Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Winsome Wednesday

  1. attractive or appealing in appearance or character.

    "a winsome smile"

Yes, I once was a somewhat shallow individual who judged people on their appearance before I'd even become aware of their character. Such is the folly of youth. But as I've aged, not only did I begin to learn that character is so much more desirable but it became more and more evident as I myself began to lose my looks, figure and agility. Aging is one of the greatest teachers of humility and living through the enviable hardships of life is one of the greatest builders of character.

Peace and serenity are the desires of my heart these days. I have found that I more quickly accept those enviable hardships when they come as being part of life and no longer rally about how unfair life can be. I forgive more quickly; I accept differences more readily; I seek out those places of calm during the storm that have sustained me in the past; and I'm constantly looking for new ways to maintain that peace of mind. (My Spidey senses tingle when I come across some new method to try, so I'm always open to what could be interesting, hopefully fun and sometimes even weird ways to cope and/or grow. Whatever works and doesn't hurt others!)

Physical health is deeply connected to mental health, and I want to achieve the best health I can at this time of my life. So, after the initial fear that I often feel when life's shit-storms happen, I'll say to myself: "No Sandy! You can do nothing about this right now, so put that worry aside and enjoy life." Does this pep talk work? Always! It's not always instantaneous, but through practice and prayer over many, many, many trials and tribulations, I can usually find the oasis in the desert. 

All that deep, contemplative stuff aside, this does NOT mean that I don't still try to look winsome aka appealing in appearance. (The vanity's not been entirely knocked out of me by life yet!) So, I put on my makeup, style my hair, color coordinate my outfits, and try to look as current as possible without being "mutton dressed as sheep" and while still letting ME shine through. 

Today is a lovely sunny, warm day again here in western Newfoundland. And I'm meeting old school buddies for an extended lunch, one of whom I haven't seen in 42 years! I'm so excited! 

We'll be sitting at an outside deck under an umbrella overlooking the beautiful Bay of Islands. 

I decided to wear my beige and navy cotton tunic from Papillion, navy 3/4 leggings, and navy Naot sandals. (Even my Dr Who phone cover is coordinated, hahaha!) 

I added a couple of bracelets and a pair of my favorite gifted earrings, handmade down to the blown-glass beads (Katherine Gordon of LaHave NS)

I'm comfortable, casual, coordinated and, I believe, age appropriate ..... for the mature weirdo that I am!

'Cause that's what it's all about: us being us! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Terrific Tuesday

What an influence the sun has on a person's outlook, huh! We've been enjoying lots of the hot, bright orb lately; and I feel so energetic and hopeful when this happens, especially given Newfoundland's harsh winter and the spring (or lack thereof) we've had. 

The way I dress also both reflects how I feel and/or how I want to feel. Today, it's a reflection of the gorgeous weather.
Comfortable and cool (cotton, don't ya know); bright, cheerful, and (best of all) cheap! I purchased it last spring from a thrift store in Halifax for all of $7.  And as I haven't quite fully developed my turkey-wattle upper arms yet, I can wear it with ease of mind. (The clock is ticking though!)

Other things that are making this Tuesday terrific are:

  • The green jello and fruit I had for dessert after my sandwich. Mine was not quite as cute and cheerful as this pic, but the taste was terrific; memories of childhood.
  • Quiet time at work is pretty terrific as well, especially when you're in the middle of a good book ..... like this one.  Have you ever read Louise Penny? She's a Canadian author who has written a series of detective novels centered around Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the perfectly picturesque fictional little village of Three Pines, Quebec. I find her writing very easy to read and highly entertaining. Wonderful characters. 
  • The knowledge that dinner is all ready for me when I get home. The remains of my homemade mac 'n' cheese and a pre-packaged salad will be great outside on my lounger.
Ahhhhh!We Newfies really do need to soak up the sunshine when it comes our way. And the weatherman says that Terrific Tuesday will probably turn into Wonderful Wednesday and Tremendous Thursday. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Things that Made Me Happy

Here are some of the things that fed my soul and made me happy this past week.

  • My amazing hike Saturday 
Just a short 25 min hike up the mountain and I have this view of my city, Blow Me Down Mountains in the distance, and the beautiful Bay of Islands.

 Back down the mountain and across to the Corner Brook Stream and Gorge Trail. The icy cold stream at the top of the falls was a great place to stop for lunch.

  • Making cherry jam:  Ahhhhh! So sweet and juicy with just a touch of lemon zest. 

  • Weeding and watering the Community Garden with a few of the group. There's something about dirt under my nails that just makes me happy, even if my back is aching.

  •  R 'n' R:  A fresh load of laundry on the line, a day with nothing ahead of me, and a cold Gin 'n' Tonic in the garden amidst the roses and birdsong.

  • The return of one of my favorite TV shows. 
    Yep! It's Ed Sheeran just  hangin' out with Arya.

This is what truly makes life rich -- joy in the simple, mundane things of life.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Home again, Home again, Jiggidy jig!

My vacation was lovely. What a blessing to have thoughtful children and their mates.

It was a gastronomic fiesta for me. I ate as much ethnic food as I could: mornings were as simple and as wonderful as a good coffee and a croissant from the French bakery across the street from my Airbnb.  And it was such a treat to find fresh strawberries (NL strawberries won't be ripe until mid July) and cheap 'n' juicy mangos. 

Lunches were simple affairs (such as this Vietnamese Ban Mi and fresh beet/ginger/carrot/orange juice; and dinners were amazing and varied and I was never disappointed. 

Japanese Sushi 



Our Turkish feast was the most amazing of all! My daughter's partner is Turkish; Sat night his dad and step-mom took us all out to the best Turkish restaurant in Toronto area, Anatolia. This is now my favorite food:  lots of rich tomato sauces, yogurt and garlic, tender meats, and drizzles of melted butter & garlic over everything. Oh my goodness! If you've never eaten it, I urge you to try. 

The second half of my trip was Halifax/Dartmouth in NS, home of another daughter. While there, we had an extremely successful shopping trip at Value Village ..... made even better with my 30% off coupon. It was like that particular VV was waiting for my return and had stored up almost all the things on my list! What a good little thrift shop? 

Then later that day, we headed to a food truck festival. We rode the bus from Dartmouth to Halifax which is such a novelty for me.  We were some of the first to arrive so got our food fairly quickly. Then we plunked ourselves on the grass and munched to our mutual delight. 

Four of us shared the most wonderful mini-donuts (far L) in such flavors as Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Cream Pie, Maple Bacon and Coconut.

We also ate butter chicken poutine (top R), samosas, gourmet grilled cheese, tacos galore AND mini glasses of local craft beer (another reason I loved taking the bus)! 

The rain during the rest of my trip gave my daughter and I plenty of time to catch up with each other and with Netflix. Thankfully, with all the walking I did, I didn't gain any extra weight. And as glad as I was to return home to my own bed, I shall miss the awesome variety of foods that I got to eat. 
Cheers! And happy vacation and/or good eating to you!

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Moon in June is a big Balloon ....

Happy June everybody. For me, June is just that much closer to sunshine and warmth and outdoor living. Newfoundland can be challenging in regards to sunshine and warmth; but slowly, oh so slowly, it's happening.

Life on The Rock has not been an easy transition for me. Not the weather though: I can take the weather because although the lack of sunshine sometimes affects my mood, my outlook on life is NOT determined by Mother Nature. However, my Norman Rockwell vision of family life is far from true; my family is probably the largest challenge in my life. (Their picture is in the dictionary under the word "disfunctional"! Hahaha!) Sign! It was so much easier to love them all when I was thousands of miles away. 

As well, returning as a 62 yr old single female is socially challenging. I've not had a lot of luck meeting new friends, most of the old ones are busy with their families and routines, and you don't get invited to a lot of events when you don't have a mate. However, my bestie has been wonderful and inviting and supportative; my relationship with my sister is growing wonderfully, and my youngest daughter tries to meet up with me weekly. (Her working long shifts and my willingness to dog sit her dachshund Jack has also helped.)

But challenges aside, this is where I've chosen to be; and I shall persevere and continue to seek (and find) alternative sources of enjoyment. It helps that I like my own company. (And thank you for your blogs.)

Man in the Mountain

Weather permitting, I'll be heading out with a new hiking group tomorrow; beginning with an easy hike, they work up to the more rigorous ones such as the Man in the Mountain trail which overlooks Corner Brook and the Bay of Islands. 

But the "piece de resistance" and a long time dream of mine is to hike Gros Morne Mountain, a day-long return hike and very challenging trail. At the top, you look down over Western Brook Pond and the fjord and further out into Gros Morne National Park.

The west coast of Newfoundland has so many beautiful trails and fantastic vistas. And you're almost always bound to see some sort of wildlife. Just last Sat as my sister and I were drinking along the bay to my dad's house, we stopped and joined a huge group of people watching a Mama and baby whale feeding and flipping in the bay! It's amazing here!

There'll be lots of good food, laughter,
walking and catching up.
But my biggest excitement lately is my upcoming trip to Toronto and then Halifax next week to visit my other two daughters. It's so satisfying to know that they are looking forward to seeing me as much as I'm looking forward to seeing them. I'm also excited for Toronto's much warmer temperatures. Corner Brook is extremely limited when it comes to ethnic foods, so that's high on the agenda. And an extra special treat for me is going to my Korean daughter's graduation from college: she lived with me for 3 years: I taught her acceptance and confidence, and she taught me to love Korean food ..... and zombies! I just adore her. 

Today I'm fortunate:  I'm off in an hour, there's sunshine and Grandma has to take the grand-doggie for a walk. 

Have a wonderful weekend!