judgmental, greedy, angry, intolerant and uncompromising, we just might get there.

Imagine what billions of people could accomplish by being united instead of divided.

Just imagine.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start. How are you all doing? What have you been up to? What's December been like so far?

Yesterday we started off the morning by meeting up with a bunch of friends for breakfast. The food was really good and the company even better. And then we met up with more friends in the afternoon for coffee and chitchat. It was a very full day. But because Saturday was very quiet, our batteries were full and we were prepared for the hectic pace of yesterday. It was a nice weekend.

And now, let's add some humour to this day to make sure it's a good one. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2018

This (Holiday) Week

Happy Friday, everyone! How are you all doing? What have you been up to this week? What’s going on in your part of the world? Share away in the comments because I enjoy hearing from you!

It’s been a semi-busy week for us. We’ve had moments of slacking off and moments of running around. The best day was Wednesday. We spent it in Montreal, starting with lunch at my mom’s. She was really happy to see us and we had a very nice visit. My brother stopped in for a while, too, and that was great. It had been a long time since we’d seen him.

When we left my mom’s we headed to a mall on the West Island. I needed to pick up some gifts for my daughters and their boyfriends. I’m not going to share what I bought because my younger daughter sometimes reads my blog and I don’t want her to know what’s coming up! (Sorry, sweetheart, you’ll just have to wait.)

Our next stop was to visit my mother-in-law who recently moved into a seniors’ residence. We wanted to spend some time with her and also check out her new place. She’s got a really nice unit, places throughout the building that she can enjoy like a small library, an exercise room, a hairdresser, a convenience store, a games room, a beautiful dining area, and so on. And speaking of dining rooms, we all had dinner together. Residents can invite friends or family members to join them at meals. All my mother-in-law has to do is order extra meals in advance and they are paid for after you in a restaurant. So cool! We will definitely do this again. It was a wonderful visit and we left feeling satisfied that she is in a safe, comfortable and happy environment.

You know where our last stop in our hometown was? At the bookstore! !!! That is my happy place. I think I floated around the entire time I was there. That’s how thrilled I was.

It was a great day!

We have a busy weekend coming up that will include errands, holiday shopping and hanging out with friends. All this socializing and being out in public and running around takes a lot of energy for an introvert. The month of December is going to continue on and off this way. After the holidays are over I’m going to need to hibernate for quite some time to refill my batteries!

What’s on your gift list? As I get older, mine consists mostly of practical items and things that bring me joy like scented candles and winter scarves and shower gels and a book to cozy up with and delicious teas or coffees and movie tickets and gift cards and stuff like that there. No big ticket items. No fancy schmancy stuff. But even all this does not top my number one choice which is ‘experiences’. This time of year the thing I look forward to the most is getting together with loved ones and creating memories. Of course, I’d gladly accept a vacation, especially where there’s a beach! I can be bought...haha...

I’m going to end this post with a funny ‘Cats vs Christmas’ compilation. Those of us with cats can - unfortunately - relate.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

(Holiday) Question Of The Day

It's funny because when my kids were very young and I had about a bazillion gifts to give that would take a lifetime to wrap, I wrapped all of them. And very nicely, too, with ribbons and bows and pretty paper. Now that we're empty nesters and gift giving is down to a handful of people and should take no time at all to wrap, I use gift bags instead.

Do you prefer one over the other? Or do you do both?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, friends! And happy December, too. I wish you all a wonderful month ahead. Starting today, the entire month will be dedicated to holiday posts. That's post after blog post of festive fun. And it begins with the funny stuff below. Enjoy and have a great day ahead!