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Yule Blog – And Just Like That, It’s Over

It’s Boxing Day morning. I’ve been awake for hours. I never sleep anymore. I’m always waking when it’s still pitch dark outside, a side effect combination of going to the gym early, insomnia, and a mild depression. Awake, alert, and mindful of what’s in my head. I crawled out of bed a few hours ago while Husband slumbered and snored. The cat and I watched a Hallmark movie together, one that allowed tears to well in my eyes, until the Husband got up and we finished it together.

But in my solitude of the morning, I thought back to Christmases gone by; to the days when I was a kid and Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent visiting family, traveling from house to house to house. We had grandparents and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides. We made our rounds of visits, taking a toy or two with us, seeing what Santa brought everyone, snacking on treats, although my brother and I were usually gorged on chocolate or candy, and playing with the other kids. We’d often get home after dark, which, could have been 5pm or 11pm, have turkey dinner leftovers, and settle in for the night.

But, now that we’re grown, those visits have stopped. Yesterday, Husband and I lounged around after we opened gifts, we watched a movie, had a hot tub date, made food to take for Christmas dinner, and basically relaxed for a few hours before the chaos began.

Mid-afternoon, we headed to my parents’ home early to have Christmas with them and my brother’s family (aka opening presents) before we had our big Christmas dinner. The chaos is less and less as my nephews are getting older. I miss the days of them being itty bitty, running around with excitement and squealing with glee as I tickled them and tossed them in the air, or as they opened their gifts. Teenagers know no joy.

Instead of visits with oodles of family today on Boxing Day, here I am, writing my memoir, contemplating going to the gym, tidying up, and allowing myself to be somewhat lazy – for the time being.

Cheers.


Yule Blog – Christmas Eve

It’s so late. It’s Christmas Eve and I’m tired out. I’ve been up since about 6am. I’ve had a full day. Husband and I had to run to the mall this morning for a few last minute items, and once we returned, I was just on the go-go-go. I made two kinds of fudge, two candy cane pies, cleaned up my horrid mess, threw on laundry, jumped in my hot tub for a quick 15, then showered and began the process of getting ready for the evening. While I air-dried my hair, I wrapped about a billion presents and loaded them into the car, and under the tree.

Once ready, we headed to my parents’ house for traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my family. It was a quick evening. Back in the day, Christmas Eve meant church, two sets of grandparent visits with tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides. There was always a lot of chaos and laughter and food and fun. We kids would be wound for sound but would fight off our parents when it was time to go home. Of course, we had to go. We knew Santa was on the way and we needed to be home and tucked away in bed, asleep, in order for his visit.

The drives home we often quiet, as we struggled to keep our eyes open. I have no idea what the average time was when we would eventually leave, but it always felt so late – as if we played into the wee hours of the morning. It might have only been 10 o’clock, but I never knew. I just knew I was up way past my bedtime and would sleep like a rock that night.

Christmas Eves are different now. But my parents have kept the tradition of hosting the same Christmas Eve dinner we’ve always indulged in, my nephews are getting older, but they’re still capable of hugging and laughing and agitating each other. There’s lots of noise, not noise like when I was growing up, but still the noise of stories and laughter and arguing (because it’s not Christmas unless someone argues). And I’m still fighting to keep my eyes open. Even as I sit here typing, with Home Alone playing in the background. My lids are getting heavy and I know Santa is on his way. It feels like I’ve played again into the wee hours of the morning. But it’s not yet midnight.

Merry Christmas.


Cranberry Butter

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to make something Christmassy.  The idea popped into my head one morning, and I gave it a quick thought and came up with Cranberry Butter.  Wait.  Is that even a thing?  I’ve made pumpkin butter in the past, and I’ve heard of apple butter.  But cranberry butter?  

So I kept it on my radar and did some Googling here and there over the weeks.  None of the recipes I stumbled upon were quite what I was looking for.  I wanted something simple and light, nothing too decadent or rich in calories (some recipes call for a ton of actual butter and that is not what I wanted), that would pair well in the morning with toast, or to dip apple slices in.  So, I came up with my own self-sufficing recipe and it turned out perfectly.

Cranberries (pureed)

Apple sauce

Chinese Spice (clove, cinnamon, star anise…some other things)

A Squeeze of orange and 

A little orange zest

Throw everything in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce heat and continue cooking (and stirring) for 10 minutes.  Reduce to simmer and allow ingredients to thicken. 


The Air Out There

We are two days away from Halloween – and I just can’t get in the mood.

Every year I look forward to October (my favorite month!) and to Fall and to Halloween. But this year, I’m just not feeling any of it.

I have been extremely sleep deprived lately; having another onset of insomnia episodes. I’ll fall asleep fairly easily, most of the time, but waking up as early as 1am, without the ability to get back to sleep. My mind reels, and then I get angry, and I lay there. Wide Awake, waiting to get up and start my damn day. And with the sleep deprivation comes emotional roller coasters. It’s terrible. I don’t feel like myself a lot of the time; and the last few days I’ve been going through a depression that 100% got the best of me yesterday. I cried off and on for most of the day, to the point I was sobbing in a restaurant (which resulted in our server asking twice if she could give me a hug), sobbing in my car in the parking lot of a grocery store, sobbing in my bathtub, and sobbing in my husband’s arms. On top of sobbing at work and having minor meltdowns throughout the day. Last night, however, I had a few glasses of wine with a girlfriend after work, and then taking a few sleeping pills before bed. I slept about 10 hours, with the exception of a 5am wide awake, staring at walls session, before drifting back off. My body and mind needed the recoup.

That’s who I’ve been lately. That’s not who I am normally. And it’s affecting my outlook on everything, including my love and excitement of Halloween.

We have also been experiencing an Indian Summer of sorts ’round these parts, with warm weather and humidity, and it hasn’t felt too much like autumn weather this month. With the exception of today. This morning we woke to frosty lawns and air so cold we could see our breath. And of course, the sunshine and changing colors of trees and falling leaves have all left us with the impression of a regular October, for the most part, it’s felt like an extension of summer, complete with mosquitos.

I haven’t even participated in any spooky movies for October. Although, we did watch the new Halloween a few days ago and it sucked terribly. Honestly, whose idea was that? I was rooting for Michael Myers this time.

But yesterday. Let me tell you about yesterday morning. When I left my gym shortly after 7 am, I came outside to darkness, as the sun struggled to come up, and as I walked to my car, I took a deep, long inhale and it smelled like Christmas! The air was crispy, but not cold, and I could taste cool December and cloves and chimney smoke. And I am so entirely in the mood for Christmas. I cannot wait to start watching Hallmark movies and decorating and sharing glasses of spiced wine while sugar cookie candles burn. Maybe Christmas is what I need to bring me out of this funk that I feel I have fallen so deep into. I crave the noise of carols playing while we roam streets, and the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, and the crowds of people who walk by smiling while struggling to balance their bags of presents and food.

I cannot wait to be in it. To be in the air of Christmas and the full fledge of holidays. I am not looking forward to cold weather and wearing boots (and pants!) and having cold toes all the time. But I am eager to become overjoyed with the abundance of love and gratefulness that oncoming Christmas makes me feel.

The air out there changes me. And I am desperate to breathe it in.


Christmas Yule Blog – Part 4

We are supposed to be at a Christmas party tonight. But, Covid has us stayin’ at home. Our numbers are rising here in Nova Scotia, and the new variant is kickin’ our butts.

So, instead of our Jingalingin’, I’m touching up my roots, preparing to watch a movie with the hubs, and thought that, while my color is processing, I’d Blog about my recent adventures.

I had yesterday off, which worked out well because it gave me the opportunity to get out and get some shopping done. I met with my friend Velvet in a nearby town. (All our little towns are connected and are usually a hop, skip, or a jump away. Its when we travel to the City that we actually have to travel any distance.) We decided right away to hit this little local coffee house, North Mountain Coffee (https://www.northmountaincoffee.com/) , for a holiday drink. I had a peppermint mocha and she had a hot apple cider (which she ended up spilling all over her later in the day.). North Mountain Coffee is local to Berwick and is family owned and operated. It’s a sweet little gem of a place.

Once we grabbed our drinks, we walked up the street to a big discount store. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but I always seem to find at least one little treasure in there each year. And this year was no exception. I found a gift that I know will knock it out of the park. After a bit of shopping, we roamed across the street for lunch at the Union Street Cafe. If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you will recognize the Union Street as a place I frequented years ago for weekend drinks and entertainment. Although ownership has changed (it was formerly run by my friend Jenny and her family), the atmosphere remains unique and the food is always delightful.

After lunch, we continued down the street to another local treasure. Market Between the Mountains (https://www.marketbetweenthemountains.ca/) is a magical place I have heard about for a few years, but never managed to visit. Until Friday. And oh my! What a spectacular treat.

I am a sucker for bath bombs and candles, so this Market is right up my alley. But they have so much more than that.

They have hand crafted soaps, bath and shower bombs, beard oil (and entire lines of men’s grooming products), candles, jewelry, jams, local candies and hot drink mixes, clothing, ornaments, souvenirs, purses and bags, wedding stuff, wine glasses, and so many other unique gifts. I managed to get a few gifts – and maybe something for myself. Check out their Facebook site or their webpage (https://www.marketbetweenthemountains.ca/).

We checked out a few other locations and I met a man on or travels. He asked me if I’ve been good this year and we had a good chuckle.

After a few more stops, we decided it was time to head onto our separate ways. All in all, it was a fun little local adventure.

OH! I almost forgot. I found out Friday that I won second place in my office’s Ugly Sweater Contest.

This fuzzy sweater has jingle bells, lights, tinsel, flashing icicles, a snow globe, a mittens clip, a partridge in a pear tree, decorations, and a Christmas stocking – which holds a full bottle of wine (tied with a bow).

Cheers!


So Close

I always feel so inspired in October to write about Halloween and Fall, and in November to start writing about Christmas and all the holiday festivities. It’s my favorite time of year (although I always long for the summer sun and a tan), and I can almost always find something to write about. And so here I am.

Now since Remembrance Day has officially passed us, I can fully admit that I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies already. Y’know, I used to hate them…the sap, the goofy storylines. But now, I appreciate them and I look forward to them. My friends have been watching too so I know I’m not alone in the viewing. In fact, my dear Aunt Donda has decided to start hosting a weekly Hallmark movie night. And, although I live an hour and a half away now, I am determined to indulge with her – if even only virtually. I am looking forward to those upcoming Wednesday nights.

And thank goodness for the channels that play the Hallmark movies On Demand. Between that and YouTube, I can maneuver through pretty much all the gems this season. Including one old favorite – Christmas Under Wraps. A Candace Cameron Bure gem from 2014. It’s pretty much the first Hallmark movie I’d seen and I have watched it every year since. It’s not perfect, and some parts are really, REALLY lame, but I like it.

via Hallmark

This week kicks off the first of many Christmas festivities ’round these parts, and I’m super excited. I have a very busy weekend planned and I can’t wait to start sharing my Yule Blog again.

There have been so many moments over the years that have left a landmine mark in my heart when it comes to Christmas: Going late night shopping with my cousin Tanya in the City and stuffing our faces with Chinese takeout at the end of a very long night; my annual Christmas party; cocktails with friends while we’re dressed like we’re headed to the junior high prom; staff parties (which, I’m sure Covid-19 has put another stupid damper on that!); baking and mulling wine and cider, and rocking out to Christmas albums while wrapping presents and driving from here to there.

I’m very much a traditionalist, and now I’m married…..an old ball-and-chain….and I’m looking forward to creating new traditions, while holding onto the old as much as I can.

~Cheers.


Today is My Wedding Day……

Today is my wedding day.

At least, today was supposed to be my wedding day.  If all had gone as planned, I would be getting ready to walk down the aisle right now.

But Covid-19 happened.  And my dreams of a gorgeous May wedding have been spoiled by a virus that just won’t quit.

mug

I’m sad.  To say the least, I’m sad.  And I’m mad.  In fact, I’m pissed off.  This is a day I have waited way too long for, and although we have set a new date, it’s not the date I wanted.  And who knows if it will happen then?

Wedding

Honestly, the face I’ve been making since we had to postpone.

So I’m sitting here in solitude (kinda – the man is sitting here also), sipping my coffee, and thinking about what this day should have been.  I’m thinking about my designer dress – the only one sold in Canada, by the way – that I have had and been waiting to wear for the last 8 months; I’m thinking about celebrating my union with my family and friends – the people we love.

But for now, I will sit here and be pissed off….but also be thankful that we are safe and healthy and together.  But still pissed off!!

~Sandy

 


In the Outfield

When I was 12, my brother and I joined a softball team.  I was not overly athletic when I was little, but I was excited to join.  After our first few practices, my friend Kim, who was staying at our place for a few days, tagged along to a practice.  She decided to join the team too and it made for elation.

Our little team, the Boulders, was terrible.  Oh my gosh, we were so bad.  Not necessarily at the game, but we were a new team with no money, a weirdo for a coach, and our home field was nothing to write (home) about.   I should also state that for the first few weeks I was sporting a coach on a broken left arm. And I’m super clumsy.  So, I was determined not to get hit or re-injured.  Kim always has said that I looked like a little ballerina out there…swinging the bat with one arm.

I was terrified of the ball too.  I hated being stuck in right field, which I often was.  Probably because most hits are center or to the left.  Which, I was relieved for, but also terrified that the ball would come at me.  But eventually, I got less scared, I got more aggressive (not a lot back then, but some), and my eventually my cast came off.

And as I improved, so did our team.  Our community rallied around us and our field got some maintenance; our dugouts cleaned up, and we got a snack shack.  AND eventually, we got team uniforms: Horrendous lime green tshirts and matching hats with our team name on them.  They were so ugly, but we looked great as a team!

lime green

Honestly, I WISH we looked this good.  (NOT US)

We started getting more spectators.  We were invited to tournaments (most of I’m sure we lost – but maybe not).  My skills improved and eventually I was moved out of right field and into centerfield *mic drop!*

We played through summer nights and in the rain and we played in the hottest of tournaments, having to have our parents drive us home in between games sometimes to shower or to at least get us out of the heat.  Our little team was a family and we had so much fun.  I loved our baseball team.  We lasted two incredible  seasons.

But by the time the third season rolled around, some of the team moved up to the next level because of age – including my brother and Kim.  Gah!  The whole point of our team was to be together and now we were breaking up.

So some of us moved up to another team, and some of us stayed behind to hold fort in our main team, with new players joining ranks.  I stayed and I played.  But it wasn’t the same.  And by this time, I was good.  I was a good hitter (well, definitely better than my casted ballerina days), and I was a great outfielder.  And I had a mouth made for baseball.  But it wasn’t the same.

I played that summer and that was it.  I played on the girls’ team in high school for a minute and a half, but didn’t finish the season (helloo, social life), which I kind of regret.  And there have been times I have wanted to join a team in my adult time, but just never bothered.  Those days of playing ball in the summers with my friends were some of the best of childhood.  And for that, I always keep my baseball mitt in my trunk, just in case someone, somewhere has a pick-up game going.

Each time I drive by our old field, it makes me sad.  The field is overgrow, the snack shack and dugouts are caved in and decrepit, the mound is unseen, the fences falling down.  Our home field has become a graveyard for our youth, and our memories of those glorious days are all we have left.

Ballfield

Still not us

There are no new teams.  The children are busy playing online games or surfing Instagram.  But me, I would never, in a million years, trade in those summer days with my friends under the hot sun, under the cool night skies, and on the green grass, swinging a bat and sliding into home.

~Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Don’t Sacrifice Humor

In keeping with the October/Halloween theme….here’s a little anecdote for the day.

I can be a bit of an ass.  At work, I have had an ongoing ass-feud (that sounds weird) with one of my coworkers.  There are many stories I can tell, but I’ll save those for another day.  Yesterday, however, this co-worker (let’s call him Bob) used our firm calendar to plug in his appointment for blood donation.  He scheduled it so it says “Bob blood”.  Since it is the firm calendar, it is public to everyone in the office to see, amend, delete, etc.

So, I thought it needed a little spiffing up.  I changed his appointment to say “Bob blood for sacrificial ritual”.

Sacrifice

We have all had a good chuckle.  Including Bob.  But he said it’s not the worst thing…that another coworker would steal his paper calendar and write in things like “bikini wax”.  😀

~Cheers

 

 


Yes, Yes I Am THAT Smart!!

When I was about 20 I dated a guy who was a complete ass.  He was a full-on mama’s boy and a spoiled brat.  Turns out that I actually couldn’t stand him (we didn’t date very long).  He would get upset over the smallest things.  One time he thought it would be a good idea to have a half-assed drag race.  His grandfather had bought him a new sports car and I was driving a 1984 Chevy Blazer that would stall at right turns.  But I floored that beast and smoked him.  He was so pissed off at me that he wouldn’t speak to me for a few days.  #mamasboy

One night, while waiting for him to arrive, I sat around watching Jeopardy.  A few hours later, after he’d shown up and decided he didn’t want to go out, we spent the night in watching TV.

jeopardy-logo

Via NBC

The same episode of Jeopardy came on another channel and I suggested we watch it.  Of course, I’m an ass and never mentioned that I’d already watched it earlier.  So, each and every time Alex Trebek would read the question (or, the answer), I would chime in early with the correct response.  The guy was flabbergasted.  He could not believe how smart I was.  “How did you know the answer to that?”, “Wow!  You’re really good at this!”,  “You should apply to be on the show!! You would win!”

Yes….yes, I am brilliant, aren’t I.

Our dating relationship did not last that long and I’ve never told him the difference.  My ’84 Blazer and my superintelligence were apparently just too much for him. :p

(And just for fun……)

~Sandy


Intimate Conversations

I have dark hair and I’m dark complected.  My brother has blond hair and is very fair.  In the summer, I tan very easily.  I always have.  My brother does not like to be in the sun much.

A few weeks ago, I stopped by his place and he looked at me and said “Have you been tanning?”, as if almost disgusted.

I replied “No.”

He said, accusingly, “Then why are you so dark??”

I replied “I’m always this dark you freakin’ albino!!”

CApeBreton

Here we are in Cape Breton as wee ones.  He blends right into his white hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (Z)

Z- Zealous

logo2_2x

I live my life with zeal.  At least I try to.  Sometimes I can be overzealous.  I fully admit this.  And really, there’s nothing wrong with that.  But, often my overzealousness can be a little too much for others to handle.  I’m still a work in progress.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (W)

W – Weekend

atoz

Oh what a weekend.  As I mentioned in my last post, this weekend is the Annual Apple Blossom Festival in my neck of the woods.  And, I can attest, it has been a fantastic weekend.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (V)

V – Valley

AZ Book

I live in the Annapolis VALLEY and this weekend is the 87th Annual Apple Blossom Festival.  Which means, there are fireworks and a parade, and a fair, and tons of bands and dances and music and food and drink.  And lots of people.  Lots and lots of people.  It’s basically a homecoming for us.  I’m excited.

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom from days gone by

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (U)

U – Unique

logo2_2x

In a world full of sheep, be unique.

Apple

It’s okay to not go with the flow.  It’s okay to shine and to sparkle.  Smile.  Stand out.  It’s okay to go against the norm.  And with a little glisten and glitter in your eyes.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (T)

T – Throwing Darts

atoz

Sometimes, people throw darts (metaphorically) to see what they hit.  Whether it’s for a potential relationship, or job interest, or gossip, or whatever.  The darts get thrown to see what gets hit.  If you’re throwing the darts, be careful of your aim.  Sometimes, those darts hit hard.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (S)

S – Sparkles

logo2_2x

One of my colleagues refers to me as “Sparkles”.  I have a sparkly personality, I’m told.  Although, I do try my darnedest to keep things light and sparkly and fun.  Although, it seems this last month or so some of my sparkle has faded.  But, it’s coming back.

Sparkles

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (R)

R- Rare

AZ Book

Finding a decent person or friend can often be rare.  So when you find that person – a good-spirited, kind, patient, and understanding human, hang onto him or her.  Those people, it seems in this day and age, are a rarity.  Unique little gems.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (Q)

Q – Quiet

atoz

Sometimes life gets to too loud.  Literally and metophorically.

I don’t like noise.  I have sensitive ears and I hate it when it’s loud….literally…mentally…emotionally.  I like quiet.  And sometimes, a little bit of quiet and peace can make you feel rejuvenated.  Better.  Getting away from it all.

Marks Flowers

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (P)

P – Peace (and Patient and Passionate and Pleasant)

atoz

I look forward to the day I can have peace – of mind and in my soul and in my heart.  Reduce the chaos and live peacefully.

I appreciate the people who are patient and pleasant and I try to live as much the same way as possible.  I live as passionately about things that I can.  I want to provide peace and patients and pleasantries to those around me.

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (P)

P – Promises

logo2_2x

People make promises.  People break promises.  It happens.  But sometimes, the promises that are made and that are then broken can be devastating.

Why do that?  Don’t just lie.  Don’t make promises you know you’re not going to keep.  Just be truthful to the person you’re promising to.  Don’t a coward.

Broken promises hurt.  Continued promises give us hope but still hurt.

Promise

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (O)

O – Oasis

logo2_2x

For years, I have dreamed about going to Greece and travelling the country-side.  Greece has been my oasis destination.

Santorini sunset at dawn village of Oia GreeceCan you blame me?

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (N)

N – Nuisance

AZ Book

I try not to be a nuisance.  I want to be helpful and kind.  I don’t want to be the type of person who seems more like a chore than anything else.  There are those I know who are exactly that.  And I wonder….am I that way too?

~Sandy


A to Z Challenge (M)

M – Mark(ed)

ATOZ

You came into my life and left your mark.  Like a time-stamp.  I cannot imagine life now without you in it.  You have made me smile and cry. You have given me hope and made me feel defeated.  Your mark has imprinted on me.

~Sandy