Monday, December 31, 2012

Teetering on 2013

It's minutes away until 2013, waiting in the wings, will make its grandiose entrance. But not before I see 2012 to the door and give it a proper send off. I am after all, a gracious host.

2012, you were good to me, and I am a little sad to see you go. You took me on travelling adventures to the other side of Canada, and to the other side the world. I climbed the Great Wall of China, and strolled the courtyards of the Forbidden Palace with my beloved.

You served up life milestones of epic proportion. I sat by the bedside of a grand old lady as she took her last breath. I watched my daughter walk a path in a forest cathedral to wed her husband, and danced with the tribe in celebration. I shared a summer of bliss with my hubby at our cottage retreat, and witnessed a pair golden eagles soar above our dock.  I met our new neighbours who bought the vacant lot adjacent to ours. We said a sad farewell to hubby's ailing grandmother. I helped nurture our beloved Doris in her time of transition. And through it all, you provided space and opportunity for our families to gather - in joy, grief, and for comfort.

And today, on this final day of 2012, we squeezed in as much precious joy as we could: we strolled our waterfront inhaling the crystalline beauty of the frozen shoreline, feasting our eyes on the sparkles and bobbles of soon-to-be retired Christmas ornaments. We filled our kitchen with delicious aromas of  prime rib and sweet potatoes and apples roasting in the oven. We shared our final meal of the year with my dad and his wife, Mama T, and our beloved Doris. We raised our glassed and toasted the year that was, and the year that will be.

All in all, it's been a good one, and for that I am eternally grateful.  S'long 2012 -- I will never forget you.

And welcome 2013... can't wait to see what  you have in store for us all. I wish you all a very happy new year filled with blessings and adventure.

Some scenes from our stroll today as we teetered on 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Seasonal Social Cocktail

Christmas has been a swirling social cocktail of family dinners, visits, phone calls and more family get-togethers. Hubby calculated that we had "plans" on 8 of our 11 days we booked off as vacation. And he's right -- our house has been bubbling with activity (and dogs), delicious cooking aromas filling the air and the vacuum cleaner being tested to its limits. I love it!

Let's face it -- it takes alot of planning, effort and energy to create Christmas magic. But I can't think of an investment that has a greater pay off; when the tree comes down and the decorations are packed and stored for another year, the memories of the beaming faces of my girls and the laughter in the walls will live on for endless years to come.

At dinner we like to toast all who are at the table, those who are missing, and those no longer with us. If nothing else, it is a reminder that at the end of the day, it is really only the presence of family that matters. And lucky us -- we have lots!

Tonight we celebrated my mom-in-law's (MIH) birthday - every birthday deserves to be celebrated -- especially that of a person who makes it her life's work to bring delight and love into everyone's life. Tomorrow has more cooking in the cards for the 30+ family members from Hubby's side who will fill our home. Ham, lasagna, and lots of German humour are on the menu, and I am getting stuffed just thinking about it.

So much abundance. So many family. So much love. So much to be grateful for... and I am.

I hope your holiday season was memorable.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scenes from a Wintry Wedding

Just when it was looking like we were destined for a green Christmas, and we had resigned ourselves to such a fate -- we were offered a brief but perfect respite. We drove up north to our cousin's rustic wedding being held at a ranch. We braved rain, sleet, snow and icy roads to get there, but it was worth every gasp and hair raising close call. 

We donned our dress-up duds and drove right into a postcard. Oversized snowflakes drifted lazily as we made our way to the log chapel, and we were greeted by a roaring bonfire that begged to be enjoyed. Instrumental Christmas music rung from hidden speakers and the smokey warm smell of wood burning hung in the air. What can I say ... it was simply perfect and romantic. It was just the dose of winter  I needed to get me in the Christmas mood. In between vows and reception we took a ride in a horse-driven carriage that toured around the ranch. I'll let the pictures tell the story. Two sleeps until Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Half Mast

It's been a global trainwreck of a day
Insanity ruled as an evil reign of terror
unleashed a catastrophic campaign of violence.

In small town USA a troubled boy
turned a gun on his mother, then a school;
twenty-seven souls took flight.

In middle China a troubled man
knife in hand, attacked a primary school;
twenty-two small children maimed.

In this season of peace
all over the world, hearts bleed
as innocents and innocence - die.

In this season of peace
will we unite around our shock and grief
that our light may be a beacon of hope in the darkness?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wind Up

I think the anticipation and lead up to Christmas is almost as exciting as the actual day. And I am sure we would all agree that the magic of the season is lodged in memories and traditions. Hubby braved the roof to string our Christmas lights; our tree is up - a little short on white lights - adorned in the same  familiar decorations as in Christmas' past. The macaroni garland is holding up nicely and the painted egg cartons add the homey touch - each treasure with its own story and sentiment.

My guilty pleasure is the hard Christmas candy that takes me back to my childhood. Every year I buy a tin of candy to put out and, since I am the only one who likes it, end up tossing most of it out. Fritz likes it too!

Right now our Christmas finery is reserved for us but thankfully it won't be long before the house hums with the love of our tribe and the real feeling of the holiday will prevail.

Friday, December 7, 2012

In the Mood

We overcame our typical Friday night, end of the week fatigue, battled the commuter traffic and drove into the city to watch a wonderful Canadian musician at a small pub in Mirvish village. The cosy venue was tiny and the stage - tinier. Bri-anne and her one man band were tuning their instruments as the crowd negotiated beers and the slab of plywood that had been fashioned into a bar.

The only empty table happened to be parked beside the riser that served as the stage. I was happy, and hubby was less happier. Maybe he resented the fact that he got residual bounce from the stage lights on his shiny head. He usually likes to fade into the background and there was no chance of that tonight. So while we munched on hurriedly prepared burgers and fries and sipped our beverages, we were serenaded by a passionate musician with an angelic voice. The only downside was the table of boisterous lads beside us who were clearly there for a boys night out, and not to listen to a folk singer. It was especially disappointing while Bri-anne sang the quiet, moving numbers like Hallejuah and we had to strain to hear over the party. I resisted the urge to suggest that they take the table across the room by the window opting instead for another glass of Sauvignon Blanc for me, and a fried mars bar for hubby. 

It's a tough gig being an artist singing to a rowdy room of "unawares". But they press on, apparently caught up in the momentum of the performance, and afterwards, they pass around the hat. It's a tough gig and we tried to be generous in our donation. We had a rare night out to listen to some great live music.

If you want a taste of the treat we had tonight, listen to Bri-anne Swan singing Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah,

Off to bed; I have another full day tomorrow of Christmas immersion!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I shared the unexpected $100 win-fall tonight. I decided to spend it in Canada, to help ease some of the suffering in my own community, during this holiday season.

Covenant House Toronto offers hope to homeless youth, giving them a place to stay, providing 24/7 crisis care and a wide range of services including education, counselling, health care and employment assistance. 

It's hard to fathom what life must be like on the streets, never mind how a child could survive. And I can only imagine the frustrations and challenges of those who dedicate themselves to helping the most vulnerable members of our society. I donated $25 to help Covenant House help young people move from a life on the street to a life with a future.

The Red Cross is working to offer hope, help and compassion to needy Canadian families struck by disaster.  I donated $75 to the program that will provide comforting items for children to essentials like groceries and hygiene supplies, to help speed up the recovery of  families suffering through tragedy.

There it is - released into the community; the money just passing through me to the hands of those who can put it to good use to help others. And it is true what they say about giving being better than receiving. Both are fun, but your heart feels fuller when you give.  I guess this was a good reminder for me to remember to put my community and those in need on my Christmas list.

And I guess you could say that my Christmas shopping is coming along quite nicely!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Today I received a wonderful gift: a letter from one of my Women for Women sisters. I tore open the envelope with the familiar letterhead and was delighted to find a handwritten letter with a translation attached. The crinkled page was dated March 28, 2012! It took so long to reach me from the Congo, that in the mean time, my sister graduated from the program and a new sister has been assigned to me.

I consumed every word, picturing her, pen in hand, reaching across the world to a sponsor unknown to her. I recognised "rafiki" -- friend. Although brief, the letter brought the struggles of the   people of the Congo to life -- especially the mothers caring for their families. She is only 28, yet has four children with ages ranging from 16 to 10. She was a child having children.

"I am a bit fine, but I do not know what the future holds for me."

She closed with "may God bless you".

So tonight, where ever you lay your head Rehema, I hope you are safe, and that God watches over you and your young family.

How can I feel anything but gratitude for the blessings and abundance in my life.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Good Intentions

Yesterday I posted my intentions: share, love, express, give.

Today I came home to find a $100 cheque in the mail... I'd won a small prize in the home lottery. More luck and abundance; it just keeps coming - the toonie I found in my coat pocket this morning, the 20% discount coupon a complete stranger handed me in the busy store lineup, and then today's mail.

Now I just have to figure out how to share it.

For that, I am truly grateful.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ahead of the Curve

Goal: To avoid any form of negativity during the holiday season, including usage of terms such as "stressed out" and "have to get", and other general complaining; to fully embrace the joys of the season, with the lions share involving spending time with loved ones.

My mission - should I choose to accept it: Start Christmas shopping early and wrap it all up (with a big shiny bow) by Dec 9th so I can shift my focus from purchasing, to visiting and baking - the  things that make the festive season really special.

Status: 50 shades of awesomeness! I am more than 75% completed and am on target to complete the mission successfully. All without  [hardly] swearing at all...

Intentions: share, love, express, give

I feel lucky! Let me correct that statement... I AM lucky. I am experiencing a heavy dose of the boomerang effect. The more I try to give away, the more good fortune randomly comes back to me. It is not mine to question - but my heart is full to overflowing with gratitude and I go off to sleep even more inspired to toss the boomerang even more.  But for now, I am ahead of the curve/

thank you...

Friday, November 30, 2012


Well it arrived with little warning - the first wintry blustery day of the year - just in time for my day off. I thought I would break with tradition and start my Christmas shopping in November. And as I braved the mall that was fully decked out in seasonal glitter, humming along with tried and true Christmas favourites I couldn't help thinking about an email I had received about my Women for Women sister I sponsor.

Claudine lives in the Congo and if you have heard the news lately, there is a serious outbreak of violence that is teetering on civil war.

It's surreal... While I was wandering around a Mecca of commercialism deciding what gifts to buy my kids, my WFW sister on the other side of the world is trying desperately to stay alive and protect her children. Her country is known as the Rape Capital of the world and sexual violence against women is rampant. In short - she is living a nightmare. Is she surviving? I can only imagine what she thinks about in the darkness of night. 

And so I will suspend my concern for my "first world problems" and be grateful for the bountiful life I lead; for the warmth and safety of my home; and for the love and support of my loved ones. This precious season of giving and peace is the perfect time to pray for those who do not have even  the most basics of life - food, water, shelter and safety - and are deprived of human rights and dignity. Women for Women International works to help women affected by war to become self sustaining by matching them with women sponsors. WFW has had to suspend the program while the violence has escalated but will resume the programs as soon as it is safe for their staff and clients.

Tonight, in the darkness of night, my thoughts and heart will rest with Claudine, my Congolese sister.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Checking In

This time of year is always hard; and this day - a little harder. It's your birthday but you are eternally 58. You passed exactly a week after your birthday - a week after I presented you with my Tupperware container of homemade lasagna (your request); a week after you unwrapped the bath pillow and said that your mom would really like it - even though she had been gone for 5 years already.

But that was the end, and tonight my thoughts are with the present...

The kids are growing up quickly. One of them has your petite build; another shares your slightly droopy "Paul McCartney" eyes, and everyone says that Dar is the spitting image of you. And at least once a day I start a sentence with "my mom used to tell me that ..."  When we have a famjam the grandkids congregate at their end of the table, laughing, teasing and catching up with one another.They genuinely love spending time together.   The evident love they share for one another warms my heart and I can't help but wonder what you would think of it all.

Would you tell them how proud you were of them that they had grown into thoughtful, caring, contributing members of society? Would you marvel at their confidence and  resilience, and tell them they already had everything within that they need to be happy? Would you wrinkle your nose at the piercings; tell them that they are perfect, just the way they are; that being their authentic selves is enough?

Your advice gets dispensed regularly, by proxy of your four children. Your voice rambles around my head at the most critical moments and sometimes, at the quietest of times. Your funny little laugh hasn't strayed far and the markers you left behind sustain us when we miss you most.

Guess what I am trying to say is that you live on Mom, in all of us - your kids - and in the grandchildren who speak your name and carry on your legacy of love. So today, on what would be your 73rd birthday, I can tell you that we're doing OK Mom; you prepared us well. The longing for you hasn't faded - we miss you desperately but but we today and always, we celebrate all that you were, and are.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Crispy brittle mornings
frosted car windows
are those sub-zero temperatures??
... flirting with winter.

Canvas exchanged for down
shoes for boots
where did I put my hat??
... preparing for winter.

Shorter, dim days
comfort food please
where's that ice scraper??
... welcoming winter.

Naked trees and
piles of leaves
what - no snow yet??
... dreading (just a little)

Monday, November 26, 2012


Within the space of one week I have been to two funerals and two birthday celebrations - milestones from opposite ends of the spectrum. But it has me thinking about our rituals.

Although both funerals were held in churches, they couldn't have been more different - one was filled with music and soaring voices, expressed grief, and jubilation for a life well lived; the other was somber and restrained, consisting mainly of biblical inspired comfort and congregational hymn singing. Both, I suspect, offered the grieving families the solace they needed.

There seems to be a growing trend of people choosing not to have funeral services or commemorative services. I can think of at least three incidences in which the families did not do anything other than have the body cremated.There was no public invitation to say final goodbyes; no chance for far away family to gather to collectively remember. And the saddest part, no opportunity for the family to learn what their loved ones meant to others; to the world. I think without rituals and traditions we lose important opportunities to come together as community and family for sharing, grieving and healing.

Doesn't each and every life lived deserved to be celebrated and honoured? And so it is with our famjam birthday celebrations. Some have said that we make too big a deal out of birthdays but I couldn't disagree more. These milestones are building blocks of family memories and opportunities to celebrate, visit, feel loved and cherished... and heaven knows that in these hectic times, it is a challenge to pull everyone together.

Doesn't each and every life lived deserved to be celebrated and honoured? For one thing is for certain, in some way - big or small -  the world is changed because they walked the earth.

Monday, November 19, 2012


We said our final goodbye in a church packed to the rafters with family, chosen family and church family. We celebrated the life and sung the praises of this tough lady, and sung our hearts out to her favourite sacred music. It was a rousing, inspirational, spiritually uplifting home-going. Words were said; tears were shed. As the pastor (her son) so wisely articulated, he was not sorry (for his loss) - he was sad. And so it was on a sunny Saturday in November, after 91 years of hardships and triumphs, that this fine lady was put to rest, and her beloved sons and their families gathered on the curb to watch the hearse roll slowly out of sight. Another chapter closed.

And later that same day, the tribe congregated to eat cake! Family came from far and near to fulfill my eldest daughter's birthday wish to be immersed in the love of her family to commemorate her thirty-year milestone. I tried in vain to get a female superhero (she likes that stuff) put on her cake but they were fresh out. So she played the starring role as superhero on her own cake, and in the end, it was far more fitting. Her party was a team effort, decorated with sisterly love, and served up in true famjam style. Words were said; tears were shed, and we celebrated the woman she has become. She glowed - and her happiness showed.

And so it goes... celebrating life.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Life is circular - no straight lines here!  It indiscriminately serves up doses of pain and delight, devastation and celebration,  laughter and tears - often at the same sitting. And so it is today as I cook, clean, and wrap in readiness for the birthday party I am hosting for my daughter's 30th birthday that we are holding on the very same day we put a cherished elder in the family to rest. It feels like I have a foot in two worlds... grief and jubilation; an ending and a milestone of life.

And even though it seems somehow awkward or out of order, it really is just a testament to life. The pendulum of emotion swings rich at either end of the spectrum. It does not pause, but rather, is in constant dynamic motion while we do our best to handle whatever it dishes up. But it does not stop.

So while we celebrate a life well lived and say our final goodbyes, so too must we celebrate a life being well-lived. The common denominator for me is the presence of family. Through the hardships and euphoria, sickness and health, births and deaths as well as the mundane daily occurrences. it is the support and presence of family - the precious circle of loved ones - that add colour and purpose to my life.

There is so much to celebrate. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Decades of Daughter

I remember being a young mother calculating how "old" I would be when my first born turned 30. And now that day has arrived. Over blips and blurs and on the wings of time, three decades have passed ...

Her milestone is my milestone: thirty years of mothering and thirty years of more joy and love than I could have ever imagined. She was my firstborn -  my teacher - and the brunt of every misstep and mistake I made. As a "gourmet taster" (breast feeding mom's will know what this means) she taught me patience. She enjoyed "milking" the moment and had an easy disposition. As a small child she was a one woman show entertaining us with her re-enactments of fairy tales, and later, making videos starring her cousins and sisters. I have a vague recollection of a pregnant Barbie being dumped by Ken....

As a teenager she forced me to dig deep and remember to be her mother, and not her friend. She was a homebody and even when the day came for her to move out, she didn't move far. She bought a place just down the street, just past my Dad's place, and stayed close to her tribe.

Now as a middle aged *choke* woman, I enjoy a special relationship with my daughters, just as my sisters and I shared with our mother. I read somewhere that our children are not our own to have and hold; that they are merely passing through. And I suppose if we have done our job, they will choose to stick around.

Thirty years ago a precious gift came my way, and I am privileged that she chose me to be her mom. Happy birthday to my strong, independent, nurturing daughter. I couldn't love you more.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Fritz is passed out on the couch, possibly in a deep sugar coma. I spilled a big jug of jelly beans all over the floor and then it was game on: me vs the mutt to see who could eat/pick up the most candies. I think he won. That little furbag is lightning quick - especially where edibles are concerned. I countered by eating way too many of the remains.

Now my skin is itchy and I swear I can feel the sugar calories racing to congregate on my belly and thighs! Damn those jellybeans! And damn that Fritz for eating all the red ones.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Remember

The air was fresh and woodsy; typical for a fall day. Walking without talking, deep in thought, kicking the leaves to hear the crunch, making my way to the local Remembrance Day service.

They arrived beneath the tall pines from all directions; all ages; hundreds of people, poppies pinned, congregating in eerie silence. The wistful strains from the Salvation Army ensemble got louder upon approach.

We stood a little taller, straighter, waiting by the cenotaph. The front row was reserved for veterans, experience mapped in the lines and creases on their wizened faces. Some stood tall and proud, while others sat hunched, bundled in blankets. 

The mournful call of the bag pipes sounded in the distance, and the rhythm of the marching parade drew closer, signalling the start of the proceedings. As we sang O Canada the breeze picked up the flag that was hung at half mast.

I studied the faces of the old and the uniformed. What was going through their minds as The Last Post was played? Did memory reels of horrific and tragedy replay? I saw a lone tear roll down the cheek of a tall elderly veteran as he stood at attention, saluting. 

The weight of sacrifice hung heavy in the air, and I couldn't help be overcome with emotion. I was saddened by the waste of war; that such a sacrifice is asked of our soldiers. I mourned the lives unlived, and the lives that were devastated and forever changed by that which they endured, survived and witnessed.

The carnage and human toll of war is unfathomable. And I walked away wondering when we will collectively decide there has to be a better way to resolve conflicts. I walked away with a deep respect for the grace and honour displayed by our men and women who have served, and who serve.

And for my part, the least that I could do, was pause for two minutes under the towering pines, in the fresh autumn air to remember.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Democracy in Action

How is it that four years have passed since that historical victory for hope -- Barak Obama? And even though I am Canadian; even though I watched him fall short of expectation as he faced obstacles of mammoth proportion; I find myself once again on my couch perched in front of my television as I watch  election returns dance across the screen, my chest tightening with every result as if I carried an American passport.

Democracy in America is not easy it would seem with some states reporting endless lineups and erroneous voting machinery. We can put a man on the moon and beam signals to remote regions of the planet but somehow, we  can't make voting easy. Shame on the powers that be for making voting an act of heroism and endurance. My heart goes out to those who are trying earnestly to exercise their democratic right to vote for the leader of their country.

As for me - I am hoping that the President will have the gift of a second term to finish what he started, without the cloud of re-election hovering.
Couldn't go to sleep without finding out the outcome of the election, and thankfully, I will slumber peacefully, content in the knowledge that Obama has a second chance.

During this - Veteran's Week - we are reminded that the sacrifices were high to preserve our democracy. And for that, I am grateful.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekly Roundup

Time to breathe.
In the past week I've been to the East Coast and back; met a heroine of mine; got and fought the flu; held the hand of a surviving grand lady; wrapped my arms around the neck of another who is thriving; celebrated the birthday of my daughter; wished my "ex" a happy one too; offered a little TLC to my ailing hubby; and walked with my sister and Fritz through the forest, in the fresh autumn air. I made long and short distance connections with my daughters and parents - and ended my Sunday with spaghetti and meatballs.

I love my life! My heart lightens with every conversation, call, and connection. And really, isn't that what life is all about -- human connection. I am fortunate in that I live immersed in and surrounded by loving souls. I have lots of people to check in with and my phone rings often. What a sweet sound - love calling (except for those guys trying to sell me windows and doors). 

I got a chance to meet Barbara Coloroso in Halifax last week. She wrote a book, "Kids are Worth It", more than twenty years ago that saved my parenting @ss.  Kidlet got the full benefit of the wisdom I garnered from the book but it was a lifesaver for me. Ms Coloroso was speaking at the conference and I was able to tell her how much she meant to me and my family. This tiny, feisty lady packs a punch that belies her diminutive stature. "If I had known how much fun being a grand parent would be, I would've skipped parenting!" Yup - she's funny too. 

And the bonus, icing on the cake, was to wake up and, only after I finished my morning coffee, discover I had forgotten to turn my clock back; an hour in my pocket.

So after a long, full day I will go to bed with visions of elections dancing in my head. Life is good, and for that I am truly grateful.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stormy Weather

It's funny sometimes how events in life converge, and literally put you in the eye of a storm. I am on the east coast of Canada for work, as the news reports warn of Frankenstorm and the monster storm bearing down on the American coast, and warn my home town to make preparations for 72 hours without power.

I called hubby to remind him to look up from his computer and make some preparations ... like buy a case of water, find the flashlights and fill the tub with water. Why? I can't remember but who knows -- we may need an emergency bath! He assured me he filled the camping water jug and that he and Fritz have enough oatmeal for three weeks. I hate oatmeal.

So as I turn in, my bed soft and warm with the wind whipping at the window, my thoughts are with those who are not so lucky -- those who have or will have the wrath of Sandy blowing through their lives; and I think of my family back home and hope that they have flashlights, candles, food and water close at hand. And I hope they feel the love I am sending across the miles on the wings of every raindrop and bluster.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We accept that which we cannot
control, understand, or change.
Life is a course we must navigate - wrought with both
uncharted perils and incredible vistas.

And if by chance, or the grace of our Creator
we live every moment allotted us;
squeeze every molecule of life out of our earthly body,
the end may not be glorious.

For a body that, for more than ninety years,
has served as trusty vessel for spirit that has
soared across abyss and weathered swells and storms
finally wearies, and bears the scars of every voyage.

The end, like the beginning, is a process.
Death - like birth - is not to be hurried or coaxed.
And sometimes, bearing witness to suffering and unspeakable pain,
Bears unspeakable pain and suffering for the beholder.

And sometimes, the remedy for the soul departing
and the onlooker is the same:
love expressed; tender whispers, and hand held close,
And for we who escort their loved ones to the precipice of their eternity
it is nothing less than a privilege -  for which I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lethargy Lament

Fritz is flopped at my feet, apparently exhausted from his long day of lounging, sleeping and lounging. He's starting to show his age - like I'm one to talk!

These wet, dark, dreary starts to my day zap my energy. Maybe it's the thirty minute commute of me hunched over the steering wheel, driving glasses perched on my perky nose, trying desperately to see the dotted lines on the highway. [Note to self: check date of last eye exam] It doesn't help when the lanes are jammed with transport trucks leaving a wall of spray on my windshield, blocking the centre lane. By the time I get off the highway my shoulders are up around my ears and I am desperately in need of a yoga intervention. [Note to self: investigate yoga for stiffs]

The crummy rainy weather means I skip my much needed [understatement] noon hour jaunt, and spend yet another hour on my backside in my cube. I am bringing new meaning to "static". And how ironic that the less I move, the more tired I am.

So I talked it over with Fritz and we are both going to make more of an effort to work our joints and move our tails. After all, we aren't getting any younger...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Throne Drone

Yup - this is was our bedroom
The drip had been constant for the past month; the leak - a stubborn one - resistant to a variety of new hardware. What to do about it? Why, replace the toilet with the new porcelain throne  that starred this summer in our cottage adventures in toilet replacement. The gleaming, water efficient toilet was an inch too deep (discovered only after securing the base and trying to mount the tank). Thus it was returned to its packaging and retired to our basement, only to be resurrected this weekend with high hopes.

Alas, it was not to be. An inch once again came between a happy hubby installation and the wall. The bedroom started looking like a graveyard for wayward toilets. We made a desperate dash to our neighbourhood Home Depot for a quick solution. The sales clerk's sympathetic head shaking did little to assuage our  anxiety. He warned us there wasn't anything in stock that would be a good fit. Not to be deterred, hubby and I examined every floor model for a "slim fit" and took our chances on a sporty new model with the dual flush feature. With fingers crossed hubby loaded the 90 pounds of porcelain glory into the car.

I stayed out of his way as he performed an encore installation. As he neared the moment of mounting the tank for a final fit, I crossed myself, genuflected and prayed to my Higher Power for divine intervention. It was too close for comfort - but it fit! The masterpiece was installed, the throne restored,  and we all lived happily ever after - that is, after we flipped for the privilege to be first to sit upon it!

So tonight we will sleep in quiet, devoid of drips, and wake up to a beautiful new toilet. Lucky us. And for that I am truly grateful.

Parts for the easy installation

You can pick a "lite" or bigger flush

Isn't she lovely? Easy on the knees as well as the eyes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Debate Diet

I'm a little bit of a political junkie, getting my fix watching the Romney - Obama debate; sucking up every nuance, gesture, eye-roll, dodge, retort, snicker and snort.

And as much as I love a contentious, political debate, I long for transparency and solid journalism. Why is it so difficult for our politicians to simply state their policies and positions? They should be able to articulate their stances on issues near and dear to their hearts and stand by their convictions. Why the need to contort and morph to suit every situation? The rhetoric is disappointing and exhausting. It deflates trust and fuels cynicism.

Perhaps our omnipresent social media, camera phones, and tradition media has made "movie star" a requirement of the job. Today we want our politicians photogenic, slick, politically correct and generally flawless. Authenticity can be generally unattractive and unwelcomed -- to the masses, but not me.

I like the facts delivered straight up with little flourish - like raw vegetables; there for the taking and dicing and slicing as you see fit. Sadly we are force fed soft factoids along with what we are supposed to think about them - a fatty diet of slop.

That being said, I still sat on the edge of my couch riveted to the TV and the twitter feed on my laptop, as the debate unfolded. And within minutes of it ending, my phone rang and it was my Pops calling from Florida to ask how I thought the debate went. Maybe that was the best part!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Until Next Year...

Well at least it wasn't raining - not while we were working anyhow - as we made our last trek up North to close up our beloved cottage. We traditionally close up the weekend after Thanksgiving and this year, it was a little earlier than usual - which means there was no snow and some leaves remained on the trees.

When we arrived it was late at night, and only 2 degrees Celsius inside the cottage. Hubby started a fire and I gave a quick silent thank you for electricity as I plugged in the 2 space heaters. The plan was to get a jump start on the closing proceedings the next morning. I couldn't wait to see the glorious foliage and it did not disappoint.

It is a sad day for hubby and I as we strip away the comfort and cosy from the cottage - pull the water lines, strip the beds, empty the fridge, prepare the dock for winter, and store away all outside furniture. By the time we lock the door for the final time, the cottage is stark, cold and unwelcoming, fit for hibernation.

I snapped a few shots before we got busy -- slumber well, oh place of peace.