Thursday, December 31, 2009


There, I said it. This has been the loneliest, most UN-Christmas-y holiday I can remember having. I have tried (and failed miserably for the most part) to fake it till I made it for my partner's sake (and my mother's, because I know it bothers her to know I'm unhappy this time of year), but to no avail. I think the stats speak for themselves:

Number of friends/family seen: 0
Number of parties/get togethers attended: 0
Number of Christmas activities participated in: 1 (Candlelight service with my partner on Christmas Eve in the hopes of gaining an infusion of Christmas spirit and good cheer and fighting off the demons of loneliness and depression...which feeling like a total outsider at the church did nothing to alleviate)
Level of Christmas spirit achieved: next to none, and sporadic at best (maybe I spent it all up in October when I was buying and wrapping gifts?)

I am actually at the point where I am totally disillusioned with the whole thing this year. I am ashamed to admit it, but I spent 80% of my time this holiday season sitting around feeling sorry for myself (either alone or with my live-in partner...who is the only other person I've seen this Christmas other than my chiropractor and his secretary) and stuffing my face with junk food (totally counterproductive to becoming more healthy and fit). The other 20% was spent roaming the stores and spending money on things we probably could have mostly done without. I have spent hours on facebook looking at other people's holiday snapshots and feeling glad for them, but lonelier myself and more than a tad jealous I'm sad to say.

Today I was tempted to just pull the covers over my head and stay in bed until tomorrow this time, but I guess there is one last chance to redeem Christmas/New Year's 2009 tonight. We shall see what happens...

I am honestly not sorry to see 2009 go at this point. I guess there must have been some highlights throughout the year worth remembering and mentioning, but I'll be damned if I can conjure them up right now with this storm cloud hanging over my head. The only one that comes to mind at the moment is my musical theatre debut, which was an awesome experience in many ways. Other than that, this year has brought me a lot of anguish and uncertainty and a huge mess to sort out in 2010.

So, in lieu of listing all my Resolutions that may or may not be adhered to in the New Year, I will simply say that it is my wish for it to bring much peace, love, happiness, and success to everyone around me. And for myself...well, a little clarity and forward momentum in all areas would certainly not go astray...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conversations at Christmas

Brother: So Mom was saying she can't figure out what you gave her for Christmas.

Me: What do you mean?

Brother: Yeah, she said she doesn't understand because all she got was a Bounty bar wrapped up in paper towels in a little box...

Me: Oh my! Don't tell me [the stepdad] forgot to put her gift under the tree! Didn't he tell her what was going on?

Brother: No, I don't think so...she said she looked all over the place to see if she misplaced her gift when she unpacked the parcel, but she couldn't find anything.

Me: Great.

(ring, picks up...)

Me: Hi. So did you figure out what your Christmas gift was yet?

Mom: No...I was sitting there watching [the stepdad] open his gifts thinking, "well I must have been a really bad Mom this year"

Me: Put your husband on the phone please...

(Stepfather picks up)

Me: Ummmm did you not think it was a little odd when you were sitting there opening your gifts from us that all Mom had was a bar?

Stepfather: Yeah, I thought it was a bit strange. I helped her look all over the house though and we couldn't find any other presents, and she looked in here too (his parents house) figuring maybe she sent it in by accident but there's nothing here....

Me: Where is the gift certificate your sister picked up for me back in November? You were supposed to put it under the tree?!?!?

Stepfather: (laughing very hard) Oh, s#&*! Well, that's a good one...I forgot all about that! (calling over his shoulder) I know where your gift is! I'll get it for you when we go home! (hahaha)

Me: SIGH...put Mom back on the phone...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a man who hides various cards all around the house, forgets, picks up more, and then finds them the following year when he is looking to stash a new set, forgot to put something he didn't purchase under the tree for someone else. The sad thing is that not only did my stepfather completely forget our conversation about how I was going to send that bar in wrapping paper as a decoy and help Mom look for her missing gift, but when they were visiting his family (who all knew what her gift was), she told them about her confusion and not ONE of them piped up and told her the difference because it didn't dawn on ANY of them!

Ah well, I'm not sure what that says about their memories (or lack of), but it makes for some good comic relief anyway...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Classics

A quick update, and then on to the good stuff...

Canada Post pulled it off by the skin of their teeth and my family got the rest of their presents and cards. Again - PHEW! The surprise wedding gift went over well - I put together a brochure for a mini-honeymoon and had a gift certificate sent out from The Leaside Manor in St. John's. Apparently I timed it perfectly...the only thing is, they got the certificate in the morning and had to go back to the post office later in the day to get their parcel because they hadn't been sorted yet when they made their ritual daily trip to pick up the mail. Of course, all that did was provide a little mystery and intrigue (since it was unsigned) before the brochure arrived to set things straight so it's all good. My brother and his girlfriend are going to chip in and pay for whatever dining and entertainment or relaxation options they select from the brochure as well, so it should be a good time for them (and I'm quite happy with myself for having such a bright idea in the first place :D).

Ok, so my partner and I have been in the midst of our annual Christmas DVD marathon for the past few days and I figured I would scour You Tube for some clips of our favourites to share on here (in no particular order)


1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the original is my fave, but I guess the updated Jim Carrey version is ok too)

2. A Muppet Family Christmas

(the Fraggles sing "Pass it On" about 3 minutes in)

3. A Muppet Christmas Carol

4. Rudolph


1. The Nutcracker (live...not on DVD...and we don't get to see it this year :()

2. Scrooge

3. It's A Wonderful Life

Oh, and FYI, the only Christmas movie I can honestly say I can't stand (although I've never been able to sit through the whole thing because that kid with the glasses annoys the crap out of me):

A Christmas Story (Blech!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 Days to Christmas

I finally received the parcel containing all our Christmas gifts yesterday (after getting two expressed ones with cakes, homemade white and raisin bread and Rodrigues blueberry wine - YUM! Thank you mommy :D). Phew! However, the jury is still out on whether my mother will get the one I sent her on the 7th (with the rest of their presents in it) on time :s I have been dying with anticipation for them to get theirs because there is a surprise for my parents in there. I cannot divulge any more information than that until they have opened it, but I am uber excited for their reactions!

Our Christmas plans for this year seem to be tanking...the aunt and uncle living on the lower mainland decided to spend the holidays on the Rock, the annual invite for Christmas dinner hasn't come through yet (we bought our own holiday grub for a quiet dinner at home to be safe) and we just can't seem to make a trip to Alberta to see a couple of friends (which requires 9 hours of driving each way) work time wise. We have been invited to a New Year's Eve pajama party, however (which I am hoping is not a code name for 'orgy' ha ha), so that could be interesting if we decide to go.

My significant other found some frozen dough at the grocery store last week, so we made toutons over the weekend (or tiffins, if you are from Central/Bonavista Bay and possibly other parts of the province). A little taste of home (sort of) before the holidays. Fish and brewis will be on the menu at some point as well. Not exactly heart - or waistline - healthy fare, but 'some shockin good' nonetheless. However, I am feeling a little guilty for eating Lindor chocolates with my breakfast today, followed by a mid-morning snack of Ferrero Rochers. That was perhaps a bit too decadent. I shudder to think what the scale has in store for me after the holidays! ...aaaaaand I just provided myself with the motivation to work out when I finish writing this!

I also took the time to mosey over to Product of Newfoundland earlier and discovered some links and videos in regard to mummering. I was actually searching for some of this stuff online a few years ago to show some people here and was unable to find what I was looking for (of course, I was also not familiar with You Tube at that point).

Anyway...about mummering...the last time I remember seeing real live mummers was when I was in high school. It was a nice, quiet night at my house that was suddenly disrupted by loud knocking at the door. My step-dad answered and found two mummers (looking a tad like distorted shepherds or wise men) on the doorstep. My parents were delighted and we all went downstairs, plying them with chocolates and other treats and trying to figure out who they were. Since they were a little on the "slight" side in build, my stepfather made sure to ask them if they were legal before offering drinks. They assured him they were and so he poured up some rum. It turned out they were a couple of grade 12 guys from my high school (who may or may not have been drinking age), which was a little awkward for the teenaged me at the time of unveiling, but had been great fun otherwise. Come to think of it, that was probably the only close encounter with mummers that I can remember. How sad is that? Although, I do recall seeing pictures of family members mummering in years gone by and it looked like they had a ton of fun...and apparently last year my oldest aunt saw fit to dress up and visit her sisters (or was that for Halloween?). If I wasn't aware of her youthful spirit and thirst for mischief, I might have been worried about Alzheimer's or other aspects of her it is, I am just sorry I missed it - according to my mother she actually managed to fool my nan (her mother) and everyone had a good laugh afterwards (I wonder how many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians actually still take part in that particular tradition?).

So, for your enjoyment, entertainment, or education, I give to you:

...which is taken from:

The Mummer's Show/Fortune Bay Christmas , which is a Land and Sea Newfoundland classic (side note: I have stumbled upon various Land and Sea programs from time to time on the tube up here and man do they ever make me well up with homesickness).

I am also including this little tidbit which, according to Robert at Product of Newfoundland, was tres popular but somehow missed my inbox, because I think it's worth a listen:

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And No Sooner Had She Said the Words...

OK seriously, it was a bit much it is just downright ridiculous. The phone and Internet were down again all day yesterday. The phone miraculously came back today and the Internet followed suit tonight. I am keeping my fingers crossed they will stay up and running until we make the switch at the end of the month and am hoping with all my might that we will have reliable service again then...

On the upside, there are only 10 days left until Christmas (well, 9 I guess if you consider that this one is almost gone). However, my Christmas spirit seems to be on the fritz again this year. I am not the Grinchy type, so perhaps it is the absence of family that makes it a little harder...or maybe it is just not close enough to the day in question for the holly jollies to kick in for me - who knows. For now they come and go and I will say again: It's a good thing my partner has enough holiday spirit for the two of us!

OOOh I almost forgot...I got two bundles of cheer in the mail yesterday - one from a very dear friend and one from my momma containing Christmas cakes and other goodies. Yes, I admit that I am very much spoiled (and it's some good, too)!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back in Touch

I just finished posting two entries I had previously started and am now posting an update that covers what's been going on since then...

So, as previously noted, I've been disconnected from the world for a bit. Things are finally coming together at the new place (between sickness and work and a couple of days out of town, not a lot has been happening except on the weekends) and after a long and frustrating battle with phone and cable companies, we have been finally been hooked back up.

It all started back on the 29th...I called in to request that our services all be moved to the new address and, seeing how it was a little more last minute than we had intended, expected that it would probably be a few days' wait until everything was up and running. I was surprised on two counts...

Firstly, I was pleased to be informed by the phone company that the move would be implemented the following day and we would be good to go right away. Secondly, the cable company said we would have to wait until the 8th to get our service transferred, which I found kind of irritating and disappointing.

Of course, as it turned out, there were several problems with the phone company while the cable crew stayed true to their word. When we awoke on the 30th to find that the phone was cut at our old apartment, we assumed it had been reconnected at our new one, as per the information we were given. Not so. We waited until Monday afternoon(December 1st) and when there was still no service, I called to inquire as to what was going on. Long story short, 11 days later, after several phone calls and countless hours on the phone with customer service repeating the same information and detailing the problem over and over and over again, a tech was finally dispatched to our place and rewired our jacks because he couldn't figure out what was wrong and we got a dial tone. Apparently, while our phone was down, people had been calling and leaving messages on our voicemail and assuming that we weren't returning their calls and our mailbox, since we couldn't access it at all, was full. Great. Meaning that anyone who called after those first 10 messages was not able to leave us a message and our phone - which wasn't connected - was unable to pick up their phone numbers on the display. Let's hope we didn't miss anything too important! Anyway, thinking that would solve the problem, we were very excited to try the Internet again and very annoyed when it still did not work.....which meant yet another round of calls to the phone company by me. SIGH....

Then next day, all necessary lights were illuminated on our modem and we gave it another go. A self set up screen popped up and I attempted to go through the steps...but got a message telling me it wasn't set up properly. However, I was - and am - still able to get online through our home network and so that's all that matters to me at this point.

We decided after all of this inconvenience and shoddy service that we are going to switch our phone and Internet service to the cable company, which will take effect on the 30th I am told. Financially, this will save us somewhere in the neighbourhood of $40 a month (with the bundle savings, downgrading the long distance plan I have been paying for and not using up, and upgrading the cable) - which was a bit of a shock but definitely a bonus! In the meantime, I have been in contact with the phone company again and managed - on three separate occasions through dealing with three different agents - to get a bunch of money knocked off our last bill - which is also great, but too little too late.

Now...if I can only figure out how to shave some costs off the cell phone bills...and, of course, find a place for all of the things that are still floating around this place without a home...

Again on the upside, I have finished all my Christmas shopping (stocking stuffers included) and there is a light at the end of the card-making tunnel :-) I had gotten a fierce start on all of this back in October, of course, when I shipped the first parcel of presents and whatnot back to Newfoundland, but there was a definite lull in holiday preparations while other aspects of life took centre stage for a bit. The tree has also been assembled and decorated - which my partner began during the first wave of unpacking...good thing one of us is in the spirit (hoping mine will make an appearance soon)!

Ah well, back to it then...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Out of Commission/The Big Move

I am currently sitting in a hotel room, taking advantage of their complimentary Internet service on my laptop while I wait for my recently indispensible BlackBerry and iPod to both charge. Since our recent move, I have had time to contemplate society's in general and my in particular reliance on modern communication and media devices. In short, the cable and phone companies have been slacking and we still don't have a home phone, Internet, or cable at our new apartment and I have been majorly feeling the isolation.

Let me backtrack a bit, because the move itself is worthy of description.

We moved into our old apartment after arriving in town and spending three nights in a motel with a U-Haul in the parking lot, scouring the place for rentals during the days and coming up empty. Finally, on the third day, one of the buildings we had contacted notified us that a couple who had applied to live there had been turned down during the screening process and they now had one unit available if we wished to rent it (there was apparently a wait list that she decided to let us bypass due to our dire circumstances and the fact that I was due to start work the following day). Our apartment wasn't bad, but we essentially moved in out of desperation for a place to live and we weren't really sold on it from the start. It is on the third floor of the building, but due to the surrounding landscape, felt more rather basement/jail-esque. In the summer there were far too many bugs and no balcony to grill on and in the winter there was too much moisture (and, we discovered, mold cropping up underneath the paint that we surmise had been slathered over it prior to our move in unbeknownst to us, and despite the steps we took to fight it afterwards) and no sunlight. We had been wanting to move out of there since the first year, but the timing was never quite right. When there were apartments and houses available for rent, we lacked either the time or the money to relocate and when we had time and money, there was nothing available to rent again. This went on for three long years until finally, this fall, we had truly come to the end of our ropes and decided we had had enough. We viewed three other apartments in our complex and chose the one we just moved into as the best available and agreed to take the plunge. No matter that we have no idea how long we will be residing here, the tenancy is month to month and I, for one, had no intention of spending another month in that mold infested dungeon if I could at all prevent it. And so it began.

We paid our damage deposit around the middle of the month and slowly began moving our belongings to our new digs. We thought we were doing great and that it would be a relatively easy move given the time frame in which we had to accomplish it and that we were only moving to another unit in our current building. However, towards the end of November, that view began to change. We both had prior extra-curricular commitments to honour and the countdown was on. Come the last weekend of the month, it was panic city for me (I tend to be a little more prone to stress than my partner). So, on Saturday night, in the midst of the hockey tournament, social outing, and volunteering we were engaged in, I realized that we had not checked the mail on Friday. I went downstairs in a break from packing and toting stuff and found an envelope from the landlady informing us that, after we had removed our possessions and cleaned the apartment as per the checklist we were given, we were booked to do a walk-through of our old apartment upon check out at 1pm on November 30th and that, if this was not convenient, we were to contact her and schedule a time prior to then.

This was news to me. firstly, I had received no check list, and secondly, I was under the impression that we had the whole of the 30th to finish everything. Then of course there was the matter of work. How were we to meet with her and walk through when we were both working at that time? My initial reaction was, as I said, panic. How on earth were we going to meet the new deadline with all the crap on our plates? Then I sprung into action and got a checklist from the lady who works weekends and busted my ass to do more packing. When my partner got home, I informed him of the new developments and the next day I continued on while he played hockey. When he got home the two of us slugged all our remaining stuff to the new apartment and then finished gutting and scrubbing the place from top to bottom to ensure we got our damage deposit back.

We bought chemical cleaners with the hopes of cutting down on cleaning time. Big mistake. As a result of exposrue to them, I got sick. After a very long night (it took longer than we expected to finish the move and the final cleaning, etc.) the two of us walked down the hall dragging the last of our gear, picked our way through the rubble and collapsed into bed. The next day, I went to work and was exposed to a bunch of dust when the new heating system was turned on for the first time and I've been sick ever since. The up side is that gives me lots of time to be unpacking. The downside is I'm sick and I don't want to be unpacking or crawling over crap all day long (nor looking at it either). And I have no means of contact with the outside world except my and the company of my iPod being my only sources of entertainment as well.

Anyway, we have to finish unpacking and putting stuff away over the next few days and then dig out the holiday decorations. I am hoping I will be feeling well soon.