Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sorry Folks!

As you can see, I've been away from this blog for a while.
Unfortunately with working full time and the
take-off of my other blog
I haven't had the time for posting on this blog.
For the time being I will be unable to keep this site.
Please enjoy what has been posted here in the past
and please join me


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are you a Pack Rat?

I know we're well past the spring cleaning season, but I jump at the chance to spring clean anytime the feeling hits and it ain't always spring!
I use to be much more of a saver. I'm finding as I get older and more practical I can let go of certain things easier. I cleaned out my closet the other week. Four large garbage bags later I felt lighter, relieved, and refreshed. Rude awakening, it was. I was holding on to skirts and pants about 3 sizes smaller than I currently wear, "I know I'll get back into these someday."

Yeah right.

I then went about the house with a box, filling it with useless or unused items. I mean how many vases do I need ?? I never get flowers. Sorry Clicker but you know it's true. I saved one vase for Jessica, (she and her boyfriend are still in the romance stage).
I opened boxes that I've managed to lug from house to house since I was first married. Must-have's of long ago are the trash of today. Time to purge my junk to make room for other's junk! (Thrift Shopping has become my passion.) But not just junk, useful, purposeful junk that I can make my own, craft into something else, paint or just enjoy in the right spot in my home. I'm just not interested in my own junk anymore.

I even tackled the garage. I was on a roll. I felt good! Energized. I organized a spot for garage sale items. Yes, my first garage sale will be upon us very shortly. The chance to rid myself of my rubbish and make a whopping $30 in the process excites me! Yes the bargain hunter, dumpster diva that I am will be on the other side of the table shortly. Haggling for the other team.
I can't explain the feeling of joy that overcame me just knowing I'll be rid of all these useless things. My closet was clean! I kept going back and opening the door. Smile. Close the door. Shelves were organized. Laundry room organized. I couldn't believe how marvelous I felt during this purging process.

And then it hit.

Jessica's Room. (da da dummmmmmm...)

My euphoria came to a screeching halt.
I stood at her door. My face blank. Silence all around me. Bottom lip quivering. Tears welled up a little. In the midst of my newly cleaned and organized home was this landfill. This dumping ground for clothing and 'stuff'. As if a laundry truck exploded in there. This kid saves everything. You can barely enter the room without tripping, you certainly dare not enter in the dark. Somehow it's inconceivable to me that this flawless, perfectly put together, beautiful girl emerges daily from this room.

Why do we keep things thinking we'll always need them later on? I kept things with the thought that someday ,when I'm older, I'll want to see them, I'll enjoy the nostalgia. Well....... I'm older, and I still couldn't care less. I rummaged through these articles, remembered the times when it was important, then tossed it.

For me... I feel liberated. As for Jessica....... well, I've decided to find it charming.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Scared Silly - A Confession

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that there's one thing that absolutely scares the beejeebers out of me.
This fear is so great that even the word bothers me. The the sight of it paralyzes me. A mere photo creates such anxiety that I couldn't even post one in this blog.
I consider myself a logical person. Level headed and intelligent. I have overcome much in my lifetime. I have undertaken projects that aren't for the faint of heart. I have actually watched a filmed autopsy without flinching. What is this phobia? The thing that horrifyingly nauseates me, renders this able-bodied, independent woman to a lily-livered coward??............... spiders. Just typing that brought water to my mouth.
I've always thought my ideal home would be in a country setting, with acres of land and stable for horses. Of course in this dream I am independently wealthy and employ a team of Insect Assassins.
Once when I was first married and my husband was working out of town, I was getting ready for bed and spotted 'one' on the bedroom wall. As expected, arachnophobia prevents me from getting close enough to kill it (like I would want to anyway??) I sat and watched it........... for hours. I knew I couldn't sleep in the same room.. GOD No! I couldn't leave the room... it would disappear and be creeping through the house somewhere and I'd have to sell and move. So I sat and watched. Eventually, after a few good shoe tosses from across the room, I managed to slay the beast, got the shovel from the garage and walked it outside to the curb. Even now in my home I am the head of the house, but by no means the fearless one. My courageous youngest daughter does the deed. The sad thing is, if Nadia's not around, myself and my other daughter, (another arachnophobic) are doomed.
House protocol states that when the monster is exterminated, it must be taken outside, at the very least, disposed of in the toilet which must be flushed at least twice. At work, after the guys chase me around the office with it, I make them flush it in the men's toilet.
As I sit and type this, I have the feeling of something creeping up my legs. It's terrible.
I know, I'm gutless. I would feel so much better if I were afraid of something substantial; large man-eating snakes or crocks, maybe large sewer rats. But they just don't bother me at all. Will I ever conquer this fear? I doubt it. I'd gladly trade it for doughnutaphobia (?)
Perhaps I suffer from just plainwierdaphobia.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Congratulations Nadia !!

A quick shout out to my dear daughter Nadia. My Sweetie graduated from High School last night!
Congratulations Nadia! I love you!

Where Am I ?

I'm on holidays.
In case anyone is wondering why I'm M.I.A., I'm on holidays this week.
As I don't really take holidays to enjoy the overwhelming hot weather (eyeroll), I have taken this week to do some very much needed work around the house.
Will return next week with something new and exciting.
Well... something new anyway.

Ta Ta !

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Could Be Some One Else!

I attended a family function on the weekend. I don't have a particularly large extended family. No Grandparents to speak of. Of all the grandparents, I only knew one and for a very short time. Most Aunts and Uncles are gone, just a couple left. Of the small extended family, some are scattered in the States.

This particular family function included an Uncle and a cousin from the U.S. It was truly wonderful to see how peoples lives have changed, how they themselves have changed, physically and otherwise. It has to be almost 20 years since I've seen them. It was nice to catch up. It's funny how different people are, yet come from the same family lines.

My parents were both born in Canada. Most of my fathers family up and moved to California in the 50's & 60's. As the story goes, we were set to move to California as well. I would have been under 10 years old at that time.

A technicality stopped that transition from occurring.

So as we sat and chatted about the time they all moved South, I wondered....... 'how different would my life have been?'

I left that afternoon honestly intrigued.

My life, over a simple decision, would have been drastically different. I would have been different. I wonder if I would have looked different? Would I have been well off? Would I have been more successful? Maybe I would have married someone famous! Perhaps I would have been an actor! (OK maybe not). Would I speak differently? Would roof become ruff??.. and creek become crick? Would I never go OOWT, but rather go OAAUUUT? How would I wear my hair? How would I dress? I wonder if my life would have been easier or better.

Questions came flooding to me as I pondered how close I came to turning out completely different.

I wouldn't have been married to the man I married. Certainly I wouldn't have my wonderful children. It was then that it really hit me. These little people that I gave birth to and love and raised and know backwards and forwards wouldn't even be here!

So I chose to look at it this way;

I could have been a celebrity, married to a famous actor, lived in Beverly Hills, had houses scattered in different countries, been filthy rich, (this could be slight overkill), but I'm so glad none of that happened.

I have my kids. My wonderful, beautiful, lovable, funny, odd-ball, filled-to-the-brim-with personality, troublesome, wallet-emptying, drive-me-broke kids.

I wouldn't have it any other way!

(xoxox - love you Jessica and Nadia)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Blah's

I hate spring. It's pretty much always cloudy. It's rainy, it's damp, and it smells like worms outside. I do have a fond memory of spring worms though. Back when I was a perfect child (snicker) I would pick up all the worms off the driveway and put them on the grass so mom or dad wouldn't squish them with the car. How cute is that? Today.... I drive right over the buggers. I honestly detest spring. Why is it I am in the minority? Can't anyone else see what I see? When the snow melts, roads are covered with dirt and trash. The grass is brown and matted and mommy pot holes have made all kinds of baby pot holes over the winter.

Then we have 3 months of humidity to look forward to. Humidity is my enemy. As I was not blessed with wash and wear hair I take great care in my daily washing, blow drying, fixing, ironing, spraying and shellacking. Three minutes outside and it deflates and plays dead. Even my hair's depressed. Who really has a good hair day during spring?

I've never been much of a summer person either. I hate to sweat. Heat bothers me. Anything over 17 Celsius is entirely too hot for me. The car interior heats to about 4000 Celsius. The entire summer I can be seen behind the wheel with the A/C blasting. Turn to see me in the car and my hair will be blowing furiously.

The abundance of lawn I have acquired with the purchase of my current home takes about 2 hours to cut, start to finish and I swear if you sat and watched, you'd actually SEE it grow. Weeds need to be pulled, flowers need to be watered. Fertilize the lawn, cut the lawn. Fertilize the lawn again, cut the lawn the again. Stop the madness! I pull out all the patio furniture from the shed, wash it down, place it nicely under the canopy, lovingly decorate it with lights and flowers, make it all charming and cheerful so that when I choose to eat outside in the midst of all that loveliness, the bees, wasps and flies chase me right back inside. If I'm lucky, I'll get to eat outside 3 times during the summer only to have to drag all that stuff back to the shed in two months time.

Winter... I can take it or leave it. I really don't mind it though. Nothing prettier than large snowflakes gently falling over trees and rooftops. Christmas decorations inside and out are a beautiful sight. Of course those of us in the North know about driving in the winter months and the extreme cold, oh the cold! That bitter, see-your-breath in the morning cold, (and that's before you get out of bed). Cars that won't start, feet that won't warm up and lets face it, are there really any 'attractive' hats for winter ?? That pretty much leaves me anguished from November to March.

Fall is my season of choice. Love the fall. Love the colours and the crispness in the air. The splendour of sweater weather. No sweltering heat and no humidity. I'm at least guaranteed 2 or 3 months of good hair days. Oversized sweaters, a roaring fire, the fall TV schedule and gourds. All my favourite things.

So the way I figure it, It will probably be 2nd or 3rd week in October before I beat this Tuesdays blahs.
Something to look forward to.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Out of the LOOP!

My apologies for my posting absenteeism. I have been busy working on an additional blog. This new blog will feature some of my own home projects as well as some very interesting and beautiful pictures I have collected for inspiration. As we all are aware, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find old, antiquated items the most beautiful. I don't think I've always felt this way. In my younger days, newer was better. But as I myself have aged I see beauty in different places.
In the past couple of years I've formed an addiction to flea markets and garage sales. Twenty years ago I would have turned my nose up at such things. Buying someone else's discarded incidentals seemed dreadful. Today, I find these items can be so much more than rejected castaways. Look beyond what you initially see. See the ghastly artifact for something other than it is. What can be done with those old rakes or barrels? Why on earth would someone be selling old shoe forms?? ( I know why, and I bought some).

Not long ago I acquired a child's old pull down desk. It had writing, stickers and crayon all over it. Truly hideous. But I loved it! I picked it up for $5. I'm working on that piece as we speak and will feature it in my other blog.

Last weekend I took my youngest daughter Nadia down to Queen Street in Toronto to browse through the old Antique and Collectible shops. I think I may have entered the wrong shop first on the excursion. As we approached the door, I turned and muttered, "Prepare yourself". Kids at that age have no appreciation for Antiques or garage sale items, much less entering into a hole of a store jammed with relics that really had no value to anyone. It wasn't an Antique store really, it was more fragments and remnants of things that may have had a purpose at some point while they were attached to something of value, but this store was just a landfill. Nadia's face dropped. Her eyes widened. The look on her face was worth wandering into that store first. I held my laughter until we were back on the street.
She asked if they were all going to be like that. Thankfully they weren't and thankfully she very much enjoyed the rest of our outing that day. She was actually fascinated by history she observed; the first TV's ever made, old wooden crank phones with no buttons or dials, old 2 ton metal cash registers.
I often found her leaned over engrossed in framed pictures of people from the early 1900's. As our junket ended she told me how much fun it was to see little pieces of history she had only seen in the movies. (Such a sheltered life!) It must have had a positive impact on her, shes offered to accompany me on my next treasure hunt.

for some interesting photo's, ideas and perhaps a little inspiration!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The City of Light

I love this time of year. Not because of the weather necessarily, but because of the road trips.
If you're looking for something different this summer and you are at all curious about things unknown, you might think about a trip to Lily Dale NY.
I made this very unusual road trip last year with my daughter and a few friends . For those not familiar with this place, Lily Dale is the largest Spiritualist community in the world. Now before the eye-rolling groans begin and the mouse clicks me off, hear me out. I too, was quite the skeptic before my weekend in Lily Dale.
This little community is three hours south of Toronto. Lily Dale is full of "Mediums and/or Psychics", In fact in order to live in this small, gated suburb residents must pass a test proving that they are a Medium.
During summer months you can attend the outdoor meetings and have an open air reading done by one of the local Mediums or a guest speaker. Tens of thousands of people flock to this town in hopes of being picked from the crowd to have a message delivered to them from the other side. Although a private reading is really the way to go.
Lily Dale is home to the ancient forest of Leolyn Woods which is thousands of years old. The centuries old, towering trees will leave you speechless. Deep in Leolyn Woods is America's oldest known public pet cemetery and Inspiration Stump where it has been documented that witnesses have seen and felt presences both male and female. This little corner of New York State is complete with their own campgrounds, historic hotels and private houses that will furnish you with the complete ghostly experience. Ensure your weekend includes a night in one of those! For under $60 a night you can bunk in Lily Dale's very own Maplewood Hotel which is listed in America's Most Haunted Places.
My own experience in this town was fascinating. My daughter Jessica accompanied me on this trip and during an open reading was called on by the Medium. She told my daughter that she was being guided and watched over by her Grandfather on her maternal side. She went on with the reading mentioning things that weren't just generic statements but things that truly had meaning to her. She went on to say that she 'saw her Grandfather with animals, perhaps horses.... horses running fast.. racing... wind blowing,' she said, as her arms flowed with the wind in front of her.
My eyes filled and a lump crept to my throat. My father owned a horse that had won the Queen's Plate in 1983. He was surrounded by horses all his life. The reading was short but full of impassioned enlightenment. We then proceeded to our own private readings. Each of us to our own Medium devoid of any contact or association with each other. Our outcomes were both wonderful and accurate.
In truth, I went there in hopes of hearing something about my dear sister who passed away of Breast Cancer almost 3 years ago and instead was surprised to hear that my father, who passed in 1991 was a major presence in mine and my daughters life. With more about my father and bits and pieces of my sister in my own reading (remember that you tell the Medium nothing about yourself other than your name) it was all enough to leave me with a sense of peace and comfort.
Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, you will undoubtedly leave Lily Dale more curious and open-minded.
While I enjoy my yearly road trips here and there, this trip will remain closest to my heart.
To this day, I really do believe in Angels.

** A link that might be of interest

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 Guilty Pleasures

We all have our secret indulgences that fill us with joy and shame in equal measure.

Here are 10 of mine:

My musical tastes are diverse. I like anything from pop to classical to New Age. Yes, that's right, New Age! There I said it. I am definitely a fan of Enya and Yanni, apparently the musical equivalent of a long elevator ride. People just don't understand. I love Barbara Striesand, Ennio Morricone, oh - and I adore Barry Manilow, (something I definitely keep to myself). I have endured much ridicule over my musical inclinations, and while I delight in this undercover pleasure (alone in my car) with the volume pumped, I still turn down the volume as I approach each stop light.

Donuts. What's not to like about donuts? If it magically turned out that donuts were good for you .. I'd pull up a chair at my local Tim Hortons daily for dinner.

Trashy novels - I mean real 'rot your brain' trash. Guaranteed you'll hide the covers of these books while reading in public. Novels where the nasty, secondary characters outshine the hero.
I'll cough up that I've actually read a Jackie Collins novel or two.

Celebrity gossip. I can't help myself. I read it wherever I can. Standing in line at the grocery store, why pick a short line when you can line up behind the woman shopping for a small army and relax with a few tabloids? Who really doesn't want to know who's boobs are fake, who never showers, or who has injected what into where?

People Watching. Ok this one is ridiculously gratifying for me. It can be done very discreetly and just about anywhere. It's no secret among my friends that I generally find people very perplexing. People really do the most peculiar things when they think no one's watching. Stop lights are great for this. Aside from the familiar nose pickers and flickers you can spot make up appliers, shavers, plucker's and singers. Although I must divulge the absolute best place to people watch is in a shopping mall. Truly the most fun you'll have on a rainy day.

Online Games. An absolute sinful waste of time, but oh so addicting. Crosswords, Mah Jong, trivia, logic puzzles and my favorites.. "Escape the room"games. Oh, the hours I'll never get back with those ones!

Reading books for hours at Indigo or Chapters and never buying anything.
Does anyone else feel guilty about this? Coffee in hand, I can curl up on a chair at Chapters, read till I'm dizzy and an hour or two later walk out with nothing. How are these people still in business? As enthralled as I am in my reading, I often find myself wondering that very thing just sitting there.

Sushi. I kid myself here believing that Sushi is the healthy alternative for dinner. I dispense the hard sell to anyone who will have dinner with me... "Well it's not fried, you can eat as much as you want!" I don't think they're buyin' it, and frankly neither do I. But it makes me feel better.

Baked Brie. What can I say here, other than order your baked brie with a side order of angioplasty. I hate that I love baked brie. I hate it even more that it's a hundred times better with puff pastry around it. (wince)

Hot Dogs. Love 'em. Love 'em even more when bought off a cart. Simple, yet satisfying. Brings back wonderful childhood memories. A food that never goes out of style. Do I tell people I like them? Of course not.
**I just looked up hot dogs. " Hot Dog's - usually made from mechanically recovered meat or meat slurry."
(I may have just cured myself of this pleasure)

Oh don't judge me... you know you hide that can of Spam in the bottom of your shopping cart.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Snooze Factor

Lately, and I use the term lately lightly, I'm always late.
Does that make sense?
I'm one of those people with a necessity for 8 hours sleep. I just don't function with less. And yet, I rarely get more than 6 or 7. Ritually, each morning I stagger out of bed.
Case in point: Must be at work by 8:45 a.m each morning.
Typical morning:
(alarm set for 7:05 a.m)
Alarm sounds at 7:05. Radio comes on. If it's a good song, listen till the end -hit snooze. If announcer speaking-hit snooze right away.
7:15 am. Alarm sounds again. Don't care what's on. Hit snooze.
7:25 am. Alarm sounds. It's contest time. DJ announces a listener's name to call in. Listen for name. Name called. Not mine. Hit snooze.
7:35 am. Alarm sounds. Irritated. Alarm annoying. Hit snooze.
7:45 am. Alarm sounds. Fling off covers in a mad dash to get to shower. Turn shower on. Step into shower while still cold. *Profanity*
From that moment on I'm completely frenzied, (although I always make time for the usual analytical face gaze 3 inches from mirror). Dry my hair, paint my face, shellac my hair, decide on clothing and commence with morning ceremonial sock rummaging.
8:20 am. Stand in kitchen wondering why I didn't make a lunch last night. Look at clock. *Profanity*
8:30 am. In line at Tim Hortons drive thru. Line long. People slow. *Profanity*
8:40 am. Slip in a Yanni CD. Enjoy my 5 minute dash to work.
8:47 am. Promenade through front door of office faking the relaxed and refreshed look.
8:48 am. A few jovial 'Good Morning's'.
2:00 p.m Head on keyboard.

Perhaps this is my solution?
Say hello to Mr. Clock Radio.
As if a regular alarm isn't annoying enough,
this creepy looking clock radio has a robotic head that will wake up to 30-odd different voices ranging from gentle to a screaming maniac. You can also get it to tell you your fortune and wink as you undress.

On second thought.... I think not.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bring Back the Drive-In Movies!

The first patent for the Drive-In Theater was issued on May 16, 1933 to Richard Hollingshead. Richard was a young Sales Manager who longed to invent something that would combine his two loves, movies and cars. He experimented in his own driveway at 212 Thomas Avenue, Camden, New Jersey. On Tuesday June 6, 1933 in Camden, his first Drive-In opened. The price of admission was 25 cents for the car and 25 cents per person. The 'Automobile Movie Theater' was an instant hit despite the poor audio quality. Three main speakers were mounted next to the screen. The sound quality was not good for cars in the rear of the theater or for the surrounding neighbors.The largest drive-in theater in patron capacity was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York. All-Weather had parking space for 2,500 cars, an indoor 1,200 seat viewing area, kid's playground, a full service restaurant and a shuttle train that took customers from their cars and around the 28-acre theater lot. How cool was that?
Or how about the Drive-In and Fly-In of Asbury Park, New Jersey which had the capacity for 500 cars and 25 airplanes. An airfield was placed next to the drive-in and planes would taxi to the last row of the theater. Yes, the Drive-In has a lengthy and interesting history.
The Drive-In's peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s when they were named "Passion Pits" due to the privacy it afforded its patrons!
With something for everyone including playgrounds, miniature railroads, merry-go-rounds and patio chairs, why then did they die off?
Unfortunately, over time land became far too valuable for drive-ins to operate successfully when in most cases business was summer-only.
As I stated in a previous post, nothing beats a large screen and surround sound for the big budget action movies, but a part of me still longs for the old time fun and nostalgia of a Drive-In.
Thankfully they're not all gone. Granted, it's often a lengthy jaunt out to the nearest one, but that pleasant summer's night drive just heightens the experience.
No need to line up at the concession stand; The Clicker and I have taken in a few Drive-In's and delighted in preparing our own banquet for the occasion.
Ahhh yes, nothing quite like dining alfresco on pre-popped microwave popcorn, pizza or sandwiches, juice boxes and a thermos of coffee. Life is good. Bring along a blankie to cuddle up and munch by. (Some insect repellent doesn't hurt either).
The price is still good considering you'll be entertained by a double-feature.
Get there a little early and people watch. I like to see who the Drive-In's attract. People with dogs, people with small kids, people with frisbees, people with lawn chairs, people in trucks and vans and people in pyjamas.
Do yourself a favour and take in a Drive-In this summer.
Watching a double feature under the stars is an enchanting cinematic experience.
The disturbing dancing weiner and bun are gone, but you can still steam up the windows!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What If ?

What if cars had built in Breathalyzers?

What if your refrigerator made your shopping list for you?

What if your car had feelings and actually caught a cold in the winter?

What if you heard your GPS voice huff and puff every time you made a wrong turn?

What if phones had monitors, would you ever answer it?

What if your kitchen cupboards were all mini dishwashers and you could just put dirty dishes back and have them washed where they came from?

What if we could invent a lawn that didn't grow but stayed green?

What if a marriage license was only good for 4 years like a drivers license?

What if mobile phones had Breathalyzers to prevent phone calls from Ex's at 3 am?

What if buses and subways had "sick" areas so all the infected people could cough and sneeze on each other and not spread their germs?

What if you could control your spouse with a remote control?

What if the Government just printed out more money and gave some to everyone?

What if you could pick the perfect hair day and hit a stop button to have it look like that forever?

What if we could sleep hanging upside down to reverse gravity and aging?

What if Polygram Records, Warner Brothers, and Keebler Crackers merge to become -

What if Federal Express and UPS merge to become - FED UP?

What if Honeywell, Imasco, and Home Oil merge to become - Honey I'm Home?

*Ok, enough of that....

What if all parents cars had Taxi meters in them?

What if you talk to your plants and get an answer back?

What if all roads had a second level so that all trucks could drive on the bottom?

What if all vehicles were made of a flexible plastic that just bounced right back after an accident?

What if the Coyote actually bought food instead of all those ACME products?

What if Grey Poupon and Docker Pants merged to become- Poupon Pants?
(I had to)

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Day Job vs. My Passion

When your day job is not your passion, giving it your best takes discipline, commitment and focus, while your passion simply requires focus and time. It's not far from the truth to tell you that the money probably lies in things you aren't interested in.

Admittedly I am not occupationally adventurous. Professionally speaking, I have been at the same day job for 20 years. Part of me feels proud to have the stability and longevity in my employment, but most of me feels irrevocably adrift.
Don't get me wrong, in many ways I love my job. The people here are great, it's close to home, I'm treated like family and have settled into a comfort zone that makes going to work daily virtually stress free.
I have a great office. A large window taking up an entire wall of my office baits me with views of beautiful days that I can only appreciate from my chair. I suppose I have freedom in my job. I can go to the kitchen for a drink anytime I like. Then there's those exciting jaunts to the photocopier daily which provides a well needed change of scenery. Occasionally I'll venture 3 steps out the front door to grab the mail. Once in a while I'll snag the pleasure of opening the warehouse door to accept a delivery. And then there's the days when I acquire true variety in my job and clean the inside of the microwave and the espresso machine. Good times.
Oh.. in between all this lavishness I manage to run an office and oversee (to some degree) management of our 4 branch offices. Is this where I thought I'd be at 40somethingorother? Unquestionably not.
As for my passion, I can best describe my passion as pretty much anything other than being an Office Manager. Sitting behind a desk in the same chair day after day succumbing to 'Secretary's Spread' wasn't in my top 5 aspirations.
Oh, I could beat myself up about not pursuing a creative avenue after high school, (and I have, many times). But I suppose I should concentrate on how to pursue my passion in the present.
I've often thought of buying houses, renovating then selling them. But that takes money. I have, in the past, channeled my creativity in many different outlets. If I had to pick one thing to aspire to, I believe that would prove to be a difficult decision, but one I would gladly make. Thankfully I have been able to dabble in all of my passions in my spare time.
I guess what it comes down to is Pay vs. Passion. The feat for many of us is how to balance the love of our life with food on the table. The trick is in the timing. I believe the time to make the choice between passion and practicality is right after graduation. Granted, I'm a 'couple' of years past graduation, but it's never too late.
I'm going to hold on to that thought.
As adults we don't stop enough and think about where we are going. We're sometimes too busy thinking about our family, our current job and our businesses.
Obligations prevent me from taking the big plunge, but it doesn't mean I cant splash around in the shallow end in the meantime!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unique Wedding Cakes

It's wedding season, and all the excited Brides are busily planning their weddings. From flowers, to guest lists, to the dress, the meal and the wedding cake, all the details are carefully prepared.
While I realize that it's nice to be different and unique in some ways, some carry 'different' a little too far.
My search has brought me many unusual cakes.
In other words... WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Oughta Be Ashamed

I love movies. As a matter of fact I'm quite a movie buff. I have an affection for black and white films. The suspense they created with shadows and a dark set has long since died and been replaced by big budget special effects. By today's standards most old films can be considered corny and overacted. Obviously the sets and effects were small potatoes compared to what they currently achieve.
While I am most content to sit at home and view an exceptional oldie, most films today require a large screen to be truly appreciated. For the sensational visuals and panoramic filming, a movie theatre is a must.
Aside from the draw of the big screen, there is another very notable justification for attending a movie theatre, the popcorn. Simply put, I am a popcorn junkie. An authentic, genuine cellulose, fructose, carb aficionado. If I know ahead of time, I'll skip dinner to indulge in a large, hot buttered popcorn. Oh, but not just buttered, no-sir-ee. It then has to be delicately and systematically adorned with a powdered topping. A high sodium, zero nutrition topping. Of course anyone who knows anything about sprinkled toppings knows for certain that you need butter to make it stick to the popcorn.
Concession Person: "Would you like butter on that?"
Me: "Yes please, and can you layer that for me?"
What am I thinking ? Have I no respect for my body?
Now I make my way into the theatre where I scan for the perfect spot. I don't need to be dead center to the screen. I prefer to be off to the side where a select few are seated. I make sure I get there early enough because I simply can't see a movie without viewing all of the opening credits. If I walk in during opening credits, I'm late and the movie is ruined for me. (see Anal Retentive post).
I settle in, remove my coat, turn off my cell and eagerly dive into my indulgence. This is my Eden. Euphoria sets in and all is right with the world.
Ok, so here's the downside to my delight.
Ready for some staggering stats? A large UNBUTTERED popcorn has about 80 grams of fat, more than 50 of them saturated. That's almost three day's worth of saturated fat, that's like eating six Big Macs. Succumb to the butter on your large popcorn and you'll raise the fat to close to 130 grams. (Add another 2 Big Macs.)
(Heavy sigh)
So whats a popcorn enthusiast to do? I think I'll consider an alternative the next time. Perhaps I'll bring apple slices, low fat granola or dried soy beans or maybe a bag of grapes!

HaHaHaHaaa!! naahhhhhhhhh

I know it's wrong. I'm so ashamed.
But I'm honest. I prefer junk food at the movies. There. I said it.
All I need is a little excercise.
I swear I'll do butt clenches all through the movie.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Versions of Me

I wanted to personalize my blog a bit.
Most people put a picture of themselves on their blogs... tiny thumbnail head shots. Cute. But not me. I searched and searched for an interesting picture of myself, but since I despise being in front of a camera there are very few to choose from. There's something about standing still, frozen for seconds that seem like hours with a fake smile stuck on my face... I just don't like it. The few that I did find on my computer I have managed to deface with facial hair and devil horns. Those pictures wont do. So how do I find something appropriate. Something personal. Something that says 'Me'. A little creativity with the help of the internet and I've managed to come up with these.

Perhaps you can help me choose.

There's this one.

This seems vaguely familiar.

It's somewhat me.
She looks bored enough.
It's my shade of lipstick.
I like the hair. The hair is good, but I'm not much into the sensible shoes.

This might do.

And then there's this one.

This is me in the morning.
The hair is fitting for the early a.m.

Again, the eyes are characteristic of a.m. and p.m.
(and much of the day between).

But this is a good likeness.

Then I thought I could show what I might look like in the future.

It seems I've stopped colouring my hair.

Contacts are a thing of the past obviously.
Must have lost the tweezers.

And of course a drink in my hand. Classic.

I suppose this is the closest likeness of me.

That's's a pretty good likeness of her too.
That's me, outstanding in my field. Ha!
Notice the health food in my hand. Notice the snarl on my face, the two go hand in hand.

Maybe I can use one of these. You can help me decide.

Oh yeah, and if I were an M&M , I'd be...
Cheers !

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Mother The Surfer

My mother is 70coughcoughsomethingcough years old.
She didn't have a particularly easy childhood having lost both parents by the time she was a mere 16 years old. There really wasn't much opportunity for a woman who had to quit school years before graduating to help with the household. But she managed.
She's one of the hardest workers I know. As a matter of fact she's still working. She can shop circles around any 30 year old. She can clean a house in a frenzied like state. She can garden and decorate and paint and even has her own tool box. She's quite a spark plug!
But never, ever in my wildest dreams did I ever think she would be online.
After asking about computers for a couple of years and expressing an interest in learning, we (my daughter and I) reluctantly passed on my daughters old laptop to her a few months ago. Reluctantly you ask? Damn straight. It was NOT an easy decision. My daughters and I mulled over the decision together. Family meetings were called, hours spent in huddles whispering and agonizing over the decision before finally awarding her the culprit. As my mother gleefully pried the laptop out of my white-knuckled, clenched fists I knew my life was about to change.
I grew up in a very tight knit family, calling each other at least several times a week, but my mother has always enjoyed a good phone call and already observes that practice several times daily. Now that she had a 5 lb foreign object she had no idea how to use in her possession, what was to become of me ?

At first I passed her on to Jessica, my daughter.

"Jess, Nanny is on the phone she wants to know something about the computer.. since it was yours maybe you could help her, I'm not sure I know what to do." I said slyly.

Jess is a real firecracker. Didn't take more than one phone call before she conveniently made herself absent when the phone rang again.

"Lisa, how do I put in someones email number?"
"My computer won't turn on"
"My computer won't turn off"
"How do I look at a picture"
"What do you mean 'desktop?'"
"When I type an email, where do I type it?"
"Where does it go?"
"Where is the AT sign?"
"Do I type underscore in?"

It would be nice if the odd email from her replaced the odd phone call, but right after she sends the email she calls you to see if you got it.
Anyway, months have passed and the phone calls aren't as frustrating. She has succeeded in learning a good number of things. I'm proud of her. She's emailing and embedding and forwarding, searching and surfing, she even uses the term 'email address' now.
Who knows, maybe someday she'll show me how to use Facebook.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lies I've Told My Children

I'm a good parent. Really I am.

From my early days as a fumbling mother of a newborn I have vowed to be the very best parent I could be. From my perspective that meant caring for, loving unconditionally, teaching right from wrong and of course setting a good example.

It all seemed so easy. But as they got older, curious and inquisitive, things began to get a little more complicated.
It just wasn't so black and white anymore. So this good mother turned into a good liar.

The catalogue of falsehoods:
(well ok, a small sampling)

1) Until my children we're well over the acceptable age of believing, they believed in Santa Claus. My eldest would go to school and INSIST there was a Santa, years after most kids gave up the ghost.
2) The Tooth Fairy existed long after my kids had a full set of adult teeth. ( I kept that one going a little too long).
3) The Easter Bunny's trails of chocolate eggs leading to hidden treasures went until my kids were....... wait..... they still buy into that fib. (although I think they're playing me on this one.)
4) All meat is chicken. I say this and laugh now, but my youngest (who is almost 18) STILL calls all meat chicken. I did this simply because if I called a dish anything other than chicken, I was looked at like I had 2 heads. Daily there were turned up noses at the word pork or veal. So anytime dinner was served, no matter what we were having, it was chicken. Simple.
5) I was good in school. At least that's what I tell THEM. How could I tell them that I skipped so many classes in grade nine that I had a chair with my name on it in the office? The Principal and I were pals. I saw more of him than my homeroom teacher. But to my children, I was the consummate pupil!
6) Yes, your eyes will stay like that!
7) All the vitamins are in the crust.
8) The ice cream truck only plays music to let the children know its run out of ice cream.
9) Spinach gives you muscles and carrots make you see in the dark.
10) If you don't do well in school, you'll grow up to be a Professional Roadkill Remover.
11) Don't swear, if you do you wont have anything to say when you get hurt.
I guess we'd be hard pressed to find a parent that hasn't stretched the truth a tad. It's all for the best and makes for some hilarious confessions later on in life.
Well, I suppose if my kids read this, the jig is up for the Easter Bunny.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cinnabon Rolls for the Bread Machine

Gotta love the bread machine!

What a time saver... and virtually fool-proof. After searching and searching for the perfect cinnamon bun recipe, I think this is as close as I've gotten. I've tweaked it a bit and think its a pretty good clone for Cinnabon.

You certainly don't need an expensive machine, this little guy does the job just fine.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup water
1/2 of a (3.4 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups bread flour
2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1. Place the ingredients in breach machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer, (usually all wet ingredients first)

2. Select dough setting and start machine.

3. Once cycle is complete, remove dough and set on a lightly floured surface.

4. Roll out dough to approximately 17 x 10 inch rectangle.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened (read below)**

1. Combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon, mixing well.
2. Spread softened butter over rolled-out dough

**(I've done this two ways, a)mixing butter in with brown sugar mixture and b) this way by putting butter on dough first. Not sure if there's much of a difference, but I would suggest if you're going to do it this way, to lightly press the brown sugar mixture into the butter with your hands to keep it from falling off while rolling the dough).

3. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top. (press slightly).

4. Roll like jelly roll, pinching edges closed when completely rolled.

**You can roll in either direction depending on how many rolls you want.

5. Slice rolled dough into 1 inch pieces. Place on greased baking pans or use parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place about an hour.

6. Bake at 350*F (175*C) for 15 -20 minutes, until golden brown. Do not over bake.

2 ounces cream cheese softened
2 tbsp butter softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp milk

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Spread onto warm rolls. Makes 16-24 rolls.