Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Music

I posted a few weeks on Facebook about the new Jeremy Camp Christmas album. Somehow I missed that he had released on this year and when I found it on iTunes I was so excited. It has definitely been my number one played album this Christmas. I usually try to do that, just limit myself to one new album per year so I can really enjoy it but some of them become instant classics. My "must listen to every year" favourites include: Kenny Chesney's "All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan", Brad Paisley's "Christmas" and a Various Artists Canadian Christmas Compilation that I can listen to over and over.

This new album by Jeremy Camp is now part of that group. Someone asked me to describe Jeremy's style of music on Facebook and I didn't respond. Normally I would say he's "Christian Rock" but it's Christmas music. It's not HARD rock by any means but for me, it's still rocky. I love it though. I adore his music and having his touch on Christmas classic is just fabulous. One of my favourite lines on the whole album is during "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" when he changes "Through the years, we all will be together, if the Fates allow" to "if the Lord allows".  For someone who chose to not be with her family for Christmas it give me hope and comfort for future Christmases.

In general this year I was pretty good with Christmas music. There were some songs I just couldn't listen to like "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Blue Christmas" but the rest of them were okay. It's funny. I think I underestimated the effect of music and the nostalgia included in Christmas music specifically so it was a separate set of emotions I had to deal with. I think I did pretty well though. And now Christmas is all over and the new year is looming! Wishing all the best to all of you and hoping that in time, we can all be together again, if the Lord allows :) <3 p="p">

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I took my first load of boxes over to my friends house today. They are storing my things for me while I am gone since I am giving up my place. I hope to only have one more car load of stuff to leave there but I'm trying to figure out how I have so much stuff! When I moved to Ontario from BC it all fit in my car. Now that stuff has doubled or even tripled. It's nuts. I got rid of stuff too but I guess I need to pare down even more! Oh well. It can wait until I get back now :P

The hardest part has been packing up my scrapbooking supplies. Knowing I won't be able to use them for another year is sad for me. Scrapbooking is such a defining part of who I am but the way I like to do it (traditional with paper) is not conducive to this nomadic lifestyle I am adopting to this year so I have to let it go for now. Yes there are other ways to record memories (like this blog) but it's not the same as playing with little bits of paper :P

The packing is almost done though. I'll do laundry tomorrow and then most of my clothes will be ready. I also need to pack shoes and boots. I'm dividing them into "take/leave" because I'm only taking one or two pairs of boots. All my warm winter ones are staying in Canada. With average daily temperatures of 15oC I definitely don't need boots in Georgia! Wish me luck as I chip away at this. Only six more sleeps before I leave!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

This was my first Christmas that I was away from my family. I knew in August when I was in both Alberta and BC for Seth's wedding that I wouldn't be going. I had a few moments where I felt a bit sad but logging onto an airline website and seeing the cost of flying over the holidays cured me of that very fast. A few weeks ago my coworker and I drove another coworker to the airport and I was SO glad it wasn't me getting on that plane. I mean it would have been nice to see my family but I was glad to not do a cross country flight at this time of year. 

I opened on Christmas Eve and then packed up and headed up to my friends home in Mount Forest. It was a wonderful low key Christmas Eve and morning. Brenda and Regan (above) and I played a very close game of Upwords, I convinced everyone (Brenda, Regan, Grace and Esther) to play a Canadian Trivia game that I bought at Value Village (which meant it was 15ish years old, but still fun) and we watched the original Grinch. Along with lots of hanging out and an amazing meal cooked by Esther.

Christmas morning we slept in...well, I was up around 8am which is good considering how much I've been opening (that means 4am wake up calls) and then we opened stockings. I hand't really thought about it so when there was not only a stocking with my name on it, but a VERY generous stocking, I was surprised, touched and very thankful. It was all thoughtful gifts like gum, candy, bath products and an iTunes gift card. Consumables that I don't need to worry about packing. Perfect!

After breakfast (show above) we headed over to Oma's for Christmas dinner. The best part about joining this particular family for Christmas is not only are these four dear friends but the whole extended family is as well. Every one of them is a good friend of mine and it was a pleasure to spend Christmas with them.

The family is Evelyn (Oma) and her four children: Brenda, her husband Regan and three children Grace (left), Esther and Stefan. I have known Stefan's wife Susannah since she was born and her family for many years before that. Margaret was there with her son Adam. Ruth and her boyfriend Jody brought their two adorable children Hope (left) and Jonathan (below). Kids always make Christmas more fun! The youngest is James who is married to my BC friend Sharlaine. They were married just two months before I moved to Ontario and Sharlaine and I have become great friends since we moved here.

So many awesome people made for a great Christmas. It was fun watching everyone open their presents. They draw names so each person got a decent larger gift and then a small gag gift from someone else. Some of them were hilarious, if you know the inside joke. It was a lot of fun. Of course we had a scrumptious Christmas dinner including turkey and all the fixings and then a huge dessert table as well. We finished the evening with various games but I left a bit early because I was fighting sniffles/allergies and I had to open on Boxing Day. 

The whole time I was keeping in touch with all my extended family via text message as well. I have decided that my sister in law Robbie is my favourite because she texts back the fastest ;) All in all it was a good Christmas. My family would have been better but considering this is the choice I made, it turned out just fine. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Secret Santas

My family is kind of past the gift giving stage. At least for us. I definitely don't have money and my brothers make more than they know what to do with so they can buy whatever they want. Instead I participated in a few Secret Santa gift exchanges and that gives me my fill of trying to buy for people. I had three this year. One with the girls from church. It was a generic exchange (no specific names) so I bought one of the awesome gift packs from Starbucks and contributed that. In exchange I got a mini cupcake maker. One of those appliances. I think if I wasn't moving and trying to get rid of stuff I would be more excited because it IS a cool gift. Unfortunately I'm just thinking of what to do with it while I'm gone. Oh well.

The second exchange was with the French Club Executive Members. I got my friend Jenelle who is a history major with a French minor (like me). I had a heck of a time finding something. After visiting Chapters three times I finally went to the little local independent bookseller in town and the owner hooked me up with a great book in about five seconds. It is a book of "Britishisms" and she LOVED it. Turns out she's on a huge British kick right now so it was perfect. In exchange I got a book called "Mugged by a Moose: True Tales to make you Laugh, Chortle, Snicker and Feel Inspired". It will sit prominently on my bookshelf in Georgia :D

The last exchange was with my Starbucks coworkers. I drew Matt who is a newish barista so I had to do some work to figure out what to get him. He and his wife are expecting a daughter in February so I went with that theme and made them this picture for the nursery. It's in the colours he described and he was very happy with it. I also threw in some home made cookies, because who doesn't love cookies?

Josh had my name which made it the easiest gift to buy ever (his words but it's true). He is a music major and he's been teaching me about classical music over the past year or so. He bought me a boxed set of the complete works of Sibelius. He gave it to me at 5am Monday morning when we were just starting our shift and I was SO excited. I've been enjoying it immensely ever since and I keep trying to tell people about it but no one understands how awesome it is...except him. But that's okay.

So there we go, it's a week before Christmas and my giving and receiving is done. I kind of like it this way. Less stress and I still had fun.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas in Toronto

One of the reasons I moved to Ontario was so that I could explore the city of Toronto more. It is Canada's largest city and it has lots to discover but I have been awful at visiting. I'm not really sure why. I used to go into Vancouver all the time and Toronto's not that much further away. I guess I just need a reason. Anyway, Sunday evening Grace, Esther and I packed up our ice skates and headed into the city with the intention of skating at Nathan Phillips Square and then checking out Eaton Centre. We left Grace's car at a shopping mall just off the 401 and then I drove us down towards the city centre.
In typical Heidi fashion I kind of aimed the direction I needed to go and started driving. Initially I knew I was going the wrong way so I just waited until it was convenient to turn left and then drove that way for awhile. The road curved, and split and I turned once and then I was on a major road which I took until I could turn left again. I was reading street signs but I hadn't actually looked at what road I needed to be on. Sure enough, within about five minutes, our EXACT DESTINATION showed up on the left!!! Amazing! I totally just stumbled on it. Yeah me! LOL

So this was our destination. City Hall (above) which I've never been to before but it's pretty distinctive, and the ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square which is right in front of City Hall. Can you see the CN Tower peeking through the buildings?
I haven't been ice skating since I left BC. I bought skates in January when I had time before Ashley's funeral (Collingwood has a Canadian Tire. How convenient.) But last winter was too mild and I never got a chance to use them. It took a bit to get going but I was impressed with how fast I managed to move. The rink is a good size so it didn't feel like you were going in tiny circles and it wasn't very busy which was nice.
The crazy part was the weather. It was WARM. Seven degrees Celsius. You can see from this picture how wet the ice was. It makes for a pretty picture! As long as you didn't fall, the wet ice was actually kind of okay because otherwise it was really chewed up. The wet ice was smoother if that makes sense. I managed to stay upright the whole time as well which is good because otherwise I would have been soaked.
We skated for close to an hour and then changed back into boots and stashed the skates in the car. Then we walked around the outside of Eaton Centre and back through the inside. I posed with a mannequin...
Esther posed with a tree...
And we found the massive Christmas tree and 20 foot tall reindeer inside. The stores in the mall were closing by the time we go there which was fine because we weren't there to spend money anyway. Mostly it was just nice to walk around and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city during the holidays and spend time with each other. I'm going to miss these girls an awful lot while I'm gone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friends understand when friends need to stare off into the distance

 I worked over 42 hours this week. I'm exhausted. I didn't have any exams (the last one isn't until Tuesday) so working was my primary focus. Today after work I met up with these three amazing ladies. Kerri, Erin and Heather. We were thinking of watching a movie but instead we just chatted and then made an amazing run to Uptown Waterloo for some treats. We bought pizza, tea from DavidsTea and cupcakes from Honey Bakery. We brought them back to Heather's and proceeded to polish it off. I ate an entire half a pizza plus my cupcake. It was amazing. We're all pretty fried with it being the end of semester and we're trying to not get too depressed with the fact that this is the last time that we'll see each other so we just quietly sat around and visited. It was nice to be able to just be with people who understand how done we are and who didn't mind that we packed up around 6:30 so we could all go home and keep studying. I love these ladies. The next time we see each other will probably be in Europe. That excitement makes parting easier.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's amazing what a few hours can do

I kept track of everything I accomplished today. It's a rather impressive list if I do say so myself! It's amazing what actually having time can allow one to do.
- Worked 5-9am
- Attended Meeting
- Attended Christmas party
- Talked to three profs about school work and planning for the future
-Dropped off old laptop for recycling
- Bough travel health insurance
- Picked up guide books and maps
- Bought part of one Secret Santa gift
- Picked up school transcript for France Application
- Confirmed registration for winter semester
- Talked to business office re financing
- Picked up second Secret Santa gift
- Called BC Student Loans, scheduled a call back
- Submitted Certificate of Immunization to GSU and received confirmation of receipt
- Received one of two letters needed for France
- Confirmed accommodation for travel to Georgia
- Called Rogers regarding phone contract
- Posted on Facebook about phone for input
- Spoke with BCSL, confirmed that I don't have any action until January
- Made ginger molasses cookies
- Talked to Mom
- Assembled first Secret Santa gift

I still have lots to do but it sure feels good to have achieve this much and I'm a lot less panicky today. (and yes Karin, the chocolate helped :))

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So. Much. To. Do.

I had a momentary panic attack tonight. It set in during church when my mind was relaxed but I started going over everything I still have to accomplish in the next just over three weeks. So much paper work and arranging and planning and PACKING and I'm working 40+ hours which is great because I need the money but it's overwhelming. Anyway, I reached out to a few people and they talked me down and I'm okay now (aside from a headache from crying). I sent a few messages when I got home and arranged a few things. I added to my list too. I'll do more tomorrow and I know it will fall into place but man, it sure gets overwhelming!!! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Truths I have learned

Hey blogland. I know I've been totally MIA again, and I truly do miss blogging. I think about it but somehow I never get her to post. Anyway, this is a bit of a vague post because I'm not about to post the gory details of how or why I learned these truths but suffice to say, I have some incredible friends and awesome people in my life and I thank God for them daily.

Recent Truths I Have Learned:

It's good to be human.
It's good to feel.
Things are rarely as big or as important as they seem in your head.
Life is too short to be spent worrying.
It's not what you do, it's how you do it.

This semester has been interesting in it's own special way. A good lesson in patience but also a lot of growth. I have an incredible 2013 lined up and I'm super excited for it, but I'm not quite ready for this year to be over yet either.