Category Archives: joy

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

Life Choices

Workouts:  sadly, hit-and-miss this week.  And I’m going into birthday week… telling how little will get accomplished!  5 days to 50!!

People are funny, aren’t they?

Warning:  philosophical meanderings ahead.

Everyone has a story;  everyone makes choices that seem completely unfathomable to other people, I’ve observed.  Life is complicated and yet, really, it’s very simple, isn’t it?

I had drinks last night with a friend on a lovely patio.  It was a beautiful August evening – perfect for sitting outside with cocktails, patio food and conversation.

Patio Friend talked long and solemnly about the challenges in her marriage and with her grown children.  And believe me, these are serious challenges.  It’s not a life I would take, despite the large home, backyard pool, new vehicles, big screen TV’s, financial comfort, secure pensions…..

We ended the conversation where she told me she had put considerable thought into leaving, but in the end, had decided that she couldn’t part with her material standing.  She hated her life, but she didn’t want  mine.  She actually said that.  Single, with a tiny house, less than adequate retirement savings ( but not for long…and she’s a lot older than I am), older car, no kids, less financial security.

At first I was extremely insulted although I said nothing because I was astonished anyone would say such a thing.  How rude!

I came home and puttered around the house for awhile, had another glass of wine, read on the deck (until it got too dark….the days are getting shorter!!), and then cozied into bed with my new Chatelaine magazine.  And I thought long and hard about what she had said.

My first thought was that she is selling her soul for a pool and a new car.

But then I realized that this coin has two sides – I wouldn’t want her life either!  I’m just too mannerly to say such a thing to her face.

I love the fact that my life is calm.  My house is tiny but it’s very comfortable – and it takes no time to clean and tidy.  My car is old but it’s very reliable and I haven’t had a car payment in more than 10 years.   I have an active social life although it requires much more work because I don’t have a regular date to socialize with.  I have much less interest in material possessions – I couldn’t care less about TV’s and electronic gadgets, expensive furniture, fancy vehicles and granite counter tops (although I do yearn for a new stove). I have lots of quiet time to think about life, about what I want and what’s important to me.

I have come to the realization that if I added these material things to my life, I’d still just be…..well,  me, living in my life, with the same thoughts, same likes and dislikes, same emotions and same body.

Only we can change or enhance our own life.  Stuff doesn’t change our lives, we do, and occasionally, if we’re very lucky, other wonderful people do.

And if we want to change it, it’s as simple as a decision.  The details are sometimes messy, but the principles are very simple.  If you don’t like the ball someone is throwing to you, don’t catch it.

But people are different.  Friend couldn’t imagine living without her stuff and the crises her children and difficult marriage seem to generate (drama addict?) or her big house.  I couldn’t imagine living without peace and serenity.

I think I’m going to like being 50.




Filed under friends, health, joy, money

Relaxing Mondays!

Workout:  5 km this morning (before it gets too hot!)

Is there anything better than a summer Monday morning on the deck with a great cup of coffee?  There is a warm breeze, but I’m sitting in the shade and enjoying the fact that I’m not at work!!

Doing a little surfing this morning and here are some interesting articles….

From, here is an article about a young women who went from 100+ pounds overweight to a beauty queen who won the swimsuit competition.  Originally, I was a little freaked out by the picture (check out the bony chest), but after a little research, I found an article on Bree Boyce that pictured her healthy fit figure.   Very inspiring.

Also on the subject of healthy weight, here is an article at Weighty Matters about how we consumers seem to give up our common sense when we want something unhealthy – like potato chips – and the manufacturer adds a healthy nutrient (and puts it on the label).   Interesting phenomena. The author of this blog, Yoni Freedhoff, is an obesity physician here in Ottawa.

On a completely different subject, and because Royal weddings have completely obsessed me this summer, here’s a fun article on Zara Phillips and Mike Tindell\’s wedding on the weekend.  I loved the tone of this wedding, royal protocol be damned!  How fun is this?

And finally, on the subject of common sense, did anyone really think that Jesse James\’ and Kat Von D\’s relationship was going to work?  The guy has a history of hookers and cheating.  Seriously?  C’mon Kat, every woman deserves better than that.

Amusing diversions on a Monday morning because (did I mention this already?) it’s a long weekend, it’s Monday morning, and I’m not working!


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Filed under dieting, fitness, food, health, job, joy, relaxation, summer

Harry Lives!

Workout:  30 minutes before work this a.m.

I just cried my heart and my eyes out tonight.

With joy and sadness.

With joy because Harry lives!  With sadness because it’s so hard to say goodbye to Harry in the end.

If you haven’t figured it out, I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 tonight.

I’ve been a fan of Harry’s since the first book came out.  I don’t like to jump on hype bandwagons, but I do love to read.  I’ve waited for each book and each movie with great anticipation.  There aren’t that many things in life that give that much joy, but J.K. Rowling has been the universe’s gift to all who read.  The books truly are brilliant and magical.

Do you know that I have a high school girlfriend who is “Christian”.  She grew up in a family with no alcohol, no movies, no dancing, no parties.  She has married and is raising her family this way (although she did have a few crazy years when we moved away from home and became roommates.  Lord, if her mama only knew!!!).

She refuses to let her children (now teens) read the Harry Potter books.  They are about black magic and witchcraft, she says, which will contaminate her children’s souls.  Her pastor says so.  Oh dear.

I am grateful for my parents’ encouragement to read, for the gift of words and ideas, and for their ability to let go and let us make our own decisions about what we will think.

And because this was given in a strict Roman Catholic household, it was a true blessing.

My deep thoughts on pop culture, literature and religion on this fine summer day.  🙂  Especially with a glass of wine on the deck.  How Irish of me!

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Filed under books, brain, friends, high school, joy, maturity

Perfect Summer Day

It’s been the perfect summer day.  It was hot and sunny earlier this afternoon, blindingly so.  But it is still and warm and fragrant this evening.

It’s the kind of evening that makes you grateful to be at home and blessed.

Everything smells good.

It was a perfect first day of holidays.  I got some exercise.   I watched (too much?) coverage of Will and Kate on the Hill.  I popped over to a friends place for a pool party.  And now I’m having a quiet evening on the deck.

Pictures:  warning =>  I’m no photographer!  No judging.   The view from the deck….

Note the wine glass.

And some of my flowers….

Don’t you especially love the brown leaves?

The peonies are almost done, but the hydrangeas are just beginning to bloom.

It’s a perfect summer evening.

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Filed under friends, fun, joy, Kate Middleton, relaxation, William and Kate, wine

Happy Canada Day!

Workout:  4 miles (6.something km)

Did I mention I’m on holidays for 2 weeks?  🙂

It’s a gorgeous morning in Ottawa for Canada Day.  Apparently, there are already 100,000 people on Parliament Hill to celebrate the day and see Will and Kate.   I wonder if they are sitting on the patio at Rideau Hall drinking coffee the way I am on the back deck.

They attended a casual BBQ last night for exceptional youth last night.

I threw on some sunscreen, my sunglasses and grabbed my iPod for an early morning power walk.  It’s glorious out.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it’s quiet because it’s a statutory holiday — no stores or businesses open.  Quiet everywhere but Parliament Hill.

This is the Hill on a regular Canada Day.  Can you imagine what it will be like today?  Too crowded for this girl, and the best coverage will be on our local TV station.  Crowds are expected to top 500,000.

Plan for the rest of the day:  some reading on the deck, and a drop-in to a friends pool party.

Happy RELAX day!

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Filed under fitness, food, friends, fun, joy, Kate Middleton, Royal Wedding, summer, William and Kate

We have liftoff!

And….the laptop is working again!  Hallelujah!!

Weekend Workouts:  a weekend of cottaging, beach-walking, water skiing, eating chips, drinking wine and campfiring!  Paradise.

Workout today:  30 min. walk at lunch, 90 min. cleaning the car.

So, the laptop is fixed – 15 trojans!  It’s now purring like a Lamborghini.

And the camera syncs again too.

Our family gathered this weekend at Younger Sis and Bro-In-Law’s cottage.  We grew up as cottage kids – wild little beach savages, really.  It was an idyllic way to spend every summer….and a blessing for us kids because our home life in the winter was not that great.  In the summer, we swam, skied, canoed, and ran free from sunup to sundown.

Friday night cocktails on the beach….BIL is a fabulous fellow.  See the look on her face?  Younger Sis thinks so too.

So, when we gather at a cottage, it feels like coming home.  There was wine, great food, and lots of girl chat.  Thank heavens BIL is happy to putter and do his own thing because there was a lot of talk about pedicures and bathing suit shopping!

Relaxing on the front porch.

My young niece Sports Girl was anxious to try water skiing, even though the weekend was chilly and the water was frigid.  She made it up on the 5th try.  Another generation of skiers!!

Dry land training by BIL.First try….

5th try.  She’s up!

The pooches didn’t always get along but they were united in stalking the chipmunk in the woodpile. You can see Tippy’s white tipped tail in the background.


Sunsets are stunning on the river.

Well, two months until my birthday.  The next 8 weeks are going to be a study in how to fully enjoy the last days of being 49.  What will 50 feel like I wonder…..?

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Filed under friends, fun, joy, relaxation, summer, Uncategorized, wine