Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Tale

"So", Daniel asked his grandma as they sat in front of the fireplace. "How does Santa deliver presents to children who don't have a fireplace?"

"Well," his grandma said, "Santa isn't an ordinary person you know Daniel, he is magical. When he lands on the roof of a house where there is no chimney, a fireplace and chimney appear for him to come down, deliver the presents and stays there for him to go back up the chimney to the roof where the reindeer wait patiently for him. When he is gone, the fireplace and chimney disappear just as quickly."

All that evening Daniel thought about this and wondered ... is this really how it happens.

That evening which incidentally was Christmas Eve, when his Mom and Dad tucked him and his sister April into bed with instructions to quickly get to sleep so Santa could come, he tried and tried to sleep but just couldn't. He counted sheep, he closed his eyes and tried to think about nothing, but he just couldn't get to sleep.

Daniel was worried that Santa would not be able to come because they did not have a fireplace.

At this point I must say, that all good children know that they must be asleep so Santa can deliver their gifts.

Once Daniel's mom and dad were in bed asleep, he decided that he would go downstairs and hide in the living room and wait for Santa. There just had to be some explanation for how Santa got those presents under the tree without a fireplace and he wasn't so sure that one would just magically appear .... or would it?

Once or twice as he hid behind the big chair in the corner, he fell asleep.

Suddenly he heard a bang which startled him awake .... what was that he thought to himself?

As he peeked out from behind the chair, there was a bright flash and suddenly as he sat looking at where the flash was, he saw what looked like a fireplace appear. Was it really, he rubbed his eyes. "Maybe I'm dreaming", he thought to himself. But he peeked out and looked again. Yes it was a fireplace. He could hear some rustling and scraping, and as he sat and watched he saw .... could it be .... a big black boot appear in the fireplace, then another and then a red suit. Then all of a sudden there was a puff of soot as Santa plopped down onto the floor of the fireplace followed by a very large red sack.

Daniel realized he must be very quiet, because as I said before all good children know that that they must be asleep so Santa can deliver their gifts.

What should he do ... what if Santa saw him ... he might not leave that Transformer Optimus Prime that he asked for in the letter he had written Santa.

So he sat very quietly as Santa picked himself up and started to pick through the sack, pulling out one gift after another and quietly placing them under the tree.

But then, oh no, tragedy struck, Daniel had to sneeze. He could feel it coming down his nose, first the tickle, then the pressure ... he squeezed his nose and thought really hard about pushing that sneeze all the way back, but no it would not go away. Here it came, thundering down his nose like a race car. "Aaaaachooooo!"

Santa suddenly stopped what he was doing and looked right over at the big comfy chair where Daniel was hiding and quietly said, "Daniel, I know you are hiding behind that chair, so why don't you come out here and help me."

Santa wanted Daniel to help? He wasn't going to take back the presents because Daniel was awake?

Very slowly Daniel got up and came out from behind the chair, walked up to Santa and said, "I am sorry Santa, but I just had to see for myself how you would get into my house when we didn't have a real fireplace for you to come down."

"Well Daniel as you can see you do have a fireplace and I came down it just fine. In all my years of delivering presents, I have never once had to use the front door ... I always use my standard fireplace entrance."

"But," Daniel asked him, "we don't have a fireplace, so how did it get here?"

"It was here all the time Daniel, you just can't see it, it only appears when I need it. So after I leave, it will vanish once again, but keep believing Daniel and next year when I come back on Christmas Eve, it will be there again in the very same spot for me to get in."

After Santa told Daniel that, he picked up his sack and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Another flash and the fireplace was gone.

In the morning when Daniel's mom, dad and sister woke up, they found Daniel fast asleep behind the big comfy chair, his hand dropped open beside him and on the floor beside his hand ... what do you suppose they saw?

A little piece of burnt firewood from a fireplace.

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time To Be Still

Here I sit for a moment before the Christmas festivities are upon us. We had a lovely visit today with friends and are finally home. Now, after setting the dining room table for the buffet we are having tomorrow for 22 family members, I am sitting down.

The stillness and quiet of the house rest upon me like a blanket, wrapping me in its warm embrace.

I wonder - what are others doing tonight? Are they wrapped in the warm embrace of their loving families? Or are they homeless, looking for a warm place to lay their head for the night?

As I look out over the ravine towards the road and I see the headlights of automobiles coming and going.

Where are you all going? Are you out for last minute shopping? Are you maybe going to a movie? Is your trunk piled high with parcels to be delivered to friends or family? Are you going to help someone less fortunate than you? I pause for a moment as I wonder .............

The headlights are restless, twinkling, slowly moving closer and closer to their destination, never staying still, always going somewhere.

As I sit in my quiet home, I think how rich my life is with many wonderful friends and family with whom I can enjoy this beautiful season.

After tonight, we will be quite busy for the next week.
Tomorrow Don's family as well as my Mother and Dad come for our Christmas celebration. Monday is Christmas Eve which we always spend with our daughter Sebrina and her family - new jammies for everyone and then up to the loft for our annual viewing of "Polar Express". The boys will cuddle up on the floor with their pillows and quilts ... of course Zander will want Poppa to cuddle with him, will Ryan want Mammy to cuddle up with him like last year?
Then of course Christmas Day - the morning together for just Don & me, maybe a special breakfast, then off to visit my Mom and Dad before we head off to our daughters for Christmas dinner ... I have been told that Santa is going to make a substantial drop at our home on Christmas Eve which we - his helpers will be delivering to them.
Boxing Day - more company, my very dear friend MaryAnne and her family will visit for our Christmas celebration.

Then a breather - I get to be still for a couple of days.

Sunday, another buffet for my family ... brothers and sisters, Mom & Dad.
Monday - New Years Eve, the jury is still out on that evening - no decision yet on what we're doing. Will we have some friends in and ring in the New Year with them or will we spend the evening alone and probably be in bed asleep long before midnight? Hmmm - tough decision.
New Years Day, traditional Japanese food at Don parents.

What a wonderful time of the year this is!
It feels warm & lovely - like a big fluffy housecoat .....
It feels delicious & scrumptious - like a delectable turkey dinner ....
It feels inviting & enticing - like a crackling fire .....
It smells cinnamony & spicy - like a warm mug of apple cider.
It feels heavenly & enchanting - like Josh Groban singing Ava Maria ......

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Silent Beauty

I'm sitting looking outside at the splendour that Mother Nature created for us yesterday.

Although it wasn't pleasant for those who had to be out in it, it was an amazing snowstorm, the likes of which I haven't seen for many years. I remember snow like this in my childhood, where we could play outside digging tunnels, making snow houses, snow angels and snowmen.

This morning there isn't a whisper of a breeze, the trees stand like stately sentinals keeping watch over this winter wonderland.

I look for my miniature Blue Spruce which is approximately 3 feet tall. Where has it gone ... wait I see the tip peaking through the surface.

As I look at the horizon over snow covered rooftops the sky is the most beautiful colour of lavender. The starkness of the leafless trees against this colour inspires me to pick up my paints and canvas.

There are drifts of snow across my back garden which will stay throughout the winter insulating the plants from the freezing temperatures.

As I sit here drinking my coffee, I see one of our wild neighbours fly across the creek ... a blue heron. I think she has a nest somewhere upstream but we've never found it ... we just watch her come and go once in the morning and then once in the evening.

There is such still & silent beauty in this winter scene. The trees and shrubs standing silently, their saps frozen waiting patiently for the spring when life will burst forth. Where are the little creatures ... have they made a warm winter home beneath the snow, where they will wait until the spring thaw.

There are beautiful & amazing patterns across the drifts, swirls & creases, peaks & valleys. The snow has blown up against my windows and has started to slide down looking like swags of draped silk. On some of my windows I see the evidence of Jack Frost who has meticulously drawn a multitude of feathers twisting, tumbling and kissing each other across my window.

The sun has hit the snow and it is alive with diamond like sparkling.

It is truly a spectacular feast for the eyes outside right now. Unfortunately I cannot stay inside and enjoy this, but must bundle up and get going to my physio appointments today.

I think I would much rather stay inside, sipping coffee where it is toasty warm and still beautiful. I don't imagine after going outside and driving that I will think it is as beautiful as I do now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What a Wonderful Day!

What a great day I am having today!!!

This morning I went for my physio therapy and I have hit 120 degrees on my bend. My therapist was thrilled.

I think my little complainfest the other night was just what I needed to chase away the FM. It would seem today that it is nowhere to be found.

I have also started climbing the stairs leg over leg and this week, I put my cane away. I'm on my own now. There is still a little bit of instability but over all I feel fine walking without any external support system. I may crack on Saturday when Don & I are going downtown to see "We Will Rock You". I may feel a bit better with the stairs, possible long distance walking etc... I may have to do if I have my cane (just in case).

Over all, my therapist and I are very happy with my progress, how I wish that I could go for a nice long walk, but that will probably be possible by the springtime.

Here's to better days still to come.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let It Snow ... Let It Snow ... Let It Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful ...
But the fire is so delightful ...
And since we've no place to go ....
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Here comes the expected snow, rain, freezing rain storm.

It's very pretty outside and I'm very glad I'm inside. I just stepped out to take these pictures and is it ever slippery ... nearly slipped off my porch.

I just got a panini maker yesterday, so I'm looking forward to staying inside and trying out a panini ... hmmm think I might try Oprah's Love Sandwich.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Thief In The Night

I'm sitting here at 11:00 feeling very frustrated. My fibromyalgia (FM) is reaching a peak this week. It has been rearing it's ugly head since the surgery but seems this week to be particularly intrusive. Every muscle in my body is singing and it's not a song I like. My fatigue is overwhelming, but when I lie down in bed, sleep eludes me.

Good health & well being seem to be just beyond my reach.

FM is without a doubt one of the most frustrating and elusive health issues I have ever dealt with. There are times when I am in complete control and keep a tight reign on this intruder in my life. I can enjoy my life with gusto ... enjoy my grandchildren ... enjoy a great shopping expedition ... spend time with my crafting endeavours ... and then, other times like a thief in the night, it comes to me ... robbing me of my energy ... taking away my enjoyment of life .... interfering in anything I try to accomplish.

At times just the thought of getting up to make a cup of tea is overwhelming. Between my knee pain and my FM, I look up the 14 stairs which I must climb to get to my bed and they overwhelm me .... they are my Mount Everest.

Usually, I am a firm believer in "mind over matter" and having a positive mental attitude, but after weeks of fighting with this monster, I am starting to feel the need for a break ... a break in the pain ... a break in the fatigue .... a break in my lack of desire to do much of anything and a break in my lack of energy.

With all the excitement of the coming Christmas season and the enjoyment of spending time with friends and family, I am very ready for my FM to just plain go away. My mind is very excited about upcoming events, but my body just can't get with the program. Unlike a headache where an Advil will ease the pain, there is nothing ... no magic pill I can take to make this go away. FM will continue it's assault on me and will only receed into the background when it is ready ... I have no say in the matter.

This night is singularly difficult with the added bonus of chest wall pain which also brings on heart palpitations.

Last week, I restarted treatment with my chiropractor and massage therapist. I have not had an adjustment or massage therapy since my surgery 7 weeks ago. This is a great step forward to ensure that I once again take control of my FM. I am going to go twice this week as well as my three physio treatments and hope that within two to three weeks, I will start to gain control again, that is if all the running around for treatment doesn't knock the stuffing out of me (LOL).

Well, it is nearly midnight, and I'm starting to feel the twinges of tiredness, not to mention that my little "complainfest" has gone on long enough.

So I'm off to climb my Mount Everest, to lay my aching body down in my very comfy bed to sleep perchance to dream???

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Deck The Halls .. Silver Bells .. White Christmas

What a delicious time of year Christmas is.

The music is more sentimental, we feel more sentimental about spending time with family, even crotchety old Scrooges crack at Christmas - remember A Christmas Carol.

We feel more drawn to spending time with friends and family. We always try to get together even if just for a coffee with all our friends during the holiday season.

The decorations in our house start coming out the last week in November and I usually have the house completely decorated by December 1st, although I was a little late this year due to my knee.

It is the season for giving and as I have gotten older, I have found how true that is. As a child, all we think about is what Santa is going to bring us.

I remember going downtown every year to see the Christmas windows at Eatons & Simpsons ... a yearly tradition. Then of course we got to look around Toyland, and visit with Santa ... what a treat for a small child.

As my children came along, grew up and then had their own children my greatest gift is to enjoy their delight on Christmas Day when they open their presents.

However, let us not forget amidst our merriment - the underprivileged. The families who cannot provide a turkey dinner or even buy one present for their children. There are numerous charities that endeavour to help all year but especially at Christmas. The local food banks, Scott Mission, The Star's Christmas Wish, Toy Mountain, just to name a few in Toronto .... surely we all can designate a small portion of our Christmas spending to give to these charities.

As we get closer to the holidays, this year in particular, I am encountering difficulties trying to ensure that Christmas is enjoyed by every member of my family. This Christmas, my daughter Sebrina has decided that she would like to cook Christmas dinner which is just fine with me ... I've done it for 30+ years.

My dilemma ..... my 84 & 88 year old parents. My father is very disabled and cannot climb the 25+ stairs to get to Sebrina's, so that means that they will not be able to have dinner with us. Of course that leaves me with a terrible case of "the guilt's" as I have always included my mom & dad at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. However, I cannot imagine not spending the day with my grandchildren but must figure out how I will include my parents in the day.

We entertained going there for lunch ... Sebrina suggested that she make up dinner plates for them and we take them over. I'm having trouble figuring out, a) what is easiest for all concerned, b) what I can do to make them feel included & c) how to get my dad his turkey dinner which he loves.

I must admit after reading for years about the "sandwich generation", I certainly understand now just what that is. I am so torn between my loyalty to my parents and my love for my children and grandchildren.

Well, I'm sure it will all work out the way it is supposed to. Think I am going to go and make myself a Rum & Eggnog ... yummm!

Cheers everyone.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Weeks

Yesterday I had my six week check up with my orthopedic surgeon.

He was very happy with my mobility progress. I have surpassed 110 degrees on my bend which he was very happy with. I also was able to see the xrays of my knee which were taken yesterday.

Although I find it amazing what the medical community can do today, it was also difficult to see the "bionic parts" that were installed in my knee. When presented with these pictures, I could see why my knee has been so painful. The peg which attaches the bottom half of the prosthesis looks like it is inserted into my tibia about 3 inches. It really is quite large ... hopefully the time will come when I feel very accepting of this new knee. Right now it still does not feel like mine. I have a great deal of numbness around the knee and just knowing that my knee is gone and has been replaced by a prosthesis make me feel quite squeamish. My physio therapist keeps telling me to love my knee and take the time each day to rub lotion on it and get used to how it feels.

The one thing the surgeon was not happy with is my scar. It has developed keloid. What is a keloid you might ask?

Although the cause of keloids is unknown, it is thought that they are due to the body's failure to turn off the healing process needed to repair skin. When this occurs, extra collagen forms at the site of the scar, and keeps forming because it is not shut off which results in keloid formation. Keloid consists of hard, raised scars that can vary in colour ... pink, white, red or brownish. They usually are exquisitely itchy, painful and extremely sensitive. A keloid can keep growing as well.

The doctor expressed surprise that I was developing keloid. Keloids are most common in black skin not in the fair skinned population. Although upon researching keloids on the net, I found that tension on a scar can create an environment for keloid production. There has certainly been quite a lot of tension of my knee with all of the bending that is required during physio therapy.

There are a few options for this: silicone pads which may or may not reduce the keloid, cortisone injections, or plastic surgery. I will look into the silicone pads and hope that I can reduce this, but if not, I guess I'll just have to wear long skirts and pants from now on. No more shorts in the summer ... oh well .... cest la vie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Racer Wins!

Have you been watching "Dancing With the Stars"?

What a season this has been. We had drama, drama and more drama.

First - Jane Seymour lost her mother, then was hit with food poisoning.

Next, Marie Osmond passed out after her performance. That was a little scary. Then just a few weeks ago, the Osmonds lost their father, but Marie the consummate performer was back that week dancing.

I have followed all four seasons of this show and just love it. If you like ballroom dancing and competition, this show is a good fix.

Then, this year one of the competitors chosen just happened to be Helio Castroneves ... one of my favourite race car drivers. This competition gave a new insight into Helio. He has always been fun to watch when he wins a race as we share his excitement, but at dancing we saw a whole new Helio ... Mr. Personality plus.

It was a tight race ... coming down to the finish line, he was neck in neck with Mel B (one of the Spice Girls) and Marie Osmond. Marie was eliminated with the lowest number of votes. So it was between Mel B and Helio. They both put on an amazing show, each receiving 30 points from the judges. Mel B displayed better technical skills, but can't hold a candle to Helio's charming personality. And considering he has never danced, he was definitely the most improved dancer throughout this season.

As he said last night, this trophy will look great between his two Indy 500 trophies.

Congratulations Helio!

"Love In The Time of Cholera"

Love in the Time of Cholera is a meditation on love in its many forms.

It revolves around three main characters, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a very famous physician in the Caribbean, Fermina Daza his wife and Florentino Ariza.

Against the backdrop of Caribbean culture, author Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves a story of old age, love, patience, death, sex and sensuality. The story titillates you, tickles you, makes you think and some time frightens you when you start thinking of your own old age and its many repercussions.

Florentino Ariza is the illegitamate son of Transito Ariza (his mother) and a well known ship owner, Don Pius Loayaza. The occasional alliance failed to materialize into marriage and Florentino Ariza was brought up by his unwed mother.

Florentino, a victim of chronic constipation, meets Fermina Daza, a school girl, living with her father and aunt when he goes to deliver telegrams to her father and for Florentino it was love at first sight with Fermina. Florentino, whose only talent at that time was to write love letters, uses his talent to the fullest, writing love letters to Fermina without break, and soon she also started responding to the poetic love letters of Fermina.

Fermina realizes that her attraction for Florentino is the love of teenage illusion, leaves him and per her father's wish she marries Dr. Juvenal Urbino.

And here starts the realy story - the story of the wait of Florentino Ariza for Fermina Daza. He waits for the death of Dr. Urbino, so that he can marry Fermina, and his wait does not last for years or decades it goes on for 51 years, nine months and four days ….. Marquez depiction of a loveless marriage marred by old age and the haughtiness of Fermina will make you chuckle. The story is sensual and his narrative gives you a “high” with his description of the numerous physical loves of Florentino, during his half century long wait for his first spiritual love.

The story makes you familiar with numerous kinds of love, relationship and characters. Florentino Ariza searches for love everywhere in whorehouses, in extramarital affairs with women twice her age, in beds of widows ..... everywhere. His affairs start with carnal desires and end in love, and some time vice versa.

Like other books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this novel took it's time to grab my attention ... but once it did, I had a hard time putting it down .... BEAUTIFUL piece of literature!

Friday, November 23, 2007

When Is A House a Home?

What makes a house a home?

According to Websters Dictionary a house is a thing, a habitation, dwelling, abode, etc...

So when does a house become a home? Let's go through the process.

First, you find the house you want to move into. Is it your home yet?

Second, you bring in your belongings and of course yourself. Is it your home yet?

Third, you start organizing, finding new places for all of your belongings. Is it your home yet?

Now the fun begins ... putting your stamp on your home. When my husband and I purchased this home, it was not in the best condition and required a lot of renovation hours and dollars. I remember my real estate agent said ... that house really needs "the Barb touch". In her opinion, "the Barb touch" made our house our home.

A house becomes a home in my opinion when you surround yourself with the things you love, and you put your stamp on that house. Invest in pieces of art that speak to you, that touch your heart.

What is your style ... are you minimalist, traditional, classic, shabby chic, french country, casual? I recently heard someone say their home was their canvas. Similar to an artist your home reflects your taste. Are you a warm person who enjoys entertaining and spending time with friends & family ... your home should be a reflection of that personality trait ... it should feel warm and inviting, an environment where friends and family feel welcome.

If you decorate your home as an extension of you, you must first determine your style and then decorate and accessorize your home in your style and with your own personal stamp.

Here are a few tips for decorating.

Dark colours advance which is why a room feels smaller or cozier if painted dark.

Light colours recede, so a room will feel more spacious painted in lighter colours.

If you have under 3" baseboards, paint them out the colour of the wall. By painting the baseboards the wall colour you also give the illusion of a higher ceiling.

If you are going to have different case goods in your room, try to keep the wood type and tone to two only.

Purchase your large expensive pieces in a neutral colour ... bring colours into your room with accessories, for example, cushions, lamps, curtains, decorative objet d'art, paint, etc... Unless you can afford to change for example, your sofa every few years, you will quickly tire of a fabric with a lot of pattern and/or colour. It is much cheaper to replace your cushions than your sofa.

Wallpaper has made a come-back, so go wild. Highlight one wall, wallpaper an entire room, let your imagination roam freely. I personally adore wallpapered bathrooms.

Balance keeps arrangements from looking lopsided. Balanced arrangements can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical arrangements are perfectly equal on both sides of a central line, are the easiest to arrange and create a more formal atmosphere. If you have a variety of pieces in different sizes, shapes and colors, try an asymmetrical arrangement. Asymmetrical arrangements create an informal look by balancing the visual weight of the objects.

Create groupings. Display objects together in odd numbers. Combinations of three and five work well. Place similar objects together.

Combine objects with varying heights for visual interest, according to color, shape, or design. A collection, such as antique vases, has more impact when grouped together than when scattered throughout the house.

Alternate height of pieces. Objects of varying height in a grouping add visual interest. Elevate small prints and decorative plates with small pedestals or stands to highlight their presence in a grouping.

Create depth. Zigzag or alternate the pieces from back to front instead of placing them in a straight line. Place three objects in a triangle, with the tallest pieces in the back. Try using overlapping triangles when working with more than three objects, again placing larger pieces in the back.

Alternate texture. Bring together items of different textures for a unique look. Alternate shiny finishes with flat ones or hard objects with softer ones. For example, if you have a grouping of brass candlesticks and a ceramic vase, try using a plant, floral arrangement or woven basket for a softer texture.

Find the focal point. Arrange everything around one major object to center the grouping.

Avoid clutter. Know when to say when. Too many items can look messy and detract from your decor. If you have more accessories than you need, simply store them for a while and then switch them out for a fresh look.

Use mirrors as accessories. Mirrors create the illusion of space. Make sure the view from the mirror is attractive before you hang it, so position it to reflect something interesting in the room. For example, a mirror opposite an attractive fireplace and mantel is a nice touch.

Try not to get too caught up in trends. Remember the navy & burgundy, dusty rose & gray of the 80's and yes I got caught, so I had a lot of work stripping off rolls and rolls of wallpaper when these trends went out of style, not to mention how costly it was to replace the dusty rose carpet we had installed in our living areas when that went out of style. I learned my lesson but at a price.

Here is a summary - Ten Tips for Accessorizing Your Home.

1. Personalize your home with art & accessories.
2. Repeat a colour at least three times in a room.
3. Relate your art to its surroundings.
4. Cover two thirds of the space above furniture with one or more pieces of art.
5. Position artwork at "eye level".
6. Vary the height of table top accessories for balance and interest.
7. Create a formal look with symmetrical groupings of art. Create an informal look with asymmetrical groupings.
8. Place mirrors so they reflect something beautiful. Use them to add dimension, expand space or reflect light.
9. Display art on easels to create interest in corners, bookcases or on table tops.
10. Custom frame artwork to coordinate with room decor. Select a frame that compliments the decorating style. Select mat colours that enhance both the art and colour scheme.

Gotta run, I feel a "let's move things around" coming on!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Very Small Steps

I saw this picture and it reminded me of my knee progress right now.

Like these very small water drops ... I am taking very small steps....

I have achieved my 100 degree bend which is expected by week four. I hit four weeks last Tuesday and when my therapist measured my bend on Friday, she said I was at 102 degrees.


I am still struggling with straightening my knee and have only made it to -15 degress. A fully straightened leg should sit at 0 ... I started at -30 so I'm halfway there.

Unfortunately I am struggling terribly with my fibromyalgia. I find my days are definitely determined by my nights. For example, I didn't sleep well on Saturday night and ended up coming downstairs to read at about 3:30. So needless to say Sunday was a wash.

This is taking so much longer than I had anticipated. I thought it would just be a couple of weeks of pain .... then back to my walking, etc... Boy was I ever wrong, I still can't get too far without my cane and occasionally still fall back on my walker when I have a very bad day. However, good days are now more numerous than bad days. So that's something to cheer about.

I am still in therapy 3 x 1 1/2 - 2 hours a week. It's gruelling, the physio therapist is never happy with my stretching ability when I come in, so always pushes my leg further than I think it can go. So needless to say I usually come home to my ice bag and Advil. I'm still having acupuncture which continues to help with the pain. My scar tissue has finally released and now moves freely over the top of my knee. This tissue release is very important for knee mobility. The exercise to accomplish this is to lay on my stomach, put a long strap around my foot and then pull it until I feel the tearing under the scar. This is not extremely painful ... feels rather like having a multitude of needles all over the knee. Not fun, but very necessary for my future mobility. Today we released the last little bit ... I actually felt the pop when it released.

Here's to Better Days Ahead!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

And Now .... The Reception

Well, what a reception. It was held at the Granite Club in Toronto. When we arrived at 5:00 we were met by waiters serving champagne and wine. Then more waiters brought a variety of different hors doeuvres .. puff pastry with goat cheese & raspberries, small spring rolls, terryaki chicken on skewers and much more ... delicious.

A few pictures of the party goers.

Although this was only 3 weeks and a few days after my knee surgery, I enjoyed the whole weekend and even stayed at the reception until after midnight. My foot & ankle were terribly swollen, but it was worth it to be there for Paul & Sarah and witness their lovely ceremony and be included in this lavish reception.

The morning after, a lovely brunch at the home of Sarah's sister was held to send Paul & Sarah off in style. It was catered and the food offerings were a selection of quiches, chilled salmon wrapped in locs & various different sweet offerings. A bar set up to serve Mimosas, Bloody Mary's, etc. Again ... just delicious.

The Big Wedding

Well, all the planning, the shopping, buying wedding presents, new outfits, the excitement ... it's all over. Paul & Sarah are Mr & Mrs and off to Costa Rico for their honeymoon.

Our weekend festivities started on Friday night with the rehearsal and dinner afterwards at Boconne's in Toronto.

Saturday, family pictures for a couple of hours before the ceremony, then a beautiful ceremony which included all the nieces & nephews.

See my next entry for the reception news.

Here are all the nieces & nephews with Uncle Paul & Auntie Sarah.

Here is a closeup of Gabriella, Jayden, Ryan and Zander .....below a very tender picture of Uncle Paul & Gabriella.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Z -Zander ... my absolutely sweet cuddle muffin 3rd grandson. When he came to visit me after my knee replacement, Sebrina told him that he had to be very careful of Mammy's knee. We were sitting on the couch and I said, "Zander, mammy needs a Zander cuddle" to which he replied "Mammy, we can't cuddle, remember your sore knee?" Zander has a very sweet disposition and a way of drawing people to him. There is something very special about this child.

Z - Zebra

Z - Zebra rug ... I would like to have a faux zebra rug ... I might even try my hand at a zebra floorcoth.

Z - Zucchini ... another vegetable I love.

Well, there you have the A - Z Encyclopedia of me.


Y - Yellow .... this is my favourite colour rose.

Y - Yogurt ... I eat yogurt everyday .... not to mention I love it. Plain yogurt with a handful granola and then a large spoonful of frozen blueberries .... good breakfast.

Y - Yolk .... which are part of the eggs which I love, boiled, scrambled, fried, omelet, in a western, in custard, a fritatta ... I love eggs!

Y - Young ... you are as young as you feel.

Y - Yam ... one of my favourite root vegetables. I can make a Yummy lunch out of a yam with a little guacamole on top. To keep my guacamole low on calories I mash the avocado, with lemon juice a little sea salt and cumin adjusted to your preference. I like lots of cumin. Skip the sour cream, you won't miss it. Then just spoon over the mashed yam ... delicious.


X - Xmas ... although I prefer Christmas spelled properly for the sake of this entry I'll fall back upon the abbreviated version to say


Now that my children are grown, I am having fun at Christmas again with my grandkids and now this year we get to have four times the fun with one more - our sweet Gabriella. On no, Mammy feels something "pink" coming on!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


W - Walking ... I can hardly wait until I can walk properly again - Without my walker, Without my cane, Without any pain and hopefully Without a limp.

W - Walker .... I have to give kudos to my walker right now, it has brought me through the last few weeks and given me the ability to get around quite well. Although I am embarrassed to be so obviously disabled, things are improving every day and soon, I'll graduate to my cane and put the walker away hopefully for good!

W - Wool ... ooops almost forgot wool. With autumn upon us, it's time to get out the woolly sweaters, wool trousers, wool scarves, mitts and maybe a wool throw or two. Hmmm maybe I'll pick up some wool to start a knitting project. I love wool, especially cashmere.

W - Wedding .... Paul & Sarah (my brother-in-law & soon to be sister-in-law) are getting married this Saturday. All the festivities start this Friday evening with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. This will be an exciting weekend, can hardly wait. Here is a lovely piece on marriage by Edmund O'Neill, which Don (my husband) will read at the ceremony.

Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships.

A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confident, lover, teacher, listener and critic. There may comes times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Monday, November 5, 2007


V - Veranda ... a magazine I have just started reading. It is beautiful with luscious pictures of beautiful homes. Quality glossy page after page of beauty. I am addicted to my home and decorating it, so love to pour over these lovely magazines for ideas to keep up to date with my decor

V - Vodka .... a very necessary ingredient in my favourite drink .... Bloody Caesar.

V - View ... I love the view from my family room window ... overlooking the ravine, trees all ablaze with autumn colours and all this framed by my gazebo. Beautiful!


U - Uba Tuba .... This is the granite that I have in my kitchen. I love the quartz buried in its' depth. I love the variations of colour. I just love it......

U - Uggs ... I don't have a pair, but would really to. In a beautiful chocolate brown. Luscious! They look very cozy.

U - Underwear .... I'm addicted to silk under garments, it feels wonderful and makes me feel special.

U - Up ..... I'm nearly always up, don't have much time in my life for being miserable, being around miserable people, moping or feeling sorry for myself. Life is just too short for this kind of nonsense.

Another Knee Update

Well, today I started acupuncture on my knee to help with my pain management. I was a little nervous at first, I'm quite squeamish about the area around my knee. Knowing there is an artificial knee in there is taking me a while to get used to.

The almost instant relief when the acupuncture needles were in place was incredible. It felt like a warm blanket being slowly lowered and wrapped around my leg. The therapist did this first, then ultrasound and then we stretched. It sure made the stretching a "little" easier.

She told me that the majority of patients following this surgery stay on narcotics for up to 4 weeks, so she is surprised that I have opted to do this without them. Even with the pain, she is still very happy with my progress. I'm not, but then I'm very impatient to be back to normal. I don't like being down for the count.

As well, I had my first outing this weekend. We packed my walker in the trunk and we went to the Bay to buy Don a new pair of Florsheim shoes for his brothers wedding which is this weekend already. I'm so excited. While we were there, I stopped by the jewellery counter "just to look" and we saw a beautiful Swarovski crystal bracelet and chandelier earrings which Don bought me to wear with my dress for the wedding and it just happens to match a Swarovski crystal brooch that he bought me a couple of years ago and I will wear as well. Won't I just be the sparkling presence!! I managed the outing, but came home with very swollen foot, ankle and calf. I'm not ready to do any serious walking yet.

Well, again here's to better days ahead!!


T - Todd ... my first child. I was very young, only 20 when I had Todd, so didn't know too much about parenting. As well I had a very traditional husband, who did not ... "do diapers, get up at night, feed the baby or help around the house" during the early days. Of course coming from the ultimate "Ward and June Cleaver" home, I really didn't know any better.

Todd was a beautiful baby, with a lock of platinum blond hair, beautiful brown eyes, but due to my lack of knowledge, the lack of resources out there to help new moms 34 years ago, I ended up with a very colicky baby, who cried pretty much non-stop for 3 months. Although I loved him deeply, this was not the best introduction to parenthood. I tried to breastfeed, certainly had plenty of milk, but Todd and I did not get the latch right - again no resources only family doctor, so after a few weeks, I was encouraged to bind my breasts and dry up. An excruciatingly painful experience. You simply wrap a length of fabric tightly around your breasts (doctor used a diaper) and then simply stop feeding the baby. Now if you haven't gone through this I can't even explain how painful this is. After one of two feedings your breasts are pretty full, but no it's not over yet. Your breasts fill and fill and fill until they are engorged and you are in so much pain you can't even pick up your baby. As well, because your breasts are bound, it is difficult to take in a deep breath. This took about 4-5 days so I stayed with my mom, so she could look after Todd.

Well, he and I came through all these early ordeals just fine and today I am very proud of this young man. He didn't finish high school and without any formal education, he has self educated himself and through a lot of hard work now holds a management position with a prominent financial firm in Toronto. As well he has run his own web page creation and management company and can do things with a PC I can only dream of.

My son, we have a different relationship than the one I share with my daughter, but our love is deep and he is there in a moment if I need anything.

I love you Todd!

T - Television ... my guilty sin. I love "Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, American & Canadian Idol, 24, CSI, The Bold and Beautiful and anything on HGTV". Now you know!!!

T -Time .... I'm starting to hate how quickly time goes by. So after losing some family members recently, I am resolved to grab and enjoy every single moment of my life, enjoy my beautiful grandchildren as much as possible, enjoy every moment I am given with my children, my husband and hopefully following my knee replacement, get out there and enjoy a lovely walk through the ravine behind our home. That is my immediate goal .... nowhere near there yet, it's only just 3 weeks, but have managed a very short walk with my walker up and down our street.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


S - Silly ... it's fun to be silly!!!
S - Silver .... I love silver, not just to wear but to display in my home. Silver has a depth and patina that no other metal can rival. I have quite a lot of beautiful silver trays that have been passed down through 3 generations handsomely displayed in my kitchen. I especially love one that I place beside the stove with my must haves on it ... olive oil, salt & pepper grinders, a beautiful amber container with organic sugar, balsamic vinegar, etc...

S - Spaghetti ..... I love spaghetti. Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce. I always make the sauce with lots of onions, peppers, celery and either chicken, ground beef or meatballs.

At our home it's pasta night every Monday for dinner and my sister Frannie and her husband Bob always share this with us.


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