I just wanted to take a moment, before the quiet celebration begins, to wish all of my fellow bloggers a very happy and healthy new year!! May we all be blessed with continued words, wisdom and hilarity in the upcoming year. Many blessings to you all.
I am a huge NFL fan….I have been since I was old enough to know what I was watching on television. Maybe that was my initiation into becoming a tomboy, who knows? Regardless of which came first, the pigskin or the scars, I am who I am.
I was fortunate to meet some good friends in 1999 who ran a fantastic restaurant and an equally great football pool. Back then it was on a piece of legal paper, hand-written, with a relatively legible set of football picks. I had explained to these two dear gentlemen how much more impressive it would be to have an Excel spreadsheet that could total wins automatically and the gauntlet of running the pool was immediately thrust into my hands. Since 2003, I have grown the pool from twenty participants to sixty-five. I am affectionately known as “The Commish” during my favorite season of the year – football season.
During those many years, I have only been close to the big prize once – and after a horrific showing in week 17 of the regular season, I dropped from first place to fourth place in a matter of hours and right out of the money. For years, it was known as the ‘crash and burn’. This year, I find myself going into week 17 tied for first place and the memories of that fatal crash are bubbling to the surface. My heart is racing (thankfully I took my blood pressure meds this morning) and I needed to find a distraction to quell the feeling of sickness in the pit of my stomach. Hence, this blog post. I apologize for what could be seen as needless drivel, but writing not only distracts me, it calms my nerves.
I will be truly happy for the winners, whatever the outcome, but it would extremely uplifting to overcome that stigma of being the sorriest pilot in the NFL pool flight academy.
The large screen beckons, the green turf is inviting and the voices in my head are telling me to trust my gut. That may be difficult since my gut may be sent hurtling across my living room soon, but I’ll give it the old college try!! Go Chargers!!
The end of the year is nigh. As the clock slowly discards the seconds and minutes of 2012, the mad preparations begin for those who want to ring in the New Year with a bang. Parties are planned, the guest lists are set and the decorations are waiting to be boldly displayed. The party hats are silently waiting in a corner, soon to adorn the heads of the anticipated drunken guests and the blowers will soon be filled with alcohol saturated saliva. The song Auld Lang Syne will be warbled, some syllables will inevitably be missed by the inebriated choir and some words will be hysterically incomprehensible.
This year, I am following a beloved tradition that I started last year. I am staying home. Like Valentine’s Day for me, New Year’s Eve is a holiday that I just cannot seem to celebrate with the same enthusiasm as others. January 1st is just another day. It does not wipe the slate clean going into that New Year, but brings with it all of the memories and experiences from the previous year. I do enjoy embracing a new calendar year and do think about the potential that the year ahead may embody, but I choose to not begin that new calendar year with my arms wrapped around a porcelain vessel whilst popping Alleve like Tic Tacs.
My New Year’s Eve is quiet, contemplative and subdued. My New Year’s Eve is filled with twinkling lights, rich harmonic voices and the company of my four-legged fur child.
The beef tenderloin is in the fridge, the extra-large uncooked shrimp (extra-large oxymoron) are in the freezer and a bottle of 2004 Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon is awaiting the countdown on December 31st. This is my perfect New Year’s Eve. This small piece of solitude and reflection before the beginning of a new year is my favorite way to welcome January 1st. There are no noise makers, there are no obscenely drunk people pin-balling from random pieces of furniture and there is no making excuses for leaving early before the big countdown. This is bliss.
After setting up the candles and finding the Canadian Tenors on television, I will open up the wine and remove the crystals. I will graciously let it breathe on its own for about 20 minutes before I assist in the process and begin giving it mouth to mouth for about two hours. I will let all of the bad moments of this past year remind me of the lessons I learned and I will let the good moments bathe me in a euphoric feeling that I will carry with me into 2013.
What is your favorite way to ring in the New Year?
I am fortunate to be able to say that I am happy with my life. I enjoy my job and the people I work with, I love my little house and the privacy it affords me and I love living in Muskoka. Not everything in my life has been picture perfect, but that awareness empowers me to alter the things in my life that are not working and follow the path that I envision for myself.
So many people I encounter don’t seem to have the same luxury of being able to say they are content in their own lives. They seem to radiate negative energy and the lessons in their lives become more of a burden than a learning experience. The “glass half empty” attitude fills the room and stifles any potential for that glass to be filled again.
What we have to remember is that we are not trees. We are not rooted so deeply in our lives that we cannot make a change. We are not permanently stuck in one spot for the rest of our lives, able to only move in one direction. We are afforded the freedom of being able to make a change in our lives whenever we feel the desire to alter our trajectory. It may be a daunting task to uproot yourself and start over, but when you flip to the other side of that coin, what could be the lesser of the two evils? With change always comes doubt, but happiness will always trump fear.
Give yourself permission to do whatever it takes for you to be happy. Put down some roots, but if the place you have planted yourself smothers your potential for growth, dig up the roots, plant yourself again and start over. You have to give yourself the opportunity to flourish, and if that means beginning again in a different location, trust that your happiness is worth the effort and do whatever it takes to find that perfect place.
Root and blossom, but leave room to branch out and evolve.
The tryptophan is still fresh in my blood stream and thankfully the swelling in my stomach is slowly abating. With another Christmas celebration successfully under my loosened belt, it’s time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the imminent beginning of a new year.
This past calendar year was filled with many hurdles. Within running that footrace and jumping those hurdles, I discovered a well of strength I didn’t know I possessed. That yet untapped reserve was a shimmering pool of hope and that cleansing water, along with the support of family and friends, helped me find a long-awaited feeling of inner peace. I was given a promotion at work, enjoyed the many changes in my physical appearance, gained a new self-confidence and found a true sense of freedom after closing the door on an unhealthy marriage.
Within those defining moments, I found myself again. I rediscovered the happiness that had been suppressed and I delighted in its giddiness as it bubbled back to the surface. The smile on my face became genuine and no longer felt like a mask. I began writing this blog and my inner voice had finally found the tool in which to extricate itself from my brain. I began truly living and not just going through the motions.
Adversity is a learning tool, and I chose to attend every class to absorb each lesson that was taught. I learned a great deal last year in the school of life and I look forward to carrying that knowledge into the beginning of a new year and another fresh start.
I tend not to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t want to limit myself to focusing on a few things, but would rather deal with each day as it presents itself and deal with those days in the most positive way I can. With the impending arrival of that new calendar year, I am eagerly anticipating a fresh start. I look forward to caring for old friendships and strengthening new relationships that were developed. I look forward to continuing to do a job I love and I look forward to listening to the persistent writer’s voice that wakes me from my sleep.
Come on 2013 – I’m ready for you!!
Each year, when my father was still with us, he would phone at 6:00 am to wish me a Merry Christmas and get the day started. This year, the lines from Heaven must have been pretty open because that phone in my head rang at 5:30 am and I was wide awake (thanks Dad!!). But this, begrudgingly, is among the favorite of my Christmas memories.
There are many Christmas traditions we still follow, and although they become slightly modified as the years pass, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without them. After we moved to our tiny little town, Christmas Eve was spent bundled in our warmest winter gear standing at the end of our driveway. The sirens could be heard before the truck was spotted and the lights would crest the hill by our house. Santa Claus was atop the biggest fire truck and would pass all of the eager children, bundled tight like we were, waiting for a glimpse of the big guy before we were hurried off to nestle in our beds. There were no visions of sugar plums, and the wonder of how he fit his every growing frame down our very thin stove-pipe was enough to keep me awake for hours.
As the years passed we began to give back. We would faithfully wait at the end of our driveway with a case of beer for the jolly man. I mean, he had to have been frozen up there and what better way to keep him jolly than some beer? I’ll never forget the eve of one particular Christmas when Santa told us that he didn’t drink beer, but instead enjoyed a Rye and Coke. I guess everyone has a Christmas wish and the following year we granted his with a tall glass of whiskey and carbonated syrup. My gifts were fabulous that year!!
We almost missed him this year, and I raced to the corner of the next street to catch him on his way back. I stood in anticipation, forever in the shadow of the child I once was and with the smile of the child I hope to always be, and Santa waved and wished me a Merry Christmas. My night was complete.
Each Christmas morning, we were allowed to open our stockings and then were forced to stare longingly at the big presents under the tree while we choked down some form of breakfast. Complete and total torture. That tradition should have been abolished, but still remains intact much to my nephew’s chagrin. (although my brother’s Eggs Benedict makes the wait worthwhile!) Paper flew, boxes were cast aside and we became buried in a pile of pure love. Thanks to my mom, inevitably, one or more of the presents would still have a price tag on them and that became a much-anticipated tradition as well. My brother followed up spectacularly this year by not only leaving the price tag on a gift for his wife, but the price tag was hanging outside of the gift box and not wrapped up inside.
My mother had become the David Copperfield of making presents disappear. She mastered her craft so well over the years, that we would receive some of our Christmas presents in March when they magically appeared months after the festivities had ended. It was always a race between my brother and I to see who would open the last present on Christmas Day. We would skilfully hide a gift or two and casually pull them out an hour or two after the mayhem had ended. My mom really upped the ante on that one and it was anyone’s guess as to whose Christmas present was going to appear at Easter!!
As I sit writing this, the dessert is in the fridge waiting to be finished, my brother has put the turkey in the oven and we will meet again in a few hours to enjoy our family dinner. This is the best of Christmas. It’s not the presents or the tinsel, it’s time laughing about the price tags and the long-lost gifts that is the most important to me. It’s Santa Claus on a fire truck and being tricked by my nephew to play a Shepherd in church on Christmas Eve. It’s a glass of wine with the people closest to me, the people who don’t care that I have to unbutton my pants after eating too much turkey. These are my precious Christmas gifts and the best of my holiday.
To all of you and all of yours – a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the blogs
Edward Hotspur had his bacon, Angie’s Grapevine had her dogs.
The synonyms were used by Honie Briggs with care,
And Homesick and Heartstruck, her feelings she would share.
The Jiggly Bits was nestled all snug amongst her words,
While Sethsnap had artistic visions and took pictures of the birds.
Kevin’s Blog was editing, following the writing tips,
While 40 is the new 13 was creating, snacking on her chips.
Le Clown’s newest blog had created such a clatter,
And 25toFly’s comments only added to the chatter.
Away to the keyboard The Daily Post flew on its quest,
Tore open the gates of creativity and posted its newest contest.
The reviews from Rick Mallery let us all know,
About the masterful words of Dianne Gray, written from below. (well, Down Under, but it didn’t rhyme)
When, what to Fear No Weebles eyes should appear,
Ned’s Blog, in all its glory, showing no WordPress fear.
“Now Prego! now Gibberish! now Notebook and Leash!
On, Toolbox! On, Campari and Sofa! on, Cliche! (not pronounced properly, but go with it)
To the top of the Fresh Press! to the top of the wall!
Now write away! Write away! Write away all!”
Portrait of Addiction spoke with such fervor,
And words were carefully crafted by bottledworder.
A bundle of phrases Pretty Feet took from her stack,
And Pretty Little Dreamer, the words she attacked.
With their keyboards they created with zest and with zeal,
They wrote just as passionately as brunch for every meal!
It was thursdayagain, the words he did reap,
And in between writing they read shrinksarentcheap.
They wrote from their hearts, like it was their favorite job,
And inside of them all lurked a Geeky Book Snob.
Polysyllabic Profundities wrote to make you think,
Afraid to close her eyes because I miss you when I blink.
On The Homefront took a few precious moments to reflect,
While somewhere in Lost Angeles, his writing he did perfect!
They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
Blending a symphony of phrases, responsibilities they would shirk.
The Writer I could be pounded endlessly on the keys,
While The Life and Times of Nathan Badley kept up the pace with ease.
There were 5 things to do today, Impressions of a Princess surely did see,
And we all lost our Large Self to the feeling of writer’s glee.
Inspiration sprang to its feet, to its words gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a high powered missile.
But I heard it exclaim, as our brains turned to fog,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!”
If there is one thing the holidays should teach us, it’s to let our worries go. It may only be for a few precious days while we focus on the things that are truly important, but if we can embrace that serene feeling while it is in our presence, perhaps we can carry that feeling within us for an extended period of time and not have it fizzle out with the digestion of all that turkey!
Every year it seems the stress is increased exponentially around the Christmas holidays. The days that we get a reprieve from work are meant to be our “down time”, but the pressure and time constraints of creating our own Hallmark holiday are overwhelming. The influx of family from all parts of the globe, the search and rescue mission for the perfect Christmas gifts and the attempt at giving Martha Stewart a run for her money at the dinner table all compound to make the stress level reach its maximum capacity.
I had the Christmas Carols gently soothing my mood the other day and I took a moment to really listen and absorb the words. ”Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, let your heart be light”. That was an “a-ha” moment as Oprah would say. That simple string of words had such a profound affect on me and I realized that it doesn’t matter if the presents I wrap look like my dog wrapped them. Nobody is going to care if I spend Christmas day in my pajamas and my hair looks like I just removed a toque I’d been wearing for days. The holidays are for just being, not for being perfect.
Take a moment to ask yourself what the holidays really mean to you. Is your definition of Christmas a perfectly wrapped gift? Or is it the precious moments when you share a laugh or a hug? Let your heart be light, and enjoy what the holiday is really meant to represent. If you worry too much about the perfection of the celebration, you’ll miss the beauty of the holiday.
My Christmas holidays are a mere sixty minutes shy of becoming reality. My body and my mind are both looking forward to an abundance of cheesy holiday movies, quality time with my dog and making more holiday memories with my family. My bloggers brain will be on hiatus for a few days – although I’m sure I won’t be able to quiet those voices for long.
It’s time to Freshly Press myself into some fleece jammies and watch my world turn into a snow globe from the comfort of my living room.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you who amuse me, inspire me and affect me in a positive way!!
This is a re-post from early in September, but there have been many recent posts on Facebook that have brought this pet-peeve of mind back to the forefront of my thoughts.
I reluctantly admit that I have been watching too much television lately. And the “reality” television that I have succumbed to is the most destructive of all. But there is an alarming trend on these shows that really bothers me. After the self-promotion and sensationalism of parading your relationship across the national airways, they always seem to describe their newly found mate as “the one I end up with”.
Now, I know I’m not the most romantic person on the planet, but if someone described me as the person they “ended up with” I would be more than moderately offended. The quest for love should not result in who you end up with, but who you are fortunate enough to forge the path of your life with. That person should not sound like second prize in a raffle because you didn’t get your first choice.
If you truly fall in love with someone, that person consumes every ounce of your being. It’s like winning a lottery that you never entered. They become such a part of your life that you don’t know how you existed before you met them. They understand what you are trying to say without you having to speak a word.
I can only imagine the person you “end up with” would never have the capacity to know what you are thinking before you formulate the thought. It makes me wonder. If those words are sufficient enough to describe the relationship, the feelings generated from that union are most likely not sufficient enough to make it last. You need to be with the person you can’t live without, and not just the one you can live with or “end up with”.
Perhaps you need to take the time to redefine the feelings that brought you into your relationship. If they are your true life partner, don’t belittle that relationship by describing them as the one you ended up with. Let them know that you consciously chose to have them in your life because there is something they bring into your existence that nobody else could ever bring.
Give your relationship the truth that it deserves. If you have found the person you are meant to spend your life with, be bold enough to describe them that way and don’t ever let them think they were the runner up. Maybe there is a more romantic side to me after all.