Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sun shines on Nova Scotia!!!

My good friend Eva had the day off work today; so here's a picture she posted on Facebook:

She's a bit of a nutcase; but I still think she has the right idea.

Get it while you can!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I've found Spring!

It's okay, Atlantic Canada.

It's been a really tough old winter, but I've found Spring 
and it's right around the corner.

Temperatures today: -8 C (17 F) degrees and climbing to a high of -2 C (24 F) today. But the sun is shining and I can see spots of bare pavement in the office parking lot.

Hope "springs" eternal!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Spring" Cleaning at my House.

Well, if Spring is here (even if in name only), that must mean it's time to Spring clean.  And we here in Atlantic Canada didn't even feel the lure to put aside our cleaning tasks and run outside in the Spring sunshine. No, our -4C (24F) degree weather ensured our happiness inside on day 2 of Spring.  And here's the exciting forecast for the next week:
Do you see the little grey droplets? Those are snow. The blue droplets beginning on Thursday in balmy 7C (44F) degree weather are rain. Please join me in praying for blue. 

Saturday was a productive day. I spring cleaned my bedroom, which for me means putting the bed and wall sconces on the opposite wall (using the previous years holes which were expertly covered by artwork), dusting my ceiling fan (make no wonder I've been coughing), pulling out the summer clothing bins from under the bed and re-discovering the new-to-me thrifted items that I bought over the past 6-8 months, and having a good root through and toss out of old make-up and nail polish.  I also "decorated" my lamps with recent jewellery purchases: each of those beauties was no more than $6 on the marked-down mark-down rack.  

I then moved on to the upstairs bathroom. All the shelves, high and low, were tackled. Tops of curtains rods and window frames, medicine cabinet, vanity.  Everything thing got a good wash down and sort through which left me with these, my spa shelves - music, candles and bath oils. Yes, I know wine is missing from the shelf but that was consumed later as I don't imbibe while I clean. Reward, reward, ladies!

The only collateral damage incurred during yesterday's cleaning frenzy was when the tower of my computer fell over on my foot. Ouch! But an ice pack and an evening on the couch with said glass of wine and Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity) helped the healing process.

I've decided that if the view outside my window doesn't reflect the calendar, then I must make my attitude reflect it. Therefore, spring is in my heart!

Sunday the spring/summer throw cushions will appear on the couch and there will be flowers from the local grocer.

Who knows:  
I may just have a gin and tonic on the deck.

Friday, March 20, 2015

SPRING 2015????

You may have heard about our most recent snow storm this past Wednesday. Parts of Nova Scotia received another 74 cm (30 in) of snow;  Cape Breton Island received another 80 cm (31.5 in). 

Yes, this is real! This is French Mountain on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, NS.

And here on the South Shore, 14 inches of snow fell in a 2 hour period. It was the final straw for my metal shed; the whole back corner of her caved in, and I'm assuming my lawn furniture and lawnmower is now covered with a blanket of cold, icy white. To say we are sick of it is such a huge understatement.

The always busy city of Halifax is a mess. Roads are down to one lane in places, they have adopted a NO-tolerance street parking ban, the buses and ferry service was halted for a full day and a half and their substantial annual snow-clearing budget is over by $10 million. 10 MILLION DOLLARS! 

It's so bad here in Nova Scotia that yesterday, this crucial news bulletin was posted on Facebook for all Atlantic Canadians:

PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING released at 3:25 pm on March 18, 2015 
If you are returning from Cuba, Mexico or other southern destination, for your own Health take special precautions. Do Not approach someone without a tan and ask how they enjoyed their March break. Serious injury could occur such as a sore throat (from punch to throat), migraines (from Shovel to side of head), Liver damage (well that's your own fault from the all inclusive) and/ or asphyxiation (from being thrown head first into a seven foot snow drift.)

Seriously .....

     I mean it!

               I WILL punch you!

Happy 1st day of Spring, y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The wearin' of the Green.

Yes, it's St Patrick's Day as well as my daughter's birthday. And I can tell you that for the most part, I have no problem being green today ...............

Green with envy for almost everyone else not living in Atlantic Canada with your pictures of snow melting and flowers emerging from the ground.

Sunday brought another foot or so of snow and/or freezing rain; and the past few days we've been stuck in the polar vortex again.

And to make matters even worse, there are blizzard warnings out for tomorrow.

It's getting mighty hard to be positive, especially when I can't turn to my usual crutches like chocolate and cakes. Eating carrot sticks and plain yogurt -- although very delicious -- don't somehow induce on those lovely flashes of euphoria.

Oh well. 
If it can't be spring, could I at least have a snnow day tomorrow?   


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When replacements are better ....

I'd like to introduce you to my new and improved family .....

Chihiro (who you've already met) on the left, me in the middle and Saerom (Korea) on the right ..... my replacement student for the Princess.

And believe you-me: this replacement is such a wonderful improvement on my short-lived Colombian daughter. 

Poor Saerom; she arrived when I was just beginning my recent bout with the "black death" flu bug. I mostly just slept, lay on the couch and thawed previously prepared dinners. But she was a darling: always asking if I need tea, water or anything else. She's been in NS since last Sept and has lived in 2 previous homes. But I believe that this is where she belongs.  

Once I began to feel better, I cooked a couple of Korean meals (my favorite food culture) as well as a couple of Japanese meals and a Mexican inspired dish.  Her previous 2 families were not adventurous in their eating, and she thinks everything I cook is fantastic. When I asked her what her favorite food was since arriving in Canada, she replied after a pause and said "Everything you've made so far!" Isn't that sweet!

I love experimenting with food and an appreciative audience; and she and Chihiro are certainly that. I'd say we are a perfect fit. Once again, I'm really enjoying my new kids.  

Usually when the students arrive, we exchange welcome gifts. (The Princess brought nothing .... except a bad attitude!) Chihiro brought me the items on the left: food, chopsticks, a gorgeous fan and a really pretty double picture frame. I certainly didn't expect a gift from Saerom; after all -- I'm Mom #3. But yesterday she had a big box arrive from Korea, and her Mother sent me this beautifully wrapped and boxed lipstick and matching nail polish.  The Asians sure know how to present a gift.

When I picked up the box at the post office, I was remembering the many wonderful care packages from Korea that Elly's Mom sent during her 3 years with me.  And I found myself secretly hoping that this box might contain lots of new and interesting food stuffs that Saerom would share. I was not disappointed.

Some familiar items here but mostly unknown to me. We have a bag of prepared Tteokbokki on the left; (I've only eaten mine and Elly's very poor version.) packages of spicy noodles; wee cans of wonderful Kkaennip and never-before tasted squash and gochujang beef; seasoned Kim (seaweed sheets). And look at that amazingly strange dried fish on the top! 

I'm so excited to have a Korean student again. She and Chihiro get along so well, and with her gregarious nature, she is able to draw Chihiro out of her usual quiet self. And bonus: they're both very excited to go thrift shopping for the first timethe mall. This weekend is the start of March Break for the kids; so Saturday we are off to the city for Value Village, a sample of burger week,the mall, the Japanese/Korean grocer AND a Korean dinner. (I anticipate a Sunday spent happily collapsing on the sofa.) 

So, if and when you ever need to replace something ... or someone, remember:

often the second one can be sooooooo much better than the first! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Super Bugs! (The real ones; not, like, your kids or mother-in-law or work colleagues!)

What a time of it I've had! In my 60 years on earth, I have never been as sick as I was last week. My flu virus (s) came on suddenly; and instead of gradually getting better, I progressively got worse and worse. Day 6 and 7 were the days that scared me the most; I was so terribly ill, sleeping almost constantly yet fearing that sleep because perhaps I wouldn't wake, ending up in a coma or something. Seriously! I'm not given to hysterics, but I was terrified because of how ill I was. My daughter is an almost-nurse (graduates this May), and she tells me of the people that die every year from influenza -- the very young and the elderly.  We never hear about that, do we.   

Anyway, when I began to experience chest pains, I did go to my local Emergency (being one of the thousands of people in NS who don't have a family doctor). They were quick to do x-rays and blood work and an EKG. Verdict? Nothing serious; just a "bad flu". It was somewhat comforting to hear that. So, I've just had to tough it out. I began to actually feel improvement on Day 10; today on Day 14, I still have sinus issues, headaches and tummy troubles; but I was able to enjoy my weekend with my girls.

My Nursie daughter is always after me to have a yearly flu shot. (Doctor said it wouldn't have helped this bug.) She says that if you're over the age of 55 and have any other issues (heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc), it's imperative to get a flu shot. She says that a virus on top of existing health stressers can be too much for our bodies. I've always been one to treat myself naturally, if at all possible.  But next year, I'll be first in line for the flu shot!

A serious illness meant a serious look at my life and my sugar addiction. Now-a-days, everything seems to point to sugar being the root of a myriad of health problems, so the sugar's got to go!  On the reverse, there's also a lot of buzz lately about probiotics and how good they are for us. My latest issue of  "Prevention" magazine has a good article that states probiotics even works wonders on depression and anxiety, a growing issue for many people.

Now, I love a good, plain, probiotic-laden yogurt. But I was really happy to find that a probiotic diet can contain more than just vats and vats of natural yogurt. I'm even happier to find that because of my international kids, I already enjoy some of these extra goodies.  If you're interested, "Women's Health" has this great overview - Other Probiotic Foods.

I plan to increase my intake of these miracle foods and eliminate as much refined sugar as possible. I will continue to think positively, laugh often, swim & walk and to treat myself gently. The only good thing to come out of a crippling flu virus is that I've already gone through the kicking-of-the-sugar monkey on my back. 

Any more positive advice from my blogging friends is welcome.

Keep healthy my friends!


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