Friday, February 27, 2015

Eligible or Ineligible

First of all...SLUGGY IS HAVING ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!! Go HERE to get on board!! Someone has to win and it might as well be YOU!! It's a "PAMPER YOURSELF" basket of goodies and who doesn't need pampering at this time of year!! Go on...I know you want to!!

Feeling sluggish (no offence Sluggy!) This winter is killing my energy and motivation. I dragged my butt through vacuuming today and I did my taxes!! I also wasted a lot of time waiting for phone calls. Phooey.

Taxes: I made a mistake this year. I've been doing my own taxes for 40 years or more and have never had any issues...until now. I over-contributed to my RRSP.  Yessir, I did, I confess. Please don't use the handcuffs officer.....

The problem was the $5,000 early retirement incentive the school board gave me last June. I assumed, incorrectly as it turned out, based on what I read on the Canada Revenue Agency website, that I could put all of it into my RRSP, that it was eligible.  But when I got my T4 yesterday the whole amount was listed as ineligible. I was only allowed to put part of it into my RRSP. Well, I did my taxes anyway and sent them away. I'm still due a good-sized refund so if I owe CRA any money they can take it out of that.

Alternately, I'm also allowed to remove the excess out of my RRSP and pay the tax on it. OR (and I like this idea the best) I can send a letter to CRA explaining:
  • why you made excess contributions and why this is a reasonable error; and
  • what steps you are taking, or have taken, to eliminate the excess contributions.
As I'm planning to withdraw $5,000 after March 1st I may be covered. I'm going to give it the old college try anyway and mail off a letter in a couple of days begging that my stupidity be forgiven.

Have you ever had issues with Uncle Sam?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Budget Boogaloo

February is quickly coming to a close - now if it would only take the brutally cold air with it!! One of the thousands of things I like better about spring are the reduced utility bills. With this February shaping up to be THE COLDEST ON RECORD then my heating bill is likely to be THE HIGHEST ON RECORD!!

The Lowlights and Highlights of February's Budget:

  • Lowlights - I underestimated my heating bill and electricity bill by $24; considering how cold it's been that's hardly surprising. I took the extra out of my misc budget and sucked it up!
  • a few things have gotten more expensive: my monthly internet bill increased by $3, the hot water tank rental increased by $1, property taxes are increasing by approx. 2.5% but I don't have the new amount yet. That's it for lowlights - nothing broke down, nothing had to be fixed, we stayed warm, ate well and indulged in lots of wine and chocolate!!
  • Highlights - I stayed on budget!! AND I had leftover money in all three variable budgets (gas, food and misc)
  • a decrease in car/home insurance means that the little increases in other bills were mostly covered
  • I have $24 left in the food budget :) ... $85 left in the gas budget :)...and $53 left in the misc budget!! so.....I made an extra payment on my mastercard towards my trip in Sept. and put a little extra into savings to round up the numbers. I'm leaving the $53 in my account to cover gong out to breakfast, going out for coffee, a purchase at Home Depot etc.
  • Savings increased by $664 this month!! $350 of that is from my pension and the rest is from interest payments from accounts and RRSPs. 
  • Misc purchases this month included: 2 little trips to the thrift shop, some new music for my iPod, a guidebook for a possible trip in 2016, a yoga app, new camera batteries, a new toaster, a special Valentine's party for me and 2 girlfriends, a book for my iPad (or two), a new charge cord for my laptop; ...I went to a movie or two, went out for lunch, breakfast and multiple coffees and I went to the Bryan Adams concert!! Which was fabulous!! (and actually paid out of January's misc budget). 
February's budget was a great success! But then it was only a 28 day month! March will be slightly more challenging I'm sure. Having a trip to work towards does help me squeeze my pennies though - it really helps to have a goal. 

Re Gofundme - I think it only makes sense that you really check out what you're contributing towards. Since Nate was Kazi's friend I had no qualms about donating money towards bringing him back to Canada. I would never donate to someone's "sad story" unless I checked into it and made sure it was REAL. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bringing Nate Home

It's been a roller coaster of emotions around here, some wonderful, some terrible. First, the terrible.

Yesterday Kazi learned that a close friend died while on holiday in Cancun. (I removed Nate's last name and names of his family members).

Nate was a very special person and his joy de vivre touched everyone he met. This is a tragedy beyond measure. Nate was an alumni of Western University in London  and a fledgling entrepreneur and club promoter. He belonged to the Delta Upsilon fraternity and was a co-founder of "Lion's Den University"; a student lifestyle website.

What has amazed me is the power of social media and the Gofundme fundraising site set up by a close friend to help raise money to bring Nate home.  I love the way Nate's friends and business associates are pooling their resources to help Nate's family during this difficult time. What I haven't shown is the outpouring of love and comments for Nate which is also helping his family and friends cope. The power of social media is incredible. It has given Kazi and hundreds of others a way of helping and contributing and a way of expressing their grief and supporting each other.

I'm sure there are many who feel cynical about such a process, me being one of them ...formerly. But another example of this amazing site and others like it was shown to me a week ago when a 3 year old boy in Toronto wandered out of his apartment building at 4am in -20c weather wearing nothing but a Tshirt, a diaper and boots. After a frantic search he was found - but he didn't make it. Hundreds if not thousands of people in Toronto contributed to an on-line fundraiser set up by a stranger who "just wanted to do something" to help the grieving family.

The world is indeed becoming a "global village" where we can help people we haven't even met and come together as a community to support each other when things go terribly wrong. Updates from the family have expressed their gratitude at all of the love and support being shown for Nate. Even in the short time it's taken me to type this hundreds more dollars have been added to a total which has far surpassed its goal. Money can never replace a loved one but it can help alleviate stress and financial pressure when a sudden tragedy takes place.


$32,392 of $20k
Raised by 683 people in 15 hours

Friday, February 20, 2015

Extreme Cold Warning....still in effect!

Extreme Cold Warning

Issued at 10:48 a.m. EST Thursday 19 February 2015
Bitterly cold arctic air has once again returned to Southern Ontario. Strong and gusty northwest winds will combine with the frigid temperatures to produce extremely cold wind chill values of minus 30 to minus 35 today through Friday morning. People outdoors should
...More details

Yesterday was a stay inside day and today isn't any warmer! We are amusing ourselves by throwing seeds out onto the snow in the patio area and watching the squirrels fight over them. Luna and Lily are absolutely glued to the patio doors! Do I know how to have fun or what!?!

This morning I had to take out the recycling and it was a struggle just to breathe let me tell you! I'll have to find another DIY project to keep myself busy like I did yesterday. I'm so happy with my fix-it job!! I had this kitchen cabinet door that squeaked/groaned horrendously every time we opened it, which was frequently as it's the door that has the garbage bin behind it. A week ago I thought that if I squirted some WD40 on the hinges I could make the squeak/groan go away. No such luck, in fact, I made matters worse because then the hinges were so slippery the door wouldn't stay open. I'd open the door, grab a plate to scrape and the door would be closed!!

So yesterday I took the door off and took off the hinges - turns out one of them was broken. At least that's what my carpenter's helpers told me...

..and they did a very good inspection! 

Off I went to the local Home Hardware store and bought new far so good...

...but there was a slight problem - the new screws were a lot smaller than the old screws...they're not going to work very well in the old holes made by the much fatter screws!! Nope, door fell right off again!

I started digging through my large supply of differently sized screws but most were too long as I had less than an inch of depth to work with...

So I wondered about anchors...but again they were too long for the depth I had to work with and stuck out...

So...I flexed my muscles and tried forcing the old fat screws through the slightly smaller openings in the new hinges and it worked!! I didn't think they'd line up properly with the old holes but they did!!  Once in a while things go right!!

Ta da!! The door is back on and nary a sound does it make...

and it stays open!! Amazing how such a little thing can improve the quality of my life - no more groaning, no more closing when my back is turned!!

After that I carved for awhile and then did my first bit of sanding - it's looking good! I
also made a big pot of leek and potato soup which I'm going to have RIGHT NOW!!
A productive day:)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I am at the point now when I can no longer contribute to my RRSPs. For the first time since I was about 12 I have NO EARNED INCOME!! What a lazy a-- I've become eh? 

The last few days I've been going over my RRSP options. There are many different lines of thought and most have to do with whether to let my RRSPs sit and earn interest until I'm 71 at which time the RRSPs would convert to an RRIF and there would be a minimum amount withdrawn and added to my annual income....OR....withdraw so much a year NOW and add to my Tax Free Savings Account or Tax Free GICs. 

The crux of the matter is which option saves me the most in tax dollars? I'm leaning towards starting RRSP withdrawals NOW while my income is at its lowest. Right now I'm just living on my school pension with additional bump ups to my income coming when I start to receive Canada Pension and then Old Age Supplement. If I wait til I'm 71 to start taking money out of a RRIF then I will be pushed up into a higher tax bracket. For the rest of my LIFE!!

On the other hand if I can get my money out of my RRSPs over the next few years and tucked safely away into a TFSA my tax bracket will remain lower, thus paying less in taxes.  We Canadians are currently allowed to put $5,500 per year into a TFSA where it is tax-sheltered forever. I'd like to start removing $5,000 per year from my RRSPs and place it into my TFSA. Of course there is withholding tax when I remove $$ from my RSP which increases based on the amount withdrawn. The tax rate for $5,000 is 10%. So I would receive $4,500. However, at tax time I might see some of that withholding tax come back to me. 

I feel that this is the right way to go. The consensus is that it's best to withdraw RRSPs when your income is at its lowest. Which is now. 

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Frozen Assets

When I got up this morning it was -29c so is it any wonder my ass(ets) is/are frozen??? I've managed to have quite a few NO spend days this month because who wants to go outside?? That being said I did do some shopping on Friday in preparation for my Valentine's Day guests. But I'm still on track for February and may have some $$ left at the end of the month if I can stay the course!

Gas Budget - I have almost a full tank of gas and $120 left in the gas budget. If you don't drive anywhere gas stays IN the tank!! Also, I lumped ALL my errands together last Friday to use as little gas as possible. I've been averaging $30/week for gas so far which means I might have $60-$80 left in this budget line at the end of the month!

Food Budget - I spent more on food for the first half of this month than I did during the same time period in January. Some of that went for snacks for my party plus I bought extra food that I cooked for breakfast Sunday morning. There is still $116 left in the food budget and I won't be shopping for a a few days as I couldn't fit another thing in my fridge if I tried! I'm sure there will be a few dollars left in the food budget at the end of the month.

Misc Budget - Out of the $313 in the misc budget for the 2nd half of the month I have $230 left. Money has been spent on wine, chocolate treats from the Bulk Barn, movie rentals for the party, music downloaded from iTunes and a book from Amazon for my Kindle app. Upcoming expenditures include going to lunch with a friend tomorrow and the Bryan Adams concert on the 24th (though I've already paid for the ticket!) I hope I don't spend all of the rest of this budget by Feb. 28.

For the next few months any budget remnants will go to paying for my trip to England in Sept. So far I need to pay off my plane tickets and the deposit for my hiking trip with Annie. I therefore challenge myself to direct at least $150 (gas - $80; food - $30; misc - $40) towards my Mastercard at the end of Feb. Whatever is outstanding on my Mastercard will be paid off using my tax refund sometime in March.

Increased savings so far this month includes $350 from my pension and $200 in interest for a total of $550!! I have two more interest deposits from RRSPs to come yet this month. I'm surviving on my pension so far - I'm doing it, I'm doing it!!

Famous last words.....

Friday, February 13, 2015

One's Valentine's Day Plans

When one is single, like this one is, one must makes one's own Valentine's Day Plans...for one....

...unless one has awesome friends who are also single and looking for something to do on that one anti-singletons day of the year - VD DAY!!

Happily one has such awesome single friends who one just happen to also LOVE so all is not lost!! One plus one plus one will be gathering at one's place for some mouthwatering chinese food from one's favourite place to eat - Hong Pings!! One's girls are spending the night so that one plus one plus one can indulge oneselves in a couple bottles of wine plus lots and lots of chocolate!!

One plus one plus one will put one's new TV room into use and watch some movies - one is renting "The Judge" and "Boyhood" ironically:)

So much feasting and indulging will be had by one plus one plus one until we crash! I think one plus one plus one will have a tonne of fun!

Guess which one I am?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Doing it Yourself...(or cheaping out!)

Saving $$ - that's what it's all about! So today's post is about just that...

Exhibit One: I call this one "The Millionaire's Bird Feeder" 

Yup, that's a toilet paper roll! Covered with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed and stuck on a large, metal butterfly that has so far resisted several squirrel attacks! Not my idea - gleaned from The Globe and Mail newspaper. It works and it's cheep cheep cheep!

Exhibit Two: Standing Desk

It has taken awhile but I finally figured out a combination that is right for my height. I was using the kitchen counter but it was a bit too low and I found myself bent over and  leaning on my elbows trying to find a comfortable position.

What with all the hullabaloo about "too much sitting being worse than smoking ten packs of cigarettes per day" I thought I'd try and find myself an alternative to hours of sitting. So far so good. I like standing while I'm using the computer... right this minute I'm doing waist twisting and bending and listening to all of my vertebrae crack and pop while I type! Can you hear that? AND I just discovered that I can use the brace on the bottom as a foot rest - SCORE!!

Exhibit Three: Art Shelf
I used to have a tonne of shelves...until I decided to move and rid myself of most of them...sigh... However we all know about "creativity" in the face of "diversity" or "necessity being the mother of invention"...

I used a piece of barn board from my dad's barn that no longer exists. The painting is of an area near Otter Creek in the village of Norwich where I grew up and painted by my talented brother. It needs to be framed but in the meantime it has a sentimental spot to hang out.

There's our barn in the background. That's my dad washing his boat rather large car in the neighbour's driveway. It must be spring as there are no leaves on the trees yet. That's the large back yard where my painter brother and I had fun shooting arrows from his bow and arrow set straight up into the sky. Happily we didn't "take anybody's eye out"!!

Sadly when my parents passed away and our home was sold the lots got severed and now a house sits where the barn used to!! Sacrilege!! That barn had initials, including mine, carved into the boards dating back to the mid 1800's!! Attached to the left of our barn you can see the chicken coop where I would gather the eggs daily right out from under the chickens' bums!  Grope grope grope - no wonder they clucked at me! There is also a house now where the walnut trees were (you can see one to the right of my dad - there were several and earned someone a pretty penny when they were CHOPPED DOWN!!)

A couple of weeks ago I became Facebook friends with one of the boys who grew up in the white house that you can see through the trees on the right side of the photo. My house is out of view on the right side - there was a sidewalk that connected the barn to the house.

Finally - the CUTENESS photos!!  My screen addicts!! Lily watching the movie "Tracks" last night - it was full of camels and dogs and she loved every minute of it.

And Luna watching some "kitty porn" this morning - a friend's post on facebook about a cat lounging in front of a heater on a cold day! Hysterical!!

What have you made yourself lately - any great DIY projects we don't know about??

Monday, February 9, 2015

By the Numbers....

711 - the numbers of songs on my new "COOL Music" playlist
3 - numbers of hours wasted yesterday creating new music playlist
$30 - spent filling up my truck today
$15 - spent on groceries today - 2 blocks of cheese and some rice cakes (caramel popcorn                           flavour to hopefully satisfy my sweet craving :/
0 - money left in my misc fund until Friday - bet you can guess where that $$ went!!
46 - $$ spent on NEW music in the past week :)
3 - hours spent awake due to pain in the gluteus medius and minimus muscles of the hip last night            (harks back to the 20 km hike over icy/snowy terrain a couple of weeks ago - whenever I hike on         ice/snow now I suffer afterwards for a few days :( 
20 - number of minutes spent scraping ice (from hours of freezing rain yesterday) off my windshield         today
1 - new appliance purchased today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Okay, it was only a toaster:), but still....
7 - pairs of boots plus 1 pair of icers and a bag of salt cluttering up my foyer at present
3 - minutes it took before my immaculate floors bore evidence of kitty paws once again!!
5 - number of books I have on the go currently
39 - days until SPRING!!!!!
$176 - left in the food budget (out of $280)
$120 - left in the gas budget (out of $180
$311 - left in misc budget (out of $625)
1 - movie left to watch before I have to return the pile to the library tomorrow

So....bye!! Going to watch the movie!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Perfect Moment...

Once a week or so the perfect moment occurs....the laundry is done (but not put away yet...shhhhh...don't tell anyone), I've had my hike and fresh air, the cats are asleep, supper doesn't need to be thought about yet, the housework is as done as it's ever going to be, music is playing from my iPod in the background,  and with coffee in hand I can relax to do whatever I want...sweet!

Yes, we were walking into the past today...

this area is within city limits...and in my part of the city!...

not a lot of colour this time of year but beautiful just the same
in an austere sort of way.

So, what to do, what to do...

Well, if you're a numbers geek like I am (and I know that you are!!) then you'll search for an online RRIF calculator and figure how much you'll have to start withdrawing from your RRSPs at age 71. Yup, that's what I did too! Isn't it fun??

It's strange to realize that right now I'm living on far less than what I'll be living on when I turn 71. But let me back up a a year and a half, when I turn 60, I'll start to draw on my Canada Pension Plan (CPP); then at age 65 I'll lose some (around 13% I think) of my CPP but will start getting the OAS (Old Age Supplement) and then at age 71 my RRSPs will convert to an RRIF and that will increase my yearly/monthly income. Isn't it nice to know I still have a few "raises" to look forward to!?! I just better darn well live long enough to reap the benefits of my labours or I'll be some MAD!! It would make more sense if I could access all of my money NOW and then have it gradually reduce until I'm in my 90s. Let me use it while I'm still young enough to enjoy it!! But we all know the government doesn't use common sense...

For 25 years (or more) I've done everything in my power (and made a lot of sacrifices) to max out my RRSP room come tax time. I think only once I had to borrow in order to make my contribution. Eventually I got smart (and started earning enough) and made automatic monthly transfers into my RRSP finally getting ahead of the game. 

I've thought about taking money out of my RRSPs and putting what's left after the taxman takes his share into my TFSA but I read an article that said if you have a choice in paying taxes NOW or in the FUTURE then do it in the future. That makes a lot of sense to me. I'll be in a much better position to pay the taxman at age 71 than I am now. So I'll let the money sit and earn interest for another 13 years and then enjoy the bump in income when I hit 71. I have enough in my TFSA for any emergencies that might arise in the meantime and in only 1.5 years my CPP will kick in. 

If these are my lean years I can't wait until my "fat" years!! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Best Laid Plans...

... gang aft agley...!!

Although I said I was going to wait to see my "tax situation" I've gone and booked my flight!!

Into Manchester!!

To hike Hadrian's Wall with my friend and fellow blogger Annie!!

Most of you know Annie - but here's her blog url, just in case you haven't met her yet: "Northern Living Allowance."  If you are a regular reader of my blog you'll know that Annie and I met up for the first time in person on my last trip to England. We forgot to take a selfie during that visit so I decided to make another journey across the pond :) We connected through our blogs... oh I don't know...5 years ago? 6? Annie used to live in Canada, in the Yukon no less!! But she felt the call to move to England and is enjoying new adventures there and LOVING it!!

(**I thought I was getting a great deal on my flight until I discovered it was in American dollars!! Once converted into Canadian dollars ay yi yi!!)

So I'll keep posting wonderful photos to make myself feel better - I mean...who can put a price on THIS!!

 Or THIS!!

And then there's THIS!

I've been pouring over my big map of England which is spread out over my dining room table to decide where I'll spend a few days after our hike is over. I'm considering one of the following: Liverpool, York, Edinburgh, the Lake District... right now I'm most interested in York or Edinburgh. Decisions, decisions!!

Thanks Mike for the advice about the waterproofs - I realize I probably won't be so lucky a second time around. Last year's trip saw me carry my rain gear daily in my back pack where it stayed - for TWO weeks - no rain!! But I am realistic and know that was an anomaly!! (Though I'll keep my fingers crossed that the good weather fairy will follow me around again!)

Having this trip to plan for and look forward to has really lifted my spirits - I read recently that we get just as much joy and excitement from the planning stages as we do from the actual trip. Ain't that a trip?!

Plus I needed some motivation to get eating right and moving more - this should do the trick!

Now I need to plan my trip to PEI this spring!! I'll be busier than a rooster in a henhouse!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sniff Sniff

My daughter has the sniffles...and of course now so do I! However, I will NOT succumb!! Not yet anyways!! The last time I had the sniffles, back in the fall, I was successful in curing myself by taking lots of Vitamin C and drinking my Dad's tonic: 2 tbsp. of cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon, honey and boiling water. I spent one day dosing myself and woke up "cured" the next day. So, that's what I'm doing today - wish me luck! I detest being sick more than just about anything else I can think of and actually feel "put upon" when I catch anything.....WHY ME?!?

Not a lot new going on - we woke up to a few more inches of snow after being blasted on Sunday and Monday. And we're due for a few more still - that's the only conversation around these parts - the snow and the cold.  Our current relatively balmy -2c is going to slide on down the thermometer til it reaches -26c tonight!! Oh my!

I've decided to wait until I know what my tax refund will be before I make any definite travel plans. Thank you all for your encouragement!! Kazi has been encouraging me too!! It will happen - it's the timing that has to be figured out!!

Last June I received a $5,000 early retirement bonus which I'm fairly confident I was allowed to dump into my RRSP fund in its entirety. But there are always those niggling doubts when it comes to Revenue Canada and I won't entirely relax until I do my return. Which won't happen til I get my T4 and in this country that doesn't happen until the end of February. So...patience, grasshopper!

Nagging doesn't work - have you figured that out yet? You have? Why has it taken me so long?? My still-at-home daughter doesn't like being told what to do, or what she should (according to Mom) be doing. So I've been laying off the nagging and things are getting done around here - WOW - I wish I'd figured this out long ago!

Exhibit One: she did the dishes (without being asked/told/begged)!! We'll disregard the upright wineglass partially filled with water this time...

 Exhibit Two: she's made her own list to go to the grocery store!! Baby steps people, baby steps! Again, no hinting or suggesting or whining from my direction!! ( I even added a couple of things after I took this photo!)

In addition I hear the washing machine going :) (I hope she does her sheets but I'll keep that to myself!!) She's been more cheerful and grateful and helpful contributing WINE and SNACKS (pizza flavoured Pringles are really YUMMY - who knew?!)  And we're laughing a lot more which does my heart good. We're both coming off a bad year so I'm hoping we've turned a corner and things only get better from here on in.

Did someone mention wine?

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Budget

Mondays are "gas up the truck" day and "grocery shopping" day. Due to the major snowstorm we had yesterday and through the night I gassed up the truck this morning ($30.00) but am postponing grocery shopping until...??

I spent $10 more on gas this past week than the previous two weeks - most of that due to driving Kazi to work and back today with my truck as her car was stuck (I have since shovelled it out!) But I am ok with $30.00 as that is still under budget.

Thinking about NOT grocery shopping this week. This is why...

Freezer: 4 packages of fish/salmon plus a small turkey, lots and lots of frozen veg...

Fridge: Big pot of chicken soup made yesterday, lots of fruit, veg and dairy. A package of shrimp for tonight's dinner, still several avocados for guac; lots of fixings to make vegetarian chili plus I have all the ingredients to make ratatouille. We could probably eat for TWO more weeks, but we'll try for one. Plus Kazi said she's going to go to the grocery store today AND buy some wine :)

My misc budget for February was at $625 to start but is down to $526 already!! Some of that went to savings to round up the numbers :) , some went towards a higher than estimated heating bill :( , I spent close to $40 at Talize as they had outerwear and pants on for half price - I purchased a Columbia waterproof coat with a zipped in lining that can be removed and used on its own, a khaki jacket, khaki pants and another pair of hiking pants. At the Columbia store I would have paid several hundred dollars for these items!! I also took out $20 in cash. I have about $56 left in misc spending for this week. Should be more than enough. (crossing fingers)

The sun is shining but the wind is blowing our two fresh feet of snow constantly creating drifts where I just shovelled!! It's currently -11c but feels more like -20c with the wind chill. I am tired of winter and definitely won't be hiking tomorrow due to the frigid temperatures, the wind and snow up past my knees. I'm not a martyr!! I'm going to stay home and eat smarties instead!!

Oh, one last thing.....

No matter what I'm doing my girls are right there!! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Canadian Winter

What to do when it's -12c outside, the sky is grey, the wind brisk and snow is in the air? can stay warm inside and watch the squirrels...

...or you can stay warm inside...a pub....

....enjoy a beverage...

...and warm your hands over an open fire...

...while listening to some toe-tapping Irish folk music...

...or regular folk music...

OR... can embrace it and head outside...

...with a like-minded group of brave souls...

...follow a well-known and beautiful trail...

...and share the day with a few of our fine-feathered friends...

...or move your house right onto the ice to catch a fish or two...

I prefer land myself!!

...though I'll cross a bridge if I have to... won't catch me playing a game of shinny on the pond...

...but you can find