Stupid Christmas Lyrics

I love Christmas. And I love Christmas music. I have my favourite CD’s that I listen to over and over again. (Yeah, that’s right. CD’s. I’m old, remember?) And I get so excited when the local radio stations start playing Christmas music. But…we’re two days in and I am already over it.

First: Mariah Carey, all I want for Christmas is for you to be quiet.

Second: there are some lyrics out there that make me wonder if the writers forgot to add the egg nog to their rum.

Yesterday I heard a new song that I hope to never hear again. The lyrics were:

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, and happy holiday.
It doesn’t matter what your holiday, it’s a time to celebrate.
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, and happy holiday.

Lyricist, is that supposed to be an attempt at being inclusive? Because ya kinda suck at it.

On the other hand, there’s this share-the-joy-with-the-whole-world classic that makes me cringe every time I hear it:

There's a world outside your window 
And it's a world of dread and fear 
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears 
And the Christmas bells that ring there 
Are the clanging chimes of doom 
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you 

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time 
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life 
Oh, where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow 
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Cheery, ain’t it? Okay, I know the song was originally written and recorded to bring awareness to the Ethiopian famine in the 80’s. It accomplished that goal and raised a lot of money for relief efforts, so yay for that! But playing it out of context year after year after year only serves to perpetuate a horribly inaccurate and inappropriate stereotype of Africa. It makes it sound like we Westerners think all of Africa is a God-forsaken wasteland, but at least the people living there are too stupid to know they’re missing out on the snow and presents. So let’s raise a glass to them. That’ll help.

Then there is this poignant and brilliantly penned verbage:

Hey, yeah
Yeah-ahhhhhhhh, whoa
Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, yeah-ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

That festive joy is brought to you by Christina Aguilera…in every.  Single. Song.

To finish my tirade, I present to you The King. No, not Jesus. The other King. Elvis.

Let me preface this by saying that I think there is room in the festivities for some cultural stuff and joyful commercialism. I am not against Santa Claus, presents, Christmas trees, and overabundant meals with the family. But I wish we could keep a protective boundary around the holiness of the holiday’s origin. The birth of our Saviour, the manger, the shepherds and wise men…I want that celebration to have a special spot: central, but separate. I don’t like the Santa/manger overlap. Not in people’s lawn decorations, and not in my Christmas carols.

So every time I hear that line, “Let’s give thanks to the Lord above, ‘cause Santa Claus comes tonight”, it doesn’t really fill me with gratitude. It makes me want to poke Elvis in the eye. And that’s not quite what Christmas is supposed to be about!

And now, I hereby release my negativity as I go to my happy place where the air is filled with the magnificent splendour and glorious tones of Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Pentatonix, Holly Cole and Michael W. Smith. God bless us, everyone!

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Humour


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What It Is I Actually Do

Now that I’m a for-real grown-up with a for-real (albeit rather part-time) job in my own for-real office, I thought I should clear up some misconceptions about what I actually do.

Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is not scented candles, bubble bath, and air fresheners. It is not witchcraft or hippie voodoo. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for improvement and maintenance of health and beauty. It is very scientific, but it is also considered an art. Essential oils can be applied topically (for example, you could drop lavender essential oil on an infected cut instead of using Polysporin) or aromatically (meaning you inhale the oils and the molecules get into your bloodstream via the lungs and into your brain via the limbic system).

When I first started experimenting with essential oils, I was hugely skeptical. But after a few months of trying to stump them, I finally had to admit that they really do work in many wonderful ways. That’s when I headed back to school to learn the how’s and why’s. In the course of my studies, I learned a lot about proper dilution and blending, and now I have my own line of essential oils and products!

Next came Aromatherapy Massage. Sweet, naïve, little me had no idea that the term “aromatherapy massage” is used much more broadly than the clinical, therapeutic technique that I learned at school. I have had a very rude awakening to that reality. And oh what fun it is to explain to creepy guys that no, there will be no fancy finish. No, not even for a generous tip. That is not the kind of massage that I do.

Nor am I a Registered Massage Therapist.

Aromatherapy Massage focuses on the nervous system, with some lymphatic drainage mixed in. There is some musculoskeletal work, and it is indeed very relaxing, but it’s not the deep kneading that one usually expects from an RMT. Specific essential oils are used depending on the client’s health needs (pain management, insomnia, digestive problems, stress…). It is a full-body massage and it takes an hour.

Reflexology.  This does not involve me hitting your knee with a little rubber hammer to see how far your foot kicks out. You and my children can ask as many times as you want, but I still don’t have one of those little rubber hammers. Reflexology is the stimulation of reflex points in your feet that correspond to all the organs and systems throughout the body. Gentle pressure on the foot stimulates nerve messages and blood flow to the part of the body that matches that spot on the foot, thereby encouraging the body to heal itself of various ailments. All the areas of both feet are covered during treatment, so it feels much like a relaxing foot massage. If there are specific health concerns, those corresponding reflexes can be worked a little more and a few subsequent treatments would probably be beneficial.

There are a bunch of other modalities that are often associated with alternative health care. Reiki, tarot cards, crystal readings etc. I will not be adding those types of treatments to my practice. As a Christian, I have a firm desire not to open myself or my clients to spiritual influence that is not directly from Creator God. I know there are a lot of spiritual people who feel I’m being too judgmental or restrictive. I have, in fact, treated many people who are very interested in Reiki and the like. They are still welcome to my care; I just won’t be offering those services. I need to draw a line, so that’s where I’m drawing it. I also want fellow Christians to know that my office is a safe place for them to come for the treatments I do offer, without being pressured to participate in treatments that they may not feel 100% comfortable with.

So there you have it, folks. That is what I do. Someday when I don’t have to drive the carpool at 2:30, I may actually be able to do it for a full, for-real, grown-up workday!

And if anyone is still reading and wants to give any of these services a try, you can contact me via email ( or follow me on Facebook  or Twitter.


Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Long Lost Writer

Do you ever have one of those weeks when too many all-consuming things in life are happening at the same time?  That’s pretty much what 2015 has looked like for me. Hence, the lack of writing.

When last we chatted, I was writing my final exams for my aromatherapy and anatomy courses. And mere seconds after that, I flew off to Cambodia for a couple of weeks with a team from my church. And then I blinked and I was in Myrtle Beach for our first ever family beach vacation. And I’d barely unpacked from that when it was time to take my aroma-massage course, and then complete the requisite case studies for that certification. And then school ended for the kids. And one kid moved out while the rest of us went camping for a week.

Summer was a whirlwind of kids going back and forth to various camps and activities, another mission trip (husband and daughter to Zambia plus a short visit with friends in Ethiopia), a road trip to Halifax, and the blissful distance from the drama created by the one child who is no longer living with us. Praise the Lord and pass the gravy!

School started again before I was ready (that was a new experience for me) and then I launched right into my next course: reflexology.

Oh, and in the middle of all that, I moved my aromatherapy practice out of our house into an office downtown, painted our old home office and moved a daughter over into that room, ran into some trouble in the building I’d just moved into and had to move my practice AGAIN… And I think that’s it.

I thought about writing almost every single day. But honestly, whenever I had time to myself to sit (aside from studying), I only had enough mental capacity to play Candy Crush. I am on level 1087 now and I missed you.

But look! Here I am! I have been managing to look after my new baby business, AND be the plexus that holds all the carpooling constellations in order, AND sometimes remember to put the laundry in the dryer, AND make food for all the people that still want to eat every single day. Now, today, my resting heartbeat is slow and steady, my facial tics have relaxed, my brain is allowing me snippets of sleep, and my fingers are typing words and sentences.

I have no great theme to expound on. No brilliant witticisms or side-splitting hilarity. No deep theology or cultural challenges. Just a long-awaited (by me, if not anyone else) greeting. We will talk more soon, dear friends.

Oh, and you should probably get a massage or reflexology treatment and let me help you with your Christmas shopping.


Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized



Over the past 14 months, I’ve been taking a 12-month course in aromatherapy. (If you’ve noticed that I haven’t been writing as much, it’s because I’m “studying”.) Let me tell you two things about going back to school as an old person.

1. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Every single morning, I write a to-do list for the day. It usually includes things like shower and breakfast. Not because I’ll forget to do those things, but just so I can visualize everything and plan my day around time-inflexible items and priorities. Study is also on my list. But you know what? There are five other people in this house and even though they are unreasonably demanding, I am nice. So once or twice a week, I prioritize going to the grocery store over studying so that they can have food. And every now and then I prioritize laundry over studying so they won’t be naked or stinky. And at least once a day, I have to prioritize driving over studying so they won’t have to sleep at school. I am nice. And they should at least rub my feet or brush my hair or something.

My point is this: by the end of the day, I have often crossed off a whole bunch of things except study from my list. And then I go to bed and the next morning I write study on my new list. This has been going on for fourteen months.

2. My brain is mush. Being old means remembering stuff is hard. Recalling simple things like people’s names and important dates is teetering on the periphery of my mental capabilities. Memorizing botanical names like Vetiveria zizanioides and anatomical terms like occipital mastoidal suture is an excessive load for this mushy, old brain to bear.

I will now regale you with an entertaining story that happened just this week. My husband and I won a cool prize in a draw. (It’s an elite icewinemaker’s dinner at a winery in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Very fancy-schmancy. We are sophisticated like that.) One of my children commented, “Wow! You’ve never won something before!” I told him that’s not true at all and proceeded to list a bunch of things I’ve won over the years: a TV, my high school letter jacket, Taylor Swift perfume, a walk-on role in Les Mis, and I even won a pair of round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world that Air Canada flies – which I never got to use.

They wanted to hear that story! I explained that I won the tickets when I was in high school, but they had to be used within a fairly short period of time. I had already just missed a bunch of school for a conference that I was at and couldn’t immediately take more time off to go flying away to some random destination. “What conference?” they wanted to know. It was a student-focused citizenship conference in Ottawa, and a bunch of schools across Canada were allowed to send one student to represent their city.

Here’s what my precious offspring asked: “Why’d they choose you?” (Sometimes their preciousness is underwhelming to me.)

I answered, “Because I used to be smart.” I might as well have fabricated a tale about my years as a Russian spy, for all the credibility they afforded me. This image before them now – the woman who CANNOT EVER remember to turn on the dishwasher before she goes to bed at night – does not jive with the image of someone who once had potential.

Why am I telling you all this? For two simple reasons. One: I enjoy giving you a laugh at my expense. Two: if you are a praying person, I am begging you – BEGGING YOU – to add me to your list for this month. My aromatherapy exam is on February 5 and my anatomy exam is on February 12. My mushy, old brain is desperately trying to memorize 12 (going on 15) months of intense information and I need supernatural help to do it.

I’ll leave you with this interesting little note. There is a specific essential oil that stimulates the brain in such a way that if you smell it while you’re studying and then smell it again at a later date, it increases your ability to recall what you studied. Thing is, I can’t remember which oil.


Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Humour, Personal Growth


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Eggnog from the Realms of Glory

Yesterday was a momentous day for three reasons:

1. We put up our Christmas tree before December AND my husband, Mr. Anti-Fest, didn’t have a tantrum. This is a big deal. You don’t even know.
2. For the first time ever in our parenting careers, one of our children had a “special friend” hang out with our family, in our home, with our craziness, and our putting up of the Christmas tree. A date, people. A suitor. A person who has asked our permission to pursue a relationship with our baby! Oy. This is the beginning of the end.
3. Eggnog perfection. Oh my dear readers, I bring you good tidings of great joy!

I have a confession for you: I don’t really mind the taste of store-bought eggnog. What I mind is the price! It is insane and ridiculous and completely unreasonable to me. Honestly, if the wise men had brought four precious gifts to Baby Jesus, we would now be singing carols about gold, frankincense, myrrh and eggnog.

I have another confession for you: I really like eggnog. A lot. But I’m not willing to sell my children to finance my fancy. (At least not during this season of mandatory goodwill and cheer.) So I set about to find the perfect eggnog recipe.

Over the past couple of years, I have tried just about every variation out there.
The cooked version. It is so much work, and it turns unacceptably gloppy if you overcook it by a quarter of a second. The instructions always say something inconceivably unhelpful like, “Remove from heat immediately before it comes to a boil.” Why don’t I just “turn left at the second last intersection” while I’m at it?
The whipped egg whites version. Again with the so much work. Plus extra dishes. And then if you don’t drink it right away, it all separates and just…meh.
The fancy ingredients. Really, sweetened condensed milk in eggnog is a pretty fantastic creation. But I don’t always have a can on hand, and it’s kind of expensive. Not a bad idea, just not perfect.

So without further ado, I shall share with you the recipe that IS perfect. And easy. And made with ingredients that you already have.

4 large eggs
1/3 to ½ cup sugar, depending how sweet you like it
Nutmeg to taste (try ½ tsp, then add more later if you like)
2 cups milk
½ cup cream (or if you want it a bit thicker, add more cream and reduce the milk accordingly)

Get all the ingredients out and measured. Put the eggs in a blender and beat well. (15 seconds in a Vitamix on about speed 5, or up to a minute in a standard blender that isn’t going to start cooking the eggs). While the blender is still running, slowly pour in the sugar and nutmeg. Then the milk. Then the cream. Let it run for a few more seconds.

That’s it! If you have any willpower (I’ve heard of this strange thing. Can I get it on Amazon?), you can pour it into a jug and chill it for a couple of hours. Or if you’re me, you can drink it right from the blender container. Or if you’re a normal person somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, pour it into 4 glasses and serve with another dash of nutmeg. And then immediately make another batch.

Obviously this is the child-safe version. You can very easily stir some rum (spiced, light, dark, whatever) and/or brandy into the adults’ servings.

There you have it, folks! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Recipes


The Art of Creep-Free Compliments

I am quite fascinated by the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman”. It is fascinating to me because it is so far from my reality. Is that seriously what this woman experiences every time she leaves her house? That does not even make sense in my brain. I’m not trying to deny that it’s her reality; just stating that it is way beyond the scope of anything I’ve personally experienced.

In my 39 years, I’ve been verbally “harassed” once by a man (and I use the quotation marks because in my singular example, it was too ridiculous a statement to compare it to the harassment that is apparently so rampant for other women). When I was in highschool, I had to go get something from my locker in the middle of gymnastics practice. The halls were nearly empty except for a small cluster of guys, and when I walked past them, one of them said, “Mmm-mmm…her legs go ALL the way to the floor.” I don’t know what that means. It wasn’t offensive, nor was it complimentary. It just seemed like a really weird thing to say. Did that boy know a bunch of people walking around several inches above the floor because their legs didn’t reach that far?!?!

That was my one and only experience. Yay for me; I’ve been “harassed”. Seems like something Amy Farrah Fowler would also get excited about.

Back to my fascination with the whole “10 Hours” thing. It’s like winter camping. It does not sound like my idea of a good time and I don’t intend to try it just to prove that I don’t like it. But I am curious about the people who intentionally participate in such activities. This experiment is interesting to me, but it prompts more questions than it answers.

How would the outcome change if she was wearing baggy clothes? I am not for one second suggesting that women deserve to be harassed or abused because of what they are wearing. I do think there is a lot of room for improvement in the area of how we as women present ourselves, but this video isn’t about modesty (and neither is this blog post). She did choose a fairly middle-of-the-road outfit as far as today’s standards of conservative dress go. On the other hand, I would be curious to see the experiment repeated with her body more concealed. Would men notice her beautiful face if their attention wasn’t first drawn to her curves? What would the footage reveal if the woman had a beautiful face, but no curves? Or lots of curves but a less attractive face?

And maybe it’s not completely about what she looks like. I understand that the experiment was meant to show that she’s not soliciting this attention by acting flirtatiously, and that the attention continued even though it was clear she wasn’t interested. I’m wondering, though, if her aloof demeanour is part of the allure. How would the results differ if she was smiling and talking with a friend as she walked?

I also wonder, if the camera could catch a broader picture, how many other women walk by those same men and don’t elicit the same reaction. Is this particular woman’s experience one in five? One in twenty? One in fifty? I think she’s right to speak out about her experience, but I want to know what percentage she really represents.

I can’t answer any of those questions, but discussing it and developing awareness and promoting empowerment and demanding gender accountability are all good things. So that’s why I’m writing. To keep the discussion going. (That, plus I like to write about things that fascinate me, so there!)

There is, however, one question that has arisen from the discussion surrounding this video that I would like to address.

A lot of the men who have responded to the video have stated that they wish they could compliment a woman without it being labelled harassment. How can they do that?

Let’s be clear on one point: the things said in this video are not compliments. So if you’re trying to justify that kind of treatment of women, forget it. Go directly to jail, do not collect $200.

But is there room in our culture for a man to say something nice (even something that does NOT have any sort of sexual connotation) to a stranger? Can a man say, “That colour looks great on you” or “I like your glasses” to a woman he doesn’t know?

Sadly, I think even the most compliment-starved woman would probably find that a bit creepy. Our world has moved beyond that and we can’t go back.

So how can you compliment a woman without getting sued or slapped? Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: strangers are off-limits. I think there’s plenty of room for you to be a nice guy, but you need to do that within the framework of a previously established relationship. Did your co-worker get a haircut? Then go ahead and say, “Hey, your hair is different. It looks nice.” If your friend’s wife brings food to your party, please do proclaim “Hot dish coming through! And she’s carrying a casserole!” because that line will never, ever get old. When your girlfriend’s friend borrows your girlfriend’s dress, it’s okay to tell her, “You look great and your taste is exquisite.”

You can be nice without being a creep.

What if you want to compliment a stranger? First, don’t. Second, work on establishing a relationship (and you can’t do that by hollering and grunting from the street corner). Engage in conversation that isn’t about her looks. Then, once she’s not a stranger anymore – when you’ve established and proven that she is safe with you – then you can compliment her.

There you have it, gentlemen. You can give creep-free compliments. And I hereby permit you to practice frequently.

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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Beauty


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Boys are…Different

I would like to go 7 years back in time to when we were in the middle of the adoption process and change my answer to the question, “Would you like a baby boy or girl?”

Not because our now 7-year-old boy isn’t delightful. But because all the other 7-year-old boys are not delightful.

Really, really not delightful.

We love our delightful 7-year-old boy, so we decided to throw him a birthday party with a bunch of other 7-year-old boys. And they are not delightful. Really, really not delightful.

I booked the party at the movie theatre. We did that last year, and it was an easy party. It’s not terribly expensive (compared to most other party options out there), they can accommodate a group as small as 8 (unlike most other party options out there), and we were really excited about “Big Hero 6”.

We arrived at the theatre half an hour before the movie (as per the manager’s instructions) to allow us lots of time to get our cake and presents and any decorations set up in the party room. Unfortunately, they’d double-booked the party room, so it wasn’t available for us until after the movie. They did provide a space for us to lock up our presents, cake and coats. But the boys…the boys were not contained.

The screaming, running, break-dancing little monsters were everywhere. In the foyer, in the arcade, in the bathroom and running out into the mall. I could not keep track of them. And there were only 8 of them!

I didn’t even know all the kids or remember their faces after their parents dropped them off. Imagine a crazy lady snatching kids as they came out of a public bathroom, asking, “Are you supposed to be with me?” Yeah, that was me. Classy, eh?

After much chasing and herding and gnashing of teeth, we managed to get everyone to make a trip to the bathroom (“Are you SURE you’ve gone? You can make it through a two-hour movie now?”) and sorted out their drink and popcorn orders (“I don’t like popcorn.” “That’s too bad.”). Finally, the dreaded half hour of free reign was over and we were in our seats.

All I can say is, “I’m sorry” to everyone who was sitting behind or in front of us. There was talking and spilling and crying and many trips to the bathroom.

After one trip to the bathroom, I returned to my seat and whispered to the kid next to me, “What happened?”, thinking he might fill me in on any pertinent plot details. “I don’t know,” he non-whispered back. Okay, fine, I can figure this out. Oh. An important character died. Really? That wasn’t an obvious, helpful little tidbit that you could’ve shared? Thanks, kid.

And the crying. “I dropped one of my Pokemon cards and I can’t find it!” “We can look after the movie is over and the lights come on.” Crying continued for 45 minutes until the movie was over and the lights came on. “Oh look, here it is. Maybe you should put them in your pocket until the party is over so none of them get lost again.” “I don’t have a pocket.” I am going to throat-punch your parents.

So the movie is over, we get to go to the party room now, right? Wrong. The other party is still in there and then the room will need to be cleaned up. But we got some free arcade tokens to use in the meantime.

Again with the screaming, running, break-dancing monsters. Except now they’ve had Coke and M&M’s and they have basketballs to throw and game tokens to lose. “Can I have one more? I lost one behind that game.” How did your token get behind that game?!?!

Finally. The party room. That blessed little space where they can be as loud as they want and I can just block the door and keep them there.

That blessed little space where drinks are spilled and kids try to play tag and icing is smeared all over faces. “Look at my blue boogers!” “I got icing in my hair!”

And then I hear, “What the *#$%&@!?” from one of the not-delightful monsters. I look over, and one of the other not-delightful monsters is opening a present. A present that was meant for my child! I got in that kid’s face, with my finger pointing right at his nose. “This is NOT YOUR party and that is NOT YOUR present. So hands off! Sit down! And maybe try being NICE to the people around you.”

Don’t judge me.

Do you know what little girls do when they have a birthday party? They dress up in princess costumes so you can take them for high tea at a real castle. And they walk in a line to see all the fancy, old furniture. And they use their napkins after they nibble on fancy cookies. And they stand and smile for a group photo.

This is what boys do for a group photo



Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Family, Humour, Marriage, parenting


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