30 Day Creativity Challenge – Day 4

…..my attempt at free form poetry

Sisters and Cousins


sibling rivalry

shared memories

some bad but mostly good

some forgotten

others not

separated by marriage and distance

reunited by an aging parent

and children


offspring of the sisters

separate lives

because of distance,

circumstance and work

a longing for family connection

reunited because of their children

an unbreakable bond of love

Four generations; Dad, my sister and I, my youngest daughter and her daughter and my sister’s son and daughter and her daughter’s son.

Thanks to Rainee for hosting The 30 Day Creativity Challenge

Share Your World – September 11, 2017

…..thank you Cee for bringing me back to Share Your World

Would you want $200,000 right now or $250,000 in a year? It’s safe to assume all money is tax free.

I would want the smaller amount and invest it now. Who knows where I’ll be in a year? If I’m gone at least my family can enjoy the money.

Is it more important to love or be loved?

I think they go hand in hand. If you love others chances are you’ll be loved back and if you are loved you can’t help but give back that love. Having one without the other would be very disappointing or very frustrating.

List things that represent abundance to you.

Time with loved onesIMG_3105

Solitary days at the cottageP1040501

Freedom to paint

Reading a good book

A beautiful garden to relax in


Good food and drink with family and friendsIMG_3038

Exploring new destinations, short and long tripsfullsizeoutput_719f

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This past week I was inspired by the opening of a new store in my neighbourhood. It’s a wool shop with a lovely sitting area where customers are encouraged to bring their knitting and sit and share their knitting experiences and challenges. I’m very excited about this new store and wish them good success. I’ve been inspired to pick up my knitting needles and I purchased some beautiful yarn for a sweater for my granddaughter. The store is called Spin Me a Yarn. Check it out.



Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Best Wishes for the New Year

I’m sitting here, alone, in my living room reading a few emails before I need to seriously finish decorating the tree, wrap a few more presents and fill the stockings. Tonight we will be celebrating Christmas at my daughter’s house. It will be the first time in 30 years that we haven’t celebrated in our home. I feeling somewhat nostalgic about that but with time things change.

Before I continue with my chores I wanted to send all my loyal followers and new bloggers who are just visiting for the first time a special holiday greeting. I wish for love, good health, joy and peace for all. May 2017 bring you all these things and more. For me the simple things in life bring me much pleasure and spending time with family and friends is more important than the number of gifts under the Christmas tree. I think that’s why I always have such a hard time asking for things I’d like for Christmas or my birthday.

This photo, taken two days ago embodies the joy I get from being with my loved ones. img_8549

Happy Family Day!

…. to all my fellow bloggers who live in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Canada

This got me to thinking about how other people in the world might be celebrating today. Is it a normal work day or do you have the day off today as well. For years, we Canadians envied our U.S. neighbours who had an official day off at least once a month.  In the last decade or more our Ontario government officials toyed with the idea of creating an official holiday in February.

Here’s a little history of when Family Day came to be in Canada that I copied directly from: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/family-day

Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Family Day was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. British Columbia observes Family Day as a statutory holiday for the first time in 2013. One of the reasons for introducing Family Day was that there was a long period when there were no holidays from New Year’s Day until Good Friday.

Here are a few photos of my family taken in the last year or so.

My three 'girls'.

My three ‘girls’.

My son, home for a short visit before heading back to the Netherlands

My son, home for a short visit before heading back to the Netherlands.

So how is everyone celebrating today?  We had our official Family Day celebration yesterday. All the immediate family that live close by came to the house and we had a

My daughter and her husband.

My daughter and her husband.

family dinner. My husband made a great pasta and sausage bake, my oldest daughter and her partner brought a yummy Iranian quinoa rice and sweet potato salad and my youngest daughter and her husband made a decadent flour less  chocolate cake…..not exactly diet food. To top it off I got into one of my Martha Stewart moments and just had to bake chocolate spice cupcakes with pink buttercream icing in honour of Valentine’s Day.

The cupcakes and the leftover food were all packed up and divided amongst the girls and the freezer (except the cupcakes….all but two were given away).

My middle sister and her fiancé.

My middle sister and her fiancé.

My baby sister and her husband.

My baby sister and her husband.

A rare photo with all three sisters together, our father and his partner and my husband and my sister's son.

A rare photo with all three sisters together, our father and his partner and my husband and my sister’s son.

This morning I slept in till 8:30 and then caught up on some reading. I finally emerged from the bedroom at about 10:30, had a cup of coffee and then got ready to go for our morning walk. It snowed again here on Saturday night so the ice is covered with a pretty substantial layer of fresh snow. I brought along my camera as I always do but the sun was so bright that I had a hard time focusing on anything.

When we got back from our 3k walk, K made us a delicious omelet with lots of vegetables. I’m trying to convince him to go with me on a bit of a photo journaling expedition this afternoon. In the meantime I’ll finish writing this blog, read a bit more and probably work on some samples for my next art project at school.

I’d love to hear from you and how you’re spending the day. Drop me a line. Have a great day!



My Son is Home for a Visit

….. and it was a great running and walking day

Last night we picked up our son from the train station. Well actually, we parked the car and waited for him in a pub near by. Union Station in downtown Toronto is currently undergoing renovation and it’s difficult to find a place to park and pick up people from the train station at the best of times.

Our son, B, has been living and working in the Netherlands for the last 9 months. He had an opportunity to attend a conference of sorts in Montreal for 3 days and he decided to extend his stay for an extra 4 days and come to Toronto to reconnect with family, friends and business associates.

I’ve really missed B and it’s great seeing him again, even if it is only for a short time. While he was sharing his plans for the next year or so I found myself feeling a little melancholy. His plans of course didn’t involve moving back to Canada anytime soon. When the plate of fries arrived at our table I found myself indulging way more than I had planned. Usually I’m satisfied with a taste or two and then I can stop. Last night I probably ate as many fries as my husband and my son. That darn emotional eating…. it got the better of me last night. Those were the first fries I’ve had in over 6 months and they weren’t that good.

Today was a  new day and I was determined to have a better food day. It was also the cross country city finals for all elementary schools in Toronto today. We had 33 students who qualified to go the city finals. It was my job to walk back and forth from the start line to the finish line for each race and take pictures and keep track of where the students finished. I did this for 5 races and walked over 6000 steps (according to my pedometer) before I had to return to school.

The ‘bunny’ that lead the kids through the cross country trail.

The students did really well. One of our grade 2 boys placed first, one grade five boy placed second and two of our grade 3 girls placed 4th and 8th.

Tonight I left work a little bit earlier than I normally do. When I got home my husband wasn’t back from a business meeting north of the city and it was still daylight so I decided to take Frances for a long walk. We started off on our normal route but I added a few extensions along the way. When we were about 3/4 of the way home it started to rain so I ran the last 1k. A year ago this wouldn’t have been possible. Today it felt perfectly normal and it didn’t hurt or leave me breathless.

I checked the distance on the computer when I got home. On top of the 6700 steps I had walked earlier in the day, our walk added another 4k. It felt pretty good even though I did get wet. I made a great salad for dinner and now I feel rejuvenated. So all in all it was a great running day for the kids and a great walking and running day for me. I need to do this more often.


Love and Weight Loss

…… maybe I should have said “new” love

The first time I experienced ‘love’ the weight came off effortlessly. It was actually puppy love because I was all of 13. I remember having no appetite and food was the last thing on my mind. My mother was amazed at how I was changing. I couldn’t wait to leave the dinner table and meet my secret beau at the park. It was so innocent. We never did more than hold hands. But alas it was short-lived. It just wasn’t cool for a boy in grade 11 to date a girl in grade 9. Yes it’s true I was dating ‘an older man’.

Over the years I had crushes but I didn’t experience true love until I met my husband. Even today I get ‘butterflies’ when he walks into a room when I’m not expecting him. So why don’t we stay thin when we’re in love? I think it’s because people get comfortable with each other and are free to be themselves.  In our case we both loved food and enjoyed cooking together. The only time I remember my husband expressing concern over my weight was just before our wedding and I quickly lost 10 pounds.

My husband loves me no matter what. He likes women with a ‘little meat’ on their bones. He wasn’t being mean when he brought up my weight before our wedding. He knew I wasn’t happy and he has always supported my attempts at weight loss.

A lot of people love food and love to cook and don’t have a weight problem. Why is that? I know that genetics plays a large role in how we metabolize food but a few years ago I discovered that for me a huge contributor towards my weight gain had to do with stress. To be continued…….

Taking a break to nurse my knee…..

Last night and today I experienced a lot of pain in my knee. I decided to take it easy today. The fact that the weather was cold and wet when I got home from work made that decision easy.

After one week of successes on the scale I have decided to share my results with you. I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve dropped 5 pounds. I’ve made some positive changes with my eating habits but I have a way to go. I’m drinking more water but I haven’t reached 8 glasses a day yet. I am definitely snacking less and when I do  have a snack it isn’t something I grab when I’m on the run or sitting in the car.

Even though I know that taking a rest from running today was probably for the best I do feel like something was missing today. I hope I can get out and at least walk tomorrow. Thanks for following along.

Till next time, cheers!

Feeling a Little Melancholy

April 18th! This would have been Mom’s 81st birthday. Hard to believe that she’s been gone for 19 years. She taught me everything; how to cook, knit, sew, clean a house (how I hated that) but more importantly how to love and be patient with the ones you love. We had our differences over the years. The teen years were particularly hard but as a young woman and wife (pretty much happened at the same time) we became closer.

I remember in the awkward preteen years she always told me I was beautiful and I always responded by saying “you’re my mom, you have to say that!” She encouraged me when I tried to lose weight but she didn’t realize that it was never going to happen until I was ready to do so and that it had to be my idea. I know she only wanted the best for me. She herself struggled a little bit with weight, especially as she got older.

After the birth of our first daughter, I did lose a lot of weight and got down to 132 pounds. An all time low for me. Many of my family friends thought I was too thin but in hind sight I think it was a good thing because soon after I became pregnant with twins. That’s a story for another time.

Thanks Mom. I miss you. I know you’re watching over me.

In the 60’s with Mom and my sisters.

My sisters, me and our Mom.

My sisters, me and our Mom.

Food and Me – Part 1

Waste Not Want Not

As long as I can remember, food has played an important part of my life. My parents grew up during WWII when food was scarce and to waste food was unthinkable. Apparently at the age of one my mother was told that I was too thin. A plump baby was the sign of prosperity and good health. We were always expected to eat everything on our plates. Not wanting to disappoint my mom and dad I always cleaned my plate.

Only twice in my life can I remember not eating what was put in front of me. We owned a reference book on mushrooms and of course most of them were considered poisonous and inedible. The message from the book that stood out for me, even at the young age of 8, was that unless you were an expert on mushrooms you should NEVER pick wild mushrooms for consumption. Our house backed onto a huge abandoned field and one day my mother went back there and picked mushrooms and made a huge pot of mushroom soup. Normally I loved mushroom soup but I refused to eat it, convinced that it would be the death of me. Needless to say, it didn’t kill anybody but I wasn’t going to take that chance.

The second time I refused it eat a meal happened on our first visit back to Germany. My sisters and I (ages 11,9 and 5) stayed with our maternal grandmother while our parents spent a few days with my father’s brother and sister. Oma thought she would surprise us with a meal that my mother used to LOVE as a child. We were grossed out when she put bowls of  hot sweet milk with elbow macaroni in front of us. None of us could eat it. Later that day the drained and slightly sweet macaroni appeared at dinner with a ground beef sauce. My grandmother wasted nothing. I’m sure she used the milk in something we ate while we were there. I remember how sad my Oma was when we wouldn’t eat her “special treat”. Talk about feeling QUILTY!!!!