Monday, May 31, 2010

Best Weekend

May 31, 2010.

Outside my window...30 C day, but now the clouds have moved in. We need some rain anyway, and I don't mind it when I'm working or sleeping.
I am thinking...that this past weekend was one of the best I've experienced. Everything about it was perfect: it was hot and sunny, I had no stress, it was relaxing even when we were busy. My husband and I went to a Greek restaurant in the neighbourhood for our Friday night date, then went grocery shopping. The girls were both away on their respective Christian retreats. On Saturday morning I went to a Ladies' Meeting at church, cleaned the house, and baked a cake for Sunday's dinner. We watched soccer, took a stroll through our neighbourhood while the dishwasher washed my dishes, enjoyed an ice cream cone while out, bought a cafe set for the deck (see picture),had a nice bbq dinner, sat on the swing with my honey, went in the hot tub, and spent time together, reading and romancing. Sunday we went to church twice, our friends were visiting and helped to make the music worshipful and fun, then they came over for a roast beef dinner. We relaxed and caught up while their three little girls played in the hot tub. Usually, it's not a "clothing optional" venue, but we made an exception for them. Then there was a time of fellowship after church Sunday night. See, a full weekend, but oh so perfect. I feel so blessed.
I am thankful for...a good marriage. It gets better all the time. My husband has a stressful job and sometimes stress being a church leader, but he said he appreciates that at home, there is peace.
From the fillets, salad, peas and carrots, bread.
I am wearing...jean capris, a new navy and white print top.
I am reading...Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith, about one of King David's wives. She is my favourite, because of her wisdom.
I am hoping...the mess gets sorted out at my daughter's rental house in H-town. It's a house of 6 Christian girls. Over the summer, one sub-letted her room out to a non-Christian girl, who then started having her boyfriend over. Then her boyfriend "somehow" moved his stuff in, acquired a key, and stayed after the girl moved out early. This resulted in a situation where my daughter, who is there for a few days a week taking courses, was alone with this guy in the house. Then she'd even wake up to find his friends asleep on the couch in their boxers. When we heard, of course we freaked out. This is a house of girls, where those girls and their parents expect there to be no boys. She didn't feel safe there, and she shouldn't have to worry about taking a shower, or feel like she needs to hide away in her locked room. He didn't sign any contract, he was a squatter. He needed to go. When she told his girlfriend, he gave my daughter a note, begging for her to give him a chance, that he wouldn't disturb her, because this was a good location for him for work. She told him, no, he had to go. So he's apparently moving his stuff out on Tuesday, because of his work schedule. In the meantime, she went back there and stayed at a friend's place on Sunday night, although, she really shouldn't have to be the one to be inconvenienced. But I'd rather have her safe. On Monday night, some friends would come and stay at her place, even with him there. After he leaves, and he'd better, we have to have the locks re-keyed, because who knows how many keys are out there? I also don't want to worry that he'd just let himself in at some future date.
I am hearing...the GO train.
Around the house...well, everything I already said, plus my husband is buying a new lawnmower today. We ordered a new fridge for my mom's yet to be completed apartment downstairs. We'll be able to use the fridge for extra storage when we entertain. Always so much food.
One of my favourite things...walking in our neighbourhood. There are pathways next to a ravine, all through our subdivision.
Some plans for the Monday,Tuesday and Thursday. I booked Wednesday off because my husband and I scored tickets to a soccer game (Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps). It's a Champions' League game, but it's moot because TFC just clinched the title. They'll probably play the second line players and there's no pressure because the game doesn't really matter, but we're happy to go anyway. We have tickets to only two games this season, and that's only because we know someone who knows a season ticket holder who is willing to sell them to us. The stadium is too small for the popularity of the team and the sport of soccer in Toronto. It's also the only time my husband agrees to wear matching shirts, but then we match with thousands of other fans, as well. Friday we have a dinner date with our realtor. He wants to take my husband and I, along with my brother-in-law and his wife, out since he helped us both move this year and appreciates our business. He's taking us to the Keg Steakhouse. Isn't that nice? Then Saturday, we're going to a joint College and Careers/Youth group event at Christian campground. We'll bbq lunch, my husband will fish, and they'll do high ropes, rock climbing and archery. I'll cook and read. I may do archery, but nothing to do with heights. Sunday is church.

Friday, May 28, 2010


So I learned something new today from the book I was reading, The Last Lieutenant, by John J. Gobbell. The part of an anchor rope that you secure to the boat is called "the bitter end". You have to hold on to the bitter end. I knew there were nautical backgrounds for many expressions, but hadn't heard that one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Victoria Day Weekend

May 25, 2010.

Outside my window...summer came early. All week, it's forecast to be 25-30 C, higher with the humidex. Not a cloud in the sky, and not a complaint from me.
I am thinking...I was surprised they dropped the charges against the former attorney general in the case of the cyclist killed by his car. I guess there were things they learned about the cyclist, drugs, violent behaviour in the past, etc. But it's still hard not to think there was a double standard at play here. You or I wouldn't have had a hope.
I am thankful for...long weekends. It was Victoria Day Weekend in Canada. I'm told they don't celebrate it in England. We don't actually do anything related to Queen Victoria. Some shoot off or watch fireworks. It's just another well placed long weekend. It usually falls around May 24th, so it's known (to beer drinkers) as the May two-four weekend, as if they needed a reason to drink. On Saturday, we got some yard work done around the house, Sunday between services, we had our Pastor and his wife over for a turkey dinner. Monday, our family went to Rotary Park in Ajax for a walk, and then had friends over for a bbq.
From the kitchen...haddock, okra and tomatoes, corn on the cob.
I am wearing...a black and white polka dot dress.
I am reading...The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Ethridge. She wrote Every Woman's Battle, which was excellent. See my review at Actually, my husband and I are reading it together.
I am crown won't fall out again. It fell out in San Diego, and it was ten days before I could see the dentist. But I am grateful for free and painless dental care.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the eldest was in town on the weekend, but out and about at church and watching fireworks with friends. My youngest had her braces removed after five long years and has a beautiful, five thousand dollar smile to show for it. My husband is working hard as usual.
One of my favourite things...warm weather. I took a little nap out on the swing again on Monday. So nice.
A few plans for the three nights, send my youngest on a youth retreat for the weekend, my eldest to a young adults' conference, and have friends over Sunday for dinner. They're helping with worship (music) at church.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anarchists in Canada? Really?

May 19, 2010.

Outside my window...beautiful day, 25C.
I am some anarchists firebombed a bank in Ottawa. In Canada! What losers. Their reason? The bank sponsored the Olympics which may have been on land taken from Natives. Duh! So is the whole country, including where they live. Unbelievable! This, even though Natives approved of and joined in the ceremonies for the Olympics.
I am thankful dental care. My husband has a good dental plan through his work. While in San Diego, a crown fell off my molar.
From the kitchen...BBQ jumbo hot dogs and salad.
I am wearing...a black and white printed sundress and white cardigan.
I am reading...The Last Lieutenant by John J. Gobbell. It's a WW2 naval techno thriller.
I am hoping...the Annual Meeting goes well at church tonight. My husband still gets stressed over them even after years of smooth meetings. He's shell-shocked from the rough years. The stories we could tell could curl your hair!
I am hearing...the sounds of traffic outside the train.
Around the house...getting back into routines. May is always a busy month. We have two local bunnies who've taken to our backyard. So far it's not a problem, but if I plant tomatoes and they eat them, we'll be sworn enemies, regardless of their cuteness factor.
One of my favourite things...discovering new places. See my travel log below about our recent trip to San Diego.
Some plans for the two more nights, shop, clean house, have friends over for a bbq this long weekend. Maybe plant some flowers or at least buy potted plants for the planter boxes on the deck.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trip to San Diego, California

I just returned from an Oncology Nursing Conference held in San Diego, California. This was my third. Previously, they were in Philadelphia and San Antonio. My 17 year old daughter accompanied me. I had heard SD was a beautiful city and that once you went there, you didn't want to leave. I believe it.

We stayed in the historic Gaslamp Quarter at Hotel Indigo. It was a good hotel; not cheap, but worth the money. Room service was good and it was very clean. It was also eco-friendly and boldly decorated, which impressed my daughter. The people in SD are much friendlier than Torontonians.

While there, we toured the USS Midway, a WW2 era aircraft carrier, spent an afternoon at Pacific Beach (called PB by the locals), shopped at Horton Plaza, and walked around in Balboa Park. We also ate out, and tried some local cuisine; fish tacos, which were actually quite good, and surf and turf at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine.

Near the USS Midway is a large statue of the famous D-Day kiss of a sailor and a nurse. Couples usually duplicate the pose in front of it, but I didn't have my husband with me. :( We did a lot of walking, but occasionally we hopped on a bike taxi, which costs about $1.00/minute, but we usually paid more because they worked so hard and we felt guilty.

There was also a tribute to Bob Hope, who was a big supporter of the troops, a monument to the Greatest Generation, who fought in WW2, a walkway/bike path called the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, which has a plaque with one of his quotes every few feet, as well as five statues of hands spelling D-R-E-A-M in sign language.

Nearby is Seaport Village, where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs. I bought a USS Midway mug with a picture of the sailor and nurse, some t-shirts, a San Diego hoodie, beach towels and mug for my husband which says, "Living with a Finn builds character."

SD is a big NAVY town, with a naval base, a naval hospital, a submarine base, the Coast Guard, and Coronado Island, where the Navy SEALs train. The only thing I noticed was a disproportionate number of fit, shirtless men with good haircuts running on the beach, compared to Canada. Just saying.

The conference was great. I came away educated, encouraged and affirmed. Eight thousand oncology nurses in one place. No one tilting their heads, saying, "That must be sad." They all get it. See Oncology Nurse on Purpose under heading Much Ado About Nothing. I got some SWAG (stuff we all get), from the conference, including a tote bag that says, Oncology Nurses: there when you need us. It's appropriate. There's not much else to say about us without sounding trite or unfeeling.

My daughter loves photography. She's very good and has been teaching me some things. She has the eye for it. Balboa Park was great for that. We also towed the Museum of Photographic Arts.

While I was at the conference, she slept in, showered, ate, surfed the internet, and took pictures. She did a timed picture of her jumping on the bed, and a few shots of her running toward the camera. Silly girl. When we shopped, she found a grad dress, so she was happy about that.

At PB, a man in the water started calling for help. People got up, wondering if it was for real. Then two guys ran in and saved him. Then the lifeguards came running with their surfboards, like on Bay Watch, and rescued them all. One of the guys who ran in said he was exhausted afterwards because the riptide was so strong you couldn't fight it. The guy figured he'd call for help while someone could still hear him. Then the lifeguards forbade swimming in that area, which was fine with me, because the water was freezing cold.

We went to a famous Pancake House called Walkers, which was very good. The portions everywhere you go in the States are huge. We often ordered only appetizers.

We wanted to stay for church on Sunday. David Jeremiah preaches nearby in El Cajon, but we had to get back because my daughter had school the next day. As it was, because of our stopover in Minnesota and a delay, we got back home at eleven Sunday night. My husband was waiting there, still in his church clothes, and black leather coat, leaning on a pillar and looking very GQ. I was happy to see him. When I got home, there were a dozen red roses for me. Isn't he sweet?

I enjoyed my time with my daughter. She's very funny, always has been. She describes herself as cheesecake: you can only take her in small doses. I had five days of cheesecake and lived to tell about it. I ended up talking like her, though.

I loved San Diego. There's so much we didn't get to see, like a Padres baseball game, the San Diego zoo, Legoland, a dinner cruise in the harbour, Coronado Island, more of Balboa Park, and a Pacific Sunset (it was overcast). But we dipped our feet in the cold Pacific for the first time and got a sense of the city.

As the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzeneggar says, "You'll be back."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two More Sleeps!

May 10, 2010.

Outside my window...a cool, spring day. On the weekend, it was so cold, with strong, howling winds. We had to tuck the swing between the house and fence so it wouldn't blow over and break the glass on the patio door.
I am thinking...that it's Nurse's Week. Have you hugged a nurse today?
I am thankful celebrations. On Saturday we went to a club called Harlem, where my sister-in-law's band plays every week. We had the V.I.P. room for my mother-in-law's 65th birthday and Mother's Day for four of us. It was Southern cooking: fried chicken, catfish, cornbread, and more...and lots of it. Soooo good. My sister-in-law got up and sang Happy Birthday as only she can.
From the kitchen...beef stew, bread, mangoes and strawberries.
I am wearing...jean, a light blue tank top and my light blue Riviera Maya hoodie.
I am reading...Meltdown by Chuck Holton.
I am hoping...the trip to San Diego goes smoothly. I'm a nervous flyer. We also have a stopover in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Usually I travel with someone more confident than myself, now it's up to me to make sure we don't miss our connection. Done that before.
I am hearing...the GO train.
Around the daughter came back from Bermuda, safe and sound, and tired. She's back in H-town doing her Spring courses. My husband is working hard, of course. I wish he could come with us. :( We leave on Wednesday, and return Sunday. We introduced my Mom to the hot tub. Now she understands.
One of my favourite things...spending time with my daughters. I really like their company and I'm looking forward to being with my youngest for five days. She's fun and silly and mature all at the same time. We've been counting down for over a month, like kids do. Only two more sleeps! I can't wait to see a Pacific sunset.
Some plans for the one night, pack, travel, enjoy the conference and play tourist in San Diego!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How do you Know you're a Writer?

"A writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing."

-Junot Diaz-

Friday, May 7, 2010


"Wrestling with words gave me my moments of greatest meaning."
-Richard Wright-

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pet Peeves

Using Social Networking primarily to talk ABOUT social networking.

This is a bit like having a telephone conversation that goes:

“Can you believe we’re using the telephone?”
“I know. I love the telephone.”
“I’d like to know how you are using the phone to enhance your conversations.”
“I have been able to call many people and discuss how we can use the telephone.”
“Are you using the telephone in business?”
“I’ve been able to pro-actively develop synergies for a win-win customer experience using the power of telephonic networking.”
“That’s great. Do you dial with your right hand or left?”


Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

May 3, 2010.

Outside my window...a warm spring day, high teens. It seems the leaves have all budded within the last week. The blossoms on the fruit trees smell beautiful.
I am thinking...I love Christian weddings. The one we attended on Saturday was beautiful; very Christ-centred. Both the bride and groom and most of their immediate family are believers. They had speeches, games and a funny skit about their proposal.
I am thankful for...the appointment I had today with a neurologist. she examined me and is now planning some bloodwork and an MRI. I'll feel better when i get some answers. She's thinking I may have problems with my parathyroid gland. I've been having some Parkinson-like symptoms, which had me terrified.
From the kitchen...rotisserie chicken, Greek pasta salad, tabbouleh, fresh bread, pineapple and raspberries from the grocery store. It was a non-cooking day.
I am wearing...a black and white floral dress, because I felt like it, even though I was just commuting to work.
I am reading...Promised to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher. The fourth in the Coming to America Series about new immigrants.
I am hearing...the soothing sound of the GO train.
Around the eldest just arrived in Bermuda today, for a week...again. Poor girl, eh? She sang in the wedding we attended and did a great job. I don't know why I worried about her not knowing the words, since she got to keep the hymnal open. She sang, Here Is Love, Vast as the Ocean. My youngest daughter and I have nine more sleeps till Sandy Eggo! Yes, we're excited. My husband is working hard, and has extra duties at church to prepare for the annual meeting. I turned 46 on Friday. We went out for dinner but we didn't find my gift yet. We have to go to a few different stores to find a stove for the back yard.
One of my favourite things...rotisserie chicken.
Some plans for the three nights, shop with my daughter, have a date with my husband, get my hair cut and highlighted for San Diego. We may do one celebration for our moms on Saturday for Mother's day and my mother-in-law's 65th birthday. Sunday is Mother's day, so I don't know what they have planned. I need to get something for my Mom, still.