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!

shy’s 41st birthday – hobbes’ loot

[this is part IV of my post-christmas posts – first post can be found here, second one here, and third one here]

yes, i will be posting about some of the things my dog got for christmas even though this post is really about my birthday. but all in all, hobbes almost got more than i made out this year. and definitely more than what i got for my birthday! though the value of my birthday gifts out-weighed his.

it’s just a little sad when your dog gets more spoiled than you!

anyway, the day was somewhat uneventful as it was yesterday (boxing day). we played more board games (mainly Mille Bornes which was from santa and doug taught chaeli some D&D from her gift to him – a beginner’s starter kit).

for dinner, we went out to a local pub (a true pub with traditional pub fare and proper selection of beer on tap) with my family. i did get some shout-outs from a couple of good friends plus my extended familly from thunder-bay. when you have a birthday that falls so closely to christmas, it’s one that’s usually over-looked.

i’m thankful of the family and friends that remember my birthday, though – year after year. there’s always 2 or 3 of the same friends whom never forget. at my age, the presents mean little but the action of remembering and wishing me a happy birthday is really all that it takes to make me feel good. it only takes two words – through text, email, voicemail… whatever. i don’t ask for much more because i really don’t need anything else to make my birthday special (other than spending it with my family, of course).

anyway – i had medium-spicy wings because their wings are tasty without being breaded (too much carbs) with a side garden salad. while i couldn’t indulge in fries, i ordered a veggie and dip platter for my apps and was full walking out (without being stuffed). afterwards, my family went to dairy queen. i went across the street and got myself a coffee from tim hortons, since i can’t have any dessert at the moment.

here’s a selection of hobbes christmas loot from this year:

dog christmas presents

hobbes’ 2013 loot

  1. Greenie
  2. Moose squeeky toy
  3. Pig’s ear
  4. Hide-a-Squirrel puzzle toy
  5. Smoked bone marrow beef bone
  6. Tennis ball with tail toy
  7. Various dehydrated sticks – venison, duck and bison

boxing day 2013 – shy’s loot

[this is part III of my post-christmas posts – first post can be found here and second one here]

christmas always comes too fast – this year, with the cruise kick-starting the month of december, we didn’t have as much time to do things like baking and getting our tree up earlier. which meant less time, also, sitting around the tree. it was, i think doug, chaeli and i all agreed, something we missed.

and i’m sure hobbes didn’t like not being with us for an entire week. he was pretty insecure for about a week after we came back.

we’re trying our best to stretch out the holidays as much as we can. yesterday, was just a day of reading, playing board games and watching movies. but i asked doug if we could just quickly gather some non-perishable food items and make a quick pit-stop at a near-by community centre which red cross was using as a relief station for those who are still without power (now going on day 5).

it was the least we could do. while we have been blessed so far with hydro, just no land-line for our phone (no big deal – we still have our cell phones), there’s a lot of people who not only don’t have power but can’t afford to stay in a hotel or go out to eat everyday. they may also have no family within driving distance where they can at least seek refuge for the tim being.

i am praying this will all be over soon for these people.

here’s a sampling of my christmas 2013 loot:

christmas presents

shy’s 2013 loot

  1. Metric – Synthetica
  2. Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game series
  3. Yoga straps
  4. Cosby Show Season 5 and 6
  5. Cheese knife set
  6. Wye Oak – Civilian
  7. Jerk marinade
  8. Yoga Journal – 1 year subscription renewed

christmas day 2013 – doug’s loot

[this is part II of my post-christmas posts – first post can be found here]

christmas morning, we waited until doug came home from his shift before opening presents together. as with every year, we start with stocking stuffers, then presents from friends and family, leaving gifts to each other last.

we didn’t take too long to get through our massive pile of presents which meant we were able to have our christmas brunch at a decent time.

this year, with my diabetes, doug bought me whole grain pancake mix with no-sugar added syrup. he also cooked up some turkey sausages for me. i opted to also have a leftover slaw that is high in fibre – shredded cabbage, shredded brussel sprouts, shredded kale and radicchio. the pancakes and syrup were only a fraction of sugar and carbs of what normally would make a pancakes with maple syrup meal. i actually liked my pancakes better – i suppose i’ve become a big fan of whole grain type products. it filled me up pretty fast though.

my parents came over late in the afternoon, leaving me plenty of time to do p90x plus upper body workout, followed by the p90x plus core abs. a total of 1 hour! brutal but fun workout – i enjoyed the variety a lot. while there were moments i felt like i wasn’t going to get through a set, it didn’t feel like a real workout. yes, it was that much fun!

for our christmas feast, we went over to my aunt’s and uncle’s as per our annual tradition.

i admit – while i controlled myself with the stuffing and mashed potatos, i went WAY overboard on the turkey! with my now low-intolerance for alcohol, the 1 glass of red wine just about did me in. i was in a post-turkey, red-wine coma as my digestion started to work away. while everyone had dessert, i had my skinny cafe latte with a few more bites of turkey later on as a night time snack.

here’s just some of doug’s loot:

christmas presents

doug’s loot

  1. Maple Cinnomon Pancake & Waffle mix
  2. Canadian Team Olympic Hoody – retro 1932 Lake Placid games
  3. A Dance with Dragons (5th book in Game of Thrones series)
  4. ishuffle
  5. Body Shop Ginger Shampoo
  6. Brotherhood – Life in the FDNY
  7. Inheritance (4th book in the Inheritance Cycle)
  8. Pickeld truffles