Saturday, January 31, 2015


You see the photo below? A lovely peppercorn cheese from Northern Italy paired with a nice red wine. I picked up the cheese from a fledgling cafe in downtown Belleville called "Gourmet Diem", which I encourage you to frequent, if you are in town. Because it is a happy place, and they are nice people.  

Mr. Mouse showed up at my house again this week. I thought I would try to get him off the top of my curtain and as I was trying to woo him down he took a flying leap....ON MY FACE. He did a quick circle on my head and zoomed down my back to freedom. 

Mouse kissing is not my idea of a happy place. 

My co-workers are presently on strike. Their negotiations between management and union collapsed so now they are out in the cold, walking with placards. They are anxious to come to a deal and get back to caring for their clients, and I'm anxious for them to come back too. Work is difficult without them, the office is not functioning well and they are family - I don't like seeing them in this situation. It is not a good place to be.

So when things are tough, here are some suggestions for finding your happy place.

Exercise - I tried Hot Hatha Yoga this morning. It was 106F in the room which was glorious after walking the dog in -29C!
I'm a newby and don't speak Yoga yet but I heard the following:
"Happy baby", "downward dog", "remove blockages" "psychic bra strap" (might have got that one wrong but I swear that is what she said) - all in a slow, soothing rhythmic tone. 

Pets - especially relaxed ones, take me to a happy place!

She's so sweet when she's sleeping! So deceiving too!

While I was downtown I also had a lovely cappuccino at the L'Auberge de France. You walk in there and it is like landing in Paris. A happy place indeed

They are generous with the cinnamon 

And their creations are works of art

There is the vintage clothing store - chiffon, pantaloons, trinkets and lots of hats....I like hats

Since I had that gorgeous cheese and wine, I also picked up a fresh pasta sauce at Gourmet Diem and voila - a happy place on a plate!

So this is for all my co-workers who are united for their rights. I hope you can soon come back to work, I hope you are staying warm, I hope you receive a fair deal for the excellent work that you do, and I hope in the meantime, you can find your happy place.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


For the past 4 weeks, every Sunday, we have been attending dog training lessons for Lulu. Although Lulu is my 3rd dog, I have never gone this route before. But she is a clever little mutt - too clever for me!

We attend the class with 3 other pups: Along with Lulu there is Ozzie, a floppy shih tzu/pug cross, Buster a grumpy little terrier, and incredibly beautiful australian sheepdog named Auggie - clearly the smartest in the class. 

This is Lulu acing her "watch me!" She is not allowed to look away, must keep her eye right on me until I tell her OK!
I know. She looks terrified. She's not. She's just desperately waiting for my cue to let her have her breakfast. 

We are directed to not use the word "no", only a strange "Ah-ah" kinda sound when they mess up. "Ah-ah" means try again. 

Which is not a bad concept really. I mess up all the time. The gentle word spoken to me is not usually a resounding no, but Try Again Cyndi. I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere, spoken the wrong word at the wrong time but I'm going to get up and try again. 

There is a song by a group called Tenth Avenue North and the chorus goes like this:
You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You've been remade.

A good reminder don't you think? Feeling like a buffoon? A failure? Too many historic mistakes? You are more - Try Again. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Last Friday at work as we were slugging our way through the afternoon, one of my co-workers says "I just want to eat everything!"
To which I replied: "It's January. We all want to eat everything!"

Because that is the trouble with January, and winter in general, we just want to sleep, and eat, and watch TV (and eat), stay warm (and eat). You get the picture. The eating thing at the office is particularly easy cause there are a lot of women in my office with lots of cravings so there is lots of food around (see my blog "It's Sexy Time" from Aug. 24). Also, they are all amazing cooks!

So, because it looks like this outside:

I spent a fair bit of the weekend in the kitchen. I also did laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, and straightened out a closet..but that's just me.

I tried my hand at some new recipes. First up was a Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato soup

I topped it with roasted sunflower seeds and Good Golly Miss Molly, Lord hah mercy, this is good stuff! It also has a bit of a kick to it, cause that's how I roll.

Next up was Chocolate Banana Muffins, to use up some frozen bananas and attempt to get my ballerina billet to eat fruit in some form. Though she tells me she likes fruit I have lived with her since September and have yet to see her eat one piece of fruit....not one.

This is classic comfort food. Especially if you eat one with warmed up caramel sauce poured over it. Which I did.

By now, the dishes were starting to pile up as Lulu is so clearly pointing out with her stink eye.

I did the dishes, turned on the TV to watch the Avengers (sorta) and hit the couch for a nap.

Today, I'm prepping for stick to the ribs Chicken Stew to get us through a few nights. Later I'm going to try my hand at a sweet potato quinoa salmon patty recipe to use up a few staples. 

Not sure why there is such a big push for hitting the gym in January. Just goes against our Canadian grain. Perhaps we should aim for the beginning of December so by Christmas when things are starting to heat up you are already in high gear and come January, well, then you can start to let things slide. THEN you can do what comes naturally! Sleep, and eat, and watch TV (and eat), stay warm (and eat). 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


As I'm working on this week's blog in front of the fireplace, I can see out the window the snow falling every so lightly. We've put in a dang cold week but temps are now back to reasonable. 

Most of us are definitely in hibernation mode in Ontario, or for that matter, Canada! We hunker in our abodes, watch TV, go to bed earlier and consider our newly acquired holiday plump. 

January is my assess the mess time. I really get the urge to purge, I check out what we need or what needs replacing, I dream about changing this or fixing that in my life and I want to try something new and fresh. 

So, this week I did the following:

Sent two huge bags, and a couple of boxes off to charity (power to the purge)

I restocked up on a few things I needed: 
     New washcloths
     New guest towels for the downstairs bathroom
     New black pumps (to replace the ones Lulu destroyed)
     New warm fuzzy PJs (as noted above re: Lulu)
     New camisoles
     New makeup brush

I tried a new recipe! Chickpea, cauliflower and red potato curry. 

No, I'm not going vegetarian, just trying out something new and January is an especially good time to hang in the kitchen.

I got a facial! That is not something I do on a regular basis, let me tell you. I'm pretty low maintenance. But I had a gift certificate that was collecting dust so after work I went to the spa and "Stephanie" laid me on a bed, covered me with blankets and proceeded to massage my temples. I was nearly out cold. That sweet young thing with the perfect skin worked some voodoo magic on me. 

I've also been saving my money up and yesterday we ordered new dining room chairs to replace the ones given to us free like 100 years ago. 

So, here's to January! Before you know it, those longer sunny days will arrive and my bike and garden will be calling. For this month, I will assess the mess, restock and renew!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Welcome to 2015!, wow, wow...

Hope you are all ready and reasonably optimistic for what the new year has to offer. I started looking at some stats that I've been collecting and have been totalled up on my behalf.

For example:
I've been on this earth for 51 years
The first Robin I spotted last year was on Feb. 21/14. In 2013 it was on March 7. 

I play a lot of solitaire (it's my "wind down" game). 
 So far I've played 12,185 games, and won 12% of those.

I've been writing this blog since 2009, with 10,427 views! My audience is mostly from Canada and United States with Poland and France bringing up the rear.  

Mind blowing stuff - I know. And if you are a stat kind of person this is your cup of tea. 

Personally, I find stats interesting but you and me, we are more than just stats, which can be skewed, says everyone who has ever worked in public relations or government. 

We are body, soul and spirit, all 3 of which play an important part in making up the unique one-of-a-kind individual, that incredible creation, called YOU.

We all are curious to see what the future holds. We check out horoscopes, the Almanac, the stats, the prophets. We want to have a jump on our lives and be in control.

"Aha! Saw that one coming I did!" "Good thing I was prepared for that!"

That includes me too. So I spent some time in prayer to see if there  was anything I should be aware of, prepped for, got a jump on. I'm paraphrasing here, but this is basically how it went down.

Me: "What's the deal God? What does this year hold for me? Any hints??"
Big Guy in the Sky: "What is your life verse Cyndi?"
Me: "Proverbs 3:5,6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths"
BGITS: "That's right. You will have to trust me. If there is something you need to know ahead of time, I will tell you."

Yup. Comes down to faith, trust and doing my best to listen. I don't know about you but apparently that's my plan for this year.

Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read my Blog! I hope you have a different Life Verse than me!