The best way to spread Christmas cheer is self awareness.

Oh hey, it’s blizzarding again. The news anchor mentioned that Saturday is the First Day of Winter! and I stared at the television in confusion. I think seasons should actually be defined differently here in Canada. We’ve had tons of snow on the ground since before Halloween, so I THINK I know a little something about winter. This morning I drove home from yoga in almost zero visibility, feeling like a modern day Laura Ingalls in The Long Winter, without all the icky starving to death and freezing to death and slowly going insane sitting in the dark listening to the wind because Pa’s frozen dead hands can no longer even play the fiddle and we might as all just go to the barn without a rope, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Anyway, as my sweet new yoga teacher said to me this morning, these are the most yin days of the year, what with the darkness and the cold and the holidays approaching. I am going to take her at her word and hibernate, eating the plethora of chocolate truffles and peppermint bark I have in the house.


There are only one and a half days of school left, including today, and – despite the fact that yes, we did just have a PD day two weeks ago – we are all ready for a nice big break. The children are hyper and spazzy, and it appears that as of yesterday, all work is finished for the calendar year. Today they were requested to bring in candies to decorate the graham cracker “gingerbread” houses that they are making for, apparently, a Social Studies project. The tie into Social Studies is pretty shaky, but after all who can concentrate with Santa coming and all. Tomorrow is pajama day and they are watching movies, wheeeee academia.

I’ve been seeing my hipster chiropractor nearly every day this week, and I can’t help but feel a little smug about my “progress”. Dr. Hipster keeps telling me how impressively “self-aware” I am, which makes me giggle a little. Self-aware. Is there a douchier term? I don’t think so. Dr. Hipster is also very impressed with my “flexibility and range of motion” and every time he tells me this, it takes everything I have not to go into show-off mode and whip my legs behind my head or something. You think that’s flexible? Get a load of this. But I don’t because I like to behave like a normal person in public, generally. GENERALLY.

In any case, Dr. Hipster was warning me about re-injuring my back and informing me that I am NOT allowed to shovel snow, which is actually kind of nice. He also warned me about stress and tension adding to lower back troubles. “Although,” he said, “You don’t appear to be the type of person who is high-strung or under a lot of stress.” NO KIDDING DOC. I have as low a stress level as is physically possible, I think. Maybe it’s because I’m so “self-aware”? I don’t know.

Even with my super low stress levels, I have been a complete idiot this week. I’m blaming it on the week before Christmas – and maybe because these are yin days and I’m being more yang? I don’t know. Yesterday I wrapped up a bottle of wine for our school secretary and put a card on a box of Lindors for the office staff, and put them both in a bag to take to school. It was Mark’s last day of swimming lessons, thankfully, since his lessons end at 11:50 and in no universe can 25 fourth grade boys make it in and out of the change room in time for lunch. There’s just a zero percent chance. So I’ve been rushing to the school, picking up Jake from his classroom, walking over to the pool, and picking up Mark, which really cuts into our 52 minute lunchtime. Anyway, I was planning to take the gifts with me to school, but forgot them and only realized I forgot them when I was actually physically in the office, wishing the school secretary a Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, here’s a…oh shit. I forgot it.

Continuing with this theme, yesterday I realized I was out of coconut milk. A while ago I realized I had 48 canned good items in my cupboard, including 6 coconut milks, 11 cans of various types of beans, and – weirdly – 4 cans of pumpkin. I vowed not to buy anything until I was actually out of something, and finally I realized yesterday that I had used up all the coconut milk. I headed for the grocery store, and decided to do my weekly shop as well. I hummed Christmas carols to myself as I filled my cart, went home, unloaded the groceries, and realized I didn’t buy any coconut milk. I even had a list with me and remembered to buy odd things like compost bags and hemp seeds. But no coconut milk.

However, this is all a drop in the bucket compared with Monday. Our usual morning routine is that I leash the dog, make sure the kids are appropriately dressed and that they have their backpacks, then I unlock our (unattached) garage, and open the van’s sliding door. The dog jumps in, the kids pile in, we go to school, and then I take the dog to the off leash dog park. On Monday I took the kids to school, met my friend who walks with me, drove to the dog park, met our other friend with her dog, and I opened the van’s sliding door to get Barkley. THE VAN WAS EMPTY. And I will say this about myself: I am terrible in a crisis. I am not at all good in an emergency. When I realized the dog wasn’t in the car, I kept saying “OMG OMG OMG BARKLEY’S NOT HERE WHERE’S BARKLEY HE’S NOT HERE OMG OMG” until my girlfriends calmly told me to go home, look for him, and to text them when I had more information. Off I went. I turned into the alley, opened the garage door…and out came Barkley. He apparently was in the garage for the half hour or so that all this took to happen. Poor puppy! And also that experience – the thought that my dog could be lost, wandering the neighbourhood – ratcheted up my stress level. Good thing Dr. Hipster didn’t see me at that moment. My self-awareness was taking a break.


  1. Since the summer solstice is commonly referred to as Midsummer Eve, I don’t see why people insist upon referring to the winter solsitice as the start of winter. It’s only reasonable and accurate AND HUMANE to refer to as Midwinter Eve.

    The thought “that my dog could be lost, wandering the neighbourhood” would not stress me out. It’s because it’s my normal. I am the poster girl for “Do Not Adopt A Feral Dog.” Send people my way if they are thinking of “rescuing” a dog off a First Nation’s reserve.

  2. “Go to the barn without a rope”—HA HA HA HA HA!

  3. If I opened the van door expecting to see my dog and instead saw not-dog, I’d freak the fuck out. I WOULD! He’s not a roamer at all so if he wasn’t there I’d assume he’d been kidnapped or run over or something. GAAA MY HEART.

    Resist the urge to put your feet behind your head for Dr. Hipster. That’s only for Certain Special People. 😉

  4. Steph Lovelady says

    I was thinking of reading or listening to the Little House Books on audiobooks with my 7 year old. Now wondering if we should wait a bit… I kind of forgot about that part. I live in a different climate (U.S., about halfway down the North/South axis) but even here it does feel like winter. We’ve had two snow days already, which is kind of unusual for December.

  5. HOW DID I MISS THIS POST? I am simultaneously horrified and convulsed with hilarity at the visual of the “I’ll just get the… oh shit, where’s the dog?” And “Merry Christmas, here’s a … oh fuck, where’s the wine?” MY SISTER.

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