F is For *Favourite Things. A-Z Challenge.

Sadly, unlike Oprah’s favourite things show, this will not be a giveaway post. Nobody is getting a diamond bracelet, or a trip. There is no parking lot full of cars to be gifted out to you, my darling readers. I am sorry! If I could, I would. Of course!

What you will get (hopefully) is inspiration to think about your own favourite things and why those things are your favourites. What do they mean to you? I’m into living simply, that’s for sure BUT I also strongly believe that it’s important to express one’s self through the objects we keep in our lives and there is much we can learn, positive and negative from the things we surround ourselves with.

I saw this at Michael’s Craft store around Halloween and fell madly in love! Why? Well, That is Lotus Pose – my kind of lotus pose! I am not flexible enough to get my feet up either, haha- with hands in Namaste. I am a half assed Buddhist and this is all my jam! But more than that, I love this piece because it is a skeleton and it reminds me to relax fully into life and death. It reminds me that we all suffer, we all die, and we all have great potential to experience peace, calm, love and joy in the meantime. It reminds me of this ” No mud, no lotus” and this ” May I Live Like The Lotus. At Ease In Muddy Water” and this ” Let The Mud Settle” Mantras and lessons and ideas that I find very helpful in my everyday life. Plus, it’s so cute sitting there on my art table, all creepy and such. I get a kick out of freaking people out and then engaging in deep conversations with them, or at least popping positive ideas in their heads about life and such.

My son made me this little owl and I adore it. Of course I do, right? I adore it for another reason. When he brought it home to me he said it wasn’t very good and even though I reassured him that it was “most excellent!” he struggled still and while that totally broke my heart, I understood completely. I am a perfectionist too. So when I look at my owl I’m reminded to go easy on people and go easy on myself.

What? A yellow plate? Hell yes a yellow plate! Food looks better, tastes better and feels better on a sunny yellow plate. This bistro set- plate, salad plate and bowl- by Fiesta ware makes me happy every time I look at it. I have all different colours but I love this one so much I think I might just replace the others and sub in more yellow ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially helpful in the drab winter months!

My Hubs bought me these giraffes at a stall in a mall for our anniversary. They are from Kenya, and it was my longest dream to go to the continent of Africa to see the animals, so they served as a reminder and motivation for that. I’d walk past them, give them a stroke and remember. They kept the dream alive in my head and strengthened my resolve each day. They made it seem possible for I had not thought it so before then!And then one day I went! To Tanzania AND Kenya- we popped into the Maasai Mara whilst in the Serengeti- Now, my giraffes remind me that dreams require action, however small, that they are possible and that I’ve seen giraffes ( and lions, and elephants, and hippos, and hyenas, and leopards, and warthogs) and a million other amazing creatures, in the wild and it was amazing.

How would I describe my daughter? Pure love. She’s fierce in her love and open and honest about it. She was born that way and twenty years later, she’s still that way. My girl painted this for me when she was 10 years old and every time I see it I feel loved. I’m also reminded TO LOVE, greater and wider then I have before. My girl inspires me to be a better person and taught me more than I ever could have learned on my own. She says she’s the way she is because of me but I say I’m the way I am because of her!

I used to do this on New Years Eve but have since changed it to my birthday. What is this? I collect notes to myself, receipts from fun times and such, quotes, things I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had and pop them into this FABULOUS bottle I found at Home Sense for twenty bucks. THEN, once a year, I dump them all out and read them. It’s a fun little exercise that shows me just how cool my life really is, how much I’m grown, what I’ve learned and how lucky I am. I highly recommend it!

So that’s that. A few of my favourite things. What is your absolute favourite thing? Why?

Best of March!

OK! March flew past, so fast! I think the awesome warm up we all experienced in Edmonton really helped with that. One minute it was Winter and then next it was Spring! Things have since leveled out and it seems we’re back to average now. We still have to go through Second Winter but then we’re home trees.*

The best overall experience:

Blurry Coffin.

The End of Life Care Doula course I took, through Douglas Collage at NAIT. It was an inspiring, empowering, life altering experience. It was interesting to go as an adult learner and see what a difference that makes in an educational experience. I learned so much, not only about the subject matter but about myself and other humans as well. Well worth the money-I traded a trip for the course!- and time spent.

Best four year old:

Miss Sassafras.

This girl was so sweet, offering to bring me her friends since I don’t have any of my own. When I asked her why she thought I didn’t have any friends she said it’s because I’m always alone. Ha! She “bought” Grandpa and myself a bath bomb each and asked me to scrape the ice cream out the cone so she could eat it plain. And guess what? I totally did it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best baby:

Mr. O didn’t get into any of my stuff this time! He did take his diaper off during naptime which is why he’s in the tub. He also โ€ฆ took six big steps! Three in front of me and three more so Grandpa could see. He seems to like me better now, reaching for me and smiling at me more. Not such a Grandpa’s boy anymore. Suck it Grandpa! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Best of things we celebrate just to eat the food:

This doesn’t look like much but it was GOOOOOOD! I made Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day. I used garlic-y kale this time and it was so much better than with cabbage. Plop some peas on top and stick a sausage in the side and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal.

Best dessert:

Raspberry Rhubarb Custard Pie

Another thing that doesn’t look that great but tasted fantastic. So tart and creamy. My Hubs had one slice and I ate the rest. I REGRET NOTHING!!! No recipe, I mashed two together to rig up my own. Google “Custard Pies” and see what you come up with.

Best IDGAF meal:

Seven Layer Dip n Chips! This was after being in school for a week. It was an exciting, exhausting time PLUS I was trying to process an incident that happened that still has me perplexed. People are so strange…would you seriously just plow through your teacher like you were a bowling ball and she was a bowling pin and then say absolutely nothing? Yeah, me either. It was so fucking weird…anyway, this dinner wasn’t weird. It was delicious! Does anybody else just have chips and dip for dinner?

Best times with friends:

I have a number of those! My bestie took me out for breakfast and then we went antiquing. We went to Hathaway’s Diner and WOW, I was blown away. Service was sincere, friendly and efficient and the food was homemade with love and great care. I didn’t take pictures because I was too busy eating but trust me, go! I highly recommend.

Then this:

I’m playing school bus driver! Another friend picked me up in her gigantic school bus and we went for coffee. It was such a hoot! She just learned how to drive the thing and she does amazing. They use her bus to train other drivers because she keeps it in such good shape and has a lot of interesting things for the kids in her care. This friend of mine used to work with me at the daycare centre from hell and was the focus of some bullshit. I’m super, super happy for her that she’s a. free from the nonsense and b. living her best life with her usual care and integrity. She totally deserves it!

Best book:

I’ve read 14 books as I write this. I’ll probably finish one more before the end of the month. Not too shabby!

The best one?

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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. by Anthony Ray Hinton. This dude was wrongfully, unlawfully and racially convicted of a murder he did not commit and placed on death row. The state did everything they could to block his appeals and kill him even though it was SO obvious he was innocent. They would rather let an innocent man DIE than admit they were wrong. This book tells his story. It will enrage you. It SHOULD enrage you! It was a really good read too. Well written, honest, heartfelt and humane.

There is so much scripting of our lives, here on the old interweb SO just to keep things real I bring you this:

“Best” conflict or shitty thing:

A family dinner with a former girlfriend and a new girlfriend. Things didn’t go so well, and I was forced into making a choice that did not please all parties. I absolutely made the right choice, based in love for all and integrity and people made their own choices but still, it was a new experience for all of us and it was a wee bit tricky to navigate! How would you handle something like that?

This will be the last “normal” post for a WHOLE month, as on Monday I start the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. My posts won’t really change all that month, same type of content, different prompts. Prompts being the letters of the alphabet. It’ll be fun! See ya Monday!

*PS: Bonus points if you know where “home trees” comes from!

Simple Pleasures: Hot Laundry

As you all know, this Winter has been a cold one. ( As Winters are…) I’ve survived mostly by keeping the cold goings on, in the background. I don’t remark about it, I don’t pay any attention to it. I focus on whatever is in front of me at the time. It’s been working great and has allowed me to start noticing all the LOVELY things about Winter, all the little gifts from the cold. Like:

Hot laundry on a cold day!

There is something so comforting about folding hot laundry when you’re freezing your ass off. Its not just the temperature that makes me feel good, its the great contrast between temperatures. Icy air against burning hot fabric. The hot makes the cold feel GOOD! Which in my mind, is something of a miracle ๐Ÿ™‚ I may almost miss this one. I may even look forward to this come Summer…whaaaaaaat?!

With Spring well on her way, our lives are heading for a big change! The things we find pleasurable will change so I want to know, what are some of your Winter pleasures?

Best Of: February

Happy March!

How was your February? Mine was pretty eventful! I love that. I also love that it’s a short month because our weather was especially atrocious! It’s all OK because a. we can’t do anything about THAT. b. Spring is nigh! It might come to us here in Edmonton in dribs and drabs but it will come. In twenty days we hit, my favourite equinox. Spring. Woot Woot!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So GOODBYE February. Thank you for the abundance!

Best TV series: Black Earth Rising  

This show was the BEST thing I watched this month. Starring the familiar John Goodman and the amazing Michaela Coel.

I don’t want to say too much about it except to say its worth the watch. Michaela Coel is FIERCE and real as Kate Ashby. I have a little bit of a girl crush on her ๐Ÿ™‚ โค She’s such a great actress and the story is gut wrenching and satisfying in it’s truth and justice.

Best self care:

It didn’t last long but I LOVED seeing myself all grey. Sigh…it’s back to yellow again. I guess the toning shampoo I bought is not powerful enough. I have a fix up my sleeve though. If it works I’ll let you know!

Best: Conversation.

I talked to my mum in law for two hours on the phone, ha! She had just gone on her very first holiday. She’s 72 years old. It was heartening to hear her joy and excitement. The woman sounds like she’s finally living and she so deserves that!

Best Lunch Out: Valentine’s Day with my Hubs.

Best Concert: Also, the only concert this month:

Justin Timberlake!

It was such a cool vibe, we had great seats- JT was like RIGHT THERE- and it was good hearted joyful fun.

Best Visitors :

Best Lesson:

Don’t waste your energy on anything until you know it’s true worth.

Now part of this is just me, I’m highly sensitive and anxious. But I do have a say in my experience and I CAN choose where to focus my energy on. The job experience was a great reminder to chose carefully.

Best Opportunity:

The End of Life Care Doula course I finished on Friday! I’ve been in it all week and my intention ( and hope and wish ) is that this education is the start of something really special to me and my world.


Best Book : I didn’t read too many this month. I don’t know if it was the offerings I came across, my mood or what but my reading was really โ€ฆ meh. Having said that, I read 10 books and this was the best one out of the lot:

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A heartfelt read.

Alrighty then! I hope you have a delicious Sunday and an even more delicious March!

The Best of January.

Ha Ha Ha. Goodbye January and Helloooooo February!

How did you make out? I am alive and well, and grateful for the month behind me and the days ahead of me!

Let’s do a recap!

BEST THING I ATE: Sweet- Chocolate Wacky Cake. Savoury- Hub’s Lettuce Wrap. I ate a half pound of ground beef. Oooops!

BEST THING I DRANK: A perfect cup of spiced chai. I have finally mastered the recipe. Oh yes I have!

BEST OUTING: Taking baby OV out to the Farmer’s Market. Why? I don’t know. It was just good to be out with our boy.

PERSONAL VICTORY: Hearing my husband speaking about me with pride, telling his mum about how brave I am as a traveller. โค

COOLEST MEMORY: A house full of family, good food, shot gunning’ with my girls in the kitchen and enjoying my grandbabies. Everyone was civil and relaxed. There were lots of laughs, no meanness just… love and fun.

BEST BOOKS:

BEST THING I LEARNED: To better prepare for the looooooong days of January. Have things planned. Don’t just sit around and whine, do something!

BEST WAY I LOVED MYSELF: See above. And see below!

I finally have my grey hair! It’s coming in white and silver and I’ve been wanting the whole process to just hurry up. I adore grey hair and was excited to get this. It took two years but my stylist finally got me to a place where we could just ash it out. The brown is still in there but not as noticeable. I am finally a grey haired sea witch ๐Ÿ˜‰


I’M MOST PROUD OF: Making it through the month just fine. And resolving to do different next year.

SOMETHING UNEXPECTED: The length of this month! And my reaction to it.

SOMETHING UNCERTAIN: Everything. Specifically, will I find a job this month and will I care if I do or don’t ?

WHAT AM I LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE MONTH AHEAD: EVERYTHING! Valentine’s Day, Justin Timberlake, a long weekend, a trip? maybe, book club, my witchy group, reading, reading, reading, family dinner.

What are you looking forward this month? Happy Friday and Happy February!

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Dogs, Cat Speak, Situations & Time.

Ha! This is totally what it feels like if you are a dog lover. Meeting new dogs is the best! See also getting jumped on and licked too ๐Ÿ™‚ Owners are always so apologetic but inside I’m thinking ” Yes! You’ve chosen me! I love you too!” I would pet every dog I saw if I didn’t think it would bug the crap out of people. I know myself, sometimes you just want to go for a walk and not chit chat with every person you come across!

I still remember one of the greatest days of my life. On a patio at Starbucks, squeeing over a Boxer puppy being walked on the sidewalk toward me. The puppy’s owner PICKS HIM UP AND PLOPS IT ON MY LAP! Seriously! What a gift. It’s be twenty years and I still remember the thrill of that moment. No words were exchanged just love. Sigh โ€ฆ what a day!

I’m delightfully unemployed at the moment but still looking for work because the household needs money to run โ€ฆ and I like to travel! It’s been six months of talking to my pets for 8 hours a day so I relate this one strongly. Meow!

Snicker. Speaking of not working. Oh. EM. GEE! Social skills get lost when you don’t have to practice them every day! I’m such a weirdo these days. Its hilarious. I have to actually remind myself to be mindful of acting ” normal” before I go anywhere! I’m grateful I don’t embarrass easily, heh.

I just adore this. A much better way to measure time. โค

Book Brag- December *14!

If there has ever been a month built for reading, it has been this past December.ย 

While weather in Edmonton hasn’t been cold, its been fractious. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and read. Luckily for me, I have eyes that see, legs that walk me to the library down the street and my very own borrowing privileges. Life is good.

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a fun read! I see that it’s #1 in a series of 3, and that has me all excited because I really liked it. It’s a book about witches and demons and vampires. It’s romantic and fantastical…and problematic at points- my feminist side was cringing at times- but over all it was a quick and engaging read and I didn’t hate the characters by the end for any of the things that made me cringe, ha! 

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a true accounting of a dying man’s life. Dude is a young doctor and he’s diagnosed with cancer. I was excited about this one because a. reading about death is my jam b. it had gotten rave reviews c. it sounded like it would be touching and thoughtful. I mean, just look at that title! Unfortunately for me, while I felt sad at times, this book lacked depth and emotion. Perhaps I should not listen to hype. May he rest well, at any rate. 

Now this one, was very different. The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is about the books Will and his Mum read and discuss while going to Mum’s cancer treatment appointments. Its the story of a life, a family. It was thought provoking and tender. Honest and human. I liked it a lot. Twas a good read! 

Ugh! Look! A movie scene cover. I hate that! But I read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, anyway! And you know, it was good. At first I really found the odd format tedious but after putting it down for a bit and coming back to it refreshed, I found it easier to get into.  After that, I was fine. I don’t want to wreck the story for you so I’ll just say this is in an interesting, quirky read with memorable characters. It made me think and want to delve into the history of certain things more. I love it when books do that!

 I know right? Whaaaaat?! The Pornographer’s Daughter by Kristin Battista-Frazee was not nearly as salacious as I’d hoped for. Which I suppose is precisely the author’s point. Its the story of her childhood that wasn’t really all that special except for one thing: her dad distributed the movie Deep Throat, had some legal troubles and then later went on to work further in the industry. This was an alright read. There was some magical thinking at work here that I wasn’t able to connect with but it was written well enough and now I know a thing or two about the movie Deep Throat. Ha. 

What To Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapely is a little book, likened to something written by Nicholas Sparks. I didn’t find that all. The first chapter was great but then it just got complicated and hard to follow. I had to set it down *gasp! 

I’ve been watching The Crown so when I saw this book – 99 Glimpses Of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown- on a book list somewhere, I quickly added it to my list. It came in and I read it in one day. It.was.good! Not your average biography and what a relief at that! This book is such a breath of fresh air in the genre and I really hope other authors follow suit. The author paints an honest picture of a complex person and makes them seem all too human, the good, the bad and the ugly. It pulled me straight through til the end. 

The Wizard And The Witch by John C. Sulak was weird. I guess that’s no real surprise considering the subject matter. More than that, it was boring to read about two assholes who thought most highly of themselves and treated other people like crap.

Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman WAS weird but delightfully so! I enjoyed this book so much, my only complaint being that it was scarce in details I wanted to know more about! A quick and entertaining read.

I had such high hopes for The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. It was a little long and technical for me although it tried not to be. Clearly a ME problem ๐Ÿ™‚ It held a lot of vital information within and I’ll probably pick it up again sometime.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is not my usual jam-mystery- but I really liked it. It has a twist that I didn’t see coming at all and deals with a matter that is quite alarming and leads you to think all kinds of things. Love that!

From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein was a fun and entertaining read. I blew through in an evening- New Year’s Eve to be exact-and found it well worth my time. It’s part insight look to a way of life I knew nothing about while being a personal memoir. I liked.

Heart-Breaker by Claudia Dey was a total train wreck of a book. In the best possible way. I don’t know how the author took such a strange and twisted story and made me fall in love with it, but she did. A quick read. A read that will stick with you long after you’re done. Go get it!

Becoming by Michelle Obama. I want to be this woman when I grow up! Do you think she’s really as awesome as she seems to be? I hope so. This was a great read! It was honest and inspiring. She just makes me want to be a better person on the whole. Entertaining and enlightening, this was a great read.

Not too shabby for a month, hey?!

I’ve got one book down for January already and of course, a HUGE pile just waiting in the wings. I’ve signed up for the GoodReads Challenge again but that’s Friday’s post. Until then HAPPY READING!