December 2005

It’s New Year’s Eve. And we’re staying home. Because we want to.
We’ve been busy the last week: lots of travelling and visiting, lots of lugging around bags of hockey equipment and luggage. This morning, when the three of us were considering our options for tonight (and there were several), Jordan said, “Why don’t we just stay home and relax? We can play.”
The boy is a genius. And when I suggested we make a shopping list and head out for snacks and something sort-of-fancy for dinner he said, “No. No snacks, nothing fancy. I said relax.” See? Brilliant.
Is there a more meaningful way to celebrate the turning of the wheel and new beginnings than with an evening at home, just being together? I don’t think so.

Aside from the hours I spent on the phone today (oops), I’ve been pondering my New Year’s Resolutions, or, rather, my lack of them. And I won’t be making any, either. Instead, I’m spending some time going over my 101 Things in 1001 Days list and crossing off things I’ve finished and making some plans for the things I will tackle next.

If you aren’t familiar with the project, I’ve outlined it here, but basically, you make a list of 101 discreet, measurable goals, and try to finish them in 1001 days. I began my project on October 24, 2004 and will finish on July 22, 2007. As of today, I have 567 days left and 86 items left to complete.

I love this project. 101 Things allows for the smaller things that are meaningful but you just don’t do enough, and for things you’ve always wanted to try just once. By having 1001 days (that’s about 2.75 years) to work with, there is time for the bigger projects and long-term items, and if you miss that opportunuty to watch the sun rise on Easter, all is not lost, you can try again next year.

My lists focusses a lot on getting control of things that fell to the wayside with prolonged illness. When I began this project, there was a promise of better health for the first time in a long time and I wanted to clean up the mess and get my life back on track, but I also wanted to celebrate life and spend time doing things I had been longing to do – like walk the dog in the rain and build a snowfort. My lists reflects a balance of all those things.

This has worked better for me than any list of resolutions has ever done. It isn’t just that I am a work in progress, as we all are, but I feel the progress being made. When I feel stagnant or unproductive, I refer back to my list. When I am choosing among opportunities, I refer to the list. When I need a new life project, I look at the list. I have no doubt that come July 2007, I’ll be preparing another list of 101 Things and I’ll be starting 101 Things in 1001 Days V2.0.

Happy New Year.

Like most people celebrating the season, I was in the final crunch – the last few days of scrambling to get everything done.
BUT! I sat down yesterday and made a a detailed plan for today so that I would be in good shape and ready to handle any last-minute emergencies or whatever.
I was so confident. So… so… so very naive.

The Plan for Today:

  • Wed night in bed by midnight. Must be well rested for Thursday. Wake up 8 or 8:30. Get washed and dressed, toss in a load of laundry and put the coffee on. While coffee is brewing, make breakfast for the boy, assemble ingredients for that last batch of cookies and check on all the pets’ food and water dishes
  • With first cup of coffee in hand, head back upstairs. Wash handknitted scarf that is a gift for someone and roll it up in a towel. Begin work on my bedroom. This involves a few minutes of sorting and putting away knitting stuff, tidying up the nightstand, checking under the bed for stray socks and dusting. This should take, at most, 20 minutes. I’ll vacuum tomorrow.
  • Taking empty coffee cup, rolled towel containing scarf, and pins, go back downstairs. Fill coffee cup and then spend 5 minutes or so blocking the scarf by pinning it to the carpet in the dining room. Switch clean laundry to dryer and put new load in washer.
  • Check on boy to be sure he has been adequately fed, send him to wash and dress, fill coffee cup again. Sit down and finish up Christmas cards (I know, late late, but oh well, none of us is going to die). Mark and Jordan will take them to the post tonight.
  • It is nearing lunch time now. Switch to herbal tea and sit down with paper and pencil and cook books and plan menus for Christmas day – brunch for 9 and dinner for 5. Create shopping list.Make lunch for Jordan and me, eat and tidy up. Help Jordan make snowball cookies. Put together tray of cookies to take to family whose dog ate all their christmas baking yesterday.
  • Fold clothes from dryer. Put clothes from washer into dryer, and put mats from main bathroom into washer. Clean main bathroom. More tea, perhaps a snack and lie down for half an hour or so. Then tidy Jordan’s room and dust.
  • Finalize shopping lists, start dinner. Do last of dishes from party.

On paper, it was all so beautiful, but alas… it was not to be….

What Really Happened:

  • Wed night leave house just before midnight to go for food with brother and N. Home just before 2AM. Unable to sleep, stomach hurts, then bleed from nose all over keyboard and hands (it all happened so suddenly.). Clean up as best as possible. Finally drift off to sleep around 4AM.
  • 11:44AM: wake up choking. Sit up, still choking and coughing and wondering what that weird taste is. 11:46AM: realize nose is bleeding profusely again and that new pyjammas are ruined. Clean up as best I can. Consider shoving tissue up my nose. Decide against it.
  • wander downstairs in bloody pyjammas. Freak J right the heck out. Quickly go back up stairs and change in something that looks less like I was murdered in it. Feel optomistic and set bloody pj’s in to soak.
  • Back downstairs, head for coffee pot but, alerted by J, instead change direction and head to living room to clean up cat puke. Wash up again.
  • back to kitchen, discover J has eaten most of a cookie platter for breakfast and, strangely, is feeling unwell. Get him some water, and a cloth for his forehead and try to get him to sit still for a while.
  • Heading back to the coffee pot, discover that the dog has tracked rabbit poop in through the kitchen door. Rabbits are cute and everything, but, um.. ew. Clean up and wash floor. Wash up again.
  • It is now nearing 1PM. Announce that I will not be taking requests, emergency or otherwise, from anyone until I have the coffee on, it is brewed and I’ve drunk at least half a cup. Jordan understands and becomes very quiet. Briefly I worry that he has slipped into a sugar-induced coma.
  • Coffee is brewing and I’m preparing my mug when I hear the cat barfing again. I deal with that and wash up again. Finally get my cup of coffee. Mainline 2 full mugs and then settle in for more lady-like sipping. Put in a load of laundry (woot!). Can’t find recipe. Can’t find Christmas cards. Can’t find pins.
  • Have more coffee. This time instead of milk, egg nog. With rum in it. Vaguely wonder why there is a large puddle of water on the family room floor.Stare into space while clutching giant mug of rum-laced coffee, then realize I really need to deal with the water in the family room.
  • This is water that has apparently materialized from nothing. It doesn’t appear to be leaking from anywhere, it is just there. Whatever. I don’t even care anymore. Clean it up and fill mug again with coffee/egg nog/rum mixture.
  • Spend 20 minutes searching and find some weird pins that aren’t really the right kind, but will do (because they have to) and head back downstairs to block scarf. After 25 minutes of pinning and repinning and swearing, realize that scarf is over 8 feet long. The person I made it for is not much over 5 feet tall. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking this might be an issue. The front of my mind, however, is telling me to forget about it and that more rum in the coffee would be a good idea.
  • In record time, eat enough cheese log and crackers to feed an entire cocktail party. Consider just writing the day off altogether and maybe catching some sleep. Wonder why we are so low on rum. I’m pretty sure we just bought that big bottle the other day.

What I’m going to do now…

  • ummm…?
  • All I can think of is chocolate and more rum.
  • I guess I’ll start with the laundry and have another go at the recipe and the Christmas cards. After that, who knows?!
  • But I’m thinking a nap. Yes, definitely a nap.

I keep forgetting to post about this…

The nominations for the Homeschool Blog Awards are in… and My Bountiful Life has been nominated in the “Canadian Homeschool Blog” category. ooooooooh! :) Crazy, but true. There are lots of categories and lots of really great blogs, so check them out and get your votes in – there are only a few days left.
I notice that the voting page asks for your email and blog addresses. You can leave the blog address blank if you don’t have one and it still seems to work ok. And the note there says that the email addresses are only being used to check for duplicate votes and will be discarded after the voting is finished. I’m comfortable backing Spunky up on that one – your email address is safe with her.

What else?
Well… food and family and friends… all the GOOD f-words! lol. We’ve been busy making merry and making cookies and making time to enjoy it all.

That irresistable box of gifts from a faraway grandparent.

‘Tis the season… no doubt about it. Last week, Jordan and I went to see The Nutcracker ballet. It was fabulous. Jordan, while feeling the ballet was “a little long in parts” enjoyed it enough to ask if we can see it again next Christmas. Two nights ago, the three of us went with my inlaws to see Messiah in Toronto. I doubt that more moving music has ever been written. The choir (137 voices), the orchestra, the soloists… it was all amazing and I fought off tears at several points. Truly beautiful.
Jordan, who was by far the youngest person there, behaved perfectly: sat still and quiet – and facing forward – the entire time. That’s quite an accomplishment for a 9 year old boy. Made me proud he did. He very much enjoyed the concert, though, like the ballet, was a little bored in parts. His favourite parts were the Hallelujah Chorus and the Amen and “that part that goes ‘hmmmm mmmm mmmmMMMmmmm’ “(??? I don’t know either). Since we saw the concert, he has been listening to it on cd at home.
Proof that he enjoyed it? On the way home in the car he sang:

Haaallay LOO yah! Haaallay LOO yah!
hallelujah hallelujah halleeeeeyyylujaaaaaah! hallelujah hallelujah
Haaallay LOO yah! Haaallay LOO yah!
hallelujah hallelujah halleeeeeyyylujaaaaaah! hallelujah hallelujah
Haaallay LOO yah! Haaallay LOO yah!
hallelujah hallelujah halleeeeeyyylujaaaaaah! hallelujah hallelujah

most of the way home. It was great. No really. It was awesome. :P

A big box of gifts has arrived from Halifax and Jordan likes to sort and pile and poke and squeeze and shake them. A lot. All the time, as a matter of fact. hehhhe. Can’t blame him. The anticipation is killing him. lol.

Two strong men. One big tree.

We finally went and got our tree on Thursday afternoon. How perfect is it that as we were getting ready to go, it started to snow? And then it snowed the whole time we were out? Perfection. Right there.
We had little trouble finding a tree – which was nice, because there have been years when we went to several lots to find The Tree. I guess it is easier to find The Tree now because they are farmed and pruned so carefully as they grow… but, I find myself wishing for a more natural-looking tree. All the trees are so perfectly pyramidal and branched they might as well be artificial trees. Almost.
Anyway, we brought home The Tree and decorated last night. Oh!!! But before we decorated… Mark and Jordan were out shopping and brought me a digitally restored DVD version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim (1951), NOT colourized!
Growing up, the local tv station would play that old movie every Christmas and every Christmas we’d watch it. Years ago, someone gave me a VHS copy. Since the original was so badly preserved, the VHS version was not great to begin with and it became worn with much play. Dialogue was difficult to make out in parts (so I hear, I have the movie pretty much memorized, so it wasn’t something I noticed very much).
Last night, when the boys brought me the dvd, we (mostly I) watched it right away, of course. oooooooh! So much better – sound and picture quality are way better. I cried in all the right spots – all the same spots. lol. That hasn’t changed since I was little girl.

The tree and decorations went up with no fuss (I highly recommend the new tree stands Canadian Tire is selling). It’s beautiful. There is, of course, a story to go with every ornament and I, of course, bore my husband and child to death by telling the story of each ornament. I have to. It’s TRADITION! lol

“Whoa!! That’s so cool! Look, Mom! Mom! Look! Lookit my hair!”

I don’t know why, but this cracks me up. When we were at Roy Thompson Hall the other night, Jordan found a heating vent that was blowing air. And he discovered that leaning over the vent would make his hair fly. This was apparently pretty much the most amazing thing ever. So, while folks are wnadering around, elegantly dressed and talking quietly while sipping wine, Jordan was bent over the heat vent, letting his hair fly.
Also, I’d like to point out how beautiful his hair is and that’s not fair. Boys always have the nicest hair and eyelashes. Jordan’s hair is way better than mine! *pout* ;D

Crafts in the school house.

On Friday night, we…

… sang Christmas carols in a tiny church built in 1863
… played crokinole by firelight.
… listened to the sweet sounds of a psaltery.
… saw Father Christmas (and it was *really* him) and had hot apple cider.

And we walked for hours in the cold air and bright moonlight along lantern-lit snowy paths with the smell of woodsmoke in the air.

Father Christmas and Jordan.

It was perfect.
And after a really rough week, it was exactly what I needed.

We were back at Westfield Heritage Village. At Christmastime they open the village at night. It is decorated, each building to it’s time period. The actors/guides are wonderful. Very dedicated. And they are ALL volunteers. Impressive.
It is gorgeous. There was snow, and the moon the was bright and we could hear Christmas carols playing on – I don’t remember what it is called, but I believe it is a Victorian instrument. Very pretty, like bells.
As we walked through the village, going from building to building, Mark and I talked about how nice it was – to be out in winter, at night, to hear the voices and greetings and laughter of others. Why don’t we do that still? Nobody knows their neighbours anymore. TV, I guess. Of course, we had our standard, ‘things that are wrong with the suburbs’ conversation too ;)
We all had a really good time and came home happy and relaxed, full of hot cider and sweets from the general store.

Next Page »