Monday, January 21, 2019

I meant to put these photos up for awhile but I keep forgetting because apparently once you turn 60ish a huge cache dump takes place and you can't remember stuff anymore. Anyhoo the photos below are the ones that made the final cut for my Scotland 2019 calendar. This is out of about 5,000 photos taken overall so you know they gotta be good! They are not in perfect order but I didn't think that mattered unless you were actually going to use the calendar. Just to be clear - the real calendars are in the right order though don't you just wish it was June now instead of January?

I wish I had the power to do something about that and maybe there's a way but I just can't remember! In case you notice yes there are 13 photos below; that's because the printer uses one for the front of the calendar - it's not that I've forgotten how to count...not yet anyways...!

Enjoy...and if you remember let me know which one you like the best! :)

Dollar Glen
The Quiraing - Isle of Skye

Isle of Iona - Inner Hebrides

Isle of Kerrera - Inner Hebrides

Glen Lyon
Fortingall, Glen Lyon

Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus

Black Cuillins - Isle of Skye

Fairy Glen near Uig, Isle of Skye 

Black Cuillins - Loch Coruisk



Eilean Donan Castle - Kyle of Lochalsh

Song Sparrow

Isle of Staffa, Inner Hebrides







Sunday, January 13, 2019

Well That Never Happens...

Well that never happens...almost never that is...!

Guess what?!  I had a surplus in my budget at the end of December! In previous years I've usually been in the hole by a whole bunch! I'm not  exactly sure why or how it happened but I'm certainly not complaining!

Below is my budget for December - not pretty is it?! I am a very messy budgeter but it works for me.
I don't feel motivated to go through it now item by item to figure how I ended up with a substantial surplus but I can make a few guesses.


  • I had an extra $150 in my December budget due to paying my property taxes over 10 months instead of 12 - I really appreciate that around Christmas. I end up with an extra $300 in total to put towards Christmas expenses. 
  • Food expenses were lower mostly due to getting a half price turkey in November which I stored away along with some of the fixings. Usually I wait til the last minute to go food shopping for Christmas so getting some things in November really helped the December budget. As it was I still ended up over spending on food by $30 which was covered by my misc budget line
  • As far as decorating goes I didn't buy anything new. My only purchase was a $6 poinsettia for my neighbour and one for myself. I use an artificial tree.
  • I think the main reason for decreased spending in December was due to buying gifts while I was in Scotland: beautiful wool scarves were a big hit as were woollen toques and mittens and fingerless gloves, handmade soaps, books, bookmarks, jewellery, and of course - scotch! So in December I got Juno tickets for Kazi and I (Canadian Grammys), a few more books and that was about it. I also helped Kazi by paying off her phone bill and I created a 2019 calendar with some of my photos through a printing company called Vista. I also made a couple more charitable donations than I usually do. 
So to all of you smug folks out there who shop and plan for Christmas beginning in January I now understand why!!! and I plan to do this from now on! On January 1st I was able to put $1500 into savings instead of the usual $1000. Only $500 more to go and I will have recouped all the money I spent (from savings accounts) last year on paying off my car and travel. 

Oh the sun is shining so I'll soon be heading out to Kilally Meadows :) but one more thing...
FOOD!!
I recently tried a frittata recipe and we loved it. Besides being delicious I like that I can hide leftovers in it :) scraps of chicken or turkey, limp vegetables - pretty much anything goes. And it lasts us three meals so is very economical as well as yummy! Just top with shredded cheese and a dash or two of Frank's hot sauce (any dish that Kazi can top with Frank's is a good meal in her humble opinion 😋




Monday, January 7, 2019

Where Does the Time Go?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Here are a few highlights from my own holiday season...but first, a message from our sponsor - Kilally Meadows!
Winter Solstice - Dec. 21. The day of the
year that our shadow it at its longest! I will miss those
long legs as we reach the Summer Solstice! 


  • had a Christmas week breakfast with a former colleague. Donated some "free coffees" to the homeless (the place we always go to for breakfast is a restaurant which hires only folks with disabilities) and has set up this program of buying coffees for those in need. And the food is fantastic!
  • went out to dinner at The Winebar with two girlfriends (they also serve food :)
  • spent hours and hours perfecting my Scotland calendar - will post the photos next time
  • finished reading several books - my favourite was "Scotland: The Genetic Journey." NOT as dry as it sounds! It was so good that I've also purchased "England: The Genetic Journey."
  • Went for several walks in Kilally Meadows - almost NO snow to be seen! (You know there is something wrong with the climate when you're surprised to see snow in January in CANADA!) Yup, a green Christmas and New Year again this year!
  • had two long visits with my brother and fellow traveller - Kim :) (One of the traditions we started when in Scotland was to have a wee dram of scotch and a couple of Hobnobs with a good cuppa after. So we've now added that tradition to our bi-monthly visits here at home! :)
  • Went to see two movies, with a third coming up this coming weekend.  The first was "Will you ever Forgive Me?" with Melissa McCarthy in her first dramatic role. I loved it, my friend was luke-warm. Then on New Year's Eve we started a new tradition by going to a movie - when we went into the theatre it was 2018 and when we left it was 2019! That movie was "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury. If he doesn't win an Oscar for that role it will be a disgrace! I give it five stars!! No, six!! The other movie we want to see is "The Green Book" with Ali Mahershala and Viggo Mortensen. The "Green Book" was a book created for African Americans to use when on holiday in the U.S. back in the 1960's. Only certain motels/hotels/restaurants etc would serve them and were listed in the book.  Mahershala plays jazz musician Don Shirley and Mortensen plays his driver and bodyguard while on tour. It's getting RAVE reviews! 
  • Spent Christmas Eve watching Christmas movies with Kazi and Christmas Day with Kazi and my brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, his wife and child. GOOD times. I also went for my 2nd annual Christmas walk in Kilally Meadows after Kazi and I opened gifts and had our traditional breakfast of peach pancakes. (I made them with whole wheat flour this year and I thought that improved the taste!)
  • Interspersed were a few games of volleyball and ball hockey, some baking and batch cooking and more reading and a bit of genealogical success tracking down my 4th great grandmother and father! Yay! 
  • My only resolution is to READ more which should be easy as I've picked up about 20+ books the past few weeks from friends, brother, library, Amazon etc. (I also donated some thrift shop clothes when I was in Scotland to make room in my suitcase for the books I bought while there! )When I was planning my retirement I imagined myself lounging around all day with stacks of books around the house and nothing but time to read them all. (No bonbons please!) But it hasn't quite turned out that way as every time I pick up a book I feel guilty and think there is something more important I should be doing. BAH HUMBUG!! 
Now I want to hear about YOUR holidays :) 
But first...a message from our sponsor, Lilypad...
Such a big chair for a wee little kitty!