Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Tale

"So", Daniel asked his grandma as they sat in front of the fireplace. "How does Santa deliver presents to children who don't have a fireplace?"

"Well," his grandma said, "Santa isn't an ordinary person you know Daniel, he is magical. When he lands on the roof of a house where there is no chimney, a fireplace and chimney appear for him to come down, deliver the presents and stays there for him to go back up the chimney to the roof where the reindeer wait patiently for him. When he is gone, the fireplace and chimney disappear just as quickly."

All that evening Daniel thought about this and wondered ... is this really how it happens.

That evening which incidentally was Christmas Eve, when his Mom and Dad tucked him and his sister April into bed with instructions to quickly get to sleep so Santa could come, he tried and tried to sleep but just couldn't. He counted sheep, he closed his eyes and tried to think about nothing, but he just couldn't get to sleep.

Daniel was worried that Santa would not be able to come because they did not have a fireplace.

At this point I must say, that all good children know that they must be asleep so Santa can deliver their gifts.

Once Daniel's mom and dad were in bed asleep, he decided that he would go downstairs and hide in the living room and wait for Santa. There just had to be some explanation for how Santa got those presents under the tree without a fireplace and he wasn't so sure that one would just magically appear .... or would it?

Once or twice as he hid behind the big chair in the corner, he fell asleep.

Suddenly he heard a bang which startled him awake .... what was that he thought to himself?

As he peeked out from behind the chair, there was a bright flash and suddenly as he sat looking at where the flash was, he saw what looked like a fireplace appear. Was it really, he rubbed his eyes. "Maybe I'm dreaming", he thought to himself. But he peeked out and looked again. Yes it was a fireplace. He could hear some rustling and scraping, and as he sat and watched he saw .... could it be .... a big black boot appear in the fireplace, then another and then a red suit. Then all of a sudden there was a puff of soot as Santa plopped down onto the floor of the fireplace followed by a very large red sack.

Daniel realized he must be very quiet, because as I said before all good children know that that they must be asleep so Santa can deliver their gifts.

What should he do ... what if Santa saw him ... he might not leave that Transformer Optimus Prime that he asked for in the letter he had written Santa.

So he sat very quietly as Santa picked himself up and started to pick through the sack, pulling out one gift after another and quietly placing them under the tree.

But then, oh no, tragedy struck, Daniel had to sneeze. He could feel it coming down his nose, first the tickle, then the pressure ... he squeezed his nose and thought really hard about pushing that sneeze all the way back, but no it would not go away. Here it came, thundering down his nose like a race car. "Aaaaachooooo!"

Santa suddenly stopped what he was doing and looked right over at the big comfy chair where Daniel was hiding and quietly said, "Daniel, I know you are hiding behind that chair, so why don't you come out here and help me."

Santa wanted Daniel to help? He wasn't going to take back the presents because Daniel was awake?

Very slowly Daniel got up and came out from behind the chair, walked up to Santa and said, "I am sorry Santa, but I just had to see for myself how you would get into my house when we didn't have a real fireplace for you to come down."

"Well Daniel as you can see you do have a fireplace and I came down it just fine. In all my years of delivering presents, I have never once had to use the front door ... I always use my standard fireplace entrance."

"But," Daniel asked him, "we don't have a fireplace, so how did it get here?"

"It was here all the time Daniel, you just can't see it, it only appears when I need it. So after I leave, it will vanish once again, but keep believing Daniel and next year when I come back on Christmas Eve, it will be there again in the very same spot for me to get in."

After Santa told Daniel that, he picked up his sack and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Another flash and the fireplace was gone.

In the morning when Daniel's mom, dad and sister woke up, they found Daniel fast asleep behind the big comfy chair, his hand dropped open beside him and on the floor beside his hand ... what do you suppose they saw?

A little piece of burnt firewood from a fireplace.

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time To Be Still

Here I sit for a moment before the Christmas festivities are upon us. We had a lovely visit today with friends and are finally home. Now, after setting the dining room table for the buffet we are having tomorrow for 22 family members, I am sitting down.

The stillness and quiet of the house rest upon me like a blanket, wrapping me in its warm embrace.

I wonder - what are others doing tonight? Are they wrapped in the warm embrace of their loving families? Or are they homeless, looking for a warm place to lay their head for the night?

As I look out over the ravine towards the road and I see the headlights of automobiles coming and going.

Where are you all going? Are you out for last minute shopping? Are you maybe going to a movie? Is your trunk piled high with parcels to be delivered to friends or family? Are you going to help someone less fortunate than you? I pause for a moment as I wonder .............

The headlights are restless, twinkling, slowly moving closer and closer to their destination, never staying still, always going somewhere.

As I sit in my quiet home, I think how rich my life is with many wonderful friends and family with whom I can enjoy this beautiful season.

After tonight, we will be quite busy for the next week.
Tomorrow Don's family as well as my Mother and Dad come for our Christmas celebration. Monday is Christmas Eve which we always spend with our daughter Sebrina and her family - new jammies for everyone and then up to the loft for our annual viewing of "Polar Express". The boys will cuddle up on the floor with their pillows and quilts ... of course Zander will want Poppa to cuddle with him, will Ryan want Mammy to cuddle up with him like last year?
Then of course Christmas Day - the morning together for just Don & me, maybe a special breakfast, then off to visit my Mom and Dad before we head off to our daughters for Christmas dinner ... I have been told that Santa is going to make a substantial drop at our home on Christmas Eve which we - his helpers will be delivering to them.
Boxing Day - more company, my very dear friend MaryAnne and her family will visit for our Christmas celebration.

Then a breather - I get to be still for a couple of days.

Sunday, another buffet for my family ... brothers and sisters, Mom & Dad.
Monday - New Years Eve, the jury is still out on that evening - no decision yet on what we're doing. Will we have some friends in and ring in the New Year with them or will we spend the evening alone and probably be in bed asleep long before midnight? Hmmm - tough decision.
New Years Day, traditional Japanese food at Don parents.

What a wonderful time of the year this is!
It feels warm & lovely - like a big fluffy housecoat .....
It feels delicious & scrumptious - like a delectable turkey dinner ....
It feels inviting & enticing - like a crackling fire .....
It smells cinnamony & spicy - like a warm mug of apple cider.
It feels heavenly & enchanting - like Josh Groban singing Ava Maria ......

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Silent Beauty

I'm sitting looking outside at the splendour that Mother Nature created for us yesterday.

Although it wasn't pleasant for those who had to be out in it, it was an amazing snowstorm, the likes of which I haven't seen for many years. I remember snow like this in my childhood, where we could play outside digging tunnels, making snow houses, snow angels and snowmen.

This morning there isn't a whisper of a breeze, the trees stand like stately sentinals keeping watch over this winter wonderland.

I look for my miniature Blue Spruce which is approximately 3 feet tall. Where has it gone ... wait I see the tip peaking through the surface.

As I look at the horizon over snow covered rooftops the sky is the most beautiful colour of lavender. The starkness of the leafless trees against this colour inspires me to pick up my paints and canvas.

There are drifts of snow across my back garden which will stay throughout the winter insulating the plants from the freezing temperatures.

As I sit here drinking my coffee, I see one of our wild neighbours fly across the creek ... a blue heron. I think she has a nest somewhere upstream but we've never found it ... we just watch her come and go once in the morning and then once in the evening.

There is such still & silent beauty in this winter scene. The trees and shrubs standing silently, their saps frozen waiting patiently for the spring when life will burst forth. Where are the little creatures ... have they made a warm winter home beneath the snow, where they will wait until the spring thaw.

There are beautiful & amazing patterns across the drifts, swirls & creases, peaks & valleys. The snow has blown up against my windows and has started to slide down looking like swags of draped silk. On some of my windows I see the evidence of Jack Frost who has meticulously drawn a multitude of feathers twisting, tumbling and kissing each other across my window.

The sun has hit the snow and it is alive with diamond like sparkling.

It is truly a spectacular feast for the eyes outside right now. Unfortunately I cannot stay inside and enjoy this, but must bundle up and get going to my physio appointments today.

I think I would much rather stay inside, sipping coffee where it is toasty warm and still beautiful. I don't imagine after going outside and driving that I will think it is as beautiful as I do now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What a Wonderful Day!

What a great day I am having today!!!

This morning I went for my physio therapy and I have hit 120 degrees on my bend. My therapist was thrilled.

I think my little complainfest the other night was just what I needed to chase away the FM. It would seem today that it is nowhere to be found.

I have also started climbing the stairs leg over leg and this week, I put my cane away. I'm on my own now. There is still a little bit of instability but over all I feel fine walking without any external support system. I may crack on Saturday when Don & I are going downtown to see "We Will Rock You". I may feel a bit better with the stairs, possible long distance walking etc... I may have to do if I have my cane (just in case).

Over all, my therapist and I are very happy with my progress, how I wish that I could go for a nice long walk, but that will probably be possible by the springtime.

Here's to better days still to come.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let It Snow ... Let It Snow ... Let It Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful ...
But the fire is so delightful ...
And since we've no place to go ....
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Here comes the expected snow, rain, freezing rain storm.

It's very pretty outside and I'm very glad I'm inside. I just stepped out to take these pictures and is it ever slippery ... nearly slipped off my porch.

I just got a panini maker yesterday, so I'm looking forward to staying inside and trying out a panini ... hmmm think I might try Oprah's Love Sandwich.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Thief In The Night

I'm sitting here at 11:00 feeling very frustrated. My fibromyalgia (FM) is reaching a peak this week. It has been rearing it's ugly head since the surgery but seems this week to be particularly intrusive. Every muscle in my body is singing and it's not a song I like. My fatigue is overwhelming, but when I lie down in bed, sleep eludes me.

Good health & well being seem to be just beyond my reach.

FM is without a doubt one of the most frustrating and elusive health issues I have ever dealt with. There are times when I am in complete control and keep a tight reign on this intruder in my life. I can enjoy my life with gusto ... enjoy my grandchildren ... enjoy a great shopping expedition ... spend time with my crafting endeavours ... and then, other times like a thief in the night, it comes to me ... robbing me of my energy ... taking away my enjoyment of life .... interfering in anything I try to accomplish.

At times just the thought of getting up to make a cup of tea is overwhelming. Between my knee pain and my FM, I look up the 14 stairs which I must climb to get to my bed and they overwhelm me .... they are my Mount Everest.

Usually, I am a firm believer in "mind over matter" and having a positive mental attitude, but after weeks of fighting with this monster, I am starting to feel the need for a break ... a break in the pain ... a break in the fatigue .... a break in my lack of desire to do much of anything and a break in my lack of energy.

With all the excitement of the coming Christmas season and the enjoyment of spending time with friends and family, I am very ready for my FM to just plain go away. My mind is very excited about upcoming events, but my body just can't get with the program. Unlike a headache where an Advil will ease the pain, there is nothing ... no magic pill I can take to make this go away. FM will continue it's assault on me and will only receed into the background when it is ready ... I have no say in the matter.

This night is singularly difficult with the added bonus of chest wall pain which also brings on heart palpitations.

Last week, I restarted treatment with my chiropractor and massage therapist. I have not had an adjustment or massage therapy since my surgery 7 weeks ago. This is a great step forward to ensure that I once again take control of my FM. I am going to go twice this week as well as my three physio treatments and hope that within two to three weeks, I will start to gain control again, that is if all the running around for treatment doesn't knock the stuffing out of me (LOL).

Well, it is nearly midnight, and I'm starting to feel the twinges of tiredness, not to mention that my little "complainfest" has gone on long enough.

So I'm off to climb my Mount Everest, to lay my aching body down in my very comfy bed to sleep perchance to dream???

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Deck The Halls .. Silver Bells .. White Christmas

What a delicious time of year Christmas is.

The music is more sentimental, we feel more sentimental about spending time with family, even crotchety old Scrooges crack at Christmas - remember A Christmas Carol.

We feel more drawn to spending time with friends and family. We always try to get together even if just for a coffee with all our friends during the holiday season.

The decorations in our house start coming out the last week in November and I usually have the house completely decorated by December 1st, although I was a little late this year due to my knee.

It is the season for giving and as I have gotten older, I have found how true that is. As a child, all we think about is what Santa is going to bring us.

I remember going downtown every year to see the Christmas windows at Eatons & Simpsons ... a yearly tradition. Then of course we got to look around Toyland, and visit with Santa ... what a treat for a small child.

As my children came along, grew up and then had their own children my greatest gift is to enjoy their delight on Christmas Day when they open their presents.

However, let us not forget amidst our merriment - the underprivileged. The families who cannot provide a turkey dinner or even buy one present for their children. There are numerous charities that endeavour to help all year but especially at Christmas. The local food banks, Scott Mission, The Star's Christmas Wish, Toy Mountain, just to name a few in Toronto .... surely we all can designate a small portion of our Christmas spending to give to these charities.

As we get closer to the holidays, this year in particular, I am encountering difficulties trying to ensure that Christmas is enjoyed by every member of my family. This Christmas, my daughter Sebrina has decided that she would like to cook Christmas dinner which is just fine with me ... I've done it for 30+ years.

My dilemma ..... my 84 & 88 year old parents. My father is very disabled and cannot climb the 25+ stairs to get to Sebrina's, so that means that they will not be able to have dinner with us. Of course that leaves me with a terrible case of "the guilt's" as I have always included my mom & dad at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. However, I cannot imagine not spending the day with my grandchildren but must figure out how I will include my parents in the day.

We entertained going there for lunch ... Sebrina suggested that she make up dinner plates for them and we take them over. I'm having trouble figuring out, a) what is easiest for all concerned, b) what I can do to make them feel included & c) how to get my dad his turkey dinner which he loves.

I must admit after reading for years about the "sandwich generation", I certainly understand now just what that is. I am so torn between my loyalty to my parents and my love for my children and grandchildren.

Well, I'm sure it will all work out the way it is supposed to. Think I am going to go and make myself a Rum & Eggnog ... yummm!

Cheers everyone.


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