A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On turning 30-Old... (38)

Last night I went out with Beryl, my mum-in-law and another friend for a pre-birthday dinner to one of my favourite wine bars. I indulged in scallops a chocolate dessert and glass of wine – and why not?

The last couple of weeks haven’t been the easiest, in terms of what’s been going on in the lives of those I care about. As well, many of my friends/family have been suffering from the bout of flu that has been making the rounds and everybody has been more or less laying low. Andy spent most of the weekend lounging on the couch or bed, too poorly to do much else.

Tonight I think it’s more than just me who is looking forward to heading up to the local pub to enjoy a meal and have a few drinks. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday really, low key and unassuming.

So far today I have already been spoiled. I won’t lie and say that I don’t enjoy this day that I was born, a long time ago in the post era of free-love (even if it means I’m getting older). I like the extra attention: all the lovely cards and good wishes. Although I don’t expect any, the little gifts I receive are a great treat especially so soon after Christmas. Each year I’m truly surprised over how many people make a fuss over me. I’m really a very lucky girl. I know this without a doubt.

And on Saturday I fly home where I get to enjoy an extended birthday with my family (I always seem to be able to drag my birthday out over more than one day – it’s so much better that way). My family and I aren’t only going to be celebrating my birthday but the fact that my mother has made it through this year and is healthy, when it could have turned out so differently. (And we can’t forget my baby sister’s awesome achievement – I’m not sure if I will even recognize her after such a major weight loss!) I have so many people to give big hugs to on this trip home… I can’t wait. But I think I’ve said that already.

Most of my birthdays are good ones, but this year is gearing up to be a great one – I have so much to be grateful for.

So yes, I’m 30-Old today but that’s ok. I’m not forty yet.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


She was clever and quirky;  you would want her on your team in a pub quiz, hands down;  I don't know anyone who could unscramble a puzzle faster than she.

If a good looking man came within radius, boy did we know about it.  Her dog never listened to her but loved her without doubt.  You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next.

I'm going to miss our summer afternoons in her back garden drinking diet coke and watching the dogs play while we talked about the simple things in life.

Today we said goodbye.


I'll miss you dear friend, more than you would have known. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'll choose a book everytime

I started my 50th book, 'Last Night In Twisted River' by John Irving, the week leading up to Christmas.  Because it was such a busy holiday season full of last minute Christmas shopping, meal planning and gift wrapping, I didn't have a whole lot of extra time to read.   Also, during Christmas I like to spend my spare time watching Christmas movies and drinking a lot of wine.  I will not deny it.

Last Night in Twisted River was a well written and captivating book, like most by Irving. I had so wanted to finish it by the end of the year though, which would have closed my 'So Far So Shelved 2010' list at an even 50 rather than 49.  Seriously, how unimpressive is that number? (Unless of course it has a one in front of it and is the weight my dream scales tell me I am).  I was hoping that my list would have topped out at a whopping and much more impressive 80, however I won't dwell on it, as my realistic goal at the beginning of 2010 was 52. My reasoning behind this was that early on in the year I was averaging about one book per week (even though some weeks I was reading more).  When you do the math, I should have completed 52 in total. 

This year, I may be able to do it, however I've started 2011 with this whopper of a beauty:

At approximately 1000 pages it might take me a little longer than a week;  however Ken has  away of pulling me so deeply into his narrative that I often end up reading his epic novels faster than a bog standard 400 pager.

The only trouble with this ginormous, hard-backed beauty is that it doesn't make bathtub reading easy, and that my dears, is my most favourite place to indulge in a book. 

Which brings me to this:  I-Pads. 

What a clever invention.  They are handy, convenient and user friendly. I wouldn't mind having one but when you have an I-phone, home computer and numerous laptops in the home, they would be an extravagant toy we really don't need.  Especially when it comes to reading books.  

Here are a few reasons why I've reached the conclusion that a good old fashioned book can never be replaced with an I-pad: 

1.  Books do not have to be 'charged' because they aren't battery operated
2.  You have to make sure the I-pad is transported in a protective case; they can't be thrown willy-nilly into your handbag;  
3.  It's much more enjoyable to read an actual book to a small child, enabling them to interact with you and turn the pages while looking at any pictures;
4. If you knock your wine over while reading a book, the pages only get wet.  An I-pad wouldn't react well to getting soaked in wine, no matter what vintage it is.

And lastly, but most importantly:

5.  You can't read your I-pad in the bath (while sipping an ice-cold glass of Pinot Grigio)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I haven't been sleeping much in the last week.  I'm either restless and can't get off to sleep, or I wake up from bad dreams.  These dreams however are more than just dreams, they are reality.  Last week I received the news that a friend of mine had died very abruptly and for reasons that are unclear.  It took a day or two to kick in that she was really gone;  It's hard for me to still believe it. 

A good family friend, someone who is like another mom to me has had to say goodbye to her only brother - the last of her immediate family.  I feel sad for her, yet she is strong and I know she will be ok.  She has the love and support of a wonderful daughter, a good husband and many friends and extended family who will look out for her. 

And today I've received word that a friend who has been struggling with her emotional health for some time  has reached another low point and has needed medical attention for the 2nd time in three months.   This friend is a fighter and has survived events that some people would never have recovered from.  I will offer my support and pray that she works through this and finds peace again.

I think all this disconcerting news would make the strongest of us feel low;  because I tend to worry about matters out of my control, I can only surmise that this is why I'm not sleeping well and have been suffering from headaches over the last few days.  I can bear the headaches, in comparison its nothing really.

Yesterday mom saw her oncologist and received word that her treatment has been very successful and that she is doing really well.  The medication she is currently being given every three weeks (intravenously) is strictly preventative;  although she is experiencing some bizarre symptoms that the oncologist was able to explain, putting her mind at rest.  Either way she is feeling much more bright about the future and for this I am relieved. 

I can't wait to go home in a few weeks to see her and spend time with her and my sister and brother.  Of course I will see a few friends, however as I'm only staying two weeks this time I will be focusing predominately on family this time around.  I know it will distract me from all the sadness that has been weighing me down.

Also, I'm really looking forward to all the time I will get to spend at the gym;  between my mother and my sister I will have no excuse not to get in lots of workouts.  I've been exercising long enough to know that working out makes a body feel so much better.  Tonight a brief run on the treadmill helped to clear my head and was better for me than the big glass of wine I really wanted.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I could have told this with a more light-hearted twist, but I'm in a serious mood today...

I woke up with a tequila hang-over on New Year’s Day which put the lid on preparing the roast dinner I had thought about making. No one seemed bothered about it, including Andy as we were all having a rather lazy day. While Connor slept most of the day upstairs and Andy pottered about in his office, I slummed it on the couch watching re-runs of How to Look Good Naked and Come Dine with Me. (I could watch this show all day every day – the commentator is hilarious). I simultaneously tried to drink a ton of water and avoid shovelling more rubbish food in my mouth. I woke up the next morning and went to the gym, so not all was lost. I have been eating healthy foods so far this week and can report that I could have had a worse start to 2011.

Yesterday morning I was taking my time driving off of our estate as the roads were covered in a film of ice. As I approached a junction that always plays havoc with my breaks in slippery conditions, I switched to a lower gear in anticipation of stopping. Nothing happened. Although I didn’t gain speed (I didn’t slip on the ice), I sure didn’t slow down and it was clear I wasn’t going to stop. This has happened once or twice before at this spot, however I usually manage to stop in time and if not, the way is usually clear so no harm done.

Not this time. There was a mini-van approaching from the right. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as my car slid through the junction just as the van was about to pass directly in front of me. I braced myself for impact, praying that there wasn’t a child strapped into a back seat; and although I wasn’t moving quickly, I knew the result wasn’t going to be good for either car. Damn. And we had just paid off the 4x4. Just as I had resigned myself to a crash, the minivan picked up speed and managed to creep past and we didn’t collide. It took me a moment to process this fact as I finally came to a stop in the middle of the junction. I noticed straightaway that the van driver had pulled over. We rolled our windows down, me not even thinking of what the reaction of the other driver was going to be, and a woman with dark hair stuck her head out the window and asked me if I was ok.

I could have cried. Obviously she had taken in the look of horror that must have been on my face. (I can look back now and see how comical this must have been). But we were both ok, no damage done.  It still took me awhile to let go of the shock of what nearly happened, which has really surprised me. I must be getting old.  I still don’t know if she had a child in that car; if she did she was still able to process that our near miss was a result of the ice, not speed. Her reaction has re-affirmed to me that there are still reasonable and good people around. Not everyone would have reacted in such a manner; quite the opposite. Road rage is a ‘virus' I can’t understand. Yes we all have moments of annoyance with other drivers, but people who constantly tail-gate, yell obscenities, flash their lights etc. are in my opinion just pathetic.

Strangely, what seems to have taken an eternity to play out actually only took a matter of seconds. That’s how time has a bad habit of playing games with us. It only takes a moment for life to change, however big or small. Sure, no one might have been hurt but two damaged cars is not the way I would have wanted to start 2011.

The world would be a better place if more people were like this woman and would step back and stop being so re-active in negative ways (especially when driving). It doesn’t help matters and making everyone feel awful resolves nothing. It’s not the way I have ever aspired to be and I try hard to ensure this doesn’t happen (other than the odd time when I’m really provoked i.e. when someone drinks my last diet coke, now that's a different story altogether!)