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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas - a recount

Like a flash, Christmas was here and gone. I'm a touch saddened ... it felt like we didn't have enough time for it to be Christmas. I'll try to recount our holiday...

Like last year, Mum & my brother went to Ontario to have Christmas with my older siblings. It's the 2nd year in a row that I've been 'orphaned', but Rosie eagerly welcomed me into their home for the festivities, so I was nowhere near 'alone' for any of it. On Christmas Eve, we went to the W homestead for supper. Every year, Rosie makes up a delicious pot of homemade seafood chowder, which is quickly becoming another symbol of Christmas for me. We sat around with a few drinks after supper. Chris brought the Wii over, and everyone, except for me, played for hours. With all the damp weather I was aching in every joint so I opted to stay seated in the lazyboy. Sadly, the W's lost track of time with the Wii play, and by the time they retired the wiimotes for the night, it was too late to head over to the Bowlan's Christmas Eve bash. We're so sorry to have missed it, Bowlans. We'll definitely convene for some post-holiday cheer very soon!

Christmas Day we slept in as late as our curious minds would allow, leaving the bed by about 9:30 or so. We didn't go too overboard on each other this year, but still managed to have a few little surprises under the tree for each other. My favourite store, Reitmans, was very popular this year, with 2 shirts, 2 necklaces, a scarf and several gift cards among my favourite prezzies. I can't freaking wait to go shopping!! 2 cozy pairs of jammies, soft slippers, the new Bon Jovi disc, a big bottle of Baileys, oodles of chocolate, sweet ornaments and the latest Grey's DVD set are also all snuggled under the tree for me. Probably my most favourite of all my presents this year is my oversized cozy throw from Chris. It's like a Snuggie on crack! It's huge and soft and so so so comfortable. Thank you to everyone for your generosity! xoxoxo

After clearing up the wrap and straightening up we then headed back to the W's for more Wii, a delicious turkey with all the trimmings, and a few movies. On Boxing Day, the W's came to us, allowing me to stay cozy in my jammies and my cozy throw (thanks W's!). Rosie brought us some leftovers for supper, and they stayed over for coffee and another movie (Chris has signed up for the free trial of Netflix. Let's just say they will be gaining anther customer next month). After our company left, we then remained snuggled and jammied, watching a bit more tv a la Netflix. We did get out for a drive that night to look at some of the Christmas lights we could find. Unfortunately, many homes were dark, possibly already packed up for another year. There wasn't any snow, either, so it didn't even feel right.

Yesterday, we had a full-on jammie day - neither one of us leaving our jammies, save a shower and donning new ones, and we watched an embarrassing amount of tv (again, thanks to Neflix!). I guess you could say we had a very relaxed holiday! Well... that was until 5am this morning when the power went out and the winds picked up for our first winter storm of the season. Thanks Mother Nature, but you're a little late with your 'gift'.

I hope all my faithful readers had a warm, relaxing holiday, filled with too much good food, and oodles of happy.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

a humbling dose of reality

Every now and then life likes to smack you over the head with a bit of a reality check. While all of us are bitching and moaning about getting our presents bought and wrapped, and cursing the long lineups and backed up traffic, someone is now mourning the loss of a mother, a daughter, wife, sister... An unfortunate tragedy took place yesterday. A young woman aged 39 years passed away very unexpectedly. She leaves behind a husband and two small children. 3 days before Christmas. What is supposed to be the happiest time of the year will now be marred by sadness and grief every single year for them. My heart goes out to this poor family, and I wish them peace and the comfort of their family and friends as they cope with this tragic loss.

I didn't know this woman, but her death leaves a somber reminder of my own mortality...and it points out the importance of living each day to its fullest, and without regrets. So what if the traffic is moving slow? So what if I don't have that perfect gift wrapped and ready under the tree? So what if the relentless winds kept me up the past few nights and I'm not feeling 100% because I'm so tired? I have my health. I have my family. I have my friends. I have my life.

Do me a favor...after reading this, go find someone you love one and give him or her a great big hug. Appreciate the great gifts that you have and during this holiday season never take for granted one single second that you have. Life is truly precious, and it could be taken away so suddenly that your whole world would shift...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


3 hours sleep does not a happy Amber make. Holy EFF I'm tired. The Atlantic region was pummeled with yet another windstorm over night. The gusts, in excess of 90-100kms, had the makings of a superb winter storm and a potential snow day today, but the temps? 3 degrees Celsius. So, it's just a shitty hair day and a long day after having less than adequate beauty rest. I remember Mike & Molly ending on tv, and quickly fell asleep after the tv was turned off. Mother Nature, with her incessant howls, didn't figure I needed much though, and when she started exercising her 'voice', it was just after 2am, and I've been reluctantly wide awake ever since.

I predict copious quantities of caffeine today. And chocolate. I've already consumed two coffees and two ginormous and to-die-for peanut butter balls. Peanut butter balls = Christmas to me. Tonight, I'm meeting up with my BFF's for the annual Girls Night Gift Exchange at Julie's. There will be eats; there will be laughs, and we get to leave with a gift. You can't get any better than that, can you? It's my light at the end of a very dark, and very long tunnel today.

Oh, and replacement card came in the mail yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!! VICTORY! Citizensbank officially falls into my list of superior customer service experiences. KUDOS, Citizensbank. Thank you for allowing Christmas to come to the 'hood for me!

Monday, 20 December 2010


Day 1 back to work after staycation
+ a full moon
+ issues with a Christmas gift delay requiring the purchase of a whole different gift entirely
+ having to listen to Celine Dion Christmas carols
= a less than "happy place" for yours truly.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Point form

  • the decoration boxes are hidden away
  • the floors are scrubbed and the mat & couches vaccuumed
  • the bathroom is clean
  • most of the laundry is done
  • the bank account is waaaaay into overdraft
  • the wrapping is complete
  • the tree is trimmed to perfection
  • the tree now has a star
  • the presents are under the tree.

By God, I think I might be ready. Now, if only it would snow.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

dear passage of time: please SLOW down.

Wow this week passed me by in a flash. I have the wrapping pretty much done - aside from the few gifts that have yet to be purchased. Yes, there are gifts left unpurchased - I'm not proud. I vowed I'd not leave it this late. The worst part? Next payday is Christmas Eve. Helllloooo Visa ;). After wrapping up the odds and ends that I picked up for Chris and sticking them under the tree, I'm feeling a little chintzy. We did say that we really weren't going 'big' for each other this year...but I might have to brave the crowds once more. Pray for me. On second thought, isn't chintzy the new "smart & responsible"? Am I reaching?

The house has yet to be cleaned and dusted. I guess this weekend will not be one of relaxation and looking proudly over the work I've accomplished. Damnit. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment to get my winter tires put on (perhaps THAT will bring on the damn snow??), and today I have a lunch date with one of my BFF's and my new boyfriend. He's fairly quiet and is scrumptiously CUTE!! After my visit with Tanya and Ryder I'm heading onward to Mummy's for our final "Mummy & Me" night for the year. She's leaving me again for Christmas *sniff* to spend the holidays with Fred, Belinda and Cathy and her family. I'm a little bummed about it, but again, it will be an easier holiday with less running around. I hope she stays her butt home next year, though. Hey Fred & Belinda - Cathy, even....come to PEI next year, would ya?

Okay, okay, once more it's time to sit down, shut up, and relax -- and try to look beyond the hustle & bustle and the stress of the preparations to think about the true meaning of Christmas, and the love of family and friends. If one has this abundance of love, they have the best Christmas present in the world.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

can andy say that?

I never miss Ellen. I think she is completely and utterly fabulous. Her kindness and generosity know no boundaries, and she's constantly helping a variety of different causes and people in need. She's a genuine 'feel good' person, and you can't help but smile at her antics. Watch the following excerpt from today's show where she pokes a little harmless fun at Andy, her executive producer:

This totally made my day today. Thanks Ellen!!!

...checking it twice...

Ooh-kay! Well, I did make it to the post office yesterday, so now the cards are off to meet their intendeds. Based on the flow of incoming cards, everyone else is in the same boat as me; that, or I just won't be getting many this year :P. I did a quick stop at English Butler to finish a few gifts, and we did get out last night to pick up a few groceries (though without a list in hand, so I can rhyme off at least 5 things we forgot). I didn't start my wrapping yet, and the house is still a mess. I have two gifts left to buy - but I know what I'm getting so it shouldn't be too stressful, unless you mention my account balance. Jeeeebus that went fast. And I don't get another pay cheque til Christmas Eve. So yeah, I'm just about done. My bank decided that one for me.

My goal is to get the house cleaned and the wrapping completed today - in time to stop over at my momma's for Mummy & Me day. I fear I may have to postpone that. It's almost 8 o'clock and I'm still wiping sleep crusties out of my eyes. So, with that, off to brew a cup of java and dig around for the scotch tape. Oh, and I'm also going to do a snow dance. This rain and damp weather has turned me into an aching, arthritic mess. Besides that, how can anyone get into any Christmas spirit without a nice blanket of snow? I can't even visit the Rustico lights without snow on the ground. Do join me, will y'all?

Happy Hump (oh sweet baby Jesus it's Wednesday already).

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Making a list...

It's 7am and I've already had my first cup of coffee & the second load of laundry is running its cycle. I guess with the super high winds (including wind warnings) and heavy rainfall (yes, rainfall, in mid-December. We actually had a warmer day yesterday than FLORIDA) I'm lucky to have power. Truth be told, the only reason I'm up this early is because I neglected Mt. Laundry all weekend, and as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes from my morning pee, totally prepared to dive back under the covers for at least another 4 hours, Chris gave me the puppy dog eyes lamenting about being out of underwear. I offered up a pair of mine, but he wasn't interested. I am off this week, so he's lucky I didn't tell him to just wear a dirty pair inside out. With my ever-growing 'to do' list hanging over my head, though, I started my day with less complaint than you'd imagine.

It's 10 days til Christmas Eve. 10 days. Eff word!

Weather like this more makes me wanna curl up with a good book than to prepare for Christmas. I have so much to do...including even mailing my cards. The cards which I tore through and completed in a frantic dash. The same cards that have been sitting, completed, yet un-stamped, for a frickin' week! I suck. The tree is up, yet the boxes that contained the decorations are still piled up in the hallway. And, the treetop is still bare. The laundry may be in the works, but the house looks like a complete sty. The cupboards are bare. The majority of the shopping is done, but the wrapping hasn't been started.

Suddenly I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed and have run out of things to say. Fittingly enough, the dryer just shut off, and finally, the sky is brightening up slightly so at least I don't feel like I'm up in the middle of the night. Lots to do...time to get doin'... Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Santa Paws

To help you all get into the Christmas spirit:

The other night as I was halfway between sleep and consciousness I heard a small rustling, something drop, and then roll to the floor. I left the bed, walked into the living room, and saw Zoe rolling one of my ornaments on the floor, like a ball. Fortunately it was a plastic ornament so no damage was done (after 4 years with cats at Christmas time you learn (the hard way) to ensure the un-breakables are secured on the bottom branches). From time to time, though our tree mostly remains looking untouched, we come home to find a rather large gaping hole in the branches where one of them have tried to (well, likely succeeded) perch inside the tree. Good thing they're cute.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Making a new tradition

The traditional Christmas tree can be topped with a star, or an angel. I've always preferred an angel - seems so much more special to me. Our tree at home as I was growing up always had an angel, too, so it might be that the nostalgia alone is what I hold onto.

The other day I was catching up on my friends' Facebook status updates (jebus almighty, what did we do before Facebook??), and I came across one including the following quote: "I don't need an Angel on top of my Christmas tree, I have one in Heaven watching over me"*. Ironically, I had just finished trimming our Christmas tree the night before. It was all done except the treetop was bare, because my angel was still packed away in another Christmas box that I'd not yet gotten to. The words hit home, and for a moment, I thought to myself, " true; perhaps, this year, to honour our own Angels in Heaven, I'll leave the treetop bare". That same friend commented that this year, she instead put a star atop her tree, to remind her that she's had a good year, and to to signify that she and her family and friends are all stars in their own right, and they should shine brightly, like those shine above us, in Heaven.

She's right.

I am going to buy us a star for our tree. And the star will now have a brand new meaning for me - to symbolize our own very special shining stars who can't be with us in person this Christmas, but who will always be with us in spirit, shining down on us from Heaven, twinkling, and shining brightly, always.

*Thanks, Shemla, for your words of inspiration, and wisdom. :)

Happy Thursday

When I woke up early this morning to start my day I happily turned the alarm to the "off" position from "on", meaning it wouldn't be set to scream at me again tomorrow morning. Until 30 seconds later, when it registered as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, that it was Thursday, and not Friday.

I hate that.

BUT! It is Thursday -- I have one more wake up ahead, and then that alarm clock goes off for an entire week! ;). Yessiree, folks, a week. I am on staycation next week. Glorious staycation. Christmas in the 'hood will be DONE by week's end. And I have sooooooooooo much to do in that short week. But, it WILL be done, as the Internet is my witness!

Plus, it's Turkey Thursday. My work is putting on a lavish turkey dinner for our Christmas gift. It's being catered by the Olde Triangle. I've worn my eating pants in preparation, and I can't freaking wait.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

All's well that ends well

Every now and then, life teaches you a lesson. A hard lesson that ends up being a kick in the junk - so much so that you wanna kick yourself in your own junk because you feel so stupid. I had one of those little lessons this past weekend.

Some back story: I'm a hoarder. Ok, well that might be harsh. You don't have to walk on top of boxes to move between rooms in my house. My sinks are not full of garbage, nor is my bathtub. So I'm not a true "hoarder" in the sense that is in TLC's eyes, but I do tend to hold onto things, ie, gift cards, 2-for-1 coupons, etc, for 'tough times'. Have coupons and cards expired before I had to use them? Oh yes. It's a piss off, but, it's my own fault, and I take full responsibility. I oughta be more diligent with that sorta thing, I know. Most of what I lost was in the low denomination value, but let's face it, in this day and age, even the loss of $10 is worth mourning. I can't tell you how happy I was when I heard that there was now an official ruling by the government that cards purchased after Sept 2010 would no longer incur an expiration. I mean, it makes sense....a gift card was paid for in cash. Cash is cash. Cash doesn't expire, so why did gift cards ever have an expiry before? You all know the answer to that. It's because in this world, there's a whoolllllle lotta dumb people like me who fail to use them, therefore the company reaps the benefit of making money for nothing.

Ok, segway back to my story.

I received a rather substantial Visa gift card through an incentive program at my work. I had a plan to use this card for Christmas shopping so I tucked it away safely in my craft room until it was time to make a purchase. Sunday, in between toiling away making the Christmas cards, I just happened to open the packaging that contained said Visa card. I literally almost vomited right then and there. I saw spots and I felt faint. The date was December 5, 2010 when I peeled the packaging away. To my horror, the expiry date on my substantial Visa gift card had run its course...ending November 2010.

I immediately called the 800# on the back of the card. I explained my plight. I admitted my own stupidity and my own responsibility. I prayed for a miracle. I begged for a grace period. Surely to GAWD with only 5 days past expiry they could do something for me - even if it was to take a loss on the dollar amount. But no. Point blank, the card expired, therefore I was S.O.L. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I reached another unsympathetic ear. I was devastated. I felt like I had been robbed. I have never, ever felt so stupid in my life. And, I felt very sorry for myself. And, I'll admit, there were a few tears, but I'll blame PMS on that.

I went to a contact at work the next day, hoping something could possibly be done by the company. My contact went to her contact...unfortunately, I met yet another dead end. A co-worker insisted I keep up the fight. She googled gift card Visas and expiry...and lo and behold, on the website, under their FAQ section, it's cited that if a Visa gift card expires with a balance, there is an option to replace it for a fee. I felt a renewed sense of fight build inside of me. I sent a message via the reward company's website. After I got off work, I called them back again, this time citing the information I found, and requesting to order a replacement card. Once again, I was met with an unsympathetic ear, and another round of, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing we can do for you". My rage continued. I suggested that the website I found with the FAQ be looked at. Apparently she didn't have internet access.

Suddenly, it hit me...this was the reward company who issued the card for my workplace. The card itself was a Citizens Bank gift Visa....perhaps I should be dealing with them? So a phone call and 3 transfers later, I was met with a very friendly, sympathetic, ear, and I currently have an order out for a replacement card for my substantial expired Visa gift card, for a small fee of $20. It was like Christmas came early for me.

Persistence pays. When it comes to money lost --- fight for it. I still won't believe this chapter in self-idiocy has ended until I see the replacement card in my mailbox, but I do have a small sense of victory. And you can be sure I'm going to pay careful attention to expiry dates from now on.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

don't let this happen in your home

I should know better than to load up the shopping cart with fresh produce. It always spoils before I can finish it, and I don't even want to think about the amount of food and money I waste by having such big plans to eat healthfully only to see it turn into a science experiment before it hits the compost bin. Last night, after the girls night for Erin's BD I stopped in at Sobeys to grab a few necessities. Not unlike any other time, I had to grab a few expired items from the fridge before filling it back up with the new stuff.

I ought to clear it out more frequently.

The diced up tomato and pickle for the last time we ate schawarma were funky, but, since they were in some rather expensive pyrex glass containers, I had to clean them out. That was stink#1.

I noticed the subject of stink#2 on the bottom shelf, right above the crisper. It had been sitting there for awhile, and I knew full well that there was no hope that it was fresh so I knew it was next to be turfed. I grabbed it....only to see it disintegrate before my very eyes and heard the distinct *ker--ffflllifffff--PLOP* noise it made as it separated from itself and smeared all over the bottom of the fridge and onto the kitchen floor. It had the consistency of what I can only describe as a condom filled with hand cream. Not that I have ever felt a condom filled with hand cream. I just have a good imagination. It smelled of rot. It was the most disgusting 'surprise' I'd had since the 'chocolate milk incident'. I screamed. I cursed. I shuddered - to the point that Chris came to the room to see what the fuss was all about. He took one look at the mess upon the floor before doing his own squirming and possibly gagging before leaving the room again.

The smushy, mushy surprise was a cucumber.

After getting over the initial shock of the dead cucumber and cleaning up said mushy mess, I then moved on to the culprit of stink#3, a soured container of buttermilk.

Perhaps we oughta just give up on the whole grocery shopping/cooking/storing thing, and just sign up for Meals on Wheels? Surely we'd save money? What with accounting for the money not spent on food that would spoil, and the lower electric bill with not having to run the fridge?

I am good housekeeper. I swear.