Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas puzzle

Just wanted to show off a bit :) DH and I just finished a puzzle that I had started with my family on Christmas day. Those 3-d puzzles have become sort of a tradition for us over the years. This year, it's a puzzle of Sydney's Opera House. It was pretty challenging, but it looks pretty good if I may say so myself :) Here are two shots of it (not my best camera work, it's getting pretty late...).


And so it's done...

Christmas is officially over. The family has gone back home, DH is back at work, and I'm sitting on the couch in my pyjamas, blogging. The house is still a mess (though we had done a great job getting it cleaned up before the big day!), and hopefully I'll gather up some motivation to clean it up later this afternoon... But for now I'm just resting. It's been a pretty exhausting few days, a whirlwind of activity, and food and crazy family stuff.

In family news, FIL is out of the hospital, and seems to have stabilized. He still didn't get a proper diagnosis, and should be going into an epilepsy center in the new year (the clinic is closed over the holidays), and understandably the uncertainty seems to be taking an emotional toll. But January is around the corner, and hopefully he can get a proper diagnosis then. In the meantime we're sending him all the positive vibes that we can...

On my side of the family, things are going pretty well. I was impressed this week by how much both of my sisters have grown up. They're both adult now, and getting more mature and adult with every day. It's really cool! I am so glad to see them becoming their own people. Of course, that's not without some growing pains... Which made for an interesting Christmas for sure. Lots of clashing opinions, some of them irreconcilable. I think everyone left with some food for thought, on top of the actual food. I think we have enough leftovers to feed everyone until the new year :)

I've attached a picture of the tree we decorated. It's a little unconventional, since it is one of the bushes around our house that had been broken by the recent ice-storm. It was so damaged, we cut it down and brought it in and used it as our Chritsmas tree. Of course it fell down (seems to be a family tradition for us) right on Christmas eve, but we managed to prop it up again, and secure it, and it seems very solid now :) Should last us for a while, which it needs to, since the Polish tradition is to have it up until February!

Ok, time to start tidying up around here :D

Hope everyone is having a great time for the holidays!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas preparations...

First of all, the good (or at least slightly better) news: FIL seems to be doing ok, he's still at the hospital, but should be coming out soon. He was given some fairly strong drugs to stop seizures, and it's taking a bit of time for the drugs to wear out. It seems that he's now on the fast track to get all the required tests and doctors appointmnents... We're crossing our fingers, hoping to get the diagnosis soon. Thanks everyone for the good wishes!!!

And so it is the Christmas eve's eve (where did the time go?), and we've been busy preparing and preparing. Most of the day was spent cooking and cleaning, but it was pretty worthwhile. The house is pretty clean (mostly thanks to DH who ran around all day cleaning windows, vacuuming and washing floors etc), and there's plenty of food :) Well, it helps that my Mom is bringing lots of the requisite foods tomorrow, so I only had to make the traditional salad (even though that sounds easy, it's a big job, took me around 3 hours!), the traditional soup called barszcz, and I baked some cookies. I also wrapped all the presents (Yay!). Tomorrow I'm baking some breads, and some of the basic fixins, like veggies and simple salads. In no time it will be Christmas Eve dinner (traditionally the biggest celebration in the Polish culture). Looking forward to it!

In other news, I actually went to Montreal earlier this week, for a little less than 24 hours. I met up with old friends for dinner on Thursday night, and had a really great time. E-mail is nice, phone conversations are good, but there's nothing like getting together with friends in person, and talking the night away...

It's getting really late, lots of work still to do tomorrow, so I better go to sleep!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Life is full of zasadzkas...

Or in plain english, life is full of traps. Doesn't quite have the same ring ;)

So yes, there's a saying in Polish that goes "Life is brutal and full of zasadzkas". And at times it really seems like that is true. This morning we got news from my FIL (father-in-law). As expected, news that wakes you up is bad news. FIL was hospitalized overnight, with constant seizures. We don't really have much info, other than the fact that they gave him some medication IV, that basically knocked him out, so this morning SIL was waiting for him to wake up. The hope is that this will cause him to be bumped up in priority to get his next MRI as soon as possible. He's been waiting for almost two months, and was supposed to wait another month and a half. He had been put on new medication, and that seemed to eradicate the symptoms (seizures and blacking out), so we were hopeful that he would be able to make it until then without too much worry (well, except maybe for him getting restless staying at SIL's house - he's sort of an independent spirit). So much for that hope I guess...

So as you can imagine, our plans are currently in flux. DH will be talking to his sister tonight to get more information, and figure out a plan for the next few weeks. As of right now, I am on holidays until the 2nd (Yay!), so I am pretty mobile, but DH has to work until the end of this week, and then for 3 days next week, and he just started a new job this week, so it's a little more complicated for him to travel right now. Of course we'll do what we need to do, there's lots of options... but for now I know nothing, hopefully we'll have a better idea of the situation tonight.

So that's the zasadzkas for today!

Hope your day is going better!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas letters

So it is this time of year again when I start getting Christmas letters from people. I really like that, as it gives me a chance to catch up on things I may have missed, or get a new perspective on things that happened in our friends and acquaintances lives. So I look forward to reading the latest and greatest sent to us on pretty paper inserted into cute Christmas cards.

In fact, one year I even wrote our own Christmas letter. I think that was the year we got married. But I found it way too hard. How do you find the right balance of sharing great news with pride, without sounding boastful? Do you bring up the less pleasant parts of the year for the sake of completeness, or will that put a damper on the happy holiday season for some of the readers? And of course then there's DH, who's a lot more private than me, and doesn't really get this need to take advantage of the opportunity of sending a card to innundate our friends and family with information they either already have, or else they don't want to know :) I guess having a blog is the happy medium for me: people don't have to read it if they don't want to, and I can still overshare all of my daily thoughts and activities ;) Maybe I should just send everyone on my Christmas card list a link to the blog :) Not sure I am ready for prime time yet ;)

So here you go, my perspective on Christmas letters. I think I was pretty succinct (for my standards anyway) for once!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Feeling better

So I am slowly recovering... I've been eating ok since Friday, but it's been a slower recovery than I anticipated... But next week I only have 3 days of work, so I'm not too worried :)

Despite it all, we had a pretty good productive weekend. We sent out the presents for DH's family (I spent most of the day Saturday sewing Christmas stockings for the twins), and finished and mailed all the cards that needed to be mailed. It turned out to be a really big job! We also got some new outdoor Christmas lights and installed them! So the outside of the house is finally ready for Christmas. We just need to setup the inside :D

Tomorrow I have another busy day: it's the last session of JA before the end of the year, and also another sampler at the work gym, called "Yogalates", some kind of combination of Yoga and Pilates. In between regular sessions, our gym puts on these samplers for free to get us to try something new (and hopefully get hooked on it). That's how I started doing yoga over a year ago. So this session I decided to try out all of the samplers available, just for fun. Last week it was Spinning with Djembe, then Body Burn and last but not least Latin Jam. I never thought much about spinning, it always struck me as a very static activity, but I thought that maybe with the Djembe drum it may be more interesting. But in the end, my initial impression turned out to be correct. Needless to say, I won't be registering for the regular session.

On the other hand, Body Burn was really good. It's basically a toning class, where the only weight used was our own body weight. Our instructor was quite pregnant, and it was amazing to see her do all of the exercises (well, except for the ones where you're laying on your belly :)). I could feel the burn for a few days after the session! The third sampler, Latin Jam, was the best one of the three. Latin beats, choreography, what could be better? It barely even felt like exercise (except for all the sweating ;)).

All that to say that I'm looking forward to the Yogalates tomorrow, since so far the trend has been upwards :) Here I go with my verbosity again!

So this week it's 3 days of work, one day in Montreal, then two days prepping the house, and then it's Christmas eve! My whole family is going to come and stay with us for a few days, and that should be lots of fun! Then DH goes back to work, and I will get a chance to do some more cleanup around the house. I am hoping to really organize our pictures, because we have thousands of them all over the computer, with no apparent order to them. Any good finds, I will post on the blog :)


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Food poisoning sucks!

So I was going to write a post about all the different exercise classes I've taken this week at the gym at work. But then last night I got a bad case of food poisoning (at least that's what I'm assuming). We had dinner at McDonalds - a friend suggested the place. The food seemed ok, if a little on the heavy/greasy side. I came home with a lump in my stomach, but figured I would manage to digest it by the time I went to bed. Turned out that wasn't the case: DH got really tired of my getting up every few hours running to the bathroom with McChicken and fries coming back up... Every time I thought I was done, and then a few hours later I'd have a repeat. A pretty unpleasant experience, all in all. I usually have a pretty strong stomach, so I am not used to such upheavals from my digestive system.

The good news is that so far I've managed to keep my breakfast down, so I think the worst is behind me. I'm just a little exhausted from the feverish and frequently interrupted night. And the lack of nutrients I suppose :)

So that's my story for today. When I feel a little more awake, I'll write up a post about the exercise classes...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shopping mall weekend

This weekend the Junior Achievement companies are selling their wares at one of the local malls (St. Laurent mall for those familiar with the area). Which means that us, the advisors, have to drop by from time to time to provide some adult supervision. Which means I get to spend a good part of my weekend in a shopping mall... Yay...

But it's not all bad. Even though our company started the weekend a little shakily (3 hours late on Saturday), things seem to have picked up a little, and the sales seem to be going well. I'm looking forward to seeing the weekend's totals!

In other news, I finally got a few more pictures of the new batch of kittens. Aren't they just the cutest? Because they were weaned fairly early, and our neighbour still feeds them from a bottle, they are very friendly to humans. If you drop by, they walk over shakily (they're still learning this whole walking thing) and meow and start grabbing your ankles, hoping to get picked up and fed. So cute!!! Hopefully I can get the pictures up today (it's a little iffy from home), if not, I'll try to add them from work tomorrow.

On a completely unrelated note, for some reason, I've been listening to a lot of different music all weekend (multiple drives to a mall at the other end of the city will do that to you I guess), and was reminded of a conversation I had had with a coworker earlier this week. He mentioned he didn't understand why people quote music lyrics, as it mostly seems very trite and unoriginal. On the spot, I couldn't really think of good examples of why quoting music would make sense. I myself sometimes struggle trying to understand poetry. But when it comes to music, I have to say that I get the whole quote thing. Especially with the more thoughtful music (i.e. not so much pop). I just think sometimes what makes music so powerful is the ability of the writer to capture a thought or a feeling in a concise few words. It seems that it always takes me paragraphs and paragraphs to express what I'm thinking and feeling, so obviously I am awed by the ability to capture something like that in a few simple words. And listening to music over the weekend, I managed to hear a few lines that really resonated with me. So in the end, I think I feel sad for people who don't "get" music quotes, because they are missing out on a certain deeper level connection with the artist. Or at least that's what I think anyway.

On this note, I leave you, as I have to head back to the shopping mall! Take care!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

December came in with a bang

So Friday was December first. And also the day of my company's Chrismas party. This was the first time we had an actual Christmas party for the company since the year 2000. But as DH remembered, every time we've had a Christmas party, the weather has been horrible. And so true to the form, Friday we had a great big storm. Nothing too terrible, but our road had a few feet of slushy snow. I went home after work to get changed, and found out that our house had lost power. I had less than 30 minutes to get ready, and it was already dark. It was quite an interesting experience doing my hair and makeup by candlelight... But I managed to get ready and drive downtown to pick up DH, and despite all the slowdowns on the road I got there on time.

The party was really nice, there was a good band from Montreal playing (jazzy standards during dinner, and then disco, dance and rock classics for the after-dinner dancing). Dinner was delicious, and so were the coctail time appetizers. We danced for hours, leaving just around midnight. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the camera (power outage and all), so I there are no pictures :)

Today we installed a set of lights on our deck. We've had the lights for a few years, and this is the first time we actually managed to get them set up. I think we need to buy another strand, because they look a little lonely! Once we get the other set installed, I'll post a picture.

And now the weekend is almost over, and it's time to get ready for another work week. We just watched our weekly dose of "Amazing Race". I'm never happy to see anyone be eliminated from the race, but I have to say I wasn't too heartbroken over the elimination of the "blondes", as they had been pretty arrogant during the race, and very manipulative. Still not sure who I want to see finish in first place... The model guys have been playing a fair and good game, so I won't be upset if they take first place. And statistically speaking they're most likely to win. If the ladies from Alabama took the top prize, it would be the first all-female team to ever win on the Amazing Race, so that would be cool too.

Anyhoo, gotta go, hope you all had a great weekend as well. The holidays are just around the corner!!!!