Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

As usual, when it comes to Christmas music I saved the best for last. One of the best Christmas presents I ever received was tickets to see these guys when they played in Toronto. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

A Mad Russian's Christmas

Wizards In Winter

Christmas Canon

TSO – Christmas Eve in Sarajevo

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I'll be back in the New Year.

Dec 24, 2015

Happy Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, time for some serious Christmas music. These are just a few of my favourites:

Enya - Silent Night in Gaelic

Celtic Woman - Oh Night Devine

Drummer boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby

Faith Hill – Where Are you Christmas

Be sure and come back tomorrow for my traditional Trans-Siberian Orchestra selections. :-)

Dec 23, 2015

'Twas the Eve Before Christmas Eve

Anybody starting to feel a little frazzled with Christmas so close?

Well, get a cup of coffee and sit a spell. These amusing Christmas songs should put a smile on your face.

There's a Santa that Looks A lot Like Elvis

All You Need Is Elves

It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year

Carol of the Bartenders

And one of my personal favorites: I Am Santa Claus

And now that I've restored your Christmas spirit, it's back to the kitchen for me. I have 7 cookie cans to fill and 2 days to do it in. Any bets on whether I succeed? ;-)

Dec 22, 2015

A Star Wars Christmas

So ... the daughter and I are finally going to see the new Star Wars tomorrow night (I know, I can't believe we've waited this long either!) and this morning I was on YouTube looking for funny Christmas videos to post 'cause that's what I do this time of year, and I came across a Christmas Star Wars video.


And then it occurred to me that where there's one funny Star Wars video there should be more. And I was right. So here's a few of my favourites. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan (seriously, now could anyone not be?) you can still enjoy the videos. :-)

Dec 21, 2015

Magnificat Monday

magnificat ~ canticle in praise of the Virgin Mary

Happy Winter Solstice!

It's the shortest day of the year today, also known as the first day of winter, also the beginning of Yuletide, which was taken over by the Christians and turned into Christmas. :-)

I'm sitting here, staring out the deck doors, watching the rain coming down. Definitely not a sight to inspire the Christmas spirit. Also in my line of sight are the Christmas tree, all the Christmas presents under it, and the Santa penguins beside it. To be honest? They look a little out of place.

Thanks to global warming, winter has been getting a later and later start and I'm pretty sure that white Christmases are a thing of the past for us here on the edge of Lake Ontario. In fact, I've suggested starting a fund so that when the grandbaby is around 5 years old we can all go up north for Christmas so she can see what it's like to have snow at Christmas.

When I was a child I loved Christmas - decorating the tree, stealing cookies as my mother baked them, watching the pile of presents grow under the tree ... and of course there would be a heavy blanket of snow out there transforming the drab, grey landscape into something magical.

Of course I didn't have to do any of the actual work towards Christmas other than making a few crafts, which I loved doing even as a kid. I didn't have to bake the cookies, or shovel the snow, or foot the bill for the mountain of presents. My only job was to enjoy myself.

I still enjoy Christmas. Mostly. I may not always enjoy the work leading up to it - like the marathon baking binge I went on over the weekend, or the shopping and present wrapping - but once Christmas Eve is here and I can sit back and relax, I can plug in the Christmas lights, and listen to some Christmas Carols while ignoring the grass outside that needs cutting. There's just something special about Christmas.

This year is going to be extra special because we have our grandbaby now. We tried not to go too overboard with gifts for her first Christmas (she has her first birthday in January) and I can't wait until Christmas morning when she gets to open them.

There was a brief time, when our daughter was born, that the joy of Christmas (along with every other holiday) dimmed a little because we have a lot of family and everybody wanted a piece of us, especially at Christmas. 'Tis the season to be jolly, but nothing will suck all the fun out of it like family. We made a lot of compromises that nobody was really happy with and got through it somehow.

So when the daughter started seeming a little frazzled with all the expectations of the season, I could really sympathize with her. And I told her that this time of year it's okay to be selfish. You're never going to please everyone, so don't even try. Do what makes you happy.

One of our traditions has always been to have a big Christmasy dinner on Christmas Eve. I'd cook game hens and each of us would have our own so there was no fighting over dressing or leftovers. But my daughter has a new family now and wants to start her own traditions. And this does not include coming to our house on Christmas Eve, although we are invited to their house on Christmas Day.

And you know what? That's a good thing. Most of my family's traditions - like singing Christmas Carols and reading stories - have fallen by the wayside because of other expectations of the season. So I'm glad to see my daughter starting traditions of her own and I hope, over the years, that she never loses them.

Dec 14, 2015

Myelic Monday

myelic ~ of, like or pertaining to the spinal cord

I have to admit, this past weekend was far more productive than the last one. At least as far as Christmas goes. We knocked off about 85% of the Christmas shopping on Saturday. I got another 5% done on Sunday. Just a couple of little things left to buy plus two big things.

And be still my heart, I even had everything we bought wrapped on Sunday. And then of course I had to put the tree up so I had someplace to put everything. AND of course the cats "helped" with the wrapping by going after the ribbon. One of them escaped with a piece long enough that we'll have to keep our eye on him for the next couple of days in case it causes him intestinal problems.

One of the presents I got was admittedly for myself. I bought a couple of silicone liners for my cookie sheets. Just think of the aluminum foil we'll save! I can't wait to try them out.

I got as far as taking the butter out of the fridge yesterday, but that was it. Between shopping and wrapping and setting up the tree, I kind of ran out of time. And then I ran out of back. As in my back was hurting from sitting on the floor wrapping presents. Which was a hold-over from yesterdays back ache from being on my feet so long shopping. Advil is my new best friend.

I made another one of those epiphanial discoveries on the weekend. The reason my plans seem to go awry on the weekends (or any other time for that matter) is because I seldom get the timing right. Things always seem to take a lot longer to accomplish than I count on.

Take yesterday, for instance (please!). Yesterday I wanted to return a couple of things we bought Saturday, pick up a couple of things we needed/didn't get, do a progress report on a transcribing project I have on the go, start my Christmas baking, and in the evening maybe get a little sewing in or start on this year's tree ornament.

My day started with an hour on the exercise bike, followed by a shower and breakfast - there goes just about 2 hours. The quick trip to Walmart and Staples turned into a long trip to Walmart (while much to my chagrin I forgot to stop at their McDonald's kiosk for a coffee), then Bulk Barn, then Metro, then Dollarama, then Staples, then Tim Horton's (for a gift card). This made me an hour late for lunch, so bad diabetic that I am I took my pills with a maple pecan danish from Tim's and a coffee. ;-)

By this time I was rather grumpy and my back (which hadn't quite recovered from shopping on Sunday) was hurting again. But I had Christmas presents and wrapping spread out in the living room from the night before and figured I'd better take care of that. Wrapping up took me another 2 or 3 hours. The hubby brought the Christmas tree upstairs for me and I figured that would be the best place to store the presents, but first I needed to put the lights on it.

After stringing the lights, cleaning the wrapping detritus from the living room, and cleaning off the dining room table, it was time to make supper. After taking a couple of Advil for my back, of course. By the time supper was over, I was in serious need of some sit and relax time, which I did. But I did manage to get a little sewing in, and later I finished my progress report.

Anyway, the moral of this sad and pathetic pity party is: when making out a to-do list, remember to leave ample time to do all your projects. :-D

And because I'm starting to feel a little more Christmasy, I'm going to leave you with some Christmas favourites to spread the cheer.

I'll save the serious ones for next week. ;-)

Dec 7, 2015

Motiferous Monday

motiferous ~ conveying motion

Isn't it strange how these Mondays keep creeping up on me? Every week, like clockwork, another one appears ...

Even more appalling ... only two more Mondays after this one before Christmas. Are you ready?

I'm barely even started. The outdoor lights are up, and hubby and I went Christmas shopping on Saturday. We came home again pretty much empty handed, but I guess that was pretty much to be expected considering over half of our Christmas list is small children and there was no Toys 'R Us in the city we went to.

What is Toys 'R Us, those of you without children ask? Only the Mecca of all toy stores. Think Walmart sized super store, but with nothing but toys. And if you're still having trouble picturing it, check this out:

So ... we spent at least five hours on Saturday and came back with nothing, then I had to pick up something at Walmart on Sunday and came back with a couple of things off the list in under an hour, and this morning I stopped at Walmart for some thread and ended up with a couple of actual Christmas presents - and I was there for less than half an hour. Apparently slow and steady does not win the race when it comes to Christmas shopping. And I also came away with ideas for both sisters and a great-niece.

I baked cookies yesterday, but not Christmas ones. I finally made the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the hubby's been whining about ever since I started my apple baking marathon, and when the daughter found out I was baking cookies her ears perked up, so I ended up making some peanut butter ones for her and her hubby so there'd be at least a couple of chocolate chip ones left when hubby got home.

I will need to start thinking about the Christmas baking soon though. And I think this year's theme will be "chocolate covered". When we were at Costco I couldn't resist a 2.4 kg (5 lb) bag of chocolate chips. The good ones. I can use them in fudge, but you can only make so much fudge. ;-)

And I hereby promise not to refer to Canadian Tire as Crappy Tire any more. They had a cookie gun for me, and at a reasonable price. Now all I have to do is find the time to mix up the Spritz cookie dough.

On top of everything else I have going on, yesterday I was handed three pairs of pajama pants that need to be made. Call me crazy, but I just knew this was going to happen the moment the daughter mentioned wanting to make them for Christmas. The material she got was striped, which is a little tricky to match so she needed help cutting them out. So we did that yesterday (and by "we" I mean "me").

Then, of course, she was going to need "help" sewing them together. I had visions of my free time being sucked away by having to go over there multiple times to talk her through the sewing part; remembered how easily frustrated she'd get as a teen when she tackled a project like this; and before I could sensor my mouth I said, "Just leave them here and I'll do them."


Fortunately, it's a super easy pattern and shouldn't take me more than a couple of nights. Provided I don't run out of thread again.

'Tis the season! LOL