Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell to 2010

Once again, I find myself at the end of another calendar year thinking, where did the time go?  It sped by so fast.  So many memories, some happy, some sad.  I had to look back in my calendar and reread my blog postings to remember the early part of the year, it seems so long ago.

In January, I was busy with various creative pursuits - taking photos and art classes, visiting the Royal Ontario Museum and making a Remains of the Day journal for my boss, who was heading to London, England with her daughter. I took this picture of myself on January 1st:

In February, we were all focused on the Olympics in Vancouver.  Here's my friend Heather and her family, having their picture taken with one of the torch bearers as the flame made its way across Canada prior to the Opening Ceremonies:

In March, I was busy finishing this piece for the Toronto Bead Society's Bag of Beads Challenge:

In April, I celebrated my 5th anniversary at my current job, one which I am grateful to be able to say I am still enjoying. I leased a new car, the Cherry Bomb. And I lost my last surviving uncle, Ron, unexpectedly.

May was highlighted by a visit with Kate McKinnon which included a trip to Niagara Falls, staying overnight with Debi Nicholson and a class at her store, Beads of Colour, in Dundas.

In June, I went to see the Eagles in concert with the Dixie Chicks with my good friends Barb and Wayne. 

At the time, I thought it was one of the best concerts I had ever seen, a claim to fame that was to be relinquished as early as July, when I saw Paul McCartney in concert with Heather.  Words still fail me when I try to describe how awesome that experience was!! 

July was a very musical month, come to think of it, because I got to experience the Elvis Festival in Collingwood for the first time as well!

August is a bit of a blur, as I was counting down the days until our trip to France at the end of the month.  What an amazing 17 days that was in the South of France with Gwen, Kate, Doriot, Dawn and Meryl.

I had barely had time to unpack upon arriving home from France in mid-September when a week later, I was rear-ended on Highway 401 and that was the end of the Cherry Bomb.

October brought a new car, Daytona Bluebell, and the experience of Journalfest - what an exciting one it was!  My head is still buzzing from all of the interesting things I learned and I am thrilled to have met so many wonderful new friends there. 

In November, I spent a lot of time finishing my Journalfest journal and celebrated my 49th birthday.  The countdown to 50 is on!

This past December has been overshadowed with much sadness, having said goodbye to my darling Max.

So there have been ups and downs in my life over the past 12 months, times of great happiness and great sorrow and the range of every emotion in between, as there usually are in all our lives each year.  The pages of the calendar continue to flip faster and faster, the seasons come and go, we say goodbye to some we have loved and welcome the joy that new friends bring to our hearts. 

As this year draws to a close, I wish you all the very best for a happy and healthy 2011.  May it be a year filled with love, laughter and new adventures for all of us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My DeClutter Project 2011

As you may know from my Nov 30th post (read it here), one of my goals for 2011 is to be free of clutter in my home by my 50th birthday on Nov. 28, 2011.  As a result, I have put together a decluttering project for myself.  It goes like this:

I have divided my apartment into 5 zones:

1. Kitchen
2. Hall
3. Bedroom
4. Office
5. Dining Room/Living Room

and made a list of every area within those zones that currently needs to be de-cluttered.  As you may have heard, anyone can eat an elephant, you just have to do it one bite at a time.  Translation: any big job can be accomplished if you break it down into manageable (bite-sized) pieces.

I ended up with a list of 25 areas to be done.  11 of those are bigger jobs that will take more time than the other 14.  Here's what my list looks like:

Then I grabbed the 2011 Recycling Calendar for the City of Toronto (which I thought was an appropriate theme for this project) and counted the number of days and weekends I have available to work on this project between now and when we open the cottage in May, which turned out to be 22 days. 

This weekend, for example, I have the day off on Friday (Dec 31st) and we get Monday Jan 3rd as a holiday so that's 4 full days that can be devoted to this undertaking (which I thought would be a good way to kick off the project).  Most of the following weekends count as one day each, as I figure I will also need to allow myself some fun time as well (all decluttering and no play would leave me a very cranky girl, no matter how much progress I was making!).  Some of my 25 tasks will not take a whole day or weekend to accomplish either, so depending on my mood and energy level, I can do more than one task on some days, thus making my way through the 25 tasks in the 22 days/weekends.

I wrote out all the jobs on small pieces of paper:

folded them up and put them in this tin, which is my equivalent of the "honey do" or job jar:

The blue pieces of paper are the jobs that I expect will take more time, i.e. possibly most of 2 days one weekend.  Depending on my schedule, I can select a task by the colour of the paper (clever, eh?). Such as tidying my bead bookcase, which currently looks like this:

To hold myself accountable and on track, I'll be reporting my progress every Monday here on this blog and showing you before and after photos. 

Hopefully, by mid-May, I shall have a more organized, less cluttered home.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This Is Too Funny

You may have already seen this clip on Kate McKinnon's blog (courtesy of DListed) but it is so cute, I just had to share it! Totally LOL!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Inspired by The Dixon Chick

My dear friend Stephanie (a.k.a. The Dixon Chick) posted this photo of her cleared off dining room table earlier today on Facebook:
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Dixon
I was so inspired, I decided to see if I could do the same. 

It took me several hours to complete, as I tend to get easily distracted when I clean, especially if I'd rather be doing something else.  I call it "procrastination in motion" - where you start off doing one thing, like clearing off a table (which has been covered with craft and bead supplies for literally MONTHS! as this is my major work space), but then end up doing other things along the way to completing the first task you started.  Such as, I had some loose bits of ribbon on the table which I collected together but then I realized I needed a box to put them in and once I'd found a suitable box, it needed a label, so I went in to my office and while I was pulling out the label maker, I noticed a receipt that I needed to jot down to help balance my chequebook and so on and so on...

Nevertheless, I persevered and eventually, the table was clear.  Yes, Virginia, miracles do happen at Christmas time, as Stephanie and I can attest!

As you can see, the areas behind the table and especially the bookcases are not so tidy but that is a project for another day.  Stay tuned later this week, when I shall tell you my plans for cleaning up these other areas - I've got a special project planned to do just that in 2011 that starts this Friday!

As for the dining room table, as Stephanie herself said, "take a good, long look. You may never see this in your lifetime again." :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Morning Frost

As I was coming downstairs in my mother's house on this cold winter morning, enjoying the contrast between the snow and the trees and the early morning sunrise, I noticed there was frost on the outer pane of the windows.  Of course, I had to get my camera!

This 3rd shot is my favourite. I love the way the frost looks like those little white feathers that escape from inside your pillow every now and again and sit on the blanket or the sleeve of your sweater or in your hair, waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

Finally, we can just relax and enjoy the ride!

Photo courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!!

For those who celebrate this occasion, I wish you and your family a joyful day.

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Friday, December 24, 2010

Are You On The List?

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Today's the day that Santa checks his list, twice, so hopefully your name is on it! 

Hope this Christmas Eve is a special one for you and yours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Back Online

The phone repairman came to visit last night.  It took close to two hours but he did eventually get everything up and running again, which means I now have a dial tone and Internet service - yippee!  (So, George Clooney, if you were trying to call me on Monday or Tuesday night, now is the time to call me back!) 

First, the guy from Bell Technical Services had to check the phone line inside my apartment.  He disconnected my phone at the main jack (which I now know is located in the kitchen, conveniently situated at eye level, as compared to the rest of the jacks which are either on the baseboard or only a foot or so above ground level).  Nope, no dial tone when he hooked up his own equipment, which meant it was definitely an outside problem and one that I would not have to pay for (phew!).
Then we travelled down to one of the basement levels of my building, where we located the phone room, which was locked with a combination lock for which he did not have the code.  He had to call someone to get the codes and was expecting there would be about a dozen possible combinations of 3 letter words for him to try.  Funny thing was, when he left, he left the list behind so now I am in possession of the codes.  If I wanted to, I could now wreak havoc on phone rooms all over the neighbourhood!!

I was wryly amused to see that one of the choices in the 3 digit configurations was "tit".  I kid you not.  Apparently it's true what one of my male friends told me, all guys are basically stuck at the age of 12 mentally, no matter how old they get!

I left him there and went back upstairs. About an hour or so later, he arrived back at my door, having found the problem to be a damaged wire somewhere down the street in a box.  How this wire got damaged and why it was only my phone line that was affected, he couldn't say for sure.  "It happens," was the only explanation he could provide.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If I Lived in Edmonton

...I would so want to adopt this dog and cat.  I like dogs but I have always thought I wouldn't seriously consider having one in an apartment, although lots of people do in my building, of all sizes and types.  But when I read this story, I immediately wanted to adopt Esperanza and Jacob.  They sound like a wonderful pair.  What a heartwarming story!  Read it here:  Esperanza and Jacob.

P.S.  Still no phone service at home, repair person is scheduled to come tonight to check things out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Check Line Cord"

When I went home last night, I had no dial tone, no Internet connection and my call display read, "check line cord".  Which meant that after 354 days of posting this year, I missed a day.  Drat.  So much for that gold star for perfect attendance this year.  Oh well, c'est la vie, we'll blame it on "technical difficulties".

I called Bell from my cell phone and spent some time on their automated system (Lord, how I hate those things, especially the verbal ones) to try to request a repair, only to get to the part that says, "please check the jacks in your house because if we find out it's an inside problem, we're going to charge you $87 for the service call".  So I unplugged my phones and plugged them in again but that didn't change anything.  Hoped it would correct itself overnight but of course, it didn't.

Came in to work this morning and printed off the instructions to do a proper check, as I'd really like to avoid any unnecessary charges.  Although given that I live in an apartment building and wasn't home all day yesterday to do anything that might have disturbed or damaged my phone jacks (which were working fine on Sunday), I don't see how it could be an internal problem.  Also checked with the super of my building and no one else had reported any phone issues but he said it could be as simple as someone knocking out the jack in the shared facility room that services the building.  So we'll see.  Will go home and double-check my jacks again tonight and then call for a repair.

If you don't hear from me, you'll know it has come to this:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Family Christmas Party

Going to the annual family Christmas party means setting the table for dinner:

dressing for cold weather:

wearing your best Christmas dress:

seasonal jewellery:

fancy shoes:

and maybe a bow in your hair:

You might not always happy to be there at first:

but eventually you're having fun:

There's always several cooks in the kitchen:

and lots of choose from for dinner:

followed by a whole lot of yummy desserts:

You might sit at the kiddie table:

or with the adults:

It isn't just Santa that wears a red suit:

One of your cousins might try to make you laugh by making silly faces:

but it's just as fun to check out the Silly Bandz:

There's always lots going on:

and there might be serious conversation at times:

Not everyone will agree with what you've got to say:

but usually you just grin and bear it:

There's always someone taking a picture:

but often everyone is all smiles:

Later on, you put on your pyjamas for the ride home:

and that's it until next year.  Happy Holidays to my wonderful family, it was great to see everyone! xo