Sunday, November 11, 2012

A post about nothing (or possibly the most important thing)

I just realised that I haven't posted in a while, and thought I should post something. So now what on earth should I post.

I could talk about the rough time I've had at work, but then doesn't everyone have a rough time at work? I have spent the whole morning developing my resume and cover letters for the 17 positions I am applying for. With positive thoughts I have to get at least a couple of interviews.

I could talk about the fact that all I have done this weekend is shop at scrapbook stores buying even more stamps to make cool cards. But that wouldn't be news. Well it's not news, until I load cards onto my other blog, then you could look at them.

I could talk about how often I worked out this past week, but then after 4 good days of exercise, I haven't been in the last 3 days! I have no excuse as the class is only 30 - 45 minutes long, and I have very little pain. I discovered gravity classes at The Goodlife club on Toronto Street. No other Goodlife have the machines, and hopefully not too many people will discover them. Classes have to be booked 24 hours in advance, and there are only 8 machines. I am on an incline while I do squats and pull ups and curls etc. so I don't have a lot of pressure on my joints. The perfect workout. So with little pain, and little time, why aren't I going every day? Well that was the plan this week, but I was oh, so tired on Friday evening, and on Saturday I had to go scrapbook shopping and today there is no class. So those are my excuses!

I could talk about the weather. Apparently we broke some kind of record today, but since I haven't been out all day, I don't know if it was warm or cold! Just Googled it and it was warm. November 11 and the temperature was 18.4°C, that is pretty impressive, but everyone talks about the weather.

I could talk about the awesome split pea soup I made today, (just ate a bowl, and my tummy is smiling). But then doesn't everyone make soup on days that are supposed to be cold.

All I can really think of is that today is November 11th. Not only is it my niece's birthday, (Happy Birthday Sophie!) but this is the day we remember those who have and still are, trying to make this world a better place by keeping peace. My father served in the army toward the end of the 2nd world war. He has some stories that he used to tell, but most veterans don't like to recall those days. It wasn't a happy time back then, with families being torn apart, and loved ones never coming back.  I am grateful to those men and women who have suffered during times of unrest, and I am saddened that we haven't learned any of those brutal lessons. We are still at war, people are greedy and angry and take it out on the rest of us. I wish those of us who don't understand how some people feel it's okay to take another's life could just sail away to a place where war and disregard for life is banned. To me, wearing a poppy on November 11 is a reminder that there is still blood being shed at the hands of the greedy, hateful, ignorant warmongers.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Try an Adventure



Love, like life, should be an adventure. We should go into it with an open heart, full of wonder and excitement. An open heart can be a scary thing, but it is necessary to experience all the journey can offer. Planning the adventure, trying to anticipate all the twists and turns, make it less adventurous.

With hard work the outcome can be amazing, like climbing a treacherous mountain with little or no equipment. When you finally reach the top, the view is spectacular and fills you with awe and a sense of calm and peace as well as a sense of achievement. You could never have experienced that without the danger of the climb. 

Sometimes the outcome can be dark, like finding yourself in a dark and tangled forest. Each turn seems to plunge you in deeper and a way out seems impossible. However, there is always a way out, with effort and help there is always a way out. And when the way becomes clear and the other side is within reach, daylight never seemed better. Knowing that we have made it through is a lesson that we should always remember. It is one of life’s most important lessons.

Sometimes it can feel like you are in over your head, like swimming out too far from the beach, the waves pushing you farther and farther away, becoming too tired to fight your way back. With determination and focus the seemingly impossible can be achieved. And there is always the lifeguard on duty, who is there to help. All you need to do is wave your arms and let them know you are in trouble and help is on the way. Always ask for help. 
Adventures can offer so much more if we are willing to take a risk now and then. Trying something new can be exhilarating and exciting; experiencing feelings we’ve never had before. Without the experience we can never know the true extent of our emotions.

The experience can go both ways. It can hurt us and it can exhilarate us. We should never shy away from the opportunity of an adventure, as long as we take lessons from the experience, and know our limitations, we will be fine.

There is, of course, a time to take a break from the journey. A time to just relax and take a breath or two, but don’t wait too long to get back on the road. Opportunity comes in many forms, and you don’t want to miss it.

I have an adventure this weekend that I wasn’t even looking for, but as soon as it presented itself I grabbed it. I can’t plan its outcome, I can only go along for the ride and take from it what I want.

So get out there and have an adventure.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to Lockport

Vanessa and I had planned to go back to Lockport after she moved into her new home. I bought the bus tickets, exchanged the money, and was all ready the day before, when I met her at the Jack Layton Memorial.
After the free concert we went to Fran's for dinner and planned to meet at 1 pm at the bus station.

The next day I was about to leave for the bus, when I checked my messages, and saw that Vanessa had been sick all night, and wasn't able to come. So off I went on my own.

Maria and her mom Mae, met me at the bus station and we took the Lewiston bridge to get across the border. Big mistake. It took almost an hour, and we were behind and idiot who kept turning off his engine, and waited for a 4 car length gap before turning on and moving forward. Needless to say we were frustrated with him, and when Maria honked at him to move, he laughed and 'flipped the bird.' He tried to speed up though when a car from another lane moved in front of him. Stoooopid guy.

When I got to the house, Maria showed me all the food that she had bought at a food auction. 10 dozen cobs of corn, plus peppers, onions, apples, eggplants, garlic, tomatoes and goodness knows what else.  She and I set to work shucking that corn. (Oh we had many shucking jokes, us two mother shuckers!)

As it was canning season, I helped out as much as I could. I pulled the silk off the cobs, while Maria cut the corn off the cobs, and Bob bagged and vacuum sealed the corn.  I sliced and bagged and vacuum sealed the eggplant, while she blanched tomatoes and made pizza sauce to can.

There was a swamp close by that Maria wanted me to see. It would be a nice hike and I was told I would see some cool animals and birds there, including eagles. When we got there however, the swamp had dried up due to the very hot weather, and there were no animals to be seen.
 Later on Maria took me to Hobby Lobby to check out more craft supplies! We also went to a chocolate shop where we both had samples and an ice cream.

On the Saturday there was a stamping show so Maria and I met her friends, Darlene, Holly and Laura for breakfast, then off to the show. I spent a good chunk of money there, but there were some very cool stamps, dies, and other tools.
That evening Maria and her family went to a family wedding. I decided that while they were getting ready that I would go and read in the hammock outside. Before I left, I asked them not to lock me out, and I was told, "of course not."  After an hour of so in the hammock, I was thirsty and went to go in to get some water. Yes, you guessed it, someone had locked me out!  I went to Mae's entrance, and her door was also locked, but I noticed the door wasn't quite shut properly, so although I couldn't turn the handle, I was able to shove it open. Thanks goodness, it would have been a long night out there with the bugs and such!
Olivia and Elliot

Shortly after I went inside, Maria's friend Darlene showed up and we ate dinner together, a bean casserole that Maria had made in the crock pot. It was really good. After dinner Darlene showed me a few card techniques and we made a couple of cards.

Later that night, Maria, Bob, Mae and the kids came back and told me all about their time at the wedding, it sounded like they had a great time. However one of the dogs had shown them how angry he was being left alone with me.  Sam had peed on the carpet in their bedroom!
Beeboo and Sam


Sunday came around quickly, and Maria and her daughter Olivia were going to take me back to Niagara Falls to catch the bus. As it turned out, Elliot wanted to join us, as well as a friend of 'Liv's and then Bob said he wanted to come. We all piled in the car and made our way to Niagara Falls.

It was another pleasurable and relaxing holiday on the 'farm!'

Friday, August 10, 2012

Montreal

Way back earlier this year, Glenn wanted to know if any of his friends wanted to join him in Montreal to explore the city. I was certainly interested as long as it was in the summer months when I was off work. A date was set, for the August long weekend. There were a good number of us wanting to join him.

We had a couple of meetings to try to organise what we were going to do, how we were getting there, and where we would stay. In the end a large number of participants decided that they couldn't go for one reason or another. So at out last meeting there were just 3 of us. We decided to try to recruit more people as it would reduce our costs.

Glenn said he had found a woman he knew who wanted to join us.  We had decided that Glenn would drive, (he volunteered) and we would stay at the Montreal University residence. Glenn had booked a smaller room, and when he found the 4th person to join us, he tried to upgrade to a bigger room. He was not successful.

The night before we left, Glenn and I went to see the Picasso Display at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I asked him about our new travel buddy. He said he had met her 3 times before and thought she was okay. (Famous last words!)

We all met Glenn at the subway and he drove us to Montreal.
Frenchy
Glenn

We got in quite late, but were happy the room was cheap. That was until we saw it!  The room was 10' x 10' and only included a single bed with a trundle single underneath. Where were the other 2 suppose to sleep? I had brought along a fold up mattress, which I unfolded on the desk, and then Glenn had a very small 3' x 3' square to curl up in. I had mentioned a couple of times that we should take a picture, because no one would believe that we all managed to sleep in there.
Our 'hotel'

The next morning we visited Old Montreal, and ate lots of food.
Glenn did some wonderful research scouting out not only vegan restaurants, but gluten-free ones too. I ate very well on this trip.

Unfortunately the 2nd night I wasn't able to sleep, thinking I would fall off the desk and flatten the woman sleeping on the floor. At breakfast I said I would go back to the room to catch up on some sleep, as they were planning on going to the science centre, and I wasn't really interested in it. When I took Glenn's charger out of my bag, I said that perhaps our other travel companion could carry it for him in her bag, to which she answered, 'NO!' She then said she wouldn't do any f**cking thing for me. We all looked astounded at what she had said. Each of us got up to pay, and I asked the others if I had done anything to make her say that, they didn't think so. Then I went to her and asked if I had offended her in some way, she said no, but she didn't like the things I said.  I asked her, 'like what?' She said she didn't want to talk about it. Well that was fine for me, I left my money on the counter and returned to the room to get some sleep.

Later on that day I called a friend, AnnMarie that I had visited a couple of years before. She was the first host I had couchsurfing. I asked if she would like to get together for dinner later, and told her of the strange encounter with the travel buddy, and the cramped quarters we were staying in.  She suggested we meet at 8pm.  I called later and met AnnMarie at a subway station where she had her bike. We walked over towards a fire station and she locked up her bike again, and said she had a plan. AnnMarie was going to rent a car and drive me back to the residence, pick up my stuff and I was going to stay with her. I started to say that wasn't necessary, but she cut me off and said she wasn't asking, but telling me!  I was very grateful.  When she saw the room I was staying in, she had all the more reason to take me to her home.

After I dropped my stuff off, we took the car back, and walked towards he home. We stopped at an ice cream shop and had the most delicious raspberry ice cream ever!

That night I realised I had left my charger at the room, and went back to pick it up. I had to stick around to charge my phone. I had planned  to go to a swimming pool and sit in the sun, but while I was waiting for my phone, the rain came. Later on it stopped, and I walked to the pool, and enjoyed the sun, until it rained again!

Later that night I was meeting Glenn and the other two for dinner. The reservations were for 7:30pm. I got there early as I wasn't sure where the restaurant was, but just sat and waited for them anyway. I got a text from Glenn saying that the new travel buddy was still in the shower at 7pm. Strange since it would take then 45 minutes to get to the restaurant. The next text informed me that she was now ironing her clothes. Yes, she had brought along an iron for a long weekend trip!  Then the final text came saying they would be there between 8 and 8:15. I called the waitress over and ordered my food saying the others were going to be very late. I had just finished my dinner when they finally arrived and they had about 30 minutes until the restaurant closed!
I had the most delicious desserts, which made the waiting a little more bearable.
Then we went off to a chocolate cafe, where the other 2 women walked on past not realising we had stopped. Glenn rush off to get them, while I bought a raspberry chocolate mousse cake for AnnMarie. When they came in they wanted a table, but it was far too hot for me, so I said I would leave and go back to my friend's place.  That night I asked Glenn if he could pick me up at my friend's place, but he wanted me to meet them at a restaurant that was quite far away. I told them to wait for me at the hotel then, as it was an 11 minute bus ride. He said they were leaving at 8:15 am. I said that I'm sure they wouldn't mind waiting for me. I don't think he got the sarcasm. Well they did make me wait forever for dinner!

I won't be traveling with some of those people again, just not my type of travel companions.
 
Oh and here are a couple of pictures of me, being silly as usual.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lockport New York

I wanted a Cricut for my card making and paper crafting, but they are really expensive, and the shipping is ridiculous. I check on Craigslist, and there was nothing here close to Toronto, so I checked out Buffalo N.Y. to see if anyone had one there. I found one for $100, and contacted the seller to see if she would be willing to mail it to Canada. She said if I was willing to pay she would send it. Then she said that she sometimes came up to Burlington, Ontario to go to Ikea. If I could wait for their next trip, then we could meet there. I checked the train fare, $17.50 return, way cheaper that the shipping would be, so I agreed.

I met Maria and her husband Bob in May at the train station. They drove us to Swiss Chalet for lunch. We had so much in common. Maria, stamps and scrapbooks, she teaches special needs adults crafts once a week. We hit it off immediately. They drove me back to the station, handed me the Cricut, and as we said our goodbyes, she invited me to go and stay with her over the summer. I said I would.

My friend Vanessa and I took Megabus to Niagara Falls during the first week of July, walked across the Rainbow Bridge, through customs, (only to be drilled about why we were there, how long I had known the person we were visiting, how did I know her, if I had met her in person etc. etc!) and met Maria at an ice cream shop. We drove about an hour to her hobby farm, walked around her acre and a 1/3rd, checking out her chickens,

vegetable garden

and hammock.

We stayed for 4 days, sleeping in Mae's room, (Maria's mom). Elliot and Olivia, seemed excited to see us, and loved the bandanas and key chains I brought with me.

We spent time in the garden, weeding, sleeping, relaxing, and on July 4th we were invited to a fireworks display like I've never seen before. We were almost directly underneath them, and I behaved like a kid seeing fireworks for the first time!
We went shopping in Amish country, buying gluten-free stuff for me, lavender for Vanessa and cheese for Maria.

I also went shopping in Michaels for craft supplies, and to a stamping shop where Maria shops as well as a quaint shop carrying all sorts of amazing things, selling blankets, bags, backpacks and more made from very bright materials.

We returned to Canada too soon, this time Maria and Bob driving us right to the bus stop.  I promised once again that I would return to visit before the summer was over.

What a great time I had. Making new friends, relaxing, seeing parts of New York that I have never seen. The countryside is so beautiful, peaceful and calm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No drivers license????

I contacted Ron. He looked good in his pictures and they were recent.  He is 54, 5'10", looking for a long term relationship, and is a vegetarian. Good enough.

We met on a Sunday at my favourite spot, Balzacs coffee shop. There was also a food festival of some sort going on in the district. Ron said he would be carrying his motorcycle jacket. He arrived a little late, but worth the wait, as he was great looking.

We got drinks, and started talking. It was almost too good to be true. We talked about anything and everything. Vacations we took, family, (he bought a duplex so that his mother could move in downstairs and he could look after her), work, (turns out he knows a couple of people I know in the film industry), foods we like, galleries we enjoy, everything.

I found a gluten-free lunch item at the food festival, and sat down to eat it, when my phone rang, and I ignored it, as I was having such a great time. It rang again, and I also got a text. It was from a friend who was going through a rough patch and needed me to come over and help her. I said I'd be there as soon as I could.

I apologized to Ron, but he said he'd drive me over there if I didn't mind riding his bike. That was very thoughtful of him, especially as it was interrupting our date. On the way over, he asked me if I liked Chinese food, and said that would be out next date.   Next date.  We were going to have another date!!!!

He dropped me off at the cafe my friend was at, and I introduced them.

After he left I told my friend about the great date, and that we were going on a second one.

The next day, I got this email:
Hi Mary. I had a really nice time yesterday. A boy like me could really go for a girl like you. You're attractive, seem to have your head screwed on right and are so easy to get along with. But, as I look for a partner to move forward into semi retirement and beyond (and I know this may sound ridiculous), the not driving aspect strikes me as a major impedance. I don't mean around the city so much as I do road trips, holidays, car rentals, emergencies et al.
I'm sorry. Ron


I couldn't believe it! Because I didn't own a driver's license, he wasn't interested. He didn't even think to ask if I would consider getting one. So I shot one back saying that I was sorry he felt that way.  Then I guess he felt he had to explain further.
Mary. I genuinely feel bad. I think we have a lot going on. But I know from experience that having both members of the team participating in all that driving entails is, in a nutshell, way better.
I didn't enter into this dating arena with driving as an issue. (Surprisingly I've yet to run into this.) And, as I was recapping our excursion, the idea of it kept surfacing and surfacing. Stupid I know. But I also know myself enough to know that I wouldn't be happy. I feel so bad and not just for you but for me too.
Anyway, good luck with it all, Ron


So there you have it! 
Do you believe it? 
I found it difficult.

Are you out there, you know, the one who wants to chauffeur me around? The one who isn't homophobic? The one who knows how to shake a girl's hand? The one who knows how to carry an interesting conversation? The one who is interested in me? 

Perhaps I am asking too much.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another one bites the dust

I met Larry after a quick contact on POF, at the Distillery District, one of my favourite places for first dates.

He is 53, 5'11" and wants a long term relationship with a woman who share his love of outdoors. He doesn't smoke, do drugs or has any 'baggage'. Sounds good, right?

We met, and got ourselves a drink and decided to sit outside. We talked about our family, job, activities we like, the usual. All seemed to be going really well. Then after an hour or so, a large family sat near us, and were very loud. I asked if he'd like to go for a walk, to which he answered, "you're like me, you don't like to be crowded". So we set off to walk around. A minute later I saw a friend of mine from school. Larry asked me what I was looking at and I asked him to excuse me for a minute so that I could say hi to my friend. I walked over and gave Peter a hug, and he introduced me to his boyfriend, and another friend who was taking their picture. I said it looked like engagement pictures, to which he laughed and said they were just having fun. He asked me what I was doing there and I said I was on a first date, I turned to introduce him to Larry, but he had vanished. I scanned all over, and finally saw him about 100 metres away. Peter told me to go. I went over to Larry, and he said, "Well I'm sure you have things to do, I am going to my car and it's that way" he pointed the opposite direction to where I lived. I was going to say that I didn't have anything to do, but said instead that I had a good time, and that I felt we had hit it off. He said, "Keep in touch," so I knew that meant he wasn't interested.

When I got home I shot off an email saying again that I had a good time, and he said again, lets keep in touch.

I never heard from him again. Could it be that he was so shallow as to be homophobic? Everything was going well until I spoke to Peter.

Oh well, better to find out now rather than later!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to any and all mothers whether new, seasoned or about to be.
Mine started off with a potted plant that looks like daisies, (but it might be chrysanthemums!)
Then my son Thomas and I left to meet his girlfriend Kay at the subway station. We walked to Starving Artist a lovely restaurant that serves the most delicious brunches as well as lunch and dinner. They make waffles, either regular, potato or vegan gluten-free. So of course that makes me very happy. I was afraid there would be a long line up, but we were lucky and got seated with only about 10-15 minutes wait. Then we ordered and I had the Breakfast Benny, which is like eggs benedict but on mini waffles instead of an english muffin. Included with my breakfast was a great salad and the choice of baked beans, fruit salad or potato salad. I chose the fruit salad. I also had some avocado with my eggs as I am vegetarian, and didn't want the bacon. Kay had the Benny too, but potato waffles with salad and bacon and beans. Thomas had the Hitchhiker, 2 mini waffles, cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon, salad and fruit salad.
The food was so good, that I tucked right in and forgot to take the before picture! But here is my fruit and Thomas's mini waffles and Kay's beans! The food was so good. We all had different waffles but enjoyed what we had. I was so stuffed. Kay says she wants to learn to make these waffles, and Thomas was so full he had a hard time finishing his orange juice.
We had great seats by the window, I chose the seat looking outside. I had to take 5 photos to get these two smiling, Kay was either eating or Thomas was making faces!
Two of the waitresses were pregnant, celebrating their Mother's to be Day waiting on many other mothers.
Kay gave me some lovely Awake tea from Starbucks. She works there and is always bringing me tea. Yay for Kay!
Thanks Thomas for a lovely Mother's Day celebration.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Shiny New Silver Valetta

I bought my first ebike 4 1/2 years ago, the "Smart Bike," but shortly after exchanged it for a bigger model, the "Austin."
Austin
 Over that time I have gone through 3 batteries and 2 chargers. I've had two brake repairs after they snapped, and another repair after someone tried to steal it. They broke the handlebar lock, the ignition, they tore wires out from under the bike, ripped the back tire and did whatever they could to get it out of the underground garage. They failed.

One day the lock from the helmet trunk broke and so it no longer locked and rattled every time I rode the bike.

So I decided that this year it was time for a new bike. I bought a silver Valetta and a new silver helmet too.
Valetta
I have had to take the bike back a couple of times over the past couple of weeks, the steering column wasn't screwed in properly and the brakes failed at a stop light on a hill! Also it has a smaller battery and so the bike goes really slowly up hills and the pick up is a lot slower than the old bike. But overall I like the look of the bike and the price was perfect. Less than $1000. It is smaller in size too and can only carry one passenger. I did change the mirrors as the originals didn't work for me, I liked the ones on my old Austin.

After a week of the new bike, I decided to put the Austin on Craigslist, as there really isn't any space and I'd probably never use it again. I asked $500 as I wanted the money I paid for the new battery and charger at the end of last year. I initially paid almost $1400 for the bike, but with all the rattles and age, I figured no one would want to pay anywhere near that. I had made a mental decision that I would go down to $400 should anyone ask. The first offer I got was for $200, so I deleted that. The next was from a man who wanted to see the bike. He came over took it for a test ride around the garage. I told him about the history and he pulled out $500 cash and handed it to me! He didn't even try to barter.  I was shocked! But I took his money without a word.

So I got more than half the price of the Valetta back with the sale of that old rattling bike.

I do however, miss its pick up and hill climbing ability!!

Monday, April 09, 2012

March Break in Florida

I was invited to visit some friends for March Break and after Moe, my friend who lives in Naples, found a cheap flight for me, I made my way to the airport and flew into Fort Lauderdale just before midnight. It was a little over 2 hours to drive to Naples, but it gave us time to catch up.
The following day Pam came over and we just chilled on the back deck. I was given lots of warnings to not stay in the sun too long. But that really was what I wanted to do. I did heed the warnings though. We went to dinner at a fish restaurant and I enjoyed my grilled fish and veggies.
That was all I really did, just sat around, watched the wild life in Moe's back yard, looked at the stars at night, gossiped, took a few pictures, and ate!
It was a well earned rest and made me feel like I want to be in Florida as a retired person. The pace of life is definitely much slower that here in Toronto.
Here are a few pictures that I took.
Pam , Mary and Moe

Cardinal
Squirrel
Woodpecker
Bluejay
Salamander