About Me

October 31, 2016

Finally ....

.... she can drive. Our youngest is now
able to drive, with one of us with her
still. But a practicing driver she is!

She's quite good and very accurate
her decisions. I'm a proud mama.

Sitting in the back while the daddy guy
helps her back up using the mirrors. I
am glad he is so patient and calm. Now
she needs practice and then her own car.

Fall Mantel.

Please forgive me for taking these shots
with my phone camera. Shadows, ugh.

But I wanted to capture our sweet little
mantel and how we decorated it this Fall.

A little collection of fabric leaves and
tiny pumpkins and wooden buildings.

It smells delicious in here because the
pine cones are scented. So yummy!

Soon our mantel will be sparkly and full
of Christmas. But for now, we'll enjoy Fall.

And Darkness Fell ....

I was able to capture a few shots before 
it became too dark to use my camera.

Our Halloween front door for this year.
I forgot we had these lights ~ tiny ghosts.

It was fun to make pumpkins groups
and light our lanterns, setting the scene.

We carved 4 pumpkins ~ an arrow at
the beginning of our driveway and then
a Peace sign, a sad face and BOO on our
veranda. We had lots of compliments.

The white lanterns were a gift. We had
a few grey ones and they looked great
together. Just enough light to brighten
the path and the veranda. We now have
5 white and 3 grey and I hope to gather
a few more in the future. They are nice
and bright and the wind (which we have
tonight) can't blow out all the candles. 

Halloween Decorating.

Before sunset, we finished up our front
veranda with our Halloween Decorations.

I was so excited to find a straw bale this
year. A true bale, not a tiny replica.

Carved pumpkins, dried sunflowers and a
collection of scarecrows from our Fall display.

More pumpkins, lanterns and some spooky 
items to scare the guests that will soon arrive.

That's Talent.

My dd brought a treat home for me today
from her Halloween Party at her preschool.
Whoever made this has brilliant ideas and
tons of talent. I'm creative but would never
have come up with this sweet treat idea.
I almost don't want to eat it! But, I will.

October Christmas ....

 .... at our local greenhouse! We went
to see if they had any Halloween displays
on the weekend, and found this lovely
Christmas set up. It was everywhere.

My favorite was this little house, all
set up as Santa's Workshop. So sweet.

We'll take our grandson next week to see
the displays. He'll love to walk through
the trees and the workshop. It was a bit
early to see this but it was fun to see the
other shoppers wandering like we were,
sharing memories of Christmas pas and
taking a moment to feel excited about
the next season on the horizon. Yes, I did
say season, as we love to take time with
the festivities. But first, we Halloween.

October 30, 2016

Halloween Dilemma.

On the dark Eve of Halloween, we have quite a large and not easy dilemma on our hands. After a week and a bit of harsh rains, our front path to our front door, is very muddy, sinking our boots down in sludge. Today, we moved some gravel over the mud but it didn't take care of the entire situation. Now we're trying a new plan.

Instead of having costumed children trudge up the hill to our house, then wade through the mud to the veranda, up the steps, we're thinking of setting up a small display of Halloween decor just before the muddy path. We can hear if anyone is driving up so we will then go out to greet our visitors so they can have a great time and not get stuck in the mud. By the end of the week, the mud will be dried and we can use our path again. For tomorrow, we'll improvise so our little trick or treaters aren't lost in the mud! A fun night doesn't need any obstacles. 

Restful Sunday?

I have always believed that Sunday should be a true day of rest and rejuvenation. When our children were young and I was at home full time, it was easy to use Saturday as our day to tackle chores that were done together. And then Sunday was our day to sleep in, hang out, play, read, trek down to the big park at the end of our street, BBQ and just be a family. Things shifted a bit when I was offered my current contract with our local hospice, after 20 years at home. I started out very part time. But after a few years, they asked me to come on board full time. And the bonus was, I could choose and work my hours the way I needed to, so I could still have time to juggle my family commitments and my work life. My husband came home at that time and was able to carve out his own career, while taking care of the house and life for all of us. Our weekends were a bit different, as I took on working on Saturdays, with Monday off, a schedule I still love today. At that time, anything we didn't get done on Saturday we could move to Monday and do those items together or he would add them to his list and get them done during the week. It worked well and we still had down time. Sundays were our rest days.

But then we decided it was time for an adventure. It was time to move, time to expand our space to better accommodate our extended family. And suddenly, our quiet and restful Sundays became the day we'd meet with our builder (often) and the day we'd use to shop for or scout out our choices for the build. It was a lot of  work and we got in to a habit of getting our work done either on Saturday night or I'd do it all on Mondays. By now, my dh had returned to the corporate world, after being home for over 6 years with our youngest, who turned 18 the year he went back. With a busy Sunday, every hour taken up with a tight schedule, and Mondays full of tasks, chores, lists and phone calls, I had NO down time. We vowed once we moved to the country that we'd "take back" our Sundays. For quite a while, we did just that but this Fall, with the prediction of an early Winter, we've found ourselves filling up our Sundays again. Extra yardwork, making sure the house is set for snow and cold, swapping out Summer tires for Winters, putting away Summer clothes, digging out our warm woolies, Thanksgiving, Halloween and then Christmas, plus 3 birthdays and 2 Christmas Concerts, all taking extra time. 

This Sunday was different. I had truly had enough of rushing around to get things done without any regard for my physical, emotional, spiritual and creative self. So starting on Friday, we broke down tasks, and decided that Sunday would be a "light" day. We got lots down yesterday and allowed ourselves a chance to sleep in a bit this morning. Then we went into town with our daughter and grandson, then home to do a couple of tasks in the garden, including cutting down some tree branches that were in the way for our new fence and gate. We put our back deck furniture under the porch, safe from the harshness of Winter. And swept the deck, laid out the skating rink liner, made 2 quiches for dinner and lunch tomorrow, and put away a load of laundry. We were done by 3ish and then after hot showers, I cozied up on the couch to read, write, explore ideas, watch a few shows and enjoy some quiet time. Dh and dd and gs are now watching the hockey game in the theatre room downstairs, dd is upstairs getting ready for her day tomorrow and I'm watching a show about Castles in Scotland. Lovely way to spend a cozy Sunday evening. This coming week is supposed to be very warm and sunny, after a week of intense fog and rain. We're hoping our gates and fences will go in by the end of the week while it's still nice out. Next weekend, we'll put our wicker furniture under the porch, along with the rain barrels and sweep off the veranda. Our garden will then be ready for Winter. Soon we'll start our Christmas decorating and write out our cards, finish up our shopping and plan our scrumptious dinner. But only tasks related to those that we love to do can spill over to Sundays, as long as we're in agreement. For now, I'd like to go back to having Sundays for cuddling. Cozy and restful, as they always should be.

What do your Sundays look like?
Are they a day of rest or full of activities?

October 29, 2016

National Cat Day.

My dear bloggin buddy, Jo, wrote a 
post about National Cat day today.

I didn't check to see if this was just an
American custom or in Canada too.

But I couldn't resist the opportunity to
show off another photo or two of Kylo.

Do you have any cats in your life?
Did you celebrate National Cat Day?

October 28, 2016

Adding Color.

We picked up some colorful burgundy 
potted Mums at the greenhouse when we
were in town the other day. We really didn't
need more color but we truly couldn't resist.

With our real and fake pumkins, the new
Fall Wreath and a few fall items, it's colorful.

We discovered our decorations for Fall
could be displayed everywhere with the
size of our veranda, even on the sweet
windowsills. Couldn't do this in town!

Love the colors all together. I'm hanging on
to the shades around us while it's still here.
Soon, oh too soon, our world will be white
and grey but today, we have color all over.

Quiet Visitors.

We have a deer family that comes to visit each day
right around 4 p.m., quietly through the woods.

Sometimes they spot us watching them.
I often wonder what they are thinking.

She looks confused! This is the baby we've
watched grow from a tiny doe to full grown.

Off she goes to catch up to her family members.
I love these visits and feel honored they choose to
still come on our property, even though there is
now a house on site and kids toys in the garden.

Do you have deer close by?
Or other quiet visitors in your garden?

Baby Loss Month.

The month of October in many countries around
the world is recognized as a time to remember
babies who die during pregnancy or anytime after
birth. And the 15th of October is a special day for
families to gather, at 7 p.m., to light candles in
every time zone. This event creates awareness of
the impact that baby loss has on local communities,
and the impact on individual grieving families.

This year, we coordinated an event in the
big city ~ the lighting of the bridge that
spans the river. There was lots of press
and I was on tv 4 times in one day! But
it was worth the time and energy to help
families have a place to be to remember.

After we got home, we lit this candle,
gifted to us from another bereaved
parent, in memory of our tiny babies:
B, C, B, C, C, B, C, B. Loved forever.

Fall Wreath.

It was time for a new Fall Wreath this
year and we found just the perfect one.

Full of rich colors, it was an incredible deal. 
A $40 item marked down to $10 ~ brand new.

I love the colors against our black front
door and the pumpkins on the veranda deck.

Do you have a Fall Wreath?
Is your home decorated this season?

Still I Rise ....

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
 I rise.

Maya Angelou .... 1928 ~ 2014

October 26, 2016

Waiting ....

.... still waiting. We moved in to our
just over 16 months ago. And from
the beginning, I knew what I wanted
this kitchen nook corner to look like.

But between packing and unpacking,
settling in, theater work, hospice work,
centre work, trying to landscape, and
spending time with our family ....

.... this little corner has sat and sat. No
life to it, just a spot for items to be.

This weekend, my beloved dh helped me
finally change this corner from nothing
to something. I'll do the reveal a little later
in the week. For now, you'll have to wait ....

Curious Kitty.

Kylo is a very curious and playful kitty. He loves to
explore and is a great playmate for our grandbaby. So
much fun to watch the two of them amuse and truly
entertain each other. It never gets old, making us laugh.

Wordless Wednesday.

People Watching.

I'm at the dealership this morning while they do my oil change (free for as long as I have my car) and swap out my summer tires for my winters. They are supposed to shuttle me to work but the driver is late and ironically, my car will be ready before she's back. So I'm sitting here, chilled out and "people watching" while I wait. A fun activity when the moments ahead are boring. I like to try and guess the life behind the body, the story behind the life. I love people watching when I'm sitting waiting for something or someone. Great way to kill the time.

Across from me, a lovely Asian lady who is wishing to buy a car but there is a blip in her credit. She's all dressed in black, with comfy Ugg boots and a knitted handbag. On her phone and texting and scrolling like mad. She doesn't look too worried, maybe slightly. Hope she gets her car today so she can smile and be happy.

Another older Asian man was across from me but is now pacing. I'm not sure if they are together as I came in after they were already here. They haven't conversed or made any eye contact that I've seen. Maybe they are together but he's not happy about the credit situation. He's calm but nervous. But not smiling at all.

Older woman who's on her phone and not participating in watching the tv that is on for us to watch. Maybe the show doesn't interest her. Maybe she's meal planning. Maybe she's chatting with a friend. No guess by her face. She has a "I'm not going to look at anyone" kind of look about her. I'm sure she'd rather be somewhere else.

Older guy who is clearly retired and has all the time in the world today. Not taking the shuttle offer. He'll just wait. No interest in the tv. No interest in walking around or going to visit the shops close by. He'll just sit and wait, and wait, and wait. And people watch.

Ah, a new seat mate! She just came out of the sales office with a big smile on her face and a glossy folder in her hand. She's excited  .... perhaps a new car? Or a good deal? Or she thinks she got a good deal!! It's hard work getting a good deal. I know, I'm the queen of good deals!

More sales guys than customers today. It's quiet in here, a bit chilly and I do wish they would put the fireplace on. But I declined the shuttle to go anywhere because my car is supposed to be done in the next few minutes. An oil change, inspection and tire swap, plus car wash, all within an hour and a half. I'm happy to wait vs. taking the shuttle and having to wait to be picked up again. I need to get to work but am happy I could do some work here and not get too behind in my schedule. Plus, taking the shuttle would have meant sitting in a closed vehicle with a grouchy looking driver and people who need to be somewhere, just like me. Happy my dealership is fast and I can get out of here to get on with my day. It was fun but my people watching is now done. 

What's on your plate today?
Any "people watching" in your day?

October 25, 2016

A New Tool.

We started, as a family, a support group program for families, after we lost our son in 1996. It morphed into a family centre and encompasses much of our lives today. After 20 years of leading groups, I've started to make changes to move my heart and my work into new directions. Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life who have been able to step into the roles I'm slowing releasing. But tonight, we had a bit of a glitch as a weather advisory was issued, just 4 short hours before our monthly support group meeting was supposed to start. Fog so thick you can't see a foot in front of the car. And freezing temps that will make the rain covered roads very slick later tonight. It's never easy to cancel anything but we wanted our families to be safe. So we changed our meeting tonight from meeting on site, in person, to an online experience. A gamble for these grieving families. 

But I have to say, our gamble paid off! We had at least 4 times more attendees than we normally would have. And so many of them have commented how nice it was to join in when they can't because they live so far away. Or the weather keeps them home. I think we may have hit on a new idea here. A safe place but online, where families can share their experiences while we guide and moderate the conversations. We'll chat later to see if we should do this more often. Maybe in time we'll let go of the in person group meeting and just click online to connect to each other. Hmmm .... I kind of like this new tool ....

Sunday Dinner.

When I was growing up, Sunday Dinner was a very special meal. We lived in a different community then, in a different province and had family all around us. Each week, we rotated between going to my grandparents homes and our home. Rarely, was it at our home and if it was, my dad would BBQ. But at my grandparents homes, dinner was always a "roasted" affair. My dad's parents loved to make a beef roast each time, with mashed potatoes and veggies. The only thing that I didn't like about visiting there was that my grandmother did not believe that I had food allergies, and she made me eat at least one spoonful of potatoes each time. The rest of the meal, I would try to gulp down my food over a very swollen throat. Potatoes are so bad for me now, my throat will actually swell closed. But I did enjoy the company, the warmth of their small house and the routine off helping my grandfather rewind the big clock before dinner and then watching Walt Disney and the Walton's before we headed home. We were the only grandchildren in town during this time on that side as my cousins were living overseas. Lots of attention for just my brother and I, and my mom and my dad.

Going for dinner at my other grandparents home was much louder, very busy with all the cousins, aunties and uncles, and tons of smoke in the air. Yes, they both smoked and that was the only thing I had a hard time with during those visits. Yuck! I still can't stand the smell and look away when I see someone smoke (thankfully, a rare sight these days). But the fun of playing with my cousins, exploring the garden and having my youngest uncle, who was still living at home at the time rough house with us more than made up for the smoke. My grandmother had a tea cup from England for each of us and after dinner, we'd get to have a cup of real tea, not just milk with a drop of tea in it! Dinner was often either a few roasted chickens or a turkey or goose. And no one made me eat potatoes. No sore throat, just itchy eyes from the cat and smelly clothes and hair from the smoke.

As our family grew, we've tried to create our own Sunday Dinner tradition. My dh came from a family that didn't have this experience and in my own small family, after we moved from one province to this one, we didn't have family dinner as often. I used to think how sad it was that our dining room wasn't used that much. I'm thankful that we've had a dining room in our last 4 houses and each was and has been used quite a bit. Our kids grew up knowing the dining room was a special place and we've had many hours of laughter and good food around the table. I hope this do this with their own families one day. With all of us spread out, we can't have them all over each week but it's nice to even have a dinner by Skype. Or when their is a special holiday.

Sunday Dinner was always a great place to try out new recipes. Some were hits, some, not so much! But at least our kids would try them, even if they complained. We've gotten in to a routine in our new house of having roast chicken each Sunday and it's fun to come up with new side dishes. This one we tried recently came from a Facebook post and when I went that day to buy some fresh brussel sprouts, the grocer had to go to the back to get some for me. He commented he had never seen brussel sprouts leave the store so quickly. He had actually refilled the bin 4 times just that morning and was worried he'd run out by noon. I told him about the FB post and he laughed saying it wasn't the first time a receipe online has depleted their stock. Here's the link if you want to try this delicious dish. Highly recommended.

It was pretty easy to make and so tasty. We had it
again this past week when our son was here to visit.

Browning onions makes my kitchen feel so cozy
and so "fall like" ~ very homey and warm.

All mixed together. This was before I had put the
cooked bacon back into the dish. Made it colorful.

Warm chicken gravy with spices and drippings from
the pan. So tasty and worth the time to make it.

There's the brussel sprouts all ready in the back with
the bacon added in. And the seasoned chicken, ready
for it's gravy, stuffing, potatoes, salad and fresh buns to
finish off this very scrumptious and easy Sunday Dinner.

Do you have traditional Sunday Dinner?
Or special dinners throughout the year?