Inspiration for this blog came from my cousin Roy. His daily reflections of the events in his life have been thoughtful and interesting. Family, friends, colleagues are welcome to read my blog.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. The Orange is visible and bright. Well it is a happy colour! A pumpkin can be left whole. Carved into whatever design you desire. The inside pulled out to reveal a empty innards. The seeds planted to make baby pumpkins next year or roasted in the oven to be eaten now. The pulp can be cooked and then mashed to make pumpkin pies or cupcakes. The rest put in the compost pile to nourish next year's garden. Sometimes a seed remains in the mix and a renegade plant will grow in a flower bed. Even Cinderella escaped in a carriage made from a pumpkin! And has a green one named after her.
Even as bunch, each pumpkin is unique. With bumps and flaws, big and small! Often a Nana can be heard calling her little grand kiddies- " her pumpkins:!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Children love Christmas. The child in us loves Christmas too if the memories are good ones. So how to make good memories and have fun amidst the work involved by parents and let's face it- the Mom! The Mom makes it happen, makes the lists, makes sure everything is on track. It is why most Moms start shopping and preparing months in advance of the big day. Believing in Santa brings another layer of buying. A big present from Mom and Dad and another big one from Santa. As children age the stocking stuffers become more expensive too. So how to enjoy the season and create memories so the stress does not pull you under. Take a step back and decide what is important to your children and family. The lists for Santa and the letter written. Can your children be part of the preparation!
 Make one batch of cookies together or the Ginger Bread House.
Decorating the house together- depends on the interest and age of the children.
With modern times- the gift wrapping is easier with tissue and gift bags. In a hurry- use the gift wrapping table at the Mall.
Story books can have the Christmas story so including the religious component can be part of the bed time routine. Even older children like to revisit the story books from younger days.
A church service or two.
Children love music so have a CD or 2 to play for them during the season.
And sing along!
Decorating the tree together. When it is put up in your house, depends on your tradition.
Put on  sappy Christmas movies. Sometimes having them in the background while you work or wrap can bring the softer side out in all of us.
Remember those family group shots can be from any event in the year. Most people love getting them in their Christmas card so those are definite memory makers. I have received lovely ones from a summer vacation so they do not need to be taken in December with Christmas ornaments unless you really want to have one!
Pacing, pacing, pacing! Take a task or 2 each day that is manageable.
Long lists to start! Keep a notebook with all purchases for each name. As one person is finished. give a check mark.
Keep the lists with you or in your date book or in your cell phone or computer!
Keep making short lists so you know where you are in preparations.
When feeling overwhelmed, pull in the troops. Grandparents can babysit while you wrap or shop or do some preparations. Of course, when you must attend those social work functions. And the functions for children should be fun times and not pressure times.
Do not compare what you want to do with what others do. It is about your home, your family and making your new traditions. Along with keeping some old ones.
Nana will probably have more to say on this subject. So take a deep breath as the busier part of the season is about to emerge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Personal goals have meaning to the individual. Sometimes the most simple things in life bring the deepest sense of fulfillment. Sometimes still standing on one's own two feet really helps. Taking up new interests and hobbies that were wished for years makes people happy. An idea in August that will play out at Christmas for some family members. Or revisiting a hobby and organizing it to determine its value can bring joy. My September and October was such an endeavor with labour intensive love attached.  A friend of mine took up running and ran her first marathon. Proud of her efforts in her 60s! A cousin takes amazing photos of his interest- nature and other misc. items he finds in his environment. A daughter who wakes at 430 am every day and runs on her treadmill to stay in shape before her busy day. The important aspect is not to compare with others. Rarely do I share my interests at work, for example. Have I ever become tired of hearing- well I don't have time for that! If  the activities I love to do are not of interest to anyone else they are kept close to my chest. So not sharing means what I do does not get put down by small minded people. Staying positive means keeping the toxic people away! Or your children are out of the home so you can not be as busy as I am!! Try being a grandparent!  Who really cares what someone's busy entails? Is your busy meeting your personal goals? If one has a health issue, sometimes the goal is to make it through the day doing one or two things. So I wrote my Christmas newsletter. Not too many exciting things on it. But lots was left off as the negative parts of my life do not get shared with the world. One of my personal goals is to keep focusing on the positive and getting through adversity!  Another goal is to listen truly to others around me. Act as if I care about them and you know what happens a friendship, a connection is made. When someone shares, keep it confidential! Let the person know their life has value too. Goals can have layers and sub-layers. Achieving them can take a lifetime or a week or a day. Lifetime changes take courage. Downsizing goals! New job search goals! Having another child goals! Life can be full of goals to be achieved! Or living each day with little, simple daily goals. One of my daily goals is to do something kind to others. Something as simple as pressing the button for the light to change so the cars coming out of the townhouse unit don't have to wait as long. Sometimes my kindness is keeping my mouth shut and not telling the person what I really think as it would be hurtful!  Of course, writing, writing, writing- you should see the little notes to self so I remember to write the thoughts down later. This blog has been such a personal goal. To try to think about what to write every day is a challenge!! So do you have personal goals? Do you share with others?
A path to somewhere! Or needing to cross the bridge to get to the other side?? Personal goals!

Monday, November 24, 2014


Towering above the crowd in height or intellect takes some humble thinking. When looking down it is important not to offend anyone intentionally. Often in life, one can offend without even knowing it has occurred. One's use of language and use of big words can offend. Caring about one's appearance can offend someone who is not so meticulous. Knowing stuff like history or geography or political views can offend. So how to live a life without offending. Well, it is not your problem. Being who you are is more important. Life can brings people to you that will be offended by you just because!! You are the wrong height, nationality, sex, from the city and not the country- well you get the picture. Trying to please everyone just doesn't work. Be prepared- yes there will be people that will not like you for no reason!! Their reason, but you will never get it. To have lots of acquaintances but few friends is what works for me. Do I get offended by others- you bet! But it is my problem and my task to examine why! We all can be triggered by issues buried deep inside us. Perhaps from childhood, work experiences, life experiences! What we do with them, shows our maturity and wisdom! The wise person accepts that life can be very complicated and yet simple simultaneously! So feeling tall or feeling small can occur daily! What do you think? Do you acknowledge when you have been offended? Do you blame the other person? Do you self-reflect? Do you just pour yourself a coffee and sigh- oh well? That's life!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Every town or city or community across the country will be hosting Santa Claus/Christmas parades. Trying a different one this year, I went with one daughter and family to the Aurora-" Under the Stars" parade. Another town just north of Richmond Hill. It was different with the Christmas lights on the floats or wrapped around trucks or cars. Night pictures are difficult to take so I tried my hand anyway. It was just fun to be there with 3 of my grandchildren.
Going south down Yonge Street through the old town of Aurora. Floats pulled by horses!
Church groups come out.
Marching bands.

A child waving as Santa arrives!
Lots of locales come out for the event. Many visit from other communities. Throughout York Region there will be parades in every area. What about your town? What about your community? What can you report about the festive activities of the season?

Friday, November 21, 2014


An early cold snap and snow storm delayed some Christmas activities this week for people in the GTA. Taking 2-3 hours to get home, few wanted to venture out again to shop. Outdoor Christmas lights are starting to spring up on many houses. Mine are ready in the hallway with some thinking and planning of where to hang them outside. Usually around a few bushes and my Oak tree. Some strings from tree to tree which makes more of an impression. Items are being organized for the local food bank. Local newspapers scrutinized for church bazaars and craft sales to support local efforts. Many churches have food hampers and gift baskets for local families that need assistance at Christmas time. Two local Santa Claus parades will happen. The Saturday night one in Aurora and the afternoon one in Richmond Hill. Toronto already had their big parade last week. It used to be called the Eatons Santa Claus parade but when that huge Canadian icon of a store closed, the parade became sponsored by other corporations and just is called The Toronto Santa Claus parade. Our local one is small scale compared to it but Santa still arrives. Local bands and social groups participate so there is the spirit of the community. Across the country there are many towns and cities hosting their own parades. So in my household, the 3 parcels to family out west with gifts wrapped inside are ready to be sent out next week. My Christmas newsletter is composed and will be put in the Christmas cards. Next week I will begin to write and address them. My system- start with the International ones, then the United States ones then ones to family in other provinces and last the family members close to home. A few hand delivered. Oh I know there are those people that send an email. Yes I print them up and put with my cards but an annual card is not really a big deal to send to family and friends. Of course keep a good list. One year I sent two cards to one cousin! Guess I just was thinking of him too much! I have organized the planning with my daughters- what events, what babysitting to occur so those items will be reflected in future posts. Sorting the gifts bought already will occur this weekend. With little kids visiting my house and getting into every closet, it is harder to leave things unwrapped or just in store bags. My children told me when they were adults of course that as children they became very good at removing the tape to peek inside wrapped gifts- hum!! One of my daughters has already taken the Santa picture which is on my fridge. The year my mother-in-law passed away I took my adult children so we could have a picture with Santa. I wanted to do something whimsical that year. It's a cute picture with the 3 of us. So if you are going through a tough year, find some magical moments in Christmas to give a perk. Some Christmases I try to have a unique little theme to give to others. The one before the 2010 Olympics, I did an Olympic one with my hand knit red hats and the Hudson Bay mitts and Olympic glassware. Perhaps this year will bring a special item to several family members. But you must wait until Christmas Day to find out! Of course, Adolph starts to lament as I look for every cheesy Christmas movie I can find on TV to watch.  I do have a good collection of adult and children's Christmas movies. The Little Drummer Boy is a good film to give a simple version of the Christmas story to little children. Baby Jesus is the reason for the season. So finding ways to keep that in perspective too!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Cakes come in all shapes and sizes. Every occasion can warrant a cake. From birthdays to weddings to retirement cake is served. Let's celebrate! Have some cake!  Vanilla or chocolate or lemon! With icing or plain like a coffee cake. Often heard, too full for cake but save me a piece and I'll have some later. Cake from scratch! Or a boxed one! Or from a good bakery! Life is a cake! With all its variety! So have a slice- big or small!