Archive for the 'holidays' Category

O Christmas Tree

I have not had a real Christmas tree in years.  Certain members of the household far preferred the neatness and convenience of a fake tree, coupled with the fact that my children have adored looking at the tree from Halloween to Valentien’s Day meant that closest thing I came to a pine scent in house came in a bathroom can.  This year, however, I was going to do things different.

We went to the lot, picked our tree, and carefully set the tree up in a new corner of the living room, diligently watering it and leaving it for 24 hours to relax.  We named it Oscar.

I admit, that between working two jobs and recent stress I was way way too tired to really enjoy the thought of the tree trimming, but I had promised that last night would be THE night, and it was clear Rainbow had her heart set on adorning Oscar, so we dug out the boxes of Christmas paraphenalia.  It was at that point that a series of observations became apparent:

Observation #1:  I need new Christmas bling How is it that sometime between last year and this year half the lights stop working?  And why can’t someone invent pre-lit real trees?  I’d be all over that.

Observation #2:  Not only will a real tree give you that fresh pine scent, expect to enjoy a woodsy pine carpet through your entire home. There is no escaping the pine needles.  Sweep them up and start all over again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Observation #3:  Hopefully the Christmas tree decorating has been a positive experience because chances are, no matter how tired and ready to be done you may feel, you might have to do it all over again.  Yes, no sooner had Oscar been festively lit and lovingly adorned, and we stood back to admire him in all his glory, that he came crashing down in a pitiful heap of woodland gaudiness.  This, I expect, is why many adults added liquor to their tree trimming traditions.

In the end, Oscar stood and twinkled, perhaps less perfect than he was originally, but lovely all the same.  And somewhere in the future, when the stress is long forgotten and only charming memories remain, I expect we will do a real tree all over again.  This time wiser.  And with wine.

Oscar 2011

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Resolutions. Sort of.

I have been pondering that annual “to-do” list of good intentions known as resolutions, and I have given a few moments of consideration to what it is I want out of 2011…

If I were to unleash the power of intention, what exactly would I intend???

sock-bullet I would want to put more positivity into the world,

sock-bullet I would want to read more, and write more, and learn more,

sock-bullet I would want to grow as a person (mentally and spiritually…  I’m pretty sure no amount of intending will make me taller),

sock-bullet I would want to see the humour in life (because that may be the only way I think I’ll get through parenting the teen years),

sock-bullet I would want to save more (and by more I mean any), and give more (however meagre),

sock-bullet And I would want to smile more and remember not to take myself so darn seriously.

This year, I will not quantify any of it… I will not commit to x number of blog posts, or x number of smiles.  Nor will I revisit everything I did or didn’t accomplish last year.  It’s a new page.  It’s a new year.  May it be filled with focus, joy and peace.

Happy New Year, xo

The Year Ends Softly

I have never told anyone this… and I’m not sure if it is the New Year’s wine or the New Year’s self reflection that brings me to tell it now, but I feel like sharing.  It may seem far fetched, but I assure you it happened, and is not unlike several things that have happened to me in the past…

A long time ago, back when I was single and living alone, I sat one evening in my livingroom and was so overcome by loneliness that I physically ached.  The emotion was physically painful.  There, on the couch in a house I owned, my younger self felt ripped by that crippling emotion with a power I cannot express.

And, within minutes of that happening, the phone rang.  It was a neighbour who lived across the street and a few houses down.  She said she had just driven by my house and was overcome but a very deep sadness, so she thought she’d call and see if I was ok.

I was ok, I assured her.  And it wasn’t a lie.  By calling me, by reaching out, she had just made it ok.

— // —

It is nearly 2011.

Each year opens with hope and promise and resolution… a fresh page of life, ready to be written.  But for the last couple of years, with all the rocky storms of unemployment and the tenuous self-identity that seem to go with it, that optimism has been tempered by a healthy dose of realism.

But this year ends softly.

This year ends with me in a job that I enjoy.  Yes, technically it’s temporary, but tomorrow is not yet written, and today I have happy, busy work.

Despite the ups and downs and brutal self reflection, I have through it all had good health, and good family, and have never lost love nor laughter.

I have an amazing best friend that helps me stay both grounded and buoyed.  She laughs both with me, and at me, and nods knowingly as I vent. She is a gift.

I have experienced the kindness of both people who have known me a lifetime, and people who have only crossed my path.

I have made new friends, both in real life and on-line (or both), and each is a treasure.

I may not own a house anymore, but life is oh so very full.  As I enter 2011, I want to hold onto the gratitude for all I have, I want to rejoice in the people in my life, and I want to reach out to others when I can.  I want to revel in the gifts that life brings, and be able to laugh when it doesn’t work out quite the way I plan.

The year has ended softly.  And it is a lovely place to be.

— // —

I am acutely aware of how lonely this holiday season can be for some people.  If you are one of those people, please know that it can get better.  Rainbows can follow rain, and laughter can follow sorrow.

And for all my friends and readers (for you are all friends), I hope your year ends softly.  And I hope your 2011 holds joy.

Happy New Year. xo

The Quilt

Because of the content of this post, I have been unable to tell this story here before Christmas.  I am delighted to be able to tell you now…

There are three farmer’s markets here in Charlottetown in the summer… one of which (the best one) falls on a day I always work, and the other two were new this past summer.  So when the two new markets opened, Rainbow and I were delighted to have this new opportunity to explore.

We set out for the first Friday market, just a block from our home, and Rainbow was immediately drawn to a table where a lady was selling raffle tickets.  First prize was a china cabinet, second was a quilt, third was a set of Paderno pots, and fourth was a tent.  She loved the quilt.  She talked to the lady selling the tickets briefly, and asked me to buy her one.  So, I offered up my toonie ($2 coin).

The next market the lady selling tickets was there again.  Again Rainbow went to the table to talk to the lady.  She asked for another ticket, and again I bought her one.  She asked that each time I see the lady, even if she wasn’t with me, that I buy her a ticket.  I agreed.

And so began a summer of ticket buying and decorative planning.  She picked paint chips that would match her dream quilt.  She picked accessories to go with her new decor.  She imagined what would happen if she won 1st prize and pondered whether the second prize winner would trade.

But, as fate is wont to do, the day of the draw came and went, and no call came.  Not for first, second, or any other prize in that raffle.  The dream faded, and life went on.

And life did go on.  Summer passed, and fall was nearly done as well.  November was not without its stresses, and it seemed there was little that could rekindle my spirits at times.  And then the phone rang.

The caller introduced herself as Mrs. R.  She said she was the lady selling tickets on a quilt this past summer.  She was very disappointed that Rainbow didn’t win the quilt, so she was making her one for a Christmas surprise.  She tried to find very similar fabrics, and thought it was pretty close.

A perfect stranger was using her time and resources to make my child’s dream a reality.  I was touched beyond words that there was such kindness in the world.

When Christmas day arrived it was probably the most joyful spot in her her morning.

And, of course, owning the most perfect quilt in the world has the added bonus that each morning one’s bed must be made and admired 🙂

Merry Christmas my lovely blog friends.  I hope your dreams came true too.  And I hope to be here more in the near future.

Dear Santa

While there were a few things that kind of sucked about this last year, for the most part it’s been really, really good.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of really great teams, I’ve got a wonderful family, great friends, and lots of blessings in my life.

Having said that, if you have a little room in the bottom of your gift bag, there are a couple of things I wouldn’t mind this year:

– A new math teacher for my kid.  Quite frankly I think he’s an incompetent ass with an attitude.  If you could fix this, or miraculously make her understand math without requiring his teaching, that would be FABULOUS.

– My other child could use a teensy bit of self-confidence, and some stress-coping skills, because she’s wonderful and competent and sometimes just needs to breathe, relax, and let stuff go a bit.  If maybe you have some magic fairy dust or have some kind of magic Santa spell or something that would impart this great gift, I would appreciate that.

– Also, if you give me the ability to require less sleep, that would be handy.  You must have some tricks in that regard given how much you accomplish in one night.  In fact, if you would just pass on the secret to your great productivity, I would be sure to make the best of it.

– I think i-pods are cool and look like they’d be both fun and useful.  Just sayin’.

I will leave you some milk and cookies,
Love,
Sock Girl

Happy New Year

As much as I am waving madly to 2009, happy that the year is now memory, have to say it did not entirely suck.  Yes, I realize that I am probably the worse resolution keeper in the history of ever – I have not accomplished better blogging, more creativity, or managed to acquire job security –and while it certainly ended with a heaping helping of stress (see last post) – 2009 did have its moments worth holding close in the heart… beautiful, spectacular moments worth savouring…

– I officially joined my kid’s taekwondo school and got my yellow belt in December.  (I was the only adult in my test class).  I also still stink at it, but meh…  Ya’ gotta start somewhere.

– I got temporary work in a wonderful, wonderful place.  And I get to go back for a while in just a few days.

– I started using twitter, and it resulted in my finding lots of interesting and wonderful people, and in my having coffee and ice cream with the lovely and talented Crib Chronicles.

– My kids used food colouring and dyed the dog’s face red and green for Christmas.  Now this, on the surface, may not seem entirely all that celebratory, but to me, who aspires to feed creativity, the fact that they are now 9 and 13 and are still up to stuff like that sort of does put a smile on my face (albeit secretly).

– I got a new dryer.  And it still puts a silly grin on my face.

So, fare-thee-well 2009.  Entering 2010, I still feel like my life is a work in progress… like I’m still redefining things… but I am not one to dwell on unmet resolutions and negativity on New Year’s day.  So despite my terrible track record with resolutions, here is my list of “areas of focus” for this year (some of which is just carried over from last year but we won’t talk about that):

  • This blog… I would like to write a minimum of 100 posts in 2010.
  • Creativity… I also want to carve out the time to explore fictional thought.
  • Work… I want to feel way more security than I currently do.
  • Spirit… I want to keep focussing on gratitude and joyfulness.

To my blog readers, I want to thank you for dropping by and being a part of my life.  From the bottom of my heart I wish you all peace and happiness in 2010.

An Update. Or, How Sock Girl Lost Her Job and Her Independence, and Her Kid Got a Cardboard Box For Christmas

Well it certainly has been a long time since I posted an update, and I really apologize for that.  There is much to tell, so if you up for my tales, grab yourself some refreshment and make yourself comfortable.  I’ll wait right here until you get back.

Are you back?  OK…  Here basically are the top three things worth noting lately:

First work:  Let’s go back to about December 16th.  December 16th was my last scheduled day at my temporary job.  I knew it was coming.  It is only possible to be a casual in a single federal government department for 90 working days in a calendar year and as it turns out December 16th was day 90.  So, the time was both unfortunate and fortuitous… unfortunate because it is so close to Christmas and it really stinks to have no income at Christmas… and fortuitous because the new calendar year is right around the corner and I have been invited back January 4th to finish up my project (until March 31st).  I’m deleriously happy about going back.  And, technicially, if you are going to be taking a break, even an unpaid one, Christmas is probably a fairly good time to have some home-time.

And independence:  Then my van died.  Well, that is not entirely true… the motor starts and runs just fine.  It initially just didn’t go in reverse so was stuck in my driveway.  The transmission was clearly kaput.  And Christmas is such a lovely time to have a big repair bill don’t you think?  Initially I had sort of decided it was not of any urgency… I mean, on first glance a car didn’t seem that critical… I could walk to work when it starts again, and I live downtown.  Unfortunately that line of thinking neglected to take into consideration the amount of driving I do with and for my children, and the fact that sometimes groceries weight alot, and my parents live a 45 minute drive away, and a whole lot of other things that have basically meant my independence has gone completely out the window.  Relying on someone to drive me around truly stinks.  I need a vehicle.  So the mission began to get my beater fixed.  And the following briefly outlines the comedy of errors that has transpired in the attempt to get me back in the driver’s seat:

  • December 22nd, Husband sourced a used transmission from the salvage yard, and found a guy who could put it in the van, and can do so before Christmas.
  • Salvage yard calls the next day and says they made a mistake and don’t actually have a transmission.  They have sourced one in another province that will cost extra to get here the next day.  If it isn’t here the next day, there will be no hope of getting van for Christmas.  We opt to get the transmission from the other province, and the installer says he can still work within the timeline to get us our van by Christmas.
  • We get a neighbour to help us get the van out of the driveway, but then the van decides it won’t go in drive either.  As it is now December 23rd, we can’t get a tow truck until first thing the following morning.
  • The next morning the tow truck comes and gets the van and delivers it to the installer.  At the end of his very long lane.  The van that doesn’t go forward or backward.  Installer calls to say it took him too long to get the van to the shop, so now the van will be ready after Christmas.
  • December 27th the installer calls to say the transmission they sent does NOT fit the van.  Really.  But he’ll call the salvage company first thing in the morning and ensure the exchange for the correct transmission happens as soon as possible.
  • Installer calls the salvage company, who apparently have ordered the right part after all, but the wrong part was sent by the yard in the other province.  And that yard wasn’t open until December 29th.  I will now have my van by New Years.  Maybe.  At this point I’ve stopped counting on it and find myself wondering what the next road block will be.

And Christmas:  Santa was wonderful this year and brought both of my girls one of their wishes as their big gift.  Rainbow got a violin.  And Dolittle got a digital camera.  Theoretically.  So Christmas morning rolls around and they awake at the unthinkable hour of 3:15am VERY excited that Santa had been  here.  Packages were stacked in a neat line, two by two.  First the socks were emptied and opened and anticipation grew.  The line of presents was next.  Rainbow was clearly delighted that her #1 item (the violin) was here, even asking if it would still be here when she wakes up tomorrow.  Then Dolittle rips the paper from hers.  A digital camera kit… case, camera, memory card… all together in a big lovely box.  Delighted, she asked her Daddy to help her get set up.  She carried the box over and they start to open it… and… it’s empty.  There is no camera in the box.  Essentially, Santa brought my baby an empty box for Christmas.  That may well be worse than a lump of coal, I think.  I looked at her dear little face trying to be all positive in the face of what was clearly bitter disappointment, and I just wanted to be sick.  And this was Friday with no stores open in the province until Monday.

So for days she’s asking when she’s getting her camera, and I’m wondering are they even going to believe me when I go into the store with an empty box and ask for money back???  I sent Husband over first thing Monday morning, and the answer is, yes, they did believe us.  BUT, according to the snarky customer service lady, Santa apparently bought this kit in November and if Santa had wanted money back he should have bought it in December… AND as there are no longer any cameras in stock Santa will just have to use a store credit to pick something else out in the store.  Husband came home and handed me the store credit.   Apparently he needs to learn how to be a bit more assertive in the face of snark.  I got on the phone, asked for the manager, and explained how this could not possibly resolve Santa’s issue with replacing the camera as they had none.  Santa would obviously need the money back so that he could shop elsewhere.  And the Manager told me he would authorize the refund, to come back in, and he would call Ms. Snark and ensure she was aware of the arrangement.

So I got the money back, went somewhere else, and we got Dolittle a cell phone instead.  (While not exactly what I discussed with Store#1, it does take pictures so was really just a stretch of the truth).  Dolittle is delighted beyond belief, and Santa’s cash on hand went toward violin lessons for Rainbow.  So finally, on Monday, it was like Christmas got tied up with a nice little bow.

Are you still with me?  How was YOUR holiday?


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