Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Like a kid on Christmas Eve...

There are a few days of the year that are extra-special to me.  Of course, Christmas Eve is one of them.  It has always been my favourite day of the year.

But running a close second?  Well, that's gotta be Canada Day.  And it was ever so apparent to me when I woke this morning with those day-before-Christmas butterflies in my stomach.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a kid at heart, and I still get wound up tighter than a bobbin in the days leading up to exciting times!!


 Our little town gets a jump on the festivities, kicking off the celebrations a day early.  Which, in my opinion, is pure genius.  There are so many other big parties, events, and celebrations on THE day... our party in Q-town really has become an amazing "Canada Day Eve", drawing folks from all over the Pontiac who are itching to bust out the Red & White.  We have a community BBQ, a parade, a flag raising ceremony, activities for kids in the park, legendary fireworks, and a DJ in the hall to keep the dance floor hopping all night long.  And then, that leaves everyone free to take part in other parties the next day.  (that is, if they can make it off the couch... )


This year, Canada Day is going to be a bit different for me.  For the past 10+ years, I have been involved with the Canada Day Committee, the fundraising group that hosts the party in our town.  I have always been a worry-wart, but as I get older, I find the burden of stress and worry growing even worse when I'm involved in organizing something.  Last year seemed to be extra-stressful.  I felt like I was weighed down by worry non-stop, all year long.

I made the decision to have a stress-free year this year, and the first thing I did was step down from my beloved Canada Day Committee.  It wasn't an easy decision to make.  I love Canada Day so much, and I loved being involved in making the "magic" happen in our town.  But my stomach was constantly in knots - even if it shouldn't have been - and I started realizing I was dreading the events, rather than looking forward to them the way I used to.

Of course, despite taking a step back from community involvement, I have not been "stress-free" this year.  I am not built that way.  I will find things to worry about, no matter what.  But I have to admit, it has been nice these past few months, not feeling that added panic and stress as the Canada Day fundraising events have come and gone.  (Although, I do admit, I have had a little bit of it the past few weeks, wondering, "Did they remember to do this?  Have they taken care of that?" It's just the way I'm wired!)

Now that the big day is upon us, I find myself keyed up with excitement, but also feeling a little bittersweet.  While I'm looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying the festivities with my family and friends, I'm just a teensy bit sad that I'm no longer "one of them".  While I don't miss the worry and stress, I do miss being part of that Canada Day team.  They are all my friends, and we always had so much fun together that day.

I don't miss going to meetings, I don't miss setting up, I don't miss the next-day clean-up.  I definitely don't miss worrying about all the little details that go into making the day perfect.

I'm looking forward to enjoying the BBQ with my family, watching the parade from the sidelines from a comfortable lawn chair, and not feeling guilty when I've had a few drinks and I'm up dancing instead of selling tickets or tending bar.  I'm looking forward to sleeping in the next day and not worrying about having to go clean up at the hall.  I'm looking forward to a stress-free celebration.

But there are a few things, several very special moments, that I will miss:

Once the BBQ is over (usually my least-favourite part of the day, because it is always so chaotic and busy), I'm going to miss hopping into the back of Wayne's truck with the rest of the committee for our slow drive through town to the school, to get ready for the parade; that giddy feeling I'd always get before the parade started.

Even though I don't wish to be in the parade this year, I am sort of gong to miss that feeling of pride I always had, carrying that gigantic flag through town with the committee, shouting "Happy Canada Day!!" and waving at the crowds gathered, Watching that flag go up the pole (and making sure it didn't touch the ground) and singing O Canada.. well, it was special to me.

And last but not least, I'll miss watching the fireworks with the committee.  We always went to our "special spot" to watch them together, and it was a great feeling of pride.  The fireworks in our town are kind of amazing, and have a reputation for being one of the best displays in the area.  That's pretty awesome, considering we are a very small town.  That's basically what all of the money raised goes into - making it an incredible show in honour of this beautiful country we call home.  I'll miss huddling up with the committee, watching the explosion of colour and sparkle in the sky, giving the big "oohs and ahhs", cheering for the big grand finale, falling silent to listen to the rolls of applause and hoots of appreciation from the the hundreds who gather to watch, high-fiving each other on another job well done, and declaring "WE DID IT!!! LET'S PARTY!!!"

It was an honour to be on that committee for over ten years.  I am extremely proud of the work we did together, and the fun we always had.  I have no doubt tomorrow will be another amazing day for them, and I wish them nothing but the best.

And this year?  I just may be that annoying sloppy-drunk girl who they have to shoo out of the hall long after the bar has closed down... I just may be. ;)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Happy Friday!! :)

This week seems to have just flown by... which is kinda nice!  Just thought I'd do some random rambling to kick off the weekend...

  • Last weekend, I had charged up my old iPod that I hadn't used in a very long time, so that we could listen to tunes out on the deck Saturday afternoon/evening.  You know when you find old music you haven't listened to in forever, and it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  I've been listening to that iPod all week, just loving the songs and how they take me back.  Current old fave:  Banditos by The Refreshments.  Classic.



  • As you all can probably tell by my lack of posting on the matter, I'm not doing well in the healthy eating/losing weight department.  In fact, I feel like I'm going in reverse when it comes to that matter.  More clothes each week don't fit.  ugh.  So depressing. But I've been trying to get myself back on track with at least going out for a walk every evening.  I still get up and do a half-hour work out each morning, but I wasn't doing much else lately.  It has felt good to get moving in the evenings again.  And it gives me a great opportunity to listen the aforementioned iPod!
  • Looks like another great weekend on tap, weather-wise.  And another weekend ahead of no major plans!  WOO HOO!!  A quick tidy-up around the house tomorrow morning, a quick trip to Shawville for a few groceries, and I'm still debating on cutting the grass (it's pretty burnt in most spots, but it has been almost two weeks since I cut it... the weeds are growing, the rest is not...)  Other than that, I'm thinking the back deck with a book sounds good again for tomorrow!
  • Next week is Canada Day, and I'm SO excited!  We have some family that will be visiting from out of town, and I'm excited to see them.  I'm also looking forward to kickin' back and enjoying the Canada Day festivities in our town!  For the past 10+ years, I've been on the committee that organizes the event, which means as much fun as it's been, I've also stressed a TON over it.  (that's just how I roll.)  This year?  No reason to stress!!  I can't wait to bust out the red & white!!  I may even let Sadie out for a rip!!! ;)
  • I can't believe it is almost July.  Like, holy hell.  Was it not just Christmas?!?!?
  • The nice thing about July is... it's my holiday month!!!  I'll be off the last week, and I'm so looking forward to it!  I've been daydreaming about being at the Camp for a while now.  Now it is within sight!
  • I feel giddy this morning.  Which is odd, since I've been full of anxiety all week.  It's like I woke up this morning and the stress had just vacated my body, and has been replaced by child-like excitement for everything coming up in the near future.  Maybe it's because the kids are at Mom's, and it's their first day of holidays.  I'm carrying that vibe with me today.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My new gadget

So, I got myself a Google Chromecast.

And my life has been changed forever.

OK, not really.  But it definitely made my Netflix experience much more smooth when I finally got it hooked up and working last night!!



As I mentioned in a post last week, I was in a conundrum as to what to do about my TV viewing experience.  Netflix wasn't streaming properly through my Wii - constant freezing and error messages, after I'd tried everything in the book to get it to work - so I was watching my favourite shows on my laptop.  I've never been a big fan of watching TV or movies on a computer screen, so while it was getting me by, I didn't feel like it was a permanent solution.  Seemed such a shame to be hunching over a laptop to watch my episodes of The Office when I had a nice big relatively new flat screen just sitting there in my living room...

Thus, I started doing some research.  I needed to figure out a way to get Netflix onto my TV screen, and I was looking for the cheapest and easiest solution.  My brother-in-law had got a Chromecast for his birthday, but truly, I couldn't wrap my head around how it worked.  My friend Lindsay had recommended the Apple TV, but it sounded an awful lot like the Chromecast, and at a higher price tag, so again...seemed too difficult for my non-techie-brain to figure out.  On my post last week, an HDMI chord from my laptop to TV had been suggested, which did sound like the easiest and cheapest option, but of course, my laptop is old and doesn't have an HDMI port.  I thought perhaps it would work just hooking it up via the USB ports on the laptop and TV, but apparently that doesn't work.  I also looked into the suggestion of getting one of these extra-smart Bluray players with Netflix already loaded onto it, but that was looking like it would be at least $100 more than the Chromecast.

So it seemed that was the fix:  the Chromecast.  Despite worrying that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to get it to work, I ordered one from the Google store on-line, and crossed my fingers.

It arrived yesterday, and seriously, no idea what I was worried about.  I had it hooked up and running in about 10 minutes, and I think it would have been faster except there was an update that had to be loaded first, and that took the longest.  Then I just had to download the Google Cast app to my phone, and I was in business.  So easy!!  And so nice to be watching The Office on my TV again!!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Jim from The Office?  I wish my office had a Jim.  I'm kind of addicted.  I had been watching episodes of both The Office and Bloodline, but I've dropped Bloodline - not because I don't like it, just because it was taking away from my time with Jim.



It's like Danny Castellano vs. Suits all over again.

I also played around with some of the other Cast-ready apps.  I watched a few of the James Corden Carpool Karaoke vids on Youtube that I hadn't seen yet (LOVED the one with the Red Hot Chili Peppers!), and I also went ahead and downloaded Crackle.  I had never heard of Crackle until the weekend.  It's a free streaming app for TV and movies.  Not as much selection as Netflix or some of the others, and the movies and TV shows are generally older, but there's some gems on there for sure.  And really, how can you go wrong...if you find only one or two things you want to watch... it's FREE!!!



In any case, I know it's still very early in the game, but I'm going to go ahead and say that I love my new gadget.  So happy with my new Chromecast!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Perfect Summer Weekend

I'm feeling like a big stress ball this week.  No particular reason, at least not that I can pin-point...maybe a million little things.  But I don't enjoy feeling like a stress ball.  I want the stress ball feeling to go away.

So let's take it back to a simpler time, when life was about nothing other than drinking on the back deck, going to picnics, swimming, and visiting with family and friends.

Like, 3 days ago.

It really was kind of the perfect summer weekend.  The weather was stinkin' hot, the drinks were ice cold, and I didn't have much of a care in the world.  When I woke up Monday morning, groggy and sleepy and wondering why weekends go so fast, that was my most clear thought:  That was the perfect summer weekend.  Summer could end now and I would be satisfied.

And then they announced on the radio that it was the first day of summer.  So I guess this season isn't quite ready to be put to bed yet, eh?

Friday after work, I picked my mom up and we headed off to Shawville to grab some groceries.  I ended up buying a few new pairs of shorts and tank tops too, because, ya know, I'm a behemoth again. ugh.

When I got home, I put the groceries away and headed up to my friend Lolly's for a little visit with her and Sharon.  We were brainstorming on a few fundraising ideas we had for next year's Relay for Life.  We have big goals for next year, my friends.  BIG goals.  So we snacked and chatted out on the deck... lovely evening all around.

Saturday was one of those days I was extra-excited to literally do nothing.  I had no major housework to do, no grass to cut...no reason to feel guilty about doing nothing.  I got up fairly early and went for a big walk around town before having my coffee and watching some PVR'd eps of Jimmy Fallon.  I washed my bedding, made my sweet potato/quinoa/bacon salad for the Sunday School picnic, and cleaned the upstairs bathroom, but that was as far as my work went!  I spent the rest of the day tanning (aka burning) on the back deck.  My friend Brenda came over early afternoon, and then later on Susie and Adam joined us too.  We made a few little sojourns away from the deck - once to visit the two artists in town who were taking part in the Pontiac Artists Studio Tour, once to the store for ice cream and more beverages, and once to get supper at the chip wagon after Sue and Adam arrived.  But aside from that, the day consisted of sitting, chatting, reading or crocheting (I was reading, B was crocheting), and drinking.  That was IT.



Sidenote - my new favourite summer beverage are these giant cans of Seagrams carbonated drinks I found at the store, they were selling them 2 for $5.  The berry is delicious, the orange tastes just like Orange Crush.  The only one I wasn't a big fan of was the grapefruit - but if you like grapefruit, you'd like it.  It's very grapefruity!



We stayed out there on the deck, just drinking and talking and relaxing long into the night, until well after midnight.  Shannon popped in for a visit, and we did some visiting with my bro-in-law's family who were having their Father's Day celebration in his parents' backyard down the hill behind my place, and it was just a really great day.  I tried hard to be careful about keeping sunscreen on, but still managed to burn my legs.  The good part about that was that when the mosquitoes descended after dark and were biting me through my pants, I couldn't even feel it!

Sunday was the Sunday School Picnic, which was a nice distraction on Father's Day for me.  I know my ol' man never liked celebrations anyways, but it's hard not feel lonesome for him on that day, especially when my Facebook newsfeed was full of Father's Day wishes and pictures.  Anyways, it was another hot and steamy day, so it was perfect for an outdoor church service, potluck picnic, and swimming at Lindsay and Ryan's!  I'll let the pictures tell that story...





























After the picnic, I settled in on the couch at Mom's for a nice, long nap.  I'm so not used to being hung over and sunburnt anymore.  I finished the day by watching a movie on my laptop in bed while I snacked on chips instead of eating a real supper.  It was just that kind of day.

So yeah.  That was my perfect summer weekend.  Which happened before summer even started.

I guess I'll enjoy it a little while longer... ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Random Thursday Things


  • Something kind of big happened in my world this morning.  I had been thinking about it all week, and the day has finally come. I have been paying off a line of credit for what feels like a million years.  I got myself into credit card debt in my foolish late teens/early twenties, mostly buying concert tickets... I was the concert Queen back then! I'd round up a gang to go to whatever show was rolling through town, order the tickets for my friends, they'd pay me in cash, and the cash would stay in my wallet.  I'd never put it against the actual credit card bill.  I had good intentions, but then POOF, the money would be spent and I'd be another couple hundred in the hole on the card.  Somewhere along the way, I realized it was getting pretty serious, so I had a meeting at my bank, and they set me up with a line of credit with a much lower interest rate to pay off that card, and then I started paying off the line of credit.  It has been a long, slow process.  I know that in the grand scheme of things, my debt was small compared to many others', but for a single girl struggling to survive on a sole pay cheque, it's been a long ol' run of living pay day to pay day.  It's been a little cloud hanging over my head for years.  There were days when I didn't think I'd ever be done with it.  But the day finally did come!  I keep signing back in to my online banking just to look at that zero balance on my credit line.  Such a feeling of relief! :)
  • So what shall be my first big investment now that the line of credit is paid off?  What shall I start saving for now?!  Because you all know me... I always have a big goal in my sites! haha!  Since Netflix has been a big focus for me since I got Internet back in early March, my next project is to maximize my Netflix time.  You've all heard me lament the woes I've had streaming Netflix thus far.  It started out great, but then after about a month, it went whacky on me.  I'd google and find a solution that would seem to work for a few days or weeks (re-booting the router, switching playback settings to "low", deleting the app and re-loading it, etc) but eventually, it would go back to freezing or giving me error messages on a regular basis again.  The past week and a half, I can't get through more than five or ten minutes without getting an error message.  I have realized, though, that if I'm watching on my laptop, it works perfectly. No freezing, no error messages. Ever.  But it seems a shame to have to huddle over my laptop screen to watch my favourite shows when I have this nice big flatscreen TV sitting there... So that brings me to the next step.  I now have purchasing a Chromecast or an Apple TV on my radar.  I don't really understand how the things work, but I understand they essentially turn my TV into a "Smart TV" - and think it would be the best solution to this problem.  If anyone has any feedback on either of them, or a suggestion that I might not have heard about, please do share! 
  • We are in the midst of a string of really nice weather here right now.  Which is nice, since the last week or so was pretty crappy.  Cool and windy and rainy... blech.  For awhile, it felt like we got a May heatwave and that was going to be it for our summer!  Thankfully, the hot sunny days are back again.  I'm especially excited that it looks like it's going to be a beautiful hot day on Sunday for our Sunday School picnic.  A perfect opportunity to test out one of my new bathing suits!
  • Have I mentioned that I've found a new summer drink?  I've always liked Palm Bays, but they are so sweet that I can usually only handle one or two.  This year, I've discovered they're selling them in pouches that you can freeze into slush.  My friend Lindsay let me try one of her Cherry Lime ones at Book Club a few weeks ago, and I LOVED it.  I have a few Strawberry Pineapple flavoured ones in the freezer that I think should hit the spot this weekend!
  • This weekend is one of those weekends where I don't really have a lot of firm plans, and I'm sitting on the fence of trying to decide if I want to do EVERYTHING or NOTHING.  I have to do groceries at some point, and make a dish for the Sunday School picnic (and of course I'm going with the sweet potato/bacon/quinoa salad...thank you again, Shannon, yummmm), and I have to go to said picnic.  I've been tossing around the idea of trying to find someone to do the whole Pontiac Artists Studio Tour on Saturday with me... or, just visit the two fab artists in town, and spend the rest of the day bumming around home.  There's something quite appealing about just sitting out on the deck and reading in the sun, then hitting the couch for a movie night... Oh decisions, decisions.
  • This weekend, I MUST go to Marcotte's for a chocolate-dip vanilla soft serve cone.  I haven't had one in over two weeks!!!!  AGHHHH!!!!
Well, I think that's all the random I've got burling around in my brain this morning... Happy Thursday, pals!  The weekend is almost here!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A few words on love

It's "What I'm Loving Wednesday", but I'm going to go off-page a little bit this week.  Rather than listing all the things I'm loving today, I'm going to just talk a bit about love and what it means to me.

Like many others, I woke to the disturbing news Sunday morning of another mass shooting in the United States, this time in Orlando.  It came on the heels of the sad story of a young former contestant on the The Voice, Christina Grimmie, being shot at one of her shows by a deranged fan, just the night before, in the exact same city.  While gun violence and mass shootings have become too common-place in our society over the past 15 years, this one on Sunday morning stood out as being much worse.  This one was the biggest in US history.  It is devastating on many levels, first for the sheer number of innocent lives lost:  49 people.  49 innocent people.  Then, there's the fact that it happened at a gay nightclub.  So a certain group of people, a group of "different" people, appear to have been the primary target.  And then, there are the claims that the lone gunman had pledged his allegiance to ISIS before going on his attack, and that brings in the terrorism side of things.

So much hatred.  So much anger.  So much pain and fear and sadness caused by one person's horrifying actions.

I keep thinking about those people who were out for a fun night of dancing.  I love to dance.  I've never been to a gay nightclub in Orlando, but I can imagine the vibe.  There would be drinks flowing and smiles and a dance floor that was completely alive with energy and love.

Nobody goes out for a fun night on the town expecting to become the victim of a mass shooting, or a terrorist's plot.  They wouldn't have been expecting it in the least.  Countless lives were shattered in those shocking moments when one man, so filled with hate and anger, decided to open fire.

I don't understand what has to happen to a person to bring them there...to bring them to that point.  I do know what it feels like to be angry.  I know how it feels to be frustrated and to not understand something.  I know how it feels to disagree with another's point of view.

But I also know how it feels to love.  And in the end, for me, the love always wins out.

I suppose I'm cut from a very simple "live and let live" cloth.  While I don't necessarily understand other's ways of living that are different from my own, and I don't necessarily share other's opinions on a wide variety of matters, I just want everyone to be happy and at peace.  I think that feeling is shared by many of us.  Just because we don't always agree, and just because we don't always understand, doesn't give us permission to take radical actions.

The colour of a person's skin, their sexual orientation, their religious or political views... what difference does it make?  We are all just human beings, traveling our own paths, trying to do our best.

And yet, there is evil in this world.  No matter how many of us are working towards living simply, with love and patience and understanding in our hearts, there has always been - and likely, always will be - the forces of evil among us.

I feel fortunate to live in a small community, in a country with more strict gun control laws, and away from that scary "big wide world" where these bad things happen.  I know that it can happen anywhere at any time, yet I feel more shielded and safe here.  I'm surrounded by a family, friends and a community that show every day the true meaning of love and compassion.  We don't always live peacefully, we don't always understand each other, and we certainly don't always agree, but I feel that truly, deep down inside, we have love for our families, our friends, and our neighbours, and no matter what happens, we will be there for one another.

I think Jimmy Fallon said it best in his monologue Monday night when he reminded his audience that this was one bad guy - 49 good people, and just one bad guy.

Good always outnumbers evil.

Love wins.

Be good to one another.  Try to be as understanding as you can.  When you don't agree, then just agree to disagree.  We can't all think the same and have the same feelings and have the same thoughts.

We are all different people, on different paths, following the beat of our own drummers.

But we can all make the decision to let love guide us.

It will never lead you astray.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Wednesday Loves

Another busy week is rolling right along...but time for a quick break to share what I'm LOVING this week!

I'm loving listening to all my old Hip CD's.  My God, they just never get old.  So many memories are tied to these albums and songs.  Sadly, we were among the throngs of disappointed fans of the band who were unable to secure tickets to their final tour (seriously, though - who DID get tickets last Friday morning?!), but I'm thinking we'll come up with a plan to make the most of that weekend in August we were hoping to be in Kingston for their last show.  Feels like only the right thing to do, to somehow still honour Gord and the entire band.

Lovin' that I got to spend last night in my "happy place"... the movie theatre!  It felt like it had been ages since I'd last been to the movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed my date with my mom and Donna to see "Me Before You".  I was already a fan of the book by Jojo Moyes, and the movie did not disappoint. It was beautiful and bittersweet, and I thought the actress who played Louisa Clarke was incredible.  She just lit up the screen, a real scene-stealer.

I also love that I ordered a large buttery popcorn, of which I ate less than half...which means I have leftover theatre popcorn to have as a treat tonight when I watch my adorable Jim in The Office! ;)

Oh, and yes.  I love Jim.  aka John Krasinksi.  He's definitely my new favourite.  I wish I had a Jim in my real life.  How is Pam able to resist?!

I know I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but I'm still lovin' JT's new jam, "Can't Stop the Feeling".  I thought it'd be starting to wear thin by now since they play they shit out of it on the radio, but nope.  Still makes me wanna dance, every. single. time.

I love that I have some new swimwear for the summer!  I had ordered one pair of bottoms and three tankini tops, praying that at least one of them would fit, but fearing the worst because I had no idea what size to order.  The bottoms were fine, but the first top was so tight I was afraid someone was going to have to cut me out of it.  I was ready to have a meltdown, but thankfully, the next two tops fit fine.  Phewf!!!  OK, summer, I'm ready for you!!!

Loving the Italian feast I have planned for Saturday night!!  The Canada Day Committee in our town held a fundraising Facebook auction this past spring, and I offered up a "Little Taste of Italy" homemade lasagna dinner for four, which my friend Sarah won.  The ladies are coming for dinner on Saturday evening, and I've had fun this past week or so coming up with ideas for the different courses, beyond just the lasagna.  I really hope they enjoy what I have planned for them!  I can't wait!!

I absolutely LOVE the salad I've been bringing on my lunch all week, and can't thank Shannon enough for sharing the recipe! I knew as soon as I read the ingredients that I would love it... Sweet potatoes? good.  quinoa?  good.  shallots? good.  bacon? gooooood.  Can't get enough of it!

Well, I think that's all I've got going for this week.  Happy Wednesday, pals!!