Saturday, January 14, 2017

DOWNTOWN!

I've been on the hunt for a new hat for some time now. I wandered around the mall, checked out Walmart but still, found nothing that tickled my fancy. 

Then I thought - I'll go downtown! 


Our downtown just had a major face lift with new paving, landscapes, seating areas, the works; right down to new pipes tucked away underneath. Believe me, last summer was a mess. 

We have lots of things to offer Downtown, including great hats!


I opened the bell-tinkling door to "Boretski's. It is chock full of vintage clothes, knick-knacks, you name it.


As I was checking out the selection a gentleman well into his 80s asked if I wanted his opinion.
"What do you think of this one?" I asked. 
"I think it's very nice" he responded gallantly. "Isn't this a lovely store? It's like going for a walk down memory lane!"


I have a pretty tiny cranium and this one fit just fine. Besides, the shop owner, Marina, AND the charming gentleman thought it was a keeper. 

The weather was fine so I continued to check out the other shops. At the very end of the north end is the "All Good Things Shop".


It's a great place to go and look for a gift for yourself or someone special. 

I decided to stop in an "Nice, Ice Baby", a new ice cream shop that only opened up last summer.


The hand-made ice cream and gelato is amazing but not what I was looking for on a January afternoon.

This was more up my alley! 

We have a new Casino that has opened up in Belleville, with all the bells and whistles, but let me encourage you to not forget the downtown region. You can eat  authentic Mexican at Chilangos, Italian at Paulo's or find yourself in gay Paris at L'Auberge de France. You can take trips down Memory Lane at Boretski's Gallery and take in a movie at the Empire Theatre. There's Bike shops, kitchen shops, the library, the Market. What more could you ask for?

Come on! I'll help you pick out a hat!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

COLOUR, WARMTH, LIGHT

That's what I'm searching for right now: Colour, Warmth and Light. 

I'm deep into a Canadian winter and these 3 necessities for my soul are scarce. 

Walks with Lulu are under a dark starry sky, either early in the morning or after supper. But during the holidays, when I had some time off and Lulu approved, I would give myself an extra hour's sleep. Heading out the door for our walk was still a dark activity but in the east I could see the sky taking on a lighter, rich, royal blue - Light and Colour!

I spend time in the big comfy chair by the fireplace

Colour, Warmth and Light

The pets are also searching these things out and I often find them situated in the path of a sunbeam. If there is a blanket or throw wrapped around you, Sasha will not be far behind.

She will soon cuddle up - Warmth

I bought myself some flowers: some for home and tulips bulbs for the office:
Lots of Colour for my soul

I made a big pot of vegetarian Chili, chock full of veggies and beans.
Scored Colour and Warmth!

It's Winter. 

It's January.

It's Dark and Cold and Black and White

I'm doing what I gotta do to survive and feed my soul. I'm searching for Colour, Warmth and Light!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

MOUNTAINS AHEAD!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017! It's a pretty vague road map at the moment and the journey will, no doubt, be filled with ups, downs and a few unforeseen curves in the road. Ya know, sort of like 2016!

Which got me thinking about mountains....

A few years ago Sheldon and I took a trip out west and for the first time I saw the Canadian Rockies. To quote the singer Beck it  "WAS LIKE WOW.....LIKE RIGHT NOW!" I was flabbergasted, gob smacked, in utter awe. 


Majestic, Powerful, Solid, Indescribable, Immovable


The analogy is there will be mountains ahead in 2017.

There they are on the horizon, larger than life and you may think, how will I ever get over or through this? 

And you are right, some are bigger than you and getting over them is not going to happen in your own strength. When I face a mountain in my life that I know is insurmountable, I look to the one who is the Mountain Creator. 

He reminds me:

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain" Isaiah 40:4

You may find yourself in a valley, stuck at the bottom in darkness all around. These can be tough, tough times. But you are never, ever left all alone

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me" Psalm 23:4

Now some mountains are there for you to conquer! 

In Banff, we hiked up Tunnel Mountain. It was mid May and a pretty slippery walk. True, I had to take the occasional break and rest up a bit...


But I made it! 


And so will you. You ARE going to climb right to the top and claim your victory.

So here's to 2017 and the mountains ahead. For the ones that disappear right in front of you, for the valleys you will go through and for the mountain top victories you will surely have. Be assured, you never have to do this journey alone!






Monday, December 26, 2016

CHRISTMAS VACATION AT THE OFFICE

I tried something new this year.  I worked on Dec. 24 and 25 - in other words, Christmas vacation at the office! 

We usually have about 70-80 people milling about.


But....not during the holidays. We were down to 5.

Pretty quiet around here I must say!

I tried to make the best of it. So first up I ditched the heels and switched to slippers.


My co-worker  and Christmas partner in crime, Marlene, brought me in a lovely gift on Christmas Day!

She knows me pretty well!

And another co-worker, my dear friend Kelly came in with her daughter and brought us a plate of treats to enjoy.

Thanks Kelly!!

Because I was spending the holiday in the office, I asked friends to send me Christmas pics of their holiday festivities and fun. So here comes a Santa-sac full.

Here is Minx, the Christmas Cat!

How about a maple-apple pie made by Jamie? Love that little Christmas tree decor!!


I got a couple pics from friends attending church services


And a bunch from friends showing the wonder of Christmas through a child's eyes.





All in all, though I missed hanging with my own family, I enjoyed being a part of everyone else's! Thanks to EVERYONE who sent in pictures and messages and gifts of love. I might make this a new tradition! 

SEASONS GREETINGS AND LOVE TO YOU ALL


Sunday, December 18, 2016

OUR FRAGILE STRENGTH


Have you ever wondered about the human condition, how fragile  we are and yet how strong?  

Tomorrow we are saying our final goodbyes to an amazing lady named Teresa, one of the strongest women I've ever met. Full of grace and strength, she raised 3 children, ran a business and  created awareness to support funding for Sarcoma. All in a very fragile human body that eventually succumbed  to the very cancer she fought against. She leaves a lasting legacy upon our community. 

Like the Christ child we celebrate who came to earth in the form of a very fragile and vulnerable babe, we are all in need of help. Yet we are also so strong and can carry one another's burdens.

Recently one of my co-workers and I helped out with fund raising and awareness for our local Hospice Quinte. Donations were taken and you could put a dove on the trees in memory of a loved one. 


On Monday night, I participated in serving dinner to others in our community. Those without family, or mental health issues, or living in poverty and a myriad of other struggles. 


We served and fed them!


We also sat and ate with them!


We made music and sang together!


This community is so fragile and yet with a "little help from their friends" we support, love and do our best to strengthen them. 

You and I carry our fragility and our strength throughout our lives. Sometimes I need you, sometimes you need me. I hope that this Christmas you find not only times to be carried, but times to help carry others. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas just won't be the same this year...things are looking a little different and, I admit it, I'm a little pouty.

Change is inevitable - all the good and the bad of it. Santa's gotta brand new bag  so I'm going to try an roll with it like a snowball. 

We picked out our tree yesterday and I found myself decorating it without my kids. Adrian and new wife are on the west coast, daughter Randi is busy with her own life, hubby was never really into hanging ornaments. So, I enlisted my ballerina Lauren to help out. 


Looks pretty good, don't you think?

Speaking of Adrian and new wife Carolyn, they are not coming home for Christmas! Those dreaded words no mother wants to hear. Rolling with it - big box of gifts has been mailed and one received. Thank God for Skype, we will do Christmas via the internet. 

Now here's a first - I'm working Christmas. All day Christmas eve and Christmas Day. So I'm asking my friends, those who have access to my cell, to send me Christmas pics while I'm working away at the office. The kids, the tree, the cat, the turkey, the cat eating the turkey - I don't care, just send me a little Christmas cheer!

To help ward off my poutiness, I'm working in a few traditions that keep me grounded - like baking. Randi and I have been baking away a few nights and I'm drawn to some old family recipes.

I made biscotti - a nod to my Italian heritage:



And Maple Fudge, a recipe from my Grandma Evans' on my Dad's side.

If you are going into a different kind of Christmas, I suggest mixing in a few old stalwart traditions with some new ones. Allow yourself to be a little pouty or maybe even downright sad, but try not to stay there. Search out those coping skills that make you the amazingly strong person you are. Appreciate what you've got and never forget what you've had. I think you will find that through it all, there is a foundation of love, joy and peace that will never change.





Sunday, December 4, 2016

STAND UP AND TAKE A BOW!


There is no doubt this is a busy time of the year. Can I get an AMEN to that! Like the rest of you, I'm running around making my lists and checking them twice. 

But there is a specific bunch I want to acknowledge - all of you out there performing: young and old alike, whether it be a school play, a dance recital or, like me in a concert. 


My brother at the age of 4 could stand up and wow the crowds, drop the mike and leave the stage with hardly a flutter of nerves.


Does this guy look nervous to you??? I don't think so!

But many of us get pretty anxious before those big performances, me included. I started my week with Dress Rehearsal for the big show on Friday night. My cello Morrie was tuned up and ready to go. But when I got to the church Morrie suffered from performance anxiety. He was totally out of tune and the G string unwound and fell off. We but him back together as best we could and carried on. Believe me that did not help my anxiety! 

I'm relieved to say the concert went well. Morrie and I both made it through with all strings intact and nobody (me) passed out.

So here's to all of you out there performing! You are working hard, practicing, taking time in your already busy schedule. You go over that dance step again and again, re-read your lines, jot notes on your music. 


And for what? Many reasons: To celebrate the season, bring joy to others, to stretch yourself and push your own boundaries, for the love of the applause and so many more.

To all you performers out there, thanks for all you do! I know how hard you have all worked. 

Stand up and take a bow!