Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review


Words to describe 2011 
Friends. Family. Sorrow. Fear. Contentment. Happiness. Fulfillment. Satisfaction. Resolve. Excitement. 

Bodhi loves the snow!
The first thing I see are big snow flakes cascading down as I wake up. I see this easily because there are no curtains on the windows.  It just takes me a second to know I am home.  The snow flakes are really big.  And as I awake slowly, I watch as the flakes silently float pass. It's a winter wonderland this New Year’s Eve in Dunrobin.  If I had any energy, I would go outside and make snow angels. But after a long, late, flight that's not going to happen. 


Yesterday, we were in Vancouver BC where it is always green, albeit cloudy and rainy, but it is still green.  The sun was teasing us getting brighter the closer we got to the airport.  Opting to come out on our last day in Vancouver after hiding behind clouds for over a week was just not nice.  "We live for these sunny moments" says my sister.  


As I start my day, my guys still in bed, I thought what a perfect time to blog about my year.  

Rose Dec.2011
Although, the year began with devastating news of my sister’s diagnosis of breast cancer, it ended on a positive note as we spent a few days in beautiful British Columbia with each other over Christmas.  Throughout this year I’ve learnt from my sister how to enjoy being in the moment while accepting the past, and at the same time embracing the future all in a single breath.  Indeed, in reading her blog the future looks bright for her. She has strength, courage and more than that she has precisely the right attitude.
 
Having the right attitude is essential in all areas of life. Making the best of a bad situation can release stress and create ways of moving forward in a way that may not have been possible before.

In January of last year, we spent a few weeks in Montreal, and again in August experiencing two seasonal extremes, which gave being in Montreal two totally different perspectives. Both wonderful, I might add. 
 
May and June were difficult months. My good friend Margo died, she was an amazing lady and I miss her. My mom had an accident and had to have surgery for a broken hip. Unfortunately, she could no longer live in her house because she was not able to manage the stairs.   And to top it off  I missed Andrew’s grade eight graduations and Alan’s birthday.  


In June, in addition to my friend's death, and my mom's accident, I also had one of the worst Board meetings I ever experienced.  It was so stressful that I considered rendering my resignation as Vice Chair. What actually saved my sanity was that I received personal coaching which empowered me to create a new relationship with my Board. Yay, for Landmark Education and a personal thank you to Moneca and Vik.  It was a huge transformational shift that I could not have imagined possible.

The summer was hot and hotter but I enjoyed it nonetheless. August was special for the weddings and a second trip to Montreal.  


My vegetable garden was amazing last season, blessing us with huge cucumbers. I feel silly saying this, but I didn't know that cucumbers are prickly when they are first picked and become smooth after they are washed. We also got tons of tomatoes, potatoes, chard, spinach and lettuce growing like they were on steroids. This was especially great for me since I am experimenting with eating whole live foods.  And if you are a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I can't live without my green smoothies.  I even travel with my blendtec! 


We managed to complete the office koi pond, which welcomed wildlife and served as a sanctuary for the staff to get in touch with nature’s pure energy. 


We had a beautiful fall, which is my favorite time of year.  The weather could not be more perfect and the best part, no bugs.

Andrew began high school in a new school.  So far, he is doing well and is gaining self-confidence as he discovers his academic strengths.  


In November, I challenged a few people to see who would blog the most.  I won! I posted six blogs that month. Look out, I may be doing this again. Let me know if you're interested.


In December, another Board meeting in Edmonton, Alberta, with financial reports indicating that the institution is healthy ended the year on a high note.
 
And being in Edmonton provided me the opportunity to visit with family and friends.  I created an event on facebook inviting people to meet me for breakfast.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up early on a Saturday morning, but they did. What a wonderful way to get caught up with people if you only have limited time at a certain place.  “Breakfast with Angelina” will be a continuing event whenever I am in Edmonton in the future.

Again, this year I was pleased to participate in another of my favorite Christmas tradition, a gathering at my niece’s home in Stony Plain. With enough food to feed an army and her house always so beautifully decorated is the embodiment of Christmas.   I’ll always treasure with fondness this Christmas tradition.  I almost didn’t make it because of the fresh snowfall earlier that morning.  But thankfully my brother-in-law was able to drive my rental car up the steep snowy driveway, thank you Ron.

But the surprise of the year was actually seeing my nephew who arrived from Australia. This was his first international trip on his own.  Chris you give the best hugs ever!
   
From the plane on iphone
We spent the last couple of weeks of December in Vancouver, BC with our our beautiful island girls. Their house  is perched on the side of a hill and offers the most spectacular views of the ocean and the Vancouver city lights.  We opened gifts, watched a movie, had a fabulous turkey dinner with all the trimmings and just hung out.  Priceless!

While in Vancouver we called a real-estate agent friend to view a few houses that we were interested in seeing. Our future plan is buy our dream home on the west coast sometime in the next two years.
  
All things considered this was a great year.  What will 2012 bring, I can’t wait to see...  Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2012! 
     


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Unplugged Madness!

I boarded the plane connected to the world.  The flight attendant orders that we power off all electronic devices and put it away, which I obey immediately because I’m like that.  I’m good with that and enjoy my flight.

It was a four-hour flight.  Upon arriving we are given permission to use our electronic devices and everyone around me powers up their phones and immediately I hear buzzing and beeping sounds abound.  I try to turn the power on but my phone didn’t respond.  Okay, I though must be the batteries.  I’m still good with it knowing that I’ll be able to plug it in when I get to my hotel.

 Once in my suite I immediately plug in my phone only to read “battery full disconnect phone.”  As soon as it registers that I am no longer connect to the world I get a feeling in the pit of my belly. 

Holy jumping jacks batman, when did I become so connected to my electronic gadget that I would physically feel out of sync if not connected.  Almost ill like.  Crazy, huh. I called hubby on the hotel phone, (the one plugged into the wall) to tell him that I have no phone.  We speak for only five minutes because I am aware from what I remember there is a surcharge for using the hotel phone.  I was right, it cost $13.00 for five minutes!

I was unplugged for almost 24 hours but it felt like days.  It was fine when I was in control and the one deciding to be connected or not.  But when it was no longer my choice I felt like something was missing, not quite whole. 

In the meeting I kept hearing beeps, clicks, and music sounds bits, as people were receiving messages. Although, I had my Mac Air and could check my emails it didn’t feel quite right still.

Similar to when the internet connection is lost and you can’t connect to the world. I know we all keep pressing the connect key and still nothing happens but we hope that if we keep doing it magically it will connect. 

There was a time in my life when the internet and cell phones were not even on my radar.  Come to think of it, that was less than 20 years ago! There were these huge government issued cell phones but they were use strictly for business and not everyone had one.  I didn’t have the same relationship with those that I have with the ones we all have today.

My cell phone is how I stay connect with people in my life.  It is also my watch, my calendar, and my address book.  For less than 24 hours I was empty and feeling discombobulated.  OMG, I even had to consult the phonebook for the first time in years and I think they shrunk the print size because I don’t remember it being so tiny.

The following evening, hubby was arriving late and I went to pick him up.  As it is the case, his flight was late.  I waited, waited, waited, and waited.  Finally, I found a pay phone and called his cell and he answered as he was just getting off his plane.  He said, how are you calling me?  I responded, there is this thing called a pay phone, works like a cell phone but you really have to search to find one that works. Sorry, he said if you had a cell phone I could have called to let you know my flight was delayed.  I know, I say.

As we walk to the car, he said “Do you want your Christmas present now or do you want to wait? I say, does it start with an “I” and end with a “phone”?  Then absolutely.  

I love my iphone 4s!  In this thing that fit nicely in the palm of my hand holds more stuff in addition to my old phone all my music, books and connects me to all my social net works making it possible to be even more CONNECTED. All is well in my world again!             

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two Time Cheater!

You have to read  this  it's nothing like what goes on these days!

I am feeling guilty... but it was a long time coming, and now that I’ve finally taken this step, I can’t stop.   I finally feel satisfied and happy! Everyone agrees that you should end one relationship before starting a new one, but sometimes overlap is the   only thing to do if you're a big chicken, which I am.  Ok before we go further, It’s not what you think.  Really!

Here is the story. I’ve had a housecleaner for many years; first it was on a monthly basis and gradually it became a weekly event.  The best cleaning service I’ve had was when I lived in Edmonton; each week when I got home from work sitting on my kitchen counter was a fresh vase of cut flowers and a small “Thank You” note.  Now who doesn’t want to come home to that?

When I moved to Ottawa I hired a franchised cleaning service.  The job they did was passable something I could tolerate.  But once my hubby moved in it was a different story.   The way he described them was “I think they arrive, sit down with their coffee and cigarettes and watch soaps on TV.  Spraying air freshener as they walk out the door for effect.” 

While I understand that cleaning is subjective I had to agreed with his opinion after seeing a layer of dust under his desk on the wires and cables.  No one should work in a dirty space, so I told him he had to “let them go” which he did while I was at work the following week.  Being new to the job of hubby, he was willing to do anything I asked to make me happy, even the very undesirable task of firing someone. 

I felt weird having someone come clean my house so I would do a little cleaning before the cleaner comes to clean.  Well, that is probably why it took me so long to admit I had a problem because by cleaning before she arrived I really though I was setting an example of how I wanted the cleaning done.  But we had a communication breakdown, well to be honest, she couldn't read my code. While I was under the impression that the light daily cleaning was done by me and the housecleaner would handle the more extensive “Saturday” cleanings, she was thinking how fast can I get out of here.  This, I realized was my mistake, and ignoring it was my second mistake and then waiting so long to do anything about it is the worst mistake of all. 


My first clue should have been when my sister came to visit and said, "you have a housecleaner?" as she proceed to do an extensive cleaning where everything gleamed and sparkled.  Then I began to be more observant of the weekly cleaning and started noticing that many things I though was being done was actually not done.  And still It took a while but eventually I accepted that my house was not messy but really becoming dirty.  Yuk, right!  I finally admitted that something had to be done.  
 
Therefore, I did what any reasonable person would do and hired another housecleaner to come in and do a major cleaning in the kitchen. As it is with any cheating, it just happend one day.  Well that is a lie.  I had to actually search the pile of flyers I received in the mailbox, and fortunately for me, my cleaning lady never throws out anything.  I found one that said the magic words "Will go down on my hands and knees..." , I dialed the number.


Oh, to be sure, I felt guilty.  But on the other hand it also felt good to know that the sparkle was not just on the surface. Then, I did it again!   I didn’t even wait a whole week, I just had to call her back and get her to do her magic in the bedrooms and bathrooms.  The very next day my regular housecleaner was scheduled, I felt so guilty I made sure I wasn’t home when she arrived.

Now, I find myself in a conundrum.  I’m thinking, hmmm, I really want her to do my offices too.  My regular housecleaner is the same person I use to clean our offices and I’ve noticed the cleaning at the office is also suspect.

I know, we should just “let her go”.  But we’ve had a long relationship with her, over 14 years to be exact.  She was once young, quick and as good as this new person who takes prides in her work, but over the years she has let herself go, became complacent and is just going through the motions.  Not even pretending to do a good job.  But after this many years we’ve developed an emotional bond with her and she is dependent on us for the pay.   Thus, for the time being I think for both our sakes it is best that I continue cheating on her.  Not often mind you. 

However, I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a little cheating, because  doing it once or twice, and in my situation maybe more, it still makes it difficult to look the person you're cheating on in the eyes!  And I'm sure she is getting that feeling that someone has been in her territory. There you have it, cheating is bad!  But tell that to my wobbly spineless backbone as it soundly sleeps knowing that the dust bunnies under the bed are no longer.   It occurs to me that maybe my first housecleaner by leaving me flowers and an thank you note was actually thanking me for cleaning the place for them for them all along.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Future is Bright

Andrew's 14th.  Birthday!

I survived my teenage son’s birthday sleepover!  I don’t know how my mom did it back in the day with no electronic games to keep my brothers occupied.  I have nine brothers, all except one, are older than me.  To be sure, they were not all living at home at the same time and certainly by the time I came along most of them had left home.   However there were at least seven teenage boys at home at a given point in time and not just for a weekend.

So this is the thing, how did my mom not go totally insane?  And how did she feed them all because growing boys seem to want to eat every waking moment?  Not only that but they appear oblivious to picking up after themselves.  With a dishwasher steps away how difficult is it to simply put their glass or plate in it?

I know one thing, when I was younger we never had soft drinks or candies, that must have been half the battle in keeping my brothers sitting quietly reading most of the time.   And when they started to roughhouse the outdoors was their playhouse and their fun was limited only by their imagination.
 
I didn’t hear one boy ask about going outside once over this weekend. Although, when I sent them out to walk the dog they willingly obliged. Given a choice they would gladly play Xbox hours on end.  The only breaks would be to grab a snack, a meal, and to go to the washroom.  Even sleeping was secondary. But I didn’t think that was such a good idea so we had a number of breaks throughout the weekend to do keep them moving more than their thumbs.

What I enjoyed about this group of teenagers is that they were amiable to turning off the electronic game when I asked them without resisting me.  They were polite and well mannered.  Over all this birthday party and so much easier than when Andrew was younger.
 
I particularly enjoyed it when we were all sitting at the dinning-room table together.  Listening to the conversation of teenage boys, and the way they view their world, none with the same perspective, all were quick to have their opinions heard, was entertaining.   As I observed them I wondered where they would be in five years.  I have no doubt they are on their way to greatness in some way or another.
 
Like my brothers, teenagers no matter in what time period, view their world with optimism and clarity that only the young can.  The future is waiting for them to make their imprint on civilization. 
   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!


December can be stressful for many especially those who feel pressure by the pressure of  commercialization durning this season.  Remember, be free with your smiles, you never know how it may be just the thing someone needed at that perfect time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ouch


Awful pain, saltwater makes it better.  Waited.  It has to go, says the dentist. But I’m attached to my wisdom tooth I cry!  Still waiting for the tooth fairy. 



If you want to play along with Monkey man Sunday 160. Here are his rules.

1. The Sunday 160 only uses EXACTLY 160 characters (including spaces).
2. Keep on schedule - post after 8:00 PM Pacific Time on Saturday.
3. Let me know you have posted via a comment on my site.
(Be sure to mention you have posted a 160. Provide a link if you can)
4. Visit at least one other Sunday 160 writer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daydreaming

telegraph co. uk. 

I was thinking if I could have anything I want what would that look like.  Moreover, what if it was totally whimsical.  I thought really hard on this for a few days and I came up empty.  Nada.  Nothing. Zilch.  

Unacceptable.

If money is no object and the sky is the limit what would catch my fancy.  Still nothing.  What the heck!   How can it be so difficult to dream a little dream?  Indeed, I can think up all sorts of stuff that would make my life more comfortable.  Boring.  However, to imagine something so random and off the wall crazy, for me, this is a challenge.  When did this happen?


Remember as a child how we spent many hours daydreaming, or was that just me? Back then, I said, my house would have a special room just for chocolates.  I would have the finest chocolates from all around the world.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Dreams.  

Thus, I decided to embark on some serious daydreaming. To make a concerted effort to dig deep down into my core  and to reach up to the moon and grab a star or two. When I first started  this exercise I couldn’t daydream anything spectacular.  But after carefully exercising my daydreaming muscles I realize it’s not “things” I want but life experiences.     Unexpected experiences with a twist,  the more unusual and unique the better.

When I was a young girl I loved books. So it was not unusual for me to daydream that my house would also have a library, with floor to ceiling books. As soon as you enter the library you would smell a combination of the leather on the wingback chairs and the leather-bound books on the shelves.  And until recently I still fancied that dream.  But now with ebooks and tablets I can have all the books in the palm of my hands, and the best part they can be wherever I am in the world.  The one drawback is I miss the feel and smell of books to me that is part of the reading experience,  but the great thing is I can read in the dark.  But on the other hand, I never had to stop reading because my book died. I think, I'll still have tons of "real" books in my house.    

And what little girl didn't dream of the perfect tea party.  My perfect  tea party included the Queen of England. That daydream sort of came to being. Although it wasn’t the Buckingham Palace but the Governor General’s Residence which was not too shabby. I did enjoy a lovely garden tea party with the Queen of England one summer when I first moved to Ottawa.  Although, I might add, so did 150 other people.

We all must have at one time or another daydreamed of meeting a famous person , for me  that somebody is David Bowie.  On a very hot summer evening, 65,000 of us saw an outdoor concert where he put on an amazing performance. Still, I think having a conversation over dinner with him would be extraordinary, especially, if he were dressed as ziggy.  But I digress. 

What could be more exotic than an experiences of another culture.  I was in Jakarta durning Ramadan and will never forget the chanting and praying 24/7.  I felt like I was in a movie with a beautiful soundtrack.  


Therefore,   I’d love to sip chai in a marketplace in India with my eyes closed and listen to the hum of the crowd. I'd open my eyes and consume the colors, the aroma, the spices, and the unbearable heat.  


Then from extreme heat to the extreme cold.  I'd watch my breath hang in the air as polar bears play in their natural habitat. Feel my fingers smarting with coldness as I try to capture the view on camera.  Then, nothing says adventure like a picnic as the northern lights cascade across the sky, dancing in all their brilliance. 


Jetting off to a private european countryside to stay in a haunted castle. Whilst I imagine its first inhabitants after walking the grounds in pitch darkness I'd  lay very still in a big bed   exaggerating  every sound coming from the deserted hallway.  


Then sailing to the other side of the globe to lay awake under the Fijian stars and listen to the waves lap at the shore, all the while trying not to freak-out because I know there are crabs crawling around on the beach at night.  I know this because I've been there although at the time I didn't know there were crabs on the beach until later.  


Indeed, the most mind-blowing experience I could ever have would be to gently hold my mom’s hands, in suspended time, and see her life as she experienced it.  Dreaming! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Uncooked is Best!




Raw, now I see.
Lovely people whose eyes sparkle like diamonds with flawless skin. 
Could be me
If only I resist what’s cooking which makes my mouth water still.

If you want to play along with Monkey Man. Here are his rules.

1. The Sunday 160 only uses EXACTLY 160 characters (including spaces).
2. Keep on schedule - post after 8:00 PM Pacific Time on Saturday.
3. Let me know you have posted via a comment on my site.
(Be sure to mention you have posted a 160. Provide a link if you can)
4. Visit at least one other Sunday 160 writer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11:11:11: @11 am

Hubby blogged about our big day!

Nineteen years of blissful Marriage to Mr. Alan Pratt has given me…

19. My prince charming
18. My perfect soul mate
17. Removes nasty critters so I won't see it
16. love squared
15. Created Mr. Andrew Pratt
14. Extraordinary step-dad and dad
13. Long stem roses
12. A date for all occasions
11. Introduces me to the some of the best writers I’ve read
10. Knows me inside / out
09. Keeps me in the finest toys, ipod, ipad, macbook Air, etc. 
08. Puts up with my idiosyncrasies
07.  Always does the dishes
06. Creates a perfect playlist on my ipod
05. Sets the PVR to my favorite shows
04. A honey bunny with the best hugs and the sweetest kisses
03. Intelligent conversationalist 
02. Makes me laugh
01. The best 19 years ever!!!! 
This is my anniversary gift and you can never have too many of this
 Thanks, hubby 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's the Season!



Take to UPS this package for Mary.
Seize the envelope offered is no crime.
Perchance wife’s mystery package was too wary.
To my dismay he’d rather watch game time.

If you want to play along with the Sunday 160. Monkey Man's rules.


1. The Sunday 160 only uses EXACTLY 160 characters (including spaces).
2. Keep on schedule - post after 8:00 PM Pacific Time on Saturday.
3. Let me know you have posted via a comment on my site.
(Be sure to mention you have posted a 160. Provide a link if you can)
4. Visit at least one other Sunday 160 writer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inspiration is Contagious



Sometimes when we embark on a project to help others, we don’t always realize the positive impact of our actions.  Indeed, it's nice to be appreciated and knowing this keeps us motivated to continue doing more.      


My son and I started Andrew’s Books when he was seven years old.  You can visit his website here.  Each year I help him pick a school, update his website, and follow up with donations, but his steadfast commitment to give up his birthday and Christmas gifts, hours spent shopping for books and spreading the word is what make his project what it is. 


The success of a charitable project is based on how relative the project is to you and how much enjoyment you get from doing it. In order to sustain what you are doing you have to love doing it.  I know for sure that when Andrew is shopping for books, putting the bookplates inside the books, and packing the books for shipment; he is truly enjoying what he is doing.  You can see the passion in his eyes and in his sweet smile when someone asks him about Andrew’s Books. Pride is what you see.  


November came up so fast that he had to reminded me by asking what school would be receiving the books this year.  Coincidently, a friend on facebook posted a link to a video of First Nation children in a very isolated community.  After Andrew viewed it, he said, I know who should get the books this year.  You can read about it and view the video here and visit the school website here.  What is important is not to lose sight of the positive, watch their school video here posted by the school principal, Jo-Anne.   


I contacted the school principal. After I explained the project to her she said, “Do you know where we are located?”   I said, yes, you are located in an extremely isolated place and that is one of the reasons why your school was picked.   She told me that they don’t have a library, and any amount of books will be helpful. The books would be shipped before the end of February 2012 to take advantage of the ice road into the community.


So how is this project contagious?  Last week Andrew received a box containing 22 new books; with titles that are so relevant to First Nation’s students you know they were picked with extreme thoughtfulness and care.  The box of books included a letter and some wonderful photographs. 
Click on letter to enlarge 
A big thanks to Adia (Silly McGilly) and her parents who were inspired by Andrew’s literacy project and for joining Andrew’s Books!  Anyone can make a difference, even at one year old!  
  

Another person who is inspired by what children are doing is author Janet Wilson. Janet's  brilliant book “Shannen and the Dream for a School” is a book worthy of a read.  It is a sweet story about the students at Attawapiskat, Ontario.  This school was a  recipient of Andrews Books in 2008 but because they didn't have  a school the books were distributed to the students to take home.  There is a brief mention of Andrew's project in the book.     

One thing I know that is true, even if you're not always aware of how you inspire others by things you do, someone out there is noticing and appreciating you and your contribution in making the world a better place.    

Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Thoughts!

back yard trees
My favorite time of the year is autumn.  When I see the bright red colors on the maple trees, I SIGH.  I think it is because seeing its warm colors tickles me to the core, inviting a feeling of cheerfulness so deep it touches my soul.  It's like mother nature in giving them one last big hug before the deep sleep makes it blush excitedly. And late at night, in the warm autumn breeze, while walking Bodhi, I just want to laugh out loud thinking about how nature laughs silently.  What's that all about? 

Speaking of LOL, I catch myself when texting lol to someone and think, I didn’t just laugh out loud.  Why text that if it didn’t happened?  On the other hand, the  acronym for 'big smile' does not seem appropriate.  Furthermore, is anyone also sick of all these texting acronyms? I like old fashion communication, with all letters strung together producing a clear message.  Having to decode text messages is like talking on a cell phone with a intermitted signal.  It could result in dire miscommunication. Fortunately, my son is not into texting, yet.  Otherwise our communication would be too brief, and if you have teenagers you know communication with them is like pulling teeth. 

And maybe because he is still writing long hand, Andrew got 100% on his first English high school poetry test of this year.  He was beaming!   You know, as adults we need something like that to measure how well we are doing.   When was the last time someone gave you a 100%? 

zucchini pasta!
Earlier in the week I made a fabulous lunch, if I do say so myself.  I am trying to introduce more raw food into my diet!  I think this lunch entitles me to a good mark of some kind, huh.  People ask me why raw?  I say because all the raw foodies I know look fabulous!  Read this if you need convincing! I want some of that!  To date, I am about 75% raw.  But now that winter is coming, I’m feeling like I want “hot” cooked food.  Why are we so consumed with what we eat or don’t eat?



video
Our dog, Bodhi, a standard poodle, loves to go for walks, and really loves his treats.  Occasionally we run out of treats, because someone is giving him more than they should.  I won’t name names, but Andrew comes to mind.  When we are out of treats, Bodhi appears to looks forlorn as he sits by the treat cupboard waiting.  If there is anything in a package that makes a noise he thinks it’s treats.  So, I shake a little bag of chlorella, he sits nicely, and I give it to him, and he LOVES it!  
 
When I took this, I didn't notice the berry!
My final thought for now, before the snowfalls get out into the country and go for a walk.    

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Truth

Fearless Andrew when he was about 5 years old


Although today began with rain and it was quite muddy at the farmers’ market it was a beautiful fall morning.  I was happy to have Andrew accompany me and carry the heavy bag!

On our drive home I was thinking about something I read on TED, you can read it here.  A question, “What ten things you know to be true?” 
Here is my list

1.    Facing your fears will enhance your life
2.    True love is unconditional
3.    Gossip hurts people
4.    learning keeps your mind flexible 
5.    The sound of children’s laughter is sweet music
6.    To be a person of integrity, you must have it in all aspects of your life
7.    Chocolate is the elixir of life
8.    Friends and Family are important in all phases of life
9.    A smile is powerful
10. Reading transcends time and space 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time Thief


Tick tock tick no time to ponder
texting and blogging
look at the clock can’t squander
Fb twitter google+ somethin
 emails to check perchance
damn social media dance! 

This Sunday 160 is inspired by SuzeMuse 
Started by Monkeyman 

If you want to play along with the Sunday 160. Here are the rules.

1. The Sunday 160 only uses EXACTLY 160 characters (including spaces).
2. Keep on schedule - post after 8:00 PM Pacific Time on Saturday.
3. Let me know you have posted via a comment on my site.
(Be sure to mention you have posted a 160. Provide a link if you can)
4. Visit at least one other Sunday 160 writerhttp://petzoldspracticalprose.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday evening on a Walk About!

As summer morphs into autumn, which is the most beautiful of seasons, my son and I decided to go on an evening walk around the property.  The leaves on the trees are just turning color, and gracefully falling to the ground.  Not much yet, but enough to let you know that summer is on its way out.
(click on any of the photos to enlarge!)

We spied...


The generator. Which reminded me that I have to call to have it serviced before winter.  In my part of the world, when the power goes out in the winter, as it tends to do in the most inconvenient and coldest day possible, it is always good to be prepared.  This generator has saved us many cold nights!

Then we spied...

The wood pile.  Andrew said, I piled all that wood in Spring.  I think we have enough for a nice fire in the fireplace.  There is nothing sweeter than having our cup of hot chocolate on those cold winter evenings all cosy in front of the fireplace.

Then we spied...
The wheelbarrow and shovel.  Reminders that we still have more cleaning around the property before winter!  Like, putting the garden to bed.  Still have some wonderful chard for juicing, yummy!

And I spied... Andrew
hiding here...
and there!

Then we sat by the pond and enjoyed the sound of the running water...
But the birds on the river were making so much noise....
I really wanted to take a picture of this beautiful great-blue-heron, who has been so brave as to sit in the pond durning the week watching the koi and perhaps feasting on the frogs.  (this photo take by hubby on Friday!)
The pond is beautiful any time of the day...
You can barely see the great-blue heron next to the rock on the river.

In the evenings the pond is especially charming!  This time of the year is perfect, no bugs.

It was also a perfect evening for  sailing...
 we spied our neighbor sailing the calm water with barely no wind.
I really enjoyed my walk-about with Andrew. Who incidentally takes great pictures!  As well, as being pretty photogenic himself!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Easy, Fun, and Uncomplicated!



I love summer. I especially love summer weddings.  There were two weddings in my family this summer.  Two very different couples. One, a young couple embarking on their first wedding and the other, an older more mature couple, going down the aisle for the third time each. These weddings were as different as night and day from each other.  One was at a high-end resort hotel and the other in a community hall.  One wedding was very formal and the other more casual.  But something they both shared was stress, one more than the other, but stress none-the-less.  And both wedding parties had their share of drama. 
The anticipation leading up to the big day is so palpable you can slice it with a wedding cake knife.  The optimism, excitement, anticipation, and some old fashion anxiety tied together with a pure happiness bow that sums up weddings in a nutshell.  A mammoth ball of emotions!
Are any of these emotions minimized if the couple is older and have taken the leap of faith before? I would say absolutely not.  Young or older, a wedding makes the world seem like all things great are possible.  A young couple and an older more experience couple both see the world through rose colored glasses and their emotions are reflected in that hue. A bride is never more beautiful as on the day of her wedding, don’t you agree? Her eyes hold the promise of a forever magical love.  


However, the stress of a wedding can result in the worst day ever for some couples.  It is my observation that the amount of angst associated with weddings can be correlated with the amount time to plan and the size of the wedding.  The longer the planning and higher number of guests, the greater the emotional ups and downs.  And more importantly, the more likely the couple is to continue with the wedding even if they have some reservations. There comes a point where there is no turning back.  However, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, the people who really count are the bride and groom.  Really, what is the point, do they really need to start off their marriage under such stressful circumstances? Even the weddings that unfold without a hitch are stressful until the I dos.  There is always a possibility that something can go awry.  


Still, committed couple should get married, and maybe the tasks associated with getting married will serve them well as they begin their journey together as man and wife.   

My advice is to keep it small and intimate. 
I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday.  I wasn’t nervous as I sat in my fiancé’s kitchen sipping tea, the sun beaming through the skylight.  We had plenty of time as we sat reading the paper.   The phone rang, his mother called to tell us she had our flowers and we realized we better get ready. 
We decided to elope and only a small group of friends were going to be in attendance.  I didn’t even tell anyone in my family until the night before, leaving them no time to fly in to attend if they wanted to.  Of course, I got the “speech” but really I knew it was because they had my best interest in their hearts.  The only people who knew about our plan were our cohort, out respective assistents who coordinated the event between our two cities.  They had the utmost discretion and no one was the wiser at either of our work places. Real loyalty. 
Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. We had a beautiful low keyed wedding.  I loved that we did it for us, (even if not a bit selfish), it was romantic and naughty sneaking around as we planned.  Although I admit, on the flip side, we robbed some family of celebrating this special day with us.  Still, we managed to eliminated all the pressures associated with having to please everyone, coordinating peoples' schedule, and not to mention the expense of a big wedding. 
And, we had money not spent on a big wedding to enjoy several exotic honeymoons in Paris, Hawaii, Australia, South America and Fiji over several years before Andrew was born.  So, I opted to forgo a big swanky wedding, and enjoyed instead a fansy assed eight course dinner at the Le Jules Vernes in the Eiffel Tower, Paris.  Dinner was spectacular! 
Our motto durning our short courtship was make it -  Easy, Fun and Uncomplicated!   Eighteen years later that is still our motto.  Wishing the newly weds an easy, fun and uncomplicated marriage.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Fun


I can't believe that it is August 1st. Summer is going by so quickly,huh.  Well, as usual July has been very hot and humid in Ontario, but I'm not complaining.  As long as there is airconditioning, the heat is good.

This summer we decided to holiday in Montréal, Quebec, and rented a lovely apartment in Pointe Claire. Pointe Claire is an historic village located on the West Island of Montréal.

Sometimes, a city holiday is just the thing to do, others go to the cottage for their summer holidays, but I enjoy what the city has to offer.  This particular holiday was the best of both worlds spectacular, tranquil setting, away from the city, but only a short commute into downtown Montreal.

Normally I don't see anybody first thing in the morning at home save for my immediate family. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed being around people and seeing so many people out jogging in the morning. I saw people with dogs, on bikes and even rollerblades. I could see this type of lifestyle being quite conducive to a healthy lifestyle and just wanting to just get out doors and to get physical.

Not to mention, the scenery in Pointe Claire along the river is so beautiful. It really calls for people to come out and enjoy it. I don't know whether it is just because the weather was fantastic, scenery was perfection, or if it's just people were on holidays, but by and large everybody was quick with a smile.

This holiday unlike our previous holidays which are packed with sightseeing and activities from morning until night, this was really chilled. We spent a lot of time reading, dinning out, and basically chilling by the river. Sometimes it's great to just be able to slow down and enjoy being together as a family without the distraction of a hectic itinerary.

The highlight of the holiday was our last night. We went to Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the Park. The play was at the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montréal, what a wonderful place for a Shakespeare play. The cast was superb!

I brought the camera but unfortunately the battery was dead.  Thus, all memories are stored in our head and no app for downloading memories stored in our minds, yet.  I am certain that we will return to Pointe Claire and next time I will check that I bring a camera that I can actually use, ugh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm Back!


I’ve been an absent blogger of late.

Although, I must say in my defense it has been for good reason. My elderly mother had an accident that resulted in her being in hospital recovering from broken bones. I, along with family members spent many days at the hospital late into the evenings. Mama, (everyone who knows her calls her Mama) recovered from hip surgery. She is a trooper no doubt about it. It was touch and go for awhile but somehow she found strength and continues to improve daily.

Andrew's grade 8 grad!

That being said, life goes on. Because I was away I missed Andrew's grade eight graduation, Father's day, and hubby's birthday. I said to my son, sorry I missed your grad.  He responded, it's only grade 8, you'll be there for my grade 12 and university grads, those are the really important ones. He is so sweet!  I'll have to find a way to make it up to the men in my life. On the positive side, they were able to have some serious father son bonding time.

Being away from home was not all bad, it allowed me the opportunity to spend some quality time with my brothers and sisters.  While in Alberta it occurred to me that life there actually involves a lot of  staying up past midnight because the sun does not set until really late. I was in Alberta on the longest day of summer, June 21st. I swear, I could have played outside all night if I was not so emotionally and physically spent.

Now that the family crisis has passed and I am back in Ontario, I’d love to spend more time outside enjoying the summer. But alas, in Ottawa the sun sets before nine o’clock. Leaving me in the dark being consumed by blood thirsty tiny vampires (Mosquitoes).

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