Archive | January, 2012

Freaky Friday

29 Jan

It was an ordinary Friday, at least so it seemed on the surface.

My husband had taken the day off and we decided it would be fun to shop around for anniversary gifts for each other and then go out for a nice dinner. (As I have written previously, we are a bit cavalier about anniversaries, but as is this was a big one, we decided to buy something special — and silver.)

It didn’t take too long before I found a beautiful ring that I loved. It has an amethyst stone encircled with 14k gold set in a sterling silver band. Very vintage looking, I thought, and a perfect gift for a silver anniversary. The icing on the cake was that it was 70% off the regular price!! Oh, and it fit perfectly, too!

The saleswoman worked out the total for me and I was ecstatic — I LOVE a good bargain and this one was a great one! Done deal. She rang up the sale. It seemed more than I thought it was going to be, but I handed over the cash, complaining to myself about the enormous sales tax that we all have to pay. I was about to stuff the receipt in my purse when I decided to take a good look at it – that total just seemed way too high even with a 12% tax added on.

Good thing I did. The ring cost fifty dollars more than the saleswoman had said. After a bit of checking, it seems that the prices had been entered into the system incorrectly. I got my fifty dollars back. And, my confidence went up 100% regarding my math skills!

I usually never check my bills.

Freaky!

We shopped a bit more then decided to go for dinner, and made a plan to go to Granville Island to search for Bruce’s gift on Sunday.

We went to a nearby restaurant so we could use the gift card we had (a present from our daughters). We enjoyed a delicious dinner and chatted amiably throughout the meal. The service was excellent and our waitress was outgoing and friendly. Then it came time to pay. I handed over the gift card and my debit card. The waitress keyed in the numbers and handed me the terminal and I swiped my card and entered my pin. The total of our meal seemed high, but I assumed that the gift card had not been subtracted yet. Even though I still had a niggling feeling that we had been over-charged, I accepted the amount and handed the terminal back as the transaction was approved.

For the second time that day, I decided to check the bill. (It really is out of character for me to do so.)

Good thing I checked! Our bill included someone else’s meals! We had paid an extra $40 for dinner! Yikes! It was all sorted out. The waitress was apologetic and the manager gave us $50 in gift cards — we left happy.

I can’t believe this happened twice in one day! Freaky!! …and I saved us $90 — I AM a math genius!

You can bet from now on, I am going to make a point of looking over my bill before I hand over the cash!

Silver Anniversary

24 Jan

Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. It won’t be a lavish affair, in fact, I will probably just cook something special and buy a bottle of champagne to toast this milestone, instead of going out to a fancy restaurant. We haven’t made any plans.

We rarely have big splashy parties or “events” to mark the special occasions in our lives, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t important to us. It just means that we don’t feel the need to pull out all the stops to celebrate the special moments that make up our life together, but we do acknowledge them in our own way.

We usually buy each other a present, mostly very non-traditional gifts. (Last year, Bruce got a ukelele!) It’s funny though, I don’t remember a lot of those gifts, but I do have very special memories from the past 25 years of our married life.

The special Valentine’s card that he had made me with a poem he’d written inside, or the time he taught me the easy way to convert fractions into decimals. The CD he made me for Christmas one year — the one where every song on it is one that I love. The way he read The Little Engine That Could over and over and over to our two daughters when they were young. How he carried all three of us back to the car after a long hike on Gabriola Island. The single, long-stemmed red rose he would give to each daughter at the end of every school year. Or how he has helped me to grow, giving me the courage to be myself, to accept my flaws, to see myself as a beautiful, smart and kind human being — as he sees me.

To be sure, we have had our ups and downs, arguments, and silly spats, but through it all we have found a path that leads to acceptance, forgiveness and a deeper loving bond. We respect, like and love each other.

I thank you, Bruce, for this wonderful quarter of a century of our life together and all the beautiful remembrances. I am looking forward to making more memories with you in the next 25 years!

One Day

16 Jan

I came across a wonderful video today. It was posted on a friend’s Facebook page. I loved it so much that not only have I shared it on my Facebook page, I am also sharing it here. I hope that you are inspired by it. I am.

How to Save a Planet (and Still Enjoy Your Favourite Take-Out)

13 Jan

During one of my forays on Pinterest, I came across a pin to this website, takeout without (thanks to Beth Terry, My Plastic-Free Life). I LOVE this idea – “Fill your stomach, not the landfill” – a campaign to reduce restaurant waste. Check out the websites by clicking on the links above – you’ll be inspired!

According to the Clean Air Council “…Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.” We Canadians are no better! It’s such a shame!

I am determined to participate in this waste-reducing tactic – it’s fairly simple — just bring your own dishes and utensils with you and refuse the paper, plastic, styrofoam containers that take out or fast food is served in. My goal for this weekend is to get organized in order to make this happen. All I need to do is put together a little “picnic set” of dishes and cutlery and figure out how I will carry it around with me in order to be ready when I get those hunger pangs at the mall!

There are many resources to help with this, but I think that I will first try to assemble my “take-out dining kit” from items I already have at home (as in reuse/repurpose). Stay tuned for photos and progress!

Harry Potter and the Twelve Years

10 Jan

Brynne was in grade three when her teacher began reading the Harry Potter series aloud to her classroom. I’m sure that this fanned her “like” of reading into a full-blown bonfire of love for the written word.

Harry, Hermione and Ron became permanent fixtures in our household for the next twelve years. This past Christmas, Brynne was elated to find Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part Two in her stocking. She now owns all the books and all the movies.

She loved the series from the start and eagerly awaited the publication of each subsequent book. Her dad read each new Harry Potter novel aloud to her – a memorable time for them both. I read the books, too, on my own, wanting to be involved in their lively discussions.

We all went to see the movies, excursions which became family traditions – we did not miss one. I know that Brynne will always remember Hogwarts, the adventures, the characters, the wondrous creatures. The books and films were important influences in her life.

With the release of the last movie on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital download, an era has come to an end. Brynne will be turning 20 in a few weeks. She grew up with Harry Potter and it’s a little sad that there will be no more of his stories.

She and I have decided to watch all eight movies again, in order. We have watched the first three so far, curled up together on the couch, holding hands and thoroughly enjoying our foray back into the magical world of muggles and wizards.

I am relishing these special nights of sitting right next to her, her hand in mine, her head on my shoulder. I know that we will always have a close, loving relationship, but it has evolved into something new. She is no longer a child, she is a beautiful young lady finding her own way. I feel a twinge of sadness that my little girl is gone but I also feel a great surge of joy as I see the lovely woman she is becoming.

So, I am gladly looking forward to The Goblet of Fire tomorrow evening. Bring on the popcorn!

Fog

8 Jan

Weekends at our house are usually chaotic and busy. Racing around food shopping, driving kids here and there, cleaning, laundry and various other chores ad nauseum!

This weekend was much quieter, laid back, slow-moving. Enjoyable. It was grey, dreary and raining. (Usual January weather for the Wet, er, West Coast.) A little bit of fog creeping in here and there. Which made me think of one of my most favourite poems.

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

~ Carl Sandburg

What’s For Dinner?

5 Jan

The holiday season is over, time to return to my senses and have something healthy and delicious to eat! Even though, I didn’t overindulge TOO much, I’m definitely craving big, crunchy, fresh meal-in-a-bowl salads!

So, for dinner last night, I decided to make a favourite raw dish — Zucchini Pasta! There are several recipes out in cyberspace for raw pasta using zucchini as the noodles, most include a raw tomato marinara sauce. But the one that I LOVE is a garlicky, non-tomato sauce version from Martha Stewart’s “Whole Living” blog. It is so easy to make (no pots to clean after, because it’s raw!) and simply delicious.

The recipe calls for ground walnuts, and basil leaves, but I didn’t have any on hand so I omitted them this time and it was still yummy! I also added some olives and a tiny bit of feta cheese. (I do recommend that you use the walnuts and basil the first time, you will be glad that you did!)

Try it for a fresh and satisfying meal! Click here for the recipe. (The photo is from the Whole Living blog.)

Resolutions

4 Jan

I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions long ago. You know the old story: on January 1st pledge to fulfill a long list of commitments such as lose weight, go to the gym, get organized, learn something new, blog more often — then on January 2nd promptly forget all about it.

However, I do like to look back at the past year and remember all the trials and triumphs, the joys and sadness that were shared with family and friends. And while I do not make any resolutions these days, I do think about how I want to live my life in the year that is unfolding.

I recently discovered a quote on a website that expresses exactly what I would like to strive for every day of 2012 and beyond. It is this: “Think good. Eat whole. Walk far.” from Peaceful Daily.

Peace, Love and Joy for 2012!

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