Friday, December 31, 2010

see you next year

As half the world has begun to celebrate and the rest of us prepare to say farewell to 2010 and welcome 2011, I can’t help but reflect on the year that has passed with a big smile on my face. Looking back at a year in time will undoubtedly bring back many memories, some happy, some sad, some full of promise and some full of regret but for me, 2010 has been an excellent year and taking a walk down memory lane only makes me excited for all that is to come in the future.
After counting down for (literally) years, the Winter Olympics finally arrived in my home town. Taking in the world’s best athletes, perfecting my patriotism and watching Sid the Kid give Canada an important gold medal could not have been a better start to what was an amazing year. I went whitewater rafting, travelled to Spain, ran my second half-marathon, cut my hair drastically for the first time in my life and watched my best friend walk down the aisle.
On top of all the fun that this year brought, it also seemed to be a year that made me feel more grown up than in the past. I married my best friend, surrounded by my closest friends and family who so generously flew across the country to share in our celebration. Six months later, my husband and I bought our first home, adding to the celebrated milestones of 2010 but giving us something to look forward to in 2011 when we move in.
I can only hope that 2011 is full of the love, laughter, adventure and successes that I was lucky to experience this past year. While I’m a little sad that such a great year is coming to an end, I’m hoping that I can make the best of the one that is just around the corner.

Wishing everyone all the best for a happy and healthy new year, may it always be better than the one before!

What’s your best memory of 2010? What do you look forward to in the new year?

Friday, December 24, 2010

all i want for christmas is you

I’ve got to say that Christmas is one of my favourite holidays.
People are happier, families get together, homes are decorated and there are always sweet treats to be eaten. It is a holiday that shows the true generosity of others and a holiday full of giving.
I can still remember being about 5 years old and (not-so) patiently waiting for Santa’s arrival. My brother and sister and I were up at the crack of dawn, much earlier than we should have been and were so anxious to see what goodies lay under the tree. Now, the only way to sneak a peek at our gifts without heading downstairs, which of course was necessary for three little kids, was to crouch down next to my parents’ bedroom door, position ourselves at the perfect angle and see through the foyer and into the living room where we could ever so slightly see our gifts in all their glory. Have you ever seen three young kids try to stay quiet? And when they know they’ve been good that year which means good stuff under the tree? I’m sure we were more than loud enough to wake our parents yet when they opened their door we were still surprised to see them!...We would run back to our rooms as fast as we could, giggling with glee until it was time to make our way down for presents. Christmas is full of so many happy memories and as I get older and start new traditions or change old ones, it only makes me more excited for each year and all the cheer that comes with the holiday season. I hope that wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you celebrate, you are enjoying quality time with the ones you love, appreciating all that life has given you and taking a moment to reflect on all the happiness that surrounds you. A Merry Christmas to all...and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

here come santa claus

If you grew up celebrating Christmas in North America, chances are good that at some point when you were little you made your way to your local mall, wearing your Sunday best or an outfit scarily similar to your siblings, and stood in line so you could sit on Santa’s knee and smile for all of three seconds. It’s a holiday tradition that seems to satisfy parents looking for a festive photo and scare sweet babies into screaming at the top of their lungs. Watching moms and dads make silly faces, bribe their young ones and hope they’ll get a great family photo has always made me chuckle so discovering a whole website of funny, weird and scary Santa photos has weirdly enough brought a smile to my face this holiday season.
Personally, I’ve always liked Santa. A cheerful, jolly old man who is going to bring me presents and likes cookies? Really, what’s not to like? And I have to admit that I still wish he was real. It took me a long time to stop believing that good old Saint Nick wasn’t really flying around the world delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys because I really didn’t want to stop believing, I didn’t want it to be a lie. Believing in Santa was magical. Waking up one Christmas morning many years ago to find a Polaroid of the big guy in red sweetly watching over my sister and me as we slept was such a treat…and finding out that our neighbours had the same photo with the same Santa Clause caused so much excitement and only sealed the deal that he was certainly real. A few years after, I remember having a discussion with some friends, the great debate of Santa’s existence, and while most of us decided that it didn’t logically make sense, one friend, who wasn’t so well off, argued that there was no way her parents could afford all the presents she and her three siblings received each Christmas morning. Well, that was enough to convince me for at least another year that the Pere Noel really did exist.
This Christmas, I’m lucky enough to be celebrating with my two-year old and four-year old nephews who have been behaving extra well these last few months in the hopes that Santa and his reindeer will stop by and I cannot wait to see their faces come Christmas morning…Santa let me in on a little secret and I happen to know he’s bringing some pretty exciting gifts!

Did you believe in Santa? Do you want your children to?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

gifts gone bad

With Christmas around the corner, and only nine shopping days left before the holiday, seasonal shoppers are still flocking to the stores in hopes of finding that perfect gift for all those on their list. In light of such, numerous gift guides are floating around the internet, debuting on talk shows and being reported on the news. Gift guides of the hottest toys, the best gadgets for your spouse or what to get those hardest to buy for are always handy to have in mind when it comes to holiday shopping. But what about what not to buy? What gifts would be the worst to unwrap come Christmas day? Gift giving can be tough enough if you don’t know ahead of the holidays what you hope to get someone...but when it comes to buying and receiving gifts, there may be several not-so-happy holiday presents that you’d hate to find under your tree. Even though I’d rather not think of a gift as being bad because a gift is a gift and it’s the thought that counts, sometimes you wonder what those thoughts actually were.
I don’t know if I’m just lucky or if it’s because I’m easy to please, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have received many great gifts as I’ve celebrated birthdays and Christmases, with the bad ones few and far between. So maybe I haven’t loved everything I’ve ever received (how many sets of tacky tea towels does one really need?!) but fortunately I don’t have any horror stories about pink pony sweatshirts or already used kitchen gadgets. Although I’ve got to admit that even if it’s not at the top of my Christmas wish list, chances are that I pretended I loved it and have plenty of use for it. On the contrary, my sister is the worst when it comes to faking her delight for gifts gone bad. Growing up, it was never a surprise if she loved your gift or hated it. Her squeals of delight over the good ones have always been in sharp contrast to the ‘oh-you-shouldn’t-have-where’s-the-next-gift’ look of disappointment that she can’t hide when she gets something she’s unimpressed with. Putting the present off to the side like it’s a hot potato and moving on in the hopes of finding something better is a classic LG move that she likely won’t grow out of. I have to keep my fingers crossed that I will not see that reaction any time I give her a gift!

What’s the worst gift you have ever received? What do you not want for Christmas?

PS Thank you so much for all the kind words and well wishes for my friend...she's not back to work yet but she's on the road to recovery.

Friday, December 10, 2010

smell the roses

Yesterday, my colleague, who has become a good friend, was hit by a car on her way to work. While crossing the street she was struck by a car making a left turn that must not have seen her as the rain poured down in the dark of the early morning. While she is indeed injured, suffering from what the doctors believe to be a cracked pelvis, I am most certainly relieved that she walked away from the accident requiring only rest and time to heal her wounds. I usually like to write about things that have made me happy or at the very least are positive in nature but in light of the accident, which I haven’t stopped thinking about, it only seemed right to reflect on how scary life can be and how fast it can change.
It’s made me want to hug my husband tighter and call my mom to tell her I love her. It’s made me want to tell all drivers to slow down and all walkers to be safe. It’s made me realize that rushing to get somewhere on time or speeding up just to make it through a yellow light may not be as important as it seems. As I got in my car last night, I felt a little more cautious and a little more aware of what was going on around me. With traffic accidents happening daily, some more serious than others, it only reinforces how precious life is and how all it takes is a second for your life to change. While bumps and bruises will heal and seem like minor hiccups in an otherwise uneventful life, it is usually the bad times that make you realize how good the good times really are.

While we all wake up in the morning fairly certain of how our day will more or less go, you can never predict that the unthinkable will happen or an accident might occur. I don’t believe we should live our lives in fear but appreciating what we’ve got is a lesson that I would hate to learn the hard way. As you go about your day, your weekend and the holiday season, please remember to take things slow, appreciate the life you are living and tell your friends and family how much you care.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

daily dinner dilemma

There’s a simple question that my husband and I ask ourselves every day and yet we almost always have trouble answering. The simple question of ‘what’s for dinner?’ seems to stump us on a very regular basis, getting more “I don’t know” answers than a 4 year-old being questioned by his parents. Once 4 o’clock rolls around, we seem to have the same discussion every day, trying to figure out what it is we feel like eating, and shaking our heads at ourselves that, yet again, we have forgotten to take anything out for dinner. It should be simple, considering we have to eat dinner every day, but having to decide the night before or the morning of what we might feel like eating that night seems to be harder than it sounds.
Along with many other things, planning ahead what I want for dinner is a habit I should have inherited from my mother. Her reminders to take chicken out of the freezer before leaving home for the day is not something I seem to remember to do in my own adult life. A simple task that I probably thought she was weird for doing is now something that I wish I could remember to do. I’m hoping that it’s one of those things that come with being a mom so that when I have children, they won’t come home from school to find me staring aimlessly into the fridge hoping the food will tell me what to do. There are certain responsibilities that come with growing up and while some I’ve mastered, there are others that I’m still working on. For example, I may have inherited the need for clean countertops and a spotless bathroom but I still have trouble seeing the dust that my mom always seemed to spot. I know when she would ask “am I the only one that sees the dust in the house?”, the answer “yes, Mom” was not what she was looking for! And so with that in mind, I figure there’s still hope for my husband and I. One day, we will wake up, get ready for work and remember to defrost the steaks. We will wake up the next day knowing we want a stirfry and we’ll have already bought everything we need. And hopefully the day after that, it will become a habit and our daily dilemma won’t be so hard to solve. Until then, trips to the grocery store will probably continue to be a part of our daily routine. (Umm, honey?…what’s for dinner?...)

Do you plan your meals ahead of time? What ‘grown up’ things are you still working on?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

i wish it was christmas today

Have you seen the SNL performance of “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Jimmy Fallon, Tracey Morgan, Chris Kattan and Horatio Sanz? While I love the dance moves and I’m envious of their sweet sweaters, I love the skit even more because it pretty much sums up how I feel all the time. I wish it was Christmas today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next... and now that it is December, I can officially sound off about my love for the season. As much as I look forward to this time of year, I feel very strongly about holding off the Christmas chatter until December 1st. Call me a scrooge if you wish but getting too excited, too early just takes away from how special a holiday it is for me. Hearing Christmas carols mid-November grinds my gears and gets me angrily scolding the radio station or store that’s playing them. And don’t even try to get me to watch a movie that takes place around Christmas time if it’s not the last month of the year. So, thankfully, now that it is December and we are in the month of Merry Christmas, I am getting giddy about all the wonderful things a winter wonderland will bring.
Even though it’s not officially winter and I am a loyal summer lover, there are so many things that I love about this last season of the year, one of the best things being the holiday that comes with it. I love to see twinkling lights lining the streets, I love to see ribbons and bows and boughs of holly hung all around town. I love the way everyone seems just a little bit more cheerful once December rolls around. I love advent calendars and gift wrap. I love scarves and mittens and toques. I love getting cozy by the fire, drinking chai tea under a fluffy blanket and wearing soft slippers. favourite thing of all about winter is something so simple…making snow angels! (A little hard to do without snow so I’ve got to be honest, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a white winter!) It may sound like such a childish thing to love about the winter but that may be at the root of why I love it so much. Getting lost in the moment as I lay on the ground moving my arms and legs back and forth allows me to feel like a kid again while I forget that I may look ridiculous or my pants will be wet when I get up. Forgetting about feeling silly or not caring if I’m covered in snow make for magical moments that really sum up what the holidays are about for me. Being able to be carefree and happy, surrounded by lovely sights and my favourite people while giggling like a little kid are the real reasons why I will welcome winter with open arms.

What do you love about the winter? Do you decorate before December?