Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

It’s Thursday.  Which means that technically, it’s my Friday.  Which means that technically, it’s my favourite day of the week.  Woo hoo!!  Let the weekend BEGIN!

But first…some randomish Thursday thoughts…

  • My boy band du jour is One Direction.  OK, so I guess they are everyone’s boy band du jour.  But really, I adore OneD.  I don’t even know their names (as evidenced by Jimmy Fallon playing this game the other night on his show – Jimmy knew ‘em all, I was done after Harry) – but I downloaded their latest album “Four” last week, and it’s soooo goooood.  PS – I may never grow up.

one-direction-23a

  • Speaking of boy bands… you know, I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘em.  But one boy band that I never got into was The Jonas Brothers.  I couldn’t tell you one song of theirs.  I knew they were crazy-popular for a while, but they just weren’t on my radar at all.  Didn’t even think they were handsome. So, it was a bit of a surprise to me when Nick Jonas cropped up with his solo career, lookin’ all sexy-shmexy, and hooked me with “Jealous”.  That’s my jam.  I especially loved the performance he did with the contestants on The Voice last year, what he calls the “Gospel” version. LOVE!

  • There hasn’t been a whole lot good going on for Sens fans this season.  To be honest, I’ve been so disenchanted by my team since Alfie left that I don’t even watch them all that often anymore.  They’re still my team, but my enthusiasm for them is lacklustre at best.  But you know what can brighten any cold January day?  Beating the Leafs.  It doesn’t happen often, so I love when it does!

james-reimer-jean-gabriel-pageau-nhl-toronto-maple-leafs-ottawa-senators-850x560

  • Our church’s Soup & Sandwich lunch is starting up again for the winter months, with the first one being held next Wednesday.  I signed up to make Potato Leek soup, which means I get to do one of my absolute favourite things some time this weekend, and that’s make soup!  The sad part about making soup for Soup & Sandwich is that I don’t get to dive into it right away… that’s hard for me to do.

Potato-Leek-Soup

  • I’m now on DAY 3 of healthy eating, feeling much better, but knowing I still have a long way to go to get back to pre-Christmas weight.  Some days, the struggle is exhausting.  I’m currently going through the “My life is no fair” stage, where I lament the fact that even though I work out five days a week, I still have to be SO SO careful with what I eat or it’s all for naught.  I’m gazing longingly back at those blissful weeks over the holidays when I ate whatever I wanted.  I know I’ll get past this stage, but right now… I’m hating how it is for me and food.
  • Oh, hallelujah, I FINALLY FINISHED THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST!!  Only took me  a year or so. I can finally shelve it and move on with my life!!!  Next up is another book club selection, Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”.  I’m only a few chapters in, and I’m already enjoying it.  It’s different, but in a good way.

missp_NYTcover#1_300dpi

OK, so I really don’t have a whole lot going on these days.  Which I’m kind of  enjoying.  January might feel like it lasts forever, but I like the slower pace and the hibernating.  I’m already looking forward to another weekend of it. ;)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blue Tuesday, Better Wednesday

I saw on Twitter on Monday that it was considered to be the most depressing day of the year.  Blue Monday, they called it.  A combination of fading holiday warm-n-fuzzies, failed New Year’s resolutions, and super-cold weather all gang up on the poor people of the world and aim to make us sad.

I have to admit, I didn’t really fall victim to Blue Monday.  I didn’t get that dreamy snow day I had been planning on (mainly because it DIDN’T SNOW dammit), but it wasn’t a bad day.  I was off, of course, so I got to sleep in a little, got lots of reading done, watched that blast from the past “Three Men & A Baby” (and loved it just as much!), made a giant pot of spaghetti sauce and invited my ma over for supper… It just wasn’t a “Blue Monday” for me.  Not in the least.

But then Tuesday came.  The day started off with me realizing my “fat” pants are too tight on me now.  Just lovely.  After getting ready for work, I stopped in to have breakfast with my mom, as usual; however, our conversation seemed to circle around sad topics, which left me wondering why the hell I’d even bothered putting on make-up that morning.  I mean, I even cried over the death of my aunt & uncle’s dog. (RIP Rocky…) 

When I checked my calendar after arriving at work, it dawned on me that it was the anniversary of a friend’s passing, and from then on, I just chalked ‘er all up to just a sad day in general.  I felt extra-sensitive at work, like I was on the verge of tears, and had a hard time controlling it all.  Then I had a small altercation with a co-worker in the afternoon that bothered me more than it should have.  I was so done with this day.

I went for a brisk and frigid walk when I got home to blow off some steam, and then settled in for a quiet evening. I ate a healthy supper (because yesterday was DAY 1 of trying to get back on track – AGAIN), worked on my puzzle, read for a bit, and then fell asleep on the couch watching TV.  Big mistake, because when I finally moved up to bed around 10:30, I could NOT for the LIFE of me fall asleep.  I tossed and turned and read some more and who knows when I finally drifted off… I usually fall asleep fast and hard, so I was NOT impressed.

Blue Tuesday.  It was one for the books.

I’m not one to wallow in self-pity for long though, thank goodness.  My first thought when I woke up this morning was “It’s a new day”, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I actually woke feeling better than I anticipated, considering the tossing and turning and sleeplessness during the night, and I dragged my butt from my warm cocoon earlier than I have in a long time.  I also noted that physically I felt better than I have in weeks.  I didn’t feel bloated and sore and creaky.  I’ll chalk that up to a good solid day of healthy eating & some exercise.  I even took the time to straighten my hair, which has pretty much been a non-existent activity since Christmas.  Because it just takes so much more effort.

This morning, I felt like I need to make that extra effort.  To make myself feel good.  To feel better.  I stepped out into the extremely cold morning, and instead of grumbling about it, I felt grateful for the bright sunshine and beautiful glittering snow.  I walked away from Blue Tuesday and vowed to not let it creep back into my day again.

I guess the point in all this is… Bad days happen.  We all go through slumps. Get ourselves into ruts.  We can do our best to try and fight it, but sometimes, the bad days get the best of us.   And that’s OK.

Because each day is a clean slate.  A fresh start.  A new bright and shiny morning.  A chance to kick that Blue Tuesday to the curb and get back at it again.

I’m ever so thankful for that.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Let’s Hibernate

It’s that time of year.  The time of year when I just want to sink deep down inside my cocoon.  Surround myself with warmth and cozy-ness.  It’s the time of year when every inch of me just wants to hibernate.

I’m trying hard to fight it this year.  I’ve been planning outings and activities and trying to keep myself from shrinking within the confines of my home for the next three months.  If I don’t force myself outside of my cave, I find that when the spring finally rolls around, I almost resent it.  I enjoy these quiet, cozy winter months more than the average bear.  I like the slower pace.  I like the extra “me time”. 

So yes, I have been making myself get out of the house.  But still, I relish the thought of hunkering down for a few days and just… hibernating.  And if the long-range weather report is to be believed, it looks like I’m going to have a nice little snow storm to hunker down in coming up on Monday.

That delights me.  Way more than it should.

So if Monday does indeed turn into a “snow day”, what would I like to be doing?

  • For one thing, I wouldn’t be rushing to get out of bed.  I hate waking to an alarm, but usually I keep it set, even on my days off, so that I don’t get used to lazing around in bed.  Makes it easier to get up on the days that I DO have to.  I might just cancel that alarm for Monday, though…
  • Having an extra cup of coffee.  “One cup a day” is my rule, except for Sundays (I have one before church, and one after when we go out for brunch).  I will for-go that rule on a snow day, though.

coffee snowy

  • Watching Retro Toons!  Not for long, but the kid at heart inside of me still enjoys starting off the morning with some cartoons.  I love the Teletoon Retro channel, because it allows me to watch many of the ones I grew up loving.

Teletoon-Retros-classic-toons-sets-subscriber-record

  • I’m not a “stay in the jammies all day” kind of girl.  Never have been, never will be.  So by mid-morning at the latest, I’ll be ready to get showered and dressed.  However, I can guarantee that I’ll be dressing cozy!  Leggings or yoga pants, oversized comfy sweater, fuzzy socks… perfect lounging attire!
  • I’ll be eating comfort food.  When I was a kid, my absolute favourite lunch was macaroni, tomato soup, and cheez whiz.  I don’t make it very often anymore, but for some reason, I do associate it with cold and snow.  I might just whip some up for lunch on Monday! (don’t worry, I’ll make sure I have my Shakeology for breakfast!)
  • Working on a puzzle.  It’s become one of my favourite winter pastimes in recent years.  I love to start a puzzle after Christmas, then leisurely work on it during the winter months.  The one I started this year hasn’t gotten very far, but I look forward to having downtime to work on it.

jigsaw_puzzle-1

  • Putting on a pot of soup or chili or pasta sauce… I haven’t quite decided which yet, but I’ll be picking up groceries tomorrow and that will dictate which I end up making.  There’s just something about being holed up inside while the snow falls, and having the delicious smell of something simmering on the stove… it totally adds to the atmosphere.

sauce

  • Watching movies.  For whatever reason, this is the time of year that I yearn to watch “old school movies”.  And I have a list of favourites that I could potentially watch.  #1 on my list, though, is Three Men and a Baby, which is new to my collection and I can’t wait to watch it.  It’s been a long time!

three men and a baby

  • Making popcorn and hot chocolate.  They just go hand-in-hand with a cozy day inside watching movies.

popcorn and hot chocoalte

  • Oh, I can’t just spend a whole day bumming around, can I?  I’ll do laundry.  Monday is always laundry day.  Come hell or high water.  Or snow.
  • Maybe bake something? I’m trying to get my ass back on track (pretty unsuccessfully so far, though), so this might be one thing that I don’t do, but it is the time of year when I want to make bread or muffins or cookies.  We’ll see… Maybe I can finally teach myself to keep a few for myself and give the rest away. (ha!  yeah right!)
  • Reading.  I’m on a literary mission, and that is to finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  I started reading it over a year ago, after enjoying the first two novels in the trilogy, but just couldn’t seem to get into this one.  I ended up abandoning it about half-way through, but I very rarely walk away from a book, even if I’m not liking it.  I feel like I have to get through it.  And I have promised myself that I’m not picking up another book until I finish this one, at long last.

the girl who kicked the hornets nest

  • Staring out the window.  It’s no secret that I love snow.  So if the white flakes are falling, you’ll find me peering through the blinds at any given time, mesmerized by their beauty and soaking up a winter wonderland scene.

watching the snow fall

I’m an expert hibernator. I can’t wait!  Let it SNOW!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday Loves!

Happy Hump Day, pals!

It’s still cold.  Like, really really cold.  Which I sorta don’t mind, as long as I don’t have to go out in it.  Unfortunately, there’s this little thing called work, and thus I’m forced out the door into these frigid temps.  (I know, only 3 days a week for me this time of year, so I can’t complain!  I can hear you, Stace! LOL)

Anyways… between the cold, and going through a bit of a January slump (the post-holiday let-down is trying to get me) – I decided to cheer myself up this morning by thinking of the things I’m loving right now.  Here we go!

  • I’m currently loving unflavoured coffee, with just a splash of milk.  This is a new thing for me.  I mean, I’ve loved coffee for a long time, but I’ve always been the flavoured coffee lover.  Any new flavour that came along, I wanted to try, and considered my favourites anything with Hazlenut or French Vanilla.  I let go of sugar and sweeteners last year, but the fact that I now just want a good strong cup of plain ol’ coffee is weird.  But that’s what I’m loving.  Specifically, the McDonalds k-cups.

coffee

  • In keeping with hot beverages… I’m also loving sipping on a giant mug of hot chocolate, either in the afternoon at my desk, or in the evenings while watching TV.  (sometimes both!)

hot chocolate

  • I’m loving my new thermal socks.  Yes, these days, I’m all about keeping warm, and my new thermal socks are helping big time!  They are so thick and cozy.  Like walking on pillows.

thermal socks

  • I LOVE the book I’m reading!  It’s our next book club selection, Emily Giffin’s new one, “The One & Only”, which my brother-in-law gave to me for Christmas.  I started reading it late last week and I’m almost done it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime because I can’t stop reading, but this book is doing that to me.  “Just one more chapter…”

the one and only

  • I totally love my new chocolate-brown, warm, luxurious throw from Chapters that my Aunt Marion gave me for Christmas.  It goes perfectly with the new decor in my room, and I’ve been enjoying wrapping up in it at night while I read in bed.

throw

  • You know who I adore?  Penelope Garcia.  OK, so we all know that I’ve been watching too much Criminal Minds lately, but I’ve decided I want to be more like Garcia.  (and if that’s the main thing that has rubbed off on me from watching too much Criminal Minds, then we should all be grateful.) Not only do I want to be more efficient and on the ball like she is, but also just more… colourful and happy!  I want to go buy colourful pens and sticky notes and note pads and stickers and spruce up my workspace to make it a more cheerful and fun place to sit all day.  And I want to start painting my nails funky colours and wearing fun earrings regularly again.  I just want to be bright & shiny, like her!

CRIMINAL MINDS

  • I love my GT jeggings.  I bought them last Friday, and I wore them all weekend.  The LOOK of jeans, with the COMFORT of leggings.  The creator of jeggings is a genius.  And I don’t care if they were $12 jeggings from GT.  I love them.

jeggings

  • As I’ve been making my way through Season 7 of The Big Bang Theory, I’ve been reminded of just how much I love Sheldon.  One of my stranger loves, yes, but I do.  I love Sheldon.

sheldon

  • I LOVE planning what I want to make in the kitchen on my Mondays & Fridays off!  I haven’t really had a chance to get at it yet, but I have visions of giant pots of soup and chili and spaghetti sauce and homemade bread… YUM!!
  • Ed Sheeran.  Oh, how I love Ed Sheeran.  And I know I’ve already talked about it recently, but this song?  I could listen to it over and over.  It totally makes my day.

So… what are YOU loving this Wednesday? :)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Everybody, let’s ROCK!

Some randomish thoughts for this frigid Thursday morn…

  • I’m sitting here at my desk listening to Elvis singing “Jailhouse Rock”.  Today, The King would have been 80 years old.  I’m celebrating by listening to the Essential Elvis playlist on my Spotify web player.  And I might watch one of my Elvis movies tonight in his honour.

  • Spotify = my favourite discovery of the week.  I’ve heard other bloggers talking about it forever, but never bothered looking into it. Until now. It’s been a quiet, lonely week in the office for me, but that allows me to turn on my computer speakers and work with music playing.  Spotify has been my saving grace.
  • Especially today. Elvis Day.

elvis 80

  • Do you have a favourite Elvis movie?  Mine has always been Blue Hawaii – my mom introduced it to me at a young age, and it just never gets old for me.  It is the main reason I want to visit Hawaii someday.  (Would I be so lucky as to have a tour guide as handsome as Chad Gates?!?)  However, Mom and I watched it over the holidays, so I’ll likely select a different one from my collection to watch tonight – or perhaps one of his concert specials.

blue hawaii

  • If I DO watch an Elvis flick tonight, it would be a departure from the norm for me as of late.  Remember last Christmas, when I got hooked on a Criminal Minds marathon that Bravo was showing?  Well, of course I couldn’t watch them all, but I PVR’d the ones I didn’t get to see – literally hours and hours of Criminal Minds - and I’ve been slowly working my way through them during and since this past holiday season.  It’s amazing how addicted I can get to a show.  If I didn’t watch any CM tonight, it would be the first time I hadn’t since Dec. 27th.

criminal minds

  • Ah, Dec. 27th.  That was the day I came down with a cold.  A cold that I fought hard, but eventually succumbed to.  It wasn’t a terrible cold that kept me down much – all in the head, lots of sinus congestion and pain, but otherwise felt fine – however, it has definitely been the worst cold I’ve had in over 2 years.  I was starting to think I was immune to sickness.  Apparently not.  It’s still clinging to me, over 2 weeks later.
  • Do you guys know what the worst part about the holidays was?  No Jimmy.  Jimmy Fallon went on holidays, too, of course, and I missed him dearly.  It’s been so good to have him back this week.  And this segment with Nicole Kidman might be one of my favourites ever.  He is just so darn cute!

  • Oh, and the other worst part about the holidays?  Over-eating.  I know, I know.  When will Jill ever LEARN?!  But my God, the holiday treats are soooo gooood. I packed on a good 10 lbs at least (I have not weighed myself in weeks, I can just tell by how my clothes are fitting.  And the fact that I ripped the ass out of my PJ pants on Monday.)
  • I was supposed to get back on track this week, but it’s been difficult.  I keep getting tempted by the lingering remnants of holiday delicacies… I’m contemplating doing a 7-Day Cleanse Diet next week (the one that goes with that old cabbage soup recipe) – I need to do a “re-set” and get myself back in the zone again.  Once I’m in the zone, I know I’ll be fine, but I have to get there first…
  • Have I mentioned how frickin’ cold it is here these days?  SO.COLD.  I love Winter – really, I do – but I’m good with normal cold.  Like, –10 would suffice.  It was –40 this morning with the windchill.  TOO.COLD.  So cold that my garage door opener wouldn’t work and I had to yank the door open manually.  ugh.  #firstworldproblems
  • One last thing before I close – I know today is Elvis Day, but I can’t get enough of Ed Sheeran’s new song, “Thinking Out Loud”.  I could listen to it over and over.  Definitely my current favourite song!

Happy Thursday, gang!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Holiday Post

Happy 2015, Pals!

OK, so I guess the fact that it’s a new year is kind of old news by now.  But we all know it takes me a little while to get back into the swing of things.  I can’t start blogging in the New Year without a little holiday recap, though, so here it is!

Christmas was wonderful (even though it ended up being GREEN! ugh!!)  Christmas Eve was a little quieter than we were used to, what with a change in traditions for our family, but I was still surrounded by loved ones, still sang “Silent Night” by candlelight at church with magic and anticipation swirling all around me, still ate bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (I love you, Donna K!!) amongst other wonderful treats, and it was all good.  It was more than good.  It was… Christmas.

Chistmas 2014.1

Danica & Kara in their Christmas Eve finest!

Christmas 2014.2

My three favourites – Danica, Caden & Neve (next Christmas, there will be FOUR in this picture!!  So excited!!)

Christmas morning was full of excitement, as Caden and Danica rolled out of their beds shortly after 7 AM, and giddy Auntie Jilly was already up and waiting on the couch for them!  The magic of Santa is still alive and well for these two… It was so much fun to see how excited & surprised they were by the pile of gifts beneath the tree.  We STILL can’t figure out how the big lad gets this done, with me sleeping on the couch only a few feet away – and I never hear him!!

Christmas 2014.3

 

Christmas 2014.4

A Christmas morning PJ selfie!

Christmas 2014.5

Caden & Danica with the gifts I gave them – he got the board game Labyrinth, and she got an Olaf cuddle pillow :)  (Olaf was a regular fixture at Dan’s side over the holidays.  When they slept over at my house, I gave them cheesies, and then told her Olaf should sit somewhere else.  She gave a big sigh and said, “Nobody ever lets me eat with Olaf.”)

Christmas 2014.6

Dan and her new puppy, who she does not want to put batteries in. Go figure.

After a delicious breakfast of sticky buns and gift opening, Kara, Chris and the kids went to the Provosts’, while Mom and I tidied up from the Christmas morning storm, then relaxed for a bit.  We headed to the Provosts’ as well closer to dinner time, and we were so thankful to them for opening their doors and inviting us to join them.  We had a wonderful time, and returned home stuffed and ready for bed!

On Boxing Day, Luke, Amanda, and Neve joined us at Mom’s again, and of course there were MORE gifts, and another fabulous turkey dinner!

Christmas 2014.7

I love Nevie’s expression of pure wonder and joy in this photo.  For the record, she doesn’t even know what she just pulled out of her stocking.  Daddy said, “I think it’s candy.”  Jilly said, “It’s stuff to turn the bath water colours.  Please don’t feed them to her.”

Christmas 2014.8

The Boys

Christmas 2014.9

 

Christmas 2014.10

Another favourite – I took about 20 selfies with Neve and she wouldn’t look at the camera.  She’d say cheese, but then I’d glance at the pic and see she wasn’t looking.  It wasn’t until closer inspection that I realized she was admiring my earrings. lol!

Christmas 2014.11

The Boxing Day Mini Light Mission:  Luke discovered on Christmas Eve that half of Mom’s lights on her tree weren’t working (how the rest of us never noticed, I do not know.)  They were brand new, so she was not impressed.  On Boxing Day, Luke & Chris were determined to find the faulty bulb, and spent forever checking each of them.  They never did find it, either.

Christmas 2014.12

Another Christmas tradition:  Riced potatoes!  Mom always tries to talk me out of it - “We can just mash them, can’t we?”  Um… NO.  Get out the damn ricer!!!  (I thought everyone knew about riced potatioes, but this photo sparked interest on FB – some people had never heard of riced potatoes, others declared their love for them, and it even inspired on of my FB friends to dig out her ricer for the first time and try them.  Have you ever had riced potatoes?!)

Christmas 2014.13

Post-turkey – Chris, Kara, Neve, and Danica

Christmas 2014.14

The beautiful, glowing momma-to-be Amanda… and Luke

Christmas 2014.15

^ This is what happens when you ask a six-year-old to take your picture…

Christmas 2014.16

It just isn’t Christmas without a few Cracker Crowns!

Pure Christmas magic, I tell you.  Pure Christmas magic.

The holidays were full of wonderful moments.  My Secret Santa this year was my brother-in-law Chris, and a terrific Secret Santa he was – I received The Big Bang Theory Season 7 on DVD, the new Emily Giffin novel “The One & Only”, a food processor, and a new travel mug – as well as a stocking stuffed with essentials and treats (plus lots and lots of deodorant… apparently I stink.)  My mom gifted each of us a homemade afghan, though mine is still “a work in progress” – but I absolutely love it and can’t wait to be able to bring it home!  I also received a lovely bottle of perfume from the kids.  And Caden once again charmed us with his thoughtfulness, as he made each of us a bracelet with his Rainbow Loom.  (I think Danica’s reaction to finding one in her stocking was the best.  Apparently she knew what he’d been working on, and he told her she wasn’t getting one.  When she found hers, her mouth dropped open.  “Caden!  You DID make me one!!”)

I had the kids for a sleepover one night, and we went to see Annie at the theater.  Mom and I also took them skating, since friends of ours had rented the ice for an hour and invited us to come.  On New Year’s Eve, we once again enjoyed a spread of yummy snacks while we rang in 2015 and celebrated my sister’s birthday.  New Year’s Day was more celebrating, with one of my favourite meals: Tourtiere, ham, hashbrown casserole, homemade baked beans, coleslaw, and buns… mmmmm!!!  Instead of birthday cake, Mom made Kara a Black Forest Trifle (or “rifle”, as Caden called it), and it was delicious too.

I so enjoyed the sleeping in, and the treats and chocolates, the naps, the movies, the binge-watching TV (yes, Criminal Minds, again)…

And now, it’s 2015.

Of course, my return to work yesterday coincided with our first deep-freeze of the winter, and there’s even an Extreme Cold Warning today.  Brrrrr.  But at least it snowed again on the weekend, so things are pretty again.

Cheers, everyone! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Dudes.  It’s here.  It’s finally here!!!

Christmas Eve.  My favourite day of the year. 

As I sit here at my desk, I’m sipping a mug of coffee with some Amaretto Cream (a little gift from a little elf named Rolly!), and I might already be a teensy-bit drunk.  (Remember – I gave up booze for the most part two years ago, and I honestly haven’t had a drink since our Canada Day Committee wrap party back in August…)

I have cheer in my cheeks and, despite the rainy, gloomy weather outside (yes, one of my worst Christmas fears is actually happening – RAIN for CHRISTMAS – blech!) – my heart is full of joy and excitement.  I can’t wait for the shenanigans to begin.  Delicious food, glasses of bubbly, children hopped up on Santa anticipation, singing Silent Night at church, watching the kids open presents… I love every single second of it.

And it’s finally almost time…

Christmas-thought-000-Page-1 (1)

Wishing each & every one of you the merriest of Christmases.  I hope you are surrounded by family, friends, good health & good times! Looking forward to all that the New Year will bring!

See you all in 2015!! XO