Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Time

When I was a little girl, I loved Christmas for the wrong reasons (Santa, gifts, gifts, gifts) but also for some of the right reasons (Family time, school holidays, making gifts and decorations). The memories I love the most are the Christmas eve, Christmas Day and first day back to school after the holiday moments
. Up until I was 10 we lived on a farm setting, out in the country. There was a lot of outdoor time with my older brother, Bruce, and 4 sisters. I can remember the process of bundling up like the boy in The Christmas Story and going outside to play for hours. We made full use of our long 4 seater toboggan and sleds, pulling each other around and finding hills on the property or down the road. Wheee!

We all had skates, hand me downs from one to the other and it didn't matter what colour they were, we wore them anyway. We skated not on home made ponds but instead on the laneway or any natural frozen creeks out behind the house or barn. It didn't matter how bundled we were, our feet and fingers were always cold until we came in rosy-cheeked for some hot chocolate Mom made in a big pot on the wood burning stove. That makes me sound old........way back when........well, I guess I am not of the younger generation anymore.

Christmases were exciting. December at school was all about concerts and plays. I was lucky and popular enough one year to be chosen to play Suzy Snowflake in all her white adornment. I loved the costume! Mine was evern better than this picture I found!

From the moment we were let out of school, hopping on the bus with all our art work made in class during the month of December, to the big day, we smiled and giggled. I can picture now all the construction paper Santas'
with cotton balls on his hat and coat, trimmed with a black belt and cut out boots. Ho ho ho! I'm sure they adorned our fridge or walls in the house over the season.

Our letter to Santa Claus had been written and walked out to the mailbox at the end of the lane long ago in the hopes we weren't selfish and asked for too much. I know we always got a game and puzzle for the family to enjoy and one year I wanted a transister radio and another a warm white fuzzy hat that snapped up under my chin. I wasn't disappointed.

I don't recall decorating the tree, which is odd, but I do remember that Bruce and I were scuttled off to bed really early on Christmas eve so we were asleep before Santa came. I'm not saying we went to sleep right away, because I know it was hours later before we stopped whispering to each other and dropped off.

In the morning, because I shared a room with Gayle and Donna, I know I was the first one awake trying to be patient before I woke them up with "let's go get our stockings!" The ritual was to first peek down the stairwell.
Confirmation: Yup, he came.
Deliberation: Should I go down by myself or wait for Bruce?
Hesitation: Standing at my stocking (either a pair of Daddy's wool socks pinned together over a chair or often a pair of my tights filled to the brim with fruit, candy canes, chocolates, socks, underwear and out of the top a book of some sort) wondering if I should touch?
Fascination: Staring google-eyed at the mass of presents wrapped and unwrapped under the tree. Follow-through: Running upstairs, grabbing my brother, grabbing our stockings, sneaking into Mom and Daddy's room to climb on the bed to open them. We all knew that this was not allowed before 7 am and always always always respected that. Yes, I still 'believed' up until I was at least 8 or 9 yrs. old so didn't want to break any rules!

Christmas morning meant we all had to be dressed, eat a good breakfast of porridge and toast, do the dishes up, spread the quilt on the floor and sit around with as much patience as we could muster up wait for Daddy to come and sit before we touched any presents under the tree. He moved slower on this day than any other day of the year. And we had 'ants in our pants' as Mom used to say to encourage him to 'speed it up'.

We had family visits, some aunts and uncles, some cousins especially when we were very young and always shared gifts with them. Something as simple as a colouring book and NEW pointed crayons were welcomed. Going back to school that first day was a thrill, sharing our new gifts with friends.

When I was first married with my own children, I revisited those same practices. My husband and I blended family traditions and made it as exciting as we could for Bridgette and Patrick. They have their own stories and memories to tell, I'm sure. The part I didn't care for was having to bundle up the kids to go visit our parents on both sides. Their new toys would be left unattended until Boxing Day but the dinner was always great and there were new gifts to open.

Now that I'm older still, our children are grown and have wee ones of their own, Christmas has lost something for me. It has become so commercialized that the children are now asking for Ipads, WII games, XBox One and PlayStation 4 as their big gift. Parents have a real challenge when all they really want is to see their little ones faces light up with joy that Santa came. I miss those moments with my young children and cherish the memories.

Bill and I are not winter people and plan to get away from the cold, damp, wetness of the Canadian winter as soon as we can. This means Christmas in Arizona or California. I've never spent Christmas away from my children/family/a cold winter so not really sure how it will affect me but I'm willing to find out!

As the money got easier over the years of our relationship, we were able to spend a little more on our 6 children and grandchildren. We do what we can and don't expect anything other than that from them if they so choose. We are just grateful now for the time we can get them altogether for our Christmas dinner. In the future it will be gift cards, cheques sent by mail or e-transfers no doubt.

For each other, we play it by ear. As long as our dog, Clemson, is happy, we are. You know, that unconditional love thing.

Santa doesn't come anymore, the gifts under the tree are seldom a surprise, so we are basically being good just because it's a habit and it makes life a whole lot better.

In closing, on behalf of Bill and I, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and as many safe and happy holidays as your own personal schedule of life allows.

Thank you for stopping in! You are welcome anytime!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Scone Sundays

A good friend of ours has a tradition. Two years ago she included us in a group email to all her friends and family. It was a very unique invitation (excerpts in red) to attend Scone Sundays at their home in London.

A scone is a single-serving cake or quick bread, originally hailing from Scotland. They are usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent, and are baked on sheet pans. They are often lightly sweetened and are occasionally glazed

Before Megan's second cousin Jon passed away, he opened his home in New Brunswick to anyone who would like to drop in EVERY Sunday. The door was basically 'open'. The invite was to come anytime mid morning to mid afternoon for a homemade, fresh out of the oven scone with tea, coffee or whatever your pleasure.

"yes - just drop in unannounced - this alleviates any stress of you feeling obligated to up or any stress for us wondering if something awful has happened to you if you don't show up"

Megan and Mom

After he passed on in 2012, Megan talked to her mom about carrying on the tradition, with a few changes, They thought this would be a nice way to honour his memory. Megan and Neil began opening their door every second Sunday of the month from January 2013 between 10 am and 3 pm. The first year was a hit and now we are nearing the end of the second year.

Megan, almost ready!

Don't knock, just walk right on in! Come for 10 minutes, come for an hour, come and stay as long as you like! No rsvp required, just come when you can!

".......our doors will be open every Second Sunday of each month whether you show up or not"

I'd never heard of anything so quaint and definitely wanted to be a part of it. I let January and February pass by without going. I mentioned it to Bill and he would shrug without interest. He didn't know Megan yet and didn't think it would appeal to him, more of a ladies gathering, he thought.
"expect a simple menu: coffee, tea, or hot chocolate (or water) to drink - do not expect anything gourmet like a 'grande non-fat vanilla latte'" 

March rolled around and I had decided I was going. I invited my friend Brenda to join me and we had a really nice visit, many chuckles not to mention some absolutely delicious scones!! It felt odd at first walking into someone's home without knocking, without letting them know we were coming. It felt odd once. After that it felt like coming home.  The next time I went, Bill went with me and was soon caught up with this neat little tradition.

Serving them up on a platter
It is part of our winter, spring and fall. As often as we can make it, however brief, we go. Our hosts always make us feel welcome no matter how many times we show up.

"if you expect a meal, eat elsewhere" "if you do not like scones, we will not be offended - share your 'peace' of mind with us over a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate" 

We've met other friends of theirs, we've bumped into other acquaintances of ours and we've met members of their families. It is a real treat.
Dad, Neil, Bill and Megan

Finally, I remembered to take my camera.

"do not bring gifts or treats - if you do, expect to take them home again with you................"

Michael, Laura

Summer for us is too busy and we seem to miss the scones and the visits from June through September or October depending on when Thanksgiving falls. It is marked on our calendar every second Sunday just in case we are free. This month, November, we made it and had a fun chat fest as if we'd never missed any!

"drop in on your own or bring your friends and/or family you............"

May all your scones be warm served up with some delicious company!

Thank you for stopping in, and thank you Megan for allowing me to share your wonderful story.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Voting, Volunteering and Voodoo

Voting - Often we find that it's time to 'cast your vote' for a federal, provincial or municipal election. I don't have much to say about that kind of vote since I am one of the least political people you'll ever meet. I don't have a lot of faith that one group in office is any better than another. Because it is my right to vote and I am completely eligible, I will not waiver that right. I will always go to the polls and mark my ballot even though it can be a confusing choice.

However! I must add that our past panel of councillors, trustees and mayor in our city needed to take a walk. It has been an embarrassing time for London for the last four years and I was glad to vote on Mon. Oct. 27 and proudly marked my X beside a new name for every position. Take that!! Now we'll see what happens.

We get asked to vote for things in our union at work, yay or nay this or that. Again, if it doesn't directly affect me, or isn't a matter of importance, I'm not a very good person to ask for a vote. I like to let things lie. If something is working, why make a change?

Although when it comes to voting for our union contract, count me in! I am a positive voter, I just want to continue to work at my job without losing any major benefits and we have had so many years without a pay raise in my 31 years that a raise is not worth striking for. It is my personal belief that we can never win from a strike vote.

Volunteering - I don't do much of this, hardly none come to think of it unless it is to help a friend or family member. I go to work every day, faithfully, hardly ever missing a day from illness or other reason and the last thing on my mind is volunteering to go and help out on my only days off in a week for a cause. I'm not saying they aren't good causes, they are and yet I still don't raise my hand and say "I'll do that!"

Correction. I do volunteer for one cause. It doesn't aid the poor or the sick and it doesn't feed the hungry but instead it is our time that we volunteer.  My husband and I volunteer our services a few times a year for Can-Am RV Centre, when they ask. Two weeks ago, we were asked to help out at their Toronto RV show and we jumped at the chance.
Option for the beginner

DRV Mobile Suite

The cause in this case was a little self-centered because it was something we really wanted to attend. So for 2 days, 12 hours we stood outside/inside two of their finest fifth wheel trailers and met and greeted interested onlookers. Some were there to purchase, others were just curious about the lifestyle. We had a great time chatting with many different people and even added a name or two to our list of future contacts. This was our third time helping out at their events and already have 3 more weekends book to continue through to spring.

Voodoo - Hallowe'en has come and gone for another year. It was nice this year, since it was on a Friday and what better day to dress up for work and goof around as late into the evening as you like. For me, a child at heart in many aspects, I have dressed up on this day for most of my 60 years. I 've always loved both sides of it.  As a child being the pumpkin, ghost or witch running from house to house to get candy and now as an adult greeting the spooky guests at my door. Of course it's the little ones who steal my heart but I admire those older teens who make the attempt to adorn a zombie or rock star attire. I loved the two teen boys who braved the bright red morph suits this year! They were hilarious bouncing around like little elves.
Krystal, bubble gum machine

I'm proud to say that my children, especially my daughter, takes after me in this thrill of creativity and she is much better at it then I am! I'm attributing that to age, of course, I was good in my day!
My son, my brother and my niece and my step-daughter stepping up to the plate.

Daughter Bridgette, silent screen star

At work, it's like pulling teeth to get others to join me in my childlike endeavour but finally I have 3 others who also get into the spirit.

My first attempt at face painting.
Not bad!!

Twins from down the street more impressed
with Clemson than the candy!
Work gals
Hawaiaan Punch, Kelly Kop,
Rhinestone Cowboy, Jack(ie) Sparrow (me)

Morgan, my niece
My brother.....Dude

My son Patrick, Chaela, Nathan

 If for no other reason, after I retire, my colleagues will remember me for being the one person who ALWAYS dressed up for Hallowe'en. I have one more to go before I leave the working world but since it's a might be more difficult pushing for a Friday dress-up day!

Thanks for stopping in, I've had issues with my computer so have been on standstill for a few weeks.

I needed to jot something so you know I'm still around!

Take care!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The World is Really a Small Place

How many times in your life have you uttered the words "It's a small small world"?  Let me tell you something, in the last year I have said it many many times and each time I get goosebumps. It amazes me so much that with a world population of 7,000,000,000 we continue to 'bump' into people with some form of connection to us, our life.

It's a small world after all.....

We are all but dots on one part of the hemisphere, yet we can travel to another country, pull our fifth wheel into an rv resort which we have never before entered, walk around the park and find someone from our own city, who just happened to be there the exact same week as us.

Earlier in February of this year, Bill and I volunteered to help out at the London RV show, as CanAm friends. The staff are great and treat us very well. We found ourselves posted in a brand new 2014 Prime Time Crusader fifth wheel. Aha! Something we could talk about with a bit of expertise since we had previously owned a fifth wheel Cougar and currently sport our Jayco Designer fiver. It was an enjoyable couple of days and so easy to talk to people about our experiences, people who have never owned a trailer before. However, on the flip side, we met a lot of seasoned campers with stories of their own.

Prime Time Crusader

We mentioned a couple from our London neighborhood who had never camped before but bought a new truck, a new 40' fifth wheel toy hauler, sold their house and left in October 2013, full-timing. We regretted not having exchanged names and contact information while shopping their "Last Call Garage Sale" because this would have been a great learning experience for us, to follow them on their first journey south. Lo and behold, someone who stopped to chat, soon filled in the blanks. Not only did they know the couple, the two men worked together at the London city bus lines. Goosebumps.

When you consider that Canada and the U.S. alone total over 358,000,000 inhabitants, this is astounding and a wee bit freaky!

Site #10
Last weekend, we loaded up our fiver after a crazy hectic work week. The weather was so fine that we didn't want to miss a great opportunity to visit our home park, Rock Glen in Arkona. We really needed to chill out and relax!

We arrived Friday night around 5:30, just a short hour jaunt from home. By the time we got set up beside George and Suzie, full-timer friends of ours, (that was no surprise, we knew they were there) we were introduced to Rob, Pat and Lady Girl who were parked behind us on the bend. 

Before we retired for the night, I noticed that their licence plate read a surname that I recognized. Not a popular name in our area but one we definitely were familiar with. So, the next day at happy hour, I asked Rob where they were from and if they knew my former brother-in-law with the same name who passed away in 2002. Mind you, we'd never met these folks before. How strange and cool it was that not only did they know him, but their sons played hockey together!

I had to call my sister and get an update on a few of the family members so I could stretch the conversation out a bit further. They live in Durham, which is where my sister now has property with her husband and where Bill and I will be calling our summer home, once we join the full time world. What are the chances? Twilight Zone? Dodododo.

Lady Girl  making full use of the chair provided

Today at work, we had a group from Mark's Work Warehouse come in for our staff, custodians, electricians, painters, maintenance and warehouse, to choose their allotment of uniforms for the upcoming year. Our Board provides us with this service and so we gladly take advantage of this clothing opportunity. A chit chat ensues, just out of the blue I mention to one of the gals that we will be retiring in a couple of years, selling everything and going full time. This always intrigues our friends and co-workers. This lady, whom I never met before, had helped me choose my safety shoes earlier. Sweet little black and pink high tops! Very nice person to talk to.

When Bill went to choose his pants and shirts, he continued on the conversation with her. He took it a step further and mentioned the blog we follow of George and Suzie, She wasn't familiar with this blog, but said she was familiar with Plattsville as well, and asked what was George's last name. Here is where it gets silly.  She knew the restaurant that George owned and operated, and not only knew George and Suzie, she attended their wedding!!



Okay now THAT is unbelievable! I rushed back to get her name because the coincidences were just sending my brain in a tizzy. Her name is Jane, and without invading her privacy, I will trust that George and Suzie will know exactly who I mean. They have bought a truck, sold their home 9 days after their last child got married and bought a condo and a fifth wheel trailer, Their plans are not to full time, as of yet, but the pure joy in her face that she no longer had to look after a 5 bedroom home,  pool and yard was fun to watch. We exchanged pleasantries as I left with a promise to meet again next year for our next order, both of us shaking our heads in disbelief at the "small small world". 

I know this happens to everyone, A L L the time, and we are no exception, but I just wanted to share a few of our connections that have taken place over a very short time. My last blog was about turning 60, well this is one of the cool things about our life as we grow older. we appreciate the small things, yet in a world as large as ours, these things aren't really that small after all.

Enjoy your coincidences, your goose bumps!

Thank you for taking the time to read along.

Monday, September 29, 2014

60 Sixty Sesenta Soixante or 10 x 6

It all boils down to the same thing. No matter in what language you say it. It's a milestone and I'm on top of it. Not going to shy away, I'm going to welcome it with open arms. After all, it beats the alternative!

So, on Sat. Sept. 20th we opened up our home to close friends and family to help me celebrate. They came, they ate, they drank but most of all, they MADE MY BIRTHDAY a very special day.
Barely running around, here I am in 1955 with my BIG brother Bruce and my very first doll, Susie.

Probably 6 years old here on the Mt. Brydges farm

A special day in my life. It took me three tries but I found my numero Uno!
Clemson, looking adorable for the camera. Another special find in my life.

Life goes on, we play, we work, we travel, we love and then we love to travel etc. etc. 

And the day comes when we wake up and realize that we are our parents' age. It doesn't feel like 60 years has passed because I don't feel much different. When I realize that I have worked at my job for over 31 years, I have to shake my head because it has gone by, really, in a blink.

Thank you for sharing my life with me. Whoever you are, you make a difference.

Life is good, no matter what age.

Thanks for dropping in, it's wonderful to see you!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Intense Heat and Humidity Relief - for us ladies

There comes a time when no matter how ladylike we try to be, there comes a time to speak the truth!

This isn't a normal blog post. It might be embarrassing to some, outlandish to others but I sincerely hope it hits a funny bone in you at some point.

Most mornings when I get up, usually bright and early, I am well rested. No matter if it is the week day when I'm working or if it is the weekend when I'm not. I am an early to bed and early to rise person. Bill stays up later, doesn't require as much sleep and rises early as well, so we make a great team.

No need to tiptoe around in the morning, within the hour of his arising, I stretch, squirm, roll over, yawn and get up also. The mornings are nice, I like 'em.

I also, love summer and the heat. So while a lot of people are grumbling about the sweltering heat and humidity we are experiencing here in London this week, I don't utter a word of complaint. I know what the alternative is and I don't want to hear about it, talk about it nor experience it any sooner than I have to! Bill and I do not tend to put our air conditioner on in the house, in the trailer too often. We have a lot of rotating fans and ceiling fans in our home and I have them running most of the time to circulate the air. It usually does the trick. Plus we save a heap on our hydro bill.

This week, however, my sleep has been interrupted. I find myself having silly fitful dreams and waking up three and four times through the night to thrash about in the sheets. No, this isn't pleasure, trust me, Bill is still sound asleep. I'm hot so the sheet gets pushed down, then I get a chill from the ceiling fan which I can't sleep without, up and down with the sheet, tossing and turning from side to back to other side to stomach. LOL, I just want to sleep!

On top of that I notice that my breathing has appeared labored these last few days. I'm trying to reach that wonderful 'full of relief' yawn.......and can't reach it. I want to take a nice refreshing deep breath and there is no satisfaction. Finally it has dawned on me. It's the humidity! So it is affecting me after all and I'm getting really close to complaining.

You know how you feel when you come home from work after wearing shoes and socks or tight fitting sandals all day? How it feels when you walk in the door and take them off? Well, this is like that.

Don't tell me you haven't learned this yet!
Ladies you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Tonight I couldn't get cool........I did the
normal things, came home, relaxed with my Kobo for a while, went to the trailer and opened up windows, only to discover it's no cooler out there, I made a very light and easy supper (nothing like corn on the cob, salad and toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches) watched the news/weather and discovered that we have one more day, hotter still. This isn't cooling me down!

Then it hits me!Alas! I have found some relief.

My sisters, Mom and I experiencing Freedom at its best.
I walk to the bedroom, reach into the sleeves of my sleeveless top, tug down one bra strap, two bra straps, reach to the back and undo the fasteners and pull the nasty restraint free. FREE



Let me tell you, there is no relief like it after 12 hours!

Sorry guys, I'm sure you have your own means of comfort, ease, but this one is all ours.

Thank you for reading. I hope I haven't scared you away!! Come back soon!