Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Black Cats And Pumpkins!

I love the look of fall and Hallowe'en at our front door. It just seems to beckon black cats. Soot, a little black cat we adopted as a kitten,was with us for 16 years! He did his share of hanging around the front porch in the sun by the pumpkins!

Twinkie, a very sweet black cat we had for 7 years, loved to hang out on the porch beside the pumpkin! I called her Twinkie because she had a soft white spot that reminded me of the icing you see when you bite into a Hostess Twinkie. Later, I found out that these cupcake things I was thinking of were really called King Dongs but I just couldn't see calling her that when she had already grown into a Twinkie! Imagine me calling her in at night, "Here, King Dong!" Nope, couldn't do it!

My first cat ever was a black cat that appeared on our curb my husband named, "Goblin". On his first Hallowe'en, he didn't know what to make of a Jack-o-lantern but he sure was curious as only cats can be so he stuck his head right inside!

Living on the main street, we don't get any kids trick-or-treating because kids who are really wanting the loot, hit the densely populated subdivisions, but it's fun to do the carving thing anyway. Ours is the standard as our parents used to do....the old triangles and square teeth....nothing like the fancy carving you see now!

Heck, I'd carve a pumpkin just to roast the seeds!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Latest Reno News!

Here's the latest....this is the old dining room and as you can see, there is only one beam holding up the summer bedroom! AND we still slept there last night just to test its strength! It was okay and we'll sleep there a few more nights.
I'd love to get a picture of us eating out in the old dining room in coats, hats, and mitts at a table with candles lit etc. as if there was nothing different!

They found an old shiny metal decoration for a wood stove in the crawl space beneath this room. I was kinda hoping for a more valuable treasure like the family jewels or a trunk full of gold pieces but I'll keep it. Oh, and there was a child's ironing board!
I sit beside a lady in choir whose childhood friend lived in this house and whose three kids I taught. She's going to e-mail her all the pics I've taken and the one of the toy ironing board. Who knows? It may be hers or even her mother's.

Just yesterday, my husband was talking to the builder on his lunch break when his secretary appears in the back yard with a lady in tow; his next patient! They figured he'd be back there and this lady really wanted to see the progress of the addition. Luckily, we know her quite well and she has a great sense of humour, quipping, "I can just lie down on this steel beam!"
The builder got a real chuckle out of this as he is a patient too!

I love the friendly and warm connectedness when these kinds of things happen. It's great to be in a small town.

****(Every time I take a pic and the builder is there, he laughs when I say, "Okay, pretend you're working!"
Ha! These guys are so strong and really slug a long day.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The 80/20 Principle

An interesting philosophy called the 80/20 Principle, taken from Brian Johnson's that I receive daily. What do you think about this?

"Well, experts on time management would suggest we take a closer look at some of our everyday behaviors. As Koch states: “20% of what we do leads to 80% of the results; but 80% of what we do leads to only 20%. We are wasting 80% of our time on low-value outcomes.”

His advice? Rather than pursuing every available opportunity, Koch suggests we “calm down, work less and target a limited number of very valuable goals where the 80/20 Principle will work for us.”

“Conventional wisdom is not to put all of your eggs in one basket. 80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.”~Richard Koch

Simple Real-Life Applications

Business: Do you know where your revenue comes from? Find out. Do you know where you spend your time? Find out. Here’s what the book would suggest: You make at least 80% of your profits in 20% of your activity, and in 20 percent of your revenues. The trick is to figure out which 20%!

Learning: How do you read a book? Do you go from cover to cover? Why? You’re wasting a lot of time. 80% of the valuable content can be found in 20% of the book...and, according to Koch, absorbed in 20% of the time it takes most people to read the entire book.
Tip: Unless you’re reading a book for pleasure, read the conclusion then the intro, check out the graphs and pictures and then the conclusion again and maybe some sections a little deeper if you find it particularly interesting. If you’re reading a novel or a book for pleasure, read at your leisure. If you are looking for the most efficient way to learn, think 80/20.
Another Tip: The same rules apply with your kids' studies!

Social: 20% of your friends account for 80% of your enjoyment and satisfaction.
Tip: Might sound harsh, but why wouldn’t you spend a lot more time with the group that gives you so much pleasure and a lot less time with the other?!?

Your Diet: My diet? Yes, your diet. My guess is that you spend a lot of time bouncing from one diet to another--never really receiving a whole lot of consistent energy as a result. The reality: 20% of your healthy eating habits account for 80% of your health gains.
Guess what? If you ignored the fad diets and just focused on the fundamentals, you’d see a lot of results. Consistently. Are you drinking enough water (at least 8 cups a day)? Eating breakfast? Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables? Avoiding sugar? And, avoiding saturated fat?
You do these things and you’re 80% there. And, you'll be surprised how quickly your energy will increase (not to mention how quickly the number of compliments from your spouse/significant other will increase!).
Tip: Focus on the 20%. Drink 8 cups of water every day this week.
Already doing that? Good. Eat breakfast every day this week. Got that down? Good. Eat a salad with lunch and dinner. etc. etc.

You can read the full article (and a lot more of ‘em I’ve written) at

A lot of "food" for thought there! The one that makes the least sense to me is the social application. It might stand to reason that you already naturally spend more time with the people who give you more pleasure, but that wouldn't mean I'd cut out the many others whom we only see once in awhile. They deserve their time share piece of the "80% pie" and offer us variety in our social lives.

If you want to receive this daily philosophy quote/opinion, go to They can be very interesting and a good way to spark the brain first thing in the morning.....besides coffee!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Don't Step On My Blue Suede Shoes...or Blue Toes!!

Don't really remember this hurting much when I stubbed my toe on something in my bedroom...I don't exactly recall what! However, the next day, I was surprised to see such a bruise and to experience so much pain. It is definitely is broken and they don't do anything for broken baby toes.

I'm hobbling around okay in my summer sandals but I'm really missing my urban poling (Nordic walking) exercise routine.
I'm going to try biking today and tomorrow as it's to be a sunny 23 Celsius both days...such a gift! Hope it doesn't hurt to press the pedals. I like to be as active as possible.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Fall Look!

I'm trying to emulate Colleen's great regular photo essays! They'r'e so much fun.

Imprinting at its best!

I'm only a shadow of my former self!

Going, going, GONE!

Mum's the word.

The old stand-by!

Pick me! Pick me!

Fast food is for the birds!

Please add to these captions!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

A Favourite Fall Poem

Something Told The Wild Geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, "snow."
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, "frost."
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spices
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly -
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

Rachel Field

We had to memorise this in Gr. 3 and I still know it! As a teacher, I have taught it and it actually has a tune that I can sing to with my guitar.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Fabulous Host House!

My sister is lucky enough to live in a big old rural Ontario farmhouse that has been in her husband's family since 1867. She has completely renovated it years ago and furnished it with beautiful antique pieces, many of which were my grandmother's.

You can see the formal front parlour wooden staircase and then further down in the kitchen, there is the back staircase which is used most often.

Below, is my grandmother's long table which can seat thirty when all the leaves are used, and the huge buffet and sideboard full of valuable dishes.

I love the cranberry glass overhead hanging light fixture! The draperies are gorgeous as well.

The kitchen light is more in the early pioneer style and really suits this room.

What a fabulous place to host our recent Thanksgiving dinner!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Record Temps And Flowers!

I can't believe this past weekend was Thanksgiving. Some years it's been downright frosty but this year was record hot and humid conditions. It's been a muggy week and today it peaked at 37C with the humid ex!
We are still feeding our plants miracle grow and watering like mad! The pansies shown here are quite robust still and the snapdragons are thriving. Technically, we can't call it Indian Summer because we haven't had frost yet.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Odds and Sods

Richard at Forbidden Planet tagged me for sharing my desktop picture except that I always change it...every day! I get bored easily and I'm a teacher so I have a natural inclination to put seasonal signatures on everything. ( I also decorate my husband's home chiropractic office, outside and inside!) I've given you a sampling....

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and is a long weekend. The kids have been in school five weeks and need their first break. Many people go to their cottages and might close them if they are not winterized. Actually, the weather for today and all weekend is going to be a summery 26C with a real feel of 30! We've had an unbelievable mild fall. Last Thanksgiving, we were sitting outside before the dinner as if it were summer and it looks like that'll be possible again this year.

We usually host it but because of the renovation mess we're in, I'll gladly give that one up! My sister, who lives on a farm, is hosting it. What better place to celebrate the bountiful harvest than a farm that grows peas, corn, squash, pumpkins,soybeans and apples? The farm is also alive with beef cattle in the pastures, and many cats and kittens cavorting around the barn.

The family has a great time gathered around the huge kitchen and eagerly awaiting the turkey dinner. All of us leave with a full bag of Paula Red apples and a big orange pumpkin.

I can smell and taste it now! Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians!

See last year's Thanksgiving post here.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Cottage Visit!

On the weekend we spent time with really good friends at their cottage. It was unusual because we have always gone in the summer but for some reason we couldn't get any dates that we were all free. I'm glad that happened since it gave us a new perspective. One need only look at the pictures to get a feel for the fall cottage experience. The fall colours will peak by next weekend, our Thanksgiving here.

There were eight of us there and we all did somewhat different activities. My husband went running and biking with the others who do these sports competitively and I went walking with my my Nordic poles while my girlfriends walked. My husband actually went swimming twice...mind you it was a very short swim with the water temperature at 64 F!!

I also went canoeing which I love and then tried kayaking for the second time in my life. Man, is it different! It's more difficult for me because it involves upper arm strength. It seems like you are holding the paddle in mid-air and you have to keep synchronized with the other paddler. Your legs are stretched out in front of you and your back seems to be on an angle which I could really feel in my lower back. (I have nothing left of my lowest disk)

The meals were fabulous and the close friendships were nurtured once again. It was neat to be so laid back and comfortable just being yourself, "in all your grubby glory"! No worries what you look like or what you're wearing!

That's my kind of weekend - it doesn't get any better.

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