Monday, December 31, 2012

Canada beats Russia!!

Just added Blogger to my new iPhone and wanted to try it out 😀 now I can post from anywhere! I hope...

Hippy New Yurt

When you're feeling low.........DANCE!!
Hi y'all! I have a million things to do to get ready for winter camping BUT FIRST I have to watch my Canadian Junior Hockey team whup Russia's derriere! Right now we're winning 3-1 but it's only the second period and you can't sit on a small lead when you're playing the RUSSIANS!! They are way too good!

Once we win this game however, (gotta be confident!), then I must make a quick round of grocery store, Canadian Tire and liquor store for a few necessities (nudge nudge, wink wink) to help us through the next few days of winter camping. Yes, magically over the past year we have forgotten about our frozen toes and drippy noses, wet firewood and the aromatic results of Three Bean Chilli and we want to do it again!

Remember these.......?
Michael popping the cork on our bottle of champagne on New Year's Day, 2012!

Toasting each other and all of our family and friends.

You can't see it but I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire. With a bit of light snow pellets
falling it was a memorable night!

The next day we awoke to this! We spent the afternoon hiking and taking some

I hope I can still fit into my snow pants! I'll be doing the Hippy Hippy Shake. 
(I tried to paste the youtube video for this song but I seem to be having great difficulty
with links and embedding today?!)

Anyhoo the point is I'm not any thinner than I was last year at this time :( so guess who needs
to get back on her stationary bike? More to come on THAT topic!

For today I simply want to wish you all a Happy New Year! 
There has been a lot of sadness in 2012 and we all need to
keep the faith that events are unfolding as they should.
Let's be kind to one another throughout 2013
and remember that a simple act of kindness
can be life changing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Open House Celebration

 Season's Greetings my friends! Here are a bunch of photos from our Open House that we held on Friday night. I can't believe that Michael and I managed to super clean the house and prepare food etc on top of our already busy schedules but we did it! I will admit that there were a couple of dishes that I purchased the supplies for and didn't have the time to make, however, we had more than enough food so it all worked out. The dish above is a dip that contains a layer of goat cheese frosted with an olive and garlic tapenade with chopped green pepper garnish. So delicious and super easy to prepare!
These were a hit too! I saw this simple recipe on facebook, posted by a friend of mine. Melted chocolate chips and pomegranate arils - a great combination of sweet and tart!
 Here's everyone's favorite host - Michael - indulging just before our guests began to arrive :) He prepared our annual sorrel drink (a Jamaican original), also a big hit, along with saltfish fritters, kale dip and a hearty quinoa salad.
This is a picture of a basement corner that Michael recently turned into a little office space for himself. He's so HAPPY! to have a little spot of his own and yes, that's a painting of him above the shelf :)
 Our condo isn't very large so we used a desk in our tiny kitchen as our "drinks" centre complete with glasses, ice bucket and corkscrews - it worked just great!
 Our first guests: Stephen, recently back from teaching for TWELVE years in Taiwan!, Julie who I've known for half my life - we went to university together, and Troy who I met through Julie and who has become a close friend.
My gorgeous daughter and her boyfriend, Steve, dropped by early as they were headed out to his work's Christmas party. Steve's a good guy - he laughs at her "princessy" ways and keeps her feet firmly planted on the ground - he works for a landscaping company and hopes to have his own business someday.
 I love this picture of Tiffany! Several times she was about to leave but then would refill her glass from the punch bowl of sorrel. She probably would have left earlier if she'd been sitting somewhere else!!
 Our great friends Robin and Ken, recently married this past June. They are coming winter camping with us in January! Hmmmmm, the pictures are starting to get a bit blurry.....
 A good friend from school - Liz, and her husband Thom - we had so many good laughs that evening - they are both great story tellers!!
 A party isn't a party until Ravishing Ruth arrives (on the left!)
She had me in stitches all night long!
Not sure what story she was telling here but she certainly had our attention!
 Everyone had to have a picture taken with Santa :)
Yikes! I'm too close with my camera! Ruth's cousin, Caroline, beside her and was her DD!
Awwwww, while it looks like we're sitting on Robin she was actually behind the chair we were sitting on!
 I'm thinking Caroline didn't get what she wanted from Santa?!?
 But Santa got what he wanted!  hee hee hee!
 I love my friend Jules!! She's a fabulous artist!
 This picture was taken at the beginning of the evening, believe it or not - I was pretending to be a model doing a photo shoot, spinning and twirling for Michael :)
Jules, Steve and Troy having a deep conversation about the environment - Julie's favorite topic - yes, she's a tree hugger extraordinaire!
See what I mean about Tiffany being too close to the punch bowl?
Before we got TOO rowdy!
 OK, the sideways photos were taken with my OLD camera by Michael. It's been dropped so many times so that every picture comes out in a different direction and can't be corrected...hence I bought myself a new camera as an early Christmas present for MOI!
Caroline, Ruthie and ME!
 Getting mushy for the camera!
Awwww,aren't we cute?
 Oops, there we go again! a BIG smile from Caroline this time though!

Michael getting squished between me, Ruthie and Liz!

No sedate parties at our house!  BUT we did collect a fair bit of food for Michael's workplace. They have a closet where they keep emergency supplies for low-income families in their neighbourhood.

You know what the great thing is about doing all the prep prior to a party???
 You don't have to CLEAN UP!! When I got up Saturday morning this......
...and this...was all cleaned up!! Thanks Michael!
Now it's Sunday morning and I need some breakfast, after which I am going to do some major blog reading! I really need to catch up with you all! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holy Moly - What Can I Say?

So Michael said I should write a post. That's me, in case you forgot what I look like. It's hard to know what to write - the longer I don't write the harder it is to get started again. It's not that I don't want to write, I do, I do want to write, and thank you to those who have let me know you miss me :)

My mind is like that bench - empty! Right now all of my brain cells are directed towards my job. Every September I accept the fact that I'll have no life of my own for a few weeks as I get my program up and running again. I can live with that - it is what it is. This year, however, I still have no life of my own and here it is December 9th!

So...mark this day on your calendar is the official beginning of a new era!  Yes, today is
"Jane Takes Back Her Life" day!  I must mark this day with a goes...

"To my infinitely patient family - Kazi and Michael - I say a big THANK YOU for accepting the fact that even though I was here I was not present! Thank you for feeding me and letting me fall asleep on the couch at 8pm. Thank you for loving me even when I didn't have the energy to give you the attention you both deserve. I love you both very much! I couldn't have survived the last 3+ months without you!"

I don't really enjoy working 70-80 hour weeks - it has just seemed so necessary. Staffing issues continue, one after another. The season of Advent is upon us which means organizing fundraisers to help out needy families as well as assembling a number of special activities with my students and their Peer Buddies. On top of all of that Michael decided we should host an open house for our family and friends this coming Friday!

Normally I would say YIKES but you know what?? Having other fun stuff to focus on has brought me back to LIFE!! The more energy I expend the more I seem to have. Curious, no? (Don't I just wish the same happened with MONEY? We won't even GO THERE!)

So we've been busy cleaning and cooking and shopping and baking and rearranging and I think we're going to make it! The house is more organized than its been in months and is filled with the smells of Jamaican home cooking! Yesterday we went and chopped down our tree and it's perfect - I just need Kazi to come home and decorate it with me:)

I think the spirit of Christmas is starting to percolate deep down inside of me and will soon come bubbling forth in all of its usual MAGNIFICENCE!! 

I'll try and keep you posted....