Friday, December 31, 2010

Good bye 2010 you were Fabulous!

 I enjoy reviewing my blog and remembering all the magnificent things that make up my life as the year draws to an end. Truly, this is the main reason I maintain a blog.  It is a perfect tool, which allows me to go back at any point and glimpse the souvenirs of my life. When my son was younger he would often say, “I am going to remember this forever” of course he didn’t always. The best way to ensure that you do remember the special events in your life is to record it.

January, I made one resolution and almost immediately broke it. But some remnants remain throughout the year. Like, whenever I go to Starbucks I calculate in my head how much I’ve spent in a given week.  Not that this stops me from getting my fix of my daily latté.  Oh no, I need my treat. And about that the clutter on my counter, well it must leave seeds that germinate because each time I’ve removed the stacks of paper, it reappears.

February, our good friend and neighbor died. Another friend is renting his house, but we still refer to it as Frank’s house. Frank continues to be missed, especially, on Sundays.

April, I read my first horror book in a long time. I could not sleep for weeks after reading Joe Hill’s Horns. Highly recommend this book, it is a wonderfully written, if not a scary read. We took our first trip to NYC!  It was our son's idea and we had an amazing time. The entire time was spent doing as much tourist stuff imaginable in four days.  I'm wondering if we should make it a tradition, Spring in NYC.

Also in April the best possible discovery was green smoothies, it rocked my world. I recommend to almost everyone I meet to try it at least once.  A good way to consume green leafy vegetables.

June, we had an earthquake that truly rocked my world for the longest 25 seconds of my life.

July was one of the hottest ever. Easy to enjoy when you have air-conditioning! Alas, again this year we had no swimming pool. Maybe next summer we will be able to splash around again.

August, Hawaii, I will never forget you. We had three glorious weeks in paradise. Even now I can feel the glow of Hawaii. As I sit and look out at the frozen river I can imagine the Hawaiian sun on me. We enjoyed fun on the beach, in the sea, and discovered shaved ice a Hawaiian treat. I will be back there, again, and again. Absolutely. BTW I was there on business but all I remember was the pleasure part of being in Hawaii.

The fall was beautiful. My little garden was harvested and put to rest, went to farmer’s markets, and hubby bought himself a nice hot red sports car. We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

December was filled with celebration, party, laughter, and visiting friends and family out west.

No resolutions this time.  Instead, I've given myself a 365 day Challenge.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas is a Feeling

  Whew, it is Christmas Eve and I survived the month of December intact.


I traveled to Edmonton on business and then went to Fort McMurray for the pleasure of visiting family in what seems like ages ago but in reality was only a week since.  Every moment was spoken for by someone or by an event or two. 

I took Andrew out of school a couple of days early so he could accompany me to visit family.It is important to me that he sees my elderly mom at least a couple of times a year as she is advancing in age.  Not to mention how much she enjoys seeing him grow.  I spent the whole afternoon visiting my mom and brothers and that made me so very happy.
I had an interesting experience while in Edmonton for a Board meeting.  Our chairman, Wilfred, celebrated his 80th birthday a few days prior, knowing this I requested the assistant buy a birthday cake for him.  When the meeting concluded we presented him with a cake, candles a blazing that read, “ Happy 80th Birthday Wilfred” and we all broke out in song. (Well most of us sang, I can’t follow a tune but I mouthed it.)  Wilfred blew out the candles and then sat quietly as we watched.  Then he said that this was his first birthday cake ever!  Andrew asked why, and he responded, because they were poor and he never celebrated his birthday.  No one in his family did.  And throughout his life he never acknowledged his birthday choosing to spend that day as if it were just another ordinary day.  Can you image that? I am a big birthday freak.  It holds so much importance to me because without that special day we would not exist.  The miracle of birth should always be celebrated or at least acknowledged.

And of course, a  visit to my niece and her family for a few hours is a must.  I love visiting her, and I always feel so intensely connected to family when all you have are a few stolen moments far to infrequently. Truly my niece is wonder-woman, really.   What stuck me is how beautifully decorated the house was with all the Christmas trimmings. Being in her home filled me with so much Christmas Spirit I could have curled up by the fireplace and waited for Santa.  No doubt her home will be the first house he pops into on Christmas Eve.

I also had a wonderful bunch at my hotel with my girlfriend and her four beautiful children.  She later wrote, “ I hope it was not too overwhelming” meaning her four children.  But because I come from a large family of 16 the more the merrier, I say. 

 In Fort McMurray we did more visiting.  Really there was not enough time to see everyone.  However, I was fortunate to be there for my sister’s annual sisters Christmas dinner.  This provided me the opportunity to visit with my aunt, cousins, sisters and lady friends all in one sitting.  
This was too beautiful!
My cousin, Judy, baked me a yummy birthday cake.      

An amazing party! Thank you Mary, you know how to throw a party.  BTW the mashed potatoes were the best!

For me Christmas is a feeling.  It’s about the feeling we get by spending time with family and friends.  The feeling we get by thinking of others and wanting to make them happy. The lasting feeling when renewing family relationships, old acquaintances, and way too much eating, laughing and merriment.   

Merry Christmas! 


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let the Stealing Begin

It is December 4th.  I have not bought one Christmas gift yet.  Scratch that, I bought two gifts for our staff dinner party, one for hubby and one for myself for our gift exchange.  However, hubby surprised me because he actually bought his own gift so I am ahead of the game with an extra gift already wrapped and it is perfect for someone I have in mind.

This time of the year is the only time I enjoy shopping.  I love buying for friends, and I especially enjoy buying for our staff gift exchange because there is a limit on the price of the gift (ours is $30).  This makes buying somewhat more challenging and you’ve got to be creative which for me is fun. I looked for a non-gender gift but was not too successful.    

We play a Chinese gift exchange game (has nothing to do with Chinese).  If you want to know the rules go here.  Essentially, everyone brings a wrapped gift and place it in the centre of the table.  We begin with picking a number to see who will pick the first gift.  Hopefully people will steal one another’s gift this year, last year everyone was satisfied with their gift and kept it.   Or rather, no one wanted to steal someone’s gift for fear that a fight would break out.  But this year, I’m going to steal to get everyone in the right mood.  So, if it looks like they really like the gift they've chosen no matter what it is...i'm stealing it!

P.S.  We really had an enjoyable time with everyone stealing and ending up with a gift they wanted.  Except for the person who was leading the game, she ended up with a beautiful basket of chocolates.  I knew she didn't really fancy them, and lucky for her I brought an extra gift for this exact reason.   She decided to let the chocolates go and take the extra gift I bought, which she loved!

 I know so out of character for me to be stealing, but I had to steal this mug! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On the Brighter Side

 Picture (ipod) by Richard Andersson, sales, Henrys Kanata

The fluffiest, biggest snowflakes descended slowly, seemly hovering before carpeting the ground with its freshness. Moments later, darkness as the flurries began in earnest together with crazy wild winds that swirled, picking up the freshly fallen snow and scattering it around the parking lot reducing visibility near zero. This was followed a few minutes later by a burst of sunshine as though the powers of being decided this was too theatrical reducing the moment to calm and brightness. Such was the weather fluctuation over a two-hour period while I waited in line with about 55 people at Henry’s for a chance at getting a $500 gift certificate.

When I arrived there was not a soul to be seen and after waiting about twenty minutes I thought perhaps I’d made a mistake and it was all in my head that Henry’s was giving away gift certificates today. For the first forty minutes I stayed in my car, cozy warm like, drinking my tea and playing on my ipad. Then a couple people arrived, lawn chairs in hand. There were four people in line when the guy in the car next to mine got out and joined them. I thought I better get my butt in gear even though we still had over an hour before the doors would open. And just as quickly everyone sitting in the comfort of cars had the same idea, and reluctantly joined the growing line.

The people in line were very chatty; I guess being cold will do that to you or maybe they had one too many coffees. An older lady first in line was a pro I could see that straight away. She was bundled up from head to toe, sitting in her lawn chair, a hot thermos of coffee at the ready, accompanied by her friend. They both looked like they were settling down for the long haul as thoughts of winning occupied their mind, I’m sure. She said last time she got $500 and has gone to at least three of these events!

A guy beside me said he was in this store for the first time yesterday, and was told to come back this morning for a chance to win. He was shopping for a camera for his teenage son who was enrolled in a high school photography class. Still yet another young man said he had nothing better to do this morning so thought what the heck. Some other guy mentioned his wife ordered him to come down and he knew better than to cross her. Most of the people in my group of ten had participated previously for the chance to win either a gift certificate or one of those midnight crazy events and all were pretty hopeful to come away with something.

A staff person came out to tell us what to expect a couple of minutes before the door was to open. Only ten people at a time in the store, each would get an envelope that had a gift certificate valued between $10 - $500. “You must use it today because it is only valid for today.” she stressed.

Our group was first to be ushered in and we each got our envelope. Funny, now that we were ‘good friends’ we peeked into each other’s envelope seeing what the other got. Alas, lady luck was not smiling upon us this day and no one in our group got the coveted $500. The lady who last year received a $500 gift certificate and her friend each received $10. She said, “that’s okay, that’s okay.” The man that was shopping for his son got $25, but his wife was at the back of the line so they had another opportunity for the $500. The guy who had nothing better to do today, got $50 and mine was $25. Sweet!

Was it worth it? Yeah. I’d do it again. At any rate, I was planning on buying a camera lens for hubby and this morning I got $25 off my purchase. Not to mention, it gives me something interesting to blog about.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Come This Never Happens to Me

 Saturday mornings I enjoy reading  the West Carlton Review, our local paper.  Specifically, I can't wait to read the “Ottawa Police Service” section, which is my favorite. I don’t know how to explain it… but it is just plain hilarious!  How about you judge for yourself. 

UFO Sighting in Corkery (You don’t see this heading often!)

There was a UFO sighting in West Carlton.  Shortly before 6 p.m. on November 10, a 911 caller reported seeing a UFO take up a hovering position somewhere between March and Vaughn Side Roads.  The Object was hovering at an approximate altitude of 3,000 metres and a very bright cone of light descended from the object to the surface of the Earth. 

Certain that the UFO wasn’t an airplane, the complainant advised the 911 operator that the UFO briefly dropped down to the surface before returning to its previous hovering station.  Air Traffic controllers in Ottawa claimed they weren’t tracking UFOs or airplanes on radar over the West Carlton area during that time period. 

Police reports concluded the UFO was the result of a film crew using a crane-operated light in and around the Hollywood district of Ashton Village.  (or was it?)  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eighteen Roses

I can’t believe today is my eighteenth wedding Anniversary. It seems like yesterday I met hubby, yet it feels like I’ve known him my whole life. Our courtship was brief, sweet and romantic. We lived in separate cities during our courtship and our time together stealing a day here and there was precious. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had email and skype back then.

I remember fondly those lazy days sleeping in on the weekends until pass noon and having breakfast in the Beaches. I loved that we could walk down to the Beaches and have breakfast anytime of the day. In the evenings we would order Chinese food from The Wokker on Queen Street and watch Twin Peaks in front of the fireplace. And when we were not watching Twin Peaks we watched the World Series. And as the world played along with our fun courtship the Blue Jays won that year against the Atlanta Braves.   The Jays defeated Atlanta, making it the first time a team outside of US won the world Series.  That was huge!  Everyone was so excited; the city was electric the night they won. It seemed like our world was touch by faith and everything was non-complicated, relaxed and fun. The next day, after seeing a blue jay from his kitchen window, hubby taking this as a sign, proposed.

Each anniversary we take the whole day off from our busy schedule to spend together.  I can't think of a better way to spend my day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It’s not Porcelain!

Yesterday, my IT person took my Mac away because it refused to do my bidding.  In fact, it did nothing at all.  Mac just sat doing nothing and not making a sound, not even a beep.  The silent treatment! 

Mac and I were friends I thought.  It was suppose to be reliable and would not let me down like those PCs.  The place on my desk where it occupied left a hole not only on my desk but also in my heart (slight exaggeration!).  I had my ipad, but you know it was not the same.  Interestingly, before Mac started to let me down, first by responding slowly to my commands, then not at all, I enjoyed my ipad.  I’d walk by Mac not giving it a second thought and sit by the fireplace content with my ipad.  But then when it was no longer available I missed my Mac.   

Seven hours later… Hubby “I know you said you didn’t want your anniversary gift yet, but under the circumstances would you like to have it now?”  “Hmmm, okay” I replied.  It will be our 18-wedding anniversary on the 11th.  The suggested gift for this year is porcelain.   When I unwrapped the gift I didn’t find porcelain (Not that there is anything wrong with porcelain, you know) what I found instead was light, airy and so adorable.   A MacBook Air!  So doing my happy dance now.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Can it ever be Too Early for Christmas

Sunrise October 27

This week our first Christmas card (It is still October) arrived from England.  Thank you aunt Belle the message is sweet.   The card said;

Christmas Greetings,
Peace, goodwill and gladness
Are shared by one and all,
When Christmas time draws closer
And snowflakes softly fall.
For sharing Season’s Greetings, heart-felt and sincere,
Will set the seal of Christmas upon a glad New Year.

This card reminded me that I must get it going on.  Once again I have not started shopping for any gifts yet and it is Halloween weekend!  What a slacker.   Each year my intention is to have all my shopping done by the end of November, and each year I fail.  How soon should I be sending out my cards?  If you want one, send me your address.    : ) 
Believe me, I do love all aspects of the holidays, crisp white snow, yummy food, big fluffy snowflakes, happy smiley faces and dreams beautifully wrapped, and tied with a satin bow.   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Taking the Leap

For years I have been gently pushing my hubby to finish his book.  And I've been bugging him to post in his blog.  Today he did both.

Writing is personal.  All the thoughts, words, characters, places, come from deep within.  It's a labour of love which takes time and energy.  Hours of massaging the plot, defining the characters and word smithing goes into it before it is ready for other eyes.   Thus by the time a writer sends his manuscript to an agent he is ready to have his story be transformed into a book.  Moreover, he is mentally prepared for whatever feedback might come his way.  That is brave.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Too Much Information

Initially, I didn’t want to blog about this because it is too horrifying.  But then I thought that if I blogged about how I was feeling then I could move on.

I caution you when you click on the above link. Use it only for background information and refrain from reading the more graphic links. I say this because I don’t want you to be affected by its contents as I have been. My mind has been in a fog for the past week after following the trial. I could not get my mind to stop thinking about what happened to Col. Russell Williams’s victims.  Col. Williams is a deprave murder who carried out heinous acts devoid of any emotions. I wake up and go to sleep thinking about it.   Thankfully, Williams was sentenced to 25 years without parole yesterday.  He was also stripped of his military rank and dismissed from the military.  
I know, I really should not have read the live news reports from the Belleville Court but once I started reading I could not stop. It became an obsession. 
Before this I would often leave my house unlocked when I went out.   No more, I now alarm the house when I leave.  I double-check the doors and windows to ensure everything is locked when I go to bed.  I think about what it must have been like for the victims thinking that they were in the safety of their home.  One even calling her boyfriend to say she made it home okay.  Your home should be a safe haven.
No sooner did the court allow media to report from the courtroom, they were posting live. Which brings me the question of why the media released so much raw details about the crime.  Every horrific and despicable act was reported.  The reason this information was even available was because Williams himself compulsively videoed, organized and recorded meticulous copious details of his crime.
 If reading these news reports impacted me so adversely, a person, who is not associated to either of the victims or the perpetrator, makes me wonder how others are coping.  I can’t imagine how people closes to them have reconciled their feelings after becoming aware of the intimate details of the crime.  
What has become of our society?   The Internet has made news so readily accessible in real time, and often reporters upload information without applying any moral or ethical filters.  What may on the surface be considered good reporting because it is immediate can in fact be quite damaging and excessive.  Case in point, the Williams’s trial.  Should media be more cautious about the nature of their reporting, or is the responsibility ours to not read or watch the news we find objectionable?  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zoom, Zoom

Hubby bought himself a new toy car.  Since the day we met he has always wanted a miata, which I teased was a girly car. You may disagree, but I think even the name sounds somewhat feminine. 

Before he bought it, he leased one (pictured above) for a year to try it out.  I'm sure, he was demonstrating  a sincere effort that this was indeed not  an impulsive buy.  This fall at the end of the lease he decided to buy the new 2010  model with a retractable hardtop in bright red.  Bravo for him, after all men need something shiny that goes zoom now and then.

In an effort to appeal to more men the Miata was redesigned with an aggressive front end and new looking bumper. The new design is significantly manlier with more horsepower and a bigger body.    Over all it looks pretty damn good, they even added MX5 to its name a few years ago.   Oh yeah! I think men love initials, especially ones with an “X” in them.

Hubby's car a tiny bit muddy my bad!
In the last couple of weeks  hubby has been away on business and being the nice guy he is, gave me permission to play with it (probably secretly hoping I don't love it too much).   So, I have been zooming all around town.  I have to admit it is a pretty fun car, but then again I am a sucker for standard red convertibles …shifting one, two, three, four, five and six…. Zoom!  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

To the Farmer's Market I go!

It was a cool crisp morning, the kind of morning where you can actually see your breath when you blow on your hands,  but that didn’t stop me from going to the Carp Farmer’s Market bright and early.  Leaving while everyone in the house was still sleeping soundly.  I hadn’t been to the market since last fall because I had produce from my wee garden all summer.  This year my garden was absolutely crazy, everything I planted grew to an enormous size!  
What does this look like?
The tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots, were absolutely exquisite and sweet.  Alas, I only planted enough for consumption over summer.    I do still have tons of harvest tomatoes, which I pop into my mouth like candy.  I can’t find the word to accurately describe how freshly harvested vegetable makes me feel.  Simply put, it makes me feel happy!
It goes without saying that I go to the farmer's market because of the very fresh vegetables and freshly baked good.  But equally important is that I also like to support the local farmers.  Besides you’re guaranteed to meet some pretty interesting folks there.   Each vender I approached welcomed me with a warm smile, some as they rubbed their hands together to keep warm.   Everyone is friendly and willing to tell you a story if you are a willing listener.  I learnt a few things about bees that I didn’t know.  My knowledge of bees was limited to Farmville on facebook I am embarrassed to admit.
After paying for my stuff and taking it to the car, I decided to stay at the market a bit longer, have a nice hot tea, and a pumpkin tart that just came out of the oven just as I arrived.    The lady serving me said to let it sit at least five minutes before eating, but I couldn’t wait that long… scrumptious.   

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Old Fashion but Still Reliable

I made tentative plans to meet a friend who was in the city on business.  Unfortunately, her meeting went too late for us to actually meet in person because of where I live.  So, we spent almost two hours on the phone, (not a cell phone) very late into the night getting caught up.  Imagine using a landline phone to communicate... kind of old fashion huh.   However, it is still a very effective way of communicating believe it or not.

10 good things about having a landline phone

10 - Does not die in mid conversation
               9 - Does not have to be affixed to your body
               8 - Feels like you’re actually talking to someone and not into thin air
               7 - You don’t have to say…”“Can you hear, how about now, or "how do I sound"…do you hear the echo, too?”
               6 - You don’t feel pressure to end the call because of limited minutes
               5 –You know when the line goes silent it is not because the phone died
               4 - You know when you call someone they are where you called
               3 -  It is only used for one purpose, talking
               2 - It does not call random people on its own 
Number 1 reason - I know every time I pick up the phone I can actually call out because it does not rely on batteries, cell coverage, or minutes available, and it's one less thing for me to worry about.     


Saturday, September 25, 2010

It Pleases Me So

I was surprised with a bag of goodies on my last day in Honolulu, Hawaii, from someone I met once.  The gesture was so random, so delightful, and made me feel so absolutely warmhearted.  It didn’t matter what was inside the bag; it was the thought that someone who was virtually a complete stranger had gone shopping especially for me after only a single meeting!  As it turned out the bag was filled with absolutely exquisite and delicious sweets from the island.  Each time I sample the sweets I remembered with kindness the amazing woman who gifted them to me.
Thank you Lisa, I loved it all! 

Last week, I was gifted a beautiful silk scarf, green tea, and gift cards from a teenage boy who is staying with us on weekends.  Again, this was unexpected and filled me with great joy.
Thank you Patric, your gift is perfect!

Giving and receiving of gifts brings joy to both the recipient and the giver.  The thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity that goes into a gift cannot be measured.  In fact, the extraordinary feelings of both the giver and the receiver last long after the gift is either consumed or used.  The goodwill of gifts go a long way to reinforce the connection that exists between us. 
I want to pay it forward and will send a gift package filled with Canadian treats to anyone who reads my blog and emails me their address at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Delightful Endings / Fresh Beginnings

The earth’s tapestry is changing as it morphs into another season. Shortly, for a brief period, the natural world where I live will be transformed into a brightly colored pallet. Already the tips of the trees are tinted reddish, orangey, and yellowish and the night air is frosty and bitter.  It’s that time of the year- in-between summer and winter.  Autumn!
This is my favorite of all our seasons.  I enjoy how summer is tenderly put to bed.  But before the big sleep, there is an eruption of activity abound.   Starting with the foliage display with its’ bright and vivid colors, and the smell of the cool fresh air.  And the fury of activity as the animals prepare for hibernation. 
But for me, the most noticeable indication that summer is almost over is the sound of the migratory birds as they settle on the river before continuing their journey south.  Each morning hundreds of geese  will descend on the river at once.  Even before I wake up I hear their chorus, which sounds much like an orchestra tuning their instruments before a concert.  Yeah, it is not a pleasant sound.  Nonetheless, this is the music for the closing of the season, and I know they'll be back to open the season come Spring. 

When we were in Hawaii and mentioned that we were from Canada, the comment was wistfully “four seasons”.   To have distinct seasons makes us unique in the eyes of those who only experience green and greener no matter the time of the year.   We get to experience all the colors, green, yellow, orange, brown, and white.    Albeit, white being a couple of months too long for my liking. 
Still, having four seasons is brilliant because at the end of a particular season there are clues that the season is coming to an end and another is about to begin anew.  The change keeps us in the moment. 
As for the end of summer here, when the colors change from green to golden and bright red it’s time to bunker down for a long cold white season.  Time to take out the winter clothing and warm blankets.    Time to clean the garden, put the water hose and summer toys away, and bring out that snow shovel.

Last crop of the season!
And it’s time to select some great books, collect firewood, candles, and sweet ingredients for making a killer hot chocolate.   You get the picture.     

Winter, I'm a ready for You!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Serenity Now! Hawaii (week 3)

Our last few days in Hawaii were spent in Honolulu.  The transition from a beautiful 2600 square feet beachfront home to a 550 square foot suite, not on the beach, was an adjustment to be sure.  I kept thinking, in our "second home" we had so much room.  Had we not stayed in Kauai, we would have been blissfully content with our accommodations, but as it was the change was disappointing.  Still, we were able to get over it and enjoy the remaining days in beautiful, sunny, Hawaii. 

 Andrew with Major (Moogey) from Australia 

The reason we were in Hawaii at all was because I was scheduled to make a presentation at Healing Our Spirits World Wide.  So not only did I have to return to Honolulu but I also had to turn my mind to the conference.  I was anxious about my presentation because my co-presenter cancelled due to a scheduling conflict and another person was taking her place whom I had not previously present with.  Even more importantly he had not asked me for any of the preparation materials or proper meeting to review the material I was going to cover.  In the end, he didn’t contribute anything of value.

In addition, a day prior to my presentation I spoke to one of the organizers of the conference who expressed her concern that although there were three of us from the same organization presenting, my presentation was the only one directly related to our institution.  This was an issue because our institution started the Healing Our Spirit Conference, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta in 1992 with 3,200 participants from around the world,  and we only had a minor presence at this conference.  

I immediately decided to rectify the situation by changing my presentation slightly and by inviting the CEO to present with me. Big mistake!   

We actually needed more time to review the material and organize our presentation.  The fault rest with me because I didn’t make more of an attempt to meet with her, and I made the change at the last minute.  Excuses aside, I was really disappointed with the presentation and must take responsibility for the end result.  

However, all was not wasted I did meet old friends and made some new friends.  At the conclusion of my session, I received some positive feedback.  And there exist a strong possibility that I may have enrolled some international students to take our courses.  I sure hope so.   

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dream a Little Dream Hawaii (week two)

 Someone pinch me!

Am I dreaming or is this really my life? Second week in Hawaii, one week by the sea in Princeville, Kauai and I am living the dream. It helps the dream to be staying on the most beautiful spot in Kauai, and in the most exquisite house which  overlooks the sea. Blue, blue as far as the eyes can see. The white noise of the surf hitting the shore is the most divine and comforting soundtrack.

My days begin with the sunrise and end blissfully with the sunset. Am I really going to bed at nine? I really can't believe when darkness engulfs the island how sleepy I become. But it's all good. As I sleep the soundtrack plays on because there is no pause button, and that is just fine with me.

Vacation time is an excellent time to reconnect with family. Without the stress of the daily life of work, school, and other obligations to distract us the opportunity to have heart to heart conversations presents itself when you least expect it.  Nothing like sunny days and long sandy beaches to be able to really acknowledge and appreciate family members, especially when not restricted by time.  The biggest decision is what beach are we hanging out on today.

Our island days are without an agenda. When you're far away from your "real life" you become more relaxed, more focused, more aware of your surroundings, the by-product is a more fun you. The kids are loving it, eating pie for breakfast, frolicking in the waves, and generally behaving as though they don't have a care in the world. When that happens, you know you're doing something right. Yesterday they went to the County fair! Sun, surf, and a county fair, what more can you ask for?

We know that the "real world" is out there waiting our return, but for now... the surf and sun are all we know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hawaii (Week one)

I never get used to the natural beauty of Hawaii.  Each time I return, it is like observing it for the first time.   Hawaii must have magical powers of sorts that renders everyone in the present moment, it's like falling in love.  Everything is just awesome, food taste better, flowers are more vivid, and the sea is an indescribable blue.

It is always a treat to stay in Honolulu for a few days and take in the many tourist type activities, like touring the island and taking in some of the water excursions.  But then the real beauty is away from the hustle of Waikiki and a trip to one of the other islands is in order.

The island of choice this trip is Kauai.  Kauai has spectacular and rugged beauty of Na Pali, the Waimea Canyon, and of course there are nice sandy beaches too.
Living room in our rented house

This is our 2nd day in Kauai, we rented a beautiful house in Princeville.  The house sits on a buff over looking the sea.  All the window slide open, allowing the warm trade winds to breeze throughout the house.  What an amazing house, it has everything including a fully stock kitchen.

the private beach (Sealodge) below our house

The children explored the grounds surrounding the house and down to the sea.  They report that the beach is quite rocky and rough.    So today we went in search of a more suitable beach.  After a wonderful lunch, we drove to Lumahi, Makua (Tunnels), and Ke e Beach.  We decided on the first beach, Lumahi.

What impressed me the most about island living is everything and everyone moves in slow motion, it is not if you are going to relax, but how soon will you adapt to the island's rhythm.  As the stress is washed out to the sea by the surf, we watch the sunset.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's in the Soil I'm sure!

The biggest zucchini I've ever seen, and it came from my garden.  I baked it into the most tasty zucchini bread that unfortunately, didn't last long enough to be photographed.   

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's Hot, but I like it!

In the dead of winter, when it is freezing, I will fondly remember this ever so hot summer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


What do you do when it is so hot it feels like the weight of the world on your chest? Well, what about kayaking? Nothing cools you like going down to the river to feel the cool breeze off the water. And the best part is there are no bugs!!!

We are so fortunate to live on the river, and each day (I lie. When I take a moment from my busy schedule) I give gratitude for my magnificent life.

Yesterday, I started a new blog! It is a simple blog about my plan to get fit and stay healthy using Ayurveda's 5 thousand year old health strategies for balancing the mind and body.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

25 Second Shake

Yesterday, June 23, at 1:46 p.m., the earth moved beneath my feet for 25 seconds! It never occurred to me I would be in an earthquake when after lunch I decided to work from home and was sitting at my computer in my kitchen. Suddenly my house started to vibrate gently at first, then more violently. Accompanying the vibration was a loud noise that sounded like a big tractor directly outside my widow. Bloody hell, it was more like it was in the kitchen, really. I knew instinctively that it was an earthquake because I experienced my first earthquake a few years ago when I first moved here. But our mind at first does not want to accept this, and instead I thought it must be construction outside.

When I accepted that it MUST be an earthquake, my first thought was what should I do? Stay put, drop, cover, and hang on, or go outside? I decided to stay put (at the computer) but when everything is quaking twenty-five seconds can seem like eternity. Within seconds twitter was a buzz about the quake, knowing that I was not alone made me feel better. A shared experience can bring people together no matter how far apart they physically may be.

For years I’ve had a recurring dream about being in an earthquake. The earth opening up and me falling into it(what was missing in my dreams is the loud sound coming from beneath the earth during actual earthquakes).

The interesting thing is now that I live in an earthquake zone and certainly expect that in all likelihood the earth will shake my house again at some point, I no longer experience earthquake dreams. My dreams since moving here are about being under water, but there is no chance of this happening because we live at least 20 feet above the river. Where do these dreams come from anyways???

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who's There!!!

(This is not my video, but it is from somewhere in Ontario)

A few weeks ago my maintenance guy told me he found a couple of muskrats, a wild turkey, and numerous birds on the property completely cleaned. “I think you have a predator living on the property,” he finally says. My mind immediately jumps to maybe it is vampires? I imagine I have too much Twilight and TrueBlood on the brain to think clearly having witnessed the carnage on the property.

Today, he said he found a porcupine totally gutted. That is a big clue. Who can kill a porcupine without getting quills all over their face...a fisher, that's who.

When you live in the country one assumes there are things out there at night keeping the balance of nature. But there is something a little unnerving about a carnivore ripping apart little animals just a few feet from the front steps… even if it is a cute fisher!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oprah is human, not an Icon!

Oprah represents all of us who have a dream, but what sets her apart from most of us is her tenacity and perseverance (Not to mention, she is rich beyond our wildest dreams). She never gives up until her dream becomes reality, and then she dreams some more…

In my head, I am Oprah’s best friend and like all friends we’ve have our disagreements. I’ve composed long letters in my head to her setting out my reasons for disagreeing with her and hopefully compelling her to see it from my point of view. For example, I had some serious concerns with how she was setting up her school for girls in South Africa. In particular, taking children from their families to give them "a better life" without any regard for their culture smacks too much like how the the residential schools in Canada were managed by the church.

Our serious conversations (in my head) are most often about how the boundaries between her public life and personal life are blurred. And as she becomes more isolated the two become one leaving little room for her to be her “authentic self” and who to trust becomes increasingly difficult.

Along comes Kitty Kelly Unauthorized Oprah Biographer. (interview with Matt Lauer and Erica Jong, Oprah, Kitty and Me)

I read the book, and by-in-large feel that Kelly did a balance job of writing about Oprah’s life in spite of the difficulty in getting sources. However, Kelly writes mostly the tantalizing and sensational bits of Oprah’s life, which are dated before Oprah became “Oprah”. Maybe that’s what she thinks sells, but it does not make a great book.

The argument biographers have in supporting writing about someone, especially if it is unauthorized, is that this person is in the “public” and the public has the right to know. I think this premise is wrong. I really don’t care if she (Oprah) had a tremulous and rebellious teenage phase, who hasn’t. Indeed, fragments of our past does not create a clear picture of who we are in the present.

I would much prefer to read an authorized biography than an unauthorized one for exactly the reason that it is their life and it is up to them what they want shared publicly. It is no wonder Oprah has to go to extremes to keep her life private. And in my head it will always be just Oprah and me, can't get much more private than that. We only have one life and she, my best friend (in my head), Oprah, is living her life, which needs no apology.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010


Interview with Joe Hill

We all process terror and horror differently, what is scary to some, is just plain ridicules to others. Our reaction to what scares us I believe is deeply rooted in our psyche. Case in point, Horns, which I just read by Joe Hill and I kid you not, this was the most terrifying book that I’ve read. Initially I started reading it but quit after chapter one because I thought the premise of the story was pretty stupid.

However, I just could not get the main character, Iggy Parrish, out of my mind. He had taken root in the deep dark area of my brain and the only way to get rid of him I thought was to exorcise him by following him to the end. So I grabbed the book and finished reading it. I admit, there were still some sections of the story I could not get myself to read and glanced over them quickly before moving on to the next scene. By now you probably think I am some kind of wimp. It is just a story after all.

I think being raised Catholic has something to do with how I related to Iggy waking up as the devil. As a child, the devil was around every corner tempting anyone in his vicinity. There exist a struggle between what is right and wrong and in a perfect world the devil would always lose. But what if...

...the scariest thing imaginable happen, waking up as the devil like Iggy. Scarier still is how the other characters reacted to him. I don’t know but for me taking the reader to the darkest depths of unspeakable impiety is more terrifying than say invasions of aliens or vampires.

Regardless, I totally recommend reading this book, Joe Hill is a talented writer. Which is no surprise, after all he did learn from the most prolific of horror writers, his dad.

Another blogger reviewed the book here and the another review here.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

NYC I love U!

I am not sure why it took so long for us to visit this amazing city, but it took over 15 years after living practically next door to finally go there. Although, I admit, I was aware that it is an incredible metropolis with a worldwide reputation for some of the most exciting entertainment venues and museums but somehow it always felt too far away. Really, it is no more than a seven-hour drive.

Going to NYC for Spring break was a spontaneous decision. After our son Andrew returned from NYC with his grade 7/8 class he suggested we go there the following week. After a brief discussion, we agreed to go and as it turned out was the best decision we made collectively as a family.
He was our tour guide and we spent the next three days following in the footsteps of his class, minus going to the UN. However, we added more tourist activities which he didn’t have time to do with his class on his previous trip. Here he is at the Empire State Building!

My first impressions of NYC was that it is clean, energetic, and friendly. I’m not sure if it was because it was one of the first hot, sunny days, but New Yorkers as whole are a pretty friendly bunch. We were there right smack in the middle of it all for St. Patrick's Day Parade. There were millions of crazy, happy, fun lovin people on the streets!

The only criticism I have is where are the public toilets! Fortunately, we found Starbucks had one but others found it too. The line up was about 45 minutes because it was St. Paddy's day and tons of people where in the same predicament.

All in all, it was a very memorable trip, the highlight of which for me was seeing Lend Me A Tenor, which was playing at the Music Box. After the play we went to the Empire State Building, by then after midnight, to see the city lights. It felt very ‘sleepless in Seattle’. Magnificent!

The following are some images (click to enlarge) of the trip…

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