Monday, July 24, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, friends! How are you all doing? Would it surprise anyone if I said that it's raining as I type this? Of course not. That's the way it goes around here. On the positive side, I've never seen a summer look this green and lush before. Usually by now it's very hot and dry, and the plants struggle.

I finished painting the trim and doors on Saturday in our lower level and the area looks amazing. Next step is laying down flooring that we're hoping to get to later in the week. We are happily moving forward indoors but not on the outdoors. I did step outside a few weeks ago to clear some weeds and get rid of some unwanted plants, but with all this rain, the weeds have returned with a vengeance. Ah well, there's only so much I can take on at a time.

Now let's get to the funny stuff, shall we?


Have a good one!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

This Week

It’s Saturday? Okay, if you say so. One day just seems to blend into the next around here and I don’t even notice when the weekends roll in. This week has been very busy. And productive. Our playroom/TV room/exercise area/lower level has been stripped of carpet and we’ve painted the ceiling and walls. Today I am finishing the trim and doors, and this coming week flooring will be laid down. We are definitely over the halfway mark of cleaning and painting. After this we’ve got a small bedroom downstairs, the front room/living room and a tiny laundry room to wash and paint. That’s it. Next week I’ll be able to say that the majority of the indoor work is finished. Can you say overjoyed? That’s how I feel.

On Monday I was back in Montreal. This time the drive there and back was much better. My brother and I accompanied my mother to her doctor’s appointment. I wanted to attend, hear what he had to say and ask a couple of questions. She is still feeling ill since she fell and banged her head last month on the cement tiles in her garden. This accident, which the doctor confirmed to me may indeed have caused a concussion, has turned her cherished weekly routine topsy turvy and it’s really upsetting to her. He told her she will be fine but it will take time until things return to normal.  But she questions whether he’s just saying that to make her feel better, convinced that she’s never going to get better. I suspect that in addition to whatever symptoms the fall has brought on, she’s also dealing with fear and a lot of anxiety. Possibly health anxiety.

I talk to my cats all the time. They each respond differently and it’s rather amusing. Our black cat, Nacho, tries very hard to understand. She answers back sometimes and always listens attentively for any words that are familiar to her. And when she hears one she knows like “food” or “no” or “Nacho” or “down”, she’s thrilled and rubs up against me. Or rather, she jumps up against me. She is very excitable that way.

Our tabby cat, Mocha, on the other hand, stares at me with big, round eyes like I’ve just sprung a pop quiz on her. Occasionally she’ll make a faint meowing sound if I toss out a familiar word but mostly she looks horrified. What is she asking? What if I answer wrong? How much time do I have? This behaviour is adorable.

Okay, enough about cats or anything else for that matter. I’m sure you’ve all got better things to do. So I will stop right here and wish you all a beautiful rest of the weekend!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy new week, my friends! What's up? How's everyone? Is the weather nice where you live? You're probably as tired of hearing about it as I am mentioning it but the rain continues here. Does anyone have some sunshine to spare? I'll trade you some rain.

There is nothing going on and a lot going on at the same time. Does that make any sense? I'm sure some of you will understand. We are moving forward with the renovations on our home, albeit slowly. I've been taking pictures of all the changes along the way and eventually I will share the before and after of each room.

I don't have much else to say at the moment but will try to post again later this week. For now, here are a few images that I hope will make you laugh. Enjoy and have a great day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Perfect Day, Favourite Memory, Travel Bucket List)

It has taken what seems like forever to answer all the questions my blogging pals asked me in this year’s ‘Ask Me Anything ’ post I uploaded way back in February. What? Has it really been that long? I guess it has.

But this will come to an end today as I answer the last questions that were posed by a favourite, long-time blogging pal and fellow Canadian.

Away we go…


1) What's a perfect day for you?

Where do I start with this? Since I’m all about the simple things in life, my perfect day can be defined in many ways. It may include any of these:

  • Going for a long walk or bike ride with the most amazing man in the world. And stopping for ice cream along the way.
  • Visiting with one of my girls for mother-daughter time.
  • Getting together with my family. And talking and laughing and sharing stories and memories. Even debating with them can be fun.
  • Curling up with a good book on a rainy, snowy or bitterly cold day.
  • Spending the day cooking and baking enough food to last us a week. And inhaling the amazing scents each recipe brings with it.
  • Meeting up with my best friend who has been by my side since we were both four.
  • Receiving packages in the mail. This is always exciting no matter how old I get!
  • Photography. Photography. Photography.
  • Being near the water. Preferably a beach. But that doesn’t happen often, so I settle for a lake or a river or a pond. I’m happiest when I’m near water.
  • Gardening for hours. And listening to the chirping and scurrying and fluttering and buzzing of little critters around me.
  • Road trips! Can you ever go on enough of these?
  • Going out for dinner with friends or family. Or just with the most amazing man in the world.
  • Skyping with my daughter and listening to all she has to share about life and work and friends and her boyfriend. And of course, Obi; her sweet, newly-adopted cat.
And on and on it goes. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, which I consider to be a blessing. Because I have a lot of perfect days with minimal effort.

2) Tell us one of your favourite memories.

Once again, where do I start with this? It would take a book to document all of them but I’ll just reach into the ‘favourite memories’ database in my brain and pluck one out for you. Oh, here's one:

When I was four years old, my mother and I went to pick my brother up from school one afternoon. My mother kept reminding me to stay close but I got mixed up in the crowd and we lost sight of each other. She and my brother called out to me and I called out to them but our voices were drowned out by the noise level of the masses. My mother stayed calm for my brother’s sake; he was in a severe state of panic and did not fully comprehend what had happened, but he did understand that I was lost. Possibly forever. Devastated, he wailed “We’ve lost our girl. Where is she? What are we going to do? WE HAVE TO FIND HER! WHAT. ARE. WE. GOING. TO. DOOOOO?”

Because I’d been walking to and from the school with my mom every day for months to pick up my brother, I made my way home with the aid of an older student. When we arrived at my home, I said good-bye to the girl who walked me there, entered our building and planted myself on the steps in front of our apartment to wait for my mother and brother who weren’t there yet.

My mother and brother (he cried all the way home) arrived shortly after, and as soon as my brother spotted me, he raced up the stairs and we embraced each other tightly, both of us crying with joy. My mother who remembers that day very well says we were glued onto one another and she couldn’t pull us apart.

Of course, there is a scary element to this story that could have turned out very differently but since it has a happy ending, it remains a favourite. I remember clearly the extreme joy I felt reuniting with my best friend – my brother. We were only 11 months apart and unbelievably close. He died in 2011 and you can only imagine the impact it had on me. I miss him every day.

3) How about your travel vacation bucket list.

I am passionate about traveling and would be at a different place every month if I could (if only the lottery would come in). Here are ten places I would love to see in my lifetime.

1) Australia
2) Fiji Islands
3) Cross country Canadian tour
4) Cross country American tour
5) European tour (almost every place!)
6) Barbados (just one of many other Caribbean countries I’d love to go to)
7) Japan
8) India
9) China
10) New Zealand

There are many other places but I’ll stop here because we all have lives to lead.

And that is the end of this year’s answers to your questions. Thank you to everyone who participated and to everyone who has taken the time to read all this. It’s been a lot of fun putting these blog posts together.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How are you all doing? Did you have a nice weekend? Did you do anything special? My dearest and oldest friend asked to get together this weekend, so we met for lunch in Montreal yesterday. It's always a joy to see her. It was a beautiful day until later in the afternoon when buckets of rain starting coming down. Then it stopped and the sun came out. Then the rain returned. Then the sun. And on and on it went, back and forth. It was the weirdest, most erratic day ever. Today it's raining again. Of. Course. It. Is.

Let's get to the funny stuff and give the day a happy boost!

Have a good one!

Friday, July 7, 2017

This Week

Is it Friday again? That’s what the calendar tells me. And so here’s this week’s post.

We spent Monday in Ottawa. It was my younger daughter’s 20th birthday and we wanted to spend some time with her. She and her boyfriend were both off from work, so we took them for lunch at a place called Pure Kitchen, a vegetarian food and juice bar. The food was really good and really filling. After lunch we all headed over to a place called The Ministry of Coffee; a cozy cafe with a laid back atmosphere, rustic look, very friendly staff, an assortment of tasty food options and desserts, and most importantly, great coffee. It’s the type of place you’d want to sit in and work on your novel. The conversation was fun and the company was great. My daughter’s boyfriend is a wonderful young man and they both seem very happy. A great visit all around on a warm and sunny day. It’s hard to believe that my younger child is no longer a teenager. It feels like only yesterday that I brought her home from the hospital. The grey hairs on my head say otherwise.

You’d think I’d had enough of traveling and socializing but nope, I was in Montreal the very next day. My 80-year-old mother called at 5:45 AM stating she felt really sick and wanted to go to the hospital. I’d just spoken to her the night before and she seemed fine, so this was a little unexpected, although not entirely surprising. You see, she tripped and fell in her garden about a month ago and banged her head on the cement tiles. My brother took her to the hospital and after being thoroughly examined, it was determined that she had suffered a mild concussion. The hospital doctors and her family doctor that she’s seen at least a couple of times since then have told her that it will take weeks, possibly months, before she feels like herself again. She is also suffering from low blood pressure lately that brings on other symptoms. All of this has disrupted her daily schedule and interfered with her independence. This makes her anxious, impatient, frustrated, confused and irritable. She wants to get back to normal...yesterday.

My mom usually calls upon my brother who lives in the downstairs apartment with his wife (my mom owns a duplex) to help her. This time she didn’t because she didn’t want to bother him. I didn’t either. I moved closer to be able to help now that our mother is getting older. So I splashed water on my face, fed the cats (cannot leave without doing this), got dressed, filled a thermos with coffee, grabbed a bagel and out the door I went. “It’ll be an easy drive this early in the morning”, I thought. Wrong. Shortly into my drive, I ran into heavy fog on the highway that lasted about 15 minutes. Then I ran into construction that slowed everyone down. Then heavy traffic. It seems everyone was heading east, too, that early in the morning. Instead of taking an hour to get there, which is what I expected, it took an hour and 45 minutes. And I even had trouble finding parking on her street. Because big city living. When I finally made it up to her place, she told me she was feeling better. We never did go to the hospital.

My brother and my sister-in-law were happy to see me but stunned that I’d driven all the way there when they’re right downstairs, always happy to help. I said that I didn’t mind. Perhaps she just needed a little support from me. She’s probably got health anxiety at this point, along with a lot of fear; a patient and understanding approach is needed, especially as she gets older. Although it was a tiring day, it was not totally wasted. I had a nice visit with my mom, and my brother and sister-in-law took me out for coffee and for lunch. I have the best family and it’s always nice to see them.

The next day the most amazing man in the world met up with an old friend of his and they spent the day together. I had the place to myself and you know what I did? Ab-so-lute-ly nothing. I slacked off the whole day, did a lot of reading and even took a long afternoon nap to catch up on some sleep. Sometimes you need a little of that.

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real that you couldn’t shake it off once you woke up? This happened to me this morning. I dreamt that I was eating something that tasted really horrible. So horrible, in fact, that when I woke up I could still taste it. It took all morning before I could rid my mouth of that awful taste even though I’d polished off two cups of coffee, a bowl of cereal and an oatmeal cookie. I’m okay now but still feeling a little haunted by it.

Okay, this has gotten longer than I intended. I’ll finish off with the song “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars. The video showcases images of James Bowen and his cat Bob. There is a book and movie about these two; a heartwarming tale of a recovering addict and a stray cat finding each other and healing each other’s scars. And you know what else? Bob the cat plays himself in the feel-good film. *tears of joy*

Enjoy the song and happy weekend!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! How are you all doing? Have you seen any interesting movies lately? Read any good books? Gone anywhere? Done anything fun or exciting or unusual? Do share in the comments below. We were invited for dinner at my best friend's and her husband's home on Friday evening. They live in Montreal. The food was great and the company even better. My friend and I have known each other since we were four. Isn't that amazing? Love it. And love her. Now that we live so much closer, we can see each other whenever we want. Love that, too.

I won't go on and on this morning because it's going to be a busy day. So here's some funny stuff to start the day off right. Enjoy!

Have a good one.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Our Home and Native Land

"We know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world who worship every faith, who belong to every
culture, who speak every language. We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing bestowed upon us
by previous generations of Canadians, Canadians who stared down prejudice and fought discrimination in all its forms."
(Justin Trudeau - 23rd and current Prime Minister of Canada)

So proud to be living in this amazing country.

Wishing you all a great day!

Friday, June 30, 2017

This Week

Didn’t I recently mention rain? Well I’m writing about it again. Because. It’s. Still. Here. And it looks like it’s going to stick around for the next few days. That totally sucks because it’s Canada Day weekend; a very special one, too, that we’re all excited about. Tomorrow Canada is turning 150, which may sound like a lot but it isn’t. This country is still very young. But it’s still an exciting milestone and I’m here to witness it. And so is my mother and so are my two adult daughters. Three generations of women. Anyhow, there are celebrations going on across the country and there is one in our own small city that I was hoping we’d drop in on. Unless it’s raining. That is what the forecast is calling for tomorrow. And not just a little bit of rain but strong thunderstorms. Sigh. We’ll see what happens. (It's pouring rain as I write all this.)

We spent the day in Kingston on Monday. It was such a treat to be back there. We went there because we had scheduled a physical with our doctor because we couldn’t find a local one. Numerous phone calls were met with “we are not accepting new patients”. So Kingston it was. At one point the most amazing man in the world and I decided to drive around town in our new city and drop in on some clinics; we did this for a couple of days. Most places told us they weren’t taking on any new patients but at least two put us on waiting lists. Then four days later one of the places that we'd added our names to a waiting list called back to tell us they were going to take us. It was one of the two places I wanted for us to get into. YAY! Sometimes it pays to present yourself in person. But the family doctor is on maternity leave and won’t be returning until September, so we decided to keep our appointment in Kingston. That worked out great because not only did we get a chance to play tourist in our beloved old city but we also went for dinner at a favourite place to celebrate our wedding anniversary, which was on that day, too. Bonus: we had homemade ice cream for dessert at the best dessert place in town. Chocolate chip for me!

A wellness day, a road trip, dinner, ice cream and an anniversary celebration. Win-win-win-win-win.

The most amazing man in the world: “It really doesn’t feel like Friday today.”
Me: “It’s Thursday.”
The most amazing man in the world: “Well that would explain it.”
And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

These are the types of problems you have when you’re retired. You don’t know what day of the week it is.
(The most amazing man in the world decided to take his company pension and retire in August 2016. He is loving every minute of it.)
I’ve got more to say but I’m going to stop right here. Because I’m busy painting today and I shouldn’t be spending too much time blah, blah, blabbing on the computer. So off I go being all responsible and grown up and stuff like that.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! And to my fellow Canadians – happy 150th! We rock.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (First Photos, My Other Blog, Minimalism)

This year it's taken a very long time to answer the questions my blogging pals asked a long time ago. But I'm almost done; next week should be the end of it. Here's this week's contribution.


Fundy Blue (Louise) asked:
What is the first photo you remember taking?

I honestly don’t know the answer to this. I’ve taken thousands upon thousands of pictures in my life and it’s next to impossible to remember which one was the first. When we were kids, photography was expensive and having a camera in our working class family was a huge luxury, therefore it was handled with care. And by very few people. I was allowed on just a few occasions to take photographs with the family camera but my photo taking frenzy didn’t seriously begin until my brother gifted me my own camera when I was in my early teens. And the journey began. Oh the joy of owning my own camera!


Bethany asked three questions:

1) How did Miniaturopolis start?

As some of my blogging pals know, I have another blog named Miniaturopolis where I post images of miniature (toy) people living in the big world, the experiences they have and the challenges they face. I introduced the blog last year in this post.

So how did it start? I love photography and most of the time I’m all over the map with the types of pictures I take. And that’s fine. But I really wanted to focus on one theme that could be easily carried out throughout all four seasons, motivate me to practice photography on a regular basis and - most important of all – be extremely enjoyable.

Then one day I ran across a website with the type of photography I now do for Miniaturopolis and I fell instantly in love with it! It fit so perfectly with someone like me who keeps the inner child alive and who has a very active imagination. The rest, as they say, is history.

Miniaturopolis is my playground where I set my imagination free. Here are a few photos from there:

Make sure surfaces are free of dirt, dust, debris and little people before using it.

A most dangerous profession.

2) How do you come up with the ideas for the Miniaturopolis scenes?

When I first took a sincere interest in that style of photography, that part of my imagination was just getting started and thinking of what to photograph took a lot of effort. But let me tell you, it didn’t take long before there was an explosion of ideas. All I had to do was ask myself “What would it be like if I was that small and I lived in a world where everything around me was that big? What would I do? What would I see? What would happen?” And my imagination just went wild. Broccoli suddenly became a tree; a CD became a skating rink or pond; a pile of books invited mountain climbing. But not everything is always happy in this little city because it can be dangerous being so tiny in such a big world.

Be careful with it. There are little people out there.

That's got to hurt.

Now I get so many ideas so rapidly that I have to mark them down in a notebook! I am really enjoying myself and I intend to keep this photography going for a long time to come. I share my images on different social media but my biggest success is on Instagram where I have over 1,000 followers. Come join me here if you have an account.

3) Why are you a minimalist?

I don’t give too much meaning to material possessions and I’ve always strived to live a very simple life with as few belongings as possible. I have always been this way and I suspect I always will be. Clutter looks messy to me and it doesn’t seem to serve any valuable purpose; it just collects dust. I’m very intentional about what I want to keep and every year I donate many items to keep our home from becoming overloaded with crap stuff that we don’t need, don’t use and don’t really like. As a minimalist, I prefer more things going out of the house than coming in. Also, when the home is clutter free, it’s easier and faster to clean. Less cleaning means more free time for the things I truly enjoy. Like taking photos for Miniaturopolis!

And as I get older, minimalism becomes even more important because should something happen to the most amazing man in the world and me, I’d like family responsible for disposing of our worldly possessions to have as easy a time at it as possible. I don’t want anyone burdened with the chore of emptying a house that is overflowing with so many things that you don’t know where to start.

That’s it for this round. Next time I’ll answer Christine’s questions; the last ones for this year’s inquiries. Have a good one!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How goes you? What are you up to these days? I've been up since 5:30 because tabby cat decided I'd had enough sleep by then. And with her belly full, guess where she's been since 6 AM? If you guessed in her cat tree dozing away, you win a year's supply of pats on the back and "way to go" and "you rock" compliments. Both my cats nag me to death bother me drive me crazy come to me for all their needs. Because they know who the sucker reliable one is.

Is anyone in need of rain? We had a very wet spring and summer seems to be headed in the same direction. Who can I send some to? We really don't need this much and I'd be happy to share.

We've been watching old episodes of Holmes on Holmes on YouTube. It's a Canadian television series featuring Mike Holmes, a general contractor who rescues Toronto, Ontario homeowners from renovations gone terribly wrong. He goes in and not only cleans up the mess that shitty contractors left behind but fixes stuff you didn't even know needed fixing. Getting this man and his crew to show up at your place is better than winning the lottery. I dream of him knocking on our door and taking over everything that needs doing here. We don't necessarily fit the profile since no contractor has screwed us over and we don't live in the Toronto area, but a girl can dream, no? "Mike, pleeeeaaasssseeee come and fix our house!"

Okay, enough of that. Here's some funny stuff for you.

Have a good one!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This Week

Um, what to say? All week long my brain works overtime and I’ve got a million and one things to share...and then when Friday arrives, I draw a blank. Does this happen to you? I should start jotting down my thoughts so I can look them up when I can’t think of anything to write.

Yesterday evening we met up with some friends for dinner. They live in Quebec and we live in Ontario, so we drove 40 minutes and they drove 30 minutes, which had us meeting at a restaurant at about the halfway point. The food was good but not as good as it should have been considering how overpriced it was. I don’t think we’ll be going there again any time soon. Or ever again, really. Ah well, at least the company was great.
Thursday we took the car in for an oil change and while we were waiting for the work to be completed, we spoke to a salesman at the car dealership and took a look at a few vehicles on the lot. Our car is getting old and we are thinking of replacing it while it’s still intact, before any major repairs surface. We know we have to retire it soon but we’re also reluctant. Because this car has turned out to be phenomenal. We’ve been driving it for 14 years, and in all that time, it’s never given us a problem, never required major repairs, never cost us any serious money. Talk about getting your money’s worth. It’s hard to replace a vehicle like this, especially when there’s no assurance that the next one will be just as reliable and just as sturdy. Have you ever had a car that turned out great?

One thing I have been doing a lot lately is reading. I signed up for the reading challenge again this year on and committed to 22 books, which is not that much for an avid reader like me, but with all the moving business and house renovations, I wanted to choose an amount that’s doable. Today I finished my18th book of the year making me 8 books ahead of schedule. How did this happen? I’m either a fast reader or I have no life. Hmm... Do you like to read?

I’m an early riser but today I slept in until 9:30. GASP! Actually, I got up at 5:00 AM because my tabby cat was nagging me to death, fed her and the other furball and went back to sleep. Or tried to go back to sleep. Same cat walked around meowing and whining and complaining. Apparently, my sleeping in was unsettling to her because that’s not typical of 'our' routine. She paced and whined all morning as I I dozed on and off restlessly and when I finally got up for good, she climbed up into her cat tree, curled into a ball and fell asleep. All was finally well with the world. Cats. For those of you who have them, you know what it’s like.

Well, that’s it for this week. For someone who has nothing to say, I said too much. Happy rest of the weekend to all of you!