Saturday, January 14, 2017

A LOOK AHEAD AT MY 2017


Well, here we are, two weeks into 2017, and I'm just getting around to my first blog post of the new year. January is always a bit of a struggle for me, getting back into the work routine after the Xmas break, and after all the fun and festivities of December, January is just kinda blah. I do deal with the "winter blues", but I've found that taking vitamin D and making some plans can help me fight those blues away. I do love having something to look forward too!

JANUARY- A girlfriend asked me if I'd be interested in going to the Scandinave Spa up in the Collingwood area. So, next week, I am taking a four day weekend to go away and get a little spa pampering! I've not been to this area in years and have never visited the Scandinavian pools before, I am really looking forward to the mini break.
Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain
FEBRUARY- The first weekend in February we have plans with friends to visit Algonquin Park and spend the night in the area. Algonquin is always a winter highlight. It just wouldn't be winter now without hand feeding some Gray Jays.
Hand feeding a Gray Jay in Algonquin Park 2013.  
MARCH- For the first time in four years, the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society Annual General Meeting, is a different weekend than Toronto Comicon, which means Rob and I can attend both this year! YAY!!!  We may love our birds, but we need to indulge our inner nerd on a regular basis too.

APRIL- By this time it should be starting to feel like Spring, We have a long weekend this month with Good Friday, and I am hoping to score some Blue Jays tickets for Rob and I to attend a game as an early birthday present to me.

MAY- Aw, May, a birders favorite month of the year and probably the month where we lose the most sleep. Spring migration is in full swing, and we're taking two weeks off to run around and see as many birds as possible in various areas of Ontario from dawn til dusk.

JUNE- I will be turning 48 this year! My friend Andi's birthday is 3 days before mine, and it's become a tradition to celebrate together by enjoying a fabulous lobster dinner and birthday cake at her place.
Last years birthday dinner.
JULY/AUGUST- We don't make very many plans for the summer months, We enjoy spending our weekends in the backyard, enjoying the birds, BBQ's, and Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum.
The backyard, our favorite place to chill during the summer months.
SEPTEMBER- Rob will catch up with me in age, and as his birthday falls on a Friday this year, we will be making it a long weekend. Planning a weekend away with the girls this month, be our 16th year doing a "Girls Getaway Weekend".

OCTOBER- We've booked another week of vacation this month to enjoy the weather and beauty of the Fall. We will be spending 4 nights at Cedar Grove Lodge in the Huntsville area. Our first time going there, but it must be good, you have to book months/years in advance to get a cottage!

NOVEMBER- We have our last week of vacation this month. As we are taking the week of our 5th Anniversary off, and plan on doing an overnight in Niagara Falls.

DECEMBER- My favorite month of the year!! All the fun and festivities of the season! And for the first time in almost 20 years, I will be seeing my brother at Xmas, as the plan this year is for Rob and I to spend Xmas in Alberta.

I'm also looking forward to many great movie releases this year and hoping for a couple good concert announcements. All in all, it's shaping up to be a pretty good year!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

MY 2016 IN REVIEW

Wishing everyone a great 2017!
I always take a look back at the year behind me before starting the new one. And I'm always quite surprised at how eventful it was. Yes, some bad stuff happened, but doesn't it always? I try to focus on the good memories, and below is a review of some of the better moments of my 2016.

JANUARY- Rob and I started our 2016 by going birding on new years day because I wanted to hand feed some Chickadees.
Getting that "Chickadee Feeling" was a great start to the new year.
 FEBRUARY- Rob and I finally got back to Algonquin Park for an overnight trip with our friend Dave. Unfortunately Andi (Dave's better half) wasn't able to join us this trip, but we have plans for a do-over in early 2017.  
A Gray Jay, always my Algonquin highlight.
MARCH- Basement renovations finally got underway! Took 3 months, but it looks like a real room again. I flew to Alberta to visit my brother and his family for Easter. We also celebrate my niece, Ashlee's 16th birthday.
Ashlee's 16th birthday.
APRIL- I took part in a bowl-a-thon for Toronto Cat Rescue. An organization that helps cats and kittens find good homes in Toronto and the GTA.
I do love bowling, and this was for a good cause.
Also in April, Merry and Molly celebrated their first birthday.
Never a dull moment at home with these two!
MAY- Rob and I get to Point Pelee for the first time in 3 years while on vacation. We have a great trip, running into many birding friends, I reconnect with a friend from high school and get my 250th Lifer.

My 250th Lifer! A Kirtland's Warbler...she caused quite a frenzy in the Park. (Rarity for the park)
JUNE-I turned 47, we take Merry and Molly outside for the first time, and we celebrate our first anniversary with them.
The "Kitty Walk", keeping our cats and the birds safe.

Our fur babies, before and after 1 year after adopting them.

Celebrated my 47th birthday at the Woodbine Racetrack with Rob.
JULY- The highlight of the year for me was having my niece, Ashlee, come and stay a week with us. I had dreamed of her visiting me in Toronto since she was born. It was a busy and fun-filled week. I also attend my gazillionth  Def Leppard concert, and Rob and I attend another WWE live event.
Rob, Ashlee and I at Niagara Falls. 

AUGUST- Probably the worst thing to happen all year was me being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee. It started bothering me the end of April. After X-rays, a MRI and visits to see an orthopedic surgeon, I was diagnosed the end of June, but it took me until August to accept it. I'm hoping with some lifestyle changes I will not need a new knee cap for a long, long time, if at all.
All taped up after a physio appointment.
SEPTEMBER-  Rob catches up with me in age. We have a week of vacation together and enjoy a lovely 3 night getaway to Sir Sam's Inn in the Haliburton Highlands.

The view from our room at Sir Sam's.  
 OCTOBER-  Andi and I attend a lively East Coast Kitchen Party at a pub close to home. It was a lot of fun and we hope to make it a tradition.
Boiled lobster, fiddle music and Keith's beer!
NOVEMBER- The girls and I celebrate 15 years of our "Girls' Getaway Weekend" at the Briars Resort.
Me with my usual "roomie", Pat.  
DECEMBER- Lots of seasonal fun and festivities with friends and family.  Rob and I went "owling" on Christmas Eve, and actually called in an Eastern Screech Owl. That was quite exciting and a first for me!
Can you see the Owl? (no flash used as to not blind the little guy)
Today, the last day of 2016, we actually visited the same place we did on the first day of 2016...it's those Chickadees!


All in all, it was a pretty good year. Every year is full of ups and downs, and I wish you all more ups than downs in 2017.









Thursday, December 22, 2016

A MAGICAL MOMENT


This time of year seems to find a lot of us taking trips down memory lane. Revisiting those childhood Christmas's, or Christmas's with loved ones no longer with us. It can be a bitter sweet time of year.

This year marks 25 years since my brother, my parents, and myself all spent Christmas together. Something that will never happen again, as this marks the 5th Christmas without Mom.

As I recalled that Christmas in 1991 I cried, but I smiled through my tears too, as it truly was a wonderful memory.

I was home for my first Christmas after moving to Toronto in 1989. The first Christmas away in Toronto with my brother was fun, exciting and different. The second one, not so much, and I had made up my mind on Xmas day 1990 that the following year I would go home, to Nova Scotia. My brother made no such plans and he hadn't been home in a few years.

It was early evening, cold and dark outside. We probably had Lobster Chowder for supper as it was Christmas Eve. It was snowing outside, those big, fluffy, white flakes that seem  magical. I was there with my parents, and my Grandmother was spending Christmas with us that year. A close friend, Marilyn,was also visiting at the time. It was like something out of a Hallmark movie. I can still hear the sound of the back door opening, and someone saying, "Oh my God, Jeffrey's home!" 

My Mom started crying, as did my Grandmother, and Marilyn. I was only in my early 20's, I didn't do the emotional crying thing yet. I remember Jeff saying "The closer it got, the worse it got."  Referring to Christmas, so he spent way too much money on a plane ticket to come home, to be with us.

I have this picture of him Christmas morning, it's before sunrise, he's yawning, and watching us open gifts. It's pitch black outside the window behind him in the photo, it always makes me laugh.

I don't remember what anyone got under the tree that year, but I do remember the joy of us all being together.

I hope you all make some memorable moments this holiday season.