Friday, December 31, 2010

A few goals are good too

Because I have been on this job for three years in April, I will be entitled to three weeks vacation this year. One of my goals is actually go on a real vacation this year - leave this area and stay somewhere - as opposed to a staycation - which are nice too. I received some really nice luggage this year for Christmas and I'm itching to use it. I haven't been on a real vacation in more than 10 years (occasional weekends in the big city don't count and I haven't even done one of those in more than a year) so I think it's time for a getaway.
With three weeks, I can plan on a one week vacation in the summer and maybe leave the other two weeks for the fall and spring at home. Ideally, I would love to go to Paris or London and my sweetie is dreaming of Cuba but frankly, even a week in a neighboring province would be great at this point.
Since September, I've been saving my extra income in a separate account in a different bank so it doesn't end up going towards mundane things like bills. So far, I have $880 saved and really should have more but with Christmas, oil bills and a few annual bills due at this time of year, I'm happy to have that amount.

Just one resolution

I am making just one resolution this year but I do think it will apply to just about every facet of my life.
Become more disciplined.
That's it. But really, what else do you need?
If you're disciplined, you will stay exercising and eating better, even when it seems neither are working. Eventually it will work - different people need different times. If you are disciplined, you won't buy everything in sight and leave yourself short. Instead, you will save and pay your bills off. You will do your job to the best of your ability and not whine when things don't go your way - after all, life is unfair and quite often, there's really nothing we can do about what others do - but we do have control over ourselves. So this year, I will keep exercising, eating more fruit, vegetables and green tea (which I actually prefer over black now), save more, shop less, help others more, practise and write more - because all of this will benefit me in the end.
And you gotta like that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas All!

Of course, I do everything backwards - the Christmas greeting arrives after I hit the Boxing Day sales - but I do hope everyone has a pleasant and peace holiday season.

T'was the day after Christmas

T'was the day after Christmas
and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
because they were stuffed and couldn't move...

And that just about sums it up here this Christmas. Two turkey dinners and too many calories yesterday and today, hitting Shoppers and Lawtons for the after Christmas chocolate and gift set deals. Yep, buying the half-price chocolate after Christmas is something of a tradition here and this year, I did hit the jackpot with lotsa Lindt, discount Toblerone and even a box of my favorite Golden BonBon nougats. I don't know if nougat freezes (it never lasts that long here) but most of the chocolate will be frozen for nibbling through the year. I also got some great gift sets in stuff I actually use - Aveeno, Nivea and Vitabath - so I'm supplied for quite a while. I even got a box of Walkers Shortbread.
But no tea! Nor coffee, which seemed a little strange. No pretty gift sets with new teas to try although I did score a pink rose tea for one set at Shoppers and I received a Twinnings tea and toast set for Christmas, complete with a metal toast rack, egg cups and a bamboo tray, which I really wanted. Still, there's always tomorrow ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Goodie Order!

And what's better than a working phone and internet? The annual Christmas goodie order! Not overly extravagant this year but fun anyway. Here it is:
1. two sticks of salami.
2. deli roast beef for sandwiches.
3. french bread
4. honey dijon mustard
5. Liberte cream cheese
6. Liberte full cream mediterrean yogurt with cherrie
7. a fruit bread
8. litre of Scotsburn eggnog
9. Scotsburn's hoofprints ice cream (rich vanilla with chocolate caramel cups)
10. several bottles of diet root beer, white pop and cola
11. bacon wrapped filet mignons
12. shrimp rings
13. bacon wrapped scallops
14. apple pie
15. potatoes, carrots, stuff for salads
16. clementines, grapes, blueberries, various juices
17. honey garlic chicken wings
18. Italian meatballs
19. turkey
20. potato chips

With the exceptions of the steaks and scallops, nothing too expensive or out of the ordinary but a lot of this stuff, I don't normally eat. I love it and it loves my hips and blood pressure right back.
All this shopping for rich food is making me crave a nice cup of Earl Grey decaf or even some Candy Cane Lane by Celestial Seasonings.
Bon appetit!

T'was the week before Christmas ...Part 2

I went Christmas shopping this afternoon - gifts for my sweetie and the annual goodie order - and when I came home, THE PHONE WAS WORKING!!!!!
So I er, ahem, edited my last post slightly. Maybe I was a little harsh - but it's working now and it appears as though someone heard my rant! Thank you!

T'was the week before Christmas ...

...And all through the house, not a thing was stirring - since the phone and internet don't work.
We had a bad rain storm here this week - close to 200 mm of rain in 48 hours.As you can imagine, that caused all sort of problems including losing my phone and internet service on Tuesday night. Called Bell Aliant from work on Wednesday and they said others in my area were without service too but if that wasn't it, they'd come on Saturday to fix it.
Then they announced Thursday through a press release that all phone service had been restored in the area.
Funny, my phone still wasn't working. And they're saying all service has been restored? Hmmmmm.
Called them Thursday again and they said they were in the area and making the actual repairs while we were speaking. And if that didn't work, they'd come on Saturday, between 8 am and 6 pm to repair it.
Guess what? Not only was it not repaired on Thursday, they did not show up on Saturday. At all.On the Saturday before Christmas when I had a ton of things to get - I spent at home, waiting for someone to show up who never did. Am I steamed? Oh yeah.
However, the internet is working - somewhat. My phone is still dead though. I'll call again on Monday from work.
And this time, I plan to not be polite.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tea things

I admit I am a sucker for anything "tea." Cups, accessories, teapots - as long as it's tea-related, I want it. Today, a friend invited me over to her house for a Christmas tea, and as usual, I left wanting some new things!
She served a wonderful lunch, including egg salad sandwiches, which are my favorite. For the first time, I tried pannetone (which I probably have the wrong spelling), an Italian fruit bread, and yes, tomorrow, I plan to visit the grocery store to pick one up; tasty little cookies that I got the recipe for and plan to make and a piece of Collins Street Texas fruit cake - and oh, how I am tempted to order one! Best fruit cake I've ever tried. Everything was so good. But she also went "tea" in a Christmas present she gave me - a teapot ornament. It's my first one and believe it or not, for once, I actually loved getting a Christmas decoration for a present. Of course, the fact that I can leave it on display all year helps too - it's blown glass with hand-painted flowers - so pretty! She also gave me some Stash Christmas Morning tea and some soap made with tea so I'll be trying that this week!
I gave her a personal sized tsetsubin which I think (hope) she wanted.
All in all, it was a pretty nice way to spend a chilly Saturday before Christmas. Tea (orange spice, always nice), friends, presents, yummy food .... who could want for more?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday favs

And after that depressing post, I've decided to write my annual favorite foods of Christmas entry - just so you'll know I'm not completely in the dumps.
1. Bigelow Eggnoggin Tea - Can't get it in Maritime Canada so thank goodness for Canada Post. Imagine tea flavored with rich eggnog but with no calories. Yeah!
2. Eggnog coffee from the Second Cup - I love this stuff even if it does disagree with me.
3. Red and white striped holiday mints
4. Purdy's Marzipan bars covered in dark chocolate
5. Garlic Pepper and Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jellies from The Galloping Cows. Sounds bizarre but it's soooo good, especially with a bit of cream cheese on crackers.
6. Clementines and pink grapefruit - probably my favorite fruits of all and the ones I absolutely can't have anymore - ever since I gave up citrus, I've had no acid reflux problems - sigh.
7. Filet Mignon steaks wrapped in bacon from M&M Meats - we had these last year and they're now our newest tradition.
8. cheese trays - I always have to try a bunch of new cheeses during the holidays.
9. shortbread cookies - and they have to be homemade. Oh my.
10. appetizers - it seems like shrimp platters and those cute little appetizers only show up during holiday parties but I could eat 'em all year long.

No snow here!

With the exception of a small storm a while back that melted within days, it's been pretty peaceful here weatherwise. It's about 50 F (10 C) here today and misting - more like a day in late October or November. I've been out running errands and managed to avoid the pre-Christmas Saturday shopping frenzy - it's hard to feel festive when you're buying recycling bags. But now that I'm home, I'm debating whether to bake a Christmas stollen or do some decorating.
I've already decorated a bit but there's no tree up yet. Part of me really doesn't feel like putting up one this year. We don't entertain and dearest isn't into it at all. I'm really only putting it up for myself and I don't know if, for me, it's worth all the effort. The decorating isn't an effort but all the cleanup and moving of furniture and stuff before and then taking it down afterwards is a chore. Yet, I do like Christmas trees - I'm really happy with the one at work this year - it's so pretty! I could put up a smaller tree - but it's not the same.
I sort of have the same feelings towards baking. I love baked goods but I am trying to cut back for dietary and health reasons. It's a lot of effort but I think I'd miss Christmas treats much sooner than a tree. Of course, I could buy them but they're never as good.
As you can tell, I am thinking about very important issues here! Seriously though, has anyone ever pulled back from the usual holiday stuff simply because they couldn't be bothered to spare the effort? I'm not lazy nor depressed - just reconsidering my usual efforts.
I'm drinking decaf coffee today - Artisans Butter Caramel - which isn't bad stuff. Of course, the shot of caramel syrup doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The not-so-good side of tea

I had a little mishap yesterday. I was making a pot of Upton's Christmas Blend when my hand jerked and I ended up spilling a teapot full of hot water over my right hand.
On the bright side, I now know ointment really does soothe a minor burn. The bad side is that I have two really tingly fingers that I use the most on the hand I use the most.
And a new-found appreciation for the dangers of boiling water.
I'll be using the Keurig a lot over the next few days!