Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Mornin Beautiful

This was written on the rear window of my car this morning in a thin layer of snow. Spelling error and all. Or maybe that was intentional I don't know.


Who in their right mind walks around between midnight and 5am leaving random messages on peoples' cars? Or was it random?

Right now I'm driving my car (Kazi's car) instead of my big truck while she's in Australia. Was it meant for her? All of her friends know she is in Australia, besides, why would one of them drive over to write a message on her car?? Especially when it's over -20c???

I'd rather is WASN'T meant for her as that would be even more creepy. Some weird neighbour...stalking her...??

Who is UP at that time of the morning? The guy that delivers newspapers? We live in a condo complex that is off the beaten path. The only people that come in here live here. You can't walk through our complex to get anywhere else.

Maybe I should just accept it as a message....from a friend, or a well-meaning angel who can't spell. Or spells badly intentionally...

What would you think if you were me??

Monday, January 27, 2014

Back in the Saddle

I need to acknowledge all of you who commented on my last post (and emailed me) because you, my friends, don't pass off platitudes as caring - you really DO care. If you haven't read those comments please do. I felt such genuine kindness and support and it makes a big difference in my day. I wanted to share Louise's comment because it really helped put perspective on things - while the breakup came as a total shock to me it wasn't such a shock to Michael as he had  already done the thinking about it and the planning and had processed it whereas I was at square one - total bewilderment, loss, heartbreak and grief. And now throw in some anger. 
Here's her comment:
((hugs)) jane. I used to work as a marriage counsellor and we know that the person who initiates the breakup copes better because they have already been through the doubts, anxieties, fears and grief as part of coming to their decision. So by the time they announce it they are already well down the track to adjusting to the change
The person who doesn't initiate the breakup usually had no idea it was coming. It hits like a bolt out of the blue and suddenly their world has changed with no chance to prepare. So for them the grief, anxieties and fears then begin and they are at a totally different stage to the other person.
It's a roller coaster for a while. Just do whatever you need to do to get through each day ((hugs))
Thanks Louise - that helps and so did all of your comments. (*Judy for some reason my reply to your comment just keeps spinning - not sure why?)
So did I start putting one foot in front of the other after writing that post? Yes, I did. I put on some music and did some more painting in the kitchen - trim, pantry door, above the cupboards AND the ceiling!  Now I have some physical aches and pains to divert me from my mental aches and pains. The I baked a huge tray full of seasoned french fries - potatoes, sweet potato, turnip and carrots. I also baked a tray full of tilapia fillets so had my own weird version of "fish and chips" for dinner. 
I made lots of juice and also some refrigerator oatmeal. Go here for some awesome "cold oatmeal" recipes that are SOOOOO delicious!
On Saturday night I picked up a friend and we went to another friend's house. We played a game called "Cards against Humanity"  which is not a game for the faint of heart!! I thought I was going to die laughing!! You have to check it out!!  Totally politically incorrect but SOOO funny! That of course made my good endorphins flow like crazy :) Just what I needed. 
This morning Kazi and I "face timed" with each other which is an iPhone way to talk (and see) each other for FREE! She told me all about her weekend trip to Sydney and I showed her all of the snow that she's missing and also our very old kitty. We're going to do that again tonight so she can "show me around" the area she's staying at on the Gold Coast.
I thought we were going to have a snow day today because I awoke to another foot of snow and the roads were an absolute MESS!  The powers that be decided to cancel ALL of the school buses but keep the schools open!?!  Today was an exam day and they postponed the exam until tomorrow. I had 1 parent call me and she drove her son into school. So there was me and 6 EAs all fighting over 1 student lol! He was very popular!! Now I'm home and will be tackling my school work again once I finish eating my lunch. I just didn't want to wait too long to thank you all! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

Some days I feel ok and some days I don't. Today I don't. I feel like I am hurtling down the proverbial rabbit hole and I can't stop or find a purchase on the walls that would steady or slow down my free fall.

There are days when I feel feisty and think I can take on the world. And then there are days when the tears roll non stop down my cheeks.

There are days when I feel worthy and days I do not.

There are days when I can cope and days when I cannot.

What makes the difference I wonder. Why is my life not consistent? If I feel ok one day why don't I the next? Is it hormones? Is it that life slows down on the weekends so thoughts creep in that don't when I am busy?

I'm still trying to make sense out of what happened so suddenly - Michael's departure. I think that because it was not a mutual decision and that I thought things were good between us that his leaving is so hard to deal with. He can cope because he made the decision and disappeared from my life just like that. I'm left holding the mess and I can't get a firm grip on it because, well because it's a mess.

So the only thing to do I guess is to get busy. Lord knows I'll never run out of things to do in this half-renovated house.

I'm not looking for sympathy, more so just for understanding that among the good days there are still really crummy days.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Let's Talk Food

Oooooooooooooh my favorite topic! FOOD!

I've been writing a fair bit about eating "clean". No processed or packaged food, no sugar other than the natural sugar that's in fruit and vegetables. No gluten, very little dairy, next to no caffeine. HOWEVER I did neglect to say that I have a glass of red wine every day or a small tot of scotch. Yes, I  can't give up EVERYTHING and besides a little is supposed to be good for you. I snack on almonds or popcorn - luckily I never get tired of either!

I've lost a little weight I think as my pants fit a bit more loosely. But I'm not worried about that - I'm not weighing myself. It's for my health. It was scary how sick I was over the Christmas holidays. I mean my personal life situation was horrible and I was worn out from 4 months of working 60 hour weeks at school so it was no wonder I was struck down by a nasty virus but I strongly feel we are what we eat. And I had been living on a steady diet of smarties and ice cream to name just two sinful foods that were a constant in my life. Yes, I'm a poor eater when I'm stressed and I was SUPER stressed. So in a way it was my own fault that my immune system was not working very well.

Refined sugar = poor health in so many ways.

Yet I don't feel restricted in any way after eliminating so many no no's from my diet. I am eating REALLY WELL and feel so good - more energy, my skin looks great and I imagine over time my body will rearrange itself along more healthy lines. Less muffin top - well a girl can dream can't she?

Let's see what I'm eating these days...
I saw the recipe for this potato on Facebook, where else? It looked so intriguing I just had to try it and man oh man was it good! I brushed on some flavoured olive oil (garlic and herbs) after I had cut the potato very thinly (is that a word?) and baked in a 450 oven for 45 minutes (I think). Delicious with a large side of green beans.
 Another Facebook recipe (14 recipes in all) for refrigerator oatmeal. This one is for Blueberry Maple oatmeal and it is better than candy! Ingredients - 1/4 cup of oatmeal, 1 and a half teaspoons of chia seeds, 1/3 cup of skim milk (I used soy) and 1/4 cup of plain 0% fat greek yogurt. That is the base for all of the 14 recipes for cold "summer" oatmeal.
For this version I added fresh blueberries and a teaspoon of maple syrup. Let it sit overnight in the fridge and it makes a totally satisfying breakfast or snack. Last night I made Raspberry Vanilla and it was scrumptious too.
Here's a shot of my fridge. You can see my mason jar of oatmeal, my bottle of juice (containing half a beet, a couple of carrots, spinach, a pepper, an apple, an asian pear, cucumber & celery) and another container containing my lunch - black bean vegetable soup! It's easy to eat clean if you stock your fridge full of fresh goodness and keep temptations OUT of the house!

Here's tonight's dinner! Doesn't it look amazing? It was....oops...
Here we go, that's better. For the first time I made veggie fried rice with egg. Chopped onion, carrots, celery and peas along with a couple of scrambled eggs and a dash of soy sauce. Oh boy it was so good! So today I had 16oz of juice, a mid-morning snack of Raspberry Vanilla oatmeal, black bean veggie soup for lunch, almonds for an afternoon pick-me-up and veggie fried rice for dinner - and a nice glass of red wine. I don't think anyone can find fault with that! And absolutely no feeling of deprivation.

Now I'm off to ride my bike and watch another fun episode of "Orange is the New Black"! Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised if they cancel school tomorrow due to extreme cold and a wind chill warning. It's supposed to be super windy tomorrow making a wind chill factor in the -30's!!! Skin will freeze within 10 minutes. I don't want frozen skin!!

Keep warm!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap - it's only a towel folks, sorry!

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I'm just a wee bit late with my Weekly Wrap but who gives a rat's ass?  Surely not me. Things are going along fairly well, considering all that's happened over the past month. If I sound a little bitter it's because I AM! 
Ok, down to the facts - there's relief to be found in the facts.

  1. Clean Diet - Can I just say, on the record here, that in the past month I have not eaten a single smartie? I am still drinking homemade juice from my juicer every morning; homemade vegetable soup of some sort for lunch (black bean this week) and a mainly veggie dinner - tonight I'm making veggie fried rice with egg and peas/carrots/onion/tomato. Can't wait! I give myself top marks in this category - no processed food, no pop, no gluten, very little dairy, very little meat. Instead of drinking coffee @ $2.00/day I am making my own "tea" at school from lemons and ginger root. For snacks I make airpopped popcorn and eat almonds.
  2. Budget - I left myself in a bit of a bind for the last two weeks of January giving myself only about $200 to cover gas and food and misc. However, my fridge is FULL of fresh fruits and veg. With only myself to feed I will not need to buy any more food til my next pay day on the 31st. Not even then. I've put in some gas and my tank is 3/4 full. That will carry me through to the 31st no problem. Barring any unforeseen emergencies I should coast into my next pay day on the $$ I have left. (About $73.00) (Plus about $20 in my wallet)
  3. $1500 shortfall in savings - Today I transferred $300 to my savings thanks to a reimbursement cheque from school. I have "found" $500 of the $1500 shortfall! YES!!
  4. Cycling - Thanks to watching "Orange is the New Black" I am having no problems cycling 15km several times per week. That makes me happy!
 Have I said how much I love my local Asian store?? This is what $23.00 gets you there: 18 yellow peppers, a 10 pound bag of red onions, several cucumbers, potatoes, apples and tangerines, a big bag full of ginger and a container of turmeric, 6 lemons. Not bad eh?

And then I went to No Frills and found some awesome deals on the "old produce" stand - this stuff is at its peak of ripeness, full of juice and perfect to put through my juicer. Oh, I just love deals like these. 
I'll never beat Sluggy for deals - in Canada this is as good as it gets! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The New and Improved, sort of, Wine and Food Show

 There were a lot of changes this year at the annual Wine and Food Show. It had 25% more vendors, more space, and a lot of different things going on. First up for my friend Troy and I was the bartenders competition. These 2 guys weren't quite up to the level of Tom Cruise in "Cocktail" but they weren't too bad on the eyes.
You can see the audience in this shot paying close attention, and no, I didn't get blitzed!
 Most of my shots were blurry as these two guys were constantly tossing their bottles in the air...
 catching them behind their back....most of the time....
 This was new - a dance floor complete with plastic modular furniture, larger than life chess pieces, and tables for two.
 Far out eh?  Pretty groovy.
Now this was a hit with me! Have you ever had a Vaportini? It's kind of hard to explain but you can see a tea light in the bottom and a glass ball above it containing the "vaportini". There is a hole in the glass ball where you put a straw in and inhale your martini vaportini. The flavours were  INTENSE! And instantly absorbed into your bloodstream. Very cool.

 Ooooooooh I like this one!!

 The show expanded into another room called the "Mancave". Mostly cars, motorcycles, man food (burgers, fries, sausage on a bun) and domestic beer like Bud Light. I'm thinking the show producers must have received a lot of complaints that there's not enough for REAL MEN to experience at the show but really, you can have a burger and a Canadian domestic beer anywhere anytime but an ostrich burger, Bailey's flavoured frozen yogurt, steak tacos? Not so much. C'mon guys - live a little! Experiment! Take a risk! Boring...
Now this guy wasn't afraid - he was on the dance floor most of the night!
Yup, still there...
 Oh, I know him!! John had a flashing light on the end of his index finger!
This year if you were really special, and I wasn't,  you could spend time in the VIP lounge. Not too sure why that was considered special???
OK, folks...we've come to the CAPTION THIS PICTURE!! Oooooh, is she wearing leather?
Troy and I took turns snapping each other's photo in this convertible but I think she pressed the wrong button on my camera because there's no pic of me! Oh well...isn't she so photogenic??

She's a beautiful woman, also a single mom to 3 young adults. She's been a good support to me over the past few weeks and she got me into the show for FREE! She works at Fanshawe College in the Hospitality and Tourism area and worked at their booth for a while on Saturday (and gave me a pass to get in...shhhhhh...don't tell anyone! )

And that was my Saturday night!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Pardon me while I giggle........................................................................................ok, I think I've got a hold of myself now.....WELCOME TO POST #750!!!  I typed "750" into google images and this is one of many that popped up. So, imagine that's me about to roar off on my Ducati 750! And yes, that is how I would dress because there's no better feeling than peeling one's butt cheeks off of a leather seat! How do I know that you ask??  Never mind......now where was I?

Oh yes. This is a celebration of my 750th post on this particular blog. (This is my 3rd blog since 2007 the first being a joint effort with my brother and 2 friends called Four Mugs & a Crock!) I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I had reached post #750 but then I went to my post list and there were several drafts that I deleted and my post total went back to 744 or thereabouts. But now it's OFFICIAL!!

Oh how to mark this momentous occasion? Well so far I've marked it by drinking a kind of cold cup of coffee. Pardon me while I go nuke it.......there I'm back, not only with a hot cup of coffee but also with a bowl of pickled beets. Yes, I'm addicted to pickled beets. I admit it. You didn't know that about me? OK, well I could make a list of 750 things you don't know about me to celebrate 750 posts! Hmmmmmmmm where to start?

No, that's seems like too much work! How about 7.5 things you don't know about me, I think I can manage that!

  1. This is hard!! Ok ok.....before I became a teacher I worked in various capacities for the Royal Bank of Canada which I detested so that motivated me to go back to school and earn a degree. Or two.
  2. My daughter was conceived in Hawaii on New Year's Eve!
  3. I am a Daughter of the United Empire Loyalists because an ancestor of mine was a "minute man" during the American Revolution!
  4. My favorite genres of music are punk and country! Surprised?
  5. I adore, love and revere single malt scotch :)
  6. I am learning how to play the ukulele!
  7. My aura is "green" - go check out sluggy's recent post about auras!
  8. I know how it feels to peel my butt cheeks off a leather seat because.............
Sorry, I'm only sharing 7.5 things you don't know about me!!

Oh, and by the way I noticed that after Ontario Bloggers Day my followers list gained a few more readers!! Thank you one and all! 

Oh, and Kazi is now safely a million miles away in Australia!!!! Waaaaaaaaaaaahh! The time difference is 15 hours ahead of my time. She's asleep right now as she was severely jet lagged. Her suitcase got ripped up so she needs to replace it but other than that she arrived safe and sound. I have to say that thinking of her being SO FREAKING FAR AWAY is freaking me out a LOT but I'll have to live with it. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Eventful Journey So Far

Yesterday Kazi and I made the trip to Pearson Airport in Toronto to launch her trip to Australia. We had gone only about 50km when just past Woodstock traffic was diverted from Hwy. 401 to Hwy. 403.  We assumed we'd be able to get back on the 401 at the next overpass but instead we were faced with this:

And again at the next overpass and the next. At that point we had no idea what had happened and were a bit concerned about getting to the airport on time. (well, I was concerned, Kazi remained optimistically  upbeat during the whole ordeal; maybe I would have too if I'd been the one heading to Australia!)

Eventually, after a detour that covered over 30km and travelling at an average speed of about 30km per hour we made it back on the 401. Once my "map" skills were no longer needed on my iPhone I googled "accident on the 401" and discovered there had been 2 major accidents on that stretch of highway Friday morning.

First an eastbound tractor trailer slammed into the concrete median causing debris to fly over into the westbound lanes - as far as I know the driver was OK. Then a little while later there was a collision involving 3 tractor trailers killing one driver and injuring another-oh no!! I'm so thankful we weren't travelling in the morning! There had been snow over night though I don't know if that was a factor or if it was driver error - police aren't releasing much info yet. When we began our journey on the 401 approximately 3.5 hours later the roads were clear and dry.  Very sad. I have to admit (and my daughter did too) that I try to pass large trucks as quickly as I can when on the 401 - it's not a pleasant experience!  And there are so many of them!

A piece of positive news is that Kazi met up with someone she sort of  knew who was travelling to Australia too - same plane! (2 planes actually as they have a stopover in L.A.) She knew the young woman would be on the plane (this woman is also in the law program in Australia that Kazi's friend is in and lives in the same apartment! They even had seats next to each other on the plane!!) Kazi hadn't met her before but it was still a happy moment for her to meet up with her and have a travelling companion who was familiar with where they were going. I was relieved because TWO are safer than ONE!

Unfortunately there was some not so good news. Kazi texted me around 6:30am (my time) that there were some issues with the plane they were supposed to board in L.A. and their 3 hour stopover had turned into 5 hours at that point. She had grabbed only 1 hour of sleep at that point by laying on the floor in the airport. I replied that a long stopover was still better than boarding a plane that is having problems!! I haven't heard from her since then so I can only assume that she is now somewhere over the Pacific winging her way to Australia - a 14 hour od.

As for me I arrived home shortly before 7pm. As suggested by Jane (The Maple Syrup Mob blog) I put a tray of food together with a glass of wine and parked myself in front of the TV.  Within the hour I was having a lovely nap....woke up around 11pm and went to bed!! So much for my first exciting night on my own lol!

Of course that would explain why I was wide awake at 6:15am this morning! I was actually sitting in front of the variety store (in my car) that carries my favorite newspaper before the owner had arrived! Pairing my newspaper with not one but two coffees from Timmy's and I had the most lovely and relaxed morning (well, as relaxed as I could be with my daughter hurtling over the Pacific!!) And of course now I am writing this post whilst doing laundry and will be catching up on my blog reading momentarily. I'm also going to check out the Ontario bloggers page over at Cindy's blog "North of Wiarton and South of the Checkerboard!" Perhaps you should too!

Talk to you later (TTYL!))

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's Ontario Bloggers Day!!

So I wanted to write something especially pithy and witty for today but as luck would have it I'm feeling a wee bit down in the dumps. Michael stopped by last night to pick up some of his stuff and there were a lot of tears. His, not mine.

If you're new to this blog here's a link to a previous post so you can see the big picture if you want to.

And then to top it off, I'm driving my daughter Kazi to Pearson Airport in Toronto this afternoon as she begins her trip to Australia. So I'll have the house to myself for 3 weeks. It'll be "interesting" to see how I handle it. I think I'll be ok, at least I want to think that I'll be ok. If and when I move to PEI I'll be living alone so this will be a good little test. Not that living in the city with my friends and family closeby can be compared to living in the country with 1 neighbour across the road and my sister and friends a 2-3 hour drive away. And I'll be retired in PEI as compared to going to work here everyday. Still, I'll stay tuned in to my feelings and see how it goes.

Kazi's second interview with Jones Box Co. went well, she wasn't as bad at the software program as she thought she'd be. The other interview with Car Proof went well also but they phoned her yesterday saying they needed someone to start right away so as she's going to Australia they've decided not to hire her.

Tomorrow I'm going to the annual Wine and Food show with a friend. That's always fun sampling lots of wines, craft beer and amazing food. I've eaten some unusual things there like ostrich, bison, octopus etc. Things I wouldn't normally order or even see on a menu. Other than that it'll be a weekend of continued cleaning and decluttering. I'm enjoying that except for the part when I have to carry a million bags and boxes up the stairs and out to my truck to take either to the dumpster or to the local thrift shop. I'll also give myself some precious time to drink a coffee and read the newspaper. That's my Saturday morning treat unless I'm going to the Roaster for coffee with friends. I know it doesn't sound very exciting but just STOPPING, SITTING, READING and drinking a really good COFFEE is a huge treat for me in my busy hectic week. I know, get a life right??

I just want to let you know that I won't be back in London tonight til around 9pm or later so not sure if I'll have time to visit all of you today. If not today, then I will tomorrow. I think this is an exciting opportunity to meet more Ontario Bloggers! Thank you Cindy!

Well, sorry for the less than scintillating post - her's a linkhttp://lifebeginsatretirement.blogspot.ca/2014/01/hump-day.html for one I wrote a couple of days ago that provides a surefire insomnia cure - I loved the feedback on it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ontario Bloggers Day!

Did you know that tomorrow Friday, January 17, is Ontario Bloggers Day? Neither did I until I saw it mentioned in Eboo's blog and Jane's blog. If you are an Ontario Blogger and would like to join in the fun please follow this link: http://justnorthofwiarton.blogspot.ca/2014/01/catching-bug-through-phone.html and read through to the end for instructions on joining. Cindy who has the Just North of Wiarton and South of the Checkerboard blog is our gracious host for this "virtual event!"

A big shout out goes to Cindy for putting this together for a second year. I missed out the first time around - don't let it happen to YOU!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hump Day

Well it's Hump Day and we're coasting downhill to the weekend. Can't say anything bad about that! I gave myself the night off last night, didn't post, didn't read, didn't work and in bed shortly after 8pm! I have a magic cure for insomnia if anyone needs one. Not that I had insomnia last night but this strategy puts me to sleep in minutes, perhaps seconds. I had roughly 8.5 hours of sleep last night which for someone who gets up at 5am everyday is miraculous and very welcome.

My strategy you ask? First of all it's free. Once my Kindle bit the dust I started using a Kindle app on my iPad.  It has several advantages over the Kindle - I find the screen easy to read and who doesn't like turning pages with just a touch?  And, with my iPad I can download, for free, any ebook in the Ontario Library system and the PEI Library system. From the comfort of my recliner, couch or bed to boot!

When I was struck down for a month last January with a pinched nerve and all I could do was lay on the floor and listen to audio ebooks on my iPad I accidentally discovered that if I listened to a story being read to me by a man (doesn't work with a woman for some reason - I think a study should be done to determine why) with an English accent I quickly fall asleep. At first I was really annoyed because I'd be sleeping and the reader would still be reading away oblivious to the fact that his listener was sawing logs!! So the next time I wanted to listen to more of the audio ebook I'd have to backtrack through the chapters to find my place wasting precious reading time.

When it kept happening over and over again I finally had a brainwave (yes, I get one of those from time to time)! If I was having trouble sleeping I could put myself to sleep - NO PROBLEM! After awhile I didn't even care what the book was about! It's like a powerful sleeping pill that has NO side effects, costs me nothing, and works like a charm every time. Should I patent this idea do you think?

So now I have books I actually read and audio ebooks that knock me right out! It's so awesome!

Other newsy notes:

  • Judy asked me how Kazi did at her interview - well she did really well and is going back tomorrow for a second interview. She's not sure about the job because it requires daily use of design software that she is only kind of familiar with and doesn't really enjoy using. I told her to go anyway just to see how difficult it would be. She could always take another course or perhaps her level of skill would be enough. So she's going.
  • AND she had another interview today with a different company!! That also involved her waiting by her phone as she had to speak with a person from Quebec to prove how fluent she is in french. She did really well and is now waiting to see if she'll get called back for a 2nd interview. 
  • If that wasn't enough she is leaving on Friday for 3 weeks in Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She let both companies know about this - she feels if she doesn't do it now she'll have to wait 35 years (like me) while she has her career (and hopefully a family :) before she'll have time to travel again.  
  • If those interviews don't pan out she still has her 2 part-time jobs to come back to. She has it all planned out.
  • So guess who's driving her to Toronto Pearson airport Friday afternoon?? YUP - you guessed it - I HATE with a passion driving around huge airports but I'll do it for my Kazi! 
How was YOUR humpday??

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Well that wasn't so bad for a Monday!

(*I just noticed this is post #750!! Does that mean I have a lot to say?? Blah blah blah.....)

My sentiments exactly (re photo above!)  I was having such a lovely weekend...."shed night" with my brother and friends, coffee at the Roaster...a leisurely read of the National Post, cleaning, tossing and rearranging. But as we know all good things come to an end.

Today wasn't too bad of a day considering 3 of 6 educational assistants were away. That meant much juggling of schedules, students having to work with adults they aren't familiar with which can go either way. And then I had two meetings in the afternoon so it was a looooooong day. On top of that my cat didn't respond to me today when I got her breakfast ready. Usually as soon as I turn on the light she starts meowing very loudly until I can manage to get the dish in front of her nose. But today she didn't wake up! I could see her chest moving so knew she was alive. I gently stroked her a few times and she still didn't wake up. I thought she was a goner and worried about her all day but when I got home she was once again meowing her head off! I guess she was just having a really deep sleep dreaming about catnip! Yeesh!

People seem to post pictures of their weekly menus and meals at this time of the week so thought I'd join in. I tried a new recipe for Aloo Gobi, and Indian dish and it turned out ok. Not great, just ok. I have a feeling part of that is because the veggies were steamed as opposed to the usual sauteing in oil. But I am enjoying it anyway and my tongue is still burning. I may have gone a bit heavy on the red pepper flakes.......or not, as I do enjoy the heat!

                     From the frying pan.....
                     ....onto the plate!

Like my friend udy with a J I got my crockpot out this weekend...just the one crockpot however as I only have one. With just me and my daughter to feed one is enough for us as I don't have a big freezer I can stockpile meals in. I hope to have one in PEI so when I get snowed in for weeks on end I'll still be eating like a queen! Oh, in my crockpot is a new recipe called something like Lemon Crockpot Chicken and has layers of skinless boneless chicken breast, potatoes, lemon slices, garlic, onion and green beans. Can't wait!  Here's the link for the recipe.  I'll post a picture when it's ready to eat!

Well, that's about it for tonight. It's time to get back into the saddle again for another 15 or 20km.
How was YOUR Monday?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap - Jan. 12/2014

Here are this week's numbers:
1.  Km. cycled - 80km!! Yay me, that's a very good number as my goal is 60km a week. I'm going to try cycling 20 km each time now instead of 15km. The only thing standing (sitting?) in my way are my poor old creaky knees. I need to remember I'm not 20 anymore (or 30 or 40!) and sometimes my knees need a break.
2.  Days left til retirement: 168!! 

3.  No Spend Days in January - (I include days that I buy food and/or gas as they are necessities!) I am 8/12.  I spent: $7.00 to go to a movie, $9.00 to take our neighbour to Swiss Chalet, $11 for a bottle of wine to take to the "Stones in the Shed" night, and withdrew $20 cash yesterday to cover the cost of a newspaper & a coffee whilst visiting with my brother and sister-in-law at the Red Roaster. I did buy a coffee today as well but I used a Tim Hortons giftcard that a student gave me for Christmas. So I have spent a total of $47 on purchases outside of paying bills, buying groceries and gas. That seems pretty thrifty to me.

4.  Juicing: I juice once daily now and make enough for Kazi to have a glass too. I juice while making dinner and take it to school the next morning for breakfast. I'm feeling healthier and stronger by the day. At lunch I eat some sort of vegetable soup and for dinner I've been eating salmon, stir fry root veggies and salad. Today I'm making more soup and Aloo Gobi, an Indian dish made with potatoes, cauliflower (the vegetable of the year I'm hearing!) and peas. I lucked out and bought 3 packages of skinless, boneless chicken on sale at the Canadian Superstore today so will be eating some of that too this week.
5. Finding $1500.00 - I was reimbursed this week for some expenditures at school so I transferred $100 into my savings leaving me with a total now of $1300.00 left to find.

What a crazy week! As you know we had two days off at the beginning of the week. I was up at my usual time, 5am, ready and raring to go, then got sent home. Needing to do something with my energy and not able to go out due to snow and extremely cold temperatures I got busy, very busy, around the house.

What with all the renos going on around here the house has been a disaster zone for several months. On Monday I focused on the kitchen scraping the wallpaper backing from above the cupboards. I also cleaned out all of the cupboards and washed the cupboard doors. The pantry got cleaned out too. I washed all the floors and vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms. I did about 10 loads of laundry and filled the truck with bags and bags for Talize (thrift shop) and took bags and bags of garbage to the dumpster. Whew!
New floor & clean cupboards

New subway tiles - I love them!

Removing the wallpaper backing

Wallpaper all gone! Ready for painting.

Then I had Tuesday as well! So I cleaned the laundry room and decluttered it - several more bags of garbage. I rearranged what was my bedroom and turned it back into the TV room. I am now sleeping upstairs in my former bedroom. I dusted, decluttered, organized the linen closet and my closet. I  carried furniture from upstairs to the basement and from the basement to upstairs. Again, more bags for Talize and more bags for the garbage. I cleaned out the storage area under the stairs and now there is lots of room in there for the storage bins I've been filling with the things I want to keep.

And I finally did something I've always wanted to do - at the bottom of the stairs to the basement there is some extra space. Michael used it as a little office but I always wanted to make it into a cozy reading area. So I did! I put an antique rocking chair, footstool, some bookshelves filled with my remaining book collection and a lamp!

Wow. I was so impressed with myself. The only area needing attention in the basement now is the furnace room/workroom. If I can psych myself up I'll start it today after lunch.

This is not to say the basement will be completed. I still have to fill nail/screw holes and paint everywhere! And I'm considering replacing the cheap laminate flooring with something impermeable to water, either ceramic or vinyl. BUT almost all of the house now is usable. AND I know where everything is once again. There's still lots to do but at least we can now live comfortably in the house.
Kazi went to an interview on Thursday for a "big girl" job. It was with a great company and the interview went well but it wasn't what she wanted. Darn. So she's still looking and going to Australia is on hold for now.

Well better go, it's almost lunch time! What have YOU accomplished this weekend?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Don'tcha Love Quickies?!

I have 7 minutes to write this post then my computer reboots. Yes, I'm at work.  It's still dark outside and sometimes at this time of the morning I feel like I'm the last person alive in the world. But I make a nice cuppa and put my new Billy Bragg CD in my computer (yes it'll stop playing also when the computer reboots - it's a system thing) that I received for Christmas. Not that I feel lonely, because I don't. I can't really remember ever feeling lonely - I like my own company quite a bit :)

I had a Low Spend yesterday. Kazi and I took our neighbour out for dinner, an annual event. We each had a gift card so the total left to pay was about $9.00 including tip. Pretty thrifty I think! I also bought $54.00 of groceries yesterday at our local Asian store. Bags and bags full of cauliflower, beets, carrots, spinach, celery, cucumbers, ginger, apples, etc etc etc. The fridge is stuffed and this morning I am drinking blood - well, that's what it looks like. I love adding a beet to my morning juice - it gives it such a brilliant reddish purple colour and makes the juice a bit thicker/heartier.

Ok, down to 2 minutes...hmmmmm...pressure's on to be quickly witty and humorous - ain't gonna happen! Going to my brother's SHED tonight - he's having the first annual "Stones in the Shed" night....oh crap....ran out of time...

Ok, back again. My brother has a shed/workshop where he creates birdhouses and occasionally holds a "shed night". He puts a flag out on his front porch and the local neighbourhood guys see the flag and show up in the shed for a night of craft beer and single malts. I guess tonight is a new and improved version of the "shed night" as we are supposed to bring Rolling Stones albums, 45s and one of the guys is providing a sound system to play them on. Add in drinks and snacks and voila!!
"Stones in the Shed" night. I am hoping I can keep my eyes open long enough to join in the fun - I have lots of Stones albums and even a 45 or two or three like "Hey You Get Offa My Cloud"!

I have every 45 collected by my 4 siblings and myself. I've carted them around to every house I've ever lived in, probably in the original box.

Well, better go. Friday is Fun Day around here so I'll wish you all a Happy Friday and hope you have some fun in your day too!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Well that was a different day!

Just got home...it's 5:16 am. Just another 12 hour school day! Not that I'm complaining. Finally they let me stay and do my job :) But it was a looooong day with a loooooong meeting after school and then I had to get my plans ready for tomorrow so now I'm whacked so this will be brief.

No/Low Spend Challenge: 5/8 no spend days so far this month. Today I stopped for gas, which is a necessity obviously and I was happy that it was at its lowest price in months! So I put in $50.

Cycling Challenge:  this is going well, cycled another 15km yesterday and will do so again today. Well, tonight.

Eating Challenge: also  going well - today I took in juice that I made to have for breakfast, lunch was a bowl of Ratatouille soup that I made and my snacks were almonds and then a few gluten free Mary's organic crackers with hummus. When I got home from school Kazi handed me a salad she made of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and it's delicious. Then I'll have some salmon and stir fry veggies. NO processed food!! NO dairy!! NO gluten!!

Well, the crackers are packaged but what a package of healthy goodness they are! Does anyone else live on love these crackers as much as I do? Here are the ingredients.

"We have combined organic, gluten free, whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds into an organic gluten-free cracker with a rich, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. Delicious on their own or with your favorite topping Mary’s Original Seed Crackers are a staple in
households all over the US!" (and Canada I might add!)

I was going to post again last night but didn't. I'll update soon about all I got accomplished on my two GIFT DAYS otherwise known as Snow Day and Too effen Cold Day. Last night I was just too melancholy and knew I would start to blubber so thought I would put off my post til another day when I felt a bit better. I cleaned out "our bedroom" and Michael's closet and it really got me down. Getting out of the house today and having a busy day at school was just what I needed.

I tell you, -16c felt positively balmy! I wonder if Sonya Ann got out her capris??

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


So I got kicked out of school...again! Yesterday was a snow day, today a COLD DAY! This is a first for me - staying home because of the extreme cold. I think we are turning into a bunch of wussy wimps!

Yes, once again I got up at 5am, warmed up Dougie the Dodge (I will admit he didn't want to start but after hesitating for a second he roared into life - that's my Dougie!!) and off I went to school. On the way there I heard that all the buses were cancelled once again, even the city school buses. I really didn't think they'd close the schools but I was only there for 10 minutes when the word came down - all schools will remain closed.

Okay, okay, yes I admit it's damn cold out there. -26 with a wind that takes your breath away. But close the schools? And I HAD to leave. It was just me and the custodian there and unless I have the alarm code (which I don't not being an admin type person) then I can't stay.

That was me this morning with my Canadian olympic mitts on and my Canada Goose coat with fur hood. I was warm, very warm....once inside my truck!  Oh yes, and add glasses and grey hair to that picture, and lots of laugh lines :)

So, darn it all, here I sit in my recliner, drinking my hot lemon and ginger, writing to you. What a drag...hee hee hee. Seriously, I have big plans for the day.  Yesterday I got my redecorating mojo back and accomplished a few things...I'll tell you about them later!

Are you doing anything differently to stay warm?? Furnace up a notch or two?

Monday, January 6, 2014


I was just talking to Kazi yesterday about what a gift a snow day is to a teacher. Our lesson plans are prepared and we are all set to go. Then when the schools are closed, LIKE THEY ARE TODAY, we can save those lesson plans for the next day....hence...NO PREP! But just so you don't think we teachers sit around eating chocolates and watching the soaps on a snow day I do have plans to finish my marking and do some research for my next unit - The Winter Olympics!

Here's the funny part, sort of. I managed to be sitting at my desk in my classroom by 6am this morning as usual. Yes, there was a foot of snow on my truck so I just went out earlier with a broom to clean it off. Yes, not all the roads were plowed so I stuck to the main roads. Yes, the parking lot at school was filled with mountains of snow but I managed to park my truck. Yes, the buses were then cancelled but I didn't think they'd close the schools. BUT, lo and behold, at 7am the school boards announced the schools were closed! So, silly me, I gathered my belongings and headed for home.

Now I have a chance to write a post, read the paper, leisurely work at my marking, shovel out my parking spot so it's not a mess for tomorrow and get some cycling in. I've changed into workout clothes so I can get 15km in on my bike. Life is good.

No/Low Spend - I am 4/6 (4 No spend days out of the 6 days of January) Well, it is only 8:17am but I'm not going to any stores today. We'll eat what we have on hand so I feel confident I can call today a No Spend Day.

Cycling - 15km yesterday after taking Saturday off. Will cycle another 15km today for a total of 60km so far in January. I'll try to aim for 300km this month.

5 Day Juice Fast - COMPLETED!! And I feel so much better. Good energy, alert. I am having a breakfast juice right now (beet, beet greens, carrots, celery, cucumber, ginger, grapes and a grapefruit. I also drink two mugs full of hot water laced with lemon and fresh ginger every morning instead of coffee. And I drink cold water throughout the day infused with lemon and cucumber. Yum.
How's the weather in your neck of the woods??

Saturday, January 4, 2014

No/low Spend

I had a nice day today, I am happy to report. I got up a little earlier and went to have coffee with my brother Gord and sister-in-law Pat. We chatted for almost 3 hours! Then I went to my Asian grocery store as I needed more cucumbers for juicing and some zucchini for making Ratatouille.

While I made soup I listened to the World Junior Hockey Game (Canada vs Finland) on my laptop. I don't have cable TV anymore, just Netflix, so I listened to a live audiocast of the game. Unfortunately my team took a lot of really stupid penalties - like a 10 minute misconduct for a stick to the head of a Finnish player. We deserved to lose that game. Tomorrow Canada will play for bronze at 9am and guess who will be listening while she does her school prep?

Tonight I am going to see The Life of Walter Mitty with a girlfriend. I watched the trailer and it looks pretty inspirational - just the kind of kick in the pants I need.

So while I didn't have a NO Spend day I consider it all money well spent. I made a huge pot of soup that I'll take to school for lunch saving me mega lunch money. And I'll make coffee or tea at school instead of spending $2.00 daily at Timmy's.

For the price of a coffee I got to see family members and listen to my brother ramble on about birdhouses and motorcycle trips. And for the price of a movie I get to spend time with a girlfriend who understands my life right now.

So all in all I spent ($2.00/coffee + $12.00/vegetables + $9.00/movie) for a total of $23.00. No, I won't be having popcorn. This is Day 4 of my Juice Fast and I'm doing great! I've had two mostly green juices today (kale, chinese broccoli, celery, cucumber, carrots and a fruit thrown in to sweeten it up - blueberries in one and an apple in the other. Delicious. Really. I mean it.

I'm beginning to notice more energy and more clarity in thinking. And my immune system really needs the boost. One more day and then I move on to Ratatouille and a root vegetable stir-fry. Can't wait! I use potato, sweet potatoes, turnips and onions and believe me when I say it is sooooooo tasty!!

No time for biking today but that's OK. I was really feeling it in my knees today so I'll postpone til tomorrow. And I did do 16km last night. So, I'm on track for spending, on track for biking, on track for juicing and on track for getting out there and socializing.

Yup, a good day. Hope yours was just as good...or better!!!

PS - I never thought I'd say this but I just told Kazi to have fun at Bingo!! Now who's the old lady?!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Readers - Thank you!

One thing that always perks a blogger up is seeing a comment from a new reader. I would like to personally thank the following wonderful people:

  • Jennifer
  • Rose
  • Janelle B
  • Sandy
  • Kerry
  • Mary (long time reader:)
  • Susannah (welcome back)
  • Frugal Mommy
  • Marjorie
  • Cdn Saver - so good to hear from you
  • Barb (long time reader)
  • Judi
  • ND Chic
  • Niki (back from a year hiatus) 
  • Holly Nelson
I know some of you are always around and some of you are recent readers. I appreciate your comments more than you can know. Some of you are also bloggers - some that I already visit and others who are new to me and will be added to my blogroll. 

Its a beautiful sunny day today - I should make myself go outside. Acccccckkk! It's minus 21!! Staying in doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all! I'm such a wuss!  Ok, I'll think about it for awhile and see if it warms up at all! 

It's difficult figuring out what to do from day to day - it'll be good to go back to work. I've lost my hiking partner, my going out partner, my movie watching partner, my everything partner. So I have to find ways of doing what I love either on my own or with a friend. Right now I don't really feel like doing anything but I'm sure that will pass. 

One thing I will do is go out, clean off Dougie the Dodge and let him run for a few minutes - hopefully he'll start ok. If that works out I may go to No Frills as the cat needs food and litter. I just buy in small amounts because she is 20 years old!!! We almost lost her a few weeks ago - she had a cold - but she pulled through - tough old thing!  Hmmmmm...kinda like me!
                   This is what a 20 year old cat looks like!
                   She sleeps 98% of the time.