Last minute shopper’s lament

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I pride myself on being organized, I have lists for my lists, but this year something has gone horribly wrong and I find myself running around shopping for Christmas with four short days until the big celebration.

My Christmas shopping list, compared to previous years, is much smaller because we, as a family, have become financially forward thinkers and have realized that we do not need to spend money on unnecessary items for adults simply to have presents under the tree with our names on them.  Christmas for me is about spending money on my nephews and spending quality time with my family while the two boys sort through the mounds of gifts with their name on them.

I used to bemoan the gift card.  It always seemed so impersonal and last-minute, but the reality of the gift card is that the receiver of the gift card can buy what they truly want.  For the past few years my nephews have been big fans of the gift card – iTunes, trendy clothing shops and Golf Town are among the favorites.

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Each year I strive to think of something that will parallel, nay exceed, the gift card but I come up empty.  As the boy’s interests morph into things that they feel strongly about it is becoming easier to think of gifts that will compliment those interests.  Sometimes the gift card is still the best way to go, especially when I find myself shopping a mere four days before Christmas, but at least I know they will buy something they truly want and I don’t have to keep the receipt for when they want to return that “cool” gift their Aunt bought them for Christmas!!

Are you a last-minute shopper?  Or do you start in June?

Canadian passion

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If you’re in it just to succeed, you’re screwed.  If you’re in it because you have a burning need to express yourself, that does not allow you to compromise, you have a chance at making something truly exceptional.” ~ Bob Ezrin

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Because I have been excitedly blogging about my Christmas gift to myself,  you undoubtedly know that I went to see The Tenors in Toronto Monday night.  Let me preface this post by telling you I got much more than I bargained for.  One of my very best friends, Kenny Munshaw (who happens to be in the music industry as well and just co-wrote a song with The Tenors) graciously accepted my pleas to meet this group of talented guys and made my wish come true.

I have been a fan of this group for quite a while.  Not only do I appreciate their musical range and the impeccable harmony of their voices but I truly admire the depth of their characters as human beings and their passion for sharing their gifts and their warmth and honesty with the world.

Music affects us all.  It is a universal form of communication that can span any language barrier because it is spoken with emotion and not just strings of words woven together.

The Tenors sing because they love to sing.  You can feel it in every performance. You can see it in the way they watch each other on stage and embrace after each has performed a heartfelt solo.  They are not entertaining to make money, they are doing it to share their love of music – and THAT makes all the difference in the world.

If you have not listened to them, I urge you to follow the link above to their website and prepare yourself to go on a musical journey.  It is a passionate soul and a true entertainer that can make us forget the time and place in which we exist and become transported to a place of magic.

Thank you Remi, Victor, Fraser, Clifton, Kenny, Jeffrey, Max and Darryn “Neville” for an evening I will cherish.

Thumbs up

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I may have read one too many Dean Koontz novels or perhaps have seen more than my fair share of creepy movies.  Whatever the case may be, the conglomeration of macabre tales has left a lingering doubt in my mind when it comes to hitch hikers.

I have never entertained the thought of sticking my thumb in the air and hoping that a random stranger would stop and let me into their vehicle. And on that same train of thought, I have never picked up a hitch hiker that I didn’t know personally.  I occasionally feel guilty about driving by and leaving them with arm extended and a thumb reaching up like a beacon of hope.  I even go so far as to not look directly at them, although I know full well that they cannot see the direction in which my ocular orbs are focusing.

Scenes from movies play like a slide show in my brain and I imagine the most innocent looking person taking hours to remove my appendages and build them into a sinister piece of art nouveau.  It may be a warped interpretation but one that could salvage my digits and leave my body intact.

Although there is always the nagging doubt that picking up that hitch hiker will hold some sort of malice for me, I still feel the need, in my head, to explain why I will not invite them into the sanctuary of my four-wheeled haven.  I constantly feel the urge to roll down my window on the way by and tell them that my turn is only meters away and that they will have a better chance of a full ride with another driver. Regardless of any guilt I feel for not stopping, I still avert my eyes from their general direction and carry on, alone in my car, to my destination.

I am not labeling worldly travelers nor am I judging those whose means of travel relies on a digit that many animals do not possess.  I am simply propagating my existence in my over-active imagination and choosing to not share the sanctity of my car with a potential serial killer.

Best wishes to all of you that have the guts to be the hitcher or the driver that stops to pick up those wayward travelers.  The neurons in my brain will always fire in the same way and err on the side of caution but for those brave enough to pick up or be picked up – thumbs up to you.

100 Word Song – Happy

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Within my fleeting moments of angst and strain,

when I have to look deep within myself,

I draw from a pool of joy that can only originate from one place.

I open the photo album in my memory

and search for the one face that can pull me from under those dark covers.

I seek out the look that shows me love in its purest form.

I find my happiness in that unwavering sense of devotion,

that loyalty that can bond friends forever.

The angst and strain melt away knowing this face will greet me.

She is my happy place.

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Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.

I’m outta here

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Today’s post will be short because I’m getting ready to head to the city to see The Tenors!!  If you haven’t heard of these guys, they are a very talented foursome of Canadian singers whose voices blend to make absolute magic.  You can listen to them here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E6-AYce-_M

Mondays are difficult for many, so if you are looking for a little escape and want some romance in your day – head over to see Edward Hotspur’s Romantic Monday.

Have a great day everyone and stay warm!!  It’s -35C here today with the windchill.

Dream a little dream of me

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While your eyes feast on the dancing lights

shimmering upon your tree,

I hope you take the time to remember

and dream a little dream of me.

Though worlds apart, I cannot dismiss

the memory of  your smile.

Knowing that you hold me close to your heart

only makes the longing worthwhile.

Moments spent suspended in your gaze

seem like a lifetime ago.

But those emotions bubble under my skin,

the seed just waiting to grow.

While visions of you dance in my head

and your laughter hangs in the air,

I long for the day I can look in your eyes

and the feelings we have can be shared.

The vast chasm of our realities

hold you so far out of touch.

My one wish for Christmas this year

is that I didn’t want you so much.

~~

Written for Romantic Monday

Holy Christmas Spirit Batman!!

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I initiated a Toy Drive at the Lodge where I work and this is the first year I have taken on such an enterprise.  Shamrock Lodge agreed to donate an off-season weekend for two as our way of saying thank you for donating to our toy drive.  Family names who have donated to our cause will be entered for a chance to win and a name will be drawn on December 21st.

The first picture is round one of the toy drive which was overwhelming in itself.  We delivered the first round of toys to the OPP Toy Drive last Saturday and made Natalie, the OPP officer, a bit weepy.

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Today I went shopping once again with the generous donations that continue to come in from all areas of our lives.  Friends, family, hotel guests and local residents have gone above and beyond to help us with our toy drive and make sure every child has something under the tree this year.

The next picture is only the beginning of round two.  We are still collecting for another week and I am already excited about donning the Elf hat again and delivering the toys to their rightful destination so they can find their way into the hands and heart of a child.

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I will definitely be making this an annual event!!  Have a great weekend everyone and when you are out shopping, be sure to pick up that one extra toy and donate it to a cause that wants every kid to have a Christmas!!