22 December, 2007

Mayhem and Peace

At our last staff meeting of the year one of the senior staff made a wonderful speech about how much she appreciated the team. It wasn't Bill Clinton, but it was genuine and heartfelt. It beat any other Christmas greeting this year.

In the holiday madness and stress so much gets lost. Not necessarily the spiritual or religious aspect (although, if that is important to you I can see the reason for the lamentation), but the important bits that make the holidays special. We get caught up in shopping, wrapping, baking, visiting, partying, making, and decorating. We give ourselves so much stress to get things done.

I'll be honest, and you can hate me now, I gave up on that years ago. What gets done gets done. This goes for shopping, baking, decorating, everything. And I can honestly say that I am happier for it. It is almost zen like. If I feel like baking, I do. If I feel like making a gift, I do. If I don't feel like shopping, I won't go.

Hubby and I decided years ago what are the important things to us. We make sure to do those things and if nothing else happens then so be it. So, for us, it means going out to chop our tree. It means Christmas morning piled into bed - all together - for presents and Christmas Tree Bun. It means visiting with friends over ice skating or tobagganing. I can do without Christmas cards, turkey dinner, and even gifts.

Today we chopped down our tree and we will decorate it tonight. I can't wait to see the Monster's eyes when she sees it all lit up. Santa dropped off his gifts for her early so all that is left is to stuff her quilted stocking. I have to make the Christmas Tree Bun and honey butter still, but if we order chinese for dinner that works just fine.

I know, it seems hard to break the expectations of family, friends, society, and ourselves. But think about how much more welcome a card for Valentine's Day would be over one of many at Christmas. Think about the relaxed gathering of friends you could have at the end of January when the rush is over and people are ready to socialize again. All people really need to know is that you think about them and care. A well placed hug and some kind words are the best present at any time of year. Thinking of you all.

09 December, 2007

Circle Mama

Sometimes you just need to take the time for yourself. And sometimes you need to take the time to go to the dentist. I did both today. With a doctor's appointment, a date with dentist for a crown, and the impending childcare crisis I took the day off work. All those things dealt with (minus an appropriate daycare, still), I did sleep in a little, grab a workout, and finish a quilt.

I call this one 'Circle Mama'. It is my plan to use this as a class sample - once I convince a store to let me teach! I tried all manners of creating and attaching the circles, including templates, fusing, dryer sheets, aluminum foil and a hot iron, and on and on. There is a clear winner, in my mind. Expect a tutorial soon.

Finishing this was a good end to the weekend. Okay, it was a few days after the weekend and I did work those two days, but in my mind this was a mini weekend day. The real weekend was wonderful too. Hubby came home on Friday night from two weeks working up North. That meant I spent some valuable time by myself, sans Monster, on Saturday. After a family trip to the market for groceries I took a long walk in the cold, grabbed a pedicure, and did some junk store shopping. And of course I HAD to let my toes dry for an hour while I chatted and read at the nail shoppe. Sunday we ate blintzes for brunch and walked the dogs. It doesn't get any more domestic than that.

Now to end my day on the perfect note I think I will curl up with my book and a cup of hot cocoa with mini marshmallows.

06 December, 2007

Grapefruits, key limes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup

Could you live without these things? I, for one, could not. If I were to ascribe to the 100 Mile Diet I would have to forgoe these items. Okay, maybe someone in Alberta has a freakish sugar bush and could get me some maple syrup? Hmm, I doubt that. If I were to get really strict about it then I would also have to give up peaches, plums, grapes, melon, nectarines, wine (not made from fruit), chocolate, and so much more.
Why would anyone do this, you ask?

There is a tremendous amount of energy involved in the production - and the shipping - of food. Bananas don't grow in Canada! Being an inherent environmentalist and having the environment as a career means that I think about these things, and often. Hubby and I also do what we can to buy from local, rather than chain stores, Canadian rather than American suppliers, homemade or scratch rather than processed. These are social, environmental, and just plain taste decisions we make. No, I'm not some granola mom. I wear leather, I drive to work, and our computer is on all the time. But food, that is my thing and you better not mess with my food (or its budget)!

All of these things combined made me very excited when a colleague forwarded me a wonderful file - the 280 Mile diet for Calgary (where I live). Okay, so the author expanded the boundaries, but it means more fruit options than crabapples and saskatoon berries, wine, and even salt. And I could still have a great steak. Email me if you want to see the document, I haven't got posting docs down yet on Blogger.

It wouldn't be impossible to live on the 100 mile diet and eat well in Alberta. I found a great blog of people doing just that in my home town. I'm just not sure I could live without my peaches, olive oil... and oh, chocolate!