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!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring is slower and colder in western Newfoundland (NL) than it is in Nova Scotia (NS). Not by a lot; but when you've gone through a long, cold NL winter, you want spring and you want it NOW! I can walk in sneakers again which is awesome. But I still need a winter coat, hat, scarf and mittens. Baby steps, Sandy. Baby steps.

I've been approved for a community garden plot in the city -- 4' x 14' which is a great size! Last weekend, I started indoor seedlings, hopefully not too late because this is NL.  I planted tomatoes, cukes, green and yellow beans and swiss chard. I'll leave the lettuce and spinach seeds for direct planting. Yesterday I saw my first shoots from the tomatoes and swiss chard. My mouth is watering already and harvest won't be until September. Fresh produce is so expensive here because it has to cross the gulf and be trucked such long distances. It also spoils so quickly once you do buy it. So, I am ever optimistic that I'll be able to subsidize my food budget with homegrown. 

And I've been quite lucky lately with my local Salvation Army purchases. I was able to bring home a new pair of shoes, dress capris and a pretty spring blouse. The brand new strawberry socks are a gift for my middle daughter. I also picked up a few gifts for others: a pizza stone for my BFF (Her hubby makes the best pizza and tops it with honey! OMG!); a pirate puzzle for my grandson, and an aqua candlestick for my baby daughter. And all this was under $20. 

Moving home has brought me so much quiet and alone time; I'm loving it. But I'm also running out of chores to keep me busy while Mother Nature sorts herself out here on The Rock. My spare bedroom has become my "Family Room" as it's the place I've hung all my pictures of the people who are dearest to me. I've not only left behind my NS home and friends, but I've left behind a lifestyle -- one that included loving, caring for and having fun with my international children. So this room provides me with a little NS comfort. (Okay. I admit it. Sometimes I sit and cry in there because my heart aches so. But change is always hard.)
The sun is shining outside my window here at work. It's cold, but each day, the snowbanks are smaller and the run off muddier. Bring on the mud! I'm ready for it!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The long and winding road, that leads back to you.

A thank you to the blogging world that has kept on ticking away and posting and has fed me regularly while I've dealt with life. Thank you for taking me into your homes and showing me your latest projects. Thank you for giving me ideas for dinner, lunch, snacks. Thank you for telling me about your latest thrift bargains (and I must admit some jealousy here). And thank you for keeping me laughing.

The funeral is over with. I'm moved into my new apartment. And my life is returning to some form of normality. I'm loving my new digs -- so quiet and private compared to my last. Now, if only spring would arrive in Newfoundland.

It's always later here; we are quite far north. And I knew that the snow would stay for a while. But these cold temperatures! Man! The past week and a half has been on average -7 deg celsius (19 deg Faren). It's darned cold out there.

But I am in a spring frame of mind. While unpacking recently, I was able to longingly caress my red Converse sneakers. And I found a great hoodie for those soon-to-come early morning walks. I attended an information session last Saturday on our community garden; and despite my being on a wait list, I've been planning my 4' x 16' plot and thinking of how wonderful it will be when I have fresh spinach and chard. Ahhhhh!

I am waiting for you. 

Come soon. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thank you so much for your words of comfort. They are appreciated. We are all doing well, and my dad is taking it one day at a time.

Miraculously and thankfully, my shingles pain and rash stopped completely for the week after my Mom died, only reappearing when it was all over. But they're only bothering me at night and are more of a nuisance than anything. I'm so happy to be on the healing side of life once again. Phew!

ME?  I'm awash in boxes as I'm moving again this weekend. A
slightly smaller apartment came up not far from where I am. And the price and inclusions were so good that I jumped at it. My new landlord has completely repainted, replaced carpet with laminate and has bought new appliances; and there's a stackable washer/dryer combo. The living/dining room area is almost the same size as my current apartment. But the kitchen is quite small and the bathroom and bedrooms are tiny -- think 1950's house tiny. Still there's lots of closet space, a wonderful view of the bay, and I'm told that the gardens are beautiful. (My lawn chairs are ready any time the snow wants to leave.) 

 The big move is Saturday; and I'm praying that it doesn't snow. Egad! I have the next 3 business days off as well to help me re-organize. 

In spite of my fatigue from this extremely stressful year-to-date, I'm looking forward to getting into my new place and begin decorating again. It's always exciting to put old, treasured items in new places.  

Enjoy your weekend everyone. And in case you're wondering, this is what I'll be doing Saturday night after what I hope will be a stress-free moving day. Caio bellas!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bye Bye Mama.

My Mama passed peacefully in my Dad's loving arms this past Saturday morning. Gaining strength and love from family and friends and from my God. Thank you for all your words and wishes. I can feel your compassion.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Madame Itchy McBlister Checks in

What can I say about having shingles? 

A LOT! But it would turn the air blue. It's not good. On a positive note, after being diagnosed and given the early treatment (Valtrax), my 2 spots of shingles 
dried up and began healing. THEN a different rash started --- one that was an allergic reaction to something which to date remains unknown. This rash spread everywhere except my palms, feet and, thankfully, my face. And it's extremely itchy. THEN the shingles nerve pain started. Anyone who's had shingles knows what I'm talking about when I say this is the worse pain I've ever experienced! A constant has been the burning sensation -- like I've been skinned and put out in the wind. A constant from about 2-3 pm onwards is the feeling that my body is being poked with a scrub brush full of needles; and the later, harsher pain comes unexpectedly in the form of feeling like I'm being repeatedly stabbed and/or electrical shocks running down my arms and legs -- so much so that they'd occasionally twitch. Clothing hurts and I need a makeshift tent under my bed covers at night so the weight and heat from the blankets don't make me feel like I'm burning. From a medical standpoint, not much can be done other than over-the-counter calamine lotion and such; and that doesn't work with the bad pain. There were some evenings I was kneeling on the floor crying and praying. And there were a couple of evenings when I called my sister (who is on a lot of meds) begging her for something to knock me out for the weekend so I could get some rest which is one of the key things to healing from shingles. I took several different meds from several different people -- dangerous, I know. But effective. And I've had blissful moments of relief with almost no pain. Almost!

I hate to speak too soon, but I think I may be beginning to heal. I'm still pretty itchy, but some of the rash now has a fine, rough, sandpaper feel to it. I have patches of the usual red, angry rash; and my poor legs are peppered from the knees down with scabs. As Monty Python would say, I am currently "not attractive to men, sir!".

I've been diligent in going to work and our wonderful staff have put less demands on me. 

But because by the time I finish work I'm headed into the most painful parts of my day, I've not been able to visit my Mom in hospital very much. She has been failing and is now in palliative care. The family has been preparing themselves for this, of course, but it is still heart breaking. We are all looking to God now for comfort and for a peaceful transition for my lovely mother. 

The other big news which is more positive for me is that I'm moving at the end of this month to a slightly smaller but much cheaper apartment: internet and cable are included, there's a washer/dryer, electricity is less, it's in a lovely location which overlooks the bay and is close to a major route to work. I'm a little overwhelmed with packing again but trying to overlook what's immediately in front of me and focus on being settled in a place that I believe will be better for me. And this is what I'm focusing on for my Mom as well. 

So, I've a crazy stressful, busy, painful life right now. But it is my belief that God is right at hand and that He'll come through as He has ALWAYS come through. 

I thank any of you out there for prayers and/or compassionate thoughts towards me at this moment.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Ah yes. I moved home to begin a new adventure, one that I imagined would be filled with family get-togethers and leisurely walks and lots of opportunity for relaxation, etc.  The best laid plans .........

Most of our family get-togethers have been round the hospital bed of my mother who very slowly is recuperating. But there's a lot of expectation placed on we sibblings to be at her bedside, even when she's sleeping. She wants company; my Dad wants what she wants; we want her to get well. So everyone had been working double time over the holidays.

The result of those good intentions has been that most of the family has had or has at this moment flu and/or cold. My sister has a bacterial infection that is taking a long time to quit. So, for about 1.5 weeks, it was just my Dad and I doing all the visiting. 

But I think that overextending myself coupled with all the Xmas over-indulgence in rich, sugary foods put my immune system at risk. I came down with what I thought was a flu last Thursday only to find out late Sat night that it is indeed --- SHINGLES!

Just that word puts dread in the hearts of many a brave soul! With good reason apparently. I'm in the early stages (and hope my meds will help lessen the pain and duration). But both my parents have had it, and my brother who is in his mid fifties had it in Sept. So, he's been a huge source of help and advice.

Last night, I managed to get to sleep (in one position ONLY!) and sleep through the night. Today there's been a lot of irritation and slight pain (imagine a body brush full of needles being intermitently pushed into your skin); but Aloe Vera gel and pain meds have helped. I'm hoping as much as possible to work when I can as I expect there will be days when it will all be too much for me and I'll need heavier pain meds. Also, I'm one of the sufferers whose Shingles virus showed up as the symptoms of the flu. And today is the day when my nose and eyes are both streaming and both red. Very attractive indeed!

I've researched to find all sorts of natural remedies/aids to help me over the next few weeks. But if any of you have advice for me, I welcome it.  Even the horror stories are okay to share. I need to know what to expect. 

And words of advice for me for the future?

Your health comes first before the wants of others. 

After all, if you don't have your health, what do you have and how much good are you to others.