Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time Marches On

Bye bye March! Can't say I'm sad to see you go! Though I do miss your weather.... stupid me exchanged my dark and disgusting winter clothes for my brighter more colourful spring and summer wear in my closet. So then Mother Nature stuck her tongue out at me big time for my silliness and sent snow and ice pellets - serves me right I guess. Today I have my front door open anyway just for spite - it's a good thing (sometimes) that I have my hot flashes to keep me warm. I REALLY don't want to have to turn the furnace back on -

Just got my natural gas bill and although I budgeted $70 it rang in at only $51.62!! So another $18 for me! Natural gas heats my home, my hot water AND dries my clothes - very economical! I almost put the word "my" at the beginning of that last sentence but thought that might confuse y'all a little - it's not MY natural gas!! (heehee)

So I'm closing March's budget and have April's all ready to go. Although I complained about March being a spendy month I ended up with $16 left in my chequing account and $10 in my wallet plus I paid an extra $88 to my credit card so that when June rolls around I'll have a credit large enough on the card to pay for our new TV that we bought in January. The $16 got added into April's budget and the $10 went into my sealed pot.

I do have a confession to make, however. I did make two other purchases that I will now be working on paying off, hence I've joined Francesca over at the Tasmanian Minimalist in her NO FRIPPERIES APRIL challenge. We are going to TRY to not buy anything but necessities for the month of April. Now, this is going to be hard, especially if the nice weather makes a comeback as I'd like to purchase some new sandals, but I think I can wait until May.

So, my two other purchases....

  • I sort of found myself in Winner's a couple of weeks ago when the weather was actually HOT and somehow some new clothes found their way into my cart - I don't know how it happened, really. And just to assuage my guilt I bought a couple of things for Michael and Kazi too!!! (oops)
  • This one I'll blame on SFT over at SFT's Travel, Mortgage Freedom, 101 and Life Goals blog! After reading about her anniversary plans and the wonderful inn she stayed in and the lovely meals etc I decided I deserved (there's that bad word - deserved) a birthday weekend away in May! I did some checking around on B&B websites and found the PERFECT ROOM in a simply gorgeous home in Niagara Falls.  The rooms all have names and this room is called THE SUN, THE MOON, AND THE STARS which has very personal meaning for Michael and I. When Michael and I first met and he came to stay at my trailer in Bayfield he asked me about the decorations I had attached to the lattice of my porch: a large metallic sun, several stars in different colours and a moon. I told him that at the trailer I have the Sun, the Moon and the Stars as opposed to when I'm in the city and I can't even see the stars at night! So when I saw the name of the room and it's low off-season price I knew it was meant to be! 

Isn't it simply divine??  I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth it LOL!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Long Day Harrison...Long Day

As one of my former students, Jesse, used to say "long day Harrison, long day"! I just got home a few minutes ago from parent/teacher interviews so yes indeedy Jesse, it was a long day. Jesse had a developmental disability along with Tourettes - if you know anything about Tourettes one of the characteristics is the tendency to yell out obscenities at inappropriate times, which is pretty much all of the time. Fortunately Jesse had led a rather sheltered life and the worst she could come out with was "piss, poo, pee"! Another characteristic is to say the same things over and over again along with sometimes quite violent vocal and physical tics. So suffice it to say that when Jesse started saying "long day Harrison" at 8am I knew it was going to be a veeeeeeerrrry long day. As it is with every developmental student I've ever had the privilege to teach Jesse had many redeeming qualities: she was friendly, sociable, curious, sensitive to others, loved babies and dogs and never forgot a face or a name - she remembered every person she ever met - including our country's prime minister - Stephen Harper.

Tonight I had only one parent show up so she and I had a good ol' chat for almost two hours. As she was going to leave (for about the 100th time) she said - "I like talking to you!" That made my day. She really struggles with having an 18 year old son with autism. He's a bright boy but crippled with anxiety. She says she tries not to think about it too much or she'd have a breakdown. A couple of years ago after a long interview with her I decided I would always try to give her at least an hour to talk instead of the usual 10 minutes as she always seemed to need to unload. It's like therapy for her and she knows she's talking to someone who knows her son extremely well and cares about him. And I do, I just love that boy.

Jesse at track and field
A few months ago I was at their home to help fill out an assessment for adult services. She served us some homemade blueberry cake that was to die for! (She's polish and makes EVERYTHING from scratch, including pierogies) and tomorrow she's going to send in the recipe for me and if you're really good I'll share it with you! That woman can COOK! 

So now I'm going to go crawl into bed with my glass of wine and watch a movie with Michael - it's that one about Drs. Freud and Jung - "A Dangerous Method" I think it's called. I'll likely fall asleep and miss the ending like I usually do! Tomorrow is casual day to raise money for Autism AND it's multicultural day so I'm putting the diet aside for a day so I can enjoy some ethnic food. YAY for Friday!!

Did you notice I never mentioned money once???

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tour d'Etats Unis!!

Woweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee look at me go!! My calf muscles are getting HUGE I tell ya...HUGE!!      I felt an update on my transcontinental journey was long overdue.  The last distance I was cycling and measuring was from  Trenton,ON to Philadelphia, PA - a total of 710kms!!

I have now gone past Philadelphia (Hi Sluggy, hi Judy - where did you go Judy??) and need to get my bearings. It looks like I'm right on course to visit a reader in Cape May, New Jersey which is a total of  150kms and is the easternmost destination on my map. (on the trigger part of my gun-shaped schema). I've already cycled 75km so I'm halfway there!! If my reader would like to share some of the highlights of that beautiful part of the world please email me with photos and/or suggestions. (

I'm learning so much about different parts of the world that I am seriously considering doing this trek for real when I retire, though by car (or VW bus!!) instead of by bike.

Or what about this interesting combo?

After Cape May I'll be heading southwest to visit Sharon, then north to see Mark in Harrisburg, PA. So get ready with your highlights folks as I'll be whizzing by - I've got a looooooooong ways to go and I can't let moss grow on my spokes!!

On another note - I am feeling much more relaxed with my new system of blogging (can ya tell?) - writing a post one day and visiting/commenting on your blogs the next day. So while I may be a day late commenting on your posts I will be digesting them more thoroughly and intelligently (that remains to be seen HAH!) And I'm also hoping that my posts will be  created with more care, thoughtfulness and correct spelling/grammar HAH...not!! Well a girl can try...right??

So now that my post is complete I am going to chill out with a(nother) glass of wine and thou (thou = Michael you lucky dog you!!), watch a DVD or two in bed with thou (also = Michael) and take a night off pedaling 'cause my knees HURT!! but I'll be back in the saddle again tomorrow night (saddle = bike!!)

Love y'all!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Highschool Reunion

People say about the past "you can't go back", but you know, sometimes you can! The last time I got together with my highschool friends was at the sad closing of our small village highschool in June, 2010. We gathered together for a walk down memory lane at the school then in the evening scarfed down a huge buffet dinner and boogied down to some retro music.

When I'm with my highschool friends we just pick up where we left off, even if it was 10 years or more since we last saw each other. We know each other's foibles, we remember each other's most embarrassing moments and we shared the best and worst times of our lives together. There's no point pretending you're someone you're not because you'll get called on it in a New York second. I love it because I get to be ME! There's something very honest and humbling about being with people who knew you when you were a rotten whiny kid with no redeeming qualities!! Thankfully, it works both ways!

Today we met up again in a restaurant in Burlington. We gathered from all points north, east, south and west and caught up with each other over a very long lunch:
Don't we look like such good boys and girls?!? HAH! That's a laugh - we got up to a lot of high jinx over our 5 year highschool career - even I got sent to the principal's office on more than one occasion. One of my many pranks involved getting up on the window ledge behind the curtains at the back of the french classroom. The windows were the kind that wind open and closed - no screens. Back then I could slip UNDER a door I was so thin so getting out the window was no problem at all. The Dairy Bar was a short 5 minute walk so I would stroll on over, enjoy a maple walnut icecream cone, stroll back, climb through the window, peek through the curtains and slip back into my desk unbeknownst to the teacher. I NEVER got caught at that prank. Ahhhh, the good ol' days :)

After our great visit today we've decided to reserve this weekend every year as OUR weekend and instead of just gathering for lunch we're going to spend the weekend together. I'm going to get started right away planning a few pranks for my friends. If I didn't they'd be very disappointed!!

Scenes from the deck of the restaurant which is on Lake Ontario - it was a bit hazy today:

Mother Goose had just laid an egg and was VERY protective of it - you wouldn't want to say BOO to this goose!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Time

This is a very familiar theme in our blogging circle these days. TIME - as in, not enough of it! Riding my bike outside or sitting on the patio in the sunshine or simply dipping my toesies in the lake just doesn't mix well with a laptop screen.  So, the choice becomes: stay inside, or screw it and go outside and just ignore my cyber friends?!?

Well I prefer to create a win/win scenario so for now I'm going to reduce my computer usage by posting one day and reading my friend's posts the next instead of trying to do both everyday. We'll see how that goes. Today my friend Sluggy suggested people post clips of their fave songs to let our readers see how weird interesting our musical tastes are.

The Guess Who song above is a song from my childhood. Innocent days of walking around the school yard arm in arm with a group of girlfriends singing Guess Who songs at the tops of our collective lungs! (We also walked around with linked arms chanting "we won't move! we won't move!!" and mowing down the smaller children in our way but this post is about music not bullying so moving on.......)

I have a lot of favourite kinds of music: pre-punk, punk and post-punk rank right up there at the top, followed by Motown, British Invasion, psychedelic, new wave, some country, some heavy metal, blues, folk, funk, beat, alternative rock - just to name a few. What I don't like: jazz that just rambles on and on with no tune, not really into anything classical, new age, swing, death metal, gangsta, hip hop, ballads, electronic, rap and so on.

I think I'll go by decade because I've been around a long time and my tastes have evolved over the years. I'm digging deep into my memory files here - I was born in l956 and have four older brothers and sisters so I was influenced by what they played on their little portable record players and transistor radios. Oh, and I had a brother who tried to play the guitar down in the basement and even though he played the chords to "House of the Rising Sun"  1,000 x a day it's still one of my all-time favourite songs!! So, thinking back to my earliest days here are some of my favourites:

"Boys" by the Beatles - my list begins and ends with the Beatles. I will love no band even a fraction of the amount that I love the Beatles and no band will ever again be so innovative.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were big around my house and we had every 45 they ever made - it was hard to choose just one but here it is - check this one out as I love how people were dancing back in l963!!

Gee - wasn't anything in COLOUR back in the olden days???  Well, these guys are VERY colourful!! And boy could they dance!!! (and sweat!) From my wee little bedroom in Norwich, Ontario if I stood on my head and put my radio on the window ledge at just the precise angle I could get CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario which played all the latest Motown music out of Detroit and that is how my love affair with Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Supremes etc began, now THAT was MUSIC!! Here's one of my favourite duos Sam and Dave!  Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmmmmm!!

Another influence from the first 10 years of my life - surfer music from Cal I Forn I A(thanks to my brother Gord - he played the song "Surf City USA" by Jan and Dean over and over several hours a day):  (in later years when I was 18 and 19 I travelled to the CNE in Toronto to see The Beach Boys twice - they didn't disappoint! I LOVE bands that have great harmony! Here is one of their better "B" sides.

I had a few ways to see bands "live" on a couple of TV shows: The Ed Sullivan Show where I saw the Beatles for the first time when I was 8 in l964 and The Red Skelton show where this clip originates from, also in l964. The other show I used to watch every Saturday was American Bandstand. Not that any of them sang "live" in those days but we got to see them in the flesh at least! This song was the first original song written by Jagger and Richards. I worshiped the Stones because I thought they wrote "Lady Jane" for me! Yes, I was mighty naive as a child.

Tune in again (hahaha) next week for Jane's Music: The Second Decade!! Now Sluggy - do you see what you've started?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm Rich!!

Yes, you heard me, I'm RICH!! Did I hit the jackpot? Rob a bank? Strike oil?

Panning for gold
No, none of the above!

I must be rich though, because I am spending money like there is no tomorrow! I think it's the weather - it makes me feel like a million bucks! I can't stop smiling! I can't stop using exclamation marks!! See, there I go again! I get in my car, roll down all the windows, crank the tunes and sing at the top of my lungs! I think to myself, where can I go?? Oh, I know, I'll just return that bicycle helmet I bought the other day at Walmart because I don't really need it since Michael found mine tucked away in the furnace room. Oh, now that I'm here I think I'll just stroll on over to WINNERS!!! Because, yes, I am a WINNER!! 

Two hours later I've really won the lottery because EVERYTHING FITS AND LOOKS GREAT!! Maybe I should look around some more, try on a few more dozen things...I'm on top of the world. What a difference losing a few pounds makes on my small frame. I'm ready to go on TOP MODEL!!  Wheeeee! I have spring fever! Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday because I am going to CRASH AND BURN! I hid the receipt so I can't look at it and bemoan the fact that I am SILLY!! I didn't need anything that I bought - I just darn well wanted it!!

And I haven't even gotten to the shoe stores yet!! SAVE ME SOMEBODY........!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rolling Rolling Rolling

So guess what? I'm in Philadelphia helping Judy clean the dust bunnies out from under her bed!  And as if that weren't enough we're going to paint her bedroom next...but she wouldn't go for my colour suggestion:
I don't get it - isn't red the perfect colour for a bedroom?
Is anyone else feeling hot? Is it just global warming or are the weather gods having a great time messing with nature? In any case, I have to say that here it is - 9:25pm - and I'm sitting outside on my back patio with a sleeveless top on and a skirt! WTF??  We've got several candles lit, we're sitting in lawn chairs with our laptops, I'm enjoying a white wine spritzer on ice, tunes playing on the iPod and I can't believe I've got to get up and go to work in the morning!! What is wrong with this picture people??

Anyhoo this is supposed to be a cycling update. Over the past couple of months I've been quietly pedalling away in the basement headed to all points southeast - Philly (I'm ready for those cheese steaks Judy) and a whole bunch of other places nearby (I'd list them but that would mean getting up, going inside and getting the map on which I've marked my journey. So suffice it to say I don't want to get up again. Once it turns cold again, and it will turn cold again, then I'll be in my Room of my Own blogging away and I'll get the map out.

I just updated my mileage tracker in my sidebar and I've actually gone 25km past Philly on my way to ?? Stay tuned for further, more explicit, updates. Yes, I'm lazy. Except when it comes to my bike. Last week I unwrapped my outdoor bike, filled the tires with air and hit the streets. What a blast! I've racked up 80km in 4 rides since last Thursday and I'll be out again tomorrow as the thermometer is going up into the high 20'sc (high 80'sF). I find (you'll find this interesting Mark) that I have fewer hot flashes when I'm pedalling along creating a nice breeze! However, keep your mouth closed as the bugs are back. Something hard smacked me in the middle of my forehead today! OWWW!

So that's my highly detailed update for today - I hope you enjoyed it :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Break + Summer Weather =

no posting by this happy vacationer!  My list of "things to do inside" over March break turned into a list of "things to do OUTSIDE" instead due to sunshine and temperatures in the low 20's celsius (70+F)! We spent another day at the trailer on Wed. and on the way there explored a thrift store in Ailsa Craig & bought 4 bags of firewood. Does that sound like we bought the wood at the thrift store?? Oops...see, I can't remember how to write!!  We spent some time walking on the beach - BARE FEET!! - but Lake Huron water is still FRIGID!!
 The crocuses are in bloom!
 On our walk down to the beach.
I really need a pedicure!
Looks inviting but almost as cold as ice still!
 Just listening to the waves.
Oops, shoulda turned this one - sneaky little beggar was out to pinch me!
I like to play with fire: )

On Tuesday we spent the afternoon exploring the new Goodwill store in downtown London and scored some great deals - Michael spent WAY MORE than me but now has all new clothes for summer. I found 3 new long skirts, 3 long dresses and a long nightie plus two pairs of pj pants. LONG is part of my new strategy for fighting back against mosquitoes and flies this summer!! Clever huh? So glad the MAXI length is back in style! Next I need to look for a few light coloured long sleeve shirts to wear when I'm outside digging in the dirt.
My favourite purchase - a large canvas Gap bag - it's huge! Packed all my stuff for a day at the trailer in it!

March Break + Summer Weather = sore thighs and butt!! I got my real bike out from under its plastic wrapping, walked it over to the nearest gas station to pump up the tires a bit and then went  for long bike rides on Friday and Saturday - hence the sore thighs and butt! Which just goes to show me that my stationary bike is not as good of a workout as the real deal.

Me and my bike in Victoria Park.

We also cleaned up our patio area, set up the table and lawn chairs and fired up the BBQ. Thursday evening we had our first meal out in the back yard. BBQ'd pork chops - YUM!!
Bon appetit!

I did accomplish one inside job, yes, just one, and it wasn't even one that was on my list!! Bad Jane! However, since it will result in saving me $240 a year I count that as a major success. A while back I had opened a Thrive chequing account with ING that has NO fees. So I finally got busy this week changing my banking info with all of the companies that automatically debit my account: London Hydro, Union Gas, the city of London for my property taxes, insurance company, Rogers, condo corp for my condo fees, etc etc. It feels really good to get that done finally. Once those all start to be debited from ING I can close the other account and.....NO MORE FEES!!

On another financial note I received my tax refund yesterday :p  I made an extra payment of $500 on my line of credit, put $300 into one of my savings accounts and left the rest in my chequing account til the end of this month. If I have money left over at the end of the month I'll tuck it into my Sealed Pot!

So that about sums up my week - last night we celebrated St. Patrick's day with a few friends. We managed to stay away from the huge crowds of university and college students who took over the downtown area - the police closed the main street to cars as thousands of kids were running amok. My poor bar tender of a daughter put in a 15 hour shift at Jacks starting at 1:30 in the afternoon. Jacks is right smack dab in the middle of the bar area of Richmond Row. I don't imagine I'll see her emerge from her room til mid afternoon!
And no spring summer break would be complete without a visit to Merla Mae's icecream store: raspberry frozen yogurt for me and that's Michael's maple walnut icecream cone slightly out of focus there. So that's me caught up - now I need to catch up with you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dancing Queen

This will put a smile on your face and a kick in your step!

A Day at the Trailer - Yes, THAT Trailer!

Long time readers will remember the heart break I went through last summer when I sold THE trailer. Although I couldn't afford to maintain my condo, my retirement home in PEI AND the trailer it was still one of the most painful decisions I'd ever had to make. After the breakdown of my former relationship I was able to heal, recover and find meaning in life again at the trailer. When Kazi's highland dancing career came to an end and we didn't know what to do with ourselves after eleven summers spent dancing our way across Canada the trailer gave a structure to our summers that gave an entirely new meaning to the words SUMMER VACATION!

Well, the good news here is that I sold the trailer at a reduced price to friends of ours. The idea was that we'd still be able to use the trailer in the spring and fall when we weren't out east. BUT once the trailer no longer belonged to me I found that I couldn't go near it! It was too painful to think that it wasn't MY refuge any longer.  I couldn't face going there and when we stopped there once last fall because we were in the neighbourhood I couldn't even get out of the car. Instead I sat in the car and cried while Michael took a look around.

Let me just say this: time is a great healer. Or maybe after several months of winter I'm more willing to give visiting the trailer another shot. I decided a few weeks ago that perhaps we could try spending a little time there and see what it was like. Yesterday with the sun shining and a high of 14c I threw caution to the wind and off we went. We also had plans to visit friends in Goderich and see how the recovery from last summer's F4 tornado was going.

We had an amazing day as these photos will show. It didn't feel weird or awkward or painful. I walked around fondly remembering the day I'd planted the lilac tree, checking for buds on all the perennials I'd planted and being astounded by how high the ornamental grasses had grown. Michael raked the leaves while I relaxed, we reminisced, went to Goderich, then purchased some meat to BBQ, returned to the trailer and had a fire and a great meal. On Wednesday it's supposed to be a gorgeous sunny, mild day so we're planning another "Day at the Trailer"! I'm so excited!
 Cleanup time!
The grasses help block out the neighbours not that anyone else was around yesterday!
 Mr. Sun is weathering nicely.
Me and my friend Stella :)
Reading the Sunday Papers in the warm sunshine - what could be better?
 We left behind pieces our ourselves that greeted us happily once again. It was "inspiring"!
 There was that huge piece of driftwood Michael carried up from the beach a couple of years ago!
 Buds are getting ready to burst open!
 Where's Waldo Michael?
 Me and my shadow.....
 Yup, the high heeled sandal is still in the maple tree!
Last year's fragile blossoms have weathered the winter!
At the trailer we always had the sun, the moon and the stars :)
 The numbers that I installed when I first purchased the trailer to replace the old broken wooden ones.
My lilac tree is bloomin' healthy!
 Here comes Myrtle!
 We like to decorate with driftwood "sculptures"!
 Relaxing on the Rumi bench - Michael and I had many a philosophical discussion here!
Gathering the fallen twigs to use as kindling later.
 Goderich - walking out on the pier. No ice or snow this year.
Spring renewal is one of life's greatest pleasures!
The sun is coming north once again!

The geese were having great fun chasing each other :)
The Ancient Mariner!
 The robins are HERE!
The first campfire of the season!
 Chef Michael at the grill!
 Of course we had to stay and see the sunset - it didn't disappoint!
 Lake Huron, Bayfield, ON
 Soul food!
The scene of many a dance partay!
A great ending to a "refilling the soul" kind of day!