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Christmas Wish List

stockingsIf you’re gonna buy a gift, either make it practical, or make it thoughtful.

Practical is something you know that the receiver wants or needs. Thoughtful is something that made you think of that person, and you want to give it to them.

Gift giving is not about stuffing stockings with filler, or re-gifting office party leftovers. It is meaningful or it is nothing. I  love receiving homemade gifts because it means someone took time to think of me, and I enjoy making gifts because it slows things down, and gives me time to be thankful for the people I love.

I ask for lists because I can’t make everything. One homemade gift for as many people as I can make for.

I still believe in Santa though. I like to think that the people I love get something  fun that they otherwise wouldn’t get for themselves.  That means that Santa still comes to my house. In the morning stockings that were flat and lifeless are stuffed to overflowing, and there are a couple of packages that weren’t under the tree the night before.

This year I have been asked for a list. So, here it is – with explanations. DO NOT say I didn’t give you any hints this year Santas…

 

Any team gear from my kiddo’s team – Go Gryphons!!!

mittens

 

I wear two kinds of perfume, and two kinds of perfume only. I am out of one of those kinds;

poeme

 

My favourite body wash;

 

comforter

 

Icy Squares for my stocking.

icy squares

 

 

The Hardware I picked out in NYC;

 

hardwaregold

 

My favourite slippers;

snoozies skinnies

 

 

So that’s all I can come up with really. Santa does still shop at Tiffany’s, right???

 

 

 

 

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What To Do?

fallkittenI’ve been known to publish some really great seasonal To-Do Lists.  Except this year.

I didn’t do that.

Not for you and not for me.

But I’m ready for one. You see, I have a Protestant work ethic, and am a firm believer in work first, and rest when the work is done.  Which, of course, often leaves me desiring, but exhausted and out of time.

Alas, the really hard work of this year is pretty much complete, and I am left with time to rediscover more leisure pursuits.  Instead of providing you and I wish a seasonal to-do-list-on-a-time-line  of such tomfoolery that we think is Instagram-worthy, such as pumpkin patch visits, applie-pie baking and haunted house touring, I am going to provide you with a list of things that I want to do.

And I hope it inspires you to make a list of your own. Even if you don’t get to it, you’ll be reminded of what it is that makes you happy, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll take a little time for yourself to make your soul smile.

 

Here’s my list;

 

1. Successfully complete NaNoWriMo. Yah, I officially registered to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Why not? After all, I want to finish my damn novel, and I work well with a time-line. This may very well should  be the only thing on my list, but should’s have no place in my life right now.

onceupon

2. I want to go back  to wander the Guillermo Del Torro exhibit again at the AGO. It was so inspiring; a look at the inner mechanisms of a creative genius. Going back is a desperate attempt to have some of that genius-energy rub off on me.

deltoro

3.  A road trip to see the beautiful fall landscape (I’m thinking Collingwood with a side trip to a pal’s place in Thornbury, and the outdoor spa).

Hockleyfall

 

4. A visit to Hinterland Winery. In my opinion a hidden gem that deserves more of my attention. Here I come Les Etoiles!

hinterland

5. Chistmas shopping. Yes,  you heard it. I want to go Christmas shopping. That’s only because I avoid shopping in December like the plague. It sucks, people’s attitudes suck, and all of that makes me cranky. Make it a December to remember (create some memories with your loved ones – do not spend the month craving valium and flipping people the bird in parking lots).

decembertoremember

 

 

6. Cross Stitch. Oh yah. I want the luxury of  enough time to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a few hours of nothing but some needle and thread.

bring me tea

 

7. I would also very much like to make my super-duper-Hallowe’en-popcorn. I make it for my colleagues and my kiddo because even though we’re all grown up, on October 31st, we’re all still little kids just waiting for a treat.

Halloween-Caramel-Corn4-600x400

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Being Jolly on a Budget

Each year I come up with some grand ideas about how to spend time with the ones you hold near and dear without breaking the bank.

I mean really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Spending time together is my very favourite gift.

So, this year, I bring you a list of ideas for being jolly on a budget, and I encourage to you to do at least TWO of them.

 

  1. Have a Christmas movie marathon. Define that however you like, but it implies watching more than one movie. It requires that you snuggle under a cozy blanket and sip hot cocoa laced with something that will make you giddy.

snuggle up

If you’re not sure which movies to watch, try one of these;

White Christmas

Holiday Inn

The Holiday

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

2) Wander through a Christmas Market – no purchase required, except for a minimal entrance fee and optional hot cocoa or eggnog. If you go on a cold night, all the better; it’s a great excuse to snuggle your sweetie.

distillery market

3) Attend a local carol sing. Usually the admission cost is a bit of food for a local food bank. What better way to celebrate the true meaning of the season?

Children's Christmas Pageant 2011 + Christmas in Fan Concert

 

4) Have a Christmas themed games night with your closest pals or your family. BYOB and a snack to share. Voila!

twister-4x3

5) Go for a walk on a snowy night. Take in the Christmas decorations and talk about your hopes, dreams, what your favourite traditions are.

windowshopping

6) Bake and decorate a gingerbread house of your own design. Pick out your favourite candy together, make the gingerbread (gingerbread often has to sit overnight before you bake it, so it could be a romantic pj party!), decorate the house just the way you want I to be.

gingerbread house

7) Read your favourite Christmas poems or stories.

robert-frost-the-road-not-taken

8) One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas. It makes me smile, laugh, and remember what the true spirit of the season is really all about.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season that brings you closer to the ones you love.

 

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It’s the Simple Things

Welcome to Monday.

Let’s hang on to the gloriousness of the weekend, shall we darlings?

I offer you a list of ‘weekend things’ that made me happy….domore

Text messages from old friendsmegabestfriends

  1. Artisan pizza

artisanpizza2

3) Play-off Baseball

octoberbaseball4) New Undies

Knickers1 A new, old book

zenmotor

6) Coffee shops that stay open late

coffeeshop 7) A fresh bar of Ivory soap

ivory8) Afternoon naps

nap

9) Pink nail polish at the spa

OPIPinkaDoodle

10) Catching up on gossip with your friend and finding out she has a potential latin-hottie to set you up with…

gossip

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How to Get Up & Get Going For Fall

The older I get, the easier it is to make up excuses not to do stuff.

It’s easy to come home, go through the motions and then fake like a boob and get stuck on the chesterfield all night.

It was thanks only to my genius Summer-To-Do list that I accomplished anything fun this summer. You see, my summer turned into a bit of a gong-show, thanks to my self-indulgent je-ne-care-pas, and a schedule only five-star anal-retentive could memorize.

I managed to accomplish all but one of the fun-things on my list. I’m ok with that though. It’ll give me a starting point for my 2016-Summer-To-Do-List.

So, with the proven success of making a list of fun stuff to do,(spontaneity is best, but what the hell, I’m Type A) I am going to formulate an Autumn To-Do List. This will not include anything that I don’t want to do, like finish most of my Christmas shopping, grout cleaning or dragging out our winter clothing.

1) Host our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving Dinner

andrewnamecard

2) Spending a day at one, or a number of, our local Niagara Winerieswinetour

3) Purchasing 12 bottles of wine directly from said wineries

bottlesofwine

4) Hallowe’en Hay Ride, corn maze, or some such shenanigan…

corn maze

5) Road trip with someone who makes me laugh

roadtriplaughing

6) Smores in the fireplace

fireplacesmores

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Waving Good-Bye to Summer & How to Like What Comes Next

sunto
Every summer has it’s own story…

It’s hard to believe, that today is the last ‘official’ day of summer, what with being in the middle of another heat alert.

It’s a bittersweet season of not wanting the long, sunny days to end and looking forward to the delights of autumn.

I must make a confession, although I’m loathe to see another summer pass by, I have to confess that I love the fall.

Growing up a wild-haired blonde-beach-bum, summer was a season of freedom and self-discovery. Fall was the beginning of nesting, wrapping up our sun-soaked bodies and snuggling in for the winter.

Each year as summer draws to a close, I reminisce about what the summer brought; new love, broken hearts, shenanigans and road-trips. I also look forward to all the pleasures of autumn;

…clear, crisp air, and the beauty of watching green turn to shades of gold, rust and deep ruby reds…

autumnlandscape

…a fireplace on a wet November day…

fireplacewine

…weather cold enough to have an excuse to stay inside and write…

williegreeneye

…baking all kinds of yummy Thanksgiving treats…

autumn food

…sumptuous, comfort food shared with friends…

thanksgiving al fresco

…pumpkin spice lattes of course…

Pumpkin spice latte recipe

…rainy November days perfect for sleeping in, reading or movie-watching…

catwindowI hope that you’ve had a delightful summer, that your skin is smiling from the sun, and your wanderlust is somewhat sated.

Here’s to autumn my darlings, and all of the comforting beauty that it brings.

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Being Fully Present and the Wonder of My Awesome Mind

buddha-kiyoshi-nakamuraMeditation training sought as higher education following my graduation from the School-Of-Hard-Knocks seems to have paid off, both for my peace of mind, and my twisted sense of humour.

Grace, patience and discernment have all been qualities that I have had to nurture within myself. I was born a fiery, emotional, passionate, jump-in-with-both-feet kinda gal. Grace, patience and discernment are qualities that I’ve observed in others that I decided would look good on me. Likely a much wiser choice than my candy-apple red alpaca boa. Don’t judge.

So, with the challenge of challenging times, I make great efforts to both feel fully and completely my range of emotions, and balance those with being present. Fully present. As in holding the bridle of my ever-turning imagination of what-if’s and being in the moment.

Last night, as I lay in bed, the room was in complete darkness. Black. There was nothing but myself, and my monkey mind. I was wondering about all sorts of things; my parenting, my job, a deliciously handsome man….

…and then I caught myself. I was not in the moment. I was not still. I was not appreciating the cool air, the cozy sheets or the soft bed in which I was luxuriously stretched out. As soon as I brought my mind back to the present moment, my breath instinctively deepened, slowed, and I was happy. Happy! Happy in the moment.

My gift to you is a list of, Being-In-The-Moment-Moments, that I’ve experience so far this week;

  1. Stopping to smell the flowers (literally), and first being overcome by their beauty (one of my favourite shades of the softest pink), second feeling sad thinking of how long it’s been since someone sent me beautiful roses, and third, thinking funeral flowers come as a poor second behind real flowers while someone is alive.
  2. Observing traffic. Watching a man deeply and thoroughly clean out his left nostril with his index finger buried past the first knuckle, check to see if anyone was looking (he didn’t see me gaping in my rearview mirror), and then continue to analyze what he had mined. He then proceeded with the right nostril.  Hilarious. A good reminder that a firm hand shake may be second best to a curt nod.
  3. Being in a meeting with a person with such high anxiety that my gut reaction was to meet it head on. Instead, I took a deep breath, visualized a cocoon around my body and carried on without having my energy zapped. Why meet crazy when you can let it zip right on past? I hope this person either had a bottle of wine waiting at home or a really good prescription.
  4. Nesting. I tend to nest at back-to-school time. I like to stock the shelves, bake and cook. It feels good to nurture. I also noticed that at this point in my life, I would like someone to reciprocate the nurturing. Note to self; wear your cute smile whenever you go out.
  5. The peace of petting the cat. Seriously. This morning I was doing my regular social-media routine before heading out the door, and my trusted literary advisor hopped up on my desk and pinned his cute, little, pink nose to the window glass. I stroked his back and his purring caused great joy.  Note to self, spend more time with the cat.
  6. Needlework. I know, I know, who woulda thunk it. It’s a productive meditation that calms my nerves. Besides that, it results in really pretty stuff.
  7. The ring, ting, or beep of a cell phone. Conditioned like a dog am I. Ting, ting, harp string ring…yes, I’ll even risk life and limb to pick up the important things. Powering off the darn phone results in having to sign back in to APPs and a rash of ridiculousness, hence, it’s always on. Now, if I could just discipline myself to turn off the damn ringer!
  8. The virulence of mood. It’s amazing how easily a negative, or positive mood can impact those around you. Beware energy vampires, negative Nate’s and Whiney McWhinersons. Ick. Make sure you have a good dose of sappy happy hippies.
  9. Winding down for the night. I’m amazed at how tired I am when I get home from work, and then as the work day wears off how energized I am. That means I’m shocked when it’s midnight and I have to get up in five and a half hours. Hello snooze button and speeding through morning traffic…to everything there is an equal and opposite reaction. My hectic mornings are a direct result of my creative evenings.

Wishing you the peace of presence, the wisdom of discernment, and the ongoing cultivation of grace.