Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Looking at this photo, you will see a room that could use a little paint, some new carpet, and maybe a new window or two. Upon further study, you will find toys laying around, and maybe some stray wrapping paper that was missed in the hurried clean up. And, if you look closer still, you will see people in conversation, laughing and joking with each other, comfortable and relaxed. This is always my greatest gift of any Christmas. Seeing everyone getting a chance to just take a breath, and enjoy.

So, now that Christmas is behind us, we have the new year stepping ever closer. As always, as the New Year gets closer, a person tends to reflect upon the year past, even if just briefly, before we cross the threshold of the new.

Well, it's been quite a year for this household. Let's see in the past 12 months there have been about.............

10000 kms travelled
1000 little faces to whom I've read my stories.
600 books sold.
15 weddings/karaoke/DJ shows
12 tradeshows vended
2 career curve balls
2 new books launched
1 new grandbaby

Yep, it's been quite a year. Some things were planned, but most, of course, were not.  One of my favorite quotes is "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." Well, that sentiment was definitely proven to be true this year.

Life is indeed an adventure, and I look forward to what lies ahead. It won't all be pretty, it absolutely won't be without it's challenges, but I guarantee one thing, it won't be boring!

All any of us can do is make the best of anything and everything that life throws our way. 

The good things are easy to take in stride, they just seem to work their way into our normal routines without much of a hiccup. Some of the best things happen so subtly they sometimes can get overlooked all together. We all need to do ourselves a favor and pay closer attention to those things.

The "not so good" things tend to stick with us in a much bigger way. These things tend to want to cling to our souls and peck away at our happiness. If we let them, they can weigh us down and keep us from flying at the heights we should. 

Nobody gets through life unscathed. We all have things happen to, and around us that effect us, in both positive and negative ways. How we choose to react, shows who we are.

Personally, I choose to be happy. I've learned over time that happiness is indeed a choice. It isn't something you need to chase, or look for, or something that can be given to you by someone else. You can't find it in a job, in a dream house, or in a fancy car. Happiness just is. Choose it.

Yes, there are hard times, crap happens. You deal with it the best way you are able, do all that you can, so you aren't left with "shoulda, coulda, woulda" syndrome, and then choose to be happy, and move on.  If you've truly done all you can, there is nothing left to do, so you might as well get your happy on. Life is too short to waste too much of it in dark places.

I know it sounds simple, maybe a little too simple, but, who ever said happiness has to be complicated? Give it a shot, you never know, it might work for you too.

So, my friends, for the upcoming week........

Do my level best to assist a great group of people ring in the new year on a great note. (Happy New Year!)

Make a list of New Year's Resolutions.....(will post it next week)

Get our income tax stuff started.....

Get to work on my next book....

So, my friends, thank you so much for another year of incredible support. It tickles me to death to see new readers from new countries pretty much every week.  I always love hearing from each and every one of you.

Until next time, I'll leave you with this wish..............

May your New Year's Eve be legendary in whatever way you fancy.
May you ring it in feeling happy, maybe a little tipsy, and a lot dancy.

May you have a night of great friends and good food, with a killer soundtrack playing under it all.
May you laugh til it hurts, dance til you drop, in short, have a complete ball.

May a special midnight kiss, on that fantastic eve, be ever so magical and full of promise.
May you not recall it the next morning as being a pathetic, drunken drool fest with the slightest hint of vomit.

May you bring in the New Year with dignity and delight.
May your 2013, be nothing but brilliantly bright.

See you next week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three More Sleeps!!!!!


Happy Holidays!  I hope the season finds you and yours in a place filled with health, happiness, contentment, and every conceivable joy.

This photo shows our youngest grandbaby, 10 month old Jake, enjoying his first taste of his Grandma's home made ginger cookies. I hope it's the first of hundreds he will get to nibble over the next 50 years or so.

Through everything that's been going on in this neck of the woods this past year, I know that I, for one, am going to very consciously soak this Christmas in. The coming and going of kids, the grandbabies, the cooking, the mess, the games, the belly laughs, the complete and utter joyous chaos that tends to be one of our truest Christmas traditions.

This is not the house to visit if you are looking for perfectly wrapped gifts under a perfectly decorated tree, with dainties set out on fine china. This is not the home that will have the most expensive presents, or the fanciest decor, or people dressed in their Sunday best. This is not the house where you will find classical Christmas tunes playing politely in the background, as people sit around enjoying quiet conversation as they sip brandy. No, that is not this house.

This is the home where the door is always open to those who may not have a place to spend their Christmas. This is where you will find people in their comfy clothes eating the home made treats of their childhood from ice cream pails. This is the home where you will find sappy Christmas songs being played as rowdy board games are played, probably accompanied by a LOT of good natured smack talk. This is the home where you will find grown men on their bellies in the kitchen playing with the hotwheels racers they got from Santa. This is the home where there will be too much food, some cocktails, a lot of laughs and many, many hugs. Yes, this is home.

Chaotic and a little crazy at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So my friends, this past week was spent picking up groceries, setting the last of my snowmen free to roam the house, and downloading some new Christmas tunes. I really recommend Ceelo Green's Christmas album and Rod Stewart's as well. Needless to say, Michael Buble and the Chipmunks are also very good!

Also this week, a kind of cool thing happened in the check out line at the grocery store. The lady behind me in the line recognized me from the newspaper! She was really nice and asked for a card and where she could get my books! That's the first time I've been recognized by someone who wasn't accompanied by a munchkin!

The next week will be spent knee deep in turkey, kids and cookies. Yay! I love having everybody under one roof, even if it's for a short time! Here's hoping the weather cooperates!

Well folks, that about does it for me for this week.

Until next time, I'll leave you with this Holiday wish..........

May you have the chance to hug the ones you love in person, with nothing getting in the way.
May those who can't come home, still be in touch, somehow, on that day.

May you step out of any stress that threatens to strangle your peace and sense of calm.
May it float away, your fragile nerves being caressed by a cooling, soothing balm.

May you allow yourself to enjoy this holiday, no one cares if the garland is perfect, or if the bows are straight, or, for that matter, exist at all.
May you see past the perfect picture in your head of what you've convinced yourself Christmas "should" be, relax and have a ball!

Until next week!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Girl Guides Can Dance!


As I sit here and look at this photo of 250 little girls between the ages of 8 and 15 have all kinds of fun, dancing, singing and running around, I can't keep help but think of the tragedy that took place at an elementary school in the United States yesterday morning.

I can't help but think of all of those parents, kids and teachers heading off to school for what they thought would be another typical, ordinary day. To learn, play, maybe dance, sing and run around a little.

My heart weeps for the broken souls this horrible act of senselessness leaves behind.

I don't know what the answer is, and I doubt there is just one.

But, one thing I do know is that I will try doubly hard not to take one single day for granted. I'll do my level best not to fritter away my time on this planet with things that are important to only me. 

Squeeze your kids, say I love you, and count every blessing. Don't put off happy things, absorb every joy. That's all we can do.

On to happier things.

The girl guide fundraiser was a great success. They had a lot of girls come to join in the festivities, and though it was with a bit of a heavy heart, it was a lot of fun to help facilitate their good time.

Oh, and just in case you want to get a large room full of tweens to pull more decibels than a herd of injured hyenas, just say the words...."One Direction".......go ahead, I dare ya.

Other than that, this week consisted of working hard toward our goal of getting our RV repair shop open and operational by Spring.  Hopefully things will be settled in that department very soon.

Oh, and I finished wrapping all of the Christmas presents!!!!!Yay!  

Okay, how many of you just swore at me a worries. I really am an anti-procrastinator by nature. Even though I come by it genetically, I think my DNA was assisted by all of those years when we weren't sure if we were going to be able to make Christmas happen for our kids at all. I learned early on to shop early, a little at a time, always paying attention to conversations for hints. Now, it's become our tradition.

So for the next week........

There will be some grocery shopping, maybe a bit more cookie baking, some baby squeezing, beginnings of prep for our New Year's Eve Show, and maybe work on a few more stories that I started a while back and haven't had a chance to visit for a while.

So, until next time, my friends, I'll leave you with this wish.....

May those who leave their homes in the morning, return safety to it that day.
May nothing or no one hinder their safety in any possible way.

May the ones broken enough to cause such horror, seek help instead of a means to inflict such unspeakable pain.
May they find true help, embrace it, be held to it, so this kind of heartbreak may never happen again.

May those so determined to put and keep guns in the hands of so many
May they look into the eyes of the survivors, if they are lucky enough to find any.

May those left behind find a way, any way to live through their grief.
May those who went too soon, watch over them, give them hope, belief.

Until next week........

Friday, December 7, 2012

'Twas Three Weeks Before Christmas....

Well Hello!

Well folks, we are either a few weeks away from Christmas or the end of the world, depending on who you talk to.

Personally I prefer to take the less depressing route, and follow the assumption that we are not going to implode or explode or shut down or burn or whatever it is the crazy calendar people are saying is going to happen this time.

But... that's just me.

So our beach themed party in -20C was awesome! There were a lot of willing participants who doubled as good sports, so that always makes the night so much more fun. There were some very interesting photos taken, some games played, some cocktails consumed, all in all a good night!

In the last few days, I also was able to get some Christmas treats into the freezer. Peanut butter Krispie treat balls, some dipped in caramel, some in chocolate; chocolate fudge, some werther's chocolate and soft caramel cookies and some banana, orange cranberry, sugar crumble muffins.

Heading into the home stretch, all that's left is some ginger/molasses cookies, some puppy chow, and dessert for the actual meal. I'm thinking I might substitute pie for cheese cake this year, depending on my final head count, I may need both.

Today I'll be hitting the road, picking up my eldest daughter and we will make our way to the Battlefords where we will be participating in the Battlefords Lions Christmas Bazaar! It goes from 10-4 Hope to see you there!

Yep we are going a day early to get in some much needed visiting with my best friend, Dana. She is awesome! Looking so forward to it!

As for the upcoming week?

Well I really need to buckle down and get all the prep done for our Girl Guide fundraiser set for Friday the 14th. Those girls are so cute, we had such a good time with them last year, and looking forward to seeing them all again!

But, before we get there, we need to replace the lights we use for DJing. They all quit, pretty much at the same time, who knows why. In any case, they need replacing, so to Long & McQuade we must go.

So folks, that about wraps it up for another week. This week, my wish for you is taking on a bit of a different form, I hope you like it.

'Twas three weeks before Christmas, and all through the mess,
Not a creature was stirring, was trying hard to de-stress.

Was worrying about the lack of decor in the yard,
Especially when the neighbour's looks like it leaped from a Christmas card.

Was worrying about the wishes written upon kids' lists, and just how to make them come true,
The budget is tight for St. Nick this year, but we'd still love to be able to come through.

Was fussing about the tree, the baking, wanting the house perfect for holiday guests,
Been preparing deep into most nights, defying the need for rest.

Been trying to manage my time with this and with that, fighting to stay on top of it all.
How does everyone else do it, looking so effortless, like their having a ball!

Now, in all my dither, how did I possibly fail to see,
The joyful, sparkling eyes of my kids looking at me.

They see passed the old tree and decorations all of which have seen better days,
All they see is the promise of possibilities, the shimmer and shine of the holidays.

In the end nothing matters, but the thrill on their faces, time with family and friends, memories made,
Everything else is just fluff, just stuff, for which excitement quickly fades.

So, prepare for this wonderful time, but do so with joy and keep the pressure light,
Off now, to happily wrap some presents, Merry Christmas to all and to all, a Good Night!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Jamaican Long Johns?


Looks like a perfect day for a "beach" party, wouldn't you say? Well, when you live where I do, and your backyard looks like this, a beach party is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Yes, tonight I'll be doing the music for a "Jamaican/Beach/Stagette" party. It ought to be a blast, considering it's here at home, and I'll pretty much know everyone there! They are a great group, so I'm really looking forward to a good night!

The bride-to-be is the same age as our second daughter, and grew up across the street. I know it's been said a million times, but, man, time really does get away on you! It doesn't seem fair, really. By the time you are wise enough to figure what really matters, how precious time is, almost half your life has passed you by.

This is probably about the time in our lives we get slapped upside the head by "mid-life crises."  We all of a sudden get into panic mode because we realize we are half way through this rodeo and we feel like we've missed too much. 

Well, seeing as I'm sneaking up on 47, I'm smack in the middle of "mid-life."  I haven't been decked by the crises part of it yet, as far as I can tell, but it could be just around the corner. I'll be sure to let you know if I suddenly get the urge to skydive and buy mini-skirts.

Besides doing the prep for tonight's party, I did manage to get a few things knocked off my list. Today, there is more baking in the freezer for Christmas than there was last week.  The gifts that have been purchased are wrapped. The remaining gifts are being shipped as we speak!

The Christmas tree is up, and about half the snowmen are out. A nine month old,walking grandbaby makes decorating a challenge, but we're figuring it out.

Also this week, I received some generous orders for books. They should still be in time for Christmas, I hope. Still blows my mind to think of people unwrapping gifts and finding my books! Here's hoping they enjoy them! If you'd like to order in time for Christmas, there should still be time, if we hurry!

So, for the upcoming week!

More baking, more snowmen, a bunch of grandbaby snuggles, a bit of shopping, and then it's off to Battleford to take part in the Battlefords Lions Christmas Bazaar! It's going to be so much fun! My eldest daughter is coming along as a helper and we will be meeting up with my closest friend, and maybe a few more for a "girls" weekend.

We will be on our best behavior.  Stop Laughing! We Will!  Okay, we will try.... Better?

Now, my friends, I need to go and figure out how to make long johns look Jamaican...

Until next time, I'll leave you with this wish.

May the poetic frost that romantically nips at your nose, not become the kind that claims a finger or a toe.
May the lyrical sing song desire to "let it snow," not become the blizzard that makes it impossible for you to go.

May the majestic winter wonderland shown in movies, not become the house bounding agent it can sometimes be.
May the "one horse sleigh" so charmingly imagined, not become the only way to set your snowbanked car free.

May all of the beauty, charm and sugar plums conjured by these holiday songs, come true in every way.
May every romantic vision of  winter be what befalls you, all rosy cheeks, snowball fights, and open sleigh.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read these ramblings.!