Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear September Heat Wave: That's Enough.

I think the last time I posted, I was lamenting the end of a lacklustre summer.  It was back-to-school time - quite likely my least favourite time of year - and I was sad.  I had knots in my stomach as I thought of the end of sunny days by the pool, long afternoons on the deck with a book and a drink, BBQ season.. I was just mourning the end of anything summer related.  And due to dismal weather for much of the summer months, it all seemed so unfair.

But I shook it off.  Here comes fall!  My favourite time of year is here!  To hell with that crappy summer.  Bring on the scarves and leggings, the pots of soup and pumpkin spice lattes, the Halloween movies and cuddling under blankets with a hot cup of tea.  FALL!  Hip hip hooray!

Oh, but Mother Nature had a little trick up her sleeve.  Remember that dismal summer?  The one plagued with days of rain, lacking severely in heat, the nice days of which were few and far between?  Well guess what?  We're getting it now.

Last week was quite likely the longest consecutive string of days of sunshine and warm temperatures we've had all summer long.  And it is just rolling right on this week.  At first, I was OK with it.  I was like, "Ah well, everyone who was sad about not having summer will get a taste of it now, it will make them happy."  But now, it's dragging on too long.  I was ready to ditch the shorts and tanks, pack away bathing suits and sunscreen.  I was ready to move on.  And now I can't.

Each morning when I check my weather app on my phone, I say a little prayer that the temps for the coming days will cool off a bit.  And each day, they just get higher.  By the weekend, we're supposed to be up over 30 degrees.  I'd welcome that in July... not in September!!

Usually, I'm a "make the best of it" kind of girl.  And last week, I did my very best to enjoy it.  But now I'm so over it.  I'll take all the sunny days in the world, but this heat? ugh.  I'm done.  I'm sick of being sweaty and hot, of needing the AC on and being uncomfortable all the time.  I want to wear big sweaters and walk through crunchy leaves!  I want to bundle up and feel that chill in the air!  I WANT FALL!!!

We have another whole week of this ahead, so I might as well suck it up, eh?  Grin and bear it.  My time will come. Let those summer lovers enjoy their last kick at the can, because the snow is just around the corner...

The good news is that in exactly one week, when the temperatures are to finally drop a bit, I'll be boarding a plane with a group of friends for a long-weekend trip to Nova Scotia.  At least I have that to look forward to.  That will carry me through this stupid September heat wave.

Bring on October.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The End-of-Summer Blahs

I touched on it yesterday's post, but this week... man, this week has got to be my least favourite week of the year.

School is starting again.  Summer is winding down.  I always get this icky feeling in my stomach for a few days around this time of year.  It feels like it might be worse this year, and I think that's because I feel like we didn't get much of a summer.  The weather was shoddy, I'm not sure we ever had a +30 degree day (with humidity we did - but not many), and it just seems to have flown by so fast.

Also, I didn't have a good sleep last night.  Probably not helping matters.  I fell asleep on the couch watching TV around 8-8:30 - which is a bad habit that I wish I could break - and then woke up at 10:30.  I moved to my bed, and while browsing on my phone, I came across an email that gave me too much to think about at a time when I needed to shut my brain off - not get it all wound up and churning again.  *sigh*  Oh, and I had heartburn. The world was just working against me, obviously.

The End-of-Summer Blahs. I get 'em every year.  Nothing seems to make it better. Not looking back on fond memories made in the sun, not looking ahead to fun things to come, not even the anticipation of Shawville Fair which is coming up this weekend.  (Truth be told, I greet Fair time each year with severe mixed emotions - it's always a fun weekend, yet at the same time, the last taste of summer: bittersweet.)

Seriously though, why am I always so sad when summer draws to an end? I LOVE fall.  And after fall comes my favourite season of all - WINTER!  I look ahead to the coming days with great joy and excitement.  I've waxed poetic about all of my favourite fall things: cozy clothes, cuddling up inside as the air gets colder, crunching colour leaves beneath my feet, making soups and sauces and baking treats, spooky movies, a long-awaited trip with friends, and I'm also excited about two Netflix shows coming up: Fuller House at the end of September and Stranger Things as the end of October.  Not to mention, Scary Movie Marathon, always a highlight on my calendar!

 ...and then, awaiting that first snowfall... my magical time of year, it is just around the corner...

Just have to get through these End-of-Summer Blahs first.

I've had days much worse than this.  And I know I just kind of have to hold my breath and wait for this week to pass.  It will all get better soon.

I'll be hanging in there until then...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

That "back to school" pukey feeling.

It's no secret that I hate "back to school" time. Loathe and detest it.  I feel like I've been in knots since Sunday, just knowing the kids would be going back this week.

Do I have kids? No. Do I go to school?  Hell no.  And yet, I still get that icky, sick-to-my-stomach feeling when I see the kids out waiting for buses. I scrolled through Facebook this morning and liked all the "first day" pictures my friends were sharing of their kids, but I don't really "like" them.  They make me wanna puke.

The first day back to school was always my least favourite day of the year, and it remains so all these years later.

Thankfully, I found a way to cheer myself up!  A local radio station posted this meme on Facebook, and I swiped it to share here on my blog, in honour of "back to school week".

So the question is:  If you were going back to school, and these were the teachers, which class would be your favourite?

This was tough.. reeeeallly tough.  But I think I have to go with Music class.  I mean, that should be a fun class regardless, right?  Nothing too serious or difficult or too much homework coming out of Music class.  If it's taught by Adam Levine?  HELL YEAH.  (for the record - I never actually had music class when I was in school.  So it wouldn't have even been a choice.)

2nd choice - based ONLY on the teacher - is P.E.  But in reality, I hated gym class.  (Guaranteed I'd show up if Channing Tatum was in da house, though.)

I'd also do OK with Biology, History, and Physics.  And I'd happily spend extra time in the Principal's office, if need be.

Chemistry and Math? Meh.

My actual favourite subject in school was English.  And I suppose if Jamie Dornan was my teacher, that would make going to class extra fun.  However, based off of these photos, I'm not particularly attracted.  I'm sure if he was my teacher in real life, though, I'd be rushing to my seat every class!

Please feel free to play along in the comments... Which class would be YOUR favourite??

Happy Back to School Day ;)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Solar Eclipse Edition

In an effort to keep the blogging rolling, I've decided to participate in Wednesday Hodgpodge questions... Solar Eclipse Edition!

1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

We only had a partial eclipse here, and no, I didn't watch it. I have memories of the one in the early '90's, being in elementary school and they blocked the windows with black garbage bags. They really instilled a fear in me back then of damaging my eyes.  I had no special eyewear to watch the eclipse on Monday, so I stayed in the office and tried not to look out the window.  Tried.  I also learned on Monday that when someone tells me not to look at the sun, I am totally the type of person who will look at the sun.  I glanced up out of my window several times, and then spent the rest of the day waiting for my eyeballs to fall out of my head.

As I said, we only had a partial eclipse - I think 60-65% coverage - so it did get a little dark (like in the evening when the sun is starting to set) and it was kind of weird, but it was much darker yesterday morning when a storm rolled through.  All in all...nothing to write home about.

And my favourite eclipse related snack? Absolutely 100% Sun Chips.  The Harvest Cheddar kind.  And now I'm craving... 
2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

I can't say I'm really "over the moon" about anything right now... I'll go with our girls trip to Nova Scotia.  It still feels like it's far away so I haven't really gotten super-pumped about it yet, but in reality, September is right around the corner... before we know it, we'll be flying out on the 27th!  I can't wait!

Something I do "once in a blue moon"... hmmm... blog? exercise? choose healthy food options? ha!  Actually, I go with a pedicure.  I just got one on Sunday, and it was marvellous. I don't know why I don't go more often.  Once in a blue moon for sure, but hopefully I'll train myself to go more often.
3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

ummm... I'm not a science kid. Never have been.  Not much in that department interests me.  The stuff that does is things like aliens - extra-terrestrials. Do they exist?  Are we alone, or is there other life out there? Watching the show Colony and the movie Arrival has probably inspired this in me moreso right now. Also, I really liked The Martian - book and movie.  So, I guess space stuff is my thing.  Kinda. lol.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

Oh God. This question makes me wanna puke.  Going back to school time was AWFUL for me.  Dreaded it.  Still do.  I didn't enjoy back-to-school shopping, I didn't get excited about going back, and the night before/first day always came with tears.  Even now, far removed from my school days, the thoughts of it makes me sad and my stomach twist painfully.  I hate back to school time. :(

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

Faith - I am a person of quiet faith, raised to go to church, not one to rub it in anyone's face or force my beliefs on others, but to have a deep understanding, belief, and confidence in that faith.

Home - I'm not one to stray far from home, and when I do, I'm always happy -relieved, in fact - to get back.  I'm most content in my safe, secure bubble, and treasure the memories of 'home' all throughout my life thus far.

Christmas - My favourite holiday, my favourite time of year... thoughts of Christmas makes my heart sing with joy.  Christmas is totally my "thing".

Music - It's been a big part of my life, I've always enjoyed listening to live music, the radio, tapes in the car on family drives as a kid, my dad or my uncle or my cousin playing guitar.  Music definitely is part of my soul.

Babies - Strange to put this, as I don't actually have any of my own, but I love babies. Nothing brings me greater peace that holding a sleeping infant in my arms.  I have always loved babies.  Maybe someday.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday, I wrote about my disappointment with this summer and my reluctance to get excited for fall.  I don't know what has shifted in me since then, but literally 24 hours later, I can say that I WANT FALL!  Once we get over this back-to-school stuff that makes me feel squeamish, fall is one of my favourite times of year (preceded only by winter).  And I'm suddenly oh so ready for it.  I want to bust out the cozy leggings and big sweaters, I want to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch spooky movies, I want to put on giant pots of sauce or soup and not worry about my house getting too hot.  I want leaves to change colours and I want that crisp cool air to arrive.  Bring on FALL!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rainy Tuesday Randoms

Oh, hello there, little blog.  It's been awhile.

As per usual, I had no intentions of taking an extended blog break, it just sort of...happened.  One minute, I was writing out a review of the Ed Sheeran concert in late July, and the next... sidetracked. Back-burnered. Saved for a later date.

And now, here we are. Heading into the "late August" category. Summer, it feels like we hardly knew ye.  Too much has happened in the past month to give a minute-by-minute re-cap, but here's some of the random thoughts and musings I've had since my last post on July 13th...

  • I mentioned Ed up there, and it feels to long ago to give an indepth review, but let's just say, he was awesome.  It was a whirlwind trip to Montreal to see him at the Bell Centre - there and back in less than 24 hours - but it was worth it in my books.  I regretted not seeing him the last time he was in Ottawa, and of course on this tour he didn't have an Ottawa stop, but Montreal isn't that far away.  Very happy I got to see him at least once live.  What that man can do with a mic, guitar, and a loop machine... simply amazing.
  • While Ed was fantastic, it still can't compare to the magic that was happening last summer as The Hip traveled across the country for one last tour on the news of lead singer Gord Downie's terminal brain cancer diagnosis.  The past few days, my Facebook memories from a year ago have all been Hip-related. God, what an emotional, intense, crazy time it was in my world.  Makes this summer feel lacklustre somehow.
  • I don't know why I have that feeling about this summer; like it somehow didn't live up, didn't compare, to last summer. I mean, the weather has been kind of crappy, but I've still managed to squeeze a lot of fun into the good days. I had an awesome week off for holidays, and so many other fun and happy summer moments.  I even managed to get a tan (somehow).  I don't know why I feel like this summer has passed me by too quickly, and with a sense that we've been jipped for some reason...
  • Perhaps it's the sadness. Because, despite all the high points, good moments, fun memories, there has, indeed, been sadness, too.  Two weeks ago on Saturday, I had probably one of the most blue days I've had in a long time.  First, I awoke with a splitting headache, which I wasn't used to because I haven't had bad headaches in quite awhile.  Then, late morning, my phone buzzed with a notification from the TSN app I follow with the news that former Sens GM and the pride of Shawville, Bryan Murray, had passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer.  Add to that, I kind of fell into the dark abyss of following the terrifying events that unfolded in Charlottesville that day, with Nazis and white supremacists marching in the streets... still sends a shiver down my spine.  It was a blue day.
  • One of my favourite things about the past few weeks, though, has been watching fun TV again!  As happened the first time, when I finished Prison Break the second time around, I felt so empty and convinced I'd never find a show to replace it.  I decided to move on to Colony, because it starred Sarah Wayne Callies, aka Sara Tancredi-Scofield from Prison Break.  At first, I thought I was going to love the show, but it strayed too far into sci-fi territory for my liking, and I had a hard time getting through it.  But it did the job:  it got me over Michael and Prison Break again. By the time I was done it, I was eager to move on to something else.  There were lots of shows I've watched that had new episodes that I could have jumped in to: Scandal, Suits, The Mindy Project, Bloodline... but none of them were grabbing me. (in fact, I watched one episode of Scandal and was so turned off by Fitz, whom I used to love, that it astonished me.)  I decided to go with Riverdale, and I was so glad I did.  SO much fun!  I was a big Archie comic fan as a kid, so it was a treat to see the characters brought to life, and follow the darker storyline than I ever would have read in my colourful pages as a kid.  I blew through Riverdale in less than a week.  Then last week, on the recommendation of several friends, I started Shameless.  I'm only in the early stages of Season 1, but it has definitely grabbed my attention.  Loving it too!
  • I'm disappointed that summer is winding down - it always makes me feel a little sick when back-to-school time comes around - but at the same time, I'm also kind of excited for fall.  My favourite time of year is upon us.  Cool, crisp air, crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice, cozy days in the kitchen making soup or baking, scary movies, warm clothes... mmmm... I love fall!  Add to it that we have our girls trip to Nova Scotia to look forward to at the end of September, and it almost makes me want to kick summer out the door for good.
Well, I think that's all I have for today.  Going to try hard to get back in the blogging groove again.  Hopefully see you again soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday 13: What I'm Into Lately

Hey folks!  Sorry for the lack of posting lately... I have ideas!  Lots and lots of blog post ideas!!  But, the days come and the days go and no blog posts to be found...

Today, though, I'm making myself post something.  Taking the lead from incognitusscriptor and going with a Thursday 13 of  what I've been enjoying lately...

  1. Prison Break.  Oh, I know, you've all heard me ramble about this show before.  So I promise not to get too into it now.  But I really do think this is my favourite show of all time.  I watched it several years ago and got so infatuated with it.  I was eating, drinking, sleeping Michael Scofield for weeks.  I didn't think I'd get so would up about it again the second time around, but... I did.  I am.  Just as obsessed as the first time I watched it.  I think I'm appreciating it even more this time. Already dreading it ending again... 
  2. The Beach Boys.  I fell pretty hard for the Beach Boys when I was in college.  We used to listen to their music at the apartment and dance around to it.  I went through a big retro phase around that time - thanks in large part to my friend Sara - immersing myself in Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys around that time... I was a big Dennis Wilson fan.  (and yes, I'm aware that he's dead.  Didn't matter.)  Anyways, I had kind of lost touch with my Beach Boys over the years, until recently, when Sara loaned me Mike Love's autobiography, Good Vibrations.  I'm about half-way through the book and it has once again fanned my flames for their music.  I downloaded a Greatest Hits compilation off iTunes with 50 of their best songs, and I'm listening to it steady.  Current faves: "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Do It Again", "Rock & Roll Music", and "Sail On, Sailor".  LOVE!!!
  3. Poutine.  I don't know what the heck is wrong with me these days.  Remember super-healthy Jill?  The girl who loved quinoa and sweet potatoes and Asian pears?  Well, now she loves poutine, and only poutine.  Lots of poutine.  I eat wayyyyy too much of this Canadian delicacy.  And I need to stop it, ASAP.  But not today.  It's National French Fry Day, after all. ;)

  4. Fruit Salad.  Gotta balance out that poutine with something a little bit healthy, right?  Inspired by my friend Sharon, who had a big bowl of it on hand last week when I visited her, I made myself a giant bowl of fruit salad to keep in the fridge for snacking this week.  I made it with pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes, and added Sharon's "secret ingredient" (vanilla pudding mix combines with the juices to create a delightful light glaze), and YUM!  Easy summery treat.
  5. Reading on the deck.  I truly do get a simple pleasure from a sunny day on the deck, reading a book.  I got through a big chunk of that Beach Boys book I mentioned earlier on the deck Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately, deck time has been sparse as we're in the midst of a cool and wet summer around here.  But that makes me enjoy those relaxing times when they do come around, even more!
  6. The current colour of my nails.  Last night, Danica demanded I give her a manicure with the new nail polish Grandma let her pick out and buy while out shopping.  I loved it so much, I put it on my own fingers.  A delightfully summery shade of coral pink.
  7. I'm enjoying the anticipation of upcoming days off.  Next Wednesday, Lindsay and I are making a whirlwind trip to Montreal to see Ed Sheeran perform, something I've been looking forward to for months.  Ed is on my bucket list.  So glad I'm going to finally see him live!!  Then, at the end of the month I'll be off for a week's vacation, and even though plans are very much up in the air this year, I'm just looking forward to being off.  No alarms.  No rushing.  I'm craving a little break.
  8. Scoring deals.  Like, for Tupperware that I normally find too expensive... I've picked up quite a few pieces of Tupperware that I normally find way too expensive through some girls who are selling it locally and offering amazing prices from time to time.  I know it's worth it - my mom still has and uses many of the items she got a million years ago - but I can't rationalize it unless it's a screaming deal.  Also, a Scensty sale this week had me ordering a few new warmers.  Do I need them?  Definitely not.  But I couldn't turn down those $54 warmers on sale for less than $20!!
  9. Wildflowers.  Don't ask my why, but I'm delighting in seeing the colourful wildflowers growing in the ditches along the road I walk at lunch time.  I keep stopping to take pictures of them.  And then I'm like, "Jillian. They are weeds.  Get over it."  But... they're pretty weeds.  And they remind me of the wildflower painting I did this spring with Shannon. :)
  10. Going for ice cream.  It's one of those simple summer pleasures.  I haven't actually gone lately, but knowing it's just down the road, and any evening can result in a trip for ice cream...well, it makes me happy.
  11. Throwback Thursday photos.  On Father's Day, I sat down with some old family photo albums and made copies on my phone of some of my favourite old photos.  I've been having fun going through them each week and picking my #tbt.   Today's makes me giggle - an old photo of my dad with my cousin's pet goat, Marvin.  (at least, I think his name was Marvin.)  Marvin, a true mountain goat, used to walk along the windowsills of the house.  Moments after this photo was taken, Marvin stepped down onto the lid of the BBQ and peed all over it. Needless to say, that night's supper plans were ruined... LOL!
  12. Chips.  OK, so I love chips all the time, but I'm realizing lately how deep my appreciation is for basic, classic chip flavours.  I used to be all about "trying new chips", but now I just want my old, all-time faves.  Plain ruffles with dill pickle dip.  Or Dill Pickle flavour.  Salt & Vinegar.  Ketchup is about as wild as I want to get now.  Mmmm....chips...

  13. Zumba Country!  I haven't been doing well on the exercise front lately. It's been the summer of sloth and laziness.  So on a whim, I picked up a Zumba Country DVD, hoping it would encourage me to get my butt moving again.  I just got it on Tuesday, and already super happy with it.  I've been a Zumba fan for years, but I'm really liking the country twist.  Sort of like really fast line-dancing. haha!  So fun!
Happy Thursday, my chums!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Happy Canada Day, indeed.

Hoooo boy, getting back into routine after a long weekend is TOUGH, man.  But here we are, a short work week, Wednesday already, and I'm feeling just about back to normal. Finally.

This past weekend, our country celebrated it's 150th birthday, so there were big celebrations from coast to coast to coast, and of course, our little town was in on the action.  As usual, we celebrated a day early, my favourite way to kick off Canada Day festivities!

The weather last week left something to be desired, and I admit, when they told us to leave work early on Friday, I didn't depart with that extra skip in my step that I usually do on a long weekend.  It was pouring rain, and my heart was sinking at the thought of what a damper this was going to put on our party.  Still, I went home and immediately went about my last-minute preparations - getting my nacho dip made and the burger fixings ready, changing into my red & white, painting my nails red, and decorating my yard with my flags and pinwheels.  Late afternoon, my mom, my sister and her kids, and her MIL/my neighbour Donna all gathered at my place, and we enjoyed BBQ'd burgers and dogs, salads, chips, nacho dip, and ice cream cake for dessert, as well as a tasty Canada Day cocktail my sister had whipped up.  Yum!

Miraculously, the skies cleared in time for the parade and the sun actually came out, so we all took our lawn chairs out to the front yard and watched a fantastic parade, one of the best I've ever seen in our town!  Other friends and neighbours joined us, and we had a fantastic time waving flags and shouting "Happy Canada Day" at the folks in the parade.  It was great.

I walked down to the flag pole for the annual flag raising ceremony and singing of O Canada, then joined friends in the park as we killed time before the fireworks while their kids played and had fun with the clown.  At dusk, the fireworks were set off at the river and it was an awesome show, the best our town has ever seen.  A big thank you to the Canada Day Committee for all their hard work and fundraising for putting on such an amazing show for our community!

After the fireworks, a group of friends and I headed to the Legion where a Canada Day party was going on.  I fully intended to "go for one", and ended up "staying til 3"!!  Whoops!!  But it was such a blast.  The DJ was playing great tunes, and the drinks were going down so well.  We had lots of laughs.  So much fun!!

So, needless to say, the next day - actual Canada Day - I was a bit out of commish.  Still, I managed to get myself up and back into the red & white, and headed for Shawville where my BIL's dad was entering his classic car in their afternoon parade, and my niece and nephew were going with him.  Once again, the weather co-operated, and it was another wonderful parade.  I was happy to take in some of the celebrations in Shawville, as I don't think I've been up there for Canada Day since I was a kid.  We returned back to my mom's to eat leftovers from the night before and a Canada Day cake that my BIL had brought us. I hung in there as long as I could, but I had to take an extended nap post-supper. LOL  I woke up just in time to catch the last hour or so of festivities on TV from Parliament Hill.

Sunday was a low-key and peaceful day.  I spent the morning relaxing and catching up on Big Brother before taking advantage of a few sunny hours and cutting the grass.  The afternoon was a perfect mix of reading on the deck, napping, and watching Prison Break on Netflix.  There were STILL leftovers left from our BBQ, so I joined my mom for supper to clean up what was left, before heading back home to continue my Netflix binge.  It was exactly the kind of day I needed!

Having Monday off, I was a little disappointed that I didn't have any plans - other than laundry - but unable to come up with anything fun to do, I had resigned myself to another afternoon on the deck reading.  But then, I got a text from my friend Kerry shortly after lunch, wanting to know if I wanted to go out on the boat with them for the afternoon.  Um... yes, please!  Finally a day of super nice weather, and the chance to spend it in my happy place, on the water?  I wasn't going to say no!!  I changed into my bathing suit, packed a cooler of drinks, and headed down to meet them at the boat launch.

It was such a nice day out on the water.  I loved every minute of it.  Just before supper time, we docked the boat at friends of ours who live on the water and decided to stay for "a drink".  Well, one drink turned to two, turned to three, turned to four... and as much fun as it was, with the sun started going down, I knew I needed to bail.  Calling in "sick" Tuesday morning wasn't an option for me, and I needed to get myself to bed in order to be functional at work.  We walked down to grab food from the chipstand, and then I headed for home.  It was the perfect way to cap off the long weekend!

So, yesterday was a bit rough.  Tuesdays after a long weekend always are, so add in the touch of a hangover, and...well... I was happy when 5 o'clock rolled around!  I ate supper and read for a bit, before putting on Prison Break and promptly falling asleep on the couch.  I got all caught up on my sleep and I'm feeling much better today!!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, celebrating Canada Day or the 4th of July!!