Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So long 2008 - my old friend .

Here it is ... New Year's Eve . And we are supposed to have a blizzard tonight ... I know this two ways ... the weatherman said ( not the most reliable!) and I have a beating pounding sinus headache (very reliable !). But it will pass ( the headache ... well the blizzard too I guess !!) So I feel like I should reflect on the year . ....hmmmm ... okay, I have. And it was freakin' great !!
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" to very loosely quote Dickens. But it was. I had some of my best times - best Christmas, wonderful birthday, super vacations, great Sunday afternoons, amazing Tuesdays, whatever. It was mostly all great. Every day was a great big cupcake and most days had sprinkles ... and many had a cherry !!
If you hate gushy, then stop reading. But really, Charlie is wonderful & my life with him gets better every day. My family is super. My friends are amazing and help make my life the adventure it is. I adore my cats, love my house, love seeing the bay of Fundy everyday, enjoy my work ... all superb !!
There were a few really hard spots this year and the bruise on my heart is still there - always will be. A few special people were lost this year. I miss them terribly but hope they are in a golden spot where they have peace & no pain. And I hope that their families have found a way to find a little joy . I feel for them with all my heart. I am at least grateful to have known & loved these wonderful people.
I have had the chance to create this year ... not as much as I want but getting there. That has been the best. And I have found kindred spirits in the world of creativity & that is even more satisfying.
I don't have a word for this year because I am not much of a narrow-it-downer ... more of a collector ... I could have a whole dictionary ... but I think these words would be part of the bigger plan ... SHARE ..... ENJOY ... CONTROL ( I need to acquire a bit of it !) ... EMBRACE ...LOVE ... GIVE ... RECEIVE ... SAVOUR.
Reflect on your year, savour the great times, acknowledge the sad, then turn to the new Year and embrace it ! It's gonna be a great one !!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The MOST Wonderful Time of the Year ...

Well, the big day is almost here. And, I think, this may be the best Christmas yet. Because we no longer do framing, we are not working like Santa's least loved elves every night, almost all night. We have our house at a reno-point and temperature that most can find comfortable. We have the time, the space, the friends, and the level of relaxation possible to "have a little Christmas". And this year it all fell into place !
The Craft Swap kicked it off. That was wonderful - a group of lovely like minded friends sharing what we love best. A nice festive evening - and the beginning of an annual tradition ... and maybe more. And the trees ... I really do love them.
Then came the "Gramma's Popcorn" marathon. Caramel pecan popcorn for all. I made up batches of it & delivered little chinese take-out boxes to bank people, posties, just people who touch your life on a regular basis in a positive way. Some for customers who are a joy to see each week. I don't bake so it was great to have a little treat to pass out. And it felt great !!
Then we were off to shop - and it went so easily we were a little freaked !! But we got nice gifts for family & friends - we found what we really wanted for them so that was very satisfying.
Then a gathering of the band to share the joy of the season & exchange gifts. A lovely afternoon filled with laughter & heartfelt friendship. That night we went to the Living Nativity and sang carols in a wonderful - quickly ! - falling snow. It was quite special.
Then Charlies' step mom for dinner. We love her dearly but never seem to drop in quite as often as we should so an evening and a meal with her was a real treat. We need to get together more often. After we delivered her home, we delivered presents to nieces and family friends. We got to watch the excitement of younger friends as they rattled and shook wrapped boxes trying to guess what they held. That kind of Christmas excitement is so fun !!
Tonight my family will come to see the trees and have a little visit. After they go, we will probably open our gifts from each other ... tomorrow is a busy day at Mom & Dad's. So a quiet evening of gifting will be perfect !!
So the day hasn't even arrived and I have enjoyed Christmas far more than I have in years. Now to find a super way to ring in the New Year. Why stop at Christmas ?!
I hope all of you have a most wonderful holiday & really feel that you have the best life possible !

Friday, December 19, 2008

10 Things I know Today

1. Christmas is coming - regardless of whether we are ready or not. So why sweat it ?
2. Friends make my life so sweet !
3. Cats can apparently knock over a Christmas tree. And that's okay.
4. Caramel corn can make you new friends.
5. Winter is the coziest nestiest snuggliest time of year. I don't understand how people can't like it.
6. All the little lights & snow make me supremely happy.
7. I can't make my Grandmother the calender I planned. We have been told that she is failing and very frail. My aunt believes this will be her last Christmas. My heart breaks and I can't make her something that maps out time. I think an album of our life & adventures might be better. Let's live in the moment and forget about what might come. I'm very sad but denial is my buddy right now.
8. We have someone or something every night until the big day and I am delighted with that. I love busy.
9. Christmas is big and it isn't how many cookies we make (thank goodness - batting zero !!) or the value $$ of our gifts. I have always loved giving someone something little or unexpected, the lights, the good smells, a hug, money in the Sally Ann Kettle, good will among all of us. That is Christmas.
10. Clarence ... you are right ... it IS a wonderful life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Passport to Christmas ...

This is what a happy Christmas and wonderful friends look like ...
And these are the amazing creations they came up with for the First Annual Crafters' Swap ...
And this is what Christmas looks like in our house.
And to all a good night ...

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I was telling someone about our unplanned extra night in Toronto because of the flight cancellations. They said, "At least you got an extra night away." Hmmm... later I got thinking about this. I always say we are "going away" or "going to". I can honestly say that I never think of a vacation as "Getting Away". We are always going TO something or somewhere. I really can't think of anything we would be "getting away" from. And that ROCKS !!! Our life is A1, Prime Cut, Top of the Heap,First in Class ... you get the idea. Many people want to get away from hectic lives, crummy jobs, too many kids, etc.. We have NONE of that !! Our house is happily quiet, life flows along, sometimes it is hectic but we like it that way. We have nice "jobs" - I hesitate to even call it jobs. We enjoy our work. Of course, there are days I might wish I could stay home, but then I get here and it is always fun. We have no children so we don't have all the running around and craziness that some families have. I know some think it is selfish but our time really is just ours and it is wonderful. We love our home, our cats, our friends, our families ... there is NOTHING to GET AWAY FROM !!! Our vacations are always to a place where we can DO a lot , see a lot, visit a lot, etc... They are hectic and non-stop ... and WE LOVE THAT TOO !!! How happy I am to have a life that I don't want to escape from. I want to be right in the middle of it, living it large !!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What a great weekend !!

I had a WONDERFUL weekend !! Charlie & I went to Toronto. The "official" reason was bead business. The "unofficial"? FUN!! We did do the bead business and it was great. My supplier had a small bead show set up of Unicorn beads from California. They were amazingly beautiful - they almost seemed luminescent. So I gathered up some of those, visited the Swarovski Room for another little bundle, then off to the warehouse for a few hours of shopping. By 1pm I was OUT OF ENERGY !!! We had slept for 3 hours then had driven to the airport. By the time I finished shopping we had already been up for 12 hours and hadn't eaten for 8 ... no wonder the energy level was low !! So we subwayed our way to the city, checked in, and went to eat. Then we visited all the wonderful Christmas sites.
This was the Swarovski Christmas Tree at the Eaton Centre. It is breathtaking !!
Then we went to see the windows at The Bay. There was a Santa's workshop, a series of Christmas story windows, and a series of fairy windows. All incredible !! Then up to one of my favourite places on earth - CHRISTMAS STREET at The Bay !! Room after room of Christmas decorations all in various themes. The variety is amazing and the details are fabulous.Then we hiked around the city seeing all the various sites, bought a few gifts, and went back to get ready for our big event - the tree lighting at Nathan Phillips Square.
This was an amazing evening. It is right in front of City Hall and there are all sorts of little booths set up. We watched the skaters on the outdoor rink, bought hot chocolate (and a monkey hat for Charlie - he looked so cute !!)and just took in the atmosphere. Then the stage lights came up. The first act was a funky choir who got the whole crowd going. Then a number called "We Must Be the Light". During that song, the switch was thrown ! The 300,000 lights on the magnificent tree lit, as well as 1000s of lights on the trees, rink, fences, walls, ... everywhere !! It was wonderful. Then the musical acts came on - Toya Alexis, Alex Cuba, Serena Ryder (one of my favourites !!) , and the Canadian Tenors. Imagine being in a crowd of thousands of people, all nationalities of the world, and we are all singing Feliz Navidad. It was surreal !! The Canadian Tenors sounded like a choir of at least 50 instead of the 4 that they are. Their Christmas Carols had us all singing. But there was more ... the FIREWORKS !!! Burst after burst of amazing colour ... waterfalls of golden lights, sprays of electric colours... oh ... so beautiful !! The fireworks were set off from the top and front of city hall including 2 men with pinwheels of pyrotechnics strapped to their backs who descended the building while lit !! The crowd went crazy for those two brave souls !! The fireworks just built and built with soaring music - the crowd was ecstatic !! It was one of the most beautiful shows I have ever seen !! By the time we went to bed, we had been functioning on 3 hours sleep for 21 hours... a bit tired !!
The next day was The One of a Kind Gift Show (more sock monkeys & Damn Dollies for the collection !!) and then a bit more shopping including Propaganda on Yonge and That Paper Place on Queen. Then sadly, we had to say goodbye to the city and head to the airport. Little did we know ... our flight - and everyone else's - was cancelled. So an extra night at the very posh Sheraton ($11 for a bowl of oatmeal !! And no, we didn't eat breakfast there ...) and home on Monday.
All in all , a great Christmas treat !!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Gift ... of so much

I was all set to blog about our trip to Toronto and how great it was ... but I came back to a gift that is almost indescribable. And nothing seems more important than that right now.
I have a dear friend from childhood whose whole family was a huge part of that very childhood. Her Mom was especially important for all kinds of reasons. And this spring she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She dealt with it with the very loving support of her family and the absolute grace that was her. She died in the fall and the world seemed that much paler. She was a woman of such grace, charm, and humour. I loved her. When she would stop in to my store I was always really excited in the fluttery way that you are as kid when someone really special arrives. That's how I felt. And sadly, I always felt that I would have years to feel this way & enjoy her presence. I was wrong.
But there is some good that has come out of this and that is that the childhood friend and I have had the chance to visit, correspond, and be out there floating in each others lives. And that is special.I know where to find her & I want to keep in touch. When I see her, I am filled with a rush of sweet childhood memories & feelings, and I feel her Mom's presence. And I love the person she has become as the adult version of that wonderful girl Brenda from years ago.
So ... I come in to work today and I find a basket that was left by her. It has 2 casserole dishes in it that belonged to her Mom. That has significance to me and it was so thoughtful. The tears begin. Then I read the card. More tears. My heart is so full at this point.(actually , its getting hard to type as this is so blurry...) In the card is a picture of her Mom from Christmas of 2005 wearing a beautiful necklace that Brenda made for her.And in a lovely bag is that necklace. I can't tell you how I felt when I saw that. It is a solid tangible memory of Barb. Because, you see, Barb wore it in to show me because she was so proud of it. So it is also a memory of how much Barb loved her daughter and how proud she was of her endeavors. It means so much. All I can do is cry because my heart is absolutely overflowing. That necklace meant so much to Brenda when she made it, so much to Barb when she received it, and it is a priceless treasure now. Thank you all for enriching my life.

... a few of my favourite things ...