Monday, May 28, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy (last) Monday of May, everyone! Can you believe we're at the end of this month? It's going too fast! Anyway... I hope you all had a lovely weekend. My blogging has really slowed down. I've got a lot to say but very little motivation to put a post together. But I won't worry about it. I'll create posts when I feel like it, and in the meantime, I'll continue to visit yours.

I've got stuff to do, so let's get to the funny stop right away...

Have a good one!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun or interesting or inspiring? Did you get a chance to kick back and relax? Did you get out and about? Yesterday we drove to a small city about 40 minutes away to meet my older daughter and her boyfriend for brunch. It was very nice to see them and catch up on news. They're both doing well. My daughter is going on her first business trip next month and the two of them have been discussing buying a house. These are such...grownup...things. Where did the years go? I still remember her wide-eyed and bushytailed on her first day of kindergarten. *sigh*

Now let’s get to the funny stuff, so we can all laugh a little.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

You Asked, I Answer (First Years Of School, Influences, Worldview)

Last week I was in Montreal and never got around to answering your questions. Today I'm getting to the last two of the year.

Let’s do it!


Jim asked:
Your first couple of years in school......what incident/situation/event stands out the most for you?

There are a few such moments. One of them is my first day of school. I was overjoyed to finally be going. I even remember one of my teachers very well (we had two). Her name was Miss Brennan and she had long brown, silky hair. She was wearing a pretty mini dress and those exceedingly popular Dr Scholl's exercise sandals that were all the rage back then. I thought she was the goddess of wisdom! Read a post about that first day here.

Another incident that stands out is the first sentence I read. This was one of the most exciting moments of my young life because I was really eager to learn how to read and write, so I could enjoy the stories in books. My fanaticism love for books goes way back, possibly while in the womb (slight exaggeration).

Then there’s my first crush in first grade that makes me feel all gooey inside whenever I think about it. His name was Michael, and I liked him so much that I snuck him into my home one day after school. We made a beeline for my room where I showed him my toys and books and all the things that were special to me. Things were going well until I realized that although I had successfully snuck him in, I might not be able to successfully sneak him out. You can read the full story here:

But the most precious thing during those first couple of years of school was my father’s pride in me and how he affectionately called me his “little teacher”.


E asked:
Who has had the greatest influence on your life and worldview?

My brother Steve, my first best friend, had a huge influence in my life. He was only 11 months old when I arrived into the world and we were inseparable from that moment on. We created an abundance of memories and we adored one another.

The second person who had an even bigger influence in my life is my father. No matter how busy he was, how far he’d have to travel, what was going on or what was needed, he’d drop everything and be there for me. He loved me unconditionally and made me feel special. The sun rose each day for him because of me and he never failed to remind me of that until his very last breath many decades later.

My father died in 2007 and my brother Steve died four years later. These were two of my biggest allies in life and you can just imagine how devastated I was when I lost them, and how misplaced I felt for the longest time. It was like the foundation beneath my feet had been shattered.

As for my worldview, I’d have to step outside of my inner circle, or upbringing, really, because it’s possible that I’m the most liberal and free thinking of them all, aside from my two daughters. Most of the influence for that was brought on by books, inner reflection and research, and by meeting diverse people throughout my life that opened my mind and broadened my horizons. Had I simply adopted the view of the community I grew up in and the church I attended, I’d be a completely different person than I am today with completely different opinions. Early on in life, I decided I didn’t agree with many of the things I’d been taught, so I changed direction and paved my own road. I’ve never looked back since and have zero regrets.

And that ends this year’s questions to all your answers. It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone who participated. I really appreciated it! Enjoy the day.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. How is everyone doing? I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I'm keeping this post short and sweet because I've got a very busy day ahead. So let's get to the funny stuff right away. Laugh out loud and make sure to have a wonderful day ahead!

Friday, May 11, 2018

This Week

Happy Friday, friends! How are you all doing? I hope you’ve been enjoying a lovely week. Our weather here has been pretty awesome except for yesterday, which was grey and gloomy. But we need a little rain in the spring, no? I think so. Today we’re back to lots of sunshine.

We spent Wednesday in Montreal. We started by visiting our moms for lunch...separately. I dropped off the most amazing man in the world at his mom’s around noon and then drove over to my mom’s. We decided to do this for two reasons: 1) have a private visit with them and 2) save time. The latter allowed us to do other things while in the city. It was a fun day. Except for dealing with the congestion. And the crazy drivers.

Here is another photo of my daughter’s beautiful cat Obi.

This furry girl is doing remarkably well in our home while her human mama is traveling around Southeast Asia this month. Enjoying things like this:

Isn't this image just spectacular? My daughter is singing praises about the culture and the people of Thailand. Read what she writes about it in this post on her blog: What Makes Thailand So Unique

We learn a lot and open up our minds when we immerse ourselves in other cultures. There is no greater education than traveling. I am so glad she’s experiencing this.

I’m only going to share one piece of art this week, mostly because I’m too lazy to sort through images and prepare them. I’m choosing the one below because - for whatever reason - creating it made me ridiculously happy. It’s such a simple drawing, really, and yet it brought me the most joy.

Today the plan is to get outside and start cleaning up. We have to remove weeds and chop down unwanted bushes to get them ready to be dug up. I can’t say I’m looking forward to this grunge work but it has to get done. If we don’t get this out of the way, we’ll never be able to rebuild the flower beds and start planting things. Right now there is no garden appeal whatsoever on our property and it’s quite sad. So grunge work it is...sigh...

I think that’s enough for today. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday to all. How was your weekend? Did you do anything special or interesting? We went for our first bike ride yesterday and it was great. I had forgotten how much fun it is. And what a terrific workout you get, too.

As you know, we are taking care of my daughter's cat Obi while she and her boyfriend travel in Southeast Asia this month. Yesterday was one week since we brought Obi home with us and within that short period she and our two cats have adapted wonderfully. Cats can make a big stink with new additions or changes, so I'm very grateful for the smooth transition and the peace in our home.

Speaking of my daughter, before she left, I asked her what she looked forward to on her trip and she said one thing she was excited about was seeing the elephants. And then I saw this:

When I saw this image that I stole borrowed from her Instagram page to share with you, it made me so happy that I shed a few tears. I am such a sap! And very excited that she is experiencing these joyful adventures.

Now let's get to the funny stuff.

Have a good one!

Friday, May 4, 2018

This Week

Happy Friday! How are you all doing? Share your thoughts, news and happenings in the comments below...

As you all know from Monday’s post, my younger daughter is spending the next month traveling in Southeast Asia with her boyfriend. And during that time, the most amazing man in the world and I are taking care of her cat, Obi, who has adapted remarkably well in a relatively short period of time. Here she is doing what cats do best...sleep!

Another satisfied customer.
Introducing Obi into our household has gone a lot smoother than we could have imagined. Our other two cats are not aggressive in any way, however, no cat is ever thrilled about ‘strangers’ moving in. But we’ve been showering all the cats with attention and affection and baby talk (that would be from me), and it’s hard to be cranky when you’re all loved up.

Our efforts in making Obi feel welcome are paying off because on Tuesday night when we returned from a coffee date, she ran to the door to greet us and then started rolling around on her back, belly exposed. She was SOOO happy to see us. I am in love with this cat and enjoying her stay with us.

Our own two clowns say "Just because we're nice to Obi doesn't mean we like her."

Moving along...

Earlier this week the most amazing man in the world and I were discussing – of all things - funeral arrangements. Sounds morbid but sooner or later the topic has to come up. Plus, we need to know what the other person wants. Just in case. Anyhow, I told my husband that if I die before him and before we've made official funeral arrangements, he should bury me on the cheap. "Don't let anyone guilt you into spending more money than necessary. Insist on a bargain basement funeral." And if someone says (sarcastically) “Sounds like you’re interested in a cardboard box” to answer “I’ll take it!”. As for the most amazing man in the world, he says that wrapping him up in some burlap and pushing him into a ditch would suffice. Yard waste bags would get the job done, too. This is why we’re together. The endless silliness. And weirdness.

Okay, let’s concentrate on happier things, like art. Here are some latest attempts at drawing:

Do you like small talk? I’m an introvert, so the answer is no. And neither does the most amazing man in the world who is also an introvert. So imagine our horror surprise a couple of evenings ago when we were out for coffee and someone who we see sometimes at the place we go to regularly and who we say a polite hello to started some small talk...and wouldn’t stop. For what seemed like forever. Really, it was only a few minutes worth but a few minutes worth of babbling to an introvert with a stranger may as well be eternity. On and on and on he went. We smiled politely and nodded our heads and passed looks between ourselves, both of us thinking “how the heck did we get sucked into this and how the heck do we get out of it?” He finally stopped and went to have a coffee. Away from us. I enjoy conversations with substance but small talk is, well, agonizing. What about you?

16 years ago today I met the most amazing man in the world. Two years later we got married. Every day since then has been the best day of my life. I am sharing the song “You” (by Jim Brickman and Tara Maclean) in a video that I made for him a few years back, which some of you have seen before. It was a favourite tune during the weeks that led up to meeting my happily ever after. And whenever I used to play it, I dreamed about meeting someone that I could dedicate it to. And I did. My always and forever.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

You Asked, I Answer (Photo Book, U.S. Travel and Writing)

Wednesday means it’s time for another round of answers to your questions.

Let’s get right to it...


Kay asked:
Would you ever think of making a photo book of your trip to Cuba? You are a great photographer but those shots that you took in Cuba, I just keep thinking about them.

First, thank you for the wonderful compliment! You are awesome, Kay!

Now, to answer your question:

Yes and no. I would not consider making a photo book exclusively of our trip to Cuba, but I would consider making a photo book of our travels, which would include our trip to Cuba.

Most of all, I would consider creating a book that is all about tropical vacations that would include beach scenes and sunsets and flora and fauna. Makes sense?

White sand and warm, turquoise water. Cuba is a spectacular place to visit.

Nancy asked:
How often (if ever) do you come to the U.S.? What do you do here?

The last real trip I took to your country was in the summer of 2008 when the most amazing man in the world and I, along with the two girls, visited three different areas:

1) Pennsylvania (Hershey and Lancaster) where we stuffed our faces with chocolate and learned about the Amish culture.

2) Washington, D.C., where we exhausted ourselves visiting an abundance of attractions and memorable places.

3) Virginia, Beach, where we were total beach bums.

As a family we’ve also traveled to Maine, which was a lot of fun, but definitely not a place I’d choose again if I wanted to swim. The water was freezing cold!

Earlier in my life I’ve been to different areas in Massachusetts and New York, some of them as extended vacations, some of them as weekend getaways.

I don’t have a specific thing I like to do when I’m in the U.S. because each area has something unique to offer, so I plan according to that. From sightseeing to hiking to visiting museums to hanging around by the beach...I’m open to many different experiences.

We don’t travel very often to the U.S. because the currency exchange is not always appealing and because there are so many other countries I’m eager to visit. There’s a traveling bucket list to fulfill!


Red asked:
Well, here goes. I look at your writing and how structured and logical it is and I wonder where that came from. What is your background that gives you such an efficient way with words. You have an opinion and then you communicate it so that it makes perfect sense. I envy your writing ability.

Well, thank you for that! With all the compliments today, my head is going to swell up.

I never think of writing as ‘good’ as much as I think of it as ‘effective’; the ability to clearly communicate a message to a particular audience. And I do believe that most of us can develop a writing style that comes naturally over a period of time.

The greatest contributor to my writing is reading. Writers read. Regularly. There’s no way around this. When you read you absorb valuable lessons: sentence and paragraph structure, the combination of words, ideas, good grammar, etc. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of reading.

I’ve also done a lot of reading about writing. There are a lot of really good books on the market that can help you learn how to write, and an endless amount of articles to be found on the internet. In this digital age, there is a wealth of information available to us!

Reading is followed by writing regularly. Almost every day. You can’t improve your writing if you don’t practice it. I’ve been doing this since I was a child. From compositions for school to poetry to journaling to blogging...I’ve been working on something my entire life.

I also rewrite. A lot. I’ll put something together, read it, read it again...and again...and then rewrite it. Sometimes I overhaul an entire piece and start all over again. The end result has to flow well and make sense. Be effective.

Spelling and grammar! It is always more appealing when words are spelled and used properly, and sentences flow well. And relying on spell check to do this job for you all the time is a mistake. Although it is extremely helpful, it’s not perfect and your writing will include errors. Sometimes I write in Notebook first and then transfer it to Word to practice my spelling and grammar.

And finally, one of the best things I’ve ever done is take creative writing classes. This was not only fun but also invaluable. You learn important techniques, practice regularly and receive constructive criticism (hopefully without taking it personally), all of which help improve your skills.

Now, I’m not a professional writer, so I don’t go the extra mile. But for those who are interested in doing it for a living, hooking up with a good editor, someone who will give an objective point of view and clean up some of the messes, goes a long way.

I hope this answers your question!

And that’s it for today. I believe there are only two questions left that I will get to next week.

A happy day to all!