Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the Old and In with the New!

I promised myself I would slow down this Christmas, not spend so much money, relax and enjoy the season, but I have found it was the usual race against time to get everything done I felt was important . On reflection, most of the things I thought were important were not, I had no need to spend quite as much money and it is hard to enjoy yourself when you are tired and run ragged. I think I am speaking for a lot of women as men do not seem to have this frantic need that women do.

Now that I have seen all my five boys, (grandsons) and watched them open their presents I can relax and prepare for the New Year. Not having to go to work every day has been a bonus as being on vacation at Christmas time is a new experience for me. Just before I left work last Thursday I pressed the send button with my letter of intent to HR. Gasp! Gasp! July 31st 2011 I will officially retire. I have talked of this for a long time but now that it is round the corner well...... I know I need to stop and smell the roses or coffee and do some of the things I have not had time to do, but to be on a permanent vacation......

2010 was a year of many changes around the world. The newspapers and online reports have lists of the good, the bad and the ugly. The publishing world is changing also as more and more people use Kindle or their phone app to get their fix of the latest best seller. I have not bought into this yet but may have to. It is always another avenue for Liz and I to explore when we are ready to start querying agents again.

On a positive note lots of good stories come to mind to end the year. Twins were born to a colleague on Dec 20th. Everyone is healthy and happy.
The weather here in my neck of the woods has been great. We appear to be in a sweet spot with snow all around us. I should bite my tongue!!.
My daughter Courtney’s health is on the mend and she has a new position she is excited about.
Leanne, my daughter in-law has been promoted to a position she really deserves.
Most of all, I am so grateful my family is safe and healthy is these uncertain times. I wish for all of you the same in 2011.
When I have a quiet dinner tonight with friends this Hognamey night I will raise my glass and wish you all a very Happy New Year. Thanks for sticking with us this past year.


Monday, December 27, 2010

One Down and One to Go

Amazingly, Christmas has now come and gone – and so quickly!  We rush forward to the day so much at times and then its here and gone.  Hopefully wherever you are, you’ve enjoyed good times with family and friends and have stayed safe and healthy.   My daughter and her boyfriend flew south to Cuba on December 24 so we had our family Christmas the night before. Lots of laughs and time to spend with family.  It’s always a joy to see the excitement on the young ones’ faces.  They now range in age from almost 8 to three and Santa anticipation is still alive and well.

Amid the debris of coloured paper and gift bags, were some amazing toys and goodies for them.  But the best form of entertainment ensued when it was discovered that some computer-cleaning gook in a plastic jar made lovely (indelicate) noises when shoved back into its container.  I’m not saying who encouraged this activity.  Oh yes I was me!  Long live Leslie Nielson and his whoopee cushion!

 On duty to feed my daughter’s  cats and water her plants (I hope that’s the right order) for the next few days, I’ve just returned from making sure Cujo and Ginger are all set for the next 24 hours.  And no, that’s not the name of her plants. No doubt they will be glad to see her return New Year’s Day.

Pam managed to book these days between Christmas and New Year as the last of her 2010 vacation days, but yours truly will remain at my post and keep things under control.  At least we are closed until Wednesday, so to enjoy a 4 day break is a treat in itself.  And the more staff who are taking the time off, the less problems (theoretically) there should be.

Today I’m enjoying some down time with writing and laundry, but as the afternoon wears on, I suspect a nap will be on the agenda as well.  The perfect time to curl up with a book and doze off if that happens.  Currently I’m reading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress and am nearly at the end.  Next on tap will be the latest Louise Penny instalment – Bury Your Dead - which I’m most anxious to start.  My plan tomorrow is to be working on Body Perfect as well.  Hence the blog and laundry today, so that tomorrow will hopefully be a clean slate.

2010 is fast winding down – what will 2011 bring us?  I didn’t get the crystal ball for Christmas so I have no answer, but really, I don’t think I’d want to know.  Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.

So with one last holiday to go for the year, I wish you all a very Happy New Year – may your troubles be small, your successes recognized and above all – lets be kind to one another.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another blast from the past!

I am on a roll. This is my week for Christmas/New Year cleaning. I know,I know, some of you do that all the time but I have never been accused of being a "housewife" or a domestic goddess. My mother always did the house from top to bottom the weeks before the New Year to clean out all the cobwebs. We could not have a mucky house, so we swept out the old and ushered in the new.

Now take Liz...... She has all her shopping done. And the baking is all in tins ready for consumption. I am sure she has polished the candlesticks and the tree and the house are decorated. Cards have been mailed and her grocery list is just waiting for her to use at the right time.

Now take Pam....... She has no shopping done. Who wants to bake when Cadbury's makes yummy chocolate shortbread and it is much better than mine. I have written some cards but whether anyone will receive them is another matter. It is a hit and miss affair. I prefer to call them New Year cards as that is when everyone will receive them.
The house is not decorated yet as the boxes I asked my husband to bring up from the basement have not appeared. My grocery list is still in the planning stages as one can't rush these things. I have scanned the ads for specials and looked at the discounted wine at the liquor store. You have to have your priorities straight!!

While I searched for the boxes in the basement I found another treasure. Well a treasure to me.
If you were wondering what the picture at the top of the page is all about, wonder no longer.
Does anyone remember going away suits????? No. It goes with the word trousseau. Oh, never heard of that one either. That is when brides would save up clothes for the honeymoon and a going away suit was for changing into after the wedding. Well, I found mine.CIRCA 1966. Imagine, Audrey Hepburn in an orange suit. ( or so I thought myself) Black patent pumps with a grograin bow and a small black patent pill box hat perched on her head. I never had my picture taken with that suit and I am having a hard time imagining myself with a 26inch waist but that is what it was.
Let me know if you are tired of my trip down memory lane. I am having fun with it but you are probably bored to death. I will see if I can dig out a few more treasures from the dark ages.
Liz just emailed to say she has finished chapter four of the ..we hope... final revision of Body Perfect. While I have been doodling around on here she has been working away. When the book is published she probably wants 60-40. Hmm we will see about that.
Talk soon,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

Well, we are but two weeks away from the big day and the momentum to get everything done is growing.

Kudos to the Leons Furniture company, for actually saying “Merry Christmas Canada” in its advertising. Its almost like a breath of fresh air to hear a major retail company utter those words which too often are seen as politically incorrect.  And another bright spot was the Eaton Centre in Toronto allowing the Salvation Army kettle stands to rings those wonderful bells once again.  They had been silent for several years because the sound was annoying!   Really -  guess it must have been drowning out the electronic bells of cash registers. 

Thursday morning saw me arrive at our local WalMart store for 8:30, Christmas shopping list in hand.  Ninety minutes later I was able to leave knowing that more than two thirds of my list was crossed off!  And no, I wasn’t playing hooky from work, but had the foresight to take Thursday and yesterday as my last remaining vacation days.  The goal was shopping (including groceries) and to get some baking done.  Two tick marks on my ‘to do’ list are now gratefully in place. Of course the wrapping is yet to be done, but that’s another story.  One or two more gifts are still required and hopefully those will be taken care of before Friday.

A white Christmas may materialize this year as well.  We have a light dusting on the ground right now, with more forecast over the next twenty four hours.  I haven’t checked the long range details yet to see if the temperatures will cooperate and let whatever snow falls over the next few days stay with us. 

Yesterday I glanced out the window in the kitchen and was tickled to see a living Christmas card.  It was lightly snowing, and the fence had a slight covering of snow. Perched atop it was a grey squirrel, industriously working to remove a candy cane from its wrapper.  He made short work of the cellophane and was soon nibbling at the candy.  A great picture, if only my camera had been handy.

Mall parking lots are crammed to their outer edges and must-have items are fast disappearing from retailer’s shelves. Stress levels rise as we remember yet another gift that hadn’t been thought about, or another social invitation is extended with obligations to attend.  Every year we seem to fall into the familiar routine of rush rush, spend spend, and arrive at Christmas Day exhausted – physically and monetarily!   And believe me, I’m no different than anyone else.  Our lives seem to go by at a dizzying pace as it is, and that just seems intensified at this time of year.

However, no advice will be given, because its all been heard before.  And do I pay attention to it?  You probably know the answer to that one!

I’ve promised myself tomorrow to spend some time with Body Perfect, because some momentum needs to be built for its completion.  Amid all the seasonal activities, I can’t lose sight of that!



Sunday, December 5, 2010

The sweater on the left, taken this morning is the same one I wore in June 1965.
Must be some kind of record as it is good as new and no moth holes. A little bit tight around my pleasingly plump rump but other than that its good to go. Mohair is not to my liking now as it's a little scratchy.

I mentioned to Liz as she left work on Friday that I had enough agnst... It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of strife. to choke a horse or to at least write a decent blog.It was the week from hell and Friday was the worst. I am not multitasking as I used to and feel a little overwhelmed. I depend on Liz to bail me out of my techie problems. Very unfair of me as she has her own responsibilites. I must have asked her the same question three times!! One time I saw the steam coming out of her ears and as she percolated away she continued to help me out. It's great to have such a supportive friend and co-author.

One of the reasons for my strife...isn't that a lovely word.. is the fact that I must make the decision to retire next year and for some reason I have mixed feelings about it. I started working in March of 1961 so.....50 years should be enough. No?So what's my problem? You tell me. I will have plenty of time to write and not be quite so tired all the time. See my grandchildren when I want and maybe travel a bit. Maybe it is just thinking that another segment of my life is over. There was the growing up years with four siblings, then the early married years before the children came along. The next twenty or so bringing up the kids and I worked right through it all.

I think what brought this nostalgia and reminiscing about the past was a Christmas card I received from my Scottish friends, Glynis and Alistair. We have been friends since 1961 when Glynis and I worked together. She sent me a picture taken when I was nineteen, the year before I married. See above**
Before you get the impression that I must be a hoarder, that is not the case. I do have a few items that I have hung on to and that sweater is one of them. I looked up the makers name and a wonderful story and a life was in that sweater. The name was Bernat Klein, a wonderful textile designer from Serbia(formely Yugoslavia) who settled in Scotland. He is in his 80's now but was renowned for his Haute Couture designs in the 60's. Who knew I had a Haute Couture sweater in my closet!! Maybe there is a Bernat Klein museum and I can donate it.

Liz was so correct in her last blog about the eating and spending . Especially the eating. I have four lunches this week and numerous buffets will be spread out in the centre. As I walk through numerous times a day I will do my best not to graze. Spread out is the operative word. As for the spending...... Do you think if I told the kids and grandkids that granma is going on a pension, I will now be a senior.......that will make a difference. Of course, then I won't have the pleasure of hunting down the must have gift or seeing the joy of the wee ones opening their presents.

There.... I have said it. Pensioner.. senior. Must look on the positive side and make a list of all the benifits.. If you know of any let me know. Must be hundreds!!!!

The writing has slowed down but will be in high gear come January. A calendar and a plan is in the making.

Supposed to snow today but nothing so far. Hope it clears up by morning as this senior to be does not like driving on slippery roads.

Talk soon,


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