Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a senior citizen? Neither had I. My parents have been in a seniors apartment building for the past five years or so. I would visit and say hi to the “old” people in the halls, but I always seemed to be in a rush; rushing in and rushing out.
Then something happened, my dad go sick; at first, when I would travel back, I would spend a few nights with my parents; they set up a bed for me in my dad’s TV room, but I would eventually end up in a hotel or at a friends house.
This last time I was home, I could tell they really wanted and needed me to be here with them. So instead of rushing in and rushing out, I stayed.
Here are my observations; I don’t think we give “older” people that much thought because it scares us. It’s scary to have aging parents, so we don’t think about it. We deal with issues as they arrive, but we try not to think about it too much, plus we are busy, rushing in and rushing out.
Newsflash! We are all aging and one day, if we take good care of ourselves, we are going to be in our 80’s and maybe even in our 90’s too. Have you ever given any thought to what that will be like? Neither had I, until now.
At some point we stop rushing and have lots of time on our hands. I suspect their will be a lot of time for reflecting and thinking about the “good old” days. But guess what? If you aren’t 94 at this very moment, then the “good old” days are now! So maybe we should stop rushing through our time? Maybe we should slow down from time to time to take in the scenery?
My parents apartment is not an assisted living place; their fellow residents are independent, active and vibrant people; some seem to have better social lives than I do?? Mmm, I may need to work on a better balance?
There are lots of “younger” residents, in their early 70’s to mid 70’s, but the people that I am noticing more, since I have stopped rushing, are those in their 80’s and 90’s. I’ve been watching them and talking to them.
It’s at once heartbreaking to hear them talk about dying, and they do talk openly about it. And inspiring to see a calmness and acceptance they have on the cycle of life. We are all born to die, but we don’t think of it, we push it away. I guess when you are in your 80’s and older, it feels a lot closer. It must get harder to ignore? It looms over you in a way that a 40 year old doesn’t have the time to notice.
Being here has made me slow down, instead of walking past the gang that make puzzles on the third floor, I stop and talk to them. I am thankful that when my dad is feeling up to it and wants to go for a walk they greet him with a smile and give him the best chair.
Instead of thinking puzzles are lamo, I think, how nice it is that if you are feeling lonely you can walk down the hall and join a group of people.
I stop on the second floor in the common area to say hi to my mom and her friends who play cards every night from 7 to 9; except for on Wednesday nights, when they play bingo. I pick up treats for them to share.
Today I made a point to walk three cars passed my spot to thank the man who has been dusting the snow off my parents car for the past week. I asked if he was the snow angel who’s been clearing off all the cars; he gave me the biggest smile. Turns out, this not rushing in and out is proving to be good for my soul.
And when I am feeling grief stricken with what is looming over me and my family; I find comfort in the faces of people who know how that loss feels, because they have lost husbands, wives and other loved ones.
So being here, living amongst a bunch of senior citizens has proven to be a gift. I will try to never be too busy to give someone a heartfelt smile as I rushed past them.
Full disclosure, the goal of this post was going to be funny and light hearted, because these old people are pretty sassy and funny as hell. But it quickly took a turn and I just went with it, lol. I hope that it makes you think a bit, even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, that’s ok too. Let’s be nicer humans!
A Mad for Plaid Christmas! Easy tips on how to pull off a plaid theme!!
This year I decided that it would be fun if our Christmas Eve Dinner had a theme; and since plaid seems to be the latest new hip trend, why not make it a plaid theme? If you are Canadian, it’s been hip forever, lol; plaid and Christmas are a natural fit so I thought it would be easy to pull off.
I did find that finding the perfect plaid item to wear was, well hard to find, lol. What I envisioned wearing wasn’t available at the local mall and I waited too long to order something online. But I am no quitter! Plus all but my guests are pumped and on board; so full steam ahead with my Mad for Plaid theme!
What to wear?
Can you have a plaid theme dinner without asking your guest to dress up? Probably, will it be as fun? No! No, it won’t. (teasing, feel free to skip to my pictures of plaid dinner table ideas if you don’t want to deal with my plaid shenanigans)
My Christmas Eve guests have been asked to wear some sort of plaid. I left it open to interpretation; I am looking forward to seeing everyone plaided up! (yes I know plaided isn’t a real word, but it should be!).
I finally found something I like, it’s a beautiful red and black plaid shawl that I will for sure wear again; it’s basically a huge blanket. My mom has a funky pair of red plaid pants that I am sort of lusting after. She’s the most stylish woman I know! My dad will wear a red and black buffalo pattern shirt so he and I will match.
When it comes to decor, concentrate on your dinner table. I always make that my focal point. I think most people associate plaid with rustic and homey comfort; I personally think of a tall rugged Canadian lumberjack named Alex or Jean-Guy…..lol, ok moving on; the point I was trying to make before I got distracted by visions of lumberjacks dancing in my head is that it’s so easy to pull off a plaid themed dinner table. All you need is a plaid tablecloth or piece of fabric, mason jars, pine cones and a pop of something green and red.
Last year I filled mason jars with cranberries and floating candles. Some green branches, fairy lights and red balls. So easy, yet so pretty!!
This year I will have gray and black table clothes with red napkins. I will repeat the other same items from last year; hey, if it isn’t broken, no need to fix it!
Pro Planner Tip
Here is a super helpful tip for any and all parties, big or small; the key to creating a cool vibe for your guests is lighting! So please dim the damn lights!!!
Light some candles or load up on fairy lights, nothing ruins the mood like bright overhead lights…you’re welcome!!
I wanted to post this before Christmas in case someone is looking for ideas on how to dress up their dinner table. I will share pictures of my Christmas Eve Dinner on my Facebook page, oui-liette.
Enjoy these last few days before the big day. I know they can be stressful; it may seem that everything I do has to be perfect. That’s actually not the case. I pre plan as much as I can and then the day of any of my personal parties or huge corporate events, I am pretty chill and roll with the punches. Don’t let the idea of perfection ruin the moment. Life is messy not perfect! Lol, enjoyez-vous!
Here is my personal bucket list; I will do my best to complete each item on this list! I will do a post holiday wrap up, or should I call it an unwrapping, lol? I will report back on which items I completed and which, if any, I missed.
I encourage you to use my list as inspiration or to create your own. It’s good to set goals, even if they are silly; especially if they are silly!
Before we get started, I realize that the holidays can be hard for some people. I get that, I really do. This year will be a trying time for my family. But instead of curling up into a ball and wishing it away; we have decided to go for it, full on! I have advised my mom that her house is going to look like Christmas threw up in it!! She laughed and is completely on board.
If you don’t love this time of year, try to do one or two holiday things and see how you feel. Sound like a plan? Let’s do this!!
1. Buy a new winter hat!
Starting off with an easy one!! I love shopping and I love hats so this one is easy peasy and already done!! I actually bought two new hats…moving on to the next item.
2. Make a snowman or snow angel.
I realize these are weather permitting. Here’s the thing friends, life is short, life gets busy and adulting is hard. Soooo if you are fortunate enough to find yourself in front of the perfect fluffy, yet sticky snow, jump in!!
I am hoping for snow so I can check this one off my list. If you complete this one, please send me pics!!
3. Go skating or snowshoeing.
Snowshoeing is weather permitting; it’s actually my favorite winter activity. You may think it sounds lame and boring, but there is nothing like snowshoeing in the forest on a sunny day! Fingers crossed that we will get enough snow here before I have to go back to Vegas. Skating can be done inside or outside, so no excuses for this one!
4. Make Christmas Cookies!!!
Invite friends or family over to bake some Christmas cookies. I know from Facebook that a lot of you already have this tradition with your families. My family and I have started our own cookie baking tradition. This year is our Third Annual Cookie Baking Party; this year’s event is already scheduled. I will be sharing details of how we cookie it up!!
5. Kissing under the mistletoe!
I figure if i get some mistletoe the kissing will naturally follow. Going with the: “build it and they will come” theory. Will keep you posted! 💋
6. Glitter it up!!
In my opinion glitter is never a bad idea! ‘Tis the season for parties, go for a bit of glitter!! Sequins if you are feeling bold; glitter gloss at the least!!
I was supposed to go back to the US before coming back to Canada for Christmas. But plans changed. This means that all my glittery stuff is back in Vegas; so I will need to shop for more…challenge accepted!
7. Be Nice
We should always try to be nice, but let’s try to be extra nice this time of year. I usually try to donate blood right before the holidays; give the gift of life if you are able, it’s free! Doing something nice for others in need doesn’t just help them, but it will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
As mentioned in my opening, the holidays can be a lonely time for some. You never know what others are going through, so let’s try not to be assholes, lol. And if someone is rude to you, shake it off, they are obviously struggling with their own issues.
And remember the more the merrier; especially this time of year. My fam adopted two strays a few years ago and now we can’t get rid of them!! They are now part of our Christmas Eve tradition and have become part of our family. I now can’t imagine Christmas without them!! xox
8. Be Naughty!!
Be naughty, but in the very nicest way!! I will let you use your imagination for this one, lol, have fun!!
9. Santa Selfie!
Last year I volunteered for our staff kids party, mostly so I could hang with the big man in red, lol. Here’s a challenge for you; if you are taking your kids for their annual picture with Santa, get in on the action. They will probably think it’s funny and who doesn’t want to be the fun mom, dad, aunt, uncle….
It’s so easy to take ourselves too seriously!! If you don’t have kids, get a few friends together and go sit on Santa’s lap!! I double dare you!! Send me your pic if you do!
I plan on taking my 16 year old nephew for a picture with Santa. Part of my duties as the world’s best aunt is to embarrass him right??
10. Christmas Cards
I am all about technology, but there is something awesome about getting a Christmas card in the mail.
I haven’t always sent cards, but I do now, and I try to make them funny. Some years I succeed, some…not so much. I’ll admit that last year’s card may have been a bit ridiculous and some didn’t get the joke, but I am fine with that, lol.
I encourage you guys to send cards, send pics of your families, your kids… I love them all!! So thank you.
Also, I will be doing a separate Christmas card blog post shortly, where I will share my card designs for the last few years.
11. Christmas Movie Marathon.
Baby it’s cold outside! Why not stay in and watch Christmas movies? The holidays are fun, but can be exhausting! Everyone needs a day or evening to do nothing, but watch Christmas movies.
The Hallmark Channel becomes my favorite channel this time of year. The story lines are basically all the same, but I don’t care, I love, love, love!
My top three Christmas movies of all time are:
Love Actually (I made my friend watch it a few years ago and she thought it was horribly depressing, lol)
What are your favs??
12. Rock Your Winter Jammies!
Growing up my parents used to let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. It didn’t take my brother and I long to figure out the pattern; a new pair of pajamas. This seemed like a cruel joke as a child, but I think it’s an awesome idea now that I am an adult.
13. Deck Your Halls!
Some people don’t decorate for Christmas and I just don’t get it? This is a great family or friend activity; if you don’t want to put up a big tree, get a tiny tree or a few balls in a bowl. I once had a Christmas Tree decorating party; where each person was told to bring an ornament. It’s a fun way to decorate my tree.
I won’t be able to decorate my own place this year in Vegas, so I am going to help decorate my moms. We will crank the Christmas tunes and go wild.
I love decorating and I think I am pretty good at it, but when it comes to Christmas decorating, my aunts and cousins on my dad’s side take it to the next level. I plan on doing a post on them. I haven’t asked them yet, but I am pretty sure I can convince them to let me interview them and take pics of their work. I’ll get helpful hints and share!
14. Winter Hot Tubbing
This is a new tradition that I am starting this year. I am currently working on creating a list of all friends with hot tubs!! Lol. If you haven’t been in a hot tub in the winter while it snows big fluffy flakes, then you are missing out. Who wants to hot tub with me?? lol
When making your own Christmas List, be sure to add original, fun things to do!!
15. Count Your Blessings.
I saved the best for last. It’s easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, that we forget to be in the moment and reflect on what is most important. For me it’s friends and family, I feel blessed and I try to be thankful and appreciate what’s in front of me at that very moment.
I will say that with social media, it can be a challenge to focus on what we have and not what we see others have. I will tell you that no one’s life is perfect, we are all just doing the best we can. Just because someone can take pretty pictures, it doesn’t mean that they have everything figured out.
Personally, for a long time, I secretly wished for the type of family that sits around the dinning table for hours discussing important issues; you know like they do in the movies. But that’s not us! I had to get over that fantasy and go with what I have. And what I have is an amazing family that love me no matter what? That encourage and support me even when they don’t really know what the hell I am doing.
So our dinners last 18 minutes start to finish; instead of getting frustrated, I have learned to adjust. We now play games after dinner, we laugh, I make them change into their pajamas, it’s all good!
So as always, I hope you enjoyed this post and come away with an idea or two from my list. Let me know what you like to do every year for the holidays? I am always open to trying new things. And would love to hear about what your holiday traditions or activities are!
Here is a fun family tradition that my family started a few years ago that I would like to share with all of you. It’s basically a family pumpkin carving party, but let me share how it started.
When my parents sold their house, my mom decided that their apartment was too small to host Thanksgiving; and that it was time for me to take over our family feast.
Our first Thanksgiving at my place was fine, but I discovered that it was a lot of work!!! Some families sit around the dinner table and talk for hours about world events, their feelings and that sort of crap. Well that’s not my family! Lol.
My dad was done eating and was asking what was for desert before I even sat down. I cooked all day and we were done and in a turkey coma within 20 minutes. They came, they ate and they left!!!
Being a professional party/events planner, I did a bit of soul searching to figure out how I could improve our family time. I came up with a brilliant idea! I realized that my family seem to bond more when we are doing an activity; instead of just sitting around the dinner table.
The following Thanksgiving, I had a plan! After dinner, there would be an obligatory pumpkin carving contest. No one gets a pass; everyone has to carve a damn pumpkin!!
Let me share with my American friends that Canadian Thanksgiving is on the same day as your Columbus Day. So it’s always in October, before Halloween.
I cooked the turkey, my mom, brother and sister in law brought sides. We sat down and were done eating within 20 minutes…again!!
After we cleared the table and cleaned up, we prepared for our pumpkin carving throw down. What I wasn’t expecting was how into it everyone would be!! It was so fun; we actually sat around talked and laughed for hours!
Over the years we have invited cousins and other family members to join us after their respective turkey dinners. The first year we posted our finished pumpkins on Facebook and asked our friends to vote for which one they liked best. I noticed a week later that friends were posting their pumpkins and asking friends to vote for their best pumpkin. How fun!!
Other years we vote internally, the rule is you can’t vote for yourself. Who knew pumpkin carving could be so competitive? And who knew my brother was such a great carver? He has only lost one year; he did a VW van pumpkin and people didn’t get it, lol.
I am challenging all of you to have your own pumpkin carving night with your kids, your parents or your friends! Do it!! And try posting on social media and asking your friends to vote; you will be surprised by how much participation you get. I am also available to judge, I am pretty sure I would be an awesome judge. Just tag me on Facebook!
Make memories!! That is what my blog is about!!! I missed our pumpkin carving last year, but I will be in Canada this year and it’s on!! My brother is going down!!!!!
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