Wednesday, May 24, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Childhood memories, High School Grades, Senior Prom and Car Accidents)

This week’s post is going to answer all the questions that one favourite blogger asked.

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Betty asked:

What is your earliest childhood memory?

One of my favourites is when I used to write letters to my dad on loose leaf paper when I was about three or four. I’d scribble rows and rows of squiggly lines, seemingly writing sentences like my older brother who was in school did, and hand them to my father to read. He would thank me, pretend he was reading and then tell me how great my stories were. Not once did he ever dismiss my "writing", or tell me that it was just gibberish. He was special like that. And perhaps this memory has been retained because it conveyed the love and thoughtfulness of his good heart. He was an amazing father and I miss him every day.

The first most amazing man in the world in my life.


What were your grades in high school?

I was a natural in school and up until my early high school years I whizzed through exams and my grades were very high in just about every subject without ever needing to study. This turned out to be a blessing when I started 9th grade and the rebel in me surfaced and I began to cut classes. Because even though I put in little to no effort on many courses, I still managed to sail through them. Of course, most of my grades dropped below As that I could easily have achieved, but at the time I didn’t really care. All that to say that my grades were nothing to brag about while I was dealing with teen angst. Eventually I grew out of that and my college years produced much better results.



Did you go to your senior prom?

Absolutely! I wouldn’t have missed it. If I remember correctly, it was held at the Ritz-Carlton in the downtown area of my hometown of Montreal. The hotel opened in 1912 and it was the first in North American to bear the “Ritz Carlton” name.

My prom shopping budget was very small but I did manage to find a lovely red dress to wear with pretty white pumps. I did my own (80s) hair, (raccoon) make-up and (smudged) nails, of course, and although it wasn’t the most professional job, I think I looked presentable.

It was a wonderful occasion even though I attended with my boyfriend that I’d met six months prior who would become my nemesis ex-husband many years later. Had I known...

Oh well, at least the party was very nice.



Been in any car accidents?

When I was about 27, just a few weeks after giving birth to my older daughter, I rear ended someone on my way home from the pharmacy. Thankfully the driver I hit and I were both just strolling along and it turned out to be a minor incident. I was relieved that I was alone in the car at the time because if I’d had my newborn with me the stress would have skyrocketed.

But many years earlier...

On my way home from work one evening in my first (used) car that I’d had for a relatively short period of time, a city bus driver failed to notice me when he left his stop sign and crashed into me. Thank goodness it was on the passenger’s side of my vehicle because the damage was quite extensive. The hit from the bus was so forceful that it pushed my car across the road into some parked cars, two of which retained damage. First responders arrived quickly and an ambulance technician gave me some type of medication to calm me down because I was in shock and my heartbeat was dangerously fast. I wasn’t hurt physically but the accident scarred me mentally and emotionally. For a very long time after that I was afraid of driving. It took a long time to shed that trauma. I had no light or stop sign that day and the bus driver was 100% at fault. But that made no difference with my insurance, which skyrocketed after that because of the huge claim I made. No big deal. At least I was unharmed.


Thanks for all the great questions, Betty! I’ll be back with more answers next week.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How are you all doing? I hope you had a nice weekend. It's a long one for us here in Canada, so today is a day off for many people. There is a city planned event going on today called the 'Mayor's Picnic' in a park near the water. There will be games, a car show, food, a kite festival, and much more. There is even free shuttle service across the city, so people don't need to take their cars. It all sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The problem it that it's raining today. Hiss. Boo. We were keen on going but the weather is not inviting. Who wants to stand under an umbrella the whole time? I'm hoping beyond hope that the rain stops and the sun comes out. Chance of that happening? Zero. We will see.

Let's get to the funny stuff to make us all smile.






Have a great day!

Friday, May 19, 2017

This Week

Has it been a couple of weeks since I uploaded this type of post? It certainly has. I’ve been completely slacking off on blogging. Sometimes it goes that way. I haven’t been sharing much but I have been enjoying your blogs and keeping up with them as best as I can.

This week was a little quieter than usual. We actually didn’t do very much and that’s okay. The good news is that our upper level is completely finished. We now have a kitchen, dining area, bedroom, office and bathroom spotless and freshly painted. And not only is the cleaning and painting done but we’ve also changed light fixtures, door handles and hinges, kitchen cabinet knobs, blinds and curtains. The entire level has been given a complete face lift and it looks great.

Our next stop will be the large storage area that will also serve as a workspace. We’ve going to vacuum and TSP the cement floor, paint it and the surrounding walls, put up shelves and add a workbench. And as soon as we’re done with all that (who knows when), we will finally tackle the area I’m most eager to tackle: the lower level. I cannot wait to rip out the most disgustingly grungy carpets in the history of disgustingly grungy carpets, scrub everything down, add new floors and paint from top to bottom. It’s the dirtiest section of the house and I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief when it’s finally clean. That’s the house stuff.

I didn’t get to see my two girls on Mother’s Day but figured I’d book a separate date with each of them on another day. Yesterday was one of those days. I left around 9:45 AM and drove to Ottawa where my younger daughter lives, works and studies. We spent the entire day together and it was wonderful. My daughter has grown into an amazing young woman and spending time with her is an absolute joy. I also got the chance to once again see her newly-adopted cat, Obi, who is happily settled in her new home and treated like a queen. She is friendly and energetic and very talkative. She greets everyone at the front door when they come in and then flops on the ground so they can rub her belly. She is the cutest thing in the world. I wanted to scoop her up, sneak her out and take her home with me. But...my daughter.

Anyhow, I left Ottawa around4:00 PM, which is not a good time to leave. If you’re not out of there by 3:30 at the latest, prepare to crawl through traffic, which I did. It cost me an extra half hour on the road trying to make my way home. But that’s alright. Spending time with my daughter made it worth it. I’ll be booking a date with my older daughter next. Probably the weekend after. It is sheer bliss being able to visit any time we want now that we've moved closer to everyone we love most in this world.


And that’s all I have to say for now. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. How are you all doing? I hope it was a good weekend. We spent the day in Montreal yesterday. First we went to visit my mother-in-law and then we went to visit my mom. I didn't get to see my girls, which was sad, but I will make one-on-one dates with them for another time. Now that we're living so close together, it's very easy to do that.

Now, shall we laugh a little? Sure, let's do that.







Have a good one!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Movies, Autobiography, IKEA and Books)

Another week, another round of answers to your questions. And away we go...

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Adam asked:
Do you like Quentin Tarantino movies? If so which one is your favorite?

I was sure I’d seen a lot of movies that Quentin Tarantino has directed, been a screenwriter for and acted in but it turns out I haven’t. I’ve actually only seen four: The Rock, Pulp Fiction, Sin City and Inglourious Basterds. And out of these few, The Rock is my favourite. But that’s not surprising since I’m a fan of Sean Connery. I just love the way he says Welcome to the rockin this film.


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Toni asked:
If you wrote your autobiography, what title would you give it?

This is such an interesting question and one that I’ve thought about many times over the years. Because my life has been a mixture of experiences, it’s hard to think of a title that is perfectly fitting. But if I had to decide right now at this very moment, I’d probably use the name of my blog “Plowing Through Life” because that is pretty much what I do year after year. Plow through life. One day at a time.

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pilch92 15andmeowing asked:
What did you get at IKEA?

It is rare that we ever come home with bulky or expensive items when my husband and I visit IKEA. Most visits we just stroll through the store for ideas and I may or may not pick up a small item or two like some candles or a glass jar or a pillow, and so on. On our most recent visit, in addition to a couple of inexpensive purchases, I brought home this:

For my cats.

It was inspired by this story. The idea is absolutely adorable and I wanted in.

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e asked (and Toni would also like to know):
What book in your life has had the most profound effect on you and why?

Being an obsessive avid reader and having read hundreds (probably thousands) of books since I could barely put a sentence together, this is extremely difficult to answer. Nevertheless, there are three books that immediately sprung to mind when I read your question, all of which were introduced to me during my teen years by teachers. (Yes, I was one of those kids that were thrilled when books were handed out in the classroom.)

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This timeless classic deeply moved me with its dramatic, compassionate and wisdom-filled story line about potent prejudice in a sleepy southern town. Set in the mid 1930s in the midst of the Great Depression and narrated by six year old ‘Scout’ (Jean-Louise Finch), the book takes you through various events in the town of Maycomb, but particularly through the trial of a black man unjustly accused of raping a white woman. His defense lawyer is none other than Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, a man who courageously stands up to injustice. To Kill a Mockingbird is gripping and heart wrenching and absolutely remarkable.

2) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Surprisingly, this coming-of-age novel was written and published when the author was in high school. Perhaps being a teen at the time and the fact that the story was inspired by two rival gangs at her school is why it’s so well done and why it remains one of the best-selling young-adult novels of all time. Despite its success, it was very controversial at the time of its publication for its frank portrayal of smoking, underage drinking, portrayal of gang violence, strong language and delinquency. It was often challenged and even banned, but thankfully not in my school. It remains one of my top young adult fiction books and I even have the copy that my English teacher handed out in the classroom way back when.

3) Lord of the Flies by William Golding

When an airplane crashes on an uninhabited island, the sole survivors are a group of schoolboys who attempt to govern themselves. Without fixed boundaries, standards of behaviour and supervision, the orderly world that they once knew collapses and is replaced by a more primitive and barbaric one. This riveting novel explores the dark side of humanity and the savagery that lies beneath the most civilized of us.


And there you have three books that were introduced to me as an adolescent and continue to rank as favourites because they stirred many emotions, made me think about very important social issues and had me questioning them, as well.

Here are a few other books that I loved back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth:

‘Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret’ by Judy Blume
‘Harriet the Spy’ by Louise Fitzhugh
‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain
‘Charlotte's Web’ by E. B. White
‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell
‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L.M. Montgomery

Since then, there are many more that have been devoured. Give or take a few hundred.


That ends this week’s answers to your questions. Come back again next week for more.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday to all. How are you doing? What did you do this weekend? Yesterday was a very quiet day for us but Saturday evening we drove into Montreal to watch a band perform. The bass player is a really good friend of the most amazing man in the world. He's such a good friend that he drove down to Kingston (three hours away) when we were moving to help us load up the truck and take our stuff to our new house. When he mentioned at the time that he had a show in May, we told him to send us two tickets so we can go see him and his band mates play. It's the least we could do to thank him. It was a really good show and it gave us a chance to get out and enjoy ourselves.

Now let's enjoy some funny stuff.







Have a great day!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

This Week (A furry adoption!)

The highlight of the week was Thursday, so I’m going to focus on that. We drove down to Ottawa late morning to visit with the younger daughter, which is always enjoyable. The three of us went to lunch at a place called The Green Door that has been around since 1988. It serves vegetarian, vegan and gluten free foods. It is a buffet style restaurant where you choose what you want, pay by weight and sit wherever you find a spot. I sampled a bit of this and that and the other, and let me just say, I couldn’t get over how delicious everything was. If you ever find yourself in Ottawa and are looking for wholesome and tasty food, this is the place to go!


After we filled our bellies and they were singing joyfully, we headed to PetSmart where one little furball went from this:


To this:


To this:




Introducing Obi, short for Obsidian. Isn’t she adorable? When my younger daughter mentioned earlier this year that she was planning to adopt a cat, I told her we would get the cat for her just like we’d done for her sister, which I wrote about here. Fair is fair. And that's what we did on Thursday.

The whole experience was wonderful. Every time I’m there to witness an animal get adopted from a shelter, my heart sings. I was telling my husband and daughter on Thursday that I’d readily do a job of accompanying people to adopt these animals in need of loving homes.

Obi settled right in, and she’s not only great with people and amazingly tolerant, she’s also, according to my daughter’s text messages yesterday, a big chatterbox. She will make a wonderful companion for my daughter.

The rest of the week pales in comparison to that day, so I will end this post here. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Favourite Recipes, Photography, Party Music and Introversion)

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Here's another bunch of answers to your questions:

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Jan asked:
What is your favourite recipe / dish you enjoy cooking and eating?

This is a really tough one. If you enjoy cooking, it’s hard to choose a favourite recipe. I’ve got many and the list just keeps on growing. Instead of zooming in on one, I’ll tell you what types of foods/meals I like and don’t like.

- I like a variety of vegetables and there isn’t one I won’t try, although I can be picky about how it’s made. And let’s not even talk about fruits. I could probably live on them alone!

- I don’t like deep fried food or food that is too greasy. It leaves me feeling sick. Grilled, baked, steamed, roasted...words that appeal to me.

- I love a good pizza, preferably with a multigrain, thin crust. And I prefer it without any meat topping.

- I don’t eat much meat and there are very few meats I will eat. I sometimes eat vegetarian meals and even vegan ones.

- I don’t like heavy meals. I prefer light dishes that won't leave me feeling like a ton of bricks is sitting in my stomach.

- I love sampling and cooking different cuisines from around the world but I do have a limit to what I will try. Insects, for example, are not an option!

Although I don’t have a favourite recipe, a meal made up of grilled salmon, salad and roasted vegetables would be a top choice!

(Speaking of recipes, please check out Jan's blog. She shares some amazing ones.)

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Taken For Granted asked:
So, how many photographs to do you shoot each day?

Sadly, aside from taking photos of the progression of our house as we give it a facelift, I haven’t taken a single interesting photo since we started this house selling/buying/moving madness. Which would explain why I haven’t shared anything on this blog. This will change when we start going for bike rides to explore our city and the areas surrounding it. Photography is a beloved pastime and I intend to get right back into it at some point.

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LL Cool Joe asked:
If I were to dj at your birthday party what music would you want me to play?

I’m typically a classic rock loving girl, but I’ve learned that’s not good at parties. That being said, upbeat music would be great, especially if it’s the type you can dance to. Since most of my crowd would be middle aged folks like me, 70s and 80s songs would really get us going and makes us feel nostalgic. Plus, it would be funny to see friends run out on the dance floor and show off their ancient disco moves. That may or may not include me. I’m not admitting to anything.

But I love a wide range of music, so more recent tunes would be not only welcome but necessary. There’s only so much nostalgia that I can handle before I get bored. Or go mad. Again, cheerful tunes would be a preference to get the crowd moving and keep them smiling.

Also, throw in some cheesy love songs to get the couples on the dance floor, swaying to the music and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. And who knows, it may even spark some new romances.


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Janie Junebug asked:
As an introvert, how do you feel if you're forced to be with a large group of people? Or are you with them? Do you feel separate even when surrounded by many people?

As long as I’m not the center of attention or forced to socialize more than I am in the mood for, I could easily blend in with a large group of people without being bothered by it. I’ll plant myself somewhere, observe my surroundings quietly and even tune out any overbearing noise. It’s not being with the group that is tiring as much as dealing with small talk, which is an introvert’s nemesis. I actually enjoy circulating through areas where there are many people and losing myself in the crowd; something that I’m very good at. When I lived in the big city of Montreal, I sometimes headed to places swarming with people to immerse myself in the hustle and bustle. I don’t feel separate as much as I feel like an individual. I’m not sure I can explain that any further. I believe it’s something introverts would understand!


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That's it for this week! Have a good one.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. And happy May! This is one of my favourite months of the year. April turned out very wet and I hope all that rain will contribute to a beautiful May filled with lots of greenery and pops of colour. And trees and shrubs with blooms. Now there's a beautiful sight. A couple of favourites include lilacs and magnolias but there are so many others that catch the eye. Which ones do you like, if any?

While you think about that, here's some funny stuff for you.






Have a great day and a great month!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

This Week

Today I got up around 7 AM, which is late for me. I usually get up around 6. Sometimes as early as 5:30. I wasn’t always an early riser. There was a time when I slept past nine in the morning. Then full time employment came along followed by kids. With a job I had weekends off and could sleep in if I chose to. But with young kids it was a different story. They got me up early seven days a week. And now that they’re grown and have moved out, I have my cats. Try telling cats they have to wait to be fed. They will nag you to death until that bowl is filled. And after you’ve been dragged out of bed and they fill their bellies, you know what they do? Go sleep. The little stinkers.


The most amazing man in the world is also the handiest. He can do every job around the house including taking apart big and small appliances that need repairs. When he was a little boy he was very curious about how things work. He’d dismantle items like clocks to explore the inner workings and then put them back together. Not always successfully in the beginning, mind you, and not always with his parents’ knowledge. But they weren’t too hard on him, he said, so he continued to build these skills that just got better and more diverse over time. Right now he’s tackling our vacuum that decided to up and quit at the worst possible time. Dust quickly builds up around here as we scrub and paint and organize, and a vacuum has become an essential item. If it can’t be fixed, we’ll be forced to buy another one quickly. We’ll see how this plays out.


Yesterday when we were out for coffee, we discussed our back yard/garden area. We have a corner lot with a 4 foot high chain link fence around it. You know how much privacy that offers. Zero. You know how disturbing that is to an introvert who wants to garden in peace without passersby and nosy curious neighbours peeking in? Very. A new, higher and more private fence is out of the question right now. Much too expensive. We need other options. Natural ones. Evergreen shrubs come to mind even though I’m not a big fan of them. I’m thinking boxwood, which is very popular. Do you have/grow these? What other suggestions do you have for a green solution?

We hung a bird feeder outside and have been enjoying visits from a variety of birds, but mostly American Goldfinches. They are so adorable. The cats have been enjoying the visits, too. From behind a patio door. I know they would love to get their paws (or jaws) on one of these little critters but that won't be happening. Ever. In any case, all these signs of spring are wonderful.

That’s all I have to say for now. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Introversion, Happily Ever Afters, Pakistan and New Home)

Another week means another round of answers to your questions. Here we go...

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Tina asked:
How much of an introvert are you?

I am very much an introvert. When I do too much 'people-ing', I end up needing a period of total isolation to recharge my internal batteries. This can be a day or two or a week or two. It depends on how much people-ing I did and how exhausted it left me. It’s not that I don’t like to socialize. I do. But I prefer to get together with a select group of close friends or family members that I can have sincere and meaningful conversations with. And I particularly like a one-on-one heartfelt connection with someone whose company I really enjoy.

I'm not a big fan of parties or spending time with large groups of people, especially if most of them are unfamiliar, but sometimes it's necessary. I attend and make the best of it, and unless I'm having a lot of fun, I bolt as soon as it’s polite enough to do so.

On the other hand, I do enjoy being in public crowds where small talk and interaction is not necessary and where I can sit quietly and simply observe my surroundings. These public spaces include parks, malls, popular venues, bookstores, museums, restaurants, vacation resorts, beaches, theatres, and so on. In these settings I'm connected yet disconnected, if that makes any sense.


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Linda asked:
Can I have a happily ever after like you? I want what you got.

Anyone can have a happily ever after. But not all ‘happily ever afters’ are equal. Each one of us defines it in a different way. When I was searching for mine, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed. And I was ready to take on all the responsibilities, commitments, compromises and sacrifices that came with it. My husband is the most amazing man in the world to me but he might not be to someone else.

We are all searching for something or someone to make life’s journey that much more interesting. Whether it’s a partner, a job, faith, a pet or a calling that will add a certain joy in our lives, there is a happily ever after for all. You just have to know which one’s for you and make it happen.


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Baili asked:
What do you know about my continent Asia and country Pakistan, any personal opinion on the base of knowledge?

And...

Are you done with your new home settlement and how are your new neighbors there?

Aside from its location and that Pakistan is one of the most populous countries in the world, I’m afraid I know little to nothing about your country. The same goes for the continent of Asia. I have general knowledge that I either learned in school or on my own over the years, but there is so much that I don’t know. I love learning about different cultures and traditions, so I always enjoy when you share what you eat, what you do, what you enjoy and what surrounds you on your blog. It gives me a glimpse into your part of the world, which is not only educational but also fun!


We are far from being fully settled in our new home. Although most rooms are functional and a few are fully done, many still need a good scrubbing and a fresh coat of paint. And a lot of our stuff is still in boxes. We are moving forward but there is still plenty of work ahead of us. When we first moved here, I was sure we'd be done by the end of April but quickly realized that it’s an unrealistic goal. The entire house from top to bottom and inside out (including garage, garden, walkway, patio, balcony, etc.) needs a facelift. We estimate that we’ll reach our goal some time in the summer. Or fall. Thankfully, the house has no major issues and all this work, although exhausting, is purely aesthetical.

Our neighbours seem nice enough and certainly very quiet, but we’ll probably get to know them much better now that spring is here and people get outside more. There is one neighbour that we know more than all the others because he is the one that sold this house to us (he was the real estate agent hired to sell it). He lives right across the street!

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That's all for now, folks. I'll be back next week with more. Have a good one!