Friday, June 30, 2017

This Week

Didn’t I recently mention rain? Well I’m writing about it again. Because. It’s. Still. Here. And it looks like it’s going to stick around for the next few days. That totally sucks because it’s Canada Day weekend; a very special one, too, that we’re all excited about. Tomorrow Canada is turning 150, which may sound like a lot but it isn’t. This country is still very young. But it’s still an exciting milestone and I’m here to witness it. And so is my mother and so are my two adult daughters. Three generations of women. Anyhow, there are celebrations going on across the country and there is one in our own small city that I was hoping we’d drop in on. Unless it’s raining. That is what the forecast is calling for tomorrow. And not just a little bit of rain but strong thunderstorms. Sigh. We’ll see what happens. (It's pouring rain as I write all this.)

We spent the day in Kingston on Monday. It was such a treat to be back there. We went there because we had scheduled a physical with our doctor because we couldn’t find a local one. Numerous phone calls were met with “we are not accepting new patients”. So Kingston it was. At one point the most amazing man in the world and I decided to drive around town in our new city and drop in on some clinics; we did this for a couple of days. Most places told us they weren’t taking on any new patients but at least two put us on waiting lists. Then four days later one of the places that we'd added our names to a waiting list called back to tell us they were going to take us. It was one of the two places I wanted for us to get into. YAY! Sometimes it pays to present yourself in person. But the family doctor is on maternity leave and won’t be returning until September, so we decided to keep our appointment in Kingston. That worked out great because not only did we get a chance to play tourist in our beloved old city but we also went for dinner at a favourite place to celebrate our wedding anniversary, which was on that day, too. Bonus: we had homemade ice cream for dessert at the best dessert place in town. Chocolate chip for me!

A wellness day, a road trip, dinner, ice cream and an anniversary celebration. Win-win-win-win-win.

The most amazing man in the world: “It really doesn’t feel like Friday today.”
Me: “It’s Thursday.”
The most amazing man in the world: “Well that would explain it.”
And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

These are the types of problems you have when you’re retired. You don’t know what day of the week it is.
(The most amazing man in the world decided to take his company pension and retire in August 2016. He is loving every minute of it.)
I’ve got more to say but I’m going to stop right here. Because I’m busy painting today and I shouldn’t be spending too much time blah, blah, blabbing on the computer. So off I go being all responsible and grown up and stuff like that.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! And to my fellow Canadians – happy 150th! We rock.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (First Photos, My Other Blog, Minimalism)

This year it's taken a very long time to answer the questions my blogging pals asked a long time ago. But I'm almost done; next week should be the end of it. Here's this week's contribution.


Fundy Blue (Louise) asked:
What is the first photo you remember taking?

I honestly don’t know the answer to this. I’ve taken thousands upon thousands of pictures in my life and it’s next to impossible to remember which one was the first. When we were kids, photography was expensive and having a camera in our working class family was a huge luxury, therefore it was handled with care. And by very few people. I was allowed on just a few occasions to take photographs with the family camera but my photo taking frenzy didn’t seriously begin until my brother gifted me my own camera when I was in my early teens. And the journey began. Oh the joy of owning my own camera!


Bethany asked three questions:

1) How did Miniaturopolis start?

As some of my blogging pals know, I have another blog named Miniaturopolis where I post images of miniature (toy) people living in the big world, the experiences they have and the challenges they face. I introduced the blog last year in this post.

So how did it start? I love photography and most of the time I’m all over the map with the types of pictures I take. And that’s fine. But I really wanted to focus on one theme that could be easily carried out throughout all four seasons, motivate me to practice photography on a regular basis and - most important of all – be extremely enjoyable.

Then one day I ran across a website with the type of photography I now do for Miniaturopolis and I fell instantly in love with it! It fit so perfectly with someone like me who keeps the inner child alive and who has a very active imagination. The rest, as they say, is history.

Miniaturopolis is my playground where I set my imagination free. Here are a few photos from there:

Make sure surfaces are free of dirt, dust, debris and little people before using it.

A most dangerous profession.

2) How do you come up with the ideas for the Miniaturopolis scenes?

When I first took a sincere interest in that style of photography, that part of my imagination was just getting started and thinking of what to photograph took a lot of effort. But let me tell you, it didn’t take long before there was an explosion of ideas. All I had to do was ask myself “What would it be like if I was that small and I lived in a world where everything around me was that big? What would I do? What would I see? What would happen?” And my imagination just went wild. Broccoli suddenly became a tree; a CD became a skating rink or pond; a pile of books invited mountain climbing. But not everything is always happy in this little city because it can be dangerous being so tiny in such a big world.

Be careful with it. There are little people out there.

That's got to hurt.

Now I get so many ideas so rapidly that I have to mark them down in a notebook! I am really enjoying myself and I intend to keep this photography going for a long time to come. I share my images on different social media but my biggest success is on Instagram where I have over 1,000 followers. Come join me here if you have an account.

3) Why are you a minimalist?

I don’t give too much meaning to material possessions and I’ve always strived to live a very simple life with as few belongings as possible. I have always been this way and I suspect I always will be. Clutter looks messy to me and it doesn’t seem to serve any valuable purpose; it just collects dust. I’m very intentional about what I want to keep and every year I donate many items to keep our home from becoming overloaded with crap stuff that we don’t need, don’t use and don’t really like. As a minimalist, I prefer more things going out of the house than coming in. Also, when the home is clutter free, it’s easier and faster to clean. Less cleaning means more free time for the things I truly enjoy. Like taking photos for Miniaturopolis!

And as I get older, minimalism becomes even more important because should something happen to the most amazing man in the world and me, I’d like family responsible for disposing of our worldly possessions to have as easy a time at it as possible. I don’t want anyone burdened with the chore of emptying a house that is overflowing with so many things that you don’t know where to start.

That’s it for this round. Next time I’ll answer Christine’s questions; the last ones for this year’s inquiries. Have a good one!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How goes you? What are you up to these days? I've been up since 5:30 because tabby cat decided I'd had enough sleep by then. And with her belly full, guess where she's been since 6 AM? If you guessed in her cat tree dozing away, you win a year's supply of pats on the back and "way to go" and "you rock" compliments. Both my cats nag me to death bother me drive me crazy come to me for all their needs. Because they know who the sucker reliable one is.

Is anyone in need of rain? We had a very wet spring and summer seems to be headed in the same direction. Who can I send some to? We really don't need this much and I'd be happy to share.

We've been watching old episodes of Holmes on Holmes on YouTube. It's a Canadian television series featuring Mike Holmes, a general contractor who rescues Toronto, Ontario homeowners from renovations gone terribly wrong. He goes in and not only cleans up the mess that shitty contractors left behind but fixes stuff you didn't even know needed fixing. Getting this man and his crew to show up at your place is better than winning the lottery. I dream of him knocking on our door and taking over everything that needs doing here. We don't necessarily fit the profile since no contractor has screwed us over and we don't live in the Toronto area, but a girl can dream, no? "Mike, pleeeeaaasssseeee come and fix our house!"

Okay, enough of that. Here's some funny stuff for you.

Have a good one!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This Week

Um, what to say? All week long my brain works overtime and I’ve got a million and one things to share...and then when Friday arrives, I draw a blank. Does this happen to you? I should start jotting down my thoughts so I can look them up when I can’t think of anything to write.

Yesterday evening we met up with some friends for dinner. They live in Quebec and we live in Ontario, so we drove 40 minutes and they drove 30 minutes, which had us meeting at a restaurant at about the halfway point. The food was good but not as good as it should have been considering how overpriced it was. I don’t think we’ll be going there again any time soon. Or ever again, really. Ah well, at least the company was great.
Thursday we took the car in for an oil change and while we were waiting for the work to be completed, we spoke to a salesman at the car dealership and took a look at a few vehicles on the lot. Our car is getting old and we are thinking of replacing it while it’s still intact, before any major repairs surface. We know we have to retire it soon but we’re also reluctant. Because this car has turned out to be phenomenal. We’ve been driving it for 14 years, and in all that time, it’s never given us a problem, never required major repairs, never cost us any serious money. Talk about getting your money’s worth. It’s hard to replace a vehicle like this, especially when there’s no assurance that the next one will be just as reliable and just as sturdy. Have you ever had a car that turned out great?

One thing I have been doing a lot lately is reading. I signed up for the reading challenge again this year on and committed to 22 books, which is not that much for an avid reader like me, but with all the moving business and house renovations, I wanted to choose an amount that’s doable. Today I finished my18th book of the year making me 8 books ahead of schedule. How did this happen? I’m either a fast reader or I have no life. Hmm... Do you like to read?

I’m an early riser but today I slept in until 9:30. GASP! Actually, I got up at 5:00 AM because my tabby cat was nagging me to death, fed her and the other furball and went back to sleep. Or tried to go back to sleep. Same cat walked around meowing and whining and complaining. Apparently, my sleeping in was unsettling to her because that’s not typical of 'our' routine. She paced and whined all morning as I I dozed on and off restlessly and when I finally got up for good, she climbed up into her cat tree, curled into a ball and fell asleep. All was finally well with the world. Cats. For those of you who have them, you know what it’s like.

Well, that’s it for this week. For someone who has nothing to say, I said too much. Happy rest of the weekend to all of you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. And I hope you all have a great week ahead. I've got a very busy day planned, so I'll get right to the funny stuff.

And away we go...

Have a good one!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The First...

...most amazing man in the world in my life.

“That is your legacy on this Earth when you leave this Earth: how many hearts you touched.”

Always on my mind. Forever in my heart.

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This Week

Another week over and here’s some random stuff for you...

I’ve started downloading some garden plans. Our property has zero landscaping. Actually, that’s a lie. It has a little bit of landscaping that will be completely overhauled. There are two flower beds with very little in them and the little that is in them (some bushes and a few dull plants) will be removed. And we’ll add some curves to the planting areas to make them more visually appealing. And we'll plant trees. There isn’t a single tree on this property. We have a good-sized corner lot and I can easily see 2 – 3 beautiful trees on it. There is a lot of work to be done outside but that won’t happen until next spring. I’ve got lots of time until then to plan a nice garden.

Tomorrow is father’s day, which hasn’t meant the same since my dad died in 2007. I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. He’s missed so many things in the past 10 years, particularly the changes, accomplishments and day-to-day goings-on of his two granddaughters, both of whom he’d be so proud of. He was an amazing man who left behind a legacy of love and kindness, and as the years go by, I appreciate more and more how fortunate I was to have had him as a father. I really hit the jackpot there.

One word that always comes to mind when I think about him is ‘tireless’. It sounds like an odd word to think of but if you knew my father like everyone who loved him did it would make sense. He was...well...tireless with the ones he loved. No matter how busy he was, no matter how far he’d have to go, no matter what was going on, no matter what was needed...he’d drop everything and be there for you. When I was hospitalized with postpartum depression (a story for another time), my father came to visit every single day. Rain or shine. Much to my surprise, he even came one day when there was a snowstorm. When my mother told him it wasn’t necessary to go in that weather and that I would understand, he said “I’m going. I don’t want our girl to feel alone.” I tear up whenever I remember moments like that. The world lost one of the good ones when he died. I’ll never stop missing him.

Yesterday was a busy day for us. I painted the downstairs bathroom and the most amazing man in the world ripped out some of the most disgusting carpet in the history of disgusting carpets. I only have the doors and the trim left to paint, which I’ll do on Monday, and then I’ll be helping out with the carpet removal, which will take some time. We’re moving slowly with these jobs because we’re not spring chickens anymore and neither one of us is in the mood for injuries.

Speaking of getting older, I ran across a great song while visiting one of my favourite blogs that I'd like to share with you. It’s called ‘When We Were Young’ by Passenger (stage name), an English singer-songwriter and musician. Oh boy does it stir emotions in me and bring up a whole bunch of memories. Reminds me once again that we should do what we want to do right now because the clock keeps ticking. Anyway, have a listen.

And that's all for this week. Happy weekend!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

And here we are once again at the start of a new week. I hope it's a good one for all of you. How was your weekend? Whatcha up to lately? Share some news in the comments below if you'd like. I always enjoying hearing from you.

I'm sitting here staring at my screen trying to think of something to say and I've got nothing. Maybe after I have my second coffee and some breakfast something will come to me. So for now I'll just get right to the funny stuff.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

This Week

I swear that I blink and POOF another week goes by. So here we are again. How was yours? Do you have anything interesting, unusual or entertaining to share? I’d love to hear all about it.

As for me, I’m just going to ramble on about this, that and the other. And hope that I don’t lose you along the way.

Have you ever been absolutely convinced about someone’s political, social, environmental, etc. stance only to realize that they are so far from your initial impression that it’s somewhat shocking? That’s happened to me, particularly in the past year, with a few people I know; most of whom I was convinced shared many of my ideologies. Wrong!

Now, I have no problem with differences of opinion. The problem I have is when those opinions are accompanied by derogatory comments. And almost all of these people are behaving this way. Do they really need to stoop to that level? Or do they have to stoop that low because they don’t have a convincing or intelligent enough argument to get their point across? And how can they expect us to be friends or even friendly with each other if they toss around insults like this in the public forum, demonstrating that they are completely disgusted by people like me? How? I know I’ve written about this before but UGH it’s maddening.

A couple of Sundays ago when I drove to Montreal to spend time with my older daughter, we had sushi for lunch. For the longest time I was convinced I wouldn’t like sushi, so I avoided it, despite friends and family members going on and on about how great it is. “Nah, it’s not for me”, I said. Then in 2015 (yeah, not that long ago), I attended a wedding for a friend’s daughter and before dinner they offered drinks and hors d'oeuvres that included – you guessed it – sushi. They looked so colourful and appetizing that I figured “What the heck, I’ll try one”. And as soon as I bit into it, my eyes got wide and I thought - HOLY TASTE EXPLOSION, BATMAN – “is this ever good”. And added a few more to my plate. Lesson of the day: give something a taste before you shun it. Well, not everything. I draw the line on some things. Like bugs. And slimy stuff.

Do you like sushi?

This week we went shopping for floors for our lower level. There are approximately 3,916 different options. Or thereabouts. It was hard to count because my head starting spinning at one point from information overload. Anyhow, we did settle on one and will be ordering a few dozen boxes of it later this month. First we have to remove the most disgusting carpets in the history of disgusting carpets and scrape off the endless amounts of glue underneath that would be easier to take off with dynamite. It’s going to be a very messy and aggravating job. I keep reminding myself how gorgeous everything will be after we’re done putting in new floors and painting the entire area. Of course, I’m going to go slow and be extremely careful because I don’t want to get more injuries. Slow but steady wins the race. And avoids hospital emergency rooms.

A couple of nights ago as my husband was backing the car into our driveway when we returned home from shopping, we noticed a lady who lives right across the street from us watching us through the glass panel of her front door. This is obviously one of the nosy neighbours, which, on the positive side, will deter thieves. Because she probably knows exactly what’s going on with every house in the neighbourhood. Anyhow, the most amazing man in the world and I laughed about this and agreed that next time we’ll wave at her.

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Go-To-Meals, Speeding Tickets, Favourite Toys and Posters On Bedroom Walls)

I know I’ve taken long to answer the questions my blogging pals asked quite some time ago. My motivation for blogging has really slowed down and it’s taken quite an effort to even keep posting. But here I am, finally, with another round of answers to your questions!

And away we go...


Jenny asked:
What's your go-to meal to make when you are having company for supper? (any kind of company - grown children count!)

With so much experience in cooking and so many recipes made along the way, I don’t really have a favourite go-to-meal. The choice of meal depends on who is coming over for dinner. I often ask guests if they have any preferences, special diets or restrictions, but if I know the invitees very well, I just put something together that is a common favourite, not too time consuming and not overly spicy. When the weather is nice, a BBQ is the number one go-to-meal, along with a salad and some veggies.

Having said that, if it’s people I’ve never had over for dinner, one of the things I try to make sure of is that the food I serve is not messy or difficult to eat gracefully. Like spaghetti with sauce. Or corn on the cob. Or sticky ribs. Especially where new boyfriends are concerned. I’ve learned this the hard way. My younger daughter brought a boy over for dinner a few years back and, much to his dismay and mine, I served spaghetti. It’s hard to keep a straight face with a pimply-faced teenager who has noodles hanging down his mouth. Poor kid.


Birdie asked two questions:

1) Have you ever had a speeding ticket? If so, how many?

I have only had one speeding ticket in all my driving years. That was over 20 years ago. My older daughter, who was about 4 at the time, was pulling a fit in the back seat and as I went over and down a hill, distracted and slightly frustrated, I didn’t pay as close attention to the signs as I should have and ended up entering a school zone at 50 kilometres an hour instead of the requisite 30. It took me only seconds to realize my blunder and I immediately started to slow down, but it was too late. There was an officer stationed on that road that afternoon whose job was handing out tickets to anyone going over the speed limit and reminding them to slow down. I was one of them. Totally embarrassed and apologetic, hoping beyond hope that he didn’t think I was this type of driver on a regular basis. That was my first and last speeding ticket, as well as the only time I’ve ever been pulled over.

2) What was your favourite childhood toy?

I grew up in a poor, working class family, so there weren’t that many toys. Also, we didn’t care all that much for them because we preferred to spend our time outdoors. Rain or shine, winter or summer, all the kids played outside. However, there is one toy that I absolutely adored. This one:

My parents surprised me with this doll named Dawn on Christmas morning when I was about five or six years old. I shrieked with delight when I ripped open the wrapping paper and saw her beautiful face (a little heavy on the mascara) and silky hair. She was a favourite toy as a child and became a favourite memory as I got older. Because in order to purchase this toy, which was a luxury, my parents had to scrimp and save over a long period of time. That makes this extra special.


Debra asked:
When you were a teenager, what posters did you have on your bedroom wall?

When I was a preteen (or tween) I, along with most of my friends, started reading Tiger Beat magazine (I wrote about it here) and I plastered my walls with eye candy that I found on those pages. Some of my favourites included Shaun Cassidy, John Travolta, (OHMYFLIPPINGGOODNESS) Andy Gibb, Leif Garrett, Robby Benson, Rex Smith and (IWASABSOLUTELYNUTSABOUTTHISONE) Matt Dillon, amongst others. And even though some of these crushes carried well into my teen years, by the time I was 14, I stopped putting up these types of posters on the walls in my room.

By then I was a full fledged philosophizing, hippie-loving, liberal-minded, rebellious and angst-filled adolescent struggling to rise above the extremely conservative community I was immersed in and rebelling against it with every ounce of my being at a level of fervor that only a teen can emit. Therefore, instead of putting up posters of (OHMYFLIPPINGGOODNESS) Andy Gibb or (IWASABSOLUTELYNUTSABOUTTHISONE) Matt Dillon, I began hanging philosophical sayings, some of them serious, some of them humorous, like this one:

I was also an avid reader, poetry writer and journal keeper. All this to say that there were no heartthrobs on this girl’s walls at that time. I was too busy trying to find myself, too busy trying to stay afloat in a suffocating social environment, too busy fighting oppression and too busy thinking of ways to save the world. And myself.


Did you enjoy my answers? I sure hope you did. I'll be back again soon to answer more. Have a good one!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy new week, blogging friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I'm a little late with my blog post today and I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit waiting for this week's funny stuff. Because without me, you wouldn't laugh today. Amiright?

No need to fret. Here you go...

Wishing you all a great day!

Friday, June 2, 2017

This Week

Happy June, blogging pals. I hope you all have a great month ahead. And I hope your weather has been much nicer than ours. We go from hot, sunny, summer-like days to cool and rainy ones. It’s been a very wet spring this year. I hope June proves to be better.

I’ve been visiting two websites a lot lately:

1) Bookoutlet. This is one of North America’s largest seller of bargain books. The selection is great and the prices are even better. I recently made an order for 10 YA books that cost me a total of $22, tax and shipping included. Can you believe that? Incredible. Once I’m done with all these books, I'll offer them to my kids.

2) This is an online Canadian company offering more than 40,000 products, including the country’s largest assortment of green and natural brands. I love this place because I can find all the healthier products I can’t find in most local stores, many of which cater to the big name brands that poison us and the planet. For the past few years, I’ve been replacing products that have nasty chemicals in them with products that are non-toxic and cruelty free. Because shampoos and toothpastes and cleaners and dishwashing liquids and hand soaps should not poison people or blind some poor bunny or other helpless animal.

These two websites are both great. And one of you for sure (could be more than one of you) is responsible for introducing/mentioning Raise your hand if you think it’s you and leave me a comment to let me know.

(Added: After thinking about it, I realized that I know one of you for sure mentioned the website The other one I'm not sure of. I can't quite remember who it was. Please weigh in if you know the one for books.)

In other news, aside from typical chores, we haven’t done anything with the house for at least a couple of weeks. One, I think we burned ourselves out a little and stepped back. And two, this one being most important, I injured myself. For weeks I’d been feeling a lot of pain and discomfort on my right side around the chest area. Long story short, after a visit to the hospital emergency, two blood tests, two EEGs, a chest x-ray, a mammogram, an ultrasound (all tests came back negative ) and meeting with three different doctors, it was concluded that I’d injured my chest muscles. I was prescribed pain and anti inflammatory medication and sent home. The last doctor I met with told me to take this medication for a couple of weeks, be careful when I’m doing things and be patient; this can take a long time to heal and it may occur again. Sigh. All this made me realize that I’m getting older. Well, at least there’s nothing seriously wrong. And I discovered what an amazing hospital we have. I was given the whole spa treatment and the service was impeccable.

I have started a journal once again (something I did for years in my youth) because I have a very active brain and I reflect on a lot of things. My brain heats up with all this activity and it gets overloaded. Without some outlet, I suspect that these abundant thoughts and opinions and ideas will start to ooze out of my ears because there’s no more room to accommodate them. So I decided to start jotting them down on paper to declutter my mind and free up mental space. I am a minimalist, after all. Do you keep a journal?

So I finally tried overnight oats. This is where you soak oats (usually rolled oats) overnight in whatever liquid you like (I use cashew/almond milk) and eat them the next day. When I took them out of the fridge this morning, I heated them up (you can eat this cold) added half a teaspoon of honey, some walnuts and some blackberries. And OHMYFLIPPINGGOODNESS was this ever good! Very filling, too. Have you ever tried this? I’ll have to do this again. Next time I'll add in a little maple syrup, raspberries and other nuts. The different combos are endless.

And that’s it for now. Have a lovely weekend!