Sunday, January 29, 2017


This just in....I'm going on a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny! It's been a long time friends. The last time we headed south to escape winter's icy blast was 17 years ago and I had a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old in tow. 

But, I'm all grown up now, the kids are off and married and there's money in the bank so Sheldon and I are heading to Punta Cana with another couple for a week of sun...sand...and....SPIDERS??? 

Wait a minute....wait just one minute here....most of you know how I feel about Spiders. But I was texting a friend of mine, a well seasoned traveller, who was giving me the scoop. Follow our textorama below:

Me: Here's where I'm going Richard! (I send a link to our Hotel)

Richard (he's pretty excited for me): The junior villa with whirlpool bath on terrace is the type of room you want! Away from the kids over looking the ocean, very nice!! You will love 24 hour room services. I always ordered coffee or tea every morning and I sat on the terrace and listened to ocean and birds!! One thing I really miss about summer are winters have no birds songs!! One of the evenings you need to walk over to the hotel next door and go to the high end casino!"

Now here is where the information takes a quick downward plunge...

Richard: "Also, watch out for the spiders, they are as big as dogs. (sends me the pic above). They come out at night, ask me about a funny story tomorrow!!" Also the kids and people love baseball! The Boston red socks!! I would recommend buying a red socks baseball cap or anything baseball. I gave away my baseball cap and it got us a room upgrade!! Don't buy any tacky things all the stuff on the beach comes from China, rip off." 

Me: You lost me on spiders....SPIDERS!!! I'm not good with SPIDERS!!

Richard: "It's OK, the resort is always spraying for them!! People forget sometimes that they are going to the jungle! With jungle animals!! If you can, stay away from the ground level rooms!!"

Me: "I'm about to hyperventilate...."

Sheldon figures Richard is messing with me so he tells me to send this over:

Me: "Did you google this to freak me out???"

Richard: "No, I'll show you pictures from my camera!! It's OK, they don't bite!! You just have to be aware of them!! Don't just walk around like your at home, be aware of your surroundings and you will be just fine!!, Now if you don't believe me just look up Punta Cana Spiders. I should of never told you!! I am such a dum ass!!"

Me: "Knowledge is power Richard. I'd rather be aware than not!"

So, there you have it. I'm going on vacation! To enjoy the sun....sand...and...(gulp) SPIDERS!

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Over the years I've had a menagerie of pets co-habitating with me. Pictured above is Amelia, who I lost far too soon. Also, one of the laziest dogs to grace the earth. This is a rare pic of her standing upright AND in the snow. 

Come winter, the pets in our home take to:


Or the ever popular Sunbeam

This one was getting a little crowded!

Or anywhere else suitable for snoozing.
"Mom! Put the camera away! We are trying to nap!" 

Like some of us, they just want to hide until winter goes away

Sometimes, for giggles and kicks and cause cats don't care, they will re-arrange my puzzle.

There are critters that belong inside, and critters that don't! I enjoy both, in their respective environments. Mice fall in the outdoor category, and when they decide to check out what's cooking in the Crowder kitchen, the pets decide they have a job to do besides sunbeam snoozing.

When mice drop in they usually quickly scamper up the curtain and take to the curtain rods, a nice safe place. My first sign of trouble is the fact that Sasha, swishing her tail furiously, is pointedly looking up. One time this little fella decided to risk it and make his way down the curtain. I, with the container in hand was trying to coax him into it when he took a flying leap directly onto my face and did a quick scamper over my head, down my back and was soon zooming around looking for a safe zone. You know, mice feet are pretty cold....also very glad my mouth was not open...

As you can see, we eventually caught him and I took him out back into the cold winter world where he could take on the owls. 

Once we had a squirrel stop in for a visit. What ensued was utter chaos, right out of the Christmas Vacation movie with cats, squirrel and dog chasing each other and me squealing and running upstairs, hoping the squirrel parade did not follow. The critter took to a book shelf and in a stroke of divine genius I sealed the critter in with a garbage bag and phoned Sheldon to get home RIGHT NOW. 

It's winter, and the critters are doing what they do, snoozing, sun beaming, or just stopping in to visit and see what the neighbours are cooking. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017


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


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


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!