Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Year's Resolution - The Brown Bag Challenge

For most people January 1st signifies the beginning of the New Year. But for an educator, the real “New Year” begins on the day after Labour Day, the first day of school. In preparation for my “New Year” I have made a long list of resolutions.

My number one resolution is to become a healthier person. My theory is, if I look after myself I will be able to look after the students and teachers at my school and of course my own family. So yes, good hubby Terry, all of these changes are for you!!

One way for me to be a healthier person is of course to eat healthier. I am not going to go on a particular diet but rather just eat healthier and smaller portions. In the past I would go on a restrictive diet only to get frustrated (and hungry) and blow it all and binge on all the wrong things.

One strategy to ensure a healthy diet was to join the Food Network’s Healthy Eats Brown-Bag Challenge. http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats Beginning September 1st I am going to pack a lunch each and every day.

Gone are the days of slipping out to Timmie’s for a sandwich (and a cookie). I have seen the last of the Golden Arches or my pal Harvey. No more skipping lunch entirely only to come home and eat the entire fridge worth of food before supper. The challenge is to take a healthy, nutritious lunch every day.

Does anyone have suggestions for some nutritious but tasty lunches???

Monday, August 29, 2011

Deep ......Dark........Secret!

I have a deep, dark secret.

I don’t floss regularly.

Oh, after an evening of popcorn at the movies or a big juicy steak at dinner I might dig out the container of floss at the back of the medicine cabinet, but flossing has not been part of my regular routine.

Each time I go to the dentist I must go through the painful process of the hygienist’s unspoken disgust with me as she painstakingly cleans my teeth. Each visit seems to take longer and is more uncomfortable than the visit before. I don’t even know what the hygienist looks like since she never takes her mask off during my visit. Yet, she knows my secret, I am a floss failure. Each dentist visit ends with a new tooth brush and a lecture about the benefits of flossing.

My last visit to the dentist was in July. As I left I had a flash back to the dental visits of my youth. When I was a kid there was no hygienist, no fancy equipment, just the actual dentist looking in my mouth with this tiny little mirror at the end of his silver pick. Every visit ended with Dr. Thurston saying “Keep up the brushing. You’re doing a great job!” Dr. Thurston built up my self-esteem.

Now my dental visits only remind me of my built up plaque!

I decided after the visit in July I was going to become a flosser. With very few exceptions, I have flossed my teeth every night. I have become much more adept with the floss and the routine has become faster and has in fact become routine.

I have to wonder……am I the only one out there not a regular flosser? Is it really going to make a difference? More importantly, at my next dental visit am I going to wipe the look of disgust off the hygienist face? Will I be able to tell under her mask? So many questions created by one piece of waxy string!

What are your dark hidden secrets????

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer Concert Series

This summer I was able to attend a number of concerts.

My summer concert series started with a free concert in Art Park (Lewiston, New York). It was Peter Frampton on his Frampton Comes Alive anniversary tour. He played his iconic album exactly the way he did all those years ago. Many times I felt transported back to the wood paneled basements of many of my friends during the summer of ’75 when Frampton Comes Alive was the only album we ever played. The audience was pulled back to the present however when Peter explained that during instrumental sections during the original tour the band would run off the stage and do some drugs behind the scenes before they ran back on for encore numbers. Peter then added the only drug he does now is Viagra!

A few weeks later we enjoyed a special concert at Jackson-Triggs winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We indulged in a dinner at the winery where each course of the gourmet meal was paired with a different wine. As there were five courses and then of course the before dinner wines and the wines during the concert, there was a lot of wine drinking at the winery that night! Between glasses we also got to enjoy the solo performance of Gord Downey from the Tragically Hip. (For the record, my friend Diane was designated driver for the night…….just saying)

There was also a Northern Pikes concert at Polson Pier formerly known as “the Docks” in Toronto. It is a fabulous location where it feels you are at a resort in Muskoka when you are actually on the shores of Lake Ontario beneath the shadow of the CN Tower. It was at the Northern Pikes concert I met “Eddie” from Love It or List It.

While it would not come under the classification of a concert, the most fun and outrageous musical events of the summer was the Friday evening performances of the One Man Electrical Band at Hogan’s Alley in Port Dalhousie. The location is superb as it is a few blocks from our home. There is no cover as the talent of this one man band is questionable, but his choice of songs is impeccable. He always seems to know the right song to sing for the crowd. Within a few minutes it turns into bad karaoke, embarrassing dancing and a lot of fun for a bunch of middle-aged Friday night drinkers. I believe we are good entertainment for the 20-something kids heading out for a night out to their bar of choice “My Cottage.”

In some ways my summer concert series was a rediscovering my youth but in more ways it was confirmation my youth is long gone! My youth may be gone but middle age is actually even better! No curfew!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Shopping Spree

We have spent the last three months purchasing new appliances.

Greg moved out of his apartment into a house so his dog could have a backyard. The house came with appliances except a dryer. I offered up our dryer for Greg so we needed to buy a new one for ourselves. Of course we then had to get the matching washer. While we were at the appliance store the fridges looked very enticing. We ended up getting the washer-dryer set, a new fridge and the matching range, microwave and dishwasher.

There was a problem with every appliance.

Washer/Dryer: In our laundry room there is only one way to install the stackable washer-dryer which means it has to be vented to the side. We needed to order an additional side vent kit.

Cost: $50.00 + 3 days for delivery.

Range: We bought a “slide-in” model which means it is supposed to fit into the counter top a certain way. Since our counter top did not fit that certain way we needed to purchase a kit for the back of the range.

Cost: $50.00 + 5 days for delivery.

Refrigerator: The fridge is HUGE. All of the doors etc had to be taken off in order to get it into our unit. Once the doors were all put back on and the delivery guys were gone, I discovered a huge mark on the stainless steel. Customer service said they would send a technician. Three days later the technician arrived to tell us, yes there is mark on the door. He made a call and found out a new door would cost $500.00 and would take three weeks to arrive. After having to explain this is a BRAND NEW FRIDGE and we wouldn’t be paying the $500.00 he returned three weeks later with a new door. After he installed the new door he discovered a scratch in the door. He made a phone call and our new, new door should be arriving mid-September.

Cost: Loss of my patience

Microwave: The microwave came with a chart on the inside of the door which tells you what buttons to push for the different kinds of foods being cooked. Unfortunately the microwave didn’t come with a magnifying glass to read the chart. Now I have to always keep a pair of reading glasses in the drawer near by.

Cost: My dignity.

Dishwasher: While emptying the dishwasher one hand was needed to hold the door down while the other hand took the dishes out. Unfortunately the dishwasher didn’t come with a third hand which was necessary to actually get the dishes into the cupboard. Terry took the dishwasher out of the cabinet and reinstalled to ensure the legs were level. Problem solved.

Cost: Having to listen to Terry once again gloat about his handy man skills!

The brief Sunday afternoon shopping trip snowballed into many frustrations along the way, but each time I look at my shiny new appliances I have a sense of satisfaction.

Cost: Priceless

Anyone else have a story about shopping sprees out of control???? Jennifer how about you????

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Boys

Terry and I spent the week babysitting. No, not our grandchild, but our grand dog.

Tyson is Greg’s year old lab with more energy than could ever possibly be imagined. Since we were heading up to the cottage for a week and Greg was busy at work and then a week-end wedding, it was decided instead of Tyson being left alone he would join us at the cottage for the week.

Tyson is about 75 pounds and our little shihtzu Journey is about 14 pounds. They are not good friends. They barely tolerate each other. Whenever Tyson comes to visit he eats all of Journey’s food and then wants to play like a year old puppy wants to do. Journey is not a puppy, and frankly I don’t think he ever was a puppy. His existence is about sitting pretty and getting cuddles. He is not amused at Tyson’s invitations to wrestle.

During the week at the cottage we began to refer to the two dogs as “the boys”. Tyson continued to eat Journey’s food no matter how hard we tried to keep it in the closed bedroom. Journey starved the first two days as he never had a chance to eat his food before Tyson wolfed it down. By the third day however, survival instinct took over and 14 pound Journey pushed 75 pound Tyson aside and ate all of Tyson’s food. Tyson left Journey alone after that.

Speaking of leaving the dogs alone……..one day Terry and I left the dogs alone. We made sure all of the doors were shut tight to ensure no dog escaped and headed off to Minden for some groceries. About an hour later as we were approaching the cottage on our return, we noticed a minor backlog of cars on the highway in front of our cottage. Traffic jams are very rare for cottage country. It didn’t take us long to discover it was a dog blocking the right hand lane stopping traffic. I jumped out of the car and ran past several cars toward the dog….yes it was Tyson and yes I was so upset I really was running!

Tyson had escaped by climbing up on the kitchen counter and jumping through the screened window over the sink! Tyson had been stopping traffic for about 45 minutes and was refusing to leave the roadway until our return. We found out these details from Eric our neighbour across the way who had been trying to convince Tyson to get off the road but to no avail.

Luckily he was safe and sound. By the look of this soaking wet coat I think Tyson had gone for a bit of a swim in our absence as well. When we got inside the cottage Journey was sitting in the very same spot, in the very same position as he had been before we left, totally oblivious to the commotion outside.

Hopefully if we ever get a chance to baby-sit grandchildren it won’t be as eventful as this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Celebrity Sightings

The last few months have been a period of celebrity sightings for me.

At the Cottage Life Show in March I met Ed Begley Jr from St. Elsewhere fame. He looks exactly the same as he did in the 1980's. When I pointed that fact out to him, he told me he loved me! We had a great discussion about the longevity of St. Elsewhere and what a unique show it truly was. Ed also talked about his personal experiences in making the earth a greener place. He is very passionate about environmental issues.

A few minutes later I ran into Bob Mackenzie from TSN fame. (That's the Canadian version of ESPN for those American readers) We talked briefly about the great play-off run the Leafs were having. The talk was brief because his wife seemed annoyed at me intruding although Bob seemed to enjoy the attention.

A few weeks later I attended the Juno Awards (think Canadian Grammys). On our way to the ACC we ran into Dallas Green of City and Colour as well as Alexisonfire fame. I was Dallas' grade seven teacher as well as vice-principal when he was in grade eight. He actually spotted me before I saw him and he tried to explain to me what he was doing at the Junos as if I didn't know! We had a good talk about the importance of teachers encouraging students to follow their dream but Dallas was quick to add....as long as they finish school first. I wrote about Dallas previously in my blog.


In May I went to a conference in Toronto and I got to meet Joy Behar from The View. She spoke about her journey from a wife, mother, teacher to a comic and then being on The View and now her own show on CNN. Basically her message was she was too naive to realize getting into comedy was hard and she just did it.

Last week I was at a Northern Pikes concert and ran into Eddie Richards, the contractor from the Love It or List It television show. He is married to Martine Gaillard, a sportscaster with Sportsnet, so I met her as well by default. Eddie was so excited he was getting attention from a fan instead of his wife getting all of the attention he sent me over a drink!

The one thing I learned from all of these celebrity sighting is I am very happy I am not a celebrity. Having someone like me constantly coming up and interrupting my life would be very annoying!

Any readers out there have any celebrity sighting stories????

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Back..............

After a prolonged absence from blogging, I have suddenly become inspired to start posting again. So here I go….a quick recap of the last year.

  • Went to some concerts
  • Went to a lot of hockey games
  • Bought new appliances
  • Became an empty nester again, then not, then again
  • Got lucky with some contests
  • Met some celebrities
  • Turned 50!!! (and survived)

This is a very brief list for an entire year of my life. I will write in more detail about each topic at a later date....not too much later, I promise!

I am hoping there are still some people willing to read the blog and also willing to leave some messages for me!