Category Archives: fun

Vacation Over and Time to Be Fifty

It’s been quite a while since my last post.  A birthday vacation, of sorts.

Actually, I’ve been spending some time on blog construction —  not this one, but an additional one with my younger sister Susan.

It’s called Ess & Jae V2.0.  Get it?  Ess (S) and Jae (J)…..?  The V2.0 stands for the second half of life.

We actually started it after a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Allium in Westboro, where we did a lot of complaining about how much weight we had gained over the summer, eating out, drinking wine, sitting on patios… get my drift.

The blog started out as an accountability tool with us posting our weight loss each week.  However, it’s morphed into a lifestyle blog about being 40+ or 50+ and enjoying the best things that life has to offer.

We don’t always work compatibly together, so this should be an interesting ride.   Time will tell….

On another note, we had our annual Sister’s Weekend in Vermont this year.  I chose the location and Burlington was awesome.  Love the town, loved the valley, loved the people and loved the atmosphere.  Of course, there was big food and lotsa wine, but we managed to squeak in a hike (that nearly killed me!).  Pictures are following…..

Now you can see our pores and everything.

That’s me in the middle.  As you can see, I’ve gained some weight this summer.  Enjoyed every minute of it.  But not enjoying the fact that my pants don’t fit.  And I have a roll around my belly.  Geez, I’m looking like Mom.  I sure don’t want to look like Mom.  Love her, but she’s struggled with her weight all her life.  Nope.  Not good.

So, I have started a new program based on what I’ve learned about my eating habits and physiology this year.  It has been a great year for learning things.

I’m eating moderately high protein, high fat (yum!) and low carb.  After two decades of trying to muscle through the hunger of low-fat dieting, this feels different.  I’m also eating reckless amounts of vegetables.  Observations so far:  this keeps me full longer, on fewer calories.  My skin has cleared up.  And (TMI ahead – brace yourself) a lot less bloating and gas.  It’s been several weeks and I’m down 5 pounds since just before Labour Day.

I plan to continue this blog as well because….well…..sometimes a girl’s words just have to be hers alone.  Not shared.  Just a personal truth.  And maybe a little more frankness than in a family situation.

Thanks for coming back.


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Filed under acne, clear skin, dieting, fitness, food, fun, health, menopause, summer, wine

Onwards with Fifty

Workouts:  Socializing.  That is all.

It’s been a crazy two weeks.  And I’ve loved every minute of it.

So, now I’m 50.

Let me tell you about my world.  I’ve done 5 dinners.  2 lunches.  Drinks on a couple of patios.  A weekend away.  Way too much eating and considerable consummation of beverages.  🙂

I had a great weekend away in Niagara-On-The-Lake.  What a beautiful, beautiful little town.

This is main street.  Gorgeous, eh?  This is someone else’s picture – check out the website on the bottom.

Cottage Girl, Best Friend and I shared Belfry Cottage which was just outside of town.  This pic is from the website…much better than the ones I took.  I think I need  new camera.  Couldn’t be my photography skills.  Nope, couldn’t be that.

Cottage Girl’s room (I did take this picture).

Best Friend and I shared this room (yup, took this one too).  Note the bags on the bed.  Good photography.

We toured town, took in a production of My Fair Lady at the Shaw festival, the play being written by George Bernard Shaw of course, and the festival also celebrating it’s 50th birthday.  What a coincidence!

That was Friday evening of last weekend.  Saturday, it was all about wine.

Cattail Creek Winery was the first we visited.  Small, young winery, big success and great wines.  Of course, I bought some of their product…um….maybe 3 bottles.  🙂

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery was the next adventure and we had a great experience here!  I would highly recommend the wines and the staff were incredible. Bought some wine here too…um….4 bottles.

They had a Yoga in the Vineyard program!!  How groovy is that?   Except it’s 6 hours from my house.  Sadly.

Wine + yoga = ZEN, I think.

Saturday night, it was all about food (with a little wine thrown in, of course).

We had dinner at The Oban Inn.

Oh, my word, it was gorgeous.  You can check out the food photos here, because we ate much too quickly to take any pictures.

Definitely a weekend to remember.  With some of my favorite girls.   Both 50-something glorious women.

Note the wine glasses in hand and the blur!  It was a good trip.

And a new program begins today.  More on that later.

Ta-ta.  Enjoy your Saturday evening.


Filed under food, friends, fun, wine

The Day After The Big Day!

Well, that’s it!  I’m 50. 

I can hardly believe it.

The day was filled with great energy, good food, good wine, streamers (in my office!!) and cupcakes.  How could that not be anything but good?  🙂

I’m headed off to Niagara-On-The-Lake for a long weekend with Best Friend and Cottage Girl.

Have a nice weekend.

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Productive Sundays – Pasta, Plants & Preparations

Sunday morning workout:  gardening, 1 hr.

It’s not even 9:00am yet, and I’ve spent an hour weeding, pruning and mulching the front garden.

Don’t be impressed – I let it get completely overgrown.  It was very shabby.  The virginia creeper was taking over the front walkway.  The postie was in danger of getting swallowed up by creeping ivy when he delivered my mail.  They make horror moves about yards like mine.

OK, it’s not this bad, but it was pretty bad.

Now, I’m drinking coffee, roasting a spaghetti squash in the oven before it gets too hot, blogging (obviously) and watching a Sunday morning TV program called  It\’s Just Food.

It’s a groovy little Canadian program that shows how simple cooking really is.  This morning is fresh homemade pasta.  Who knew it was so easy??!  Makes my creative juices start flowing while I”m making my grocery list.  Bacon, spinach and cheese ravioli.  YUM!!

Also on the agenda for today are groceries, some meal  planning, and a trip to the Rideau Center for some shopping.  Best Friend is looking for a new watch and I’m always happy to window shop.  Except the fall clothes are out…..and it’s going to be 90 degrees here today.  Talk about a disconnect!  Who can look at cozy sweaters when it’s sweltering outside.

It’s going to be a busy week!  Monday, I’m having dinner with Younger Sis to celebrate our mutual birthdays.  We’re almost twins except that we’re 6 years apart.  That’s probably why we get along so well.

We’re checking out the new small plates menu at Allium.   Check it out…it looks awesome.

Tuesday is a free day – must get some serious exercise and maybe some yoga.

Wednesday is my 50TH BIRTHDAY!!!  That means I’m going out for lunch with my fun work peeps at Stoneface Dollys which is one of my favorite restaurants.  We’re not inviting Obnoxious Sales Guy.  Picture stolen from the website.

After work, Younger Sis and I are planning to go to a new yoga studio called Empower Me Yoga. 

I plan to get my Zen on and set my intention for the coming year and perhaps the coming decade too.

After that, we’re going for gelato at Truffle Treasures  which makes the most amazing chocolate-peanut butter creation you have ever tasted!

On to Thursday,  I’m having dinner with Cottage Girl and my real estate agent.  Who is also a friend.  Who I don’t see often enough. I love spending time with fabulous girlfriends – both of these women can teach me lots about rockin’ 50.

And then, early, early, early on Friday morning, Best Friend, Cottage Girl and I are going on a road trip – Niagara-On-The-Lake!  It’s a picturesque community not far from Niagara Falls that has lots of quaint towns, award-winning wineries and the Shaw Festival.  We’re going to see My Fair Lady!  We’ve rented a guest cottage on an estate so that we can relax and drink coffee…and wine, of course….on our very own patio.

Whew!  What a week it will be.

On a couple of other completely unrelated notes, I’m going to drop into Chapters today to look for this book:

I’m a terrible runner and I want to enjoy it more.  There has to be a way to train smarter, rather than harder.

I think I just experienced one of the benefits of being 50…..smarter, not harder.  Maturity.  Wisdom.  🙂

And way off topic, call me crazy but is anyone disturbed that Michelle Bachman just won the Ames Straw Poll?  Far be it from me to stick my nose into US politics when our Canadian version isn’t a whole lot better, but can’t anyone see that this woman is a wing-nut???  Good grief.  Don’t the folks in Iowa get any decent media coverage?

Soapbox moment over.

Happy Sunday.

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Filed under chocolate, fitness, food, friends, fun, health, joy, maturity, relaxation, wine, yoga

I Love Long Weekends!

Workouts:  ummmm…..none!

I’ve been socializing non-stop since Thursday.  Ahhhh, it’s the best part of summer.  A little hard on the a$$, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Thursday evening was drinks in the back yard with Younger Sis and BIL (and Golden Retriever Barbie) before they left on holidays.  I’m keeping an eye on their house for a week.

Friday night, I went to see Cowboys and Aliens.

If you click on the link above, you get the groovy music and scenes from the movie, which was fun!

Can I just say two words?  Daniel.  Craig.

Two more words.  OH.  MY!

The back view is almost as pretty as those gorgeous blue eyes.

Saturday evening, I invited Best Friend and her husband over for steaks on the BBQ.  This is a bit of a departure for me because for many years I didn’t eat beef.  Not a philosophical issue, or even a health/diet issue.  More of a flu/sick stomach issue after eating beef.  It ruined me for years.  I’ve finally gotten over it, although it will never be my favorite food.

It was a perfect summer evening.  We sat on the deck enjoying the breeze and drinking wine.  It was absolutely lovely.  Ahhhhh…….summertime.

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Back on the Grid

Workouts:  Kayaking, swimming, tanning (just a little), cocktailing…..

Well, I’m back on the grid.  Sadly.  Very sadly.

Every year on my holidays, I spend some time with friends who reside in Canada for half of the year, and in the US for the other half.   Ideally, I like to visit in both places but because work was so busy this year, no winter trips for this girl.

Cottage Girl and her husband, Cottage Guy, spend the summer on a gorgeous island in the middle of a beautiful lake in central Ontario.   There is only one other cottage on the huge island, but mostly its trees and rocks.  And deer.  And moose.  And other wildlife.  Silent and peaceful and absolutely stunning.

This isn’t it (Cottage girl likes her privacy) but it’s like this but with a way bigger island.

We swam and kayaked and read and tanned and napped and talked and talked and talked…..the way good friends do when you haven’t seen them in a year.

It was absolutely perfect.

And then I came home yesterday and went to a job interview.  Whew!  Talk about a change of pace.

The interview went well, although it was the strangest interview I’ve ever been on.  The owner of the company talked the whole time.  There were very few questions about me — I know my resume is very detailed but that seemed strange.

However, I don’t think I want the job even though I’m one of the two final candidates.  While the money may be almost what I’m making now, the challenge would be a great deal less.

Now, you’d think, after the year or two I’ve had at work, this would be a good thing.  But I don’t want to take too many steps backward in my career.  Not at 50.  I need to move forward.  Or at least sideways.  Not back.

Two things didn’t sit well with me…..1)  they want me to give less than 2 weeks notice to my current boss (Boooo!) and 2)  I think there is some office politics.  Not good.  Hate office politics.  Bad, bad, bad.

After my interview, I hopped in the car with Best Friend and her two little granddaughters (4 1/2 and 6) and we went to Upper Canada Village.  It’s a working pioneer village, set in the 1860’s, with actors and tradespeople populating the town and educating visitors all about life a century ago.  It’s so interesting and beautiful.

We saw horses and cows and pigs and sheep!  The piglets were running around a farmyard, free to play with the kids.  Awesome!

I bought old-fashioned bread made from wheat ground at the mill and baked in an enormous wood stove, and cheese made at the cheese factory.  Very cool.

That’s breakfast this morning, with great strong coffee and some sunshine on the deck.

Because it’s been such an active and busy holiday, I may lay low for the next few days.  The weather is calling for sun from now until Monday morning.  Sigh….life is good.

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Filed under food, friends, fun, interview, job, relaxation, summer

Money Sense

Workout:  1 hr. walk on the Rideau Canal

I’m usually on the Canal in the winter time, skating, but today Best Friend and I walked for an hour along this lovely pathway.  We were passed continually (by grandmothers and kids pushing toy cars) since we did more yakking than power-walking!  It was another steamy day – glorious.

In the afternoon, I met with a potential new investment adviser.

I wonder if I’ll get a belt buckle when/if I sign up?

I’ve been dissatisfied for a long time with how my money is performing.  Ya, ya, I know — it’s been a tough couple of years.  But I’m worried I’m going to be a bag lady in my old age.

No picture here.  It’s not a funny subject and I’m really not kidding.

I often worry that, without a supplementary pension, I’m not going to be able to support myself in my old age if I live for a really long time.  Lots of women end up in poverty because they haven’t been able to save enough or don’t have a second income to assist them (husband’s social security).

The new guy’s name is Kash.  I kid you not!  He seems very smart, organized and driven.  I’ll do a little research and see if he checks out.  He tells me he can do better than my banking rep — Golden Retriever Barbie could do better than my current money manager!!

After that, I met my favorite physiotherapist for a glass of wine which is always fun.

And I’m pooped.  It’s been a busy day.  I enjoyed some reading on the deck and now it’s time for bed.

And Kate and William are in Yellowknife!  Where the sun never sets.  How will they know when the day is over???

A little ball hockey was followed by a quick plane ride to tour some fire-ravaged towns that are starting to rebuild and could use the morale boost.

Now we can all sleep because we know what Will and Kate did today.


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Filed under fitness, friends, fun, health, Kate Middleton, money, Royal Wedding, summer, William and Kate, wine