Monday, December 31, 2018


There is no path to happiness, because happiness is the path. ~ Budda
January: My very own ‘Fire & Ice Festival’ at the cottage in an unusually mild month of January. 
February: Four very sexy nights spent in Nassau, Bahamas.
March: Trivia night with coworkers at Kelly’s Irish Pub (Jukebox was our host this particular evening).
April: My birthday trip, to Miami Beach to see the last regular season Toronto Raptors game (and enjoy my first $100 USD hamburger in South Beach).
May: Visiting a job site on Lake Rosseau, proving in the fifth month, winter felt like it lasted forever.
June: Celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary
July: Jukebox busking out his apartment window as captured and posted on social media by Explorer’s Edge
August: Sweetie at Boot’s & Hearts for her second year in a row. I loved enjoying it with her so much (electronically) that I am joining in this year!
September: After months of shopping, I finally found the new car I wanted to purchase.
October: The official end of the perfect cottage season, as I pay homage to the amazing floating picnic that was built and truly enjoyed by all.
November: The snow arrived. Never left.
December: My year closed with a great work year under my belt and I am pleased to report that I enjoyed a holiday season of sheer relaxation with my pups. 

Suffice it to say, this past year's been a very difficult one for me, resulting in a ton of personal change. 
In hindsight: Though I came close a couple of times (only publishing 60 offerings) I’m grateful that I never gave up on my electronic journal. Since it’s inception in November 2011, it's truly been one hell of a ride!

As I reflect on how far I have come, the trash that I took to the curb, and all the tragedy our country witnessed this last year (Humboldt Broncos bus crash,  and the Toronto van deaths, to name only two)... Here’s to a fresh start in 2019. 

At midnight tonight, 2018… 

Don’t let the door hit you too hard on the way out!

Thursday, December 27, 2018


I don’t know about you, but there's a handful of things that instantly remind me of early childhood happiness. Those few things are so vivid, that in a nanosecond I feel four or five years old again. This time of year, it’s the beautiful nighttime glow of multicoloured Christmas tree lights that warm my heart.

All these years later, I recall the longest trimming ritual (aside from placing the single strands of silver tinsel) was putting the heavy tin reflectors on the large string of bulbs. Boy, those large painted bulbs got hot so quickly, that getting to enjoy their illuminated beauty in the evening was always a treat. Simply because they were never allowed to stay on very long. All reminiscent memories but the awe of those beautiful lights remain ingrained in my spirit; all these decades later.

From the time we bought our first home, an artificial tree was traditionally assembled & disassembled using specific calendar days as a guide. Then, when my dad passed in 2005, I didn’t have the energy nor the desire to bother, so a real tree was purchased less than a week before Christmas was set to arrive. I’ve purchased a real tree ever since.

ONLY multicoloured
lights for this cat.
TAKEN: DECEMBER 24th, 2018
This year, I hit the jackpot at my grocery store tree lot. I paid my forty five bucks and brought this absolute beauty home. 

As I began to string the lights from the inside out, I had to make an additional trip to Canadian Tire for more lights. In total, I managed to load my tree with close to 600 of one of my favourite things.

Running on a timer at dusk, from the time I turned that last corner on my street before landing at the house, I could see the glow of my lights in the living room window. 

Then, each night until the Christmas break, I would finish the dinner chores and settle into watch my evening episode of Jeopardy. I would find my channel, stretch out & admire my beautiful tree.

Then, every night, something always made me stop and reflect.

It wasn't because the kids are grown and gone, doing there own thing, there wouldn't be much under it. It was that my Dad wasn’t sitting on the couch next to me...

Enjoying my beautifully lit tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


My daughter & I headed out yesterday morning to tackle the tail end of our holiday shopping. This time of year, I always shop locally to support smaller merchants, bolstering community sales whilst staying out of Walmart. All comments aside, due to something very specific on my shopping list, I entered the corporate vortex.

That said, the point of my post has nothing to do with the Walmart business plan, more that if I go shopping hungry, I generally buy a bunch of crap I'd never purchase nor feed to my worst enemy.

Truth is, I generally overload my cart & overspend on comfort food. With the subliminal thought process that I'll be able enjoy my sinful spoils when I get home.

My next confession is that our timing yesterday had us land at the Walmart McDonalds to avoid the  previously mentioned shopping threat; which in itself was an epic fail.

Now, I truly try to avoid all fast food outlets. Simply because since midlife, I swear my well established fat cells expand the instant they smell french fry grease gurgling in any nearby deep frying vat. The second reason for my general fast food boycott is the toll a single experience takes on my wallet. Man, that place in particular's expensive.

As I paid what felt like a small fortune for our lunch (and waiting for it to arrive) I had my Sweetie and I pose for a picture together. Though we see each other at least once a week, we rarely make the effort to capture the simple milestone moments we may share; like gorging on 30+ grams of fat and over indulging on carbs & sodium.

Last minute shopping with my Sweetie. Embracing a glamour shot under fluorescent lights!
TAKEN: DECEMBER 22nd, 2018

I’m laughing at writing that.

I am laughing because I tend to always focus on the negative rather than the positive. That, and because I know more than most, that guilt is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Yup, yesterday I did Walmart.

Yup, yesterday I ate fast food.

Yup, yesterday I had to spit on my hand, calm down my out of control bangs and retake the picture I'm sharing. 

Seeing as I am sharing about guilty pleasures, last night I proudly watched a Hallmark Christmas movie I’ve seen a couple of time before and got just as emotional as I did the last time I watched it.

Glass half full?

Yesterday confirms my Sweetie is definitely my daughter (replace a Hallmark movie with How I Met Your Mother). Except for her hair.

It was perfect in her hat and didn’t need any of my impulsive spat for the retake.

Felt the need to clarify that.

Just sayin'

Monday, December 17, 2018


I don’t know about you, but I am one step away from being downright giddy that there’s only a handful of sleeps until the upcoming holiday break. Frankly, I feel I am bordering upon exhausted; but pleased to report that I am managing far better than initially thought in the seasonal affective department.

Not gonna lie, I am NOT going to miss 2018. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster that ended up with me hitting an all time low the middle of May. If it wasn’t for the Sweenymeister talking me off a ledge or two, my life would be drastically different than it is today. So, as you can imagine, I am very grateful to have her in my life. 

Anyway, as you may or may not recall, I apprehensively posted (in real time) about a weekend jaunt to Cuba I took with my daughter in 2017. I disclosed that I'd never had any desire to visit the island but when the need for a 4 day jolt of vitamin D called it became the obvious choice. We booked, kept our fingers crossed, and had a blast.

On our first morning there, I heard a familiar voice tell her party by the pool, 'I know those people!" 

Low and behold, we ran into this lady & her husband, that I use to babysit for when I was a teen. An EPIC holy shit moment at its best.

As I share this photo of us from 2017, I will also share that she and I have been chatting about the islands' recovery since Irma decimated it, and that I have decided to go back. The resort has been completely rebuilt, and you know what they say, the second time's a charm.

Quick photo with our Muskoka friend before heading to catch our night flight back home.
No hair. No Makeup. No worries!!
Memories Flamenco Beach Resort - Cayo Coco, Cuba.
TAKEN: FEBRUARY 13th, 2018
The second time's a charm. I was thinking about that very thought before I began to write tonight.

Taking any chance in life is never easy, so most don't do it twice. Well, my year has proven to me that I am most certainly NOT a once bitten twice shy kinda gal. I have proven to myself that I will push myself harder than most, simply because I know what success feels like.

In turn, some will call me a bitch. To which I will gladly counter and describe myself as focused. Reminding all, that our most important & valuable life experiences happen in real time and never happen on a beach.

Except this time. This coming February. In Cuba!!


“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences - be they positive or negative - make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.” ~ B.J. Neblett

Sunday, December 9, 2018


Sweetie helped me chase 2000 bonus Air Miles yesterday.
Today I trimmed the tree.
What a GREAT weekend!

With my daughter working full time hours at the local hospital, I generally juggle anything I'm doing to get real face to face time with her at least once a week. So, firming up weekend plans was only one of the reasons I rang her Thursday night.  The other was because I'd spied a sexy winter coat for her on sale (50% off) in a flyer, that I'd an additional ten dollar off coupon for. 

I don’t know about you, but I truly watch like a hawk so not to pay full price for day to day items one needs to make life run smoothly. The other side to that  guilty pleasure coin is, over the years, collecting ‘reward points’ has become a bit of an obsession for me.

When I think back, it was the now debunked local Zellers store that got me hooked. I had collected (and never redeemed) over a million points by the time the store closed. I'd look at what I could get with the points I had, but never managed  to redeem any of them. To this day, I'm not sure why I didn't.

Next, came Air Miles. I think it was in the early 1990’s and I remember giving my Dad my second allocated card to help me collect. Between my shopping at the designated local Metro grocery store and his spending on petro & spirits, I hit the ground running. Once again, I never redeemed any, until I was notified that I had to ‘use or lose’ them.

Suffice it to say, my first big redemption was to fly my daughter home from Alberta when she announced that she was ready to return to Ontario. I was amazed how easy the website was to use, so I began collecting miles hardcore to specifically be able to book Toronto hotel rooms (before and after my flights) when my thrice a year jet-set vacationing habit kicked into full swing.

Shoppers Optimum points followed Air Miles and those bought an entire years’ worth of personal toiletries for all my children when they initially left home. Then, the weekly accumulation of Visa Rewards have paid for vacations (almost) in full. Just so we're clear, I in no way live my life on credit, yet make all my purchases using the cards, paying them off bi-monthly. In a nutshell, my bank is paying for my loyalty, as well as fueling my necessity to spend & earn reward points.

Just like those I'm closest to, I have always been a loyal person. In reference to them, I have admitted a number of times here, that I will give you the shirt off my back, cross me and I’ll kill you. Not with any sense of violence, with something much more powerful: my indefinite silence.

Though the above reference has generally been written about relationships or estrangements, it's offers the same result. That loyalty itself, is a two way street. That said, part of me wonders if my biggest lessons in 'loyalty paying off' come from my dogs. 

Their loyalty toward me, has me absolutely & unequivocally devoted to them. I guess you could say, with 20% of my grocery bill being spent on them, whilst collecting a plethora of points along the way, they are simply another reassurance of why/how loyalty programs work.

By feeding them premium dog food, I get to jet set on a beach in Costa Rica.

Another solid avenue that proves loyalty DOES pay!!