Friday, June 29, 2012

Fourth Friday - Four years ago

There is nothing I can do about what happened four years ago.  Today I will just share a poem I wrote as it tells how I truly feel.  Someone told me once that I should try and think of this as a puzzle that might never be solved and suggested that I should try and just surrender.

Gino, my sister, me and the BOYZ (Ryan, Anjay and Brian)
This photo was taken at my daughter's wedding in 2006.  As you can see everyone is smiling as this was one of the happiest vacation that all of us took.  All our family and both my daughter's and Gino's best friends were there.  We will always remember this as our happy times with my son.  

Even though our lives have change since you have been gone, our love for you remains.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Cute Thursday - what's not to love

Since this post is a little too late, I thought I would still try and get it in before midnight as technically it is still Thursday.  Today my MIL showed me her completed bracelet.  I said completed because last Christmas we gave her a bracelet similar to those Pandora.  We started with only a few charms.  On her birthday last April we gave her a few more pieces to add.  While we were on our vacation, we found a some really cute charms to add and gave it to her.  She rearrange them and needed to add a couple more and now this is how it looks.

I placed her bracelet on her kitchen spoon rack which of course has a ladybug.
 My MIL has a lot of lady bug collection, from mugs, tea pot, magnets, garden decor, note cards, recycle bags, purse, wallet, eye glass holder, socks, pillows, and many many more. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wimbledon Wednesday - A lot of tennis

If you are not a tennis fan then this is not going to affect you at all.  But for someone who truly loves tennis, the next two weeks will be all about watching Wimbledon.  Lucky for me, I can record all the coverage without interfering with Jeff's regular scheduled shows.  But since most of the shows are all on summer break, it's not a problem.  Can you imagine if we did not have a DVR, this means I will have to get up really early if I want to watch a specific match or I will be staying at home for 8 to 10 hours just watching tennis.  As soon as I get up, I turn the TV to start the recorded coverage which usually starts around 400 am.  I would have breakfast with Wimbledon and lunch with Wimbledon.  House chores is done during commercials or when the matches is not one of my favorite players.  If I need to go somewhere, it's not a big deal because I will just continue where I left off.  I love our DVR.  When I lived alone and did not have DVR or any sort of machine to record, I would actually set an alarm so I could watch the Semis and Finals for both Men's and Women's match.  I would be very tired when I get to work if I decided to watch the quarter finals.  Now I don't have to do this at all but because there are many hours being recorded, I would really need to watch each day in order to catch up.  So far, it's been good and I have watch the coverage in half the time.  If you have followed my blog for the last year, you already know who I will be cheering for and it does not change, only the tournament changes but I am a loyal fan to the following.
  • Mr. Roger Federer
  • Mr. Rafael Nadal
  • Mr. Novak Djokovic
  • Miss Maria Sharapova
  • Miss Na Li
  • Miss Samantha Stosur
Good luck to all my favorite players and although only one from each category will become the champion, you are all champions in my book.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Maybe Monday - Meal Planning

A few pounds gained after our cruise made me think about planning our meal.  If you remember about a month ago, my daughter gave me this Menu Planning Pad which I have placed in front of our fridge.  Now that we are going back to eating healthy, I will be planning our dinner meals.  Since Jeff makes his own breakfast during the week and eats lunch at their very nice cafeteria at work, dinner is the only meal I have to cook.  While looking for a piece of paper for my daughter, I saw a poster of the Canada's Food Guide which I got at the Diabetes Center in Mississauga.  Now I have that posted as well and will be following it for our meal planning.  I will be using some of the recipe that I already know by heart but will start looking for new ones.  Jeff suggested to just do at least two weeks of a variety of menu and then we will just repeat it again.  After a month we can see if we actually lose weight and then I can add or subtract some of the menu.  Of course we are still going to do whatever exercise we want.  For me, I will continue with tennis, golf and of course the Just Dance 3Maybe I can share with you these two week planned meals once I have finalized them. I would like to try them first before posting them.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Timely Tuesday - A different kind of Marshall

When I told a friend that I will be going for an interview for a volunteer job as a Marshall, she was shocked and said why would I want to do that.  I immediately corrected myself.  It's actually a Marshall at a Golf Course which also involves being a Starter.  For those of you who are golfers or are married to golfers, then you know what I am talking about.  So I am hoping that I do get this job because of the benefits.  But for now I will have to wait until after my interview before I start counting how many golf games I could do in a week.  The only thing about this volunteer is that at the beginning, the only opening is Saturday or Sunday for four hours.  Before I sent my interest, I ask Jeff if that was acceptable because week ends is our time together.  He is currently doing a few projects so he will be really busy this summer trying to get some of the projects completed.  I am hoping that I will get a chance to do this type of volunteer.  Before I retired, when my friends would ask what I would do with my free time.  This one was at the top of my list but since I did not see any opening when I moved here, I ended up volunteering for the Library and another agency.  I hope to share the result of this new and exciting prospect.  

Definition: A "marshal" on a golf course is an individual whose job it is to patrol a golf course, keeping the pace of play up and responding to golfers' questions or concerns. During a tournament, a marshal's job is primarily crowd control.  At most courses, marshals are volunteers who ride in marked golf carts, and their primary value is in their visibility. If golfers know a course has marshals, they are more likely to police themselves. Slow play is a primary concern for marshals, and some courses allow marshals to force slow groups to move up, skipping part or all of a hole in order to speed up play. If disputes arise between groups of golfers or issues relating to pace of play or etiquette, those groups should seek out a course marshal to mediate. Golf course marshals have no legal authority; as noted, they are typically volunteers (many golf courses provide free golf to volunteer marshals). However, golfers should follow the requests and instructions of marshals, if a marshal offers such.


Sorry Sunday - Our Alaskan Cruise

The long awaited Alaska Cruise is now over and we are back at home.  Although the vacation itself was great, the cruise line we picked was a disappointment and here's why.
  • The food in the two main dining room was edible but nothing to rave about.  Some of the meals were missing some item that was described on the menu.  The fish dishes were usually dry and missing some sort of sauce and sometimes a starch (rice or potatoes).  The steaks were usually not cooked right, very fatty and lots of grizzles.
  • Some of their plates were old/scratched and table cloths and napkins were stained.
  • Some of the public restrooms (ladies) were not clean.
  • The entertainment was just OK.  The entertainers (bands, trio or solo) played very sleepy music.  Maybe more catered to older traveler.
  • Some of the activities are either so early in the morning or around the meal time.
  • The only drink that was free was water and unsweetened ice tea in the Garden Cafe (Buffet).  Most of the food were lukewarm not hot.
Although the scenery in the various ports of call (Juneau, Skagway, Ketchican, Glacier Bay and Victoria) were excellent, the hours in each port are either too short or too long.  We also experienced a very bad weather sailing from Ketchican to Victoria.  It was so bad that I had to take a pill to fall asleep because of the ship rocking back and forth as we go through the rough sea.  I actually told Jeff that I would not want to go on a cruise again.

The best part of this trip was being in Skagway as it brings back some memories of my life in Whitehorse, Yukon.  We use to drive to Skagway in the summer to see the big ship comes in. This time I was on the ship getting off in Skagway as a tourist.  The other best part of our trip was reconnecting with friends in Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.  

One final note: If you are planning to go on a cruise, please do not pick NCL as there are many other cruise lines that you will enjoy.  Do your research and talk to people who have been on a lot of cruises.  As for our next cruise, hmmmm, I will have to think about it. 

Early morning view from the window of our stateroom.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wimbledon Wednesday - Only 4 more sleeps

That's right only four more sleeps and it's will be the opening of the Wimbledon Open 2012.  On Monday will start the first round and the coverage will be very early in the morning but it won't be a problem because Jeff records everything for me.  Later in the day after all my chores are done or my volunteer work or helping my MIL or playing tennis or golf, then I sit in our living room and watch it and breeze through the commercials.  I could watch it all in less than half of the recorded time.  My favorite players does not change much unless for some reason they are not playing.  From the women's side - Ms. Sharapova, Ms. Stosur, Ms. Na and maybe Ms. Radwanska.  From the men's side - Mr. Federer, Mr. Nadal, Mr. Djokovic and Mr. Ferrer.  Unless they are playing with each other in the semi's or finals, then it becomes difficult because I would have to only cheer for one.  I am just hoping that one particular woman player does not show up so that I can really enjoy watching this year's Wimbledon.  To all my favorites, Good luck and may the best player wins.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Manipedi Monday - A day just for me

Every once in a while I like spending a day doing something that is just about me.  I know it might be a little selfish but I figured, I am retired and I should not be guilty.  Now that I have at least three volunteer jobs, it's nice to have a day when I get pampered.  It could involved my regular appointment at the hair salon, maybe a mani pedi (I do my own most of the time) and once or twice a year I get to go to a real Spa and have an hour classic massage.  When I lived in Canada, I had a very special massage therapist named Carolyn.  She is so awesome as she works on different parts of your muscles and releases the tightness where it's needed.  She has her own business at home so it's very relaxing.  The last time I had the mani pedi, I chose turquoise.  Sometimes it's good to check how they do certain design as I learn from it.
Nail Salon Manicure
Nail Salon Pedicure
My own Manicure
My own Pedicure

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friendship Friday - How long does friendship last?

BFF - Best Friend Forever
FFF - Friends From Faraway
FWF - Fair Weather Friends
STF - Short Time Friends
FAW - Friends at Work
YDF - Your daughter's friends
YSF - Your son's friends
FOM - Friends of Mom
FOD - Friends of Dad
ANF - Acquaintances not friends 

Only the first one is really being used by most, the rest of these acronyms are just the result of my last minute brain storming.  How long does friendship last?  If we follow the first one BFF then it should last forever, right.  Through life we meet different kinds of friends and sometimes we lose touch and sometimes reconnect again.  The one that hurts the most are the ones you thought was your best friend but one day she just CUT you off - just like that.  Lucky for me I only have one that did that and at that time, it really hurts.  But one of my true BFF said, it's her loss and you have so many other girlfriends that would be happy to take her place. 
It is amazing that with all the different places that I have lived, I still keep in touch with some of my friends (including childhood friends) and BFF's.  Sometime this month I will be meeting a couple of them.  I met both of them when we lived in Whitehorse in 1983 - that is almost 30 years.  Cherry who stayed with us during the summer months working as a Biologist (Fisheries) and Nerges who moved to Whitehorse as a result of a bank job transfer.  It is going to be so nice to reconnect with them and catch up on life's ups and downs as well as reminisce.
Whitehorse was the place where we have seen the brightest and awesome northern lights.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Truthful Thursday - Not ready for total grey

It has been many years since the grey hair appeared and I am really not ready to be totally grey.  The problem is that my hair grows so fast that the roots starts changing after one week.  Because of several bad hair coloring product, I don't really trust doing it myself.  Sometimes I use a temporary color spray if I am going somewhere important, otherwise if I am playing tennis I wear a hat, if I am golfing I also wear a hat.  When the growth is almost an inch and I have to go out shopping or errands for my MIL, I put my hair in a pony tail and wear my Harley Davidson hat.  Every now and then, I am a bit daring and wear one of the wigs that I bought at this special store where the have really great price.  Here's my pony tail add on.
The color of this wig is very similar to my current high lights.
My next appointment will be in a few days and I am a bit excited because not only am I getting my roots done, I believe I will have some high lights and low lights.  It is also time to get a trim of my bangs and the ends to remove the dry part.   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Wednesday - A place to relax

What is a vacation?  It's when you go away from your day to day routine and do something relaxing.  This is also a time when you don't do any housework and that includes cooking.
When you hear the stories of some vacation, it sounds like they did not have a relaxing time.   For example, when you go away and you stay in a place that has cooking facilities, that's a give away that you will end up doing some cooking and housekeeping.  When you plan your vacation and you include a lot of different tours, etc., that is not relaxing at all because you have to follow a schedule and either you do a lot of walking or some form of tiring activity.  One form of vacation that I am not interested at all is CAMPING (been there, done that, will not do it ever again).  So where do I want to go for my vacation?  Here's my list.

  • All inclusive resort for a week somewhere in the Caribbean
  • Three or four nights at a nice hotel in Las Vegas
  • An overnight stay at a Hotel with Spa (an hour massage)
  • 7-day cruise to a destination and a cruise line we have never been
  • A week of golf and tennis at a resort in Big Island Hawaii
Are you way overdue for a really nice vacation?  Do you have a favorite resort/hotel that you keep returning to?  Was your last vacation involved just family visits?  Do you have any plans this year or next to try a different style of vacation?
Burj Al Arab exterior
Burj Al Arab
It's only in my dream.  I was actually in Dubai when they were starting to build this hotel. The best rate for May 2013 is about $1,121,12 per night which includes a personalized butler service, a sumptuous buffet, Hermes products for his and her, fresh fruits and dates, free access to their water park.  At the end of today it is still only in my dream.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Soulful Sunday - June Birthdays

When I start to think of ideas about my daily post, sometimes it comes very quickly and I can just talk about the particular topic continuously.  But lately I would be looking at the black screen and my mind just goes blank.  That's when I thought of sending birthday wishes to all my friends and family who are celebrating this month. May you all have many more happy birthdays to come and may all your wishes come true. 

 June 10 - Lorna - BFF in Ottawa
June 12 - Cristy - cousin in Mississauga
June 19 - Jo - cousin in San Jose
June 23 - Gina - BFF in Etobicoke
June 29 - Patti - BFF in Edmonton
June 29 - GreenLee - step granddaughter in San Jose


Friday, June 8, 2012

Fixing Friday - Front and Back

After a couple of estimates, Jeff decided to have some work to be done in our front yard and back yard.  I got excited because the dreaded ivy that scares the hell out me specially at night will be gone.  Correction, partially gone as only the ivy on the left side has been taken out.  Jeff is still contemplating on the rest of the ivy - maybe he might decide to just have them all removed and replace them with just regular grass which is much easier to take care off and not as scary.  There will be a lot of work for the next four to six weeks so I might not be able to post every day as I have do some supervision of the workers.  The front left side will have a new drive way and retaining wall.  The left side will have the continuing retaining wall all the way to the back of the house.  There is a wooden wall on the left side of the house and this will be removed and replaced with cement wall which will be a continuation of the part that is already a cement wall.  Part of this area will have a cement floor which will be used by Jeff when he builds a work shed which will store some of his tools.  In the back the old wooden post retaining wall that is rotting away will be removed and replaced with some nice grey keystone cement block.  This same landscaper did some work at my MIL's front/back yard and she is very pleased with the changes that was done.  It is very low maintenance style with some grey rocks and red rocks as well as keystone retaining wall.  They accented with flowering bushes that is enclosed by a scalloped cement borders. 
Keystone retaining wall

 Scalloped Cement borders 

The dreaded ivy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Truthful Thursday - six years ago today

The best wedding I ever attended was my daughter's wedding six years ago today.  The reason why it was the best is because we all had an all inclusive vacation.  During that week we got to know their friends, my son's friends, her in-laws friends and other family members.  Most of the time when you attend a wedding, it's a few hours and it's over.  This style of wedding is seven days of fun and great times.  The food and drinks are all included and even some of the entertainment.  Another reason is that the dress code for the wedding was so casual so there was not stress for any one attending.

Very memorable moment
Further more, they are still happily married and they continue to vacation at different all inclusive resorts in several countries.  In fact on their sixth year anniversary they are heading to Cancun to celebrate, do some R&R and just enjoy each others company.  Some of their other vacations seems to be with other couples, so this time they are on their own.  To Alysia and Mike, we wish you a lifetime of togetherness, happiness, as well as fun and laughter.  

Of course, this day would not be complete if we don't dedicate this song.  Everyone that was at the wedding will always remember this song because they played it so many times per day during our stay.  It's so catchy and you cannot get it out of your head.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Which Wednesday - Small and cute

When you see something that are small and tiny, most of the comment you will get is Oh it's so cute.  Yesterday I finished an adult version of those baby slippers I made a few weeks ago.  I know you will agree with me that I should just keep sewing the baby version.  Here's why.
Cute baby slippers
Not so cute slippers
It is made of the same fabric and similar pattern but for some reason it loses it's cuteness when it is a larger version.  The only benefit of this trial slipper is that I can use it on our vacation as my bedroom slippers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Timely Tuesday - Banana's gone bad

What happens when you don't eat bananas on time?  They become either banana bread or banana nut muffins.  But what happens when you try something new and be a little daring.  Unfortunately it becomes Banana muffins gone bad.  Yesterday I had two over ripe bananas and I thought I would try a different recipe.  I saw a box of Honey Cornbread Muffin Mix in our cupboard.  The recipe did not look hard, mix 1 cup of milk, one egg and the mixture.  So I did and decided to add the mashed banana and some chopped walnuts.  After a few minutes in the oven, I checked and it did not look right.  But since I had about 10 more minutes left, I thought it should be OK.  When the timer went off, I remove the muffin pan from the oven.  I let it cool and thought of having it for my afternoon snack.  I took one bite and it was very dense and dry.  There was not much flavor but I took another bite at which time I decided it was not something I would like to finish eating.  My only conclusion is that the box was too old so I checked for an expiry date and found none.  Anyway, I thought of taking a photo just for show.  Lesson learned - keep in simple, use recipes that have great result.
As you can see those cracks was the clue as my normal muffins does not create cracks.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maybe Monday - Mini Books

While volunteering at our Library, I found some cute mini books that I thought be a nice collection for our stair shelf.  They are good condition used books and for a great price.  I thought it might be useful for our guests and they can keep it as a souvenir.  This past weekend we took Gamble (grandson) to the Library so he can pick some books for reading as he will be in grade one this September.  He found a few that he likes and when he found out that I do work there, he said "I did not know that you work at the library, that is so cool".  We also pick up some other books for his sister GreenLee who is turning one this month.
Books on display on the first level of the stair shelf.
For coffee lovers
For wine lovers
For little critter lovers
For those needing money management
For those renewing faith
For such little books, it is filled with quick information and very easy reading.  Which would you pick if you need a little break from your busy life?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Soulful Sunday - a totally different experience

Have you ever been to a Moroccan Restaurant?  Did you find it difficult sitting on pillows with your legs crossed? Last night we went with our friends Gil and Jean.  Since it has been awhile since we got together for dinner, we decided to try this one as per their suggestion.  We chose the Le Menara dinner which is a six course meal.  We were told that it's best to wear very comfortable clothing and I am so glad I did.  The restaurant was busy and the lighting was a bit subdued.  Their lobby was very spacious - then I realized that it was also part of their bar. We were seated shortly after our arrival.  Once we placed our order, it was not long after that one of the waiter arrived with 4 towels and a big sort of basin and a big tea pot filled with warm water.  He asked all of us to put our hands in the middle of the basin while he poured water and we all washed our hands.  Then he comes back with the first dish and a basket of bread.  By the way there were no cutlery at the table which means we used our hands to eat everything.
Inside this were warm bread slices
Moroccan salad
The next course is like a chicken pie but it had lots of almonds and a cinnamon sugar topping.
This one came with a knife in order to divide for each person at the table.
The three meals that came after this, Jeff forgot to take photos as we got busy eating.  There was a chicken dish (sort of half cornish hen), a lamb dish and a vegetable couscous.

Baklava served with mint tea
Before the above desert arrived, the belly dancer performed for about 45 minutes and Jeff was one of the lucky guys that was asked to join the belly dancing group.  Unfortunately I did not bring my camera and did not know how to use his phone to take a video.  Overall experience was good and fun and we were all stuffed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Simpy Saturday - Simple Tops

Sometimes when you see really good bargains, you end up buying it because you never know when you will find the same deal later.  This past week, I guess you can say, I got lucky.  I found three tops that I will definitely wear on my next vacation.
Lauren Conrad top $14 (Original price $36)
Jennifer Lopez top $7.20 (Original price $36)
Papaya top $5
 Except for the pink top, the other two will be perfect with my new skinny yellow pants.

Friday, June 1, 2012

First Friday - First things and more

First Friday of June and it's June 1 so I have decided to do a similar one I did a few months ago.  Here are random firsts in my life that I can still remember - material things only.
  • First car - Two door Toyota Tercel - Black - Manual transmission- drove it into the ground
  • First Coach purse - hand me down from my daughter but still in great shape
  • First expensive ring - my engagement ring from Jeff
  • First golf club set - 9 piece from Play it again sports
  • First customized tennis shoes - Ordered from Nike, wore it once and its stored in it's original box
  • First fun toy as an adult - Nintendo DS from Jeff
  • First wig - used it twice and left it with my friend Zenia 
  • First pool cue - bought it in the late nineties and I sewed a case for it and still use it.
  • First tennis bracelet - this actually has colorful gems - Christmas gift from Jeff
  • First Nike tennis skirt - a gift from my favorite son in law many years ago - it still fits
  • First slot machine win - Riviera Hotel - Dollar machine with yellow ducks 
  • First motorcycle ride - my friend Wally owned one and he drove through the country roads of Niagara on the lake.
  • First parka - when I lived in the mid 70's in northern Canada, I made my own Park with nice furry lining and an outer shell in yellow with a big flower applique in the back.
  • First muk luk (eskimo boots) - after slipping more than once, I decided to buy a pair of this special soft leather boots.
  • First Levi's jeans - bought one at the Petaluma Outlet because it was on sale and it was the perfect fit.
Can you remember some of your first items that you might still have or maybe have parted with them?  Do you still keep them because it was your first?   Is there other Firsts that you are still working on?  Have a great weekend and enjoy the beginning of summer nights.