Saturday, April 29, 2017

This Week

Today I got up around 7 AM, which is late for me. I usually get up around 6. Sometimes as early as 5:30. I wasn’t always an early riser. There was a time when I slept past nine in the morning. Then full time employment came along followed by kids. With a job I had weekends off and could sleep in if I chose to. But with young kids it was a different story. They got me up early seven days a week. And now that they’re grown and have moved out, I have my cats. Try telling cats they have to wait to be fed. They will nag you to death until that bowl is filled. And after you’ve been dragged out of bed and they fill their bellies, you know what they do? Go sleep. The little stinkers.

The most amazing man in the world is also the handiest. He can do every job around the house including taking apart big and small appliances that need repairs. When he was a little boy he was very curious about how things work. He’d dismantle items like clocks to explore the inner workings and then put them back together. Not always successfully in the beginning, mind you, and not always with his parents’ knowledge. But they weren’t too hard on him, he said, so he continued to build these skills that just got better and more diverse over time. Right now he’s tackling our vacuum that decided to up and quit at the worst possible time. Dust quickly builds up around here as we scrub and paint and organize, and a vacuum has become an essential item. If it can’t be fixed, we’ll be forced to buy another one quickly. We’ll see how this plays out.

Yesterday when we were out for coffee, we discussed our back yard/garden area. We have a corner lot with a 4 foot high chain link fence around it. You know how much privacy that offers. Zero. You know how disturbing that is to an introvert who wants to garden in peace without passersby and nosy curious neighbours peeking in? Very. A new, higher and more private fence is out of the question right now. Much too expensive. We need other options. Natural ones. Evergreen shrubs come to mind even though I’m not a big fan of them. I’m thinking boxwood, which is very popular. Do you have/grow these? What other suggestions do you have for a green solution?

We hung a bird feeder outside and have been enjoying visits from a variety of birds, but mostly American Goldfinches. They are so adorable. The cats have been enjoying the visits, too. From behind a patio door. I know they would love to get their paws (or jaws) on one of these little critters but that won't be happening. Ever. In any case, all these signs of spring are wonderful.

That’s all I have to say for now. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Introversion, Happily Ever Afters, Pakistan and New Home)

Another week means another round of answers to your questions. Here we go...


Tina asked:
How much of an introvert are you?

I am very much an introvert. When I do too much 'people-ing', I end up needing a period of total isolation to recharge my internal batteries. This can be a day or two or a week or two. It depends on how much people-ing I did and how exhausted it left me. It’s not that I don’t like to socialize. I do. But I prefer to get together with a select group of close friends or family members that I can have sincere and meaningful conversations with. And I particularly like a one-on-one heartfelt connection with someone whose company I really enjoy.

I'm not a big fan of parties or spending time with large groups of people, especially if most of them are unfamiliar, but sometimes it's necessary. I attend and make the best of it, and unless I'm having a lot of fun, I bolt as soon as it’s polite enough to do so.

On the other hand, I do enjoy being in public crowds where small talk and interaction is not necessary and where I can sit quietly and simply observe my surroundings. These public spaces include parks, malls, popular venues, bookstores, museums, restaurants, vacation resorts, beaches, theatres, and so on. In these settings I'm connected yet disconnected, if that makes any sense.


Linda asked:
Can I have a happily ever after like you? I want what you got.

Anyone can have a happily ever after. But not all ‘happily ever afters’ are equal. Each one of us defines it in a different way. When I was searching for mine, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed. And I was ready to take on all the responsibilities, commitments, compromises and sacrifices that came with it. My husband is the most amazing man in the world to me but he might not be to someone else.

We are all searching for something or someone to make life’s journey that much more interesting. Whether it’s a partner, a job, faith, a pet or a calling that will add a certain joy in our lives, there is a happily ever after for all. You just have to know which one’s for you and make it happen.


Baili asked:
What do you know about my continent Asia and country Pakistan, any personal opinion on the base of knowledge?


Are you done with your new home settlement and how are your new neighbors there?

Aside from its location and that Pakistan is one of the most populous countries in the world, I’m afraid I know little to nothing about your country. The same goes for the continent of Asia. I have general knowledge that I either learned in school or on my own over the years, but there is so much that I don’t know. I love learning about different cultures and traditions, so I always enjoy when you share what you eat, what you do, what you enjoy and what surrounds you on your blog. It gives me a glimpse into your part of the world, which is not only educational but also fun!

We are far from being fully settled in our new home. Although most rooms are functional and a few are fully done, many still need a good scrubbing and a fresh coat of paint. And a lot of our stuff is still in boxes. We are moving forward but there is still plenty of work ahead of us. When we first moved here, I was sure we'd be done by the end of April but quickly realized that it’s an unrealistic goal. The entire house from top to bottom and inside out (including garage, garden, walkway, patio, balcony, etc.) needs a facelift. We estimate that we’ll reach our goal some time in the summer. Or fall. Thankfully, the house has no major issues and all this work, although exhausting, is purely aesthetical.

Our neighbours seem nice enough and certainly very quiet, but we’ll probably get to know them much better now that spring is here and people get outside more. There is one neighbour that we know more than all the others because he is the one that sold this house to us (he was the real estate agent hired to sell it). He lives right across the street!


That's all for now, folks. I'll be back next week with more. Have a good one!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Is it Monday again? It sure is. This day just keeps on coming around again and again. How was your weekend? Ours was totally slack. Since Thursday we haven't done anything major around the house. We were champion slackers and we're not sorry. Not one bit. But today will be different. Today will be a day of hard work.

Yesterday was a glorious day. People were out and about. We were, too. And our street was filled with children playing outside. It's always nice having kids in the neighbourhood; they really liven up the place. And it's also nice to see so many of them spending the entire day outdoors instead of indoors glued to electronic devices. Nothing like fresh air and lots of exercise. Reminds me of my childhood.

Now let's get to the funny stuff!

Have a terrific day, everyone!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Week

I was just about to write “Is it Friday again?” and realized that it’s not. It’s Saturday. The days are hard to distinguish lately. The most amazing man in the world and I often find ourselves asking each other “What day is this?” and 9 out of 10 times we’re confused. Sometimes we check a calendar and other times we don’t because it doesn’t really matter.

We are making solid progress here even though there’s still a lot to do. In addition to our closets, the pantry, our kitchen and dining area being ready, so is – drum roll please – our bedroom! Scrubbed and painted and beautiful. Next stop: the office. We’ll probably start tackling that tomorrow. Or Monday. But most likely Monday. Because we like taking days off and running away from home.

We have gotten into a really good rhythm with this house. We work hard and then we slack off just as hard. Tuesday was one of those Olympic gold medal slack days. We took off late morning, drove into Montreal, stopped in IKEA where we strolled through the entire store at a very leisurely pace, had lunch in the store’s restaurant (I had the most amazing salmon wraps!), drove back home in the afternoon and...slacked off for the rest of the day. We had gone there to check the lighting but didn’t come back with any. Sometimes it goes that way.

Speaking of houses, sometimes we watch those HGTV shows where everyone seems to have million dollar budgets. And we laugh and laugh and laugh. Because, really, how realistic is that? Those amounts leave out just about most of us. It seems we’re not the only ones that chuckle about these outrageously high budgets. Here are some hilarious tweets:

Today is Earth Day. It was first celebrated in 1970 and was created by an American senator to bring awareness to the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean, something that the human race has a hard time grasping. A careless and callous attitude towards our environment is foolish. And dangerous. When will we ever learn? I dunno. Maybe when it’s too late.

And that’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Greek Food, Employment and On Meeting The Most Amazing Man In The World)

I'll begin this year's round of answers by thanking everyone who participated in my ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. For those who missed it and would like to join in, feel free to do so while there's still time. Just click here.

My first post answers an assortment of questions. Let’s begin...


Jim asked:
What is your favourite Greek food dish? And.....what is your favourite one to cook?

As many of you know, I have a Greek heritage. My parents came to Canada from Greece in the late 50s and brought with them a rich culture, many interesting traditions and a whole heap of great recipes. Lucky for me, my mother is a very good cook and I grew up eating some of the best homemade Greek dishes.

Do I have favourites? You bet I do. Favourites...not just a favourite. There are so many I enjoy that it’s impossible to settle on just one. But to keep this answer as reasonably short as possible, I’ll list ten appetizers, soups, main dishes, sweets and desserts that I love.

1) Pastitsio (or pastichio) – This baked dish that consists of layers of pasta and spiced minced meat, and is topped with a creamy b├ęchamel sauce is a classic Greek comfort food.

2) Moussaka – One of the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes is this creamy and juicy oven-baked casserole of layered eggplant, potato and minced meat topped with a creamy b├ęchamel sauce.

3) Spanakopita – A delicious filo pastry pie of spinach and feta cheese filling that can be eaten hot or cold, and as a man dish, an appetizer or mid-day snack.

4) Yemista (or gemista) - Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and even potato are hollowed out, stuffed with rice and herb filling and then baked until soft and nicely browned. Minced meat is also commonly used in the filling.

5) Youvarlakia Avgolemono - Or in simple English: meatball soup. A staple of Greek cooking, avgolemono is a creamy egg and lemon sauce that is often added to a variety of dishes, including soups like this one.

6) Kolokithokeftedes – Try saying that three times! Or just call them what I call them: pumpkin patties. This is a popular appetizer made with pumpkin, zucchini or other forms of squash that will have your taste buds singing.

7) Tsoureki – This sweet bread is a staple during Greek (Orthodox) Easter and is one of the most eagerly anticipated sweet treats of the year in every household.

8) Koulourakia – These traditional butter cookies are also made at Easter but because they are ridiculously easy to make and a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea, I make them year round.

9) Galaktoboureko – This hard to pronounce pie is an extremely popular Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo and filled with creamy custard. It is my absolute favourite Greek pastry. De-li-cious!

10) Lahanodolmades Avgolemono – Tender cabbage pieces are wrapped tightly around a tasty meat and rice filling, and topped with avgolomeno (creamy egg and lemon) sauce. Need I say more?

And there you have it. Ten Greek foods that I really like; all of which can be altered to accommodate all types of diets from the vegan to the carnivore. With the exception of numbers 7, 9 and 10, I have personally made all the others.


Linda asked:
Did you guys have to find new jobs when you moved?

The answer is no. The most amazing man in the world officially retired at the ripe old age of 58 last summer, which I wrote about here.

Lucky for him, he contributed to a wonderful pension plan for almost 30 years in a telecommunications company, most of which he spent working as a senior project manager. In August 2016, he reached the level of years where he could start collecting on that pension and decided to do so. He will not be returning to the job market but he will do some volunteer work together with me.

As for me, I used to work as a computer programmer. Then I got tired of that and took time off to decide what to do next, which led to volunteer work up until we moved to our new city. While we work on giving our home the facelift it needs, that’s where my focus will remain. Once things are in order, I will decide whether I want to find a paying part time job along with some volunteer work to fill in the gaps or simply spend more time volunteering. The most amazing man in the world says we don’t really need the extra money and that I should just retire along with him and simply enjoy life. We will see what happens.


Jan asked:
How did you meet "the most wonderful man in the world?"

Well, Jan, in 2015’s Ask Me Anything post, a couple of blogging pals asked the same question and instead of giving the short answer of having met him online, I decided to give the long version. I set in motion a series of posts titled “Our Story”. It is an in depth look at where I was at prior to my current relationship, what led me down the road I am on now and why I call my husband the most amazing man in the world. If you feel like reading our love story, start right here: Our Story (1): It Begins Here

And that's a wrap for today. I'll be back next week with more answers!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Here we are again at the start of a brand new week. How was your weekend? I hope it was a good one for all of you. I will keep it short and sweet this morning because I've got so much I want to do today. Will it all get done? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'll give it my best shot on this cool but wonderfully sunny day.

Let's get to the funny stuff in 3, 2, 1...

A wonderful day to all!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

This Week

Is it Friday again? I guess it is since I’m doing a blog post. I’m still not motivated enough to get back into full blogging mode but that’s okay. I do miss blogging regularly but I’ll get back to it when I get back to it. I will, however, upload my first post next week to start answering your nosy interesting questions from this year’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ invitation. I was going to begin this week but with Easter coming up I figured it’s not the best time.

On the home front things are moving forward slowly and sometimes it feels like we’re getting nowhere in this house despite our continuous efforts. But I remind myself that we arrived at this house beaten down from the stressful sale of our previous place and from the exhausting move. We’re also doing everything ourselves. Everything. We’ve become masters at cleaning and painting and organizing. Do you need any of these done at your place? You do? Well, don’t bother us with it. Don’t we have enough to deal with here? Sheesh.
I spoke to a very old friend a couple of days ago on the phone. We’ve known each other since we were twelve and even though we go through lengthy periods of not communicating, when we do, it’s as if we’d just spoken the day before. She had no idea that I’d moved closer and when she found out she was thrilled. I told her we can now see each other whenever we want. We decided to plan a brunch date within the next few weeks with a couple of other friends that we went through high school with. I’m continuously reminded about the bonuses of this move. Best. Decision. Ever.

Speaking of old friends, encounters such as this spark memories of my high school days. And intense emotions of nostalgia. I’ve got so many memories, most of them good, of those teen angst years when we were full of piss and vinegar, as the expression goes, and big plans. We thought we were immortal and that we knew everything. Our parents were clueless and out of touch and anyone over 35 was old. We were headstrong and idealistic and adventurous. As well as impatient and confused and defiant. It was quite a ride.

And with that, I will end the week with the song “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by American pop singer Vitamin C. It triggers memories of that period of my life. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday! How is everyone? What was your weekend like? I hope it was good to all of you. Yesterday was a glorious day. Lots of sunshine and very warm. I ran away again and met up with my older daughter in the small city of Vaudreuil-Dorion; a bedroom community of Greater Montreal with a population of about 38,000. It is about 40 minutes away from our home and about 20 minutes away from my daughter's. Vaudreuil is a really pretty area and my daughter and her boyfriend lived there for awhile. Anyhow, we had brunch, walked for hours in and out of shops and stopped for coffee in the afternoon before we headed home. It was so good to be able to do this with her and I'm reminded once again that this move was a great decision.

Now it's time for some funny stuff!

Have a good one!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

This Week

Painting. Organizing. Lots and lots of painting and organizing went on this week. Our kitchen is painted save for the trim, which we’ll get to very soon. And I have scrubbed, painted and organized 5 out of 6 closets/storage spaces in our home. (The sixth one is in the lower level of the house and it can’t be completed until we remove the filthy and stinky carpets to add flooring.) Painting closets is a lot of work and a huge pain in the heinie. But let me tell you, once they’re finished, they are beautiful. And even better, tons of stuff gets unpacked and put away. Every time I empty a box, I want to do a heel click jump.

Here’s a quote from an article I was reading this morning titled "Nobody wants the family heirlooms anymore":
“This is an IKEA and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did. And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”

It seems that the upcoming generation, for a number of reasons, doesn’t have much interest in the stuff that their parents and grandparents are trying to unload as some of them downsize. This is certainly true in my family as my daughters don’t care very much for stuff their grandma offers. And it’s also true of minimalistic me. I don’t have an emotional connection to things. Snapping a photo of furniture or items used by my parents would be enough for me to remember these things by. Aside from some photos, there isn’t very much I’ll be taking from my mom’s place when she passes away. How about you? Where do you stand on this?

Speaking of IKEA, there are now two of these stores within less than an hour driving distance. My longtime blogging pals know how much I love this place and how much this must make me happy. It does. I once met a woman that said that people with IKEA stuff in their homes should grow up and start buying adult furniture. If growing up means becoming this judgmental and critical and narrow minded then I’ll keep my love for IKEA. People have different tastes. Let them be.

The most amazing man in the world and I have discussed doing some volunteer work together. One of the places we are considering is the local Meals on Wheels program; a non-profit, volunteer-based support service that delivers hot, nutritious meals to homebound individuals who are unable to prepare food. This would include the elderly, chronically or terminally ill, disabled, etc. This is a fantastic service and it’s something that the most amazing man in the world and I can do together since deliveries are done in teams of two: one driver and one assistant. And in addition to delivering hot meals, we’ll also be providing a short and friendly visit, and a security check to ensure that the recipient is safe and well. Do you have this non-profit in your area? It’s a very popular program.

I think that’s it for now. I’ve been enjoying your blogs but haven’t been doing much of it myself. I’m too tired and busy and unmotivated. Eventually I’ll get back into it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

And here we are in a brand new week. Again. The days are just - WOOSH - going right by. How are you all doing? What have you been up to? How was your weekend? Looks like our weather is starting to get better. Yesterday was just beautiful. Late morning we went to the hardware store to pick up more paint and rollers and tape and all that fun stuff, brought it all back home and then walked over to a restaurant that is literally about 3 minutes from our house. It serves breakfast and lunch daily, and is open from 7 AM to 3 PM seven days a week. The food was great, the service was friendly and the prices were unbelievable. How unbelievable? Well, it only cost about $16.00 with a tip for the both of us. What??? Where do you find prices like that these days?

It's going to be a busy day, so I'll get right to the funny stuff. Enjoy!

A great day to all of you!