Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!!

I want to extend to you all my wishes for a very happy New Year.  Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing today take a moment to be grateful for what was. If you're like me and life threw you some major curveballs this past year try to reflect on what was good about 2014, even if those good moments seemed far and few between. Embrace those less than perfect moments as challenges to overcome in 2015.

I've been reading John Cleese's autobiography and love how he sees the "ridiculous" in everyday events, both good and bad - I think that's a great approach to life in general. Maintain a sense of humour no matter what you're facing. That's what I'm going to try to do though sometimes I tend to veer off into sarcasm (coping mechanism!!) that's still humour...right?

This year I'm going to make a list of my 2014 accomplishments and add them as a "page" on my blog.  Other pages will include "goals", a list of what I'm grateful for,  and of course the ever present and always important "financial budget"!! I'm also thinking about monetizing my blog for awhile to see whether it's worth it or not. No resolutions for this girl however, I plan to continue my hiking/biking and will track my kilometres in my sidebar. No diets - just trying to maintain a mostly healthy eating plan (with occasional excursions into chocolate and beer!!)

Will there be travel this year? A new trailer? That all remains to be seen - I'm sure things will unfold as they are meant to be.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 or BUST!!

I'm glad a new year is coming up soon - hopefully it will give me the fresh start that I desperately need.

Christmas was good - Kazi wishes we were a bit more exciting I'm sure but it is what it is.  She had a rough Boxing Day working retail and ended up coming home early with a migraine. "Worst Christmas Ever" were her exact words I, believe!

We spent Christmas Day with my two brothers, my sister-in-law, my nephew and his wife and my great-nephew. Kazi made her world-famous guacamole and it was gobbled up by everyone- she should have made twice as much! There were more treats than we could possibly eat and then we had a huge traditional turkey dinner!! Oh my!

Here's Ollie playing with his favourite toy of the day - a remote control dinosaur complete with many sound effects including FARTS!!  No wonder it was his favourite!
 The dinosaur's eyes glowed a variety of colours indicating his mood - green is good!

We had a good time opening gifts - I received a gift card for Indigo Books (PERFECT!!), a book about David Bowie (my nephew knows my musical interests) for my "reading nook", another very special book about my dad's navy days put together by my oldest brother, leg warmers!! (the last pair of those I owned was in l982!!), a metal lantern with decorative holes to let the light of a candle glow through and the notes that my mother wrote for her novel about an Inuit boy. These were greatly appreciated as I have put some "writing time" into my schedule for the new year!!

My oldest bro checking out a gift - not sure what it is?!

My nephew - giver of the David Bowie book :)  He's a pretty cool "hipster dude" and works as a graphic artist.

My beautiful daughter - she's wearing one of the tops I bought her at Topshop in Norwich, England! I was a little worried as she has very particular tastes when it comes to jewelry and clothing but she liked everything I got her, even the Icelandic wool socks! Phew!

She gave me a necklace, an infinity scarf, grey hand towels and washcloths for my upcoming bathroom redecorating and other stuff I cannot recall at this moment!

There's my other brother, squinting as he is wearing his glasses over top an eye patch he's still wearing after his surgery for a detached retina. His vision is slowly recovering.

Dino nuzzling up to my sister-in-law's shoe - she better be careful as his mood can change at any moment... you can see in the next photo!! Hang on Gord - we'll get him off your nose!

We didn't stay TOO late as most of us get cranky if we don't hit the hay at our usual time!! On Boxing Day I called my two sisters who live too far away to join us on Christmas Day. NO SHOPPING!! Then I decided, since it was +8 outside, I would go for a walk and thought I'd add a bit of a challenge by strapping this light weights around my ankles.

See? However, it wasn't the best idea in the world as I pulled a muscle in my butt while walking!! Well, I assume it was while I was walking - it didn't start to hurt til a couple of hours later. And I'm supposed to hike tomorrow! Hmmppff!

So I'm either using a donut pillow to sit on from my "bad back" era or standing at the kitchen counter to use my laptop. Fun, fun, fun! Therefore, I'll be taking it easy today - I have some cooking to do while I listen to Kazi yuck it up while watching "The Interview" - the movie about the North Korean leader that was initially banned, then offered for limited viewing at a few theatres and on youtube.  It sounds pretty funny judging by the amount of laughing going on!

That's a wrap for today. I'll be sharing my new 2015 budget with you soon as well as goals for the New Year. I don't make resolutions as I just can't stick to them. The good news is I ended the month in the BLACK with almost $300 left in my chequing account - I'm impressed! That will get socked away into savings!!

Do you have SAVINGS goals for 2015?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Day

If only I lived there!! In an idealistic painting with faulty electricity! Instead we're dealing with rain and mud, maybe even a thunderstorm! And it's +9c!! I just checked the forecast for the next few days and not once does the temp dip below 0c. Unbelievable!

Therefore, there's only one thing I can do!

DANCE in the kitchen with hot chocolate and Bailey's!

HAH! You thought I was going to say "sit outside on the patio and drink a cold beer" didn't you?? And I would have, just for the sake of this blog, if everything wasn't stinking wet and covered in mouldy old leaves!! So...the kitchen it is! (I'll have a beer later when we're watching National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation!" Chevy Chase and beer just go together don't you think?

Thanks for the hot chocolate Michelle!! Kazi added a spoonful to her coffee and Baileys this morning and thought it was delicious!!

Oh, and snacks!! Dancing, hot chocolate, Baileys and snacks!! Pumpkin tarts, peanut butter balls and lemon cheesecake squares...well, the squares were there a minute ago, I swear!!

Don't worry, I already ate my vegetables...

...a whole bowl full! Homemade ratatouille is a Christmas Eve tradition - trying to balance out all the sugar, fat and carbs! Hah - in my dreams!!

Finally....Christmas Eve wouldn't be complete without.....Santa?.....hanging stockings with care?.....last minute shopping?  

Keeping their eye on my case of beer outside on the patio! Good girls!

Somebody needs to lose weight!

Peace on Earth
Merry Christmas everyone! See y'all soon!

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 21st - the Shortest and Darkest Day of the Year

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of "he who shall not be named" departing from Crabapple Landing.  Although it was also the winter solstice and thereby the shortest and darkest day of the year (how very appropriate) the sun was shining brilliantly when I got up and it was hard to put a frown on my face. There was a hike in the morning in one of my favourite places so I picked up my pal at 9am and off we went. I was a little intrigued about the hike as I was asked to help out with a "surprise"!

What glorious sunshine! It's been a month since we've had snow on the ground. Meadowlily looked just beautiful today. Now that all the leaves have dropped it looks so different!

Our fearless leader today is Ted. He and his co-leader Mike were the instigators of the surprise.

Can you see the water of the Thames River through the trees? Kinda, sorta?

 It was a crispy -3c so this little stream of water was partially frozen over.

The sun is low on the horizon now but starting tomorrow it will begin its journey back towards us and each new day will bring us 2 more minutes of daylight!!

Right around here Mike and I headed off away from the group, moved quickly ahead on the path and hurriedly set up some treats - cookies and mandarin oranges.  Next time I want some hot chocolate though guys...are you listening??
There's Santa himself!
and his helper!

There were around 30 of us hiking today - a good sized group!

Everyone was appreciative of the half-way point snack.
Nice facial expression I've got going on - I must be ho ho ho-ing! Or...stuffing my face with cookies!
But I wasn't the only one!

 Time to clean up, turn around and head back!

 The river was covered in geese...

...and the path was covered with hikers!

 as so often happens when hiking I fall behind taking photos...
 ...however, as long as the "sweep", the final hiker who makes sure no one gets left behind, is waaaay behind me I don't need to worry...there he is...
 ...even so I walked double time to catch up with my friend...
...and there's the sweep catching up too!
 There's a long line of us today..
I love my little camera...point and click...I barely have to slow down, let alone stop, when we are moving along at a quick pace...

hmmmm...where to cross the water?

...getting a helping hand, don't want to get a soaker! looks more like spring than winter! And I am ok with that!

...almost finished...picking up the pace as we are lured by the thought of coffee at Timmy's!
...goodbye Meadowlily...see you again soon!

Do you have snow?? Will your Christmas Day be white or green??

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Big Reveal

TA DA!! 
My friend Michelle helped me put together my new fireplace/TV Stand and we're still friends!!  It didn't take too long at all!  Lily and Luna helped by being cute!! and providing comic relief.
Getting into my work!

Michelle getting hammered!

Synchronized kittens!!
And works!! can I get in there?

Just like the real thing baby!

All wired up and ready to go!
And the rest of the room?
I'm told the reading nook needs a footstool
and a little table for a wineglass! 

Not quite finished - the table on the left is going back upstairs
so still some "rearranging" left to do.

Two new swivel chairs and new storage ottomans.

New chairs, ottoman and futon cover/pillows.

Now that the room is sorted I've been back on my bike :)
One final pic of the cozy cuties!

View of reading nook seen from the TV room.
I'm taking a break now from redecorating until after Christmas. I've done NO baking and NO wrapping so need to get hopping! Time is running out!!

I'll be back soon with a list of goals for 2015: financial, redecorating, health/fitness and personal. There is much to look forward to!  Are you ready for Christmas??