Last December I was home on medical leave all month. It was a very rough time, but it was also nice to deal with December without having to worry about getting to work and fitting everything into small spaces of free time. This year was way more hectic and our moods weren’t much better than last year. There has been way too much sadness in 2014 and by the time Christmas season rolled around, neither of us had much energy or Christmas spirit. I did, of course, change up the blog theme and decorate at home, but this year the home decorations were minimal and I was ok with that.
We got our tree on the last day of November, because it was a Sunday and I would be away for the first weekend in December. We put lights on it, but didn’t start decorating it because we wanted some of the branches to fall first. It was looking a little crooked, but without the branches full out, we couldn’t get it right. By the middle of the week, I decided I sort of liked it with just the white lights. So we left it that way. We did add the star, our clear glitter ball ornaments, and the severed head of Potter. Everything else stayed in the boxes in the basement. Shawn asked me if I was feeling ok when I said I wanted a minimalist tree. That’s very out of character for me. This year I just wasn’t feeling the cluttery decor.
Even the rest of the house was minimalist in terms of decorations. I took out our stockings (sad to only have one dog one this year. :() and of course we had to have the marshmallow baby Jesus out, but that was most of it. I got Shawn a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar this year and it was cute. Not sure if we’ll do it again next year though.
We did put lights up in the front window, and I love my glittery snowflake garland (from the Dollar Store years ago!). I did a lot of my shopping for Shawn online and I did it early. So by that last day of November, I had almost everything for him wrapped and ready to put under the tree (as seen in the first photo). There were a couple of items I was waiting on, but I was so on top of that this year.
What I wasn’t on top of was Christmas cards. I hardly got any made, still need to finish Shawn’s card, and didn’t send any out this year. Alas.
The first full weekend in December I took the train to visit Monkey and her husband. This seems to have become a traditional yearly visit and I look forward to it. We are very low-key when I visit, which I appreciate. This year we wore our comfy jammies and watched The Sound of Music – until the intermission when it was past my bed time and we turned it off. Rock stars. Obviously.
When I came home from that trip, I saw that Santa had come!
And apparently Santa brought me a DOOR! At least that’s how big that package was under the tree. (SPOILER: It wasn’t a door.) I had been bouncing all week, wanting to give Shawn his presents, so when Shawn suggested we do Christmas that evening, well… I agreed! I was so excited about what I had gotten him! Plus, we were likely not going to be home for Christmas… but more on that later!
The large door-like gift was actually a very nice wood writing/crafting desk. Once we clear out one of the unused guest rooms (right now it’s a junk room with a single bed in it), it will go in there and I will be able to craft and perhaps sew. (You know, on the off chance I am getting a sewing machine for Christmas. I don’t know about that. Nope. I don’t. It wasn’t in our Costco cart at one point. Nope. All I saw was toilet paper and fabric softener…) I got Shawn a PS4 (which he is playing right now), games for said PS4 and some other techy stuff.
He got me awesomeness:
Dude. A Jem and the Holograms CHRISTMAS SWEATER! I love him.
New case for my phone: Jinx, Annie, and Sophie. *melts*
Jem workout pants! WHEEE!
So, yeah. We did Christmas on December 7th. But we had a good reason!
Because on December 18th we drove 10 hours to Windsor, Ontario.
Then on December 19th we crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Michigan.
And drove. And drove.
And saw an epic sunset in Kentucky.
And drove, and drove some more. Until we stopped in Nashville, TN, where the stars aligned and I actually got to meet Yoj IN FREAKING PERSON!
Dude. We even had the SAME bag – in Christmas colours! What the heck! It’s like we were meant to be friends!
Only 10.5 years of knowing her online, through blogging, but we got to meet. And have dinner together! And go to Target together! (What? Don’t all epic meetings involve a trip to Target?) And go shopping in the Cracker Barrel gift shop and laugh at items there! And I got to meet her insanely tall 13-year old son – whom I have watched grow up through photos sine he was 2. I wish we had more time together, but our evening was short.
Why? Well, because on December 20th we drove, and drove some more to just outside of Memphis, TN.
And here’s why:
Say hi to Yoshi (Sugarok Year of the Dragon)! He’s Sophie’s new brother. She’s not quite sure what to make of him yet, but I see many similarities already. 😉 We have adopted all of our Lappies from Linda at Sugarok, and she has become a good friend as well. We had been wanting a puppy, but the timing didn’t work out and Linda offered us the opportunity to adopt Yoshi from her. Since we had sort of planned on traveling down there over Christmas had the puppy thing worked out, we thought – why not? This was an epically long road trip, which got cut short because they were forecasting a major storm during the time we were to drive home, so we ended up leaving Linda’s early (and all it ended up being was rain. Rain and mild. Ugh.)
Yoshi is going to be 3 on January 1st. He’s an AKC Grand Champion show dog and can be shown here in Canada – if I find the courage to try and show him. Scary! He’s a very chill, sweet boy, who has been adapting very well to his major life change. He wants to play with Sophie, and Sophie is constantly insulted by this. But in the 3 day drive home, both dogs travelled very well together.
While visiting Linda, Sophie got to play with her litter-sister Kira.
Can you see the difference? I can’t see the difference.
Oh! There’s the difference! Kira has EARS! Although her mannerisms were so similar to Sophie’s it was amazing to watch them together. Sophie was actually happy to see her. She wasn’t so sure about all of the other dogs living there though. She and her birth mother had a few Family Christmas Stress moments. 😉 But those are the holidays, right? What are the holidays without some sort of stressful family reunion!
Family photo! Kira (sister); Didi (LappyMummy); Sophie; and, grandma Linda (human =P).
Didi was a sweetheart and if we could have snuck her home with us, we would have. But one extra dog was more than enough. We are a pack of 4 again in this house.
He’s touching my Snow Mountain, Mummy! WHY!?!?
Even if Sophie is constantly offended that Yoshi keeps following her around, and trying to play with her. The nerve!
We came home on Christmas Eve (two days early) and have spent the last two days recovering from all the travel. We did spend a night at my parents’ place in Kingston before continuing home. It was a long day. They will be here tomorrow for lunch, Sunday I get to celebrate Jillmas, when Jill comes for her annual Christmas visit, and then New Year’s Day we will see Shawn’s parents and introduce them to Yoshi. I have the full week off, but Shawn has to work three days.
It’s been an odd December and a very non-traditional Christmas season for us. Any other year this would have bothered me immensely, but this year it just felt right. We were meant to have an odd Christmas this year. Because it’s turned out pretty alright.
Merry Christmas to you all, Internet! Thanks for sticking with me through all the ups and downs!
I go back to work tomorrow after having been off since the end of November. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am doing much better than I was three months ago and I can actually go out into the world without having a nervous breakdown. On the other hand… I don’t know how I feel about going back to work, my job in particular. Part of it has a lot to do with the fact that I have to continuously walk by the building that the guy jumped from last March. I can’t help it. It’s right next to my office. I am just so over down-town, big cities in general lately. The jumper guy just added to my original dislike of cities. I’m also at the point where I’m ready to move on to a different job. Something that I really, truly enjoy. I just don’t know what that is yet – besides moving into the publishing world. I’m not ready for that one yet though. Still have some schooling to finish. Either way, I’m back to the real world tomorrow morning.
Besides missing not having to wake up to an alarm clock in the mornings, I am seriously going to miss snuggling with Sophie.
This dog, this tiny, vocal, fluffy little girl has been a huge part of my healing process. I didn’t even realize how much she’s been a part of it until recently. Whether it was the middle of the night, or during a crying fit, or just sitting quietly on the couch while I browsed the internet, Sophie will jump up beside me at least 10 times a day just o squish her face into mine, give me kisses, let me rub her belly and just hug her tightly for ever. She is a champion snuggler and I have never had a dog that loves to cuddle as much as she does. Sophie just loves to be loved and to share that love with her humans. She’ll alternate being beside me on the couch and then wandering over to Shawn at the table and stare at him, climb up onto his lap and give him kisses. She bounces between the two of us snuggling away. I’m a little worried how she’s going to be once we’re both back at work full time. I’m at least going back progressively while Shawn is hopefully on his way to finding new employment. I’d like to think there will be a decent enough transition period that Sophie won’t freak out about being alone (with Jinx) for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Normally Sophie doesn’t DO selfies.
I realized this evening, as Sophie and I were smooshing our faces together, that it’s going to be impossibly hard for me to be gone all day tomorrow and not have snuggle moments with her. She’s been the best hug, the best comfort while I have been home. When I am anxious or sad I just bury my face into her fur and hug her while she grumbles at me. She’s vocal. She sings, she grumbles, she’ll occasionally bark at me when she thinks I’ve not paid enough attention to her (or paid her the wrong kind of attention… she might have told me off after the Olympic Ice Dancing routine I tried with her in the kitchen this weekend…)
Go, Team Canada!
But she’ll come right back up to me, tail wagging and jump up on her hind legs, stretching her JAZZ PAWS! up in the air at me so I’ll bend down and hug her. And hug her, and hug her and love her. She’s a bundle of love and affection that’s kept me together at times I was sure I’d fall apart. She didn’t care that I thought I was broken. She didn’t think I was broken, she just loved that I was on the couch next to her.
Jinx is great when I am down and out, he is. He’ll stay close and keep a watchful eye on me. He’ll curl up on the couch next to me, but he won’t snuggle. He doesn’t like kisses. “Boys don’t get kisses, Mummy!” is his stance on the matter. But he’ll protect me and he knows when I’m sick or sad. Sophie however, will jump right into that fire and smoosh herself right into your heart if you let her.
The best part about you exercising at home, Mummy, is that I can Downward Dog with you!
Both dogs stay near me constantly, but Sophie likes to be touching me as much as possible. She’ll take any opportunity for a cuddle. She’s not clingy or needy, don’t get me wrong. She likes her space well enough! Sophie just seems to know when I might need a little extra love and a giggle in my life. If I’m trying to hold a one-minute plank, or get 25 sit-ups in, she’ll sometimes come right over and stick her nose in my eye (thanks) and give my nose a little lick. Then she’ll slide down into play-mode and hang out with me as I giggle up a storm and take a break from the exercise.
Once I’m on the couch, she’s up there waiting. SNUGGLE TIME! Don’t play that computer game too long! Don’t watch too many hours of Buffy or Veronica Mars without stopping for a CUDDLE BREAK! Don’t forget to LOVE ME!
Sophie is my little snuggle bug and I’m almost in tears to have to leave her home while I’m at work the next two days. She doesn’t sleep in bed with us anymore (preferring to claim MY spot on the couch overnight!) so I won’t have as much snuggle time between getting home, eating dinner and then bed. I’m not sure who will miss whom the most. Thankfully she and Jinx will have Shawn to snuggle for most of tomorrow – although he’s got an appointment in the morning so he’ll actually be leaving the house with me at ten to eight tomorrow morning. Poor dogs, they’re in for a bit of a shock.
If I could get these dogs certified as therapy dogs for myself, I would. Having them – especially Snuggle Sophie – around me all day has been one of the best things I could possibly have asked for while dealing with my PTSD.
We haven’t been the happiest of households lately due to many reasons, so once in a while I like to take a moment and reflect on the good things that happen just to give my brain a change of scenery. Often the good things come buried under all the negative and you can’t really appreciate them much at the time they happen.
For instance, I received a cheque in the mail last week for what I call free money. It’s not really free money but that’s exactly how I feel about it. When I bought my Macbook a few years ago I financed it through the store. It was 24 equal payments, etc. And then we needed to replace something else and I financed it through the same store. So I was getting the store credit card bill and when we were both gainfully employed I was putting more down on this card so I could pay things off faster. I was certain at one point that I had paid off the card, yet I still got a bill every week saying I owed money and that it looked like I had a balance. So I paid it. I finally received a bill in June that said my 24 payments were over, I had a $0.00 payment to make and that I had the full limit of the card free. Ok. But then I noticed I had a CREDIT on the card. They called me and I called them back last week. This week I received that credit – over $1.300 in the mail! The woman on the phone said “Well, you’ve been overpaying for about 10 months.” Huh. (she was VERY nice!) So I said, “Well then, you guys need to rethink the way your statements are written, because this money never showed up as having been paid, it was still telling me I had to pay the monthly instalment and I didn’t want to accidentally get a black mark on my credit.” So I took that $1,300 and put it on my actual credit card for this payment because that poor card has been getting too much use these days for reasons. The money came at the best time for it to come. I don’t feel so drowned by debt right now. Yay. Money things are frustrating.
We’ve reached a major turning point in the house this weekend. For over a month, Sophie has been a very good girl while left out free-range. Turns out if you cover the coffee table with a blanket, Sophie doesn’t notice it. Or destroy it. And if you put the baby gate up between the living room and the foyer, she doesn’t chew up shoes. She’s also a lot less anxious while out free and doesn’t HOWL and BARK the time we’re gone. So… since we have started winter-proofing the yard while it’s still relatively nice outside, I had thought that perhaps we could store the new deck table and chairs inside the house for the winter. I figured out that I need a dedicated study space at home because I just can’t work properly sitting on the couch. I used to go up to one of the guest rooms and sit on the bed in there, but it was just too hard on my back. The shed in the backyard is crap, broken and just doesn’t have room to store the new furniture. We used to toss the crappy plastic stuff in there. but I didn’t want to do this for the new stuff.
So Sophie’s crate has been taken apart and put in the basement. We’ll keep the cafe table and chairs in the kitchen for me to sit at while I work. One chair was a little gross with spiders and other stuff, so it’s still outside from being cleaned and disinfected. It’ll come in when we think it’s safe. 😉
I know that by posting this Sophie’s Big Step news that I’m probably jinxing it, but I think she’s a lot less anxious now and she’s been left alone in other places and never causes trouble. Having the table “out of sight, out of mind” seems to help.
But of course the blanket was pulled off the other day, Shawn said. It might not have been Sophie. It might have been this guy…
Because Jinx really, really, really loves to snuggle with this blanket lately. This is what we use to cover the table when we go out. But when we’re home, I use it to cover my own legs when I’m cold. Jinx has started balling it up and using it as a pillow. Then posing cutely on it when I want to take a photo.
So perhaps it was Jinx who pulled the blanket off the table. Either way, Shawn said both dogs knew how unhappy he was about it and how they did something wrong. It hasn’t happened since.
But… I don’t want to share my fuzzy blanket, Mummy. Make him stop!
Although we did have the tragedy the other night of Jinx having to SHARE his blanket when Shawn came and sat on the couch next to us for a moment to show me something. Jinx was most distraught. This is HIS fuzzy blanket! Silly dog. It’s MY blanket. I got it as a Christmas gift two (or three?) years ago. I think my boss needs to get me a new one. 😉
And finally, I am joining a crossfit class! I have already been to one, it’s just around the corner from my house! A whopping 60-second walk away! I’ll only be able to make the Tuesday night class but it’ll be a nice compliment to my Aqua Fit course (that starts back this week) and the walk/run I’m doing on the mountain AND at home. I consider this a positive thing because it’s making me FEEL so much better and it’s a group of fun people with an amazing trainer! I’m not becoming one of those Born Again Fitness Nuts though. I’m just pleased that I am learning to really enjoy being active and that this activity is helping me with everything from my Fibro pain to my PTSD from the jumper guy to even the stress and rage I feel at work. I’m all for helping solve those problems through ways other than medication. I don’t want to be taking medication anymore. I’m tired of it and I just want my body to feel better without chemical help. So far so good. So I’ll keep up what I’m doing. The more active I get the more I want to BE active. And I feel off if I’m not. Which is a good thing. Regardless of how discouraged I get about the running. I actually enjoy it – just not always at the TIME of the run. I am super stoked about this crossfit/interval training class though. It will help me work on upper arm strength (of which I have none) and everything else. And it’s so close to home! (Bonus motivation points!)
Aaaannnnd… as I am writing this, Jinx just pawed at the fuzzy blanket on the couch to make it to his liking and snuggled down into it.
Just now. Bless his heart.
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