Monday, December 26, 2016


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! 


Sunday, December 18, 2016


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


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


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!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


I went for a walk yesterday to the local drug store and guess who I ran into??

The jolly elf himself! Actually this particular Santa has been hanging out on Sidney Street waving at cars going by for the past 24 years and in my opinion, he's the real deal. I asked him if I could take a couple of pics which he readily agreed to. Then I asked if we could do a "Selfie".

"Never done one of those before, hope you know what you're doing!" chortled Santa.

I'm proud to say, I'm the first person ever to take a selfie with Santa! At least this particular Santa...

Santa's Here! Let's get this Party started!

Love it or hate it, the Christmas season is upon us. 

The shopping, the parties, the concerts, the works: some good, some bad. And let's not forget the line-ups! We went to the Santa Claus Parade last weekend and it was so freakin' cold there was a line-up right out the Tim Horton's door for coffee.

We Canadians and our weird Tim Horton's fetish....I got nothing.

One of my favourite parts of Christmas time is the family time. Now I know my daughter Randi has been home from Europe for about a year and a half but it is still a miracle to me to have her so close by after 3 years of her being on the other side of the pond.  This weekend we started Christmas baking together.

On the agenda were these very easy Christmas mints:

Then we dove into some Shortbread. You start with the dough like so:

Then you cut them into these adorable little cubes and this is the final product:

Today we made Ginger Snickerdoodles:

Move over Keebler elves, there are new bakers in town!

I know the Christmas season can be harrowing, stressful and busy. But it can also be miraculous, generous and beautiful. I hope you can find a balance between the two and enjoy all that it has to offer!

Sunday, November 20, 2016


We re-arranged a few things in my office area a couple of weeks ago, making room for a "stand-up" work station. On Friday, I came across this little note attached to the side of one of the filing cabinets:

"Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart."

I have no idea how long that has been there, or who stuck it there, but I kinda like it, so I left it there. 

I'm getting the message!

If you are watching - and listening, you can usually find little nuggets of insight wherever you look, including on filing cabinets.

These comics have been following me around the office from pod to pod for I don't know how long. They are old and yellowed with age. 

I work in the Health Care field and in Canada, that means it is financed by the government. And THAT means things are always changing with every new government voted in that is trying to juggle our health care dollars. I just take a quick glance at Peppermint Patty and know I'm not alone. PP gets exactly how I'm feeling.

Sometimes we just have to face reality. I have a lovely crystal hanging decoration on my door that says "Dream". It's there for you to read coming in and going out. Yesterday I begrudgingly switched to this hanging decoration:

It coming friends....whether we like it or not. Mr. Weatherman is telling us to expect up to 20 cm over the next two days. Might as well embrace the change. 

Personally I'm not a big fan but I admit I like some snow: the first snow, the last snow and a bit on Christmas day say for an hour or two starting at 8:00  am and ending at 10:00 am. Meanwhile I'm hanging the white flag that says "Let It Snow" on my door acknowledging my surrender to the upcoming Canadian winter. 

So, look around you and keep your ears and eyes open. Open up the scriptures, take a walk, check out your Facebook feed. Someone is trying to tell you something and I hope you are getting the message!

Sunday, November 13, 2016


This may seem a bit shocking to you but I happen to like Cable TV. I know, most of you are jumping off that Cable band wagon and my argument is full of holes, but still I really do. 

Now before you all start rioting on me let me explain. In the 30 years I've been married, we have never subscribed to Cable. We managed with stringing up funky wires or bunny ears. For 12 years we lived in an old Victorian house that came with a HUGE TV antenna you could climb (if you were inclined) and pretty much  see the whole universe. All these options sufficed. We were able to get a handful of channels like CTV and TVO and that was enough for us. 

But then, along came digital. We were warned people and for about a year or so we were still able to slip in a few channels until about January 2014. BAM. Nothing, Notta.  The TV went dark and quiet. I would be walking the dog at night and see this strange sight through neighbouring windows, wondering how that all worked:

Finally, 2 months ago we finally got Cable! Picking so many channels was overwhelming and we still only need about 5 but this was the package for us starters. I am not a big TV watcher but this is truly part of our culture. My husband can now click mindlessly through channels like every other male in western civilization. 
And Commercials!! There are some that drive me crazy, like the "Wayfair, you got just what I need" ditty. But there are some really good ones too. Here are a few of my favourites from years gone by:

That adorable little girl sharing Cornflakes with Santa!!

Or how about the Singing Cow!!

Here's one that really "dates" me (you will get that pun in a minute). My sister Heather actually made this her Halloween costume once!

Welcome back TV, how I missed thee!

Hit It Hal! - "Mooomoomoom moo, Mooom moon moo..."

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I noticed the other night while walking Lulu that I am surrounded by a golden universe.

There is gold in them thar trees! 

In fact, everywhere I looked were trees, roads, yards covered in gold.

We all know there is a winter wonderland coming, but right now it's all about the crisp, fall leaves creating a golden, autumn existence.

Like most of you, I get to rake in all the gold that has fallen from the trees, leaving a plethora of gold leaf medallions on my yard. 

But, hey, it's only once a year. And they smell and looks so good.

Today, I turn 53, which is a bit of a head shaker. How did I get to 53? How come I have been allotted that many years on this earth (so far)? Even more fascinating, they have been very good years! My health has been excellent, I have an amazing family, great job and friends. I'm not struggling to survive in a refugee camp somewhere or scrounging for my next meal. 

As King David said:

"Lord, you have assigned me my portioned and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places and surely I have a delightful inheritance." 
Psalm 16:5,6

I'm keenly aware of my blessed existence. Do I deserve it? Not really. I certainly didn't earn it. Because I'm in process. Gold doesn't just arrive all shiny and clean. It needs to be refined and purged of impurities. It needs to be shaken and tossed to get out all those nuggets of dirt and muck. Often it's thrown into a fire to be shaped and melded into something beautiful.

So, even though I have been abundantly blessed, I'm still a 53 year old  woman made up of some gold, some dirt and some niggly stones that refuse to be removed. 

In the meantime, I will keep raking in the gold. Nuggets of wisdom, understanding and insight. Precious moments and memories. And I thank God for the delightful inheritance I have even though I am  made up of not just gold but dirt and muck and niggly stones. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016


It's that time of the year again when Pumpkins come into their own. They start to take on personalities. 

Welcome the Pumpkin People! 

I've invited many into my home over the years.

Here's one from a few years ago watching for Trick and Treaters with Lulu.

And here's one who preferred the outdoors. He was a bit of a scoundrel.

This year we took a trip to the local orchard and found a couple beauties.

My ballerina and I both brought one home to create a couple of pumpkin people.

Lauren worked diligently on hers and did an excellent Job!

Her mother will be glad to know Lauren still has all her fingers - I know I was!

I also carved out one and I'm pleased to introduce you to this year's pumpkin people aka Jack-O-Lanterns:


Have a safe and candy-ful Halloween everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2016


I love October, it is one of my favourite months. So I took a week off work to enjoy the show! Alas, there was very little time to kick back and be in holiday mode.

I had things to do....I was Taking Care of Business!

Ever looked in your fridge and went.....hmmm... how long has THAT been in there? Time to give it a good cleaning.

I'm Taking Care of Business!

Then it's off to the Lawyers to revise that long overdue Will. Revisions have been made and we are good to go. Cha-Ching!

Next up was the Dentist for a cleaning. My hygienist, Andrea, always does a great job on my pearly whites.

Thanks Andrea!

I'm on a roll, why stop there? I take all 3 pets, at once, to the Vets for annual check ups. I was serenaded in the car all the way there by 2 cats howling and one dog panting nervously in the background.

Old Man Frodo wasn't in the mood to give me the thumbs up sign. Had to do it for him. 

Now before you tell me to take a chill pill I did go for a drive in Prince Edward County with my girlfriend. The weather was perfect, the colours breath-taking and I got a head start on some Christmas Shopping. 

Why not have a dinner party? Chicken pot pie, warm salad with roasted vegetables and Hot Chocolate cake for dessert!

Thumbs up on that!!

Today I got a head start on raking all those leaves that insist on falling.

That was my week. Between the Lawyers, the Vets, the Dentists and Christmas shopping it would seem Taking Care of Business can get pretty pricey. Time to give my Visa Card a break and get back to work.

Thumbs Up!