If I Were the Fashion Police

When I was growing up, my mother was my idea of a fashionable person.  She was tiny, about 5′ 2″, and weighed  around 90 – 95 pounds.  She dressed in “housedresses” during the day but changed in the evenings.  She wore lovely dresses and always with high heels.  I vividly remember a day when she brought home a new baby and she was wearing a beautiful green dress and I thought she looked heavenly!

I seldom wear dresses and often wear jeans, t-shirts, and running shoes.  I am not fashionable.

But at the risk of sounding like an old crank I have to comment on some of  the crimes against fashion that I see every day.

  • Droopy Drawers – Boys who wear their pants hanging low, showing their underwear.  They have to walk with their legs far apart so their pants won’t fall right off.  I once saw a guy walking along and the waist of his pants was under his butt.  He was wearing  blue plaid boxers, by the way.
  • Bouncy Cleavage – It’s like they’re saying, “Look, look at me.  I’ve got breasts.”  Summer, winter, it doesn’t matter, they are showing things that used to be displayed only in the fold-out pages of certain magazines. 
  • Flip-flops  – As soon as the last of the snow has gone, out come these “shoes”.  They clip clop along in their flip flops and  I’ve had to laugh when they walk right out of them. 
  • The Micro-mini – These are usually Catholic School uniforms.  They barely cover the essentials and it is a sight indeed in the depths of winter, with snow knee-deep, howling winds, and icy sidewalks to see these girls wearing their short, short skirts with bare legs!  They stand waiting for the bus and I’m sure they are praying to God to make the bus come soon.
  • Tattoos – They speak for themselves.

If I were the fashion police, you’d never have to see any of these eyesores again!


Thanksgiving Weekend

Flowers in the Market in Montreal.

We just got back from Montreal where we spent the long weekend with our daughter and her family.  We had a wonderful trip.

Enzo in his school uniform.

The boys, 14, 12, and 10 are busy, busy, busy with hockey – practices and games – and their parents are just as busy driving them to various rinks and picking them up again.  My husband was even recruited to do a bit of driving.  Fortunately we know Montreal well enough to find our way around quite well. 

On Saturday evening we took the boys out  to Ste. Anne de Bellevue, which is at the western end of the island of Montreal.  Carla and her sister Monica lived there when they were in their early twenties and it was nice to revisit.  We walked along the boardwalk of the little canal which is lined with restaurants and pubs.  There were amazing yachts moored there and some of the owners were eating dinner on the outdoor patios while others were dining on their boats. 

Grandpa found an ice cream shop still open on the mail street and we sat eating ice cream.  Outside. After dark.  In October.  In Canada. 

Enjoying ice cream in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

On Sunday morning we went south of the city to Rougemont to pick apples.  Carla and Vinny go to an orchard owned and operated by Cistercian nuns who also sell their jellies, honey, and cheeses in a little shop. It was sunny and warm and I know the boys ate five or six apples each and I ate four!  There’s nothing like it.

Damiano apple picking.

Cameron is tall enough to reach the apples higher in the trees.

When we got home Carla and I started to prepare the turkey dinner, but there was a little hitch.  Hockey.  All three boys had hockey and all at different times and all at different rinks.  We didn’t get to eat until 9:00 p.m.  The turkey was moist and delicious and we all enjoyed the meal.  Carla’s apple crisp made with apples picked that day was the perfect ending to the meal.

The next day, John and I left for home at 7 a.m. and were home by noon.  We drove to a little town called Port Perry in the afternoon and walked along the edge of Lake Skugog.  People were out picnicking wearing shorts and T-shirts and we even saw some children in the water.

The colours were spectacular on our drive home and we enjoyed every moment.  I hope we can remember this weekend in the middle of winter and that it will warm us up, just a little.

The Family That Blogs Together…

A little over two years ago, I encouraged my daughter to start a blog!  I didn’t have a blog myself.  In fact I had never even read one.  But somehow I knew that in a blog she could express herself  in a way that would be therapeutic for her and possibly helpful to others. 

She started her blog about two years ago and has had a few different ones since then.  Then, she started to encourage me to start a blog.

And now, this Thanksgiving weekend, we are sitting in her living room each with our own computer, adding posts and photos to our individual blogs.

Blogging has caught my interest in a way I could never have thought possible a few months ago.  I love planning a new post,  catching up with what others are posting about, and replying to commenters on my posts.

Bloggers  have made me smile, frown, and laugh out loud.  When they have an injury, the flu, or even a bad cold, I sympathize.  When they complete a marathon, find a dress for a wedding, or have success at their job, I am happy for them.  I have blogger friends!!!

Since I began blogging three months ago, I have successfully encouraged my sister and another daughter to begin a blog.  I strongly encourage any bloggers out there to make it a family affair.  Who knows what could happen!

How’s the Weather?

Autumn Tree

It has often been said that Canadians love talking about the weather.  I can understand why that would be so since it affects so many of our day to day decisions.

In the winter, meteorologists report on the cold, the snow and the sleet but they also have developed what is called the wind chill factor.  It’s like it’s not cold enough.  They have to make it sound even colder.  If it is -25° C, they have to add the wind speed, and they come up with, “It’s -25°, but it feels like -37° with the wind chill factored in. ”  Brrrrrrr!

In the summer, they report on the heat, the haze, and the humidity.  For this season they have come up with the humidex. So if it is +31° C, it isn’t hot enough.  They have to factor in the amount of humidity in the air, to make us swelter even more. “It’s +31° folks, but with the humidity factored in, it feels like +44°.”  Yikes!

The absolute perfect weather is happening right now in Canada.  There is no “wind chill factor” and no “humidex”.  There is just a blissfully beautiful day with the bluest skies and the leaves turning yellow and orange and the sun shining and the temperature holding steady at 24° C.

I’ve taken a few photos over the last few days to help you visualize the weather in Ontario in October.

Near our house.


Late October flowers.


The garden of my neighbours is a delight.


By Lake Ontario

For These People I Am Thankful

The second Monday in October is Thanksgiving in Canada.  We pause for a moment to think about the things we are thankful for. 

I love this holiday because it is so uncommercialized.  It’s not about toys, or gifts, or cards.  It’s a time to express our gratitude for all that we have. 

In our family we say grace before meals and then each person at the table says what they are thankful for over the past year.  If you are the 17th person it’s a little difficult to not repeat what everyone else has already said.  

This year I have been thinking about the people who are and have been so important in my life.

  • My parents.  They brought eleven children into the world, took good care of us, educated us, and loved us. 
  • My 10 brothers and sisters.   No matter what was happening, no matter how bad we felt, there was always at least one ally to support us. 
  • Kathleen MacDonald, my grade eight teacher.  Her dedication to her job and her care for the girls in her classes inspired me.  It was then at age 13 that I decided to become a teacher, a job I held for 45 years.
  • My uncle Alex.  He never married.  I think he felt sometimes that he needed to help Mom and Dad to bring us up.  He never criticized my parents, or any of their decisions, but with an amazing sense of humor managed to support both them and me.
  • My childhood friend, Betty Ann.  She was funny and like a sister to me.  When I heard she had died a few years ago, my heart broke.
  • My in-laws.  A wonderful family.  Like my own sisters and brothers.  My mother-in-law is 90 years old and is greatly loved.
  • My husband.  ♥  He is the love of my life and we have been married for 45 years.  (I was just a baby!) 
  • Our four daughters. On my wedding day I said to one of the guests, “Mrs.  Warren, I hope I have four daughters just like you.”  I guess wedding day wishes really do come true.
  • Our four sons-in-law. They are true partners to our girls.  They love their children and treat us like royalty.
  • Our eight grandchildren. They are smart and beautiful.  They are kind and generous.
  • My very dear friends here in Oshawa.  I love you and appreciate you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Experienced Skin

I was just watching a TV show about Fashion.  Every week a woman from the audience is given a make-over which is revealed at the end of the show. 

I wonder how they pick the women to be made-over.  Do they look for the tiredest looking woman with lank hair and mottled skin?  No, they usually pick a young woman who looks better sans make-up than I do when ready to go out for the evening. 

The men who are the stylists appear to be so proud of themselves when they transform a young, beautiful woman into – ta da – a young even more beautiful woman.  What’s so great about that?  I’d like to see them take me on as a project.  I can just imagine them consulting together.

Hairdresser – Okay this is going to be really difficult.  I mean, look at this hair. It just sits there.  What do they expect it to do, stand up and do a jig?

Make-up Artist – You think you got it bad?  Her skin looks like it’s been around for decades!  It HAS been around for decades!

Today on the show the make-up artist used the term  “experienced” skin when referring to an older woman. 

 My whole body is experienced.  My skin has experienced the intense heat of equatorial Africa and the body-numbing cold of Canada’s Northwest Territories.  My arms have experienced the joy of holding four beautiful baby girls.  My eyes have seen our daughters grow and develop into successful young women.  My ears have heard the voice of my hearing impaired grandson as he began to speak his first few words. 

Don’t tell my hair to do anything else than just lie there.  That’s what I want it to do.  And don’t tell me my skin is “experienced”.  It has lines and wrinkles, but I’ve earned every one of them.

I was young once.  And pretty.  I am older.  I think I am still pretty.  Beauty is more than what you can see.  It is what you are.

Sunshine Sketches

I’ve lost 5 pounds.  On Friday, when I shared this with my friend Roz, she decided to get on board with my fitness plan and suggested we start power-walking for an hour a day.  I think she’s trying to run me ragged!

Yesterday we walked for an hour inside the mall as it was rainy out.  Today we were outdoors and it was glorious.  We decided to drive to nearby Whitby and walk along the Waterfront Trail. 


Ontario's Waterfront Trail


Do you know how wonderful a warm autumn day can be?  It was sunny and around 20º C (70º F).  The trail is lush with wildflowers, trees changing colour, a great view of Lake Ontario, and people of all ages enjoying the day.  We met cyclists, walkers, joggers, and even a small snake sunning itself on the path.

The coastline of the lake curves quite a bit and on a little rise in the path we were able to clearly see Toronto’s CN Tower on the horizon, about 70 km away.

The view across Lake Ontario towards Toronto.

We walked as far as Whitby’s Marina, about 3.5 km along the trail.   Out on the water a sailboat seemed to be disappearing over the horizon and we spotted a small fishing boat returning to its mooring .  It all looked so peaceful just lying there in the sunshine.

A sumac tree just starting to change colours.

On the way back, there was a small acrobatic airplane doing loops, spins and barrel rolls out over the lake We had a perfect view and enjoyed the display for a few minutes and then were on our way again.

Wild roses and rose hips in the sunshine.


This morning I did mall walking with the Sneakers Club, so my total for the day was about 11 – 12 km. (about 7 miles).  I now plan to do some upper body exercises to balance out the walking.

It is fun having another partner to exercise with and it’s good that we have the mall within a five-minute walk to provide a climate-controlled  spot to walk away from the bad weather.  It is particularly appreciated in the depths of winter and the hot, hazy, humid days of summer.

Roz is babysitting her baby grandson four days a week, and tomorrow we are going to take him along.  He is going to get into the exercise habit at a very young age.

I hope this new plan works out for both Roz and me.

Let’s Talk Turkey Soup

In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October.  This year it is to be held on October 10, next Monday. 

Just one of the seventeen leaves that have changed colour already.

John and I spent many Thanksgivings alone after our daughters moved out.  Our friends, Jim and Eleanor are in the same situation.  Their children live in Alberta, about 3,000 km (2000 miles) away.  Our girls are in Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver.

So about five years ago, Eleanor and I came up with a plan to spend holidays together.  Since Eleanor and Jim have been renovating their house we always have the meal here.  Eleanor cooks half the things and I cook the rest.  Sometimes I make the turkey, but this year it was Eleanor’s turn.  This year we decided to have our dinner a little early.

Here was this year’s menu:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Mashed Turnip
  • Potato, Sweet Potato, and Red Onion Bake
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow Beans
  • Peas
  • Pickles
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Whipped Cream
  • Wine

We split the left-overs and today the question arose of what to do with the left-over turkey.  I’ve tried Turkey Stir Fry, Turkey Divan, Turkey and Rice Casserole, and Turkey Pot Pie, among others.

But, the first thing I am making is our all time favourite, Let’s Talk Turkey Soup.

Right now the aroma coming from the kitchen is tantalizing!  Here is the recipe.  Feel free to substitute or add veggies as your taste dictates.

Let’s Talk Turkey Soup

  • Unsalted chicken broth
  • Diced cooked turkey or chicken
  • Half a red onion, chopped
  • Chopped carrots
  • Half a red pepper, diced
  • Left-over green beans, yellow beans, and peas
  • Small “soup” noodles
  • A pinch of lemon pepper seasoning

The Let's Talk Turkey Soup is bubbling on the stove.

Really sometimes I think the best part of the holiday is eating all the left-overs during the next week.

This was our supper tonight! Yum!

What are you thankful for this year?

– 5

No, – 5   does not refer to the temperature, although here in Canada we have often had that kind of weather at this time of year.  However, today it is sunny and about 11C  (52F).

The -5 refers to pounds!!!  Yes, I am down five pounds.  It has taken me quite a while but I did it.  My goal is to lose 25 more!!!

On September 1, I gave up French Fries!  I said for four months but of course it will have to be longer.  I told one of my daughters and my husband, so I would be accountable.  Before you think that I must have been eating a ton of fries, let me tell you that is not the case.  I had them once every week or two.

But this is what happened.  Since I had given fries up, I began to think more about what I was eating and my choices became more and more healthy. 

By September 21, I was again on the telephone with my daughter and I told her that I felt ready for the next step.  No more junk food!

That is, no more sweets, ice cream, or desserts except for fruit and yogurt.  I am becoming a more mindful eater.

As of yesterday, the end of September, I had lost five pounds.  I am not dieting, but I am eating better, with more fruits and vegetables added to my usual diet.  I feel better and I feel happier.

Nine years ago, my husband had a serious medical emergency and I began to slowly gain weight.  In the last few years the stress and pain of osteoarthritis has slowed me down and I had to give up my gym membership.  More weight gain.

Hubby has recovered very well and with retirement the arthritis has really calmed down.  So, the next step is to “up” the exercise routine.

My friend Roz will be babysitting her baby grandson for the foreseeable future and she and I are going to walk for an hour a day.  Good weather – outdoors.  Bad weather – indoors at the local mall.  I am already a Sneakers mall-walker member and will continue to do that.  If you want to see my progress since the spring, check out my blog page, My Walk Across Canada.  There should be a new update in the next few days.

It is only 5 pounds but it means a lot to me.  I am doing it my way and it is working for me!