Monday, December 31, 2012

Maybe don't read this on NYE.

Sometimes, as much as you might like to ignore it, you stop and think about your reality and realize that it's not what you want it to be. Whether it's external things you want to change, or things inside yourself. Don't get me wrong, I know I've got a great life, and a lot to be happy about. But I'm not perfect, my life's not perfect, and there's a lot to work on.

I don't think many people can look themselves in the mirror and say they're truly happy with the person they see in the reflection. I think having things to work on is part of being, you know, human. But sometimes the striving to work on your own demons stalls, and it's easy to end up in a rut. Or, in my case, a ditch. A deep one.

I'm a bit shy about sharing details of my life on the internet - so I generally don't. I tend to opt for humour - mostly sarcastic. I guess you could call it deflection. But I think that maybe writing about it will help. Maybe. So here goes.

I've never been what you'd call a "happy" person. I worry a LOT, and I get nervous when things are going well. I had a rough childhood (well, let's face it, who didn't?) and it's left me with a lot of scars. Mainly due to my relationship with my mother.

Over the  years, I've come to realize that my mother has issues. Not just the vague "we all have issues" kind, but the kind that are actually pretty serious. The kind that in a different place, with different people around, might have been a diagnosed psychological disorder.

Growing up, it was just me and her most of the time. My parents immigrated from the UK right before I was born, so there was no family. And though my parents were still together, my dad spend most of the week in the city, working long hours, and weekends he pretty much just wanted to be left alone. So, mostly just me and her.

My mother had a temper. She would frequently blow up at me, throw things, hurt herself. It was terrifying, and even more so because there was no one I could talk to about it; no one to step in between her and I when she wasn't even recognizable as herself. Just me. I spent most of my childhood afraid, walking on eggshells trying not to set her off.

It took years for me to understand that this wasn't normal. I mean, I wasn't stupid. I knew other kids' parents weren't like that. But it took a long time to realize that it wasn't a small thing. That it was abusive, and that she permanently damaged me - even though she didn't mean to.

I guess the biggest holdover, and I'm actually not even sure if this is totally because of how I grew up or just hard-wired into my DNA, is that normal to me is several notches below happy. If you think of happiness as a spectrum with abject despair and depression on one end and delirious happiness on the other, I figure most people's "normal" wavers somewhere around the middle. If they're lucky and have good chemistry, maybe even a bit closer to happy. For me, it's on the unhappy side of the scale. Which means that when I'm happy, I actually feel a bit uncomfortable, because to me that's an abberation. So being slightly depressed, as unpleasant as that is, is actually more comfortable for me. If I'm happy, I'm pretty much just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I've been working on this for years - learning not to cause problems just because that way I can stop waiting for them to happen, feeling like the longer I'm happy for the worse it's gonna be when things go to shit again, believing that the good things in my life I actually deserve... None of this is easy for me. I'm learning. I'm learning to let go. I'm learning to stop thinking myself into the darkness. And I'm learning to focus on what is instead of the bad things that might be. I'm learning to fight instead of give up. But all this has led me to a lot of unhealthy habits, a lot of things I need to work on and change.

I don't know if it's because it's new year's eve, or if this has just been building for awhile, but I'm hoping the need for change will actually become change this year. I'm hoping I'll take more steps in the right direction. Get better at taking care of myself, and turn this house into a home. I'm hoping I can learn to let go of the past, just that little bit more, and bring normal a little closer to happiness. I'm hoping I can breathe properly again.

It's been awhile.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fill in the _____ Friday - Em & Lin's Version

There aren't any blanks on The Little Things We Do.... again. But because Lin and I really wanted to fill some in this week and have far too much time on our hands (even though it often doesn't feel like it), we decided to just bloody well make up our own. So here they are.

  1. The best Christmas present I got this year was... a soft kitty t-shirt.
  2. My best holiday moment was... sleeping in all week! Seriously.
  3. My worst holiday  moment was... trying to wrap plush toys for the kids. They should all be made square from now on.
  4. An important holiday lesson I learned for next year is... to take J.'s sister shopping with us - two hours, J.'s mom, dad and all the nephews taken care of. Don't tell me there's no such thing as Christmas magic! 
  5. My favourite holiday movies are... Love Actually, Bridget Jones, the Harry Potter movies and Die Hard.
  6. The best holiday tradition in my family is... I feel like this was really the first year for traditions for my little family, since we're in our own house this year and it is ours to make into a home! So, as of this year, I'm making watching Die Hard on Christmas day (or eve)  in front of a roaring fire with Christmas lights a tradition. Also going home for a nap in the afternoon between present opening in the morning and dinner in the evening. Such a good idea!
  7. My #1 holiday family survival tip is... avoid them as much as possible, and stock up on the booze.
That's it for our makeshift blanks! Here's hoping there are real ones next week!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Random Thursday: New Year's Plans & Hopes...

Christmas may be behind us for another year, but Lin, Sarah and I have set our sights on the next big day on the horizon, with:

Now I'm going to put all my cards on the table here, and admit that New Year's day doesn't mean a lot to me. I feel like change is always a slow process and we should constantly strive to improve ourselves and our lives, regardless of whether it's January 1st or May 15th. All it really means is that the numbers on the calendar change and I keep forgetting! But in the spirit of RT, I'm going to do my best to come up with some interesting tidbits to share with you guys!

1. An excuse to get a li'l sauced...

2. The end to at least one or two procrastinations...

3. An excuse to break out the dramatic makeup...

4. And of course, an opportunity to rejoice in the fact that we survived yet another apocalypse!

That's about it for me... what does 2013 mean to you? Link up and share!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Random Thursday: All Things Christmas

Now that Christmas is less than a week away, Lin, Sarah and I are enjoying preparing for the holidays in our own special ways with:

We're going to share a little bit about what Christmas means to us - the traditions, decorations and, of course, treats we look forward to all year!

1. Granville Island Winter Ale

It's important to have a lot of alcohol around to help deal with the stress of the holidays. And this seasonal beer is worth waiting all year for. It's dark with a hint of malt that makes it a delicious experience. If you live somewhere that sells it, make sure to try some!

2. Christmas Lights

I love driving around at Christmas time, particularly in the sorts of neighbourhoods where you can tell they compete with their neighbours for the best light displays. As a kid I used to put on my pjs and winter boots and duffle coat and my mom would drive me around to look at the lights. There's just something about a house decked out in lights that makes it feel like Christmas. I also love indoor lights - I have been known to leave multi-coloured lights on the mantelpiece and bookcase all year 'round because they're so cosy!

3. Snow

Unfortunately, Vancouver weather rarely blesses us with snow actually ON Christmas day - at least, not for those of us who live at sea level (that picture was taken at the very beginning of a full-day snowstorm that culminated in slippery, sodden snow and streets turning into rivers). But it snowed yesterday for the first time, so I'm crossing my fingers it just might happen this year!

4. Chocolate! 

I love chocolates - particularly After Eights, Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Lindt Truffles. Mmm-mmm.

4. Red Flannel PJs

I LOVE flannel pyjamas. I wear them all year round instead of sweat pants or track pants when I want to be super comfy. But at Christmas time it's even better to be wearing bright red ones with a Christmas-y pattern - like penguins! (These are totally on my Xmas list!)

5. Fireplace, Stockings and Trees

I don't have any of this this year because we moved pretty recently and my Christmas stuff is still packed up in my Dad's basement. Also, cats. But hopefully we can figure it out next year!

6. Christmas movies

They don't have to be Christmas movies. They can be any movie with Christmas in them that makes me giggle and feel warm and fuzzy. Particularly Love Actually, Bridget Jones, and Harry Potter. 

Now it's your turn! Share your Christmas Traditions, quirks and treats with us and don't forget to link up below!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

It's that time of the week again! Not sure if I'll make it to 10 this week because I'm super busy and important. Seriously people, I can't spend ALL my time entertaining you. Don't be selfish. Just kidding.

1. I am craving Starbucks every. single. day. It's like the Mondays just keep coming.

2. I don't know HOW I'm going to survive the Christmas TV hiatus. It's the worst time to stop providing us with new episodes of our favourite shows. It means we're stuck, you know, actually interacting with our families. And drinking a LOT. Don't blame me if several wars and a few small battles break out over the holidays.

3. I wish I liked eggnog, because in theory rum and eggnog is a wonderful Christmas tradition.

4. I'm sad because we can't afford to get many Christmas decorations this year, and I still haven't figured out how we can have a tree and still have our cats. Maybe next year.

5. Most of you won't know this, but I got married recently (while on a trip to Cuba. Don't feel left out - nobody knew.) So on Monday we had a big dinner with all the family to celebrate. I was super nervous, but it actually worked out pretty well! I grew up with just my parents, since they immigrated to Canada the year before I was born, so I've never had really big family gatherings. It's kind of nice having so many people who care about you in one room. Even if most of them are the other side of the family!

6. I'm taking nearly two weeks of leftover vacation days off over Christmas, but I'm still catching up on work from when I was away. So much to do! Don't know how I'm going to get through it all!

7. I need more feel-good Christmas movies to watch. Any suggestions?

8. It is COLD! We haven't got dry wood for our fireplace this year, so we're stuck trying to heat two levels with baseboard heaters, but only the rooms we're in because that shit's expensive. So we basically end up with two warm rooms and have to bundle up in slippers, sweaters (and if it gets any colder, toques) to scurry as fast as possible between heated rooms. And because it takes awhile to heat up the bathroom, getting out of the shower in the morning is excruciating.

9. SO MUCH CHOCOLATE!! I am justifying it with the extra energy my body must be expending to stay warm. It'll totally even out, right?

10. And some giggles:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fill in the _____ Friday

  1. When it comes to holiday shopping, I... either get things really early or leave it til the last minute. I'm not a fan of malls at the best of times, so you can imagine the mood I'm in when Christmas shopping.
  2. A few things on my Christmas wishlist are... see previous post. Also want a new purse I found on eBay. And a new alarm clock. And some sort of stereo. And tickets to a few concerts. 
  3. An intangible gift I would like to receive is... happiness. Duh!
  4. A gift I would like to give this year is... I'd really like to re-decorate our entire house, which I guess isn't really a gift, technically, but I know that J. and I would both really get a lot out of that. I'd also like to get my mom a new car and send my dad on a trip somewhere.
  5. My Christmas will be spent... at J.'s parents' house, as usual! 
  6. My most favourite Christmas gift of all time was... okay, this isn't a fair question. Because now, looking back, I'm not going to say one of the presents I got as a kid was the best, even though it was for that age, because I have no use for it now and don't really remember what it felt like. I also don't remember most of the Christmas presents I've gotten over the years, because they run together with birthdays and were a long time ago. I'll just say that one present that stands out in recent years is the two HUGE fleece blankets J. got me for Christmas a few years back. They get used every single day and are wonderful. Seriously, these things are big enough to wrap two people in with extra room.
  7. The best thing about the holidays is... the smell of cookies baking, Christmas lights, the warmth and cosiness of a festive home, the sense of family and goodwill (well, if you steer clear of malls, anyway) and taking time off work.
Thanks to Lauren for the blanks! Click on the image to head over and link up!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Random Thursday: My Christmas Wishlist

It's that time of year again - time to break out the tinsel, eggnog and (lots of) rum - Christmas! And Lin, Sarah and I have been hard at work fantasizing about yachts and endless supplies of M&Ms to bring you:

Yep, that's right, time to jot down the wild, ridiculous, and downright fantastic things we'd all like to find under the tree. Even some things that can't be wrapped. (Don't even lie, I know a lot of you will be asking for the entire cast of Magic Mike. Dirty fuckers.) So let's get the ball rolling - here's mine!

1. Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

I love my Nook, but it's been acting up lately (the touch screen keeps freezing) and also I'd love to be able to read in the dark without a separate light. If only they'd ship to Canada. :(

2. Sephora shopping spree

There is such a long list of things I want from this store - I'm pretty sure I could drop thousands, without breaking a sweat. A girl can only dream of unlimited Sephora....

3. New boots

I'm in desperate need of new boots - I love my Uggs, but they're just not practical in the weather we have here most of the year. Would be nice not to have to wear rain boots and carry shoes every day!

4. Middle finger umbrella

This would come in so handy. Pun intended.

5. New camera (macro lens)

I've had to stop writing on my makeup blog because our new house is in so much shade that there's nowhere to take photos with natural light. Plus I don't have a good lens for close-ups. I'd love a good camera with a set of lenses, a tripod and some studio lights.

6. Parka

 It's frickin cold out there man.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure there's a lot more! While I try to remember the rest of the stuff, how 'bout you tell me what you want? Link up below!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Random Thursday: Strange Food Combos

Lin, Sarah and I are back with yet another all-original, all-inspiring Random Thursday topic!This week's is for you daring foodies out there: Strange Food Combos!

Time to 'fess up to those pickle and peanut butter sandwiches and salted coffee. Yeah, sounds gross to me too - but you know there's someon out there who can't get enough of them. So, without further ado, I'm going to get the ball rolling.

1. Apples and sharp cheddar

Seriously. It's like cheese and crackers, only instead of stacking cheese on a cracker, I put it on an apple slice. Has to be aged cheddar, though - something about the slightly tart, very salty flavour. I also love cheddar cheese with apple pie, but I'm pretty sure that's a British thing.

2. Natural almonds and chocolate chips

It all started off with eating raw almonds because they're a healthy snack. Trust me to find a way to make them totally bad for me - by adding chocolate! Has to be dark chocolate chips, though. Oh, man. So good.

3. Peanut butter and apple slices sandwiches

I'll actually eat peanut butter sandwiches with slices of pretty much any fruit. Banana, nectarine, strawberry, peach... all sounds good to me! Has to be crunchy salted natural peanut butter though. Not the creamy Kraft kind.

4. Fruit on salad

Not fruit salad. Fruit ON salad. As in herb blend, arugula, Green Goddess dressing, and cranberries and mandarin slices or grated pear and cheddar or strawberries and feta on top.

That's everything I can think of for now - though I'm sure I eat tons of other weird shit. What odd things do you enjoy? Link up below and tell us!
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