Saturday, December 31, 2016


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'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


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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Winter official arrived this morning at 5:44am but's it's been feeling very wintry for the past couple weeks. After the spring like temperatures of November, the cold and snow that arrived in December was a bit of a shock to the system.

The winter boots and coat and have been out for a while now, and I've adjusted. December is my favorite month of the year, and I'm not going to let a little snow and cold temperatures ruin that.  I love all the festive gatherings with family and friends, the special foods that are only made this time of year and all the lights and decorations.

Today I start my two week Christmas break from the University and I am so looking forward to the extra time at home and the extra time with Rob most of all.

I decorate for Winter as well as Xmas.
Enjoyed a festive Tea with girlfriends' on Dec. 9th.
We took part in our first Xmas bird count for Bird Studies Canada on Dec. 10th. 
The backyard the morning after our first real snow fall that started Dec. 11th.
Started my Xmas baking last weekend.
Fondue dinner party at friends on Dec. 17th.
Gingerbread cake for dessert!
Modeling our new owl winter hats I had made for us.
We've also had two special visitors so far this month, of the feathered variety. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker enjoyed our backyard, and especially the Holly Bush for two days, Dec. 16th and Dec. 17th. A rare bird here for this time of year, he should of been in the warm southern states by now. Hopefully he refueled enough here to make the trip.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker enjoying our Holly Bush berries.
And probably the most exciting visitor to ever show up in our backyard, an Eastern Screech Owl!! We're really hoping he sticks around, he seemed quite content in the box. It is an Eastern Screech Owl box, Rob put it up 3 years ago, but he moved it this year to a different location. He looked out the window this past Monday morning and this is what he saw. Very exciting!
Eastern Screech Owl in our backyard box.
Still lots of fun and festivities before the year comes to an end. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best in the coming year. I appreciate you all taking the time to read my blogs.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Patricia and I, my regular roomie on this weekend.
Last weekend was our annual "Girls' Getaway Weekend" at the lovely Briars Resort. I have been organizing this annual weekend for 15 years, and it is always a lot of fun. We went up a little later in the year, this year, as I decided being able to partake in one of the Christmas Gala's would be a nice way to celebrate 15 years.

When I first started organizing these weekends it was for a women's social group I use to run. Many of my friends now are because of that club. I am grateful that even though the club is no longer around I am still able to carry on this annual tradition for/with my girlfriends.

Our first time attending a gala here.
The main lodge.
With 7 bedrooms and a large common area, First Tee Lodge is the perfect size for our group.
I put bows on all the bedroom doors in our lodge.
Welcome package for the girls.
Welcome letter.
First time having an Xmas tree in the lodge!
 Since we were going to be there for a festive gathering, I asked everyone to bring a gift for a gift exchange game after dinner on Friday night. It was a lot of fun, and every one went home with something nice.

Lots of decorations around the main lodge. 
Kristen waiting for some spa pampering. We all had treatments over the weekend.
Returning from a walk into the Village where we did a little shopping.

The famous "Sticky Toffee Pudding"......SO GOOD!
Andi and I with the other "frame". All attendees names are on it.
Susan is the only one that has attended all 15 years with me.
Group shot night of the Christmas Gala, we looked smashing!
 We're already booked for next year......

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Hmm....what's in that suitcase!?
Like most Harry Potter fans, I've been counting down the days until we once again get to enter J.K. Rowling's magical world of witches, wizards, and all sorts of magical creatures. Fantastic Beasts (and where to find them) hits the movie theatres on November 18th.

There has been lots of promotion going on for the movie in a few different cities, and today an event happened to be in mine. The event was taking place at Yonge/Dundas Square, which isn't too far from my place of work. The opportunity to walk through a much larger Newt's Scamander's magical creature filled suitcase presented itself. This one though held costumes, props, and some interactive activities.

The temptation was too much for me, and leaving the house this morning I grabbed my Gryffindor hoodie, knowing where I was going on my lunch break. Talking with other fans while waiting in line made the time pass quickly. Below are a few pics I took with my cell phone.

Oh look! I'm a magical creature!

It was a fun way to spend my lunch hour! I'm looking forward to the movie, and have tickets for opening night.