Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As many of you know, I have lived with depression for many years. I know some of you are shaking your heads and thinking, "but she is always so upbeat" but it is true that I deal with this demon on a daily basis.
I think that a lot of people, whether they have a diagnosed depression, or not, find the holidays a wee bit of a downer. The past couple of days I have had my moments too when I found myself really in a gray mood, when I've been so close to tears that I could feel them. I'm fortunate that both my husband and I recognize the "signs" and we both do our part to ward it off. Last night's therapy was to grab some takeout pizza and drive around for a short time looking at Christmas lights. Worked like a charm as did the walk I took around our block when I got home.
Okay, so here is my opinion on why some of us feel "let down" by Christmas. I think we all have these preconceived notions that the holidays are a time for "peace and goodwill towards all mankind". While this is a great concept, I think it is a bunch of phooey. If you have problems in your family dimension throughout the year, they are not going to magically disappear over the holidays. My cousin's daughter is married to a pompous jerk (see, I tell it as it is!) and I know there is going to come a time during over the holidays that I'm going to feel like sticking the roasting fork in his eye but then again, I feel like that all the time towards him! Ha! I am NOT going to expect anything different from him or expect to feel any different towards him because I've learned the hard way.
Ditto for mother-in-law!! We all live in the same small town and yet we never see them because of how they have made me feel over the years. My beloved mother-in-law has a tongue like a knife and has cut me so many times with it. The Christmas Eve we got engaged, John wanted to tell his parents (like you would) so off we went. My FIL gave me a big hug and said he was happy for both of us and his mother took one look at my engagement ring and said "that won't look so pretty on your hands when your hands are chapped from scrubbing toilets". Yep, so needless to say I'm not having any expectations about having warm and fuzzy feelings about her this Christmas!
So, now you are all thinking that I'm a cold-hearted person but I'm really not. I have just learned not to have too high expectations that the holidays will magically erase any awkwardness in my extended family. Mom is going to come up to my house on Christmas Eve, spend about one hour in our company and they go to bed with a box of chocolates. Then the next morning she is going to have a massive headache and beg to be taken back to the home where she lives! It is actually quite funny if you look at all from a certain vantage point.
Please don't think any less of me for my honesty! I'm just telling you like I see it. Depression is normal around the holidays even for people that normally aren't affected by it. But is it any wonder? Allow yourself to lower your expectations and I think you will discover a part of the secret to inner peace!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Here at the college where I work we are in the midst of our Secret Santa week. Everyone is welcome to participate and we are to buy four gifts that cost between $2-3 and one final gift that costs around $20. (On a side note, we used to do this in university back in the 1980's and the four gifts were to cost no more than $1 each....how times have changed).
I enjoy this week for many reasons. The shopping is a lot of fun because everybody sort of competes to see who can be the most creative with their limited money. You'd be surprised at some of the things you can find! Then there this is the "gift delivery" as nobody wants to be caught in the act. We've had elaborate schemes over the years that have involved clues hidden throughout the building, students acting as delivery people, etc.
The fun, in my humble opinion, is way more important than the actual gift-giving and receiving. Case in point: yesterday our rather uptight librarian received some children's party favours yesterday and his note said he had to be seen in the library playing with them. You talk about funny! Here he was with one of those exploding sphincters that shoots out streams of paper and he was acting like a kid! He absolutely loved it and I loved it because I got a chance to laugh (like I need an excuse!!!!) as did all of the students! I've never seen him enjoy himself more and I've worked with him for almost 20 years...so it was great!
Okay, now on to the second part of my blog. I decided to tell you about the best gifts I've received and given over the past years.
1. My engagement ring from my husband on Christmas Eve in 1998...or was it 1997? oops!
2. A hammer my now husband gave me back in 1994. Yes, he gave me a hammer and I was really upset about it until I heard the reason why. He had just bought an very old fixer-upper house and he said it was his way of telling me he wanted me to share my life with him. I always retell this story around Christmas and most women say, "and you believed that stupid story?". I did believe him and still do because that is just the way he is.
3. The whole WillowTree nativity set that my father bought for me his last Christmas alive. He said he wanted me to put it up every Christmas and think of him. I put it up a few nights ago and shed a few tears in his memory but then became thankful for having nothing but beautiful memories! As it turns out my father-in-law built me the most beautiful creche that Christmas and so I have both of my "fathers" in mind when I look at it.
4. My last Christmas with Peaches. She was still ripping open presents and even got herself stuck in a gift bag! She was always so nosey and just loved bags of any sort. We managed to get a video clip of her walking across the floor stuck in the bag and all you could see was her tail!!!
5. A DVD my dear cousin did for all of us in which she had random pictures of all of us set to Christmas music. One of my favourites is a picture of my father (taken in Saskatchewan). He was on board the Via rail train and is waving to me and I was just outside for some fresh air. It looks like he is saying farewell and I just bawl like a baby when I see it. But then, later on I laugh because there are some mighty funny pictures put on the DVD as well.
As for my favourite gifts...I'm not really creative but I do have one particular gift that I gave that means to most to me:
A few years ago, when my grandmother was 96 and still living in her own apartment, my cousin and I spent hours with her going through recipe books. Nan was quite the baker in her life and we all have wonderful memories of large family gatherings where there was more food then their were mouths to feed. We didn't really tell her what we were up to but we gathered them all and got contributions from other family members and made up a 100 page family recipe cookbook! We had them sent to various family members (including my brother in Australia) with the instructions that nobody was supposed to open it until the same time on Christmas Day. We had also sent along teabags (such a Newfoundland thing to do) and we all sat back at 9:30 a.m. and shared a cuppa with each other even though we were all miles apart. We were were overwhelmed with the thanks we received for doing it and everybody treasures the memories the cookbook brought back!
Anyway, thank you for reading! Any good stories about Christmas out there? I love the responses I get when I ask questions!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Happy Morning to you all and I'm certainly happy this mornng as I've officially lost 20 pounds as of today. I know this should be making a big difference in my clothes but to tell you the truth it isn't. I think I've become accustomed to wearing my clothes loose that anything smaller makes me feel like they are too tight.
I know many of us have the same issue with clothes but I have to share my bra shopping story. I really needed some new bras so off I went. I have always (or since I gained weight) taken a 42C. I've noticed the cups were getting a bit big but figured they were stretched. Anyway, I tried on a 44B and it fit better in the cups. But then, I wanted a "pretty" bra and ended up with a 44C. Therefore I've decided that sizes are just numbers that somebody out there picks and doesn't realize the emotional attachment most women have to them!
On a funnier note, I did try on several pairs of dress pants as I am in desperate need. Size 18 is too big and size 16 is too tight in the waist. Talk about muffin top! It wasn't pretty. I did buy a skirt (size 14) which I immediately "think" is too small. I tried it on yesterday and thought I looked okay but then I checked the size and as soon as I saw "14" I immediately said to myself, oh, that's too small. Funny how your mind works, isn't it? Aarrgghh!
It is simply beautiful out this morning, here on the "rock" . It was -10 when I left for work and the sun is out so it is a gorgeous day to be out for a walk. Yesterday, we took our "mutts" for their usual romp and they saw another couple of people walking on "their" trail. They rushed up to them with tails wagging and Lou grabbed a stick to tease them with. The next thing you know, Lou whacks Maddy in the head and Maddy falls to the ground. We honestly thought he had a concussion! Oh, the trials and tribulations of having two dogs!
Okay, I've blogged enough nonsense for today! Have a great one!
P.S. Maddy is none the worse for his ordeal.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Well, I certainly have great Sparkfriends if the admissions of "dorky" moments are anything to go by. I've decided to continue on with some hiliarious moments in my life because all of your stories made me split my sides from laughing......let's see....where to begin.....
1. I once received a phone call from a woman who was inquiring whether or not I would consider volunteering for the local literacy society. I honestly thought it was my grandmother who was always carrying on over the phone. The woman's voice was so high and squeaky that I burst out laughing and said, "Okay, Nan, I know it is you. You can take your fingers OUT of your nose now and talk normally". I don't know what possessed me to say fingers out of her nose instead of off her nose (I thought she was pinching her nose with her fingers) but I apologized as much as I could, but really what could I say?! Nan and I still laugh at that one.
2. I once left McDonalds with a guy I was trying to impress. It was bitterly cold and so when I went to put my key in the lock it wouldn't work. Thinking it was frozen I went back into McDonalds and asked if anybody had a lighter which would de-ice the lock. We were in the midst of doing that when I happened to notice my car several spaces over in the parking lot.
3. The next story doesn't involve me but rather my older brother who is super intelligent. He was just after receiving his PhD and was attending a world conference of people in his field. This was the same time the Australian Steve Irvin was killed by a stingray barb. Since Gary lives in Australia, this was really big news and the leader of the conference actually stepped to the mic to announce it. There was complete silence in the room and when Gary blurts out, "leave it to the media, the poor man has just been killed and they've named the stingray Barb"! Luckily for my brother everybody thought he was joking and applauded his humour!
4. A few months ago (since I started Spark) I was at my local Tim Hortons and our friend's little boy wanted an apple fritter. So I was trying to keep everything straight and when I got to his i actually said, "and my little friend here wants an apple frigger". I laughed and laughed and laughed even more especially when the clerk didn't so much as crack a grin.
5. How about the time I flew back from Australia? I was travelling by myself and I had only been in Toronto's Terminal 3 one time before. Keep in my that I'm from a really small place and that the nearest airport is about 100 km away. That airport is so small it might have two departure gates! Being used to such a small airport, I assumed I would see the crowds getting ready to board but I somehow got it all mixed up. I ended up falling to sleep in the airport and nearly missed my secong flight! I don't think the flight crew were very impressed!
6. Okay, my last dork story that I'm sharing tonight took place at our vet clinic. I had brought Peaches in because I noticed a few sore spots in her fur. She was quite elderly and our vet is a real sport so she asked me where the sores were. I pointed them out and they were all looked at carefully. Then I piped up, "oh, there is one more" to which Leslie said "okay, it is probably nothing but let's look at that one too." She asked me where it was and I said "on her fluffy"! I thought the whole clinic was going to die from laughing...I mean who but me would call a dog's privates "her fluffy".
7. Changed my mind....here is the final one. My very first job was at a very outdated pharmacy. I was 16 and as naive as they come. One night the pharmacist left for supper and said if anybody needed something other than a prescription that I could go behind the pharmacist's bench and serve them. Didn't a young fellow come in and asked me where the condoms were. I told them they were behind the pharmacist's counter and that he could follow me there. I think my face was growing redder and redder but it darned near exploded when I asked, "well, what size were you looking for" The young fellow was kind of cocky (no pun intended and said, "extra-large of course". I was clearly humilated and added to it when I blurted out, "no, I meant what size box" (meaning package size) and he burst out laughing at me! Everybody I tell that story to just about dies from laughing. Remember this was back in the mid 1980's and I was pretty naive.
Oh dear, I hope I've made some of you crack a smile! Have a great night!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Happy Friday to you all!
As I write this it is nearing dusk on Friday afternoon. John and I have been for our walk with the dogs and I managed to "shuffle/jog" for 8 lots of 100 steps. I am really hoping that this will help me along with the strength training I've started. It was a bit cool today. -3 degrees c with a light wind but at least the sun was out. When I returned home my face and hair were almost the same colour red!
Maddy and Lou really enjoyed the fresh air and today they met up with a friend of ours who was walking their Rhodesian Ridgeback named Blaze. The bigger dogs really enjoyed chasing each other and Maddy loved chasing them but not so much when they turned and chased him. Then he would run back to his mommy and whine. He is such a little torment!
Okay, so you all want to know what I did, this time, to call myself a dork. For starters, I freely admit that I'm a dork and I have the greatest gift of all in that I can laugh at myself. It is a good thing because I do a lot of stupid things!
This morning I got up extra early and spent my time fiddling around with odds and ends before getting ready to leave for work. I left the house and pulled up to Tim Hortons (a Canadian coffee house) and went inside to line up like all of the other caffiene addicts.
There was quite the line up so I casually glanced at my watch underneath my coat sleeve. It was about twenty minutes to 8 which was early because we live in such a small town and it takes me about five minutes to reach work for 8:00 a.m. So there I am chatting away with somebody, in absolutely no rush to get to work when I finally decided to leave. When I got in my car I glanced at the clock in the dashboard and it read 8:10!!! Yikes! So I looked at my watch again and sure enough I saw it was 7:40......
I'm ashamed to admit that it took me a second to figure out how it still could be the same time when I left and when I went in but I stole another look at my watch as I was pulling out of the parking lot. No, the watch hadn't stopped!!! I had put it the wrong way around! Just try it and see how confusing it can be. Oh please, just try it and pretend it is confusing so I don't feel so silly.
Well, I laughed at myself so hard on the way to work. I was practically cracking up. The worse part is it is now Christmas exam week and I had students lined up waiting for the library to open! Oops!
I hope you are laughing! Please share your inner dork stories if you can!!!!
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