Dan is back to work for another round of shifts. The damp cloudy weather isn’t helping me feel better today but I will get some work done around the house. I have to make Kat some fresh food, clean the glass shower doors and work on the kids room. That should fill my day. I did put my plants outside earlier and took a bit of a tour around the yard.
I do not try a lot of Facebook hacks. Some of them are questionable, some of them are useless, and some of them just require more effort than I am willing to invest.
There are some hacks that sound like the perfect answer to one of life’s problems. Those, I try.
A few weeks ago, our bathroom sink was not draining particularly well. I remembered seeing a post on Facebook about pouring baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. It worked like magic. Our bathroom sink drained like a darn!
Today, our kitchen sink was draining rather sluggishly. I dumped in the the baking soda, poured in the vinegar, and it plugged solid. No idea if I used too much baking soda, not enough vinegar, or if the two reacted with grease in the pipes – but it plugged solid.
I did what any intelligent woman would do if her husband was in the next room. I snuck to the bathroom, grabbed the toilet plunger, filled the kitchen sink with super hot water and plunged the heck out of it. That worked. The sink drained. I scrubbed it down with bleach cleanser and it is good as new.
I can’t say as much for the toilet plunger. In my enthusiasm , I tore a big hole in the rubber plungy part. I rinsed it off and snuck it back into the bathroom. Now I have to wait until Dan goes to use it, knowing I am going to have to convince him that he must have wrecked it the last time he used it – because I would never plunge a toilet.
Another Saturday out shopping with my husband. We went out to The Barley Mill for one of my favourite lunches.
We were kind of, sort of celebrating. Evraz North America got hit by a data ransom attack so the company is basically on shut down until everything gets resolved. All of the employees who work in the steel plants and pipe mills are laid off. At this point, Dan is supposed to be laid off for three weeks.
Obviously this is bad news for the business, owners and shareholders. This is bad news for the IT department and management who has to deal with this fiasco. This is terrible news for the younger employees who have home mortgages and vehicle loans to pay and families to support. I feel for all of them.
But Dan & I are fine. Our humble little house is mortgage free, we have one small vehicle loan, we have emergency funds and I am still working. My paycheque will cover our monthly bills and keep food on the table. For Dan and I this is sort of a minor inconvenience – which is more than offset by the fact that Dan is home for three weeks. Whoo hoo!!!💃🕺
For three weeks we get to keep regular hours, eat regular home cooked meals and spend quality time together. I have been busy creating a honey-do list. Dan has been busy buying beer and booking rounds of golf.
This morning, I happened upon a blog that listed a number of thought provoking question. One of the questions was “Do you follow the ten commandments?”
The ten commandments are pretty basic to decent human behaviour – so yes, I generally follow the ten commandments. (Nobody is perfect). I kept thinking about this. I know why I follow the commandments. They make sense. They are the foundation of a constructive life. If I did not follow the commandments, my life would be in chaos. I would be filled with guilt, in trouble with the courts, lose my job, I would drive away friends and family – there would be constant negative consequences.
I was taught the ten commandments by the time I was three years old. Even then, I am pretty sure I could understand the consequences of murder, lying and stealing or the benefit of honoring one’s parents or setting aside one day a week to honor life and creation.
What I can’t understand, is why the powers that be felt it necessary to teach me that if I broke the commandments, God would smite me down and I would spend eternity burning in hell. Seems kind of overkill for anything a tot might be capable of.
There are 100 more business days until I retire. Whoo hoo!
I am retiring at the end of July, the best time of the year in Saskatchewan. The flowers will be blooming, the sun will be shining, the birds will be singing and I will be free to enjoy it all😊
As much as I have enjoyed the challenges of my career, I am looking forward to being free of the stress of deadlines and profit margins and tracking endless details. 🤑
I am looking forward to having free time to read and write, cook and clean, walk the dog and putter in my garden. I am looking forward to having time to visit my sisters and meet new friends. I can’t wait to have FREE time. 🕰️
I am so looking forward to freedom! Only 100 more business days and I will be free to start a new chapter in my life. The closer I get, the better it looks. 🥳
Today is the International day of hugs. I have to admit, I am not the most touchy feely person and I am rattled more than a little when someone spontaneously hugs me, especially if it is someone I have just met or someone I do not know very well. Occasionally, someone will ask if it would be ok to hug me. I generally agree although there have been times when I have just declined with a simple “No, I’m good”. Actually it was one time and he was a pre-plan funeral salesman. It was just wierd.
Despite my reluctance to hug willy-nilly, there have been a number of studies that have shown that hugging has potential benefits – physically and emotionally. Newborns, are known to thrive when the they are hugged, compared to those who are deprived of such physical interaction. The same theory must also be popular with seniors. I am pretty sure one of the prerequisites for working in a nursing home is the ability to pass around hugs like hard candies – which is another story of mine altogether.
I honestly do admire people who are capable of giving out spontaneous hugs to anyone in their immediate vicinity. I had a brother-in-law who gave the best bear hugs. He was an amazing man with a big heart and a total joie de vivre. Unfortunately, he died in a vehicle accident many years ago. The likes of Paul are few and far between. My kids are all good and natural huggers but they are all a little cautious about who they hug. My grandchildren hug anybody, their friends are huggers, it is somewhat of a ‘thing’ with the lot of them.
Happy ‘International Day of Hugs’! It is only one day of the year, make the most of it. Hug your mother, your friend, your sister, or your dog. Hug a stranger – but like not me. I’m good🤗
Tonight I watched the news with my husband. I generally avoid watching our news as it tends to focus on politicians, social issues that are never resolved and news that never happened. Our newscasters once interviewed a golfer who did not get hit by lightning during a storm. That was special. We also heard of Regina’s connection to the Concord that crashed years ago. Fyi – there was no connection. That was the story. 🙄
One of our news segments tonight was looking back at the top five news stories in Saskatchewan in 2019. I do not know who chose these stories but for what it is worth, here we go.
1. Fighting the federal carbon tax. For the record, our premier argues against anything the federal government proposes. Personally, if the carbon tax cost us anything this past year, it was not noticeable and we got a rebate of about $750.00 on our taxes last year to cover it. We spent it on a new patio set.
2. Federal Election. It was painful to watch but ultimately hardly newsworthy.
3. Saskatchewan farmers terrible season. I don’t remember a year when that one did not make the top five news stories for the year.
4. Regina Bypass Opens. Government spends billions to solve a problem that could have been solved with a couple of traffic lights – but it would not have been nearly as impressive. 🤷
5. Mac the Moose from Moose Jaw received a new rack to regain his title as tallest moose in the world after a moose sculpture from Norway took him down.
Personally, I would not have rated all, or probably any, of these stories as top newsmakers in 2019. Regardless, I do think these choices reveal something. In Saskatchewan we are blessed. We see news from around the globe – news of devastating floods, fires, famine and violence and it is unimaginable to us .
In Saskatchewan, we have social issues and there are personal tragedies that affect families and communities, but as a whole, we live in relative peace and security. That should be noted this year and every year – noted and appreciated.
I grew up in a French Catholic home. Religion was a part of our lives every day but even more so at Christmas. For weeks before Christmas, we were put into super drive preparing for the big day. We scrubbed our home from top to bottom, cooked and baked, shopped and wrapped, we prepared for our school Christmas concert (which centred around the Nativity story in those day), we decorated our home and of course we attended choir practice and church services six ways to Sunday. My older, married sisters would arrive with husbands and children and gifts.
By the big day, we were ready for the MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS🎁🎄🎆
And then, my mother would crash and burn. The exhaustion and the stress of weeks of preparation, topped off with a couple of hours at midnight mass, would finally get the best of her. By noon, Mother would be in full meltdown, babies would start to cry, men would start to drink, sisters would start to fight. No Christmas miracles in our home, just bitter disappointment and the obligatory Christmas pictures to prove that we had the happiest of times🙄. By supper, we had all thrown in the towel and spent the evening working at jigsaw puzzles and playing cards.
Once I had my own family, I pretty much carried on the same tradition with a few extra perks thrown in. Christmas in our home was never done until someone had the flu or a case of pneumonia. The epitome had to be the year Danny puked on the Christmas tree. That was a classic. The year my Dad died days before Christmas was memorable. I was almost ready to give up on the MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS by 2003. That was the year our precious Genie was born. We left the hospital at 3:30pm on Christmas Eve with love and joy in our hearts. We were so close. We got home to find that my Mother had decided to place a box of chocolates under the Christmas tree, inspite of our asking her repeatedly not to do that, inspite of our moving them sixteen times. She had no idea our dog would eat them. Good grief! What dog wouldn’t eat them? Really hard to hold onto the Christmas spirit, when you are sitting in the vet’s office on Christmas Eve. 🤦
My family grew up, in spite of our annual Christmas debacles. They all have children of their own and their own Christmas stories to tell. For many years we have been going to my daughter’s for Christmas. I have powered through shopping for gifts and food, while my husband kept a running total of the cost. I went to Christmas concerts, which always seem to be held on December 17th 😢. My daughter would bake and clean. We were always ready for a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE that never quite made it. There was tears, disappointment, arguments, melt downs, way to much noise and just downright unChristmassy behaviour – but we kept powering through and I kept doing my damnedest to aim for a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
This year my sons are with their in-laws, my husband is at work, my daughter is at her home with her family and we are not there because she has shut me out of her life and banned me from seeing my grandchildren. My father and mother are both gone. I am alone for Christmas Day. I went into this season with no expectations or hope of making this the year of the CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
Honestly, I am having the best Christmas ever. My sister and her husband were here for an overnight visit a few days ago. We sent out for pizza and had wine. So nice. My sons are coming with their families on the weekend. I have done a bit of baking – some good, some not so much, but whatever. It was Christmassy. Genie’s stepfather dropped her off for a quick visit on the 23rd. She brought us some gifts she had made for us. There were a lot of tears but it was all good. I cooked a ham last night, destroyed the scalloped potatoes but the broccoli was great. After supper, we opened presents. We cried over Genie’s. They were so special. She painted us a picture and wrote a book for Grandpa, telling him how much he meant to her. She gave me a sparkling elephant pin. Today I made myself Pillsbury cinnamon buns for breakfast. I have a turkey in the oven for when Dan gets home from work. I am relaxing by my new fireplace, ready to start doing a jigsaw puzzle. I am happy, at peace, and full of love and good wishes for my family – all of my family. I feel really good. This is is the year of my CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
The thing is, you can’t make miracles happen. You can’t force them or fake them. Miracles just happen when you let them🕊️
Having spent a good part of my life dealing with stress, I have had ample time figuring out what works, and what does not work for me. These are some of my favourite stress relievers.
1. Nature. There is nothing as calming and perfect as nature for dealing with stress. In Saskatchewan, it is too frigid for a good portion of the year to get warm and fuzzy in the great outdoors. During these times I get my nature fix by going through pictures of nature – mine, those on social media, or even via Google Earth. I also tend to give my houseplants a little more TLC in the winter, just to spend time around something living and green.
2. Positive Affirmations. I keep a journal where I write out positive affirmations every morning. At night, I make a point of sending some special thoughts to any particular challenges I have coming up the next day. Both exercises tend to give me a feeling of control and a positive focus.
3. Deal With It. If I feel myself getting stressed over something I try to deal with it asap. I make the worst call of the day, deal with the most difficult file, go through the most challenging task as early as possible in the day. Once that is over, the rest of the day is easy. I try to tackle any stressful situation in the same manner. I hate personal or medical appointments. Last summer I was seriously behind in that department so I booked up the early days of my summer holiday. In three days I saw my doctor, dentist and optometrist, I got my hair cut, my nails done and my eyebrows trimmed, finally as an added bonus I took my dog to the vet to get her checkup and shots. The rest of my holiday was my best ever!
4. Own The Stress. When I start feeling stressed out, I try to find ways to make myself feel better and relieve my stress. I take a walk, do breathing exercises and meditation, practice yoga, or take a bath. I work on getting plenty of rest and make sure I am getting a healthy diet – particularly cutting back on salt, sugar, and caffeine.
5. Stretch My Safety Zone. I got this bit of advice from an article I read years ago. It said, (I am paraphrasing) “You will always feel discomfort when you are expanding your safety zone, but if you keep retracting back into your safety zone to avoid the discomfort, you will ultimately end up curled up in your bed watching your life go by. If you ignore the discomfort and keep pushing your limits, your safety zone will expand and your life with it.” Great advice! I welcome that feeling of discomfort now as I recognize it as a good sign.
6. Tidy Up. Clutter and mess does nothing to calm my frayed nerves. When I am stressed, I love to get neat and organized, whether I am at home or at work. The activity helps burn off nervous energy and having a clean and orderly space just makes me feel better.
7. Mental Exercise. There is a scientific reasoning behind this – if you are particularly stressed (emotional) you can calm yourself by focusing on a mental exercise. I use this one if I am waiting for a meeting, appointment or stuck in traffic. It works like a charm
These methods of stress relief work for me. I hope if you are stressed out, you will try them. And I hope that you will share any methods that work well for you!