Thursday, December 13, 2018

My Christmas Plan

Christmas can be difficult for a lot of folks especially if you're on your own. I'm surrounded by family here in NL. But they don't have the same views and/or needs about this season as I do; so my ideal 'Norman Rockwell' Xmas is not going to happen. It took me two years here, but I'm finally realizing that I'm the only one responsible for my own happiness -- even at Christmas. So this year, I made a plan in the hopes of having a happier, healthier Christmas.

  • I let go of my expectations:  expectations I'd placed on others and expectations I'd placed on myself. Without realizing I was doing it, I expected my family and friends to visit; I expected them to help with meal prep; I expected them to sit and chat and bond; I expected to receive from them as much as I'd given. But one of the biggest gifts that I've been learning to give myself for the last few years is to accept people as they are and give without expecting anything in return. Harder to do with family, I think, but so rewarding for all those involved.

  • The next thing I did was to make a list of what was most important to me about the Christmas season. 
    • Spending time with family: It's up to me to make the trip, the phone call or the Skype conversation. Even if it doesn't happen, I want to let them know that they're important to me.
    • Christmas decor: What do I really want? And how much can I really do - both decorating and the dismantling of the decorations? I had to really think about my energy levels and remember my limitations.
    • Delicious food: I made a list of what foods I love to eat at Xmas -- both the store bought and the homemade. That list got culled a lot to reflect my finances and my energy level for cooking/baking. AND I had to remember that the food that I don't give as gifts may be mine alone to eat! So I choose my foods with that in mind as well.
    • Health: In spite of my 22 lb weight loss since last April, I KNOW I'm going to be eating and drinking things I wouldn't usually eat and drink. So, I'm expecting to gain a couple of pounds. And eating like that will affect how I feel physically. So, to counteract that dilemma, I'm going to make sure I get outside and walk or snowshoe. My stodge-filled body will NOT want to go outdoors; but if I want to eat, I have to get out there.
    • Something under the Tree: The first Xmas after the breakup of my marriage, there was nothing under the tree for me as my kids were still very young. I realized I was sad about that. So I became my own Santa! (I'll share more on how to economically do this.)
    • Peace: If I can follow what's on my list, then I shall have a peaceful Xmas season. But I'm also planning to make time just for myself with no phone or TV and trying to create zen moments and time with my God. This is probably the most important thing for me.
I'll expound further on these over the next week.

These ideas will not solve all the problems and sadness that can occur at Christmas. Nor will they help everyone have a joyous time. But perhaps they can spark some hope and enthusiasm in someone out there. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Searching for a Merry Christmas

This meme came across my Facebook feed this weekend, and I thought "Yeah! This is exactly what I came to realize this Fall!"

I moved home 2 years ago and have experienced 2 miserable, sad Xmas seasons for me. I told myself that last year would be my last here in NL; but not having the finances to go elsewhere caused me to rethink things this Fall. And that's when the shoe dropped.

I now realize that my enjoyment of Xmas is up to me. Of course Xmas  here in NL is not going to be like NS -- different location with different people, different traditions, etc etc. My failure to recreate Xmas MY way does not mean that I can't enjoy Xmas in NL. It just means being open to what the season has for me here in my new life AND my creating new traditions for myself. 
So, I've been busy letting go of what was while I search for what's important to me and what I can create here. My stress level is way down, my spirits have been lifted and I'm actually really looking forward to Christmas again.

I know that for a lot of people, Christmas is extremely hard and no amount of trying to create a happy Xmas will make it happen. My heart goes out to those folks.

But for those of us who are alone and seeking for ways to participate in this season and find even a modicum of joy, I hope my ideas help. I'll share them over the next couple of weeks. And please feel free to share your thoughts on the same.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Snowy Update

I'm back after recovering from a fairly minor yet terribly-inconveniencing viral infection; and I'm ready to rumble!

Rumble with the season, that is!

Yes, Christmas is fast approaching. I've most of the shopping done; next I'll be planning my cooking and baking lists; then the decorating will happen. After 2 years back home, I think I can finally remember that there's only one person in my house, and I'll be sharing sweets with my siblings. So hopefully, I will not go overboard with the baking as I have in previous years. Let's see -- Some kind of shortbread (traditional or with a twist?); some kind of fruity/nutty sweet (dark fruitcake or mincemeat?) and one more treat (cheesecake squares? lemon squares? Decisions, decisions!). I'm still missing my darling international children with their treats, especially my German girls; so I have an idea that I may try chocolate-covered Lebkuchen myself! Hmmmm! We'll see.

The weather here has certainly been Xmas-like. From Nov 11th until this past Sunday, we experienced 4 snowstorms and I had 3 extra days off work! Even for snowy Newfoundland, this is unusual! This is end-of-January weather. Thankfully, the gods blessed us this week with sunshine and a little rain to wash away some of that snow. Still, this is what it looks like here today.
Corner Brook, Newfoundland CANADA - November 27, 2018

Those mountains in the background will retain their snow until sometime next July! (Then I'll climb to the top again.)

TTFN. I'm gonna get back to making my lists (and checking them twice). 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from this Old Bat!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Come Wander Down Yon Golden Bower...

All last week it rained; then on Friday, gentle snow flakes fell -- just enough to cover everything -- and the temperatures were low enough to sustain the snow that had fallen. But Saturday morning when I drove home from the local market, the sun came out from behind a cloud and THIS is the scene that met me. 
The vibrant orange of the deciduous trees against the snow-covered fir trees was brilliant and beautiful!

So, even before I ate lunch, I dressed and took myself out for a walk on the old rail line walking trail behind my house. 

It was so lovely! Crisp and cold enough for a head covering and gloves but oh, so toasty warm while walking. The walk up that hill to get to the trail is a difficult one as the incline is so steep. But just a few steps onto the trail, and this is what greets you. As I stood there panting, inside my head I heard the beckoning cry of "Come wander down yon golden bower". So off I went. 

As I walked, I listened to my IPod. I've been using my walking time to listen softly to whole albums rather than just favorite songs, and I've been finding some lovely tunes that I've overlooked in the past.

The whole walk takes me about 45 minutes most of which time I'm surrounded by trees and nature. The white snow and white/grey sky were the perfect backdrops for the remaining leaves and bushes. I passed no one on the trail but heard a dog bark, someone chopping wood and then smelled wood smoke from an outdoor fire ... someone burning brush. It was a magnificent day for a walk!

It rained Saturday evening. Then I woke to freezing rain early Sunday, and it rained for the remainder of all day. So, not only is any snow gone, but most of the leaves have fallen. (Winter comes early to Newfoundland.) 

The world was harsher than usual this weekend. Or perhaps I feel it was harsher because I already feel raw and this latest cut is so close to home. But my heart aches for those of you in the U.S. and with the Jewish community. My heart aches. 

I'll leave you with the Ahn Trio and this beautiful, plaintive music.