Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treaters at my House.

Today was pay day hence grocery day.  But it was also Halloween!

So, I leave work early (if I'm not there, I don't get paid) ..... and I rush up and down the aisles of Superstore ..... and I pick up a quickie dinner of barbeque chicken, salad and potato wedges ..... and as I drive home, I can see that the little 'uns are already on the roads.


I bolt down dinner and just manage to get down the last of my food before the doorbell rings the first time.

Then it's  up and down and up and down for an hour or two.

But who can get upset when these little sweeties are the ones at your door.  
When I opened the door to the Mexican on the far left (all of 13/14 years old), he immediately said
"Hola Mamacita!" 


 Cheeky gringo!

We never get a lot of trick or treaters but there were fewer this year.  Thank goodness I only buy treats that I don't like!

How were the ghouls in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Halloween to Ewe!

This is what 650 cotton balls, 2 bottles of watered-down white glue, 3 hours hard labor and 1 hr of makeup looks like:

Not too baaaad, if I do say so myself.
(Feeling a little sheepish though!)

Then the Big Bad Wolf showed up, and the lost little sheep thought Captain Kirk would rescue her.   But alas:  he was busy with some cute little pink Pirate.

It's fun to dress in costume at Halloween, but so much more fun when you're with 60-75 kids from other countries who have never had an opportunity to do it before.  
Just a little sampling of the great costumes.
And a few of the pumpkins that were carved.  The moose (bottom far left) was the #1 winner.

Those students!  They keep me young and silly.  What a fun evening.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Fading Days of Autumn

This is my home town of Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

And this is the highway that runs alongside the Humber River, leading from my hometown to where my parents now live.

Look at those amazing colors!

As Anne of Green Gables said:  "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!"  

The Autumn colours in Nova Scotia look much the same as those above in NL.  (Couldn't get my copter out to capture those aerial views for you though!)  On the northeastern coast of Canada, we've had a glorious run with Autumn.  Not just with the color, but with the length of time and the vibrancy of this color-show!  With the sweet daytime temperatures; and the cool nights; and the lovely crisp mornings.  Fall 2013 has been a great one.

But as I drove to work this morning, I noticed that we in Nova Scotia are coming to the end of our color.  The trees are almost bare, the sky has become more dull; we wake with the dark, and eat dinner with it as well.  We're entering the grey, lifeless side of Autumn that no one likes -- the season of dark and rain; of snow tires and weather stripping and .................. turning on the furnace!

So what do we do to bring colour and warmth and cheer into the upcoming dull days? Well ..... 

  • We can enjoy the colour while it lasts:  get out there and walk and breathe.
  • We can take a clue from nature and begin to slow down.  Bugs and plants go into hiding; some animals hibernate; it's a natural progression.
  • We can put the basket of knitted slippers by the front door and get the woollen throws on the couch.
  • We can get in a supply of hot beverage stuff and line up this winters reading material.
  • We can begin to prepare for Christmas.  (Only 8 weeks left!)  It's a perfect time to bake and freeze; wrap gifts if you have them already, make a list if you don't; begin addressing those Xmas cards.
  •  What about your basket of sewing, mending, knitting?  The dull weather is a perfect excuse to sit and check out some of the new TV shows or watch an old movie.
  • Find your own creative, happy way to fill the days.

For some of you, Autumn is still in its colourful heyday and will be for a while.  And I know that there are some of you who won't really be affected at all by the dull, grey days that precede the cold, frosty, blustery days of winter. 

But I'm not jealous.  (Not today, anyway.)  It's my belief that there's enjoyment to be found every day, every season, no matter what the weather.      

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How do you mentally detox?

How many of you agree with this?

A couple of months ago, I discovered that one of the TV channels I receive was running old reruns of "The Waltons".  For those of you who don't know, "The Waltons" was an American TV series that ran from 1972 to 1981; the show revolved around a large family living during the depression era and dealt with the usual problems of raising children, making ends meet and family values.  

I remember liking the TV series in the 70's.  It wasn't so sacrine-sweet that it presented a false picture of familial perfection.  What I really liked was that in spite of the faults and foibles of the family, there was an undercurrent of deep love and acceptance.  There was a working through of problems; and no one had to say the F word to make a point.

These days, I find myself looking forward to sitting on the couch after dinner to watch those long-forgotten reruns.  I not only unwind from the hussle and bussle of my very busy day, but it seems to set me right again -- to put me back in touch with the things I value most:  family, love, acceptance and the little things in life being the important things.  It doesn't matter that I don't have a new car or that the living room carpet is badly worn or that my winter coat is not this year's style.  I have a home and a wonderful family and a great God and a few good friends.  I have it all!  

TV reality is an oxymoron, isn't it!  For most of us, it's not our reality.  We don't live like The Kardashians; we don't have it in us to compete in The Amazing Race or Survivor; and we aren't shaped correctly for America's Next Top Model.  Why the heck do they consider it reality TV?  But millions of people watch it for its entertainment value and it takes us out of our own sometimes stressful reality.  So, I'm not knocking it.

All I'm saying is that when I look at what's offered on television today -- the good and the bad -- there's a dearth of wholesome, full of love, build-us-up programs.  Why, I don't know if there are any if we take out the few family-centred comedies on TV.   

So, I for one say YES!  We need more Mayberry on TV.   
And if I have to find it in reruns, so be it. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

It was 5 years and 783 posts ago when I took to Blogspot to find like-minded women who were trying to deal with aging.  But I found so much more.  I found friendship and laughter and advice and imagination and acceptance and on and on and on.

Thank you Readers for sharing the last 5 years with me and teaching me so much.  

I'd like to tell you I'll be eating cake and celebrating, but I shall have to put that off for a few days until I get over this dastardly head cold.  I shall be downing sinus medication and NeoCytrin instead.

Still ..............................

a celebration postponed is just something to looking forward to for tomorrow!

(Underneath the sniffing and sneezing, this is me.  Yep.  I look just like this caricature; see the flushed cheeks and fever dazed eyes?  And I guess my nose is redder and runnier ...  and my hair is grey.  But look at how excited I am at the anticipation of cake.  

I don't get out much! )

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain .....

It's afternoon tea break here at the office ..... 
and I'm alone ..... 
and it's gently raining.  

It's so quiet here ... and so peaceful.  I've stopped and put my stocking feet up.  And the quiet, the peace and the gentle rain falling make my tea (and arrowroot biscuits) taste even better.  

I'm facing the large picture window that overlooks the pines growing in the front yard and the brilliant colored leaves of the deciduous trees across the road.  An occasional car drives by on its way to shops and business's in the industrial park.  But mostly, it's just me, and the clock and the falling rain on this metal building's roof.

So quiet and peaceful.

I'm thinking of how we so seldom have these moments of quiet and peace now-a-days.  Unlike our fathers and grandfathers, a lot of us have to "make" these moments happen.  At home there's kids and phones, TV's and I-tunes, showers running, refrigerator door opening and closing; "Have you seen my ....?"  The coffee shop can be quiet, but it's mostly because people have plugged in to their phone, talking or texting.  What's happened to sitting and making eye contact with others!  

Today I wish for you all to enjoy some quiet and peace.  I hope for a figurative "gentle rain" to fall upon you.  I hope that you'll get to sit in comfort and peace and drink tea and eat bickies and reflect on the goodness and restorative elixir of just sitting in nothingness ............. before you have to get back to life.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What a beautiful day here in Nova Scotia.  It's the kind of day that reminds you of all the things you have to be grateful for on this Canadian Thanksgiving Day:

  • Children -- I wish they could all be here with us today.  I wish I had spent half the morning putting a huge turkey in the oven and preparing pies, etc.  I wish I could be complaining how they always have to be asked to help me even though they know the process.  But they're scattered throughout the country and are making Thanksgiving in their own way.  (I'm thankful for all those who took my kids in and fed them too much!).  So, I shall spend lots of time remembering past Thanksgivings together and thinking on what makes each of them unique and wonderful.  

  • Family -- No one in my family lives close enough to
    come and celebrate with me or I with them.  And like most families, they sometimes drive me crazy; they are each of them wacked out and weird -- good and bad -- not a "normal" one in the bunch.  But what a fantastic family I have; and what a blessing that my Mom and Dad are still alive and healthy.

  • Friends -- The ones that make you laugh; the ones that are always there to lend a hand; the ones who have the softest
    shoulders to cry on; the ones you shop with; the ones who reign you in and remind you to be smart; the ones you only see every 4-5 years yet it feels like you just left off from yesterday.  Whether you have 1 or 2 or whether you have dozens, friends truly are one of the greatest treasures in one's life.

Aging means changing.  This Thanksgiving is different from last, and that one from the previous.  Right now, there's only Elly and I at home; but thankfully Ayaka will return from her Toronto trip in time for dinner.
I'm so grateful for those 2 wonderful Asian daughters whom I've grown to love and who will celebrate today with me.  

I'm grateful for M&M Meat Shops pre-stuffed turkey breast which will go into the oven soon and will be surrounded by beautiful farm-fresh vegetables -- thank you local farmers!  And someone else's talented hands have produced the mini blueberry, apple and rhubarb tarts we'll be sharing -- thank you Boulangerie!

But in whatever way Thanksgiving Day is presented to me, I will rejoice and be glad in it.  So, while the sun is out and there are crunchy leaves to be walked through, I'll enjoy a walk around the neighborhood to count even more blessings -- job, health, home, country, sunshine, good food.  And for the opportunity to give love in return to those who love me.

It's a great day to be thankful.  And as my friend Brady says, "Each day you're able to sit up and take nourishment is a good one".

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sweater Season meets Frugal Friday - Oct 4.13

When I was changing out my summer for winter clothing, I became aware of how many of my favorite items were worn -- something you don't always notice when you're wearing them all the time.  My sweaters had become nubbly and frayed.  So, when we were shopping in the city last weekend, I determined to do something about it.  We hit a lot of stores, and I saw a lot of beautiful sweaters!  What did I buy?

Target has only just opened in Nova Scotia, so I was excited about visiting.  And while I was not overly impressed, I liked enough of their merchandise to say I'd return.  One of my favorite items was this sweater.  The color is a pretty mint green; and I think the bunny makes it a really fun item to wear with jeans -- $20.
At Northern Reflections, they were having a 2-hour manager's special on these short sleeved sweaters -- $19.99 ea.  Perfect for work; so I bought one in wine and one in a gorgeous purple/blue.

I also found these cute Joe Fresh ballet flats at my local PC/Loblaws Superstore marked down to $5.94.

I was happy with my frugal finds.  But as I drove home with my purchases (and my girls) ..... (and my Starbucks skinny vanilla latte) ..... I still dreamed of the "sweaters that got away" (read too expensive and too little money).  I dreamed of the $65 purple jewel-tone pullover; and the too-big orange one at Value Village.  (Orange is still a hot color this season, right?)  So, I sent up a little prayer to the thrifting gods to be merciful to me and my little budget.  

Boy!  Did they answer me BIG TIME!  You ever try driving past a thrift store but it keeps calling your name?  "Sandyyy!  You must stop in todayyy!  You must stop innn!"  

So, I stopped.  And I found .......  
not 1 .....
not 2 .....
not 3 .....
but 4 brand new sweaters  and 1 like-new cardigan.

These 2 gorgeous jewel-toned J.Crew sweaters -- original price $72.50 each.  LOVE that purple one!
A Wallace sweater with wooden button shoulder detail -- original
price $68 -- and it's an orange-red color.  Pretty!
Everyone needs a little more animal print in their wardrobe.  Cathy Daniels brand -- original price $24.99.

And a new-to-me Nine West belted cardigan with nice pocket details in this fantastic turquoise color.

I paid $4.50 each for these at Frenchies:  a total of $26 with tax for all 5.  Now THAT is frugal (and totally fun) shopping!

I'm not entirely sure what one offers up in gratitude to the thrifting gods; but I'm willing to sacrifice all my nubbly sweaters and bake a rather large autumnal apple cake ..... with caramel drizzle.

And as high priestess of my own house, I'm willing to eat it .... and wash it down with a nice chardonney whilst reclining with my current novel.  After all, being frugal is (sometimes) hard work.

Happy thrifting everyone!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rabbit, Rabbit! Oct 1.2013

Rabbit Rabbit everyone!

The best of luck and blessings for this new month.  October happens to be one of my favorite months of the year.  It's when things really start to change:  the weather, the leaves, Sandy.  Yep, I become another year older in October.  

The year older is something I cannot help.  Aging ---- it's inevitable!  So, we do everything we can to help it be as good as it can be, correct.  That means celebration.  We'll see what birthday #59 will bring later this month.

October is also Canadian Thanksgiving.  Love the turkey (or perhaps crown rib of pork??), the pumpkin pie, the family round the table and the extra day off to recuperate.

Thanksgiving weekend means an end to the local Farmer's Market.  And although that means having to say goodbye to local fresh produce and The Airstream Cafe's wonderful food and coffee, on the plus side it means goodbye to my Market Manager job.  My Saturday mornings will be my own again ; so I'm beginning to dream of all the wonderful things that can be done on a Sat moring  --- sleeping later, reading the newspaper with my morning coffee, visiting other farm markets as a customer, or finally beginning work on the animal-themed baby quilt that I'm making.

I'm gonna be a grandma in January!

I also like to cook hearty, belly-warming foods on Saturdays --- stews and soups and cheese breads and apple cranberry loaves.  Yummy!

Speaking of yummy, this weekend the girls and I went to the city.  (Value Village shopping will be featured later for all you thrifters out there.)  At the end of the afternoon, just as the temperature was beginning to drop and sweaters were needed, we walked Quinpool Road, enjoying the fading sunshine and the shop windows.  We found a great Korean restaurant and dined on this:

Seafood pancake, an amazing new-to-me soup - Yuk gae jang - and wonderful Beebimbap. 

In Nova Scotia, October is a month full of treasures waiting to be found and enjoyed.  

How about in your neck of the woods?  What does October mean to you?


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