Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To Ski or Not to Ski.....

I have been reading a lot of people's blogs about their recent or upcoming ski trips and particularly Milla's blog which totally encapsulates my feelings about skiing, the actual act is great, but the logistics are painful (truly). The before is like getting ready for an SAS mission, have we got tickets, cash, skis, poles, goggles, gloves, hats, sunglasses, extra gloves for when the others get wet, etc. etc. and transporting all this on the truck up to the hill and then the sheer agony afterwards.
The actual swooshing down the slopes is heaven. Gliding past more novice skiers is very satifying, we can all remember our first time on skis and remember how far we have come. I mean whole days, even holidays pass now, without a fall. Very gratifying. But when you do fall, god help you. Especially if, like me, you just dissolve into a giggling mush on the hill, with your fellow skiers trying to help you stand up. About as easy as making a piece of cooked spaghetti stand up straight.
I must admit we now only ski until a latish lunch (maybe even as late as 1pm because we have been on the slopes since 8am (to get the fresh powder!)) because there is no way my body works after lunch.
Last year we skied at Banff in Alberta where my eldest son works at Sunshine Village and we made the big mistake of skiing with (or rather trying to keep up with) our children aged 26, 24 and 14, all been on skis since they were small. The days got shorter and shorter and by the third day (we were only there for the weekend) we did not even attempt to ski after lunch or rather just skied from the lodge back to the carpark after one or two or... glasses of wine. Rigor sets in quickly after a hearty chilli and a couple of glasses of wine. In Milla's blog she talks of hanging on the walls to get downstairs and the free falling into chairs and it is so true.
What I need is a transporter from Star Trek that beams me to the top of the slopes and then back to the chalet once the thighs start burning (unfortunately usually half way down). Let me know when one is available and I will be ready to ski again.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Footwear Evolution

You Are Flip Flops

You are laid back and very friendly.

Cheery and sunny in disposition, you usually have something to smile about.

Style is important to you, as long as you can stay casual.

It takes a lot to get you to dress up!

You are a loyal and true person, though you can be a bit of a flake.

You tend to "play hooky" and blow off responsibilities a lot more than most people.

You should live: By the beach

You should work: At a casual up and coming company

Thanks for that Debra (Us In France). As I was doing this quiz it I realised how much my shoe style has certainly evolved over the years. Yes back in the '70's I staggered about on platform shoes, wooden wedges, 4" heeled boots from Ravel! And the pain seemed totally worth it. Over the years I have drooled over great looking shoes in shop windows and occasionally succumbed (?) to the lure of some gorgeous ones, you know the ones I mean, they look fantastic, you love looking at them in the mirror and at your feet while you are sitting down, can't walk a bloody inch in the damn things, but they were so beautiful. So of course they spent a lot of time in the closet. Meanwhile I walked around in the more sensible ones, the ones you can make it from the carpark to the office in, the ones you can walk the dog in, and most recently the ones you can slip on and off easily as a real estate agent in and out of people's houses all day.
Just this past summer I made a conscious decision to only buy comfortable shoes, stood around in the shoe department for ages, walking up and down, making sure I wouldn't regret the decision the minute I had to actually go somewhere. I have lots of colours, and obviously an inordinate about of black ones (my family love to harp on "why do you have 10 pairs of identical black sandals?" - philistines!!) But heels above 1 1/2" inches are a thing of the past. I have in the past year given friends some of my shoes and boots, lovely, expensive ones, that were just collecting dust in my closet. I want them to have a life too, to get out a bit. Need I say I gave them to younger women, women to go out clubbing and stuff. Flip flops are really perfect, weather permitting, for almost everything I get up to these days. Is that sad and a bit boring or is it freedom? The only bit my quiz answers revealed about me that I don't agree with is the lack of responsibility, I don't think that applies to me, but what else was I doing when I paid £112 for sandals that would hardly see the light of day and another lovely pair of tan leather 2 1/2" heels which I don't think have left the box!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I knew it!!

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.

The art, the fashion, the wine!

Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...

You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.
Well of course. And when I eventually live in France I hope to spend a lot of time in the capital. I first visited Paris when I was 15, I stayed with my aunt's penfriend in the suburbs and loved the city. Compared with London, where I grew up in the suburbs, it seemed so clean and beautiful. The street cafes seemed particularly exotic. I especially appreciated the shopping even back then. I remember buying some very chic clothes in Galleries Lafayette, so different from what was available in the U.K. in the '70's.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And the award goes to.....

I am now recovered from jaunt in New York City. I am happy to report that I did not spend every penny to my name.  Although in Canal Street (knock-off central) we managed to purchase 15 bags between the four of us!  We had snow the first day and torrential rain the second, so we did not do as much sightseeing as we would have liked, but we did spend an entire day in Macy's.  We walked up Broadway, through Times Square and ate in some great restaurants, all in all a great (and exhausting) time was had by all and we will definitely be heading back soon.
So now I am happy to forward the awards so delightfully awarded to me this week to some of the great blogs I read daily and am so happy to be privy to due to the world wide web.
In no particular order:
Breezybreakblog - my very first blog experience was with you - I love to hear about the Dinner Ladies so hurry back soon
Sally's Chateau, another great blog that allows me to live my life vicariously in France 
Of course Menapausaloldbag - great to have you back, your writing is so clever, don't read too many how to books, you were doing just great all on your own and we are all waiting for publishing day
Big Blue Barn West - you have opened up another world to me, and I read in awe your great writing and amazing experiences
As you all know there are so many of you that I love to check in on and leave my two cents - so everyone "keep up the great work" - I really don't know what I did with a big part of my day before blogging.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

I would like to thank......

Thank you Debra (Us In France ) She has honoured me with an award (well in fact two but delightfully Margot had already awarded me - thank you both. This is very heartwarming as I still such a newcomer to the world of blogging. Believe me I will get around to forwarding them on when I work out that procedure, but due to exhaustion after my two fantastic days in New York, I honestly don't have the brainpower required today. I know I managed to get the last one on but through the maze that is blogging I can't remember who gave the instructions. So if anyone can help this befuddled woman.....please do. I also need to update my bloggers role, maybe I will get around to that as well. And forwarding the award, so many tasks and not enough brain cells!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Thank You Margot!

Well this is so exciting - Margot (A mothers place... ) has honoured me with an award and I cannot tell you all how thrilled I am. Along with a lot of you other bloggers I am going to struggle with this.... and the responsiblity of awarding other bloggers but I will get around to it, I promise.

Blink and it's Monday again!

Friends arrived safely (again suitably impressed with bathroom). We decided to drop them off at the mall while we went through the offer process on the house. We received an acceptable offer, so that is one thing off our list and hopefully some money for our next project.
My friend, queen of the big spenders, managed to come back after 3 hours at the mall with about 4 full bags and a receipt from Gaps for Kids as long as my arm. She also spent $40 + in the Dollar store where everything is literally a $1!! Then it was off to We Will Rock You in downtown Toronto. Friday was a very slushy day and it was a mess, there was no chance of jay walking with 4ft piles of slush along the sidewalks.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the show, it is very clever the way they build a story around all the hits. It was tough to stay in one's seat and not dance and sing but I am tone deaf so GWE kept me on a short rein.
Everyone got away safely yesterday and so now I am busily planning for my trip to NYC. I know it is hard to believe from this gypsy but I have never been. Got dollars burning a hole in my pocket as we speak. We are going to hit Canal Street - apparently that is THE place for bargains, but I also want to hit Bloomingdales, travel the Staten Island Ferry etc. We are only gone for two days so. It is -16 C here today and another storm on the way in the morning so hopefully I will report back safely later in the week.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Life Goes On

Iam a Strawberry

You are friendly, outgoing, and well liked by many people.
You are popular, but there's nothing you ordinary or average about you.
You a very interesting person, and you have many facets to your personality.
Sometimes you feel very conflicted. Your different sides of your personality pull at you.
You are a very sensual and passionate person. You are fiery... you can't help it.
In general, you keep your passionate side under wraps. You are only wild in private.

Well there is something else you probably did not know about me (or, in fact, I about myself)!

So our visitors arrive today from the U.K. apparently armed with enough Branston Pickle to ward off a nuclear attack! I've got a hunch there may be some alcohol on its way as well. GWE is also home (and he was suitably impressed by my handiwork in the bathroom). So the house has to be cleaned, groceries have to be bought, the beer supplies replenished.

Meanwhile I have to try and maintain the role of a real estate agent, because the hours are so flexible (read erratic) it is often difficult to remain focused, especially when hubby wants to spend his busman's holiday designing the French house and, of course, I need to put my two cents in.

Anyway to compound matters, we listed our rental property, located in a city one and a half hours away, for sale this week, Tuesday in fact. Liquifying our assets here in order to solidify them in a roof in France. Already we have heard that there are 2 to 3 offers coming in so we have to drive all the way back for the offer presentation tomorrow. Do we take our visitors with us, leave them at the Mall here, what kind of hosts are we?? Also we have to be back in Toronto evening as we booked tickets to see the Queen musical with our visitors. None of this leads to a relaxed way of life as you can imagine.

All I need now is for my listing here to sell today/tomorrow and my clients want to go and look a properties immediately. (Honest I'm not complaining!!!) So if my head doesn't explode off my shoulders, I will be back on Monday to give you an update. Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Has it really been a week?

I am so busy reading everyone else's blogs, I have been remiss with my own. Well this week I have made over the main bathroom. I say made over because what I have done falls short of renovation, but was desperately necessary as we have our regular visitors from the UK arriving next week. We have lived in this house for nearly three years now and they have visited each year. The first year we were here the valve on the tub became faulty and needed replacing and of course that entailed making a large hole in the wall through the tiles! Now this bathroom was due for renovation and we did not want to just try and replace the ugly old tiles, so as a stopgap I taped a very attractive plastic bag over the hole in order that the bathroom be back in action, especially as our visitors were due within the week. That was year one. During the successive year we were busy doing other things to the house (painting the outside, having a pool installed, re-carpeting, etc. etc.) and the bathroom when down the list, I mean the bag solution was working fine......
However when the friends were due over again, I came up with another amazing stopgap, progress from the plastic bag to a couple of stick on floor tiles across the hole, as you can imagine this looked a whole lot better.
Well a few weeks ago the friends booked their next visit and I decided that as we obviously were not going to be doing the $8k renovation anytime soon (I mean we have a house in France to spend money on now), a makeover was in order. So I have retiled the tub surround (and I do mean me personally) in plain white 6" tiles, looks so much better, eventually I plan to have the tub refinished from cream to white. Flipped the vanity doors (dated panelling on other side) and painted them Otter and gave them updated handles. Painted the room a smart looking Rawhide and relaid some floor tiles (these I was very impressed with, they are a bit more up market stick on floor tiles that when laid look like ceramic -- without all that fuss). New mirror and accessories and I am pretty pleased with the result. The whole room probably did not cost me more than $500. GWE returns today from 5 weeks away and hopefully he will be pleasantly surprised. See that drunken looking laundry basket, that is one of our two remaining wedding gifts when we got married nearly 31 years ago. It is falling apart and I keep re-weaving together bits of it. Hopefully the visitors will be suitable impressed too.
We used to have a cream floor, we have a black labrador and are a family of (shedding) brunettes (OK some of us bottle brunettes) but I was sick to death of hairs that accumulated in all the corners, at least now I wont be able to see them!