Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Project 366: Week 47

One of my favourite photography themes is urban decay. I am fascinated by and drawn to uninhabited areas, deserted buildings, abandoned homes, decommissioned factories and so on. This is the weathered, the grungy, the forgotten. A previously functioning part of a city that has fallen into despair.

What is the appeal? Perhaps it's the history behind these areas that were once alive. Each one has a story to tell. Or maybe it's the spookiness of it all. As I walk through these eerily quiet places, I feel like I'm on a set of a horror movie. But most of all, I believe it's the imagination it sparks. I picture them as post-apocalyptic visions into what our world would look like if humanity would end. Chilling. And sobering.

This week's photo theme: Urban Decay

Friday, November 18, 2016
The Busy Wall
"There is so much to appreciate in this area from a photographic perspective.”

Project 366, Day 323: The Busy Wall

Saturday, November 19, 2016
Double Entry
"Door number one or door number two? Which will you choose?”

Project 366, Day 324: Double Entry

Sunday, November 20, 2016
The Red Door
"Still eye catching despite the peeling paint.”

Project 366, Day 325: The Red Door

Monday, November 21, 2016
“Out of business.”

Project 366, Day 326: Closed

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
"No signs of life."

Project 366, Day 327: Empty

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Missing Pieces
"It looks like there were other buildings attached to these walls at some point.”

Project 366, Day 328: Nooks and Crannies

Thursday, November 24, 2016
“Plant life lives on in this abandoned area.”

Project 366, Day 329: Vegetation

What I've learned this week:
The smallest things can bring you the greatest joy.
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Other times, there are too many.
Gain control of your emotions before you speak and avoid saying something you’ll regret.
If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one. Just be yourself.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fill In The Blank

I don't care how fancy of a name you give it - like escargot - but there's no way I'm ever  EVUH EVUH going to eat snails. Bleh. The very thought of it makes me gag.

The most amazing man in the world, on the other hand, enjoys this slimy food as do so many others. In fact, May 24th has been designated "National Escargot Day" in the United States? Bleh.

Your turn!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday! How are you all doing? Good, I hope. It's wonderfully sunny this morning as I get this post ready to upload. And as soon as I'm done, I'm going to get my second cup of coffee and something to eat. Do you eat breakfast? I have something small every morning. When I wake up I don't have much of an appetite, so there's no way I can handle a lot of food or food that is heavy. It would make me sick.

I was just thinking that if a movie was ever made of the story of my life, I'd want Morgan Freeman to narrate it. Doesn't he have the most incredible voice? I certainly think so. Who would be your choice?

Anyhow, let's get to the funny stuff.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 25, 2016

This Week

So crock pot Friday continues. I’ll be plugging in my slow cooker later this morning and the most amazing man in the world and I will be enjoying a nice meal tonight. I am smitten with this new machine and we seem to be getting along fine. This is our third date. Or is it our fourth? You lose track of time when you’re having fun. In any case, we’re still getting to know one another but I believe this will be a long term relationship.

The other habit I’ve gotten into each Friday is sharing random thoughts. I could actually dedicate an entire blog to this. As an introvert, my brain is constantly working. I’m always thinking, wondering, questioning, exploring. My husband jokes that there are soaring heat levels radiating from my head from all that processing of information. My brain is overflowing with all kinds of trivia and random thoughts, and yet I keep shoving more into it.

Last night the most amazing man in the world and I took a walk over to the mall to have a coffee. We stood in line waiting our turn at Tim Hortons (Canada’s largest restaurant chain), which was quite busy. There was an older couple in front of us that seemed rather impatient. The man turned to us at one point and made a snide remark about how slow the service was. My husband and I just smiled politely and left it at that. Then we turned and looked at each other with eyes that said “is he serious?” Maybe it was slow. I don’t know. We honestly hadn’t noticed because we had been chatting away about this, that and the other. I think we were in line for two or three minutes until it was our turn. That would hardly qualify as long. Why are people always in such a...GOGOGO...hurry?

I was thinking the other day about how sorry I am that I didn’t ask my father more questions when he was still alive. That’s a big regret. I can’t do anything about that but I can learn from it and take advantage of the fact that my mother is still with us. So I ask her questions. Most of them are about her and her early life in Greece, but I also ask her questions about my father. She lived in a neighbouring town and she knew a little about his family and his early life. Not too long ago she shared something surprising with me. Apparently, my dad used to shine shoes when he was a child to make a little extra money. He came from a very poor family that struggled immensely. His mother was widowed with six young children right before the second world war broke out. It was a very difficult time but somehow or other they all got through it. I love learning all I can because both my parents were in Europe when the war was going on, along with almost every adult I knew as a child, and there are some incredible stories to be told.

Today is ‘Black Friday’, mainly for my American friends, although it’s found its way here, too. But did you know it’s also ‘Buy Nothing Day’? Apparently it’s a protest against the plague of consumerism and the need to “have things”. This holiday was founded in Vancouver (Canada) in 1992 and, from what I gather, more than 65 nations currently participate in it. This is the first I hear of it but it works for me. In fact, I have many ‘buy nothing’ days. I’m a minimalist and I prefer more things going out of the house than coming in.

And that’s a wrap. I’ll end this week with a song by Mike & the Mechanics called “The living years”. I’m sure most of you recognize it.

Happy Friday, everyone. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Batshit Craziness

What is it with some people who go batshit crazy when discussing certain topics, particularly politics and religion? They start off calmly and end up foaming at the mouth, eyes bulging out of their heads, veins popping out of their skins. There's finger pointing and name calling and abusive language and, of course, the sharing of inflammatory news articles (that you just know are fake) and the addition of a lot of capitalized words and bold letters and underlining and many exclamation marks !!!!!! to make a point. Because the MORE you dO that, the MOre BELIEVABLE it makes what you're SHArInG. !!!!!!

I see this every day on social media. In blogs, in the comments of news articles, on Facebook, anywhere and everywhere I visit. A few are bold with their batshit craziness and don't hide their identity. But most are what is referred to as keyboard warriors. In real life, they would never behave this way but hidden behind their computer/tablet/smartphone they feel brave and empowered and become abusive and aggressive with their posts and comments. This is not bravery. This is bad behaviour. And cowardliness. I would dare any one of these people to repeat in the real world the horrible things they say anonymously online. Anyone? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Everyone should...

...and learn to listen more and talk less.

Have a great day, everyone.
And Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Project 366: Week 46

It’s astonishing how quickly the weather shifts around here, sometimes within hours. Last week the daily temperatures were so mild that people were still mowing their lawns, and this week we’re bundling up with boots and gloves and scarves and ski jackets. Welcome to Canada! The images below are undoubtedly the last images of their nature as the earth prepares for a long winter’s nap.

This week's photo theme: Late Autumn

Friday, November 11, 2016
Basking In The Sun
"An autumn leaf enjoying the sunlight."

Project 366, Day 316: Basking In The Sun

Saturday, November 12, 2016
Nature’s Palette
"Mother Nature has painted my backyard with lovely shades of autumn.”

Project 366, Day 317: Nature's Palette

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Coming To An End
"It’s time to put away the patio furniture.”

Project 366, Day 318: Coming To An End

Monday, November 14, 2016
"The view through the windshield on a rainy day.”

Project 366, Day 319: Raindrops

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Autumn Decay
"Autumn splendour is followed by autumn decay."

Project 366, Day 320: Autumn Decay

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Contrasting Colours
"A nice colour combination.”

Project 366, Day 321: Contrasting Colours

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Nooks and Crannies
“Fall leaves can be found in every nook and cranny.”

Project 366, Day 322: Nooks and Crannies

What I've learned this week:
You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try.
Live honestly. You will sleep better at night.
Be patient with those that need it most. One day you might be on the receiving end.
You will learn something new every day if you keep an open mind.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Question Of The Day

When I studied computer programming during my single mom years, I shared the classroom with one of the most arrogant and self-centered men I’d ever run across in my life. He bragged about his stuff (car, money, fancy clothes, looks), had a huge sense of entitlement, believed he was the center of the universe and expected everyone to treat him accordingly. He was always late, made a lot of noise when he finally arrived, spoke out when he shouldn’t, often disrupted the class and made a real nuisance of himself. My kids who were 18 months and 6 ½ at the time behaved better.

Then one day, the teacher finally had had enough of his class being disrupted with late arrivals, so he decided that he’d lock the door five minutes after he started teaching and whoever didn’t get in on time would have to wait outside until the first break.

Well, guess who ended up on the other side of the door? Yup, mister high and mighty. He didn’t realize at first that the door was purposely locked, so he knocked on it. The teacher pointed to his watch and wouldn’t open. So the banging on the door began. The teacher told him through the door that he couldn’t come in until the break. This led to banging and punching and yelling and kicking and swearing.

To make a long story short, when Mr. Arrogant finally got back into class, he started complaining and whining and playing victim. I couldn’t take it anymore so I turned to him and said “Why don’t you just sit down and be quiet? You’re such a nuisance.” This was really out of character for me because I don’t like confrontations. But I, along with many others, was very serious about my studies and so fed up with his nonsense that I just couldn’t help myself.

Well, when you have a sense of entitlement you cannot fathom anyone speaking to you this way, so he turned to me and told me to mind my own business, reminding everyone who he is, what he has, how much trouble he can cause for this mistreatment, blah, blah, blabbity, blah. “Who cares?” I said. “That doesn’t impress me. You’re still a jerk.” I turned my back on him and focused on my work. He mumbled a few things under his breath and finally sat down.

Which brings me to today’s question. Every time I hear Shania Twain’s song “That don’t impress me much” I remember that day. And smile.

How about you? What song reminds you of an incident in your life?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. How's it going? Anything new to share? I hope your weather is a lot nicer than ours because we have a lot of snow! One day we're wearing t-shirts and light jackets, and the next BOOM a few centimetres of snow comes down. It's a winter wonderland out there.

My younger daughter came to visit us on Saturday, which was a wonderful surprise. The most amazing man in the world and I took her out for lunch, and then she and I visited the bookstore to browse around, have a coffee at Starbucks and spend some mother-daughter time. It's always a joy to see her.

Shall we get to the funny stuff? Let's do it!

Have a good one!

Friday, November 18, 2016

This Week

I’m a year round coffee drinker but when the fall season kicks in I also enjoy drinking a cup of tea in the evenings. My favourite flavour is orange pekoe followed by earl gray and a bunch of others. However, lately I’ve been drinking herbal teas. There are two that I’ve been really enjoying for the past little while: lemon ginger and peppermint. I’ve had lemon ginger before but never peppermint. I picked some up on Saturday when I was out doing some shopping even though I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. But it smelled so good that I couldn’t resist. When I took the first sip later that night, I declared it a winner. Do you drink tea?

When I was much younger, I didn’t put much thought into what I ate and the products I used. I don’t think there was as much information available to us. If there was, it certainly wasn’t as easily accessible as today. With the internet, you can research about anything and everything. It is a great tool and you can gather information quickly, some of which is alarming. Snoop around a bit and you discover the terrible things companies do, and the type of crap they put into foods we eat and stuff we use. As a result, I now read nutrition labels and ingredient lists, use soaps and shampoos that are natural and cruelty-free, and make homemade versions of foods I used to buy ready made. Over the years, I’ve changed many habits and ditched and replaced and overhauled a lot of things. There is still so much I want to do but I’m pleased with how far I’ve come. And my body thanks me for it, too.

It’s taken me all morning to prepare a post for today. Halfway through I had to put it on hold so I can go add ingredients into the slow cooker to get it going. It seems like it’s turning into a weekly Crock-Pot Friday. Once I clicked that machine on, I decided - what the heck, I'm here - to put together a tomato soup. Homemade tomato soup is the easiest and quickest thing in the world to make. It’s almost criminal to buy those canned versions. The soup is on the stove simmering as I type this and I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and an almond biscotti. Do you like biscotti? They are so delicious. I happened upon a box of them that lists about four ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Real food. How often do you see that? Don’t ask which brand because I added them to a glass jar and recycled the packaging. Next time I buy some, which I absolutely will, I’ll share the name of the product with you. If I remember.

I have nothing else to say. That’s it for this week. And yes, I will share another song with you this Friday. It’s ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy. Whenever I hear it, I think of my younger daughter. She plays guitar and sings, and so does one of her best friends. Then one day they performed this song together. And. They. Were. Both. Excellent. So whenever I hear this song, I think of these two great kids. And I get all emotional and stuff. All part of being a mom.

Okay, I'm done. Enjoy the song and have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hometown Memories: The Food Bank

When I was in my late twenties, I attended classes in ceramic painting two evenings a week for a couple of years or so. During that period, I met the nicest woman. She was about 20 or so years older than me, and although we didn’t socialize outside of the class, we were very friendly in it, and I really liked her. When I quit going, we lost track of each other and I didn’t see her until three years later when I bumped into her at a grocery store parking lot. I was a fresh-out-of-a-horrible-marriage single mom and she had recently left her husband, she told me, who was an abusive alcoholic. That was something I never knew when we were going to art classes together. But then she didn’t know about my toxic marriage either.

Anyhow, in addition to trying to put back the pieces of her emotional life, she was struggling financially and dealing with health issues. Nevertheless, she remained optimistic and tried her best to put her life back together. She took some classes to finally receive a high school diploma and update her education, she found a small apartment to settle into and she got a minimum wage job to support herself. But despite all her efforts, the mountain she was attempting to climb kept getting bigger. The building she lived in was plagued with problems and eventually condemned. This left her with the struggle of finding another one to live in that was affordable. Her health issues made it difficult to work and she eventually lost her job. She didn’t qualify for unemployment, so she applied for welfare, which barely covered her basic living expenses. After she paid her rent and utilities, there was not enough money for a month’s supply of food. And so, like many other people going hungry, she eventually headed to the food bank.

Because of her health problems, it was extremely difficult for her to get around, let alone lug heavy boxes and bags home, so I volunteered to drive her to the food bank once a week to pick up a few things. It was her first experience there. And mine, too. Even though I'd grown up in a working class poor family, in a working class poor community, and having witnessed families struggling to make ends meet, I’d never been to a food bank until that day. There were quite a few people there. Men, women, children. All ages, all races. A diversity of people. Waiting. Patiently. Quietly. No one spoke. No one made eye contact. When they were called, they presented themselves, picked up their food, thanked the volunteer and exited. Quietly but quickly. I watched and wondered. What were their stories? How did it get to this point? Did their monthly expenses exceed their salaries? Was there an unexpected job loss? Were they dealing with physical or mental health issues? Is it because of lack of affordable housing? Were any of them homeless? Some other crisis? And did any one of them feel the way my friend did? Ashamed and judged and frightened and beaten down?

After I helped my friend get back home, I drove away thinking about how humbling and enlightening the whole experience had been. And quite alarming. Because this could happen to any one of us. But it was also infuriating. Because no one should go hungry. No one should need to do this. No one.

Have you ever been to a food bank?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Project 366: Week 45

When I’m outdoors, I look at everything. Up, down, left, right; every direction is explored by my eyes. Then something catches my attention. It might be the colour or shape of a sighting. There might be something interesting or unusual about it. Perhaps it’s the symmetry or lop-sidedness of it. Whatever ‘it’ is, I will stop and stare at it, move a little closer if need be, whip out my camera, frame it and SNAP...capture it forever. And keep on walking.

This week's photo theme: What I Look At

Friday, November 04, 2016
Straight Ahead
"On my way home."

Project 366, Day 309: Straight Ahead

Saturday, November 05, 2016
"The leaf and the ground go well together.”

Project 366, Day 310: Contrast

Sunday, November 06, 2016
Autumn Snow
"Last month we had a dusting of snow.”

Project 366, Day 311: Autumn Snow

Monday, November 07, 2016
The Church
"Old buildings always attract my attention."

Project 366, Day 312: The Church

Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Nature’s Carpet
"The leaves cover the ground in a wonderfully colourful way."

Project 366, Day 313: Nature's Carpet

Wednesday, November 09, 2016
On Fire
"Even though it’s so small, this little bush puts on quite a show.”

Project 366, Day 314: On Fire

Thursday, November 10, 2016
“Twin doors, side by side, catch my eye.”

Project 366, Day 315: Symmetry

What I've learned this week:
The world is filled with things to explore and enjoy and be thankful for.
Listening to reply instead of listening to understand is not effective communication.
There is always something new to learn.
Make your point without insulting others. Focus on the debate, not the debater.

A great day to all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fill In The Blank

_____talk less and listen more.

The quieter we become, the more we can hear. The more we hear, the more we learn.

Your turn!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope the weekend was good to you. We had a fairly quiet one. Rest and relaxation, a couple of movies and some reading. One of those weekends.

Yesterday I sent a text to my younger daughter to tell her that I'd finished the book she lent me, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It is a magical and inspiring fable about listening to your heart and following your dreams. What a great story. I highly recommend it if you're searching for something interesting to read. It'll make you think about your own life.

Then I called my older daughter and we chatted for over an hour, which was wonderful. We hadn't talked for awhile and it was nice catching up with her. And it's always a pleasure having discussions with her. She is a great conversationalist and I really enjoying listening to the way she expresses her thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics.

So that was the weekend. Now it's Monday and time for some funny stuff.

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada; a day to honour those who have served and sacrificed for our peace and freedom. Many of us are enjoying the liberties we enjoy because of these individuals and I think we should be grateful to them every day.


It’s been quite an emotional and stressful week for my American friends. Actually, the whole year has been thorny. But the last few days have been particularly difficult. I’m sorry that you have dealt with this conflict and continue to do so. My wish for all of you is that you come together as a country and work toward healing and harmony. There are people out there who are continuing to fuel anger and division. Why not be someone who promotes peace and unity?

Speaking of anger and division, I am really close to ending a friendship with a woman I’ve known since we were twelve. I thought I knew her. Turns out I really don’t. We are on opposite sides of the spectrum on many issues and that’s okay. What’s not okay is the bashing that I see on her Facebook page toward people with opposing political and social views and opinions. One of her distastes (or rather, revulsions) is liberals. I don’t care if she likes or doesn’t like the liberal mindset. What I do care about is the name calling. Things like: “progressive puppets”, “stupid liberals”, “dimwitted liberals” and so on. Well, I am a liberal. And so are my daughters and many others I know. When she tosses those insults around in such a harsh manner, she also targets us in a harsh manner. There is no need for it. My circle consists of liberals, conservatives and everything in-between. And we get along - and will continue to get along - just fine, even while debating an issue, as long as we don’t resort to that kind of behaviour. Why can’t she state her opinion without all the name-calling? And how can we possibly remain friends when she feels this way?

Anyhow, I just finished my second cup of coffee, my slow cooker is plugged in, the sun is shining and the weekend is here. Life is good. I’m going to end this blogging week with yet another song that I hope I haven’t already shared. It’s “Stand by you” by Rachel Platten. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!