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Friday, 23 December 2016

119. The universe has my back?

I always go through a bit of a self-help phase around Christmas/New Year, and this year is no different. On a recommendation from a client, I’m just about to start reading the brilliantly titled The Universe Has Your Back, which will apparently help me ‘release the blocks’ to what I most long for in life (Cheese? The ability to drink caffeine again? An actual pension?). Not only that, it will help me ‘relinquish the need for control’. Though, whether it will help me relinquish my need for control more than living in Bulgaria has done – where things are permanently out of my control and I rarely have any clue what’s going on – remains to be seen.

I can’t wait. I’m going to grow so much over Christmas. Like, spiritually. Not in girth. Or, at least, not just in girth.

I’m trying to be a lot more grateful and joyful lately, even when it feels like the universe is poking me in the eye with a stick. Barney the Terrible has been missing for four weeks, presumed dead (and now posthumously renamed Saint Barney the Beautiful). But I’m so grateful he appeared in our garden back in 2014 as a tiny, skanky, 900g kitten (and most of that was his silly big ears and ringworm). I’m glad he chose us. I’m even grateful for the ringworm, which was, after all, good blog fodder.

I’m grateful for friends and family, even when they are a plane ride away. I’m proud of our home and get so much joy from our life here. I’m glad Rob and I can still laugh at crazy shit together. And I’m grateful for every day I have woken up this week to sunshine and NO SNOW.

So, I’m feeling warm and groovy (and I haven’t even had a gin yet today) as I wind down for the Christmas break. Christmas is not a very big deal here in Bulgaria, at least not on the circus-nightmare scale of back home. Most people we know just have the one or two days off (if that), presents are minimal and few people go to town decorating their houses. The shop opposite opens all day on Christmas day, the buses still run through the village, and we’ll still be expected next door for coffee at 9.30am. After that, the day is ours to cook an immense meal and get slowly sozzled as the ETA for dinner glides from 2pm to 3pm to 4pm. We don’t do gifts for each other – instead, we treat ourselves to a bottle of fancy bubbly that we wouldn’t usually buy and *try* to wait until midday to open it. We Skype with family. We’ll probably watch It’s a Wonderful Life, again. And I’ll probably be tucked up in bed by 9pm … with my copy of The Universe Has Your Back. Growing.

Happy Christmas, dear reader. Весела Коледа и Честита Нова Година! 

Monday, 19 December 2016

118. Christmas countdown

Snow and ice on the village river

Number of times it has snowed since my last post: Dunno, lost count. Three? Four? It hasn’t snowed for three days, though, which makes a nice change.

Temperature this morning: -9°C. Brrrr.

Number of days without our big woodburner last week (due to an inconvenient hole appearing in the expansion tank): Two, which is obviously two days too many at this time of year. Again, brrrr.

Amount of money spent at Metro on Christmas food and booze: An unholy amount. Too gross to write down. Most of it on cheese.

Number of mince pies consumed: Three, which sounds quite good until I admit they were all in the same 24-hour period.

Christmas movies watched so far: While You Were Sleeping, Home Alone, The Shop Around the Corner, Meet Me in St Louis, Holiday Inn and White Christmas.

Number of hours spent listening to Christmas music: a very restrained six hours.

That reminds me, after my last post there was much discussion among Facebook friends as to their favourite Christmas movies. Let’s see if we can kick off the same thing with Christmas albums. Don’t be shy, I want to know your favourite Christmas albums, from the classy to the downright shameful.

Mine are, in order of how often I annoy Rob by playing them:
  • A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
  • When My Heart Finds Christmas by Harry Connick Jr
  • Christmas with Nashville
  • Christmas Hits: 50 Festive Favourites, which includes Michael Bolton really *feeling* a vein-popping version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’. Hilarious. Highly recommended.
  • The Best Christmas Album in the World … Ever·