Monday, April 30, 2012


Well I was down to my last couple of dollars but I made it through April intact and in the black. But my savings look like this:
Awwwww, poor piggy - he's running on EMPTY!! Line of Credit looks like this:
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I am now on a mission to do this:
One of these days I'm going to do a blog post using pictures only and see if you can figure out what I'm saying. I think you could have figured this post out quite easily!

April will see me putting $2,000 back into my Emergency Fund. And I will fully fund my PEI Property Tax and Home Insurance Fund to the tune of $1200 as a payment of $299 is due at the end of May. I should also be able to put $200-$300 into my PEI Home Maintenance Fund in May and fully fund it in June ($2000). That will cover the cost of purchasing a new fridge and stove this summer when I'm out in PEI.

From July to the end of this year I will fund my Christmas/gift Fund ($1500) and save around $20,000+ to put back into my TFSA. Then my piggy bank will look like this:
So now it's that magical moment that only comes twice a month - the moment when I get to start transferring my hard-earned $$$ into my various savings accounts. It will be nice to see my EF funded again - I'll breathe a bit easier now. My savings accounts have nowhere to go but UP!

See ya soon!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

and the GOOD NEWS just keeps coming....

The last four days constitute the ultimate version of the "week from HELL"!! I won't bore you with all the details, just suffice it to say that tomorrow will be a "mental health day" pour moi! Ok ok I'll tell you this much: I was at the walk-in clinic last night (wasting my time waiting for over an hour though I did finish the book "The Jane Austen Book Club" so I guess the night wasn't a total waste) (also wasted $1.00 in coins for the parking meter only to be told by the doctor that they're never checked...WHAT!?!...guess who'll NOT be putting money in THOSE meters anymore??) ok, where was I?.......oh yeah I had to get checked over and a form filled out by the doctor because I had been in a "workplace violent incident on Tuesday...well actually three violent incidents but rest assured it's only soft tissue damage and soon I will be able turn my head and shrug my shoulders without pain again, in fact, I would say that in comparison to yesterday the pain is reduced by about 75% and I've only taken ibuprofin once today compared to about five times yesterday. So, see, I'm just fine!

On Tuesday I had THREE, yes THREE supply EAs which is rather a challenge when they're working with students with autism who don't handle change well. So I intervened several times because the students know me better than total strangers (duh) but by then Paul was already on edge. So twice he put me in a headlock (from behind...didn't see him coming and no one said "watch out") and once he twisted my arm. The pain was in my neck, shoulder and back but very minor injury, as I said the pain is almost all gone already. But of course bureaucracy demands 87 forms in triplicate so I complied.

But my post isn't about that stuff so forget about the last two paragraphs ok?

No, this is a GOOD NEWS post! Looky looky looky!! Yesterday in the mail I got my set of beautiful handmade coasters from the very talented Debby!! from Nanny's Place.  Aren't they so springy? I told Debby that these coasters would be travelling east with me this summer and take pride of place out on our world famous front porch:
So THANK YOU Debby for sending me the gorgeous coasters - I'm thinking about a cold pitcher of margarita's right about now :)

AND I just saved myself about $100!! All in the space of 5 minutes!! Yes, that's right. I had an email from my antivirus provider to say my time was almost up and I could renew for the low low price of around $100. I thought to myself  "I can do better than that" so after a quick google search I downloaded for FREE  antivirus software that works with my Windows Vista so I'm all set for another year!! Yippee, I love FREE!

AND when I got home today there was money on the kitchen counter from my daughter who had downloaded a book on my Kindle that she needed to read for an exam AND a bottle of red wine with a note from Michael which read "Welcome Home Jane"!  Awwww, ain't it great to be LOVED??

So, as always, LIFE has its ups and downs. It all balances out in the end. Even though the week has been brutal on several levels I know I'm loved and I have the best friends in the world - literally from all over the world!! YOU!! and YOU!! and YOU TOO!!

AND my two besties are planning to come out for a visit to PEI this summer. Can life really get any better??
Julie, Troy and me - I love you guys!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Could I have a little trumpet fanfare please?

Thank you. Now, how about a drumroll....heehee
Just messing with ya...

Here's a screen cap of my progress bars...updated just moments ago....

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....that looks a little strange!! Where did all of my money go???

Oh yeah, it all went to PAY OFF MY 
That debt is HISTORY BABY!

I didn't really intend to pay it all off at once, I was originally going to pay it off by December, then I thought about a lump sum payment and have it finished by July, then I just started transferring til it was all gone!! I just couldn't stop myself - it felt so good to wipe it out!

From today until the day I retire (796 days!)every spare penny plus the $100 or thereabouts that I was paying monthly in interest on my line of credit, plus the $1700 per month I was currently paying on it plus my usual savings amount will go to replenish and increase my various savings accounts. First I'll refill my emergency account and my PEI Ins. & Taxes as I have a tax bill to pay at the end of May. Then the PEI Maintenance Fund as that money is buying my fridge and stove this summer, then Christmas, then TFSA  (though the bulk of the TFSA will have to wait until Jan. 1st 2013 as you can't repay what you take out in the same year). I should be right back where I started (plus more) by the end of this year. Plus I'll save $100's of dollars in interest.

I'm also waiting for one more automatic payment to show up in my no fee ING chequing account and once it has cleared (next Tuesday) I'll be heading into my local TDCanada Trust to close both my chequing account and Line of Credit account. Yippee!! The service charges I'll be saving will find their way into my savings accounts too!

Now I am almost completely debt-free. The only debt I have is a small mortgage on my PEI home which amounts to $118 twice a month. (I'm actually paying $150 twice a month which has knocked 7 years off the life of the mortgage). I'll consider how much more I can increase that bi-monthly amount in order to reduce the amortization even more.

I have one year left in my mortgage's current term of 3.79%. That was a 3 year fixed rate.  I just looked up ING's mortgage rates and a 3 year fixed rate now is going at 3.19%!!  A 10 year fixed is only 3.99%!! I may lock it in for a 10 year term and ramp up the payments and pay it off as quickly as I can. You're next Mr. Mortgage - I have you in my sights and I'm going to blast you into smithereens!!

What's putting a smile on YOUR face today???

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat...Chit Chat

Please stop by Carla's blog for her Sunday Night Special - Sunday Night Chit Chat!!

First - a photo!
The lovely lady dressed in fuschia and with the oddly shaped white hat is Michael's mother.We were at her daughter's home yesterday to help her celebrate her 79th birthday.  Michael and his brother Andrew were from her first relationship. Then she remarried and had four girlsand another boy for a total of seven children. From those seven children she has a multitude of grand-children and great-grand children, many of whom are in this photo. The girl sitting on the floor with the flowered dress, black sweater and big scowl is Desiree.  I think she was just tired as a few mintues later she was stretched out on the floor with her eyes closed.

What am I reading?
Well, I finished the three Hunger Games books and absolutely LOVED THEM!!  I was SO sad when I finished the last one.  I have a thing for Sci-Fi, fantasy and end of the world type themes so these books suited me to a T.

Now I have really changed gears and am reading this novel:

The Jane Austen Book Club - this book was loaned to me by my good friend Carla - thanks my dear! It was the perfect go-to book after the Hunger Games trilogy. Slower-paced, uplifting, humorous, all about relationships between the characters both good and bad.  The book has plucked me out of an apocalyptic  world and placed me firmly back into the real world.  Gently.

What am I watching? 
Nothing at present but I chose to rent a couple of movies this week that were somewhat influenced by my reading of the Hunger Games books.  (I see this only in retrospect)

One movie tries in imagery to show the creation of the world and the meaning of life; the other movie explores the end of the world when earth is hit by another planet AND the meaning of life.  A little bit of a change from the usual espionage and/or assassin type flicks Michael's generally picks out. And no, he wasn't with me when I picked these two out!!

What am I listening to? 
The Band - Levon Helm passed away Thursday of throat cancer. I was a big fan of The Band. Have a listen:

Glad I accomplished this week: midterm report cards, re-organized my classroom, dancing with Michael and friends, visit with Michael's family.

Looking foward to this week: BBQ with good friends this Saturday night!and PAYING DOWN MY LINE OF CREDIT!! Woo hoo - details to follow!

Thankful for today: family and friends, sunshine, candle light, a cup of tea and a good book!

Don't forget to link up with Carla!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

You can dance, you can jive...

This weekend is a whirlwind of activity compared to what I usually do on the weekends which is read, post, catch on the blogging world, catch up on sleep, exercise, cleaning, cooking....ok, let me rephrase that...this weekend is a whirlwind of DIFFERENT activities from the usual - dancing, going out with friends, visiting Michael's mother, sisters and their families, celebrations (Michael and I are celebrating three years together), wishing my brother "bon voyage" as he boards the train heading out west to Vancouver, B.C. & back to visit some of the places where our Dad hung out after being posted to Comox, B.C. at the end of WWII, renewing friendships with Don & Cheryl who I haven't seen in ages and rejoicing with Kazi as she writes her final university exam today!! So much going on!!

 The dance was called the "BOOMER'S BASH!" I kid you not. We were some of the youngest people there!
 Meeting up with an old friend!
 My "dos amigos" - Jules and Troy - LOVE YOU GUYS!!
 The woman behind Michael was VERY UPSET when she found us sitting at her "reserved" table". Eight seats were reserved for her and we got the other four seats but she didn't like sharing. However by the end of the evening she was Michael's best friend :)
 The more the other party drank the more they liked us!
Michael's friend Chet - guitar player extraordinaire!
 Me and my BFF - Julie - here's to 30 years of friendship!
"and in this wall niche we have a 'boomer' from the 1950's era.....isn't she well-preserved...?"
And finally, here's to a patient and understanding man who doesn't mind when I bring my two best friends to join the party and has to listen to us laugh and snort for hours all the time keeping a dazzling smile on his face!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who Am I.....really...

When I was a kid I looked just like Scout, maybe scrawnier with more sharp edges...but the same haircut, the same older brother, the same determined look on my face, the same tomboy clothes and habits. But to my knowledge I never dressed up as a ham. But I did climb a lot of trees (fell out of more than my fair share too), asked a lot of questions, worried about what was fair, spied on the weird neighbours and was a wee bit afraid of old Mr. Lees, a sinister-looking man who lived at the end of our street.

I also identified with this young lady, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her family's struggles as pioneers starting over and barely making it through long winters of near starvation and unfriendly Indians in the American midwest. She was a survivor, a real spunky kid who would do anything, eat anything, whatever it took to make it til spring.
Just look at those fierce eyes. Not much got past her! What a strong-spirited girl. I sometimes feel as if I really knew her and I'd like to think I have the same will for survival that she had. Just when it seemed winter would never end and the stock pile of potatoes, carrots and turnips was at its end she'd discover a row of turnips that hadn't been dug up or make some kind of deal with Nellie's folks at the store for a bag of flour in exchange for her first-born child that would see her family through the final three week blizzard of yet another treacherous winter.

I once sneaked a peak in one of my brother's journals as I was waiting for him to make a pot of tea. I found that he compared me to this fictional character:
I chose this picture of Scarlett O'Hara because she is wearing a dress she made out of some drapes in order to make herself look like a woman of substance instead of a half-starved destitute survivor of the Civil War who was looking for a rich husband to help her save Tara.  Yup, I would do that too if I had to....though my drapes aren't nearly as nice...
"As God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor  any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

Here's my Tara, my little homestead on the prairie. I planned well, you see, nestling up to my land are several fields of potatoes and occasionally a field of soybeans. I've also heard rumours of quail or partridge in my forest. And if all else fails I'll raise me some chickens...and when a hen is done laying I'll feel no qualms about wringing its scrawny little neck and throwing it in a big soup pot! (Yes, I'll pluck it and gut it first - sheesh!!)

So even though the government wants to mess with my pension and even though I'll be living on less than half of what I am now I know I will survive. I hope I won't be reduced to boiling birch bark for tea and scrambling for grubs  - I know you'll send me a care package if I need one! I've lived frugally all of my life and can't imagine living any other way. Even though I don't blog about money as much as I used to it's still something I think about every day. I don't really consider myself a personal finance blogger so much as a personal LIFE blogger so I hope you're not disappointed by my lack of financial updates and what have you.  Nothing much changes from month to month.

I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination and I'll always have to pinch my pennies and stretch my dollars. It's what I do - I'm a survivor. As opposed to when I lived paycheque to meager paycheque back in my 20's and 30's I DO feel rich now in comparison.  I have some savings and own my condo and I'll retire without debt other than my small PEI mortgage. Although my dad felt my best quality was my SPUNK I feel it's my resourcefulness that keeps me going. As a single mother of one it took some ingenuity and juggling of funds to keep a roof over our heads and food on our plates but I did it and can now look back on those as some of the happiest in my life.

I had no benefits for seven years and relied on a daycare subsidy while I taught part-time. The worst time was when I had to pawn some jewelry in order to pay some utility bills and use a credit card to buy groceries. But, you do what you have to in order to survive. Day by day, year by year my financial condition improved, especially after I managed to get a permanent contract with benefits. Now I have 20 years in, lots of seniority and although our school board is laying off 104 teachers as of today, I'm not one of them. I'll put in my remaining couple of years and move on to the next stage of my life. And I'll be rich as long as we're not talking about monetary riches!!

How has your life changed over the past 20 years?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carla`s Mother`s Day Give Away

Carla is at it again. By holding a give away of a beautiful tote bag and whimsical wallet she is raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Carla is hoping to raise $300 to split between the two charities. Mother`s Day is coming up in May and this is Carla`s generous- spirited way of honouring her mother, her mother-in-law, both affected by cancer.

Please consider joining Carla by making  a donation thereby entering you in a draw to win the lovely tote bag pictured above. Go to this LINK: and join in!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Walking on Sunshine - yeah a!

I'm just a bundle of sunshine aren't I?? Well, my good friend and fellow PEIer Marguerite at Canoe Corner seems to thinks so anyway and has awarded me the Sunshine Award!! So I'm here to spread my warmth around so you can all bask in my glow. I know, what a sap I am sometimes eh? As part of this award I must answer some "personal" questions. So here goes.....

1.  What is your favourite colour?    Well, I know what's NOT my favourite colour!! The colour of mud!! Or the grey drab drear of early springtime before I, the SUNSHINE start to bring up those long-awaited for sprouts which now are turning into early spring flowers: the variegated pinks of my crabapple tree; the luscious pure white and vibrant green of my lily of the valley and the deeper pinks/fuschia of my bleeding heart. I can't really lay claim to only one colour as my favourite...I guess if I HAD to state a preference it would be for the colour combination of blue, purple and green. Like this eye candy!!
2.  What is your favourite animal?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....Again, it would be far easier to list the ones that are NOT my favourite but that would be counter-productive so........ I guess I'll go with - frogs! (no, they're amphibians silly me), chickens? (no), unicorns? (didn't say it had to be a REAL animal!) .... oh ok, enough of being first pet was a mutt of a dog, half one thing and half something else and I loved her more than anything in the world so I'll go with Bootsie....I mean "dogs".

3. What is your favourite number?  I'll go with SEVEN on this one not that it's brought me any luck, I just like it is all. I come from a family of SEVEN, maybe that has something to do with it. My daughter was the 7th grandchild and she's pretty lucky.  SEVEN it is!!

Excuse me a second, the wind is blowing rather briskly today (we're under a "wind warning" right now) and just blew two photographs off a right back!

I'm of the photos was this one:

LOOK AT THAT - MY FAMILY OF SEVEN (cue Twilight Zone music.......)!!!!!!!

4.  What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink? Oh, c'mon....what fun is that?? Ok...since I can I'll include one of each: take some 7-UP, add a shot of Sour Raspberry and you've got - a yummy drink!! Or....take some white wine, some tonic and some Sour Green Apple and you've got - another yummy drink!! Oops, those BOTH have alcohol.....ok ok I've got one - vanilla soy milk!! YUM!!

5.  Which do you prefer - Facebook or Twitter?  Well, I have both but rarely use either - it's just really not my cup of tea. I feel so pressured to be witty or wise or succinct, which you surely know by now I'm NOT, succinct that is...

6.  What is your passion?  What...just one....again?? Since I can only choose one I'll choose READING......... about all of my other passions.....hahaha! I win!

7. Do you prefer giving or receiving presents - that's easy - BOTH!!  I cannot tell a lie (well, I can, but not right now) I love getting surprises - it means someone's thought about MOI!! And then I love to do the same especially when it's least expected!

8.  What's your favourite pattern?  Finally I can give you a straight answer without any deviation from the truth or added embellishment for fun - my favourite pattern is PAISLEY without a doubt, not a nano-second of hesitation!  See that chair that my mom is sitting in while she was no doubt fixing my droopy drawers and then some unknown mean and nasty person decided this would be a good time to take my picture!?) well, that was MY CHAIR as I grew older (and all of my siblings left home - YAY!) and I began to read (my PASSION) and it was just a lovely shade of poopy brown with a fascinating (to me) paisley-ish pattern. Thus began my love affair with paisley as I...

lay in it upside down, sideways, head on the floor & bum on the chair, legs over the top & back on the seat and a multitude of other creative positions.  When my mother finally decided to get rid of that lumpy and threadbare chair I whined and cried until she least until such time as I left home. I don't know why I didn't take it with me - she probably had it whisked away the second I mentioned moving out!!

9.  What is your favourite day of the week? I like Fridays the best as I still have the weekend stretching out in front of me.  Sorry, no punchline on this one.

10.  What is your favourite flower?  I would have to say lily of the valley wins hands down. They say the sense of smell triggers more memories than any other sense and the fragrance of lily of the valley takes me back to a time of lost innocence, when I could run around the yard (and other people's yards too) with not a worry in the world or a care about my safety - I knew I was safe and loved and happy.

And now....a drum roll please...I must pass the Sunshine Award on to a couple of blogs that make me smile :p so here goes...
1.   SLUGGY @  (her quirky sense of humour always gives me a laugh!)
2.   CARLA @ (Carla has a self-deprecating sense of humour and never takes life too seriously!)
3.  DEBBY @  ( I love reading about how Debby juggles her "grands" AND her sewing efforts which are prodigious by the way!)
4.  MAUREEN @  (Maureen is the "come-back" kid and I love cheering her on!)
5.  AND MY BIG SISTER LANNIE (who has always called me "sunshine" awwww, it's true!) @  (She's the one holding me in the family photo!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Google earth shot of my farmhouse & small forest in PEI
So it's that time of year again when we start getting excited and making plans for this summer's trip to PEI. After my crappy day on Thursday Michael and I had a looooooooooong talk which we then decided to continue at Swiss Chalet. After discussing our days - the good, the bad and the ugly - we switched gears to talk about when we might leave for PEI. I'm finished work by about noon on Friday, June 29th so we're mulling whether to leave that afternoon or wait til the Saturday. Things that influence our decision - driving through Montreal (it's best to drive through Montreal well after rush hour - much quicker) and where to spend the night (usually in Edmunston, N.B.) and what time we'd like to arrive at our house in PEI (before dark!).

Last year's trip was far from ideal so I made a list of what to do differently this year. If you remember my posts from last July's trip we took turns driving/sleeping (hah!) and didn't spend the night anywhere - we drove straight through. That was mistake #1 as it ain't easy sleeping in a compact car which is so packed with stuff that we couldn't recline the passenger seat!  When we started up our .4km laneway to our house in PEI it was DARK (mistake #2) AND the laneway hadn't been cut yet (yes, it's a red dirt and grass road so that was mistake #3).

Our laneway

Mistakes 4 & 5 were doozies:  the electricity wasn't on of course so we headed to the basement and flipped the breaker switch - great!! We had light!! (I had called Maritime Electric before leaving London, ON so they would turn on our electricity before we got there - see, not everything we did was a mistake...sort of...)  Then we tried to get the pump going because we have a well and had the house winterized before leaving last August. Sounds like a good plan right? Nope. We didn't have a clue about "priming the pump" so decided we could live without water for one night and then see if we could find a plumber the next day. Meanwhile with the electricity turned on the element in our hot water tank was all fired up but the element burned out (unbeknownst to us) because there was NO WATER in the tank!

Of course, we didn't find out about that until we finally got the water going which was not until the following evening. Plumbers aren't that plentiful in our area - especially on the Sunday of the Canada Day holiday weekend. Can you imagine their rates if we had found one??

There are a lot of friendly people in PEI

What happened next is one of our BEST friendly PEI people stories: while trying to locate a plumber we had driven to a neighbour's house. He gave us a phone number to try but when we got back to our house we found that the number was incorrect. After many more phone calls and attempts at figuring out the plumbing problem ourselves our neighbour showed up with his father in tow. He was feeling absolutely mortified because he'd realized he'd given us a wrong number. Between him, his dad and Michael they had our pump going within the next half hour. We were thrilled at their kindness and thanked them profusely. They were a bit overwhelmed at our gratitude because to them they'd done nothing out of the ordinary by lending us a hand.

Of course now that we had water we wanted to take showers and this is when we realized we had no hot water. Hoo boy. The next day was Monday so we were able to get in touch with a plumber/jack-of-all- trades that we had met the previous summer. Now this guy does quality work but only on his schedule. He's over 70 and doesn't like to get up too early in the day. Then, like the other guys his age, he hangs out at the local Esso station drinking coffee and jabbering away about the events of the day (and likely making fun of those folks "from away" who don't know how to prime a pump and who don't know enough to make sure the hot water tank is either filled with water or turned OFF before turning on the electricity!)

The view that makes it all worth while!

Anyhoo he finally showed up sometime Monday afternoon and declared the element in the hot water tank to be pooched. So off he went to the local Kent store (about 15 minutes away and another favorite spot to catch up with his buddies).  Just when I thought he'd forgotten about us he came back and replaced the element.  Finally, two days after arriving we had electricity and cold/hot running water. Now I know how the PIONEERS felt!

Our stupidity didn't end there. Michael wanted to show his gratitude to our neighbour in a more tangible way so we drove to O'Leary and bought a Tim Horton's gift card. The look on our neighbour's face when Michael gave him the card was one of complete bewilderment. Why on earth would we give him a gift?? He kept repeating "you don't have to do that" and he really meant it. We had offended him by thinking we had to give him something to repay him for his kindness. To him he was just being neighbourly, in fact, I don't even think he gave conscious thought to his reasons for helping us out - it's just what you do. If there comes a time when he needs help with something he'll know he can come to us. But a gift card? Big NO NO!!

Where our road -Butcher Rd. - meets Mill River East Rd.

So we learned many valuable lessons within our first 48 hours on the island last summer. We were there for another seven weeks and learned many more which I'll share in another post. This one has gone on long enough!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh What a Night!

Oh, what a night, late December back in '63What a very special time for meAs I remember what a night!

Today is a "post day" as I have shifted from posting daily to posting every other day and commenting on my "off-post" days.

Today at school was a hellish kind of day as I was attacked verbally by one of my EAs at 7:30am. I'm not going to bore you with the details because it's the same old story - kids with autism who can be aggressive at times shouldn't be allowed to come to school! That's her version, not mine. I'm getting a little tired of fighting this battle and the next two years can't pass quickly enough. It's not enough to quote the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to some of my EAs (the old school female EAs), they are only concerned about themselves.  Do they bother to upgrade their skills, try different strategies, adapt to different types of students? NO, they just want these kids removed so that they can have a cushy job. 

The End

Moving on...this week was a week of wins and losses:

  • my dear friend Maureen awarded me with the lovely Liebster Award!! Thanks Mau - here are five things you may not know about me: a) I was the "after thought " baby - my parents had 2 girls then 2 boys.....then 4 years later I showed up :) SURPRISE!!! b) I started turning grey in my 20's and dyed my hair til I was 40, then gave up. I have had more compliments about my salt and pepper 1/4 inch long hair now than anytime previously c) I have a weakness for candy; especially black licorice and dark chocolate with sea salt d) my best girlfriend growing up is now a man (that should be it's own post don't you think??) e) when I was little I wanted to be a ballerina in the worst way, but in my little village the only lessons available were skating lessons or piano lessons...I chose the piano and can still play some of my childhood songs by memory:)
  • I won a gorgeous set of purple coasters from Debby - I can't wait to get them in the mail. I have decided to take them out east with me this summer. I'll use them on my idyllic front veranda!
  • I also won a $25.00 gift certificate from Little Lamb. She recently became consumer debt FREE! and celebrated by encouraging everyone to participate in some form of physical exercise. I vowed to complete a 25km bike ride so my name was entered in her draw. I told Little Lamb that I would use the money to make another Kiva loan so she sent me a Kiva gift certificate. I made my 16th Kiva loan with that $25.00 gift certificate. I am thrilled that I could put my winnings to such good use.
  • I DID NOT complete the 10 Pound Challenge successfully. However, I did lose 11 pounds since last September. BUT, since this challenge began in January I've only lost 8 pounds. I'm very pleased with where I'm at weight wise though I will continue to watch what I eat. This is one challenge that I'm not too  upset about losing- my clothes fit so much better and I feel I have healthy eating habits well established. That's not to say that I don't ever indulge! Why, just tonight we went to Swiss Chalet to continue our heart to heart talk and then indulged in icecream. BUT the majority of the time I'm very conscious about what I eat. I'm just not completely RIGID about it.
  • I have joined the Tasmanian Minimalist in her NO FRIPPERIES APRIL and until tonight I was doing really well with many no spend days under my belt. But tonight, Michael and I were having such a great heart to heart talk no one was making supper so we decided to go to Swiss Chalet and continue our talk. I unloaded about my day and it continued on to discussions about our kids, our previous relationships and so on. Well worth the $$$!! I don't call heart to heart talks FRIPPERIES!!
So there you have it. You win some, you lose some. But...Oh What a Night!! Now I'm off to continue the 3rd book of the Hunger Games trilogy. These are the best books I've read since the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Run, don't walk, to your nearest book store and buy these books!! Actually I bought the second and third books via Amazon as a download to my Kindle as they were around $7 and $5 respectively. Considering my daughter paid about $20 for the first book at Chapters the downloads were a BARGAIN!!  Michael's starting the first book tonight...when he's done we'll go see the movie - can't wait!!

Tomorrow's FRIDAY!! WOO HOO!! I love short work weeks!  Hope y'all have had a better week than me!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Things I Want to do When I Retire

Yes, one of the things I'll do when I retire is move to Crofters Lane in PEI. But life doesn't end just because I can sit back in my rocking chair on my front porch, put my feet up on the railing and watch the sun rise.  No, I have a long list of things I want to do and try. I'm going to start my list here and add to it as I think of yet more things I'd like to do - some things I like to do already but just don't have the time. Others are new things that I'd like to try and have to do with living a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • get back to carving - it's been a couple of years since I started anything and I miss it; unfortunately it's one of those activities that requires a lot of time alone and a workshop. I used to carve when I went to the trailer (alone). I'll take something with me this summer IF I can fit my rather large toolbox in the car. Above are a few examples of my work - I like to carve in wood, soapstone, stone, fossils and plaster of paris. 
  • grow? grind  heritage grains for baking my own bread, buns, muffins etc NO MORE refined flour
  • grow blueberries and make my own cordial 
  • horseback riding - as a child I rode almost every day and I sure do miss it
  • have a dog
  • raise chickens
  • travel travel travel
  • get back to my genealogical research - this is a hobby that takes up a LOT of time but one that I have continued on from my mother's research. Haven't renewed my membership with for the past few years, just don't have the time
  • visit the places where my ancestors originated from, for example Dickleburgh in South Norfolk County
  • write write write
  • photography - set up a dark room
  • build a barn to house my many hobbies and gardening equipment
  • walk the medieval pilgrimage to St. James Compostela 
  • visit all of the romanesque and gothic cathedrals that I studied at university  
  • build a yurt (B&B)
That'll do for now, but I will revisit this list from time to time to update.  Do you have some "things to do" that you are putting off until retirement??

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Today seems to be a day for rambling on about whatever pops into our heads. So give me a minute to clear my mind......

  • this is going to be a strange Easter; Michael has gone off to Trenton to visit his son, about a 5 hour drive from here and Kazi, reunited with her boyfriend, is off with him to Toronto to see a concert and so I am all alone until Sunday night
  • before you start feeling sorry for me please know that this is a mini-holiday for MOI!! and I love spending time with me, myself and I!! I don't often get any time to myself as it's a rare event that both Kazi and Michael are gone at the same time so I plan to revel in my FREEDOM! 

  • today, being Good Friday, I am staying close to home and plan to read "The Hunger Games." I have lots of leftover Vietnamese food from last night's dinner out and an extra-large Timmy's to sustain me. If I feel really energetic (not likely after the stressful work week I've had) I'll clean up around here a little....very little!
  • I also plan to get my lazy butt back on my bike today, for some reason I've either been too busy or too tired this week to get that last few miles done that will bring me to Karen in Cape May.

  • tonight I get to watch whatever I want on Netflix - what luxury!! It'll be a real treat not to have to watch something about assassins or spies or ninjas!!
  • tomorrow I'll start tackling the laundry as the electricity rates are cheapest on the weekend. Then it's dinner with the girls and I've talked them into seeing "There's Something about Kevin"!! I hope they won't regret it! (it's more to my taste than their's!)
  • Sunday I want to get out into nature and I found an article in the paper about a conservation area where I've never hiked before.  Hopefully it won't rain! At some point both Michael and Kazi will return home and by then I should be missing them both....maybe...

  • early Monday I may head over to Talize, our local thrift store, because they are having a store-wide 50% off sale!! Starting at 7am!! I just might have to check that out! And then my thoughts will turn to school and I'll spend some time getting ready for another short work week. 
  • On another note - Kazi has been hired by Mosaic, a public relations firm and she was chosen (one of 40) to be a BUD girl at the Blue Jay's home opener at The Rogers Centre in Toronto on Monday so it's back to Toronto for her. She'll be at one of the entrance gates handing out free Budweiser merchandise as they promote their new bar at the Centre and their new beer can and other products. I hear their sunglasses are the latest IN thing! (if you're 20). She's very excited! (me, not so much)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The times they are a-changin'!

How many of you are in a relationship where you both have to wake up early in the morning but at different times?  Could I get a show of hands please?.........ok, thanks, there are a number of you. How do you deal with this problem? Or maybe it isn't a problem for you. Perhaps you both jump out of bed at your predetermined times all perky and singing a happy song just chomping at the bit to begin your day. If so, I'm happy for you, truly I am...

If you were laying next to me, however, I would have to kill you!

Currently my alarm goes off at six giving me about 7 hours of sleep. Based on years of research this amount of sleep seems to work for me. While I'm not exactly perky when I get up, I am awake, and that is the most important thing. I have enough time to shower, dress, put on my war paint, pack my lunch, eat a hot breakfast, pick up a coffee and arrive at work by 7:10am.

My "other half" on the "other hand" doesn't have to be to work til 9:30am!! Yeah, so what the heck is he doing setting his alarm for....wait for it.....
Well, you'd have to ask HIM about THAT!! But I can tell you it sometimes includes a jog/walk around the neighbourhood, but today even though his alarm WENT OFF at 5am he decided he was "too tired" so stayed in bed.

Meanwhile I laid there wide awake waiting for MY alarm to go off at 6am.

As a result I dragged myself through my day and by the time I picked Michael up at 3:30pm I was feeling just a wee bit CRANKY!!
oh....wait....that's not my cranky face....
THAT's my cranky face....

I think I will leave you with a song...because Bob said it best - "the TIMES, they are a-changin'!!!!"

Good night all, I'm going to bed early tonight!