Sunday, December 28, 2014


This is the first year my daughter Randi was not home for Christmas and I truly felt it. I put the fireplace on, lit the tree lights, sat in my big chair with Lulu and sipped a coffee. Across the road I could see the neighbours starting their Christmas morning festivities. They have two little children, a boy and girl, about the ages of 5 and 3. I watched as Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa handed out presents. I watched as the little boy jumped up and down quivering with excitement. And I ached. Oh, how quickly those days fly by. Enjoy your little ones people, for soon they are off and in my case, spending Christmas in other countries. 

I thought I would start my holiday off by ending a nearly 4-year sickness free run. I've had not so much as a cold, but I ended it with a bang. By the afternoon of Dec. 22 I was feeling pretty nauseous. By 6:00 I was throwing up on cue every 20 minutes. Exhausted from this little workout I finally fell asleep around 10:30. Alas, at 3:00 am I was at it again, but from the other end and I blacked out in the bathroom with Lulu licking my face. Because, I'm in the company of pets.

They are always nearby, keeping vigil over me, like furry angels. Old man Frodo hangs with me in the garden.

Sasha waits for me at the top of the stairs

While I laid in bed, moaning and groaning and upchucking into the big silver bowl they hung out on the bed, little warm, steady lumps.  

They are sometimes a nuisance, taking up all the room.

But I don't mind. Because I'm in good company. 

The company of pets.

Monday, December 22, 2014


I had this song floating through my head lately - don't know why, I don't particularly like it, but since it refuses to go, I thought I would revise it to my own version. I shortened it, so as to keep your attention cause I know how quick you are to hit the back button. So, Here goes!













Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, filled with love, laughter and many of your favourite things!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Lulu has had a bit of a rough go this week. I didn't know how to break it to her, so I didn't, but she was going in for major surgery aka, getting spayed.

We got up Thursday morning as per usual and went for our walk but when we got back there was no breakfast for her. She kept hanging around the closet where her food is and looking at me questioningly. 
"Sorry girl, no food for you today.."
She might have clued in when we got in the car (but she didn't).
I think it finally dawned on her that something big was goin' down when I handed the leash over to the lady at the Vets and started walking out the door without her!

Lulu spent the night at the Vets so that meant a vacation for the cats and a full night's sleep for me! No pawing between 3 and 5:00 am. I left closet doors open, because I could and did not even put my slippers or my shoes away, just left them out all vulnerable like.
But I did miss her - the big coffee chair seemed pretty empty without her warm body beside me. 

Sheldon picked her up the next day at lunch and she arrived home looking no worse for wear except for a shaved belly with stitches, a shaved patch on her leg where the IV went in and the "Cone of Shame". 

She bumps along and knocks into things, she unwittingly scoops up snow and going up stairs takes some maneuvering. It totally freaks my cat Frodo out.

Ever felt like you were wearing a "cone of shame?" All awkward and obvious, freaking a few people out? I sure have.

Fortunately, it's Christmas. A time of renewed life, hope, blessings and miracles. Just listen to a few Christmas songs and let those words sink in:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing: "Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth"

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: "Peace on the earth good will to men, From heaven's all gracious King."

White Christmas: "May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases by white."

Every now and then, we feel like we are wearing a Cone of Shame. But every day is brand new, a chance to start over, shake off those mistakes and move on. 

I hope you feel the magic and wonder of Christmas this year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Every now and then, you need to do something you have never done before. In fact it is encouraged to try something new every day....every day? Well, not so sure about that! I'd be through my bucket list is less than a week. Where's the fun in that?

But I do try and push myself and try new things and experiences: things that I'm curious about, or interested in, or terrify me. This past Friday, I managed a new experience that covered all 3 of the aforementioned boundaries.

My incredibly talented cello teacher, Linda was putting together a string ensemble for any brave enough to try. I signed myself and Morrie up and for the past 3 months, every other Tuesday, we have been meeting to rehearse for a Christmas concert.

Here is a shot I took at the dress rehearsal

My little heart was apounding already!

Then came the big night! Break a leg or a string or whatever the musicians say. As much as I wanted to bring my iphone up on the stage and snap shots of the full audience, enraptured by the exquisite sounds, I did not think that would fly in this setting. So I nabbed a shot before everybody showed up (except for the early birds, those two sweet little old ladies, God bless em).

It was a beautiful old church and the acoustics were a treat to work with.

Meanwhile, smuggled outback, incognito were my comrades tuning up and getting ready to go. 
Here is Francine one of the other cellists and John our narrator with a voice as smooth as butta...

We had some technical difficulties...

I messed up in a few places... 

I got totally lost on Hark the Harold! It was more like Harold, Where the Hark am I in this song??

But our Ode to Joy and Coventry Carol were beautiful!

So, thanks to the sweet little early bird old ladies, to all my friends and family who came to cheer me on and support the cause and to my new string ensemble friends and especially Linda who spear headed the whole thing.

I did something I've never done about you?

Sunday, November 30, 2014


I was curious about the term "man cave" so I did a little research, cause every now and then, if you like to write, it is a good idea to try your hand at that sort of thing.

So, a man cave is a male sanctuary, where guys can do as they please. A place to be alone, indulge in hobbies, and hang out with male friends. In a man can you can watch sports, play video games, exercise...stuff like that. 

There is also such a thing as a "woman cave" and no, it is not the kitchen. Pinterest can give you lots of lovely decorating ideas! It is also a place to be alone but in a woman's version, it is a place to "nurture herself". It is described as a soothing atmosphere with pillows and scented candles, fireplace, silk linens....stuff like that!

This lead me to the conclusion that I actually have a "man cave" in the dimly lit basement. Although I do have an electric fireplace which bravely tries to keep me warm in the winter, that is where my woman cave similarity ends.

It is where I practice cello. 

Although the cats are allowed it is a no-fly zone for Lulu!

I work out on my $50 yard-sale-manual-push-operated treadmill and do weights with a gravity ball. 

You may notice there is a big TV in there but it is nonfunctioning and I believe is one of the world's largest paper weights. 

There is nothing pretty about this space, although I did paint the walls yellow and I am partial to this parrot.

He came with the house and hangs from the basement ceiling - been there since we moved in back in 2004. He's no trouble and keeps his mouth shut. 

Would I like it to be warmer - yes. Scented candles, pillows and silken linens? Meh.

I've always been a bit of a Tomboy - I'll stick with my Man cave.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I ventured out yesterday to do some Christmas shopping and as many of you know, shopping is not my cup of tea. 

I'm a get in, get it and get out type of shopper. Alas, the rules are different at Christmas time as you know. You get in all right but the get it and get out are a bit trickier. When I finally turned the Honda back to home with the cold rain hitting the windshield, I was more than ready to get back to the comforts of home.

As comfort was what I was looking for, the slippers and frumpy sweater were soon in place. I poured a glass of wine (working on a french bottle at the moment), turned on the CBC and started cooking. 

Last night I made fresh salmon fillets and mushroom risotto with peas. Risotto is not something you rush; you just keep on adding liquid and stirring till you get that rich consistency. Things can get messy when you cook but who cares? Lulu sure doesn't. The end result is good down home comfort food.

I'm not the only one who enjoys my cozy home however. With a little help from Sasha (though not much, she really dropped the ball on this one). I caught this little fella who thought he would spend the winter with us enjoying the free food.

I graciously showed him the door

Another one of the comforts of home is a good cup of coffee and yesterday I picked up Cinnamon Vanilla Baileys, which is amazing in coffee! Only on weekends though..

Today I made ginger chocolate cookies

A frumpy sweater and slippers
A Mouse free house

These are some of the comforts of home that will get me through the vexing chores, like Christmas shopping.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


We had our first snow today for the season. I woke up in the dark at 5:30 to see the flakes drifting down in their easy dance and quickly dressed to take Lulu out for her walk.

There is an unearthly quiet at that hour and especially during winter; nary a car, human or bird to be heard. Just me, Lulu and the almost indiscernible sound of the snow falling on dead leaves, like distant applause from a concert far, far away. 

Later, after breakfast and coffee, that unearthly white winter morning light started to shine through so I went out to capture some of it's beauty in the back yard.

The garden, now sleeping still holds its charms!

And the deck chairs will have to wait till spring!

I'm not a big fan of snow and winter time but the first snow is a magical thing. I woke up to a transformed world. It's like a fresh start, everything wiped clean, all the decay of fall like the mistakes we make, covered over. 

At church, we sang that classic hymn:  "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." 

Amazing grace for a fresh start. Amazing grace for a second (or seven hundred) chance. We are graciously offered to be washed clean and made as pure as snow.

This morning, I was gently reminded of this. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I had a birthday this week! Turned 51, and my sister got me this great birthday card cause I've always been a fan of Grover, who is 48 years old, by the way. 

There is a distinct feeling that I'm not walking on an incline anymore. The toboggan is making that little scrunchy snow noise it makes when it is starting to head down the hill.

So now that I'm in the homeward stretch, I can't help but wonder what's next, what does life hold. 

What's ahead? If I were smart, I'd check in with a 70 year old. Like Frodo here. 

Frodo is over 13 years old in cat years - which makes him pushing 70 in human years. He does not like the vet. So he hunkers down with his head low on the scale hoping we would all go away. 

I arranged for some blood work to determine if Frodo is looking at kidney issues or diabetes. I'm not expecting good news. He's an old cat. But he has been a great cat and I've had enough animals in my life to know the deal. 

Judging from that, I can expect to be dealing with health issues, for myself and for those I love. There will still be moments of grief and sadness and disappointment.

But there will also be gifts of love - I received flowers, a beautiful shrug, a new IPad, a really big magnifying mirror (so I can find those chin hairs) and lots of good wishes. There will still be times in life to celebrate and appreciate.

I had two birthday dinners this week - one at my parents and another at a restaurant. 

At my parents, we were having an Octoberfest celebration, tagging my birthday onto that. So I got sausages, sauerkraut and pig's tails for supper! Not exactly what I would put on my birthday menu but the Oompah-pah album playing in the background really put it over the top as a good time. 

Last night, we went to Earl and Angelo's, a steak house in town and I had halibut - which is more my style.

And life will still hold lots of sweet surprises. Just check out my birthday desserts:
The apple cake my Mom made me. Those little figurines have been a staple on our birthday cakes for as long as I can remember.

At the restaurant - I had lots of goodies - which we all shared by the way. Everything in moderation you know:

There was chocolate cream pie

AND chocolate cake

AND this flambe white chocolate lava cake.

Life after 50? Who knows,  I've only been 51 for 4 days. So far, so good - let's hope I can manage all life throws at me with grace.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Hope you all survived another Halloween! We are now firmly entrenched in November and although this is my birthday month, it  is in the top 3 for months I dislike. 

November is damp. And dreary. And Gray.

It is too far away to get excited about Christmas and just close enough to get stressed about it.

But before I get overly depressed about the month of November, let's see October off with a bang, which we did, at my office. 

Work is a little difficult right now. The moral is bad for a number of reasons but that does not stop this bunch of crazy women from hopping into hair and makeup for the Halloween festivities. 

In the supportive care team, we did the "Deadly Diner". Here is the cook, one of the waitresses and the big guy in the back is the Complaints Dept. 

We had lots of eat if you dare treats including poisoned apples and severed fingers, not to mention a witches brew, caldron cupcakes and spicy bat wings!

Another team was in "The Dog House"

One of the groomers lost a dog....

But I have a pretty good idea where she can find it....

This was our pumpkin pie (or tart) making station

We played Bingo!!!

But my favourite is my co-worker, Laurie, who happens to be born the same day, the same month, the same year and the same hospital as me. In essence, we were nursery mates. She spent an hour on this makeup job and by-golly, she nailed it!

Thanks co-workers for making for a fun day. Now it's chin-up November for me!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I had to hunker down this weekend and get some lawn clean up done. Before we know it the snow will be falling and the shovels will be calling. 

So this post is all about the beauty and the beast of fall clean up.

Here's the backyard - this falls under the category of beauty. But that is a lot of leaves to rake up! 

Hence the beast - raking and bagging, raking and bagging...

Found another beast....she is "helping" me round up those leaves. I use the term loosely as her idea of help is to rip through the piles with glee. 

Beauty - Firebush

Beast - in the midst raking I have to stop and clean up Lulu's special treasures that she leaves me. Here are my weapons of choice.

Beauty - leaves are bagged and ready to go! 

Beast....definitely beast. Hope you all appreciate what it took for me to get in close and take a shot of this fatty.

Beauty - the dahlia are still blooming but I will have to dig them up soon. 

I'm ending this post with one last beauty. After a back breaking day, I made a meal of roasted cornish hen with mushrooms, rice and vegetables and finished it off with apple crisp. Then I enjoyed a well earned glass of tummy warming wine. 

I was speaking with my neighbour who is battling a serious illness at the moment. She was commending me for my hard work and she noted "it's great that you are well enough to do it." So true. 
The beauty in the beast of labour.