Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009 Everyone!

Now that we are all subsiding into the post-Christmas gloom after the over indulgence in the present giving, food eating and alcohol drinking departments, let's try and look forward with optimism to the New Year.  Here's hoping things with make a turn for the better and everyone will be feeling a lot more secure this time next year.  

Remember I mentioned a couple of posts ago that GWE may be off to Wichita, well it looks as though he can put his shiny red slippers back in the closet for the moment.  Fingers crossed that he can carry on in Montreal. I know which I prefer, sorry Kansas.

I must admit that here in the Soft household things are looking good for 2009, we are to become grandparents!!  The newlyweds didn't waste any time and it has been a very sober Christmas and will be a pretty dry New Year's Eve for the mother-to-be. But GWE and I have raised a few glasses in celebration!!

Wishing all my fellow bloggers a happy, healthy and financially secure 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Confession

J over at Small Crooked Nose tagged me to name six addictions I might admit too. As it is Christmas, I thought I would cooperate and maybe give myself a little therapy at the same time:

1. I love to get up early before everyone else and blog, but mostly read other peoples blogs. This must be done at least once a day!

2. Don't get me started playing Spider Solitaire, many many hours have been wasted on that.

3. Food - particularly bread and cookies (why could that not be ...particularly broccoli and salads)!

4. Real life real estate shows. Sad I know but anything where someone is house hunting, renovating, especially the "start a new life..." particularly abroad. Can't get enough and have been known to watch the same episode several times.

5. the moment it is knitting. Used to be that I could not sit watching TV without also doing something else, cross-stitch, quilting etc.

6. Who knew - maybe not as screwed up as I thought - having trouble thinking of another one (no I won't ask GWE or son to suggest anything ...Oh I know, accessories - love costume jewellery, scarves etc, Not so good at the outfits but love the extras.

To everyone who has popped by today, have a lovely peaceful Christmas with your families and a safe, happy and healthy 2009.

I would love to hear what Breezy, Debra as Us in France, Aims at Big Blue Barn, Amy at Chitlins & Camenbert and Frances at France and the Unknown are addicted to if they get the time. If anyone else decides to do it, let me know so I can pop by.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I heard someone use this phrase when I was on my way to work this morning.  It didn't bode well.  On my way to work we knew there was a snow storm coming but at 8am this morning it was nothing but a light dusting and the threat of bad weather had kept the number of commuters and parents taking their kids to their last day at school to a minimum so it was a fairly straightforward drive.  

By 9am however things were looking a little different.  There is a pretty good view of the highway from our office  but this morning we could only just make out the slow moving cars through the white-out conditions.  Eek!

It was pot luck day and those sturdy few of us that had made the effort got stuck in about 11am, eating and playing games.  Then came the word that due to bad weather the office was closed with immediate effect.  Great - looking out the window none of us was too keen to venture out and had been assuming that by the time we left at the usual time (4.30) conditions would have been a little better.

Anyway we all gathered our leftovers and ventured out.  I eventually left the office around 12.45 - my usual journey time is around 20 to 25 minutes - but today it took me 1 hr 45 mins to get back inside my house.

The conditions on the highway weren't too bad, everyone traveling at a fairly sedate 50km with a few stops and starts but the off ramps were a disaster, cars in the ditches; at one a police cruiser helpfully parked right in the ramp while he assisted someone safely parked to one side.  What an idiot - the officer I mean - people want to get off the highway in these conditions not be forced to stay on or sit like a sitting duck half on, half off the highway.  My windscreen wipers were beginning to bind up with snow and ice and the petrol gauge was getting lower by the minute.  I wanted off the highway. When I eventually came to a "clear" off ramp the snow was a foot deep in places, visibility was such that it was hard to make out where the previous tracks were and I just had to grit my teeth, grip the steering wheel tightly and pray I would make it up to the lights.  Having managed that I finally entered my little neighbourhood but the two roads leading to my road are on a slight upward incline and I couldn't get up, by this time there is more snow inside the car than out, I am all steamed up and so is that car!!  In and out trying to find some traction.

I finally, by taking another route, got into my road and almost to my driveway where son had helpfully shoveled a little space for me.  However just as I arrived so had his ride out to a concert this evening and they were parked in my space so I stopped and waited for them to move.  BIG MISTAKE.  When you have momentum, keep on moving.  45 minutes later with the help of great neighbours, their cinders, some salt and sand from the garage I finally got going around the block and straight back onto my drive. 
         PIcture :  My street looks a little like this right now, but I am not planning to participate in this fun winter sport until later. 

Snow up to my knees, mascara smudged all over my face, nerves in tatters but I am now safely on my couch with my laptop, cup of tea and pot luck leftovers and I am not going anywhere for a while.

GWE was planning to drive back from Montreal today but we re-thought that plan and he will try again tomorrow when they have had a chance to plough and salt.  Ahhh these Canadian winters - you gotta hate them!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where has she been and what has she been up to...?

Yes I am sure this has been keeping you all on the edge of your seats.  Well ...nowhere and not a lot is the truly boring answer.  Started the new job this week and it sounds like it is going to be one round of pot lucks and dinners out for the next little you can see a tough job but somebody has to do it right?  Apart from that, it is just the usual clerical stuff, nothing I can't handle, in fact could do in my sleep, I have been at this for far too long.   

Also making good inroads on the Christmas list, went to the One of the Kind Show in Toronto last weekend with my daughter (oh I did go somewhere!) and that gave us plenty of food for thought...and actually some food as we both decided on some gourmet marinades and stuff for a couple of people on our lists who are really hard to buy for.  There were a lot of jewellery,  pottery and clothing stalls.  However it was quite expensive, plus shopping together made it hard to buy anything for each other!!  Some of the knitting items were interesting and I am convinced there is one item in particular (a kind of wrap/shawl thingy) that I can make myself and once I finish the cardigan I am knitting (for me!), that is next on the list.

Anyway wandering around the show with my daughter gave me an idea and yesterday I set off into the countryside to a lovely pottery store in Troy ( to buy daughter some pottery mugs.  The store was a treasure trove and I spent a good half hour drooling over stuff, while waiting to meet a friend.  I was very strong and only bought for other people. Next Friday however they are doing 30% off some lovely pasta jars and so I am headed back there.
My haul from the pottery shop was four mugs, two pasta tossers (?) and a little tea bag/spoon rest shaped like a teapot. I thought the pasta utensils were neat, I have never seen those before and they are to be added to the gourmet food gift for my dad.
My friend duly arrived but unfortunately the coffee shop attached to the pottery was closed so we headed back to her house for coffee.  When I left her house after a lovely chat catching up with our news, I pulled off the highway to get gas and was rear-ended!!  What a bummer!  It ruined my morning as you can imagine, matey just was not paying attention.  The traffic ahead was stopped at the lights, as was I, and he just ran into me.  Anyway not too much damage, just cracked paint on the bumper/fender I think.  So that put paid to the rest of my planned Christmas shopping as I just wanted to go home then.  It is more the hassle of having to get the work done (just as I have a nice new job I have to be at everyday!!), GWE is taking that car with  him when he goes to the Wichita in the new year (more news on that later) but also this morning (Sunday) I have to go to the police station (back in the city where the accident took place) to file a report.

So my planned day of baking has now turned into another day of Christmas shopping - and I intend to complete the list today....this is my mission, and if possible find a turkey.

So now you can all relax, everything is alright with the world.  SITH is back in the land of blogging, Christmas is coming, the economy is in the cra*per.....ya di ya ....

Monday, December 1, 2008

OK ....

OK I've caved.  It's December and I have bought (and even written) Christmas cards, wrapping paper and even a gift or two.  I suppose Christmas is going to happen after all.  Tomorrow I plan to drag out the tree to decorate and hang my crimbo wreath and then we can officially say that it is the season.

My goal this year is to get into the true spirit of the holiday season, not necessarily the religious aspect, more a gathering of family and friends and good cheer, not just (or even not at all) a spending binge!  

Some are saying everyone should carry on as normal and spend to help the economy, but on the other hand I feel that if the current financial state of the western world tells us anything, it is that we have basically been spending too much for too long.  We need to get back to basics and ask ourselves if we really do need all this "stuff" to make us happy. Well anyway that's what I am doing. 

I have just picked up a three month temp contract starting next Monday so I have even more sense of urgency about the coming holidays and need to get myself organised so that I am not running around like a headless chicken (or should that be turkey) in a few weeks.  I am still doing the real estate open houses in the hope that something might develop but even without the downturn in the housing market, this is traditionally a quiet time of year.

I love the simplicity of this Christmas tree - I am going to use this as my rule of thumb for Christmas 2008 here at chez soft. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Keeping Out of Mischief

The temp job this week was much busier, not rocket science, just putting together marketing binders and sales manuals. Lots of photo copying and then on Thursday I stuffed 800 envelopes!! There are still another 500+ to go so I am back there this coming week for a couple of days.  A nice small company with friendly easy going people.  It makes me realise that I do like working in an office environment and having the interaction.  Plus being out of the house for several days meant I actually did stuff when I was at home - amazing!  I am not saying I don't love doing the real estate, I love working with people but it doesn't have the same structure.

It's true what they say about "ask a busy person to do something".  Friday (my day off!) I baked bread, made steak and kidney for pies, and baked some shortbread.  Saturday morning I cleaned my house, did laundry and put together the pies.  So I felt virtuous rather guilty than when I finally sat down to catch up on my blogs.  In fact I spent the afternoon surfing around and finding other interesting blogs, sad I know but I always love the ones about expats in France and their various experiences.

The snow is still with us but I have four good tyres now so I am a bit more relaxed about it.  Next on my to do list is to get the dog to the vets for his shots, and I suppose, start seriously thinking about Christmas.  This week I must buy cards, write them and get them in the mail by the beginning of December.  There are a few other gifts that have to go overseas as well.  

As I get older I find it harder to get excited about the run up to Christmas, don't get me wrong I love the day itself, getting all the family together, having a lovely meal and a few drinks but the commercialism now attached to it is a big turn off.  Although I expect this year it may be a little different.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well for starters, it is too damn early, it's soooo depressing - is this it now for the next six months?!  Getting the hint?  I don't like Canadian winters, especially southern Ontario winters, they are grey, icy and miserable.  I like my snow on the slopes.  When we lived in California, in San Diego to be exact, we could drive up to the slopes, have a wonderful week of skiing, marvel at the beautiful white capped trees etc. etc. and return to the sunny climes of southern Cal.  It was perfect!  I know moan, moan, moan!   But O....M....G....!!  To cap it off, my neighbour two doors down, not only has her Christmas lights up, but has them lit up already!!  My scrooge is showing again.

Anyway on a lighter note, we finally received the photographer's photos of the wedding so I have included a few gratuitous ones, just to cheer myself up.  

It was actually lovely to re-visit the occasion at two months' distance. It surely was a happy and laughter filled day.

And may they live happily ever after!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What was I thinking?

I just couldn't take the endless days, the house is so tidy, here is no laundry in the hamper, and not even any ironing (that must be a first!) and so I bit the bullet and signed on with a temporary agency.  

Monday night they called late and asked if I could fill in as receptionist in the next town, no problem - SITH to the rescue.  OMG it is such a boring job - they maybe get 15 calls a day -  between the hours of 9 and 5 - then it is just a matter of putting them through, no handling any queries, nothing.  Surely someone else could fit this into their work day!  It seems a waste of a good employee - my daughter said 'don't complain Mum it's easy money'.  That's just it - it isn't easy money, I like to be busy, like the hours to pass quickly.  I have read two entire books in the last two days, that and checked on my email, done a little real estate, read everyone's post.....arrrgh.  I am sitting here hoping I don't get the call to go in tomorrow.  Sorry to moan - shouldn't be complaining but .....arrrgh!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blah Blah Blah!

That's pretty much it.  Not a lot is happening around here.  After the rush, rush of our trip to France where there is loads to be getting on with, I am now sitting here at home going through the real estate motions of open houses, keeping in touch with potential clients (while, of course, trying not to be a nuisance!) and basically achieving bug**r all.  It is frustrating, the market has definitely gone a bit quiet on the buying front, there are lots of properties on the market but some very cautious buyers.  Hoping that now the US election is settled, people can re-focus, especially with interest rates so low.....fingers crossed.

I feel I am back a square one, back where I was a year ago when I launched my new career.  On the plus side, at this point a year ago, I did not even know whether it was possible for me to help anyone buy or sell a house, but after 10 "ends" as we call them (i.e. being on either the buying or selling end of a deal) I now know I can do it.  On the minus side, the real estate market here in Southern Ontario is a whole different ball game to what it was a year ago.  Have I chosen the wrong time to become a real estate agent?  To go out on my own and work for myself?  My old job with a guaranteed salary looks quite tempting at the moment, even though deep down I know I don't want to be back there.  As several people have said to me this week, if you throw enough sh*t against the wall something is bound to stick!  So imagine me, that's what I am doing .....throwing shi*t and plenty of it!!  

Anyway while I have so much time on my hands, I have been very domesticated, taken up knitting again, something I haven't done for quite a few years - making a jumper for my new nephew for Christmas (thrifty as well as crafty), baking bread !! and making all our dinners from scratch.  Homemade soups and pasta dishes.  Kind of morphing from home seller to suzy homemaker.... The house hasn't been this spick and span for a while.

This morning I was full of good intentions, was going to head outside to rake leaves - its quite handy here as you can rake them to the curb and then the City sends round a truck to scoop them all up.  However, it looks miserable and rainy today so that's probably not going to happen.  I will carry on printing off my newsletter which I deliver around my know...more sh*t.  See ya!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh to be in France again!

Here I am up at the crack of dawn still getting over the jet lag.  My son went to bed at 7.30pm last evening and at 6.15 is still asleep.  Oh to be young again!  
(this is the view over our land from a new installed upstairs window!)

We had a great trip, too short, too expensive for so short a time, but pretty successful.  The workmanship looks good and the builders had left the place pretty tidy.  We didn't arrive in the area until around 6pm so not much time that first night to do anything but stand and admire although we did get to meet our immediate neighbour for the first time.  P seems a very pleasant gentleman who lives in Paris and was just down for the half term week.  He confirmed our opinion that the roof looks great and it has much improved our end of the village.  He seemed very happy with the transformation.

We had managed to find a gite in the next village.  We were intrigued to check it out as the building is very similar to ours and they have extended up into the roof as we are doing and therefore I wanted to see if I could pick up any ideas.  It was a very nice place, lovely and clean with every amenity.  The only thing I felt was disappointing was that they hadn't left much of the original character of the property exposed, no beams, no stone walls.  But it served its purpose, warm and cosy and close to our house.

Up early Sunday the first errand was to pick up some groceries and then call by our friend and "project supervisor" H to pick up some more keys and have a nice chat over a strong Dutch coffee.  
(taking in some French sunshine - one day this will be a cobbled courtyard - you heard it here first)
Then off to the house for a proper explore, take some photos and measurements and generally have a good root around.  Son hadn't seen the place since we originally viewed it back in July 07, back when the property was surrounded by overgrown brambles.  At that time we couldn't even approach the property from the rear and could not open any windows at the back due to all the vegetation, so he was suitably impressed at the progress.  It was a beautiful day and we put the two camping chairs which had travelled from Canada with us to good use.  Son also went off to explore and managed to find a way over to our island (there is a cut through our land which use to serve the watermill on the other side of the bridge, this creates an island on our land which goes down to the river).  GWE will be jealous because he tried and couldn't get across!

Due to our body clocks being out of sync, together with the fact that their clocks changed overnight, we missed the lunch period at a local restaurant (you must eat between 12 and 2 in France) so we headed back to the gite for some lovely baguette and camenbert sitting in the sunshine.  Sunday was a lovely day.
(island exploration)

Monday was another story - it rained pretty much all day but it didn't matter as we had a project.  Off to Limoges to find a table.  Looking for a make-do table which we can use inside and outside for the next little while - went to a few shops and with minutes to spare before everything closed at midday, dived into (a huge second hand treasure trove) and spied a great square table, wrought iron stand and tiled surface, approximately 4ft square, perfect.  65 Euros and into the car.  Job done.

Then we headed off into downtown to find a restaurant for a nice lunch.  Again job successfully completed.  

After lunch we went to a big superstore on the look out for a kettle.  At this point it still looked as though we had no electricity at the house, and the water was turned off, but, what the hell, I had teabags and wanted a kettle.  

Then we headed home, popped into another friend's for a cup of tea and pick up the "lost" keys of our April trip.  Back to the house to drop off our loot, table, kettle, lamp....we had bought the lamp thinking it would then be obvious if we plugged it in, a definitive test as to whether we have electricity or not.  However, had managed to pick up the wrong size light bulb - arrrghh!

We popped back over to H's house to catch up proper and this time his wife A was there.  We spent a lovely couple of hours with them laughing about the frustrations and joys of life in France.  Luckily A had a lightbulb for me to try.

What do you know - we do have electricity.  Managed to find the elusive button on the scary looking electric panel and eureka - we have light!!  It sounds sad but this was a very exciting part of the whole weekend.

Tuesday was a busy day - we had between the hours of 9 and 12 to pick up the mail, sort the mail for all those outstanding bills, pay the bills, organise to have all our mail forwarded to Canada - 100 Euros - why didn't we do that before??, get to the bank and check in with B the builder who is renovating a house three doors up, business he acquired due to the great job he did on ours.
B doesn't speak a word of English so it was challenging.  However, he was thrilled that we are so happy with the results of his labour, he is delighted to have found three more jobs from our project.  Two other houses in the village want him to install dormers as ours are so beautiful!!  He said that everyone who walked past the house while he was working on it, stopped to admire it.
(B's handiwork - we will be leaving as much exposed as possible - especially that stone wall)
Well we managed to get all that done and were on the road to Paris by 12.45.  Phew!  it was a whirlwind trip but Son and I had a lovely (and productive) time together. (Of course it is only now that I am back I realise I didn't take nearly enough photos)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Your Chance to Vote

Gil over at That British Woman gave a link to a great site here where you can see who would win the US election if the world could vote. It makes for fascinating reading so go over and check it out. I was particularly intrigued to see where certain votes were coming from. I must say it gave me some faith in the world at large as well (no guessing where my sympathies lie!).
I am flying off to France this evening armed with my camera and tape measure so not quite the glamorous trip the picture would suggest! All this in order to bring back further data so that we can continue with our design plans from afar. As GWE designed the roof based solely on our photos and rough measurements and the results are pretty good, we plan to carry on in the same manner. However, even though he has 3-D design software which makes great models, you cannot beat standing in the middle of the actual space to feel where items should be placed so that is my project for the next three days. That and pick up the mail, chat to the neighbours, sit down with our friends H and A for a chat and maybe even get to sample the local fare and raise a glass or two !!
Au revoir et salut mes amis!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A glimpse of my world

To think just a few posts ago I was bemoaning the fact that fall had arrived, well make that fall is leaving. It is a glorious day here in Southern Ontario, but the thermometer on my deck says it is 5 degrees centigrade out there, at midday in the aforesaid glorious sunshine! There has been talk of "flurries" - yuk!!!

Anyway I took the hint and headed outside to clear out the pots, dig out the now goey bedding plants (we have had a fairly heavy frost the last few mornings) and brought my geraniums inside. In an attempt to pretend that I am prepared for the impending winter I have placed my geraniums in a sunny spot in the hope they will cheer me up through the next 5 to 6 months (yes you heard me right - that's how long winter lasts around here).

I thought I would just show you a glimpse of my sunny kitchen - not the most dust-free place in the world but hey, life's too short for dusting. I've shown you mine, why don't you show me yours, I'm not kidding, believe me - I am nosey.

BTW if you are wondering what the strange green glass "thing" on the right hand side of the sill is, it is a wasp catcher. My Mum bought it for me when she was here and we intend to put it to good use next summer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Funny Old Day

I came over all domestic.  Sorted out cupboards.  Did ALL my ironing - do I feel virtuous or what?
Made up a big batch of tomato sauce - the window sill was getting loaded down with ripening tomatoes and something had to be done.  Then to top it off I made a huge pan of chili - we should be eating it for several weeks.

Recently I have found the lack of structure in my days, now that I have changed careers from being an office worker for more years than I care to mention, to a real estate agent working for myself, has left me with a lot of time on my hands, and the more time I have, the less I have been getting done.  

Obviously the wedding meant my mind was off the real estate scene for a few weeks there and now I am having trouble getting focused again.  We are still in a pretty active market here in "the Golden Triangle" but I feel that I am back at square one, back where I was this time last year and struggling a little to raise my game.  I feel confident that things will pick up but in the meantime I need something ......  

With my trip to France next weekend, sod's law says that I will suddenly get busy next week, so let's see.  My son and I leave next Friday and will spend three nights down by the house and one night in Paris before we head back.  I know it seems crazy - so much expense, such a long way for such a short time, but we will rest easier when someone has been over and checked on the work and made sure everything is in order for the winter.  Then we will start saving in earnest to have a proper productive trip over early in the New Year - maybe February.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It Arrived While I Wasn't Looking

Fall I mean.  Suddenly it has arrived in my garden.  The pool is closed.  The furniture stored away.  Leaves are falling, the left over not quite ripe tomatoes are looking very sad and my garden needs a little attention.  I am not very good at being ruthless and pulling out stuff that still doing OK.  I have to wait until it is looking really sorry for itself so that attention is going to be a little while coming as yet.  My pots still look quite presentable - what do you think? 

It's hard to believe my daughter has been married  for a whole month!  Then it was summer and now it's almost winter.  A tough time of  year here in central Canada.  It's not that it is not an absolutely gorgeous time of year, the colours are spectacular, the weather is balmy and the grass doesn't require mowing every third day but we all know what is around the corner.  When winter does get here it sticks around for a long time and I, for one, am not looking forward to it one bit.

However, one very bright spot on the horizon is a trip to France.  Whoohoo!!  Unfortunately due to work commitments for GWE, he will stay behind and work his little butt off while my 16 yr old son and I will take a very quick trip over to check on the house, take many photos, pick up our mail!!! and generally soak up some of la bonne vie for a few days.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The roof is complete

Somewhere there amongst the mayhem of the wedding we received the news that the roof in France was now complete and I have been trying to upload photos. Our good friend and "project manager" always sends us photos but to make it easier and quicker he sends them as .pdf files and it takes all my brain cells (which are getting fewer by the day!) to work out how to import those photos to Blogger. Fingers crossed that there are some photos with this post.

As you can imagine we were very excited by the news, thrilled with the results and cannot wait to get out there and see it in person. Looks like we may be able to squeeze in a trip in late October, once the wedding fallout has been assessed. The house is still a long way from being habitable and our usual accommodation in a very nearby gite is unavailable this time, it appears they are no longer trading as a gite, which is a bit of a pain. So we are scouting around trying to find somewhere to stay as close as possible to the village.

We are hoping to make a little progress towards making the property "habitable" or maybe a better word would be "squattable". We want to try and get a woodburning stove bought if not actually installed and talk to artisans about the wiring and installation of a hot water tank and shower. One of these days I guess we also have to take the bull by the horns and flush the toilet - believe me that is scarier than it sounds, we have no idea what state the septic tank is in and nobody has lived there for many many years. When we were there in April, we noticed a leak in the loo and bought what we hoped was the required part, however, never got around to fixing it. We strategically left the part on top of the loo seat in the hope that if the builders wanted to use the facilities, they might fix it for us. Probably very wishful thinking on our part, for all we know they just went ahead and used it, leak and all!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It was a perfect day

OK there were a few raindrops but nobody cared - it all went swimmingly. All the overseas visitors had mustered at our house by 7pm on the Thursday evening so 21 of us headed out for a delicious pre-wedding meal at a very nice local restaurant.
Then the bridesmaids and bride all settled down for not too late a night at our house.
Come the big day, mother and father of the bride were awake very early and chomping at the bit, the feeling was "OK we've stressed about this day BIG TIME for the last few months - nothing more to do but let the plans fall into place" and they did.
We had a lovely relaxing morning at our house, the bridesmaids, bride and mother of the bride having their hair and makeup done, a few sandwiches with father of the bride and a quick restorative beer and things got underway.
We had to call indoors or outdoors at 11am and it was decided due to the somewhat overcast and very humid day to call indoors. From that moment we could all relax about that decision.
Photos in the garden and a glass of champagne and the cars arrived to whisk all away.
The bride's brothers were in charge of whipping the inside venue into shape, laying down the aisle runner, sprinkling petals, setting up the fall planters to give the room some colour. They did a great job. Not that I think the bride would have noticed an elephant in the room, father of the bride said she was shaking like a leaf by the time he marched (no other word for it!) her up the aisle.
They made their vows in emotion filled voices but without incident and from then on I could visibly see her relax and start to enjoy herself.

With my feathers (see photo) sometimes I wasn't sure whether or not raindrops were falling but if they did, they dampened no-one's spirits and if anything added something to an already fantastic day.
The bride was stunning, the groom nervous and handsome (sometimes looking at his bride as if he couldn't believe his luck), the vineyard lush and beautiful, the reception meal spectacular - we couldn't ask for more. It was a perfect day.....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where did all those years go.....?

What a day – it brought back many memories! I remember 27 years ago, as I sat in the rocking chair watching my daughter sleep after nursing, having fanciful thoughts that I could see glimpses of the beautiful girl she would grow up to be. Even to myself I thought this was a little silly.

Over the years, through the battlefield of her teens, we have had heartache and tears, but of course also laughter and tears. I can remember her shouting at me in times of stress and argument that she “wanted to try everything, do anything!” As you can imagine, as the parent of a willful teenage girl, that scared the life out of me.

However as I watched her on Friday and received all the wonderful compliments from everyone on what a lovely girl she was, it was all worthwhile. The rules laid down to be butted against, the battlefield of emotions through the years. I knew everyone meant “what a lovely person” she is, inside and out. Full of appetite for life, full of fun, full of integrity, loyal to her friends, concerned for her world and those around her, a lovely well rounded girl. Her dad and I swelled with pride.

In her speech, she addressed her final words to her chosen life partner when she said “It took me a long time to find you, and now that I have I want you to know I love you and I can’t wait to see how our story unfolds”. We are all waiting with baited breath … girl.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Anyone to the Rescue?

NOTICE: Two healthy but hard up twentysomethings looking to spend a month in Europe in October/November. Any suggestions as to accommodation, location, anyone looking for cheap labour in return for bed and board, any advice at all.....gratefully received. They hope to visit our little piece of France for a day or two but then it is off to anywhere and any many places as possible, spending as little money as possible.

As you all know by now the wedding is just days away, stress levels are peaking but lists are thankfully getting a little shorter. The decision as to jewellery with the outfit still not made (there are currently three options!!).

Went out with elder son yesterday to suit him up for the wedding and very cool he looks too. It was a huge decision, to look appropriately dressed but still retaining his sense of self. His girlfriend joins us tonight from Victoria, and then it is pretty much all systems go through the weekend. This time next week I will probably be dribbling in my teacup!! A washed out rag of anti-climax and exhaustion.

I may not be blogging for a few days but I will be visiting everyone.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stagette Fallout

We had a lovely afternoon on Saturday.  The weather cooperated and we sat around the pool, a few people actually took the plunge.  We had all got together to get just a couple of big presents and we gave my daughter a nice expensive blender and some great flatware.  The rest of the time was spent drinking, eating, chatting and laughing.

Shower Part II - the Stagette.  Some of the diehards (me included) headed out in the evening to go downtown.  Now the proceedings got serious.  Shots were imbibed!  Several of them, I remember saying at the time "this is going to hurt tomorrow!"  And boy did it, Sunday was BRUTAL.  I needed to sit quietly, with eyes closed making that age-old pledge "never again!!!".

We managed to get escorted from one bar by the bouncers, due to my daughter and friends dancing in the booth.  All in all, you could say it was a very successful Shower/Stagette!

So now it is onwards, 9 days and counting.  The bride and groom are off to the airport this evening to pick up her younger (not youngest) brother.  We are all excited about that as we haven't seen him for a year, he has been out west, in Banff and most recently in Victoria BC.

We seem to be in a holding pattern at the moment.  We keep checking the lists, all seems to be in hand.  We just have to wait for the big day.  I think this is the toughest period.  I am looking for chores to do, to make the time go quicker.  The bride is just wishing herself on the honeymoon.  It is VERY exciting.  A friend assures me the weight will just drop off me over the next week - she better be right as I do have "serious foundation garments" still left on my list!! Ladies - you know what I mean.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It never rains but it pours......

I am having the bridal shower for my daughter at my house tomorrow.  This should be interesting as before Wednesday evening I had never even attended one.  I am not sure I get it, it just seems to be financially motivated.  An attempt to give/get more presents.  My daughter did not really want one, she would have been perfectly happy with a stagette/hen party i.e. a drink and get together with her girlfriends, but as I have found out with this wedding, it takes on a life of it's own and so now not only is she having TWO showers, but there is a Stag & Doe as well. None of which my daughter wanted.  Her registry list is pathetically short, as she says, she had a house, her fiance has a house, they have almost everything they need and they feel bad asking for more, for stuff they don't really need.  
Anyhow as the shower is a my house I have made an effort to impose my wishes on it.  No games, please!  No four hour present opening session - boring!!  I was overruled on "no presents" so we took donations are have bought two of the larger items on their registry - hopefully that will take up 10 minutes and we can spend the rest of the afternoon, mingling, eating, drinking and having a lovely time.  My daughter hates being the centre of attention (so major stressing going on about the big day as you can imagine!!) as I know she doesn't want to sit in the middle of the room being the focus of present opening and silly games, I am trying to make this an afternoon that she will enjoy.
As a side note, consumerism and all that, we decided that our ancient dishwasher needed replacing before the shower and onslaught of visitors, so I shopped around diligently to get a good price.  No problem I thought (so naively) a quick swap over job, and Bob's your uncle - nice shiny new dishwasher and ...bonus.....clean dishes.  No such luck, it looks like the house was built around the dishwasher and it is hard plumbed, no hoses for us, nice copper piping. So while my blood pressure shot through the roof, just three days before the aforementioned shower, I rang around to get prices for this little job.  Huh!  One lady was embarrassed to tell me how much they charged for this job - $260 - so much for my shopping around!!  Luckily one of my real estate colleagues came to the rescue with the name of a guy who will do it for half that - still a lot when you consider I thought I could do it myself!!  Anyway hopefully he will be here this evening, however, this also brought on the added expense of a taxi from the airport for my husband because, talented as I am, I cannot be in two places at once.  Did I mention that it will probably damage the kitchen flooring when he gets it out ....arrrggh!!
Now fingers crossed for a sunny afternoon, as they chose my house as a venue because of the pool and garden so it would be nice if we could actually use both.    Two weeks today is the BIG day!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008


My environmentally conscious and politically aware 15yr old sent me this link today. It is very thought provoking, interesting and, I must say, really depressing.

It is worth taking the 20 minutes it takes to watch it. It certainly made me think. We are all guilty to some degree, although I do try to be socially conscious, I do try to shop locally. It should be easy as we live on the edge of what is the market garden of Ontario, but unfortunately we also live extremely close to that enormous monster, the United States. Although I try to buy Ontario grown produce - it can be hard to find.....and no matter what, I cannot find bananas that are grown any closer than Chile. I have made a pact not to shop at Walmart - they truly are taking over the world, here in our mid-sized town in Ontario they are in the process of building a second huge store. Shopping mall parking lots are always full. It is a scary world we live in and a lot of the information given in this little story hit very close to home.

Anyway I hope some of you will take a few minutes to click on the link and digest the sentiment:

When I had finished watching, I said to my 15yr old "Well, that was a big eye opener!" - "Yes" he replied "BUY LESS STUFF!!".

Of course I replied "Yes" and I definitely will......once this wedding is over!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great - a book list (disguised as a meme!)

I picked this up at Chris and Carol in Thailand's blog. I know it will probably give me a complex but there goes:

Look at the list of 'classics' and:

1) Bold those I've read.
2) Italicise those I intend to read.
3) [Bracket] the books I love.
4) Pass it on to a few others.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
(3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
(11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
(15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier)
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
(30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
(37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (but have read Red Dog by same author - great book)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
where is 44?
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Magus - John Fowles
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carols Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
(73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - A. S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I've read 33 out of the top (allegedly) 100 classics, it felt like more as I was going through but leaves me a few I would love to read and never think of as I am standing in the bookstore looking for inspiration!!   And of course I am sure I must have read 44 :)

Feel free to join in, I'd love to know what your absolute favourite is. I read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry but much preferred Family Matters. I will also say that Up the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame remain two of my all time favourites and I made sure I read them with my children and they loved them too.

Over to you....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And off it comes

So now the roof is completely off the barn end. Lots of progress in one week, I guess it is easier to dismantle it.
The next step is to repair the end wall to prepare it for the new framing. There is a cherrypicker on site to assist with the lowering of the huge beam, so hopefully that is pretty imminent although I understand they have been experiencing lots of rain.

Then they will completely re-vamp the roof timbers and construct two dormers, one front and one back and another skylight. It will be interesting to see how long this half takes.
However the dormer is nearly complete and looks great.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let there be light....

The progress is slow but we are really happy with the results. The guys are doing great work and now we almost have a dormer window. To most of you this probably still looks like a wreck, but I am getting glimpses of the future, I can see my little rose covered cottage of the future. Our "man in France" tell us that work "should" commence this week on the barn end where they are taking off the complete roof, timbers and all so that they can lower a huge beam, which basically the entire roof rests on, 18 inches so that we will have a one level throughout the upper storey. Standby for photos of that. ....and please try not to yawn at the back there.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A weekend away

GWE just changed jobs and is now located in Montreal rather than Germany - so a little closer to home.  It has been a hectic month of July for him, flying to Montreal for an interview during his week "at home", then back to Munich for a couple of weeks' notice, then on to another firm in Germany  for a couple of days to show his face as the new guy in Montreal.  He flew back here two Saturday nights ago, arriving at 8.30pm, only to turn around pack his bags, and drive off to Montreal on the Sunday (a five hour drive).  Because of all that to-ing and fro-ing over the past month, it was decided it would be better if I flew to Montreal last weekend rather than him travel home for the weekend.  No argument from me.  I love Montreal - it is such a cool city.  Great shopping, loads of great restaurants and bars, a bit of a buzz, a nice small city to get around.  So off I went (15yr old son had been invited to a friend's cottage for the week so the timing was perfect).
GWE and I spent a lovely couple of days, mooching around the shops (just making sure there were not any better shoes lurking out there!!), looking a suits for the wedding, picking up a few bits here and there, stopping for coffee, having a lazy lunch on a patio just of St. Catherine's. Just as we finished lunch the thunder started rumbling so we headed back to his apartment for a nap (three beers at lunchtime - what can I say).  Then out in the evening to do a bit of a bar crawl.
We used to live out on the west island of Montreal so Sunday we took a trip down memory lane, drove past our old house (incidentally my favourite house to date - and there have been a few) but the current owners are not keeping it in the best of shape - looking  a little ragged around the edges which I am sure doesn't please the neighbours as it is in a lovely street with many beautiful houses.  But ironically the shabbiness helps us not to have any regrets.
Then we went out to Hudson, a little town just off the island to a lovely pub, The Willows, on the shores of the St. Lawrence, with beautiful gardens and lawns going down to the water's edge.  We stayed a while and had a relaxing lunch watching the sailboats.
While we say there, we congratulated ourselves on a great weekend, because we knew if we had been at home, it wouldn't have been as relaxing.
The wedding is now six weeks away, there are chores that need doing chez-nous.  No more lazy weekends us for us for a while.
PS: I did try to add a photo I took on my cell phone while we were in the garden of the pub but  but once again technology foiled me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wash My Mouth Out!!

Did I really say "now for the fun"!!  Who knew there was so many different shades of cream/beige/taupe.  I have been on a further mission in search of the ideal shoe to compliment the outfit.  Let me just use a little understatement when I say it has not been a happy or easy task.  In the end I came home with three.....yes I said three pairs of shoes today and scarily I have ordered another two pairs online in the desperate hope that one of these pairs will be the ONE.  Then of course comes the next step of finding the bag to match the shoes.  At this point, I am thinking some little jeweled trifle not necessarily "matching".  
As far as the bling is concerned, I was thinking pearls - something chunky - and bought a multi-stringed choker but it just wasn't me - and a little too 90's/Knot's Landing.  (I know what I am talking about!!)  Hence the option selected in the photo.
On our mission to the States on Monday to find the bride some shoes, we were, I am pleased to report, successful.  However she opted for a brown satin pair that will get future wear.  We decided that a little bit dressy, a bit of height (she is quite a bit shorter than the groom) and of course comfort where far more important than having a pair of sparkly/frumpy shoes....just because.
Whilst in the shoe shop, I came across another woman of a certain age (i.e. mine) frantically trying on gold strappy sandals.  "Wedding?" I asked.  "Yes my daughter's ....on SATURDAY!!" and she marched off with several pairs under her arm - apparently there are several different shades of gold as well.  I must say I felt a bit better after the encounter..even if just because I wasn't doing this task with days to spare!

Just so you know, I am thinking the cream pumps (centre) are in top spot at the moment.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Thank you Macy's.... so much more choice.  I must have picked up 10 dresses to try on, here I haven't managed to find 3 I wanted to try on!  I love the way it looks, my trusty companion tells me it takes pounds off and makes me look tall and the magic dress then!!  It looks crisp and classic in a brown with cream polka dot.  I tried to take a self portrait but having looked at the results I am leaving it up to your imagination and you will have to wait for the official shots on the big day....just like everyone else.  Now I just have to find the cream shoes, bag, and bling!!  The fun stuff.  Thanks for all your words of support but I have decided that some changes are required....and I have committed to a minimum of 40 sit-ups and 20 push-ups per day from now until the big day ....and probably not one day more knowing my track record.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mission Impossible?

My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to find "the outfit" fit for the mother of the bride..... So tomorrow I am heading south to the US for the day in search of the elusive outfit. Trouble is I have made the big mistake of having something in mind and of course when that happens, the damn thing doesn't exist. I am thinking muted colours,,,,but this year the trend is toward high contrast prints. It has to have sleeves to hide my flabby arms....everything I have seen as been sleeveless, It as to be comfortable and yet extremely stylish, figure flattering and immune to creases. As you can see the mission is a little complicated. I have been checking out various websites to get some ideas.....even M & S athough they won't ship to Canada! I am getting desperate. My strategy is try on anything, be open minded, spend whatever it takes......wish me luck. I hope I am only going to be mother of the bride once ..... so no pressure!!

Surpringly this is not what I have in mind!! Are we meant to believe that these models are old enough to be a mother of the bride? Or is this just delusion on my part!! Scarily I am the same age as Madonna and we are not in the same ballpark either.

Fingers crossed...

Friday, July 11, 2008

We have progress!

I am glad to report that progress has finally been made on our French project.  The permis came through almost exactly two months to the date, which seemed kind of academic as we had been told we may commence if we hadn't heard anything after two months.  I know - I don't get it either.  Still it was nice to have the official approval.  
The builders have been at work for a couple of weeks during which time I believe they have experienced both incredibly hot weather and rain.  It was raining today when our friend H went over to take some photos and therefore no work was taking place but it has been!  It is great to finally see the place transforming.  So it appears the the "house" end is almost ready for tiling.  

Next week they are to take the roof off the "barn" end. They are completely removing the roof and lowering a huge beam by 18 inches so that the floor on the second level of the "barn" end can be level straight through making the space a lot more usable.

Meanwhile the great growing combination of heat and rain has meant that the builders are having to deal with gigantic weeds - all our good work back last November and again in April gone to pot.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thanks Ever So!!

Mob at (sorry forgotten how to do links) has given me an award, it was a take what you want kind of awards ceremony and I am not sure I qualify as a "funny lady" - OK possibly "funny" as in odd, maybe not funny ha ha. But I loved, I wanted it, so I took and ran. Thanks again, mob, much appreciated.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm waving not drowning!

Where does the time go? As usual I am having hectic time, mostly because I am taking care of someone else's business while she is up north sitting by a lake. It is good though because my business has gone a little quiet so I am hoping to keep busy doing the basics and wait for the next opportunity to pop along. The wedding plans are swinging along nicely at the moment, I am out with daughter this evening to buy some bits and bobs for the flower girl, i.e. dress material and the like. 

We have had long conversations about favours - what is this concept, I don't think it is something that exists in the UK yet but seems to be par for the course on this side of the Atlantic. A little bit of stuff and nonsense for the guests to take home. Just more expense for something that probably nobody really wants. Anyway they have made little pots of jam - which I approve of in the sense that if it is a must, let's make it individual. 

Also the sense that when you are attending a wedding you need to buy a gift commensurate with the cost of the dinner you will be eating is alien to me.  I feel if we decide to spend a fortune on the wedding, our guests should not feel obliged to help with the cost - that is our decision and we just want them to be there to participate in the occasion, nothing further. I am trying the "when in Rome" concept but you know me, hard to keep mum on such subjects! I hate the thought that people, on receiving the invitation might be thinking, oh no, more expense!!

Apart from that my brother is coping well so far with the chemo, except from a very enlarged stomach due to bloating he says he feels a complete fraud and feels very well.  And long may it continue - so I am very happy to report that he is planning to come over for the wedding and other people are booking as well, it is beginning to take shape and I have suddenly started looking at my house and making a list of all those little jobs that get left by the wayside, until you have an influx of visitors!

All things considered, it appears I will be "busy" this summer even if it isn't selling houses.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Spot the Cat

I was just over at Breezy's blog and her post about her animals brought to mind a much loved member of our menagerie who passed away many years ago now. A cat called Spot, mainly because she didn't have any!! I know, it's a weird name, but that's kind of how it happens around here. Spot was completely white and, we think wild.
One pre-children summer on a last minute whim we took a week's holiday on an old narrow boat up the Thames from Shepperton almost all the way up to Oxford. We took my husband's younger brother with us. It rained almost the entire week, but we had a really good laugh along the way. It was an old working barge with the tiller out in the open air and therefore someone always had to be at the tiller standing out in the rain. Guess who we made stand out there?!
En route we visited my husband's aunt and uncle who lived in Wallingford out in the countryside. Whilst there they told us about the kittens who had been born a few weeks earlier and how they worried about one in particular who they thought might be deaf and they lived next to a busy road. And so Spot entered our lives. Even though she was a "wild" cat, being deaf made her strangely much braver and more friendly than her brothers and sisters and she was very happy to join in our boating trip and come home with us. Little did we know what we had let ourselves in for.
We brought her back to Addlestone and into the life of our other cats, Doilly and Turnip. Doilly was an extremely aloof cat who spent her entire time with us trying to be adopted into another family and actually did eventually succeed!! But Turnip was more like a dog than a cat in personality and behaviour, followed us everywhere, walked down the road and waited for us to come home, very loving. Then much to his disgust we brought home Spot, who just wanted to be Turnip's best friend. Spot took to following Turnip like a shadow. We used to have a taller than average fridge, and Turnip spent a lot of time up there because there was no way Spot to could attain such heights. Eventually Turnip learned to tolerate the imposter and they would be like bookends, Turnip one end of the sofa, and yes, there a respectful distance away would be his white shadow.
Unfortunately as Spot got older, she got more neurotic due to the deafness, and when anyone came to the house, she took herself off to hide in the airing cupboard - did I mentioned she was hairy and white!!
She also loved to just sit on the window sill and watch the world go by so if you came home and she was dozing, you had to tap on the sill to let her know you were there so she would not freak out.
Turnip came to a terrible end on the railway line - but that is another post however Spot remained with us and eventually with my in-laws for many, many years until she passed away. In the end she was like a senile cantankerous old aunt that everyone had to walk on tip toes around for fear of upsetting her.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Well that's what you get when you are low maintenance with a sledgehammer. Who knew? Anyway that shiny red car has brightened the start to my weekend, not that I think it is particularly accurate - makes me sound pushy and overbearing, that's not it?

I am off shopping today with one of my friends from the law firm where I worked before I changed careers. So as I said in the quiz I don't have expensive tastes I better hold myself in check, but we do hope to end up on my deck with a couple of glasses of wine, weather permitting. Shaping up for a good weekend. Wishing everyone else the same, wherever you are, whatever you are up. Cheers!

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do you want the Good News or the Bad News?

It has been one of those weeks. Firstly last week I received an email from an old friend in San Diego informing me that a mutual friend had been killed in a motor cycle accident. Very sudden obviously and therefore extremely shocking. He was only 58 and he leaves behind his wife and four children and their families....and a lot of friends.
Just as I was coming to terms with that news, I opened my email again this evening to find an email from one of my three younger brothers, this one J, is the middle brother. In the email he has given me a blow by blow account of how he has just been diagnosed with Hodkins Lymphoma! He went on to tell me that the prognosis is good and that there is a high survival and remission rate for this type of cancer. Still, I can't get my head round it. This is my little brother, the one that I fought with constantly as a teenager, the one who would never do his chores, who at the age of 3 jumped into the deep end of the local swimming pool on my watch!! Who was the bane of my years as the bossy older sister. I was just telling my fifteen year old the swimming pool story yesterday!
It is going to take a while for me to come to terms with this news.
On a very much happier note, my youngest brother, P, became a dad for the first time in his forty fifth year last week and yesterday he sent me photos of the proudest dad and the newest member of my family. And so life goes on.....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's Almost Over!

Today is exam day and then I can get my life back. So fingers crossed for a good result and then I wont have to worry about it until the next course I have to take. I am in my articling period as a real estate agent and therefore there are two more courses before I am done. I plan to take those in the quieter periods in the housing market so possibly just prior to Christmas and then next February. It has been a very exhausting, though not unprofitable three weeks, but I don't want to do it again for a while.
I am hoping that I can spend tomorrow in my garden, there is some serious weeding to be done. That ground elder is getting the better of almost everything. Some plants need to be moved around. So fingers crossed everyone for a good result, a dry but not too hot day in my garden, and that my clients allow me a day off.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Is it Barbie....or is it The Joker??

It must have been my eighth Christmas, we had just returned to the UK from three years in Germany, where we lived on a joint U.S./British airforce base. While there we had made good friends with an American family, and thus for my Christmas present they had sent me a Barbie doll. I remembered it arrived in a catalogue box (for those of you who don't remember catalogues, i.e. Grattons etc. - your order used to quite often arrive in a large fairly flat box). That is how Barbie entered my life for the first time, along with an extensive wardrobe. I was smitten. She was so glamourous, knocked socks of Sindy (Cindy?). Her pert nose, long glamourous hair (which incidentally was only stitched around the circumference of her scalp. I remember this particularly because I made the mistake of undoing her hair from some impossibly glamourous style which I spent the next 5 or so years of my life trying to re-create!!), hourglass figure to die for, I mean talk about top heavy. She loomed large in my life for a long time - sad eh!

Anyway she has turned up in my life again, this time as a fellow student in the real estate course I am doing. She came in late the first day and plopped herself down next to me. She has religiously arrived late every day since, but when you look like Barbie I guess you can get away with that stuff.

There she was, real life Barbie, sat right next to me. Now when I say "real life" I am using some license here because I honestly don't think "Barbie" was born this way. Science has worked wonders on her and I am fascinated to know what is real and what isn't. Her profile is so weird, I would definitely want my money back if I was her. The cheek bones are amazing. But unfortunately when she smiles, she looks a bit like the Joker, one of Batman's arch enemies. Nothing moves above the lip line. The boobs have got to be fake. I thimk I could probably get my hands around her throat .....whoops waist!!

It goes without saying that she can't move an inch without every male eye on the room twitching. Men are sooo

Anyway I just couldn't concentrate on the course, I had to move seats because I spent the entire first day sneaking glances, looking for clues.....

Carolyn - I just realised this completely goes against the sentiment of your post today....LOL

Saturday, June 7, 2008

She's Baaaack!!

I don't know how she slipped back in, but this manic women is back - life is a whirl. OK there are no babies to juggle, but even so my life has suddenly gone into overdrive. GWE is back on his feet (yes both of them!) and has taken himself back over to Europe. It was interesting actually because we have always been saying "if only he could do what he does from home". As it is he stares at a computer all day, it is not as though he is in meetings with colleagues etc. all the time. Anyway when he wasn't agile enough to get back on the plane to return to work last Sunday, he called in on the Monday to let them know he wouldn't be back for a few days and just as an aside he womdered if there was anything he could do from here........? Well straightaway they sent him some tasks and he spent the next few days at his computer ....but here in Canada! He felt much better because he wasn't losing paid hours and the light has dawned ...maybe he can wangle it so that he works from home, or at least can spend equal amounts of time here and there. So he has taken himself back off there to see what he can work out.

The whole time he was here, as I said, I was on a course, business has gone crazy, (sold two houses in the last week!) and have clients banging my door down to be taken out to view properties. It has been very hectic, very stressful, very exhausting...last Friday, as I collapsed in a heap on my return from a successful deal, I said (very quietly I promise) "don't anyone call me to go out looking at houses!!. I cannot believe I said it but I did. One thing I have promised myself is never to do a course again in the busiest time of year in real estate and when GWE is home. Wait a minute, that contradicts our future plans of him working at home, I will have to give this more thought when my brain cells have rejuvenated.