Happy New Year!! 2023

January 1, 2023

I wish you Joy.

I wish you Happiness.

I wish you Good Health & Wellness.

I wish you Beauty.

I wish you Prosperity.

I wish you Love.

I wish you Humour & Laughter

I wish you Serenity.

I wish you Grace.

I wish you Bravery & Courage.

I wish you Success.

I wish you Hope.

I wish you Inspiration.

I wish you Fulfillment.

I wish you Goodness & Light.

I wish you Faith

I wish you Satisfaction.

I wish you Interest & Stimulation.

I wish you Contentment.

I wish you Peace.

I wish you Strength & Fortitude.

& I wish you the Bad so you can *always* Appreciate the Good

Christmas Cookies

December 30, 2022

Every year for Christmas, I bake cookies to give to friends and family for gifts. To make it easy on myself, I buy some of the dough pre-made. This also allows for a little more variety than if I just made six batches of peanut butter cookies or sugar cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I tried something different this year. Yes, I still bought the pre-mix dough and I also still mixed up some dough. What was different this year is that I only baked the cookies that I needed as I needed them. Previous years I would bake all the cookies and then freezing them all.

While this does take more time, it has been spread out over multiple days. It limits doing repetitive and eventually very painful actions for hours & hours on end. Plus, I’m also not spending one day constantly baking

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The other benefit is that for most people, the cookies are fresh – straight from the oven almost in most cases..

Various Type of Cookies on Cooling Racks

Unfortunately, I did not see my brother’s family this year due to a really bad storm the day before our family dinner. He was still digging out with intermittent power. His eldest god to school near me, so I will send the family’s cookies home with her after the holiday break. Until then, they are frozen cuz dough only remains good for a limited period of time.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

The only other ones that were baked & frozen were the gluten free ones for my neice’s & SiL’s gluten intolerances. That was done for two reasons. First to ensure that all the gluten-free products were baked on a gluten-free surface and not switching between gluten-free and regular cookies. Second to keep all the gluten-free cookies together. I didn’t want to get them mixed up.

Be Kind – You Don’t Know The Struggles Of Another

December 27, 2022

A well written article from CNN about how depression, a medical condition, impacts the lives and deaths of people struggling with it. PLEASE READ.

Some particular statements I found poignant:

  • “Just because you can’t see it inside someone, doesn’t mean the pain they are experiencing isn’t real or overwhelming.”
  • “With cancer, you see people you love deteriorating on the outside. When someone struggles with mental health issues, you often don’t see it.”
  • “There’s a big difference between wanting to end your pain and wanting to end your life. But some of those who struggle with mental illness may not be able to see the difference.”
  • “Stop assuming you know what someone else’s life is like, or what it’s like to live in their head. You have no idea what somebody else’s life is like. And neither do I. You have no idea what pain or trauma a huge smile may be hiding.”

If someone has depression or even occasional suicidal ideologies, offering support instead of criticism is always the best way to go. You do not, can not, know how much someone is struggling with their demons. As Ellen says, “Be kind.”

Those who I know who should read this the most won’t even bother. They will consider themselves better even when they have struggled with their demons.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2022

Happy Birthday Jesus

December 25, 2022

Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2022
Happy Holidays

From my House to Yours, Best Wishes to you & yours this Holiday season & all year through.

• Happy Hanukkah •

+ Merry Christmas +

^ Joyous Kwanzaa ^

* Happy New Years*

Christmas For Me

December 20, 2022

Christmas is a funny time. I am a big fan of Christmas: the decorations, the gift giving, the food, the comradery, the joy, the love, the good-will. But I’ve also experienced the inverse at Christmas: the sadness, the lack of motivation, the sence of obligation, the loneliness, the isolation, the soal crushing depression.

I can & do get depressed just as everything starts & it can take a while to get into the holiday groove. This year, as always, I start wearing Sanata hats on December to “fake it til I make it.” But, I’d started getting into the holiday mindset by the beginning of the month – I was already in the Christmas mentality by December 3rd.

Santa Hat starts December 1st, every year.

THIS YEAR IS A GOOD YEAR!!

The Tree & Decorations:

The girls came over on December 11 to decorate the big tree with me. Doing the while thing is overwhelming. Plus it’s been a reoccurring tradition for most of the last 20 years. It is a 6½ ft spruce tree that goes upstairs in Mom & Dad’s big front window so it can be seen from outside.

The nativity screen they choose was the small set my Grandmother made. Next year they want to set out their Grandma’s set, the set I grew up having While similar to my grandmother’s set, their Grandma’s, Mom’s, set is significantly extensive. It has, possibly, 3x the number of pieces I have and would take up the entire self as oppose to the 8″x12″ manager I use.

The stockings are hanging off the heavy stocking hangers near the Nativity scene, on the same shelf. There are three, for stockings for Mom, Dad & I.

MY Tree & Decorations:

Several years ago, I got a dollar store 8″ tree. I put a bit of tinsel ribbon on it & a doz small ornaments. I’ve since raised the small ornaments & will be donating that tree off. Two years ago, I bought a 18″ tinsel tree with a single strand of lights &’some small shiny ornaments. I’ve been using that in my space for the last few years.

This year, I just purchased a proper artificial 3 foot pine tree. While it was prelit, I added a second strand of coloured lights & might add another strand next year. I ransacked the 2 above trees & relocated their ornaments. I also pilfered some of the ornaments from the big tree, ones that are personal to me

I bought a topper from Dollarama, painted it & it looks not too shabby. I also started painting some of those dollars store ornaments, but I’m not doing them all cuz I don’t like them all. Gerry, my bestie, is 3D-printing some specific ornaments for me to paint. They may not be done until after Christmas. But they will be awesome for next year.

I have my small Precious Moments Nativity scene on the table under my tree. I have a single stocking holder that’s I’ve had for years with a single stocking hanging from it. There are several Christmas plushies across the apartment. And I finally plugged in my laptop’s usb decorations.

I didn’t pull out Father Christmas this year for two reasons. Firstly, I couldn’t find him for the first two weeks of December. Secondly, I realized he doesn’t match anything in my home now. The pastel coloured robs just don’t work anymore with my colours. They almost clash, so I left him there for this year tho I should make sure his head is attached.

Gifts:

I’ve gotten most of my shopping done. As per usual, I’ve overspent. But at this point, I only need to pick up Lilly’s cookies.

I still need to put the cookie factory into high gear. Got 2-3 recipes from scratch this year including some gluten free options.. Thinking of Nanaimo bars for Christmas if I can.

Kellis Cookie Factory is Open

I’ve already sent or dropped cookies out to Megan/Evan, Lindsay/Aaron, Declan, Jenn/Chris & Dale. On the 23rd we have the family dinner and thus need the cookies for all the nieces, nephews and their partners.. This means 4 lg bundles & 4 smaller bundles . One of each needs to have gluten free. Beyond that, I have 2-3 larger packs and 5-6 small packs.

I *may* need to go over to Dollarama for a pack of licorice for my mom, for her stocking cuz, well, I ate it.. lol

Food:

  • Besides the dozens and dozens of dozens of cookies I will bake?
  • Besides the NINE different type of cookies I expect to bake (or non-bake)?
  • Besides the Yummy Nanaimo Bars I’ve been craving for weeks that I’m hoping to make for Christmas? 2 kinds!

Family Christmas dinner:

I am responsible for the vegetables. I have bought some flash Frozen vegetables: green beans, corn, brocoli & turnip. I’m hoping I can borrow my sister’s steamer for the first three & mom can help with the later, since she’s the only one who consistently eats it.

I think, since no one has said anything for buns for Christmas, that I’ll probably have to make my cheese buns. *Eyeroll*

Christmas Morning:

I am at my sister’s for Christmas morning/brunch, while I haven’t been asked to bring anything, I grabbed 2 packs of large cinnamon rolls. My dad also picked up bacon for me.

Back Bacon, Bacon & Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas Dinner:

I’ve been asked to bring dessert.. I grabbed 2 pieces & an apple crisp/apple crumble.. picked up icecream everyone else can eat & the ice cream I can eat .

My Friends

On top of everything else, I have social activities.. Sometimes dinner, Sometimes a quick chat or a coffee, Sometimes a hike, Sometimes hanging out at home (theirs or yours), Sometimes living it up! Hanging out with family, biological or choosen is always fun.

Waiting On Councilling

December 16, 2022

So I have been waiting quite some time for counseling services in my area. Almost 2 weeks ago I called Durham Family services to inquire as to my position on the waitlist. I received a call last Monday from Jason and the intake of Durham Family Services. But apparently there was a bit of a miscommunication. He wasn’t calling to let me know where I stood on the waitlist as per my request, he called to let me know I was at the top of the wait list and to get me set up with counseling.

Yay!

Finally getting a councillor with DFS!

So he was going to set me up with a counselor and I mentioned I would appreciate seeing the counselor I saw a previously. Unfortunately she had a full case load and to add to her caseload they have to get consent specifically from her. Unfortunately she was on vacation all last week so they couldn’t reach her until early this week.

I was called on Wednesday and was advised that the counselor I wanted to see had agreed to add me to her caseload..

Yay!

So, after 13 months of waiting I now have my first appointment set up for late January – only 14 months after first requesting counseling. Oi.

Better late than never

I’m just glad I have an appointment scheduled and it’s with a counselor that I’ve already built a connection with..

Then I have to wait for Catholic Family Services and Carea.. Hopefully they are timed to fit from one to the next to the next! I’d like to get my issues completely dealt with.

Christmas Is Busy For Me

December 15, 2022

Personally, for me, Christmas is probably the busiest time of year. Plus with personal issues that I’ve been having with different relationships, I haven’t been able to focus here very much.. so my apologies for not posting… Again…

Tis the season to be busy

Just to give you an idea. Monday was dinner out with a friend I haven’t seen in a coons ahe. Tuesday I have errands all afternoon & a cub planning meeting in the evening.. Wednesday is the Cub year end meeting, a social gathering & baking both before & after those. Thutsday I have to organize the baking, getting some ready for me to post as well as for friends this weekend. In the evening, I’m off to my sister’s for hair & a walk with the dogs. Friday, weather permitting, I’m getting the headlight fixed then I’m heading out for a social event with out-of-town friends I have not seen since Labour Day. Saturday is a coffee date (Whoo hoo!!) Sunday is soccer.. I still need to do groceries: normal groceries, Christmas dinner groceries, cookie baking groceries.. then, more baking as our family Christmas is on the 23rd.. plus wrapping presents for Mom, Dad, Sister & her family & a friend who I exchange with for more than just cookies..

So, yeah . Busy….

Christmas is like College Final Exam Week

And I’m probably missing stuff in the schedule..

Plus I need to fit in exercise, a hot tub or two or 6, plus other personal self care & put up my second tree.. & make some ornaments..

Keep calm, it's only Christmas

So, ALOT goes on a Christmas..

Holiday Burnout When Living With Chronic Illness

December 6, 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but pain. And fatigue. And holiday burnout. Follow these tips to celebrate the holidays the way that feels best for you.

Based on an original article posted Here, written by Courtney Smith

Does the Christmas season tend to leave you feeling overwhelmed and both physically or emotionally exhausted? There’s a word for that, and it’s called holiday burnout.

The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy, celebration, and reconnecting with loved ones. For others, it can evoke a range of uncomfortable feelings. And sometimes even if you are a Christmas person it can sometimes be too much.

What Is Holiday Burnout?

Holiday burnout is a term referring to the overwhelming emotional feeling one feels from expectations and pressures during the holiday season. It can be influenced by multiple factors – from adjustments in daily schedules, family or interpersonal conflicts, familiar and friendship expectations, even mental health concerns and more.. For those living with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, & MS, the pressure to keep up can feel even more overwhelming.

In an attempt to create memories and maintain traditions and customs, one may ignore their mental health or one may even feel their mental well-being is ignored by others during this time of year. This can cause the holiday season to be more stressful than joyful.

Common Symptoms

You could be exhibiting signs of holiday burnout if you feel any of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • Prolonged stress
  • Losing interest in things
  • Lack of motivation to do even the fun things
  • Feeling drained after socializing
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Procrastination of Christmas traditions one usually gets joy from
  • A disrupted digestive system
  • Frustration due to the holiday chores or activities

Manage Holiday Burnout When Living With Chronic Illness

1. Make plans in advance

Before committing to any social events or responsibilities during the holidays, be sure to plan ahead and make sure you want to attend the event. Don’t overbook. Whether it’s a party, cooking a large meal, or preparing gifts for family and friends, check to see what feels best for you and your body and plan accordingly. Consider creating a schedule with small and large tasks spaced out to prevent being overwhelmed, exhausted and other detrimental feelings.

Remember, what sounds fun in the moment may not feel manageable in a few weeks’ time.

2. Prioritize self-care

Self-care is essential for all aspects of ones mental and physical well-being, but with all the holiday hoopla, I can gets lost. In the midst of familial obligations, gift-buying, and holiday traveling, it can be easy to lose your sense of well-being resulting in feeling of burnout.

Prioritizing self-care during the holiday season doesn’t have to be glamorous or expensive. It’s all about maintaining your healthy routine with respect to your chronic health condition.

Practicing self-care can be as simple as:

  • Light physical activity like yoga or walking
  • Stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body.
  • Read a book
  • Talk with a friend
  • Colour, paint, draw, crafting
  • Write in your journal
  • Listen to music
  • Brush your teeth
  • Shower
  • Eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals
  • Maintain your sleep schedule
  • Pace yourself & take breaks

3. Set boundaries

With expectations from gift-giving to expected attendance at events with travel time, it can feel uncomfortable to say no to friends & family.

If saying yes makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, or puts your health at risk, you can say no. Setting and enforcing personal boundaries is a health form of self care. Give yourself permission to say no is empowering. Being mindful of your mental and physical capabilities safeguards your health, avoids feelings of holiday burnout, and allows you to choose to spend the holidays in the way that feels best for you. Rather than pleasing everyone and overcommitting yourself, learn to say a polite no this holiday season.

4. Keep track of your medications

With everything that could be on your plate, it could be very easy to lose track of time and stay on top of the medications you take to manage your chronic illness. To avoid any lapses in care, and ward off feelings of holiday burnout, try setting medication reminders on your digital devices (phone / smartwatch).

Pill organizers can be very helpful as it sets out your medications for each day so they won’t be forgotten. Some pharmacies will provide this service free of charge.

5. Enjoy yourself!!!

With all this talk of burnout and all that could go wrong, remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun for everyone. Don’t forget to have some! 

Whether it’s watching your favourite holiday film, cooking a nostalgic dish, or driving around to look at lights, choose to celebrate the holidays with special activities that are just for you and give yourself a break from all other distractions and pressures.

How Do I Avoid Christmas Burn Out?

  1. Try to start shopping early. On year I started on Boxing day.
  2. Cheat with my baking. I make several different types of cookies each year, but mixing up that many different types can be a little much. Some of my dough is premade. Some of my dough, I will premake & freeze.
  3. Organize gifts. But either the same item or purchase from the same store. One year I bought hoodies for my sister’s family all from the same animal rescue. This year I’m going to an outlet store with the plan to get everyone’s gifts.
  4. Drop certain activities. Sometimes doing Christmas cards just feels too much, so I will either limit cards to a special few or even drop them completely..
  5. Go to the gym. Not necessarily to workout. Sometimes I just got for a hot tub to relax.
  6. Extra self care. Despite how much I enjoy the holiday season, I do tend to stress out. So I make sure I get some extra self-care in and keep an eye on my mental health.