Share your world New Years edition

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2019/12/30/share-your-world-12-30-19/

What was the single best thing that happened in your life this past year?

This year wasn’t that exciting but I did go away for a few days to Burlington, ON. A lovely view.

The most challenging?
When I came back from my mini holiday I developed sciatica. In November the pain came back stronger. It was definitely a challenge even doing the simplest tasks around the apartment.

One thing you learned in 2019?
I learned who I could count on when I needed help. I cooked brussel sprouts for Christmas and I liked it. Well truthfully everything tastes better with bacon. My Mom would boil them and the smell was awful! I can only remember having them once.

Given all your experiences, insights, and lessons learned in 2019, what’s the best advice you could give yourself for 2020?
This isn’t a great insight but it’s something I still struggle with…spending money on myself. When I go through my expenses for the month for the most part it’s just everyday expenses like groceries, cable, phone bill and medications. My advice? Spend money on things you enjoy.

What’s the best meal/food you ate in 2019?
When my cousin and I went to Idlewyld. While the food was excellent it was really the company.

What are three activities you plan to use in the coming year to relieve stress?
Exercise, manicures and meal prep more.

What brought you the most joy and are you going to do more of that?
Hmm I don’t really have any answer for this at the moment.

Lastly – Any resolutions you’d care to share?
See the answers for stress relief. Eating healthier is the biggest one. It’s easy in the summer time because I walk to the market and can get healthy prepared food and lots of fruits and vegetables. Read more.

GROWTH

I really didn’t know how to title this post today. I kind of thought of 10 years since we are going to start a new decade soon but that seemed kind of vague. I thought of using the word prompt “mixed feelings” but finally decided on GROWTH.
2009 was not a good year for me but fully represents the prompt for today. Christmas 2008 was wonderful. My Dad was healthy, my brother got engaged and we had something to look forward to as a family after a lot of heartache. Unfortunately early 2009 my Dad learned that his tumour grew back. It was a physically and emotionally trying time for me but I also learned a lot about myself. I had to take care of the yardwork for my Dad and a lot of stuff around the house. I had to stick up for myself and I learned that meant being selfish. At the end of the year my Mom and I went on a cruise…putting our needs ahead of others. In less than 3 years we went from a family of 5 to a family of 2 which made my bond with my Mom stronger.

I started this blog in 2014 but didn’t really write diligently until 2015. I wrote in a journal soon after Janet died. It was a way to express feelings that I couldn’t talk about to anyone else. But I learned a lot about myself while doing it. I would write down something that I knew in my head but writing it down in black and white made it so much clearer. I had someone tell me that she was so surprised when she found out that I wrote a blog because Janet and I were so quiet. My coffee buddy told me “yeah, that person is long gone”. I don’t think I would even recognize that person now. There was a time where that sentence would have made me so sad. I wanted to be the same person I was before. But that’s impossible. We should grow. Although I’ve come to realize in life that not everyone does. In the subsequent years since my Dad died I have lost a lot of friends. I used to think it was me but came to realize that in most instances we just grew apart. The things that we once had in common just aren’t there anymore. Growing older has some advantages because I’ve come to realize that friends should be people I enjoy spending time with. Someone I can share things with. Quality not quantity.

When I moved in 2016 I could see a change in myself. It was evident in pictures that I posted on Facebook because my friends told me I looked happy. For the first time in my life the only person I had to worry about was myself. I could make decisions FOR MYSELF. For someone that was a caregiver and had lost 3 very important family members that was HUGE. I also learned that I couldn’t change to please other people. The daughter of a woman from the church I grew up in told me at her Mom’s visitation that it took her years to learn that.

The past 10 years have been a mixed bag. Here’s hoping 2020 is a whole lot better than 2019!!

Aftermath

This year I wasn’t in the mood to put up my tree or any decorations so there is no Christmas aftermath. Unfortunately my dishwasher isn’t draining so for the past couple of days I’ve had to wash dishes by hand. I don’t expect someone would be able to come until the new year so I’ll just live with it until then. Yesterday I took out some recycling and 2 bags of garbage down to the chute. There are still the everyday things that need to get done even over Christmas.
I miss the wrapping paper strewn over the carpet, the turkey leftovers, finding tinsel for months afterwards. I was looking at pictures a friend from high school posted and she captured the moment of joy on the faces of her children as they opened their gift. It’s weird how one picture will make me smile and a different picture will make me sad. A line from a friend’s blog yesterday really struck a chord with me because even though it’s many years since my loved ones died sometimes that loss is felt more strongly than other times.
We are soon coming up to a new year. For me that means eating healthier. Not big changes just incorporating more veggies into my diet, exercising more.

Emojis

How appropriate this is for today since I got a message on FB wishing me a Merry Christmas with a Santa, a tree, 3 stars and a “praying emoji”. I don’t get the praying emoji with that perhaps she meant it as thankful??

As other people have written I think it’s just laziness. I can’t remember when I had an actual conversation with this person. We have lost the ability to communicate. We click like on a photo on FB but we don’t actually take the time to send someone an email to ask how they are. I posted a picture of my Christmas card from a public school friend. Even though we are miles apart we communicate more than people who live much closer. She is one of those people where I don’t feel like I have to hold things back from her. My coffee buddy isn’t on social media. We go to a coffee shop or she comes to my place and we spend an hour sharing about work, her Mom, funny stuff that happens in my apartment.

When I was going through all the stress of dealing with my Mom’s estate I used the red faced angry emoji and the poop emoji together. My friend told me “I don’t think I’ve ever seen those 2 emojis used with such emphasis before”. I rarely use emojis but sometimes there are no words for how frustrating some things are. Or the words that I want to say shouldn’t be used in an email!

Candle

When I started this blog post it got me thinking about the different ways that we use candles.

I saw a small clip of this commercial on Entertainment Tonight and sent it to my friend. My friend got me a “winter” scent candle. I’m not really sure what winter smells like but it is nice. A few years ago she gave me one called “Linen” but I haven’t used that one yet. I got groceries delivered yesterday and forgot to add a new lighter to the list. Growing up we never had candles in the house so it’s definitely a different experience having them now. Some days I light it if I cooked something smelly like fish but most of the time it’s for the calming effect.


My friend drew my twin holding a candle. For me it makes me think of lighting the candles on Christmas Eve at church and the candle lighting ceremony at the Twinless Twins conference. They also light candles at the Blue Christmas service in memory of the people that we have lost. A light in the darkness but it’s also remembering the light that they brought into our lives and the lives that they continue to tough with their memory.

Expect to cry

I finally received my Christmas card from my friend today. I almost missed it because the postie had put the card in sideways in the mailbox and I caught a tiny piece of white out of the corner of my eye. Since I was expecting it I knew it must be from her. A special day since I had a lovely lunch with my cousin at my favourite place, had our picture taken and got a hug!

When I got into my apartment I had to shed all my clothing and then sit down and open the card. It’s actually probably the simplest card she has ever drawn but it’s touching in it’s simplicity. I would have included a photo here but the battery on my Ipad is dead and I can’t be bothered hooking up my camera. She drew Janet as an angel and she is in the middle and I’m on the right. I have mentioned how I am usually on the right in photos although I’m sure my friend doesn’t know that. My friend and I are dressed with a hat and coat on and she has a tree in the corner and lights strung on the top. Oh and a mice peeking out of the corner because that is Janet’s trademark. I told my friend about the Holiday Detour that they were having in Downtown this year to promote the Downtown after it had been struggling after all the construction. They had carollers, an LED swing where you can take photos, free hot chocolate. This year I miss Janet more than ever and it was something the 3 of us would have had so much fun going to…I can imagine us going together. I’m also bummed because I haven’t been able to go for a walk yet.

As I am reading the note that she wrote in the card tears are falling down because she talked about how much she misses the traditions. Perhaps that is why she and I connect because although she is surrounded by people that she loves where she is it’s not the same. I shared this morning how I can’t expect people to get it but she has always been someone that does. Obviously we both know that we can’t expect things to remain the same (nothing ever does). But I think we both want to have that feeling.

Next year she will be back in London for Christmas. That is my gift. A drawing in a card and a hug. Neither have monetary value (except for the card) but their worth is as huge as the hug. It makes me feel special, loved. I hold onto those moments until next time.

Expect

I expect if you are in business to treat customers well. Went to Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday and the person “helping” me was not that helpful. What has happened to customer service?

Yesterday I went out for coffee and gift exchange with a friend of mine. In the course of conversation I mentioned writing a blog post in which one of the questions asked what you do for “Christmas Blues”. So I told her “I can’t expect other people to get it”. My friend does because she said some years you have Christmas spirit and some years it takes a little more effort. This is the first year since I moved that I haven’t put up any decorations at all and it’s ok. We also need to allow people to do what is best for them. My grocery person meant well when she told me I still had time but I think people magically expect you to get into the spirit once you put up decorations. I am so thankful for my friend who truly listens.

Gift giving. I spent too much again. I found a gift that I thought my friend could use so I bought it. Last year I gave her a gift card. As I mentioned in a previous post I’m a good gift giver. I expect that “oh my gosh I love it” grin if I have done a good job. It was also something that she thinks is cool but wouldn’t have bought for herself. She gave me a candle so now I’d better use it more often than I do!

I have learned to lower my expectations. My friend is going to help me run some errands on Monday. She always asks when we are out for coffee if I need anything else. Am I eating ok. At the same time I think we have all had those experiences where the people you expect to be there for you…aren’t.

I have a friend that draws a picture in my birthday card and Christmas card. She mailed it out almost a month ago and expected it to be here by now. I’m waiting anxiously for it since I’m curious to see what she drew in my card this year. I have learned to open it at home since it makes me cry. It brings up so many emotions for me. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.

Smile

Last week it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. A mix up with my grocery guy, I couldn’t find any Christmas cards on hand and all my pens were out of ink. I ended up ordering a box from Amazon with a package of Bic pens and a book to read over Christmas. Usually I get a Debbie Macomber book but I bought the book Becoming by Michelle Obama.
I got groceries delivered yesterday and was telling him that I found a few cards in a box but there aren’t any envelopes left. How does that happen? It’s because I buggered up the envelope and then have to use another one. Or you need an envelope for something and you just use that one. “Exactly” I said. If you order something online you can track it so I knew that it was sent out for delivery at 10:30 and we usually get deliveries around 12:30 (like clockwork). I was sitting in front of my computer and get an email notice that it has been delivered. I open the email and there is a picture of my super. Oh my gosh I busted a gut laughing because it’s so goofy. Apparently she couldn’t get the app to open on her phone for a signature so she took his picture for proof of delivery. I kidded his wife one time that there are buildings that charge for the service that they give for free.

Today I’m going out with a long time friend for coffee (or maybe hot chocolate) and gift exchange. There are years where I just get her a gift card because I have no ideas. This year I bought her something after Christmas and then put it away in my linen cupboard. She redid her guest room last year so I bought her a Cinema light box since I thought she could put it on a shelf in the room. Yesterday I was watching The Social and they had a question about spending an equal amount on a gift. It’s tricky because sometimes I do spend a little more on someone if I find something I think they would like. Last year my friend and I had agreed that since I was paying for dinner I wasn’t to buy her a gift. Well I kind of got around that because I bought her partner a gift. I found this really cute coffee mug at Chapters and had to buy it. I don’t have family to buy for and giving gifts is my favourite part of Christmas. Seeing that grin on people’s faces when they open that perfect gift.

I’m so thankful for people that bring laughter into my life. It’s finding the little joys of the season.

Share your world-Christmas Edition

I have been having fun following fellow bloggers questions so I have decided to do this one today.

Do you enjoy receiving Christmas cards through snail mail?
Yes. I have written many posts about how this is a lost art. It’s a little over a week until Christmas and I have only received one. I had to order a box from Amazon because I thought I had a few left but alas I didn’t. My Mom had the best letters. She had a way of telling what we did in the year without bragging. When we got a better printer we would include some photos at the bottom sometimes. I had many people tell me after she died that they were going to miss her letters.

Do you like the taste and/or smell of peppermint?
My Mom used to make chocolate brownies at Christmas and we would crush candy canes to sprinkle on the icing. My great aunt was always given After Eights (chocolates) for Christmas.

What is your least favorite holiday side dish?
Mince meat…ok it’s dessert but it’s yucky

What is the coolest (best) gift you ever gave someone?
I have been told that I am a good gift giver (and my twin was too). My brother got a Wii fit board. 3 years ago I was meeting my friend for Christmas and I made her a photo album with pictures from my trip to Vancouver to visit her. She actually told me “this is the best gift ever”

Bonus question: What is a Christmas song that makes you cringe?
Grandma got run over by a reindeer