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?
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.
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.
...and learn to listen more and talk less.
Have a great day, everyone. And Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
During my teen years, I collected matchbooks. Do you (more mature friends) remember those? They were everywhere back then since so many people smoked. I must have had almost a hundred, some of them really cool looking, that I kept in a box in my room. At some point I got it into my head that they could light up, start a fire and burn the house down. I'm not sure how this thought developed but once it did, there was no shaking it. I got rid of the matchbooks.
I figured I'd try something 'safer' after that, so I collected business cards for awhile. But it was an on-again/off-again thing that didn't really stick. Even though some business cards were really nice, they didn't hold my interest as much.
Fast forward many years later and I began my shot glass collection, which is still going on. I only pick up shot glasses from new destinations. Whenever I travel somewhere I've never been before, I bring home a shot glass with the name of the area on it if I can find one. My family is aware of this obsession fascination and when they travel they are kind enough to bring me back a shot glass. You gotta love that.
So how has your week been? And what’s new on your end? Have you seen any decent movies or read any good books or had any tasty meals or been to interesting places? Do share below.
We are enjoying some very mild weather. Some plants are still in bloom and the deciduous trees haven’t lost all their leaves yet. There’s even been grass mowing going on throughout the neighbourhood. It is quite remarkable. Of course this will all come to an end at some point because this is Canada and there’s no escaping the snow and the cold that will inevitably arrive.
This week I crossed paths with quite a few impatient and aggressive drivers, which is a little unusual for this area. Most people here are very courteous on the road, which is something that I enjoy tremendously since we moved here from the big city of Montreal where obnoxious and aggressive and discourteous driving is an every day occurrence. It’s something that I was very happy to leave behind. I wrote about it here: Small City Driving
I’ve noticed that I have new followers to my blog and that’s always a wonderful thing. What isn’t wonderful is that I can’t see who they are and/or if they have blogs. Once upon at time you could click on the profile photo on the list and see a link to that person’s blog. Now, not only can’t you see that link but sometimes you don’t even see a profile photo. You just see the number of followers going up with no further information. What’s up with that? I don’t know. If you are new to this blog, I invite you to leave a comment if you haven’t yet, so I can ‘meet’ you and visit your blog if you have one. Come on, don’t be shy. We’re all friendly here.
On Monday, I used my slow cooker for the second time and I have to say that I am in love with it. What took me so long to get one? I’ve no idea. But it’s here and it’s great. This week’s recipe was a delicious potato soup found here. I made a big batch to freeze portions for another day. Oh, and speaking of delicious stuff, I also made Jenn’s apple pie, which she kindly shared the recipe for here. OHMYGOODNESS...so delicous! (Thank you, Jenn!) Have you met her yet? Go here to visit her wonderful blog. She’s such a cool blogging pal. Go.
I discovered another song recently that I’ve played about a bazillion times so far, give or time a few gazillion. That’s how it goes with me. I stumble across a new song that is really catchy and play it over and over and over and over again. I’m sharing it with you below. It's called "Story of My Life" and it's by the English-Irish pop band One Direction. My younger daughter has a friend who resembles one of the band's members, Harry Styles, so much so that I sent her a text message one day that said "Is it just me or does (friend's name) look a little bit like Harry Styles from the band One Direction?" She answered "yeah, he gets that a lot". It seems I'm not the only one that thinks so.
Anyhow, here's the song. And a happy weekend to all!
As my longtime readers know, the most amazing man in the world and I have two cats. Both of them rescues from the local humane society. The one in the photo below is named Mocha, although I rarely call her that. I use a few other cute and somewhat silly nicknames, which she actually responds to. I'm surprised she isn't messed up about that considering every couple of years I change her nicknames.
Anyhow, every morning after she's done with her breakfast, she comes over to where I am, jumps on my lap, snuggles up against me and purrs up a storm. Every. Single. Morning. Like she's thanking me for feeding her, caring for her. I've never had a cat do this before; it's the most amazing thing. When she'd done showing her gratitude, she can be found doing this:
The marathon snooze after a hearty meal.
Incidentally, my other cat never ever shows any gratitude after I feed her in the morning. I am here, after all, to serve her.