Getting ready for Christmas

As rushed as I feel this time of the year, I do love it. I would start decorating right after Halloween but Doug thinks that’s too early – he believes first week of December but as I’m going on a business trip in a couple of weeks, I wanted the decorations up earlier. We compromised – last weekend in November. Just not the tree – live tree needs to go up about two weekends before Christmas. Plus the train and snow village under the tree. I wonder if one day, I’ll get my wish with a fake tree? Less messy, more humane (to trees, that is) and we can enjoy it longer.

Christmas decorationsHaving the decorations up soothes me, though. It makes me slow down when it seems impossible to do so. When I’m home, even if I’m working on my laptop until past 9 PM, I work in the dining room/living room surrounded by all the decorations. So I take mini-breaks to look around me and feel at peace.

It’s no wonder why I start reflecting this past year and how crazy it’s been. To say I’ve been on a roller coaster ride doesn’t even describe what’s been going on and I’ve come to accept that this might be the new normal for me.

A year ago, I found out I had diabetes. A year ago, I was suffering from anxiety and depression. A year ago, I thought about suicide every single day. I felt worthless, guilty and just wanted to end the pain I had no idea how to get rid of.

But then, a year ago, I re-discovered the true meaning of friendship and how the people who were there for me are those I’ll never forget and always be thankful for. A year ago, I was afraid of everything and while I’m still one big scared-y cat, I’m much stronger and have a better sense of why I am again. A year ago, I decided to make an appointment with my therapist.

Christmas decorationsI mentioned yesterday about this past year being an eye-opener as far as friendships. Nothing bad happened last year with anyone. In fact, it has been the most peaceful year as far as relationships goes. Perhaps it’s because I’ve taken the passenger seat to most of my relationships. To those that give equal effort back, I still stay in touch with. To those that haven’t been equal (and we’re talking for years and years), I’ve stopped trying.

I’m not being passive-aggressive about this decision. I’m not trying to be spiteful or anything like that. I’ve just come to the conclusion that all this time, perhaps the friendship meant more to me than it did to them. It was nothing personal (or maybe it was – I’ll never know unless they actually come and talk to me about it). And so I stopped trying so hard because whenever I never felt I was getting anywhere and that the effort in the friendship was one-way, it hurt. I felt rejected. Being who I am, I don’t think I could ever NOT feel rejected in that type of scenario. And I realized I had to stop putting myself in that position of constantly feeling rejected if I didn’t want to fall into depression anymore. As it stands, it’s still a struggle to be happy – I still have to work at it – but at least I’m in a place where I’ve found some middle-ground.

So what of those fizzled-out friendships? I don’t know. Maybe one day, things will change. Maybe those friendships will be rekindled. I don’t know. And it’s not something I can be worried about.

Christmas decorationsWhat I do know is what I have now in the present. And the people who are here with me in the present. All I can do is continue giving back to those people who gave back to me so much a year ago. Who always gave to me, to our friendship.

What I do know is to just enjoy the present and not worry so much about the future. As depressing as it is to have diabetes, it has taught me that there are some things I simply can not control.

And so, I’m thankful for these Christmas decorations. Not just for the tranquility they provide me around the house but for reminding me to live in the present and to be thankful for all that I have.

It’s been awhile

I haven’t forgotten about this little space of mine.

The usual excuse, “Life is busy,” does apply here. But at the same time, if I’m being completely honest, I think for awhile, I was just stressing myself into documenting things we did as a family (and the additional stress of adding photos to go with our weekend stories).

Not that I regret doing that – but as days, weeks and eventually, months went on, I realized I had forgotten other reasons for blogging. I had forgotten about how I used this space for other things, like from whimsical, random musings to more serious, personal stuff.

I will not try to ‘catch up’ with what we’ve been doing with our lives. I would love to, mind you, because we’ve done a lot of great things between all our work lives and Chaeli’s school life. As a family, we definitely do not waste our quality time together.

But there’s just too much to write about so if I’m going to get back to blogging, I need it to be less constricted – less rules. More freedom.

My urge for coming back here is that I just wanted to give one of my own random updates:

  • I’m nearing the end of my P90X3 program and I feel like a warrior!
  • My best friend, Ada, always believed in treating oneself to the good things in life. Why go cheap if it’s something that I really need or want? It’s taken me 41 years to get to the point where I believe I deserve those good things. I’m currently spending nothing less than $25 (sometimes as high as $50) on a good vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sterling 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley

  • It’s been a real eye-opener this past year when it comes to friendships – some are always there and some seemed to have fizzled away. The latter, I do not take personally. But have come to just accept that their friendship had meant more to me than it did to them.
  • I work hard – very hard. And I reward myself with RMT massages, reflexology massages, high-quality manicures and pedicures. I no longer feel guilty for treating myself with these luxuries.
  • The only thing I truly regret this past year was the 111 minutes I’ll never get back from watching “Magic Mike.” Oh it was horrible…
  • The more successful you become at your job, the more jealous people you encounter. Work bullies will then target you because they often target those they see as a threat. I no longer am afraid of work bullies. I don’t like them, but they can’t touch me.
  • Some days, I wake up and just wish I didn’t have diabetes. That it would just disappear.
  • As busy as I am, I have not neglected preparing for Christmas. There are a couple of things I didn’t have time to do this year but I’m still looking forward to the special day. And yes… that $50 cab-sav is being saved to go with that massive turkey.
  • To add to point two above, we will be going on another cruise. And I definitely plan to spend up to $100 on a really good full-bodied red wine to go with the best steaks ever!

Firefighter and wife dialogue

Doug had his first extrication call this past Wednesday. He had to remove two people – one from each vehicle – after they crashed into the side of a Rona store.

I said, “So this was your first excavation?”

He said, “Extrication.”

“What did I say?

“Excavation.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Excavating is more like digging.”

“Well, technically, you sort of had to dig them out of the car wreck.”

“It’s still not the right term.”

“But ‘Extrication’ is hard to say.”

At the end of a long day, this is the best I can offer as far as conversation while getting dinner ready.

Wedding in the Country

With Chaeli staying with the grandparents, Doug and I went to the Saturday wedding of his co-worker’s. We booked a motel room for the night. Smart move on our part… since we left the wedding after 11pm, it was nice to be just minutes away from our rented room and bed.

Sacred Heart Church - Peterborough, ONThe couple had their wedding in their Catholic church. The ceremony was long, as is typical with most Catholic ceremonies. This one was about 75 minutes in length. We sat at the very back of this massive church (out of respect for their family and friends to have better seats) so it was difficult for me to follow. The father officiating the ceremony sounded a bit like the Swedish chef from The Muppets due to his slight accent, sound system and echoing acoustics inside.

I missed the vows and the announcement that they were husband and wife. :)

wedding decorationsnewly wedsThe reception was held at the banquet hall of their community hockey rink. It was a lovely affair. I enjoyed the decorations – nothing over the top but elegant in its simplicity. Despite the fact that I knew no one there (I hadn’t even had the chance to meet the groom until that day), I had a good time.

But by 10pm, I was very tired and ready to go to bed. I would say I was showing my age but there were people 10-20 years older than me that were partying way past the time we chose to leave (just after 11pm).

So my new theory is that these people don’t have children living with them anymore. They are past that stage of parenting and have gotten a second wind in life! Will this happen to us? When our kid leaves the nest, will we get this second wind? I sure hope so!

date night!I suppose Doug and I did have a date-night. It’s always nice to have a reason to dress up and be out with one’s spouse. When I think about the last 5 or 6 times we had a chance to dress up for a formal night, it always involved Chaeli and our family. Not that romantic. Whether it was for a family or family-friend wedding. Or on formal nights during the cruise we took last December.

This time, we didn’t know anyone hardly. So in a way we were pretty much on our own!

Historical downtown - Peterborough, ONSmoke trout crepes - Black Honey CafeWe slept in next morning (8:30am – that’s a luxury for me) and took our time getting up and getting ready. The motel did have a hot breakfast included so we decided to check it out. It was pretty horrible. But we managed to get down some breakfast sausages, some toast and some questionable egg ‘patties’. We’re pretty sure they were not real eggs. The coffee was so-so. But, we were hungry and needed just a little something to tie us over.

After checking out, we went to the downtown, historical area of Peterborough, which was also by the waterfront. It definitely had a lot of charm. Unfortunately, being on a Sunday and past the summer season, many attractions and stores were closed.

We did find the Black Honey Desserts cafe open and serving Sunday Brunch. Neither of us were hungry but we felt completely unsatisfied with the breakfast offered at our motel. Doug and I shared a beautifully prepared smoked trout and poached eggs crepe. It came with spring greens an the tastiest rosemary seasoned roasted potatoes I have ever had. I limited myself to just several pieces of the potatoes and had only a little of the crepe. But I definitely gobbled down the rest.

We also had two mugs of their delicious, fair-trade and organic coffee.

If you’re ever in Peterborough, do check this place out for brunch. Everything on their menu looked good! The ingredients were very fresh.

Work Bullies

It’s been a trying week as I was victim of a volatile outburst from an office bully.

I call this person a bully because there have been others who have been the target of her wrath.

At the moment, I documented this incident. While other co-workers are stressing for me to report it, I have only just documented it and will continue to do so until my case is built. I do have witnesses, though.

But I’m not here to post about the details of my documentation.

Just to note that since this occurrence, I have felt the opposite of the joy I use to feel for work. My efficiency, output and productivity was at an all-time high right up to around 2pm last Wednesday when this situation occurred.

Since then, it has been a struggle for me to even be at work. I feel un-welcomed and uncomfortable in my work place. Whenever I see or hear her, I am brought back to the humiliation and fear she instilled upon me from that day.

A lot of others are afraid to do anything about her – because that is what happens to victims of a bully. The bully instills fear.

If you know some one is being bullied at work, please… speak up. Document the situation even if it is not happening to you. Perhaps you are a witness but the more people who bring this to upper management’s attention and the more it is documented, the more a bully in the workplace will be stopped.

This is a horrible way to have to live one’s life 5 days (or more) a week. No one should have to work under these conditions. The problem is that such situations are rarely reported out of a fear for various reasons.