Category Archives: relaxation

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

Zen and Evening Sunshine

Workout:  5km walk

It’s a glorious evening following a bright sunny day.

The park around the corner is filled with 10 year olds, screaming and yelling while playing World Cup Soccer!  I swear they look that talented to me.  These kids are amazing.

I came home from a relatively calm day at work, had a quick healthy dinner and blasted through kitchen clean-up.  Then I grabbed my sneakers, my iPod and my sunglasses for an evening walk.  But I didn’t even turn the music on because I just wanted to hear the beat of my steps, the voices of the neighborhood and the sound of kids having fun.

There’s a nice breeze coming in my front window, blowing my gauzy linen sheers.  And there’s an inquisitive little squirrel peeking in my patio doors from the deck, wondering if there may be treats hidden in my kitchen somewhere.

This is my favorite kind of summer day….balmy during the day with a slight nip in the air at night.  I love August.

Not bad for a Monday, eh?

Oh, and Boss’ Son dropped into the office to say hello again today.  I swear he’s flirting with me.  Once again, it’s good for the ego.  Makes me smile.

Have a zen evening in the sunshine.


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Filed under health, relaxation, summer

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

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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Filed under friends, fun, relaxation, summer, wine

Steamy days….

Workout:  not done yet – may consist of only painting the front porch

It’s going to be a steamy day today, warming up at +2 degrees per hour this morning to 33C or 34C this afternoon.  Wait……checking the equivalent in Fahrenheit…..+93F!!!  Definitely an AC day.

However, the mission this morning is to complete the last chore of the holidays — painting the front porch.  I have a very small one and it shouldn’t take long.  I swept and hosed it down last night (and discovered a large leak in my hose.  Booo 😦 )

See?  Definitely looking a little shabby, although I must say that the flowers are looking very nice.

After that, I vow not to do anything that isn’t fun on my last day of freedom.  Maybe shopping?  Maybe reading in the shade?  Maybe napping?  Maybe a cocktail?  We’ll see…..


Filed under relaxation, summer

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

Busy Holidays

Workout:  Wednesday – none.  Thursday – 3 miles

It’s a perfect summer day – a bluebird day, as skiers say.  Not a cloud in the sky, no humidity (a big Ottawa problem), a lovely breeze, and 25C degrees.  Absolute perfection.

Yesterday was not so nice, but the thundershowers fit perfectly with my plans for the day.  After 2 1/2 months of dealing with a cracked molar that went south, my crown is finally done and I have a very shiny, better-than-new molar.  I’d take a picture and post it but who really wants to look inside my mouth at all my fillings?  If you do, too bad.  Not happening.

Downside:  no more excuses to eat frosting out of the can!!  😦

So I was up early for my 8:00am appointment with my 12 year old dentist (just seems that way – he’s really 30-something).

After that, I zoomed to Mom’s (90 minutes) to spend the day chatting and relaxing and eating too much of my Mom’s delicious baking.  She made a whole cake even though I only stayed about 8 hours!!  And I wonder why I have a hard time sticking to the mission…..  🙂

I was exhausted when I arrived home at 8:00pm – I did more yesterday than Will and Kate!  They only visited Slave Lake, Alberta, to comfort 2,000 people.  Not nearly as tiring as my day.

If you don’t know the story, a huge portion of this town of 7,000 people was gutted by forest fire that consumed more than 400 homes with only 10 minutes notice.  Thanks to the incredible first responders, no lives were lost.  However, it’s the second largest insurance disaster in Canadian history.

By the way, my Mom thinks Kate is far too thin and desperately wants to invite her to dinner so she can “feed her up”.  Once again, I wonder why I have a hard time sticking to the mission.

Today has been a lovely day.  I had an early morning coffee at Tim Hortons before my walk this morning.  After a quick shower, I headed downtown to have lunch with the Hot French Lobbyist.

We went to Mamma Grazzi\’s for a lovely lunch on the patio.  Picture this:  cobblestone patio surrounded by heritage buildings.  Absolutely lovely.  Going to try to find a picture…..

We sat at the table in the bottom left hand corner of this photo.  My lunch is below (lifted from the restaurant website).


The rest of the day is going to be quiet.  Just me and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Enjoy your lovely summer day.

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Filed under books, dieting, fitness, food, frosting, Kate Middleton, relaxation, sugar, summer, teeth, Uncategorized, William and Kate