Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Personalized drink coasters. 
Andi and I have been celebrating our birthdays together since 2013. This is only the second year that we've been celebrating since we found out we're actually related, you can read all about that discovery by clicking here.

Andi's birthday is June 7th, and mine the 10th. The celebration is pretty much the same year after year,  she cooks a fantastic lobster dinner, I normally take care of the cake, and we drink lots of wine and exchange gifts. We look forward to the annual gathering every June. This year was the second time her brother Paul and his lovely wife, Francoise, were able to join us.

This year was a milestone birthday for me, and Andi wanted to take care of everything. I knew something big was going on as soon as I walked up to the front door. I turned and looked at Rob, he said, "I know nothing", and then we went inside. She threw me a "Harry Potter" themed birthday party! Instead of me telling you all about it, why don't I show you.

I knew something was up, as these were on the front door.
Now, what's behind that curtain?
Honeydukes Candy Bar!
She made the Chocolate Frog boxes AND the Chocolate Frogs that were in them!
Touches of Harry Potter were everywhere!

These covered every light switch!
In the downstairs loo.
Also in the downstairs loo.
And in the upstairs loo....
Moaning Myrtle! Ha ha ha!!
The Kitchen became "The Leaky Cauldron"
Where we dined. 
Complete with floating candles!!!
The table settings were amazing!
And also personalized! We all sat in the appropriate House. 
Enjoying the feast!
The Harry Potter themed party was a surprise on it's own, but walking in and finding my bestie there with her husband just added another layer of surprise!

Surprise! Pat and Greg are here too!
Having a grand time!
A little back story before I get to the gifts. When Andi and I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter back in 2014, we had a very indulgent experience. Fate, luck, or Andi's wandering where she shouldn't be, landed us having a private Ollivander's Wand Shop experience. That's right, just Andi, me, and the wand master! I wish we had it on video. The wand master gave us each a few wands, she settled on two, and then she asked us a few questions. Then she said "switch wands". As soon as we did, just like in the movie, the music started, the lights went up and the flowers grew in their pots! It was incredible. The wands chose us! And what did we do? We left without purchasing our wands, and I really don't remember why......

So if you haven't figured it out yet, when Andi found out a friends Mom was heading to Orlando a few months ago, she had her pick up our wands, as she had kept the paper work from our visit to Ollivander's Wand Shop to make sure we got the right ones . To quote Andi when I opened the gift of my wand, "I righted a wrong."

Andi and I playing with our wands. "Die Voldermort, die!" LOL! 
The second part of my gift brought me to tears. A wand holder, made by Andi's father, Charlie, who lives in Nova Scotia. This had been in the works since December! It is made from Nova Scotia Cherry Wood. As it says on the back of the holder; Inspiration by Dave. Design and lettering by Andi. Wood selection and milling by Charlie. What a thoughtful gift!! Andi also has a personalized wand holder as well.

My wand and personalized holder!
Trying very hard not to go into the ugly cry when I opened it.
Our shared birthday cake.
It may not of been a Harry Potter cake, but it was delicious and was decorated with 50 tiny edible candy butterflies. My 50th was both memorable and magical!

"What a beautiful place to be with friends." ~Dobby 

Thursday, June 13, 2019


I had a very memorable 50th birthday weekend. 
My 50th birthday was Monday, June 10th, which I had off work. I had a fantastic birthday long weekend full of friends, family and fun.

It started when I got home from work Friday afternoon. Rob and I work different shifts and he wouldn't be home til later that evening. I came home to a very unlike Rob thing to do surprise!
He had put decorations up around the house!
I giggled like a fool when I saw what he had done.
What a lovely surprise to come home to!
The event that took place on Saturday, June 8th deserves a blog of it's own, but I will give you a little hint.
If you recognize this, you are going to LOVE my next blog post! 
Sunday, June 9th we had a lovely dinner with friends at Scaddabush. Amanda decked me out in a 50th birthday tiara and sash. It was decided at dinner that both items will be passed down to the next girlfriend in our little circle at their 50th birthday celebration.

Being treated like royalty! 
Rob had to work on my actual birthday, but we had a nice morning together and lunch. We had cake and I opened gifts.
My cute little birthday cake.
Molly wanted to help with the wish. Sorry Molly, it wasn't for cat food.
Rob surprised me again with the gift he gave me. It was a Swarovski figurine I fell in love with. He knew I wanted a memento gift this year. Something I could hold and remember my 50th, but I wasn't expecting this, it was a huge surprise. It is in a place where I will see it daily, and remind me to hang onto my childlike spirit and to appreciate the little things.
I've loved Winnie since I was a child, and still do.
 Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful birthday wishes, my 50th was truly fabulous!

Friday, June 7, 2019


Did you read the words? In my Mom's day they called it "spunk" or "gumption", and I remember her having a lot of it. I like to think I inherited some of that from her, though I don't really consider myself a badass. Spirited with a hearty dose of child like tendencies would probably be a good way to describe me, or at least it was.

I turn 50 in a couple days, and I've been doing a lot of reflecting on that. Though I had some great times in my 40's, the highlight, marrying Rob, but they also came with their fare share of struggles. I got diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee, due to a split knee cap I have, and didn't know I had, from a car accident that happened before I entered my 20's. I may require a new knee cap down the road, but so far so good. A chronic case of "Tennis Elbow" due to over use of my right arm, and the latest health issue, diverticulitis.

The latest diagnose had me off work for a couple weeks at the beginning of May, went for lots of medical tests and a couple visits to emergency. One of the biggest struggles of my 40's was losing my Mom in 2012. I know she had arthritis and diverticulitis. How I wish she was here now so we could talk about it, and support each other.

Though none of these health issues are life threatening, they all require management, with diet, physio and exercise. Lately it has seemed to me that I just get one thing under control, and something else flares up. Throw in the occasional migraine, bouts of depression, and anxiety and it's enough to make a person want to go to bed, pull the covers up over your head and hide from the world. But life goes on, and so must I. So I do the best I can every time I'm dealing with something else life puts in front of me.

I feel like I lost of bit of myself in my 40's, and I hope to find that part of me again in my 50's. Let's be honest, at 50, my life is pretty much more than half over, and I feel like I'm running out of time. There is still so much I want to do, that I want to see!

My Mom was here in Toronto with us to celebrate my 40th birthday, how I wish she was here for this milestone.

Mom and me at my 40th birthday party.
My health, enjoying life and trying some new things are my top priorities as I enter the next decade.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


I missed this Canada Warbler, this visit.....
One of the highlights of our vacation for me came on our last day of vacation, May 20th. I finally got to see two of my most coveted warblers. The Canada Warbler and the Mourning Warbler. Neither were lifers, but the Canada Warbler is my favorite, and I've only seen a male Mourning Warbler once before, years ago.

We had visited this spot the day before, and though I had many fantastic views of lots of warblers, I missed them both, though Rob saw them. I knew I wanted to visit this spot early the next morning to see if I could see them before we went for our nature walk at another place, and success, I saw them both!

We had great views of this Canada Warbler on our last day of vacation.
Only my 2nd male Mourning Warbler! Thanks to our friend Dave, who was there too, for the pic.
We saw many Wilson's Warblers in this area.
 I was feeling pretty great after these sightings, so we headed off to our usual weekend nature walk spot. It's become a pretty regular weekend ritual for us to visit this area, usually on Sunday morning. It has a paved path, and it's a great start to my new "steps week", as I usually rack up anywhere between 6000 - 9000 steps on my Fitbit just on this walk alone. But the best part, we never know what we are going to see wildlife wise, and it's always a surprise, this day being no different.

Rob had seen them before here, but this was my first mink sighting here.
Lot's of butterflies around, like this "Question Mark" 
This coyote woke from his nap to watch us walk by.  
  Another great walk, and a great way to end our vacation!